One Hundred L’s – Cubs 0, Astros 3

Game One Hundred Sixty – Cubs 0, Astros 3
WP – Lucas Harrell (11-11) LP – Jason Berken (0-3) Save – Wesley Wright (1)

The Cubs could not avoid the inevitable and lost their 100th game of the season on Monday night. The Cubs offense was a no-show and was shut out for the 15th time this year. The Cubs lost 100 games for the first time since 1966 (59-103) and the third time in franchise history (1962, 1966 and 2012).

The Cubs offense managed only two hits and a walk on Monday night. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a double), David DeJesus (1-for-4) and Alfonso Soriano (0-for-2 with a walk) were the only three Cubs to reach base on Monday night. The Cubs were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, stranded three runners on base and did not manage a hit or baserunner after Rizzo led off the fourth with a double … Astros’ pitching retired the last 18 batters of the game.

Jason Berken lasted just 4 2/3 innings in his final start of the season. Berken gave up two runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout. Fernando Martinez hit a towering blast off Berken in the second that ended up on Sheffield Avenue. Martinez then scored the Astros’ second run after reaching on a swinging bunt in the fourth inning. Berken threw 61 pitches, 40 for strikes, and was hung with the loss.

James Russell pitched two scoreless innings on Monday night in what was likely his final appearance of the season. Russell faced the minimum in his two frames after hitting Brett Wallace to start the seventh inning.

Shawn Camp allowed the Astros’ third run in the eighth on a pair of hits. Carlos Marmol gave up a leadoff double to Justin Maxwell in the ninth but struck out two of the next three batters he faced to close out the inning.

With Monday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 60-100 on the season with two games left to play …

Jason Berken retired the Astros in order on eight pitches, seven for strikes, to start the game.

The Cubs wasted a chance to put runs on the board against Lucas Harrell in the first inning. Harrell and catcher Jason Castro had communication issues and the Cubs were not able to take advantage. David DeJesus led off the first with a single to right center (2-1 pitch). Dave Sappelt worked a full count, Sveum started DeJesus and Sappelt grounded out to short. DeJesus advanced to second on the play. Anthony Rizzo looked at a 1-2 pitch for the second out. DeJesus advanced to third when a 1-1 pitch to Alfonso Soriano bounced past Castro. Soriano walked and the Cubs had runners on first and third with two outs. Starlin Castro put together a long, 10-pitch at bat, but grounded out to short on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning. Lucas Harrell labored through a 30-pitch first inning (17 for strikes) but did not allow any runs.

Fernando Martinez led off the second for the Astros and launched a 1-0 pitch onto Sheffield Avenue. With the wind blowing in, Martinez crushed the ball and gave Houston a 1-0 lead. Jason Berken refocused and retired Brett Wallace (tap back to the mound), Matt Dominguez (groundout to second) and Jason Castro (groundout to first) in order to end the inning. Berken threw 23 pitches, 16 for strikes, over the first two innings.

The Cubs did nothing in the second … 43 pitches for Harrell after two innings, 25 for strikes.

Luis Valbuena made an excellent diving stop to take away a hit from Brandon Barnes to start the third inning. Berken struck out Harrell swinging for the second out but Jose Altuve drove a 2-2 pitch back up the middle and into centerfield. With Altuve at first, Scott Moore grounded out to Rizzo (2-1 pitch) to end the inning. Berken needed 38 pitches, 26 for strikes, to complete three innings of work.

The Cubs did nothing in the third. Harrell threw 58 pitches, 34 for strikes, over the first three innings.

Jed Lowrie popped out to Castro in shallow left for the first out in the fourth. Fernando Martinez reached on a swinging bunt up the third baseline … the ball hugged the line all the way to the bag. Brett Wallace flied out to left for the second out. Matt Dominguez drove in the second run of the game with what was ruled a triple. Dominguez pulled the first pitch into left. The ball took a bad hop, skipped over Valbuena and into the corner. Soriano had trouble in the corner and Martinez was sent to the plate. Castro’s relay throw was into the runner. Castillo could not make the catch and Martinez scored. With Dominguez at third, Jason Castro grounded out to second to end the inning … 52 pitches for Berken after four innings, 36 for strikes.

