Cubs Left Four Games in San Francisco – Cubs 2, Giants 3

Game Fifty-Four – Cubs 2, Giants 3
WP – Ryan Vogelsong (4-2) LP – Carlos Marmol (0-2) Save – Jeremy Affeldt (1)

The 2012 Chicago Cubs hit a new low on Monday afternoon. Not only did they drop to a season-worst 18 games under .500 but they also lost their 11th straight road game … the Cubs longest road losing streak in a single season since 1954.

Simply said, the Cubs gave another game away. The last two runs the Giants were given on Monday scored without a ball leaving the infield.

Jeff Samardzija struggled for one of the few times this season. Samardzija had no command of his secondary pitches but even with his struggles, Samardzija took a 2-1 lead into the fifth. Samardzija loaded the bases then appeared to get out of the jam. Brandon Crawford hit a 2-2 pitch to Darwin Barney at second. Barney flipped to Starlin Castro for the second out

Starlin Castro forgot how many outs there were and started jogging off the field as Buster Posey scored the tying run.

There is no excuse whatsoever for a Major League shortstop not knowing how many outs there are in an inning … none. No matter the player’s age or experience, a Major League shortstop must have his head in the game at all time. Dale Sveum voiced his displeasure with Castro after the game. Sveum told the media he would bench Castro if he has another lapse in concentration. Sveum said, “It’s something that’s obviously unacceptable at any time. Whether we could have turned the double play is irrelevant to not knowing how many outs there are in the most important part of the game. These things have to stop happening or we’re just going to stop playing [him]. These kind of things are things my son does in high school — maybe. I can’t take him out. I’ll have a good talking to him. It’s the last straw. If he wants to play, he better start getting his head in the game, period.

The Giants’ third run scored in the seventh after Carlos Marmol walked Buster Posey, gave up an infield single to Angel Pagan and issued a four-pitch walk to Brandon Belt that loaded the bases with no outs. Joaquin Arias hit into a 6-4-3 double play as Buster Posey scored with the would-be winning run.

Jeff Samardzija barely made it through five innings. Samardzija threw 110 pitches (66 strikes) and tied a season-high with five walks. Samardzija battled on a day he did not have his best stuff and put his team in position to win the game. Samardzija allowed two runs on seven hits with five walks and six strikeouts.

The Cubs offense was pretty much non-existent again. The middle of the lineup was 2-for-12 with a run scored, both hits were singles, and Starlin Castro was 0-for-4 with four runners left on base. The only runs scored on hits by Steve Clevenger (1-for-4 with a RBI) and Jeff Samardzija (1-for-2 with a RBI). Darwin Barney was 2-for-4 with a run scored and the Cubs only extra basehit was a double by pinch-hitter Adrian Cardenas in the seventh.

While Cubs pitching issued seven walks, the Cubs offense did not manage a single free pass on Monday afternoon.

With Monday’s loss, the Cubs are 18-36 on the season …

The Cubs went down in order quickly in the first inning.

Jeff Samardzija retired Nate Schierholtz on a grounder to short to start his outing. Ryan Theriot followed with a single to center and stole second with Melky Cabrera at the plate. Samardzija struck out Cabrera but issued the first of four free passes on the day to Buster Posey. Angel Pagan struck out swinging to end the inning.

Alfonso Soriano flied out to center to start the second. Bryan LaHair blooped a single into left. Ian Stewart struck out swinging. Darwin Barney kept the inning going with a single to left center. LaHair advanced to third and scored when Steve Clevenger ripped a 1-1 pitch from Ryan Vogelsong into center. Barney advanced to third and scored on a single to right center off the bat of Jeff Samardzija. Clevenger held at second with two outs.

Tony Campana lashed a single into left but Clevenger had to hold because Melky Cabrera was playing a shallow left. With the bases loaded and two outs, Starlin Castro hit a 1-2 pitch to the third base side of the mound. Vogelsong picked up the ball and threw Castro out to end the inning.

The Cubs 2-0 lead was short-lived.

Brandon Belt and Joaquin Arias reached on back-to-back singles to start the second. Samardzija jumped ahead of Brandon Crawford 0-2. Crawford pulled Samardzija’s next pitch into the right field corner. Belt scored, 2-1 Cubs. Samardzija struck out Vogelsong for the first out.

With runners on second and third with one out, Schierholtz walked to load the bases.

Samardzija struck out Ryan Theriot swinging and Darwin Barney caught a liner off the bat of Melky Cabrera to end the inning. Samardzija threw 49 pitches in the first two innings, 32 for strikes.

After two, the Cubs had a 2-1 lead.

Other than a one-out single by Alfonso Soriano, the Cubs did nothing in the third.

