Archive for May, 2010

I Own You – SP Edition

Monday, May 24th, 2010

I thought it might be fun to take a look at five starting pitchers on this staff to see who they have done really well against in their career and who has owned them at the plate. I used a minimum of 25 plate appearances for the numbers generated below for everyone except Tom Gorzelanny. For Gorzo I used 10. I didn’t run numbers for Randy Wells because of his lack of history so far. Not many surprises here, but there were a few interesting nuggets.

Ryan Dempster

The Bad

                 PA  H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
Luis Gonzalez    28 12  3  0  2   5  5  1 .545 .643 .955 1.597
Todd Helton      26  9  1  0  3   5  5  3 .429 .538 .905 1.443
Fred McGriff     25  7  1  0  2   5  8  3 .412 .600 .824 1.424
Brian Giles      46 17  5  1  2  10  6  6 .436 .500 .769 1.269
Jeff Bagwell     42 12  1  0  3   7  9  7 .375 .524 .688 1.211
Shawn Green      28 10  2  1  0   4  6  2 .455 .571 .636 1.208
Ryan Klesko      27 10  2  0  1   1  4  5 .435 .519 .652 1.171
Doug Glanville   30 11  2  1  1   5  2  4 .423 .467 .692 1.159
Tony Womack      31  9  1  1  1   2  6  2 .375 .500 .625 1.125

The Good

                PA H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
J.J. Hardy      30 2  1  0  0   2  1  7 .074 .103 .111 .215
Randy Winn      25 2  0  0  0   0  3  7 .091 .200 .091 .291
Corey Hart      29 3  0  0  1   3  3  8 .115 .207 .231 .438
Phil Nevin      25 5  0  0  0   1  2  4 .217 .280 .217 .497
Felipe Lopez    31 5  2  0  1   4  2  9 .172 .226 .345 .571
Rafael Furcal   41 6  3  0  0   1  7  8 .176 .317 .265 .582

There really aren’t any major surprises in the names that own Ryan Dempster other than maybe a guy like Tony Womack. He’s not a good hitter, but for some reason he liked Dempster. It seems like Demp owns guys that played for the Brewers. Corey Hart and J.J. Hardy just can’t hit him. On a side note, Tom Glavine faced Demp 10 times and never reached base.

Carlos Silva

The Bad

                  PA  H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO   BA  OBP   SLG   OPS
Victor Martinez   37 15  6  0  4  13  3  1 .455 .514 1.000 1.514
Carlos Guillen    39 18  4  1  3  14  2  1 .486 .513  .892 1.405
Juan Uribe        40 20  1  0  5  10  0  1 .500 .500  .900 1.400
Grady Sizemore    52 21  5  2  2   5  8  4 .477 .558  .818 1.376
Jim Thome         26  8  0  0  4   7  3  3 .364 .423  .909 1.332
Hank Blalock      25 10  5  0  1   1  2  0 .435 .480  .783 1.263
Brian Roberts     36 16  2  0  3   7  1  4 .457 .472  .771 1.244

The Good

                  PA H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
Mark Ellis        26 4  1  0  0   0  0  2 .174 .174 .217 .391
Bobby Crosby      27 5  0  1  0   4  0  3 .192 .192 .269 .462
Garret Anderson   31 5  1  0  0   4  3  3 .179 .258 .214 .472
Ivan Rodriguez    37 7  1  0  0   4  2  3 .212 .250 .242 .492
Ichiro Suzuki     28 8  0  0  0   0  0  1 .286 .286 .286 .571

Big ups to Batman for owning three guys that have a chance to be hall of fame players in Ichiro, Pudge and Garret Anderson. That Ichiro stat may come in handy when the Seattle series rolls around this year. You have to imagine he’ll want to prove himself to his old team as well.

