We To Meet Again, Mr 500?

GAME 68 PREVIEW CHICAGO CUBS (34-33) at MILWAUKEE BREWERS (31-37) Miller Park, 7:05pm CT, TV: FSN, CSN
SP Tomo Ohka SP Greg Maddux
SS #Neifi Perez CF Brady Clark
CF *Corey Patterson 3B Jeff Cirillo
1B Derrek Lee 1B *Lyle Overbay
RF *Jeromy Burnitz LF Carlos Lee
3B Aramis Ramirez SS Bill Hall
2B *Todd Walker 2B Rickie Weeks
LF *Todd Hollandsworth RF *Geoff Jenkins
C Henry Blanco C Damien Miller
Pitcher's spot Pitcher's spot
Losing six of seven is a good way to find yourself too close to Mr 500 than is comfortable with a payroll this sizeable. The Cubs now have four against the Brewers to put this right before they head over to US Cellular Field this weekend to wrap up interleague play for the year. Meanwhile, it's becoming quite obvious that Dusty Baker neither reads The Cub Reporter nor thinks along similar lines. It may be the thinking part that's giving him the trouble there. Neifi and Corey continue atop the order, and doubtless they'll do their absolute best to sabotage Derrek Lee's already improbable triple crown bid from there tonight as always. Keep your eyes on the second base prize that is Rickie Weeks. He's a kid that's got a lot of talent but strikes out an unhealthy rate. Sound familiar? Meanwhile, note Lyle Overbay's sub-.300 average! Tomo Ohka was acquired by the Brewers from the Nationals for Junior Spivey. Ohka's peripherals say the only way his current 2.86 ERA is going is up, up, up and away! It'll be nice to see the pitchers batting again. I know I don't fit the traditionalist bill, but I really abhore the designated hitter. Besides missing out on the comedy value of pitchers hitting, it just seems wrong that a player should be allowed to play only half the game. It also makes the game so less tactical. Hey, Dusty, have you considered managing in the AL? Sorry, that's two cheap shots at Dusty in this post already, but I'm becoming increasingly frustrated with him. Don't forget to drop into the Parachat for in-game discussion! And go Cubs!


Again, I think a lot of the critism of Dusty on TCR is beyond ridiculous (mostly from users, not mods). But then I see Dusty keep those two at the top of the lineup and just shake my head. It just lacks logic to me, when someone is hitting about .000 in his last 6 games or so, give him a little rest, take a little pressure off of him and move him down the order.

With Patterson, I think Dusty feels he'll see some good pitches ahead of Lee, so he won't continue to swing at junk...but when the pitcher knows he doesn't need to worry about walking Patterson, he'll give him junk too.

I also don't like seeing Blanco in the lineup again...I said I thought he was catching Maddux a lot recently on top of Zambrano, but was told I was crazy...if he is going to catch both, that's 40% of our games where we play a guy batting .150 instead of .300. We can;t afford that.

Our 3-7 hitters better do some damage, because 8,9,1,2 is a gaping black hole.


Prior could be back as soon as Sunday versus the White Sox....hot damn!!!!!

DLEE!! brenly just said "image what kinda numbers lee would have if patterson and neifi would take some walks"

is he reading TCR?

oh and not to mention, ARAM!!!

Did CPat rob Lee (the bad guy one) of a HR? Gameday had his ball beyond the centerfield wall.

Fun Fact for the Day: Patterson, Perez, Macias and Wilson have a sum total of 586 at bats and a sum total of 24 walks. And two of them bat 1-2 in the lineup. And Dusty wonders why the offense is sputtering.

Beginning with the June 8th game against the Blue Jays, the Neifi/Kpat 1-2 order has netted one walk between them in 10 games.

The one time this duo was not penciled into the starting linup as 1-2, Hairston batted 2nd ... and proceded to net his 7th caught stealing attempt.

The Brewers starter on Tuesday, Victor Santos, is 2-6 with a 2.87 ERA. I don't see how that happens. It's happened to Clemen's this season some but heck, he is back up to 5-3. I still feel bad for Clement last year when the offense wouldn't do anything for him (at least before his late season meltdown when he took care of the losing all by himself). Anyway, hopefully we can make Santos ERA look a little uglier after Tuesdays game.

