Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Yesterday’s News: Dreaming of Fernandez

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

ABOUT LAST NIGHT – Reds 2 @ Cubs 5 (Box Score / Condensed Game)

I decided to not watch the game last night. Between the fact that it was a Jason Hammel start and the fact that the Bears were playing on Monday Night Football, I opted for football. I made the wrong choice. What I can tell you is this: The Bears are not a good football team this year and it’s very hard to continue to come back year after year and cheer for them. They remind me a lot of Cubs, which is probably why I can’t give them up.

On the Cubs side, there were some takeaways. Hammel pitched a nice game and was helped by some very late run support to earn a win. We talked about how he was one to watch down the stretch. He’ll probably get two more starts, so it will be interesting to see what happens with those. I don’t get the impression that Joe Maddon trusts Hammel all that much and I get the feeling that their relationship is not that good. If he gets a playoff spot, he’ll have earned it. Jason Heyward went deep as well. I differ from Sherm on his spot. You absolutely have to take Heyward. He was great in the series last year against the Cardinals in the NLDS. He can be that guy again. Last year we saw it with Jorge Soler, who had struggled all year, and then lost his mind by reaching base like 57 straight times. Heyward can have that kind of series and he brings defense, something Soler does not. Absolutely has to be on the roster.

TRANSACTIONAL NEWS – Jack Leathersich, who has been in the minors this year, was scheduled to be able to file for minor league free agency at the end of the year. He has decided to re-sign a minor league deal to stay with the Cubs. He’s a guy that, if he can work on his command, can be a part of the pen. He’s got strikeout stuff, which is what you want, but he walks too many guys. Walks kill bullpens.

ANYONE INTERESTED IN A FLAME THROWER? – Nick Cafardo had this tasty nugget in his article yesterday:

There’s more buzz that the Marlins will listen to offers for Jose Fernandez this offseason. Fernandez has long been the apple of the eye of a lot of big-market teams that wouldn’t mind writing that extension check. The Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees, and Cubs for sure would all be in line. Right now, it doesn’t appear there will be any extension talks early this offseason between Miami and Fernandez’s agent, Scott Boras, if at all.

Yes Please!!!

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4 Things to Watch For in the Final Two Weeks of the Season

Monday, September 19th, 2016

We are two weeks from the start of the playoffs. The division is clinched and we’re dangerously close to clinching home field advantage throughout the NL playoffs. We’re not used to this type of season, so I decided it might be helpful if I provided a little bit of a viewers guide to these last two weeks. Here are things you should be watching for.

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE – The magic number to clinch home field to the World Series sit at seven. As you watch this week, pay attention to the out of town scoreboard for the Nationals. Currently they sit in 2nd place in the NL and have series’ left with the Marlins x 2, the Diamondbacks and the Pirates. It’s not a particularly difficult schedule, but it’s doubtful they will be able to overcome the Cubs lead.

VETERAN ROSTER SPOTS – Right now there are a couple of veterans who have their roster spots for the playoffs that are still in question. Jason Hammel has struggled of late and with the need to just carry four starters, he may miss the roster all together as you typically don’t just stick a starter in the pen when we hasn’t had time to get used to that role. The Cubs can opt out of the last year of Hammel’s deal at the end of the season, so it’s very possible we’re watching the last couple starts for him as a Cub. Watch those closely, beginning with tonight. Good, sharp starts may mean he gets the chance to grab one of those bullpen spots, but I highly doubt it. The other veteran on the bubble is Miguel Montero. He’s played better in the 2nd half, particularly this month, but in a perfect world you would rather not take a 3rd catcher on the roster. It limits your flexibility. The one thing Montero has going is that he hits left-handed. I think he makes the roster, but if it were up to me, he’d be left off.

BULLPEN SPOTS – There figure to be seven guys in the pen for the playoffs. If we do the math, then there will be a crunch for the last spots. Aroldis Chapman and Hector Rondon are locks. You would also figure Justin Grimm is a lock. Travis Wood and Mike Montgomery both throw left handed. Do you take both? I think you do. That leaves two spots. One would go to Pedro Strop assuming he returns healthy. Who gets the last spot. Carl Edwards Jr? Trevor Cahill? Hammel? Spencer Patton? Felix Pena? Funky throwing Joe Smith? There is going to be a lot of jockeying these last two weeks.

FIRST ROUND OPPONENT – As it stands now, the Cubs would play the winner of the Giants and Mets matchup, but the Cardinals are still in the mix. As a Cub fan, you should be hoping there is a three way tie for the wild card spots so those teams have to play a multi-tiebreaker situation. It burns pitchers and dramatically increases the Cubs chances to advance to the NLCS. I’m not sure which team I want to face. Certainly the Mets just got a little weaker with news that Jacob deGrom is done for the year, but any team can get hot and a short five game series is dangerous.

