Game Preview: Pirates (26-50) vs. Cubs (33-43)

First, the lineups...

Tabata, LaRoche, McCutchen, Jones, Milledge, Alvarez, Doumit, Cedeno, Karstens


Fukudome, Theriot, Lee, Ramirez, Colvin, Soriano, Hill, Castro, Lilly.

Now, the news...

- Z gets sent to the corner with his dunce cap and Grab-Ass to the disabled list with a sprained knee. Miles says Grab-Ass should be out 3-4 weeks. Jeff Stevens and James Russell get the call-ups with Tom Gorzelanny scheduled to start tomorrow.

- Jon Morosi of Fox Sports  says that the Red Sox and Cubs discussed a deal for Mike Fontenot before the Red Sox grabbed Eric Patterson after he was DFA'd by the A's. Morosi also says that the Cubs are "halfway" to sell mode...half-assing it as always.

- The Smokies landed 9 on the Southern League All-Star team after taking the first half division title. They are:

OF Tony Campana

C Robinson Chirinos

C Steve Clevenger

1B Blake Lalli

OF Ty Wright

RHP Austin Bibens-Dirx

RHP David Cales

LHP Ryan Buchter

RHP Hung-Wen Chen

Andrew Cashner and Starlin Castro were also early contributors to their run.

- Bruce Levine put this piece of info out there in his chat today.

The reasons Hendry was enabled to sign people to long-term deals was Sam Zell's insistence that they build up the product so he can get a higher buyout from the Ricketts family. Hendry was on an airplane when the Soriano deal was done by other team executives. Jim has to take his share of blame, but let's not start with revisionist history.

As one of our readers pointed out, Zell hadn't even bought the team by that point (wasn't until April of 2007), so Levine seems to just be shoveling whatever B.S. Hendry is feeding him...or just made an honest mistake about the timeline of ownership.

Cubs try to solve the Pirates puzzle today...recommended for ages 4-5, but does require adult supervision.


From Miles: "Lou said John Grabow will be out three weeks to a month with something more than a mild sprain of his left knee."

heh, just modified the post to add that.

Miles also been pimping Soriano back to the leadoff spot. hope crunch doesn't read that.

soriano was already wasted...we can't get those years back.

good to see him back hitting 6th. go aram.

Didn't we make the playoffs in those years?

The Cubs also scored a lot more runs per game.

Other than those 2 minor things, it kind of sucked.

Well, I can't get on board with that correlation = causation thing, but unless the idea is that batting someone else leadoff in the '07 and '08 playoff would have made us win, what's the point?

"Well, I can't get on board with that correlation = causation thing"

me either.

when you got a guy who hits more or nearly more xbase hits than he has RBIs that says a lot more to me before we even get to the parts where he kept leading off while he had to windmill his legs just to run more than a jogging pace.

Well, he has not hit lead off this year and that hasn't changed. He has 37 XBH and 38 RBI.

he ॰ight as well have the 8th hitter and pitcher hitting in front of him, thway lee and aram are hitting.

yeah, what he said.

the 2 guys in front of him are struggling to hit .200 combined all season...and the ob% isn't getting much better.

it's july...c'mon lou. move some guys. may is over.

today's lineup aram finally moves out of the 4 slot...where dlee takes his place...and aram is 5th...and soriano is 6th.

"finally moves out of the 4 slot"

A-Ram's batted 5th almost as often this year as he's batted 4th.

the point being, as has always been my point is that the Cubs did just fine when Soriano was hitting like he should be hitting in the leadoff spot because a)the Cubs don't have a much better option for the leadoff spot b)the increased number of PA's outweighs or at least equalizes the less than ideal lineup construction. Not like they're running much with Theriot or Fukudome up there.

now when Soriano was hitting like he did in 2009, he had no business up there or anywhere but 8th or on the bench.

Moving him down in the order has literally solved nothing and if anything made the Cubs worse, even if just coincidentally.

personally being up 1-0 in the 1st is kind of neat too...and just kind of wondering out loud, I'd be curious to know what the Cubs record was when he hit a leadoff HR? versus when he hits a HR in a non-leadoff spot since being moved?

"even if just coincidentally"

well empirically, it doesn't make any team better giving Theriot the 120 PA's that Soriano was getting.

In case you didn't see it in our Twitter feed...

At no time this year, over 86 2/3 IP, has Ted Lilly been on the mound with a lead of more than two runs.

For Lilly's sake, I hope he ends this season with a much better team than the one he's pitching for right now. He's earned it.

They said last night the Cubs have yet to score four runs in any of his starts.

And in other news, the Cubs won a nice game today, with the exception of another overall poor offensive performance. Nice to see Soriano generate some offense though, and great start by Lilly.

Thomas Diamond in a 0-0 game after 4 ip, Shark comes in bottom of 5th and this happened...

New Orleans Bottom 5th
Pitcher Change: Jeff Samardzija replaces Thomas Diamond, batting 9th.
Offensive Substitution: Pinch hitter Scott Cousins replaces Brian Lawrence. Scott Cousins walks.
Cameron Maybin strikes out swinging.
Danny Richar singles on a line drive to left fielder Bryan LaHair. Scott Cousins to 3rd. Danny Richar advances to 2nd, on throwing error by left fielder Bryan LaHair.
Jeff Samardzija intentionally walks Logan Morrison.
Hector Luna hits a grand slam (14) to left field. Scott Cousins scores. Danny Richar scores. Logan Morrison scores.
Donnie Murphy walks.
Coaching visit to mound.
Bryan Petersen walks. Donnie Murphy to 2nd.
On-field Delay.
Brad Davis called out on strikes.
Mark Saccomanno homers (1) on a fly ball to left field. Donnie Murphy scores. Bryan Petersen scores.
Scott Cousins grounds out to first baseman Micah Hoffpauir.

Game called after 5, rain. Final 7-0.

Time to reinvent him as a catcher?

... or football?

... for Green Bay?


joe migrane just on wscr.
said he was talking to lou at xmas party last year and lou was fed up wih z then. also said there were more issues wih z that were not made public in the past.

I am firmly convinced that Soriano should be traded as soon as possible while he still appears to have trade value and as long as the receiving team pays nearly all of his contract. He might be clobbering the ball now, but this is not a contract we want to be under for another 4 years.

I doubt any team would be willing to pay nearly all of $72 million for Soriano over the next 4 years.

Check again in two years, when the money is sorta managable. He's no Manny Ramirez but Ramirez went from untradeable to a guy people wanted to give up prospects for as his contract got closer to expiration.


He was put on waivers and not claimed twice.

Ramirez was traded with 2 months left on his contract and the Red Sox paid all that was remaining. If the Cubs paid all of Soriano's salary they would probably get a few prospects back as well.

The Red Sox also got Jason Bay on a below-market contract in that trade... they did essentially wind up paying $12 million and two C+ prospects for 2/5ths of a season for Bay, though.

But even if the Cubs find a taker for him, Soriano has a "no trade" and there is no indication he wants to leave.

True, but there's not much to stay for, either.

The nightlife.

And the line of young latin boys provided by the Cubs farm system.


Recent comments

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  • it's day old news, and it's got nothing to do with the cubs, but ichiro signed a $2m deal with MIA (with a $2m option for 2017).

    neat. 41 years old and damn close to 3000 hits.

    also, rain delays suck.

  • take that giants

  • I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.

  • Per Jesse Sanchez at, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus. 

  • BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).

  • TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.

    TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.

  • Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.

  • Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.

    Think Baby Maddux.

    Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.

    Kyle is on the far left.

  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.