Sweep, Sweep, Sweep – Cubs 3, Diamondbacks 1

Game Eighty-Eight – Cubs 3, Diamondbacks 1
WP – Matt Garza (5-7) LP – Trevor Cahill (7-8) Save – Carlos Marmol (10)

wflag.jpgCarlos Marmol survived another ninth inning jam and the Cubs held on to complete the sweep over the Diamondbacks behind a solid outing from Matt Garza … and just enough offense. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a RBI and a walk) notched his fifth game-winning RBI and Darwin Barney’s fourth homer of the season, a two-run shot off Trevor Cahill in the second ended up being the difference in the game.

Matt Garza tossed seven innings of shutout ball. Garza allowed five hits, walked one and struck out seven. Garza was able to pitch his way out of jams in the third and fourth inning then settled in and retired the last eight batters he faced. Garza was very efficient early before running up his pitch count in the third and fourth innings. Garza threw 108 pitches, 67 for strikes, and completed seven innings of work for the second time since April 29.

Matt Garza has surrendered three earned runs or less in 18-consecutive starts at Wrigley dating back to June 27 of last season … the longest stretch by a Cub since Kerry Wood allowed three or fewer earned runs in 22 straight home starts from July 7, 2000 through April 20, 2002.

Shawn Camp surrendered the only run on the afternoon, a solo homer off the bat of Aaron Hill in the eighth. James Russell retired the only batter he faced in the ninth before turning the game over to Marmol. Carlos Marmol picked up his 10th save of the season with a shaky 2/3 of an inning (13 pitches, seven strikes).

Dale Sveum’s pitching staff held the Diamondbacks to three runs over the three-game weekend series while the offense plated 15 runs.

The Cubs scored all three runs in the first two innings of Sunday’s game. Anthony Rizzo drove in David DeJesus (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) with a first inning single. Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) cranked a two-run shot off Trevor Cahill in the second. Barney has doubled his home run total from a year ago (4) and all six of his career home runs have been hit at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs managed just four hits Sunday but walked three times and two of the free passes scored.

The Cubs defense was solid again Sunday and turned a double play for the tenth straight game … the longest streak for a Cubs’ team since an 11-game stretch in 1994.

With Sunday’s victory (8-7 on Sundays in 2012), the Cubs have won 12 of 16 and improved to 36-52 on the season …

Matt Garza was extremely sharp and efficient in the first inning. After Willie Bloomquist grounded out to second on the first pitch from Garza, Aaron Hill reached on a weak grounder to right just under Barney’s glove. Justin Upton ripped a 1-2 pitch to the hole at short. Castro fielded the ball but double-clutched and had to settle for the force at second. Garza got the call on a 1-2 pitch to Stephen Drew to end the inning. Garza threw 11 pitches in the first, nine for strikes.

David DeJesus worked a walk (3-2 pitch) to start the Cubs’ first. Starlin Castro fouled out to Paul Goldschmidt. A 0-2 pitch to Anthony Rizzo got past Miguel Montero. David DeJesus took second easily then scored when Rizzo reached down and pulled Trevor Cahill’s next pitch into right field. Goldschmidt cut off Upton’s throw and threw out Rizzo at second. Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.

After one, the Cubs led 1-0.

Matt Garza set down the D-Backs in order in the second … three groundballs to Starlin Castro. Garza threw 27 pitches in first two innings, 18 for strikes.

Bryan LaHair put together a nice at bat that ended with a walk (3-2 pitch) to start the second. Steve Clevenger worked a full count. Dale Sveum started LaHair on the 3-2 pitch to Clevenger and it kept the Cubs out of the double play. Clevenger grounded out to first as LaHair took second on the play.

Darwin Barney stepped in and drove a 1-2 pitch into the bleachers in left. Barney’s fourth longball of the season put the Cubs up 3-0. Luis Valbuena lifted Cahill’s first pitch into right center for the second out and Matt Garza looked at strike three to end the inning.

After two, the Cubs led 3-0.

Matt Garza labored through a long, 29-pitch third inning … but did not allow any runs. Garza retired Gerardo Parra on a grounder to second (3-2 pitch). Garza fell behind Trevor Cahill 2-0 before Cahill ripped a single into center on a 2-2 offering. Garza struck out Willie Bloomquist swinging (2-2 pitch) before issuing a four-pitch walk to Aaron Hill. Garza continued struggling with his command. Garza missed on his first two pitches to Justin Upton (six straight out of the strike zone). With runners on first and second with two down, Garza worked the count back to 3-2 before getting Upton to chase slider in the dirt to end the inning.

