Results tagged ‘ Paul Maholm ’

6/29 Confident Maholm gets “W”

Paul Maholm won for the first time in eight starts, and the secret may have been rookie catcher Steve Clevenger. The two meshed well on Friday in the 4-0 win. It also helped that Maholm got some offense as the Cubs hit three home runs.

“He was outstanding,” Dale Sveum said of Maholm. “All of his pitches — curveball, changeup — he kept them down. I think he had as good a sink as he’s had in a while. That was about as good as you could get. I wish he would’ve kept the ball down the last inning and finish it.”

Maholm held the Astros to two hits over eight innings, then gave up a single to Brian Bixler to start the ninth, and one out later, Carlos Lee doubled. That was enough, and Maholm was lifted for Carlos Marmol, who finished for his sixth save. Clevenger hit his first Major League home run, a two-run shot in the fourth, and Luis Valbuena hit an opposite-field home run in the second to back Maholm (4-7), who earned his first victory since May 9 in what was his 200th career start.

“I wanted it,” Maholm said of the chance for a complete game. “I understand the situation. I gave up two hits. After the last outing, I’ll take what I got.”

In his last outing, he gave up seven runs on nine hits over 3 1/3 innings against the Diamondbacks.

“Confidence is a huge factor, whether you’re hitting or pitching,” Maholm said. “You have to go out there confident with your game plan and keep the ball down and be aggressive. If you’re doubting your pitches, you’re doubting whatever, they won’t be as crisp. … I’ve faced [the Astros] a decent amount so I kind of know their tendencies. I go in there knowing them and am able to be confident and aggressive and keep it down.”

What was the difference?

“The rain, the delay — who knows?” Sveum said. “Some guys, just the way they feel in the bullpen, their sides, you never know. [It would've been the] confidence level they feel with the ball coming out of their hand in the bullpen. He was really good today.”

– Carrie Muskat 

6/29 Cubs lineup

Bryan LaHair is in right field and Steve Clevenger catching on Friday as the Cubs open a three-game series against the Astros. This is the Cubs last home series before the All-Star break. Paul Maholm makes the start. He’s looking for his first win in eight starts. The lefty is 11-6 with a 3.31 ERA in 20 starts against Houston. The Astros may be a little jet lagged. They had a late game at home Thursday against the Padres. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF

Castro SS

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

LaHair RF

Clevenger C

Barney 2B

Valbuena 3B

Maholm P

– Carrie Muskat

6/27 Looking ahead

After an off day Thursday, the Cubs play host to the Astros at Wrigley Field. Here are the pitching matchups:

Friday: LHP Paul Maholm (4-6, 5.38) vs. RHP Bud Norris (5-4, 4.81)

Saturday: RHP Matt Garza (3-6, 4.06) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (6-7, 4.83)

Sunday: LHP Travis Wood (2-3, 3.54) vs. LHP Wandy Rodriguez (6-5, 3.52)

– Carrie Muskat

 

6/17 Sunday night baseball

* The Cubs did rally in the ninth, but came up short Sunday night in a 7-4 loss to the Red Sox.

“The thing that’s going on all year long is we get into close ballgames and something breaks down,” Dale Sveum said. “We can’t score if it’s close or we just can’t make a pitch when it’s close to hold them or shut them down to get the game into extra innings. We’ve got to be better at those things — somebody stepping up and getting a big hit when it counts, not when we’re four or five runs down.”

* Paul Maholm is 0-3 with a 5.59 ERA in his last seven starts. He gave up two runs in the first, and now has an 8.31 ERA in the first inning this season.

* Reed Johnson is batting .366 in his last 28 games dating to May 11.

* Now, the Cubs head eight miles south to U.S. Cellular Field to renew their intracity Interleague series against the White Sox.

“It’ll be loud and rowdy,” Johnson said. “That’s the atmosphere you want, especially now when you’re struggling as a team. You go into a place and know there will be a packed house and it makes it easier to concentrate than when you’re playing in an empty stadium. It’ll be a good series and I think we’re playing good baseball. It seems like we can’t do those little things to finish off a ballgame. We need to get better doing those things and those ballgames will start falling our way.”

–  Carrie Muskat

6/17 Cubs lineup & extra bases

Paul Maholm is on the mound Sunday night when the Cubs close their three-game Interleague series against the Red Sox. Here’s the lineup:

Johnson RF

Barney 2B

Castro SS

Soriano LF

Baker 1B

Mather CF

Castillo C

Valbuena 3B

Maholm P

* Starlin Castro has started each of the Cubs’ first 65 games this season, and is one of two NL players to start all of the team’s games so far. The Braves’ Dan Uggla also has done so.

* The Cubs are batting .224 against southpaws this season, third lowest in the NL. They are 3-14 against left-handed starters, including a loss Saturday.

* The Cubs have lost 23 of their last 30 games since May 15, and 12 of those 23 losses have been by one run. Alfonso Soriano has provided much of the offense, hitting 12 homers in his last 30 games. He’s batting .294 in that stretch with seven doubles, 24 RBIs and a .688 slugging percentage.

