The Week Ahead: Week Four

No recap on last night's game; instead let's take a moment to remind ourselves how lucky we are to be seeing Greg Maddux's late-career resurgence. An ERA of 0.99 is just silly, and wonderful. Coming up this week, the Cubs start an 8-game homestand with the Marlins and the Brewers. Most of last week's irrational exuberance left when Derrek Lee did, but those who believe in team character should expect the next few weeks to show us What This Team Is Made Of. Florida Marlins Know Your Enemy: Fishstripes, Maverickball (minors) Monday: Jason Vargas vs. Carlos Zambrano Tuesday: Dontrelle Willis vs. Sean Marshall Wednesday: Scott Olsen vs. Undecided I've seen Undecided pitch some pretty good games, and some pretty bad ones. Right now the candidates for Wednesday seem to be Angel Guzman and Rich Hill, and I'm in the Guzman camp mostly because I already know what Rich Hill can do and it isn't that impressive. Guzman might be more of the same, or he might not be, but we don't know and that's more interesting. The Cubs will face three lefties in this series, which is both unusual and potentially troubling. Dusty had Todd Walker in the lineup against Mark Mulder, but I have to assume we'll see the debut of the Mike Restovich experience at some point in this series. If it has to happen, let's hope it happens when Marshall, who is more of a flyball pitcher, is on the mound. Milwaukee Brewers Know Your Enemy: Al's Ramblings, Brewers Bar Friday: Dave Bush vs. Glendon Rusch Saturday: Doug Davis vs. Greg Maddux Sunday: Chris Capuano vs. Carlos Zambrano Looks like the Cubs will miss Ben Sheets this go-around, which is good. The Brewers are an exciting young team, which means they're likely to have more weekends like this last one, where they beat the Reds 11-0 on Saturday and then lost by the same score on Sunday. At least it's always interesting. With Kerry Wood's setback last week (he cut a simulated game short of Thursday due to "pain under his right arm"), I'm resigning myself to Rusch staying in the rotation a bit longer. Wade Miller was transferred to the 60-day DL, which means he can't come back until June 1st -- I do wonder why the Cubs chose to push him to the 60 instead of Mark Prior, who is theoretically after Miller on the comeback trail?


If it has to happen, letís hope it happens when Marshall, who is more of a flyball pitcher, is on the mound.J

*sigh*... is Lee's arm still broke?

I've seen Cubs lineups shut down by "undecided".

Hopefully Pie is brought up so the hitting machine that refuses to walk know as Jock Jones can sit next to Dusty and talk about the evils of base on balls.

Again for what its worth, has Angel Guzman listed as Wednesday's probably starter.

Its will also be a day game after a night game, so going up against a lefty, I'm expecting both Todd Walker and Michael Barrett will be out of the lineup, but Jones who should be platooned will certainly be in the lineup.

Looks like I picked a great one for my first trip to Wrigley of 06.

I know that in making the moves last week, the Cubs needed to put someone on the 60 day DL. Is it potential good news that it was Miller and not DLee that was put there, or am I reading too much into that?

More to the point: by putting Miller and not DLee on the 60 day DL, the Cubs essentially stated that it's more likely that Lee will be ready before June 20 than it is that Miller will be ready before June 1.

In other words, the Cubs feel that there is a greater than 0% chance that Lee will be back before June 20 (i.e. if there was zero chance he would be ready before June 20, he would have been the one put on the 60 day DL).

This may tell us more about Miller's progress than it does about Lee's prognosis, but it's interesting.

In the words of the immortal Lloyd Daubler: "So you're saying there's a chance....yes!"

I'd say the decision says much more about Miller than it does about Lee.

We now know for sure now that we won't see Miller until June 1st - no hope of a Mid-May that was talked about earlier. Of course, since None of the injured pitchers has even done a rehab start and we're almost into May, this really isn't a shock.

Yeah, there is a slight chance that Lee could come back before mid-may. But most likely, if and when Miller join the team, they will simply move Lee to the 60 man retroactively.

I guess another (simpler) way to look at it is that it's interesting that Lee wasn't put on the 60-day DL in the first place, regardless of Miller's condition. Like BB said, Lee could be dropped on the 60-day at any time, so it's not as though it's good news necessarily.

