Third Time Through Not a Charm for Samardzija – Cubs 1, Diamondbacks 6

Game Seventy – Cubs 1, Diamondbacks 6
WP – Brad Ziegler (4-1) LP – Jeff Samardzija (5-6) Save – David Hernandez (2)

The Cubs actually led Friday night’s opener 1-0 on Geovany Soto’s fifth homer of the season in the fourth inning. The Diamondbacks scored six unanswered runs off Jeff Samardzija and the bullpen while the offense was busy leaving runner after runner on base.

Friday night began on a positive note for Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija struck out four of the first nine batters he faced and was in cruise control through three innings. After Geovany Soto gave him a one-run lead with a solo homer in the fourth, Samardzija made a mistake on a 3-0 pitch to Jason Kubel in the bottom of the inning that left the park … and gave Arizona a 2-1 lead. The D-Backs scored another run in the fifth, two more in the sixth and chased Samardzija from the game before he could record an out in the sixth after a bases clearing triple off the bat of Miguel Montero.

Samardzija really struggled the third time through the lineup. Arizona appeared to make adjustments while Samardzija did not. Samardzija allowed five runs on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts in five-plus innings. Samardzija threw 88 pitches in five-plus innings, 59 for strikes, and that was after throwing only eight pitches in the first and 36 after three innings.

Dale Sveum’s staff had trouble throwing strikes again. The Cubs walked four batters and three of those free baserunners scored. And to add insult to bad baseball, Brad Ziegler and David Hernandez recorded the first hits of their big league career on Friday night. Ziegler singled and scored Arizona’s third run in the fifth off Jeff Samardzija and Hernandez singled in the eighth off Casey Coleman. When two relievers record their first hit in the same game, it is simply not your night.

The Cubs offense could not take advantage of Josh Collmenter’s gifts early in the game and managed only one run on the night. Joe Saunders was scratched just before game time because he could not get loose. Josh Collmenter stepped in and allowed only one run on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts in four innings. The Cubs worked the count against Collmenter but they could not come up with a hit with runners in scoring position.

Dale Sveum’s offense left the bases loaded in the second and eighth innings and could not take advantage of runners on second and third in the fifth. The Cubs recorded nine hits but were a miserable 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base.

Dale Sveum stayed with his right-handed lineup when Josh Collmenter was inserted as the starter. Geovany Soto (2-for-4 with a home run) provided the only real highlight of the night, a solo homer in the fourth that gave the Cubs a brief 1-0 lead. Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a double and a walk) and Luis Valbuena (1-for-3 with a double and a walk) notched the Cubs’ other two extra base hits … and Starlin Castro was 1-for-5 on the night.

The Cubs struck out ten times and worked four free passes … but only two walks came after the second and one was in the eighth that loaded the bases with two outs.

With Friday’s loss (20-32 at Chase Field), the Cubs dropped to 24-46 on the season, 22 games under .500 …

Josh Collmenter, not Joe Saunders, started the game for Arizona and Reed Johnson greeted him with a bunt single up the third baseline. Starlin Castro struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) and so did Alfonso Soriano, even though he lost track of the count and stood at the plate after he swung and missed at a 2-2 pitch. Johnson took off for second on a 0-1 offering to Jeff Baker and Miguel Montero cut him down at second to end the inning. Collmenter threw only 16 pitches in the first, 10 for strikes.

Jeff Samardzija set down the D-Backs in order in the first on eight pitches, five for strikes.

After Jeff Baker hit a weak tapper back to Collmenter to start the second, Geovany Soto ripped a 3-1 pitch back up the middle and into centerfield. Darwin Barney worked hit first walk since June 12. With runners on first and second with one out, Joe Mather looked at ball four to load the bases.

Luis Valbuena walked to the plate swinging after Collmenter issued back-to-back free passes to load the bases. Valbuena struck out swinging on three high fastballs for the second out. Jeff Samardzija could not help himself. Samardzija swung and missed at a 2-2 offering to end the inning. Collmenter threw 46 pitches in the first two innings, 27 for strikes.

Samardzija stayed sharp in the bottom of the second. Samardzija retired Jason Kubel on a grounder to second (0-2 pitch) and struck out Paul Goldschmidt swinging (2-2 pitch). Miguel Montero pulled a 0-1 pitch into right for the D-Backs first hit. Samardzija notched his second swinging strikeout of the inning when Chris Young could not make contact with a 2-2 pitch. Samardzija threw 24 pitches in the first two innings, 17 for strikes.

