Cubs Beat Rockies in 11; Zambrano Getting Recast

Aramis Ramirez blasted a one-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th to lead the Cubs to a 4-2 win over the Rockies Monday night at Wrigley. Lou Piniella's post-game press conference, the main topic of which was a player who never even appeared in the game, was at least as newsworthy as the main event.

First about the game:

The Cubs had leads of 1-0 and 2-1 courtesy of run-scoring singles by Aramis Ramirez and Koyie Hill, before the Rockies tied the game in the 8th inning on a single and three walks, two by John Grabow and one by Carlos Marmol. Marmol redeemed himself by inducing an inning-ending double play, nicely initiated by Starlin Castro, to preserve the tie. 

From the ninth through the eleventh, Marmol and Sean Marshall held the Rockies scoreless and hitless while fanning seven (!!!).

Castro led off the bottom of the 11th with a single, his third hit of the night. After Derrek Lee lined out to Troy Tulowitzki, Ramirez pounded the game-winning shot halfway up the bleachers in left-center field. It was Ramirez's first HR in 108 AB's, dating all the way back to April 15th in Milwaukee.

The failing of the Cub bullpen—primarily the failure of Grabow—cost Randy Wells a victory on a night when the righty threw a career-high 116 pitches and limited the visitors to 1 run on 7 hits over 6 2/3 innings. He also pitched himself out of a potentially disastrous fourth inning, striking out Ian Stewart and Clint Barmes to get out of a bases loaded, one out jam.

About the press conference and events leading up to it...

When Grabow took the mound to begin the eighth inning, Kasper and Brenly pointed out that only Carlos Marmol was warming up in the pen. Our 8th Inning Man, Carlos Zambrano, was nowhere to be least not until the tv cameras found him sitting in the dugout alongside Geovany Soto.

In his post-game meeting with the press, Piniella explained that Zambrano's role in the bullpen would be changing. Piniella, as quoted by Sullivan in the Tribune:

We thought the outcome (of moving Z to the bullpen) would be different. He's not as comfortable in the bullpen pitching short. So we're going to use him in a different role, give him some stamina, build up his arm.

Piniella said his lefties, Grabow and Marshall, would serve as setup men and in answer to a direction question, Lou finally said that Zambrano would rejoin the starting rotation "down the road, if need be."

I guess that means long relief for now. Thing is, Cub starters are averaging better than six innings per outing so it doesn't seem like there is much "long relief" duty to be had. Unless we're talking about mop-up duty in those lost cause games, in which case I'd say that having an $18MM-a-year Mop-Up Man seems a lot sillier than having an $18MM-a-year Setup Guy.

Like just about everything involving this team this year, the Zambrano situation should be fascinating, if not actually enjoyable, to watch.


this Z stuff is beyond f'n weird...

Zambrano has to be hurt in some minor way he's trying to play through, right? Or are we really just waiting for some other starter to beyond suck?

Z stuff is weird, but before you give up on your $18M pitcher Cubs, take a look at Zito in San Fran.

It does sound like he's just on his way back to the rotation as soon as they can make that happen.

Marmol pitched on his 3rd straight day and went 1+. And Marshall has gone 2 straight. Wonder who would get the save opp Tuesday night if it comes to that?

Good year aside, I still think the Giants would like a do-over on that deal for Zito. Lilly looks like a steal in comparison.

With another terrible home start or two by Javier Vazquez, perhaps the yankees would consider taking on Z in a straight-up exchange ... they can afford the luxury of a durable # 3-4 starter at 18Mil a year for the next two seasons, and provides additional insurance for whenever Petite breaks down/retires. Vazquez comes off the books at the end of the year.

I'm sure they'd like a do-over on Zito, but they'd be even more pissed had they released him or traded him for nothing and had to pay most of his remaining contract.

Z's problem is that his velocity is the only thing that's dropped faster than his trade value. The odds of anyone giving up anything for him at this point are virtually zero.

reached base 3 times with 2 SB's out of the leadoff spot for the O's...

here's to small miracles

from the Daily Herald...

"He told me today there may be a chance to go back to the rotation," Z said. "We'll see how everything works in the next outings for me. Tomorrow will be a big day in the bullpen for me. I may throw 40 or 45 pitches. Like I told one of my teammates in BP, Silva may come tomorrow dealing and throw 80 pitches and I might pitch tomorrow."


"I'm happy," Z said. "As long as this team is happy, I'm happy for this team. Like I said before, guys, whatever this team wants me to do, I do. This is a business, and they're the boss. If the boss wants me to close games, I close games. If the boss wants me to start games, I will start games.

props to Z for taking it in stride. i hope he gets a shot to prove he's the high pitch throwing front-rotation starter he's shown he can be. it's not like his last start before he got bumped down was some tragedy or his arm gave out after 80-90 pitches or something.

