Cubs Phight Back … End up with a Split – Cubs 4, Phillies 6

Game Twenty-Three – Cubs 4, Phillies 6
WP – Chad Qualls (1-0, BS 1) LP – Scott Maine (0-1) Save – Jonathan Papelbon (8)

To the Cubs credit they never quit Monday night after Chris Volstad put his team in a big hole. Volstad allowed four runs in a single inning again, on Monday night it happened in the first inning. Volstad settled down after the 30-pitch first inning, pitched five scoreless and kept the Phillies from tacking on to their lead.

The Cubs put a run on the board in the seventh then tied it in the eighth on a RBI single by Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored) and a two-run homer off the bat of Bryan LaHair (2-for-4 with a home run, a double and two RBI). But the bullpen could not keep the Phillies from scoring in the bottom of the eighth.

Scott Maine hit pinch-hitter Juan Pierre on the first pitch of the at bat. Jimmy Rollins lined a two-out single over Darwin Barney into right center. With runners on first and third with two down, Placido Polanco pulled a 2-0 pitch from Rafael Dolis past Alfonso Soriano in left. Pierre and Rollins scored and the Cubs could not mount another comeback in the ninth against Jonathan Papelbon.

The Cubs still have not won a series at Citizens Bank Park. In nine attempts, the Cubs are 0-7-2 and have not won a series in Philadelphia since 2001.

The big inning hurt Chris Volstad once again. Volstad allowed four runs on five hits and a walk in the first. Volstad was taken off the hook in the eighth but he must figure out how to avoid the big inning. Volstad allowed four runs on eight hits with three walks, a balk and four strikeouts in six innings. Volstad threw 84 pitches, 57 for strikes.

Shawn Camp put together another good outing and Scott Maine helped Camp close out the seventh. But Maine could not get the job done in the eighth and he was hung with the loss. Rafael Dolis gave up the winning hit, a two-out, two run double to Placido Polanco.

The Cubs offense struggled for the most part Monday night. Sveum’s team wasted chances in the fourth, fifth and seventh before tying the game in the eighth. The Cubs managed eight hits with four walks and finished the game 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base.

The Cubs had runners on second and third in the fourth and fifth innings and came away with nothing. In the seventh, the offense loaded the bases with no outs and managed only one run after Geovany Soto grounded into a 5-3 double play. Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a double) scored the Cubs’ run in the seventh but left two more on base Monday night. Geovany Soto (0-for-3 with a walk and four left on base) continued his struggles Monday night and looks just lost at the plate.

With Monday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 8-15 on the season …

The first play of the game set the tone for the night. David DeJesus ripped a 2-2 pitch over Hunter Pence’s head in right. The ball hit off the wall and Hunter Pence played it perfectly. Pence threw a strike to second and DeJesus was called out … replays showed DeJesus was safe. After Tony Campana did not get the call on a 3-1 pitch, he popped out to center and Starlin Castro looked at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.

Vance Worley faced the minimum in the first … with a little help.

The Phillies came out swinging in the bottom of the first and took advantage of a couple of well-placed balls. Chris Volstad labored through a 30-pitch inning in a very long start to his outing. Jimmy Rollins reached on a bunt back to Volstad to begin the inning. Volstad struck out Polanco swinging on a 2-2 pitch for the first out. Shane Victorino followed and hit a slow roller to the hole at short. Victorino reached on the infield single.

With runners on first and second with one out, Hunter Pence singled to center and plated Rollins with the game’s first run. Volstad gathered himself and struck out Ty Wigginton swinging (0-2 pitch) for the second out. Volstad fell behind Laynce Nix 2-0 before walking him on four pitches to load the bases with two down.

Carlos Ruiz went with a 1-2 pitch and drove the ball into right. Victorino and Pence both scored … 3-0 Phillies. Pete Orr followed and singled to right on a 1-2 pitch. Nix scored the Phillies’ fourth run and both runners advanced ninety feet when Geovany Soto could not handle the throw from DeJesus. Volstad retired Worley on a grounder to short. Bryan LaHair scooped Castro’s throw to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing in the second.

Chris Volstad started finding a rhythm in the second. Volstad gave up a one-out single to Placido Polanco and that was it. After throwing 30 pitched in the first, Volstad required only 10 to get through the second.

The Cubs did nothing again in the third. Vance Worley ended up facing the minimum the first time through the lineup.

The Phillies were unable to tack on in the third. Volstad retired Wigginton on a grounder to second and Nix grounded out to Castro in the shift for the second out. Carlos Ruiz worked a two-out walk but Orr tapped back to the mound to end the inning.