The Cubs continued working the count in the third but Collmenter kept them off the board. Johnson struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for the first out. Castro grounded out to the hole at short (2-1) but Alfonso Soriano worked a two-out walk. Baker ran the count to 3-2 before hitting a routine grounder to short for the third out … 67 pitches for Collmenter after three, 37 for strikes.

Jeff Samardzija retired the D-Backs in order in the third … 36 pitches for Samardzija after three, 26 for strikes.

Geovany Soto led off the fourth with a towering homer to centerfield. Soto’s fifth homer of the year gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Collmenter continued throwing a lot of pitches but still retired the next three batters he faced. Darwin Barney flied out to deep center, Mather flied out to center (2-2 pitch) and Luis Valbuena struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Jeff Samardzija took the hill in the fourth with a 1-0 lead … but it did not last long. Samardzija retired Aaron Hill before giving up a single to Justin Upton. Jason Kubel drove a 3-0 pitch that was up and out over the plate into the bleachers in left. And just like that the D-Backs took a 2-1 lead. To Samardzija’s credit, he struck out Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Montero swinging to end the inning. Samardzija threw 53 pitches through four, 36 for strikes.

Brad Ziegler took over in the fifth and the Cubs wasted a chance to at least tie the game.

Jeff Samardzija singled to center to start the inning. Reed Johnson struck out and Castro hit into a 4-6 fielder’s choice. Alfonso Soriano laced a 1-1 pitch down the right field line. Upton played the ball perfectly and kept Castro from scoring on Soriano’s double. Jeff Baker predictably hit a routine grounder to an infielder (second base on 0-1 pitch) to end the inning.

Jeff Samardzija made quick work to Chris Young (ground out to short) and Ryan Roberts (ground out to second) then jumped ahead of Brad Ziegler 0-2. The D-Backs’ relief pitcher drove Samardzija’s next pitch into center for the first hit of his career.

Willie Bloomquist followed Samardzija’s mistake to Ziegler with a knock through the right side and into the outfield. Ziegler stopped at second with two outs.

Aaron Hill hit a couple shots that had home run distance but went foul. Hill went with a 1-2 pitch and drove it into the gap in right center. Ziegler scored and Arizona took a 3-1 lead. With runners on first and third with two down, Justin Upton grounded out to short on Samardzija’s 71st pitch (51 strikes) of the night.

The Cubs did nothing against Brad Ziegler in the sixth.

Samardzija walked Jason Kubel to start the sixth then jumped ahead of Goldschmidt 1-2. Samardzija could not finish off Goldschmidt and walked him three pitches later. With runners on first and second with one out, Miguel Montero ripped a 2-2 pitch (ahead 0-2 earlier in the at bat) into the right field corner. Johnson was shading Montero into right center. Montero ended up clearing the bases with his first triple of the season.

With the Cubs down 5-1, a runner at third and no outs, Dale Sveum decided he’d seen enough. Sveum went to his pen and brought in Shawn Camp. Sveum made a double switch and sent David DeJesus in for Joe Mather in centerfield.

With the infield in, Chris Young struck out swinging for the first out. Ryan Roberts then hit a 0-2 pitch back up the middle. The ball went under Camp and right to Barney. Montero held and Barney threw out Roberts for the second out. Kirk Gibson went to his bench and sent Josh Bell up to hit for Brad Ziegler. Bell flied out to deep left center to end the inning.

After six, the Cubs trailed 5-1.

Lefty Craig Breslow started the seventh for Kirk Gibson. Luis Valbuena greeted Breslow with a double into the left field corner. David DeJesus popped out to shallow right and Johnson grounded out to short.

With two out and Valbuena still at second, Starlin Castro ripped a 1-2 pitch into center. The ball got to Young in a hurry and Valbuena held at third. Gibson went back to his pen and brought in Brian Shaw to face Alfonso Soriano.

Alfonso Soriano fell behind 0-2 before hitting a soft liner into center (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.

The D-Backs tacked on against Jairo Asencio in the seventh

Willie Bloomquist worked a walk to start the inning. Aaron Hill hit a deep fly to DeJesus in center. DeJesus caught the deep fly and Bloomquist tagged from first. With Bloomquist at second, Justin Upton crushed a 0-2 pitch into right center. DeJesus dove but came up empty. The ball hit the track and hopped into the swimming pool area for a ground rule double. Bloomquist scored … 6-1 Arizona. Bloomquist was the third straight run to score that reached base via a walk.

Dale Sveum made the slow walk and brought in Scott Maine to face Jason Kubel. Maine retired Kubel on a flyout to left then walked Paul Goldschmidt. After a double steal (later changed to defensive indifference) put runners on second and third with two outs, Montero struck out swinging to end the inning.