Of the first nine outs for Garza, three were via the strikeout and six were on the ground. Garza threw 56 pitches in three innings, 33 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the third … and after three Sveum’s team was clinging to a 3-0 lead.

The Diamondbacks threatened again in the fourth but Garza was able to pitch out of a jam for the second inning in a row. Stephen Drew lined Garza’s first pitch into center. Paul Goldschmidt worked a full count before Garza got the call for the second out. Miguel Montero then ended a 0-for-10 series with a single to center. Chris Young followed with a single to left center (1-1 pitch) and just like that Gerardo Parra stepped in representing the tying run. Parra chased a 1-2 slider in the dirt to end the inning. Garza threw 72 pitches over four innings, 44 for strikes.

After Soriano flied out to left center to begin the fourth, Bryan LaHair lined a 2-1 pitch back up the middle. Cahill was able to get a glove on the ball and kept it in the infield. LaHair reached with the Cubs’ third hit of the game. Clevenger worked another full count after being behind 1-2. Clevenger grounded out to short but LaHair was running with the pitch and advanced to second on the play. After appearing to look at ball four (3-1 pitch), Barney grounded out to short on Cahill’s 72nd pitch of the game (41 strikes) for the third out.

After four, the Cubs led 3-0.

Trevor Cahill began the fifth with his second hit of the game, a swinging bunt up the third baseline. Garza picked up the ball but threw it away … it would not have mattered. After Garza recovered from his latest case of the yips, he induced a grounder to short off the bat of Willie Bloomquist. The ball was not hit hard enough for the Cubs to turn two (broken bat). Castro was able to flip to Barney to force Cahill for the first out. Aaron Hill pulled a 2-1 offering from Garza right to Luis Valbuena … 5-4-3 inning ending double play. The tenth straight game the Cubs have turned at least one double play … 83 pitches for Garza after five, 51 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the fifth.

Matt Garza set down Arizona in order in the sixth … 96 pitches for Garza, 59 strikes.

Starlin Castro flied out to center to begin the sixth. Trevor Cahill then issued his third walk of the game. Anthony Rizzo looked at four straight out of the zone. Alfonso Soriano smoked a 2-2 pitch into left for a single and Kirk Gibson made the slow walk.

Gibson replaced Cahill with lefty Craig Breslow. Bryan LaHair lined a 1-1 pitch into center that Chris Young made a diving catch on to take a hit away from LaHair. Rizzo tagged and went to third with two down. Steve Clevenger tipped a 3-2 pitch into Montero’s glove to end the inning.

After six, the Cubs led 3-0.

Matt Garza retired the last three batters he faced in order … with a little help from Darwin Barney. Garza struck out Montero swinging to start the seventh then Chris Young popped out to Valbuena for the second out. Gerardo Parra hit a 2-2 pitch back up the middle that Barney fielded and made an off balance throw to first to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Bryan Shaw in the seventh.

Reed Johnson stayed in the game after hitting for Garza in the seventh and replaced LaHair in right. Shawn Camp retired pinch-hitter Ryan Roberts with a flyout to center. Willie Bloomquist grounded out to second (1-2 pitch). With the bases empty and two down, Camp floated a 1-1 changeup to Aaron Hill that he deposited into the bleachers in left … 3-1 Cubs. Justin Upton popped out to DeJesus in shallow center to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against J.J. Putz in the eighth … and the game went to the ninth with the Cubs up 3-1.

James Russell started the ninth, not Carlos Marmol, and Stephen Drew pulled a 2-0 pitch right to Darwin Barney for the first out. Dale Sveum then went to his pen and brought in Carlos Marmol to close it out.

Marmol jumped ahead of Paul Goldschmidt 1-2 before losing him and issuing the free pass. Miguel Montero ripped a first pitch fastball into left center and Kirk Gibson went to his bench for Geoff Blum. Blum hit for Chris Young and chased a 2-2 slider in the dirt for the second out. With runners on first and second with two down, Gerardo Parra lined Marmol’s first pitch back up the box. The ball hit Marmol, he recovered, picked it up, ran half way to first and underhanded the ball to Anthony Rizzo for the 27th out.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs are off on Monday and open a three-game series at Wrigley against the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night … Travis Wood against Anibal Sanchez in game one.

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  • GaryLeeT

    Although I would rather have the Cubs in the hunt for a postseason appearance, it’s kind of fun to watch them be that loosey-goosey team with nothing to lose, that contenders dread facing.

  • Denver Mike

    I don’t have an insider subscription so I can’t confirm but I read that Keith Law has ranked Javier Baez as the no. 35 overall prospect in his latest rankings. Almora is at no. 47 and Soler no. 50.

