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W: Bronson Arroyo (2-0) L: Glendon Rusch (0-2)
The first game of the year that I didn't get to watch and am glad I didn't. With a stiff 17 mph wind blowing out, the Reds blasted Glendon "Butterball" Rusch (so named for his portly status and quality of his pitches) to the tune of four solo homeruns in the first 5 innings although by the sound of it, none of them needed much help by Mother Nature. Home runs to Dunn and Griffey Jr. can be forgiven, but an 0-2 meatball to your nemesis Bronson Arroyo is pretty darn unforgivable. The formely spotless bullpen stepped in to start the 6th and Will Ohman immediately got greeted with 5 more runs without recording a single out, his ERA jumping to an obscene 27.00. Only a meaningless 2 out double by Derrek Lee in the 8th and Michael Barrett home run in the 9th kept the Cubs from being shut out. Although Rusch had a relatively rough spring and has looked less than adequate so far in his 2 starts, it should be remembered he's been up against arguably the NL's best offense and has pitched in less than ideal conditions (Great American Home Run Park and a 17mph wind blowing out today). The conditions for success loom just around the corner as he'll get the Pittsburgh Pirates for his next start in the lefty friendly PNC Park. If he cannot put together something resembling usefulness in his next start, and Jerome Williams does pitch adequately in his start on Saturday, don't be surprised by a switch in roles. The Cubs won't need a 5th starter again until April 25th which by all current accounts, Kerry Wood could very likely be ready by. On the injury front, Jacque Jones left the game with a tweak in his hammy. An MRI was performed but it appears that it's nothing to worry about. Unless you're worried about Jacque Jones getting more at-bats, as he's listed day-to-day. Conveniently for the Cubs it comes at a time when the Reds will throw out 2 straight lefties, plus the Pirates throw out another lefty this weekend. Aramis Ramirez apparently hurt a muscle in the gluteus maximus on a swing late in the game, haven't heard if he'll miss any time. There's a chance we'll see Angel Pagan (RF), Neifi Perez(3B) and Jerry Hairston(2B) in the lineup tomorrow. That could be a downright scary lineup tomorrow, scary in the sense that a $100 million team could put out a lineup that bad. Can't win them all I suppose, so far the Cubs have won 4 games, Glendon Rusch has lost two. Hopefully Greg Maddux can right the ship tomorrow.
Glendon Rusch, LHP 0-1, 9.00 ERA, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 4.0 IP 2B Ryan Freel SS #Felipe Lopez CF *Ken Griffey Jr. 1B Rich Aurilia LF *Adam Dunn 3B Edwin Encarnacion RF Austin Kearns C Dave Ross P Bronson Arroyo Bronson Arroyo, RHP 1-0, 4.05 ERA, 0 BB, 7 K 2 HR, 6.2 IP CF *Juan Pierre 2B *Todd Walker 1B Derrek Lee 3B Aramis Ramirez C Michael Barrett RF *Jacque Jones LF Matt Murton SS Ronny Cedeno P *Glendon Rusch
Griffey: 5/23, 217/296/652, 3 HR, 3 BB, 7 K vs. Rusch Dunn: 8/23, 348/348/913, 4 HR, 7 K vs. Rusch The rematch we've all been waiting for, the chance to avenge our sole loss of the season. Glendon Rusch tries to bounce back from his disappointing opening outing while trying to keep the torrid bat of Bronson Arroyo in check. The Cubs will try to keep the ball rolling and look to extend their winning streak to 4 games today. The weather is a bit nicer than over the weekend, temperatures in the high 60's, hopefully it'll warm up Aramis' bat. And of course Derrek Lee can start earning his contract today with a nice 3 HR performance. As they say, GO CUBS!!!
