Just a Few Things to Say

- I like Lou. I think he does far more good than harm as baseball managers go. Yeah, he'll make some questionable decisions as all managers do, but he's been more right than wrong in his 2 years with the Cubs. Of course, no one ever notices the right decisions, they're just taken for granted as the way it's suppose to happen.

That all being said, STOP USING BOB "HOME RUN" HOWRY. Just knock it the fuck off. You're not turning him around, you're not gonna get him going before the playoffs. He's a lost cause and needs to be banished Scott Eyre style.

Lou says he's trying to figure out the middle innings and seems to not trust the youngsters. But how the hell do you trust a guy with a 5.43 ERA?

- On that note, Cubs are already in talks with Lou for a contract extension.  He's got one more guaranteed year and a team option for 2010, although it sounds like they'll wait for the playoffs to end to continue discussions. 

And if you're hoping for Jim Hendry to get axed with new ownership, well it's still possible, but highly unlikely. He's got an option for 2009 he can exercise and is guaranteed that year if the team is sold. And considering he's a major player in assembling the best Cubs team most of us have ever seen, I doubt new ownership will even consider firing him, especially considering how much debt the new ownership will already be taking on.

- Kind of a weird vibe from the crowd at last night's game, wasn't there? For a pretty big series, they seemed pretty quiet. They did seem to muster the energy to boo Fukudome and Howry though, which is borderline absurd. Despite my earlier rant and risking a lively discussion on the merits of booing, I'm not sure getting on Howry and Fukudome at this point of the season is really appropriate, especially when the Cubs are so close to clinching. This isn't Philly.

- Assuming the Cubs clinch during this homestand, how should they treat the final week of the season? They'll be playing against two potential playoff teams and can have a hand in knocking them out, but will surely want to rest some players. You can't sit your regulars completely and risk throwing off their timing, but two to three days off over that last week would be nice.

The bigger question is what to do with the rotation though.  I'm not sure you want to let potential playoff opponents see the starting pitchers too much. It's less of an issue with the Brewers who have seen the Cubs pitchers enough already, but we only play the Mets twice a year and don't see them during spring training. Would it be wise to give Marshall, Guzman and Randy Wells some of the starts in that series? The Cubs might also be playing for homefield advantage, so Lou might wait until that is secured before going to the scrubs. And I'm not sure how much rest the regulars would get, because on the flip-side you'd like them to get some AB's in against some pitchers they may see in the playoffs.

- As for the playoff rotation, Lou hinted that it would be Zambrano, Lilly, Dempster and either Marquis or Harden earlier this week. I assume that's him just being funny or that Rich Harden isn't quite healthy. Marquis has been pretty decent of late, but that makes no fucking sense. Even when Harden's not "healthy", he still gives up only one run in six innings. And with the way the first round is currently set up, the Game 2 starter would be able to go in Game 5 on four days rest. I know Lilly's been quite spectacular his last two starts, but I'd rather see Dempster or Harden as options for that game.

Also, how much rest should Z and Harden get down the stretch. Both seem to come back quite strong with long layoffs, so should either of them even pitch the last week? It's tempting to have Harden's last game of the regular season be Thursday and Z's final game be Friday and shut them down until the playoffs. 



"I like Lou. I think he does far more harm than good as baseball managers go." wait stop that, reserve that.

haha, damn dyslexia...

If Cubs clinch Thursday you pitch Marshall and Marquis every other day until their arms fall off.

I still believe if Cubs win it all Lou walks away and starts cashing on free meals in Chicago until he dies.

maybe, but I think the chance to go back-to-back would sure be tempting. Might as well take the extension and then re-evaluate at the end of each season if he still wants to do it for another season.

Just for fun, wonder if the Cubs would ever consider going to an unknown or inexperienced manager? Listach and Jody Davis seem to be pretty well-respected and Ryno is gunning for the job.

I think with the headache of hearing about 100 years, goats, and other Cub angst he would not want to put up with can your repeat for a year.

Go out on top, let Trammel be manager until Davis or Sandberg are ready.

After a win, that shit goes away. No more billy goat, no more drought. If anything, he's the hero who ended all that. That wouldn't grow old.

I agree Joe.

But he's already had to hear all the crap for two years, and if he wins the new one will be can you repeat or was it a fluke? blah, blah

And I think Lou would have had enough of it and just goes rest on laurels.....or hardys.

The Cubs should secure home field advantage, and then rest people.

Marshall and Wells should get starts, Guzman shouldn't. Guzman should work in the bullpen, as I would like to see him get a chance at making the playoff roster, especially with Gaudin's injury issues and Howry's suckage.

