Lou Names 2010 Closer

According to Lou Piniella's comments before the game, Carlos Marmol will be the closer in 2010.

"I see that, yes," Piniella said Monday. "I really do. I think he's
done enough and shown enough. We have confidence in him enough going
into spring training next year. It's his job. We'll leave it just at
that."

Short-term memory loss is becoming a problem for our manager, who just on Saturday had this to say about his future 2010 closer.

"You know, you just can't keep walking people like that
late in the game," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella, whose team fell to
72-68 as its four-game winning streak ended. "It catches up to you. And
it did today.

"With Marmol, it's the walks. This young man wants to
be a closer. And that's OK. But you've got to have command. If you
don't have command, you can't close."

Ah Lou, your slow descent into whatever PC term I should use for you forgetting things is either going to be highly entertaining or very, very sad.

Considering the Cubs abundance of problems and likely rigid budget constraints, it's probably best they stay away from the free agent closing market that includes Mike Gonzalez, Billy Wagner, Trevor Hoffman, Jose Valverde and Fernando Rodney.

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Comments

Sullivan opines in the Trib that according to the always-elusive "sources," the Cubs will shop Zambrano this offseason. I'd support that. Cubs could use the salary relief, they'd be dealing from strength (starting pitching depth) and big-market teams are always looking for another arm.

To the Dodgers for Matt Kemp and a nice prospect?

As for the 2010 bullpen, here is a floater: Bradley to the Indians in exchange for the prodigal Cub, Kerry Wood? Contracts would be a wash, Bradley began as an Indian and clearly has more value to an American league team. Wood has not been good, but he's been healthy for another year and is no longer young, so the "protect his career" argument no longer has meaning. So....trade Z, get rid of Bradley, and make Wood a starter once more? Why not?

My other brain fart is to offer Fukudome to Seattle for the oft-injured Erik Bedard. I'd have to believe Dome would love the chance to play with Ichiro and Johjima and would waive his NTC. Bedard is a disappointment, but he sure has talent.

And no more Cubs with the first name "Aaron" in 2010, please.

lol... good luck with Matt Kemp for Zambrano. If I'm LA that offer is nothing short of laughable.

Sullivan's 'source' was likely Rosenthal's idle speculation the other day. I think it would be a good idea to very quietly gauge interest in Zambrano. My suspicion is that it will be minimal. He's got a NTC so he's not going to the American league. The Dodgers could probably afford him, what do you think about Juan Pierre in return?

Not sure I get the "Bradley clearly has more value to an American league team' bit, because he's a pretty good outfielder. The reason the Indian's traded Bradley is they didn't like his attitude. The Giants would seem like a better fit. Then we would have the wonderful defense of Hoffpauir/Fox in right field, which would make you pine for Bradley's return.

I wish there were another way to deal with Zambrano. What happens when he's traded and the team that acquires him actually gets him focused on pitching and doing his job? He has a ton of talent; Maybe he just needs a manager who will kick him in the nuts and tell him to shut up. Somehow Zambrano needs to get the message that it's not about him.

Same for Bradley.

I always looked back at Lou's incident with... was it Rob Dibble or something? and thought it was really unprofessional, but maybe some of these guys need a hard ass once in a while. Of course at this stage in his life I would advise Lou against getting into a fist fight with Carlos Zambrano. That's a fight he's likely to lose.

"What happens when he's traded and the team that acquires him actually gets him focused on pitching and doing his job?"

They'll have a player earning his salary. Ideally we would get an under performing asset back and get him to earn his salary, and also have a little money to spend elsewhere.

unless the Cubs take on another contract or offer major salary relief, the only possible stops for Z are:

both LA's, NY Mets (don't think Yanks need another high salary pitcher, but you never know), Red Sox,  and never count out the White Sox to try and make a splash.  I don't know how Ozzie and Z get along, but they have the Venezuela connection. Peavy for Z?

I guess I could see Philly or Houston being on the outskirts of a deal, but I don't see much else out there. And chances are, Z will only approve a deal to the NL of course.

there's no way in hell Bradley is going back to Cleveland unless there's a regime change...

And I guess we could trade Fukudome to Bedard, but that would seem like bad business since Bedard is a FA coming off surgery this offseason.

I'm all for trading Z for something of value, problem is once you commit $16M+ a year to any deal, you're probably going to have to cough some salary relief or take on another bad contract. I'd probably try Lilly and/or Dempster first.

Tommy Aaron as 2010 to replace Miles and Paul Reuschel to replace Heilman?

