Archive for May, 2007

Game 42 – Sweep Thread?

Sunday, May 20th, 2007

Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
Nick Masset – After 19 career appearances out of the bullpen, Masset makes his first Major League start in Sunday?s series finale against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The right-hander was a starter for much of his Minor League career in the Texas organization. Masset replaces Jose Contreras, who will be bumped back to Monday against the A?s, so that Contreras can work on his normal four days rest.

Carlos Zambrano – Zambrano is coming off his best start of the season. Big Z held the Mets to one run on six hits over eight innings, his longest outing, and he walked three. Zambrano apparently listened to manager Lou Piniella’s suggestion that he close his delivery. The right-hander is 4-1 with a 4.31 ERA in his career against the White Sox, including a 2-0 record last year.

View the Cubs career numbers vs. Nick Masset – ESPN Splits


Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

Mark Holliman (AA) (Hitting) 1-3, HR, 2RBI, R, (.182avg)
Mark Holliman (AA) (Pitching) 8IP, No Runs, 2H, 1BB, 5K, WIN (1.17ERA)
Brian Dopirak (High-A) 2-4, HR, 2RBI, R, (.250avg)
Robert Hernandez (Low-A) 5IP, 2ER, 4H, 3K, LOSS (3.60ERA)

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Game 41 – Fox Sucks

Saturday, May 19th, 2007


May 19th, 2007

Teams

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
South Side 0 0 0 3 0 2 0 1 0   6 10 0
North Side 0 2 0 0 3 0 0 6 X   11 11 1
W -  B. Howry (1-3)   L  - D. Aardsma (2-1)  S – None
Homeruns: P. Konerko (6) J. Crede (4) M. Barrett (7) D. Lee (3) J. Marquis (1)

Box Score

What was probably one of the best finishes to a Cubs game all year and I was stuck with a blowout, rainy Mets game on my television. I listened to a couple of the innings on the Gameday Audio, but had to settle with a great finish to the Preakness Stakes. If you didn’t get to see the finish, it was down to the wire and well worth the time to catch Sportscenter to see. We’ll have to leave the recap at that. Feel free to add to the comments with your impressions of the game that I couldn’t see. Stupid FOX!!!!!

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Game 41 – Open Thread

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
Javier Vazquez – Vazquez had trouble finding the strike zone during a 10-1 loss to the Royals on Sunday, although he only walked two over six innings. But Vazquez was consistently behind Kansas City hitters, giving up a three-run home run to Mark Teahen on a 2-1 pitch as the game’s deciding blast. Vazquez has a 3-3 record with a 5.04 ERA lifetime against the Cubs, with a 2-2 mark and 4.58 ERA at Wrigley Field. Vazquez had no decision during his one 2006 start against the Cubs, allowing five runs on 11 hits over six innings at Wrigley.

Jason Marquis – Marquis had a 4-0 lead after five innings in his start against the Mets on Monday, and he was poised for his sixth straight win. Instead, he got no decision as the Mets rallied for a 5-4 win. Marquis was pulled after 88 pitches — he’d thrown a complete game in his previous start and the Cubs want to be careful. Marquis says he’s fine. He gave up four runs on five hits and three walks over five-plus innings.

View the Cubs numbers vs. Javier Vazquez – ESPN Splits

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Game 40 – Hey Sox Fans, Go Make Out With Your Manager

Friday, May 18th, 2007


May 18th, 2007

Teams

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
South Side 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0   3 6 4
North Side 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 2 X   6 11 0
W -  T. Lilly (4-2)   L  - M. MacDougal (1-1)  S – R. Dempster
Homeruns: J. Dye (8) M. Barrett (6)

Box Score

This was a big win for this team after yesterday’s debacle. They came out and battled back late and got a great pitching performance out of the starter and the pen. The bats rallied late and we take the lead in this series. It feels good, because I really want to win this series.

Aggressive Baserunning
I’m tired of seeing guys take for granted the fact that the fielder is going to make a play as Paul Konerko did in the 2nd inning today. When you hit a single to left field, you have to go hard down to first and a huge, aggressive turn around the base. If that outfielder bobbles the ball in any way, you need to take 2nd. Unfortunately, too many guys are satisfied with a single and loaf down the line only to think about turning it on when the fielder bobbles the ball. Who is coaching these guys to run the bases? This should be lesson number one.

Ozzie Guillen
Reason # 4729 why I hate Ozzie Guillen. Today on the Mike North show, which I don’t usually listen to, Mike had Bob Brenly. Earlier in the day, North spoke to A.J. Pierzynski about the fact that Toby Hall was in the starting lineup today for the first game of the series. A.J. talked about how it made him angry and Ozzie took offense to that. He called Mike North and went into a 90 second profanity laced tired on the radio. North finally began yelling back at him, putting him in his place for his behavior and saw Ozzie hang up the phone. You can disagree with people, but don’t call them at work, on the radio no less, and use that kind of language. Ozzie Guillen is a classless putz that needs to be fired. I can’t wait till it happens. If you’re interested in hearing the interviews, here are the links: (Ozzie Guillen / A.J. Pierzynski)

Here is a semi-transcript of the exchange via the Tribune:

“Oh, shut the [deleted] up!” Guillen barked. “I know you like A.J. but there’s no reason for you to make lineups and [deleted].”

