Recap of Monday Night's Game at Wrigley, By Way of the Twilight Zone

Monday night's game seemed otherworldly from even before the first pitch.

A Wrigley Field home game on a holiday at night? It made scheduling sense, given that the Cubs had to fly all the way east from San Diego following Sunday's game, but it still felt wrong.

Then the lineups were published and owing to a combination of illness, injuries, and an opposing lefthander, we saw Reed Johnson hitting cleanup and an infield of Freel, Theriot, Miles, and Hoffpauir. In other words, the stuff of split squad spring training games.

The game itself was pure freak show: Freddy Sanchez had six hits, Ryan Theriot had three doubles, Ryan Dempster had a dugout tantrum, Ted Lilly was ejected from a game in which he didn't pitch, Pittsburgh's Matt Capps was drilled by a wicked line drive off the bat of Geo Soto, Sean Burnett earned his first career save after 60 Major League appearances, and oh, yeah, the Cubs actually scored some runs.

On the flip side, Neal Cotts was knocked around, and the Cubs lost their eighth game in a row.

So there was something familiar in the air Monday night.

Comments

I think Lou is on the Dusty baker emotional cycle: 2009 Lou = 2005 Dusty. (Like Dusty, after two competitive but disappointing years the team will finish around .500. And it will start getting ugly.)

Question: will Lou come back or retire if this year goes as bad as it is looking?

- Jim

or will he quit on his team like his last 2 jobs?

imo, the team's last problem is the fat man who pats these guys on the butts.

managers will always do weird stuff...last night's game was full of "what the hell" for instance.

I know there is a lot of justified Cotts hate, but Miles is quickly moving up my list.

Where was Guzman last night? Being saved for an 8yh inning lead that never happened?

No doubt, I'm have trouble seeing a successful Chicago Cubs team with either Miles or Cotts on the roster. And with Jim Hendry giving them 3.3 mil between them, I'll go ahead put Hendry on my 15-day SL (shit list).

This will free up a roster spot so I can trade David Aardsma back to the Cubs (who has been pretty damn good closer for Seattle so far this year... go figure)

Or Michael Wuertz...

I never did understand Miles. He has no power, no speed, and a .685 career OPS. He only has one season with over 500 PAs. I would be fine with him if he was a slick-fielding defender who could play second, short, and third - teams need those types of back-up infielders - but it appears he can really only play second and thus he really adds nothing to this team. Also, most of us would have caught that little floating liner last night.

Agreed!

Re Aardvark - yeah, great...hindsight.

He is now on his 4th MLB team! We are not, nor have been a "rebuilding" club that can absorb players who are learning on the job. We MAY be. And as you see, Patton is the one player this year getting a chance with the special set of circumstances of Rule 5. Frankly, should this team not make the playoffs, as I believe will be the case, I am of the opinion with a few of you, to get rid of as much weight as possible and rebuild the organization from the lower levels on up.

You almost can't "rebuild" like you are suggesting because you have over 100 million dollars in payroll with a no-trade clause. I don't think it's necessary, either. The team has certain needs, they just need to fill those needs:

* A real second baseman, and someone who can step in for Ramirez. Derosa makes so much sense for this team, it's silly. I don't know what he's hitting in Cleveland and I don't care, the point is he has a bat that pops, he can play a respectable 3B, and with everyone healthy it moves Fontenot to the bench, where he should be.

* A completely new bullpen. Blow it up.

Was at the game on the roof top last night.

Not panicing yet.

When I saw the pregame and saw the red hats, I was like wtf? But I remembered MLB wanted to market... I mean are fallen heroes. I can't wait to see what the Labor Day hats look like.

The eagle was pretty cool I was hoping he would pick off one of the seagulls cirlcing the field so I could start a "USA! USA!" chant

Miles sucks, sucks bad.

I watched Bradley closely after the hr and his run to rf, the fans gave him a big cheer and he looked up and pounded his heart very intensely. He very consistent with his intesnsity.

Other wise another bad game.

In honor of Rod Serling:

"Offered for your inspection, consider the plight of an older man entrusted with the well - being of a group of relatively young men, all engaged in the sporting scene. Now this elderly man, one who has seen much success in his career so far, suddenly becomes enamored of one particular player, a player who inexplicably cannot perform even the simplest of tasks. This elderly man continues to rely on this same player, regardless of his immediate and prolonged failure at his job, to the consternation and frustration of the rest of the team. Will the elderly man finally see the error of his ways, or is his team doomed to failure because of his wayward and strange obsession?"