Carlos Zambrano

The Bad

                 PA  H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
Jason Bay        50 14  4  1  5  16  9  8 .341 .460 .854 1.314
Luis Castillo    28 11  0  0  0   1  8  1 .550 .679 .550 1.229
Prince Fielder   49 13  5  0  2   6 12  8 .361 .531 .667 1.197
Carlos Lee       60 21  5  0  5  14  5  7 .382 .433 .745 1.179
Paul Konerko     31  8  1  0  4   6  3  6 .286 .355 .750 1.105

The Good

                  PA H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
Adam Everett      32 3  2  0  0   0  2  9 .103 .161 .172 .334
Geoff Blum        38 5  1  0  0   5  3  9 .143 .211 .171 .382
Rafael Furcal     25 3  2  0  0   1  1  6 .130 .167 .217 .384
Willy Taveras     26 5  0  0  0   1  0  7 .192 .192 .192 .385
Russell Branyan   35 5  1  0  1   2  0 16 .143 .143 .257 .400
David Wright      26 3  0  0  0   3  4 10 .143 .269 .143 .412
Ryan Freel        27 3  0  0  0   0  4  5 .136 .296 .136 .433
Willie Harris     26 4  0  0  0   1  2  3 .174 .269 .174 .443
J.J. Hardy        26 2  0  0  1   1  4  5 .091 .231 .227 .458
Todd Helton       25 3  0  0  0   0  5  6 .150 .320 .150 .470

Apparently J.J. Hardy can’t hit Big Z either. It’s a little surprising to see how bad a guy like David Wright has done. Todd Helton also makes a 2nd appearance in the post.

Ted Lilly

The Bad

                 PA  H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
Bobby Kielty     26  9  1  0  2   6  4  3 .409 .500 .727 1.227
Alex Rodriguez   50 14  4  0  5   8  7 13 .333 .440 .786 1.226
Bret Boone       34 11  2  1  1   6  6 12 .393 .500 .643 1.143
Doug Mirabelli   25  7  0  0  3   4  3  8 .318 .400 .727 1.127

The Good

                 PA H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
Darin Erstad     27 2  1  0  0   1  2  2 .080 .148 .120 .268
Aubrey Huff      28 3  0  0  0   0  3  0 .120 .214 .120 .334
David Eckstein   46 6  1  0  0   2  2  5 .143 .182 .167 .348
Lance Berkman    28 3  0  0  1   2  1  8 .115 .143 .231 .374

Doug Mirabelli? What business does he have being on this list?

Tom Gorzelanny

The Bad

                  PA H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO   BA  OBP   SLG   OPS
Chris Young       11 4  2  0  1   2  4  1 .571 .727 1.286 2.013
Geovany Soto      13 7  2  0  1   5  1  1 .636 .615 1.091 1.706
Mark DeRosa       17 6  3  0  1   3  5  2 .500 .647 1.000 1.647
Ryan Braun        25 9  1  0  3   9  6  2 .474 .600 1.000 1.600
Derrek Lee        17 7  2  0  2   5  2  0 .467 .529 1.000 1.529
Justin Upton      11 4  1  1  1   1  1  2 .400 .455 1.000 1.455
Damian Miller     11 4  1  0  1   1  2  2 .444 .545  .889 1.434
Adrian Gonzalez   10 4  1  0  1   3  1  1 .444 .500  .889 1.389
Brad Ausmus       11 4  2  0  0   5  2  1 .500 .636  .750 1.386

The Good

                 PA H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
Brian McCann     11 0  0  0  0   0  1  2 .000 .091 .000 .091
Juan Pierre      11 1  0  0  0   0  0  1 .100 .182 .100 .282
Ryan Ludwick     12 1  0  0  0   2  1  1 .111 .182 .111 .293
Craig Biggio     13 2  0  0  0   0  0  2 .154 .154 .154 .308
Aramis Ramirez   19 2  0  0  0   1  2  4 .118 .211 .118 .328
Jonny Gomes      12 2  0  0  0   1  0  5 .167 .167 .167 .333
Orlando Hudson   12 1  0  0  0   0  2  1 .100 .250 .100 .350
Jeff Francoeur   14 2  0  0  0   2  1  2 .167 .214 .167 .381

Maybe we need to look at dealing Gorzo to a team that we play often. Look at how Geo and Lee have hit against him. That said, Rammy may want to take that series off. Also, what the heck is up with Brad Ausmus? He’s a terrible hitter. How does he make this list?

