Archive for August, 2009

GirlieView (08/21/2009)

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Quick Weekly Wrapup

  • Friday, 08/14: vs. Pittsburgh, W (17-2)
  • Saturday 08/15: vs. Pittsburgh, W (3-1)
  • Sunday 08/16: vs. Pittsburgh, ppd (rescheduled for 9/30)
  • Monday 08/17: @ San Diego, L (4-1)
  • Tuesday 08/18: @ San Diego, L (6-3)
  • Wednesday 08/19: @ San Diego, W (7-1)
  • Thursday 08/20: @ Los Angeles Dodgers, L (7-2)

Question of the Week

How do you feel? I feel like crap. I think it’s over and worse than me thinking it’s over, I think the Cubs know it’s over. On a good note, though, great discussion on Much Ado About Nothing. Disagreement without turning nasty, informative without being preachy. Great job guys (and gal!)

Other Stuff

Had a tornado here in Chesterton, Indiana this week … about a mile away from me as the crow flies. Really sad to see all the damage especially to the old stately trees (video, another video).  NO injuries whatsoever, which is amazing and wonderful. And it sure puts a whole lot into perspective. Made my “it’s over, Cubbies” week a little less heartbreaking with so much else going on.

Weekly Lizzies

I bet you already know know there can be only one Lizzie this week. This one stands alone. Many people said many interesting things but this one was too special to ignore. Enjoy this replay in full, and have a nice weekend. :-)

Sing Along with Sherm (here)

To the tune of “Little Pink Houses”

There’s a black man with a brown glove

Standin’ out in right field

He’s got an interest rate

Running through his head

You know he thinks he’s got it so good…

And there’s a goggleman in the bullpen

Servin’ up all kinds of slop

And they look at each other and say

It’s payday, baby, who gives a f***

Oh, but ain’t the Chicago Cubs

Playing pitifully

Ain’t this year’s Cubs, you know statisticallllllllllllly

Ain’t they just unlucky,

Yessirree, BABIP, yeah,

Little Grey Boxes For you and me

Oooh, yeah,

Well, there’s a young man in a new shirt

Wishes he could get in the game

He’s got a splinter in his ass

He says, Lord this must be my destination

Cause they told me when I younger

Said, boy, your earn it and you can play

But just like everything else

Those crazy dreams came and went cuz

They got other player’s contracts to pay…

Oh, but ain’t the Chicago Cubs

Playing pitifully

Ain’t this year’s Cubs, you know statisticallllllllllllly

Ain’t they just unlucky,

Oh, Yessirree, BABIP, yeah,

Little Grey Boxes For you and me

Oooh, yeah,

(pause for instrumental interlude and/or a snack)

Well, there’s more and more people

What do they know?

This team cannot score

But to Wrigley they gooooo…

Ooh, yeah,

And there’s winners and there’s losers

But they ain’t no big deal

Cause the simple man, baby,

He’s paying the bills,

While the athletes, yeah, they just take pills….

Oh, but ain’t the Chicago Cubs

Playing pitifully

Ain’t this year’s Cubs, you know statisticallllllllllllly

Ain’t they just unlucky,

Yessirree, BABIP, yeah,

Little Grey Boxes For you and me

Oooh, yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Little Grey Boxes for you and me…

you and me

you and me…

(Guitar solo)

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and another thing about how stupid this organization is

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Last night prior to his minor league rehab start Carlos Zambrano took batting practice in Peoria. He hit multiple home runs, swinging as hard as he could…even though he is trying to rehab pulled muscles (and even though the team asked him not to).

The idiocy seems to never end. They should fine Carlos $25,000 for this. They will probably do nothing.

and by the way in Peoria they use a designated hitter.

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Am I Missing Something?

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Lou has Jake Fox and Sam Fuld ready to go, but he starts the non-performing Alfonso Soriano instead?

Later in the game, he has Jake Fox and Sam Fuld ready to go, but he choses to pinch-hit with the “switch non-hitting” Aaron Miles instead?

What’s wrong with this picture?

I imagine Lou has his reasons.

My guess is that the decision has been made to go with the “superstars” for the rest of the season and let the chips fall where they may.

Daily lineups will be determined in reverse order of salary paid. The Cubs will get their money’s worth.

The sad thing is that as the Cubs just go through the motions for the rest of the 2009 season, and if I bother to watch, I won’t get to see the best players play. Oh, I might get to see the employees with the better lifetime statistics, but not the better players. And that’s a shame.

Have I asked before if the “imminent” sale of the Cubs will include a bankruptcy declaration? And, if it does, will all current contracts be open to renegotiation? That may be the only hope. That or another option which I won’t bother to mention.

