Tag Archive | "Marlon Byrd"


Marlon Byrd Shines in National League’s 3-1 Win Over American League in All-Star Game – NL 3, AL 1 – 7/13/10

Posted on 14 July 2010 by Lou

Marlon Byrd – the Cubs lone representative in the 2010 All-Star Game – shined in the NL’s 3-1 win over the AL.

Trailing 1-0 in the 7th inning, the National League started a great scoring chance on singles by Scott Rolen and Matt Holliday to have 1st and 3rd with 2 outs.  Marlon Byrd came to the plate and worked out a tough walk against Matt Thornton. Then he came around to score the NL’s 3rd run on Brian McCann’s bases-clearing double that won the game for the National League.  Byrd’s eagle eye at the plate kept the inning alive for McCann’s heroics.

Byrd also made a spectacular play in the 9th inning to end a scoring threat for the AL.  David Ortiz singled against Jonathan Broxton to lead off the 9th inning.  With one out, John Buck hit a little flair out to right field that fell in front of Byrd.  Byrd played the hop perfectly to his left and spun around to throw a perfect one-hop strike to Rafael Furcal at 2nd base.  Ortiz, who had to play it safe in case Byrd caught the ball on the fly in shallow right, was in no man’s land.  A faster runner may have beat out Byrd’s throw – raising questions as to why Manager Joe Girardi did not use Alex Rodriguez (the sole AL player available) to pinch run for Ortiz – but Ortiz did not get there in time and just like that there were 2 outs.  Broxton then got Ian Kinsler to fly out to right center field to end the game.  It was the National League’s first win in the Midsummer Classic since 1996.

Good job Marlon – you represented the Cubs well…

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Andrew Cashner — Great Pitcher, Better Teammate – 7/13/10

Posted on 13 July 2010 by Lou

Cubs rookie pitcher Andrew Cashner has looked good on the mound in 2010.  He has also earned the praises of his teammates in the clubhouse as well.  The Cubs certainly have a bright future with some of their young players, which is certainly something to look forward to especially given the poor play on the field.

Cashner was the Cubs 1st round draft pick in 2008 (the 19th pick overall) and he has appeared in 16 games during the 2010 MLB schedule.  Despite an 0-3 record (with all 3 losses coming on 3 consecutive appearances for Cashner back at the end of June), he has put up solid numbers for a rookie reliever.  In 18 2/3 innings pitched, he has yielded just 5 earned runs on 17 hits and 9 walks.  All good for a 1.39 WHIP and 2.41 ERA.  He has also racked up 15 K’s.

More importantly, Cahsner is also winning over his teammates.  For example, in Sunday’s 7-0 loss to the Dodgers in L.A., Cashner had the back of his teammate Marlon Byrd.  Dodgers’ pitcher Vincent Padilla (who had perfect control and a no-hitter for a good chunk of the game) surprisingly plunked Byrd with a pitch in the 7th inning with the Dodgers leading by 7 runs (Byrd had made “mean” comments about Padilla’s performances and his subsequent trade from the Rangers back in 2008).  The next inning, Cashner entered the game in relief and he quickly nailed Dodgers 2nd baseman Blake DeWitt with a pitch.  Cashner claimed that he was “a little excited coming into the game” and that the ball somehow “slipped” out of his control during his delivery.  Gotta love it.  Byrd had this to say — “Cashner is a great teammate.”

Good job Cashner – no better way to earn your stripes than to have the back of your teammates.  This guy has good stuff and as we wrote yesterday, I’m really looking forward to the pending Lilly and Silva departures so that maybe Cashner can get back into the starting rotation.

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Cubs Bad Weekend in L.A. Continues — Cubs 7, Dodgers 9 Friday 7/9/10 & Cubs 7, Dodgers 3 Saturday 7/10/10

Posted on 11 July 2010 by Lou

On Friday night, the Cubs lost to the Dodgers 9-7.  Ted Lilly had one of his worst starts of the season — 3 2/3 innings, 7 hits, 7 runs (5 earned), 2 walks.  Although the Cubs racked up 11 hits and made it interesting in the end, they still lost.  Marlon Byrd stroked 4 hits and had 3 RBI’s.  Aramis Ramirez had 3 hits , 1 RBI and 2 runs scored and he is finally over the Mendoza line @ .204.

