Subscribe to the Newsletter

Recently in Fukie Category

Weekend update

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
After their first weekend of play for the 2010 season, both are teams are 2-4, with line-ups on both sides of town still struggling mightily. The White Sox actually did manage five runs Sunday, the most either team has managed since the Cubs scored five in a hopeless effort back on Opening Day.

The Sox got a nice surprise from Andruw Jones Sunday in the form of an eighth inning game-winning hit that kept them from losing their fifth in a row and getting swept by the Piranhas. Paul Konerko had a two-run homer to continue his tear, and the Sox got solo shots from Mark Kotsay (finally make Ozzie look good for sticking with him) and Gordon Beckham, but Jones' pinch-hit single may have been the brightest moment for this team since Game 1.

Mark Buehrle also was good enough in holding the Twins to four runs over eight innings, keeping a somewhat taxed bullpen off the field.

The win came after a frustrating 2-1 Saturday loss in which a gutsy performance by Freddy Garcia's was wasted. The Sox had a number of scoring chances, but couldn't manage timely hits, and all the recent talk of aggressive base-running backfired at one point when Alex Rios, after his lead-off double, was doubled off of second on a fly ball out.

The Sox head north for a series in Toronto early this week, and it seems unlikely they will find their hitting touch in a dome (damn domes...), but at least they won't have to face Roy Halladay anymore.

The Cubs really should have won all three games in Cincinnati, yet they leave losing two out of three, and when they don't get sabotaged by their own bullpen, they can always count on Alfonso Soriano's clumsy fielding to do the job. On Sunday, Soriano's fumbling of a catchable fly ball in the seventh inning--while not extending the inning, since it would only have been the second out--changed the karma of a game in which Tom Gorzelanny had pitched very well.

After Soriano's error, and with the bases now loaded, Lou Piniella decided to take his anger out on Gorzelanny, removing the lefty for... another lefty, Sean Marshall. Still, Marshall has been dominant this past week, and we've been hoping he'd get the call more often, so the change wasn't a complete surprise. In any case, the karma had changed for the Cubs, and what we got next was a pure bad luck play in which a possible double-play grounder deflected off Marshall's glove and brought in the tying run.

The Reds scored two runs an inning later, and three runs is just too much for this Cubs team. The Cubs didn't do much hitting against rookie starter Mike Leake, with Kosuke Fukudome collecting three of the Cubs' five hits, but they didn't need to, as Leake awarded them seven walks. Still, except for an RBI single by Derrek Lee, the Cubs did nothing with the free runners. The worst was a waste of a bases-loaded, no-outs situation in the first inning. So maybe a little of the bad karma was there from the beginning.

Saturday featured the Cubs' second win of the season and a nicely modulated performance by Carlos Zambrano, who fell behind early 3-0, but didn't implode, and kept the Cubs in the game until homers by Soriano, Fukudome and Jeff Baker brought them a 4-3 lead. Carlos Marmol was at his unhittable best un the ninth for the save, but Zambrano was most impressive. With the obvious exception of his no-hitter in 2008, I've rarely seen get tougher to hit and more calm as a game has gone on. It was an especially nice recovery after his Opening Day horror show.

Home opener for the Cubs tomorrow against the Brew Crew.

Colvin makes it interesting

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
Several reports today suggest that versatile Cubs OF Tyler Colvin could make the Opening Day roster. The way he's been hitting--leading the Cactus League in hits, whatever that's worth--he deserves consideration above Sam Fuld, Micah Haffpauir and others.

It remains to be seen how much playing time he'll get. It's been suggested that Alfonso Soriano could lose at-bats, but as much as I think Soriano has crippled the Cubs at times in the past, he has looked good this spring and I doubt Lou Piniella will take him out much unless he obviously slumps from the start of the season.

Right now, I wonder if it's more likely that Kosuke Fukudome could be the one on the short leash. He started slow this spring, though has picked it up the last few games. Colvin replacing Fukie still gives you a lefty hitting second, and for now at least, one with a bit more pop in his bat and probably more speed. One big difference, however, us that Fukudome is showing his typical plate patience this spring with seven walks in 13 games. Colvin has none in 17 games, though you could argue that you need to swing and hit to get noticed in spring training, rather than take pitches. Hopefully, Colvin would be more selective when the games start counting.

