Game 50 Thread / Cubs @ Pirates (3 of 3)

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SP *Ted Lilly SP *Paul Maholm
  5-4, 5.14, 56 K, 19 BB, 56 IP
2-5, 5.03, 38 K, 20 BB, 53.2 IP
LF Alfonso Soriano 2B Freddy Sanchez
SS Ryan Theriot SS Luis Rivas
1B Derrek Lee CF *Nate McLouth
3B Aramis Ramirez LF Jason Bay
CF Reed Johnson RF Xavier Nady
RF *Kosuke Fukudome 1B *Adam LaRoche
2B Mark DeRosa 3B Jose Bautista
C Henry Blanco C Ronny Paulino
P *Ted Lilly P *Paul Maholm













The residue from last night's 14-inning loss:

  • The Cubs need to win today to take the series and finish with a .500 road trip
  • After pitching 8 innings last night, the bullpen is all beat to hell, with a Memorial Day home game on tap tomorrow
  • The Wood-to-setup-man and Marmol-to-closer discussion can begin anew
  • Alfonso Soriano got to play a 4-hour and 21-minute game on that calf muscle which isn't "injured" but sure looks like it when Soriano runs
  • Any Cub fan who stayed up until the bitter end will be haunted the sight of Henry Blanco playing first base

Regarding today's lineup, Soto, who caught all 14 innings Saturday night, gets the day off, with Johnson moving all the way up to fifth in the order and Henry Blanco filling the 8th spot.


Rich Hill appeared on WSCR Radio Sunday morning after throwing a simulated game in Iowa. He attributed his recent back troubles to "an overdeveloped muscle," the result of years and years of pitching, and he said the back pain which caused him to leave his last start for the I-Cubs had been troubling him, to a lesser degree, going back to Spring Training.


Reed Johnson in the 5 hole...label me confused although it could be worse if he put Blanco there.

Sure seemed like it would have made more sense to put Sori in the 5 hole with Johnson leadoff but hey, Sori's leg isn't hurt and he's comfy leading off with a limp.

Here are the Top 10 best offensive numbers for Cubs minor league position players over their last ten games played:

1. Josh Lansford, 3B (Daytona) - 412/444/529
2. Darwin Barney, SS (Daytona) - 361/410/527
3. Eric Patterson, 2B (Iowa) - 390/432/488
4. Dylan Johnston, RF (Peoria) - 297/350/541
5. Jovan Rosa, 3B (Peoria) - 361/439/444
6. Matt Murton, LF (Iowa) - 333/378/500
7. Luis Bautista, 1B (Peoria) - 324/362/471
8. Marquez Smith, 2B (Peoria) - 281/413/406
9. Matt Craig, 1B (Tennessee) - 323/488/323
10. Nate Spears, 2B (Tennessee) - 273/333/424

IOWA: With Matt Murton and Eric Patterson on fire at Iowa, the Cubs finally might be able to get a deal done for Murton (who is finally starting to generate XBHs), and they might take the opportunity to trade E-Patt, too.

TENNESSEE: After not doing much over the two years since he was acquired from the Orioles in the Corey Patterson deal, Nate Spears is finally starting to develop into a decent (albeit not exceptional) 2B prospect at AA.   

DAYTONA: With 3B Kyle Reynolds and SS Joe Simokaitis mired in season-long slumps at AA Tennessee, Josh Lansford and Darwin Barney could get promoted from Daytona to Tennessee sooner rather than later.

PEORIA: Dylan Johnston is finally starting to realize his offensive potential after moving from SS to LF at Minor League Camp (and to RF after Kyler Burke got demoted to EXST), and Jovan Rosa has been hitting all year (he's tied for the MWL lead in doubles) and now it looks like he's starting to play a lot more 3B (his best position), Look for either Rosa or Marquez Smith (who's best position is also 3B) to get promoted to Daytona if Lansford moves up to Tennessee.

Rob - In Internet Explorer lately the blog entries are not staying inside the borders. Like the "Soriano gets a leg up" entry it just keeps going off to the right side.

