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.
crunch 8 hours 46 min ago (view)
i forgot about these types of update posts...thanks for the breakdowns. they're really useful.
strong agreement on the mess t.olson was throwing. he didn't even look happy with himself out there.
Arizona Phil 8 hours 46 min ago (view)
I know most of you saw the game or will be seeing the game, but for anyone else who might be interested, here are the Cubs pitchers velo readings from Saturday night's game:
NOTES: Nice mix of pitches... Mills obviously comes from the "I'm a pitcher not a thrower" school, all of which means command & control matters a lot and he had both tonight... a legit candidate for the Cubs #5 SP slot...
crunch 9 hours 47 min ago (view)
hell of a 1st game. even the good and bad mean nothing this early in spring, but it was a nice one. i'm not worried about rizzo misplaying a couple balls in the first innings, nor do i think bote is on his way to a batting title. spring is meaningless enough without trying to read into february spring games. it was a fun watch, though.
my biggest regret is not seeing souza chase down any plays in LF while he was in the game. that's something i really would like to see this early in spring.
Dolorous Jon Lester 10 hours 36 min ago (view)
I also hope they edit it for the season. doesn't list pitcher or hitter or pitches thrown.
crunch 11 hours 44 min ago (view)
"i'm feeling right at home." - mark grace
crunch 11 hours 51 min ago (view)
really not a big fan of the marquee network's score bug graphic location.
crunch 13 hours 22 min ago (view)
d.ross got sent home with flu-like symptoms, andy green managing...
crunch 13 hours 31 min ago (view)
cubs coming out big for their marquee network debut lineup...
bryant / rizzo / baez / heyward / contreras / kipnis / souza (LF) / bote (DH) / almora...mills pitching
Arizona Phil 17 hours 16 min ago (view)
Besides Quintero, Altuve, and Made, a fourth significant IFA signing by the Cubs during the off-season was 16 year old Dominican CF Anderson Suriel. He played for the Dominican 15U World Cup team in 2018.
Arizona Phil 17 hours 16 min ago (view)
Contrary to reports, 2019-20 IFA J-2 C Brayan Altuve was -NOT - signed by the Cubs in July. The Cubs did not have enough ISBP room initially to fit in his $1M bonus, so instead he was "officially" signed after the conclusion of the 2019 season, which means the Cubs will get an extra year before Altuve will be Rule 5 Draft eligible (post-2024, instead of post-2023 which would have been the case if he had signed in July).
Arizona Phil 17 hours 24 min ago (view)
CRUNCH: It's still drizzling in Mesa but it's clearing to the southwest (which is where the rain came from) so the Cubs should have at least three hours to get the field ready. The infield is covered, so it's just the outfield that will be wet.
Arizona Phil 17 hours 47 min ago (view)
As things stand right now, 109 pitchers and 20 catchers are scheduled to report to Cubs Minor League Camp next week.
Arizona Phil 18 hours 25 min ago (view)
Jordan Patterson will not get an NRI to MLB Spring Training but he will likely get considerable playing time in Cubs MLB Cactus League games as he competes with Corban Joseph for AAA Iowa primary 1B.
crunch 20 hours 4 min ago (view)
cubs moving the game up was a wise choice unless the rain lingers very long. everyone else in ARZ is rained out except LA/SF which starts in 4 hours (cubs in 7 hours)...and that LA/SF game still might get rained out because other games in that time slot have been cancelled/postponed (though they posted a lineup for today's game on twitter 10 minutes ago).
speaking of LA, m.betts makes his debut tomorrow vs CHC.
Arizona Phil 20 hours 57 min ago (view)
The Cubs have signed post-2019 minor league 6YFA 1B-OF Jordan Patterson (ex-COL) and RHRP Dario Beltre to 2020 minor league contracts.
Patterson (who has considerable AAA experience and some MLB time as well) was assigned to AAA Iowa and Beltre (who has not pitched above AA in ten minor league seasons) was assigned to AA Tennessee.
Arizona Phil 21 hours 8 min ago (view)
The Cubs have released 13 minor leaguers:
LHP Andres Bonalde
RHP Alfredo Colorado
RHP Julio Guante
OF Albert Hinirio
RHP M. T. Minacci
INF Rafael Narea
INF Herson Perez
RHP Tyler Peyton
RHP Casey Ryan
LHP Saul Vazquez
RHP Omar Ventura
OF Ricardo Verenzuela
OF Brandon Vicens