Archive for June, 2009

A Glitch In The System

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Actually, there were a few “glitches in the system” last night.

In the top of the first inning the Cubs had the bases loaded with their cleanup hitter, DLee, up. At that point Detroit’s pitching coach, Rick Knapp, came out to have a word with his pitcher, Edwin Jackson. I don’t know what he told him, but it worked. Derrek hit a double play ball, 6-4-3, but beat the throw to first for an RBI fielder’s choice.

The next batter up, Micah Hoffpauir, the designated hitter, struck out. Geovany Soto grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice to end the “rally”.

So the bases loaded with nobody out produces only 1 run. I’d call that a major “glitch”.

In the bottom of the 1st, Big Z gave up back to back extra base hits (a double followed by a triple) to start his outing. Score was now tied at one. That’s a “glitch”.

In the top of the 5th, Andres Blanco bunted himself to 1st base. Two fly outs later (thanks to Soriano and Theriot), Andres, finding himself still standing on 1B, was thrown out trying to steal 2nd. That ended the “rally’’ and constitutes another “glitch” in the Cubs run producing “system”.

In the top of the 6th Milton walked, DLee doubled, and Soto sacrifice flied Bradley in. That’s not a glitch, that’s how it’s supposed to work. But, however, the inning started with runners on 2nd and 3rd, no outs, and the designated hitter up, but ended with only one run scored. That’s a big “glitch”.

In the bottom of the 7th, Zambrano hit the leadoff man Kelly, then gave up a 2 run homer to Mr. Inge. Although Big Z picked off pinch runner Anderson after walking Ordonez, the damage was done.

In the top of the 8th, DLee singled and Hoffpauir homered, giving the Cubbies a 4-3 lead. That’s great! But, in the same inning, Theriot grounded out while both Bradley and Soto struck out. So the run production was limited to 2. That’s a “glitch”.

The Cubs were in front 4-3 for one and a half innings. That’s great!

But in the bottom of the 9th Cubs closer Kevin Gregg walked the first batter, and gave up the walk off 2 run homer to pinch hitter Ryan Raburn. Mr. Raburn is a season 220 hitter who was previously 0-4 in pinch hitting appearances. That’s a “glitch”.

The game was close from the git go, and could have gone either way. But the Cubs could have earned a win with just a few less “glitches”.

As an aside, the Cubs’ leadoff man, Alfonso Soriano, went 1-5 on the evening with a single, two fly outs, a strike out and a pop out to 1st base.

And, on a positive note, DLee extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a double and a single and drew a walk after hitting a double play ball in the first.

Also, TheRiot was credited with a “heads-up” play in letting a soft liner drop in front of him, then turning a 6-4-3 double play, but it was more an instance of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” base running. Had Ryan caught the ball on the fly, he could have doubled the base runner off at first, too.

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The Burning Plain

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Go Gregg yourself

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

I have coined a new phrase, and yes, it means exactly what you think it means. I have few others that can be derived from it:

  • We are so Gregged (this one is a good one for use late in a game where we have a lead heading into the ninth.)
  • Gregg off (particularly useful when someone says to you “did the Cubs blow another late lead?”)
  • I don’t give a Gregg (helpful when you are asked who you want the world series…the Dodgers or the Red Sox?)
  • What the Gregg? (good offseason line when Jim Hendry signs someone like Aaron Miles)
  • Gregging gangbanging Mother Gregger (White Sox fan)

Feel free to call Webster (Noah, not Mitch) or to add your own.

I feel better now. Venting helps.

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Sandberg: Sosa doesn't belong in the Hall

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Today Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg added his name to a growing list of people who say that Sammy should not be given baseball’s highest honor if allegations that he used PEDs are true. In an interview with ESPN 1000 radio Ryno was quoted as saying: “They use the word ‘integrity’ in describing a Hall of Famer in the logo of the Hall of Fame, and I think there are gonna be quite a few players that are not going to get in.”

One can hardly imagine Sandberg using steroids, although he was certainly a guy who could have benefited from them. Ryno wasn’t blessed with the kind of physical talents that Sosa was, he had to earn things the old-fashioned way. Those of you that have never seen Sandberg’s induction speech Journey to the Center of the Earth ipod

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The Borrowers on dvd should really take the time to watch it. He was a man of few words when he played for the Cubs but he laid it all out on the line when he spoke at Cooperstown. He told us all that “he had too much respect” for the game to cheat or go up to the plate and try to just golf out homeruns.

