Archive for September, 2006

Baseball artistry

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

The last time Hill pitched I commented that we were watching a young pitcher mature before our very eyes. Well it’s getting to the point where Rich Hill is going to start being a gate draw – remember how excited we felt in Prior’s early days? I’m starting to feel it again. Hill’s mastery of the Reds today was something I wished I could have seen – just reading his line gets me all excited.

Rich has two more starts to lock down a starting spot for next year, if he looks decent the next two times out I’m ready to pencil him in. Rich might want to take a month off or so off and then pitch a few starts down in the Venezuelan, DR or Puerto Rican leagues so that he hits the ground running in spring training. I’m starting to hope for a rotation that would possibly have Zambrano, Jason Schmidt, Rich Hill, Sean Marshall/free agent (Maddux?) and Mateo/Prior/Harben (yes, Mark Prior should have to compete for a spot.)

Dig these numbers. Since Colorado, Rich has had 6 starts, throwing 44 innings. During that timeframe he has struck out 44 and walked 10; he has given up 24 hits, 3 homeruns and has compiled an ERA of 1.23. I doubt there is any pitcher in baseball that can boast those kinds of numbers in their last six starts; when you have a WHIP of 0.77 you are dealing.

Update:

In today’s Chicago Tribune, Dusty commented that one day he will write a book about his baseball career. According to the Tribune: “The Cub years…will merit only a chapter.” Well, the Dusty years will only merit a single page in the Cubs’ history. Mastrick says: Good riddance, chump. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Dusty-o-Meter: 13 games and counting

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It’s all in how you look at it.

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

It is clear that the Cubs do not have the best player at any position. Their best position players are dwarfed by Poo Holes, Howard, Cabrera, Wright, Rolen, Mauer, McCann, Posada and so on.
It is clear that the Cubs’ only standout pitcher this year, Z, will not win the Cy Young.
The Cubs’ record sucks. Today’s slaparound puts them at 59-89, 2 games better than the Kansas City Royals (and in a worse division).

BUT

Look at it this way:
Carlos Zambrano is, by far, the BEST Zambrano in the major leagues.
We have the league’s best Barrett, Theriot, Cedeno, Murton, and Pierre.
Our Ramirez is in the top 3 in the league among Ramirezes.
Our Lee is top 3 as well! Our Izturis is top 2!
Our Jones still sucks, but he’s on the list!
We have the best Marshall, Hill, Eyre, Dempster, Howry, Aardsma, Ohman, Mabry, Bynum, Coats, and Pagan.
We have the second-best Jose Reyes in MLB!
We have the market cornered on Walronds and Marmols!

Best of all, our All-DL team could kick any major league team’s butt! Prior, Wood, and Lee alone would smack anyone else down.

So hold your heads up. Isolated by last name, the Cubs are league leaders!

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Cubs lose 4-0, Mateo leaves early

Friday, September 15th, 2006

The Cubs were shutout yet again and, as the offense continues to prove that it needs major overhaul the team had yet another injury. Some of you may recall at the beginning of the season I expressed hope that the Cubs would take action to stop all these muscle pulls and strains that seem to happen every year with alarming consistency. There is nothing one can do to prevent accidents like the ones that happened to Derrek Lee, Michael Baker and Glendon Rusch. But it’s a proven fact that a good conditioning program will add flexibility, muscle strength and prevent a lot of strains and pulls.

In the business world failure means being let go. Accordingly I call on Tribune Broadcasting and the Cubs management to fire the current trainers and so-called strength and conditioning coordinator, i.e. Mark O’Neil, Ed Halbur and Tim Buss. We need a bonafide trainer and at least three physical therapy assistants. Each player should have a strength and conditioning regimen and their progress (or lack thereof) should be monitored; corrective action should be taken against backsliders.

The players owe it to themselves, the management and the fans to keep in good playing shape; guys like Maddux never get hurt because they work a program. Since the Cubs players cannot keep fit by themselves it is time to do what all high school and college athletic coaches do, preach and practice good physical conditioning.

Dusty-o-Meter: 14 games left

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Cubs take series from the Dodgers

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

Today was the battle of the wounded wing pitchers as the Dodgers and Hong-chih Kuo met Wade Miller and the Cubs in front of another sparse crowd at Wrigley Field. Wade Miller actually didn’t look too bad, giving up two earned runs on a dinger to Marlon Anderson in five innings of work. The Cubs promptly tied the game up but Carlos Marmol got shelled, giving up three runs to the Dodgers on a homer to JD Drew.

The Cubs came to life when the Dodgers brought in Brett Tomko – Cedeno and Pierre singled, then The Riot did a beautiful job of hitting the ball where it was pitched, sending it bounding into right and scoring Cedeno. Aramis Ramirez then came up and launched one into the left field bleachers, giving the Cubs a 6-5 lead. Dusty did the right thing in the ninth, going to Bob Howry for the close and saving Dempster for a less critical situation. Ryan Theriot was removed from the game with a bleeding fingertip, the injury did not appear to be critical.

Cincinnati comes to town tomorrow and I shall be blacked out until Sunday due to the fact that Major League Baseball actually thinks that people in Nashville, TN care about the Cincinnati Reds. What sense does that make? Why would most people in Tennessee actually care about some team up north? Baseball’s blackout rules are truly draconian!

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Cubs lose 6-0, Rusch’s career uncertain due to blood clot

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

Today the Cubs announced that Glendon Rusch will begin treatment for a blood clot in his lung; Rusch was rushed to the hospital on Tuesday after he began experiencing chest pains. The treatment regimen is scheduled to last 3-6 months and his baseball future is uncertain. I am going to put aside my opinions about Glendon’s baseball ability and future with the Cubs to wish him Godspeed and hope that he fully recuperates.

That having been said, Angel Guzman lowered his record to 0-6 and increased his ERA to 7.81 tonight as the Cubs got drummed by Nomar and the Dodgers. As has often been the case, Guzman looked as though he was throwing BP and was out of there after 4 innings. He reminds me a lot of a pitcher the Mets and Cubs had named Anthony Young; Anthony looked like he had all the tools but the one tool he lacked was the one that he needed to win ballgames. Other highlights from tonights game: Nomar went 2-5 with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs, Furcal went 3-5 with a homer and 3 runs scored, Izturis made another bad play at short and Ryu pitched an effective ninth inning of relief.

The good part of this year has been the opportunity we’ve gotten to see the young pitchers from the AA and AAA levels. Hill looks like he might be ready to join the rotation; Marshall and Mateo are question marks and each will have about three more starts to show us what they have. I think both Ryu and Marmol will start out at Iowa and benefit from some more seasoning at the minor league level; look for Chris Shaver to promote to Iowa and he’ll be knocking on the door as well.

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