Saturday Game Preview: Pirates (15-20) at Cubs (15-21)

Cubs try to even up their series with the Bucs after losing the first four matchups of the season series. It's the first time the Cubs have dropped their first four games against Pittsburgh since...well, I refuse to look it up because it would depress the crap out of me.

The lefty Paul Maholm (2-3, 4.91) starts this afternoon against Ryan Dempster (2-3, 3.44). This was the pitching matchup back on 5/4 at PNC when the Cubs clung to a 2-1 lead with two out in home 6th. Dempster then told Lou Piniella that he had enough left in the tank to retire Ryan Church with the tying run aboard, at which point Church crushed a pitch into the rightfield bleachers, and all of everybody's premonitions about how Lou should have yanked Dempster in favor of Sean Marshall were proven right.

Cubbie memories—there's nothin' like 'em.

Saturday's starting lineups:

Iwamura 4, LaRoche 5, McCutchen 8, Jones 9, Church 7, Doumit 2, Clement 3, Cedeño 6, Maholm 1

Theriot 4, Byrd 8, Lee 3, Ramirez 5, Soto 2, Soriano 7, Nady 9, Castro 6, Dempster 1

With all of the attention on the struggles of Lee and Ramirez, I don't think Xavier Nady has gotten due notice for how much of a non-factor he has been. For the record, he has started in 11 games and in those games, he's hitting .222/.310/.361. In the 13 games he has come in off the bench, he's 0-for-10 with a couple walks.

It was understood he was coming into the season at less than 100% physically and it's not like he has been in the lineup on any sort of regular basis, but still, on a team that is playing so poorly, every contribution is important and so far, 'X' hasn't contributed anything.


the horror

There goes the starting pitching...

remarkable amount of 2-out, nobody on hits so far today through 5

our #4 hitter got his OPS above .500 today. awesome.

Get those fair weather fans outta there. Where's the roar? Small ball parks are supposed to rock. What do we have to put up a dome to amplify the noise? Comeon, Cubs fans!

a 140m team with a 15-21 record who's lost 8,272 games in a row to PIT...they'd have to knock a couple dollars off a can of old style to wake this place up.

nice bounceback Dempster, get some no-Doze for the offense

Never mind. I just saw the pregnant woman with the Cubs logo on her baby-to-be. Yuck.

41,000 rather silent fans in attendance today...damn.

140m worth of 15-21.


Cubbie memories—there's nothin' like 'em.
100 years from now, very few will remember how much this game sucked

(maybe some kid whose mom took him to the game in utero)

We used to be 15-21. Now it's worse.

Any guesses on who will be the leadoff man tomorrow? Lou is going to teach Theriot a good lesson, I bet, for striking out in the ninth.

be nice if we had someone off the bench in that spot that could put a ball in the OF for at least a chance at a sac fly.

tyler colvin isn't much a 2-out pinch runner on 1st type, imo...

I just don't care.

post of the year candidate

My baseball life at the moment:

1) Check my fantasy lineup.
2) Check to see when the Cubs are playing.
3) Do some work.
4) Check my fantasy lines.
5) See how much the Cubs are losing by.
6) Do some work/take a nap.
7) Check to see how much the Cubs lost by and if anyone got a hit.
8) Go to sleep and repeat.


but hey, how 'bout those i-cubs, eh? 5 in a row to reach .500! another 4 hit game for tracy and...never mind...

Pretty poignant post-game report from the Daily Herald's writer:

"What are you going to do?"

"What are we going to do, I mean what are we going to do?" Piniella said to wrap up a 1 minute, 25 second postgame meeting with the media...
So why don't we go to some of our other contestants, starting with you, Ryan Dempster.

What are you going to do?"

i hope deflecting the media to the locker room with these short/no-soundbite interviews is part of some plan to embarrass/hassle/motivate/whatever the players. these post-games are getting shorter by the week.

Are we going to quit playing a DH in right field where he arm costs us a run a game and his bat doesn't make up for it? No, I guess not.

He sounds readier and readier to resign.

Some big questions coming into the season:

Soto, Soriano, Byrd, Fukudome, Silva.

All have been much better than expected, and the phenom is hitting over .350 -- and, despite having a $120+ million payroll and no significant injuries, and playing a very weak stretch of teams, the season is on the verge of slipping away.

Pure Cubbery.

Not Fukudome.

Another great April. Then his hitting coach flies back to Japan and Kosuke's batting average goes with him.

Will Hendry have the balls to admit this team sucks and be ready to
sell off parts of it maybe his job depends on it.
If he doesnt do anything and they still suck he should be canned.
If he becomes a seller and clears payroll well Ricketts might like that.
With colorado and philly next week i dont see any improvement happening.

i-cubs win 6th straight...tracy BA over .600 [17/28]...wellington castillo w/ 3 run HR, 3 caught stealings & 1 pickoff @ 2nd base...

CarrieMuskat: #Cubs lineup for Sun rf fuke, ss castro, 1b lee, 3b ramy, cf byrd, lf sori, 2b font, c soto, p lilly

Saw this on mlbtr, of course it's mentioned without a real source:

According to multiple scouts, the Cubs would move Derrek Lee if they could. Lee is earning $13MM in the final year of his contract, and also has a no-trade clause.