We close with a song by a great band, Shinedown, called “I Own You”

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Game 45: Dodging the Grabow / Howry Bullet

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

First Star – Sean Marshall (.305 WPA)
Second Star – Michael Young (.270 WPA)
Third Star – Carlos Marmol (.219 WPA)


It’s strange. 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. I want to believe that the wins this week against quality competition are signs of encouragement, but the fact remains that our two biggest bats are not hitting. Until they do, we have no chance.

Today’s Notes:

  • As the title of the posts implies, we dodged the bullet aimed squarely at our series win that Lou fired from his double barreled bullpen suckage gun. To bring in not only John Grabow, but also Bob Howry with a small lead late in the game is….well….inexcusable. I actually chuckled a little when Howry came in and wondered if the rest of the team curses a little under their breath when these guys come in. I know if I’d battled all day and we were winning, I’d be pissed to see Lou want to piss it away with two guys that don’t have any business being relievers on this team. Thankfully today Lou sobered up before the damage was fully done and brought in Sean Marshall to put the fire out and preserve the lead. Seymour commented “Maybe we should have them both split the first inning of games so they are not in the pen anymore… any takers?” Nope, what I want is their release. Grabow, unfortunately, is not going anywhere just yet. Howry is on a short leash considering he’s basically a trial. Today he failed the test.
  • Batman grabbed win # 6 today, which gives him…..wait for it…..the most wins on the team. Forgive me for asking and not curbing my excitement, but could he actually be, well, good this year? Could he have a career year in Chicago? He’s done nothing so far to show he can’t if you don’t factor in the past. If you only look at what we’ve seen so far, then you have to believe that maybe this good showing to start the season can be long term. It’s a legit possibility that he could be the better Carlos in the rotation this year. How crazy is that?
  • Good for Lou for getting Tyler Colvin a start today. Wait, what’s that? He didn’t start one game in the series that included a friggin DH? To quote Charlie Brown, “Good grief” Instead we get two catchers in the lineup.
  • Jeff Baker, please get off my baseball team. You’re not very good. Anyone want him?
  • Props to the Blackhawks for winning today and moving on to the Stanley Cup Finals. At least one team I enjoy watching can play for a championship this year.
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Game 44 – Three Cheers for Randy Wells

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

First Star – Randy Wells (.307 WPA)
Second Star – Nelson Cruz (.196 WPA)
Third Star – Tyler Colvin (.169 WPA)


Guess who didn’t see the game yesterday? That’s right, this guy. Not sure if you know it or not, but very few of the people that contribute to this site actually live in Chicago. I live in North Carolina. Lizzie is Indiana. CubbieDude is in Wisconsin. Mark is in Tennessee. All that means for me is that there is some stupid rule called a blackout that essentially only allows me to see one game when games are on Fox on a Saturday, despite the fact that I’ve purchased the MLB Extra Innings package. That came into play yesterday as my television showed Mets / Yankees, Man vs. Wild, Office Space (great movie), Sex Decoy: Love Stings, and a rerun of the Lost pilot in prep for tomorrow’s series finale. That said, I chose to catch up on an episode of 24 with Mrs. VFTB. We’re a little behind and need to catch up. So, instead of giving you my thoughts on what I saw from the Cubs, I’m stuck looking at the box score with you and commenting on that. LAME!!!!

  • Tyler Colvin didn’t get the start again (imagine that), but did get a key pinch hit that led to a run in the 10th. It’s hard to not be pissed at Lou for the lack of playing time for Colvin, especially considering the last two games have utilized the DH. Instead, our extra bat tonight was Jeff ‘I barely hit my weight’ Baker.
  • What happened to Lou hitting Soriano 4th, considering his hot bat. He gave it one game and then moved him back to 6th, but he leaves Lee and Ramirez in there come hell or high amounts of suckage.
  • I really like Starlin Castro at the plate. He didn’t do a ton tonight, but he’s showed that he belongs. The interesting thing will be watching him make adjustments after pitchers make theirs.
  • 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.
  • Ramirez was fitted for his golden sombrero and it fits beautifully.
  • Three cheers for Randy Wells for working into the 9th and sparing us another day from the wrath of Bob Howry’s arm.
  • Michael Young got me a hit. I think that puts me at 5 or 6 games in a row. Look out people, now that I’ve started playing this game, you’re all going down.

