Archive for May, 2010

A Look at the Wrigley Field Ground Rules

Monday, May 31st, 2010

One thing I’ve learned in all this time of maintaining a blog about the Cubs is that there are people who read who are more knowledgeable than others. That being said, I present to you the ground rules for playing in Wrigley Field.


  • Fair bounding ball striking railing or screen attached to bleacher wall and rebounding onto playing field: In Play.
  • Fair bounding ball lodges in screen attached to bleacher wall: Two Bases.
  • Fair batted ball lodges in vines on bleacher wall: Two Bases.
  • Fair ball enters vines on bleacher wall and rebounds onto playing field: In Play.
  • Fair ball lodges in or under grates in left or right field: Two Bases.


  • Ball lodging on, under or in the bullpen seating area: Out of Play.
  • Ball enters the bullpen seating area and rebounds out of the seating area: In Play.
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Series Preview: Cubs / Pirates

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Randy Wells (3-3, 4.79 ERA) vs. Ross Ohlendorf (0-3, 5.11 ERA)

Wells threw 16 pitches to six batters in the first inning of his last start on Friday against the Cardinals and was pulled before he retired anyone. All six Redbirds got hits. It was an “embarrassing” outing, Wells said. He was assigned to the bullpen on Saturday as a backup. So far, he’s 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA at home and 2-1 with a 3.68 ERA on the road. He faced the Pirates on May 6, and was roughed up, giving up seven runs (six earned) on five hits in two innings. Pittsburgh scored five runs in the first.

Since Ohlendorf has been back from the disabled list at the beginning of May, he’s had mixed results. He’s coming off a solid performance Wednesday vs. Cincinnati when he allowed three runs on eight hits in six innings but took the loss, and against Chicago on May 16, he pitched six innings and gave up four hits and two runs. But he’s also had a couple of rough outings as well. Ohlendorf hasn’t won a decision this calendar year (0-3 in the regular season and 0-3 in Spring Training), so he’ll look for a change of pace vs. the Cubs.

Strength – Owns the ideal pitchers’ frame. Can throw an array of pitches but his best is his nasty sinker. Can be used as both a starter and reliever.

Weakness – When his sinker doesn’t sink, batters tend to tee off on him. Therefore, he must keep the ball down and limit his long balls against.

Ted Lilly (1-4, 3.63 ERA) vs. Jeff Karsens (1-1, 4.78 ERA)

Lilly threw seven shutout innings in his last start against the Dodgers, giving up three hits and striking out five. But he did not get a decision as the lefty exited when the game was tied. The Dodgers felt Lilly tried to get an edge by positioning himself in front of the rubber a little bit and even asked the first-base umpire about it. But no fine was levied and there was no penalty. Expect the umpires — and the Pirates — to watch Lilly’s footwork very closely in this game.

Karstens is expected to take Charlie Morton’s start against the Cubs on Tuesday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Strength – Is versatile enough to start or relieve as necessary. Has proven capable of pitching effectively in the rotation in the minors.

Weakness – Is far too hittable at the major-league level and also lacks the ability to strike batters out with consistency.

Carlos Zambrano (1-6, 6.12 ERA) vs. Zach Duke (3-5, 5.09 ERA)

This will be Zambrano’s first start since April 20. The right-hander moved to the bullpen to make room in the rotation for Ted Lilly and also to give the team a potent setup pitcher. He was effective until May 14 against the Pirates, when he gave up three runs on four hits over one inning. Zambrano then said he wasn’t comfortable in the role and wanted to go back to the rotation. Since that game against the Pirates, he has given up one hit over 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Big Z tuned up with a 73-pitch simulated game last Monday. In four starts, Zambrano was 1-2 with a 7.45 ERA. He’s made 13 relief outings, including Saturday, when he needed just two pitches to get a double play and end the eighth against the Cardinals.

Duke has lost five of his past six decisions after winning his first two, with the Pirates giving him little run support. He allowed just one earned run in his previous two starts, getting a win and a no-decision, before allowing 12 hits and seven runs over 5 1/3 innings in a loss Friday in Atlanta. Although Duke is 1-2 at home, he has a 3.57 ERA in his six starts at PNC Park this year, and he is the all-time wins leader there with a 27-26 record. Duke will be facing the Cubs for the first time this season. He has allowed 85 hits in 63 2/3 innings, including seven homers, while striking out 40 and walking 23.

