Another Utley Day for the Cubs Offense – Phillies 2, Cubs 0

Game Five – Cubs 0, Phillies 2

WP – Cliff Lee (2-0) LP – Jeff Samardzija (0-1) Save – Jonathan Papelbon (1)

Jeff Samardzija made only two mistakes during his second start of the season, but once again it was the offense that led to another loss for the Cubs on the young season.

Jeff Samardzija put together the best start of his career against the Phillies. Samardzija appeared to get stronger as he went on and ended his outing by striking out the side in the seventh inning. Samardzija limited the Phillies to two runs on six hits. Samardzija made two mistakes, both to Chase Utley. The Phillies’ second baseman hit a solo home run in the first inning. And Utley scored Philly’s second run in the fourth after a leadoff walk. Samardzija did not get the calls on two close pitches and the free pass cost him a run.

Jeff Samardzija took the loss after allowing two runs on six hits with three walks, one intentional, and eight strikeouts. Samardzija threw 113 pitches, 75 for strikes, in seven innings.

James Russell was shaky in the eighth before Justin Grimm was called on to get the last out of the inning. Grimm tossed a scoreless ninth and ended up retiring all four batters he faced. Samardzija, Russell and Grimm allowed two runs on seven hits with five walks and 11 strikeouts on Saturday afternoon.

The offense put runners on base in six of seven innings against Cliff Lee, but could not manage a hit with runners in scoring position. It is not too often a starting pitcher throws a 10-hit shutout, and that is exactly what Cliff Lee did on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field. And according to Christopher Kamka, Lee became the first pitcher to allow 10 or more hits to the Cubs without allowing a run since Rick Reuschel on May 2, 1989.

After starting the season 4-for-33 with RISP, the Cubs were a miserable 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base Saturday. Five games into the season, the Cubs are 4-for-40 with runners in scoring position.

The top two hitters in the Cubs’ lineup went a combined 5-for-9 on Saturday. Emilio Bonifacio (2-for-5) and Starlin Castro (3-for-4) did their jobs. Justin Ruggiano (0-for-4, six left on base) had a bad day and showed he should not hit third in the lineup while Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4) collected two hits. Junior Lake (1-for-3 with a double and a walk) managed the Cubs only extra basehit and free pass on Saturday.

With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 1-4 on the season.

Jeff Samardzija made quick work of Ben Revere (grounder to second) and Jimmy Rollins (pop out to short) to start the game. Chase Utley launched a 1-1 pitch through the wind and into the bleachers in right. Six minutes into the game the Cubs were down 1-0. Samardzija could not finish off Ryan Howard and walked him (3-2 pitch) ahead of Marlon Byrd. Samardzija struck out Byrd swinging to end the inning. Samardzija needed 19 pitches, 12 for strikes, to complete the first inning.

The game remained 1-0 Phillies through the second and third innings as the Cubs offense could not string together any hits against Cliff Lee.

Jeff Samardzija did not get the calls on a 2-2 pitch or a 3-2 pitch to Chase Utley to start the fourth inning. Samardzija walked Utley. Ryan Howard blooped a single to left and the Phillies had runners on first and second with no outs to start the inning. Byrd popped a 0-2 pitch to Barney for the first out. Domonic Brown singled to left center, Utley scored and Philly took a 2-0 lead. Wil Nieves grounded into a 5-3 double play to end the inning. Mike Olt got the neighborhood call at third. He did not appear to step on the bag before making the throw across the diamond. Samardzija’s pitch count elevated to 68 (44 strikes) after four innings.

The Cubs kept hitting the ball in the bottom of the fourth, but not with runners in scoring position. The Cubs outhit the Phillies 5-4 through four innings … and were 0-for-5 with RISP while leaving four men on base.

The game remained 2-0 Philadelphia through the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Samardzija did his job and put his team in position to win the game. But the offense could not cash in any of the numerous baserunners.

And that is the way the game ended, 2-0 Phillies and the second time in five games the Cubs have been shutout this season.

The Cubs and Phillies wrap up the three-game series on Sunday afternoon (1:20pm CDT). Carlos Villanueva is scheduled to face A.J. Burnett.

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Quote of the Day

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

    Great recap titles the last 2 days Neil! No Phight and Utley day :) Like It!

