Archive for April, 2007

Here’s one for you old-timers

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

Wonder if any of y’all remember this tune!

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Game 21 – Open Thread

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
Ben Sheets – Sheets is winless in three starts since a complete-game win on Opening Day and has yet to find his strikeout groove — he has just 12 whiffs in 27 innings. Sheets pitched well against the Astros on Friday, striking out four and holding them to two runs in seven innings. He allowed five Cubs runs and nine hits over six innings in a loss at Miller Park on April 7, an outing that dropped his career mark against the Cubs to .500 (7-7).

Ted Lilly – Lilly deserves better. He’s given up seven runs over 26 innings so far for a 2.42 ERA. He’s struck out 16 in his last two games, and lost both. The lefty just needs a little run support. This will be his second game in his career against Milwaukee, and his first appearance was just two-thirds of an inning.

View the Cubs career numbers vs. Ben Sheets – ESPN Splits


Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

Sam Fuld (AA) 3-5, (.500avg)
Josh Kroeger (AA) 4-4, 2B, (.411avg)
Joe Simokaitis (AA) 3-4, (.194avg)
Donald Veal (AA) 3.1IP, 6ER, 6H, 5BB, 5K, LOSS (10.57ERA)
Tyler Colvin (High-A) 1-4, 2B, (.308avg)
Jeff Samardzija (High-A) 5.1IP, 1ER, 5H, 3BB, 4K, LOSS (2.21ERA)


Update:

SS Theriot
LF Floyd
1B Lee
3B Ramirez
C Barrett
RF Jones
2B DeRosa
CF Pie
P Lilly

Now…Floyd gets the start in LF, because of the wet conditions, Lou doesn’t want to risk Soriano pulling his hamstring again. So the injury waiting to happen is in LF instead.

I am glad however, to see Theriot get the start at SS. One of the biggest spots yesterday was bases loaded with Izturis at the plate and 1 Away. Cedeno and Izturis are a combined 12 for 78. I don’t care how good your glove is, when you have TWO 2B both contributing, then you move 1 to SS.

~ Nick Bettilyon

Update: We’re in rain delay and this is reported from the Tribune. No big surprise:

By Paul Sullivan
Tribune staff reporter

April 25, 2007, 1:57 PM CDT

The Cubs announced Wednesday that Mark Prior’s 2007 season is over after shoulder surgery on Tuesday.

Prior underwent right shoulder arthroscopy by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Andrews cleaned up Prior’s right rotator cuff, tightened shoulder capsules and repaired the pitcher’s right labrum.

“Obviously he’s had some things wrong physically, and he’s getting them corrected,” manager Lou Piniella said. “So this is a step in the right direction.”

The Cubs said Prior began rehabbing the shoulder on Wednesday but would not pitch again in ’07.

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Game 20 – Bulls Beat the Heat

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007


April 24th, 2007

Teams

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Milwaukee 0 0 0 2 0 1 1 0 0 4 10 0
Chicago 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 9 1
W -  J. Suppan (3-2)   L - R. Hill (3-1)  S – F. Cordero (8)
Homeruns: P. Fielder (5) K. Mench (2)

Box Score


(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Who cares about the fact that the Cubs lost yesterday (again!!!)? The Bulls took care of the Heat in game two and are just two wins away from winning their first playoff series since MJ. Go Bulls

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Just what does a general manager do?

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

As most of you know, Jim Hendry has been the Cubs’ GM since July of 2002. Most of us have an opinion on how well Hendry has done his job, mine is admitedly not a positive one. But what exactly should a GM be judged on?

I think a GM’s job can be broken down into four main areas – 1. Motivating the dugout leadership to drive results at the major league level; 2. Developmental leadership, i.e. choosing the right minor league prospects and coaches and developing young players; 3. Hiring free agents and retaining top players and 4. Trades i.e. bettering your team at the expense of other teams or at least breaking even.

So how does Hendry measure up? In the first area I would give Hendry an F; with the exception of 2003 he has nothing to show for his efforts. From a developmental standpoint Hendry deserves a D – we can be thankful for the efforts that Theriot, Pie, Zambrano, Hill and Wuertz have given us but what else do we have to show for the past five years? Maybe Colvin and Sammardzija and a coupla other guys will pan out, but what happened to the days when the Cubs were considered a top five farm system?

Hiring free agents and retaining top players is largely a function of how much money the team gives you to work with – in this respect I would give the Tribune an A+ and Hendry a B-. If there’s one thing Hendry can do it’s spend money! But what exactly do we have to show for all the money?

