Archive for September, 2012

Game 151 – Barney’s Got Big Wood

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game


  • David DeJesus badly misplayed the first play of the game in center field, which ended up costing the Cubs a run. He wasn’t charged an error, though, because…..welll…..outfielders are never charged with errors when they misplay a ball (Alfonso Sorianowould prove this theory again in the 5th when he took a bad route and took himself out of a position to make the play and didn’t receive an error). He went back on the ball initially, which surprised me because it was a sinking line drive, and then came in too late and attempted a diving catch to no avail. I note this, but overall, I like the fact that DeJesus has been on this team. I just don’t know if he brings the type of production a competitive team needs from a starter. If we had good power coming from the corners, then maybe.
  • I didn’t thinkChris Volstadwas terrible. Don’t take that as an admission that I like him or anything. I consider him a #5 starter and the outing we got from him is about what you can expect from a back of the rotation guy. Were it not for the misplay in the 1st, he would have left the game after five and allowed just two runs. That’s not terrible. What I found interesting was his lefty / righty splits. Typically you tend to be a lot more dominant against hitters who are the same hand as you. For Volstad, it’s the opposite. Righties are hitting over .300 against him while the lefties are in the .280’s. Both are bad, but I found it curious.
  • Since I’ve not watched many full games in awhile, this is the first I’ve seen of Miguel Socolovich since we acquired him. Looking at his numbers, he’s not been impressive. I did like the movement I saw on his pitches, especially on the strikeout of Daniel Descalso. The pitch just completely fell off the table.
  • A big two out rally in the 9th after DeJesus singled to leadoff the inning and then Darwin Barney went deep to tie it up. Admit it, you had to read that sentence twice to make sure you read the name right.
  • Nothing better than seeing a bunch of Cubs run out on the field after a walkoff single in the bottom of the 11th. Call me an old curmudgeon, but I just never see how players cannot be embarrassed to celebrate like that when the team is so bad. I understand it’s fun to win, but it’s embarrassing to see them doing that and hearing the stupid “Go Cubs Go” song in the background and then looking at the standings and wonder if we’ll lose 100 games. Ah, maybe I’m just ready for the season to be over. Carry on with what you’re doing. I guess it is fun to play the spoiler a little and try to keep St. Louis from the postseason.
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Cardinals Series Preview

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Probable Pitchers

Courtesy of

Friday at 1:20 pm CT – Chris Carpenter vs. Chris Volstad

This will be the season debut for Carpenter, who was not expected to pitch this year after undergoing mid-July surgery. But with exceptional conditioning work, Carpenter pushed his way through a throwing program so he could return to help. Volstad gave up 10 hits and walked four over 4 2/3 innings against the Pirates in his last start. After opening the year 0-7 with a 7.94 ERA in nine games, he has a 4.76 ERA in nine starts since he rejoined the Cubs in early August.

Saturday at 12:05 pm CT – Adam Wainwright vs. Travis Wood

While some fear he’s getting fatigued, Wainwright is proving otherwise. A two-run homer accounted for the only runs he gave up on Sunday. With his arm slot issues righted, Wainwright said he feels he is back on the right track. The lefty took the loss in his last outing against the Pirates, despite striking out a personal high nine batters. Wood is holding hitters to a .184 average in his last four starts. He’s 0-2 vs. the Cardinals, losing back-to-back starts in July.

Sunday at 1:20 pm CT – Kyle Lohse vs. Justin Germano

Owner of baseball’s best winning percentage (.833), Lohse has lost just once since June 15. He continues to be the most consistent starter on the staff, and Lohse has limited opponents to two or fewer earned runs in 23 of his 31 starts this year. Germano held the Reds to three hits over five scoreless innings, then walked the bases loaded in the sixth in his last start. He walked five in the game after having not issued more than two walks in any of his starts this year.

Our Take

Right now, with most of a losing season behind us, and the specter of 100 losses still hanging over our heads, I think we can still find reasons to celebrate these Cubs. The best possible reason would be if they can help knock the Cardinals out of playoff contention. I’m serious, because I can’t endure another  magical playoff run for St. Louis. The sooner they’re eliminated from the postseason, the sooner I can breathe easy.

I don’t know if Dale is one for making big pre-game speeches to inspire the team, but if he’s been sitting on one, now’s the time to bust it out. Something along these lines ought to do it.

On my list of Cubs priorities, keeping the Cardinals out of the playoffs is just below the Cubs making the postseason. We can still salvage some moral victories, and that would be a big one.

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Game 149: Corpas Can’t Handle Gregorious

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Boxscore / Highlights / Condensed

The Good:

Jason Berken pitched a pretty decent game, giving up only 2 hits in 6 innings pitched.  He held the Reds to zero runs. Pretty darn good if you ask me! Especially for it being so late in the season and the Reds contending for a playoff spot, Berken was phenomenal. Jaye Chapman also pitched extremely well: no hits, no runs, no walks, and a strikeout. These young pitchers are showing glimpses of good things to come! I’m looking forward to their development. And possible trades.

