Archive for May, 2008

We Get A Win, but You Miss out on My Headline

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

(AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

For the second time in two days, the Cubs picked up a 3-1 victory, and while I’m thankful for the win, I can’t help but be a bit disappointed at the fact that I couldn’t use my nifty headline had the Cubs lost. Instead, I’ll have to just try it out on you here. “Cubs can’t break wind, which stinks.” That’s gold Jerry, Gold!!! Instead, I’ll just sleep happy and know we got a series win.

More Starts on the Horizon – A few days ago it was reported that Lou promised Sean Gallagher at least two more starts, with tonight being the first. I think it’s safe to say that if he can do anything positive in the second start, he should be the beneficiary of at least another two while Rich Hill continues to try to work his way back to the Majors. Tonight he pitched really well, getting outs and getting through seven innings of work. He pitched to the weather and kept the pitch count low enough to get himself deep into the game, despite getting hit in the pitching hand in the 1st inning that I thought would be the end of the night. Any time you can get seven out of what many would deem your 5th starter, you’ve received a treat. Get through those innings and get a win as well, even better. I’m excited about what Gallagher can do for this rotation. I’d even be willing to go out on a limb right now and make the prediction that he won’t see AAA again this year. Agree? Disagree?

Time to work on our bunting – Our sacrificing was atrocious tonight, with two sac bunt attempts yielding the lead runner being thrown out at 2nd. It happened to Gallagher in the 5th and then to Theriot in the 7th. Is it a terrible problem? No, overall, we came into the game 6th in the NL in Sac hits. Tonight it didn’t come back to bite us, but it’s still frustrating to have it happen twice in the same game.

What’s a Synonym for Clutch? – Ramirez. It happened again tonight as Ramirez picked up another hit in the clutch to give the team the lead in the 7th. It’s gotten to the point that when he comes up with the runners on base, I expect him to come through. Coming into the game his numbers with runners on were .325 / .424 / .627. So the numbers support the case. Oddly enough, he’s only had two plate appearances this year with the bases loaded. That’s surprising to me, and I can only credit the fact that Lee has been hitting the ball just as well and driving in runners ahead of Ramirez. I was shot down yesterday by Sour Bob who made the argument that Wright has more errors because he’s had nearly a third more chances. Doesn’t that mean he should only have roughly a third more errors? He’s more than doubled the number of errors that Ramirez has. Judging fielding has always been, and I believe always will be, a hard thing to judge. With that being said, who knows what the voters are using as the basis for their vote. Something’s in the system don’t make sense and fielding awards are one of them. All I was doing was stating a case for why Ramirez has an argument over Wright at this point.

Leather turns me on. – I love great defense. The Cubs flashed some leather in the 4th inning and probably kept a run off the board by doing so. Lee got it started with a great play to save a double off the bat of Luis Maza. Eithier singled in the next at bat, which would have drove in Maza had he reached, but was held to only a single on a great play to cut the ball off by Fukudome, who also flashed the leather later in the game with a diving grab. Eithier, feeling slighted at the single, decided to try to steal on Soto and was promptly introduced to Geo’s arm. Unfortunately, later in the inning, the defense came up on the negative side with a wild pitch (is that considered defense) by Gallagher and a throwing error, that probably would have been an out at the plate had the ball not hit the runner, by Soriano.

Jim Edmonds Watch – Where is he? Jim, can you hear me? Are you alive? I think we need to get a pulse on him if there is one left. Another wonderful game at the plate by Cardinal Jim. A big fat 0-4 has me clamoring for Andres Torres. Don’t like that option? Let me throw out another one. What about moving Fukudome to CF and finally giving Murton a full time chance to play RF?

Ronny Cedeno for president – The Cubs are now 6-0 with Ronny in the starting lineup. Get this guy in there more. I know he made the error tonight, but you can’t deny that he deserves a chance to get in there and produce a little more.

Ratings Ratings, Everywhere Ratings – Just in case you have been living under a rock over the past two or three days, we added a rating system to the site. The way it’s set up, it’s designed to recommend other posts the readership may like based on the ratings. What I really like about it, though, is that it gives me a chance to get your feedback on posts without having to leave a comment. Please take the quick two seconds to rate the posts after you finish reading them, and don’t feel like you have to rate every one high. Give us honest feedback to help us improve.

