Archive for June, 2007


Friday, June 22nd, 2007

Here’s a nice little article by Scott Miller at CBS Sportsline, on the Barrett trade.

I kind of figured Maddux pulled for the guy, and might have helped facilitate the move. After the remarks about how the Padres will get two draft picks if Barrett goes to free agency, Hendry got hosed on this deal. Are you all happy, now? I admit it, Hendry got hosed.

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

Game 71 – If Not Them, Then Who?

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

June 21st, 2007


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
Chicago 0 0 0 0 4 1 0 0 0   5 13 0
Texas 0 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 1   6 9 0
W –  E. Gagne (2-0)  L  – B. Howry (3-4) S – None
Homeruns: V. Diaz (9) A. Melhuse (1)

Box Score

If we can’t win a series against the Texas Rangers, a team that is 16 games under .500, who are we planning on winning against? We’re now in third place and just 1.5 away from being in 5th place. The Brewers don’t appear to be fading, and in fact seem to be getting themselves into a zone. Sweeping the series in Chicago against the White Sox is a must, in my opinion. It’s time to make a statement that we can win. Let’s look at winning 5 of 6 in the series against the Sox and the Rockies and then go into the Milwaukee series primed to make a move in the division. The time is now. If it doesn’t happen by about the All Star break, it may be time to wave the white flag and move a couple of guys.

Runners in Scoring Position
The Cubs wasted a lot of scoring opportunities today and you can’t do that and expect to win games. They routinely had runners on the basepaths and just couldn’t get key hits (5th inning aside) to drive in those runs. In the first inning, Soriano hits a leadoff single and we get nothing. In the 2nd, we’ve got bases loaded and the 9,1, and 2 hitters up. Theriot, who has been so cold lately, pops up on the infield. Soriano lines out, and Fontenot flies out. Bases Loaded and no out should yield at least 2 runs according to the run expectancy matrix. To come away with 0 is unacceptable. In the third inning, Lee is on 2nd and Ward is on 1st with 0 outs. DeRosa hits a double play and Pagan doesn’t even make contact. The most disgusting part about the entire game was the Left on Base stat for the Cubs. As a team, the Cubs left 31 runners on base, while the Rangers just left 7 as a team. That’s not acceptable and it needs to get better or we’re done.

Rob Bowen
The debut of Rob Bowen went well, in my opinion. The wost thing that could have happened to him would have been a passed ball in his debut. If that happened, he would have had to just pack his bag and leave town, because Cub fans would have never embraced him. Instead, Bowen drew two walks, knocked in a run and had a single. I’ll take a .600 OBP from a catcher any day. Rob Bowen, you’re alright in my book. I look forward to watching you catch.

  • Some guy with a net caught a foul ball down the first base line in the early innings. Oh how I miss Harry and his net.
  • Rob Bowen uses the old school mask. I wonder if he’s ever tried the hockey style mask that is supposed to increase your sight lines even more.
  • Bob Howry messed up the run down, but I can’t completely fault him. He did the right thing to run right at Kenny Lofton and keep him from advancing. If he gets rid of the baseball just a second earlier, the Cubs get that out and might live to see extra innings.
  • Rob Neyer has a column about how the loss of Michael Barrett is not a big loss (ESPN Insider)

    STARS OF THE GAME – All based on WPA

  • First Star – Frank Catalanotto (.288)
  • Second Star – Angel Pagan (.191)
  • Third Star – Derrek Lee (.152)
  • Turd of the Game – Ryan Theriot (-.290)

    Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:
  • Game 71 – Open Thread

    Thursday, June 21st, 2007

    Scouting Report on todays starters from
    Ted Lilly – Lilly gave up one run on six hits over eight innings in his last start against San Diego. The outing matched his longest of the season and was a good comeback after his previous start in which he lasted 10 pitches before he was ejected. The lefty is 4-4 with a 3.34 ERA in 12 career starts against the Rangers and 1-3 with a 4.26 ERA at Ameriquest Field.

    Vicente Padilla – Padilla went five innings, giving up 12 hits, six runs (all earned) with five strikeouts in a winning effort Friday at Cincinnati. The Rangers improved to 3-11 when Padilla starts. In six starts at home this season, he is 2-3 with a 3.93 ERA. In 14 games against the Cubs lifetime, including five starts, Padilla is 3-4 with a 4.40 ERA.