    The Almora and Soler rankings are pure speculation as they have yet to playing a game of pro ball but I am happy to see some of the new additions in the top 50.

    Furthermore what does it say about Brett Jackson after the hype around him in Spring Training that he isn’t even listed in the top 50 at this point?

    Let’s hope management can keep adding on in the next month or so and land us a few names in the top 25.

    • Dorasaga

      Brett will surprise many. I concluded from his minor stats that he performs as good as Justin Upton at hitting. But overall, as we count his running game and improved defense at CF, he’s a much better player.

      I don’t buy in all the numbers, but watching his videos, and seen difference b/w him in 2011 then 2012, I found him promising.

      Outfield will be the Cubs strength, in many years to come.

  • Aaron

    It was great that the Cubs won today, but 4 hits is NOT going to cut it. Garza, Dempster, and Maholm have been very solid this year. Travis Wood and Samardzija have had their moments as well, but does anyone really believe that Wood is for real? I don’t

    The Cubs are one lucky bunch the past 21 games or so when they’ve had this run, but the fact is, they’re still 17 games under .500. So, even with this incredible run they’ve had, they still suck (as we all knew), but that’s with Garza, Dempster, and Maholm in the fold. If they’re all traded, what happens? Wells, Coleman, Volstad, Samardzija, and Wood? LOL…that might just be the worst rotation in Cubs history.

    The fact is, probably 99% of the pitchers/position players they trade for will be 1-3 years away from MLB to begin with, so they almost have to go with the pitchers I mentioned above.

    And while I just said that starting pitching was weak, the offensive outlook for this team is just as bad (if not worse).

    Guys like Soler, Almora, Vogelbach, Baez, Alcantara, Szczur, and Lake are at least 2+years away from contributing.

    The only players that might be worthy of everyday consideration that could play right now would be W. Castillo, Cardenas, and Vitters.

    If trades/DFA’s end up happening as rumored, then you could see the following guys in August:

    C-Castillo, Clevenger
    1B-Rizzo
    2B-Cardenas
    SS-Castro
    3B-Vitters, Valbuena
    LF-LaHair
    CF-Campana
    RF-Mather

    You could probably see DeJesus remaining with the team, but just about any veteran with value will be gone, including the starting pitchers already mentioned, plus Marmol, Camp, Baker, Johnson, Soto, and Soriano.

    The guys they get in return will likely have to include MLB ready outfielders, plus a middle infielder, otherwise they’d have to convert Lake to the OF full-time, and bring up Watkins before he’s ready.

    I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell at this point that B Jax will end up in Chicago this year with him pushing 150+K’s and we’re barely into the 2nd half.

    • paulcatanese

      I guess the truth dosent agree with eveyone Aaron, but I happen to agree with you.
      Good insight as to who may be here in August. Probably very true that the lineup daily is a showcase for trades, after all, how long would they go with LaHair out there if it wasn’t to hope that he gets on another streak and ups what value he is now losing at a rapid pace.
      While I agree that Campana (in my mind) will still be with the Cubs then and is not playing now because of the showcase issue, I reserve that hope, not knowing what Management will do on any given day.(they are pretty unpredictable).

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    So are the Cubs officially the hottest team in MLB? What an interesting time to have a fire sale. I’m still in favor, if anything I believe this tells me that we have a really solid manager in place and the future could be really bright in his hands.

  • John G

    If they wind up losing 90 games or less, it will be an incredibly successful second half of the season.

  • J Daniel

    IMO they should keep Barney and it gives them 3 infield positions that can be locked up for a decade. They need a stud at third to complete the infield. It will not surprise mr to see Stewart back next year especially if they acquire a young prospect in return. Reading today he said that dr.s feel they have fixed the problem (who really knows).

    Just the plan I would go with as there are still a lot of holes. Need corner outfielders and pitching. Soler and Almora are still a few years away even if they do make it.

    As painful as it has been with Soto that will be a tough decision. It will be a sell low trade or a dump I am afraid.

    Also can see Vitters and BJax as added guys in trades especially if Almora and Soler are on the fast track.

  • DWalker

    I’ve seen a few people saying how great dale has been doing lately, and frankly I don’t buy it. I defended him early on as having to manage by the front office to increase trade value and run the slumpers out there every day to try and get them going again for trade bait. I not going to give him credit now when he really hasn’t changed anything as a manager from what he was doing before except finally getting some roster moves. He still runs out the lefty platoon, over manages for lefty/righty, still has bull pen management issues, still can’t use campana and is still looking like he is trying to out think the world.

