Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 04/12/11

Game Eleven: Cubs (5-5) vs. Astros (2-8)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston

James Russell (1-0, 0.00/1.00) vs. Brett Myers (0-0, 2.03/1.12)

It is a “Bullpen Day” for the Chicago Cubs. James Russell will get the ball to start the game and Mike Quade is hoping to get three innings out of his lefty. Russell is reportedly on a strict 50-pitch limit. Expect an all right-handed lineup from Brad Mills tonight and for Houston to be very patient early in the game to get into the Cubs pen. The Cubs making Russell’s pitch limit public appears to give the Astros the upper hand tonight … and for the remainder of the series.

Jeff Stevens figures to see a lot of action tonight as well as Marcos Mateo. Also with Carlos Marmol throwing 31 pitches to record four outs Monday, don’t be surprised if Kerry Wood is called on in the ninth if the Cubs have a lead.

Kosuke Fukudome was held out of Monday’s game with a hamstring strain and is questionable, at best, to be in Quade’s starting lineup tonight.

The Cubs offense needs to step up against Brett Myers but tonight it all starts with James Russell … and the bullpen.

The Cubs have labeled tonight as an emergency start for James Russell. Russell and the pen will fill the spot vacated by the injured Andrew Cashner … and Russell and the Boys will have their hands full.

Mike Quade said he’s hoping James Russell can give them at least three innings tonight before he empties out his pen. The Cubs need Russell to do what he has yet to do in his big league career, retire right-handed batters. Look for Brad Mills to stack his lineup with as many righties as he can.

James Russell will make his third appearance on the young season. Russell has given up a pair of hits, two inherited runs, three strikeouts and no walks in two innings.

Tonight will be Russell’s first career big league start.

Russell has faced the Astros five times in his brief time in the majors … just 3 1/3 innings (0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP).

Michael Bourn (0-for-3), Carlos Lee (0-for-1), Jason Michaels (0-for-1) and Hunter Pence (0-for-1) are the only Astros that have faced Russell.

Brett Myers has owned the Chicago Cubs throughout his career … and continued his domination last year in his first season in an Astros’ uniform. Myers is the number one pitcher on Houston’s staff and could easily be 2-0 after his first two outings of the season.

Myers has allowed only four runs, three earned, on nine hits in 13 1/3 innings this season. Myers has walked six batters with only four strikeouts. The Cubs must make him work tonight, something they’ve never done.

Tonight will be Myers’ 14th career start against the Cubs. He is 10-3 in 17 career games, 13 starts, with a 2.21 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP … last season 3-0 in four starts (the Astros beat the Cubs in all four of Myers’ starts) with a 1.21 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP, the best numbers Myers put up against any other team in 2010.

Cubs Career Numbers against Brett Myers

  • Jeff Baker – 2-for-3
  • Darwin Barney – 0-for-2
  • Marlon Byrd – 6-for-20 with a double, a home run and 2 walks
  • Starlin Castro – 2-for-12 with a double
  • Tyler Colvin – 4-for-14 with 2 doubles and a home run
  • Blake DeWitt – 0-for-3
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-14 with a walk
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-10 with a double
  • Reed Johnson – 0-for-1
  • Carlos Pena – 0-for-5
  • Aramis Ramirez – 8-for-37 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs and a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 6-for-30 with 3 home runs and a walk
  • Geovany Soto – 3-for-8 with a walk

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"Our lives improve only when we take chances and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves." - W Anderson.
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    Castro – SS
    Barney – 2B
    Byrd – CF
    Ramirez – 3B
    Pena – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Soto – C
    Colvin – RF
    Russell – P

  • Ripsnorter1

    “Strict 50 pitch limit.” He could go less than 2 full innings.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Cubs won’t win this one. Brett Myers is tough enough, but burning up a bullpen that is headed by Jeff Samardzija–hopeless.

  • Cheryl

    If he wanted to Quade could start Jeff S. Have him pitch until he finds the plate.It may take a while.

    • Ripsnorter1

      The game would be suspended due to the 4 a.m. curfew.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1512275173 Matt Collins

    cubs are tied for last with braves for stolen bases with 1 lmao

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1512275173 Matt Collins

      just thought u guys would wanna know incase you didnt

      • Serothis

        what’s sad is that’s an improvement for us. castro got the SB yesterday.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Comcast SportsNet: Fukudome’s hamstring is improving, hope he can play by Friday. DL seems less likely

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Comcast SportsNet: Hendry is projecting Doug Davis in Triple-A Iowa by month’s end after a few weeks in extended spring training.

