View From The Bleachers

May 17, 2008

Daily Roundup – 5/17

Filed under: General — Joe Aiello @ 11:58 am
Scouting Today’s Starting Pitchers

Zach Duke continues to impress, as he moved to 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA in three starts this month. The lefty has now allowed three or fewer runs in six of his eight starts and continues to show quality movement on all of his pitches. Duke’s most potent pitch right now, though, is his sinkerball, which is the biggest reason for the high number of ground-ball outs Duke has induced. That sinker is being complemented by an above-average changeup as well. Duke is 0-1 against the Cubs this season and has allowed six runs to Chicago in 11 innings pitched.

  • Has a wicked curveball that left-handed hitters have trouble handling. His fastball tops out at around 93 m.p.h. Keeps a quiet focus while on the mound.
  • Needs to improve his change-up, which will help him against right-handed hitters. Tends to get hit hard in the early innings of his starts.
  • A decent mid-rotation starter.

Carlos Zambrano’s last start was a good one. He went 2-for-4 at the plate and also picked up the win in a romp over the Padres. Big Z gave up three runs on six hits and two walks over seven innings while striking out five, and is off to the best start of his career. The right-hander improved to 4-0 with a 1.96 ERA at home. He’s probably happiest with his at-bats. Zambrano loves to hit, and he got two at-bats in the Cubs’ six-run fifth inning. He now has hit safely in his last four starts, going 5-for-10 with a double and a homer.

All Scouting Info taken from and

Daily Webtopia
  • If this truly is the future of athletic shoes, I’m buying stock in Sketchers – (Source)
  • 24 is coming back in November (Rock On!!!) – (Source)
  • Mark Prior is having a setback…who would have thought? – (Source)
  • This is friggin awesome…man I love Griffey – (Source)

News & Notes

  • William Muldowney pitched 5.0 scoreless innings
  • Dylan Johnston was 3-for-4
  • Joshua Lansford was 4-for-4

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. Round Rock (4-5)

(AA) – Tennessee Smokies – Lost vs. Montgomery (1-5)

(High A) – Daytona Cubs – Won vs. St. Lucie (3-2)

(A) – Peoria Chiefs – Lost to Beloit (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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May 16, 2008

Sports Radio + Edmonds = Lofton?

Filed under: General — Matt @ 10:19 am

I don’t typically listen to sports talk on the radio. Most of these guys make my head spin, with their over opinionated blather. I still picture the guys back in high school that would sit around the lunch table yapping on and on about athletes and whether they worth a lick or not. Not a one of them had a shred of athletic ability, but felt they were experts on every sport because they “studied the game.” Yeah, whatever.

Last night on my way to my softball game, I turned on “The Show” on ESPN 1000. Really, it was this or listening to overplayed pop tunes on the Mix, and don’t get me started on that craptastic radio station. So our entrepid hosts, started discussing the signing of Edmonds. Jonathon Hood led off with this nugget, the Cubs should of been signing Kenny Lofton, if they needed some left handed pop in their lineup, not the 38 year old Edmonds.

Let me let you guys and gals have that sink in for a few minutes.

Yeah, exactly. WHAT? Kenny Lofton has pop? You’ve got to be kidding me. Oh yes, his next reasoning? Kenny’s been at home working out getting ready for a team to call his number. OK. So the guy that’s been playing since February is a worse pickup because Kenny’s been at HOME working out. Brillant. He then went on to say that the Cubs need to get Lofton before the Cards or the Brewers do, because he can turn the tide of the Central race. And that Edmonds has been known to be aloof in the clubhouse. I’ve heard the same about Lofton, so what does that mean? He then went on to discuss how this was hurting Pie’s development, by not getting him regular Major League at bats. Call me carzy, but I’m not seeing how signing Kenny Lofton would help him with that either. No offense Mr. Hood, but I believe the hamburger I ate last night, had more intelligence than you in this matter.

I’m a Kenny Lofton fanboy, I’ve stated it before. But this ridiculous offering of baseball knowledge hurt my head. There’s a reason Kenny’s still at home. He’s, what 41 or 42? His run is probably over, as should Mr. Edmond’s career too, but Edmonds is a much cheaper alternative at this point. I’ve said all week, and I did change my tune after first word broke, that this is a good move. Edmonds will be here either the rest of the year because he plays like his old form, or he’s gone within a month. It’s that simple. Meanwhile Pie gets regular at bats in AAA, which he needs desperately.