News & Notes from games played on 5/26

  • Donald Veal only allowed 1 ER over 7.0 innings pitched
  • Ryan Dempster only allowed one run in 7.0 innings pitched
  • Brandon Guyer hit 2 extra-base hits
  • Welington Castillo hit 2 extra-base hits
  • Russell Canzler was 3-for-4

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 (6-4)

(AA) – Tennessee Smokies – Won vs. Carolina (6-5)

(High A) – Daytona Cubs – Won vs. Brevard County (9-3)

(A) – Peoria Chiefs – Won vs Wisconsin (5-2)

(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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5/26 – The Pitch (Podcast)

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Memorial Day is a day for remembering fallen heroes, getting a sun burn, barbecuing and talking baseball. And “The Pitch” checks off one of them for you in its Monday edition, taking issue with the absence of Carlos Quentin’s name on the All-Star ballot despite his leading the AL in home runs and carrying the White Sox on his back.

The show also covers the over-hyped saga of Willie Randolph in New York following a week of speculation, meetings and near-application submissions from former Mets.

Along with the latest round of “The Pick-Off,” hosts Joe Aiello and Brandon Rosage review DL stints by Fausto Carmona and Andruw Jones. And Ichiro shares another gem through his interpreter regarding his favorite pastime had he not signed with the Mariners.

Listener e-mails, phone calls and more are all fair game in the Monday edition of The Pitch’s Week 9 coverage of the 2008 MLB season. Enjoy and interact via e-mail at or via phone at 360-450-MVN3.

Download the MP3 (16.6 MB)

Subscribe via iTunes Here 

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Ryan Dempster an All Star?

Monday, May 26th, 2008

(AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

What’s It Going to Take? – Dempster is now 6-2 with an ERA of in the mid 2’s. In the month of May, he’s 2-2 with a 1.89 ERA. So I ask you. What’s it going to take for you as a Ryan Dempster skeptic to get on the bandwagon. I’m not saying that you’re wrong for being skeptical of his success based on the past results for him as a starter for the Reds. All I want to know is what will he need to show you to ease your fears and win you over to his side. For me, I’m not there yet, but I’m close. If I can see another quality start or so in a row out of him, I think I may convert to Dempsterism. I may need to worship at the alter and pledge my allegiance to his skills. What about you? What do you need? Does today’s seven inning, one run job do the trick for you?

Regardless of where you stand on if he’s legit or not, the fact remains that what he’s done to this point has been way more than I would have ever anticipated from him, and I don’t think I’m alone on that. Is it out of the question for him to win 18 games? Is it out of the question for him to make the All Star game with Zambrano? Man, this stuff has me excited.

Aramis Ramirez is my MVP – If the season ended right now, Ramirez has my vote for the team MVP. I can’t even begin to recount all the times he’s come up huge for this team in the clutch. Today was yet another example. Even though his home run didn’t “win the game”, I really feel like it did a lot to help the Cubs win the game. Insurance runs, especially those that come on home runs, go a long way toward deflating the trailing team. It knocks the wind out of their sails and the Cubs couldn’t afford to go into the ninth with the Dodgers having any wind. They nearly tied the game in the 8th, so you have to assume that they would have had a chance to tie it in the 9th. They had the momentum on there side until Ramirez hit his home run to put it out of reach. In addition, his home run probably did a little ease the worries of some fans as Wood trotted in to close it out. There are Wood haters out there that panic each and every time he comes in. Ramirez helped them out as well today.

In addition to the play at the plate, I mentioned about a week ago that I felt like Ramirez had been throwing the ball better to first. Little did I know that today marks the 32nd straight game without an error for him. He started out a little rough in the first few weeks of the year and has since righted the ship and appears to be ready to once again make a run at a gold glove award. I felt like he had a legit case for winning last season, but lost out to David Wright, who had double the amount of errors. This year Wright has already got 9 errors. I think it’s Aramis’s time.

What’s a Losing Streak? – With today’s win, we kept from losing our third straight. Did you know that the Cubs are the only team in the Majors that have still not lost three games in a row all year? If you’re going to be a quality team, you consistently stay away from long losing streaks. We’ve done just that. We’ve had chances to lose three in a row, but each time we’ve taken care of business and rallied to get the win. On the flip side, last year’s squad had a nice four game streak by the 13th of April, and another three game slide later in the month.

Let’s not get excited over this. – Len and Bob were discussing Joe Torre and his playoff success. They made a big deal about the fact that Torre had the most playoff wins in MLB history. What they failed to mention, and most fail to mention when discussing playoff records, is that they’re useless, unless you look as rate stats. By explaining the playoff rounds, most counting stats have been rendered useless and outdated, including wins. It’s not fair to make such a big deal that someone has X number of this or that in the playoffs when they’ve had a ton more chances than some of the older players and managers had in the past. It used to be that the playoffs consisted only of the World Series for cryin’ out loud. How can we compare those?

