Posted on 25 June 2010 by Lou
In an unprecedented move, the Cubs have petitioned MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to be able to forfeit all of their series openers for the rest of the 2010 MLB schedule. The infallible Elias Sports Bureau (confirmed by our crack staff of researchers all things bizarre) has confirmed that no other major league baseball team in the modern baseball era has made such a petition before.
The reason behind the request is simple. The Cubs have not won an opening game of a series since they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0 back on May 25th. Since then, the Cubs have lost the series opener of 8 straight series and it looks like they are doing their best to make that 9 in a row (they trail the White Sox 6-0 in the 7th inning of today’s Crosstown Classic on the south side). During that stretch, the Cubs have gone just 9-14 and they have fallen out of contention in both the NL Central race (they trail the St. Louis Cardinals by 8 games) and the NL Wild Card race (they trail the New York Mets by 9 games). GM Jim Hendry and Manager Lou Pinella figure that since the Cubs can’t win the opening game of any series anyway, they may as well forfeit the game to give their players some extra rest during the dog days of summer. Then they can focus their attention on winning the final 2 games of 3-game series in an effort to actually win more games during the final 3 months of the season. They’ll be able to watch more tape of opposing pitchers and hitters, and they’ll have more time to work with the coaching staff on hitting, pitching and fielding. Pinella has also hinted that the Cubs will play a lot more simulated games on the “forfeit” days in an attempt to keep the players “fresh”.
I must say that this is an interesting move for the north siders. All the tweaking of batting orders and bullpen moves hasn’t really paid off, so this may be the next best thing. I really hope Selig gives the Cubs a fair shot at being able to forfeit these games. It could go a long for this struggling Cubs squad – wouldn’t it be great if this is all it takes for the Cubs to get back on track. It could set a new trend for teams all across the country.
Oh yeah – by the way – the Cubs hung tough against the Mariners in the series finale on Thursday afternoon in Seattle. Ted Lilly (6 INN, 1 ER on 5 hits and no walks, with 6 K’s) got another tough luck no decision as the Cubs didn’t give him any support at all. The Cubs managed just 6 hits against Felix Hernandez and 4 Mariners’ relievers. Derrek Lee had 2 of the hits but is still just hitting .233 for the season. Mike Fontenot didn’t have a hit but he drove in the Cubs first run with a sacrifice fly in the 2nd inning. Chad Tracy drove in the Cubs 2nd run with an RBI single in the 7th inning that gave the Cubs a short-lived 2-1 lead. Marlon Byrd drove in the game-winning run in the top of the 13th inning with his only hit of the game.
On a “down” note, Andrew Cashner gave up his 1st run in 8 major league starts, blowing the 2-1 lead in the process. It was also his 1st major league blown save.
As for today’s game, we’ll have more on this later, but Carlos Zambrano served up 4 easy runs for the White Sox in the 1st inning (RBI double by Alex Rios and 3-run HR by Carlos Quentin) and then promptly started yelling at Derrek Lee in the dugout after the end of the inning. It’s not exactly clear what Big Z was pissed off about, but he clearly still has a lot of anger issues to deal with. Add Big Z’s name to the list of Cubs that will be traded before the July 31 trading deadline. The only problem with moving Zambrano is working out how much of the $18+ million owed to him over each of the next 2 years the Cubs will have to eat in order to get some team to take him. Good job Jim!!!
Posted on 14 June 2010 by Lou
Although the Cubs avoided the sweep with Sunday night’s 1-0 win over the White Sox, the team dropped their 5th straight series over the weekend. The Cubs have now lost 2 of 3 games in each of their last 5 series and are heading in the wrong direction. The Cubs are now 28-35 (just 15-15 at home) and they trail the Reds by 7.5 games and the Cards by 6 games in the NL Central race.
Sunday night’s game pretty much summed up the Cubs entire season thus far – mostly good starting pitching; awful hitting; and awful bullpen work.
Ted Lilly pitched 8 no-hit innings, giving up just 1 walk along the way. You would think it would be a fun affair for the Cubs players and fans, but it was so tense because the Cubs themselves were being no-hit by Gavin Floyd of the White Sox through6 innings. The Cubs eventually got their first hit with 2 outs in the 7th inning – a double by Alfonso Soriano – and Chad Tracy followed that up with an RBI single on the very next pitch to put the Cubs ahead 1-0. But at the end of the day, the Cubs offense managed just 3 total hits in the ball game.