Come on now. Those walks are evil. Do nothing but clog the bases.

anyone else stoked...even though he may be a bit "not in peak condition"...that jerome f'n williams is playing tonite in a cubs uniform?

sure..he's not all that..he's not the next clemens or koufax or even close..but, he's a very servicable 2/3 spot rotation pitcher on a lotta teams when he's clicking. we know he's overweight, his velocity is still gaining (and has gained since he was traded to the cubs just 3 or so starts), and his sinker is working.

cubs sucked up loot taking on most of hawkin's tab, but hey...williams, and a bonus of mr. aardvark...

mitre's coming of age, williams on board...rusch with a contract-out clause if he's not a starter in 06. should be a fun few weeks while hendry runs around figuring out how many of those he can keep around while getting what he needs.

I am definitely looking forward to watching Williams work. I hope he lives up to his potential for us.



I went up to MIL for the game last night. Couple of notes:

- I would estimate that over 50% of the fans there were Cubs fans.
- Maddux was pretty good and more than kept us in the game. Of course the one long ball was really his only problem last night. Win #311...hello to Mr. Seaver.
- Everytime Lee steps to the plate you expect him to get on. As Yost showed last night, I think teams are going to start to IBB him more. The new Mr. Bonds?
- Neifi and Corey both got 2 hits....finally!!!
- The bullpen is the most unreliable bunch of crap I have ever seen. Everytime a new releiver came in, it seemed like I was more worried than the last.
- Weurtz looked HORRIBLE, Remmmy did a GREAT job striking out Overbay and Lee to get out of the jam in the 7th, but they looked bad in the 8th.
- Great move (no brainer I guess though as everyone else sucked and he had no other choice)by Dusty to bring in Dempster in the 8th in that jam. I HATE when closers come in the 8th, but Dempster had not pitched in forever and this was a game that the Cubs really needed to win.
- Saving the best for last....What a play by Neifi Perez in the 8th inning. The Defensive play of the year so far for the Cubs. Very, very possibly saved the game. It was amazing he got to it, then amazing he got the ball to Walker so fast and even more amazing they were able to turn the DP. If Neifi doesn't get to that ball it is 5-5, with 1 out men on 1st and 2nd. Hopefully we can look back on that play as a start of another good streak.

Don't look now but JB was almost at .300 last night. He was in the dumps just 2 weeks ago, good comeback.

Like I said yesterday, I am no where as worried about the offense as I am the pitching (mostly relief pitching). If the starters go their 7 IP and give up nore more than 3-4 runs and the bullpen can hold their own, the offense will score enough runs to win lots of games. With Wood and Prior coming back in the next week or so, hopefully they can pitch well and take inning away from the bullpen.

the bullpen has been muddled and ineffective for the last few years...when is Rothschild's contract up?

I tremble to think of what Mike Maddux would do with the talent of this Cubs' staff...

Wuertz is becoming over used.

Wuertz is definitely getting cooked.

Hats off to Dempster for looking so sharp last night after not pitching in a game for over a week.

"Wuertz is becoming over used."

How so?? In June (20 days old), he has a total of 8 IP in 9 appearences. He is "supposedly" our 2nd best bullpen guy, so he should be used more than others. But that is not a lot of work.

Now his last 4 appearences he has looked very bad, even if he hasn't given up many runs. Here is his line:
3.0 IP, 6.00 ERA, 8 hits, 2 ER, 5 BB

His WHIP is now 1.50 on the year. That is a VERY dangersous number and has been lucky to only have his ERA at 3.58 (example is Remmy bailing him out last night).

Him being our setup man shows how dangerously flammable this bullpen really is.

Like I stated before, hopefull Wood and Prior can help the starting pitching go deeper in games, so we can use the bullpen less and less. They seem to do better when they only have to be used for no more than 6 outs.

Interesting to see someone blame Rothschild for the bullpen problems. Seems to me he's working with what's he's given. Plus, if you want to blame him, then how about giving him some credit for Rusch, Weurtz, Mitre, Wellemyer and how well they've done?

Out of Wuertz' 9 appearances this month, 4 have come in the last 5 games. During this stretch, he did not appear on two straight days as Friday was an offday and he did not pitch in Sat's blowout.

Before they do anyhting outside the organization to bolster the bullpen, the Cubs should give Jermaine Van Buren a shot.