In my opinion trades are where you separate the men from the boys when it comes to MLB general managers. Let’s take a look at the names of the players that Hendry has obtained since 2002:

Obtained: 2002 – Chad Hermanson, Jared Blasdell, Jason Karnuth, Travis Anderson, Mike Nannini, Paul Bako, Damian Miller, Eric Karros, Mark Grudzielanek; 2003 – Jose Hernandez, Doug Glanville, Tony Womack, Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, Randall Simon, Derrek Lee, Jose Macias; 2004 – Andy Pratt, Richard Lewis, Shawn Sedlacek, Nomar Garciaparra, Matt Murton, Andrew Shipman, Ben Grieve, Eric Eckenstahler; 2005 – Stephen Randolph, Roberto Novoa, Scott Moore, Bo Flowers, Dave Crouthers, Jerry Hairston, Mike Fontenot, Cliff Bartosh, Mark Johnson, Jerome Williams, David Aardsma, Jody Gerut, Matt Lawton, Todd Blackford, Angelo Burrows, Justin Berg, Olivio Astacio, Juan Pierre; 2006 – Freddie Bynum, Zach McCormack, Lincoln Holdzkum, Clint Brannon, Phil Nevin, Jose Ceda, Cesar Izturis, Fabian Jimenez Angulo, Joel Santo, Chris Robinson, Adam Harben, Neil Cotts; 2007 – Gregory Reinhard, Andrew Lopez

And here are the players that Jim Hendry has traded since becoming general manager:

Traded: 2002 – Darren Lewis, Jeff Fassero, Bill Mueller, David Noyce, Gary Johnson, Todd Hundley, Chad Hermanson; 2003 – Mark Bellhorn, Travis Anderson, Jason Fransz, Emmanuel Ramirez, Ray Sadler, Hee-seop Choi, Damien Miller, Wilton Chavez; 2004 – Juan Cruz, Steve Smyth, Francis Beltran, Justin Jones, Brendan Harris, Jimmy Anderson; 2005 – Kyle Farnsworth, Sammy Sosa, Cody Ransom, Ronald Bay, Travis Ezi, LaTroy Hawkins, Jody Gerut, Todd Hollandsworth, Matt Lawton, Mike Remlinger, John Liecester, Reynel Pinto, Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco; 2006 – Jon Koronka, Todd Wellemeyer, Jerry Hairston, Jr., Todd Walker, Greg Maddux, Scott Williamson, Phil Nevin, Neifi Perez, Carlos Vasquez, David Aardsma, Josh Hamilton, Freddie Bynum; 2007 – Jae-kuk Ryu

What strikes me about these lists is the fact that the Cubs have not really obtained and kept any quality players since 2004 (the July trade that netted Nomar and Murton;) in fact since that date Hendry has not gotten the Cubs anything except a dazzling array of no-names and non-performers while giving up a certain amount of talent, most notably a certain future first ballot Hall of Famer and a pretty decent utility bat or two. Thusly I would have to grade Hendry as a D- on trades, especially since none of his trades have panned out in recent years. The artfulness of a GM certainly includes making wise trades and ours has pretty much been hoodwinked since trading for Aramis Ramirez.

So I give Hendry an F, D, B- and a D-. Had I brought home a report card like that my father would have grounded me for months! My conclusion is that Hendry is a below average GM; changes should be made when the new ownership takes over, if not sooner.

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Sounds complete four game sweep of I-Cubs

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Iowa Manager Buddy Bailey and his hapless Iowa Cubs will happily depart Nashville this afternoon, having dropped four straight to the Milwaukee AAA Nashville Sounds. During those four games the I-Cubs were outscored by a combined total of 20-4 and out hit 40-17. Nashville has now won seven straight and the Cubs have dropped four straight.

Joe Aiello was savvy enough to obtain a press pass with the Sounds organization so I was able to attend the last two games in Herschel Greer Stadium. Some of you may know that the Brewers’ AAA team might leave Nashville because the team and the city have yet to come to an agreement for a new stadium. That notwithstanding I was impressed with the Sounds organization in general – they do a good job of developing young talent and their media relations man (Doug Scopel) has a mind like a steel trap. He is a veritable walking encyclopedia of minor league baseball.

The Iowa Cubs had two offensive players worth note – first baseman Micah Hoffpauir and catcher Koyie Hill. The rest of the offense looked “minor league average” and will have to make radical improvements if they are to have any chance whatsoever of seeing ivy-covered walls in 2007. The defense looked pretty good and several players shared time in both the infield and the outfield. Pitcher Les Walrond had a shaky start on Monday night and his fellow 2006 Chicago Cub Carlos Marmol gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings pitched on Tuesday. Clay Rapada got rocked after relieving Marmol; my guess is that Rapada will soon be headed to Double A Tennessee.

The Brewers’ AAA franchise has two real bright spots – power-hitting third baseman Ryan Braun (pictured at right) leads the PCL in homeruns and right-handed starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo leads the PCL in strikeouts. They also got strong performances out of infielder Chris Barnwell and former Hanshin Tiger Chris Oxspring, who was the winning pitcher on Monday.