We have a shot at winning this series today with Batman on the mound looking to keep his record unblemished. Those Oxy pads have helps him dramatically this year against blemishes.

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Game 43: Another Wasted Pitching Effort and More Sloppy Defense

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

First Star – Colby Lewis (.261 WPA)
Second Star – Neftali Feliz (.175 WPA)
Third Star – Tyler Colvin (.136 WPA)


  • The Rangers came into the game with the best home record in the Majors at 17-7. That record got better with last night’s win. It’s hard to expect a sweep coming into this game, but I was hoping for a series win considering how we’ve play against the Rockies and Phillies. Now we’re gonna have to work for that. On a side note, how about the Rays away record so far? They are 17-5 on the road. That’s insane.
  • Josh Lewin mentioned that Alfonso Soriano played in Japan for a year before coming to the Yankees. I had no idea that was the case so I went to everyone’s favorite source for infallible information, Wikipedia, and found this:
    “Soriano began his professional baseball career in Japan with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, training at their Carp Academy for Dominican players. In 1997, he was promoted briefly to the varsity team, and, wearing uniform number 74, he appeared in nine games, batting .118 (2 for 17) with two walks. In 1997, Soriano earned a salary of $40,000.[1] Soriano finished his career in Japan by retiring from his contract and signing as a free agent with the New York Yankees, using a loophole that had previously been used by Hideo Nomo.” I had no idea that Sori had any ties to Japan. How is that not mentioned more often?
  • Both starters worked fairly deep into the ballgame considering Lewis threw 30 pitches and Lilly 34 in the first inning.
  • Our only run of the game came on a Geovany Soto double play with runners on 1st and 3rd and no outs. It’s not an ideal way to score because it completely killed the inning. We’ve got to start putting crooked numbers up in innings more often.
  • I saw what was perhaps the worst defensive showing of this team so far this year in the 4th inning when Ian Kinsler hit a dribbler down toward third base. Fontenot came in and played it, but threw it away, allowing Kinsler to head to 2nd. The ball, after getting by Lee, went off the wall in foul territory and skipped past Theriot. He picked up the ball and threw to Starlin Castro at 2b to try to get Kinsler only to skip the ball past him and toward the third base line in the outfield. Kinsler hustled toward 3rd as Soriano picked up the ball and fired it back in. The only thing that could have made it worse would have been if Soriano would have air mailed the throw and allowed Kinsler to have a little league style homerun on three separate errors in the field.
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GirlieView (05/21/2010)

Friday, May 21st, 2010

I was going to throw out a discussion topic for the evening but I’ve been enjoying the conversation on Joe’s Friday Discussion about our fearless leader Lou. Chime in on that one if you get a chance. Or on the Bob Howry signing, another seemingly odd Cubs decision (many of late!) Meanwhile, here’s the weekly recap of things that made me laugh, or nod my head in agreement, or both!

