Lou Cashes in Bet on Giants

The Cubs drop the finale versus the Giants to split the series and end the homestand at 4-2.

Why the Cubs Lost:  Clearly Lou laid some money on the Giants taking this game, trotting out the entire bench and resting every regular he could. While I'm sure there batting averages appreciated not seeing Tim Lincecum, the paying fans must have thought it was still March and spring training. I'm all for resting the regulars, but maybe Lou would consider spacing it out a bit next time. 

Sean Marshall gave up a three-run homer to Bengie Molina in the first, which probably isn't the strategy you want to employ against Tim Lincecum. He then shut down the worst offense in the league for the next six innings, before the first two runners reached off him in the 8th. Jeff Samardzija proceeded to hit Bengie Molina - Molina's first time reaching base via HBP or BB all year - and then gave up a double to Aaron Rowand who hadn't had a hit in about a week.Then another single on a drawn in infield to Randy Winn before finally retiring Juan Uribe on a popout. After walking Emmanuel Burriss, Lou had seen enough and summoned Neal Cotts who did a much better job than Samardzija of preventing the inherited runners from scoring.

The Good: Marshall looked good from innings two to seven and Neal Cotts took one pitch to get two outs in the 8th. Bobby Scales in his major league debut, got his first hit and almost a second if not for a fine diving play by Winn. Scales also made a few nice plays at second base. Lincecum did retire 11 in a row at one point, but the Cubs did hit a few balls hard at least and were in the game until the pitching imploded in the top of the 8th.

Death Pool:  Probably be Bobby Scales getting sent down to make room for Friday's starter, but don't overlook Jeff Samardzija and his 8.10 ERA heading back to Iowa and someone like Chad Fox getting the call-up.

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My thought was that Piniella had Lincecum in his 'Season Ending Awards Pool' and is trying to boost his Cy chances.

Scales did make what seemed to be a one pretty nice play to his left, but I didn't see where he was positioned.

Do you get that sinking feeling anytime Samardjiza takes the mound? I do. I suppose someone will whip out some stats and tell me how Samardjiza is a closet Cy Young pitcher or something, but no matter. The shark needs a lot of work, in my opinion.

He needs to spend the year in AAA getting 140 innings pitched.

There's no closet stat, he's sucked pretty much since his first two weeks in the bigs.

I was thinking the same thing. He is the "Golden Boy" of the GM. Pie that pitches.

If this org was the Yankees, Red Sox, Cards, Dodgers, et. al., he would be pitching in the minors until September.

"Sammy" had a little run last season, but man, I do not believe he is close to being ready for Prime Time.

Fuck you Hendry!

Minor league stats for a guy who's game is in-progress of changing is useless anyway...especially for a guy who has already established his fastball(s) and can crutch on them as plus pitches to create outs in between the stuff he's working on.

...saw a lot more sliders outta ninja this go around compared to last year in the bigs. not seeing as many changeups, but he never threw a lot of those anyway.

You know, when I first saw him pitch, a couple years ago in ST I thought his best pitch was a 2-seamer with some wild movement. I'm not sure if Cub's coaching is trying to get him away from that or if he just hasn't harnessed it into a pitch he can consistently throw for strikes, but I think he should go with it. Armando Galarraga is making a fine living on 2-seamers and sliders.

he's got his 2-4 seamers in mlb-condition, imo...

he's been battling with the changeup/slider for a 3rd pitch that's worth a damn.

he needs to actually know when to use it, too, independent of what coaches/catchers call.

even the sliders i've seen lately have been going in heavy disproportion to guys who have a history of not being able to hit them well. it seems his slider is currently the "3rd pitch in favor" compared to the change, though.

what, no HR for TheRiot today?

The SFG's took advantage of Marshall's rep for fielding also, and bunted or attempted to bunt a lot early. Maybe the speedy Lou Crew should have followed suit. They were good at running the count, though, but struck out on ball four nasty-slider a number of times. DLee hit the wall with a liner double to left, that was as close as there was to a home homer.

The E-Man, last thread, pre-game: "Looks like Marshall will be the 2009 tough-luck pitcher."

Yep. ding...ding...ding...

Sean Marshall has one mistake, and is beat by it on this day facing Cy Young II.

