Cubs Season Well Past the Brink

To say the least, I'm not particularly motivated these days to write about the Cubs. The road trip disaster and the reality of the standings coupled with the anemic offense has pretty much put an end to the season. Never say never and all and Carlos Zambrano will be back this week, but I'm expecting nothing more than the same frustrating Cubs team the rest of the way. At 62-60, I figure 90 wins gets them in the picture and that means a 28-12 run over their last 40 and that still might not be enough for the wild card or the division. So as the season winds down, I'll probably be talking a lot about the new ownership and 2010 and the Chicago Bears. Live with it...

I did go to the game Saturday afternoon...happened to be the AngelFan Wife's birthday as well. I know how to treat the ladies. For her gift, I got her a washing machine...for Christmas I'm thinking a vacuum cleaner or a big screen TV.

Brief description of the day and photos after the jump...

We were the benefactors of 2 amazing seats just 2 rows behind home plate, something I doubt we'll be experiencing ever again. It's the "Dugout Club" at Dodger Stadium and what I'm sure is becoming a trend at most stadiums, it's for the "privileged" crowd or lucky bastards like myself. Just to get to the area is a roped off glass door that leads downstairs, and at every checkpoint I half-expected someone to stop us and let us know we don't belong there. Eventually you make it downstairs, pass by both clubhouses and to get to your seats you have to go through the all-you-can-eat buffet that comes with the tickets. Most people were chowing down before the game, but we headed right out since we had a big breakfast with the wife's family for her birthday. Another usher and yet another moment of expecting to be turned back, but he led us to our seats, a row ahead of CNN anchor Larry King who looks every bit of his age.

I won't bore you with the rest of the details of the game, even sitting that close you don't hear much from the field except the home plate ump between innings interacting with the fans. I'll say the Dodger fans don't like Milton Bradley much either, being warmly greeted with a serenade of "Meltdown" in his first few at-bats. Some photos below for your pleasure....

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Fun at the old ballpark as they say...


I guess the comments and descriptions don't go through on the slideshow. You can go here if you wish..

who sawed off paul sullivan's legs?

Nice pix.

I'm pretty you could put a beat down on Gordon Wittenmeyer(back to the camer)too.

Did you notice anything about certain players or the game in general that you wouldn't have on TV or in the seats for the great unwashed?

not really, Soto has a huge ass...they seemed to be swinging for the fences on Haeger's knuckleball. I was more interested in the food to be honest.

I know, bad Cubs blogger.

"He's not overweight." Hendry the enabler:

Does Soto need to get in better condition to avoid injuries like his oblique strain?

"No, he's naturally a big-boned guy," Hendry said. "I don't think* his weight is any different than last year when he won [N.L.] Rookie of the Year. He came to camp in real good shape, gained a few pounds after the [ World Baseball Classic]. He's never going to be tall and skinny, but he's not overweight."

*Maybe Cubs fans could chip in and buy the Cubs a bathroom scale.

Now that's just wrong.

Dodgers fans jeering at Bradley are the same group of rocket surgeons who drove to Vegas and cheered Manny during his suspension. Do Dodger fans know anything about baseball?

not really

I was there the night Weaver and Arronondo didn't allow a hit but lost. It was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of game. 90 percent of them had absolutely no clue what was going on.

from rotoworld:

Chris Perez has thrown 15 1/3 scoreless frames out of the Indians' bullpen.
It's the longest scoreless streak by a Tribe reliever since Rafael Betancourt tossed 19 straight shutout innings in 2007. Perez has rattled off 19 strikeouts against four walks during the stretch and is doing Cleveland management proud. The 24-year-old was picked up in late June from the Cardinals for third baseman Mark DeRosa, who is batting .237/.313/.443 with his new club.
the stl surge isn't about DeRosa but he sure filled a hole at 3B which is not going to be reflected in any hitting stats. Plus it's one of the larger things on the list of Hendry mistakes that have not only created a void on the team when ARam went down this year but then came around and bit us in the ass by helping our main competitor.

We needed to clear payroll for Aaron Miles

My theory is Geo & Hendry spent the entire offseason hanging out getting high.

Some December night in Geo's smoke-filled apartment, over a bag of Doritos...

Geo: Doooode, Mark Derosa is pretty good.
Hendry: Yeah, man, he's our secret weapon.
Geo: You know what you should do? You should trade him... pffftt!
Hendry: {manical laughing}
Hendry: Okay, okay, okay, okay... where should I trade him? What time is it?
Geo: It's 1:30, man...
Hendry: Ok, ok, ok, I'll call Sharpy in Cleveland.

picks up phone, dials number...
Geo & Hendry giggling while phone rings

Shapiro: Hello? Who is this?
Hendry: Hey Sharpy, it's Jim in Chicago.
Shapiro: Jim Hendry? Everything okay? It's 2:30am.
Hendry: Yeah, man...that's cool. Hey do you want Mark Derosa?

Geo: Ask him if his refrigerator is running!

... the rest is history.


Plus, Derosa still hits right-handed. What a goof!

Clearly, all the left-handedness helped against the Dodgers.

BillyBucks calculator now has the Cubs at 87 wins -- probably not enough.

The have had mediocre defense this year.

BABIP is down but not a lot.

They've hit plenty of home runs.

And of course... They've given up way too many walks.

None of this is too surprising, but it is interesting to see how FEW walks STL has given up. It's clearly the chink in the armor of our pitching staff. Just throw strikes. Unless you are Kevin Gregg, in which case... who knows... try something different.

Also, the Cubs have a lackluster road record.

CHC has a higher BABIP than STL. Nice.

Is UR/G unearned runs? Unearned runs are also a function of pitching. The Cubs are third in the majors in Defensive Efficiency.

Yeah, that's fair. UR is still relevant, imo, but maybe I shouldn't refer to it as "defense".


Wagner blocked deal to RSox, wants to pitch low-leverage to protect his arm for next season. Shouldn't the Mets just let him go then?

Rosenthal with the obvious Cubs are fucked next year because of all those contracts.


I think it might be a good time to revisit our pre-season predictions.

Probably worth a good chuckle at this point.

I predicted a shocking 2nd place finish for the Reds, right behind the Cubs. Whoops.

I'm looking pretty good on Smardijiza's innings, wrong on everything else.

I selected Milton Bradley to hit the most home runs. Think you go ahead and mark me down for a "loss" there.

That picture of Lilly is hot!! Quite the'd look better if he were on a bearskin rug, though.

TLFC porn...


...this is one of the Cubs' best seasons in the last 60 years.

Recent comments

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  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, AJackson, Montero, Castro, Hendricks, Russell

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.

  • I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.

  • One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players. 

  • CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis  at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely. 

  • has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.

  • As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?

  • AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?

  • Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.

  • AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.

  • I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.

    But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.

  • Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.

    Jason deGrom -- oh, my.