Redemption

Carlos Zambrano got the opportunity to redeem his baseball soul thanks to the grace of Touchdown Jesus and the Cubs bullpen works this time in a 4-3 win at Cincinnati.

The Good: Z pitches quite well going 7 innings and giving up 3 runs and a home run against 9 K's, including striking out the side in his last inning. The Cubs offense doesn't strand a runner. After Ryan Theriot breaks up the perfect game to lead off the 4th, he takes second on a wild pitch that bounced in front of catcher Ryan Hanigan. Hanigan throws it away and it bounces into center field and Theriot was going to try third base (and it looked like he would have probably been nailed to me), but ran into shortstop Orlando Cabrera. No interference obstruction was called though despite the protests of Lou and Theriot. That made the count 2-0 on Fukudome and he showed bunt on the next pitch but took it for a strike. Not sure if he was just trying to dupe Harang or was seriously considering a bunt, but he then takes the ensuing curveball deep to right for the first 2 Cubs runs. He almost hit a second one out in his next at-bat. Soriano hit a hanging slider out for run number 3 and Jeff Baker with the clutch pinch-hit home run off Arthur Rhodes. Marmol's slider was biting and the Reds were flailing away for the save.

The Bad: The Cubs didn't leave anyone on-base cause they just managed one walk and 5 hits, 3 of them home runs and Lee got picked off first base. If they did plus/minus ratings like in hockey, Soriano was probably a 0, because the first run by the Reds was thanks to a linedrive with 2 out that Soriano turned the wrong way and then lept and missed by an inch that should have ended the inning. #8 hitter Ryan Hanigan then singled him home despite first base being open and Harang on-deck. Grabow did get through the 8th, but gave up a single to lefty Joey Votto and a rocket to lefty Jay Bruce that Lee made an outstanding leaping stab to rob a hit. A bit worrisome we have another Mike Remliger situation brewing.

Next Up: Tom Gorzelanny makes his 2010 debut against 2009 draftee Mike Leake making his major league debut.

Comments

no-go for Lilly tomorrow

stiff back

http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=372300

as we speed towards June

Quicksand jesus!

And I think Mr. Whipple's parachat comment deserves repeating:

Did you hear the good news? Jesus has risen! Well, half way...

Hope I got that right.

That is correct.

I love that image. It's the funniest thing in ages. Well done, sir.

ha...

Theriot should indeed have been given 3rd base, but not for interference. When a fielder gets in the way of a baserunner, that's obstruction. Interference is when a runner gets in the way of a fielder.

Being a youth baseball commissioner means you learn nitpicky details like this.

Glad to see Dr. Zekyll came back instead of the Opening Day Mr. Zyde.

Go Cubs!

It could be a worse bullpen. We don't have George Sherrill.

T. Diamond with the start at Iowa, 5 IP, 5 K, 1 ER, 1 BB
J. Gray 2 scoreless innings
J. Stevens faced 3 batters, gave up 2 BB's and a hit
Schlitter with 2 scoreless innings as well

Offensive explosion in AA with Castro going 3/5, Bibens-Dirx strikes out 6 in 5 innings giving up 2 ER.

Daytona bats wake up a bit in a 7-4 win although B. Jackson is still hitless. Vitter 1/6, LeMaheiu 1/6, Burke 2/6, M. Brenly with a 3-run HR.

Peoria: H. Lee 1/4 with an RBI, Watkins 1/5, pitching gets roughed up in a 6-2 loss.

BRING UP THEM...DEMOTE EVERYONE ELSE...START COLVIN THE REST OF THE WAY OUT...DFA EVERYONE WHO DOESN'T WANT TO GO DOWN...MORE DEFENSIVE PRACTICE DRILLS FOR ALL OUTFIELDERS (AT LEAST 1 MORE HOUR PER DAY)...FIRE LARRY...FIRE RUDY...FIRE LOU...BRING UP SANDBERG...PROMOTE MADDUX...LET'S WIN 100 THE REST OF THE WAY OUT.

YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!

Thank you, Howard Dean.

Gray will be up shortly.

Who is Austin Bibens-Dirkx and why is his name so hard to spell?

if he gets called up in the next year or two, will the Cubs market X-games?

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/B/Aust...

guys I missed

Alberto Cabrera threw 6 shutout innings giving up 2 hits in Daytona, AA Ty Wright went 4/5 with a HR.

http://twitter.com/insidetheivy/status/119745...

http://twitter.com/insidetheivy/status/119746...