Derrek Lee forgot how many outs there were in the top of the 7th last night. I am eagerly looking forward to the boo birds down the first base line with their 'Outs in the inning' sign for him.

Derrek Lee has been here 6 seasons, is generally considered a good guy in the clubhouse and on the field, and is having a very good season at the plate.

Sure...just like Milton "The Real Neal's Savior" Bradley.

Minus the tenure, reputation, or stats...except for OBP of course.

Here's a surprise. You missed the point.

I'm sorry...you had a point??

Hmm..that's new.

Yeah that was stupid of me. You missed the sarcasm of the first post, so not sure what made me think you'd be able to catch it on a reply.

Sorry...it's just hard to tell when you are sarcastic this season.

I'll turn my sarcasm meter up to "incomprehensible"

Sorry to butt into the argument, I'll let you finish, but I just wanted to say Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time...

of ALL TIME...

Ryno... BWAAHAAAAAA-HAAAA!!!

Theoretically the team can get better through trades, Rule 5 and its own system, and the Cubs will probably need all of those plus a free agent signing to get the bullpen fixed.

No amount of money will fix our offense; either the guys we have are improved or we're sunk.

At least the Cubs in theory have some tradeable pieces, most notably Jake Fox since he seems to have no future (not to mention present) here. Soto's another possibility if the Cubs are as high on Castillo as some other people seem to be.

This team is already married to a lot of overpriced if useful guys for 2010, but I think there's enough wiggle room for a smart and creative organization to be highly competitive. I wonder how the Cubs will handle that.

http://espn.go.com/chicago/columns/blog?post=44738...

2 yr deal in the works for Grabow...

A. How much is Grabow worth to you?

B. How much do you think Hendry will give him?

A. $3.5 mil/2 years + performance bonuses.

B. $5.5 mil/2 years + no trade

grabow is probably worth $2.5 to $3m in the free market...

$3 million one year
$4.2 million three years.

Hendry should just offer him arbitration and be happy to get him for a year or get draft picks - one of these years hopefully Hendry will figure this whole 'arbitration' thing out. Right now it obviously just confuses him.

How about that Sam Fuld, huh? He's exhibit A why you don't need to spend money for guys like Freel and Gaithright.

Is he still sitting at 0 RBI's? He's totally useless.

I was watching the game at the bar and couldn't get a really clear picture - was that a trap, or did the ball bounce off the bottom of the glove?

he made the catch...it was quite awesome.

The Real Neal:
Is he still sitting at 0 RBI's? He's totally useless.

Dude.

"Maybe if I go to a different city next year," he said Monday, "if I get traded, I can do what I want."

sounds like Z doesn't want to leave. heh...

there's a lot more to Z in that clubhouse than we're being told...and a lot more to bradley and Z...

if you follow the Rotoworld link to the Trib article, that quote was in reference to him being criticized for playing softball and then in typical Z fashion, he recanted saying he was kidding.

ah...taken in by another rotoworld partial quote...thnx.

a little Ryan Dempster love-fest

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/dempster-...

considering the personal problems he had to start the year, a pretty solid season.

But I would definitely look to move him if possible...

That's more of Real Neal's clever sarcasm aimed at the Bradley-doesn't-drive-in-runs haters, I'm guessing.

Right now I'm wondering what the "Bradley is a great outfielder" crowd is basing their opinion on. By all measures I can find he's mediocre and a net minus.

not sure if anyone called him a great outfielder, but BP has him at 6 runs above average in RF this year and 17 above replacement. UZR has him slightly below average. Don't have access to Fielding Bible in-season numbers...

Personally, I think he's perfectly average out there.

How about "pretty damn good" right fielder?

It's comments like that read here within these illustrious pages that I'm referring to.

He just seems to be incredibly average to me as well. But if anyone here still thinks he's a big plus in our outfield I'd like to know what brought them to that conclusion.

http://muskat.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/09/915_loo...

Cubs trying to make HoHoKam still work, asking for improvements.

I recommend a huge Jumbotron.

Do you really want to give up on Z at age 28? I personally think it would be a historically dumb move if they did.

You are not going to get any decent talent back from him because of his contract and all you do is weaken the team next year.

You want a major league ready talent for Zambrano? I hear Magglio Ordonez is going to hit his bench marks and get his 18 million next year. The Tigers would gladly swap out their 40 RBI OFer for Zambrano.

Together we can spend over 28 million to get 80 RBI from RF. I say go for it.

Maybe we can swap 40 RBI OFers?

Zambrano, Bradley for Maggs & Granderson

Then bring back Pie so Granderson can teach him how to fix a long swing.