  • Aaron

    This is going to be a VERY high scoring affair for the Astros tonight. I would not be shocked at all if they score 12 runs or more.

    Russell will likely only pitch 1 2/3 to 2 IP. I do not foresee a way in which he makes it to the 3rd inning unscathed. Average starters throw about 15 pitches each inning. Russell is below average as a starter, and is best suited for the LOOGY position. So, like I said, I wouldn’t be shocked if he lasted just 2 innings or even less.

    And if the Astros touch him for a lot of runs, don’t be shocked at all if you see Samardzija toss 3 innings or more. Stevens and Mateo are probably good for 2 innings each, meaning that if Russell only lasts 2 as I suspect, they’d still need someone to take the last 3, and unless the Cubs are winning (HIGHLY unlikely), that last guy is going to be Samardzija.

    It will most certainly be a long night indeed. The Cubs lineup is batting a combined .226 against Brett Myers. Pretty bad, huh?

    • Serothis

      I don’t think it’s a question anymore of if they get double digits. I think it’s more a question of “will we be able to get through an inning without giving up a run?” and possibly “will the astros score 20+ runs?”

    • paulcatanese

      Aaron,you were close,11 runs. But Mateo was great and that was all .

  • SuzyS

    It’s April 12th…and James Russell is our starter???…On April 12th, 1912, the Titanic set out on it’s maiden voyage…on April 14th…it was devoured by the North Atlantic after a tet-to-tet with an Iceberg.
    AND That was FOUR years AFTER the Cubs won their last World Series.

    We’re still going in the wrong direction…FULL STEAM AHEAD.

    Please remove Jim Hendry from the helm.

    • Dorasaga

      Suzy, this Titanic reference is quite a revelation.

    • Ripsnorter1

      What a post! Man, or in your case, woman alive! You are exactly right. We have Jim Clueless as Captain of the ship, and she’s gonna go down.

      What gripes me is that I can see all of the icebergs, and he can’t. He’s blind to it all.

    • studio179

      Yeah, other than the water, how is everything else Captain Smith? :)

  • Dougcobb77

    Anyone know where I can get a live stream, p2p doesnt have it?

    • Tony_Hall

      MLB.TV

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Astros taking advantage of Russell

  • Serothis

    wow. 3 consecutive hits and a run all in under 10 pitches….

  • Baron_S

    Oh F#$# that was a defensive circus…. HORRENDOUS!

  • Jim_Tinley_Park

    Soriano lets the ball get through him and Barney misses the tag, This game was doomed from the start.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Speechless …

    • Ripsnorter1

      You’ve been speechless for the last two games in a row. When will that change?

  • Brentcarmona

    Oh my goodness…i dont know if I should keep watching.

  • Aaron

    just when you thought this team had already reached all-time lows, they go out and surprise everyone with the extent of their ineptitude. Piss poor defense by Soriano YET AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then, Pena’s boneheaded move of turning his back on Pence at 3B and throwing to Barney, who whiffed….My goodness they’re bad…words cannot explain

    • Aaron

      Meanwhile in the minors, at least Whitenack at Daytona has the rare no-hitter going while giving up an unearned run with no walks and 9 K’s. The run evidently scored via an error by Lake, and must’ve advanced some point via wild pitch to score

      • Tom U

        Clearwater Thrasher player reached on a two-base error by Lake. He advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch.

        • Tom U

          No-hitter broken up by a one out triple in the sixth. Whitenack then struck out the next two batters.

      • Aaron

        no-hitter over, but Whitenack has struck out 12 in 6 IP thus far and just 1 hit

        As for Simpson at Peoria…..well, our #1 draft choice from a year ago is getting torched to the tune of 8 hits allowed in just 3 IP with 5 runs, 3 earned, 1 walk, 2 K’s

        • Tom U

          Robert Whitenack done for the night, 6.0 IP, 1 hit, 12 K’s, no BB. Jae-Hoon Ha is 3-4.

          Simpson is still plugging at Peoria, 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 K’s, 1 BB

        • Ripsnorter1

          I just hear today that Jim Clueless was trying to deal Whitenack for some over the hill veteran starter with a lifetime ERA over 5.00 . . . . .

