Archive - 2009

September 24th

September 23rd

"I chose Chicago as a free agent," Bradley said in the statement,
"because I wanted to be part of finally bringing a championship to Cubs
fans. I expected to have a great season and I am deeply disappointed by
my performance and the team's struggles. I played every game with
everything that I had and wanted to desperately win.

"My frustration and disappointment boiled over and I said and did
certain things that I regret," he said. "In hindsight, I wish that I
had handled certain things differently and I apologize for those things
that did not work out for the better.

"The air has been cleared," he said, "and we all want to move on and look forward to better days."

The union will not file a grievance and Milton will be paid for the rest of the year, but not rejoining the team.

We've hit the 150 mark and I'm assuming Transmission isn't doing one of his surveys this time around to see how we feel about the rest of the season. The Cubs will be eliminated from the NL Central race tonight with a Cardinal win and Cubs loss. The death magic number for the Cubs in the Wild Card is 5. Here's what you may have missed over the last few days.

- The team is 3-0 since Milton's suspension which is more likely coincidence than anything else, although WIttenmyer and Sullivan sure want you to think otherwise.

- According to Muskat, the resolution to the suspension and potential union grievance should be taken care of in the next few days.

- I haven't been able to watch the last two games, but it appears Tyler Colvin is making a good first impression including robbing a home run from everyone's least favorite Brewer. He's 2/6 with 2 BB's at the plate.

- Angel Guzman is done for the year with a strained shoulder.

- Derrek Lee set some sort of milestone with four straight months of 20 RBI's or more, and a career high in RBI's.

- Jeff Samardzija gets his second start of the season tonight for Ted Lilly, whose shoulder is acting up again.

That's all the news that's fit to print.

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September 21st

If there's anything good about this Milton Bradley suspension other than not having to read about the last idiotic thing Milton said, is that the Cubs are calling up Tyler Colvin. Well it would be good if Lou Piniella wasn't managing, because then he would just play Sam Fuld, Jake Fox or Micah Hoffpauir and Tyler Colvin the rest of the season with a few at-bats for Kosuke Fukudome sprinkled in, but instead I imagine it'll be more Scales, Fuld and Fukudome than anything else and that makes me want to throw a brick at the TV screen. And let's say I wouldn't be all to upset if that brick magically traveled through that TV screen and knocked some sense back into Lou.

For those that might have missed the former #1 picks career arc, he was a suprise first round pick at #13 in 2006. There were reports later that some teams were thinking about taking him later in the first round, so there's no way he would have lasted to the Cubs next pick in the 5th round and then the Cubs picked up a first round talent in Jeff Samardzija who slipped because of his football committment at the time. Then the Cubs ruined it all by giving Samardzija a major league contract but that's for another time.

Colvin then had some decent seasons in Boise and Daytona in 2006 and 2007 but struggled badly in 2008 in Double A. Ended up that he had a bum elbow and went under the knife for Tommy John Surgery at the end of last year after trying to play in the Arizona Fall League. He was ready by the start of this year, but just in DH capacity and started the year off in Daytona. Once the Cubs felt he was healed up, they brought him back to Tennessee for his second tour and in half a season he put up a .859 OPS in what is normally considered a pitcher's league with 35 XBH's and earned Southern League player of the week twice in August. He still strikes out at a Mark Reynolds rate with no walks or patience to offset that, so let's just say I'm not on the edge of my seat, but I'd like to see the kid get plenty of opportunties to play the rest of the way.

This is basically a one-line blog entry, but I'm so over all this Bradley drama.

Nick Cafrado over at the Boston Globe is reporting that if Carlos Zambrano is moved, there are only three teams he'd be willing to go...Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox. I would say, I don't know how the Angles wouldn't get on that list. If he's willing to to an AL team or Los Angeles, you couldn't find a classier organization than the Angels, so if the Cubs really pursue that course, I'm sure they'll get a few attentive general managers on the phone.

As for Bradley, pardon my over-used metaphor, but it's a disaster of Hindenburg proportions both by the player and management. Good luck trying to move that $21M off the books Jim, unlike Zambrano, I don't think they'll be a lot of attentive gm's on the phone for that call. The only other parallel I can think of is Jose Guillen getting suspended by the Angels near the end of 2004. The Angels did move him to the Nationals in the offseason for Maicer Izturis and Juan Rivera, but Guillen (according to BR.com salaries) only had $3.5M and a $4M 2006 option left on his deal. They also had Jim Bowden as their GM, who made a habit of taking on talented basket cases at a discount.

September 20th

The Cubs have announced that Milton Bradley has been suspended for the rest of the season.

"The last few days became too much for me to tolerate," Hendry said.