The Cubs had a chance in the fourth to creep back into the game. After DeJesus struck out looking (3-2 pitch) and Polanco threw out Campana trying to bunt his way on, Starlin Castro reached on a broken bat single to short. Bryan LaHair followed with a double to left down the third base line. With runners on second and third with two down, Alfonso Soriano swung at the first pitch and popped it into to right to end the inning.

Chris Volstad retired the Phillies in order in the fourth. Volstad threw 57 pitches, 41 for strikes, in four innings and settled down nicely after a horrible first inning.

For the second inning in a row, the Cubs put runners on second and third with two outs … and came away empty.

Ian Stewart led off the fifth with a walk (3-2 pitch). Blake DeWitt reached on an error by Ty Wigginton at first. The Cubs had runners on first and second with no outs for Geovany Soto. Soto predictably struck out swinging for the first out. Volstad failed to get a bunt down on his first two attempts but was able get the job done on a 1-2 offering from Vance Worley. With runners on second and third with two down, David DeJesus popped out to center (1-1 pitch) to end the inning.

Other than a two-out single by Ty Wigginton off DeWitt’s glove, the Phillies did nothing against Volstad in the fifth.

After five complete, the Cubs trailed 4-0.

The Cubs did nothing in the sixth.

Chris Volstad started the sixth by striking out Carlos Ruiz looking. Pete Orr reached on a bunt single and advanced to second when Worley bunted back to Volstad. Jimmy Rollins called a balk on Volstad, the homeplate umpire agreed and Orr advanced to third with two outs. Rollins ended up walking but Polanco popped out to left on Volstad’s last pitch of the game.

After throwing 30 pitches in the first inning, Volstad ended up throwing 54 pitches over his last five innings of work.

The Cubs finally got on the board in the top of the seventh.

Alfonso Soriano led off the seventh with his second extra basehit of the season. Soriano ripped a 1-0 pitch into right center. The ball ended up in the stands and Soriano ended up at second with a ground rule double. Ian Stewart walked on four pitches.

Vance Worley appeared to commit a balk with DeWitt at the plate … but DeWitt forgot to tell the umpire. DeWitt lined the next pitch into right center. The runners had to hold to make sure the ball would drop and could only advance ninety feet.

With the bases loaded, no outs and the Cubs down 4-0, Geovany Soto hit the first pitch up the third baseline. Polanco made a nice backhanded stop, stepped on third and threw across the diamond to nail the lumbering Soto. Soriano scored on the play … 4-1 Phillies. Reed Johnson hit for Volstad and grounded out to first to end the inning.

Shawn Camp started the seventh and retired Victorino on a lineout to second. Pence flied out to deep right for the second out but Ty Wigginton singled to right on a 2-2 pitch. Sveum went to his pen and brought in Scott Maine to face Laynce Nix. Charlie Manuel countered with John Mayberry Jr. Maine caught Mayberry looking on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

Antonio Bastardo started the eighth. DeJesus fouled out to Ruiz to start the inning. But Tony Campana walked on four pitches. Manuel went back to his pen and brought in Chad Qualls to face Starlin Castro.

Campana took off for second on the first pitch and reached second easily. On the next pitch, Campana broke for third. Castro singled to left and Campana scored easily, 4-2 Phillies.

Bryan LaHair stepped in and pulled a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right center … and just like that the game was tied at four. Soriano flied out to right for the second out. Stewart followed with a single to right center but DeWitt flied out to left to end the inning.

With the game tied at four, Scott Maine started the eighth. Carlos Ruiz lined out to right for the first out … but Maine hit pinch-hitter Juan Pierre with his first offering and put the go ahead run on without making him earn it. Freddy Galvis fouled out to Castro for the second out. Sveum made the slow walk and brought in Rafael Dolis (and Darwin Barney for DeWitt) to turn Jimmy Rollins around.

Dolis paid a lot of attention to Pierre at first. In between the throws to first, he ended up in a 2-2 count to the Phillies’ shortstop. Pierre broke for second and Rollins broke his bat and lined the ball just out of the reach of a leaping Darwin Barney. Pierre ended up at third with two down.

Placido Polanco pulled a 2-0 pitch past Soriano in left. The ball rolled to the wall and both Pierre and Rollins scored … 6-4 Phillies. Dolis retired Victorino on a grounder to second to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the ninth down 6-4.

