Some Good News...

Aramis Ramirez should be able to play Friday and the Pittsburgh Pirates are coming to town...and we're on day 10,256,753(est.) of the last apocalyptic asteroid hitting the Earth.

That's all I got...hey, you get what you pay for here at TCR.

Okay fine, more ranting, raving and rumbling after the jump...

- I guess when the team is playing so bad, it's easy to set your sights elsewhere, but the guy turning himself in who threw the beer at Shane Victorino is "breaking news?"  Really? Sun-Times had not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 articles (cue Feist ) on it last night.

- Justin Berg was perfectly adequate in his 2 inning major league debut last night, throwing 17 strikes on 26 pitches inducing 3 ground-balls outs including a double play with his sinker/change combo.

- The answer to the Cubs second base problem apparently is hoping that Jeff Baker stays hot. Why not?

- Somehow the writer of this "rumor" for Yahoo got "The word is that Cubs executives are not amused." and that "The rumor going around is that the team may be losing patience with Piniella, according to the Chicago Tribune." If you look at the actual Trib article, there's no mention of any Cubs executives and it's just a piece by Paul Sullivan trying to stir the pot that Lou is beginning to receive some heat, but it doesn't specify from whom and most likely he's just trying to compare it how the fans turned on Dusty Baker if you examine the quotes from players. Nothing to see here...move along.

- There was a request to create an open thread and discuss how to fix the team. Here's my take...keep Aramis healthy. The team is 26-17 when he' s played...32-38 without. In somewhat seriosness though, they'll be more time for what the Cubs should do this offseason, but if you're gonna play that game now, just try to keep in the mind the difficulty in trading players and then multiply by 1,000 when you take into account most of these guys contracts. No one is going to touch Alfonso Soriano right now, so if you think the Cubs need to move money, your best trade bets are Derrek Lee and Ted Lilly in the lasy year's of their deal or maybe Kosuke Fukudome if he keeps up the hitting the rest of the year.

- Randy Wells vs. Charlie Morton today, Tom Gorzelanny against his old teammates and Zach Duke on Saturday and Russ Ohlendorf and Rich Harden on Sunday.

Enjoy the weekend....


Good news: our record is still better than the southsiders. If that means anything to you. Me? I just want to stay ahead of the Brewers and asstrolls.

Actually, if the Cubs don't win it I'd love it if the Brewers did. Anybody other than the Cardinals, who I despise at the depth of my soul. And the White Sox, I'm indifferent about. Too many family members who like them.

Anybody but the Cardinals is my only mantra.

I only really completely "hate" the White Sox when they play the Cubs. Otherwise I could give a shit.

I like some of their players, and my nephew has met Gordon Beckham in social situations and said really complimentary things about the young guy.

Living in Kenosha (on the Il/WI border) I don't want the Brewers near the World Series. It'd be more hell than it already is here with the Sox fans popping out of the woodwork as it is.

"There was a request to create an open thread and discuss how to fix the team."

ha ha, thanks, Rob, and my apologies to my fellow sufferers for my cantankerousness. How that word didn't end up getting squiggled is beyond me.

But really, Rob G. started it all with his RIP too early post and I say, no, not too early.

It's going to take all the great minds here to fix this club and if you think the incoming GM is not reading forums, at least to check the pulse of his customers, I say you're nuts.

I make a ton of money working for a company that is in the news a lot and we look at forums all the time.

We think most of the people are cranks but there are a LOT of educated people out there and especially here.

I actually qualify as a crank. Most of you are experts.

I'm sorry but I've been watching baseball too long to think this team has any life in it. Pray I'm wrong but I'm not.

Ram scratched w/flu.

Bradley injured his "hammy" yesterday and also is scratched.

He did it needlessly running through the bullpen and hitting the home plate there after a catch.

He ran like 30-40 yards extra after his nice catch.

I like Sam Fuld. I think he is a positive for this team.
Cheery thoughts, people!

With a different manager he could be another Sammy.

And the extra point is good!!


also...what is the Cubs record when Sam Fuld starts?

