Archive | Tom Gorlezanny

This Team Sucks – Pinella Rothschild Out of Ideas

Posted on 11 August 2009 by Lou

Cubs Rockies Baseball

The Cubs wrapped up a dismal 4-6 road trip by losing 3 of 4 to the wild card leading Rockies in Denver.  The Rockies outscored the Cubs 33-18 in the series, as the Cubs fell 3 games behind the Cardinals for 1st place in the NL Central and 3 games behind the Rockies for the NL wild card lead.  Can you say “Game Over”!

Manager Lou Pinella and pitching coach Larry Rothschild are out of ideas and probably already thinking about their golf games in October.  To make matters worse, with the still-pending sale of the Cubs, there’s really not much that the Cubs will be able to do in the off-season to turn things around for the 2010 MLB schedule.  The outfield is set – Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukodome and Milton Bradley all have years left on their deals.  The pitching staff is set – Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster all have years left on their deals, as does Randy Wells who is not even arbitration-eligible yet.  The Cubs will have to decide on Rich Harden, but the 5th starter slot could be filled from within – Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija, Tom Gorzelanny etc.  The infield is also set – Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee at the corners, Ryan Theriot at shortstop and Geovany Soto behind the plate.  Koyie Hill has established himself as a dependable catcher as well.  So the only real question mark in the infield is the 2nd base position, where Mike Fontenot has clearly shown that he is not capable of being a consistent, productive every day player.

Unless the Cubs could pull off a trade to move an outfielder – probably having to assume some of the money that GM Jim Hendry overpaid to each of Soriano, Fukodome and Bradley – the Cubs will be stuck.  And that doesn’t mean good things for 2010.

Sorry Cubs fans – hate to be brutally honest, but we could be in for a rough stretch for a few years to come.

Oh yeah – what about the 11-5 Cubs loss to the Rockies on Monday night?  Aw, who cares anyway.  It was more of the same.  No clutch hitting, poor fielding, and bad pitching.  Sound familiar?!

Cubs Rockies Baseball

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Cubs Doing Their Best to Avoid 2009 Post-Season Play

Posted on 10 August 2009 by Lou

Cubs Rockies Baseball

I was just way too irritated to even do a post on Sunday.  This could be one of the most frustrating Cubs teams to follow in the last few years.  No clutch hitting, no concentration, no desire to win, no emotion, no nothing.  Unless the Cardinals lose the rest of their games, I don’t see how this team will be able to win a 3rd straight NL Central crown.

The Cubs actually showed some grit in Saturday’s 6-5 win.  The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the 4th inning on a Kosuke Fukodme double and a Ryan Dempster walk, only to have Dempster give back 4 runs right away in the bottom of the inning.  But the Cubs responded with 4 runs in the next 3 innings to take a 6-4 lead.  As they had done so many times earlier this season – Angel Guzman, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Greeg worked relatively easy scoreless innings of relief to preserve the 6-5 win.

Looking to build off the big win after losing Friday night, the Cubs looked to Randy Wells to put forth another solid start.  Wells had one of his worst outings of the year, and although the Cubs generated numerous scoring chances against Jason Hammel early in the game, they could only push across 3 runs in the game’s 1st 5 innings despite racking up an incredible 11 hits.  No clutch hitting once again, and the Cubs found themselves trailing 8-3 by the end of the 6th inning.  Wells ended up giving up 5 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks in 5 1/3 innings, while Jeff Stevens got lit up for 4 ER on 5 hits and 1 walk in his 1 inning of work that spanned the 6th and 7th innings.  All in all, it was bad day for the Cubs.

The loss pushed the Cubs 3 games behind the Cardinals for 1st place in the NL Central.  The Cards took care of business sweeping a weekend series over the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

Carlos Zambrano is back on the DL with lower back soreness that could have been aggravated by over-swinging during batting practice before Friday’s game.  Does Big Z realize he is a pitcher 1st and that the Cubs already have starting pitcher Ted Lilly on the DL?  Obviously not.  Big Z is scheduled to come off the DL on Friday, August 21st and Jeff Samardzija will likely make 2 starts during Big Z’s absence.

Aramis Ramirez has been dealing with right shoulder soreness from his early season dislocated shoulder.  Ramirez left Saturday’s game early and Jake Fox started for Ramirez on Sunday.  It is unclear if Ramirez will miss anymore time.

With Kosuke Fukodome batting great in the lead-off spot, I’m extremely confused as to why Manager Lou Pinella all of a sudden decided to re-jigger the lineup in Colorado.  Pinella had Ryan Theirot leading off, Milton Bradley batting 2nd and Fukodome batting 5th.  The players produced in the new lineup (Ryan Theriot had 3 hits on Saturday and 2 hits on Sunday; Bradley had 2 hits on Saturday and 4 hits on Sunday and his average is up to .266; & Fukodome had 2 hits in each game), but it seemed odd that Pinella would mess with a good thing, especially when the Cubs had already found themselves in so many poor hitting droughts several times during the 2009 MLB schedule.

