Archive for April, 2007

The odd man out

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

Lou Piniella is indicating very clearly that he’d like to have a twelfth pitcher; that means a position player needs to go. But who do you get rid of? Pie is really showing us his range in center – even if he has a dead bat for a while he sure covers a lot of ground in the outfield! Floyd is a nice bat to have coming off the bench; we all figure that Jones is going to get hot like he did last year and Murton could lead the team again in batting average.

I think we should dump Izturis – he can’t hit and he can’t really field either. Theriot can back up Cedeno at short, DeRosa and Theriot can back up Ramirez at third and Ward can back up Lee at first. So we have all the bases covered – literally. What do y’all think, who must go? Sound off Cubs fans.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Game 18 – Can we buy a series win?

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007


April 21st, 2007

Teams

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10   R H E
St. Louis 0 2 0 2 3 0 0 0 2 3   12 17 0
Chicago 2 0 2 0 0 3 0 0 2 0   9 16 0
W -  Isringhausen (1-0)   L - R. Dempster (0-1)  S – None
Homeruns: C. Duncan (4) A. Pujols (5) S. Rolen (2) J. Edmonds (1) A. Ramirez (3) M. Barrett (4)

Box Score


(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Cubs have yet to get a series win at Wrigley this season. It’s frustrating because this was another series we could have won. I know Cub fans are irritated, but I’d like to offer some encouragement. Hopefully no one is seriously considering jumping ship this early in the year, but if that is the case, let my try and talk you off the ledge with a few notes of encouragement.

1. Derrek Lee hasn’t hit a homerun yet
This one doesn’t sound encouraging, but it is. Lee has been hot with the bat, but he hasn’t been driving the ball out of the ballpark yet. Coming into the game today, he was ranked as the number 1 first basemen according to CBS Position rankings. He has been hitting the ball well, but the fact that he hasn’t hit one out is encouraging because it means it’s possible for him to get even hotter! We forget how good his season was in 2005 because of the injury. I really believe he is going to be in the running for MVP at the end of the year, which means his power surge is coming.

2. Carlos Zambrano hasn’t pitched well yet.
I know it seems like these things are more discouraging than encouraging, but just keep in mind the fact that Carlos has been downright bad so far this year and the Cubs are still right in the thick of things in a weak division. When Carlos heats up, which hopefully starts tomorrow, that will give this team a good chance to win with four of the five starters they throw out there each day. That’s exactly the kind of good news I want. We know Carlos will come around, especially because he’s pitching for a contract. The only question is when it will turn around. I think it will be tomorrow.

3. Alfonso Soriano hasn’t hit yet
We have yet to see the wonder that is Alfonso Soriano. Is he going to be the savior of the world? No, but he brings great power to the plate and will bring speed once his leg feels better. Don’t throw him off the boat just yet. In his career, his 162 game average numbers are great, averaging 35 HR, 93 RBI, 105 Runs and 35 SB. Those are the numbers I think we’ll get from him when all is said and done.

Let’s not dwell on this loss or this poor start. This team is built to win and the organization knows that winning this year drastically increases the stock as they try to sell in the off-season. Now, take a deep breath, hold it, and let it out. There, I feel better. Now let’s beat the crap out of the stupid drunks from Milwaukee.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Game 18 – Open Thread

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
Adam Wainwright – Wainwright has already experienced several firsts in his brief starting career, things like first win, first loss and the like. Now he’ll get a new one: his first start in a Cards-Cubs game at Wrigley Field, and that’s a special challenge. Wainwright clearly doesn’t rattle in big situations, so that shouldn’t be an issue. What could be an issue is his command – he’s walked 10 batters in 19 2/3 innings this year, a trend he needs to reverse.

Wade Miller – Miller will finally be pitching on five days’ rest. Maybe being in a more regular routine will help. The right-hander has made two starts – on April 8 and last Tuesday. Against the Padres in his last outing, he gave up three runs on six hits and four walks over five innings. Miller had problems keeping the ball down, and threw 98 pitches over five innings. He’ll have to cut that down to get deeper in the game.

