Archive - Jun 2009

June 30th

Nothing too exciting last night, Rich Harden worked out of a lot of trouble his last three innings, but did strike out 9 in 7 innings without giving up a home run. Milton Bradley went 2/4 with an RBI, a ricochet short of going 3-4. Soto and Fox continue to hit as well and the Marmol/Gregg combo actually did their job. Then we all remember it's the Pirates.

- The Southern League annouced their All-Star rosters and the Tennessee Smokies placed six:  Position players Jim Adduci, Darwin Barney and Blake Lalli will join teammates Casey Coleman, Jay Jackson and Brian Schlitter. 

- Barney will be headed to Triple A though along with a number of other promotions yesterday. Top picks Andrew Cashner and Josh Viiters will each move up a level, Cashner to Double A Tennessee and Vitters to Hi A Daytona. Cub Carpenter will  join Vitters on the ride to Daytona. 1B John Contreras makes the jump from Boise to Daytona, 2b Nathan Samson goes to Tennessee and 1b Ryan Keedy has been released.

-  I stumbled across this old Q&A with Bill James which touches on a wide variety of topics, some Cubs related.

UPDATE: Bill James and Joe Posnanski more recently talked about the age 33 fall-off. Cubs that are 33 this season: Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Freel. So is Ted Lilly, but the discussion focuses on offense.

- Milton Bradley is going to get a few days off to work on his left-handed swing with Von Joshua. The Cubs will likely go with Sam Fuld in center and Kosuke Fukudome in right field.

- 57% of Cubs fan agree with Phil Rogers that the Cubs should put Carlos Zambrano on waivers and see if anyone will take his contract off the Cubs hands. Probably the same 57% that applauded Mark DeRosa each time he came up in Wrigley.

- Barring any setbacks, Aramis Ramirez will begin a rehab assignment on Thursday, it's unknown which lucky affiliate will benefit from the added gate receipts.  If all goes well, he could be back in the lineup against Atlanta next Monday.

- A poll of players around MLB conducted by Sports Illustrated came up with Lou Piniella as the manager players would least like to play for...Ozzie Guillen finishing second.

- If you're looking for a write-up on Aaron Miles elbow problems from Dr. Hecht...

I'd do an ortho writeup on Miles hyperextended elbow... but honestly, who cares other than Sam Fuld.

June 29th

Our pal Tim Souers was inspired by Saturday's post and gave me this awesome graphic. And I don't really care to harp on the trade, but let me give you my final thoughts. The Cardinals got a good player and it should help them...a little. DeRosa was a 3.8 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) last year, he's been 1.1 so far this year as his defense at third hasn't been too great (at least according to UZR). The Cardinals are going to get him for a little over a half year and the 2 main guys he's replacing are Joe Thurston and Brian Barden who have combined for 0.8 WAR to this point. You can't just simply add and subtract it though, so my rough back-of-the-envelope guestimating says he's probably gonna be good for anything between 1-3  more wins on the year for the Cardinals, which is indeed significant for an individual player.

June 28th

The St. Louis Cardinals have acquired former Cub super-utility Greek God Mark DeRosa for RHP Chris Perez and a player to be named later.

I wonder how many standing ovations he'll get from the Wrigley faithful before they realize they're cheering for the Cubs most bitter rival to beat them.

June 26th

I'll make this brief, but wanted a place to discuss the latest in "As Milton's World Turns". First though, the Cubs won, they hit a 2-run home run and a 3-run home run. It's nice to know those haven't gone extinct. Jake Fox and Geovany Soto did the damage and no truth to the rumor that Soto was promised White Castle if he hit one out today.

Randy Wells got his second win on the year, two solo shots being the only marks against him.  After 98 pitches and 7 innings, the increasingly baffling Lou went to Carlos Marmol and he predictably walked two of the first three hitters, gave up a couple of hits with some assistance from Soriano losing a ball in the sun (which I admittedly didn't see) and was mercifully pulled for Sean Marshall who got out of the jam by inducing the 3-2-3 double play by A.J. Pierzynski with the bases juiced.

Please feel free to add or make up your own.

Here's my attempt:

June 25th


5 Runs on the Road, Lilly Pitching, Not Enough.
W - Galarraga (4-7)
L - Lilly (7-5)
S - Rodney (16)
Things to Take from This Game

 

1. Fox, Fukudome lead Attack
Jake Fox staked the Cubs to a 3-0 lead on a big home run in the first.  Fukudome had a triple and a double in the game, while Hoffpauir hit an impressive opposite field home-run in the ninth.  An encouraging day from the supporting cast, but also a day with continued futility when there were RISP.

 

2. Lilly is Ineffectively Wild in the Strike Zone
Lilly got hurt on several breaking and offspeed pitches that got up into the heart of the strike zone. Just one BB to 6 Ks, but10 hits an 6 ER in 6 IP.  Santiago and Ordonez each hit two-run homers off of him, and Raburn had two RBI hits. Cabrera also hit a homer that was incorrectly ruled a double.

 

3. No Dramatic Comeback, Today.
Rodney gave up the homer to Hoffpauir, but otherwise slammed the door by striking out the side.

 

The one-run-short details, below.
Tags: 

11 Hits, 7 BB's for the Cubs offense....just 3 runs. One of those 11 hits was a solo home run by the somewhat rejuvenated Geovany Soto, meaning the Cubs needed 10 hits and 7 bb's to score the other 2 runs. The Yahoo box score says the Cubs left 13 on base as a team (seemed like 130), with Jake Fox and Micah Hoffpauir leading the way with 8 and 7 left on base each (some of those the same baserunners).  The offensive ineptitude and Rich Harden's gopher ball won't keep me from making fun of the bullpen though, who managed to walk in the two deciding runs.