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Division Championships – Phase One Complete

Friday, September 16th, 2016

ABOUT LAST NIGHT – Brewers 5 @ Cubs 4 – I watched the game and was excited to watch the end and the celebration. Sometimes, it’s helpful to look back and see what this team has looked like for playoff appearances and really appreciate what is being done.

2015 NL Championship Series New York Mets Lost, 4-0
NL Division Series St. Louis Cardinals Won, 3-1
NL Wild Card Pittsburgh Pirates Won Game, 4-0
2008 NL Division Series Los Angeles Dodgers Lost, 3-0
2007 NL Division Series Arizona Diamondbacks Lost, 3-0
2003 NL Championship Series Florida Marlins Lost, 4-3
NL Division Series Atlanta Braves Won, 3-2
1998 NL Division Series Atlanta Braves Lost, 3-0
1989 NL Championship Series San Francisco Giants Lost, 4-1
1984 NL Championship Series San Diego Padres Lost, 3-2
1945 World Series Detroit Tigers Lost, 4-3
1938 World Series New York Yankees Lost, 4-0
1935 World Series Detroit Tigers Lost, 4-2
1932 World Series New York Yankees Lost, 4-0
1929 World Series Philadelphia Athletics Lost, 4-1
1918 World Series Boston Red Sox Lost, 4-1
1910 World Series Philadelphia Athletics Lost, 4-1
1908 World Series Detroit Tigers Won, 4-1
1907 World Series Detroit Tigers Won, 4-0
1906 World Series Chicago White Sox Lost, 4-2

That is an awful lot of futility and times not even making the playoffs. I tried to explain to my wife why clinching the division was a big deal and that table solidified it for me. As I listed to Pat and Ron last night, they gave a shoutout to a Cub fan having his 100th birthday and everything in me hoped so hard that he would live to see it happen this year. I really believe it is going to happen and I want that guy to see it.

I was bummed to not see a celebration on the field last night. I know the Cubs will “celebrate” with the fans this afternoon, but it’s not the same. One of my favorite moments as a fan is watching the 1989 team, the first year I watched baseball as an 11 year old, clinch the division. I thought it just happened every year. Not so much.

Now we wait for the next couple weeks and stay healthy. Personally, I’m pulling for a three way tie for the wild card spot so we can have those teams burn the crap out of their rotation.

 

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GirlieView (09/15/2016)

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely, and/or interesting quote made on the VFTB site by our writers or commenters.
  • Lizard = The best Lizzie.
  • MVL = Most Valuable Lizzie’ers: Those with the most Lizzies in the period under review (usually the past two weeks.)
  • Top 10 of the 2016 Season = 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

  • I have started getting phone calls from some of those bathrooms worldwide. My wife is getting suspicious.
  • you ASKED for this…
  • 2 months of Smarja and Hammel for Russell, fleecing.
  • it’s like a train wreck. I don’t WANT to see it, but I HAVE to look. I find entertainment now in how bad Len is…
  • It is possible the Cubs can clinch the division in St Louis in mid September. How delicious would that be?
  • They interviewed Ross after the game and he talked about how much fun this season is and has been. He said what a great organization this is from the players, to the coaches, to the ownership to the fans. Len asked him “and the broadcasters, right?” and Ross said, “well, not really. That’s the weak link in the chain.” I thought it was hilarious, even if he was just kidding.
  • we’re quickly running out of room in the lineup… quite the embarrassment of riches!
  • Zobrist is good – but he’s not a 4 hitter, he’s not a power guy and no one is afraid to pitch to him.
  • I like Soler there until Raker’s boyfriend returns.
  • The only way I want to see Ross come back is if we find out that Lester can’t throw to home, either
  • I hope they don’t let Schwarber catch for two reasons: 1) he isn’t good at it, and 2) it’s horrible for his knee.
  • I was fairly certain the Padres had a Pickles Dillhoefer in their line up this season, too.
  • You’re thinking of Pork Neinhouser.
  • I think you are getting your passions mixed up. He was famous in the 70s in a different venue.
  • I enjoy watching the Cubs win even without the suspense.
  • Do I want the playoffs to start this week? No. I think the guys are close, but need a little more time……..or maybe I do.
  • JD laughed and said “you suck at this” (in his head) and part of his soul died just for having Len as a partner.
  • There are times, CAPS, many of them if fact, where you should not take the bait on these type of things. Think, type, think again, think one more time, then post. You’re welcome.
  • Herm Edwards likes to say “Don’t Press Send”
  • 2016 – Doug S. is pissed off at a Brewers series loss and no Cubs baseball today.
  • And you thought we didn’t read this Dan in Historn!
  • Perhaps not surprisingly, I would support the players right to take a stand. Though I would also think it better if he had not.
  • “first, we lean on the dugout railing, just like the real big leaguers. Then, after a few hours of this, we follow Sherm into the shower to see if his nether region Cubs tattoo has moved at all since yesterday.”
  • For the record, I have one Cub tat, and it’s on my arm. That other thing? Just a very fortunate birth mark, I guess. Why it says Hillerich & Bradsby is beyond me.
  • I’ll never forget the look on my wife’s face when she finally saw me walking up the street.
  • I think that was Jedi who liked him and we all hated him. Or was it the other way around? Or was that Castro? Or was it Jedi?
  • We all liked Castro, except CAPS because he (like Aramis) sucked and it was time for him to go. Tommy, who was blind, had a thing for CAPS, and probably, like Lizzie, Geo. I’m not sure how that all worked out.. I was too busy trying to figure out which bemulleted infielder I hated the least.
  • (just kidding… it’s always been Fontenot)
  • Once again, West is making up rules as he goes along.
  • Heyward note: he’s 0 – 20 on this road trip, so basically since “The Heyward Game” has gone back to his “Wayward Game” and can’t hit. I honestly don’t know if I would have HIM on the post-season roster.

