Cubs Cannot Complete the Sweep in Miami – Cubs 4, Marlins 6

Game Twenty-Four – Cubs 4, Marlins 6

WP – Ricky Nolasco (2-2) LP – Carlos Villanueva (1-1) Save – Steve Cishek (3)

The Cubs gave another game away on Sunday afternoon in Miami and could not complete the four-game sweep of the Marlins. The Cubs had two different leads but Giancarlo Stanton had his best game of the season while the Cubs’ defense helped the Fish take the lead in the sixth.

Carlos Villanueva put together another solid start and made only three mistakes in his six innings of work … but two of Villanueva’s mistakes were to Giancarlo Stanton and it cost him three runs. Giancarlo Stanton hit his second homer in as many games in the first inning after Villanueva walked Chris Coghlan on four pitches. With the Cubs clinging to a 3-2 lead in the sixth, two outs and Juan Pierre at second, Villanueva pitched to Stanton and he drove in Pierre with a single to left that tied the game. Stanton scored the eventual winning run on a single by Donovan Solano that was initially charged as an error to Starlin Castro. The Cubs pitched to Giancarlo Stanton on Sunday and he went 3-for-3 with two home runs, a walk, four RBI and three runs scored.

Villanueva struck out four of the first nine batters he face and did not allow his second hit until the sixth inning. Villanueva retired 14 of 15 after Stanton’s shot in the first inning but walked away with the loss. Villanueva allowed four runs, all earned, on four hits, three walks and eight strikeouts in six innings. Villanueva threw 100 pitches, 64 for strikes.

Kameron Loe served up solo homers to Nick Green in the seventh and Giancarlo Stanton in the eighth that allowed the Marlins to put the game out of reach.

The Cubs’ offense had a chance to add on in the third after Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) doubled in two runs and gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead. But Alfonso Soriano’s struggles with runners in scoring position continued. Alfonso Soriano went 0-for-4 on Sunday and left five runners on base. For the season, Soriano is 2-for-20 with runners in scoring position.

David DeJesus (1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored) scored two of the Cubs’ four runs. Anthony Rizzo (2-for-3 with a RBI and a walk) doubled in DeJesus in the first inning. Carlos Villanueva (1-for-2 with a run scored) scored on Castro’s two-run double in the third. Dioner Navarro (1-for-4 with a home run) added a solo homer in the ninth that accounted for the Cubs last run of the game.

For as good as the Cubs defense was throughout the series and for the first five innings of Sunday’s game, two mistakes in the sixth changed the game. Alfonso Soriano missed the cutoff man trying to throw out Pierre at the plate on Stanton’s game tying single. Stanton took second on the throw and Villanueva walked Greg Dobbs. Donovan Solano lined a single over the head of Starlin Castro that was originally scored as an error, changed to a hit in the eighth. Castro was late getting his glove up.

The Cubs finished the 10-game road trip with a 4-6 record and still won the series in Miami (3-1) with Sunday’s loss. The Cubs are 0-4 on Sundays this season.

David DeJesus led off the game with a free pass (3-1 pitch). After Castro flied out to center, Anthony Rizzo pulled a 1-1 pitch into right center. DeJesus scored, 1-0 Cubs. Soriano’s struggles continued as he grounded out to third for the second out. Rizzo advanced to third but was stranded as Schierholtz popped out to Green in left center for the third out.

Carlos Villanueva dove and tagged Juan Pierre on a swinging bunt up the first baseline to begin his outing. Villanueva seemed a little rattled after hitting the turf and issued a four-pitch walk to Chris Coghlan. Villanueva jumped ahead of Stanton before Giancarlo Stanton lifted a 2-2 pitch into the stands in left … and just like that, the Marlins had a 2-1 lead. Villanueva stuck out Dobbs and Donovan Solano lined out to a diving Starlin Castro to end the inning. Villanueva threw 19 pitches, 11 for strikes, in the opening frame.

Villanueva settled down in the second. Villanueva struck out two of the three batters he faced. Villanueva threw 30 pitches, 19 strikes, over the first two innings.

