Posted on 23 April 2011 by Lou
It was not the way the Cubs wanted to start the series with the Dodgers – an embarrassing 12-2 loss to a team that had been struggling to score runs. Boy is this going to be another fun season!
The Cubs pitching was simply awful.
Casey Coleman worked out of trouble during the 1st two innings before finally getting touched for 6 ER while retiring just 2 batters in a 6-run 3rd inning. Coleman’s line is a joke – 2 2/3 innings, 6 hits, 6 ER, 4 walks and a whopping 90 pitches!
Jeff Stevens line was not much better although he did allow just 1 hit in his 3 1/3 innings. Stevens allowed 3 ER on the 1 hit and 6 walks and he tossed a whopping 89 pitches! He really took one for the team which has major pitching issues with the recent injuries to Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner. Never thought I would see the day when 179 pitches from just 2 pitchers would only get you through 6 lousy innings.
John Grabow was the lone bright spot – 2 scoreless innings with 2 K’s – before Marcos Mateo had another disastrous outing. Mateo gave up 6 hits in the 9th inning as the Dodgers added 3 “insurance” runs to pad the lead.
Ugly, ugly, ugly.
Kosuke Fukudome was the lone hitting star for the Cubs – he had 3 hits in the lead-off spot. Starlin Castro is still stuck in a “mini-slump”. Castro has just 3 hits in his last 4 games, a streak spanning 17 at-bats. But he is still hitting .369 on the season.
Let’s hope Ryan Dempster fares better today against the Dodgers and can get at least into the 7th inning when he can had it off to Kerry Wood or Sean Marshall or Carlos Marmol to close the door in a Cubs win…
Posted on 21 April 2011 by Lou
After Reed Johnson’s dramatic walk-off home run to left field propelled the Cubs to a 2-1 win of the opener, there was hope that the Cubs would be able to pull off the sweep. But it wasn’t meant to be as the Padres exploded for 3 home runs against James Russell in the game’s first 5 innings to rush out to a 4-0 lead. The Cubs cut the lead to 4-2 on an RBI double from Reed Johnson and an RBI single by Darwin Barney in the bottom of the 5th inning and then again to 5-4 on Alfonso Soriano’s 2-run home run to deep left center field in the bottom of the 8th inning, but they didn’t have another rally left in the tank in the 9th.
After his heroics in the 1st game, Johnson made the most of his start in Game 2. Johnson had 3 hits and an RBI, but was thrown out at 3rd base in the 5th inning on an overly aggressive base-running blunder that probably cost the Cubs a much-needed run. After he was thrown out for the 2nd out in the inning, the Cubs started a 2-out rally with consecutive singles by Jeff Baker, Kosuke Fukudome and Barney. If Johnson had been on base, who knows what would have happened with only 1 out and those 3 singles… Fukudome hit lead-off and had 2 hits in 5 at-bats. Barney had 2 hits as well and Starlin Castro went 1 for 4 as the team’s 3rd hitter in the lineup. Castro had a rough day at the plate in the double-header – 1 for 9 with 5 runners left on base.
With the split, the Cubs were tied for 1st place in the NL Central with 3 other teams – the Brewers, Reds and Cards – all with 9-9 records…
Posted on 24 February 2011 by Lou
Manager Mike Quade is sure that Aramis Ramirez will bat 4th in the Cubs lineup each and every day. The rest of the lineup is not so clear. “I see him as such a good RBI guy that it makes sense in the four-hole. He’s a guy who, as much as mizing and matching that I do, he doesn’t figure to be one of the guys I’ll mix and match with. Some guys don’t care [where they are in the lineup], and I know he does. He seems like the four-hole to me because I want him driving in runs. But I’m a grownup and I reserve the right to change my mind.”
