Maddux Goes for Win #6

GAME TWENTY-SIX IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (14-11, 4th, 4 GB) AT ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (14-13, 2nd, 1 GB) Chase Field, 8:40 PM CDT Weather: Damn Hot!!! TV: CSN, DirecTV 746 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Miguel Batista, RHP 2-1, 6.33 ERA, 27 IP 24 K, 11 BB, 2 HRGreg Maddux, RHP 5-0. 1.35 ERA, 33.1 IP 24 K, 6 BB, 1 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF Michael Barrett, C *Jacque Jones, RF #Neifi Perez, 2B Greg Maddux, PCraig Counsell, SS Eric Byrnes, CF *Chad Tracy, 3B *Luis Gonzalez, LF Conor Jackson, 1B *Shawn Green, RF #Johnny Estrada, C #Orlando Hudson, 2B Miguel Batista, P

Cubs vs. Batista Neifi Perez: 9-21, 429/500/619, 3 BB Juan Pierre: 4-16, 250/368/250, 3 BB, 1 K Aramis Ramirez: 1-11 091/231/091, 2BB, 0 KD'Backs vs. Maddux Luis Gonzalez: 31-98, 316/362/673, 10 HR, 7 BB, 10 K Craig Counsell: 11-45 244/261/289, 1 XBH Shawn Green: 12-28, 429/529/857, 3 HR, 6 BB, 7 K

Maddog Maddux to the mound tonight and he'll have to face-off against some fellas who've gotten the better of him through the years. Luis Gonzalez and Shawn Green haven't been fooled too often by Maddux and we'll see how The Master handles those two tonight. Nice of Bob Melvin to put Conor Jackson between them whom I assume Maddux will go after if he ever gets in trouble. Neifi appears to have taken the role of Maddux's personal second basemen and he's actually had some good at-bats versus Batista throughout his career, so more than a justifiable start for Rubby's brother. We'll see if Maddux can continue the golden touch he had in April and if the Cubs bats can find some runs. GO CUBS!!!
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Comments

Let's play a game of who will suck the least....

Our players; Neifi, JJ, ARAM, and Barret

My pick is JJ, who goes 0-4 tonight, 3Ks

if that is who will suck the least, how bad will Neifi, Aram and Barrett do tonight?

Maddux goes for win 323 which will pull him even with Nolan Ryan and D.Sutton for 23rd all time(I think). Pedro looks like he'll get the W tonight and put him at 6-0. At least the Cubs won't have to face Webb...that would be a definite shutout unless Walker would rack up a 3 or 4 hit game.

My prediction... Aram & JJ will carry the team during this road trip.

I think Wood will be back sooner than I expected...He was just interviewed by Ron Santo on WGN and said he is feeling much better than a few weeks ago...He pitched 5 innings with no pain in the last 24 hours and plans to pitch up to 7 innings on Sunday in Peoria...One more start after that will take him to the 85 or 90 pitch count that is his target...He said he is preparing to come back strong for 20-25 starts...I'm guessing that if we're lucky we may see Wood back in the Cubs starting line-up by the middle of May.

Rob...good eye..the idea is for "who will suck the most"

I believe the Cubs can't face a starting lefty until the Nationals series unless Lowry comes back for the Giants next week. The Nats have a guy named Michael O'Connor but who knows if we'll face him or Buehrle in the series after that, then it's Florida where we're very likely to face a lefty.

Not that it is a big deal, but can anyone think of any other time in baseball history where a pitcher has had a personal 2nd baseman?

in the fantasyworld that I dream of, if Wood comes back against the Nats on May 17th and doesn't get injured again (yeah I know), that's about 23-25 starts for him this year.

another good outing from Koronka again, 6 IP so far, 1 ER, 4 K

shocker! one pitch. one swing. one out. gotta love the way baker sticks with that amazing lead-off acquisition.

Even though Maddux has had trouble with Arizona in the past this is "a new Maddux"...He looked very good in the 1st inning -- I hope the younger pitchers (and Zambrano) were paying attention to how the master takes care of business.

oh F-YOU, Jock!!!

so far looks like jj takes the lead. how many times can he do that in a season? is he going for a record? that's the only part of his game where he's a perfect 1.000!!!!

Maddux goes for win 323 which will pull him even with Nolan Ryan and D.Sutton for 23rd all time(I think).

Actually, Maddux already has 323 wins which is 14th all time. If he goes to 324 tonight, he would be tied for 13th all time with Ryan and Sutton.

apparently at some point Moises Alou must have been brought in as a baserunning instructor during the off-season.

in jock's defense, it's hard to get a read off the bat when you're on base so infrequently.

"Actually, Maddux already has 323 wins which is 14th all time. If he goes to 324 tonight, he would be tied for 13th all time with Ryan and Sutton."

If that's accurate then ESPN has multiple typos on their crawler...and it looks like the Mets bully blew it for Pete Martinez.

Medic to the dugout! Maddux is having a heart attack!

Edward:
"shocker! one pitch. one swing. one out. gotta love the way baker sticks with that amazing lead-off acquisition."

Who should leading off?

Looks likw we are getting thw 2005 version of Maddux tonight...

4-0..UGH!!!

Maddux wants in the suck-fest...

Seriously, If you aren't going to have Pierre lead off on this team, who are you going to have lead off?

Are Cub corner outfielders required to take some sort of pill that erases the part of your memory where basic baserunning fundamentals are stored?

Why does Neifi always seem to come up in big situations..?

Damn Neifi!!!!

Bad Baseball!!!

Gotta get that runner from 3rd in AT LEAST...BAD BASEBALL!!

Gameday says out recorded by Neifi with bases loaded. I bet it's a double play!!!

wrong Andrew..he popped out.

Good job Maddux taking all the way...Bases loaded BB...4-1

How was that a strike to Pierre? It was at his shoulders. This ump SUCKS!!!!

You're right Manny...the ump is total crap, but seriously so is Pierre. How many little back tappers to the mound has he hit this year? Was he really worth three minor league pitchers?

Man, Maddux is getting ripped today. Looks like he must not of met up with his new personal trainer the past 4 days. We will need to score 10 runs to win this game.

wrong Andrew..he popped out.

Yeah, thanks Manny. Saw that.

Man, Maddux is getting ripped today. Looks like he must not of met up with his new personal trainer the past 4 days.

