Posted on 02 December 2011 by Lou
With the GM Meetings starting in Dallas next week, we’re curious what Theo & Co. will be doing all week. While Theo is typically pretty tight-lipped, he did identify a few areas where he thought the Cubs needed help. Here are a few snippets:
“We need starting pitching. You can’t just take your chances of being looked at seriously as a club with just five guys. You have to point to six, seven or eight guys… We are going to have to build our starting pitching staff. We don’t have a ton of depth and that’s a priority.”
When asked about rumors regarding the Cubs possibly dealing Matt Garza – the Cubs best starter – Theo had this to say – “He’s exactly the kind of guy that we would like to build around.” Another words, he’s not going anywhere…
As for hitting, Theo gave out this little secrets: “Adding a left-handed bat would be nice [David DeJesus partially solves that equation]. But under the right circumstances. We are not going to force anything. We’ll look for a well-rounded position player to contribute on defense and maybe run the bases. If that hapens to be a left-handed bat, yes. David DeJesus is a good example of that. He does those things well. And those are things as a club that we don’t do well. The most obvious ways to improve is to look at your weaknesses and try to turn them into a strength.”
Amen – I’m looking forward to an exciting week in Dallas. Let’s just hope it ends with a royal signing of Prince Fielder…
Posted on 17 October 2011 by Lou
The Cubs and Red Sox are still trying to work out the compensation that will allow the Cubs to hire Theo Epstein as their new General Manager. While things have been mostly quiet on the front, it did come out over the weekend that the Red Sox initially requested Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza in the deal. Good luck with that one John Henry. What a joke. I hope Tom Ricketts laughed in their faces when they threw Garza’s name out there, just as he should do if the Red Sox throw out the Cubs top prospect – Brett Jackson – as the player who needs to move if the Cubs want to complete the deal.
This is turning into a complete charade, as it appears that Red Sox management is being completely unreasonable. If you knew you would only let Theo go if the other team gave you a top major league player or a top prospect, then you should have made that clear when you granted the other team position to talk to your GM. If you really wanted your GM there long-term (or at least for the final year of his contract), then you should not have even granted another team the right to speak to Theo.
Red Sox management is making this way more difficult than it needs to be and I hope Ricketts holds his ground before succumbing to the Red Sox egregious demands. At this point, the last thing that the Red Sox want to do is bring Theo back, so they are in just as a tough position as the Cubs are. After all the things John Henry has said the last 2 weeks, can you really see Theo serving out his final year as Red Sox GM? No way. If that happened, the Red Sox would probably have to pay Theo the value of his final year PLUS the $3.5 million conclusion bonus just to sit on the sideline. I can’t see them trusting Theo enough to play a major role in selecting the Red Sox next manager and then making major player decisions which will affect the Red Sox organization for the next several years.
It’s clear that both Red Sox management and the Ricketts family will have to “bend” a little in order to get this deal done. Ricketts wants Theo to turn his bad club around and the Red Sox want Theo out of their skin so they can go onto the next phase with a new GM and a new manager. Now they just need to take a step back, realize what is at stake and come up with a minor league prospect who can make both sides save face. I know that’s tough to swallow for millionaires with insane egos who are used to getting what they want. But if they look at the alternatives at this point of the negotiations, I think they’ll be able to see which is the better way to proceed.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as anything goes”official” before the start of the World Series on Wednesday…
Posted on 27 September 2011 by Lou
Congrats to Matt Garza – who put the many distractions aside and kept his composure in picking up his 10th win of the season in last night’s 6-2 win over the Padres. As usual, it wasn’t easy and he almost didn’t get that double-digit victory.
Garza threw 122 pitches in 7 innings, giving up just 2 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 8, but left the game trailing 2-1 as the game entered the 8th inning. Fortunately, the Cubs bats rallied in the top of the 8th. Two walks put the go ahead runs on base and then Alfonso Soriano delivered his 26th HR of the season, a 3-run shot that gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead. And when Blake DeWitt knocked in 2 insurance runs with a single in the 9th, it secured Garza’s 10th win of the season. Garza has been the lone bright spot in the Cubs 2011 starting rotation. Garza made 31 starts, going 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. He He led the team in wins, ERA and strikeouts (197). His 1.26 WHIP was also the best among starters. Ryan Dempster was #2 in each of those categories. Garza turns 28 in November, so he should be a fixture atop the Cubs starting rotation for years to come (assuming they sign him to along-term deal at some point in the near future – maybe even extending him this off-season). Garza should have won a lot more games too. He lost 5 times when he gave up 3 ER or less. He also would have had 2 more wins if not for blown saves. Given those stats, Garza had more of a 15-win season, than a 10-win season.
