Tag Archive | "Marlon Byrd"

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Bryan LaHair — Cubs Dark Horse Option at 1st Base? – Wrigley Field 11/26/10

Posted on 26 November 2010 by Lou

Could Bryan LaHair be the Cubs dark horse option to take over the starting 1st baseman role for the 2011 MLB schedule?  LaHair racked up some pretty sweet numbers at Triple-A during the 2010 campaign.  He hit .308 with 25 home runs and 81 RBI’s. He also had 30 doubles and he is a left-handed hitter.  At 28 years of age, he has bounced around a little bit, but was the Mariners 39th round pick back in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.  He signed with the Cubs in December 2009 and just signed another minor league contract to stay with the Cubs through 2011.  The Cubs expect LaHair to get plenty of playing time at 1st base this spring and if he continues to rake like he did last year, he could end up on the Cubs major league roster on opening day.  It would be a great story and I would love that left-handed power bat in the middle of the Cubs lineup with Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez…

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Marlon Byrd Rooting for Former Texas Rangers Teammates in World Series 2010

Posted on 30 October 2010 by Lou

Marlon Byrd isn’t hiding who he is rooting for – he wants his former Texas Rangers teammates to get that World Series win.

He doesn’t feel bad about helping the National League get the home field advantage during the 2010 Summer Classic All-Star Game.  But now he wants them to in — “It’s tough watching them lose.  It’s a lot easier watching them win, like they’ve been doing.”

We’ll keep you posted as the World Series continues.

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Could Adam Dunn End Up Manning 1st Base on the North Side in 2011? – Adam Dunn @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 08 October 2010 by Lou

Could Adam Dunn end up on the north side playing 1st base for the Cubs at Wrigley Field?  One Cubs player – starter Carlos Zambrano – clearly thinks that it could happen.  Zambrano had this to say about the Cubs going after Dunn this off-season: “I want that guy.  He wants to play for us, not only this year but two years ago.  He told me he wants to play at Wrigley Field badly.”

Dunn had another good year for the lowly Nationals in 2010.  Dunn  hit 38 home runs with 103 RBI’s, while racking up 145 hits in 558 at-bats.  He had an outstanding .356 on-base percentage despite striking out 199 times and walking only 77 times.  To put it in perspective, in 2010, Aramis Ramirez led the Cubs with 25 HR’s and 83 RBI’s on one of the worst offense in baseball.

Dunn had 2 productive seasons with the Nationals (in 2009, he had a .367 batting average with a .398 on-base percentage; 38 HR’s, 105 RBI’s, 116 walks and 177 strikeouts), but will once again be a free agent this off-season.  He turns 31 in November, so you worry about age a little bit, but his drop off from 2009 to 2010 was more in the number of walks/strikeouts and not his offensive output.  With the departure of Derrek Lee, Dunn would be a solid addition to the Cubs both defensively and offensively.  When Dunn was a free agent back at the start of 2009, the Cubs had long-term deals with Lee at 1st base and Alfonso Soriano in left field and Kosuke Fukudome in right field, so there really wasn’t a position for Dunn with the Cubs.  Things have changed since then.  Lee is no longer with the ball club.  And while there has been some discussion that the Cubs could move Tyler Colvin to 1st base to play everyday, Dunn would make a much better defensive option than Colvin.  If the Cubs did bring in Dunn, then they would have to find a position for Tyler Colvin to play everyday.  That means finding a team to take on the final year of Fukudome’s contract worth about $12 million.  The Cubs would certainly be willing to eat a portion of that in order to make a deal happen.  If they could somehow move Fukudome in the off-season and make a play for Dunn, that would be a significant lineup upgrade for the Cubs.  You would have 2 lefties in there on a daily basis (Dunn and Colvin) and that would provide great protection for the likes of Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano in the middle of the lineup.  I guess it is a bit of a pipe dream, but you have to consider these types of moves if you want to make a bigger splash during the regular season in the National League in 2011.

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Runs Tough to Come by in San Diego — Cubs 0, Padres 3 – 9/29/10

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.

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Dempster, Soriano Pave Way for 2nd Win over Padres in San Diego – Cubs 5, Padres 2- 9/28/10

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Lou

Ryan Dempster finally picked up win #15 with a solid 7-inning effort in Tuesday night’s 5-2 win over the Padres. Dempster scattered 4 hits and 2 walks over his outing, while striking out 9 batters.  His only mistake was a 2-run home run to Nick Hundley that tied the game at 2 in the 5th inning.  Dempster is now 15-11 with a nifty 1.31 WHIP and a nice 3.83 ERA.

