Archive | October, 2009

Cubs Looking for Answers…

Posted on 10 October 2009 by Lou

Cubs Rockies Baseball

The Cubs will be looking for answers in 2010.  Let’s hope the Ricketts family has their act together before the end of the World Series.  The Ricketts family will need to be on the same page with GM Jim Hendry and Manager Lou Pinella before the start of free agency in late November.

Pitching-wise, the Cubs are set with a starting rotation of Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells and Tom Gorzelanny.  The Cubs will likely say goodbye to free agent pitchers Rich Harden and Kevin Gregg, but will look to sign John Grabow soon to serve as the team’s set-up man for Carlos Marmol.  The Cubs will also probably like to try to re-sign Reed Johnson despite his 2009 injury issues.

After signing Grabow, the Cubs certainly need to find a way to trade troubled outfielder Milton Bradley.  Not sure who is going to be willing to take him, but the Cubs will likely have to pick up some of the $20 million still owed to him over the next 2 years.  Not good – but it is what it is.

GM Jim Hendry will also need to figure out who is going to start at 2nd base and center field in 2010.

So while there are some voids that need to be filled in 2010, the Cubs can take a more cautious approach this off-season to see if the team can right the ship after an under-achieving 2009 MLB schedule…

Cubs Milton Bradley Risk 1

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Von Joshua Back to Triple-A Iowa after Failure at Major League Level

Posted on 09 October 2009 by Lou

Braves Cubs Baseball

It’s hard to put all the blame on Von Joshua (or Gerald Perry before him for that matter), but Manager Lou Pinella has decided to go in a different direction for his hitting coach in 2010.  Although Pinella emphasized that Joshua did nothing wrong, because the Cubs offense did not rebound after struggling under Gerald Perry through the middle of June, Pinella thought it would be best to try something different.  GM Jim Hendry had this to say as well: “There’s not blame to be handed out.  We had a lot of guys who didn’t swing the bats like they’re capable of.  When Von came up, we were scuffling, and we never really made a lot of progress in the same areas that we were deficient in the first half.”

After leading the National League with 855 run scored in 2008, the Cubs manages to score just 707 runs in a frustrating 2009 (9th worst in the majors).  The Cubs .255 team batting average ranked 5th worst in all of baseball and the team never seemed to be able to come through with the clutch hit with 2 outs or with runners in scoring position.  Several Cubs hitters underperformed – Milton Bradley hit only .257 after hitting .321 for the Rangers in 2008; Geovany Soto .218 vs. .285 in 2008; Alfonso Soriano .241 vs. .280 in 2008; and Mike Fontenot .236 vs. .305 in 2008.  Basically, save for Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez (who missed 2+ months of the season), the Cubs offense was in complete shambles for a good portion of the year.

Let’s hope the Cubs bring in a hitting coach who can simply relate to the players.  And let’s hope the Cubs get a few more clutch hits in 2010…

Pirates Cubs Baseball

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Derrek Lee National League Player of the Month

Posted on 08 October 2009 by Lou

Brewers Cubs Baseball

One of the few lone bright spots for the 2009 Chicago Cubs was the play of Derrek Lee.  Lee was named the NL Player of the month for September.  In the final month of the season, Lee led all major league players with a whopping .386 batting average.  He also had a phenomenal .500 on-base percentage with 9 HR’s and 23 RBI’s.  Lee was last named NL Player of the Month back in April 2005.

After a slow start (Lee was hitting below .200 as late as May 16th), Lee really turned it around during the last 4 months of the season.  Lee finished the season with a solid .306 batting average that led the team.  He also led the team with 35 HR’s, 91 runs scored and 111 RBI’s, and his .393 on-base percentage was the 3rd highest in his 12-year MLB career.  At the age of 34, it’s unclear how many more years he has left in the tank, but it is a great sign that he really turned it around in 2009.  With a healthy Lee and Aramis Ramirez in the middle of the lineup in 2010, you’d expect the Cubs to make some noise in the NL Central once again during the 2010 MLB schedule.  GM Jim Hendry, Manager Lou Pinella and the Wrigley Field faithful will surely be excited to see a dynamic Lee/Ramirez combination in the middle of the lineup for the entire 2010 campaign…

Pirates Cubs Baseball

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MLB Approves Sale of Chicago Cubs to Ricketts Family

Posted on 07 October 2009 by Lou

It’s official!  All 29 other MLB team owners unanimously approved the sale of the Chicago Cubs to the Ricketts family.  The deal is expected to be completed by the end of October 2009, and it is believed that the Ricketts family will assume control over the day-to-day operations of the Cubs prior to the free agency period that starts up within days after the end of the World Series Fall Classic.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig had this to say about the owners approval:  “We’re extremely pleased that the sale process is drawing to a close, and we are confident that the Ricketts family will be great owners and custodians of the Chicago Cubs.  All of us at Major League Baseball are grateful to the Tribune Company for their years of stewardship of this proud and historic franchise.”