    One thing I think we can keep on eye on this 1st half is to see if the Blue Jays can stay close in the AL East. What could make a lot of sense is a Samardzija/Bonifacio deal to the Jays. Jays have a need at 2nd and leadoff and he if he stays hot could help increase the return.

    • Larry Schwimmer

      I think the CUBS are putting way too much emphasis on matching up right-handed batters with left-handed pitchers and vice versa. I’d rather have a good hitter face both lefties and righties. Of course, the real problem is that the CUBS do not have any clutch hitters or hitters that hit for high average. So, I guess it doesn’t matter. And, that’s why they can get 10 hits in a game and not score one run. On the bright side: I have a feeling that this year will bring us a great opportunity to get a very high draft-pick next year:)

      • GaryLeeT

        I was wondering, when does “a great opportunity to get a very high draft-pick next year” not be the goal of the season? Exactly when is enough, enough? The rebuilding plan started with expectations (real or imagined) as competitive in 2 years and contention in 3. Is 5 or 7 years for contention what Cub fans should have realistically expected all along?

        • cubtex

          Next year. Enough is Enough after this year. If Theo puts another product on the field like this year…..CubTex is gone :) I am sure that will make some on here happy :)

          • Larry Schwimmer

            We are all frustrated but there is a reality that we must accept: you don’t turn around a dysfunctional, poorly operated baseball franchise in 2 or 3 years. The good teams that consistently are in playoff contention, win a pennant and go to the world series have been well-run for years. They keep their farm system well-stocked. They make smart trades. They make good FA signings, etc. They’ve got the right coaching. We should be happy that after years of going about running a MLB team the wrong way; making bad long-term and expensive free agent signings; having inept scouting; placing way too much faith in minor talent that was not worthy of that faith — we finally have a professional front office that knows how it should be done. They have the experience. This is not “rocket science.” If there was really a way to do it in quicker time, they would be doing it. Don’t forget the CUBS compete with 29 other teams for talent. And, the best players may not want to come to the CUBS such as TANAKA. There was no amount of money that would have landed him over the Yankees. These are the real issues that we can’t deny as loyal CUBS fans. It may take 2 or 3 more seasons, but we will eventually have CUBS team that will be competitive and make the play-offs and maybe win the pennant and a world series.

          • Tony_H

            Well done!

          • SuzyS

            I’m in complete agreement.

          • cubtex

            I understand the plan. Explain to me though why in year 3….we have a roster as poorly constructed as the current team is? We see how Baez has started. Bryant is in AA and will more than likely be in the minors all year. Our AAA pitching rotation is filled with Rusin,Hendricks,Jokish,Wada. All #5 ceiling guys. We have no hitters on the mlb with a track record of producing to show the Rizzo’s and Castillo’s the way. Our best hitter so far this year fell in our laps by being released by the Royals and he chose the Cubs because he felt he would have the best opportunity to make the team. If they were so set on trading Soriano they at least needed to pick up another vet to hit in the middle of the lineup to help Rizzo and Castro grow as players. This team needs a hell of a lot more than pitchers. They need 3 or 4 position players. They need to aquire many from outside the organization. The White Sox added 3 via trade. Garcia,Eaton and Davidson. Theo has aquired only Rizzo since he has been here. It doesn’t have to be this slow or this painful.

          • SuzyS

            In fact, it may have to be this slow and painful.
            We aren’t privy to the inner workings of Clark and Addison.
            However, whatever the hold-up on the Wrigley rebuild are,(rooftops/finances/debt servicing etc.), I believe they have been a major factor in shaping this rebuild.
            I believe…Theo thought the financial side of things would be up and running faster then the current pace. He indicated that the EJAX signing might have been a mistake…not necessarily from the standpoint of EJAX performance…but from an overall financial standpoint.
            Too many smoke signals are going in that direction.
            In the long haul, the Cubs should be fine…But they have to start moving forward on the financial side now.
            In the meantime, mid level finishes do not help the organization get better.

            I don’t like it any more than any other avid Cubs fan.

            However, the prospects are going to begin filtering in this year….While it might be painful watching the youth endure their growing pains…a new, better team should begin to emerge….As it does…the Cubs will once again become a more attractive FA destination.
            What starts as a trickle should turn into a tidal wave in the next several years.
            Does it have to be this painful??? Yup…it probably does.

          • BigJonLilJon

            I’m starting to think I’d rather watch the youngsters struggle as they learn than what we are seeing take the field now.