Lou is waiting for Silva to become Silva?

And this may be splitting hairs, but taking it in stride and saying all the right things are two different things. I'm not sure which is more important, though.

Well Gorzalany is becoming Gorzalany again.

Maybe Z had a "Delonte West" situation with Mrs. Piniella.


Could it be that Byrd and Silva are the team's MVP's so far?

Some consider Silva "lucky", but it is hard to argue with 4-0.

The team would be in last place without his wins! lol


The other thing with Z is if Hendry turns a couple overachieving starters into prospects or a machine to teleport Grabow to North Korea, then Carlos is going to be rested and fresh for the stretch run.

Grabow goes to Noth Korea, is revered, becomes new supreme leader, forms new Axis of Evil with Howry and Mel Rojas

/foreign policy Cubbery

Fear any missles launched by Howry. They'll be right down main street.

Marmol and Marshall might both be unavailable tonight. Either Silva's going to throw a complete game or Z is going to pitch tonight, likely in a leverage situation.

Two wins in a row... wow. Now we're cooking with gas.

TCR gets more exposure from Neyer:

Maybe he finally figured out that Yellon is a moron.

Props again, guys,and this time it was for a different writer.

Interesting article in that he doesn't point out why the Cubs have a high OPS but are mediocre in scoring runs. To paraphrase Bill James "Lineup construction doesn't make much difference, unless you do something really stupid"... like hit your worst two batters 3-5 for the majority of the season?

Two really big RBI's for Aram-Ram last night. If he can finally get it going, we should be alright.

To paraphrase Bill James "Lineup construction doesn't make much difference, unless you do something really stupid"... like hit your worst two batters 3-5 for the majority of the season?


Thanks, Beasley, for the heads up and RN for the props.

I've always liked Neyer. Turns out he also has spectacularly good taste in fan blogs.

And in Real Neals world he can predict slumps before they happen just like he predicted Soriano was finished and needed to be removed from the prime RBI sports......ohhh wait that was around the time he was getting hot again. Oppps my bad.

Interesting, link the comment.

I am pretty sure I can link one where you thought that Aramis should fight through his slump a month ago... wrong again!

A month ago it was 2 weeks into the season anyone clamoring for someone to be benched is a damn fool.

So I will ask can you predict the future? Like when players are out of slumps or just a 2 day binge and back to sucking.
You make sound like as soon as a guy goes 0-4 it's time to move him out of the heart of the order or week or whatever.

Well every team does get an allotment of playoff tickets.

Clearly he was drunk, stoned, or whacked out on PCP.

Playoff teams don't have a 1-5 record against the Pirates:
End. Of. Story.

has CZ been castrated [who's that procedure named after]?

cashner wins again last night, tho only one k in 6...perfect inning for deep threat...jackson threw 2 scoreless night before...something is coming - what is it?

I think Ryan Theriot got Castroted.

Think that was Fontenot. Tracy too, maybe.

Maybe the Cubs should try piggy-backing their starters, like they do at Extended Spring Training (Mincone/Liria, F. Batista/Figueroa, Kirk/Mitchell, and M. Perez/Y. Wang, becomes Silva/Zambrano, Wells/Gorzelanny, Lilly/Cashner, and Dempster/Russell), with Marmol, Marshall, Caridad and Grabow the late-inning relievers.

And if a pitcher is struggling or has thrown too many pitches in the inning, the manager just yells "Roll it!" and the inning is magically over (great way for getting out of bases loaded no out jams!).

And a ten-man, two-DH batting order would be a good way to get Soriano off the field and Nady, Colvin, and/or Fontenot into the lineup at the same time.

I'm a huge AZ Phil fan, and I'm not sure if you are being entirely serious, but I'm not a fan of this idea. The more moving parts you have, the higher chance you have of a failure. This is a weakness of Ozzie Guillen's 7-pitchers per game thing that he does, imo. All you need is one guy to have a bad day for things to go sideways.

I'm pretty sure his tongue was firmly against his cheek.

Well, there you go. These are the times we live in: you don't know what is satire and what isn't.

nice pic of Sosa from 2001 in the sidebar Cubnut.

oh wait...

If I were to guess, I would say that's the classic B&W of the govenor of California which was used in the Guiness Book of WR's as the "most perfect physique" for years.

