Archive for July, 2013

A Cubs Fan Walks Into a Bank

Friday, July 12th, 2013

…..Would be the name of the story if anyone ever wanted to document how my day started on July 11, 2013. My wife and I found out we are moving back to the Northeast in a few weeks, so we found ourselves sitting on a flower-printed couch in the middle of a small Jackson, Mississippi bank.

One of the customer service guys–for the sake of anonymity, let’s call him Seymour–called us over to his desk and immediately commented on my Reed Johnson jersey tee. Yes I still wear that once every few weeks. Before I could counter with the friendly, “Oh are you a Cubs fan too?” conversation, he magically whips out a Cardinals mug from some unseen compartment in his desk.

“Seymour” was a nice guy and knew his baseball, but some part of me said that I should not be banking with a division rival. On the way out he wished me well and said he hopes the Cubs turn around their season. A subtle knife in the back to take home.

Unbeknownst to my suddenly forgetful brain, the Cubs and Cards were set to play a four-game set starting tonight and I was in charge of the now-defunct recap. Usually this spells doom, especially since I get shackled to Edwin Jackson starts more than anyone it seems, but my childish glee was in full effect as the text updates rolled across my iPhone screen.

Anthony Rizzo’s RBI-hit times two during the first three innings was enough for Jackson, as he matched a season-high seven innings pitched. The Cubs shutout St. Louis only one day after giving up a season-high runs in a game against the Angels.

Still Chicago has won five out of six games with three more against their St. Louis arch rivals leading up to the All-Star break. If the Cubs improbably sweep the Cards, they will only be five games under .500 entering the break. One can dream can’t they?

In a season that has been downright miserable to watch at times, winning games like Thursday make games like Wednesday worth skimming over watching. “Seymour” was probably none too happy with today’s result, but the earlier interaction made the game more enjoyable to follow along.

Newsworthy?

  • New ESPN wonder boy Yasiel Puig was not named as the vote-in player representative for the National League, with that designation going to Freddie Freeman. Puig’s month-ish time in the league has been nothing short of magnificent, but I think the fans made the right call.
  • In a pretty horrible, but not uncommon mistake. A kid was accidentally called a “Home run Hitler” in his school yearbook. That’s unfortunate.
  • PETA has found a new organization to be upset with

The teams are back in action tomorrow afternoon at 3:05 CT with Carlos Villanueva going against Joe Kelly.

 

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GirlieView (07/11/2013)

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

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 2013 = 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.

Lizzies

  • Not much that Dale Sveum has touched has turned to gold this season
  • He signed Milton Bradley at all.
  • On THIS? There is no question. Milkit Badly.
  • Holy shit.
  • The Sherm?
  • The triangle mouth is a dead giveaway.
  • Hendry’s hubris on curing Hasbro’s behavioral problems with a 3 year $30M contract was laughable from the get go.
  • I think it’s more to do with the .201/.319/.417 triple slash line that he’s sporting in AAA than Sveum
  • Value:  A bottle of generic aspirin
  • About this time my cable thankfully cut out
  • winning breeds winning
  • The Cubs management has a plan. Granted it is a painful plan, but it would be far worse to half-ass it at this point.
  • Turns that my face was covered by the “C” logo on the score line for most of the time.
  • You are like Norm’s wife, never to be seen, or like Rhoda’s doorman or Tool time’s neighbor, good thing the broadcast team knows you have a face for radio.
  • So Marmol is about to become a Dodger? That should solve their problems!
  • I’m on the edge of my seat here. Will we get a bucket of balls in return? Two buckets of balls? Exciting times, my friends.
  • Some old gals likely suffered retinal damage from Richard Simmons’ sequins in the 80′s version of Insanity. Do the people who tell you what exercises to do still wear sequined tank tops?
  • I’m not yet used to the taste of victory.
  • SHERM! Please write us a song about this awesome 2013 team….
  • It is a great time to be a Cub fan.
  • I hear the White Sox are looking for people to root for them.
  • Milton Bradley has been sentenced to more than three years in jail. Good for him. Have fun in there. You’ll fit right in since most people in jail blame others for their problems.
  • Heck, you could make a good case Tim Tebow should be there.
  • it’s virtually impossible to imagine a scenario in which he’s totally innocent.
  • I considered the the actual players as “my junk for your junk”.
  • this offense wouldn’t strike fear into the heart of a batting tee
  • I don’t know. This offense would miss the ball on the tee a lot and hit the tee. They do swing hard. It could hurt the tee.
  • The positive from the game was that no one got injured so everyone is still tradable.
  • A post-game red, white and blue snow cone is hard to beat.
  • I can’t tell if it’s blind Samardzija love or just a blatant disregard for what Wood has accomplished.
  • He respectfully requests six Cleveland Browns pall bearers so the Browns can let him down one last time.
  • This is weird. I actually don’t dislike Soriano lately.
  • DFA’d Camp!
  • That made my Camping day!
  • If nothing else, call Jim Hendry.

