San Francisco Giants Win the Pennant

October 23, 2012

I am not a professional writer and have no such aspirations. But when I see a writer from Detroit taking shots at San Francisco Giants fans and AT&T Park it makes me mad.

I am 99% sure this “writer” is stooping to tabloid journalism to get eyeballs to his employers website.

I visited Detroit over the summer and attended a game at Comerica Park and had a great time. The fans were all first class and I think Detroit is a first class city.

Unfortunately we now have a writer that is trying to become the story rather than report the story. The story should be of the two best Major League Baseball teams squaring off in the World Series.

Not some hack writer taking shots at what is widely regarded to be one of the best ballparks in the country. As well as the San Francisco Giants and their fans.

And save me the writer was kidding explanation. Is he auditioning as a writer for a sitcom or is he a sports writer for fantastic baseball team with tons of stories to tell?

Tell us some story’s about the Tigers and their quest to win the World Series. I may not agree with them but at least I would respect them and the writer.

I  don’t update this blog due to time constraints and doubt anybody will even read this but wanted to write how I felt about what I consider to be an article written in very poor taste.

Tom

San Francisco Giants Game 5 Thoughts 4/5/11 at San Diego

April 5, 2011

For the second straight game the Giants were sunk by a nightmarish inning. This time it was the third inning was the Giants Waterloo.

Madison Bumgarner making his first start since Game 4 of the 2010 World Series breezed through the first two innings before having problems in the third.

The three third innings he allowed in were all the Padres would need as they followed a familiar formula. Scratch out a couple runs, get 7th inning lead and give the ball to Gregerson, Adams and Bell. The strategy worked dozens of times in 2010 worked again in 2011.

The win upped the Padres record to 3-1 and dropped the Giants to 1-4.

Thoughts on the game

Positives

  1. The Giants manufactured a run in the first following a leadoff single by Andres Torres
  2. Gueillermo Mota and Ramon Ramirez combined to pitch 5 scoreless inning in relief keeping the Giants within striking distance.
  3. Pablo Sandoval reached base twice and looked good in field. He raised his on base percentage to .375.

Negatives

  1. After the first inning run the Giants offense failed to get on the board the rest of the day.
  2. The Giants blew a golden opportunity to blow the game open in the third inning leaving the bases loaded when Buster Posey tapped back to Harang.
  3. Madison Bumgarner seemed to let questionable ball and strike called effect him in the 4th inning. He fell apart allowing 3 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks. One of the hits was a bal to Bumgarner that looked like it could have called an error.

Chicago Cubs Game 5 Thoughts, 4/5/11, Diamondbacks

April 5, 2011

Andrew Cashner made his first start for the Cubs after beating out Carlos Silva for the 5th spot in the rotation in spring training. Cashner pitched well allowing 1 earned run in 5 1/3 innings leaving the game in line for a win with a 4-1 lead in the 6th.

Unfortunately the bullpen lost the lead when Willie Bloomquist hit a 2-run single to tie the game at 4-4 in the top of the 7th.

The Cubs fought back to grab a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the 7th on an RBI double by Marlon Byrd and a bases loaded walk by Tyler Colvin.

Sean Marshall closed out the game for in lieu of the resting Carlos Marmol was not available after pitching the previous 3 games.

The win ups the Cubs record to 3-2 on the season and the Diamondbacks drop to 1-3.

Thoughts from the game

Positive

  1. In his first Major League start Andrew Cashner pitched 5 1/3 innings allowing 2 hits 1 walk and 1 earned run.
  2. Tyler Colvin drove in 3 runs with a 3rd inning 2-run homer and a 7th inning bases loaded walk.
  3. Marlon Byrd went 3-4 and drove in the go ahead run in the bottom of the 7th inning.
  4. Sean Marshall earned the save in lieu of Carlos Marmol who had pitched the previous 3 games.

Negatives

  1. Jeff Samaedzija had another tough outing pitching allowing 2 earned runs on 2 walks in 1 inning upping his ERA to 9.00
  2. The bullpen blew a 4-1 lead in the 7th inning before being bailed out 2 run bottom of the 7th.

 

 

Chicago Cubs Game 4 Thoughts, 4/4/11, Diamondbacks

April 4, 2011

The Cubs bounced back from a very disappoinging loss on Sunday by beating the Diamondbacks 4-1 on Monday.

Randy Wells allowed a leadoff 1st inning homer to Willie Bloomquust before settling down and holding the Diamondbacks scoreless through the next 6 innings.

The Cubs scored two 8th innings runs to open up a 4-1 lead and Carlos Marmol closed out the Diamondbacks in the 9th leveling the Cubs record at 2-2 for the season.