Andrew Cashner pitched a perfect 8th inning with 1 K to pick up his 15th hold of the season.

Carlos Marmol tossed a scoreless 9th inning (1 walk, 1 K) and increased his season-best saves number to 36.  You have to love his 1.22 WHIP and amazing 2.62 ERA.

Alfonso Soriano broke the 2-2 tie with a 2-run blast in the 6th inning.  His solo shot in 8th extended the Cubs lead to 3-2.  Marlon Byrd had 2 hits and walks.  Starlin Castro had 2 hits to get his batting average back up over .300, but he also struck out 3 times.

Randy Wells and the Cubs look to send the Padres to their 4th straight loss and even further out of the NL Wild Card race.  Wells is looking to finish the season strong in his last start of 2010.  Wells has won 2 starts in a row, but is just 8-13 overall.

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The Carlos Zambrano Train Keeps on Chugging Along – Cubs 1, Padres 0 – 9/27/10

Posted on 28 September 2010 by Lou

The Carlos Zambrano train keeps on chugging along.  Big Z tossed 7 scoreless innings giving up just 3 hits and 4 walks along the way.  He also had 5 K’s.  It was his 7th win in 10 starts since returning to the starting rotation back in early August and it was his 10th win overall in 2010.  At this point, it would be a huge shock if the Cubs try to move Zambrano this off-season.  Without a clear #1 starter, Zambrano has started to convince people that he is still worthy of the 5-year, $80+ million deal he signed a little over 2 years ago.

Sean Marshall pitched a perfect 8th inning with 2 K’s to preserve the 1-0 lead.

Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the 9th inning but picked up his 35th save of the season.  After recording 2 strikeouts to start the inning, he loaded the bases with a single, hit batsman and walk.  But he got out of the jam by getting Nick Hundley to fly out to right field.

Blake DeWitt had 3 hits in the win and he drove in the lone Cubs run with a single in the 7th inning after Alfonso Soriano doubled with 2 outs.  Marlon Byrd also had 3 hits for the Cubs.

The Cubs continue to play spoiler as the win knocked the Padres out of the NL Wild Card lead.

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Zambrano – Cain Duel to a Draw @ Wrigley Field — Cubs 0, Giants 1 — 9/21/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 22 September 2010 by Lou

Carlos Zambrano and Matt Cain lived up to the hype in Tuesday night’s 1-0 win by the Giants at Wrigley Field.  Each Pitcher tossed 6 scoreless innings and left with the game tied at 0.  The lone run came through on 23-year old Buster Posey’s solo home run in the 8th inning.

Carlos Zambrano looked good again although his control was a bit of an issue.  He needed 116 pitches to get through the 6 innings because he walked 5 batters.  In contrast, Cain needed just 82 pitches  (2 hits and 1 walk).  Zambrano only gave up 3 hits and he lowered his ERA to 3.56.  He has now made 9 straight starts without a loss since rejoining the starting rotation in early August and he is slowly proving that he can pitch consistently at the major league level once again.

Andrew Cashner had put together a nice little stretch of 6 straight appearances without giving up a run, but he served up Posey’s game winning shot in the 8th inning last night.  In the process, he suffered his 6th loss of the season.  Cashner still has a bloated WHIP and ERA, but he has pretty good stuff.  The just-turned 24-year old is getting some amazing experience this season, so look for him to improve in 2011 as he learns and develops this off-season.

Blake DeWitt and Kosuke Fukudome got the only 2 Cubs hits in the 1-0 loss.  Starlin Castro reached base twice – a a walk and a hit by pitch.  The Giants bullpen was downright nasty after Cain left.  3 relievers set down the final 9 Cubs hitters in a row with 2 K’s.  Not good.  DeWitt’s batting average has plummeted to .257; Castro’s to .305 and Marlon Byrd’s to .294.  Speaking of Byrd, how cool was it when he signed autographs on top of the Cubs dugout during the rain delay before the game started – check out the photo below?!

By the way, Posey is a total stud for the Giants.  Since being called up on May 29th, Posey has hit .324 (with a .373 on-base percentage with 26 walks and 53 strikeouts), with 15 HR’s, 62 RBI’s and 52 runs scored.  On a team that lacks any offensive prowess, Posey fits in perfectly as the club’s clean-up hitter.

