4/29 Cubs 5, Padres 3

The Cubs may be a little unconventional these days as far as their closer is concerned, but it’s working. Kevin Gregg picked up his fourth save, Darwin Barney hit a pair of RBI doubles, and Scott Hairston and Cody Ransom smacked back-to-back home runs to lift the Cubs to a 5-3 victory Monday night over the Padres for their fourth win in the last five games.

Gregg, who signed after being released by the Dodgers April 15, now has converted a save in each of his last four outings. However, manager Dale Sveum refuses to name him or anyone else the closer.

“For whatever reason, guys are getting the job done and getting big outs when we have to get outs,” Sveum said of his collection of relievers. “That’s the key is making pitches when you need to.”

Michael Bowden picked up the win in relief of starter Jeff Samardzija, who struck out eight in five innings to raise his season total to 47, among the tops in the NL. It’s the second most K’s in Cubs history in the month of April, behind Matt Garza, who fanned 51 in 2011. Samardzija now is 0-4 with a no decision since his Opening Day victory over the Pirates. He had a tough time getting a grip on the ball, still bothered by right index finger that he cut trying to make a bare-handed grab in last start.

“Too many walks,” Samardzija said. “You can’t put that many guys on for free. Just pitching in a lot of situations where you have to battle and make bigger pitches makes it harder on yourself.”

The Cubs’ 6-7-8 hitters provided the offense. Ransom and Barney also made solid defensive plays, including a running bare-handed grab by Ransom on Jedd Gyorko’s grounder with the bases loaded in the seventh. Ransom was able to get the Padres’ second baseman by a half step.

“You take a million ground balls and hope to have the opportunity to catch it and throw it,” Ransom said. “Checked swing, and it was a little strange off the bat and it came off a little harder than I thought it would and made it to me and luckily for us, Gyorko didn’t run that well.”

“That bare-hand play saved the game for us,” Barney said.

All 25 of the Cubs’ games this season have been decided by four runs or fewer, a franchise record, and second most to start a season all-time in the Major Leagues. The 1914 Tigers have the longest streak at 33 games.

The Cubs are ready to turn the calendar. It’s been a tough April.

“Let’s be honest — we’ve played some really good teams in the first month,” Samardzija said. “You’ve got the defending World Champs [the Giants], you’ve got the defending [American League West champs, the Rangers], you’ve got the Brew Crew at their place, and Cincinnati. We knew we’d have to come out and be on top of our game in April.

“It could easily be flipped around and we could be 15-10 instead of 10-15,” he said. “They say you don’t win or lose the season in April. I feel we’re good where we are. … Let’s get a little momentum going and see what happens from there.”

– Carrie Muskat

17 Comments

Some of those “really good” teams the Cubs played in April have much to fear….MAY is almost here and “Soriano Begins” will be at theatres everywhere! Ransom, whose Cub career can be counted in HOURS now has as many homeruns and one more RBI than Soriano and Barney (who was late to the dance) now has more RBI’s than Soriano. Really, when will they pull the plug on this guy? If his name was Tyler Colvin he’d be on the bench or in another uniform by now. But in all fairness, Soriano is stealing bases at a record clip and it won’t be long (June?) before his BA approaches .280 so that once again the media can be spin him into a “near .300 hitter”. Sweeney should get his bags packed in case Hoystein’s lightbulb turns on.

I agree Soriano`s bat has been MIA. Guess management feels it has to play him due to the ginormous contract rather than doing the right thing and eating the contract if the underperformer can`t draw interest from other organizations. They`re no dummies, these organizations. Would you want this albatross? Ransom was awesome last night. Ian Stewart should take an extra month or two to heal that delicate body of his. We do not need his sorry posterior maximus.

Cubs might be better off with Patrick Stewart. For two million the Cubs might be able to hire Patrick Stewart to at least ACT like a run producing third baseman. ENGAGE!

It looks to me that we have 3rd base pretty well covered without Stewart at this point. As Barney said last night, Ransom saved the game with that catch. He looks good in the field and at the plate. As for Castro, it looks as if he is on target for a huge number of errors again this year. Hope he can correct the problem with his attention deficit. Seems to be lagging at the plate but this is probably just a bit of a slump. We have a strong line-up and bench this year — hopes are high. Eamus Catuli

This is where we disagree White. We do have third base covered but not PRETTY WELL covered. Only compared to the anemic and fragile Stewart do both Valbuena and Ransom look decent however the two are FAR from the type of “cover” any legit team needs at 3B. Valbuena and or Ransom won’t cut it (next year….of course) if the objective is to challenge for the NL Central title or Wild Card. I also disagree about the strong line up, as I believe we have more weak hitters than strong hitters, but that is for another discussion… Better not lose sight of your Kitty just yet my friend!

Oh Joey – This has been the worst week! My lovely kitty, Shirley Purrl, was so so sick I thought we might lose her – at the vet’s for 2 nights, huge amount of meds, etc. Thanks be to God she is home now, on meds, but the vet was amazed that she did so well!!! I hug her non-stop! I think she knew she had to get better so that she can root for the Cubs with me!! I have to tell you I think we alot better off than last year and I have great hopes that these guys will turn things around as they seem to have been doing in the last few games. Hope is eternal! I know, I know – silly old lady me. LOL

I’m sorry to hear that White!! We do agree that we are better off than last year even if we wind up with a worse record. Better off because we are closer to the end of the Soriano era. So yes, hope is eternal (or at least proven for 103 years!). Hang in there White.

That game was just a great one all around! :D

I want Baez to come up…

Wait until Barney hears that you want Baez! Woohee!!!

Not like that White! I just want someone else young, in the feild! LOL. I LOVE BARNEY WITH ALL MY HEART AND WILL NEVER CHANGE <33

You guys! I never said he was going to be my favorite or something! I just want someone new up here! Thats all!!

That is what I have always liked about Barney. Get the job done and move on. Class act. I also think by not “grandstanding” he saves his energy for the next play. Showing off can be so energizing!

Hello??? C’mon guys….we need to give this KID some time to MATURE. Don’t go off the deep end on me, stay focused. He will have several years to GET BETTER, as did Barney.

I really like “The Hammer”! A nice secure feeling when he comes to the plate. No meds, chocolate or kitty songs when he is pitching! We old folks need the break from Marmol.

I don’t know Mamma as I am not obsessed with counting comments like some people….was it 654 times? 655? Like I said, just guessing. Maybe when I have even less of a life I will start counting your comments. With that said, your comments regarding Baez were out of the ordinary for you, pretty negative for such a young player and I wanted to help bring you back from a temporary dark side. If he is our future as you state then in time he would have to be coachable and we can afford him time. He may be our future but our future does not necessarily ride soley on him.

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