Good guesses from both of you. Actually I just pointed my camera in the mirror after brushing my teeth and well, there you go.


and we have our comment of the day

After all of the Ramirez benching stuff and the rift that seems to be developing between him and Fredi Gonzalez, who goes first? Ramirez or Gonzalez? Hanley Ramirez is arguably the most exciting player in the major leagues. If you are Jim Hendry and you need a ridiculously large shake-up like this team needs, do you consider dealing for Ramirez? I'm kinda torn on this. I feel like it would be a great move to acquire him and his defense and his bat, but at the expense of essentially completely cleaning out the farm system, as well as taking on a player with his attitude. Does the good outweigh the bad? I'm not interested in insults, just good baseball conversation

well if you're the Marlins, it should be Gonzalez

but you're talking Castro, Vitters, Cashner, Colvin, Jackson package (not all of them, but at least 3) and the added salary for a guy that isn't a a particularly good defensive shortstop.

not that I'd complain if it happened...

I might complain. I was thinking a while back about how his value might get a boost with a move to 2B, where his defense wouldn't be as much of a liability but his bat would still be extremely valuable.

However, I think I recall reading somewhere that Ramirez takes "pride" in being a shortstop and would strongly resist a move. Between that and the scuffles he's had with Gonzalez/Girarid, he strikes as the kind of guy you don't empty the farm and break the bank for.

Being a great hitter forgives a lot but not everything.

If the Cubs were contending, I would say sure. Since they aren't, no. Instead of buying, the Cubs should think about selling.


I was wondering if the Mets would consider a DLee and Ted Lilly for Ike Davis and Fernando Martinez swap?

Especially if the Cubs paid Lee and Lilly's salaries?

That would make me sad. I want Lee to retire as a Cub. He saves so many terrible throws. Still, you have to give up something to get something.

Isn't that right, Dr. aaron b.?

Isn't... that... right...? :)

Yes, that is correct.......

You have to give up something to get something in return. That is generally how the barter and trade system works.

bit early to be sellers. they got another month and 1/2 to figure out if 5.5 games back is a death sentence.

Problem is, if they wait to sell. They run the risk of

A) being in a diminished market with more sellers and less buyers

B) Lessening the value of having Lilly/Lee available to a new team for as many games.

it's mid-may and they're 5.5 back...123 games left to play...140m team.

they got decent starting pitching and 5-6 regulars batting over .300.

the pen is a disaster, but i doubt very seriously they're thinking "sell" right now.

the less a team has to pay Lee or Lilly, the more the Cubs will get. Not like Lee is doing anything right now that is going to have teams knocking on the Cubs door.

that being said, the earlier you'd see a trade is early to mid June and Hendry has never shown any inclination to give up on a year until it's completely out of reach.

I said if the Cubs are willing to pay the remaining portion of Lee and Lilly's deals.

Tickets are already sold, Cubs are on the hook anyways. Might as well see if you can buy a prospect or two by cutting bait early.

Just a thought?

The thing is, if Lee and Lilly were good, they would have interested parties. However, if they were good, then the Cubs would be good and there'd be no reason to trade them.

And considering that this is Hendry's 140M mess. I don't think it's really his call as to when the plug should be pulled.

More a matter of how/when Ricketts wants to proceed with the rebuild. Lee and Lilly are likely gone in 2011 anyway. Better to punt and get something than to bitch about it in December....

so your theory is the Rickets will tell Hendry he put together a bad team and should start selling, yet let Hendry do the selling?

uh no.

Rickets have been pretty vocal about saying they're not interfering with anything related on the field. They'll fire Hendry and replace him first (which probably wouldn't happen until after the season) or wait for Hendry to tell them it's time to start making some moves for next year, which is when the Rickets should give him his gold watch and thank him for his service to the organization.

I think they should fire Hendry and get a long term replacement in here.

However I doubt that they just give Hendry free reign to do whatever he wants to this club in the meantime. Surely if they want the rebuild to start, they can mandate Hendry to solicit offers for the vets on the roster.

If Hendry wants to stay in the organization at some other capacity he will surely comply with the owners wishes....

wasn't ramirez yanked for doing essentially what castro did last week? neither a rookie nor a star vet should have to be called out re: basic hustle, but times have changed...gonzalez maybe should have handled this in the dugout tunnel; if one has to go it won't be the star ss; managers are a dime a dozen - not so, batting champs...

cub trivia: lee & soriano tied @ 297 homers; who gets to 300 first?

Hanley fouled a ball of his leg earlier and didn't run out a groundball. Tension has been brewing between him and Fredi for awhile as well.

far worse than what Castro did, but maybe he was hurt...