Game 2 of the series features Randy Wells against Jonathan Sanchez.

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Quade Makes Statement with Castro Benching; Can Cubs Avoid 90-loss Season? – Cubs 5, Astros 4 – 9/6/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 07 September 2010 by Lou

Mike Quade certainly has control of his ball club even though he is just the Cubs “interim manager”.  Quade made a major statement when he posted the Cubs lineup for Monday afternoon’s game against the Houston Astros.  Starlin Castro’s name was no where to be found in the lineup as he was serving a “1-game penalty” for making a mental mistake in the Cubs 18-5 loss to the Mets on Sunday.  With his team getting hammered in the bottom of the 8th inning, Castro thought there were 2 outs in the inning rather than just 1.  When Castro did not fully run out a groundball, it turned into an inning-ending double play.  Quade wanted to make a statement that everyone needs to stay in the game – regardless of the score and regardless of whether you are a star player or a bench player.  Everyone is accountable for their actions and everyone will take responsibility for their actions.  Castro understand what he did and we expect Castro to be back in Quade’s lineup tonight.  This was a great statement by Quade and it’s great to see how the players have responded to Quade and the respect that they have for Quade.  Quade certainly won’t be the Cubs manager in 2011, but the new manager should certainly keep Quade on his staff because of his experience and knowledge of the game.

As for the game action, it was a satisfying win despite some flaws.

Casey Coleman labored through 6 innings without his best stuff, but he gutted it for 6 innings to give his bullpen a little much-needed rest after Sunday’s debacle.  Coleman needed 118 pitches to do it, but he overcame a 4-run 2nd inning in which the Astros batted around.  He gave up just the 4 runs on the day – 8 hits, 5 walks and 2 K’s – and he was delighted that the Cubs were able to come back and win so he took a no decision.

Marcos Mateo, Andrew Cashner and Carlos Marmol tossed scoreless frames in the final 3 innings of the game to give the Cubs a chance to win.  Cashner got his 1st win since July 20th, while Marmol notched his 28th save.  On one of the worst teams in baseball, it is pretty impressive that Marmol is on the verge of hitting 30 saves for the 1st time in his career.

Marlon Byrd came through with a big 2-run homer in the 3rd inning that cut the Astros lead to 4-3.  Blake DeWitt had 2 hits and an RBI and scored a run on Byrd’s homer.  Jeff Baker had 2 hits and his RBI double in the 5th inning tied the game at 4.  That set up Geovany Soto’s 8th inning heroics with his 17th home run of the season.  After a disappointing 2009, Soto has quietly put together a nice 2010 MLB season — .284 batting average; .399 on-base percentage (58 walks versus just 72 K’s; 17 HR’s; 51 RBI’s; and 45 runs in 97 games.

The Cubs are 60-78 and have 24 games left to play during the 2010 MLB schedule.  They have to go 13-11 during this last stretch to avoid a 90-loss season.  Can they do it? The Cubs have responded to Quade, so it would not surprise me to see them finish over .500 for these final 24 games.  They are currently 9-4 under Quade, so they would end up finishing 22-15 under Quade if they are to avoid the 90-loss season.

Carlos Silva makes his 1st start tonight at the Friendly Confines since undergoing a heart procedure to help his irregular heartbeat.

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Is This the “Real-New- Carlos Zambrano?” – Cubs 5, Mets 3 – 9/4/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 05 September 2010 by Lou

Is this the new “real” Carlos Zambrano.  Zambrano picked up his 3rd straight win in as many starts with a dominating 7-inning outing against the Mets.  Zambrano scattered 4 hits and 2 walks during his outing and gave up only 2 ER.  He racked up 8 K’s and only needed 103 pitches to go the full 7 innings.  Most importantly, Big Z maintained his composure after the Mets pulled off a rare double-steal of 2nd base and home in the 4th inning which allowed the Mets to score a run on a strikeout.  Zambrano struck out Lucas Duda, but when Carlos Beltran eluded the tag at 2nd base by Starlin Castro, Luis Castillo was able to score from 3rd base for the Mets first run of the game.  In the past, a play like that would have sent Big Z into a tizzy.  But on Saturday, he kept his composure and was able to strike out Ike Davis to end the inning.  Back in the dugout, Castro apologized to Zambrano, but Big told him not to worry about it.  Amazing?!  Big Z later said — “I’m still going to the doctor, you know.  Still have, like, six more sessions… You realize that he’s still learning.  It’s still his first year in the big leagues.”  Unbelievable.  Not sure if this is the Zambrano we’re always going to see, but if he really starts to make an effort like that, you have to like his chances for staying with the Cubs in the future and actually being productive.  We’ll be following this closely as the season closes and as the winter meetings heat up in December.

