April 2010

So Many Autographs; So Little Ryne

Not as balmy as last year, but better than average Opening Day weather here last night as Des Moines tiptoes toward the Summer of Sandberg. For the record, the Iowa Cubs dropped Ryno’s Triple A managerial debut by a score of 6-3 to the Nashville branch of the Milwaukee Brewers.

What Would Tyler Colvin Do

It's your first start of the season, chance to impress the manager and the fans...Cubs need a pick-me up. Tommy Hanson, ace-in-training on the mound just struck out the side in the first. He unleashes a 95 mph fastball down the middle of the plate, might be the best pitch you see the entire at-bat. You calmly let it go for strike one. Bravo. Make him think you know something. Next pitch is another fastball but Hanson misses well inside. 1-1 now, and Hanson mixes it up with a slider but it's outside. A hitter's count and you know the fastball is probably coming. The catcher sets up away and Hanson rears back and fires. He misses his target...badly, ball is right in the lefty sweet spot down and low. You bring the hands in, uncoil the swing and *crack*, you know you hit it good. You're a rookie though, put your head down and start running. A muffled cheer and the ump twirls his finger, time to break out the home run trot but don't show up anybody or you'll get one in the ear next time.

Jesus Heyward ain't got nothing on you Tyler Colvin...well other than probably having a much better major league career. As for rookie theatrics, you're neck and neck.

Game 3 Thread: Cubs @ Braves

A battle of two of the better rookie pitchers from 2009 as the Cubs try to avoid the sweep.

CHAT | TV: CSN, Direct TV 737 | RADIO: XM 175, WGN

Cubs Braves
Theriot SS #Cabrera LF
*Fukudome RF Prado 2B
Lee 1b # C. Jones 3B
Ramirez 3B *McCann C
Byrd CF Glaus 3B
*Colvin LF Escobar SS
Baker 2B *Heyward RF
#Hill C *McLouth CF
Wells P Hanson P

Wrigley Field: Less Affordable Than Ever

According to a study by Team Marketing Report, the Cubs have the highest average ticket price in baseball just ahead of the Boston Red Sox ($52.56 vs $52.32) with the New York Yankees third at $51.83 and the White Sox fourth at $38.65 (I guess shirtless fan attack insurance is expensive). The average ticket price in baseball is $26.79. The Cubs are second in Fan Cost Index (the price of taking a family of four to a game) to the Red Sox ($329.74 vs. $334.71). The Cubs also raised ticket prices by 10.1%, the second highest increase in baseball behind the Twins and their new stadium. The bulk of that increase being due to the addition of 12 platinum games to their tier-pricing schedule. There is no economic crisis for Cubs fans apparently.

While this is unfortunate news for anyone trying to raise their kids as Cubs fans, I don't think it's a coincidence that Boston and the Cubs lead the pack. Two of the more popular teams that play in old stadiums with limited capacity and amenities. Say what you will about the Cubs whoring out Wrigley with things like the Toyota sign, but it's a drop in the bucket to what most stadiums do, especially with their fancy jumbotrons. The economic laws of supply and demand certainly contribute, the Cubs can charge so much because people will pay so much and the cycle continues. Nonetheless, when going to a baseball game takes as much planning and budgeting as a family vacation, it's a sad reality that kids will be limited to their exposure to Wrigley Field as they grow up. Of course, with the typical crowd that seems to now take in a Cubs game, that might not be so bad.

PS - Thanks to Rob Richardson in the comments for the link, but Rob Neyer has his take on this article and explains the Fan Cost Index which includes: 2 adult tickets, 2 kids tickets, 4 soft drinks, 2 beers, 4 hot dogs, 2 programs, Parking and 2 Adult-size caps. So yeah, that's an insanely bogus little metric they've invented.

Soriano Slider Watch

Theories have been abundant on the rapid decline of $100 million dollar man Alfonso Soriano, from age, to bad legs, to just a bad season in 2009 because of bad legs and his age.  As our man Transmission showed last year, as well as Joe Posnanski and a few other articles, part of the puzzle was teams throwing more sliders to Soriano as well as Soriano not doing his normal damage on fastballs.

So let's see how Opening Day went for #12 with the caveat that Pitch F/X and its pitch recognition isn't 100% accurate.