Thoughts from the game

Positives

  1. Randy Wells shutout the Diamondback for 6 innings after allowing the leadoff first inning home run to Bloomquist.
  2. Alfonzo Soriano reached base three times and homered for the second straight game.
  3. Carlos Marmol bounced back from the tough luck blown save on Sunday by pitching a shutout 9th inning earning the save.
  4. Cubs pitchers stranded 11 Diamondbacks base runners.

Negatives

  1. Randy wells had to work hard throwing 99 pitches in 6 innings.
  2. Starlin Castro had another tough day in the field making a 8th inning throwing error.
  3. Carlos Pena had to leave the game in the 8th inning after hurting his glove hand thumb trying to catch an errant throw from Starling Castro

San Francisco Giants Game 4 Thoughts 4/3/11

April 3, 2011

It was a tale of two nightmare innings for the Giants.

Barry Zito allowed 3 runs in the first inning. He then went on to retire 15 straight hitters at one point while the Giants hitters clawed their way back to a 3-3 tie in the top of the 7th inning.

The Giants then shot themselves in the proverbial foot again in the bottom of the 7th inning allowing the Dodgers 4 additional runs keyed by a misplayed warning track fly ball by Aubrey Huff.

I am very reluctant to be critical of Huff in right field. He is a first baseman by trade that is essentially taking one for the team by playing right field and not complaining about it. He did a decent job in his stint in left field last season, but every ball hit his way seems to be an adventure at this point.

Overall the Giants did not play good fundamental baseball in their opening series and the Dodgers consistently punished them for mistakes eeking out 2 one run victories.

Hopefully the poor fundamentals are merely a hiccup and not the sign of bigger problems with the Giants.

Positives from the Game

  1. Despite several breaks going against them they were still able to get the tying run to the plate in the 9th inning. I love the never say die attitude.
  2. Barry Zito settled after a rough first inning retiring 15 straight Dodgers at one point.
  3. The hitters were able to put 5 runs on the board. Five runs will probably give the Giants a lot of wins this season with their starting staff.

Negatives.

  1. Aubrey Huff had trouble with two fly balls in right field that helped propel the Dodgers to their two big innings.
  2. Hiroki Kuroda retired 14 Giants hitters in a row at one point.
  3. After pitching well on Friday Dan Runzler was not able to pitch around the misplay by Huff in right field and ended up giving up 4 earned runs in 1/3 of an inning.

San Francisco Giants, Game 4, 4/3/11 at Los Angeles

April 3, 2011

Barry Zito is scheduled to square off against Hiroki Kuroda in the Sunday night game.

The Giants will be trying to salvage a split with their bitter rivals.

I will be watching Zito closely after his car accident last Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Zito was reportedly wearing a neck brace late last week but is scheduled to make his scheduled start tonight.

1st Inning – Top

Kuroda hits Torres with an 0-1 pitch

Freddy Sanchez out on sacrifice bunt on first pitch Kuroda to Loney  1 out.

Aubrey Huff strikes out on a 1-2 pitch. Huff fouled off 3 pitches in a 6 pitch at bat.

On the 0-1 pitch Buster Posey grounds out Kuroda to Loney.

Kuroda has an 11 pitch 1st inning.

1st Inning – Bottom

Barry Zito is making his first start of the 2011 season.

Rafeal Furcal hits a line drive single to center on an 83 MPH belt high fastball on the first pitch of the game.

Jamey Carroll hits 2-1 pitch for a looping line drive to in front of  Aubrey Huff in right field. Huff dives for the ball and misses it and Carroll ends up a third base with a triple. The play was scored a triple but in my opinion Huff misplayed the ball. He should have played it front of him and held Carroll to a single. Furcal scores and Carroll is credited with an RBI.

Matt Kemp jump on an 84 MPH fastball down the middle of the plate and hits a 2-run homer over the left field wall giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead

On the first pitch of the at bat Juan Uribe grounds to second baseman Freddy Sanchez who throw to Brandon Belt for out number two.

James Loney pops out to shortstop Miguel Tejada on the first pitch to end the inning.

But the Dodgers do big damage in the first inning on the 2-run homer by Kemp.

The misplay by Huff in right field was the big play that setup the inning for the Dodgers.

Zito only threw 12 pitches in the first inning.

2nd Inning – Top

Pablo Sandoval leads off the second blasting a solo homer deep over the right field wall putting the Giants on the board.

Patt Burrell strikes out looking on a 1-2 splitter. Burrell continues to look lost at the plate.

Brandon Belt hits a routine fly ball the is caught by Matt Kemp on the first pitch.

Miguel Tejada lines a 1-0 pitch that Jamey Carroll reaches up and catches for the third out of the inning.