That is good news that the Ricketts family should be in position to make decisions prior to the start of 2010 free agency, but because GM Jim Hendry has mortgaged the team so much of the last 2 years, the Cubs will not be a big player anyway.  Hopefully Ricketts and Hendry can get together to at least make a few minor moves that will bring quality players in at an affordable price for the 2010 season… Management needs to focus on players who tend to stay healthy during the course of the year, players that are good in the clubhouse and players that are fan-friendly to the faithful that trek to Wrigley Field in droves all season long…

chicago cubs logo1

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Sam Fuld Hits 1st Career MLB Home Run & RBI

Posted on 06 October 2009 by Lou

Diamondbacks Cubs Baseball

Sam Fuld hit his 1st career home run and recorded his 1st ever RBI in Sunday’s season ending loss to the Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field.  Going into the game, Fuld had not had a single home run or RBI in 78 major league games – 100 at-bats!  Fuld hit a home run in the 5th inning for his 1st ever HR and RBI.  And in his next at-bat, Fuld hit an RBI groundout to score a runner from 3rd base with less than 2 outs – make it 2 RBI’s.  Fuld also had a double earlier in the game.  No other player had had at least 67 official at-bats without having an RBI since 1920.  Fuld hit .299 in limited time with the Cubs in 2009 and had an on-base percentage of .409.  It’s unclear what role Fuld will play, if any, in 2009, but he clearly has the talent to play a back-up role in case of injury.  Fuld had this to say – “It took so long, I figured something weird would happen like that, but I didn’t know it was going to be a home run.  I thought maybe it’s be a hit by pitch or something like that.  But yeah, it’s nice to get it out of the way.”

Congrats Sammy – you deserve it!

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Randy Wells Shines, Ryan Dempster Stumbles @ Wrigley Field over the Weekend

Posted on 05 October 2009 by Lou

Diamondbacks Cubs Baseball

It was a tale of 2 final starts for Randy Wells and Ryan Dempster in the final 2 games for the Cubs over the weekend at Wrigley Field.

Wells picked up his 12th win of the season as he dominated the Arizona Diamondbacks over 7 innings of work.  Wells threw 107 pitches and struck out a career-high 10 batters.  He gave up just 3 hits and 1 walk during his outing.  Top top off the excellent showing from Wells, Esmailin Cardidad and Carlos Marmol continued their hot pitching with 2 perfect innings of work to preserve the 5-0 win for Wells.  We could be seeing a lot of Cardidad and Marmol in 2010 for the Cubs, as well as a lot of Wells.  Wells has been the Cubs most pleasant surprise of 2009.  He made 27 starts for the Cubs, an amazing number given the fact that he did not get his 1st start until May 8th.  He finished with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP, and he gave up just 56 ER in 165 1/3 innings pitched.  The 12 wins and 3.05 ERA were team highs.

Ryan Dempster did not fare so well in his final start of 2009.  Dempster was also going for his 12th win of the season, but he gave up 5 ER on 6 hits and 1 walk in just 5 innings of work (he did have 10 K’s). He was on a roll of late – going 2-0 while pitching at least 7 innings in each of his last 4 starts – but he didn’t have it on Sunday.  Overall, Dempster finished the season with a 3.65 ERA and 1.30 WHIP.  Dempster struck out 172 batters while walking only 65 in 200 innings pitched, but he was just too inconsistent all season long.  The strikeout and innings pitched numbers were team highs.

If Wells can repeat his 2009 performance in 2010, the Cubs will have a formidable starting rotation once again with Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly and Wells.  The Cubs finished with the 5th best team ERA in all of baseball in 2009.  GM Jim Hendry, Manager Lou Pinella, and pitching coach Larry Rothschild should feel good knowing that they will have 4 quality starters coming back in 2010 he pitched very well in 2009 despite being on an under-achieving team.

Diamondbacks Cubs Baseball

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Ryan Dempster Going for Win #12 in Season Finale Against DBacks

Posted on 04 October 2009 by Lou

Ryan Dempster is going for win #12 in the Cubs season finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  Dempster has compiled an 11-8 record with a 3.51 ERA and 1.30 WHIP.  Dempster has pitched well of late and looks to end a frustrating season on a positive note.  The DBacks have a  light-hitting offense like the Cubs, so it shouldn’t be too hard for Dempster to put forth a solid outing.  Manager Lou Pinella will look to Dempster to serve as a legitimate #2 in the Cubs starting rotation in 2010.

chicago cubs ryan dempster

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Come on Randy – Finish Strong Today Buddy!