So, we know two things:

(1) At least when the 60-day DL move was made last week, it was more likely that Lee would return before June 20 than it was that Miller would be ready before June 1, and

(2) The likelihood of Lee returning before June 20 has (so far) outweighed the value of an extra spot on the 40 man roster.

Curious that when a team wins 11-0 and then loses 11-0 the same day it's a sign of an 'exciting young team' yet if the Cubs did the same thing it would be 'same old Cubs.'

Perception is everything.

(And yes, I know the original comment was a bit of a joke).


Lloyd Dobler played by John Cusack in Say Anything

Lloyd Christmas played by Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber

It will be interesting to see if our staff can take on a 4A sqaud...we'll find out with Florida. It'll be just as interesting to see if our verteran pitchers can exploit the holes of the Milwaukee offense. Sure they can put up good numbers, but all of them aren't polished by any means. Not seeing Sheets is a positive we need to take advantage of.

and christopher lloyd played Doc brown the inventor of the flux capacitor in back to the future


Should Neifi Perez ever start a game? The reason to start him would be defense, but now we have Jerry starting most of the time. I can't believe there is a huge difference defensely.

As for the offensive side, Neifi is hitting .200 w/ a .200 batting average, .240 slugging percent. Jerry is doing far better.

So, the question again, why should Neifi start any games?

I know this is redundant but: "Come on Dude, Nefi saved us last season."

I think we'll see Neifi on most days that Maddux pitches, as long as he bats 8th, I'll survive.

Well Aaron we can go all day mentioning movie Lloyds but my point is that Lloyd Christmas said the quote not Lloyd Dobler.

maybe he was thinking of High Fidelity (also starring Cusack) where he asks his ex-girlfriend if there's a chance they'll get back together, and she says she doesnt know, and he says, well if you dont know there must a chance, otherwise you'd say "no," and she says i guess there's a chance and he asks what percent chance did they have, and she answers: 9%

Go Cubs!

Dang. Lloyd Christmas, of course. My bad, and thanks for the correction Chad. With the Derrek Lee thing I find myself feeling sort of spacey and not doing the "little things" like keeping movie characters straight...


I actually wouldn't have minded facing Ben Sheets during the Brewers series. While the numbers don't show it very well against this year's crop of Cubs hitters, the Cubs have done rather well against Sheets in the past. Check out the 3-year splits on Sheets vs. the Cubs:

He's 2-6 with a 4.33 ERA against the Cubs since 2003 (13 starts). Only St. Louis has done better against him in that time span.

Maybe so Doug, but we beat up Roy Oswalt real good a couple of times, yet I don't mind NOT facing him when we play the Astros.

Hey is anyone in chicago looking for a manager?

He's Lloyd, He's Lloyd,
He's Null and Void...

For fun -- Corey vs. Jacque:

Corey: 32AB,.156 BA,ZERO BB,7 K,.156 OBP, 1 HR, 4 SB

JJ: 40 AB,.200 BA, 3BB, 12K, .250 OBP, 2 HR, 0 SB

Actually, not so much fun, after all. Yuck.

did you guys happen to have DLee's wrist insured?

Jack Jones pimps a flyball alot better than corey did. I love the batflip from a guy with a lower average than Neifi Perez.

Uh, yeah, that'd be a lot cooler if he was at least batting in the mid-200's.

I'll cut him some slack though, because I think he'll come around. He was doing pretty well in ST.

6 of Jones' 8 hits this season have been in the last 5 games.

Bob Brenley actually had a good insight into the meaninglessness of spring training stats. Batters are seeing a different pitcher every AB, so you can't get a read on a pitcher, pitchers can't adjust to what the hitter did in their prior AB, good pitchers are working more on location vs. going after a hitter's weakness, etc. It's nothing at all like the regular season. I'm liking him more the more I hear him.

With so many lefties coming up, I can only hope that Dusty will start someone other than J. Jones in right.

so, which game are people more interested in tonight. Cubs or Bulls?

I'm a much bigger Cubs than Bulls fan...but I really love watching these young, scrappy, Bulls playing their hearts out...they are a fun team to watch.