Once again, I question my sanity after listening to sports radio.

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May 15, 2008

5 of 6 Is Pretty Good…but we lost to Estes

Filed under: General — Rob Bukowski @ 12:47 pm

Last month I wrote about my concern that the Cubs were a good team that would make the playoffs. Yet i was concerned that the Cubs were unable to hang with the ace pitchers of a playoff team and pull out a win. Last night the Cubs bested Jake Peavy, one of the best pitchers in baseball. They are looking good. They are stepping up and hitting well and are hanging with the best teams and the best pitchers in baseball. Soriano is beginning to hit a hot streak and his average has jumped by like 60 points since returning from the DL. The whole team, including Adolpho, is taking more pitches and is taking walks consistently. They are second in the league in walks. The Cubs ARE SECOND IN THE LEAGUE IN WALKS. This is a good sign and one that has in my estimation only taken 31 years to get here…or longer I only have 31 years of experience with the team.

On a note of update: Jim Edmonds has been signed as Joe mentioned and he will bat against right handers probably beginning today against Greg Maddux. He will bat in the five hole and that will allow Fukudome to move into the two hole. Sounds pretty good to me. I am having a hard time understanding why people are against the Edmonds thing. What on earth does it hurt to try? He’s old…yes. But what can it really hurt?

And on a final note: It hit me today that if Jim Edmonds does fail then we have the privilege of releasing him and ending his career. All is not lost.

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Cubs Sign Edmonds Following Win

Filed under: Media Releases — Joe Aiello @ 6:54 am

First Star

– A. Soriano (.218)
Second Star – T. Iguchi (.135)
Third Star – K. Fukudome (.133)
Top Play – Alfonso Soriano singled to left (Liner). Kosuke Fukudome scored. Reed Johnson scored. Ted Lilly advanced to 2B. (+.153)

Rather than write a recap, here is the story you want to talk about anyway:

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today signed outfielder Jim Edmonds to a 2008 contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. To make room for Edmonds on the 25-man roster, outfielder Felix Pie was optioned to Triple-A Iowa after tonights game.

Edmonds will wear uniform No. 15 and will be available for tomorrows 1:20 p.m. game against the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field. Chicagos 40-man roster now stands at 39.

Edmonds is a four-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove Award winner during his 16 major league seasons with the Angels (1993-99), Cardinals (2000-07) and Padres (2008). The 37-year-old outfielder has appeared in the post-season six times, advancing to the World Series in 2004 and 2006. In 2004, Edmonds won a National League Silver Slugger Award after batting .301 (150-for-498) with 42 homers and 111 RBI.

The left-handed batter and thrower owns a career .286 batting average with 397 doubles, 363 home runs and 1,127 RBI in 1,840 major league games, including 1,639 games as a centerfielder. Edmonds boasts a .989 career fielding percentage in centerfield, the fifth-best mark among active players (minimum 1,000 games in centerfield). His 125 assists in his career rank second among all active outfielders behind only Ken Griffey, Jr. (148).

Edmonds joins the Cubs leading all active centerfielders with a .377 career on-base percentage, ranking second with a .526 slugging percentage and third in hits (1,817), home runs and doubles.

The Fullerton, Calif., native was traded to San Diego from St. Louis on December 15, 2007 but began the 2008 season on the disabled list recovering from a right calf strain. Activated April 5, he batted .178 (16-for-90) with one home run and six RBI in 26 games before being released on May 9. Edmonds joins the Cubs having batted .278 (5-for-18) with a .381 on-base percentage in six games in May after batting .153 (11-for-72) with a .235 on-base percentage in 20 games in April.

Edmonds boasts 10 seasons with 20 or more home runs and four seasons with 100 or more RBI, including his career-bests in 2004 that led to his Silver Slugger Award. He has been slowed by injuries the last three seasons, including post-concussion syndrome and injuries to his right shoulder, lower back and groin in 2006-07 and the right calf strain at the start of the 2008 season. Nevertheless, Edmonds averaged 123 games played per season between 2005-07 with an average of 20 home runs and 71 RBI per campaign.

