Game 4: Take The Series

A win today puts the Cubs two games over .500 for the first time since last August 2nd. GAME 4 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (3-1) AT CHICAGO CUBS (2-1) WRIGLEY FIELD 1:20 CDT, TV: CSN Chicago WEATHER: 39 degrees, sunny, wind blowing in from left at 16 MPH CARDINALS: David Eckstein, SS *John Rodriguez, LF Albert Pujols, 1B *Jim Edmonds, CF Scott Rolen, 3B *Skip Schumaker, RF Yadier Molina, C #Aaron Miles, 2B Chris Carpenter, P Albert Pujols: 8-34, 235/333/471, 2 HR, 5 BB, 7 K vs. Zambrano Scott Rolen: 7-30, 233/281/500, 2 HR vs. Zambrano Jim Edmonds: 6-29, 207/361/448, 2 HR, 4 BB, 15 K vs. Zambrano Juan Encarnacion: 2-18, 111/158/111, 5 K vs. Zambrano John Rodriguez: 4-10, 400/455/1000, 2 HR vs. Zambrano Scott Rolen: 4-21, 190/296/429, 1 HR, 9 K vs. Dempster Jim Edmonds: 1-13, 077/294/077, 4 BB, 4 K vs. Williams Albert Pujols: 1-11, 091/091/364, 1 HR vs. Williams Scott Rolen: 0-9, 000/182/000, 3 K vs. Williams CUBS *Juan Pierre, CF *Todd Walker, 2B Derrek Lee, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton. LF Ronny Cedeno, SS Henry Blanco, C #Carlos Zambrano, P Todd Walker: 2-27, 074/074/185, 7 K vs. Carpenter Jerry Hairston: 4-22, 182/207/227 vs. Carpenter Neifi Perez: 3-14, 214/200/214 vs. Carpenter Carlos Zambrano: 5-7, 714/714/857 vs. Carpenter Aramis Ramirez: 4-7, 571/571/1571, 2 HR vs. Hancock
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Comments

Um, unless you are thinking the Cubs are going to lose today, they are ABOVE .500 (2-1)

I guess the glass is half empty?

Oops! I hope that wasn't an inadvertent prediction.

You guys just lost me. The article says TWO GAMES OVER, not one.

jock-o-meter: .000

Was I the only one yesterday who thought he heard Pat tell Santo he had a gay dog?

Cedeno's defense has been horrible all year. If he keeps this up, Neifi will take his job.

Ron:
"Cedeno's defense has been horrible all year. If he keeps this up, Neifi will take his job."

It has been in ST too. His bat is going well right now, so that will keep him at SS, but if his bat cools and his glove/arm can't gt going, we will/should be benched.

Jockstrap is 0 for 13 with 6 K's. Korey is better than that.

How accurate is the Cubs.com depth chart?

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/team/d...

It claims to have been updated last today and does *not* list Jerome Williams anywhere, even under the bullpen (although he is listed on the 25-man roster still). In his place appears to be Rich Hill, although he is also listed as a "prospect".

Can someone explain what happened with the Derek Lee error? Dropped ball? Was it a run down?

What kind of crap is that, tech difficulties in the 9th? Cubs win 3-2.

Pat said that Edmonds broke for second while Zambrano was still in the stretch. Zambrano turned and Edmonds stopped in his tracks between first and second. Instead of running towards Edmonds and starting a rundown, Zambrano threw the ball to Lee...who wasn't expecting the ball, dropped it, and Edmonds ran to third.

Dave: Can someone explain what happened with the Derek Lee error? Dropped ball? Was it a run down?

It was very odd, Cards runner started to run before Z pitched it. Tossed to Lee and Lee just plain missed what looked like an easy throw from Z. Guess he was just asleep. He made up for it.

Cool...thanks.

It is odd that DLee would have two errors already!

Zambrano just said he hurt his groin in todays game but says it isn't that big of deal.

-chews on fingernails-

marshall gets to go for the sweep tomorrow night on ESPN vs the cards

at least there's a lot less pressure on him after winning the first two games. against fat boy ponson making his debut, the cubs should actually have a decent chance.

GO CUBS!!!! Great win today (and yes, that techinal difficulty in the 9th was very annoying). Anyone else notice D. Lee has had a problem keeping his eye on the ball early this year/spring training. I saw one play where A. Ram thru him a ball, & D. Lee flat out dropped it. Len said that was the 2nd time he had done that. And today, Lee again just seemed to take his eye of the ball, and let it go passed him, when Edmonds was picked off. Thought it might cost us the game, but thankfully, it did not.

Way to make up for it with the HR, D. Lee. Despite those early errors, SIGN THAT MAN!!! (Which I predict is almost certain to happen w/in this week, Len said D. Lee does not have a firm deadline, I see no way he is not locked up soon).

Hadn't seen this anywhere else today...
-
"One day after saying he would break off negotiations for the rest of the season if the sides did not reach an agreement on Saturday, Lee softened his stance.

"There could be loose ends if it does work out, so you can't really put in on [Saturday]," Lee said before Saturday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals. "If there's a gap, we'll see. But it sounded like they're getting close"

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2...

F Comcast!!

Go Cubs!! Lee is the MAN! And Hendry has to PAY him, and as long as he is not asking for the world a deal needs to get done.

Good start for the Cubs, 3-1 record. Exactly what Baker haters did NOT want to see.

CUBS WIN!! IN DUSTY WE TRUSTY!!!

Mike, is that why Carlos said he limped off the mound?

"Good start for the Cubs, 3-1 record. Exactly what Baker haters did NOT want to see."

Bang the drum... you whiny little girl.

Big John Stud:
"Bang the drum... you whiny little girl."

Classy...HA HA HA

Lets not get too cocky yet Manny. The Baker Bashers get until at least the end of the month before they can call for a cold start firing.

BTW, I love how we are starting. Winning is contagious and I have always wanted to see the Cubs go on one of those seasons that they just go out and win. Day in and day out. You know, like a read baseball team does?

