Archive for June, 2007

Game 76 – Open Thread

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

*******Jacque Jones Trade Update – Called Off?*******

FOX Sports – Barring an unexpected reversal, the Marlins’ trade for Cubs outfielder Jacque Jones is not going to happen, has learned. The Marlins pursued Jones with the intention of making him their regular center fielder, but the deal hit an unspecified “major snag” Tuesday night, according to a major-league source. The Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reported that Jones had been traded Tuesday night, but the Cubs did not inform Jones that a deal had been completed, according to another source. The holdup likely involves money — Jones, 31, is owed the balance of his $4 million salary this season and $5 million next season. The low-revenue Marlins almost certainly would require the high-revenue Cubs to pay the majority of Jones’ remaining salary. Any transaction involving more than $1 million requires the approval of the commissioner’s office.

VFTB Update – Wade Miller has been placed on the 60 day DL to make room for Petrick. Ryan Dempster was sent to the DL to open the 25 man roster spot. My guess is that it’s due to the Jones trade falling through.

Scouting Report on todays starters from
Rodrigo Lopez – Lopez helped the Rockies complete a three-game sweep of the Yankees in his last outing. He allowed just two runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings. Lopez is now 2-0 with a 3.52 ERA over four starts in the month of June. The 31-year-old has never faced the Cubs in his seven-year career.

Ted Lilly – Lilly matched his season high with 10 strikeouts in his previous start, but didn’t get a decision against the Rangers. The lefty served up back-to-back homers in the second inning and five runs over the first three frames before settling down to make it through the seventh. Somehow, Lilly has to get more consistent with outings. He was roughed up the only previous time he faced the Rockies, yielding six runs (five earned) over just 1 2/3 innings.

View the Cubs career numbers vs. Rodrigo Lopez – ESPN Splits

View the game preview from Baseball Reference

Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

Chris Amador (A+) – Went 4 for 4 with a double and a homerun (9).
Eric Patterson (AAA) – Went 3 for 4 with a base on balls
Carmen Pignatiello (AAA) – Pitched a perfect inning of relief, striking out 1. (Could he get the call?)

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Rumor Has It

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

That our 12 pitcher is now en route from the Tennessee Smokies. His name? Well, it’s none other than Billy Petrick. Petrick was a 3rd round pick in 2002 for the Cubs, drafted ahead of Rich Hill that year. He’s a product of Morris H.S., which is also responsible for producing the former 7th round pick from the Twins, Kelly Dransfeldt. Here are Petrick’s numbers so far this season at two different levels in the organization. The first is his numbers from Daytona (A+) and the second row represents his numbers from Tennessee (AA)

No word has come over the wire as to if this is in fact true. If it is, it would mean that a 40 man roster spot would opened. How could that have happened?

  • Jones has been traded or DFA’d
  • Miller has been placed on the 60 day DL
  • Blanco has been placed on the 60 day DLWe’ll see which is the case.

    Update – I’ve seen some rumors around the web that Jones has been dealt to the Marlins. No word on if they’re true, but i’ve seen it on both a Cubs message board and a Marlins message board as well. Stay Tuned!!!!

    Update # 2 – Ryan Dempster is reportedly headed to the DL, which would mean the Cubs need two pitchers. Billy Petrick has been confirmed as one, but how he gets on the 40 man roster is still a mystery.

    Update # 3 – The South Florida Sun-Sentinel is reporting that Jacque Jones has in fact been dealt to the Marlins. (Source)

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    Speculating the Move for the Night

    Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

    The Cubs will be making a roster move today. Jim Hendry wouldn’t say who or what the move would be, be he did say they would make one before the game tonight to shore up the pen. Here are some possibilities to wet your appetite.

    Option 1 – Trading Jacque Jones is probably everyone’s hope, but if we do, what are we really getting back. We’re certainly not getting bullpen help for him. I have mixed feelings about moving Jones for a couple reasons. First, he hits left handed and runs above average. Those are two things that can be valuable off the bench. He can also play all three outfield positions in a pinch. Yes, he’s not hitting, but he’s always hit in the past, so he can be a contributor off the bench.

    Option 2 – DFA Jacque Jones. I’m tired of hearing this option being mentioned. I really don’t think people understand what DFA means. As soon as the Cubs DFA Jones, it gives them 10 days to decide what to do with him. They would have options of either trading him, outright releasing him (and paying for the rest of his contract this year and next year up front in one lump sum), or hoping he’ll clear waivers and offer him the chance to go to Iowa, which he’d be silly to do. How do we win by doing this? When you force yourself into a corner to make a move, you never get anything even decent in return. Teams won’t deal with us at that point seriously when they know they can get Jones for nothing in 10 days.