Anthony Rizzo led off the Cubs’ fourth with a double into the alley in right center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall and Rizzo notched the Cubs’ second hit of the game. Alfonso Soriano chopped a 1-1 pitch toward third. Dominguez knocked the ball down, threw to first and recorded the out … but Rizzo advanced to third on the play. Starlin Castro expanded his strike zone on a 2-2 pitch and struck out swinging. Luis Valbuena grounded out to second for the third out. Lucas Harrell threw 70 pitches, 42 for strikes, over four innings.

After four complete, the Cubs trailed 2-0 and were being outhit 4-2 (0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, three left on base).

Jason Berken retired Brandon Barnes (flyout to right) and Lucas Harrell (groundout to first) to start the fifth. Berken then issued a two-out walk to Jose Altuve … and that was all for Jason Berken. Jaye Chapman replaced Berken and fell behind Scott Moore 3-1. Altuve took off for second, Moore took a strike and Castillo made a perfect throw to Castro. Altuve’s slid but did not make it to the bag. Altuve got to his feet and started walking back to the dugout. Castro walked over and tagged him in the back to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing in the fifth … 84 pitches for Harrell after five, 51 for strikes.

James Russell retired the side in order in the sixth.

The Cubs did nothing in the sixth. Lucas Harrell threw 98 pitches, 68 for strikes, over six shutout innings on Monday night … and allowed just two hits.

James Russell faced the minimum in the seventh after plunking Brett Wallace to start the inning. Matt Dominguez grounded into a 5-4-3 double play and Jason Castro tapped back to Russell for the third out.

The Cubs did nothing against Jose Valdez in the seventh.

Brandon Barnes led off the eighth with a single to right off Shawn Camp. Brian Bogusevic hit for Jose Valdez and struck out looking for the first out. Jose Altuve tapped a 2-1 pitch between the mound and the plate. Camp picked the ball up and threw to first. Barnes advanced to second on the play. Scott Moore ripped a 2-2 pitch into center. Barnes scored, Moore advanced to second on the play and the Astros took a 3-0 lead. Jed Lowrie grounded out to third (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Fernando Rodriguez struck out Welington Castillo and Darwin Barney swinging for the first two outs in the eighth. After Bryan LaHair was announced as the pinch-hitter for Shawn Camp, Wesley Wright was summoned from the pen. Dale Sveum countered with Joe Mather. Mather struck out swinging to end the inning … three swinging strikeouts for the Cubs in the eighth.

The game went to the ninth with the Cubs down 3-0.

Justin Maxwell led off the ninth with a double to left center. Carlos Marmol settled down and caught Brett Wallace looking at a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Matt Dominguez struck out swinging and Jason Castro lined out to right to end the inning.

Wesley Wright stayed in for the ninth and retired DeJesus (tap back to the mound), Sappelt (strikeout) and Rizzo (groundout to short) in order to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Chris Volstad is scheduled to face Bud Norris in game 161 on Tuesday night.

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Quote of the Day

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind." - William James
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  • Joe Beck

    This is absolutely pathetic. I am a long time die hard fan and I am disgusted. They need to get their shit together soon.

    • Aaron

      get ready to have a bunch of dislikes for your comment….there’s a few trolls on this site that can’t handle the truth…

      I am in your corner though…I don’t know what’s going on

      • paulcatanese

        Neil, had to be one of the hardest re-caps for you in quite a while.
        Even though many knew this would happen, it dosent make it any easier to take for Cub fans.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          This one was a little harder than the others. Although I saw it coming, I was hoping they would avoid “that” number. Sounds silly, but that is the case.

      • paulcatanese

        Neil, this had to be one of the hardest re-caps you have made in a long time.
        Even though most fans knew it was coming it’s still hard to swallow.

      • Dorasaga

        Aaron, you are the pitching guru here (or close enough), so I wonder what do you think of Nick Struck. I’m interested at his performance and how you project him to be at the Big league, if ever.