Chad-
I am not being cocky...I have said MANY times that he AND Hendry should not be reupped until the end of the season and ONLY if they make the playoffs. But I was just pointing out the fans who want Baker gone and were hoping for a flat start out of the gates to justify it even more, can't be happy with the 3-1 start.

Nice call by dusty to send barrett up to pinch hit.

just giving credit where credit is due

Dan-
Yeah that was a good move, a move he almost had to make in that situation. I alos like him bringing in Howry.

But what I like most is that he is hit and running more and even attempted a squeeze yesterday. I think he finally has some players with speed that he can use some of the extra tools with, unlike teams from the past (except when he had Lofton in 2003).

Marshall for the sweep tomorrow!!

manny....you really are off in your own little world if you think that the baker haters didn't want to see the cubs start well.

i'm a hater of stupid baseball decisions and stupid people that deny accountability for themselves....hence i don't like baker.

i like the cubs. if baker is going to make better decisions, so much the better. but batting neifi yesterday, regardless of the results, is a dumb decision.

but don't say that this is what people like me were afraid of. i think hendry will do the right thing and wait this out for a few months, if not until the end of the season.

Clutch win today. Nice job pinch hitting Barrett, and lots of clutch hitting and pitching.

My favorite part of the game was seeing CZ looking relaxed -- almost cracking a smile -- after the Cards got their 2 unearned runs. Last year he would have set his hair on fire and tackled someone.

Interesting, though, that if we didn't give up those 2 runs, Dusty probably wouldn't have PH Barrett when he did. Funny game.

Green lantern:
"i think hendry will do the right thing and wait this out for a few months, if not until the end of the season."

I would of thought McPhail would of done the right thing too in waiting to reup with Hendry, but that obviously did not happen (shouldn't be a shocker as this is the Cubs we are talking about). Considering how much Hendry supports and likes Baker, I don't see why he would wait much longer to wrap up Baker, especially if they start out like 14-9 by the end of the month.

FYI....

Bobby Cox just brought Remlinger into the game to face Barry Bonds and Mike Sweeney (both LH hitters). Hmmm....

Troll - In Internet terminology, a troll is someone who comes into an established community such as an online discussion forum, and posts inflammatory, rude or offensive messages designed to annoy and antagonize the existing members or disrupt the flow of discussion.

Gee who fits that description?

MikeC...I am pretty sure you just described yourself.

Manny has a fan club, how cute. All 1 of you.

No...not at all. I have spent my time criticizing manny too. But when I do I criticize his actual comments, not him.

All you do on this site is personally attack Manny, and it is getting ridiculous.

Manny,

I am happy they are 3-1 but that does not make Baker a good manager. Lets see in the 7th today he should have had Pierre stealing as even if he gets caught you start the next inning off with Walker-Lee-Ram and if he was going to bring JHJ into the game in the bottom of the inning he should have pinch hit with him for Walker aganist Flores. BTW Cox isnt a great manager he was twice failed with the Braves and Jays till he had Shuerholtz to got him all that talent. I mean Cox is 1 for 14 as a manager in the post season. The differnces bewteen the two is Cox wont put up with BS while idiot defends it. Cox will also let the kids play once the crap vets fail while idiot watches the team sink.

Good job Cubs for putting the Cardinals on notice that you're there to play hard and win. Nice tone to start the season. I liked their intensity and hope that they keep it up. It is contagious. The doubters will jump on the bandwagon eventually. Just look at the 2003 archives here. So many pathetic complaints until late September. It is way too early to be so pessimistic now. Hold off on your drum-beat until after the July trade deadline.

ANGEL PAGAN, will he ever get a start in place of Jacque Jones?!

When is the next Lefty going against us?

Manny,

"Good start for the Cubs, 3-1 record. Exactly what Baker haters did NOT want to see."

Apparently you're under some mis-conception. The reason that there are Dusty haters is because they want the Cubs to win, and Dusty is not the best (or in list of the top 30 or so) manager to do that. Everyone will be Happy if the Cubs go 121-41 with Dusty as manager, but if they had La Russa as manager the same team would probably go 126-36. Admittedly, Dusty hasn't done anything really stupid this year that I am aware of.

Where's your post that says "Man, the Cubs are hot, thank God we locked up the Team's architecht for two more years!"?

Dave-
Thanks...

Chifan:
"am happy they are 3-1 but that does not make Baker a good manager."

AGAIN, I am not saying he is a good manager becuase he is 3-1. I have stated a couple times now, that many Dusty bashers would like to of seen him fireded and if it took a bad start, so be it. Those people can't be happy. That's all I said about the 3-1 start, nothing more.

And you, or anyone, can go through ANY game and come up with 3-4 things you would of done different than the manager. That goes for every manager and every game. I am sure many Cardinal fans are pissed LaRussa took Carpenter out after 6.

The Real Neal:
"Where's your post that says "Man, the Cubs are hot, thank God we locked up the Team's architecht for two more years!"?"

The same place where I put the let's reup baker because the team is hot...IN THE GARBAGE. It was a POOR move by McPhail to reup Hendry. And it would be a poor move to reup Baker with out them proving their worth this year. But since Hendry is reupped, I see no reason not to reup Baker.

I'm really beginning to worry about Cedeno's fielding. His error could have cost us the game today, and he would have had two throwing errors yesterday if it were not for a great scoop by Lee and a very generous ruling by the scorekeeper... Add this to the problems he had in the spring, in the winter, and at the end of last season and i'm nervous he's developing a "Knoblauch problem."

I wonder what people think about extending Rob G.'s proposed platoon to SS? On days when ground ball pitchers start, put Neifi and Hariston in as the middle infield and on days when our strikeout/flyball pitchers start trot out Cedeno and Walker for the extra offense.

that many Dusty bashers would like to of seen him fireded and if it took a bad start, so be it. Those people can't be happy. That's all I said about the 3-1 start, nothing more.

Wow, I can't be happy with a 3-1 record and still not like Baker? I sure do love it when MannyTrillo puts words in my mouth and other peoples mouth.

Your entire purpose is to piss off the people that don't like Baker and label us as unhappy fans because our team is 3-1. That pretty much sounds like a personal attack of everyones character and morals that is a die hard Cub fan and doesn't like the manager of the team. You couldnt be farther from the truth, and you know that, but you write
it anyways.

