Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 04/01/11

Game One – Opening Day: Cubs (0-0) vs. Pirates (0-0)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Ryan Dempster (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Kevin Correia (0-0, -.–/-.–)

Chicago Cubs Baseball is on the Air! Spring Training is over…It’s Opening Day.

Weather permitting … the Chicago Cubs will play their first meaningful game of the year. A win today would mark the first time since the end of the 2009 season that the Cubs held a .500 or better record. After making the trip from Arizona to Chicago, the Cubs held a workout at Wrigley Field Thursday in preparation for Opening Day.

Mike Quade will be introduced this afternoon as the manager of the Chicago Cubs, his first Opening Day as a big league skipper. Quade was named the interim manager when Lou Piniella stepped down on August 22 and the team responded with a 24-13 record under ‘Q’ (Cubs finished 2010 with a 75-87 record, fifth place). The players, led by Ryan Dempster, wanted to have Jim Hendry name Quade the team’s permanent manager and they got their wish on October 19.

The Cubs made three important changes to their roster over the off-season. Carlos Pena signed a one-year deal during the Winter Meetings and Hendry traded for Matt Garza in January. But the addition that made a rough off-season a little more enjoyable was the return of Kerry Wood. Wood had a solid spring and could play a big role in a bullpen that looks very good on paper.

Ryan Dempster takes the hill this afternoon for his first Opening Day in a Cubs’ uniform. When Mike Quade named Dempster his Opening Day starter, Dempster called it an honor … today will be Dempster’s third career Opening Day start.

Dempster is without a doubt one of the leaders in the Cubs clubhouse and has been one of the most consistent pitchers on the North Side since he moved back to the starting rotation in 2008.

Quade has talked about the importance of getting off to a good start. The Cubs have a favorable schedule in April but they face several teams they have struggled with in recent years. First up is the Battlin’ Bucs.

The Cubs played some of their worst ball of 2010 against the pesky Pirates. They left them hanging around every game while Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Garrett Jones padded their stats against Cubs’ pitching. The Northsiders finished 2010 with a 5-10 record against the Pirates … a team that won only 57 games all season (57-105).

For only the second time in 10 seasons, the Cubs will open a season at Wrigley Field.

Somewhere Ron Santo is saying, “This is our year!” Ronnie is missed and his absence will be felt today and throughout the season …

Mike Quade announced his Opening Day lineup Thursday … and the Cubs’ skipper decided to give Darwin Barney the nod at second base.

Cubs Opening Day Lineup:

  • Kosuke Fukudome – RF
  • Starlin Castro – SS
  • Marlon Byrd – CF
  • Aramis Ramirez – 3B
  • Carlos Pena – 1B
  • Geovany Soto – C
  • Alfonso Soriano – LF
  • Darwin Barney – 2B
  • Ryan Dempster – P

Ryan Dempster is coming off his third straight 200-plus season. Dempster posted a 15-12 record in 34 starts with a 3.85 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP (208 strikeouts and 86 walks in 215 1/3 innings). Dempster, like many of his teammates, was inconsistent at best at Wrigley (5-7 in 16 starts with a 4.74 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP compared to a 10-5 record in 18 starts with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP on the road). For the Cubs to remain in the race they will have to play better at Wrigley … and Dempster getting off to a good start would set the right example.

For as good a Twenty-Ten campaign as Dempster put together he served up a lot of home runs (25 in 215 1/3 innings, second highest total of his career … 30 in 2000) and he must figure out a way to keep the ball in the park … while maintaining a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio.

Today will be Dempster’s 21st career start against the Pirates. He is 6-10 in 45 career games, 20 starts, with a 5.63 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP. Dempster was winless against the Bucs in 2010 … 0-3 in three starts with a 6.88 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP.

Pirates’ Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster

  • Pedro Alvarez – 1-for-2 with a double
  • Ronny Cedeno – 5-for-10 with a double
  • Kevin Correia – 0-for-1 with a walk
  • Matt Diaz – 0-for-1
  • Garrett Jones – 2-for-13 with a home run and 2 walks
  • Andrew McCutchen – 3-for-12 with 2 walks
  • Lyle Overbay – 0-for-1 with 4 walks
  • Jose Tabata – 1-for-2 with a triple and a walk
  • Neil Walker – 3-for-4 with a double

The Cubs will get their first look at the Clint Hurdle led Pirates. While Pittsburgh’s pitching staff is filled with question marks, the Pirates offense features several very good young hitters. Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez all feasted on Cubs pitching last year and hopefully they will change their approach under Mark Riggins.

