Game 61 Recap: Cubs 4, Braves 5

Wolf vs. Lilly: Take a Guess at Who Won.

Game Center, Photos, Box Score, Recap, Play by Play


W- Paronto (3-1), Jim Wolf's 15 minutes of fame. ESPN's microphone crew. Lou's anger-management program. Honarable mentions to Mike Fontenot and the Cubs' Bullpen, for both coming up just short of heroic.

L- Dempster (1-3), Ted Lilly, Professionalism amongst umpires, my burning disdain of Joe Morgan, my curry, the gap separating MLB and Pro Wrestling, rested bullpens, retributive justice, Mike Fontenot's nose, my hopes of ever being hired by MLB, the notion of the Braves being a "classy" and "professional" ballclub.

S - Wickman (11)

Things to take from the game: 1. Jim Wolf reads minds, sees the future. For anyone that missed it - As you can read below in all the detail, Lilly got thrown from the game with two outs in the first, for hitting Renteria. There was no advanced warning to the teams, but home plate ump Jim Wolf judged the pitch deliberate, and therefore ejected Lilly. As we learn from the microphone ESPN strategically placed on Wolf, he tells Lou that he knew it was deliberate, because he knew something like this was going to happen, before the game started. While Jim Wolf's powers of prognostication and telepathy are debatable, the results were quite real: Cubs relievers need to get 25 outs, a day after they had to record 22 outs. 2. Edgar Renteria is a chump. After being hit on the hand (a glancing blow, as he had taken his hand off the bat in order to protect his face), Renteria steals second, and gives Fontenot a People's Elbow, a Tomahawk Chop, or whatever you care to call it. He barely tried to slide. Think Robert Fick in the 2003 series. Renteria later left the game with a "contusion" on his left hand. Unclear if it was from being hit, or from doing the hitting. And due to Lilly's ejection, there's no practical way for one of our relievers to retaliate. 3. The Cubs showed some resiliancy The Cubs came back from a 2-0 deficit and loss of our starting pitcher to go ahead 4-2, courtesy of home runs by Barrett and Fontenot, a Fontenot triple, and a Soriano sac. fly. Marmol struggled a bit, but between him, Ohman, Wuertz, and Howry (who looked a whole lot better, tonight), the Cubs made it to the 8th with a 4-2 lead 4. The Eighth Inning Cubs loaded the bases in the eighth with no outs, but failed to score. Fontenot hit a sharp bouncer to the drawn in third basemen, who went to home and then on to first for the DP. Izturis then grounded out. Dempster came in to pitch the bottom of the eighth (as Howry had gone two innings, and Eyre and Gallagher were the only people left in the pen, and they'd thrown 35 and 54 pitches the prior night, respectively). Dempster struggles (perhaps holding back as he knows he has to pitch 2 innings?) and gives up the lead. 5-4 Braves. Wickman then made sure Dempster wouldn't need to pitch that second inning. There are a lot of frustrated Cubs fans, tonight. But seeing as how the deck was stacked against us, I'm glad that we at least went down fighting. Jim Wolf and the rest of the crew did a disservice to their profession, tonight, and the MLB policy on bean-balls is not working. The blow-by-blow details of the mayhem, below.
  • Count me as a late-arriving fan. Cy Carlyle gets through the first without a score, and Lilly seems to have the Lillyhammer going in the bottom of the first. K's the first two guys
  • And no sooner do I settled down, than Lilly hits Renteria with a pitch near the shoulders - it just barely knicks his left hand, which had been raised in self defense. Renteria takes a few faux-tough guy steps towards Lilly, and both teams half-heartedly evacuate their respective dugouts, loaf out to the field, and mill about for awhile.
  • The most interesting thing to arise from all of this isn't any sort of confrontation between players, but the umpires' apparent decision to eject Lilly. Gammons reponrts on the ESPN telecast that there was no warning issued to the teams before the game, so it's not like Lilly knew in advance that he was gone if he hit somebody. What's more, ah, odd, is that the ejection wasn't immediate - it was AFTER the umps had tried to get between Renteria and Lilly and made sure that there wouldn't be any fisticuffs. Only then did homeplate ump Jim Wolf around to ejecting Lilly. Lou, surprisingly, takes it all in relative stride. ESPN has Wolf mic'ed up, and you can hear him say "that's it, that's it. you're done." Marmol coming in to relieve, with two outs in the first inning.
  • Renteria then steals second, and "slides" in with both of his arms raised, feet-first and never really does get down on his butt with his chest back, as you would on a real slide. He extends the left arm and clobbers Fontenot in the face. Morgan is doing a good job evaluating all of this, and declares that it clearly was intentional. I completely agree. He also points out that the Cubs have no practical way of retaliating against Renteria, seeing as how we've already lost the first pitcher to plunk him. Renteria should have been ejected for the play, and wasn't.
  • Kudos to Miller, Morgan, Gammons, and the ESPN crew - they've got the ump mic'ed, Gammons got in a couple brief worlds with Lou (although it didn't reveal much) and Miller and Morgan are doing a very good job of recounting the events, and calmly but clearly stating that the entire series of events was sheer and unmitigated bull-plop.
  • It's times like these that I'm glad Barrett's on our team.
  • And trying to cover this has caused me to forget about my curry on the stove-top, which now is burnt. I blame Jim Wolf. He owes me a curry.
  • More good work by ESPN with the microphones: an inexact transcription of the exchange between Wolf and Piniella:
      • "He's done.
      • Why?
      • Because he threw at him.
      • How do you know that he did?
      • Because I was waiting for it, I knew it was going to happen.
      • Oh come on, that's unbelievable."
    • If anyone has the exact transrcript through Tivo or whatever, would love to read it.
  • parachatters bring up the point that this might cause MLB to rethink its stance on having umps mic'ed up, as the broadcasters are just ripping the umps; additionally, they point out that the reasonable thing to do would be to have the umps mic'ed for every game, to better keep track of poor judgment and lack of professionalism.
  • KellyJohnson finally gives us something else to talk about - a solo HR off Marmol in the third.
  • Marmol goes up and just a little bit in on Francouer, leading to some howls from the fans. Fans are dumb. The word "fan" is an abbreviation of "fanatic."
  • Escobar, Renteria and Francouer singles produce another run in the third. Francouer's was an end-of-the-bat, broken-bat squibber just between third and short.
  • Marmol seems to be losing it now, with some very wild pitches two outs into the third. However, he manages to escape the third only down 2-0.
  • Lou interviewed in the fourth: "No warning whatsoever. Well, the umpire felt that our pitcher was throwing at the hitter intentionally, are guy contends he was just trying to pitch inside. Like Hudson last night. That was the umpire's interpretation. You can explain your reasoning to him, but not going to change opinions." He demures on Renteria's slide in to second. Hopes for two innings from each reliever. A very controlled Lou.
  • Ohman in to pitch the fourth, and hopefully fifth, with Pagan double-switched into the game, Jones out.
  • Ohman also struggles with death-by-singles and control issues. Runners on 1 and 2, with 2 outs and an 0-2 count, and he hits Escobar in the shin with a slider
  • And for whatever unknown reason, Renteria is now out of the game, and Chris Woodward in, in his place. Ohman gets Woodward to popup with the bases loaded, ending the inning
  • Joe Morgan continues to mock the umpires. heh.
  • Even Smoltz seems to be endorsing that Lilly and the Cubs got jobbed, as he demures when Jon and Joe ask about the Lilly/Wolf incident.
  • Meanwhile, Fontenot triples into the RF corner, scoring DeRosa. That'll make his nose feel better. Izturis then hits a fly into shallow-mid left. Fontenot can't tag up, but personally I would have liked to see it. Diaz didn't have time to set himself and was running towards the left-field sideline stands.
  • and no sooner than I type that, and Pagan hits a little dribbler to that area between the pitcher, first baseman and second baseman where you would try to push-bunt. He beats the throw at first, impressively, but Fontenot holds at third. A tough call about whether or not to go, but had he gone on contact or had a quick read, he easily would have scored. Much like the Barrett play last night, this seems to be one where Quade should have been screaming "GO!" from the start
  • That said, it's a moot point, as Soriano hits a shot to right-center field, a 390 foot sacrifice fly at the wall. Suddenly, we have a tie game.
  • Ohman only goes one inning, Wuertz now in. Wuertz also pitched an inning last night, but only on twelve pitches. Miller tells me Wuertz also pitched the day before yesterday.
  • Word on Renteria is he left with a contusion on his left hand - I wonder if it was from getting hit by the pitch, or clobbering Fontenot's nose.
  • Barrett puts us in the lead in the sixth, with a home run that just gets over the left-field fence and just elludes the flying Matt Diaz. 3-2
  • Howry now in for the sixth. Gets two quick outs, appears to be throwing well. 94 MPH to Kelly Johnson, up and with movement.
  • I spoke too soon, Johnson walks, Escobar singles, runners at 1 and 3 with 2 outs in the 6th. Eyre, Gallagher and Dempster are still available in the pen. Conceivably, Marquis also could pitch, given his short outing last night. Howry escapes the inning on a line-out to right, no damage.
  • Fontenot absolutely smokes one over the 390 sign in right-center, for his first career MLB home run, on a nationally televised prime-time game. 4-2 Cubs. Congrats, Mike. Especially in light of getting the Tomahawk Chop from Edgar.
  • Gammons reporting that Piniella suggested the players-only meeting, and asked Lee to find out if the players had any problems with his managing. Lee reported back that 4 or 5 players were upset with their amount of playing-time, but no personal complaints with Lou.
  • Top of the 7th, Izturis singles, Pagan sacrifices him to second, causing Soriano to get intentionally walked. Pie up with runners on 1 and 2, one out. Pie slaps one to short, and on the 4-6-3 attempt, Johnson's throw is high, allowing Pie to get his foot on the bag before Thorman can come down with the throw. Cox argues the call, but isn't ejected. Nuts. Lee up, 2 outs, 1st and 3rd. Pie takes second during the AB, but LEE 6-3's to end the inning.
  • Howry really is bringing it. Andruw Jones hit a 400 ft. flyout, but the fastball is really buzzing. And the slider that Francouer flies out to center on, is clocked at 91. It hasn't been a thing of beauty all the way through, but overall this has to be very encouraging. K's Diaz, looking, to end his second inning.
  • Eighth begins with Barrett reaching on an error by third-baseman Woodward, Barrett with nice hustle down the line. Theriot then singles up the middle, and we have a nice rally going to start the 8th.
  • DeRosa then bunts one towards third, and the ball kicks hard left towards the foul line. Woodward lets it go, and it stops dead on the chalk. Fair ball, bases now loaded.
  • Fontenot up, and he smokes one to third. Woodward is playing in, is able to corral the ball and throws home, to start a 5-2-3 DP. Izturis then hits a high chopper and is barely thrown out, and our bases loaded, no out 8th inning ends without any runs scoring. Let's hope we don't regret this.
  • Dempster appears to start the eighth, going for a 2 inning save. Looks like we're bypassing Eyre, who threw 2 IP and 35 pitches last night, as well as Gallagher (3.1 and 54).
  • and he's greeted by Saltalamacchia with a blistering double off the right-center wall, and a Thorman double down the 1B line . 4-3 Cubs. ohhhhhhhhh boy.
  • Willie Harris in to PH for the pitcher, and with everyone expecting a bunt to advance the tying run to third, Harris has the green light, and ropes one over a leaping Theriot. Another inch on him, and Theriot has it. Instead, runners at 1st and 3rd, still nobody out, 4-3 in the eighth. ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh man.
  • And Harris steals second, easily. oooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my stars, (as Granny Trans, god keep her, used to say).
  • Yunel Escobar batting, and on an inside pitch, Escobar seems to flinch and twist out of the way. Replay shows that as the pitch was on its way to the plate, a bug flew into his eye! Scary, if odd, stuff.
  • Escobar then GIDPs, but a run scores. 4-4 game, but at least the bases are empty with two outs. We're in no shape to go extra innings, as Eyre and Gallagher are both spent, and Dempster is laboring in the eighth.
  • Parachat's been speculating, since the start of the eighth, that Z should pitch in this game if Dempster struggles or it goes long. In that scenario, Lilly would have to pitch tomorrow. They show Lou asking Marquis if he can pitch tonight, and Marquis says he's ready to go.
  • Dempster has Jones at a 3-2 count, and falls down as he delibers a pitch into the dirt. Wild pitch, Harris races for home and scores the go-ahead run. Dempster appears hurt. We have Eyre, who threw 35 pitches last night and, to be generous, has struggled this year, and Gallagher, who is 21, a starter by training, and threw 54 pitches last night, available in the pen. Ack, ack, ack. Dempster appears ok, and gets the next guy on the first pitch, 6-4 force. Dempster throws 29 pitches in the inning. It should be noted that of the three walks, only ball 4 to Jones, the one with the wild pitch where Dempster falls down, was un-intentional.
  • And Wickman gets three outs for the save. We didn't find a new way to lose, so much as a new way to lose found us.
Parachat recap: Inning 1 This is a family-friendly blog (well, maybe not, but it's also better than most of the dreck that's out there) and most of the commentary regarding the Renteria HBP, Lilly Ejection, and Flying Elbow Off the Top Turnbuckle probably should remain unprinted. Inning 2 Creative strategies for revenge. Discussion on how to apply the bullpen for the rest of the game. Recounting the first inning for late arrivals. Critical deconstruction of the Wolf-Piniella exchange Inning 3 Suggestions for reforming the MLB Umpiring system. Chipper Jones loves Jesus's wife. Chipper's matrimonial situation. Jim Wolf's clairvoyant powers. Will Renteria get whacked on the final "Sopranos" episode? Why we still don't like ESPN broadcasters. How is Santo holding up? Inning 4 Can we come back against the vaunted Buddy Carlyle? Has Lou been drugged? Incredibly bad jokes about parrots, fish, and historians. Pee Wee's Secret Word. Inning 5 The Smoltz interview. Is Turkey more European or Asian? More schemes for creative retaliation. Yakov Smirnov. Loving and Hating other peoples' stuff. Our burning hatred of Branson, Missouri. Inning 6 Fantasy updates - is Lee hurtnig your team? Resolved: we are in favor of winning this game. Legendary feats that only Fontenot can accomplish. Pros and Cons of dating hairdressers. Unnecessary Knock Knock jokes. Very unnecessary jokes. No good shall come from any of this, ever. We can only hope that Homeland Security, the NSA, Child Welfare Services, the EPA, the ATF, the Department of Transportation, UNICEF, The American Diabetes Association, AARP, the KKK, ACLU and the American Legion are not monitoring parachat. Inning 7 Further proof that Mike Fontenot is a Jedi Master. The last Sopranos episode. Who throws a $7 beer onto the field? Why the Spurs are boring and should be replaced in the finals by the Suns. More talking around the Sopranos. "Eyre might be bad, but he could be Wuertz. Howry going to put up with these bad puns" - Courtesy of Johann and Andy. Inning 8 Is Ichiro a HOFer? Where he'd fit on the Cubs next year. The unfortunate top of the eighth. Valium and dentists. Are we more angry with the Umps or the Braves? Alarm and despair. Who can we throw in extra innings? Debating responsibility for the run-scoring wild pitch: Barrett or Dempster? Inning 9 We can't believe we're going to lose this game.


