Game preview: Cubs (24-28) @ Pirates (21-31)

"I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I really don't know. I'm going to be honest with you, I wish I had some answers."

When your manager brings insight like that to the ballpark, how can you question his methods?

As promised/threatened, Mr. Piniella has made a number of changes in his lineup tonight. Young Castro moves back up to the second spot, Nady gets a spot start in place of Derrek Lee, Colvin escapes for a night from Piniella Purgatory to spell the slumping Marlon Byrd in center, Baker gets back on the field for the first time since suffering that ocular migraine last week against the Dodgers, and Hill catches while Soto (.200/.333/.329 in May) sits.

Morelli Hit Streak at 17 as Cubs Drop Giants

Jesus Morelli extended his hitting streak to 17 games with two doubles, Arismendy Alcantara tripled, singled, and scored a run, Xavier Batista doubled, tripled, and scored a run, and Vismeldy Bieneme reached base three times, scored one run, and drove-in another, as the EXST Cubs defeated the EXST Giants 4-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Indian School Park Field #4 in Scottsdale this morning.


Morelli has hit 437/485/621 over the course of his 17-game hit streak that goes back to May 5th, and with two more hits today, Morelli is hitting 384/452/603 with a team-leading 12 doubles in 23 EXST games since being sent down from Peoria on April 23rd. He has hit safely in 22 out of the 23 games he has played at Extended Spring Training, and he has reached base safely in all 23 games (he walked in the one game he went hitless). 


Good Thing They Didn't Lift Niemi for John Grabow

In the spirit of honoring the Chicago Blackhawks, who are now just two games away from the Stanley Cup championship, and temporarily ignoring the black comedy that is the Chicago Cubs, here is a video that will warm the heart of every Hawks fan who remembers the joy of listening to the great Lloyd Pettit. (Pettit, of course, also worked alongside Jack Brickhouse in the Cubs broadcast booth for several years.)

Morelli Extends Hit Streak & Huseby Returns to Mound at Fitch Park

Jesus Morelli extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a 1st inning RBI double, leading one squad of Cubs to a 5-3 victory over the Giants on Field #3, while the other squad of Giants defeated the other squad of Cubs 6-2 on Field #2, as the EXST Cubs and EXST Giants played a Memorial Day Cactus League Extended Spring training split squad doubleheader at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ. Both games were stopped after eight innings.


Making his first appearance on the mound since throwing 16 consecutive balls (no strikes) and walking all four batters he faced in a game versus the EXST Angels at Diablo Park on April 28th, RHP Chris Huseby appeared to be headed down a similar path today, throwing seven of his first eight pitches for balls, before allowing a two-run RBI triple. However, he then suddenly seemed to turn a corner, and proceeded to strike out the side on just 10 pitches (all strikes), stranding the runner at 3rd. Then after completing his one inning of work, Huseby remained in the game as a DH, grounding out 6-3 in the 3rd and reaching base on a HBP (glancing blow off his helmet) in the 5th, before heading for the clubhouse.

CSI Randy Wells and John Grabow's Magical Mystery Knee

A collective cheer can be heard in that state of mind known as Wrigleyville...

UPDATE: (tweet from Gordon Wittenmeyer) Grabow to DL, Cashner called up.


I wrote this piece before the update. Sometimes things just make sense.

Randy Wells, aka Buzz Lightyear "To Infinity and Beyond" (5 runs and no outs is an ERA of ∞) gets a DO-OVER. After Randy Wells failed on just about all of the 16 pitches (and 5 runs) he threw in the first inning 'bullpen' tryout on friday vs the Cardinals. He gets to show management that he actually can once again go deep into a game with a quick return to the first inning on the holiday-day game against the Pirates. His competition for that bullpen spot, Tom Gorzellany won the battle to the bullpen. Gorz matched Wells with five quick runs vs the Dodgers on Wednesday's game which was so disappointing that Com-Ed pulled the plug on the Wrigley light grid.

Wells also is returning to the scene of the crime from May 6th, his other ugly outing. As we recall, he also gave up 5 first inning runs in the first on two walks, two singles and two doubles. Lou didn't have quite the quick hook that day as Wells stayed in to give up two more runs in the 2nd inning in what was to be an 11-1 blowout to the Buccos.

Oh, oh Domino. Tom Gorzellany will be in the pen, ready to pitch mop up in the first few innings if history should repeat itself. Gorz, the newest long reliever supplants big Z in the bullpen. Zambrano is supposed to start Wednesday in Pittsburgh, although Z never did get stretched out in a game even as the opportunity presented itself in Wells "oopsie" friday.

