Schierholtz Lays the Wood on the Cardinals – Cubs 2, Cardinals 1

Game Thirty-Three – Cubs 2, Cardinals 1

WP – Travis Wood (3-2) LP – Lance Lynn (5-1) Save – Kevin Gregg (5)

wflag-pubTravis Wood put together his seventh straight quality start and Nate Schierholtz’s two-run homer in the fourth gave Wood and the Cubs’ pen all the runs they would need on Tuesday night. The Cubs snapped the Cardinals’ six-game winning streak and beat Lance Lynn for the first time in five tries.

Travis Wood was excellent once again. Wood not only beat the Redbirds for the first time in a Cubs’ uniform but he limited a very good offense to just an Allen Craig solo home run in the second inning. Tuesday night was one of Wood’s best performances in a Cubs’ uniform. He had very good command all night and issued only two walks while striking out eight and allowing five hits in 6 2/3 innings. Wood pitched into the seventh inning and threw 114 pitches, 72 for strikes.

Carlos Marmol threw 1 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball. Marmol got the job done but a rare baserunning mistake by Yadier Molina that ended the eighth inning helped Marmol wiggle out of trouble. Kevin Gregg pitched a perfect ninth and earned his fifth save.

Luis Valbuena, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo turned in several excellent defensive plays on Tuesday night that took hits away from the Cardinals.

Cubs pitching recorded only two three-up, three-down innings on Tuesday night as the Cardinals went 0-for-3 with RISP and stranded nine runners on base.

Nate Schierholtz (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) and Alfonso Soriano (2-for-3 with a run scored) collected three of the Cubs’ five hits … and scored both of the Cubs’ runs. Soriano’s second hit of the night in the fourth inning with two down kept the inning alive for Schierholtz. Starlin Castro added a double in the ninth on the 11th pitch of the at bat and Welington Castillo (1-for-2 with a HBP) reached base in two of his three plate appearances.

With Tuesday’s win, the Cubs improved to 4-5 on the homestand and 13-20 on the season.

Travis Wood retired the side in order in the first on 15 pitches, 12 for strikes. After the Cubs went down quickly and quietly in the first, Allen Craig led off the second with a solo home run to the bleachers in left. Craig’s second longball of the season gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. Wood did not allow the homer to bother him. Wood sat down Molina (swinging strikeout), Freese (grounder to short) and Jay (flyout to DeJesus at the wall in left center) to end the inning.

The Cubs put two runners on in the second, but not at the same time. Alfonso Soriano notched the Cubs’ first hit with a bloop single to center (3-2 pitch). Schierholtz grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Luis Valbuena walked but Castillo struck out swinging to end the inning. Lance Lynn threw 37 pitches over the first two innings, 22 for strikes.

Travis Wood made quick work of Kozma and Lynn to start the third. Matt Carpenter singled to left (1-1 pitch) and advanced to third on a double to left by Carlos Beltran. Travis Wood then jammed Matt Holliday with a 2-0 pitch. Holliday broke his bat and grounded out to short for the third out. Wood threw 47 pitches, 31 for strikes, in the first three innings.

After the Cubs did nothing in the home-half of the third, Travis Wood pitched his way out of a big jam in the fourth. Luis Valbuena made an excellent diving stop and threw out Allen Craig at first to start the inning. Yadier Molina then reached on a swinging bunt up the third baseline. Freese chopped a 1-0 pitch toward the hole at second. Rizzo fielded and threw to Castro but Freese beat out the return throw. Jon Jay then bounced a 1-2 pitch back up the middle. Castro showed off his range and fielded the ball behind the second base bag. Castro lost the handle on the ball in the transition and Jay reached on what was ruled an error. Wood pitched around Pete Kozma and walked him to load the bases. Wood struck out Lynn swinging to end the inning.

Lance Lynn struck out Castro and Rizzo swinging to start the fourth. Alfonso Soriano kept the inning going with a bloop single to right. Schierholtz stepped in with two down, a runner on first and the Cubs trailing 1-0.

Nate Schierholtz looked at three straight out of the zone then launched a 3-1 pitch from Lance Lynn just to the left of straight away center. Schierholtz’s fourth longball of the season gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Lynn struck out Valbuena swinging to end the inning.

Travis Wood stayed sharp in the fifth. Wood issued a two out walk to Matt Holliday, but that was all. Wood threw 85 pitches, 53 for strikes, over the first five innings.