Our top 3 of the lineup each had two hits! David DeJesus is turning out to be a solid, average player. He puts together quality at-bats and plays some pretty great defense. Barney is almost batting .270. Rizzo is batting almost .300. Castro and Castillo also had two hits apiece. Nice show of individuals, but not a good team effort, as evidenced by the runners left in scoring position.

The Bad:

The Cubs lost, therefore the Reds clinched the very first playoff spot of this postseason. Boo.

The Cubs were 1-10 with runners in scoring position. We could not get a man home before the seventh inning, and even then we left a lot of men on.

Manny Corpas surrendered all five of the Reds runs in the seventh inning. All five. In one inning. Seems like Corpas was channeling his inner Chris Volstad.


The Reds managed to win even without their trusty manager. He’s in the hospital with an irregular heartbeat. Maybe he staying away from the team is good. Their pitchers might actually have arms 20 years from now if he did that.

Because the Reds won tonight, they clinched the first playoff spot of the year, and the Nationals followed up shortly thereafter, clinching the second playoff spot for the 2012 postseason. Because the Cubs are not contending, it is safe to say I will be pulling for any American League team that is not from Chicago, Boston, or New York. Who is your pick?

Side note: The entire time I was writing this recap, I kept wondering to myself: “Does Berken wear Birkenstock sandals?”

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Wake Me Up When September Ends

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Many fans and players believe in outside forces that affect a team.  Be it luck, the baseball gods, or an almighty curse, some things just defy logic.  The past 2 seasons the Cubs were in prime position to get a top draft pick then inexplicably performed better to finish each season.  On July 30th of last year the Cubs were 42-65 (.393) and lined up for the second draft pick.  They finished the year 29-26 (.527) and ended up with the sixth pick.  In 2010 the team was 50-73 (.407) on August 20th for the 5th worst record. They finished the year 25-14 (.641) and ended up with the 9th pick.  It’s been frustrating watching the team be terrible most of the year and then turn it around at the worst possible time.  This year I’ve worried about the same thing.

On September 6th the team was 5 games ahead of Colorado for the second pick in next year’s draft.   Since then the Cubs went 7-4 and have slipped to a half game lead over Colorado.  Dropping one spot wouldn’t be terrible but we’re also now only 3 games ahead of Cleveland and Minnesota.

Looking at the remaining schedules, the Cubs seem to have the easiest.  Each team has two series at home and two on the road.  The Cubs get the Cards at home – who they always play tough despite the standings;  head to Coors in a pivotal series for draft positioning; the team then travels to Arizona who are still clinging on to playoff hopes; and finish the season at home against Houston, who has only won 16 games on the road all year.   The Rockies schedule isn’t all that much tougher only facing one team over .500 – the Dodgers – but they do face Arizona for 7 games who are not out of the playoff picture just yet.  Colorado also has one more game than the other 3 teams and it’s at home.  The Indians have the most balanced schedule facing the 9th best and 8th worst teams in baseball twice each.  The Twins on the other hand have a brutal schedule with 9 of their remaining 12 games against teams fighting for their playoff lives.

If the Cubs over-perform the final weeks of the season, it could easily knock us down to 5th in next year’s draft.  But does that really matter?  In the 2011 draft we ended up with Javier Baez at 9th and he is now our top prospect, and should be in – or pretty damn close – to the top 25 prospects lists beginning next year.  This year we took Albert Almora 6th, and after the draft the Cubs claimed he was #1 on their draft board anyway.  This is supported a bit by the Cubs passing on Mark Appel who was seen as the best player going into the draft.   Those picks look pretty good right now despite the Cubs late season success.

If you looked at my study on the Success Rates of MLB Draft Picks by Slot, you would know that it’s extremely important to be in the top 5 for rebuilding teams.  It’s the smartest way to turn around a ball club.  The Cubs are all but locked in there.  Within the top 5, other than being number one overall, the results are pretty similar 2-4, with number 5 falling off a bit.  Since the Cubs have relatively no chance to catch Houston for the first pick and are locked in to the top 5, statistically speaking, I have no problem with them finishing out the season as strong as possible.  While I am less-than-thrilled about their recent and the potential to close the year with a pick worse than #2, I’d rather not have to root against the team.  And  If there are baseball gods, then don’t the Cubs deserve to be rewarded (again?) for playing hard the whole year.

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GirlieView (09/20/2012)

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

The next time I write a GirlieView (Oct 4) the season will be over. Many thanks to our great commenters for keeping things interesting and amusing during this trying season!

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely quote made on the VFTB site by our writers or commenters.
  • Lizard = The best Lizzie.
  • MVL = Most Valuable Lizzie’er: The person with the most Lizzies in the period under review (usually the past two weeks)
  • Top 10 of 2012 = The folks with the most aggregate Lizzie points YTD (1 point for every Lizzie, 3 points for every Lizard)

As you already know, this is all completely subjective and according to my whims. Let’s go!


