Game 19 Thread / Mets @ Cubs (1 of 2)

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SP John Maine SP Carlos Zambrano
  1-1, 3.78, 10 K, 12 BB
2-1, 3.04, 23 K, 3 BB
       
SS #Jose Reyes CF Reed Johnson
2B #Luis Castillo 2B *Mike Fontenot
3B David Wright 1B Derrek Lee
CF #Carlos Beltran 3B Aramis Ramirez
1B *Carlos Delgado RF *Kosuke Fukudome
RF *Ryan Church LF Mark DeRosa
C #Raul Casanova C Geovany Soto
LF *Endy Chavez SS Ronny Cedeno
P
John Maine P #Carlos Zambrano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first-place Chicago Cubs--has a nice ring to it, don't you think?--are coming off a weekend drubbing of the Pirates, two games in which they scored 26 runs, amassed 30 hits, and still required seven innings of duty from their busy bullpen.

Maybe Zambrano can provide a rest. As pointed out at mlb.com, four of the Mets' big bats--Reyes, Delgado, Beltran, and Wright--are a combined 8-for-47 lifetime against Carlos. Doesn't matter; they still scare the crap out of me.

The Mets (10-7) had a five-game winning streak snapped Sunday night at Philadelphia. (I wonder if Ron Santo will give "Beltran" the official Spanish flourish, the way Jon Miller did on the ESPN broadcast--"bel-TRON.")

Tonight's Met starter, Maine, has made two previous starts at Wrigley and been tagged for 6 runs in 3 2/3 IP.

And while we're at it...Rob G. is a guest poster at Mets Today, offering the enemy an inside look at the Cubs.


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Comments

Hendry takes a lot of heat, but it's hard to argue with the vast majority of the decisions he has made concerning which players to keep/let go.

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/spor...

I thought Lou said he would get him in on Monday over the weekend. I guess he hasnt graduated from Lou's hitting school/doghouse.

So, why are Felix Pie and Matt Murton in the majors? Don't Sam Fuld and Jake Fox make more sense as 4th outfielder/defensive replacement/pinch runner and righty pinch hitter (for a couple more weeks)? Those are the guys who are looking at a future as bench players. Murton and Pie should be getting their ABs and improving their approaches, in the minor leagues if Lou isn't going to play them in the majors. Am I just completely lost, or is it Lou who is confused about how to handle the youngish guys?

Jon Miller does that with all the Latin guys, and I think it's hilarious. My favorite is how he pronounces Neifi!s name.

"Neifi PERez"

PER-ez is actually correct, just like Bel-TRON.

Whatever, it sounds dumb because he's the only one who says it that way. And I agree with BelTRON, but isn't the emphasis always on the second syllable and the Z sounds like an S and the E sounds like an A, which would make it PerACE?

So I believe PERez isn't right at all. But I'll default to Carlos Rubi on this one.

I agree he's the only one that says it that way and that it sounds strange. Last year, when Neifi was on the Tigers, Miller talked about how he asked Neifi how to pronounce his name and he apparently said NAY-fee PARE-ess.

Theriot out with a bad back...

Rob G. is a Cubs insider? How so?

Why is Lou calling for a hit and run in the first inning against a pitcher who had walked 12 batters in 16 innings to begin the game?

Will Pie finally get to start a game now? That swing was sweet. Might as well sit Might Mike, whom I am a big fan of, if he's not going to hit. DeRo back to 2nd, Pie in center, and Murton or (more likely) Johnson in LF.

How 'bout that Cedeno? Nice ABs from Fukie and Ronny. Ronny gets a fastball up and in, the pitch that dominated him in the second half of 2006, and he lines it right back up the middle, just like the book tells you to do.

Wow. That was awesome.

If you don't parachat, here's what you're missing:

Carlos_RM: I bet Pie has a hairier bush than Hermione

That's either an endorsement or a warning -- I'm not sure which.

Damn, I'm sorry I missed that one. Did it have anything to do with Chad being gay?

Right on! My meme lives on!!

Disturbing. Very disturbing.

I was a little worried that they might be a little too laid back from beating up the Pittsburgh Punching Bags this past weekend, but this was a good win!

Seriously, I mentioned this in a game thread a few days ago, but I think Cedeno is learning the game...he's young, and I want to see him continue to develop. I'm really glad we didn't give up on him last year. I'm not saying this just in light of his great AB in the 8th today. I said it a few days ago, he could really start to play like he is a real ML SS.

