Posted on 16 April 2009 by Lou
The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 7-4 at Wrigley Field today. It was an ugly affair – 3 Cardinals errors and 1 Cubs error. Milton Bradley gettng ejected from the game by the home plate umpire. With the score tied at 4 in the bottom of the 6th inning, Bradley let a 3-0 count slip away with the bases loaded and only 1 out. He took a called 3rd strike on an off-speed pitch from Adam Wainright and was ejected for arguing the call and getting too close for comfort.
Next up is a Friday matinee at Wrigley Field. Carlos Zambrano will face off against P.J. Walters who has been called up to replace the injured Chris Carpenter.
Posted on 15 April 2009 by Lou
Welcome to the Rich Harden enigma. After a rough spring training in which Rich Harden was coddled through a cautious spring regimen, rumors abounded that Harden was injured again and wouldn’t be up to the task during the 2009 MLB season.
Harden answered the call in his 1st start against the Milwaukee Brewers last Friday – 6 innings, 2 runs (only 1 earned), 3 hits, 2 walks and 10 strikeouts. Although the Cubs eventually lost to the Brewers 4-3 in the 9th inning, Harden had put the Cubs in a position to win with his effective outing.
Fast forward 5 days, and we’re sure to hear the skeptics again. In the Cubs 5-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies, Harden struggled through 3 painful innings – 92 pitches, 4 earned runs, 5 hits, 4 walks and 8 strikeouts. Ouch.
To make matters worse, the Cubs lost to Jason Marquis, the former Cubs pitcher whom the Cubs traded to the Rockies during the off-season for Luis Vizcaino and to free up some salary cap. Marquis allowed only 1 run in 7 innings and is now 2-0 on the season with a 1.93 ERA.
One bright spot – David Patton pitched 2 scoreless innings of relief – giving up 1 hit and 1 walk, while striking out 3 batters.
Michael J. Fox attended the game and sang Take Me Out To The Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch at Wrigley Field.
Big weekend series against the Cardinals starting on Thursday. The Cards already have a 1-game lead in the division, so the Cubs need to at least split the series in order to stay close to the current NL Central division leaders.
Posted on 06 April 2009 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs finalized their bullpen and 25-man roster on Sunday when they let David Patton and Angel Guzman know that they had made the Cubs opening day roster.
The big story is David Patton. Patton had pitched in the Colorado Rockies minor league system for the last 5 years, but the Cubs picked him up in the Rule 5 Draft. At 24, Patton had never pitched above the Class A level and General Manager Jim Hendry didn’t give him much of a chance of making the opening day roster, which meant the Cubs either had to keep him on the opening day roster or return him to the Rockies at the end of spring training. Hendry had this to say about Patton and Guzman. “It was a long shot when [Patton] got there, and the kid deserves all the credit in the world for pitching himself into it. I think we owe it to ourselves to find out after all the time we’ve invested in Guzman – - he certainly has the stuff and ability to help us be a contending team and, hopefully, he’ll live up to that potential now.”
Patton pitched extremely well in spring training. Patton had a 1.26 ERA during the spring, giving up only 14 hits and 5 walks in 14 1/3 innings of work. “This is what you devote all your time to and what I’ve wanted since I was a little kid. This is just the beginning. I want to do something special and want to be a part of this organization.”
Guzman had a so-so spring, but because he was out of options and could not be sent down to the minor leagues within the Cubs system, Hendry and the Cubs decided to give him one more shot to show what he can do for the Cubs at the big league level. Guzman has battled elbow and shoulder injuries, and at 27, still has the potential to pitch well in the bigs. Guzman had this to say about making the team: “After everything I’ve been through, I still have a long way to go. I’m still young, and I have an opportunity to make a statement in the big leagues. That’s what it’s all about.”