In any case, Fukudome could keep his job and playing time by starting hot, which he has done in the past. If Soriano and Fukudome both start well, then Colvin could be back in the minors before too long, but that also would means the Cubs are doing well, right?

Only good thoughts

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
The Cubs won 2-1 over the Dodgers Friday, and I guess I had become so accustomed to all-or-absolutely-nothing offensive efforts, I had no idea that the Cubs had not won game while scoring less than four runs since last Sept. 11 (according to the Tribune).

The Cubs managed hits Friday, though not with runners in scoring position, as has been the problem of late. But, they did get just enough from a Koyie Hill solo homer and a bases -loaded sac fly from Kosuke Fukudome for the vcitory. Another very strong pitching performance, this time from Ted Lilly, kept the Cubs in the game.

The Cubs are now 3-1 since their 8-game losing streal ended and are winning for the month, 14-12 with two games to go. While stars and core line-up goes continue to gradually--very gradually--come back from slumps and injuries, guys like Hill, Bobby Scales (though he had a scary 9th inning error Friday), Micah Hoffpauir and Jake Fox are stepping up and doing just enough. More good news: The Gatorade machine survives another day. And, we're getting closer and closer to the return of Aramis Ramirez.

The White Sox, meanwhile, actually won in Kansas City, a feat that was starting to seem as hard as winning in Minnesota. After pounding K.C. 11-3 Friday night with a great pitching performance by Clayton Richard, the Sox also are 3-1 in their last four games, and 5-2 since the 20-1 demolishing at the hands of the Twinkies last week. Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez and Josh Fields each had 2 RBIs in this one.

May has not been as good to the Sox: They have an 11-15 record for the month headed into Saturday night's game, though if you ask anyone in Chicago who is in better shape right night, almost anyone would say the Sox. Both teams are in fourth place in their divisions, and the Sox have a losing record, but it's the Cubs who have more work to do, and a taller mountain to climb comeptition-wise.

The last bit of probably good news for the Sox is that they traded Lance Broadway (who was no longer impressing anyone despite past first-rounder status) to the Mets for catcher Ramon Castro and designated catcher Corky Miller for assignment. Castro is probably an offensive step up from Miller and is an Ozzie guy, having been in Florida when Oz was coaching for the Marlins (the Cub fan side of me will acknowledge no further details about teh Marlins during that period).

Looking for the bottom

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
The Cubs have lost seven straight, their worst run since the bloody awful season of 2006. The culprit is the anemic offense, which has been a problem all season, but now the slumps and injuries that were affecting a few players in April have spread to the whole team like--wait for it--swine flu.

The best hitter on the team, Kosuke Fukudome, has cooled off, though he continues to look sharper than last season by drawing walks even when he's not hitting. Ryan Theriot lost touch with his brief power surge and isn't scratching out multi-hit games like last year, and Alfonso Soriano has faded after a strong start. Derrek Lee, Geovany Soto and Milton Bradley have shown glimpses of promise, but mostly remain mired in the doldrums that have affected them since Opening Day. Aramis Ramirez remains on the sidelines and Mike Fontenot, perhaps feeling the pressure of being a multi-position starter, has all but lost his job. Don't even get me started on Aaron Miles.

When Lou Piniella is talking about moving Al-So to second base, you know your troubles have almost hit bottom. But, have they hit bottom yet? We may find out when Pittsburgh hits town tomorrow, a brief respite for the Cubs between the hot-running opponents of the last week (Cardinals and Padres) and a face-off vs. 2008 postseason nemesis the Dodgers, who are 2009's best MLB team thus far. Yet, while the Cubs have recently faced teams who were playing very good baseball, the losing streak is undoubtedly of their own making. Pitching has been at least adequate and often very good in the last seven games. The most startling offensive stat: The Cubs have no walks in their last two games.

How long can it go on, and could hitting coach Gerald Perry be the fall guy, if the Cubs continue to play far below the unreasonably high expectation we have come to have for them? Perry's greatest accomplishment has been getting hitters to be more patient about begging off pitches away from the center of the plate. But, suddenly, the player have forgotten the lesson they seemed to learn so well last season.