I look forward to seeing the Cubs play the Sounds again when they return to Nashville in late June – many thanks to Sounds Assistant GM Chris Snyder and Kellen Farmer for their hospitalities during my visits to Greer Stadium.

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Game 20 – Open Thread

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
Jeff Suppan – Suppan has won his last two starts since losing his first two, but the Brewers would like to see him pitch a bit deeper into games. Since working seven innings in his Brewers debut, a loss to the Dodgers, Suppan has not pitched past the sixth and has yet to throw more than 95 pitches in a start. Suppan missed the Cubs when they came to Milwaukee in the first week of the season, but he has faced them 13 times in his career and is 4-4 with a 3.22 ERA in those games.

Rich Hill – In his first full season in the Majors, the 27-year-old lefty has been virtually unhittable, as opposing hitters are batting only .110 against him (eight hits in 73 at-bats). Hill carries a 17-inning scoreless streak into the start against Milwaukee, coincidentally the only team to score off him (a sixth-inning Corey Hart solo home run). In his last outing, he threw eight shutout innings in Atlanta, allowing only four hits, while striking out eight. Hill has become the Cubs’ stopper, going 3-0 following Cubs losses.

View the Cubs career numbers vs. Jeff Suppan – ESPN Splits


Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

Sam Fuld (AA) 3-4, RBI, 2R, (.429avg)
Jake Fox (AA) 4-5, RBI, R, (.321avg)
Jorge Cortes (AA) 5-5, RBI, (.333avg)
Tyler Colvin (High-A) 3-4, 2B, 4RBI, 1R, SB, (.312avg)
Mitch Atkins (High-A) 5IP, 2ER, 5H, 1BB, 3K, WIN (2.14ERA)

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Game 19 – Wasted Opportunities

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007


April 23rd, 2007

Teams

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 X R H E
Milwaukee 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 2 0 1 5 9 1
Chicago 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 11 0
W -  C. Villanueva (1-0)   L - R. Cherry (0-1)  S – D. Turnbow
Homeruns: J. Hardy (6) P. Fielder (2) A. Ramirez (4)

Box Score


(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Another Zambrano start yields another Cubs loss. Carlos failed to get out of the 6th, this time due to high pitch count. It’s nice to see that he backed up his big mouth by bringing the A game against the Brewers. Carlos, do us all a favor and shut your yap until you can pitch like the big money guy you want to be.

This was yet another close game that the Cubs lost, bringing them to 0-5 in 1 run games and 0-3 in extra innings. It goes without saying that you have to play better than that in tight situation games and the Cubs just haven’t delivered. There is no use beating the same point to death each day. We just have to ride this funk out and wait for better days. This team will get better. I truly believe that. When you look at the Cubs expected record, it’s 11-8. We’re just not winning the tight ones. It has nothing to do with umpires like some might say. You can never blame umpires, because you shouldn’t put yourself in that situation to begin with.

Rich Hill goes tonight. Hopefully his magical season continues because we need him and Lilly to step up again.

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Game 19 – Open Thread

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
Claudio Vargas – After matching a career high with nine strikeouts in his first Brewers start, Vargas set a career high with 11 punchouts in his follow-up performance, logging his first Milwaukee win. He might have worked more than six innings against the Pirates if not for a 28-pitch fourth inning in which he surrendered a single and two walks to load the bases with no outs. Vargas then whiffed the next three Pirates hitters he faced to preserve the lead.

Carlos Zambrano – The Cubs’ ace is off to a slow start, having pitched into the seventh inning only once in his first four starts and having given up at least five runs three times. In his last outing in Atlanta, Zambrano put the Cubs behind the eight ball by surrendering four first-inning runs. He allowed five runs (all earned) and eight hits, including two home runs, in six innings, striking out six and walking five (one intentional). He struggled against Milwaukee last season, going 1-2 with a 6.35 ERA in four starts.

View the Cubs career numbers vs. Claudio Vargas – ESPN Splits


Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

Ryan O’Malley (AAA) 6IP, 1ER, 5H, 2BB, 1K, (1.25ERA)
Mark Holliman (AA) 8IP, No Runs, 8H, 6K, (0.00ERA)

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Prior Update

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

This from the Chicagosports.com:

“Mark Prior’s visit with Dr. James Andrews could take place on Monday or Tuesday in Birmingham, Ala.

If Andrews advises Prior to have arthroscopic shoulder surgery, he’ll miss the rest of the season. If Prior gets the go-ahead to continue rehabbing, he’ll return to extended spring training in Arizona with the hope of joining the Iowa Cubs by the middle of May.”

I’m a little concerned that arthoscopic shoulder surgery is suddenly mentioned. I thought his shoulder was all degenerative problems???

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