Morgan is doing a good job evaluating all of this

Ha... that may be the first time that was ever said.

And hopefully, the last. It made me feel funny to type it.


this game was SO frustrating. Unbelievably so.

To fight that hard through the middle innings. To have the bullpen, of all people, come in and save the day.

To have the bases loaded and no outs in the 8th and get nothing.

To have Dempster give it away.

This game was so psychologically huge. It would have meant back to back winning series after the Z-Barrett fight.

The heartbreak just keeps comin

Anyone sick of the Ryan Dempster as closer show yet? Time to remove him from that role and try someone, anyone else, but him.

No, actually. He had a bad inning. But overall he's been good enough this year, and certainly better than the other options right now.

Wake up Cubs! How many games does Dempster have to give away before you give the ball to someone else? Trade an outfielder for a closer that can actually get batters out. Dempster either walks the winning run home or overthrows his pitch into the dirt, either way, he gives away too many games!

Can someone clear something up for me? We started Pie on both Saturday and Sunday and still lost, how is that possible?

Any hope for MLB discipline on Wolf and Renteria? How did he not get thrown out of the game? I didn't get to hear Joe Morgan's expert analysis.

Morgan claimed the 2B ump was looking at Renteria's foot, not his arms. I didn't see footage of where the umps were positioned or where they were looking on the play, but intuitively that makes some sense.

Yah numbers still support Dempster overall; for comparison, check out Pirates' Torres.

Nice job, Trans, that was really entertaining. And dead on. Too bad about the game...grr.

For you Dempster haters...

This is only Dempster's second blown save.

This is only Dempster's fifth outing where he allowed runs. He has had 22 outings where he has not allowed a run.

And gives away too many games? He has 2 blown saves, and three losses, one of which was one of the blown saves. I fail to see how that is "giving away too many games."

Nice to see the guys not cave in after the Lily diaster. The season is a marathon, not a sprint. we have a 101 games left after tonight. Deping upon the results in Arlington we are either 5 or 6 down. All we still have to do is pick up a game every 17 (if 6 back) or 20 (if five back) to catch the Brewers. Hopefully they dont let the 8th inning tonight bother them.


What Dempster does is have about 8-15 innings of solid baseball and then he has an implosion inning like tonight. That is why Lou wanted to make him a starter. It is easier for the team to overcome that if the bad inning is not the eighth or nineth.

"about 8-15 innings of solid baseball and then he has an implosion inning like tonight"

Uhhh, that means that, by your own reckoning, he has 8 to 15 saves for every blown save.......

Also Lilly is an idiot for throwing at a guy in the 1st and at the guy that killed us last night. Hard to argue its not intentional. Yeah Wolf should not have thrown him out if he didn't issue a warning before the game. Kind of funny he didn't if he knew it was coming. Also Lou does deserve some blame tonight. He should have let Marmol stay in longer, I think he could have gotten atleast another inning out of him. He should have let K. Hill, Z, or Marquis pinch hit for Izturis in the 9th. He also should have walked Jones and see if you couldnt make Francouer get himself out by swinging at garbage like he is prone to do.

Thank God, Jehovah, Allah, John Smith and Buddah that I missed this game.

zambrano was not at the game took
early flight cause he is starting on


Dempster is a solid closer, I will give that. However, the most common factor of World Series winners is having a domiant lights out closer atleast for that year. BTW another Eyre (Willie) bites the Cubs in the exist orophus by giving up a 3 run jack to Jenkins.


He still had Marquis or K. Hill then.

Isringhausen and Dustin Hermanson were the last two closeres on world series championship teams. And it was Adam Wainwright closing in the postseason for the Cards.

Before that, your World Series closeres were Keith Foulke, Braden Looper, Troy Percival, Byung-Hyun Kim, Mariano Rivera (several times) Rob Nen, Mark Wholers, and Duane Ward.

Also Lilly is an idiot for throwing at a guy in the 1st and at the guy that killed us last night. Hard to argue its not intentional.

You can't possibly blame Lilly for throwing at a Brave.

You're right that it is hard to argue that its not intentional, but if that's all it takes to get tossed from the game, then why was Hudson allowed to throw a 2nd pitch on Saturday? There was a hell of a lot more intent there.

I won't say this often, but The Cubs got screwed by a piss-poor umpiring crew that allowed the Braves to take every cheap shot in the book without penalty.

Lets just hope that Z can pitch 8-9 strong innings tomorrow so the pen can relax for a day.


Jenks and Wainright were the last 2 closers for WS teams. Even when Hermanson was the CWS closer in 05 he was 34 for 37 in save chances with a 2.04 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. Even though Kim, Ward, and Wohlers had less than great careers there year there teams won they had career years. The only real excecption was the 03 marlins.