He always gets ripped by the D'backs. Feeling a bit petty tonight, are we?

Andrew:
"Feeling a bit petty tonight, are we?"

Not really...

News Item 6/28/2006

Cubs Trade Wood to Dodgers

The Chicago Cubs, who have quietly slipped out of the race in the NL Central have traded their soon to be free-agent ace Kerry Wood to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a trio of minor leaguers. Cubs GM Jim Hendry, 'It has just come to the point where we needed to be realistic about our chances, and start to build for next year. We feel that the players we got for Kerry are really going to help us, not only next year but for the future as well.' Outfielder Joel Guzman, who is hitting .321 with 14 homers for the Las Vegas 51's of AAA PCL, was considered the key component in the deal.

That's not real, Neal

A player can't be traded while on the DL.

Nice play by Maddux (can't hold runners on), Barrett (horrible throw), Cedeno (can't knock ball down) and Neifi (can't knock ball down on backup). GREAT defense!!

Neifi is the team MVP, he was just setting up the pop fly- throw 'em out at home double play. Get with the program, Manny!

Can we quit the attacks on Maddog. He's carried us so far. Nobody pitches every game like he has at age 40. Combined with his career stats against the Dbacks it was bound to happen sooner or later. Just wish it would happen later. The baserunning and inability to take pitches way up in the zone are killing us. Even when you give up 4 or 5 runs you should be able to expect your team to score some runs that keep it a one run game. Someone has to hold the players who continue to make mental errors or who cannot focus on the strike zone on a regular basis accountable. Baker isn't that man. Put them on the bench even if it means playing the likes of Bynum. GET A POINT ACROSS -IT WON'T BE TOLERATED! Quit trying to be a players' manager.

Ah, there's that DP from Neifi, Manny.

leadoff? how about cedeno? he's hitting almost .100 higher than pierre. he battles at the plate instead of swinging at the first pitch to start out every game. look what happened when pierre actually started taking some pitches. he walked then started battling at the plate and was able to foul some off forcing batista to throw lots of pitches. of course it ended with his typical toothpick dribbler to the mound.

it's not just about getting on base. a lead off should let the rest of the guys see some pitches. read and try to time. i'ts plate management and .235 and sinking isn't that.

Andrew:
"Ah, there's that DP from Neifi, Manny."

You must have ESP. DP #3 for the Cubs...UGH.

Oh, I agree Edward. There's certainly a few players that could be better leadoff hitters right now than Pierre. The problem is where are you going to put Pierre? His value drops even more if you take him out of the leadoff spot.

Edward:
"he's (Cedeno) hitting almost .100 higher than pierre. he battles at the plate instead of swinging at the first pitch to start out every game."

Just an FYI...
Pitches per AB in 2006:
Cedeno - 3.12
Pierre - 3.55

I don't agree with moving Pierre out of leadoff spot. He was signed to be your leadoff man and really doesn't make sense to bat anywhere else. If he doesn't work out (like JJ), then you just need to look at the GM and say bad signing. I guess you can now throw Rusch in that mix too. It is still pretty early though to make a real finalities on how these guys will turn out this year.

Double play #4...

Just an FYI...
Pitches per AB in 2006:
Cedeno - 3.12
Pierre - 3.55

is that leading off? or total ab's.
reread...the question was leadoff right?

Oh, those absent-minded Cubbies! They're getting their GIDPs confused with run-scoring hits again!

Ed, on what basis can you say that Cedeno "battles at the plate" and assume he would see more pitches than Pierre, if he was leading off? If he's taking fewer pitches now, odds are that ain't going to change.

I really am amazed at the one slump makes someone a bad player mentality on here this year. Its a long season folks, chill.

Edward:
"is that leading off? or total ab's."

Totals AB's. Pierre has only leadoff this year, so I his numbers are all leading off. As for Cedeno, he has never leadoff this year so his numbers are based on where he ahs batted this year. I don't think Cedeno would all of a sudden take tons of pitches if he was batting 1st. He hasn't changed his apporach when he has moved to the #2 spot.

So basically I don't think Cedeno would take anymore pitches that Pierre would if Cedenow as leading off.

Edward-
If Bleeding Blue and I finally are agreeing on something, I would not argue with us...We never agree.

This is a bad team. It doesn't matter how you shuffle the deck there just aren't enough good cards available. Hendry consistently picks up guys who have low to mediocre OBP's. Talk to Bill James for Christ's sake or better yet step aside and let some younger guy who gets it take over!

egmoney -

forget calling bill james - how about looking across town for advice on how a real GM conducts his business.

this is a mickey mouse franchise through and through...

Yep, its a bad team. So bad in fact that despite losing the best hitter in the NL Last Year, and not having a single pitch thrown from 2 of their all star starters, they still manage to have not only a winning record, but the 6th best record in the NL. Yep, that's a bad team alright.

I agree with you Bleeing Blue. It's early for some of theguys who have a proven track record. The odds are that they will produce. Too many people are basing their comments on the place in the NL Central instead of worrying about win-loss record. The standings will change as the year goes on. If the focus remains on the Cubs record and playing well...which we are not doing lately...we will be OK.

Two men on in the ninth let's get something done this time guys!

I was over at BCB for awhile. Some of the guys were complaing about having to listen to Gracie. Well, he is nothing short of terrible having listened to him for two years when I livedin Vegas. When I heard that we might get him to replace Stoney I almost got sick. He's in love with his wonderful happy-go-lucky personality but doesn't add anything to the game. He makes Brenly look like a hall of famer.

I think Maddux giving up 4 runs on an off night against a team that owns him usually could be considered pretty decent. Every pitcher, no matter how good, should expect to have a night like this and the rest of the team should expect to have to pick it up.

At least we had Cedeno doing his part tonight. But even having Lee in this lineup wouldn't make it good. Everyone else just looks anemic now, while they looked energized at the beginning of the year.

Pa-the-tic.

And will someone disconnect that f'in siren.

CUBS LOSE...

Another pathetic performance by the offense. Now they have scored 5 runs in the last 5 games. Luckily we won one of those game. I don't have any clue what can be done now to get this team going. This team was not built around offense and losing their best player all but killed it.

I guess Dusty could shake up the lineup, but i don't think that will do any good. Hopefully teh Cubs can snap out of this cold offensive streak wuick, or this could be one VERY long west coast swing.

