Series Win

CUBS 7 PIRATES 3 W: Glendon Rusch (1-2) L: Ian Snell (0-1)
.[email protected]">Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart We saw several encouraging things in today's game. Glendon Rusch pitched six strong innings, marred only by Craig Wilson's homerun. Aramis Ramirez seems to be getting locked in - he followed up yesterday's long double with a two-out RBI single in the first, and a two-run homerun in the sixth. Juan Pierre had three hits and scored two runs, hopefully a sign that he's coming out of his early-season slump. Cedeno continued to hit the ball sharply and gave a strong performance in the field. Finally, the mildly injured Jacques Jones made an appearance as a pinch-hitter, and drew a walk. But what's most impressive - and surprising - for me is Ryan Dempster. Admittedly, I was unable to follow the Cubs very closely at the end of last season. So while I knew Dempster was pitching very well, I didn't have a good sense for just how well. Pat Hughes tells me that Dempster now has a 28 and 1/3 scoreless inning streak, spanning 28 appearances, I believe. Is it premature (or perhaps, even over-due?) to talk about Dempster as one of the game's elite closers? As I write, the Cubs are 7-4, in a four-way tie for first place. They're there without Prior, Wood, and having had to start their 5th OF due to injuries. Feeling the pull of unrealistic hopes and dreams, yet?


the dumpster amazes me...he's give up 1 homer in his last bazillion innings...he'll put 1-2 guys on base regularly and manage to get them out.

he's wild as hell, but will get Ks...people will make contact, but it'll end up on the ground.

he's like a.benitez except he's a groundball pitcher insted of putting guys on base and giving up homers/sacflys left and right.


Pat Hughes tells me that Dempster now has a 28 and 1/3 scoreless inning streak, spanning 28 appearances, I believe. Is it premature (or perhaps, even over-due?) to talk about Dempster as one of the gameís elite closers?

I shoot the first guy who says this is due to a small sample size.

Let's not looked a gift horse in the mouth here. Dempster was a measely pick up that we took a chance on- and heavens to betsy IT PAID OFF! Hendy made a good move (the same goes for Willamson and eventually *hopefully* with Miller).

That said, let's give the guy his due- all he does it get in games, gives us his inning and we go home (happy so far). It might be a small sample size, but so f'ing what! He's getting guys out and closing down ballgames. Let's be happy anyone can do that.

hey, i just dont like a 'closer' who puts as many men on base and is as wild as dempster is.

he is flat out getting it done. he is getting the ground balls he needs to make up for his wildness.

i will never like his kind of player, but he has the unique qualities of being deceptive, having fast velocity, being wild, and giving up contact hits that do very little. its a mixed bag of good +'s and bad -'s that compliment each other to the point of him being an effective closer so far.

by "giving up contact hits" i mean the contact the batters make is weak, not the quality of the actual hits he gets charged with.

Actually, saying that Dempster is becoming an elite closer because of 28 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball has serious sample size issues. He's having a remarkable streak, but there isn't enough there to start putting him up there with the truely elite closers in the game.

Of course, sample size problems are the whole reason why your "top" closers tend to have serious turnover from year to year. Every year there is a guy like Todd Jones who comes out of nowhere to be a brilliant closer, and then goes back into the woodwork for the rest of his career.

Speaking of Dempster, is anyone else conserned with how many times he's already "closed" a games with a 4 or more run lead? It was one thing when we had a whole bunch of days off or if he hadn't pitched during the pittsburgh series, but we're now on a roadtrip without much rest, and I'd hate to see Dempster out of commission in a one run game come Wednesday because of pitching in a non-save situation.

It TOTALLY am concerned about that Blue. thanks for mentioning it. It strikes me odd that he is closing EVERY game regardless of whether it is a blowout. Maybe early in the season it made sense to get him a little time on the mound. But I do hope it slows down. Seems a little desperate too on the part of Baker.

larussa...pinch hitting j.marquis...not for him...pinch hitting him

down by 9th...leading off

he gets a hit.

larussa has sold his soul to the devil to keep doing stuff like this and having it come through hehe.

Damn Pujols

cards win on a pujols homer..3rd of the day.

that game kicked ass.

#3 of 10: By Mpls_Stephen (April 16, 2006 04:48 PM)
Let's not looked a gift horse in the mouth here. Dempster was a measely pick up that we took a chance on- and heavens to betsy IT PAID OFF!


Kudos to you for the usage of "heavens to betsy." Very nicely done.

Another great game. I also applaud Dusty. I was terrified when Novoa came in, but his moves--the bunts, the steals, etc are really clicking. It was great to see walker kick butt again. You guys are right about Dempster. Fun stuff.

I do wonder one thing. Is it me or is Freddie Bynum this year's Jose Macias? I don't object to him starting--bunt hit and all. But, this guy just looks over matched. Two bunt attempts--it is like they know he can't hit. Would Mike Restovich be better? Probably not. But every time this dude steps to the plate, I think good ole number #1, Jose Macias. The cubs have one guy like this every year--Jose Hernandez (good to see him today huh?), and so forth.