Here’s looking forward to the new Cubs GM making extending Garza to a long-term deal a high priority in his early tenure. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything.
Posted on 26 September 2011 by Lou
As the season winds down, Casey Coleman has made a big statement during his last 2 starts. Coleman worked into the 6th inning before giving up a home run and RBI double that gave the Padres a 2-0 lead. Coleman gave up just those 2 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks. He had 7 strike outs. In his previous start, Coleman picked up the win over the Brewers with a 6-inning gem against one of the better-hitting lineups in the National League. Coleman held the Brew Crew to just 1 ER on 2 hits and 3 walks with 8 K’s.
Coleman also broke up Matt Latos’ no hit bid with a 1-out triple in the top of the 6th inning. The Cubs managed just 1 other hit on the night – Starlin Castro’s single to lead off the 7th inning. Despite stealing 2nd base with nobody out, Carlos Pena, Bryan LaHair and Steve Clevenger could not bring him in.
With their 3rd straight loss, the Cubs fell to 70-90 on the season.
Matt Garza looks to continue his solid end to the 2011 campaign with his last start on Tuesday night. A win would give him double-digit wins in his 1st full season as a Cubs starter. Garza has not allowed more than 3 earned runs in any of his last 10 starts dating back to August 3rd – hello ace!!! Let’s hope he finishes off the great streak with his 10th win on Tuesday…
Posted on 30 August 2011 by Lou
The Cubs made it 2 in a row behind Matt Garza en route to a 5-2 win over the Giants.
Garza had another solid start and has really shown “ace” stuff since getting settled into his new digs on the north side of Chicago. Garza went 6 2/3 innings, allowing just 2 ER on 9 hits and 1 walk. He struck out 6 and lowered his ERA to 3.64 and his WHIP to 1.32. If he can win 3 of his September starts, he will hit double-digit wins for the Cubs in 2011.
Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol recorded the final 7 outs of the game without allowing a Giants hitter to reach base. Marshall notched his 29th hold, while Wood notched his 20th hold. Marmol picked up save #31.
Alfonso Soriano hit another HR. He now has 24 on the season. He and Garza each had 2 hits in the win.
The Cubs finish up the 3-game road trip against the Giants Wednesday afternoon with Rodrigo Lopez on the bump. After a day off Thursday, the Cubs face the Pirates and Reds at Wrigley Field from Friday through Wednesday of next week.
Posted on 29 August 2011 by Lou
Randy Wells tossed his 1st career complete game shutout in the Cubs 7-0 win over the Giants in San Francisco on Monday night. Wells has turned his season around with some good pitching of late. In his last 4 starts, he has given up just 7 ER on 16 hits in 27 2/3 innings pitched. He is 3-0 in those 4 starts. While his ERA is still over 5.00 at 5.06, he has lowered his WHIP to 1.38 and he has re-gained the confidence that deserted him after he went on the DL after just 1 start to kick off the 2011 campaign.
Wells faced only 4 batters over the minimum in the game – 2 hits and 2 walks allowed. He allowed only 2 runners to reach base 2nd base.
Alfonso Soriano gave the Cubs the 1st lead of the game with a solo HR of Tim Lincecum in the 5th inning. Then the Cubs blew the game open with 2 more HR’s against Lincecum in the 7th inning. Geovany Soto hit a solo shot and Blake DeWitt’s 3-run bomb to right field finally chased Lincecum from the game with the Cubs leading 5-0. Carlos Pena added a solo shot later in the inning and Marlon Byrd singled home DeWitt in the 9th to cap the scoring.
Matt Garza squares off against Ryan Vogelsong in Game 2 of the series Tuesday night.
