View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



August 2011



Game 125 – Barney Trouble For the Cards; Cubs Walk-Off Winners

Written by , Posted in General

Cubs 5, Cardinals 4 (10 Innings)

Box Score / Highlights

What Went Right

  • Cubs Win! Cubs Win! – we won today, then we went out and beat the Cards.
  • Darwin Barney – a triple, a HR. Barney flexed his muscle from the 8-hole today, perhaps with a bit of help from the Cardinal OFs.  He was way more crucial to this win than FanGraph WPA stat would indicate. Hey, this just in – Cubs kick GM to the curb!
  • Starlin Castro – another two hits and a stolen base. He’s indefatigable; and no errors, miracle of miracles.  Jim Hendry destroyed.
  • Aramis Ramirez – good at-bats all day. A hit, two walks, RBI…he was in the middle of it. Did I mention Jim Hendry was fired?
  • Geovany Soto – two hits, an RBI, scored the winning run after he’d managed to advance on a sac bunt.  He’s up to .241 now, he’s going to “Derrek Lee” his way to a decent season after all. But everything is a bit rosier today since the Cubs canned Jim Hendry.
  • Tyler Colvin – game winning RBI off of the bench.  It was a good day for the Cubs bench, Pena had a walk and a run scored, DeWitt had an RBI triple, and Colvin won the game. Last Friday, Zambrano quits; this Friday, Hendry is cut loose.  Next Friday…

What Went Wrong

  • Mike Quade – Ricketts did half the job this morning. After seeing Jeff Baker again in the cleanup spot, he better hire a GM to finish the job for him. If Baker has to play against lefties, fine – but why is he our cleanup hitter? I don’t think Jeff Baker’s Mom would fill out a lineup card with her son batting fourth. Hendry left some stale Fritos and cheese curds in the top drawer of his desk – fair warning.
  • I Don’t Care, We Won Twice Today – other stuff might qualify here, but everyone else gets a free pass from me today. Even Campana’s stupid base running blunder in the 9th can be overlooked since we’ve rid ourselves of the millstone around the neck of the front office. To the next GM of the Cubs, “you’re welcome” for the urinal trough in the executive washroom.  Hendry was a big fan of “always being at the game.”

The Takeaway, Part I
Randy Wells was decent, no runs in the first; faltered in the 2nd, but got it back together for an average day. More often than not when he leaves the game, it seems like the bullpen needs to throw up zeros to have any chance to win – that was the case today, the bullpen did and we won.

A few other miscellaneous notes:

  • Campana’s baserunning mistake was atrocious. He NEVER looked at Ivan DeJesus – NEVER. It was Bob Dernier who finally got his attention to come back to first. Theriot and Furcal really hornswoggled him though – can’t be making those mistakes with no outs in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game.
  • Quade’s insistence that Baker hit fourth allowed LaRussa to hold the Cubs hostage in the bottom of the 8th. With Baker due up, LaRussa could leave his righty on the mound until we announced Pena; then LaRussa goes and gets his lefty to pitch to Pena. If instead, Baker is hitting 7th or 8th, you can use someone OTHER than Pena to face a righty, stick Pena in the pitcher’s spot as part of a double switch and avoid using two guys while never getting a single favorable matchup. Pena worked a walk and managed to score on Soto’s double, so maybe it’s alright if Pena sees lefties once in a while – but Baker doesn’t need to be hitting fourth.
  • Four double plays – that’s right we hit into four double plays. We won this game?
  • Bullpen was pretty good, 3 guys (Samardzija, Marmol, Marshall) all with an inning of work and no one threw more than 15 pitches or got into real trouble.

The Takeaway, Part II
We beat the Cardinals and Jim Hendry was fired. This might be more hope than I’ve had as a Cub fan at any point since I drove away from Dodger Stadium after Game 3 of the 2008 NLDS (dodging every manner of object being thrown at my vehicle and the verbal abuse hurled by the angry-but-celebratory Dodger mob).

Hendry always came across as a nice guy, very professional in how he handled his job – but also a little behind the curve. No one has ever accused him of being the smartest guy at the table. He was reactionary, not revolutionary. His off-season shopping lists were made from perceived Cub needs – not from the standpoint of where value was in the market. Consequently he overpaid for positions of “need” and watched those players underachieve, thereby creating a “new” position of need. Look no further than the rotating pie display in RF – it’s been a position of need since we dumped Sammy Sosa.