Pinella did his best to motivate the club by getting thrown out of the game for arguing a horrible call at 2nd base on a double play ball that thwarted a Cubs rally, but in the end, the Cubs players looked like they wanted to join Pinella in the showers early instead of trying to win a baseball game.

The Cubs are still just 2 games behind the Cards and the Giants and Rockies for the wild card race, and they have even played 4 fewer games than the Cards and 2 fewer games than each of the Giants and Rockies, so there is room to gain ground.  But this team is too inconsistent, too prone to give up way too soon, and too apt to follow a 3-game winning streak with a 5-game skid.  I have officially given up – I’ll still root for the Cubs and report on the positives and the negatives, but at the end of the day, this is a middle of the road team, not a division leader…

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Carlos Zambrano Screws Team Over in 6-2 Loss @ Colorado

Posted on 08 August 2009 by Lou

Cubs Rockies Baseball

Carlos Zambrano should have a locker room full of teammates pissed off at him right now.  Slated to start the opener of a big weekend series at Coors Field on Friday night, Big Z told Manager Lou Pinella that he couldn’t go 15 minutes before the start of the game.  Big Z left his start in the 3rd inning last Saturday because of a mild back strain.  He didn’t receive any special back treatment all week, and he told the team that it was nothing to be worried about.  But during pre-game warm-ups, Zambrano experienced some back spasms and then told Pinella he couldn’t go.  Pinella had this to say about the situation: “When he went out there to warm up, he says after he threw two or three pitches, his back tightened up and he started getting spasms.  This is something that happened right before the ball game.  If he had been complaining about anything, obviously, we wouldn’t have scheduled him to pitch.”

Not a smart move from Zambrano.  Especially since the Cubs had an off-day on Thursday, and the club could have moved Ryan Dempster up a day to start with his normal 4 days’ rest on Friday night.  Then Wells, Gorzelanny and Harden could have each moved up a day too, allowing Big Z a few more days off, or giving the Cubs an opportunity to call someone up from the minor leagues.  Instead, Zambrano gave the team no indication that his back might be a long-term issue, and forced the Cubs to go with Sean Marshall on no notice to make the start.  As it turned out, Marshall did not have his good stuff – 3 ER on 5 hits and 1 walk in 2 innings of work.  Jeff Samardzija then had to do a little bit off long-relief work, pitching 4 innings and allowing 2 ER on 5 hits and 1 walk.  Not a good way to start a 4-game series in hitter-friendly Coors Field.

The Cubs offense didn’t do much to help out the Cubs pitching staff.  The Cubs managed just 2 runs and 5 hits off of Ubaldo Jimenez and 3 Rockies’ relievers.  Alfonso Soriano was the only Cubs player with more than 1 hit and he also had the only Cubs RBI of the game.  The Cubs did draw 6 walks, but never seemed to come through with a big hit to break an inning open.  The Cubs had 2 runners on in the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 6th innings, but could only push across 1 run in the 1st and 6th innings.  Not good.

The only good news – sort of – catcher Geovany Soto returned to the Cubs lineup after a month stint on the DL.  Soto hit in the 5-spot, however, going 0 for 4 with 3 K’s.  Not the kind of spark we were looking for.

At 57-50, the Cubs trail the Cardinals by 1 game in the NL Central race and the San Francisco Giants and the Rockies by 2 games in the NL Wild Card race.

Cubs Rockies Baseball

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Terrific Tom; But Another Bad Cubs Bullpen Outing — What Gives?

Posted on 05 August 2009 by Lou

Cubs Reds Baseball

Terrific Tom – Tom Gorzelanny looked like Cy Young, as he shut down the Cincinnati Reds over 7 1/3 innings en route to a spectacular Cubs debut.  Gorzelanny gave up just 1 ER on 3 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 6.  The Cubs just acquired Gorzelanny late last week before the trading deadline, and he took over the 5th starter role for Kevin Hart who moved to the Pirates in the trade.  Hart had been filling in for Ted Lilly who will be on the DL for another 2 weeks or so.

Gorzelanny and the Cubs should have known it was going to be a good game for the visiting team.  First, Kosuke Fukodome led off the game with his 1st ever lead-off home run (his 8th of the season).  Then in the bottom of the inning, Adam Rosales tripled to left field on a ball that Alfonso Soriano just missed catching against the wall in left.  With the Reds’ 2 best hitters coming up with a man on 3rd and less than 2 outs, things did not look good.  But Gorzelanny buckled down, striking out Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips to end the threat and preserving the Cubs 1-0 lead.  With the lead still 1-0, the Cubs got clutch 2-out singles from Koyie Hill, Gorzelanny himself and then Kosuke Fukodome to blow the game open.  The back-to-back-to-back singles plated 4 Cubs runs and the Cubs built a 5-0 lead.  Derrek Lee then added an insurance run with his 22nd HR on the year, a solo shot in the 7th to increase the Cubs lead to 6-0.