The Cubs are 15-12 in games in which he plays. It appears they are 3-4 in the games he starts... but that is not true research, just an educated guess using the Gamelog on ESPN.


Why can't Randy Wells ever get any run support?

Randy Wells want runs, he gotta score them hisself

D-Lee, mailing it in again. Trade him.

Way to use up all of the season's remaining runs in one game against the Pirates.

Oh yeah, it's almost like clockwork that they look so miserable against the Phillies, like making you question why you follow this ridiculous game of baseball and is there a God and will anybody notice when I punt the dog into the hedge and then, then they come out the very next day and just murderlize a team and there are rainbows and chocolate sprinkles raining from the sky and you can read the paper again tomorrow morning thinking, OK, all they have to do is get within 2 of the Cards by mid-September and all bets are off.

Soriano still sucks it though.

Awesome. Post of the month?

"...and will anybody notice when I punt the dog into the hedge..." hahahahaha or jajajaja for Carlos

The Cubs found their missing offense! Color me not too excited lol...lets go Padres!

How many times do we get to play the Bucs in 2009?

This is such Bullshit.

It only proves how overmatched the Cubs are against the better clubs in the NL.

False bravado for the team. Its the same as Montana State Community College playing Texas in College Football.

The Pirates as Rob G states
are a AAA team. BFD!

We were talking in Parachat just as the game ended that the Nats offense has been much better since the Nyjer Morgan trade. I found a link after the game... Washington Post, August 11...

"Pre-Morgan, the Nats were 21st in the majors in runs scored. Since Morgan's arrival, they're third."

Interesting. They have a lot of thunder in that lineup... Dunn, Willingham, Zimmerman...

Well that is nice for them.

On another note, did you discuss how wretched our starting pitching has been since we got two pitchers from the Pirates?

Hahahaa, that Becker is so grumpy. That's why he's so charming, because he's predictably grumpy. lol lol lol

We've been waiting a long time for a Cub to hit for the cycle and one finally did today.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I still think Felix Pie has the ability to be a fine ML centerfielder. He got hurt halfway through 2005, but still put up decent AAA numbers in 06. I think he, like Corey Patterson, was screwed up by "batting coaches" who said "OK, you're a speedy black left-hander, we're not sure you're going to make it as a power hitter, so we want you to start slapping at the ball and be a leadoff hitter." As Bill James showed almost 20 years ago, this almost never works, and Pie is probably finished as a big-league hitter. There were rumors that Pie enjoyed the Chicago nightlife too much; if so, whoever played Billy Martin to his Mickey Mantle should burn in Hell, but it's still his responsibility. My official position on this is that Felix Pie, by now, isn't going to make it, but I for one would be very happy if he made a MLB All-Star team some day.

You think Corey Patterson would have been successful at the major league level if he was told to just keep swinging for the fences?

I was as optimistic as just about anyone when it came to Corey, but I don't think it was just batting coaches who screwed him up. Or are you talking about some batting coaches during his minor league time that attempted to alter his swing in ways I'm not aware of?

"hoever played Billy Martin to his Mickey Mantle should burn in Hell"

I believe I heard it was Soriano.

If I recall correctly, it started with Don Baylor. Baylor fancied himself a batting expert, but it seemed to me his theory was "hey, you look like so-and-so, so that's how you should hit." He thought Corey looked like a speedy leadoff man; I remember him talking about Corey "going to the opposite field." He did the same thing with Julio Zuleta. He was a big guy with a closed stance, looked like he'd get tied up by inside pitches, but was doing all right. Baylor noticed the resemblance to Andres Gallaraga, who opened up his stance with good results, so, in the middle of the season, got Zuleta to open his stance too. You can imagine what this did to his view of the ball, so he started to struggle, which reduced his playing time, which led to the death spiral of Zuleta's career. (Which wasn't much, but he had some potential.)

