Archive for April, 2005

The Hot Hand

Sunday, April 17th, 2005

No discussion of “hot” can fail to include Zambrano’s temper. We’ve seen 2 Mr. Hyde performances already this year. Big Z is a Cy Young candidate if he can avoid mental breakdowns in 85 % of his pitching performances. I hope the rest of the season is more boring. He’s 4 for 9 at the plate though; is he the Venezuelan Babe Ruth, the Venezuelan Fernando Valenzuela, or just a case in point of the importance of sample size? Only time will tell.

Neifi Perez has the hot hand right now. As stupid as I think Baker is for letting him hold a bat, much less swing it, the guy’s playing like un-Neifi, and as long as he continues to be red-hot, I now believe Baker’s doing the right thing. The MOMENT Neifi reverts to form, you’ve got to turn it over to Jerry Junior.

Jason Dubois: 11 AB, 4 H, 1 2b, 1 HR, 1 BB.
Todd Hollandsworth: 33 AB, 9 H, 1 2b, 1 3b, 1 HR.

Data sample small, but Hollandsworth is just gettin’ by whereas Dubois appears to have “the hot hand.” If you play Neifi, you play Dubois too, Dusty.

The Cubs are 5 out of 7 in the SB department. That’s a 71.4 % success rate, which is right on the borderline between helping to generate runs and actually reducing your run scoring potential. What’s cool is that our opponents are 5 for 13! HAHAHAHA. That can help a lot of Ryan Dempsters, Todd Wellemeyers, and Mike Wuertzes look better than they are. And I’ll take that. Keep it up, Mikey Barrett, just don’t forget you also get to hit.

Jose Macias: 1 for 13. 1 error in 8 total chances among all positions. Jesus, we might as well invite Larry Biitner back.

Take out Derrek Lee’s 10:6 BB:K ratio and the team has a 26:77 ratio. Gene Clines can’t work miracles, but that can’t get much worse. The Cubs have a .330 team OBP, good for 10th out of 14 NL clubs.

Best Cubs “Dungeons and Dragons” name:
BARTOSH, human barbarian level 8.
Runner up: NOMAR the Invincible, Gnomish Mage 6, and his imp familiar Neifi.

Don’t be too hard on LaTroy just yet. I think over the course of the season that his luck will even out. If El Pulpo and Joe Table could be passable closers for years, LaTroy certainly will. When Borowski comes back, though, I won’t mind if LaTroy gets put back in setup. The traditional closer usage pattern means the setup guys more frequently pitch meaningful innings than the closer, and that’s where we want our best reliever.

Take Remlinger out back and shoot him. The bullpen ain’t bad so far; Fox, Wuertz, and Bartosh have combined for 15.2 innings, 14 H, 16 K, 1 HR, and 3 ER. If Wellemeyer and Leicester can get it together and Remlinger dies, we’ll be okay.

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It’s wrong, but it feels soooooo right

Thursday, April 14th, 2005

As a Cub fan and former northsider before moving to NC, I have always hated the White Sox. They are the enemy and deserve to be hated. It’s just so easy to do. However, I have some confessions to make. Believe it or not, I actually watch White Sox games on TV and, cover your ears, I cheer for them to win. I enjoy going to the Cell and catching a game despite the white trash that is always in attendance. Worst of all, I am a loyal reader of a Sox fan site that is run by a good friend of mine. The site is still in the infant stages but is a fun read. Do me a favor and head over to Life at 35th and Shields and show my buddy Eric some love, even if he is a Sox fan.

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Random Questions pertaining to the Padres Series

Wednesday, April 13th, 2005

So we managed to limp out of the series with San Diego with 1 win in 3 tries. Excellent, we’re well on our way to that magical 3rd place finish we call crave so badly. I have confidence we’ll pick it up this weekend. So, instead of lamenting about a lost opportunity at home, I’d rather pose a few questions I have in regards to the series.

Question 1 – Is it unhealthy to have a crush on Mark Prior in a baseball sort of way if you’re a man?

This sounds like a weird question, but I can’t help but wonder. I can’t describe my feelings any better. I just love watching this guy pitch. He has so much composure on the mound that sometimes I forget how young he really is. I love how he handles himself on the mound and always fights. He handles his own with the bat as well. Every time he pitches, the game is a must watch for me. The strange thing is, he’s not even my favorite member of the staff. He ranks third in that department behind Greg Maddux, my all time favorite pitcher, and Kerry Wood. They mentioned on the broadcast today that San Diego had originally drafted Prior after his junior year at USC, but he decided to return for his senior year. Imagine if San Diego had Prior and Peavy. Their staff would be sick.

Question 2 – When did Michael Barrett trade in his right arm for a cannon?

Last year Barrett had a Runner Thrown Out % at 20%. Already this year, he’s 6-10, for an astounding 60%. His throws have been accurate and his release has been extremely sharp. Not only has he gunned down runners, but he’s done it with a ton of extra time to make the tag. I’ve noticed at least 2 of the 6 runners caught that have slid into a tag that was already down and waiting for them. A lot of people harped on him about his defense last year, but I think he has worked extremely hard and is right behind Aramis for most improved defensively.