The Giants get on the board with the Sandoval homer but the Dodgers lead 3-1.

Zito needs  to put together a couple good innings so the Giants can get back in the game.

Kuroda is at 23 pitches through 2 innings.

2nd Inning – Bottom

Rod Barajas flies out on a routine fly ball to Pat Burrell on a 1-1 pitch.

On a 2-2 pitch Thames grounds out on a routine ground ball from Sandoval to Belt. 2 outs.

Zito strikes out Kuroda on a 1-2 pitch. Kuroda fouled off 4 pitches in a 7 pitch at bat.

Zito is at 27 pitches through 2 innings.

3rd Inning – Top

Barry Zito called out on strikes on a 1-2 pitch right down the middle. One out.

On the 1-0 pitch Torres flies out on a looping liner to right fielder Andre Either. Two outs.

On the 2-2 pitch Sanchez grounds out softly Uribe to Loney.

Dodgers still  lead 3-1

Kuroda is at 35 pitches after 3 innings

3rd Inning  – Bottom

Rafeal Furcal bunts on the first pitch. Brandon fields the bunt and flips to Sanchez for out number 1.

On the 0-2 pitch Carroll hits a check swing dribbler back to Zito that he fields and throws to Belt for the second out of the inning.

On the 2-1 pitch Either hits a sinker liner right a Freddy Sanchez. He drops to one knee and makes the catch to end the 3rd inning.

Zito is at 35 pitches and the Dodgers still lead 3-1.

4th Inning – Top

On the 1-1 pitch Huff hits a soft one hopper back to Kuroda that he fields and throws to Loney for the first out of the inning.

On a 2-1 pitch Posey hits a hard one hopper that Loney fields and tags first base for the putout unassisted. Two outs.

Sandoval strikes swinging on a 1-2 slider ending the top of the 4th inning. Kuroda has retired 9 straight Giants. Kuroda is at 46 pitches through 4 innings and the Dodgers still lead 3-1.

4th Inning – Bottom

On the 3-2 pitch Kemp reaches for a changeup that appears to be low and outside flying out on a routine fly ball to centerfielder Andres Torres.

Zito strikes out Uribe on a 2-2 changeup. Two outs.

On the 1-0 pitch james Loney flies out a on fly ball to right field. Aubrey runs in about ten feet to make the catch to end the inning.

Dodgers still lead 3-1.

Zito has settled down nicely since the rough first inning and is at 49 pitches.

5th Inning – Top

On the 1-2 pitch Pat Burrell pops out to first baseman James Lone for the first out.

Brandon Belt worked the count to 3-0 before Kuroda came back to strike him out looking on a wicked 3-2 sinker for the second out of the inning.

On the 1-2 pitch Tejada hits a fly ball to centerfield that Kemp drifts back about 3 steps and catches to end the top of the fifth inning. Kuroda has now retired 12 Giants in a row since the Sandoval homer in the second inning.

Kuroda is at 60 pitches as the Dodgers maintain their 3-1 lead.

5th Inning – Bottom

Zito strikes out Barajas swinging on a 3-2 curveball on the inner half of the plate for the first out of the inning.

On the 1-1 pitch Thames hit a chopper the Zito deflects to Sanchez who fields and throw to Belt for the second out of the inning.

On the 1-2 pitch Zito strikes out Kuroda on a fastball off the outside plate to end the fifth inning. Zito has been outstanding since the first inning.

Zito is at 62 pitches through 5 innings. The Dodgers still led 3-1.

6th Inning – Top

On the first pitch of the inning Zito chops a one hopper to Furcal who throw to Loney for the first out of the inning.

On the 1-0 pitch Torres hits a rountine fly ball to Marcus Thames for the second out of the inning.

On the 1-1 pitch Sanchez hits a slow roller that Uribe fields but trips and falls to the ground unable to make a throw to first base.  Sanchez is credited with an infield single ending a steak of 14 Giants retired in a succession by Kuroda.

On the first pitch of the at bat Huff hits a looping liner into right field for a single. Sacnhez advances to third. The Giants have a good scoring opportunity but it likely going to take a two out hit by Buster Posey to score any runs this inning.

On the 2-1 pitch Posey shoots s single between Carroll and Loney scoring Sanchez with the second run of the game for the Giants.

Sandoval chops an 0-1 pitch the Carroll who fields and throws to Loney to end the inning. But the Giants inch closer to the Dodgers but still trail 3-2

Kurodas is now at 73 pitches.

6th Inning – Bottom

On the 1-1 pitch Furcal hits a sharp grounder right at Sanchez that he fields and throw to Belt for out number one.

