Samardzija Can’t Snap Cubs Skid – Cubs 0, Padres 2

Game One Hundred Nine – Cubs 0, Padres 2
WP – Clayton Richard (9-11) LP – Jeff Samardzija (7-10) Save – None

Jeff Samardzija did just about all he could to end his team’s losing streak on Wednesday afternoon. The Cubs could not string together any hits and lost their eighth game in a row. The Cubs finished the six-game West Coast trip 0-6 and for the season, the Cubs are 0-13 on the road against teams in the NL West.

Jeff Samardzija more than bounced back from his rough outing in Los Angeles. Samardzija allowed just one run on four hits in seven innings. Samardzija walked two and struck out six on 112 pitches (66 for strikes), one off his season-high. Samardzija actually surrendered one less hit than Clayton Richard but the Cubs offense hit singles while the Padres hit doubles. Samardzija showed his frustration when he broke his bat over his knee after he struck out to end the seventh inning.

The Padres scored the second run off James Russell in the eighth. Russell gave up a two-out bloop double to Chris Denorfia. An error by Anthony Rizzo extended the inning and Yonder Alonso singled in Denorfia with the game’s second run.

Clayton Richard had a good game and picked up the second complete game shutout of his career.

The Cubs were shutout for the second time in the last three games and the offense managed only eight baserunners on Wednesday afternoon … five singles, two walks and a hit batsman. David DeJesus (2-for-4) notched two of the Cubs’ five hits. Starlin Castro ended his 0-for-21 slide with a sixth inning single and finished the game 1-for-3 with a walk. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4) and Welington Castillo (1-for-4) recorded the Cubs’ other two hits. Dale Sveum’s team was 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base on the afternoon.

Over the last eight games, the Cubs have been outscored 40-16.

The Cubs finished the season series 3-3 against the Padres … and with Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 43-66 on the season …

The Cubs did nothing in the first. Clayton Richard threw only 14 pitches in the first, eight for strikes.

Jeff Samardzija retired the side in order on 10 pitches, eight for strikes, in the first.

The Cubs wasted an opportunity to jump out to an early lead in the second inning. Alfonso Soriano worked a leadoff walk. Starlin Castro advanced Soriano to second with a swinging bunt. Welington Castillo pulled a 2-2 pitch off Headley’s glove and into left field. Soriano held at third with one down. Josh Vitters popped the first pitch into shallow right. The ball was not hit deep enough for Soriano to tag. Joe Mather fouled out to Yonder Alonso to end the inning … Richard needed 33 pitches, 19 for strikes, to get through two innings.

Chase Headley drove Samardzija’s first pitch of the second inning into right center for a leadoff double. Mark Kotsay grounded out to first (3-2 pitch) and Headley advanced to third with one out. Will Venable did what he does against the Cubs … he hits the ball and drives in runs. With the infield in, Venable pulled a 2-2 pitch past a diving Rizzo into right for a double. Headley scored easily and the Padres took a 1-0 lead. Venable swiped third on a 1-1 pitch to Logan Forsythe. Sveum pulled his infield in and Forsythe worked a full count. Samardzija struck out Forsythe swinging and retired John Baker on one pitch. Baker popped out to left center to end the inning … 30 pitches for Samardzija after two, 19 for strikes.

The Cubs had a chance to tie the game in the third but could not come up with a clutch hit. After Samardzija popped out to shallow right to start the third, David DeJesus singled to center (3-2 pitch). Darwin Barney fouled out to Forsythe for the second out. Anthony Rizzo ended his 0-for-9 slump with a single to right. DeJesus ended up at third but Alfonso Soriano flied out to right (2-1 pitch) to end the inning. Richard threw 49 pitches in the first three innings, 29 for strikes … and the Cubs were 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left four on base in their first three at bats.

Samardzija set down the side in order in the third … 44 pitches for Samardzija, 31 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the fourth. Starlin Castro grounded out to short to begin the inning and ran his hitless streak to 0-for-21. Richard needed 61 pitches to get through four innings, 38 for strikes.