Kevin Correia received the surprising call to get the ball on Opening Day. Correia had a decent season in San Diego a year ago (10-10 with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP). The first-year Pirate has pitched on the West Coast (Padres and Giants) throughout his career splitting time in starting rotations and bullpens.

Correia is 1-2 in eight career games, four starts, against the Cubs with a 5.63 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP … at Wrigley, 1-2 in six games, two starts, with a 8.49 ERA and a 2.06 WHIP. Correia pitched six shutout innings in his only game against the Cubs last season (no runs on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts in six innings).

Cubs’ Career Numbers against Kevin Correia

  • Jeff Baker – 2-for-5 with a home run
  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Marlon Byrd – 0-for-10
  • Ryan Dempster – 0-for-3
  • Blake DeWitt – 1-for-8 with a double and 2 walks
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 4-for-13
  • Koyie Hill – 0-for-2
  • Reed Johnson – 0-for-1
  • Carlos Pena – 1-for-2 with a walk
  • Aramis Ramirez – 1-for-9 with a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-6
  • Geovany Soto – 2-for-6 with a double and 2 walks

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney
  • GrantJones7

    As bad as were are more then likley going to be, i hope i eat my words and we do great!

    • studio179

      Ha-ha! Already pre-qualifying comments before the first pitch…

      Kidding. I hear you.

      • GrantJones7

        I think thats how most of us feel. I hope i do but i highly doubt i will!

  • Neil

    From Comcast SportsNet:

    Quade just told me in a 1on1 that Soriano might bat leadoff later this week.

    EDIT – This was an April Fool’s Day joke … and I fell for it. Sorry.

    • studio179


      Now this must be an April Fool’s joke.

    • cubs1967

      if it gets Colvin in the line-up; like a team that wants to win and show its’ fans that the highest tix price in baseball is worth it; then No joke; do it.

      if Colvin gets the game-winning hit as a PH today; Quade should be fired ASAP>

  • Agustin_Rexach

    Goooooooooooooooooooood mooooooooooooooooooorning Vietnam!!!!

    Yes play ball and Neil thanks for giving us lots of baseball in times where there is no baseball. You have no clue how important that is and all that work can’t go unoticed. Have a great openning day CCO!

  • Richard Hood

    Well the one day a year you can get by with HUGE predictions is here. Lets get 100 wins this year guys, get to a World Series and make all the detractors eat a little crow. LOL we all know on paper that isn’t happening but hope and faith are the best parts of opening day.

    LETS GO CUBS. Ronnie and Harry keep the beer cold for us believers we are going to be needing them soon enough celebrate at last.

  • nick_ss

    It is Finally here!!
    Let’s go CUBS!!!

  • Aaron


    Are you in Chicago? Is anyone there on this site? I’m wondering if the game will even be played. Sunday and Monday aren’t looking good either, so hopefully they get this one in.

    • GrantJones7

      Im an hour out and i see lots of gray

    • Craig Y

      I searched on google for the live wrigley field cam, and I am currently watching out in front of the main gate and it’s looking a bit cloudy there. Definatly more than it was earlier. I am hoping they get this one in though.

    • BosephHeyden

      I’m an hour north of Chicago and we got snow. Lots of it. It’s coming down hard enough that it looks like it is sticking, but it isn’t nearly cold enough outside to keep it sticking around.

  • ripken boy

    The Cubbies are coming tra-la-la-la.
    That wouldn’t be a homerun in a phonebooth.
    That play went out with high button shoes

    We still miss you Harry and Go Cubs!!!!!

    • studio179

      Good ‘ole Harry.

      ‘Ah, you can’t beat fun at the old ball park’.

  • studio179

    Today, I was north of the city. Like others from the north posted, the snow is heavy. Not sticking much. It is turning from snow to rain and back to snow.

    • Jody D

      Is everything still on as scheduled????

