No Happy Ending for the Cubs in La-La Land – Cubs 6, Dodgers 7

Game One Hundred Six – Cubs 6, Dodgers 7
WP – Kenley Jansen (5-3, BS 6) LP – Shawn Camp (2-5) Save – None

The Cubs could not hold onto a lead Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles and lost their fifth game in a row. The Dodgers completed three-game sweep on a Hanley Ramirez walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth off Shawn Camp … the first time since 1998 that the Cubs were swept in a three-game series at Dodger Stadium. Dale Sveum’s team finished the season series against the Dodgers with a 2-4 record.

The Cubs had the lead three different times on Sunday afternoon but the Cubs’ pen could not throw enough strikes to avoid the sweep. Cubs’ pitching issued six walks and hit a batter and five of those free baserunners scored.

On a day that two of the organization’s top prospects made their big league debut, the Cubs’ offense would not go away. After managing only two runs in the first two games, the Cubs scored six runs on seven hits with six walks (3-for-10 with runners in scoring position, nine left on base).

Three players that began the season at the Triple-A level contributed offensively but in the end they could not outhit their own bullpen.

Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4 with a home run, a sac fly and three RBI) had a huge day. Rizzo drove in half of the Cubs’ runs and tied the game at six in the top of the ninth with his ninth longball of the season. Welington Castillo (2-for-5 with a home run) broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth with his third longball of the season.

Brett Jackson (2-for-4 with a run scored and a walk) made his Major League debut and scored on a two-run double off the bat of Alfonso Soriano (1-for-5 with a double and two RBI) that gave the Cubs a short-lived 5-4 lead in the seventh.

David DeJesus (1-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored) and Darwin Barney (1-for-4 with a run scored) also scored runs in the losing effort. Josh Vitters made his Cubs’ debut on Sunday. Vitters hit for Scott Maine and flied out to left.

Justin Germano put together another good outing and left the game with a 2-1 lead. Germano hit his spots and limited the Dodgers to two runs on three hits without a walk, a hit batsman and three strikeouts. Germano threw 77 pitches, 48 for strikes, and was lifted with one out in the sixth after hitting Mark Ellis.

The Cubs’ bullpen had a bad day. The Dodgers scored the tying run on a hit by pitch and three walks in the sixth then took a two-run lead on the only hit of the inning, a two-run single off the bat Luis Cruz. After the Cubs battled back and scored three runs in the top of the seventh, James Russell surrendered the lead on two-run double off the bat of Andre Ethier. Both Scott Maine and James Russell were charged with blown saves … and Shawn Camp served up the game-winner to Hanley Ramirez in the bottom of the ninth after issuing a one-out walk to Matt Kemp.

With Sunday’s loss (9-9 on Sundays in 2012), the Cubs dropped back to 20 games under .500 for the season with a 43-63 record …

David DeJesus took two very close pitches on 1-2 and 3-2 offerings from Joe Blanton and ended up working a walk to begin the game. Brett Jackson made his way to the plate for his first big league at bat. Jackson appeared to hit a 0-1 pitch off his ankle. The ball rolled right to James Loney, who touched first and threw to second late. Replays showed Jackson did hit the ball off his body but he was ruled out and DeJesus advanced to second on the productive out. Anthony Rizzo pulled a 0-1 pitch into right center. DeJesus scored and the Cubs took a 1-0 lead. Alfonso Soriano popped Blanton’s first pitch to Mark Ellis in shallow right. Ellis made the routine catch and threw to first to double off Rizzo. Rizzo lost track of the number of outs. Blanton threw only 12 pitches in the first, eight for strikes.

Justin Germano set down the side in order in the first on 13 pitches, nine for strikes.

Starlin Castro popped out to right (0-1 pitch) to start the second. Welington Castillo flipped a 2-2 pitch into right center for s single. Luis Valbuena followed with a walk (3-2 pitch) and the Cubs had runners on first and second with one down for Darwin Barney. Blanton struck out Barney swinging on three pitches and Germano hit a weak grounder to Mark Ellis for the third out. Blanton needed 36 pitches, 25 for strikes, to get through two innings.

