Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Turning Point Continues

The Cubs have their first 3 game winning streak ever since 2006. Zambrano was solid, the hits came rolling in, and I don't really have anything to complain about. Except that Lou still hasn't been ejected from a game. I've got faith that will happen soon enough though.

Game Summary for April 28th, 2007

  • Score: Cubs manhandle the Cardinals, 8-1.
  • Player of the Game: Jacque Jones. Great running catch, and a huge three run homer.
  • Subject of Lou's Wrath: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Jerks.
  • Comments: Zambrano was solid for once, Jacque Jones was amazing, all is well with the world. I'm still not sure why Lou keeps starting Jones in center and Floyd in right instead of the Pie-Jones outfield, but as long as we win I'm not going to complain too much.
  • Magic Number: 145, pending today's Houston-Milwaukee game.
Tomorrow is the series finale and the chance to sweep the Cards in their own house. Rich Hill against some guy named Kip Wells. This oughta be good.

Tony La Russa is a Classy Fellow

Most days, or basically all the time, I hate the Cardinals. I'm not sure what the reason is for this, I think it's just because they're considered to be the main rivals for the Cubs. Some would argue it is out of jealousy, but I would never want to be a Cardinals fan. They're all hicks.

Mr. La Russa, however, turned out to be a lot classier than I imagined. After I had spent a good amount of time seriously considering how to turn his DUI episode into a t-shirt, something like this happens. It's not often you see a manager give his hometown newspaper crap for ripping on the other team.

Lou for the record has said that the article didn't really bother him that much, despite the fact that it also rips on his 116 win Seattle Mariners team. However some players, such as Derrek Lee and Rich Hill, took offense to it. I started to read it, but it was more of the same garbage I've heard my whole life so I decided to do something more exciting and watch some paint dry. Sounds like the Post-Dispatch is running out of creativity.

So here's to you Tony. You may be a drunk, I may hate your team, and you're probably pissed off right now about losing 7-0. But you're a better man I thought you were.

Friday, April 27, 2007

There's a First Time for Everything

Today was a day of firsts:
  • First time the Cubs have won a game that was within 2 runs
  • First time the Cubs have won back to back games since April 7th against the Brewers
  • Felix Pie's first home run as a major leaguer
  • First time the Bulls have won an away game in the playoffs since Michael Jordan played
  • First time this blog received 100 hits. And 200. And 300. And...let's just go all the way up to 1,000.
  • First time the Bulls have advanced to the second round of the playoffs since MJ (I'm assuming this based on the fact that no team has lost a series after going 3-0).

If you watched the Bulls game, good for you. It was exciting. I won't write about it in depth, because that's not what we do here. We're a Cubs blog. So on with the Cubs.

Tonight's game was a lot more tense than it should have been. Marquis had a healthy lead until he gave up a 2 run homer to Yadier Molina, at which point Lou brought in the shaky bullpen to scare everybody watching at home. I plan on sending my medical bills for the near heart attack I suffered directly to Ryan Dempster for being inches away from giving up the game tying home run to Scott Spezio. I still feel that Wednesday was the turning point for this team, but today's performance didn't make me much more confident.

Game Summary for April 27th, 2007

  • Score: Cubs defeat the Cardinals, 5-3.
  • Player of the Game: Felix Pie. Hit a 2 run blast, the first of his major league career. I'm sure there will be many more to come.
  • Subject of Lou's Wrath: Ryan Theriot. Lou shows trust in the kid by putting him in the starting lineup for a second day and he responds by going 0-for-4 and making a dumb play at short that should have resulted in everyone being safe and us not winning this game so easily. Starting The Riot is not supposed to be this stressful.
  • Comments: Marquis pitched another relatively solid game, at least up until the 7th inning when he gave up that home run. His ERA is still very low at 2.35, but he's starting to look a little shaky. Lock it down Marquis. Pie and Aramis each had a home run, showing that maybe the power is returning to the Cubs. And I swear Soriano is taking batting tips from Sammy Sosa. He swung at two straight pitches that hit the dirt about 5 feet in front of him. He should not be our leadoff man.
  • Magic Number: 146. Still got a lot of work ahead of us.

Decisions, Decisions...