  • Craig Y

    13 mins away.. Rain rain stay away.

  • Neil

    And the first pitch of the 2011 season is high and inside …

  • Tony

    There’s 1 hit taken away by Castro!

    • Tony

      That play by Castro is a good example of how defensive errors can mislead people into thinking a player is not as good defensively.

      Theriot wouldn’t have gotten to that ball – Single against the pitcher.
      Castro got to it and made a great play, but if Pena doesn’t scoop it, it would have been an error against Castro.

      I’ll take Castro anyday!

      • cubtex

        we agree on another thing Tony!

        • Tony

          We are all Cubs fans! We actually agree on way more things then we disagree, we just discuss the things we disagree on more, as it’s not as much of a discussion, when we agree,as those back and forths end a lot quicker.

          • cubtex

            I know….I’m just messing with you. It could be worse Tony, we could have Theriot at short and Fontenot at 2nd. God, I am glad that combo is not here anymore!

          • Tony

            And here is a point, we use to tell people how bad our middle infield was with Fontenot and Theriot. People use to tell us how great they were. Now, would anyone care to trade Castro and Barney for Theriot and Fontenot. I don’t think so. Yet both were kids, in our system…PROSPECTS, in our system.

  • Neil

    Castro with good range, Pena with a great pick on the other end

    • BillyFinT

      I hope to see Barney in action soon…

  • Tony

    Castro just kept running, didn’t jog into 3rd, kept running hard and scored the 1st run of the season. If only everyone would play that hard.

  • John G

    Cubs Lead 1-0

    Great base running by Castro

  • Aaron

    good beginning for Dempster. I was a little worried his early control problems might snowball, but good for him to battle back, and very good sign to see him get out of it after the double.

    Also, good baserunning by Castro. The only blemish I’d say is the Byrd AB….Quade’s going to find out very quickly that he’s not an ideal 3-hole hitter. He swings at everything. Yes, he makes contact, but he doesn’t appear to have a knack for the 3 hole, as you must take a few pitches there…same for clean-up, which is why ARAM, who makes good contact, and also takes his share of pitches, is good for that spot

  • John G

    Technically the run scored by Castro is “unearned”. But he earned every bit of it, in my book.

  • John G

    Did anyone see the shot on TV of the two guys with the pink and white striped umbrella? LMAO – Well it IS Wrigleyville after all. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • Tony

    Nice job of hitting by Barney

  • Aaron

    I think I’m going to enjoy watching guys like Barney come up through the system. The young hitters seem to have a very good idea of plate discipline and bat control….which, unfortunately, nobody can say about a majority of the Cubs veteran players.

    Hopefully Barney is just one of several young hitters to make an impact this year.

    • cubtex

      Aaron…You are being positive!! Awesome!

  • GaryLeeT

    Maybe Barney can show Soriano how to hit an outside curve with 2 strikes on him.

  • John G

    Too bad Barney got caught stealing. However, it was a good spot to try it, and it looked like he got a good jump but that throw was dead on perfect. Doesn’t matter, I like the aggresiveness.

    • Aaron

      I was somewhat surprised to see that happen. I know the footing isn’t great, as evidenced by him slipping out of the box, but I was shocked, given the stats they had just mentioned about Doumit with his CS% last year….something like 6 of 70 or whatever the hell it was. Maybe Doumit took some HGH this offseason to improve his throwing…LOL

      • Aaron

        any bets on Byrd…1st pitching swinging?

        • Aaron

          oops…I lost that bet with myself

          • Aaron

            nice hit by Byrd right up the middle…nice to see it on a line, not on ground

  • Tony

    Castro has hit the ball hard, both AB’s today

  • Aaron

    ARAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Woot woot!!!!!!!!

    • Aaron

      that has to be encouraging..I don’t care who you are, seeing ARAM get around on an inside fastball on his hands and rip it to LF…..that didn’t happen last year much….very good sign

  • Neil

    Good job by Pena putting the ball in play … would have liked more but one is better than none.

  • Serothis

    dempster has been looking really good so far. efficient innings and the only blemishes being a couple of doubles but strikeouts immediately following both.