    • Aaron

      ….and Byrd with another defensive miscue, whiffing ugly on a ground ball….poor defense anyway by Colvin’s angle on the ball….WOW

      • Brentcarmona

        Yes there is always lower it seems. I just refuse to believe it. optimism should be out the window. I really wish jay jackson was healthy and ready to pitch, he has spent as much time as he needs (or he is as ready as can get), but guess he has arm fatigue or something? I feel his celing is a number three, no worse than a solid five. Funny we had so much pitching in spring training, how things have changed ( russell pitching only two innings this start??)

  • GaryLeeT

    The Cubs should have their MLB charter revoked for failure to field a professional team to play a regular season game.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Looked like Hall was out of the baseline. I agree with Bob …

    Still one ugly play

  • Baron_S

    look at how they are batting — hack hack hackin away…. this is putrid to watch

    • Baron_S

      11 pitches in the 2nd for Myers

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    46 pitches for Russell … and Samardzija is warming. This is going from bad to worse.

    • Baron_S

      can you get worse than this?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        That is questionable but at least Russell threw strikes.

  • GaryLeeT

    Rarley is the CCO united on every topic, but everybody predicted this one.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    I have not missed a game in more years than I should admit … and this could be the ugliest two innings I’ve seen …

    • Aaron

      Unfortunately not, Neil….I remember several times where you, myself, and others like Jason and Agustin would be saying the same thing. I think you might be thinking that in a way, because in the back of your mind, you’re like, “it’s a new manager, things will be different, fundamentals will improve, etc.”

      But there’s one constant through this entire excellent site you put together about 6 years ago or whatever it is….and that’s the fact that Jim Hendry has been running the show. It’s the same thing….broken record, over and over again, and one of the primary reasons for that is going through loads of veteran players that can no longer hack it at the MLB level and Hendry’s hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. Younger players might make mistakes occasionally, but when they’re together in the minors, they develop defensive chemistry with each other, so you see less of the lack of communication that has plagued this team in recent years.

  • Aaron

    Looks like I was spot on above:

    “Russell will likely only pitch 1 2/3 to 2 IP”

    Russell, unfortunately, was the victim of poor defense and lucky bloop hits and grounders that just found the hole. No ball was hit particularly hard, so I have to give props where it’s due. He deserved much better, and it’s still fairly impressive start given the circumstances. I know fans will look at his line, and the fact that he’s really nothing special as a pitcher, and say he bombed as a starter, but he was actually fairly good…just had no defense, and when he had guys on the ropes, he lacks a “put away” pitch. Again, not his fault…he’s a LOOGY, but did a very fine job as a starter today. Am I off base?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Aaron, you and I have discussed this for a long time. The Cubs put players in positions and situations they cannot succeed in. Russell is a LOOGY as we’ve discussed, the same way Coleman is a starter and not a reliever.

      The list could go on and on and on.

      • Aaron

        And like I mentioned in my response to you above about the ugliness….Who has been at the helm with ALL of these bad decisions? Hendry, of course.

        It’s like in 2007 when he signed Soriano and Floyd. Most fans forget this, but he signed Soriano to be his CF, even though Soriano had never played there before. The Cubs were not satisfied with Pie’s development and didn’t have any other option internally. Well, lo and behold, Soriano can’t hack it in CF in Spring Training, so they move him to LF, Floyd shares RF duties with Murton (both out of position), and Jones is moved to CF.

        It was also hilarious to watch their handling of the ARAM injury. They had the opportunity to start Fox at 3B in the minors, but didn’t even try it, then when he comes up, he’s inserted at 3B right off the bat.

        Hendry also loves collecting 2B that can’t play anywhere else, or have limited range. It’s insanity!

        For the life of me, I cannot think of a GM that’s as overmatched as Hendry, and I cannot think of an ownership team that is less baseball savvy than the Ricketts. It’s an abomination is what it is.

    • jw

      Aaron

      Did you predict Schwartzel would win the Masters also. You called this one right tonight.

      • Aaron

        not even close….I stick to predicting the Bears and Cubs…they’re VERY predictable.

        I actually had money on McElroy….oh well…..

        I actually recommend to many on here that are depressed over this season. I’ve started betting against the Cubs and won a good chunk of change thus far. It makes it more palatable (the losing), but it doesn’t mean that I don’t want them to win, as I get no joy out of it. I started thinking this way last year, actually, but I never acted on it. I just got so frustrated with Hendry this offseason that I started feeling I should bet on them losing certain games, because I might as well make money in my misery, right?

