TCR Friday Notes

...1,753 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.

- I had been on record saying that the Cubs choosing between Dempster, Marquis, Lieber and Marshall wasn't much of a choice at all. Just pick whatever shade of gray you're in the mood for and go from there. If anything, Marshall still having options made him the obvious choice to get sent down and be available when the inevitable injuries hit. Now that the decision has been made to go with Dempster and Marquis with Lieber to the pen and Marshall suddenly fighting for the LOOGY role, I will say I feel a bit reassured, at least in one area. 

Cubs pitchers have a tendency to run up their pitch counts early in games and it's particularly worrisome with Ryan Dempster early on, who still has to get use to pacing himself as a starter. But, with Lieber, Hart and possibly Marshall in the pen, that really shouldn't be much of a problem, as all three can go multiple innings. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Dempster and possibly Marquis will be getting some really quick hooks in their games this year to see Lieber come in for three to four innings.

- Sports Illustrated has gone and ruined our season, predicting us to lose in the World Series to the Detroit Tigers. I believe last year they picked the Los Angeles teams to square off and I'm sure we all remember how 2004 went after SI picked us to win it all. Curse you SI....

- Speaking of the Cubs and Tigers in the World Series, I stumbled across this gallery from the 1945 World Series.

- ESPN's Page2 goes through each and every painstaking year since we last won it all. 


- Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus takes a look at the Cubs signing of Reed Johnson and thinks it's another "uncreative use of resources", par for the Cubs' course.

- Doug Glanville's second career as a freelance writer sure looks promising. He writes in the New York Times about some of his past spring training exploits.

3 days until Opening Day....

Comments

I agree on the rotation, and I want to acknowledge that Mr. Hendry was pretty smart this offseason to stockpile/keep starting pitching. While I would rather have Haren or Santana et al, we have to be realistic, and I think he did a good job assembling cheap arms. The Leiber signing was brilliant, little money so limited downside.

I think we all learned from the 2006 pain how important pitching depth is.

And losing your top hitter of 2005 for most of the season.

hit it.

Big Lead has Cubs at 96 wins...yikes.

http://thebiglead.com/?p=5182#more-5182

This mirrors my prediction. I see this team being like the 2004 Cardinals. They just keep winning and no one is quite sure why.

I'm not too worried about a prediction from the Perez Hilton of sports.

Sounds all well and good. But being realistic here. Where has this team really improved? Probably a marginal-good upgrade at catcher. Hopefully a lateral move in Center and Right field. Unless our new magical outfield defense is going to will us to 10-12 more wins? I just don't see this team as a 92-96 win Club. Keep in mind last year also, Zambrano and Lilly made 34 starts, Hill made 32 and Marquis made 33. Not since 2003 have we been so fortunate to keep our Starters so healthy.

From June 3rd til the end of the season (109 games - which, to me is long stretch of time) the Cubs went:

63-46 .577

Over 162 games that translates to 93 wins.

My point?

That the team last year proved that they could play .577 baseball. Even with small improvements (and I believe this team to be improved over last year years.

96 wins.

I'm with aaronb on this one...don't see the improvement in the lineup or the rotation. The bullpen and defense did get better.


Aramis is the only hitter I expect to improve from last year. 

Derrek, Soriano, DeRosa, Theriot...status quo or worse.

Fuku, offensively a slight improvement over what we had....maybe.

Everyone's expecting a big year from our one-year wonder prospect in Soto with no real back-up, but we have 20 contingency plans for Pie, who's been tearing up the minors for year.

87 wins without a big trade I say....

Soto doesn't have to do much to be an improvement over last year, though. Same goes for Pie/Johnson in CF and Theriot at SS:

2007 Cubs:
C: .239 .304 .369
SS: .254 .309 .331
CF: .254 .305 .404

I wouldn't be surprised at all if Lee's power came back (it looked to be there by the end of last season), in which case you can bump his line up nicely as well.

90 wins thanks to two trades: a surprisingly early one in early June and the addition of -- wait for it -- Brian Roberts in July.

Tell me why the Cubs can't continue to do, at least what they did last year when the played .577 baseball?

And remember, that's how the finished. It's not like they got off to a lucky start and went downhill from there once they were exposed (achem, Milwaukee). They proved that they could play at that level for an extended period of time. I see no reason why they can't do that over 162 and win at least 90 games.