"I'm certainly not going to let our great fans become excuses,"
Hendry said. "I'm not going to tolerate [Bradley] not being able to
answer questions from the media respectably."

Paul Sullivan and Gordon Wittenmyer could be seen congratulating each other after the announcement.

For all the pecularities that have plagued the 2009 Cubs, this Bobby Scales starting in left field has to be the most perplexing. First, let's look at the numbers:

September 17th

Well that little fling the Cubs had with the playoffs was fun, but I'm back to not giving a damn. One of our readers suggested a poll on what was the reasons for the Cubs demise in 2009. You never want to jump the gun too soon on something like that, but I think by the end of the weekend, it'll be safe to post.

- BP looks at the some of minor leaguers around the NL that took a big stride in their prospectdom. Kyler Burke and pitcher "Cub" Carpenter(so as not be confused with the Cardinals Chris Carpenter) get mentioned.

- A nice article on where and how the Cubs make their money and where new owner Tom Ricketts will try to boost profits.

-  Fun day at the ballpark yesterday....Cubs lose again and Randy Wells looks cooked. Milton got on-base finally, but complained of a knee injury and was removed from the game. This sent the press corp into some sort of odd frenzy, which of course Bradley fed with a terse post-game press conference around his locker followed by Lou sort of dressing Bradley down for his actions. This after Lou just decided he wasn't going to hold a press conference of his own. Oh yee double standard, how I love you so...

The writing is getting pretty clear on the wall that Lou and Bradley just aren't going to get along. I imagine Hendry will be working the phones for some overpriced relievers to try and swap bad contracts this offseason. Then he can cut the reliever and flush $23M down the drain.

- Speaking of Bradley, there's been some odd debate between the on-field merits of Alfonso Soriano vs. Bradley this year in the comments. Seems pretty cut and dried to me, but I did try to look at it objectively in this comment. I reposted the analysis after the jump as well.

- And I'd like to welcome all of you Bears fans, to The Bear Truth. A little Bears blog I'm going to start up. Right now, it's just yours truly, but hopefully I can blackmail a few more writers into joining the venture (drop me a note if you're interested, qualifications are the English language and not being an over-opinionated douchebag). If anything, it will hopefully keep the Bears talk off here. I'm sure it'll one day grow into something just as kick-ass as TCR, but for the time being, it'll be just a good place to gather and chat about the Bears, including Parachat on gamedays. I also plan on using it as my testing ground for improvements to TCR as the two sites run on the same platform. Stop on by... 

Just when you let that little piece of hope back in, the Cubs yank it out of you like their Mola Ram from Temple of Doom. Rich Harden left his change up in the zone all game and paid for it as the Brewers knocked him for 5 runs in 3 innings. The first two courtesy of back-to-back two out hits by their 8 and 9 hitters in the 2nd. In the third, Aramis backed up on a chopper by Ryan Braun with a man on first. The ball went past him and one of the nicest gift doubles was awarded to Braun by the official scorer. That changed the whole inning, because instead of a man on 2nd and 1 out, you've got 2nd and 3rd and Prince Fielder up. He was intentionally walked and after a Casey McGehee sac fly (should have been the 2nd out and wouldn't have scored a run), Harden walked another and got a fielder's choice that would have ended the inning in theory and kept the game at 3-0(or possibly 2-0). But after seeing Alcides Escobar flail at 2 change-ups down and away, Harden went to the well one more time but missed right over the plate and Escobar pretty much ended his night (UPDATE: It appears they changed their mind and gave Ramirez the error afterall, just 2 ER for Harden last night).

It looks like it may have ended Harden's career as a Cub as well, as the team announced this morning that he will be shutdown the rest of the season. I imagine his agent is thrilled with the news considering his impending free agent status. I imagine the Cubs are thrilled at the prospect of not getting those two draft picks for his Type A free agent status. Tom Gorzelanny will slide into the rotation.

(UPDATE #2: Looks like Sullivan had a case of the jump to conclusions, as Muskat is reporting that Harden is just being skipped a turn in the rotation and there's nothing wrong with him).

The Cubs got 2 back in the bottom frame and were looking for more, but Milton's epic September slump continued, thanks to a fine play by Escobar to end the threat. That was Bradley's last at-bat of the game, as Lou curiously double switched, even though he has a 12-man pen and brought in Micah Hoffpauir to play RF and David Patton to pitch. Patton coughed up a run in the 4th and three more in the 5th, although two scored after Justin Berg relieved him. The Cubs battled back to make it 9-5 on an Aramis Ramirez home run and Bobby Scales RBI, but that was all the scoring for the night and the Cubs 3-game win streak ends.

