New York, New York!

GAME 66 PREVIEW CHICAGO CUBS (34-31) at NEW YORK YANKEES (34-32) Yankee Stadium, 2:05pm CT, TV: FOX
SP Chien-Ming Wang SP *Glendon Rusch
SS #Neifi Perez SS Derek Jeter
CF *Corey Patterson LF *Tony Womack
1B Derrek Lee RF Gary Sheffield
RF *Jeromy Burnitz 3B Alex Rodriguez
3B Aramis Ramirez DH *Hideki Matsui
2B *Todd Walker C #Jorge Posada
C Michael Barrett CF #Bernie Williams
LF *Todd Hollandsworth 1B *Tino Martinez
DH Jason Dubois 2B *Robinson Cano
Don't forget to drop into the Parachat for in-game discussion!



GAME 66 REVIEW SUICIDE BY BULLPEN
CUBS 1 YANKEES 8
Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart
W: Chien-Ming Wang (4-2) L: Glendon Rusch (5-3)
Though the Cubs had been trailing 3-0, they had narrowed the deficit to two in the top of the sixth on a Jason Dubois solo home run. It was imperative then that the Cubs consolidated things in the bottom of the inning by keeping the Yankees off the board. When Rusch allowed both Posada and Williams to reach, taking him to 98 pitches, Dusty decided Glendon's mediocre outing had run its full course. With lefties Tino Martinez and Robinson Cano up next, Rich Hill was given the call (the guy's come a long way from being demoted from the Daytona rotation at around this time last year). Showcasing the gorgeous curveball for which he's famed, Hill struckout Martinez with ease, but when he followed that though with a walk to Cano to load the bases with just the one out and the top of the Yankee order up, Dusty motioned to the bullpen again. If the Cubs were ever going to win this one, leaving those bases loaded was the only real option. Not only would that keep the game close, it could just give the Cubs some much needed momentum with which to rally. To achieve that though they needed a dominating pitcher to come in and batten down the hatches, they needed as good a reliever out there as they could possibly muster at this stage in the game. Instead Dusty Baker indefensibly chose Joe Borowski. And the rest is history, as Jeter crushed a high and over the plate, somewhere in the eighties fastball for his first career grand slam, and with it all Cubs hopes of winning the game and or the series were crushed too. If there was any doubt about it before (and there certainly shouldn't have been, because it's been clear for a while now that Borowski is golden brown and lightly buttered toast), there definately cannot be any now. Joe Borowski has to go, and if he'd care to take the bitterly disappointing Cliff Bartosh and the part of Dusty's brain which implores him to persist in making such ridiculous bullpen decisions with him, that'd be much appreciated. Also much appreciated, of course, is the great service Borowski did the Cubs' bullpen in 2002 and 2003, when he surprised many, perhaps even himself, with his imperious relieving. But the time now has come for the Cubs to relieve themselves of the burden Borowski has sadly become, and sentimentality cannot get in the way. With Bartosh and Remlinger both now largely defunct too, the Cubs are currently operating a bullpen, and an eight man one at that, overcrowded with guys they cannot trust with the game on the line. That needs to change. Hendry has dismissed the 'pen's cracks long enough. What can be done? Firstly, Borowski and Bartosh need to find their way off the roster by whatever means possible, and if that means cutting them and paying the rest of their salary for the year, then so be it. Remlinger needs to be put on the trading block, or used solely as a mopup guy if there are no takers of his bloated contract. Jermaine Van Buren, who's been lights out in Iowa (28.2 IP, 17 H, 4 HR, 12 BB, 37 K, 1.88 ERA), needs to follow in the footsteps Borowski once took. And there's no getting away from it, unless Scott Williamson's very close to returning, and rushing him back wouldn't be that wise, the Cubs probably need outside help (and experience) to offset the fact that Wuertz, Wellemeyer, Ohman and Van Buren would have only about 160 major league innings in their careers between them. Who from outside the organisation can help? I think I'll turn that, and my position on this bullpen, over to your debate in the comments...
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Comments

Damn, that's a pretty good set of hitters. As long as Macias, Blanco, and Wilson are on the bench, I won't complain about the order.

Still, I'd like to see CP and Walker flipped.

we aint' playing good baseball. Weak fielding, weak starting pitching, terrible relief...pretty strong, but inconsistent offense...June Swoon I guess. Borowski is really just bad...there is no other way to describe it.