The Cubs game starts in about 40 minutes, and since it features Jason Marquis with vengeance burning in his eyes, you would think I would want to watch it. To be honest, I do. However, there is also a Bulls playoff game on at 7. Normally I would pick the Cubs over the Bulls, but if the Bulls can win tonight they'll be up 3-0 and almost assured a spot in the second round. So I have a conundrum. Revenge against the Cardinals, or victory against the Heat? I can always flip between the two when one is at commercial, but at times I will have to make a decision. I'm still not sure which way I'll go. Picture in picture would be a nice thing to have right now.

On a side note, I've been a faithful reader of Deadspin for a couple of months now, ever since I discovered KSK through the F--- it, I'm Going Deep post. Reading these blogs is part of what finally got me to get up off my butt and start one of my own. We've been at it for almost a month now, and things have been kind of slow, so I decided to step out on a limb. I wrote a petition about how Wade Miller should never pitch to the Cubs again, and since I knew Will at Deadspin would never read it unless someone told him about it, and because I had basically no readers, I wrote him a lengthy e-mail last night practically begging him to give it a chance. I expected to be shunned for my blatant display of self-promotion. So you can imagine my surprised and ecstatic behavior when I found out that we had been linked to at the most influential sports blog in the world.

Some may consider getting so excited about all this to be unprofessional. Well I am the furthest thing from a professional that you will find, so I'm okay with that. My blog is hosted on Blogger, what did you expect? So to all you Deadspinners who visited, thank you for making my day. Even if you only come here once because you're not a Cubs fan, (and lets face it those are the only people we cater to), for one day I was on top of the sports blogging world. Hopefully some day I shall return to that peak. Until then, RFS and myself will have to step it up and try to deliver what we think is high quality blogging. You may disagree, but I don't really care about what you think. It's my party, I can write boring crap if I want to. As long as you keep coming back to read it.

Game summary, as always, coming later tonight. SITI out.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Groin Attacks Again!

I forgot to mention this in yesterday's game summary. The biggest reason the Cubs won the game is probably because Ben Sheets thought he was playing for the Cubs for a minute. He left in the 3rd inning with a strained groin. Nomar feels your pain, Mr. Sheets.

This image will be burned into your brain until the end of time.

On a side note, there's an interesting article over at The Daily Northwestern about what it's like to play Cubs reporter for a day. The writer even got a hug from Michael Barrett. Oh yeah? Well I high fived Ronnie Woo Woo. Twice. Suck on that.

Petition to Never Let Wade Miller Pitch Again

The Cubs have a problem, and his name is Wade Miller. Mr. Miller is not a good pitcher, which is why the team has put him on the DL with "back spasms". I want to make sure that Wade does not curse this team with his inability to pitch any longer, so I did what any 1st Amendment respecting American would do. I created a petition to achieve this lofty goal.

The full text of the petition is written below, with the permission of the petition's author. That would be me. If you would like to assist us in this noble cause, please follow the link and sign the petition yourself. We must band together to right this horrible wrong.

Petition to Never Let Wade Miller Pitch Again

To: Lou Piniella, Jim Hendry, John McDonough, and other high ranking officials of the Chicago Cubs organization.

We, the undersigned, feel that the Chicago Cubs settled for a fifth pitcher in spring training that was not up to the high standards that have been set for the team this year when Wade Miller was chosen. Even the fact that he had to seriously compete with the injury riddled Mark Prior shows that he was not the best choice for this team. While he has had a few good seasons in recent years playing for the Houston Astros, he constantly reminds us that past success does not always predict future performance.

We feel that the recent actions of relegating Mr. Miller to the disabled list with “back spasms” are a step in the right direction. However, Mr. Piniella has reiterated many times that the team needs a 12th pitcher to be successful. We desire that level of success for the team, and therefore ask that a more permanent solution be put into place. Eventually the team will need a fifth starter again, and this starter should be a young talent that can develop into someone along the lines of Rich Hill. Wasting the team’s time waiting for Mr. Miller to return to his former self is not in the team’s best interest.

Therefore, we ask that the team come up with a solution so that Wade Miller will never pitch as a starter in a Cubs uniform again. It is of no concern to us how this solution is implemented. The most optimal course of action would be to trade Mr. Miller for a young arm that can develop in the Cubs farm system. If a trade cannot be made, however, we recommend that the team prolong the current solution by placing Mr. Miller on the 60 day disabled list. With full knowledge that his aforementioned back spasms are a figment of the organization’s imagination, we recommend that his ailment be listed as a more serious sounding medical condition. These may include, but are not limited to, leprosy, flesh eating bacteria, hot dog fingers, government created killer nano robot infection, Count Choculitis, anal fissures, inverted penis, or any of the multitudes of different STDs available. We suggest that the STDs be used as a last resort, however, as that can damage a man’s ego for life.

