View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



May 2009




Written by , Posted in General

Aside from being the name of a post-rock band, tristeza means “sadness” in Portuguese.   And that’s how I feel right now, sort of a melancholy funk – each season is like a roller coaster with it’s ups and downs. Usually our ups exceed our downs. But watching the Cubs right now is sorta like watching a plane that has lost part of it’s tail section, it’s nothing but a downward spiral. We can only hope that things turn around – right now the club looks like a vanquished team, one that is conditioned to lose.

Without going into a rant on “why we stink” let’s highlight a few key moments from tonight’s game:

    The Amityville Horror hd Falling Down

    Daylight Robbery dvdrip Asylum move The Curious Case of Benjamin Button divx

  • There was a terrible running play early in the game by Theriot, why was Ryan running with the ball hit in front of him?
  • Dempster made a horrible throw to second, what was he thinking?  Was his head in the game?
  • Why in the world did Piniella put Cotts in the game?  This guy shouldn’t even be on the roster…and why did he stick with him even after he was clobbered.  Perhaps Lou’s mind is addled to the point that we should consider a change at manager, he doesn’t appear to have his head in the game let alone his heart.  What happened to the days when Piniella made aggressive moves and went out and got tossed when the team needed a spark?  It’s time for the shot-callers (Kinney, Hendry and Piniella) to start getting pro-active, and
  • What about that terrible throw by Theriot?  I like ya Ryan but I also think you can play better defensively than you have been.

The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland movie

It’s too easy to dwell on negatives, especially when one is “in the moment.”  I love this Cubs team and I’ll be rooting for them tomorrow but it’s now time for all concerned to think about what they specifically are going to do to turn things around.  At this point we’re experiencing a total organizational meltdown at the major league level and either the players are going to have to rise to the occasion or the management team must.  It’s not even June 1st and we’re still within five games of first; all is not lost but it’s starting to get hairy.

Congratulations to Carlos Marmol, he is in New York for the birth of a new child.  And my respects to all of you who are veterans or sons and daughters of vets, we have a lot to be proud of.

  • What an ugly week of baseball…

    As for Theriot’s base running/fielding – neither mistake today a big surprise, as he makes many base running mistakes and is a poor fielder.

    But at this point I am not panicking… it has been an awful week of baseball. But it is just one week. Of a very long season.

    Some positive news in this awful week:
    Lee has hit well.
    Bradley had a good game today.
    Zambrano is back.
    Fontenot is hitting slightly better.
    Guzman is still pitching well.
    Patton had a good outing tonight.
    Neil Cotts had another bad … wait – that’s not positive news.

    It is interesting that there really isn’t one player on this team (with the possible exception of Fukudome) who is having a good season. That would be a good post… to look at this year’s numbers vs. career number. Maybe I’ll work on that. But what that should mean is that the players that are playing below their normal numbers, while there shouldn’t be much drop off from anyone playing above their numbers, as there are not any.

    If anyone thinks that Fontenot, Bradley, Soto, Johnson, and Lee will all end the season under .250, then you should start panicking, and maybe head to the ledge. For the rest of us? I will keep watching, and fully expect the Cubs to start playing good baseball again.

  • sherm

    but you have to admit…the sample size is growing…

    I remember you writing that 20 games wasn’t enough to generate panic. Now were over 40 and one fourth of the way through the schedule. Still early? Somewhat — but “early” will start to slip away from us if we don’t turn it around fairly soon. I am not on the ledge. But I am very aware of where the ledge is.

    I don’t suggest panic; but I’d sure like to see better baseball from this team. Everybody has injuries and bad luck, sure, but you can still play fundamentally good ball even when you lose, right?

    Just sayin’

  • Mark Strickler

    Both dave and sherm make valid points here. We’ve had some highlights with Lee, Bradley, Guzman et all and Fukudome-san has hit well (compared to the last half of 2008.) We should also not be surprised about Cotts, IMO Hendry has to get the ball rolling on that guy. He’s not Cubs material.

    Sherm points out that 20 games is not time to worry but 40 might be. We have to start seeing some concrete actions, either on the part of the players or the management. We have to start turning things around, five games out is as far out as we need to be.

  • MGAD

    The above posts have some good points……the one thing that makes me feel better at this point after the stretch of horrible baseball we have seen out of the Cubs is this…..despite all the injuries, poor hitting, mental errors, and losses we have seen of late, we are still only 5 games out. Its still early, and this team will turn it around.

