The Cubs and Closer Carlos Marmol could not reach a deal before the arbitration deadline this week.
Posted on 19 January 2011 by Lou
Posted on 02 August 2010 by Lou
The Cubs finally made the trade that had been talked about all week long — Ted Lilly & Ryan Theriot to the Dodgers for Blake DeWitt and 2 pitching prospects.
Lilly had been solid for the Cubs all season long despite a 3-8 record. As we discussed last week, he had a fine ERA (3.69) and WHIP (1.14), but got very little run support in his starts.
Theriot moved over from shortstop to 2nd base when the Cubs called up young superstar Starlin Castro. He had a “down” year, hitting only .284 with 10 doubles. Usually a player who found his way on-base a lot, his on-base percentage was a disappointing .320, his lowest number in 3 years (he has a career .350 on-base percentage).
DeWitt, one the other hand, had a .352 on-base percentage in 2010. He was hitting .270 with 29 runs and 30 RBI’s mostly hitting in the bottom part of the lineup for the Dodgers. At (almost) 25, DeWitt has age on his side as well. Theriot is 30 years old and seems to have hit his peak with the Cubs. DeWitt has a lot of upside and we could see DeWitt playing along side Castro for a lot of years as the Cubs double-play combination. In his debut on Sunday in the Cubs 8-7 loss to the Rockies, DeWitt had 3 hits and an RBI.
Aside from the trade and a horrible sweep at the hands of the Rockies in Colorado over the weekend, the Cubs also “welcomed” Carlos Zambrano back into the clubhouse. Big Z made a “sincere” apology to his teammates before Friday’s game. He also pitched on Saturday and Sunday, although it wasn’t pretty. He gave up a walk and a hit in 2/3 of an inning on Saturday. On Sunday, after pitching a scoreless 4th inning despite 2 hits, he cracked in the 5th inning. He walked the 1st 2 batters he faced and then gave up 2 more hits which scored 2 runs. Not good. Maybe the Cubs need to think about bringing him back into the rotation. With Lilly gone and Carlos Silva, likely headed to the DL to address his heart rate issue, Big Z could get that chance sooner than we think…
Oh yeah, in the Dodgers trade, the Cubs also got 2 minor league pitchers. Brett Wallach is the son of former MLB player Tim Wallach. Wallach pitched at the Single A level this season, going 6-0 with a 3.72 ERA in 17 starts. He struck out 92 batters in just over 84 innings pitched. Kyle Smit appeared at the Single-A and Double-A level in 2010. In 37 appearances, Smit racked up 6 saves with a 2.35 ERA.
Posted on 29 July 2010 by Lou
Another week, another series loss to the 42-59 Houston Astros – ha, ha, ha! How does a team take 3 of 4 from the Philadelphia Phillies and then 2 of 3 from the St. Louis Cardinals, but then lose 4 of 6 games to the Houstonj Astros in a span of 9 days. It just doesn’t make sense. But then again, nothing about this 2010 Cubs team or this Cubs organization makes any sense these days. It is becoming more and more clear that wholesale changes are needed on the North Side of Chicago is we expect to see the Cubs win the World Series “any time soon” – whatever that means. Let’s look more closely at the 2 Astros series.
Last week at Wrigley Field, the Cubs lost 5-11, won 14-7 and then lost 3-4. This week in Houston, the Cubs won 5-2, but then lost 1-6 and 1-8. In the 6 games, the Astros outscored the Cubs 38-29. How is that possible, especially when the Cubs didn’t have to face the Astros best pitcher – Roy Oswalt in any of the 6 games? It is simply embarrassing and unacceptable. Today’s loss can be summed up in 1 inning – the 1st – when the Cubs loaded the bases with nobody out. Ryan Theriot led off with a single, Starlin Castro reached base on an error and Tyler Colvin walked. But as has happened so many times this season, instead of the Cubs breaking the game open with a 4 or 5 run inning, the Cubs settled for 1 lousy run on a sacrifice fly by Aramis Ramirez. When you have chances like that and you only push across 1 run, you are not going to win a lot of games. After the Ramirez out, Xavier Nady struck out, Kosuke Fukudome walked to load the bases again, but then Jeff Baker struck out. What a joke…
Theriot had 3 hits in the loss; Castro had 2 hits and Colvin had 1 hit and 2 walks. The rest of the team??? 2 walks by Fukudome and 1 hit by Koyie Hill – that’s it. No more hits, no more walks and because of that, no more runs. The 2-7 Bud Norris with the dazzling 1.61 WHIP and 6.08 ERA manages to hold down the Cubs to just 1 unearned run on 4 hits and 3 walks in 6 strong innings. It is just too funny.
