Archive for May, 2007

Game 48 – Guns Don’t Kill Teams…Walks Do

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

May 27th, 2007


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 R H E
Chicago 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 7 0
Los Angeles 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 4 1
W –  C.  Billingsley (3-0)   L  – A. Guzman (0-1)  S – None
Homeruns: A. Ethier (4)

Box Score

Rich Hill
I get a kick out of all the people that suddenly jumped off the bandwagon after he had a couple tough starts in a row. Cub fans are way too fickle, and I can only attribute that to the long drought for a championship. The fact is, every pitcher makes a bad start or two once in a while. There are reasons why guys have losses, even the great ones. If I could impart one piece of advice, it would be to get on the bandwagon again now, and stay on for the rest of the year. Don’t be afraid. Rich Hill is a good one and will continue to get better.

Today, he showcased a new pickoff move after going through a lot of issues keeping runners in check. He spilt time between a small slide step and a delay in his leg kick that at one point fooled Furcal and enabled Hill to pick him off. That delay seems to be boardering on a balk, but I’ll take it if they’ll give it to us. If you haven’t seen it, he brings the leg up and holds it for a split second while looking the runner at 1st down. That pause seems to mess with the runner enough to get him to tip his hand on whether or not he plans to run, which is exactly what Furcal tipped in the 1st. I think it will be an effective move if the umps continue to give it to him because it’s deceptive, especially from a lefty.

Hill was very effective with his pitches today, getting a good number of one pitch outs up and down the lineup. Twice he did it to Furcal, whose whole job is to see a good number of pitches as the leadoff man. When he was finally pulled for a pinch hitter, it wasn’t because he didn’t have anything left in the tank, but rather that the Cubs had a shot at scoring and needed to take a chance. You could argue that had Lou been patient and kept Hill in the game, the Cubs would have scored in the 8th and Hill probably could have went the distance. Excellent observation courtesy of those special hindsight glasses. They always seem to make our vision so clear. If only managers could wear them during the game. I like Lou’s decision to go for the run with the pinch hitter in that situation. It was a run that could have won the ballgame, the way it was going. If it was a different day, it wouldn’t have been the move to make, but every game is so different and needs to be managed accordingly. Hill finished the game with a pitch count of 66, which is fine with me. That should mean he’ll be extra strong next time out.

Scott Eyre
I don’t know what the Cubs can do with Scott Eyre, but the fact of it is, he’s really struggling this year. His confidence is probably extremely low right now and at 35 years old, a demotion to AAA is not the answer. Guys that age don’t go down with the mindset of getting right and working themselves back up mentally. Guys that age begin to think even more pessimistically and consider themselves on the way out. Eyre is making $4 million this season and has a player option for another $4 million next year. In other words, it’s Scott’s choice if he wants to come back next year and make another $4 million. Basically, it means the Cubs are on the hook for $8 million and I can’t see them eating that to release this guy. Their best bet at this point would be to place him on waivers, which that may have already done, and see if anyone bites. Through the course of the year, a lot of guys get placed on the waiver wire and either get pulled back or clear and we never hear about it. If the Cubs put Eyre on waivers, it simply means anyone can have him and immediately takes over his services and his contract. If he clears waivers, the Cubs can demote him to the minor leagues, assuming he accepts the assignment.

I can’t tell you what is wrong with him. All I know is that for the last few years, he’s been a pretty good reliever, so maybe he’ll figure it out.

Walks = Bad
You can’t expect to win games, especially late in the game when you walk guys and give the opponent a chance to put guys on base without the benefit of a hit. Guzman and Marmol, two guys being considered for the closer spot, did just that. A loss in the late innings is tough, but the Cubs need to keep plugging away. This division is very winnable and we have the best team in it.

STARS OF THE GAME – All based on WPA

  • First Star – Randy Wolf (.363)
  • Second Star – Rich Hill (.363)
  • Third Star – Jonathan Broxton (.286)

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  • A time for triumph

    Sunday, May 27th, 2007

    At times I’ve been accused of being masochistic – after all, what man in their right mind would be both a Chicago Cubs and Vanderbilt Commodore fan? Today the Commodores improved their record to 51-11 as they defeated Arkansas 7-4. In doing so they added the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship to their regular season conference championship and the Dores are likely to capture the top seed in the national tournament. It is also quite likely that Vandy will enter the college tourney as the #1 nationally-ranked team, just ahead of Rice and Florida State.

