Tag Archive | "Thomas Diamond"

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Cubs Still Showing Lack of Consistency with Latest Losses @ Wrigley Field — Cubs 0, Giants 13 9/23/10 & Cubs 1, Cards 7 9/24/10

Posted on 24 September 2010 by Lou

So much for that great Cubs finish – the last 2 losses show that the Cubs are still a long ways away from being an NL playoff contender anytime soon.

Thursday 9/23/10 – Cubs 0, Giants 13 – Ouch.  Ryan Dempster was denied his 15th win of the season, as he couldn’t even get out of the 2nd inning.  The Giants used a 9-run 2nd inning to blow the game open courtesy of 2 home runs and 6 RBI’s from the “light-hitting” Juan Uribe in the 2nd inning alone.  He hit his 1st 2-run HR of the inning off of Dempster and then drilled a Grand Slam off of Thomas Diamond to cap the scoring. Dempster has had a few rough outings of late.  Last night, he ended up giving up 9 ER on 7 hits and 2 walks.  He gave up 7 ER to the Pirates back on August 31st.  Dempster will look to pick up win #15 next week and he also needs 8 K’s in order to reach 200 for the season.  He is already over 200 innings pitched for the 3rd consecutive season since being switched from closer to the starting rotation.  While Dempster is no ace, he is a solid #3 starter.  Problem is that the Cubs don’t have a #1 or #2 starter right now.

Friday 9/24/10 – Cubs 1, Cards 7 – Ouch again. The Cubs managed just 6 hits and a walk off of Adam Wainwright who picked up his 20th win of the season.  The Cubs didn’t fare much better against Kyle McClellan and Ryan Franklin as the duo retired 9 of the 10 batters they faced to finish off the Cubs.  Aramis Ramirez accounted for the lone Cubs run with his solo home run.  Tom Gorzelanny was downright bad in his 1st start since August 27th – 7 ER on 7 hits and 5 walks in 3 1/13 innings.  Overall, it was just another bad day for the Cubs at Wrigley.  The Cubs have now scored just 3 runs in 4 games this week.  They have been shutout twice and lost 7-1 today.  Not good…

The Cubs hope that Casey Coleman can even up the series when he takes on Chris Carpenter at Wrigley Field tomorrow afternoon with an early 12:05PM start.

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Carlos Silva Returns to Mound – Not a Pretty Sight – Cubs 3, Astros 7 – 9/7/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 08 September 2010 by Lou

Carlos Silva returned to the mound on Tuesday night and it wasn’t a pretty sight.  Not only did Silva look like he had put on a pound or two (or 10) during his stint on the DL, it didn’t like he wanted to be out there at all. After Silva gave up a run right away in the 1st inning, the Cubs rallied to give him a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 1st inning.  But Silva did his best to give it right back.  Silva gave up 3 more runs in the 2nd inning and was ultimately charged with 6 ER in 5 innings of work.  The light-hitting Astros knocked Silva around for 9 hits (including 1 home run) as they cruised to an easy victory.  Silva had not pitched since he left an August 1st game against the Colorado Rockies with an irregular heartbeat after recording just 1 out.  Silva had a cardiac ablation surgical procedure to correct the issue and made 2 Class A Peoria starts before pitching last night.  Silva said he felt OK — “I feel really good, especially after the second inning, I felt more comfortable on the mound, but the result wasn’t good at all.”  I know the Cubs want to make sure he is OK in 2010 so that they know what they have for the 2011 MLB season.  Silva could stay with the team or the Cubs could try to move him in the off-season if the price is right (the Cubs would likely have to eat some of the $10 million owed to him in 2011).  But it would be nice to see some of these other young guys get some starts instead of a veteran like Silva, especially if he really isn’t ready for live game action.

The Cubs offense didn’t do much against Nelson Figueroa after they scored 2 runs in the 1st inning.  Tyler Colvin and Kosuke Fukudome each had 2 hits in the loss.  Colvin had 2 RBI’s while Marlon Byrd drove in the Cubs other run and scored a run as well.

