(Cubbie) Blue Dominates Red Once Again

The Cubs won their third in a row and take the opener versus the Cincinnati Reds on a cold and windy night at Wrigley. Rich Harden and Aramis "Two-out RBI" Ramirez did the heavy lifting with some assistance from Micah Hoffpauir and Chris Dickerson's glove.

Why the Cubs Won: From what I was able to watch, Rich Harden rebounded quite nicely from his last start, needing just 92 pitches to get through six innings while fanning eight. If the Cubs weren't already up by five, you have to think he could have easily come out for the 7th inning. The mid 90's velocity still isn't there as he sat in the 89-92 range (topping out at 93 mph), but he dazzled the Reds with his lethal fastball/change combo. There was a bit of a scare in the fifth when  Wily Taveras hit a sharp grounder up the middle off Harden's glove that ricocheted to his right. Harden scampered to try and make the play but his cleats failed him and he landed face down in the grass, groin and shoulder still in tact though.

Aramis came through with the big hits tonight, a two-out RBI single in the fifth - an opportunity that was only afforded to him thanks to Chris Dickerson dropping a Derrek Lee flyball two at-bats earlier. Then in the 6th, he picked up Reed Johnson who struck out with the bases loaded to drive in two more - once again with two outs - which pretty much put the game away. Hoffpauir kept up his torrid start with his first home run of the season in the second and then hit a sac fly to center before curiously being pinch-hit for in the sixth.

Fail: After Harden showed off his speed beating out a well-placed sac bunt attempt to load the bases in the 2nd, Alfonso Soriano struck out and then Kosuke Fukudome flied to center to end the threat. Neal Cotts faced three batters, giving up a hit, another walk and striking out one.  Geovany Soto air-mailed a throw to second base that Ryan Theriot made a nice play on to keep from going to the outfield and almost got the swipe tag out on a stolen base attempt by Joey Votto. Replays made it look like he did get Votto on the hand, but the bad throw by Soto made it a tough call for the ump. After Jay Bruce fouled a ball to the Bartman seat where a fan made the catch, Bruce immediately singled in the Reds second run. The crowd, for no good reason, booed the fan who caught the ball although Soriano wasn't going to make the play, and the ball was farther in the stands than in Game 6. A rogue calico cat launched from the bleachers took a swipe at a grounds crew member before getting tossed by its tail. And the MLB.tv delay that is about 10 pitches behind this year.

Armchair Managing: In the 6th, with the bases loaded and Micah Hoffpauir due up, Lou pinch-hits with Reed Johnson when the Dustinator goes to lefty Daniel Herrera. A reasonable move with Johnson's .837 OPS vs. lefties in his career, plus with the Cubs up three at the time, a defensive upgrade. But Hoffpauir already hit a home run plus a deep sac fly to center and has been scorching hot since about 2007. Johnson unfortunately struck out, although Ramirez picked him up with a 2-out, 2-RBI single, but I'm not sure you want to take the bat out of a hot hitter's hands.

Death Pool: Neal Cotts leads the way but  0-for-2009 Joey Gathright is making a strong case for the first player to get dropped from the original 25-man roster.

(Photo credit: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)



think gath is probably safe...he's supposedly a great clubhouse guy and doesn't mind bench work. lou seems to like him, he's got speed, and he can adequately play all 3 OF slots.

i dunno if the guy will get 200ab, but i bet he'll see 80+ games. gath is 0 for 4...1bb, 8 games.

is there a reason why we don't get game threads here? are they on a different page?

we won't be doing game threads for the most part this year, just use the last post.

damn recession.

Yep. Rob can no longer afford to pay the helper monkeys.

actually, ad revenus has been cut quite significantly, but mostly none of us liked doing them.

Sounds like you need to "hire" an "intern" to put up a game thread every day.

What a shame we couldn't get through a 7-2 game without having to go to Marmol.

Re: the Dickerson error...
I think Kasper had it right--Dickerson had to be affected by how close the ball came to hitting the edge of the basket. Too bad D-Lee hit that ball into that wind, but worked out for us anyhow.

Did that cat really get chucked from the bleachers? How the hell do you get into the stadium with an adult cat? And furthermore, how do you sit in the bleachers for a good hour and a half with a cat without getting mauled or noticed by security? Crazy.