Wood worked around a two-out single by Jon Jay in the sixth. A wild pitch allowed Jay to advance to second before Pete Kozma grounded out to third to end the inning. It appeared Wood’s night was done after throwing 104 pitches, 65 for strikes, in six innings.

Dale Sveum left Travis Wood in to start the seventh to face Lance Lynn and Matt Carpenter. Wood struck out Lynn and Carpenter lined a 3-2 pitch to DeJesus in center for the second out. Sveum made the slow walk and replaced Wood with Carlos Marmol. Wood left to a loud ovation that quickly turned to boos as Marmol trotted in from the pen.

Marmol surrendered a bloop single to Carlos Beltran … but Matt Holliday flied out to left center to end the inning.

The Cubs were not able to tack on in the seventh. Carlos Marmol stayed on for the eighth and the Cardinals helped him out of a jam. Starlin Castro made an excellent play in the hole and threw out Allen Craig at first to start the inning. Yadier Molina then blooped a single in front of a diving Schierholtz in shallow right. Freese flied out to right and Molina stole second on a 2-1 pitch to Jon Jay. Castillo’s throw was a little short and Molina slid around Castro’s tag. Marmol walked Jay and put runners on first and second with two down.

After failing to get Marmol to bite the first time, Molina got a walking lead then took off for third. Marmol stepped off the rubber and threw to Valbuena, who applied the tag for the out. Molina and the Cardinals have taken advantage of the Cubs like that for years, on Tuesday night Molina ran his team out of an inning.

Starlin Castro put together an excellent 11-pitch at bat off Trevor Rosenthal with two outs in the eighth that ended with a double down the right field line. Anthony Rizzo just missed a home run to center as Jay hauled it in at the wall to end the inning.

Kevin Gregg retired the Cardinals in order to end the game … it is always a great day when the Cubs beat the Cardinals.

The Cubs and Cardinals wrap up the two-game series on Wednesday afternoon … Carlos Villanueva against Jake Westbrook.

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Quote of the Day

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

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  • paulcatanese

    Pretty cheesy error called on Castro, all the way over to the second base side, good range, but don’t know if he would get the runner or not, just not an error on Castro but the official scorer.
    On the plus side, another good pitching performance by Wood and actually the whole staff ( including Marmol, who had me worried). And the Cubs got the most out of their runs.
    Barney looks totally lost at the plate, takes the outside strike and tries to push the inside strike to right, ain’t gonna happen Barney.
    Castro has to get a better view of what’s a strike and what is not. He looked bad for most of the night. Even though he had an eleven pitch at bat his last time up, not even a third were strikes, his double was a good swing and contact, but by all rights he should have walked twice in that at bat.

    • Tony_Hall

      That’s why errors aren’t the best way to judge defense. If he doesn’t get to the ball it’s a single and helps his Fielding %.

      I have never seen an 11 pitch AB that was bad. Fouling off pitches, whether they are balls or strikes is what you have to do when you have 2 strikes. Taking a called third strike, just because you would have been right, doesn’t mean the umpire still isn’t the ultimate decision maker. Keep fouling them off, until you get a pitch you can do something with, like hitting a double.

      • paulcatanese

        Don’t care how you wash it, Castro is undisciplined when it comes to recognizing balls and strikes.
        And it’s amazing how a hitter can foul off pitches on purpose waiting for a pitch that he can hit a double on, there are nine guys out there with gloves on.
        Walks are not in his mind, not then, not now and not in his future.
        He needs to improve that part of his game.

    • Ray Ray

      I think they missed their opportunity to maximize Barney’s trade value. Should have dealt him over the winter.

  • Theboardrider

    Tracis Wood…what a great trade that has turned out to be for us. Worked well for both teams but anytime yout get a quality starter it’s a win for the club.

    • Tony_Hall

      Amazing to think that we received a quality SP for a set-up guy with only 1 year of control left….and an OF who has made it to the majors (not with any success yet), and a young 2B who is hitting 317/425/400 at Tennessee. That trade will continue to look better as time moves forward, as whether Torreyes or Watkins, or Baez,,etc, make it to the majors to take over 2B, we will have offense from that position soon enough.

  • Tony_Hall

    Let’s hope and pray that JA Happ will be ok. Scariest part of baseball, the ball coming back to the pitcher so fast. My son took a one hopper this year off the chest (he was ok and pitched 4 more innings) and has caught 2 that were line drives back at him and you just take a deep breath after each one. A player for Belvidere (HS) took one off the face and was hurt bad this spring and I believe he has now returned after about a month of being out.

