Archive for June, 2005

Thatís Corey with a ìCî

Wednesday, June 29th, 2005

For a plethora of reasons, Iíve always pulled for the underdog. A Cub fan for 36 years is enough to do that to a man, but I have other issues which are irrelevant to this discussion so I wonít bore you with that ñ for now.

Let’s see. First it was Neifi. Then he began to hit. Then it was LaTroy. But then he was traded. So then Cubdom began searching for a new target for their angst and lo and behold, Corey Patterson was thus anointed the Next Whipping Boy. Isnít it time to give it a rest?


Oh, by the way, that is Corey with a ìCî not Korey or KKKKKKorey as Iíve seen from time to time.

C as in Clobber. Understandably Prior got credit for the masterpiece he threw Sunday but lost in the hoopla was Coreyís game-winning home run.

C as in Catch. Zambrano and Lee were the stars in last nightís victory over the Brewers but lost to too many was the game-saving catch and toss to Neifi to complete a wonderful double play that snuffed out a rally. Even Baseball Tonight missed it. They showed the replay but snubbed it as a Web Gem nominee. Yea, I stayed up after the NBA Draft just to see if they would include it. Other than Nick Torsell from Behind The Ivy and a smaller bouquet from Al at Bleed Cubbie Blue I havenít seen much positive written about Mr. Patterson. If I missed yours leave it in the comments, who has time to read 60 blogs a day? Lingering Bursitis chose to pound away on the relentless drumbeat of Coreyís hitting woes than even mention how he contributed to the win with his glove. Then again, they got all their info from a box score and since they don’t have a category for sensational game saving catch, perhaps Bursitis should get a pass. Hmmm. Naahhhh.

C as in Class. Iíve seen Corey interviewed a couple of times recently and he always handles himself with dignity, humility and poise. Given his struggles and the fansí continual cascade of criticism, Corey has earned my respect.

C as in Come on already, give the guy a break. Take all your Kís and save them for Kerry Wood.

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Enrique, we hardly knew ye…

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

Thank goodness. Ronny Cedeno has been recalled from AAA and Enrique Wilson has been sent to live with the Ultimate Warrior in Parts Unknown.

Full Story Here

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Back from the East Coast

Monday, June 27th, 2005

The past weekend in Chicago boasted several big events in the City, not the least of which were The Taste of Chicago and the Cubs/White Sox series, so naturally, I was away in Winchester, VA for a friend’s wedding, where I learned a couple of things about Indian weddings:
1. They’re very long.
2. Nobody who’s not actively involved in the ceremony pays any attention.
Luckily, I was able to survive 2 and a half hours of wearing a suit in 90 degree weather (ceremony was outside) and was thus able to partake in the eating, drinking and dancing that followed. And if my friend is reading this, congratulations again, we had a great time, and what are you doing on the internet? YOU’RE ON YOUR HONEYMOON!

Anyway, I was able to get home in time to catch Mark Prior’s first start since he was injured by a line drive to the elbow, and I guess the only way it could have gone better was if he hadn’t given up that one hit. Prior was dominating, and managed to get through 6 innings on 71 pitches, a fairly manageable total for Mark. Carlos Zambrano will be back on the hill and Tuesday, and I think most of us will be watching closely. Carlos has now had 3 straight bad outings, including the worst of his career against the Brewers, who will be back in town, sending Doug Davis to the hill. Let’s hope the results are vastly different this time, as Rich Hill will not be here to pick up the slack.

I used to scoff when the announcers brought up the high grass at Wrigley Field and what an advantage it is for a ground ball pitcher, but after seeing Sergio Mitre pitch at home and on the road, I’m starting to think there’s something to it. He’s still getting the ground balls, but on the road they seem to get through for hits more often.

All of the sudden, Mark Kotsay to the Cubs rumors have started to pop up everywhere, from Ken Rosenthal to Peter Gammons to Joe Aiello. I’d definitely be on board with a trade that brought Kotsay to the Cubs. He’s a very good defensive centerfielder and a good leadoff man. His stats are down a bit this year, but he’s definitely better than what Dusty is currently using at the top of the order. The only question is what exactly Billy Beane would want in exchange (I don’t see him asking for Corey Patterson and his .285 OPB), but with most sources reporting that the Cubs and Yankees are the main suitors for Kotsay, I like the Cubs chances since Oakland will want quality minor leaguers (read: cheap talent) which the Cubs definitely have more of than the Yankees.

Finally, I wanted to weigh in on the Lou Pinella thing. While I think that Lou is a better manager than Dusty, there’s just something that irks me about his whole situation in Tampa. He was the one who greased the skids for his exit from Seattle (from a very good situation at the time). Lou’s first choice was the Mets, but when Seattle refused to let that happen, he was happy to take the money and be traded to Tampa Bay, where he believed the promises from Tampa management that while they never spent any money before, they would definitely start spending it now, since they now possessed a manager who would fill the stadium with fans thanks to his baseball genius. Now Lou wants out of Tampa, which would be fine, all he has to do is resign. But that would mean giving up the remainder of the money on his contract, so he’s angling for a buyout from management. I’m not sure what makes Pinella think that a team that won’t pay players to play for them would be willing to pay a manager NOT to manage for them, but he seems to think it’ll work out. So, despite the fact that he’s a superior manager, Lou’s behavior in the last few years has turned me off to him. When the going gets tough, I don’t want my manager looking for the fastest way out of town…pass on Lou Pinella.

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Would you like this? / Tommy on the Radio

Monday, June 27th, 2005
Tommy on the Radio

All you radio fans out there, Tommy will be on internet radio on a show called SportsBloggers Live tonight around 7:30pm est. Here is the link for the show. Click it and listen tonight.