I've got Cotts in the first to be DFA'd pool. Lou didn't look very pleased with him. At least the car jumper can pinch run, Cotts offers nothing at this point.

Prediction: Marshall gets the shaft again. Cotts to Iowa, Samninja to Chicago rotation, Marshall to Chicago pen.

That cat must have gotten in by its own means. The heaviest coats and blankets would not protect you from a furious, trapped cat.

Is there anything in Wrigley Field rules barring you from bringing a cat to a game?

Unless it was a seeing-eye cat, yes.

Pets: Animals, except for service animals assisting visitors with disabilities, are not permitted on Wrigley Field property.


Maybe it was a talking cat, brought in by a mute. Probably didn't consider that, did you, Brick?

"The cat's vocal apparatus differs from our own and is not designed with speech in mind."


Another brilliant, beautiful theory of mine...killed by ugly facts.

I'm not certain that www.messybeast.com is peer reviewed.

As soon as I submitted that, I knew someone would look it up. Damn Internet.

According to a couple of posters on Sun Times web site (fwiw) they saw that cat chucked from first row of left field bleachers.

Drunks, racists and now cruelty to animals.

Calico cat was there to sing in the 7th inning stretch?

or at least recite some T.S. Elliot poetry.

(i'm back from a slow boat in china)

Welcome back, Dr. Hecht!

Are you sure it wasn't a sloe boat in china?

GUBSTER?! Are you really back? We gots to talk!

Cat wearing a goat mask--not allowed.

How long is it going to take before Lou moves Aramis up to 3rd in the batting order. Having the 1.000+ OPS's of Soriano, Fuku and Ramy at the top of the order to get the most at bats makes sense doens't it?

Watching DLee bat these days hurts my eyes, he's got to get moved down in the order.

I think the larger question is if Lee's decline continues (which I am not fully convinced it won't), how long can you keep running him out there every game.

As long as our infield's poor throws keep getting caught by Lee. As long as he keeps saving errors.

Hoffapauir is not far behind Lee in fielding ability.

Yeah, I hear Hoff is good at first and don't get me wrong, Hoffpauir is nice, but Lee is a gold glover and easily one of the top 1B in baseball. With as much thunder as the Cubs have in the lineup, I gladly take a production hit starting Lee over Hoff. Of course, I definitely would bat him 6th or thereabouts. Lee hit 6th & 7th for many many years, so I don't understand the reluctance to move him down the lineup. That, to me, is puzzling.

Yeah, I don't get it either. DLee doesn't seem like a prima donna, so moving him down in the order shouldn't hurt his ego or anything.

If Aramis can get moved off his usual clean-up spot, Lee can get moved off his 3 spot. And Lou can't even use his Soriano excuse that the 3 hole is the only place he can hit, since he hasn't been able to hit for power since 2005.

Lee has always said he doesn't care where he bats and I do think Ramirez should bat third, but Lee has hardly been struggling lately.


.320/.379/.520 on the homestand...3 multi-hit games in 6 played. Sounded like he had a HR last night if not for the wind that was blowing out to right.

Well, he is 1 for his last 10, but yes, he did have a couple of good games on this homestand which has helped raise his average to a robust .200 - right on the Mendoza line.

But, regardless of his stats, his lack of power or clutch hitting is more the concern.

I don't know what I love more about Cotts:
A. His 3.33 WHIP
B. His .385 BAA

I think it has become when, not if, as to Cotts being released.

Doesn't Cotts have an option left? Why release him?

The hit last night was a ground ball, but then he fell apart on that walk. Still I would have left him in for at least one more batter. You can't pitch when after every hitter you have to look over your shoulder to see if your manager is coming to get you. This is just Eyre v 2.0.

You can't pitch when after every hitter you have to look over your shoulder to check the runner you just walked.

Yeah, I know it doesn't quite work since he's a lefty. But still.

My point is that as a manager in baseball, just like a manager in almost any organization, your most important task is to help your players succeed. Lou may do that with position players (I don't think that's the case either) but he is totally gormless about it when it comes to pitchers.

Well, I just learned a new word.

