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....


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.

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.

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."


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.

Recent comments

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  • 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.