Monday, April 30, 2007

Cubs end streaky April with share of first

The Chicago Cubs had an excellent opportunity to begin the season on a truly excellent note, after starting the month of April with a 13-5 record. However, losing 6 of the last 8 games of the season, the team is forced to settle for a 15-11 month and a share of first place.

NL Central Standings:
Chicago Cubs: 15-11
St. Louis Cardinals: 15-11
Milwaukee Brewers: 13-13, -2.0
Houston Astros: 12-13, -2.5
Pittsburgh Pirates: 12-14, -3.0
Cincinnati Reds: 11-14, -3.5

Team leaders so far:

Wins: Johan Santana, 4
ERA: Johan Santana, 1.50
Saves: Joe Nathan, 10
Strikeouts: Johan Santana, 37
WHIP: Johan Santana, 0.95

Average: Luke Scott, .315
Homeruns: Luke Scott, 5
Runs Scored: Luke Scott, 20
RBI: Chase Utley, 19
Stolen Bases: Chase Utley, 5

Most commonly used lineup:
LF Carl Crawford
CF Luke Scott
2B Chase Utley
RF Brad Hawpe
1B Chris Shelton
3B Hank Blalock
C Gerald Laird
SS Chris Barnwell

Other notable statistics:
C Gerald Laird: .299 avg, 3 HR, 8 RBI, .316 OBP, .481 slug
1B Chris Shelton: .237 avg, 2 HR, 18 RBI, .280 OBP, .392 slug
OF Brad Hawpe: .284 avg, 2 HR, 15 RBI, .390 OBP, .455 slug

SP Mark Buehrle: 3-0, 3.86 ERA, 1.09 WHIP
RP J. J. Putz: 2-2, 5 holds, 2.20 ERA, 0.92 WHIP

Friday, April 27, 2007

Rodriguez down, Ozuna up

In an effort to help a struggling offensive, the Cubs have recalled infielder Pablo Ozuna from Iowa (AAA). In the corresponding roster move, reliever Eddy Rodriguez was sent back to Iowa (AAA).

The move was not necessarily a reflection on Rodriguez's performance, as he has posted a 4.05 ERA in 6.2 innings of work so far this season. However, with the team carrying originally carrying thirteen pitchers, Rodriguez ended up being the odd man out when a roster move had to be made.

The Cubs are 14-9 so far this season.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Nathan first to ten saves

Joe Nathan became the first closer in the league to convert ten saves in Saturday's 7-4 win over the Cardinals. Nathan has a 1.86 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP to go along with his ten saves. Atlanta's Huston Street is second in the league with seven saves.

The Cubs improved to 13-5 and have an early two-game lead in the division.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Burke to DL

The injuries keep piling on for the Cubs.

Just ten days after Carl Crawford was placed on the disabled list, utility-man Chris Burke joins Crawford with a finger blister. In a corresponding roster move, the Cubs have purchased the contract of outfielder Luis Montanez from Iowa (AAA), promoted outfielder Jason Dubois from Tennessee (AA) to Iowa (AAA), and promoted outfielder John-Ford Griffin from Daytona (A) to Tennesee (AA). The 40-man roster now sits at 38.

Burke had been filling in for Crawford in the outfield. Now, Luke Scott will have to shift back over to center field to let Delwyn Young and William Veneable to split time in left field.

The Cubs are 12-5 in the season so far. Johan Santana leads all pitchers with a 3-1 record and a 1.42 ERA while Joe Nathan is already nine-for-nine in saves. Offensively, catcher Gerald Laird has led the charge with a .339 average (19-for-56), Scott has four homeruns, and Chase Utley leads the team with 14 RBI.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Crawford placed on DL

Outfielder Carl Crawford has been placed on the 15-day DL. He is expected to miss about two months. Outfielder Delwyn Young was recalled from Iowa (AAA).

Chris Burke will take over as the full-time center fielder, allowing Luke Scott to move to his familiar position of left field.

Crawford was injured on defense during Tuesday's 4-3 win over the Astros. The Cubs are now 7-1 to start the season. Brad Thompson put up another quality start and is now 2-0 on the season with a 2.08 ERA.

Also, the team activated pitcher Javier Lopez from the disabled list and optioned him to Iowa (AAA).

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Scott's three-homer day puts Cubs to 5-0

Luke Scott hit three homeruns in Saturday's 5-2 win over the Brewers.

Chris Sampson pitched seven strong innings, allowing just five hits and one earned run, meaning that each of the starting pitchers delivered a quality start in the first time through the rotation.

J.J. Putz grabbed his second hold of the season and Joe Nathan notched his fourth save.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Cubs open season with Reds sweep

Chase Utley was 6-for-14 in the three-game series as he led the Chicago Cubs past the Cincinnati Reds to open the season.

However, pitching was the main story for the Cubs.

Johan Santana, Mark Buehrle, and Brad Thompson had a quality start in each of the games in the series, combining for 22 solid innings while allowing just 15 hits and five earned runs. Joe Nathan had a save in each game and J.J. Putz had a win and a hold.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Santana outlasts Bonderman on Opening Day

Johan Santana (1-0) did it all on Opening Day for the Cubs.

With the score tied at 2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Santana delivered an RBI infield single to plate Hank Blalock, which proved to be the deciding run. Blalock had reached base to lead off the inning on an error and advanced to third on Gerald Laird's bunt. But when Chris Barnwell couldn't cash in the go-ahead run with less than two outs, it required a two-out hit from the pitcher for the Cubs to take the lead for good.

The Cincinnati Reds scored first in the bottom of the third inning on Adrian Beltre's two-run homer, but that was all the Reds could muster off of the Cubs' ace. Santana pitched eight innings, allowing just those two runs, to pick up the victory.

The Cubs clawed back in the fourth and fifth innings on a sac fly by Chris Shelton and an RBI triple by Carl Crawford, before Santana delieverd the game-winning blow. Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth to notch the first save of the season.

Crawford: 2-4, RBI, triple
Scott: 1-4
Utley: 1-4, run, double
Hawpe: 0-4
Shelton: 0-3, RBI
Blalock: 0-4, run
Laird: 1-3
Barnwell: 1-3, run, double
(Burke: 0-1)
Santana: 1-3, RBI

Santana (W, 1-0): 8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 5 K
Nathan (Sv, 1): IP, H, 0 ER, 0 K