It's a Threepeat—Cards Beat Punchless Cubs to Complete the Sweep

Let the autopsy report on this ghastly series read: three games, two runs, 14 hits, three losses.

Lou Piniella made a lineup change on Thursday night, sliding Mike Fontenot from third base to the more familiar ground at second and starting the seldom-used Ryan Freel at third. The moves paid dividends...to the Cardinals:

In the third inning, Freel gloved a hard-hit grounder by Tyler Greene, then launched a throw about five feet over Derrek Lee's head, leading to an unearned run.

Fontenot, meanwhile, went hitless in three at-bats and is now in a 2-for-39 sinkhole, one which Lou Piniella characterized this way:

"Fontenot, God almighty. I don't know what to do there. I think I need a Corona. It's been a while. I think
maybe we'll just sit him for a while and see." 

Sean Marshall was charged with two earned runs in five innings, both of those coming on solo homers, by Albert Pujols and Brian Barden.

Kosuke Fukudome accounted for the only Cubs run of the night with an
RBI single, plating Bobby Scales in the sixth. 

In closing, we turn tonight to Paul Sullivan in the Tribune:

The Cubs will get one of their best bats back in the lineup Friday night in San Diego, when Carlos Zambrano returns from the disabled list to face Jake Peavy.

Comments

Lou's trick up the ol' sleeve?

from the sun-times:

Manager Lou Piniella said before Thursday's game that he has one more move up his sleeve to try to wake up his slumbering, slumping lineup. But he called it ''a measure of last resort.''

Four hours and five hits later, Piniella may have reached that last resort, which would be moving left fielder Alfonso Soriano to second base and putting .314-hitting Micah Hoffpauir in left.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/15865...

wut...

HA HA

It's April Fools, right?

He would move Alf to 2B but not out of the leadoff spot? This reeks of desperation.

How about just sticking Hoffauir out in right? Things aren't getting better with Milton (just his name sounds crazy to me...think Office Space). The guy just isn't getting any better as he's batted a buck thirty-three over the last week.

The Fontenot/Miles 2nd base connection is nothing short of a disaster. Is it that ridiculous to just say screw and shove Soriano in there?

"Is it that ridiculous to just say screw and shove Soriano in there?"

yes. it's a footwork and timing position where footwork and timing makes outs. i'd feel more comfortable with him at 3rd, honestly...and it's not like i'd be thrilled with that. he at least has the arm for it.

who'll score more tonight, the cubs or the blackhawks?

and i hope z gets pencilled in the 5th spot, behind lee and ahead of hoffy and soto and bradley.

with a soriano to 2nd scenario, will we see more throws like the one freel launched?

happy holiday weekend.

Hilarious, yet sad over/under.

I say fuck defense for a week or two, put Hoff in left, Soriano at second, and call up Fox to play third. It would be abysmal at times, but it would be fun to watch a lineup of Soriano, Theriot, Fukudome, Lee, Bradley, Hoffpauir, Fox, and Soto hit on a daily basis

A defense like that would also give new meaning to the word, "laugher".

It could, if the Cubs lost due to defense and those guys didn't hit. But they are losing now, and there is also a chance that they could out-hit their poor defense and the Cubs would win - in which case laugher would not be a good description.

Our friends at Brewerfan.net (are they really our friends?) have posted an interview with former Cub (and Brewer favorite) Brooks Kieschnik. While Brooks definitely plays to his audience of Brewers fans, I found his description of how the Cubs handled their prospects interesting.

The interview is at:

http://www.brewerfan.net/ViewArticle.do?articleId=292

good read.

"I just never got 500 ABs to prove myself, and they labeled me as a guy who couldn't field, and couldn't hit lefties."

Career 248/315/444 in 306 ABs
Vs LHP 190/227/333 in 21 ABs

While it is true that he never got his 500 ABs at the major league level, it is certainly not true that he wasn't given a change to prove himself. In over 3500 PAs in the minors at all levels is hitting line is only 273/338/491. In his defense, Brant Brown hit worst in the minors (281/332/432) and was given a longer look before he too showed that he couldn't really hit major league pitching.

Good point, but how about the # of at bats he got with the Cubs, as their LF of the future, their #1 draft pick?
1996- 29 at bats
1997- 90 at bats.

Gone in the expansion draft after that. That's it?
1994 AA: .282/.332/.438, 25 2B, 14 HR, 55 RBI
1995 AAA: .295/.370/.495, 30 2B, 23 HR, 73 RBI

I hate to say it, but that is really the Cub way.
Fuck..who the hell had a shot then? Good thing the Cubs had the rotting corpse of Brian McRae .240/.329/.372 to pick up the slack, istead of shifting Doug Glanville to CF and putting Kieschnick in LF

with Ryne Sandberg. He would be a hall of fame 2b with another team.