That tends to grate on peoples nerves. We are Cubs fans just like everyone else. 3-1 record is a 3-1 record. We are all happy to see it no matter who is the manager.

One fan is not superior than the other based on whether we like the manager or not.

I'll interrupt this dogfight for a totally off topic post, but it's been something I've been thinking about for a while. I'd like to hear what other TCR folks have to say about it.

It's a patently unfair thing that the Cubs are in a division with 6 teams. This puts them at a decided statistical disadvantage going into any season, and I'm surprised there isn't more talk about it. Each division has good teams and bad teams, and over time that tends to even out. Right now a couple or teams are poor, and a couple are good. Question marks surround the other two. Over the years if our division keeps the six teams, the names will change but those categories will more or less stay the same. Same goes for other divisions. In each decade over the past 40 years, the fortunes of these 6 teams shifted roughly every decade, and will probably continue to do so as ownership and baseball change.

But our division has one more team than any other division in baseball except the AL West -- which has two less teams! This means that in any given year, we are starting from a 1/6 baseline statistical probablility of winning the division, when other teams are starting from a 1/5 or 1/4 chance. Payroll, management, luck, player performance and countless other factors influence the win/loss records of each team, but these are the statistical baselines (1/4, 1/5 or 1/6) that each team starts from over time.

Look at 2006 in particular. As I stare at the standings, St. Louis, Houston and Milwaukee appear that they will be competing with the Cubs for the division title. That's three teams to overcome, even assuming that 1/3 of our division is weak. Any team from any other division with two crappy teams would only have 2 teams or even 1 team to overcome. Statistically, this is a significant disadvantage.

Why isn't there more talk about it? One reason may be that it's a very whiny thing to complain about and based purely on statistical probablility. Therefore, no baseball people would ever use it as an excuse. And fans tend to focus on the performance and management of their own team, so they ignore it too -- "If we had only played/managed better, we would have won the division."

But this problem is real and it impacts NL Central teams disproportionately. It may pale in comparison to the other more controllable challenges the Cubs have, but the last thing we need is a built-in statistical disadvantage getting in the way!

"In Dusty We Trusty" has got to be the most puerile, annoying, embarrassing, unoriginal and idiotic phrases of all time, to say nothing of the fact that Dusty Baker's view of baseball has been paved over like so many cobblestones under asphalt.

For what it's worth 433, I've thought of the same thing and agree.

Shawngoldman:
"I'm really beginning to worry about Cedeno's fielding. His error could have cost us the game today, and he would have had two throwing errors yesterday if it were not for a great scoop by Lee and a very generous ruling by the scorekeeper"

I agree 100%. It has become very worrying even at this early point. So far his hitting has made up for it, but if his bat cools, it could be ugly. I actually brought up the Knoblach idea in parachat today. It is not anywhere close to that yet, but based on his Spring and the first 4 games, it has not been pretty at all. We still gotta give him a few weeks to see how things go. Luckily we have the best defensive 1B in baseball to help him out.

Manny,

Yes, he's nowhere near Knoblauch levels at this point. The disappointing thing is he had such a stellar defensive reputation throughout his minor league career, and his fielding was supposed to be the least of his concerns... And i don't want to jump the gun on benching him either - we should give him time to get in the ryhthm of the season before benching him, and i think Dusty will do that.

However, if he continues to have problems in the fiels, i think the Cubs should consider benching him on days we need Neifi's glove in there.

By the way, one of the advantages of doing this is that on a Dusty Baker team, everyon gets ABs, and this is a way for both Hairston and Neifi to get their ABs in without Neifi getting them in the 2 spot. I imagine Hairston would bat 2nd and Neifi 8th on days this middle IF platoon is employed.

I guess agree with the 'baseball people' the cream will rise to the top and the best team will win the Central regardless of how many teams are in the division.

Why isn't there more talk about it? (unfair division alignments)

Probably because the wildcard takes care of it. The real problem with the division setup is what happened in the NL West. We almost had a sub .500 division champ.

Has anyone read any reports on Mark Prior throwing off the mound Friday? If so, please relay them, thanks.

CWTP -- the wildcard helps but doesn't totally solve the problem. The wildcard solves the issue if, say, the Cubs win 97 games but lose the division. But one of the real problems with the current alignment is that the Cubs have a much lesser chance of winning the division with a mediocre year (say 83-88 games) than teams in smaller divisions do. Your NL West reference is actually a good example of something that has a smaller chance of happening in the NL Central than anywhere else.

The Astros bullpen (in this case Chad Qualls) just gave up a 6 spot in the 7th to the Nationals, including 2 runs he let in charged to Oswalt.

having a bullpen not ruin games is underrated...we should understand that based on last year. I remember too many ugly games entrusting the 6th inning or later to Remlinger, Novoa, Wuertz or Hawkins and getting similar results to what just happened to the Stros.

Turned a 6-3 lead into a 9-6 defecit.

similarly, today Josh Hancock, Flores and Thompson tossed Carpenter's efforts into the Portapotty.

Agreed Cubster -- although Hendry seemed to overspend on Howry and Eyre, you can tell already that it's huge to have them. And it's not just that they are good (they are), but the real value is that it erases the worst two guys who would have been in the bullpen, whoever they might have been. Historically the 1 or 2 least talented guys in the bullpen seemed to have killed the Cubs.

433 - You're right, it is not fair that there are six teams in the NL Central and only four in the AL West. However, as long as there are 30 teams in the majors, one of the divisions will have six teams, and it happens to be ours.

If contraction occurs, as AZ Phil keeps saying it will, then MLB will be back to 28 teams. Assuming that Florida and Minnesota are the teams contracted, that would leave the AL with 13 teams and the NL with 15, so one team would have to shift from the NL to the AL. That would give each league 14 teams; two divisions would have five teams, and one would have four.