  • If the bases were loaded Sosa was swinging before before the pitcher was on the mound.
  • Szczur would benefit from more power and vowels.
  • Oh Vanna…
  • I must have missed it when Vitters “started to right the ship.”
  • Chris Rusin, Rafael Dolis, Alberto Cabrera, and Jake Beliveau were all varying degrees of useless.
  • How was Soriano able to get a triple? Did someone fall over with the ball?
  • When do you think Cub reliever Joe Mather will pitch again?
  • Maybe the Cubs should market Soriano as Comeback Player of the Year.  I don’t think it would be hard to convince people he did not play last year.
  • I think that Cubs should bolt the locker room back at Wrigley, put a sign on the door that says “Closed til Spring” hanging at an angle of course, draw the shades and say good night.
  • “Lizzie Loves Geo” would be a terrific sitcom name.
  • How many people took the survey? What did you learn? Inquiring minds want to know!
  • My posts amuse me also, as do most others, even Buddys.
  • If you haven’t grown a thick skin/picked your AL favorite for the postseason yet, I suggest you get moving.
  • Marmol is the least popular Cub?!  I can’t imagine why?!
  • Surprised to see Big Z didn’t STILL make the list.
  • My wife bought beer! The simple things make life worth living.
  • Dick Hurtz
  • Castro needs 17 more hits this year to have the same number in his first three years as Pete Rose had in his first three years.
  • I wonder who Castro likes in the Florida St – Savannah St game?
  • Mr. Katie Campana
  • when I saw the newest Cub Catcher, I knew that he was a made for Lizzie dream.
  • So what happens if we make the the postseason…will Shark be available to start?
  • If he’s not too old by then.
  • Baseball, piratry, football, and some “acting.”
  • There are more commenters on this site than fans in the stands in Houston. Congrats Joe.
  • Shawn Camp is bad at pitching.
  • It’s the kind of schedule you’d get if you just auto-generated it by computer, which is exactly the level of effort Selig and his people bring to every aspect of their jobs.
  • Wrigley Field is my favorite place in the world, and it’s been far too long since I’ve been back.
  • Jackson’s big plans for next year involve avoiding misunderstandings with anyone he meets in a bar at closing time.
  • I’m pulling for the Orioles and Tigers, which probably means the Yankees and White Sox will win their divisions.
  • If you watch closely during Rizzo’s salami, you can see JJ in the bleachers.  I snagged a screen shot for you guys.
  • Fortunately the camera got my good side.
  • The Yankees need to face the Red sox at least 81 times a year just to fill the ESPN game allotment.
  • My goal is to write this recap with the same general disinterest and lackadaisical effort the Cubs’ hitters brought to Monday night’s game.
  • One time I fell asleep at the keyboard and when I woke up I had 3 pages of the letter “k”
  • One time I fell asleep on the keyboard and when I woke I found that I had written twilight.
  • One time I fell asleep on the keyboard and when I woke up I still didn’t submit a Lizzie.
  • I’ll assume our 4th best prospect arm is that RoLo kid.
  • We who care little about football will be cracking the same jokes about porn pirates and light hitting outfielders for a few months, then talking about Randy’s camp for a while, then things get real again.  It goes pretty quickly.
  • The current magic number is also a prime number….I have to get excited about something.
  • only Darwin Barney seems to have been able to keep track of his lumber.
  • Three reasons Ricketts won’t panic: Season. Ticket. Waitlist.


  • If we play the 12U VFW team out of Downers Grove 162 times we got a shot at the playoffs.

Shout Outs

Congratulations to the following commenters who received their first 2012 Lizzie this week. Thanks for hanging out with us! We’re happy to have you here!

  • Aisle424
  • Dick Hurtz
  • Jerry in Wisconsin
  • Josephine


  • Congratulations to jswanson, the Most Valuable Lizzie’er this time around!

2012 Standings – Top 10

1. Jeremiah Johnson
2. Doc Raker
3. jswanson
4. Seymour Butts
5. Jedi Johnson
6. cap’n Obvious
7. Buddy
8. Joe Aiello
9. Chuck
10. Eddie Von White

Chit Chat

Last GirlieView in honor of the NFL’s opening week, we had a little pick’em game. I asked you to pick the winners of three games (Colts/Bears, Patriots/Titans, and Redskins/Saints.) Congratulations to Josh Cornwall who got all three correct (Bears, Patriots, Redskins.) A handful of others guessed two of three correctly (Jedi, Jarred B., me, flyslinger2, RichBeckman and Verncrowe5.) Thanks to everyone who played.

This week, in honor of it being the final in-season GirlieView of 2012, let’s play World Series. Guess the AL and NL representatives, and of course the winner! I’ll keep tabs and report back as usual. Thanks for playing along!

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