Cherry Pie at HoHoKam

Felix Pie went 3-3 with a bunt single, a double, a triple, and a sac bunt, leading the Cubs to a 7-6 victory over the Texas Rangers before a capacity crowd at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in sunny Mesa.

The Cubs and Rangers were tied 6-6 entering the bottom of the 9th. Facing Rangers reliever Robinson Tejada, Mark DeRosa struck out swinging and Henry Blanco lined out to short to start the inning, but then Pie smoked a triple into the right-centerfield alley, setting up a chance for Eric Patterson to be the hero. And that he was, as E-Pat lined a game-winning single into center, scoring a hand-clapping Pie from 3rd with the winning run.

Ryan Dempster got the start for the Cubs today, and had a mediocre outing, laboring through 4.2 IP (90 pitches - only 52 strikes, 3/6 GB/FB). Dempster allowed four runs on eight hits and three walks, striking out five, and got his pitch count up to 90 in less than five innings thanks to a couple of high-pitch innings (15-18-24-12-21).

Jon Lieber apparently lost the battle for the #5 slot in the starting rotation, as he worked as a middle reliever out of the bullpen today. Lieber pitched three innings (37 pitches - 26 strikes), allowing only a walk and a two-run homer to Adam Melhuse, while striking out three. After his three innings of work, Lieber went out to the Cubs bullpen and threw another 25-30 pitches.

Meanwhile the Cubs offense followed their six run first inning yesterday with a four-run 1st today. Facing LHP Kason Gabbard, Alfonso Soriano worked a one-out walk, Derrek Lee lined a single to center, and then Aramis Ramirez picked up an RBI on a 5-3 GO. Matt Murton then reached on an infield single to short, before Mark DeRosa clubbed a three-run homer completely out of the stadium to the left of the scoreboard to complete the 1st inning scoring.

With the score tied 4-4, the Cubs added two more runs off Gabbard in the 5th. Felix Pie scorched a double down the RF line, and scored on a line-drive RBI single to center by Ronny Cedeno. Cedeno then stole second, and advanced to third on an overthow, before scoring on a F-8 sac fly to deep center by Alfonso Soriano.

In addition to his perfect day at the plate, Pie also made an outstanding running catch into the right-center alley to end the 7th inning. He definitely seems to be hitting his stride at the plate, on the bases, and in the outfield.


Pie sucks...cubs have "clearly soured on him" :)

I would say he had a rotten outing but maybe that's the new mediocre.

navigator: "I would say he had a rotten outing but maybe that's the new mediocre." Yeah, I agree. In less than 5 innings, he gives up 4 ER, 8 hits and 3 BB's. That is a rotten outing.

Dempster's outing:

1st inning (15 pitches - 10 strikes): Vazquez popped up P-8,  Benjamin blooped double down LF line (barely fair), Murphy lined a single to RF, scoring Benjamin, Hamilton flies out F-7, Byrd K-swinging

2nd inning (18 pitches - 11 strikes): Broussard singled to right,Saltalamacchia struck out looking, Fox singled, Broussard advanced to 2nd, Gabbard popped up bunt to pitcher, Broussard was doubled off second base 1-6

3rd inning (24 pitches - 12 strikes): Vazquez walked, Benjamin singled to right (hit & run) with Vazquez advancing to 3rd, Murphy doubled to left-center, Vazquez and Benjamin scored, Hamilton grounded out 4-3, Murphy advanced to 3rd, Byrd grounded out 5-3, runner held at 3rd, Broussard struck out looking

4th inning (12 pitches - 8 strikes): Saltalamacchia struck out swinging, Fox popped up to Derrek Lee P-3 behind 1st base, Gabbard struck out looking

5th inning (21 pitches - 11 strikes in 2/3 inning): Vazquez singled, Benjamin 5-3 sac bunt, Murphy walked, Hamilton line single to left, scoring Vazquez, Murphy to 2nd, Byrd flied out to RF, Murphy advanced to 3rd, Broussard walked, loading the bases

Dempster left the game with the bases loaded and two outs. Marmol then struck out Saltalamacchia looking to end the 5th inning.

