Game preview: Cubs (24-28) @ Pirates (21-31)

"I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I really don't know. I'm going to be honest with you, I wish I had some answers."

When your manager brings insight like that to the ballpark, how can you question his methods?

As promised/threatened, Mr. Piniella has made a number of changes in his lineup tonight. Young Castro moves back up to the second spot, Nady gets a spot start in place of Derrek Lee, Colvin escapes for a night from Piniella Purgatory to spell the slumping Marlon Byrd in center, Baker gets back on the field for the first time since suffering that ocular migraine last week against the Dodgers, and Hill catches while Soto (.200/.333/.329 in May) sits.

Ted Lilly returns to the mound for the first time since those accusations from Casey Blake of the Dodgers temporarily brought the word "cheater" back into the adult lexicon and did wonders for C.J. Nitkowski's following on Twitter.

For the Pirates—6-1 this year against the Cubs; 15-30 against the rest of baseball—Jeff Karstens gets a spot start in place of the injured Charlie Morton. 

Cubs lineup vs. Karstens (1-1, 4.78; all-time vs. Cubs, 2-1, 5.06)
Fukudome 9, Castro 6, Nady 3, Colvin 8, Soriano 7, Fontenot 4, Baker 5, Hill 2, Lilly 1

Pirates lineup vs. Lilly (1-4, 3.63; all-time vs. Pirates, 4-3, 4.38)
McCutchen 8, Walker 4, Milledge 7, Jones 9, Crosby 3, Doumit 2, LaRoche 5, Cedeno 6, Karstens

Finally, I loved this summary of yesterday's Cubs-Pirates game by Craig Calcaterra in his "And That Happened" column at The Hardball Times:

Get this: Garrett Jones hit a homer to right field and a Cubs fan–a visiting Cubs fan, as this game was played in PNC Park—threw the ball back out onto the field. I know that Pirates fans have had a lot of the fight taken out of them these past 17 years, but I hope against hope that a few of them came together to beat the living crap out of that punk. Um, figuratively speaking, that is. You know, with sharp bon mots and stuff.


<i>For the Pirates—6-1 this year against the Cubs; 15-30 against the rest of baseball</i> Go fuck yourselves Cubs! good day everyone.


Lou is really Michael Barrett, I blame him.

... seriously, ...

Good game for Nady, I'm man enough to say it. If you look closely at the bottom of this picture you will see the Cubs 2010 season.

What the hell?! Nady goes 4-4 and we lose to the Pirates! Somebody learn to hit! Gotta go. My upstairs neighbors are complaining again. Something about, "Excessive profanity." Fuckers.

OK, let's blow the team up and play the kids. Jimbo, go find out what you can get for our 5 highest-paid players: - Lee - Ramirez - Zambrano - Soriano - Fukudome Whaddaya mean nobody will return your calls? Those players make over $75 million as a group! Can't believe we lost that one -- we even scored 2 runs.

they should offer to pay as much of the rest of those contracts as MLB will allow and take all prospects back

Agreed, Lilly, Rammy and Lee need to be the first guys on the block. Theriot, Grabow, Howry and Dempster need to be dangled as well. Maybe send the kids to Iowa to play everyday, and let these vets play and build value. At least until they can be dealt. Pay 100% of this seasons freight on any guy you can move.

I would call Angels for Lee before White Sox wise up with Kornerko.

Someone on Twitter mentioned that Kaplan spoke to a source within the Angels organization who said they would have no interest in Lee. Bastards.


With tonight's loss, the 2010 Cubs have officially moved from "a waste of time" to "a complete and utter waste of time". $135MM, with no significant injuries, and you will hear crickets chirping in Wrigley come September. Congrats guys! Man, that "Year 1" slogan is looking good. Pure marketing genius.

I think that it is a good point. However, unfortunately, "Its a Way of Life" is more appropriate in describing the year-after-year "Cubbery".

How bout Nady starts at first again wednesday,maybe if Cubs piss Lee off enough he will waive no-trade and yes we should strike before Konerko goes to Angels.

Lou before the game. "Too much patience is stupidity." then leaves Lilly in with Marmol warming up and Lilly gives up the game-winning HR

Marmol wasn't going to come in with 6 outs to go.

he visited Lilly with one out and a man on and Marmol ready and at least according to len and bob, the pirates didn't have many lefty pinch hitting options

Piniella came out for a visit with closer Carlos Marmol readying in the bullpen. "Make sure that he held that runner because he ran on him the time before," said Piniella, who downplayed bringing in Marmol. "With one out? We said we weren't going to do that early. One more out, we bring him in (to face Lastings) Milledge, but we didn't get to that."

absolutely Lou... Marmol getting 4 outs is reasonable, but 5 outs? You taking fucking crazy pills.