          • Larry Schwimmer

            Cubtex: The only explanation for the current roster is that 2+ years of Theo’s regime has not been enough time to accumulate and assemble a great group of prospects who might turn into viable players on an MLB roster. Even the best prospects are only “prospects.” And, once you start acquiring young talent, you don’t have the luxury of drafting 5-6 great hitters and 5-6 great pitching prospects all at once. After all, you’re competing with 29 other ball clubs. That’s reality. And, I’m not interested in seeing a FO that finds secondary players so that the CUBS can win 70 to 80 games this year just so impatient fans can see a mediocre team. We’ve been there and done that. I know it’s painful and frustrating, but I’d rather take the “long view,” and build this team from the ground up and then add the pieces in the form of a high-profile FA or two. That’s a better approach then over-paying for players that don’t fit where the CUBS are at in this stage of their development.

          • BigJonLilJon

            We hope at least(2 years)!!! But I think it’s glaring that the top FA won’t come to Chicago. They know the team has nothing to offer for at least 3 years. Even then we will have to over pay just to prove ourselves.

          • SuzyS

            Cubtex, While you and I have our disagreements…I would much rather you add your 40 cents (inflation), in with the rest of the posters. You do add value to this site.
            I also expect a better team on the field by next season.
            How much better, will be a function of the development of our young players, the trades Theo can make…and what type of FA players Theo can mix in.

          • cubtex

            thank you Suzy

          • BigJonLilJon

            Seems like we were told originally that 2015 would be the competitive year. Now we are being told 2017 from what Im reading. I wont last that long either Tex

        • BigJonLilJon

          I think judging by the attendance… Theo will see it soon. Roof Tops empty(good) and didn’t sell out the home opener. Attendance is going to be way down and maybe that forces Theo’s hand a bit.

          • GaryLeeT

            Jon, I think you are onto something. TR’s strategy is to keep putting horrible products on the field, and starve the roof tops owners into submission.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thanks man, I appreciate it.

      And good point with Bonifacio, maybe a second stint in Toronto would be better for him.

    • BigJonLilJon

      Also keep close eye on the Diamondbacks

  • Eugene Debs

    Off to a blazing start…..

  • brent carmona

    Tayler Scott no hitter through 6 for the Daytona cubs..he’s never had the best peripherals but I’m rooting for him to become the first south African to make it to the show

    • brent carmona

      Argh! I jinxed it..Two hits for the opposition in the 7th but he gets out of it and keeps the shutout intact

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

    Give Kalish and Coghlan a chance.

    • GaryLeeT

      Why?

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

        Why not? Kalish was awesome in ST and now he’s sitting on the bench. He needs to be playing most days whether in Chicago or Iowa. Plus he’s shown an ability to cross the plate, whether or not he gets hits. For an offensively challnged team that is invaluable.

        Coghlan is young and 3 years ago was ROY. Then he was moved to CF and according to some mismanaged. Give him a shot, because the current guys couldn’t be much worse. I’d like to see Schierholtz drive up his value for a trade but so far the opposite is happening. And he’s too old to possibly be a part of future success, whereas Coghlan absolutely could be. He could be a “bridge player,” like Bonifacio that starts on our first playoff team in a couple of years.

        I said preseason I thought Kalish could easily end up our MVP and play like an all-star. Pinch hitting and playing every 3 or 4 games we’ll never find out. After his spring I think he’s earned a shot. And the alternative is Sweeney and Schierholtz. If Barney is going to play then let’s try an outfield of Lake, Kalish and Bonifacio. Let Coghlan play some too.

        • cubtex

          The problem is Sweeney is taking AB’s away from Kalish and Lake. No reason he should be on this type of team. One thing you got to realize by now is that a good ST doesn’t mean it will translate to the season. People get mad at me on how upset I am with this FO but look at the roster now for 3 straight years. This years roster is the worse yet. No reason it has to be this bad. We have a guy who was benched on Miami’s team last year hitting 3rd today. Sweeney is a 4th outfielder. Terribly constructed team.

          • GaryLeeT

            What he said.