  • Neil

    Another excellent pick by Pena

  • Neil

    That 2-1 pitch to Tabata was a strike …

    • JedMosley

      That was a terrible call

  • Drmindbender139

    nice fast ball wow

  • Drmindbender139


    • Tony

      Not Classy!

      Stay Classy Cub Fans.

  • Tony

    What just happened?

    • Neil

      Walker with a grand slam on a 3-2 pitch.

      • Tony

        I was watching, just couldn’t believe it

  • Aaron

    ……and…..back to reality. No way the Cubs win after this one. Ouch!

    • Tony

      Your positive thoughts ended fast…they can come back still.

  • Serothis

    dempster just gave up a grandslam….

  • JedMosley

    Who else feels like they just got punched in the stomach?

    • Serothis

      I think I was drunk on the blue koolaid when we took a 2-0 lead but now that i’m back to reality…

  • Drmindbender139

    CCome on lits go cubs

  • studio179

    Nice BP fastball…

  • Craig Y

    Walks will come back to haunt you…. Although Demp got screwed on a 2-1 pitch earlier in the inning.

  • studio179

    Well, get ’em back.

  • Neil

    So far, just like last year against the Pirates. Had chances to put them away but could not.

    • Aaron

      bases loaded, less than 2 outs…yes, I’d say the Cubs offense is just like last year all around.

      I’m more upset with Dempster though. There really hasn’t been a lot of high scoring games thus far in the early going, so the fact that Dempster couldn’t put them away is a bit troubling. It brought back very bad memories of the 2008 playoffs against the Dodgers when he screwed the team, giving up the grand slam after falling behind.

      I fully expect the offense to lay down. I’ll eat crow, and love it if I’m wrong….but I have a fairly good grasp on this team, and the offense has done nothing to inspire confidence (in the run production and moving runners along department)

      • Aaron

        Meanwhile, you have a team like the Reds that will be an offensive juggernaut, being emotionally defeated right out of the box with the Weeks/Gomez back-to-backs, and thoroughly beaten throughout the game, come back to win the game by being opportunistic. The Cubs had 2 chances to have VERY big innings, and came up with 2 lousy runs.

        People might say it’s early, but as we’ve seen in the past, the first game of the season usually sets the tone for the rest of the year. The Cubs offense struggled out of the gate last year, and they ended up with one of the worst offenses in the league.

        And in case people aren’t watching elsewhere, the Phillies entered the 9th trailing 4-2, and have tied the game with 1 out and the bases still loaded.

        That’s why I think it’s disingenuous by Quade, Hendry, and Ricketts to sell a bill of goods to the fan base that they have good pitching, and pitching wins games, blah blah blah….As we all know, the Cubs starters aren’t capable of pitching shutouts day-in and day-out, so they need offense big time.

        Soriano is a waste of a roster spot, and looked dreadful last year, dreadful in the spring, and dreadful already in this game at the dish. And Pena is paid $10 million to drive runnerS (notice the capital ‘S’) in with the bases loaded, and NOT to ground into a force out, driving runners in. Again, as I say, I hope I eat crow, but this team is proving me right in so many ways this year already, and the past few years.

        …and while I just typed this, the Phillies won in walk-off fashion

    • GaryLeeT

      Just the Pirates? This game is so typical of what last year’s team did. Couldn’t get the big hit in the 3rd, and Dempster could not lock it down.

      • Neil

        Point taken, just looking at the head to head against the Pirates. Actually has been a problem for a while

  • Jon

    Dempster blows… CANNOT pitch in big spots in big games (opening day, playoffs,…)

    This was the EXACT same thing that happened against the Dodgers… Cubs up 2-0, Dempster on the mound with bases loaded, 2 outs, 2 strikes… BOMB then gets the next guy out like its no problem… goddammit why do we watch this team

    • Aaron

      Well, I agree with your premise, but again, like so many areas of the team, it’s but a microcosm of what’s wrong with the roster in general.

      Dempster blows in crucial games…..yeah, so what? Who else are you going to start on Opening Day? Andrew Cashner? Randy Wells?

      Fact is, Zambrano blows in crucial games too, Garza sucks badly already this year, and is a #3 at best. Cashner lacks experience, and while Wells had a good spring, there’s no way he deserves to start Opening Day.