I am a big believer in giving top prospects a chance to prove themselves and failing while doing so. With a mix of veterans and kids, the struggles shouldn't hurt the team too much, but will help the player develop. I hope we take a more relaxed approach if/when the hitters from AA Tennessee (Thomas, Barney, Clevenger and/or Smith) get here in the next few years. Clevenger should be a good utility guy/back up catcher (if not a starter at some position), Thomas could be starting at 2b, Barney...SS challenge for Theriot. Marquez Smith is a very good 3b who likely (from Baseball America reports on winter ball) could play 2b and he is hitting a ton.

Unfortunately there is not room for all of them and we may see a circus of call-ups/demotions if these players do not produce right away.

The Cubs problem with Brooks Kieschnick is not that they didn't give him a chance, it is that they drafted Brooks Kieschnick and he turned out not to be very good.

Sure they could have played Glanville in center and Kieschnick in left, but that would not have turned them into winners. At least they would have saved the money they waisted on McRae. Man the 90's sucked.

Maybe, but he got 120 at-bats over 2 seasons to show that with the Cubs? A #1 pick who hit .295 with 23 HR's in AAA gets 90 at-bats the next season to prove himself?

Pathetic...typical..

I think we are in agreement that the Cubs should have started him and given him a full season to prove himself, if the alternative was Brian McRae. That said, I am confident that he would have proved that we was not a good major league hitter.

I am not sure I follow this. Shouldn't we actually be praising the Cubs for NOT starting Kieshnick since he turned out to suck? He never did anything for any other team either. So the Cubs could project well enough from his minor league performance to know he wouldn't do well, and thus chose not to waste anymore time with him. The main problem is that A) they drafted him, and B) they played others like Brant Brown instead who they were wrong with and thought would turn out well. Kieschnick was not the problem, and didn't get a chance for a reason.

Of course you're right. I mean...if your#1 pick from 3 seasons ago hits .295 in AAA with 23 HR's and 30 doubles. I mean, hey the savvy Cub scouts just knew that at age 24 he couldn't do the job, especially after going 10 for 29 in a late season cup of coffee..
I mean..if after 90 at bats the next season, he isn't hitting .450 with 12 hr's..I mean of course he is a bust.

Oh, I forgot he became an all-star and is still playing baseball today - sure sad to see those other teams take advantage of this star that the Cubs didn't see. Thanks for reminding me.

In fairness to McRae, he was at least decent his first two years:

.288/.348/.440/92 R/27 SB
.276/.360/.425/ 111 R/ 37 SB

And I recall him being pretty damn good with the glove.

Kieschnick was a better pitcher than he was a hitter.

Okay fellas, the I-Cubs are back from the road, but our son is graduating from HS this weekend & all that hoopla will keep me from being @ the ballpark as much as otherwise. For now I can tell you that Jake Fox caught again last night - the official reason being that Chris Robinson has a stiff back & Mark Johnson has a stiff neck...Atkins got roughed up again as the Cub cubs were thumped 9-2 by Fresno which jumped to a 4-0 first-inning lead & refrained from use of the SB despite the presence of the reputedly defenseless Fox behind the plate...all this catching [2 games] may be wearing on JF; he only got one hit last night, that a mere single...

Mike Wellman:
Okay fellas, the I-Cubs are back from the road, but our son is graduating from HS this weekend & all that hoopla will keep me from being @ the ballpark as much as otherwise.

Weak.

Well clearly I'm kidding. Congrats.

Because we are all depressed does not mean we can have a little fun at the expense of our Sox brethren.

At 12:40 ask your Sox friend "what time is it?"

And they reply " 20 to 1", you say you don't want to know the Sox score but what time is it.

GET IT!?!?!? GET IT ?!?!?

(this weekend can't come fast enough)

This is how bad its gotten with the 4-game losing streak:

you folks are actually spending time out of your lives, that you will never get back again, discussing Brooks Kieschnik.

Isn't there more pertinent things to discuss?

Like the Cubs RPG average in 29 games of 3.33?

Or, the fact that out of 16 teams, the team is 14th with RISP? With a $140mm payroll!

Or, the nice streak pitched by "Guz"?

Fontenot's 2 for his last six weeks?

Instead: you're discussing Brooks Kieschnik.

- sigh -

Actually, we should all be weeping because of a four-game losing streak that came after a five-game winning streak (and an 11-3 stretch).

So - you are dancing a jig b/c the team is a couple games above .500, and the $140MM payroll, without the best insurance policy in baseball, whom the GM traded, is going to play a team on a six-game winning streak?

Weeping is a bit strong. Being concerned is more realistic.

Out of 8 position players, only one or two are performing successfully with any consistency. That doesn't bother you?

It's tough to dance a jig while typing, so no, I am not doing that.

I have concerns. I also stay away from ledges.

I have to think that at some point, the guys who have hit in the past will hit again.

I'm not concerned that the Padres have won six in a row.

I hated the DeRosa trade then, and I hate it now.

i also think talking about b.keischneik is useless
a bad draft pick when we drafted alot of bad ones.

would the cubs make 2 roster moves today a pitcher
and a position player.
hendry should be on the phone trying to make a trade.

