The Cubs Post a ‘W’ at Wrigley – Cubs 4, Phillies 3

Game One Hundred Thirty-Five – Cubs 4, Phillies 3

WP – Carlos Villanueva (3-8) LP – Zach Miner (0-1) Save – Kevin Gregg (28)

wflag-pubThe Cubs rebounded nicely from Friday’s rough loss, scratched back from an early deficit and beat the Phillies on Saturday afternoon.

Starlin Castro (2-for-5 with a home run and a double) had another excellent day at the plate, and in the field. Castro delivered the game winner in the sixth inning. Castro launched a 1-0 pitch over the wall in center and his eighth longball of the season ended up being the difference in the game. After managing two extra base hits throughout the first 29 days of the month, Castro has four extra basehits in the last two games … three doubles and a home run.

The Cubs offense had a good day at the plate and while they could not cash in as many runs as they should have, they made Cliff Lee work and the offense made up for early defensive miscues. The Cubs faced the fourth different Cy Young award winner in the last week and knocked him out of the game after five innings. Lee tied a season-high with three walks and threw 113 pitches, 72 for strikes.

Cole Gillespie (1-for-3 with a sac fly and two RBI) tied the game twice on Saturday. Gillespie singled in Welington Castillo (2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored) with the tying run in the first inning then tied the game at three with a sacrifice fly in the fifth that plated Donnie Murphy (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored). Castillo drove in Murphy with a single in the third that tied the game at two at the time.

Darwin Barney (2-for-4 with a double and a walk) and Junior Lake (2-for-3 with a walk) reached base three times and the Cubs outhit the Phillies 11-6 on Saturday. The Cubs went 3-for-10 with RISP and left 11 men on base.

Chris Rusin pitched a better game than his final line indicates. Rusin was charged with three runs, two earned, on four hits with two walks, two hit batsmen and three strikeouts. Rusin threw 84 pitches, 51 for strikes, in five innings. Three defensive miscues, one charged error, led to two of the three runs the Phillies scored while Rusin was on the hill. Rusin made only one mistake and Kevin Frandsen deposited it in the bleachers in left center.

Dale Sveum did an excellent job with his pen on Saturday and five relievers combined on four innings of shutout ball in relief of Rusin. The Phillies managed only two singles over the last four frames and the Cubs’ pen did not issue a single walk. Carlos Villanueva picked up the win after tossing 1 1/3 innings of scoreless ball. Villanueva, James Russell and Blake Parker tossed a scoreless seventh. Cole Gillespie and Donnie Murphy gave assists to Pedro Strop in the eighth with two excellent defensive plays. And Kevin Gregg picked up the save after allowing a single in the ninth to Michael Young.

Saturday’s victory was a total team effort.

The Cubs won a game at Wrigley for just the fourth time in 21 home games (4-17) and finished August with an 8-20 record.

With Saturday’s victory over the Phillies, the Cubs improved to 57-78 on the season.

After Chris Rusin worked around a leadoff single by Michael Young in the first inning without allowing the Phillies to score, the Cubs wasted a scoring chance in the first inning.

Darwin Barney reached on a one-out double down the left field line. Anthony Rizzo put together an excellent eight-pitch at bat that ended with a walk. Donnie Murphy stepped in with runners on first and second with one out. Murphy worked a full count but took a 3-2 pitch that was called strike three. Both Barney and Rizzo took off with the pitch and Ruiz threw out Barney by a mile … the pitch Murphy took was too close to take with runners moving with the pitch. Cliff Lee threw 23 pitches in the first inning, 14 for strikes.

Chris Rusin struck out Darin Ruf looking and retired Mayberry on a grounder to the hole at short. Castro made a good pick and a strong throw to retire Mayberry for the second out.

The power hitting Kevin Frandsen stepped in and pulled a 1-1 pitch into the bleachers in left center. Frandsen’s second homer in as many days and fifth of the season gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Rusin hit Roger Bernadina with a 1-1 pitch. Cliff Lee grounded out to second (1-2 pitch) to end the inning. Rusin threw 31 pitches, 20 for strikes, over the first two innings.

Welington Castillo lined a 1-2 pitch back up the middle and into center with one out in the second inning. Darnell McDonald (1-2 pitch) reached on an infield single to third. With runners on first and second with one out, Cole Gillespie singled to center and plated Castillo with the tying run. Rusin bunted McDonald and Gillespie to second and third. Starlin Castro flied out to right center to end the inning. Lee threw 46 pitches, 31 for strikes, over the first two innings.