  • Baron_S

    Samardjza almost beaned George HW Bush in the 1st row

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good inning for Samardzija

    • John G

      Was that a political statement, since he “almost” beaned #41Bush?

      • Baron_S

        I misremember

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1512275173 Matt Collins

    do we seriously have 4 more years of sorryano please tell me we dont

    • Aaron

      I’m sure people are going to question that about our current president, and yet it will still happen….LOL….same thing….defies logic, doesn’t it?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1512275173 Matt Collins

        is it possible that cubs will just buyout sorryanos last year at 18 mil and just release him?

        • Tony_Hall

          His last year, how about the last 3 years

        • Aaron

          Can someone find out the most anyone’s ever eaten in remaining salary? Neil, do you know?

          I’m trying to think of recent examples. L. Castillo, O. Perez, and Silva were all recent examples, but were in the final years of their deals. I think Dontrelle Willis only had 1 year left on his deal as well when he got released.

          I really don’t know if there is a precedence for releasing a player with that many years. Who knows?

          I believe that Manny Ramirez was also released by the Dodgers, but I think that was just with one year (or less) left on his deal.

          I honestly can’t think of a player that’s been released with more than 1 or 2 years left on his deal. Anyone else have an idea?

          • Tony_Hall

            Albert Belle

            When he retired, he was kept active for 3 years at around $12M per

            Insurance covered most of his pay though.

          • carmelo

            Manny had one month on his 2 year deal with the Dodgers left when he ended up with the White Sox last year.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Aaron, I cannot. Manny was put on waivers and the White Sox traded for him. The Dodgers did not outright release him.

          • Aaron

            I was thinking all of the obvious: Willis, Hampton, Neagle, etc., but then when you look back at all of them…at the time, releasing them was a big deal because of $$, but they’d only have one year left….I just can’t think of a single guy that’s had more than 2 years left on a big deal and been released.

            The unfortunate thing with Soriano, is he’s actually a good guy, smiles a lot, in spite of all the injuries he’s had and boos he gets from fans ….but he simply cannot hit MLB pitching anymore. It’s really sad how far he’s fallen, that he can’t even catch up with a 93 mph fastball anymore, and looks like a Little Leaguer out there trying to hit a damn breaking pitch.

          • Tony_Hall

            Mike Hampton, might be even bigger, as far as not getting anything for many, many years.

            It definitly hasn’t happenend very often, where a team cuts a player, with year(s) left on the contract.

          • Tony_Hall

            Russ Ortiz – $22M of his $33M contract with 2 and 1/2 year left of a 4 year deal.

            Richie Sexson had a year and a half remaining when he was released.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Bobby Bonilla of the Mets. They ate $29,831,205.
            Read it here:
            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703426004575339013108198050.html

          • Dorasaga

            $1.19M for 25 years starting 2011. That’s better than any retirement plan. I’m more impressed by New York’s tolerance of Steve Phillips, then GM who negotiated that deferred payment with a 8.5% interest rate, than Bonilla’s genius.

  • John G

    Kieth Moreland mentioned that Sam Fuld was a single away from hitting the cycle last night and on his last at bat, with a big lead no less, he could have stopped at first but went on to second.

    My questions for everyone… Is that admirable or stupid? I’m not sure how I come down on that considering they had a big lead. In a close game, yes, go to second.

    • Tony_Hall

      That is a ballplayer that plays each play, all out. He has a low ceiling, but he gives you everything he’s got.

      Amazing to think we gave him up to get Perez, in that deal, I don’t like.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I like the fact Fuld did that. He played the game the right way and was not worried about himself.

  • Tony_Hall

    Looks like the Cubs catch a break on Castro’s single.

    Of course, it is sooooo Cub like to get a break, when they are down by 7!

  • Tony_Hall

    I am just getting to watch, and I can’t believe this.

    Russell 1 2/3 – 55 pitches – 4 ER
    Samardzija 2 1/3 – 40 pitches – 2 ER

    The part that I have trouble believing, Samardzija has the better numbers.

    Wow, What a BAD idea!

    Tomorrow night, lets just play the game backwards.

    Marmol 1st
    Wood 2nd
    Marshall 3rd
    Mateo 4th
    Russell 5th
    Samardzija 6th
    Grabow 7th
    Stevens 8th
    Coleman 9th

    • JimBo_C

      Samardzija is stretched out as much as Russell. Wonder who will get the next start.

      • Tony_Hall

        I hope neither. That is what your AAA or even AA starters are suppose to be used for, not your bullpen guys.