So, in my mind, Bynum = Macias.

Still, what afun start to the year.


From the previous thread:

Prior to today's stellar relief work, the Cubs led MLB with a 1.29 ERA in innings 7-9. According to my calculations, that's a 1.17 ERA after today.

The Cubs have a respectable 3.11 ERA for all relief work this year, but this number is driven up primarily by Wuertz and Ohman giving up a ton of runs in the sixth and Williams having a bad relief appearance in the fifth.

What does this all add up to? Some possibilities:

1) A small sample size
2) Fantastic beginnings for Dempster, Eyre, Howry, Williamson, and now today Novoa.
3) Better late innning than early inning bullpen management for Dusty
4) A boatload of possibilities if we can get a dependable and consistent starting rotation.

I pick all of the above.

Freddie Bynum doesn't deserve to be on this mmajor league club. He's look awful at the plate so far, swinging late with a slow bat. I have no idea why they thought he'd be a good enough addition to this team to trade for him. Bad move but it looks like we're stuck with him all year. It would have been nice to see Craig Wilson in right field today.... for the Cubs.

I have no idea why they thought he'd be a good enough addition to this team to trade for him. Bad move but it looks like we're stuck with him all year.

They gave up John Koronka to get him: you can't expect to get gold when you give up your trash.

While I'm not saying that Bynum is a good player, it was hardly a bad trade. The Cubs got a pretty crappy player to be the 25th man but he at least has speed - which is more than you could say about Jose Macias. Meanwhile, they got rid of Kornoka, a horrible pitcher who was out of options and would have been lost for nothing if he hadn't been traded.

they gave up a horrible pitcher who would have been lost .

he's a "macias" who can also play SS, has a better arm, and more speed.

he's also younger with many club control years left. he's not gonna make more than 350-500K for a while.

Does anyone have a longer consecutive save streak than Demp? It's like 20 in a row and 34 of 35.

The word on Restovich from someone who has seen him here in Minneapolis for the last 6 years...he sucks! Think LaTroy, but without a fastball (it's a metaphor). The guy was stuck in an outfield log-jam in the Twins system behind 4A talent such as Cuddyer...and I can't remember the other guys. He always was sent back down when the club broke spring trainig, and came up in injury situations. He got some time with Pittsburg and Colorado last year and still hit bupkiss.

I'd rather see Bynum in the lineup (granted, hitting 8th or 9th) that have Restovich flailing around- at least Bynum has speed, regardless of how overrated it is.

As for the Dempster comments....Dempster came out of spring training last year as a starter, and he ended the year on his current streak, so let's not get too hasty about his being used too much. Over the next week or so, he'll get used less, but right now our pen just isn't there. Once we can get a starter or two back, things will look more normal (even for Dusty's standards).

speaking of saves streaks, i listened to the a's-rangers game today

street needed one more save to tie eckersely's 2nd place in a's history streak of 22 (i think) in a row

he blew it, gave up 4 runs. he was pitching on his third straight day.

the a's almost came back, loaded the bases but still lost by 2.

fun times for the cubs right now, let's scout out this dodgers team on sunday night tonight.

Rotoworld says the brought up Aardsma to replace Pagan.

btw, the cubs called up aardsma for pagan's spot.

i don't like 12 pitchers this early in the season, but if jones and mabry are ready to go for tomorrow, which it looks like they are, it's ok.

however, wuertz had almost earned his way back to iowa BEFORE his performance friday.... it's pretty clear who is gone when wood comes back in 2 weeks or so, which coincidentally should be about when pagan comes off the DL. intriguing.

It was a good game all in all, but did anyone see what was up with Murton in the 6th? He seemed to get pissed off with the ump and took one strike where he just glared at the ump with the bat on his shoulder. Did the announcers say anything about it? He's been playing well so far and I'd hate to see him get into a snit with the umps.

FYI Crunch, Marquis pinch hit in another game this
week and drew a walk. Probably way too risky to pinch
hit Z but I strongly suggest pinch hitting MADDUX when
you are looking to sacrifice runner to 2nd. Baker did
it once last year and it worked fin Maddux LIVES for this kind of thing and is better than practically anyone off the bench for it
Wish Dusty would try it again SOON

One young player's attitude that I don't worry about is Murton. As a Minnesotan I expect very little from Jones. He has never been more than a border line outfielder in the past. We still need one more heavy bat to be a contender.

As a Dempster doubter from the beginning, I have finally come around to thinking that he will be an adequate closer.

Speaking of closers, the Marlins named Joe Borowski their closer.

There isn't any question that Dempster is now among the game's elite closers, unless you are biased against him and set the definition so that he doesn't qualify to be in that class. But 28 scoreless innings in a row and 20 straight saves pretty much does it for me.

I believe that his ERA is well below 2.0 since he took over the closer role (someone help me out) a little less than a year ago. That's not just good; that's stellar.