View the Cubs career numbers vs. Adam Wainwright – ESPN Splits


Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

Chris Walker (AA) 3-5, HR, 3RBI, R, (.345avg)
Kevin Hart (AA) 7IP, No Runs, 4H, 2BB, 4K, WIN (3.71ERA)
Andrew Lopez (Low-A) 3-4, 2B, 2RBI, (.256avg)

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Game 17 – Now I understand what it’s like to be bipolar

Saturday, April 21st, 2007


April 21st, 2007

Teams

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 1
Chicago 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 x 6 10 1
W -  J. Marquis (2-1)   L - A. Reyes (0-3)  S – None
Homeruns: M. Barrett (2) R. Cedeno (2)

Box Score

Boy, this 2007 Cubs team sure is a roller coaster ride! Yesterday we all experienced the depths of depression as our beloved Cubbies dropped to 6-10. Today erstwhile National League whipping boy Jason Marquis pitched a masterful game through seven as the Cubs beat the Cards. Marquis now sports a 1.88 ERA – who would have thunk it!

I’ve been real apprehensive about Marquis, mainly because I heard that he didn’t listen to Duncan in STL or Mazzoni in ATL. Those are two of the best pitching guys in baseball, probably the two best. Last year Marquis got clobbered worse than any pitcher in baseball, with the possible exceptions of part-time pitchers Mark Prior and Glendon Rusch. I welcomed Jason Marquis’ signing with the same level of aplomb as I would the opening of a nuclear waste site in my own neighborhood.

Let’s all keep an eye on Marquis, he has a reputation for running out of gas. But right now I like the way he’s sinking his hard stuff, and he’s showing intelligence and pitching savvy insofar as how he handles the Pujols and Edmonds of this league. It’s truly amazing that the worst pitcher of our starting four is Carlos Zambrano, the starting rotation is sure getting the job done so far!

Michael Barrett showed some signs of awakening as he hit a clutch three-run homerun to ice the game; Ronnie Cedeno made another boneheaded play but atoned with a solo shot to give the Cubs their fifth run. Our Cubs will finish the STL series tomorrow in Wrigley Field; check tomorrow to see the pre-game review.


Joe’s Notes

Let me start this by saying how much I hate the fact that Fox has national broadcast rights on Saturdays. I can understand it if it really was a nationally televised game. In my mind, that means one game would be televised throughout the nation. If that really was the case, then it would be the only game scheduled in that time slot. Living in North Carolina, my Saturday schedule is a crapshoot. Some weekends we get the Braves, some weekends we don’t. Usually we don’t get the Cubs and today was no exception. Because of that, I had to watch the archive of the game on MLB.tv

Jason Marquis
At what point to we pat Jim Hendry on the back and say well done for getting Marquis and Lilly? I know it’s early, but no one could have expected the performances we’ve received from these two. I can’t stress that enough. I love watching both of them pitch. Today, Marquis had me worried early on, as he was forced to wiggle off the hook in a couple early innings and had to use a lot of pitches early. To get 7 innings of work in after being close to the 50 pitch mark in the 2nd inning, Marquis had to limit work the rest of the way and he did just that. Hopefully we can get a performance similar from Wade Miller tomorrow.

Ronny Cedeno
All the people that wanted to send him down to AAA because of his terrible play yesterday, Lou Piniella disagreed and placed him in the starting lineup today. Cedeno responded by hitting a HR and a double and made a couple nice plays in the field that made up for his error. He’s not an everyday player, but I don’t worry about it when he is in there. It was good to see him have a good game and get that bad taste out of his mouth right away.

Will Ohman
In the Chicago Tribune today, Phil Rogers had a buried quote that mentioned how the Tigers may be interested in Will Ohman.

