September 2011

In his first start since throwing three perfect innings with eight strikeouts against the Cubs at Fitch Park on Monday, RHP Archie Bradley (7th overall pick in 1st round of 2011 draft) threw three innings of no run/no hit ball, as the Diamondbacks defeated the Cubs 3-1 in AZ Instructional League action this afternoon at Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale.


First a look at my 2011 preseason predictions:

Red Sox, Twins, A's with Yankees winning Wild Card (Rays in 4th, Tigers in 2nd and Rangers in 3rd)

Phillies, Rockies, Brewers with Braves winning Wild Card (DBacks in 5th, Cardinals in 4th)

So, so not impressive...

Micah Gibbs ripped a solo home run and an RBI single, Danny Lockhart had three hits including an RBI double, and six pitchers combined to throw a five-hit shutout, as the Cubs whitewashed the Athletics 6-0 in AZ Instructional League action this afternoon at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.  


Six pitchers combined to throw a five-hit shutout with ten strikeouts, as the Giants blanked the Cubs 4-0 in AZ Instructional League action at Indian School Park Field #2 in Scottsdale this afternoon.


The Cubs are set to mercifully play their final game of the season against the San Diego Padres tonight. Other than the rather meaningless goal of Ryan Dempster hitting 200 innings, a win or loss could be the difference between drafting Ryan Braun or Wade Townsend.

As you probably know, the Cubs are in a September race of their own that has come down to the final day. Oh sure, nothing as immediately gratifying as the current wild card races, but depending on how the games play out tonight, the Cubs can do as well as the 5th spot in the draft or fall back as far as the 8th spot. The ramifications of which could be rather meaningful for next year's draft and upcoming Cubs seasons. Just going back to 1995, here's who was picked #5 through #8:

Pinch-hitter Matt Jensen clubbed a two-run home run with one out in the top of the 9th to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead, and the Diamondbacks held-on to edge the Cubs 5-4 in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon.


19-year old 6’4 225 RHP Archie Bradley (Broken Arrow HS - Broken Arrow, OK) got the start for the D’backs, and threw three perfect innings with eight strikeouts. The only non-strikeout was a feeble broken bat 5-3 ground out.


I can certainly see why Bradley was the 7th overall pick in the 2011 June draft.


He is a beast.

Sean Jamieson and Max Stassi rapped RBI triples to highlight a three-run 1st inning and RBI singles to key a four-run 2nd, and Jordan Tripp and A. J. Kirby-Jones slugged solo home runs to provide the eventual margin of victory, as the Athletics withstood a late rally to edge the Cubs 10-9 in AZ Instructional League action at Connie Mack Field at the Papago Park Baseball Complex in Phoenix this morning.

Shawon Dunston, Jr drove in three runs with a two-out two-run RBI single that capped a four-run 1st inning and a solo HR leading off the bottom of the 6th, and Dan Vogelbach singled and scored in the 1st and clubbed a tape-measure HR over the RF fence in the bottom of the 7th to put the game away, leading the Cubs to a 10-5 victory over the Brewers in Opening Day AZ Instructional League action this afternoon at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.


Unless Starlin Castro goes 0 for the rest of the season, he'll get his 200th hit sometime over the next 6 games and when he does, he'll be the 10th such major league to do it before their age 22 season.

Here is the 2011 Cubs Arizona Instructional League roster.


The Tennesee Smokies lost in the Southern League championship yesterday and the Mobile Bay Bears take the series 3-1. The upside for two members was a call-up to the Show to watch the other Cubs players over the last 10 days of the season. Congrats and here's your steak knives.

 

So it's the 9th inning of an admittedly meaningless, end of the season game.
The 22-games-out Cubs are beating the 100-loss Houston Astros two to one.
This is nothing, right?
But if you actually paid money to get in the game, this is hopefully why you came:
Sean Marshall's on the mound with his wicked hook, the bases are loaded with Astros and there's only one out - it's all the baseball drama you could hope for.
But as Crunch pointed out yesterday, there in the background are Cub fans gleefully doing the wave.

 

Man, life ain't fair.
Oh wait, this isn't life, it's the Cubs.
Which is worse.
Matt Garza gives up a first inning run, then shuts down the Houston Astros all the way til Carlos Lee comes up with 2 outs and a man on in the top of the 9th.
Ding.
Ties it up, ruins Garza's day.

logoYesterday’s tease piece in the Sun-Times that envisioned a reunion in Chicago next year of Walt Jocketty, Tony LaRussa and Albert Pujols got me connecting some dots of my own.

