Game 2 Recap - Cubs Almost Lose to the Pirates Again

Box Score | Video

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
Pirates 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0   3 5 1
Cubs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 x   5 9 0

I know, I know, it's just the second game of the season and it doesn't matter where you get your wins, but losing to the 'effin Pirates irks me like nothing else. I feel comfortable labeling today's game the first must win of the season. :)

The Good: Z pitched well enough, and if not for a cramp, had a chance to leave with 7 IP and 3 ER. I think we'd accept that everytime. The team managed some extra-base hits, the first of the season by Z himself with Baker, Soriano and DeWitt also hitting doubles. The bullpen retired the last 9 in a row after Wood walked his first hitter (Ronny Cedeno of all people) and as a group struck out 6 over those 3 inningss. And of course the 8th inning...

Fukudome worked a nice walk laying off a close 3-2 pitch off the inside corner. Castro launched one to the ivy in right for a double that scored Fukudome. Byrd was due up next and all I asked for was something to the right side and he obliged on a 1-2 fastball with a grounder to Overbay who muffed it about as bad as anyone could muff a routine grounder. Castro hustled home for the second run after the ball bounced into short right. After a Ramirez flyout, Soto delivered his second hit of the day, but Pena popped out weakly leaving it up to Soriano to try and tie the game or better. After looking slow on a few fastballs, Soriano caught up to one on the outside corner and it dropped in right center easily scoring the tying run and Evan Meek was done for the day. Chris Resop came in and walked Colvin and then Blake DeWitt went with the pitch over the third basemen's head for the game-winning hit. And there was joy in Cubville....

The Bad: The hackers were back out, with the Cubs swinging at 4 of the first 5 pitches of the game and something like 39 pitches through 4. Here's what the first batter did in Maholm's 7 innings thanks to ESPN pitch-by-pitch summary:

  1. Strike (foul), J Baker lined out to center
  2. A Ramirez grounded out to third
  3. A Soriano flied out to center
  4. Ball, Strike (looking), S Castro singled to center
  5. Strike (foul), Strike (looking), Ball, Ball, Foul, G Soto singled to left
  6. Strike (foul), J Baker doubled to deep left center
  7. Strike (swinging), Ball, Strike (bunted foul), Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, C Pena walked

I believe Z had the best early at-bat working Maholm to 7 pitches before his double. On the day they ended up with 2 walks off Maholm (and no runs) and then another two walks off Meek and Resop in the 8th (5 runs). The offense as a whole looked befuddled for the most part.

Z downed too much caffeine and not enough water again and had to leave with a cramp in his arm. It's the new Z everyone!!!

The Armchair Managing:  I did think that in a 3-0 game with a runner in scoring position that Q-Ball should have burned Reed Johnson with 2 outs after Clint Hurdle went to the bullpen and Jose Veras. I think you put Fukudome in there because Reed is pretty much Neifi versus right-handers. It worked out in the 8th though when he did use Fukudome to lead-off and pinch-hit for Jeff Baker and he drew a walk on a close 3-2 pitch and ended up scoring. So all is forgiven in a win...

I'm curious about the Tyler Colvin plan. He handled himself well enough today against the lefty, but is this gonna be a strict platoon with Fukudome? Johnson would obviously be the better option for that against lefties, but I understand trying to get Colvin some at-bats while trying to use Fukudome's OBP advantage as the leadoff hitter. But if so, Colvin's numbers are sure to suffer although it'll certainly help him for next year having to battle lefties a lot.  I imagine Q-Ball will try to play some sort of matchups, or the hot hand once they played long enough to figure that out. And I imagine Colvin will get the occasional start at first base too. Something to keep an eye on...

Garza vs. Ohlendorf tomorrow...

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Comments

is there a group of you willing to update the bullpen chart using Google docs?

I can put it back on the right sidebar and allow access to anyone willing, but I can't keep up with it everyday myself.

3-4 volunteers would be great, simply if you notice it not updated yet, you go to a Google spreadsheet and fill in the pertinent info.

i'm in. i spend enough time on the innerwebs that it shouldn't even be much of a big deal...especially shared over multiple people.

thanks, if I can get one to two more we should be good to go.

I can help.

Likewise. I'm here every day or two.

I allowed access to the 3 of you using Google Docs with the email address you have associated to your username.

If there's another email address to use, please use the contact form or the email address that I just sent out.

I'll send directions out in a bit.

Chris Tillman through 5

through 6

removed in the 7th...100 pitches

ah pitch counts....