        After watched Travis Wood for more at-bats now (*), what’s your thought of his future with this club from now on and beyond? Offseason trade for other needs? An anchor of any rotation? I’m assuming the Cubs is in dire need of lefties throughout their system, but that could a wrong assessment.

        *(I don’t mean his wood, but his pitching; that’s pun, yea? Wood has the wood; he hits :-))

        • Ripsnorter1

          I’m not Aaron…but Travis Wood is at best…AT BEST….a #5 starter on the current Cubs team. He could improve, perhaps. But it seems his biggest problems are the Scott Marshall syndrome:

          1. He loses velocity when he pitches too many innings. When his velocity is down, he gets hammered. Perhaps he should learn to be a Scott Marshall: short relief.

          2. Control! When he hasn’t got it, his stuff lands on Sheffield or Waveland Ave.

          3. Summary: at this point, he has marginal, and inconsistent stuff. My personal thinking: he’s close, but not close enough.

          • cubtex

            Agreed. He is a back end guy. That is his ceiling.

      • Tony_Hall

        C’mon man, you do know what is going on, you just don’t agree with all the moves they made. But no one will agree with all the moves they have made, not even me. But, you have been one of the biggest advocates for blowing things up and doing what they are doing. They just didn’t do it to your script. But the basic plan they are following you have wanted for years.

        • cubtex

          Why are fans unhappy that the team lost 100 games this year? I think it is the best thing that could have happened. Media will rip the team. They will constantly bring up the 2 previous times in franchise history that they lost 100 games.
          I feel Ricketts will be forced to spend money this offseason and put a greatly improved product on the field for next season. Forget the David DeJesus types. Forget picking up a DFA’d player like Valbuena and give him 3rd base for next season! The A’s lost 88 games last year and will make the playoffs this year. They didn’t rob Peter to pay Paul. They traded Gio Gonzales, Trevor Cahill. They signed Cespedes and aquired Josh Reddick and look where they are. It is bull#### that you have to lose big while rebuilding with a team like the Cubs. This is the NL Central. It is ridiculous to EVER throw a season away….like the Cubs did this year. I hope this gets talked about all offseason in the media. Improve the product on the field. You don’t need to lock up players with long term contracts to do that.

          • cc002600

            I agree with you.
            I’m excited about the prospects the cubs have acquired, but these guys are 2 to 3 years away, at a minimum.

            There’s no reason in the world, they can’t be signing some building block pitchers, like an Edwin Jackson. and some others. My God, they have gobs of money to spend now.

            If they go into next year with a payroll of say 75M, they will get ripped to shreds, and rightly so. OR if they do, they had better reduce ticket prices.

        • Aaron

          you misunderstood what I was saying….They went from winning 15 of 20, or whatever it was in late June and into july, then they completely tanked. I don’t care if you wanted things blown up or not, that is extremely disturbing when you’re trying to build for the future. What can they hang their hats on? Good baserunning? Nope. Good bunting, or situational hitting? (remember the Spring Training contest?) Nope. Reduced walks from the pitching staff? Nope….They set a MLB record, I believe walking opposing pitchers, which is insane. How about fielding? Okay…that’s the one thing on the team they improved upon.

          It is true that I have wanted this thing blown up for years….no question about it, and I am glad they are sticking to their guns…..somewhat….Here’s where I fundamentally disagree with them.

          If you are trying to rebuild a team, the most important thing to look at is current versus replacement. It can work both internally and externally.

          For instance…

          Veteran players on the team vs prospects

          Prospects on the way vs free agent bridges

          I look at this offseason as a test to their ultimate plan.

