Forget The Future, Win Now!

GAME 57 PREVIEW TORONTO BLUE JAYS (30-28) at CHICAGO CUBS (30-26) Wrigley Field, 7.05pm CT, TV: CSN, RSN
SP *Glendon Rusch SP Josh Towers
LF Reed Johnson SS #Neifi Perez
RF Alex Rios 2B *Todd Walker
CF Vernon Wells 1B Derrek Lee
1B Shea Hillenbrand RF *Jeromy Burnitz
3B Aaron Hill 3B Aramis Ramirez
2B Frank Menechino
d>CF *Corey Patterson C #Gregg Zaun LF *Todd Hollandsworth SS John McDonald C Michael Barrett Pitcher's spot Pitcher's spot It's been a hard day's drafting for the Cubs. Now they've got a ballgame to play too. Patterson and Walker return to the lineup, and Glendon Rusch, with a multitude of freshly drafted young arms queuing up behind him, takes the mound. Go Cubs!

Comments

Watching the cubs pre-game apparently sosa blasted the cubs, anyone know what he said?

Sammy Solo did blast a homerun today, his 6th.

no clue, but it'll be on the post game report

I don't know what's worrying me more right now...

the fact that we're pulling Rusch out and letting our bullpen try to hold a close game for 3 full innings?

or the fact that JOSE MACIAS is pinch-hitting for him.

Anyone see the black cat run on the field tonite?

So can we assume Dusty has given up on Dubois or forgotten just how much Holly sucks as an everyday player?

This is the third game in a row Dusty's benched Dubois against a RHP.

Technically, the cat was black and white, and completely freaked out.

The Cubs don't need to attribute losing to superstitions and curses as long as Corey continues to forget where he is and decides to try to hit Santo in the booth. Oh, and let's not forget his maddeningly consistent approach of swinging at the first pitch against A NEW FRIGGIN' PITCHER. Is this a Tribune Directive or something? The bases are loaded, Corey, how 'bout using all three of your allotted strikes to attempt to make something happen?

To his credit, the throw to 3rd was quite nice, but that does not excuse his continued boneheaded playing style.

It seemed like a strange night at Wrigley tonight. I'll blame the weather. A guy sitting behind us was making small talk with an elderly Southern couple making their first visit to the Friendly Confines.

"First time at Wrigley?"

"Yup."

"Alright! Popped your cherry! Nice going!"

Popped your cherry? Wha?

I didn't see the game tonight, but with Halladay going against Mitre tomorrow can anyone say "s-w-e-e-p"?

Nice to see you Irregular, hopefully we can do this again when the Cubs win a game. :)

Haven't been swept at home in a 3+ series since 2002. I like that stat...would suck if the streak is broken against the friggin Bluejays.

Can the Cubs go back to California, please?

The Cubs WON'T get swept at home. They'll find a way to beat Halliday.

At this point with all the injuries still, this team is just not consistant enough to be able to sustain a long run of very good baseball. I am hoping the Cubs can stay above .500 until the All-Star break and then get Wood and Prior back and hopefully make a trade for a good OF bat. Then I think they can make a run in the 2nd half at the 88 wins I thought a healthy team could accomlish.

why do you all get your hopes up with this team - its doomed for failure - everytime they raise my hopes they fail. When you have an idiot like Patterson who'll swing at anything - how can you expect a successful season?

I don't remember if this was last night or monday night but frankly - 2 outs and 2 men on base and ramirez comes to bat - what the hell is Ramirez doing taking a walk in an RBI situation and with that idiot patterson coming to bat after him. The second to last pitch to ramirez was completely hittable and he took it for strike.

Patterson really will be a great player one day but is just too impatient on the plate right now.

anyone know what the cubs' record at home for night games?

I'm guessing it's pretty dismal...

actually i'm pro Ramirez taking a walk in that situation. the key is to avoid making outs...it's not like the pitcher was coming up behind him. aramis shouldn't be faulted for having the patience that corey lacks.

When Ramirez walked, I turned to my wife and said, "we really could've used a hit there." Three doubles would've been sweet.

But I agree, Tim, you can't fault Ramirez for NOT swinging at bad pitches (or, in this case, having a good eye.) He has to be able to rely on Corey to keep the inning alive. No one can fix Corey's issues except Corey.

And they really need to keep him away from a microphone, because every time I've heard him interviewed in the past few weeks, he just keeps digging the hole deeper. His post-game comments last night were pointless and annoying.

