Game 79 Thread / Orioles @ Cubs (3 of 3)

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SP Radhames Liz SP Jason Marquis

1-0, 6.27, 14 K, 9 BB, 18.2 IP
6-3, 4.43, 41 K, 31 BB, 81.1 IP




2B #Brian Roberts LF *Eric Patterson
SS #Alex Cintron SS Ryan Theriot
RF *Nick Markakis 1B Derrek Lee
1B Kevin Millar 3B Aramis Ramirez
3B *Aubrey Huff CF *Jim Edmonds
LF Jay Payton C Geovany Soto
CF Adam Jones RF Mark DeRosa
C Guillermo Quiroz 2B *Mike Fontenot
P Radhames Liz P *Jason Marquis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sure, baseball is a 162-game marathon and one individual game generally means very little in the grand scheme of things. But once in awhile a key game comes along that can define a team and a season. The Orioles threaten to take the series today, which would mark the Cubs first series loss at home since the end of April to the Brewers. We shall not stand for this threat against our beloved Friendly Confines So rise up, my beloved Cubbies against this island of misfits led by the Cubs' bespectacled cast-off.

WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE!

Cubnut: All I know is, the Orioles' scheduled starter last night, Brian Burres, was scratched because of a "stomach illness," and his replacement, Matt Albers only lasted five batters before he was pulled thanks to a "sore right shoulder."

It's pretty clear to me that Burres, contemplating what it would be like to go up against the NL's mightiest offense, suffered a disabling case of pre-game nervous diarrhea. Then Albers, after summoning the courage to actually take the mound, was the victim of a psychosomatic shoulder problem.

At least, that's how I see it.

Interesting item from Len & Bob's Baseball Blog:

With a victory today, the Cubs will become the first club to win 50 games in 2008. Of the teams that have accomplished that feat since 1999, only one—the '05 White Sox—went on to win the World Series.

The '06 Tigers made it to the Series, but lost.

Four clubs, including the Angels last season and Lou Piniella's 116-win Seattle team of 2001, won their division, but were stopped short of a pennant.

And three of the first-to-50 teams never even made it to the post-season: the '03 Mariners, the '02 Dodgers, and the team that won its 50th game on the same day as Los Angeles—the Seattle Mariners managed by the aforementioned Piniella.

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Comments

K-Fuk still out with his calf problem, I guess. It sure would have been nice to be able to stick Derosa at 2nd, and let Fonty and Cedeno sit this one out...

....and he's 3-for-3 through 5 innings. Amazing hitter.

What's ominous about that is the 2002 Dodgers finished the season with a fine 92-70 record. Unfortunately the Giants won 95. Worse yet, Arizona won 98 and took the division.

Things are shaping up similarly in the NL Central this year.

'Something brewing: Here at World Rumblings Headquarters, we're hearing the same noises that our buddy Buster Olney has been hearing -- that the Brewers loom as one of the most serious potential bidders on Sabathia, even if he's just a rent-a-starter. The Brewers have a deep system. And principal owner Mark Attanasio has made it clear to his baseball operation that it's time to go for it. So if Sabathia winds up somewhere other than Milwaukee, said one baseball man who has spoken with GM Doug Melvin, "it won't be because they're afraid to give up their prospects."'

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?column...

I once saw an article which I swear was at the Onion (searches since have turned up nothing) this was the headline:

Portly man in athletic gear demands: "WE MUST PROTECT THIS WAFFLE HOUSE!!"

WHY THE HELL DOES LOU KEEP PLAYING FONTENOT????????????????

Epatt to 2nd Murton to LF. Instant upgrade. Fontenot is Lou's Neifi.

and why did Iowa play E Patt at 2B if he was going to wind up in LF with the Cubs?

If Patterson had gotten a hit like Fontenot did in the 2nd inning we'd have some runs on the board.

I really hope the Cubs aren't returning to the "How many 2nd basemen can we have in the starting lineup?" game again.

Radhames Liz... I think that was the foreign exchange student from Basque Country that I dated a few times in high school. Crazy gal, and not necessarily in the good way...

Nice move on the IBB in the 3rd inning to set up a big inning.

