A Grand Day for Garza and the Cubs – Cubs 7, Diamondbacks 2

Game Fifty-Three – Cubs 7, Diamondbacks 2

WP – Matt Garza (1-0) LP – Wade Miley (3-5) Save – None

wflag-pubThe Cubs took advantage of the conditions at Wrigley on Friday afternoon and rode the wind to their fifth straight victory, the Cubs longest winning streak under manager Dale Sveum.

Three home runs in the first three innings accounted for all seven of the Cubs runs. Scott Hairston (1-for-3 with a home run and four RBI) hit his third career grand slam in the third inning off Wade Miley that turned an uncomfortable 2-0 advantage into a 6-0 lead. With Hairston’s granny on Friday, the Cubs hit grand slams in consecutive games for the first time since Sammy Sosa launched two slams in Arizona on July 27-28, 1998. The last time the Cubs hit grand slams in consecutive games at Wrigley Field was back in 1972 when Jim Hickman and Burt Hooton accomplished the feat on September 15-16 … 41 years ago.

Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with a home run, two RBI, two runs scored and a walk) put the Cubs up 2-0 in the first inning with his sixth longball of the season and in the process tied Matt Williams for 66th place on the All-Time home run list with no. 378 of his career. Soriano was on board for Hairston’s slam in the third after Miley intentionally walked him to face Hairston with the bases loaded. The Cubs continue to get production out of their third base platoon. Cody Ransom (1-for-3 with a home run) capped the Cubs’ scoring with his fourth longball of the year, a solo dinger in the third.

Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) doubled in the third to put runners on second and third ahead of Soriano. Rizzo moved ahead of Carlos Gonzalez for the National League lead in extra basehits (29) with his 17th double of the season. The Cubs scored seven runs on seven hits, four for extra bases, walked twice, struck out eight times and David DeJesus (1-for-3 with a HBP and two runs scored) was hit by a pitch.

Matt Garza picked up his first victory since he beat the Diamondbacks at Wrigley last July 15. Garza put together a very effective and efficient outing with help from several excellent defensive plays behind him. Garza completed seven innings while limiting the D-Backs to two runs on six hits with not walks and four strikeouts. Garza threw 93 pitches, 66 for strikes.

James Russell and Carlos Villanueva did not allow any runs over the last two innings while retiring six of the last seven batters they faced with a strikeout.

With Friday’s victory, the Cubs finished May with a 13-14 record and improved to 23-30 on the season.

Matt Garza retired Arizona in order on just 10 pitches, seven for strikes, in the first inning. Scott Hairston made an excellent leaping catch at the wall to take away extra bases from Paul Goldschmidt to end the inning.

Wade Miley plunked David DeJesus on a 1-1 pitch to start the Cubs’ first inning. Starlin Castro then reached on a swinging bunt up the third baseline. But Rizzo rapped into a 4-6-3 double play. DeJesus advanced to third with two outs.

Alfonso Soriano stepped in and lifted a 2-1 pitch into the wind. The ball ended up in the basket in left center and the Cubs took a 2-0 lead on Soriano’s sixth longball of the season. Hairston grounded out to third to end the inning.

The game remained 2-0 Cubs through second and into the bottom of the third. Matt Garza worked around a leadoff single in the second and an infield single and a bunt single in the third without allowing any runs. Garza needed only 30 pitches, 22 for strikes, to complete three innings on Friday afternoon.

David DeJesus led off the Cubs’ third with a single to left. After Castro struck out swinging, Anthony Rizzo doubled to right. DeJesus stopped at third with no outs. Miley tried to get Soriano to chase, missed on his first two offerings then decided to put him on and take his chances with Scott Hairston with the bases loaded … and it was the wrong decision.

Scott Hairston pulled a 1-1 pitch to deep left. Hairston’s fourth homer of the season, a grand slam, gave the Cubs a 6-0 lead. It was Hairston’s first slam since he took Casey Coleman deep for a four-bagger last year in a Mets’ uniform at Wrigley. Castillo grounded out to short for the second out.

Cody Ransom then made it 7-0 Cubs when he pulled a 3-1 pitch from Miley into the basket in left. After a short conference on the mound, Miley struck out Barney swinging to end the inning.