Lizard

  • What Gregg is doing has far greater ramifications than just the trade potential. It is now exceedingly difficult to curse on this website.

Shout Outs

Many thanks to these commenters who logged their first Lizzies of 2013 this time around.

  • Michael Jimenez
  • Scott E. Entsminger (RIP)
  • Sherm

MVL

Congratulations to Seymour Butts, the Most Valuable Lizzie’er this time around!

Top Ten of 2013 (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard)

1. jswanson
2. Seymour Butts
3. Eddie von White
4. Doc Raker
4. Jedi Johnson
6. Joe Aiello
7. Chuck
8. Jeremiah Johnson
9. Buddy
10. Doug S.

Chit Chat

A Lizzie from this week: “It is a great time to be a Cubs fan.” (Thanks Bones!) I heartily agree, but I know there are many who think this season is horrible for the team and the fans. Where do you stand?

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All Good Things Must End

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Jumping The Shark
If HRH Keith Law ever gets a couple of nights off to watch actual baseball games (instead of scouting T-ball leagues in Cuba), I hope he watched the Cubs the last two nights. On Sunday, Klaw said this:

  • I don’t know if the Nationals discouraged Bruce Bochy and the league from taking Stephen Strasburg — who belongs on merit, and on star power — because they’d rather have him rest for those three days. I’d take any of those four pitchers over Jeff Locke, whose 2.12 ERA is bursting with good fortune, from the league’s third-lowest BABIP to its highest strand rate, and who has never pitched like this before and is unlikely to do so in the second half. The same could be said of Travis Wood, who isn’t even the most deserving starter on his own staff.

At first I thought maybe he started compiling this particular piece on Opening Day and didn’t ever get around to updating his lone sentence on the Cubs. Whatever the reason for his stupefying conclusion, definitive proof of Travis Wood’s All-Star merits were on display Tuesday night. On Wednesday night, Jeff Samardzija’s inconsistent 2013 was equally on display.

Due to the Cubs usually anemic offense, the game was effectively over when each of the first four batters scored before the Cubs recorded a single out. Next up, Edwin Jackson against the Cardinals tonight at Wrigley.

More Cubs News

  • Kris Bryant, the Cubs first selection in the amateur draft, has reached a tentative agreement with the team.
  • Jen-Ho Tseng‘s signing continues the rash of international newcomers. If you know any foreigners who are familiar with baseball, haven’t yet completed high school, and for whom ‘summer in Boise’ isn’t a vomit-inducing proposition – the Cubs are interested in inking them to a deal. Email drunktheo@beenabitbored.com with contact information. (Did they even check to make sure Jen-Ho is a guy?)

Around The League

  • Chad Gaudin found out that what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas.
  • John Rocker is still an idiot.
  • Yu Darvish is one of the first to find a convenient way out of the All-Star Game.
  • Kris Benson has a crazy soon-to-be ex-wife.