Game 1 Recap: Cubs 5, Braves 16

I Returned to TCR to recap THIS?!?!

 

Box Score, Play Log, Game Graphs, Photos

 

W-  Lowe (1-0), calls for instant replay, people making their team or career debuts

L- Zambrano (0-1), dignity. 3 hours of my life

 

Things to Take from This Game

1.  Not So Good: Zambrano, Samardzija

Zambrano got knicked by a series of softly hit singles before giving up a 3-run home run to Neo Heyward.  Some throwing mistakes and a McCann homer in the second chased Zambrano from the game, having given up 8.   The fourth reliever in, Samardzija, walked three in a one third of an inning.

2.  Good:  Byrd, Marshall, Russell.

Byrd gave the Cubs a very early and short-lived lead with a 3-run homer in the first.  Marshall and Russell gave the Cubs a chance to get back in the game with a Ramirez 2-run Homer, as they pitched 4 and 2/3 of scoreless relief, before turning things over to Samardzija, Berg, and Grabow

3.  McLouth Lies like a Dog.  And Fakes It.  And Just Isn't Very Nice. 

Down 8-5 with Ramirez on 1st, Byrd smoked a liner to left center.  McLouth made a diving catch with the ball popping out on contact with the ground.  But McLouth faked the catch, threw it in, and the umpires, missing the call, declared Ramirez doubled off of first.   We went from having the tying run at the plate with no outs, to no on and two outs.  After Soriano predictbly ended the inning; it was all downhill from there.


 

The gory details, below

 

Tags: 

Game 1 Thread/Cubs @ Braves

And we do it again. Here are the lineups for Opening Day 2010. Parachat is up and running as it will throughout every game of the season(you can access it via the menu bar above). You do have to register and it is a different registration than your TCR account.

Cubs Braves
Theriot SS #Cabrera LF
*Fukudome RF Prado 2B
Lee 1b # C. Jones 3B
Ramirez 3B *McCann C
Byrd CF Glaus 3B
Soriano LF Escobar SS
*Fontenot 2B *Heyward RF
Soto C *McLouth CF
#Zambrano P Lowe P

Easter Lilly in Full-Bloom at Fitch Park Sunrise Service

Ted Lilly threw 5.2 IP (66 pitches – 46 strikes) for the Iowa Cubs this morning against the Angels AAA squad (Salt Lake) at Fitch Park Field #3, allowing one run on three hits, no walks, with four strikeouts.


Lilly was supposed to throw four innings/60 pitches, but he was so efficient with his pitches he ended-up working into the 6th inning before he hit 60 pitches, and even then he ended up going slightly over his pre-arranged pitch limit.


Lilly retired the first nine men he faced, and he generally threw strikes (he didn’t walk anyone, and he went to a three-ball count on only two of the 20 men he faced). While he had outstanding command of his fast ball and had a really good change-up today (same as last time), he had some difficulty commanding his curve, bouncing three in the dirt.


Here is Lilly’s INNING-BY INNING LOG:


Once Upon a Time, When the Cubs were Bought by a Family

The Ricketts Family owns the Cubs. That sentence has a certain lasting ring to it. We've all followed the travails of how the Cubs ownership has transitioned from the now bankrupt Tribune company and was midwived through the gnarly fingers of real estate magnate Sam Zell, finally getting delivered into our proud new Papa's (Tom Ricketts) loving grasp. To celebrate this rite of passage, I decided to learn more about the events that took place over 90 years ago when the last dynastic family came into control of our Chicago National League franchise.

Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 1916.

Predicting the Divisions

Because it's fun to make myself look like a fool by the end of the year...

AL EAST

  1. New York Yankees
  2. Tampa Bay Rays
  3. Boston Red Sox
  4. Baltimore Orioles
  5. Toronto Blue Jays

The Yanks, Rays and Red Sox match-up pretty well in my opinion and I could see any of the 3 finishing at the top. All 3 teams have excellent rotations, with the Rays and Red Sox having the defensive advantage over the Yankees. BP is particularly optimistic about the Red Sox offense, but I'm having trouble going along with that projection. The Yanks might be getting older, but too much elite talent on the offensive side of the field for me to pick against them. But per usual, who can stay healthy will probably be the determining factor. Good news for the Cubs is Jason Frasor will still be available in about a month.

