Nearly 7 innings of great baseball from the pitching and defense, ruined in 4 batters. That was a debacle deep-fried in a disaster served with a chaser of Cubbery. 

20/20 Hindsight: After 6 innings of one run ball, 71 pitches and retiring 14 of 16 since the 2nd inning, Lou lifts Carlos Silva. Silva apparently did have some right shoulder tightness. Fair enough.  Lou replaces him with another sinker baller in Justin Berg, who takes 7 pitches to get through the 7th. I think it's safe to say the Reds weren't handling the sinker too good by this point. Lou even double switched Marlon Byrd so the pitcher's spot in the lineup wouldn't come up in the top of the 8th. Naturally, you still must replace Berg because he worked an entire inning. He cannot possbly handle the rigors of sitting on the bench for 10 minutes to face the bottom of the lineup after retiring the Reds 4-5-6 hitters. Not when such bullpen lynchpins like Esmailin Caridad and John Grabow can be called upon. Lou goes with Caridad, working for the third straight day and Caridad takes Gomes 0-2 and then loses him on a walk. He does the same with Ramon Hernandez(hint to Lou that he might not have it tonight) and then him and Ramirez get confused on how to take an out when the other team gives it to you, followed by throwing a pitch up and over the plate when Koyie sets-up low and inside on Drew Stubbs. Game over.

This idea of defined roles in the bullpen is neat and all, when you actually have players worth defining. The Cubs have Marmol to close and 6 other guys. Play the match-ups and ride the hot hand. Nobody in that pen besides Marmol is deserving of the benefit of the doubt or entitled to any set role at the moment.

The Good: Carlos Silva! Who expected that? The defense did make some fine plays behind him. Ryan Theriot is off the schnide. Mike Fontenot goes 4/5.

Minor League Watch: Jay Jackson got the start for Iowa and goes 5 innings, but gives up 3 runs on 2 home runs. He does strike out 4. Hoffpauir and Dubois go deep in the 5-2 loss. John Gaub gives up 2 runs in an inning of work. At AA, Tony Campana goes 3/4 with a BB and 2 stolen bases out of the leadoff spot and Brandon Guyer goes 2/4 with 2 SB's. Castro goes 1/5. On the pitching side, Ryan Buchter strikes out the side in his inning of work and Jake Muyco picks up the save as Tennessee wins 5-4. Vitters, LeMahieu and Burke each go 1/4 for Daytona with Vitters making an error and getting picked off. Chris Rusin gets tagged for 6 runs in 4 innings in a 7-0 loss. I don't believe Daytona has an extra base hit yet. Jose Valdez goes 3/4 with 2 SB's, plus getting caught once and getting picked off after going 2/4 on Opening night. Peoria loses 5-4 though, although Jeff Antigua strikes out 5 in 5 innings, giving up 2 runs.

Next Up: Z tries to redeem himself against Aaron Harang.


On the bright side, this will keep Marmol from being overused.

I'm already in assume-the-worst mode. Silva looked extremely uncomfortable after throwing one of those pitches to Votto. Expecting to learn today or tomorrow that there is problem beyond tightness in the shoulder. Hell of an effort by him last night, however.

Also wondering if Ricketts's recent declaration that Lou's fate is squarely in Hendry's hands would make Hendry more or less likely to replace him if the Cubs get off to a dismal start.

I thought it looked on TV like he was a little ticked when Larry came and told him he was coming out. And he told the paper he was fine:

"His shoulder stiffened," Piniella said and then repeated twice.

When asked how his shoulder was, Silva replied: "Good. I was ready to go out. They took me out. I was ready to go out."

He added that the only time he felt stiffness was when he tried to field a groundball earlier in the game and fell to the ground.

Actually, Homer was pitching for the other team last night.

That homerun must have been so bittersweet for dusty.
He got the hr, but the damn bases were clogged.

Not only was it clear Caridad didn't have it, but he was throwing a tantrum out there on the mound. And from what I saw, the pitches he was complaining about WERE balls. Gameday shows the same thing, all of his strikes were called strikes (or hit) and all of his balls called balls:

Then today the newspaper has this:

Caridad seemed to blame home-plate umpire Doug Eddings.
"He didn't call strikes," Caridad said. "I throw a strike, and he doesn't call it a strike. I don't know why."

Yep, all Eddings fault. Keep telling yourself that...

It's always a good idea to piss off or alienate the umpires when you're just starting off in the bigs. This where Maddux could be useful in tutoring the youngsters on the fine art of patronizing the umps.

The Reds did everything they could to try and give us this game.