Jonathan Papelbon walked Geovany Soto to start the ninth but that was the only baserunner the Cubs would manage. Barney popped out to Polanco near the mound, DeJesus flied out to left and Campana looked at a 0-2 pitch for the 27th out … game and series over.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs open a three-game series in Cincinnati on Tuesday night. Jeff Samardzija faces Bronson Arroyo in the opener.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • brent carmona

    Neil and others, what is your opinion on soto as trade block is concerned? Are we pursuing a trade, using his value now until castillo is ready etc …?

    • Neil

      Brent, it would be nice to see Soto play better for more than one reason. Rumors have suggested that the Rays could be interested in Soto but with the way he is playing they would obviously be selling low.

      Maybe there is a team but I just don’t see it right now. Hopefully he can get it going soon.

      • Zonk

        Agreed…..this is why we can’t bench Soto.  He has it in him to be a good catcher.  He also has hit into tough luck, with a BABIP of .146.  If that was in the .280 range, his line would look alot better.

        Trading Soto now would be selling low.  If he can get on a hot streak enough to convince buyers that April was a slump, he will be sought after. 

        Last year for Soto was a disappointment, but catchers who play decent defense and hit 17 HRs don’t grow on trees.  Look around the league.  Even Soto last year was in the top-half of ML catchers.

        • gary3411

           He has hit into a bit of tough luck, he hit the ball hard today, but BABIP tells the truth when you hit tappers in the infield.

          • cubtex

            I remember several hard hit ball by Soto this year that were right at someone. I agree with Zonk.

          • gary3411

             No doubt there have been some, just not enough to warrant it all on bad luck. I think he turns it around, I’m in the play soto camp.

    • daverj

      Right now the most you’d get for Soto is likely a marginal relief pitching minor leaguer.  I’m sure the Cubs are hoping that Soto will start to hit and improve his value.  If not, the Cubs will be giving him away in July.  I can’t see Soto remaining on the roster after the July 31 trade deadline.

  • wrigleylover

    Volstad pitched quite well really. The 4 runs early were on cheap infield hits and 3 seeing eye grounders.

  • daverj

    LaHair had an interesting April.  I’m sure it’s happened before but I can’t remember a guy with such a high batting average and monster OPS who also had such a high K rate.  He’s not making a lot of contact, but when he does, he tears the cover off the ball.

    • Zonk

      To repeat April, he would need to post a .600 BABIP all season.  Not happening! 

       I think he can hit more HRs (a couple balls I recall died in tough winds), but he isn’t really a .300 hitter. 

      Still, more HRs and a .250-.270 average with a good walk rate is still useful

  • Cheryl

    What will happen to LaHair? Will he be traded at the July deadline? He is doing well now but people keep lookig toward Rizzo.

    • ldsteam

       I would like to see him moved to left field after Rizzo is brought up.  That is of course if there is a taker on Soriano.  If not maybe LaHair and be a bench guy until we trade Soriano?  Just a thought…

    • Zonk

      I think Rizzo will stay down until late June, when his FA clock will be set back a year.  But if Rizzo continues to hit, he will have to come up.

      Soriano, if he was hitting, would be extremely difficult to trade, and that is including the assumption that we would pick up 80% or more of his contract.  When he isn’t hitting, he is completely untradeable. 

      LaHair’s batting average, it should be noted, is aided by a completely unsustainable .600 BABIP.  He isn’t really a .300 hitter.  But if he continues to hit for power, we will have a decision to make when Rizzo comes up.

      An option is to move DeJesus to CF and LaHair to RF, but that would really degrade our OF defense and bench Campana.  Another option is to juggle those 4 players based on matchups, etc.

      LaHair has some trade value, but his value will be higher if he continues to hit, and it’s closer to the deadline. 

      • cubtex

        LaHair is playing well and that is great. Rizzo is the future and if LaHair continues to hit they will get a decent prospect for him. LaHair defensively is not an outfielder. He doesn’t run well. As Steve Stone said…tallking about Rizzo…that every team is now looking at film and coming up with ways to pitch him and get him out(just like every young hitter) Will they find his achilles heel? Odds say they will, but hopefully not till after they trade him for some value.

        • Dnuge

          Lets remembe rthat trading LaHair for a so called prospect is like buying a lottery ticket, we know what we have in Lahair and we dont in a prospect.  I think LaHair could do no worse than Sorianio in LF.

          • Bryan

            I agree…why would you want to trade LaHair?  Trade/dump, whatever you want regarding Soriano.  When the business aspects subside, it would be refreshing to see LaHair, Rizzo, Bjax, Campana, Castro, Clavenger/Castillo and Barney all in the same lineup. 