Walking Nick Markakis in the 3rd inning? Is the heat getting to Lou?

Wasn't that bad of a call. Markakis is a better hitter than Millar any day of the week, and he's left-handed. You also set up the force at all bags.

The only problem with it is that, since Marquis decided he wanted to be wild and leave balls up, it gives the O's another runner that would eventually score.

walking markakis was fine, throwing anything other than a fastball down the middle of the plate on 3-2 to the .244 hitting Millar was fucking retarded. And then had Huff down 0-2 and on 1-2, threw a slider in a lefties happy zone.

 

Alright, Lou, that should be about it for Marquis, unless you want to just give this series away.

Winning the rubber game looking more and more like a pipe dream. When did the every other year Cubs replace the '08 Cubs?

We're missing a whole lot of parts ....take the entire outfield plus our ACE for example.

What we have out there today is more reminiscent of '06 than '08.

Ah...NOW I see why they walked Markakis.

Nice job, Jason. Hope you make you 4:00 tee time.

Cubs really seem to have mailed this one in... They should be eating this pitcher alive!

Seriously, the dude whose job it is to scout young and unfamiliar pitchers should be fired immediately.

Usually one of the teams mails it in on a getaway day, but damn,it's not like to Cubs have to catch a plane. This is pathetic.
On a different note,I too am afraid that Milwaukee might grab CC from us. They have more prospects to offer. I thought C.C. stood for Chicago Cub Sabathia. That's what I heard.
This game sucks.
I wonder how many Cubs get beaned during the Sox series? Any over/unders on that one?

If I was Lou, I'd be about ready to kill someone right now. I bet he waiting for even the slightest thing that he can blow his stack on...

Maybe this will just get the boys pissed off enough to sweep the Sox again...

HR, 2-2 Tigers/Cardinals

Who said the Orioles were light hitting? They've been a hitting machine in this series.

Maybe Lou should start asking DLee to bunt when Theriot gets on ahead of him. Is he leading the league in GDIP?

I was just about to suggest that DLee get the hook after his productive 3 ABs, where he got out three times in 5 total pitches, even GIDP on the last AB. Sit his droopy ass on the bench.

Uh, Derrek, DP's and K's don't help the cause.

New nickname: D.P. Lee

should not be hitting three

Lou needs to go Medieval on DLee. That would be a shock to everyone's system. Is the game over yet? Ouch. Please no June swoon. I don't wanna hear it.

Yes, DPLee leads the league in GIDP. He is ties with J. Loney from the Dodgers, with 16 going into today (17 I guess now).

worse...DPLee lead the major leagues in GIDP

Bleccchhhh.

Get this one out of the system.

Pujols now 4-for-4 i nhis first game back. Ridiculous.

I thought the Peoria Chiefs weren't supposed to play at Wrigley until July 29.

two out

bases loaded walk

Cards lose

Parisi walks in a run in the bottom of the 10th. Tigers win 3-2.

DET wins in the 10th... Another squandered chance to gain a game on the redbirds...

Or, another saved chance of losing a game in the standings....

Anyone else feel like there's a certain redhead on the bench that really should be in this game right now?

how about the over /under on how many runs cotts gives up
when he comes in.

Cubs get 3 in the 6th to make it 11-3. 3 an inning will do it. Rally cap time.

DLee and ARam get to sit -- why doesn't Deros ever get a rest. If only there were a slap-hitting, orange-tinted outfielder to take his palce.

My guess is we'll see him PHing for the pitcher this inning...

Good guess. His resultant weak GO on the first pitch from a submariner is probably evidence of why Lou doesn't get him in there earlier.

My god, lose 2 of 3 and the sky falls in here.

I don't think anyone's panicking. But this loss is indicative of some of the Cubs' problems -- reliance on sluggers, power outages, Marquis' streakiness, iffy relief pitchiing, poor ABs from the bench.

Despite the best record in baseball, this team still has a lot of room to improve.

-edit

That's Murton's second straight weak GO on the first pitch. He's done that every recent AB I can remember, minus the AB late Tuesday night when he flied out weakly to left after a few pitches.

I have to think he's trying to get traded.

I tend to agree.

As bizzare as it sounds, I can't think of any other explanation. He's a totally different hitter this year. No patience, no power, nothing.