"You can’t possibly blame Lilly for throwing at a Brave."

I am not all, I am saying is he should have had more discression than he showed. It was BS that he was kicked out.

Dempster is a solid closer? When did this happen? Sure hasn't been one since he became one. Unless ofcourse you like the SO, basehit, BB, WP, SO, base hit, BB, SO variety of closing.

And don't even get me started with Barretts defense on that WP, knees on the ground glove in your crotch, its what real catchers do to keep balls from going between their legs in super important situations. Awww well someday he will get the hang of it right? Just like Dempster....right? Dont count on it.

I think you're being very generous and flexible with your standards. 8 to 15 good outings for every bad one doesn't count as a great closer, according to your own claim. but Wainwright, Izzy, Jenks, Hermanson, Kim, Ward, Wohlers, Looper, all were great?

I'm dubious.

I'm also tired. see everyone later.

Dempster also blew the game in NY which was not a save situation.

Dempster is not the problem with the team, though. Lack of regular work for Dempster is.

For god's sake, Dempster has a .976 WHIP and 3.25 ERA this year. He isn't putting anyone on base.

The majority of teams in baseball would be happy with those #s out of their closer.

This game was so bad, I just woke up dreaming about how Dempster blew it. Seriously, I like Ryan's effort most of the time, but tonight, it just felt like he was going to blow it by the look in his eyes. He looked scared. Anyway, I really need to stop watching this team, otherwise I will only have a good night sleep about 40% of the days they play given their win-loss record.

Good work, Trans. TCR owes you a curry (I guess that means we're going to Safeco).

I know you guys aren't really pleased with Dempster and you have a right to be. And you might think I'm full of crap and that's fine, too.

Asking a closer to work a full two innings is tough duty. You can bring a guy in with guys on and have him work out of a jam in the eighth and then pitch the ninth because the pressure is still on in the eighth.

But, as a former closer, if you brought me in to start the eighth it completely changes my approach. I have to save some stuff because I might have to throw 50 pitches that night if I get in trouble.

Lou didn't have a choice, though. It was either him or Eyre. Gallagher was down.

It would have been nice if Wuertz could have gone two innings, but Ohman screwed that up when he scuffled through his inning after the double switch. Lou couldn't DS again in the fifth. He was already hurting on the bench.

Wanted to elaborate a touch on the last post, was up against bit of a deadline...

For over a year, I had to close in college and we had a really terrible bullpen getting to me. Typically we'd try to get 6 strong out of the starter, go to our halfway reliable setup guy in the seventh and then the last two innings were mine.

It had been over a year since I was stretched out as a starter and when this experiment started, I started getting tired at 45-50 pitches. I always found myself getting in trouble in the eighth because I knew I had to take it easy or I'd run out of gas in the ninth. I was taking some off the fastball, just trying to throw a get-me-over curve or slider and I was getting knocked around a bit.

I'm obviously not Ryan Dempster (I would have been banned from TCR long ago) and I obviously wasn't a big leaguer. But I think that was Demp's problem last night. He knew he was going to have to come back again for the ninth and was trying to save something. The problem was he got shelled in the eighth instead. Say what you want about that, I suppose.

And don’t even get me started with Barretts defense on that WP, knees on the ground glove in your crotch

MikeC... that is an extremely difficult play to make, for any catcher. He has to move 3-4 feet to his right to stop a ball that bounced 3-4 feet in front of the plate. I would love to see you try to move sideways while at the same time staying along the ground. It doesn't work. Too blame Barrett on that play is just plain foolish.

Dempster is a solid closer? When did this happen?

Well... not sure if you have been watching Cubs games over the last two plus years, but Dempster has been solid closer since 2005. He had a couple poor months last year, but other than that, he has been quite good.

Once again - Dempster is 12 of 14 in save opportunites. He has only allowed runs in five outings out of 27, two of which he only gave up one run. His WHIP 1.15, which easily shoots down your idea that he puts on a lot of base runners.

In his previous 8.1 innings (9 appearances), he had given up 4 hits, 2 walks, and zero runs.

Don't get me wrong - Dempster is not a great. But has has been quite good in the role over the last two and a half seasons.

He looked scared.

hmmm... i didn't think he look scared at all. i thought he looked pissed.

I'm used to seeing the Cub's get runners all over with 0 outs and stranding them, and then get pissed at them, but really that ball Fontenot hit was hit pretty hard and towards a pulled-in 3B... it was dumb luck it was hit right to him. So that inning didn't bother me as much as it normally would.

For you Dempster haters…

This is only Dempster’s second blown save.

Good thing for Demp, you don't get charged with a blown save when you come in with a 4-run lead against the Met's and give up 5 runs. a time when the team really needed some momentum. Do you have a stat for that?

And let's not fool ourselves... of course we can't blame that passed ball on Barrett, but that doesn't mean he's a good catcher. Barrett plays some terrible defense.

Sorry, I said passed-ball... I meant wild pitch.

Absolute bullshit umpiring during the Braves/Cubs series. I wished I stopped watching after Lily got tossed. I know DLee is slumping but man, between him, ARam being injured, and the lack of clutch hitting by others, it's been brutal.
Being a true Cub fan, I am suspicious about Aram's knee injury. He probably needs to be scoped and will be wonky all season until they shut him down. So much for hustling.
Take it out on Astros, Cubs, this has been crap.

of course we can’t blame that passed ball on Barrett, but that doesn’t mean he’s a good catcher

I don't see anyone saying that he is a good defensive catcher. I just think that the wild pitch is absolutely not his fault.

Good thing for Demp, you don’t get charged with a blown save

Yes... because one bad outing is more significant than his many god outings.

People love to hate around here, and will use any justification to do so. As soon as the WP happened, I knew people would be on TCR bitching about how bad Barrett is. And as soon as Dempster lost the game, I knew people would be here bitching about how the Cube need a "real" closer, regardless of the facts that show that Dempster has been better than decent in the closer's role over the last 2.5 years.

Do you have a stat for that?

But go ahead... mock me for using "stats." I am sure that your gut opinions are a more accurate look at how Dempster has done as a closer.

oops... forgot to close a tag there at the end.

The Cubs are now 3-13 in one run games....and the Nomar Garciaparra award goes to Soriano who is hitting .552 when he hacks at a first pitch strike.

Never a good time for a blown save, and Dempster has been pretty good lately, but this one hurt.

Still -- with Lilly retaliating and protecting Soriano, and Fontenot hitting a triple and a HR after getting sucker-punched by Renteria -- nice to see some backbone in this team. We have faulted them for being "lifeless" and "gutless' at times this year -- maybe this is a sign that they have some moxie, after all.

Time to sick Paulie Walnuts on Renteria -- the guy sucker-punches a rookie, then hides in the dugout the rest of the game. That ain't chicken salad; it's the other one. Should be good fun if Edgar has the stones to play when they come to Wrigley next year -- or, maybe the playoffs?

"Dempster with 12 of 14 save opportunities."

I thought I blew this one up a long time ago. He leads the league in saves accomplished when he's given a three-run lead. He's very good at home against the Nats.

The first time Dempster was given the ball this season with a one-run lead to protect--the first time!--was Thursday June 8th, the Rich Hill game in Atlanta. He did a good job. Then he blew the next one. That's Dempster: effective about 50 per cent of the time.

Did you watch him pitch last night? Or do you just say, nah, I'll look at the box score tomorrow, and compare it with his season stats. (Where did I put my green eyeshade?)

Because the guy I saw pitch last night didn't throw a single fastball in the strike zone. I watched him pitch to seven guys, up until the passed ball. Every first pitch was a ball, and Dempster had to pitch from behind.

His control his lousy, but he's also chickenshit. Like his friend Wuertz, he's afraid to throw a fastball over the plate.

What I find odd is that Hendry pegged Dempster as a closer because of his "makeup." I think he has the wrong makeup for a closer. He's a clown. A nice guy, sure, but he's a joker, the guy with the shaving cream pies. The guy with the 50-year-old batboy. Your closer should be a mean SOB. Someone who goes out there and says, Hit this, asshole.

Barrett should have blocked that pitch. A decent major league catcher blocks that pitch. It's a difficult play, but making difficult plays is what these guys are paid to do. He should have made the play. Not that Dump wouldn't have found some other way to blow the game, but Barrett should have blocked that pitch.

Renteria should have been thrown out of the game right away when he punched Fontenot. There was no difference between what Renteria did and punching a guy in the face. Sliding into second base hard with a player's legs is fine, part of the game, yada, yada, yada. But as someone else said, Renteria barely slid into the base. His goal clearly was to pop our guy in the face. And our guy was knocked back about 15 feet as a result. Where was the first base ump? Where was the home plate ump who, as a psychic, should have known that Renteria was going to take a cheap shot. And most of all, where was Lou? Why didn't Lou come out of the dugout at that point and complain? Maybe the umps would have had a pow-wow and one of the umps them could have told their mate at second base that Renteria punched our guy in the face. I think Lou dropped the ball big time. For all the talk about defending his players and sticking up for them, why was he not out there complaining? Instead, again, we just take it lying down and the Braves got the upper hand. Yes, the umps ultimately are to blame but I think it was time for Lou to do some complaining. Is there any chance that Renteria will at least get fined by the league? He should be fined. If Lilly gets suspended as a result of the glancing blow off Renteria and nothing happens to Renteria, it will be a complete joke, adding insult to injury.

Once again, Michael Barrett's wretched play behind the plate rears its ugly head. This time on the play that scored Willie Harris. For the love of God, please let him be traded away before the deadline. I don't care if the Cubs receive a box of balls in return.

A glancing blow? I am sorry but that is downright false. A fastball hit his hand and fell straight to the ground and forced him to be removed from the game. Plenty of times, warnings are issued in previous games of a heated series and then when a pitcher throws at someone's head (you can't seriously believe it was unintentional) they get tossed. Soriano got it because he tried to stretch a single to a double with an 8 run lead late and took his long walks around the bases and Renteria retaliated for getting hit. Heated series, but nothing wrong with it.