So far in April and early May:

Cards - Wainwright, 7-4L (the Bradley Game), 5IP 3R
Cards - Boggs (ok, NOT an Ace yet), 8-2L, 6IP, 3R
Fish - Volsted, 8-2L, 7IP, 1RUN!
Giants - Lincicum, 6-2L, 7.1IP, 5R

It does not help matters that the team has the least productive offense in the NL.

Not a good trend, folks.

He's a #5 pitcher vs a #1 pitcher. I understand why they do it, but I'm not a big fan of sacrificial games.

i'm sure aram and milton needed the rest.

...wait.

Yep. This was pointed out earlier. Due to scheduling, this sometimes will happen. Sometimes our #1 is paired with a #5 or a rookie's first start. Although, often the advantage goes to the other team with the rookie vs. the Cubs for some reason.

It does not help matters that the team has the least productive offense in the NL.

Huh? The Cubs have scored the 6th most runs in the NL.

Anyone seen Greg Reinhard pitch at Iowa? His numbers up until the end of last season were nothing to write home about, but he has been impressive at Iowa - especially in the early going this year. What does he feature? I also see that he runs his own baseball camps in the offseason, so he must have a pretty good knowledge of the game. Thanks.

Is this Greg Reinhard's publicist?

You might want to check one of the previous two threads. I know that a similar question was answered very recently and part of the answer was that he has scrapped his curve and changeup and relied more on a slider and splitter he is more comfortable throwing.

Anybody know what has gotten into Chris Robinson? He's hitting over .380 at Iowa and went 3-4 with three doubles today. Isn't he the defensive minded catcher we received from the Tigers for NEIFI! PEREZ a couple years ago?

Looks like one in the same. From Baseball Reference's entry on Ne!f! Neftal! (D!az) Perez:
"August 20, 2006: Traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Detroit Tigers for Chris Robinson (minors)."

"Anybody know what has gotten into Chris Robinson?"

A .419 BABIP despite 56.5% groundballs. Essentially he's got about as lucky as you can get.

http://www.minorleaguesplits.com/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?pl...

I thought it was most likely that it was a small sample size thing. The guy has already matched last year's totals for doubles and homeruns. If he'd figured anything out with the bat, he'd be at least a prospect as a backup catcher. Otherwise he's still minor league fodder.

I've never seen anyone hit groundballs at a rate that he does - partially probably because I look at major league hitters and guys who project to be MLB hitters.

There is also, though, the Ozzie Smith principle of hitting. If you have the athletic ability and hand eye coordination to be a superior defender, you probably have the potential to be a useful hitter, given enough work, and time. Ozzie is probably the most famous example, but Soto and Yadier Molina are another two recent guys I can think of.

Is Soto really a superior defender?

Well, they didn't keep him around the organization for his eyebrows.

Pudge Rodriguez is another guy that would apply to. Omar Vizquel etc.

Well, they didn't keep him around the organization for his eyebrows.

Sure... but to put Soto in the same class as Pudge or Ozzie Smith is pretty funny.

Do you really think that he is a superior defender in the same category as those two?

No.

What he is is a guy who used his defensive ability as a catcher to stay around long enough so that he could figure out how to hit.

Pudge wasn't all that great either. You seem to determine catcher's defensive ability solely by their CS rates.

You seem to determine catcher's defensive ability solely by their CS rates.

You seem to make a lot of assumptions about what people think, when it isn't at all what they said.

I think that Pudge is excellent against the running game, and very good at blocking the ball. And significantly better than Soto defensively.

But the bigger question, and back to the main point, is if Soto is really a "superior defender." And I have seen nothing that makes me think so. Is he adequate? Absolutely, but I also don't see him winning gold gloves any time soon either.

Soto has a hurt shoulder.

Right now I would take Soto over a young Rodriguez for blocking balls and performing other catching duties (blocking home, backing up 1st).

Is in in Molina's class? No.

But back to the bigger question. Why was Soto promoted to AA after he had that .629 OPS in high A?

I used Soto as an example because 1. He's on the Cubs and 2. he's a recent example we're familiar with. The difference gap between Soto and Pudge defensively is much closer than the gap between Pudge and Ozzie. But I can see you're going all Rainman again, so I'll quit talking to a wall. Maybe you can chase me away like you did that poor guy who suggested there was upside to the Gathright signing...