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The Wit and Wisdom of Yogi Berra

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

After the last few days (and the last few weeks) I decided we need to lighten things up around here. So I submit the following.

I was searching for books about Yogi Berra and this one popped up. Since I was familiar with the author, I decided to give it a try.

“The Wit and Wisdom of Yogi Berra” by Phil Pepe, was first published in 1974. The inside back jacket cover says it “explores the boy, player, hero, coach, manager, husband, father, buffoon, and wise man who is Yogi Berra. It’s a charming, sidesplitting look at one of baseball’s favorite characters”.

I remember the author, Phil Pepe, as being Ron Santo’s coauthor on “Few and Chosen”, a look at the best Chicago Cubs through the ages.

This book contains many stories about Yogi, some short, some lengthy, some probably true. Here are a few of my favorites:

Casey Stengel is quoted: “You have to have a catcher, because if you don’t, you’re likely to have a lot of passed balls.”

Another story begins as some players in the clubhouse were talking about life insurance. “Yogi had just taken out a big policy, and the other player said it was a waste of money. “What the hell good will all that dough do you?’ he asked.
‘Well,’ said Yogi, ‘I’ll get it when I die’.”

Yogi and his wife, Carmen, were about to watch a movie on television. “Berra had talked for days about seeing this particular flick, The Magnificent Seven, starring Steve McQueen.
‘He made that picture before he died,’ Berra explained.”

Berra’s close friend and Montclair neighbor, Dr. John McMullen, was the principal stockholder of the American Shipbuilding Company, of which George Steinbrenner is chairman of the board. “When Steinbrenner assembled a group to buy the Yankees from the Columbia Broadcasting System in 1973, he asked McMullen to join him as a limited partner. It was years later that McMullen said, ‘Nothing is more limited than being a limited partner of George Steinbrenner’.”

Yogi was arguing with an umpire that a drive to the outfield hit the concrete and should have been a home run instead of a double: “Anybody who can’t hear the difference between a ball hitting wood and a ball hitting concrete must be blind.”

“The Wit and Wisdom of Yogi Berra” is full of stories like that. I enjoyed reading it immensely. I recommend it highly.

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Much ado about nothing

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Tonight the Cubs showed us all why it’s going to be difficult (if not impossible) to lock up another playoff berth. This is a road series that had to result in a sweep – instead the struggling Cubs were bested once again by a young upstart Padres team.

With just 42 games remaining the Chicagoans are in a dash for the finish line – this team appears to have cement shoes despite a remaining schedule that’s mostly at home against sub .500 teams. So why am I pessimistic? Aside from being 6 games down in the Central and nearly as many games back in the wildcard I’m more concerned about the team’s many question marks. These will likely be character faults with the 2010 team as many of the people that are underperforming will be back next year. So let’s dichotomize this Cubs team and where it’s going.

Geovanny Soto has been a disappointment at catcher; voted Rookie of the Year last year I’d put him in the running for Chump of the Year in 2009. Injuries notwithstanding this guy looks like a 2008 version of Jerome Walton to me – let’s give him one year to turn it around and then cut our losses.

Derrek Lee has really surprised me in a positive respect; where would this 2009 team have been without his timely bat? At second Fontenot let us down but Jeff Baker has done a commendable job filling in; this duo will likely compete for at bats in 2010. Ryan Theriot and Blanco will likely be back at short next year; everybody always seems down on The Riot but he’s one of the team’s few consistent performers.

Ramirez will be a question mark due to his left shoulder, he is the first to admit that his swing may result in further injury. Hopefully Josh Vitter can ramp up in terms of his development, we might just need it. Soriano is a total disappointment in left – the biggest waste of money the Cubs have ever had. Can we jettison this guy and try something else? I doubt it, he’s going to either ramp up his play and change his approach at the plate or get used to boos and pinch-hitting. I doubt he’s capable of either, we’re dealing with a guy that has a very limited intellectual approach to the game.

Fukudome and Reed Johnson are both questionable as well. Both can play a decent center field but why are we spending all that money when Fuld gets the same job done for less than a million? Another belly flop for Jim Hendry, more contracts that must be eaten. In right Milton Bradley can play either good ball or bad ball, it depends on the night.

The pitching staff will be inconsistent for the foreseeable future – Zambrano isn’t getting his job done and the rest of the starting staff (excluding Lilly) is questionable on a game to game basis. The bullpen is weak – why did we sign Gregg anyway? That guy sucks as bad as LaTroy Hawkins did, I will be very disappointed if he wears Cubbie Blue next year.

So the net-net is that I will continue to watch this Cubs team despite the fact that I have given up realistic expectations for this year. Will Hendry make some moves in the offseason? One can only hope.