After seven it was all Arizona …

Brian Shaw started the eighth and retired Steve Clevenger (ground out to third) and Geovany Soto (flyout to right) for the first two outs. Darwin Barney singled to right and Bryan LaHair singled to left. With Valbuena at the plate, Shaw uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Barney and LaHair to move up ninety feet. Luis Valbuena walked to load the bases.

Kirk Gibson decided he wanted the game to be over and went to his pen for David Hernandez. David DeJesus grounded out to second (2-1 pitch) to end the inning.

Casey Coleman pitched the eighth and gave up another first to a D-Backs’ reliever. Coleman retired Chris Young and Ryan Roberts then jumped ahead of David Hernandez 0-2. Hernandez appeared to bail on a 0-2 pitch but got just enough of the pitch to bloop the ball over Clevenger’s head and into right for the big league hit of his career. Bloomquist followed with a single to right but Aaron Hill grounded out to second to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against David Hernandez in the ninth … game over.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Paul Maholm is scheduled to face Ian Kennedy on Saturday night.

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Quote of the Day

"If a baseball could talk, it would sound like Ron Santo." – Pat Hughes - Remembering Ron Santo #10 (1940-2010)

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  • SirGladiator

    You know that when the other team changes their pitcher from a lefty to a righty, but your manager sticks with an anti-lefty lineup, that something’s gone terribly wrong.  The batting average against this guy was something like .340 for lefties and .220 for righties, so naturally we stacked the lineup with…..righties.  Yeah, I know that some managers are better than others and all, but I honestly didn’t know that it was even possible for one to be this bad.  Is it too early to start talking about who we’d like to be the manager next year?  Because this guy really isn’t fit to manage a little league team, much less a big league one.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Quade was worse than this guy. 

      Still…you are right about the lineup. And to have Jeff Baker batting cleanup?
      Baker has gone cold as a RH bat vs. LHP.Here’s his line vs. LHP:.234 BA…..302 OBP…..362 slug….1 HR…3 2B…..

      Maybe he’s not getting enough playing time to stay sharp…..
      He sure isn’t slugging enough to warrant a cleanup spot.

      How does Joe Mather perform vs RHP?
      .231 BA…254 OBP…..415 slugging 3 HR in 65 AB
      But strangely becomes a singles hitter vs LHP:
      .283…..377 OBP…lousy .370 slugging

      • paulcatanese

        Good post Rip. If you have the time, as I am not a stats person, could you tell me how the right handed lineup performs against leftys, and the left handed hitters against leftys and then the combined regular lineup L and R against a given pitcher? R or L?
        It’s a lot to ask, so only it you have the time, thanks.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I’ll work on it….any thing for you, Paul. :)

          • paulcatanese

            Appriciate it Rip, at you’re liesure, I’m not going anywhere, like the Cubs.:)

    • Ripsnorter1

      Oh boy…tonight Accuscore gives us a 31% chance to win…..

      Maholm has a 6.16 road ERA……

    • BosephHeyden

       Yep, there’s no two ways about it:  Kirk Gibson outsmarted and outmanaged Sveum last night. 

      • paulcatanese

        Absolutly agree, In fact it held true for the rest of the game. If Sveum wanted to bring someone in (LH hitters) its too late when you get into the 7th,8th and 9th. The game was lost before it started.
        Under the decision that Sveum made to continue with the present lineup all Gibson had to do was wait until Sveum tried it and then bring his left handed bullpen pitchers in.Sveum was locked into his original decision to stick with the righty lineup.
        I find it unbelievable that Sveum has so much blind faith in his right handed hitters and so little with his leftys.
        The lineup could have been changed, but Sveum chose otherwise and showed his loyalty to the Johnsons,Bakers, and Mathers, and it got him what he deserved, a loss, and the outcome was decided before the first pitch was thrown.
        I have backed Sveum in a number of decisions, but this one was so bad, I had to call him on it.
        I will say it one more time, when, when is Sveum going to give up this idea that platooning works?
        It only works when a team has players of equal talent on both sides of the plate.

        Unless of course, I am overlooking what may be the obvious, the Cubs are bad from both sides of the plate.

        • cubtex

          Don’t you think that Sveum is not trying to win? To me……it is pretty obvious.

          • paulcatanese

            It does look like he is relaxed and not stressed as to what is happening on the field, and some of the moves are definatly suspect. As for not trying to win, I would say it dosent bother him to lose, and that is obvious.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Quade looked the same way last year….STUPID. 

