May 2007

Our minor league pals at Road to Wrigley have the scoop that Mike Fontenot is in New York but a subsequent roster move has yet to be made. It remains to be seen if this in anticipation of Derrek Lee being sent to the disabled list or possibly some other player getting shuffled around. A 40-man roster move would have to be made as well and chances are that Kerry Wood to the 60-day DL would take care of that. UPDATE: The Trib indicates that Mark DeRosa will go on the DL after hurting his finger yesterday on a collision at first base. UPDATE #2: Bruce Miles says the fate of Fontenot depends on the results of Mark DeRosa's MRI on his ring finger. Miles also says that Derrek Lee will need a few more days of rest to get over his neck problems and speculates that a reliever may get sent down if DeRosa's injury isn't DL worthy. Even if DeRosa is only out a few days but coupled with Lee being out a few days, the Cubs will need an extra bat off the bench and will have to live with 11 pitchers for a few days. I'm looking at Rocky Cherry.

An avoidable loss

GameCenter Recap

W - Heilman (4-2), (A win with only one pitch thrown!)

L - Wuertz (0-2), the Strike Zone

Important things to take from this game

1. The Lineup: With Lee out, DeRosa took over at first. Additionally, Blanco spelled Barrett for the night. With the lefty Glavine on the mound, Pagan played CF in place of Jones. Finally, Soriano got dropped to third in the lineup, with Theroit leading off and Izturis hitting second. 2. The Early Offense: The Cubs Offense (read, Marquis) staked Marquis to 4-0 lead after two innings. A combination of some shakey OF defense, balls dropping in, and a 2-run single by Marquis, and he had room for error, early on. 3. A Very Ugly Play: Bottom of the fifth, Endy Chavez lays down a great bunt. Ramirez gets out of the way just in time for Marquis, who then nearly hits Ramirez with the throw. The throw sails wide, into the basepath, and Chavez collides with DeRosa, hitting DeRosa's exposed throwing hand. Everyone stays in the game, but it looked really bad. 4. The Middle Relief: Marquis never really had it tonight, but held things together through 5+, exiting with a lead (and just 87 pitches thrown) but also with the tying runs on base and nobody out. It's times like this where you really need a knock-out performance from a middle reliever. Ohman in to face Green, overpowers him for the strikeout. Cherry in for the next batter, LoDuca, who doubles to score a run. Easley gets a sac. fly, and the game is tied at 4. Nuts. 5. From Bad to Wuertz. In the bottom of the 9th in a tie game, Wuertz gets two easy outs, then gives up a single to Reyes, a stolen base, and then totally loses it. 9 straight balls to load the bases. Facing Delgado withthe bases loaded, he goes to a full count. One pitch determines if we lose, or live to fight out the tenth. Two more foul balls later, and Wuertz walks in the winning run. Stunning how quickly he lost control of what looked like an easy inning. Mets win. The comedic relief is below.
Game Chat Jason Marquis vs. Tom Glavine Lineups:
Theriot 2B Reyes SS
Izturis SS Chavez LF
Soriano LF Beltran CF
Ramirez 3B Delgado 1B
Murton RF Wright 3B
DeRosa 1B Green RF
Blanco C Lo Duca C
Pagan CF Easley 2B
Marquis P Glavine P
What's wrong with Cliff Floyd? I know he's a lefty and all but a more than respectable 394/444/636 line versus Glavine for his career although it's probably been awhile since he's seen him. Not to mention we've used all our middle infielders to start a game once again. UPDATE: Derrek Lee was sent back to Chicago to have his neck checked out last night. He may be back by tomorrow's game but definitely won't be there to do any pinch-hitting tonight. Thanks to reader Chris for the initial scoop.
Back in the first week of the season, I wrote about the apparently freakish excellence of Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis in their respective Cub debuts. Well, here we are, several weeks and 13 starts later, and the two Cub newbies continue to pitch superbly. Combined 2007 numbers for Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis over 15 starts: 101 IP, 70 H, 27 R, 72 K, 21 BB Put another way, the average Lilly/Marquis start this season: 6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 5 K, 1 BB !!!!! History suggests that when the new Cub owner takes his throne—this winter? next spring?—Jim Hendry will be pink-slipped, and any practicing Cub fan could contribute arguments to justify the dismissal. If Lilly and Marquis continue on the course they’ve charted so far this year, however, Hendry’s investment in the twosome won’t be among his failures.