If Cub fans needed any more proof that the bullpen has been taxed, Cubs ink Kerry Ligtenberg to a minor league deal.

The bullpen isn't going to survive at this rate.

I agree. I would like to see restovich in right at least 2 of these fla games. If we dont see him this series, we wont see much of him

Our bullpen rocked in 2003.


I disagree with you 100%. Not one player on that team that I care about or think is any good, except for Ben Gordon.

I am not blown away by many individual players either, although I think Hinrich in particular plays a great all around game. But they play well as a team...I think one of their top 10 players has more than 3 years of experience or something like that. They aren't going to make it far, they are in the 2nd or 3rd tier...but it's just fun to watch a team with no big name all-stars competeing with the Shaq's and Wade's of the league.

I hate Kirk Hinrich. I feel that there is no room for skinny white guys in the NBA. And before you go John Stockton on my I will say that he is the rare exception to the rule.

I feel that there is no room for skinny white guys in the NBA.

Chad...I see that you know about as much about Basketball as you do baseball.

I guess you have never heard of Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Gasol, Luke Ridnour, or shoot - even Wally Szczerbiak or Brad Miller. They are all skinny white guys are really damn good.

Nocioni is pretty awesome.

Good point...add Nocioni (and of course Hinrich) that to the list.

Do people still watch basketball in Chicago? I find it impossible to get enthused about any team after living through the greatness of the 90's Bulls, sadly, nothing will ever touch it.

Plus Dwayne Wade will crush the Bulls.....

57% (42706 people have voted so far) think the Cubs can stay in the race without DLee in the lineup.

You can tell it's still Spring,

Why aren't people talking about firing Dusty and pulling Brenly out of the broadcast booth to manage this team?

I'd be all over that, and it could probably happen.

Do people still watch basketball in Chicago?

The Bulls were second in the league in attendance this year (behind Detroit). 21,188/game.

Nocioni isn't "good" but he is definately "scrappy", in that he plays as hard as possible and he's really good at getting into other player's heads. Udonis Haslem, for example, was thrown out (and suspended for tonight's game) after Noce hit him pretty hard a couple times including what looked like a knee in the stomach while Haslem was diving for a ball.

(And lest this be misinterpreted -- I say, well done Sir.)

Larry Bird was not too bad.

"Why aren't people talking about firing Dusty and pulling Brenly out of the broadcast booth to manage this team?"

Because at this early juncture, and considering the massive injuries the team has sustained already, it would be only pure speculation, with basically ZERO substantial value.

I am not saying it couldn't never happen, but now, with the team having a record of 10-7, without Lee, Wood and Prior, it is way too early. Also, if Brenly is/was such a good maanger, why hasn't he managed anywhere now in 2 years? There were some Cubs fans clammoring for Grady Little last year at times too. Let's wait till at least the Cubs fall 10 games out of playoff contention before realistically thinking of firing manager. We are 17 games into teh season and the Cubs are doing pretty well considering. I know you hate Dusty, but come on....

"Do people still watch basketball in Chicago? I find it impossible to get enthused about any team after living through the greatness of the 90's Bulls, sadly, nothing will ever touch it."

It's completely and totally different. I think that's why I'm enjoying watching these games so much. There is truly nothing like the run the Bulls had in the 90''s something we will all talk about with our kids and grand kids. But it's nice to see the polar opposite to that run that was lead by sports icons of our generation and see a bunch of young guys whose names are completely unknown outside fans of the sport and Chicago...and watch them take a crappy season, turn it around in the last week, and really earn their stripes through hard work.

In some ways, it is similiar to the Bulls in the mid 80's...they were coming off a stretch of terrible seasons and then this young kid from NC slowly began to turn the team around.

although that double switch the other day was incompitent, and his explanation of it "I gotta do what I have to do" was even more idiotic...I think no matter what, Baker will make it through the year. If we did fall far out of the playoffs, I don't see getting rid of Baker now as solving the problem. I think when they re-upped Hendry that solidified Baker for the year.

