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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  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.