Loss Ends Rich Harden's Season

Just when you let that little piece of hope back in, the Cubs yank it out of you like their Mola Ram from Temple of Doom. Rich Harden left his change up in the zone all game and paid for it as the Brewers knocked him for 5 runs in 3 innings. The first two courtesy of back-to-back two out hits by their 8 and 9 hitters in the 2nd. In the third, Aramis backed up on a chopper by Ryan Braun with a man on first. The ball went past him and one of the nicest gift doubles was awarded to Braun by the official scorer. That changed the whole inning, because instead of a man on 2nd and 1 out, you've got 2nd and 3rd and Prince Fielder up. He was intentionally walked and after a Casey McGehee sac fly (should have been the 2nd out and wouldn't have scored a run), Harden walked another and got a fielder's choice that would have ended the inning in theory and kept the game at 3-0(or possibly 2-0). But after seeing Alcides Escobar flail at 2 change-ups down and away, Harden went to the well one more time but missed right over the plate and Escobar pretty much ended his night (UPDATE: It appears they changed their mind and gave Ramirez the error afterall, just 2 ER for Harden last night).

It looks like it may have ended Harden's career as a Cub as well, as the team announced this morning that he will be shutdown the rest of the season. I imagine his agent is thrilled with the news considering his impending free agent status. I imagine the Cubs are thrilled at the prospect of not getting those two draft picks for his Type A free agent status. Tom Gorzelanny will slide into the rotation.

(UPDATE #2: Looks like Sullivan had a case of the jump to conclusions, as Muskat is reporting that Harden is just being skipped a turn in the rotation and there's nothing wrong with him).

The Cubs got 2 back in the bottom frame and were looking for more, but Milton's epic September slump continued, thanks to a fine play by Escobar to end the threat. That was Bradley's last at-bat of the game, as Lou curiously double switched, even though he has a 12-man pen and brought in Micah Hoffpauir to play RF and David Patton to pitch. Patton coughed up a run in the 4th and three more in the 5th, although two scored after Justin Berg relieved him. The Cubs battled back to make it 9-5 on an Aramis Ramirez home run and Bobby Scales RBI, but that was all the scoring for the night and the Cubs 3-game win streak ends.

In the Southern League Finals, Tennessee dropped behind 0-2 to Jacksonville(Florida affiliate) as they head back to Tennessee for Game 3 and hopefully Games 4 and 5. Jeremy Papelbon started for the Smokies and got saddled with the loss after throwing 5 shutout innings, but surrendering the winning runs in the 6th. The Smokies got a run back in the top of the 7th after Tyler Colvin reached after a strikeout, advancing to third on a Starlin Castro single and scoring on a Robinson Chirinos double play. They put a man on second with one out in the 8th, but couldn't push through and now have to win three in a row to take the Southern League crown.

In Game 1, the Smokies lost in dramatic fashion, tying the score at 4 in the 9th, taking the lead in the top of the 10th and then getting 2 outs before Brian Schlitter coughed up 2 runs to lose the game. Apparently a controversial overturned call, mired the proceedings.




Maybe that Braun double was changed to an error, since the box score shows an error by Ramirez and only two ERs against Harden.

well there u go, as of last night it was a double when I wrote most of this article...

the Yahoo play-by-play recap still calls it a double although it then summarizes the inning as one error



"Sources" say Z has no intention of waving his NTC, although earlier he said if they want to trade me, that means they don't want you.


Fire Joe Morgan took over Deadspin yesterday, can't recommend it enough, but that article was particularly great.

May I just be the first to say--fuck!

No silver lining to this whatsoever.

OT - I was camping with a bunch of family this summer and I said something to the effect of "well he's good, but he's no kid rock", obviously with sarcasm. My sister and brother-in-laws got real serious and were all up in my face, "why don't you like Kid Rock?" "He has a really good song, I think" and before I knew it they were firing up an iPod for me to listen to some Kid Rock.

Anyways I listened to this song and after a few seconds I was like.... WHAAAT THE FUCK? That's Sweet Home Alabama, Kid Rock didn't even write original music for it.

