Tag Archive | "Koyie Hill"

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Ha-Ha-Ha – Definitely Saw This One Coming – Marmol Blows Game as Cubs Lose for 5th Straight Day This Week – Cubs 3, Braves 5 – 8/20/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 21 August 2010 by Lou

You could see this one coming from a mile away.  Ryan Dempster stymied the Braves all game long.  He gave up just 2 ER over his 8 stellar innings, scattering 4 hits and 2 walks during the process.  He struck out 7, but he labored through the 8th inning, upping his pitch count over the 100-pitch mark.  With a slim 1-run lead, it made sense to go to Closer Carlos Marmol to finish off the game.  3 walks later and a bases-clearing triple to Rick Ankiel with 2 outs in the 9th inning, and the Cubs had lost another frustrating game in 2010.  The loss was the “Major League Team Called the Cubs” 5th straight loss of the week – Monday through Friday – all at Wrigley Field.  It was the Cubs 8th straight loss at home dating back to the last homestand in which the Reds swept them in a weekend series in early August.  What is it going to take for this team to win on a consistent basis again?

The simple answer is “A LOT”.

The Cubs offense racked up 10 hits but once again, the team only scored 3 runs.  Aramis Ramirez had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s.  Kosuke Fukudome continued his hot hitting with 2 more hits in the lead-off role.  Koyie Hill even had 2 hits and an RBI tryuing to make up for his bonehead fielding play the day before.  But it wasn’t enough as the Cubs wasted way too many scoring chances all day long.

Derrek Lee made his 1st start for the Braves against his former team – must have been weird for him getting ready in the other locker room and donning a Braves uniform at the Friendly Confines.  The Cubs fans gave him a standing ovation during his 1st at-bat in the 1st inning.  He went 0 for 4 as Dempster and Marmol each struck him out once.

It’s up to Tom Gorzelanny to try to stop the bleeding today at Wrigley Field — good luck guy!

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Keep ‘Em Coming — Cubs Lose Again & Hill Looks Like a Fool – Cubs 3, Padres 5 – 8/19/10

Posted on 20 August 2010 by Lou

7 straight losses for the Cubs at Wrigley Field, including 4 in a row this week to the NL-West leading San Diego Padres.  The Padres really made it look easy this week against the “Major League Team called the Cubs”.  Not really sure what that means, but since the players that the Cubs trot out each day collectively play like a top notch high school team instead of a real major league team, I feel like we should put the “Cubs” name in quotes whenever we use it for the rest of this atrocious 2010 MLB schedule.

Carlos Zambrano still didn’t have the best control, but he did just enough in his 6 innings of work to give the Cubs a chance to win.  He limited the Padres to just 1 run over his 6 innings – 4 hits, 1 walk and 6 K’s.  The Cubs trailed 1-0 when his pitching day was done, but the Cubs took the lead in the bottom of the inning on RBI doubles from Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez. He could have gotten the win.

But then the wheels came off as Sean Marshall – the Cubs most consistent reliever all season long – ended up giving up 4 runs in the 7th inning as the Braves regained the lead for good at 5-2.  The inning took a turn for the worse when Koyie Hill made an embarrassing play to cap-off the Braves’ 4-run inning.  Will Venable’s 2-run single put the Braves up -2, but it was his heads-up base running that captured the moment.  When the Cubs and Koyie Hill caught Chase Headley in a run down between 3rd base and home plate.  Venable astutely ran over to 3rd base during the action.  Hill made an attempt to tag Venable at 3rd base after he tagged out Headley, but he never actually called time out.  Hill then went over to the mound to talk to reliever Justin Berg.  Since no one officially called time out, Venable darted home to score the 4th run of the inning.  His run really didn’t matter – whether the score was 4-2 or 5-2, the Cubs were still going to lose the game.  But it just goes to show how out-of-touch this Cubs team is with the concept of “baseball”.  I know that sounds weird, but there is something off with the players that GM Jim Hendry has assembled to play on the “Major League Team called the Cubs” (sorry, forgot use the ” ” a few times up there).  It’s almost as if they regressed and forgot how to play the game.  They continue to make mental mistakes, they continue to make physical fielding and running mistakes and they clearly lack the confidence to win ballgames on a consistent basis.  I’m not sure how it is even possible to spend over $140 million and not put together a winning team, but Hendry seems to have pulled off the impossible with the ludicrous deals and trades that he has made over the last 3-4 seasons. And not only are they NOT a WINNING team, they somehow managed to form one of the WORST teams in all of baseball this season.

