Cueto Quiets Cubs: Reds Win at Wrigley, 3-0

Righthander Johnny Cueto dominated Cub hitters Wednesday night, and a strong outing by Ted Lilly (7 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, just 1 unearned run allowed) was wasted as Cincinnati ended the Cubs' three-game winning streak.

Why the Cubs lost: No O—the offense produced no runs and four hits against Cueto in his seven innings. Overall, the Cub bats delivered six measly singles, two each by Soriano and Lee, and one apiece from Fukudome and Ramirez. In both the first inning and the fourth, they managed to put two runners aboard, but failed to capitalize. In total, Cub hitters only had four opportunities to hit with men in scoring position.

Milton Bradley, who rejoined the starting lineup, fanned three times in four trips, and is now hitting .043 (1-for-23). He still appears to be suffering from the groin strain, both at the plate, where his swings seemed mostly flat-footed, and in the field, where he wasn't running down fly balls so much as shuffling after them.

Ted Lilly's only shortcoming tonight was his defense. He made two errors, and the first one—a wild throw following a bunt single by Alex Gonzalez in the fourth inning—led to the only run the Reds would need on yet another frosty spring evening at Wrigley Field.

Angel Guzman and Kevin Gregg were each tagged for a run over the last couple innings. As Bob Brenly pointed out on Comcast, Gregg's inability to throw his breaking ball for strikes reduced him to a one-pitch pitcher, and young Jay Bruce, who also homered Tuesday night, tagged one of those pitches for an opposite field home run in the ninth.

Speaking of the Cub bullpen and per Rob's post earlier this evening, don't run out and buy that Luis Vizcaino Cubs jersey you've had your eye on.

Lilly has been here before:  The Cub southpaw went 17-9 last season and four of the losses were to the Reds, three of them at Wrigley. On the other hand, the Cubs also abused Cueto in '08, defeating him three times in four starts.

On tap for Thursday: A little ace-on-ace action in the series' rubber game as Aaron Harang (1-2. 2.70) meets Carlos Zambrano (1-0, 5.21). Weather forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and highs approaching 70, which will be a nice change after two cold nights on the lakefront.


Well, Milton Bradley, I believe some of you were correct in picking that Hendry crapped-out at the table. This is a lot of money to pay for someone so totally useless now.

I never would have thought based on last year that Dome is really the valuable player now.

The boo-birds have started latching on as well, after Bradley's AB's. Small sample size, but big enough for me to see right now. Well, the Dodgers had Jones and made the NLCS, we will have Bradley.

Dude gets off to a slow start and now he's useless? I recall a couple years ago Rammy tearing up spring training and then started the season weak.

And you know who else got off to a slow start?


So, yeah.

That made me laugh so much I had to stifle it so I wouldn't get in trouble.

What? Are you in N. Korea?

'Round Eye' or 'American pig-spy' would be my guesses.

Good times. No, I was at work and I'm in constant visual contact with my boss.

I was in the right field bleachers at last nights game, and I must say the Cubs were really giving it to MB. I don't think they mind the 1-20 something start, so much as the lack of hustle on fly balls. At one point, when Jay Bruce made a running grab by the Reds bullpen, Cubs fans starting cheering and screaming that's how a RF makes a play and shows some effort.

It was bad last night, but it's going to get worse if he doesn't get better.

Fuck, man. Cubs fans are getting dumber and dumber. Some guys might hear boos and want to work harder and prove the fans wrong. I have a feeling Milton Bradley hears boos and says, "Fuck those assholes I'm not going to try anymore."

The other thing that's really starting to piss me off is how the fans boo every single ex-Cub this year. Booing Jerry Hairston is absolutely ridiculous. The guy was never supposed to be any good, and he lived up to those expectations for us. And to top it off, he's a local kid. Why boo him?

I feel like the retards going to games this year would boo Maddux if they saw him on a golf course in Vegas.

Bleachers are not all true Cub fans.
That is the one place in the park that's hard to defend "they are only there for the drinking" accusation.

Very true for the most part. Hard to find true fans out there.

A little ace-on-ace action

that's hot...

IF (big if) the Cubs do indeed just release Vizcaino after releasing Gaudin, Hendry and Crane Kenney can go blow each other. After feeding us the B.S. that the Cubs had a budget and needed to move DeRosa and Marquis to save money, they just blew $5.6M.

F them and apologies to all who sniffed this out long ago...

and F the mass media if they don't take them to task for it...

If it is Vizcaino, I don't get it. In 3.2 IP he has given up just 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 runs, and struck out 3. At least let a guy fail before you boot him. He had a bad season last year in Colorado, which is not surprising, but in the SIX years prior to that he had a 4.06 ERA, averaged 71 IP a year with nearly a K per inning, and a 1.2 WHIP.

Sure he cost too much, but you are already paying him and if you release him you don't save any money. The likelihood that both Patton and Guzman will put up better numbers this year is, in my opinion, pretty low.

"The likelihood that both Patton and Guzman will put up better numbers this year is, in my opinion, pretty low."