The entries are fine if you press comment and it looks fine in FireFox, so I don't know. Something to look into.

yeah, noticed the same thing. Not positive, but it started happening for me around the time that the long line of mugshots was put up. was the long line of player photos causing the problem. IE couldn't seem to handle wrapping them like Firefox.


Should be fixed. 

After 3 horrific starts, Samardzija started the 8th inning in relief last night, got one fly-out and pulled after allowing 2 hits (no HR's or walks) ... was bailed out by other relievers. With the 3-2 win over Mississippi, Tenn on a rare 2 game win streak.

Colvin 0-4, now hitting .232 on the season

ERIC S: Jeff Samardzija has yet to develop any effective secondary pitches to complement his power sinker. If he threw only the two-seamer, he'd get better results in AA, but he'd also never learn the additional pitches he will need to have if he is to be an MLB rotation starter.

He'd be turning his back on some big bucks if he did it, but he really might want to start thinking about a career pro football.

Luis Fricken Rivas? You gotta be kidding me.

Wow just wow....nice play Soriano!!! WTF!

Well, that sucked ass.

That sucked the butter right out of my ass.

And to make it worse the Pirates act like they have won the World Series after they win...

Did you see their act yesterday? They went nuts for a walk off 'sac fly'. I say sac fly because if they were playing at normal depth it was going to be a sac fly to win the game.

Part of me says that might foster bad blood. Somebody like Bay might get some chin music the next time they play.

The other part of me says if you don't want to see them celebrating an everyday win like the Mickey Mouse organization that they are, finish the fucking deal. Don't lose to a bunch of scrubs.

Man, kicked two games away that were pretty much in the "W" column. Should be an interesting plane ride back to town - wonder what Lou said in the clubhouse after the game.

I'm not usually a huge Soriano critic, as I am aware that when he is hot he can carry an offense and when he is cold he can be a non-factor, but he really hurt the Cubs in those two losses. Going 0 for his first 6 ABs last night was terrible, and then when he finally got on base in extra innings he got picked off of second. Today he fails to catch that "homerun" that I think Matt Murton and certainly Reed Johnson or Jim Edmonds would have caught, then he drops the ball to give up the tie that I'm sure Matt Murton would've caught, and probably Cliff Floyd. Maybe even Daryle Ward, since he likely could've gotten to it in time. I realize that he is going to be hot and cold at the plate, but he needs to be consistent on the bases and in the field, places where one is expected to be disciplined and consistent, not hit-or-miss streaky. The homerun today was nice, but he more than made up for it with his terrible defense. He was better than this last year, and I honestly thought he was getting better. Apparently I was mistaken.

Also, just to finish of the cranky-jerkness that is me today, having two chances in one inning to throw LaRoche out and failing to do so is poor. Theriot should have had him at second but received the throw on the wrong side of the bag. The play at home is more excusable and not really caused by any mistake, but that run should also have been erased. The Cubs should've won this one 5-2 by my count.

...going to the 18th.

on EI if you have it.

and its over in the 18th...3 run homer bottom 18th, 9-12 final.

You forgot to mention who hit it. Adrian Friggin' Gonzalez, MEXICAN POWER!

Orioles RHP Steve Trachsel, who allowed nine runs over 1 2/3 innings in Saturday night's loss to the Rays, thought he might have been tipping off his pitches. Trembley doesn't think that was the case. "it was a bad case of being fucking useless," Trembley said. *

Wow, ol' Steve might be nearing the end of his career.

* I edited the quote for added drama.

Was at I-Cubs 9-2 win this afternoon against Oklahoma Redhawks (Rangers). Felix Pie looked totally lost at the plate. His AAA batting average going into the game was .086 and he went 0/5 with a K. Only once did he put the ball into play with any authority. Two ABs in a row he flied out and Eric Patterson was doubled off first. Murton had two groundouts and two walks.

Koyie Hill was the star with a no doubt HR and 4 RBIs.

Thanks for the report. If we didn't know that Jim Edmonds was about to catch fire, the Pie update would be quite discouraging.