Tags: 

June 24th

I watched just two innings of last night's affair, tuning in as Micah Hoffpauir gave the Cubs the lead and turning it off right before Ryan Raburn's ball landed. The saying goes something like "a picture is worth a thousand words"...well here's my word quota for the night.

 

Not the way to be celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Sandberg Game.

June 22nd


A Loss, or a Metaphor?
W - Vazquez (5-6)
L - Dempster (4-5)
S - Soriano (6)
Things to Take from This Game

 

1. An Evening Full of Singles and Scoring Opportunities...
The Cubs had 9 hits off of Vazquez, all of them singles, and another hit off of Soriano in relief. 

 

2. ...That Leads to Nothing but a lot of Getting Left Stranded on Second Base.
The Cubs left 12 men on base.  Perhaps most
confounding was the decision to let Blanco bat with the bases loaded
and two outs in the sixth. 

 

3. But at Least there are Consolation Prizes?
We can be happy that Dempster had a fine performance, gutting out 6.2 innings in the Atlanta heat.  He still had some control problems, but other than McLouth, the Braves struggled to do much against him.  And that has to make up for some of the frustration at getting shut out, right?

 

The futile details, below.
Tags: 

Dwayne Kemp ripped an RBI single to drive-in Robert Bautista with the game-wining run, as the AZL Cubs rallied with three runs in the bottom of the 9th to defeat the AZL Angels 6-5 in Arizona League (AZL) Opening Day action at Fitch Park on Sunday. Kemp also clubbed an RBI triple earlier in the game, and Bautista drove in three runs with a squeeze bunt, a FC grounder, and a single, while also stealing three bases.

 

20-year old 2B D. J. Fitzgerald had a memoraable pro debut, going 4-4 with two doubles, two runs scored, and a stolen base. The Cubs 22nd round pick in the 2009 Rule 4 Draft (First-Year Player Draft) out of Dyersburg State CC, "DJ Fitz" was a star baseball player at Ocean Lakes HS in Virginia Beach, VA. He signed an NLI with Georgia Southern, but ended up at a Tennessee JC instead.

20-year old RHP Toby Matchulat got the start for the AZL Cubs, and was stellar, throwing four shutout innings (7/1 GO/FO), while allowing just two harmless singles and no walks, with four strikeouts. Matchulat just missed making the Boise Opening Day roster, after having an impressive Extended Spring Training at Fitch Park. An 11th round pick out of Wabash Valley JC in 2008, the lanky 6'5 right-hander struggled big-time with his command in his pro debut last year (29 BB in 18.2 IP), but he has really turned it around this year. Kudos to AZL Cubs Pitching Coach Rick Tronerud and Minor Leagure Pitching Coordinator Mark Riggins for helping Matchulat find a better arm slot and a more consistent release point.

June 21st

Roster Update: Angel Guzman to the DL with a right triceps strain, Kevin Hart called up from Iowa.


Happy Father's Day everyone.

I've mostly been shoulder shrugging since the story came out that Sammy Sosa was on the positive test list for PED's that the MLB Players Association didn't destroy. To me it was old news. After the "Steroid Era" cloud passes and everyone in it washs off the stink, I wonder what will be the impact on what baseball should consider one of it's most important assets, the kids who fall in love with the game because of their father's (or mom's, but today is father's day) love of the game.

On this father's day, one of the things I treasure most is that my son is a Cubs fan and a Baseball fan. So when I read this brief Fred Mitchell article in the Tribune, it made more impact on me than when the Sammy news was leaked in the NY Times.

"The worst part for me is that I don't know what to tell my son [Darren]," the Reds manager said after Saturday's Civil Rights Game luncheon at the Duke Energy Center. "He asks me, 'Dad, are there any good hitters not on something?' I just tell him that everyone is under suspicion. I will just be glad when it's all over."

June 19th

Single in the Gloamin'

 

W - Gregg (2-1), the bullpen, hopes for a good second half, belief in the Ex-Cub Factor, TCR authors who predicted "seven runs shall not win this game."
L - Vizcaino (1-3), anyone who went home early. 

 

Things to Take from This Game

 

1. Cleveland Scores Seven Unanswered
Harden didn't have it today, and gave up three-run homers to Luis Valbuena and Victor Martinez in the second and third.  DeRosa added an RBI single in the fourth.

 

2. Cubs Score Eight Unanswered
The Cubs began their comeback in the fifth with a solo HR by Johnson, and another by Lee in the sixth.  They scratched out four in the eighth, featuring a two-run single by Blanco, but the highlight of the game had to be Derrek Lee's second homer of the day, a game-tier in the bottom of the ninth off of Kerry Wood.  The game ended in the tenth with Luis Vizcaino giving a two-out walk to Soriano, who then stole second and scored on a generous "hit" as Theriot smashed one off of Victor Martinez at first base.

 

3. Signs of Life
Patton and Heilman gave us three easy innings of relief, Marmol worked out of a jam of his own construction and Gregg one of the defense's construction, for five shut-out innings total.  Soto and Soriano looked a lot more comfortable today, and of course Lee is red hot. Blanco also looked surprisingly good at the bat.

 

The exciting details, below
Tags: 

(Hallway somewhere in Wrigley Field, two players emerge from the visiting team's clubhouse dressed to the nines in their gray road uniforms)

KW: Man, I sure miss this place...this city.

MD: Well, when you move to Cleveland, there's a good chance you'd miss living in Kazakhstan.

(They share a laugh as a portly gentleman comes towards them, head down, cell phone glued to ear)

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