I read that the Rangers have designated Pedro Astacio for assignment ... I think I'd rather take a flier on Pedro as a reliever and dump JoBo in the process.

I bet the Braves end up picking up Astacio.

Our relief pitchers ERA's who have pitched in this game:
Hill: 20.25
Borowski: 7.00
Wellemeyer: 3.38
Bartosh: 5.49

Those are some ugly numberseven if it's a small sample size for at least the first 2.

ADam-
Like I wrote in my letter to Rich Hill a couple days ago, i hope he does not let it effect him mentally him getting shelled. He was rushed up here, because he hadn't played above A ball before this year, so not much should be expected of him. Hopefully he is one of the guys sent down when Wood and Prior come back in the next week or so.

But Bartosh and JoBo should be released too, so that means one of them will be left on the roster....UGH!!

Just a bad bullpen.

Cubs.com is saying that Prior may need only 1 more simulated game and then could be activated without any rehab starts.

Idiots...

Juan Cruz got sent down by the Oakland A's today. Thankfully Hendry got rid of this piece of crap. Can you imagine him in our bullpen? I know we think it can't be much worse, but look at his numbers this year with Oakland:

21 games
23.1 IP
0-2 record
8.49 ERA
29 hits
19 BB

And for the Billy Beane fans out there, remember he traded for this guy as part of teh Hudson deal this past offseason. He traded Hudson to ATl for Cruz (8.49 ERA), Charles Thomas (.109 avg) and Dan Meyer (minor league prospect). Both Cruz and Thomas have been mostly with the big team but got sent down now this year.

I think we should really think about obtaining Danys Baez and Aubrey Huff from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays... Baez is expendable since they have so many young arms. Huff would be the tricky part. I think if we packaged DuBois and Hill with another prospect it would be a good trade. The Devil Rays will be sellers this year and we will obviously be buyers. They will not be able to hold onto Huff after next year, so you might as well trade him while his stock is hot, which of late has not been true... You leave hollandsworth on the bench where he is much more successful in the pinch hitting role, thus allowing Baker to keep Macias on the bench when we need a left handed bat.

Huff's numbers are down. The D-Rays should have traded him in the off-season.

DuBois could copy what Huff is putting up.

Yes, but DuBois cant play first and third base. Im sure D Lee would like a rest once every 150 games, and instead of having macias play when ramirez is out, Huff could play third... I guess I am all about having macias on the bench as much as possible.

Also, I was thinking, we were doing much better with patterson batting 7th and Hairston leading off.

Hairston - (Center Field)
Neifi
Lee
Burnitz
Ramirez
Huff
Barrett
Walker
Pitcher

Get corey out of the lineup all together.. Let him go back to triple A and figure it out there.. He has been horrible defensively (did you see when the ball hit him in the head?) and he strikes out way too much for being in the two hole, or any hole for that matter!

Huff had an OPS of like 750 the first half last season. Hes a Derek Lee (pre 2005) type player

Matt--"He has been horrible defensively (did you see when the ball hit him in the head?)..."

I wouldn't go so far as to say Corey's been horrible defensively, but I agree he hasn't been his usual self, for he's looking as nervous and unsure of himself out there as he does at the plate. But the ball off his head play is neither here nor there in that discussion.

We talked about that play at length when it happened, and the conclusion I think most of came to once we'd seen a few replays was that Corey did absolutely nothing wrong. He tracked the ball, he went back, he felt for the wall, he reached the ball, he realised a) that he'd need to be able to reach a point about 13 feet in the air to make the play, b) that he's not capable of that because he's not called Superman and c) that anything can happen with a flying baseball, a basket, a brick wall and a thick layer of ivy, and so tried to take evasive action. Unfortunately, the ball got him anyway and it hit him in the head. But I fail to see what he could or should have done differently on that particular play.

Manny--"Juan Cruz got sent down by the Oakland A's today. Thankfully Hendry got rid of this piece of crap."

You're right, Cruz has had a nightmare of a season so far. His struggles have been almost entirely related to his usual terrible control problems, leading to walks when he misses outside the zone, hits and home runs when he misses inside the zone. There's nothing wrong with his stuff though, as witnessed by his 27 strikeouts in those 23 innings. He is in effect then the new Farnsworth. But that doesn't make him a "piece of crap". I'm still pretty confident he'll figure things out. A bit like Farnsworth has done this season.