In conclusion, we understand that Lou and the Cubs are trying their hardest to win. Sometimes the calls just don’t go your way, the weather messes up your rhythm, and you can’t string together hits to save your life. We feel that all these effects will be diminished if Wade Miller does not pitch as a starting pitcher in a Cubs uniform again this year, and we kindly ask that the organization does whatever necessary to make this dream become reality.


The Undersigned

Season in Review: the 7/54ths Mark (Pitching)

As you probably don't know, cause there's a good chance you've never read this blog before, this was supposed to be a 1/9th season in review. That would have been after 18 games. However, I went to two Cubs games this week and didn't have time to do anything. So it's only fitting that the day when I finally have free time is the day that the Cubs have off, so it's not like there's anything else to write about anyways. I guess I could write about how my old high school principal is terrible, completely overreacts to everything, and does not deserve a job, but that wouldn't be very baseball oriented would it?

So far this year, the theme of the Cubs pitching staff has been...unpredictability. Good pitchers have been bad. Mediocre pitchers have been amazing. And bad pitchers, well they're still pretty bad. Here's a rundown of the way things have been.

Carlos Zambrano

  • Current Stats: 1-2 W-L, 6.91 ERA, 27.1 IP, 23 K
  • Projected Stats: 8-15 W-L, 6.91 ERA, 211 IP, 177 K
  • Thoughts: It is a well documented fact that Carlos is like a freight train, he takes a little time to get going. After a very rough opening day he's settled down a bit. In his last game he left with the lead, but he left early enough that the relievers were doomed to fall apart. His numbers will improve as the season goes on. More wins, lower ERA, more IP, and definitely more strikeouts. Nowhere to go from here but up.
Ted Lilly

  • Current Stats: 2-2 W-L, 2.18 ERA, 33 IP, 33 K
  • Projected Stats: 15-15 W-L, 2.18 ERA, 255 K, 255 IP
  • Thoughts: Lilly has been a pleasant surprise. An impressive ERA combined with a lot of strikeouts means that right now he is making a push to be the ace of the team. He has strict competition though, and right now he sits 3rd of the bunch. He probably won't keep up that frantic ERA pace, but I can see his wins staying around 15, especially if the Cubs can produce some run support.
Jason Marquis

  • Current Stats: 2-1 W-L, 1.88 ERA, 24 IP, 14 K
  • Projected Stats: 15-8 W-L, 1.88 ERA, 185 IP, 108 K
  • Thoughts: While Marquis is posting a ridiculously low ERA, his innings pitched are low as well. He needs to go longer if this bullpen is ever going to get a break. He has been another surprise for the team, even performing well against his former team, the Cardinals. Let's hope he can keep that up tomorrow.
Rich Hill

  • Current Stats: 3-1 W-L, 1.57 ERA, 28.2 IP, 23 K
  • Projected Stats: 23-8 W-L, 1.57 ERA, 221 IP, 177 K
  • Thoughts: Rich Hill is the undisputed ace of the staff at the moment. And it's no fluke, I said before the season began that he was going to be great. I'm not sure if I thought he was going to be this great, but I should have. Continuing where he left off at the end of last year, Hill has decimated the opposition in every game but one. The Brewers game was a fluke, he'll be back on track next week. On a side note, if I had done this 3 days ago like I was supposed to, I would have given Hill projected stats of a 27-0 W-L and a 0.41 ERA. Just goes to show how inaccurate these will be.
Wade Miller

