Giant Killers

GAME 140 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (68-71) @ SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (63-75) SBC PARK, 9:15 pm CDT, TV: WGN, Fox Sports Bay Area
Noah Lowry, LHP
12-11, 3.71 ERA
153/67 K/BB, 18 HR in 174.2IP
Carlos Zambrano, RHP
12-5, 3.16 ERA
174/75 K/BB, 14 HR in 188.0 IP
CF Jerry Hairston Jr CF #Randy Winn
SS Ronny Cedeno SS #Omar Vizquel
1B Derrek Lee 1B *J.T. Snnow
3B Nomar Garciaparra LF Moises Alou
C Michael Barrett 2B #Ray Durham
RF *Jeromy Burnitz 3B Edgardo Alfonzo
2B #Neifi Perez RF #Todd Linden
LF Matt Murton C Mike Matheny
P #Carlos Zambrano P Noah Lowry
On June 22nd, Carlos Zambrano gave up eight runs in two and two-thirds innings to the Milwaukee Brewers. It was his 15th start of the year and he's had 13 starts since that ill-fated game. As of June 22nd: 4-4, 4.27 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 4.0 BB/9, .97 HR/9 Since June 23rd: 8-1, 2.08 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, .38 HR/9 On the opposing mound, will be crafty left-hander Noah Lowry, who was just named the pitcher of the month for August. Does he have an equally defining turning point to his season? Well it looks like the Brewers once again inspired a pitcher to greatness. Lowry gave up four runs in five and a third innings on July 31st to the Brew Crew. As of July 31st: 6-11, 4.48 ERA, 7.8 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 1.18 HR/9 (22 starts) Since August 1st: 6-0, 1.19 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, .20 HR/9 (6 starts) I'm going to guess that August was the exception to an otherweise mediocre season. The one thing the above comparision does tell us is that major league pitchers get pretty fired up when they get trounced by the Brewers. Barry Bonds may return later in the series, and I have plans to see the game on Saturday (Prior vs. Hennessy). Could hurt my ability to secure some cheap tickets. Fiddlesticks!!! Hey, a sweep and we're above .500. It could happen, no, really, mathematically it could happen. Go Cubs!!!
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Comments

I always seem to remember Dusty leaving Z in and then him giving up 3 ER in the last inning a few times this year. So his ERA is a bit misleading, although I have no statistical backing and too tired to dig it up.

Just to fuel the Dusty-doesn't-play-youngn's argument.

Hardball times mentioned how several wild card contenders were being led by young players here:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/ten...

Which is interesting since Dusty told me you can't win at the same time you play young kids.

I got curious and checked out some numbers:
Player A .234/.275/.404 (47 AB)
Player B .250/.300/.554 (56 AB)

Player A is Ryan Howard. Player B is Jason Dubois. Now of course there are other factors here. Dubois can't field, Howard plays first base, injuries played a part, and Howard is long term a much better prospect - but the point is that for the beginning of their career Howard was outhit by Dubois, and for Dubois' efforts he rode the pine, while the Phillies stuck with their rookie who is now hitting:

.290/.357/.532.

I realize Crunch will be around to remind me all Cubs rookies suck and what-not, but I just thought I'd show that as an illustration of what can happen if you show faith in players with a stellar minor league track record, which both players have.

Hooray!

We get the Cedeno/Murton lineup against lefty Noah Lowry.

I can't remember the last time we saw the same lineup two days in a row.

No Walker again...Neifi at 2B. I'm sure this 2 games off isn't making Todd Walker happy since he hits lefty's well enough to be playing against them. Is he hurt?

Is he hurt?

Just his ego....

"I realize Crunch will be around to remind me all Cubs rookies suck and what-not"

if you'd bother to actually read what i write you'd know what i have to say about rookies, not what you think. you wanna put some words in my mouth how about putting the right ones in there insted of throwing a stupid fit?

and if you dont know the difference between ryan howard and jason dubois you better stick to that number hunting insted of watching kids play.

ya know, i hear a lotta shit talked to me about stuff i say, but rarely do i hear "gee, maybe i was wrong to jump down your throat" when the things i say come to bare light.

how about some accountability in this issue?

you wanna go dig up anything about me saying cedeno sucks? or murton sucks? ...yeah, i did say dubois has no biz near the bigs cuz well, he dont.

i honestly invite you to back up your accusations there dude. go ahead and embarrass me by proving me wrong.

if you'd look at what ive said about murton/cedeno/wuertz you'd see ive said a lot of good about them. just cuz i dont want to project them as superstars you must have a problem with that.

guess what...every kid this club touches isnt gonna be a superstar.

how many times do we face two lefty's in a row? not many. otherwise our kids are sittin. the real good news about the lefty is no cpat...i'm pretty sure the rev johnnie b wants this .500 thing pretty bad, not to mention how bad he wants to beat frisco. lets see, wuertz, novoa, dempster all pitched last night and dusty really wants this game. i'm guessing zambrano throws a complete game, maybe 130 pitches. will we be talking about this next year if z has arm problems? how dusty wanted the .500 mark and wanted to show his old team so bad that he mortgaged the future?