Justin Germano retired the side in order in the second. Germano pitched from behind in the count to each of the three batters (Ethier, Ramirez and Loney) he faced and all three outs were hit very hard. The writing was on the wall that Germano was not fooling anyone on Sunday afternoon. Germano threw 26 pitches, 14 for strikes, in the first two frames.

David DeJesus was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch to start the third. Brett Jackson walked on four pitches but was forced at second when Rizzo grounded the first pitch to Mark Ellis. Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the inning … 51 pitches for Blanton after three, 32 for strikes.

Luis Cruz hit a soft liner back to Germano (0-1 pitch) to begin the third. A.J. Ellis pounded a 2-2 pitch into center for the Dodgers’ first hit. Blanton bunted Ellis to second but Shane Victorino flied out to Brett Jackson to end the inning. Germano tossed 39 pitches in first three innings, 24 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the fourth. Blanton threw 65 pitches through four innings, 42 for strikes.

Justin Germano set the side down in order in the fourth … 51 pitches for Germano after four, 31 for strikes.

After four complete, the Cubs were clinging to a 1-0 lead.

The Cubs wasted a chance to tack on in the fifth. After Darwin Barney struck out swinging and Justin Germano flied out to right, David DeJesus singled to right (3-2 pitch). Brett Jackson ripped the sixth pitch of the at bat (2-2 pitch) into right for his first big league hit. With runners on first and second with two down, Anthony Rizzo lined out to right (1-1 pitch) to end the inning. The Cubs were making Blanton work (88 pitches after five, 58 for strikes) but could not string together any hits … 1-for-4 with RISP and five left on base after five at bats for the Cubs.

The Dodgers finally got to Germano in the fifth. Hanley Ramirez grounded out to third (2-1 pitch) to start the inning. James Loney drove a 0-1 pitch into left, only the second hit of the day off Germano. Luis Cruz flied out to right on the first pitch. A.J. Ellis continued being a thorn in the Cubs’ side. Ellis pulled a 1-1 pitch into left center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall. Brett Jackson misplayed the ball slightly. Jackson got too close to the wall, the ball hit off the padding and rolled past him as he tried to pick it up … and Loney scored all the way from first. With the game tied at one, Joe Blanton was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch for the third out. Germano threw 65 pitches over the first five innings, 41 for strikes.

Alfonso Soriano (flyout to right) and Starlin Castro (groundout to third) made two quick outs to start the sixth. Welington Castillo drove a 0-1 pitch to deep right center. The ball ended well up into the stands in right center and the Cubs took a 2-1 lead on Castillo’s third longball of the season. Valbuena worked another full count but grounded out to second to end the inning. Blanton needed 103 pitches, 68 for strikes, to get through six innings.

The bottom of the sixth started on a positive note. Justin Germano caught Victorino looking at a 1-2 pitch. Germano labored, ran the count full then plunked Mark Ellis. With the tying run on first, Dale Sveum made the slow walk and went to his pen for Alberto Cabrera. Cabrera jumped ahead of Matt Kemp with two mid-90s fastballs. Cabrera started nibbling, could not get a breaking ball over and walked Kemp. Cabrera got ahead of Andre Ethier 0-2 before striking him out swinging on a 3-2 pitch. With runners on first and second with two down, Cabrera issued a four-pitch walk to Hanley Ramirez.

Sveum went back to his pen and brought in Scott Maine to face James Loney. Don Mattingly countered with Juan Rivera. Maine got ahead of Rivera 1-2 before he lost him and walked in the tying run. The Dodgers scored the tying run on a hit by pitch and three walks. Maine stayed in to face righty Luis Cruz. Maine could not find the strike zone and Luis Cruz made him pay. Cruz lined a 2-1 pitch into right. Kemp and Ramirez scored and the Dodgers took a 4-2 lead on the first hit of the inning. Soriano made another mental mistake on the single by Cruz. Soriano threw to third, instead of second and Cruz advanced into scoring position on the miscue. Maine could not throw a strike and fell behind A.J. Ellis 3-1. Maine got one over and was able to finally end the inning. Ellis struck out swinging on a high fastball for the third out.