The fans are getting pretty agitated and will be more so if the Cubs fail to win a couple against Pittsburgh. There's already quite a bit of grumbling about the Bradley signing being a bust, and the delicate relationship between him and the fans could be nearing a breaking point. I don't think moving Soriano is the answer, and I'd actually rather see D-Lee sit to get Micah Hoffpauir in the line-up. I have to credit Lou for experimenting with the line-up, but nothing seems to be working. Perhaps a visit from minor league stud Jake Fox is in order. The only other thing to really look forward to, short of the current line-up wking up, is the return of Aramis Ramirez, which as probably at least a month away.

Swinging away

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
The Cubs lost their 4th game in a row, 8-2 to the Cards, who are running away with the division title for the month of April (good thing there is no such thing). The problem, beyond injuries leaving the Cubs with a noticeable lack of depth, is that the Cubs are definitely tense and swinging away at the plate. A fair amount of contact, a few singles here and there but not often together, lots of lineouts and what else? Oh, right, very few walks--and it's the walks that helped the Cubs win many games last year and a few more earlier this month.

During the Cubs losing streak, here's their team BBs for each game: 0, 2, 2, 2. Compare those numbers to their 3 previous wins: 4, 7, 7. It seems obvious they feel a lot of pressure to make something happen, and when that happens this early in the season, it's a bad sign, but it's also something they have time to fix. Alfonso Soriano has been rendered useless by the line-up change putting him 3rd in the batting order. So useless that it almost seems like he is swinging at bad pitches on purpose--I'm not accusing him of anything, but that's how it looks. It's that bad.

The bright spots today: Ryan Theriot, who had a brief slump hitting lead-off had a pair of hits and 1 of the 2 Cubs walks today. Kosuke Fukudome had 2 hits, and so did Mike Fontenot, who has picked himself up the last couple games.

The worst things about today's game: David Patton grooved one to Albert Pujols with the bases loaded, and guess what? Patton's appearance after a decent start by Sean Marshall, began badly and went downhill as he walked 3 and gve up 5 runs, including the grand slam.

Also, very bad: When the score was still 3-1 Cards, Joey Gathright hustled out an infield hit, but then got picked off. Gathright, Aaron Miles and Patton are among the Cubs players that really need to start showing up in the wake of injuries to others.

Swinging away turned out not to be a bad thing for the White Sox--and especially Alexei "The Missile" Ramirez--tonight as they pummeled the Blue Jays 10-2 after mustering on offense ina 14-0 loss last night.

The Missile, who has struggled badly all month, came up in the 5th inning with the bases loaded and the Sox already up 4-2. The Missile of course hit four grand slams in his rookie season last year, and with his recent difficulties, I was just hoping he wouldn't try to be a hero--just sit on a few pitches and try to make contact. It seemed pretty darn unlikely that his young career had room for another big moment, but the unlikely was exactly what happened. He took a juicy inside-part-of-the-plate pitch into the left field stands, and it exited the yard about as quickly as his first four grand slams did. It was a no doubter--you could tell the way he got those skinny arms fully extended with the fat part of the bat coming directly into your living room. He went 2-4 with 5 RBIs for the game, his 3rd 2-hit game of the last week, so maybe he's back.

Other notables: Jermaine Dye had a 2-run homer and Brian Anderson drove in 2 runs. Paul Konerko was 3-4. Mark Buerhle, who we all were so worried about this spring, is now 3-0, and pitched a pretty quiet 6 innings before handing it off to the bullpen. Every batter in the Sox line-up had at least 1 hit in this one, and the team collected 6 walks. Sounds like a good template for the Cubs.

Trading places

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
The Cubs looked great Tuesday night, while the Sox looked flat, but our teams traded places Wednesday night, as the Cubs could not muster a single run against the Reds' Johnny Cueto in a 3-0 loss, while the Sox pummeled the Orioles 8-2 behind lock-down pitching from John Danks.

Danks was one of our favorites of 2008, and while he was not as over-powering against the Orioles as he was in his first two starts this year, he kept the Orioles off balance, walking none, limiting them to 4 hits in 7 IP and picking off a runner.