It seems like Murton noticed that he wasnt getting to play or get traded while he was hitting great.

So now he figures he can get traded or released if he hits crappy.

He's probably right.

reliance on sluggers

Cubs rely on sluggers? Since when?

Of course there's room to improve, especially now with some of the injuries. One loss is now "indicative" of problems of a team that's, what, 18 games over .500 and swept the Sox prior to this series. (Would you say the sweep, where we crushed them, was also "indicative" or was that a blip...or is losing 2 of 3 the blip?)

And someone actually used the words "please no June swoon".

Just a different worrying philosophy, I guess...

I didn't say the same problems didn't exist when they swept the Sox, because they did. Just because they're a good team and just because they've been playing well (and are 19 over) doesn't mean anything. Yes, it doesn't help that several key players are on the DL, but hey, they still have problems. This game just typified particularly well some of the weaknesses that the Cubs need to focus on fixing in the second half. Starting with Marquis.

And someone actually used the words "please no June swoon".

I missed that but I do wonder about our collective memories. Team is 14-9 in June and this is the second series we've lost. There's only 4 games left in June...I think we'll be okay.

Crap game, we're a few men down. Just look at Cubnut's post from yesterday where the Cubs are top 3 in just about everything and that should calm some fears...I hope.

 

It's just reality;the Cubs have some scary flaws in SP. That's kind of important for winning a division.

Umm... don't the Cubs have the best ERA from the starters in the NL?

I will take scary flaws every day if it gets you the best in the league.

Look... the Cubs have score the most runs in the NL and allowed the fewest.

Lets back away from the edge a bit.

Yes, but that's partially relying on a Marquis who tends to get even worse in the second half and a Dempster with a way out of line BAbip, plus a Lilly who has shown signs of reverting.

Or you could say that it is relying on an underperforming Lilly, bad starts from Hill, and starts from Gallagher who appears to keep getting better.

Well, and I think Marshall will get better with more consistent playing time. However, Lilly's ERA is only a bit higher then career average and his WHIP is lower then majority of other years outside of last one. While he was great last year and it's nice to hope it will continue, it's also pretty optimistic to think it will continue. It's a perfectly reasonable opinion to call last year an outlier.

I'm really not a big fan of Marshall. He pitched decent in spurts last year but I'm just not convinced he's ever really going to be an above average major league pitcher. Hopefully I'm wrong.

Actually, he pitched very well all of last year except August. He was great in May, July and September and posted a 3.82 ERA in June. That's a bit more then spurts.

Well... I would argue that Lilly's AL East competition has to be factored into his career ERA.

I still think that Lilly is underperforming, and unless there is an injury, he should have a decent 2nd half, imo.

not sure how much Marshall is going to improve, all he has is youth on his side. His peripherals suggest he's of the same average pitcher as the rest.

As for Lilly, his biggest struggle this year is the long ball.

1.64 HR/9 and 13.0% of the flyballs he's given up have landed in the seats. Those are quite high. His career HR/9 is 1.38 and career HR/FB is 11.2%. I believe most pitchers give up HR's on their flyballs in the 10-12% range. Of course he could just end up having a bad year that way.

My thoughts are that the Cubs have had the best pitching in the league this year with more than they expected from Z and Dempster, less than they expected from Hill and Lilly and what they expected from Marquis. I think Gallagher has been a little less than what expected to get from Hill. Overall that suggests to me, expect much of the same the rest of the way.

And somehow land CC Sabathia...

Just jump off the fuckin ledge already, will ya!!?!?!

Jesus H Tap Dancing Christ, are fifth starter got rocked.

Holy Shit!!! End of the world~!!!

if this team goes .500 the rest of the way then they are a 90 win team. The only addition we need is a no. 2 starter and a RH bench bat to replace Cedeno for the playoffs. A better backup C and a late inning (6-7th inning guy) reliever are some spots that should be looked at for upgrades if the price is right on a deal.

I don't think there is anything wrong with Blanco and I don't think the Cubs will look to replace him. He is a great defensive catcher and one of the best in the league at throwing out potential base runners. He is also an experienced veteran who plays a key role in mentoring the younger guys. There is a reason guys like Greg Maddux and Zambrano want to throw to him.

