May 2010

Cubs try to even up their series with the Bucs after losing the first four matchups of the season series. It's the first time the Cubs have dropped their first four games against Pittsburgh since...well, I refuse to look it up because it would depress the crap out of me.

The lefty Paul Maholm (2-3, 4.91) starts this afternoon against Ryan Dempster (2-3, 3.44). This was the pitching matchup back on 5/4 at PNC when the Cubs clung to a 2-1 lead with two out in home 6th. Dempster then told Lou Piniella that he had enough left in the tank to retire Ryan Church with the tying run aboard, at which point Church crushed a pitch into the rightfield bleachers, and all of everybody's premonitions about how Lou should have yanked Dempster in favor of Sean Marshall were proven right.

Cubbie memories—there's nothin' like 'em.

Saturday's starting lineups:

Sergio Burruel ripped an RBI single in the bottom of the 7th to tie one game, while LHP Marcos Perez allowed his first runs in 17+ innings in the other, as one squad of EXST Cubs and one squad of EXST Giants played to a 1-1 tie on Field #1 and the other squad of EXST Giants defeated the other squad of EXST Cubs 4-1 on Field #3 in a split squad Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played at Fitch Park in Mesa this morning. Both games were pre-scheduled to go seven innings, although the game on Field #1 was extended an extra half-inning to allow Rogelio Carmona to get an additional inning of work.

(awesome illustration from Tim Souers of Cubby Blue, click on the image for the full-size)

More after the jump...

Jason Dubois doubled and walked, scored a run, and drove-in another, but the EXST Angels rallied with a run in the 7th and another in the 8th to edge the EXST Cubs 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.

What happens in Vegas is supposed to stay there but it’s no secret what Andrew Cashner’s been up to so what the hell… Last night the ladder-climbing right-hander pitched the Iowa Cubs to a 6-1 victory in his first start at the Triple A level, working six innings of one-run ball while surrendering five hits [four singles and a double] and a walk to go with six strikeouts [four of them swinging]. Cashner threw 89 pitches and most impressively retired the last seven hitters he faced after giving up his only run to tie the game at one in the bottom of the fourth. He left runners at second and third in that frame and then breezed through his last two innings. The win was Iowa’s third straight and the second consecutive that included a three run homer by the awakening Micah Hoffpauir. Sam Fuld and Darwin Barney have gotten hot at the top of the order and boosted their BA’s over .300. Chad Tracy went hitless last night after getting six hits in his first two games with the I-Cubs, but still drew a pair of walks and scored twice.


So what happens with Cashner? Starting pitching hasn’t exactly been the problem in Chicago. Does he settle in for a summer in Des Moines or will they start shuttling him between there and Chicago and the rotation and the bullpen a la the deep threat, among so many others?


The organization appears to be in transition in more ways than who signs the checks. Will a deadline trade of Lilly, for instance, open a spot in the rotation for Cashner. Are head games being played with Not Quite So Big Z to get him to not only waive his no-trade, but in fact demand a trade?

Chicago filmmaker Michael Diedrich has shot "Ballhawks," a documentary about the guys who plant themselves out on Waveland Avenue and wait to catch the moonshots. The film, which is narrated by Bill Murray, premieres May 28-30 at the Siskel Film Center on State Street.

Losers of seven of their last eight games and four in a row, the Cubs try to salvage the finale of the three-game series with the Marlins.

From my office window, I see lots of clouds, fog, and in the alley behind Mr. Beef, a couple guys who look like they're ready to start throwing punches. Forecast says there's a 70% chance of rain by 3pm. I foresee a nearly 100% probability that I'll be disgusted by the second inning.

The EXST Angels blanked the EXST Cubs 6-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.

Today's lineup against the Marlins is Fukudome, Theriot, Byrd, Lee, Ramirez, Soriano, Soto, Castro and Wells. I understand giving your vets a chance to break out of their slumps and all, but moving them down in the order when you have Soriano and Soto hitting the way they are isn't going to really hurt anyone's feelings. And if they do, fuck them.

Anyway, I was curious if leaving Lee and Ramirez in the middle of the order to kill rallies is one of the worse or the worst thing we've seen since Dusty Baker.

The Cubs lost for the sixth time in seven tries as the Marlins scored three times in the 7th inning to overcome a 2-1 Cub lead and go on to win 4-2 at Wrigley Field.

You wouldn't think a team could pack so much failure into a simple 4-2 loss, but well...

Pin-Chieh Chen had two hits and scored a run, Rafael Disla reached base twice and scored two runs, and Sergio Burruel drove-in two runs with a sacrifice fly and a double, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough offense as one squad of EXST Giants defeated one squad of EXST Cubs 6-3 on Field #1, while over on Field #2, the other squad of EXST Cubs managed only one run on two hits against the other squad of EXST Giants in a game that finished in a 1-1 tie, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played at Indian School Park in Scottsdale this morning. Both games were stopped after seven innings, and the games were played simultaneously.

