Carlos Zambrano finally broke is his opening day winless streak when the Cubs beat the Houston Astros Monday night 4-2. Zambrano went six plus innings, giving up one run on five hits and striking out six.
Milton Bradley, Kosuke Fukodome and Derek Lee went 0-for-4. Alfonso Soriano connected lead-off home run number 50. Aramis Ramirez also hit a solo shot. One of the not-so-big surprises was Mike Fontenot who went 3 for 4 and scoring twice.
New closer Kevin Gregg got the save after giving up a run in the bottom of the nineth.
The Cubs improved to 43-16 at home with a 11-4 win over the Astros Wednesday. Cubs second baseman Mark Derosa connected for a grandslam in the bottom of the third and Alfonso Soriano followed with a three-run blast.
Jason Marquis scrapped by with the win after giving up four runs in the top of the third. Marquis is now 7-7 with a 4.73 ERA.
The Cubs are now 8-2 for the last ten games. The Cubs have an off day on Thursday before hosting the St. Louis Cardinals for a weekend series. Lilly, Zambrano and Dempster will match up against Braden Looper, former Cub Todd Wellemeyer and the third pitcher will be announced later.
The Cubs are still atop the central division with a five game lead over the Brewers. They hold a 5.5 game lead over the Cardinals. The Cubs continue to hold the best record in the National League.
In other news, the team activated Kerry Wood on Tuesday. To make room for Wood the team designated relief pitcher Scott Eyre for assignment.
Some other stats:
Alfonso Soriano is hitting .395 with five home runs, 11 RBIs and 17 hits over the last ten games.
Mark DeRosa had a five RBI day on Wednesday. He hit his fourth career grand slam in the bottom of the third to put the Cubs ahead for good.
Derek Lee is struggling batting .268 in the last ten games. He went 0-for-4 during Wednesday’s game.
Aramis Ramirez isn’t fairing much better than Lee. Ramirez is batting .306 in the last ten games with 4 RBIs.
Kosuke Fukudome continues to struggle. He’s batting .265 in the last ten games.
Ryan Theriot after having a productive first half, Theriot has begun a backward slide. He’s batting .270 for the last ten games. He is currently batting .200 for the month of August.
Geovanny Soto continues to come out of his July slump. He’s batting .333 for the last ten days. However, he’s batting .235 in the last 30 days. He didn’t start on Tuesday or Wednesday, giving Henry Blanco a chance to get some work in.
Jim Edmonds is earning his place on the team. If there was to be a reflection back on the season of who has contributed to the success of the 2008 Cubs, Edmonds will be at the top of the list.Edmonds is .321 for the last ten games is batting .286 for the last (near his career average) 30 days. Don’t let the numbers fool you… he’s on par to have an average year. And for a guy who didn’t have much of a spring training, that’s a good thing.
The Cubs exited their trip to St Louis the same way they went in: three and a half-games up. It could have been five and a half had it not been for Kerry Wood in the bottom of the ninth. That was a disappointing loss.
The Cubs have the day off today and will battle the Reds on Tuesday followed by the Giant for the weekened series before the Midsummer in Spankee (er Yankee… ah hell.. Spankee) Stadium.
Speaking of the All-Star Game, how about sending seven players to the classic? WOW! Sorioano and Fukudome covering the corners (note: Soriano is still a big IF for the game) and Soto behind the plate. Ramirez a reserve with Dempster, Wood and Zambrano rounding out. The most ever for the club. Congrats guys!
Now we move onto blogs… You know, I love the whole free blog thing and all. But I think if people are going to have a blog they should at least make an attempt to update it or at least post. Perhaps MLBLogs should do a purge of blogs that haven’t been activate or updated for a year.
That brings me to another issue—I miss the team blogs where you could look at all the blogs associated with a team. It was a nice thing to have. Oh well… Beggers can’t be choosers.