Other News

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A Review of the First 9 Days of July’s Transactions

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

In the latter half of June, Jed Hoyer said that he thought there was about a 50/50 shot that the Cubs would make any trades before the All Star Break. Either Jed Hoyer was using a bit of misdirection (also called lying through his teeth), or things moved a lot faster than he thought they would because the Cubs have been involved in four trades through July 9th. But who did the Cubs trade, what did they get back, and does this give any indication for how the Cubs plan to move forward with the rest of the 2013 trading season and beyond?

Cubs trade RHP Scott Feldman and C/IF Steve Clevenger for RHPs Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop, and international signing money

Of the moves the Cubs have made so far, this one appears to have disappointed fans the most. Feldman pitched very well as a Cub (3.46 ERA in 91 innings over 15 starts), while Clevenger was at least a serviceable backup catcher and corner infielder when he could stay healthy. Arriet has the stuff to be a number 2 starter, with four pitches and a mid-90s fastball, but has lacked the command and control to turn that stuff into good Major League pitching. Strop comes from the Carlos Marmol school of relief pitching: he’ll strike out a lot of hitters, but he’ll walk a lot of hitters too. However, he doesn’t have anywhere near the mileage on his arm that Marmol has at this point.

I actually get why the Cubs wanted to pull the trigger quickly on Feldman. There was a concern he could turn into something of a pumpkin, as his FIP and xFIP are both right around 4.00. Also, once the market for the Matt Garzas, Yovani Gallardos, and other similar pitchers of the baseball world developed, moving Feldman could have become more difficult.

The real confusion is in Arrieta as the big piece back. There are two rationales the Cubs could have behind bringing in Arrieta. First, he’s a guy that has been mentioned in a lot of trade rumors around baseball as a popular buy low candidate, so the Cubs might think they could flip him for prospects. Second, the Cubs might think they could fix Arrieta. If it is the latter, at least they will get Derek Johnson working with him.

Cubs Trade RHP Carlos Marmol and international signing money to the Dodgers for RHP Matt Guerrier

This was a largely a straight swap of struggling relievers. Marmol had been DFA’d  by the Cubs, Guerrier had been DFA’d by the Dodgers. Guerrier has enough of a track record that a hot July could make him someone the Cubs could flip again. But likely it’s just giving a couple of veterans who didn’t have places with their prior organizations another chance.

Cubs Trade 2B Ronald Torreyes (Double A) to the Astros for international signing money

Since Torreyes had joined the Cubs’ organization in the Sean Marshall trade, he had been an intriguing prospect. Not necessarily a good prospect, but an intriguing one. Torreyes is absolutely tiny. He’s listed at 5’9″, 140 lbs, but from everything I’ve heard the height could be overstated by as much as 4 inches. He has absolutely no power and can only legitimately play 2B defensively. But he has truly elite contact skills that propelled him through the lower minors. Unfortunately for Torreyes, the numbers kept declining as he moved up the ladder, likely making the Cubs believe that the contact skills wouldn’t be enough. That, plus the Cubs wanting to promote Javier Baez to Double A and Arismendy Alcantara’s emergence would have made it difficult for Torreyes to get everyday at bats at Double A with the Cubs.

Cubs Trade OF Scott Hairston to Nationals for Minor League RHP Ivan Pineyro (High A)

This trade was more along the lines of what everyone expected. The Cubs traded one of their role players who would have more value to a contender for a pitching prospect. Don’t let Hairston’s batting average fool you, he was actually pretty decent this season, just with the worst BABIP of any hitter with at least 100 PAs by a country mile at .129. Hairston hit more home runs (8) than singles (7) with the Cubs. And that just means he had some crappy luck, considering all of his other rate stats stayed on par with his career numbers. Hairston is only a guy who can crush left handed pitching but not much else, but of the corner outfielders who fit that description he is one of the better ones.

