Game 36 Recap: Cubs 4, Mets 5

An avoidable loss

GameCenter Recap

W - Heilman (4-2), (A win with only one pitch thrown!)

L - Wuertz (0-2), the Strike Zone

Important things to take from this game

1. The Lineup: With Lee out, DeRosa took over at first. Additionally, Blanco spelled Barrett for the night. With the lefty Glavine on the mound, Pagan played CF in place of Jones. Finally, Soriano got dropped to third in the lineup, with Theroit leading off and Izturis hitting second. 2. The Early Offense: The Cubs Offense (read, Marquis) staked Marquis to 4-0 lead after two innings. A combination of some shakey OF defense, balls dropping in, and a 2-run single by Marquis, and he had room for error, early on. 3. A Very Ugly Play: Bottom of the fifth, Endy Chavez lays down a great bunt. Ramirez gets out of the way just in time for Marquis, who then nearly hits Ramirez with the throw. The throw sails wide, into the basepath, and Chavez collides with DeRosa, hitting DeRosa's exposed throwing hand. Everyone stays in the game, but it looked really bad. 4. The Middle Relief: Marquis never really had it tonight, but held things together through 5+, exiting with a lead (and just 87 pitches thrown) but also with the tying runs on base and nobody out. It's times like this where you really need a knock-out performance from a middle reliever. Ohman in to face Green, overpowers him for the strikeout. Cherry in for the next batter, LoDuca, who doubles to score a run. Easley gets a sac. fly, and the game is tied at 4. Nuts. 5. From Bad to Wuertz. In the bottom of the 9th in a tie game, Wuertz gets two easy outs, then gives up a single to Reyes, a stolen base, and then totally loses it. 9 straight balls to load the bases. Facing Delgado withthe bases loaded, he goes to a full count. One pitch determines if we lose, or live to fight out the tenth. Two more foul balls later, and Wuertz walks in the winning run. Stunning how quickly he lost control of what looked like an easy inning. Mets win. The comedic relief is below.
  • Arriving Late, I discover that we have Dusty Baker and Rick Sutcliffe in the booth together. This should be fun.
  • And indeed, Dusty explains to me how Izturis needs to get his leg strength back. (After that Tommy John Surgury, Dusty?)
  • And now, the discussion of the merits of small ball. It's going to be a long night. But hey, where'd this first inning run come from? - Ah. A Soriano double and Ramirez single. Beltran probably should have caught Ramirez's hit.
  • Wow, did Endy Chavez just miss a tough catch? I don't think I've ever seen that before.
  • And who is Mr. Baker most impressed with, on the Cubs? Blanco and Izturis. And Marquis' speed. (On the basepaths.) I need a beer. Sutcliffe calls the "Silver Slugger" the "Silver Bat."
  • and the Silver Bat winner, Marquis, hits a two-run single. 3-0 with 1 out in the second, prospects for an early blow out. Why did the MEts have the infield in?
  • Ugly second inning for the Mets. Chavez misses a tough (but for him, not that tough) ball in the OF, and now Easley whiffs on a Texas Leaguer that Izturis hit over his head, as he had his eye on the in-coming Shawn Green. Ball gets away, Marquis scores from first, 4-0. Izturis can not be stopped by mere mortals.
  • As vapid and generally incorrect as I think Sutcliffe's and Baker's analysis tends to be, I've always enjoyed Sut's personality in the booth, and have noticed that I also like Baker's demeanor as an ESPN personality. I never learn anything from them in a broadcast, but at least they're usually pleasant to listen to. Contrast that to Joe Morgan, who every once and awhile will point out some interesting subtlety to the game that I'd never thought of, but has an insufferable personality
  • Nice over the shoulder catch in foul territory by emergency 1st baseman DeRosa
  • Dusty's M.O. in the booth seems to be to sing the praises of every player. It's nice to hear so many flattering things about the Cubs, just not illuminating.
  • Marquis walks Reyes to start the third. Not good. He promptly steals second. Should have gone to third on a deep fly out, but went halfway instead of tagging. He would have scored, from standing on second, had the ball gone over the OFer's head. In any case, the ball is caught, he stays on second, and ultimately, the inning ends without a run scored.