Is it true that teams have one stolen base and 9 caught stealings against zambrano all year? pretty amazing. maybe maddux ought to sit and listen to zambrano.

i'm posting my ass off tonight...rumor central says that kyle lohse and eric hinske are on the trading block. maybe the cubs can get both of them so mcphail can remind everyone how much the system has produced these past 11 years!

Thank goodness McFail is no longer GM.

He would have brought back Hinske/Lohse as sure as you can say Gary Gaetti/Rick Aguilerra. Any former Twin got extra consideration, we would have traded Cedeno for Christian Guzman at the trading deadline too.

I'll take back what I said about "All rookies suck" - I had recalled a quote from somebody posting here saying, "Has it occured to anyone that all our rookies suck." I thought it was you - but I can't find it.

That said... I thought I was pretty explicit in stating I didn't think Dubois was = Howard. I certainly don't think he'll be a superstar. I was pointing out an example of a rookie on the Cubs who may have helped the team, only to have his chances eaten by Baker, and pointing out that Howard likely would have been given the same 'opportunity'. Now clearly it's not an exact comparison because Howard is blocked by Jim Thome's corpse whereas Derrek Lee would be blocking him legitimately here.

For what it's worth Ryan Howard is only 8 months younger than Dubois - I thought the difference was worse since Dubois is consistently old for his leagues - and has more comparible numbers to him than I expected (I thought Howard would blow him away).

For all of Dubois's strikeout problems, and they were bad, Howard has a BB/K ratio of .2 in the majors to Dubois's .1. In the minors Dubois has a career line of .299/.379/.550. The batting average frankly shocks me, and a BB/K ratio of .5. Howard has .290/.373/.528 and a BB/K ratio of .4, and only slightly younger with three years in A ball, Dubois started late and spent 2. Sorry for number hunting crunch - but I'm not a major league scout and have no other recourse in evaluating minor league talent. And I still don't think Dubois will ever be as good as Ryan Howard.

it wasnt me..i'll take it as a friendly jab..no worries.

and about howard vs. dubois..there's major differences between how the 2 handle a bat and handle offspeed stuff.

i honestly believe dubois will be fighting for a job 3-4 years from now with a team while howard will enjoy a nice career that will pay him handsomely.

for a big guy, howard actually isnt a statue..he reminds me of matt stairs with a smoother swing.

well...maybe matt stairs is a bad compairison given the height/etc. and howard should have more power...but theyre both big guys who arent good for just covering 3' of area...

Frankly it's been a looong day at work and a frustrating cub season, so I was cranky. I realize I was inviting a board pissing match - and that's just silly. I know better.

And of course Dubois/Howard play different positions. I had intended to put in a few other young guys too as examples, I just see Dusty as managing by Sports Radio sometimes. Put him in, take him out...Too reactionary especially in a sport as built on failure in baseball, and way too old school manager.

its all good...you thought i said something i didnt and if i did, your statement would have been valid.

it takes these kinda back/forth to clear it up sometimes...at least it was quick.

don't get me wrong, I'm really glad that Cedeno/Murton are in the lineup...but it seems to me that once again this lineup is cockeyed. Shouldn't Murton be hitting 2nd?

I don't mind Cedeno in the 2 spot (certainly preferable to Neifi) but I'd like to see the higher OBP player up there. I don't think that it's an issue of speed at the top of the order since Murton beats out his share of infield hits too. It might have added a run if he was on base for the DLee triple.

Why even bothering trying to logically analyze the illogical?

Whiny Cubster-- Who cares at this point? At least he's in the line-up!!!! Oh, and wait, he has ANOTHER HIT and a WALK. Wow, we could've never used him this year at all. I'm glad Dusty saved him from failing (sarcasm) I say let him be the starting LF next year and spend big cash on Giles or Dunn, a starting pitcher and Johnny Caveman.

Why even bothering trying to logically analyze the illogical?

That's the problem...Dusty needs pointy ears.

anyone heard ANY aram news?