I know a lot of you don't "feel" like he is an elite closer and claim that he is wild, but the stats don't really back that up anymore. It's time we come around and give him the credit he is due.

Geez, Hendry looks great right now. The farm system is producing, the scrap heap has given us dempster, barrett, williamson and miller, the trades for williams and aardsma, lee, ramirez, murton, pierre, you have to tip your hat.

i like the 12th pitcher right now-only because the innings are there. can't burn out the pen so early.

have you guys looked at carlos marmols's numbers? also, great k totals for hill and guzman.

People seem to forget that other than intermittent control problems, Dempster was a damn fine starting pitcher before his TJS. He's always had good stuff and the short relief outings, where batters see him just one time a day, suits him very well. He was a great pickup by Hendry, and (despite some doubters), the 3 year/$15MM extension Dempster got this winter was a bargain.

Rich Hill is looking VERY tough in Iowa right now. What a nice problem to have, too many good pitchers! Dare I say it, but we don't need Wood or Prior to return to compete for a playoff spot this year. I think the Central is full of parity, and we can be right there with all of them, including the Birdinals, even if Prior and/or Wood don't pick up a ball until August.

There isn't any question that Dempster is now among the game's elite closers, unless you are biased against him and set the definition so that he doesn't qualify to be in that class. But 28 scoreless innings in a row and 20 straight saves pretty much does it for me.

I've got nothing against Dempster, I think he's done a great job as the closer and if he continues doing what he is doing, I think he will become one of the game's elite closers.

But I'm not ready to call anyone one of the games "elite" players based on less than one full season of a performance, particularly for closers where the list of one and two season wonders could stretch for miles.

The games truely elite closers are the ones that are not only dominant, but have been dominant for at least 2 or 3 full seasons.

It is simply too soon to tell if Dempster will join the ranks of Rivera, Wagner, and Hoffman or if he'll become the next Danny Graves, Dan Kolb, or Joe Borowski.

We don't need an elite closer. We need one that gets the job done. Joe Borowski is one of the most mediocre pitchers ever, but for one glorious season he did the job. I think that Dempster can 'do the job' for at least this year. If he fizzles we have Williamson. I think we're covered.

Suddenly we have some serious heat coming into games when bullpen help is needed in the 5th-7th inning with Novoa/Aardsma. They will gain important experience preceding Williamson/Howry/Eyre/Dempster. Also this bullpen depth (LOOGY Ohman included) will help keep them generally from getting overworked, unless Dusty starts to study from the Felipe Alou school of bullpen utilization.

I liked what I saw from Aardsma in the games I've seen so far from the Iowa Cubs. I just hope he can throw strikes up here.

Bleeding Blue -- OK, but you are simply defining "elite closer" so that it's impossible for Dempster to qualify (i.e. he doesn't have enough of a track record yet). That's a fair way to look at things, but I define "elite" closer differently: if I had to choose a closer for my team for tomorrow, or for the next week, or for the next month, would he be in the Top 10? Top 5?

So, how many closers would you take over Dempster right now? If the list is longer than 5 or so, then you're right, he's not elite in my book. But if that's the case I'd like to hear the names.

Look, I realize that he's not Rivera or Eckersley. But he's not Borowski or something either -- over the past year or so, crazy as it sounds, he's performed as one of the top 3 or 4 closers in the game.

I just hate to see Cubs fans worry about something that's going really well.

I wondered about Dempster being in the game today as well. But looking at the box scores from last week, if Dempster had only pitched in typical closer situations (9th inning, team ahead, save circumstances), he'd have pitched once (last Weds) since Saturday the 8th. Instead he pitched about every other day.

I would have rather he pitched one of Friday or today, but not both. Still I think it's minor. I imagine he'll pitch at most 2 of the games in the Dodgers series, then the Cubs are off Thursday.

larussa has sold his soul to the devil to keep doing stuff like this and having it come through hehe.

Crunch...have you seen St. Louis's bench? Marquis is probably the best hitter on that bench!

Yeah, we have had a nice start to the season. But aside from the series with the Cards, the only teams we have played have no serious shot at the playoffs, ie, Pirates and Reds. Let's see how we do against the Mets, Braves, Giants, Phillies etc.

So, how many closers would you take over Dempster right now? If the list is longer than 5 or so, then you're right, he's not elite in my book. But if that's the case I'd like to hear the names.


I'd put Dempster in the 2nd tier of closers right now, amidst others like Turnbow, Street, and Baez.

Arm, that has no bearing on anything. The formula to the playoffs can be summed up with two different scenarios:

1. Beat the shit out of your own division and just out play them.

2. Beat the crap out of ever sub .500 team and play .500 with the good ones.

No need to consistently beat the good teams.

Actually I think the Reds could be decent this year. Not great, but decent.

Bleeding: BJ Ryan first-tier? Just because he K's a lot? He hasn't been a closer much longer than Dempster. If you just need a bunch of strikeouts and a high save %, why not Brian Fuentes?