Matt Garza retired the next six batters he faced and needed only 57 pitches, 41 for strikes, to complete five innings of work.

Arizona got on the board in the sixth inning and it could have been worse. Miley reached on an infield single up the middle to start the inning. Gerardo Parra then pulled a 2-1 pitch into right for a double. Miley held at third with no outs. Didi Gregorius hit a 1-1 pitch to deep left center. Miley tagged and scored after DeJesus hauled it in for the first out. Parra held at second on the play. Paul Goldschmidt then grounded out to Barney for the second out. Parra advanced to third and trotted home when Miguel Montero doubled down the left field line. Garza refocused and caught Martin Prado looking at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning. Garza threw 79 pitches, 56 for strikes, over six innings.

With help from an excellent catch from Darwin Barney in the shift in short right to take away a hit from Jason Kubel, Matt Garza set down the side in order in the seventh to end his afternoon. The Diamondbacks managed only one other baserunner over the last two innings of the game. James Russell pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Carlos Villanueva gave up a two-out single to Martin Prado before striking out Jason Kubel swinging to end the game.

Jeff Samardzija takes on Ian Kennedy on Saturday night under the lights at Wrigley Field.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Change is inevitable, but personal growth is a choice." - Bob Proctor
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  • Ripsnorter1

    Cubs’ pitching staff–while in the batters’ box– set an NL record for the month of May with 19 RBI.

    That helps immensely!

    • Tony_Hall

      Cubs are 14th in Runs for the month of May wasn’t just the pitchers driving in runs.

      May MLB
      14th Runs 122
      10th BA 264
      16th OBP 318
      14th SLG 414
      14th OPS 733

      And yet only 23rd in HR’s with 22.

      Pitching
      6th ERA – 3.54
      2nd BA against – 228

      This team is not nearly as bad as so many think, and the scary part, as so many want them to be.

      • Ray Ray

        It’s not that many want them to be bad….as it is that it does no good to win a lot of games this year. Isn’t that right? I want them to go for it every year. I think with 2 wild cards and with the surprise of the starting rotation this year…..if Thoyer would have added a couple of bats during the offseason and improved the bullpen, this team could actually have a chance to make the playoffs. So….now I am stuck hoping they don’t win too many games so they can get a better draft pick. I hate feeling this way, but as you and many say the worst thing is to be middle of the road. So, I don’t want to be middle of the road. I can’t stand the fact that the FO doesn’t want to win now for the sake of the future. I think many feel the same way as I do.

        • Tony_Hall

          They are not making the playoffs and it won’t be close. Right now 3rd place in our division is playing at a 611 clip, or 99 wins for a full season. No 85 win team winning a wild card this year.

          Middle of the road is not good, but a team that is improving will do it when it is getting closer. So, if this team were to win 80 games, it would not be a bad thing, as it would show this team is close and/or that after selling off the short term assets, the depth and the young players brought up played well. This would be a good thing.

          I am sure Theo and Jed will say that they can’t wait until they are not drafting in the Top 10, let alone Top 20 of the draft. If you think it is difficult to be a fan of a team rebuilding, imagine being the GM or President.

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

            Well put

        • KS6

          So the team starts playing well and you still paint it in a negative light…. It seems to me you have made up your mind to be negative no matter what happens.

          • Ray Ray

            So do you think they can make the playoffs? If they can’t make the playoffs or compete for a playoff spot….Who cares?

          • KS6

            lol No! I don’t think they can make the playoffs. I am not that big of an idiot. But by that logic, why even play the rest of the season? A quater of the teams in the league should just stop playing. The point still remains you have chosen to be unhappy. If they win some games, get above 0.500, have a nice draft, and take a positive step forward as an organization you will be unhappy. If they completely tank, you will be unhappy. I mean… really… you are like the ultimate bandwagon fan. You won’t be a fan until AFTER they have won a WS.