  • Current Stats: 0-1 W-L, 10.54 ERA, 13.2 IP, 6 K
  • Projected Stats: 0-1 W-L, 10.54 ERA, 13.2 IP, 6 K
  • Thoughts: Wade Miller will not pitch a game for the Cubs again. I'm in the process of writing a petition to see to that. Expect that to be up later today or sometime tomorrow.
The Relievers:
  • Bob Howry: Has returned to almost last years form, posting a decent 3.65 ERA. Has already compiled 2 losses though, which means his talent is coming in spurts. Needs to regain some of that consistency and he'll be fine.
  • Scott Eyre: Has pitched 7 innings, given up 10 runs, and posted a whopping 12.86 ERA. Worse than Wade Miller. We know he has talent though, but if he doesn't find it soon I don't know how much longer we can let him pitch.
  • Michael Wuertz: The best reliever on this staff, has given up only one run in 12 innings of work. I call him the janitor cause he cleans up other people's crap. I don't see why he isn't the closer, or at least the setup man.
  • Ryan Dempster: Hasn't blown any saves yet, which is promising. Keeping things calm with a 2.45 ERA, but I still cringe whenever he comes into a close game.
  • Neal Cotts: Has been flawless so far with no runs given up in 8.2 innings pitched. I don't know why we haven't used him more often. Have him and Wuertz teaming up as the setup men and we're golden.
  • Angel Guzman: Was doing much better than last year's shoddy performace until he was sent down to the minors to make room for Pie. Now that Pie is staying, and Miller is hopefully off the team, the Cubs need to find a way to bring him up as the fifth starter. I think a trade is in order, but not for any pitchers because Lou demands 12 of them, and 12 he shall have.
  • Will Ohman: Another reliever who is struggling this year, Ohman needs to lock it down. The only reason that Cubs fans everywhere aren't crying out against him is that no one has any energy left after complaining about Eyre.
  • Rocky Cherry: Brought up a couple days ago after Miller suffered his "back spasms", I'm still not sure what to make of Cherry. He's done fairly well so far, and I'm not even mad at him for losing the game a couple of days ago because I really wanted to go home anyways. Twelve innings is way too many for a baseball game.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

"We will not go quietly into the night!..."

"...We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!"

It's like the Cubs are the world, see? And Derrek Lee is Will Smith, the hotshot who everyone loves that gets a chance to show he's got what it takes to go into space. And Ryan Theriot is Jeff Goldblum, the guy that no one gave quite enough credit to when he deserved it. Papa Lou is Bill Pullman cause he runs everything, and when you're sucking at protecting your world he'll rally the troops. The aliens are the Brewers, who have been beating the pants off of the Cubs, blowing up their White Houses and Taj Mahals. And then Derrek Lee and Ryan Theriot combine their powers to tag team it up and take out those mo-fos. And Ted Lilly? Ummmmm he's just some overpaid pitcher that's lucky Will Smith is there to save his butt again. He can be Jeff Golblum's dad, the crazy jewish guy. Yeah, that'll work.

Game Summary for April 25th, 2007

  • Score: Cubs save some dignity by beating the Brewers, 9-3.
  • Player of the Game: Will Smith, a.k.a. Derrek Lee. Went 4-for-5 with 2 RBIs, 2 Runs, and his first homer of the year. Fitting stats for someone who has saved the earth from aliens at least three times.
  • Subject of Lou's Wrath: Jacque Jones. Went 0-for-4, and made some horrible plays in the outfield. I didn't actually watch the game, but it's Jacque Jones we're talking about, it must be true.
  • Comments: I honestly believe this game will be a turning point for the team. Today's lineup should be it permanently. Theriot deserves the spot at short, it's not like Cesar's defense has been that good anyways. Derrek Lee finally got that first homer, Pie has 5 hits in the last 3 games, and the Cubs offense did pretty much everything right. Get Soriano back out there in left field and we should be good to go. And I still think Jacque Jones needs to go. He gives me dirty looks.
  • Magic Number: 147 baby. So close to the division title I can taste it.

Cubs have the day off tomorrow. Friday they start a three game series against the Redbirds, with the comeback kid Jason Marquis looking for a second game of revenge. Do I sense a two game winning streak coming on?

Prior Update

Good News: The Cubs say that the surgery went well.

Bad News: They are reporting that he's on the shelf for the rest of the year. Looks like they found exactly what I speculated.

The Worst News: My official Mark Prior prediction is shot.


Right now the game is under rain delay (God's way of saving the Cubs from a humiliating sweep). If we ever play ball today, Ryan "the riot" Theriot will be starting at short. This has the potential to be a genius move by Lou, if Ryan can efficiently play the position.

Announcing that last night's starting lineup would be pretty much the constant for the next few weeks, Pinella immediately changed it this afternoon after a lethargic offensive showing. This possibly be due to the fact that the number 3 hitter on the team hasn't been getting enough cuts at the plate as of late.