In a pefect world I would like to get a better bat in the spot, if the defense is equal. Blanco's OK but if we could upgrade there without giving up anything of value I'd be for it.

Who is giving away good game callers with strong, accurate arms (and a quick release) who have a good bat--for nothing? Henry Blanco has a defensive-minded catcher's OPS, which suits him. If you've got Geovany Soto hitting well, you don't give much up to improve the offense you get from your backup. Backup catcher is way down there on list of needs for the Cubs.

But isn't the reality also that we're playing over .600 ball?

I guess I just find it kind of amusing that a loss like this really brings out the negativity. It's not that it's not there always, it just seems to really come out on days like this.

Speaking for myself (and I realize you're not only talking to me), I don't really think I'm being that negative. Hell, see comment #36 in response to #35. I still really like this team and am more optimistic about their chances than any other team I remember.

With that said, I think there is a difference between whining about one loss and bitching about some consistently bad trends. DLee's fallen off a cliff since April. Soto's really cooled off. Marquis, although decent of late, is still prone to horrific outings. The bench still isn't all that great.

These are things that need to be amended, or I doubt we'll keep winning at a .600 clip. And yes, we don't have to win at a .600 clip to still have a really good team which is why I for one am not panicking but just pointing out some things. If you want to call that a Chicken Little analysis, fine, whatever.

Marquis, although decent of late, is still prone to horrific outings.

In other words, he is just like any other 4 or 5 starter.

The bench still isn't all that great.

Name another bench that is better, especially once Reed Johnson and Soriano come back.

Johnson. Ward. Blanco. And two of these three: Murton/Cedeno/Fontenot/EPat.

Most teams would take that bench in a second.

*Sigh*. I don't really feel like getting into a prolonged argument about this, but I'll answer your points.

Marquis may be an average 5th starter thus far, but as was previously pointed out, look at his post-ASB stats. Not good. Is our goal to have an average 5th starter or is to win in the post-season? If we're just trying to make it to October, we did that last year.

I would like our bench more if Murton and Fontenot weren't around anymore. Murton may be talented but he's clearly either trying to get traded or is seriously f*ed in the head. Fontenot just isn't that good. I like Johnson and Blanco fine, but it'd be nice to have another righty or switch power bat coming off the bench.

Not trying to bitch here. Just replying to Dave's points.

good news is you don't need a 5th starter in October, you just have to get there. :)

Besides CC, is anyone out there really an improvement? There's really no reason for the Mariners to trade Bedard and there's definitely no reason for the A's to trade Harden. AJ Burnett is really the only other name with the talent that might be available, but he's been kind of awful.

 

 

Marquis may be an average 5th starter thus far

That is not what I said. Marquis is just like every other 4th or 5th starter - prone to both good and bad starts. Jason Marquis currently has an ERA+ of 101, which is league average, which is more than adequate for a 5th starter.

it'd be nice to have another righty or switch power bat coming off the bench.

Like who?

Again... name a better bench than the Cubs.

And name a better 5th starter than Marquis.

Again - are there better pitchers than Marquis? Sure. Are there better pitchers available? Maybe... thought I am not sure that the Cubs have the talent to get Sabathia, and I am not sure that Burnett is a huge upgrade.

Remember this. As Rob said... your 5th starter doesn't pitch in the playoffs. So if you are worried about winning the post-season, you don't need to find someone better than Marquis. You need to find someone better than Lilly/Gallagher. Burnett is not that guy right now.

I don't understand why the best team in baseball should be settling for "league average" and "adequate" out of the 5 starter compared to other 5 starters. Average numbers out of our 5 shouldn't be good enough. That's fine if we're an average baseball team, but we're not. Why are we settling for average all of a sudden? Are we not used to actually being good?

Yeah, sure, he's alright. Better than Estes or Rusch or Wade Miller. But I don't want alright. I want to win the division and win the World Series.

I think most people were referring to Marquis as a League Average Starting Pitcher - not a league average 5th starter. Given 5 starters per team, a league average starting pitcher would be somewhere between a 2 and a 3 starter on the average team in the league. To have that player as your 5 is a good thing, and perhaps one of the reasons the Cubs do have the best record in baseball. Hell, a lot of teams don't even have a 5th starter, but instead have tried a host of guys there all year.