I don't remember if this was last night or monday night but frankly - 2 outs and 2 men on base and ramirez comes to bat - what the hell is Ramirez doing taking a walk in an RBI situation and with that idiot patterson coming to bat after him. The second to last pitch to ramirez was completely hittable and he took it for strike.
Patterson really will be a great player one day but is just too impatient on the plate right now.

So let me get this right: Ramirez AB bad because he was too patient, Patterson AB bad because he is too impatient?

Corey needs to start anew in a new venue.

I missed it - what were his post game comments?

Game thoughts:

What happened to Corey Patterson the Gold Glover...He has been misreading and misplaying balls all year.

Bash Hollandsworth all you want, but he got guys home from 3 twice with one out. Not that he should be praised for this, but it should be acknowledged.

we gave up 3 runs that good defenses would not have given up, Derek Lee, Perez, The pitcher who did not cover first on Lee's misplay (I believe it was Will Ohman), and Patterson. All were responsible.

I am a big Jason Dubois supporter but check out our starting outfield hitting numbers...

Burnitz - .260 BA, .311 OBA, .444 SLG, .755 OPS, 8 HR, 34 RBI
Patterson - .266 BA, .301 OBA, .436 SLG, .737 OPS, 10 HR, 20 RBI
Dubois - .264 BA, .316 OBA, .500 SLG, .816 OPS, 5 HR, 20 RBI

Those OBP and BA are sickening. It would be nice if 1 of those guys was in that range but not all 3. Burnitz is realizing why no one wanted to sign him this past off-season. He can't hit away from Coors just like previous poor hitters.

The sad thing is Jason Dubois is out performing them both compared to the number of AB's he has had, yet this is what has replaced him the last few games....

Holly - .220 BA, .295 OBP, 1 HR, 12 RBI, .305 slg, .601 OPS.

Bottom line is it doesnt matter whether Holly or Dubois starts. The entire outfield just plain sucks at hitting and getting on base.

This should be the #1 priority in fixing. Burnitz is a bum, Patterson has shown no improvement, Dubois is as crunch would say "raw", and Holly has never been good. Ever. The entire OF needs to be shaken up.

Double your pleasure-
Holly and Dubois in line up today.

MIKEC-
I am ducking underneath my desk as I write this, but I agree 100%. They need to go out and get 1 or 2 bats in the OF. The IF is fine. Starting pitching will be fine, especially with Prior and wood coming back and Willimas pitching better in AAA.

Bullpen is still inconsistant, but improving as they have had less strain on them with the starters pitching so well the last 3 weeks or so.

I don't know who truly is availible to get for the OF (Huff?, Floyd?, etc.), but something needs to be done for thisteam to get over the hump and truly into the WC race.

it's weird, without looking at the numbers it feels like Burnitz has done his job above expectations...but the numbers show otherwise. Yeah, the Outfield was my big worry before the season, and is now....but who do you get rid of at this point to aquire a big hitting outfielder? Are any of our non-essentials worth much to other teams at this point?

meanwhile, we are still 12-5 in our last 17 games...hopefully these last two games are just a bump in the road. We got our work cut out for us today, but it's a huge game...we need to cut our losses here.

First and foremost Aramis needs to swing the fucking bat in that situation. Tim writes, "the key is to avoid making outs". Who do you think you are Billy Beane? No the key is to make runs. You guys don't know the difference between a good walk and a bad walk. Aram walked cause the pitcher didn't want to pitch to him. He wanted to pitch to Patterson. So we gave him what he wanted and we didn't score because of it. I love Aram and I hope he stays a Cub for many successful years but he needs to swing at that 3 - 0 pitch. It was a meatball right down the middle. You see, conventional baseball wisdom dictates that on 3 - 0 or 3 - 1 you can be picky. If you see a pitch you like, rip it. The thing about Aram is that he doesn't swing 3 - 0. They flashed that stat right before the 3 ball pitch. Sometimes you need to swing at a 3 - 0 pitch. Hell! Swing and miss on purpose. Make the pitcher throw another one. And, what I'm talking about is situational as I am not advocating this for every at bat.

Next, rip Burnitz all you want but he's on pace for 90 - 100 RBIs. I don't care what his average is. If he gets 95 RBIs, that will be plenty.

Chad -- are you aware that on most 3-0 pitches, the batter has the red light from the manager? It's rare to get a 3-0 green light. (Lee got a green light yesterday, which was a no-brainer given how hot he is, although he grounded out meekly).