But this weekend has started out right, with a win and a regime change.


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

1st Star – Geovany Soto (.301 WPA)

2nd Star – Tyler Colvin (.296 WPA)

3rd Star – Jason Motte (.278 WPA)

  • I love beating the cards and especially after being down 4-2.
    Great job guys!!!!
    The post Hendry era starts on a positive note.

  • Eddie Von White

    OK – all the banter about how cheesy Len Casper’s jokes are, then you headline Barney Rubble… Len better start getting some free passes…

  • Buddy

    Just so you know, it’s impossible for Campana to make a mistake of any kind. He’s the perfect player. He’s like Roy Hobbs combined with Rickey Henderson on mutant alien steroids. He also loves America and gives his entire salary to charity.

  • Randy

    Yay Cubs win, and you’re an &:$ Jedi. For all his faults and for all the good reasons to fire him Hendry was good for the Cubs until the last two years when the wheels fell off. Let us not forget three playoff appearances in six years including the first back to back playoff years in a century. So yay he is gone, and the Cubs beat the Cardinals. Why can’t we let him go with dignity and a thank you? Because now he is just the same as the rest of us, a simple Cubs fan.

  • Buddy

    Wow. Where did the name calling come from?

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    You nailed it, Jedi. Lots of reasons to be hopeful. Nice job.

    And he’s not exaggerating, guys. Leaving Dodger Stadium that night was about as miserable as you can imagine.

    Stay classy, Randy.

  • I’m mad too!

  • Doc Raker

    Jim Hendry did some good things for the Cubs but it is time for a new approach. I wish Hendry well.

  • CubbieDude

    The Cubs were down 3-0 when my TV, Internet & phone bundle crashed. Thanks Time-Warner. It was this evening when I heard the Cubs won, and just now I read how they did it. Woo-woo.

    My anti-spam word is “traffic”, so the musical track for tonight is Steve Winwood and Traffic: “Roll WIth It”.

  • Seymour Butts

    Hendry’sbig fault was expecting players to continue to do what they had the ability to do. Players don’t, and someone else has to pay. On the whole, he was a plus GM, but somebody needed to be sacrificed for the players rotten preformance. That is why the players don’t share the glee of the day.

  • Lizzie

    I think my glee comes from the fact that the Ricketts took some action, ANY action, toward a different future. Is it the right future? Who the heck knows. It hasn’t been the right future for many years. But they certainly couldn’t have continued down the exact same path expecting different results. There is no shame in losing a job and Hendry will be perfectly fine. These GMs know how things work. Speaking of knowing how things work, Randy, you’ve been around long enough to know things just aren’t like that around here. Thanks! 🙂

  • Joe

    @Randy – It seems that you’ve forgotten the ultimate goal of a World Series. Playoff appearances mean NOTHING without a championship. That’s why people make fun of the Buffalo Bills for making it to four straight Super Bowls and losing. The Braves for winning 14 straight divisions but only winning the WS once.

    I don’t care about playoff appearances. I’m sick of writing about a team that each year doesn’t come close to winning the World Series, let alone get there.

  • chris in Illinois

    Not to speak for Randy, but I think he’s right…the post-season is a real crap shoot with two rounds of playoffs before the World Series and this club frequently went decades without sniffing the post-season until Hendry was at the helm for three rolls of the dice. That being said, it’s time for a change. The Cubs need a GM who is versed in modern analytical methods (Alex A. in Toronto or Friedman in TB) so they don’t fall further behind the curve and have another 20 years stretch where they are irrelevant.

    Additionally, Hendry has left the Cubs in better shape for the next guy than what he inherited. Sure there are a few terrible contracts in play, but most are gone after this year and the farm system is in better shape than ever before (which really is damning with faint praise). Hendry has left the club in better shape than he found it.

  • Doc Raker

    I think Jim Hendry was fired because it became apparent this team needed to rebuild and Hendry did not buy into that philosophy. Had Hendry admitted he made big mistakes and change his entire approach to a rebuilding approach he would probably still be GM. Hendry has been plugging holes for the last few years expecting the team to return to 2007 or 2003 form. Plugging holes won’t due, a left handed bat is no longer the answer. A much different philosophy was needed and Hendry didn’t buy into it so he needed to go.