Will, sorry, I don't agree. Not even Joe Morgan agrees and he is famous for seeming hostile towards the Cubs. Specifically, Joe stated that Lilly should not have been tossed out of the game.

These are the facts: Renteria got hit. He stayed in the game. He slid into second base and punched our game in the face. How is it that you know that the injury to Renteria's hand that caused him to leave the game was caused by being hit, as opposed to Renteria hitting our guy? You are making assumptions.

Cubs got the short end of the stick from the umpiring crew. What needed to happen was for Sweet Lou to go balistic, but he was essentially handcuffed given his episode that led to the four game suspension. He trots out to the field last night and blows his stack and he probably is staring at a 10 game suspension.

Ted Lilly plunked the guy, period. That's what he should have done, and he did it. The umpire screwed up in not warning both sides before the game even started.

Speaking of bullpen meltdowns -- the Brewers had a beauty Saturday night -- leading 3-0 in the 9th with 2 outs and nobody on, they lose 4-3 for Cordero's first blown save.

The NL Comedy Central! I think Paulie Shore has been activated to pitch in the Reds 'pen.

But go ahead… mock me for using “stats.” I am sure that your gut opinions are a more accurate look at...

No problem with people using stats... I do have a problem with people *only* using stats. Not only that, and I'm not picking on you, dave, but some other people even use bad stats.

And yes, I trust my gut more than stats.

Barrett should have blocked that pitch. A decent major league catcher blocks that pitch. It’s a difficult play, but making difficult plays is what these guys are paid to do.

Good point. Just like Derrek Lee makes Ramirez's throws look good, a good catcher can quietly save the day on plays like these.

Dempster looked awful. No command of the fastball or the slider. Missing the strike zone by a lot early in the count. Throwing pitches way too fat when he was in the strike zone. A miserable performance. In another game (with more bullpen options available), I'd have yanked him after the first two batters. He had nothing. He looked like he had no focus.

I'm no apologist for Barrett's defense generally, but the wild pitch was a tough play for anyone to make: in the dirt well in front of the plate and wide of both the plate and where he was set up.

Just like Derrek Lee makes Ramirez’s throws look good

I would have agreed with you on this a couple of years ago, but not any more. A-Ram has greatly improved his defense. He actually has become somewhat of a defensive plus at third base.

As for the Barrett play...

If any other catcher in the league does the same thing (i.e. not block a terrible wild pitch that was 3-4 feet short and 3-4 feet outside), no one would say a thing.

Again... I am not trying to defend Barrett's defense. It has been downright bad this year. But attack him for legitimate mistakes, not for Dempster's mistakes.

I think the point is this: A good catcher and maybe he stops it maybe he doesn't. Michael Barrett? No way.

Well... I disagree - I think most catchers don't stop that ball.

I would also say this - Barrett tends to be pretty good blocking the ball in the dirt. What he doesn't do well is catch when he should (i.e. pass balls) and throw the ball well.

I'm sick and tired of people defending Michael Barrett. This guy is like a lethal gas leak that goes undetected until the victim is lying on the ground dead. Barrett would have to hit .325 and knock in 90 runs to even semi-justify his presence behind the plate. And it's not about him being in the a "slump." He's been like this ever since he arrived in town. The Montreal Expos could no longer tolerate his defense, and dumped him (and don't say it was for salary reasons...he was making a paltry $2.1 million at the time). Billy Beane didn't want the guy handling his pitching staff either.

This isn't about defending Barrett. It is about whether or not Barrett was responsible for that wild pitch, and it should be a resounding no.

Barrett sucks defensively. But last night's wild pitch did not show that.

The Montreal Expos could no longer tolerate his defense

And Barrett didn't hit for the Expos, so it is not a legitimate comparison.

"Asking a closer to work a full two innings is tough duty."

Closers are babied these days - we tend to forget that closers like Gossage and Sutter (not to mention Fingers) habitually came into the game for the 8th and 9th innings back then - this equation changed regarding Eckersly's later career. If Dempster was holding something back for his work in the 9th, then he essentially lost the game in the 8th - the guy is too unreliable for this type of work, end of story.

Maybe Dempster just didn't have it yesterday.

Closers blow saves. They always do. Dempster has pitched very well lately. And my guess is that he will rebound and continue to pitch well.

All this has me wondering... who are the top 5 defensive catchers in the game? Current day... Any takers?

who are the top 5 defensive catchers in the game? Current day… Any takers?

hmm... good question.

i think the list would probably start with these two:

Yadier Molina
Jose Molina

not really sure after that. i am not sure that pudge still makes the list of top 5.

Maybe closers used to pitch 2 innings, but they don't now. Since closers don't pitch 2 innings now, they have no experience doing so, and hence you can't really blame them for not being good at it.

It's the whole "baseball was better in my day and today's players are pussies" thin that just gets annoying. Baseball is different today. Starters go a 100 pitches, closers go 1 inning, and players learn that from the time they're young.

To change anything, you'd have to change the way the guys play baseball the entire time they're coming up. You can't just expect a starter who's pitched 100 pitches every time they go to suddenly go 140 pitches and you can't expect a closer who only ever goes 1 inning to suddenly go 2 and have a real understanding of how to manage the pitches.

I wish to address an issue I have talked about in previous years and it is time I griped again. "Umpiring Incompetance".

There is no doubt the level of player abilities have declined as expansion and other sports have claimed many of the best athletes. But the umpire quality has declined even more rapidly. Too many umpires think the show is about them. Too many carry over grudges from previous games. Too many don't have the temperment. Too many are just not good umpires.

Because there are so few minor leagues today to sharpen their skills, they arrive at the major league level before they have the many years of seasoning that previous umps had.

I don't have the answer. I used to think more money would attract better candidates but this has not resulted. Meanwhile, we will continue to see the miserable display of umpiring that took place on Sunday night.

Dempster may indeed bounce back, but I really didn't like his demeanor on the mound last light. Barrett had to go out and talk to him after he lollypopped a pitchout. Rothschild had to go out and talk to him to try to get him to focus.

Pitchers don't always have their best stuff or command. What you do expect at the professional level is that they focus and concentrate each time out. I didn't see that from Dempster last night.

With the bullpen as stretched as it was, the Braves were waiting to find the weak link, and they did.

I was thinking (In no particular order) Mauer, Pudge, R. Hernandez, and Yadier Molina.

And was it on Saturday that Lou merely raises both his arms in wonderment about the fluid strike zone that the home plate ump took off his mask and told Lou to put his arms down? Some of these umps are totally out of control and appear to have massive egos.

ARM... I believe the Lou had his arms up when someone got hit on Saturday, and the ump told him to put his arms down. It wasn't about the strike zone (I think).

I think it was more of a "calm every thing down" from the ump on that one.

I think that story got lost in Lou Piniella ejection. The quality of umping we're seeing this year is down considerably.

In my view the 2007 season is over. It's been over since June 1st. Now some of you will say, well geez how can you state that when in fact the Cubs play in the worst division in baseball and are only a few games out of 1st place!?!? I can say it because the 2007 version of the Chicago Cubs is fatally flawed. The lineup is too dysfunctional, the defense too wretched, the bullpen plain awful. Jason Marquis and Ted Lilly pitched exceptional for 2 months, but of late are settling into their normative patterns. The Cubs might have good starting pitching, but not nearly good enough to overcome the multitude of flaws with the rest of this ballclub. The tragedy really lies in the fact that A.) ownership of this ballclub won't resolve itself probably until early 2008 and B.) Jim Hendry is a lame duck. Envision for a moment next offseason?!? Hendry will probably still be around because MLB still won't have approved a new ownership group. Which means there will be minimal roster moves next winter. That is other than players with expiring contracts waving bye-bye (e.g., Crazy Horse Zambrano).

hahah, oldcubfan already said that. :) nm

Seattle Matchup...looks like the Mariners will have Jeff Weaver ready to start against the Cubs on Thursday:

• Jeff Weaver, lifted from Saturday's game after four innings because of lower back stiffness, reported improvement and is expected to start Thursday at Wrigley Field.

the M's also lose their day off, making up another of those snow out dates in Cleveland, so at least that is a level playing field

The positives i take from that game:

1) Fontenot has a really nice swing.

*We may have a nice platoon situation with Fontenot and DeRosa at 2b. and a platoon at SS with Izturis and Theriot.

When DeRosa is not playing 2nd --- i like him getting playing time at RF as well.

Is Fontenot for real???

I believe the Lou had his arms up
Something smells about this team, maybe that's the origin of the odor

On the Negative side:

Our Captain of the Defense: Michael Barrett is making far too many mental mistakes to be in a position of such importance. He did not effectively block any significant pitches --- he's throwing down to second on "1st and 3rd situations"--when the runner goinng to 2nd is safe by a country mile. AND is making dumb baserunning plays on a weekly bases.

Dempster didn't help, however that ball in the dirt needs to be kept in front of Barrett.

Silent Towel:
That is other than players with expiring contracts waving bye-bye (e.g., Crazy Horse Zambrano).

The Cub's won't get to pay 15mil+/year for Z? The horror!

Jeff Weaver, lifted from Saturday’s game after four innings because of lower back stiffness, reported improvement and is expected to start Thursday at Wrigley Field.

Great... the guy who dominated the Cub's in his last ST start. And... the guy who couldn't record an out during the regular season if his life depended on it. Prepare to be embarrassed Cub lineup.

Well, ST, we'll see you in February for pitchers & catchers then.

Have a good rest of the summer.

Let's presume that Michael Barrett is the bane of all that is right in the world. Let's also assume that the Cubs do, in fact, wish to trade him.

Who takes his place?
Geovany Soto? (who is inexplicably hitting .315 at AAA)
Henry Blanco?
Koyie Hill?
Jake Fox?
Chris Robinson?

It's not like the farm system is awash with good catchers.

The Cubs blew the game. Dempster pitched badly. Barrett couldn't come up with a tough play.

His defense is below average, but until there is a better alternative, he will play.