BTW, if contraction occurs, I wonder which team would make the jump from the NL to the AL? Milwaukee is the obvious candidate; but Pittsburgh might be a candidate, if only because their NFL franchise made the move to the AFC years ago.

chris carpenter said this after today's loss..........with whiskers and vinegar pollutin my gender, i fall to my knees, shattering my teeth on a street vendor. whisper as you did, make fun of the man, who's shadow
was lighter than a southern man's tan. soiled em
again, twas not the plan, but i've had these boxer briefs on since i was ten and can not pull down the waistband. tragedy lurks around every corner for me. and if need be, around every tree. oh, i guess i will end it all now, my life of shame and guilt, but first i'll take a dogs virginity on me grammas quilt.

but the real value is that it erases the worst two guys who would have been in the bullpen, whoever they might have been.
-
Beautifully said.

2005's season opening last two: Cliff Bartosh, Jon Leicester
...but so we can argue so here are the other members of the season opening bullpen: Chad Fox, Rusch, Remlinger, Wuertz, Borowski (DL), Wellemeyer and Hawkins.

2004's early season last two: Andy Pratt/Francis Beltran, Michael Wuertz
...and that pen included Remlinger (DL), Pratt, Wellemeyer, Wuertz, Farnsworth, Borowski, Hawkins, Mercker and Mitre who was the 5th starter. Then Beltran replaced Pratt by April 14th.

2003's early season last two: Mark Guthrie, Dave Veres
...the pen included Guthrie, Veres, Alfonseca, Borowski, Farnsworth, Remlinger, Juan Cruz)

manny said: I am sure many Cardinal fans are pissed LaRussa took Carpenter out after 6.

no they're not manny. after watching baker butcher your pitching staff year after year (and this year will be no different) - no they are definitely not!

Couldn't agree more, 433. Selig needs to get serious and balance out the NL Central and AL West. It's ridiculous that, no matter the quality of the teams, a team in one division (AL West) can have nearly a 10% greater chance of making the playoffs than a team in another division (NL Central) before one game is even played.

Also, on another sidenote, this DLee situation is making really nervous. Despite his relaxation of the deadline today, can we please just sign the guy already? Hendry, you got your deal, no stop dawdling.

As far as the DLEE situation goes, what is difficult for us is that we have no idea what DLEE's demands are. Can we all agree that, as some point, the Cubs would have to say that cannot offer any more money? I do not know what point that is but there is such a point for every player in base ball. That said, hopefully this can be worked out.

One consideration at contract time always is a player's physical condition. We know DLEE has some shoulder problems. They reared their ugly head last summer. Is is just a coincidence that DLEE's numbers after he missed those few games last summer with the bad shoulder were pretty average by any standard? Or is DLEE a guy whose shoulder is gonna get worn down over the course of a season, resulting in average numbers after the all star break? The answer to that question may well be no, that there is no real problem with the shoulder. But it would not shock me if DLEE's shoulder situation is at least at the back of some minds in the Cubs' front office.

mannytrillo: Good start for the Cubs, 3-1 record. Exactly what Baker haters did NOT want to see.

Manny I agree with you quite often (esp. in matters related to Dusty) but your trite bickering & instigation is very tiring. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, pro-dusty/anti-dusty, let's disagree with each other respectfully.

Defense looked a little slopier today, but still looked sharp. I've said it before the Cubbies have playoff material. Add Prior, Miller & Wood in the mix and look out October.

I also think Jones will be ok. Just like Nomar last year he had a great ST and came into April slumping.

Ryan

Andrew -- I'm getting nervous too, but for a different reason: I'm afraid that Lee might be asking for too many years (like 6). I have no inside information to believe that, but (1) Lee doesn't seem to be the greedy type who would demand every dime he could squeeze out of a team and (2) Hendry couldn't let Lee slip away based on money alone -- especially not after signing his own deal. There has to be something more than money alone that's holding this up.

And there has to be a snag if they haven't cut a deal yet, no matter what Lee or the Cubs say. The Cubs are allergic to long term deals, especially for guys who don't have a consistent track record of All Star ability and I generally support that. But if there was ever a time for an exception, this is it.

I also think Jones will be ok. Just like Nomar last year he had a great ST and came into April slumping.

The irony in comparing Jones' durability to that of Nomar's aside, I hope you're right. From what I've seen of Jacque Jones so far (which isn't much), he just looks totally uncomfortable up there. The guy just can't hit anything on the inner half of the plate. I'm actually surprised he historically struggles against lefthanders, as they might be more likely to throw pitches away to him.

Still, and as a suggestion for those of you attending games, give the guy a break. The WORST thing we could do now is to boo him. He's obviously anxious to make a good impression on his new home. I say we cut him some slack for now.

The Cubs MUST get this signing with Lee done now. Way too good a player. Leadership by example, humility. Do NOT let this guy get away and don't think he won't strongly consider the Yanks or BoSox if the Cubs don't get it done. Despite the odd early season errors, fans saw today why it is essential to bring D-Lee back. Also, it is so good to see impressive work by the bullpen the past two days. What a difference. Next, I'd like to see Jones get going and get fans at Wrigley off his back before he ends up the next scapegoat. Let's sweep the Cards on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball!

Totally agree that booing Jones at this point is ridiculous. Let's cheer the guy for at least one or two homestands before we give him the Corey Patterson-LaTroy Hawkins treatment. I agree with those who say Hendry should have not signed him if Jones would not take a two-year deal. But that is water under the bridge. He is a Cub now. The last thing we should be doing is contributing towards turning this guy into a Hawkins, making him worthless to us, before even one home stand is complete.

I noticed that Raphael Furcal didn't play Friday vs Phillies and just found out why (from Lee Sinins ATM reports):

Dodgers SS Rafael Furcal was out of yesterday's lineup, due to a bruised right shin.

...sounds like a day to day thing and their game got rained out today and he was supposedly in the starting lineup

I agree with you guys about the booing of Jones. It's ridiculous and disappointing. And before the "booing is my right" contingent starts chiming in, keep in mind what Barrett said just this week; this is further proof that booing can be counterproductive.

Barrett admitted psychological factors might have taken a toll [during last season's struggles to win at Wrigley].