  • Katie

    I’m glad the Cubs pulled out a win. The past week has been a circus with Z being Z and now Hendry’s firing, and it’s nice to see the players still play and win. For what it’s worth, we are 12-5 in August, which is great, but kind of disheartening. What are we playing for at this point? But it’s good to see young guys getting playing time, and I’m glad that Colvin is getting plate appearances. Our pitching hasn’t been horrendous, either. Why couldn’t we have done this earlier in the season?

  • Norm

    The Cardinals defense is evidence of the luck in the game. Darwin Barney ends up with a triple on a pop fly. Blake DeWitt the same on a line drive that would’ve been caught 9 times out of 10. Good examples of why BABIP is a helpful tool in trying to determine the true talent of a player.

  • Norm

    No big deal on the Campana baserunning gaffe…Cubs won, no harm no foul!

  • Jedi

    Eddie, I’m not even close to the biggest Len hater, but you’re right I’ll have to cut him a bit of slack…chalk it up to an otherwise euphoric day.

  • Jedi

    I’m sorry Norm did I say that Campana’s mistake was a big deal? I said it was atrocious, which it was. And I also said it can be overlooked, consistent with my previous argument. Checking the waiver wire for Pena again today – he’s not cleared or been claimed yet. Tick tock, tick tock.

  • Jedi

    Chris, they’d been to the postseason 3 times in 20 years prior to Hendry. And I’m pretty sure the current team is significantly worse than what he inherited, they won’t be in the playoffs next season. The rest of the organization might be a different story.

    One other point, if Hendry is to be given credit for what he did, it’s necessary to be honest about the circumstances. He was afforded every privilege you can imagine. A top payroll, a long tenure, little push back from his bosses on any decision he made. He probably was our best GM since at least Dallas Green – but with the money he was given to spend, and the freedom of decision-making he had been given, he should’ve had good teams/success (and he did).. I’m not saying he was crap, I just want it all put in perspective. I’m confident he’ll have another baseball job soon.

  • Doc Raker

    I don’t hate Len, I just hate he broadcast Cub games I want to listen to. I wish Len well, just wish he went into some other line of work or bored some other baseball teams fan base.

  • Norm

    “can’t be making those mistakes with no outs in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game.”
    You forgot the disclaimers: unless they’re winning, unless they’re getting blown out, or unless they’re getting shutout….then its ok.

  • Doc Raker

    Last I checked a team doesn’t bat in the bottom of the ninth if they are winning. Gracey is doing a wonderful job in the broadcast booth today, how refreshing.

  • Randy

    Class begits class, I think I stayed in the tone Jedi presented. Schidenfreude is best enjoyed in private, journalism 101. So I stand by my statement, Jedi’s behavior of late certainly supports it. On the game, other than a couple of mistakes Wells performed as a back of the rotation starter is supposed to. I cringed at Campana’s baserunning mistake, but was glad that Quade had words with him afterwards. Hopfully it won’t happen again. Soto may just salvage this season but i’d like to see him batting 7-8th as he seems more patient the lower in the lineup he bats.

  • Jedi

    Norm, you remind me of Elmer Fudd Gantry of Everest Development.

    Randy, I do apologize for agreeing with you that Pena has helped all of our infielders.

  • Larry Sproul

    At the end of the day it was a W . I wont comment on the Hendry issue . Enough has already been said . I cant wait for my trip to Wrigley next week !!!

  • chris in illinois

    Hendry was hired as GM in the middle of the 2002 season, a season in which the Cubs played .414 ball (.440 this year). That Cubs team was awful as was the 2000 and 1999 squads. The Cubs finished above .500 five times out of Hendry’s nine seasons (including this one). The Cubs had finished .500 or better five times in the previous 18 seasons. Hendry was not perfect, but it was under his watch that fans could reasonably to compete in the NL every year. The last time you could say that, Santo was at third and not in the booth….well you know what I mean. (67-72…or forty years ago).


    Good riddance Hendry is gone and the Cardinals lost. Now that Hendry has been fired, I can actually root for the Cubs to win games the rest of the season without having to worry about him getting a new contract. And by firing Hendry, Ricketts has officially dropped out of clown status contention.