Dave, # 67, yeah, I realize now you are correct. Lou raised his arms in disbelief when our relief pitcher was hit by a pitch on Saturday after Soriano also had been hit.

It was interesting that Joe Morgan said that Soriano did not act like he had a problem with being hit by the pitch when it happened. Obviously, Soriano had a problem with it, even though he did not charge the mound. Yesterday, for the first time, I saw the tape of Soriano returning to the dugout after grounding out later in the game and he took a path right by Hudson and turned his head and made a comment to Hudson.

There was some interesting discussions going on by Morgan and Miller yesterday about the whole issue of letting the players handle the hit by pitch situations, ie, letting the players eke out justice. They ended up speaking to Smoltz from the dugout for an entire half inning while the Cubs were up. Smoltz agreed that the players should be left to handle some things on their own. And Smoltz even seemed to agree that tossing Lilly was extreme. Smoltz also said that, as a general rule, he does not get involved in bench clearing situations after a player is hit by a pitch, as he feels that it something for the position players.

If we had a team that had any balls, this is what would have happened:

Renteria tries his bullshit at 2nd, our 2b shoves him back, starts an argument, umps break it up, Lou comes out and throws a fit and Renteria is ejected. That would have been easy and realistic. Instead the entire team just crawls into a shell and accepts Renteria being the cs ass he is. DLee should have been over there beating Renteria's ass, but DLee is a pussy. These guys make 3-18 million a year and are worried about losing a game check for doing the right thing.

Now what I would have done. Bring in Marmol and tell him to drill Andruw Jones in the head on the first pitch. I don't care if I have to pitch position players all night, or forfeit the game, I'm not taking any crap. And when Renteria comes back up, since he hasn't been ejected in the tussle at 2b, I drill him in the head. Don't leave any question about my motives. Fuck the Braves, fuck Renteria. I'm sick of our team always being fucking cowards. Grow some balls and nail these motherfuckers.

Yea, because MLB is now giving playoff berths to the teams who start the most fights...

If only Damian Miller were behind the plate last night. Lilly would've stayed in the game and the pitching staff would've shut the Braves down.

I get the feeling that last night's umpiring calls may have been a carry over from Piniella's tirade last week. It just seemed like the umpiring crew had their minds made up that they were going to stick it to Piniella/the Cubs from the beginning. It was as if the umpires were saying to Piniella, "If you're going to act like a horse's ass, we're going to throw it right back in your face."

I was also surprised at the relatively calm way Piniella handled Lilly's ejection and Renteria's bush league play at second. I wonder if the Cubs and/or MLB told Piniella after his last suspension that they would not tolerate his antics any more. Just a guess on my part.

The problem with Michael Barrett isn't just that he has poor receiving skills and is lousy at throwing out base-stealers. He also has a very low baseball IQ. He's got a big heart and he's a wonderful human being, but he's just not very bright. He makes too many mental mistakes, and those can cost a team, too, just like physical mistakes.

I believe Barrett's future (post-2007) probably will be (or should be) in the A. L. as a part-time catcher/DH, and if he can play some 1B and 3B, too, so much the better. But as a #1 catcher, he just doesn't cut it. (He has to put up a .900+ OPS to offset his defensive shortcomings and ill-timed brain-farts, and he's not THAT good of a hitter). There might be a couple or three A. L. teams that might take a shot at Barrett, though, probably TEX, TOR, or TB. The Cubs would probably have to take back a contract similar to Barrett's (around $5M), or maybe pay the difference between whatever contract they do take back in a deal. Perhaps something like Barrett, Scott Moore (Hank Blalock is out for the year), and Rocky Cherry or Clay Rapada to TEX for Akinori Otsuka (who recently lost his closer's job to Eric Gagne) might work, with the Cubs paying the difference in salaries (the difference is about $2M, and both Barrett and Otsuka will be FAs after this season).

I don't like Jake Fox as a catcher, but he's not really any worse that Barrett defensively (they're both about equally bad), and at least he's smarter than Barrett. If Fox can hit big league pitching with the power he's displayed the past couple of years at Daytona and Tennessee (he may not walk much and he does strike out a lot, but he also has the best power in the Cubs minor league system), I wouldn't have a problem with Fox as a part-time C/RF/RHPH (he has a strong enough arm to play RF), offering the Cubs a power RH bat off the bench when he's not playing in the field. (Fox would take Murton's place on the roster, with the added plus of being able to play 1B and catcher).

As for who would replace Barrett right now, there are no catchers in the organization who I would rate as a potential #1 catcher. The best the Cubs could probably do right now is a platoon, maybe by trading Jacque Jones and Geovany Soto to WAS for Brian Schneider (which would be a payroll wash for the two teams, and get the Nats a LF--which they need--along with a younger replacement catcher for Scheneider).

BTW, a lot of people peg Geovany Soto as a good defensive catcher who can't hit, but he's actually not that good of a defensive catcher. He has historically been down around Barrett as far as throwing out base-stealers, and he's not particulary athletic behind the plate. But Soto has good receiving skills, and he's been around AAA and ST for about three or four years, so he knows all the Cubs and Iowa pitchers very well. He has also improved his hitting quite a bit (and developed some power, too) over the past couple of years to where he should be able to get a shot with a team like WAS. (Also, Soto will be out of minor league options in '08 such that he can't be sent back to AAA next year without first clearing Outright Waivers, so the Cubs really should think about trading him right now). Expanding the deal to something like Jones, Soto, Murton, and Neal Cotts for Schneider and Austin Kearns (a "true" RF who loves to hit at Wrigley Field) might be a possibility, too (Kearns has a .978 OPS at Wrigley Field over the past three seasons).

I'm not saying Brian Schneider is the perfect choice to replace Barrett, or that a Blanco/Schneider/Fox platoon is the answer, just that it is probably the best the Cubs could do right now. At least Schneider will not hurt the Cubs with awshit mental mistakes.

If I were GM I would make these moves in the first couple of days to make the team better. It only involves one trade:

Release Barrett, Jones, and Dempster. Simply having them off the team makes the team better. Call up Geovany Soto. I don't expect him to become an everyday big league catcher, but you never know, and he is supposedly a decent defensive catcher. He and Hill can play the rest of the year unless I can come up with an even better defensive catcher. I expect Hank White to miss the rest of the year with his herniated disk, so he's not an option. Defense first at catcher. I don't care what they hit, they have to call a good game and throw people out regularly.

Pagan is not a huge talent, and probably only a fourth or fifth outfielder at best, but the doesn't seem to make the mental errors that the rest of our RF gallery of knuckleheads make. So unless I have a better option in the minors, or until I get a better option, he gets the bulk of the playing time in RF.

Now I take a stab at fixing our closer situation. With Dempster gone there isn't an obvious improvement on the roster, too many bumbling inconsistent mediocre pitchers. I call Texas and trade for Eric Gagne. It shouldn't cost too much to get him, given his health risks, but it will take a decent prospect, I would expect. It doesn't matter, if he's anywhere near healthy he's a far better closer than anyone else we could get.

Phil, I didn't know Soto wasn't a decent defensive catcher. I was writing my post while you were posting.

There has to be some good defensive catchers in other teams minor leagues, just like there are always some good defensive shortstops who cant hit stuck in the minors. Trade for one of those catchers for the rest of the year.

"big john studd

Yea, because MLB is now giving playoff berths to the teams who start the most fights…"

Teams who stand up for themselves tend to become teams and work together, instead of rolling over. And if you drill their stars you send a message to all of the other teams not to start any crap, that you'll drill their best players in retaliation. It works. You can't let them drill your best players and get away with it. It's supposed to be 1 for 1. You drill our guy, we drill yours, fight over. With the Cubs it's always 1-0. We never respond.

#83 -

If your first moves as GM include overpaying for injured ex-all-star relievers, I hate to say it, but you don't have much of a future in this biz.

Brian Schneider would have to call several shutouts to make up for his Neifi-like blackhole in the lineup. Can Schneider call 1 run game wins from behind the plate? Can he tell Eyre to stop sucking ass?

That'll be great. With all the offensive problems the Cubs have had some games, put in an even worse offensive catcher. That'll clearly make things better. Maybe, just for fun, we can start Izturis, Floyd and one of our bad offensive catchers all on the same day! Feel the excitement as the bottom of our lineup all strike out!

Or better yet, this back of the lineup would make sure the Cubs didn't score too many runs:

6 - Jacque
7 - Izturis
8 - Schneider
9 - Pitcher

3-4 automatic outs every time through the order... Schneider would save a passed ball once in a while though.


That was a gem of a post Az Phil. Could not agree more with everything you said.

The strange thing about Michael Barrett is the harder he works at preparing in the off-season the worse he gets behind the plate.

Now what I would have done. Bring in Marmol and tell him to drill Andruw Jones in the head on the first pitch.
I still say if you have retaliation in mind, I would have used Eyre for that purpose since Lou clearly doesn't have enough confidence to use him in a close game situation. With a bullpen that had to cover Marquis early exit on saturday they couldn't afford to waste Marmol. I like Eeyore, he's friends with Piglet

big john studd — June 11, 2007 @ 11:13 am
Or better yet, this back of the lineup would make sure the Cubs didn’t score too many runs:

6 - Jacque
7 - Izturis
8 - Schneider
9 - Pitcher

3-4 automatic outs every time through the order… Schneider would save a passed ball once in a while though.


BIG JOHN: Not exactly.

You must have speed-read through my post, but what I said was....Jacque Jones and Geovany Soto to WAS for Schneider.

To produce a lineup like this:

Floyd/Murton (or Kearns, if the Schneider deal could be expanded)

Now there's only two "black holes" for you to worry about, and two of the Cubs five rotation starters are pretty good hitters.

Michael Barrett may be quite a "catch" for fantasy baseball GMs and rotisserie league aficionados--where offense counts and defense doesn't matter--but on the Field of Reality where actual baseball is played, Barrett is a loser, or at least he's a carrier.

Can JJ pitch? Why would the Nats have any use for him, they're in rebuild mode?