When Lilly served up pinch-hitter Juan Pierre’s single to center field to lead off the 9th inning, Manager Lou Pinella immediately turned to Closer Carlos Marmol to end the threat and preserve the 1-run lead. But that almost backfired in a hurry. Marmol quickly walked Andruw Jones and then balked Pierre and Jones over to 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. Disaster again for the Cubs in the late innings. But Marmol buckled down – he struck out Alexei Ramirez and then intentionally walked Alex Rios to load the bases and set up a force play. Paul Konerko obliged by hitting a weak grounder that forced Pierre out at home. Marmol then got Carlos Quentin to pop out to shallow center field and the Cubs fans at Wrigley Field let out a collective sigh of relief.
Ted Lilly has gotta be the game’s most tough-luck pitcher this year. After his 8 scoreless innings last night, Lilly has now has a 2-5 record in 10 starts with a 1.00 WHIP and a 2.90 ERA – hello trade bait?!
But back to the Cubs offense. The Cubs hitters made the White Sox starters look like all-stars in all 3 games over the weekend. In Friday’s 10-5 loss, Jake Peavy had 4 wins and a 5.90 ERA coming into the game and he held the Cubs to just 2 runs on 6 hits in 7 innings. In Saturday’s 2-1 loss, Mark Buerhle had 3 wins and a 5.40 ERA coming into the game (no road wins) and he held the Cubs to just 0 runs on 8 hits through 6 2/3 innings. And on Sunday night, Floyd had 2 wins and a 6.18 ERA coming into the game and he held the Cubs to just 1 run on 3 hits in 8 innings. Unbelievable.
Well enough of my ranting and raving. This team is not good and just to give you a little preview of what’s to come, get ready for my post about the Top 10 reasons why the Ricketts Family should “blow up” the “Hendry Monster Misfits” sooner rather than later…
Posted on 05 February 2010 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs and Kevin Millar agreed upon a minor league deal on Thursday as we previously speculated earlier this week. Millar is a long shot to make the team – he will battling Micah Hoffpauir and Chad Tracy for the back-up role at 1st base behind Derrek Lee. At 38 years of age, coming off a down year in which he hit just .223 in 78 games with the Blue Jays, he has his work cut out for him.
Millar will certainly be an entertaining presence in Mesa this Spring Training. Millar is a goofy, affable guy like his former Marlins teammate Ryan Dempster. Both mouthed off to each during Spring Training 2008 when Millar was with the Baltimore Orioles, so there should be some funny pranks to write about over the next 2 months.
One funny Millar-fact – he hit his 1st major league home run at Wrigley Field – of the inside-the-park-variety – on May 24, 1999. Maybe we’ll see him hit a home run at Wrigley Field during the 2010 MLB schedule…
Posted on 27 January 2010 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs took a flyer on veteran infielder Chad Tracy, signing him to a minor league contract with a chance to compete for the Cubs Opening Day roster. If Tracy makes the MLB Cubs roster, he will earn $900,000 during the 2010 MLB season. He will also earn a $525,000 bonus if he reaches the 450 at-bat plateau.
Tracy has been hampered by injuries each of the last 3 major league baseball seasons. He has not played more than 100 games since the 2006 MLB schedule. In 2009, Tracy played in 98 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks, hitting .237 with just 8 HR’s and 39 RBI’s. His best season was the 2005 MLB campaign when he slugged 27 HR’s, scored 73 runs and drove in 72 runs. Tracy hit .305 with a .359 on-base percentage that season. Since then, however, he has not lived up to the expectations that he created with that big year.
Tracy does have a few positives – he can play both 1st base and 3rd base, so he could back up both Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez should either of them get hurt or if they need a day off here or there. Tracy is also a career 2.97 hitter against right-handed pitching, so he will give Micah Hoffpauir a run for his money as the Cubs left-handed hitting option off the bench. Hoffpauir started off the season as a productive role player for the Cubs in 2009, but his numbers tailed off dramatically as the season progressed – .239 batting average, .300 on-base percentage, 10 HR’s, 35 RBI’s, 28 runs scored in 234 at-bats in 105 games.
Seems like a wise move by GM Jim Hendry – yep, you heard me right – a wise move – for once. Hoffpauir clearly struggled down the stretch, so the Cubs realize his limitations. Tracy is a good, cheap player. Not having to play everyday could save him from the nagging injuries that he suffered as a starter. Unless he totally craps the bed during Spring Training, I see Tracy beating out Hoffpauir for the Cubs lefty role player heading into the 2010 MLB schedule. And at $900,000, that is a major bargain for someone of his caliber.