The problem with this Cub team, When they lose they really stink.

In 8 of their 12 losses it's only taken 3 runs or less to beat them.

Tonight being no exception.

i didnt have the pleasure (or mispleasure) of watching the trainwreck tonight, but after a string of no hitting, no walking, and no scoring...they get 10 hits and 6 walks...but only score 1.

c'mon aram...power hitting...someone...

they get 10 hits and 6 walks...but only score 1.

batting order is meaningless

having only 1 xtra base hit in the entire game is meaningless, too, i guess.

11 left on base...ugg...i think i am glad i didnt see this game.

As much as the Cubs have sucked lately, this loss was much more about bad luck. It is almost impossible to put 16 men on base and only score one run. Even though we lost at least we put men on base and when you put men on base you eventually score. What I am more worried about are the games like yesterday where we couldn't get a hit or a walk. If we keep putting men on base like tonight we will score and win.

My biggest worry is that our vaunted bullpen is going to be gassed by the team the team gets heatlhy. With pitchers not being able to make it out of the fifth inning there is a good chance our bullpen guys are going to overworked by the time Wood, Prior, and Lee make it back. So far Eyre, Dempster, and Howry aren't doing too bad in terms of innings pitched but that could change if we keep having crappy outings by the starters.

CWTP:
"batting order is meaningless"

AMEN...:)

Is it just me or do you guys cry yourselves to sleep on nights like this?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Bueller?

i realize pierre is listed as the "lead-off" batter, but he led off the first and was never the "lead" batter in another inning.

all i was saying was that i routinely see pierre lead-off the game hitting the first pitch and getting out. he did it tonight. next batter, cedeno, got a hit.

the way things are going why not try something new. cedeno has a higher obp, higher ba. he won't steal as many bases as pierre, but he can steal a base...he had one tonight.

if the cubs don't want him to steal at least they can try to bunt him over and get him into scoring position. if they can score a run early maybe that will start something. with just five runs in the last five games the current system aint working.

later i suggested pierre take more pitches to help his chances of getting on...he got a hit and two walks when he did.

I don't think leaving 16 men on base is "bad luck"...not when we had only scored 4 runs the previous 4 games...bad base running, pop outs, routine ground balls, strike outs, all in key situations...to me that's a sign of everyone pressing and trying to do too much...when you can't by a run, everyone tries to force something to happen...and we choke...we saw the same thing last year too.

Baker will not demote Pierre from lead-off because he is still under the delusion that "lead-off hitting" is somehow different from regular hitting, as if Pierre has a unique skill, like a diamond cutter, and the rest of the bums are just smashing rocks at the quarry. Truth is, that's BS. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but there are only two things you need to do with your order each with very specific reasons why. 1) Put the less capable guys towards the end of the lineup, for the sole purpose of making sure they get fewer at bats, and 2) Put your power guys in the middle, so when they drive the ball, hopefully there's someone standing on base to drive home. That's it. There is no such thing as a good lead-off hitter. Just a good hitter that has slightly less power than the guys you've prioritized for the 3-4-5-6 slots. Juan Pierre stinks on ice, but as long as the Cubs operate under the false notion that he is "good" at "leading off" as if that task had to do with something other with batting, he will remain 1st in the lineup, dutifully grounding out to the 2nd baseman.

later i suggested pierre take more pitches to help his chances of getting on...he got a hit and two walks when he did.

I'm sure he got a hit because of your suggestion too!

Seriously, Pierre is already taking more pitches than Cedeno, and there is really nothing to suggest that Cedeno would suddenly start taking more pitches if he was leading off. So saying Cedeno should lead off because Pierre isn't taking enough pitches is like saying I'm going to go buy a Chevy Nova because my Ford Mustang isn't fast enough.

Change is fine, but change for the sake of change isn't. And for gods sake, For the first time in 4 years, Dusty has finally found one lineup that he is going with most nights - and its about the best one he could put out there. But until Lee comes back and/or ARam decides to start hitting the ball again, the Cubs are going to struggle to score runs.

Pierre and Cedeno were both on base 3 times last night -- hard to fault them for a lack of runs.

However -- Cubs are 2nd worst in NL in HR and 3rd worst in OBP. No power and nobody on base is an ugly combo, and explains the recent scoring drought.

Any time you're ready, Aramis...but sooner would be better. I was hoping a return to the desert would get him back in spring training mode, when he was crushing the ball. Maybe tonight he will get a few hanging sinkers from Cruz.

There is no such thing as a good lead-off hitter. Just a good hitter that has slightly less power than the guys you've prioritized for the 3-4-5-6 slots

Speed certainly can bring huge changes if it is on base before power. It forces the pitcher to focus his attention on something other than the batter, not to mention the advantage of stolen bases themselves.

Now, speed doesn't matter much if you aren't ever getting on base, and Pierre needs to start getting on base a litle more frequently. But Again its a long season, and you can't ignore the guy's career 300ave/350obp just because he's only hitting 250/290 in his first 100 ABs.

Christ, if you guys think Pierre is so bad hitting leadoff, why aren't you crying that ARam is batting 4th? Based on his numbers so far, he doesn't even deserve to be a starter. So who's going to be the first to say Mabry should be playing at 3rd instead?

Juan Pierre stinks on ice...

Take a breath.

Except for his batting average being 50 points lower than usual, Juan Pierre is pretty much producing what Juan Pierre was expected to do.

He's on pace to score 100 runs, get 38 extra base hits and steal 50 bases.

He's striking out more and walking less because he's trying to get his batting average up around .300 and you don't do that taking walks.

The one stat that is way-y-y-y down though is RBI's. That's where he stinks this year. He's averaged 45 RBI's a season the last five. But with
one sixth of the season already gone he has the sum total of 2 RBI so far. If he keeps that up he'll wind up with a whopping 13!

I don't think you can make the playoffs if your leadoff man (and Pierre has a habit of playing all 162 games) drives in only 13 runs during the season.

As has been pointed out until we're sick of hearing it, the leadoff man can be counted on to leadoff an inning only once a game for certain, the first inning. After that he's just another player and he's got to drive in runs when they're in scoring position.