Lizard

  • Everyday should be Kyle day.

Shout Outs

  • Big shout outs to Gaz for his first 2016 Regular Season Lizzies!!!! Thanks for sharing your story with us!

MVL

  • Since Sherm consistently wins this, I’ve decided to begin listing the top three! Congratulations to Sherm, cap’n realist, and (tied) Doc Raker, jswanson, and Kyle Clark our Most Valuable Lizzie-ers this time around! Thank you all for everything you contribute here!

Top 10 of the 2016 Season (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard)

1. Sherm
2. Doc Raker
3. Eddie von White
4. Doug S
4. Seymour Butts
6. jswanson
7. Joe Aiello
8. Brad Lyerla
9. cap’n realist
10. Dork

Chit Chat

  • Sherm’s looking to attend a post-season game or two in person if the Cubs are so fortunate to be a participant (let him know if you’re interested!) but since most of us will not have that luxury, where will you be watching your post-season baseball? Will you watch from home? Go to a bar? Travel around with the teams in your RV with a satellite on top? Do tell!
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Yesterday’s News – The Clinch Will Have to Wait

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Since last post-season, I’ve had an ongoing discussion on Twitter with a Cardinals fan that liked to debate with me. We even went as far as to make a wager. I bet him that the Cubs would win the division by 15+ games. As things have gotten closer to the end of the season, I find him to be more irritating. As his team struggles and finds them on the outside looking in at the postseason, he doesn’t seem as cordial to speak to and you can tell that he’s irritated that it’s the Cubs that are winning. It is what it is, and I hope enjoys watching the playoffs and having no team to cheer for.

  • ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Cubs 2 @ Cardinals 4 (Box Score / Condensed Game– I sat down to watch this one, but then I remembered that it was Jason Hammel pitching and I decided to half pay attention and instead read a book. I made the right decision. It was fun to watch early and see Dexter Fowler hit a leadoff home run. I tweeted out that he’s done that 21 times in his career and seven of those have come this season. That amazes me. He is a free agent at the end of the year and I used to be worried about the Cubs offering him a qualifying offer in order to get draft pick compensation if he leaves to free agency for fear that he would accept it, but now I’m not worried. He’s going to get paid this off-season by someone. I’m not sure who, but someone.I don’t like September rules for baseball. Because the Cardinals are still fighting for a playoff spot, Mike Matheny went to the bullpen early after Jaime Garcia did not have it together to start the game. Because of the expanded rosters, he could make that move without fear that he would burn his pen. Why have the time of the year that is most crucial, with playoff races going full force, be one in which teams start the game with different rules than they have played the whole season with? You have teams playing with different amounts of players. It’s absurd and I’d like to see it altered in this upcoming CBA negotiations.
  • THOUGHTS ON AN UMP SHOW – Sherm took the posting duties yesterday, but I wanted to weigh in on my thoughts from the Joe Maddon ejection. If you missed it, some of the Cubs players went out to talk with Kyle Hendricks on the mound after he had lost the no hitter in an effort to “calm” him down, but also to stall a little for Aroldis Chapman. While it’s not illegal, I see both sides to it. Ultimately, Joe West tossed Maddon. If it was any other umpire, I wouldn’t mention it, but West is a notorious ump show offender and he routinely makes it all about him. There was no reason the whole thing should have even taken place. If you missed it, here is the video:
  • RAISE THE BANNER – The Eugene Emeralds won the Northwest League championship last night. Mad props go out to those guys. They have had a great season all year and we crushing people all year long. This was the first time in 41 years that they have won the title. It’s the Cubs turn next.
  • SO LONG TO A MEMBER OF THE FRONT OFFICE? – The Cubs have given the Twins permission to interview Jason McLeod. I don’t know if he will leave, but you know it has to happen sometime. My biggest fear is that Theo and Jed are still not signed for next season. In the back of my mind, there is a slight amount of panic over that.
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