Thomas Diamond and James Russell bounced back from rough outings in Sunday’s 18-5 loss to the Mets.  Each reliever gave up 5 ER in the loss, but Diamond tossed 2 scoreless innings with 2 K’s last night and Russell worked a scoreless 9th inning with 1 K.

Mike Quade opted to keep Starlin Castro out of the Cubs lineup for a 2nd straight game.  I liked his move to keep Castro out on Monday, but 2 days in a row?  There’s only 20 odd games left in the season.  We want the shortstop star of the future to see as much MLB-action as possible in his rookie season.  Let’s get him back in the lineup Mike!

Randy Wells looks to get the Cubs their 3rd straight series win tonight at Wrigley Field.  It won’t be easy as the Cubs must go up against Bret Myers who has limited the Cubs offensive production in recent starts (Myers has started 3 games against the Cubs this season — 2-0 record, 4 ER in 22 2/3 innings pitched, only 17 total hits with 26 K’s).  Could be a long night Cubs fans…

Oh yeah – the Ricketts Family and the Cubs unveiled a 3rd statue before the game – Billy Williams’ sweet swing was placed right outside the Captain Morgan Club at the corner of Sheffield and Addison streets.  The Williams statue sent the Harry Caray statue packing to the corner of Sheffield and Waveland in front of the entrance to the Bleachers.  The Ernie Backs statue is still located by the main box office at the corner of Addison and Clark streets.

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“Bad” Win for Cubs Over Pirates – Can We Trust Carlos Marmol? – Cubs 5, Pirates 3 – 9/1/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 02 September 2010 by Lou

If ever there was a “bad” win for a 57-win team, this was it.  I hate to criticize any Cubs win, but if you look more closely at the stats, there is a lot of concern even from the good players.

The biggest question is Carlos Marmol – Marmol entered the game with runners on 1st and 2nd base and 2 outs in the top of the 8th inning with the Cubs leading 5-2.  Sean Marshall – who bailed out Andrew Cashner with a strikeout with a runner in scoring position in the 7th inning – struck out 2 batters in the inning but also allowed 2 runners on with a walk and an error (I’ll get to the error later).  Marmol promptly walked the 1st two batters that he faced to force in a run which cut the Cubs lead to 5-3.  Sure Marmol got the next batter out with a strikeout, but by then the damage was already done.  Marmol walked another batter in the 9th inning as well, giving him 3 walks in an inning and a third in his outing.  Marmol seems to have resorted to his old habits of walking way to many batters in his outings.  In his 5 appearances from August 15th through August 24th, he walked at least 1 batter in each outing.  He issued 3 walks in a blown save showing against the Braves as all 3 runners scored.  Luckily he got out of yesterday’s innings despite the walks, but how much can we rely upon Marmol in the future.  After starting the season with a respectable strikeout to walk ratio, those walk numbers are slowly creeping up again.  In 2010, he has now walked 45 batters while striking out 113.  In 2009 he walked a career-high 65 batters, so depending on how the rest of this month goes, he could come close to that number again (let’s hope not).  Keep in mind, he walked only 35 batters in 2007 and just 41 in 2008.  He’s already eclipsed those numbers this year and we still have 30 games to go.  Batters have only a .167 batting average against Marmol in 2010 (with a career batting average against of .179), so someone needs to get through to him that he cannot keep giving up free passes in his outings.  While it is widely accepted that closers are typically “wild”, I would disagree with this.  Take the top 4 saves leaders in the majors this season, and you’ll see that they have impeccable control – Rays’ Rafael Soriano – 11 walks; Giants’ Brian Wilson – 22 walks; Padres’ Heath Bell – 22 walks; and Royals’  Joakim Soria – 14 walks.  Only 1 closer has more than 30 walks during the course of the season – Francisco Cordero of the Reds with 35.  After that, the next highest is 29 walks by the Tigers’ Jose Valverde.  Somehow, pitching coaches have worked with these closers to limit their walks.  So if the Cubs do intend to continue to rely upon Marmol to be the team’s closer of the future, maybe it’s time for Larry Rothschild to go the way of Lou Pinella following the 2010 MLB season.  He has been Marmol’s pitching coach for his entire career at the major league level and he hasn’t figured out what Marmol needs to do to be more efficient on the mound.  Hopefully the new manager’s new pitching coach will be able to do that in 2011.