          • Ray Ray

            I have been a fan for close to 50 years. Tell me when I should jump on. Hahahaha! Maybe you are happy watching this product. Good for you. I can’t get excited if Luis Valbuena has a good month. You must be a young kid who has been a fan for 10 to 15 years. So, what will make you happy? Would you be happy if they tank or if they possibly win 75 to 80 games? Would you say we have Theo and Jed and they will make all the right moves and maybe in another 3 years we could win? Enlighten me on what a real fan is? Tell me what a hardcore fan is like you.

          • KS6

            Haha! Your length of time as a fan is completely irrelevant! You didn’t address any of my points. You simply proved you are older! When will you be happy is the real question.

          • Ray Ray

            Answer- When they actually put a product on the field that gives them a chance to win!

          • Tony_Hall

            You still won’t be, even when they win the World Series, you will find fault.

          • Ray Ray

            You don’t know me to make a statement like that. I will be happier than a pig in sh## when they field a team that has a chance. Do you hear me…..a chance to be a playoff team again! And by the way….you will be saying how much progress this team is making if they fail to make the playoffs for the next 3 years.

          • calicub

            I think its safe to say that any person who follow this Cubs team every day is the furthest thing from a bandwagoner.

            You should have seen San Francisco in 2010!

          • paulcatanese

            Followed the Cubs since 1939,
            that’s some band I’m following.

          • KS6

            Once again, the amount of time you have been following the team is irrelevant. I believe that is called an “appeal to tradition”. This is 2013! This year and the future are all that matter (in terms of baseball).

          • paulcatanese

            Interesting, and what sort of “tradition” do you follow?
            No past at all, just the present and the future, and all prior times are irrelevant. (in baseball terms).
            That’s really sad, you have missed a wonderful sport.

          • KS6

            Lol once again ignoring the major point, you are really good at that! The past is fantastic! You are right 200% correct! However, it has no bearing on the future of this team.

          • paulcatanese

            The point I see you trying to make would apply to every single team in baseball.
            Is you’re motto “What have you done for me lately?”
            I envy you in you’re approach, you must be surprised at every little thing that happens.
            Tear down Wrigley, sell off all the players and just wait until tomorrow, and no thought of what it means to be a Cub fan,
            it doesn’t count. But the future does.

          • KS6

            Exactly! Shouldn’t that be the approach of every team in the majors? Are the Cardinals hanging on to their 2011 WS?You provide the time machine that can change what happened 50 years ago.

            Why should I be attached to Wrigley? The Cubs have never won anything in that stadium! It means nothing! What does that stadium have to do with being a Cubs fan? How they play today, tomorrow, and in the future is all that matters. Unless… you have that time machine…

          • paulcatanese

            I know one thing about that “time machine”, you won’t win it all in the future without winning in the past.
            You can’t bowl a 300 game with out a strike in the first frame.

          • Ray Ray

            wasn’t hard to figure out you have not been a fan very long. :)

          • Gramps

            Been a fan for over 60 years and actually am happy with the way this team finally has a plan and is sticking to it.

          • Tony_Hall

            Good to hear from you Gramps, and isn’t fun watching this team develop?

          • Tony_Hall

            I have said this before, many on here will be negative and complain all the way until the team wins the World Series. They will miss out on enjoying it, and then will start complaining about how they can’t repeat and pick apart that team. It is just how they choose to be a fan, all in the name of not being happy with the last 100+ years.

            And I agree, what does the past have to do with the future…..nothing, except we know what hasn’t worked.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Don’t miss the point, Tony.

        The Cubs’ pitchers set an NL mark with their bats: 19 RBI in May.

        That’s an NL mark.

        That’s a significant achievement.

        • Tony_Hall

          Just think where LaRussa would bat these guys in a lineup…

  • Ray Ray

    Jim Bowden had Matt Garza on mlb radio after the game and Garza was extremely non committal about if he preferred to be extended or traded to a contender. Stern asked Bowden what the Cubs should do……..he emphatically said that the Cubs HAVE to trade him. Garza would be crazy to not test free agency with what is out there. So…..the Cubs have to trade him. I just hope there is a bidding war between a couple of teams to bring back the value he is worth but I think there is little chance that Garza would accept a contract before the trading deadline.

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

      Absolutely Ray, I agree.