Question 3 – Is it just me or does Khalil Green look a lot like Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times?

All I think of when I watch him and his stupid blonde hair is that idiot ordering pizza in class and having it eaten right in front of him by the teacher. What do you guys think?

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Write Your Own Wrap!

Monday, April 11th, 2005

Be the Cubs beat writer! There’s going to be about a dozen or so games like this, so we here at The View From The Bleachers would like to provide you with a simple template for creating your own blurb of the day’s game.

——————

Ryan DempsterGreg MadduxMark PriorKerry WoodCarlos Zambrano held the PadresGiantsPirates to fourfivesix hits and struck out seveneightnine through fivesixseven innings, but the Cubs bats were silencedstymiedquiet in a loss of a 1-02-02-1 game this afternoon.

Jeromy BurnitzCorey PattersonTodd Hollandsworth misplayed a ball in the outfield for an error, which led to San Diego’sSan Francisco’sPittsburgh’s only run in a victory over the Cubs. BurnitzPattersonHollandsworth also went 0-4, striking out three times and stranding sixseveneight baserunners.

“It’s a tough loss. DempsterMadduxPriorWoodZambrano was throwing well out there, but we couldn’t put anything together on offense. JeromyCoreyTodd had a rough day, which can happen.” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “But it’s only AprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptember– there’s 162 games in this season, and this is just one of them.”

“We didn’t get the job done,” BurnitzPattersonHollandsworth said. “But we’ll go out tomorrow, put this game behind us, and try to put up another W.”

Cubs second baseman Todd Walkerthird baseman Aramis Ramirezcatcher Michael Barrett was in the dugout for today’s game, out with a sprained left kneesore groinfractured right index finger and is expected to recover in approximately two weeksfive weekseight weeks

“It’s tough sitting on the bench when the rest of the team is out there struggling,” WalkerRamirezBarrett said. “You want to do your part to win.”

Andy Rutledge is a reporter for View From The Bleachers. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs, mostly due to it’s utterly depressing content.

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All Hail The King

Saturday, April 9th, 2005

As I watched my favorite pitcher on the staff throw exactly half of his pitches out of the strikezone, I was frustrated at the lack of consistency, but felt OK with the lead in hand. I usually hate bashing a guy after one bad outing so I won’t do that for Wood. He’ll settle down and get in the groove. I don’t expect much from the starters the first time out. Once it comes around again, I expect adjustments to have been made.

Someone I do expect big things from is Hawkins. I was excited when we signed him and I am excited that we still have him. I just don’t want him as my closer. However, seeing that he’s the option right now, I have officially anointed him as the King of the Closers. Maybe he just needs a few more people to believe in him. Maybe he’ll see his picture on my site and feel special when he sees his beautiful crown. Maybe that good feeling will be the push he needs to succeed in the 9th inning and lead us to the world series. Maybe this site will go national and be picked up by ESPN. Or maybe we’ll just grin and Barrett until average Joe comes back and takes over. Until then, ALL HAIL KING LATROY!!!!!

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Puzzle for the Day

Thursday, April 7th, 2005

So you’re board at work and looking for something to do? Well, here is a logic puzzle for you. Post your answer in the comment section. Have fun and don’t cheat by looking for the answer on the internet, because I’m sure it’s there.

When this year’s Muddville High Marauders took the field on opening day, it was a special occasion for the fathers of six of the starters: not only were their sons playing for the 2002 team, but 25 years earlier, they had opened the season as high school players on the only Muddville squad to win a state championship. As it turned out, the six sons collectively were playing the same positions as the fathers: pitcher (P) and catcher (C) and the four infield spots, first base (1B), second base (2B), shortstop (SS), and third base (3B). From the lineup card entries that follow, you should be able to determine the full name of each father and son (the dads’ first names are Bill, Hank, Joe, Mickey, Ron, and Stan and the boys’ are Alex, Brian, David, Jason, Peter, and Tony) and the position each played on Muddville Marauder opening day then and now.

1. The six Muddville Marauder father-son pairs are Ron and his son, the Benches, Alex and his dad, the father who started at SS and his son, the dad who played 3B and his son, and this year’s 3B and his father.
2. Schmidt, who isn’t Stan, and his son played different infield positions on the opening days.
3. Stan, who isn’t Yount, isn’t Brian’s dad.
4. The son of the 1977 squad’s P plays 2B on this year’s team.
5. Ron and Carlton were co-captains of the state title team.
6. One father-son pair started at C on the two teams; a second pair also played the same position on the squads; the father and son of each of the other four pairs played different positions.
7. Neither Mickey Mays nor his son played SS for the Marauders.
8. Brian isn’t one of this year’s infielders.
9. Carlton and his son both played the same opening day position; they didn’t play C or SS.
10. David, who isn’t the Bench boy, put a picture of his dad as the 1977 Muddville starting P inside his baseball cap for luck.
11. The Palmer teen isn’t this year’s starting P.
12. Joe, who isn’t Bench, and his son played the same position on opening days then and now.
13. Hank isn’t the 2002 SS’s father.
14. Peter, who isn’t Schmidt, isn’t the son of the state championship team’s 2B.
15. Jason isn’t Bill’s son.