Let's get this straight: The Cubs keep lamenting the team can't hit, they're getting even worse, while they have a guy in AAA hitting over .400 but they won't even call him up because their multi-million dollar busts will continue to get the majority of ab's and it's not fair to call up Fox to sit on the bench. My view is, are you trying to win? It's not fair to Fox to have him rot in AAA hitting .400 without getting a shot in the majors. He deserves a shot more than Scales did, based on production. If Hendry won't call up Fox then trade him to a crappy team like the White Sox where he could get a few ab's at DH, 1b, etc. I think Hendry dislikes Fox because Fox can't play 2b, the position Hendry has sloppy donut wet dreams about.

lou seems to like scales a lot, too, fwiw...which is not much.

i still refuse to believe that soriano-to-2nd rumor because it's so ass-backwards stupid, though.

btw, yes i know he mentioned it, but i'm not gonna go 100-post-dusty-dumbass-freakout on the guy based on something he mentioned as a longshot in a post-game interview of all things.

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  • LHP Clayton Richard (released by the Cubs earlier this month) is pitching very well as a starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres and could be a good candidate to get traded to a contender looking for a veteran SP before tomorrow night's post-season roster eligibility deadline.

    Because they released him, the Cubs are paying most of Richard's 2016 salary (the Cubs are on the hooks for $2M, minus the pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum salary that is paid by the Padres).

    Arizona Phil 25 min 8 sec ago view
  • it is honestly awesome (for real) that anyone would even have a strong opinion on AZL playoffs. i guess if you invest enough time watching it, you want to see a fair/just playoff structure.

    plus, the kids deserve it.

    crunch 25 min 58 sec ago view
  • The AZL team with the best record over the course of the full 2016 AZL season and the only AZL team to play .600 ball (the AZL Dodgers) did not qualify for the AZL playoffs, and the AZL East Division team with the best record over the course of the full season (the AZL Athletics) did not qualify for the AZL playoffs, either. 

    That's because of the ridiculous "split season" schedule most of the minor leagues now play, a stupid system that rewards mediocrity at the expense of the worthy. 

    Arizona Phil 32 min 39 sec ago view
  • Despite good movement on his fastball, I think location kept him from getting Ks. Left some pitches up and away that got hammered up and away. Then of course Travis Wood gave up the 2-run double in the 7th, but both runs counted against Arrieta.

    Charlie 1 hour 9 min ago view
  • "i'm gonna make you my main squeeze one day, bro. save the date."

    This level of discourse is #charming.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 1 hour 9 min ago view
  • I would be having this discussion with anyone who (a) blathered on ad nauseum about the topic. (See, "Olt, Mike, not given an opportunity") or (b) responded directly to what I posted (which you did).

    Have a nice day.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 1 hour 12 min ago view
  • what would you do without me? aside from having your posting content here cut by 75%+?

    i'm gonna make you my main squeeze one day, bro. save the date.

    crunch 1 hour 15 min ago view
  • In this instance, yes, I care more about the result of this big thing that isn't really a big thing.

    #crunchsplaining

    #willlistentojeffsullivanmorethanyou

    #blessyourheart

    #hitler

    #tcrmartyr

    #billyhamiltonwar

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 1 hour 16 min ago view
  • Two things:

    Fangraphs WAR #s include baserunning and Hamilton is elite at that. He leads in SBs with the 54 and and has an 87% rate which is really good. I'm sure once he gets on base he's able to take the extra base quite often too. Both those things will up his overall WAR value.

    The differences between BR and FG WAR is pretty well documented online and thus If there are discrepancies it's fairly easy to figure out why. It's fairly well accepted that BR WAR is fine as a snapshot but FG is better at predicting future value.

    johann 1 hour 20 min ago view
  • i have no doubt at all you quit reading at that point. you're very enamored with outcomes without caring what it takes to get there.

    the fact it's exploitable, especially without someone to cover the running game for him, as well it's evolution in how people are testing possible exploits is interesting to some people...to me...i'm some people...hurrah.

    some people want to check the boxscore to see who won, some want to know how it went down.

    crunch 1 hour 32 min ago view
  • I read it as him saying it's not really that much of a concern and that the one time it really cost Lester, vs. K.C., was an anomaly.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 1 hour 38 min ago view
  • if jeff says it, it's cool...when i say it, it's straight from the mouth of hitler.

    aside from the lack of jeff touching on the insane leads runners take and lester's inability to throw if he's fielding, this is a lot of what i've said about the issue.

    exploitable, needs his own personal catcher to control his shortcomings, relies on his ability to get outs along with his personal catcher keeping runners in check before things become further exploited...

    crunch 1 hour 40 min ago view
  • That would be Rice Krispy Treat

    The E-Man 2 hours 58 min ago view
  • "Crunch's cousin"

    Butterfinger or Baby Ruth?

    VirginiaPhil 3 hours 12 min ago view
  • I saw the first three innings and the last three, so I didn't see Arrieta get hit. His stuff looked nasty at first...what happened? Any insight from anyone who watched?

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 3 hours 24 min ago view
  • That question came from CRUNCH's cousin.

    The E-Man 3 hours 28 min ago view