      I can’t stand the make-up of this team more than probably anyone else on here, but let’s not pretend that the Cubs actually had a better option other than Dempster.


      and Adam Dunn works the count 3-2, then blasts a 2-run home run. But, hey, I guess I was wrong about needing guys that work the count rather than free-swingers like Byrd, Colvin, Soriano, Pena, etc. on the roster.

      103 years………………………for a DAMN good reason!

    • Endy

      Sam old crap with Dempster, he gave up late inning HR’s last year to Pit, and Cin.

      This guy will put up some good numbers over the course of 30 starts, but always gives up big HR’s in big spots. I would deal him in 2 secs, but the cubs love him, he’s a company guy.

  • Neil

    Hey guys, please edit the language … that is what *@! characters are for.

    • Dawn

      So what is the Score?

      • Neil

        6-2 Pirates, bottom of the seventh

  • cubs1967

    don’t beat the pirates…………..might as well skip the season.

    we’ve been here done that………going on 103 times.

    but hey……….we’re playing the kids……..look at the RF……..young tyler colvin……er——–kosuke fukudome………

    • Endy

      Great managing Quade!! Leave dempster in, when he’s stinkin the last 2 innings.

  • Serothis

    uggh…another 2 run shot off demp….

  • studio179

    My first second guess and Quade gripe…

    Demp should not have come back for the 7th.

  • John G

    The Mighty Mighty Pirates are at it again.

    Looks like there will be no beer at Wrigley this year.

  • Aaron

    Dunn now is 2-for-3 with a double, hr, and 4 RBI………..Bet Hendry would like to have a do-over there…meanwhile, Pena hits a lazy pop-up on a 3-0 count. Hey Carlos, let’s just get this straight….you hit .196 last year. You have NO business swinging on that pitch….

    Again, but a microcosm of what’s wrong with this team (both last year and this year)….NO plate discipline.

  • studio179

    Why is Quade letting Demp go over 100 pitches when it is nasty weather, they are down and it’s on opening day? Makes no sense.

    • Aaron

      Why are you questioning this? You know the answer by now, don’t you? Because, just like having a lefty catcher is must for this franchise, going as deep as you can with your starter on Opening Day is a must, because they must “save the pen….it’s a long season, you know”

      I say that only half kidding, of course, but there’s still a good amount of truth to that statement, because we’ve actually heard those comments in the past from Dusty and Lou.

  • John G

    Something put a tear in my eye. I’m not sure if it’s the way the Cubs are playing or seeing Ron Santo’s kids singing the 7th inning stretch.

    On second thought, I know it was the kids. I expect the Cubs to play that way.

  • studio179

    In my baseball world, pitchers should catch those. Ofcourse, in my baseball world catchers, third baseman and first baseman should catch them, too.

  • Aaron

    like I said…..listless….this offense is absolutely pathetic.

    The Southsiders have a true ace pitching today (something the Cubs don’t have), and now have a 14-0 lead on the Indians, and one of the more exciting lineups in the league. Here’s just a few numbers from the game:

    Pierre 1-3, 2 runs, 1 walks, 1 K
    Beckham 3-4, 3 runs, 1 double
    Dunn 2-3, 2 runs, 1 double, 1 hr, 4 RBI
    Konerko 2-2, 2 runs, 1 RBI
    Quentin 3-3, 2 runs, 1 double, 1 hr, 5 RBI…….just to name a few out of their lineup


  • cubs1967

    Quade lets Demp throw 114 pitches???????

    yep, ladies and gents; your Tommy Ricketts 2011 Chicago Cubs……….

    dont ya worry about winning
    dont ya worry about filing those stands come July
    dont ya worry about EVER getting public money to fix the Dump ’til ya win a WS
    dont ya worry about overcrowding at the conventions anymore
    dont ya worry about the 102 yrs and NO WS….could happen to anyone
    dont ya worry about a team that has had 19 LOSING seasons in a row
    dont ya worry about having a good opening day pitcher
    dont ya worry about the boo birds; they’ll be out in full force by Sunday
    dont ya worry about the fans giving a flying F^*&*&*(; soon NO one will care.

    • Richard Hood

      Wow awfully negative for the first game not even been in the books yet you are calling it a year?