Quade has indicated that Starlin Castro will likely hit in the 2-spot. Quade has hinted that Castro could some day be a lead-off hitter, but he doesn’t want to put too much pressure on the youngster, especially in his 2nd year which can often lead to a “sophomore slump.” Quade likes Kosuke Fukudome in the lead-off spot for some reason. He likes the fact that Fukudome makes pitchers throw a lot of pitches, but I think he is just way too inconsistent. He may have a good few weeks or so, but then he has the capability of disappearing for weeks at a time.
It should be interesting as spring progresses. Let’s hope someone emerges to claim that 3rd spot in the lineup. Marlon Byrd seems like the best fit because Carlos Pena and Alfonso Soriano strike out way too much there. But if a guy like Blake DeWitt emerges with a good spring, could we see Quade got with Fukudome, DeWitt and Castro in the top 3 spots? We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything concrete out of Mesa…
Posted on 18 February 2011 by Lou
Blake DeWitt is the clear favorite to win the 2nd base job coming out of spring training 2011. The bigger question is whether DeWitt will show enough to warrant consideration for the lead-off spot as well. In 53 games for the Cubs after a mid-season trade in 2010, DeWitt hit .250 with a .314 on-base percentage. His career numbers are a little bit better – .259 and .335. DeWitt re-worked his swing this winter, working with Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo on his heralded hitting system. The system involves a 5-point program that focuses on 5 elements of body positioning and thinking about how you apprach each at-bat. DeWitt is getting the hang of it and is excited for live game action – “His system is something I enjoy. I’ve been able to implement that, and it’s really not that complicated if you stick with it.” DeWitt is only 25 years old so he still has a lot of upside potential.
While DeWitt could hit lead-off, he will likely hit down in the order – 7 or 8. He may also spend time on the bench against left-handed pitchers according to Manager Mike Quade. Quade likes to play the match-ups and Jeff Baker is a solid platoon option. Baker hit .350 against lefties in 2010 and had good overall numbers in 79 games – .272 batting average and .326 on-base percentage. While we might see Baker or DeWitt at the top of the order from time to time, Quade has hinted that he will likely go with right fielder Kosuke Fukudome to lead-off against righties. With a lefty on the bump, Quade hasn’t tipped his hand yet, but we could see Starlin Castro, Alfonso Soriano or Baker there depending on the pitcher.
Players reported to Cubs camp today, so we’ll keep you posted as things progress…
DeWitt will likely spend
Posted on 17 February 2011 by Lou
Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals failed to agree on a long-term deal before the start of spring training this week. Pujols gave the Cardinals brass a hard Wednesday deadline, and that came and went without a new agreement for perhaps the best 1st baseman of all time. Pujols said that he does not want any distractions for his team going-forward, so he and his camp will not entertain further discussions with the Cardinals during the course of the season. Those in the know speculate that Pujols wants a deal similar to the deal that Alex Rodriguez signed with the New York Yankees a few years ago – 10-years, $275 million. The Cardinals have all-but-said that they can’t meet that contract, so does it mean that Pujols will become a free agent at the end of the season?
I find it really hard to believe that Pujols will end up leaving St. Louis, but I guess anything is possible. At 31 years old, this is his final hoorah and his 1st time testing the free agent market, so it would not surprise me to see Pujols entertain offers in November. But if the Cardinals get somewhat close to the highest offer that Pujols receives, you would think that the guy decides to play it “safe” and finish his career with the Cardinals.
That being said, the Cubs better make an attempt to lure Pujols to Chicago despite the fact that they continue to try to shed payroll. With the Carlos Silva, Kosuke Fukudome and Aramis Ramirez contracts coming off the books after the season, the Ricketts family will have money to “play with” – about $38 million. They could easily allocate a good chunk of that to Pujols and still have some more money to sign another free agent or two. That all assumes that young stars like Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin and Blake DeWitt continue to develop and mature during the course of the 2011 MLB season.