Cubs spring optimism...feel it!!!


Maybe Soto does hit like Barrett did to start the year (who saw that coming last year?), maybe Fuku hits like JJ did to start the year, etc, etc, etc...

Personally, I don't see how we improved other than our bullpen and defense. Unless Soto and Pie do indeed put up 800 or above OPS numbers, but I'm not counting on it.

87 wins should be good enough and we probably do make a deal or two.

I don't think you are hearing me.

Who were the Cubs last year? The team that was 9 games under .500 on 6/3 or the team that played .577 for the rest of the year. Even if the Cubs where 4 games under on 6/3, everything else being equal, they would have won 90 last year.

It took some time for them to figure themselves out but they finally did.

oh geez, of course I "heard" you...


but I don't see how this team is bullet-proof from a 2-month swoon, whether it happens early, middle or late in the season or one month at a time. 

Our talent is older and extremely unlikely to get better (except Aramis) or so young, that nothing should be expected of them. They're not Brewer, Rockies or Dbacks young, where they've been around for a few years and improvement should be expected. We absolutely have no idea what we'll get from Soto and Pie. I mean, of course, we have some idea.

It's still a middle of the road offense with a good pitching staff, a staff made much better because of good defense behind them.

But damn Ryan Theriot is our leadoff hitter, might as well have Juan Pierre.

"but I don't see how this team is bullet-proof from a 2-month swoon"

This is the exact point of contention.

I say that the first two months of last year were the result of a team that hadn't found itself. Then Zambrano lands the shot heard round the world and they take off from there. i know all seasons will have an ebb and flow to them but i don't think that this team will play, at any point, 9 games under .500. See what I'm saying?

So the point I'm making is that if this team is oveall the same (unimproved) that this team is a .577 team. I think we will get better as I expect Dlee and Aram to crack 30+ homers each and while DLee's doubles made his slugging % look nice, we know that there is a big difference between them.

for the love of Ron Santo...I know what the hell you were saying, you're just going to be wrong. :)



Sigh. Nevermind.

I think this team will contend all year, and that won't be a super hard challenge in the division. I'd put the win total somewhere in the 83-90 range, with the lower totals probably being most likely. My main worry going into the season is the bottom of the rotation and the 'new' guys, Fukudome, Pie, and Soto. The bench isn't very good either, but Johnson makes it a little better than it was just a few days ago. The bullpen has a chance to be completely lights out. If Kerry Wood can stay healthy and effective it will be awesome, but I probably wouldn't bet on it.

will the cubs be playing regulers tonite and
then cut back a little on saturday.
hope he plays regulers tonite since the game
is on wgn at 9 central.

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=...

Cubs say it's not being talked about, local alderman says it has....

bunch of other stuff about the stadium sale.

Thanks for the link at BP.

Silver writes, "A year ago, I might have blasted this transaction — but the platoon splits make clear that Johnson provides a pretty substantial upgrade over Pie against left-handed pitching."

That is the summary.

What the writer does not mention is how Murton's defensive liabilities will subtract from his offensive production. I really like orange guy as a solid hitter - but his limitations and lack of versitility has hurt his opportunity to stay with the Cubs anymore.

"we got a full tank of gas, half pack of cigarettes"

Do you enjoy being broke? *grump*

was listening to the score, and frankly I am sick of the same old stereotypes and cliches regarding cubs fans. The Mike North fill in was rambling on and on about how cubs fans give Hendry a pass and sox fans hold Kenny accountable. Not sure that moron has ever spent a day reading manny posts on TCR. We are not drunk, baseball ignorant, status quo fans. Wake up to 2008.

p.s. Red Sox nation? Yankee nation? When will people start using facts to declare the nation's team? outselling all clubs in spring attendance? I believe record setting day 1 ticket sales. I believe record setting sell out streaks? we are more than meets the eye you bone heads.

Nicely said Bigz

Mike North is the village idiot of Chicago sports radio.

Which is really saying something.

he was out today, was another guy filling in.

Boers and Bernstein are the only guys on the radio here with a real thought.

Mike North proclaimed a month ago he would take Jazz/Illini alum Jeron Williams over Lebron James.

Nuff said.

...should read Vegas, baby. Vegas.