Whether he's elite or not I'm glad Dempster's a Cub. Yes it's April and I'm drunk on Kool-Aid but I'm optimistic as hell that this can be a good year for the Cubs. Once the rotation ferments the Cubs can balance out the back of the rotation and maybe have Trader Jim find us another piece (cough... Wilson... cough) I see no reason this team can't be in it.

Dusty for MOY!!!!!!!


Hey, Rusch actually put down the doughnuts, after he realized his starting spot was on the line today and came through....GOOD JOB MAN!!! Keep it up...

I liked the fact they jumped on Pitt early. Walker did what he had to do in the #5 hole, drive in some runs. Hopefully ARAM has finally woke up.

Hopefully Jones can be back tomorrow. It was a good sign he was able top PH today and it was good for Dusty to give him an AB, since he has been off a few days.

I like Novoa up, Weurtz down and I like Aardsma up for Pagan DL.

Overall a very good day...GO CUBS!!!

Looking ahead to this Dodger's series... Yikes! check out their injuries:

Garciaparra (Gasp!)
Jeff Kent (just got beaned in the head tonight)

Getting beaned in the head is tricky. Sometimes you'll be back in the lineup the next day, sometimes... as in Greenberg's case, you're out for a while.

Bleeding -- without quibbling with your list, that's about what I expected. If you are saying that Dempster is among the Top 6 or Top 7 closers in MLB, that's saying a lot. (If he's "second tier", there must be about 5 tiers.)

Who would have thought that Dempster would be in the top 20% of closers in MLB? Or that any Cub would?

mannytrillo: Aardsma up for Pagan DL

Too bad for Pagan, looked painful. He was definitely a bright spot on the bench. I think you are right about another arm in the BP for Pagan, though. The starters are not going nearly as deep as hoped.

I hope Aardsma doesn't get run over, though. Zambrano/Maddux this year so far has shown us that velocity doesn't matter nearly as much as location.

Watching Aardsma in ST, he was locating his pitches... sort of. The good thing was when he missed it is usually out of the zone.

Just for fun, I looked up the '06 salaries of said closers.

Rivera $10.5 Mil
Wagner $10.5 Mil
Demp $4.3 Mil
Ryan $4 Mil
Baez $4 Mil
Lidge $3.98 Mil
K-Rod $3.78 Mil
Nathan $3.75 Mil
Turnbow $659 K
Street $340 K

One of the things that makes Demp a little more useful is being a former starter he can pitch more than one inning if needed. For example come into a tie ball game in the 9th or 10th.

Sorry, forgot to say: salary info from and Dodger injuries from

Dempster might be one of the top tier of closers for now....remember he's chasing BOROWSKI'S record...and where is he now? Let's put it into perspective- he's done the job.

I want to start the rumors now- Kerry will be back in two weeks when we travel to Arizona.

For the question on Murton's attitude up on the post list. He had wanted time, and the ump didn't give it to him...and hense the looking listlist there for the rest of the at-bat.

Let's get a streak going against those Bums! and show up the Cards in their new park (The Curse of Lou Brock now gone forever).

In regards to Murton's at-bat in the 6th, he tried to call time but the ump didn't give it to him. I believe the ump thought the pitcher was already in his motion. Murton took the pitch for strike two and struck out on the next pitch. He looked upset but didn't yell at the ump. I don't believe there will be any repurcussions from his actions since he didn't make a scene.

Murton made a rookie move right there. The ump doesn't have to give you time and Murton looked like a pouty bitch.


It looked as if the ump granted it to him I think that is what he was upset about.

Last season, Dempster posted the following line as a closer:
57 G, 58.1 IP, 4-0, 33S, 2 BS, 46 H, 14 R, 12 ER, 1 HR, 27 BB, 53 K.

This year his line so far is:
6 G, 6 IP, 0-0, 2 S, 0 BS, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 3 BB, 4 K.

His totals as a Cubs closer are:
4-0, 35 S, 2 BS, 1.68 ERA, 1.342 WHIP, 7.86 K/9, 4.2 BB/9, 1.87 K/BB, and 0.30 HR/9.

Out of the closers that notched more than 20 or more saves last season, the only ones with ERAs lower than 1.68 were Billy Wagner (1.51) and Mariano Rivera (1.38). However, out of that same group the only ones with WHIPs higher than 1.342 were Miguel Batista, Braden Looper, Jose Mesa, Tyler Walker, and Yhency Brazoban. This is the enigma that is Ryan Dempster... is his low ERA indicative of clutch pitching and a low HR rate or is it indicative of stellar defense behind him and having the good fortune of only giving up one or two hits every time he pitches? In other words, should we attribute his success to him being an "elite closer" or him being a "lucky closer"?

Well, his DIPS ERA (ERA assuming everyone has the same BABIP) was 3.10 last season as a reliever and is 4.55 early this season. BJ Ryan, Brad Lidge, Joe Nathan, Mariano Rivera, Todd Jones, Trevor Hoffman, Billy Wagner, and Huston Street all posted lower DIPS number in 2005. However, his DIPS ERA was the same as Francisco Rodriguez, a man many consider to be amongst the elite...