I'm generally leery of replacing good hit/bad field players with no hit/good field players.

But ... the '61 Reds and the '67 Red Sox (and to a lesser extent, the '65 Twins and the '66 Orioles) won outright pennants with no hit catchers. So it can be done. Those are just the examples that come to mind.

Renteria should have been ejected for his forearm shiver, and SHOULD face a suspension from MLB. I won't hold my breath.

I, too, was amazed Lou didn't raise a bigger stink about that or the Lilly ejection.

Rob G. — June 11, 2007 @ 11:41 am
Can JJ pitch? Why would the Nats have any use for him, they’re in rebuild mode?


ROB G: Jacque Jones can't pitch (but I'll bet you knew that, didn't you?)

The Nats need a LF, and in Soto they would also be getting a replacement catcher for Schneider. Also, Jones and Schneider are making about the same salary, but Schneider is signed through 2009, while Jones is signed only through 2008 (which would be good for a rebuilding team). Jones probably would benefit from a change of scenery, and then after they polish him up a bit, if the Nats want to move JJ at the trading deadline for a prospect, they can do that.

As for the Nats needing pitching, no question they do. Which is why I mentioned Neal Cotts and why I included Matt Murton and Neal Cotts for Austin Kearns as a potential expanded deal.

let me rephrase, if you're rebuilding, you don't trade for 30+ players unless you think they're part of the next 5 years and they're certainly not going to expand it to get rid of an Of'er that's under 30.

I think they liked Marmol when we asked about Church, maybe Marmol and Cotts woud get you Schneider, but I really don't think they want to deal him to be honest.

anyone know the last time a starting catcher was traded mid-season?

honest question, but off the top of my head I would think teams would be leery of bringing in a guy that would have to learn the staff in the middle of the season.

Hendry Rules

#1 Always try to trade a player a year or two past their expiration date.

AZ, the Cubs though are going to play Izzy at SS. So you then automatically have at least 3 holes in your lineup if you have a bad catcher.

Plus, Soriano is a streaky player, Pie and Theriot are both young and going to go through ups and down, I'm still waiting for DeRosa to revert to his career line, Murton won't play well without consistent playing time and Floyd is playing above his career line in AVG and OBP, which I doubt will continue.

So we potentially have a decent amount of question marks in our lineup and getting rid of Barrett for a bad catcher is simply adding another one.

BIG JOHN: Not exactly.

You must have speed-read through my post, but what I said was….Jacque Jones and Geovany Soto to WAS for Schneider.

I knew/know what you're saying. I wasn't referring to your trade idea. I was referring to the idea of replacing Barrett with Schneider and all else staying the same. That lineup would be putrid on many days. Everyone knows that Barrett's a baseball dummy, but this team can't afford to punt offense right now. Offensive consistency and the bullpen are the biggest problems right now, not Barrett's defense.

I liked the idea of Kearns in RF up until last year. He's come to the point with his splits that he almost looks like the lesser, lefty-mashing half of a platoon. True, he is a "true RF'er", but he's really no better with the bat than Murton over the past 2 seasons.

Watch Koyie Hill tonight. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised, just as you have been by Marshall, Marmol, Pie and Fontenot, four other players that we promoted from a very good Iowa club--or at least it was very good before we raided it!

There's nobody left at Iowa to promote, with the possible exceptions of Piggy and Rapada. Tennessee has four players going at a very good clip, outfielders Kroeger and Fox and relievers Jones and Blevins. There may be openings soon for relievers on the Cubs and maybe a right fielder, depending on what Floyd and Murton can come up with.

If you can trade a few of the "Class of 08," the worthless group of relievers and an odd catcher and outfielder whose contracts expire after next season, and come up with somebody better than the people I mentioned above, fine. But don't hold your breath.

Why even talk about Soto, since he has been second string to Hill all season at Iowa? Hill is already on the bench at Wrigley. Just have him strap on the gear.

Catcher defense is very overrated. If Barrett is a significantly above average hitter, he is far from the biggest problem on this team. Now Barrett hasn't hit well this year but he has over his career and quite frankly I think the caterwaling on this board and the idiotic suggestions that we trade him and install (gasp) Geovanny Soto or Brian Schnieider?? Are you insane?

Rob G., the only in-season catcher trade that comes to mind was the Marlins trading Piazza, but that was in the first couple of weeks of the season, and under unusual circumstances. The '67 Red Sox traded for Elston Howard, but he was finished at the time.

You could be onto something, that a mid-season trade involving a starting catcher is very rare, for the reason you stated.

Why even talk about Soto, since he has been second string to Hill all season at Iowa? Hill is already on the bench at Wrigley. Just have him strap on the gear.

Yeah, who cares if Michael Barrett has legitimate middle of the order offensive skills. Let's play Koyie Hill! Yeah, that's how to win baseball games.

I liked Jimmy Wrigley's tough guy approach to last night's game in #79. Completely over the top but it does answer the question: What would it be like if Ty Cobb posted at TCR?

Could it be that if Lilly had drilled Renteria in the hip instead of an inch below the chin, he would not have been ejected?

Could it be that if Lilly had drilled Renteria in the hip instead of an inch below the chin, he would not have been ejected?
of course not, Wolf's prescience knew it was going to happen so his finger was on the ejection button no matter where the pitch was thrown as long as it brushed Renteria

Let’s play Koyie Hill! Yeah, that’s how to win baseball games.

That's what people said about Fontenot. Remember? It was pretty recent.

How you win baseball games: hit the ball, catch the ball. It's not rocket science.

That’s what people said about Fontenot. Remember? It was pretty recent.

I have been pleasantly surprised with Fontenot so far, but lets not get carried away. Just because Fontenot has had a few good games does not mean that every AAA success story will be a big league success story.

Danville Joe:
Could it be that if Lilly had drilled Renteria in the hip instead of an inch below the chin, he would not have been ejected?

Nah... let's just say Lilly has good control. ;)

Ted Lilly reaffirmed my faith in him after plunking Renteria.


"...and you can’t expect a closer who only ever goes 1 inning to suddenly go 2 and have a real understanding of how to manage the pitches."

Give me break - if the Cubs had been seriously considering switching Dempster to starter mode after he already had done relief this year, than your point is moot.

if the Cubs had been seriously considering switching Dempster to starter mode after he already had done relief this year, than your point is moot.

Not quite. If the Cubs moved Dempster into the rotation, they would have done it slowly. They wouldn't have just thrown him out there and expected him to throw six innings or more.

My point on the location of the HPB was that the umpire may have regarded the near-head location as unduly dangerous, and armed with his knowledge of the previous days' festivities, decided to decisively stop it right there.

I think he (the umpire) was wrong to do so, and then when the umpiring team ignored Renteria's revenge shot to Fontenot's mouth, something started to smell. An earlier poster may have had it right that the umpires were making their own statement to Lou.

I've been watching baseball more than a few years, and have never seen anything like it.

Okay, without looking, for which batting slot (1-9) do the Cubs have the lowest-ranked BA and OBP?

Another tough weekend....

But I am really glad to see the Cubs retaliate. They turned the other cheek when Carlos Lee leg whipped Walker and Berkman faked getting hit in the head. I blamed Baker for it then, and I give kudos to Lou for standing up this time. Too bad this team is just not very good. I still think they can climb up to about .500.

I have been pleasantly surprised with Fontenot so far

Well, good for you! Fontenot would have go 5/4 and pitch a scoreless ninth before most people here would admit that.


Whenver you choose to join the rest of us in discussing the way pitchers operate and are managed in the 21st century, we'll glad welcome you with open arms.

Okay, without looking, for which batting slot (1-9) do the Cubs have the lowest-ranked BA and OBP?
C'mon! The answer was surprising to me....

Okay, without looking, for which batting slot (1-9) do the Cubs have the lowest-ranked BA and OBP?

Hmm... I would probably guess #5 off the top of my head.

Re: Michael Fontenot

Makes for a nice story. Truth be told however he is a career minor leaguer type. This is his Crash Davis moment in the Show, so he should suck it all in. The moment ain't going to last long.

Re: 2008 Catcher

Well, I would have liked to see the Cubs pluck Matt Wieters in the draft. But alas, they did not. Wieters isn't going to be ready by next year anyway. So who should the Cubs go after next? Well, chances are strong the ownership situation will still be dangling this offseason. Which means Jim Hendry will still be hanging around, albeit as a lame duck with little authority or dollars to get anything done. He'll probably be shopping in the bargain bin for two veteran catchers who will compete for the job in spring training of next year.

ST...why do you even follow this team.

in your mind the season is over continously...before moves are made...before anything is done.

i mean, its a continuous fountain of piss in your corn flakes.

hell, when the future is painted with gloom and despair when no one even has a clue what will happen i dunno what the use is.

especially when your future predicting has a pretty crummy track record...

jace... are you asking which slot in the batting order the Cubs have the lowest ba/obp?

or are you asking which slot are the Cubs ranked the lowest?

because my guess was which slot was ranked the lowest, but the slot that HAS the lowest was not a surprise to me.

"I have been pleasantly surprised with Fontenot so far

Well, good for you! Fontenot would have go 5/4 and pitch a scoreless ninth before most people here would admit that."

aside from those that call him a AAAA'r (which isnt unwarrented) most people arent mad or hate fontenot...they just see it as getting excited about the next mark loretta with less D ability. excuse us for not really caring which light hitting middle IF'r gets to take time at 2nd...theriot/fontenot. *confetti*

Wow, Dave. You got it! The 5th slot in the Cubs' order is ranked 28th in league for both BA and OBP. They are above only Houston and Baltimore. #5 BA - .224 #5 OBP - .288.
That is Pathetic!

Oops... The two teams below the Cubs are the Padres and Mariners...,

#5 BA - .224 #5 OBP - .288


Now that is hard to fathom... An A.L. team that has use of a DH has a #5 slot BA of .196... That's Seattle for ya!!

ugh... look at #7

BA - .216
OBP - .316
SLUG - .383

Also ranked 28th in the league in BA, but moves up to 26 in OBP.