Accardo in looking for the combo no-hitter

6.2 IP, Upton finally singles

Pie nails BJ Upton at the plate by plenty, granted not many people besides Upton would try to score on that play.

Wally Bell has a very generous outside corner to lefties

Markakis makes an amazing play to save Gregg and the game

It will be interesting to watch Lilly's velocity this year and see if it returns at all, it's been a full year since his surgery. I wondered last year if his velocity was down for good or would eventually come back, not that he threw hard before.

He'll settle down and have a good season.

C. Kahrl (no longer at BP?)/ESPN article on Pena showing bunt against the shift. I'm liking that someone is giving thought to it.

You can consider bunting towards the empty field as a way of trying to tweak scouting reports, and perhaps creating a baserunner when you're desperate for one -- as the Cubs were in this situation.

http://espn.go.com/blog/SweetSpot/post/_/id/8...

Jim Edmonds did that when they started trying the Williams shift on him. That nipped it in the bud pretty quickly.

Rothschild plan after the towel drills are over...

The Yankees plan to be patient with Mark Prior, who pitched great in spring training but was never really in consideration for a spot. His key is to develop a routine as a reliever, warming up often and working consecutive days. He was assigned to Class A Tampa because pitching coach Larry Rothschild didn't want him pitching in cold weather. …

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

Did you see the article where Joba Chamberlain credited LARRY with new found consistent zip on his fastball?

you know, besides Cubs fans, just about everyone else around baseball likes Larry.

I am beginning to love Mike Quade more and more each day. Today's line-up, Castro leads off followed by Barney in the two hole. The one/two combination of the present and hopefully, future.

You love that?? Castro is our best hitter...should be hitting third.

Barney should never bat higher than 8th, possibly 9th when Z is pitching.

I guess depending on your opinion of them, he has 2 of the better power hitters on the team hitting 6th and 8th and Marlon Byrd still batting 3rd.

Roger that.

I suppose Quade wants to at least attempt some changes to try and get anyone on base in the early innings and hope "contact guys" can have some success.

But that means Pena...

Just NO SB ATTEMPTS please, by the former duck.

Who else do they have that can lead off? At this point Castro is a run scorer, not a run producer. If they hit him third, who is he going to drive in? I am hoping that this is just the start to something bigger. Soto should be batting third and Colvin should be in the line-up everyday. It is time for the Cubs to turn the corner and had over the keys to our young players.
Everyone is negative of Barney because they compare him to Theriot and he is not. Barney has won everywhere he has been and it has not been because the talent around him was superior to the teams they were playing (like Theriot in college). Barney is a true baseball player and a winner and the sooner the Cubs realize this the better off the team will be. Having played baseball my whole life and in college, there are certain players that just get it and make those around them better and I believe that is the type of player that Barney is.

That's great, but bat him 8th.

Fukudome seems to be doing just fine leading off at the moment.

But I don't mind Castro batting first either on some days, I do mind Barney hitting 2nd.

Didn't Theriot win a College World Series or did they just make the finals? And then there were his first two seasons with the Cubs. I don't recall how his minor league teams did.

Theriot success in college was more a result of the talent around him than his influence on the team. Barney led two of the biggest underdogs ever to back to back world series titles and granted, they had talent, he was without doubt the leader of those teams. Look at the success that his teams have had in the minors. Every successful Cubs farm team for the last say 5 years has one link and that is Barney. Is he going to hit double digit hrs, no. Is he going to hit over .300, possibly. But if you ask others in baseball about him you will hear the same thing, he is a winner. Now I am not trying to paint Barney as a savior but he is the exact type of player the Cubs have been lacking throughout their history, a proven winner who gets it and makes his teammates better. Just give him a chance.
Seems to me that I remember another long suffering franchise who turned to an undersized, converted ss to 2nd baseman who was too small to make it in the bigs and all he did was contribute to them becoming World Champs and now is the unquestioned leader of that franchise.

Theriot success in college was more a result of the talent around him

You may want to reconsider this, College Baseball Expert:

Via LSU Sports.net:

"LSU’s second-leading hitter on the year, batting .353 (94-for-266) with 18 doubles, three triples, one homer and 48 RBI ... voted second-team all-SEC by the league coaches ... finished his career in the Top 10 in several school categories, including hits (No. 8 – 255), triples (No. 9 – nine) and walks (No. 5 – 157) ... he also collected 625 assists, tying Jason Williams (1993-96) for first place in LSU career annals ... LSU’s leading hitter in SEC games in 2001, batting .374 (46-for-123) with 11 doubles, one triple, 18 RBI and 24 runs ... posted a team-best 17-game hitting streak during the season ... named SEC Player of the Week April 9 after an 8-for-12 performance in three games at South Carolina (April 6-8) ... 4-for-6 with one double, three runs and two RBI vs. Ole Miss (April 14) ... 4-for-6 with two runs at South Carolina (April 7) ... 2-for-5 with one double and a career-high four RBI vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (April 10)."

