It's bullet-point Wednesday! * I saw exactly one at-bat of last night's game. I turned it on in the 4th to see the score, watched Jeromy Burnitz hit his granny, and then turned it off and went to sleep (I was tired!). Therefore, I have a completely skewed concept of what last night's game was all about. I was happy to wake up and see the touchy-feely stories about Jerome Williams and his dad, sad (but not surprised) to see the latest in the shortstop saga, and psyched when I remembered that it was Prior's turn to pitch. I should be able to get home in time for the end of the game (one advantage to living in the Eastern time zone), and that might be the last baseball I see for a little while as I am headed to India on a business trip at the end of the week. * When the Cubs signed Greg Maddux, I was happy because I felt that a talented young picher like Mark Prior would have a lot to learn from him. I didn't think that one of the things he'd learn would be how to give up home runs. Maddux's HR/9 rate skyrocketed upon his return to Chicago -- it was 0.53 for the first 18 years of his career, and is 1.39 over the last two seasons. In his first three seasons, Prior gave up 43 homers in 446 2/3 IP. That's .87 homers per 9 innings. This year, he's given up 21 in 125 1/3 IP, a rate of 1.51 HR/9. Is it something to be worried about? Probably not, but you know me. * Why did the Braves take Jorge Sosa out of the rotation in the first place? Oh, right, because injured starters Mike Hampton and John Thomson were on their way back. Here's what Sosa did during his 12-game stint in the rotation: 12 GS, 5-2, 2.77 ERA, 65 IP, 59 H, 47 K/26 BB Here's how Hampton & Thompson have done since their return: 5 GS, 1-3, 6.64 ERA, 21 2/3 IP, 43 H, 12 K/7 BB And Hampton is, of course, back on the DL, with Sosa starting in his place this afternoon. * I have nothing to do with the "Cardinals are birds of prey" add that has popped up in the Blogads in the right-hand column (though I do appreciate the profane typo). Bring back Rachel Wacholder, I say! * I don't have any problem with backup catchers -- every team has to have one -- but a problem arises when two of your starters prefer to throw to hm. Instead of throwing away that spot in the order once a week (14% of the time, roughly), you're throwing it away 40% of the time. If your backup catcher is as craptastic as Henry Blanco, that's a real problem. The solution? Get a better backup catcher or get your starters comfortable with the front-line guy. Meanwhile, on to today's game: GAME 127 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] ATLANTA BRAVES (71-55) @ CHICAGO CUBS (61-65) WRIGLEY FIELD, 1:20 pm CDT, TV: WGN, FSS, DTV 734
Mark Prior, RHP
9-4, 3.66 ERA
140/41 K/BB, 21 HR in 125 1./3 IP
John Thomson, RHP
8-2, 2.63 ERA
64/45 K/BB, 10 HR in 92 1/3 IP
SS #Rafael Furcal LF *Matt Lawton
2B Marcus Giles 2B *Todd Walker
3B #Larry W. Jones 1B Derrek Lee
CF Andruw Jones 3B Aramis Ramirez
1B Julio Franco RF *Jeromy Burnitz
RF Jeff Francoeur SS Neifi Perez
LF *Ryan Langerhans CF *Corey Patterson
C *Brian McCann C Henry Blanco
P Jorge Sosa P Mark Prior
Jerome Williams, RHP
3-6, 5.13 ERA
46/28 K/BB, 11 HR in 72.0 IP
John Thomson, RHP
3-3, 4.53 ERA
39/16 K/BB, 4 HR in 59.2 IP
SS #Rafael Furcal LF *Matt Lawton
2B Marcus Giles 2B *Todd Walker
3B #Chipper F. Jones 1B Derrek Lee
CF Andruw Jones 3B Aramis Ramirez
1B *Adam LaRoche RF *Jeromy Burnitz
RF Jeff Francoeur C Michael Barrett
LF *Kelly Johnson SS #Neifi Perez
C #Johnny Estrada CF Jerry Hairston
P John Thomson P Jerome Williams
Keep hitting homers Lee and I hope the Cubs pitchers do their best to avoid Andruw Jones. Help a brother out, you know! I want something substantial to root for the rest of the season and the Triple Crown is still very much within reach. Go Cubs!!!
This from
[Felix] Pie will be one of seven Cubs players in the Arizona Fall League. The others include second baseman [Eric] Patterson, outfielder [Matt] Murton, first baseman Brandon Sing, utility player Buck Coates and pitchers David Aardsma and Angel Guzman. One more pitcher will be named to the Mesa Solar Sox team, Cubs player development director Oneri Fleita said.