  • Marquis with another leadoff walk, to Delgado. He procedes to fall behind 3-1 on Wright, who then hits an opposite-field HR. 4-2 Cubs. It would have been a very tough play, especially for a guy who just moved to RF and is in the away park, but Murton ran into the wall before he could jump to try to rob the HR.
  • Some melodrama from Sut and Baker, about how Marquis' 4th inning struggles signify whether or not he can "handle success" and might be a "turning point," perhaps in his whole career. I wonder what they would say about my troubles deciding what to eat for dinner, tonight.
  • Three consecutive walks by Glavine with two outs in the fifth. We can't convert, however, as DeRosa flies out. A painful scoring opportunity to have passed up.
  • Soriano with a rather gimpy attempt at diving for a fly ball, which drops in front of him in the sixth. Again, it seems to hint that his legs aren't quite right.
  • It sounds like Sutcliffe is a happy drunk. He's ranting and raving and babbling on about god knows what.
  • Pagan and Murton converged on a drive to deep right center in the seventh. Pagan caught it, and sort of backpeddled into Murton, as they both crashed into the wall. I wonder how often the two of them have patrolled the OF together.
  • Is there any Cub fan who thinks the Cubs will win a tie game in the 8th, playing at Shea?
  • Wuertz gets 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth when Reyes singles. He steals second on a pitchout. The throw was terrible, but he probably had it stolen, anyways. He then walks Endy Chavez, bringing up Beltran. Arrgh. Falls behind on Beltran, then just walks him intentionally. Wuertz has lost it, and very quickly, after a couple quick, easy outs.
Parachat Review Inning 1 : CT Steve's generous review of parachat before I arrive: The Bears, the World Series Schedule, How Much We Miss Dusty, Stopping Damien Easley, and "Trans is away so Parachat will Play" (?!?!). Desipio. Inning 2: The prospects of a tell-all book trashing TCR for it's unfair level of expertise in all things baseball. "Relative Power." Smoke-blowing commentary from Dusty. Did the Mets and Cubs switch uniforms? Marquis streaking and showing good wood. Blanco's rocking mullet. Inning 3: Dead fat comediens. Complaining about fantasy choices made of your own free will. Angel Pagan's wife, Megan. Rickie Weeks. DOn't pee on your plugged-in PS2. Seth Green staring in the Matt Murton Story. Inning 4: Dave Bush hit by line drive in Milwaukee game. The Mets farm system. Watching games from your Jump To Conclusions mat. Islands, Rocks and Walruses, 2 ships passing in the night regarding the nature of statistics. Inning 5: Parachatters off their meds. Scoreboard watching the Milwaukee game. Is Sutcliffe Drunk? That's not an Old Resin Bag, that's my wife! Are you smarter than a fifth grader?: The Parachat edition. Reality TV shows staring TCR members: who's the first to die? Inning 6: What's everyone drinking? The Prudential/Iraqi Tourism Bureau commercial. Potatoes and Paris. Lefty vs. Lefty numbers. The ESPN Bonus Coverage Curse. ESPN's Weiner Cam. More Brewers' Scoreboard Watching. Inning 7: Opportune times for poo-flinging. Why ASL doesn't work for calling someone off on a fly ball. David Ortiz sliding. Rally fonts, and fun with the Tab button. Inning 8: Dusty Baker taking off his clothes in his California home. Len Kasper's internet presence. Whiny Cardinals' journalists. Would you sleep with David Wright? Would you take your date in to meet the Parachatters? Which one of the Village People does Sutcliffe think Shawn Green was? Inning 9: Pagan Orgies. What the heck is going on with the ESPN play-by-play guy's pronunciation of Theriot? More on explaining Parachat to girlfriends. Don't question the RALLY CAPS. Movies. Even MORE Brewers Scoreboard Watching. Julio Franco is So Old, that.... Gnashing of teeth, rolling of eyes and beating of breasts as the Mets threaten to win the game. A quick dispersal, after the loss.
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Comments

"Julio Franco is so old that he was on a game show where the grand prize was fire."