Sorry... that OBP should be .283, not .316.

Sayers40 — June 11, 2007 @ 12:06 pm
Catcher defense is very overrated. If Barrett is a significantly above average hitter, he is far from the biggest problem on this team. Now Barrett hasn’t hit well this year but he has over his career and quite frankly I think the caterwaling on this board and the idiotic suggestions that we trade him and install (gasp) Geovanny Soto or Brian Schnieider?? Are you insane?


SAYERS: I disagree with you about catcher defense being overrated, but be that as it may, it isn't just Barrett's defensive shortcomings that are a problem, it's the all-too-frequent brain farts behind the plate and on the bases that make Michael Barrett more of a liability than he's worth. As I said, he'd have to be a much better hitter than he is to make up for his defensive shortcomings AND frequent mental mistakes.

Again, I'm not just talking about his lack of receiving skills or his inability to throw out base-stealers. The Cubs could probably live with all that. But add defensive shortcomings behind the plate to his Keystone Kops style of catching pop ups and baserunning, and he's simply got to go. Just look at Uncle Lou's face the next time Barrett runs the Cubs out of an inning on the bases, or runs over Derrek Lee trying to catch a pop up behind 1st base. Barrett is a walking disaster zone.

Here's what I wrote in my earlier post (see #82 above):

"I’m not saying Brian Schneider is the perfect choice to replace Barrett, or that a Blanco/Schneider/Fox platoon is the answer, just that it is probably the best the Cubs could do right now. At least Schneider will not hurt the Cubs with awshit mental mistakes."

In other words, the Cubs can't sign a FA catcher until the off-season, and most teams aren't going to be inclined to trade their #1 catcher at this time, although the Washington Nationals would seem to be one of the very few teams that might be in a position to consider a deal right now. But Barrett has GOT to go, and then somebody has to replace him.

Yeah, Dave. I started this little exercise by looking at the 7th, and spots to see if the stats showed those slots as below-average producers in the Cubs' order. Finding that the 5th spot is actually a more glaring statistical weakness was a surprise, but makes sense now that I have had time to think about it. Barrett, Floyd and Jones occur to me as the most frequent #5 hitters, and none of them have really been producing....

I'd be willing to wager that if Barrett's bat comes around fully we'll see the defensive goofs and baserunning errors drop off quite a bit. Barrett seems like the type of athlete that's best when his mind is shut off and he's just doing. He gets in truble when he stops trusting his talent and tries to think his way towards good performance -- trying to steal bases he shouldn't, going after pop flies that aren't his, etc.

And anyway, Barrett didn't make Dempster pitch like shit, he didn't make Zambrano pitch like the other Zambrano, he didn't make Lee forget his power stroke, he didn't turn Eyre into Rusch, etc. I don't know why he gets the whipping boy role, but there are plenty of other people on this team as deserving (if not moreso) of blame.

jace... i agree with on Jones and Barrett, but Floyd is hitting .306/.364/.423. So while the slugging is lower than we would like, his ba/obp has been more than adequate.

I thought that the cubs weren't going to trade for any players who are signed beyond this year, which would rule out Schneider.

Why every time somebody critiques Michael Barrett (or Matt Friggin Murton) do people get so defensive and want to distort things to hell?!? Barrett is terrible behind the plate. He might be a swell guy and kiss his grandmother on the cheek, but he's dumber than a hockey puck and hurts this team severely.

joe c — June 11, 2007 @ 2:38 pm
I thought that the cubs weren’t going to trade for any players who are signed beyond this year, which would rule out Schneider.


JOE C: But what if Jacque Jones is part of the deal, so that the Cubs would be trading one player who is signed beyond this year (Jones) for another one (Schneider)?

While hitting in the 5th spot, Floyd is the only one with decent numbers, though not as good as his overall stats. .293 BA, .341 OBP, .439 SLG.
Barrett - .239 BA, .286 OBP, .465 SLG
Jones - .195 BA, .267 OBP, .220 SLG
Murton - .125 BA, .186 OBP, .150 SLG
Murton actually has 40 ABs as the 5th hitter, which is only one less than Floyd and Jones. He has REALLY stunk...

schni's owed 10m for the next 2 years fwiw...they'd love to shed that deal at this point. reasonable swap for need in 08...few million of burden for the cubs in 09 (based on current production of schni).

I agree. Murton has been awful so far this year.

None of the RF triumverate (Floyd, Murton, Jones) has done anything. The sharing experiment is just not working at all.

“I have been pleasantly surprised with Fontenot so far//Well, good for you! Fontenot would have go 5/4 and pitch a scoreless ninth before most people here would admit that.”///aside from those that call him a AAAA’r (which isnt unwarrented) most people arent mad or hate fontenot…they just see it as getting excited about the next mark loretta with less D ability. excuse us for not really caring which light hitting middle IF’r gets to take time at 2nd…theriot/fontenot. *confetti*

Why are you posting to me crunch? While it was me who was one of the first...if not the only one--- to say that Fontenot, ...and Pie, and Theriot for that matter, were major-league-ready to play for the Cubs this year I am NOT the one who thinks that these players are going to be our saviors. That's Virginia Phil the past couple weeks. Take it up with him.

As with most rookies, it's going to take some time before we know what we've got. But right now all three are doing fine, and I'd say Murton is the only young player we have who looks like he would benefit from playing every day for Iowa.

JJ, Floyd & Murt
6 Home Runs in a total of 411 AB's.

Something's got to give, and soon.

Cliff Floyd should be appointed the "everyday" right fielder. On those ocassions when there is a tough left-hander on the mound or he needs a blow, then put Mark DeRosa out there. Use Angel Pagan as a late inning defensive replacement. No Jacque Jones. No Matt Murton. Stick with Cornelius Clifford Floyd and we will be pleasantly surprised on what he can produce.

Murton has hit in the 5th spot more than anywhere else. He has 40 AB's as the #5 hitter, and is hitting .125. In 28 AB's as the #6 hitter, he is hitting .464. Heck, if you just look at Murt's numbers anywhere but 5th, they are a lot better.
.329 BA, .414 OBP.

But isn't Floyd a "deluxe" run producer?

For some reason Murton is doing very well in the 6th spot. batting .464/.531 in 28 ABs.

Also, his stats have taken a beating from pinch hitting, where he's hitting .188/.350. Although, that OBP is surprising and shows me no matter how poorly he's hitting, he still has patience, which good hitters don't lose.

Floyd is a proven run producer, Izturis is this team's MVP, and Lilly will win the Cy Young. Where have you been?

Also, his stats have taken a beating from pinch hitting

I would be curious to see how many of those #5 slots came as a ph - it would make sense - Murton would ph for Floyd/Jones against lhp.

Manny said: Too bad this team is just not very good.

They were pretty good against the Braves, except for Marquis and Dempster.

They're getting better; also younger.

That would be nice to know, dave. Alas, I believe we have exceeded the powers of the ESPN stats engine... All I can see is that Murt has 12 AB's in the 9th slot, which I would expect would be mostly PH, except for ABs when he was put there in a double switch, and then left there for the rest of the game... That would lead me to believe that not many of Murton's ABs in the #5 slot are as a PH...

Rammy to the DL, Floyd back off the BRL to take his spot.

Rammy to the DL, Floyd back off the BRL to take his spot.

Well - that is not good news. But I am kinda' excited to see more extended time from Fontentot.

I blame Barrett for hitting 286/400/571 last week with 2 SB's.

I'm not going to debate the wondrous virtues of Matt Murton any longer. My opinion is that he isn't a major league caliber ballplayer. It doesn't much matter if you can hit .300 if your a corner outfielder who doesn't produce runs and are bad in the field. There can no longer be any defending the guy. He is what he is.

Excited to see more playing time for Fontenot?

Wow. I suppose you'll be even more delirious if another career minor leaguer like Micah Hoffpauier makes an apperance soon.

new post up for the parachat match gamers....


Matt Murton is who we think he is. You wanna crown his ass then crown his ass.

End of discussion!! Because Silent Towel says so.

Murton is a man without a position. If Floyd wasn't signed he would have much better numbers and hitting close to .300, instead he is regulated to part time status which never helps a young player.

But i give credit to Lou, overall he is much more willing to go with youth over lousy ass veterans. This team just needs to be purged of more of the old guard of ho-hum I don't give a damn, i am just here to collect my pay-check type players like Floyd, Jones, Eyre, etc.

First of all, I'm a "Big Murt" fan. I would like to see what he can do with more playing time. I think he has the potential to be steady if not spectacular. My limited opinion says Floyd is too fragile to rely on and Jones is worth more on the trading block.

Also, something that hasn't been discussed about the Lilly/Renteria/Wolf situation is the possible future consequences of the bad umpiring call. Not only did it change the dynamic of the game yesterday but it affects the team for the remainder of the week. How effective does anyone imagine the bullpen will be today or until the next off day a week from today? They've had two long days in a row. Who will we call on today in the event Big Z cannot go the distance? Lilly and Marquis are possibilities, but are they good ones? There again, how will them possibly being inserted in relief affect their next starts? Who knows.

Unfortunately there is no good fix to this. Even if punishment is handed down to the egotisical ump, the damage has been done to the already worn down bullpen.

Call it Murphy's Law, bad luck, or Cub luck but there seems to be no cure, not even $300 million can cure it.

Faithful 'til October.

Excited to see more playing time for Fontenot?

I didn't quite finish that thought. What I meant was that I was excited to see if Fontenot can continue to produce. No... I am not more excited to see Fontenot than A-Ram. But I am looking forward to see what he can continue to do.

I just love how the "solution" to Matt Murton's woes is to play him more. There are more excuses flung out for Murton... The dog ate his homework, redheads burn easily while playing day games in right field at Wrigley, Jacque put itching powder in his jock strap, Sweet Lou glares at him too much, it's tougher to hit soft tossing left handers, blah blah blah.

Matt Murton is poor man's version of Dustan Mohr, except that Murton plays the outfield like Daryl Ward.

ST... did you watch Murton hit last year? Especially in the second half?