None of that changes the fact that at the time Hendry traded him, he was worth a lot more than Richard Lewis (who's looking like becoming a career minor leaguer) and Andy Pratt. Unless Richard Lewis figures it out, regardless of what Cruz does the rest of his career, this will always be a bad trade, for the Cubs had an opportunity cost and they wasted it. The Braves weren't quite as squanderous. They took Cruz aside for a year, gave him a bit of a polish and sold him to the A's as part of a package to acquire none other than Tim Hudson.

Manny--"for the Billy Beane fans out there, remember he traded for this guy as part of the Hudson deal this past offseason. He traded Hudson to ATL for Cruz (8.49 ERA), Charles Thomas (.109 avg) and Dan Meyer (minor league prospect)"

Being a Billy Beane fan doesn't mean you approve automatically of his every move. I said at the time he didn't get enough for Hudson (but that he got good value for Mulder), and I stand by all of that still. Let me spell things out: I think Billy Beane made a mistake trading Hudson for the package he did. But I think he's allowed a few mistakes. After all, he's achieved an awful lot with extremely limited resources. If it was so easy to take a team from the doldrums and turn them into year-in year-out playoff contenders while spending comparitively little, everyone would be at it. Besides the Twins though, and they're playing in the weakest division in the game, I don't see anyone that's even come close.

Incidentally, Dan Meyer was awful at Triple-A (35.1 IP, 43 H, 10 HR, 18 BB, 20 K, 6.62 ERA) before he was shut down with shoulder problems. Tim Hudson though is on the disabled list too, with the same oblique problems that have troubled him off and on for years now. I don't think the trade is working out as either side had hoped. I still maintain the Braves got the better of it though, and that they'll be happier in the long run.

Speaking of Kyle Farnsworth before, he's been sensational in Detroit so far (27.1 IP, 21 H, 1 HR, 9 BB, 37 K, 2.30 ERA). I didn't like that trade at the time either, as you may recall, and how we could do with a reliever with those kind of numbers in our bullpen right now. Indeed, I'd be quite enamoured by a relief corps of Dempster, Farnsworth, Wuertz, Wellemeyer, Ohman, Van Buren and Remlinger right now.

Roberto Novoa has been a mixed bag (33.1 IP, 31 H, 1 HR, 19 BB, 24 K, 3.78 ERA between Iowa and Chicago), and Bo Flowers is hitting a pathetic .276/.320/.389 in 49 games at Low-A Peoria (with horrendous strikeout and walk problems). The only saving grace has been the performance of Scott Moore, who's having a breakout season, kind of, at High-A Daytona (.304/.385/.587 in 63 G).

There is though reason for scepticism even there - he's repeating the Florida State League (though he's not too old for it), it's only the Florida State League and he's got big level jumps ahead of him, and he still has some strikeout concerns that, if they persist, will undermine his average in the long-term (.270 upside). All the same, he's been as patient as ever this year, his power has reached whole new levels (he's already broken his season-high in homers, and it's June!), and he was a first-rounder (rated better than Sergio Santos of the Diamondbacks by a lot of scouts, and compared to the likes of a young Chipper Jones or Eric Chavez), so the tools are definately there. Hopefully he keeps it going.

Quite where Moore would play in the majors if he were to keep it going though is unclear. First and third are obviously blocked by Lee and Ramirez, and Moore's not good enough defensively to play the shortstop position at which he was drafted. A move to an outfield corner may be necessary then.

I won't aruge with the contention that Kyle Farnsworth's numbers would look good in our bullpen. It would be disingenuious, however, to consider his improvement outside of the context of that delightful cliche, "a change of scenery."

Farnsworth has always had great stuff. But, as Crash Davis said, "Million dollar arm and a five cent head."

As frustrating as it must be, he just wasn't going to put it together here.

MikeC --

You're a longtime member of the TCR community, and have, in the past, been a positive contributor to the site.

However, another post like your #12 (which I deleted) and you will be banned from the comments. Personal attacks like that will not be tolerated. Whatever issues you have with Mannytrillo or anyone else need to be handled in some other forum, not in the TCR message boards.

Other than Mitre, our pitching staff has been playing like fungus excretions the last two weeks. Does anyone else here miss Prior and Woody?? The good news is they both look like they are coming back sooner rather than later.