Were there any positives from the game?  I guess.  Blake DeWitt had 2 more hits, but also struck out twice.  In fact, every Cubs starter struck out at least once during the game as the Padres racked up 12 K’s.  You also like to see the Cubs hang tough until Byrd and Ramirez drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the 6th inning with the game on the line.  Marcos Mateo and Andrew Cashner – both of whom I really criticized the other day for their ineffectiveness – each threw scoreless innings with 2 K’s apiece.  But other than that, there wasn’t too much to like about the Cubs as usual.

This just in – looks like we can call it 5 losses in a row this week at Wrigley Field.  After Ryan Dempster worked the Braves for just 2 runs over 8 great innings on a hot and humid day at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field today, closer Carlos Marmol quickly ruined that with an inning from hell.  3 walks to load the bases and then a bases-clearing triple to Rick Ankiel that changed a 3-2 Cubs lead to a 5-3 Cubs deficit.  Beautiful…

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Another 1-Run Loss for Cubs – No Team is Even Close to their 29 1-run Losses in 2010 – Cubs 7, Giants 8 – 8/12/10

Posted on 13 August 2010 by Lou

WOW – I was shocked to see how high the number of 1-run losses has climbed in 2010 for the Cubs.  After dropping the 8-7 finale to the Giants on Thursday’s get-away day (all 3 losses to the Giants in the series were by 1 run and this is your wild-card leader Cubs fans), the Cubs are now 13-29 in 1-run games.  That means that 42 of the Cubs 115 games played (48-67 record) in 2010 have been decided by 1 run or less.  That’s more than 1/3 of their games being decided by such a close margin.  It is unbelievable.  No other team has played as many 1-run games as the Cubs in 2010 and only 4 other teams in the entire major leagues have lost more than 20 1-run games in 2010 (Royals – 23; Mets – 22; Blue Jays – 22; & Mariners – 21).  When you factor in losses in games decided by 2 runs or loss (which I have not had the time to do), I’m sure the numbers get even more mind-boggling.  The Yankees (13-9) and Astros (10-12) have only played in 22 1-run games in all of 2010.  That’s 20 games less than the Cubs.  In the Yankees case, it means that they are crushing a lot of teams and in the Astros cases, it means that they were losing a ton of blowouts.  But for a team to lose 29 games decided by 1-run or less, it takes a lot.  It means you’re not sooooo awful that you are going to get blown out a lot,  but it also means that you don’t have what it takes to win on a consistent basis in the major leagues.  For the Cubs, it has largely been due to an inconsistent offense and having too many young players play and pitch throughout the entire regular season.

Randy Wells had another rough start after being staked to a 3-1 lead.  Wells gave himself a 2-run lead with an RBI double in the top of the 4th inning, but being on base too long may have cost him.  In the bottom of the frame, he served up solo home runs to Pat Burrell and Pablo Sandoval.  Then in the bottom of the 5th inning, he served up a Grand Slam to Burrell.  Just like that, a 3-1 Cubs lead turned into a 7-3 Cubs deficit.

You have to give this Cubs team a little credit, however.  A Kosuke Fukudome double scored Starlin Castro in the 7th inning.  Then in the 8th inning, the Cubs rallied to tie the game on

Castro finished the day with 4 hits, 1 RBI and 2 runs scored.  He is now hitting .320 on the season, surpassing Marlon Byrd as the Cubs best hitter.  Fukudome has started to look better as well (after his typical midsummer swoon) racking up 5 hits in his last 11 at-bats.  His .262 batting average is pretty bad for a $12 million man, but you have to like his .370 on-base percentage (45 walks and 51 K’s in 252 at-bats).