Carlos Villanueva then led off the third with a single to left center. David DeJesus followed with a single to right on a 2-2 pitch. With runners on first and second with no outs, Starlin Castro reached out and pulled a 2-2 pitch into the left field corner. Villanueva and DeJesus scored … 3-2 Cubs. Rizzo walked and the Cubs had runners on first and second again with no outs.

Alfonso Soriano did not do his job and blooped a 0-2 pitch toward second. Solano hauled in the pop fly after the infield fly rule had been called. Schierholtz hit a tailor made double play ball to short. Rizzo helped break up the rhythm and Green’s throw to first was off the mark. Schierholtz reached and the Cubs had first and third with two down. Navarro grounded the first pitch to second for the third out.

Both Villanueva and Nolasco settled in after the third inning.

Carlos Villanueva struck out Nolasco swinging to start the sixth … 14 of 15 sat down by Villanueva after Stanton’s homer in the first. Juan Pierre singled to left, just the second hit off Villanueva on the day. Pierre stole second on the first pitch to Coghlan. Coghlan was caught looking at a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Villanueva pitched to Stanton and it cost him. After getting ahead 0-2, Stanton worked the count back to even then lined a single into left. Pierre scored easily and Stanton took second when Soriano missed the cutoff man. Barney made an excellent catch on a throw from Navarro to keep the ball out of the outfield and Stanton at second. Villanueva intentionally walked Greg Dobbs.

With the game tied at three and runners on first and second with two out, Donovan Solano smoked a 1-0 pitch into left center over Castro’s head. It appeared Castro was late getting his glove up and was charged with an error (changed to a hit in the eighth inning). Stanton scored the go-ahead run. Brantly flied out to right center to end the inning.

Ricky Nolasco retired the Cubs in order in the seventh … 15 in a row set down by Nolasco.

Kameron Loe took over in the seventh and his second pitch left the yard. Nick Green launched a 1-0 pitch from Loe well into the stands in left. Green’s first homer of the season and first in the majors since 2009 gave the Marlins a 5-3 lead. Chris Valaika followed with a double to left center (1-2 pitch). Austin Kearns hit for Nolasco and grounded out to short for the first out. Pierre followed and lined out to left. Coghlan tapped back to the mound to end the inning.

The Cubs had a chance to cut into the Marlins 5-3 lead in the eighth. Castro and Rizzo reached on back-to-back singles with one-out against lefty Mike Dunn. Soriano hit a weak fly to left for the second out. Scott Hairston hit for Schierholtz and broke his bat on a 0-2 pitch. Pierre ran in and caught the ball in shallow left to end the inning.

Giancarlo Stanton put an exclamation point on his afternoon with his second homer of the day in the eighth. Stanton hit a solo shot off Loe to lead off the eighth. Loe retired the next three batters he faced to end the inning.

Dioner Navarro led off the ninth with a solo homer off Steve Cishek that cut the Marlins’ lead to 6-4. But Valbuena, Barney and Julio Borbon went down in order to end the game.

The Cubs open a 10-game homestand with the first of four against the Padres on Monday night. Jeff Samardzija faces Clayton Richard in game one.

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  • Ray Ray

    Soriano 2-20 with RISP
    Rizzo 3-21 with RISP

    Not good!

    • Tony_Hall

      To expand on that with RISP

      Soriano 1 RBI
      Rizzo 7 RBI’s

      Neither ones average is good, but one seems to still be driving in runs.

      • Ray Ray

        3-21 is 3-21 and 2-20 is 2-20. I don’t care how many RBI either might have. It means you might have hit 2 3 run homerun in 2 of those at bats. Quit trying to sugarcoat an awful stat. These are your 3 and 4 hitters.

        • Tony_Hall

          Well then let’s sugarcoat it some more, as we wouldn’t want people to get the wrong story. I know that Batting average is what you seem to like to use, but there is more to the story.