  • Baron_S

    .275
    .200
    .263
    .171
    .107

    the batting averages of 4-8 in our lineup…. If it wasn’t for Castro, the team batting average would not be pretty

  • Baron_S

    believe it or not, Samardjza has a higher salary than Carlos Marmol this season… hmm!

    • GaryLeeT

      That’s always been the reason for him being on the roster. It had absolutely nothing to do with his performance……..obviously

  • Tony_Hall

    It just keeps getting better.

    Russell
    Samardzija
    Stevens

    I sure hope Grabow gets a shot at this tonight

  • Baron_S

    and just to get Aaron to smile,

    Dunn has a .312 Batting Average and a 1.060 OPS so far this season!

  • Tony_Hall

    We deserve better than this team!

    Wake up Mr. Ricketts!

    You have plenty of reasons to fire JH.

    Just pick 1

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Reed and DeWitt are in …

    • Ripsnorter1

      Bring on the scrubs.

  • Ripsnorter1

    And you talk about stupid . . . Josh Hamilton slid head first into home today and broke his arm. He’s going to be out 8 weeks or more.

    Randy Hundley on 720 AM during a Cubs’ broadcast: “I don’t get this head first sliding. It’s just begging to be hurt. I sure wish those guys had done it to me when I was catching. I would have stuck my shin guard right in their faces.”

    When Josh Hamilton turns 40, I bet the Cubs sign him to be their starting CF. By then, his bat will have slowed enough to play for the Cubs, he won’t be able to run anymore, so he’ll fit right in. His mind is already slow enough already.

  • Matt

    How in the world did hendry oick pena over than Dunn, any way we are really seeing how dominating the front end our rotation can be tonite arn’t we!

    • Ripsnorter1

      he also picked Milton Bradley over Dunn a couple of years ago. That was another great move, too.

      • Aaron

        But Rip….It’s all about Pena’s defense. He’s saved the Cubs about 4 errors this year…..LOL

  • Ripsnorter1

    Just doing the math on Sorry-oh-no: he’s made 2 errors in 11 games. That’s an error every 5.5 games. Divide that by 162 games, and he could conceivable make 30 errors this year. He made 14 that they called in 2009 (and several more that they gave him a break on).

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Maybe that will get Colvin started

    • Ripsnorter1

      Did he hit a fastball, or a breaking ball?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Curveball

  • Ripsnorter1

    The Astros came into this game with a 2-8 record.

    Don’t forget: this is the easiest part of the Cubs’ schedule.

    I picked the Cubs to go 70-92 this year. I hope I wasn’t too optimistic.

    • studio179

      I picked the Cubs at 78 wins. I was too optimistic! This team is struggling to be .500 against the teams we faced so far.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Look at Mateo hum!

    I tell you, if Mr. Q could see it, that Mateo can be the next Angel Guzman: closer stuff in the setup roll, if Mr. Q would just open up his eyes. He has electric stuff!

    • Ripsnorter1

      Mateo ought to move up in the bullpen rotation past Kerry. And certainly past Grabow, Samardzija, Russell. He ought to be right next to Marmol and Marshall.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Hopefully he won’t be the next Angel Guzman.

  • Serothis

    Well on the plus side we’ll have finished our first game of the season with a score difference of greater than 3 runs…..

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      It will actually be the second …

      • Serothis

        oh right I forgot about the loss to the brewers….

  • Aaron

    Soriano doesn’t even look like he could hit AAA pitching. You can already see it….once the pitchers start getting their breaking pitches going as the season goes along, he’s got NO prayer

    • Ripsnorter1

      Yes. It’s really going to get ugly. The Cubs will have to do something in another month if they want anyone to sit in their seats. Bret Jackson?

      Or maybe Todd Wellemeyer, Russ Ortiz, and Davis will all be called up at once. Anything to start some excitement.

      • paulcatanese

        If ever they should be in the mood to bring up some kids now is the time,they are going no-where. Bret Jackson for sure,now,not next week now. This was totaly brutal tonight.

  • Tony_Hall

    It just keeps on coming.

    Grabow pitching

    Reed J – dropping it

    Dewitt not scooping.

    It’s like a baseball follies video!

    • Tony_Hall

      And why is Dewitt on this team…

      • Tony_Hall

        C’mon Man!

        I know that Reed would have just made 2, very nice catches. But can somebody catch the ball!

        • Rickym20

          This is HORRIBLE!!