Posted on 25 August 2011 by Lou
Matt Garza suffered a rare bad outing in the series finale against the Braves on Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Garza gave up 6 runs (only 3 earned because of a Starlin Castro error) on 8 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings of work. The loss dropped Garza down to 6-10 and likely will lead to Garza having a losing record in his 1st full season with the Cubs. Going into the game, Garza had given more than 3 ER in only 1 start since July 7th. He had lowered his ERA down to 3.62 and had emerged as the Cubs most reliable starter.
The Cubs are now 57-74 and they have dropped 4 of their last 5 games. The Cubs trail the Milwaukee Brewers by 20.5 games in the NL Central race.
Posted on 25 July 2011 by Lou
Believe it or not – yesterday’s 5-4 win in 10 innings gave the Cubs their 1st 3- game winning streak of the 2011 campaign. The Cubs were the last team to reach that mark this season. What a joke…
Jeff Samardzija wasted another great outing from Matt Garza. Garza allowed just 2 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks over 7 impressive innings. He struck out 9 and lowered his ERA to 3.72 and his WHIP to 1.30. He left with a 3-2 lead, but when Samardzija served up Carlos Lee’s go-ahead 2-run HR in the 8th inning, he was forced to take another no decision.
Fortunately, 3 straight hits allowed the Cubs to tie the game on Alfono Soriano’s single to start off the 8th inning.
And after Carlos Marmol survived a bases loaded, 1-out jam in the 9th inning, karma seemed to be on the Cubs side when Hunter Pence lost Marlon Byrd’s flyball in the sun to lead off the 10th inning giving Byrd a “gimme” triple. After Geovany Soto struck out for the 1st out of the inning, the Astros walked the bases loaded intentionally. And Jeff Baker came through with the clutch game-winning line drive single to left field that plated Byrd with the winning run.
Byrd had 4 hits and 3 runs scored. Soto had 3 hits, an RBI and a run scored.
The Cubs are now 42-60 and they have opened up a “safe” 8.5 game lead over the Astros to avoid having the worst record in the NL. Now that’s something to cheer about – Go Cubs Go!!!
Posted on 20 July 2011 by Lou
Manager Mike Quade was all out of ideas as he watched Sean Marshall blow the save in his 1st chance as the Cubs “new closer”. Yippee. Think Quade is happy that he went ahead and accepted this awful Cubs managerial post?!
Quade called on Marshall to pick up a 2-inning save after Matt Garza gave up a lead off hit in the 8th inning. My question is this – if you were going to pull Garza if he allowed a runner to reach base, and since he had already thrown 113 pitches in 7 innings pitched, why not just pull him for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 7th inning instead of having him lead off and strike out? Sure you might not get an insurance run, but Reed Johnson and Aramis Ramirez each singled later that inning, so you never know. And then maybe you use Kerry Wood or someone else in the 8th inning and bring in Marshall to close the game in the 9th. Forcing Marshall to pick up a 6-out save in his 1st big chance since replacing Carlos Marmol as the club’s closer just did not seem like the smart thing to do. And this is just another example of why the Cubs have to be questioning Quade as the long-term manager of this team…
That being said, Marshall did not perform well. And after allowing the tying runs in the 8th inning, Marshall still could have kept his team in the game. But he allowed 2 more runs in the 9th inning and the Phillies won 4-2. Marshall has now allowed 7 ER in his last 6 appearances. Not good.
Lost in the shuffle was Matt Garza who turned in another good start. Garza pitched 7+ innings, allowing just the 1 run on 4 hits and 3 walks while striking out 5. He has clearly emerged as the ace of the staff as he has lowered his WHIP to 1.31 and his ERA to 3.80.
The top of the order was en fuego against Cliff Lee. Johnson had 3 hits and a run scored.
Starlin Castro had 2 hits and knocked in the Cubs only 2 runs in the 1st inning with a line drive 2-run HR.
And Aramis Ramirez had 2 hits in 4 at-bats to raise his batting average up to .302.
The Cubs are now 39-59 and they trail the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers by 13.0 games in the NL Central race.
Posted on 15 July 2011 by Lou
What a joke – Carlos Marmol blew Matt Garza’s gem by allowing 5 runs in the 9th as the Cubs fell to the Marlins 6-3 to start the 2nd half on a down note.
Maybe the Cubs should consider dealing Marmol for some young talent in return…