I also think that if there were injury concerns with Harden, he wouldn't be starting tomorrow.


I'd like to see Marshall,Wells and dare I say.....Rich Hill get a start to save the rotation next week. Hopefully lots of Cotts and Wuertz in the pen as well.

Hopefully Lou has the good sense to not use Marmol and Wood more than twice TOPS, per week from here on out.

If Z and Harden are to start. I'd prefer them to stay on 75-80 pitch limits. No need to tempt fate at this point.

Aaron B steps down off his soapbox. As you were.

I don't Rich Hill has pitched in quite some time.

okay, fine not Guzman, but I could see Z and Harden being shut down until the playoffs and one more start for Dempster and Lilly. Say the clinch Friday or Saturday and the current rotation is:

W - Marquis, Th - Harden, Fri - Zambrano, Sat- Lilly, Sun - Dempster, Mon - Marquis, Tues - Harden, Wed - Zambrano, Thurs-  Lilly, Fri - Dempster, Sat - Marquis, Sun - Harden (possible Monday start would be Z)


So maybe something like...

W - Marquis, Th - Harden, Fri - Zambrano, Sat- Lilly, Sun - Dempster,
Mon - Marquis, Tues -Marshall, Wed - Wells, Thurs-  Lilly/?, Fri -
Dempster, Sat - Marquis, Sun - Marshall, possible Monday game to Wells

or flip-flop Marshall and Wells, which might be nice to have Marshall set-up for the possible Monday game versus the Astros since you don't want to make it seem like you're giving the game away. Also not sure about Lilly's start on Thursday. Do you really want the Mets to see him and then see him possibly again in the first round? 

I guess that's why they pay Lou the big bucks. You could also do something like Guzman and Samardzija for 3 innings each for a start. Gaudin might be back too by the end of the homestand.

Could call-up Mitch Atkins too, but that means 40-man roster moves and service time, etc...

That projected rotation makes sense, Rob, depending on when the clinch happens.

The Cub magic number for home field throughout the NL playoffs is only 5, so it very easily could be resolved this weekend as well. I do see them staying through the regular rotation through the homestand...if only to give Dempster a start before the home crowd. If the clinch has happened then, he could only go a couple innings and bring in Guzman to pitch three or four.

After that, it's completely flexible, I would guess you're right that Z and Harden will respond well to a full week off while Lilly might need to keep in rhythm a little more. I could see Samardzjia starting the season finale.

The Cubs are in the odd position of playing four games against the Mets next week...the team we would like to see get the Wild Card (I want no part of the Dodgers or Phillies in the NLDS). Interesting.

The Cubs should secure home field advantage, and then rest people.

The magic number for the division is 4. The magic number for home field advantage is 5.

If I am advising Lou, I say: hang 'em up after next year. Good times don't last forever in sports (right, Bulls and Bears fans?). Your timing was great -- go out with a good feeling.

I think they may rest Harden against the Mets, on the theory that they have never seen him period.

The last week might be a good opportunity to give Samardzija a start, but I kinda don't want the Mets, choking dogs that they are, to see him either. Wells definitely should get one. And hopefully it would be a good opportunity to get Gaudin some work, as he has been on the imaginary DL for the last two weeks.

I'm kinda with jacos that Marquis and Marshall should be worked until their arms fall off the last couple weeks of the season. And I would toss in Guzman in as well. Except that it is likely that his arm would in fact fall off.

I don't think Lou ever hinted that would be his playoff rotation. Lou gave Wittenmyer his rotation for the rest of the year. Wittenmyer then just continued it into the playoffs.

"Lou Piniella said he plans to keep the five in rotation the rest of the way, with left-hander Ted Lilly following Zambrano today and then Ryan Dempster, Jason Marquis and Rich Harden."

Wittenmyer then says, "Barring injury or another scheduling glitch, that makes the playoff rotation: Zambrano, Lilly and Dempster, with either Marquis or Harden as the final one in a probable four-man rotation."

So my reading is that Wittenmyer thinks the playoff roster will be the same order as they are pitching now - Z, Lilly, Dempster, Marquis, Harden. But I found that highly unlikely. With breaks between the season and playoffs and breaks within the playoffs, Lou can set this up how he wants. You probably can't have whoever pitches the last day of the season pitch the first playoff game, but other than that, everyone will have enough rest to reorder it depending on the opponent and how everyone is feeling.