Halfway through 2010 Cactus League Extended Spring Training (EXST), here are the unofficial statistics for EXST Cubs players (updated through May 8th).


There is no Official Scorer at EXST games, so the stats are not official.

Alvaro Ramirez smashed a three-run home run and Yao-Lin Wang and Marcos Perez each threw three innings of shutout ball, but the EXST A’s rallied from a four-run 7th inning deficit and played the EXST Cubs to a 6-6 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Papago Park Field #2 in Phoenix this morning.

Bobby Wagner crushed a three-run HR off the Angels clubhouse beyond the RF fence, Charles Thomas ripped a two-run double, and Austin Kirk threw four shutout innings, leading the EXST Cubs to a 10-3 thrashing of the EXST Angels in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Diablo Park Field #3 at the Tempe Buttes this morning.

As virtually all of Cub Nation has probably already heard, the Cubs have summoned 20-year-old Starlin Castro to the bigs. He's in tonight's lineup in Cincinnati, hitting eighth. Ryan Theriot is moving over to second. Chad Tracy, meanwhile, has been banished to Iowa, Andrew Cashner has been promoted to Iowa from Tennessee, and Josh Vitters has been moved up to Tennessee from Daytona.

Back to the game tonight. Here's the batting order that will go up against the Reds' Homer Bailey:

Iowa Cubs skipper Ryne Sandberg got tossed from the game for arguing a called third strike in the top of the 9th inning of his team's 2-1 loss in New Orleans last night.


Right now the top two layers of the Cub organization could be peeled and tossed like a rotting onion. Maybe Castro and his band of Smokies should all come north together. Things are at a low ebb.


 

Unbeaten Randy Wells (3-0, 3.45) matches up with lefty Brian Burres (1-1) as the Cubs try to avoid their first sweep at the hands of the Pirates since 2006. Burres comes into the game with an ERA of 6.00, i.e., about 7 runs per game lower than Charlie Morton, who frustrated the Cubs last night.

A couple wrinkles in the Cubs batting order tonight (aren't there always?):

Cubs: Theriot 6, Byrd 8, Lee 3, Nady 9, Ramirez 5, Soriano 7, Soto 2, Baker 8, Wells 1

Pirates: Iwamura 4, LaRoche 5, McCutchen 8, Jones 3, Doumit 2, Church 9, Milledge 7, Cedeno 7, Burres 1

Finally, this interesting, depressing tweet from @CarrieMuskat: "#Cubs batting .251 on road, but if subtract Milw series 4/23-25 stats, they're only hitting .220 away from Wrigley."

Pin-Chieh Chen had three hits and drove-in two runs, but the EXST Cubs could not hold a five-run lead in the 9th, as the EXST Angels rallied (BB, 1B, WP, E-4, 2B, P-7, 3B, F-8 SF) to tie the game at 7-7 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training play at Diablo Park Field #3 at the Tempe Buttes this morning. The game was stopped with two outs in the bottom of the 9th after the Angels tied the game on a SF.

Sunday night will mark the unofficial end of the Cubs' early-season Cupcake Schedule, which included games against:

  • Atlanta (3 away)
  • Cincy (6 away)
  • Brewers (3 home, 3 away)
  • Houston (3 home)
  • Metropolitans (4 away)
  • Washington (3 home)
  • Arizona (4 home)
  • Pirates (3 away)

The EXST Cubs dropped both games in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader at Fitch Park this morning, as one EXST Giants squad won 6-0 on Field #2, while the other squad won 8-4 on Field #3. Both games were pre-scheduled six-inning affairs, and the games were played simultaneously.


Freddy Sanchez (knee & shoulder surgeries) continued his rehab assignment with the EXST Giants, playing 2B and batting four times in the game on Field #2. Facing RHP Jesse Ginley, Sanchez lined into a 6-4 DP (near triple play) with runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs in the top of the 1st, ripped a single with two outs and nobody on base in the top of the 3rd against RHP Jadel Mendez and then scored one batter later on an RBI triple (and Sanchez appeared to be a bit gimpy as he rounded 3rd headed for home), and flied out to CF in the 5th and lined out to LF in the 6th against RHP Alvido Jimenez.

The Cubs managed only four hits (all singles), as the EXST A’s nipped the EXST Cubs 2-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.

LHP Marcos Perez threw four shutout innings and DH Jae-Hoon Ha homered and doubled, but the EXST Angels scored two in the 5th, three in the 7th, and two more in the 8th, to defeat the EXST Cubs 7-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.