-- Bizmarquis (Casey)

At some point apathy, if it hasn't already, will begin to set in thereby making each loss less and less painful to the point you don't even notice any more.

Until then.... Sure the bullpen didn't get it done. Rocky Cherry comes out with a stat line that looks okay (all but the inherited runners bit), but he failed miserably. Ohman appears to be on again after being close to what could be described as a permanent midnight. Cotts steps up but it's all a tease because one of these cats is eventually going to give up something.

The pen basically has to work with out a net every time they step out because the offense sure isn't going to do them any favors. There has to be a stat that shows how many runs the Cubs score in the 8th and 9th. I'm sure that stat would show the Cubs ranking 28th? 30th?

Hey guys, don't worry.

Lou didn't burn through the bullpen tonight so we still have Howry, Eyre, and Dempster left for extra innings.

Wait. What's that you say? Oh.

Well, let's see: espn team batting stats, using the "Close and Late" split: Cubs rank 18th with a .682 OPS in such situations, in between the Yanks and Blue Jays.

We're tied at 28th with 2 HR in such situations. Tied with the Mets, actually.

We're also tied for 26th in such situations, with 23 RBIs. Tied with the Royals.

Interesting, we rank better in OPS than in HR or RBI in close-and-late.

Finally, while we're 10th and 12th in Ave. and OBP in close-and-late, we're just 24th in SLG. Looks like we actually do reasonably well in those situations, except we just aren't hitting for any power!

What would we do without Trans?

Great walk by Wuertz -- saved the pen, because there's no way the Cubs would score in extra innings -- there is a team policy against it.

whats really scary about this team

1, they seem to just quit after scoring some runs in the early innings, (tonights game, the cincy game when Zambrano gave up 6 in one inning). They have no idea what add on runs mean unless they are up 10-0. (most cases)

2, the cubs are not clutch at all, how many times do we have runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 or no outs and fail to score

3, the bullpen loses all composure after it gets 2 outs

4, bad teams find ways to lose, the Cubs should write a how to book on losing

What do you do, the 60% of the time that I'm not around?

I bet that's when you bust out the good wine and cheese.

maddux pitching an interesting game through five

"There has to be a stat that shows how many runs the Cubs score in the 8th and 9th."

As stated numerous times, with the Bullpen now 2-10 W-L, if this were even HALVED, we'd be breathing down the neck of the BREW and have an above .500 record.

Somehow, the fucking pen HAS to pick up the starters. Other than Theriot or Dlee, the late-inning RISP hits have not been there. But if one HAS the lead, knowing this, the pen as a group HAS to step up.

At this rate, it would be quite possible for the bullpen to singlehandedly lose 20 games.

"3, the bullpen loses all composure after it gets 2 outs"

Excellent point.

Is this anything that can be addressed with coaching? Psychologist?

Perhaps a group arrangement with Z, Eyre, Wurtz, Howry, Ohman?

Those with Extra Innings or MLB.tv tune in to the SD vs CIN game.

FUCK. Right after I posted that, Maddux loses it.

Why?

tsk, tsk

Z AUDITIONS FOR MINAYA manana.

You'd think he needs to pitch a 1 or 2 hitter so the 'pen doesn't have to pitch.

Levine is implying that he expects Z and his agent to announce within the next few days that they will cease to negotiate until the end of the season when Z will become a FA.

BOGEY: Not surprising. This is shaping up to be an overall embarrassing year, based on payroll. Why not pile it on?

Besides, Tribune will not have to accept responsibility for not signing Z. It will be difficult in any case as the new owner may not be approved until near or after the FA signing period.

Finally, I would find it VERY unlikely for Hendry to make any serious moves at the deadline that would result in acquiring addl. payroll.

Basically, this year is shaping up to be a doozie.

"I'm not going to worry about the runners that get on because only 17% of the runners who steal a base score in that inning."
-- Greg Maddux.

Looks like Maddux has been reading some BP.