    • Tony_Hall

      If the Cubs don’t extend Garza, they have to get back more than the compensation pick as they will absolutely make Garza turn down the 1 year $13M (approx) deal to get the compensation pick, which will make it more difficult for him to sign the type of deal he wants. It benefits Garza to be traded if he doesn’t sign an extension, to not have to deal with the pick dragging down his asking price.

      All of this could make the end of July very interesting, as the pressure will be on both sides to either agree to an extension or make sure there is a trade.

      • GaryLeeT

        Garza is a great competitor, and teammate. I get this feeling like he is one of those players that would love to be onboard when “it” finally happens. Since he got payed plenty of money to not pitch a lot of games, there will be a bit of a discount, and he signs a 4 year extension, at reasonable price.

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

    So good to see Rizzo picking it back up. Leading the league in extra base hits!? His ability to work out of slumps is so encouraging for his long-term projection. I firmly believe he’ll be a perennial all-star and a guy to bat 3-hole if nobody else sets the world on fire.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Now talk about Castro….this is now a two year funk. Permanent? Has Team Theo saved Castro from a .300 BA for his career? Or is Castro the next Gary Templeton, who started out hitting .300, and then settled down in five years to being just an ordinaryh .250 hitting SS with no power? All the gloss and shine was gone at age 25….

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/t/templga01.shtml

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

        Castro seems to lose focus and lack maturity. Two qualities I see Rizzo having in spades. Mich of Castro’s stuggles have to be placed squarely in his shoulders.

      • Tony_Hall

        If you were pitching against Castro and you now have this much film on him, would you give in to him on purpose.

        NO

        He has shown he will swing at pitchers pitches and balls out of the zone.

        So pitchers will let him do that.

        That is why his AVG and OBP have been dropping. He is willing to give up far too many AB’s, by swinging at bad pitches (or good pitches from the pitchers perspective).

        He has to learn to stop swinging at these pitches and wait for pitches that are at least in the strike zone.

        Yesterday with a 2-1 count he swung (and made contact) with a pitch barely above his shoes.

        That will result in a very low batting average swinging at those pitches.

        He needs to fix his approach and the FO and coaches are trying to help him do it, as his approach will not allow him to continue to hit for a high average.

    • GaryLeeT

      Imagine what he could do with a real RBI threat hitting behind him.

      • Ray Ray

        He’s hitting .179 with RISP. Has nothing to do with who is hitting behind him.

        • GaryLeeT

          So without a threat behind him, he will get plenty of good pitches to hit? Yeah, OK.

          • Ray Ray

            Soriano has more RBI than Rizzo in May. FYI. Rizzo has been extremely inconsistent. It has nothing to do with pitchers scared to pitch to him. This is not Joey Votto. Please. He is a young player who is starting to figure it out. He could have Miguel Cabrera hitting behind him and his stats would be the same.

          • GaryLeeT

            Soriano has the fewest RBIs per AB than any #4 hitter in MLB, and that’s protection?

          • Ray Ray

            again….it is Rizzo.

          • Tony_Hall

            Another good example of picking apart one of our best players, who is leading the league in XBH’s, not the team….the entire league.

            Can’t even enjoy watching this young man develop into a very good baseball player, right before our eyes.

          • Ray Ray

            Give him a couple of years before you put him in the HOF. You were saying the same thing about Bryan LaHair last year. I think Rizzo will be a good player for several years but lets be realistic on where he is and what he can be.

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t believe Rizzo is a HOF player and I never thought Lahair was a HOF player.

          • Ray Ray

            Look at Paul Goldschmidt. Who is protecting him? He is another younger type player.He has a guy hitting .192 behind him with 15 RBI. Is it affecting his performance?

          • Tony_Hall

            Yes it is.

          • Ray Ray

            What? Look at his numbers this year.

          • Ray Ray

            Goldschmidt is hitting .444 with RISP and we know what Rizzo is hitting. Is it because Miguel Montero is so feared that they are laying meatballs over the plate. Common sense.

          • Tony_Hall

            Any player would have better numbers if they have a better hitter than they are hitting behind them….this is Common Sense.