          Soriano is hitting 100 with RISP. That’s bad. But how bad is it. He is hitting 297 on BABIP (Batting average on balls in play). His career norm is 303, so he is not been lucky or unlucky.

          Rizzo is hitting 143 with RISP. Still very bad. But, he is hitting 200 with BABIP. In his short career he is hitting 271. So he has been very unlucky so far this year.

          So I hope this isn’t too sugarcoated or too much details for you.

          • RynoTiger

            Tony, that’s too much sugar. I’m trying to eat healthy. Plus too much sugar isn’t good for the teeth.

            Though I will note that it’s time to make a move with Sappelt and Hairston…Ryan Sweeney is ready for a call up

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

            I think Rizzo is doing pretty well. His average is improving, he’s among league leaders in HR and he’s driving guys in. For his first full season in the bigs I think he’s doing his job.

          • Tony_Hall

            That move will be made when they bring up Stewart or add another IF (Chris Nelson just became available and may be a better fit for this team than Stewart anyway). With that said, Sappelt and Hairston have been extremely disappointing so far this year, but neither will create a spot for Sweeney. Only moving Soriano and most likely moving DeJesus would create a need and a spot for him.

          • paulcatanese

            Agree, and add Loe to that list.
            I know it’s a small sample size, but he doesn’t impress me as someone that will help, even if they need innings eaters.

          • Tony_Hall

            He will most likely be gone when Garza comes back.

          • SuzyS

            It’s too early to put judgements on either Soriano OR Rizzo…let’s just say that to date…they could be doing better.
            Considering Soriano’s history is that of a streak hitter…and usually in warm weather…If his BABIP is close to career average…it just says he hasn’t had a hitting streak yet…but he has had a slow start…which is not unusual for him.
            Rizzo, we don’t have enough of an MLB sample size to really know where what to expect…yet.

          • Ray Ray

            You are right. I am not a huge fan of BABIP. Do you think Rizzo has hit in a lot of bad luck this year? I don’t see it. A wise college coach of mine once said that if you hit the top half of the ball you will be a .300 hitter and if you hit the bottom half you will be a .200 hitter. Rizzo has hit a lot of lazy fly balls. Would you not admit that a guy who hits more ground balls than fly balls will have a higher BABIP. Would you not admit that a guy who gets down the first base line faster would have a higher BABIP.

          • Ray Ray

            Rizzo doesn’t have enough of a track record to say what is a low BABIP for him. He has only 2 RBI when he comes to bat after the 6th inning. He has all of his RBI in early part of the game and he is terrible when he gets 2 strikes on him.

          • Tony_Hall

            Take a look at his splits on fangraphs. Half way down the standard section is where they break down AB’s by low, med, and High leverage.

            http://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=3473&position=1B&season=2013

            It shows he does better as the leverage goes up. High leverage is very small sample size.

            Now, I don’t profess to understand all of the advanced stats, and I am still learning myself, but they can be very useful for digging deeper than just avg/HR/rbis that have been shown forever as the way to judge a players performance.

          • Tony_Hall

            I think it is just because you don’t understand how to use it, that you don’t like BABIP.

            You are right that different types of players will have different results on BABIP. That is not what it is about. It is about seeing where a player is to their norms. Soriano is currently at his career norms. Rizzo is well below. And you can argue we don’t know what his career norms will be, but he is obviously well below where he has been and where anyone realistic expectations for him will be.

          • Ray Ray

            Didn’t you say the same thing about Soriano last year at this time? Be careful with players with track records vs those without. See Bryan LaHair.

          • Tony_Hall

            I have no doubt Soriano will put up decent numbers if he is here all year. But the goal with him is to trade him, save some money, and bring back some prospects. That won’t happen if he doesn’t start hitting sooner than later.

            I just don’t think any team will be willing to trade anything of any value for him, unless he has at least a solid 30-60 days of hitting.

          • Ray Ray

            I don’t think they will get much for him regardless. He has veto power just like Dempster. He is not blocking anyone and there is no hurry to trade him. I read something the other day that said the same thing about DeJesus(he basically doesn’t have any value) so there is no hurry to trade him either. They don’t have many valuable trade chips.

