Game 51 Thread / Dodgers @ Cubs (1 of 3)

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SP Chad Billingsley SP Ryan Dempster

4-5, 3.76, 60 K, 29 BB, 52.2 IP
5-2, 2.70, 53 K, 26 BB, 63.1 IP

LF *Juan Pierre LF Alfonso Soriano
RF *Andre Ethier SS Ryan Theriot
C Russ Martin 1B Derrek Lee
2B Jeff Kent 3B Aramis Ramirez
1B *Mark Sweeney RF *Kosuke Fukudome
CF Matt Kemp C Geovany Soto
3B *Blake DeWitt CF *Jim Edmonds
SS Luis Maza 2B Mark DeRosa
P Chad Billingsley P Ryan Dempster













Torre looks goofy in a Dodgers uniform.

Wood just gave up a single to Ethier. What I've observed so far this outing (this may be 3/44):

1) Only fastballs to Pierre. By the fourth one, Pierre took him for a ride.
2) Threw a curveball (missed outside) and a slider (missed inside) to Ethier before he finally got a single on a fastball.
Continuing on:
3) Four straight fastballs to strikeout Martin
4) Three straight fastballs and then a slider way out of the zone to strikeout Hu.

Wood earned the save, but he clearly didn't have command over any other pitch besides the fastball. Has that been the case with previous outings? He throws a mean fastball, but it really leaves him open to get hammered if that's the only pitch he can throw for a strike.

Woo! Cubs win. Nobody in Parachat in the 8th and 9th. How sad.

re: 2)

The breaking balls that missed sure as hell didn't miss by much. I think it's silly to say he "clearly didn't have command over any other pitch besides the fastball."

In other words, he'll be fine.

Wood had 2 decent breaking balls in the at bat vs Either. I think he's still getting comfortable as a 9th inning guy. Not quite mastered it yet. He almost hit Pierre again. This game was a nail biter but a nice one to win after the last 2 days.

Good win for the Cubs.

I have a question that I posed to the three other guys in Parachat at the time: what the hell is up with WGN's new logo? Bizarre.

Cincy Enquirer saying Jay Bruce will get called up for their tuesday game...will CPat get DFA'd?

The Cubs should have lost this game, but it's fortunate that they pulled it out. They clearly lost two games they should have won over the weekend. The Cubs are still 3 games under their 33-18 xW-L record, whereas every other team in the Central is over or at their records. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad.

Woof-- Soto and Fukky both cold at the same time.

Enough of that.

Cubs have only lost 8 games at home this year. Wild.

Lou says he won't defensive sub for Soriano.

Very, very bizarre -- the guy has trouble catching the ball, and, even if he could catch, he can't (or won't) run.

I really don't understand Lou's thinking here. Having an immobile LF who has difficulty catching the ball is bound to cost the Cubs more games. I wonder if LH batters will be more likely to hit to LF off Wood/Marmol, since there is a much better chance the ball will drop in.

he also bats 1st when he can't run.

this year is WAY better than lou's decision last year to leave him in the 1 slot, though. at least he's not windmilling an injured leg around gimping around the bases even if he's not 100%.

i still think his skills are wasted in the #1 slot...he's not an ob% guy but he is a power guy and he's not the 30+ steal guy anymore.

Opposing hitters are more likely to do that anyway, since they throw 96. All hitters are more likely to hit the ball the other way against flamethrowers. Just hard to get around on it unless they hang a breaking ball. Not that it never happens, but it's just considerably less likely to pull those fastballs.

I don't understand why this is an issue now when this team has had such slow runners as Matt Murton, Moises Alou, Jeromy Burnitz, and Daryle Ward playing games for us in the outfield.

Can't tell me that in his current state that he's worse than Burnitz. Soriano in his current state isn't moving all that much better than Burny ever did, and both guys have strong, accurate arms. I fail to see the issue here.

As maligned as B urnitz's, Murt's, and Alou's defense were, they almost always caught the ball when they got to it, and I'd say all of those guys were better at reading fly balls and using what speed they had to run a better route than Soriano does. Not only does Soriano run slowly these days, he runs bad routes and occasionally drops the ball even when he finds its landing zone. Daryle Ward, on the other, has 0 range and everyone knows it. He's out of place in any defensive position, much less one that would require him to run. Soriano is only a star player offensively, and then only when he is hot. He needs to start shagging more fly balls and he needs to get his leg healthy. Burnitz and Alou had the excuses of being old, and people got on Murt's case for being a weak defender before he gave them any reason to; Soriano can take the criticism and if he doesn't want to hear/read about people asking for a defensive replacement for him, then he can practice like the professional he is supposed to be. Learning to read and catch fly balls is a skill you learn through repetition, just ask anyone who learned to play the outfield as a kid--and we didn't get paid to do it.

That's a fair point. Feel free to criticize him for playing poorly, but you really didn't differentiate him from the other players who couldn't run and didn't get to balls that good fielders did.... or even any other poor LF in the game with a great bat such as Dunn, Manny, Braun, or Carlos Lee.

You're right. Not a great fielder right now. OK. Never been seen as the greatest defensive outfielder as far as taking the correct route to the ball. That's not breaking news. You know, that happens when you play infield for the first 25 years of your life. But he's still got an 870 OPS this year. Still very, very respectable. I still don't see how that can be ignored because of defensive struggles. Is it OK if he performs the same every day instead of being so streaky? Does it make a difference at the end of the year?

I did a poor job of responding directly to the comments made. Basically, I agree that left handed hitters are no more likely to try to take our closers to left field with Soriano out there than they were with Alou or Murton or Ward or Dubois on the mound; I've rarely seen major league hitters adjust their approach at the plate to who is playing defense where.

