Cubs Bullpen Does Not Contribute to Crushing Defeat This Time

It took 11 innings, but the Cubs walk away with their first road victory in almost a month.

Why the Cubs Won: Another good outing from the starting staff, which are 5th in the league in ERA (not sure if that is before or including tonight's game). Ignoring that the Braves are closer to the bottom than the top in NL offense and were missing their best hitter, Lilly shut the Braves out through 5 on one hit before giving up a run in the 6th. It could have been worse if not for a defensive gem by Ryan Theriot snagging a shot by Matt Diaz to his right, spinning clockwise on his knees and throwing a strike to Andres Blanco for the force out.  Lilly then gave up an unearned run in the 7th thanks to his own throwing error and Chipper Jones before calling it a night. We know he could have pitched a complete game shutout if he wanted to, but he figured the bullpen needed a pick-me up from last night and gave them a chance to redeem themselves.

Marmol cruised through his inning in the 8th, Guzman pitched 2 scoreless innings (0.91 WHIP and 2.49 ERA so far) and Gregg did not throw a meatball to Jeff Francouer tonight and the Cubs end up on the right side of the a one-run game.

On offense, Derrek Lee went 2 for 3 with 2 walks and has his OPS almost up to .800 and ended up scoring the winning run. One of those walks was on a questionable check swing that would have been a strike 'em out, throw-em out double play but the Cubs caught a break. Mike Fontenot then lined a double to the base of the wall in deep center for the Cubs only two runs off Derrek Lowe. 

The Cubs wasted a few opportunities until the 11th when Lee led off with a walk. Fontenot was allowed to hit away and flied to left and Lee was able to tag from first base as left fielder Matt Diaz's momentum carried him into foul territory...nice to see good baserunning for once. Reed Johnson singled just past a diving Chipper leaving runners on the corners and Micah Hoffpauir in to pinch hit as the last bat on the bench. Bobby Cox went with lefty and after going to 2-2 on Hoffpauir, the Hoff took a slider low and away and just poked into left field over Chipper Jones to score Lee and the winning run...a real nice piece of hitting.

Speaking of our pen: Reader jacos relays this brief interaction with ex-Cub Michael Wuertz at last night's A's/White Sox game:

Went to Sox game tonight against Oakland.

I went down to bullpen bar before game and sat by RF fence as A's took batting practice.

Wuertz was shagging and a ball came over by the fence.
I said "Michael, Cubs could have used you last night."

He stopped and leaned against the fence, smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

I said "you wouldn't have thrown a cock high fastball to Francour." He laughed.

And then I said "How's Oakland treating you?"

He said "They are letting me pitch here."

I said good luck and he waved and went back to shagging.

Cubs go for the series win tomorrow as Carlos Zambrano returns from his suspension.

 

 

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Comments

(links from mlbtr)

http://twitter.com/mlbCoz/status/2024913243

I wouldn't mind seeing if Wilson Betemit would come in, preferably with a minor league deal and a few weeks in AAA. I don't think Betemit is all that great, but we're trotting out Bobby Scales and Mighty Mike at 2nd and 3rd. I think it'd be worth the gamble, and Betemit would be a decent backup with his ability to play multiple positions (not saying he plays them well, just that he can play them) and offer a little pop with his bat. Would definitely prefer Betemit to Aaron Miles (though that isn't saying much).

Now, if the cost is too much, then nevermind.

Jamie Walker may get released. http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/baseball/bal-os...

I don't know what he has left, but sometimes a change of scenery does wonder for pen arms (see JC Romero). If he gets released, I wouldn't mind stashing him in AAA if he's willing. If he has nothing left, then dump him.

Hayden Penn may get DFA'd. http://joefrisaro.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/06
/penn_being_designated.html

Wouldn't mind seeing if we can add him, although this is far less significant than the other two moves. Raw arm that showed promise 2 years ago but has fallen apart.

"Now, if the cost is too much, then nevermind."

You're talking about a garbage-for-garbage deal.

Why bother?

Well ... I'd counter with why not if the price is right. (I'm just referring to Betemit right now).

a) It's not like we're trotting out anything special right now. Bobby Scales is a nice feel good story, but limited to say the least. I want Jake Fox to get some AB's, but I don't love the idea of him at 3rd and I don't expect Lou to give him a long look there. Fontenot has had some bad luck, but in the end, you gotta produce. Maybe he turns a corner, but

b) More importantly, though, is depth. Our options at AAA are pretty eh right now. I'd also prefer Betemit as depth to someone like Miles. I like his versatility a bit better. Before anyone goes to UZR, I know the numbers don't suggest Betemit is a great defender at any position. He's got a little pop in his bat as well.

I don't think he's as bad as his 45 AB's suggests (as much as 45 AB's could ever suggest anything). I definitely understand your point on why bother, as he's been bad, and he wasn't good to begin with (unless you go way back in time to when he was a top prospect) but I just don't think it's that bad an idea right now, unless the cost is too exorbitant, which I doubt, but you never know. There's no easy fix right now, so looking for lightning in a bottle if the price is right. In saying all this, that's me. I don't really see Hendry doing this, although nothing to base it on.

That's 8 quality starts this year from Ted Lilly.

The result of the MRI, Uncle Milty is day to day. But then he always is.

And Lou has seen enough of Geo FatSoto. KOYIE HILL is going to start instead.

"A few days watching might do him a little good," Piniella said. "If [Hill] plays well, he basically can write himself in the lineup a little more."

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/16065...

Geo showed up this year 35 lbs heavier than 2008. Flashback to 2007, The Missing Kerry Wood and Henry Blanco Factor ---

That changed last year. Before the season he joined Kerry Wood on a diet involving organic meals delivered to the players. “It’s just something he asked me about,” Wood said. “I came in and lost a lot of weight doing it. It felt good. I felt strong. So it just basically started out by talking about it, and I think actually Henry Blanco [Soto’s defense-minded backup catcher and one of his mentors] might have bought some of the dinners for him and got him started on it.”

“I really, really focused on my weight. I lost like 20 pounds,” Soto told the Daily Herald late last season. “Then it was just a matter of being more aggressive at the plate and hitting the ball where it’s pitched.” - Chicago Reader

Did anyone get naked?

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  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    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. 8 hours 21 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. 8 hours 27 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. 8 hours 32 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. 8 hours 43 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 8 hours 55 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. 9 hours 20 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 10 hours 19 sec 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 11 hours 12 min ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 11 hours 29 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 11 hours 33 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 12 hours 18 min ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

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

    Eric S 17 hours 9 min 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 18 hours 22 min ago view
  • When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.

    VirginiaPhil 18 hours 26 min ago view
  • If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.

    Jackstraw 19 hours 45 min ago view
  • cubs win...bryant with 7HR in his last 8 games.

    crunch 1 day 2 hours ago view