Archive - Jun 2010

June 30th

I watched the game intermittently last night, and one of my tune-ins happened in the top of the 7th. The Cubs were leading 3-1 but Pedro Alvarez had connected for a one-out single and then Ryan Doumit ripped a 3-1 pitch into the leftfield corner for a double that moved Alvarez to third. The visitors had the tying runs on base with just one out and roughly 100 pitches into the evening, Ted Lilly looked like he might be out of gas. Len Kasper surmised that this was probably the game's defining moment.

Then Ronny Cedeno stepped into the batter's box.

June 29th

First, the lineups...

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

vs.

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

Now, the news...

June 28th

Before tonight's game against the Pirates, the Cubs announced that Carlos Zambrano will not be back with the club until after the All-Star break. He is going to be placed on the restricted list and will undergo treatment for "his anger issues," as Sullivan wrote in the Tribune.

Zambrano's "indefinite suspension" will end with the conclusion of tonight's game. When he's moved to the restricted list, the Cubs will be able to fill Zambrano's roster spot and Jeff Stevens is going to be recalled.

The Cubs lineup against lefty Paul Maholm—against whom the Cubs have a team OPS of 858 in 11 encounters—follows. 

Cubs  vs. Paul Maholm (4-6, 4.24; 6-1, 6.29 all-time vs. Cubs)
Theriot 4, Colvin 9, Byrd 8, Lee 3, Ramirez 5, Soriano 7, Soto 2, Castro 6, Wells 1

I can't seem to find the Pirates batting order anywhere. Maybe after losing 17 road games in a row, you give up on that lineup stuff altogether and just have the players draw lots as the game proceeds.

Mixing two singles with two walks, two wild pitches, an error, a stolen base, and two sacrifice flies, the AZL Cubs scored four in the 8th to break a 1-1 tie and defeat the AZL A's 5-1 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park Sunday night in Mesa.


June 26th

From Paul Sullivan in the Tribune:

After Carlos Zambrano returns to the Cubs following his suspension—the Cubs are trying to find out from MLB how long they can be suspend him and whether they'll have to play with 24 men for the duration—he'll be returning to the bullpen. Tom Gorzelanny is returning to the starting rotation.

Also, Lou Piniella and Assistant General Manager Randy Bush were none too pleased that Zambrano had dinner with Ozzie Guillen last night instead of reflecting on what an ass he was yesterday afternoon. I'm thinking that if Carlos was self-aware enough to reflect on his behavior, he might not have acted that way in the first place. Just a thought.

Cubs lineup vs. Freddy Garcia (8-3, 4.85; 4-0, 1.25 all-time vs. Cubs)
Fukudome 9, Byrd 8, Lee DH, Nady 3, Ramirez 5, Soriano 7, Castro 6, Soto 2, Theriot 4

White Sox lineup vs. Carlos Silva (8-2, 3.01; 4-11, 5.33 all-time vs. Sox)
Pierre 7, Vizquel 5, Rios 8, Konerko 3, Quentin 9, Kotsay DH, Ramirez 6, Castro 2, Beckham 4

June 25th

Back on June 13th, after Ted Lilly nearly no-hit the White Sox at Wrigley Field, the Sox' record was 28-34, and the Cubs stood at 28-35. The White Sox haven't lost since, and the Cubs have continued to stumble. They're now eight games under .500 and the same number of games behind the division-leading Cardinals.

On this, his 32nd birthday, Aramis Ramirez returns to the lineup after a stint on the DL with that nagging thumb problem, and Chad Tracy has been DFA'd. Tracy hit .250 (11-for-44) in 28 games for the Cubs.

In the big news of the day...

Maybe Jim Hendry just came to Des Moines to escape the heat of the Chicago media. Maybe he dropped in to chat behind closed doors with the trim and ambitious Ryne Sandberg, though if/when Chicago comes calling Ryno back, the call probably won't come in the person of Hendry. In any case, big Jim's reason for being here almost certainly isn't to get a closer look at Sam Fuld, the scrappy leadoff hitter and center fielder. Hendry's mind is made up about Fuld, I imagine, which is tough luck for Sam.

He'd run into, if not through, a brick wall for the chance to stick in the big leagues. The problem is he's about the same height as Hack Wilson [listed at 5' 10" which means Eddie Gaedel wasn't a dwarf after all] without the pipes and the power.

Two nights ago he ended consecutive innings by throwing a tagging runner out at the plate and making a circus catch. Both times he trotted in to standing ovations.

Last night he went 4-4. Did you see that, Jim?

Plus he's smart. The guy holds an economics degree from Stanford. Maybe he could help the front office out with some payroll reduction strategies and cost-benefit analyses.

I want there to be a spot for players like Fuld. He plays at full tilt, like a winner. He's Fukudome without the bloated contract and personal hitting coach in many respects, except that he would have been hustling on the bobbled grounder that Kosuke trotted out yesterday.