Funny post.

Ironically, last night I happened to catch an episode where Jack Warden plays the Manager of the "Hoboken Zephyrs" of the NL, who had not won the pennant in 23 years. The team's fortunes turn around temporarily when a mad-scientist-inventor delivers a "robot" LH Pitcher, who throws "comets". Unfortunately, MLB decided unless he had a "heart", he is not a human, therefore ineligible to play. After a transplant of said heart, allowing him to play again, the pitcher turned into Cotts as he felt "sorry for the batters and now had compassion for them."

Good one.

Brilliant. (Was waiting for someone to ask, "Who is the old guy in the Featured Post picture?" You have redeemed my faith in humanity.)

Thank Rod Serling - actually, I just thought it was so ironic after the Pirates game. And, the whole thing of not "winning the pennant in 23 years", is something we can all relate to.

After one inning of post-heart transplant pitching, the Giants led the Zephyrs 19-0

He was smiling after each HR, too.

ooooooo cutler...

Neil Cotts just posted on his blog...

"How I make the crowd appreciate Carmen Pignatello."
---
can Z throw an inning every now and then with his left hand?
---
It's fun watching Z pinch hit (the crowd really likes chanting 'Go Z') but with a runner in scoring position, 7th inning...how short is this team's roster if he's their 2nd (righty) pinch hitter off the bench. Sickening. The only other righty was Koyie Hill, so rock meet hard place. Still it's sickening.
---
Also some subtle mistakes make it tough for a team to overcome, the Cubs are making too many. Last night Theriot didn't advance to 3rd on a slowly hit grounder to SS and subsequently didn't score. The next double he's on 2nd and tries to advance to 3rd on a sharply hit grounder to SS and gets thrown out a 3rd. Stupid baserunning and it amounts to losing baseball.

When your manager loads the lineup with RH 'hitters', you're not going to have a lot of RH guys on the bench, unless you don't have any LH hitters. This has been true for about 120 years of MLB.

Z pinch hitting with fuku on the bench was just about the stupidest thing I've seen in a long time.

yeah, it's fun when his wild ass swings actually make contact, but this was a position where you bring up a professional hitter.

if you're gonna have soriano hit #1 at least act like the #9 slot matters when you have 2 on.

FWIW: Bobby Abreu #s for the season

SPLITS G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
Season 41 145 18 44 7 2 0 16 27 17 15 0 .303 .410 .379 .790

Just sayin

yeah, Abreu has a .344 BABIP and hasn't hit a home run yet. Bradley has a .205 BABIP and is just 3 pts behind Abreu in SLG right now despite a .198 BA.

Guess who's going to get a lot better before the year is done?

Yeah-- BUT...are the umpires out to get Bobby Abreu? I didn't think so.

OUT.

Well, I don't think it's that cut and dry. You could just as easily say that Abreu has ZERO homeruns so far, and is likely to hit a few before the season is out. His slugging percentage is going to get a lot better. Also, Bradley has played in 3/4 of the games that Abreu has, and I would predict that their season totals end up similar to that given Bradley's history of injury and Abreu's history of health.

Not to mention the fact that if the Cubs had Abreu instead of Bradley they would have $5 million more to spend and could have kept DeRosa or added depth somewhere else, which - in my opinion - would have been better than the slight downgrade from Bradley to Abreu. But that was just my opinion.

disagree about the $5M because Abreu wouldn't have been as cheap as the Angels got him in January when Bradley signed. But yes, Abreu will hit a few HR's.

There's 4 months left to sort this out, but I can see Abreu hovering around an .800 OPS all year, Bradley isn't going to be at .690 all year. 

 

Had the Cubs been interested in Abreu he would have signed for more money.

These scenarios are hard to figure out. Had the Cubs not signed Bradley, he would have signed elsewhere too, changing the market. If he signed for less than he did with the Cubs (likely) that would have driven down the price of outfielders. Also, had the Cubs offered Abreu THREE years as they did Bradley, they likely could have still gotten him for $5 this year. Hell, he might have even taken a pay cut to get more than one-year.

Bradley will probably have an ok year, barring injury, I'm just saying that if I were GM, I would have done things a bit differently this off-season.

