Archive - May 2007

Cubs Pipeline to Venezuela in Jeopardy?

Luis Aparicio. Dave Concepcion. Manny Trillo. Ozzie Guillen. Magglio Ordonez. Bobby Abreu. Omar Vizquel. Carlos Zambrano. Miguel Cabrera. Ramon Hernandez. Johan Santana. Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez. Victor Martinez. Melvin Mora. Felix Hernandez. Jose Lopez.   Just a few of the many past and present MLB stars from Venezuela. On Opening Day 2007, there were 51 players from Venezuela on MLB 25-man rosters, with many more Venezuelans playing in the minor leagues.  Since 1999, the number of Venezuelans playing in MLB has doubled.  Last July, the Cubs gave 16-year old Venezuelan RHP Larry Suarez (currently at EXST at Fitch Park) a reported $850K signing bonus (an amount equivalent to "2nd round money").

An Embarrasment of Riches…

...not in the "we have too much of a good thing kind of way", but more of the "wow this is embarrassing with how much this roster cost the Cubs." And as Mark DeRosa stated yesterday, "There's no good reason for this to be going on." A team built to hit home runs is currently 9th in the NL in runs scored because well, they're 9th in the NL in home runs hit (among some other reasons). Derrek Lee is on pace to hit 14 home runs this year as is Alfonso Soriano. Cliff Floyd won't even hit double digits at this point (8), and Jacque Jones and Matt Murton are in Juan Pierre territory at the moment. I'd love to believe that better times are to come, we still have the best run differential in the Central at +11 and the likelihood of all those players setting what would be essentially career lows for home runs in one season (when you consider playing time) is rather unlikely. This being the Cubs though, the unlikely and improbable in their most negative connotations has become standard operating procedure, so the best I could muster up is some sabermetric optimism after the jump.

May 30th

May 29th

Mateo Flips Three at Fitch, Looks Fit to Phil

The EXST Cubs (Boise/Mesa) rallied with four runs in the bottom of the 8th to defeat the EXST Angels 6-4 at Mesa's Fitch Park Field #3 this morning, in a game that featured the second rehab start for RHP Juan Mateo. Mateo, who has been on the Cubs 15-day DL with a sore shoulder since ST, increased his innings to three and his pitch count to 40+, as he threw 41 pitches (29 strikes, 4/2 GB/FB), with his fastball topping out at 92 MPH. He allowed three hits (one HR) and one run, but no walks, with three strikeouts, in his three innings of work. As long as he does not having any significant negative physical symptoms in the aftermath of today's game, Mateo looks fit and ready to leave Mesa and continue his rehab (gradually increasing his pitch count) at Daytona or Tennessee, with a return to the Iowa starting rotation probably by no later than mid-June, possibly even earlier.

May 28th

Lists

Conclude what you will... NL hitters with more home runs than Derrek Lee (incomplete list): Tony Clark Scott Thorman Joe Borchard Ronny Paulino NL hitters with more RBI than Alfonso Soriano (incomplete list): Rich Aurilia Joe Borchard Chris Duffy Ryan Theriot NL hitters seeing more Pitches per Plate Appearance than Mark DeRosa: Todd Helton Adam Dunn Albert Pujols NL hitters with a higher batter average with RISP than Derrek Lee: (None)

May 27th

Game 48 Recap: Cubs 1, Dodgers 2 (11 innings)

One to forget on Memorial weekend

Game Center, Box Score, Play by Play, Game Chart, Photos

W -Billingsley (3-0), finding ways to lose

L -Guzman (0-1), finding ways to win

 

Things to take from the game

1. Second Guessing

It's been a good day for the armchair managers. Let's see:

  1. Lou pulls Hill, who has thrown 66 pitches in 6 shutout innings, so that Ward can pinch-hit with a runner on second and two outs in a 0-0 game. Doesn't work.
  2. Lou asked Barrett, hitting fourth and with no sac. bunts on the year, to bunt with runners on 1st and 2nd and nobody out in a 1-0 game in the eighth. Doesn't work.
  3. With the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth, Lou pinch hits Aramis Ramirez for the hot-hitting Pagan, a move that requires Jones to enter the game as a defensive replacement. Doesn't work.
  4. Lou pulls Wuertz, after an effective seventh, for Eyre, who hasn't pitched in a week, to start the eighth. Doesn't work.  (Eyre gives up HR to Ethier, tying the game)
2. More slow curves than you can can swing a stick at Both Hill and Wolf pitched well, Hill especially so. His reworked legkick(s) out of the stretch seemed to be effective both at holding runners on, and without distracting from his ability to pitch well out of the stretch. 3. Whiff in the Fifth Murton doubles, Pagan bunts his way on, and with Pagan advanceing on a wild pitchwe have runners at 2 and 3 with no outs. To my eyes, at least, Wolf tries to pitch around Izturis, in hopes that he'll either chase something, or walk and set up a DP with the pitcher hitting. Izturis lays off some sliders in the dirt, but with a 3-1 count, he weakly taps one to third. No run scores. Hill strikes out, Soriano walks, and Theriot grounds out. That's runners on 2 and 3, no outs, no runs scored. On average, a team should score two runs from that point in an inning. 4. New ways to lose. Bottom of the eleventh begins with two walks issued by Guzman, Marmol in to intentionally walk a batter, then Marmol hitting Pierre to end the game, on what would have been a wild pitch to end the game, had Pierre not gotten in the way. That's a new one. All the nutty details, below

 

May 26th

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