Archive for April, 2008

There's Something About Sori

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

An interesting story is developing from Chicago that involves Alfonso Soriano. I bring this up because Joe asked about trading Soriano away and there has been some talk here recently about how good or bad the signing and the contract will be in the long run. Third base coach Mike Quade talked about Soriano and said that Soriano was definitely hurt and still hurting from the run from first to third last year. He said “He has undoubtedly lost a step.” Quade went on to say that when he is deciding whether or not to send Soriano around the bases he needs to keep in mind that he is slowed down and that he does not want Soriano to get hurt again. This is interestingly vulnerable from a member of the organization. Look for Quade to be pressured to retract the comments. However, if this is an admission that his abilities are beginning to decline (How many people who have “lost a step” ever get that step back?) this is a very bad thing.

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Game 22 Probables & Farm Report

Thursday, April 24th, 2008
Scouting Report on Today’s Starting Pitchers

Jason Marquis – Marquis earned his first win of the season against the Pirates on Saturday, tossing six innings of one-run ball. His sinker was sharp, he said, which led to seven strikeouts and only one walk. Marquis gave up six hits in what was his longest outing of the season. He’ll need that sinker at Coors Field against the reigning National League champs.

Aaron Cook – In his last start, Saturday at Houston, Cook overcame a high early pitch count and held the Astros to two runs, one earned, and four hits in seven innings. Cook has his sinker working and is able to throw a cut fastball to take hitters off of it. He has become the Rockies’ most dependable pitcher.

  • Cook is a pitcher who throws hard and has a nasty sinker to keep the ball down off the bat. That fastball can crank up to 98 mph and the sinker isn’t much softer. He also adds a “slurve” and good stamina.
  • Has been known to get a little lazy when he’s ahead in the count, and that’s when the hits pile up. Left-handed hitters pound him.
  • Settling in as a reliable mid-rotation starter.

View the stat preview from Baseball Reference here

All Scouting Information taken from MLB.com and TSN.ca


Tracked Player Results

Got a player you’d like to see added to the player tracker? Drop us a line in the comments

Organizational Roundup

(AAA) – Iowa Cubs – No Game

(AA) – Tennessee Smokies – Lost vs. Carolina (3-7)

(High A) – Daytona Cubs – Won vs. St. Lucie (5-4)

(A) – Peoria Chiefs – Lost vs. Lansing (1-2)

(SS) – Boise Hawks open their season June 17th

(RK) – Arizona Cubs open their season June 22nd

View the full organizational report courtesy of First Inning here.

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Cubs to Celebrate 10,000

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

From the Cubs Media Dept.

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today announced plans to raise a flag in honor of the 10,000th win in franchise history. The 10,000th-win flag, along with the Cubs “W” flag, will go up this afternoon and be flown atop the Wrigley Field scoreboard for the duration of the current Cubs road trip.

The 10,000th-win flag will be taken down Tuesday, April 29 prior to the 7:05 game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field and autographed by the entire team. Starting April 30, the flag will be auctioned exclusively on www.cubs.com with all proceeds benefiting Cubs Care.

“The Chicago Cubs are honored to be only the second club in Major League Baseball history to reach the 10,000th-win plateau. With the auction of this historic flag, we want to turn this great franchise win into a big win for the community and Cubs Care,” stated Matt Wszolek, director of sales and promotions.

The Cubs reached 10,000 wins with a 7-6 victory last night in Colorado.

For more information or to take part in the auction, please visit Cubs.com beginning Wednesday, April 30.

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When You’re Hot….You’re Hot

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

First Star – Aramis Ramirez (.582)
Second Star – Ryan Spilborghs (.457)
Third Star – Ryan Theriot (.248)
Top Play – Ramirez home run in the top of the 9th, scoring 2 (+.640)


It’s starting to get dangerous, how hot we’re playing. Can I tell you a secret? I’m starting to think we’re going to win the World Series. What I need to remember, though, is that no team or player is as good as when they are hot or as bad as when they are cold. We’re not going to beat up the ball for runs a game all year, but it’s certainly fun right now.

Rich Hill looked better until he seemed to hit the wall in the 6th. It’s an improvement, but not quite the start I would’ve liked. I mentioned a couple of days ago that I don’t make any changes until May. For Hill, that means one more start. He needs to make it a good one or I’m off his bandwagon. Whether or not Lou Piniella feels the same way remains to be seen. I tend to think he’ll be a little more patient with him.

Kerry Wood blew a save and, what do you know, a blog says he sucks. Come on people. Relax a bit. Kerry Wood is our best option right where he is. Give the guy a break. Everyone blows games. No closer is going to go the whole season without screwing things up every once in a while. We’ve seen Bob Howry look really good since coming here at times and really bad at times. We’ve seen Marmol blow innings he’s pitched. Everyone does it. There is no reason to panic and start changing things that are working. Let’s not forget that we won the game, which is the ultimate goal.