I basically would have kept last year's roster with the exception of Abreu for Edmonds, Hoffpauir for Ward, Hill for Blanco, and a veteran who can play 2B-SS-3B well for Cedeno. I would have then put Marshall in the rotation for Marquis, and added a couple of bullpen arms - keeping Wuertz, but getting rid of Howry and Cotts. That's about it.

The 15 SB and 0 CS would have come in handy as well with Abreu.

If you factor that into his SLG then it would be closer to .850

You can't add SBs to SLUG.

SLUG isn't just total bases, but it is also how much you move runners.

You determine it by using total bases, but there is a reason why you don't include SBs, as they don't move runners along.

we did this with Juan Pierre, but I can't remember the number...something like .75 of a stolen base.

So a double or triple with the bases empty doesn't effect Slugging%?

I'll have to write that down or something.

So a double or triple with the bases empty doesn't effect Slugging%?

Huh?

You don't punish a player because he comes up with the bases empty. A 2b or 3b CAN move runners. A SB does not move runners.

Got it?

I was joking with you Big Dave,

However the contrarian in me has to point out that Stolen Bases, by definition. Is the moving of a runner from base A to base B.

Aaron,
You should coin a new made up stat and formula that includes SB and SLG. Name it DRAARONB or ALFGKUDHFKJDHKCUHASDCSFA.

he would never have 15 SB's with the Cubs so far, Lou don't run that much. Angels and Scioscia on the other hand love to run.

4 months to figure this out...the WAR and WAPR values have him being about worth one win more than Bradley so far.

if we want to play the hindsight game, you want to choose Raul Ibanez as your playing piece.

He's back. Cincy just purchased Mark Pawelek's contract from the St. George (Utah) Roadrunners.

Hey, have you ever heard of this blog that has Cubs related news? It's called 'The Cub Reporter".

Link:

www.thecubreporter.com

just checkin' to see if there's still a pulse here

Me thinks you actually just missed it.

He was tapping his temple as he said 'still a pulse here', I think.

LMAO

SHOCKER! Orioles fans are giving ANDY MACPHAIL an "A" for his job performance with last place Baltimore.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/baseball/bal-ma...

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=2...

"We've given Neal all the opportunities in the world," Piniella said of the lefty, who has a 7.36 ERA. "It's time, isn't it?"

Joe Beimel should be able to be had for a Mid-Tier prospect. Maybe a Mark Pawelek could get that trade done?

Dude, I totally suggested that like two weeks ago. I think AZ Phil gave me some funny business about him not being able to be traded until July or something. I didn't quite understand it. Point is Beimel probably couldn't happen.

I also suggested Jake Fox for Nate Robertson. Say what you want, but I think Fox could at least replace Carlos Guillen's bat while he's on the DL.

Beimel has a NTC until June 15 because he signed with a new club this offseason.

However I do believe that a player can choose to waive the clause if he so chooses.

The rule is article XX I'm wanting to say? But Dr. AZ Phil would know better than I do.

Yeah, Lou. You've given him all the opportunities... plus...

"I just didn't make pitches tonight," Cotts said.

It just sounds funny at this point.

still waiting for the words that really count:

"Pitcher Neal Cotts optioned to AAA Iowa..."

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  • This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.

    johann 8 min 29 sec ago view
  • CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now. 

    LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.  

    RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.   

    Arizona Phil 17 min 12 sec ago view
  • AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).

    I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):  

    * bats or throws left 
    # bats both

    Arizona Phil 45 min 16 sec ago view
  • Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.

    Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 7 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season  either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.

    Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.  

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 13 min ago view
  • Rob Richardson 1 hour 42 min ago view
  • Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.

    Send Soler down!

    Old and Blue 2 hours 36 min ago view
  • Awesome thanks AZ

    Old and Blue 2 hours 38 min ago view
  • Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.

    John Beasley 3 hours 28 min ago view
  • Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!

    Hagsag 6 hours 16 min ago view
  • given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.

    i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.

    crunch 7 hours 28 min ago view
  • Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?

    He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.

    My guess? Toronto.

    tim815 7 hours 52 min ago view
  • PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.

    The E-Man 7 hours 57 min ago view
  • Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?

    azbobbop 11 hours 57 min ago view
  • Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.

    Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.

    The E-Man 12 hours 45 min ago view
  • Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.

    While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.

    billybucks 13 hours 18 min ago view