Pie's swing was really sweet. I'd like to see him keep his swing that short. He'll rake if he does. Nice AB by both of them.

I agree on both counts. Cedeno seems to be approaching his ABs in a much more disciplined manner and that hole up and in seemed to disappear, today at least. Pie's swing on the homer, while still long through the zone and on the follow through, was much shorter to the ball than it had been in the past--and you only have to be short to the ball, you can be long through it, as they say.

More agreement here. I'm not going to get too hyped on Cedeno yet as it's still really early, but he does seem to get it more this year, showing discipline and fouling off pitches he would have missed last year.

As for Pie, I can only hope that hitting a three-run dinger using the shorter swing that Piniella's apparently been advocating will give him some confidence to keep using it. Plus, it was a bit of a confidence show that Piniella ran Pie out there for that AB. I know he was the only lefty still on the bench, but getting the nod over the more accomplished Murton is a nice show of confidence.

Seeing the Cedeno and Pie at bats just felt good. Caveat: It's only one game, but this is the kind of stuff you get with pennant winning teams -- contributions from up and down the line-up and the bench. Happy afterglow right now.

Zambrano-Marmol-Wood.

Beautiful.

Very nice homestand. Let's see if Theodore can get his stuff together tomorrow and finish this thing off in style.

I dunno -- maybe Lou knows what he's doing with Pie?

I hope Lou's a little more careful with Marmol from here on out, e.g. far fewer two inning appearances. He's already thrown 13+ innings and we're 10 days shy of May.

Alfonso who?

Capone -- Alfonso Capone, and don't you forget it, bub!

I'm sure others felt the same way that I did when we got the bases loaded with nobody out and DeRosa and Soto went down. In previous years that rally ends right there. 5 runs later the game was in the bag.

Totally. When the Cubs load them, and get two quick outs, one of the last guys you want trotting up to the plate is Ronny Cedeno. I'm glad he proved me wrong.

This team has me excited, but then I consider Arizona in a playoff series and the pitching is just too good.

Not if Cedeno and/or Pie make the leap.

If they do, and if we stay healthy, I think we deal for a rental pitcher.

Not being able to enjoy wins in April due to a possible tough match up in October? Hmmm...you know SO many things can change between now and then...just enjoy the way this team is playing :)

That's gayer than Chad in tutu.

Watching Fuku foul off pitch after pitch and then finally single to the opposite field was one of my favorite ABs of the young season. Then came Ronny Cedeno's AB and might have surpassed it.

I just don't get how Fuku doesn't whiff on every pitch on the outer half. It looks like he pulls so far off the ball, but he consistently manages to get a piece of almost every pitch. He must drive opposing pitchers fucking bonkers.

If you go back and watch the GameTrax thing on ESPN (and I know it ain't perfectly accurate), they called strike two on him on a pitch about three inches off the plate. Now Fukudome starts watching the outside corner a bit more closely. As the sequence continues, Heilman throws him three more pitches in nearly the same spot (plus some others), all outside according to GameTrax, and all fouled off. Heilman finally gets one back to the outside corner and Fukudome knocks it into left field. Very cool.

Here were the Cubs OPS going into tonight's game:

Johnson, cf .835
Theriot, ss .893
Lee, 1b 1.133
Ramirez, 3b .915
Fukudome, rf .902
DeRosa, lf .975
Soto, c 1.006
Cedeno, 2b .885

Blanco, c .718
Ward, ph .686
Fontenot, 2b .613
Pie, cf .343
Murton, of .250

For all you Theriot-haters: his line - .338/.408/.485

Cubs pitchers Opponents BA:

Zambrano .262
Lilly .309
Hill .204
Marquis .290
Dempster .169
Wood .147
Marmol .167
Hart .208
Wuertz .238

Obviously, it's only 18 games into the season and 6 wins against PGH, but it's not hard to see why they're 12-6 (now 13-6).

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/clubhouse?team=chc

2nd video down on the team page, nothing exciting though...

Terribly boring questions, but it was interesting to hear how well Samardzija handled himself. He seemed to know what he needs to work on (control, secondary pitches) and articulated himself well. Seems to have a good head on his shoulders.

I was at the game tonight and really liked what I saw from nearly everyone in the lineup; great to see Pie's AB. Perhaps the best part about it was that he took the first two pitches; when have we ever seen Pie be that patient?