Any team can use what Fuld supplies. Especially the one that flew over Des Moines on its way from Seattle to Chicago last night.

June 24th

In the time it took John Isner to beat Nicolas Mahut, the Cubs scored once, lost twice, fanned 17 times while walking three times, dropped nine games behind the NL Central-leading Cardinals, fell a season-worst nine games below .500, and went 1-for-16 with RISP. Oh, yeah—that one hit was a double by Alfonso Soriano which came with Geovany Soto on second base but only got Soto as far as third.

June 23rd

Down to their last out, the AZL Angels rallied for three runs in the top of the 9th to defeat the AZL Cubs 6-4 in Arizona League Opening Day action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this evening.


June 22nd

After eight weeks of Extended Spring Training and another couple of weeks of mini-camp work-outs, the AZL Cubs begin league play tonight, as they face the AZL Angels at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.  

In preparation for the Cubs' three-game series beginning tonight in Seattle, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times interviewed former M's manager Lou Piniella over the weekend. The use of the word "weary" in the headline gives you a pretty good idea of the portrait which Stone paints. I thought this passage stood out.

I reminded Piniella of a quote he gave me back in 2007, when the Mariners played at Wrigley during his first season. Noting the difficulty of the Cubs' challenge, he said, "It ain't going to drive me crazy. I want to get it done, but it's not going to drive me crazy." That's still his story, and he's sticking to it. "Our organization hasn't won in a long time," Piniella said. "Because of that, there's a lot more scrutiny here. And because of it, it makes managing probably tougher than it should be."

June 21st

Saturday night I watched 14 innings of baseball at Principal Park, the same number it took the Iowa Cubs to sweep a doubleheader earlier in the week.The I-Cubs were down to their third-string first base coach by the time this one ended on a walk-off play at the plate with lightning crackling in the distance. Until then the highlight was my leaping grab of a hot dog burped up by the bazooka that scoots around the perimeter of the field on a golf cart between innings. I say burped because we were seated in the front row between the visiting dugout and the visiting bullpen. Maybe bunted would be a better verb.

The game broke from the box quickly before settling into a pitching duel. Sam Fuld played a first-inning single into a triple going for another highlight reel catch. Then in the bottom of the first he was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single. He plays like a kid and I enjoy watching him. The second out of that frame was a tag play at the plate after Ryne Sandberg appeared to change his mind from stop to go in the third base coaching box. Albuquerque seemed on their way to a 27- hit shutout.

June 20th

The Cubs try to avoid the sweep and hopefully save my little Katie and I from years of humiliation. Colvin sits against another lefty (don't ever go 0/4 again kid), but Baker still gets to play after yesterday's Brook Robinson impression. I should be in chat for most of the game if anyone is around and still cares.

cf byrd, 3b baker, 1b lee, rf nady, c soto, lf sori, ss castro, 2b riot, p zambrano

Have you felt like there's been a lack of timely hitting by the Cubs and wasting good starts by their pitchers? Well reader WISCGRAD was wondering the same thing and calculated the numbers of wins as a percentage of quality starts. Unsurprisingly the Cubs are worst in the NL and third worst in the majors behind the poor Mariners that can't buy a run and the Land of Misfit Cubs Toys known as the Orioles.

Chart after the jump...

June 18th

A little late on this, but as many of you know I live in a mixed marriage...the wife affectionately known as the AngelFan Wife around these parts. This morning I reminded the 5-year olds that the two clubs play each other today and the rarity of the scenario, gauging their reaction to see where their allegiences may be swaying. My little Gracie, who has an incredible ability to figure out exactly the opposite thing you want her to do or say, jumped on the Angels. You're dead to me blue eyes. This left Katie to redeem all my hard work over the last 5 years. Her eyes darted around the room nervously between my wife and me, unsure of who she wanted to please more. Then with a big toothy smile, she exclaimed, "Cubbies!" A pony for you. I walked upstairs for a few minutes to finish getting ready before heading off to work and could hear them exchanging chants of  "Cubbies"..."Angels" for the next few minutes reminicent of "Left Field Sucks" and "Right Field Sucks" that you'd hear at the bleachers.

It's the little things...

Kazmir vs. Silva is happening right now, no score through three. If the Cubs win this series, the AngelFan wife promises the Angels will take Derrek Lee and Ramirez's contracts off the Cubs hand. If the Angels win, I'll let the girls date before they turn 21.

June 17th

Though it sounds like Jim Hendry truly couldn't care less, it's the first day of the Ari Kaplan Era at Wrigley Field. As for the game on the field, mlb.com reports that Randy Wells is looking at today's start against the A's as hitting the reset button on his thus far rocky season.

The irony, of course, is that Wells's employers might not be able to overlook the past quite as easily: since the beginning of May, the righty is 0-5, 6.47. His first-inning troubles have been especially ugly. In 13 Wells starts this year, opponents are hitting .357 against him in the opening inning and Wells's first-inning ERA is a Grabow-esque 11.25. (Stats from Baseball-Reference.com.)

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