I keep forgetting we have Thomas Diamond. Would the Cubs consider him for the bullpen if he continues to show some control at AAA, or are they looking at him exclusively as back end/rotation insurance?

Woody and Hoffman had theme music but Thomas Diamond's a natural for the bullpen

dim the house lights:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZSWAkJ3h8E

That'll only work if boozed up bleacher bums can remain reverently silent and Thomas Diamond can somehow throw his warmup pitches in extreme slow motion. Under those conditions, it will be the most affecting theme music of all time.

Maybe after a loss the Cubs can play Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings over the stadium sound system, too:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jFbNEcJp1s

Wow, a YouTube standoff. Cubster is the Cub Reporter king of video/photo references but Charlie has just thrown down a challenge! This is excitement!

Personally, after this latest Cubs performance, I'm hoping to become Comfortably Numb.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRuIqN-CZpY&fe...

By the way, Charlie, thanks for the Adagio for Strings link. Heartbreakingly beautiful music. Perfect for Cubs fans (sigh).

If you liked that, here's something I think you'll really enjoy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFZ7326-9k0&fe...

I recommend it as a theme until we blow somebody out for the first time.

Good choice!

the Jewish version of Touchdown Jesus

http://www.bangitout.com/uploads/thumbs/42Tou...

I notice Samardjza is well rested.

Thank you Lou

Would you rather have him on the Bears or Cubs?

http://twitter.com/CarrieMuskat/

Ryan Theriot has strained right calf and may be scratched. He is hitting (right now) in BP. If he can't go, Font will move to SS

(whispering softly: Starlin Castro is hitting .462)

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

Theriot, Fuku, Lee, Ramirez, Byrd, Soriano, Font, Soto, Gorz

vs.

Stubbs, Cabrera, Votto, Phillips, Rolen, Hernandez, Gomes, Dickerson, Leake

THen I would assume same lineup tomorrow (replace Gorz w/Demp obviously) for the opener?

leadoff bb, double, pitch around Lee

what are the odds of scoring with the bases loaded and 0 out?

0% if you're the Cubs.

Ramirez goes out of the zone and pops it up, Byrd misses 2 fastballs and fouls them off and K's on a sinker, Soriano is Soriano.

Soriano leaps for a ball in foul territory...about 3 feet from the wall and misses it.

Gorz still K's Votto though.

I know it's only one inning, but the offense failing to cash in even one run in a situation like that--there is no more ideal situation than bases loaded, no outs, middle of the lineup due up--frustrates me even more than bullpen meltdowns. They'll have to win and score more than 3 or 4 runs today for me to forget that.

Ridiculous.

BUT...what about Rudy Jaramillo!

He is the best batting coach in baseball, right?

Leake vs. Gorz:
89 mph fastball
88 mph fastball
88 mph fastball
88 mph changeup

If your changeup is the same speed as your fastball, you might want to ditch the changeup.

No runs will come of this.

I am of the opinion that A-Ram is hurt. The guy does not look right yet, and did not have much of a spring. We will see, and it is early, but this guy is not the same at the plate.

He's overswinging right now (I think) and he's missing some pitches he shouldn't miss because of that. That doesn't necessarily mean he's not hurt too, of course.

things we've learned early...defense and bullpen might not be overrated.

sigh...

deserving to lose a game...

Where are we at on the Soriano departure countdown?

I think we're down to 5 years left

Shit.

I am floored with the terrific beginning of the starting pitching. The scenario of bullpen blows happened last year when the starters were doing well too. And, they were BETTER!

This year, so far with MAgic Rudy, and a reliever that has two losses in four appearances, it is going to be a long year.

I can see why many picked the Reds 2nd.

The wnidow can be closed soon unless changes are made.

I'm starting a new stat called UZR/5. Soriano is currently -66. Now I remember why I couldn't wait for baseball to end last year.

Where's big lowitski to tell us Soriano is, in fact, a good outfielder?

remarkably, he still has good defensive numbers over a 3-yr span from all the guys he threw out the first 2 years...actually it's heavily swayed by his first year with being just above average in 2008

I just can't buy that. Is it reasonable to cite Soriano as evidence that the defensive metrics need a lot more tuning?

well sure they do, but it's a 3-yr average.