"But back to the bigger question. Why was Soto promoted to AA after he had that .629 OPS in high A?"

because he had a .892628936896 BIBIP?

or because someone put some eyeballs on him and saw a learning progression?

Crunch: "because he had a .892628936896 BIBIP?"

Classic...:)

But as someone who has worked in the front office of a AA minor league baseball team I have seen catchers moved up or down needless of what their stats are. It is the most fickle position in the minors and sometimes they have an injury and just need a body. Not saying this is what happened to Soto, but saying that could be why he got promoted.

Soto has a hurt shoulder.

I am aware of that.

Right now I would take Soto over a young Rodriguez

Okay... I wouldn't.

Why was Soto promoted to AA after he had that .629 OPS in high A?

Because the Cubs saw something - I have no idea what that is, and neither do you. But I don't ever recall anyone talking about him being a superior defender. And I haven't seen anything from his performance in the bigs to thing that he is a superior defender.

Maybe you can chase me away

I wish... can you make it so?

that poor guy who suggested there was upside to the Gathright signing.

Yea... heaven forbid that I ask someone what they see in Gathright, and ask them to back up what they are saying. Because you never do that.

No, you hypocritical jackass. By all means ask, just don't do it repeatedly, like four or five times like that fat lady from 2 Weeks Notice demanding "What baby!?" We know there's one guy you and your neurosis permantly chased from TCR. Who's mine?

And yes, I am sure that I am the only one who heard that Soto played good defense, which is why he consistently got promoted and added to the 40 man roster. It was all a big consiparcy so that you and "nelson cruz can't hit big league pitching" crunch could come by 4 years later and could try to derail a discussion in some sad little attempt to prove me wrong.

But please, continue, don't let facts and history interrupt your diatribe. It's quite amusing.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/features/04to...

Oh yeah, but you guys know more than the Cubs brass and professional scouts, I forget. When Geovany Soto gets his third passed ball this year, that will give him as many as Pudge had in his first half year in the bigs. So, all we have is scouting reports, logic and statistics on my side. What have you got on yours again? Oh yeah, unfounded opinion.

No, you hypocritical jackass.

Ouch... a personal attack from Real Neal. That hurts.

And yes, I am sure that I am the only one who heard that Soto played good defense

Ooh... please point out where I said that you were the only one who heard that. And please point out where I said that Soto wasn't good defensively.

Oh yeah, but you guys know more than the Cubs brass

You have absolutely no clue why the Cubs moved up Soto... can't you just admit that?

When Geovany Soto gets his third passed ball this year, that will give him as many as Pudge had in his first half year in the bigs.

You seem to determine catcher's defensive ability solely by their passed ball rates. And the ironic thing is that I think Soto is actually quite good at blocking the ball.

So, all we have is scouting reports, logic and statistics on my side

Actually... you have one scouting report, that shows that Soto was ranked as the best defensive catcher in the Cubs system. Which, of course, is different than Soto being a superior defender, but thats okay. You also have one stat. Passed balls. But hey... who's counting?

Look... I never said that Soto was a bad defensive catcher. I simply questioned whether he really was a "superior defender," as you stated. And I still question that.

And you have still yet to show that he IS a superior defender. Your "evidence" is that he was ranked the best Cubs defensive catcher once, and he has less passed balls than Pudge did early in Pudge's career.

Awesome.

We know there's one guy you and your neurosis permantly chased from TCR. Who's mine?

Ha... this is actually really, really hilariously funny.

You think that I ran off Matt Jacobs? You have absolutely no clue what you are talking about.

Matt is a contributor and commenter at VFTB, where I also occasionally write. I get along very well with Matt. Joe Aiello is the main writer over there. Back in January, he decided to close VFTB and start writing here, at TCR. Matt came with him and started commenting here. When Joe decided that TCR wasn't for him, he went back and started up VFTB again. Matt went with him.

But gsure, o ahead and think that I ran that "poor guy" out of here.

You are absolutely clueless.

Big_low: "You (The Real Neal) seem to make a lot of assumptions about what people think, when it isn't at all what they said."

Can I get an amen from the bobbleheads?

