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About a month into the season, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some stats, meaningless as they are. The Cubs are 4th in Team Defensive Efficiency The Cubs are 10th in Team ERA, the relievers are 7th, but 6th in Total Runs Allowed. The Cubs are 2nd to last in Total Runs Scored and are only 2 runs above the Marlins despite playing one more game then them. The Cubs are 2nd to last in Team Slugging, only the Padres trail. The Cubs are 3rd to last in Team OBP, only the Padres & Pirates trail. Cubs as a team versus lefties: 192/273/279 Cubs as a team versus righties: 284/337/441 Individually by position, I'll use GPA (Gross Production Average), a better measure than OPS as it weighs on-base percentage as 1.8 times more important than slugging percentage, divides the whole thing by four to make it look like a batting average and adjusts for ballpark factors. Michael Barrett: .298 (about 6th among those catchers who play regularly) Ronny Cedeno: .278 (4th, well ahead of the struggling Rafael Furcal) Aramis Ramirez: .243 (9th ahead of only Vinny Castilla, David Bell & Pedro Feliz) Matt Murton: .275 (9th) Juan Pierre: .213 (2nd to last only ahead of Chris Duffy) Jacque Jones: .248 (11th if he qualified, ahead of Jose Guillen, Jeromy Burnitz, Juan Encarnacion and Jeff Franceour) Todd Walker: .312 (2nd if he was a second baseman, 6th for 1st baseman) As for starting pitching (25 IP cutoff): Greg Maddux is 5th in PRC (Pitching Runs Created), 6th in ERA, 4th in VORP Carlos Zambrano is 50th in VORP Sean Marshall is 24th in VORP And the relievers: Ryan Dempster is tied for 7th in saves, 6th in's WXLR (Reliever Expected Wins Added) Bobby Howry is 21st in WXLR
GAME TWENTY-SIX IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (14-11, 4th, 4 GB) AT ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (14-13, 2nd, 1 GB) Chase Field, 8:40 PM CDT Weather: Damn Hot!!! TV: CSN, DirecTV 746 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Miguel Batista, RHP 2-1, 6.33 ERA, 27 IP 24 K, 11 BB, 2 HRGreg Maddux, RHP 5-0. 1.35 ERA, 33.1 IP 24 K, 6 BB, 1 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF Michael Barrett, C *Jacque Jones, RF #Neifi Perez, 2B Greg Maddux, PCraig Counsell, SS Eric Byrnes, CF *Chad Tracy, 3B *Luis Gonzalez, LF Conor Jackson, 1B *Shawn Green, RF #Johnny Estrada, C #Orlando Hudson, 2B Miguel Batista, P

Cubs vs. Batista Neifi Perez: 9-21, 429/500/619, 3 BB Juan Pierre: 4-16, 250/368/250, 3 BB, 1 K Aramis Ramirez: 1-11 091/231/091, 2BB, 0 KD'Backs vs. Maddux Luis Gonzalez: 31-98, 316/362/673, 10 HR, 7 BB, 10 K Craig Counsell: 11-45 244/261/289, 1 XBH Shawn Green: 12-28, 429/529/857, 3 HR, 6 BB, 7 K