Using UZR/150, he's 22.4/5.2/-15.9 and Plus/Minues he's 16/5/-4.

That puts him 12th over 3 year in UZR/150 for all outfielders (and 3rd for LF'ers behind Crawford and Holliday). 15th in +/- for all OF'ers and still 3rd for LF'ers behind the same two.

I'm not citing them as perfection, but guys can have career years defensively like they do offensively. It's not measuring talent as much as what happened and Soriano did eliminate a lot of runners with his arm and made less errors and not as many screw-ups those first 2 years.

I think what's most alarming is that the more he plays LF, the worse he seems to get at it. I know he's had leg problems and all that, but it really seems like he has a serious mental block about catching fly balls, and the more he drops the more it affects him.

If there are runners on first and second and outfielder drops fly ball and throws to third for force out, is that considered an assist?

yes, could be an error and an assist depending on the nature of the drop.

you get credit for basehits that should sometimes be errors or bloops that someone should have been caught, not sure why folks get up in arms over anomalies in defensive stats.

and I'm not saying that UZR or +/- are perfect or anything, but if you use 3-yr averages (which is about 1-yr worth of hitting sample size), you start to get a decent picture with them. In Soriano's case you can clearly see the decline that matches what's happening on the field.

Thanks Rob.

Is there a way to tell how many "assists" Soriano got with the drop/error?

not that I know of...

he still got the out though, so not sure if there's any difference other than aesthetically. I'm guessing he gets some extra credit for an outfield assist over just making the play, but I don't know the mathematics behind it.

fwiw, +/- is now on Fangraphs pages.

I never said that. I said that his first year as a Cub the defensive metrics showed him to be a good left fielder. I also said, very clearly, that he had gotten worse. But I notice that you conveniently left that out.

You said one more than one occasion, usually after someone complained about his defense, that stats showed he was a good OF.

I haven't followed whether you said he has gotten worse. It was an error of omission, not comission. And it was meant in jest anyway.

Tito, I remember specific conversations, with you, about this. I said very clearly that the stats showed that he was a good lf (not OF - two different things) in his first year. And that is still true. And it is true that I have said he has gotten worse.

Be honest, Big. I've been reading your comments for a long time, and you don't say things like, "the defensive metrics showed him to be a good left fielder," for the simple reason that when you have metrics to back you up, you state the thing as a fact. How could the metrics be wrong?

"He was a good fielder in '07"--that's more your style, isn't it?

I state the fact, and then say why, showing the facts.

But whatever. The stats showed Soriano to be one of the better LFers in the league for his first year as a Cub. And I still agree with the stats. He was decent, if not good, that first year. He struggled at some things, but he overall he was a decent/good LFer that first year.

And Soriano has looked really, really awful since then, and the defensive metrics (last I looked) appear to be reflecting that over the last year or so.

Soriano needs transplant surgery...both legs and a new glove hand

brain

In searching for a replay of Soriano's error today (I did not watch the game), I Googled "Soriano's Error".

I received 2,890,000 results.

Try it!

he jogged to the ball, not like he was camped under it, but he had plenty of time to get himself in position to catch it glove-arm-out on the jog...it popped into his mitt and bounced out of the webbing.

he was expecting something a bit more routine judging by how he approached it.

no hop, btw. =p

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/video/play.jsp...

MLB.com URL's are lame but look at the videos below for Gomes reaches base on Soriano error

Thanks. WOW - Brennaman really drives home the pathetic point even more...

So, did anyone pick Gomes would outhit Byrd?

Ouch... the truth hurts.

In the strange but true category: Moving Soriano to second makes the Cubs a better defensive team. Plus it gives a lineup slot to Rollin' Colvin.

in this category, is Soriano at 2b equal to Fontenot at 2b defensively?

No, I assume he'd be as bad as always, but that still saves us runs over what he's doing in left. I think he needs a sports psychologist.

Not as much better as moving him to the bench. Or Taiwan.

I didn't see a lot of spring training, so I didn't notice this until today. But when I saw Tracy up to bat today I had to do a double take because I thought it was Aaron Miles. Yuck.

Miles was more versatile, he could make outs from both sides of the plate

Miles always caused a case of blinding rage for me. Just the fact that he was allowed to play major league baseball annoyed me.

haha!! Good one Cubster!

this version of Adagio for Strings works better for Baker/Fonty...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3U7QJ6pN1I&fe...

progressive trance is a plague upon humanity...and so is dubstep while i'm picking on stuff...