All's well in the world again. The first Sunday of April has come and gone, and baseball is back. Every day is a good day. And when the Cubs win, it's just that little bit better. A sweep of the Cardinals is six months of winter well rewarded. Matt Murton, Ronny Cedeno and Sean Marshall have graduated to the game's biggest stage this year, and all played their part over the weekend. Hoping to follow in their footsteps is young talent at Iowa, West Tennessee, Daytona and Peoria, where seasons got under way last Thursday. The Iowa Cubs (Pacific Coast League, Triple-A) and West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx (Southern League, Double-A) have both gotten off to promising 4-1 starts, topping their divisions early doors, while the Peoria Chiefs (Midwest League, Low-A) are at 3-2. Things haven't gone so well for the Daytona Cubs (Florida State League, High-A), who at 0-4 haven't yet won a game. Their game yesterday game was suspended due to a power outage with the Cubs batting in the top of the ninth, trailing 5-3 with a runner on first and one out, Jake Fox, Matt Craig and Alan Rick due up. It will be completed this evening before the regularly scheduled game. Crown Jewels Felix Pie is the organisation's top prospect, but if his ridiculous start to the season is anything to go by, he doesn't plan on hanging around the minor leagues for too much longer. He's 10-for-21 (.476), with a double, two triples and a grand-slam home run, six runs scored and eleven RBI, he's walked twice, struck out just twice, and has stolen three bases in three attempts. Naturally, he's also errorless in centre field. To put it another way, everything Iowa's leadoff-hitter has touched so far has turned to gold. Such performance is all the more impressive when you consider he's a 21-year old getting his first taste of Triple-A, hitter friendly league or not, all after losing half of last year to injury. Angel Guzman, Rich Hill and Jae-Kuk Ryu were all in competition for spots at the back end of the Cubs' rotation this Spring, but missed the cut. Angel Guzman, while throwing extremely hard, displayed a worrying lack of control during some of his Arizona outings, and looked, dare I say it, a little like Roberto Novoa out there at times. His debut at Iowa though went smoothly, as he allowed just one walk and two singles in five scoreless innings on Sunday, punching out six. Rich Hill meanwhile went six innings yesterday, a first inning two-out solo home run the only real blemish. A second run, unearned, scored on a double steal of second and home. Hill struck out six, walked none, allowed three hits in all, two of them singles. And Ryu, pitching on Opening Day against Renyel Pinto, threw five innings of one-run ball, allowing two singles, three doubles, five hits in all and a walk while striking out four. Pinto, for the record, walked seven in 3.2 innings. Mitre and Nolasco both cracked the Marlins' Opening Day roster. First base prospect Brian Dopirak, 22, struggled mightily at Daytona last year, yet received a promotion to Double-A anyway after a decent Spring Training. But after grounding out to third base, being called out on strikes and singling up the middle, Dopirak broke his foot on the bases on Opening Day and is expected to be out for at least six weeks. Right fielder Ryan Harvey was another that didn't have the best 2005, but he too's been pushed up a level to Daytona. After missing the first two games with a sprained knee, he's racked up four strikeouts and no walks in his first ten plate appearances. Huge power or not, if he's to make it to the big leagues, he needs to exhibit much better plate discipline. He is though still just 21. Best of the rest Eric Patterson spent all of last year terrorising the Midwest League, before receiving a late season double promotion to West Tennessee so that he could partake in their playoff push. He's beginning this season there again, and is off to a decent start. He's only 5-for-18 (.278), with five strikeouts, but he's walked three times, stolen three bags in as many attempts, and has two triples and a home run to his name already. Patterson's partner in domination at Peoria last year was Sean Gallagher, who's also started this year well. His first start saw him strikeout eight in six shutout innings, allowing just five hits and a walk. Meanwhile, Carlos Marmol, Randy Wells and returned Rule 5 draftee Juan Mateo had good opening starts for the Diamond Jaxx. The three combined to pitch 16 innings with a 1.69 ERA, allowing 7 hits, 1 home run, 3 walks and striking out 15. In the West Tenn bullpen, Lincoln Holdzkom, one of the prospects acquired for Todd Wellemeyer, struck out three in an inning and a third in his only outing, while at Iowa, David Aardsma has continued where he left off in Spring Training: four innings, six strikeouts and just one measly single allowed. Last year's draft class First rounder Mark Pawelek has stayed behind in extended Spring Training and will likely be assigned to Peoria within the next month or so. The Cubs aren't going to rush him, and realise that he needs to work on some mechanical issues. That leaves Mark Holliman (Daytona) and Donald Veal and Mike Billek (Peoria) as the top picks in action right now. Veal, a hard-throwing lefty that needs to work on his off-speed stuff, was wild in his Opening Day start, allowing six walks in 3.1 innings. He'll go again tonight. Billek meanwhile struckout six, walked one and allowed seven singles in a losing four-inning effort. Holliman though allowed just just two runners to reach (single, double) in five innings of one-run ball, striking out seven. Quick hits -- It was a good week for the Cubs' minor league arms, with just one glaring exception: Luke Hagerty, who last year put up the ugliest pitching line I've ever seen (6.2 IP, 14 H, 0 HR, 30 BB, 4 K, 31.05 ERA with 9 wild pitches) with short-season A-ball's Boise Hawks, has ended up in the Daytona rotation this year. His first start saw him issue 5 free passes and 1 wild pitch in 1.2 innings. Stick a fork in him. -- You can now watch Iowa Cubs home games on your computer. Through the month of April, the feed is absolutely free, and it costs a mere $10 to watch the rest of the year. Alternatively, for $20 you can get access to every Triple-A team. However, you'll have to put up with a one camera situated high behind home plate, and broadcasters that like discussing Kevin Costner movies. In other words, the service isn't great, but it's better than nothing. -- Also new for this season for the Iowa Cubs is the Gameday game tracker. You can follow them pitch-for-pitch then, via green, red and blue circles, and jump up and down when those "in play - run scoring play" words pop up on the screen with Felix Pie at bat. -- Free radio feeds for all minor league games are available as follows: Iowa Cubs (click on the feed of your choice), West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (click "Listen to NewsTalk 101.5 FM Online"), Daytona Cubs (click "Listen Live") and Peoria Chiefs (click "Listen Live"). From June onwards, when then Boise Hawks get their season underway, you'll be able to watch their home games and listen to all their games from this page. -- The Cubs recently released, amongst others, Russ Rohlicek, Jon Connelly, Olivo Astacio, Jason Wylie, Bo Flowers and Jason Szuminski.