2010 Schedule Released.

Some highlights:
Season Opener at Atlanta on 4/5
Home Opener vs. Brewers 4/12

Interleague: at Texas and Seattle, Home vs Angels and As.

Both White Sox Series are on weekends again.

6 September games against St. Louis, 3 against Milwaukee.

Season ends with a 7 game roadtrip to San Diego and Houston.

So Dempster hit Braun when he came in to pinch-hit?

Fantastic.

Cubs trying to make HoHoKam still work, asking for improvements.
http://muskat.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/09/915_loo...
---
I think CM has jumble-troned the story. She might have provided a link to my article and called it a day.

Paragraph Construction Police -- She should have put this sentence in a separate paragraph instead of the middle of the paragraph between two Arizona related sentences:

Ricketts, the Cubs' incoming owner, also has reportedly toured Fenway Park to see how the ballpark handles a video scoreboard.

---
Clearly Ricketts/Kenney are making the grand tour. Can we expect a Dominican, Venezuelan, Australia or Far East visit next?

the only news in that Muskat link was that they actually met with "officials" on Monday...

from Aaron Gleeman which I have to agree with...

Plus, he's simply no longer a No. 1 starter. During his first four full seasons in the Cubs' rotation Zambrano went 59-32 with a 3.14 ERA, but over the past three seasons he has ERAs of 3.95, 3.91, and 3.77. His strikeout rate has declined, his walk rate hasn't improved, and he's no longer an extreme ground-ball pitcher. He's just not an $18 million pitcher at this point, let alone an $18 million pitcher worth giving up legitimate prospects to acquire.

http://bases.nbcsports.com/2009/09/report-cubs-pla...

Zambrano's first year with the Cubs was the same as Larry Rothschild's, 2002.

So how are the other young pitchers doing? Where's Hill, Ohman, Wuertz? Is Marmol still lights-out?

so for 4-5 years with Rothschild, Z was great, but then suddenly his instruction ruined him? This is your theory?

Besides Wuertz for an incomplete season, is anyone doing noticebaly better w/o Rothschild?  Hasn't the story with Marmol this season been that he hasn't listened to coaching, refusing to alter his arm angle?

Lilly, Dempster, M. Clement, Guzman, Wells?

I'd take Dave Duncan over him, but otherwise it's probably just shuffling deck chairs with anyone else.

Jason Marquis's stats will make you cry. I was as much a fan of getting rid of him as anyone, but he has taken the ball every time out and had a really good year for Colorado (15-11, 3.78 ERA, 29 starts). His 195 IP dwarfs anything a Cub pitcher has done.

Wuertz's WHIP over 70 IP is 1.014. He's 6-1 with a 2.96 ERA.

Those two and DeRosa would have really made a difference. I am of the official view that every move made by Hendry since about June of last year has been a disaster, with the possible exception of signing Jeff Baker off the scrap heap is desperation. Bradley (OPS+ of 102) has been awful; Gregg, Heilman, Miles and Gathright have been worse.

Marquis hasn't done anything different other than walk one less batter per nine innings. And have a much better defense behind him. I'm sure there's some defensive stat that says otherwise, but when you have Tulo and Barmes mostly playing SS/2b behind him compared to Theriot and DeRosa/Fontentot, I think that can be a huge difference for a sinkerballer (Helton's no slouch either).  Stewart/Atkins versus Ramirez is probably a wash...

Anyway, he's having a nice year, he had one in 2004 too, better to be lucky than good. Guys with 4.5 K/9 rates just don't sustain it.

Wuertz has been fantastic, but I thought he was pretty good as a Cub besides some bouts with inconsistency. If anything, the A's put more trust into him than the Cubs ever did.

Marquis's first year someplace is always his best. Look it up. It's downhill after that. I don't know why it is, but that trend won't change in Colorado. Next year, Marquis will be very skunky as a Rockie. You can put that in your diary.

Isn't Marquis a free agent next year?

He is, but both parties have mutual interest. You can look it up.

Can I look it up in my diary? :)

You probably can. If you bookmarked it, then you could look it up even EASIER!

What does Lilly have to do with Rothschild? He was 31 when he came to the Cubs. I'm talking about young pitchers. Dempster was 27 and had pitched for three teams, i.e., three ML pitching coaches. Clement was 27, had pitched for two teams, and had a losing record (35-36) with the Cubs. Guzman and Wells are just up from the minors this year.

Simple question: do Marmol and Zambrano look like they've been around a competent pitching coach recently?

Even if I'm wrong, there's a big risk in trading Zambrano, and not much risk at all in changing coaches. Will Lilly start having problems when LR is gone?