The Sox batters gave him everything he needed early, staking him to a 4-0 lead in the first 3 innings. Jim Thome and Josh Fields had homers. Fields and Chris Getz, working out of the top two spots in the line-up, both had three hits. Fields had 3 RBI and Getz drove in 2 runs.

Scott Linebrink and Matt Thornton were not all that impressive, each getting an inning of work late and letting multiple runners on, but the Sox had plenty of breathing room.

The Cubs, meanwhile, did not get much going against Cueto after stringing together a pair of hits by Kosuke Fukudome and Derrek Lee in the 1st inning. There were a couple other situations in which they had 2 on base without 2 outs, but couldn't find a clutch hit. Milton Bradley, having trouble getting back in the swing of things after injury, struck out 3 times. Lee and Alfonso Soriano both had 2 hits.

Ted Lilly looked pretty good, with his only run in 7 IP coming shortly after he made a throwing error on what would have been a bunt hit anyway. Neither Angel Guzman nor Kevin Gregg could escape their own one-inning assignments without giving up a run each.

The word during last night's Cubs telecast was that Jeff Samardzija was being called up after a scorching run at AAA--I guess I'll start spellking his name correctly. Though Neal Cotts is the most obvious pitcher to be demoted or worse, the Cubs need his left arm, shaky as it is, in the bullpen. The Trib suggested Luis Vizcaino may be the one walking the plank.

The Cubs are about to begin an afternoon game, so get the to a TV or GameDay.

One-run ups and down

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
SBW hit the second game of the Cubs-Cardinals series Friday on a beautiful day for baseball--or just anything else. The Cubs rewarded us with an exciting, harrowing 8-7 win, made all the better because the Cubs had to fight back a couple of times, something we hadn't seen them do yet this season.

The ultimate heroics came from Alfonso Soriano, who had looked pretty awful at the plate until his botton-8th 2-run homer gave the Cubs a timely lead. Soriano had whiffed thrice against Cards rookie P.J. Walters, who did have good strikeout stuff yesterday. Still, Walters allowed the rest of the Cubs a 3-0 lead on a run-scoring double by Micah Hoffpauir (who is not making us mess Milton Bradley), a run-scoring single by Aramis Ramirez, and a sac fly by Kosuke Fukudome (who still is looking sharp).

It was mostly Soriano's at-bats against Walters were positively embarrassing, the first two taking no more than 7 pitches, and all three Ks were characterized by wild swings. The second one came with the bases loaded.

On the mound for the Cubs, Carlos Zambrano had started well, and with the bases juiced and Albert Pujols up in the 3rd inning, was able to limit Pujols to a sacrifice fly. But, the next batter, Ryan Ludwick, went deep with a 3-run homer.

Fortunately, the rook Walters was on a short leash and gone after 5 innings, with the Cards up 5-3. The Cubs came right back and tied it 5-5 in the 5th, as A-Ram doubled in D-Lee, and Geovany Soto singled in the tying run. Geo is still struggling, and ending up behind a lot of pitches, but looked better as this game progressed.

Zammy gave the lead back in the 6th on a homer by Brian Barden, his second in two days, and in the 7th gave up another homer to Ludwick. It was a surprise to many of us he was still in for the 7th, but Lou let him finish for a 7 IP, 7 ER effort. I guess you could argue he only had three disasterous pitches all game, but I wonder if the Cubs were just trying to push a starter longer in a close game and leave the shaky bullpen off the mound as long as possible.

The Cubs got a run in their half of the 7th as A-Ram knocked in Fukie, who had doubled, making the score 7-6 Cards. In the 8th, with Carlos Marmol warming up and looking to pitch the 9th, Soriano turned an 0-1 into a big 1-5 with his 2-run jack after Aaron Miles pinch-walked. Marmol, already-warmed, cam in for the save, but not before walking a batter and hitting another. He cleaned up nicely though, striking out the formidable Ludwick, then getting a tailor-made double play to end it.

It was good to a see some comeback in the Cubs, as they have not done much this year when falling behind. Even better that it was against the Cards. Many Cards fans in our 500-something section slithered out of Wrigley pretty quietly.