Castro didn't really do anything wrong - he just got outsmarted. I guess I am the only person here who remembers the play, but it was Hanley Ramirez who did the out-smarting.

I think you're the only one here who is interpreting it like that. The ball wasn't that deep in the hole although I'm sure Theriot would have never thrown him out. After flubbing it, he takes a quick look back and then jogs lazily after it. Problem is Hanley never stopped running, slowing down slightly rounding the bag, so not sure what Castro saw when he looked back.

Castro wasn't dogging it purposefully like Ramirez, but he let himself get frustrated with his third error.

Of course Soriano wasn't really busting it either trying to get the ball behind him either.

OK, that's your opinion, now watch some baseball games. Ozzie Smith would have done the same thing. You check the runner and then you go pick up the ball. You don't run at full speed. Had he got Ramirez out, would it have been a good play or bad play?

well whatever Castro was checking, it wasn't the runner or he's a really bad judge cause Ramirez rounded first base without slowing down much.

it would have been a good play if he went after the ball and made sure Hanley wasn't taking 2nd cause if you look at the replay Hanley didn't dupe him or anything, he just kept running.

Really? Soriano, I guess.

Maybe if he had just stood there after he booted the ball, like the left fielder and centerfielder did, he wouldn't have gotten into trouble with his moron Marlin manager.

If you watch the video, you'll see the CF pulled up instead of backing up the play and the LF stopped cold instead of chasing the ball. Why weren't they yanked out of the game?

hanley is a long-known issue/attitude problem.

the guy makes sosa's "homer watching" tendencies look like sosa busted ass around the bases from the second he made contact.

he's VIP and expects to be treated as such. got a problem...then trade him to someone who can deal with him. he's probably not "shaping up" any time soon.

if you watch the video, you'll see the CFer is over 100 feet from the play and that Hanley kicked the ball in the direction he was running and for a moment sprinted after it which is when the LFer figured Hanley had it, before Hanley went into shutdown mode.

think they have to keep CZ docile until Lilly gets traded near the deadline...2 months' worth of horse tranquilizers!

thanks for the link...little i heard on car radio @ lunch sounded like simple failure to hustle after a booted ball @ short...definitely more to it than that...whatever the result, i'm w/ gonzo!

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  • rizzo #32...ties career high.

    crunch 57 min 35 sec ago view
  • The team, farm and scouting system were barren when they arrive.
    They punted two seasons, third season 73 wins which is what happened about 75% of the time in last 50 years

    jacos 1 hour 2 min ago view

    crunch 2 hours 33 min ago view
  • there was more than one way to get there


    Rob G. 2 hours 38 min ago view
  • supposedly jed "who?" hoyer, too

    crunch 2 hours 41 min ago view
  • same...i just happen to not like sitting through shit sandwich meals for multiple years. baseball is kinda boring when you're punting on 1st down for a slew of years in a row.

    i fully understand why it was done, but i didn't enjoy it. there was more than one way to get competitive and this was the chosen way.

    crunch 2 hours 42 min ago view
  • fwiw, apparently McLeod signed extension as well after he didn't get Twins gig.

    Rob G. 2 hours 42 min ago view
  • I am once again reminded why I am happy that Theo is running the organization.

    Rob Richardson 2 hours 48 min ago view
  • if not they can just intentionally tank the team for 3-4 years and rebuild.




    crunch 2 hours 50 min ago view
  • Hopefully after the Cubs complete their sevenpeat :)

    Rob Richardson 3 hours 2 min ago view
  • They're the best in the business and have been for 12 years running now. The only question is when they'll get bored of it.

    Rob G. 3 hours 5 min ago view
  • I was right here. I don't require my GM's to be perfect, but I would like them to understand what wins baseball games (IMO controlling the strike zone and creating/avoiding outs), and knowing where the organization is in the success cycle.

    Theo and company have made and will make plenty of mistakes, but they seem to understand those two items pretty well.

    Rob Richardson 3 hours 8 min ago view
  • Now we're all Theo-believers, where were you when he signed Edwin Jackson? Or how about trading away DJ Lemehaiu? And not signing Samardzija to an extension? Or not pursuing Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols? Or signing Lester? Or trading away Cashner, Dempster, Feldman, etc?...I think I'm losing the narrative here.

    So his deal runs through 2021? Which pretty much coincides when all these guys are due to hit free agency.

    Rob G. 3 hours 19 min ago view
  • Great news.

    "Terms of the deal were not disclosed."

    Rob Richardson 3 hours 45 min ago view
  • Theo inks five year extension

    PC tonite at PNC

    jacos 4 hours 7 min ago view
  • Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.

    billybucks 4 hours 55 min ago view