Archive for May, 2007

Game 50 – Open Thread

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Scouting Report on todays starters from
Dontrelle Willis – Willis was in line to pick up his seventh win after allowing three runs over 6 1/3 innings against Philadelphia in his start on Thursday, but the Phillies rallied late to tie the score and bump him out of the decision. Willis has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his past three starts and is 2-1 with a 1.60 ERA in five career starts at Wrigley Field.

Jason Marquis – Marquis should’ve gotten the win in his last start, against the Padres on Thursday night. He gave up one run on five hits over seven innings while striking out five, but left with the game tied. Marquis has won his past five decisions and is looking like one of the best free-agent additions. He’s 4-3 with a 6.83 ERA against the Marlins in his career.

View the Cubs career numbers vs. Dontrelle Willis – ESPN Splits

Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

Felix Pie (AAA) 4-4, 3B, HR, 2RBI, 2R, (.406avg)
Micah Hoffpauir (AAA) 3-4, RBI, R, (.292avg)
Jake Fox (AA) 2-5, 3RBI, (.342avg)
Tyler Colvin (High-A) 3-4, 2B, 2RBI, R, SB, (.303avg)
Scott Taylor (High-A) 7IP, 2ER, 9H, 2BB, 2K, WIN (4.95ERA)
Jacob Renshaw (Low-A) G#1 5IP, No Runs, 4H, 2BB, 5K, WIN (3.50ERA)
Marco Carrillo (Low-A) G#2 5IP, No Runs, 4H, 6K, WIN (2.92ERA)

This Day In History

1922 The Supreme Court rules that organized baseball is a sport and not a business which exempts major league clubs from antitrust laws and interstate commerce rules. (This is a Mark Strickler Special)

1990 A’s Rickey Henderson theft of third base in the sixth inning of a 2-1 loss to Blue Jays breaks the 62-year old American League stolen base record of 892 held by Ty Cobb.

2000 At the age of 104, Fred Roberts, the oldest living Dodger fan, makes his first visit to Dodger Stadium. Wearing a jersey with the number 104, the World War I veteran cheers as Sean Green’s sixth inning grand slam helps to beat Al Leiter and the Mets, 4-1.

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Putting lipstick on the pig…again

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Today we watched Byun-hyun Drysdale befuddle the Cubs, a team that now looks somewhat clueless at the plate. This appears to be an increasing trend with the Cubs – they are starting to look a lot like Dusty’s team last year. They go up to the plate hacking, they leave runners on base in key situations and on the basepaths they find a new and innovative ways to lose games instead of winning them.

So last year we got rid of a tired and uninspired manager and replaced him with one that had a reputation for being a sparkplug. Where’s your fire and zeal Uncle Lou? Are you waiting for July Fourth to show us your fireworks? I’m still behind Piniella but I’d like to see him start to hold this team more accountable. Even if that means “facing” them in the papers. And Lou, why in the Sam Hill did you put Eyre in the game again today? What kind of stupidity was that? Had it not been for Piniella’s poor decision-making the Cubs might have tied the game in the ninth. But no, he had to go back to the well with Eyre, a move that was very reminiscent of Dusty repeatedly going to LaTroy.

Usually Cubs fans will cut you a year’s worth of slack Uncle Lou but patience is not at an all-time high in Chicago. Sorry to say it but the honeymoon appears to be over – it’s time to bring home the bacon!

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Game 49 – Abercrombie and Fish

Monday, May 28th, 2007

May 28th, 2007


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
Florida 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1   5 10 1
Chicago 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3   3 8 1
W –  B. Kim (3-2)   L  – S. Marshall (0-2)  S – K. Gregg (5)
Homeruns: R. Abercrombie (2)

Box Score

A late rally adds some excitement, but the Cubs fall in a really good game. I enjoyed this one, despite the result.

Sean Marshall
With another good start resulting in yet another tough loss, Marshall appears to have solidified his spot in the rotation and what that means for Wade Miller is anyone’s guess. Right now, the Cubs may try to move him into the bullpen in the hope that he can be better than what we’ve had to this point. Odd are that Marshall will not be relinquishing that 5th spot though. The biggest problem to this point in his young career for Marshall has been his control. If he can continue to work on that, he’s got decent stuff and can be successful in the bottom part of that rotation. Today he walked two and struck out six, but was over the 100 pitch count after just 6 innings of work. He seemed to go deep into counts often. After getting Reggie Abercrombie on one pitch to start the game, Marshall couldn’t do it again the rest of the game. I think Lou made the right call leaving him in to start the 7th inning. With the success of the bullpen this year, you have to give Sean a chance to try for a couple quick outs in an attempt to get through 7. He took a tough loss today, but sometimes you have to deal with those. His next start is against Atlanta and Chuck James. We’ll see if he can continue to pitch well and get himself a win to show for it.