That seems to conflict with 2 of the AFL eligibility rules which are: ï Each Major League team provides 6 players. There are 6 teams in the AFL, each one a mix of 5 MLB teams players. ï All Triple-A and Double-A players are eligible, but they must have been on at least a Double-A roster no later than August 1st. ï One player below the Double-A level is allowed per MLB team. ï One foreign player is allowed, as long as they do not live in a country that has a winter ball league, including the Carribbean Confederations or Australian Winter League. ï No Players with more than one year of ML service (before August 31st) are allowed. The exception are any players picked in the Rule 5 draft. ï Players on disabled lists in the minors must have been activated 45 days before the end of their season to be eligible. Guzman is from Venezuela and Pie is from the Dominican Republic and Pie is expected to be activated Saturday, which is certainly not 45 days before the end of the AA season which finishes it's season at the end of the month. If they are referring to the end of the MLB season, it's still not 45 days by my calculations. Is wrong or is there explanation? And if Pie is going with Guzman, I have to find a way to get to Arizona for a couple of games. Any guesses on the other pitcher? I'm thinking Jermaine Van Buren or Ricky Nolasco. ---- Things to make you shiver... "One guy you've got to really be thankful for is Neifi Perez," Baker said of the backup shortstop who has started 89 games at the position. Garciaparra has started 24. "Hopefully, Neifi comes to the rescue again until Nomar gets better." "In that situation, you've got to take a chance, especially because Corey [Patterson's] not going real good right now," Baker said. "You've got to take a shot right there. He threw it on target."
Carlos Zambrano, RHP
10-5, 3.07 ERA
149/69 K/BB, 12 HR in 164.1 IP
Tim Hudson, RHP
9-7, 3.45 ERA
83/49 K/BB, 11 HR in 133.0 IP
SS #Rafael Furcal SS LF *Matt Lawton
2B Marcus Giles 2B *Todd Walker
3B #Chipper F. Jones 1B Derrek Lee
CF Andruw Jones 3B Aramis Ramirez
1B *Adam LaRoche RF *Jeromy Burnitz
RF Jeff Francoeur C Michael Barrett
LF *Kelly Johnson SS #Neifi Perez
C Johnny Estrada CF *Corey Patterson
P Tim Hudson C #Carlos Zambrano
Here I am, so excited to actually sit down and watch the game, that I totally forgot to post the lineups. The Braves come to town with their rookie sensation Jeff Francoeur, who has yet to draw an unintentional walk. I'm going to go out on a limb and say he'll get at least one against the Cubs. The Cubs have to win. Every day, they have to win if they thingk they have a chance at the playoffs (which they don't). But, if they don't win every day (which they won't) I'm going to do my best to be like Al. Which is not so say I'm going to ignore the myriad problems with this team, but rather that I will do my best to pay attention to the positive things that have happened, are happening, and will continue to happen between now and the end of March.
Team Records updated through 8/21/05; Individual Stats updated through 8/21/05
Organizational Records
TeamW-LGB/Pos.Last 10
Chicago Cubs60-64(Div)18.0/4th
Iowa Cubs58-6710.0/4th3-7
West Tenn Diamond Jaxx*31-241.5/2nd5-5
Daytona Cubs27-286.0/5th7-3
Peoria Chiefs26-316.0/8th3-7
Boise Hawks25-343.0/3rd4-6
AZL Cubs6-137.5/9th4-6
Cubs Ex W/L: 60-64; (2003) 64-60; (2004) 68-56 * West Tennessee clinched the first half North Division title of the Southern League
Apparently over in Red Sox Nation things aren't so peachy. There seems to be some sort of front-office struggle bertween GM Theo Epstein and president John Henry, the result being a ton of roster moves that defy logic like the continual jerking back and forth of 3B Kevin Youkilis and the Millar-Petagine-Olerud three-headed monster at first. Now, apparently, some are suggesting that manager Terry Francona should be fired. Keep in mind this is the defending World Champs, who currently enjoy a four-game lead in the AL East. Our A-B compadre, Evan Brunell, takes a look at whether Francona has helped or hurt the Sox during his tenure. I think it's amazing that this discussion is even going on, but given that it is I think Evan takes a good look at it. Boston fans, if you're really clamoring for a change, I'm sure the Cubs would let Grady Little out of his contract...