    What has changed has been soriano got hot, stewart got replaced by a marginally better hitter, marmol discovered his fastball, the catchers came back and Rizzo got called up meaning baker, mather and campana are in the line up a lot less. I miss tony, but he is a one tool guy dale has yet to figure out how to best use.

    I don’t think dale deserved all the blame he got, but i also don’t think its fair to give him credit for changes he hasn’t made. He may turn into a good manager someday, he has done a lot of things I like, but he hasn’t made any recent major changes on his managing i feel to give him credit here.

  • Tony_Hall

    I made 2 predictions with this team.

    1) They would not lose 100 games

    Now this one looked like they would go way past 100 games at times, but it just goes to show you it is just as hard to lose 100, as to win 100. I still say they won’t lose 100.

    2) The 1st 2 months (April/May) would be their worst record, the second 2 months (June/July) would be their middle record, and that August/September would be their best record.

    April 8-15
    May 10-17
    1st 2 months 18-32 (.360)

    June 10-17
    July 8-3 so far
    2nd 2 months 18-20 (474)

    So far so good…

  • J Daniel

    Alright Swami, a couple of questions. Where is Demp going and will we like the return? Any other moves?

  • cubtex

    July should be their best month. August and September they will probably not have Garza and Dempster so I don’t agree with those being their best months.

  • Tony_Hall

    I have no clue where he will go, except that he will be gone and very soon.

    Will we like the return? …of course not.

    We will not receive, in any trade, anything close to what we would consider fair. It’s just the nature of trades. Unless you are receiving the player to help your team get over the top, or receiving a young, highly ranked prospect, you won’t like the return.

    I would say there won’t be as many moves as most would like, but I would expect 3-4 players traded away in the next 6 weeks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

    you hit that right on the head. We more then likely overvalue our players and hope for nearly impossible returns. It is also in our nature to complain. Even if we hit a home run in all of our trades, there will still be complaints and questions as to why we didnt get player b instead of player a. All we can do is trust in Theo and the boys to get the best possible return. After all, there is a reason they are in the position they are in and we are not.

  • J Daniel

    I agree and I can see it now. Everyone will have their opinions like they know the return first hand.

  • Tony_Hall

    No need to agree, it will all play out in front of us.

    My reasoning, was that the team will get more and more into the systems that Sveum and the FO are trying to implement. I definitely didn’t expect the month of July to be so good.

  • J Daniel

    Kind of think Garza will still be here.

  • Tony_Hall

    Garza has a lot going on right now…

    “The rumor mill can wait,” Garza told reporters, because his wife is due in less than a month. Garza knows he can’t control the trade rumors, but noted that he is open to an extension. “

  • cubtex

    I am just looking forward to seeing some young prospects(who could be part of future) playing. Since Rizzo was brought up….the Cubs are fun to watch. Castro is growing up as a SS. Barney has been playing much better at 2B this year. What I would like to see is Vitters at 3rd. I want to see some young blood in the outfield….maybe aquired via trade and another potential starter……Shelby Miller,Jacob Turner getting some starts.

  • J Daniel

    I would extend if price is reasonable otherwise…..

  • cc002600

    extend, extend, extend.

  • DWalker

    I think barney is around for the next couple of years. There are so many interesting prospects that could end up as a 2B in a few years though after that. Vitters may or may not be barneys counter part for a couple of years at third. Rumor has it the cubs are looking at top 3B prospects, his D is less then steller and his batting style isn’t theo’s cup of tea. Either way, like Barney, he may be a couple of year solution to see what develops out of the prospects.

    Besides pitching, catching is becoming my biggest concern. I don’t like any of the three right now, and haven’t exactly heard of anyone lower down sounding much better. I know catcher is a hard position to get a real first rate starter at, but I see it as a big long term weakness right now.

    BJax I honestly think is going to be a big leaguer with the cubs for less time then Barney. There are enough out field prospects in the system i can see him getting set aside unless he can relearn his swing and cut down on the strike outs. it won’t keep him out of the majors, but he isn’t going to be the impact player everyone hoped for. I am not sure I see him traded right now though since the prospects to replace him are still a few years out mostly.

  • Tony_Hall

    I posted not too long ago, that I would like to see this lineup for awhile in August or just September.

    1 DeJesus RF
    2 Castro SS
    3 Rizzo 1B
    4 Lahair LF
    5 Vitters 3B
    6 BJAX CF
    7 Castillo/Clevenger C
    8 Barney 2B

  • cubtex

    Its easy to manage when you have 3 starts like Maholm, Dempster and Garzs just gave them.