      • Aaron

        I can totally understand both sides of this. On one hand, you want to stay positive, and look at things on the bright side. Namely, most Cubs fans will want to say that it’s early, and it’s a very long season.

        On the other hand, you have to be realistic at some point, don’t you?

        The Cubs’ offense struggled in Spring Training….badly….and the Cubs usually only came back in games where they brought in a bunch of rookies

        The only differences in last year’s offense vs this year’s offense is Barney and Pena. Otherwise, it’s the same exact offense all around…even the bench, where Colvin, Hill, and Baker started last year.

        The Cubs’ offense had numerous opportunities to put the game away early, only to come up with a 2 pathetic runs (one of which came on an error, and another on a groundout with the bases loaded).

        The Cubs’ only patient hitters in the lineup are Fukudome and Soto, and Fukudome does a disappearing act after May. *Barney has actually been patient today, but he has no history of being patient in the past, both in the minors and MLB

        Wrigley was about 3/4 full after Dempster gave up the slam. After he gave up the 2 run homer, it was 1/2 empty (if not more). Now, what should that tell you? In my opinion, it should tell you that most of Cubs Nation has woken up, and won’t stand for it anymore. Yes, the weather isn’t that great, but it’s not like it’s raining hard at all…not even close. It’s Opening Day for crying out loud, in year’s past, you would never see an exodus like that, as fans on Opening Day tend to stay until the final out.

        I’m NOT trying to be a Debbie-downer, but them’s the facts, my man. They look listless. Remember when Piniella took over, and the Cubs’ offense continued to battle to the last out, and fans would remain in their seats the whole game, hoping to witness a comeback, which happened often his first 2 years at the helm?

        I was watching ESPN the other night, and Barry Larkin commented about how when Piniella took over for the Reds, he rallied everyone around him, by saying he hates losing, won’t except losing, and if they took care of business, they’d be just fine. They won the WS that year. The Cubs made the playoffs his first two seasons.

        What can Quade say to these players that would rally them around him?

        “ummmm…..guys….listen…..I got this job because you rallied behind me. Can you get me a win, please, so I can keep my job?”

      • cubs1967

        based on the last 102.years ……I should be……….patient?


        will this team make it to .500??

        or will they go 2-4 on this homestand against easily 2 of the worst teams in the NL?

        just sayin……………….attendance barely makes 2.5M……….if this team is 20-30 on June 1st.

  • Theboardrider

    Wow! The fatalism on this site is mind-blowing. It’s one stinkin’ game. I guess it’s all said and done–Pena will strike out 200 times, Dempster stinks, Quade is an idiot. It would all be different if they’d of just hired Sandberg!

    • Neil

      In my defense, it’s just not here.

      • Theboardrider

        Neil you’ve got nothing to defend. You administrate the most valuable site for the Cubs faithful on the internet. I even like to read what most of my fellow posters have to say, but I think all the negativity is a bit unsettling. People are so convinced of outcomes based on so little of a recent sample size. A few things go right here or there and who knows. I’ve said it before, I’m not the new age type but all the negative energy from people who are supposed to be supportive can’t be good for the Cubbie mojo.

    • Aaron

      Well, I agree with a little of what you said…. except for Pena striking out 200 times. He’ll strike out 160 times, which is his average. ….and Dempster doesn’t stink, he just doesn’t perform well in big games, whether it be down the stretch in crucial games, in the playoffs, or now Opening Day.

      I wouldn’t say Quade’s an idiot (though I have in the past, being upset at the given times), but I would say that he’s overmatched, and doesn’t know how to evaluate or work with young talent properly. If he did, he would’ve played them down the stretch last year in a COMPLETELY lost season. He also never would’ve allowed Hill to be on the team, or even DeWitt.

      And while I think personnel decisions might’ve been different under Sandberg (such as ones I just mentioned), make no mistake about it…this is Jim Hendry’s team all the way around. He’s the one that got Garza, Pena, DeWitt, Fukudome, Samardzija, Grabow, Soriano, etc., and saddled the team with bad, untradeable salaries that virtually have to play solely because of that.

      Now….with Fukudome, Grabow, Pena, and others coming off the books next year, maybe Sandberg could’ve done something, but the fact would still remain……Hendry would still be the GM. You think he’d even make the right moves this next offseason? Get real!!!!!!!!!!

