Rambling While Freezing My Rear End Off Watching the Cubs

Off day Thursday means it’s a fun-filled Thursday of ramblings. There is a lot going on, and it was a LONG day at Wrigley yesterday. A very long day, indeed. So, there is a lot to be said about the past week of baseball. Some good, some bad, some blah. But that is what you get with a team that is floating around the .500 mark.

So, let’s stop putting off the inevitable and get down to the brass tax. Let’s start rambling!

  • So, when is Garza going to say to Marmol, “Hey, I know I am the new guy, but stop messing with me, please. Just get the outs.”
  • As Neil pointed out, Marmol has blown two saves. Both would have been Garza victories.
  • Jeff Samardzija has looked a lot better. Someone posted during “Talkin’ Live” during the first game that he was a new man. I can’t say it any better myself.
  • I know he pitched against the Padres, but I don’t care. And positive momentum is a good thing. We will see. He has plenty of time to show otherwise.
  • Hopefully, unemployment or getting his arse kicked all over the football field is enough motivation to kick it into gear. It would be nice if he went all “Shark ’08” on us!
  • We have all said it, thought it and felt it. Get Marlon OUT of the third spot. This is just too much. I can’t take it anymore. I cannot.
  • Holy Reed Johnson. That was just awesome. He is good for something like that once a month.
  • Reed just hustles and tries so hard all the time. It is so refreshing. Which is why it is hard to admit what has to be said.
  • But, as much as I love Reed’s heart and drive, it is not enough to block the future.
  • It is getting very close to Brett Jackson time. He is hitting better this year than Castro did at this point last year at Tennessee.
  • It will be hard to hold him back. It is time to unleash him.
  • Carlos Marmol has blown two saves in 17 games. That is two blown saves in 6 chances. That is a conversion rate of 66.7%.
  • That is NOT good. If he wants to keep his nickname as “White Castle” he cannot keep walking guys. Riggins needs to fix this immediately.
  • While I cannot take credit for White Castle (I heard it on the radio), and if you do not know why, it is because he serves up sliders that make you s – – t your pants.
  • Yes, I know, it is a very good nickname.
  • This offense is putrid, horrid, disgusting, pathetic, gross, sickening …
  • Do I need to keep going or was that clear enough?
  • I like watching Kosuke Fukudome play baseball in April. He is really good.
  • Too bad the season goes on for five more months.
  • Oh, wait; did I just state the obvious? Yes, yes I did. I am the master of the obvious. I can teach you how to be one as well if you are interested.
  • How refreshing was it that the Cubs got two quality starts in two games? I forgot pitchers were allowed to do that.
  • I am sorry, but James Russell is not a major-league-caliber starter. He might not be a major-league-caliber pitcher PERIOD.
  • Also, who was that on the mound Monday evening? Wait; was that the Carlos Zambrano I have heard about before?
  • It would be really nice if he wanted to do that again … and again … and again. Like at least four times every five starts. Is that asking too much?
  • Casey Coleman impresses me. I like him. That is all.
  • What is going on all over James Russell’s face? Does he think that looks good? Seriously. And before anyone brings up Brian Wilson, Russell is not the face of the franchise or one of the heroes of a triumphant World Series team.
  • Aramis is on pace to hit NINE homeruns. Whoa. Slow down A-Ram. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
  • After the way the record started this season, I think there is a very good chance that the Cubs will finish the season at … 81-81.

Well, that is all for now folks. Enjoy the off day. If you are in Chicago, stay warm during this ridiculous spring weather. Let’s hope we can take care of the MLB-run Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend.

And, finally, to those who are celebrating, Happy Easter!

Until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans

Quote of the Day

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein
  • Ripsnorter1

    Incredibly, the Cubs are at the very top of the Central division after 18 games: tied for first the 9-9 record.

    FYI: the Reds pitching staff looks awful. FL, LAA, and A’s have the best pitching in MLB, having given up just 60 runs. San Diego is next in line with a staff giving up just 61. And in our division, it looks like this:

    Brewers–68 runs allowed
    Cards–76 runs
    Reds–83 runs
    Pirates–84 runs
    Cubs–85 runs
    Astros–90 runs

    Our pitching hasn’t been the best.
    Now for the offense.

    Reds lead the world with 100 runs scored.
    Cards and Rockies are next with 99.
    Royals–of all people!–95.

    The worst in Baseball?

    And our division:

    The Cubs, with yesterday’s 3 for 10 with RISP, have raised their RISP avg. to .222, or 2 hits every nine tries. They rank 25th of MLB’s 30 teams.