Ryan has yet to give the Cubs a reason to keep him out of the starting lineup, so let's all pray that he can handle short. He is an offensive spark, and after last night, we need that bad. There's no reason why this team can't score 4-5 runs a game without breaking a sweat.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bill Hall Still Sucks, Just Not as Much

Today's game was not as much of a rowdy affair as yesterday's game. We were sitting in the second row where the incredibly drunk people were yesterday, and well, we were not incredibly drunk. Therefore, we did not succeed in harassing Bill Hall until our lungs collapsed. Because of this he managed to get a hit, and the Cubs soundly lost. No real highlights to share except that we were right next to security guy Scott again, and he's still the coolest. And I had an actually conversation with Ronnie Woo Woo this time, which basically amounted to talking about how the Cubs were going to win. Too bad it didn't actually happen. If we can't win with Hill on the mound, what hope do we have?

Game Summary for April 24th, 2007

  • Score: Cubs lose a rainy one to the Brewers, 4-1.
  • Player of the Game: Mark DeRosa. Got an RBI double in the 9th, for the only offense the Cubs could muster.
  • Subject of Lou's Wrath: I want to say Rich Hill here, but I can't considering he still has a 1.57 ERA. He did fail pretty badly during this game though, however with no run support it would have been hard to win even with a shutout. So I think the whole team is getting an earful tonight.
  • Comments: Lou came out and said before the game that today's lineup will be the permanent one that he'll work with for now. Well Lou, you might want to rethink that statement. Rich Hill was not his normal self, and the Cubs couldn't get anything going. Add the rain to that and it turned out to be a fairly depressing game. So much so that I left in the 8th inning, and I never leave a Cubs game early.
  • Magic Number: Still 149. I hate the Brewers with a passion.

Tomorrow is the final game of the series, with the surprisingly good Ted Lilly facing off against the surprisingly bad Ben Sheets. It would be fitting if the one game in this series that I didn't go to was the one game that we actually won. Let's hope that happens.

Bill Hall Sucks! Bill Hall Sucks! Bill Hall.....well, you get the idea.

During tonight's game I discovered the true power of the left-center field bleachers. The drunk gentlemen behind me held an impassioned hatred for Bill Hall, and they did everything they could to make this known. They began with "F--- you Bill Hall! Hey Bill, your mother's a @$%*#!", and whatever else they could come up with. After the security guy who doesn't actually get to watch the game told them that profanity and insulting immediate family was not allowed, they reverted to "Bill Hall sucks!", "Hey Bill, you're a moron!", and "Hey Bill, you suck!". They couldn't come up with much else. As it turns out, a couple hundred of drunk bleacher bums chanting that you suck really has an effect on your self esteem. Mr. Hall went 0-for-6, something we reminded him of every time he came back to the outfield.

We are not only a force for evil, however. Jacque Jones spent the majority of the game in center field for some unexplained reason, and once he moved over to right field he did something remarkable. First of all, he made a great diving catch. But more importantly, he threw the ball on the was to 3rd base on one bounce! That was unprecedented.

Once Felix Pie came into the game in center field our attention turned to him, and he churned out two hits in the late innings that ending up not helping our team win at all. It's more than he had been doing lately on offense though.

Some other highlights of the Wrigley experience:
  • The college kid sitting two seats over from me caught a ball tossed to him by a Brewer outfielder, and a home run hit during batting practice. I caught nothing.
  • Showing up two and a half hours early to a game that wasn't even close to sold out meant that I had a chance to get a good picture of the Harry Caray statue without anyone in the way for once.
  • Showing up early also meant that front row in the bleachers was available, which allowed us to partake in the constant heckling of the aforementioned Bill Hall.
  • Having beer spilled on my sweatshirt an hour before the game started. That was fun.
  • Saw Ronnie Woo Woo again, didn't get a high five this time though. He didn't come down to our part of the bleachers.
  • I yelled at Jacque Jones once asking how many outs there were. He flashed me the two sign, which was awesome. About an inning later I told him that he threw like my sister.
So that was my game. A lot of fun, but any 12 inning game where you lose is depressing at the end of it all.

