September 2009

Giants Hitters Teach Cubs Pitchers a Thing or 12

The Giants battered four Cubs pitchers to the tune of 12 runs on 17 hits, en route to a 12-6 victory in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon.

Peoria Chiefs Invade Arizona

D. J. LeMahieu singled, doubled, and tripled, and scored two runs, Ryan Flaherty reached base four times (double, two singles, and a walk), scored twice, and drove-in a run, Michael Brenly doubled and tripled and scored twice, Dong-Yub Kim singled and tripled, scored one run, and knocked-in another, and Rebel Ridling had four RBI, but it wasn't quite enough offense to provide a victory, as the Cubs and Brewers played to a 9-9 tie in Arizona Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 this afternoon in sunny and VERY hot Mesa, Arizona. 


Cocktail Napkin Trading

My how the sports writers love to speculate. They don't start a rumor mind you, they get a few out of context quotes to make it seem like it's from a real "the trade's just about ready to be completed" source. We all know Captain Wrongway Phil Rogers loves to do this stuff in his Sunday 'mlb whispers' column. The newest wanna-be GM rumor comes from Paul Sullivan, the Cubs beat specialist from the currently bankrupt (can I count the ways) Chicago Tribune.

Pseudo GM, 'Paul Sully-My-Reputation' pulls out the two martini cocktail napkin and draws up trade possibilities for Milton Bradley this offseason. On a bigger picture level he categorizes two "how to unload Bradley scenerios". Then he paints a classic bad contract for bad contract, real dollar salary swap with the Giants that oddly makes some sense (accent on odd).

TCR Friday Notes and a Call for Help

- Cubbery at its finest:

As Lee and Baker were mobbed by teammates in the dugout, relief pitcher Angel Guzman
slapped the side of Lee's helmet, causing Lee to experience neck spasms
that forced him to come out of the game for defense in the bottom of
the ninth.

- Rich Harden is shutting it down for the year, a mutual decision between him and the club. The tone of the article sounds like there isn't much interest by either party in reuniting beyond this season. Fine by me, but will the Cubs offer arbitration?

- Wittenmyer has a rundown of the Cubs rotation down the stretch.

TCR Scheduled Downtime

At some point tonight, probably around 10pm CST - although it could be later, could be sooner - we'll be doing a small software upgrade and the site will be down for however long it takes to get done.

If you're still parachatting these days, you can load the link before the upgrade kicks in and keep it open. Once it connects to Parachat, it shouldn't need to access our site, unless you get booted out and have to log-in again.

Lineup for tonight is Fukudome, Blanco, Lee, Hoffpauir, Fontenot, Baker, Hill, Colvin and Dempster versus Brad Penny.

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Milton's Really, Really Sorry

"I chose Chicago as a free agent," Bradley said in the statement,
"because I wanted to be part of finally bringing a championship to Cubs
fans. I expected to have a great season and I am deeply disappointed by
my performance and the team's struggles. I played every game with
everything that I had and wanted to desperately win.

Catching Up

We've hit the 150 mark and I'm assuming Transmission isn't doing one of his surveys this time around to see how we feel about the rest of the season. The Cubs will be eliminated from the NL Central race tonight with a Cardinal win and Cubs loss. The death magic number for the Cubs in the Wild Card is 5. Here's what you may have missed over the last few days.

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Bradley Done With Cubs in 2009

The Cubs have announced that Milton Bradley has been suspended for the rest of the season.

"The last few days became too much for me to tolerate," Hendry said.

"I'm certainly not going to let our great fans become excuses,"
Hendry said. "I'm not going to tolerate [Bradley] not being able to
answer questions from the media respectably."

TCR Friday Notes and Introducing a New Bears Blog

Well that little fling the Cubs had with the playoffs was fun, but I'm back to not giving a damn. One of our readers suggested a poll on what was the reasons for the Cubs demise in 2009. You never want to jump the gun too soon on something like that, but I think by the end of the weekend, it'll be safe to post.

- BP looks at the some of minor leaguers around the NL that took a big stride in their prospectdom. Kyler Burke and pitcher "Cub" Carpenter(so as not be confused with the Cardinals Chris Carpenter) get mentioned.

- A nice article on where and how the Cubs make their money and where new owner Tom Ricketts will try to boost profits.

-  Fun day at the ballpark yesterday....Cubs lose again and Randy Wells looks cooked. Milton got on-base finally, but complained of a knee injury and was removed from the game. This sent the press corp into some sort of odd frenzy, which of course Bradley fed with a terse post-game press conference around his locker followed by Lou sort of dressing Bradley down for his actions. This after Lou just decided he wasn't going to hold a press conference of his own. Oh yee double standard, how I love you so...

The writing is getting pretty clear on the wall that Lou and Bradley just aren't going to get along. I imagine Hendry will be working the phones for some overpriced relievers to try and swap bad contracts this offseason. Then he can cut the reliever and flush $23M down the drain.

- Speaking of Bradley, there's been some odd debate between the on-field merits of Alfonso Soriano vs. Bradley this year in the comments. Seems pretty cut and dried to me, but I did try to look at it objectively in this comment. I reposted the analysis after the jump as well.