"This is the greatest place to play, but for some guys, it can be the hardest place to play,'' he said. "For guys like LaTroy Hawkins and Corey Patterson, it was a tough place to play. When things like that happen to your teammates, it brings everyone down. At times it was just a tough place to play."

http://www.suntimes.com/output/cubs/cst-spt-c...

433-
I've often wondered the same thing. I don't have the mathematical/statistical mind to wrap around such issues as probability. We seem to have the possibility of have more 'good' teams in our division, thus making it more difficult to win the division.

But, I think, we also have the the reverse possibility. If we have more 'bad' teams in the division, we play these teams more often than in other divisions, thus improving our record. I guess this wouldn't really matter...if all of the teams are bad, then 'we' (assuming the Cubs were good when everyone else was bad) wouldn't have any problem winning the division anyway.

Anyway, I think it sucks...I just don't complain about it, because it doesn't seem like my complaining would affect any sort of change. Maybe we need a petition or something (though I doubt anyone would give a damn).

How about if we just boot Houston to the AL West? That evens things up throughout MLB (5 teams in each division, 15 teams in each league), and the Astros and Rangers get a nice geographic rivalry.

Plus, we wouldn't have to see Oswalt and the rest of those asshats anymore.

How about if we just boot Houston to the AL West?

Fine by me. See ya, 'Stros.

You're right, it is not fair that there are six teams in the NL Central and only four in the AL West. However, as long as there are 30 teams in the majors, one of the divisions will have six teams, and it happens to be ours.

This makes no sense. 30 teams = 6 divisions of 5 teams east. Move Houston to the NL West.

I meant the AL West.

Scott you cannot have 15 and 15.

Actually my comment should have been directed to 433

Good point Chad, unless MLB started rolling interleague play throughout the season (like a series at a time) or something.

The I-Cubs won Saturday 4-1 over the Albuquerque (and Homer's Springfield) Isotopes.

Felix Pie had another strong game going 3-4 with a double, scoring 2 runs, 2 RBI's...he is leading off.

R Valdes pitched 5 shutout innings with Roberto Novoa pitching the final 2 innings including 2K's and a walkfor his first save.

...other highlights included a 3 hit game from Giovanni Soto including 2 doubles and 2 hit games from Brandon Sing and Ryan Theriot

Wrapup:
http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/milb/s...

Box Score:
http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/milb/s...

Ryno:
"Everyone is entitled to an opinion, pro-dusty/anti-dusty, let's disagree with each other respectfully."

Right on man, just call it both ways...

MikeC: Your source is wrong. The term "troll" means: "someone who says something inflammatory to cause a predictable response". i.e., like fishing, not like mythical creatures. See stuff like "dusty haters must hate seeing the cubs win" for an example.

Couple comments: I too dislike the NL Central having 6 teams, but each leagues can't have 15 teams, because interleague play would have to occur all year long for at least 1 team from each league, with their being an odd #. That will not happen anytime in the forseeable future, as interleague play is still used as a midseason attraction for the fans. Thus, one league must have 16, one must have 14, making one division have 6 teams while another has 4.

2nd comment is a question -- for those people who regularly post starting lineups for a coming game before the game starts, where is the best place to look for the earliest gameday lineup? Would be curious to know this both for the Cubs, and for all teams (ie, if MLB.com puts it up first, etc.).

OK,

Stupid things:

15 and 15 = Inter-League play from day one (as has been pointed out, of course, I thought everyone knew that so it's OK for me to re-interate).

Manny classic 'But since Hendry is reupped, I see no reason not to reup Baker.' Can you formulate any logical argument to defend this statement? Dusty is an employee hired by Hendry. This logic is exactly equal to saying Simontacci got released, therefore we should have released Hendry. Van Buren got traded, therefore we should have traded Hendry. You are making NO (and I am only using caps because you seem to think they're approrpriate when they're not, Manny) sense. I don't know if you have been fired for incompetence, but guess what? It's not your boss's fault that you're incompetent. It's your fault.

Sorry Manny,

Let me elaborate a bit more for you:

2005
Cubs Actual Record
79-83
Pythogorean Record
86-76

2004
Cubs Actual Record
89-73
Pythogorean Record
94-68

This is a pretty tangible explanation of why Dusty is no good. If you add in the runs that Dusty cost the team batting Corey and Neifi 1,2 in 2005, the numbers would be even worse (I'll let the Hawkins over Dempster for closer retardation slide). I am all for a player's manager. I just want one who can tred water when it comes to the game-by-game decision making process, and Dusty has, repeatedly over the last two years shown the werewithal of my 2 year old niece as she mashes game-pad buttons while assembling a lineup and making in-game moves.

The most bizarre aspect about this argument is that I am not a saber-zombie like many on this blog. Dusty, has just repeatedly and unabashedly proven himself as incompetent over the last two years. There's no logical argument that can be made to the contrary.

IN DUSTY WE BUSTY.

Real Neal,

Check your pythagoreans. e.g. - The pythagorean for the Cubs in 2005 is 0.492 which predicts 79-80 wins. Right on the money.

There's also a margin of error of +/- 4 wins when you use the pythagorean.

Zito had a nice outing yesterday. 6 innings of 1 hit ball and the 1 hit was very nearly a fly out.

Yet another example of "the news of my demise has been greatly exagerated."

A word to all those itching to make grand predictions based on small sample size: you better check yoself before you wreck yoself.

My PTI-tastic prediction: the Brewers will NOT go undefeated this season.

I'm off to Vegas!
Go Cubs! I will let you know the lines tonite.
In the mean time check this out, it looks like Brando talking to Superman at the beginning of "Superman,the Movie"
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/photo;_ylt=AqKD_T...

(My apologies to the URL shortening guy.)

stamp out long urls (get yourself fixed up at tinyurl.com)

Tiny HotLink (tinyurl.com/h2gbu) to Jacos' long scroller

I'll be pulling for the youngster tonight.

I'll actually be there to see his first start after I won an ebay auction by outbidding some douchebag named "pujolsrox5". Suck it Cardinals.