          • cubtex

            Too bad LaHair isn’t a 3rd baseman but he is a 1st baseman and that is the problem. He is not a long term fix as an outfielder. So if you keep him for a year or 2 as an outfielder what would that really do? Trade him while he has some value.

          • paulcatanese

            Look at it this way, the Angels are looking for a first baseman that can hit the long ball. And one that won’t complain about the hitting coach. Should be able to make a deal with them and have them pick up any salary for the guy they have there now:)

          • paulcatanese

            Hey guys, I was trying to make a funny here, remarking on Pujols and his comments on being dis satisfied with Hatcher on the hitting coach’s remarks in bleacher report.

          • gary3411

             Exactly, LaHair is a first basemen, not a long-term OF guy (probably not even short term), and we have 2 that are major league ready. Keeping him past the trade deadline assuming he is still hitting is a loss.

    • gary3411

       TRADE HIM! Preferably after Rizzo’s FA issue is extended, but it would also stink if teams figure out LaHair before then and he regresses greatly. I think LaHair will keep it up, personally. Obviously not to this extent, but I could see him keeping his line to around 290/370/510 around end of June, which should net us at least a top starting pitching prospect and a few other decent prospects as well. LaHair could be a VERY cheap, stud, first basemen turned DH for an AL team for the next 6 years. If another team sees it the same way, we could get as much for him as Garza would net.

      • cubtex

        Gary I agree with trading LaHair but there is no way that LaHair brings back anywhere near what Garza will.

        • paulcatanese

          See my reply above:)

        • gary3411

           If Garza keeps throwing 1 hit shutouts, no he will not. Depends how each performs over the next 2 months.

          If I’m a team on the rise and in the playoff hunt, I’m giving up just as much for LaHair. If I’m a veteran team that may or may not have multiple years of contention left and may or may not have the money to extend Garza, I’m giving up more for Garza. I’m saying there may be a team or two willing to give up more for LaHair if he fits their situation than an expensive year and a half of Garza.

      • daverj

        I like LaHair, but don’t think LaHair would bring back all that much in a trade this year.  Maybe 1 B level prospect or 2 C level prospects.  He’d only have 1/2 season of major league success and some advanced metrics like BABIP and K rate that scream caution.  LaHair would have more trade value in the offseason if he shows he can keep it up for a full season.

        Also, Rizzo is by far a proven commodity so I’m not sure Epstein wants to deal LaHair until he has a better sense of how Rizzo will perform at the major league level.  The Cubs don’t want to trade LaHair and then have Rizzo bust.

        • Zonk

          I agree, I think LaHair’s trade value is overestimated right now.  I like him, but looking at the other side, he is fairly one-dimensional.  That one dimension, left-handed power, is a good one to have, but if he stops hitting he is useless. 

          There isn’t a long track record on LaHair to go on, just 2 good seasons at AAA, and one month in the majors.  Not worth a stud prospect.  Worth a promising one, though, because he is cheap and under club control.

          AL teams will probably have more interest. 

          • gary3411

             No doubt, has to be an AL team. Only one I really see that would want him this year or in the offseason is the Blue Jays, or possibly the Yankees.

  • paulcatanese

    Other than the first inning, not a bad game. Could not view the game, so I don’t know what the difference the lineup(DeWitt) made in the outcome.
    I have given up trying to figure out why he is inserted at all, the Cubs must have their reasons.
    I guess Soto must play to increase?,his value?,again other teams already know what he can do.
    If closeups of Soto tell anything at all about whats happening, he projects a dis gruntled player, and is talking to whoever will listen.
    Looks like a spoiled brat. I think the “tightness in the back” is a ploy to voice his displeasure, and thinks he is teaching the Cubs a lesson.
    Also think he wants to be traded as much as the Cubs wanting to trade him.

    • cubtex

      Your little buddy Campana is doing well. If he continues to get on base as much as he has….I don’t know how long Sveum can keep him at #2. He should be hitting leadoff. The problem is that DeJesus doesn’t steal bases and he clogs the bases for Campana if both get on base. DeJesus should be hitting 2 and Campana leadoff. How many teams have a zero stolen base threat at leadoff with 2 guys among the league leaders at stolen bases at the #2 spot(Campana) and #3 spot(Castro)?

      • gary3411

        Obviously not identical, but the Brewers do something similar with Weeks-Morgan-Braun.

      • gary3411

         But I agree, Campana should leadoff if he’s going to be in the lineup for an extended period of time.