A Lilly for Mother.

Game Center, Play-by-Play, Box Score, Photos, Recap, GameChart

W - Lilly (3-2), Mom. L - Lieber (1-2) S - Dempster (8) Important things to take from this game: 1. Lee's pain in the neck. Derrek Lee wasn't supposed to start today, due to a sore neck. He talked his way into the lineup, but then left after the end of the first inning. For the day, he was 0-1 with a GIDP. Daryle Ward came in to replace him at first. Early report from Len is "neck spasms, day-to-day." 2. The great starting pitching. Lilly was absolutely dominant, allowing one hit (which should have been an out) through seven. He got several called strike-threes on the Lilly-hammer. Lieber was hitable, but succeeded in pitching out of a few jams (with some help from the Cubs.) All told, it was a crisp, clean, refreshing game through seven. With that choice of adjectives, I feel the need for a cheap domestic "beer." 3. The Eighth Inning. With a 2-0 lead, 94 pitches thrown and only one hit allowed, Lilly comes out to start the eighth. Helms singles, Nunez singles, and runners are at first and third with no outs. Ruiz lines one to Ramirez, who catches it but then tries to double the runner off of first. It was ill-advised to begin with, before accounting for Ramirez's wild throw. The runner on third scores, the runner on first advances to second, 2-1 Cubs. A soft fly-out gets the second out. A line out to Soriano, and we escape the inning. Should have been scoreless, but could have been much, much worse. 4. The Ninth Inning. The Cubs load the bases with one out, and Ward up. Fabio Castro comes in to face Ward, Cubs respond with DeRosa off the bench. DeRosa is among MLB leaders with 4.33 pitches faced per AB. That percentage will be a bit lower, after walking on four pitches, for a much needed insurance RBI. Another run scores on a Ramirez FC, which should have been an inning-ending DP. Dempster pitches an effective ninth, with two ground balls, and an Utley single that ended with a Soriano assist, as he tried to stretch it to a double. My more extensive write-up is below.
Game Chat Ted Lilly vs. Jon Lieber Lineups:
Soriano LF Rollins SS
Theriot 2b Werth RF
Lee 1b Rowand CF
Ramirez 3B Utley 2B
Murton RF Burrell LF
Jones CF Helms 1B
Barrett C Nunez 3b
Izturis SS Ruiz C
Lilly P Lieber P
Update: Lee decided he didn't want the day off I guess, so he's back in the lineup and promptly grounded into a double play.