According to multiple scouts, scouts don't talk with the GM of other teams.

It's possible that the other GM's have told their scouts to take a look at Lee, but it's more likely multiple scouts are fictional or talking out their ass to sound important.

one of the many reasons I can't stand MLBTR.

just a fancy re-hash gossip rag.

It does a nice job when it just summarizes articles by the local beat writers, but when they act like they actually have "contacts", well it's pretty transparent.

it's from a Nick Cafardo article in the Boston Globe

It's from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe

page 5.

However, in this case they were plagiarizing.

Someone should tell their employers.

Wonder if the same scouts told him that Lee had a no trade clause... I guess he does if you mean "clause in the CBA". What a tool.

You can be assured that EVERYTHING posted at MLBTR was sucked off the internet. The source of this rumor is NICK CAFARDO who writes for the Globe (

Here's the complete quote:

9. Derrek Lee, first baseman, Cubs: If the Cubs could move him, they would, according to multiple scouts. The 34-year-old first baseman is in the final year of a five-year, $65 million contract, earning $13 million this season. The Cubs are looking to shake things up, but a taker for Lee will be hard to find if teams feel his bat is slowing. Lee also has a no-trade clause.

In the same article, Cafardo has a story that demonstrates once more that when you take the checkbook away from Jim Hendry you might as well have kept MacFail. I mean just add a few "fucks" and "fucking"s to this and it could have been Doughnuts talking:

8. Andy MacPhail, president, Orioles — He used the new media to offer a three-minute “State of the Orioles’’ address to fans via Wednesday. “We have all had to endure a terrifically horrendous start,’’ said MacPhail. “The first 18 games were terribly problematic for us and a miserable way to start the season.’’ MacPhail said the early issues were the explosion of the back end of the bullpen and an inability to hit in clutch situations. He asked the fans to stick with the team. “We appreciate your support,’’ he said. “Keep the faith. We’re going to get this thing straightened out.’’

page 5 of a five page article.

Recent comments

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  • Which direction is wind blowing today? With Lackey a groundball pitcher, it might help Cubs if it is blowing in today and a 2-1 game instead of a 10-6 game.

  • I have convinced myself that Hammel's second half struggles were due to minor injuries and fatigue so with the extra rest he is going to be lights out.

  • Benji Molina is out of lineup

  • Yes. Unfortunately, as many of us, I have seen this movie before. Do not care for Hammel, and unlike other managers Joe will pull the plug quickly at least. I hope before things were to get out of hand.

    Many of us are like "abused spouses" or whatever - with this Cubs stuff. You get hurt so many times, the trust rapidly erodes.

    If the Cubs can get to Lackey early, its gonna be a big key to a W or L.

  • No idea what will happen. The Cards are the Cards and they have come back from 2-1 holes twice in the last 4 years, so I don't see them in panic mode at all. If anything, I expect the Cubs to be pressing more than the Cards today.

    I want the Cubs to win because it would be great for the city, and great for the fans. But more than anything, I want the Cubs to win so I can see this team play for at least one more week this year. Never enjoyed watching a team more than this year.

  • Just to remember how far we have come: last year's opening day lineup was Bonifacio, Lake, Castro, Rizzo, Olt, Castillo, Schierholz, Barney, and Samardzija. It's been a fun ride this year!

  • BRADSBEARD: I haven't noticed any new rule or a change in the interpretation of an existing rule happening in Advanced Instructs, I don't know what rules will be tested in the AFL, although almost all recent rule changes and new interpretations of existing rules (the home plate collision rule, replay, time clock between innings, et al) do get their start in the AFL.  

  • Yep

  • AZ Phil: I've heard that the AFL will be testing out a new force out rule that would affect break-up plays (like the Utley play). Have you heard anything about this new rule and any details about it? Are they testing it out at the advanced instructs as well?

  • Pretty sure I already know the answer to this, but since I will be in NYC next week I want to confirm... If the Cubs were to advance to the NLCS, the winner of LAD/NYM would have home field based on being a division winner (as opposed to Cubs by virtue of better record), correct?

  • CUBSTER: This "hammy" is on the other leg I heard last night. See you at the ballyard today young man!

  • Lulz

  • Oh what do you know, Cubster? Go back to your day job.

    --- Ducks, puts on Cardinals cap, runs.

  • Russell had a severe hamstring last year while with the A's system, forcing him to miss the first half of 2014. I've even wondered if his injury last year was a component of Billy Beane putting him on the trade market. He was quoted saying that last year's injury was a 10 out of 10 when it happened. Last night he said his hamstring soreness was a 1/1.5 out of 10. Hamstring injuries are tricky though, so I'd expect the medical team to be overly cautious here.

  • ...I want to reinforce the observation that there was no sea of red in the crowd. The usual Cardinal fans roaming the stadium were few and far between.

    Also, almost every 2 strike pitch brought the fans to their feet. Good for those in knee rehab.

  • "1st team hit hit 6HR in a game in the postseason." rises above obvious...i checked it with the official fact-finding commission of Douche, Douche, and Douchestein. they agreed with you, but they're a bunch of f'n douches so who cares?

    btw, the cubs are 2-1 in the post-season series.