Soriano Blast Is All Cubs Need

Alfonso Soriano had three hits including a two-run HR and Carlos Silva threw five innings of shutout ball, as the Cubs blanked the Colorado Rockies 2-0 before 10,005 fans in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in breezy & (mostly) sunny Mesa, Arizona, this afternoon.


 

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Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Having been a mediocre HS player, I would think at a professional level - and in their 20's - doesn't it sound actually FUN to have a chance to play different positions in a 162-Game, uber-long season?

    It has to take some of the monotony out of the job and keep you on your toes.

    In fact, the best manufacturing floor job satisfaction training theories include job rotation as a way to improve employee satisfaction.

    I hope Maddon can keep it going.

  • KKVG: Isaac Paredes is the most-impressive of the 2015-16 IFA. He has legit game power and handles himself well at SS, although I think he will likely end-up at 2B or 3B (maybe not this year, but down-the-line). It is possible that Paredes will get assigned to Eugene (and skip AZL) next month, and I would say he's the only one of the 2015-16 IFA position players who could. To accommodate Paredes at SS, the Cubs have been moving Andruw Monasterio (who was the #1 SS at AZL Cubs in 2015 and the presumptive Eugene SS going into Minor League Camp) around the infield (SS-2B-3B) at EXST. 

  • (It's usually KK, because his DNA is more like ours.)

  • Not just Maddon, but the organization as a whole. If the rumors are to be believed, they did a good job of letting Baez learn that he needed to change his approach, and Baez has done a good job listening to their instructions an adapting. Hopefully the same is true of Alomar, who is ripping up AAA.

    Previous management teams haven't been as good at this (e.g. Corey Patterson).

  • Man, this team makes you greedy. Going into Pittsburgh -- with Cole vs. Hammel Game 1 -- I was hoping for 2 out of 3. After winning the first 2 games 14-3, I now want a sweep. Same thing happened in STL. Very, very fun.

  • Repeating myself, but I give Maddon a lot of credit for Baez's success. Instead of talking about monster HRs and high K totals, he has talked up his defense, versatility and being a "special" player. The kid seems to have responded.

  • BOB: The attendance has taken a big hit since you left. 

  • K-DUB: I think the Cubs might consider skipping Dylan Cease past South Bend and starting him at Myrtle Beach next season, especially if he gets some time at South Bend this season and pitches well there. As a southern kid with TJS history, pitching at Myrtle Beach in April is probably a lot more attractive than pitching in South Bend, but Cease can't go to Myrtle Beach if he isn't ready for Hi-A. 

  • His story makes him someone I completely root for to succeed but it's interesting that he's not succeeding in the way anyone thought when he was just a prospect. Great defense and contact instead of power. I think failing so glaringly and getting sent back down might have been the best thing for him and his ego.

    He still swings at too many balls out of the strike zone but he's making a lot more contact on them which I think is helped by the less violent swing. So we might not get all the HRs we were expecting but I'll gladly take what he's giving.

  • "KingKongVsGodzilla"? So - was there a winner?

  • Baez is looking like a pretty special player.

  • Hey AZPhil,

    Love checking TCR for your writeups. Quick question - any of these 2015 positional IFAs stand out to you yet? I'm most specifically referring to Kwon, Sierra, Paredes, and Amaya, but I know there's a couple other guys from that class in EXST as well.

  • bored...looking at stats for the hell of it...

    felix pena (26yo) moving to the pen in AAA is looking like an insanely good fit so far in a smallish sample size

    13ip 4h 3bb 20K

    remembering back to spring training he was regularly hitting mid-90s (though he didn't have a good spring stats-wise). as a starter in the minors he usually worked low-90s.

    this could be an arm worth keeping an eye on even if he's only a 1-inning guy who was "demoted" to the pen to start the year.

  • Phil, historically this front office has been patient with their prep pitchers keeping their IP low and moving them one level at a time. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, and you may not be able to formulate an opinion on this, but you've seen a lot of pitchers over the years, so...

  • nice.

    also, after tonight's loss, STL is 13-14.

    also also, the wsox are 19-8.

  • Win tomorrow, and the Cubs would have a 6-game lead. On May 4.