Interesting how in the month of May, Castro had the 2nd best slugging % right behind Soriano.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx threw another gem tonight for the Smokies. 7 innings, 1 hit, 1 BB, 4K. He now has a 2.05 ERA and has walked only 14 against 42 Ks in 57 IP. Jay Jackson also tossed six solid innings in AAA. I have to say, with Cashner, Jackson, and Bibens-Dirkx, I think it's possible that the Cubs have the makings of a solid core rotation (with all caveats understood). The absolute number one priority I see for the Cubs right now is a young, but advanced, power bat at 1B. If Lilly+Gorz or a similar package could fetch such a commodity, I truly hope the trigger is pulled without hesitation. How about Lilly and Russell to the Red Sox for Lars Anderson? The Red Sox need another quality starter and lefty bullpen help. Anderson is blocked at 1B by Youkilis. Win-win?

There's a lot of talk in Houston - sarcastically in the case of the Astros about how the 2005 Astros won the NL Pennant despite starting off 15-30 (or something). It's too early to give up on the season - the Cubs aren't chasing any juggernauts. Now if they're 6 under .500 and 12 back at the break - then I think the Cubs hopefully will look at trading Ramirez, Lee, Lilly and Fukudome. Lars Anderson is a more highly hyped because he's a Red Sox prospect, he's not a cornerstone type player in my opinion. Maybe Florida will be in it and let loose of Logan Morrison for a package they think will push them over the top.

During summer 2008 I told someone that you can't have a Democrat who is competitive in Indiana lose a presidential election. In that same spirit: You can't have a 1-7 record against the Pirates and hope to make the playoffs. Sorry.

if a roided up clemens shows up next week, i'll feel bettr about cubs chances

So you and Ryno think Aramis and Lee are done?

Nope a strong 2nd or 3rd place finish isn't out of the question.

I don't think those two are done. do you know how well they have to hit just to mak their aveage seasons? ithink the cubs are more likely done then those two going on a ruthian tear. would you sign dlee at end of year to 4 year deal?

No, but that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about the 2010 season. Neither of them need to get to their career averages on the season to get the offense going. If they hit their career averages, or slightly below, the rest of the way, we start winning a lot more ballgames.

Sure, but if Byrd, Fukudome, and Silva return to their career averages, then we don't win that many more ball games. The Cubs are still in it, but I wouldn't be terribly disappointed if they start considering the possibility they are sellers. I wouldn't bother to try to trade Lee or Rammy right at the moment, of course. That'd be a real sell low--and we really don't have anybody ready to take over at third, it's debatable whether we have someone worth giving playing time at first. I'd consider trading Lilly, though. We have a surplus in starting pitching at the moment, and Gorzo really didn't do anything to deserve his demotion to the bullpen.

I was just asking about lee. I would not sign him either. the elephant in the room is the bullpen. If hitters get hot not going to mean much if 7th-8th inning kills you.

No, the Elephant in the room is the production out of the #3 and 4 spots - worst in the league - unlike the bullpen.

so who had Carlos Silva and Carlos Marmol in the Cubs All-Star pool? (kidding about Silva just because the NL is stacked with starters so far this year.)

Carlos "What the Fuck!?" Silva

It's Carlos "The Stopper" Silva. Too bad he isn't going today. Cubs are 9-1 in his starts. If he gets 12 wins by the time they announce the pitchers, he'll be on the team.

Zambrano could really learn a lesson from all this: Throw the sinker. Throw it for a strike. Repeat.

I like Carlos WTF Silva. Sounds like a scholar.

I had Kevin Gregg. ~sob~

Arizona Phil, Is Bibens-Dirkx a prospect or just an older guy doing well at double-A? I know he spent some time in an independent league after washing out with Seattle. Thanks for any insight. As I suspect is the case with many readers, I'm finding the minor league box scores more interesting than the major league games....

Submitted by MikeVail on Wed, 06/02/2010 - 8:28am. Arizona Phil, Is Bibens-Dirkx a prospect or just an older guy doing well at double-A? I know he spent some time in an independent league after washing out with Seattle. Thanks for any insight. As I suspect is the case with many readers, I'm finding the minor league box scores more interesting than the major league games.... ====================================================== MIKE V: Austin Bibens-Dirkx turned his career around in Indy ball in 2009 (after he was released by Seattle), and he has continued to have success at AA after pitching lights-out at Peoria after the Cubs acquired him last year. While he is 25 and has been released prviously in his career (after failing to get out of "A" ball), that doesn't automatically mean that Bibens-Dirkx is a lucky slouch who is doing it with mirrors. If he is getting outs and doing it while pitching deep into games, then that's the way it is. Maybe the Mariners just gave up on him too soon. Bibens-Dirkx was a 16th round pick of the Mariners out of the University of Portland (where he was a teammate of Daytona Cubs LHP Chris Siegfried), and he had a good debut season in pro ball in the Midwest League in 2006, before imploding at Hi-A (California League) in 2008. I would want to see how he fares at Iowa before jumping to any conclusions about him being a big league prospect, but he has certainly done everything he can do to at least get a shot at AAA.

