Once Again, It's Homer or Nuthin' (Mostly Nuthin'); Cubs Lose 2-1 to L.A.

Today at Baseball Prospectus (subscription), Joe Sheehan wrote about how the Cubs have become one of baseball's most home run-dependent teams and tonight, we saw, yet again, where that generally gets you.

A pinch-hit home run by Bobby Scales in the eighth inning against Randy Wolf accounted for all the Cubs' scoring Thursday night in the team's most recent, painful defeat.

Young Randy Wells, starting in place of the injured Rich Harden, delivered yet another terrific start, holding the Dodgers to just 2 runs over 7 innings. He made tough pitches when he had to, fanning seven and walking one. Wells departed with his season ERA still at a glittering 1.80.

The Cubs looked feeble against Dodgers starter Randy Wolf through most of his 7+ innings. The veteran lefty matched Wells with 7 K and 1 BB, but he kept the Cubs off the scoreboard until Scales's blast in the eighth. Wolf helped his cause by inducing three double-plays. Also, as a team, the Cubs went 0-for-8 with men in scoring position.

The bottom of the ninth was just a killer. Milton Bradley dropped an ugly but well-placed bunt for a single to lead off the inning, then Derrek Lee followed with another single, moving Bradley to second. After trying and failing to bunt the runners over, Reed Johnson eventually did advance Bradley and Lee with an infield dribbler. Following an intentional walk to Geovany Soto, Dodgers reliever Ramon Troncoso, subbing for the recently overworked Jonathon Broxton, fanned Scales and Jake Fox to quell the rally and drop the Cubs back to .500.

About Fox...

The basher without a position entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, right after Scales had homered, and he ripped a single to centerfield. Fox then played the field in the top of the ninth, manning third base and actually handling a chance successfully (though Scales was nearly folded in half by Russell Martin as he received Fox's throw to complete a force out at second base.)

 

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Comments

More of the same. This offense is just a wreck. It was a nice mirage against the Pirates but now back to the slump.

If Randy Wells can keep this pace, which is doubtful, he's ROY caliber.

There's really not much they can do but just more waiting for guys to come around. Get Fox and Hoffpauir more Ab's might get a little more offense, Scales will probably be the everyday 2b for a while. Blanco hasn't shown anything, nor is he expected to.

Soriano also needs to pull himself together. He looked awful when he came up in the eighth and whiffed.

wtf was that fake bunt on the 1st pitch anyway? that didn't fool anyone and it shouldn't have...wasted strike.

...not like he did anything with the next 2 strikes worth mentioning.

"The basher without a position entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, right after Scales had homered, and he ripped a single to centerfield. Fox then played the field in the top of the ninth, manning third base and actually handling a chance successfully (though Scales was nearly folded in half by Russell Martin as he received Fox's throw to complete a force out at second base.) "

imo, that's really generous.

fox played it like crap and threw it off mark. scales' footwork at 2nd was non-existent...after catching the off mark throw he stood up and basically took a football style hit because he just kinda...froze.

that was a double play ball butchered into a close force out at 2nd.

Yes, I was generous. Looked to me like Fox took so long to handle the ball, the whole play was out of sync and Scales was further across the bag (and Martin was closer to him) than should have been the case.

But at least we got one out. And Scales didn't get killed.

 

I understand your frustration with that play. If you ask me, the Cubs shouldn't be putting guys in the infield that can't turn a double play. I appreciate pitching and defense, especially late in the game.

Still, I think it's clear Jake Fox didn't get called up for his defense and he did at least get one out. So all things considered, I think what we saw was best-case scenario.

So Fox got called up for his offense? Maybe I had too much to drink last night but I could swear I saw him strike out in the ninth with the bases loaded.

Not sure what you are driving at, but yes, he was called up for his bat, not his defense. And yes, he struck out in the 9th with the bases loaded.