Although I certainly enjoyed watching Sosa and McGwire duel it out and loved it when Sammy hit his game-winning hits I too have to think about “respect.” I’m glad the young kids that are coming up through the ranks in the Cubs organization have a teacher like Sandberg; perhaps some of the things he says and stands for will rub off.

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Who Do You Drop?

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
.!.



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Getting Your Opinion on Dempster

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Watching Ryan Dempster this year, something seems different. It’s not just the fact that he isn’t getting the run support like last year, but something is different and I can’t put my finger on it. Here are some number I found.

Pitches Per Plate Appearance

:

2008 – 3.90
2009 – 3.81

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2008 – 63%
2009 – 61%

First Pitch Strike Percentage

2008 – 58%
2009 – 58%

3-0 Count Percentage

2008 – 6%
2009 – 6%

0-2 Count Percentage

2008 – 27%
2009 – 19%

I can’t put my finger on it, but again, something seems different. Help me out here. What am I missing?

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Four in a row

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Another Cubs feel-good day, Jake Fox led the way with three RBIs and Randy Wells got his well-deserved first win. We saved our pen which is great because the Cubs have a bunch of games in a row now, having forsaken their offday tomorrow for a makeup game against the Braves. BTW did any of y’all get to see the Red Sox vs. Bravos? I was concerned that the umpire might have thrown his shoulder out tossing players, it looked to me like he cashiered Chipper Jones, Bobby Cox and a Braves pitcher.

I really liked the inning that former Cub Todd Hollandsworth spent in the booth, I had a somewhat negative impression of this guy after being a Dusty favorite in his last year with the Cubs. His kids were priceless; the one closest to Brenly seemed totally focused on the game, oblivious to the fact that he was on nationwide TV. Watch for this kid in about eight years, he might be a ballplayer!

Tomorrow the Cubs go to Atlanta and it appears that the Cubs will put up their subs. Soriano and Theriot will get days off and it’s likely we’ll see some other moves as well (Hoff might be in right as the Braves’ pitcher Vasquez is rightnanded.) Johnson’s back is a concern which makes me wonder if he’ll see some DL time as the Cubs (wisely) are now DL’ing players instead of letting them occupy valuable bench space.

Wells’ performances really make me wonder whether or not Harden will be back next year.

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Jeff Samardjiza Was Unstoppable

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

I’ve been slack of late with farm notes, primarily because I can’t seem to find a format that I like that isn’t too time consuming. Any suggestions are always welcome on that.

Minor League Notables from 6/20/2009

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  • Jeff Samardzija (SP – Iowa) – Samardija was outstanding, throwing eight strong innings and not allowing a run. He struck out six hitters and allowed 10 baserunners (6 hits / 4 walks). He also had a hit in his three plate appearances and brought his record to 4-3 on the season. The one thing that I think he needs to work on a little more is getting ground balls. This year he’s allowing slightly more fly balls than grounders, something he didn’t do with Iowa last year. If he can continue to work on that and have strong 6+ inning outings, I see no reason why he couldn’t help contribute to the big club other than the fact that we have a log jam in the rotation.
  • Jeremy Papelbon (SP – Tenn) – Papelbon grabbed himself a win and combined to pitch a shutout with the help of Alessandro Maestri and Marco Carrillo. Pap smeared the Mudcats over 5.2 innings of work, not allowing a run and striking out two (Sorry, but I had to use the sick pun). He only walked one, which was good to see because control has been his main issue this year. He’s got a WHIP of 1.68 so far this season with the Smokies.
  • Christopher Carpenter (SP – Peoria) – Carpenter (no relation) tossed six innings of one run ball, the only run coming off a HR. One the season, Carpenter has a 4-3 record with an ERA at 2.60
  • Robinson Chirinos (C – Daytona) – MiLB has a story about him and his conversion from middle IF to Catcher and playing for Jody Davis (Read Story)
  • Starlin Castro (SS – Daytona) – Castro played in the All Star game for the Florida State League and put on a show. (Read Story)

Cubs Media Release

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From the Cubs Media Department:

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today recalled right-handed pitcher Kevin Hart from Triple-A Iowa and placed right-handed pitcher Angel Guzman on the 15-day disabled list with a right triceps strain.