Clement was 27, had pitched for two teams, and had a losing record (35-36) with the Cubs

alright, I mean, okay, um....well that's some neat analysis

but if I coul try and zero your target here, the only way Rothschild could be considered a good pitching coach is if a player came up from the Cubs minors, untouched by the claw of any other major league pitching coach and said player improved steadily year in and year out w/o ever taking a step back? your right, I'm not sure I could hit that one...think I'd have better luck hitting a 2M gap on a trench of the Death Star with my X-wing fighter.

do Marmol and Zambrano look like they've been around a competent pitching coach recently?

Z looks like stubborn mule that doesn't listen to anyone these days, the part where I said Marmol has been asked to work on his arm angle by Larry was not made up. I belive I heard it at least 3-4 times on a broadcast and maybe once in a Muskat column. I know our resident pitching guru Wes has heard and made the same observation.

 

Zambrano has had arm-angle problems for eight years. They never go away. I guess you could say that Zambrano and Marmol have chronic problems with their arm angle.

If you had a plumber who couldn't fix a leak in eight years, would you try a different one?

Do you ever believe that players actually have any responsibility for their bad performances?

You seem to praise players are who are good, and bash coaches when the players struggle. You never question whether or not the player refuses to make changes. And you never consider that a good player may have been helped by a coach.

As for Z and Marmol... both are notorious for being stubborn asses who often choose to not listen to the coaching staff.

My problem with Rothschild is that younger pitchers do listen to him.

Someone who coaches eight years should have one success story, don't you think? Nothing fancy, just a promising young pitcher who who fulfills that promise, whether great or not-so-great.

Wuertz studied under Rothschild for five years and never attained the role of setup man, which he was certainly expected to do. Marmol has made it to closer now, but he issues a walk per inning and has hit 12 batters in 68.2 innings. Last year he walked a hitter every other inning. Is he getting better or worse?

Anybody else, or are they all bad apples?

You're not going to have much of a team to field if you want to chuck out all the self-absorbed a-holes. Keep Z. Get either Dave Duncan or Orel Herscheiser here to straigten his ass out. This is where Henry Blanco's absence is most apparent.

I could see Zambrano playing for Milwaukee where he can run amok, enjoying his pitcher's mound and clubhouse he likes so much.
Chicago-based teams are so easily sidetracked by the bullshit, TMZ-style of reporting that passes for sports coverage here. We need to get rid of these gossipy nellies that plague our sports/celebrity media. And for out teams to rise above the nonsense.

pretty sure they already said any electronic scoreboard wouldn't replace the traditional one anyway...

Scoreboard, front marquee and ivy walls have landmark status so the scoreboard is not going anywhere.

However.. I'm sure they could put something along side of it which would suck for some rooftop guys but hey who cares?

personally I vote for the center field batter's eye and they only turn it on when the visiting team is up.

I'm sure a few of those rooftop owners would gladly sell their rooftop business for the steady income of a jumbotron. I would assume there would be a rather epic Daley/neighborbood battle though to do that.

Could they mount something on the roof of the grandstands that would work?

I've said on here before, they should put a video screen on both roofs down by the foul pole corners.

Not sure if Cubs would do this because I'm willing to bet there will be a row of skyboxes on the roof sooner then later.

http://muskat.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/09/915_sur...

Wrigley and Fenway among 5 worst places to play according to players...last month they were the top 2.

Team PR Rep: "Hey guys, SI wants us to fill out these surveys."
(Player to clubhouse attendant or his kid) "I'll give you $20 to fill in mine"

wrigley's clubhouses...esp. visitor's are pure 100% ass.

even the home clubhouses are pretty awful to the point where almost every team has a better visitor's clubhouse.

for all the gee-shucks-golly over wrigley it's a modern shithole.

I work in a leaky basement (and am compensated with no health benefits and yearly pay well below the national median), but it doesn't keep me from doing my job. TCR and my incompetence do that.

Seriously, though, how shitty is the home clubhouse? Shitty as in not quite 5 stars like every other, or shitty as in I hope our insurance covers hepatitis and jungle rot? Because I for one could care less unless a fairly concrete argument can be made regarding significant effect of conditions on player performance. They are handsomely compensated for playing baseball, so I don't care much whether they think the clubhouse is a good hangout or not.

i've never been in it, but ive been told by former players that the AAA/AA clubhouses they're in have more room and in some cases are easily nicer.

room is at a premium there and they go on the road seeing the perks of new buildings...that's one of the main issues. they go on the road and see fancy digs in visitor's clubhouses better than their own...i can't even imagine what someone coming from COL or SD thinks of the CHC visitor's clubhouse.

the visitor's clubhouse i've heard described as a highschool lockerroom.