The White Sox also experienced a one-run game, but came out on the bad end, losing 6-5 to the Rays. Just when it started looking like they might cruise to a 2-0 series lead against those dastardly Rays in the dreaded Trop, the bottom fell out.

The Sox had gone up 5-2 on another pretty strong outing--or at least 5.2 IP--by Bartolo Colon, but Colon loaded the bases with 2 outs in the 6th. I liked him at the 92-pitch mark to wriggle out on his own with minimal damage, but Ozzie yanked him in favor of Matt Thornton to face a left-handed Gabe Gross. But, the Rays pinch-hit Ben Zobrist (who swings both ways, by the way), and Zobrist smacked a grand slam.

I was nervous the whole game up to that point, thinking Colon was going to blow up, but he's really throwing like a crafty veteran right now and I kind of liked him matching up against Gross. Still, it's hard to argue with Thornton as a replacement since he has been fairly unhittable this season--I guess that means he was due.

The Sox seemed shell-shocked after the slam, but did muster a couple of baserunners in the top of the 9th and had a man on 3rd with 2 outs before being shut down. Offensively, they weren't bad, just weren't good enough. Chris Getz and Jim Thome both had 2 hits, Paul Konerko continued his hot-hitting with 2 RBIs, and Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye kept up their homerun-hitting contest: C.Q. got his 5th, and JeDye pounded his 4th.

Both our teams are 1-1 in their current 4-game sets with 2 games to go.

It's still early, he says

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
Rockies 5 Cubs 2
Cardinals 7 Cubs 4

Tigers 9 White Sox 0
White Sox 3 Rays 2

Again had a few problems with BlogSpot earlier today and so I'm catching up:

Rockies 5 Cubs 2--My first trip to Wrigley this year. Not much has changed, thankfully, except for the Captain Morgan's Club monstrosity along Addison which further clogs of the sidewalks. Why doesn't someone close Clark and Addison already on game day?

I'm just grumpy because the Cubs never got it going against an old mate. Jason Marquis had his ups and downs as a Cub, and as he pitched against his former teamates as a member of the Rockies, he looked a lot like his Cub self: A very hittable pitcher who gets into plenty of jams, but sometimes finds his way out via a timely ground-out, strikeout or--in one case--a strike-him out/thrown-him-out double play.

Colorado beat the Cubs 5-2 Wednesday as SBW watched from the cheap seats, in a game where you kept anticipating a Cubs comeback that never quite happened, right down to the fizzled bottom-9th attempt at a rally. That inning started with a Derrek Lee solo homer (The crowd was on D-Lee at the start of this one for his slow start this season, but he went 3-4 in this game.) The Cubs added 2 baserunner and had Geovany Soto (the tying run) at the plate with no outs.

But within a couple of minutes, the game was over: Mike Fontenot made an ill-advised attempt to advance from second to third on a pass ball. From my lofty perch, it looked like he left late and that the ball didn't get all that far away from Rockies catcher Chris Ianneta. Why he was in such a rush to advance is anyone's guess--if he get's to third and scores on a sac fly, the Cubs would still be down 5-3. Lou could not have been happy.

Next, Geo, who was in his first game back from a shoulder injury and looked pretty rusty the whole game, grounded into an easy double play. The Cubs blew some earlier chances with runners on, but tying run at the plate with no outs will be the hardest to forget. Micah Hoffpauir had an RBI double for the first run, by the way, and Fukie still has his mojo.

The other story of this one was that Rich Harden had a very strange outing, only 3.2 IP, but 8 Ks and 4 BBs. Lights out in the 1st inning, and then increasingly hittable and wild after that. Marquis drove in 2 runs. Soriano let a run score on an error. What else? Neal Cotts was brought in to face lefties, but could get them out--remember that one for later.

Cardinals 7 Cubs 4--Today was just as frustrating, if not more so, as the Cubs squandered some early BBs courtesy of Cards pitcher Adam Wainwright. Milton Bradley made a surprise appearance as a pinch hitter with the bases juiced and was called out on strikes and then thrown out of the game for arguing--get used to that. Bradley started off with the count 3-0 and then looked like he didn't want to swing. I'm sure he would have gotten a pinch-runner if he got on, but he looked extremely tentative, and while Bradley and the crowd got on the home plate ump, it looked to me like he let 3 straight strikes blow right by him.