This bullpen will be the epitaph of the 2010 team unless changes are made early enough. Disappointing...but predictable. Let's get a win today.

well that shows some real composure out of your set-up man...

note Rob's pic of Caridad has an "I" on his hat

Smiley soon to be wearing it again when Jeff Gray is ready

Not sure Caridad will be the first to leave. He is an 8th-inning reliever, after all. Berg pitched the 7th. When does Samardzija come in, when the starter gets knocked out in the 3rd?

It's less demoralizing to have a young guy blow a save than an older guy like Gregg, who isn't going to get better.

If taking out Berg was necessary, Samardzija would've been a reasonable choice, given how poorly the Reds had done against Silva and Berg. Samardzija would've been basically more of the same, and he hasn't pitched since Monday. He does seem to be our long reliever at the moment (since Marshall has been so dominant and pitched himself into a high stakes role).

why was taking out Berg necessary? he threw 7 pitches, that's not even an warm-up.

I don't think it was. I think Lou forgot that he'd used Caridad two days in a row, and he forgot that pitchers can go more than one inning when they are pitching well.

Have I mentioned that I think Lou is dumb or at least doesn't put that much energy into managing?

I know feel better after that loss than when Grabow blew it.

Nope, not all.

Everything is all screwy, Theriot is not hitting much, but playing brilliant D. Fontenot is hitting. All very silly.

I'm thinking "Caribad" for a nickname, but it's almost too obvious. I'm not real pleased with it. Any other good nicknames we could use for him?

S-"mail in"...Is Mile Long...Hairy Nads?
That's all I got

I'm not very optimistic about this team and wasn't even though they had a decent spring training record. They're pretty weak up the middle (although Theriot seems to have discovered his inner Castro), which is never good, they don't have the explosive offense that can quickly turn a game around, and they really pretty much appear to have almost no viable relief pitching other than Marshall and Marmol. And even Marmol reminds me too much of The Wild Thing sometimes, although he's got better stuff and could be a really dominant reliever if he could harness it completely.

That said, if they can manage a nice little 2 game winning streak they go home with a .500 road trip.

The lineup is less than awe-inspiring to begin with, but they've also underperformed this week. You're not likely to score many runs when your leadoff hitter has a .118 OBP and your number 3 hitter isn't doing much with the bad (Lee really didn't get on the board until last night). Meanwhile, our #5 hitter does have 2 homeruns, but they are his only two hits, and the guy behind him is Soriano.

Most of these guys are going to put up better overall numbers than they have right now (except Lee, whose OPS looks good after last night's game). We've got a lot more guys underperforming this week than overperforming (Fontenot? Nady?), so the losses shouldn't be surprising. The bullpen is worrisome, but I expect to see guys like Cashner, Grey, Stephens, Schlitter, and Patton mixed and matched in there until they find the most effective bunch (I'd still prefer that to trading for any overpriced relievers). I also wonder whether Silva or Gorzo could be dependable out of the pen, since Lilly should be back soon.

And did anyone else think what Len and Bob had to say about Soto sitting on the bench last night was ridiculous? Soto has to hit or he'll be replaced by Hill because he can't perform as poorly as last year and stay in the lineup? Did anyone mention his .240-ish BABIP to Lou last year? Does everybody else have the same deal? Riot's not hitting either, right now--will he be replaced by Castro on Monday if he doesn't get his average up to .300 this weekend?

I didn't hear what Len and Bob said but today Lou was quoted, "Look, let's just leave it that we need Soto to swing the bat, and we'll leave it at that," he said.

Lou overall seems impatient this year -- he already seems ready to give up on Grabow as a set up man, probably not a bad thing, just sayin'.

Lou is impatient for a good reason. He's fighting for his job, he's going to make other people, including rich pampered free agents, fight for theirs.

I like this competition stuff. Theriot/Castro, Piniella/Sandberg, Soto/Hill, Mesa/Naples, Fukudome/Nady, Soriano/Colvin. Only good can come of this.

Lou is impatient for a good reason... I like this competition stuff... Only good can come of this.

Impatience rarely leads to good decisions. So some bad can come of this "competition" if Lou is impatient.

SS Theriot, RF Fukudome, 1B Lee, 3B Ramirez, CF Byrd, LF Soriano, 2B Fontenot, C Soto, P Zambrano

With Nady apparently ready to play the OF (sort of--he didn't look all that good in RF last night), Colvin isn't going to get all that much playing time. Lou isn't going to rotate two outfielders in there that much. Nady gets the start last night, so Lou won't play Colvin today--doesn't want to sit Fukudome two games in a row. Might be time soon to send Colvin back to AAA so he can get his ABs and Adduci or Fuld can begin their 5th outfielder careers.'s been a week. Patience, is a virtue.