      • Ripsnorter1

        Because he earned his spot. The man the Cubs dealt Ted Lilly AND Theriot to get.

      • paulcatanese

        Tony, he probably wont be much longer, I belive he flunked his audition for third base, And I understand thats his natural position. Oh shoot thats what I would do with him but then JH will do the oposite. Mateo,the one,one bright spot tonight. Colvin’s HR,yes you still have to hit it but to be fair with a lead like they had the pitcher is just trying to throw strikes and let them hit it and to his credit he did.

    • John G

      Just hope they get it all out of their system. Better they make all the F-ups in one game then spread them out in critical spots.

      • Tony_Hall

        I haven’t seen anything, that makes me think, that they don’t have even more mistakes in their bag for future games.

        For all the “new emphasis” on “fundamentals” this year, they sure seem to still be a fundamentally unsound team.

        • studio179

          I could not agree any more. This team is NOT fundamentally sound or even close to it.

  • The Maven

    I’ve seen better pitching in Tee-ball

  • studio179

    Grabow is getting lit up. Shocker.

  • Tony_Hall

    Suck it up Grabow, it’s your inning to get 3 outs.

  • John G

    My old friend John G is at it again. How does this guy stay on the roster?

    I tell ya, I am gonna change my name.

    • studio179

      Please do change you name. I dislike you and you are probably an alright person. Just kidding. But yeah, the other John G can leave anytime.

  • John G

    Cubs have 1 run on 10 hits. Astros 11 runs on 16 hits. Says something about efficiency.

    11 hits now. Bet he doesn’t score from 3rd.

  • studio179

    I truly feel bad for any Cub fan who had to pay to watch that game. Honestly.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Grabow is shutting them down tonight. He’s looking pretty effective.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs pounded by the Astros 11-2 Tuesday night. Cubs offense with 11 hits; 1-for-15 with RISP, 10 left on base and only 1 walk

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    By my count, the Cubs are 3-for-32 with RISP in their last two losses.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Your count is correct.

      And your point is . . . ?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        No point, just passing on info. Sometimes passing on info says enough.

  • John_CC

    WOW am I glad I missed this one. But reading the through this string, I see I missed quite a few laughs. What an utter joke this team is. I think they’ll be lucky to win 70 this year.

  • Aaron

    Well, we learned….or confirmed a lot of things tonight:

    1) Russell is a LOOGY only
    2) The Cubs defense sucks, and Soriano has NO business being on a National League team. He looks old, slow, and disinterested on defense, and when he goes to pick up a ball, you feel for the guy, because he looks like an elderly person doing so.
    3) DeWitt has NO business being on any MLB roster right now. Not only can he not hit, but he can’t field (and not just that, but he can’t field even his “best” position, which is 3B)
    4) Samardzija is better suited as a starter, and he confirmed it tonight
    5) The Cubs middle of the order might just be the worst in professional baseball (notice, I didn’t say MLB….PRO BALL as a whole)
    6) The Cubs have no clue how to score runs with RISP and less than 2 outs
    7) Koyie Hill still cannot hit a baseball, and has to rely on a pitcher’s wildness to get on base
    8) John Grabow is, in fact, the same horrible pitcher he was last year….he just had more luck earlier this year….well, his luck ran out tonight. You can only hide awfulness so long (see Carlos Silva circa 2010 first half)
    9) Colvin is in a sophomore slump. The league has figured him out…now, he has to prove he can figure things out faster than Soto did his sophomore season. And yes, I say that, despite his home run and double
    10) Reed Johnson, like Koyie Hill and Blake DeWitt, does NOT belong on a MLB roster. Yes, I realize he had a double tonight, but if you saw his final AB…well…you then realize that a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then. His swing is AWFUL at this point in his career
    11) Quade was a fluke…and we’ve all seen that he doesn’t command respect. If he did, players wouldn’t make such idiotic mistakes, nor would they approach balls on defense nonchalantly, almost loafing after it. I watched an Astros team that on paper is FAR inferior to the Cubs, absolutely outhustle the Cubs today, and it wasn’t even close. Defensively, their middle infield was crazy good, and even the supposedly inept Carlos Lee, made some fine stretches at 1B.
    12) The Cubs offense is absolutely nonexistent. They don’t have a single clutch hitter on the team. Awesome, isn’t it? I guess we all took ARAM’s clutch hitting from year’s past for granted….
    13) ….Speaking of which….ARAM is done as a Cub. If his option is picked up, it will be an upset of epic proportions. He’s just not the same player he once was. He’s essentially turned into Soriano (but with less power if you can imagine that). He gets all his hits this year when they don’t matter. He used to knock in RISP at a crazy clip. In 2011, he’s batting just .250 with 2 RBI with RISP. Does that mean he will be awful the whole season? Probably not…but it’s also important to note that he doesn’t have the mojo anymore as a clutch hitter like he did in the past. To put things into perspective, he’s a career .301 hitter with RISP with 86 hr, 733 RBI. It’s worth noting that he has 290 hr, 1,034 RBI total in his career.