Samardzija retired the side in order in the fourth. Samardzija threw 61 pitches, 42 for strikes, over four innings of work.

The Cubs started swinging at everything Richard was throwing near the plate in the fifth. Richard set down the side in order on just seven pitches (68 for the game, 44 for strikes).

Will Venable walked to start the fifth. Logan Forsythe flied out to deep center for the first out. Samardzija fell behind John Baker 2-1. Bud Black called for a hit and run. Baker lined out to Soriano and Venable was doubled up to end the inning (7-6-5). Samardzija faced the minimum and his pitch count remained low after five innings (71 pitches, 46 for strikes).

Darwin Barney (tap back to Richard) and Anthony Rizzo (swinging strikeout) made two quick outs to begin the sixth. Richard then plunked Soriano. Alfonso Soriano took off for second on the first pitch to Castro and got into scoring position. Castro broke his 0-for-21 slide with a single to right. Soriano was held at third with two outs. Welington Castillo grounded the first pitch to Chase Headley to end the inning. Richard was cruising at that point, just 78 pitches after six, 50 for strikes.

Jeff Samardzija struck out two of the three batters he faced in the sixth … 86 pitches for Samardzija after six, 55 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the seventh. Jeff Samardzija struck out swinging to end the inning and showed his frustration … Samardzija broke his bat over his knee.

Samardzija labored through his last inning of work. Samardzija appeared to have trouble refocusing after losing his temper in the top half. Yonder Alonso led off the seventh with a single to right. Chase Headley lined a 3-2 pitch into left. Soriano tried to make a shoe-string catch. The ball hit off his glove and he overran the ball. Alonso advanced to third on the play. Samardzija fell behind Mark Kotsay 3-0. Black gave Kotsay the green light and the veteran hit Samardzija’s next pitch toward first. The ball led Rizzo to the bag. Rizzo stepped on first as Alonso broke for the plate. Alonso stopped, Rizzo ran him back to first then threw to Vitters. Vitters’ throw to Castillo was a little high. Castillo caught the ball and ran Alonso back to the bag. Headley already made his way to third … 3-5-2 double play. Samardzija then walked Will Venable.

On a 0-1 pitch to Logan Forsythe, Venable stole second. Samardzija focused and struck out Forsythe swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning … and his outing.

With the Cubs down 1-0, David DeJesus led off the eighth with a single to left. Darwin Barney tried to bunt DeJesus to second but Richard would not throw him a strike. Richard got the call on a 3-1 pitch. Instead of a walk and runners on first and second with one out, Barney lined Richard’s next pitch toward third. Headley snared the ball and threw across the diamond to double off DeJesus. Rizzo grounded out to second to end the inning.

The Padres tacked on a big run in the eighth against James Russell. John Baker (groundout to second) and Clayton Richard (groundout to second) made two quick outs to begin the eighth. Chris Denorfia hit for Alexi Amarista and blooped Russell’s first pitch into shallow left center. Soriano could not make the catch. Castro picked up the ball and threw a strike to Barney. The ball beat Denorfia to the bag and Barney appeared to get the tag down but Denorfia was called safe. Everth Cabrera then hit a grounder toward the hole at second. Rizzo fielded the ball, then dropped it. Barney picked up Rizzo’s miscue and threw late to first. Denorfia stropped at third with two outs.

Yonder Alonso popped a 3-1 pitch into shallow left. Denorfia scored, 2-0 Padres, but Cabrera tried to advance to third but stopped and he could not get back to second. Cabrera was thrown out at second to end the inning (7-5-4).

The Cubs went to the ninth trailing 2-0.

Starlin Castro worked a one-out walk against Clayton Richard in the ninth … but Welington Castillo flied out to center (0-1 pitch) and Josh Vitters grounded out to second (first pitch) to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs open a seven-game homestand Thursday night with the first of four against the Reds. Chris Volstad is scheduled to face Mike Leake in game one.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure." – W.J. Slim

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Mike Leake is nothing. More hits than IP. 4.51 ERA. Any team with an offense ought to knock the stuffings right out of him. What on earth is he doing in a ML rotation?

