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
r> 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!

Comments

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.

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/a...

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.

THAT IS ALL.

GO CUBS.

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.

Fanzone:
"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);

and

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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  • The players are required to perform with minimal thinking, relying on reflex, reaction, and muscle memory (or, as you say, rhythm). I think this point of view doesn't lend itself well to changing things up. Wearing Zany suits, on the other hand, does sound like fun and definitely keeps things interesting.

  • Scared me for a minute with your anagram for "Almora".

  • I think while I get you're saying with moving around a lot of baseball is very rhythm based and for many players moving around a lot could disrupt that. It's the same reason many players aren't cut out for phing or dhing since they need to be in the rhythm of the game to hit.

    Of course then you have players like LaStella who are terrible as starters and should only PH. Really hope Madden doesn't get enthralled with him starting too much.

  • KKVG: Among the players at Extended Spring Training, Isaac Paredes is the most-impressive position-player from the Cubs 2015-16 IFA class (I'm not including OF Eddy Julio Martinez, because he skipped EXST and began the season at South Bend). Paredes has legit game power and handles himself well at SS, although I think he will likely eventually end-up at 2B or 3B (maybe not this year, but down-the-line). It is possible that Paredes will get assigned to Eugene (and skip AZL) next month, and I would say he's the only one of the Cubs 2015-16 IFA position players who could.

  • Having been a mediocre HS player, I would think at a professional level - and in their 20's - doesn't it sound actually FUN to have a chance to play different positions in a 162-Game, uber-long season?

    It has to take some of the monotony out of the job and keep you on your toes.

    In fact, the best manufacturing floor job satisfaction training theories include job rotation as a way to improve employee satisfaction.

    I hope Maddon can keep it going.

  • (It's usually KK, because his DNA is more like ours.)

  • Not just Maddon, but the organization as a whole. If the rumors are to be believed, they did a good job of letting Baez learn that he needed to change his approach, and Baez has done a good job listening to their instructions an adapting. Hopefully the same is true of Alomar, who is ripping up AAA.

    Previous management teams haven't been as good at this (e.g. Corey Patterson).

  • Man, this team makes you greedy. Going into Pittsburgh -- with Cole vs. Hammel Game 1 -- I was hoping for 2 out of 3. After winning the first 2 games 14-3, I now want a sweep. Same thing happened in STL. Very, very fun.

  • Repeating myself, but I give Maddon a lot of credit for Baez's success. Instead of talking about monster HRs and high K totals, he has talked up his defense, versatility and being a "special" player. The kid seems to have responded.

  • BOB: The attendance has taken a big hit since you left. 

  • K-DUB: I think the Cubs might consider skipping Dylan Cease past South Bend and starting him at Myrtle Beach next season, especially if he gets some time at South Bend this season and pitches well there. As a southern kid with TJS history, pitching at Myrtle Beach in April is probably a lot more attractive than pitching in South Bend, but Cease can't go to Myrtle Beach if he isn't ready for Hi-A. 

  • His story makes him someone I completely root for to succeed but it's interesting that he's not succeeding in the way anyone thought when he was just a prospect. Great defense and contact instead of power. I think failing so glaringly and getting sent back down might have been the best thing for him and his ego.

    He still swings at too many balls out of the strike zone but he's making a lot more contact on them which I think is helped by the less violent swing. So we might not get all the HRs we were expecting but I'll gladly take what he's giving.

  • "KingKongVsGodzilla"? So - was there a winner?

  • Baez is looking like a pretty special player.

  • Hey AZPhil,

    Love checking TCR for your writeups. Quick question - any of these 2015 positional IFAs stand out to you yet? I'm most specifically referring to Kwon, Sierra, Paredes, and Amaya, but I know there's a couple other guys from that class in EXST as well.

  • bored...looking at stats for the hell of it...

    felix pena (26yo) moving to the pen in AAA is looking like an insanely good fit so far in a smallish sample size

    13ip 4h 3bb 20K

    remembering back to spring training he was regularly hitting mid-90s (though he didn't have a good spring stats-wise). as a starter in the minors he usually worked low-90s.

    this could be an arm worth keeping an eye on even if he's only a 1-inning guy who was "demoted" to the pen to start the year.