  • John_CC

    I don’t buy it, you’re argument is weak and unsubstantiated.

    1. “Soriano got hot” — wrong. Soriano has been coached and taught how to play the OF for the first time he has played OF, 2007. He has ZERO errors so far. Also, he is not on one of his old hot streaks, he has been hitting more consistently for the past month to 6 weeks than he has in years. This coincides with him FINALLY agreeing to use a different bat, which Sveum was key to.

    2. “Marmol discovered his fastball” — what? Marmol got benched because he wouldn’t follow the game plans and throw the damn fastball. The was the manager that demoted him. And the only reason he is throwing the fastball is because he has to if he wants to keep his job.

    Sveum has kept this team playing hard through out the season, date. He is incredibly even keeled. So he does deserve credit for keeping his players focused enough to go back out and play hard every day. I also believes he deserve credit for the defensive improvement of the team, which is still a work in progress.

  • John_CC

    What about the other 7 wins out of the last 11 games? I suppose the opponents were weak, their pitching sucked, we got lucky…

  • DWalker

    1. Ok, i will grant you the bat for soriano, and that it probably has had a major impact on his performance. Him being coached on defense is something that started in spring training. it is NOT something that just happened to bring about this sudden win streak.

    2. yeah, alright, marmol might be able to be laid at dales feet. For good AND for ill. That hasn’t changed that Sveum still has issues managing a bull pen and continues to constantly over think the righty/lefty matchup.

    3. I give all the credit to dale for bringing about the defensive shifts. Thats something I’ve been using in his defense all year.Again though, its not something new to explain recent success.

    I still stand though, that the majority of the positive changes that have brought on this win streak have not been changes to sveums management style. I will grant he has had a positive impact on the players, yes, castro included over the season so far. However, Sveum has not changed his game management style at all recently to bring about the win streak people are giving him kudos for, thats what I am saying.

  • Dorasaga

    Hoyer can pay more for his last year under team control, and offer him four extra years with an opt-out. Garza is educated. He enjoys the game and loves baseball. He knows that this is not Tampa Bay, where nobody cared about the fish that few eats. This is a national appearance with the Chicago Cubs. Almost ALL GAMES ARE BIG GAMES. He will be part of the “break that century curse” troupe. If the front office reminds the man of his pride, a four year deal is possible.

    I must mention that by 2016, Garza will be 32 (born in Nov., 1983). He now will need to decide: can I net another big deal and play for a contender earlier? or this is as good as it gets?

  • Dorasaga

    Truth be told, I don’t think Quade would know what to do to improve Soriano in ANY FORM, and Piniella or Baker, either.

    Most coaching staff nowadays do less to change the player before regular season, and that’s good enough. It’s pro baseball. They play 162 games. They’ll let the talents play out themselves. If that doesn’t fit what the coaches have in mind, they get rid of the player and find replacements.

    Sveum motivates the players. He has his own way of doing drills and getting players back on track. It probably doesn’t work as apparent as fans know. We don’t hang around the clubhouse four hours before game starts, and we certainly don’t watch spring training drills the whole day.

    Managerial influence is usually overrated in baseball, but with Sveum, he needs to be given credit for certain improvements. But I must admit, when Brett Jackson be called up, I hope Sveum does less and watch the kid play. You still need more than two months to evaluate the talent, then decide what to do if any improvement be made.

    I’ll put it this way, Sveum is fundamentally different in philosophy from ANY Cubs manager we’ve seen. We’ve watched guys like Jim Riggleman, boy, he’s full of himself and overmanaged young talents. The Nats got rid of him (he quit), for good. Sometimes I look back, and see how ridiculous most managers can be, then sit down and watch Sveum, it’s refreshing.

  • paulcatanese

    Man, you are totaly miscombobulated. (someone tell me what that word means).
    The three points in you’re answer is credit for Sveum. But I agree that their are good points and bad points about his management skills.
    I have dis agreed daily about his “Platooning” of the lineup and other than the one game when Johnson and Baker went bonkers with the bat, it has generaly not worked out for the later innings of a ballgame.
    And he has brought in some positive results, you are right about his defense, it did start in spring training, but think about it, who was helping him as a personal project, the first base coach right? and who hired him?
    The lighter bat was all Sveum, Castro’s improvement defensively? Sveum, as well as the defensive alingment, while not new, was still implimented by Sveum.
    But as you say, a lot of little things that are not appreciated are there.

  • Dorasaga

    Or hire Jim Riggleman and Dusty Baker next year, a little ” College of Coaches” that’ll make the owners happy. Maybe more Reds fans will visit to watch this zoo!