    Whose worst than the Cubs?
    #26 Rockies .213
    #27 SEA ..203
    #28 BoSox .199
    #29 PADRES .197
    #30 Dodgers .184 (still mourning over Manny and McCourt).

    The interesting thing is that the Cubs’ woeful offense has actually had more chances (ie, more AB with RISP) than most teams: #13 in MLB. The Reds ranks #22, and yet have scored the most runs in MLB. Why? #1 POWER. #2 Hitting .293. Cards are hitting .301 with RISP. Cleveland, #1 with .326.

    Our division: RISP

    • GaryLeeT

      Pena batting 5th has a lot to do the Cubs’ poor RISP average. He must lead the League in runners LOB. I think Soriano and Soto should bat ahead of him.

      • paulcatanese

        Agree with you here on Pena,what bugs me is the amount of pitches he takes,granted some of those turn into walks,but more often than not they turn into called third strikes or he must swing at the pitchers pitch. I was against the signing of him last year and questioned his ability then. Everyone said oh,he will hit twenty five,thirty home runs and drive in+ eighty. Not happening yet. Again I said drop him in the order to seven or eight and let him work it out. Definetly platoon him with Baker. It seems Quade has a penchant for sticking with his original decision regardless of the results. I was amazed that he moved Castro to leadoff and then to third in the lineup, the first significant move he has made other than Barney. Firmly believe it’s been the press and JH that has Quade moving anyone at all.

    • Serothis

      I really think pena and byrd need to get out of the critical spots. I would almost say put soriano in 3 (*shudder* I know…) the way he’s been hitting dingers (can’t be worse than byrd anyway) and soto or fukedome in 5th.

      I kind of want castro back at the lead off spot for not other reason than he seems to be one of the more patient hitters on our line up and he and barney just kick ass going back to back like that.

      • Cheryl

        Castro and Barney seem to be the best for 1 and 2. If they bring up Brett there will be a tendency to put him at the lower end of the batting order because he’s new. I think that would be a mistake. Put him in number three and see if he can handle it. It takes a while to get a book on a hitter and it may be he’ll do okay there. Unfortunately Byrd needs to be traded as soon as possible. I like him. I think he helps bring the team together, but he should be traded now.

        • paulcatanese

          Agree with you Cheryl, I hope they do bring Jackson up,now not later, and certainly hit him at the upper three in the lineup. The only thing I would say is leave Barney in the number 2 spot and think Jackson and Castro could actually switch either way and it would be productive. I can envision brand new life in the Cubs if it were to happen.

    • Richard Hood

      There were some of us that actually called the NL Central being mediocre this year and got laugh at by guys like you and Aaron. Every team in the central has issues.

      Now it is down to who ever can gel first and put a run in. I still think between 85 to 90 wins will win the division.

      • Serothis

        at this rate it’s looking like .500+ will win the division….

      • Ripsnorter1

        We’ve only ate up just 10% of the schedule. The Cubs have played against the easiest teams in their schedule. So I am not ready to concede that this is a mediocre division, and that the Cubs are in it.

        I would say, that if the Cubs had better management, they could be in it.

        Case in point: starting Russell the last two games were guaranteed losses, with the added bonus of putting extra stress on the bullpen early in the season.

        Had the Cubs called up a real starter, instead of Stevens, they had a chance. Or if they had not thrown Gorzelanny away for nothing, they had a chance.

        Case #2: reschedule the rainout with SD for another date when we might have another starter.

        If the difference between winning the division and losing the division is a mere 5 games (as you say, 85-90 wins), then throwing a game away makes little sense if you want to compete.

        ME: I want to compete. That’s why I scream at Jim Clueless all the time. He’s hurting the team. And if Quade is responsible for Russell decision, I’ll scream at him, too.

        • Tom U

          Rip, I liked Gorzelanny also, but I don’t feel the Cubs gave him up for nothing.

          Michael Burgess has 5 homers and 2 outfield assists at Daytona. Once he learns a little patience at the plate, he could be the player that puts Tyler Colvin at first base permanently. He’s 22 years old, so he has time to develop.

          Graham Hicks is a desperately needed left handed pitcher who has a 0.90 ERA in Peoria. At 21 years old, he can turn out to be a find.

          • Richard Hood

            I actually liked the talent that we got back for Gorzy. I never liked him so I am biased but I like Burgess a lot.

          • paulcatanese

            Richard,would you rather have Grabow as your’e lefty? I feel as you do only the feeling is that way for Grabow.