          T. Wood
          Vostad
          Germano
          Coleman
          Berken
          Rusin
          Raley

          vs

          E. Jackson
          Liriano
          Haren (if option declined)
          Peavy (if option declined…likely)
          Kuroda
          Marcum
          Matsuzaka
          McCarthy
          A. Sanchez
          Saunders
          Sheets
          C. Young
          ……………and then prospects (less than 2 yrs):
          Jokisch
          Beeler
          Struck
          McNutt
          Whitenack
          ……………and then long-term prospects (2 yrs+):
          Maples
          Underwood
          McNeil
          Blackburn
          T. Scott
          Johnson
          Wells
          Jensen
          *verdict=go the FA route, but only on contracts 3 years or less, because the quality of pitching at the top is dreadful

          OUTFIELDERS:

          DeJesus
          Campana
          B. Jackson
          Mather
          Sappelt

          vs

          Swisher
          D. Young
          BJ Upton
          Suzuki
          Bourn
          ……………..and then prospects (less than 2 yrs):
          Wright
          Adduci
          Lake (if transitioned out there)
          Silva
          Szczur
          Ha
          Burgess
          ……………..and then prospects (2 yrs+):
          Andreoli
          Easterling
          Soler (or maybe he belongs in the above category)
          Almora
          Chen
          Golden
          Dunston Jr.
          Martin
          Jeffrey Baez
          *verdict=go the FA route…but ONLY for 2 years or less

          ……anyway, you get the picture, right?

          • Scott

            I really like your line of thinking here. One thing I am curious to see is how they address the complete lack of depth at the upper levels. I would not be surprised if Volstad, Coleman, Rusin and Raley are all back (Berken and Germano should be gone). Wood will definitely be back and with the Cubs in the rotation. I agree that the FO will not go past 3 years for pitching, if they will even go that far, so I am curious to see what they can get doing that. Everyone in the FA pitching list has at least one wart, whether it be age, injury history, likely salary demands, etc. But some should be signed to provide overall depth and to allow the Cubs to be much more competitive. Berken and Germano are only here out of desperation.
            As for the outfield, I think Sappelt has played himself into a real good look at the #4 spot next year. DeJesus will probably be back and while he isn’t an all-star, he is a quality, veteran guy. Jackson…not sure what to do with him. He is striking out more than 48% of the time and his OPS over the last 30 days is 0.368, more than 100 points less than Vitters. I am thinking a little more time and quality instruction in AAA will do him some good. I would let Campana roam center until that point. In left, if you can’t move Soriano, he is your guy. If you can? I would want to see what we get back – another bad contract we plug in there? I would love to get Swisher on a 2 year deal. His enthusiasm could be a big asset. He always looks like he is having fun and can still be a decent player too.
            On the infield, I think we are good everywhere except 3B. I would keep Valbuena as a bench guy, and Vitters is not ready yet, so I am not sure who you can get. Rolen MAY give you 100 games and would be another quality clubhouse guy, so if you can get a bench guy that can play third along with some other places (or just live with Valbuena 60-80 games there) that might be a good move. Castro, Barney, Rizzo, Castillo and Clevenger should all be back in my opinion (unless you want Clevenger starting every day at AAA, then you will need a backup C – not sure Recker has played enough to give him the job.
            I think that with a few moves, the Cubs can be much more competitive next year, but the biggest thing they need is just time to develop the young players in the lower levels. Unfortunately, as we have all found out time and time again, you just can’t force that process.

          • cubtex

            Do you honestly think this team will be better with DeJesus in right, Campana/BJAX in CF and either Soriano or a bad contract replacing him in LF? What bad contract can you pick up who will be as productive as Soriano was or will be next year? The same infield except 3B? Do you think this team would not struggle to score runs again? Of course they would. It would be 2012 part deaux. They need to get rid of DeJesus and replace him with a BAT. A guy who can drive in runs and hit HR’s. I know there is a lot of love for Barney but he is a #8 hitter. I don’t share your confidence that the Cubs will be more competitive with the players you listed returning.