    • paulcatanese

      That’s a few more votes for wooden bats, may not have stopped what happened, but the velocity would have been a little less forceful.

    • Theboardrider

      When I was in 7th grade I took one of my collarbone that snapped it in half. I was in a brace for two months. Honestly I was never the same. I still pitched 2 no-hitters after that but watching video of myself was painful. After delivering every pitch I would flinch when the batter swung. Subconsciously I just couldn’t get over it…

      • paulcatanese

        My son pitched in LL, high school, junior college, division 1 and two years in Italy, and never was hit by a batted ball, explanation,,, dumb luck, I don’t know any other way to explain it. Watched most of his games and feared that also.
        I would like to say the ones that were hit out of the park were the same, dumb luck,,,but.

    • paulcatanese

      Another point Tony, heard them discuss the same thing on MLB today and were going over what kind of protection (helmut wise) that pitchers could wear while on the mound. Turns out more difficult than first imagined. Pitchers are concerned the extra weight would throw their timing off.
      I have seen a number of pitchers wearing helmuts and even a face mask for protection.
      Better the timing is off than their head.

  • Tony_Hall

    Here is some info on Feldman. I see a new higher arm slot and he is not crossing his body from having his arm so far away from his body. I haven’t watched him in the past, to know if these are just patterns he goes through, or if this was a new adjustment that has made his stuff look like….Chris Carpenter or Roy Halladay…..don’t believe me just ask Chase Headley.

    Another name to keep in mind for free agency, and for the days leading up to the trade deadline: Scott Feldman, who has been throwing the ball well after a rough spring. Feldman shut out the Rangers for seven innings Monday, and now has allowed only five earned runs in his past 27 2/3 innings. The batting average on balls put in play against him is .206, suggesting that he’s pitching with some good fortune. But keep in mind that Feldman has shown the ability to go on major streaks in the past; a burst of strong starts this season could not be timed better for him.

    After Feldman cut through the Padres May 1, Dale Sveum talked about the new-and-improved Feldman:

    “From what I am seeing, there is more arm speed and more velocity on the cutter,” Sveum said. “That will always make things a little more crisp. When you add a couple more [miles per hour] things change a little bit. Location and not walking guys is always the formula for pitching [well]. He had a game plan to pitch those lefties in with the cutter and did it all night long.”

    And the Padres had similar observations. From Carrie Muskat’s story:

    “That’s pitching like Chris Carpenter or Roy Halladay, that type of stuff — bringing it back from inside and cutting it on the outside,” [Chase] Headley said. “When guys do that, sometimes you just have to tip your cap.”

    Padres manager Bud Black said Feldman mixed his pitches well.

    “We just couldn’t solve the movement,” Black said. “He was hitting corners, but I think the thing that really got him to throw a complete game was the movement on the fastball, keeping us off-guard both in and away, and the timing with the slower breaking ball. We just couldn’t muster any good swings against him.”

    • Theboardrider

      So far, with the exception of Jackson, the offseason moves are looking really savvy. If he, Vliianueva and Schierholtz keep this up we’ll have 3 huge trade pieces at the deadline.

      • Ray Ray

        Scott Baker? Scott Hairston? Fujikawa? I would not label any of those 3 as “huge” trade pieces. But the real issue is that you have a 4 year 50 mil commitment with E Jax. Those others aren’t a “huge” investment.

        • Theboardrider

          All 3 are pieces. Huge, probably not, but no reason they can’t be in the Scott Baker (infielder), Geo Soto range.

          The other 3 could be huge pieces. Overall they were all solid signings. They’ll contribute and some will bring back prospects which is what this organization is desperate for.

          • Ray Ray

            Sorry for my confusing post. I meant Villanueva,Schierholtz and Feldman are not “huge” trade pieces. They are trade pieces but I disagree on how much value they have. Travis Wood might be the one to deal now.

          • Theboardrider

            I get what you’re saying but I think if they can play 2/3rd as good as they’ve been playing between now and the break, they can bring back a return similar to Paul Maholm. Each…

    • paulcatanese

      If Feldman continues with the arm slot where it was in his last outing he will have turned it around where he can be a real force in the Cubs plan.
      Good article Tony.

  • Theboardrider

    What a surprise Valbuena has been. Between he and Ransom, 3rd base is the least of our concerns.