Other than that, Fukie again showed up when few others did, stroking a 3-run homer. he was caught stealing for the second game in a row--needs to work on that. D-Lee had a sac fly for the other Cubs run.

On the mound, Sean Marshall was definitely at least adequate, with 5 IP, 3 ER and 4 Ks, but was pulled after 93 pitches. Piniella and his staff are keeping him on a short leash to start the season, but I sure would have liked to see him go another inning in this one. He was pulled after an inning-opening single, and handed a 4-3 lead to Aaron Heilman, who gave it up the same inning. Later, Neal Cotts was handed the game with a lefty up and a runner on third, and guess what happened? Single to right field. I loved Cotts as a very effective member of the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox, but the last few games he is not doing the one thing he is required to do: Get lefties out.

Anyway, it's a good thing its only April 16.

Tigers 9 Sox 0--Almost nothing worth mentioning from the Sox' blow-out loss on Wednesday. Jose Contreras started well, but got knocked around his second trip through the Tigers' batting order, almost the same thing that happened in his first start. Also, Contreras is just about one of the easiest pitchers around to steal on, and he proved it in this game by letting big, slow Miguel Cabrera steal second base off of him. Cabrera is an amazing player, but if he steals another base all year it will have to be because Contreras is on the mound.

Still, while Contreras was most definitely not dealing in this one, it was Mike MacDougal who really put the game out of reach, giving up 4 ER on 4 hits and 3 BBs in 2 IP. Ozzie seemed determined at the opening of the season to give Mac yet another chance, but we'll see how long that lasts. I'd mention the Sox hitting highlights, but there were none.

White Sox 3 Rays 2--Speaking of stealing bases, the Rays are absolutely relentless in that department. But, they could not do much with lefty John Danks pitching tonight. Danks was pretty tough with 6 IPs, 1 ER and 8 Ks, and left with a 2-1 lead. The runs came on a 2-run homer by Jermaine Dye.

The Rays found it much easier to steal on the Sox bullpen, getting a stolen base off Octavio Dotel and stealing 3 bases off Bobby Jenks as he tried to close out the 9th. Jenks gave up a run, but the Sox fortunately had purchased insurance in the top of the 9th on an RBI infield hit by Josh Fields.

The Sox actually left the bases loaded in the 9th, and didn't make the most of their chances tonight. That usually spells misfortune against the Rays, but this time they escaped.

Cold comfort

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
If it hadn't been Opening Day, they wouldn't have played, and if the Cubs had lost, there would have been much to complain about, starting with the cold, windy, wet conditions. However, the Cubs shut down the Rockies 4-0 in their 2009 home opener, so we'll take what we got.

Ted Lilly carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning. A nasty curve, which at one point almost made Todd Helton duck before it landed right over the center of the plate, deserves much of the credit. However, Lilly also seemed to get a handful of borderline strike calls to help him out, and the Rockies seemed less than sure-handed and sure-footed at the plate, making a number of bail-out swings.

For the second game in a row, the Cubs showed extraordinary patience at the plate, drawing 6 BBs from Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who seemed like he was having trouble getting a good grip on the ball. Koyie Hill walked with the bases loaded to score the first run in the 2nd inning. Hill has been doing a suitable Geovany Soto impression while Geo is out with a shoulder ache. Hill was 2-3 yesterday.

Kosuke Fukudome has been doing a suitable impression of himself circa April 2008, and he drew 3 BBs yesterday to go with a run-scoring single in the 8th inning. So, is Fukie reall back for good, or is he just a really strong starter? We still need to watch for a possible late earlu summer fade before we get too excited. Derrek Lee, who has started uncharacteristically slowly this season, also had an RBI double and drew 2 BBs. the remaining run scored on a botched double play by the Rockies.

The Cubs remain without Geo, and Aramis Ramirez sat yesterday. The Cubs tend to do that in especially rainy conditions, though Len Kasper also mentioned something about a sore back. Also, Milton Bradley didn't play after his groin injury Sunday. He may be out until the weekend, the Trib reported, in anticipation that it might be better to bring him back when the weather is warmer. But, at this rate, that could be May.