- And I'd like to welcome all of you Bears fans, to The Bear Truth. A little Bears blog I'm going to start up. Right now, it's just yours truly, but hopefully I can blackmail a few more writers into joining the venture (drop me a note if you're interested, qualifications are the English language and not being an over-opinionated douchebag). If anything, it will hopefully keep the Bears talk off here. I'm sure it'll one day grow into something just as kick-ass as TCR, but for the time being, it'll be just a good place to gather and chat about the Bears, including Parachat on gamedays. I also plan on using it as my testing ground for improvements to TCR as the two sites run on the same platform. Stop on by... 

Loss Ends Rich Harden's Season

Just when you let that little piece of hope back in, the Cubs yank it out of you like their Mola Ram from Temple of Doom. Rich Harden left his change up in the zone all game and paid for it as the Brewers knocked him for 5 runs in 3 innings. The first two courtesy of back-to-back two out hits by their 8 and 9 hitters in the 2nd. In the third, Aramis backed up on a chopper by Ryan Braun with a man on first. The ball went past him and one of the nicest gift doubles was awarded to Braun by the official scorer. That changed the whole inning, because instead of a man on 2nd and 1 out, you've got 2nd and 3rd and Prince Fielder up. He was intentionally walked and after a Casey McGehee sac fly (should have been the 2nd out and wouldn't have scored a run), Harden walked another and got a fielder's choice that would have ended the inning in theory and kept the game at 3-0(or possibly 2-0). But after seeing Alcides Escobar flail at 2 change-ups down and away, Harden went to the well one more time but missed right over the plate and Escobar pretty much ended his night (UPDATE: It appears they changed their mind and gave Ramirez the error afterall, just 2 ER for Harden last night).

It looks like it may have ended Harden's career as a Cub as well, as the team announced this morning that he will be shutdown the rest of the season. I imagine his agent is thrilled with the news considering his impending free agent status. I imagine the Cubs are thrilled at the prospect of not getting those two draft picks for his Type A free agent status. Tom Gorzelanny will slide into the rotation.

(UPDATE #2: Looks like Sullivan had a case of the jump to conclusions, as Muskat is reporting that Harden is just being skipped a turn in the rotation and there's nothing wrong with him).

The Cubs got 2 back in the bottom frame and were looking for more, but Milton's epic September slump continued, thanks to a fine play by Escobar to end the threat. That was Bradley's last at-bat of the game, as Lou curiously double switched, even though he has a 12-man pen and brought in Micah Hoffpauir to play RF and David Patton to pitch. Patton coughed up a run in the 4th and three more in the 5th, although two scored after Justin Berg relieved him. The Cubs battled back to make it 9-5 on an Aramis Ramirez home run and Bobby Scales RBI, but that was all the scoring for the night and the Cubs 3-game win streak ends.

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Lou Names 2010 Closer

According to Lou Piniella's comments before the game, Carlos Marmol will be the closer in 2010.

"I see that, yes," Piniella said Monday. "I really do. I think he's
done enough and shown enough. We have confidence in him enough going
into spring training next year. It's his job. We'll leave it just at
that."

This is What the Cubs Season Has Been Reduced To...

The St. Louis Cardinals magic number sits at 11 before game play started today. That means there is a slim shot they could be clinching against the Cubs this weekend. And whether they do it this weekend or next week or the last day of the season isn't really a big deal, but I'd rather avoid watching the spectacle and the future highlights. So here's a rundown of what would need to happen this week with the Cubs at Milwaukee for four and Cardinals at Marlins for three.

Wrigley Field: Back to the Future

Apparently Fenway Park is a big part of Wrigley Field's Upgrade Template for Tom Ricketts. 

Cubs management over the past few years has held several luncheon meetings for season ticket holders where they provide a forum for suggestions to improve the ballpark experience. I finally had my chance last Thursday to attend one of these sessions.

Wrigley Field on this warm September non-game day had it's usual majestic feel but without the game day buzz, one senses the serenity that is baseball's crown jewel at rest. The streets surrounding the ballpark maintain their working day activities, construction site sidewalk hazards, beer trucks unloading their wares, but open parking spots on Addison seemed out of place.

I-Cubs, Samardzija Break Even

For the Iowa Cubs the final tally is six dozen up, six dozen down. For Jeff Samardzija it's half a dozen of each after today's season finale at Principal Park in Des Moines.

The team finished with an even split of their gross of games in 2009 after their struggling pitching prospect lost to Albuquerque this afternoon to even his personal slate in what's been an up and down season in more ways than the win/loss ledger.

The Solution

Allyssa Milano says have a happy Labor day holiday. 
Just a little rant from me after a game where Soriano left his pants on the left field chalk line. After he did the pretzel dance, I thought that chalk outline was from a CSI scene. Someone should press criminal charges for that effort.Tired ol' Lou Piniella just grunts and shrugs his shoulders. "Ah, ah, ah...Whaddya expect me to do about it?" Clearly he's been beaten into submission by overexposure to Cubbery.

After torturing myself by listening to local sports talk outlets, with the only brief reprieve coming from occasional banter about a meaningless preseason Bears game, I think I've had enough pain to land on my own personal DL. Steve Stone with glee in his voice said, "that's what you get for playing a DH in left field." I get the message. Listening how the Cubs are held hostage to their long term contracts with no end in sight (well it's 3-5 years before we see the end to this tunnel), forcing them to play overpaid, under performing players (Soriano in the role of 40/40 guy and Bradley in the role of rbi machine) or under performing players with a brief track record of performance (Geo Soto, Kevin Gregg, The not-Hanks...Aaron Miles and Heilman) or under performing players without a track record of performance (better when in small doses, Fonte-NOT), it dawned on me that there is a simple solution.