    • cubtex

      I believe that Sveum is being told to not manage to win games. He doesn’t put his team in situations to succeed. Theo must have told him that his job is safe and don’t manage to win…….that is the only thing that makes sense because he makes baffling game decisions.

      • Calicub

        I couldn’t agree more. There is no doubt that 2012 was there to be tanked. The FA market prior to the season was extremely weak, aside from sinking nearly a quarter billion dollars on a 1B there was not much for them to do. They made a few shrewd moves, take them or leave them they, for the most part helped this team move on from hendry era headaches (Z, not resigning Aram, not that he would have come back) and add some depth in the minors (selling marshall while his value was high, albiet for too little considering it was too the reds but I digress). As for the stewart trade, I was always a fan of Colvin but his developement by the cubs was so severely blundered by the previous regime, that a change in scenery seemed necissary. As for stewart himself, I think it probable that if he were indeed healthy he could have preformed up to expectations but infortunately their love affair with him seemed to cloud their judgement, or look past an injury that had clearly persisted for sometime.

        In surmation, I feel like 2012 was a lost year to begin with. They made their moves and their mistakes (the rule 5 blunders are the biggest in my mind) but all in all I have little to complain about for this year. What more do people expect them to have done? Most of the pick ups they made this offseason have some trade value to the club (camp, dejesus, corpas if he maintains) and aside from dejesus created little or no financial burden/contractual obligation past this year.

        • paulcatanese

          The only player the Cubs brought into the fold that may be, and I stress may be an impact player is Rizzo, and that remains to be seen.
          Rizzo has the tools to bring an impact, but remember he is only a prospect until he proves himself at the Major league level.
          LaHair had the credentials for power and if one looks at his whole year combining AAA and winter ball, he hit with more than enough power to deserve a chance, guess what, he is sitting on 13 home runs this year (not a great impact) and is now looking for a position with his glove.
          Rizzo is not a saviour until he can prove it, and so far he is the only one that this management team has brought into the fold that appears to have an upside for the present.

        • DWalker

           I think they made certain moves right away in the off season, then had to totally rethink their game plan after the new CBA hit. That was a total game changer I don’t think anyone expected, and I think it totally killed Theo’s initial game plan. I think he expected to be able to field a middle of the pack team, do most of his usual tricks to pick up draft picks and make a short rebuild.

          The CBA changed all that, and Theo went to the emergency rebuild mode. Scrap everything; get prospects at all costs, look for trash bin projects that might develop trade value and tank the season for the best draft picks and best IFA advantage he can get under the new CBA. Spend the extra money this year on buying out contracts and sending it along with the over priced contracts to get a decent prospect instead of trash,

          I think everything this team does is to give every chance for under performers to perform and gain trade value. Thats why Stewart, Soriano, Byrd, Soto and Marmol all kept getting trotted out no matter how bad they were. Its why Marmol is the closer again.

          And on the occasion the team pulls it together and wins a few games to drag themselves out of last place; something always happens. I honestly think Sveum has two standing orders: Find trade value by playing the trade bait, and stay at the bottom. That lineup deal last night was a bad joke, and I think Shark blew himself up mentally knowing he had been hung out to dry with a lineup that wasn’t going to support him, so he tried to win it by himself and defeated himself. 

          As bad as Sveum looks, I don’t think this is the real Dale. Everything I read shows him as a meticulous scouter and reviewer who should be trying to outhink the room rather then mismanage a little league team. Some of his moves have looked like out thinking the room I admit, but most of them just seem like stupid moves with the only value of playing struggling players. 

      • paulcatanese

        Yes, one could go on and on about his decisions with lineups, and one of the strangest is his having the infield play in with a runner on third EARLY in the ballgame, he has done that as early as the second inning, and that opens up a possible big inning more often than not.
        And the sacrifice bunt is out of the question as is the steal sign with players that have little or no chance to make it, That one he lets happen.
        No question he has a number of players taking a strike
        even two before swinging the bat. (Castro, Campana) are two that is obvious.,La Hair is another that suffers that fate.
        None of those metioned are great two strike hitters and as you say are put in a position to fail, just cannot do that and succeed.
        And the only base stealers on that team are Castro,Campana,and Barney(to a degree).
        I could go on and on with every game and pick an instance that may have cost a game.
        For Sveums sake lets hope he is being told to manage not to win.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Just a little reality check…..

    This is 2012….

    The Cubs are in last place in MLB, not just the NL….

    The Pirates are 37-32 and are 13.5 games ahead of Your Chicago Cubs…..