Zito walks Carroll on at 3-2 pitch ending a 6 pitch at bat. This breaks a streak of 16 Dodgers retired in a row.

Either walk on a 3-2 pitch that was similar to the previous at bat by Jamey Carroll. The bullpen is active is Zito appears to be running out of gas.

Dave Righetti visits the mound as the bullpen continues to warm up.

On the 2-1 pitch Kemp chases a letter high pitch and hits a harmless fly ball caught by Huff in right field. Not a good at bat by Kemp who appeared to chase a pitch high and out of the strike zone.

On the 0-1 pitch Zito leaves a pitch over the middle of the plate the Uribe pops up and is caught by Freddy Sanchez to end the ending.

Nice pitching by Zito to pitch out of his two walks. Bad execution by the Dodgers to not put runs on the board against a pitcher that appears to be tiring.

7th Inning – Top

On the 2-0 pitch Burrell blasts a hanging slider over the center of the plate for a solo homer tying the game at 3-3.

On the first pitch Belt hits a slow roller to Carroll who fields and throws to Loney for the first out of the inning.

On the 1-0 pitch Tejada laces a double into the right field corner. The Giants now have an excellent opportunity to take a late lead in this game.

Kuroda seems to be losing it fast after being dominant in the early innings. He has now allow 5 hits to the last 7 batters.

Dodger Pitching Coach Rick Honeycutt visits the mound.

Mike Fontenot pinch hits for Barry Zito and flies out to left field Thames on the first pitch. After a rough first inning Zito could be in line for the win if Torres can drive in Tejada.

On the 2-1 pitch Torres pops out to third baseman Juan Uribe in foul territory to end the top of the 7th inning. But the Giants tie the score on the solo homer by Pat Burrell.

7th Inning – Bottom

Dan Runzler on to pitch the bottom of the 7th inning for the Giants.

Runzler looked very good pitching 2 scoreless innings in Friday’s game.

On the 1-2 pitch Loney lines a single into left field. Nice piece of hitting by Loney being down in the count.

Barajas strikes on a nice 2-2 slider by Runzler for the first out of the inning.

On the 1-1 pitch Thames triple to right field off Aubrey Huff’s glove at the warning track. Huff appeared to turn the wrong way in pursuit of the ball before having it bounce off his glove on the warning track. Loney scores the go ahead run giving the Dodgers a 4-3 lead.

This is the second triple hit in Huff’s direction tonight. In my opinion a healthy Cody Ross would have made the catch on this one.

On the 2-2 pitch Miles hits a belt high fastball over the middle of the plate for a single down the right field line. Thames scores giving the Dodgers a 5-3 lead.

On the 0-2 pitch Furcal drives a ball to the right center field wall between Huff and Torres for a double scoring Miles and making this a 6-3 Dodger lead.

This has turned into a nightmare inning for the Giants.

Romo is called form the  bullpen to replace Ruznler.

On the 2-2 pitch Romo strikes out Carroll swinging on a slider well off the outside part of the plate for the second out of the inning.

Either lines a single into right field driving in Furcal for the 7 run of the game for the Dodgers.

On the first pitch Kemp grounds a slow roller to Tejada who flips to Sanchez to end the inning.

This was a nightmare inning for the Giants as the Dodgers score 4 runs to take a 7-3 lead. The key play that opened the flood gates was the misplayed fly ball by Huff in right field.

8th Inning – Top

Hong-Chih Kuo on the mound for the Dodgers in the 8th inning.

Freddy Sanchez gets ahead in the count 3-0 and works Kuo for 9 pitches and a 3-2 count before hitting a lazy fly ball to Eithier in righ field for the first out of the inning.

On the 1-1 pitch Huff bloops a ball to left field that is misplayed by left fielder Marcus Thames for a 1 out double.

Posey walks on a 3-2 pitch giving the Giants runners on first and second with one out.

Sandoval strikes out on a 1-2 pitch for the second out of the inning.

It will be up to Burrell if the Giants are going to score in the 8th inning.

Don Mattingly visits the mound and makes a pitching change bringing in Matt Guerrier to face Burrell.

Burrell draws a walk on a 3-2 slider that was low and out of the strike zone.

Brandon Belt works the count to 3-0 and takes strike 1 on a pitch that appeared to be off the plate. Belt takes the 3-1 pitch off the plate for ball four drawing the bases loaded walk scoring Aubrey Huff and giving Belt the RBI.

On the first pitch Miguel Tejada swings at a terrible ankle high pitch hitting a harmless foul popup caught by Loney to end the inning.

This type of baseball is very frustrating. You have the potential tying runs on base and a pitcher that cannot find the plate and you help him out being too aggressive.