Samardzija walked Buster Posey to start the third. Angel Pagan flied out to left for the first out. Samardzija uncorked a wild pitch with Belt at the plate that allowed Posey to advance to second. Belt grounded out to second, Posey advanced to third with two down. Starlin Castro snagged a blooper to center off the bat of Arias to end the inning … 69 pitches for Samardzija after three, 42 for strikes.

Darwin Barney led off the fourth with a single to center, the Cubs’ seventh hit of the game. Clevenger flied out to deep center and Samardzija popped up a bunt that Belt let fall. Barney was forced at second, Samardzija reached first but was stranded when Campana lined out to left.

Samardzija was able to dodge more problems in the fourth. Samardzija retired Crawford and Vogelsong to start the inning before giving up back-to-back singles to Schierholtz and Theriot. Melky Cabrera grounded out to second on Samardzija’s 82nd pitch of the game (51 strikes).

The Cubs did nothing in the fifth.

Jeff Samardzija walked Posey to start the Giants’ fifth. Pagan followed with a single to right. Posey held at second with no outs. Samardzija then issued his fifth walk of the game. Belt walked to load the bases with no outs. Joaquin Arias lined out to second for the first out.

Brandon Crawford hit a 2-2 pitch back up the middle and right to Darwin Barney. Barney flipped to Castro and he made zero attempt to make a throw to first. Castro started running off the field. Posey scored and tied the game at two. Samardzija struck out Vogelsong looking to end the inning … and his day.

The Cubs did nothing in the sixth.

Casey Coleman sat down the Giants in order in the bottom of the sixth.

After Steve Clevenger flied out to left to start the seventh, Adrian Cardenas hit for Coleman and doubled to right … all five of Cardenas’ big league hits are doubles (5-for-27). Campana grounded out to second, Cardenas advanced to third but Castro hit a one-hop smash to Theriot that he knocked down and threw to first to end the inning.

Carlos Marmol took over in the seventh and walked Posey to start the inning. Angel Pagan hit a bullet back up the middle and off of Marmol’s hip. Pagan reached on the infield single. Marmol could not throw a strike to Belt and walked him on four pitches to load the bases with no outs. Arias hit a 1-1 pitch to Castro. The Cubs turned a 6-4-3 double play as Posey scored the go ahead run.

Dale Sveum brought in James Russell to face Brandon Crawford with Pagan on third and two outs. Crawford struck out swinging to end the inning.

After seven, the Cubs trailed 3-2.

The Cubs did nothing against Jeremy Affeldt in the eighth.

James Russell started the eighth and retired Affeldt and Schierholtz. Sveum went to his pen for the newest Cub, Jairo Asencio. Ryan Theriot grounded out to third (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing in the ninth … game over, series over.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs open a three-game series in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. Ryan Dempster faces Yovani Gallardo in game one.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"The riches of the game are in the thrills, not in the money." – Ernie Banks

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  • Vivid_Reality

    Hopefully Almora will sign quickly, would love to see him in Peoria this year if he can tackle Boise.

  • Aaron

    Wow…Cubs go into the draft stating that they need power hitters and power pitchers. They didn’t deliver on either.

    Almora was likely the best available, but he doesn’t project to hit with much power.

    Johnson was injured, and tops out at about 94 mph, and Blackburn….WOW…strong commitment to ASU supposedly (difficult sign), AND he hits about 92 mph….hmmmmmmmm…very curious, considering Barrett was available, and he hits mid-to-upper 90’s consistently, and projects as either a starter or closer…you couldn’t go wrong there. Then, Williams was still available.

    I’m flabbergasted by the 2 pitchers selected. They were NOT the best available. You MUST go best available in the supplemental

    • bpot92

      Is there going to be a recap or in depth scouting report on the cubs draftees like there has been in years past? I know you disagree with the picks but I haven’t heard of many of these people and would like to know scouting reports.

      • Aaron

        We’ll see about that. It’s Neil’s call.

        I will just say this about those 2 pitchers selected….It was almost like Wilken was still running the draft. Those guys are the type of selections both he and Hendry would make in the past, and I am NOT a fan of those picks. 

        I wouldn’t put it past Theo and Jed that they could have forced Wilken to make those picks to prove his worth….and basically stake his job to them.

        Supposedly Wilken was the one that made the call with Hayden Simpson, and look what a disaster that has become.

        Again, when you have guys like Barrett and Williams still on the board, you have to go with them

        • Neil

          Aaron, when you have a chance, please check your email.

          • Aaron


            I never got anything

      • Neil

        I am working on one right now, with video.

    • cubtex

      Jim Callis said Johnson would have been a mid 1st round pick had it not been for the arm strain. He projects as a #3 or #4. 2 plus pitches. Did you see his highlight film on mlb channel? Nasty deuce!  Blackburn might be a tough sign…but I like the fact that they went for pitching! This system needs all the arms they can get. Time will tell. 