    71% of ARAM’s RBI are with RISP and just about 30% of his home runs come with RISP.

    A lot of people would say that Albert Pujols is one of the greatest hitters ever. Here are his totals: 409 hr, 1234 RBI total in his career and 108 hr, 800 RBI with RISP

    That translates into about 64% of Pujols RBI are with RISP and 26% of his home runs come with RISP

    That should tell you just how much the Cubs miss his clutch hitting. Hopefully he comes remotely close to his career numbers this year (I still think he’s done as a Cub though), otherwise this will be an even longer season than many envisioned.

    • Ripsnorter1

      “Samardzija is better suited as a starter?” I didn’t think he even belonged on a MLB roster.

      You should have also added this:
      The Cubs proved tonight that they are going to compete with the Pirates for the title of king of the cellar in the NL Central.

      • Cheryl

        No positives at all except if you look toward 2012 and the cubs lose it all. They get a top draft pick (little consolation), a lot of high-priced players off the books and maybe even Hendry will be out.

        • Aaron

          It’d be sooooooooooooo Cub-like to get the first pick the year after one of the deepest drafts on record (according to reports)

    • Dorasaga

      That’s a good point. Those a good sample size. With 1540 career at-bats and 197 walks, Aram was focused and took advantage of runners on base. I wonder if he multiple injuries (wrist and then shoulder) derailed him.

    • John_CC

      Great stats, Aaron. The “clutch” hitting idea used to be poo-poohed by the saber crowd but I recently heard an interview (and now I cannot for the life of me remember where I heard it) with some saber-stat-heads that developed a clutch hitting stat. They worked on it for years and it has validity, and the example they used was Aramis. He is…er…was one of the top clutch hitters of the past decade.

      And now it just bums me out to see him flounder. He used to be so money – pardon the phrase – I used to LOVE to see him come to the plate when it mattered, the anticipation was always so great. But he is done now, he’s broken down and yes, Dorasaga, beyond the magic age. Case in point.

      While I still hope the Cubs pursue a slugging 1Bman, 3B might be a bigger hole.

      • Dorasaga

        To be honest, I wasn’t expecting ARam to fall from grace with such fleeting pace. He will turn 33 in two months and 12 days, but he’s already showing all signs that he’s not ready for the season. Even said that about his injuries, I must admit his age catching him might just be the biggest reason.

        Looking at all these Cubs players, I can barely identify them as the same part of the team last year and even 2008. They look like different persons. Derailed, out of focus, out of shape, not ready for the season since spring training…

        Who else? God Save the Cubs!

      • Aaron

        I wouldn’t necessarily say that. The Cubs still have Marquez Smith and Josh Vitters at 3B, and possibly even LeMahieu if he develops power and moves from 2B. They also have Flaherty, who is on fire early this year.

        Needless to say, they have multiple options, so I wouldn’t really poo-poo their depth at 3B at all.

        Everyone has to keep in mind that Vitters is just 21, and won’t turn 22 until August. He still has time to prove himself. If he was 24 years old, playing at AA, I’d say it’s over for him, but he still has a bright future, and he’s doing well at the start of this year.

        • John_CC

          I’d love to see Vitters pay off, I really would and did forget that he is still so young. As for LeMahieu, let’s just leave him at 2B…it’s not like there is a pile of talent at the MLB level at that position either.

  • Erniesarmy

    Hey, let’s make Jeff Smardzja our new # 1!

    He’s had enough bullpen work, he’s ready for the bigtime.

    Oh, wait, he’s too valuable in the bullpen, my bad.

  • paulcatanese

    This game was lost before the Cubs took the field. Quade had them believing they had a long night ahead with Russell on the mound. No hint of winning just how many pitchers they were going to throw to the wolves and wait for tommorow. What kind of garbage is that?These guys are supposed to be Pros and do their own thing . When Houston started to hit the ball, the Cubs expected no less than a blowout, so why try?It showed all thru the game and they all ought to be ashamed to call themselves Major Leaguers. They ought to give the money that they were paid for tonights game and give it to chairity, what a joke this was tonight.

