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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  • it's day old news, and it's got nothing to do with the cubs, but ichiro signed a $2m deal with MIA (with a $2m option for 2017).

    neat. 41 years old and damn close to 3000 hits.

    also, rain delays suck.

  • take that giants

  • I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.

  • Per Jesse Sanchez at, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus. 

  • BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).

  • TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.

    TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.

  • Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.

  • Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.

    Think Baby Maddux.

    Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.

    Kyle is on the far left.

  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

  • 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.