    Option 3 – Sending down Ryan Theriot is an option people are floating around now that Mike Fontenot seems to be playing so well. This option surfaced when it was reported yesterday that he was taking grounders at SS. Hendry said today when he was interviewed that Theriot is not leaving the big league club, so that option is all but squashed.

    Option 4 – Option Angel Pagan to Iowa is another option for the Cubs to consider. On the surface, it would drop them down to four outfielders on the active roster, but with DeRosa and Ward capable of playing out there, it would be safe enough. The problem is that Pagan is actually producing as a backup outfielder and to demote him would weaken the bench.

    That puts the Cubs in a bit of a quandary. If you exercise option 3 or 4, your options for who you recall from Iowa or Tennessee are limited to just 40 man roster guys. That gives you the following choices off the 40 man roster:

  • Rocky Cherry – Great Name, but he’s just plain bad
  • Neal Cotts – The odds on favorite for the promotion
  • Juan Mateo – Getting shelled in A ball.
  • Jeff Samardzija – See Juan Mateo
  • Sean Gallagher – Not an option because he hasn’t been in the minors for 10 days since being demoted
  • Clay Rapada – See Sean GallagherJoe’s Wish
    What I’d like to see happen is for the Cubs to deal Jones for minor league talent, freeing up a 40 man roster spot. Use that spot to add Carmen Pignatiello to the mix and promote him. Place Ryan Dempster on the 15 day DL retroactive to June 23rd and promote Neal Cotts to fill the void of a long relief man. This gives the Cubs a long relief guy they need in Cotts and a new arm in Pignatiello, who likens himself to a young Jamie Moyer.

    As always, we’ll keep you updated in the event that the Cubs are actually courteous enough to announce there moves earlier than 5 minutes before game time tonight.

    Side Note – The Cubs signed RHP Bret Prinz and stationed him in Iowa. He pitched last night and got a scoreless inning of work in.

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    Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

    Obviously, “the fan” last night was thinking what everyone else was thinking at that point. I certainly don’t condone that behavior, and am glad it’s now a felony. I’m keeping this short since, like Bartman, these guys need to be put out to a pasture quickly, and forgotten.

    I just loved Howry’s recap of the whole incident:

    “He said, ‘What are you doing?’ ” Howry said. “I said, ‘I’m out here trying to give up home runs. What do you think?’ “

    Awesome. Simply awesome.

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    Game 75 – Speechless

    Monday, June 25th, 2007

    June 25th, 2007


    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
    Colorado 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 6   9 13 1
    Chicago 4 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 2   10 18 1
    W –  B. Howry (4-4)  L  – B. Fuentes (0-2) S – None
    Homeruns: A. Pagan (3) T. Tulowitzki (7)

    Box Score

    I don’t think I can remember a game that the Cubs won so thrillingly, yet I wanted it to be over more than this one. I came into the game with a slight headache and an upset stomach. I figured that with the way the Cubs were playing, it was worth staying up and watching, instead of taking an early exit to the bed. I had my clipboard and scoring software fired up and was really enjoying the. Then I read a post by Mark in the late innings and all hell broke loose. The Cubs gave up 6 runs in the 9th and I was e-mailing his sorry butt to blame him. Obviously it wasn’t his fault, and I can’t stand it when people are superstitious like that. In fact, I’ve even debated taking down commandment number nine. We all know the rest of the story, so let me break down my thoughts on one of the biggest games of the year as best I can (stupid headache still remains).

    Jason Marquis was really good at doing the little things that don’t show up in the box score last night. For example, he routinely got ahead of the Colorado hitters with strike one. It may not sound like much, but take a look at some of the Rockies best hitters and their averages in the various counts.

    Name 0-0 0-1
    K. Matsui .346 .345
    M. Holliday .473 .313
    T. Helton .393 .389
    G. Atkins .364 .138
    B. Hawpe .330 .283

    Every single one of the Rockies 2-6 hitters last night see their average drop when hitting in an 0-1 count. Jason Marquis was very good last night, I believe, because he routinely was up in the count. When he did miss with strike one, he usually came right back to even it up. If he can do this consistently, he’ll find a lot more success. He was unfortunate to get a no decision in the game, but I came away from the outing encouraged by the performance of Jason Marquis. It wasn’t an out of this world performance, but from the lower end of the rotation, it’s exactly the kind of outing we can hope for.