Game Center Play-by-Play Box Score Game Chart Photos

W - Alfonseca (2-1) L - Howry (0-3), Humanity Important things to take from this game: 1. Guzman's return. Other than the second inning, Guzman basically pitched well. He only walked one, struck out six, and had a few dominating innings. Still, he needs to work quite a bit on his command. 2. Soriano's running: On a play at the plate where he was tagged out, Soriano either lolligagged around the bases (if you believe Tim McCarver and Pat Hughes) or was limping a bit, perhaps from a tweaked hamstring (if you believe most of Parachat). The trainer came to check with Soriano in the dugout after he was called out at home, and Soriano also seemed to be going half speed in the OF on a Nunez triple, a few innings later. Stay tuned. 3. The Cubs Comeback. Down 5-1 and looking totally out of it, the Cubs rallied in the top of the 7th, led by a 3-run, pinch-hit HR by Matt Murton and super-clutch go-ahead double by Jacque Jones. 4. The weather. With the Cubs rallying and Geoff Geary struggling, the rain came down in buckets, delaying the game. The Cubs continued their rally after the return, but the rain then came down again in the ninth, when the Cubs again were trying to mount a rally. 5. The "relief" corps: Eyre couldn't strand the runner he inherited from Guzman. In the bottom of the seventh Ohman got the first two outs, before giving up hits to Rowand and Utley. Howry couldn't get Burrell or the Unstoppable Greg Dobbs out, or noted slugger Carlos Ruiz. With two outs, the relievers let in six runs. That made for a seventh inning where each team scored six runs. Game over.
Below is my more extensive run-down, written as the game progressed.
Game Chat Angel Guzman vs. Freddy Garcia Lineups:
Soriano LF Rollins SS
Floyd RF Victorino RF
Lee 1b Rowand CF
Ramirez 3B Utley 2B
Barrett C Burrell LF
Jones CF Dobbs 1B
DeRosa 2B Nunez 3b
Izturis SS Ruiz C
Guzman P Garcia P
Game Chat Rich Hill vs. Cole Hamels Lineups:
Soriano LF Rollins SS
Theriot SS Victorino RF
Lee 1b Rowand CF
Ramirez 3B Utley 2B
Barrett C Burrell LF
Murton RF Helms 1B
DeRosa 2B Nunez 3b
Pagan CF Barajas C
Hill P Hamels P
Back in the old country they call this a good pitching matchup.
- Wade Miller is scheduled for a rehab start in AA on Tuesday. The Cubs can keep him on a rehab assignment for up to 30 days before having to make another move with him. - Same article says Kerry Wood has yet to throw off a mound. - Some theories on Carlos Zambrano's struggles from the Sun-Times and Ken Rosenthal. Some choice cuts from Rosenthal's article:
Maybe Zambrano's ERA would have been 5.83 after eight starts if the Cubs had finalized his five-year, $80 million-plus contract. ----- Zambrano wants to stay with the Cubs, but he needs to postpone further negotiations until the end of the season, if only to clear his head. ----- Tribune executives are probably too preoccupied with the sale to care, but they had a heck of a deal with Zambrano in place. ----- If the negotiations dragged into November —and Zambrano still chose to stay in Chicago — he could perhaps double the team's initial $80 million guarantee. Try explaining that to Cubs fans. Or to the team's next owner. Tribune can't.
For what it's worth, Zambrano emphatically states that it's not the contract that's distracting him and his early season problems stem from issues with his mechanics. - The same Rosenthal article says that Ryan Dempster has the 4th lowest batting average against for closers with at least 5 saves.
I attended my first game of the season Wednesday night and saw the latest episode of Jason Marquis’ serial drama, “I’m Gonna Prove That All You People Didn’t Know What The Hell You Were Talking About,” co-starring Larry Rothschild as The Mentor. It was a joy to behold, so much so that I was almost oblivious to the fact that one of our hitters left nine of his teammates out on the bases. Anyway, I got home too late to post anything. Now, I’m at the keyboard and in the interim, Carlos Zambrano went out and struck the latest blow in his battle to become our fifth starter. As the game report at cubs.com points out, opponents are hitting .361 against Zambrano in their first-inning at-bats, and Z has yielded 13 first-inning runs in 8 starts. To date, the chief suspect has been arm angle, as in, Carlos’s has been too low or too all over the place.
Game Chat Paul Gurner Maholm vs. Carlos Zambrano Lineups:
Sanchez 2B Soriano LF
Bautista 3B Theriot SS
Bay LF Lee 1B
Doumit RF Ramirez 3B