Randy Wells was cruising along until things started to unravel in the 6th inning. A Hunter Pence RBI double tied the game at 1 and then a 2-run homer to Carlos Lee gave the Astros the lead for good in the 6th inning. A 3-1 lead should not really be a big deal at all, but to this Cubs squad, it is almost insurmountable. Then when you have 2 relievers toss batting practice in the 7th and 8th innings, you are all but assured another loss. Brian Schlitter gave up 2 ER on 4 hits in the 7th inning and now has a 12.00 ERA and a 2.33 WHIP. Bob Howry then gave up 3 ER on 4 hits before being replaced by Justin Berg who easily got the last out of the inning. Why are Schlitter and Howry even on the 25-man roster? Isn’t there anybody else down in Triple-A or Double-A who can do a better job?
I am getting increasingly frustrated with the product on the field for the Cubs. It’s a start, with the “indifferent” Pinella leaving after the season, but we have to take a deeper look at what Jim Hendry has done. All the Cubs “trade-worthy” players all come with a catch. Kosuke Fukudome, Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Silva (because of the bad Milton Bradley contract), Alfonso Soriano – we’d all love to move these over-paid, under-producing bit players, but no team in their right mind will take them because of the crazy dollars still owed to each guy over the next year to 4 years. And who’s fault is that? Jim Hendry. The last 3-4 years have been miserable to Jim Hendry in terms of his off-season moves, and it’s time for the Ricketts Family to take a close look at the guy who runs the team’s baseball operations. Jim must go – and as soon as he does – this Cubs team will get better in a hurry…
Posted on 27 July 2010 by Lou
After 2 dismal starts right before and right after the All-Star Break, Carlos Silva pitched 5 “good” innings against the Astros on Monday night to prove he is still “trade-worthy” before Saturday’s looming trade deadline. Kind of reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Elaine deemed her then boyfriend Billy to be “sponge-worthy” for 1 (or more I guess) of the limited number of contraceptive sponges that she had left when the manufacturer decided to halt further production of the same. In my opinion, Silva is clearly “trade-worthy” and I really hope that GM Jim Hendry can find a way to move the big (“beefy” big, not just good “big”) righty before Saturday’s trading deadline.
Despite giving up a 1st inning on 2 hits, Silva settle down and didn’t allow a run the rest of the way in his 5-inning start. He pipcked up his 10th win of the season allowing just a total of 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 4. His season WHIP of 1.22 and ERA of 3.76 are much better than anyone could have imagined when the team acquired him in exchange for the troubled Milton Bradley. Now as it turns out, not only did the Cubs get rid of a cancer in the locker room, they also acquired a pitcher who figured out how to re-invent himself in the National League. His hefty salary for 2011 ($13 million) might limit the likeliness that he will be traded before Saturday, but if the Cubs are willing to eat some of his salary, who knows. And who knows, even if they can’t move him this season, since the Mariners are paying $3 million of his salary in 2011, the Cubs could decide to keep him another year since he does eat up innings or a team could approach the Cubs this off-season to make a deal for Silva in the winter.
The Cubs offense got a LOT of hits – 13 – but scored only 5 runs. Once again, they blew a lot of good opportunities to break the game open, but at least they got enough good pitching to win the game. Geovany Soto had a 2-run double to give the Cubs the 2-1 lead in the 2nd inning. The Cubs added 2 more runs in the 3rd inning on a Marlon Byrd groundout and an Alfonso Soriano double. Ryan Theriot also hti his 1st home run – a solo shot in the 6th inning – breaking a 700 at-bat homerless streak.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – you gotta love the young relievers in the bullpen. Andrew Cashner came in in the 7th inning with 2 on and 2 out to end the Astros scoring threat. And then Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol pitched scoreless innings in the 8th and 9th. Cashner now has 5 holds, Marshall has 14 holds and Marmol has 19 saves. Sure, depending on what happens, Cashner and Marshall could both end up in the Cubs starting rotation in 2010, but that lethal trio at the back end of a game looks pretty damn good if you are a Cubs fan.
Ted Lilly makes the Cubs start tonight in Houston in Game 2 of the series. Will it be the final start in a Cubs uniform for the feisty lefty – guess we’ll have to see how things play out the rest of the week…
OH YEAH — Carlos Zambrano “apologized” to the Cubs organization in an interview with Pedro Gomez on ESPN – we’ll have more on that in the coming days as Big Z gets ready to re-join the major league squad at the end of this week in Colorado!
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….
Posted on 07 July 2010 by Lou
There must have been a full moon out this week – the Cubs defeated the D’backs 6-4 for their 2nd straight win. A win tonight would give the Cubs a series sweep for only the 2nd time all season long (the Cubs swept the Brewers in Milwaukee at the end of April).