The one exception for the Cubs right now is Mike Fontenot. I honestly don't think he has what it takes to be a big leaguer. Lou needs to realize that just because he hits left-handed doesn't mean he will help the Cubs win. I have not seen him hit a ball hard in the last week since Soriano went down and he has been playing. The Cubs are so much stronger (even without another left-handed bat) with DeRo at second and Murton in left (obviously until #12 comes back), or with Pie in Center, DeRo at second and Reed in left. At least if Pie isn't hitting (which hopefully he turns this thing around now) he is still a significant defensive upgrade in center, whereas Fontenot is not over DeRo. I see no reason why Fontenot should be playing other than his left-handed bat.

He has hit a couple of balls hard. Especially during that 0-5 game he really lined a few shots that were caught. But yeah, he is struggling. Still, at this point, I think you let him work through it a bit.

I know The Riot is working a kink out in his back, but if when he comes back and Cedeno continues to show maturity at the plate, am I the only one thinking that a Cedeno/The Riot DP combo would work out well?

In case you haven't caught this yet, I thought this was a nice reverse spin on the exact thing us Cub fans have been wondering on how our team stacks up against the "contenders" - or as some of you say - "the good teams".

Today's New York Times headline: "Playing a Top Team, the Mets Fall Short"

Pretty damn refreshing to read this from a NY sportswriter perspective - at least for one day, anyway -

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/22/sports/baseball/...

Z's quote in today's Trib makes me a little giddy as well:

"Anytime I want to throw 95 or 96 (m.p.h.), I can throw it. But it's not how hard you throw in the big leagues. It's how you locate your pitches and learn to pitch the game."

Holy Cats, is this the mature and professional hurler we all thought Z would become, but wondered if he'd ever make it? Not trying to blow everyone away, keeping runners off the bases, mixing up his pitches, etc. He also mentioned actually listening to Maddux previously -who knew he was paying attention? Please keep pounding those bananas, Carlos.

Wow... great quote.

By George, I think he's finally got it.

Best part is his K/BB ratio is something like 5:1

Yeah, 27 SO to 5 BB - so 5.4 : 1, pretty impressive. Before the season started his career ratio was 1.9 : 1. So he probably won't keep this pace up, but early indications suggest he's figured something out.

Zambrano is also only age 26

This is Z's age 27 year. Though he is 26 right now. He'll actually turn 27 on June 1.

According to official records, anyway. : )

Oh Joe:

"Zach (OKC): When Soriano comes back, do you think he will go directly to lead off or do you think the scrappy Reed Johnson should hold down that spot? Thanks!

Joe Morgan: (10:34 AM ET ) Interesting question. I think he will end up leading off again. Johnson is playing well now, but can he do it all season? There are reasons why certain guys are extra men most of their careers. I think eventually Soriano will take back the lead off spot."

While Johnson may not hit in the lead off the rest of the season, it will not be because he has been considered an extra man most of his career. Excluding 2007 (when he was injured) Johnson averaged 133 games played and 452 AB in Toronto.

I am not a fan of Pie's abilities to hit in the majors but I like that Lou Pinella is doing stuff behind the scenes to hopefully get Pie up to speed.

Dusty had a famous quote where he said he doesn't have time to teach in the majors. Players need to come ready to play, take that in context with what Lou is trying to do...

Before the game, Piniella was asked why the Cubs don't correct Pie's problems at Triple-A Iowa if he's not going to start.

"Look, we understand that this is not an easy thing," Piniella said. "But you've got to do it somewhere, and he's here with us now and we're going to work with him and hope that it catches on. We're not getting too drastic with the changes. We're trying to stay as elementary as possible—to weight-shift a little more and get off his backside so he can have a better pass at the ball, stay in the strike zone a little longer and get to more pitches."

Nice to have a real manager.

I can see Dusty's case, too, but the thing is, sometimes what works in AAA doesn't work in the bigs. Like some guy in AAA hitting 287 gets called up, he might hit 286, but a 330 hitter might get called up and hit 210. It all just depends.

http://www.uncommongoods.com/item/item.jsp?itemId=...

Got a catalog in the mail the other day and noticed these. Cufflinks/Pens/Necklaces/Earrings/Bracelets made from the wood of former seats of baseball stadiums. Kind of expensive, but pretty cool none the less.

Pie's on something like his 4th hitting coach at this level, not counting Lou presently - maybe having the manager personally coach you will be the key for him. Some may not remember that Frey helped Sandberg become more of a power hitter after working with him a bit - although Ryno had already figured out to hit major league pitching at that point.

The kid was so excited after his homer yesterday, how could anyone not be rooting for him?

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