Pujols’d Again – Cubs 3, Angels 4

Game Fifty-Six – Cubs 4, Angels 8

WP – Robert Coello (2-1) LP – Carlos Villanueva (1-4, BS 1) Save – Ernesto Frieri (13)

As has been the case throughout his career, Albert Pujols loves hitting Cubs’ pitching and he proved it once again on Tuesday night. The Cubs took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth after Scott Feldman put together another quality start and the offense managed just enough runs against Jered Weaver.

Carlos Villanueva took the mound to start the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Erick Aybar. After Mike Trout advanced him to second base on a deep fly to center, Albert Pujols crushed the first offering from Villanueva, Ryan Sweeney did not move and the Angels took a 4-3 lead on the 54th home run Albert Pujols has hit off Cubs’ pitching during his career. Pujols drove in three of the Angels four runs on Tuesday night.

For the 19th time this season, the Cubs lost a game in which they held a lead.

Scott Feldman notched another quality start and threw the ball rather well over six innings. Feldman labored a little early and gave up a run in the first inning on a sac fly by Albert Pujols before he settled in and tossed five innings of shutout ball. Feldman started the seventh and was lifted after giving up a RBI single to Howie Kendrick following a leadoff double by Josh Hamilton. James Russell held the lead by retiring the three batters he faced in the inning.

Scott Feldman received a no decision after allowing two runs on six hits with a walk and a strikeout in six-plus innings. Feldman threw 106 pitches, 62 for strikes.

The Cubs offense put three runs on the board in the first three innings against Jered Weaver but could not tack on and managed only two hits and baserunners over the last three innings. The Cubs scored three runs on eight hits with no walks, one hit batsman and 10 strikeouts. The Cubs went 3-for-9 with RISP and left eight men on base in a one run loss.

Ryan Sweeney (3-for-4 with a RBI) collected three of the Cubs eight hits and drove the third run with a bloop single in the third. Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with a double and a RBI) continued to thrive in the DH role while Nate Schierholtz (1-for-4 with a RBI) drove in the Cubs’ first run with a broken bat single in the opening inning. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) was on base twice and scored a run.

With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped back to 10 games under .500 with a 23-33 mark on the season.

Jered Weaver hit Luis Valbuena on a 1-2 pitch with one out in the first after DeJesus popped out to Hamilton in right to start the game. Anthony Rizzo followed and hit a 2-1 pitch off the end of his bat and into left field for a single. Valbuena stopped at second with one out. Weaver struck out Soriano swinging (1-2 pitch) for the second out.

Nate Schierholtz shattered his bat on a 3-1 pitch but got enough to pull the pitch into right field. Valbuena scored, 1-0 Cubs. Ryan Sweeney struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning. The Cubs made Weaver work in the opening inning. The Angels’ ace tossed 27 pitches in the first, 15 for strikes.

The Angels tied the game in bottom of the first after Erick Aybar doubled to right (1-1 pitch) to start the inning. Mike Trout hit a routine grounder to short. Starlin Castro fielded the ball, looked at Aybar running to third then tossed to first. Trout obviously beat out Castro’s throw. Castro did not play the ball like he knew who was at the plate. Trout swiped second easily on the first pitch to Pujols.

Albert Pujols tied the game at one with a sac fly to left. Aybar tagged and scored. Trout held at second with one out. Mark Trumbo lined out to left (2-0 pitch) for the second out and Josh Hamilton hit a soft liner to Castro for the third out.

At the end of one, the game was tied at a run apiece.

Scott Feldman pitched his way out of a jam in the second with a lot of help from Welington Castillo. Howie Kendrick led off the second with a single to center. Mike Scioscia sent Kendrick on a 1-0 pitch to Callaspo. Callaspo grounded out to short and Kendrick advanced to second on the play. Kendrick then stole third on a 1-1 pitch to Iannetta. Feldman ended up walking Iannetta to put runners on first and third with one down. After a 0-1 pitch to J.B. Shuck that missed, Welington Castillo threw a strike to Rizzo and picked off Iannetta from first base. Shuck tapped back to the mound (2-1 pitch) to end the inning.

The Cubs jumped on Jered Weaver in the third and put a crooked number on the board.

David DeJesus hit a cue-shot toward third to start the inning and reached on a throwing error by Alberto Callaspo. Luis Valbuena popped out to second for the first out. Anthony Rizzo walked on four pitches.