FROM CUBS.COM just a little while ago:

""I'm going to find out if there are some kids down in Triple-A throwing the ball," Piniella said. "Maybe that's the answer -- get some different kids up here who can throw the ball. I don't know what else to say. I've tried everybody out there. You keep hoping it comes around, but we're getting into the middle of May now."

Good for you, Lou. You truly did not know what a real mess you got yourself into. Please try to stay.

e-man. did lou really say that?
God Bless 'em.

Maddux going for the CG shutout.

haha Rosenthal said the same thing on XM radio this morning about Z calling off negotiations. There seems to be a source out there talking.

Let me know if you anyone finds something about why Lou took Marquis out. He had Rocky up in the 4th already and had a pretty quick hook in the 6th.

I found this from Marquis:
"It's one of those nights where you try to keep your team in the game," Marquis said. "Things didn't feel in sync. You just have to battle to give your team the best chance to win."

Maybe he told Lou he didn' have his best stuff going or something. I dunno. Meh.

That was just awful by Wuertz...awful.

Shoot. And there it went.

ummm...what kids?

wild marmol? sweaty les?

how about going with a 17 pitcher roster? that sounds like fun...

oh yeah, marshall's back...forgot about that...pen could use another lefty like they could use another *insert punchline*

there's parappa the rappa and piggie, too...also lefties...

ben howard and john webb if youre just...horribly desperate

"Some kids down in Triple-A throwing the ball" doesn't necessarily mean pitchers. Maybe he wants to dump Izturis.

No I'm not really serious. But who does he think he's going to dump? Michael Wuertz? Immanuel Kant? Scott Eyre? Bob Howry?

Yeah, I agree that our bullpen isn't doing great at all (I argued such in parachat yesterday), but I'm not sure it's a good idea to shake their confidence even more. They seem to be transferring the suckitude around. If they can just figure out a way to not f*ing walk people, things should iron themselves out.

Our offense really has to step it up, in a couple departments. First, our late game hitting has been atrocious. Can we buy a clutch RBI after the fourth right now? After our standard 3-5 runs a game, anyone that gets on gets stranded, especially late. Also, the power outage seems to have affected pretty much everyone. Except for a few solo shots, it's been pretty much a standard fare of singles of late.

Why wasn't Dempster in the game? Was Weurtz missing with fastballs?

That has to be some kind of record... two walk-off BB losses by the same team in the same season. Unbelievable.

It is very easy to point out the bullpens W-L record and rant about how bad the pen has been, especially after a game where the losing run walked across home plate.

And while the bullpen has had its shortcomings, the offenses total inability to score off of other teams bullpens is far more concerning to me. Like I've mentioned, the only way a bullpen can get a win is if the offense scores in the late innings, but this team gets a few runs early and then decides to go through the motions for the rest of the game.

If you are asking your pen to win games for you, you are in trouble no matter how good your bullpen arms are. With the total lack of late inning offense this year, that's exactly what the Cubs have been doing all season long.

Its easy to blame the bullpen, especially if you want to only look at their pathetic W-L record, and when you are coming off a game where the winning walk walked across home plate.

But the total lack of late inning offense is far more worrysome to me. Good teams thrive hitting off of bullpen arms, and the later innings of a starters outing. The Cubs score a few runs early and then take the rest of the game off.

If you are expecting your bullpen to win games for you, you're asking for trouble, no matter how good of arms you have in your bullpen. But with the total lack of late inning offense, that's exactly what the Cubs have been asking from the pen all year long.

If Lou is really looking to the Iowa Cubs for pitching help, I'm not sure it is there. Marmol has a 3.79 era and Walrond is at 4.02. They both have good won loss records but primarily because Iowa is scoring plenty of runs this year. Carmen Pignatiello has an era of 1.35 and Cory Bailey is at 1.76. Both have worked relief and have not pitched a lot of innings. Both these pitchers have exhibited good control and have not walked in the winning run in the ninth inning yet. So maybe they have a future with Lou.

Did anyone else watch the Mets broadcast and hear Keith Hernandez say something to the effect of, "they say there are only two players that might be faster than Reyes. Carlos Gomez and this kid Pagan in center field." Is it me, or does Keith need to check his sources?