I can feel a change – Here are the first five lines to the song by the Boomers:

I feel a change coming
I feel it in my bones
I feel a change coming and I’m not alone

I can feel it in the air I breathe
I see it on my TV

What does this have to do with the Cubs? It has to do with Jim Edmonds. He’s now hitting .150 on the year with an on base % under .200. He’s not hit well for the Cubs, which isn’t too big a deal because of the small amount we risked on him. He got the start today, and I’m being honest when I say that I forgot he was in the game at one point. He really hasn’t made much of an impact since being here, aside from the tremendous catch in Houston. With Reed Johnson making most say “eh”, is it time to dip into the farm for…..not Felix Pie, but ….wait for it…..Andres Torres? Who? Andres Torres is a 30 year only CF in Iowa. With Pie down in Iowa, Torres has seen his playing time cut, despite the fact that he’s hit over. 300 with an OPS over .900. Why not release Edmonds, add Torres to the 40 man roster and recall him, and let Pie continue to figure things out in Iowa. The next time Pie comes up, he needs to stay up for good and play every day. To have that happen, we need to be absolutely certain we can give him that chance. With him struggling even in Iowa, now is not that time. Why not give Torres a chance to make a name for himself? He’s 30, so it’s not like it’s going to ruin his development. Give the guy a chance, which is something he hasn’t had since 2005 with Texas.

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Geremi Gonzalez Killed at 33

Monday, May 26th, 2008

From the Cubs Media Dept:


– Chicago Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry today issued the following statement upon learning of the passing of right-handed pitcher Geremi Gonzalez.

“The Chicago Cubs are very saddened today to learn of Geremi Gonzalez’s sudden passing.  Geremi began his career as a Cub, leading our pitching staff with 11 wins as a rookie in 1997 and, despite an arm injury, helping the club early in the season a year later to an eventual post-season appearance.  The organization sends its heartfelt condolences to his family.”

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Who Should Close for this team?

Monday, May 26th, 2008

I want to hear from you!!! I’ve seen the topic added to the suggestions box about who should be the closer for this team. We’ve seen Wood blow a couple saves, but look good at times as well. We’ve seen Marmol be lights out, but know that he’s young. What I’d like to do is address the question of who you would like to see be the closer for this team and why. I’m going to compile a collection of the reader and staff suggestions (max 250 words) and post them as a massive roundtable next week. In addition, the best reader submission, as judged by me, will receive a copy of MLB ’08 the show for PS3. If you don’t have PS3, then throw that sucker on E-bay and make a quick $50. With that being said, take some time to formulate your opinion on the topic and enter the mix by sending it to:

Please don’t leave it in the comment section. I will forget about those and that would be a shame.

  • Jon Lester’s dad has cancer – (Source)
  • Chris Jaffe takes a look at the Ten most impressive no-hitters of all time – (Source)

Series Tale of the Tape

Scouting Today’s Starting Pitchers

Chad Billingsley continued to pitch like an ace against the Reds, throwing seven scoreless innings and allowing four singles. In this game, he had complete command of his elusive curveball. Billingsley has quality starts in four of his last five appearances. His only appearance against the Cardinals last year was in relief.

  • Though a power pitcher with mid-90’s heat, he also has a fantastic curveball and great command. Also displays a strong slider.
  • He’d be even more effective with a better change-up, since left-handed hitters can crush him on occasion. Needs to improve his stamina.
  • Ace potential, but for now a strong No. 2 starter.
  • 2-0, 0.64 in last 14IP

Ryan Dempster made one bad pitch in his last start against the Astros, and they made him pay. He had given up two earned runs over 20 1/3 innings prior to the game, and Hunter Pence doubled that when he connected on his second career grand slam. Dempster was more upset with how the hitters got on ahead of Pence’s slam. He fell behind, which led to bad inning management. Dempster struck out five and walked two over six innings.

All Scouting Info taken from and

News & Notes

  • Randy Wells only allowed one run in 6.0 innings pitched
  • Alessandro Maestri only allowed 2 runs and 2 hits over 6.0 innings pitched
  • Eric Patterson was 3-for-4
  • Luis Figueroa was 3-for-4
  • Koyie Hill was 3-for-4
  • Tony Thomas was 2-for-3 with a double

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 (9-2)

(AA) – Tennessee Smokies – No Game

(High A) – Daytona Cubs – Lost vs. Tampa (8-12)

(A) – Peoria Chiefs – Lost vs Wisconsin (2-3)

(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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