“The best bullpens in the majors entering the weekend, based on ERAs, were the Mets (1.51), Padres (2.15), Dodgers (2.28), Pirates (2.31), Red Sox (2.52) and Cardinals (2.68). The last three qualify as surprisingly good. … The Tigers are worried their pitching staff is a little too right-handed these days. Don’t be surprised if they make a move for a left-handed reliever. The Cubs’ Will Ohman is among those they are studying. …”

If that’s the case, have at him. He’s all yours. Thankfully, Ohman pitched well today and didn’t send his stock further down the tubes.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Game 17 – Open Thread

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
Anthony Reyes – Reyes’ two starts have been all too similar to each other, as well as to last year. The right-hander has worked high pitch counts in the early innings, preventing him from getting deep into the game. He needs to get ahead of hitters and then finish them off, getting quick outs so that he can last a while. Reyes rarely gets knocked around, but he also rarely shuts down an opponent.

Jason Marquis – This could be interesting. Marquis will be making his first start against his former team, the Cardinals. The right-hander played three seasons in St. Louis from 2004-06. He’ll be coming off his first win with the Cubs, in which he gave up one run on three hits and four walks over six innings. He needs to get the walks down, but that’s about the only flaw. Marquis also helped himself with two hits and scored two runs.

View the Cubs career numbers vs. Anthony Reyes – ESPN Splits


Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

Scott Moore (AAA) 1-4, HR, 4RBI, (.204avg)
Josh Kroeger (AA) 3-4, 2B, RBI, (.364avg)
Justin Berg (AA) 5.2IP, No Runs, 7H, 1BB, 5K, WIN (7.36ERA)
Jose Ceda (Low-A) 6IP, No Runs, 2H, 5K, WIN (5.65ERA)

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Game 16 – Cubs Celebrate 4/20 by Playing Stoned

Friday, April 20th, 2007


April 20th, 2007

Teams

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 6 1
Chicago 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 0
W -  B. Looper (3-1)   L - T. Lilly (1-2)  S – J. Isringhausen (4)
Homeruns: P. Wilson (1)

Box Score


(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Pardon my title, but I’m angry. I’m sick of losing these games because of this offense. Don’t give me this it’s too cold garbage. I’m sick of that crap. Stand in the box and get some freaking hits. Score some runs like this team is built to do. Entering this game, the Cubs starting pitchers had an ERA of 3.94, which is better than the NL average. The thing to remember is that Carlos Zambrano’s ERA is figured in there. We know he’s going to get better, so this staff has been proving that they could compete for one of the top 3 spots in the NL. The starting staff also ranks 2nd in the league with a .215 batting average against. We need to be getting some wins out those numbers. I’m sick of this garbage. Put down the joint enough to put up some runs.

As a fan, don’t you even try to blame this loss on Ronny Cedeno OR the umps. The umps got the call right when they called Cedeno out. He was out, and it was a tough call to take, but it was the right call. That call was not the reason the Cubs lost. The Cubs lost, as has been the case so much this year, because they can’t put up runs when they need to. It’s got to change soon. We can’t waste gems by our starters. Now we’re going to have to get a win out of Wade Miller if we are going to win this series. That’s unacceptable.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Game 16 – Open Thread

Friday, April 20th, 2007

Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
Braden Looper – Braden Looper has shown no problem making the adjustment from a reliever to a starter. After his last start against the Brewers, Looper said he didn’t have good command or good stuff. That could be a bit scary for the Cubs, considering he shut down a powerful Brewers lineup, allowing just two runs in six innings.

Ted Lilly – Lilly should’ve gotten the win in his last start against the Reds. The lefty gave up one run on two hits over six innings and struck out 10 in his ninth career double-digit strikeout game. His career high for K’s is 13, accomplished on Aug. 23, 2004, against Boston. Lilly has one career start against St. Louis, and did not allow a run in seven innings. The Cubs can only hope he keeps up that streak.