The White Sox, after back-to-back No. 300 jacks by Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko yesterday, kept on scoring runs against Detroit, but the Tigers kept scoring runs, too. Gavin Floyd had an awful outing, allowing 6 runs and 7 BBs (!) in 5 IP, but stayed long enough to get the win in a 10-6 Sox victory.

The Sox bats stayed hot through the cold for the third game in a row. Paulie was 4-5 with 4 RBIs, and looks like a new man so far this season, one that many people, myself included, expected would be the beginning of his career fade. Carlos Quentin tried to steal the spotlight from Paulie and JeDye, blasting 2 HRs and collecting 4 RBIs.

The bad news in this one, other than Floyd's outing, was an separated shoulder suffered by Dewayne Wise as he made a nifty diving/rolling catch in center field. That means we'll see more of Brain Anderson in the days ahead--though not today, because rain has already postponed the second game of the Sox-Tigers series.

I make my first trip of the season out to Wrigley Field tomorrow. Sounds like it will be another cold one, which of course will call for a few cold ones in order to warm up.

Almost instant karma

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
Lou Piniella says he was looking for a "change in karma" after his bullpen walked 3 batters in a row against the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday night, so he sent pitching coah Larry Rothschild out to change pitchers. Personally, I think Lou was just fuming and didn't want to tear off the head of Neal Cotts in fron of thousands of fans. During last week's extra-innings loss to the Astros and Friday night's bullpen meltdown against the Brewers, Lou could be seen on TV in the dugout mouthing some very recognizable bad words. Forget Sweet Lou--Sour Lou is out early this year.

The karma did not change instantly for the Cubs, as new pen arrival Aaron Heilman gave up a single after the 3 walks that put the Brewers up 5-3, but it did change an inning later. Aramis Ramirez hit a solo HR to bring the Cubs within a run in the 8th, and in the top of the 9th and down to 2 outs, Alfonso Soriano was the hero. Hit blasted (literally) a 2-run HR after Reed Johnson had pinched a single. Soriano was one possible goat after Friday's loss, but again seems to show you has value just at the time when you (or its was just me) are ready to question him. Al-So has come up big the first week of the season... maybe he should bat clean-up (as Milton Bradley is hitting .063 this far).

The Cubs won 6-5, and it wasn't twice-bitten closer Kevin Gregg who finished the game. Carlos Marmol got the save, giving up a single, but facing down the toughest Brewers hitters to end it. Apparently, Lou doesn't want to change the karma too much, because he said Gregg will be back in the closer role Sunday if needed.

Other notes: Kosuke Fukudome has been fairly torrid--or at least better than expected. He was 2-5 with a HR yesterday, and apparently loves hitting against the Brewers (It was his 4th HR off Brewers pitching since his heroic debut as a Cub on Opening Day 2008.) Also, Carlos Zambrano was pretty darn good for the second game in a row, though his effort was squandered by the pen's collapse.

White Sox update: The Sox had a karma change, too, in the form of a heavweight pitcher thought to be wobbling toward retirement until recently. Bartolo Colon had vintage stuff, blanking the Minnesota Piranhas for 7 innings (giving them nothing to chew on), on the way to an 8-0 victory (a Colon blow-out, if you will, though I know you'd rather not).

The Sox also were effective for the first time this year in simply pushing runner after runner across the plate. When the starting line-up flashed on the TV at the beginning of the game, it certainly didn't look like that's what would be in store: It featured 3 new starters (Brent Lillibridge, Corky Miller and Wilson Betemit) and 2 others (Alexei Ramirez and Brian Anderson) who were hitless for 2009--5 guys with .000 batting averages.

But, Colon's workman-like pitching and the new shaken-up batting order seemed to bring some new karma. Lillibridge, leading-off, didn't have a hit, but was decent anyway, walking twice, stealling a base and showing the rest of the team how to execute a sacrifice bunt. Ramirez, "The Missile," finally took flight with his first 2 hits and first 2 RBI of the season. Even Miller had 2 RBI. It's doubtful the Sox batting order will continue to have the same names in place as it did yesterday, but the rag-tag group somehow broke the team-wide hitting slump.

Top 5 from the Archive

Triple Header


Monthly Archives

Breaking Beachwood Sports Feed!