Also - I'll take you to task on 5th starters. Here's the 5th starters better than Marquis and his 4.96 on both leagues. I should probably add some fraction of a run to the AL numbers, but I'm too lazy. I did not include struggling starters who are the one, two, or three according to the team's depth chart (and common sense):

ATL - All are lower than 4.96.
BOS - Masterson 3.83/Colon 4.03
CHW - All are lower than 4.96.
LAA - Garland's the highest ERA at 4.05.
LAD - Their five is Kershaw at 4.36. Penny is broken worse than Lilly, but he's not the 5.
NYY - 5th for them right now is Rasner at 4.50. Hughes and Kennedy both suck, but aren't in the NYY rotation right now due to injury/ineptitude.
OAK - A's worst is Blanton at 4.58
PHI - Kendrick 4.59/Eaton 4.86. Again, Myers is over 5, but he's the 2. (Listed as the 1 on phillies.com)
STL - Pick one. I'll take Welley at 3.46. Looper is the rotation's highest at 4.22.
TB - Sonnanstine isn't all that much better, but is still better at 4.85.
TEX - Kayson Gabbard also has a 4.96, so not necessarily better, but it's the same. Worth noting.
TOR - Listch/Marcum/McGowan are all under 4.96. Burnett isn't, but he's not the 5.

That's 11 teams that get better production from the back-end of their rotation than we have received from Jason Marquis in 2008 (and 1 tie from a .500 Texas ballclub). And some of those teams aren't getting 1.6 HR/9 from their #2 starter. As you said, the Lilly problem is a different one entirely, and isn't particularly relevant to the 5th starter discussion.

you're my boy Wes, but that post was B.S.

arbitrarily dismissing certain pitchers because they're not considered #5's, but using Marquis' ERA after his worst start of the year. What are your numbers before Marquis start yesterday? I'll answer for you...he was in the top 30 in ERA in the NL among qualified starters. And more importantly, do not forget the value of making your starts.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/tom_...

nonetheless, no one here is going to worry much if Marquis is replaced and most of us realize a top starter would help this team. But Marquis does more good than harm over the course of a 162 game season.

FYI - the AL league ERA is lower than the NL league ERA at this moment.

That's fine if you disagree. The discussion was about 5th starters. I went through every 5th starter in baseball and looked at their ERA. I'm sorry Marquis' ERA went up a bazillion after yesterday because of one outlier. It's still his season numbers, and his sample is still approximately the same as most other MLB starters. That's part of getting rocked. It happens.

You're correct that making every start is important, and some 5's are already not making starts because they've been removed due to extreme suck. But, some of those teams have taken measures to replace them with someone who sucks less/isn't broken.

And I did not use some starters as you mentioned, because they aren't fives. It isn't random or abritrary. We all know Myers isn't the Phillies 5. He sucks, but he isn't their backend guy. Burnett's not a 5, either. If you want to talk about the worth of #2 starters, then Myers and Burnett are both light years worse than Lilly right now, but that wasn't what we were talking about.

Our rotation is good this year as a whole. Better than a lot of others and much better than a lot of other Cub rotations of the past. But there's room for improvement at the backend. There are 11 teams who have better back ends of their rotation than we do. It's that simple.

I think that as soon as some people read that someone is not happy about how the team is doing on that particular day, they immediately think that this means people are jumping off the bandwagon. I am just pissed about today, and how the Cubs did not appear to even show up at the park. Days like these are much fewer and far between than they have been for as long as I can remember, but they still grate on me from the moment they begin, thanks to nearly 30 years of repetition. I do NOT, however, think suddenly that this team is shitty, and will never be successful. This team has a great chance to win this year. One of the ways they can follow through on this chance is to try and avoid days like this as much as possible. I have already moved on, and am looking forward to the weekend.

Marquis gave up 7 two out runs. While less then inspiring and highly frustrating to watch, a single pitch or a lucky break and there is little damage. Bottom line, Cubs were out played and lost bad, but it's not something that exposes many long term weaknesses to me.