With runners on first and second with one out, Alfonso Soriano took two out of the zone before dropping a 2-1 pitch into left field. DeJesus scored and the Cubs took a 2-1 lead. Schierholtz flied out to right for the second out. Ryan Sweeney came through with a big two out single to right. Sweeney blooped Weaver’s first pitch in front of Hamilton. Rizzo scored, 3-1 Cubs. Castro popped out to short on the first pitch to end the inning.

Scott Feldman retired the Angels in order for the first time in the third. Feldman needed 40 pitches, 21 for strikes, to complete three innings on Tuesday night.

Both Feldman and Weaver settled in after the fourth and the game remained 3-1 Cubs through the top of the seventh. Weaver left after six innings and turned the game over to the Angels’ pen.

Scott Feldman started the seventh with a two-run lead.

Josh Hamilton led off the seventh with a double to right (2-2 pitch). It was the first time since the second inning that the Angels put a runner into scoring position. Howie Kendrick followed with a single back up the middle and just out of the reach of Feldman. Hamilton scored and cut the Cubs’ lead to 3-2. Dale Sveum made the slow walk and went to his pen for James Russell.

Scioscia asked Alberto Callaspo to bunt Kendrick to second. Russell slid on his knees toward the line and threw the ball to Rizzo to get the first out of the inning. Russell then caught Chris Iannetta looking at a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Chris Nelson hit for J.B. Shuck and popped out to right to end the inning.

After seven complete, the Cubs were clinging to a 3-2 lead.

The Cubs could not tack on against Robert Coello in the eighth and Carlos Villanueva took the hill for the eighth.

Erick Aybar singled to center to start the inning. Mike Trout launched a 1-1 pitch to deep center. DeJesus caught the ball near the wall but had to back track and could not get off a good throw. Aybar tagged and advanced to second … but it would not matter.

Albert Pujols stepped in and launched Villanueva’s first pitch well over the wall in left. Sweeney did not move, it was a no-doubter. Pujols stood at home plate and admired what he had just accomplished. Villanueva retired Trumbo and Hamilton to end the inning but the damage had been done.

Darwin Barney reached with a bloop single to right with one out in the ninth. Barney advanced to second on a groundout to first by DeJesus but Ernesto Frieri struck out Valbuena swinging to end the game.

Matt Garza faces Jason Vargas in the series finale with the Angels on Wednesday afternoon.

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  • paulcatanese

    Tough loss, the red and white and Pujols reminded me of St Louis to double the pain. Cubs played a pretty good game I thought.
    The Angels have too many good players not to come alive at some point, but that made me feel that the Cubs are not that far behind them.
    I sure hope Castro can get it going, he looks like he is festering after his bats. He definitely is pressing.
    Wellington Castillo really has to steel himself against the high pitch, as seen tonight, they just keep climbing the ladder and he keeps climbing right with it,
    Soriono,Rizzo, Shierholtz,Sweeny Feldman,all had good nights, And Castillo threw a gem down to first
    base for a pickoff, and Barney hung in as well,
    Well tomorrow is another day, and the sun will shine.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Castro was going great until Team Theo got ahold of him last year. They might have ruined him for good. I hope not because he has exceptional hand and eye coordination. But it also takes confidence to hit ML pitching. Santo said it over and over: “It takes talent to get here, but it takes confidence to stay here.” Poor coaching and management can shoot a player’s confidence. Zonk says that once a player makes it to the ML level, you cannot mess with his entire approach and expect him to successfully change. That process has to have happened much earlier.

      I was listening to 670theScore yesterday when Len Casper was being interviewed. He said he thinks the Cubs should just move Castro over to 3B since his fielding is not “exceptional.” But then you have a problem with his bat: not enough HR/power to play 3B, and now not enough speed and BA. Wow. Take an all-star and just turn him into a bench player. Now that’s the Cubs’ system I’ve come to know and love.

      They are doing a good job of ruining him.

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

        Castro is his own worst enemy. Time to quit blaming the front office for all the ails of individual players on the team.

        When have they taken an all-start and turned him into a bench player? I must have missed that. Castro is in a funk and it’s largely because of his own lack of focus and ability to adjust. It’s up to him to turn it around with the help of the coaches.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Castro made the All-Star team in both 2011 and 2012.

          Now that they have successfully lowered his BA from .300+ to .250, and he’s stopped stealing bases, and the power is down, his offensive production is too low to play 3B. Len Casper is saying his defense is too porous
          to play SS.

          That would make him a bench player. See?

          • 07GreyDigger

            Castro at his current production would be a worse 3B than Valbuena? Please.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Yes.
            Valbuena ….248 BA….357 OBP….436 slug

            Castro…..253 BA….289 OBP…..350 slug

            Much worse.