The key is next year. If the Cubs are below .500, injuries or not, I don't think Baker is back. If they do win 83-85 games...I think they will bring him back under the guise of continuity. If the Cubs win more than 85, he'll get credit for the team overachieving, and he'll get a 2 year extension without much question.

As I said in the second half of last year, I'm ready to see Dusty go...but at this point, I don't see much advantage to booting him in mid season.

In other Chicago Bulls news, MARK PRIOR is scheduled to throw 40 pitches today.

OK, let me clarfy,

1. I am talking about skinny little white guards. They are good role players. There are always exceptions. Steve Nash is that exception.

2. The only good white guys in the league are NOT American.

3. Go ahead an make the best team of all the American/Non-American white guys in the league and I'll make a team of all black guys. We can play as many games as you want and at best you'll win 10% of the time.

And Jacos, news flash, Larry Bird is no longer in the NBA. Nor is Pete Marovitch, Bob Cousey, George Mikan or Jerry West.

Larry Bird, c'mon.

Blockhead and Manny, I tend to agree that Dusty won't be let go during this season. And to be fair about it, he probably shouldn't be. But I am still recovering from the double double switch, and his explanation for it ("I had no choice") -- I just can't get past it.

I know that nobody should be defined by one mistake, but that did a lot to shake my confidence in the guy.

Manny, you can call me a Dusty hater for jumping on him for his nutty moves (so, can I call you a Dusty lover?). But you have to agree that the double double switch was manager malpractice.

The Cubs have a lot to overcome if they would like to be playoff worthy, and adding to that a manager's odd/incompetent/poor moves is insult piled upon injury.

Scary thing is the Astros and Reds have offensive production on a scale we won't see this season, and catching the Astros by the time we get Lee/Prior/Wood/Miller/Insert-Savior-Here back it may just be too little too late. I know people are saying we're 10-7 so don't jump to conclusions. I'd say the same thing, we're 10-7 and at 17 games in, how can you be sure we're going to tread water like this for the duration of the first half? Dusty has proven over two years his inability to manage intracacies of the game...when is enough, enough?

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

"I know that nobody should be defined by one mistake, but that did a lot to shake my confidence in the guy."

So that means, you do have confidence in him then...good.

"so, can I call you a Dusty lover?"

Why not, many others do. Join the fun...

"But you have to agree that the double double switch was manager malpractice."

As I have said in a previous post, I was not here the entire weekend as I was in Philly for a bachelor party, so I did not get to see any of the games only read the recaps on So since I did not see them it is tough for me to comment on any moves, good or bad. In the recaps it was nothing more then a mention. But looking at teh play-by=play, Walker and Murton would of only goten one more Ab the rest of the game, but still, who know what would o fhappened if they were in teh game. Again, without seeing Fridays and Saturdays game, it is tough to really make judgement either way.

noofie is 3 for 3 with a double vs. vargas, btw.

"So since I did not see them it is tough for me to comment on any moves, good or bad. In the recaps it was nothing more then a mention."

I think the Chicago papers had stories online with the double-switch issue in their titles.

The moves definately got more than a mention in the local media, but I understand your point in saying that since you didn't see the games it's hard to understand exactly what went on.

They were definately pretty hard to justify though and Dusty's attempts at doing so didn't make too much sense.

The Dude:
"They were definately pretty hard to justify though and Dusty's attempts at doing so didn't make too much sense."

That wouldn't surprise me, as he ahs made double switches in the past that has made me scratch my head. Hopefully he can limit them to like once a month so we can keep our sanity...

somebody tell me that was just fine hitting by cabrera and that carlos didnt just serve that shit up...

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  • heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.

    he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.

    crunch 55 min 53 sec ago view
  • stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.

    that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.

    crunch 2 hours 1 min ago view
  • brock stewart...steven times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.

    crunch 2 hours 50 min ago view
  • Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.

    VirginiaPhil 7 hours 21 min ago view
  • video of Maddon.

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 22 hours 32 min ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 22 hours 37 min ago view

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 22 hours 42 min ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 22 hours 54 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 23 hours 5 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 23 hours 30 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 1 day 10 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 1 day 1 hour ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 1 day 1 hour ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 1 day 1 hour ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 1 day 2 hours ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 1 day 7 hours ago view