With all the roster shuffling soon to occur, the questions are who goes away when Andrew Cashner arrives this week and why isn't Cashner coming today? Is it management indecision or can't they get the radiologist who read John Grabow's MRI  to review it again to see that there IS something wrong, very wrong.

From today's Sun-Times:

Grabow already has undergone an MRI on his left knee after experiencing discomfort, but no injury was found.

Updated 2010 Cubs Extended Spring Training Stats & Roster (Memorial Day Edition)

Here are the unofficial statistics for EXST Cubs players updated through May 29th. (There is no Official Scorer at Cactus League Extended Spring Training games, so the stats are not official).

Z will be in, Cashner will be up, plus Cardinals vs. Cubs

The long-awaited announcements have been announced:

Carlos Zambrano will make his return to the starting rotation on Wednesday in Pittsburgh and Tom Gorzelanny be moved from the rotation to the bullpen, where he will joined by a new teammate...

Andrew Casher, who will be summoned from Iowa on Monday, according to Carrie Muskat. Cashner has given up four hits and a run in two innings pitched since the I-Cubs moved him into the pen. Overall, his numbers at Triple-A this year have been stunning. 0.86 ERA and 17/2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 17 IP.

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  • Cubs are going to need a 2nd baseman of the future. I'm still not convinced Baez can be that offensively on an everyday basis.

    johann 8 min 20 sec ago view
  • Updating: Per @Joelsherman1, #Cubs-#Yankees trade, if completed, would be Chapman for Torres, Warren and likely two others.

    Can only imagine they'd only give that much up if he's signing an extension. 

    Rob G. 23 min 12 sec ago view
  • The official police report on Chapman:

    https://www.scribd.com/document/292708682/Chapman-...

    You can draw your own conclusions.

    Old and Blue 2 hours 16 min ago view
  • Where is he going to play for the Cubs?

    Rob Richardson 2 hours 43 min ago view
  • That was, ummmm, you know. A joke?

    Old and Blue 2 hours 48 min ago view
  • Even from an on-field perspective, Torres is a 19-year-old beating up High-A pitching who also plays a great SS. Even if he never develops a legit MLB power stroke, he's still an obvious 4-tool guy with a very high floor. Sucks to trade away his next 6-8 years for a closer, albeit a great one.

    John Beasley 4 hours 17 min ago view
  • "Like the Chapman deal for Cubs from on-field POV, wish I didn't now have to feel lousy following an otherwise likable Cubs team." @jonahkeri

    pretty much sums up my feelings

    Rob G. 10 hours 26 min ago view
  • You mean Yankees?

    QuietMan 10 hours 30 min ago view
  • Cards lose!

    billybucks 10 hours 37 min ago view
  • You do have a point. The TheoJed certainly would need to address this in a transparent way. Milton Bradley was no help to the team.

    The E-Man 10 hours 49 min ago view
  • FWIW, the Cubs would get a compensation draft pick between the 1st & 2nd rounds (around #35) if they extend a Qualifying Offer to Chapman post-2016 (probably about $17M), Chapman declines, and then he signs with another MLB club before next year's draft. 

    Arizona Phil 10 hours 56 min ago view
  • This all assumes Chapman doesn't want to be a free agent and possibly sign a $20MM+/year deal. We all know free agents get overpaid, sometimes dramatically (Hello, JayHey!). Not sure why Chapman would agree to the extension. If i'm is agent, I would tell him I could get I'm a $100M deal as a FA.

    billybucks 11 hours 3 min ago view
  • I'll root for the uniform and imagine it's left-handed Rod Beck or Randy Myers out there I suppose.

    Rob G. 11 hours 26 min ago view
  • Amen to this. I guess it's gonna happen and I'm gonna have to suck it up but I really despise domestic abusers with every bone in my body and cannot stand them on any team I root for.

    johann 11 hours 35 min ago view
  • I just prefer they don't  acquire players that choke their wives/girlfriends.

    Rob G. 11 hours 38 min ago view
  • So you'd rather go with Blown Save guy, when you can trade a prospect who is blocked for one piece that could get you over the top to the Big Dance? That is pretty old thinking. This is not a move that they cannot recover from if it goes south. But the upside is potentially historic.

    The E-Man 11 hours 48 min ago view