Pineyro isn’t an elite prospect, but is a legitimate one. He was at the back end of some of the longer organizational top prospect lists at the beginning of the season, and performed well in Low A before a recent promotion to High A in the Nationals’ system. Throughout his young career he’d been able to record a lot of strikeouts while limiting walks, a great sign from a young pitcher. This is someone who has a legitimate shot to contribute in a Major League starting rotation, which is the most you can ask in return for an outfielder whose primary skill is mashing left handed pitching.

The one curiosity is why the Cubs traded Hairston in the first place? This was a solid return for Hairston, so it’s possible the Nationals approached the Cubs instead of the Cubs shopping Hairston around. But Hairston was signed cheaply through 2014, and was a logical choice as a short term replacement for Alfonso Soriano if Soriano was traded. I just have a feeling that the Cubs don’t think they’re going to be able to get what they would view as a fair return for Soriano, and we’re likely to see the Cubs’ left fielder in blue pinstripes at least through the middle of next year.

The Cubs Sign all the International Amateur Free Agents, and Will Incur Penalties Next Season

Ok, not quite all of the international amateurs, but a huge proportion of the best ones. Since they are largely a bunch of talented 16 year olds I could only provide very limited information on, I won’t go through the names, but the info is readily available on the internet. In the process, the Cubs blew through their international amateur spending limits, and will face significant penalties. First, the Cubs will have to pay a 100% tax on everything over their spending limit (a few million dollars). Second, and more importantly, the Cubs will not be able to sign anyone to a bonus of more than $250,000 next season.

Some are saying that this was always the Cubs’ plan: blow through the spending limit on a strong international free agent class this year, then trade away a lot of their international spending limit next season for higher level prospects or MLB talent.

Honestly, I doubt this. If the Cubs were going to blow their international spending limit so significantly, why bother trading assets to accumulate the ability to put more money towards international free agents in the first place? I think that there came a point where it became clear to the Cubs that they were not going to be able to sign all the players they wanted to for the money they had available without incurring big penalties, and as such they just decided to sign everyone they can this year. Once you’re in the worst penalty zone, you might as well take full advantage of the offending behavior.

The good news is that the Cubs being even willing to risk going over their international spending limit means they likely at least contemplated this idea of going over this year, then trading away much of their international spending money next year. It could be a sign that the Cubs are looking to flip the switch to being competitive at the Major League level in 2014, as the international spending money they would be looking to trade could help bring players that would help the Cubs get better immediately.

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Cubs Win Again and Other Rumors

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

As of this writing, there is a major rumor floating around. It’s a pretty nice rumor for Cubs fans. Lean in a little to your computer and I’ll tell you what it is. You ready? This team may be getting better. Over the last 24 games, they’ve posted a 14-10 record. While that may not look overly impressive on the whole, but it’s progress and should be reason for encouragement for you today. Part of that record included last night’s win to run the win streak to four in a row. It’s nice watching decent baseball. That said, let’s get to some news / notes.