    • GaryLeeT

      That’s what happens during a bad season. They lose one stinkin’ game, 87 times.

  • Neil

    And Samardzija cannot find the strike zone …

    • Richard Hood

      Yeah it was over when they went to Shark. We should get use to that. At least he did not give up a ton of runs. We are still within striking distance.

    • Tony

      Another nice play by Castro, bailing out Samardzija.

  • Neil

    Excellent play by Castro …

    • JedMosley

      He’s looked great today

  • Serothis

    nice range by castro. if it had been theriot the score would be 8-3 now

  • Tony

    And here is why we need bats on the bench.

    Dewitt is way overmatched here.

    • Aaron

      Again, like I said, Quade (and the front office) and their evaluation of talent has to be among the worst in the league. It was blatantly obvious that DeWitt and Hill had absolutely no business being in Major League Baseball.

      They will find out VERY quickly just how bad those decisions were.

      I fully expect Scales, Moore, and either Max Ramirez or Castillo to be called up by May….obviously, it depends on how they’re playing as well, but I’d be shocked if there weren’t any changes early on to jumpstart this anemic offense.

      Additionally, if they are out of contention by the end of June, I would expect the Cubs to start cleaning house. (though we all know this never happened last year, as Hendry was trying to hang on til the last moment in August even…so, he might be too dumb to even recognize when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em).

      Looking ahead to next offseason, the Cubs have the following players coming off the books (either due to FA or projected non-tender candidates):
      ARAM (option)

      These players would only have one year remaining on their respective FA deals, and thus would be easier to trade (if they have a large contract):
      Byrd-$6.5 million
      Zambrano-$19 million
      Dempster-$19 million
      Marshall-$3.1 million

      Thus, the ONLY players signed beyond 2012 are Soriano (2 years and $38 million after 2012) and Marmol (1 yr and $9.8 million beyond 2012)

      The cleaning house would start with the first group mentioned, and I could see only ARAM, Fukudome (if the Cubs pick up most of his remaining tab), and Grabow (if he doesn’t bomb like last year), as having any value whatsoever via trade. Looking at all the potential playoff teams:
      Red Sox-AGON
      White Sox-Konerko/Dunn
      Rockies-Helton, Giambi

      … doesn’t appear that any of those teams have a need for a 1B, so Pena wouldn’t have any value, unless there’s an injury (which might happen to the Rockies with 2 aging 1B), or in the case of Belt, where he’s a rookie, and might not perform up to expectations. The other option is the Twins with Mourneau and post-concussion syndrome.

      LOL….I know I’ll catch a lot of a flak for this post, so go ahead, and let it fly…….just know that I told you so……

      I’ll eat crow if need be (I’d prefer it to be smoked though, first…LOL)….

      But here’s the deal, you might disagree with me vehemently….I know some of you will……But before you post a rant about me being negative, blah blah blah….at least answer this question:
      If you believe the Cubs have a chance, tell me (and others that disagree)…. why is it you feel that way? (and back it up with stats, NOT emotion.)

      What I mean by emotion, is every time the Cubs make any move, the tendency is to get excited, because Hendry rarely makes that many trades ever… when the Cubs trade for Garza, the tendency was to have a lot of emotion in favor of the trade, because something was actually accomplished. But take the emotion out of it, and just look at the facts. It was essentially a swap of Lilly for Garza. Tell me about their stats….don’t tell me about their “potential” (as most proponents of the trade believed it was the right thing to do because Garza was “proven” and the prospects weren’t…..then don’t give me B.S. about Garza’s “potential” either then!!!!!!!!!!!!). And how about the Pena signing. Most on here that were pro-Pena, cited his past performance. If that were the case, then why the hell would we ever get rid of Lee, who hit .335/.418/.662, with 46 hr, 107 RBI in 2005 and .306/.393/.579 with 35 hr, 111 RBI in 2009? Do a direct comparison with their seasons last year, and it comes out to even. Do that with every single position, and you will see that the Cubs offense is EXACTLY the same one that dramatically underperformed last year.

