Game 61 Thread - Maholm vs. Scherzer

The Cubs are actually an almost reasonable 12-15 at home, so maybe they won't get crushed tonight. But as Cubnut noted on Twitter the other day, the Cubs record in last 22 games that didn't involve the San Diego Padres is 2-20.

Tigers Cubs
Jackson, CF
*Campana, CF
*Boesch, RF
Castro, SS
Cabrera, 3B
*DeJesus, RF
*Fielder, 1B
Soriano, LF
Young, LF
*LaHair, 1B
Peralta, SS
*Clevenger, C
Laird, C
Barney, 2B
Worth, 2B
*Stewart, 3B
Scherzer, P
Maholm, P

Big news the last 2 days out of Cubs camp is the signing of Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler and the firing of hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo.  For Jaramillo, he was obviously done the moment they hired Epstein and Hoyer, but there was never a rush to get rid of him. He was under contract and it was one less thing they had to scramble to replace before spring training. And it didn't hurt anyone giving Jaramillo a test run, check out his ideas, see how well he meshes with the new group and maybe they'd learn a thing or two from each other. It's not what the new group envisions so they've put in their own guy for the time being, James Rowson. He was serving as the current minor league hitting coordinator, a job he held with the Yankees over the last 4 years (6 in total with the Bronx Bombers). Phil Rogers heaped this praise upon him in a tweet.

James Rowson, the minor-league hitting coordinator who is replacing Rudy Jaramillo as the Cubs' hitting coach, had impressed Theo Epstein & Co. with his work on prospects like Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo. He's considered excellent in helping hitters improve their plate discipline and learn to "grind out'' at-bats, and benefited from working under Kevin Long with the Yankees.

Nevermind that Baez had one walk in Extended Spring Training (he does have 4 in his very brief time with Peoria though).

As for Soler, it's a minimum 9/$30M deal that could escalate far higher as he'll have the option to go to arbitration each year he's eligibile versus whatever he's guaranteed in his contract. It's certainly not cheap, but the Cubs were desperate to add assets to their talent pool and this was one of the last times they'll be able to simply outbid opponents on prospects. So there were more forces at work here than just, "Is Soler worth that many years and that much money?" Regardless, he'll certainly shoot to the top 3-5 prospects in the system depending on who gets promoted this year and has All-Star potential with big power and a big arm. And the Cubs own his right until he's 29. Hard to complain unless he's a complete wash out.

As for the game, happy to see Campana in there just because if there's ever a team that you want to test their infield defense, the Tigers are that team. Choke up on that bat and put that ball in play Crazy Legs.


Also nice to see LaHair making a start again. I don't care who's pitching, I don't want to see Baker starting at 1B again.

meh, they're 1-0 in their last 1 games with Baker starting.


Completely agree. I can't fathom for the life of me why you would ever start Jeff Baker ahead of a guy who produces runs and who may be valuable to you in either a trade or the future.

Jeff Baker is a nobody who is hitting like one (as opposed to the above-average production vs. LHP he's given us previously).

Muskat tweets that it could be up to a week before Soler deal is official. Pass physical, visas, etc...


outfield is allegedly torn to shreds after 2 concerts.

wind blowing in today.

Theo Epstein complimented Jaramillo on his ability to work with a hitter on his mechanics. Epstein said they wanted more attention paid to the approach at the plate.

Rizzo day to day with right knee contusion.

cubs pitchers still can't bunt.

Theo (paraphrase)

believes as Castro gets older, he's pretty certain he'll develop more power and pitchers will throw him less strikes and then it'll be up to him to be more selective. Not terribly worried about it right now considering his age and says most players would be figuring these things out in AA or AAA right now.

Completely agree. He does things that make me cringe, but if he hadn't been called up to save a GM's career, with his age we would all be giving him a pass for his mistakes in AAA. It just looks bad because we see it on TV, but I doubt anyone his age is mistake free.

What exactly is Tito going to say when asked about Castro? His defense sucks, he hasn't developed since he's gotten to Chicago, and he doesn't have the power to play 3rd base?

Pretty common for a Team Prez to speak complimentary about the assets on the team.

Lets see... so far this year his power has improved, his defense has improved. He does seem to have taken a step backwards in his plate discipline/patience. But overall I would definitely say that he is developing.

But hey, don't let your hate of the guy get in the way.

I don't hate Castro in the least. I think he's a solid young player.

I just think he gets WAY over hyped by Cubs fans. Largely because everyone else on the roster pretty much sucks.