4-3-2006 Transmission (me) successfully defends his dissertation at UW. While technically he still has to deposit his dissertation in a dank basement office somewhere, this functionally makes him Dr. Trans. 4-3-1987 Traded Dennis Eckersley and Dan Rohn to the Oakland Athletics. Received Brian Guinn, Dave Wilder and Mark Leonette 4-3-1888 Sold John Clarkson to the Boston Beaneaters 4-4-1988 Sammy Sosa hits the first of his 66 home runs. It's off Marc Valdes of the Expos 4-4-1989 Mitch Williams pitches 1 and 2/3 innings, gives up three hits, two walks, and a balk. He also strikes out three, gives up no runs and earns his first save as a Cub. Cubs 5, Phillies 4 4-5-2004 Signed Glendon Rusch as a free agent and Buster Olney are now reporting that the Derrek Lee extension is signed, sealed and delivered. The Cubs have a press conference scheduled for tomorrow morning to announce it officially. He'll get a little more than Paul Konerko did this off-season, 5 years for $65 million and a full no-trade clause. His old deal will be voided($9 million plus this year) and the first year of his new deal will go into effect immediately, meaning he's signed through 2010. He deserves more than Paul Konerko, although I'm not fond in any way of the no-trade clause. His defense and strike zone judgement make me a little less hesitant about the five year deal as I expect him to age pretty well. Although by 2010, we'll probably be hoping that we didn't sign him to this deal, but it's the cost of signing big name players, you almost always have to overpay in some way. If he puts up numbers similar to 2005 over the next 3-4 seasons, whatever he ends up slipping to in the latter years of the contract will be the price needed to be paid to enjoy the more fruitful years. Brian Dopirak may as well starting shopping for a new mitt as he'll have to find a new position if he plans to ever play for the Cubbies. If he ever puts up another decent season in the minors, I suppose he'll get himself traded promptly. No worries here, I don't think Dopirak will evolve into anything more than a decent DH, his defense so far has been deplorable in the minors. Next up on Hendry's contract platter, getting Aramis to waive his option after this year and signing Carlos Zambrano to the extension that will keep him a Cubbie for the next ten years.
So this is a little strange. From Carrie Muskat's column about Michael Barrett's pinch-hitting heroics over the weekend:
John Mabry hit the Cubs' other pinch-hit homer in the second game of the season, and he was Barrett's inspiration on Saturday. What did Mabry do? "He was down here [in the clubhouse] in the third inning, getting ready for the game," Barrett said. "He starts his routine a lot earlier than most guys I've ever seen. I walked in here to get warm for a split second in the third, and I saw him getting ready, so I thought maybe I need to get ready, too. That way, when I went in to hit, I didn't feel rushed." But what is it that Mabry does? "I don't want to go into details," Barrett said, "but he was getting ready." "I can't tell you either," Baker said.
Apparently Mabry's routine is more involved than just riding the stationary bike during the early innings. Anyway, this week, the Reds come in for three at Wrigley. Know Thy Enemy: Red Reporter, We Heart The Reds Tuesday: Rusch vs. Bronson Arroyo Wednesday: Maddux vs. Brandon Claussen Thursday: Zambrano vs. Eric Milton With the Cubs facing two lefties in the Cincy series (Claussen & Milton), look for Jerry Hairston to get a start or two at second. I'd expect to see Neifi at short in Wednesday's game, too. And is it too much to ask for maybe Jacque Jones to take a day off too? Then the Cubs start a nine-game road trip against the Pirates. Know Thy Enemy: Honest Wagner Friday night: Marshall vs. Victor Santos Saturday night: 5th starter vs. Zach Duke Sunday: Rusch vs. Ian Snell As of right now, Saturday's starter is Jerome Williams, but that could change. Off-day conversation topic: ¿Quien es mas macho, Derrek Lee o Michael Barrett?