That being said, if a team hits lefties really poorly, it would not surprise me to see Lilly pitching game 2 or game 3. But you have to figure Z gets game 1 and they try to use Dempster at home in game 2.

you know, I couldn't find the article and just based that off what I recall reading from some comments on here. So I hope you're right...


Here it is. That's my take on it anyway, that Wittenmyer was kind of making the playoff part up...

Agreed, with hopefully a week or so to make any adjustment, Lou can have the playoff rotation be however he wants. And the only obvious no-brainer on this is to pitch Dempster at home.

If they have home field in the entire playoffs, I'm guessing the rotation would be Z, Dempster, Lilly, Harden. That rotation gives Lou the option to start either Z or Dempster at home in Game 5 of the NLDS, if necessary.

Not that I want Lou thinking about possible pitchers in Game 5 of the NLDS during Game 1 or Game 2.

Was Howry's booing due to the walk or due to him coming into the game. If it was the later, that's booing Pinhead, which is appropriate. If it's the former, I agree with Rob G. Right fielders get booed ever since Sosa's decline, I guess it's a new Wrigley tradition.

The thing about the Cubs is that their bench is so good, unless they play like 6 non-starters, they're still a pretty damned good team, and those bench guys are going to get called on in the playoffs too.

As far as the pitchers go, you just make sure that they all have 5 days rest for their playoff start, so use Marshall and Wells if necessary. Hardin's got a shot at the MLB ERA title, if he can get 9, 8, and 7 innings over his next three starts. If he gets the CG tomorrow, and we go with a 4 man playoff rotation, which looks likely, I am ok with letting him pursue that.

If he can throw a complete game in 75 pitches, more power to him.

I don't think the Wrigley fans would boo Lou, he's quite appreciated right now and not to be too stereotypical, but they don't seem that smart as a collective mind. I'm pretty sure they were booing Howry. As for Fuku, he's been pretty awful, but striking out versus CC isn't worth get booed over.

As for Harden, he would need 161 or 162  innings to qualify for the ERA title (depends on how many games the Cubs play), don't think he can reach that and I doubt he'll get the starts to even get close. I guess it's possible, but I don't see anyone risking Harden to try and accomplish that.

Hardin's at 137, so he would need 24 innings in 3 starts.

If he's the game 4 starter, pitching him the last Sunday of the year makes sense, in my mind. Game 4 would be the following Sunday, right? The trick would be for him to only need 7 innings going into that final start.

Harden has thrown 8 innings in a game once all year and not once as a Cub. I think we can agree that isn't gonna happen.

They're gonna try to limit Harden as much as possible, don't you think? There's no way they extend him to complete-game level just for some bogus ERA title.

Well, yeah, he would need to have some pitch efficiency. I actually thought he was more efficient in his low K start last time out, but he wasn't.

I would guess they'd like to have him around 100, 90, and 85 pitches for the last three starts, if he makes them all. If he's one inning from the ERA title on the final Sunday of the year, I would bet Lou let's him get up to 100 pitches.

I missed last night's game (like I do all night games). What did Howry do? The box score shows he only walked a guy.

first, he was allowed into a game with a one-run lead.

He then almost gave up a HR to Sabathia, although wind-aided. Then he walked a guy.

Sabathia is a really good hitter. He's on the Zambrano, Owens, Willis level.

fine, clearly he's on the turnaround, a good outing and a smart decision by Lou.


God I hope he doesn't end up on the playoff roster. Don't even want him around to tempt Lou with his veteranness and hard-working ways...

speaking of playoff roster:

C - Blanco, Soto

INF - Lee, Ward, Hoffpauir, Cedeno, DeRosa, Fontenot, Theriot, Ramirez

OF - Fukudome, Soriano, Edmonds, Johnson

SP - Z, Harden, Lilly, Dempster

RP - Wood, Marmol, Samardzija, Cotts, Marquis, Gaudin (if healthy), and ????

Marshall if opposing team has a lot of lefties I would think, otherwise Guzman or Howry?

I wasn't arguing he shouldn't have been put in, just pointing out that loud outs to Sabathia aren't anything to be embarrased about.

I actually disagree with the comparison about Eyre. I think the Cubs didn't give him a sufficient chance to right his ship. Certainly they didn't give him as many chances as 'Throw it Back Bob'.

I say Guzman over Marquis
Then maybe Wuertz as the 11th man.

I'd just as soon keep Marquis off the roster in case of injury and have him be ready to start on a moment's notice in case of injury to a starter.

he'd have to be on the playoff roster to be ready at a moment's notice. Otherwise he can only be put back on the roster in-between series. Wouldn't you rather have him as an option to come in if Harden hurts himself in the first inning?