North reminded the fiery manager that he was live on the air and that his catcher was disappointed to not be playing.

“I don’t care what A.J. thinks,” Guillen said. “I make the best lineup. I want to find out what Toby Hall can do for this ballclub, find out right away how we are going to use him. I never said A.J. was in a platoon.”

Then Guillen went back to his more colorful vocabulary.

“Believe me, I’m tired of you guys and this bull[deleted] every god[deleted] day.”

North cut Guillen off: “Hey, Ozzie, clean up your mouth. Clean up your damn mouth when you’re talking on the radio and talking to me. Have a little respect, all right? Don’t go talking to me like you’re talking down to somebody.”

The two declared their friendship while continuing to argue. North was clearly offended.

“Don’t you ever talk down to me. Don’t ever talk to me like I’m some … Yeah, you better hang up the damn phone.”

North continued, fretting about his job security, perhaps over a potential FCC violation from Guillen’s comments.

“You got no class for swearing on the air three different times,” North said. “I’m not going to lose my job because of him. If you can’t stand the heat, get out the hell out of the kitchen, junior.”

Lou’s Big Secret
In the pre-game press conference, Lou said they would be giving us a big surprise as of Monday. In the meantime, he told us all to “Scotland Yard ourselves.” I don’t think that is synonymous with what Ozzie was saying to Mike North, but it has me wondering if Lou even speaks English? He’s turning proper nouns into verbs. I’m a math teacher and even I know not to do that. I’m anxious to see what the changes they envision are. Maybe Mark’s ideas reached his desk. We’ll have to wait and see, but feel free to speculate in the meantime.

Ryan Dempster
Dempster got a second chance today and he made the most of it, picking up a perfect save to secure the win in the series opener. I can’t imagine that his job is safe, so after Lou’s announcement, you have to think he was pitching in an attempt to showcase himself a bit. I know people don’t like him in the closer role, but I can deal with him there. It doesn’t bother me as much as it does other people. I’m not sure why.

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Minor League Report: Tennessee Smokies

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Welcome to the Cubs newest minor league affiliate – the AA Tennessee Smokies! Located in Kodak, TN near the Great Smokey Mountains, the AA Cubs’ franchise is driving distance to Knoxville, Sevierville and Gatlinburg. For those of you who are contemplating a Florida vacation, consider stopping in Kodak to see some of the Cubs better prospects, you can even stop in Daytona on the way down to see the High A Daytona Cubs as well!

Traditionally many of the best Cubs prospects can be found at the AA level and this year is no exception. The Cubs AA pitching staff is lead by Mark Holliman (2005 – third round – see picture at right) who currently has a 5-1 record and a 1.37 ERA. Drafted out of Ole Miss, Holliman is a 6-0 200# righthander and is known as a strikeout pitcher. In college he generally threw around 90 mph and topped out in the mid 90s. Holliman could make the jump from AA to Wrigley if his talents are required.

Also anchoring the Tennessee pitching staff is top prospect Donnie Veal (2005 – 2nd round.) Veal reminds a lot of people of Dontrelle Willis; he had injury trouble prior to being drafted out of junior college but has been solid since then. Veal has had an unimpressive start with the Smokies this year and presently has a 2-4 record with a 5.84 ERA.

Sean Gallagher (2004 – 12th round – see picture at left) is a familiar name to most Cubs fans and continues to progress within the minor league system. Sean currently is 5-2 with a 3.50 ERA – he’s never been highly-touted and has been criticized somewhat for not having overpowering stuff and he’s sure not the trimmest pitcher you’ll ever see. He reminds me somewhat of Rich Reuschel – regardless of what people say he just seems to get the job done. Look for Sean to promote to Iowa if openings occur.

The Tennessee Smokies’ bullpen is anchored by 6-5 lefthanded pitcher James Henderson (2006 Rule 5 selection) and 2001 righthanded free agent Adalberto Mendez. Henderson sports a 0.89 ERA; he’ s struck a batter for every inning he’s pitched and has a 1.08 WHIP.

Offensively the Smokies are lead by 1997 Pirates’ free agent Jorge Cortez – Jorge is a 27 year-old Dominican outfielder who currently carries a .947 OPS. The Smokies’ second-best hitter is career minor leaguer Josh Kroeger – Josh was originally considered one of the Diamondbacks’ best prospects and was drafted in the fourth round of the 2000 draft.

Jacob Fox (2003 – 3rd round, see picture at right) is a name that is familiar to most Cubs fans after having an impressive 2007 spring training. One thing for sure, this former University of Michigan catcher can hit! Jake currently has a .383-8-28 line for Tennessee and has only three errors behind the plate. I seriously question people that say that this guy can’t catch – he might need a year or two more in the minors but he’s definitely a prospect.