God I hate him.

Anyways, yeah, Rich Harden... don't care. I have definitely stopped caring about this season. C'moooooon off season!

More OT, but this is gold...


It's even worse than that. That Kid Rock song is a combination of Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" (identical instrument arrangement also) & "Sweet Home Alabama". I'm thinking of getting my guitar out and releasing a few songs from the Beatles old catalog. There's gold in them thar hills. Gotta hurry though, before the kids playing the new "Beatles Rock Band" game realize they've been duped.

Theriot, slumping Fukudome, Lee, Fox, slumping Bradley, Baker, Fontenot, tiring Wells

updated the post, looks like he's just being skipped a turn instead. Stupid Sullivan.


Cubs trying to stay in Mesa, but probably won't be HoHoKam Park...

that was very informative...thanks.

From Ben Maller's site:

"Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee leads the majors with 22 home runs since July 1. He has eight in his last 14 games. -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel"

"The Cubs called up veteran outfielder So Taguchi from Class AAA Iowa to help with their depleted center-field depth. It took Taguchi's agent to reach the surprised player on his cell phone Tuesday night because Taguchi kept ignoring the calls when a Chicago area code appeared on his caller ID. ''I said, 'Chicago? I don't have any friends in Chicago.''' -- Chicago Sun-Times"

"I don't have any friends in Chicago..." LOL

Since June 1st, in all of MLB, Lee is 7th in batting average, 6th in OBP, and 2nd in SLUG.

Didn't people want him benched/cut/traded/platooned with Hoffpauir?

stat geeks predicted his downfall based on trends that ignore he's a human being, not an aggregate of human beings...medical experts without medical degrees predicted his downfall based on his wrist

sane people from both camps and beyond saw no use in switching him out for a guy who's total upside is near what dlee can produce on a down year anyway.

Actually I don't recall many, if any "stat geeks" predicting his downfall.

Most "stat geeks" looked and saw that 2005 was an outlier, and that, for the most part, his peripheral numbers were relatively in line with his career trends.

The vast majority that I say that wanted to cut/trade/bench/platoon Lee were definitely NOT "stat geeks."

umm...you missed a lot of "look at his age" "look at the declining power" "look at this player and blah blah blah"

i read a lot of it, you may not have.

I remember it... stat people with stats proving D Lee is only on the decline (like Soriano?)... non-stat people complaining about how Lou is just like Dusty for not playing the younger, clearly better Hoffpauir.

I thought Lee was struggling and if they could move him, great, but I never really thought for one second Hoffpauir was a better or even equal option.

That being said, you've gotten on your I hate stat geeks pulpit yet again and missed that it was equal amounts of just about most everyone here not wanting Derrek Lee around and frustrated by his warning track flyballs and double plays. Stats, scouts, numbers, eyes, they all noticed he hadn't been doing too well for a good part of 2007 and 2008.

i keep explaining this but it keeps pissing you off still...

...it's just a generalized term i throw around carelessly...

i got no agenda or i'd be stamping out crap with more regularity. "stat geeks" i use the way someone would use the phrase "bleacher bums"...just tossing it around without much critical thought to the group of people i'm lumping. when i call out a bad/fishy stat or stat article i'm not as generalized.

...it's just a generalized term i throw around carelessly...

maybe you should try being careful?

but it doesn't piss me off, you're just making a very innaccurate generalization on this particular point...

I and others were annoyed that Lee had lost the ability to get around on a fastball middle-in.

Lee has been pulling the ball this season. It's a good idea to pull if you want to be a power hitter. Maybe it's a coincidence, but Lee started cranking balls out of the park to left when Von Joshua arrived and Gerald Perry left. (At the end of last season, while advocating that the Cubs trade Lee, I also urged that they get rid of Perry.)

On June 19th, the same week that Joshua joined the Cubs, Lee turned on a ninth-inning fastball by Kerry Wood and pulled it into the stands near the left-field line.