Lizzies

  • but I am pretty sure the catcher had the ball before Ramirez even rounded third.
  • Some can of whoop ass. Looks like the Cubs can’t find the opener.
  • “oh yeah, I have to fix this don’t I….” welcome to the bigs Mr. Ricketts!
  • I’ll take the win, even though this game was really just the Pirates out-sucking us.
  • Moving Lee and Aram down in the order seems like such an obviously necessary move, it’s mind-boggling that a professional baseball manager is so reluctant to make it.
  • I try to be an optimist, but after 73 years on this earth, I have seen too many bad Cub teams not to recognize another bad team
  • We have to get younger, more athletic, more defense oriented and CHEAPER.
  • So Cubs trainer Mark O’Neal put you back in the starting rotation?
  • And I know the Cubs had/have bullpen problems, but run production is still the greater issue.
  • It only takes a 3 game winning streak to get the Kool-aid a-pourin.
  • How low does their confidence have to go before they suck up their pride and work with Rudy?
  • That is a pretty lousy list of hitter prospects right now.
  • the Florida Marlins have as many championships as they have fans some nights.
  • Big Z to play the Sims on Monday.
  • when your veteran leaders are John Grabow and Bob Howry…I’m really not sure how effective that leadership is.
  • Who’s next? LaTroy Hawkins??
  • Cat burns itself on a hot stove, it tends to stay away from hot stoves in the future.
  • Is this team stuck on stupid?
  • This team battles to fill the glass half full, but in the end it is the half empty bullpen that kills.
  • I have a hard time imagining the difference between Lou’s managerial style and what it might look like if a manager were throwing games.
  • When it comes to Grabow, I’m a totally empty glass. Not even a drop.
  • The bullpen health report gives me hope today: Grabow’s pitched the last 2 days, meaning he probably won’t pitch today! YAY!
  • Quotation marks around the word “pitched”.
  • I guess for Lou it’s much easier to just let the hitters flail away and take the blame as opposed to being a proactive manager and getting the tying run in.
  • We have too many starting pitchers…perhaps we should bring Dusty back.
  • In other AL news, Kevin Gregg in mid season form as he walks in 2 runs, then gives up the winning run in the bottom of the 9th as Mariners steal one from Jays
  • Quick – maybe we can trade for him.
  • Bob Howry returns, giving the Cubs a deadly 1-2 punch from the left and right side of the mound.
  • Grabowry. Stress the ‘ow’ as in ‘ouch.’

Lizard

  • Doesn’t matter how much is in it; this glass sucks.

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The Return of Bob Howry (aka John Grabow)

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Carrie Muskat is reporting that all the rumors of the Cubs bringing back frequent whipping boy, Bobby Howry, to help assure that the Cubs have the worst bullpen in all of baseball have been confirmed.

Bob Howry is back with the Cubs. The veteran reliever has reportedly signed a one-year contract with the team and was expected to join the Cubs Friday when they open a three-game Interleague series against the Texas Rangers. An official announcement was expected later Friday.

Howry, 36, was designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday after posting a 10.67 ERA in 14 games. In 14 1/3 innings, he gave up 17 runs on 18 hits and six walks, and served up six home runs.

This would be Howry’s second stint with the Cubs. He was part of the bullpen in 2006-08, and posted a 17-17 record and 3.90 ERA in 234 games. He struggled in ’08 with a 5.35 ERA.

The Cubs have been looking for right-handed help in the bullpen since the offseason and moved Opening Day starter Carlos Zambrano to a set-up role April 22 in an effort to bridge the gap to closer Carlos Marmol. That didn’t work, and Zambrano will return to the rotation once he builds up arm strength.

To make room on the 25-man roster for Bob Howry, rookie Justin Berg was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. To open a spot on the 40-man, right-handed reliever David Patton was designated for assignment.

What bugs me about this move is the fact that we signed Howry to a ML deal. Sign him to a minor league contract, considering he’s already collecting from the Diamondbacks who had to pay his full salary remaining in one lump sum when they released him. Send him to Iowa and see what happens.

Justin Berg wasn’t getting any time in the pen lately and I actually had to check the active roster list the other day to make sure he was still on the team and that I hadn’t missed a transaction. I’m fine with him going back down so he can actually pitch and work on his stuff with live hitters.

As far as David Patton goes, all that frustrates me is the fact that we actually kept his butt on the active roster for as long as we did last year and for what?

Maybe I’m wrong on Howry. Maybe he’ll return to glory, but considering the fact that he was basically going to retire, I’m not holding my breath.

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Series Preview: Cubs / Texas

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Ted Lilly (1-3, 4.65 ERA) vs. Colby Lewis (3-2, 3.68 ERA)

Lilly did not get a win in his last game, which was his 100th start for the Cubs, but he did notch another quality start. The lefty gave up three runs on six hits over seven innings against the Pirates. He’s now gone at least seven innings in back to back starts for the first time since last Sept. 18-30. He’s made 12 starts against the Rangers in his career and is 4-4 with a 3.63 ERA. The last time was June 21, 2007, when he did not get a decision in a 6-5 loss in Texas. In that game, Lilly gave up five runs on six hits, including two homers, over seven innings.