The Cubs will open and close the 2012 season at Wrigley next season. The opener will be Aprl 5th vs. the Washington Nationals and I presume Stephen Strasburg. They'll close against the Houston Astros on October 3rd. Interleague series include the annual home and home versus the White Sox (@ Wrigley from May 18-20 and @ The Cell from June 18-20). They'll travel to Target Field againt the Twins on June 8-10 and host the Tigers(June 12-14) and Red Sox (June 15-17). 16 of their first 26 games will be versus the NL Central. Full schedule can be found at cubs.com.

The Savior knocked out 3 hits including his 9th home run last year and is up to 190 hits. That's 10 hits shy of the magic 200 mark for the math impaired. He has 15 games to do it, which I don't believe will be a problem unless Q-Ball decides he needs another life lesson on the bench. By my back of the envelope calculations, if he stays healthy, he's on pace to reach 3,000 hits by age 36, sometime during the 2026 season.

No pressure.

- Baseball America took to some list making and recently rated the Cubs 2005 draft as the worst of the lot. A look at the 2006 draft, the first under Tim Wilken sees them moving up 5 spots.

$11.5 million investment in Tyler Colvin (1), Jeff Samardzija (5) has yet to pay off.

That year the Cubs lost their 2nd, 3rd and 4th round picks by signing Bob Howry (Type A), Scott Eyre (Type A) and Jacque Jones (Type B). Their 1st round pick was protected since it was in the top half of the draft. Other notable (notorious?) picks from that draft were Steve Clevenger, Jacob Renshaw (traded to Orioles for Trachsel), Chris Huseby ($1.3M bonus, released by Boston in August), Marcus Hatley, Matt Camp and Blake Parker.

The Cubs win two of three over the weekend,and are going the wrong way in terms of earning a better draft pick. There's some blame for this that can fall on Q-Ball, who says he'll mostly play the veterans and try to win as much as he can, but I expect the latter from any manager or team, and considering the way the Cubs played most of the year, the former is probably a better environment for the Cubs to lose some games.

I watched about two innings of last night's game and I finally got to see a Bryan LaHair at-bat. You hate to read too much into these things, but he did seem to have a nice, compact swing and obviously he has some power in that bat. The Cubs certainly shouldn't be passing up on Pujols or Fielders for him, but he might deserve a tryout in left field during spring training with Tyler Colvin. Oh you say, we have Alfonso Soriano there for the next year, which I say, Soriano should be nothing more than the short side of a platoon. I presume as well, and it could be a faulty presumption, that LaHair doesn't have the arm for right that anyone would be willing to put out there. At worst, he certainly deserves a look at a bench spot.

Otherwise, news is light around Cubsville. Daytona won the Florida State League Championship by sweeping the St. Lucie Mets. It was their first championship since 2008. Tennessee swept their first round series and await tonight's winner between Birmingham (White Sox affiliate) and Mobile (DBacks affiliate).  It's Tennesee's third straight trip to the finals, losing the last two to Jacksonville (Marlins affiliate).

Baseball Prospectus and ESPN Insider take a look at what the Cubs could do in 2012. Goldstein talks about what no one with the Cubs or many fans want to hear. Rebuilding with the farm system is great and all, if there's quality there to rebuild with.

The Cubs have a strange minor league system. It's more deep than star-studded, with plenty of potential big leaguers but few who can actually help turn around a moribund franchise. The most likely player to help in 2012 is center fielder Brett Jackson, the club's 2009 first-round pick who hit .274 with 20 home runs in 23 stolen bases in 115 games split between Double- and Triple-A. He'll fight for a job next spring and likely have one by midseason, and although he's an outstanding athlete with above-average power and speed, his alarming strikeout rate (138 in 431 at-bats this year) prevents scouts from seeing him as a true impact player in the big leagues. (Kevin Goldstein)

Cubs venture into Dustyville tonight with Rodrigo Lopez getting the start.

I'm gonna let The Bear Truth website evaporate into the Internet ether over the next few days, but I'll occasionally post some thoughts on here and be sure to team them up with a Cubs related post for those that do not wish to discuss football.

To the recap...

...the necessary return.