...and here comes Korey to save the day

Even when he gets on base Korey gets out.

Just not his year. Hopefully he can rebound. He seems like a nice guy

Murton has an OBP of .750 for the game and Baker puts in Cpat for D again and not only that he pinch runs Murton because what he couldn't run like Ichiro. Let him play a complete game. Man I can't stand this shit! And they want to give him an extension!

CUBS WIN!!! IN DUSTY WE TRUSTY!!!!!!

murton wasnt gonna see another AB and corey was in for his D...at least keep it in perspective...wanna talk about murton giving away a run to a pitcher on 3rd by not hitting cedeno's cannon arm as a cutoff man and just tossing it to 2nd?

enjoy a game once in a while..its fun stuff.

crunch....they can't have to find something about Baker to complain about. Its TCR.

i dont even care about people complaining about baker...except those that just wanna bitch about everything without realizing most manager in mlb does it.

baker has quirks that drive me nuts, like insisting on the speed up top at the expense of anything. im all for speed up top, but you dont need the 1 and 2 guys both doing it if theyre both low ob% hitters.

he's got an obsession with contact hitting #2 slot guys that i understand but dont like.

but geez...picking apart every move a manager makes you can paint any manager an idiot...go to fire(anymanager).com to see this in action.

Two comments:

I was also curious on Aramis news.....haven't heard any lately. Just wondering if anyone else had.

I think it is funny how Dusty seems to always play Cedeno & Murton together, no matter what. I guess he can say he likes them vs. lefties (which I can see for Murton, but not for Cedeno, esp. if the platoon winds up being w/ Walker, as Neifi seems to start at 2B often w/ Cedeno at SS). It almost seems like Dusty thinks "We'll play the rookies today, so we get it out of the way" or "Time to play the vets. today". I didn't look up all the boxscores, but I am fairly certain that more often than not, its either both or neither of Cedeno/Murton.

I think it is pretty important the Cubs see as much as they can from the two rookies this month, and some pen guys also (JVB), so they can evaluate next year. OF & middle IF are our main spots that the $ will flow into, so while Sept. #s may be misleading, seeing the kids play is better than not. Also, I beleive they probably give us the best chance to win on most nights anyways for the remainder of this year, so its a win-win.

Keep winning Cubbies!! There's still hope!!!! (Hey, it may be .1% or something, but a guy can dream, can't he?)

That was a bit more than two.....oh well.

It's actually kinda fun not worrying one bit about the Cubs and coming home and checking the score at the end of the game and saying "they won, that's nice"

I wish I gave a shit about football season. Bring on April 2006

Let's see combine the 6-1 roadtrip we had in May with the 6-1 roadtrip we are having now...ignore everything else, and we have a good season

"I wish I gave a shit about football season. Bring on April 2006"

hahah..rock..me, too.

Crunch,

The latest I heard on Ram was he wants to come back as soon as he can probably to get 100 RBI. He has 92 so to get to 8 he would probably have to come back by like next Wedsnday or so. If he aint ready in 2 weeks my guess is that they will shut him down. On the Murton and Pat thing I can enjoy the game and critize a typical Dusty trying to over manage move. In the long run it probably isnt that big of a deal but it is just annyoing to me and I am sure others on this board. I just looked at the WC standings and NYM and WAS are starting to come towards us. If we can sweep this SF series we could be in 4th at least 6.5 games behind Hou who we play 7 times. Maybe were not dead.

Crunch--"and about howard vs. dubois..there's major differences between how the 2 handle a bat and handle offspeed stuff."

Indeed. Howard can't hit left-handed off-speed stuff to save his life. Dubois just can't hit any off-speed stuff. Big difference!

Howard, for the record, is hitting .130/.161/.130 in 56 plate appearances for his Major League career against lefties. That's 7-for-54, all of those hits singles, with 2 walks and 27 strikeouts. Yes, I repeat, 27 strikeouts in 56 plate appearances.

So uh platoon Dubois and Howard. That's it.

ryan howard will K a ton always...he'll also probally hit 40+ HRs regularly and **DESTROY** any fastball left anywhere near the zone.

he's been getting increasingly good at waiting for his pitch insted of trying to hit any pitch...something dubois never got the hang of and it looks like never will unless someone in cleveland can whip im into shape.

howard isnt a wild swinger...dubois is.

howard is a guy who's swing has been successfully retooled to hit inside pitching and defensively though he's not gonna dive all over the place for the ball, if you get it to him, he'll probally glove it.

his major problem (besides jim thome being under contract and him being too slow to play anywhere else) is those lefties.

howard is a guy who can compensate to hit big league pitching whereas i dont see dubois doing much with his hack swing.