What's the logic of that emphasis on "this year"?

Patton and Guzman can't be optioned, so you're keeping them for this year and for subsequent years.

I would be surprised if one of those guys doesn't put up better numbers than Vizcaino.

The emphasis on this year is that I would like the team to win this year.

And I am not disagreeing with the fact that one might also outperform him. I just think that given the 3 pitchers, at the end of the season Hendry will not have jettisoned the worst of the 3.

why take Lilly out in the 8th?

96 pitches isn't all that much, I definitely think he could go to 110 and was cruising along just fine.

If they did manage to keep it 1-0 heading into the 8th, Soriano singled and you probably try running there or a hit and run. But down two, you don't risk it.

Also, can Angel Guzman learn to put away a hitter or an inning? 1-2 on Hairston and 0-2 on Votto and both get hits...bah.

Maybe, but David Weathers owns the Cubs. I'm cool with taking Lilly out there: they weren't going to score last night.

Just like me.


"A little ace-on-ace action"

I prefer Max on Max.

Let the record show that I thought of the headline on this post HOURS BEFORE this showed up at

Mr. Selig, you will be hearing from our attorneys in the morning.

screw should take the TCR private jet down to MLB headquarters and bitch slap the fool.

They'll be making a big mistake on a small sample size with Vizcaino. Relievers are volatile and he had a solid track record before hitting Coors last year. Just stick him in the back of the pen and let him sort it out, for Pete's sake. It's like Lou just can't believe those lying eyes of his regarding Cotts.

Let him sort what out? That 0.00 ERA?

Yeah, this Samardzija stuff makes no fucking sense. I like the guy and he'll be good enough in the pen, but Vizcaino has been fine so far in the regular season. Exactly what is precipitating this move? Cotts and Gregg have sucked so far, but it's Vizcaino that gets booted? Brilliant. Why not just tell your pitchers to man up and stop throwing shit? Or put Gregg's ass on the DL to get his knee straight and then bring up help for the pen.

Even if you do want to get rid off Vizcaino, releasing him is going to cost you a pretty little sum, which won't make any fucking sense after Hendry cried poor this offseason. So, you gotta trade him, but leave it to the fucking Cubs to announce Samardzija's promotion BEFORE any trade actually takes place, absolutely killing any leverage you might have had with other teams in trading Vizcaino. Really, what's the point of announcing the fact Samardzija's getting called up an entire day before it happens? There's nothing gained by it.

All of this is not to mention that Samardzija is supposed to be our only starting pitching prospect of any worth. Yet, it's no surprise if the Cubs mis-manage this prospect too, burning option years for temporary bullpen help. It's as if they don't really understand the difference between starting and relief pitching, as if the two are interchangeable.

The past couple years being a Cubs fan hasn't been so bad, despite the fact that the front office has continually bungled roster moves like this one. I just don't understand either part of dumping Vizcaino (why even acquire him in the first place if you didn't want him?) or bringing up Samardzija. Perhaps it's just Hendry overly catering to his manager again, but if that's the case, I'm going to jump on the MannyTrillo bandwagon and call for his head. You're the boss, Jim, not Lou -- start fucking acting like it.

Completely concur.

Why on earth do you bring in your bullpen backup in April.

Chances are someone is going to get hurt, or becomes ineffective this year. Who comes up from AAA then? Ascaino or Wells? Seems really shortsighted.

Hendry's 40 man Roster management rears its ugly head again.

"why even acquire him in the first place if you didn't want him?"

There is an answer to that question.

The Cubs had zero interest in Vizcaino. The Rockies must have given the Cubs something like the following proposal:

We like Marquis but for $5 million, not the $10 million you're paying him. Either pay half his salary, or pay $1 million and take Vizcaino.

The Cubs saved $5 million by "trading" Marquis, with our without Vizcaino.

Also, you're not getting a return on the $1.3 million you're paying Samardzija when he's in Iowa.

that's true and all, but by dumping him now, they went from saving $5M to saving a little over $1M instead. Basically between Gaudin and Vizcaino (assuming a trade isn't worked out), they've could kept DeRosa.

I don't understand how dumping him now costs us $4 million. If he's replaced with a minor league guy (which is what's happend so far) it costs us an extra $400K. Only if he's replaced by another experienced big leaguer would we lose the savings we made on the Marquis deal... which is doubly confusing because I thought you said the exact same thing earlier today.

yeah, my fury is affecting my logic today. Nonetheless, $5.6M or so down the drain on pitchers lately.

and since it was Samardzija it didn't cost the Cubs anything extra since he was getting his $1.3M already.

Maybe that's part of the reason he was called up.

many job cuts announced at the Tribune yesterday including several well known sportswriters...Melissa Isaacson, John Mullin, Bob Sakamoto and Terry Bannon were all sacked (makes sense for a football writer like Mullin to be sacked, if Paul Sullivan or Phil Rogers was on this list you might say they were K'd...not as aesthetic if Sullivan wrote an article saying Felix Pie got sacked.)

The odd part is that it was announced in Craine's Chicago Business (but not in the Tribune or Sun-Times).