With four more shutout innings today, Perez has now thrown 14-1/3 innings of shutout ball in six Extended Spring Training outings (2 GS), allowing just five hits and one walk in those 14.1 IP, while striking out 15. He also has a 17/10 GO/FO ratio, has averaged just 11.5 Pitches-Per-Inning, and has thrown 73% of his pitches strikes. I would say the Cubs pitching prospect Perez most-closely resembles is Peoria LHSP Jeffry Antigua, except Perez has better control.

UPDATE: I added two new charts at the bottom in the appropriate bar format as requested.


The Cubs are about a month into the season, let's take a look at some of their offensive peripheral numbers to see who's likely to regress or progress.

Tags: 

After losing 5-4 yesterday to their neighbor and nemesis, the Omaha Royals, the Iowa Cubs are languishing in the cellar at 9-14. They are a league worst 1-7 in one-run games and have now dropped nine straight to the Royals.

The $18M Set-Up Man

"The bottom line is that at this particular time, it makes us a better club. [Zambrano] didn't throw poorly. [Silva and Gorzelanny], their arsenal isn't conducive to going to the pen. ... There's no agenda at all except it was the best fit at the time. He's capable of doing it." - Jim Hendry

Sunk Costs

"You can't worry about anybody's individual salary. Things change. People adjust. We're going to have an injury or two along the way and we'll adjust to that. ... Nobody ever breaks camp with the 25 in the same role and just run the table, win 100 and goes to the playoffs. To get hung up on what somebody makes or what they used to do or what's going to happen a month from now or who you're going to acquire, that's foolish thinking." - Jim Hendry

Cubs try to take three of four from Arizona and end the homestand 4-3. Feels a lot like last weekend, when the Cubs were trying to salvage a road trip that started awfully, with three losses in four games at CitiField, then ended on an up note with the sweep at Milwaukee.

Sunday's lineups:

D-backs: 1. Abreu (2B)  2. Drew (SS)  3. Upton (RF)  4. Reynolds (3B)  5. Young (CF)  6. Ryal (1B)  7. Gillespie (LF)  8. Hester (C)  9. Jackson (P)

Cubs: 1. Theriot (SS)  2. Fukudome (RF)  3. Lee (1B)  4. Byrd (CF)  5. Tracy (3B)  6. Soriano (LF)  7. Fontenot (2B)  8. Soto (C)  9. Gorzelanny (P)


Three weeks and 19 games into 2010 Cactus League Extended Spring Training, here are the unofficial statistics for EXST Cubs players.


Because there is no Official Scorer at the games, none of the stats are considered official, although they are useful in determining which players have had the most--and least--success on the field so far.


 

Bobby Wagner drove-in three runs with a solo home run and a two-run double and Albert Hernandez had two hits and two RBI, leading the EXST Cubs to a 7-3 victory over the EXST Giants in an abbreviated eight-inning game on Field #2, while over on Field #1, Austin Kirk struck out six (including Freddy Sanchez twice) in three innings of work, but the other squad of EXST Giants rallied late to defeat the other squad of EXST Cubs 7-5 in a game that was stopped after seven innings, as the Cubs and Giants played an Extended Spring Training doubleheader at Indian School Park in Scottsdale this morning. As per usual, the games were played simultaneously.


Cubs RHP Esmailin Caridad saw his first game action since being placed on the 15-day DL with a strained forearm on April 12th, working 1.2 IP on Field #2. Caridad threw 19 pitches (11 strikes) and allowed no runs or hits, but he did walk two. He struck out one Giants hitter (swinging), while getting another three outs on a pop-up to the catcher in foul territory, a fly-out to deep CF, and a ground-out to SS. (The 5th out was a CS). Caridad continued to pitch even after he recorded the third out (getting five outs total in the inning), because he had thrown only 11 pitches up to that point, and the Cubs wanted him to throw at least 15-20 pitches, but only pitch one inning. Caridad appeared to have good velocity on his fastball, but his control was spotty.


The Giants also had a big leaguer on a rehab assignment playing in one of the games, as 2B Freddy Sanchez (who is at Extended Spring Training rehabbing from shoulder and knee surgeries) played 2nd base and hit third in every inning on Field #1. Sanchez struck out twice against Cubs 2009 3rd round pick LHP Austin Kirk, once in the 1st inning (on three pitches) and then again in the 3rd. He lined a single to CF off Kirk in the 2nd. Then in three AB against RHP Jose Rosario, Sanchez walked, grounded out to SS, and lined out to third, before completing his day by stroking an F-7 SF against RHP Tzu-An Wang in the 7th (the game continued after the Giants had scored the winning run in the 7th, in order to give Sanchez another AB).


Cubs OF Runey Davis left the game on Field #2 after getting hit flush on the knee with a pitch. He stayed in the game initially and ran the bases (more like limped around the bases), but he was replaced in the field at the start of the next inning.

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