    View the Cubs career numbers vs. Vicente Padilla – ESPN Splits

    Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

    Josh Kroeger (AAA) 3-4, 2B, 2RBI, (.750avg) – **** This was his AAA Debut ****
    John Webb (AAA) 8IP, No Runs, 3H, 1BB, 2K, WIN (5.13ERA)
    Kevin Hart (AA) 6IP, No Runs, 5H, 2BB, 4K, WIN (5.08ERA)
    Mitch Atkins (High-A) G#1 7IP, 2ER, 4H, 1BB, 3K, LOSS (2.27ERA)

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

    Nice Guys Finish Last or go to San Diego

    Thursday, June 21st, 2007

    Yesterday morning started out with a bang. My wife’s flight the evening before was cancelled, which meant an early flight out Wednesday morning. Then my train line decided to take the day off, which left me with no way to work, and a lot of time. To say I was surprised at the Barrett move, is an understatement.

    I’ve been completely baffled with the Cubs handling of the Barrett “situation” for the last few weeks. First, the “rumble in Wrigley,” then what I call a normal discussion with Rich Hill which some took to be way more than it was (ahem, Tribune beat writer, ahem), to Lou stating Barrett was going to see less time behind the dish. I won’t hide my man crush on Barrett. The guy bled Cubbie blue. Every team needs one, and Barrett was that guy that would run through a wall for them. Which is more than I can say about some of the other leaders on the team.

    Barrett’s play hard attitude, unfortunately led to dumb mistakes and a pitching staff that had obviously lost their faith in him. It’s a shame really, as he’d been such a nice contributor since his arrival. I haven’t been able to put my finger on what went wrong with him this year. I can only suggest him pressing too much, with the losing, the expectations of the team to win now, and his contract in flux. The only thing I can gather is that the front office decided it was time for Michael to see some new scenery. Perhaps Maddog pulled a few strings. Heck, it’s how Henry Blanco ended up here.

    I’ll miss you Mr. Barrett, and wish you luck in San Diego. You were as surprised about this move as I was.

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

    Game 70 – Celebratin’ Sammy

    Thursday, June 21st, 2007

    June 20th, 2007


    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
    Chicago 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0   3 8 3
    Texas 2 1 0 1 2 0 1 0 X   7 9 1
    W –  K. Loe (3-6)  L  – J. Marquis (5-4) S – None
    Homeruns: S. Sosa (12) F. Catalanotto (5) A. Soriano (12) K. Hill (1)

    Box Score

    You all want me to bash Sammy Sosa, but as I said yesterday, I’m not going to do it. When WGN played their Sammy montage to start the game, it made me remember all the good things Sammy did for this team. He was the face of the team and the face of the city in a lot of respects. He did exactly he was expected to do by the front office, which was put fans in the seats. You all know you cheered when he hit the homeruns and ran out to right field. To not cheer now is hypocritical. I’m not going to get into a big steroid debate with you though. My position is still and will always remain that if he did it, he did it, but he’s never been shown to have done it. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt. Regardless of if he did or not, he has been a great player and, listen closely, deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. There, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    Now that I’ve got you fired up, let’s talk about last nights game and all that happened yesterday, starting with the Michael Barrett trade. I thought about this trade a lot yesterday and tried to get my mind wrapped around a decision on if I like it or not. After much deliberation, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m OK with the trade, but not thrilled with it. I think there is potential for good things to come out of it, but as with every trade, you have to wait and see what happens. With Rob Bowen, we add a good defensive catcher that can throw runners out. This was a must in my mind, because I really believe that Henry Blanco is done for the season. I think Bowen comes in a gets the starting spot. It’s not going to be a platoon of L/R, because both Bowen and Hill are switch hitters. Bowen, in my eyes, is the better option behind the plate. I know Hill hit a homerun yesterday, but Bowen has good plate discipline. His OBP generally hovers around 100 or so points above his batting average and is .371 right now. I’ll take that from a catcher any day. Sure, I’m going to miss Barrett a lot. He was probably one of my top 3 favorite Cubs on the team. I’ve always been a big supporter of him and his work behind the plate. He works very hard and I think has gotten a bad rap this year. I wish him best of luck and hope he has a great stay in San Diego. I’d love to see him come back next year as a Free Agent, though I know that won’t happen. I think Bowen gives us a chance to win, because Barrett was just not working this season. A fresh face can do some good sometime and I hope that’s the case. Don’t forget that we also got Kyler Burke in the deal as well. I’m interested in knowing where the Cubs ship him. I’d like to see them continue to take the aggressive approach and send him to class A, Peoria with Ryno. He’s got a lot of talent and hopefully the Cubs can develop that. I trust the judgement of Tim Wilken, who at one point saw 12 straight first round picks make it to the majors with the Blue Jays.