After six, the Cubs trailed 4-2.

Darwin Barney led off the seventh with a bloop single to right off Brandon League (3-1 pitch). Josh Vitters made his big league debut hitting for Scott Maine. Vitters flied out to left on a 1-0 pitch for the first out. Mattingly went to his pen and brought in lefty Randy Choate to face David DeJesus. DeJesus walked on five pitches.

Brett Jackson drove a 1-0 pitch into left and loaded the bases with one out. Anthony Rizzo pulled a 0-2 pitch into right. Barney tagged and scored the Cubs’ third run. Mattingly went back to his pen and brought in Javy Guerra to face Soriano with runners on first and second and one down.

Alfonso Soriano turned on a 1-0 fastball and drove the ball to deep left. The ball hit off the wall. DeJesus scored the tying run and Jackson motored all the way around from first to score the go ahead run (5-4 Cubs). After Starlin Castro worked a two-out walk, Welington Castillo struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Manny Corpas caught Tony Gwynn Jr. looking at a 1-2 pitch to start the seventh. Shane Victorino flied out to center for the second out. Manny Corpas then issued a four-pitch walk to Mark Ellis. Corpas did not get the call of a couple of pitches and the inning soon got away from the Cubs. Matt Kemp blooped a single into right (0-1 pitch). Ellis advanced to third on the play and Sveum went to his pen for James Russell.

Andre Ethier fell behind Russell 0-2 before working the count back to 3-2. Russell threw an 83 mph slider right down the heart of the plate. Russell sped up Ethier’s bat and the Dodgers’ right fielder just missed a home run. The ball hit high off the top of the wall. Mark Ellis scored easily and Kemp lumbered all the way around with the go ahead run. Russell intentionally walked Hanley Ramirez then retired Juan Rivera on one pitch. Rivera popped out to Rizzo to end the inning.

After seven complete, the Cubs trailed 6-5.

Donald Belisario took over for in the eighth and issued a leadoff walk to Luis Valbuena. Sveum called for a hit and run on the first pitch to Barney. Barney hit a one-hopper back to Belisario. The Dodgers’ right-hander grabbed the ball with his barehand, turned and threw the ball into centerfield. Valbuena could not advance on the play. Bryan LaHair hit for Russell and looked at a 1-2 pitch for the first out. David DeJesus lined a 1-0 pitch into left … but right at Victorino for the second out. Brett Jackson looked at a 0-2 pitch to end the inning.

Luis Cruz drove a 2-0 pitch from Shawn Camp into left center for a leadoff single in the eighth. Cruz then swiped second on a 0-1 pitch to A.J. Ellis. Camp struck out Ellis on a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Jerry Hairston Jr. hit for Belisario and popped out to second. Castro caught a pop up off the bat of Shane Victorino in shallow left to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the ninth trailing 6-5.

Anthony Rizzo launched the second pitch from Kenley Jansen over the wall in right. Rizzo’s ninth homer tied the game at six. Alfonso Soriano flied out to deep left center (0-1 pitch) for the first out. Starlin Castro’s struggles continued and he struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for out number two. Welington Castillo just missed his second home run of the game. Castillo pulled a 2-0 pitch to deep left that Victorino caught to end the inning.

The game went to the bottom of the ninth tied at six.

Shawn Camp stayed in and Starlin Castro threw out Mark Ellis from deep in the hole for the first out. Camp then walked Matt Kemp on four pitchesthe beginning of the end. Andre Ethier pulled a 1-0 pitch into right. Kemp advanced to third with one out. After a meeting on the mound, Shawn Camp pitched to Hanley Ramirez … and Ramirez ripped Camp’s first pitch into left, game over.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs open a three-game series in San Diego on Monday night … Travis Wood against Eric Stults in game one.

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Quote of the Day

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

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  • brent carmona

    The race to the first round pick continues! Won’t catch Houston more than likely but still…at least we got the youngins playing. And I include castillo as a youngin, I think he can be a solid starter with some pop.

    Good recap Neil. As always.

    • Neil

      Thank you.

