Cubs Can't Fend Off Gnats

Sobering thought...the Cubs just got beat 2 of 3 at home by the worst team in baseball the last two years. Sure, anyone can win a 3-game set, but the Cubs sure didn't look like a better team at any moment in this series. And yes, the Nats are a better team this year than year's past, but they also were missing Ryan Zimmermann for the set. All of that is just a convoluted way of saying that the tea leaves aren't really predicting a bright 2010 future at the moment for the Cubs.

The Good: The Cubs walked 4 times(Colvin, Fukudome x2 and Nady) and had 9 hits including Theriot and Fukudome getting on-base 5 times in total. Dempster had a solid 8 IP, 3 ER affair with just one walk and 6 K's. Marlon Byrd's circus catch losing the ball in the sun. I wonder how the media and crowd reacts if he doesn't make that catch as they were sure quick to jump on Bradley last year for losing the ball in the sun.

The Bad: 21 LEFT ON-BASE! 11 as a team including Marlon Byrd leaving 6 all on his own. In the 7th, Fukudome and Lee led off with singles, but then Aramis Ramirez grounded into  double play on a 3-2 pitch in on his hands promptly erasing the rally. Colvin couldn't deliver the 2-out RBI. In the 8th, Byrd singled to right which the right fielder fumbled for a gift double. Fontenot is allowed to swing away after two singles already in the game and pops up to the shorstop. Aargh!!! You know the one good time to sac bunt, is when you need one run and can get a runner to third base with less than two outs. Or just make sure you pull the ball. Tracy, Nady and Theriot couldn't pick up the run either (more on that in the moment). Dempster did give up two solo shots to Adam Kennedy and Adam Dunn with the wind howling in.

The WTF? Back to the 8th, after Byrd "doubled" and Fontenot popped up, Lou pinch-hits for Koyie Hill. Smart. He pinch-hits with Chad Tracy though. Dumb. He's already gonna have to use Geovany Soto in the top of the 9th for Hill, just use your hottest hitter. I know Chad Tracy has had an illustrious pinch-hitting career before this year in like 100 PA's or something, but let's use a little common sense. Tracy predictably strikes out, Nady walks (still could have used Soto there if you wanted to) and Theriot can't deliver the 2-out RBI.

Next Up: The hot-hitting Diamondbacks test the Cubs starting pitching for a 4-game set.


re: byrd...

wtf? wow.

That's the new Van-Slyking. I expect him to be "forced" to catch balls behind his back (or rather at his side) all year long now.

If the Cubs had won two-out-of-three from the Brewers and then two-out-of-three from the Nats, their record would be exactly the same as it is now and we would all be feeling good about the Cubs winning two series in a row. However, this doesn't feel as good, does it?

It's not so much about their record or the fact that the Cubs won four of their last six games (and five of eight). Instead, we dwell on the fact that they lost two in a row to a team that is not supposed to be very good (although the Nats do have a winning record so far in 2010). I guess it's all in your perspective.

heh hoh Mr. Sunshine

but yeah, winning a series vs a team missing their best player at home is usually a good idea.

Rob --

I completely agree with your perspective. I feel the same way. All I'm saying is it's weird how we would feel completely differently if the Cubs had achieved the exact same record but in a different manner.

Yours truly,

Mr. Sunshine

"I wonder how the media and crowd reacts if he [Byrd] doesn't make that catch as they were sure quick to jump on Bradley last year for losing the ball in the sun."

I've heard similar questions asked so far this year and I just don't understand the comparison. Marlon Byrd is a different person than Milton Bradley. He came to the Cubs with a completely different attitude and background. He is a more mature, positive person than Bradley was. Byrd has the type of attitude and approach to the game that makes fans want to root for him. The opposite was obviously true of Bradley.

Although much has been said about Cubs fans (particularly those in the bleachers), we/they are not all racist idiots. People boo'd Bradley because of the type of person and ball player he was. They cheer for Byrd for exactly the same reason. That leads me to believe that Cubs fans would not have reacted negatively had Byrd not caught the ball in question.

some of us couldn't care less about bradley's attitude and never did. it wasn't a sport to jump on the guy because of how amusing his reactions are for some of us.

soriano is warm and fuzzy...he takes blame (in his own special way sometimes) for things...he accepts and apologizes for mental lapses and laziness...he waves to and interacts with bleacher people and regulars...

...then he goes out there and does the same stuff day after day after month after year...

good fuzzy words! i'd like to have a beer with him.


Cubs fans boo and cheer on the whim of whatever the media feeds them. Bradley was pre-judged before he stepped on to the field as was Byrd as the anti-Bradley.