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Game 51: Grim and Grimmer

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

You know we’re in trouble when the best part of watching the game today came when the redhead in the Corona ad shook up his gal’s beer after she was watching a hottie, and she opened the other one instead. That, my friends, was the happiest part of my whole afternoon.

The game was nearly overwith by 1:27pm when Pujols hit his first home run of the game straight out of the ballpark and onto Waveland Avenue. Were it not for Geovany Soto’s solo shot in the 8th, this would have been all the Cardinals needed in their 9-1 win over the Cubs. Adam Wainwright pitched very well but as usual the Cubs weren’t without opportunities to score. It’s just that, as usual, they didn’t cash in on those opportunities.

Win Probability

First Star: Adam Wainwright (.314 WPA)
Second Star: Albert Pujols (.276 WPA)
Third Star: Alfonso Soriano (.129 WPA)

Random Tidbits

  • Actually this first tidbit comes from before the game started. Did anyone see the CSN pregame interview between Dave Kaplan and Albert Pujols? Interesting. Apparently Pujols is not a big fan of Wrigley Field. No modern training facilities and the field is in terrible shape. Huh? Maybe it got lost in translation. I’ve heard about the disappointing player training facilities but this is the first time I’ve heard anyone say the field is in bad shape.
  • Another pre-game bit: If you were lucky enough to see the National Anthem you may have seen Challenger, the free-flying eagle (who also flew during the Anthem at this year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis), take a flight around Wrigley during the last few bars today. Challenger was accidentally blown from his nest at 5-weeks of age and subsequently trained as an ambassador for the American Eagle Foundation. Eagles are marvelous birds, one of my very favorites. To learn more about Challenger you can visit For a fantastic look at a live eagle nest, check out an Eagle Cam at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Virginia hosted by WVEC here. This year’s clutch of three is just about ready to leave the nest but you may still be able to catch a glimpse of them.
  • Can you tell I don’t really want to talk much about the game itself?
  • Ryan Dempster wasn’t nearly as sharp as his last outing on Tuesday when he shut out the Dodgers through eight innings giving up only three hits. But, he didn’t have a bad game here either. Pujols just happened to have a better one going 3 for 3 (all hits were home runs) with two walks (one intentional), four RBIs and four runs scored. So there you go.
  • The Cubs had only two real opportunities to score. The first came in just the second inning. Believe it or not Ramirez started it off with a single to right (yay!) He moved to second on a ground out by Byrd, and Soriano walked on four pitches. Soto struck out. This brought up Starlin Castro, who singled up the middle. CSN’s “technical difficulties” prevented me from seeing this live, but apparently Ramirez was thrown out handily at home trying to score. You probably caught it on the replay even if you didn’t see it live. I don’t disagree with the decision to send him, with two outs and the pitcher on deck. But (and Kasper/Brenly commented on this later) he just doesn’t seem to be moving as well this year as he has in years past. They concluded when you’re in as bad of a slump as Ramirez is, it affects your whole game and your whole life. If that’s true (and I’m sure it is) then maybe he should have been held at third pitcher on deck or no pitcher on deck.
  • The only other scoring opportunity for the Cubs came in the bottom of the fourth. After Ramirez struck out to start the inning, Byrd singled, Soriano doubled, and Soto walked to load the bases with only one out.Castro swung at the very first pitch to ground into a double play. End of opportunity. And when I say that, I mean for the entire remainder of the game. That was it. (Other than Soto’s solo homer later.)
  • Pujols hit his second home run (also completely out of the ballpark) in the fifth inning, for two runs. By this time the score was 4-0, and things were already looking grim. When Frick and Frack began warming up in the bullpen in the top of the seventh, things got even grimmer. Is grimmer a word?
  • Frick came on in the seventh and gave up a run. Frack pitched a good eighth but was true to form in the ninth, giving Pujols his third home run of the game, this one remaining inside the park. However two batters later David Freese sent one out of the park to complete the loss.
  • Len and Bob had a bit of a discussion sometime during the grim (not yet grimmer) part of the game about whether they think the Cubs are out of it. They chatted this back and forth a bit before they decided they simply didn’t know. Hmmm.
  • In the post game interview, Lou made mention of some lineup changes. He said he’ll worry about it tomorrow. What lineup changes would you propose?

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and try not to think about anything other than the Corona.