On Saturday afternoon on FOX, the Cubs bounced back with a 7-3 win behind a strong outing from Tom Gorzelanny.  Gorzelanny picked up his 4th win of the season, going 6 innings and giving up just 1 ER on 6 hits with 7 K’s.  He now has a 3.16 season ERA – not too shabby.  Geovany Soto paced the Cubs offense with 3 hits and 3 RBI’s.  Starlin Castro, Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee each had 2 hits in the win.

We’ll have more on Sunday’s loss on Monday, but it is not looking good – down 7-0 in the 8th inning.  Vincent Padilla no-hit the Cubs until Castro doubled to lead off the 6th inning.

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Cubs Blow Perfect Opportunity to Pick up Ground on Reds & Cards – Cubs 2, Dodgers 3 – 7/8/10

Posted on 09 July 2010 by Lou

The Cubs blew a perfect opportunity to pick up ground on the Reds & Cards, but lost to the Dodgers 3-2.  Instead of moving up to “just” 9.5 games behind the Reds and 6.5 games, behind the Cards (who had both lost already), the Cubs stayed put in the standings.  This game – like so many others – have summed up how frustrating a year it has been for the club and Cubs fans alike.

Cubs starter pitches a great 6 or 7 innings, but because of a “weak” bullpen, Manager Lou Pinella opts to keep him in a batter or 2 too long.  Wells had dominated the Dodgers for 6 innings, giving up just 4 hits and 1 run.  He gave up a lead off single to Russell Martin and while Pinella might have mad a move then with a deeper staff, he had to let Wells finish it out.  Wells did get the next 2 batters out, but Rafael Furcal hit a 2-run home run that gave the Dodgers the 3-2 lead.  It was only Furcal’s 6th homer of the season.  And as so often has happened this season, a close Cubs lead of 1 or 2 runs turned into another frustrating nightmare as the opposition rallied for a late run or 2.

The Cubs were stymied for most of the night by Clay Kershaw, but they got 7 hits off of him.  They scored on an Alfonso Soriano solo home run and a Geovany Soto RBI single, but that was it.  In a game that the Cubs knew would be close, the 3rd inning was particularly frustrating.  With 1 out, Ryan Theriot singled to right field, but then got picked off of 1st base by Kershaw.  The man at the plate – Marlon Byrd – then singled, but his aggressive base-running forced him to get thrown out at 2nd base.  So even though the Cubs got 2 hits in the inning, they didn’t really threaten because of their base-running mistakes.  With a team like this that is struggling to score runs (and that has typically struggled to score runs in Los Angeles), you cannot make those mistakes and expect to win.

As I wrote yesterday, the Cubs really needed to win 3 of 4 against the Dodgers to finish off a 6-1 road trip before the All-Star Break.  That means they now need to win the final 3 games of this series – which is not going to happen.  Let’s just hope that Ted Lilly and Carlos Silva both pitch well to help increase their trade value over the next few weeks….

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Stop the Presses — Cubs Making Move in NL Races Right Now (sort of)! – Cubs 8, Diamondbacks 3- 7/7/10

Posted on 08 July 2010 by Lou

The Cubs pulled off a rare series sweep with their 8-3 win over the D’Backs on Wednesday night at Chase Field in Arizona.  Why is this such a big deal?  Well unless you’ve been hibernating somewhere the last 3 months, series wins, let alone series sweeps are the exception to the rule for this underachieving 2010 Cubs squad.  Let’s look at what this series meant for this Cubs team heading into the All-Star Break with just 1 all-star player – Marlon Byrd.

First, winning the 1st game of the series on Monday marked the 1st time that the Cubs had won the 1st game of a series since the Cubs beat the Dodgers back on May 25th at Wrigley Field (wow, that was a LOT of 1st’s).