Miyak, Pagan is fast. I thought last year that he was noticeably faster than Bynum and Pierre. And he used to be a Met, so they know about him.

[...] Mets 5, Cubs 4: ‘Wasted away again in loser-rita ville. Searching for the bullpen I never had.’ And that’s about all we got - and it’s also why we’re not writing music. We wanted to excoriate Ryan Dempster, but sadly, this one’s not on him. The honor goes to Michael Wuertz, who had been mostly reliable up until this point. He entered the game in the ninth with Jose Reyes on first and two outs, and walked three straight batters to force in the winning run. The Mets have won five of six, and a cool note on this one: Aaron Heilman got the win after throwing just one pitch. [...]

[...] Mets 5, Cubs 4: ‘Wasted away again in loser-rita ville. Searching for the bullpen I never had.’ And that’s about all we got - and it’s also why we’re not writing music. We wanted to excoriate Ryan Dempster, but sadly, this one’s not on him. The honor goes to Michael Wuertz, who had been mostly reliable up until this point. He entered the game in the ninth with Jose Reyes on first and two outs, and walked three straight batters to force in the winning run. The Mets have won five of six, and a cool note on this one: Aaron Heilman got the win after throwing just one pitch. [...]

Miyak: I don't remember where I read it (of course) but last year I do remember someone pointing out that Angel Pagan and Jose Reyes raced (I don't think the distance was mentioned, though I would think 90 feet) while they were both in the minors for the Mets and Pagan had beat Reyes in said race. The implication, though, was that it was a couple/few years ago and it may not still be the case of Pagan is faster.

BLEEDING BLUE: Sorry man, but yes HERE you CAN blame the bullpen. AND Saturday against the Phils. And the Cinci "Z" game. And the Brew late inning meltdown @ Wrigley. And the Pirates games.

Yes. Yes - As I have said - if they had halved their fuck-ups, we'd be breathing down the back of the Brewers.

Also, if our offense had scored more runs, we wouldn't have had to rely on the bullpen.

As Rob showed in another thread, no other bullpen besides the Sox has had to pitch in as many close games. If other bullpens faced what the Cubs pen faces on a consistent basis, they'd probably have far wprse stats too.

Wuertz has been a good reliever. Yesterday was atrocious, but this kind of crap happens to even good relievers, especially when you keep not giving them leads.

Neal asked: Was Wuertz missing with fastballs?

Wuertz was mostly throwing fastballs and nibbling at the outside corner. Wuertz either needs a better fastball or a better shrink (pitching coach?) to give him confidence to throw the fastball for a strike.

Funny thing, he struck out Franco by blowing two letter-high fastballs by him. The scouting report on Franco must be that the big bat he uses is getting too heavy for him. Wuertz really went after him, the radar hit 93, and the Met announcers started raving about Wuertz's fastball!

They should replay the audio for Wuertz. It's possible that he has a better arm than he realizes. He should be able to use his slider to set up the fastball. All he does now is throw outside fastballs to set up the slider, but if it's not a strike it doesn't set up anything, because they lay off the slider.

I'm not saying you can't put any blame on the bullpen, nor am I saying that they are blameless.

But just saying the bullpen is the reason we're not right behind the brewers ignores the fact that the bullpen has gotten almost no offensive support and has been expected to hold slim leads nearly every game.

I've said before, the only way a bullpen can notch a "W" is if the offense scores some runs. The fact that the "bullpen" has only won 2 games tells you that the offense has simply shut down late in ballgames.

Bullpens are supposed to keep you in the game, if your starters can't go the distance. But your Offense and your Starting Pitchers are the ones who need to win ballgames. If you are counting on your bullpen to win, then you are facing a huge uphill battle, and that's what the Cubs are doing right now.

Dont know if its been discussed yet? Apparently Cliff is starting to crow about a lack of playing time:

May. 15 News:9:01 AM

Floyd said he was surprised at his relative lack of playing time with the Cubs, the Chicago Tribune reports.