I did a quick a dirty comparison of 2006 OPS (an imperfect but handy metric which approximates offensive production) and career OPS (through 05) for each Cub hitter. I left out rookies or guys who are bench players when comparing the 2:

Player AB OPS Car
Derrek Lee 44 1.062 .864
Todd Walker 79 .899 .789
Michael Barrett 69 .881 .720
Ronny CedeÒo 90 .818 na
Matt Murton 87 .793 na
Jacque Jones 67 .750 .782
Aramis RamÌrez 83 .710 .810
Juan Pierre 104 .608 .730
Angel Pagan 19 .579 na
John Mabry 29 .586 .733
Michael Restovich 10 .573 na
Freddie Bynum 18 .556 na
Jerry Hairston Jr. 37 .552 .705
Neifi PÈrez 42 .400 .681
Henry Blanco 21 .335 .647
Total 850 .704

What this shows, is that after 26 games, among those getting the bulk of the playing time since Lee went down, Walker & Barret are playing above their heads, as well as Cedeno I suspect, and that Aramis, Pierre and Hairston are way beyond the outliers of expected performance, given their career numbers through 05. Interestingly, Jones is close to his career OPS.

I think what this spells is trouble for the offense, given its current configuration. In fact, I would venture to guess that the current group of hitters, while Lee is out and barring a trade, will rival the 06 Marlins in run production.

Just a hunch.

A while ago someone joked about Jones hitting right-handed. I'm completely serious when I say he should try batting switch against LHPs. Even a .120 batting average split against lefties would be an improvement.

jk1969: Things have a way of averaging out. I fully expect Cedeno & Barrett to go cold and Aram to go on a tear.

It was a very depressing night last evening at Chase Field. I know a lot of you watched the game on TV and others were there like I was, but for those who didn't watch it, it felt like a wake almost from the start.

First of all, it was a sparse crowd as Cub-D'back games go (certainly the quietest I can remember), and it lacked the usual Ugly Cub Fans enthusiasm to which I have become accustomed in recent years at Cubs road games, especially ones in Phoenix.

Even when the Cubs have been behind in other years, you still get the good ol' blind optimistic "LET'S GO CUBB-IES" when anything starts to go the Cubs way. But even when there were men on base last night, or with the bases loaded in the 9th, it just wasn't there. Like everybody knew the Cubs were not going to score. It actually felt a bit like a Spring Training game in the stands.

The Cub offense may not be DOA without Derrek Lee, but it sure is MIA. The Cubs definitely need another proven run producer hitting somewhere in the middle of the order. ASAP.

rynox: Things have a way of averaging out.

So using my logic, and the fact the Cubs have been outscore 39-5 in the last 5 games... I predict a 30-5 Cubs win tonight. *sigh*

AZ Phil: The Cubs definitely need another proven run producer hitting somewhere in the middle of the order. ASAP.

IMHO, Phil, that need existed even before Lee was injured. The lineup has a lot less pop than other teams. I understand wanting to build a team that can manufacture runs rather than depending on the HR, but it's like Hendry went out and got a Lincoln Navigator without a stereo.

I am really sick of the Mark Prior saga, and this is the latest....

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Prior is battling food poisoning that he picked up here in Arizona. Rothschild added that Prior will resume his throwing program once he is able, but no one can be certain right now when that might be and how long it will take him to feel at full strength again.

No time table from food poisoning now huh? No idea when he will be at full strength to resume throwing huh? I seem to remember the same thing in early March from the Cubs camp.

He was on a strengthing program and now it looks like because of "food poisoning" he has lost all that progress.

What is the next excuse from Cubs camp come June? Prior had the bad case of the runs, no idea when he will resume throwing and back up to strength?

I would of never thought a respiratory infection in Jan and food poisoning in May would disable a pitcher for most of the year.

Remember how I said the Cubs were incredibly silent on any news coming out about Prior and that usually isn't a good sign. Now this pops out.

food poisoning = arm fell off

"Remember how I said the Cubs were incredibly silent on any news coming out about Prior and that usually isn't a good sign."

I saw something interesting about Wade Miller in the Daily Herald today also. I had heard that Miller's rehab wasn't going as well as Wood's but I had no idea he flew to Pennslyvania to get his shoulder checked out by doctors. I dont know, maybe I just missed that last week, but at least it SOUNDS like everything is alright.

From the Daily Herald:

"Miller said he returned home to Pennsylvania last week to have his surgically repaired right shoulder looked at.

ìI wasnít really feeling that good, but I feel great right now,î Miller said. ìI feel better now than I did all spring. Things are looking up, and Iím looking forward to throwing b.p. (batting practice). They said I was just tight. The back of my shoulder was tight. Weíve been stretching it.î

The Dude,

Miller was shut down according to the Cubs because of a sudden onset of "arm fatigue."

Translated: His arm fell off. No velocity, no control.
===================================================

Regarding the Cubs being less than honest about injured players, make no mistake about it, Dusty wants it that way.

Remember when Barrett injured himself recently?

Flashback:

Cubs manager Dusty Baker wasn't too happy that Barrett revealed his injury. The Cubs are shorthanded in terms of bench players, because they are carrying 12 pitchers.

"I honestly wish he hadn't said anything, because then [the other teams] know," Baker said. "I spoke to Michael about it. He said, 'Man, I didn't think.' I showed him a couple books I had about strategy and the war. He said, 'I've got that book.' I said, 'Maybe you need to read it.' "

Good stuff Cubswin.

MikeC, your namesake on Lost is a real SOB.

1. The expiration date appears to have gone out on Nefi!. Basically, putting him in the line-up now is putting two pitchers in the line-up. And when we get a left hander, the way JJ can't hit lefties, we have 3 pitchers in the line-up. Not good for run production.

2. The win-loss record after only 30 games is very deceptive. Especially in April when Maddux got a large percentage of the starts and the Cubs had Derek Lee through 21 April. In the last six games the Cubs have scored 13 runs and given up 41. Almost Royals like. The are lucky to be 2-4. And nobody out there (Millar, Conine, or Clark) is going to give them slugging they need to match any of the better teams in the NL Central.

3. Its a long season, the offense will have its hot spells, but JK1969 has it about right. This team's inability to develop slugging, strong OBP prospects or use pitching prospects to aquire such players is now coming back to haunt them now that Milwaukee is back and Cincinnati is under intelligent management. I am surprised at the Astros (they are one bad injury from a terrible offense as well in my opinion) but it does not look good this season for the next four.