Fun with game notes: * A win tonight would give the Cubs their first home sweep against the Cardinals since June, 2001. * Sean Marshall is the 1,800th Chicago Cub in the franchise's 131-year history. GAME 5 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (3-2) AT CHICAGO CUBS (3-1) WRIGLEY FIELD 7:05 CDT, TV: ESPN WEATHER: 40 degrees, clear, wind blowing in from right at 12 MPH CARDINALS: David Eckstein, SS Juan Encarnacion, RF Albert Pujols, 1B Scott Rolen, 3B *Jim Edmonds, CF Yadier Molina, C So Taguchi, LF Hector Luna, 2B Sidney Ponson, P CUBS: *Juan Pierre, CF *Todd Walker, 2B Derrek Lee, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Michael Barrett, C *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton. LF Ronny Cedeno, SS * Sean Marshall, P Jacque Jones: 4-24, 167/250/167, 3 BB, 5 K vs. Ponson Todd Walker: 4-15, 267/313/333 vs. Ponson
A win today puts the Cubs two games over .500 for the first time since last August 2nd. GAME 4 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (3-1) AT CHICAGO CUBS (2-1) WRIGLEY FIELD 1:20 CDT, TV: CSN Chicago WEATHER: 39 degrees, sunny, wind blowing in from left at 16 MPH CARDINALS: David Eckstein, SS *John Rodriguez, LF Albert Pujols, 1B *Jim Edmonds, CF Scott Rolen, 3B *Skip Schumaker, RF Yadier Molina, C #Aaron Miles, 2B Chris Carpenter, P Albert Pujols: 8-34, 235/333/471, 2 HR, 5 BB, 7 K vs. Zambrano Scott Rolen: 7-30, 233/281/500, 2 HR vs. Zambrano Jim Edmonds: 6-29, 207/361/448, 2 HR, 4 BB, 15 K vs. Zambrano Juan Encarnacion: 2-18, 111/158/111, 5 K vs. Zambrano John Rodriguez: 4-10, 400/455/1000, 2 HR vs. Zambrano Scott Rolen: 4-21, 190/296/429, 1 HR, 9 K vs. Dempster Jim Edmonds: 1-13, 077/294/077, 4 BB, 4 K vs. Williams Albert Pujols: 1-11, 091/091/364, 1 HR vs. Williams Scott Rolen: 0-9, 000/182/000, 3 K vs. Williams CUBS *Juan Pierre, CF *Todd Walker, 2B Derrek Lee, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton. LF Ronny Cedeno, SS Henry Blanco, C #Carlos Zambrano, P Todd Walker: 2-27, 074/074/185, 7 K vs. Carpenter Jerry Hairston: 4-22, 182/207/227 vs. Carpenter Neifi Perez: 3-14, 214/200/214 vs. Carpenter Carlos Zambrano: 5-7, 714/714/857 vs. Carpenter Aramis Ramirez: 4-7, 571/571/1571, 2 HR vs. Hancock
Thanks to a lot of hard work previously done by Arizona Phil and the guys at USS Mariner, I am proud to present the Cubs Org Chart! I will continue to add features to the page as the season goes on, including links to the players, contract info, etc. Let me know what other information you'd like to see on the org chart page.
HOME OPENER IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (3-0) AT CHICAGO CUBS (1-1) WRIGLEY FIELD 1:20 CDT, TV: WGN-TV WEATHER: 40 degrees, overcast, wind blowing in 25 MPH CARDINALS: David Eckstein, SS Juan Encarnacion, RF Albert Pujols, 1B Jim Edmonds, CF Scott Rolen, 3B So Taguchi, LF Gary Bennett, C Aaron Miles, 2B Jeff Suppan, P CUBS Juan Pierre, CF Neifi Perez, 2B Derrek Lee, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Jacque Jones, RF Michael Barrett, C Matt Murton. LF Ronny Cedeno, SS Greg Maddux, P Albert Pujols is 10-24 with 3 HR lifetime versus Maddux Jacque Jones is 11-31 with 4 HR and 9 BB lifetime vs Suppan Derrek Lee is 12-25 with 4 2B, 2 HR, and 7 BB lifetime vs Suppan
In the second in a series of team previews of N. L. Central clubs, we present the Cubs Home Opening Day opponents (some of you may have heard of them), the St. Louis Cardinals.