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

            Totally disagree there. Renteria had managed 5 games. Time will tell more. We weren’t the only team interviewing him. We wanted Sveum gone and we had to choose from the available pool. I still think Renteria can be the right guy and have success. Let’s give him more time before we judge him fully. Like at least a week :)

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

            Renteria was my 3rd choice behind Girardi and Ausmus. Girardi wasn’t going to happen. For whatever reason it didn’t seem that Ausmus became a legit candidate for the FO, whih may prove to be a mistake.

          • Eugene Debs

            Yeah, can’t blame this on Renteria. I think he’ll be successful.

          • cubtex

            I don’t agree with blaming Renteria. He didn’t put the roster together. He can only play with the hand he was dealt. He is a better leader for the young players. I don’t know if he will be a great game manager but it doesn’t matter now. His job is to try and get the young players to relax and give them the best chance to succeed. At least we will know then if Castro,Rizzo and Castillo are part of the future moving forward.

          • GaryLeeT

            I am not blaming Renteria for this year’s club performance, anymore than I blamed last year’s club on Sveum. However, I just don’t see him leading the Cubs to the promised land. He’s too much of a players manager, and just doesn’t have that Girardi, Leyland, or Bochy type of blend.

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

            The team is constructed for the future. I don’t want to go back into all the reasons behind that. I agree with the strategy or the most part.

            I just think that Renteria is playing the wrong guys. Kalish was the hottest hand out of ST and he has ridden the bench. Coghlan was starting to hit as well and so has he. I like some of Renteria’s game management but I don’t like his lineups. Olt and Kalish are young and need to be playing or be in Iowa. They aren’t pinch hitters.

          • cubtex

            The team is constructed for the future? No. Each year it should be constructed to win. Isn’t that what you believe? You don’t believe they are trying to lose. I understand the plan…but it doesn’t have to be this bad. This is year 3 of the rebuild and it is the most non competitive roster he has put together yet. Isn’t it supposed to get better in year 3?

          • Tony_H

            What makes year 3 so special for this rebuild? There is no set year that a switch gets flipped. As the system produces players it will push out the players you don’t like, but until then, these guys will fill the roster. And yes once the system starts producing players we will see where the holes are that can’t be filled internally and at that time we should see free agency or trades used to fill those roles with better players. But the last thing I want is a trade for young players with limited ceilings, just to appease fans, like the Sox did.

          • Larry Schwimmer

            I agree with you Tony. I haven’t commented much on this site, but I do read posters like you and I respect your thoughtful and prudent perspective. It’s asking a lot to ask CUB fans to be patient after so many years of ineptitude. But that’s what we need to be: patient. In the CUB history, we have NEVER had F.O. office who has tried to build the CUBS in this way. They are having to do so because of years of neglect and bad judgment and cheap and, or stupid management going back to the cheapest SOB there ever was: P.K. Wrigley.

          • GaryLeeT

            Everybody keeps claiming “years of neglect” but yet ignore the fact that Samardzija, Castro, Baez, Rizzo (via trade of Cashner), Castillo, and Wood (via Marshall) were produced out of that neglect. A lot of the trades that Theo used to restocked the minors were done with Hendy’s acquisitions. We saw 3 years in the playoffs during the “years of neglect”. Oh how I long for the days of neglect, formerly known as days of hope.

          • cubtex

            aren’t you the one who laid out this scenario on how the team will improve over the years? So year 3 won’t necessarily be better but could be worse? Is that what you are now saying? No flip to switch so year 4 could be the same as this or worse again?

          • Tony_H

            To give you another Theo quote, but progress isn’t linear. And yes Year 4 could be worse, if more young guys make it and struggle. And I have always maintained this, and have said that there is no set year that things get better.

            But I believe on talent alone that is coming up, that next year will be better.

          • cubtex

            no offense bud but you have been saying that for 2 years.

          • Tony_H

            Saying what?

          • cubtex

            how more and more “good” prospects will be brought up. Not happening yet and could not happen till next year.

          • Tony_H

            We had players come up last year and have more this year. By next year, we should have Baez and Bryant and honestly I think Almora by June.

          • cubtex

            which players? Murphy? Lake? How is that a show of improvement?

          • Tony_H

            Well Lake is one, Rusin and Arrieta were in the rotation.

            Sorry have to shut down and get out of town.

            Have a good day.

          • cubtex

            who has limited ceilings? Adam Eaton has a higher ceiling than Junior Lake. Avisail Garcia has a very high ceiling and Matt Davidson is every bit as high as Mike Olt. Olt and Davidson is a push but Eaton and Garcia would both be huge upgrades and both potential long term starters on the Cubs.