The only bad news – the Cubs bullpen.  After Gorzelanny allowed to batters to reach base in the 8th inning, Sean Marshall gave up a single to Joey Votto that scored the Reds 1st run.  And in the bottom of the 9th inning, Angel Guzman gave up 2 runs when he hit the lead off hitter and then served up a 2-run HR to Wladimir Balentien.  Not good, especially when Manager Lou Pinella and the Cubs are looking to Guzman to step up his game in the late innings with Kevin Gregg dealing with “tired arm syndrome.”  Going back to the last 5 road games, the Cubs bullpen has surrendered a total of 11 runs from the 8th inning on (3 in the 8th on Friday; 3 in the 9th on Saturday; 2 in the 9th on Sunday; 1 in the 9th on Monday and 2 in the 9th on Tuesday).  This is completely unacceptable, as it cost the Cubs 2 games during the stretch.  If the bullpen continues to flounder like this on a regular basis, the Cubs will struggle to stay in the 2009 NL Central and Wild Card race.

Rich Harden and the Cubs go for the sweep over the Reds tonight in Cincinnati.  The Cardinals already lost to the Mets at CITI Field today in New York, so a Cubs win means sole possession of 1st place for the North Siders.  Lets Go Cubs!

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Tom Gorzelanny – No Pressure in 1st Cubs Start, Yeah Right…

Posted on 04 August 2009 by Lou

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There won’t be any pressure on Tom Gorzelanny when he makes his 1st Cubs start against the Reds in Cincinnati on Tuesday night.  Yeah right…

Newly acquired Tom Gorzelanny is scheduled to make his 1st start for the Cubs tonight in Cincinnati.  Gorzelanny made 9 major league appearances for the Pirates in 2009, going 3-1 with a 5.19 ERA and 1.15 WHIP.  Gorzelanny has also made 15 starts at Triple-A Indianapolis, going 4-3 with a solid 2.48 ERA, but he has not started a major league game since September 10, 2008.  No pressure, right?

The Cubs are in a virtual tie with the St. Louis Cardinals for 1st place in the NL Central (the Cubs have played 4 fewer games than the Cards).  The Cubs are hoping to put a little room between them and the Cards, as the Cubs play 2 more games against the slumping Reds, while the Cards have 2 games against the Mets at CITI Field, one of which is against Mets’ ace Johan Santana.  After a Thursday day off, the Cubs have 4 games at Coors Field in Colorado against the NL wild-card-leading Rockies.

The Cubs are hoping that Gorzelanny can give the Cubs a little boost as he takes the spot of Ted Lilly who is on the DL with shoulder and knee issues.  Gorzelanny should make 3 maybe 4 starts for the Cubs over the next 2+ weeks.  Gorzelanny had this to say about the chance to start again at the major league level: “I know I can do it up here.  I’m anxious to get that chance… I’m just getting prepared like I normally do.  It’s obviously the first one of the season.  I’ve done this before, and I know what’s expected.  I just want to go out there and do my best and not worry about what’s happening on the other side other than the game.”

Nothing like throwing you right into the mix just days after a trade.  Let’s hope Gorzelanny can at least keep the Cubs offense in games during his next few starts.  With the offense performing at a higher level of late, as long as he doesn’t get lit up, the Cubs should have a chance to win each game he starts.  Go Tom!

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Cubs Acquire John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny from Pirates

Posted on 01 August 2009 by Lou

Cubs GM Jim Hendry did not sit pat leading up to the July 31st trading deadline.  And although he didn’t land a big splash like Matt Holliday, Victor Martinez or Jake Peavy, he did add a much-needed lefty to the Cubs bullpen.

John Grabow has been a solid left-handed reliever for the Pirates the last 2 seasons.  During the 2009 MLB schedule, Grabow appeared in 45 games for the Pirates, going 3-0 with a 3.42 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP.  He had 41 K’s against 28 walks.  In 2008, Grabow appeared in 74 games, going 6-3 with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP.  He had 62 K’s and only 37 walks.  For much of the season since Neal Cotts’ season-ending injury, the Cubs have relied upon just 1 lefty in the bullpen – Sean Marshall.  Marshall has been a rock since moving from the 5th starter into the bullpen role, but it’s nice for Marshall to have some company back there. Grabow made his Cubs debut against the Marlins in Florida on Friday night.  After walking Jeremy Hermida to lead off the 6th inning, Grabow retired the next 3 batters to work a successful scoreless inning.

The Cubs also acquired Tom Gorzelanny in the deal.  Gorzelanny has made 15 starts at the Triple-A level in 2009, going 4-3 with a 2.48 ERA.  Gorzelanny has made 65 career starts the major league level, going 25-26 with a 4.79 ERA and 1.50 WHIP.  With the departure of Kevin Hart in the deal, Gorzelanny could find himself in the Cubs rotation until Ted Lilly returns from the DL.

Kevin Hart pitched well for the Cubs in 2009, especially as a starter the last 4 starts.  Hart was 3-1 overall, winning each of his last 3 starts.  He had compiled a 2.60 ERA with a 1.48 WHIP.  The Cubs also dealt Jose Ascansio to the Pirates along with Single-A infielder Josh Harrison.

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