Lewis went 3-0 with a 3.80 ERA in his first four starts but is 0-2 with a 3.58 ERA in his past four starts. He lost, 5-2, against the Blue Jays on Sunday, allowing five runs in 5 2/3 innings. He gave up three hits and walked four. He has walked 21 batters in 51 innings. He walked 19 in 176 innings in Japan last year. Opponents are hitting .132 off him with runners in scoring position. Lewis has never faced the Cubs.

Strength – Has a great pitchers’ frame and puts all of his 6-4, 230-pound body into his mid-90s fastball. Displays the occasional ability to dominate.

Weakness – Gets hit hard when incapable of throwing his secondary pitches for strikes. Struggles in the big leagues when his pitches start to elevate too much.

Heat CheckLewis is cold (0-1, 5.68 in last 12.2IP)

Randy Wells (3-2, 4.13 ERA) vs. Derek Holland (2-0, 2.38 ERA)

Wells did not get a decision in his last start but should’ve gotten a “W.” He gave up one run on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings against the Rockies. It was his fifth quality start. He now has given up one or no runs in three of his eight games. He did throw 116 pitches, which was a career high. It’ll be interesting to see if that has an effect on him. Wells is 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA in three starts against the NL West. This will be his first start against an AL West team.

Holland went 5 1/3 innings, giving up just three runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in a 4-3 victory over the Angels on Monday. Since being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City, Holland has won both of his starts. He didn’t give up a run until the fifth inning against the Halos, running his season-opening scoreless innings streak to 10. He pitched six innings and struck out seven in his first start of the season, a 10-1 victory over Oakland. This will be his first career start against the Cubs.

Strength – Has the ability to both deceive and dominate batters with an outstanding pitching arsenal. Can strike out a ton of batters and be used as either a stater or reliever.

Weakness – Lacks refinement and polish with his pitches, and also needs to build up his stamina regardless of future role. Could also use more muscle on his 6-2 frame.

Heat Check - Holland is hot (2-0, 2.38 in last 11.1IP)

Carlos Silva (5-0, 3.35 ERA) vs. C.J. Wilson (3-1, 2.55 ERA)

Wilson pitched just 4 1/3 innings against the Angels on Tuesday, giving up seven runs on seven hits with five strikeouts. In his shortest outing of the season, Wilson saw his homerless innings streak stop at 87 2/3 as Torii Hunter’s two-run home run to left field was the first he had given up since July 9, 2009, to Franklin Gutierrez of Seattle. Despite that, the Rangers still won for the sixth straight game started by Wilson. This will be Wilson’s first career start against the Cubs. He’s 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and three strikeouts against Chicago.

Strength – Pitches aggressively with a low-90s fastball that has great movement. Also boasts a good curve and solid change-up. Constantly challenges hitters. Is capable of dominating left-handed batters. Can close, set up or start.

Weakness – Right-handed hitters have a little more success than lefty bats, so greater refinement in his pitches could help. Must improve his durability and stamina to thrive in the starting rotation.

Heat CheckWilson is cold (0-0, 6.35 in last 11.1IP)

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Friday Discussion: Replacing Lou Piniella

Friday, May 21st, 2010

No funtastic Friday this week. I chimed in yesterday in the recap with my frustration at Lou Piniella and his handling of the bullpen. Instead, I’d like you to give me your thoughts on who you would like to replace Lou for next year. Here are a few choices for you to consider, but feel free to go off the board. Just make sure you tell us why you voted for a particular guy.

Bob Brenly
- Won a WS with Arizona
- Knows the team and the organization after being the play by play guy

Ryne Sandberg
- Hometown hero
- Has worked his way up the system

Allen Trammel
-
Managed Detroit right before they took off
- Has been with this team as the bench coach

Trey Hillman
-
Recently fired by Kansas City, but has a good reputation around baseball

Possible FA Managers
- Joe Torre
- Joe Girardi
- Tony LaRussa

Let’s here it. Who do you want?

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Game 42: Gra-NO!

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Well. I suppose your reaction to this game will depend solely on whether you are a glass-half -full or glass-half-empty type of person.

Glass half empty: We lost.
Glass half full: We split the series with the Phillies. Come on now, tell the truth. You expected to lose both right? I did.

