Archive for March, 2013

Go: Island Living

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

The 2013 baseball season begins in two days. You’ve just found out you’re going to be stranded on a desert island for the entire baseball season. You can bring one electronic device. What do you bring?

Do you have a question you’d like us to feature in the Go! column? Send it to and she’ll see what she can do!

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Northside Archives: Streaking

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

If you don’t follow basketball, you may not know the Miami Heat are kind of a big deal at the moment. The reigning NBA Champions just had a 27-game win streak snapped in Chicago by the Bulls last night. The Heat were attempting to break the NBA’s record of 33-straight wins put up by the 1972-73 Lakers. If you’re saying to yourself, “the Cubs might not win 33 games the entire year!” – just remember, it’s only March. No need to be so pessimistic; they’ll probably get at least 43.

Longest Streak Ever
The Cubs longest win streak is an impressive 21 games. More impressive, they’ve had two DIFFERENT 21-game win streaks. Less impressive, the first streak came before Adolf Hitler was born; the second came before most of the world realized he was a pretty bad guy.

Streak #1
In merely their 5th year of existence, the Chicago White Stockings, as managed by Cap Anson posted an incredible 21-game win streak from June 5 through July 8, 1880. Silver, Cap, Joe, Tom, Ned, Abner, George, and King were the regulars. Larry Corcoran and Fred Goldsmith were the pitching staff – between them throwing all but 28 of the 775 IP during the season. Corcoran was 43-14 with 1.95 ERA and 536.1 IP; but really what does that tell you, pitching wins are overrated. At the end of the streak, the Cubs record was 35-3. They had a rough July (because ya know, they were still the Cubs) and would finish with a record of 67-17, NL Champs and 15 games clear of the 2nd place and since defunct, Providence Grays.

Streak #2
On September 2, 1935 the Cubs sat in third place in the NL. First place STL was 2.5 games up on the Cubs, with the Giants in between the two rivals. At 79-52 the Cubs had a very good record to be sure, but 1934 had ended with those three teams in exactly that position with comparable records. By the time the Cubs lost again (on Sept. 27) they had a whopping six-game lead over their rivals and were headed to the World Series. Even after losing the final two games of the season, the Cubs posted an impressive 100-54 record before losing to Detroit in the Fall Classic.

Other Fun Facts

  • The Cubs longest win streak of 2012 was a measly 4 games – a feat they accomplished 3 times.
  • In 2011, they actually won 7 in a row. Don’t remember it? Probably because it came after a horrendous 8-17 stint.
  • Not since 2001 have the Cubs sported a winning streak of 10+ games. That year they won 12 in a row…after they’d lost 8 in a row!
  • However, 12 in a row is better than 6 different teams have EVER managed.
  • In fact, only 1 team boasts a streak longer than the Cub record of 21. The San Francisco Giants won 26 in a row back in 1916.

This Year?
What your prediction for 2013? More than the 4 game streak in 2012? Less? As for me, I expect our longest losing streak to be longer than our longest winning streak…for a fifth year in a row.

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More Bullpen News

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

The story yesterday was the news that the Cubs have claimed Guillermo Moscoso off waivers from the Blue Jays, who had claimed him off waivers from the Royals earlier this spring. Moscoso has been added to the 40 man roster, with Arodys Vizcaino being placed on the 60-day disabled list as he continues to recover from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, which clears the spot for Moscoso.

For those unfamiliar with Moscoso, there is a reason for that. He sucks…or at least he did last year as a bullpen arm. The interesting caveat is that the year before, when his primary role was as a starting pitcher, he was actually quite good. Here is your comparison:

The rumor on Twitter as of this writing is that Cory Wade has been told he will not make this team, which leaves the newly acquired Moscoso to serve as the long man, filling the role Carlos Villanueva was penciled in for or older than dirt left, Hisanori Takahashi. Personally, I think Moscoso offers more flexibility and upside and seems to have the leg up.

Also told they were not a part of the opening day roster were infielder Alberto Gonzalez and pitcher, Zach Putnam. That seems to lend itself to the decision that barring a waiver wire pickup, Steve Clevenger will win the last bench spot.

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Opening Day Roster is ALMOST Complete

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

It’s almost here. Can you smell it yet? Opening day is so close. If you’ve read the blog for awhile, you know I hate spring training so the quicker we get the opening day the better for me. I have a tradition dating back to when I was in middle school to always stay home from school / work on opening day. As I’ve gotten a few years older I’ve realized that I can still work a little and take off half the day, so I’m anxiously awaiting Monday to come. I haven’t decided if I’m going to go home and watch the game on the couch and risk my kids running around screaming or go by myself to Buffalo Wild Wings. Both have advantages and disadvantages so I’ll have to weigh those before making a very important decision. In the meantime, let’s talk about the news.

Somehow it went unmentioned by the brother’s Johnson that Scott Baker was evaluated on Sunday by the team’s orthopedic specialist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo. (Note to self:┬áreturn christmas gifts for Jeremiah and Jedi and purchase two lumps of coal.)┬áThe evaluation of the MRI he had revealed no structural damage to the elbow for Baker, who is recovering from Tommy John. While it is a setback in the rehab process, it doesn’t push the time table back dramatically. While there hasn’t been an official estimate set, I’d expect his return to be sometime late June or early July. It’s not ideal, as the goal was to show he was healthy and showcase him, but if he can come back healthy he may be a value. Remember, Ryan Dempster was picked up off the scrap heap back in the day off of surgery and turned out pretty well for us.

Keeping with the pitching staff, the Cubs continue to inch closer to the bullpen for opening day as Rafael Dolis was optioned to AAA on Sunday. The main reason for the move was a blister he’s been dealing with. That leaves just three names remaining, Zach Putnam, Cory Wade and Hisanori Takahashi, who is the only lefty. All three are non-roster invitees, so in order for them to make the team a spot will need to be made for them on the 40 man roster. We’ve already established that Brent Lillibridge and some non-roster infielder should make the team. Adding one of these three to that count means three guys need to be removed from the list. Looking at the current 40 man roster, I see a few possibilities:

Scott Baker transferred to the 60 day DL, which opens up one spot, is an obvious choice. Robert Whitenack is another name that would potentially be designated for assignment in hopes no one claims him and he can be outrighted to AAA. That would clear two spots. Beyond that, it’s tough. I don’t know about you, but I’m on the edge of my seat, and I say that completely serious. These kind of speculative things cause me to completely dork out and obsess over. Keith Law was in attendance to scout a few Cubs prospects the other day and filed a report mentioning Whitenack.

Robert Whitenack, however, looked awful in his comeback from 2010 Tommy John surgery, sitting 85-87, way below what he was pre-surgery. He’s a cautionary tale for every one of us (myself included) who looks at that operation as risk-free. Most guys come all the way back, but maybe one in 10 don’t. (FULL STORY)

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Morning News: Another Day Closer

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Let me start by passing along belated birthday greetings to our beloved blogfather, Joe Aiello. Joe shares his birthday with Starlin Castro, which is fitting since they both exhibit surprising skills for their respective ages.

Steve Clevenger’s surprising and eye-opening camp has created an interesting problem for Dale, and may lead to the kind of versatility he relishes.

Perhaps the Cubs’ makeshift rotation isn’t as bleak as it might seem.

Jonah Keri previews the NL Central. Spoiler Alert: he’s not high on the Cubs.

The Cubs can’t escape Kyle Lohse.

Yahoo paid a kid $30M for a smartphone app.

A group of Russian tourists climbed to the top of the Great Pyramid in Egypt and took some spectacular photos from their illicit perch.

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