"I had been on record saying that the Cubs choosing between Dempster, Marquis, Lieber and Marshall wasn't much of a choice at all. Just pick whatever shade of gray you're in the mood for and go from there."

amen.

i still like dumpster the starter, though...not like im expecting anything more than a 3.75-4.25 ERA type pitcher...aka, almost everyone else on that list up there give or take an opinion or two (personally, i still think lieber is a disaster).

i just hope the "september dumpster" isnt the one that shows up...i'd much prefer the one that gave up a handful of homers in the 2 years before sept. 07.

and yeah...just how many 6+ inning games can this guy work? even though i like the dumpster-the-starter move i'm still very concerned about that one.

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  • probably saturday depending on what they do with hammel (assuming friday for ham).

    crunch 2 hours 34 min ago view
  • Lester is going to get one more start, right? It sure would be nice to see him get a shot at 20 wins.

    Charlie 3 hours 5 min ago view
  • Nicely done! I think in my 10-14 games I went .500 or a little over. Strangely, I went to the Cards games they mostly lost (incl Saturday) and the one SF game they lost, plus a couple Brewers games they lost, too. I should have gone to just Reds games. But still - saw mostly very good baseball on the North Side this year. Regardless of what happens come October - the Cubs are positioned for some good times in the next 3-5 years.

    The E-Man 4 hours 30 min ago view
  • Attaboy!

    billybucks 5 hours 22 min ago view
  • First Cub victory at home this year for me!
    1-3
    Saw all four starters this year

    jacos 6 hours 46 min ago view
  • RIP Arnie. We could use a lot more like you -- a man who succeeded and failed on his own terms, a true original, and, finally, a remarkable example of graciousness towards others.

    billybucks 14 hours 41 min ago view
  • Cubs finish 33 over at home. I was, personally, one game over at 3-2, which was one of my better years in a while.

    I do hope that's the last time we see the Cardinals this year. A lot of power, which is dangerous, particularly in a short series, and they have really shut down KB all year.

    Oh, and Jon Lester? Damn!

    billybucks 14 hours 53 min ago view
  • Yes. Boating accident at 3AM. Very sad, but stupid. Young men do stupid things.

    billybucks 15 hours 49 min ago view
  • lester puts 2 on and is taken out at 96 pitches. oh well.

    edwards in.

    crunch 16 hours 33 min ago view
  • 2 out in the 7th, lester at 84 pitches, ross taken out for the standing O.

    it's possible contreras will catch lester for another inning+.

    crunch 16 hours 40 min ago view
  • What a weird day.  Jose Fernandez and Arnold Palmer, but then Scully and, on a much more modest level, Ross....

    Transmission 17 hours 13 min ago view
  • d.ross gets his 2nd standing O on the night (last home game of the season)...hits HR #10...curtain call. baseball.

    crunch 17 hours 16 min ago view
  • as a fan, he only "owes" us the game on the field and not getting in the way of others on his team being ready to play (imo).

    it's exponentially worse to his family and friends, but this dude most likely had 15+ years of play left and even though he just turned 24 a couple months ago he had already established himself as a top guy in the game.

    crunch 20 hours 38 min ago view
  • Carrie Muskat [email protected]

    Updated #Cubs probs vs Pirates: Mon, Hendricks vs Kuhl; Tue, Lackey vs Vogelsong; Wed, Arrieta vs Taillon; Thu, Zastryzny vs Nova

    crunch 21 hours 33 sec ago view
  • I know what you're trying to say, Charlie, that none of us feels what his loved ones must be feeling.

    On the other hand, what makes a death like this tragic is precisely the loss, based on Fernandez's youth and brilliance, to the baseball world.

    So, for example, we can say that Princess Diana's death meant more, in aggregate, to millions of admirers who didn't know her personally than to her loved ones.

    VirginiaPhil 21 hours 1 min ago view
  • boston pitching snags a couple of mlb team records...

    "Over nine innings of play, Boston's staff struck out 11 straight Tampa Bay Rays hitters Sunday, breaking the major-league record for most consecutive strikeouts in a game.

    The previous record was held by former New York Mets right-hander Tom Seaver, who struck out 10 straight hitters in 1970.

    Not only that, but with a strikeout to end the ninth, sending the game into extras, Boston's staff also struck out an MLB-record 21 batters over nine innings."

    crunch 21 hours 26 min ago view