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Game 50: Seventh Heaven for Silva, Cubs

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

First Star : Carlos Silva  (WPA .343)

Second Star: Mike Fontenot  (WPA .151)

Third Star: Marlon Byrd (WPA .137)

The Cubs defeated the Cardinals today by a score of 5-0. I could stop there and most of our readers would smile, walk away, and spend the rest of their night happy, but that would be doing this game a deep injustice. There were quite a few highlights from todays game at sun splashed Wrigley and very few them involved the Cardinals in a positive light. We got to see a Cubs squad hit with runners in scoring position, a few web gems for the Cubs defense, a sensational performance by Carlos Silva, and all of this happened on a Fox Game of the Week Broadcast. We never seem to play well when Fox is here! Without further ado, here is The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly……

The Good:

  • Carlos Silva became the first Cubs pitcher to go 7-0 since Ken Holtzmen achieved the feat in 1967. He went 7 innings and gave up 2 hits while striking out 11. By the way, thats a career high in K’s  for Carlos. He had steady command of his pitches and mixed speeds all day. The sinker and off-speed stuff was far too much to handle for the Cards hitters. This is almost making up for the fact the we signed Milton Bradley in the first place….almost.
  • With the wind blowing in for most of today’s game the Cubs did not hit one homerun, which means they manufactured all 5 of their runs. Not bad for a team that seemed to be living and dying by the homer.
  • Mike Fontenot, filling in for Razmirez at third, had two Triples today in the right center gap….the second one drove in Byrd from second base. Aramis who?
  • Marlon Byrd made a diving catch in the second inning with a man on base and one out and Starlin Castro made a highlight reel play on a short hop linedrive smoked by Albert Pujols in the fourth. To watch Castro snare that ball was a glimpse at the defensive prowess he brings.
  • As if the defense wasn’t enough Byrd and Castro both went 2-4 at the plate and each batted in a run.

The Bad:

  • The Cardinals defense. They had two errors and a host of other sloppy plays in the field. Both of the errors helped add to the Cub run total.
  • Derrek Lee managed to kill yet another inning in the fifth with a double play. The leadoff man gets on and lee hits into a DP. He has looked better lately but it kills me how I can predict when he will hit into a double play!
  • Adam Ottavino made his first career start in the majors and registered 6 walks. The perplexing thing was that the Fox announcers seem to think he pitched well. I think the Cubs poor offense in the first three innings helped the kid look good.
  • Marshall had a rare bad appearance giving up two hits in the eighth. He got pulled for Zambrano who cleaned up his mess with a quick double play ball.

The Ugly:

  • The end of Adam Ottavino’s Major League debut came when he walked Carlos Silva on four straight pitches. The worst part, he managed to load the bases. The second worst part, there were two outs. The ugly part……Mitch Boggs came on in relief of Ottavino and walked the first batter he faced (Fukudome) creating the Cubs fourth run!
  • Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. These guys are so bias to the Cardinals it sours my view of these Fox broadcasts. McCarver also couldn’t figure out the difference between the Hancock and the Sears (Willis) tower.

Well, thats about it for this fairytale ending. Dempster will try to lock down the series for us in the rubber match tomorrow. Something tells me the Cards wont be such a pushover in game three. What do you guys think?

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GirlieView (05/28/2010)

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Well lookee here, the first L-O-N-G weekend of the budding summer and the Cardinals are in town! And it looks like it’s going to be beautiful weather too. Can’t beat it! That is, unless we won today. Oh well. Tomorrow’s a new day.

My bit o’ babble this week is about the flip-flopping kind of results we are seeing so far this year. Who’d have predicted we’d lose two series to Cincinnati and another two to Pittsburgh, but win the Los Angeles series, the Texas series (in Texas no less), both against Milwaukee, and split the two games with the Phillies? This is encouraging to me in an odd sort of way. Make no mistake, those losses that should have been easy wins mean just as much today as they will in September. But for now, I’ll take whatever we can get! How do you feel? For more on flip flopping, check out Chet’s post from yesterday about our emotions as Cubs fans! Good stuff!

Enough from this Girlie, let’s move on to the week’s best. A whole lot of great stuff to choose from this week!