          • Scott

            First, this is a process. You cannot fix this overnight. Second, there are no guarantees that Soriano is near the player in 2013 that he was in 2012. I do believe that they will try to move him. Do I think that the team with Rolen at 3B and Swisher in LF would make the Cubs better than they were this year? Yes. Especially if needs are addressed on the pitching staff with some more quality arms. If, by the end of the year, the rotation is Garza, Shark, Viscaino, Wood and someone else (Kuroda might be my choice), that is a decent starting 5. The pen needs some work, but there are some promising arms in there and with Marmol and Russell, you have some veteran leadership too. I agree that the club has struggled to score runs, but a 4.54 team ERA is terrible (4.74 after the break, 4.92 in September). Shore up the pitching and the Cubs will win more games. I agree that Barney is probably a #8 hitter (maybe a #2 on occasion) but you do have to bat someone 8th, right? Why not a gold glove second baseman?
            What changes would you make to next years club to make them more competitive without jeopardizing the future or blocking future prospects? Kuroda, Swisher and Rolen would all require 3 years or less (Rolen on a 1 year deal, Kuroda maybe a year and an option) and bullpen guys can be had for a year or two max. All could be moved if you wanted at the deadline for more prospects (a la Maholm) or retained.
            The ship has been blown up and hopefully 2012 is rock bottom. Now is the time to start to right the ship and point us in the right direction. But it will still require patience.

          • cubtex

            I agree it is a process….but what I am saying is that you can try and compete at the same time. Soler and Almora will not be ready till at least 2014. Should we worry about blocking them now????? Is there a guarantee that both will be ready by then? As long as a contract is fair……you can always make trades and move a player to open a spot when the time comes. Kuroda will not sign with the Cubs. He will probably do what he did last season……sign with a contender or retire. Will Rolen improve the team next year? Maybe…..but probably not. Will Swisher be an uprade over Soriano’s production from this year? Again…..probably not. Unless better players are aquired……don’t think DeJesus or Rolen type who are the downside of their careers…….this team will not be more competitive next year.

          • Scott

            So I will ask…what would you do?
            I think that, in 2013, Swisher will be better than Soriano. How do you know that Kuroda will not sign with the Cubs? I agree that it could be a stretch, but he would be the type of pitcher I would focus on. I would at least try. Here are the FA 3B for this offseason…not much to choose from.
            Third basemen
            Miguel Cairo (39)
            Eric Chavez (35)
            Mark DeRosa (38)
            Brandon Inge (36)
            Maicer Izturis (32)
            Jose Lopez (29)
            Placido Polanco (37) – $5.5MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout
            Mark Reynolds (29) – $11MM club option with a $500K buyout
            Scott Rolen (38)
            Ty Wigginton (35) – $4MM club option with a $500K buyout
            David Wright (30) – $16MM club option with a $1MM buyout
            Kevin Youkilis (34) – $13MM club option with a $1MM buyout
            I’m not seeing much. Wright will have his option picked up, so that’s not even an option.
            Just curious as to what everyone else’s ideas are to make the team better. People seem very quick to criticize, but rarely offer up their own ideas.

          • cubtex

            Do you remember last offseason where Kuroda said if he doesn’t sign with the Dodgers he will retire and go to Japan. The ONLY thing that enticed him was signing with a contender. He is what…..38 years old? Again…..why would he sign with a 100 loss team at this stage of his career.
            As far as what I would do……I would probably have to make some trades that might be a little unpopular at the moment. I would look to move a Barney. I would look to move a Russell. I think these players have already hit their ceiling. Trade DeJesus(although you won’t get much for him) It is not just about free agents.

          • Scott

            I have no problem trading anyone. But who replaces Barney? Who is ready to replace DeJesus? Bullpen guys can be had every offseason and are wildly inconsistent (as a whole) so if you could turn Russell into a package like we got for Marshall, I would do that. And I used Kuroda as an example. It wouldn’t have to be Kuroda. He was just a steady veteran that would not command a lengthy deal. I just hope we don’t go for Jackson. A guy that has been on that many teams in so few years, with his talent raises a lot of red flags for me. It’s like he is the pitching version of Milton Bradley….

          • cubtex

            I like who Carmelo mentioned the other day. I would take a flyer on Jon Garland on a 1 year deal. Maybe he would go full circle and sign with the team that drafted him.

          • Scott

            I wouldn’t mind taking a flyer like that. But he hasn’t pitching since 2011 and even then was hurt. To take a gamble, yes, would I sign him and pencil him onto the MLB roster? No way. Minor league deal with incentives at best. I wouldn’t burn a 40 man roster spot.

          • cubtex

            I agree it is a small move but I thought I would throw that out there.

          • cubtex

            I would also look at Liriano and possibly Brandon McCarthy as options.