Brenly fired off a little on last night's telecast regarding Fox's late arrival. He said Ramirez was hurt three weeks ago and Fox was hitting .450, why didn't Dickerson or the organization put Fox at 3B at that point to get some reps and then call him up? From what I heard Trammell is working him at 3B and Quade has him taking fly balls and it was going to take some time, then last night he's out at third (guess Lou hurried him out - or mistook him for another left handed pinch hitter).

BB's got a point - other teams see problems at a position, and look to their prospects to take a few turns at it in the minors. I won't say what franchise is going through that right now, but we're all familiar with them.

"He made tough pitches when he had to, fanning 7, walking 1 and lowering his season ERA to 1.80."

Wells' ERA coming into the game was 1.50, so his effort - while admirable - in fact raised his ERA.

Just changed it. Thanks.

That's the first I have seen him pitch, and he's really impressive. He doesn't have a dominant out-pitch, but he also doesn't seem to hang anything, and everything has movement. A little better command and he could be a helluva pitcher.

Geez... did you hear Offerman ask The Cub's version of Hugo Chavez Zambrano about Barrett? He got sort of... animated.

"How can you bring Michael Barrett into this conversation? Man, I'm a man, you know. If somebody comes to me and tries to beat me up, I have to respond, you know? Nobody likes to get beat up, you know? I don't say this to the umpire," he said.

"If some man here or some man outside is trying to get me up or trying to fire me up, I will respond. And anybody here, any man here will respond," he said. "Am I right? Nobody likes to be hit. Nobody likes to be fired up. Nobody. As a man you don't like to be pushed up or you don't like to be, you don't like somebody to kick your butt. You will respond as a man. So don't bring Michael Barrett in this conversation. We're talking about the incident yesterday, not Michael Barrett."

Source: Orlando Sentinel, WSCR 670

So... let me get this straight... Michael Barrett was trying to beat you up last year when you punched him?

:D

I guess pointing is a threatening move, unless you know if Z does it then he's being animated.

He needs to shut up and just pitch.

let's face facts: the Dodgers are a better team, better organization, than the Cubs. Even without Manny. And With the Human 3/44.

That must be why they're always in the playoffs. When was the last time they had a better record than the Cubs, 2006?

2009?

:-p

E-Man said they "are" better. I am sure he is talking about this year, I don't think he was talking about the past decade or anything. Even though they swept us out of the playoffs last year, so I guess he could have been talking about last year too. But his point is true. They have a better team and organization than the Cubs right now.

I've been meaning to say... I like the Twain quote on your signature line. Very cool.

Except that it should say Benjamin Disraeli not Mark Twain.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies,_damned_lies,_an...

Not just this year, the LA Dodgers are the better organization, period.

5 World Championships
9 Pennants
16 playoff appearances (since moving to the west coast)

16 winning seasons (1988-2008)

I didn't realize Branch Rickey was still running things.

Since 2003 - the start of the Hendry era, going into this year the Cubs had won one more regular season game.

I didn't realize Paul DePodesta was still running things.

Since 2006 - the start of the Colletti era, going into this year the Dodgers had won six more regular season games.

...in part by reaping the rewards of the previous regime, while signing players like Manny Ramirez, Rafael Furcal, Jason Schmidt and Juan Pierre to contracts that they don't justify.

Sorry, you are right, no matter what historical cut-off point you arbitrarily decide to use, the Cubs are the better organization...

I never said that the Cubs were a better organization.

You should look up what the word 'arbitrarily' means, because you obviously don't know. Since Hendry is the head of the organization (or I guess you could say Kenney, which would mean that the Cubs win% far outpaces the Dodgers), looking at things since he took over is logical, not arbitrary. However, I know, logic rarely impedes your thought process.

My point is that it's stupid to react to one game, and make a sweeping statement like this.