I’ve also been a little disappointed with Sean Marshall’s outings of late.  Now I know he was SO good early on that you can’t expect that every time out, but he seems to have lost his focus of late.  It’s hard when you are playing on one of the worst teams in baseball with one of the worst fielding team’s behind you as well, but the walks are killing me.  Since August 4th, Marshall has issued a walk in 7 of his 14 outings (8 total walks).  If you go back to the entire month of July, he issued a walk in only 3 of his 16 appearances (4 total walks). He issued 5 walks in all of June, 7 walks in all of May and only 1 walk in the month of April.  I’m not sure if he is just not as sharp because of the grueling season or because it is frustrating to go out there each day and know that you are probably going to lose, but I hope this does not carry over into the 2011 MLB season.

Well enough of the negative.  Thomas Diamond relieved Tom Gorzelanny after he was hit with a line drive in the 3rd inning.  He gave up 2 ER on 2 hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings, but it was good enough to pick up his 1st major league win.

Kosuke Fukudome continued his hot hitting.  He had 3 more hits with an RBI and 2 runs scored.  He increased his batting average to .281 and has looked more confident at the plate once again.  I’m not sure why he always has a “summertime swoon” (maybe Chicago baseball is too hot for him), but if he keeps this up, it could help the team to move him in the off-season even if they have to eat some of his salary.  Unlike the Carlos Zambrano situation where I would NOT want to eat his salary in order to move him, I wouldn’t mind doing that to get rid of Fukudome.  He has had 3 years to prove himself and it just doesn’t add up at the major league level.  Plus, moving Fukudome would free up Tyler Colvin to play right field on a daily basis so that the club can scrap the 1st base experiment.

Starlin Castro had 2 hits and 2 runs scored and is now tied for 3rd place in the National League batting crown with a .317 batting average.

The Cubs welcome the New York Mets – another underachieving, frustrated team – to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field this Labor Day Weekend.  Randy Wells will face off against knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey in Friday afternoon’s opener.

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Blown 1st Inning Scoring Chance Sets Tone for Disappointing Loss – Cubs 3, Cards 6 – 8/13/10

Posted on 14 August 2010 by Lou

It has been a problem all season long – the Cubs get a great scoring chance and only push across 1 run or 2 runs and then go on to lose a close game.  In the 1st inning, the Cubs put together 4 straight 1-out hits but end up stranding runners on 2nd and 3rd base with only 1 out.  Different night, same story.  Starlin Castro singled and Derrek Lee sent Castro to 3rd with a double.  Marlon Byrd then drove home both men with a single to left field.  Blake DeWitt kept the rally going with a double to put runners on 2nd and 3rd base with only 1 out.  But Alfonso Soriano failed to push across that 3rd run when he grounded out to 3rd base and Darwin Barney – making his 1st ever major league start – flied out to left field to end the threat.  Instead of a 4-0 1st inning lead, the Cubs settled for a 2-run lead.  Cards pitcher Jake Westbrook settled down after that rough 1st inning and the rest if history.  Westbrook gave up just 2 hits and 1 walk from the 2nd through the 6th innings and he picked up his 1st win in 3 starts for the Cards since being traded from the Indians.  Sure the Cubs added a home run by Lee in the 8th inning to cut the Cards lead to 603, but by then, it was too little too late.

Thomas Diamond made it 3 losses in 3 starts for the Cubs.  He needed 87 pitches to labor through 4 innings and his time as a Cubs starter for the remainder of 2010 is numbered.  He gave up 4 ER on 6 hits and 4 walks and just didn’t put his team in position to win on Friday night.  Casey Coleman made a good case to be bumped up into the rotation with a 2nd straight scoreless outing.  Coleman has had his share of troubles in his 1st two appearances (8 ER on 10 hits and 4 walks in 5 1/3 innings pitched), but he has tossed 3 straight scoreless innings now and has given up just 1 walk with 4 K’s in the process.  Manager Lou Pinella is open to the competition among his young pitchers:  “I would think everybody that comes up here would get an opportunity to pitch and get some playing time, and obviously the ones that are doing better will get more than the others… The young kids that come up here to pitch, we’ll pitch them, and the position players? The same way…  We’re still trying to compete and win some games, and we’re playing a lot of teams in pennant contention so we’d like to beat them and derail them too.”