Posted on 03 October 2009 by Lou

Randy Wells has been one of the Cubs lone bright spots during the frustrating 2009 MLB schedule.  As I’ve discussed before, he is a competitor who has been consistent and has kept the Cubs in games all season long.  He has struggled of late, so I really hope he can finish with a positive start today against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field.  He has given up 5 ER in 2 of his last 3 starts and he seems to have lost some of his control that made him so effective earlier in the year – 22 walks in his last 10 starts with at least 4 walks in 4 of those starts.  To put it in perspective, Wells had walked 3 batters in a game only twice in his 1st 16 starts of the season.  It’s pretty clear that Manager Lou Pinella has already penciled in Wells as a 4th or 5th starter for the 2010 Cubs rotation.

Wells still has a repsectable 3.18 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP, so I’m hoping he can go at least 6 innings giving up just a few runs against a weak-hitting Arizona lineup.  12-10 sounds a lot better than 11-11…

chicago cubs clubhouse randy wells

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Cubs Playing Poorly Like the Weather

Posted on 02 October 2009 by Lou

Pirates Cubs Baseball

Ticket brokers let out a collective sigh of relief last night as the Cubs-Pirates game was delayed and then postponed after just 3 innings of play on Thursday night at Wrigley Field.  One of our sponsors – Ticketchest.com – was thrilled with the decision to cancel the game without any make up date since the season has been over for a while now.  Those unsold tickets will now either be refunded or can be used as a credit towards future Cubs tickets purchases in 2010.  Hip hip hooray!  Jeff Samardzija was the other winner as the 3 runs and 3 hits he gave up in the 1st inning were washed out of the record book with the rain out.

The Cubs were back on the field on Friday to take on the Diamondbacks, but they might as well have stayed at home today.  Tom Gorzelanny looked like the pitcher that the Cubs used to beat on every game, giving up 6 ER on 7 hits and 1 walk in 3 innings.  Jeff Stevens, David Patton and Aaron Heilman struggled out of the bullpen, combining to give up 5 runs. The Cubs bats didn’t do much better.  The Cubs managed just 7 hits in the game, as they scored all 3 of their runs in the 7th inning.  Koyie Hill was the only player with more than 1 hit for the Cubs.

Man I can’t wait for this season to be over…

Pirates Cubs Baseball

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Lilly, Zambrano, Cubs Struggle in Double-header Loss to Pirates at Wrigley Field

Posted on 01 October 2009 by Lou

APTOPIX Pirates Cubs Baseball

This image of Sam Fuld and Micah Hoffpauir colliding in the outfield sums up the Cubs 2009 MLB schedule perfectly. Ted Lilly and Carlos Zambrano each struggled in their final 2009 starts, as the Cubs dropped a double-header to the Pirates at Wrigley Field on Thursday.  Guess that really sums up what a bad 2009 the Cubs organization has endured.

In the opener, Lilly gave up all 4 runs in the 1st inning.  After that, he settled down and pitched 7 innings, giving up just a total of 5 hits and 2 walks.  He struck out 8.  Lilly will end the year with 12 wins, a 3.10 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP.  The sad part was that the Cubs bats were silenced by rookie Charlie Morton.  Just 5+ weeks ago, the Cubs lit up Morton for 10 ER on 7 hits in just 1 inning of work.  How he goes from that to a complete game 4-hit shutout against the same team is mind-boggling.  Just proves how inconsistent the Cubs have been at the plate in 2009.

In the nightcap, the team did not fare much better.  Zambrano pitched just 6 innings because of a high pitch count (117 pitches).  Big Z walked 4 and ended up giving up 4 ER and 6 hits.  Zambrano suffered his 7th loss of the season, and it will be the 1st time in 6 seasons that Carlos does not end up with double-digit wins.  Very disappointing from your supposed ace.

Esmailin Caridad had another perfect inning of relief work and now has a 1.56 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP.  Carlos Marmol, on the other hand, continued to struggle when not in a save situation.  Marmol gave up a leadoff  home run in the 9th inning and 2 walks before recording the 27th and final Pirates out of the night.

Jeff Samardzija will make another spot start in the series finale against the Pirates on Thursday night at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs are still stuck on 82 wins…

Pirates Cubs Baseball

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