Wuertz is a real long shot. He hasn't pitched since the 14-9 win in Cincy, when he gave up 2 hits and a walk in the ninth without retiring a batter.

I'd rather take another bat than take Weurtz.

Also, as far as the booing, can you imagine how bad it will be if the Cubs don't win the World Series, esp. if they lose it in grand fashion? It will be something to see (or hear) this great team booed off the field if they blow it like they did in '03.

Pretty interesting opinion piece on the Alvarez mess:


This guy is obvious, anti-Boras, which is the side I come down on as well. Not that I am pro-owners, I am pro-agents who give a shit about their clients.

I agree on the Boras hate. The Manny Ramirez situation this summer is all you need to know about Boras. Having Manny opt out of 40 million in guaranteed money. Just to ear a commision is the height of Dickheadedness.

matt harrington agrees.

rob, i was at the game last night and i have to disagree...it was really really loud, about as loud as i've heard all year. people are extremely excited here in wrigleyville for the clinch, and want it to happen ASAP.

also, the booing of howry was a bit over the top but people are really tired and some of the heavier groans was when he was introduced....people can't believe that he's still being used in close games, and i can't say i blame them.

fukudome didn't get booed too bad, esp considering that was possibly the worst looking MLB at bat i've ever seen.

Thanks to Rob for echoing most everyone's Howry sentiments.

What is it that Lou doesn't get?

Is there not ONE RH arm on the relief staff that can perform equally or better? Or, is his soft spot for a "veteran" just so "Dusty-ish" that it is impossible?

On another note, my last year's hated bullpen arm Will Oh-Man! has done pretty well for the Braves with a 1.29 WHIP in 80 games and a 3.79 era.

Neal Cotts is sporting a 1.33whip and a 3.90 ERA, in 44 games.

And then, Scott "Stevie" Eyre - 1.59ERA and a 0.79 whip, in 15 games for the Phils, which is the team I fear most - and stated so - prior to them whipping our asses last time they were in town.

prior to them whipping our asses last time they were in town.


How is a 2-2 split with the Phillies "whipping our asses"?

Please disregard facts. It helps the hyperbole.

How is a 2-2 split with the Phillies "whipping our asses"?

I stand corrected. They split here and lost the series in Philly - indeed, I do not believe that the Cubs have won the season series from the Phillies in a number of years.

This year, the Phillies pen is improved, they have soft tossers that the team usually has difficulties with, and a dominating Cole Hammels - combined with a terror of a lineup.

All in all, imo, they would be the strongest opponent in the NL this year.

I'm much more worried about the Dodgers, personally.

Dodgers also have some great pitching, Joe.

And, Manny. But "pound for pound", the Phillies have Rollins, Utley, Werth, Burell, Vittorino, Howard, all clicking right now...

True, but the Dodgers are certainly clicking as well. The Phillies offense is better, but I'm really only worried about Hamels for pitching. The rest are pretty beatable. After him, it's what, Myers, Blanton, Moyer, Kendrick? I can't even figure out who their #2 is. LA at least has a really good 1-2: Lowe and Billingsley then Kuroda who the Cubs haven't been able to hit.

Do you think any of the teams are worried about playing the Cubs?

just asking


But the Cubs are in the midwest, not from Boston or New York - therefore, just can't be any good. Right?

Lowe KILLS us. I believe I was at a game we beat Kuroda here - but he is very tough.

We have done VERY well against the Dodgers this year. I just think we match up better against them, personally. And - lots of Cubs fans in LA!! (incl. ROB G. and CHAD)

Yeah, well, I still think we're better than both teams, but LA just seems like a much better team since Manny joined the team. I was thinking Kuroda beat us twice this year (one was a 9IP shutout, I think). Whatever, it's just a comparison of two good teams. I don't particularly want to face Howard or Manny, the way they're both hitting.

Hopefully it'll be the Mets in the first round.

if lou is looking for someone to make a unintentional
intentional walk then m. wuertz is his man
always gaurentied to walk the first hitter.

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  • brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.

    crunch 32 min 30 sec 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 5 hours 2 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. 20 hours 13 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. 20 hours 19 min ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as 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. 20 hours 24 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. 20 hours 35 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 20 hours 47 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. 21 hours 12 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 21 hours 52 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 23 hours 4 min ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 23 hours 21 min ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 23 hours 25 min ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 1 day 10 min ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 1 day 5 hours ago view
  • Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:

    "And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."

    VirginiaPhil 1 day 6 hours ago view
  • When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.

    VirginiaPhil 1 day 6 hours ago view