Since that homer, Lee has hit fourteen balls out of the park in left or left-center. That’s fifteen homers to the left of straightaway center in 79 games. Prior to the bomb against Wood, Lee had four homers to the left side in 51 games. Lee has four home runs this year near the left-field foul line, three since Joshua’s arrival. In 2008, he had none, also none in 2007.

Hoffpauir has not been a starter at any position for any period of time this season, and as a pinch hitter with little ML experience, he has been predictably crappy. But his 10 homers and 31 RBI in 200 ABs do project to 30 and 90 in Lee's typical 600+ ABs. All anybody said was that Hoffpauir could do what Lee did last season. That was also the year that Lee had 27 GDPs.

I said at the time that I loved Lee but he was messed up. He was. This year I am reminded why I loved him.

I don't necessarily want to quibble with you on Lee's ability to "get around" on a fastball--he certainly gets tied up inside on occasion--but to suggest that he pulled the ball this year and didn't do so last year seems inaccurate to me. His hitting charts for both this year and last look pretty similar regarding the grouping of his hits and, outs, and homeruns. The biggest difference seems to be that there are a lot more homeruns to both left and right field.

jody gerut grand slams are so not cool.

what's more amazing...a prince fielder triple or that it's his 3rd of the season?

MB playing shallow for some reason helped that out.

Bradley showing his awesome defense. This guy is a touch above Dave Kingman in the outfield.

if dave kingman told him to play shallow on prince fielder i guess.

for some reason he was set up in front of his usual spot in the RF (the worn out spot he loves to set up in)...dunno if it was him or from the dugout, but that's a weird place to set up for fielder of all people.

This guy is a touch above Dave Kingman in the outfield.


I don't think I need to elaborate on that.

Well... being that Bradley rates as an average, at worst, defensive OF in every defensive metric that I have seen, as well as from my own observations, I guess I will have to strongly disagree with you if you think that Bradley is just a bit better than Kingman.

Bradley isn't going to win a gold glove any time soon, but he isn't terrible either. He is a solid defensive player.

I haven't been watching much so should I be encouraged by Baker's hitting line since joining the Cubs (317/380/465) or is it just due to a small sample size?

About a week ago, Baker's batting average of balls in play (BABIP) was .421 as a Cub. The ML average is consistently around .290-.300, so he's had more than his share of luck as a Cub so far.

I attribute it to his DeRosa-like body type.

I bleed Cubbie blue... Go Cubs and come on Cubbies. It's just the Milwaukee Brewers!

So why was Bradley replaced by Bobby Scales? Is 2 AB's a game to much for him these days?

he took one off his calf earlier


left knee inflamation via carrie "okay, sure" muskrat.

dennis "hi, im dennis miller. omg 9/11" miller up talking about his favorite subjects...himself, obscure name-dropping stories, and how humbled he is to be an american.

Witteeyer tweets:

cst_cubs: Bradley never ceases to amaze. Took himself out after routine 1B, no trainer, no nothing. Team says knee.

nevermind the fact the trainer was walking into the clubhouse with bradley following. i guess witt only saw him walking to the dugout after talking to the 1st base coach.

ps- how did witt hold 2 beers and tweet at the same time? give that guy a raise.

Carrie Muskat is reporting that Bradley left the game with knee inflammation. Following the game, this is the exchange he had with reporters:

"I have knee inflammation," he said. "I've had two knee surgeries. It happens when you have knee surgery, in case you don't know."

It's uncertain whether Bradley will miss Friday's game in St. Louis. Asked if he was day to day, Bradley snapped.

"What else you got? You got anything significant?" he said. "If you have some baseball questions, I can answer. I've got nothing for you."

I'm sure MB is upset that he's injured, but is it really necessary to be such a jackass?

Link: http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=2...

Sullivan just in with this:
(at first Lou blew off the press conference then later)

Piniella called reporters into his office. He said Bradley's mysterious reaction to questions about his injury was uncalled for.

"All he had to say was I talked to (the trainer) in front of the manager, which he did, and he said 'My patella is bothering me,'" Piniella said. "And when he went over to first base, I motioned to him and he said he couldn't run, and we just took him out of the ballgame... He was in his perfect rights to come out of the ballgame, and that's all he needed to say.