His 2000 CWS Line - 4 Games (0 errors) OBP

Ryan Theriot........ .368 4-4 19 6 7 1 0 0 4 8 .421

He had the nice benefit of having Hawpe and Fontenot on the same team, but he had PLENTY of success on his own, regardless of whom was around him.

there is no reason for the sarcasm or negativity, I was just trying to distance Barney from Theriot because everyone is so down on Theriot. Theriot was a very good college player and had a great college career. He was exactly what the Cubs needed at the time when he came up and produced for them and for whatever reason, got away from doing what got him to the majors and I believe got a little full of himself. Again, I am not trying to paint Barney as the savior of this team or the organization, but after 100+ years of suffering, it is time to think outside the box and go with guys that make the team better, not the guys with the highest contracts. It is nice to see the Cubs manager try different things and get everyone involved, because the quickest way to develop a strong team is to have competition for playing time. This keeps the veterans on their toes and lets the kids know that if you produce you are going to play.

So, Barney's team won the CWS, and then the next year they were one of the biggest underdogs ever to win the CWS? That's really surprising.

He played with two other guys who are already in the bigs at OSU (also Jacob Ellsbury his freshman year). From the 2007 team two other guys were first run supplemental picks, and 13 guys got drafted.

For comparison, there were five guys from Theriot's draft class at LSU who reached the bigs, and Theriot has been the only one who is amounted to anything.

Personally, I believe Barney will prove to be a better player than Theriot.

Having watched Barney in the CWS, I was not angry when Wilken selected him.

But, in college, The Riot was also named to the All Tournament CWS squad w/Fontenot, and IIRC had the GWH in the final game giving the title to the Tigers.

So, characterizing Theriot as his success was due to whom he had around him is just BS.

Every successful Cubs farm team for the last say 5 years has one link and that is Barney.

Considering he's been with the organization since 2007, that's quite the feat.

2007 - played for Peoria for 44 games, they missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker. AA Tennessee (sans Barney) did make the playoffs though.

2008 - Daytona - they did win the FSL, I'm sure it was all because of Barney's .682 OPS

2009 - split between AA/AAA, not sure when he made the move, but AA had a better 2nd half that got them in the playoffs and likely after Barney left. Iowa ended up a .500 team.

2010 - Iowa just missed the playoffs.

Sandberg was manager of 3 of those teams btw.

I stand corrected and if I am wrong about the results the Cubs achieve by playing Barney then I will be the first person to admit it. And as far as Sandberg is concerned, I wanted him to get the job more than anybody and it kills me to know that he is now in another organization. The point that I am trying to make is that it is nice to see that the manager is not going to sit around and wait for things to change, he is going to take steps and make changes to get more guys an opportunity. Whatever it takes to produce a consistant winner on the north side is all that I am asking for them to do.

"Every successful Cubs farm team for the last say 5 years has one link and that is Barney."

He was on the FSL champ Daytona Cubs in 2008. So were a lot of other players, including Tony Thomas, championship series MVP.

No other Cub farm team in the last five years has been "successful" in the sense of winning a championship.

Last year, Barney's Iowa team missed the playoffs, while Tennessee was more successful in advancing to the playoff finals.

The 2nd spot has a lot to do with patience, protecting a base runner, how well does the leadoff hitter run, can he keep the ball in the air, etc. Overall batting ability is less important, imo.

Overall batting ability is less important, imo.

Yea... who cares how good the player is that will get the 2nd most plate appearances on your team.

McCutchen may be out today with a Hockey type injury (upper body), delay in pitt lineup posting...

http://twitter.com/colin_dunlap/status/545657...

1-2 confirmed by Muskat tweet...

Cubs lineup vs #Pirates for Sun 4/3: SS Castro, 2B Barney, CF Byrd, 3B Ramirez, 1B Pena, C Soto, LF Soriano, RF Colvin, P Garza

Ohlendorf vs Garza today. Shapes up as a battle between pitchers with big fat ERA's around 10.00 in spring training.

On the other hand, Ohly-owned us last year. 2 starts in May vs Cubs: 3 earned runs on 7 hits in 13 innings.

Chance of rain 60%.

Will this be enough moisture for Pena to make him feel comfortable?