* The Cubs are 3-8 in Interleague play, with three games remaining against the American League. They face their crosstown rivals, the White Sox, in a three-game set starting Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field. Pitching matchups:

Monday: Matt Garza (2-5, 4.04 ERA) vs. Zach Stewart (1-1, 5.18 ERA)

Tuesday: Travis Wood (0-3, 4.58 ERA) vs. Jake Peavy (6-2, 2.91 ERA)

Wednesday: Ryan Dempster (3-3, 2.11 ERA) vs. Gavin Floyd (4-7, 5.63 ERA)

* Happy birthday to bullpen coach Lester Strode, who is 54. He’s in his 24th season as a member of the Cubs organization.

– Carrie Muskat

6/12 Cubs lineup

It’s back to National League style baseball vs. an American League team as the Cubs open a six-game homestand against the Tigers and Red Sox. No DH, so Alfonso Soriano is back in left field for the Cubs. Prince Fielder has to be happy to be back at Wrigley Field. He has a career .298 batting average here with 11 homers and 15 RBIs. Here’s the lineup:

Campana CF

Castro SS

DeJesus RF

Soriano LF

LaHair 1B

Clevenger C

Barney 2B

Stewart 3B

Maholm P

– Carrie Muskat

6/10 Extra bases

* Sunday marks the end of a long road trip for the Cubs, who will have played 16 of 19 games on the road, traveling 6,770 air miles over the three-week stretch, which began in Pittsburgh May 21. On this current 10-game leg, which began in San Francisco, the Cubs are 1-8 and five of those losses have been decided by one run.

* The Cubs have not won a road series since Sept. 9-11, 2011, in New York against the Mets.

* Pitching matchups vs. the Tigers:

Tuesday: Paul Maholm (4-5, 5.10) vs. Max Scherzer (5-4, 5.88)

Wednesday: Matt Garza (2-4, 3.99) vs. Rick Porcello (3-4, 5.03)

Thursday: Travis Wood (0-2, 4.71) vs. Justin Verlander (5-4, 2.69)

– Carrie Muskat

6/6 Lineup & extra bases

Let’s see if the Cubs can win two in a row. Tuesday’s 10-0 win over the Brewers was their first double-digit shutout win since July 29, 2009, a 12-0 win over the Astros. Somehow, they won despite striking out a season-high 14 times, the first time they’ve done that since Aug. 14, 2011, in a 6-5 win at Atlanta. It’s only the second time in the last 50 years that the Cubs have totaled 14 Ks and at least 10 runs in a game. They also did so in an 11-4 win over the Braves April 12, 2000, at Wrigley FIeld.

Here’s Wednesday’s lineup:

Campana CF

Castro SS

DeJesus RF

Soriano LF

LaHair 1B

Clevenger C

Barney 2B

Stewart 3B

Maholm P

* Alfonso Soriano was homer-less in his first 30 games, and now has hit nine in his last 20 games, and at least one each of the last eight series.

* Since May 28, the Cubs ‘pen leads the Major Leagues with the lowest ERA at 1.27, giving up three earned runs over 21 1/3 innings.

– Carrie Muskat

6/1 Cubs lineup

Tony Campana is leading off Friday night for the Cubs as they open a four-game series against the Giants at AT&T Park. It’s the second time this season Campana has led off. The Cubs are 10-11 when he starts. Here’s the lineup against lefty Madison Bumgarner:

Campana CF

Castro SS

Mather 3B

Soriano LF

Johnson RF

Baker 1B

Barney 2B

Clevenger C

Maholm P

– Carrie Muskat

5/26 Extra bases

Paul Maholm is the perfect pitcher to have on the mound Saturday night for the Cubs as they try to end a 10-game losing streak. Maholm faces his former team, the Pirates, for the first time, and returns to the ballpark where he is the all-time winningest pitcher with 35 W’s. He has more strikeouts (361) and games started (96) at PNC park than any other pitcher. In the last 75 years, only five lefty pitchers have more wins with the Pirates than Maholm (53 total wins): John Candelaria (124 wins), Bob Veale (116), Jim Rooker (82), Jerry Reuss (61) and John Smiley (60).

* The Cubs’ 10-game skid is the 15th double-digit losing streak in club history, and the first since they opened the 1997 season 0-14. The Cubs have posted 10 losing streaks of 11 or more games in team history.

* Why are they losing? They are hitless in their last 25 at-bats with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-4 Tuesday, 0-for-9 on Wednesday, and 0-for-12 Friday. Including a 4-for-15 effort Monday in Houston, the Cubs are batting .100 (4-for-40) with RISP in the last four games and hitting .327 in all other situations during those four contests.

* They’ve lost all four games despite out-hitting the opponent in every game. The last time they lost four straight games when collecting more hits than their opponent was June 20-23, 1991, against the Giants. They’ve only scored in four of the last 56 innings, and the last two runs have come via solo homers.

– Carrie Muskat

 

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