AZ PHIL: What's up with last year's AAA MVP, Gio Soto? Has he forgotten everything? Was last year a total fluke? Is his "girth" getting in the way again?

so what day this week will we see more roster cuts or the movement of cedeno of roster

i agree with the eman about soto have heard squat about the catching dont remember where lou has talked about it but soto is starting to worry me not to mention the backup we have medoza line blanco

Is anyone up?

Baseball! Baseball! Coffee... coffee... Baseball!

Damnit, fell asleep, and never woke up again.


Well, until now.  And I missed a good game!  That's it, I'm definitely waking up/staying up for the next one. 

Cubs "team" link goes to: "View From the Bleachers"?

A Google search for "The Cub Reporter" also turns up "The View from the Bleachers" as the #1 result. This website comes in at #2. Strange.

Probably a lot of links out there that say "The Cub Reporter" still point to the old URL at MVN.


So I tuned in to ESPN2 to watch a little real baseball this morning before going to work. I was a few minutes early and caught the end of some fantasy season preview show. Some fantasy "guru" (Eric something) predicted that K-Pat's reunion with Dusty would result in a 30-30 season. Hee-hee.

I predict this "Eric something" is a retard.


Submitted by The E-Man on Mon, 03/24/2008 - 9:28pm.


What's up with last year's AAA MVP, Gio Soto? Has he forgotten everything? Was last year a total fluke? Is his "girth" getting in the way again?


E-MAN: Geovany Soto has been in a hitting slump all Spring. Every now and then he hits the ball hard somewhere, but his swing looks slow. Truth is, he looks to be out of shape, like he came to camp knowing he had the starting catcher job in the bag and didn't have to work anymore.

Fortunately, Henry Blanco is having the best Spring of his career. He's hitting rockets all over the place, and is really turning on fastballs and ripping them into LF. He's also making great throws to second base. Blanco played in the Venezulan Winter League, and after a slow start, he got hot at the plate the second half of the VWL season, and he threw out 10 of the last 20 runners who tried to steal against him in the VWL.

Carlos Marmol came to camp in virtual mid-season shape, having been pitching in the Caribe Championships just before the start of ST. But his command has been terrible, and from his body language on the mound you can see he's pissed off about his performance. Marmol did come into the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the 5th and struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia yesterday, though. And that's what Marmol (and Wuertz) do best... come into a game with men on base and leave the runners stranded.

Speaking of Michael Wuertz, he looks great. He's throwing strikes and his slider/spliter has been dropping a foot.

Rich Hill has been getting progressively worse with each outing. He can't throw strikes, but it looks to be a mental thing. He went through all of Spring Training a year ago without walking anybody, so he could turn it around at any time. The only question is when.

Sam Fuld looks like a deer in headlights. He's been facing many of the same pitchers he saw in AA, AAA, and the AFL in 2007, but instead of using the whole field, he's been rolling over on everything. For some reason, he's really pressing.

Conversely, Felix Pie is playing with self-confidence and looks like he belongs in the big leagues. He's had some good swings against LHP, too, although he's usually dead meat once he gets down two strikes to a lefty. One thing Pie has beeen doing lately is that he's been bunting for hits when he faces LHP  I've seen him drag bunts past the mound where the second-baseman has to field the ball, and I've also seen him put it right up the third-base line. So he apparently has been practicing his bunting. Fortunately, he gave up that stupid wet-newspaper shortened swing they tried to get him to do, and now he's hitting ropes again. He'll eventually be a 20 HR guy as he gets older. And watching Pie run the bases is like watching the Kentucky Derby. He REALLY motors around the bases. Too bad he struggles so much reading pitchers' moves when he's on 1st base.  