4. Pierre and Jones are doing pretty much what is consistent with their careers and their ages (past 30).

5. $100,000,000 is a lot of money to spend on 70-75 win team. I like Barrett, I like Cedeno, I like Murton although I wish he had a little more power, and of course I like the missing Lee. But the rest of the team is nothing special and getting older.

6. If Wood is able to pitch effectively and not break down after a couple of starts, that trade could happen. Except maybe I would thinkg about making a trade to Cleveland for Marte and then swap out Ramirez or move Ramirez to right field. Altought the fact that both Atlanta and Boston moved Marte makes me suspicious if about his prospect status.

Is the Prior not the most sickness/accident prone person around? Let's see...what with the collision with Giles, the achilles tendon issue to start 2004, the whatever it was last spring that had him on the DL forever, the line drive off the elbow, the infection in January, the mystery shoulder strain back in March that has him shelved indefinitely and now food poisoning.

It really does get old.

Food poisoning? Unbelievable.

I am starting to believe the common perception that Prior is a headcase who refuses to pitch through any kind of pain.

I'm not a big Mike Murphy fan, but he said several times on 670 AM yesterday that he knows people "close to the situation" -- clearly implying that they are connected to the Cubs -- that the Cubs are growing tired of Prior's slow progress and hypochondria. Murphy's sources said that the Cubs haven't set a timetable for Prior's return because they really have no idea when he will be back -- any little blip causes more delays because Prior panics.

Could the Marlins really get a ballpark?

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-marl...
or
http://tinyurl.com/bsenp

tinyurl.com really is sliced bread.

Food poisoning? WTF?

I'm not terribly old, but I'm old enough to recognize bull crap when I read it.

Remember when Barrett injured himself recently?

This has nothing to do with anything. Baker was chastising Barrett cause he was still on the active roster and revealing that he can't play is giving the opposing team an advantage (albeit slight) in late-inning situations.

Not being fortright about Prior who's on the DL doesn't give the Cubs any advantage over any team. If the Cubs are hiding anything it would be an upper management decision for whatever reason and nothing to do with Baker.

Considering the offense the last week, when Wood returns, he'll be a big help to the lineup. People that could bat lower in the order than him:

* Jones (if facing a lefty)
* Bynum
* Perez
* Hairston Jr.

Could the Marlins really get a ballpark?

$60 million isn't going to cut it for a new stadium and I don't see Loria ponying up any of his own money.

Speaking of the Marlins, they picked Borchard off waivers

Nothing to do with nothing? You can't be serious Rob. Larry Rothschild is in charge of rehabbing pitchers and he reports to Baker. And Dusty is part of Cub upper management. McPhail, Hendry, Baker, they are all on the same page when it comes to injuries. And when a guy goes on the DL, he doesn't stop being Dusty's player.

But then you have to know this.

CWTP, thanks... I had forgotten the official term "arm fatigue."

Somehow the reports of "arm fatigue" had left out Miller flying cross-country for an examination to make sure his shoulder hadn't torn apart again.

Of course, as you stated CWTP, that is exactly how the organization wants it.

the barrett and prior situations cant be compared...esp. dusty's comments on barrett.

catchers with hand injuries that already have a hard time with runners...you want him to sit on the bench til he's 100% healed or you want him to play when he's at a slight disadvantage, but still useful?

reality may suck, but reality is a whole lot easier to deal with once you toss the conspiracy theories away and take things at face value. you cant apply a blanket theory to all things cubs.

was barrett wrong to blab about his injury and how its feeling on a daily basis to the media? no. could it have kept him from coming back earlier thanks to confirmation of his sore hand to another team? yes. ultimately did it matter in this case? no...well, not unless his hand is still hurting and last night was an indication of it.

btw, larry may be in charge of rehabing pitchers, but he's more in charge of scheduling the rehabbing of pitcher.

a lot of other hands work with pitchers WAY more than roths...he's kinda busy with the club that's playing.

"I am starting to believe the common perception that Prior is a headcase who refuses to pitch through any kind of pain."

433 you should believe it because Prior IS soft. Aj Burnett thinks Prior needs to toughen up and pitch with discomfort. I know Wood is peanut brittle, but I never thought he sandbagged to miss a start because of a minor or nagging injury. Prior may turn out to be seriously injured but there are also times when he shut it down with minor inflammation.

I'm sick of the arm experiments, Mr. Hendry, can we just get some durable, mediocre guys?

"I know Wood is peanut brittle, but I never thought he sandbagged to miss a start because of a minor or nagging injury. Prior may turn out to be seriously injured but there are also times when he shut it down with minor inflammation. "

I agree with that perception... these 2 guys are carbon copies in a lot of ways, but I think that is one area where the comparisons stop.

Say what you want about Wood, but when he shuts down he has F'ed something up bad. Not like thats a good thing, but it seems to me sometimes Prior is more concerned about the future than the now.

The Dude: it seems to me sometimes Prior is more concerned about the future than the now.

That would make his last name rather ironic, no?

No, Baker telling Barrett to keep it quiet and any conspiracy theories about Prior have nothing to with each other. Sorry, man.

Nice Oliver Stone-like attempt to connect the random dots though.

As far as I know, Prior is in Arizona rehabbing while Larry is traveling with the team. I'm sure he knows everything that's going on, but there's other people dealing with Prior, Wood and Miller on an everyday basis. Baker gets reports from Larry and whomever and then has to act like he knows what the hell is going on when he talks to the press.

In other news, IF Wood makes it through his next 2 rehab starts, he should start May 17th or 18th versus the Nationals. I will now begin to acknowledge that he exists again. Prior is dead to me until he makes a rehab start (which should be in March 2007 at his current rate).

Let us never forget that Kerry Wood pitched a good portion of his rookie season with at torn ligament in his elbow.

the barrett and prior situations cant be compared...esp. dusty's comments on barrett.

I could not disagree more. They indicate that the Cubs DO HAVE a policy of secrecy and dissembling when it comes to injuries...IN GENERAL.

There can be no further doubt that the Cubs organization lies about injuries. They do, and they expect everyone in the organization to understand that you don't give away "war secrets."

"Let us never forget that Kerry Wood pitched a good portion of his rookie season with at torn ligament in his elbow."

How could we forget? He's paid for it ever since.

