Game Preview: Pirates (26-50) vs. Cubs (33-43)

First, the lineups...

Tabata, LaRoche, McCutchen, Jones, Milledge, Alvarez, Doumit, Cedeno, Karstens


Fukudome, Theriot, Lee, Ramirez, Colvin, Soriano, Hill, Castro, Lilly.

Now, the news...

- Z gets sent to the corner with his dunce cap and Grab-Ass to the disabled list with a sprained knee. Miles says Grab-Ass should be out 3-4 weeks. Jeff Stevens and James Russell get the call-ups with Tom Gorzelanny scheduled to start tomorrow.

- Jon Morosi of Fox Sports  says that the Red Sox and Cubs discussed a deal for Mike Fontenot before the Red Sox grabbed Eric Patterson after he was DFA'd by the A's. Morosi also says that the Cubs are "halfway" to sell mode...half-assing it as always.

- The Smokies landed 9 on the Southern League All-Star team after taking the first half division title. They are:

OF Tony Campana

C Robinson Chirinos

C Steve Clevenger

1B Blake Lalli

OF Ty Wright

RHP Austin Bibens-Dirx

RHP David Cales

LHP Ryan Buchter

RHP Hung-Wen Chen

Andrew Cashner and Starlin Castro were also early contributors to their run.

- Bruce Levine put this piece of info out there in his chat today.

The reasons Hendry was enabled to sign people to long-term deals was Sam Zell's insistence that they build up the product so he can get a higher buyout from the Ricketts family. Hendry was on an airplane when the Soriano deal was done by other team executives. Jim has to take his share of blame, but let's not start with revisionist history.

As one of our readers pointed out, Zell hadn't even bought the team by that point (wasn't until April of 2007), so Levine seems to just be shoveling whatever B.S. Hendry is feeding him...or just made an honest mistake about the timeline of ownership.

Cubs try to solve the Pirates puzzle today...recommended for ages 4-5, but does require adult supervision.


From Miles: "Lou said John Grabow will be out three weeks to a month with something more than a mild sprain of his left knee."

heh, just modified the post to add that.

Miles also been pimping Soriano back to the leadoff spot. hope crunch doesn't read that.

soriano was already wasted...we can't get those years back.

good to see him back hitting 6th. go aram.

Didn't we make the playoffs in those years?

The Cubs also scored a lot more runs per game.

Other than those 2 minor things, it kind of sucked.

Well, I can't get on board with that correlation = causation thing, but unless the idea is that batting someone else leadoff in the '07 and '08 playoff would have made us win, what's the point?

"Well, I can't get on board with that correlation = causation thing"

me either.

when you got a guy who hits more or nearly more xbase hits than he has RBIs that says a lot more to me before we even get to the parts where he kept leading off while he had to windmill his legs just to run more than a jogging pace.

Well, he has not hit lead off this year and that hasn't changed. He has 37 XBH and 38 RBI.

he ॰ight as well have the 8th hitter and pitcher hitting in front of him, thway lee and aram are hitting.

yeah, what he said.

the 2 guys in front of him are struggling to hit .200 combined all season...and the ob% isn't getting much better.

it's july...c'mon lou. move some guys. may is over.

today's lineup aram finally moves out of the 4 slot...where dlee takes his place...and aram is 5th...and soriano is 6th.

"finally moves out of the 4 slot"

A-Ram's batted 5th almost as often this year as he's batted 4th.

the point being, as has always been my point is that the Cubs did just fine when Soriano was hitting like he should be hitting in the leadoff spot because a)the Cubs don't have a much better option for the leadoff spot b)the increased number of PA's outweighs or at least equalizes the less than ideal lineup construction. Not like they're running much with Theriot or Fukudome up there.

now when Soriano was hitting like he did in 2009, he had no business up there or anywhere but 8th or on the bench.

Moving him down in the order has literally solved nothing and if anything made the Cubs worse, even if just coincidentally.

personally being up 1-0 in the 1st is kind of neat too...and just kind of wondering out loud, I'd be curious to know what the Cubs record was when he hit a leadoff HR? versus when he hits a HR in a non-leadoff spot since being moved?

"even if just coincidentally"

well empirically, it doesn't make any team better giving Theriot the 120 PA's that Soriano was getting.

In case you didn't see it in our Twitter feed...

At no time this year, over 86 2/3 IP, has Ted Lilly been on the mound with a lead of more than two runs.

For Lilly's sake, I hope he ends this season with a much better team than the one he's pitching for right now. He's earned it.

They said last night the Cubs have yet to score four runs in any of his starts.

And in other news, the Cubs won a nice game today, with the exception of another overall poor offensive performance. Nice to see Soriano generate some offense though, and great start by Lilly.

Thomas Diamond in a 0-0 game after 4 ip, Shark comes in bottom of 5th and this happened...

New Orleans Bottom 5th
Pitcher Change: Jeff Samardzija replaces Thomas Diamond, batting 9th.
Offensive Substitution: Pinch hitter Scott Cousins replaces Brian Lawrence. Scott Cousins walks.
Cameron Maybin strikes out swinging.
Danny Richar singles on a line drive to left fielder Bryan LaHair. Scott Cousins to 3rd. Danny Richar advances to 2nd, on throwing error by left fielder Bryan LaHair.
Jeff Samardzija intentionally walks Logan Morrison.
Hector Luna hits a grand slam (14) to left field. Scott Cousins scores. Danny Richar scores. Logan Morrison scores.
Donnie Murphy walks.
Coaching visit to mound.
Bryan Petersen walks. Donnie Murphy to 2nd.
On-field Delay.
Brad Davis called out on strikes.
Mark Saccomanno homers (1) on a fly ball to left field. Donnie Murphy scores. Bryan Petersen scores.
Scott Cousins grounds out to first baseman Micah Hoffpauir.

Game called after 5, rain. Final 7-0.

Time to reinvent him as a catcher?

... or football?

... for Green Bay?


joe migrane just on wscr.
said he was talking to lou at xmas party last year and lou was fed up wih z then. also said there were more issues wih z that were not made public in the past.

I am firmly convinced that Soriano should be traded as soon as possible while he still appears to have trade value and as long as the receiving team pays nearly all of his contract. He might be clobbering the ball now, but this is not a contract we want to be under for another 4 years.

I doubt any team would be willing to pay nearly all of $72 million for Soriano over the next 4 years.

Check again in two years, when the money is sorta managable. He's no Manny Ramirez but Ramirez went from untradeable to a guy people wanted to give up prospects for as his contract got closer to expiration.


He was put on waivers and not claimed twice.

Ramirez was traded with 2 months left on his contract and the Red Sox paid all that was remaining. If the Cubs paid all of Soriano's salary they would probably get a few prospects back as well.

The Red Sox also got Jason Bay on a below-market contract in that trade... they did essentially wind up paying $12 million and two C+ prospects for 2/5ths of a season for Bay, though.

But even if the Cubs find a taker for him, Soriano has a "no trade" and there is no indication he wants to leave.

True, but there's not much to stay for, either.

The nightlife.

And the line of young latin boys provided by the Cubs farm system.


Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • 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.