Why No Balk?
Byung-Hyun Kim pitched outstanding today and has been great since the Marlins brought him in via trade a week or so ago. Does that mean he’s an all-star all of a sudden? Hardly, but right now he’s getting a the job done. My frustration came with the umpires not calling obvious balks on Kim on three different occasions. None of them would have been game changing, but the fact that at one point they pulled Kim aside to talk to him about it and never called it is ridiculous. When you get to the Major Leagues, you have to know what you can and cannot do on the mound. The umpires shouldn’t be allowed to pull you aside to talk with you about it and not penalize you in some way. In case you missed what happened, Kim would step onto the rubber with his hand in contact with his glove, similar to a position you would be in as you come set in the stretch. Then, he would drop his right hand and take the sign. Once you bring your hands together, you either have to pitch the ball or step off the mound. Kim did neither and should have faced the penalty for it. Later in the game, he was moving his shoulder on a pitch instead of coming set and wasn’t called on it.

Why are fans idiots?
One of the best things about the game today and games all around baseball was the idea of pausing for a moment of silence to honor the veterans on Memorial Day. All of baseball stopped except for ignorant fans that were either too drunk to know what was going on or just too ignorant to have any respect. I can’t stand people like this. Have some pride and respect for your country and for people doing more for you than you really will ever know. Recognize that it’s time to be quiet and don’t open your dang mouth by shouting crap like “Go Cubs, WOOO” This is one of the main reasons I hate fans and hate actually attending games. People in the stands are ignorant and I hope someday baseball and sports in general bans alcohol completely. It’s never going to happen, but it really would make it a lot better for families and people who actually care about the game.

Scott Eyre
Len and Bob brought up the idea of sending Scott to the minors in an effort to work out his troubles in a less hostile place. What Cub fans can do right now that would help the most would be to keep their yaps shut instead of booing. Everyone knows Scott has struggled. He knows it more than anyone. Why do we need to remind him? Do we want him to keep struggling? Booing only hurts a player and right now, we need to send as many positive vibes this guy’s way.

STARS OF THE GAME – All based on WPA

  • First Star – Byung-Hyun Kim (.375)
  • Second Star – Kevin Gregg (.103)
  • Third Star – Cliff Floyd (.091)

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  • Game 49 – Open Thread

    Monday, May 28th, 2007

    Scouting Report on todays starters from
    Byung-Huyn Kim – Kim’s second start as a Marlin didn’t turn out quite as well as his first. Facing Philadelphia at home on Wednesday, Kim allowed four runs on five hits and six walks in 5 1/3 innings. He did not factor in the decision. Kim has a 5.06 ERA in two starts with Florida.

    Sean Marshall – Marshall was tremendous in his 2007 debut last Wednesday against the Padres. The lefty gave up two runs on four hits over seven innings and struck out eight. One pitch made the difference in the game — an 0-1 changeup to Kevin Kouzmanoff, who hit it a two-run homer in the seventh to give San Diego a 2-1 win. Marshall was able to throw 105 pitches, which is a good sign that his shoulder is not an issue. He was slowed in Spring Training by fatigue in his shoulder.

    View the Cubs career numbers vs. Byung-Hyun Kim – ESPN Splits

    Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

    Felix Pie (AAA) 2-5, 2B, 4RBI, (.382avg)
    Les Walrond (AAA) 7IP, 1ER, 6H, 3BB, 6K, WIN (4.17ERA)
    Sean Gallagher (AA) 5.1IP, 3ER, 6H, 4BB, 2K, (3.67ERA)
    Jesse Estrada (High-A) 7IP, 1ER, 5H, 3BB, 5K, WIN (4.93ERA)

    This Day In History

    2004 Matt Clement becomes the 21st big league pitcher and the first Cubs’ hurler in over a century to hit three batters in one inning to tie a major league record. The victims plucked in the fifth inning of the first game of a doubleheader against the Pirates are Bobby Hill, Jason Kendall and Craig Wilson.

    2006 In an 11 inning slugfest at Wrigley Field, the Braves establish a new club record by hitting eight homers in a 13-12 win over the Cubs. Marcus Giles, Andruw Jones, Ryan Langerhans Adam LaRoche (2), Brayan Pena and ,Edgar Renteria (2) all go deep for Atlanta.