Chris Rusin made quick work of Young and Rollins to start the third inning and appeared to retire Utley on a grounder to third. But Anthony Rizzo took his eye off the throw from Murphy and did not catch the ball. Utley reached and instead of three up, three down on eight pitches, Rusin had to go back to work.

Rusin then picked off Utley from first base before a 2-1 pitch to Ruiz. Rusin made an accurate throw to Rizzo, but his throw to second was on the third base side of the bag. The ball skipped past Barney and Chase Utley held at second with two outs. Ruiz pulled a 2-2 pitch into the left field corner, Utley scored and the Phillies took a 2-1 lead. A wild pitch on a 1-2 offering to Ruf advanced Ruiz to third. Rusin walked Ruf and put runners on the corners with two down. A visibly frustrated Rusin retired Mayberry on a foul out to Rizzo to finally end the inning.

Chris Rusin threw 16 additional pitches after the Rizzo error in the third and retired Chase Utley twice. The Phillies took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the third and Rusin needed 55 pitches, 35 for strikes, to complete three innings on Saturday.

Cliff Lee made quick work of Barney (lineout to center) and Rizzo (groundout to first) to start the third. Donnie Murphy then reached on a fielding error by Michael Young. Junior Lake followed with a single to left. Murphy then advanced to third when Ruf lost his footing after catching the ball. With runners on the corners and two down, Welington Castillo blooped a single into right. Murphy scored and tied the game at two. With Lake at third and Castillo at first, McDonald grounded out to the hole at short for the third out. Lee threw 69 pitches, 45 for strikes, over the first three innings.

But the game did not remain tied for long. Rusin hit Kevin Frandsen with a 1-1 pitch to start the fourth inning. Bernadina grounded into a 3-6 fielder’s choice … the Cubs could not double up the speedy Bernadina. Cliff Lee tried to bunt Bernadina to second but bunted the ball right back to the mound. Rusin threw a strike to Castro to nail Bernadina at second but Lee hustled down the line and took over at first base.

Michael Young drove Rusin’s first pitch to right field. The ball hit off the sidewall and the inexperience of Cole Gillespie cost the Cubs a run. Gillespie got too close to the sidewall, the ball hit and bounced back toward the field. Gillespie tried to correct his route, slipped and Lee scored on what was ruled as a triple for Michael Young … 3-2 Phillies. Rusin walked Jimmy Rollins but retired Utley on a grounder to Rizzo to end the inning. Rusin threw 68 pitches, 41 for strikes, over the first four innings.

Starlin Castro reached on a two-out double to right in the fourth. Darwin Barney walked to put two on with two down for Anthony Rizzo. Lee retired Rizzo on a grounder to first for the third out. Lee needed 87 pitches, 53 for strikes, to complete four innings.

At the end of four complete, the Cubs trailed 3-2.

Chris Rusin issued a one out walk to Ruf in the fifth, but that was all. Rusin threw 84 pitches, 51 for strikes, in five innings of work.

Donnie Murphy led off the Cubs’ fifth with a double into the left field corner. Junior Lake pulled a 1-2 pitch into left past a diving Michael Young. Murphy held at third with no outs. Castillo struck out swinging with runners on the corners for the first out. Darnell McDonald worked a walk to load the bases. Cliff Lee jumped ahead of Gillespie 0-2. Cole Gillespie then lifted a 1-2 pitch into center. Murphy tagged and scored the tying run. Lake moved up to third and Dale Sveum sent up Cody Ransom to hit for Rusin with runners on first and third with two down. Ransom struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Cubs made Cliff Lee throw 113 pitches, 71 for strikes, in five innings but were just 3-for-9 with RISP and left nine men on base in their first five at bats.

At the end of five innings, the game was tied at three.

Carlos Villanueva faced the minimum in the sixth. Pete Orr hit for Cliff Lee and reached on one-out single to left. Young worked a full count before lining out to Junior Lake in right center. Orr was running with the pitch and was doubled off first to end the inning.

Starlin Castro led off the sixth and launched a 1-0 pitch from Zach Miner to deep center. The ball ended up near the batter’s eye and Castro’s eighth longball of the season, and first since July 31, gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead. Darwin Barney followed with a single to center. Rizzo worked a 3-1 count before flying out to left for the first out. Barney swiped second on the first pitch to Lake after Murphy fouled out to Rollins for the second out. Lake worked a walk and Castillo stepped in with two on and two down. Castillo worked a full count before grounding out to third to end the inning.

At the end of six, the Cubs led 4-3.

Carlos Villanueva (Rollins), James Russell (Utley) and Blake Parker (Ruiz) retired the Phillies in order in the seventh … and the Cubs did nothing against Cesar Jimenez in the seventh.