Cubs were competitive in 44 games since losing 9-0 to Cincy on 5/7. There are going to be games like this. The fact that there haven't been more is pretty amazing if you think about it.

Big road trip coming up.

woah!

jon lieber exists!

he sure pitched today like a guy who's worked 4ip the last 20-something days, too.

guess he finnally finished that 5-story house of cards him and blanco been working on.

-edit- 5.2ip my bad...

Marquis had pitched well the last few outings, but today he was just bad. Its no surprise that we lost this series with Marshall and Marquis taking the losses. What was suprising today is that the offense didn't get anything going vs Liz. This team will be ok in the long run.

I hope the Bulls trade you for Dwayne Wade...somehow.

Wade is most likely bound for his return home in the summer of 2010. Its Pax's job to make sure we have the cap room to do it.

We pretend like Z & Soriano are not big parts of the team. Harumph. When do they get back?

both probably right after or shortly after the all-star break.

soriano being in the a/s game shouldn't be too surprising if he's cleared to play.

hope he comes back with some sense of his batting strength cuz he sure as hell can't rely on his eye.

I'm not sure Marquis is a fifth starter when Zambrano comes back. Maybe a sixth starter. Zambrano, Dempster, Gallagher, Lilly, Marshall. That's five.

One thing for sure: Marquis is the worst $7 million fifth or sixth starter in the league. I blame it on Rothschild, who sold the Cubs on Marquis, and McDonough, who signed off on all of Hendry's exorbitant contracts.

Some fifth starter, humph!, we gotta pay him $10 million next year.

And you're right about Rothschild. He claimed he had a fix for what was ailing Marquis.

Sure he did. Marquis has been WORSE than career averages since we got him.

Randy Johnson: 4-6 with a 4.94 ERA for $15.1 million (and missed time due to injury)

Doug Davis: 2-3 with a 3.68 ERA (below 500 winning percentage for career with 4.31 career ERA) for $7.7 million

Mike Hampton: hasn't pitched in a game since 2005 for $15.9 million

Javier Vazquez: 7-6 with a 4.24 ERA (career 3 games over 500, with a 4.28 ERA) for $10 million.

Jake Westbrook: 1-2 so far but has been injured (career below 500 WP with 4.31 ERA) for $10 million

Paul Byrd: 3-8 with a 5.21 ERA, for $7.5 million

Jeremy Bonderman: 3-4 with a 4.29 ERA for $8.5 million

Kenny Rogers: 5-5 with a 4.60 ERA for $8 million

Dontrelle Willis: 0-1 with a 10.32 ERA, Rich Hill for $7 million

If you can't tell I am going alphabetical by team and am only at D. I don't have the time to keep going. But Marquis is paid on par with other veteran, around .500 for their career pitchers to fill backs of rotations in the majors. He has bad games once in awhile, but he doesn't implode for whole seasons like some of these guys (didn't even get to the Mariner's overpaid rotation) and he does not get injured like a lot of these guys.

The vast majority of those guys on that list got their paydays because they had great years in the past (RJ, Hampton, Vazquez, Rogers, Dtrain) or had the potential to (Bonderman and Westbrook). Marquis was an average 29 year old pitcher when we gave him that deal. What you saw was what you were going to get. It was dumb to give him a 3 year deal, especially one that gives him 10 million next year. It should have been a 1 year deal, as Gallagher and Marshall were ready for spots at the start of the year.

Jarrod Washburn 10 million, Miguel Batista 9.5, Carlos Silva 8.2. You are going back pretty far to find good years in these guys' pasts. Marquis was 15-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 2004. He had just as much potential to duplicate that season as some of the turds getting paid even more. The list is endless. This is what starting pitchers get paid.

Also, I will reiterate something I posted above. An AVERAGE starting pitcher would be a 2-3 starter, depending on the team - defintion of average with 5 starters per team. Yes Marquis is average, and was 29 when signed, I concede both of those points to you. But signing a 2-3 starter for your 5 spot, for an average of 7 million per year was a good deal. Not a steal by any means, but not raked over the coals either. He also probably wouldn't have signed a one-year deal, that would have been dumb for him to do.