-edit-

and here's a picture of it... (visitor's clubhouse)

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1059/860807272_ac19...

that's smaller than i imagined, really...damn.

I took a Wrigley tour last month and the home clubhouse is very nice. I think it's more of a case of the newer parks have absolutely gigantic clubhouses with more lavish shit in them than Wrigley. I will admit the visitors clubhouse at Wrigley is the size of a glove box, and the tour spokesperson said it was the original clubhouse from when the park was built, never expanded. More realistically the visitors clubhouse looked about the size of a school bus. Then put 25 players and 5-6 coaches in there to dress and wait out rain delays and you can see why they get so cranky.

The home clubhouse is "nicer" than the visitors' (which is small and a shithold), but it looks a lot better when no one's in it. When the team is in there with clubhouse staff and media, no one's going to confuse it with a top-notch one. There are a couple of closed-off areas I've never seen, but I can't imagine they're particularly nice. If a player in inclined to not enjoy being on a team because of the clubhouse, Wrigley won't change his mind.

The media room is a shithole located in a hallway next to grounds crew equipment. Would be interesting to see what, if anything, they could do with these areas if it was feasible. Not sure if it is given the way things are constructed.

clearly the humor of being voted top 2 and then bottom 5 by the same group was lost on you...

when it comes to why people hate playing wrigley...it dont have jack to do with the city, the people, the fans, the food...it's getting to and from the park, day games, and the clubhouse.

i'm sure some may hate the ivy and i know at least 1 pitcher who hated having to sit on the field's "bullpen".

there's a lot going for it and a lot going against it...probably depends on the exact question asked or if it was one of those "like, strongly like, dislike, strongly..." etc etc

I DON'T KNOW WHAT WE'RE YELLING ABOUT.

*INSERT KANYE WEST JOKE*

Seriously, though, Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.

No no seriously, I would be okay with a complete overhaul. They can rebuild around the field (which is nearly new), bricks and scoreboard. The vintage concourse is nice, but if they renovate it I wouldn't be too heartbroken.

You lie!

Me and my millionaire buddies had a vote and decided you're a jerk.

=D

It has been a good week for jackassery, hasn't it? While, out of respect for the decorum of this board, I will not take a stance on Sen. Wilson, the resolution passed today, or Mr. West, I do enjoy the uncivil/absurd rhetoric of it all.

One of the things I like about this place is no politics. But as a dude who voted for Gerald Ford for some reason, what the fuck is it with this current crop of Republicans and their boorish behavior? They make the beer spiller seem like a civilized dude.

I guess you missed the last 8 years of the Democrats and their wondeful behavior.

you shouldn't defend your point by bringing up anything that's happened over the last 8 years, fwiw.

I thought you meant "worst 2" and "worst 5," so it looked like it was just different variations of bad.

Looking at crunch's pic, though, I think I'm going to have to break out my tiny violin.

I'm pretty excited about tonight's game. Brewers vs. Cubs. Late in the season. Wow.

Will Jake Fox get a shot to play somewhere? Will the Brewers do the bowling pin thing if Prince Fielder hits a home run? So much to look forward to.

On second thought, there must be some nice show on WB to watch tonight.

fox sits, scales in LF. fontenot 2nd...rest is usual suspects.

Okay, thanks crunch. Now, I know you guys have probably discussed this Lou fascination with Scales in left to death. What was the conclusion on theories?

There has to be some rational explanation out here. I'm not a Scales hater by any means, but, he's an infielder for God's sake. And he doesn't have enough power to fool other GMs into thinking he's another DeRosa.

Please help.

some think he's being given his handshake in the majors...i dunno if the "nude pictures of lou" theory has come up yet...

to me it looks like he's lou's new toy and working an audition for the 25th man next year being OF/IF player.

dunno...

I want a full reboot next year anyway. They (Lou and Hendry) can fantasize all they want about the 25th man but I hope it's all a waste of their time.

We need a first man at second and short, anyway, instead of utility guys.

For all you Joe Morgan fans out there:
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/joe-morga...

sam fuld's unibrow reporting from the game with a hand cast on...might be a while, if at all this season, until we see him again.

thank god for bobby scales.

Sam is in the wrong business. He needs to try football.

speaking of scales, he's a terrible baserunner...

doubled to RF to set up 2nd/3rd, Z hits one to slightly right center for sac fly, but you can see Cameron had to catch it with his back to third and he didn't tag. Fontenot still scored but he should be at 3b.