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September 16th

The Cubs have won 8 of 10, and 7 of their last 8 to get within 5.5 of the wild card and 8 of the Cardinals. At the very least, it makes the games bearable to watch for the time being. The Cubs have 19 games left and play a few more games than their current competitors, so they're actually just 4 back in the loss column to the Rockies and tied with the Marlins and Braves in that category. They trail the Giants by 2 in the loss column but play them next week. So they'll need some help from teams to beat the Rockies, but in a round-about way, they still control most of their own destiny for the rest of the season.

As for the sort-of-big weekend series versus the Cardinals, it's already guaranteed that the Cardinals won't be able to clinch anything this weekend. That's not going to stop them from trying to bury the Cubs though. They'll send out John Smoltz, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright for the series against Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano. 

Lineups for tonight:

Lopez 2b Theriot SS
Hart RF Fukudome CF
Braun LF Lee 1B
Fielder 1B Ramirez 3B
McGehee 3B Soto C
Cameron CF Bradley RF
Kendall C Fontenot 2B
Escobar SS Scales LF
Looper P Harden P

I wouldn't be suprised if things get a little chippy tonight. The teams have become almost as intense rivals as the Cubs and Cardinals and there were 3 HBP's last night and a few almost HBP's, following Braun getting hit by Dempster the night before.

In the hot 'n cold department, Soto's found his groove with a 1.252 OPS in September and 7 XBH's in 7 games played. Derrek Lee has a 1.333 OPS since August 25th with 9 HR's in 19 games. Then there's Milton Bradley, who hasn't walked since August 30th and has a .447 OPS in that time. Bobby Scales keeps getting playing time in LF despite a .617 OPS in September and some boneheaded defense and baserunning, while Micah Hoffpauir has a 1.122 OPS since being recalled. Godenot has returned as well for the final month with a 1.071 OPS in 8 games (6/14 at the plate).

Parachat actually had a small crowd last night, so stop on by.

(Click on the thumbnail for the full-size image)

September 15th

According to Lou Piniella's comments before the game, Carlos Marmol will be the closer in 2010.

"I see that, yes," Piniella said Monday. "I really do. I think he's
done enough and shown enough. We have confidence in him enough going
into spring training next year. It's his job. We'll leave it just at
that."

Short-term memory loss is becoming a problem for our manager, who just on Saturday had this to say about his future 2010 closer.

"You know, you just can't keep walking people like that
late in the game," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella, whose team fell to
72-68 as its four-game winning streak ended. "It catches up to you. And
it did today.

"With Marmol, it's the walks. This young man wants to
be a closer. And that's OK. But you've got to have command. If you
don't have command, you can't close."

Ah Lou, your slow descent into whatever PC term I should use for you forgetting things is either going to be highly entertaining or very, very sad.

Considering the Cubs abundance of problems and likely rigid budget constraints, it's probably best they stay away from the free agent closing market that includes Mike Gonzalez, Billy Wagner, Trevor Hoffman, Jose Valverde and Fernando Rodney.

September 14th

The St. Louis Cardinals magic number sits at 11 before game play started today. That means there is a slim shot they could be clinching against the Cubs this weekend. And whether they do it this weekend or next week or the last day of the season isn't really a big deal, but I'd rather avoid watching the spectacle and the future highlights. So here's a rundown of what would need to happen this week with the Cubs at Milwaukee for four and Cardinals at Marlins for three.

September 13th

Apparently Fenway Park is a big part of Wrigley Field's Upgrade Template for Tom Ricketts. 

Cubs management over the past few years has held several luncheon meetings for season ticket holders where they provide a forum for suggestions to improve the ballpark experience. I finally had my chance last Thursday to attend one of these sessions.

Wrigley Field on this warm September non-game day had it's usual majestic feel but without the game day buzz, one senses the serenity that is baseball's crown jewel at rest. The streets surrounding the ballpark maintain their working day activities, construction site sidewalk hazards, beer trucks unloading their wares, but open parking spots on Addison seemed out of place.

 Ah yes, it is written.
Maybe spelled a little wrong, but applying a little "Da Vinci Code" logic and the conclusion is: Carlos is the Closar.
The answar.
The easiest decision the Cubs have to make during the off-season.
No longar does he appear bewildared.
And as time goes on, he's getting bettar.
In his last 8 appearances, Carlos has given up 5 hits, 2 runs, struck out 13, walked 6, and saved them all...but lost one.
And I couldn't be happiar.
Because I don't like feeling that 9th inning dangar.

Okay, enough with me being the bad spellar.


Tim Souers is the illustrator and author of Cubby Blue and appreciates the opportunity to guest blog here at The Cub Reporter.
http://www.cubby-blue.com

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