    Scott Eyre and Bobby Howry will probably be remembered in this game for giving up the lead, but let’s take a look at the rest of their outings first starting with Scott Eyre. When Lou brought in Eyre, it was to get Michael Wuertz out of a jam, which he promptly did by striking out Brad Hawpe swinging. That’s a big situation right there that he extinguished, yet won’t get any credit for from people that want him DFA’d or released. He hasn’t been able to come through in those types of situations in the past and should get credit for it. In the eighth inning, he started out rough with a double and a walk, but settled himself down and induced a double play and got a strikeout to end it. In my opinion, that should have been the end of his outing, though I can see why Lou would trot him out there for the ninth. With a shorthanded bullpen, at least in the eyes of Lou, he wanted to get as much out of his lowest rated reliever as possible. It’s not really fair to Eyre, but sometimes you do what you have to do. In my mind, Lou set Eyre up for failure by sending him out there for a third straight inning. It’s not something a setup man is used to. Obviously you have to put some of the blame on Eyre, but not as much as people will do in their comments or recaps. That’s not fair.

    As for Bobby Howry, how can you all of a sudden call for hoarse head on a platter with how well he has been pitching? I’m sorry Mark and everyone else, but you people flip flop more than a fish out of water. First it’s the Cubs are good, then they lose a game and everyone needs to be shipped out. Tonight, Howry will come in and pitch big and you won’t say anything about dumping them. The fact is, a bullpen is always and will always be a crapshoot. Spending tons of money to address it is foolish. Just ask Baltimore who spent a lot of money to revamp their pen in the free agent market only to see their bullpen ERA have them ranked 28th in the Majors. 5.28 sounds great when you spend a lot of money doesn’t it? Last year Scott Eyre and Bobby Howry were outstanding and everyone was praising Jim Hendry for getting the players he did, when he did. This year, those same moves are being bashed, by the same people. Have some backbone people. Stick with one side for once. I’m still supporting Eyre and Howry, because right now, what are the options? You can’t go around releasing people and signing new players in the middle of the season. There is a reason those players are available, and it’s because they’re not any good. Give me the name of one free agent out there that you’d want. Just one. I dare you.

    Mike Fontenot continued to play well in the game, but let me explain to you why he’s not one of the stars of the game. When you look at the WPA, Fontenot would not even be one of the top 3 if you only looked at the Cubs from last night. How can that be, you say? He went 5-5 with 2 RBI. Let’s take a look at his at bats to figure out why.

  • First Inning – He singles, but it’s with a tie game in the 1st inning with an out already in the inning. That isn’t much of a game changing play. Then he gets caught stealing and loses most of what he gained for the single in the first place.
  • Third Inning – Here he leads off with a single and eventually scores a run. Great, but the Cubs already had a 4-0 lead, so at that point, you’re not gaining that much momentum.
  • 5th Inning – Hits a double and scores a run to lead off the game, but again, the Cubs had a nice lead and it was getting later in the game, which means their probability for winning was already pretty high.
  • 6th Inning – Singles in a run, but again, the Cubs WPA was already in the 90% range. There isn’t much room to improve that.
  • 8th Inning – Hits another double, but at this point the game was all but won, or so we thought.

    As you can see, it’s not necessarily what you hit, but rather what situations you hit in. Mike Fontenot continues to play well for us, but today just didn’t get the big opportunities to shine.

    Alfonso Soriano finally came up with some big RBI’s. I’m tired of the fact that his RBI totals are not what they should be for the amount of power he has. Last night he came up really big with a big time hit when it really mattered. I’ll lay off him for a day, but I would really like to see more RBI’s out of him in the future.

    Lou Piniella was really close to getting raked over the coals today. If the Cubs lose this game, he gets killed for not using Marmol and for not bringing Jacque Jones in to pinch run for Rob Bowen earlier than he did. If Jones it pinch running from the beginning, there is a good chance he scores on the error by Matsui. It’s easy to second guess after the fact, so I’m not really going to do that. I wouldn’t want Lou’s job for one day. I’m just really glad we won, because Lou may have had a Lee Elia type tirade with the media had we lost.

    Misc. Notes

  • Willie Tavares has 24 bunt hits and the next closest to him has 7.
  • Mark DeRosa’s daughter has walking pneumonia.
  • I’m not a big fan of pitchers trying to stop the ball with their bare hand like Marquis did in the 4th.
  • Mike Fontenot was seen taking ground balls at short yesterday before the game.
  • Wade Miller is close to returning. (Do you care?)
  • In the 4th inning, Comcast went to commercial break in the middle of an at bat. How bush league is that?
  • In the White Sox game, Mike Quade made the right call to not send Pie home on the DeRosa single. In a tight game like that, why run into an out with 0 outs in the inning? It was the right call.

    STARS OF THE GAME – All based on WPA

  • First Star – Alfonso Soriano (67.9%)
  • Second Star – Troy Tulowitzki (56.8%)
  • Third Star – Mark DeRosa (26.1%)
  • Turd of the Game – Brian Fuentes (-79.0%)

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