Tejada is not going to make any fans in San Francisco making dumb decisions like that.

After having base runners all over the place the Giants manage to eek out one run in the 8t inning. The Dodgers still maintain a 7-4 lead.

8th Inning – Bottom

Guillermo Moto on to pitch for the Giants

On the 2-2 pitch Uribe singles to center fielder Torres.

On the 1-2 pitch Loney flies out on a routine fly ball to left fielder Pat Burrell for the first out of the inning.

With Barajas batting Mota balks Uribe to second base.

On the 3-2 pitch Barajas pops out to Tejada in short left field for the second out of the inning.

With 2 outs Javier Lopez replaces Mota on the mound.

Tony Gwynn Jr. pinch hits for Marcus Thames .

On the 0-1 pitch Gwynn grounds softly to Lopez who throws to Belt to end the inning.

9th Inning – Top

Jonathan Broxton in to try to save the game for the Dodgers.

Aaron Rowand pinch hits for Javier Lopez.

Rowand homers into the 5th row of the left seats on a hanging 2-2 slider making the score 7-5.

Torres works the count to 3-2 before grounding to Loney who flips to Broxton for the first out of the inning.

Sanchez lines a 2-1 pitch into right field for a single.

The Giants now have a fighting chance with the embattled Aubrey Huff representing the potential run at the plate.

Huff hits a hard grounder back to the mound the Broxton fields and throws to Lone at first for the second out.

Buster Posey is the last hope to keep the game going for the Giants.

On the 2-0 pitch Posey hits a routine ground ball to Furcal who fields and throw to first baseman Loney to end the game.

The Dodgers take 3 of 4 from the Giants to open the season.

This was another frustrating loss by the Giants highlighted be several bad plays.

Huff played two fly balls into triples in right field and Miguel Tejada popped out on a terrible pitch with the tying runs on base in the 8th inning.

It’s only 4 games into the season but the errors and mental mistakes are starting to become repetitive for the Giants.

Chicago Cubs Game 3, Thoughts, 4/3/11

April 3, 2011

The Cubs fall to 1-2 on the season with a tough 5-4 loss to the Pirates.

Thoughts on the Game

Positives

1. Matt Garza had a career high 12 strikesouts while walking none in 7 innings.

2. Despite being outhit by the Pirates the Cubs still entered the 9th inning with a one run lead.

3. Starlin Castro had another 3 hits raising his average to .615.

Negatives.

1. The Cubs blew a 9th inning lead in a game that they probably should have won.

2. Castro made an ill advised throw to first in the 9th inning that ultimately allowed Walker to score what turned out to be the winning run for the Pirates.

3. Marlon Byrd had a bad day at the plate going 1 for 5 with two strikeouts and grounded into the game ending double play with the potential tying run at third base.

4. Matt Garza battled but gave a career high 12 hits in 7 innings.

Overall this will probably end up being one of the Cubs worst losses of the year.

They are simply making too many mistakes to win games. They need to improve their fundamentals or this is going to be a long season.

Chicago Cubs Game 3, 4/3/11

April 3, 2011

Matt Garza makes his first start for the 1-1 Cubs against the Pirates at Wrigley Field.

Andrew McCutchen was a late scratch to the game with a stiff neck.

1st Inning – Top

Jose Tabata leads of game with a ground ball single to center field just under the glove of Matt Garza.

Garza strikes out Jones on three pitches on a nice slider on the inner half of the plate.

On the first pitch to Walker Tabata is thrown out stealing on an excellent throw from Soto to Castro.

On an 0-1 pitch Walker hits a solid ground ball to Barney who throws to Pena to end the top of the first.

1st Inning – Bottom

Ross Ohlendorf is on the mound today for the Pirates making his first start of the season.

On the first pitch of the game Castro shows bunt and jumps back to avoid an inside pitch and has the ball foul off his bat for strike one. Castro battles from a 1-2 count and walks on a 3-2 pitch. Nice at bat for Castro.

On a 1-0 pitch Barney hits a routine ground ball to Walker who flips to Cedeno who throws to Overbay to complete to 4 6 3 double play.

Marlon Byrd strikes out on 3 pitches ending the inning.

2nd Inning – Top

Garza strikes out Overbay swinging in a 6 pitch at bat which saw Overbay foul off 3 pitches.

Alvarez loops a 1-2 pitch into centerfield for a 1 out single.

Diaz inside outs a ground ball between Pena and Barney into right field for a one out single.

Garza is now in a one out jam with runners at first and third.

Garza gets behind Jaramillo 2-0 before bouncing back to strike him out on 5 pitches giving the Cubs a big second out of the inning.

Cedeno singles down the right field line on a 0-1 pitch scoring Alvarez with the first run of the game.