HIGHLIGHTS/LOWLIGHTS FROM SATURDAY ON THE FARM:

BATTING (ALL LEVELS):

IOWA (AAA):
Felix Pie, CF: 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B
Ryan Theriot, SS: 2-3, RBI, BB
Mike Fontenot, 2B: 1-4
Michael Restovich, LF: 0-4, 2 K, GIDP
Brandon Sing, 1B: 2-4
Jeff Deardorff, 3B: 1-4, 2 K, GIDP
Buck Coats, RF: 1-4, GIDP
Geovany Soto, C: 3-4, 2 R, 2 2B, K
NOTE: Pie has started the season 5-12 (417/462/500) with 4 runs scored and 2 for 2 in SB (plus an OF assist).
Theriot has started the season 5-9 with three walks and 4 RBI.

WEST TENN (AA):
Chris Walker, CF: 0-4, 2 K, GIDP
Eric Patterson, 2B: 0-4, K
Luis Montanez, LF: 2-4, K
Scott Moore, DH: 2-4
Micah Hoffpauir, 1B: 0-3, BB, K
Richard Lewis, 3B: 1-3 SB, SH, 2 K
Adam Greenberg, RF: 1-4, 2 K
Tony Richie, C: 1-3, HBP
Gary Cates, SS: 0-3
NOTE: Brian Dopirak (broken foot) and Jose Reyes (hand) are injured, so Hoffpauir and Richie are getting a lot more playing time than they had reason to expect.
Montanez has gotten off to a hot start (6-12). He will be a six-year minor league free-agent after this season if he is not added to the Cubs 40-man roster by ten days after the close of the MLB regular season.

DAYTONA (Hi-A):
Sam Fuld, CF: 2-4, R, K, CS
Jemel Spearman, 3B: 1-4, 2B, K
Nic Jackson, LF: 1-3, 2B, BB, SB
Jacob Fox, C: 0-4
Jeff Culpepper, RF: 0-4, K
Matt Craig, 1B: 0-3, BB, K
Alan Rick, DH: 0-4, 2 K
Joe Simokaitis, SS: 0-3
Nate Spears, 2B: 0-2, BB, SB
NOTE: Ryan Harvey (sore knee) has yet to play in a game.
Fuld (ex-Stanford & ex-Team USA) has started the season 5-13.
Nic Jackson (U. of Richmond) is a former top prospect (five-tool OF) and one-time member of Cubs 40-man roster who is coming back after missing almost two full seasons (shoulder surgery). He will be a six-year minor league FA after 2006 season.
Fox (who was Rich Hill's catcher at the University of Michigan and a non-roster invitee to 2006 Spring Training) has had a tough start defensively, allowing 6-6 SB and throwing one into CF for an error.
After hitting only .190 at Peoria last year, Simokaitis was promoted to Daytona and has started the 2006 season 4-9. He played for U. of Nebraska in NCAA CWS last year before signing with the Cubs (10th Round draft pick).
Spears was one of two players the Cubs acquired from BAL for Corey Patterson.

PEORIA (Lo-A):
Robinson, Chirinos, 2B: 1-3, 2 BB, CS, ALSO GOT PICKED-OFF
Luis Rivera, SS: 0-5, K
Matt Ciaramella, CF: 0-2, R, 2 BB, HBP, OF ASSIST
Ryan Norwood, 1B: 3-5, R, RBI, 2B, 2 K
Alberto Garcia, DH: 1-4, R, RBI, 2B, BB
Brandon Taylor, 3B: 1-4, RBI, 2B, 2 K
Jesus Valdez, LF: 0-3, BB
Johnny Defendis, RF: 0-3, BB, 2 K
Jake Muyco, C: 1-4, K
NOTE: Ciaramella was acquired from BOS last December for RHP Jermaine Van Buren.
Norwood missed all of last season (broken leg), but he has started the 2006 season 7-15.
Taylor was drafted by the Cubs last June out of BYU, and has started the season 5-12.

----

PITCHING (ALL LEVELS):
Good first outings by starters at AAA (Raul Valdes) and AA (Randy Wells), but a very disppointing first outing by Luke Hagerty (Hi-A), who still can't throw strikes.

IOWA (AAA):
Raul Valdes: 5-5-0-0-1-2, HBP ( W 1-0)
Ryan O'Malley: 2-2-1-1-0-3
Roberto Novoa: 2-1-0-0-1-2 (SAVE 1)
NOTE: After missing Spring Training with the "big club" for the second year in a row ("Visa problems," supposedly), Valdes finally arrived and appears to be close to mid-season form!
Novoa might be recalled this week when Jerome Williams moves from the bullpen to the 5th starter slot (that's if Dusty wants a seven-man bullpen). If that happens, Angel Pagan will probably be sent to Iowa, because Murton, Cedeno, and Pagan are the only position players on the 25-man ("active") roster with minor league options left.

WEST TENN (AA):
Randy Wells: 5-3-1-1-1-5, HR (L 0-1)
Lincoln Holdzkom: 1.1-1-0-0-1-3
Carmen Pignatiello: 1.2-0-0-0-0-2
NOTE: Wells was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training and looked pretty good, especially for a converted catcher who's only been pitching for about a year.
Holdzkom is a young flamethrower coming back from TJ surgery in 2004, and he was one of the pitchers acquired from FLA for Todd Wellemeyer (the other one--LHP Zach McCormack--is at Extended Spring Training in Mesa).

DAYTONA (Hi-A):
Luke Hagerty: 1.2-3-4-4-5-2, WP (L 0-1)
Chris Shaver: 4-4-0-0-0-2
Angelo Burrows: 1.1-3-1-1-0-1
Carlos Vasquez: 2-2-2-2-1-1, E
NOTE: A one-time top pitching prospect, Hagerty has missed most of past three seasons recovering (very, very slowly) from TJ surgery, and it looks like he might not ever come back.
Burrows (an ex-SS) was one of the pitchers the Cubs got from ATL for Todd Hollandsworth last August.
Vasquez is former member of 40-man roster who is trying to return from shoulder surgery.
Both Burrows and Vasquez will be six-year minor league FAs after this season.