    Mike Leake: meet the Chicago Cubs. Team Theo’s Offenseless Concoction for 2012.

    If you want an even worse nightmare, consider Chris Volstad is our starter.

    That ought to make a game out of it.

    Cubs have a 50% chance of winning. HA!

  • Ripsnorter1

    Both Vitters and Brett Jackson should start this game. It will be a confidence builder. LHB are hitting .293 against him, and only 46 K in 266 batters. That’s 1 K per 6 batters. Jackson might make contact vs this guy. Better warn Jackson that Leake doesn’t walk many batters: only 29 BB all year long.

    RHB are hitting .274, but don’t tell Cubtex, they are slugging at a higher percentage than LHB: .480 vs. .466.

    I still think Campana will outhit Jackson for BA…..PAUL!

    • cubtex

      hahaha. there are always exceptions to the rule. Pitchers like Leake(who don’t miss many bats) are the types of pitchers where you will see this. Look at the better pitchers and that is not the case.

    • paulcatanese

      I gotta answer you Rip, tried to stay away from it. I dont know if Campana would outhit Jackson, but think he could at least have less K’s.
      I dont think he will be back with the Cubs though, maybe even released after the year. Too bad, but he shouldnt been left to rot on the bench the last month. Still wish him well.

  • Tony_Hall

    I like the idea that Sveum and his coaching staff now have their hands on BJAX and Vitters. If these guys are going to turn into productive major league players, it will happen under their watch.

    “It’s not like he’s swinging through anything,” Sveum said. “Now he’s just swinging out of the strike zone.”

    Sveum said Jackson “probably had four different hand positions and three different setups” during a three-strikeout game. He isn’t worried that Jackson will bury himself early and begin to lose confidence.

    “I don’t know if he’s that kind (of guy),” he said. “It’s nothing he hasn’t gone through. Not at this level, but going into this, part of the development at the big leagues, this is part of the reason why we called him, too, to see firsthand and get a grip of what’s going on.”

    • Ripsnorter1

      I love the CCO and I love Tony Hall, even though we don’t always agree….and we don’t agree here.

      It’s a fact: I don’t support Team Theo, and Tony Hall is a very avid Team Theo supporter. Some say I go too far; I say Tony goes too far the other way.

      Tony has faith in Team Theo’s ability to develop Brett Jackson. I question that ability. Here’s my evidence from the 2012 CUBS:

      1. What has Sveum & Company done for Castro? He’s a young developing player. Improved his BB rate? No. BA? No. OBP? No. Slugging? No. That’s down, too. Stolen Base percentage? No.

      What am I saying? I am saying that they haven’t helped Castro! I think they are on the road to ruining him. So why do you think they can help Brett Jackson & Vitters?

      2. Something else to remember: Sveum’s words show him to be either a liar or incompetent. Do you remember when Sveum sent Brett Jackson down in ST? Here’s two quotes from Neil’s CCO article:

      “” Dale Sveum told the media that is was tough sending Brett Jackson down. The Cubs’ skipper feels Jackson is ready to play in the major leagues.”….and #2…

      “From Carrie Muskat: Sveum on B-Jackson: “He’s the best young player I’ve seen in Major League camp. I’ve seen some good young ones. I think he’s the type of kid who will put pressure on us to get him here one way or the other.”

      Here’s the link to read it for yourself


      So here’s my take on Sveum:Sveum’s either full of baloney, or else a poor judge of ML-ready talent.

      And here’s my proof:
      #1. Jackson has regressed under Team Theo. Pretty hard to deny that. Year over year, he’s dropped down.
      #2. He’s not ML ready, either. Pretty hard to deny that. Look at those PCL–I’ll say it again so no one misses the fact that the PCL is an offensive league–PCL BA of .256 with HUGE K numbers (158 in 407 AB).
      #3. You cannot live in MLB with contact rates lower than Bryan LaHair’s. (He’s not long for MLB either).