  • Certainly it is early enough for things to turn around, but they will not turn around by waiting and hoping. Some things must change, and I still use the phrase ‘stench of disaster’ for what this season feels like. Just prior to the 8-gamer we are involved in, the Cubs won the first four games of the homestand. Did they play well in those games? Not really. Were they just outplayed in the final game of the homestand? No, they played another in a long line of games that feature terrible situational hitting, totally unacceptable defensive play, little patience at the plate. No one is really having a great season, starting with Lou. It was bad enough for Z to pinch hit and risk injury weeks ago, but last night? We have men on base and Z hits rather than Fukudome or Fontenot? Can’t accept that. Neal Cotts pitches in a close game? Come on, Lou, wake up. No Cub fan felt good to see him on the mound in that situation. There was a time when Lou would have lit a fire under a ballclub to get them out of a funk, as he did two years ago, but last night he came out, talked to an umpire, and sat down. I saw him shrugging his shoulders in the dugout, reminding me of clueless Dusty Baker at his worst.
    About defense: this ballclub is 12 games over .500 in games without an error. This team is 2-15 in games with an error. Do other teams commit an error and actually overcome it? Of course they do. Does this team? Not often. And keep in mind that Dempster’s error, a terrible throw, was the only error marked as such on the scoresheet. But a popup off Miles’ glove was credited as a hit when it should have been an error (the Pirate 2B made a much tougher catch a bit later) and Bradley dove for a ball and dropped it when it hit the little finger of his glove. That one usually gets called a hit but any good OF would say he should have caught it. After helping the hapless Pirates to a few more runs with Cotts’ pitches and the fielding mistakes, our offense shuts back down and accepts another loss, which just felt inevitable.
    We have hope, of course. We just don’t have a lot of reason to keep that hope watching this team stagger to another loss.

  • One more question: how many of the 43 games have we had 25 players on the bench, able to play, healthy? How many teams would be able to win that shorthanded? How many teams would continue to be that shorthanded day after day?

  • Doug

    Just saw the Chicago weather forecast for today. Real good chance of this game being rained out. Maybe not a bad thing……. On 2nd thought I hope they get in in and get the W to get back to .500 and go from there…..This stretch is brutal….

  • but you have to admit…the sample size is growing…

    Sure… and you have to admit that even with all of the Cubs struggles and injuries, they still have managed to play .500 ball, and stay easily within striking distance of first place in the division.

    t I’d sure like to see better baseball from this team.

    Sure… so would all of us.

    you can still play fundamentally good ball even when you lose, right?

    I actually don’t think that the Cubs have played that poorly fundamentally in this losing streak. Last night was pretty ugly, but the rest of the streak has had little to do with bad fundamentals. They simply haven’t been able to get hits.

    By the way… another glimmer of hope? The Cubs BABIP is only .281, compared to the league average of .298 the last time I looked. The Cubs BABIP will in all likelihood revert to the mean, and in turn improve their offense.

    And some notable BABIP’s on the Cubs:
    Bradley: .205
    Lee: .274
    Soto: .267
    Fontenot: .221
    Soriano: .271

    Among the Cubs hitters, only Kosuke and ARam have a BABIP well above the norm.

    What this means is that the Cubs, and especially some of their big hitters, have been really unlucky, and we can expect that to change.

  • sherm

    we can expect that to change.

    Can we really? One of the great things about baseball is that we can’t just rely on our expectations year in and year out. It’s a sport dominated by anomalies; despite the heavy duty statistics it provides. You can’t expect that a 15 game winner win always win 15 games or that a .300 will hit the same next year. You talk (I mean everyone…not singling you out, Dave) of sample sizes and I think that for a baseball player it takes years to determine a true picture. We could pencil in Rod Carew or Tony Gwynn for a certain number of hits and an approximate average, barring injury, but it’s hard to do for other players.

    A guy can bat .240 one year and win the batting crown the next (Andres Gallaraga hit .243 in 1992 and won the batting title with a .370 average in 1994)Conversely Norm Cash hit .361 one year and .243 the next. No amount of statistical analysis will predict who that will happen to — only that it will likely happen. That makes baseball wholly unpredictable.