NEWS / NOTES

  • Pedro Strop came on last night to pitch a scoreless 9th inning. Since coming to Chicago, he’s made three appearances, two of them to finish a game, and has been good in all of them. Call it a hunch, but my guess is he’d be first candidate to take the closer role when / if Kevin Gregg is moved. No new rumors on Gregg at this point, but you’d have to imagine someone is willing to overpay for relief pitching down the stretch. If nothing else, call Jim Hendry. He can probably put a bug in Cashman’s ear in NY. He loves over paying for pen help. Just ask Scott Eyre, Bob Howry, etc.
  • Alfonso Soriano hit a pair of home runs last night and continues to be crazy hot. I don’t necessarily see a move for Soriano before the non-waiver deadline, but he’s definitely a guy who could still be moved into August. His contract would pass through waivers and allow Theo / Jed to move him to a contender all the way up to the end of August and still allow him to be playoff eligible. At this point, he deserves that shot to play with a contender before his career is over. I have no malice toward Soriano. He took the money he was offered and has, for the most part, done his best to earn as much as possible.
  • Travis Wood picked up the win last night and turned in another nice outing. In the beginning, that deal that sent Sean Marshall to the Reds didn’t look that great for the Cubs, but Wood’s development may turn that trade into a steal. He’s said he’d like a shot to pitch in the All Star game. It will be his choice, but I’d strongly encourage him not to.
  • Scott Baker (remember him?) could be back with the team in a month or so as he continues to rehab from the elbow injury. That should be right around the time we’ve grown tired of Matt Garza‘s replacement, Chris Rusin, so the timing will be perfect. The hope had been to be able to see progress and flip Baker this year, but now the Cubs need to see progress and be forced to make a decision on if they want to sign him to another one year deal.
  • Speaking of Garza, I suppose we need to address the latest rumors. I’m gonna go on record and predict that Garza will go to either the Indians or the Rangers. Those seem to be the teams that have scouted him the most heavily. Garza still believes the chances for an extension are at 50-50, but I don’t know that the organization feels the same. If the deal gets done with Cleveland, it better include Trevor Bauer.
  • The Cubs announced yesterday that Shawn Camp has been released after being designated for assignment a few days earlier. So long!!!

A five game win streak would feel mighty nice. Let’s make that happen tonight behind Jeff Samardzija.

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Stocks Keep Rising For Garza and Soriano

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

I wrote yesterday that I was on pins and needles as I waited to see what would happen with Matt Garza’s start. Last year’s trade deadline has me so gun shy and nervous that the returns needed to continue this rebuild will not come because of some freak thing late in the process. Back when I was a teacher, I used to let me students play a game where we would roll a die. They could add the value of the die to their total for as long as we didn’t roll a 1. They could choose to stop at any time and bank those points or risk losing them all with a roll of a one. Inevitibly, the ones who were too conservative always lost. The ones who were too reckless also always lost. It was the ones who knew balance that won on a consistent basis. The same can be said of the trade market.

Last night we saw another great outing from Garza, hopefully increasing his value even more. We also so a great performance by Alfonso Soriano as well. The trade talk for Soriano has simmered a little over the last few weeks, but my guess is that as he continues to ride a hot streak we’ll continue to see those rumors increase.

NEWS / NOTES

  • Bob Nightengale of the USA Today writes that both the Dodgers and the Indians have been scouting Garza pretty hard. My guess is that the Indian’s interest in the deal is more genuine given that the Dodgers scouting may simmer since acquiring Ricky Nolasco in a trade recently. At the same time, they have so much invested this year that it may be low risk to go after a guy that is essentially a rental rather than add tons 0f salary to their already bloted payroll. It’s win or bust for them this year. Nightengale also tweeted that both the Giants and Rangers had scouts in attendance last night.
  • With all the rumors being discussed of moving Garza, the Cubs also made it clear that they have also been in discussions with his agent on an extension. You’d think that Garza’s camp is looking for a five or six year deal as this is his big payday, while the Cubs would rather do a three year deal. The reason for the sudden talks has to be an indication that the return offers on Garza have not met the expectations for what the Cubs perceive as his value.
  • Apparently both the Cubs and the Nats will also receive a PTBNL in the Scott Hairston deal from Sunday. More on that deal later in the post.
  • The international spending is still hot and heavy for the Cubs as they are rumored to be on the verge of signing Jen-Ho Tseng, a Taiwanese 18 yr old pitcher with a good fastball. The rumored signing bonus of over $1.5 million would put them in the penalty for international signing, which would mean a 100% tax on the money spent this year (big deal), and a player signing cap next year of $250K. Theo and Jed have gone on record this year as saying that they don’t like next year’s crop, so this isn’t a big deal.
  • We’re inching closer to the signing deadline for players drafted in the Rule 4 draft this season and the Cubs top pick, Kris Bryant, remains unsigned. He’s a Scott Boras client, but the Cubs have had a good relationship with Boras in the past. Preliminary rumors had his camp asking for more money than the top pick, but seeing that Bryant really does not have much to gain by returning to school for his senior season, I don’t see a scenario where a deal fails to get done. Albert Almora, another Boras client last year, signed at the deadline. This year’s deadline is Friday.
  • Scott Feldman made his Orioles home debut last night and it didn’t quite go as planned. He allowed seven runs on nine hits and one walk in 5.1 innings of work. It reminds me a lot of the Ryan Dempster deal to the Rangers. You never want a deal to go bad for either party so as to maintain a good relationship. My hope is that Feldman has success in Baltimore.
  • John Sickels looked at the Hairston trade and said in his blog “I think picking up a C+/C type prospect for a surplus utility man who didn’t fit into the long-term plan is a good return for the Cubs.” The key to his development will be his secondary pitches. He’s young and now it’s up to the Cubs to polish and smooth him out.
  • Finally, this obituary has made headlines. Cleveland Browns fan and season ticket holder, Scott E. Entsminger, passed away and his obituary read “He respectfully requests six Cleveland Browns pall bearers so the Browns can let him down one last time.” That is outstanding. I request that we honor this man with VFTB’s first ever posthumous Lizzie award.
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Cubs Trade Scott Hairston to the Nationals