Z's ERA is exactly 10 times higher than Harang's, and Harang's ain't exactly pretty.

soriano for gold glove...

Soriano still can't play left field

Colvin catches that ball. Just sayin'.

so does MikeC probably...


Colvin hits that homerun twice. Just sayin'.

Time for Grabow to kick us in the nads.

woo etc.

Marmol had a wicked slider today. Nice to get in the win column for Z.

Also interesting that Lou went all defense in the bottom 9th, including Hill for Soto and Colvin for Soriano.

I wonder if he'll do the Hill switch with any regularity?

11 sliders, 2 fastballs...he's relying very heavy on it early this year.

at least 1 of the 2 fastballs he threw he had control over.

crunch: if someone can hit one of his sliders, then he is fighting strong odds.

unpossible, Koyie Hill was catching, he doesn't call sliders

If he were to call fastballs, Marmol would be throwing 100 MPH, it just wouldn't be fair.

Hill caught Marmol eleven out thirteen appearances last September. In three of those, Hill came off the bench to "relieve" Soto. It's why I thought the Cubs needed a third catcher--there's nobody behind Hill when he comes in to "close." Last year they had Fox.

In any case, it's a tough situation for Soto, being first-string but playing second fiddle. What other first-string catcher comes out when the closer comes in?

I hope Soto bounces back, and he probably will, but I don't think his future with this team is long term.

Is Jeff Baker the emergency catcher? Fontenot? Marmol?

add Randy Wells to the emergency catcher list

Today's fun fact:

Cubs Left on Base: 0

Frank Thomas blame the Sox loss on the early start today and extra inning game the night before.

Which the Twins, who won today, were in last night also.

Keep up the good work, big skirt.

I'll blame it on countering the Twins ace with Freddy Garcia. I don't care how many innings they played last night, that dog just ain't gonna hunt.

Twins started Mauer at catcher this morning after last night's game as well...guess they're not messing around early.

mauer only ph last night

nice! 2-3

But more importantly, at the moment Milton Bradley is 1/19 with one home run his only hit, same as last year but worse, he's struck out 8 times.

And, oh, the irony, he's been dropped to fifth in the order.

And...was accused by Ranger fans of giving them the finger yesterday.

And just butchered a ball hit to him in left field.

Milton Bradley can go on to win the MVP, triple crown, and cy young for all I care.

"nice! 2-3

But more importantly..."

really? =p

why is that so important to NAV? Tim Wilken didn't draft him.

yeah, more important than a win is how Milton Bradley is doing in the AL.

of all the stupid things that have been said in the comments.

a you-know-what through 7 against the Rays

7.2 ip, first batter hit one off Sabathia's hand but Cano got him.

and a single by Shoppach to left....

no-no no-mo, shoppach single

Twins started Mauer at catcher this morning after last night's game as well.
Mauer didn't start last night, he came into the game as a ph for Butera in the 11th and walked and scored the winning run (now that's how legends are made)

whoops...I turned the game on late and just assumed he started.

Well that does make more sense.

and I need to read the whole comment thread b4 I make a comment

from Paul Sullivan on sunday...Cari-bad just might be the umpire's nickname for him:

As for Caridad, Piniella had to explain to the rookie that it's not in his best interest to accuse the umpire of squeezing him on the two walks that led to the Drew Stubbs' game-winning grand slam. Umpires don't take kindly to rookies questioning their strike zones in the media.

more Sullivan...Marmol's now the wise veteran.

Marmol has only three-plus years of big league experience, but he spent Saturday morning counseling Esmailin Caridad after the rookie blew Friday night's game. It was his first big failure as a big leaguer, and Marmol played the role of a wise veteran.

"He learned from that," Marmol said. "We learn from our mistakes. We have tomorrow. He needs to forget stuff."

Recent comments

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  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.

  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
    Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:

    Some "Highlights"
    Carl Crawford $20MM
    Brandon McCarthy $17MM
    Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
    Darwin B $2.2MM
    Dan Haren $10MM
    Matt Kemp $18MM
    Brian Wilson $10MM
    Ryan Webb $2.2MM
    Dee Gordon $2.5MM

  • So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.


    And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):

  • i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.

    there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.

  • I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.

  • O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already. 

  • I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.

    I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.

  • Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.

  • With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined). 

  • BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.

    If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).

    As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).