Ienpw--"So uh platoon Dubois and Howard. That's it."

There's probably no point. Dubois doesn't even hit lefties that well.

Dubois knows all there is to know about destroying fastballs, Crunch. Of course, the problem is that he thinks just about every pitch is a fastball that he can destroy, swinging accordingly. Or at least that's been the case in the majors.

Sorry, can't resist- what's the big deal about Dusty's superior managerial skills if & when Barry returns during this series? Does ANYONE realistically think that Barry would rate IBB after sitting so long? Oh- I know: like the famous scene from Karate Kid when Evil Coach tells the blond headed kid: "Sweep the Leg!", maybe Dusty will call for beanball on the post-surgical knee?

"Dubois knows all there is to know about destroying fastballs, Crunch. Of course, the problem is that he thinks just about every pitch is a fastball that he can destroy"

hahah...they both put on one hell of a batting practice show, that's for sure.

I am also much more inclined to reflect positively on the season if the club continues to finish strong. Didn't Dusty call this the "salary drive"?

Because I'm a cheapskate upper-deck guy here at PNC [skyline view is better up there too] my wife bought me box seats as a birthday gift, for Cubs vs Pirates last week here in the 'Burgh. She bought them months ago and couldn't have guessed who would be pitching, but it was Maddux! "Thanks Honey! How'd you do that?"

I got to reflect during the game that over our 21 years of marriage, I taught her to watch and enjoy the game, especially this savvy new guy pitching for the Cubs, when we were still practically newlyweds. And she shared our mutual heartbreak, but our sad recognition of the inevitable, when the budding superstar backed his bags for the 'Big Time' and went to Atlanta. And she even begrudgingly began with me to root a little bit for the Braves on occasion, especially during those golden days of that incredible starting rotation...man, oh man. Can you still name them?

Since we were sitting close, I gave her the binoculars and told her to have a look. "What should I look at?" she asked. "At the Hall-of-Famer, of course; you'll be seeing him again on a podium in a couple of years." After the game, she reflected, "He does a pretty good job of keeping the other team from scoring runs, doesn't he?" [True, this was the Pie-rats; but this could never have been more true than in his next (12th) win in StL, getting out of a bases-loaded-no-outs jam in the third. Edmonds GIDP.] Gutty, gritty, moxie, nervy, savvy, more? Character that would stand the test of any time in baseball.

So hoist at least one for Maddux down the stretch, especially if his 15-win mark remains in sight - don't believe for a moment that he's not looking for a reason to compete [Doesn't he golf?] And remember that there are some things which transcend losing seasons. Baseball is a team sport, but comprised of collective individual performances. And there's some things about a pitcher's individual performance which transcend their W-L record. But it's up to you to tell your kids about those things when you're looking at Maddux's plaque in Cooperstown.

Dave,

I think Maddux's competiveness could lead him to retire. If he thinks that he will be just serving up BP to hitters he would retire he is too proud to get beat around like a guy brought up from AA. I dont think it is going to happen.

Apparently Damon considers Anaheim a close second now behind Boston. Probably ain't gonna happen for the Cubs.

I know several people, including a few of the writers, have been overly critical of Hairston's defense in center, but is he really that bad? Compared to Korey, he's certainly not as good, but he made some great catches last night, and from my limited look at him, he's sure-handed and his range seems to be decent if not great. Of course, then there's his arm. Oh well, just wondering.

In what world is Maddux just serving up batting practice? Yes, he's not the old Maddux by a long shot. But if recent trends continue he's going to basically have the exact same year he had last year and the year before, minus perhaps one or two wins. Everything else -- innings, WHIP, BAA, ERA -- is going to be very, very similar.

Now if you'd said he wasn't worth $9 million, well, okay. He isn't. But he is still better than what a good number of teams throw out there every fifth day.

Forget about Damon. All he wants is $$$$! When he is in Chicago its all about how he wants to be with the Cubs and when there playing ANA its all about how he wants to go there. I am sure because he is in NY its all about how respects the Yankee tradition and how he would not mind playing with Beltran again and would play LF if they want to put Floyd at 1b. Hairston is fine and if it becomes a problem we can call up Pie.

Justin,

I did not say he was serving up BP. What I said if he thinks he won't have the stuff to compete at a suffient level I could see him retiring.

Have you even watched Hairston play defense in Center? It makes me puke. Anything that's hit behind him is a hit because his routes are pathetic.