I like what I've seen of Kevin Hart, but he doesn't have his best stuff when he throws two days in a row. I would say he should be used for maybe two-innings when he pitches, but then have at least one day off between appearances. I believe his future will ultimately be in the starting rotation, alhough probably not this year.

Kosuke Fukudome is the best defensive RF the Cubs have had in years, and he is fast and is an outstanding base-runner. But the fact is, he has struggled against MLB-quality LHP. If I were the Cubs, I wouldn't be too quick to dump Matt Murton. I hate to think Fukudome is a $12 million dollar a year platoon RF, but he just might be (still TBD). 

Ronny Cedeno has been hitting the ball VERY well lately, and he's going deeper into the count and taking walks, too. But he is dumb as a post, and makes too many mental mistakes (especially on the bases), and Uncle Lou HATES that (see Michael Barrett). So with Ronny Cedeno out of minor league options, I fully expect him to be traded sometime this week, either as part of a multi-player package for Brian Roberts, or for a right-handed hitting 4th OF (like Rajai Davis), or for a veteran switch-hitting middle-infielder (like Felipe Lopez).

Dr Phil, Would you personally advocate a Cedeno for Lopez swap?

according to rotoworld, BRob is out with a weak back...Scott Moore is replacing him at 2nd and batting leadoff. "when did he get traded? About a week back." ta da boom

Thank you, AZ PHIL. Your comments regarding Soto are along the lines of what I had thought, but living in Chicago I have only seen him during last season in-person. IF he is slow in your neighborhood, I will not hold my breath that he will meet the expectations of BP, PECOTA, et. al, when he arrives at friggin' freezing Wrigley. Unfortunately, as you have pointed out many times, a "complete package" catcher is not a position we are deep at now.

This may be 3/44, but I read a pretty detailed piece on Reed Johnson in the Globe and Mail. Here is an interesting quote from J.P. Riccardi: "It really just came down to what we thought was the better offensive player. We're going to miss Reed's defense and we're going to miss a lot of grittiness about him, but at this point, we decided to go with offense over anything else." So, if indeed Hendry were to sign the player, he'd add to the "grittieness" of the team, and still hit .240? Is this any better than other CF options we have already (other than "Deer in the Headlights" Fuld).

I think it's interesting that Riccardi gave up on Johnson after he had one year of 236/305/320 coming off a pretty bad injury. He still had 319/370/419 in 2006 before the injury. Although, that was a career best for him. Heck, didn't have a terrible spring at 289/333/368. Not great, I know. But not bad. I dunno. Maybe he knows something that we don't.

Reed Johnson is coming off back surgery. But as the Jays leadoff man in 2006 he hit .322 .391 .478 .869 So a healthy Reed Johnson is a damn good hitter. But this year he's a question mark because of that back. However, the main reason he became expendable is the Jays acquisition of David Eckstein who is going to bat #1.

I think the chance that Reed Johnson will put up a line like he did in 2006 is slim. Something less than his career numbers of 281/342/410 seems more likely to me.

Hmm... Eckstein = SS Johnson = OF Yup... I see how Eck stole Johnson's spot. What it comes down to is that they like Rios, Wells, Stairs, and Coats more than Johnson, in large part because Johnson had an awful year last year and they probably do not believe that he is healthy enough to contribute. He had a clear outlier of a year in 2006, and the Bluejays obviously do not believe that he will be able to repeat, or even come close to, that kind of production.

Hmm... Eckstein = SS Johnson = OF Yup... I see how Eck stole Johnson's spot. ============================================= Your comment is both smug and stupid, I said that Eckstein has replaced Johnson in the batting order. Before he hurt his back, RJ was the Jays' leadoff man. They don't need two leadoff men, Eckstein has the job and he's a light hitter so the Jays are looking for more power from the outfield. thus Johnson, who they just signed a couple months ago to a 1 year contract, became expendable.