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Things could be worse

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Just when I was ready to cry in my beer this morning I noticed that the Tampa Rays failed to sign either of their first two draft picks (LeVon Washington and Kenny Diekroeger;) the Texas Rangers were also unable to sign their first round pick Matthew Purke. Both teams will receive compensatory picks in the 2010 amateur draft.

This has to be a real letdown for Rays and Rangers fans – even the Pirates and Nats sign their number one picks! Apparently Washington is a Scott Boras client and Diekroeger has committed to playing for Stanford; Washington will return next year to the University of Florida while Purke (like Diekroeger a high schooler) has chosen to attend TCU.

In other news around the league it appears that Larussa and the Cards are interested in John Smoltz – The Cards only have three starting spots “locked up” (Carpenter, Wainright and Pineiro) and are in a pennant race so this possibility has to appeal to Smoltz. I seriously doubt that Smoltz will add much upside to an already competitive Cardinals roster, they are probably better off just developing Boggs and making do with Lohse.

Also what’s with all the beanballs? Matt Cain has apparently met with Met David Wright after recently beaning the New York third baseman. I’m sure this wasn’t intentional but this is the third player this month to have to leave the game after being hit in the head. Is it going to take another Kirby Puckett incident to get players’ attention? Hopefully managers around the league are talking to their pitching staff about this recent spate of beanings, it’s one thing to throw inside but it’s another thing to pitch inside and high. Let’s be careful people!

In non-baseball related news Brett Favre has signed a two year contract with the Vikings; the Vikes are allegedly trying to find a trade partner for Tavaris Jackson. I for one can’t wait to see Favre in purple for the first time in Lambeau Field – Favre will be a marked man this year in the four games he will play against the Pack and the Bears. It’s highly probable that both teams will have bounties for Favre sacks and methinks Brett will be too old to get out of the kitchen to avoid the heat; I doubt he will make it through the season as the Vikings’ first string QB.

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Sing along with Sherm

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

To the tune of “Little Pink Houses” 

 

There’s a black man with a brown glove

Standin’ out in right field

 He’s got an interest rate

Running through his head

You know he thinks he’s got it so good…

And there’s a goggleman in the bullpen

Servin’ up all kinds of slop

And they look at each other and say

It’s payday, baby, who gives a f***

 

Oh, but ain’t the Chicago Cubs

 Playing pitifully

 Ain’t this year’s Cubs, you know statisticallllllllllllly

Ain’t they just unlucky,

Yessirree, BABIP, yeah,

Little Grey Boxes For you and me

Oooh, yeah,

 

Well, there’s a young man in a new shirt

 Wishes he could get in the game

He’s got a splinter in his ass

He says, Lord this must be my destination

Cause they told me when I younger

Said, boy, your earn it and you can play

But just like everything else

Those crazy dreams came and went cuz

They got other player’s contracts to pay…

 

Oh, but ain’t the Chicago Cubs

Playing pitifully

 Ain’t this year’s Cubs, you know statisticallllllllllllly

Ain’t they just unlucky,

Oh, Yessirree, BABIP, yeah,

Little Grey Boxes For you and me

Oooh, yeah,

 

(pause for instrumental interlude and/or a snack)

 

Well, there’s more and more people

What do they know?

This team cannot score

But to Wrigley they gooooo…

Ooh, yeah,

And there’s winners and there’s losers

 But they ain’t no big deal

Cause the simple man, baby,

He’s paying the bills,

While the athletes, yeah, they just take pills….

 

Oh, but ain’t the Chicago Cubs

Playing pitifully

Ain’t this year’s Cubs, you know statisticallllllllllllly

Ain’t they just unlucky,

Yessirree, BABIP, yeah,

Little Grey Boxes For you and me

Oooh, yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Little Grey Boxes for you and me…

you and me

you and me…

 

(Guitar solo)

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Z’s a Lazy Pitcher and Theriot is Sickly

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Quick Hits

  • Carlos Zambrano admitted to the media that he was lazy (Source). Now if we can get Alfonso Soriano to admit he’s mentally incompetent we’d be on a roll.
  • Ryan Theriot has the flu and may be out of the lineup tonight. (Source)
  • David Kaplan reported that the sale was just about done….yeah yeah yeah. (Source)

Scouting Tonight’s Starters

Ted Lilly is expected to be activated from the disabled list for this start. The Cubs’ lone All-Star, he had been sidelined because of inflammation in his shoulder. In a Minor League tuneup Wednesday for Class A Peoria, he threw 58 pitches over five scoreless innings. Lilly gave up two hits, both in the first inning, walked one and struck out two. He needed just four pitches to get through the fourth inning. This will be Lilly’s first start since July 20. In that game against the Phillies, he lasted four innings, and gave up nine runs — seven earned — on eight hits over four innings.