Couple of positives to take in the loss:

Lee was back in the lineup and had 2 hits.  He was the only Cubs player with more than 1 hit.

Castro had another hit and is getting close to getting enough at-bats to qualifying for the NL batting crown.  He is hitting .319 on the season and should have enough AB’s to crack the top 5 in hitting at some point next week. Carlos Gonzalez leads the NL in hitting with a .324 batting average and Joey Votto is 2nd with a .320 average.  Castro would slide into the 3-spot on the list in front of Placido Polanco with his .317 average.  Good work – Starlin!  Manager Lou PInella is thrilled with his progress:  “Isn’t that wonderful… This kid here, he’s a player. He’s gotten better and better as the season has progressed.  He makes his rookie mistakes, but we live with them and work with him.  He’s really coming along.  He’s taken to that two-hole.”

Big Z gets the start today on FOX’s Saturday game of the week.  Let’s hope he has better control than he showed when he walked 7 batters in 5 innings of a loss to the Giants on Monday night.

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My Prediction Was Right on the Money; Big Z Back on the Bump Tonight – Cubs 3, Reds 4 Saturday 8/7/10 & Cubs 4, Reds 11 Sunday 8/8/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 09 August 2010 by Lou

Boy do I love to gloat – was I right on the money with my prediction of a Reds’ sweep of the Cubs over the weekend or what? This team is just getting way to easy to read these days.

There really isn’t much to say about either game.

Saturday 8/7/10 – Cubs 3, Reds 4 – Randy Wells pitched well but ran out of steam in the 8th inning when the Reds came through with the clutch hits that the Cubs could not during the game. Daniel Stubbs led off the 8th inning with a home run that gave the Reds a 2-1 lead.  Wells allowed the next 2 batters to reach base, but Justin Berg got a double play to put the Cubs into position to get out of the inning only down 1 run.  But Paul Janish came through with a clutch 2-out single that gave the Reds a 3-1 lead late in the game.  The Reds tacked on an unearned insurance run in the 9th inning off of Carlos Marmol.  Blake DeWitt’s 2-base error allowed Lance Nix to reach 2nd base.  Then Stubbs came through with another 2-out single to give the Reds a commanding 4-1 lead heading into the final frame.  The Cubs would make it interesting in the 9th inning when Reds’ closer Francisco Cordero walked the bases loaded with only 1 out.  Cordero plunked Starlin Castro to force in a run.  After a Derrek Lee strikeout, Cordero forced in another run by walking Aramis Ramirez.  But he eventually got out of the game by striking out Marlon Byrd to end the game.

Sunday 8/8/10 – Cubs 4, Reds 11 – After a “good” 1st major league start, Thomas Diamond showed his true colors in his 2nd major league start. He had poor control right from the start and that gave the patient hitting Reds team too many early opportunities to tack on runs.  Diamond lasted just 3 innings, giving up 5 ER on 4 hits and 3 walks.  Fellow young pitcher fared equally as bad – Casey Coleman gave up 2 ER on 2 hits and 2 walks in his 3 innings; James Russell gave up an ER on 2 hits and a walk in his 1 inning; and Mitch Atkins “cleaned up” the mess by allowing 3 ER on 5 hits in his 2 innings.  What a joke…