- Daytona won in spectacular fashion last night to advance to the finals of the Florida State League and will take on the St. Lucie Mets in a best of 5 starting tonight. Down 3-0 in the bottom of the 8th, the Daytona Cubs plated four with Matt Szczur delivering the game-winning two out hit.

Casey Harman starts with a lineup of Crawford (7), Watkins (4),  Cerda (5), Bour (3), Rohan (0), Burgess (9), Szczur (8), Soto (6), Noble(2) behind him.

- Smokies won game 1 of their best of 5 last night versus Chattanooga (Dodgers affiliate). After Brooks Raley put the Smokies in a  5-1 hole, the Smokies put up a 7-spot in the bottom of the 4th with the help of Josh Vitters and Blake Lalli home runs. Game 2 is tonight with Ryan Searle getting the start. The lineup is: Adduci (9), Ha (8), Lalli (3), Ridling (7), Vitters (5), Clevenger (2), Lake (6), Samson (4), Searle (1).

- As for the big league club, Jayson Stark and Jon Heyman have articles on the GM search. From Stark...

So one longtime friend of team chairman Tom Ricketts predicts that, in the end, he'll hire a young, creative, sabermetrically inclined executive willing to try a whole new approach to curse-busting.

Lineup versus the Mets tonight: Castro SS, Barney 2B, Ramirez 3B, Pena 1B, Soriano LF, Byrd CF, LaHair RF, Soto C, Coleman P

The Cubs currently have the 7th worst record in the majors.

looney logoThe weather on closing day was as perfect as it had been inclement on Opening Night. A full house was still trickling in at a leisurely holiday pace into the third inning. Enough came to nudge the season turnstile meter past the half million mark for the seventh time in the last eight seasons despite a last-place team that lost more games than it won for the first time since 2005 [for the record, the home slate was well above sea level at 40-31] and the loss of three dates, most recently on the Saturday night of a holiday weekend on the final home stand. Oddly, the franchise ended up setting an attendance record for a three-game series over the weekend, thanks in part to a rainout that nobody wished for.


Just got back from a big Musky Trip waaay up in Wisconsin.

Got some bass, but skunked on the musky part, of course.
There's this thing about fishing for musky, they say "you only get a musky hit every ten thousand casts."
Man, that's alot of casting...
I got mad at this one lure - a giant old Rapala that cost a fortune.
I don't think I've EVER caught anything with it.
Started calling it "Alfonso Soriano" since it cost so much and couldn't catch anything.
(I know - he's been better, but still...)
After that, I started naming all my lures after Cubs.
Like the AC Plug, since it actually caught a musky before, became "Reed Johnson" because they both made "The Catch".

Had someone been recording, it might have sounded like this:
"Oh okay Mr. Musky... Won't bite on old Alfonso? We'll see what REED JOHNSON has to say about that!"
Reed would last about a dozen casts, then it would be, "Hmm, maybe Reed needs a little RELIEF. Lets put in a little call to the pen for Mr. Kerry Wood."
Then I got out a Suick, which is made of wood. 

Silly?
Duh, but anyway here's the gif:

The Iowa Cubs 2011 season is officially over.


Here is the I-Cubs roster as of today, and the post-2011 status of the players:


(CLICK ON PLAYER'S NAME FOR 2011 STATS)


Over the weekend, Tom Ricketts had the audacity to spend his own money on a guy he seems to believe is good at what he does. Someone whom the Detroit Tigers and possibly a few other organizations believed in as well. Some folks reacted as you might expect...with uninformed opinions.

Why is that stupid? Because that’s one of the prime positions that general managers want to fill. That’s not a position that a Fanboy Owner should be filling, and certainly not a Fanboy Owner who doesn’t seem to understand much beyond bison dogs and urinals.


So, now the situation in the Fanboy Owner’s search for Jim Hendry’s replacement is this: The new guy will have to take Fleita if he’s going to take the job.


Which means the situation is really this: The Fanboy Owner can forget about the top-shelf candidates he blathered on about hiring. Or maybe he already has. Maybe he was wrong or lying about that. Maybe he found out that what he’s offering is a joke as long as Clown Kenney remains his team president and no one else can get that title.

Rosenbloom seems to be actually using the term "Fanboy Owner" as a derogatory term, becaue we all know how much better it was with "Non-Fanboy Corporate Owner" in charge.

The first hint that it was not a normal night at Principal Park came when the national anthem was whistled.

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