          • Ray Ray

            I guess the best bats in the lineup are S.O.L. hahaha

          • Tony_Hall

            That’s right, because the lineup falls off of cliff after the best hitters……

            The 3/4 should be the best all around hitters, then 5 is the next best power guy, who hopefully isn’t a huge SO guy. 6th is where your power guy who SO more, etc. NO big cliff dropping right to Barney. Why do you take such basic things and make them seem so difficult. No one can possible disagree that having a better hitter behind a hitter, won’t help versus having a weaker hitter who either SO too easy or you get easy outs with. It doesn’t mean that the weaker hitter can’t get a hit if the pitcher makes a mistake.

          • Ray Ray

            Because it is absolutely ridiculous to anyone who has played the game at a high level to make some blanket statement that a guy will have better numbers with a better hitter behind them in the lineup.

          • Tony_Hall

            We will have to agree to disagree on this one, as there is not a hitter in this game who wouldn’t like to have a hitter, better than them batting behind them, then a weaker hitter. Did you see that Jackson pitched right around Goldschmidt….I wonder why??

          • Ray Ray

            I don’t disagree the like to answer, I disagree saying that it will guarantee that you will have better numbers because of it. That is what you said.

          • Tony_Hall

            I believe I said, and I quote, “Any player would have better numbers if they have a better hitter than they are hitting behind them” Sorry if I didn’t put a disclaimer on that huge guarantee, but here you go. Past performance is not guarantee of future performance and regardless if you pay $20+M per year for a player does not guarantee the past will be repeated in the future and therefore it is possible for a player to not have better numbers if the better player has an off year and is no longer the player they use to be, you know, in the past when they were the dominant hitter that would have helped the hitter batting in front of them to get better pitches, which should allow that hitter to improve their numbers, due to getting more fastballs than they would otherwise, if the before mentioned hitter wasn’t the hitter batting immediately behind them in the batting order. Of course if the hitter, who has the better hitter batting behind them, is a better curve ball hitter than all guarantees are off.

          • Ray Ray

            Sorry but I didn’t bother reading after the first few sentences but saying any player would have better numbers if a better hitter is hitting behind them is one of the most off the wall things you have ever said….and you have had some doozys

          • Tony_Hall

            Ray – Honestly, I don’t think I could find one other person to disagree with me on this concept.

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

            He has as most youngsters are. But he is making adjustments and getting out of slumps. To me that is a huge positive sign.

          • Ray Ray

            I agree. I disagree that Soriano hitting behind him has hurt him.

          • paulcatanese

            Soriono and Rizzo will hit 50 home runs between them this year. (if Soriono is still here).
            Teams still fear Soriono!.

          • Ripsnorter1

            YUP!

          • Tony_Hall

            Not even close to true. Pitchers know that Soriano will chase pitches. If Cabrera was in the on deck circle versus Soriano, would change how ANY pitcher would pitch to Rizzo, as you would rather take your chances with Rizzo than Cabrera. But with Soriano in the on deck circle, I will not give in to Rizzo and if he takes a walk so be it, and then go after Soriano, who everyone knows you can get out without throwing a strike.

            This is common sense.

          • Ray Ray

            Rizzo has a lot of holes still in his swing. Do you not watch many games? Give in to Rizzo? He hasn’t established himself yet.

          • Tony_Hall

            I am amazed to hear that a player who has not played one full season from start to finish in the majors has holes still. So as a pitcher you would lay one in for Rizzo versus facing Soriano?

          • Ray Ray

            What? How many players don’t have a hole. Some have more than others. Rizzo is someone you can get out if you execute your pitches. Look at his stats when he falls behind the count. You are a stat guy and fantasy guy.

          • Tony_Hall

            I was being sarcastic in reference to your post, of course everyone has a hole,

            In the short sample size this year, Rizzo has not hit when behind. Those numbers will go up as the season goes on, but he will remain, as all players do, with worse stats the more behind in the count they get.

          • paulcatanese

            Not bashing Tony, but if one thinks about it Rizzo has Castro in front of him and Soriono in back of him:)

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t understand what you are trying to say.

  • Ripsnorter1

    B. J. Upton to the minors? He’s hitting .146….for $75 million dollars.

    Stephen Strasburg is hurt. Again.
    He’s been seen talking to Mark Prior…..