Hell, both Prior and Wood could return tomorrow and I would only be slightly encouraged. Why? Because unless they give up 2 runs or less each game, this offense will still find ways to lose.

The cold Cub facts:

14th in the NL in OBP
15th in the NL in SLG
14th in the NL in OPS
16th in the NL in Runs/Game

This team is hitting worse than the AAAA Marlins and Pirates. Pathetic.

Sure, it's a long season. Do you really expect Pierre or Jones to improve that much? I don't. Thus far Hendry's offseason acquisitions, sans Bullpen, have looked like horse manure. A lot of people on this blog were extremely critical of the Jones and Pierre moves by Hendry, and yet I tried to be optimistic. Bah.

Who gives a rat's ass about what A.J. "Ow, My Elbow Hurts Again" thinks about Prior? Let him just count his money and shut up.

Sorry to post this in this thread, but it went unanswered before:

MikeC, does Dish Network have Comcast Sports Net in HD?

I am not sure, I don't have HD anything.

Pretty sure Hairston or Walker has started at 2B with Maddux on the mound this season...so it's not like Neifi is his personal 2B

OK, thanks.

I recommend HD to anyone who doesn't have it. It's amazing.

Sure, it's a long season. Do you really expect Pierre or Jones to improve that much? I don't.

Do I expect them to improve that much? Well, I expect them to improve to near their career numbers. In the case of Pierre and more importantly ARam, that will be a significant boost to the offense.

Pretty sure Hairston or Walker has started at 2B with Maddux on the mound this season...so it's not like Neifi is his personal 2B

Neifi has started everytime Maddux has pitched, except for the LA game - although one of those games he started at 3rd instead of 2nd.

CubFanFormerlyInGermany:
1. The expiration date appears to have gone out on Nefi!. Basically, putting him in the line-up now is putting two pitchers in the line-up.

Sweet, with all the injury problems we have, we can use all the live arms we can get in the rotation. Can he alternate innings so Rusch can take a breather when he starts sweating sausage grease?

The Cubs are missing somebody with the ability to hit the long ball -- they just aren't getting the BIG hits when they are needed...last night the Cubs left about 11 runners on the bases...they can't seem to get the runners home...I'm a frustrated Cubs fan...it's not just a pitching problem...last night's game could have been won IF we had the offense we deserve to have. Right now the White Sox are so different than the Cubs -- they don't spend more money on their players BUT they spend it wisely...Only one player is making over $10 Million/yr. and that's Konerko and he keeps coming thru with the big hits...Yet, Ozzie gets tremendous production from the entire 25 man roster (even folks coming off the bench help the White Sox win games)...They are not in 1st place by accident...IMO, the White Sox are stronger than they were last year. This has to do with the discipline of the General Manager and they way they analyze, attract and retain top talent...then it's up to Ozzie and his team of Managers to get the most of the talent...Ozzie knows his players so well and seems to be able to get more out of them than almost any other MLB Manager ever could. I have liked the Cubs for a long time and I want to see them become a contender and go all the way some day...Yet, right now the White Sox are the only Chicago team that is on track to get into the play-offs and have a good chance to reach the World Series this year...The team is better than the Cubs by design and it seems to be managed so much better...The Cubs Management (especially Hendry) can not blame everything on the injuries of 3-4 key players...It's a question of how you respond to that situation. The Cubs have a lot of talent that reaches way down into their farm team system BUT for some reason The Cubs Management has had trouble utilizing the talent in the best possible way. Timely acquisitions of talent can be crucial too. Sorry, I may seem a little frustrated as I type this...Yet, I think many others posting out here are too. I hope the Cubs can surprise us in a positive way going forward this season -- but I wouldn't count on it.

"There can be no further doubt that the Cubs organization lies about injuries. They do, and they expect everyone in the organization to understand that you don't give away "war secrets.""

you are reading way too much into the situation.

if you got a catcher with a hand injury who's not gonna go on the DL...if you bring him back before he's 100%...especially a guy who already has trouble with runners...you probally will be run on. if the manager is a dick he'll tell his pitcher to bust him inside over and over.

if you're on the DL...who cares, not the other team that's for sure. mark prior's injury status isnt strategy...the other team, a team that knows prior is weeks+ away, isnt gonna give a rat's ass about him until he's penciled in and becomes a factor.

Scott, I'm sure you would be welcomed to join the bandwagon down on 35th.

ps - Thome and Vasquez also make well over $10 million.

RYNO:
That would make his last name rather ironic, no?

*applause*

The status of Prior's injury is a factor to other teams looking to trade with the Cubs and that is about it.

Thome chasing a long-running record

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/columnis...

Thome is an expensive acquisition but he is delivering this year...according to ESPN

AVG .303 | HR 11 | RBI 27 | OBP .471 | SLG .719

We have the $11 Million Ramirez who is hitting worse than many of the folks in the Cubs farm team system...This has cost the Cubs quite a few games this year...according to ESPN the numbers for Ramirez right now are...

AVG .205 | HR 4 | RBI 10 | OBP .313 | SLG .398

I know Ramirez has been hurt some BUT right now D. Lee is out and Ramirez has been unable to come thru and step up to the plate when the Cubs really need him...The return on the investment for Ramirez has not been good...Anyone think Hendry will extend his contract...?

My bad, forgot about Neifi starting at 2B in the home opener. I was so damn cold, I forgot he went 3-4 that day.

about dust's "war-books" things...

thanks to his mom, who fashioned a LOT of what it is to be dusty baker, he has a huge interest in literature.

one of his favorites is that old standby "The Art of War" by Sun-Tzu...made famous for most americans by the Wu Tang Clan =p

every battle is won before it starts...

cash rules everything around me...dollar dollar bill y'all.

"Anyone think Hendry will extend his contract...?"

aram has an option next year that he'd be highly unlikely to deny anyway...even if he had a stellar season.

in 07/08...if he doesnt leave...he's owed 22.5m.

the only point of fear from his point of view would be the 09 option for 11m (mutual) that would auto-vest with 270 games played in 07+08.

dunno what the 3rd base FA market looks like this coming offseason, but unless he really steps up really fast...he's probally not gonna do too much better in the open market.

Contreras runs streak to 13 straight

Allows one run over 7 1/3; Thome delivers three-run homer

05/04/2006 4:30 PM ET

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/g...