I agree, Lou does have a short leash with his pitchers and it's exacerbated when they walk guys, but what is he supposed to do? Just let Cotts keep failing? If he leaves him in to walk the bases loaded last night and someone manages a hit or a HR, all of a sudden we're looking at a real tight game that should have been a blow out.

Right now, the only time I trust Cotts is if we're already losing by 10 runs or so. Lou can try to help him succeed all he wants, but if you can't get the job done there's only so much positive reinforcement a manager can give.

We know Cotts can be effective, but he's not right now and Iowa is the right place for him to get it back together.

It's the three-base walks that really bother Lew.

Charlie, according to the TCR 40-man roster Cotts doesn't have an option left...I was in your boat thinking he did though

From AZ Phil, a couple of threads back.

Q-BALL: Neal Cotts is only making $1.1M, so I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs DFA him and see if anyone is interested, and if nobody is interested, the Cubs could try to outright him to AAA. He can refuse an outright assignment because he has three-plus years of MLB service time, but if he refuses, he terminates his contract and the Cubs don't owe him any termination pay.


Personally, I'd have given Cotts one more hitter last night. He'd actually recorded an out, so he was having a great outing (for him). Single was a roller up the middle. It seems to me as a manager you need to have a range of responses, from pat-on-the-back to ass-kicking. Also seems to me that Lou has a pretty small range of responses to struggling pitchers.

well this is uncomfortable, like we showed up to work wearing the same dress...

You wear a dress to work?

sometimes...is there a problem?

I guess not. I just would have pegged Chad or Trans to be TCR's link to the LGBT community.

Ed Wood taught me that crossdressing is not an element of LGBT...unless you're substituting transsexual with transvestite.

Touche. Eddie Izzard, too, I guess.

Chad's probably been pegged before.

I'm gonna take that as a gay joke.

Cotts is out of options but may be willing to be sent to the minors to keep his salary. As per usual, AZ Phil lays out the scenario...


Self-serving spam alert: my interview with Len Kasper, mostly about music:


Nice job. I'll have to figure out what power pop is. I always thought it was The Smithereens, but they don't get a mention so I must be way off.

That ball Lee hit would definitely have been a homer. It missed by about two feet with the wind.

The wind was blowing so hard, cats were flying all over the place.

I'd say the Smithereens qualify, but it's a pretty wide genre. Len's never mentioned them, but I'll bet he likes some of their stuff.

Lou has always liked Cotts--at least theoretically--and has been unusually patient with him considering what he's gotten from Cotts in return.

One of my first impressions of Lou was him raving about Cotts' arm in spring training '07.

For the money he's making, it would be a shame to give up on Cotts. He had a great spring training, so I'm not sure what happened mentally between then and now, but you can tell he is fighting himself just to throw strikes.

I've seen Cotts pitch in a game 3 times this season, and every time there has been a shot of Lou Piniella in the dugout bitching at Rothschild after a walk. I'm sure Lou's already tiny level of patience he normally has is wearing razor thin, but I think we are better off having Cotts work through his issues rather than jumbling our roster and moving Marshall to relief so we can bring Samardzija up to start.

I'm not sure why we didn't make a Cotts-like offer to Joe Beimel. Since he signed a $2MM contract with Washington, he probably could have been had for less to play to a contender (you would think).


As far as the possibility of trades, some teams have contacted the Cubs about their relief corps. The Cubs can't send either David Patton or Angel Guzman to the minors without going through the waiver process. Guzman is out of options; Patton, because of the Rule 5 draft in December 2008, must stay on the big league team all season or be subject to waivers before he can return to the minors. The Cubs would lose both pitchers without compensation if they tried to put them through the waiver process.

In the short term, look for Samardzija to be called up as soon as the Cubs can trade one of their relievers.

Alright, so which one of you is scassidy42?

I think it is time to start giving Vizcaino some more high leverage innings. He is our 3rd best reliever, IMO (outside of Gregg and Marmol).

That really scares me. Vizcaino has a history of catastrophic late inning collapses. I mean really epic stuff.

He's got good stuff, but when he gets excited or in trouble, that slider tends to REALLY flatten out.

I think me and Lou think that Heilman is the Cubs 3rd best reliever. Guzman and Patton next (in either order), and Vizcaino just ahead of Cotts.