Nady CF Murton RF
LaRoche 1B DeRosa 2B
Paulino C Blanco C
Wilson SS Pagan CF
Maholm P Zambrano P
The Cubs sent Felix Pie down to Iowa and recalled Angel Pagan. Pagan was hitting 250/310/414 but 273/314/576 vs lefties which should be about the only time he should see at-bats. Last year with the big club he hit 196/292/304 vs lefties in a little over 60 plate appearances but did walk 8 times to only 7 strikeouts. Without full minor league splits for his career, it's tough to deteremine whether he was overmatched or just unlucky last year. It's a shame to see Pie get sent down but 224/240/388 and 10 K's to 1 BB weren't exactly setting the world on fire and might as well let Pie get the consistent playing time he deserves down in Iowa while Pagan sits on the bench or gets the occasional centerfield start versus a lefty like today. With Pie up, Soriano fixed in left, 12 pitchers and only one middle infield reserve, Lou was basically stuck with either Jacque or Pie in center versus lefty starters and we saw how that worked out yesterday. Let's hope Angel can do a little better from the right-side in this major league stint.
(Yeah I got a million of those for the rest of the year for Marquis) If you're a fan of the pitching duel, last night's game may well have been the highlight of the season. If Chicago-native Tom Gorzelanny could have a mulligan after the leadoff home run to Soriano, we could have been looking at another 15 inning affair. The good news this time would have been that our bullpen would have been plenty rested as Marquis cruised through 9 innings and 30 batters including the first five innings of perfection. All this on a 109 pitches, 72 of which were strikes, in other words  about 5 innings for Zambrano.
Game Chat Tom Gorzelanny vs. Jason Marquis Lineups:
Duffy CF Soriano LF
Sanchez 2B Theriot SS
Bay LF Lee 1B
Doumit C Ramirez 3B
Nady RF Murton RF
LaRoche 1B Barrett C
Bautista 3B DeRosa 2B
Kelly SS Jones CF
Gorzelanny P Marquis P
A tough day at the office for the boys in the blue, Lou summed it up well after the game:
“We had a plethora of wasted opportunities.”
You don't say. Before we play the blame game, let's look at a few positives:
Game Chat Ian Snell vs. Ted Lilly Lineups:
Duffy CF Soriano LF
Wilson SS Theriot 2B
Sanchez 2B Lee 1B
Bay LF Ramirez 3B
Nady RF Floyd RF
LaRoche 1B Barrett C
Paulino C Jones CF
Bautista 3B Izturis SS
Snell P Lilly P
Sorry about the lack of writing, been busy with the paying gig. A little bit of food for thought though... - The Cubs are currently on a five-game win streak, already surpassing last year's high-water mark of four. In 2005, they twice reached the five-game mark getting up to as high as seven during a streak that started at the end of May and ended in early June. - The game notes fron Len and Bob's blog is chocked full of optimism about our streak. - Ryne Sandberg got ejected Monday night for arguing balls and strikes. I'd pay to see that video. - Jon Heyman of SI.com with a ridiculous piece about Zambrano possibly reaching the trading block this year. It does paint a ominous picture about Z resigning before he reaches free agency though. Thank you Tribune, thank you Jim Hendry. - Cubs are 5-4 in games with the wind blowing in at Wrigley, 0-2 with the wind blowing out and 2-3 when there's a cross-wind. Bet you would have never guessed that.
The Cubs have now beaten two of the game’s most pitiable teams five times in a row. Even though our favorite team has hardly been a juggernaut this season, since the now 9-22 Nationals came to town Friday, I felt like I was like rooting for the bully to steal the innocent kid’s lunch money. It’s fun to be on the side of the bully sometimes. With another innocent kid coming to town on Tuesday, lunch money in hand, the prospects of the Cubs extending their win streak to six, seven or eight appear good. Sadly, the schedule gets more challenging after the Pirates leave Wrigley, with three games in Philadelphia, four games at Shea and three games against the White Sox in the Cubs’ future. According to the MLB RPI Rankings at espn.com–which weigh the quality of a team’s opposition–the Cubs currently rank 16th in the Major Leagues, 14 spots behind the division-leading Brewers. The series against the Mets and White Sox will give the Cubs the opportunity to move up. In the meantime, let’s concentrate on stealing a little more lunch money.
Game Chat Shawn Hill vs. Angel Guzman Lineups:
Lopez 2B Soriano LF
Langerhans CF Theriot 2B