He will give you a 4-something ERA over 200 innings across 30+ starts. He can also pinch run, hit, and field his position.

Also, we have learned in the past that you can't pencil in guys like Marshall and Gallagher for those kind of stats over a given year. Rich Hill should be exhibit A. If we had gone into this year with Z, Lilly, Hill, Marshall, and Gallagher as our rotation we would have been screwed. Instead we had all of those guys plus Dempster, Marquis, and Leiber, and when someone gets hurt or loses the strike zone, we have back-ups.

I like your list of expensive mistakes, although I must say that Vazquez looks a lot better to me than Marquis, though maybe that's a 'grass is greener' thing.

You're overlooking the real problem with expensive lower-tier players. It's not my money, so i don't care, but there are two problems: the guy with the big paycheck plays; and you can't trade guys who are overpaid, because you're trading the contract.

Marquis or Lieber, who is better? I would say Lieber. Who does Piniella like better? I would say Lieber. Who gets to play? Marquis.

You can say that Marquis is as good as the four or five guys who might replace him, but without Marquis, at least you get to pick the guy, and then change your mind, and pick a different guy. Piniella is really good at that sort of thing, but Hendry has tied his hands. Piniella doesn't want to make his boss look bad by benching Marquis.

As for pinch running, I honestly think Piniella puts him out there so he'll end up on the DL. It's too bad Eyre can't run.

Marquis or Lieber, who is better? I would say Lieber.

Really? If Liber took the ball every 5th day I would guess that you would have a different opinion. The last two years Lieber had a 98 (2007) and a 95 (2006) ERA+. Marquis' last two years were 101 (2007) and 74 (2006). They actually are at pretty similar levels of quality. Lieber has a career ERA+ of 103, Marquis has a career ERA+ of 96 - not much gap, and Marquis has the relative youth on his side.

Who does Piniella like better? I would say Lieber. Who gets to play? Marquis.

How do you know who Piniella likes better? If Piniella likes Lieber so much, why does Piniella never let Lieber pitch?

Because he sucks

So the club made a mistake in a FA SP - lots of those types of mistakes going around the league these days. You could make a counter - argument that in relation to some of the other signings at that dollar level, they've wound up better than some others. Say, how's that curveballing phenom doing out in SF right now? Is he still even in the league?

It could be a lot worse, when you consider the possibilities. A whole lot worse.

Not to mention the original 3/44. I'll take a $7m league-average pitcher who takes the mound every fifth day over a $12m guy who might be awesome but can't stay off the DL.

Come on guys, we all know what Marquis is... we knew it even before he put a Cubs uniform on. You can expect games like the one yesterday.

'05 13-14
'06 14-16
'07 12-9
'08 6-4

If he's your #5 pitcher you have a pretty good rotation.

Our pretty good? rotation

Dempster $5.5 MM
Gallagher peanuts
Marshall cashew nuts
Lilly $7 MM
Marquis $6.4 MM

Elsewhere but not forgotten:

Z $15 MM
Hill macadamia nuts
Samardzija $2.4 MM

What is your point?

Our starting rotation has the best ERA in the NL, so year, regardless of what it is getting paid, that is pretty good.

Nopers, that would be Atlanta.

... and, fwiw, we're tied for 8th in MLB

My point was, our rotation minus Z is mediocre and paid like it except for Marquis who inexplicably is paid as though he's our #3.

Nopers, that would be Atlanta.

Okay... but before yesterday the Cubs were first.

And they are still second.

Still trying to figure out the second best ERA in the league is mediocre. And I am still trying to figure out how second best in the league is not "pretty good."

And FWIW... they are 6th in the MLB, not 8th, according to MLB.com, ESPN.com, and Yahoo.com.

Sorry

It's the Cubs pitching staff that ranks 6th (ESPN), not the Cubs starting rotation.

Cubs SP is down to 12th as I write and that includes all the good work done by Carlos Zambrano who is on the DL not in the rotation.

Worse, our SP's presently rank 5th in the NL and are dropping like a rock.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/aggregate?sort...

Must have missed it yesterday. Didn't realize Pinella had been named to replace Randolph on the NL All-Star Team's Coaching Staff. Well deserved.

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