I would hate to see Guzman go, after all the work and time the Cubs have put into him and the quality of stuff he has, it seems like we are just now seeing what he can do.

If they can trade Patton for a lefty specialist or AAA prospect, it would seem to be worth it.


amazingly ESPN guy thinks Soriano was going to make the catch in that clip. The ball was either going to hit the top of the railing or the side of the wall.



*interrupts the thread to show a live barry bonds AB*

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  • J-Hey not finishing with an offensive onslaught.

    If Geoff Blum could be a Playoff hero, there is hope still...

    The E-Man 2 hours 4 min ago view
  • Giants scare me. I think you're wrong about Bumgarner, he would pitch on short rest for Game 2 and then full rest for Game 5. Cueto would go Game 1, then short rest in game 4. Add in some really tough outs in that lineup and I want nothing to do with them. With that rotation they can easily steal a series.

    Cards are a tough matchup. The rivalry evens out their comparable lack of talent. And like someone said, they love HRs, which is how to beat the Cubs. The upside is that I would feel really good about Lester twice against STL.

    John Beasley 2 hours 50 min ago view
  • j.buchanan with a nice start...5ip 2h 1bb 3k, 0r/er

    zobrist with 2HR and a double through 8

    heyward 0-4 :(

    crunch 14 hours 50 min ago view
  • Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales

    Soler likely to return Sunday, Maddon says

    crunch 17 hours 27 min ago view
  • Right now, I'd like to see the Mets first, Giants 2nd.

    I believe that since most of the team from last years' NLCS is on the squad this year, they will really amp their game up even more to kick their ass in payback for 2015.

    The Giants just do not have the depth in years past, and I think all things equal - and at Wrigley - they could handle them.

    I do not want to see the Cards, period. Or their fans, media, or Joe Buck.

    The E-Man 17 hours 47 min ago view
  • I don't want to play Braves in the first round. Any friggin team in the league can win 3 of 5..I hate the first round. Furthermore, I wanted to play the Marlins in 2003 and the Mets over Dodgers last year.

    With that said in reverse order:
    3. Cardinals: It will be devastating to lose in the first round, but even worse to their main rival. It is increased incentive for the Cardinals, especially after last year. Cards would have nothing to lose, Cubs have everything to lose.

    2. Giants: Rotation in the playoffs scare me a bit, but what a lousy team.

    blockhead25 18 hours 30 min ago view
  • 1. Mets--because of the losses in the rotation
    2. Giants--because they're not the team they were BUT they maybe have bullshit even-year magic?
    3. Cardinals--because rivalry and not making the playoffs hurts them more than losing in the NLDS plus getting eliminated by them in the playoffs would make for horrible sports commentary next throughout next season.

    Charlie 20 hours 13 min ago view
  • Who's asking?

    jacos 20 hours 15 min ago view
  • #TeamEntropy


    CLE/DET rained out last night already, possible rain-outs in New York (vs. Baltimore), Boston(vs. Toronto) and Philly(vs. Mets) this weekend too.

    Not only games involving playoff spots that would need to be played, but any that involve home field advantage.

    Rob G. 20 hours 24 min ago view
  • I got the first one! Second one I'm not even sure what even/odd betting is.

    johann 21 hours 11 min ago view
  • any opponent preference for NLDS?

    Mets are down to 1 great pitcher instead of 4. Syndegaard may pitch Sunday which means if Mets win the WC game, he'd be set up for Game 1. There's a chance they clinch a spot by Sunday so he'd pitch the WC and then we'd probably get Colon for Game 1. They've certainly had the hottest bats over the last week and month out of the WC options.

    Rob G. 21 hours 33 min ago view
  • Rob Richardson 1 day 2 hours ago view
  • Can't teach height and thinness

    jacos 1 day 4 hours ago view
  • Hopefully Pirates don't call up A. Lincoln.

    jacos 1 day 14 hours ago view
  • j.buchanan going friday...should be...baseball...or something like it.

    crunch 1 day 14 hours ago view
  • Wow. I didn't know they could do that.

    Nice for Willson, not so much for Addy.

    billybucks 1 day 14 hours ago view