      • Aaron

        They don’t just need any pitching, they need POWER pitching, which isn’t coming from me…it’s coming from their own mouths.

        Callis is mistaken here. I have no idea where he got the idea that he was a mid 1st round talent. That’s a joke for a guy that tops out at 94 mph with an “out pitch” that is a curveball. I’ll admit that he has an above average curveball, but we were sold the same bill of goods on Hayden Simpson…when they said he sat in the 94 mph range and could supposedly touch 97 (which was an outright lie), with an above average curveball.

        Here’s the thing that I’ve learned with pitching, being one myself, as well as a college pitching coach and private coach on the side. You CANNOT teach size or velocity.

        Can pitchers grow as they mature? Absolutely
        Can they get taller though? In rare cases, pitchers have grown an inch or two past high school, but that is very rare

        Can pitchers add velocity as they mature? Sure
        Is the velocity gained sustainable though? Yes…sometimes, but usually it correlates with an increase in size, whether it be gaining muscle weight or in the rare occasion, growing taller.

        The point I’m trying to make is that it’s very rare you’d select a pitcher that sits 92-94mph (which in this case is what Blackburn and Johnson sit) and develop the guy into a 95+mph pitcher. 

        • Ripsnorter1

          I agree with everything you are saying about the Cubs needing power pitchers. 

          I would also agree that the Hayden Simpson signing has been, to this point, a disaster. Of course I have heard that he had been sick last year. But that 7.32 ERA in A+ ball this year is not real inspiring. And when you toss in those 29 BBs in 35 IP, along with 49 H and a mere 15 K……

    • Hoosierboy3423

      You have to love Almoras leadership skills and work ethic, and when rebuilding a team those are the kind of players you need. However the question i have is why take a OF if a Soler signing is in the works. I wonder what this means to not take Appel and go for an OF when pitching is the organizations weak spot. I did hear that Johnson projects to a Drew Storen type at Sp though. That, I could handle.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I would think that the Solar signing is not a sure thing. Other MLB teams are competing with the Cubs. 

    • Anthony

      A few comments. Take a polished hitter over power anyday, power that develops after refined hitting tends to make a more reliable contributor. Look at Jackson, said all winter he has a huge hole and he will ALWAYS strike out at a high rate, not a Star player, never will be.

      Don’t get hung up on high Velo prospects unless you know it is natural, better to have just enough Velo with better secondary plus command and control.

  • cubtex

    Here is scouting report on Pierce Johnson.

    Few colleges can match Missouri State’s recent track record for producing pitchers. Since 2001, the Bears have had three hurlers drafted in the first or sandwich rounds and sent a total of seven to the big leagues. The next in line is Johnson, who started to come on at the end of his sophomore season a year ago and ranked sixth in NCAA Division I in strikeouts per nine innings (11.5) in mid-May. The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder misses bats with a lively 92-93 mph fastball that reaches 96 mph and a hard three-quarters breaking ball. He’ll mix in an 86-87 mph cutter a few times per game and has improved his feel for his changeup. While scouts have no quibbles with Johnson’s stuff, they do have some concerns, most notably his health. He missed two starts this spring with a forearm strain, an issue that also cropped up in high school and during the fall of his freshman year. He wasn’t as sharp in his first three starts after his layoff, which could drop him from the first round to the supplemental first. He also dislocated a knee while warming up in the bullpen last summer in the Cape Cod League, and missed much of his high school senior season after breaking his hand on a comebacker. Johnson has just decent control and command, though he has improved in both regards this year. He also can fall in love with his breaking ball a bit too much.

  • cubtex

    Paul Blackburn scouting report

    After a big performance at last summer’s Area Code Games, Blackburn has continued pitching well this spring to keep him firmly on the prospect map. The NoCal high schooler has a good fastball that hits 92 mph consistently and will touch a tick or two higher on the radar gun at times. His two secondary offerings – a curve and a changeup – both have the chance to be very effective pitches. He’s generally around the strike zone and thanks to his athleticism and sound delivery, his command should only improve with experience. The Arizona State recruit has some projectability, meaning his already pretty good stuff has room to get even better. That should get him off the board early enough to keep him from heading to Arizona.

  • paulcatanese

    Good post Neil on a season low game, not much to say on a game that most saw for themselves.
    Shark pitched well enough to win, even without his A game. Strange listening to the Giant’s broadcasters, the only way I could get the game.
    Oh well, off to the Brewer’s, see if a win is on the way.(not as important to me as the subtle improvement along the way).

    • Neil

       Thanks Paul


    I didn’t see any comments about Castro running off the field with 2 outs. But he is in the line up tonight. He should sit for a week and think about how dumb he is.