This was mentioned in the off season, but I would LOVE to see Murton get some reps at 1b. It would increase his versatility a little bit, and also allow for him to get more playing time, at least when Lee is out with an injury.

Good news on Lee, that I believe was said last night during the game, was that Lee wanted to play yesterday, but the Cubs would not let him. If Lee wanted to play, it would imply that it isn't that big of a deal but he was just held out/sent to the doc for precautionary reasons.

Floyd has the same # of ABs as Murton with slightly worse stats, so he should probably shut up. Actually, Murton is hitting far better then Floyd against righties.

I agree Johann. I'm just the messenger. All I am saying is that in no way did I see this comming. Floyd didnt want to start the season on the DL. Cubs back down. Floyd not playing much early, wants more PT. Cubs back down. Now another crow for PT. What do you think the cubs do? I'll take 7-5 odds that Cliff is in the lineup tonight!

RE: #33 - you're wrong about Marmol's W-L. He's been very good so far at Iowa. The PCL is only hitting .201 vs. him and his BB/K split is 46/12 in 40 innings...more to the point, an Iowa Cubs official told me this morning that Mike Fontenot is on his way to New York but hasn't been activated yet pending re-evaluation of Lee's neck problem. No word yet as to any possible bullpen reinforcements in the wake of Lou's post-game remarks last night.

Murton is hitting Right handed pitching?
.302/.351/.415....

How can this be??
We all know that Murton can't hit right handers.
It must be an illusion.

FWIW, IF-OF Jason Smith (selected by TOR from AAA Iowa in last December's Rule 5 Draft) has cleared Outright Waivers and could be returned to Iowa, but only if:

1. The Cubs want him and have a place for him at AAA,

and

2. He does not choose to exercise his right to be a FA (since he has been outrighted previously in his career, he can elect to be a FA now, or he can defer the option until after the end of the season).

Players who have the right to be a FA instead of accepting an outright assignment to the minors normally don't exercise that right during the season, because it is unlikely that such a player can get a better contract on the open market (as a Rule 5 pick, Smith has a major league contract for 2007, but would give that up if he becomes a FA now).

Dusty Baylor:
"Murton is hitting Right handed pitching?
.302/.351/.415….

How can this be??
We all know that Murton can’t hit right handers.
It must be an illusion. "

:) Funny stuff...

I asked this in another thread, AZ, but how soon does Eric Patterson seem to be in terms of ML readiness? A year from now at earliest?

I don't care if the bullpen has 0 wins for the season, but there's no way in hell they should already have 10 losses. They mentioned on the broadcast last night that last year, some team (I forget which one it was) only had 10 losses out of their bullpen all season. What a fucking joke.

As much as I blame the bullpen, I also blame Lou. I don't care if Marquis had his worst stuff of the year, he's still better than Rocky Cherry. How can Lou take him out after giving up a bloop single that should have been called an error and a groundball single? It's not like they were hitting him hard. And after only 87 pitches!

And then to make matters much worse, how could he not take out Wuertz after it was clear he couldn't throw a strike? When your pitcher is throwing 9 straight balls, I don't care if he's the last guy out of the pen, you yank his ass and put Yosh Kawano on the mound for fuck's sake.

Ok, glad I got that off my chest.

Doug D.-
I think we should call you "fiery" and not Lou...:)

#42

"But just saying the bullpen is the reason we’re not right behind the brewers ignores the fact that the bullpen has gotten almost no offensive support and has been expected to hold slim leads nearly every game.

I’ve said before, the only way a bullpen can notch a “W” is if the offense scores some runs. The fact that the “bullpen” has only won 2 games tells you that the offense has simply shut down late in ballgames."

True. True. True. True. True.

Looking at post #5, there are 25 teams that do a better job of scoring runs late in close games. That's pathetic and it's the smoking gun.

I can't deny that the Cubs have not done a good job of scoring runs late in games, but I look at the bullpen stats a little differently than some on TCR.

To me, it's much more important that the bullpen is getting holds and saves, and avoiding loses. If the bullpen is brought into a game where the Cubs are winning, I expect them to hold the opponent. Regardless of what the offense is doing, the marching orders for the bullpen is to keep the team out in front.

