View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



July 2009



Bring on the Phillies

Written by , Posted in General

I asked for a sweep of the Nats and the Cubs delivered. I came away from the weekend with two thoughts.

  1. Kevin Hart was acceptable as a starter, but is not the long term solution. Sean Marshall or Jeff Samardzija need to be the options for Lou, with Hart moving to the pen. Hart was able to get by a Nats team that is far from good, but imagine the damage we would have seen with his control (or lack of it) against a lineup like Philly.
  2. Alfonso Soriano is going to have an explosive close to the month. He’s hit homers in his last two games and you know how it goes for Soriano, he hits in streaks and bunches. We’re about to see a streak. I was surprised to see Lou pull him in the late innings yesterday, even in a blowout simply because he was having success at the plate and could probably have benefited from that extra at bat.

Scouting Tonight’s Starters

Ted Lilly was pushed back from Saturday’s scheduled start because of inflammation in his left knee. He picked up his 100th career win in his last start against the Cardinals. The Cubs’ lone All-Star representative matched his season high by going eight innings. He notched his 14th quality start this year, giving up four hits. Lilly may want to only pitch at Wrigley Field. His ERA at home is 1.86, which ranks among the NL leaders. Over his last 54 2/3 innings, Lilly has walked seven and struck out 49.

Rodrigo Lopez left his start on July 8 after five innings because of right-shoulder inflammation. But after some rest with the All-Star break, the journeyman Mexico native assured he’s ready to make his third start of the season in a fluctuating No. 5 spot of the Phillies’ rotation. In 11 1/3 innings this season, the 33-year-old has given up four runs, and the Phillies have won both of those games. His spot in the starting staff is currently in jeopardy with the Phillies signing Pedro Martinez recently, but Martinez isn’t eligible to return from his procedural disabled-list stint until July 30, meaning Lopez will likely get at least two or three more starts before a roster move has to be made. In his only career start against the Cubs, Lopez — pitching on 11 days’ rest — gave up eight runs in 4 2/3 innings. (

He gets ahead in the count and changes speeds well. In tight situations with runners in scoring position, he knows how to bear down and get the job done. Lopez simply can’t hold runners on, so they tend to run freely. Often, when he falls behind, he leaves the ball up and it’s knocked out. A solid mid-rotation starter. (

Lopez Pitch Usage Chart

Highlights from the Farm

  • Wes Darvill was 4-for-5
  • Ryan Flaherty was 3-for-5
  • Jovan Rosa was 3-for-4
  • Mitch Atkins struck out 5 batters and only allowed 3 earned runs over 6.0 innings pitched yesterday

Photo Op

Robinson Chirinos is hitting .316 with 11 homers and 46 RBIs in 59 games this season. (Scott Jontes/

  • Definitely agree that Soriano is heading toward a hot start and I knew that Dempster has always been better at Wrigley, but was unaware of Lilly’s success there until you pointed out.

    I posted your article today too. Sorry it took me so long, but I was at the beach without internet for the last couple of days – yeah life was tough last week! Thanks for the info Joe.

  • Mark Strickler

    I tend to agree on Hart, it’s certainly way too early to give up on this guy but he either needs more minor league time or he could possibly be used as a trade pawn for a lefthanded setup man. Speaking of lefthanders, George Sherrill is available. Hart for Sherrill with somebody like Caridad thrown in would be a no brainer but we still would need a lefty specialist. Perhaps that’s where BJ Ryan would fit in but I’m not counting on much out of Ryan.

    On the minor league prospects the Cubs are certainly signing guys out of South Korea. The best one thusfar appears to be Lee Hak-ju (pronounced EEE hahk-JOO in Korean.) He’s listed as a shortstop (11 errors in 27 games) but has an OPS Of .805. I see a switch to LF or 2B in this young man’s future but who knows? Aramis Ramirez had a lot of errors as a Pirate and now he’s pretty tight at third. Both Lee and Ha Jae-hoon (CF) are 18 so they are real raw prospects at this time; a third Korean player Jung Su-min is a 20 year old pitcher with somewhat mediocre numbers. All three players are with Boise.

  • George Sherrill is available.

    The O’s are going to demand a lot for Sherrill. I like Sherrill, but the problem is that everyone else does do, including the O’s. The O’s want closer-type value in return for Sherrill. Hart + a Caridad type probably won’t get it done.

    Aramis Ramirez had a lot of errors as a Pirate and now he’s pretty tight at third.

    By tight, do you mean not very good?

    Last year he had the 4th most errors among MLB 3b. He was last among qualified 3b in range. When you have a player with bad range, AND makes a lot of errors, you have a bad defensive player.

    He did have a very good defensive year in 2007, but that really seems like the outlier and not anywhere close to the norm.

  • Terrelle Pryor 2

    I didn’t know Ram has one of the worst gloves among 3B. I remember watching him in Pittsburgh, he was very erratic with the glove, but since coming here he has done better than anyone expected. One guy I would like to see on the team is Kim Tae-Kyun. He is a 1B in Korea, he is a beast. I’m surprised he doesn’t have a home in MLB to be honest, or at least get a look