I don't know whether Patterson would have been successful if he had been left alone at the big-league level. I do think that the only way he could have been successful would have been as a low-OBP, high-strikeout power hitter, which, combined with good defense in center field, would have been enough to make a career. The fact that he didn't really progress as he moved up through the minors is a sign that he might not have made it, but I keep thinking about 2003 before he got hurt.

I heard a great interview with a long-time Cubs scout (Don Something-or-Other)on Nashville radio. He talked about a wide range of topics, but one of the things that he talked about that really stuck with me was what he had to say about the Cubs rushing prospects through the system.

The scout admitted that rushing prospects to the big leagues was a league-wide problem and that the Cubs were no exception. The talk then turned to Corey Patterson and Felix Pie. The scout was very complimentary of Felix Pie and lamented the fact that he had been rushed. He blamed the organization for Pie's lack of success.

But when he talked about Patterson, you could just hear the venom in his voice. Although he was politically correct in what he said, he basically blamed Patterson for his own problems, said that he wouldn't listen to anyone that worked with him, and predicted he would never realize his potential.

I always liked Patterson and wanted him to succeed. I loved the way he looked roaming the outfield and thought he played with a lot of effort.

However, I never got the sense that, even if the organization was trying to make him a slap hitter, he listened much to batting coaches. He did the same thing everyday he played with the Cubs. He had one swing and one swing only. I guess I can't say that he didn't try to adjust, but I didn't see the adjustments when game time came.

I don't recall Pie being rushed.

They almost called him up out of AA in June or July 2005, but he had injured his ankle. Adam Greenberg got that gig instead.

That was the problem with the organization back then. It was either Felix Pie or Adam Greenberg.

By the time Pie got to Chicago, he had done pretty well at every level.

He was never going to hit till he was twenty-six, anyway. Von Joshua used to refer to him as "just a baby." That was last year!

BP's Kevin Goldstein takes notice...

Brett Jackson, OF, Cubs (Low-A Peoria)
Wednesday's stats: 3-for-4, 2 HR (4), 3 R, 4 RBI, BB
The Cubs first-round pick in June, Jackson is a big, toolsy athlete who has a lot of swing-and-miss in him. While he's now hitting .338 across three levels, the power hasn't showed up until recently. After hitting just one home run in his first 116 pro at-bats, he has now slugged four in his last nine games. An outstanding defensive centerfielder who also features plus speed, he has the tools to make a lot of teams look silly for passing on him.

Sooner or later, the Cubs are bound to draft a positional college player with their first pick in the draft that actually develops into a bona fide, regular ML starter. That would go back to Doug Glanville (UPenn) in 1991. Kevin Orie did play in 114 and 112 games in '97 and '98 - don't know how many starts...

Was surprised to see that the Cubs have only drafted two college position players with their 1st pk since 1991: Brooks Kieschnick (1993 - 10th overall pk) and Tyler Colvin (2006 - 13th pk). Including compensatory 1st rd picks, you get Kevin Orie (1993 - 29th pk), Josh Donaldson (2007 - 48th pk), and Ryan Flaherty (2008 - 41st pk). Nice to see Flaherty flashing some power at Peoria the 2nd half of this season.

Last 1st rd college pitcher - regular Cub starter: Mark Prior (2001)
Last 1st rd HS position player - regular Cub starter: K-Pat (1998)
Last 1st rd HS pitcher - regular Cub starter: Kerry Wood (1995); John Garland was selected in 1997

The Cubs have drafted 3 HS position players in the 1st rd since 1998: Montanez, Harvey and Vitters (all high selections)

Cubs have selected 3 HS pitchers in the 1st rd since Wood: Garland, Todd Noel, Mark Pawelek.

Cubs have selected 5 college pitchers in the 1st rd since Prior: Bobby Brownlie, Luke Hagerty, Chadd Blasko, Matt Clanton (all 4 taken in 2002 - not a kind year) and Cashner last year ....

FWIW: last Cub 1st Rd HS position player to play in the All-Star game: Shawon Dunston in 1990. Last Cub 1st Rd college position player to play in the All-Star game: Raffy Palmeiro in 1988.

'Cue Feist' ... Ok.