Shaq at the foul line in the final seconds of a close game vs. Soriano trying to catch a fly ball in the 9th inning with the Cubs leading. Discuss.

I'm a big Lou fan, but leaving a gimpy-legged, lethally-bad outfielder in the game with a one-run lead in the 9th is simply ridiculous. If you can double-switch Blanco in for Lee (or take Shaq out of a close game...), you can pull Soriano for defense. Other than Soriano (who has missed several catches), I don't remember anyone else whiffing on fly balls. Enough with the kid gloves for him -- sit him in the 9th with a lead until he proves he can catch the damn thing.

Rough couple of days for Lou -- the Blanco switch backfired (although Theriot's throw was inexcusably bad) and leaving Soriano in cost them another game.

Also -- what is the record for HBP by a releiver? Kerry is on track for 15 HBP. Remarkable.

That is one lousy was for Marmol to get a blown save.

The Pirates gave us a couple of games early in the year -- after the last 2 games, I would say we are even.

What CF can we get at the deadline?

Even worse than I thought for Marmol -- the boxscore is calling Soriano's drop a "hit", and thus the run is earned.

The ball hit his glove, for cryin' out loud.

Soriano should never be out there in a save sitution in the 9th. Johnson, Edmonds, and Fukudome are 10x the OF he is. Also he needs to stop mangaging his bench like Dusty using his bench guys like their tap water and will never run out. Honestly if wants to manage the Muts I would let him go.

1. soriano now leads the majors in blown saves by left fielders. will be interesting to see what sort of reception he gets today from the bleacher crowd: adoration for the screaming hot soriano who left town last sunday, or derision for the return of the cooled-down version.

2. some how these last 2 days appear to me to be the baseball gods getting even with the cubs (and the pirates) for the extra inning games from the cubs earlier trip to pittsburgh. with out dredging up old box scores, i have the general impression that the cubs escaped with a sweep thanks to some very good extra inning fortune in april. i could easily be wrong.

3. ryan dempster's mandate will surely be to pitch 7 or 8 innings today. here's hoping ! and that ascanio gets a chance in the near future to recapture the win that got messed up on sunday.

4. have the overlords of t/c/r generated a pool on how soon jim "warning track power" edmonds is sent packing? my virtual five bucks says saturday june 14.

Remember-- the Cubs signed Fonzie to play play CF.

Oh, brother.

I wonder if they consider playing Hoffpauir in LF and DH Soriano with the upcoming interleague road games in Toronto and Tampa mid June...I doubt it but it would be interesting.

Probably not, but they might consider playing both Johnson and Edmonds and DHing Soriano.

He keeps this up, I think we should move him to DH for the rest of the year.

Recent comments

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  • I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.

    Charlie 7 min 26 sec ago view
  • I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.

    Charlie 20 min 53 sec ago view
  • They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?

    QuietMan 1 hour 44 min ago view
  • Regarding Heyward--

    He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.

    What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.

    (All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 45 min ago view
  • Lester will probably be all right.

    I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.


    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 51 min ago view
  • I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.

    billybucks 1 hour 55 min ago view
  • Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 59 min ago view
  • He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.

    But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.

    billybucks 2 hours 7 min ago view
  • The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.

    VirginiaPhil 2 hours 9 min ago view
  • Yup. Thanks Q

    The E-Man 2 hours 15 min ago view
  • QuietMan 2 hours 23 min ago view
  • I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.

    Rob Richardson 2 hours 42 min ago view
  • O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.

    The E-Man 3 hours 21 min ago view
  • Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.

    Old and Blue 4 hours 5 min ago view
  • I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.

    Old and Blue 4 hours 16 min ago view
  • You don't think he's improved? He looks completely different out there than he did when he first came up. The last I checked his K rate was in the low 20% range - 22-23 or so. When he came up it was 40%+.

    To me, what is scary about him if I'm the other guy is that he IS learning the strike zone. This guy could easily be the MVP someday.

    Old and Blue 4 hours 17 min ago view