Mention in today's Sun Times that Jerome Williams will be called up to start Tuesday, which will see the end of Cliff Bartosh, speculation that Borowski is close to being designated for assignment (though Kiley reckons the callup would go to Novoa rather than Van Buren), and reports that Scott Williamson could be in Chicago before the trade deadline (he's currently rehabbing in Mesa, and all is apparently going well). Dusty also has the following quote: "Everybody knows Rem usually gets right-handers out better than left-handers". Everybody except Dusty when it comes to making pitching changes, apparently.

Hawkeye-
I agree change of scenery can be attributed to what Farns has done in DET. In fact they have ZERO expectations to win, so it is much easier to go out there and perform in nonpressure situations. To think Farns would of done the same here in Chciago, is most likely wishful thinking.

I missed the daily classy quotes from MIKEC...DAMN.

I agree change of scenery can be attributed to what Farns has done in DET. In fact they have ZERO expectations to win, so it is much easier to go out there and perform in nonpressure situations. To think Farns would of done the same here in Chciago, is most likely wishful thinking.

Except Farns did those things he's doing in Detroit, in Chicago, they were called 2001 and 2003. Both years the Cubs were in the playoff race. I won't doubt that a change of scenery may have helped him this year, but to think that success is because he's out of the pressure cooker that is Cubs baseball is silly.

Depressing series vs. the Yankees.

#1 - Neifi clearly needs at least one day off, probably on a weekly basis, during this summer stretch. It's a shame that Dusty wasted a Enrique Wilson start at 2B and not at SS. Hell, might as well let Hairston make a start at SS once in a blue moon (I believe Hairston played SS during one of the Marlin blowouts this past week).

#2 - I can't believe Hairston did not start a single game at either 2B or DH and bat leadoff.

#3 - Not that any lineup changes really amount to much (other than taking advantage of the DH and resting regulars) if the starting pitching/relievers continue their craptastik ways.

#4 - Was nice to see Rich Hill, though that 90-91 fastball looks pretty damn straight. Hope he can develop some kind of 2-seam fastball or straight change to go along with that nasty curve. Based on Hendry's comments in today's MLB.com "Notes" section, looks like they are going to use Hill more and let him either sink or swim as a reliever.

I wish Dusty would realize that when a National League team plays an Amereican League team on the road, you can't be starting guys like Enrique Wilson, Henry Blanco, or Jose Macias. An N. L. team absolutely MUST play its best offensive lineup (including its best OBP and power guys) when playing an A. L. team on the road, even if it means using a less-solid defensive lineup and even if it means not "semi-resting" a starter by using him as DH for a day or not "resting" a regular by giving him the day off, because the A. L. opponent is (usually) designed and built with a full-time DH from the git-go and the N. L. team needs to be aggressive and "shoot the wad" (offensively) with the most-potent starting lineup it can muster.

Jopefully when the Cubs play the White Sox next weekend on the South Side, Dusty will realize this and resist resting one of his starters (like Ramirez, Walker, or Barrett) by using him as "DH for a Day" and starting Jose Macias (at 3B), Enrique Wilson (at 2B), and/or Henry Blanco (at C) instead. Al, the regulars need to play all three games, and Dubois or Holly need to DH. If Dusty feels like he needs to rest a Walker, Ramirez, Barrett, or Perez, that's fine, but do it in the Brewers series.

Bob Brenly made an interesting comment the othev night. He said that when he managed the D'backs, he found that semi-resting a regular by using him as the DH didn't work. The best option for a National League team playing a road game in an A. L. park is to use its best pinch-hitter as DH, because essetially being DH means pinch-hitting four or five times a game, and most every day players aren't used to pinch-hitting.

So all that said, here are the best Cubs lineups (vs LHP and RHP) when playing on the road versus an A. L. foe...

VS. LHP:
Hairston, LF
Walker, 2B
Lee, 1B
Ramires, 3B
Burnitz, RF
Barrett, C
Dubois, DH
Patterson, CF
Perez, SS

VS. RHP:
Hairston, LF
Walker, 2B
Lee, 1B
Burnitz, RF
Ramirez, 3B
Hollandsworth, DH
Patterson, CF
Barrett, C
Perez, SS

Memo to Dusty: You don't need to understand why these are the best lineups when plaing an A. L. team in its park. But trusty me, Dusty. Just use 'em. Even if you lose, at least you will have given your team its best chance to win.