I am far from being sold on Felix Pie. He's too much of a Version 2.0 Corey Patterson for my tastes.

The only way Greg won't come back is if he feels unwanted. It's cheap-ass horseshit on the Cubs part, giving him signals that they possibly don't want him back next year. Greg can still pitch, plain & simple. He's probably the smartest player in the game and he'll adjust to continue winning.
He's had 5-6 games this year that should've/could've been wins if the Cubs had an offense or a bullpen. If he pitched for the Cardinals, he'd have 16 wins right now. There's only 1 guy on that staff that has that many wins.

IENPW,

When you compare Hairston to the other alterntives he might be the best option.

FA CF's other than Damon

Cruz Jr.
Burnitz (assuming he gets bought out)
Biggio (if really want to see him play CF)
Winn
Lofton
B. Williams (he has no legs)
Payton
Kapler
D. Roberts
Guys who will get traded
Bradley (if he goes on Prozac I'll take him)
Guys who will most likely get non-tendered
Redman
Sarge Jr.
Guys who might be traded but probably wont
Griffey
Hunter
Rowand
Drew
W. Pena (can play there but no good)
Bigbie

Obiousily I take Hunter and Rowand from Group 4. But Rowand is a 5% chance of getting traded, and even if he does it wont be to us. Hunter is owed 2/22. Of the other 3 groups the only upgrade from JHJ I see is Lofton (maybe),Kapler (I doubt he leaves BOS though) Payton (he is a GT guy and we know Hendry loves those guys), Roberts, and Winn. I doubt Burny would come back if his option is turned down.

IENPW:

"Have you even watched Hairston play defense in Center? "

Yes, and this is what I am talking about. Did you see him play last night? He made catches on at least two balls that were hit over his head. So I don't get your point.

I'm looking for reasoned analysis of how his CF defense sucks and not just visceral reactionary statements.

I didn't see last night's plays, but did he actually get a good break and make a great play on a ball that most players wouldn't reach OR did he misread the ball and have to do something spectacular just to make up for his initial error?

Before last night's game, I've seen him play more than I needed to in centerfield as he reads the ball quite poorly off the bat. As John Hill mentioned, he generally takes a step-in and then has to recover, his route to the balls are just plain horrible and he almost always turns himself the wrong way. Now he has good enough speed to make up for some of those faults and makes the routine look amazing all too often. But right now he's a defensive liability out there...

That being said, we got nothing to lose by letting him play. He's obviously an option out there and it will take time for him to get proper jumps and proper reads off the bat and we're certainly at the position to afford him the playing time right now. There's a good chance he may never learn it, but playing (along with practicing) are the only ways he'll go about getting better.

He should be sent to winter ball if this is an option for next season, not sure if he'd take the assignment though...

Rob,

I hear your points, most of which, as you mentioned, JH has said before. I guess I personally have just not noticed those initial miscues as much.

As for last night's plays, no, they were pretty great. The first clearly would have been a double in the gap by Durham (I think) and Hairston made a great effort to just get to the ball and a solid jumping catch back and to the left. The second was a hard hit, very very low liner by Snow (I think) that clearly would have brought at least one run in. Hairston had to charge forward and then leaped straight forward to catch the ball right before it hit the ground. Even more impressive than the first catch as it was harder to read and play. He almost made the exact same catch an inning later but seemed to lose the ball in the stadium lights as it glanced off his glove. Nevertheless, I was impressed.

When you compare Hairston to the other alterntives he might be the best option.

Corey Patterson for one, could be a better option. Of course if he hits like he did this season, he won't. His entire career Korey has gone into long prolonged slumps, but he's also had long prolonged hot streaks. He hasn't had them this year. What Corey Patterson did in 2004 is better than Jerry Hairston. Call me an idiot for still staying with Corey, but I am not asking for him to be a superstar. I am thinking there's a very good chance he returns to the player he was last season. Even last season was less than expecting for him.

I'm looking for reasoned analysis of how his CF defense sucks and not just visceral reactionary statements.

Sabermetric fielding stats are very primitive at this time, but they do show that Hairston is below average despite limited action in CF this season. Yes, I saw what he did last night. He made two good catches coming in almost making a third. His first step is in, it's no surprise he's good at balls when he has to charge. I don't think I need to talk about my comment that he takes awful routes on balls behind him. Anyone who has watched him play CF this season can see that. He gets turned around on most of them.

He almost made the exact same catch an inning later but seemed to lose the ball in the stadium lights as it glanced off his glove. Nevertheless, I was impressed.

Or it could be because he took a circular route on the one he missed (which he did).

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