In memory of the recently concluded Atlanta series and the beanball thrown at Alfonso Soriano, I give you this blast from the past courtesy of former LA Dodger manager Tommy LaSorda.

"I think that is very very bad, for that man to make an accusation like that, that is terrible. I have never, ever since I've managed, ever told a pitcher to throw at anybody, nor will I ever. And if I ever did, I certainly wouldn't make them throw at a fucking .130 hitter like [Joe] Lefebvre...or fucking [Kurt] Bevacqua who couldn't hit water if he fell out of a fucking boat. And I guaran-fucking-tee you this, that when I pitched and I was gonna pitch against a fucking team that had guys on it like Bevacqua, I'd send a fucking limousine to get the cocksucker to make sure he was in the motherfucking lineup because I'd kick that cocksucker's ass any fucking day of the week. He's a fucking motherfucking bigmouth, I'll tell you that." -- in response to being accused by San Diego Padres manager Dick Williams of throwing at his batters in a 1984 game.

Wait, isn't your "solution" to play Cliff Floyd more? That we will be "pleasantly surprised" by what he can do? How is that any different from someone wanting to see Murton play more?

Because boys and girls, Cornelius Clifford Floyd is a proven run producer. Two years ago, he hit 35 HRs and drove in 98. He might be fading, but he is by far the best solution the Cubs have in right field. He brings a desperately needed left handed hitting, run producing bat to the lineup. If I am Sweet Lou, then Floyd is in my lineup virtually everyday. On those days when he's not, then Mark DeRosa is my right fielder.

This is my opinion. You have contrarian view. So what. It's what makes the world go around. If there was unanimous thought process on this blog, then there wouldn't be a blog for very much longer.

Floyd - 2006-2007: .260/.334/.411 OPS- .745, 14 HR, 67 RBI

Murton - 2006-2007: .289/.359/.424 OPS- .783, 14 HR, 70 RBI

So lets see... Murton has a higher batting average, a higher obp, a higher slugging %, a higher OPS, the same number of homeruns, and more RBI.

But Floyd is clearly the better run producer and the better hitter.

It sucks when facts get in the way of your perceived reality.

oh there'd be a blog all right, we'd unanimously blame Barrett for everything wrong in the world all day. :)

Dave, the power of the small (and skewed) sample size won't make your argument. If you can show me any evidence to suggest that Matt Murton can PRODUCE RUNS and PLAY A TOLERABLE ENOUGH right field, then I'm all ears. But don't give me this horsecrap of what he did during the 2nd half of 2006 as your wad of evidence.

The league has caught up with Murton is an argument that I could make. And, I could also add that Murton is a slap hitter who may hit for a swell average but will never deliver even a remotely satisfactory OPS or slugging %. Oh, and did I mention that he makes Daryl Ward look like Andruw Jones in the outfield.

Anyone have a breakdown of days on the DL between Floyd and Murton? How much can the (seemingly) oft-injured, or more often recovering, not-at-100% Floyd produce while on the 15 or 60 day DL.

Even breaking it down proportionally by playing time, can we compare the durability of Floyd to Murton?

I'm not a Floyd hater by any means, I just can't quite agree with the clammor to play him everyday at the expense of trading Murton. I don't have the facts or answers, just more questions and speculation.

I do not know what the right thing to do is in RF and I do not necessarily have a contrary view. You may even be right. As I have said before, all three of them have been awful so far. What I was pointing out was the inconsistency of your argument, in that you think Floyd will play better by giving him more burn, but you ridicule those who would make the same argument about Murton.

All Cliff Floyd has proven to me so far this year is that he can't run. Two years ago he put up some decent numbers. Last year he was awful and this year he has not produced like you want a corner outfielder to on a championship level team. He'll be 35 in December, has a bunch of injuries and surgeries in his past, and has really never been a top line player, even at his best. His signing was one of Hendry's poorer moves. The situation in right field now may be one where nobody can succeed. Piniella and Hendry need to come up with an answer, because the current situation is not working out for anyone.

ST... so in other words, despite the last year and a half of evidence, you still think that Floyd is the better hitter right now, because Floyd used to be a legitimate run producer.

I see - maybe Andre Dawson is available - he used to be a legitimate run producer also.

Anyone have a breakdown of days on the DL between Floyd and Murton?

I don't believe that Murton has been on the DL in his two years in the big leagues.

My point exactly. Thank you.

Dave, if my opinion regarding Matt Murton is so bloody flawed and full of crap, then why in tarnations isn't the red headed wonder playing the majority of games in right field?!?! After all, as you so aptly describe, it's not as if his competition out there is Ichiro and Vlad Guerrero. The talent and fabled Matt Murton can't win playing time over Jacque Blacque Schlaque and an aging Cornelius Clifford Floyd?!? And don't say it's because Dusty has a veteran bias and is a bozo. Because Dusty ain't here anymore dude.

Seriously, pony up some real arguments on why Matt Friggin Howdy Dowdy Murton should be installed in right field.

Perhaps its because he's young and Floyd has been around the block a time or two. Now, having brought this up, I don't think it is a very reliable comparison. My point was this: do we want an aging, injury prone player on the decline or do we want to take the chance on a young, healthy player with some arguable amount of upside?

I seriously question that "arguable amount of upside." I'm certain that Sweet Lou does too. And I'll add this. For Murton to be allowed to play in right field he would have to hit like Tony Gwynn, Ichiro or Vlad to justify that defense.

Dude... I never said anything about Dusty, so don't create strawman arguments.

First... I have not once said in this conversation that Murton should be playing RF every day, have I?

Second... Murton is slumping and playing poor defense, which makes it difficult to play someone.

With that said, I do believe that Murton is a better hitter than both Jones and Floyd right now (not in the past). His numbers in the big leagues have been good. His batting average has been very good, as has his obp.

You are way too caught up in "run producer." The Cubs have major run producers in LF, 1b, 3b. And if Barrett continues to hit the ball has he has over the last several days (similarly to what he has done over the last three years), he is also a run producer. So the Cubs don't need someone hitting 35-40 homeruns and 120 RBI. They do need people who can get on base, and Murton has proven that he has the ability to do just that. Also, contrary to your opinion, has shown an ability to drive the ball. While you say he has an inability to put up a "remotely satisfactory" OPS, he put up an OPS over 800 in 4 of 6 months last year, and ended with an OPS of .809. I would definitely consider that "remotely satisfactory."

I also believe that Murton did a pretty decent job in LF defensively last year, and would love to see him back there next year with Soriano in RF.

As to why Murton is not playing the majority of time in RF, the answer is the same as it is for why Jones or Floyd are not playing the majority of the time: There are three major-league players on the roster for one spot. Obviously nobody, including Lou, knows the right answer. For now he has to deal with dividing the playing time for one position between three players.

Jim Hendry needs to come up with a solution. I'll accept (not necessarily like) whatever decision he makes as I have with the decisions every Cubs GM has made for the twenty years I've been a fan.

"Because boys and girls, Cornelius Clifford Floyd is a proven run producer. Two years ago..."

and last year murton hit the hell outta the ball, espeically in the 2nd half.

hey, in 08 that means he'll be a proven run producer. sweet.

hell, i like murton, but im concerned about his ever-changing plate approach isnt producing power like it was.

it sure as hell doesnt mean floyd is superior. i wouldnt mind seeing floyd get his time or even more time than murton, but gotta toss out ANY defensive argument you wanna make against murton with floyd out there...floyd is a joke of a fielder.

its not as open/shut, black/white, and case closed as it seems...

The "solution" is this.

A. Don't even THINK about moving Alfonso Soriano out of left field (especially to accomodate Matt Murton of all people). Soriano has taken off ever since he was moved back to left field. He is a franchise player (at least is being paid as such) and should play where he is most comfortable. He also is starting to look pretty damned decent out in left as well.

B. Jettison Matt Murton, Jacque Blacque Shlaque and Cornelius Clifford Floyd.

C. Obtain a new right fielder. Someone who hits from the left side and can play a good outfield.

"Whenver you choose to join the rest of us in discussing the way pitchers operate and are managed in the 21st century..."

Strike as non - responsive.

Cliff Floyd has done a decent job in right field. He doesn't have much lateral range, but he fields the balls hit in his vicinity cleanly and makes consistently good throws. Matt Murton on the other hand looks like a blind-folded circus clown on a unicycle out there. And one with a Juan Pierre-ish throwing arm.

cliff floyd is practically a f'n butcher...not like murton's doing much better. you shouldnt even try to polish that turd to back your arguement. its like a macias vs. neifi "which sucks worse arguement".

"C. Obtain a new right fielder. Someone who hits from the left side and can play a good outfield."

Okay. Such as? What do we trade to get them? The options might not be good, but I'm mighty curious where this magical LH RF'er is going to come from...

[...] And Barrett’s time had come – encapsulated in a hideous fortnight of Cub futility – beginning with a May 28 brain cramp in which he gave away a game in L.A. after a runner on second deked him. On Friday, June  1, as you know, he got his ass stomped. The following Sunday against the Braves (The Ted Lilly Game) a struggling Ryan Dempster chunked a pitch into the dirt and it slid past Barrett, allowing the winning run to score. To top it off, an extra-inning relay throw eluded Michael on June 11, and it would have nailed the lead runner in the thirteenth. Michael dropped it, of course, as the winning run scored. [...]

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  • Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.

    billybucks 24 min 55 sec ago view
  • There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!

    billybucks 25 min 44 sec ago view
  • Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.

    billybucks 27 min 5 sec ago view
  • Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.

    Jackstraw 30 min 28 sec ago view
  • Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.

    Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.

    billybucks 30 min 51 sec ago view
  • Baez still learning

    jacos 58 min 41 sec ago view
  • 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 2 hours 2 min 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 3 hours 8 min ago view
  • brock stewart...steven times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.

    crunch 3 hours 57 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 8 hours 27 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. 23 hours 38 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. 23 hours 44 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. 23 hours 49 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. 1 day 48 sec ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 1 day 12 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. 1 day 37 min ago view