          • Richard Hood

            Do not like him either. I just do not think that Grabow has as much value as Gorzy. Imagine if we would have kept Grozelany and he start off for us like he has for Washington? A lot of people would have been on top of JH for not getting anything for him when there was a market.

            I thought that maybe Hendry jumped the gun on him and should have made a deal in ST instead of before. But I think he actually got some nice talent in Burgess and Hicks.

          • Aaron


            I can’t agree with you on this.

            Burgess=Colvin, but with slightly more power. They both strike out a lot, and don’t walk a whole lot.

            Burgess isn’t going to push anybody.

            The best OF prospects the Cubs have right now are: Flaherty-LF, B. Jackson-CF, and Ha-RF….and Flaherty isn’t even a true OF, so that just shows you the lack of OF depth the Cubs have right now.

            The problem with Burgess, is he only has this year to prove he’s worthy of a 40-man roster spot, or he’s subjected to the Rule 5. It’s not a sure thing at all that he’d be selected, even if he has huge power numbers this season, but it’s worth noting that he’d be subject to the Rule 5, and he’s still in high-A (for the 3rd straight season…the first of which was under 20 games)

            As for Hicks, you’re right about him. There was a desperate need for lefties in the system. However, the Cubs weren’t very high on Jeremy Papelbon, and let him go this past offseason, and he had far better ERA’s than Hicks has, and slightly better peripheral numbers. Hicks gives up a lot of hits, and his WHIP is pathetic (good enough for an average of 1.605), and he doesn’t strike out a whole lot of guys.

            Rosscup, the lefty they got in the Garza deal, has a far better chance of making it than Hicks with his ERA and peripheral numbers (1.068 WHIP, and fact he hasn’t given up a home run in pro ball yet)

            As for the other guy, Morris. Nobody even knows where the guy is right now. He’s supposedly injured, but you can’t find his name on any roster or disabled list in the system.

            So, overall, the value the Cubs got in return was not that great. The only way it’s saved is if Morris actually pitches in a game this year in the system. The thing everyone seems to forget is that Gorzelanny was a solid 4/5 guy in most rotations. If the Cubs don’t get a MLB player out of the deal (meaning, if none of them pans out), then it’s a total loss.

            Just look at their rotation now. It’s in shambles. They don’t even have a #5 starter on the team right now, choosing to shuffle Russell into a role he doesn’t belong in.

          • Aaron

            Also, the thing to keep in mind about the Gorzelanny deal is the fact that after Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies, he was the next best option on the market (pathetic, I know, because he’s just a 4/5 in any rotation). Therefore, the Rangers, Yankees, and even the Red Sox were looking for a starter on the market.

            We’ll never know if they were really all that interested, but the Rangers did inquire on Gorzelanny according to reports. Maybe none of the 3 teams offered much at all, so Hendry decided to take 3 marginal prospects, hoping at least 1 would pan out, versus 1 prospect that was perhaps offered by other team. Who really knows?

          • Tom U

            Well, all we can do is hope.

          • Aaron

            In all fairness though, I was high on Burgess at one point, but that was back when I thought he’d be in AA, but he’s in A+ now, and doesn’t even have a .300+ OBP, which is a really bad sign.

          • Aaron

            I also wanted to add that the Cubs better shell out the dough for Fielder this offseason, as they have absolutely nobody capable in their system both offensively and defensively to handle 1B at the MLB level. There’s not a single candidate in the system that’s a 20+hr guy at 1B, and Colvin sure as hell doesn’t fit that bill anymore either.

          • BillyFinT

            You know, this offseason will be the first REAL deal Ricketts “can” make. They had the excuse of learning the game. Now, by this offseason, three years had passed (Remember, the Ricketts bought the club back in January, 2009).

            There was never a grace period, but I understand that they have a more conservative way of knowing things and planning ahead.

            Will they be the cheap Wrigleys like, oh, 1946-1980? Or be more respectable?

        • Richard Hood

          I agree with you on Russell and have no idea why he even started yesterday with an off day today.

          I do not think that there are any dominant teams in the central. I think we are a .500 team and had us down for 82 wins. Some of the guys I expected to come out hot have not done so and we still are a .500 team which is a good sign.

          I actually wish that someone would take control of the central and prove me wrong. I keep getting this feeling that we are in 2003 again. Where our young guys are getting good quicker than anyone thought and JH will gut the system again to win this year if we are close in June. So I hope that we fall off or someone gets it together so we can at least keep building slow and not go all in too soon. Again.