Pie had been with the Cubs since Opening Day and is batting .222 (14-for-63) with one home run and seven RBI in 30 games for the Cubs this season.

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May 14, 2008

Media Release – Tell it to the Cubs

Filed under: General — Joe Aiello @ 7:27 pm

CHICAGO – “Tell it to the Cubs”, a new fan feedback program announced today by the Chicago Cubs, will provide season ticket holders the opportunity to join Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney and additional members of the Cubs front office in a discussion of issues surrounding the club, Wrigley Field, the Wrigleyville neighborhood and beyond.

The first “Tell it to the Cubs” luncheon is scheduled to take place June 12 at Wrigley Field prior to the Cubs home game.  To maintain an open and active discussion, the Cubs will select a small group of season ticket holders each month from among those who express interest.

Additionally, the Cubs today announced a new e-mail address,, where all fans can provide comments and suggestions directly to Cubs management.

“As an organization, our obligation is to field a championship team, maintain the 94-year-old Friendly Confines and preserve the Wrigley Field experience,” said Kenney.  “We can accomplish these goals and believe our decision-making will be improved with greater input from our fans.  We are excited today to provide better and more efficient ways to interact with all of our fans.

“We recognize the significant commitment our season ticket holders make every year, so our initial ‘Tell it to the Cubs’ luncheons will include attendees from that group,” Kenney added.  “We hope to expand the opportunity to even more Cubs fans as the program evolves.”

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Smokies Get Swept

Filed under: General — Joe Aiello @ 4:54 pm

From the Smokies Media Dept:

Sevierville, TN – The Tennessee Smokies match up against the Montgomery Biscuits for the next five games, which could not come soon enough. The Huntsville Stars swept the Smokies in a five game series with a 3-2 win today at Smokies Park in front of 6,571 screaming 4th graders. The loss dumped the Smokies to thirteen games behind the front running Stars.
Today’s game was a pitchers duel for the entire contest, with Smokies starting pitcher Mitch Atkins (2-4) putting in a second consecutive solid performance. Sam Narron (6-1) pitched a complete game gem however, yielding only two runs on eight hits while walking just one Smokies batter. The Smokies got their first run off of Narron early in the bottom of the second inning. Robinson Chirinos drilled a one-out double to left field and then advanced to third thanks to a throwing error on a pickoff attempt by Narron. Matt Matulia cranked out a sacrifice fly to center to score Chirinos, and the Smokies had a 1-0 lead.
Atkins kept the Stars scoreless until the top of the fifth inning, when Huntsville tied the game on an RBI single by Michael Brantley. Huntsville struck again on Atkins in the top half of the seventh when Ryan Crew led off the inning with a single. After a sacrifice bunt, Crew scored as Narron helped out his own cause with an RBI single up the middle. Narron later scored thanks in part to a throwing error by Atkins to stake the Stars to a 3-1 lead.
The Smokies mounted a comeback in the bottom of the ninth, however, as Doug Deeds led off the inning with a double down the left field line. After a Chirinos sacrifice and Deeds on third, Matulia blooped a high arcing shot down the right field line. Stars right-fielder Cole Gillespie made a fantastic diving grab, robbing Matulia of an extra base hit, but Deeds still tagged up to score. Chris Robinson kept the Smokies hopes alive with a two-out single up the middle, but pinch hitter Steve Clevenger grounded out to first base to end the threat.
Atkins took the loss for the Smokies, but pitched very well going seven innings of eight hit ball while giving up three runs, although only one was earned. He fanned four Stars batters on the day, with Tanner Watson coming on for two innings of scoreless relief. The day belonged to Narron, who threw 103 pitches in notching the complete game victory.
The Smokies take to the road beginning tomorrow night as they face off against the Montgomery Biscuits in a five-game series. Jeff Samardzija (3-3, 4.81) is due to take the hill for the Smokies to face off against left-hander Jake McGee (3-2, 4.58) for the Biscuits. Tennessee will return home on Tuesday May 20th for two consecutive five-game series against the Mississippi Braves and Carolina Mudcats.