Second, the series win marked only the 2nd series win for the Cubs since the end of May.  The Cubs won a series against the A’s at Wrigley Field back from June 15th through June 17th – their only series win during the month.

Third, the series SWEEP was only the Cubs 2nd series sweep of the season.  The Cubs swept the Brewers in Milwaukee from April 23rd through April 25th.

Now I know what you’re thinking – sure, the Cubs did it against the 2nd worst team in the National League.  That may be true, but if you look at what the Cubs have done against the WORST TEAM in the NL (the Pittsburgh Pirates have already beaten the Cubs 11 out of 13 times this year), you’ll realize that the Cubs just need to take a win when they get one.  They have been so far and few between in this disastrous 2010 season, I would even take a win against a Little League team if MLB would allow it (although with this squad, I’m not sure I would even want to schedule a game against a Little League team in case the unthinkable happened).

In any event, I’m going to take this a step further.  The Cubs are 38-47 and they stand 10.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for 1st place in the NL Central and 9 games behind the Colorado Rockies and New York Mets in the NL Wild Card race.  Sure there are a lot of teams to overcome, but could they pull off an amazing run and make things interesting in the 2nd half?!  The Cubs still have 6 games against the Reds (which is probably NOT a good thing given the way the Reds torched the Cubs 30-8 in 4 games at Wrigley Field this past weekend) and they still have 12 games against the St. Louis Cardinals.  Beating those teams is an easy way to get right back in the thick of it.  Bottom line – this 4 game road trip to L.A. to take on the Dodgers starting tonight will do a lot to tell what kind of psyche the Cubs will have going into the 2nd half.  Taking 3 of 4 or all 4 would give the Cubs a TON of confidence going into the Break.  Winning 2 or less would just prove that 2010 is not the Cubs year (for a 102nd straight year) and that it’s time for the Ricketts Family and GM Jim Hendry to start moving players while their value is most high (Ted Lilly, Carlos Silva just to name a few).

Aramis Ramirez is finally heating up – he had 5 hits in the Arizona series including 3 home runs and 7 RBI’s.  Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee and Marlon Byrd each had 2 hits in the 8-3 Wednesday night win, so it could be a sign that the entire offense is starting to get hot at the right time.

Ryan Dempster wasn’t great (3 ER on 8 hits and 1 walk in 5 innings of work), but he did enough to keep the Cubs right in the game.  The Cubs bullpen — James Russell, Andrew Cashner, Sean Marshall and Justin Berg – combined to pitch 4 scoreless innings, so it was a total team effort last night.

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it all shakes out in the city of angels the rest of the week – should be interesting…

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Cubs Petition MLB to Forfeit Opening Games of Series for Rest of 2010 MLB Schedule?! — Cubs 3, Mariners 2, 13 INN – 6/24/10

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!!!

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Tyler Colvin Lone Bright Spot in Cubs 8-1 Loss to Mariners; Will Pinella Make it Through Rough 2010 – 6/23/10

Posted on 24 June 2010 by Lou

WOW – make this stop.  How much more can we take?  Another day, another loss.  They get uglier and uglier as the season progresses as evident in the 8-1 loss last night in Seattle.

Tyler Colvin & Marlon Byrd continue to be the only 2 Cubs players that produce on a regular basis.  Colvin stroked his 9th homer of the season in just 121 at-bats.  He has a .298 batting average and Lou is finally giving him the playing time he deserves.  Byrd had another 2-hit night in Seattle and Alfonso Soriano even got into the mix for a 2nd straight night with 2 hits.  But the Cubs managed just 1 run off of Cliff Lee.

Randy Wells continued his sophomore slump – 6 ER on 10 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings – even the light-hitting Mariners had no trouble making solid contact against Wells.  Wells ERA ballooned to 5.21 and his WHIP is hefty as well – 1.50.  Not good.

The Cubs are no 9 games out of 1st place in the NL Central and they are a whopping 10 games behind the New York Mets in the NL Wild Card race.  The season is officially over and now it’s only a question of whether Lou Pinella will actually survive the rest of the season?!?!