Monday, July 8th, 2013

In case you missed it last night, the Cubs made another trade, this time sending Scott Hairston to the Nationals for a minor league pitcher. As of this writing, the player has not been announced, but my guess is it’s a starting pitcher, since that’s the model Theo and Jed have put in place. Their goal has been to stockpile as many young arms as possible and let the law of numbers sort them all out. The trade is expected to be formally announced this morning, so we should get more info soon. Hairston had a pinch hit home run yesterday that looked to be the winning RBI until Goggleface came in and wet the bed for a rare time this year. I watched the whole game on DVR last night, which is a struggle considering how bad this team is and how long that game lasted, and I thought for sure the Cubs were going to end up blowing the series win when it went to extra innings. In the end, it’s nice to come away with a series victory like that. Tonight we face the White Sox in a makeup game from an earlier rainout. That has the Matt Garza rumors buzzing since he’s the starter tonight, especially after Ricky Nolasco was moved this weekend. Nolasco was another hot name on the market. Supply has decreased so demand should increase. Here is a look at the rumors around Garza that I’ve come across:

  • Ken Rosenthal writes that the Rangers had interest in Garza last year and have interest in him again. In fact, sources he spoke to said they were more interested in Garza last year than they were in Ryan Dempster, but because of the injury Garza suffered late in the process, they settled for Dempster.
  • Rumor has it that the Nationals also have interest in Garza. The deal yesterday leads me to believe that at least the Cubs have talked about him. You can’t discuss a deal for Hairston and at least not mention Garza if you’re Jed or Theo.

I’m not sure when Garza will be moved. All I know is that every start he makes, I’m on pins and needles. He’s scheduled for a start tonight and one on Saturday. How well he pitches in both could be the deciding factor in the return.

 

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Wrap Em All In Bubble Wrap

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

ABOUT LAST NIGHTThe Cubs lost again, but this one was pretty much expected since it was against the Pirates, but what wasn’t expected was a complete game by Francisco Liriano. The positive from the game was that no one got injured so everyone is still tradable. Scratch that, Dioner Navarro banged up his hand late in the game, but appeared to be OK. At this point, isn’t news like that the story of the next few weeks. After the debacles last year with the failed Ryan Dempster trades and the late injury to Matt Garza that basically whittled down the value of each, don’t we basically have to wrap these guys in bubble wrap, accept some losses and hope for happy returns? Garza is slated to start next against the White Sox on Monday so be on the lookout this weekend for a deal to happen. If not, hold your breath and hope for a good clean outing on Monday and we’ll repeat the process.

