Cubs May Seek Reliever...Hopefully One That Can Hit
What are you gonna say about last night's game? Rich Harden looked dominating for a second straight game and the offense looked maddening for the about the 60th time this year. There's not a lot of strategy to complain about when the Cubs couldn't even muster a hit. The Cubs need to try to punch through tonight with Carlos Zambrano on the mound versus Father Time to avoid the sweep.
According to Wittenmyer, the Cubs do have some limited payroll flexibility to add a "mid-level" player, but don't expect a run at Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee. Wittenmyer mentions relievers as the most obvious targets and throws out the names of George Sherrill and Chad Qualls. If Geovany Soto has any setbacks recovering from his oblique injury, a catcher will become the focus with Rod Barajas being mentioned.
Milton should be back in the lineup today after a few private hitting sessions with Lou. Lou says he needs to relax at the plate and then spends a few sentences throwing Hendry and Milton under the bus for not getting Raul Ibanez or a left-handed hitter that could actually hit a home run or two.
"The only thing I talked about last season was a need for a left- hand
bat in a predominantly right-handed lineup who could hit the ball for
power and drive in some runs," he said. "You look at our production
last year and it was mainly from the right side.
"We didn't bring [ Jim] Edmonds
back and Edmonds hit quite a few home runs, so we needed a left-handed
bat. That's it. That was what I mentioned, that we could use a nice
productive left-hand bat in the middle of our right-handed hitting."
Piniella paused for some time before finishing his thoughts and finally said:
"Look, we still need a left-hand bat who can hit for some power and drive in runs."
This is as much on Lou as Hendry...as well as Bradley. Fine, Lou wanted a run-producing bat from the left side and Bradley hasn't delivered and Hendry (so far) signed the wrong guy. How about stop being so stubborn and move Bradley from the middle of the order and put him in a spot that his current talents might be better suited for? While I still think he'll start hitting, right now he's nothing more than a guy that can take a walk, move him to the top of the order and let him set-up some guys who are hitting. And while you're complaining about hitting, how about getting Jake Fox a start behind the plate instead of Three-Finger Hill?
You know, I don't think managers are all that important to a team, it starts with the talent, but if there's anything a manager needs to do its to work with the talent he does have and give them the best chance to succeed, not force them into pre-conceived roles that they're not suited for.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.