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t agree. DeJesus could help a team no doubt. His ability to play all 3 OF spots and his on base ability are valuable things to playoff teams. Especially if they have an injury that creates a need. Soriano, if he is the same player as 2012, has value.

            I don’t get how you keep saying they have no trade chips, when you don’t know what teams are still in it in July and what needs they have. The market will determine if they have any valuable trade chips.

          • Ray Ray

            Seriously, do you think a playoff team will give up an above average prospect for DeJesus?

          • Ray Ray

            And it is not an insult about DeJesus but he is not a difference maker. He is not a need he would be a luxury.

          • Tony_Hall

            You usually don’t pick up difference makers at the trade deadline. Most teams are adding a 7th or 8th player to the lineup and/or adding depth to the bench.

          • Tony_Hall

            It depends. If you are team needing an OF with a high OBP and can play more than 1 OF spot, are you telling me that they won’t if they feel this is what they need to make the playoffs?

            I don’t ever try to guesstimate trades. But don’t underestimate the moves of a GM that is trying to win now and save their job. We’ve seen it first hand.

          • GaryLeeT

            I don’t understand this Soriano hits 4th, or bust mentality from Sveum. I would hit Schierholtz 2nd, Castro 3rd, Rizzo 4th, Castillo 5th, and Soriano 6th. That would take pressure off of him until he starts to heat up.

          • Tony_Hall

            I agree, I would move him down. Your lineup would work for me.

  • Tom U

    Minor league update:

    Tennessee and Kane Co. were rained out for today.

    Iowa had it’s first 3 home run game of the season as Ryan Sweeney, Brett Jackson, and Brent Lillibridge all go deep as the I-Cubs lead 8-3 in the bottom of the 6th. Lillibridge is a triple away from the cycle.

    • Tom U

      Make that four HR’s as Brian Bogusevic has now gone yard.

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

        When will we see Sweeney in Chicago? He seems to be hitting the cover off the ball.

        • Tom U

          When they trade at least 2 of their present outfielders

          • Ripsnorter1

            Let me further elaborate….not in 2013.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Update on Ian Stewart: Stewart went 0-for-2 with 3 walks, one RBI, 2 runs scored, 2 strikeouts and committed error in Iowa’s 10-6 win over Omaha on Sunday.

    Ian Stewart is 3-for-32 with seven walks, one double, five runs scored, four RBI, 12 strikeouts and 4 errors in 10 games with Iowa.

  • paulcatanese

    I could live with a core of Rizzo, Stanton, Castro, Castillo, and even Dejesus, and until better comes along, Barney(if he starts to hit, he stays).

  • GaryLeeT

    I see Cashner is back in the starting rotation for the Pads, and he beat the Giants his last time out. Looks like he will face the Cubs in the upcoming series. I wish him continued success, even against the his old team. That way, maybe it can help the Cubs get a seat at the table, when the time comes to bid for Headley.

  • paulcatanese

    What was first an error charged to Castro and then changed to a base hit could have been called either
    way. Upon review I felt it should have been an error, as the effort by Castro was minimal and could have been caught. He timed his jump very poorly and could have made a routine play.
    That’s a point that players who have good range are charged with errors on a different level. Any other shortstop in the league makes that play, Castro didn’t and there is the error. Home team scorers have a hit , and if it was at Wrigley it would have been the error.

    • Ray Ray

      The thing that is always hard to tell on liners is if a player loses the ball in the lights, sun, reflection from the stands etc. Most of us have been there. Otherwise it is a simple play.

      • paulcatanese

        It was hit very hard and could have taken a side movement on him. Point though, he really didn’t have to jump high or at all to make the play. I understand a player leaving his feet and missing the ball or off his glove being called a hit, but clearly, he could have made the play, and if someone asked him he would say he should have. I have no problem it being changed to a hit, as I mentioned, either way. But felt he could have made the play, again I would have said error, period. Average players miss those, good ones don’t. No big deal, 100 years from now no one will know the difference.