    As far as last night goes, something is not looking promising lately with Jason Marquis. I’m a big supporter of his, but if you look at his last starts in terms of Win Probability Added, Marquis has not added to our chances of winning in his last 5 starts and all of those, he’s been in the turd of the game range except for one. Last night he was pretty distraught on the mound and couldn’t get in a rhythm at all. He was uncomfortable with something about the mound and couldn’t get settled into the game. He was done before it started and forced the pen to go another three innings of work. Thankfully Lou used the turds and they got the job done. Ohman, Wuertz and Eyre got the job done and is making the Cubs pen look pretty impressive to the Texas Rangers.

    I wish we could have picked up a win last night, but I blame it on our inability to bring runners in scoring position home. We had a good amount of guys on base and in a position to score, we just couldn’t get the key hits to bring them in. Add to that mix the awful fielding job and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. We’ll need to try it a little better today.

  • 11 of 12 Soriano homeruns this season have been solo homeruns
  • Rob Bowen will know if Rich Hill was tipping his pitches or not and should be able to help him in that area
  • Lou has toyed with the idea of moving Pie out of the second spot and replacing him with Mike Fontenot.

    STARS OF THE GAME – All based on WPA

  • First Star – Kameron Loe (.174)
  • Second Star – Alfonso Soriano (.112)
  • Third Star – Sammy Sosa (.107)
  • Turd of the Game – Jason Marquis (-.260)

    Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:
  • Game 70 – Open Thread

    Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

    Scouting Report on todays starters from
    Jason Marquis – Marquis has not won a game since May 9, when he threw a shutout. It’s not that he’s pitching badly — it’s just one or two pitches here or a situation there that’s doing him in. On Thursday against the Mariners in his last start, he gave up one hit over five solid innings. In the sixth, he hit a batter, walked two and served up a bases-clearing double to Raul Ibanez. If Marquis can maintain what he did in those first five innings, he’ll be OK.

    Kameron Loe – Loe won for the second time this season when he beat the Pirates, 7-0, on Thursday. He allowed five hits, walked three and struck out a season-high seven batters. It was his first victory since April 21, and he did it not only with a much better sinker but also with an increased reliance on his slider and changeup. He is 1-4 with a 7.07 ERA in 10 games, including seven starts, in his career at Rangers Ballpark.

    View the Cubs career numbers vs. Kameron Loe – ESPN Splits

    Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

    Dylan Johnston (Short-A) 4-5, 2(2B), 3B, RBI, (.800avg)

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

    Michael Barrett Headed Out West

    Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

    Buster Olney is reporting that Michael Barrett has been dealt to the San Diego Padres this morning. There is no word on who the Cubs have received in return.

    You’ve got to imagine either Josh Bard or Rob Bowen have to be coming back to the Cubs in return. My hope is that one of the arms in the Padres pen is coming as well. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Cla Meredith’s name will surface.

    More on this news as it develops.

    Update # 1 – Rumors are surfacing that it is Rob Bowen and Scott Linebrink. (Very Nice)

    Update # 2 – San Diego Sports radio is reporting that it’s Barrett for Bowen, Kyler Burke (A) and cash considerations.

    Two different stories coming out of each city. We’ll confirm when we know more.

    Update # 3 – Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the SD report is correct and it’s Barrett for Bowen, Burke, and Cash, but Buster Olney is reporting that it’s not Burke, but a minor league Pitcher and cash.

    Just to remind everyone of this nugget that was in the Trib the other day:

    Manager Lou Piniella said catcher Henry Blanco did not respond well to the cortisone shot meant to alleviate pain from his neck spasms. “I don’t think there’s any target for coming back,” Piniella said. “It’s a shame.”