Hope he brought his Under Armor as well.

you mean Garza?

Whoops - indeed.

Quade goes Lucy (splainin')...

http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/sports/c...

Sunny about 65, wind blowing hard from the south.

Look for a lot of runs today.

So - out to Left/Left center...

Forecast says "Rain and high of 60 in 60613."

Where did you get "sunny" from?

It's sunny above the clouds :)

I'm out by Joliet, it was clear then front came in.

Hmmm...why would you give a weather forecast for Wrigley when Joliet is no where near Clark and Addison?

To piss you off

Here's hoping I am totally wrong about Garza being a bad fit for the Cubs.

Garza: 8ip of 3 hit ball, also hits a hr, runs bases backwards, then beats up Clint Hurdle who comes out to yell at him as Garza touches home plate. Garza uses Jedi mind tricks on the umpires to stay in the game: "This is not the player you are ejecting."

National Anthem singer is singing A-Merica. God Bless A-Merica. (like A and Merica are two separate words) People in the stands look confused. Wow. He can clearly sing but he's butchering the National Anthem and God Bless America.

This douchebag is taking forever to sing the national anthem.

Geo guns down Tabata. Nice.

My ideal lineup with today's players (still don't like Pena-Sori back to back):

Castro
Colvin
Soto
Ramirez
Pena
Soriano
Byrd
Barney

Nobody told Garza to throw every pitch at Cedeno's face?

4 Top prospects for this shit?

And of course the D didn't help matters botching up a made to order 5-4-3.

Garza will be gone by the 6th if things continue.

He's had two two-out risp innings and let up rbi's in both cases.

One to Ronny Cedeno! He's gotta do better.

he's leaving a few too many 2-strike pitches over the plate, but there's been an absurd amount of luck on some of these Pirates singles.

Yep.

"4 Top prospects for this shit?"

Well, at least you're giving him a chance to prove himself.

OK - 10k's so far. A few lucky hits by Bucs. Garza seems to have recovered as of 6.1 innings.

Edit - make that 11. Also most hits given up in career -12.

Edit 2 - make that 12 k's

Cuscak making his annual visit fwiw

Great throw by Colvin! And Geo tags the runner in the face for good measure :)

Great throw from Colvin to nail runner at home!

Soto puts tag on the face!!!

Hahahaha!

9-2 DP

Rockhead Cedeno comes through again! Nice throw, Ronnie!

Man. Byrd's really struggling with the bat so far.

What a TERRIBLE fucking AB.

ANYTHING but what he did to DP.

And, he just HAS to swing at the first pitch. Nice job Quade!

With A-Ram in the hole, it just was fucking stupid when the guy was 0-The Series.

That's one that they could have had...

UGH -

CUBBERY

By the way. Pena is a pretty good defender.

How would Ron Santo have called the ninth? That's how I'm feeling.

I am a big Castro supporter, but the non-error error he made is what cost the game. He needs to tighten that shit up.

yup...pretty much.

he's still learning on the job, but when it leads to something like that...ow.

He will be fine. His internal clock is fucked up though. He just thinks he can make any play or just has no concept of time. Even on his routine plays it feels like his timing on completing the play is off. He is already a good hitter. Maybe a move to second base is a good idea in the short future?

AZ Phil has already told us that from what he's seen Castro's best position is 2nd. And it does seem like if the Cubs want both Castro and Barney it the game, it would make sense to have Barney at SS and Castro at 2B, except that might mess with Castro's game/head.

Ultimately, I say let him play SS until the Cubs have another serious SS prospect knocking at the door or until they can get a legit, valuable SS to push him over to 2B. But I'm in the "Cubs probably aren't going anywhere this year" camp.

Meh - but his two triples and top of 9th single could have/should have made the difference. There are bigger issues than Castro's fielding brain farts. When I was 21 I was playimg gigs for $15 and chasing tail while going to college - in between smoking weed.

He'll get better. But he wasn't the reason for the L.

We should get used to it.

Agree.

That and the fact that our top hitters have terrible approaches at the plate.

Please end the Byrd batting thyrd experiment.

What is the optimal batting order?

There are various superior lineups that would feature Ramirez or Soto batting third, maybe even Colvin if he is hot at the time, and would mostly feature Byrd batting 7th or, when he's hot, 2nd.

well you know at least he has some speed there to avoid hitting into double plays

i see what you did there

Well, misery loves company:

my favorite former Cub whipping boy, Wil Oh-Man! ERA stands at 27.00.

It is kinda discouraging that the Pirates outplayed the Cubs the entire series.

Today their best player was out, too.

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