  • everyone’s favorite source for infallible information, Wikipedia
  • Maybe I’m glad I didn’t see those fielding errors, my heads been in my hands enough.
  • Disappointed to see Theriot only see 11 pitches out of the leadoff spot in 5 plate appearances. Not what you want to see from that spot.
  • Look out people, now that I’ve started playing this game, you’re all going down.
  • Getting cocky is the sure prologue to a miss.
  • my mother could fill out a better lineup card….
  • Maybe we should have them both split the first inning of games so they are not in the pen anymore… any takers?
  • I don’t want Lou fired, I just want him to change the gd line up.
  • Maybe I’m the only person feeling this way, but despite the fact that over the last week the Cubs have played better, I still feel rather lukewarm about our team.
  • we dodged the bullet aimed squarely at our series win that Lou fired from his double barreled bullpen suckage gun.
  • It’s a legit possibility that he could be the better Carlos in the rotation this year. How crazy is that?
  • Props to the Blackhawks for winning today and moving on to the Stanley Cup Finals.
  • Lou’s lineups this series have been mind-boggling. The second game in particular was just ridiculous. You have Soriano, a prototypical DH who justifies his salary 100% exclusively with his bat. He starts in left field all three games. You have Nady, a guy whose arm isn’t at full strength just yet. He starts in right for two straight games. You have Ramirez, a good defensive third baseman who has looked like Ted Lilly at the plate. He gets put in the DH spot, retaining his atrocious bat but losing his solid glove. You have Baker at third, representing both a defensive downgrade AND another middling bat in the lineup. And then you have Colvin, a rookie who the team allegedly wants to get more playing time. He would be a defensive upgrade over either Soriano or Nady if one of them were used as DH, and he would be an offensive upgrade over any of the guys used as DH, so naturally Lou had him riding the bench. Utterly mind-boggling.
  • Here is the big problem….when he goes to the pen what does he have to choose from?
  • Blame Hendry for the pitching, Lou for the lineups.
  • the Diamondbacks are sporting a very sexy 7.70 ERA. It could definitely be worse for us.
  • At this point it’s not a funk, it’s a trend. Be it mental or physical, perhaps a 15 day rest would do him good.
  • Big Z gets stimulated – er, I mean, simulated.
  • Not to put too fine a point on it, but we look kinda boned.
  • Is it bad when I hear that Lee hit a homer, and my first thought is, “Good, everyone can stop b*tch#ng for awhile.”
  • A dark cloud started hovering over Wrigley in the fifth inning and the circus music was being cued. Just as the clown car got loaded up and prepped for yet another comic ending to a beautiful evening…….the music stopped, the cloud vanished and Derrek Lee returned to form.
  • I don’t really need to write anything else about this because when Carlos saves a game and doesn’t flirt with throwing it away that goes in the good section!
  • Tyler Colvin must have done something seriously wrong to get the treatment he is getting.
  • One of those indellible memories is of stupid human tricks on the Letterman show, where a guy stopped a moving fan blade with his tongue. Safe in one direction, messy in the other.
  • LEE-he’s a cubs fan!
  • The lights were out on them before the game was even over.
  • This team has to get better in the field. That is a vital part of run prevention and winning baseball.
  • Bob Howry Alert: 1 IP and 0 Runs. Pardon me while I look out the window to see if I can spot any flying pigs.
  • Give Castro a break. This was his first “bad” offensive game. He has exceed expectations thus far (aside from all the errors) and plenty of other Cubs have left plenty of runners on base. It’s a team problem.
  • That ain’t the way to win a championship, boys.
  • a championship? I’m hoping for 3rd place right about now…
  • Anyone else think Manny is looking more and more like the creature from “Predator” and less like a baseball player?
  • I can’t decide whether Da Gorz did the Cubs a favor or a slight by turning in a rather rocky pitching performance last night.
  • He isn’t doing much good sitting on the bench taking up a roster spot right now.
  • I’d rather see [Tracy] at third base than Fontenot.
  • The Cubs should know by now that anything, any injury of any kind, should put Aramis on the DL.
  • Hoffpauir sucks. Check the stats.
  • Player development on top of Nady’s lack output makes that a no-brainer for me.
  • I think we see Cashner by the end of June at the latest….out of the pen.
  • Who else loves seeing ManRam strike out in the 9th?
  • Marmol made him look silly.
  • Sometimes I hit the button after the third game of the season…..don’t lie you’ve done it too!
  • The Cubs are so weak, they can’t even spell WAR.


  • How about a happy ending this time?

Looking for some fun? Join in our June Stat Madness game (only a few days left to make your predictions!) It’s fun and easy! Or, if you prefer to streak, our daily Beat the Streak game might be more your speed. Either way (or both ways!) have fun!

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