Granted, the bullpen has been asked to work several times with a really thin margin for error, but 10 losses in 36 games for the bullpen seems unusually bad.

Searching at Iowa for a couple of those "kids throwing the ball" that Lou P. seemed to be referring to. Presumably he meant relievers. Pignatiello and Cory Bailey are getting the job done but Piggy is more stylish than strong-armed and Bailey is 36.

Daytona is high-A ball but there seem to be a couple of studs there, Jerry Blevins and Matt Avery. Blevins so far this year: 1-0, 0.40 era, 6 saves, 22.2 inn, 13 h, 1 r, 1 er, 5 bb, 30 k, 0.79 whip

AZ Phil, what's your take on these two guys and any other relievers who might be up-and-coming or just a phone call away?

Scout.com story on Blevins: http://story.scout.com/a.z?s=315&p=2&c=641482.

Obviously a work in progress. Maybe someone to watch.

Here's a better link: http://tinyurl.com/2bkhnj

Rapada has been kicking it lately, but all LOOGY all the time. At least he's on the 40-man roster.

Marmol would be the other choice unless they're determined to keep him a starter.

Bailey's a 36 year old journeyman....pass.

Rob, I'm wrestling with the whole concept of a loogy. You put him out there in the seventh and he can't finish the inning because a righty comes up. You bring him in in the ninth and they burn the lefty pinch hitter they just announced and bring in a righty.

Rapada's a drink of water anyway. Loogies--ugh!

well sure, it would be nice to have someone who can get both sides of the plate out, they're a bit harder to find though. If we could only have Scott Shields and K-rod, our bullpen would be fine. :)

I really have no idea what moves they're going to make anyway.

Dempster - not going anywhere
Howry/Eyre - not going to just release them
Ohman - doing his LOOGY work just fine
Wuertz - has been amazing at times, a few okay outings and just awful yesterday
Cotts - has been extremely good and is good vs lefties and righties
Cherry - yeah whatever, not horrible, not great

Virginia Phil — May 15, 2007 @ 10:56 am
Searching at Iowa for a couple of those “kids throwing the ball” that Lou P. seemed to be referring to. Presumably he meant relievers. Pignatiello and Cory Bailey are getting the job done but Piggy is more stylish than strong-armed and Bailey is 36.

Daytona is high-A ball but there seem to be a couple of studs there, Jerry Blevins and Matt Avery. Blevins so far this year: 1-0, 0.40 era, 6 saves, 22.2 inn, 13 h, 1 r, 1 er, 5 bb, 30 k, 0.79 whip

AZ Phil, what’s your take on these two guys and any other relievers who might be up-and-coming or just a phone call away?

==================================

VA PHIL: As ROB G mentioned, Cory Bailey is a 36-year journeyman MLB reliever (KC, BOS, SF) who pitched in Japan for several years before returning to the U. S. this season. I doubt that he would be of much help.

Carmen Pignatielo would be a "3rd lefty/long-man" candidate, and the Cubs don't need one of those.

Clay Rapada is a true LOOGY, in that he is death on left-handed hitters, but you don't want to let him anywhere near RH hitters.

Both Matt Avery and Jerry Blevins have good arms, but both have a history of command problems and are not close to being ready for the big leagues at this time.

There are just no relievers in the Cubs minor league system who would be an improvement over the seven they have now, and I would not particularly want to move Marmol to the pen just yet, although he might be a future closer. But right now he needs AAA innings.

I guess the Cubs could move Guzman back to the bullpen (where he pitched very well) and use Marshall as the #5 starter, but I would think very long and hard before I would make that move.

The other alternative would be to make a trade for a proven MLB reliever, with perhaps Marmol and/or Murton as bait. Who that guy would be, I have no idea. All I know is everytime the Cubs have made deals like that in the past, they usually end up with a Matt Karchner, Felix Heredia, or Rick Aguilera.

So maybe it would be best to just go with the seven relievers who are there now and hope they improve.

Or maybe Kerry Wood's shoulder will magically heal itself.

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