Cubs Send Into Extra Innings But Come Up Short

CT cubs-rockies023.JPG

Did anyone expect the Cubs to pull out the heroics two nights in a row? A show of hands? Just what I thought, oh wait, there’s someone in the back with their hands half mast. There’s one in every crowd.

Last night the Cubs fell to the Rockies 6-4 in ten innings. It seems Luis Valbuena has picked up steam crushing his eighth home run of the season and sending the game into extra innings.

“We just fell a little short,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said.

Ok, I’ve noticed a pattern in Renteria. At the start of the season he was talkative and hopeful. Check out this quote:

“I’ve been involved in a youth movement my whole life,” Renteria said. “Players, in essence, keep us young. I try to use everything I’ve ever had as a parent — for example, dealing with whatever moments of frustration or issues that might have occurred in the family — to my advantage. I’ve used that in my thought process through the game and teaching.”

That was a quote after he was hired as manager. Remember the start of the season? Now we get, “We fell short.” So has the speeches.

You know, there’s a part of me that wants the Cubs to go all the way this season, you know, win it all. Then, there’s another part of me that says, “Wait, hold on. There’s help coming. Be patient.”

The start of that help came yesterday with Felix, no not that Felix, but Mr. Doubront from Boston for an as yet to be named later player. There’s not much to get excited about with that deal an ERA of 6.07 makes me want to go, “Oh hey, that’s awesome, he should fit in well with the club.” but I’m feeling more like, Meh? The Cubs have also acquired Jonathan Martinez in the Barney deal.

It’ll be an interesting day today. Rumour has it Emilio Bonifacio is headed to Kansas City. Will this happen? Will Javier Baez see action?

I can’t stand the suspense.

Believe it.
—Mark

Cubs’ Baker Johnny On The Spot

CT cubs-rockies028.JPG

The Cubs continued their winning ways last night, er should I say this morning. This game had all the elements of a classic North Side matchup. It was windy. Damn windy. It was damp and chilly forcing Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies to run for cover. In the end, the Cubs proved mighty in their victory over the Colorado Rockies in the 16th inning with a walk off hit from the new and improved(and a slightly more mature) Starlin Castro 4-3.

It was also in true Wrigley wonder, well it was weird. John Baker, yes that John Baker, pitched. He did his job and then in the bottom of the 16th inning, he drew a walk. I tell you folks, these kind of things don’t come around too often. A Pennant Race? Who needs one. A World Series ring? Probably end up in a pawn shop anyways. The Cubs are all about these kind of grind out wins.

“They asked if I’d be willing to do that, and I said, ‘Yeah,'” he said. “I’m not going to say I don’t want to pitch at Wrigley Field in the longest game of Cubs history in the 100th anniversary season and give myself a chance to get the win. I trust my stuff.”

But Baker wasn’t the only star in Chicago. Emilio Bonifacio was a triple away from hitting for the cycle.

Sometimes it’s these kind of games that make fans forget of the struggle that the Chicago Cubs have gone through these one hundred plus years. They don’t come around too often but when they do, it’s marvel to see.

“It’s really cool,” Baker said. “It’s really, really cool. I was having trouble not smiling on the mound. You never get opportunities to do things like this. I think about how many guys I played with who were pitchers and never got a chance to pitch in the big leagues. This is something I’ll cherish for a long time.”

Believe it.

—Mark

Wada Win For Cubs

CT cubs04.JPG

Yesterday was, perhaps a turning point in the future of the Cubs. Darwin Barney is now an LA Dodger and most likely going to have his first shot at a post season. This is baseball, right? Anything can happen.

The Cubs soundly beat the Colorado Rockies in a suspenseful game if you include that eighth inning bases loaded Anthony Rizzo at the plate kind of nail biter. Of course there wasn’t a grand slam, I mean this is the Cubs right? for a brief moment, the friendly folks at Wrigley almost witnessed a chance at immortality for their young captain.

Tsuyoshi Wada collected his first win as the Cubs beat the Rockies 4-1 and earning his first win.

“I appreciate that the Cubs used me again after that outing I had [against San Diego], which wasn’t very good,” Wada said “My command was definitely better than last time, and it’s the second time I pitched in Chicago, so I was a little more relaxed. The last time I was more excited and anxious about that game.”

The Cubs have virtually no chance at a post season, but stranger things have happened to this club. With the Dodgers signing Barney and the deadline fast approaching, who should the Cubs deal? Is it Nate Schierholtz or send Junior Lake down? Schierholtz is on a bit of a hot streak lately, but I think he’s good trade bait.

“When you have players who are working together over time, continuity does seem to help,” manager Rick Renteria said. “You can’t guarantee that change won’t occur after the Trade Deadline. I wish I could tell you that I have a crystal ball and I know exactly what’s going to happen, but I don’t.

All right Ricky, I’m going to tell look into my crystal ball and see what’s going to happen.

I see a lot of smoke. I see a face. A big C on a shirt. Bonif, oh no wait…

Baez.

The ball is cloudy, I see no more.

Believe it.
—Mark

Cubs And Cardinals Friends Forever

You can learn a lot from yesterday’s tough loss against the St. Louis Cardinals. A 1-0 defeat is a bitter pill to swallow. So are those 70’s uniforms. What were those designers thinking?

It’s not going to matter too much in the standings at this point of the season, but one can hope that the Cubs would play spoiler to a Cardinals team in position to snag the NL Central. Of course, that didn’t happen.

“All pitchers are out there thinking, at least that’s the goal,” Hendricks said. “I just take that mindset, watching video, trying to figure out the hitters, and then on the mound, the biggest thing is making the adjustments. I think that’s what separates a lot of good pitchers from being average — just figuring out what the hitters are trying to do against you during the game is huge and making adjustments to combat that.”