Game Summary for April 23rd, 2007

  • Score: Cubs lose to the Brew Crew, 5-4 in 12 innings.
  • Player of the Game: Aramis Ramirez. Hit his 200th career home run, a solo shot that gave the Cubs a fairly solid lead.
  • Subject of Lou's Wrath: The umpires. The last out was made on a ridiculous called third strike where the ball nearly landed in the dirt. Lou had some words for them in the tunnel after the game.
Piniella was not available to the media after the game. He and Perry exchanged some words with the umpires as everyone was headed to their respective clubhouses through the same tunnel, and Perry had to be pulled away. None of the words can be made available either. This is a family Web site.
  • Comments: Zambrano failed to get a win again, continuing his April struggles. This time it was not his fault, however, as he left the game with a 4-2 lead. Scott Eyre came in and did what he does best, giving up two runs to dissolve the lead. The Cubs had trouble stringing together hits and failed to score after the third inning. Rocky Cherry made his Major League debut, giving up a solo home run to Prince Fielder and picking up the loss.
  • Magic Number: 149. Can't gain any ground when you lose to the division leaders.
I will be at the game again tomorrow, and since Rich Hill is pitching I am hoping for a better outcome. On a side note, Wade Miller was placed on the disabled list with 'back spasms', which I believe is medical speak for having a 10.54 ERA. In the meantime I'm going to try and find out exactly what Lou said to those umps.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sorting the infield...out

Ok, so there really isn't much to sort out here. Derek's got first, Aramis owns third.


Sources close to (Len and Bob on WGN) have confirmed that Lou had both Theriot and DeRosa taking grounders at shortstop today before the game.

This is an intriguing idea. Both of these guys give a boost to the offense when they are in the lineup, but at what cost could it be if MarkyMark or The Riot can't handle arguably the hardest position on the field?

Then again, Izturis has yet to live up to his gold glove reputation and Ronny still hasn't fulfilled the potential that the Cubs always rave about, so why not give it a shot sometime?

Lou has seemed content with coloring outside the lines thus far with the lineup, so if our current shortstops don't get their acts together soon...

Explore this.

It's official. Prior's going to be having "exploratory surgery" to figure out what exactly is wrong with his arm/shoulder.

Basically, that means the doc is going to have a look-see, and then if he finds something, he'll go ahead and fix it. I already know what he's going to find:

"Mark has vast, lingering traces of Dusty Baker in his shoulder, which is causing pretty extensive damage. Not to mention a lot of Larry Rothschild that's really mucking things up."

As usual, the Cubs refuse to announce a timetable as to his return. However, rumor has it that the organization has already contacted the Brewers in an effort to acquire the valued simulated game hitter Jose Macias for Mark's rehab.

Sorting the outfield...out

We have a problem. As my colleague pointed out, there is quite a bit of congestion out by the ivy. But first, let's set the mood:

Currently we have 5 outfielders:
For 3 spots. Not to mention:

All of these guy are taking pre-game flies, just in case.

Lou has indicated that he would like boost the bullpen up with a 12th pitcher (because Wade Miller still has to pitch every 5 days). So, someone has to go.

Soriano pretty much has LF locked up, as long as he stays healthy. After that, things get foggy.

Floyd: Is too old to get send down as far as I know, not to mention Hendry is in love with him. His left-handed bat is valuable as long as he pushes his .261 average up a few points.

Jones: Also might be too old to actually demote to the minors. He's a lefty too, and historically takes a few weeks to get into the...swing...of things. His opposite field power is great when the winds blowing out to left and has the ability to play center if needed.

Murton: In my opinion, the red-head could be the one to go. He hasn't shown that he deserves to start over Cliff, and I'm unsure how he would work out if we needed him in center. He could use some time to get back to form.

Pie: He could go too. His average is low, which begs the question if he's ready for the majors. However, he is a solid asset in CF. The team needs that defense (especially if the pitchers can keep opposing batters in the park).

DeRosa, Theriot, Cedeno: None of these guys really should leave the infield, with the exception of The Riot. He's proved he belongs in the lineup everyday.

In conclusion: We need the extra pitcher. If we don't send down Ward, who's pretty much useless, it should be Murton. But I'm not in charge...

Season in Review: The 1/9th Mark (Offense)

Who came up with a 162 game season? Doesn't that seem like a really strange number to settle on? Why not just stop at 160, or better yet, 150? No they went with 162, a number that you can't divide by 10. So I'm going with a better number, 9. Every 18 games, or 1/9th of the season, I will be reviewing how the Cubs are doing so far.

Today was game number 18, and the Cubs have already been through their star player getting injured and recovering. Now that he is back, starting tomorrow, there is a logjam of people wanting to play in right field. Assuming that Pie performs well enough to stay up in the big leagues, Hendry really does need to deal someone or else this presents a bit of a problem.