Hart, 26, is 3-3 with a 3.10 ERA (18 ER/52.1 IP) in 22 games (six starts) since beginning the year with Iowa. He has averaged 9.8 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched, striking out 57 compared to just 20 walks in 52.1 innings of work. Hart, who has held the opposition to a .206 batting average (39-for-189), has posted a 1.41 ERA (5 ER/32.0 IP) with three victories in his last six games since May 22, all starts.

In his third year with the organization since Chicago obtained him from Baltimore in December of 2006 for outfielder Freddie Bynum, Hart has a 2-2 record with a 4.89 ERA (21 ER/38.2 IP) in 29 career relief appearances for the Cubs in 2007-08.

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Hart split the 2008 campaign between Chicago and Iowa, breaking camp with the major league club for the first time in his career. He appeared in 21 games during four stints with the Cubs, going 2-2 with a 6.51 ERA (20 ER/27.2 IP), picking up his first career victory April 5 vs. Houston with 1.2 shutout relief innings. With Iowa, he posted a 2.81 ERA (18 ER/57.2 IP) in 26 games (10 starts) while going 4-2 with five saves.

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Originally selected by the Orioles in the 11th round of the 2004 Draft, Hart made his big league debut with Chicago in 2007 as a September call-up. He made eight relief appearances and posted a 0.82 ERA (1 ER/11.0 IP), earning him a spot on Chicago’s post-season roster.

Guzman, 27, is 2-1 with a save and a 2.53 ERA (9 ER/32.0 IP) in 28 relief appearances for the Cubs this season, his 10th year in the organization. He earned his first career victory April 18 vs. the Cardinals, throwing a scoreless 11th inning in Chicago’s 7-5 win.

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Dusty speaks about Sosa

Saturday, June 20th, 2009
.!.

Today the Chicago Tribune

reported comments made by former Cubs manager Dusty Baker. When asked about reports that Sammy was juicing Dusty made a very human response, he pondered what he would tell his ten year-old son.

Anybody that visited this site in 2004 would tell you that I am not a fan of Dusty’s but I have to give the guy credit for crystallizing the problem here. What *do* you tell your son when so many of the better players of the modern area were found to be cheaters? I know what I would tell my son, I’d tell him that good sportsmanship is more important. 99.9% of the kids that play Little League, Babe Ruth or American Legion ball are not going on to Major League careers – these endeavors should teach young players a sense of values when it comes to sports (Joe should consider one day becoming a Little League coach for this reason.) If you do it right then maybe the youngster can take it with him into future life in other endeavors.

A young player should instinctively know that a win isn’t a win unless it’s fair and square. Accolades are not deserved if one has to cheat to get them. He or she should know that cheating not only dishonors one’s self, it also embarrasses every one on the team and the sport. I sometimes think that kids aren’t taught properly when it comes to sports – the coach is too focused on winning and insufficiently tasked on ideals such as building character, self-esteem, team spirit and good sportsmanship.

Is it any wonder that we see the kinds of stuff we are seeing now?

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Derrek Lee…Please Forgive Me

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

I don’t know if this team is finally hitting it’s stride or if we’ve taken advantage of two poor AL Central teams, and I don’t care. These last three games have been fun to watch. I’ve got some thoughts for ya.

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  • Derrek Lee…I’m sorry for all the bad, mean things I’ve said about you, and for the even meaner things I’ve thought. Please forgive me, until you slump again and I hate you.
  • Man was I worried that Lou was going to out manage himself in this one. He used way to many freaking pitchers as usual and left himself with a tough position in using Patton as the last guy after he threw two innings the day before.
  • When you think about Kevin Gregg, even if it’s just for this series, be thankful we have him and not Kerry Wood this weekend. I love Woody, and it hurts a little to see him in the Indians’ uniform, but he’s been beat down this series so far.
  • Who the heck is this Valbuena kid and where is this power coming from?
  • 0-for-5 for Soriano. Do you think if his average falls below .200, Lou will move him out of the leadoff spot, or do you think perhaps Lou is just sleeping during the game and doesn’t realize it?
  • AA came through with a clutch hit and run single to really set up that winning wild pitch. Way to go Miles. Go back to the bench.
  • Fukudome…who’s your daddy big boy? Heck of a game, buddy. Well done sir.
  • Ted Lilly = Quality Start machine
  • We’re three fifths of the way through the rotation and we have two wins. That’s how we do it. We need to win one of the final two to play .600 ball through the rotation. That’s the goal each time.

Minor League Note

OF Cliff Andersen to Short-Season A Boise from Peoria

IF Jose Made added to Chiefs from Boise for Saturday’s game.

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