Diaz advances to third on the hit.

Ohlendorfer hits a one hopper back to Garza who fields and flips to Pena to end the inning.

But the Pirates score the first run of the game for a 1-0 lead.

Garza is at 29 pitches after 2 innings

2nd Inning – Bottom

Ramirez hits a ground ball single into center field to lead off the inning.

On the first pitch of the inning Pena tries to bunt for a hit towards third but is thrown out at first by third baseman Alvarez. Ramirez advances to second base. Curious since you don’t normally want to see your fifth place hitter bunting for a hit. I want to see a fifth place hitter driving runs and not merely advancing baserunners with bunts.

On the 0-2 pitch Soto hits a foul pop near the visitors on deck circle that is caught by Jaramillo for the second out of theinning.

On the 0-1 pitch Soriano swings at a slider low and off the plate that gets away from Jarmillo for a wild pitch. Ramriez advances to third base. On the 1-2 pitch Ohlendorfer jams Soriano who hits a weak popup that Overbay catches near the visitor’s dugout.

Terrible at bat for Soriano.

Ohlendorfer is at 23 pitches after 2 innings.

3rd Inning – Top

Tabata singles to deep right field on the 0-1 pitch. Colvin did a nice job cutting the ball off in the gap and holding Tabata to a single.

On the 2-0 pitch Jones loops a single to nearly the same spot Tabata got his hit.

Garza is now in a first and second no out jam.

On the 3-2 pitch Walker slices a one hopper to Ramirez who throws to makes a wild throw that Barney makes a great catch on to force out Jones at second base.

On the 12 pitch Overbay strikes out on a slider in the dirt.

Garza is one out away from pitching out of the jam.

Alvarez line the 0-1 pitch into center field scoring Tabata for the second run of the game for the Pirates.

Garza strikes out Diaz on 4 pitches to end the inning.

Garza has allowed 7 hits through 3 innings.

3rd Inning – Bottom

Colvin hits a sharp one hopper to second baseman Walker who fields and throws to Overbay for the first out of the inning

Garza strikes out on a 1-2 pitch for the second out of the inning.

Castro flies out on a soft fly ball to Jones to end the inning.

Ohlendorfer is at 38 pitches after 3 innings.

4th Inning – Top

Garza works a 1 2 3 top of the 4th inning retiring Jaramillo, Cedeno and Ohlendorfer.

Garza is at 60 pitches after 4 innings

4th Inning – Bottom

Barney flairs a single to right on the 1-1 pitch to lead off the inning. Barney made a wide turn at first before retreating to the bag. I like the hustle.

Byrd hits a line drive single back up the middle that just missed hitting Ohlendorfer in the head.

The Cubs are set up for a potential big inning with first and second nobody out. Ramirez needs to have a productive at bat.

On the 0-2 pitch Ramirez line a single into center field loading the base with nobody out.

Anything less multiple runs in this inning will be a disappointment.

Carlos Pena steps to the plate with a great opportunity to drive in runs.

Pena takes the first two pitches for balls to go up in the count 2-0. Great hitters count. On the 2-0 pitch Pena fouls off a fastball just off the inside of the plate. Pena takes a pitch low in inside to go up 3-1 in the count. Pena swings and misses a low inside pitch that appeared to be off the plate for strike two.

On the 3-2 pitch Ohlendorfer leaves a belt high fastball over the outer half of the plate the Pena drives off the right field wall for a 2-run double tying the game 2-2. The ball just missed landing in the basket for a grand slam. Pena would have likely had a grand slam had a stiff wind not been blowing in from right field.

Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle comes out to speak with the first base Umpire. He appears to be asking for a fan interference call saying a fan threw an object on the field. After a brief discussion Hurdle leaves the field without the call being changed.

On the 0-1 pitch Soto pops out to left fielder Diaz. Ramirez tags up a third base and draws a throw form Diaz but does not try to score.

The Pirates bring the infield in with 1 out. This is a risky move so early in the game.  Soriano pops out on a 1-2 pitch. Another unproductive at bat for Soriano. He looks lost at the plate.

The Pirates pitching coach makes a mound visit to likely discuss whether or not to pitch to Tyler Colvin or walk him to get to Matt Garza.

I would walk Colvin. Ohlendorfer has not looked sharp this inning so I would prefer to pitch to Garza.

Ohlendorfer intentially walks Colvin to get to Garza.

Garza hits a broken bat ground to Overbay who fields and makes the putout unassisted to end the inning.

After 4 innings the score is tied 2-2.

5th Inning – Top

I would like to see Garza have a nice shutdown inning.

Tabata loops a 1-1 pitch into right for a leadoff single.