Yes, I know he's not on the 40-man rosyer, but there are several DFA candidates:

1. Richard Lewis (who couldn't even hit .200 in AAA, before being sent back to AA for the third year in a row, so he should be able to pass through waivers without being claimed, and it's no great loss if he does get claimed by another club);

2. Cliff Bartosh (who has little value--even as a LOOGY, such that there is a good chance he also would clear waivers if the Cubs tried to send him to AAA outright);

3. John Koronka (who obviously does not have the talent to pitch in the majors);


4. Joe Borowski (who is still owed about $1.3 mil this year, but who is also pretty clearly washed-up and is too dangerous to be used in a meaningful situation).

So there are plenty of candidates to be removed from the 40-man roster to make room for Jermaine Van Buren.

And should it be necessary to option Van Buren back to Iowa for some reason before September 1st, it's no big deal that his option clock will have started, since he's no "spring chicken" (he turns 25 next week).

For those of you not familiar with Jermaine Van Buren, he was signed by the Colorado Rockies after the Rockies drafted him in the 2nd Round of the 1998 Draft out of a Mississippi high school, but he struggled in "Lo-A" ball for five seasons (1998-2002) before getting released.

He then signed with an independent club in Texas (the Fort Worth Cats of the Central League) in 2003, and it was there that he turned his career around. The Cubs purchased his contract from Ft. Worth prior to the 2004 season, and he has pitched well at various stops (Lansing, West Tenn, and Iowa) in the Cubs system over the past year and a half. He is currently the closer at Iowa.

Like Brandon Sing and David Kelton, Jermaine Van Buren will be a six-year minor league free-agent after this season if he is not added to the Cubs 40-man roster within ten days after the end of the regular MLB season, so the Cubs might as well bring him up right now.

I have always felt that instead of going around looking for proven veterans for bare minimum salary (people like Macias and Wilson), it is better to get your AAA and AA guys on the 40 man rosters more time in the majors. I don't mean they should be brought up and get their clocks started without USING them; but to get them in and start getting them meaningful playing time. Same with the relief pitchers. Most relievers are failed starters anyway. They have 1-2 out pitches that can be utilised for 1 inning. Get people who have high K/BB ratio from the minors and put them in spots that are now being used by people like Bartosh and Borowski. It is unfathomable that these two stiffs are getting more use than a better pitcher like Wellemeyer. Dusty's insistence on 'proven veterans' will doom us again if he canot recognise what is in front of his face. Bartosh and Borowski are cooked. Remlinger cannot get out lefties. Corey is not a front of the order batter. Neifi is regressing to his career mean. I would rather have Walker and Barrett bat 1 and 2 than the black hole that is Neifi and Corey.

J Burnitz is quietly having season where he is on pace to hit roughly:

J Burnitz .300 30 100

A Ramirez .300 36 100

D Lee .400 45 160

M Barrett .290 20 80

N Perez .285 15 60

Maddux is just about on pace to win 15 games. 15-9

Reds just fired manager Dave Miley. He was 125-164 since he took over in July of 2003.

Interin manager will be Jerry Narron.

Bluewater Boats, are you suggesting that statistics can give us a ballpark idea of how certain players will be doing at the end of the year? Cause I'm quite certain that you've told us before that stats can't tell us anything about the future.

Let's face it. Corey Patterson will never see another good pitch again until he stops swinging at the really bad ones.

10 man-
Has anybody thought about checking Cpat's eyes?
I know its the song of the truly desperate, but I've seen him get good pitches and he takes them for strikes.

Maybe a pair of those evil looking red contact lenses might help? Otherwise everyone who's ever seen this kid's potential is completely whacked.

Recent comments

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  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.

  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
    Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:


    Some "Highlights"
    Carl Crawford $20MM
    Brandon McCarthy $17MM
    Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
    Darwin B $2.2MM
    Dan Haren $10MM
    Matt Kemp $18MM
    Brian Wilson $10MM
    Ryan Webb $2.2MM
    Dee Gordon $2.5MM

  • So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.


    And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):

  • i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.

    there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.

  • I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.

  • O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already. 

  • I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.

    I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.

  • Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.

  • With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined). 

  • BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.

    If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).

    As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).

  • I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.

  • Just with the chanting thing it worked to rattle Cueto last year where he dropped a ball and gave up a HR next pitch so you can't really hate on the fans for trying it again in this important of a game.

    Arietta though.