I think looking at all these stats sums up the debate quite well... Dempster excels at the stats that measure his actual results - he didn't give up any runs and converted almost all his save opportunities. However, a look at some of his rate stats raise concerns about the way he got the job done and whether or not he can continue to post the ERA and Save/SaveOpp numbers he put up in 2005. Hopefully he can continue to do so.

If he continues to be DempSTAR with low ERA's and only a couple blown saves, then we should consider him in the class of elite closers. However, if his DUMPster-like WHIP numbers start to bite him in the ass and lead to a higher ERA and more blown saves, we might start to consider last season a result of good fortune as opposed to elite material.

By the way, stats come from ESPN's sortables page...

If you are saying that Dempster is among the Top 6 or Top 7 closers in MLB, that's saying a lot.

But I'm not saying that. I'm saying 7th is the absolute highest I would rate Dempster. I could go anywhere from 7th to about 15th, depending upon what exactly you want to make the critiera. In addition to the young up and coming guys like Baez and Turnbow, there are also the older experienced guys like Hoffman and Izzy (assuming he turns things around) who have lost a step but are still excellent closers. If you want to only use his recent results, Dempster would be very high on the list. If you want to also include factors like walks and hits allowed which haven't hurt him so far, but could in the future, then Dempster would probably fall below a lot of other guys.

I think you can make a strong case for Dempster being in the top 10, but 7th best is the best I could possibly rate him. And I'd never say just making the cut for the top 25% makes someone "elite."

Speaking of closers, K-Rod got hurt tonight after pitching in a 9-3 game. I'm not sure if he'd been used recently, but its a good example of why you might not want to have your closer throwing in lots of non-save type situations.

Shawngoldman --

Interesting stuff. I thought Dempster was good, but I didn't realize how good (1.68 ERA over 63 games as a closer; only Wagner and Rivera were better).

You ask whether Dempster is "elite" or "lucky." After thinking about it and absorbing Bleeding Blue's thoughts, I don't think you can necessarily call him "elite." However, neither do I think you can call him "lucky." When someone is successful once or twice or even a handful of times, there's a chance you can say he got lucky. But a performance record over 63 appearances has to involve a lot more than luck.

That isn't to say that he can't begin to fail tomorrow. He could. However, if he does, it won't be because he stopped being lucky; it will be because he stopped doing good things or started doing bad things.

And that's why I'm confident in Dempster. It's much more likely that he will continue his current run for a while -- a run that spans 63 games and counting -- than it is that he will just start sucking because his luck ran out.

a few thoughts i have on recent events:

-im waiting for more of you to jump on the "bynum sucks" wagon i rolled out last week. i didnt like bynum the moment i laid eyes on him. hes got a swing id best describe as "undisciplined". a mess. and that fielding fiasco. i cant wait to see this dude go. he got his 1 hit today in 10 PA (w/ 4K) on a lucky sac bunt. cant they just instruct him to foul off anything down the middle and just take on everything else?

-pierre drove me nuts with three consecutive groundouts to the pitcher in game 2 of which i know 1 was a failed bunt attempt, but still gimme a f-in' break. we're friends again though thanks to his 3 hits today. woo-hoo!

-to those of you who still doubt on the ryan dempster and are pining for him to fail (for god knows what reason), shame on you. and will everybody gushing over 28+ scoreless innings or whatever give it a f-ing rest already! silent nods to those who have been with him since the conversion. just everybody calm down and enjoy the ryan dempster era.

-i know we must be something like last in the bigs in walks right? anybody know where we stand as far as lineup variance? sheesh what does dusty think this is a rotisserie team? we must have the most day-to-day shuffles of anyone! and what the hell do you want blanco (1H 1BB in 10PA over 3 games) in the game for when you know rusch cant shut people out? to hold runners? WTF!? even with mabry and jones still resting i think JHJ should have started in right regardless of bynum's lefty bat and let that bum bynum pinch-whiff.

-once again as i pointed out was trend last year, j-will gets no run support. once agian.

bynum...who cares. if everyone stays healthy the team should barely see 200-250ab's outta him at best. the guy has a versitility, good arm, speed, and most importantly he isnt a 1st-line backup in any possition.

