July 2007

A Look at Cubs ‘08

2008 will be the 100th Anniversary of the last time the Cubs won a World Series. This past off-season (post-2006 season), the Cubs went on a $300M+ spending spree, hoping to win a World Series (or at least maybe get into the playoffs) before the Centennial Celebration commences. But with the new owners of the Cubs yet to be decided (apparently until further notice), it appears that the club's executives may take a passive approach toward the future, as evidenced by failing to sign Carlos Zambrano to a contract extension, taking the risk that he will walk away after the 2007 season. So here is what the Cubs might look like in 2008 should the sale of the club remain in limbo, and if the Trib decides to continue taking a more passive approach to player retention and acquisition during the next off-season:

Rest Of NL Lets The Cubs Down

In Tuesday night's 78th All-Star Game, the American League beat the National League 5-4, the tenth consecutive ASG victory for the AL. The Cubs' Alfonso Soriano brought the NL to within a run with a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, but after J.J. Hardy, Derrek Lee, and Orlando Hudson walked to load the bases, the Angels' Frankie Rodriguez retired Aaron Rowand to secure the win.

Linking

I apologize for the lack of original content the last few days, weeks, etc. We should have had some extraordinary first half review or second half look-forward for all our wonderful readers. Unfortunately real-life and a lingering family emergency has sapped my time and motivation these days. I do hope everyone understands. In the meantime, some Cub-related links worth reading. Baseball Prospectus Free Talent All-Stars

Might Right Make Might?

In the aftermath of Friday night's loss at Pittsburgh to Pirates LHP Paul Maholm, Cubs manager Lou Piniella called for another right-handed bat, mainly to hit off the bench. Stating the player will almost certainly have to come from within the organization, the candidates named in Paul Sullivan's article in the Chicago Tribune are (alphabetically):

TCR Friday Notes

A few quick tidbits for your discussion... - Bruce Miles with some news and notes heading into the break. The cliff notes version is that Hendry reiterated to him that he'll have the resources to add payroll for the stretch drive, Piniella is smart and Dempster wants to be a starter. At least that's what I got from it. - Neifi Perez suspended 25 games for using a banned stimulant. Reader (CA) Phil had the best line:
Now we know what put the ! in Neifi!

Will the Three Men in a Two Seat Boat Mess with our Success?

Dr. Joseph Hecht takes a look at what's troubling Henry Blanco and the possibilities to our roster if he does return ------ Henry Blanco remains on the DL after getting three cervical (neck) epidural cortisone injections for his disc herniation. The latest from this Sun-Times article says he’s going to start testing how improved he is by throwing to second base. If his rehab progresses he might be ready after the All-Star break. If not he’ll probably opt for season ending cervical fusion surgery. If Hank White can return, it seems odd to say but his bat will be considered an upgrade compared to Koyie Hill and Rob Bowen. Based on the small sample size of Bowen and Hill’s play this year compared to Blanco’s play from 2006, it might be. Blanco’s defense this year was affected by his disc problem, which pinches a nerve sending pain down his arm as well as possibly creating some weakness. So which Henry Blanco that shows up after the All-Star break is anyone’s guess. Improvement from cortisone injections doesn’t imply complete resolution of the problem. If Blanco’s defense isn’t up to his previous standards, I’d rather we keep our defensive catchers and not mess with the chemistry they’ve brought. Who gets moved off if Blanco can play?

We’re Half Way There

Livin' on a prayer Take my hand and we'll make it - I swear Livin' on a prayer We've got to hold on ready or not You live for the fight when it's all that you've got We're half way there Livin' on a prayer Take my hand and we'll make it - I swear Livin' on a prayer Where have you gone, Bon Jovi? A (Cub)nation turns its lonely eyes to you. 81 games in makes projecting stats pretty much 3rd grade math - which makes it right up my alley.

Soriano and Lee Named to NL All-Stars

Scott Eyre though is still waiting for his phone call. Soriano got edged out by MLB public relations in the final vote as Bonds surpassed him. As the MLB.com article states:
He trailed Soriano 1,332,581 to 1,213,423. In the final vote total, Bonds had 2,325,391 to Soriano's 2,202,513.
Hmm, two-plus months of voting results in a million-plus votes but in the last week they doubled their vote total? Okay, sure. Richard J. Daley approves.

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  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 11 hours 47 min ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 11 hours 53 min ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 11 hours 58 min ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 12 hours 9 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 12 hours 21 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 12 hours 46 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 13 hours 26 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 14 hours 38 min ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 14 hours 55 min ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 14 hours 59 min ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 15 hours 44 min ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 20 hours 35 min ago view
  • Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:

    "And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."

    VirginiaPhil 21 hours 49 min ago view
  • When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.

    VirginiaPhil 21 hours 52 min ago view
  • If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.

    Jackstraw 23 hours 11 min ago view
  • cubs win...bryant with 7HR in his last 8 games.

    crunch 1 day 6 hours ago view