Yup..its official..the Cubs have pissed away a golden opportunity this weekend. Bringing in Sweaty Joe first Saturday to give up the Grand Slam to Jeter? Savvy move Dusty...
I still say that Van Buren would be a good move. Novoa is too wild, and JVB has had success in AA and AAA. Screw the 40-man roster, and lets see what he can do!!

Also, if the Cubs can't find any takers for Joe Borowski (and I can't imagine how or why they could), he needs to be released. As I've posted on other threads, I believe he is just too dangerous to use in anything other than in a "blow-out," and even though the Cubs have been involved in an unusually high number of "blow-outs" recently, I doubt that trend wil continue.

Other teams DFA players (especially pitchers) with guaranteed contracts when they lose confidence in that player or pitcher (see the recent cases of Danny Graves, Matt Hetges, and Pedro Astacio), and JoBo is at that point right now. "Thanks, JoBo, for 2002 and 2003, thanks for trying to come back, you're a great guy, good luck in your future endeavors, but now don't let the door hit you on the backside as you leave."

I most definitely agree with John Hill on this one thing: The Cubs need to DFA Borowski ASAP before he costs the Cubs any more games, and replace him with Jermaine Van Buren.

I'm not quite as down on Cliff Bartosh as John H is, although I certainly wouldn't be upset if he got DFA'd to make room for Woody or Prior when they return from the DL. It's just too bad Hendry felt he had to surrender Bear Bay for a mediocre LOOGY like Bartosh when Will Ohman (not great, but better than Bartosh, and already on the 40-man roster) could have been the LOOGY coming out of Spring Training.

I hope Jerome Williams pitches a good game Tuesday night. If he acquits himself well, I think it likely Dusty will move both Mitre and Rusch to the bullpen when Wood and Prior return, although if it was up to me, I would leave Rusch in the rotation (he gives up too many hits to be an effective reliever), send Williams back to Iowa after one or two starts, and tell him we expect him to be in the starting rotation full-time next season (or later this season if--God forbid--the starting rotation incurs additional injuries!).

Probablte Cubs pitching stsaff when Woody & Prior come back:

STARTING ROTATION:
Zambrano
Prior
Wood
maddux
Williams

BULLPEN:
Dempster
Wuertz
Rusch
Mitre
Remlinger
Wellemeyer
Bartosh, Ohman or Hill (TBD)

PROBABLY GONE: Borowski (DFA), Bartosh (DFA), and Hill (optioned back to Iowa), although if the Cubs were to send Ohman down for a couple of months, he won't accumulate the 120 days of MLB service time he needs this season to be eligible for arbitration. If he does accumulate 120 days and becomes arbitration-eligible, that could mean an additional $250,000-$350,000 in salary for Ohman (and $250,000-$350,000 more in payroll for the Cubs) next year. (Actually, Ohman COULD still become eligible for arbitration as a "super-two" even if he accumulates less than 120 days of MLB serivice time in 2005, but it can't be too much less than 120 days because there are usually only two or three guys who qualify as a "super-two" every year).

FYI---

RHP Jerome Williams will be called up from Triple-A Iowa to start for the Cubs on Tuesday night in Milwaukee.

Kerry Wood is pitching tonight for Iowa.

oops, sorry about reposting the Jerome Williams news. For some reason I couldn't see the news was already up until I posted.

Rob G.:
"but to think that success is because he's out of the pressure cooker that is Cubs baseball is silly."

I agree... becuause I NEVER said it was BECAUSE of the pressure cooker of Chicago. Please read my post and it says the change of scenery and less pressure "attributed" to his so called turn around. I still contend that he WOULD NOT OF pitched this good in a Chicago Cubs uniform. And I don't care what he does in DET, this Cubs fan is glad he is out of town. His act was very OLD.

AZ Phil:
"Memo to Dusty: You don't need to understand why these are the best lineups when plaing an A. L. team in its park. But trusty me, Dusty. Just use 'em. Even if you lose, at least you will have given your team its best chance to win."

HA HA

The even funnier thing is I can poll 100 Cubs fans and get probally 25-30 different lineups that Dusty should use on a given day.

actually manny, i think AZ Phil's lineups are perfect. only the lizard himself could get 25-30 different lineups from the cubs' roster.

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