        • gary3411

           or hit 9th

      • BosephHeyden

         Problem is that Campana’s also the best bunter on the team.  The leadoff guy is usually a guy that gets on a base a good deal, not so much the fastest guy on the team.  Here’s a few samples from some guys in the majors right now:

        Rafael Furcal:  3 Steals, .384 OBP
        Derek Jeter:  1 steal, .433 OBP
        Curtis Granderson:  0 steals, .346 OBP
        Ian Kinsler:  2 steals, .400 OBP
        Ben Zobrist:  1 steal, .364 OBP
        Michael Brantley:  2 steals, .321 OBP

        Those are all leadoff guys for the best teams in the majors right now.  The key is they all get on base.  The ideal situation is that you get your leadoff guy on to start the game, then you bring up your number two hitter, who is one of your best bunters, while, at the same time, a faster guy, so that he can place a bunt down to advance the runner either from first to second or second to third, putting pressure on the pitcher early, and making him have to work to get that number two hitter out.  Worst case scenario should it all work out, you have a runner in scoring position with one out.  Best case scenario is you have a runner in scoring position, your number two guy reached, and now you’re #3 hitter comes to the plate with two on and nobody out.  Now, this has only really worked out once for the Cubs so far, since DeJesus has score a grand total of once in the past week, and Campana has been getting on with no one in front of him, stealing second, and eventually scoring, but until a better bunter emerges, Campana is forced a bit into that second slot.

        • cubtex

          Those examples you listed don’t have a guy like Campana behind them….in fact Carlos Pena hits behind Zobrist as the #2 hitter in the Rays lineup. Who would you rather have on 1st base….DeJesus or Campana? I think we can both agree on that. Campana getting on 1st ahead of DeJesus….you can hit and run more with him or straight steal and give 3 hitters a chance to drive him in as opposed to giving up an out on a sac bunt.
          Didn’t DeJesus win the little Spring Training Bunt Contest? I am not positive but I thought he did.

          • BosephHeyden

             He won the bunt competition, but that was just a competition.  Campana, in game situations, has been putting down bunts better than most of the other guys on the team. 

            The other problem is that batting leadoff is a bit more pressure.  Unless Campana himself starts lobbying to hit leadoff, you run the risk of just having a guy come up and get a three or four pitch out to leadoff the game.  HOWEVER, it is very much worth noting, and this does support the idea of Campana batting leadoff, that all but one of his hits have come with the bases empty, meaning he’s having success against guys from the windup rather than the stretch.

            I guess the only thing preventing Campana from batting leadoff is the potential to “ruin a good thing”, not so much the lineup, but Campana doing what he’s doing now while batting second.  Can Campana handle the pressure from being a leadoff guy?  I guess that’s the only thing to wonder.

          • cubtex

            I would bet that Campana has batting leadoff his entire life. Even at Iowa….he was batting leadoff ahead of BJax. You want an open base ahead of him as much as possible. DeJesus is not a threat to steal at all. He knows how to bunt but you won’t need him to do that very often with Campana ahead of him. As I said….you can straight steal Campana and have DeJesus pull a ground ball to 2nd to move him over to 3rd and let Castro drive in the run. By not having to lay down a sac bunt you also can open up a potentially big inning if DeJesus can get a base hit through the right side of the infield as well. It makes way too much sense not to switch as long as Campana continues to hit like he has.

          • Tony_Hall

            I actually agree with you on this topic. 

            Campana is the no-brainer lead-off guy.

            DeJesus looks much better in the 2 hole as well.

      • paulcatanese

        Agree, but then I’m just happy that he is playing for however long it lasts.
        The same thing happens for him in the two spot also, he can’t just automaticly take off and not give Castro at least one strike to swing at, so in a sense his speed is negated in front and behind him.
        And you are right he and Castro should be up in the order 1-2 or reverse it. Wouldnt matter much as both have the skill to steal a base.The two of them would not clog each other up at all, fact is a lot of double steals would be in order.
        I would move DeJesus to number three and see how that works.

    • Zonk

      DeJesus might be leading off because he is simply more comfortable there, and maybe Sveum doesn’t want to mess with that.

      I would bat Campana leadoff myself, though.

  • Zonk

    Interesting article on Fangraphs (Neil, is it OK to link to them from here?) on “change of scenery players” including Ian Stewart and Colvin.

    Cliff Notes:
    –Stewart has not been good
    –Colvin has been decent so far, but a) small sample, and b) he is still showing his trademark excellent power, and complete lack of any patience

    • Neil

      Yes and thank you for posting it.