He screwed up a contact play last week as well where he didn't run to third with the infield in and you know the runner was going home. Grounder to short, runner takes off for home, but he didn't take off for third...

and Z was doing so well...

4-3 cubs in the 5th...

hide the gatorade machine...

5 runs after 2 outs...

Classic Z:

2 outs, nobody on, pitcher up.

Pitcher gets a hit, then the fun begins, and stops 5 runs later.

To call him a mental midget would be to overestimate his height.

Another breathtaking story to follow the next few weeks -- will Bradley wind up below the Mendoza line with RISP? If he does, it sure as hell won't be his fault.

Hey, Aaron Heilman's in the game!

Haw -- made you look!

Wait...what?

http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/2597

Miles calls Z a knucklehead, then says how about some consistency in our criticism...

anyway, a fair take on the situation...

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stat...

Tennessee drops game 1 in Cub fashion...

tie the game at 4 in top of the 9th, take the lead in top of the 10th at 5-4, Schlitter strikes out the first 2, then give up a HR and three singles to lose it 6-5.

Boy do I hope that Schlitter makes it to the big leagues. Then we can look forward to post titles after blown save opportunities like, "Schlitter Schlits the Bed," "Schlitter Schlat Himself," and "After Devastating Loss, Schlitter Considers Schlitting Wrists." Does anybody know much about his repertoire? I for one hope that Schlitter Schlings Schliders.

http://www.thecubreporter.com/2008/08/07/eyre-trad...

Fastball and slider, your dream come true

Schlitter had 6 blown saves (to go with 22 saves) during the season, including a big one on August 20th--he was handed a 4-run lead--that halted a winning streak and sent the team into a brief tailspin in the middle of a playoff chase.

The next day, August 21st, they called up David Cales, who had 14 saves and lights-out numbers at Daytona. Cales is two years younger and a better prospect.

At that point, though, Schlitter started a scoreless streak that lasted through seven league games and three playoff games, and ended last night.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs...

Cubs deny reports on Grabow extension, although Grabow says he just wants some job security. In that case I suggest 5/$5M offer...

Reed wants back as well for next year, and thinks he could be ready by the final week of the season.

Fuld d2d with bone bruise, Adduci or Colvin could get called up after Double A finals if it lingers.

assuming Giants hold on...

Cubs move to 5.5 in WC, still in 5th place though as everyone but Rox win. 8.5 behind Cardinals. I believe if everything goes against Cubs rest of the way, the Cards can only clinch tie this weekend. In fairytale land, if everything goes for the Cubs through the weekend, they could move within 4 behind Cardinals.

Miles calls Z a knucklehead
---
As a variation on the intentional walk, when Aaron Miles pinch hits in the 6th can't we just go ahead and make it an intentional GO 4-3 and skip the charade of pitching to him.

Does Lou always have to use Miles as his first pinch hitter? Miles looks worn out, maybe he should be rested a few games.

Soriano per Tribune/Sullivan:

The Cubs said there was acute inflammation and cartilage degeneration, which was expected from the MRI reading.
===

Sounds like chondromalacia, which is an early form of arthritis, probably localized articular cartilage wear but it would be nice to get more detail as to where and how much was involved, which I doubt we'll get.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs...

Muskat was at the same press conference, her addition was that the doc did a debridement

anyone listen to the postgame interview with Zambrano?

Paul Sullivan started pressing Z if he would waive his no trade clause, asking him if he had heard the rumors that the Cubs would trade him in the offseason. He asked about waiving the NT repeatedly when Z wasn't answering directly.

Z said something to the effect, are you the GM? Then he said if the Cubs want to trade me it's because they don't want me. As Sullivan got peskier about this Z just ended the postgame stuff saying, "Enough"

Sometimes I think the reporters do this shit just to see how far they can push people. I hate them when they play that game.

On the other hand, I would love to see Z ask Sullivan, "Have you ever heard the song, Short People Got No Reason to Live"? C'mon, sing after me...

Either that or a cage death match between Sullivan and Fontenot

speaking of Sullivan...