Kevin Correia’s 15th quality start of the season got him his eighth victory of the season on Wednesday, when he allowed three runs in six innings against the Brewers at Miller Park. Correia allowed six hits with two walks and four strikeouts and lowered his ERA to 4.51, though he was burned a two RBI singles after getting two strikes on the opposing hitter. It was the fourth consecutive quality start for Correia, who has allowed more than three runs once in his past eight starts. Correia got 10 ground-ball outs and didn’t allow a home run for the sixth consecutive start. (MLB.com)

Has a good sinking fastball in the low-90′s, plus a solid change-up and slider. Pitches with good command. Is aggressive against right-handed hitters. None of his pitches strikes great fear into hitters, so he needs his mechanics and command to be fine-tuned. Struggles to get left-handed hitters out. A decent bottom-of-the-rotation starter. (TSN.ca)

Minor League Notes

  • James Russell pitched 5.0 scoreless innings
  • Jay Jackson struck out 7 batters and pitched 6.2 scoreless innings
  • Justin Bristow pitched 6.0 scoreless innings
  • Brett Jackson hit 2 extra-base hits. He was also noted in the recent edition of the Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet. “Tony Sanchez isn’t the only ’09 first rounder to get off to a hot start in low Class A. Jackson, the 31st overall pick from California, arrived in Peoria on July 31 and has put up a .328/.423/.574 line in 61 at-bats. An athletic, high-energy player with some pop in his bat, Jackson opened his week with a home run to lead off Peoria’s game last Friday against Wisconsin, and then slugged two home runs in an 11-1 thumping of Burlington on Wednesday. Jackson is on an eight-game hitting streak overall, a stretch that includes five multi-hit games.” (Source)
  • Ryan Flaherty hit 2 extra-base hits
  • Two prospects in the system have been suspended due to PED’s (Source)
Top Prospect Tracker
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What’s a Gaub Gotta Do?

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Quick Hit

Switched at Birth: Gorzo & Fire Marshall Bill?

Scouting the Starters

Ross Ohlendorf was nothing short of efficient in his last start as he gave up three runs on six hits in six-plus innings for the win against the Rockies on Tuesday. Ohlendorf is in the midst of a second-half surge as he’s 3-1 with a 3.07 ERA in five starts — the last four of which have been a quality start — since the All-Star break. If there’s anything that could derail him, it might be his ribs. Ohlendorf fielded a ground ball in the sixth inning against the Rockies and had his wind knocked out. He stayed in the ballgame and said he was a little sore postgame. (MLB.com)

Owns the ideal pitchers’ frame. Can throw an array of pitches with good pace but his best may be a nasty sinker. Has shown capablility as both a starter and as a reliever. He tends to give up too many hits. Is still a bit raw in terms of craft and mechanics, as he doesn’t have a lot of innings under his belt at levels above the lower minors. Solid middle reliever or rotation candidate. (TSN.ca)

Pitch Usage % – (AVG MPH)
Fastball – 64.6 – (90.8 mph)
Slider – 23.6 – (80.4 mph)
Changeup – 11.5 – (81.3 mph)
Curveball – 0.2, but my guess is that those were sliders that Fan Graphs miscalculated (76.6 mph)

Rich Harden did not get a decision in his last start vs. the Phillies. He retired the first 16 batters he faced before walking Carlos Ruiz with one out in the sixth. One batter later, Jimmy Rollins spoiled Harden’s no-hit bid with a two-run homer. That was one of two hits off Harden in his seven innings of work. He also struck out six. Harden has a 1.95 ERA in his last six starts. (MLB.com)


Minor League Notes

  • John Gaub continues to impress me. Really, all three pitchers we got in the DeRosa trade have been very good. Jeff Stevens has made appearances with the big club. Chris Archer has pitched well as a starter, and Gaub is pitching the lights out in AAA, which has me curious as to why he hasn’t been promoted as of yet. With all the need we have for a lefty in the pen, why not give Gaub a shot? If he doesn’t see the bigs by September 1st, he better be a call up when the roster’s expand.
  • Luis Rivas hit 3 extra-base hits
  • Vismeldy Bieneme hit 2 extra-base hits
  • Francisco Guzman was 3-for-5
  • Vincent Watkins was 4-for-6
  • Jae-Hoon Ha was 3-for-5

Top Prospect Tracker

Photo Op

Craig Muschko and three relievers combined for Daytona’s first no-hitter since 1996 as the Cubs beat Dunedin, 4-0, in the opener of a doubleheader on Saturday. The four hurlers issued two walks in the seven-inning contest. The Jays rebounded to win the nightcap, 3-2. Daytona’s Craig Muschko has allowed three earned runs over his last 25 innings. (Scott Jontes/MiLB.com)

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