"to those of you who still doubt on the ryan dempster and are pining for him to fail (for god knows what reason)"

actually, there's a lotta good reasons to believe he cant keep up a 1hr in 60-ish innings and he has proven he will put guys on base. that is a legitamite concern. the fact he's a ground ball pitcher helps his cause, but he's a guy who's control is already on thin ice.

closers shouldnt put guys on base as a general starting point...he's got some other complimenting tools that has kept the guys he puts on base from becoming a huge threat so far, though.

the scoreless inning streak he's on is dimmed by how he goes about doing it. that's one of the reasons no one's on his case like people were for gagne's emergence. dempster gets it done, but it ugly more than it should be. so far so good...

bynum with 200~250AB? good lord i hope not. this guys OBP is gonna have a zero directly following the decimal after his next 10 PA. maybe he can master the HBP or safe on dropped 3rd strike!

well, that's probally the max end.

if he keeps hitting like he does he probally wont get that many.

macias didnt even get 200 last year and he was a legit injury replacement (unfortunately) for more than just a few far for b's there's been 2 games with him directly because of injury, but that's cuz the only 2 other guys with arms for RF jones/mabry were injured.

yes, there's a case for putting murton in RF and hairston in LF with walker at 2nd, but that's moot unless jones and mabry go down again. the best RF arm on the team left was b if you wanna go by the tools to play RF. him assuming a double the other night isnt gonna make him many fans in wrigleyville, but its not incompetence as much as it was just a straight up bad decision.

the most important thing about b and the cubs is that he's not an important backup...he's secondary to no one. if he doesnt start pulling his weight at the bat he's probally gonna be gone unless injuries happen to regulars or regular backups.

I think it's safe to say the Cubs would have been happy to net warm bodies for Koronka and Wellemeyer, and that's exactly what they got. Bynum will clear waivers when the Cubs decide to send him down, and Iowa is going to need the OF-ers before the season is out.

Disappointed about Pagan though, man that kid can fly! Hustles, line-drive hitter, good guy to have on the bench. Let's hope his injury is measured in weeks and not months.

I'm not too thrilled to see Sponge Bob up with the big club, but Aardsma, that I'm very pleased with. If he lives up to his billing, and you add him to Williamson, Eyre, Howry and Dempster, well...that's just a filthy bullpen. You'll have to point me to a single pen in the majors deeper than that one. Our pen has already won us a couple games this year, and we're just starting the 3rd week of the season. Very cool.

i disgree with the image being portrayed of koronka, who is now in the starting rotation for a big-league club btw.
i really thought his stock went back up based on his spring (i may be wrong), and that just ticks me off about bynum even more.

Did you notice it was TEXAS' starting rotation? They have to grasp at straws.

bonus for the cubs...

unless kent decides he has the balls of mike mathney in his detroit days, kent is probally gonna miss 1 or all 3 games this coming series.

mild concussion and he's going to visit an eye doc tommorow about his left eye. he was HBP on the side of the helmet leaving a bruise on his head (was not hit in the eye). it was a pretty solid smack...

with penny/lowe on the mound the cubs could use that extra edge.

crunch: mild concussion

Where did you hear that? I've been looking for info on Kent. Sucks for the Dodgers. After the Cubbies '04 & '05 years I feel absolutely no pity for them. It would be a great time for a Dodgers sweep.

More hard journalism from Carrie Muskat:

Freddie Bynum Jr. made his first start on Sunday, and batted second for the first time in his young career. His father, Fred Bynum Sr., has some baseball in his genes. Son Freddie says dad was a very good softball player.

It's a safe bet that junior has some softball in his future as well.

Freddie Bynum Jr was really good in "Scooby Doo: The Movie"

Freddie Bynum Sr had a memorable guest spot on The Brady Bunch. What a hunk!

Couple points from scattered posts in this thread:

1. 28 innings is not a small sample size for a closer. That is probably about 100 batters and it is possible to generate a statistical analysis from 100 batter-pitcher observations, depending on the variability in the data. No, you won't hit 90 percent confidence level, but you can draw some conclusions.

2. All a closer really needs to do is strike out people, have a decent (does not need to be spectacular) K/BB ratio, and keep the ball in the park. He can give up hits and walk the occasional batter and be successful if he has those other traits. To beat such a closer, a team has to string together a number of base hits and walks, which is simply hard to do even with a (terrible) BABIP of .400. The K's keep the number of batted balls in-play down, and no HRs removes the ability to tie or win the game with one swing. Dempster had all these signs of a potential good closer this time last year.

It is almost such a simple formula I don't know why teams do not follow it. Seriously, Guardado over Rafael Soriano? It also exposes frauds like Danny Kolb and Benitez.

-i know we must be something like last in the bigs in walks right?

Not quite. The Cubs are tied for 25th in the bigs with the Mets. Below them are the Twins, Royals, Tigers and Angels. First in MLB? The Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

I'm trying to figure out this notion that Dempster puts guys on base. His WHIP this year is something like .75, and since joining the pen last year it's around 1.19. That's comparable to K-Rod and Brad Lidge. Plus, Dempster's looks to be on its way down.

Point is, he's fine.

As much as I wanted to see Jacque become Pipped by Felix Pie, calling up Aardsma makes much more sense. This is the time of year to experiment and find out what we have. Aardsma, Weurtz and Novoa are basically in competition with one another for the last bullpen slot. Having Wood and Prior on the DL now gives us the chance to play around with different bullpen combinations, etc. We will not have that luxury next month, if the Gods of Baseball are willing. So now is the time to give Aardsma his audition.