    So — to Dave’s point — Bradley and Soto and Fontenot, et al, will PROBABLY all improve and get their stats back to what we are used to…but there is no guarantee that they will. But to me, this team seems to be just meandering into mediocrity — and that’s not good enough. I wonder how much the ownership situation (or lack thereof) has to do with the overall situation (if anything.) I think an active owner would have done SOMETHING by now. Just my two cents…not really calling anybody right or wrong here — just wondering if this team WILL bounce back. We know that they CAN…but will they?


  • cap’n obvious

    Although I am not ready to call the season, here are a few reasons why I feel that this team, at least with the current personnel, can not win the division, and likely not the wild card.

    -Star players with a propensity to be injury-prone (Zambrano, Harden, Bradley, Aramis, Soriano).

    -Poor baserunning fundementals, and guys (Theriot) who think they have more speed than they do.

    -Weak defense up the middle. Soto is more than serviceable, but the options at SS and 2B are second tier at best, and Fukodome lacks the speed to be an elite centerfielder.

    -I have said this before, I think Bradley is a clubhouse and dugout cancer. His calling out the umpires yesterday can not have helped the current situation, his own or the teams.

    -Poor situational hitting. This means a basic inability to do the small things like make contact to the outfield with a runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs. It really comes down to poor pitch selection and selfishness.

    -coaching. Anyone care to explain why Ascanio hits last night when Cotts was coming in to pitch anyway? Anyone care to explain how Cotts still draws a paycheck from anywhere but a Mobil station? For all the experience that Lou and Rothschild have, a situation where they are looking around the dugout like morons in a game like that is inexcusable, and I don’t care how depleted the bench is, they knew that before the game started.

    The solutions. In no particular order. Get Peavy. It makes it less devastating that Zambrano and Harden are such figurines if you have him. Sign a bullpen lefty that can get lefties out more than 50% of the time. I like Glendon Rusch for this, I am sure there are oterhs out there. Take a hot glue gun to Bradley’s mouth. For that matter, severely limit the print media’s access to him. Make a deal for a big league second baseman. Doesn’t have to be an all-star, but a major leaguer please. Bring in a batting coach who might be able to also help with the baserunning gaffes.
    A new pitching coach wouldn’t hurt, either.

  • we can expect that to change. … Can we really?

    Yes… we can. That doesn’t mean that it WILL change, but it does mean that we can expect it to change, because it probably will change.

    You can’t expect that a 15 game winner win always win 15 games or that a .300 will hit the same next year.

    I didn’t say that you could.

    But if you seriously think that Lee, Bradley, Soto, Fontenot, etc. will all continue to this this poorly, and they will continue to have absurdly low BABIP, then sure, go panic. My point is that the Cubs has a whole, and more specifically several key players, have very low BABIP, which will almost assuredly not stay that way. Could it? Absolutely. It is likely? No.

    A guy can bat .240 one year and win the batting crown the next (Andres Gallaraga hit .243 in 1992 and won the batting title with a .370 average in 1994)Conversely Norm Cash hit .361 one year and .243 the next.

    Sure… but this is far from the norm, and you know it. And the liklihood that this would happen to numerous players on the same team is very, very low.

  • Anyone care to explain why Ascanio hits last night when Cotts was coming in to pitch anyway?

    Easy explanation. The Cubs had a very short bench.

    But I actually agree with most of your concerns. But I think that the Cubs had very similar issues last year, didn’t they? DeRosa isn’t any better than Fontenot defensively, and I would argue that Fukudome is better than Edmonds/Johnson in CF. They still have the same injury prone players. They still have mediocre base running. They have the same coaching.

    I don’t think that the problem is any of those things, though fixing each of those things would help. The problem is that 5 or 6 of the Cubs 8 every day players are hitting worse this year than last year. And the bullpen has been bad.

    I think that bringing in a 2b and another bullpen arm would solve a lot of problems, but for the most part you just have expect that the Cubs will stop struggling so much at the plate.

  • Seymour Butts

    Maybe using Cotts more will force Hendry’s hand to dump him on some unsuspecting GM elsewhere. It’s the only reason to use him.

    And I commend Bradley for not hitting to Home plate ump in the head with the bat. Even Brenley said the Ump was calling an awful game.

    Melancholy is a good word. When replays showed that Freel did beat the runner to 3rd, I basically said (to my self) sure, why not. Nothing else is going right.

    Things will change, just who knows what.