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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  • deno ended the season well even though ajax heavily cut into a lot of his chances to play. it's either him or ajax. i'm a bit partial to deno, but least ajax isn't hitting 2nd.

  • Agreed. And, with Hendricks on the mound, Cubs will probably need to score some runs to win -- why not start Soler for his bat and bring in Ajax for defense later?

    NEVER MIND....just re-read the lineup.

  • If the Cubs have the lead in the 8th, who pitches? Rodney? Travis? Yikes.

  • The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.

  • I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.

  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.