#15 of 68: By Bleeding Blue (April 16, 2006 06:31 PM)
While I'm not saying that Bynum is a good player, it was hardly a bad trade. The Cubs got a pretty crappy player to be the 25th man but he at least has speed - which is more than you could say about Jose Macias. Meanwhile, they got rid of Kornoka, a horrible pitcher who was out of options and would have been lost for nothing if he hadn't been traded.

B BLUE: Actually, John Koronka is NOT out of minor league options, so this was not the same situation that perhaps motivated the Cubs to trade Jon Leicester, Sergio Mitre, and Todd Wellemeyer (who ARE out of minor league options).

Koronka has two minor lreague options left, so the Cubs did not have to trade him or else risk losing him on waivers. It seems logical that the primary reason the Cubs traded Koronka is simply because he was the guy Texas wanted back in the deal, as evidenced by the fact that the Rangers immediately inserted Koronka into their starting rotation, instead of optioning him to AAA or assigning him to their bullpen.

So the Rangers pretty clearly like Koronka. In fact, they apparently have liked Koronka for a long time, as they selected him in the 2002 Rule 5 Draft from Cincinnati (although he was returned to the Reds when he failed to make the Rangers 2003 Opening Day 25-man roster).

And the deal wasn't just John Koronka for Freddie Bynum, either. It was John Koronka and a PTBNL for Bynum. (The PTBNL has yet to be determined). Hopefully the PTBNL the Cubs eventually send to Texas won't be a player with much upside.

Thanks for the correction Phil.

Regardless, we're better off that Koronka is not on our team. Its still a crap for crap trade that helped to fill the 25th man spot.

I'm trying to figure out this notion that Dempster puts guys on base.

He did last year when he first started closing. In fact, at one point last year I regularly referred to him as Ryan "I-Make-Games-Interesting" Dempster because of his tendancy to put the tying and go ahead run to the plate. Later in the year he got much better as he started to learn the closer role.

This year he's looked sharp. I was afraid he'd have a Borrowski-type letdown, but he's ok & confidence is good.

Eventually, though, he is going to blow some saves; all closers do it. I'm just afraid he's going to really catch a lot of heat because of his mediocre status in many people's minds. The true test for Dempster will be if he can bounce back from it when this happens.

It's good to see that the Muskrat isn't the only graduate of the school of crappy journalism covering the Cubs. From Mike Spellman, Daily Herald Sportswriter:
"New ítude: Cubs catcher Michael Barrett has been through it all with the Cubs, from the highs of the 2003 season ó his first with the team ó to the lows of 2004 and 2005."


Not many highlights or lowlights from the farm on Sunday, because West Tenn, Daytona, and Peoria were all idle (nothing like taking Easter Sunday off to help attendance).

So only Iowa was playing, and Jae-Kuk Ryu pitched pretty well but had his victory taken away thanks to an 8th inning bullpen collapse by Mark Watson & Brandon Emanuel (The Iowa Cubs' 1-2 bullpen punch of Roberto Novoa and David Aardsma is now up in the big leagues).

Otherwise, Buck Coats had two more hits and is now batting a cool .370, Augie Ojeda had two more hits and is now hitting a super-cool .450, and Brandon Sing got his first AAA extra-base hit and first RBI (a solo HR), although he also struck out two more times (now has 13 K in 36 PA). After starting the season like a house afire, Ryan Theriot is mired in a 1-16 slump that has seen his batting average drop over .150 points, from .435 to .282.

Felix Pie got another RBI (he now has 14), which places him 3rd in the PCL in RBI (and he is doing that hitting lead-off!). I understand it is good to get Pie as many ABs as possible while he is at AAA, and hitting him lead-off does that, but Pie should eventually be a middle-of-the-order run-producer capable of 100+ RBI. Do you realize Pie is friggin' 21 YEARS OLD!?

BTW, 2B Eric Patterson (at AA West Tenn) leads the Southern League in triples, is 2nd in SB, and 7th in OPS, and RF Ryan Harvey (at A+ Daytona) is tied for 2nd in the FSL in HR and is tied for 4th in K. Speaking of strikeouts, 3B Scott Moore is 5th in the Southern League in K, as he has had (much like Brandon Sing) difficulty adjusting to the "next level." Peoria 1B Ryan Norwood (who missed all of last season with a broken leg) is 4th in the MWL (Class A) in hitting and is tied for 6th in doubles.

On the mound, LHP Rich Hill is tied for 2nd in the PCL in K and RHP Angel Guzman is tied for 4th, RHP Carlos Marmol is tied for 4th in the Southern League in K, and LHP Clay Rapada (at West Tenn) is tied for the Southern League lead in saves, as he is turning himself into (at the very least) a pretty decent major league LOOGY prospect. Both Marmol and Rapada are in a five-way tie for the SL lead in ERA (neither has allowed an run so far this year), and RHP Randy Wells is 10th. RHP Sean Gallagher and LHP Chris Shaver are tied for the FSL lead in ERA (neither of them has allowed a run so far, either).