"All he's got to say are the facts. And if he says the facts, nobody is going to dispute anything. That's all. Just say the facts."


way to hold a press conference lou.

didn't realize you need the trainer to tell you that you're hurt...

saw Bradley kind of bent over and looked like some pain going from 1st/3rd earlier in the game fwiw....

I just have to refer you to what Bradley did in Texas last year.

If you don't think he does it in Chicago, your living in fantasy world.

fantasy what?


Get your double standards here....double standards for everyone!!

"Every day, somebody else is hurt on something different," he said. "It gets frustrating. It really does. I mean, it seems like every day there's something else that goes wrong here. Remember, this is a major league season of 162 games, and you've got to have people who are capable of going 162 games to the post."

He was apparently referring to Rich Harden and Milton Bradley, who added to his own legend with a raucous postgame interview session.

let's ignore Soriano yet again, who hasn't made it through a full season in Chicago yet.

We also have Bradley being surly again, Lou being surly, then relenting and Cubs in drag.

Your 2009 Cubs.

lou (again) blows off his press conference, explains it with...

"Once in a while, I don't have anything to say, and sitting in my office here and just having a bottle of cold water, it helps me relax a little bit, and you all can't get my goat as easy."

...and in his followup office press conference he called lou throws milton under a bus for not wanting to talk to reporters right then?

okay, sure.

Soriano will go out and play everyday, only devestating injuries knock him out, and he played on a shredded knee for most of the year without making a big deal of it.

On the flip side Bradley will take himself out for dizziness, or any assortment of injuries that he always seems as if by miracle to get over without ever reaching the DL. Also add in his Texas comments for taking himself out of games, and inventing injuries to not play.

And yet Bradley still can't out perform Soriano.

Gee who will give his heart and soul for the team and who could give a flying fuck about anyone but himself? Defend Bradley all you want, but he cares only about himself and his paycheck. If he wasn't such a pussy he might have more than one 500 AB season in his career. Face it Bradley is the biggest punk/pussy in baseball who will sit out games just because he can. And i have no doubt that he is doing it in Chicago just like he did in Texas.


Soriano will go out and play everyday, only devestating injuries knock him out,

that worked out great...

and it wasn't devastating until enough people associated with the Cubs got so tired of watching him butcher the game of baseball that they finally had the guts to sit him down.

And yet Bradley still can't out perform Soriano.

No amount of your blind-hatred wishing makes that statement true.

Gee who will give his heart and soul for the team

Derrek Lee? it sure isn't Soriano

And i have no doubt that he is doing it in Chicago just like he did in Texas.

amazing insight you have on someone I'm assuming you never met based on a few newspaper articles.


I have been aware of Bradleys antics for a great many years. I have seen the same tired train wreck over and over and just shocked its happening again in Chicago, actually i am not. Its not like i didn't warn of Bradley the eternal fuck up, the biggest i don't give a shit player in baseball.

And Rob seriously by the time the season is over Bradley will have matched or exceeded Soriano's plate appearances and his numbers will be woefully under a guy who played on one knee and finished the year on the DL.

No OBP is gonna save Bradley when he might barely beat Soriano in runs, and come in dramatically below Soriano in extra base hits and RBI.

You can spin it, flip it, smack it down but Bradley will finish with a less productive year than Soriano and no amount of denial will change that.

Cuz you know what ROB i don't think Bradley has 8 doubles, 8 HR, and 15 RBI in him to finish out the year. Because thats what its going to take to finish with a better season than Soriano. Hell, Bradley will struggle to get 14 more hits to match Soriano.

as I said, no amount of your wishing will make Soriano's year better than Bradley's. It would if you haven't read a baseball article in 25 years, but otherwise the world has evolved a little.


A couple of thoughts on Carlos Zambrano:

1. I had the pleasure of sitting in the first row right behind the Cubs dugout for Tuesday's game. Zambrano did not change speeds the entire game. He moved the ball around but threw everything hard, hard, hard.