He's to us what Brian Roberts used to be in Baltimore. A good player who the fanbase pretends is a franchise player.

You do know that it isn't just Cubs fans that are very high on Castro, right?

He's a good player. I like the kid.

He's just not a franchise level guy. Not unless he takes a HUGE leap forward.

Maybe he does. Sammy Sosa made the leap from good player to great player. Maybe Castro does the same?

He's 22. How can you know he's not a franchise level guy? He's among the league leaders in stats among shortstops, at 22. His worst stat, OBP, still has him at the 12 spot among MLB shortstops. He is second in the MLB in hits among shortstops. At 22. He is 7th in the MLB among shortstop in OPS, at 22, and his power hasn't even begun to really develop yet.

He has a .299 RISP average. At 22.

He hits to all fields. At 22.

He hits breaking stuff as well as he hits fastballs. At 22.

Fangraphs has him at the top of its list of Tier1 shortstops:

At 22.

I don't think this is Cubs fans overhyping a guy, unless every stats hound and sports writer has decided overnight to become a fan of one of the worst teams in recent baseball history.

I agree 100%, but the real question is how good does Castro have to be for his critics? I don't feel his fans on this board are blind to his shortcomings, but I wouldn't call him a 'franchise player'. Right now, he's a very, very good player who at 22 still has ample room to improve a number of aspects in his game. I'm more inclined to wish the Cubs could find, develop, and/or trade for a lot more Castros. We can only hope Rizzo, Baez, Almora, BJax, and Soler will be as good.

The real thing Castro needs is a manager or mentor who will push him to be the best player he can be. I hoped Baker and Pinella would fill that role, and my jury is still out on Sveum.

Maybe my distance from Chicago his muting the effect, but are people really hyping him so much? He's young and is the Cubs best player...and is good. There's a lot to get excited about. But, Are people really polishing his HOF trophy (are there trophies?) already? Seriously, I don't know, just curious what you mean be over-hype.

I'm team president? COOL

Yeah, it's cool until you're actually responsible for producing results. Then you suddenly have to show competence at doing your job. Jim Frey and Hawk Harrelson come to mind as guys promoted way above their abilities (though technically, they were only made GMs, not team presidents). In my mind, I saw Hawk saying, "I'm GM? COOL!"

I know you were just making a joke -- and I laughed, but it also got me thinking (a dangerous pastime, I know).

I bet GM is a much more difficult position than team president. Could just be my perception, but I think the team president's job is to set an overall strategy and then hire the right people to execute it. The GM's job is to actually execute the strategy.

It's probably pretty easy to be a GM when the team president makes all the decisions a normal GM makes.

Yeah I'm not sure what's going on with the Cubs' situation. What is Hoyer responsible for?

Don't fuck this up.

pick up the ball fat ass

And soriano is still an idiot.

He actually bailed out crazy legs on a play. That's a first.

this DET infield is epic.

cubs take the lead.

scrubbies win! save.


fwiw, first error by Peralta was a bad call.

Second error looked like a bad call as well. Tigers got screwed. Of course, if Peralta makes those two routine plays looks routine, they wouldn't have been screwed.

Campana's 3 steals gives him the major league lead with 21 now.

Castro is tied for 5th with 16.

9th as a team in majors, 4th in NL though.

Offense 14th in runs scored in NL/27th in majors.

cubs have the 2nd best winning streak in all of the NL and the best overall in the NL Central.

it's a 2 game streak, but this is a season of small victories.

Now, let's reward those efforts by keeping him on the bench for a week. Epic losing streaks aren't easily accomplished with guys who can steal first base playing every day.

Hey, when you can get a bat like Joe Mather into the lineup, you've got to sit Campana right?
I mean...


As long as the fat drunk is playing 3b for the Tigers, Campana should be starting and bunting every single ab.

Mission First Overall Draft Pick.

Now that the Cubs can't overspend in the draft, losing becomes even more important.

"Now that the Cubs can't overspend in the draft, losing becomes even more important."

Ironic and Brilliant.

Out of curiosity, who exactly are we tanking for? Are there any guys in the 2013 draft we should actually be pining for?

Way too early to tell. There isn't a Bryce Harper/Strasburg/Prior who has been hyped forever. Potentially Mark Appel (or anyone else who doesn't sign, but Appel seems the likeliest). Early thoughts are not much on college pitching, good college hitting. Some good HS hitters being discussed, including a few catchers being talked about as top 5 picks.

Will become clearer after summer showcase tourneys and, of course, much clearer as next year's fall and spring baseball occurs.