There might be something to him. His career minor league numbers are 59.9% GB and a .353 BABIP. Compare to a guy like Colvin, for example, who is at just 44% but only .317. So .417 is really high, but he seems to have a track record of being pretty successful BABIP-wise while still hitting the ball on the ground a ton.

Yeah, .317 is pretty low, I think. The guys in the minors aren't as good as turning batted balls into outs, and the lower the worse. Of Robinson's 1000+ at bats only about 200 have come above A ball. But, he must be hitting some pretty hard grounders, or be pretty good at aiming them.

On the former Cub watch:

Donald Corey Patterson is batting .137 for the Syracuse Chiefs (Washington Nats AAA team), with an .087 BA over the last 10 games. Overall, 51 AB, 7 H, 1 2B, 0 HR, 14 K's. Oh, how the mightily hyped have fallen.

Bradley suspension hearing to be in Houston (Wed or Thurs)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/chi-06-cubs-b...

Will Carroll from BP:

As expected, Zambrano went to the DL with his strained hamstring. All of the news wasn't terrible, as the team acknowledged that they were doing it to keep Zambrano from pushing himself, and wanting to prevent him from any of the injury cascades we saw him endure last season. He's not expected to miss much more than the minimum, which would slot him back into the rotation on May 19 or thereabouts. Given what we know about the strain, called a Grade I+; that's reasonable, and he shouldn't have any recurrence.

Chris De Luca from Sun-Times:

Zambrano, the first Cub to appear on the disabled list this season, began rehabilitating his strained left hamstring by playing catch with strength coach Tim Buss and throwing briefly off the mound. Zambrano is expected to be on the shelf for two to three weeks.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/15598...

also from the st article...shark staying in the bullpen (not spot starting). Actually, it sounds like there are cornfields in his future.
---
The right-hander needs much more polish before manager Lou Piniella will consider him for starting duty -- much less a pressure situation in relief.

''He needs to work on his second and third pitches,'' Piniella said. ''It's hard to pitch up here with a fastball only.''

In some good news:

Vitters hit his second home run in a Peoria win to get his slugging up to a respectable .451

Colvin went 2-4 with a triple in Daytona's game, which they won 3-0. The closer David Cales now has 2 wins, 4 saves and a 0.77 ERA despite some lackluster periphials.

The Smokies got stomped, but Thomas and Barney both got hits and their BA's are both about .330.

Dubois has now passed Fox for the Iowa batting average lead at .396, and he hasn't struck out too much 9 times in 48 at bats, but a mere 3 HR's.

Bobby Scales interview on WSCR... they'll probably post the Mp3 in a little while as they usually do with interviews. I highly recommend giving it a listen.

"I just want to become a non-story."

How can you not love this guy?

I concur completely! It is terrific.

REAL NEAL: Thanks for a bit of sunshine on a cloudy day.

Vitters = A-Ram, 2013

That's probably one way you can still get AAA roster spots in your 30s; if you're a fringy prospect, AND an A-hole, you're gone. You probably need to be a great teammate and good example to hang around.

Can he join the Scrap Pack?

Chad Fox got called up, and Mr. 8.10 ERA Samninja got the boot to AAA. Finally!

Sounds like a good decision, though it makes me doubly annoyed because I think I had Scales in the prediction contest.

We're glad to have you back in Iowa, Jeff:

Samardzija is hoping that's the last time he'll be in Des Moines.

"As far as I'm concerned, you can 'X' it off the map," Samardzija said. "It's a great town, I don't want to put it down, but if you have to put Des Moines and Chicago on a scale, I think it tips heavily to one side."

If you're driving back on I-80, you can get a free new map at any Iowa rest stop.

What a douche.

Where did this news come from? I don't see this posted on the Cubs website.

I got a call this a.m. from Chad's dad. He gave me the scoop. Going to the game tonight in Houston. Hope the 'stros "suck it".

It appears that the Pirates intend to keep Donald Veal on their 25-man roster for the entire 2009 season, even if he never pitches in another MLB game this year...

link

If they are going to do this, the Bucs probably would be better off sending Veal to their EXST team in Florida occasionally to get some actual game work, though.

Odd quote:

In his three innings this season, Veal has walked seven, but allowed only two runs to score. He has three strikeouts.