    Commodore pitcher David Price (10-0, 2.76 ERA) leads the team with 164 strikeouts and 29 walks in 118 innings pitched. He is likely to be the #1 overall draft pick in this year’s MLB amateur draft. However, he may be too expensive for Tampa Bay or Kansas City and could fall to the #3 Cubs. The team’s offense is lead by sophomore third baseman Pedro Alvarez and outfielder Dominic de la Osa, who combined for 32 homeruns and 110 RBIs. Alvarez is likely to be a top ten amateur draft pick next year.

    The Commodores in all likelihood will host a regional bracket in my neighborhood beginning next week; I’m told that the school is adding bleachers to accommodate extra fans. Let’s go Dores!

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    Game 48 – Open Thread

    Sunday, May 27th, 2007

    Scouting Report on todays starters from
    Rich Hill – Hill needs to turn the calendar, and quick. In April, the lefty was 3-1 with a 1.77 ERA. This month, he’s 1-3 with a 5.87 ERA. In his last start against the Padres, Hill struck out eight but also gave up five runs on six hits and two walks — and four of those hits were home runs. At least they were solo shots. It’s just a matter of better location.

    Randy Wolf – Wolf became the club’s first six-game winner and exceeded his victory total for last season by beating the first-place Brewers, avenging an opening-week loss in Milwaukee. Wolf scattered only three hits over seven innings and both runs he allowed reached base via walks. He’s 2-5 lifetime against the Cubs.

    View the Cubs career numbers vs. Randy Wolf – ESPN Splits

    Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

    Eric Patterson (AAA) 3-5, 2(3B), 4RBI, 2R, (.331avg)
    Geovany Soto (AAA) 2-4, 2B, HR, 3RBI, 3R, BB, (.297avg)
    Wade Miller (AAA) 5IP, 1ER, 5H, 3BB, 4K, (4.09ERA)
    Casey McGehee (AA) 2-4, HR, 5RBI, R, (.288avg)
    Donald Veal (AA) 4IP, 7ER, 9H, 4BB, (7.21ERA)
    Jeff Samardzija (High-A) 5IP, 1ER, 4H, 1BB, 2K, LOSS (4.82ERA)

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    Game 47 – Superman Returns…..maybe

    Saturday, May 26th, 2007

    May 26th, 2007


    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
    Chicago 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0   4 10 0
    Los Angeles 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0   2 10 0
    W –  C. Zambrano (5-4)   L  – M. Hendrickson (2-2)  S – R. Dempster (11)
    Homeruns: A. Ramirez (12) M. DeRosa (5) W. Betemit (5)

    Box Score

    Obviously, the story for today was Carlos Zambrano. Carlos went a strong 7.2 innings, striking out eight, walking one, and giving up two runs. Today was the Carlos of old, which probably means Carlos of 2007 will rear his head during his next start. His control was spot on, with a wicked slider. FOX had him top out at 93 mph for his fastball which ranged anywhere between 89-93 all game, nowhere near his velocity of last year. His arm slot is definitely lower as well. His high mark was 94, on the pitch immediately after giving up the home run to Wilson Betemit.

    The key of the game came with “The large mammal” beating out a check swing bunt for a basehit in the fourth inning, which eventually led to two runs, as the offense went stagnant after Mark Hendrickson left the game.

    Today also saw that Lou is terrified of using his bullpen. He kept Big Z in as long as he could, and only had Dempster warming up for most of the eighth. I thought he almost brought in Ohman with his eyes closed and begging for the gods to get him through one hitter. It paid off.

    Dempster was shaky after an impressive strikeout. Two back-to-back singles made it interesting once again. Thank goodness for the double play.

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    Game 47 – Open Thread

    Saturday, May 26th, 2007

    Scouting Report on todays starters from
    “Jose Lima” – Zambrano is coming off a loss against the White Sox, yielding seven runs on six hits and four walks over 6 2/3 innings. He seems to have his mechanics straightened out. Now, he needs to work on concentration.

    Mark Hendrickson – Hendrickson didn’t pitch as badly as it sounds, with five earned runs in 6 2/3 innings, but it was bad enough for his first loss of the season. He was done in by a three-run sixth inning, although only one of four consecutive hits was squarely struck. Nonetheless, after stepping in for Jason Schmidt with four starts in which he allowed no more than one earned run, he’s been charged with seven over his past two starts.

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

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