Maddog Maddux to the mound tonight and he'll have to face-off against some fellas who've gotten the better of him through the years. Luis Gonzalez and Shawn Green haven't been fooled too often by Maddux and we'll see how The Master handles those two tonight. Nice of Bob Melvin to put Conor Jackson between them whom I assume Maddux will go after if he ever gets in trouble. Neifi appears to have taken the role of Maddux's personal second basemen and he's actually had some good at-bats versus Batista throughout his career, so more than a justifiable start for Rubby's brother. We'll see if Maddux can continue the golden touch he had in April and if the Cubs bats can find some runs. GO CUBS!!!
Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart | Photos
W: Zach Duke (2-2) L: Angel Guzman (0-1)
Greg Maddux was named April Pitcher of the Month, that's cool. Plus he pitches tomorrow versus the Diamondbacks. And that's about all the good news we have for today. Angel Guzman looked the part of a rookie once again, occassionally brilliant, occassionally wild, giving up 2 runs in the first in a sequence of events that looked like this if you were scoring at home: HBP, K (swinging), 2B (RBI Sanchez), BB, FC-3, WP (Run Scored), BB, GO-3. He then gave up a 2-run homer to a guy hitting worse than Jacque Jones. And then with the game still possibly within reach in the 6th, Guzman put a couple runners on before yielding to Roberto Novoa who promptly booted a tapper that would have ended the inning without a run crossing the plate, instead four did and that was more than enough for Cubs nemesis Zach Duke. For the 2nd time in this young season, Duke made Cubs hitters look like he was throwing ping-pong balls out there, only allowing 5 hits and one walk for his first career shutout. Congratulations kid and let me be the first to say that I hope we miss you the next time our two teams battle. Off to Arizona where the players can hook up with the spring training groupies they met in March. I kid, actually they can say hello to half the team that is rehabbing.
CUBS 2, PIRATES 1 W: Bob Howry (2-0) L: John Grabow (0-1) S: Ryan Dempster (7) Wrapup | Box Score
Sounds like it was a nail-biter last night, as the stoppable force (the Cubs' offense) came up against the moveable object (the Pirates). Our boys in blue (well, actually, white with blue stripes) prevailed, with some timely hitting from Matt Murton overcoming some bad baserunning by Jacque "It's A Dumb Decision" Jones. Sean Marshall was very efficient -- it looks like's he's learning how to pitch at the big league level and it's a good thing, considering he's currently the Cubs' #2 starter. Of course, I didn't get to see it, because of the arcane MLB blackout rules. In case you're wondering, yes, I am going to mention this every time it comes up, which means every time the Cubs and Pirates play each other. In case you didn't read my post the lat time I wrote about this (and I don't blame you), I live in an area where Pirates games are blacked out under MLB rules, as are Phillies, Orioles, and Nationals games. That means none of those teams' games are available to me on DirecTV Extra Innings. The Phillies, Orioles, and Nationals have a number of games broadcast either over the air or on the local Fox or Comcast sports channel, and I get those games. But, because I am outside of the Pittsburgh area as far as DirecTV is concerned, I cannot get Fox Sports Pennsylvania (or whatever it's called), which broadcasts Pirates games. So, there is no way for me to watch a Pirates games. Now obviously that's not that big of a deal, except for the 15 TIMES A YEAR the Pirates play the Cubs. It's a stupid, arcane set of rules that MLB and DirecTV need to work together to change.
GAME TWENTY-FOUR IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] PITTSBURGH PIRATES (7-19, 10.5 GB, 6th)) AT CHICAGO CUBS (13-10, 3.0 GB, 4th) WRIGLEY FIELD, 7:05 CDT Weather: 58 degrees, cloudy, wind 11 mph R to L TV: CSN Chicago, DirecTV 743 Radio: WGN, XM 187
Sean Marshall, LHP 2-0, 4.22 ERA, 21 1/3 IP 15 K, 7 BB, 3 HRVictor Santos, RHP 1-4, 6.48 ERA, 25 IP 17 K, 10 BB, 3 HR
*Nate McLouth, CF Jack Wilson, SS Jason Bay, LF Craig Wilson, 1B Joe Randa, 3B *Jeromy Burnitz, RF Ronny Paulino, C Jose Castillo, 2B Victor Santos, P*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Michael Barrett, C John Mabry, 1B *Sean Marshall, P