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Daily Roundup – 5/14

Filed under: General — Joe Aiello @ 3:00 pm
Scouting Today’s Starting Pitchers

Jake Peavy pitched well enough to earn his fifth victory of the season in his last start on Friday against the Rockies, allowing three runs on seven hits over six innings with six strikeouts. He had a costly throwing error in a three-run sixth inning as the Rockies forged ahead for good. Peavy even had a double and scored the Padres’ lone run of the game.

  • Has a lethal arsenal of pitches that leads to strikeouts by the bushel. Is a workhorse and a great leader of a pitching staff. Can dominate on the mound.
  • Left-handed hitters have more success than righties, relatively speaking. Injuries are still a concern, especially because of his taxing workload.
  • One of the best starters in baseball.

Ted Lilly spent most of Spring Training working on his changeup, and in his last start, the effort paid off. Lilly struck out 10 for his 11th career double-digit strikeout game and beat the red-hot Arizona Diamondbacks. In the game, Lilly gave up three hits and walked two. He helped himself, hitting a game-tying RBI single in the fifth. Lilly used his “Will Clark” stance, according to teammate Derrek Lee. Whatever works.

All Scouting Info taken from and

Daily Webtopia
  • Sam Zell has rejected the IFSA offer for Wrigley Field – (Source)
  • When does a starting pitcher lose his stuff? – (Source)
  • Where do these GM’s come from, anyway? – (Source)
  • Ryno has a bit of a temper – (Source)
  • Cub’s Minor Leaguer takes a line drive to the face. – (Source)
  • Breaking down the 2001 (Mark Prior) Draft – (Source)

News & Notes

  • Marco Carrillo pitched 7.0 scoreless innings
  • Micah Hoffpauir was 2-for-4 with 5 RBI
  • Kyle Reynolds was 3-for-6

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. Portland (5-2)

(AA) – Tennessee Smokies – Lost vs. Huntsville (2-3)

(High A) – Daytona Cubs – Lost vs. Brevard County (0-3)

(A) – Peoria Chiefs – No Game

(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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May 13, 2008

A Loss Means A Discussion

Filed under: General — Joe Aiello @ 10:41 pm

First Star – T. Hoffman (.209)
Second Star – C. Meredith (.204)
Third Star – K. Green (.195)
Top Play – Greene’s Home Run in the 4th (+.212)

Edmonds vs Pie – Is there a way we can just avoid talking about this? I guess if I don’t, I probably shouldn’t be a blogger, right? That’s our role. We talk about the rumors and transactions and things of that sort. With that being said, it’s probably best for me to weigh in that I’m torn on the idea of signing Edmonds to play CF. On one hand, you’ve got a guy that can be signed for the prorated minimum salary, because of the Padres picking up the $4 million he was owed this year when they released him. From that standpoint, it’s worth the risk, right? At the same time, at some point, you’ve got to make a decision on what the plan is for Felix Pie. This team has to decide what they want to do with him. I truly believe they’re scared to give him a chance because they believe he’s not as good as they once hoped. It almost seems as if they’re desperately hoping they’re wrong in that assessment, but are afraid to confirm it because it would mean they get nothing for him in a trade. That’s what prospects are, though. They’re guys that might develop into what you think, but they might not. If you’re cutting your losses on Pie, then move him in a trade now, because his place is not on the bench in the Majors. That is doing absolutely nothing for him from a developmental standpoint. Regardless of whether you give the at bats to Reed Johnson or Jim Edmonds or even someone like Coco Crisp, who was once rumored in a deal, looking for a player to play CF when you have someone that’s ready for a chance shows that you’re not fully committed to him. That’s the most disappointing thing for me about the situation. There is a reason why we’re not usually bringing up big time talent for position players. We mishandle them. The team misused Corey Patterson, hyping him up and then trying to turn him into a player he wasn’t meant to be. We’ve mishandled Pie by doing similar things. They’ve been overly cautious with Pie, almost afraid to give him a chance, all the while putting him in the middle of the order in the minors. Pie is not and never will be a middle of the order guy. All this time, he should have been hitting at the top, learning his role and how to fulfill it. The Cubs haven’t done that and now they wonder why his stroke is long and he’s not the leadoff hitter they imagined him to be. Guys don’t magically figure these things out. That’s what the development process is for. Until this team learns that, Pie is better off as trade bait. So bring in Jim Edmonds if you want, just decide Pie’s fate once and for all already.