    • Theboardrider

      I like Castillo as well. I think that is one position where a platoon works due to wear and tear. That being said I could see Castillo and Clevenger being a successful duo behind the plate for years to come. Unless we can trade for a Montero type (or the guy from the Blue Jays) then I think we’ve got a more than serviceable option with Castillo as the primary and Clevenger playing every 3 games or so. Not only this year but for years to come.

      • brent carmona

        Yes, did you see the home run he had on that curveball today? Always a good thing seeing a young guy go oppo on a breaking pitch. I agree w him and clevenger that’s a pretty darn good tandem behind the plate that can last us awhile.

  • Neil

    From the Sun-Times: Garza is headed to DL (backdated 16 days) because of elbow stiffness. Return pushed back; Coleman or Rusin to start Tues in SD.

    • Neil

      Casey Coleman pitched 6 shutout innings for the
      I-Cubs on Sunday. Coleman allowed 2 hits, walked 2 and struck out 8. Chris
      Rusin pitched 7 innings Saturday and allowed one run on four hits with a walk
      and eight strikeouts. Brooks Raley last pitched on Thursday.

      • Frankie Newton

        Doesn’t that mean that Raley would be the only one of the three you could even consider to pitch on Tuesday? How could Coleman or Rusin go after pitching so recently? Of course I dont want to see Coleman up again this year, at a minimum, so I wouldnt mind seeing Rusin, but really, he just went 7 on Saturday, two days rest seems insane, especially for somebody’s major league debut. Seems to me it has to be Raley, whether thats good or bad, its the only one thats sane.

        • Aaron

          I would imagine it’s either Raley, De la Cruz, or they’ll make it a bullpen day, in which case De la Cruz is the most likely candidate as he’s been a spot starter all year. I guess Jackson would be another candidate in that case.

  • paulcatanese

    Well Jackson made a successful debut, hit the ball well,caught a couple of fly balls, got messed with by the ump first time up(was a foul ball), but I would like to know who taught him to slide? Never saw that one before:)
    The old man did his thing, just an absolute rocket to left.
    The “Captian from Castillo” did very well. Hit a bomb.
    Castro made a great play from the hole(aided by Rizzo’s stretch).
    On Rizzo getting doubled off. You have to realize he and Castro are young and they are taught the “new math in school” calculators do not apply, they need to go back to counting on their fingers.
    Camp may very well gone past what he had.
    All in all though, a very entertaining game,and if they get some pitching (relief) they could have something going on.

    • Aaron

      Good recap Neil.

      I am curious what your thoughts are of the Vitters situation. Has Sveum lost his mind? Platoon?

      It goes against EVERYTHING they said about calling up Jackson and Vitters….They said if they brought them up, they’d play everyday.

      While I understand Valbuena has a great glove at 3B, it doesn’t take away from his anemic bat.

      Sveum has successfully managed to ruin Campana, LaHair, and Cardenas, keeping them on the bench for extended periods of time, and using them strictly in pinch hitting situations (LaHair would curiously be used in situations with lefty relievers, which was ironic, because he’d be benched for the lefty starter that day). Campana was rarely even used pinch hitting, and I can’t remember the last time I saw Cardenas.

      What’s the point of bringing up those guys if they’re just going to sit??!?

      Vitters is probably the most egregious, as he’s an everyday player.

      …anyway, just wondering your thoughts about that

      • Neil

        Aaron, thank you.

        I don’t think it will be a platoon in a couple of weeks. Vitters has hit well against lefties as you know and that will give them a chance to break him in while he has a chance to work with the coaching staff on his defense. If they are still platooning him by Sept 1, I am right there with you. They should have not pulled him up but if he can make strides with the coaching staff I think he will play more and more.

      • brent carmona


        What I think is, about vitters is his make up. Maybe they want him to take notes from his teammates, get him motivated to work on things, especially defense. The valbuena start today might be due to matchup purposes, righty lefty and they believed he would make the SP blanton throw more pitches against him rather than vitters. Like Neil said it is early though and I think he will get the majority of at bats at third base. But vitters must work hard and show he belongs in the show first.