Zimmerman 3B Lee 1B
Church CF Ramirez 3B
Kearns RF Jones CF
Schneider C DeRosa RF
Casto 1B Barrett C
Wilson SS Izturis SS
Hill P Guzman P
Ronny Cedeno was sent down to Iowa to make room for Guzman's call-up. Interesting lineup considering Shawn Hill is a righty.
A few quick observations from today's game: - MLB and their blackout rules are on a whole new level of stupid. The game started three hours before anything was going on FOX today and it was blacked out. I feel this should be it's own level of stupidity, their's the Titanic, the Scott Kazimir trade and MLB blackout rules. - That being said, I did manage to watch the game through some back channels which I'd mention here but I'm afraid it will go away if I do. I do want to say the director and camera men working today's Cubs broadcast were really on their game today. Can't say enough about them, I really can't. Brilliant, just brilliant work in between pitches. Wow, just wow! Emmy-award winning material. - Not a real world-class effort by the bullpen, particularly by Rocky Cherry but it did give Ryan Dempster a shot to earn his seventh save for one of my fantasy teams. So thanks for that. Neil Cotts did give up an inherited run, but I thought he pitched well. The double he gave up to Jesus Flores was a well located outside fastball, down at the knees which Flores was able to just sneak inside the line. Sometimes you just get beat. - A whole lot different game if the wind wasn't blowing in 13 mph from center. Austin Kearns murdered a ball with the bases loaded in the third that died at the track in center. We'll take the breaks. - The home plate umpire was awful today, just needed to be said. - Levale Speigner walked in three runs for the Nationals after replacing John Patterson who left with an injury to his bicep. I envision him being a Cub by 2009.
Game Chat John Patterson vs. Rich Hill Lineups:
Lopez SS Soriano LF
Belliard 2B Theriot SS
Zimmerman 3B Lee 1B
Church CF Ramirez 3B
Kearns RF Jones CF
Young 1B Barrett C
Flores C Murton RF
Casto LF DeRosa 2B
Patterson P Hill P
Henry Blanco received an injection on his ailing back and will only be available in case of emergency.
Inspired by this post from the MVN Brewers site, a look at some Cubs players projected stats from their ESPN.com player pages (through Friday's games). Derrek Lee 126 R, 276 H, 12 HR, 126 RBI's, 102 2b's Alfonso Soriano 111 R, 208 H, 15 HR, 37 RBI's, 89 2b's Aramis Ramirez 89 R, 179 H, 33 HR, 117 RBI's, 7 3b's Mark Derosa 60 R, 140 H, 27 HR, 100 RBI's, 7 3b's Michael Barrett 46 R, 139 H, 27 HR, 113 RBI's, 13 2b's Ryan Dempster 81 IP, 87 K, 23 BB, 29 Saves, 6 HR Allowed Michael Wuertz 81 IP, 81 K, 23 BB, 12 HR Allowed Jason Marquis 23-6, 220 IP, 110 K, 75 BB, 12 HR Allowed Rich Hill 17-6, 203 IP, 168 K, 64 BB, 17 HR Allowed Ted Lilly 12-12, 220 IP, 220 K, 35 BB, 12 HR Allowed Carlos Zambrano 11-11, 223 IP, 163 K, 123 BB, 50 HR Allowed
Game Chat Jason Bergmann vs. Carlos Zambrano Lineups:
Lopez SS Soriano LF
Belliard 2B Floyd RF
Zimmerman 3B Lee 1B
Church CF Ramirez 3B
Kearns RF Jones CF
Young 1B Barrett C
Schneider C Derosa 2B
Casto LF Izturis SS
Bergmann P Zambrano P
David Price? Matt Wieters? Josh Vitters? Max Scherzer, maybe? The Rule 4 Draft (AKA "June Draft", or "First-Year Player Draft") is just about a month away (June 7-8), and the Cubs are preparing their list, and checking it twice. Thanks to their lousy 2006 season, the Cubs will have the 3rd overall pick in the draft, as well as the #48 overall pick as compensation for losing Type "B" FA Juan Pierre to the Dodgers. However, in addition to players selected in the draft, the Cubs will be able to sign more players...
Game Chat Game 25 Lineup when game was suspended. Lineups:
Soriano LF Duffy CF
Howry P Wilson SS
Lee 1B Sanchez 2B
Ramirez 3B Bay LF
Barrett C Doumit RF
Jones CF Bautista 3B
DeRosa 2B LaRoche 1B
Izturis SS Paulino C
Murton RF Bayliss P
Cubs used up Cliff Floyd and Rocky Cherry and the Pirates used John Grabow. Game 26 Starters in what will hopefully be the rubber game. Jason Marquis vs. Ian Snell Game 26 Lineups:
Soriano LF Duffy CF
Theriot 2B Wilson SS
Lee 1B Sanchez 2B
Ramirez 3B Bay LF
Floyd RF LaRoche 1B
Barrett C Doumit RF
Jones CF Bautista 3B
Izturis SS Paulino C
Marquis P Snell P
Game Chat Ted Lilly vs. Tony Armas Jr. Lineups:
Soriano LF Duffy CF
Floyd RF Wilson SS
Lee 1B Sanchez 2B
Ramirez 3B Bay LF
Barrett C Doumit RF
Jones CF Bautista 3B
DeRosa 2B LaRoche 1B
Izturis SS Paulino C
Lilly P Armas P

Pages

X
  • Sign in with Twitter