We’ll be following the whole Pujols story very closely this year and we’ll keep you posted as soon as anything breaks…
Posted on 30 November 2010 by Lou
Driving by Wrigley Field this morning, I saw the ice rink construction already underway. What went through my mind – disgust, frustration, anger? Pretty much all of the above. We continue to hear how the Ricketts Family needs the city and state to help fund the renovation of Wrigley Field to keep baseball on the north side. We also see the Ricketts family raking in thousands of dollars with the Northwestern-Illinois Allstate Wrigleyville Classic 2 weeks ago. Now we’re seeing another money-maker grace the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field with the ice skating rink going up. At the same time, we continue to hear how the Cubs need to slash payroll and keep the total salary more in the $130-135 million range instead of the $140-145 million range. Gimme a freaking break. This is turning into the Chicago Tribune all over again in just one year of ownership by the Ricketts Family. Now I know that GM Jim Hendry has screwed the Ricketts with several bad contracts (Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Milton Bradley-Carlos Silva, Kosuke Fukudome), but at this point, what’s another $10 million? That extra $10 million could be used to land the likes of an Adam Dunn instead who would man 1st base for the next 3 years and slug around 40 home runs out onto Sheffield or Waveland each season. Instead we’re going to end up with a Xavier Nady-Tyler Colvin-??? platoon. This is a complete joke.
The Ricketts Family better right this ship soon, or we’re going to see even more people trying to hawk their tickets on the streets of Clark and Addison for pennies on the dollar in 2011 and beyond. I wonder how many “Holiday Pax” the Cubs actually sold in the last 2 weeks. My guess is that I can count the number on one hand…
Posted on 22 October 2010 by Lou
ESPN Radio 1000’s Waddle & Silvy show has had some great guests this week. Mike Quade – the new Cubs Manager; Ryne Sandberg – the Hall of Famer Cubs legend who Quade beat out; and on Thursday, Cubs GM Jim Hendry. When asked the most exciting question about why Hendry didn’t go after another big name manager or wait for Joe Girardi to finish up his managerial duties with the New York Yankees who are still battling te Texas Rangers in the ALCS, Hendry had a simple and boring answer. Hendry simply said — “At the end of the day, it wouldn’t have mattered. Mike Quade was our guy. Mike Quade was the guy we felt deserved the job… The respect he’s earned over the years, even though he wasn’t a household name, and the things he did in that clubhouse behind the scenes that translated into a great effort on the field and the respect our players have given him, I thought was quite admirable.”
WOW – you would rather have Quade than a major league manager that has been successful with 2 different organizations and is coming off of a World Series Championship on the game’s biggest stage with the Yankees in New York?
Unbelievable. That answer just confirms my belief that Hendry has done his time here in Chicago and should be let go as soon as possible so that this organization can get back to its winning ways.
Now I know that Hendry couldn’t say that “we didn’t think we had a shot in hell of landing Girardi” or “the Ricketts Family was too cheap to go after a big name manager when they still owe me, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Kosuke Fukudome a boat load of money to be sub-par employees of the Cubs organization”, but I would have liked something more than he gave us. Oh well. It’s clear Hendry knows he is on his way out. He has 2 years left on his deal and Quade’s deal was a 2-year gig. My bet is still on Hendry and Quade both being replaced by the end of the 2012 MLB season. Then maybe we’ll see Ryne Sandberg or Girardi managing the Cubs with a clean slate and plenty of payroll to bring in some quality players with fair and realistic contracts – something we haven’t seen in 4 years under the Hendry regime…
Posted on 18 October 2010 by Lou
Tyler Colvin’s stellar 2010 campaign abruptly ended when he suffered a chest laceration and collapsed lung courtesy of a splintered bat at the end of September. Colvin’s recovery has been smooth and he is getting ready for his wedding and honeymoon in November. He does not expect any setbacks when he begins “Colvin Camp” after his return from his honeymoon – strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss will lead the camp in Mesa, Arizona once again. The Cubs have no plans to make Colvin play winter ball given his productive season and the need for him to continue building strength after his freak injury.