In addition to the Chicago Cubs playing the Reds on Opening Day in Cincinnati on Monday and the Home Opener at Wrigley Field on Friday versus the St. Louis Cardinals, four of the Cubs minor league affiliates start their regular season schedules Thursday and Friday. Here is the current state of the Cubs organizational pipeline, with the Opening Day rosters for all affiliates now in place:
The Associated Press has obtained the 2006 MLB player payrolls. The Cubs' 2006 player payroll ranks third in the N. L., behind the Mets and the Dodgers, and just ahead of the Astros, Braves, and Giants. NATIONAL LEAGUE: 1. NYM - 100.9 2. LAD - 99.1 3. CUBS - 94.8 4. HOU - 92.5 5. ATL - 92.4 6. SF - 90.8 7. STL - 88.4 8. PHI - 88.2 MID-POINT 9. SD - 69.7 10. WAS - 63.2 11. CIN - 59.4 12. AZ - 59.2 13. MIL - 56.7 14. PIT - 46.8 15. COL - 41.1 16. FLA - 14.9
GAME IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (1-0) AT CINCINNATI REDS (0-1) GREAT AMERICAN BALLPARK, 11:35 CDT, TV: ESPN & CSN Chicago Temperature in the 50's with the wind blowing out.
Glendon Rusch, LHP 2005: 9-8, 4.52 111/53 K/BB, 14 HR in 145 1/3 IP Ryan Freel, 2B Felipe Lopez, SS Ken Griffey, Jr, CF (5/21, 238/320/714, 3 HR) Rich Aurilia, 1B Adam Dunn, LF (7/21, 333/333/952, 4 HR, 7K) Edwin Encarnacion, 3B Austin Kearns, RF David Ross, C Bronson Arroyo, PBronson Arroyo, RHP 2005: 14-10, 3.52 100/54 K/BB, 22 HR in 205 1/3 IP Juan Pierre, CF Todd Walker, 2B Derrek Lee, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Jacque Jones, RF Michael Barrett, C Matt Murton, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS Glendon Rusch, P
Dunn owns Rusch, and Griffey has hit the Cubs left-hander well too. Rusch usually has a WHIP around 1.50, so he better keep the ball in the park or it's going to be a short day for the lefty. Arroyo was acquired by the Reds from Boston for OF Wily Mo Pena during Spring Training. He has been the Red Sox rubber-armed swing-man the last couple of years, with a spot start here and a long relief job there, but now he has a chance to be a full-time full-fledged top-of-the-rotation starter on a team that (like his former club) scores a lot of runs. Arroyo has been more effective against right-handed hitters (228/281/366) than he has been against left-handed hitters (275/338/455) over the past three seasons, but today's Cubs starters are an aggregate lifetime 13-25 with two BB and three K versus Arroyo. Heck, even Glendon Rusch is 2-3 with a BB. Arroyo hit 14 batters last year and surrendered 22 HR in just over 200 IP. Arroyo mixes a four-seam fastball (cutter) that tops out in the low 90's with four other pitches, including a two-seam fastball (sinker), a slider he likes to use as an "out" pitch against right-handed hitters, and a curve he throws mostly when he is behind in the count. He rarely throws his change-up, because he has difficulty throwing it for strikes. He has a quick move to home plate with runners on base, so it is hard for opponents to steal bases when he is pitching. In his last start in Spring Training last week, Arroyo shut out the Red Sox on three hits (and seven Ks) over seven innings, so he appears to be ready to go.
Paul Sullivan in the Chicago Tribune and Mike Kiley in the Sun-Times are reporting that the Cubs and Jim Hendry will begin negotiating a contract extension for the GM today or Wednesday, with a deal expected to be in place possibly as early as Thursday. Kiley believes the first question Hendry will be asked at the expected Thursday news conference is whether he plans on giving Dusty Baker an extension, but I would be a lot more interested in asking Hendry: 1. Does he think he is--or is not-- going to be able to get Derrek Lee to agree to a contract extension past 2006 in the next few days, and if he can't, does that push the issue to end of the season? and 2. Does he plan on approaching Aramis Ramirez about giving up his player option for 2007 (possibly in return for the Cubs guaranteeing the club option part of the mutual option for 2009, plus tacking on another year worth somewhere around $13-$14mil at the end of the contract)?.


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