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    Wake up, Mr. Hendry.

    Monday, May 28th, 2007

    I stood all I could, and I can’t stands no more.

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt said that, or possibly Popeye. Either way, the phrase surely fits for any Cubs fan who has been watching the 2007 version of the team. While this year’s version of the Cubs is not nearly as atrocious as say, last year’s, they are exceedingly more frustrating. Perhaps it’s the way they are in every game, and always seem to find a way to lose it at the last minute (like hitting a guy with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th inning, for example). Or that our bullpen cannot seem to hold a lead of less than 5 runs. Or that Jim Hendry has put together one of the most oddly constructed rosters I’ve ever seen. Regardless, my point is this: we have played a quarter of the baseball season, and the Cubs have scored 224 runs, while giving up 197. According to the formula for calculating Pythagorean record this should result in a record of 27-21. In reality, the Cubs have a record of 22-26. Some people think this is just the result of bad luck, and that eventually this situation has to even itself out. However, those who have been watching the team play know that this is no fluke.

    Despite Lou Piniella’s best efforts, the Cubs are still playing dumb baseball. Bad base running, botched rundowns, and lead-off walks still plague the team, just as they did under Dusty Baker. And while I’m glad that Lou is at least willing to try new things and play the players who are actually producing, it’s clear that something more needs to be done.

    That’s where Jim Hendry comes in. As I’m sure he’s aware, the Cubs are going to be sold this offseason. Most new ownership groups want to put their own General Manager in place, the only thing that might stop them is tremendous success by the current regime. I’d say puts Hendry on the spot, basically, he needs to win the NL Pennant or he’s gone. The good news is the NL Central may be worse than it was last year. Currently, the only team over .500 is the Brewers, and after a fast start in April, they appear to be plummeting back to the pack. The bad news, of course, is that the team has some gaping holes. Let’s look at the most immediate problems:

    The Bullpen
    This was supposed to be a strength this year. While Ryan Dempster and Michael Weurtz have been solid this season, the rest of this group has ranged from questionable at best to putrid at worst. In particular, Hendry’s big buys of 2006, Eyre and Howry have been terrible. Neal Cotts has already been sent to AAA, and Will Ohman somehow managed to escape the same fate after a terrible April. Angel Guzman and Carlos Marmol are still unknowns. Oh, and bullpen addition Kerry Wood has yet to fire a baseball in anger this season. Already 10 saves have been blown this year, mostly by setup men. This unit urgently needs an upgrade, and I don’t mean waiting for Wood to come back healthy and pitch.

    The Outfield
    Only the Cubs could play and outfield that consists of a 2nd baseman in left, a right fielder in center and 2 leftfielders in right. Soriano’s been the best of the bunch defensively, while the rest have been disappointing (with the exception of Cliff Floyd). The outfield defense is definitely terrible, with Jacque Jones’ throwing problems continuing, and Matt Murton butchering plays in right. You could justify poor outfield defense if these guys were hitting, but they’ve been mostly below average at the plate, and when they do manage to get on base, they often run themselves into inexplicable outs. Cliff Floyd has been pretty good, but counting on him to play a full season is almost as crazy and depending on Wood and Prior to anchor your starting rotation. Basically, the team needs to either acquire a real, live centerfielder and use a platoon in right, or try to get a good right fielder and call up Felix Pie to play center.

    Michael Barrett is described as a good offensive catcher. This is code for “bad defensive catcher”. Unfortunately, Barrett’s numbers are down a bit this year, and even worse, he’d need to be hitting .340 with 15 homers to make up for his rock-headed play this season. Every offseason, Barrett goes somewhere to work on his defense, and while I admire his work ethic, it’s clear he’s simply not going to get any better. Even worse than his defense though, have been his mental errors. Barrett’s been playing dumb baseball this year. There’s no other way to describe it. In yesterday’s game alone, he made the third out of an inning when he was caught trying to steal 3rd(!!!) and later in the game botched a rundown by throwing to the base behind a runner, allowing him to advance. These aren’t isolated incidents. On top of all this, Barrett is now on the wrong side of 30, a time when catchers start to break down. If the Cubs can sell another team on Barrett’s offense and use him to facilitate a trade, they need to do it.

    Obviously, there are other issues with this team, but these seem to be the most glaring. As to what the Cubs can trade, only the starting pitchers, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez should be considered irreplaceable. Every other player on this team should be trade bait for the right deal. And while Jim Hendry has usually been loath to trade his prized minor league prospects, now is the time for him start considering it. That is, if he wants a chance to keep his job.

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