When Manager Lou Pinella finally gave Tyler Colvin the opportunity to play just about every day, he truly blossomed as a player. A late season slump hurt his overall numbers, but you can’t complain with the rookie’s final 2010 numbers — 135 games, 358 at-bats, .254 batting average, .316 on-base percentage, 20 HR’s, 5 triples, 56 RBI’s and 60 runs scored. He’ll have to work on his eye during the winter and in Spring Training 2011 so that he can improve that on-base percentage which is a little low – 3.16 because of 30 walks and a hefty 100 K’s. Colvin just turned 25 in September, however, so he still has plenty of time to continue to mature and grow and get more and more comfortable at the plate each and every season. You also have to love the 6 steals in 7 attempts – it gives a glimpse of what is possible once he irons out the art of hitting.
Let’s hope GM Jim Hendry can find a way to move either Kosuke Fukudome or Alfonso Soriano at some point during the off-season. Fukudome will be the easier one to move because he only has 1 year left on his contract, but the Cubs will likely have to eat a good chunk of either player’s salary in any trade. The Cubs will need Colvin to get at least 500 at-bats playing the outfield everyday if they expect for him to continue his development at the major league level at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.
Posted on 30 September 2010 by Lou
Runs have been tough to come by for both teams in this week’s series against the Padres in San Diego. The Padres won 3-0 on Wednesday night after dropping the 1st 2 games of the series to the Cubs by the scores of 1-0 and 5-2.
Randy Wells pitched well in his last start of 2010, but he was denied his 3rd straight win. Wells gave up 3 ER on 6 hits and 4 walks in 7 innings. He struck out 2 batters. Overall, Wells finished with an 8-14 record, with a 1.40 WHIP and 4.26 ERA.
Chris Young and 4 Padres relievers limited the Cubs to just 4 hits and 2 walks on the night. Kosuke Fukudome and Starlin Castro each reached base to start the 1st inning and even stole 2nd and 3rd to set up an excellent no-out scoring chance right off the bat. But Marlon Byrd grounded our to 3rd base and Young was able to strike out Aramis Ramirez and Xavier Nady to thwart the scoring threat. Not good. After that, Koyie Hill had the only extra base hit for the Cubs – a double in the 2nd inning – and Byrd singled in the 3rd. But the Cubs never had 2 runners on base the rest of the way as they were shut out in San Diego.
Despite the loss, Ryan Dempster and several other Cubs players keep praising the work of Mike Quade and hope that the interim manager remains the Cubs manager in 2011.
Tom Gorzelanny makes his final start of 2010 in the finale against the Padres this afternoon.
Posted on 23 September 2010 by Lou
Randy Wells and Jonathan Sanchez engaged in another great pitcher’s duel Wednesday night @ Wrigley Field. This time the Cubs won 2-0.
Randy Wells worked 7 2/3 scoreless innings, scattering 6 hits and 1 walk in the outing. He struck out 6 batters and won his 8th game of the season. Carlos Marmol bailed out Wells in the 8th. After Wells recorded the 1st 2 outs of the inning, Wells gave up a walk and a double with 2 outs. Manager Mike Quade called upon Marmol to get the job done over 2 innings. Marmol struck out F Sanchez to end the threat in the 8th inning and preserve the 2-0 lead. In the 9th, despite a 2-out walk to Pat Burrell which brought Jose Guillen to the plate as the tying run, Marmol managed to strike out Guillen to end the game. Marmol faced 5 Giants hitters in his outing and never let the ball be put into play – 4 K’s and 1 walk. Marmol picked up his 34th save and
The Cubs offense managed just 5 hits, but they did just enough to earn the win. Kosuke Fukudome’s solo home run gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the 3rd inning. Koyie Hill doubled in the 5th inning and went to 3rd base on a wild pitch. When Buster Posey’s errant throw eluded the 3rd baseman, Hill raced home with the 2nd run of the game. It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.
Now the Cubs have a chance to win the series against the Giants. Ryan Dempster is looking for his 15th win, but he will have to 21-year old stud Madison Bumgarner who is making just his 17th start of the season.