The Cubs weren’t able to dash any of the hopes of the Giants for the playoffs push, but let’s hope the Cubs can do some damage to the Cards in St. Louis this weekend.  The Cards hold a 1-game edge over the Reds in the NL Central race after their sweep in Cincinnati this week, so the Cubs can do some damage by winning the series.  They get Jake Westbrook tonight, Chris Carpenter on Saturday and Jaime Garcia on Sunday.  The key is tonight – if they can find a way to pick up a win in the 1st game of the series against the mediocre Westbrook, they could end up stealing the series from the Cards with Big Z and Ryan Dempster on the hill on Saturday and Sunday.  Whatever happens, it should be an interesting series in St. Louis.

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Cubs Fun Fact of the Day — Cubs Defense Getting Better

Posted on 20 May 2010 by Lou

A week ago, the Chicago Cubs had committed at least 1 error in 7 straight games.  Since last Friday’s loss against the Pirates at Wrigley Field, however, the Cubs have committed just 1 total error in those 7 games.  That is a major improvement for a club that has already committed 32 errors on the season – good for a .979 fielding percentage.

The one glaring problem, Starlin Castro is 2nd on the team in errors with 5, just 1 behind 3rd baseman Aramis Ramirez.  Castro was supposed to provide stellar defense for the middle of the Cubs defense, but so far, it has been a bit suspect.  Sure 3 of those errors came in his 1st game in front of the home town fans at Wrigley Field, but we need him to remember about the routine plays and not just the spectacular ones.  Hopefully as he gets more comfortable in his new surroundings at the major league level we’ll see more consistency in his defense.

Kudos to Ryan Theriot who hasn’t skipped a beat despite moving over to 2nd base to make room for Castro at shortstop.  Theriot has just 3 errors in 153 chances good for a .980 fielding percentage.

Derrek Lee is having another solid year – just 1 error in 335 chances, good for a .997 fielding percentage.

Lastly, let’s hear it for catchers Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill – not one single error during the 1st 42 games of the season – pretty damn impressive.

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Carlos Marmol Already Looking Great During Spring Training

Posted on 01 March 2010 by Lou

Cubs Closer Carlos Marmol is already looking sharp during this throwing sessions this spring.  That has got to be good news for Cubs Manager Lou Pinella and the rest of the Cubs pitching staff.  Pinella had this to say about Marmol’s status: “Marmol’s throwing the ball so easy and is so far ahead of where he was last spring.  He’s confident and is working himself into shape.”

Koyie Hill caught Marmol for part of his batting practice session and he echoed Pinella’s sentiments: “Marmol looked very sharp today with his control, breaking ball.  We’re going to need him, too.  He’s another one who takes a lot of pride and works very hard in what he does.  It’s not by accident.  It’s not just because he’s gifted and has a lot of ability, it’s because he works his tail off.  You can tell.”

Starlin Castro – perhaps the Cubs shortstop of the future – even took a few swings off of Marmol.  He stayed his ground on a slider that didn’t break and got plunked in the middle of the back.  Pinella was impressed with Castro’s batting – “He didn’t leave — he stood there, to his credit.”  Aramis Ramirez decided to skip Marmol’s batting practice session.  Ramirez only likes to take BP from coaches during live batting practices or in the cages.  So he avoided having to face the nasty Marmol.

That is great news for Cubs fans.  If Marmol can pick up where he left off in 2009, he could see a 30+ save-year for Marmol in 2010.  And if that happens, that would probably mean good things for the Cubs overall record in 2010.

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Catcher Geovany Soto Drops 40 Pounds – Seriously!

Posted on 22 January 2010 by Lou

Geovany Soto has dropped 40 pounds so far this off-season and has become a new man.  Manager Lou Pinella and the Cubs instructed Soto to lose “some weight” this off-season, but when they saw him at this past weekend’s Cubs Convention, they were shocked out how quickly and how much weight Soto really dropped.  Soto took it to heart.  He adjusted his diet (mainly chicken, fish and vegetables) and worked out with a personal trainer in Puerto Rico.  The results are astounding and Soto is feeling like he is ready to go even though it’s only January.