      Sveum speaks like he doesn’t know what he is doing. It doesn’t make me feel confident in his ability to further develop Jackson or Vitters.

      • BosephHeyden

        I think the front office is either going to do extremely well (if they realize the two Red Sox teams that earned Theo this job weren’t purely farm system, or even 75% farm system) or they will manage to make the Cubs into a more popular Padres team (when they decide this team will live and die by the farm system…which will inevitably lead to the teams that do have winning seasons getting torn apart the very next offseason via trade for more prospects).

        But as far as Sveum and this management team goes? I think he’s just not a good manager. Right now, his biggest reason for getting this job (besides “familiarity” with the front office) is he was the hitting coach for a duo of players that hit the cover off the ball: Prince Fielder (who has had natural power since he was six) and Ryan Braun (who has had power since J-Rock over at Brewer’s Fitness hooked him up with some awesome supplements you inject with a needle).

        Right now, this is an incredibly inconsistent team that is inconsistent for a number of reasons. The man loves the platoon system as much as Quade, which makes less sense for Sveum because he saw how much the system failed early on in the season when they couldn’t buy a win against a lefty. For inexplicable reasons, they stuck with Chris Volstad in the rotation for two months before they even considered taking him out, yet benched Casey Coleman and banished him to the minors (in favor of Volstad…again) after one start which would best be described as “mediocre”. Like Rip said, for a team that is currently managed by a hitting coach, this team is regressing with hitting, which seems to have happened after they FIRED THEIR HITTING COACH. His bullpen management ranges from average to poor, especially when he keeps lefty specialists in the game to face righties and then that pitcher gets knocked around. Or in situations where the closer that has had a history of blowing games is in the process of blowing another, yet rather than stop the bleeding, he waits until the game is either already blown or the closer has loaded the bases with no one out to bring in a rookie.

        Right now, the only positive thing I can say about Sveum’s staff is that if they manage to win 20 more games this season, they won’t lose 100 on the season. But even that is iffy. For reasons unknown, he’s already stated that he’ll be platooning Vitters and Valbuena, which ultimately is going to translate into Vitters going the route of Felix Pie, Ronny Cedeno, and other prospects the Cubs have called up and immediately sat on the bench while their under-performing counterparts play ahead of them, despite the fact that so far, Vitters has shown himself capable of playing defense in the majors (as evident by his #1 Web Gem on ESPN a few days ago) and should just be kept in until he shows he can’t, especially since our defense isn’t losing us these games.

        Yeah, this was an unfortunate situation to inherit, but the only player we lost was Aramis Ramirez, and he would have only just started hitting last month (which, actually looks right on the money again this season), and yet there is a very good chance we’ll finish worse than we did last year. And I don’t know of any managers that have come back from a 100 loss season to put together a respectable (let alone close to .500) season, though if there are any, they’re likely Hall of Fame managers, which isn’t something they’re going to get here. It’s only fun to watch rookies develop if they’re doing good on a team that looks like they’re going places. But why should it affect anyone in the Cubs’ organization? They’ll just keep selling seats.

        • cubtex

          Well said. I pointed out before that his drafts haven’t produced any high end starting pitchers. Only 2 panned out. Buccholz and Masterson(who was dealt) The pitching staff was built thru trades and free agency. Theo has never worked on a small budget. With the new collective bargaining agreement they cannot outbid smaller teams in the draft anymore and sign the Dillon Maples at a lower round. It will not be as easy to build the farm system like it was for Boston.I am curious to see what he will do this offseason….because next year will be worse than this year if no free agents are signed.

      • Tony_Hall

        I love you to man! But c’mon man, have a little patience.

        First I will repost some info on Castro from another blog. It points out how basic stats like batting average, don’t tell the whole story of his develpment.

        Starlin Castro’s offensive output has been falling since Opening Day. By month, his OPS is down from .784 in April — which is already almost not that good — to .763, to .711, to .687 in July. So much for Anthony Rizzo helping him out over the past 31 days.That said, I think Castro is improving his core skill set as a hitter this year, and love what I see in a few key trends. How can this be when his OPS has simultaneously fallen from decent to, uhh, no thank you? Let’s look at five key stats, all viewable in graph form here: (Thanks, Fangraphs!)