The offense continues to dominate, with Geo narrowly missing a cycle and Ramirez once again coming up clutch. Every day someone on this team is getting the big hit and it’s exciting to see that some of those are coming in late and extra inning situations. Championship teams take care of business in those situations.

Misc. Notes

  • I was surprised to hear that since this team’s beginning, the team record all time has never dipped below .500. That’s impressive.
  • At the beginning of the game, when they showed the lineup for the Cubs, all 8 starters had OBP above .400. Yowza!!!
  • Rich Hill had three at bats. All three resulted in a weak groundball to second.
Question for the Day

If you had the option right now would you trade Alfonso Soriano, and eat salary, to the Yankees for a lefty like Hideki Matsui to provide the lefty power needed to allow Fukudome to slot into the number 2 spot? You give up age, but you gain a piece that seems to be sorely needed.

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Probables & Farm Report

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008
Scouting Report on Today’s Starting Pitchers

Rich Hill – Hill is breathing a lot easier now. The young lefty picked up his first win in his last start on Friday against the Pirates. He had spent a week working on the side, and it paid off. Against Pittsburgh, he gave up one run on three hits and three walks while striking out four. Hill still has some issues to resolve, but this was an important first step. However, Coors Field may not be the best place for his next start. He is 0-2 with an 11.32 ERA in two games there.

Franklin Morales – After helping the club to the playoffs in a late callup last season, Morales is finding things more difficult as a member of the Opening Day rotation. But just when Morales was starting to look overwhelmed, he took a giant leap forward in his last start, a victory over the Astros. His team scored six first-inning runs but he gave up four in the bottom of the frame. But by doing what the Rockies asked — quickening his tempo, not thinking as much — Morales righted himself and didn’t give up a run for the next four innings.

  • Has an electric arm and a potentially devastating arsenal of pitches. Can dominate when he’s on his game on the mound.
  • Is still very wild and his good games are very sporadic. Gets hits harder the second and third time through the batting order.
  • A strong mid-rotation left-hander.

View the stat preview from Baseball Reference here

All Scouting Information taken from MLB.com and TSN.ca


Tracked Player Results

Got a player you’d like to see added to the player tracker? Drop us a line in the comments

Organizational Roundup

(AAA) – Iowa Cubs – Won vs. Oklahoma (5-1)

(AA) – Tennessee Smokies – Lost vs. Carolina (3-4)

(High A) – Daytona Cubs – Lost vs. Juniper (1-2)

(A) – Peoria Chiefs – Lost vs. Lansing (2-7)

(SS) – Boise Hawks open their season June 17th

(RK) – Arizona Cubs open their season June 22nd

View the full organizational report courtesy of First Inning here.

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More on Marty

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

I got an e-mail from a reader yesterday and I thought I’d share.

Dear Joe,

I do not know if that was you or someone else that wrote the entry about Marty Brennaman but I wish there would be additional columns about the unfortunate incident until Marty is forced to further respond. If he’s going to knock Cubs fans, do it to our faces; not in a cushy radio booth.

First of all, I hate the throwing of the baseball back tradition anyway, especially when fans cheer. Hello, the Cubs gave up a homer 15 seconds ago. It’s no time to cheer. Those fans, and any fans that throw anything onto the field of play should be kicked out with no questions ask. It’s completely out of any decorum in how to behave in a sporting event. You are there to cheer and to boo and not to make offensive remarks. If Marty had said “THOSE fans are idiots…” or “THOSE fans give or make Cubs fans look bad…” or “It is becoming an increasing growing problem in Wrigley Field when SOME idiots….” Instead, the words he chose revealed that he believed ALL Cubs fans are assholes and are the worst in baseball. Furthermore, he went on to say the very next day on a Chicago radio station that half of Cubs fans are brain dead morons. Of course, like a politician, he added a qualifier that if I offended anyone I apologize. Those words are very hurtful, unprofessional, and do not belong in Major League Baseball by a major league announcer.

A quick background on myself, I was the first person in my family born here in 1980 (Eastern Europe originally). My earliest memories of my life were sitting at my parents’ diner and scanning the Chicago Sun-Times box scores. I learned “what it meant to be an American” through baseball even though I still had not learned how to speak English. It’s through the Chicago Cubs, for better or worse, that helped me feel like I belonged in a country where my parents didn’t speak the language, where the customs and traditions were very foreign to me in this foreign country. The first game I attended when I was 6 against the Pittsburgh Pirates when Ryne Sandburg (my hero) hit a homer for a 1-0 victory. I pissed my pants willingly that day because I wasn’t going to miss any part of the ballgame going to the bathroom. I attended opening day this season and I still felt that same feeling as I did 21 years ago: the greenest grass in the world, the smell of old hot dogs and spilled beer, the scoreboard; it’s like going back in time to the 1920′s and seeing Babe Ruth and other legends trot out on the same field.