Glass half empty: Grabow. Again.
Glass half full: Jeff Stevens had himself a nice little outing!

Glass half empty: This team can’t even manage to score with a runner on 3rd and no outs.
Glass half full: Had they not clawed their way back into the game, they wouldn’t have had a chance to blow that. :-)

Win Probability

First Star: Mike Fontenot (!!!!) – WPA = .330
Second Star: Jimmy Rollins – WPA = .308
Third Star: Raul Ibanez – WPA = .287
Honorable Mention: Alfonso Soriano – WPA = .221

Game Notes:

  • Aside from a first inning solo home run by Chase Utley, the first four innings of the game were kinda dry. Three up three down for everyone save for one baserunner for the Phillies (Polanco, single in the third) and one for the Cubs (DLee reached on a Polanco error in the fourth).
  • I love these Phillies’ home uniforms. Last night they wore the red and white pinstripes, which is what they wore when I was growing up. Today they have their cream ones which I like much better. They look old-school to me even though the others are really their “old time” uniforms. There was never any blue involved with the Phillies ever when I was growing up. I do like these uniforms better though. The snooze-fest of the first four innings allowed me to contemplate fashion issues. Then things picked up!
  • In the top of the fifth Soriano led off with a double, later scoring on a Castro single.
  • Bottom of the sixth, tied 1-1, Dempster came really close to getting out of the inning … one out double by Polanco, then Utley walked. Ryan Howard flied out to Byrd advancing both runners. Dempster went 3-0 on Jimmy Rollins, and no sooner did Bob Brenly say he’d probably have the green light with two outs and boom, home run into the right field seats scoring three. 4-1 Phillies.
  • DLee led off the seventh with a solo home run, bringing the Cubs within two. A walk (Soriano) and two singles (Fontenot and Castro) loaded the bases setting the stage for a Colvin sacrifice fly to score Soriano. 4-3 Phillies.
  • James Russell and Jeff Stevens combined for a very nice seventh inning (more on Stevens later).
  • Top of the eighth … Antonio Bastardo-of-the-unfortunate-last-name replaced Blanton, and Fukudome promptly hit a solo home run to tie the game.
  • Then, after Stevens retired the first batter in the bottom of the eighth, Lou brought in Grabow and there’s really no need for me to continue the recap since we all know what happens when Grabow pitches. Two walks and a single later, the Phillies were winning 5-4.
  • Soriano started the ninth inning with what seemed like one of the longest at-bats ever! He was hit by pitch #11, then advanced to third on a single by Fontenot. And there he stayed. Starlin Castro struck out on three pitches, Aramis Ramirez took the count to 3-2 and then struck out on what was clearly ball four … it was a horrible looking swing and I was embarrassed for him. Soto popped out and that was that, with Soriano in the same spot he took up three outs earlier. A really disappointing effort after a good struggle back into the game.

I’ll end with some points to ponder from Joe’s perspective:

I’m beginning to lose faith in our manager’s decision making ability when it comes to the use of our bullpen. The Cubs came out and have said that they want to stretch Carlos Zambrano out in preparation for a return to the rotation. How does Lou begin that process? By bringing Carlos into Wednesday night’s game for 2 freaking pitches. No biggie, we won the game, right?

That wasn’t the case in today’s loss that could have been prevented. Jeff Stevens came in to pitch in the 7th and set the three batters (Werth, Victorino and Polanco) down easily. Instead of being left out there to pitch a little more, Lou goes with the crappy (no, I didn’t mean crafty) lefty, John Grabow. Grabow proceeds to give the lead to the Phillies, and the Cubs lose the game.

I’m sick and tired of managers trying to play the numbers or the handedness of the batter / pitcher rather than using their eyes. There was absolutely no reason to pull a kid that has been lighting it up in multiple inning outings his last 4 or 5 times out in favor of a guy who has been an utter nightmare and is yet another reason why I hate paying for bullpen help. Stevens was not tired, considering he hasn’t thrown since Saturday and should have been left out there. I’m growing tired of Lou’s bullpen use, and ultimately in Lou as my manager.

What are your thoughts?

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