In a weird play with Jones Tabata attempts to steal on the 0-1 pitch. Jones check swing appearing to be fooled on the pitch and lines a single to the vacated shortstop spot. The Pirates are not set up with a great scoring opportunity with runners on first and third and nobody out.

Garza had now giving up 9 singles in 4+ inngins.

Garza bounces back to strike Walker for the first out of the inning.

On the 2-2 pitch Overbay hits a lazy ground ball between Barney and Pena for an RBI single giving the pirates a 3-2 lead.

On a 0-1 pitch Alvarez blasts a ball to the base of the right field wall that is caught by Colvin. Like the Pena double this is another ball that would have likely been a home run if the wind were not blowing it. The runners tag up and advance to second and third base respectively.

Garza dodged a bullet on that Alvarez swing.

On the 2-1 pitch Diaz hits a two hopper to Castro that he throw to Pena to end the inning.

Garza did a decent job of pitching around the freak hit by Jones. But the 10 singles allowed in 5 innings is reason for concern.

Garza is a 82 pitches and has not look good today so you have to wonder how much he has left in the tank?

5th Inning – Bottom

It will be Ohlendorfer looking for the shutdown inning in the bottom of the 5th inning.

Castro blasts the 2-2 pitch off the center wall for a leadoff triple. Castro just missed hitting a homer.

Barney hits a 1-1 pitch just in front of the left field warning track that is caught by Diaz. Castro tags up and easily scores the run tying the game at 3-3.

On the 1-2 pitch Byrd swings at a slider in the dirt to strike out.

Ramirez draws a walk on a 3-2 pitch.

Ohlendorfer appears to pitch around Pena as he walks him on 4 pitches.

Soto get jammed on a 1-0 pitches and hits a dribbler to Cedeno who flips to Walker at second forcing out Pena to end the inning.

But the Cubs score a run following the leadoff triple by Starlin Castro to tie the game 3-3.

6th Inning – Top

I am hoping Garza get maybe one more scoreless inning today.

Garza strikes out Jaramillo on three pitches on a nice low away fastball.

Good looking pitch by Garza.

Garza strikes out Cedeno on three pitches on a nice slider low in the zone.

Ohlendorf hits a seeing-eye single between Castro and Ramirez for a single on the first pitch.

Now the hot hitting Tabata is up. He is 3-3 today so Garza has a challenge on his hands.  Garza drop a 2-2 slider over the heart of the plate for strike 3. Tabata appeared to be looking fastball.

Garza has a nice inning striking out the side.

Garza his 10 strikeouts on 94 pitches in 6 innings.

I am sure Quade will be watching him closely in the 7th. How much does Garza have left in the tank?

6th Inning – Bottom

Soriano homers on a letter high fastball over the middle of the plate. He blasted it into the fifth row of the left center field bleachers giving the Cubs a 4-3 lead.

Colvin pops a lazy fly ball to Diaz on the first pitch of his at bat.

Garza hits a dribbler on the 0-1 pitch the Walker fields and throws to Overbay for the second out of the inning.

Castro hits a ball past Alvarez down the left field corner for a triple. Alvarez looked like he should have gotten a glove on the ball. Diaz was also slow getting to the ball. The ball looked like it was going to be a double but the hustle of Castro and slow fielding of Diaz turned it into triple.

On the 0-2 pitch Barney hits a routine fly ball to right fielder Jones who makes the catch to end the inning.

Nice inning by the Cubs taking a 4-3 lead on the homer by Soriano.

7th Inning – Top

Garza is back on the mound for the 7th inning. He starts the inning at 94 pitches. I am sure Manager Mike Quade will be watching Garza very closely.

On the 1-1 pitch Jones flies out to Byrd on a routine fly ball to center field.

Walker strikes out on a 2-2 pitch in the dirt. Soto throws to first baseman Pena to complete the strike out.

Garza has just set a career with his 11th strikeout of the day.

Overbay hits Garza’s first pitch towards short. Ramirez ranger to his left makes a nice pickup and throw but Overbay beats it out for a hit.

Garza has just set a new career high by allowing his 12 hit of the day. All 12 hits have been singles.

Garza strikes out Alvarez swinging on three pitches for his career high 12th strikeout of the day.

Garza is now at 106 pitches.

I am guessing that Garza will be done for the day.

7th Inning  – Bottom

Crotta now on the mound for the Pirates making his major league debut.

Byrd hits a comebacker to Crotta who throws to Overbay for the first out of the inning.

Ramirez hits a lazy fly ball on the 1-0 pitch to right fielder Jones for the second out of the inning.

Pena strikes out three pitches on a low fastball down the middle to end the inning.