          • Tony_H

            Junior Lake is a utilty player long term. I am comparing to the Baez, Bryant, Almora, Soler, Alcantra, etc prospects as having higher ceilings than the Sox guys they traded to get. To get close to the major talent like they did, with what they traded, it had to be with guys who have lower ceilings. A Baez type would cost a ton in comparison.

            Sorry, have to run, will have little time the next few days.

          • cubtex

            that is the problem. Theo is waiting for these prospects to come up by checking all of his boxes(could be 1 year,2 years,3 years or never) instead of creating more and more competition by adding talent on the mlb level.

          • Tony_H

            Not everyone thinks it is a problem.

          • cubtex

            look at that crowd today. More people than you think :)

          • Tony_H

            I don’t care about attendance or ticket prices. That is everyone’s own choices to make.

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

            I think this is the best roster of the 3 years. We’ll see that by the end of the year.

          • cubtex

            Based on what Rider? Valbuena hitting 20 HR’s when he has never done that. Ruggiano hitting .280 with 25 HR’s and 90 RBI. Olt hitting .270 with 25 HR. This roster is the worst of the last 3. Pitching staff has EJax as the 2 or 3. Travis Wood as the 2 or 3. Shark as the ace. If you look at the players “career” averages…this is by far the worst of the last 3. When you elminate a Garza,Dempster,Cashner,Soriano and only add 1 mlb everyday player in Rizzo it is a step backwards each and every year.

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

            I still think most of my predictions can happen. Obviously if Olt doesn’t get to play that won’t and I didn’t realize how old Ruggiano was. I thought he was like 28. I think Valbuena can have a great year and I like our pitching from top to bottom. I think given the priorities of this franchise currently which is building up the farm system this is an okay lineup. In really glad thy didnt waste resources on any free agent position players with the exception havin been Ellsbury. But I think Kalisj can be similar in time. Those FA contracts all become albatrosses. Stick to the plan. I think as we play the remaining 155 games out of 162 things will progress.

  • cubtex

    Baez has got a lot of growing up still to do. Getting tossed on the 2nd game of the year for arguing with home plate ump? He knows all eyes are on him and he is getting alot of national publicity, Not good.

    • GaryLeeT

      How about his last few ABs of the spring? I know all of the adages of youth apply here, but his approach at the plate was a little concerning.

      • cubtex

        I get the sense that he is pressing big time. He wants to be in the show now and is trying too hard to prove he belongs.

        • GaryLeeT

          If it’s this bad now, what will it be like when he get’s there? Another byproduct of producing an annual 100 loss team. He now has the pressure of savior put upon him.

          • SuzyS

            While I’m impatient to see Baez,
            it’s evident he needs some seasoning…I’d much rather they keep him in the minors a little longer for seasoning then bring him up too early.
            He is no savior…too many errors and questionable plate discipline at this point…but he is the one prospect they must get right.

  • cubtex

    NC State update

    Carlos Rodon vs Clemson 8IP 11 hits 6R 3ER 5K’s.

    Trea Turner- 0-3 currently hitting .291

  • cubtex

    Kyle Hendricks line for tonight.

    Tommy Birch
    ‏@TommyBirch
    Hendricks lifted after 4.2 innings: Final line: 7 hits, 7 runs (6 earned), 2 walks, 5 strikeouts. #Cubs #PCL #MiLB

    • cubtex

      Man. Iowa Cubs are starting just like the Chicago Cubs. Memphis Redbirds are beating us up bad.
      1st game lost 10-2
      2nd game lost 9-0
      losing tonight 7-1

      • cubtex

        Make that now 11-1. Neil Ramirez just gave up a grand slam. .2 IP 4 ER in relief. Cabrera was the only pitcher who was effective tonight. 1.1 IP O runs and 2 K’s

  • Eugene Debs

    Every year we start off slow and everyone chimes in with “but its cold so the bats are cold.”

    OK, fair enough. Aren’t the teams that are outscoring us going to also hit better in the warm weather? So we lose 6 – 5 instead of 2 – 0.

    Hopefully we can salvage today, but we may get swept at home by an aging middle of the road team.

    C’mon Cubs!

    • paulcatanese

      You are correct, the weather is the same for both teams.