Yes, the Cubs pitching is looking solid going into next year’s young class coming up. Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks are putting together a solid foundation on the mound.

“The big picture is that we want to win every game, but the way we’re competing and holding our own on a daily basis, I think the attitude that these young men have is in the right place,” Renteria said. “I think they’re trying to do things the right way and we just fell a little short.”

Yes, the Cubs are trying to do things the right way and building for a long term organization so history doesn’t repeat itself. Hopefully, not those 70’s uniforms. Wow.

So, I want to send out some positive vibes to Cardinal fans. Sure, there’s a bitter rivalry going between the Cubs and Cardinals, but it’s a only a game. I came across this song by PS I Love You and thought of the rivalry.

Why can’t we be Friends Forever?

Believe it,

Mark

Cubs Almost Clawed Out A Victory Against Cardinals

St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs

In what is supposed to be the Hall of Fame Weekend where generations upon generations enjoy the magic and whimsical wonder of a Nation’s pastime, the Cubs seemed in a nostalgic mood against the Cardinals. One day after a spectacular win, the Cubs decided to give a Hall Of Fame worthy loss 6-3. Was it the jitters of seeing AJ Perzynski in the division red?

“I’ve faced him several times in the past, and he’s had quite a bit of success against me,” Jake Arrieta said of Pierzynski, who is now 6-for-8 against him. “He’s a veteran hitter and knows what he’s doing up there. … He’ll be big for the team, especially with Yadi gone. It’s a good pickup on their part because he’s been around for a long time.”

And so the end result wasn’t exactly the outcome the Cubs were hoping for but Arrieta had a quality start. He fought back and went six innings. You see? even in a loss there’s always some sparkling good things for fans to see.

“That performance is indicative of how much he’s grown,” Rick Renteria said. “If that had been a couple years ago, and he was struggling, he wouldn’t be able to grind through and pitch six innings without his best command or stuff. Today he did.”

Jake Arrieta could very well be that pitcher who’ll lead the pitching staff to the playoffs real soon. They kept it close, but sometimes the games can run away from a team.

Maybe Nate Schierholtz wants to remain a Cub? He homered. It could be his last ditch attempt at saying, “Hey guys, don’t trade me. Last year wasn’t a fluke. The old Nate’s back.”

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs Take Flight Against Cardinals

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs

You have to hand it to Luis Valbuena. The guy who gives the “Peace sign to the sky” quietly goes about his business and gets it done. Knocking out another home run to put the Cubs ahead of rivals St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs went on to defeat the Red Birds 7-6.

The Cubs haven’t had it easy in July and this win was only their fourth out of the last seventeen. Their Wild Card dream is just a child’s “before bed prayer” but what the Cubs proved yesterday was they do have some talent and these sporadic wins are paving the way for a bigger picture.

Neil Ramirez. What more can be said about a guy who gives a kid a baseball at his first ball game? Well, the guy also throws some spectacular flames. He proved that yesterday against Matt Carpenter. If Mona Lisa played baseball, she would look like that out in the eighth. A thing of beauty leaving runners stranded.

“Carpenter is a tough out, a very tough out,” Ramirez said. “I tried to reach back and get a little bit extra today. I was able to get it past him and it was exciting.”

No way, Carpenter a tough out? If I looked into my crystal ball again, that play will be the Cubs every game in a couple of years. The Cubs haven’t seen those kind of moves since, well, since Carlos Marmol had that lights out kind of year.

Nope, those low key guys like Valbuena and Ramirez are key cogs that are slowly turning this team around. Never mind the leadership of Anthony Rizzo or the starry eyed Castro, the Cubs are hitting pay dirt with the extraordinary workmanlike play of these unassuming gentlemen. Wait, let’s not forget the Home Run hitting machine, Travis Wood. Now that’s versatility!

Speaking of unassuming turnarounds, our son was saying his prayers last night and I quote, “Bless baseball. I love you so much.”

Yup, you never know what comes out of a three year old’s mouth.

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs In a Pearl Jam Against Padres

San Diego Padres v Chicago Cubs

Everytime I see the Cubs these days, I can’t help but hum that old familiar song, “Scooby Dooby Doo, where are you?” after last night’s debacle the song really took over and I woke up this morning singing it again. It could be that my son has gotten into watching it. Damn you Netflix! Then it hit me. Are you ready?

“Javy Javy Baez, where are you? We’ve got some work to do now.” Last night, the Padres dismantled the Cubs 13-3. Somewhere in the sixth inning, the wheels came off.

“The bullpen is such a roller coaster ride, you try to ride the good stretches as long as you can,” Reliever Wesley Wright said. “I think for the most part we did that. Coming out of the break, we’ve gotten off to a slow start. All it takes is a couple of us finding that groove”.

No matter what spin they might put on it, losing 13-3 is not a good thing. Yeah, it happens from time to time with great teams, but the San Diego Padres aren’t that great team.

There’s a book out there called, “Golf Monster” by Alice Cooper. If you haven’t read it, read it. He says in it that, “People asked me why I haven’t joined the PGA” Yes folks, Alice is quite the golfer. “Sure, I could hit 70 sometimes I could hit in the 60’s but I’m not a pro. Pros do that everyday.”

That’s the difference. Great teams don’t lose 13-3 against really bad teams. I’m not saying the Cubs are that great team, because they’re not. Going 3 for 15 with RISP is not how a team wins championships.

If the Cubs are going to move forward, I agree with those kind folks who suggest it must be that time to cut ties with Edwin Jackson. The experiment just isn’t working out. The Cubs should just eat his contract and move on.<a

Believe it.

—Mark