View the Cubs career numbers vs. Braden Looper – ESPN Splits


Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

Buck Coats (AAA) 3-4, 2B, RBI, R, (.196avg)
Carlos Marmol (AAA) 7IP, 1ER, 3H, 2BB, 8K, WIN (1.65ERA)
Donald Veal (AA) 4.1IP, 4ER, 6H, 3BB, 3K, LOSS (9.00ERA)
Chris Amador (High-A) 3-5, SB, CS, PO, (.340avg)
Matt Matulia (High-A) 2-5, RBI, SB, (.377avg)
Jose Pina (Low-A) G#1 4.2IP, 1ER, 6H, 2BB, 2K, (1.86ERA)
Rafael Dolis (Low-A) G#2 5IP, 1ER, 4H, 2BB, 2K, WIN (3.21ERA)

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Game 15 – Baseball the way it was meant to be

Friday, April 20th, 2007


April 19th, 2007

Teams

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chicago 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 3 8 0
Atlanta 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
W -  R. Hill (3-0)   L - M. Redman (0-3)  S – R. Dempster (3)
Homeruns: M. Barrett (2) A. Ramirez (2)

Box Score


(AP Photo/John Amis)

I said the other day that I wasn’t going to read too much into a win until this team can show me that they can string a few of them together. This was the first in what needs to be a streak of wins, and it was everything a good baseball game should have. Why?

1. We got a tremendous pitching performance from Rich Hill.
When you think about what you want from your Ace, the idea scenario in my mind is 8 innings of work allowing 3 or less runs. Rich Hill gave us 8 innings and didn’t allow a single run. What more can you ask from a guy who was penciled in at the number 3 or 4 spot in the rotation. His ERA is now a ridiculous 0.41. Let that number sink into your mind for a second. That’s absurd after three starts. He has been our Ace so far this year.

2. Middle of the order produces majority of runs
Our 3,4,5 guys were responsible for driving in 67% of our runs scored, which is exactly where I would like to see it. Those are your big run producers. Granted, we only showed up with 3 runs, but it was all we needed.

3. Closer finishes what the starter began
People rant about Ryan Dempster and hate him as our closer. Just remember nights like this when Ryan needed just 9 pitches to retire the minimum number of batters needed and got a save. 7 of his 9 pitches were strikes.

We face off against the arch rivals this weekend. How nice would a sweep look after Sunday?

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Game 15 – Open Thread

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
Rich Hill – You might as well precede Hill’s name with the term, “the left-handed ace of the Cubs.” And that’s no knock on Ted Lilly. Hill has been masterful since coming up late last season and is coming off a seven-inning shutout of the Reds after being forced to wait nine days between starts. He struck out five, but did walk four. Hill won his only start against Atlanta last season, allowing one run and striking out six over 5 2/3 innings.

Mark Redman – Redman hasn’t provided a good first impression for the Braves, who took him off the unemployment line on March 9. The veteran left-hander surrendered seven earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings against the Marlins on Friday night. Most of the damage came during a five-run first-inning. He has allowed five earned runs or more in six of his past 14 starts, but posted a respectable 3.35 ERA in the other eight starts. In five career starts against the Cubs, the soft-throwing southpaw is 2-2 with a 2.70 ERA.

View the Cubs career numbers vs. Mark Redman – ESPN Splits

View the Braves numbers vs. LHP this season and last season
I was curious, so I went looking. Kind of wish I hadn’t. Obviously the Cubs numbers versus LHP are there too.
~Edited by Tony


Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

Mike Fontenot (AAA) 3-5, 2(2B), 3RBI, (.293avg)
Les Walrond (AAA) 6IP, No Runs, 4H, 4K, WIN (1.06ERA)
Chris Walker (AA) 2-4, 2R, BB, 2SB, (.317avg)
Sean Gallagher (AA) 6.2IP, 2ER, 5H, 3BB, 8K, WIN (3.12ERA)
Jeff Samardzija (High-A) 5IP, 1ER, 5H, 2BB, 1K, (2.40ERA)

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us: