Archive - 2008

October 10th

The folks at Baseball Prospectus are running their annual Internet Baseball Awards which I find far more interesting and relevant than the ridiculous BBWAA vote. Today is the last day to vote though, so head on over.

October 9th

UPDATE 2: Bah, issues...will have to wait a couple of days on the archives.

UPDATE: I'm going to try and start importing our archives from the all-baseball.com and MVN days tonight. It may crash everything.


I'm not gonna be able to muster anything coherent about the Cubs this week. The organizational meetings start October 19th and I'm sure we'll start hearing some rumors around then about what the Cubs offseason plan might be. I think we can all pretty much guess it now anyway, left-handed bats, Dempster or another starting pitcher and filling out the bullpen.

That all being said, I'll probably be spending a good portion of the offseason working on improving the site and while I'm never at a loss for ideas, I would love to hear what things you guys would like to see. Just throw as much spaghetti as you can at the walls and we'll see what sticks. There's no such thing as a bad idea...except the really stupid ones. Now this sort of thing has a tendency to just lead to a bitchfest about everything that we don't currently offer or what sucks, but try to keep it positive and offer ideas on additions and improvements if you can.

And to help your brain get going, some topics to think about:

  • Content - what more would you like to see of? What less would you like to see of? Ideas for regular features? Anything you'd like to come back that seems to have disappeared.
  • Site Layout - Fuck that logo is big, make it smaller! Needs more advertising, etc.
  • Site Functionality - Pop-up comments, Searches, etc...
  • Community - Rate comments, posts, more chat oppurtunities, ban one commenter per week?
  • Merchandising - Is there an 8x10 photo of Arizona Phil you want for your desk? Let us know..

And whatever else you'd like out of your Cubs site of choice....

Tags: 

October 8th

- Crane Kenney says the Cubs will increase payroll next year regardless of an ownership change.

''And when it all works, this is what it looks like,'' he said,
referring to back-to-back postseasons and a 97-win season. ''It's like
the Braves. That's the model -- the Braves and the Red Sox and the
Yankees. Play like a big market, flex your muscle like a big market and
hopefully perform like one on the field.''

- Sullivan is hearing that the Cubs will pursue a left-handed outfield bat to compete with Fukudome and Fukudome doesn't really care.

"If it means that there will be competition in right field, all I have to do is win that competition," he replied.

- Carlos Marmol got banged up a bit in a car accident in the Dominican Republic.

"Out of precaution they did different studies on my body, and I don't have any kind of serious injury," Marmol wrote.

- The headline says it all - "Harden to visit Shoulder Specialist". Apparently the Cubs have until today to decide on his option. They have until after the World Series on Blanco's. 

- The same link says all the Cubs coaches have been asked back.

- Cubs organizational meetings begin October 19th in Arizona. A few rumors and notes in that link including...

Lee has a no-trade clause but could be asked to lift it if he's dealt
to a team in California for pitching help. Lee lives in Sacramento, so
it's not out of the realm of possibility.

Ronny Cedeno
likely will be on the trade block again after yelling at trainer Mark
O'Neal during a nasty exchange before a game in Milwaukee on the final
weekend of the regular season.

Well that should add some fuel to  the sign Teixeira/deal Lee flames. Trading Cedeno, moving Theriot to the utility role and signing Furcal would be kind of neat too.

- Paul Sullivan and I agree on something. I'm not comfortable with this...

The Cubs players spent much of the season downplaying talk of the
alleged curse, only to have Cubs brass bring out a Greek priest to
spread holy water in their dugout the day of the start of the playoffs.
What kind of a show of faith in the high-priced team was that? Piniella
and the players were blind-sided by the stunt.

 

Tags: 

October 7th

OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2008:

CHICAGO CUBS RESERVE LIST (40-MAN ROSTER) AS OF 10/7/08:

* bats or throws left
# bats both

NOTE: There are presently 40 players on the Cubs RESERVE LIST (40-man roster), plus two additional players on the 60-day DISABLED LIST (players on 60-day DL do not count against the roster limit) 

October 6th

This all still sucks donkey balls, but I'm starting to look at the positive. The only one being that my October is suddenly going to have a lot more free time.

I moved some stuff around on the right sidebar and there's a handy payroll cheat sheet to help you plan out the 2009 Cubs team.

Tags: 

October 5th

So how do you revenge fuck a baseball team?

You follow a baseball team for six months, 161 games, and just about every play of every inning and then they go and just tear your heart out. The one time you really needed them, the one thing you ever wanted out of this relationship and they can't even be bothered to show up. For six months they were the best girlfriend a guy could imagine - not only did you have that special spark with them, but they had all the fundamentals as well. They were the kind of girl that you needed more than she needed you, but still would bring you lasagna at work...just because it was a Wednesday.

And then it's the big weekend corporate retreat with your promotion on the line and she ends up forgetting to take her anti-depressants, sleeps with your boss, then the guy you were vying for the promotion with and you find this all out when you walk in on her taking on 3 guys from the sales team. On top of that, the only reason she brought you lasagna on Wednesdays was she was meeting up with your boss at a hotel room around the corner once a week.

Fuck the Cubs!

I feel like I should go root for the White Sox or Brewers now, just to show them. Or try and bang some of the player's wives, but I don't think the Angel Fan wife will approve of that one.

Observations from the ballpark after the jump...

October 4th

 

Rich Harden vs.
Hiroki Kuroda
  *5-1, 1.77, 89 K, 30 BB, 71 IP 2008   9-10, 3.73, 116 K, 42 BB, 183.1 IP
  1-2, 6.43, 5 K, 7 BB, 7 IP Post   (None)
  *NL stats only      
         
LF Alfonso Soriano   SS #Rafael Furcal
2B *Mike Fontenot   C Russell Martin
1B Derrek Lee   LF Manny Ramirez
3B Aramis Ramirez   RF Andre Ethier
C Geovany Soto   1B *James Loney
CF *Jim Edmonds   CF Matt Kemp
RF Mark DeRosa   2B *Blake DeWitt
SS Ryan Theriot   3B Casey Blake
P *Rich Harden   P Hiroki Kuroda

 

Our very own Rob G. will be in the stands at tonight's game. Be sure to look for him on the broadcast.

Thoughts on Hiroki Kuroda from "Blue Notes," the L.A. Times blog about the Dodgers:

...when the Japanese import is on, dude typically gets into a serious,
sometimes unhittable groove. But he's often the Bizarro-version of
that pitcher after the first bit of trouble, more often than not
tossing himself further into trouble than figuring a way out of it.

In two starts against the Cubs this year, Kuroda has pitched 15 1/3 innings and allowed one earned run. In other words, we really haven't come across that "first bit of trouble" part.

I can't say I'm feeling too confident about tonight's game, but for the few hours between now and game time, I'm just going to keep playing these clips over and over and hoping the Cubs have another comeback left in them this season.

October 3rd

Somewhere along the way the Cubs contracted the "paralyzing suck" virus and it seemed to spread from one Cub to the next last night. I felt like I was watching 28 Days Later, just waiting for the Cubs fans at the park to start ripping each other apart. It started with Ryan Theriot, and not on that ill-advised bare-handed play. After Soriano singled and took second, Theriot flailed away looking thorougly overmatched by Chad Billingsley. What a fantastic time for a guy who hits the ball to the right side about 95% of the time to fail.

He sure made up for it later though when he attempted a bare-handed do-or-die play on a ball he should have probably have just gloved. I admit I stepped away for a second and only saw the back end of the replay.  The Parachat crowd was 50/50 on whether Theriot would have even gotten Loney had he tried to field it cleanly, but nonetheless, it certainly wasn't a good play.

Next up was DeRosa, who turned two routine outs into none when he muffed an admittably hard-hit ball. Had he not been infected with "the paralyzing suck" virus, he might have realized he still had plenty of time to at least secure one out, but instead rushed his throw to still try and get a double play which was gone as soon as he didn't fieldl the ball cleanly.

Around the diamond it went and next up was Derrek Lee who did all he could to keep a hot smash in front of him, but unfortunately the "paralyzing suck" virus must mess with your equilibrium because he couldn't pick up where the ball went. And to complicate matters, Zambrano was a little late getting to the bag.

I think somewhere in that exchange, Zambrano caught it because a few hitters later, he left an absolute cookie up for Russell Martin that pretty much sucked the air right out of Wrigley.

Quick sidebar: That was just an absolutely fantastic drag bunt single by Furcal right before that. Hope Hendry can land him this time around in free agency.

Oh but, it wasn't done. Aramis booted a ball later in the game and the entire offense started hacking away down five runs rather than remain patient and try to chip away one run at a time. In the 7th, the virus spread to the dugout when Neal Cotts was brought in to face Andre Ethier and James Loney. Problem being with Bob Howry warmed up in the pen, Lou left Cotts out there to face Matt Kemp who predicatbly singled in a run. You ask, what's the difference between 6-0 and 7-0, I say a whole lot when you have as talented an offense as the Cubs do. They're in every game and the manager doesn't need to be giving up in the 7th inning.

By the 8th, Lou decides to go with his bullpen aces and they certainly weren't immune. Marmol gives up another two and Wood - in possibly his last game as a Cub in Wrigley - gives up one more. Everyone gets a ride on the "suck ass" carousel.

More ranting after the jump....

Psandberg 23: "The Cubs are my Ballclub"
 
The Cubs are my Ballclub, I shall not want.
They maketh me to watch games in green fields.
They restoreth my soul:
they leadeth me in the path of happiness for their name's sake
Yeah, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of elimination, I will fear no Dodger:
for Harden art with us;
his fastball and his splitter they comfort me.
They preparest a pennant before me in the presence of mine enemies:
They annointest my jersey with Wood;
my beer cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and victories shall follow me in all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Cubs forever.

Booted

W - Billingsley (1-0)

L - Zambrano (0-1)

Box Score, Photos

Things to Take from This Game

1. Alex Gonzalez Redux

Second inning with Ethier on first, the dodgers put on a hit and run.  Loney hits the ball to shortstop.  But with Theriot covering the bag, he's out of position, can't make the barehand stop of the chopper.  Ruled a hit.  Correctly. Two batters later, DeWitt hits a potential inning-ending double-play ball right at DeRosa, but it pops out of his glove, and everyone's safe with a run scoring on the play.  Lee makes an error on the next play, a chopper right at him hit by Blake, loading the bases.  A Furcal bunt and a Martin bases-clearing double to the left-center Gap, and the Cubs found themselves down 5-0 going into the bottom of the second. A particular shame as Z had looked really focused, sharp, pitching quickly, with an awesome fastball, only to have his defense betray him and then give up a legit double.

  • Ramirez also made a lame error a couple innings later.  No damage was done, save to our pride. 
  • And Theriot gives the Cubs infield the Defensive Anti-Cycle, an error by each infielder, when he throws one away in the ninth.

2.  Manny Ramirez Redux

Manny hit a gargantuan home run.  He's good. 

3. Ah, screwit.

Cotts and Marmol struggled, the Cubs got through 2/9ths of a 9-run comeback in the bottom of the ninth, other things probably happened to.

 

The "we have not yet begun to fight!" "No, really...  we haven't yet begun to fight...." details, below.

Tags: 

October 2nd

 

SP Chad Billingsley   SP Carlos Zambrano
  16-10, 3.14, 201 K, 80 BB, 200.2 IP   2008   14-6, 3.91, 130 K, 72 BB, 188.2 IP
  0-0, 0.00, 3 K, 0 BB, 2 IP Post   0-1, 4.37, 20 K, 6 BB, 22.2 IP
         
SS #Rafael Furcal   LF Alfonso Soriano
C Russell Martin   SS Ryan Theriot
LF Manny Ramirez   1B Derrek Lee
RF *Andre Ethier   3B Aramis Ramirez
1B *James Loney   2B Mark DeRosa
CF Matt Kemp   CF *Jim Edmonds
2B *Blake DeWitt   C Geovany Soto
3B Casey Blake   RF *Kosuke Fukudome
P Chad Billingsley   P #Carlos Zambrano

 

It has taken a good 21 hours of self pity and a bracing White Sox defeat to clear my head and even let me think about previewing Game Two.

Yes, last night went down harsh, but from reading Rob's post and many of the ensuing comments earlier this afternoon, it is clear that there are still some optimistic souls in Cubdom. All I can say is, God bless you all.

 

Starters' Records Since 8/1/08

    W  
 L   
IP   
 H/9  
 K/9  
 BB/9  
 ERA  
 HR/9  
 No-Hitters Thrown
Billingsley 5 1 62 10.2 8.1 3.5 3.34 .73 0
Zambrano 2 2 47 8.6 6.5 5.0 7.28 1.80 1

 

Billingsley pitched twice against the Cubs this season. On both occasions, he matched up with Ryan Dempster. Once, Billingsley threw well (7 K, 2 ER in 6 IP); the other time, he threw not as well. The Cubs won both contests.

Among Cub hitters, only Jim Edmonds has more than 10 career plate appearances against the 23-year-old Billingsley, though Fukudome, Lee, and DeRosa have all tagged him for homers.

Zambrano, meanwhile,

It's not that I have any good reason to be, losing the first game of a five game series seems to be pretty close to a death sentence. I believe the stat being bandied about is 24 of 28 NLDS Game 1 winners have gone on to win the series, although it' s only 14-14 for the ALDS (that's what I heard on XM this morning). Now, I have no idea why the disparity between two leagues and there's really no logical explanation on why the designated hitter would make a difference, so I'll chalk it up to just one of those statistical oddities that litter baseball's history. Nonetheless, circumstances don't favor the Cubs to win this series.

As for why I think the Cubs are still going to, you should all know that I still believe in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. Okay, that's silly, everyone knows it's just your parents sneaking into your room with a quarter for your incisors. I mean, what kind of rationale being collects teeth? And I have yet to meet a bunny that lays eggs. But no one has still given me a good explanation on how that Atari 2600 showed up for Christmas when I was five, so I'm sticking with the man in the red suit.

As for this series, in the theater of my mind, I saw the Cubs dropping Game 1 and that's why I picked them to win it in four. I just didn't like the match-up of Lowe vs. Dempster. Lowe seems to have had great success against us, especially in Wrigley, and despite the extremely impressive season Dempster had, he's still too walk-happy for my tastes. It's not that I even think it was the wrong decision to start him in Game 1, because other than a healthy Rich Harden, I wouldn't have liked any match-up against Derek Lowe in Game 1.

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