I’ve attended well over 100 games in my life at Wrigley and another dozen or so at Milwaukee (Country and Miller), the Cell, Comerica, and Great American Ballpark (my brother graduated from Miami, OH last year). I may have been drunk at a few of those games but I have never behaved in such a foul manner as those 18-24 idiots did last week. I found generally positive experiences at almost every game I’ve been to. I’ve seen Cubs fans overserved as I’ve seen Milwaukee fans. One time at Miller, a guy a deck on top of me spilled a beer on purpose on me laughing afterwards. Should I say all Milwaukee fans are assholes? Should I say that everyone affiliated with the Reds are racist because Marge Schott used the “n” word on numerous occasions? Of course not. Anyone with any intelligence can make that difference. For an old SOB like Marty to call me those names, I cannot tell you upset, angry, and disgusted I am.

Some interesting Marty Brennaman notes this from wikipedia:

In 1988, Brennaman along with Joe Nuxhall, appeared before National League President A. Bartlett Giamatti at the NL office, in New York, New York in regards to accusations that Brennaman incited the crowd, causing a delay, after an incident at a ballgame involving the ejection of Pete Rose after bumping umpire Dave Pallone. After the ejection, Reds fans littered the field with debris causing a delay in the game, while Brennaman criticized the umpire’s call. Brennaman had this to say regarding the incident.

“I still maintain we were right,” Brennaman said. “I’ll never apologize for that. They accused us of inciting a riot. I don’t think we did then and I don’t think we did now.”

I guess I am an obnoxious fan because I was the first in my family to attend college and law school. I guess I am an obnoxious fan because I am helping my family business as father fights going blind from glaucoma. I guess I am an obnoxious fan because I am a horrible horrible person. I guess I am brain dead moron because I am a Cubs fan. But what does the make Reds fans who threw debris onto the field? What does that make Marty as an instigator? It only means that a few dozen Reds fans in 1988 are as dumb as those Cubs fans last week. It also makes Marty a hypocrit.

I will be calling the Cincinnati Reds Public Relations Department in a few days, Michael Anderson is in charge. I assume that Marty won’t answer or care. However, Joe, this is not a stupid fan on a message board on the internet, this is not a tee shirt vendor making an inappriopriate t-shirt, this is not an usher who makes a mistake in terms of language at a game. This is Marty “F’ing” Brennaman. This is the announcer for the major league ballclub. In some ways, this is the face of their franchaise (because they’re not good). And I don’t think you or I or any Cubs fans that pride themselves as loving the GAME should take this sort of verbal abuse. You don’t come into my house and insult me without leaving with your teeth in a bag. You can tell that as his rant continued that his hatred of the Cubs was getting the best of him. Didn’t the Cubs win their division last year after being down 10 games in May?

I will not go to Cincinnati any longer to watch ball games. I will not spend $100′s that go to the cofers of the Cincinnati Reds that pay Marty Brennaman upwards of $500,000. Len Kasper is customer of my parents diner although he doesn’t come in too much during the summer. I cannot believe he would ever say something like that. And he has too much class to respond in a verbal war with Marty either.

Therefore, Joe I would like your website to be a voice of the fans. I can’t go to ESPN 1000 or WSCR 670 and rant about how bad of a guy Marty Brennaman is for a full 30 minutes like he did against you and me. I can’t get a full column in the SunTimes or the Trib to counteract Marty. But I will not take this laying down. If Marty doesn’t want to take a moment of his time to listen as to how words are powerful tools that can be hurtful weapons, I will make my voice heard as I believe many other Cubs fan will. I have tickets to a Reds game at Wrigley for this year. I will sitting near or under the press box and I hope Marty has his windows open. If he doesn’t want to listen to me now, he will sure listen to me then.

Vangel “Van” Stojanovski
Cubs Fan

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Making It Look Easy

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

First Star – Ted Lilly (.251)
Second Star – Kosuke Fukudome (.186)
Third Star – Reed Johnson (.186)
Top Play – Reed Johnson’s bases loaded single in the 4th. (+.151)


(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Is it just me or does it seem like everything we’ve had a tough time doing in the past is coming easily this year? We’re winning games at home. We’re putting teams away in the game and not letting them get back in it. We’re 5-1 against lefties. We’re taking care of business in extra innings and we’re drawing walks to the tune of best in the National League for OBP. Oh, and that’s not even mentioning Lee’s power surge, Cedeno’s hot play and production from the catching position. It’s getting hard not to get cocky now that this team took care of business against a team that many felt was the best team in the NL coming into the season. The knock was that we hadn’t beaten anyone of consequence, and now we have. Let’s see if we can’t keep the hotness going against Colorado.