Cubs vs. Santos Aramis Ramirez: 7-18, 389/421/833, 1 HR, 1 BB, 1 K Michael Barrett: 3-21, 143/217/190, 2 BB, 2 K
I guess that's what it's come to, as Marshall goes out to try to stop a modest two-game skid. I mentioned that the Cubs hadn't given up that many runs in a two-game span since 2000; a bit more research reveals that they hadn't been out-scored by that many runs in a two-game span since 1975. But enough about that. Let's see if Marshall can go 3-0 tonight. Sure would be nice.
Mike Kiley reports in the Sun-Times that Rich Hill has apparently been recalled from Iowa (presumably to replace Glendon Rusch in the starting rotation), and that David Aardsma has been optioned out, with Rusch transferred to the bullpen effective immediately. No word yet on whether Michael Wuertz will be recalled, too, but if he is recalled prior to Thursday, Wuertz will not burn a minor league option and will accrue MLB service time for his time spent in AAA the last couple of weeks. (If a player spends less than 20 days on option to the minors in any given season, no minor league option is used, and the player continues to accrue MLB service time for the entire period of time spent in the minors). If Will Ohman is next to go down, the Cubs might want to keep him around for a while longer (at least through Thursday), because the Diamondbacks are loaded with left-handed hitters. Ohman is at his best when he is used just as a LOOGY. On the other hand, Rusch is not effective against left-handed hitters, and he also gives up too many walks, hits, and home runs to be an effective relief pitcher.
With the first month of the season in the books (and/or down the drain), we're gonna review the Cubs organization and check out the pipeline. First up, the catching corps:
BREWERS 9, CUBS 0 W: Chris Capuano (4-2) L: Carlos Zambrano (0-2) Wrapup | Box Score
It's May now, right? No need to think about April anymore, no need to realize that the Cubs just gave up 25 runs over two games for the first time since September 8-9, 2000. Let's just think about what May has to offer: the return of Kerry Wood, continued improvement from Mark Prior and Derrek Lee, and who knows, maybe Juan Pierre will start getting on base occasionally.
BREWERS 16, CUBS 2 W: Doug Davis (1-2) L: Glendon Rusch (1-4) Gameday | Box Score
I have very little to say about this game. When the search for good news points to Mike Restovich's first hit as a Chicago Cub, it's time to go home. Dusty Baker is making noise about taking Rusch out of the rotation, and i don't think there's anyone who would argue against that right now. Except, of course, there is the question of who would replace him -- Rich Hill, I suppose, or possibly the return of Jerome Williams, neither of whom fill me with delight, but either of whom would be better than Rusch is. Today's game looks like it isn't going to happen, at least not on time. I'm currently sitting in the Indianapolis airport, and my flight to O'Hare is delayed, as is my flight out of O'Hare. If the game does happen, there's a good chance we'll fly right over Wrigley Field (the flight path to Harrisburg does that most of the time) so I'll make sure to wave. UPDATE 2:05 PM: I'm still on the ground at O'Hare thanks to mechanical problems, but it looks like they're playing at Wrigley. Win #1 from Big Z would make my bad travel day, which is keeping me away from the No Longer Tiny Baby, a little easier to take.
GAME TWENTY-TWO IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] MILWAUKEE BREWERS (12-11, 4.0 GB, 5th) AT CHICAGO CUBS (13-8, 2.0 GB, 4th) WRIGLEY FIELD, 1:20 CDT Weather: 59 degrees, overcast, wind 12 mph left to right TV: WGN, DirecTV 746 Radio: WGN, XM 185
Glendon Rusch, LHP 1-3, 6.41 ERA, 19 2/3 IP 14 K, 8 BB, 7 HRDoug Davis, LHP 0-2, 7.66 ERA, 24 2/3 IP 20 K, 21 BB, 3 HR
Rickie Weeks, 2B JJ Hardy, SS Geoff Jenkins, RF Carlos Lee, LF *Prince Fielder, 1B Bill Hall, 3B Damian Miller, C Brady Clark, CF Doug Davis, SP*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Jerry Hairston, 2B Henry Blanco, C *Glendon Rusch, SP

It is nice of the Brewers to send out a pitcher pitching worse than Glendon Rusch against the Cubs today. 21 walks in 24 2/3 innings? That is rough. Seeing how the Cubs are tied for last in the NL in walks taken, though, it might not be that big of a deal. The Tony Clark rumors continue to gain steam. I think he would be a nice pickup for a the Cubs, a guy who could fill in while Lee is out and then move to a pinch-hitting role for the rest of the season. As far as other candidates are concerned, I was at the Indy Indians-Columbus Clippers game last night and was excited to see that Carlos Pena was in the lineup for the Clippers. I thought he might be a decent dark-horse candidate for the Cubs -- cheap to get and might put up some decent numbers -- but I saw nothing from him that made he think he was ready for the big leagues right now. So, scratch that and let's hope Jim Hendry can put something together to get Clark. The Cubs are humming along nicely with significant pieces of their team missing. They're doing it with pitching (4th best ERA in the NL), not hitting (2nd worst OPS in the NL), and it would be nice to pick up a decent bat to guard against a day when Walker and Cedeno will no longer be hitting in the mid-.300s. Hey, if you're in Indanapolis, Montreal, Denver, or Fort Myers (random, huh?) turn on your radio in about an hour to hear me chat with Will Carroll on the second hour of Baseball Prospectus Radio. Yes, the second hour, otherwise known as "the hour they don't podcast." I'll have them record it for me, though, and if I manage to say anything remotely interesting I'll have it posted on TCR later this week.


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