    • John_CC

      Right on, Paul! You absolutely nailed it! A lot of good posts tonight, but this annoyed me days ago when Quade announced that Russell would start and be limited to 50 pitches. 50. They should have lost last night because this reasoning and manage a day ahead bologna. (Pinella, game 1 of the NLDS ’07 anyone?) It’s crap!

      Where’s Murph when you need him? Hey Quade, who you crappin’?!

  • twentytwo

    I think it’s time for our pitching “coach” to inform his pitching staff that 0-2 counts are a PITCHERS pitch…how many times do we have to see a ball down the middle with two strikes? Tonight, an opposing pitcher gets an 0-2 fastball down the middle, and what does he do with it?…..take a guess?!

  • Aaron

    Like I said before…..the quicker the Cubs can get over it, and just tank the season, the quicker they will be a competitive team again. If Pena continues to tank, and doesn’t even reach 20 home runs (which at this point looks like he’s got no prayer at judging by his swings)….I doubt Ricketts could ignore Hendry’s poor decision-making anymore, and would have to eat the one year left on his deal that he ironically gave to himself….LMAO!!!!!!!!!! Can you believe that?!?

    Anyway, once the Cubs tank and are out of it by June, big decisions are going to loom, because they have several players in the last year or only year of their contracts such as: Pena, Wood (though I’d keep him), Johnson, Fukudome, ARAM, and Grabow, plus arbitration guys like Hill, Baker, DeWitt, and Soto.

    I think it’d be very easy for them to just DFA Pena, Johnson, Fukudome, Grabow, Hill, Baker, and DeWitt if they didn’t produce at all, though Baker might fetch them something in return. I’m positive that ARAM and Soto would get them a few prospects in return.

    What all of this means is that we could see Brett Jackson, DJ LeMahieu, Ryan Flaherty, Josh Vitters, Marquez Smith, Welington Castillo, and possibly even a long-shot like Michael Burgess or Matt Spencer, or Rebel Ridling. If Wells and Cashner are out longer than a month, and the Cubs continue to suck, then it’s possible we could even see Jay Jackson, Trey McNutt, and Chris Carpenter. Long-shots for pitching might be Dolis, Cabrera, Whitenack, and Rusin.

    I have to tell you…..just like last year, when you already know it’s a lost season….wouldn’t it be nice to see some of these guys get a chance? After all, what do they have to lose? I actually think that if you’re going down the crapper in a given season, it’s best to tank completely, and get a #1-3 pick in the Draft, versus a #9 pick.

    Think about that for a second….The Cubs were 24-13 under Quade last year riding veterans down the stretch. Let’s just say that all the veterans like Nady on one year deals, or not expected to be a part of the future were let go after Piniella left in 2010. Even if the rookies tanked it, and the Cubs went 10-27 down the stretch…or even worse than that…The Cubs would’ve had the 2nd pick overall instead of the 9th, and would’ve had the choice of (most likely) Anthony Rendon or Gerrit Cole (the consensus top 2 picks in mock drafts). As it stands, they finished in 5th place in the division and 4th to last in the entire National League. In my humble opinion, you don’t get much out of finishing in the middle, either near the top or bottom of the league. You get a lot out of being the top 4 in MLB (meaning you made the LCS), or the bottom 4 of the league (meaning you get a Top 4 pick). That’s why you better determine an organizational philosophy going forward that fosters either an environment of winning, where you anticipate making at least the LCS, or an environment of development, where you’re in transition, and any wins you get are gravy, but you ultimately are developing for the future.

    Honestly, I don’t think the Cubs have had an organizational plan since the days of Dallas Green. You could see that in the way they drafted and dealt players. If you look at the Cubs under Hendry, year in and year out, you really don’t have a sense of where they’re going, because he’s a walking contradiction and so are the Ricketts.

    If they were really committed to using their own system, then there’s absolutely NO way they sign Wellemeyer, Looper, Johnson, Ojeda, etc. in the offseason (even if they were just “camp bodies”…which they obviously weren’t given comments by Quade and Hendry where they lamented injuries to Ojeda and Wellemeyer as reasons they weren’t on the team). Additionally, there’s NO way Baker and Hill would’ve been extended contracts, and Fukudome, in the last year of his deal anyway, would’ve been given away if they really wanted to “develop from within”.