      • Tony_Hall

        The Rangers brought up Olt and don’t plan to play him everyday, are they ruining him? The Rangers stated that he could help them off the bench and get some experience in the big leagues. There is only a month left of the minor league season. I would prefer they play Vitters most of the time, but I also wouldn’t say they are going to play everyday, as young players also need to have days off to watch the game from the bench and help slow down the game.

        • Tony_Hall

          So we enter August and now have a young infield, with Vitters, Castro, Barney, and Rizzo. Vitters will start more and more, but he always struggles upon a promotion, and I really doubt that a promotion to the majors will be different, ease him in to starting is a way to try and change that. Two young catchers in Castillo and Clevenger. And BJAX in CF, with a short term signing of a vet in Dejesus in RF, and the anchor of a contract, but a productive Soriano in LF.

          They turned over the lineup by the beginning of August which is not too bad. We now have 6 of the 8 positions very young and very well could be the starters for next year.

          And Volstad and Germano have had good starts replacing our departed SP’s…so far.

          It’s not about Wins and losses for the rest of the year, it’s about getting the young guys some more experience and seeing what they need to do for next year, to make next year a more competitive year, without straying from the long term plans.

        • Dorasaga

          That’s what I said about Castro. He needs a day-off; watch and learn.

    • triple

      The Brett Jackson slide into homeplate was atrocious. However, I think he was getting ready to run the catcher over, and then realized he didn’t need to, hence the barrel roll. I was just glad he didn’t hurt himself!

      • paulcatanese

        I thought it was a “barrel”of laughs, knew he didnt hurt himself as he rolled cleanly, but embarrasing for him. The dugout had a laugh along with him.

  • Aaron

    Anyone else take issue with the Dodgers this year? I honestly think Coletti expects teams to just fall over themselves to give decent players away to them for nothing.

    The Dodgers are pissed that Dempster supposedly listened in on trade talks. Let’s just assume that’s true, even though player and management both say it wasn’t….but assume he really was in that room and heard trade talks. Who gives a flying f$$k if he heard it?!?!? The Dodgers were probably embarrassed, because they assumed Dempster heard them talking about how little they valued him with what they were offering, and how that disrespected Dempster and the Cubs. They also probably realized that the things they said about him would also likely keep him from signing with them this offseason.

    …….but it just keeps getting better with the Dodgers. Apparently the Dodgers called the Red Sox about Adrian Gonzalez, and wouldn’t even offer a single top prospect, once again, proving they’re delusional. Not only do they have one of the worst farm systems in the game today, but they also apparently think they are entitled to top veterans without giving up a top prospect from their crappy system.

    Even when Hendry was pilfering teams trying to get rid of payroll like the Pirates (ARAM and Lofton), and the Marlins (Lee), he had to give up top prospects (who never amounted to anything, but still were top prospects) in Hill and Choi. Coletti is a joke….nothing but a good ‘ole boys network Hendry-esque type that wants favors from other GM’s.

    I hope the Dodgers tank.

    • J Daniel

      Agree. Also, maybe they were proving a point to Dempster on why they would not trade him to the Dodgers. Maybe they tell him they are only offering garbage and Dempster does not believe them? This is their way of showing him the truth.

      That is my take on it.

  • paulcatanese

    IMO the problem with Castro right now and his average going south(but is it a problem?) is that he is swinging for more power,
    he cant have both, average and power, at least not in this stage of his career. It will even out, once he starts squaring up to right field again.
    In my mind I had predicted he would increase his power this year to at least 15-18 home runs, and it looks as though he may do just that.
    Also before the Rizzo, LaHair, and now Jackson and Vitters, he was the big man on campus, and now he is just another student.
    He will adjust, both mentaly and physically and when he does, it will only make the youngsters perform better as a team. Its a win, win situation.

  • Frankie Newton

    No more Platoons. It just goes to show how awesome LaHair is that he’s still hitting over 260, the platooning got Colvin down to about 150 last year, before he came back strong to around 300 this year with Colorado. If they platoon these guys its just going to kill their numbers this year, it doesn’t make any sense. Like Sveum himself said a while back, he said they’d play every day if they were brought up. Play them every day. LaHair too.

  • Tony_Hall

    Lahair isn’t going to be platooned, he is benched.