Vick lovers?

Fuck Vick!

So Cedeno almost throws away a routine groundout by Theriot.

Then he almost nails Bradley on a near-highlight reel play.

Such drama.

Wow. Thanks umps. D Lee leaves the base line to avoid a tag and the ump calls him safe anyways.

that missed call on Lee was awful....he was standing on the infield grass...


Jeff Baker drives in Bradley and D Lee nailed at the plate.

That inning was a big bag of "what the fuck?"

Gorz better stop walking guys or he'll be moved to 8th inning duties in close games.

Hah! the past week baker's added about 100 points to his average.

crappy protection for jake fox, but it's not like soriano is protecting anyone lately...worked out.

no walks from marmol and no homers from gregg.

too bad this is pretty much expect these wins. blowing into LA next week should be fun.

missed the game, btw...

why was gorz removed after 5 and 83 pitches? just cuz? injury? something?

why was gorz removed after 5 and 83 pitches?
Lou on postgame said it was because he had injured his foot in the colorado start and hadn't had the typical amount of prep between starts, so they planned on holding him to a lower pitch count (or something to that effect)


That and he sucks.

Thank you to the baseball gods for sending the Pirates right after getting swept by the Phillies.

It would be great if Gorzo continued to develop as a valuable lefty for our rotation.

"too bad this is pretty much expect these wins. blowing into LA next week should be fun."

LA isn't playing well lately, but the real problem for west coast games is staying up late. If they are losing it's trouble sleeping due to anxiety, if they win it's trouble sleeping due to singing Go Cubs GO. It's all fun.

in Sept. auggie ojeda (ARZ) has his own bobblehead night.

how about that? awesome.

Kuroda nailed by a liner in the head, don't look good....

billy wagner 98 all over again.

Went to a Gary Railcats game tonight and saw Andy Shipman come in the 9th as the closer to nail down a 4-3 win over league-leading Winnipeg Goldeyes, pulling the 'Cats into a tie for first place with the Goldeyes in the Northern League (Independent minor league). If you recall, Andy was with the Cubs system from 2004-06, last pitching with Iowa in 2006 before moving on to the A's in 2007-08 and being released part way through 2008 and landing in the Northern League after that. Looked pretty effective, popping a fastball up to 92 mph and striking out the Goldeye's 3 & 4 hitters to nail down the save.

This is why the players generally hate the media, because if they don't comply with an interview they report stuff by innuendo...

"The longer Zambrano goes without answering any questions, the more it appears he's hiding something."
Paul Sullivan, you're the jerk this time.

it happens too much, and i hate it when the writers team up to call out someone who's not giving them their if it's owed to them or they need shaking down.

years of Z giving them stories and soundbites? whatever...

what you done for me lately? meh.

waaah...we can't get our story. let's lean on the manager to sell him out and make excuses for him. oh, that don't work. let's implicate the cubs training staff (seen this before?) and force hendry out to make a comment.


some people appreciate readers/fans. myself, i could care less about Z's back except when it's ready to get back on the mound.

here's the link to Z finally granting an interview...oddly enough he needs to work on his abs/crunches

I don't have a big belly, you all know I have a flat stomach. A little fat here and there, but I don't have a big belly like [former lefty reliever] Ray King. My problem is I need to do more ab work so my back will feel strong."

I don't know if it will help Z's current predicament, but it seems to be commonly held belief among personal fitness trainers and workout regiments that working your abs will also strengthen your lower back, I'm sure that's where Z is getting this from.

My understanding is that the idea is that strengthening your abs improves posture and creates balanced strength, taking stress off of your back.