As for the team's progress so far, we're 7-11. Not exactly where we had hoped to be. However, considering we've endured Zambrano's horrible April and Soriano's injury, I think things could be worse. The offense will get things moving, and Lou will get a little angrier with each passing day. If you look at the stats, you can see where those numbers are going to improve and how much of a difference that will make on the offensive side. I've outlined those below. Pitching review comes tomorrow, or when I have some free time, whichever comes first.


Alfonso Soriano

  • Was injured in the 12th game of the season with a strained hamstring. Replaced by the much anticipated Felix Pie. Has no home runs, a disappointing average, and is generally underperforming.
  • Current Stats: .260 AVG, 6 R, 1 RBI, 0 HR, .302 OBP.
  • Projected Stats: .260 AVG, 78 R, 13 RBI, 0 HR, .302 OBP.
  • Thoughts: Those are not leadoff man numbers. Those aren't even little league numbers. We know that he'll pick up the slack but wow, looks like a waste of time and money right now.

Matt Murton

  • Sharing playing time with Cliff Floyd, which isn't helping his numbers. Will play even less if he's sharing right field with Floyd and Jones. Hendry needs to deal someone quickly.
  • Current Stats: .278 AVG, .333 OBP, 6 R, 2 RBI, 0 HR.
  • Projected Stats: .278 AVG, .333 OBP, 64 R, 18 RBI, 0 HR.
  • Thoughts: Again, I'm sure these numbers will go up. Maybe not the average part, but the RBIs and runs will catch up once he gets back into some sort of groove. A couple of the Cubs just haven't gotten into the swing of things yet. Which brings me to...

Derrek Lee

  • Current Stats: .348 AVG, .451 OBP, 14 R, 11 RBI, 0 HR.
  • Projected Stats: .348 AVG, .451 OBP, 126 R, 99 RBI, 0 HR.
  • Thoughts: Lee is putting up batting title numbers right now, he just hasn't gotten that first home run yet. The RBIs should be a little higher too, but that's probably coming from Alfonso's inability to get on. Lee will be incredible this year.

Aramis Ramirez

  • Current Stats: .339 AVG, .371 OBP, 9 R, 12 RBI, 3 HR.
  • Projected Stats: .339 AVG, .371 OBP, 81 R, 108 RBI, 27 HR.
  • Thoughts: Aramis is another player whose power numbers should pick up the pace as time goes on. It won't be as drastic, but I would be surprised if his home runs weren't in the 35-40 range at least. His average is great though, keep that up A-Ram.

Michael Barrett

  • Current Stats: .281 AVG, .348 OBP, 7 R, 15 RBI, 4 HR.
  • Projected Stats: .281 AVG, .348 OBP, 63 R, 135 RBI, 36 HR.
  • Thoughts: In this case, Barrett's numbers will go down slightly. His numbers are a little inflated because he has had 3 home runs in the past three games. So if I had done this review two games ago, I would have been projecting 20 home runs for him. Either way, he's doing a great job as a hitting catcher.

Mark DeRosa

  • Current Stats: .259 AVG, .310 OBP, 6 R, 13 RBI, 4 HR.
  • Projected Stats: .259 AVG, .310 OBP, 54 R, 117 RBI, 36 HR
  • Thoughts: DeRosa has been pleasantly surprising. Put up good power numbers from the start, showing that maybe last year wasn't a fluke. Has been fairly versatile in the field as well, playing infield and outfield as needed.

Jacque Jones

  • Current Stats: .292 AVG, .361 OBP, 7 R, 3 RBI, 0 HR.
  • Projected Stats: .292 AVG, .361 OBP, 63 R, 27 RBI, 0 HR.
  • Thoughts: This is yet another example of getting off to a slow start. Like the others, his average is good put the power numbers just aren't there. May come in time, or we may trade him. I hope it's the latter.

Cesar Izturis

  • Current Stats: .182 AVG, .250 OBP, 3 R, 2 RBI, 0 HR.
  • Projected Stats: .182 AVG, .250 OBP, 27 R, 18 RBI, 0 HR.
  • Thoughts: Cesar isn't supposed to be a great hitter, we know that. But a .182 average? That's not gonna fly. And he's not being the gold glove shortstop we're paying for either, considering he had 3 errors in one game. Bad form Cesar. Bad form.