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

Q. I was at Wrigley with my daughter for second and third
games of the Nats series. So I got to see Bradley engage in what Lou
Piniella calls "Muppet talk" after his big homer. Then the next day
before the game I caught you on the field and asked you about the
meaning of "Muppet talk." You told me, “Hey, I don’t interpret it. I
just report it.” Come on, Paul. You are there every day for free. I can
only afford the $500 once a year. Plus, you are smarter than your faux
humility suggests. I, and all the other fans who can’t get out to the
unfriendly confines, want to know. How should we understand “Muppet
talk”? Bob Sigler, Omaha

Answer:  Sorry, but I generally don’t do a live version of “Ask
Paul” at Wrigley, which is why I probably blew you off. Now that you’ve
asked in the proper venue, I can tell you it all depends on which
Muppet Milton is impersonating. If it’s Oscar the Grouch, it can mean
one thing. If it’s Kermit, it can be something completely different.
Remember that Lou Piniella was the one who christened it Muppet talk,
not Milton. I prefer to think of it as his Garfield Goose impression,
but that may be dating me.

Paul's too good to answer your in-person questions, please only engage him in the "proper venue". That's some douchebaggery.

hat tip to WV23 for the find...

 

the doc did a debridement
---
basically that means Dr. Gryzlo shaved some of the shaggy/frayed/worn articular cartilage, we just don't know how extensive it was (in size/depth/location)

here's a couple of arthroscopic pics of chondromalacia on the medial femoral condyle:

mild --
http://www.tardis.ed.ac.uk/~ajcd/images/slap-chond...

severe -- (probably after shaving some worn tissue away)
http://biomed.brown.edu/Courses/BI108/2006-108webs...

at least we haven't heard that he had microfracture surgery (which is what Carlos Beltran had) or an OATS procedure, where they take cartilage graft to fill a damaged area...that would mean he had a more severely worn area.

OATS procedure drawing (osteochondral autograft transfer system):
http://www.kneejointsurgery.com/pics/oats.gif

Now my knee hurts...

actually it doesn't look like Carlos Beltran had the microfracture surgery on his knee...they were sending him for multiple opinions including a Dr Stedman in Colorado who is supposedly the microfracture guru but I can't find any article saying he had any knee surgery this year.

http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=2...

and this from the mets mlb site:

Beltran, on the disabled list since June 22 with a bone bruise below his right knee, is still a few weeks from returning. Beltran has been resting these past two weeks, riding a bike and jogging in the pool for exercise.

At least they didn't keep trotting Beltran out there all season with a gimpy knee.

here's Sullivan's take on the postgame session with Z:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs...

Afterward, Zambrano was in no mood to discuss a Tribune report that the Cubs plan to ask him to waive his no-trade clause and shop him this off-season. After initially contacting the Tribune about the report, Zambrano's agent, Barry Praver, declined to comment, as did the Cubs.

"Why, are you guys our general manager now?" he said. "I don't care. If the Cubs want to trade me, it's because they don't like me anymore. I have to move on. What else can I do? I just move on."

Zambrano added he doesn't want to waive his no-trade rights, then left, saying: "That's enough."

and earlier in the article he said Z threw Bobby Scales under the bus...

But Zambrano's histrionics overshadowed everything. During the five-run fifth, he showed up outfielder Bobby Scales by making faces and waving his hands when Scales didn't throw home on Ryan Braun's run-scoring single. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild came out to calm down Zambrano, but the pitcher made no eye contact during the visit.

well Scales deserved some showing up on that, I watched that play and had no idea wtf Scales was doing there...

he got to the ball just as Hart (I think it was Hart) was rounding to third and it was hardly deep in LF. Now he probably doesn't have the arm to get him, but he sort of faked a throw and then went to second base. It didn't look like he juggled the ball or anything, just decided he wasn't going to risk the throw for whatever dumb reason.

all I can say is that it was pretty obvious that...

after Z had a melt down inning, blew a 4 run lead, didn't get a decision and threw 39 pitches in the 5th to run his pitch count over 100...

you would understand that asking him about some moronic rumor without a real source, started probably by some reporter just because it's a boring job and they need to fill up their sunday article with any shit they can concoct (wrongway phil rogers?), so why not conjure up something about Z being traded in the offseason and since he has a NTC to get traded would he drop his no trade clause...

then ask the question as if it were from an important/definitive source (ala Hendry/Piniella)

at exactly that ugly performance moment post-game...

Sullivan would be risking getting the Michael Barrett right in the grille treatment from Z.

I honestly think Z did a remarkable job of showing restraint.

Agreed.

I wish there were some Marxist theory predicting the overthrow of asinine, bourgeois sports writers by real sports fans. Maybe I will go write one.

Screw Zambrano, I'm really tired of his act. He might be no more than the 3rd best starter on this team, who needs his shit?

On a more positive note, the Cubs are a totally different team when the 2008-version of Geo Soto shows up to play. This kid makes all the difference for the Cubs offense, they desperately need that 3rd run-producing bat, and when Soto brings it, they score runs. Me like.