A shame that hard throwing NC State lefty ace Carlos Rodon not eligible until 2014 draft - a true frosh this past season, will turn 20 on Dec 19th. Be nice if he'd transfer to a JC school in the off-season ...

i wouldn't call him "hard throwing" but he gets results.

fastball, curve, lefty...he's already 3/4 the way to the bigs. =p

i guess i should say...he CAN throw hard, but it's one of those things where he hit 99mph, but works more in the low/mid 90s range.

and yeah...shame he's not available any time soon.

Feel a bit cheated that Rodon's start against the gators was rain shortened in the super regional. Fluff piece article from earlier this month, but like the David Price comparison:

he's a guy that was a "fringe" top 10 player in the state working 90/91mph in highschool who became a guy that could bring it low-mid 90s regularly. he's hit 98/99mph a few times.

if he showed this a year earlier he would have been a high pick or at the very least made a better college baseball program. NCSU is a good program (with great facilities), but it's not a powerhouse.

Recent comments

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  • Oh what do you know, Cubster? Go back to your day job.

    --- Ducks, puts on Cardinals cap, runs.

  • Russell had a severe hamstring last year while with the A's system, forcing him to miss the first half of 2014. I've even wondered if his injury last year was a component of Billy Beane putting him on the trade market. He was quoted saying that last year's injury was a 10 out of 10 when it happened. Last night he said his hamstring soreness was a 1/1.5 out of 10. Hamstring injuries are tricky though, so I'd expect the medical team to be overly cautious here.

  • ...I want to reinforce the observation that there was no sea of red in the crowd. The usual Cardinal fans roaming the stadium were few and far between.

    Also, almost every 2 strike pitch brought the fans to their feet. Good for those in knee rehab.

  • "1st team hit hit 6HR in a game in the postseason." rises above obvious...i checked it with the official fact-finding commission of Douche, Douche, and Douchestein. they agreed with you, but they're a bunch of f'n douches so who cares?

    btw, the cubs are 2-1 in the post-season series.

  • I should be able to watch the game on the NFL replay app, whatever that thing is called. I've got it on my iPad. This is the first year I haven't forced myself to somehow watch every game - no I take that back, last year was - in quite some time. Last year was so unbearable, no pun intended.

    You make some good points about Cutler, and I was a holdout defender of Cutler for a long time. I gave up on him a bit after one too many dumb interceptions, but last year doesn't count. Trestman was the worst coach in Bears history.

  • Nice little reportage there!. I think you're older than me. Considerably older. Maybe several generations. Working out is so essential, especially as age kicks in, isn't it? I still lift weights, and so I'm confident that when I get to be at the hip breaking age, mine won't be a statistic. But I have a ways to go for that to be a concern.

  • What was impressive to me is that the Cubs won despite poor base running, several defensive miscues, Russell leaving due to injury, Arrieta having an off game and getting knocked out early, and Rondon giving up 2 runs in the 9th. If they can win a game like that... 

  • I was there too. The crowd was absolutely electric. People were standing for every big and semi-big moment, from the first inning on. It felt incredibly strange and exhilarating to see the Cubs (the Chicago bleepin' Cubs!) score playoff insurance runs on the Cardinals. What a game. One to remember.

  • 14 in attendance. What's the record for attendance in the fall? I guess I should ask what the record attendance listed is in one of your recaps.

  • I was there too, with my grown son. This is my miracle year-- I rose to the top of the season ticket list after eight years, completely unexpectedly, and my wonderful wife agreed to put the ticket fee on the emergency credit card. The whole point of course was that the Cubs were going to be good this year, and then for a while, so to get season tickets with the guaranteed shot at the postseason was incredible timing. We got to the remote lot at 4:10 after stopping at Nhu Lan for our usual banh mi sandwiches, only to find the lot full, way earlier than normal.

  • Wrigley was electric tonite
    Not many card fans
    Video board was great, they played "there goes my hero" by foos over ryno highlights before he came out. Spectacular

    Good times hopefully they win tomorrow but think Lester will beat poopy pants on Wednesday.

    Happy 4th anniversary of Theo's signing

    Go Cubs !

  • Yeah. "Goodbye!" is a lame HR call.

    I miss Len and JD -- although, driving home from a friend's, WBBM played all 6 HR calls in a row -- and Len got to call the Bryant/Rizzo back-to-back. Very fun.

  • Lackey has been a beast against us. His stats on 3 days rest, however, not as nice. There is plenty of hope.

  • And, no dreadlocks grown yet.

  • Captain Obvious Strikes Again!!!

  • Amen, brother.