View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



August 2011



Game 124 – The Dirty Dozen

Written by , Posted in General

Cubs 3, Astros 4

Box Score / Highlights

What Went Right
Geovany Soto – with a hot streak or two, he might see his average creep above .250 before the end of the season. He hit a home run that temporarily gave the Cubs back the lead.

Aramis Ramirez – it seems now as if the only question is whether the Cubs will pick up his option, or whether both parties will work out a different arrangement for longer deal or a reduced price. If he gets to 30 HRs, the reduced price won’t be an option for the Cubs. I like Aramis, but I fear another multi-year deal.

Stolen Bases – isn’t this why you put young guys on the roster? Barney, Castro, and Campana all stole a base. I’d like to see more of it…who cares if we occasionally run into a rally killing out? I’d rather have them learn the art of base stealing on a team with no playoff potential, than to find in 3 or 4 years that we are again lacking a single player capable of swiping a base.

What Went Wrong
RISP – it’s a common refrain for these Cubs, 0-for-13 in the game with runners in scoring position. This included a bases loaded no out situation in which Soto, Byrd, and Soriano couldn’t muster but a single ball in play!  We left 12 men on base!

Casey Coleman – it’s going to be a rough 6 weeks for him if it takes 85 pitches to get through 3.2 innings. I’m not sure he can ever develop into even a backend of the rotation starter – but no one is going to find out unless he can reduce his pitch count. Even if he’d gotten out of the fourth, I’m not sure that he would’ve started the fifth; although you never can be sure what the Quade’s criteria is for removing a starter.

The Takeaway
I almost put the bullpen down as something that went right. But holding this ramshackle bunch of Astros hitless over 4.1 innings shouldn’t be celebrated. They’re a bunch of AAA guys who have been promoted by default, only a couple of them seem to be real MLB talent. At least the Astros are getting a look what they have in their system.

I Thought Our Bullpen Was Tired?
Today we asked the bullpen for 4.1 (potentially 5.1) innings of work; conversely last Friday we couldn’t permit them to do even 4 innings – and the bullpen is far less rested today than it was on Friday. In case you can’t tell, I don’t trust Quade’s management of our staff. Oh right, it’s the off-day tomorrow, that’s why it was all hands-on deck today (Grabow, Ortiz, and Samardzija is who we bring in when we want to keep that score from ballooning? – and good thinking to be sure our staff was well rested for the Astros).

Stars of the Game
Base on Win Probability Added (WPA)

1st Star – Aramis Ramirez (.518 WPA)

2nd Star – Matt Downs (.206 WPA)

3rd Star – Darwin Barney (.153 WPA)

  • Trent

    Were you being sarcastic about the Cubs picking up Aramis’ option? I really hope they don’t but with Hendry still at the helm I’m never sure what’s going to happen.

  • Jedi

    Unfortunately Trent I wasn’t. I think it’s becoming more of a possibility. He has to be paid $2mil if we don’t pick it up. It’s a $14mil option, that’s what we’d save by declining it. A one year plug at first base cost us $10mil, I can’t imagine a similar scenario at 3B being much less, and that would likely be a multi-year deal. So when it’s all said and done, the only way that Hendry might avoid signaling that he’s given up on 2012 before it starts is to pick up Aramis’ deal. If he gets to 30 HRs and/or 100 RBIs that’s going to be hard to turn down that option. That’s 7 HRs and 24 RBIs in six weeks.


    Why couldn’t we have traded him to the White Sox and sucker them with him?

  • Buddy

    The other problem is 2012 available 3B. Unless the Cubs plan to play somebody from the system (which seems unlikely), the options include the following:

    Wilson Betemit
    Casey Blake
    Eric Chavez
    Greg Dobbs
    Edwin Encarnacion
    Wes Helms
    Melvin Mora

    Ramirez is Mike Schmidt compared to that bunch. Having said that, the Wilson Betemit option does intrigue me.

  • chet

    The bigger issue is the point that Buddy makes…..the writing was on the wall at the start of the season. There is nobody better then Aramis to fill the 3rd base position…no free agents, and nothing from within.

    Vitters was the plan until he flatlined last season. Unless they make a trade the choices are minimal.

    Aramis will most likely be at the hot corner for 2012.


    I don’t have an issue with Ramirez at the hot corner in 2012. I have an issue with him there in 2013 and beyond. I would consider overpaying for him as a 1-year stopgap (in the form of picking up his option) so I am not saddled with him on a multi-year contract

  • Norm

    I’m in the camp that believes there’s no such thing as a bad one year deal….if they pick up Ramirez option, no big deal…there’s always the chance he decides to allow a trade next July.

  • Buddy

    I agree Norm. HUGE fan of the one-year contract.

  • Randy

    Aramis is still the best player on the team, for now at least. He also plays an indemand position. If he produces at this level next year we’d be stupid not to pick up the option. That being said I wouldn’t agree with an extension or another long term deal. I foresee a one year deal every year until one of the kids is ready or we are forced to move Castro to third.

  • Wilson Betemit. I just threw up in my mouth a little….ugh. May as well bring A-Ram back for 1 season.
    Yep…..or pray that Vitters discovers HGH?

  • Buddy

    I wonder if Vitters also has poor needle recognition.

  • We may be a bunch of AAA guys with little talent, but considering we just took 2 of 3 from you Cubs maybe consider not throwing stones in a glass house??? It’s not like either of us are contending for the division any time soon… and at least we haven’t had anyone quit on the team… yet… haha…

  • Doug S.

    A Houston fan on VFTB?…Uh…welcome. You’ll have to look pretty hard to find an arrogant Cubs fan (stones in a glass house?) I have us at 6-6 this year with 3 left. Good luck.

  • Buddy

    He was wearing his Charlie Kerfeld jersey while he typed.

  • Killer B’s poster in the background…

  • Buddy

    Also wearing white cleats and Jose Cruz stirrups.

  • Jedi

    Dimwit – (that feels like a pejorative, but if it’s what you wanna be called, that’s fine by me) I was afraid the whole tenor of my recap would be too negative – for even the good was often laced with danger/caution.

    I’ll restate it another way – it’s terribly embarrassing that our MLB bullpen could stop their AAA hitters, but our MLB lineup couldn’t hit their AAA pitchers. I only wish the Cubs were more willing to put their young talent on the field and see what could happen (which is exactly what the Astros did, and they managed a series win in doing so).

  • Haha… get it right, it’s a Danny Darwin jersey and well, you’re spot on with the stirrups and white cleats… and well, the Killer B’s poster was just a given…

    Jedi, I see what you mean. I remember during the Astros run of solid years, we seemed to have a problem with the Pirates from time-to-time and it was pretty frustrating as well at the time.

    Yes, there is an Astros fan who reads this site, rather often actually, as I do with several teams that I have some interest in. I do wish the Cubs a second place finish in the division each year, as long as it’s behind the Astros! Looks like change is on the horizon for you guys as well, just saw that you showed Jim Hendry the door. Best of luck. This is a great site.