PEORIA (Lo-A):
Mike Billek: 4-7-6-5-1-6, E
Tim Layden: 2-1-0-0-1-1
Jeff Teasley: 2-1-0-0-0-4
NOTE: Billek (Central Florida) was selected by the Cubs in last June's draft (3rd round) as the compensation pick for losing FA Matt Clement to Boston, and is considered one of the Cubs better pitching prospects.

I'll actually be there to see his first start after I won an ebay auction by outbidding some douchebag named "pujolsrox5". Suck it Cardinals.

Haha, that's awesome.

AZ Phil: any word on Mark Pawelek? Why did they keep him in extended spring training in AZ and not at Peoria? Any news on Lefty Donald Veal (#2 pick) or their other round 3 pick Mark Holliman?

#91 of 91: By Cubster (April 9, 2006 12:21 PM)
AZ Phil: any word on Mark Pawelek? Why did they keep him in extended spring training in AZ and not at Peoria? Any news on Lefty Donald Veal (#2 pick) or their other round 3 pick Mark Holliman?

CUBSTER: From what I understand, Pawelek was kept at Extended Spring Training only because the Cubs do not want to rush him. He will almost certainly pitch at Boise once the short-season leagues begin play in June, and depending on how he does there, could very well move up to Peoria in July or August.

Mark Holliman makes his professional debut today, as the starting pitcher for Daytona versus Brevard County.

Donald Veal got the Opening Day start for Peoria, but did not pitch well because he did not throw strikes (3.1 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 6 BB, 2 K, and a HR).

CWTP:
"Real Neal,
Check your pythagoreans. e.g. - The pythagorean for the Cubs in 2005 is 0.492 which predicts 79-80 wins. Right on the money.
There's also a margin of error of +/- 4 wins when you use the pythagorean."

Thanks CWTP the the correction...

This is a pretty tangible explanation of why Dusty is no good.

If you are relying on Pythagoreans, note that for most of his career Baker's teams have outperformed their Pythagorean record by a wide margin. 2004 is the main exception.

Good start for the Cubs, 3-1 record. Exactly what Baker haters did NOT want to see.

Even a blind squirel will occationally find a nut, even Neifi Perez will occationally have a 3-4 day, and even a Dusty Baker managed team will occationally have a hot streak.

But one should not conclude that because those things happen that the blind squirel can now see, that Neifi Perez is a good hitter, or that Dusty Baker is even a competant manager.

In the long run, the blind squirel will still starve, Neifi Perez will get on base less than 30% of the time, and a Dusty Baker led baseball team will choke and lose when it matters most, losing to or finishing behind far less talented teams.

"This makes no sense. 30 teams = 6 divisions of 5 teams east. Move Houston to the NL West."

Scott, do the math: if Houston is moved into the American league, that gives each league 15 teams. Which means that every day, one team in each league has to be idle, because it has no opponent to play.

It was to avoid that situation that Milwaukee shifted to the NL in 1998, when the league expanded to 30 teams. It's an unfair situations, perhaps, but it makes scheduling enormously easier. I suppose you could solve the problem by having the two "idle" teams play each other, but MLB prefers to have blocks of interleague games, rather than dribble them out through the season: it makes for better PR and, again, it makes scheduling easier.

The majors are not going to have an odd number of teams in each league. So, as long as there are 30 major-league teams, the leagues will be split 16-14; and as long as one league has 16 teams, one division will have six teams: QED.

The solution, as AZ Phil has pointed out, is to contract back to 28 teams and shift one team from the NL back to the AL. That gives each league each 14 teams; and each league will three divisions, two of which have five teams and one has four.

Real Neal,

Scott De B. is right:
http://tinyurl.com/n6yth (scroll down)

Over the course of his career through 2003, Dusty won 18 games more than expected by pythagorean records. They were 6 wins worse than their pythagorean record in 2004, and 1 win worse than their pythagorean record in 2005. Currently, the Cubs 2006 pythagorean record is 3-1, the same as their actual 2006 record. That totals up to 11 wins above expectations over the course of Dusty's career. He has managed a total of 11 seasons, meaning he has earned his teams an average of exactly one victory a year, if this sort of analysis is tranlatable to "wins earned by manager." Before you scoff at that small figure, you should realize that it places Baker in the company of greatness (scroll down). This is especially true when one considers the following comment in Neyer's analysis: "...none of [the managers] managed to exceed run-differential expectations by even one win per season; all those +1's you see had to be rounded up." Dusty's isn't rounded up, he gets exactly 1 win per season (although in the table on that page, Dusty had been rounded up to 2 wins per season, as it was written before Dusty's last 2 sub par years).

One caution in this is that Dusty had a spike of 10 games above pythagorean expectations back in 1997. If you take out that season along with his worst season (2004), then he's earned a total of 7 wins over 9 seasons. That still places him in "exclusive" company, but we're starting to see smaller and smaller effects of Dusty on a team with this sort of analysis. Throw in the +/- 4 figure mentioned by CWTP, and you can see that this sort of analysis is somewhat worthless.

However, ragardless if whether or not this sort of analysis is useful, it is clear that if one wants to compare actual records to pythagorean records to measure the success as a manager, Dusty comes off not only as successful but as one of the best managers of the current era and perhaps of all time...

For all of those who want Dusty gone...who would replace him? Pinella? You've addressed the problem, now its time to find a (imaginary- for the time being)solution.

Blast from the past....Scroll down farther in ShawnGoldman's linked article and you get a glimpse of the Billy Beane's greatness.

It really is astounding that in 2001 the Oakland A's had:

Jason Giambi
Miguel Tejada
Eric Chavez
Jeremy Giambi (who in 2001 played 124 games and had an .841 OPS)
Jeff Tam (3.01 ERA in 2001)
Tim Hudson
Mark Mulder
Barry Zito

all for under 9 million. That team alone (102 victories on less than 40 million) should make Beane a legend. Of course losing to the Yanks in the divisional series after going up 2-0 wasn't so hot. But you still have to appreciate what Beane put together.

Is that really a feat? All those guys (except Chavez and Zito- who is probably gone by the deadline this year anyway) are gone. You could make the same "wow" team for the 1994 Expos (Randy Johnson, Larry Walker, Galaraga, Vlad, etc.) and I know there has to be another team of future HOFs in thier young days.