But I do think that Soriano's defense is an issue and at least two things should be discussed internally: 1. Late inning replacements for Soriano when the Cubs have a lead and Soriano isn't due to come up in the bottom of the 9th, especially Edmonds to CF and Johnson to LF. Why not put your best defense out there when you're trying to put the game away? It's not like Soriano is Pujols with the bat. He's a good power hitter, not potentially the best hitter in the game. So when you get a chance to put away the game, you do it. You don't start planning around the off chance that your closer blows it and your offense has to come back out and take the lead again. 2. Soriano needs to get a lot of practice in the outfield. With the speed he has when healthy, there is little reason for him to be as a bad left fielder as he's been.

I don't think Soriano needs to be benched or anything like that, and, like you say, I don't think his .870 OPS should be ignored just because of streakiness, though I also don't think it should be overblown--especially since it's a slugging-heavy OPS that doesn't come with lots of RBIs. I think that you take the streakiness at the plate and you ask for consistency in the field and on the bases, where a player should be fairly consistent. Like I failed to make clear, the streakiness at the plate is mostly just frustrating, not necessarily bad. But a guy who is earning $16 million this year can take some extra fly balls in left, and he can keep his wits about him when he's on second with no outs late in a game that's very close. He didn't come advertised as a great defender, but he did come advertised as an improving defender and as a strong baserunner.

Agree with most of that, I guess.

I do think that the conclusion that he just isn't a great fielder may need to be considered. He was one of the worst fielders in baseball at 2B. He makes mistakes in the OF on misreads and the like. Just part of his package, perhaps. You may have to live with a dropped ball or two every year. One or two every couple of weeks that he doesn't get to that a Gold Glover does.

But, in the long run, I still think a net positive in a big, big way as a total player. I even think he is right now when he can't steal bases.

Hang on --- last year, Pie was basically a late-ining defensive replacement in August/September. Lou would move JJ to RF and pull Floyd. How is Soriano any different?

Why bring in your closer to protect a slim lead, but not give him the defensive support he needs?

Still don't agree -- but, Lou isn't returning my phone calls, so I may not have much say in this.

I don't necessarily disagree with replacing Soriano in the 9th, but I don't think Felix Pie is the answer. He needs to be hitting somewhere.

If can he can turn this thing around and force his way back into the big league lineup, then you can put Reed in LF for the 9th with no issue. If not, he needs to stay in Iowa and keep hitting. Having him on the big league roster for the lone purpose of pinch running/half inning of defense is not the answer. You're wasting his service time.

I would even be OK with pulling Soriano in the 9th and putting Edmonds in CF and Johnson in LF. Since the "Cedeno in the OF" experiment was apparently scrapped, that's about the only way you're going to improve our outfield defense with our current roster. I'm not sure the improvement is all that drastic, but I do think it's still an improvement overall.

Phillies beat the Rox 20 - 5 Ouch

Sat in left field today. I can't believe the amount of time Sori spends looking at the bleachers, gesturing and smiling back and forth with fans, waving at girls who are calling his name, etc.

Next time I sit there, I need some signage: "The Game Is The Other Way!!!!"

What the hell do you care anyway?

The dude needs every advantage on defense he can get. If the pitcher's on the rubber and the batter's in the box, why isn't Sori watching the game? I think his other game will be fine.

Focus on the things that matter. How much attention he pays to the fans does not.

Recent comments

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  • BILLY BUCKS: As things stand right now, Dylan Cease will be in the Eugene starting rotation when the NWL season begins play in June, and if he peforms well there he could perhaps move up to South Bend toward the end of the minor league season or for the MWL playoffs (if South Bend qualifies). 

  • i'm more "wtf?" about him hitting 2nd than playing LF...especially since zobrist exists.

  • Soler's primary position is suppose to be in left for this season so technically he is not out of position. Although I agree, it does seem weird given their histories.

  • Thanks Phil.

    Any idea of where/when Cease will head for the season?

  • Over/under on HBP tonight?

  • Yes, I know KB played LF and Szczur played RF last night, but there's a legit case that RF is the easier draw at PNC.

  • Seems an odd lineup -- Soler in LF and Bryant in RF? Two guys out of position? I guess Fed has to catch tonight so All Star Gramps can catch Lester tomorrow. Or maybe Joe just wants somebody else to catch a no-hitter. Would love to see KB get the power turned on. C'mon Jorge -- channel your playoff self!

  • All it took was Schwarber, Heyward, and Szczur getting hurt for him to get to play again. Let's go ahead and call this little stretch your last real chance to prove you belong on this team, Jorge.

  • soler hitting 2nd...didn't expect that one.

  • tonight: Fowler, Soler, Bryant, Rizzo, Zobrisjt, Baez, Russell, Federowicz, Arrieta

  • roster shuffle official per Sun Times, Gordon Wittenmeyer on twitter...Szczur to DL with minor hamstring strain, Chris Villanueva to 60 day DL, Ryan Kalish to 40 man roster and gets the call-up.

  • There's an interview with Heyward up on ESPN where he says the wrist thing has been lingering and he just brought it up with the team as it didn't go away. So that could very well explain why he hasn't had the same hard contact recently.

  • Ryan Kalish writeup (by Peter Gammons last November):


  • Villanueva goes to the 60 day DL.

  • Peter Gammons just tweeted that teammates are tweeting Kalish is getting recalled. Not sure which ones and what they'll do with the 40 man but there we go.

  • Jesee Rogers just said he thought Ryan Kalish would be the call up.