Soto had this to say about the “new” Soto: “It’s weird, I feel like a 12-year-old.  I have a lot of energy, I’m wired all say… I’m active all day.  I used to be sluggish, I’d want to take a nap.  Now, I feel great.  I want to push myself in the best position to help the club.  The better I feel, if I’m agile back there, it will give me the best opportunity to not get hurt.  I want to be there for my teammates… I’m not thinking about me, I’m thinking about us as a team.”

2009 was clearly a disappointing season for Soto.  In 2008, Soto was named the National League Rookie of the Year and he was the NL’s starting catcher in the All-Star Game.  Soto hit .285 with a .364 on-base percentage and he had 86 RBI’s, 23 HR’s and 35 doubles.  In 2009, Soto battled injuries and a World Baseball Classic positive drug testing, and his poor numbers showed that he was not in the best shape.  Soto played in just 102 games (down from 141 the year before), hitting a paltry .218 with a .321 on-base percentage.  Soto hit only 11 home runs and drove in 47 runs.  Not good.

It’s great to see that Soto took some responsibility for his lack of discipline in 2009.  Some players would have continued to lay blame elsewhere, but it’s clear that Soto realized that he let his teammates down and that he wanted to make amends.  Koyie Hill will still serve as the Cubs backup behind the plate, but it looks like Soto should be able to return to his 2008 form.  The Cubs need him big time.  If he can take a little pressure off of Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and newcomer Marlon Byrd with improved offensive output, the lineup could be formidable from top to bottom again.  The Wrigley Field faithful and Cubs fans across the country will also be thrilled with the improved play and dedication from their starting catcher.  Go Cubs!

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Cubs Agree to 1-Year Deals with 5 Players; Theriot, Marmol & Marshall Still to Come

Posted on 19 January 2010 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs have agreed to 1-year deals with 5 players – infielders Mike Fontenot and Jeff Baker; catcher Koyie Hill; and pitchers Angel Guzman and Tom Gorzelanny.  Each player was in his first year of being arbitration eligible.

Fontenot signed a $1 million deal for 2010.  After a great 2008 in which he hit over .300, Fontenot came back down to earth in 2009, hitting just .236 in 135 games played.

Baker signed a $975,000 deal for 2010.  The Cubs acquired Baker from the Colorado Rockies in July and he hit over .300 in 69 games for the north siders.  Baker and Fontenot will be competing for the starting 2nd baseman job in Spring Training in Mesa, Arizona.  If neither stands out, Manager Lou Pinella could implement a platoon.

Catcher Koyie Hill signed a $700,000 deal to be the Cubs backup catcher behind Geovany Soto in 2010.  While Soto was injured in 2009, Hill made 26 consecutive starts from July 7th through August 5th.  Hill only batted .237 but he handled the pitching staff very well.

The Cubs acquired Tom Gorzelanny from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a deal that also brought over John Grabow.  The Cubs and Gorzelanny agreed upon an $800,000 deal for 2010.  Gorzelanny appeared in 13 games for the Cubs, going 4-2 with a 5.63 ERA.  Gorzelanny actually fared better in relief, holding opponents to just a .192 batting average during those 6 appearances.

Angel Guzman signed an $825,000 deal after arguably his best season as a Cubs reliever.  Guzman appeared in 55 games posting a 2.95 ERA (2.03 ERA at home at Wrigley Field).  He held opponents scoreless in 40 of his 55 appearances, including 34 of his last 42 games.  Assuming Guzman can stay healthy, he will play a pivotal role in the Cubs bullpen during the 2010 MLB schedule.

The final 3 Cubs players who are arbitration eligible will make a huge impact on the success of the 2010 squad.