Sam Fuld (2004 – 10th round) rounds out the Cubs stable of center field prospects; one thing you can count on with Fuld is that he will get on base. This guy also has the smarts, having attended Philips Exeter Academy and Stanford University. Fuld currently is hitting .296 with a .376 on base percentage.

Look for the Tennessee Smokies to compete for a Southern League championship, they will be a proud addition to the Cubs family and will continue former Cubs’ affiliate West Tennessee’s tradition of developing and promoting quality prospects.

Update: 2002 second round draft pick Brian Dopirak was demoted from AA Tennessee to A Daytona after starting out the season hitting .218. He went 0-4 in his first game back at Daytona. Amazingly, Dopirak is still on the Cubs’ 40 man roster.

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So what do you do with an incompetent bullpen?

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Some teams have problems with their pen, they might have one or two guys that shine and the rest are pretty bad. Generally when teams have problems with their bullpen they make moves – but will the Cubs? I doubt they will – Kerry Wood, Bob Howry, Scott Eyre, Ryan Dempster, Will Ohman, Michael Wuertz and Neal Cotts account for almost $18 million of the 2007 Cubs salaries and many of them have commitments for 2008. But should the Cubs do nothing and try to make it happen with the current staff? I think not. Here’s what I think the Cubs should do:

    Fire Eyre now – this guy isn’t worth keeping. DFA him, trade him immediately, he’s only going to hurt the team if we put him in;

    Put Howry on probation – if he doesn’t have quality appearances in two of his next three outings he should have “back spasms” and be sent to Iowa for rehab appearances. If he doesn’t approve than he should be designated for assignment as well;

    Trade Will Ohman for a decent lefthander, we will likely have to include a prospect. OR, bring Sean Marshall up to do Ohman’s job if Marshall can;

    Use Wuertz, Cotts and Cherry as our “go to guys” until moves can be made.

This Cubs team has zero chance of making the playoffs with the current relievers; last year’s Twins bullpen lost ten games and the Cubs’ bullpen has already lost eleven. If Hendry wants to watch Cubs games in 2008 without having to purchase tickets he’d better start making his moves.

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Game 39 – This Picture Says it All

Thursday, May 17th, 2007


May 17th, 2007

Teams

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
Chicago 0 0 0 1 0 4 0 0 0   5 6 0
New York 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 5   6 11 1
W -  J. Sosa (3-0)   L  - R. Hill (4-3)  S – None
Homeruns: A. Pagan (2) A. Ramirez (10)

Box Score

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Game 39 – Open Thread

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
Angel Guzman – Guzman received a no-decision his last time out during an 11-7 loss to Philadelphia on May 12. Guzman, who is winless in 12 career starts, did his ERA swell from 2.19 to 3.57 after giving up four runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings. Guzman did retire nine of the last 13 batters he faced.

Jason Vargas – Vargas gets the callup from Triple-A New Orleans, taking the rotation spot of recently demoted Mike Pelfrey. Vargas — the centerpiece of an offseason trade that sent relievers Matt Lindstrom and Henry Owens to the Marlins — was 2-3 with a 5.30 ERA in seven starts with New Orleans. The 24-year-old was 6-7 with a 5.25 ERA in two season’s worth of starts with Florida.

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


Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

Jake Fox – Chicago Cubs (AA) 3-4, 2HR, 3RBI, 2R, (.353avg)
Jeff Samardzija – Chicago Cubs (High-A) 6.1IP, 4ER, 9H, 1K, LOSS (3.83ERA)

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Game 38 – Sosa impressive, Cubs not

Thursday, May 17th, 2007


May 16th, 2007

Teams

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
Chicago 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0   1 2 0
New York 0 1 1 2 0 0 3 1 X   8 12 1
W -  J. Sosa (3-0)   L  - R. Hill (4-3)  S – None
Homeruns: D> Easley (6)

Box Score

Former Tampa Bay and Atlanta starter Jorge Sosa befuddled the Cubs tonight as the Cubs lost to the Mets 8-1. Both teams endured a 3 hour 15 minute rain delay and tonight’s game lasted until nearly 1 AM Eastern time. Both teams will return to the field at 11:10 New York time before the Cubs fly back to Chicago to face the South Siders in a weekend series.

Tonight’s Cubs highlight was a real fielding gem by Aramis Ramirez – he took away a sure double down the line with a backhanded pick and threw a one-hop throw to first that was deftly handled by Daryle Ward. Ward has done a commendable job filling in for Derrek Lee; the Cubs hope to have Lee and DeRosa back in time for Friday’s game against the Chisox. Earlier, Cubs manager Lou Piniella described the chances of having Lee back on Friday as “50-50.”

Luckily for the Cubs the division-leading Brewers continue their losing ways; the Cubs remain 6 games back in the Central and hope to salvage a split with a win tomorrow in Shea.

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