Well here we are, May 15 already, can you believe it? One week closer to Memorial Day and the start of Chicagoland’s “summer” even though it’s still been in the 40s nearly every night lately! I am looking forward to doing some serious gardening … been in yard-cleanup mode for the past two months and that gets old fast. Maybe GirlieView will explore some gardening talk as the temperatures increase. What doe that have to do with Cubs baseball, you ask? Why IVY of course! I can tie nearly anything in when the need arises!
It’s been a rough day around here today so maybe we all actually need to talk about baseball for a little while. Let’s get to the week.
As I gathered info for this week’s post, I found it interesting that last week I wrote about a 6 win/1 loss week, but yet I feel much better (in my gut) writing this week’s review even though we went 4-2. Things are looking up on several fronts. The bullpen is inspiring more confidence, even Soto has begun to contribute (slightly) more offensively! Speaking of confidence, Joe posted the results of the first monthly Cubs Confidence Survey with some interesting results! More on that later.
Fri 8/Sat 9/Sun 10
Tough weekend. Randy Wells had a good showing in his first start for us (standing in for Carlos Zambrano and his pulled hamstring which by the way is shaping up nicely and he’s expected to re-join the rotation next week) but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead for him and we lost 3-2. The offense had some missed opportunities as well and are perhaps equally (or more) to blame. Even more painful than the loss itself was the injury to Aramis Ramirez’ shoulder. Just not a good Cub day all around. Late in the day Friday the Cubs announced the signing of Ryan Freel from Baltimore for Joey Gathright (no loss there IMO). You can read more about that signing and people’s opinion of it here.
Saturday was pitiful. You could almost see the despair on the player’s faces. If they themselves took the confidence survey that day, they’d have had no boxes to check. The 12-6 loss prompted some discussion about fundamentals which is actually one of my favorite topics to chit chat about (even though I missed this particular discussion). Isn’t it funny how when the going is good, the fundamentals seem better, and when the going is bad, everything is magnified? Do you think they actually play better when they’re winning, or are the mistakes just not as evident since no one really cares once the W is recorded? What are your thoughts?
Is it a good place to mention how much I hate Ryan Braun? It has nothing to do with the fact that he did well against us. It’s all about his cocky self-love … every time I see him watch himself on the replay screen my skin crawls. He talks to himself all the time, no doubt letting himself know how wonderful he thinks he is. I was particularly miffed about the whole pitch-to-the-head thing during Saturday’s game. What did you guys think, did the ball hit his head or hit his bat? Len and Bob seemed convinced it hit his bat, not his head, and based on my previously stated disdain (for Braun, not Len and Bob!!) I will agree. So if it hit his bat and not his head, then he lied about it. To his defense I think any player is going to take a base when the umpire offers it, so I’m ok with that. I’m not ok with all the drama and posturing that followed. Ok, so you got away with it Ryan. No need to play it up as if Dempster landed you square between the eyes (which I kind of wish he did, heh heh!) And then all the glaring and fist-pumping again later when he hit his home run in the 7th … he’d do well to take the high road and learn some humility. Not gonna happen, I know!
I’d better start practicing a little brevity here or this week’s column is going to stretch all the way into next week!
Sunday was a better day. This was the first glimmer of hope I saw from the bullpen in some time. Guzman, Marmol and Gregg preserved a nice game for Sean Marshall and the Cubs won 4-2. Some of the players wore pink wristbands, and Ryan Freel, Milton Bradley, Geovany Soto, Mike Fontenot, Aaron Miles and Ryan Theriot used pink bats in support of MLB’s annual Mother’s Day “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” initiative that raises awareness about breast cancer. Thanks guys! (Monday off.)
Tues 12/Wed 13/Thurs 14
San Diego came to town. I love their pale yellow uniforms. Pale yellow is my favorite color. I know no one cares When I was young they wore some hideous gold’ish color if I’m remembering correctly. Ok, moving on! Briefly, this series went win, win, and win! Tuesday 6-2
, win for Harden over Peavy with Bradley and Scales home runs. Wednesday 6-4 with a Soriano leadoff home run followed by a Theriot home run on the first pitch of his at bat (and he followed up with another one later!) Geo homered, the bullpen continued to show some life … things are looking up. Win for Lilly. Thursday 11-3 highlighted by a 6-run 5th inning and a 4-run 6th inning. Johnson, Scales, Fukudome, Miles and even Ryan Dempster all had two hits apiece. Poor Chad Gaudin didn’t look very good in his first outing against the team that let him go. I don’t miss him, but I wish him well. Just not against us! Also on Thursday Milton Bradley’s suspension appeal ruling was delivered, one game, same fine. Some related discussion here.
As I mentioned earlier, Joe posted the results of the first monthly Cubs Confidence Survey on Thursday night. I found the results to be really interesting. They got me to thinking … of course people who had good weeks (Guzman, Theriot for example) scored well and people who had rotten weeks (Lee) scored badly. Then you have the perennial favorites (Soriano) scoring well and the real suck-ups (Cotts and I’m sure Samardzija if he was still around) scoring poorly. But for the mid-range guys, I got to wishing there was some way to know whether the respondents rated their confidence in the player as a whole, or their confidence that the player is filling the role they are supposed to be filling, which is how the survey was supposed to be completed (Joe worded it much more eloquently than me.) There’s a difference. It was Dave L. who taught me that last year. I hated Jason Marquis (not as much as I hate Ryan Braun!) Really couldn’t stand the guy, thought he sucked and had zero confidence in him when he took the mound. (Didn’t help that he ruined my visit to Wrigley when I sprung for the good seats across the aisle from the pink-hat guy and we lost like 12-3 or something hideous like that.) Hated Marquis and reflected that in my blog posts. Dave taught me, though, and he was right, that he was filling the role he was assigned. He was the fifth starter, much like Marshall, and your fifth starter isn’t going to be your shining star. Sure we’d all have loved if he did better. But he was adequately filling the role that he was assigned. I lightened up on him then.
My point is, I tried to score the players in that light, when I completed the survey. They might not be my favorite, and they may not always be the best, but if I am confident they can adequately fill the roll to which they are assigned, that’s good in my book.
Hope you all have a great week!