My point is that Ramirez didn't swing at the 3-0 pitch because it wasn't his choice to make.

OK, fine. Maybe he had a red light. Then, that's bad managing. You don't take the stick out of one of your best hitters hands to pass it on to a lesser hitter. If I was a manager, my 3, 4 and 5 guys would have carte blanche (most of the time) to swing away on a hitter's count.

I agree Chad. I was reading somewhere that when batters put balls in play; BA on hits on pitches that are either 0 strike or 1 strike is always better than league average. Hitting at 2 strike pitches is always below league average. This makes instinstive sense as the pitcher is trying to throw strikes when he is behind and trying to get the batter to swing at pitches that are borderline when he is ahead. So a good hitter who can mash should look for a good ball to hit and hit it hard in a 3-0 count.( Unless the pitcher is unintentionally-intentionally walking you.) That pitch that ARam took for a strike yesterday was eminently swingworthy.

The problem I have with batters who swing at first pitches is that they seem to be swinging at balls that they have no chance of putting a charge on even if they make solid contact. That and swinging at the first pitch they see from a reliever.

Here is the lineup:

NEifi
Cpat
Lee
ARAM
Walker
Dubois
Holly
Barrett
Mitre

it's weird, without looking at the numbers it feels like Burnitz has done his job above expectations...but the numbers show otherwise.

Burnitz was hired to replace Sammy Solo in RF and drive in runs. He's doing a fine job on both accounts. His 34 RBIs rank him 19th in the NL ahead of Carlos Beltran, Moises Alou, Adam Dunn and over in the AL, Sammy Soso. Burnitz is on a pace to drive in ~100 runs this year.

I realize I'm being picky but if I were Ramirez I would realize i have an idiot who swings for the fences everytime after me and just try to get a single. Ramirez's mistake is obviously very minor compared to jack ass stupidity of patterson who just refuses to take a pitch.

As Stoney says, I'm not second guessing -I'm first guessing - my stomach sunk when I saw him get the walk.

>So let me get this right: Ramirez AB bad because >he was too patient, Patterson AB bad because he >is too impatient?

Next, rip Burnitz all you want but he's on pace for 90 - 100 RBIs. I don't care what his average is. If he gets 95 RBIs, that will be plenty.

So then would you say the same about rookie Jason Dubois? Expanded out to a full season of at bats, he'd be on pace for more than 100 RBI, despite usually batting lower in the lineup.

But to the overall point, I agree, if Jason Dubois is our best hitting outfielder, we've got problems.

And Mitre is perfect through 4

Way to mention the no-no, ya dope. I blame the infield hit on you.

Awesome. The instant I turn on Gamecast, the Blue Jays get their first hit.

mlb.com's game tracker is reporting an injury delay.

let me go ahead and guess:

Derrick Lee suffered spontaneous combustion?

Given our luck so far this year, I wouldn't be too surprised.

..or Zambrano fell and twisted his ankle walking down to the clubhouse

Sergio Mitre? Where is this coming from?!?!?!?

so all kidding aside who got injured?

a big kudos to mitre. he's pitching like a bat out of hell today.

I was ravagely checking the lineups on GameCast and there were no replacements for the Cubs. Don't know if thats a delay thing or not..

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  • CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now. 

    LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.  

    RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.   

    Arizona Phil 14 sec ago view
  • AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).

    I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):  

    * bats or throws left 
    # bats both

    Arizona Phil 24 min 22 sec ago view
  • Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.

    Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)

    VirginiaPhil 46 min 9 sec ago view
  • E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season  either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.

    Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.  

    Arizona Phil 52 min 22 sec ago view
  • Rob Richardson 1 hour 21 min ago view
  • Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.

    Send Soler down!

    Old and Blue 2 hours 15 min ago view
  • Awesome thanks AZ

    Old and Blue 2 hours 17 min ago view
  • Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.

    John Beasley 3 hours 7 min ago view
  • Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!

    Hagsag 5 hours 55 min ago view
  • given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.

    i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.

    crunch 7 hours 8 min ago view
  • Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?

    He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.

    My guess? Toronto.

    tim815 7 hours 31 min ago view
  • PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.

    The E-Man 7 hours 36 min ago view
  • Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?

    azbobbop 11 hours 36 min ago view
  • Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.

    Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.

    The E-Man 12 hours 24 min ago view
  • Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.

    While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.

    billybucks 12 hours 57 min ago view
  • jacos 12 hours 57 min ago view