          • Scott

            I think that they will. I think both of them would take a 2 year deal (if not a 1 year deal) and would be a much better option than throwing Berken, Germano and/or Volstad out there. Moving to the NL could be a good thing for Liriano. If he could ever recapture what he had pre-surgery….

          • John_CC

            Liriano’s problems are not with the league he is pitching in. He has proven that he can get anyone out when he’s on…and the next start he can’t get anyone out.

          • Dorasaga

            I like your positive thinking.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.canavan.14 Jim Canavan

    99, 100, 102 losses. just a number. a crappy season was expected and received.

    • Ripsnorter1

      This 100 loss season has proved several things, but there are a couple of things I’d like to mention now:

      1. Anthony Rizzo’s “guarantee” that the Cubs would not lose 100 games was worthless. Everyone (Anthony Rizzo included) should learn that only God can guarantee anything, and people should stop making the bogus “guarantees.”

      2. Team Theo has successfully guided the Cubs to the 3rd worst losing season in the Cubs’ long history. They began in 1876. Only 1962 and 1966, in which the Cubs lost 103 both times, exceeded this season for the number of losses. LOSING BIG ON THE CHEAP is an accurate assessment of the season. They lost big (100 losses thus far), and they did it cheap. About half the team consists of scrap heap, waiver wire claims. (Your starting pitchers come off the waiver wire or the scrap heap or AA, it’s cheap: Berken, Germano, Rusin, Wood and Volstad; your bullpen and even your starting 3rd base).

      • Tony_Hall

        The rotation to finish the year might have been cheap and a AAA rotation, but the rotation for the season was Garza, Dempster, Samardzija, Maholm, and Wood. Wasn’t exactly cheap or AAA. Was actually pretty good, and if gaining extra wins to keep from losing 100 was the actual goal, they would have kept that rotation going all year.

        But how critical would everyone be if they did that.

        Extremely!! It would have been they should have traded these guys and gotten something, anything in return. Well that is what they did, and it made for a extremely poor team for August and September. July they went 15-10. And there was every indication that they could have played 500 or better the rest of the way with that team, which would have lead to 12-13 more victories on the season.

        But would that have made the organization better for next year?

        No, they are better having made the trades and given AB’s and Innings to young guys, some who were ready and others who were not.

        Now, the average fan would have been happier watching more wins, but the average fan will be happy if they can execute their plan of sustained success by building the foundation they have talked about.

        Also, I guarantee you that players will continue to make guarantees. Everyone knows they are worthless, but it’s just a part of sports, just like us stating our opinions, they don’t make or change anything, but we still do it.

        But the real question of today…

        Cabrera or Trout for AL MVP?

        • cc002600

          and don’t forget, cubs will have 2nd pick in draft. :-)

          Gotta get something out of this miserable season.

          I love Trout, but I’m not sure how you can’t give it to a guy who could win triple crown…(and yes, I know about what happened in 1941, before all you respond back )

          • RICK B

            BIG DEAL 2ND PICK MEANS NOTHING.

          • Scott

            In 2003, the Detroit Tigers went 42-119 and had the 2nd pick in the 2004 draft. I am sure that they didn’t think it meant nothing drafting a RHP out of Old Dominion University named Justin Verlander.

          • cubtex

            Exactly! The Cubs got Mark Prior with the 2nd pick. He got hurt but they almost made the WS with Prior being the main guy on the staff that year.

          • cubtex

            I disagree. It means a lot. It could mean the difference between drafting a Mark Appel or the top college(close to ready mlb pitcher) or not.

  • Tony_Hall

    The Cubs did secure the 2nd pick in the draft last night. Now they can go out and win the last 2 games against the mighty Astros.

  • RICK B

    ALL I CAN SAY IS IF YOU LOSE 100 GAMES IT STARTS AT THE TOP. A VERY POOR CHOICE OF A MANAGER. DALE YOU SUCK. RYNE SANDBURG WOULD NOT HAVE LOOKED THIS BAD. ANYONE AGREE. WORST PITCHING I HAVE SEEN IN A LONG TIME.