The weekend series sweep is a perfect example of how bad the Cubs season has been.  They got fairly good pitching overall (except for Sunday maybe), but got literally NO consistent offense from the lineup.  0 runs in Friday’s 3-0 loss.  In Saturday’s 4-3 loss, the Cubs got only 6 hits.  Their 1st run scored on a sacrifice fly (not a hit) and their last 2 runs scored because Cordero was a complete wreck – the Cubs didn’t even put the ball in play in the 9th inning against Cordero yet they still scored 2 runs.  How pathetic.  Sunday was even worse.  The Cubs did not get their 1st hit of the game off of rookie Travis Wood  until Koyie Hill’s single in 1 out in the bottom of the 6th inning.  In the 7th inning, Jeff Baker homered for a legitimate run.  Then Lee walked and Ramirez doubled him to 3rd base.  But then Juan Francisco’s throwing error allowed Lee and Ramirez to score.  Now sure, Lee probably would have scored on the ground out even without Francisco’s error and Ranirez likely would have scored on a sacrifice fly during Soriano’s fly out in the next at-bat, but it just seems like the Cub shave to rely on the other team’s mistakes in order to score runs.  In the 3-game series, the Cubs scored runs in only 3 of the 27 innings played.  And in one of those innings – the 9th inning on Saturday – they only scored 2 runs because Cordero handed it to them on a silve platter with 4 walks and 1 hit batsman.  Keep in mind – the Cubs scored 15 runs in 4 different innings in Wednesday’s win over the Brewers – which by the way, is their only win in the last 11 games.

Things have gone from bad to worse for this Cubs squad.  I really feel bad for the new Cubs manager during the 2011 MLB schedule.  This team as constructed has no confidence in themselves.  The team is going to continue to struggle offensively for the forseeable future and the young pitchers that the Cubs keep trotting out in 2010 have not been effective either.  This is going to be a work-in-progress, and it’s going to take a patient manager to bring everything together over the next few years as young players mature and bad contracts come off the books (Soriano, Fukudome, Zambrano, Silva) so that Cubs management can slowly bring in new players via free agency to complement the home grown talent.

Carlos Zambrano returns to the starting rotation tonight against the Giants in San Francisco.  This is going to be a must-see event.  I’m really hoping that Zambrano can pitch well the last 8 starts of the season.  If he can show that he has his “head on straight” and that he can still be effective, there could still be some hope that GM Jim Hendry can find a team willing to take a flyer on the problematic Cubs starter.  Should be interesting…

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Diamond Pitches Well, But Cubs Drop 7th Straight – Cubs 2, Brewers 4 – 8/3/10 @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 04 August 2010 by Lou

It was just another frustrating loss for the Cubs – a loss that dropped the squad 15 games below .500 at 46-61.  The Cubs have not had that poor a record since the team finished 30-games under .500 in 2006 with a 66-96 record.  Could they fall that low before the end of the 2010 MLB campaign?  It wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

Manager Lou Pinella was back managing his “major league team” after spending 3 days in Florida to attend to a family funeral, and he was not pleased with his team’s continued lack of clutch hitting — “Again, we get people on and we just don’t get them in.  That’s been a recurring theme… It’s good to play hard and be competitive, but moral victories … I think that’s OK for the Little League coach.  You’ve got to work your way out of this.  These other teams, they’re not going to feel sorry for you.  They see a team that’s down and they’re going to play to keep them down.”

I love the Little League line – we’re gonna miss you next year Lou.

Rookie Thomas Diamond made his major league debut and took the loss, but it wasn’t all bad.  He pitched 6 innings giving up 3 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks.  He struck out 10 Brewers hitters, becoming only the 2nd Cubs pitcher to strike out at least 10 batters in his major league debut (Mark Prior did the same in his 1st start in 2002).  The 27-year old has spent 7 seasons in the minor leagues and he will start against the Reds on Sunday as well.

James Russell, Andrew Cashner and Carlos Marmol combined to pitch the final 2 2/3 innings of the game without allowing a run (unlike Monday night).

The Cubs had their chances — 11 hits and 2 walks — but like Lou said, they never came through with any clutch hits.  They scored a run in the 1st inning on Derrek Lee’s single, but didn’t find a way to push another run across until the 9th inning.  The Cubs had a runner on base in every inning except for the 5th inning.  They left 2 runners on base in each of the 3rd and 8th innings without scoring a single run.  The Cubs were just 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position?!  Their team batting average of .243 with runners in scoring position is a joke for the team boasting the highest payroll in the National League – what a waste of money.

Ryan Dempster looks to help the Cubs avoid the 3-game sweep at the hands of the Brewers.  Dempster has struggled of late (allowing at least 3 ER and 7 hits in each of his last 3 starts) as he has not won a game in 3 straight starts…

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