Seriously? If it is "logical" to examine the franchises since Hendry took over since he is the "head of the organization" then it is just as logical to examine them since Colletti took over since he is the head of the Dodger's organization. How is this so difficult for you? But of course when I suggested that, you made some weird argument about why that couldn't possibly be a good comparison. I mean, why would you follow your own logic? That would be, well, logical...

Navigator listed some of the historical accomplishments of the Dodger's organization. It is just as logical to compare the Cubs vs. Dodgers historically. He's making a different point than the one you want to make it seems. It is odd that you somehow felt you were correcting him by arbitrarily deciding on a new cut-off. And yes, I am using the word arbitrary here. I think you need to look up the word yourself. It doesn't mean without logic. For the person making the decision it is perfectly logical. Arbitrary means "depending on individual preference or discretion." You, individually, made 2003 the cut-off point based on your discretion that it would be a better comparison. If you are trying to demonstrate how the Dodgers are better historically (i.e. last 50-100 years) like Navigator was, then 2003 would make no sense.

Not everything is an argument on here. If you honestly look at history and disagree with Navigator's assessment that the Dodger's franchise has been better than the Cubs, then you are arguing just for the sake of arguing.

You're really amazing. This is what you've done. Taken a word you don't understand the meaning of, and thrown it around to try to prove a point.

The way you're defining arbitrary is "depending on individual preference of discretion", therefore it can be applied to any single thing that any single person says. You realize, how fucking stupid that is, right?

But if you asked 100 people how to determine how the Cubs organization has done under the Hendry, 85 of them would probably start by saying 'What's their winning percentage under Hendry?" Therefore my method was not arbitrary. Dumb fuck.

Then there's the whole problem with you and navigator trying to change the word originally used 'is' into 'has been' - also a dumb fucking thing to do. The Cubs have the single season record for highest winning %, therefore they are the best franchise ever, right?

I was at the game last night, putting me at three in-person losses in less than two weeks.

I think I'll stay away from Wrigley for a while.

It was YOU!!!!

*throws smoke pellet to the ground, vanishes*

This is kind of off-topic, but Dan Plesac is absofuckinglutely horrible as a color guy. I don't get WCIU but I do get MLBN and was kind of happy to get to hear Costas do baseball again, but Plesac completely ruined it for me. Just incessant rambling. So much that Costas could barely squeeze in his play-by-play stuff most of the time. I thought he did alright in the studio on CSC, but keep him out of the booth.

My personal nickname for him is "Chatty" Dan Plesac. He's really terrible.

Does he still sound like a NPR host?

Dan is as exciting as a walnut

He's got this sort of Dave Wandstat-ish habit of putting emphasis on the last work of every sentence.

Not to mention that I cant recall him saying anything interesting.

Annoying.

-and then there's the game....

"Welcome to Weekend Edition. I'm your host, Dan Plesac. Today I'm pleased to have with us Steve Cohen, the beekeeper, from Spokane, Washington. 'Mornin' Steve - how's those BEES? Must be a "hum-STINGER of an occupation - huh, Steve?"

"Heh, heh. Well I guess you could say we've generated a lot of BUZZ! Heh, heh. In all seriousness, we're losing bees at an alarming rate, and their place in our ecosystem could mean the collapse of civilization."

I love listening to Costas do baseball games. He's one of the best and I've missed hearing him while he was getting rich at NBC.

Plesac is annoying. Even when he makes a good point, he does it in an annoying fashion. He should stay out of the booth.

Harold Reynolds was supposed to do the game last night, but his wife recently had a baby, so he is spending time with her and the child. I don't know why. The kid is going to be around for years to come, but the baseball season is over in November (counting playoffs) and MLBN is only doing a limited number of games. Get your priorities straight, Harold.

not sure if it was with his Dad or not, but could be back in a two weeks. Said everything felt fine.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/15973...

The Cub ninth was brutal but ended with two rookies striking out. In the eighth the Cubs threatened and had veteran major leaguers coming up in Soriano and Theriot with no one out. Awful.

Soriano, Scales, Fuku, Lee, ... Fontenot, ...