Felix Pie

  • Current Stats: .136 AVG, .174 OBP, 3 R, 1 RBI, 0 HR.
  • Projected Stats: .136 AVG, .174 OBP, 89 R, 30 RBI, 0 HR.
  • Thoughts: These numbers have been adjusted to assume that Felix will play every game for the rest of the season. He's only played in 5 so far so these projections will be completely off. The average will pick up, the power will pick up, and at the rate he's going he'll finish the year with about 162 spectacular plays in center field.

Ryan Theriot

  • Current Stats: .347 AVG, .373 OBP, 8 R, 4 RBI, 0 HR
  • Projected Stats: .347 AVG, .373 OBP, 72 R, 36 RBI, 0 HR
  • Thoughts: Despite not having a spot in the lineup to begin the year, Theriot has managed to play in all but one game. And he has been on a tear, especially in the last few. There's no room in the lineup for him though, whether in the outfield or infield. He deserves a spot, but there are none left. Yet another reason why Jones needs to go.

Cliff Floyd

  • Current Stats: .261 AVG, .277 OBP, 6 R, 6 RBI, 1 HR
  • Projected Stats: .261 AVG, .277 OBP, 54 R, 54 RBI, 9 HR
  • Thoughts: Floyd is getting more playing time than Murton, most likely because he is a lefty and Murton is a righty. Usually in a veteran-youngster platoon it's the other way around. He hasn't had any issues related to his injury which is very promising. And he's yet another reason why Hendry needs to deal some players, this makes Floyd, Murton, Jones, and Theriot who all deserve a spot in the outfield, and we only have room for one of them.

Honorable Mention:
  • Zambrano and Marquis are both batting .300+, and Zambrano is technically on pace to hit 12 home runs, or more than Derrek Lee in 1/5th of the games.
  • Henry Blanco is batting .125 and he's awful. I love the guy but come on, learn to hit man. How can you be that much worse than 2 of our pitchers?
  • Ronny Cedeno is hitting .107 and is even worse than Blanco.
  • Daryle Ward has found his way into 14 games and hasn't done much of anything notable. And apparently he's so slow that Jason Marquis gets to pinch hit for him, even if it means we have no one to play first base the next inning.
I'll be at the game tonight and tomorrow. Sometime soon I'll get in a review of the pitching. Let's just say Rich Hill = Cy Young for now. I was going to do it here but it turned out to be really long. I think less detail is needed in the future.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Roller Coaster Ride of Emotion

This game was ridiculous. A brief synopsis:
  • Cubs score 2.
  • Cards score 2.
  • Cubs get 2 more.
  • Cards strike back.
  • Cards go up by 3.
  • Aramis!!!
  • Howry gives up 2 more.
  • Soriano???
  • DeRosa!
  • Dempster becomes Pujols' plaything.
  • Cubs fail.

Wade Miller needs to never pitch again. I'm thinking of starting a petition to this end. Maybe I'll post one up here later.

Game Summary for April 22nd, 2007

  • Score: Cubs throw it away against the Cardinals, 12-9, 10 innings.
  • Player of the Game: Aramis Ramirez. Clutch 3 run homer to put us back even with the Cardinals, only to have us throw it away later. Picking up where he left off last September.
  • Subject of Lou's Wrath: Wade Miller. Needs to lay in a hole and die. Is going to give Lou an ulcer.
  • Comments: This game was a slugfest with the wind blowing out. We score, they score, we score again, they score again, they take the lead, we tie it up, they take the lead again, we tie it up again, Dempster gives up a 3 run homer to Pujols. Game, set, match. Somewhere in there we saw the early return of Alfonso Soriano pinch hitting for Pie. He hit a double, showing that he is a better hitter when he's injured. Sad.
  • Magic Number: 149. Oh thank heaven, we're 7-11. I hate myself for saying that.

Tomorrow will bring sweet relief in the form of the Milwaukee Brewers, the only team we have yet to win a series against. Zambrano is pitching though, which worries me. I should be at the game so I'll recap it late tomorrow night. Gotta love those college discounts.

Ron Santo Hospitalized

Ron Santo was hospitalized again on Saturday night. This time it was for an irregular heartbeat, which thankfully is nothing major directly related to his diabetes. It's still a cause for concern though. So keep Ron in your prayers people, he needs all the help he can get if he wants to make it until the Cubs win the World Series. Especially since that won't happen until 2108 at the rate we're going.