So the question is....does Soto need his security blanket (Blanco) back in the dugout next year? Henry's playing days are nearing an end, but I could swear I remember reading that he wants to coach once he retires. Surely the Cubs could spare a spot on the bench for him, or make him the bullpen coach or something, if that's what it takes to bring out the best in Soto.

Maybe 3/44, but the Cubs maybe want to bring back Grabow and Johnson, but maybe not so much Harden and Gregg.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/17733...

Cubs' playoff probability is at 2.8% this morning. At this point, although in the category of a forlorn hope, I think we want the Cardinals to win against the other wild card teams (which of course they did not do last night), rather than lose and possibly come back to the Cubs in the division race.

Don't abandon all hope yet, the 75-68 Cubs are only 4 games back in the all-important-loss-column. The plan: Just stop losing.

LOSSES

1.Colorado 64
2.San Francisco 66
3.Florida 68
4.Atlanta 68
5.Chicago 68

After the Marlins lose to the Cardinals and Colorado loses to the Giants tonite, the standings will look like this

1.Colorado 65
2.San Francisco 66
3.Atlanta 68
4.Chicago 68
5.Florida 69

Note to Cubs: avoid losing.

Colorado has one game left against the Giants. They also play St Louis 3 times at home and the Dodgers 4 times on the road.

The Cubs get a shot at the Giants (4 games) at the end of the upcoming 10 game road trip. The Giants also play the Dodgers 6 times (3 home, 3 away). The other two series on the 10 game trip are 3 game sets against the Cardinals and Brewers.

The Marlins have one more against the Cardinals, and 6 against the Phillies (3 home, 3 away) and 3 at Atlanta.

The Braves play the Cardinals 3 times on the road, the Phillies 3 times at home and the Marlins 3 times at home.

We root for the Dodgers, Phillies and Cardinals to win against the other wild card teams. After the Giants beat the Rockies tonight, we hope they lose.

It still seems like a ridiculous long shot, but admittedly things do look a lot better than they did going into Sunday.

Basically the Cubs still have to go 13-5 minimum the rest of the way and get a lot of help. With the Cardinals and Giants still in the way that sounds borderline impossible. The obvious part is that we have to get fat on the Brewers, DBags and Pirates.

Cubs have 19 games left, not 18. It would definitely be akin to drawing an inside straight. For the few positive options to work out, things would have to break just right.

oops

the Cards do play the Rockies in Colorado next week...gotta figure we're rooting for an avalanche destroying both clubs...then we just have to beat the Giants in SF (I'm banking on earthquake, just before the Cubs flight leaves from Stl)

...then we're going fishing and scalping

from that sun-times link above...

Rookie outfielder Sam Fuld got good news Tuesday when an MRI exam revealed no ligament damage or break in the thumb he jammed on his highlight-reel, diving catch Monday night.

The Cubs are calling it a strained thumb, which is expected to sideline Fuld for about a week.
---
In the postgame the reporters asked Lou about Fuld and Lou couldn't remember the medical term for his thumb injury so they all laughed when Sullivan suggested the term was "a puffy thumb"

I think the term the medical staff used was a "gamekeeper's thumb" which is an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb MCP (metacarpal-phalangeal joint).

It gets it's name from gamekeepers who had to break the necks of fowl that hunters had shot but not quite killed. The repetitive pinch force would injure that specific ligament. It's a common injury from ski pole accidents too. When the ligament is completely torn it can tuck under the extensor tendon sheath blocking it from healing properly to the other side of the joint (so when that happens it needs surgery to repair it). If not treated it leads to an unstable and chronically painful joint when using the thumb for side pinch against the index finger.

Fortunately the MRI seems to indicate that's not what happened to Sam Fuld's thumb or at least it's a minimal sprain of that ligament. As long as it's sore it might make it tough to grip a bat effectively...hence expecting him to be out at least a week seems reasonable. It's a pretty easy area to reinforce/protect with taping techniques.

anatomy drawings of Gamekeeper's Thumb injury:

http://www.eorthopod.com/images/ContentImages/hand...

http://www.eorthopod.com/images/ContentImages/hand...

Question: How many times did Drew Barrymore blurt out, "I LOVE CHICAGO" during her stint with BB and Len? Get the answer correct, and you get a date with one of the 7 roller derby beauties that sang the 7th. I REALLY liked the one with tats all over her arm...

(voting for no more singing for those plugging a movie, unless it's a Beyonce video)

You should have heard her on the radio. I would have turned it off, but the Cubs kept scoring.

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