Recent comments

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  • Not sure I agree with this logic. The Cubs are one of the best teams in baseball, they have spent heavily on the team over the past couple of seasons, have more hitting prospects than they have places for them to play (and more on the way), a clear weakness in the bullpen, and have a 1.5 year window with Arrieta (to say nothing of the likely declines of Lester and Lackey).

    Unless you think (maybe even if you do think) Schwarber is the next coming of Babe Ruth, I would certainly consider trading him if it brought back a couple of the best relief pitchers in baseball.

    Rob Richardson 55 min 43 sec ago view
  • Miggy was going to sit anyway with Lester starting.

    In related news, do any of the Cubs pitchers want to throw to Contreras?

    Rob G. 1 hour 7 min ago view
  • Only Russell and Miggy failed to reach base yesterday. Both sit today.

    billybucks 1 hour 16 min ago view
  • Trading Schwarber actually makes a lot of sense because his actual position is currently being taken by Anthony Rizzo, unless they vote in the DH this offseason.

    Trading him for a reliever is never going to happen though. I don't think you can trade Schwarber unless you get a CF'er for a few years (presume Fowler finds his multi-year deal next offseson) or a couple of high end young starters...or an established starter...a good one like Chris Sale.

    Rob G. 1 hour 27 min ago view
  • I don't see what the Yanks have that the Cubs need.

    Ryno 1 hour 32 min ago view
  • peter gammons on MLB network pushing the yanks/schwarber angle...says insiders from the yanks say brian cashman highly covets him.

    unless that conversation starts with a.miller (2/18m left on contract) i dunno how you even start that conversation given the "not trash, but no stars" state of the yanks minor league system.

    they got corner OF'r aaron judge, C gary sanchez, RHP james kaprielian's questionable elbow, RHP domingo acevedo...all interesting, none expected to impact the game like schwarber's power potential.

    crunch 2 hours 5 min ago view
  • Zo, Heyward, KB, Riz, Contreras (LF), Baez (SS), Szczur (CF), Ross, Lester

    Cubster 2 hours 13 min ago view
  • damn. low sample size blah blah whatever, but that slash got sneaky good. 10 hits, 4 walks, 2hr, 1 double through 39 PA...nice

    crunch 2 hours 33 min ago view
  • Buddy Ryan takes his place alongside George Allen as the great Bear head coaches who never were.

    VirginiaPhil 5 hours 28 min ago view
  • Well, at least he can still hit: Jake slashing .294/.368/.868. Forget hitting 8th -- he should hit 6th.

    billybucks 5 hours 46 min ago view
  • Curious to see today's lineup vs. a LHP: Ross needs to catch Lester, Joe likes Javy at 3B when Lester pitches. Heyward with back-to-back good games at the plate, and is actually hitting a little better against LHP (.247/.341) than RHP (.232/.321), although neither is much to write home about. But, tomorrow is an early day game, so some regulars will probably sit either today or tomorrow.

    Maybe Willson in LF, KB in RF and Almora in CF? If so, Albert Jr., assume every ball is yours.

    billybucks 5 hours 51 min ago view
  • "Pitching prospects not looking so hot"

    That reminds me that Lucas Giolito will start for the Nats tonight.

    VirginiaPhil 5 hours 54 min ago view
  • Well, there you go. Federowicz is one of the best at balls in the dirt.

    VirginiaPhil 6 hours 13 min ago view
  • Reds pitching meeting tomorrow:

    "Hey coach...maybe we should walk Bryant?"
    "No...keep challenging him with fastballs! What kind of man are you?! The Cubs walked Harper, and look what happened there! They got teased for it, by one of the Nat players! Is that what you want?"

    billybucks 16 hours 55 min ago view
  • How can I get that feature? I think it woudl be a win-win for all involved.

    billybucks 16 hours 59 min ago view
  • Ian Happ is hitting.733 after 5 games at Tennessee. He went into tonight's game hitting .667 -- and went 3-for-3 to raise his average.

    2-for-3, including a bomb, for LaStella at Iowa. Pierce Johnson very bad -- 2IP, 5ER. Pitching prospects not looking so hot -- Underwood has been awful.

    Did Jiminez get hurt? I noticed he came out early yesterday.

    billybucks 17 hours 47 min ago view