Pedro Strop took the hill in the eighth with the Cubs up 4-3. With help from excellent catches by Cole Gillespie and Donnie Murphy, Strop retired the side in order in the eighth.

The Cubs did nothing against B.J. Rosenberg in the eighth … and Kevin Gregg took the hill for the ninth inning.

Michael Young singled to right with two down in the ninth. Anthony Rizzo made an excellent diving stop on a grounder in the hole and beat Jimmy Rollins to the bag to end the game.

The Cubs wrap up the series and season series with the Phillies on Sunday afternoon … Jake Arrieta vs. Kyle Kendrick in the finale.

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Quote of the Day

"Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time." – Lou Brock

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  • Cubtex

    I will give credit when credit is due. Sveum managed to win the game today. Great job of using a fresh bullpen. Regardless of their record, you should play the game to win,

    • Tony_Hall

      Does that mean playing vets over kids down the stretch, if that gives you a better chance to win that days game?

      • Theboardrider

        Wish i had seen the game. Glad to hear we played to win for sure. I don’t see many guys (exception Watkins), that I’d like to see in the game.

        Thanks for the report as always Neil. And for your observation Ray.

        • cubtex

          Sveum used 3 different pitchers in the 7th inning with a 1 run lead. He didn’t let Russell do something that he isn’t capable of and put Blake Parker in to get the last out in the 7th I didn’t catch the early part of it…..but saw the last couple.

      • cubtex

        of course not Tony. You play the kids and sometimes you will get blown out…but if you have a lead late…make the proper “BASEBALL” decisions to give the team the best chance to win that day. That might still mean putting a guy like Blake Parker in a crucial situation to see if he can handle it, or even a Rondon, but manage the bullpen and game to win. If you are down a run late a have a leadoff guy get on….lay down a bunt, use a hit and run to get the tie run in scoring position. Steal a base(like Sandberg did yesterday in the 9th) Teach the team the proper way to play a game down the stretch. The team should be prepared to play the game to win every time they take the field regardless of their roster.

        • Tony_Hall

          I believe the team (players) are prepared to play the game to win every day. Any player that doesn’t won’t be around MLB very long, if they even made it.

          I have seen Sveum steal bases, hit and run and even bunt, so I don’t believe Sandberg has the market cornered on these moves.

          Proper baseball decisions are also debatable. So don’t think that just because a manager does something against what you consider proper, that they are not trying to win.

          • cubtex

            have a good night. I am not going to get into it with you. Watching the Longhorns struggle against the all powerful New Mexico St and Clemson vs Georgia. I used Sandberg as an example from yesterday but you always want to turn it into an attack. Have a good one.

          • Tony_Hall

            Good night, not sure where the attack was….at all!

      • Ripsnorter1

        I disagree with Cubtex. Sveum should manage to lose all of the remaining games.
        Get the highest draft pick possible. Play the kids and let them get some experience.
        Play Castro and Rizzo and let them get some more experience. But by all means,
        lose all of the remaining games and get that #3 pick.

        • cubtex

          They aren’t good enough to win many games so I don’t think that #3 or #4 pick is in jeopardy. I am saying that the few games that they are leading in the late innings….manage to win.

      • Rock

        Yes, if the vets give you a better chance to win that day. The cash the fans have to put out for every game, everyone from the front office to the 25th man on the roster should do everything within the rules of the game to win every game. These long suffering fans deserve it.

        • Tony_Hall

          No one forces anyone to put out cash for a game. If you don’t feel it is a good value to you, don’t go.

          I would hope that the long suffering fans would want a winning team, that plays in October and ultimately wins a World Series. That’s what I want and winning 68 instead of 60 games means nothing to me.

          I really doubt many fans want to see a few extra wins in September of a season where the Cubs are not going to the playoffs, by playing a vet who will be gone in a month over a giving experience to a young player who could be around the next 6 years.

  • cubtex

    It is nice that Kevin Gregg has 28 saves……but? He is not signed after this season…..Correct? Does the team want to bring him back? If the answer is no….I hope in September if they are considering Strop to fill that roll that Sveum moves him in sooner rather than later. Or bring up Schlitter to let him try. Letting Gregg close out games in September only benefits Gregg and not the team if they are not planning on bringing him back.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Schlitter has no chance to succeed at the ML level. None at all. Forgetaboutit.
      He’s Laddie Renfroe, as I posted earlier. Not a chance.

      Strop? Let’s be honest: I doubt that he can successfully close, but I could be wrong. He looks like an eighth inning guy on days he has control. But I would not expect him to successfully make the transition to closer.
      A closer has to succeed at a minimum of 75% or better.