        1. ISO

        This is the biggie. For those unfamiliar, ISO measures raw power by removing singles from a hitter’s slugging percentage and isolating extra-base hits. To calculate ISO, one subtracts AVG from SLG, leaving only the extra bases earned with the bat. The most powerful hitters can approach .300; for example, David Ortiz is batting .316 this season, and slugging .609, giving him the league’s second-best ISO at .294. Hitters without power tend to be at or below .100; Ichiro’s .095 ISO this year is a good example.So where is Castro on this scale? In short, he’s climbing the ladder. His ISOs this season by month: .100, .148, .145, .173. And to be even more selective about my small sample, since the break he’s at .203. Like I said, climbing. This is especially good to see because he put up a .108 in his rookie year, and a .125 in 2011. And if he’s going to be a formidable hitter he needs power. I’d love to see him maintain that .200-ish ISO over the balance of 2012, as I’m sure would the guys in the Cub front office and the other fans in the stands.

        2. K and BB

        These two we can discuss at the same time; let’s start with strikeouts. When Castro was only putting up .108 in ISO, it was important that he cover the plate well and frequently put the ball in play to maintain his offensive value. Fortunately he was able to achieve this in 2010, putting up a 14% K-rate on the year, just under Derek Jeter (Juan Pierre was just above 6%, but most of the league leaders were between 9% and 14%). That rate went down a hair in 2011, before climbing this year — through June 16 (an admittedly arbitrary date), his rate was up above 18%, with 51 Ks in 281 PAs.You might think it a consequence of his adding power — except that over the past month and change the trend has reversed. Maybe it’s too small a sample size to take anything from, but since that game on June 16 Castro’s K rate is down to 11.6%, with just 18 Ks in 155 PAs.Meanwhile, his walk rate — which fell from 5.7% in 2010, to 4.9% in ’11, to 3.7% over 2012 — is up to 8.3% over those same past 155 PAs. Both encouraging stuff.

        3. BABIP and GB%

        There’s never been any reason to worry about Castro’s BABIP; he was up near .350 for about 1,000 PAs to start his pro career. But over the first four months of 2012: .380, .333, .310, .238. A .238 in July! That’s bad! He was above .333 in every month in 2011 save one (.305), and did put up a couple of .270s in his rookie year. But .238! It stands out.The culprit appears to be a result in batted balls, with Castro’s groundball rate climbing dramatically over the last several weeks (refer back to the graphs at Fangraphs, unfortunately I can’t find this in number form split up into months). I don’t know if that’s a random thing? I’m not that smart. But maybe it is? On the full year, anyway, Castro’s batted ball types for 2012 are essentially identical to 2012. So maybe he’s just been unlucky this month — which would explain the decreased output in terms of OPS, despite the fact that his power is increasing and his K/BB numbers are both moving in the right direction.Those are, I think, the numbers behind the final output statistics that matter more. I hope you agree that there are some encouraging signs here, despite the fact that Castro’s OPS has been in decline since day one of this season.


        Now, on BJAX, he does many, many things well. If you take out his batting average and just look at OBP, SLG, etc, you would like what you see. He also strikes out too much, which he needs to cut down on, but not at the expense of working the count, like he does. I am glad that the Cubs FO and entire coaching staff is there to work with him, versus just a couple of coaches in Iowa. I don’t believe he is up to stay. I believe he will start next year in Iowa, barring a great fall, and/or a great ST.But I get it, you don’t like Theo, therefore you don’t like any of his coaches, players, etc. You gave them 1 day to turn around this mess. I on the other hand have welcomed them in and have faith that the plan they told us all about can be done, and will make this a much stronger franchise from top to bottom. But it will take time to clean out the players that don’t match up with what they want to see in players. They are not looking for short term success, if it has an effect on the long term rebuilding plans. I am ok with that, you are not. That is your right. But I can tell you, that I enjoy watching what is going on at Clark and Addison, on the field, in the clubhouse, FO, and farm system, a lot more than you do, as I am looking at the big picture, you want to look at today’s game only.