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Book Thoughts

Thursday, April 7th, 2005

It’s always hard to be positive after a loss, so rather than break down all the problems I saw in great detail, I’d like to just bullet my thoughts and move on to a new feature here at TVFTB.

What Went Wrong

  • Ryan Dempster – Contrary to what Al Yellon mentions, in my opinion, Dempster DID look as bad as his numbers suggest. Yes, he was getting some K’s but he also walked 3 over 3 & 1/3. That’s almost a 9 walk game over 9 innings. You can’t have that kind of walk output and then give up 9 hits as well. He’s never been a flat out control pitcher. Unless he fixes the walk problem, all the K’s will mean nothing. His career K’s/BB ratio is 1.55. Not too good. Especially when you look at a guy like Maddux who has a career ration of 3.55 and has been as high as 8.85. Maddux needs to work with this staff and impart some wisdom.

  • Dusty Baker – Once again, Dusty Baker did not get Dubois an AB. Please do not tell me that the only time he’ll get in is against LH. If that’s the case, his season is going to be a waste. I hate platoons due to the managers so anal about them. Give your hitters a chance in all situations so it makes them a better players.
  • Mark Grace – On my MLB Extras Innings package, we were privilege (wink wink) to get the Arizona Diamondback feed instead of Len and Bob. As a result, I was forced to listen to Thom and Gracie, both former members of the Cubs organization. Gracie spent the night bashing Sammy Sosa, which I found amusing, but if you’re going to broadcast a game, why are you going to spend THAT MUCH time bashing a player that isn’t even involved in the game. Get over yourself Gracie!!!
  • West Coast – I am so bitter about the west coast trips. It used to be that when I lived in Chicago, I was able to make it till 12:30 or so when the game would end. Since moving to NC, I am having issues staying up for the whole game and still being sane at work in the classroom the next day. I am glad the series is over, because I didn’t even make it through the whole game last night without falling asleep.

Book Thoughts

This is a feature that won’t happen as often as I would like, but we’ll see. Each time I finish an book, I will write a brief opinion paragraph or two about it. I love reading peoples opinions and recommendations on books, especially baseball books. I am constantly adding titles to my to do list to buy. Recently, I finished one of Charles Barkley’s books. When Barkley was playing in the NBA, he was always my favorite player. I remember dating a girl that was a Bulls fan. They knew that I loved Barkley and always frowned on me for it.

When I got the book, I was excited about reading it. It wasn’t supposed to be a basketball book as much as it was supposed to be Barkley sounding off on anything and everything. I read the reviews and all of them were high. However, as I read the book, I struggled to finish it. This book took me longer to read than any other book I have read in a long time. Basically, the book was poorly written, with Charles going on so many tangents. He would be talking on some topic and then all of a sudden he was talking about something else. Usually, when you read a book, each chapter is thought out and makes solid, well argued points. Not this one. I wonder if when Michael Wilbon read over the book to “edit” it, he was drunk. The book is written as if Charles just talked to someone and they typed. As much as I like Charles Barkley, I will not be reading his latest book, “Who’s Afraid of a Big Black Man?”

Where to Buy:Amazon.com

Final Rating – (2 stars out of 5)

Rating Scale
5 Star – Must Own
4 Star – A great read
3 Star – A good read, but might not be one to purchase
2 Star – A library read if nothing else available
1 Star – Avoid at all costs

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Thoughts for the day

Wednesday, April 6th, 2005

Due to the west coast game being as late as they are, I was too tired to post last night. This morning, I have 5 minutes before work so, yet again, the post will be more discussion than commentary. Here are my questions for you today.

  1. What were your impressions of Greg Maddux first start?

  2. You always hear the announcers say stuff like “That’s 4-3 if you’re scoring at home. How many people keep score when they go to the game AND/OR when they are at home?
  3. What are your impressions of Corey at the leadoff spot so far? Personally, I’ve not noticed him swinging for the fences yet. Maybe he has really improved his outlook on hitting.
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Flying High

Tuesday, April 5th, 2005

I was excited to see the Cubs win yesterday, not only because the offense was smokin’, not only because it ties them for the lead in the NL Central, but also because I was able to unveil my brand spanking new Cubs “W” flag and fly it outside my house:

I plan to fly it after every Cubs win. It’ll probably be over the heads of most Nebraska residents, but I’m sure a couple of people will drive by and get a kick out of it. No “L” flag, of course. Heck, I don’t even think anyone sells those anyway.

Here’s my question to you Chicago residents who might know better — I know they fly it at Wrigley right after they win, but when do they take it down? In the morning after the game? Right before the next game? Or do they even take it down if they keep on winning?

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