2. It's apparent to me that he doesn't listen to his coaches-I make that assumption based on the expression on Rothschild's face.

3. He's a thrower not a pitcher. Doesn't pace himself, doesn't use his head. Strong with electric stuff-but absoutely no deception.

4. I conclude that he will be traded in the off season.

More thoughts on the Cubs:

If the Cubs want to be the Yankees of the National League, they'll take their lumps on both Fukudome and Bradley and get themselves at least two new outfielders.

No more coin flip tiebreakers...it Giants-Rockies tie after 162, Giants get home field as they won the season series.
Even the Marlins, Braves and Cubs are still on the fringes of the NL Wild Card tussle.


Ichiro beats the White Sox in the 13th.

Made me curious, so I looked up his career stats.

Holy Mackerel what a ballplayer.

In addiiton to getting 200 hits every year and playing great defense, from 2006-208 he stole 125 bases and was caught only 14 times.

I think Hendry thought all Japanese players could do that in the U.S.

1st ballot HOF.

You might recall that when the Cubs signed Fukudome, he was described as a cross between Hideki Matsui and Ichiro.

A few wags commented, yeah, he has Ichiro's power and he runs like Matsui.

Some jokes don't get funnier over time.


Chicago Cubs: Outfielder Kyler Burke always had intriguing size and athleticism, and those qualities began to translate into performance on the field with a .303/.405/.505 line at Low-A Peoria that also involved his chipping in 15 home runs, 14 stolen bases, and 78 walks. If some of his 43 doubles turn into home runs, look out.
Runner-up: Righty Chris Carpenter has first-round stuff, but a long injury history dropped him to the third round last year. But he stayed healthy all year, earned a pair of promotions, and finished with a 2.82 ERA in 27 starts while consistently throwing 94-95 mph fastballs.

I've wondered why Lou has replaced Soriano with Scales in LF (instead of Fox or a Fox/Hoffpauir platoon). I just can't understand it. C Kahrl from Baseball Prospectus has an explanation. Scales is a "Soriano-Analog" (secondbaseman-ish?), so Lou basically thinks Soriano is still in LF by using Soriano-lite. LOL!


This isn't really a setback as much as it's an opportunity to take looks at Micah Hoffpauir and Jake Fox in left field—except that's not what the Cubs seem to have in mind, preferring a more Soriano-like analog in starting Bobby Scales in left field in seven of their last 10. After all, he's a second baseman-ish sort of guy with pop, and he's lighter on his feet—maybe the home folks won't even notice the difference as they wrap up their season-ticket packages, right? It's a bit odd, in that Scales does have his uses, but starting left fielder in anything other than a pinch isn't really one of them, especially when you're porting around Fox and Hoffpauir. For all of the exaggerated enthusiasm for moving Soriano back to second base, that was out of a faith that Fox and Hoffpauir could be parked in left and take up the offensive slack, not out of any great faith that Soriano could play second any better than badly. Even if defensive concerns over Fox and Hoffpauir contribute to this odd bit of lineup selection, this would seem to me exaggerated, because the Cubs are still a team fielding a fine defense as a whole.

So Kyler Burke goes to Daytona or TN next year?

Daytona would be my guess.

He still swings and misses an awful lot.

Kyler Burke 2009: 78 walks, 99 K's...that's a pretty good ratio...

not bad for the majors...for low A it's a little concerning.

he is taking more walks and K'ing less than in the past, though...so that's something. it's not a total wash.

it'd be nice if that power he was supposed to develop would graduate beyond the "pop" level, but he's still pretty young.

Well..if you look at the Midwest league hitting leaders, there's really only one player with a better ratio than Burke's..maybe 2. At age 21, he did pretty well.