Billy Beane is a fraud. He might be able to see numbers, but he doesn't see (or show) the numbers that matter (the ones with the dollar signs in front of them). I don't want to hear anything about the market, that's what he's got to deal with. Keeping only 2 of those guys from the last 5-6 years ia appaling. The A's are just like the Twins were during their run - MLB's professional farm team.

Sign some players, make a run - show me something. Don't just win a hap-hazard division and give the guy a free pass.

Mpls -- huh?

You realize that Beane is the GM, not the owner, right? It's not his money -- he's just operating under the budget he's been handed, and squeezing an amazing number of wins out of the dollars that he has authority to spend.

433:
"You realize that Beane is the GM, not the owner, right?"

Actually, Beane IS also part owner of the Oakand A's. He was given part ownership as an incentive to stay when BOST was after him a few years ago. Instead BOST hired Epstein and won a WS.

My point is that Beane operates under budgetary constraints like most (all?) GM's do. MPLS seemed to be criticizing Beane for not spending big money to keep expensive guys or to sign pricey free agents, which misses the point of Beane's success.

In other words, Beane doesn't have the money to spend, so he uses a different method (use 'em when they're cheap, then ship them off and reload), and is really good at it.

Info Re: Ponson.

ESPN.com, Scouts Inc. Scouting Report: When Ponson is pitching well, his fastball can reach 92-94 MPH, but he often works in the 90-92 range. One reason for the drop in velocity is a lack of conditioning that also affects his stamina. The key to his 2003 success was an improved slider. When he's able to throw a sharp slider with good command, it helps set up his other pitches. He's not afraid to throw inside to keep hitters off the plate. Ponson used to throw an average forkball, but recent elbow and shoulder woes have forced him to abandon the pitch. Without the forkball and the velocity he once had, he needs to keep the ball down in the strike zone to stay out of trouble. Poor control and pitches high in the zone were a problem in 2004.

ST Stats:

MLB.com

2-2 3.60 ERA
1.41 GO/AO
3.60 K/9

Basically he had a better spring than Suppan, but nothing close to what Carpenter can do. Marshall's got a tough assignment tonight.

Well, Suppan had a *much* better 2005 than Ponson, which I think matters more than the Spring Training. If the laws of physics hold, I'm expecting a shootout.

An article in the Trib today gives the impression that Baker may be reupped soon. Hendry basically said he needed his deal and Lee's deal taken care of and then he will focus on Baker. Hendry said all the right things: "Dusty and I have a terrific relationship,", "There's no controversy involved here. Ö I respect things he has done. We've had a very positive relationship." and "I feel the same way about Dusty Baker as the day I signed him."

Of course that goes against the propaganda that is spread by some on here that they don't get a long. If Hendry reups Baker, I don't think anything can be said about any kind of serious rift between them and the theory that Dusty doesn't want to be in Chicago can go out the window too.

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

wow Mpls....what about Beane is a fraud? i don't even know what you're trying to say. Is he supposed to take out a mortgage to spend his own money?

it's an absolute miracle what he's been able to do....those guys all left and they're still producing. last year no one expected them to do anything bc they were so super young....but Beane actually gets young guys that can produce! once they got a few weeks of ML experience in them they were great, and finished just short of the angels.

they have a new ownership group now, their payroll has gone up a little (to $70M i think), and they have the most stacked team in the AL. that's incredible.

haphazard division? I think the Angels have done OK for themselves....and during the earlier A's years the Mariners were winning 100 every year and the A's got the wild card....

he gets so much bang for the budget he's given it's incredible. i don't understand how you can blame him for not retaining giambi or tejada or whoever...having them for a few years is pretty awesome. now he's got blanton and harden and haren, along with crosby, chavez, swisher, and it's gonna be a very pretty few years in oakland.

i'm also glad that one of Beane's best deals (Mulder for Haren, Calero and Daric Barton, a 20 year old catcher who's already in AAA) happened to the Cardinals....thanks Billy!

barton may not stay at C or 3rd...though he's got a powerful enough arm, if not accurate enough...but his bat will keep him on the top of their system, easily.

barton would have easily been STL's #1 batting prospect this season.

Greenlantern,

That was a fantasctic deal, although you should know the A's are moving Barton to 1B, where he has a little less relative value offensevily. Still, its probably Beane's best deal to date - Haren and Calero for Harden may have been a fair deal based on last year's numbers, and the addition of Barton makes it a steal no matter where he plays...

Ah, crunch you beat me to the punch!

But you make a good point - wouldn't St. Louis's lineup look a lot more promising if they had some minor league talent to supplement a lineup that is very weak around the edges?

stl has amazed me the last few years picking up FA trash and bringing up midgets like skip shaumacker and somehow squeezing a good year outta them.

i dunno how much longer they can keep it up, but i dunno how they do it anyway.

i dunno how much longer they can keep it up, but i dunno how they do it anyway.

As long as La Russa is managing. IMHO he's one of the greatest minds in baseball.

it isnt even utilization or playing the situations...its just straight up baseball luck.

larussa dont have many fans amongst the STL fans i know...theyre sick of his lineup construction and when he tried that "pitcher hits 8th" crap years ago a lot of his skeptical fans fell off the fence on him.

STL the past few years seems to get these bench guys who manage to hit for a year then fade into obscurity or go back to "normal"...except polanco, the 2nd baseman that 'got away'.

J. Pierre cf
T. Walker 2b
D. Lee 1b
A. Ramirez 3b
M. Barrett c
J. Jones rf
M. Murton lf
R. Cedeno ss

larooster (the big red cock) is batting encarcenon 2nd and playing RF, luna playing 2nd, taguchi in LF.

biggest game of the season so far and no pregame link?

jk

go cubs!

I was watching the Brewers game today and I was impressed with Prince Fielder on defense. He doesn't look all that agile or fast be he can move when he wants to and has soft hands.

In fact that whole Milwaukee infield is solid. They play some good fundamental defensive baseball.

They are going to be tough team to beat this year. They might be a year+ away or they might be good enough this year. Either way looking like a solid team.

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