    Quick Scouting Report on Rob Bowen

    This report comes from Geoff Young, author of Ducksnorts, a Padres Blog

    Rob Bowen is your basic catch-and-throw guy behind the plate. He hasn’t had much success throwing out baserunners this year, but a lot of that is on San Diego pitchers. Bowen is a switch hitter who has trouble making consistent contact from both sides of the plate but who occasionally lays into one. He also runs fairly well — when the Padres carried three catchers last year, Bowen was pretty much Mike Piazza’s pinch runner late in games.

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

    Why Major League Baseball Doesn’t Suspend Pitchers Longer

    Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

    As a kid growing up, I could never figure out why pitchers, especially starters were suspended the same amount of time as a position player. It just didn’t seem fair to me. Take the Derrek Lee situation from this past weekend. Here MLB is suspending Derrek Lee for 5 game, while at the same time suspending Chris Young for the same 5 games. It just doesn’t seem fair, right? The Cubs lose 5 games of Derrek Lee, while the Padres essentially lose 1 start from Chis Young since he’s a starter. I’ve got a simple explanation for you. Take it or leave it, but it’s the reason why things are the way they are.

    Let’s assume that a position player plays a total of 162 games in a season. For a guy like Derrek Lee, it’s really not that hard to assume. At the same time, pitchers tend to make about 35 starts in a season. Let’s take a look at some percentages under those assumptions.

    For Derrek Lee, 5 games missed out of 162 means that he was absent for a total of 3% of the team’s games that year due to suspension. For a starting pitcher, missing 1 start in 35 due to suspension means a 3% of the times that pitcher would appear would be missed.

    When you look at it that way, it’s very fair for a pitcher to miss just one start. To claim that Young should miss 5 starts would mean he’d miss 14% of his season, which translates to roughly 23 games for a position player. That’s ridiculous to call for something like that. I’m fine with Young getting 5 games and you should be too.

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

    Game 69 – Bullpen Executes the Sleeper Hold

    Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

    June 19th, 2007


    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
    Chicago 0 0 2 2 0 1 0 0 0   5 11 0
    Texas 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0   4 5 1
    W –  C. Marmol (2-0)  L  – J. Benoit (2-2) S – R. Dempster (16)
    Homeruns: I. Kinsler (12 & 13) B. Wilkerson (7)

    Box Score

    You never want to go to your pen early in a series, but it worked out tonight. This could be the best performance we’ve seen out of the pen all year. Between Carlos Marmol, Bobby Howry and Ryan Dempster, the pen went 5 innings without allowing a baserunner. Throw in nine strikeouts and you’ve got one shocked Lou Piniella. Howry has really turned the corner in my opinion and has not allowed a run since May 25th. He’s seen his ERA go from 5.56 at that time to a respectable 3.78 after tonight. Having Howry turn himself around gives the Cubs another reliable late inning arm, which is something we sorely lacked in the first part of the season. That being said, I now feel good about the pen when Howry, Wuertz, Marmol and Dempster come in. Eyre, Gallagher and Ohman are a different story.

    The biggest story going into this series was Sammy Sosa and his quest for 600. Shame on everyone for not wanting him to get it. Regardless of the grudge you hold against him for petty things in a season that wasn’t worth much anyway, it’s still a major milestone and it should be celebrated. Only four players in the history of baseball have ever reached it. One of them was a Cub. I think that’s a pretty cool thing to celebrate. What does holding a grudge do but make you angry?

    I don’t have much else to say about the game tonight. It was a rather boring game overall. Once the pen got to work for us, it was lights out for the Rangers and almost for me. I fought a battle with my eyelids and actually won for a change. Unfortunately Milwaukee also won behind a good outing from Ben Sheets. We’ll need to just keep plugging away and wait for them to falter again. It just takes time. This is an important stretch of games for us and it’s a road trip we really need to try to sweep.

    STARS OF THE GAME – All based on WPA

  • First Star – Ian Kinsler (.335)
  • Second Star – Carlos Marmol (.268)
  • Third Star – Ryan Dempster (.209)
  • Turd of the Game – Sean Marshall (-.280)

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