Cardinals call up Aaron Miles. If he hits .300, I'm gonna puke.

He probably will. I'm convinced he's always played for the Cardinals.

congrats to the Big Lead, just got bought up for $1M or so...

Can a low seven figure offer be far behind for The Cub Reporter?

Pfft... low seven figure for rights to use the bullpen usage chart.

This team is certainly capable of better things than what they have shown in the first 52 games of the season. This team has a unique opportunity to climb back into the race with a good month (too bad it has started out crappy). In June, they have 4 remaining games against Pittsburgh (which could turn out to be the hardest of all), 3 against Houston, 3 against Oakland, 6 against the beloved White Sox, 3 against Milwaukee, 3 against Seattle, and 3 against LA (who will be playing without their biggest bat). All these teams with the exception of Oakland are under .500 for the year. 12 home games with 4 off days against the rump of the MLB gives this team an opportunity to revive and head into July with some momentum. On the flip side, they have an extremely tough July including 4 against Phili, 3 against LA, 4 against Cinnci, 3 against STL, and 2 against Colorado (if you catch Jimenez, you can tally a L for the way of life here).

Recent comments

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  • "never been a fan of using closers in non-save situations." Tie game at home in the ninth, there can never be a save situation. So you're saying, don't use your best reliever today.
  • Sorry if this was covered in a different thread, but while I overall like this new design, the white type on the dark background is a killer. I may be in the minority on that. But again, nice job.
  • It was almost like Javy was saying, "see, O&B, same old Javy here." Guy's gotta learn you don't need to swing hard to knock a Chapman ball out of the park. Choke up, dude, follow Rizzo's lead.
  • The magic number is now 24.
  • Kershaw uses his 132nd pitch for his 15th K (Marlon Juice Byrd, with the tying run at 2nd), and the Dodgers sweep the Giants. Also, Pirates lose to the Brewers for the 5th straight time. So...with 30 to play, we are 6.5 up on SF (7 in loss column) and 8 up on the Nats, and still in contact (4.5 back) of the Pirates. Man, what a roller coaster the last 2 days -- fantastic stuff.
  • Schlitter still pitching for Iowa? Guess nobody wanted him?
  • JOHN B: Pierce Johnson and Rob Zastryzny were likely 2015 AFL candidates (I mentioned them as likely candidates to get assigned to the AFL in an article about the AFL last month) because they are starting pitchers who missed part of the season due to injuries and they need to accrue more innings.
  • I personally don't think managers use closers enough in tie games in the 9th. The mindset and adrenaline should be just like a save situation. You get the outs, you have a great chance of winning. You don't your team is screwed.
  • Also - what did Bosio say when we went to talk to Rondon? "OK, Hector, tie game, 9th inning, 2 outs, 2-0 count on the hottest hitter in the game. Let's try the ol' fastball right down the middle and see how that works, hmmm?" Terrible pitch. I've never been a fan of using closers in non-save situations -- they are used to pitching with adrenaline pumping and celebrating the last out of the inning. I realize it was a a swinging bunt and an error that caused the problem, but that may have been the worst pitch I have seen Rondon throw in a long time.
  • Ugly series save a few clutch Homeruns. 2 first inning Homeruns allowed. 2 complete innings (out of 27) with a lead (8th and 9th game 2). 6 Leads/Ties given up top half of the inning after scoring. 9 9th inning unearned runs. Brutal roadtrip coming up while SF plays 22 straight against teams with losing records. Like the Cubs odds, obviously, but long way to go.
  • No more f'n Pajama Parties, Joe! Losing a series at home to the Reds (who have a worse record than the Brewers) in September is not what we are looking for, gentlemen. 3 series losses in a row -- let's get that fixed immediately. Bad error by KB as Crunch describes -- almost like he was surprised the ball was hit to him. I think if he makes that play we win the game.
  • solid smack to him...right through his legs. he wasn't even in motion, totally stationary. no bad bounce, either. it was hit very hard, but also squarely wiffed...not even any glove contact. it happens...not a good time for it to happen with 2 outs, though. that was the inning ender, easy.
  • Can someone tell me about Bryant's error who saw the play? You cannot give the Reds (or most teams) 4 outs. In this case with Joey Votto coming up.
  • un...fucking...believable... tie a game in the bottom 8th, give up 3 runs in the top 9th...why the hell not. awesome.
  • Ugh Hammel...the new Haren. The 3-5 starters have imploded and killed yet another series.