      …like I said, if you believe otherwise, at least have the courage to back it up with facts. I’m not trying to poo poo this season right away, but I’m not liking what I see one bit already

  • GaryLeeT

    Watching this game reminds me of what Malcom McDowell had to endure in A Clockwork Orange. It’s like I am being re-educated as a Cub fan.

  • Tony

    Byrd is swinging out of his shoes

  • Tony

    Time to earn your paycheck ARam!

    • Tony

      Swung at the pitcher’s pitch to end the game.

  • Neil

    Cubs slammed by the Pirates 6-3 on Opening Day. Ryan Dempster allowed all 6 runs on two hrs … a slam by Neil Walker, a 2-run hr by Andrew McCutchen.

  • studio179

    Ha! Maybe my Cub 78 win prediction was a bit high.

    • Jay from Sandwich

      I would have guessed 65-75 wins. My thinking is our top three pitchers are good for 15 each and our bottom two are good for 10 each. Because we have a good bullpen and a below standard defenece and offence I couted only 10 extra wins and that is being generous. Go cubs Go.
      Jay from Sandwich, Il.

  • Tony

    Guys – One game doesn’t make a season, but until we have more wholesale changes to this roster, this is the same o’ same o’, that we have seen for a long time. Same basic players, playing the same basic way.

    I want and expect better than this!

    • Aaron


      And, guess what Tony…..Did you see the crowd dissipate as the game went on?

      We all want and expect better (well, at least I hope so….though some on here seem to think the Cubs have everything they need to win it all).

      The point is, don’t think for a moment that Tom Ricketts didn’t see the mass exodus today. He had a birds-eye view of it later in the game.

      Some people might not realize the damaging effect that a non-competitive team has on the bottom line, because they tend to look solely at ticket sales. However, a really crappy team can make decent money if they have a good TV contract.

      But last year the Cubs had trouble drawing fans at the end, couldn’t sell out the Cubs Convention, had a drop in attendance at Spring Training (a very noticeable drop, especially early on), still had Opening Day tickets remaining, according to Ricketts near the end of Spring Training even, had a ton of fans leave the park early today before the game was over, and the most important thing is, when fans don’t show up or leave early, you have lost concession/merchandise sales that have a tremendous impact on the bottom line.

      But that’s not all….the Cubs lack a good TV deal as well, meaning that:
      -Anyone looking for the Cubs to be big spenders this coming offseason is truly mistaken. If revenues drop that significantly, there’s no way they can afford to sign big-time free agents (Pujols, Fielder, and AGON if he’s not extended beforehand), and more importantly RECRUIT them to sign with the Cubs anyhow if they suck that bad…..if there’s empty seats and less revenue resulting from that. TV rights, stadium advertising, and ticket sales are the biggest revenue sources for all MLB teams. Like I said, they lack the big TV deal most major market teams have nowadays, they can’t advertise more in the stadium due to lack of space, and their ticket sales are down. Even with the contracts coming off the books at the end of the season, the Cubs are probably looking at a $100-105 million payroll next year based on the drop in revenue….and perhaps even less.

      The Cubs will probably win anywhere between 72-76 wins. I previously thought it’d be around 76 wins, but now I think it’s the low end.

      I will bet that Hendry will be replaced by the end of the year, and Quade will be dismissed.

      The only remaining players from the Opening Day roster might just be:
      Mateo (if he does well)

      Everyone else, including the untradeable Soriano (who might just be released and his future salary just factored into the payroll even though he’s no longer on the team, given the Ricketts eating Silva’s deal), Soto, Hill, Baker, DeWitt, ARAM, Byrd, Fukudome, Johnson, Z, Garza, Marmol, Grabow, Samardzija, Pena, and Russell.

      The only reason I think they keep veterans such as Dempster, Wood, and Marshall, is because they’re effective still, and they have leadership.

      And while I have little to no faith in the Ricketts as baseball owners, they are ultimately business people, and they know what the bottom line is all about. If they see empty seats, less revenue, and less interest in an uncompetitive team, they won’t just sit around and do nothing.

      There was a very good reason they only went 2 years with Quade. They didn’t want to commit themselves long-term to a guy they might have to fire after just one season.

  • John G

    Like I said

    No Beer at Wrigley this year.
    They lost the opener.