Scott, seriously, if you want to talk White Sox baseball, go check out Exile in Wrigleyville.

ARam has been playing very poorly, no doubt about it. But if you think he's going to keep hitting 200 all year, you are mistaken.

No, Hendry will not extend his contract because ARam is signed through 2008, with only a player option for this year.

Pretty sure Hairston or Walker has started at 2B with Maddux on the mound this season...so it's not like Neifi is his personal 2B

In Maddux's 2nd start vs. the Reds, Hairston started at 2b, but Neifi started at 3b with Aramis out. I did miss the Dodger start where Walker played 2b that day. Neifi has made the last 3 starts at 2b though. We'll see if the trend continues. Of course I don't think it's that big a deal, I actually think it's a fine strategy to put the best infield defense out there with Maddux on the mound. Hairston really isn't ripping it up offensively anyway at the moment. As long as Neifi stays in the 8-hole those days and Blanco doesn't catch.

The Whitesox took a huge gamble on trading Rowand for Thome. That was a ballsy trade. Rowand is a fine young player but he doesn't provide a ton of offense. But Rowand was a team favorite and an integral part of that team.

Thome was coming off a disappointing injury filled season and people questioned if he could make it back to elite status.

But the Whitesox understood they needed to generate more offense. They didn't have the greatest offense in the world last year and realized they couldn't hope to repeat the great pitching while remaining the same offensively.

The Whitesox have that ideal of 3 pretty good offensive bats in a row. Konerko, Thome, Dye. In fact so far this season they have 4 in Joe Crede.

The Cubs have been missing that 3rd offensive weapon for hell a decade or more. Most times we have not even had 2 offensive weapons in the lineup.

Now we are reduced to one and he isn't hitting a damn thing because opposing pitchers don't have to pitch to him. Welcome to Sammy Sosa's personal hell Ramirez. But Sosa still produced for 5 years with no protection. Ramirez better do it also or we will really be screwed.

Dusty reminiscing about the "strategy" of keeping hand injuries a Big-g-g-g secret./ or Why Dusty Yelled at Michael Barrett.

Quote:

I was uppercutting this guy, and I guess we beat him up, and I got on the plane and my right hand started throbbing. I went to tell Tommy [Lasorda, Dodgers manager], and I said, "I think I broke my hand." He said, "What? How?" I told him: fighting.

I called my dad and he was upset. He said, "I told you about fighting all the time." I had to see a doctor in New York the next day, and he said it'll be all right in six to eight weeks. I said, "Doc, I don't have six to eight hours." Manny Mota gave me one of those bowling sleeves that you put on. I never took my batting gloves off. Tommy knew. My teammates knew.

I couldn't swing. I was swinging one-handed. ** I couldn't say anything because if I said something, they'd walk me to get to somebody intentionally.** Tommy said he wanted me out there. He told me, "I don't care if you're one-legged, I need you out there." I couldn't do anything. I had to eat it.
__________________________________________________

He couldn't say anything because if they knew he could only swing with one hand then they would walk him intentionally to get to someone else...

....

Now that's strategery.

dunno what the 3rd base FA market looks like this coming offseason

Well unless Mora's deal fall through with the O's, the next best 3B is probably Aaron Boone and he's got a mutual option. Just in terms of hitters with D-Lee resigning, your big hitters are:

Carlos Lee
Jim Edmonds (team option)
Gary Sheffield (team option)

and depending on what you think of these guys:
Craig Wilson
Trot Nixon
Moises Alou
Jose Guillen
Jorge Posada (team option)
Javy Lopez
Nomar Garciaparra
Frank Thomas

it's most definitely going to be a pitcher's market, some big names:
Tom Glavine
Andy Pettite
Mark Mulder
Barry Zito
Doug Davis
Mark Buehrle (team option)
Greg Maddux
Jason Schmidt
Kerry Wood (mutual option?)
Mike Mussina (team option)

sorry if any of my info is out-of-date

He couldn't say anything because if they knew he could only swing with one hand then they would walk him intentionally to get to someone else...

I'm going to assume Baker misspoke there and meant that they'd walk someone to get to him....I hope.

marginal good news for the Cubs, Noah Lowry will start Monday against the Astros so looks like we'll miss a lefty that series. Next chance to face one will be versus the Nats...

The Baker quote is from this article
http://tinyurl.com/gueyd
by Carrie Muskat.
If she screwed up a quote it wouldn't be the first time.

I hope what Baker wanted to say was, If they knew my hand was broken they would walk the hitter ahead of me intentionally to get to me. But that's not remotely the way he's quoted.

He goes on to say that he kept his hand a secret from his own teammates.

he told his manager...he told those that needed to know.

tommy's well intentioned, but he's an abusive dumbass the way he treated his players. he destroyed about as many careers with his managing style as hearts he has touched with his kindness.

he was a real use/abuse/toss-away type with what he was given.

I'm not saying he was misquoted, just that he was relating a story and probably didn't realize that he misspoke. As I said, at least I hope that's what he meant...

Baker's not the first, nor the last guy to hide an injury. Despite the perception of million dollar babies, I think the bulk of MLB players will try and tough it out if they can(Prior and J.D. Drew not included), as being perceived as injury-prone or a wuss is far worse than concealing an injury, at least in terms of perception around the league.

He's striking out more and walking less because he's trying to get his batting average up around .300 and you don't do that taking walks.

CubsWin,

What on earth is this supposed to mean??? This may be the dumbest comment I have ever heard.

Long term prognosis on Prior: He's the biggest pussy on the Cubs.

"he has a huge interest in literature"

I'll be back later guys. Running to Barnes and Noble. Hopefully they have a copy left of "Managing for Dummies"

I will even spend the extra $$ to get the revised edition that includes double switches in the preface

Anyone have Dusty's address??

Cubs offense has rubbed off on the Bulls...Bulls putting up Neifi like numbers...1 for 12 from the field in the first 6 minutes of the game...down 11-2

oh fine TNT, mock me with the Kansas whooping of Marquette in the Final Four.

What on earth is this supposed to mean???

Maybe you should find another sport?

It means what it says. Pierre is walking less and striking out quite a bit more. He's struggling at the plate and because he relies on batting average so much, he's struggling to get on base.