  • I think I remember someone having a question about what the rule is for a dropped third strike and when the runner is allowed to run to first. It came into play tonight in the 4th as DeRosa took off for 1st base only to be called out while he was running. The rule is as follows: A hitter can attempt to take first base on a third strike that is dropped by the catcher with less than two outs and 1st base unoccupied OR with two outs, regardless of runners on the bases. DeRosa was the second out of the inning, but Geo was on 1st at the time, hence the dropped third rule not being in effect. Hope that helps. I enjoy taking a peak into the rule book, so don’t ever hesitate to ask your questions. I will certainly do my best to interpret the book.
  • Mad props to Marquis in the 1st when he snagged a line shot that would have otherwise hit him square in the ribs. Len and Bob described it best when they said “The ball caught him”.
  • USA Today ran a preliminary rookie of the year vote, with Geo and Kosuke coming in 1st and 2nd. In case you forgot, the last time that’s happened was in 1989 when Jerome Walton and Dwight Smith did it. Let’s hope this years rookies don’t turn into those guys.
  • Aramis is throwing the ball a lot better of late. He threw from his knees to get Edgar Gonzalez in the 2nd, which is a far cry from the terrible throws he was making at the beginning of the year.
  • I predicted Soriano would get red hot this month and one comment laughed at me and actually said he wasn’t going to read any more. Hmm, I believe I had that one right.
  • Wuertz deserves a mention for keeping the team in the game in his multi-inning call of duty. Well done, sir.
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Tyler Colvin Comes Up Big

Filed under: General — Joe Aiello @ 7:19 am

From the Tennessee Smokies Media Dept:

Sevierville, TN – The Tennessee Smokies dropped their third game in a row to the Huntsville Stars on Monday night at Smokies Park by the score of 9-7. Smokies starting pitcher Mark Holliman (0-1) gave up five home runs to Huntsville Stars batters through 4 2/3 innings of work, which was too much for the Smokies to overcome despite a two home run night for centerfielder Tyler Colvin. The loss dropped the Smokies to 15-23 on the season while Huntsville improved to 27-11.
For the first time in the series, Tennessee jumped out to the early lead thanks in part to Colvin’s first home run of the game, his fourth of the season. Colvin rocketed a 3-2 pitch from Stars starting pitcher David Welch (5-1) over the right field wall to give the Smokies a 1-0 lead. Huntsville later countered with two runs in the top of the third inning off Holliman to claim a 2-1 advantage.
The Smokies bats came alive again in the bottom half of the third. Back to back singles by Nate Spears and Matt Matulia brought Colvin to the plate, and he delivered once again. Colvin drilled a home run to deep left center field, his second of the night, to put the Smokies back on top 4-2.
The lead was short-lived however, as Holliman was chased for six runs over the next two innings of work.. Huntsville smacked four home runs off the Smokies starter over a two inning span to claim an 8-4 lead. The Stars added another run in the top of the seventh to increase their lead to five runs.
But the Smokies mounted a seventh inning rally to make things interesting again. With Welch out of the game, the Smokies offense teed off on Stars reliever David Johnson. Nate Spears, who was 3 for 5 on the night, tripled to left center field to score Matt Camp and cut the lead to four. Spears came in to score on a deep sacrifice fly off the bat of Colvin for this fifth RBI of the evening. Jake Fox later cracked a solo shot to deep left field, and the Smokies were back in business trailing by a score of 9-7.
The Stars bullpen came through, however, and shut the Smokies down in the eighth and ninth innings. Joe Bateman and Juan Sandoval combined to allow just two hits and no runs, with Sandoval earning his second save of the season. The Smokies banged out fourteen hits on the night, with multiple hit night for Colvin, Spears, Fox and Doug Deeds.
Game four of the five game series against the Huntsville Stars will take place on Tuesday night at 7:15 pm. The Smokies will send left-hander James Russell (0-0, 2.70) to the mound to face off against Huntsville left-hander Brea Wright (1-3, 3.71). The series will continue through Wednesday afternoon

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