Six Cubs will be playing in the Arizona Fall League this year for the Mesa Solar Sox. RHP David Aardsma RHP Angel Guzman SS/CF Buck Coats OF Matt Murton 2B Eric Patterson 1B/OF Brandon Sing Not exactly who I would have expected, but I'm not exactly sure who makes a good candidate for the AFL. According to the article, the AFL is for AA and AAA prospects and only one player below AA is allowed per major league team, in our case, that would be Eric Patterson. Last year the Cubs sent, LHP Sean Marshall, RHP Jae Kuk Ryu, LHP Russ Rohlicek, C Geovany Soto, SS Ronny Cedeno, 1B Brian Dopirak and OF Adam Greenberg. Greenberg was a member of the "Taxi Squad" and could only play on Wednesday and Saturdays. Wacky!! The 2003 roster featured RHP David Cash (no idea), RHP Ben Christensen, RHP Jason Szuminski, C Casey Kopitzke, INF Brendan Harris, INF Ryan Theriot (also a "Taxi Squad") member, and OF Jason Dubois. Organizational Report will be up either late today or tomorrow.
I looked up from my dissertation just long enough to notice that Adam Greenberg has made The Paper of Record. It's odd that they would decide to run an article on him now, all of the sudden. But it's a fine piece, framing both him and Dusty Baker in a very nice, sympathetic light. Sadly, it seems that Greenberg still struggles with lingering effects of the beaning. Sorry I can't write more, but I encourage you to check it out.
Jeff Francis, LHP
11-9, 5.80 ERA
104/55 K/BB, 19 HR in 141.0 IP
Greg Maddux, RHP
10-9, 4.40 ERA
101/28 K/BB, 21 HR in 163.2 IP
LF Jerry Hairston Jr. 2B Luis Gonzalez
2B #Neifi Perez CF * Cory Sullivan
1B Derrek Lee 1B *Todd Helton
3B Aramis Ramirez LF Matt Holliday
SS Nomar Garciaparra 3B Garrett Atkins
RF *Jeromy Burnitz RF Dustan Mohr
C Michael Barrett C #J.D. Closser
CF *Corey Patterson SS *Omar Quintanilla
P Greg Maddux P *Jeff Francis
Playoffs or not, we can take a series from the Rockies, right? The quest for 15 wins continues for Maddux, he needs 5 wins in 7-8 more starts. Go Maddux!!!
...but the radar shows it should clear soon. GAME 123 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (60-62) @ COLORADO ROCKIES (45-77) COORS FIELD, 7:05 pm CDT, TV: WGN
Aaron Cook, RHP
1-1, 5.16 ERA
9/5 K/BB, 0 HR in 22.2 IP
Glendon Rusch, LHP
5-5, 4.28 ERA
81/42 K/BB, 10 HR in 101.0 IP
LF *Matt Lawton SS Luis Gonzalez
2B *Todd Walker 2B #Aaron Miles
1B Derrek Lee 1B *Todd Helton
3B Aramis Ramirez LF Matt Holliday
RF *Jeromy Burnitz 3B Garrett Atkins
C Michael Barrett RF Dustan Mohr
SS #Neifi Perez C Todd Greene
CF *Corey Patterson CF *Larry Bigbie
P *Glendon Rusch P Aaron Cook
Byung-Hyun Kim, RHP
3-9, 5.33 ERA
82/50 K/BB, 10 HR in 103.0 IP
Mark Prior, RHP
8-4, 3.70 ERA
130/39 K/BB, 20 HR in 119.1 IP
LF *Matt Lawton 2B Luis Gonzalez
2B *Todd Walker RF *Jorge Piedra
1B Derrek Lee LF Matt Holliday
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Todd Helton
RF *Jeromy Burnitz 3B Garrett Atkins
SS #Neifi Perez CF *Larry Bigbie
CF *Corey Patterson C Danny Ardoin
C Henry Blanco SS *Omar Quintanilla
P Mark Prior P Byung-Hun Kim
Games at Coors Field always make me think of video game baseball. It seems playing here is like playing one of EA's video games on the Rookie Level, where you could hit a HR pretty much anytime you needed it. Just push up on the joystick and swing, Voila, 3 run blast! To keep the optimism going around here, I took a look at the Cubs upcoming schedule. Here's a quick breakdwon:
No shocker here, Jerry Hairston was activated from the DL and Matt Murton was sent down to Iowa. Always good to know that it doesn't matter how well you play, just how long you've been in the league. Wonderful message to send to the prospects in the system!