The bigger point to me is worry about what's happening on the field.

@crunch - I never got the impression that fans were riding Bradley to see what kind of reaction they could get out of him. I always felt they rode him because they didn't like his abrasive personality or his disrespectful approach to the game.

@Rob -- I think you are correct that the media helped to stir the pot with Bradley, but it's not like he didn't give them a ton of ammunition. He had a long and storied history of conflicts and bad behavior that pre-dated his days in Chicago. Was the press fair to Bradley? Probably not; especially guys like Sullivan. But Bradley did plenty on his own to cause fans to dislike him. The press just added to what Bradley wrought on his own.

The guys on ESPN 1000 (Afternoon Saloon) have been talking as if Starlin Castro has been called up. Did I miss something?

Now they seem to be talking about the clamor to call him up to move Theriot (a .300 hitter) to second and replace another .300 hitter (Fontenot). With Lee and Aram being the hitting problems so far (both sub .200), it doesn't solve that problem, is their discussion. No guarantee Castro will hit as well as Theriot or Fontenot, either.

First question, why are you listening to the afternoon salon?

I think you mean "Afternoon Saloon". Big difference.

"why are you listening to the afternoon salon?"

It was during one of the commercial and/or news breaks duing the WGN post-game show. I thought I'd try to catch a Bruce Levine report or a replaying of Lou's testy news conference about why he didn't bunt in the 8th inning after Byrd's dooble.

Besides, I think Jurko is a pretty funny guy and I could use a good laugh after a game like today. NPR just wasn't going to cut it.

wait until they find out jason heyward isn't in the HOF yet...they'll be outraged.

maybe it came from this article

Chicago Cubs prospect Starlin Castro’s ascension to the major leagues could be right around the corner, according to a major-league source.

The 20-year-old shortstop is being monitored on a daily basis by the Cubs organization to determine when the time will be to start his major-league career.

wouldn't Theriot actually get you something in return though? I mean you might as well just release Baker or Tracy. Fontenot might get a low level minor league C prospect I'm guessing. Theriot could possibly get a major league reliever I would think, although I can't think of one team looking for a shortstop.

Southside would welcome Theriot.

Fontenot as a .300 hitter, sure...but:
.308/.339/.346, 0 HR, 2 doubles. He's not exactly tearing the cover off the ball.

Agreed though, it's too early to make a move like that. I think...

Weak Link Update:

Gorzelanny/Silva: 48 IP, 33 H, 32 K, 10 BB, 2.06 ERA

Ramirez/Lee: 29-for-163, .178 AVG, 42 K, 22 BB


Lincecum pitching a gem against Philly into the 9th, gets the first guy, then walks Victorino. Giants have a 3-run lead at this point and he's at 106 pitches with middle of order due up.

They go to Wilson who gets Polanco, gives up a single to Utley, walks Howard and Werth ties it up on a double.

think you have to at least give him one more hitter unless his velocity was dropping, although Wilson has been good this year.

neglected to mention Fukudome's lack of hustle in the first...

Colvin popped up on the infield and Kennedy booted it and Fukudome didn't get past 2nd. Didnt' end up mattering, but he should have been on third.


DH in both AL and NL cities, extra position player, pitcher that went on Sunday is ineligible and will be replaced on roster, one position player is designated as being able to return

That's about the only time where I think a DH is a good idea. Although, eliminating the ASG altogether is my first choice.

agreed on both...

if the boston market All mcdonalds Star geico Game century 21 wasn't such a snickers commercial whoring chevy might seem a little more like a game to me...

gotta pay those MLB pensions and for those incompetent drug tests somehow.

I'd really like to see how many pitchers actually bat in an ASG anyway. They always get PH for - unless their team is scoring a lot in which case, it's no big deal and they'll get more at bats to get more players in regardless.

Rob, I thought the exact same thing when Lou used Tracy instead of Soto. Sometimes the opposite hand matchup play goes too far.

I'm with you. My jaw about hit the floor when I saw that Tracy was pinch hitting. They had two of their absolute hottest hitters on the bench in Soriano and Soto, and he brought up Tracy, who hasn't played consistently all year. Lou keeps confusing me more and more every day.

But isn't that part of why Tracy is on the team? An experienced, good lefty PH?

As far as we can tell, he's on the team to make outs.

damn. that is one tense as hell room.

only 22 games in

Maybe when Lou is done here he will give a tell-all interview about the Chicago media, how much he hated them, how their constant pick-pick-pick at the whole Cubs Thing seemed to him to be a factor, however small, in the constant failure. Maybe if he does that, it'll be to the good somehow. Maybe Paul Sullivan will have an epiphany and change his ways (or at least finally stop writing about Milton Bradley).