      Re-sign Gregg. Yup. It stinks. I agree it stinks. But resign him to a chump change
      contract and let him get 45 saves next year with a 2.999 WHIP. After all, we want to
      top pick in the 2014 draft, don’t we?

  • Ripsnorter1

    I’m a little surprised about how little the Pirates paid for Justin

    The player they gave up was Alex Presley, who BR says compares favorably
    with …….Bryan LaHair.


    • Dorasaga

      Indeed. I was gonna elaborate on the value b/w these two, but you know what? I’m just happy. Morneau has always been a light-hitting 1B, and the Twins’ long-term commitment to him will go down as the worst contract in the team’s modern history.

      The Cubs aren’t paying someone like that, not yet. I hope not in the near future, either.

  • Tony_Hall

    40 man roster spots are about to become more valuable. The 25 man roster expands today, but you still have to be on the 40 man to be called up. Currently with 8 players on the 60 day DL (they don’t count towards the 40 players), some players will be heading out to make room for some of them (Sweeney, Valbuena, Dolis, Baker). Plus calling up guys who many need to be added to the 40 man this off season.

    So instead of looking at who to cut, let’s look at who to keep through to next year.

    Position Players (14)

    C – Castillo
    1B – Rizzo
    2B – Barney, Watkins
    SS – Castro
    3B – Olt, Villanueva, Vitters,Valbuena
    OF – Lake, Schierholtz, BJAX, Soler, Szczur

    FA’s – Sweeney, Navarro

    The rest are roster fillers and may make it through and may not.

    Might not make it to ST next year – Bogusevic, Gillespie, McDonald, Sappelt, Neal, Sappelt, Ransom, Murphy, Boscan

    Players they will add to keep from exposing to Rule 5 that need to be added.

    Alcantara and Ha.

    Not sure anyone else will be added to protect them.

    Pitchers (16)

    SP – Samardzija, Jackson, Wood, Rusin, Arrieta, Cabrera, Grim, Raley, Villanueva, Vizcaino, Ramirez

    RP – Parker, Russell, Strop, McNutt, Fujikawa,

    FA’s – Gregg, Guerrier

    The rest could stick, but not for sure.

    Might not make it to ST next year – Bowden, Rondon, Sanchez, Dolis, Putnam

    The only arm that will be protected for sure from the Rule 5 is Rosscup and I am not sure anyone else will be protected.

    So plenty of guys that can be cut and they will be put in a descending order of who goes first. But McDonald is packing his bags today to make room for Sweeney.

    • SuzyS

      Tony, or Neil, What’s your take on what the Cubs will do with BJAX and Vitters over the winter?
      BJAX has regressed/not responded this season at all. Seems to me he is playing his way to either Japan or the independent league…not the 40 man roster.
      Vitters can’t seem to stay on the field…he’s not list on the Cubs top 20 prospect list anymore…at what point do the Cubs move on?

      • Tony_Hall

        BJAX – I don’t see them being in a position where they need to cut him from the 40 man. He has had an awful season, when he has even made it on the field. He has 2 more options (years) left and he will be optioned to the minors at some point in ST.

        Vitters – I think will have a major league career, but most likely as a Mark DeRosa type. He can play the corners in the infield and outfield. He has had a good season when he has made it onto the field. He takes time when he moves up a level to get adjusted, but has always hit once that happens. I could see him making the team next year as a bench guy, but most likely it will be his last option year and back to Iowa. 2014 is his make or break year with the Cubs, as he will be out of options in 2015.

      • Neil

        Suzy, I don’t know if you saw this

        As for what I think they will do with Jackson and Vitters this winter, the short answer is nothing.

        Both players have dealt with multiple injuries this season, have since Spring Training. I would like to see both players take the winter off from games, work at the Cubs’ facility in Mesa and report to ST early next season healthy and ready to compete for a job. Both players still have options left, so there is time and no reason to cut ties.

        • SuzyS

          Tony and Neil….Thanks for the info on BJAX and Vitters.
          Neil, I was on vacation when you posted the Vitters/Baker comparison…so thanks.

          I guess we just need the patience of Job to see this rebuild through…As most know, I’m on board with the plan…but sometimes,,,with the twists and turns of performance in the minor leaguers…I do get impatient.

  • cubtex

    Daniel Bard was DFA’d by the Red Sox. He has been awful but still has that high 90 plus arm. Wouldn’t mind taking a flyer on him and seeing if he they can get him back to where he was a couple of years ago.

  • Tony_Hall

    Sweeney, Valbuena and Cabrera all activated.

    Sanchez DFA to make room for Sweeney coming off of the 60 day DL.

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