Carlos Silva picked up his team-leading 9th win by pitching 6 innings of 4-hit ball. He gave up just 2 ER and 1 walks during his 75-pitch outing.
Sean Marshall had a rare rough outing – 2 runs (1 earned courtesy of a Starlin Castro fielding error – his 12th of the season!) on 2 hits with 2 K’s in 1 1/3 innings of work.
Carlos Marmol picked up the 1 2/3 inning save – striking out 5 of the 6 batters that he faced. It was Marmol’s 16th save of the season.
Aramis Ramirez finally broke out with 2 home runs and 4 RBI’s. Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee and Geovany Soto each had 2 hits as well for a well-balanced 11-hit attack.
Ryan Dempster can give the Cubs the sweep tonight with a good outing.
Posted on 29 June 2010 by Lou
It’s finally time for the Pinella-O-Meter – which will measure how much longer the “elderly” Lou Pinella can take with this awful Cubs team that he is trying to “manage”. This is truly hysterical. Just when you think it cannot get any worse, it does. The Cubs continue to lose games in unimaginable ways. After last night’s 2-1 loss to the Pirates – their 8th loss to the Pirates in 10 games in 2010 – the Cubs are now 7-18 in 1-run games. How bad can a team play in close games? Clearly, this team freezes up like no other when they are involved in a close struggle.
The dramatic fall of the Cubs is clearly shown when you look at how they have fared against the Pirates in 2010. Entering last night’s game, the Pirates had lost 17 straight games on the road – 17!!! Coming to Wrigley Field for a series against the Cubs was just what the doctor ordered for the struggling Pirates. They were 25-50 coming into the game, and they had won just 4 games in the entire month of June alone (1 of those was against the Cubs). At one point during the month, the Pirates had lost 12 straight games and they were on a 6-game losing streak heading into last night’s game. 8 of their 26 wins have come against the Cubs in 2010 – that means they are just 18-48 in their other 66 games?! One more great stat – the Pirates have been outscored by their opponents by 180 runs!!! That’s right 180 runs. They have scored only 247 runs (worst in the major leagues) while their opponents have scored 427 runs. How bad is this Pirates ball club? Very very bad — the Pirates have the worst record in the National League and and only the Baltimore Orioles have a worse record than the Pirates in all of baseball. Losing this many games to the Pirates has gotta be killing Pinella.
No matter what Pinella does – lineup changes, bullpen changes, seances – nothing seems to work.
On top of the poor play, Pinella has to deal with all of the side stories that have infected this team the last 2 seasons. Last year it was hot-head Milton Bradley and this year it is Carlos Zambrano. A 5-week stint in the bullpen didn’t seem to help Big Z at all, so once back in the rotation, still performed at a low level. It all came to a head last Friday when Big Z blew his head off when he felt that Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez didn’t try hard enough to field ground balls that set up a big inning for the White Sox in the bottom of the 1st. This all from the guy who has admitted that he has had trouble staying in shape and wasn’t always prepared for games. Now Zambrano has been suspended indefinitely from the team, he is required to undergo anger management treatment, and assuming that he completes the treatment successfully, he will back in the Cubs locker room sometime after the All-Star Break and back in the bullpen. Pinella must be wondering when he agreed to partake in a season of All My Children instead of manage a major league baseball team.
Pinella isn’t getting any younger and having to deal with the Cubs struggles on a daily basis has gotta be taking its toll on the big man.
Last night’s game was no different – The Cubs scored their only run of the game on a Pirates fielding error. Ryan Theriot didn’t come through with a clutch hit with runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs in the 2nd inning. The Cubs didn’t get 2 runners on base in the same inning again until the 7th inning. After a one-out Starlin Castro double and Jeff Bajer shallow single, it was Theriot who failed to come through in the clutch again as he hit into an inning-ending doubel play. And in the 9th inning, so-so closer Octavio Dotel opened the door for the Cubs by hitting Aramis Ramirez with a pitch to lead-off the inning. But then Dotel whipped through the “heart” of the Cubs lineup by striking out the next 3 batters – Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Xavier Nady – to end the threat. Good job guys.
Randy Wells did not have the best control – 1ER on 3 hits and 4 walks with 6 K’s in 6 innings – but he did enough to keep the Cubs in the game. Then it was Andrew Cashner who suffered his 2nd loss in 3 games. Cashner worked out of a self-imposed 2-on jam in the 8th inning, but struggled again when he gave up a single and a walk to start the 9th. Pinella went with Carlos Marmol to quell the threat, but he served up the game-winning RBI double to Jose Taba, and just like that the Cubs would lose another close one to the lowly Pirates.