Would you like this?
I ran across a snipit in the Daily Southtown today that mentioned a possible replacement for Baker, should something happen to his job security with the Cubs organization.

The rumor mill isn’t solely focused on outfielders the Cubs may obtain before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Rumors are circulating about a replacement for Baker — even though Cubs officials have stated publicly and privately that Baker’s job is safe.

Newsday in New York reported in Sunday’s editions that an unidentified source said Lou Piniella, who is unhappy about his situation in Tampa Bay, could end up with the Cubs or back in Seattle.

Baker is in the third year of a four-year, $14 million. Cubs brass might not want to pay off his contract and hire another high-priced skipper.

I haven’t decided my feelings on this one as of yet. I decided to pull up Pinella and Baker’s career managerial records to compare them and this is what I found. Dusty and Pinella seem to both be “good” managers in the eyes of the people, but if I had to choose one, I think i’d actually choose Pinella. He’s won a World Series, something that Dusty has not done. He’s firey and seems to command respect. He also seems to have no issue with playing younger guys in the lineup on a regular basis. Take a look at the ages of the WS team he managed in Cincy. He had essentially the same team that Pete Rose had but led the kids to the title. Look at the ages to the right of their names. Only one starter over 29. It was team with a .322 OBP as a team and a solid young pitching staff. Sound familiar to a team we know?

C Joe Oliver – 24
1B Todd Benzinger – 27
2B Mariano Duncan – 27
3B Chris Sabo – 28
SS Barry Larkin – 26
OF Paul O’Neill – 27
OF Billy Hatcher – 29
OF Eric Davis – 28

SP Tom Browning – 30
SP Jose Rijo – 25
SP Jack Armstrong – 25
SP Danny Jackson – 28

CL Randy Myers – 27
RP Rob Dibble – 26
RP Tim Layana – 26
RP Norm Charlton – 27

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Curiosity Killed the Cat

Sunday, June 26th, 2005

I know what they say about being curious. All it does is lead to bad things, but I can’t help but be a little curious about a few things of late. Let me begin with todays game, since it’s the freshest in my mind.

Prior’s pitch count – Normally, this would be an issue that would be a case of pitcher abuse, but today it was a different story. Baker talked about not having a set number of pitches in mind as Prior entered his first start back from the DL. He said it would depend on effectiveness. To me, that says that if Mark was struggling, he would get the quick hook in an effort to minimize the damage. Prior, however, came out smokin’ and had breezed through the first 6 innings only giving up 1 baserunner. At that point, the pitch count was at 71 and with the DH in effect, there is no need to worry about his spot coming up in the top of the 7th. To me, that says you can get 1 more inning out of Prior, who should have been stretched to 90, in my opinion. I can understand not wanting to rush a guy back, but 90 pitches is the usual amount Dusty keeps his guys on when they come back from an injury. (side note – It’s sad that we have had injuries to the point that we know Dusty’s norm pitch count in that situation.) That got me to thinking about what Dusty had in mind, and not one of the conclusions made a lick of sense.

Possible Explanations

  • Prior had the 2,3,4 hitters coming up in the 7th and Dusty didn’t want him out there during that

  • Dusty had the utmost faith in his bullpen
  • The Cubs were safely ahead at the time.

As you can see, none of these explanations make sense. Prior would be the guy you want out there to face the heart of the order at that point in the game. At the time, the Cubs were nursing a precious 1 run lead. Prior had thrown a gem, why would he not be able to handle that inning? Reason #2 makes no sense either because Dusty can’t stand the bullpen. It’s one of the few things him and I agree on. Obviously reason # 3 is not the case, so why did Dusty go with the move he did?

Jerome Williams? – When I saw Jerome come out of the pen today, it made me scratch my head in confusion. He is the guy we need as the 5th starter, so why have him come out of the pen today? I know people think that Mitre is the guy, but I just don’t see it. Williams has pitched in the heat of a playoff race before and has more experience than Mitre. In addition, Mitre’s ground ball ability is very useful out of the pen. He has the ability to come in a get a double play in crucial situations. Rusch, while I think he is the better pitcher, also needs to come out of the pen. Our bullpen needs to reliable arms down there and Mitre and Rusch can provide that. With Jerome as the 5th starter and Wood coming back on Wednesday, the rotation would be very solid. The pen, would have a good ring to it as well. You’d have Mitre & Rusch who could both be situational guys or long guys. You’d have Wuertz & Ohman, both of who are doing well this year and then Remlinger and Dempster to close.

Mark Kotsay – I am so curious as to if the Cubs are going to get this guy to lead off. He is the perfect fit for this team. He’s a good CF who not only hits for average but also draws some walks. Last year his .370 OBP was largely due to his 55 walks out of the leadoff spot in SD. Corey Patterson has had 2 full seasons (no injuries) and drew a combined 64 walks. So in 2 seasons, he beats Kotsay’s 1 year total by 9. Kotsay is our guy and Hendry needs to make it happen. Any chance of Damon coming from Boston is not possible till next year, so we need Kotsay this year. With him in the leadoff spot, Walker could move to the 2 spot so Corey could hit 6th. Walker and Kotsay would allow Lee to have guys on base for his hot bat. Corey would hit in his precious middle of the order role and all would be right with the world.

So there you have it. Curious observations on my part, but fun to write nonetheless. It’s gonna be an interesting next couple of weeks. The next 2 should make or break this Cubs team. If we can make a surge, we can get reinforcements and make a run. If not, it’s going to be a long fall.

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