Carlos Marmol will be the Cubs opening day closer.  Marmol made $575,000 in 2009 and he will become a free agent in 2013.  Marmol took over the closer’s role from Kevin Gregg at the end of the season and provided a stable force at the back end of the ‘pen.  Marmol ended up saving 15 games, while holding 27 games in 79 appearances.  His 65 walks in 74 innings, however, is still a major concern.

Ryan Theriot will be the Cubs opening day shortstop and will likely lead off for the Cubs.  Theriot made $500,000 in 2009.  Theriot hit .284 with a .343 on-base percentage in 154 games for the Cubs.  His games played, at-bats (602), triples (5), home runs (7) and RBI’s (54) were all career highs.

Sean Marshall will either be in the starting rotation on opening day or serve a vital role in the Cubs bullpen as a lefty reliever.  Marshall made $450,000 in 2009 and will be a free agent in 2013.  Marshall can start and come out of the bullpen, so his versatility is invaluable.

GM Hendry still has his work cut out for him.  Let’s hope he can ink smart deals with Marmol, Theriot and Marshall soon.

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2010 Questions – Which Geovany Soto Will Appear @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 05 January 2010 by Lou

chicago cubs geovany soto1001

The Chicago Cubs have major question marks going into the 2010 MLB schedule.  One of the biggest is which Geovany Soto will Cubs fans see day in and day out in 2010?

Look at the drastic differences in numbers between 2008 and 2009:

2008 – 141 games, 494 at-bats, .285 batting average, .364 on-base percentage, 23 HR’s, 86 RBI’s 66 runs scored.  Soto was the starting Catcher for the National League in the 2008 All-Star Game and he was named the National League Rookie of the Year.

2009 – 102 games, 331 at-bats, .218 batting average, .321 on-base percentage, 11 HR’s, 47 RBI’s 27 runs scored.

The positive drug testing at the World Baseball Classic in March 2009 and being out-of-shape in spring training supposedly led to injuries that he could not overcome during the season.  Soto did lower his strike out numbers from 121 in 2008 to only 77 in 2009, but he has to show that he will be durable in 2009 if the Cubs can consider him a long-term solution behind the plate.

Word out of Puerto Rico is that Soto’s workouts are going great.  Hopefully Soto realized what a complete failure he was in 2009 and he will dedicate this off-season to returning to the upper echelon of catchers in the National League in 2010.  It will be nice to see Soto show up in solid shape in February in Arizona and have him be better prepared to lead this Cubs pitching staff through the long MLB season.  We’ll keep you posted if we hear anymore updates on Soto over the next few weeks…

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Cubs Tender Contracts to All But Neal Cotts

Posted on 14 December 2009 by Lou

Brewers Cubs Baseball

The Chicago Cubs tendered contracts to all of their arbitration-eligible players except for Neal Cotts.  As we previously reported, the Cubs expect to bring Cotts back anyway as the 2 sides will work out a deal in the interim.

Carlos Marmol and Ryan Theriot were 2 of the players to be tendered contracts and the 2 players who will likely receive the biggest raises.

GM Jim Hendry will continue to negotiate with each player so as to avoid an arbitration hearing with any player.  The Cubs have not been involved in an arbitration hearing since 1993 when they won a case with Mark Grace.  We’ll keep you posted as soon as the Cubs announce any agreed upon contracts.

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Cubs Plan to Offer Contracts to all Arbitration Eligible Players

Posted on 11 December 2009 by Lou

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The Chicago Cubs are expected to tender contracts to all but one of their arbitration-eligible players.  The lone exception is Neal Cotts whom they plan on re-signing anyway.  Cotts missed a good chunk of the 2009 MLB schedule following Tommy John surgery on his left throwing elbow at the beginning of July.  He and his family moved to Arizona so that he could begin his rehab work in earnest.

The players that the Cubs will offer contracts to include – - 2nd base men Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot; shortstop Ryan Theriot; catcher Koyie Hill; and pitchers Carlos Marmol, Angel Guzman, Tom Gorzelanny and Sean Marshall.

The Cubs have not gone to arbitration with a player since they won a case against Mark Grace back in 1993.

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