Sorry, they ran through the lineup way to quick. Theriot out of the lineup with that flu bug thing. Koyie catching.

TODAYS FUN STAT:

Cubs rank, 15th NL, BA with RISP .243 (San Diego)

Runs Per Game, as of 5/27: 3.10

ESPN.com's stats page shows the Cubs .243 AVG w/RISP is actually 12th in NL (out of 16 teams).

Their 3.10 RPG was 15th in the NL behind SD.

The Cubs have scored exactly 4.5 Runs Per Game through yesterday on the season.

Is 3.10 just for May or something or the last few weeks?

I think I caught what E-Man was wrongly looking at.

The Cubs w/ RISP have scored 143 runs in 46 games (3.10 RPG). He is not looking at the total RPG.

Yep. Indeed, MANNY.

I just divided 46 Games by the number of runs scored.

W/RISP

Sorry.

Anyway, aren't they STILL 0-19 or something when scoring less than 4 runs?

plesac wasnt wearing his train conductor hat and going choo choo about the big blue train like last year

From Friday's Crain's...

Sources now tell Crain’s that both sides have made concessions on some of the key sticking points, bringing them near the conclusion of a sale process that’s dragged on for Tribune more than two years. The family, led by Mr. Ricketts, has been in exclusive talks with TribCo on the Cubs sale since January.
Tribune CEO Sam Zell, in an interview with Bloomberg TV Thursday, appeared to raise new questions about the Ricketts’ ability to buy the team. He blamed the difficult credit environment for delaying the Cubs sale, adding that “if the Ricketts deal doesn’t get done, I am sure there’ll be another one.”
But the financing appears to be in place.

thanks...I love it when I'm right.

We need to keep it together until we get our guys back healthy... the fact that we are using Scales, Blanco and Fox as starters just goes to show how thin we are getting...

Soriano consistently pisses me off - when the team as a whole is hot, he looks great and can carry you singlehandedly. When we struggle, he doesn't seem able to rise up and carry the load. He reminds me of a couple of my softball friends who go 4 for 4 when you smoke a team by 20 runs, but can't muster a hit when it counts in a close game. We call those guys "Mr. Pressure"... If you are hitting for shit, like Soriano has been, then be a team player and do your best to get a bunt down with 2 on and nobody out. Who knows, maybe you even beat it out!!

Maybe because when the team was hot he was one of the people responsible for the team being hot? Nahhhh can't be.

Are we having Sammy Sosa Syndrome kick in? Soriano never gets any meaningful hits. Can only hit in blowouts, never when the game is on the line.

I can count 5ish games in April alone this year where Soriano destroys that myth. But hey keep towing that anchor. Soriano is the least of this teams worries. Bradley sucks, Lee looks to be waking up out of his suck, Ramirez is hurt, Font sucks. Those are the problems with why the Cubs arent scoring runs, not Soriano.

All I know is great players play great all of the time, even when your team is struggling. We are 2-8 in our last 10 games, and during that stretch, Soriano is a putrid 5/36 with 13K and 13 LOB, and he has scored only 1 run and driven in ZERO. Sprinkle in his defensive mental lapses at critical times and he is not a great player, IMO. His lack of fundamentals can be covered up nicely when the team is playing well, but those mental lapses become unacceptable when you are struggling.

Sammy was a bit different - he was paid to drive in runs from the 3 hole in the lineup, and he did that. He had his struggles, but I can live with a guy who is paid to drive in runs and doesn't come through every time. Soriano is batting leadoff, so there are different expectations of him. He sets the tone, and he hasn't been doing it, plain and simple. It is really hard to score runs as as offense if your leadoff hitter is hardly on base!

All I know is great players play great all of the time

This is blatantly untrue.

All I know is great players Pujols plays great all of the time.

There, I fixed it.

Thanks, Ryno!

Wow, talk about sample size.

We get where your coming from, Soriano can never ever slump.