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Marlon Byrd Seeks to Void Contract with Cubs — Didn’t Realize he Had Signed Deal with Minor League Club — Cubs 0, Mariners 2 6/22/10

Posted on 23 June 2010 by Lou

Marlon Byrd is seeking help from the MLB players union to void his contract with the Chicago Cubs.  It looks like the Cubs fooled Byrd into thinking that he would be part of a major league level team during the 2010 MLB schedule when GM Jim Hendry signed him to a 3-year, $15 million this past January.  But as it turns out, the team the Cubs fielded for 2010 was simply a shell of a major league team and their results on the field thus far are proving Byrd’s allegations to a tee.

The Cubs are 8 games under .500 at 31-39.  They are a miserable 10-16 in 1-run games and they have lost 8 more contests in games decided by 2 runs.  They are a pathetic 18-18 at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field and 8 games under .500 on the road.  Against the weak NL Central where only the Cards and Reds have winning records, the Cubs are an embarrassing 13-20.  Ouch – you can’t get much worse than that.

Byrd’s production in 2010 far exceeds several Cubs “stars” who are getting paid anywhere from $10 to $16 MILLION DOLLARS MORE than Byrd is earning in 2010.  Check out these shocking numbers:

Byrd – $3,000,000 ($12,000,000 owed over next 2 years) – leads team with .323 batting average.  Byrd has the 3rd highest on-base percentage (.366), the 2nd most home runs (9), the 2nd most RBI’s (34); the most runs scored (40); and the most doubles (25).  Byrd also has just 1 error in 178 fielding chances, good for a .994 fielding percentage.  Kosuke Fukudome and Koyie Hill are the only position player regulars who have not committed an error during the 2010 MLB schedule.  Xavier Nady and Chad Tracy have also committed just 1 error, but they have combined for only 72 fielding chances compared to Byrd’s 178.  Oh, and by the way, Byrd hustles on every single play and is considered a consummate teammate and leader in the clubhouse.

Now to the other Cubs “stars”:

Alfonso Soriano — $19,000,000 — – surprisingly, the most productive of the group who has stats just below Byrd’s – .279 batting average; .349 on-base percentage; 10 home runs: 36 runs scored; 35 RBI’s; 20 doubles; and 4 errors.

Aramis Ramirez — $16,750,000 — .168 batting average; .232 on-base percentage; 5 home runs: 17 runs scored; 22 RBI’s; 6 doubles; and 6 errors.

Kosuke Fukudome — $14,000,000 —  .281 batting average; .370 on-base percentage; 6 home runs: 24 runs scored; 24 RBI’s; 8 doubles; and 4 errors.0

Derrek Lee — $13,000,000 — .230 batting average; .336 on-base percentage; 10 home runs: 34 runs scored; 33 RBI’s; 10 doubles; and 4 errors.

When you consider that Carlos Zambrano is making just under $19,000,000 this season (and is owed another $37,875,000 over the next 2 years), it is shocking to think how poorly Hendry has concocted this team for the future.  Zambrano has gone just 3-5 with a hefty 5.10 ERA and 1.65 WHIP and has even worked out of the bullpen because of his inconsistency as a starter.

Given these facts, it is clear that Marlon Byrd is right.  The 2010 Cubs really don’t deserve to be considered a major league level team and he should be able to void his contract and join a team that actually has a shot to compete to win a baseball game night in and night out.

Now sure, I am clearly joking when I talk about Byrd’s plight in a Cubs uniform. But after watching another painful close loss last night (2-0 to the Mariners), it is clear to me that it is time for the Cubs to blow this group up and start over under “Year 2” with the Ricketts Family taking more firm control.  The Cubs need a new manager, a new GM and then maybe, just maybe, they can get back to prominence in the National League in the near future once a few of Hendry’s bad contracts are finally off the books.