Your comment is both smug
Yup... we have never seen smug from you. Ever. And lets see... Eck was signed by Toronto on Dec. 13. Johnson was resigned on Jan. 8. But yea... Johnson became expendable after Toronto signed Eck. I think it is pretty clear that Toronto was hoping that Johnson could play a role on their team, or they would not have signed him AFTER they signed Eckstein. (Oh... and I missed Shannon Steward in the list of OFs who have beat out Johnson.)

person states that a "contract has been offered" to agent of Johnshon's. If signed, does Murton stay up?

No, I imagine he goes completely flaccid. Poor guy.


my guess at the bench right now is

Blanco, Ward, Murton, Cedeno, one of Cintron, Fontentot or Eric Patterson and Johnson would take that last spot.

In looking at his splits at BR, some items are interesting and mostly positive - - As a platoon RH against LHP, around .300 Career. Def. would want to use him in this way. - "Clutch" stats are better than average - Can take a walk with a full count often - BA IIRC, is 30pts. higher for night games. - Decent "two strikes" hitter. - Has succeeded in the leadoff role (when HEALTHY)

We can look at his stats and spilts and stuff all we want, but if Johnson is not completely healthy it doesn't matter. Like someone said above, maybe TOR knows something the rest of us don't about his back. I think we should stay away.

bone spurs and a cortisone injection

bone spurs and a cortisone injection -------------- hmmm, that's what they told Ernie Broglio.

I expect the interest in RJ is based recommendations from Tim Wilken's Toronto experience since Wilken was doing the drafting in Toronto n 1999. RJ: Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 17th round of the 1999 amateur draft. From Cal State Fullerton. That was the same draft that Wilken took Alex Rios as the 1st round, 19th pick (and the Cubs took Beanball Ben Christenson in the 26th pick). That was an interesting draft as the #1 pick was Josh Hamilton and #2 wsa Josh Beckett. Barry Zito was #9 and Ben Sheets was #10, Brett Myers was #12. Certainly lends confidence to Wilken being in charge of our current drafting. Reed Johnson in the 17th round...nice work.

CUBSTER: That was the "Ed Lynch" draft, right? Also, did you check your email? I sent you one...

mlb trade rumors says Bruce Levine reporting it's a done deal...Reed Johnson is a Cub they also say the Rangers lowered their demands for Marlon Byrd and the Cubs said...pass.

I hope that's true, because the Dallas Morning News reported this morning that the Cubs are asking about Marlon Byrd again. Considering he would require Murton and a pitching prospect, I am all for Reed Johnson. -edit Okay, right on. You go, Jim! (Now figure out how to f*** that f***er McPhail.)

amusingly under "Related Blog Posts", Cubnut's great moments in Brian Roberts trade history is at the end of the article.

 That's a weird set-up they have with blogburst, the article shows up on their website format but without the cool graphic.

Reed Johnson is a much better pick than Byrd and light-years better than Jay Payton. Still, for the life of me I can't figure out why the Cubs need more right-handed bats. It seems to me like they need more left-handed bats. And who did they give up for Reed, supposedly? And where is Brian Roberts? I thought the trade for Brian Roberts was done a month ago.

They need a right handed hitter who can play center.

Wait... why? Are they going to platoon Pie?

If they plan on winning they need to. Call it Exhibit A on why Lou is better than Dusty ever was. The abilility to understand and implement a proper platoon situation.

Supposedly they want a contingency plan if Pie does need platooning. Johnson is that. He also is the all-OF right-handed hitter that the Cubs wanted after dumping Pagan, who, as Rob G. has pointed out, fit that bill perfectly. And the Cubs didn't have to give anyone up for Johnson since he cleared waivers at noon. In that regard, he's even that much better of an option than Byrd, Payton, or Crisp.

Maybe, but I also don't expect Pie to play 162 games. So when he gets a day off why not do it against a quality lefty.