NEWS & NOTES

  • David DeJesus has begun hitting off of a tee. Soon he should graduate to coach pitch and eventually be under the direction of Cap’n Obvious and his little leaguers in Cali. We’re all so proud.
  • Buster Olney tweeted last night that the Cubs had made some progress in their trade talks for Garza, but wouldn’t really elaborate any further. He did mention the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Indians, Rangers and Orioles as potential suitors.
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The Battle of Who Could Care Less

Friday, July 5th, 2013

ABOUT LAST NIGHT - One of my favorite musical talents is Ben Folds. He has a song called Battle of Who Could Care Less. It immediately came to mind yesterday as I watched two teams put zero after zero on the board, inning after inning. It was a combination of two starting pitchers, both of which had decent stuff, but more a result of two offenses who, when you look at them from top to bottom, are kind of stinky. The A’s are hitting just .204 for the month of July as a team, and the Cubs, well we know how that story has gone this season. In the end, it came down to a rather non-conventional way to win as the A’s get the only run of the game on a passed ball by Wellington Castillo in the 7th. The Cubs had a chance to take the lead earlier on an Alfonso Soriano single, and if you go strictly by the first half of the Len Kasper call, you would have thought they did take the lead. Instead, Starlin Castro was thrown out at the plate fairly easily trying to score from second base (Watch the Play). I’m still not sure what went wrong on the play, if it was a bad send or a bad job of running by Castro or if the throw was just that good. In the end, it was the difference between a loss and a potential win. Travis Wood didn’t get the loss, but once again, he also did not get the win. I feel bad for the poor guy, because as much as the tally in the win stat column does not mean anything from a valuation standpoint, it matters from a $$ standpoint. The poor guy deserves a better showing than he’s received. Newcomers, Matt Guerrier and Pedro Strop made their Cub debuts. Guerrier looked and was fairly hittable. While it’s tough to make a call after one game, I suspect that yesterday was an indication of what the Dodgers have been seeing all year. I don’t expect him to stick around long. Strop looked decent. There have been comparisons to him and Carlos Marmol, who cleared waivers for the Dodgers and was sent to the minors to work on his stuff, but personally I didn’t see the same kind of grip it and rip it type of John Daly approach on the mound. Strop at least seemed to have some sort of clue where the ball was going, while Marmol, in the later stages of his tenure in Chicago, never seemed to know. I’d like to see more from Strop. Guerrier, not so much. It doesn’t get easier this weekend as the Pirates come to Chicago. They’re one of the hottest teams in baseball so the goal is to not get embarrassed.

NEWS AND NOTES

  • Fresh off the signing of the top international prospect, Eloy Jimenez, Phil Rogers notes that the Cubs may not be finished on the international market despite being over their slot cap. Theo and Jed believe that the talent in this class is head and shoulders above the names in next year’s market and as a result, will take the penalties next year in an effort to maximize talent this year.
  • At least a dozen scouts were on hand on to watch and evaluation Matt Garza’s last start. I don’t know how many starts are left as a Cub for Garza, but my guess is it’s not more than one or two at the most. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve seen his last start.
  • Brian Bogusevic left the game on Thursday in the third inning with a tight left hamstring, and is day to day. It caught even the announcers by surprise when they went to announce a fly ball to center and saw Julio Borbon.
  • Here is a summary of some of the reactions to the Scott Feldman trade.

AROUND THE MAJORS

  • An update on your Alex Rodriguez saga. He came out and stated that he refuses to quit on the Yankees. This comes despite the fact that the Yankees quit on him years ago.
  • Arizona and the Mets decided that they would torture their fans and monopolize their entire holiday with a 15 inning, 5 hour and 46 minute affair that saw runs scored in the 13th, 14th, and the 15th innings. (Box Score)
  • All Star rosters come out tomorrow and I’m sure there will be many that are waiting anxiously to see who the Cubs rep is, but as for me, I want to see Puigmania continue.
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