    • GaryLeeT

      That’s what he get’s for not doing his towel drills.

    • cc002600

      yup. and this is exactly why I want the cubs to draft a 3B. (Bryant or Moran)

      Pitchers are a risk !!!

      Strasburg could be a bust, look at all the injuries already.

      • Ray Ray

        You need top of rotation pitching to win.

        • cc002600

          yes, but that can come from anywhere in the draft. Its proven that the best position players come from the top of the draft more often than not. Good Pitchers come from anywhere in the draft.
          You have a chance to get a cornerstone middle of the lineup run producer to play 3B for the next 10 years. They should grab it.
          It’s a MUCH safer pick.

          • triple

            I agree. I keep going back and forth between Moran and Bryant. I saw Moran play the other day on TV and was impressed. Most say he is the best pure hitter in the draft. Even if he doesn’t have as much power as Bryant, if he’s got a really great approach at the plate (which the reports say he does), I think as he gets older and stronger, that he can develop more power.

          • Tony_Hall

            Good pitchers can come from anywhere, just like good hitters.

            Elite players are at the top of the draft and usually the very top.

            Bryant is not a 3B for the next 10 years, for sure, anymore than Appel is a top of the rotation pitcher for the next 10 years.

            I would love to have all of these guys, but all I want is to have them draft who they believe to be the best player.

          • GaryLeeT

            But if you are comparing a pitcher to a position player in determining the “best” player, that is comparing Appels to oranges. Then how do you decide which player to take?

          • Tony_Hall

            That is why the FO gets the big bucks…to make those decisions.
            If you could add Justin Verlander or Miquel Cabrera who would take for the Cubs?

          • GaryLeeT

            But to fill a position of need, would never, ever, be a factor, right? Even if Bryant could be MLB ready at the end of next year? ;.)

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t see any team doing that in MLB. Drafting for an immediate hole on the MLB team.

            Why won’t you answer Verlander or Cabrera? My guess is you would take Verlander, as that is what this team needs to make it a competitive team, an ACE.

          • gary3411

            Idk. it seems a lot of the really really good young piitchers coming up the last few years have been first rounders.

            3-4-5 pitchers come from anywhere.

        • Ripsnorter1

          We’ve got Scott Feldman…..LOL

          • triple

            Wait, don’t you mean Chris Volstad?

    • Tony_Hall

      And yet so many people wanted to sign him….buying players in FA is just not what it use to be, the best almost never make it to FA, so teams are left to way, overpay for players with major holes in their games.

  • paulcatanese

    If someone has the time and willing to put the effort in,
    I wonder how many players Mr. Epstein has signed,
    released, DFA’d since he has been in tenure with the
    Cubs, I would guess close to 100.
    And the point may be, they are not as bad as people think, and on top of that even if they are doing well, they will be torn apart and start anew again by the middle of the season.

    • Tony_Hall

      I posted it awhile back the waiver wire transactions. The Cubs were far behind Toronto and I believe the Yankees were 2nd. The Cubs were 3rd and close to the pack of other teams. With the 40 man roster he inherited, the guys on the waiver wires were better than half of his 40 man roster. Which would cause them to grab them and keeping turning players. It also has helped that they have been one of the 1st picks in the NL for waiver wire picks.

      • paulcatanese

        Thanks for posting that Tony. Things were moving so fast and furious that I had a tough time keeping up with all the moves.

  • Ray Ray

    One observation. You can almost guess the ages of the posters on this site. Lol. The older ones want to see a winner asap. They realize this is a big market and the FO should act like it is. The “younger” posters want patience and don’t care if the team loses for several years to build a foundation of “sustained” success. Haha… Sustained Sustained Sustained. Just give me a winner one time.

    • Denver Mike

      Your post obviously paints you into one of those two categories. Instead of constantly trying to force your 50+ year old point of view down the twenty-something’s throats, why not accept that 30 years of life changes your perspective on everything, not just the Cubs. It doesn’t make you any more right, or them any more wrong, it’s just the view from where we sit in life.

      • Ray Ray

        that is my point.

      • paulcatanese

        Have to agree here, although in 1955 my car got twice the gas mileage as my
        2009. I guess that’s progress:)