Yeah That One Hurt
“We had a plethora of wasted opportunities.”You don't say. Before we play the blame game, let's look at a few positives: - Ted Lilly threw yet another quality start and on a night when it seemed he didn't have his best stuff. At least early on he seemed to be missing his locations by quite a bit and getting hit hard, a cruddy Pirate offense certainly a contributing factor. - The top two spots in the order continued to produce going 6 for 13 with a run, three RBI's and two stolen bases. Unfortunately the middle of the order decided to take the night off. - Some nice defensive plays to keep the game going by Soriano and Theriot, although both looked like they were umpire-aided calls. The umps owed us a few from earlier in the year so file it under baseball karma. - Will Ohman performed his LOOGY duties to perfection and has only allowed one hit to a lefty all season on top of four walks in 19 plate appearances. It's the righties that have been giving him more trouble than usual. - Scott Eyre's three shutout innings lowered his ERA to 8.47. - Lou Piniella actually had a relief pitcher left for the 15th inning and a pinch-hitter for the 14th. Baby steps. Oh but much went wrong, beginning with the eight inning: - Lou brings Felix Pie into the game in the top of the 8th as a defensive upgrade over Cliff Floyd. One-run lead, a flyball pitcher and the middle of the Pirates lineup due up, seems like a smart move. But Lou negates all that in the bottom of the inning. Lee and Ramirez reach to start the inning and the Pirates bring in a lefty to face Pie. Lou, going for the kill, brings in Murton to counter and he pops out rather unceremoniously. If you're playing for defense in the top of the inning, why change your mind in the bottom half? With zero outs and runners on second and third, it would have been a good time to try the squeeze with Pie for that insurance run. If it fails, the team should still have a runner on third with less than two outs and you would have set yourself up with a better defensive outfield for the 9th even with a groundball pitcher coming to the mound. And of course... - Ryan Dempster issues a one-out walk to Nate McClouth although I didn't think it was a bad 3-2 pitch. Tailing two-seamer that just missed the plate that most lefties will chase thinking it's going to be a strike. A single later and Jack Wilson hits a flyball to right field. Jones should be out there if not for Lou's substituting in the eighth and while he may have just thrown it ten feet to either side of the plate or in front of him, he does have a stronger arm that would have had a better shot to nail McClouth. - More adventures on the basepaths that I could do without. Soriano gets thrown out at third when a ball doesn't get far away enough from the catcher. Theriot gets doubled off second when a liner by Murton that is in FRONT of him gets caught and Barrett gets thrown out at second base on a missed hit and run by Jacque Jones. - Neil Cotts is no longer invulnerable giving up his first run of the year. I'll pass out equal shares of blame on the offensive ineptitude in the eight to add insurance runs when we had two runners in scoring position and zero outs and Ryan Dempster for blowing his first save of the year against the bottom of the Pirates lineup. And of course Lou for some more questionable decision-making which of course would have been less questionable had Dempster, Murton or Jones done their jobs. While I wasn't nearly as up in arms about Sunday's game as some were, I did understand the concern. The concern was for games like today. Using up bench guys when you're losing to gain just the slightest advantage has a sort of Old West nobility about it. Better to go down with no bullets in the chamber than be left with a loaded gun and a bloody corpse. But when you're ahead or tied, I think the roster shuffling has to be more controlled. That's the time to save those bullets until you have an absolute clear shot and make sure that bloody corpse is in the opposing team's dugout. Well last time we blew a win against the Pirates we reeled off five straight, I'll take that trade-off.
Dolorous Jon Lester 9 min 13 sec ago (view)
Managerial change making a difference I think. Hopefully the changes to the amateur scouting department also bears fruit
Cubster 1 hour 57 min ago (view)
David Ross might be worthy of a little credit, especially sorting out the bullpen issues.
crunch 2 hours 2 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 2 hours 43 min ago (view)
39 pitch inning by Burnes.
crunch 3 hours 18 min ago (view)
...well, it is true that's the plan...but...umm..."allegedly"
QuietMan 3 hours 29 min ago (view)
Cubs to play double headers Monday and Wednesday against the Cardinals.
Eric S 4 hours 20 min ago (view)
Ha! Hope Nico goes on a heater!
Cubster 4 hours 26 min ago (view)
"Not thrilled"...as if on cue, Nico leads off with a double and a later Schwarbsbomb.
Eric S 6 hours 19 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 7 hours 48 min ago (view)
Wait. The bullpen can get worse? That's unpossible.
Eric S 8 hours 7 min ago (view)
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 8 hours 24 min ago (view)
bryant was supposedly gonna be in the lineup but he has left ring finger and wrist hurties.
Charlie 8 hours 40 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.
Cubster 8 hours 43 min ago (view)
Don't get too giddy but...
One Quarter of the schedule is complete.
Pace is for a 48-12 record which when extrapolated to 162 games is about 130 win season.
Is it all downhill from here?
Cardinals at White Sox game tomorrow is possibly canceled per Sun-Times reporting that Bob Nightengale of USA Today and Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported the postponement.
Eric S 9 hours 9 min ago (view)
Brewers Game 1: KB (LF), Rizzo, Javy, Willson (DH), Happ, Bote (3B), Souza (RF), Nico, Caratini, Darvish
Eric S 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
Reds just lost in tough fashion to the Royals. Down 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, one out and rap into a 5-4-3 dp to end it.