I don't like to give credence to rumors by putting them on the site, but since this one is pretty pervasive I'll make an exception: Roger Clemens. I don't believe it, and the people I asked who know about these sorts of things don't believe it. Of course, that doesn't mean it isn't going to get talked about, or that people aren't going to jump to their own conclusions. One person said to me yesterday that Clemens "fits the profile" of the kind of person who uses PEDs. Does he? How many older power pitchers have tested positive? None. What he fits is the stereotype of the kind of player people think would use. Couple that with the fact that he's a guy that lots of people love to hate and you've got a guy who's being put on trial in the court of public opinion, a court where "innocent is proven guilty" is ignored in favor of the much lower standard of "I think he did it, therefore he must have." This kind of crap really pisses me off. One unfortunate side effect of the players who have tested positive is that every player who fits the stereotype gets smeared as a possible user; pretty much any older player with power or a guy who showed up at camp lighter than he used to be gets saddled with the "cheater" label. The way people take as given that these guys, or any number of other players, are using steroids disgusts me. For many people, fans, bloggers, and "professional writers" alike, one mention of steroids is the only opening needed for the worst traits of their humanity to come out. It always amazes me how people can state as fact that so-and-so is a steroid user, often weaving elaborate conspiracy theories to deflect attention from the fact that there's no actual evidence. What proof is offered? None. It's simply a situation where innuendo, personal agenda, and a desire to be a part of the conversation add up to libel. Yes, libel. Look it up. I didn't want to get off on a rant here, since I've pretty much stayed out of the steroid discussion over the last few years because I don't have anything constructive to add to it, but I guess I couldn't help myself. I think this latest round of rumors is witch-hunting at its worst. I don't think Major League Baseball is going to announce anytime soon that Roger Clemens has failed a drug test, and I don't think it's because there's some sort of baseball-wide conspiracy theory protecting him. And I'm not interested in getting into the "well, if he does test positive, what does it mean for his legacy/the Hall of Fame/the future of the game" BS. If a positive test result is announced, then we'll talk. Until then, I'm not going to speculate and I wish other people would follow suit. I know that's a futile wish, but a guy can dream, can't he?
It's a day off for the Cubs, so it's basically a day off for the Cub Reporter writers. There are still things to talk about though, like: * Who will get sent down when Jerry Hairston is activated tomorrow? Is it the end of Matt Murton's stay in the bigs? It doesn't seem likely that the Cubs will go to 11 pitchers on their way into Coors Field. * There's a little article on Adam Greenberg on He still hasn't recovered from his beaning, which happened over a month ago. At this point, I imagine the Cubs will wait until after 9/1 to bring him back. They are going to bring him back to the bigs, right? [UPDATE 8/19:] One of the pics on this morning, to go along with this article, is a picture of Greenberg being helped off the field. He looks like a guy who just got hit in the head, but I bet he's not too happy with that picture geting a wide release. Poor kid. * Who else will get called up for September? There's been quite a bit of discussion about it in the comments, and plenty of people think Jermaine van Buren should get a look, but the fact that he's not on the 40-man is going to make it more difficult. Not that there aren't people on the 40 who could be cut to make room for him (I'm looking at you, John Koronka), but the Cubs might be reluctant to DFA someone, even a meatball like Koronka, just to get JvB a brief taste of the bigs. * Much of the TCR staff is on vacation or business trips or otherwise unavailable over the next few weeks, so we're putting out a call for guest writers. If you have something you'd like to write about, drop me a line and let's talk about it.
Roy Oswalt, RHP
14-9, 2.57 ERA
1123/34 K/BB, 12 HR in 178.2 IP
Carlos Zambrano, RHP
9-9, 4.54 ERA
96/26 K/BB, 21 HR in 156.2 IP
LF *Matt Lawton CF Wily Taveras
2B *Todd Walker 2B Craig Biggio
1B Derrek Lee LF #Lance Berkman
3B Aramis Ramirez 3B Morgan Ensberg
SS Nomar Garciaparra 1B *Mike Lamb
CF *Corey Patterson RF *Orlando Palmeiro
RF *Jeromy Burnitz SS Adam Everett
C Michael Barrett C Brad Ausmus
P #Carlos Zambrano P Roy Oswalt
Man, I like typing that # before Big Z's name. How silly is it that he switch-hits? I think it's one of the coolest things going. I'm happy to see that the lineup seems to be stabilizing over the last week or so -- we have a Lawton/Murton platoon in left, Blanco catches Maddux and Prior, and the 3-4-5 is Lee-Ramirez-Nomar. Pretty much the way it should be. PS -- Davey Johnson is managing again, and managing a team of youngsters to boot. Just sayin'.


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