The writer says that as if a 6.00 ERA would be good?

Though... I guess it is "decent" that only 2 of your seven walks, in three innings, scored.

He pitched another scoreless inning last night, now 4 K's and 8 BB's in 4 innings.

You're reading too much into the quote. The 'but' could be disparaging as well, implying, accurately, that he has been much worse than his ERA indicates.

You're reading too much into the quote.

Fair enough... I just found it odd.

I actually like what the Pirates are doing by "hiding" him in the bullpen. The guy has great stuff... and the Pirates have such low expectations that they can afford to hide him there for awhile and see what happens.

I just noticed his innings pitched the other day and wondered if he was hurt or what. I've been looking forward to getting him back if only because it eliminates the possibility he could figure something out while over there and piss me off for the next six years. But if he's not going to pitch, how's he going to figure anything out? If I were the Pirates, I might just put him in the starting rotation and figure, hey, we're going to lose a lot of games anyway. Of course, that might not be good for his psyche.

Isnt that pretty much what the Tigers did a few years ago with their young pitchers? One of them (Bonderman maybe?) I think set the record for most losses in a season.

But, they got their reps against major league hitters and then went to the World Series shortly after. I think it's really not a bad strategy if you know you're going to suck. Might as well have your prospects learning against the best competition rather than stagnating against guys with mostly no shot at the bigs.

Jason Whitlock writes a good piece:

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/9542614/Bio-haz...

Blind squirrel etc etc I guess.

Peoria socking the ball today. 12 hits from first five slots in the batting order, including 6 XBH's. Vitters has his third HR, Junior Lake his first.

I'm going to see Peoria Friday night when they come to play our Fort Wayne Tincaps. What should I look for?

some $1 hotdogs...maybe a sumo sideshow competition for a $10 gift certificate to Dimwillies.

Is it Cubster who has an infatuation with Pat Venditte? I know one of the frequent posters on TCR does...Rick Reilly has a piece on him:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=4145564

That would be me! Thanks for that!

...infatuation with Pat Venditte?
---
Not me.

I had heard of this guy quite a while ago but don't remember posting anything original. Think I saw a video where a switch hitting batter was playing cat and mouse until the ump told one of them they could only switch once (not even sure about that). The article above clears that up:

Minor league umps now have the Venditte Rule: At the start of an at-bat, the pitcher must declare his throwing arm, then the hitter can pick his side, with each man able to switch once.

Might be interesting to see how they make him a custom glove for both hands though.

" Clearly Lou laid some money on the Giants taking this game" -Rob G

That's a pretty bold accusation.

:-)

Picking your battles like Lou did yesterday, I understand. I don't like this sacrificial game strategy, but I understand it. My biggest problem was in the 7th inning, down only 3-2, why concede the game by putting Samardjiza on the mound?

With Marmol and Gregg unavailable or whatever I get it that someone had to pitch, but Samardjiza taking the mound was a downgrade to even a winded Sean Marshall.

Not sure... I just think games like this hurt morale. Then again I haven't managed a team to the world series, so I could be wrong about all this.

I guess it's good that our Sean Marshall plus our B-squad nearly beat Lincecum, but I think to have a serious shot should the Cubs make the playoffs they'll need to make a move for middle relief. Chad Fox, as much as I like the guy, won't cut it.

Well, I agree that Chad Fox likely won't cut it, but I don't believe it has anything to do with how he pitches when healthy. I think he could definitely help the bullpen if he can somehow manage to keep that arm attached to his body. He has been healthy so far down in AAA, so why not have those numbered days come with the Cubs? At some point, you have to find someone else to do his, job, because he is going to break down, but I think he is easily the best answer to do it until that happens...

I think it's too early to freak out about the bullpen, in general. Smardijzai shouldn't have been called up in the first place, so it doesn't bother me that they send him down and replace him with a guy who, at times, has been able to get out ML hitters.

If the bullpen is struggling at the end of the month, think about making some trades, but the farm system isn't really overflowing and do we want to blow our limited prospects and budget on 2 guys who are going to pitch maybe 40 innings each? I think there's enought talent between AA and the majors to get the job done.

Haven't seen anything, anywhere about Fox getting called up...

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