    • cubtex

      The only thing I would say it what sort of track record does Sveum have for developing young players? He is not helping Vitters out imo by sitting him against RHP. You mentioned before that you agree with sitting him against tougher RHP……OK but is Ohlendorf a tough RHP? If Ohlendorf is the measuring stick… can forget about Vitters ever playing against a RHP. He should be playing against Mike Leake because he is also a very hittable RHP.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Right on the money.

      • paulcatanese

        Sveum’s track record isn’t(he has none). The underlying fact is what transpires is determined
        by the FO including Sveum of course. The manager on the Cubs is included in the daily game plan that is probably constructed as a team, Theo,Hoyer, and Sveum.
        Not all bad, as the design was to turn the team around, and they all should be on the same page.
        But it didnt click the way it was intended.
        This was apparant when they let Rudy go as the hitting coach, stating that “he did not fit into their mold”
        Sveum does? I dont think so. And the guy they brought in to replace Rudy IMO is a gesture only,
        And to say Sveum is “the hitting coach” is a stretch, thats a three member team installing what they think should be, not what it is.
        The Cubs have now changed from a major league franchise to an instructional team with the people they have brought up. And that of course is a near impossible task at the major league level.
        All of this is of course the total disdain that Team Theo has for the Cubs pre-existing minor league players, and every effort is being made to eleiminate these prospects.
        If its within their power, all players that will “stick”
        will be the ones that they have signed and brought in.
        All well and good, if they are all like Rizzo, and he as well is on a trial basis, but will be given every opportunity to prove his worth (I think he will, but thats beside the point.)
        That being said, Jackson is here to improve one thing, his trade value, Vitters as well, they do not intend to keep these players, as they did not bring them in.
        LaHair was used, period, but thats the nature of the game. Nothing new there with the Cubs as there were a few from last year that got the same treatment.
        I dont for one second believe that there is any player on the roster that could not be traded, including Castro, if money can be made they will do it.

      • Tony_Hall

        Being that this is his 1st year as manager, what kind of a track record would you expect him to have?

        I agree with breaking the young guys in slowly, sitting when needed to watch and learn, as well as playing the majority of the time. I stated that I would sit Vitters against the better RH pitchers, of which Ohlendorf is not one. I would have played him against Leake as well, but there must be something we don’t know that is making them go down this path.

        • cubtex

          Then what is with this blind faith? I am a Cubs fan too but I don’t just put my head in the sand and agree with everything that a 1st year manager is doing. It is ridiculous to take a player who was playing everyday in the minors and only bat him against lhp. Vitters has hit everyone all year! Sveum is a brutal manager. He is a terrible game manager and his platoon lineups suck!

          • Tony_Hall

            You are far too critical of decisions, looking at them from a day by day basis only. First, do you think Sveum made the decision all on his own, to not play Vitters, everyday, no matter what? Of course he didn’t. Have you heard him say, how sometimes they do things, to see how someone will handle a situation, or to give them experience, rather that what may be the better choice for that day. They are not managing to win every game possible, just like they didn’t construct a roster to win every game possible, this year. It is all about the continuing development of players.

            Also, it isn’t blind faith, my head isn’t in the sand, and I don’t agree with everything that the FO, or our 1st year manager is doing. But that doesn’t mean, I need to blast them for everything thing they do, that I don’t agree with at this time. I am giving them some time to turn things around before being overly critical, like you are everyday.

            If they get the game in, try to enjoy it for a change.

          • cubtex

            Can you be critical at least one time? lol Not going to watch the game tonight. Going for a long run tonight after work and then the Olympics. No point in watching Valbuena and Volstad. The killer Vee’s !

          • Tony_Hall

            Not yet, just no point in being critical of how the fireman put out the fire.

            Enjoy your run!