Three other pitchers lost out on the 2 bullpen spots. Chad Gaudin had an atrocious spring – 10.26 ERA giving up 20 runs on 26 hits and 10 walks in just over 16 innings of work. Not good to say the least. The Cubs released Gaudin. Jeff Samardzija, who was a productive member of the Cubs 2008 bullpen, never found the right stuff this spring as he competed for the 5th starter position. Samardzija improved as the spring went on and as he resumed his role in the bullpen, but because he still has options left, the Cubs chose to send him down to Triple-A Iowa. He will likely be groomed as a starter again in the event the Cubs need to bring up a starter in case of injury. Chad Fox is still recovering from an off-season injury and he was also optioned to Iowa.
It will be interesting to see how Patton performs at the major league level. He obviously has talent, but will he be ble to perform at the high level when the bright lights are shining, especially in Chicago. Let’s hope he does…
Posted on 04 April 2009 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians 9-8 in their final Cactus League game of the spring. The bats were buzzing in the last game in Mesa. Joey Gaithright, Andres Blanco and Koyie Hill each had 2 hits for the Cubs. Hill had a 3-run triple, while Alfonso Soriano led off the Cubs 1st inning with a solo home run and scored 2 runs.
The pitching was not so hot for the Cubs. In 4 innings of work, Ryan Dempster gave up 3 earned runs on 5 hits (including 2 home runs), but he did have 7 strikeouts. Chad Gaudin, battling for a spot in the bullpen, got lit up for 3 runs on 6 hits over just 2 innings of work. Carlos Marmol and David Patton also gave up a run each in relief.
Not the best way to end spring training, but a win is a win. I’m sure the Cubs are ready for the regular season to begin. This spring has lasted forever, so it will be good for the games to finally start counting for something.
Posted on 01 April 2009 by Lou
There are 2 spots left in the Cubs 2009 bullpen, and 4 pitchers competing for those spots. It has come down to Jeff Samardzija, Chad Gaudin, Angel Guzman and Rule 5 Draft pick David Patton. Guzman is out of minor league options, and Cubs GM Jim Hendry has already said that none of the players will be placed on waivers. What does it all mean? That Patton and Guzman will either make the Cubs Opening Day Roster or be traded to another team before the start of the season.
As it stands now, Kevin Gregg will be the Cubs closer, with Carlos Marmol serving as the primary set-up man. Aaron Heilman, Neal Cotts and Luis Vizcaino have also locked up spots. Patton is the big X Factor – in 12+ spring innings, Patton has a .073 ERA giving up only 1 run on 10 hits. He has struck out 15 batters while walking only 2, but he has never pitched at a level higher than Class A. Cubs manager Lou Pinella had this to say about Patton: “He hasn’t been rattled all spring – it’s been very refreshing. It doesn’t look like the situation is getting to him. He’s out there competing and throwing the ball. We’ll see if everything works his way. “ He’ll get a big chance when he pitches against the New York Yankees in front of 40,000 people in the new Yankee Stadium. If he can show some resolve in that situation, we may see Patton on the Cubs Opening Day roster.
As for the other 3 players, none have had a good spring. Gaudin’s control has been bad – 20 hits and 9 walks in 13 2/3 innings with an ERA over 10.00. Guzman has an 8.71 ERA in 10 1/3 innings of Cactus league work. Samardzija has the best ERA of the 3, which isn’t saying much at 8.16. Samardzija does have options left and could be assigned to Triple-A Iowa to make room for one of the other 3 pitchers.
Pinella has indicated that nothing is permanent. “Regardless of how we go, if it’s not right, we’ll fix it. Let’s not forget that. We’re going to do the best we can. We’ve let everybody compete, like we said, so that’s not a problem. We’ll see how this thing stands by Saturday or Sunday and then we’ll make a decision and if it’s not the right decision, we’ll rectify it.”
Good attitude Lou. Maybe give the kid Patton a shot instead of losing him via trade and see if it works. And if not, you can always bring Samardzija back up from Triple-A Iowa. It should certainly be interesting to see how this all plays out. Opening Day on the road in Houston is only 4 days away!!!