You have to think the Cubs & Ted Lilly will find a way to beat the Pirates tonight at Wrigley Field. But something tells me it’s going to be another long night for the north siders. Come on, Lou — try to hang on a little longer…
Posted on 18 June 2010 by Lou
It was another frustrating loss for the Cubs at Wrigley today – 7-6 to the Angels. After winning 2 straight games over the A’s, the Cubs hoped to keep the momentum going against another AL West team. But it wasn’t meant to be as Scott Kazmir shut the Cubs down through 6 innings, allowing just 2 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks. The Cubs had their chances as they do in just about every game, but they could never come through with the big hit to break open an inning. The Cubs defense also failed their relief pitchers in the 7th and 8th innings. Jeff Baker’s 2 errors set up all 3 unearned runs off of Bob Howry in the 7th inning. That turned a 3-2 Angels lead into a 6-2 Angels lead. Then Derrek Lee’s throwing error in the 8th inning allowed Torri Hunter to score all the way from 2nd base to give the Angels a 7-2 lead. Not good at all.
The Cubs made it interesting in the 9th inning. Despite the 5-run deficit, Ryan Theriot and Chad Tracy coaxed walks to set up Tyler Colvin’s 3-run bomb out onto Sheffield. Francisco Rodney retired the next 2 batters, but Derrek Lee stroked his 2nd home run of the game to deep left field to cut the Angels lead to 7-6. But Rodney was able to get Geovany Soto out on a ground ball to 3rd base and the Cubs had lost at the Friendly Confines again.
Carlos Silva pitched so-so but came out of the game because of an undisclosed injury. Silva allowed 3 ER on 6 hits over 6 innings of work. He did not walk a batter and struck out 4 Angels’ hitters. Silva has now dropped 2 in a row after winning his 1st 8 decisions as a Cub.
Ted Lilly looks to get the Cubs back in the win column Saturday afternoon against Jered Weaver. Lilly has pitched very well all season long – 2.90 ERA and 1.00 WHIP – but he has been a tough-luck started getting very little run support. He finally got his 2nd win of the season last Sunday against the White Sox, ending a 5-game losing streak. He tossed 8 no-hit innings before getting removed in the top of the 9th inning after giving up a lead-off single to Juan Pierre. Lilly hopes to throw a few more no-hit innings on Saturday against the Angels…
Posted on 08 June 2010 by Lou
It was a rare win for the Cubs over the Pirates on Monday afternoon – a makeup game from the game rained out last week. Carlos Silva won his 8th game of the season without a loss, tossing 7 scoreless innings despite battling a flu all game long. Silva scattered 4 hits and 1 walk during the outing and needed just 102 pitches on the day. Sean Marshall earned a 2-inning save – his 1st of the season.
Marlon Byrd went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI’s and 1 run scored. Byrd has a 4-game hitting streak going – going 10 for 17 with 4 RBI’s and 4 runs scored during that hot stretch. Ryan Theriot reached base 5 times with a double, single, 2 walks, and on a force play. He scored a career-high 4 runs in the win.
With Reds and Cards losses, the Cubs cut their lead in the NL Central to 6.5 games. Now the Cubs head to Milwaukee to face the Brewers where the Cubs pulled off a 3-game sweep back in late April.
Posted on 22 May 2010 by Lou
This is almost comical – if it’s a 1-run game, the easy bet is that the Cubs are going to lose. After dropping a 5-4 decision to the Phillies on Thursday, the Cubs dropped a 2-1 decision to the Ranger son Friday night in Texas. What a joke. How bad can you get in 1-run games? The Cubs are now 5-10 in 1-run games, not a good sign for a team that is desperately searching for a post-season spot. At 19-24, the Cubs continue to play ho-hum baseball. They are 6 games back of the Cards and 5.5 games back of the Reds in the wild card race.
Ryan Theriot was the only Cubs player with more than 1 hit. The Cubs squandered another 1st and 3rd, nobody out scoring chance in the 2nd inning. Although they scored a run on Geovany Soto’s double play, that was the end of the threat. It would also be the only run that the Cubs scored in the game. Not good.
Ted Lilly pitched well — 6 2/3 innings – 2 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks with 4 K’s. He had only 1 bad inning – the 4th – where he gave up a leadoff single to Ian Kinsler who eventually made it to 3rd base on the play after errors by Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot. Vladmir Guerrero’s double plated Kinsler and then Guerrero came around to score the go-ahead run on Nelson Cruz’s RBI double. That would be all the scoring in the game.
Carlos Zambrano pitched the final 1 1/3 innings for the Cubs, giving up just 1 hit without any runs. Using only 2 pitchers helped get the much-maligned Cubs’ bullpen a little extra rest.
Randy Wells looks to snap the Cubs 2-game losing streak tonight in Texas.