    • GaryLeeT

      Since they finished last year with almost identical records, the Cubs to Pirates comparison is a good one. I know it’s a well beaten dead horse, but I will never understand the concept that management could not have fielded a respectable team with more attractive 2 year contracts, while rebuilding the system. Even small market teams understand that the Major League team is what feeds everything else, and should never be ignored. I forced myself to tune in last night just to check in on the team’s state of affairs, and cursed myself for having stayed up late, to do so. Was team Theo lazy, or a poor judge of MLB talent? Or both, and just took fan loyalty for granted?

      • cubtex

        Don’t do that to yourself Gary! Watch the College World Series games. Much better atmoshphere and way more entertaining than watching Jeff Baker and Joe Mather play.

  • BosephHeyden

    At this point in time, I think the Cubs have become the team other teams that are on the brink of contention are going to count down the days until they play.  Right now we’re in the process of putting the D-Backs back into the NL West race.  We already have had a series where a sweep in Pittsburgh put the Pirates back in the Central by making them a .500 team at the time (they’ve since improved, obviously).  And Washington is likely going to fight for their lives in Baltimore to ensure they don’t wind up giving themselves a huge hole to fight out of once the Mets get to Chicago on Monday.

    I kinda wish we played the Royals this year:  they’re only 6 games out of the AL Central and a series versus the Cubs could get them closer not only to .500, but potentially put them in the playoff race for the first time in who knows how long.

    • Ripken Boy

      I predict July 2 will be Rizzo’s debut with Cubs.

      August 1 fielding line-up will be as follows:
      1B: Rizzo
      2B: Barney
      SS: Castro
      3B: Vitters
      LF: LaHair
      CF: Brett Jackson
      RF: DeJesus
      C: Castillo/Clevenger

      Batting Line-up:
      1. DeJesus
      2. Castro
      3. Rizzo
      4. Vitters
      5. LaHair
      6. Jackson
      7. Barney
      8. Castillo/Clevenger

      Not too bad and it will give us a glimpse into the future to see if some of these young guys can play.

      • Zonk

        Rizzo will be at Wrigley.  Vitters and B-Jax won’t; September call-up for them, at best, barring injuries.

        • paulcatanese

          If the media and fans leave Rizzo alone he may have a chance, as the pressure on him will be immense if they don’t. And thats on top of the personal pressure he will have on his own.

  • paulcatanese

    Does anyone recall who was batting cleanup last night behind Rizzo?
    You guessed it, that all time favorite fourth place hitter for the Cubs,
    Blake DeWitt.
    And Carrie’s comment about the anniversary of Sandbergs two HR game on this date? What for?
    Why not go back to 1945 and the Cubs in the World Series and the great year Phil Cavaretta had for the Cubs?
    All of that’s in the past as we now have “the Cubs Way”.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Because Carrie wasn’t alive in 1945.

      The former things have been forgotten…….

      • paulcatanese

        Rip, the post wasn’t intended for Carrie in particular,
        but just a thought about the history of the Cubs.
        Anniversaries are nice to think about, I just thought that being in the World Series for the last time and when it were to happen again, when? Thats another matter.

    • Dorasaga

      I concur. And if any management fails to address the passing of the great MVP and the magical 1945 with Philip Joseph Cavarretta (“lowballed” when Hendry was around), that will show the wrong mentality by:

      1. Not recognizing the heritage of Chicago
      2. Looking away from a winning culture.

      We can argue that those characters were of the past, but who can really say “no” to honor a MVP and a World Series? Maybe the 1945 story of competitiveness will inspire Castro and Rizzo, and we’ll see a postseason run sooner than the day, before my young ones must reserve me a burial ground.

  • Mike Simala

    With the Rumors Ive heard about Demp and Soriano to Baltimore, who exactly outside of Dylan Bundy and Machado do they have in that system? Im not seeing anyone. Would we be so bold to include Demp just to get out from under Soriano and take back some mediocre prospects. I would hope not. I just dont see any pieces to any deal id want with Baltimore aside from their top 2 guys. 

  • BosephHeyden

     Dempster’s ERA is really low and he’s consistently been having good games this year.  A better offense (read:  offenses that weren’t that All-Righty lineup or lineups having Koyie Hill in them) and he’s probably got 7 wins by now.  Bundle that type of pitcher in with a hitter that’s got the most homeruns in the majors since May and the Cubs’ willingness to eat most, if not all, their contracts, and the top two guys in the system are definitely the targets.  Whether or not we get both is a whole different situation, but realistically we should get at least one of those two for that package at that price.