Go crawl back under your rock because the game of baseball confuses you.

No - he can slump, and he will slump. It is my opinion that you can try and help the team when you are slumping by doing the fundamentally sound things, like hitting behind the runner and bunting, if need be.

Just the other day, I was at the Cubs/Dodgers Sunday night game, and Soriano ripped one down the line. Rather than busting it out of the box and showing some heart, he jogged from the batter's box to second base. What kind of example does that set when your "star" is hotdogging all of the time? Remember last season when Soriano crushed one against the Brewers and thought it was out, so he jogged around first? Braun picked it up and almost gunned him out at second. To me, that is pathetic...

I understand baseball just fine, but I love to be insulted, so you can kiss my ass... -

For the record, Rob, you sure have a ton of overly opinionated, egotistical jackasses that post here regularly at TCR. I'm sure people just visiting the blog look at this stuff and never come back... I guess insulting people is just some people's way of making up for some other inadequacy in their life... pretty sad. I love the info here and sharing stuff with other Cubs fans, but I sure don't like being talked to like a piece of crap.

The problem with Soriano is he is way too streaky. Most of the time he is with red hot or ice cold. When he is on, nobody can get him out, but when he is off he can't get a hit to save his life. And being streaky is not a good trait IMO. Look at the last two years of playoffs for examples. We need consistency, not some one who could have 3 great months and suck it up the other 3 months.

The problem with him this year is that his hot streaks seem to coincide with coming up with the bases empty (.287 .333 .519) and his cold streak with runners in scoring position (.167 .295 .361).

The much maligned Bradley is doing pretty well with RISP (. 269 .441 .577).

Theriot is the latest Cub to get Swine Flu, he's out today.

Tribune has the lineup

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/spor...

The lineup:

Soriano, LF
Scales, 3B
Fukudome, CF
Lee, 1B
Hoffpauir, RF
Fontenot, 2B
Hill, C
Blanco, SS
Lilly, P

http://deadspin.com/5272743/todd-tichenor-got-his-...

minor league ump called up for the game ejects 4, seems to have been wrong on both calls.

But at least he has his priorities straight.

Interesting bit by Jon Heyman, SI's version of Phil Rogers. Heyman quotes an unnamed source close to Khalil Greene saying Greene's anxiety problems could lead him to 'walk away' at the end of the season.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/jon_...

And Heyman refers to an article from the St. Louis beat reporter about how bad Greene's anxiety has gotten - poor Cardinals. I hope it's contagious and Pujols get it.

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/sports/stories.ns...

Take some Prozac, dude.

Buried in the same Heyman article is a blurb about Jake Fox that is unbelievable...

"Recent Cubs call-up Jake Fox, who had 33 extra-base hits in 40 games with Triple-A Iowa, is no less than "a great hitter," according to one scout (though he struck out for the last out in the Cubs' 2-1 defeat to the Dodgers on Thursday). The scout added, "The question was always, will he have a position?" Fox played third on Thursday."

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/jon_...

Get your mother effing head in the game, douchebags. How do you get consistently get guys on 2nd & 3rd base with zero outs and strand them there.

It's unbelievable.

you'd think you'd just luck into one at some point.

9 lob.

blahhh

Scales, Hoffpauir, Fontenot, Koyie Hill, Blanco... agghhhgh, get this team healthy quick.

Wild: Clint Hurdle getting fired.

I always considered him one of the better managers in the league.

why?

Seemed to me like he does managerial type things well. But what do I know.

He's no Mike Quade.
~parachat joke~

Fuku scores or I become a Royals fan.

When are you buying that Jose Guillen jersey?

Every inning they make it more and more fun to see how they can't score with RISP.

Seriously though, I know Billinsgley is a very good pitcher, but this is embarrassing.

Fucking ridiculous.

I <3 Greinke.

Aaaand, that's game.

Crap. Cubs win after all my bitching. And now I'm a Royals fan.

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