Castro had 2 more hits and a run scored.  Castro became the first Cubs rookie to have a multi-hit game in 6 straight games since Don Johnson (not the Miami Vice Don Johnson) did so back in 1944.  His batting average is now .321 – still good for 3rd place in the NL.

Aramis Ramirez had 2 hits including his 21st home run of the season in the 7th inning.  Marlon Byrd also had 2 hits as every Cubs starter – including Zambrano – had a hit.

Andrew Cashner picked up his 11th hold of the season despite giving up a run on a walk and a hit in the 8th inning that cut the Cubs lead to 5-3.  But Carlos Marmol notched his 27th save with a scoreless 9th inning.  Marmol struck out the side despite allowing the tying run to come to the plate when he gave up a hit to Ike Davis with 1 out in the 9th.

The Cubs go for the sweep over the Mets this afternoon.  Ryan Dempster looks to rebound from his worst start of the season (7 ER in 3 innings of a 14-7 loss to the Pirates on Tuesday night) in the Sunday afternoon finale.

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Zambrano Sharp Again; Cubs Offense Explodes – Cubs 14, Pirates 2 – 8/30/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 31 August 2010 by Lou

Carlos Zambrano is making it tough off the Cubs management with another “good” start in the Cubs 14-2 win over the Pirates on Monday night at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs handed interim manager Mike Quade his 1st managerial win at the Friendly Confines in an easy win.

Zambrano gave up just 1 unearned run in 5 1/3 innings as he evened his record at 6-6.  He scattered 4 hits and 4 walks while striking out 7 Pirates hitters.  While he hasn’t had the best control since returning to the rotation in early August, Zambrano has has not allowed more than 2 ER in any of his 5 starts.  In his last 3 starts, he has allowed just a total of 2 ER.  Zambrano is still owed $39 million over the next 2 years, so the Cubs have a major decision with what to do with the big righty.  If the Cubs can find a taker for Big Z without having to eat a major chunk of the remaining money owed to him, I would think that the Cubs would move him without thinking twice about it.  But if a team willing to take Zambrano would want the Cubs to pay a large chunk of that $39 million, the Cubs should pass on it.  Assuming Zambrano keeps his act together for the rest of this season and assuming he shows that he is willing to work hard in the off-season, it would be better for the Cubs to take their chances with the big righty.  He can still be effective as a starter as he has shown the last 5 starts and would fit in nicely in the middle of the rotation assuming the Cubs can bring in a bigger name free agent pitcher this off-season.

The Cubs offense exploded in the win:

Aramis Ramirez led the way with 2 hits and 4 RBI’s.

Starlin Castro had 3 hits and 3 runs scored and his .313 batting average now puts him 5th in the National League for the batting crown.

Jeff Baker in the lead-off spot again against the lefty Paul Maholm notched 2 hits, driving in 2 runs and scoring twice.

Marlon Byrd did the same – 2 hits, 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.

Xavier Nady and Koyie Hill each had 2 hits, while Carlos Zambrano hit a 2-run home run in the 5th inning.

18 hits, 14 runs scored – one of the bets nights all season long for the Cubs.

Cubs fielding, however, continued to be an issue.  Errors by Darwin Barney and Alfonso Soriano led to unearned runs scoring in the 6th and 8th innings.  In a closer game, those errors could have come back to haunt the Cubs.

In a pre-game ceremony, the Cubs honored Andre Dawson for his 2010 induction into the Hall of Fame.  Dawson spent 6 seasons on the north side of Chicago and he won the NL MVP Award with the Cubs back in 1987.  Dawson was excited to share the special night with his favorite Cubs fans — “You are the greatest fans ever.  Without you I wouldn’t be standing here tonight.”

Ryan Dempster looks to make it 2 in a row for the Cubs over Jeff Karstens and the Pirates.  Dempster has had a great August — 4-0 with a 1.31 ERA in 5 starts — and he has 12 wins with a 3.42 ERA overall.

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