I think maybe it's splitting hairs a bit, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him start at Daytona, and go to Tennessee if he has some success.

oh, he's done with low-A, definitely.

and k/bb ratio matters...it's just that the K part in the lower levels (independent of the BB) isn't that good at 100 per 450/500-ish ab's.

the BB's rising, however, adds a dimension to his numbers game. while he's still whiffing a lot he's showing some pitch selection he hasn't shown in the past.

i can't just point to 100Ks in low-A and say "well that's 125-150 Ks in AA" or anything like that...especially since he's now showing a better eye for the ball with his walks along with his Ks.

he's both K'ing a bit too much and walking a good amount for the amount of PA's he's had at that level.

and yeah, for a 21 year old he's doing just fine.

let's see how those walk totals do when he's not crushing the competition. I imagine he got pitched around a lot this year.

So no johnson,soriano,fuld and probally no bradley on friday
our starting outfield could have a So Taguchoi in it?

I anticipate: Scales, Taguchi, Miles

but I hope for: Fox, Fukudome, Hoffpauir

Okay. Both are kind of ludicrous.

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  • crunch 6 hours 34 min ago view
  • My guy Addy

    jacos 6 hours 35 min ago view
  • oh, another a.russell HR...whatever.

    crunch 6 hours 49 min ago view
  • Dylan Cease throwing gas tonight for the Emeralds. In first three innings, has hit 100 mph six times, averaging 98 mph

    Eric S 7 hours 8 min ago view
  • Can I get a gif of Joe West's jowls waving as he chews gum?

    /Asking for a friend

    jacos 7 hours 32 min ago view
  • my gawd...that castillo-to-bryant pickoff was a thing of beauty. the knock on him in the minors being slow out of the crouch is looking less like a thing.

    crunch 7 hours 44 min ago view
  • bless your heart. *pinches cheeks*

    crunch 12 hours 40 min ago view
  • real shame I missed this week's episode of The Crunch Reporter.

    It's highly unusual.

    It does matter a little.

    It matters much less than you think.



    Rob G. 12 hours 43 min ago view
  • four winds field is awesome. it's crazy how minor league parks have "grown up" since the 80s/90s and that park was one of the late-80s models that showed a low-capacity ballpark could look like you're at something other than a highschool baseball game.

    crunch 13 hours 48 min ago view
  • On another topic....I returned to South Bend last night for the 2nd time this season (still haven't tried either the deep-fried mac & cheese sandwich nor "The Porknado", as the drive home is over an hour and that could get ugly), and was pleasantly surprised to find D. Underwood pitching in a rehab start. He looked good -- although, to be fair, these are low-A hitters -- fastball consistently at 94-95 (if the SB scoreboard is to be believed -- several pitches were clocked in the 30s...) and with good location.

    billybucks 14 hours 57 min ago view
  • he gains nothing, no advantage, no saving of resources, nothing...there is not a cost/benefit tradeoff...him letting the running game go on around him for others to control isn't gaining him an advantage elsewhere. it's putting him at a disadvantage even if it's not cashed in with a run.

    crunch 17 hours 37 min ago view
  • And out of respect for the rest of TCR, I'm done on this. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the other camp, but time to let it go. (Until the next Lester start. I kid.)


    Tito 17 hours 40 min ago view
  • He is putting himself at a disadvanage. But how much of one relative to the rest of his game? He's not Justin Germano -- he's inarguably one of the best SPs in baseball, issue or not. It would be more of thing to discuss ad nauseum if it constantly caused him to give up runs and lose games. But it doesn't.


    Tito 17 hours 50 min ago view
  • shouting down my points about lester with "well, it didn't hurt" is like saying it doesn't matter if a guy starts out walking 3 guys every inning as long it's followed by a K and a double play.

    it's like elevating ERA and wins to a high level while ignoring what it took to get there.

    crunch 17 hours 56 min ago view
  • I'm asking how much it has hurt Lester and the Cubs this year. Do you have that answer?

    I legitimately don't recall you answering that quesion, apart from the condescending silliness you just posted. So if you did answer specifically about the impact of Lester's issue, I'd like to re-read it. Thanks.


    Tito 18 hours 9 min ago view
  • if runner = on base and pitcher = j.lester then lead = large

    if lead = large then probability of extra base on following hit > average of mean

    okay, enough of that silliness...

    ...you can read more on the thread i copy/pasted this from the last time you decided you needed to talk to me about me.

    crunch 18 hours 15 min ago view