But for now, this kind of behavior is inappropriate and simply painful to watch. And by "this kind of behavior" I mean not only this postgame performance, but PH'ing Tracy instead of Soto. Both things evince a "who cares, I don't want to be here" attitude.

ROB G: Regarding the Bradley/Byrd comparison, today after the game Byrd stood up and said he just HAS to do better than a weak pop-up in a RISP situation. He was embarrassed and owned up. I have no problem with that - and Milty always blamed everyone else: the fans, umps, conditions, injuries, day games, he is "alone" - etc.

Also, Byrd to this point plays hard, all the time, and just "does his job" on the field. It is a refreshing change from last year's bullshit.

Just out of curiosity, say you played baseball, and an umpired called ball 4 strike 2, then called ball 4 strike 3... who would you blame?

who would you blame?
Michael Barrett?

The problem with Bradley was that he was quick to blame other people for their actions (i.e. umps making bad calls), but never pointed the finger at himself for his actions. I think E-Man is pointing out that Byrd is not pointing the finger at others. He is pointing it at himself.

Yeah, but Bradley is extremely self critical and there were quotes from him about it, and others about it for the last 10 years. E-Man is incapable of being objective Bradley.

the usual starting 8...what's the record for men left on base?

theriot, fukudome, dlee, aram, byrd, soriano, fontenot, soto, LILLY (per Muskat)

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Remember, as I told my wife when our kids went off to college -- this is a good thing! Enjoy it!

  • Fully agree -- can't prove it. But, the numbers are what they are, and a lot of his OF games have come in Aug & Sept, when he has been killing the ball otherwise. And, knowing how baseball players love routine, it seems logical that it could at least be a a factor.

    Really, really, really hope I'm wrong on this.

  • Indeed! It has been absolute blast -- from getting swept by the Phillies to sweeping the Giants, I have always enjoyed being part of this group. Hope we have a lot more games to talk about this year.

  • Yes, cheers to me! I've noticed a fairly strong correlation between my tenure and Cubbie victories. 

    And thanks to Michael for our new diggs--and to y'all for sticking around! 

  • CHEERS to CT Steve for keeping this alive in 2015. Who would have thought that the season would have been so successful to this point? Thank you CT STEVE!

    I think I may be too nervous to watch the entire game. I will probably watch in bits and pieces - and constantly check MLB App. I will be like Blockhead: Nervous Nellie.

  • You can't prove the performance is because he played the OF. You just can't. Sorry.

    BTW, Bryant hit .168 in July playing 3B exclusively.

  • oh man, early on it seems like he made at least 1 stupid baserunning blunder per game and almost every single one turned into a positive for the cubs. it was magical.

  • Not surprised about Lester but bit surprised about Hendricks. Guessing that if something happens to Arietta right away they go to Lester but if they've burned relievers and are in extra innings they go to Hendricks.

  • My kids' 8:30pm (ET) bed time will be waived tonight (They are Rizzo & Castro fans). We'll get geared up in our Cubs apparel and will watch this as a family. I am stoked. Go Cubs!

  • Bryant: Base running adventures.

  • Remember Bryant's home-away splits, too.

    Wrigley: 21 HR, 59 RBI, .311/.408/.629
    Road: 5 HR, 40 RBI, .243/.333/.360

  • Good Lord this season has flown by so far. I need more Cubs gifs--the four on the article today are not enough. I need a 100 best moments of the season listicle of gifs.
    Rizzo: The slide, the catch.
    Russell: All the defense.
    Bryant: Pelting the video board.
    Soler: 125 MPH ground balls.
    Schwarber: DINGERS, surprising LF catches.
    Fowler: Walks, the many walks he should have had on 3-2 BS strike calls.
    Baez: That 3B play.
    Ross: Walk-up music? Bullpen appearance?
    Denorfia: Walk-off.
    Castro: Walk-offs.

  • No evidence other than 8 hits and 0 HR in 45 AB....

    I just think hitters like their routines -- think Boggs or Ted Williams -- and messing with that routine adds an element of change. I want my best hitters in their normal routines.

  • evidently i was busy burying context and meaning.

    i was excited about this playoff season kicking up in the drama of that environment, but it was stated insanely muddled.

  • Woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep in excitement/anticipation. Go Cubs Go!

  • The only issue with this dead horse is that there's no evidence that his performance during those games is solely due to playing the OF. I would tend to agree that I'd rather see him play 3B, though.