My friend Bob Sakamano was fired? That sucks.

Useless? The dude has a bum groin. Ever had one? It sucks. He shouldn't be back in the lineup yet, IMO. In all fairness to him, one of his punch-outs was very borderline. It's a shame for a guy with such a keen eye at the plate to be fucked by umpires because of being fiery. Give it time. Weather heats up, so will he and you'll eat some crow.

And the fact he has not swung a bat regulary in a week and a half.


Also Cotts should go on the DL to figure out why the loss of velocity in order to throw a strike.

No panic yet - Remember last year it took us until May to get over the first home series loss to the Brewers. BTW, have you seen their record? And the Pirates are beating up the Marlins!

Whatta world...watta world.

Video and rundown of some guys in Peoria

Good, thanks! I'm going to catch a game or two when the Chiefs come to Ft. Wayne.

Vitters just has that easy bat speed that you love. Agree with the guy's assessment (narrow sample size caveate) that Flaherty looks a lot like a 3rd basemen.

Why don't we just give Patton back to the Rockies?

I agree with Newport completely. To think that Patton will be a servicable pitcher all year is absurd. I don't have to go into his history, it pretty clear that spring training was a fluke. If Viscaino is the guy cut or traded for a PTBN or low level prospect, it would be the second vetern with a proven track record let go keep Patton. This will bit us in the ass. I'm not saying Vizcaino or Gaudin are or were good bets, but at least they had a track record and relievers rebound often.

Not to mention Wuertz.

Doing much of anything with the bullpen makes little sense to me at this point. Patton has not shown that Spring was a fluke at all. He has had three appearances total, two of which were pretty good. Doing anything with him would be premature.

patton hasn't pitched in a week.

his first 2 appearances were nice.

he worked 2 innings in a row and got pitched the very next day on his 3rd appearance for some reason, though...that one didn't go so smooth.

Hope this isn't 3/44 or Scott Eyre is broke-ish, but WSCR reporting Bradley out of the lineup until he "comes to Lou and tells him he's 100%". And when he comes back he won't be hitting cleanup. Probably 6th.

Also being urged by Lou & Hendry to talk to the media a little bit.

Strange. Why do they tell the press this stupid crap?

Oh. And who's going to break up our right-handed bats then? Nobody? I see. I hope Hoff gets some playing time (and makes some strides defensively).

"out of the lineup until he "comes to Lou and tells him he's 100%"

That's manager-eez for "he's not giving 100%"

Vizcaino officially DFAed.

According to, Chicago was trying to trade Vizcaino before bringing up Samardzija from Triple-A Iowa. But while general manager Jim Hendry attempted to work out a deal with other teams to save money -- including the Nationals -- the 34-year-old reliever will now be on waivers for up to 72 hours. After that, the Cubs will have seven days to release or trade him.

Freaking weird. It's almost got a Palmeiroish feel to it. Wonder what he did.

Yeah, this is just plain weird. It's gotta be a clubhouse issue...

I realize Vizcaino had yet to give up a run but I can't really be the only one who felt uncomfortable when he pitched those rolling sliders down the middle in every outing am I?

I distinctly remember his first outing of the year even Bob Brenly commented on how Vizcaino got away with several sliders that never broke.

He had the results so far but I just had the feeling of impending disaster every time he stepped out on the mound.

All that said, DFA'ing him is criminally stupid. Somebody somewhere would have probably been willing to take on at least part of his salary (or maybe give up a mid-level prospect if we paid for the whole thing) if they'd waited a while first.

There have certainly been some pitchers in the pen who have not consistently been getting results when put in the game. He was not one of them. Cotts, Guzman and even Gregg have looked shaky... But, I still wouldn't have done anything with any of them without at least a few more outings...

Like sands through an hourglass...

so are the days of our lives

Bradley is also out for not running out ground balls and balls in the OF.

You may want to believe its because of his injury, but this is just how Bradley plays baseball. He has done it on every team he has ever been on.

I am sure he lied his ass off to Lou that he was a 100% and ready to go only for Bradley to lay the abortion of a game he played last night.

Don't want to run? Don't want to hustle? Don't want to even give a shit? Fine your out of the game until your fully healed (if the Cubs were smart they would start running his DL time so that 3rd year doesn't kick in) and your being dropped in the order.

Fellas its going to get a whole lot worse with Milton "I got my 3 year deal" Bradley. His only goal in life is not getting 75 DL days. He can milk the shit out of his injuries without ever hitting the DL. He missed 36 games last year doing it. Don't think he won't do it in Chicago.

What a waste of a roster space, and money.

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  • Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]

    Eric S 31 min 31 sec ago view
  • ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.

    cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/

    crunch 1 hour 5 min ago view
  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 1 min ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 4 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 14 min ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 4 hours 56 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 9 hours 42 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 9 hours 43 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 19 hours 24 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 22 hours 22 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 22 hours 34 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 22 hours 43 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 22 hours 48 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 23 hours 7 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 23 hours 43 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 1 day 1 min ago view