We've got to have a personal trainer who reads the blog though...

pretty much as Charlie said...

the abdominal muscles are farther away from the arc of movement of the spine, so if they are stronger can have more leverage to support the spine (Work = Force x Distance), compared to the muscles that run along the spine.

in the old days, a back brace was standard rx for acute symptoms because it reinforces and supports the abdomen as well as the lumbar spine, but the downside is if one doesn't strengthen the abdominals the brace does the work and the abdominals weaken ultimately not helping the situation. So a brace is useful only as a short term solution.
taken from this link below:

The abdominal muscles work with the back muscles to stabilize the spine so that the spine is kept in a neutral position. So, if your abdominal muscles are weak, you may overcompensate with your back muscles when lifting or playing sports, leading to the danger of a back sprain.
typical exercises recommended for low back pain treatment:

I'm pretty sure Pie didn't get rushed...but a full season of playing time and working at the MLB level may have been a nice idea instead of yanking him around AAA - MLB...starting...sitting...etc.

Meh...moving forward...

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  • RIP Arnie. We could use a lot more like you -- a man who succeeded and failed on his own terms, a true original, and, finally, a remarkable example of graciousness towards others.

    billybucks 6 hours 55 min ago view
  • Cubs finish 33 over at home. I was, personally, one game over at 3-2, which was one of my better years in a while.

    I do hope that's the last time we see the Cardinals this year. A lot of power, which is dangerous, particularly in a short series, and they have really shut down KB all year.

    Oh, and Jon Lester? Damn!

    billybucks 7 hours 7 min ago view
  • Yes. Boating accident at 3AM. Very sad, but stupid. Young men do stupid things.

    billybucks 8 hours 3 min ago view
  • lester puts 2 on and is taken out at 96 pitches. oh well.

    edwards in.

    crunch 8 hours 47 min ago view
  • 2 out in the 7th, lester at 84 pitches, ross taken out for the standing O.

    it's possible contreras will catch lester for another inning+.

    crunch 8 hours 54 min ago view
  • What a weird day.  Jose Fernandez and Arnold Palmer, but then Scully and, on a much more modest level, Ross....

    Transmission 9 hours 27 min ago view
  • d.ross gets his 2nd standing O on the night (last home game of the season)...hits HR #10...curtain call. baseball.

    crunch 9 hours 30 min ago view
  • as a fan, he only "owes" us the game on the field and not getting in the way of others on his team being ready to play (imo).

    it's exponentially worse to his family and friends, but this dude most likely had 15+ years of play left and even though he just turned 24 a couple months ago he had already established himself as a top guy in the game.

    crunch 12 hours 52 min ago view
  • Carrie Muskat [email protected]

    Updated #Cubs probs vs Pirates: Mon, Hendricks vs Kuhl; Tue, Lackey vs Vogelsong; Wed, Arrieta vs Taillon; Thu, Zastryzny vs Nova

    crunch 13 hours 14 min ago view
  • I know what you're trying to say, Charlie, that none of us feels what his loved ones must be feeling.

    On the other hand, what makes a death like this tragic is precisely the loss, based on Fernandez's youth and brilliance, to the baseball world.

    So, for example, we can say that Princess Diana's death meant more, in aggregate, to millions of admirers who didn't know her personally than to her loved ones.

    VirginiaPhil 13 hours 15 min ago view
  • boston pitching snags a couple of mlb team records...

    "Over nine innings of play, Boston's staff struck out 11 straight Tampa Bay Rays hitters Sunday, breaking the major-league record for most consecutive strikeouts in a game.

    The previous record was held by former New York Mets right-hander Tom Seaver, who struck out 10 straight hitters in 1970.

    Not only that, but with a strikeout to end the ninth, sending the game into extras, Boston's staff also struck out an MLB-record 21 batters over nine innings."

    crunch 13 hours 39 min ago view
  • What a loss to baseball, which I'm sure pales in comparison to the personal loss to his loved ones.

    Charlie 15 hours 24 min ago view
  • Somehow I am sensing alcohol was involved. The highest number of boating accidents by a wide margin...

    The E-Man 16 hours 7 min ago view
  • crunch 17 hours 49 min ago view
  • Reports this morning that Marlins' pitching ace Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident - just horrible news.

    Eric S 21 hours 42 min ago view
  • Check out John Arguello at Cubs Den for great analysis & photos from Cubs AZ Instructs


    Arizona Phil 1 day 9 hours ago view