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Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



May 2009



About Last Night: I Have My Doubts

Written by , Posted in General

The great thing about this blog is that it has readers who disagree on a number of topics. Today, the topic is panic over the season record and play of the last week. To some, it’s time to panic. To others, it’s not quite time yet. To even others, it’s never time to panic because it’s the Cubs and they’re fun to watch. The great thing is that we’re all right. If you feel it’s time to panic, then panic. If not, then wait patiently. It changes nothing whatsoever, so if it makes you feel better, do it.

With the losing streak now at eight (the longest in the Piniella era), I am beginning to have my doubts on a number of things. I’m not sure if they’re true or not, but it has me thinking.

Lack of Production from Key Players

  • Geovany Soto – Could it be that last year’s performance was a Rick Wilkins type season for Geo? To completely write the question off is irresponsible. After all, Soto was a player that was described by most scouts as a good backup catcher in the Majors who probably wouldn’t hit much but could call a good game and be serviceable behind the plate. All of a sudden he has a career type year in AAA (his third year there) and suddenly he jumps up the radar. Perhaps last year was an illusion and not the real deal. Perhaps the league has figured Geo out and he hasn’t adjusted as a result. I’m not giving up on him yet, but you have to wonder.
  • Milton Bradley – Hear me when I say that Milton Bradley is a vital piece for this team. I believe in him. Why he’s here is because I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps Jim Hendry might have thought he was better than he was. There is no question he had a tremendous year at the plate when he was healthy last year, but the key is health. He spent the year at DH and was injured. Playing RF doesn’t help his health. He’s going to be a good hitter for us, but I’m beginning to doubt we’ll see the type of production we saw in Texas, even over 120 games.
  • Mike Fontenot – Do you wonder whether or not Fontenot was better as a power threat off the bench and not as an everyday starter? I’m starting to worry that he was better off on the bench for this year. He’s filled in at 3B, which is great because of Rammy’s injury, but I don’t feel comfortable in the lineup on an everyday basis. Say all you want about DeRosa and how he needed to keep him (keep in mind that he’s struggling too), but the fact remains that 2B is a need for this team and Fontenot / Miles / DeRosa probably wouldn’t have been the answer. I’m beginning to wonder if Fontenot was a flash in the pan.

Moves That Beg to be Made

  • Alfonso Soriano moves to 2B and lower in the order – See Spot Run video Oh God, not this debate again. Yes, it’s time for Soriano to move to the middle of the order, primarily because we need guys to drive in runs. I, personally, like Sori at the leadoff spot, but with this team not scoring runs it’s time to move things around if nothing more than for a temporary solution. Moving Sori to 2B would free up Lou to mix and match guys like Reed Johnson, Fukudome, Hoffpauir and Milton Bradley in the OF based on matchups and things like that. It would weaken the defense in the IF, but with a strikeout staff that we have, it wouldn’t be as bad as you would think. I’m willing to take the chance, if nothing more that temporarily.
  • Return David Patton to Colorado and replace him with Jake Fox – There is no reason we need 12 pitchers on the roster, especially when guys like Patton go two weeks without action. If you’re worried about bullpen health, then cross that bridge when you come to it. Patton needs to be returned to Colorado and bring up Jake Fox for no other reason than to pinch hit. The debate around here is that he can hit but has no place to play. If that’s the case then put him in the lineup as a pitcher. Just get him up here. He’s played at 1B for Iowa and it hasn’t killed them. Worst case scenario is that you put him there and see if his bat will out slug his glove.
  • Replace Neal Cotts in the bullpen – The bad thing about this one is there really is no solution in house. You can take your chances with a guy like Jason Waddell (AAA) Jeremy Papelbon (AA), or John Gaub (AA) or you can move someone like Sean Marshall to the pen in favor of Randy Wells in the rotation. That move would force the hand of the Cubs to recall someone like Jeff Samardzija to start until Rich Harden returns. None of those excite me that much. That being said, it’s time to begin looking for a trade for a lefty. We have an excess of middle IF and it’s time to move one in exchange for a southpaw for the pen.

Last Night on the Farm

Iowa 3, Sacramento 5 – (Box Score)

  • Jeff Samardzija started the game and went 4.2 IP, giving up 4 ER on 8 H and 2 BB. He allowed a HR and threw two WP. On the season in Iowa, he’s been less than impressive with an ERA of 4.39 and a 1-1 record in 7 outings.

Tennessee 2, Birmingham 8 – (Box Score


  • Darwin Barney and Blake Lali each had a pair of hits. Barney is having a great season so far, hitting .338 / .392 / .417 with 1 HR and 16 RBI.
  • Tony Thomas had a tough day, going 0-for-3 with a pair of K’s and a walk. Last twitter entry “At the field to get much need extra work in. Somebody is always working but I’m going harder!”
  • Seymour Butts

    How about Miles and Freel both go bye-bye. Replace them with Brian Roberts. The O’s won’t take Freel back, but might take Miles and a couple of decent upside pitchers.
    Why not Alf at 2b. Hey give it a try.
    We don’t look likely to need starters. Thru the week of crapola, except for last night, the starters have done well. I suspect Rich Hardon is not so much ailing as this was an easy way to put Zambrano back on the roster.
    Oh, sent Cotts to the Orioles too, as a freebee.

  • The O’s won’t take Freel back, but might take Miles and a couple of decent upside pitchers.
    Why not Alf at 2b. Hey give it a try.

    Why would the O’s take Miles? What would they want with him?

  • Seymour Butts

    Because if you collect enough Miles, you get a free trip.

  • Jacki R.

    Can someone please tell me why Lou used Zambrano as a pinch hitter when Hill and/or Foteniot were available? Did anyone really expect him to drive in that run?

  • Can someone please tell me why Lou used Zambrano as a pinch hitter when Hill and/or Foteniot were available?

    I can answer half of it. Lou doesn’t like to use his backup catcher unless absolutely necessary.

    But I have no idea why Fontenot or Fukudome didn’t hit in that situation.

  • Mastrick

    Joe has some valid points here. I’m also starting to wonder if Geo is a modern day Jerome Walton. Looks to me like he’s gained weight and Soto doesn’t play very well as a fatboy. Hill deserves more starts.

    Fontenot could probably use a refresher course at AAA Iowa, let’s bring Fox up if only for pinch-hitting. Wasn’t that why Hoffpauir was supposed to make the club?

    Patton should be buried on the bench and sent down to the minors after the year. He can come in and do mop-up situations – the kid has talent and I’d hate to just give up on him. Next year he should start out at Iowa and progress from there.

    Cotts should be promoted to Driver, Budweiser truck. No more chances for that guy, we’d be better off with no lefthander than that fella. No offense Neil but you suck as a pitcher.

    Soriano as a second baseman? I had a bad dream about that one night. Alfonso isn’t hitting right now and we should let him hone that aspect of his game and get a decent 2B (i.e. DeRosa) to fill that hole.

  • MJ

    Wasn’t that why Hoffpauir was supposed to make the club?

    Still not sold on him. He’s coming back down to Earth, to the levels where many of us predicted he would.

    get a decent 2B (i.e. DeRosa) to fill that hole.

    My, my, my. We certainly get ourselves into ruts around these parts. First it was beat down Milton, then Hoffpauir love, then the Jake Fox love-fest, now it’s bring back DeRosa. Mark (DeRosa) is not having a very good year. If Hendry is going to make a move, I’d rather see the bullpen get the help it desperately needs.