Suffering cold-turkey withdrawal symptoms from PED's. This month it's his (back). He's out again. Last month it was a weird undiagnosed stomach pain doctor's thought might have been kidney stones.

And who did they give up for Reed, supposedly?
No one... he was a free agent, as he was recently released by Toronto.

He'll be a good-to-decent backup/platoon that won't cost much (and won't cost any prospects). It also gives us more leverage and less urgency to trade Murton or any other OF prospects. I can't complain about it really.

EPat and Fuld to AAA. Walrond, Hoffpauir and McGehee to minor league camp.

Johnson gets 1/1 deal Epat & Fuld sent to AAA Hopafare(?) sent to "minor league camp"

Johnson apparently has a major league deal. I guess that iced it quick for him. He's a .308/.371/.462 career hitter against lefties.

This seems like a good, although small, move by Hendry -- getting a decent backup without giving up anything. However, other people's castoffs always look better than your own, because you haven't been following them daily and haven't had the "I remember one time.." in-game experience.

Recent comments

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  • crunch 1 hour 55 min ago (view)

    "Chicago Cubs  @Cubs
    Our Aug. 7-9 series at St. Louis has been rescheduled as three 7-inning doubleheaders at Wrigley Field.

    #Cubs will be home team for Game 1. Cardinals home team for Game 2."


  • Eric S 2 hours 5 min ago (view)

    It's been fantastic how little use the pen has had (relatively) thanks to the starters going for six-seven innings. Hopefully Chatwood keeps the line moving tonight. 


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 4 hours 49 min ago (view)

    I agree with all of this except maybe Tepera. I'd put him firmly in ??? territory. I feel like he's looked better than his results but it's hard to say given small sample size.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 15 hours 45 min ago (view)

    Managerial change making a difference I think. Hopefully the changes to the amateur scouting department also bears fruit


  • Cubster 17 hours 34 min ago (view)

    David Ross might be worthy of a little credit, especially sorting out the bullpen issues.


  • crunch 17 hours 39 min ago (view)

    this team is amazing.  i want more than 60 games of this.  darvish since mid-season last year has been great stuff.

    also, wick got to close.  kimbrel hasn't worked in quite a while.


  • Eric S 18 hours 20 min ago (view)

    39 pitch inning by Burnes.


  • crunch 18 hours 55 min ago (view)


    ...well, it is true that's the plan...but...umm..."allegedly"


  • QuietMan 19 hours 5 min ago (view)

    Cubs to play double headers Monday and Wednesday against the Cardinals.


  • Eric S 19 hours 57 min ago (view)

    Ha! Hope Nico goes on a heater!


  • Cubster 20 hours 2 min ago (view)

    "Not thrilled" if on cue, Nico leads off with a double and a later Schwarbsbomb.


  • Eric S 21 hours 56 min ago (view)

    Updated Bullpen tiers:

    Tier 1 (Closer/Firemen)

    Wick and Jeffress (interchangeable)

    Tier 2 (Preferred Setup roles)

    Tepera, Sadler, Rea (!)

    Tier 3 (Face lefties exclusively if possible)

    Ryan (has to get that fastball out of mid-80s or head to South Bend)


    Tier 4 (Long man innings eater)


    Tier 10 (reserved for use when either up or down by 10+ runs)


    I think that covers it?


  • Jackstraw 23 hours 25 min ago (view)

    Wait.  The bullpen can get worse?  That's unpossible.


  • Eric S 23 hours 44 min ago (view)

    Well, shoot.

    Here we go again: Nico, Rizzo, Javy, Willson, Schwarber (LF), Happ, Bote, Souza, Caratini

    Not thrilled with Nico leading off when the greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history was available but whatever 


  • crunch 1 day 1 min ago (view)

    bryant was supposedly gonna be in the lineup but he has left ring finger and wrist hurties.


  • Charlie 1 day 16 min ago (view)

    I really think they could play .500 from here and would take the division.

    But leave room for at least a week long slump due to bullpen implosion.