Oh yeah – the game – Byrd had 2 of the Cubs 6 hits.  The Cubs had only 4 hits during the game’s 1st 8 innings.  Soriano had 3 hits.  Ryan Dempster tossed another great game, but as it has happened so often, he has made 1 or 2 bad pitches and those bad pitched have come back to haunt him.  Despite giving up only 5 hits in 8 innings, 2 of those came in the 2nd inning and one of those happened to be a home run that plated 2 runs.  That would be the only scoring of the game.  Dempster is now 5-6 with a 1.16 WHIP and a 3.56 ERA – talk about a hard-luck loser in 2010.

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Saturday Massacre @ Wrigley Field — Weaver Angels Destroy Lilly, Cubs 12-0

Posted on 20 June 2010 by Lou

What a joke – things keep getting worse and worse on the north side.  The Cubs fell to the Angels 12-0 on Saturday afternoon.  It looked like none of the Cubs players even cared anymore.  This is really really frustrating.

Lilly – after tossing 8-no-hit scoreless innings last Sunday against the White Sox – could do no right against the Angels.  He ended up giving up 8 runs (6 earned) on 9 hits and 3 walks over 5 1/3 innings.

Meanwhile, Jered Weaver shut down the Cubs with ease.  He racked up 11 K’s in 7 innings and allowed just 2 hits.  Marlon Byrd and Mike Fontenot were the only 2 Cubs hitters to reach base during the laugher.

Carlos Zambrano looks to help the Cubs avoid the sweep today on Father’s Day – don’t hold your breathe Cubs fans…

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Cubs Drop 2 of 3 to Brewers in Milwaukee

Posted on 10 June 2010 by Lou

It was mostly bad for the Cubs in Milwaukee this week.  The Cubs dropped 2 of 3 to the Brewers and now trail the 1st place Cincinnati Reds by 7.5 games in the NL Central race.

The Cubs defeated the Brewers 9-4 on Wednesday night for their only win of the series.  Carlos Zambrano struggled through 5 innings but picked up his 2nd win of the season.  He gave up 3 ER on 2 hits and 5 walks.  He almost imploded in the 4th inning when he issued a walk on a call that he thought was a strike that the home plate umpire called a ball.  He promptly walked the next batter and served up a 2-run double to the Brewers pitcher Randy Wolf that tied the game at 3.  Miraculously, Big Z actually got out of the jam and pitched a scoreless 5th inning to become eligible for the win.

The Cubs bats broke out against Wolf with 9 runs and 12 hits, including 5 home runs.  Marlon Byrd hit 2 home runs and drove in 3 runs.  Geovany Soto also had 2 home runs and 3 RBI’s.  Derrek Lee struck a 2-run shot as well.  Jeff Baker had 3 hits, 2 runs scored and 1 RBI.

The celebration didn’t last long, as the Cubs looked out of sorts in a 5-4 10-inning loss to the Brewers on Thursday afternoon.  Ryan Dempster pitched his shortest outing of the season – 5 1/3 innings pitched, 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits and 5 walks.  Not one of his better showings.  The defense didn’t help the Cubs pitchers at all.  3 of the Brewers 5 runs were unearned.  Leading 4-3 with 2 outs in the 5th inning, Starling Castro committed his 8th error in 31 games allowing Jim Edmonds to reach 2nd base when his throw bounced into the Brewers dugout (would Derrek Lee have caught the low throw – probably?).  Xavier Nady is no Derrek Lee.  Edmonds would eventually come around to score when Tom Gorzelanny and Jeff Stevens proceeded to walk the next 3 batters.  The winning run also scored on an error.  Bob Howry walked Carlos Gomez to lead off the 10th inning.  Gomez stole 2nd base as Craig Counsell executed a sacrifice bunt.  When Gomez raced to 3rd base, Nady attempted to throw out Gomez at 3rd base, but he made a poor throw that skipped into the stands, and just like that the Brewers had won 5-4.  The Brewers 3rd run was also unearned – set up by a Chad Tracy error.

The bats were pretty quiet after the 5 home runs clubbed in Wednesday night’s win.  Nady did hit a 2-run home run that gave the Cubs a brief 4-3 lead.

Next up – the crosstown classic against the White Sox at Wrigley Field.  Jake Peavy v. Randy Wells could get pretty ugly in a hurry with the way both pitchers have fared of late.

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