          • 07GreyDigger

            I meant overall. You can’t tell me you think Valbuena is a better player than Castro.

          • Ripsnorter1

            When you said, “Castro, at his current production level, would be a worse 3B” than Valbuena, I took it to mean that you were comparing Castro 2013 vs. Valbuena 2013. And the stats say Valbuena has been better offensively this year.

            Castro is in trouble. I hope he can get out soon.

        • Ray Ray

          As you know I 100% agree with RIP. He was a .300 hitter for 2 years. Do you think they all of a sudden now found his achilles heel? It is the same thing now with Carlos Gomez with the Brewers and Iglesias with the Red Sox. One thing that I believe in is that you have to work with the skillset of each INDIVIDUAL player. Do you not think that he is fighting mentally every at bat. Some on here think that that means that we are saying the FO is telling them to take a pitch down the middle. Please…..that is a ridiculous statement. They are in his head to TAKE more pitches and be more SELECTIVE. But…..when you do that, many start to think too much. Many start taking away there natural hit ability and start taking pitches that they would normally crush. I believe that Castro can be one of the best young players in the game, BUT the way the Cubs are handling him, I think now it is best to trade him and let him flourish with another team. Either Sveum and his staff need to go….or Castro. Who do you think I would prefer let go?? LOL.

          • Ripsnorter1

            You are correct. The pitches are coming in so very fast, that hitting in the ML is a reflex action. Now you get your coaches pushing you too hard, and you starting thinking instead of reflexively responding, and suddenly, you can no longer hit ML pitching.

            And Team Theo just extended him, too…..

  • triple

    I missed the beginning of the WGN broadcast and didn’t know who the announcer was for a while. But I gotta say that Hollandsworth is way better to listen to than JD. Why was he there filling in anyway?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      JD is attending his daughter’s graduation

      • Ray Ray

        After hearing a little of Hollandsworth last night he better not miss any more broadcasts. Wally Pipp

  • Ripsnorter1

    Let’s look at how Starlin Castro has improved with Dale Sveum, James Rowson, and Rob Deer teaching him how to hit.

    But first, let look at Rob Deer’s lifetime stats. 11 yrs in MLB…and here’s his yearly BA (remember: BA doesn’t mean a thing anymore. LOL)

    .167

    .185.

    .232

    .238

    .252

    .210

    .209

    .179

    .247

    .210

    .217

    .196

    .180

    Career: .220 hitter, .324 OBP…..442 slug

    Poor RBI hitter as well.

    But he could work the count. He lead MLB is strikeouts 4 times.

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

      The best coaches aren’t usually the best players. Quite the opposite in fact. Castro has tanked lately because of himself. Quit blaming everyone else! If he has the same accountability you place on him he’ll never have much success.

      • Ripsnorter1

        If you go to the next thread, Sveum admits that all the coaching “could be getting into his [Castro's] head.”

        Out of the horse’s mouth….

  • Ray Ray

    So many believe that you have to have one universal way to hit. Everyone needs to work the count and swing at pitches you can handle. Some believe that a pitcher with throw a cookie to them EVERY at bat. That doesn’t happen! It happens in the minors and that is why so many batters can put up good numbers in the minors and then struggle in the majors. Let’s take a look at Carlos Gomez with the Brewers. He was told for years when he came up that you are fast…just put the bat on the ball on the ground, work the count and take walks. Go the other way. Look at his numbers from 2007 to 2011. In 2012….he went back to what he had done when he was successful. He almost hit 20 HR’s last year and this year he has been a beast.

    I really believe that we will start to see this happen more often with other players. This hitting philosophy is ruining many players. It is taking away the natural aggressiveness and players are looking for walks instead of crushing the ball. Many baseball experts are now touching on this subject as well. To think that pitchers are now finally realizing how to pitch Castro is ridiculous. They had the same game plan to get him out in 2012. This is not new! They’ve had the same game plan for Soriano for 15 years. The difference is that Soriano is a 15 year vet and Castro is a 23 year old impressionable kid who just signed a multi year contract. Baseball is such a mental game and when you are fighting with yourself at the plate like Castro is…you take pitches down the middle and swing at pitches out of the zone.

  • John_CC

    You like Dan Bernstein, don’t you Rip?

    Starlin Castro is in a slump, that is all.

    http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/06/starlin-castro-is-in-a-slump-that-is-all/

    • Ripsnorter1

      I detest Bores and Bernstein.