IN GENERAL - A struggling hitter trying to raise his average up to his expected levels (in this case from .245 to .300 or better) will strike out more and take fewer walks than he normally does because he has to put the ball in play more than he normally does to raise his average.

But I shouldn't have to explain this.

#123 Mike C.,
With the idea of not having that offensive threat. How about Sosa, Alou, DLEE, ARAM. That sure as shit looks like 4 offensive threats to me. Don't have the stats but I bet you they would have whupped(stats wise. And yes I am leaving all "off the field" problems off of this) the White SUCKS trio this year. So quit overreacting to 100 ab's. It has not been "A Decade Or More". Get over the whining and crying and acting like a bitch(Ryan Leaf...aka Mark Prior).

interesting lineup tonight ... macias, er bynum, gets the start at 2b ... henry white catching. walker and aram switching spots in the order.

oh man, i miss dlee.

J. Pierre cf
R. Cedeno ss
A. Ramirez 3b
T. Walker 1b
M. Murton lf
J. Jones rf
F. Bynum 2b
H. Blanco c

So basically our choices for the 7 spot are Hairston, Bynum, Perez, Mabry.
.243, .222, .167, .241

That's just choosing crap over crap.
But how about this for ugly.
#1 .250
#3 .204
#6 .239
#7 .222
#8 .095

...wow.

wtf? bynum is starting?!?! that is pathetic, especially when you also have blanco in the lineup.

I'll be in parachat if your watching the Bulls game....

I agree "5". In 2004 we had Aramis (.318, 36 HR), Alou (39 HR), DLee (32 HR), and Sosa (35 HR but he really sucked) along with the oft-injured Nomar in the lineup.

Of course, we had KPout leading off not Podsednik, Latroy "closing" not Hermanson or Jenks, "The Farns" kicking walls, JoBo injured, Dusty creating alibis, Prior and Wood off on their annual 2 month sabbatical, etc.

bynumumumumum was a teammate of cruz last year and has probally had some ab's off him in training situations more recently than anyone on the club.

CubsWin,

My point was this: what good does it do the Cubs to have our supposed table-setter Pierre "get his average up" at the expense of his OBP??? Who the hell cares what his "average" is? What Pierre is supposed to do is get to first base any way he can. If he is sacrificing his value to the team in order to artificially inflate his "average," then he's an even bigger piece of horseshit that I thought he was.

Here's the real reason that Pierre never walks: because no pitcher in his right mind would ever throw the dude a ball. There is literally zero chance of him hurting you with a long ball and more than likely he'll just ground it to the 2nd baseman. If pitchers can keep him to a sub-league average OBP with that strategy (180 hits plus 30 odd walks in 675 ABs) then they're going to do it ALL DAY LONG. Pierre sucks shit through a straw, guys. We better get used to it. And hope he's wearing a different color hat next year.

#123 Mike C.,With the idea of not having that offensive threat. How about Sosa, Alou, DLEE, ARAM. That sure as shit looks like 4 offensive threats to me. Don't have the stats but I bet you they would have whupped(stats wise. And yes I am leaving all "off the field" problems off of this) the White SUCKS trio this year. So quit overreacting to 100 ab's. It has not been "A Decade Or More". Get over the whining and crying and acting like a bitch(Ryan Leaf...aka Mark Prior).

I will give you that I forgot about that 2004 team because they were the biggest bunch of cry babies on the planet.

The rest of your comment is a.....huh? Did you even bother to read the thread? The rest of your comments were not only clueless, but the rantings of a lunatic obsessed with little old me.

Get over the whining and crying and acting like a bitch.....

The only person crying was you 5, PETEM, Jordan whatever fake name you post under to take insults at me this week.

Word of advice, if you only post in reaction to me, kill yourself. You will be a much happier person.

What did all cubs fans want last year besides a new manager? A lead-off hitter, now we have one and supposedly he's not good enough? Talk about spoiled. This is a long season gentlemen, let the man play for us for a full season and then critique him. I remember a couple of years ago how DLEE was nothing but a glorified 2 hole hitter, well how did that turn out for all of you bitchers and nay-sayers? I know it has been a while but if you look at the real picture this is a ball club(Ryan Leaf, oh I mean Mark Prior aside) that is on the "up and up".

What did all cubs fans want last year besides a new manager? A lead-off hitter, now we have one

Again, this idiocy about lead-off hitters. No we did not want a "lead off hitter." We wanted "someone who did not suck quite so hard as Corey Patterson." There is no such thing as a "lead off hitter." If you disagree, please tell me the qualities of a good "lead off hitter" and describe how those qualities are somehow different from just a plain ol' regular "good hitter." That's what we want on the Cubs. Not "lead off hitters" or "clean up hitters" or "speedy baserunners," but GOOD HITTERS. Hear that? Good hitters. Period.

Juan Pierre is not a good hitter.

Hey MikeC, If you can actually look back at IP adresses you can see that I have only posted under 2 names- "5" and "BigCasey", because hey how much cooler is the name 5? Second of all I only posted to an intelligent persons overreaction and doom and gloom rants. If you were offended BFD all I hope is that it makes you think more about what you are saying and less about what you percieve to be the problem. And hey I do enjoy everything about this site and "almost" everything that is written here within. A person who has been a cubs fan for the better part of the last 20 years gets real tired of all the gloom and doom BULL****. Being a cubs fan is all about BELIEVING, nothing more and nothing less.

Horatio---
A good lead-off hitter= Fast, High OBP, Smart baserunning, Good D., and yes it also includes being a good hitter. But a different kind of hitter, NO power-fine make sure you get on base and don't f-up on the basepath. Scare the pitcher into throwing more fastballs so your 2 and 3 hitters get some hittable pitches. Steal some bases. Score 100+ runs. These are the things that I believe constitute a good lead-off hitter.
Do you really want a "Plain old GOOD HITTER" at the top of the line up? Do you want a slow ass SOB like ARAM in the 1 hole? because yes he is a "good hitter", and this is a proven fact. Or do you want a guy like Pierre who can score from first on a base hit to the outfield? Oh no I get it you want someone as slow as molasses running there. And yes if you look back at the boards from last year all that we wanted was a true bonafied lead-off hitter. He would and will make all the difference in the world. MARK MY WORDS!!

If we had 9 Aramises we'd score a hell of a lot of runs. A lot more than we're scoring now anyway.

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