Ted Lilly pitched a lot better today, but still struggled with his command at times after starting the game by retiring the first 10 hitters he faced. He pitched himself into and out of a jam in the forth after giving up a double to our old pal, Angel Pagan, who over slid the bag in a retarded slide. After pitching around David Wright and walking Carlos Beltran, Lilly got Carlos Delgado and Damion Easley to pop out on the infield to get out of it without any runs. He got himself into another jam in the 6th and was touched up for the only run of the game. When all was said and done, Lilly had himself a quality start and a lot of exhales from Cub fans around the world. This is a “build on me” start. What I mean by that is that Lilly can build on this start as he goes into his next outing. Use this as confidence that you can still do just fine and begin to work on the walks.

Ronny Cedeno had another big day today, despite not getting a nod as one of the stars of the game. Rob asked the question “Theriot or Ronny”, but I still think it’s a non-issue at this point. We’ve seen Ronny get hot in the past. The question is whether or not this success is finally the sign that he’s figuring things out. Right now, despite the success, he still hasn’t supplanted Theriot in the lineup for me, but I think he has upped his stock over Mike Fontenot. I think he deserves the starts at 2B when Lou would normally think about going with Fontenot. The most important thing I’ve seen from Cedeno over the last few days is the lack of bonehead plays that have so often typified his style of play on the field. If he can get those out of his game, he can be a viable player in this league.

Kosuke Fukudome is my daddy. Five plate appearances today and he was on base after every one of them. I did a quick check to see where Fukudome ranked in the ever exciting pitches / plate appearance stat and found that he’s ranked 4th with 4.44 pitches seen per PA. This guy is the real deal. I think you have to start making the case for him to be an all star as a rookie. I’d love to see the Cubs well represented in July at Yankee Stadium. Who knows, maybe that would actually get me to watch.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Lilly was winless in his last eight starts coming into today
  • Aramis Ramirez has now gotten on base safely in all 20 games of the year.
  • Reed Johnson has only swung at aprox. 1.7% of first pitches this year.
  • Where was Carlos Delgado going on the ball hit by Lilly in the 4th? It was clearly not his play, yet he tried to play it and got himself so far out of position that it allowed Lilly to reach on an infield “hit”.
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Another win and a topic for discussion

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

This is not the recap, that is sure to come later. However, with Ryan Theriot being hurt and Cedeno coming up clutch to put games away the last couple days I was wondering…Is it possible that Ronnie Cedeno could play strong enough right now to move Theriot to second base or out of the starting lineup altogether? Cedeno has been high on the Cubs list in the past and seems to have a higher ceiling than Theriot. I would think undoubtedly that no matter what happens Cedeno has leaped Fontenot as the first infield bench guy.
What do you think? Cedeno or Theriot.

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Probables & Farm Report

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008
Scouting Report on Today’s Starting Pitchers

Ted Lilly – Lilly is still searching for the elusive first win. The lefty did post his longest outing of the season in his last start against the Reds on Thursday, but gave up five runs on six hits and three walks over the six innings. His velocity was better but he’s still not right with his location. The three walks he issued snapped a streak of nine consecutive games issuing two or less dating to Sept. 5, 2007. This is the first time since 2002 that Lilly has begun the season 0-3.

Nelson Figueroa – Figueroa is to make his third start in Pedro Martinez?s stead. The Mets couldn?t have expected much more from Martinez than Figueroa has provided. He pitched seven innings, allowing three hits, one a two-run home run by Nick Johnson, and two walks while striking out seven in his most recent start, against the Nationals on Thursday. He has pitched in three games at Wrigley Field, starting one. He has a 2.53 ERA over 10 2/3 innings at Wrigley.

View the stat preview from Baseball Reference here

All Scouting Information taken from MLB.com and TSN.ca


Tracked Player Results

Got a player you’d like to see added to the player tracker? Drop us a line in the comments

Organizational Roundup

(AAA) – Iowa Cubs – Lost vs. Oklahoma (1-6)

(AA) – Tennessee Smokies – Won vs. Carolina (6-3)

(High A) – Daytona Cubs – Won vs. Juniper (4-2)

(A) – Peoria Chiefs – Lost vs. Lansing (3-6)

(SS) – Boise Hawks open their season June 17th

(RK) – Arizona Cubs open their season June 22nd

View the full organizational report courtesy of First Inning here.

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