Let me preface this by saying that I’m a duel Chicago baseball fan (sorta). While my true faith lies for the Cubs, I do have a soft spot for the White Sox. It goes back to the days of Carlton and when Ozzie wasn’t pompus and arrogant. But I digress, the Cubs-White Sox always brings about the agressive side in me. I dislike A.J. more now than ever before. Luckily, anything he did today didn’t really matter.
Guillen gets under my skin, especially when he takes potshots at European Cubs fans. He says they come to Wrigley to “tour” the field. It came across as an insult. (Luckily, I’m an American—but still. I have friends in Europe that are Cubs fans.) I can tell you why: historical significance. Unlike the Cell, Wrigely has some history. There’s something to be said. Unlike Comiskey, Wrigley probably will never fall prey to a wrecking ball (or dynamite).
Don’t get me wrong, Guillen is certainly entitled to his opinion. I just don’t agree with it.
(Personal note to self: Next year, go to a Cubs-White Sox game to live the riverly. Hopefully I can wave a World Champions hat in the faces of White Sox fans. )
Having said all that: I’m going to a White Sox game in July. They’re playing the Royals. It’s Harold Baines day. Should be fun.
Back to the Cubs-Sox series. After the disappointing road trip, I was feeling a bit worried. Then again, the Cubs are back at Wrigley and that’s always a good thing.
Just a quick recap. Zambrano was taken out of the game on Wednesday after experiencing some stiffness in his shoulder. Good news is, it’s minor. Bad news is, he’s missing two starts.
On other injury notes, Alfonso Soriano is well on the road to recovery and it looks like Darryl Ward is about ready to come off the DL.
The Cubs scored nine runs in the fourth inning and that was the team needed to beat the crosstown rivels, the White Sox 11-7 Saturday.
The White Sox went ahead early in the first with a two-run home run by Jermaine Dye. The Cubs would score in the bottom half, cutting the White Sox lead by half.
DeWayne Wise would follow in the fouth with a two-run shot. It was his first home run since 2004. Oddly enough, it also came against the Cubs. Wise was playing for the Braves at the time.
But the fireworks was just about to begin. The Cubs scored nine runs in the bottom of the inning. It what has to be a moment of oddity when Mike Fontenot came back around the second time in the inning, Cubs manager Lou Piniella pulled Fontenot for a pinch hitter.
Fontenot didn’t care. He figured it was strategy.
Piniella said in a post game interview that he didn’t realize that he done that to Fontenot. He certainly wouldn’t have done that had he known about the home run. Piniella chalked it up to being one of “those senior moments.”
Several Cubs players stated later they didn’t realize it was the same inning.
Jason Marquis gave up five runs on eight hits over seven innings of work. He struck out four and walked one. Kerry Wood got save number 19 after Carlos Marmol couldn’t close it out. Wood is now tied with Brian Wilson of the Giants in the NL for the lead in saves.
The Cubs called up Eric Patterson from Triple A Iowa to fill the spot vacated by Zambrano. Patterons went 3-for-5 with an RBI with a stolen base.
Jim Edmonds has proven to be the hidden weapon in the Cubs lineup. In Saturday’s game he connected as one-half of a four home run inning (all four home runs came as back to back. First time around was Edmonds and Mike Fontenot and the second one was Aramis Ramirez and Edmonds). He’s improved his batting average since coming to the Cubs in May.
While with San Diego, Edmonds batted .178. He’s average as a Cub is .311. His season BA is now .238. What’s impressive is that he’s improved his slugging average to .390. All around, Edmund’s has proven to be worthy acquisition.
He gives the Cubs a left handed bat that’s been known to be ratherly unfriendly to pitchers at Wrigley. He’s still got some good defensive ability. And he provides some veteran experience to the Cubs organization.
The Cubs have now gone back to back three times in the past two games. It helps when the wind blows out.
The Cubs go for the sweep Sunday. Ryan Demptser will go for win number nine. The White Sox send Javier Vazquez to the mound. First pitch is 8:05 Eastern. It’s the Game of the Week on ESPN.