8th Inning – Top

Kerry Wood relieves Garza to start the 8th inning.

Diaz called on strikes on a 1-2 pitch.

Jaramillo hits a solid ground ball single just past Barney into right field for a single.

Cedeno hits the first pitch between Barney and Pena for a solid ground ball single to right field.

The Cubs are now in a jam with runners on first and second and one out in the 8th.

John Bowker pinch hits for Crotta. Bowker hits chopper on the first pitch that Pena deflects towards Barney. Everybody is safe.

Now Wood has a big time jam on his hands. Bases loaded one out. Potential go ahead runner on second.

On the first pitch Tabata his a routine fly ball to medium depth right field near the line. Colvin makes the catch and makes a great one hop throw to the plate and Soto makes the tag on Jaramillo as he slides into the plate. Great throw by Colvin nailing Jaramillo at the plate. Nice job by Wood pitching around the error by Pena and working out the bases loaded one out jam.

I look for Marmol to be in for the 9th inning.

8th Inning  – Bottom

8th Inning  – Bottom

Jimmy Karstens now on the mound for the Pirates.

Karstens retires Soto, Soriano and Colvin in order on 14 pitches.

9th Inning – Top

Carlos Marmol is on the mound looking to save a Cubs 4-3 lead.

Marmol walks Jones on a 3-2 pitch to leadoff the 9th.

Walker hits the first pitch for a line drive single to right.

Marmol is now in a first and second no one out jam in the 9th.

Overbay bunts the 1-0 pitch which Ramirez throws to Barney at first to retire Overbay. The runners move to second and third with one out. Overbay is credited with a sacrifice bunt.

Clint Hurdle comes out to argue the call at first arguing Barney never touched the bag. Barney appeared be on the bag but Overbay never touched first base. Hurdle argues for a couple of minutes before returning to the dugout.

The Cubs bring the corner infielders in with Alvarez coming to the plate.

On the 1-1 pitch Alvarez hits a slow grounder to Castro that he fields and throws to first base pulling Pena off the bag. Jones scores easily from third and Walker who is running hard all the way from second base slides into the plate just ahead of Pena’s throw to give the Pirates their  5th run giving them a 5-4 lead.

Matt Diaz grounds the first pitch to Castro for a 6 4 3 inning ending double play.

9th Inning – Bottom

Jack Hanrahan is one trying to protect the 5-4 lead for the Pirates

Reed Johnson strikes out on a 1-2 pitch.

On the 1-0 pitch Castro hits a line drive single into left center field.

On the 2-2 pitch Barney hits what appears to be a tailor made double play ball that Cedeno throws into right field for an error. Castro advances to third base.  The Cubs have a great opportunity to tie the game with Marlon Byrd coming up.

Byrd grounds the first pitch to Cedeno for a game ending 6 4 3 double play.

This is a very tough loss for the Cubs

The Pirates win 5-4

 

Chicago Cubs Game 2 Thoughts, 4/2/11

April 2, 2011

Thoughts on the Game

Positives

  1. Zambrano battled through 6 innings holding the Pirates to 3 runs and keeping the Cubs in the game
  2. The Cubs hitters never gave up and finally were able to break through for 5 runs in the 8th inning
  3. Carlos Marmol was electric striking out the side in the 9th.

Negatives

  1. Zambrano threw a 99 pitches in 6+ innings. He needs to be more economical with his pitches or the high pitch counts will catch up with him and the Cubs bullpen at some point.
  2. The Cubs hitters were shut down for the first 7 innings at home by a mediocre pitcher. The Cubs are going to have to score runs off of lower tier pitchers if they expect to be competitive in 2011.

Chicago Cubs Game 2, 4/2/11, Pirates

April 2, 2011

I had a computer crash this morning and missed the game live so I am only providing a recap.

Zambrano left the game with cramping but says be ready for his next scheduled start.

Carlos Zambrano had a high pitch count of 99 through 6+ innings allowing 5 hits and issuing 3 walks. His pitch count of 16.5 per inning is 3 pitches per inning higher than I would like to see. Zambrano is going to have trouble having consistent success this season if he continues to have such high per inning pitch counts.

Despite the high pitch count Zambrano battled holding the Pirates to 3 runs leaving the Cubs hitters within striking distance.

Pat Moholm and Jose Veras were able to hold the Cubs hitters at bay through the first 7 innings on 5 hits and 2 walks.

Time was running out on the Cubs when the hitters rallied for 5 in the bottom of the 8th inning.

The big hit was a 2-out 3-run double by Blake DeWitt capping a 5-run 8th.

Carlos Marmol picked up where he left off striking out the side in spectacular fashion in the 9th inning earning his first save of the season.


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