Felix Pie, CF: 0-3, RBI, SF
Jamal Strong, LF: 0-3, BB, K
Mike Fontenot, 2B: 0-4
Michael Restovich, RF: 1-4, R, 2B
Buck Coats, 3B: 2-4, R, K
Brandon Sing, 1B: 1-3, SOLO HR, HBP, 2 K
Augie Ojeda, SS: 2-4, R, 2 RBI, K
Casey Kopitzke, C: 0-3, K, GIDP (FIELDING: PB & OCS)
Ryan Theriot: 0-1
Casey McGehee: 0-1

Jae-Kuk Ryu: 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 4 K, 2 HR, 89 pitches
Mark Watson: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB
Brandon Emanuel: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, WALK-OFF HR (L 0-1)
Jae-Kuk Ryu: (0-1 3.71 ERA) 3 GS, 17 IP, 16 H, 8 R (7 ER), 6 BB, 13 K, 3 HR

AlanB: "It was a good game all in all, but did anyone see what was up with Murton in the 6th? He seemed to get pissed off with the ump and took one strike where he just glared at the ump with the bat on his shoulder. Did the announcers say anything about it? He's been playing well so far and I'd hate to see him get into a snit with the umps."

Murton dropped the bat because he was trying to call time. The ump didn't catch it and called a strike. I don't think he was pissed at anything

Exactly right- I was at the game


Groundball pitchers have lower ERA's than flyball pitchers with similar DIPS. Anyone have an idea why that is?

Dempster had an insane GB/FB ratio last year, and started off the same this year, though the last couple of outings things have evened out a bit.

Oh yeah - the paper says Walker turned not 1, but 2 double plays yesterday.

Real Neal,

That's a good point and i've never noticed that before. Perhaps that is a result of normalizing everything to a similar BABIP, and ground balls natrually lead to a lower BABIP than fly balls do... or at least fewer runs since the fly balls that do land often do so for extra bases. That's just a guess, by the way.

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  • Oh my! Cards down 2-1 to Reds in the bottom of the 9th -- get a leadoff triple -- and don't score!

    billybucks 2 hours 10 min ago view
  • Gameday has stopped at the top of the 8th inning. Google tells me it ended up 8-4 Pirates but I can't get further detail. Guess I'll have to wait until the Cubs' website updates...

    JoePepitone 3 hours 14 min ago view
  • Attaboy!

    billybucks 3 hours 29 min ago view
  • Phil, thanks for posting. Where do find the schedule? I have a condo in Surprise, yet I drove to Mesa and Tempe looking for a game today! Thanks!

    rvimpeny 3 hours 30 min ago view
  • Dear Baseball Gods--
    My trip to Chicago has nothing whatsoever to do with the Cubs. In actuality, I am a Red Sox fan.

    CTSteve 3 hours 31 min ago view
  • Well, if Strop had to give up a least he hit Sean Rodriguez to do it.

    billybucks 3 hours 39 min ago view
  • strop...stawwwp.

    jaso has a cycle and 5 rbis...pit leads by 4.

    crunch 3 hours 51 min ago view
  • have a nice bowl of pizza soup deep dish pizza...or a leisurely walk around the notorious south-side (bring money) at one of the walmart supercenters...waiting in line to waste $20 at willis tower...

    seriously,'s chicago, a lot to do. have a dog for lunch, a great dinner, and catch some local comedy.

    crunch 3 hours 58 min ago view
  • Strange, because he really seemed to have the Pirates number last year.

    Bummer for Jake -- I think this is the first time all year his ERA has been over 3.00, and that will be his number for the year.

    billybucks 4 hours 2 min ago view
  • Jinx remover -- your trip doesn't have to be for a baseball game -- lots of stuff to do here in town.

    billybucks 4 hours 4 min ago view
  • Guess they could always try to White Sox (and Bears...sob) approach: Never Rebuild! Seems to work pretty well for them.

    billybucks 4 hours 6 min ago view
  • 3rd time this season he's given up 6+ runs to PIT...only team he's given up 6+ runs to this season.

    7 runs is the most he's given up since august 6th in 2014.

    crunch 4 hours 35 min ago view
  • Over 100 pitches, only the 5th.

    Brick 4 hours 37 min ago view
  • coghlan his cleats stuck in the wall attempting a play (failed, but looked great doing it). walking off on his own, precautionary/day-to-day looking stuff...hopefully not worse.

    also, jake arrieta is literally worse than hitler. 1-5, bottom 5. ...make that 1-6, bottom 5. ...make that 1-7, bottom 5.

    crunch 4 hours 38 min ago view
  • Coghlan crashes into wall and comes up limping, looks like left knee or ankle. Leaves game...

    Arrieta inspiring no confidence yet again.

    Rob G. 4 hours 44 min ago view
  • from a sun-times article that I won't link to so you don't have to bear the ad-loading that will crush your browser

    When he left Boston after nine years as general manager, Epstein said he believed in the philosophy espoused by legendary football coach Bill Walsh: essentially that 10 years is a natural shelf life for a high-stress job.

    Rob G. 4 hours 46 min ago view