          • BillyFinT

            I don’t know. By this day in 2003, the Cubs already a 5-win streak and above .500;

          • Richard Hood

            I meant about the idea that the young guys are playing better than expected and the Cubs are still 3 years away from having any depth to make a sustained playoff push. The last time we were in this situation was 2003 and Hendry went on a great trading spree after the All Star break that killed all depth in the minors for years.

            If we start trading away minor league talent now to help the big club make a push then we will be one injury away from being right back at the bottom of the NL.

          • BillyFinT

            Thanks for clarifying, Richard, and I like how you both gave Hendry the credit and called a likely comical scenario (which can happen with that current Cub Think). LOL

        • paulcatanese

          Absolutly agree with you. Take the analogy of bowling and insert it here,if you miss a spare in the first frame it comes back to haunt you at the end when you lose by five pins.

    • paulcatanese

      Rip,in the predictions for the 2011 season that I posted were for the Cubs bouncing back and forth with the .500 mark all year and then fading at the end and finifshing a few games under the .500 mark. Hope I am wrong and may just be if the right moves are made in regards to Jackson and the resurgance of Soriono . Still lots of ifs though.The DL of Cashner and Wells may be too much to overcome.

      • Ripsnorter1

        It’s early yet, and there’s still hope for Cubs’ fans. Why is there hope? Because it is April. Because no team is really totally in the swing of things. Because our new guys are still new to the league, and the league hasn’t yet adjusted to them. Because if you’re a Cubs’ fan, you always drink blue Kool-Aid, even if you know it is blue Kool-Aid.

        I believe, with the right, careful management, that the Cubs could be competitive in our division this year. But you don’t throw games away before the first pitch, and remain competitive. Every game is precious to the standings.

  • Tony

    It is Jackson time, soon enough (May/June) but let Reed enjoy his day.

    Casey Coleman is a pitcher. He is a grinder. He just gets outs. And already had him in our system, with a nice couple of months under his belt.

  • Tony

    Why did we need to face the Padres and have frigid temperatures, to get back-to-back quality starts?

    Where have our ACES been hiding?

  • xaxinho

    But i think our starters will get better… And we will have wells and cashner back. Both were very good. i can see more good performances by Z and garza getting more Ks and less hits.

    I see 3 huge problems for us. Pena, aramis and dempster. I still have some faith in dempster. He has heart to give us bettee performances. But aramis……. They pitch outside and the best we can have from him is singles… Batting .305 is good but with this hr performance, hitting 4th is ridiculous.

    And pena…. batting 5th and the best he can do is bunt for hit

  • Ripsnorter1

    Garza: it cannot be denied that he has good stuff.
    Samardzija: it cannot be denied that he has good stuff, just not enough control.

  • Matt

    Most of Soriano homers have been with no one on base, why they don’t move him up is beyond me right now he is the only cub hitting for power and day in and day out he’s at the bottom of the lineup setting him up to hit when no one is on base!

  • Ripsnorter1

    Cubs’ batting averages with RISP:

    1. BAKER……500…3/6–1 2B–1 HR–6 RBI
    2. BARNEY…400..4/10–1 2B–5 RBI
    3. FUNKO……333…2/6–2 singles–2 RBI
    4. DEWITT…..333…1/3–1 2B–2 RBI
    5. ARAM……..316…6/19–1 2B–5 RBI
    6. CASTRO …308…4/13–3 2B–1 HR–7 RBI
    7. JOHNSON..350…1/4–1 2B–1 RBI
    8. SORIANO…235…4/17–1 2B–1 HR–7 RBI
    9. BYRD……..182…4/22–1 2B–4 RBI
    10. SOTO……150…3/20–1 2B–2 RBI
    11. PENA……133…2/15–1 2B–4 RBI
    12. COLVIN….000…0/10–3 RBI (all sac flies)
    13. K. HILL…..000…0/3–nothing at all

    You can see these facts about our hitting with RISP at this time:

    #1 Our four best hitters are not everyday players: Baker, Barney, Funko and DeWitt are all platoon or bench players. Throw in Johnson at #7, too, and you can see that,
    #2 Only two of our regulars are performing at this time: Aram and Castro.
    #3 Soriano is performing at a sub par level in the category of batting average.
    #4 Byrd, Soto, Pena, Colvin, and Hill are STINK at this time.
    #5 All of Castro’s hit were for extra bases.

    SHOCKING FACT: the Cubs are #2 in all of MLB for team batting, .277, and #10 in OBP (can’t take a walk), #17 in runs scored, #18 in HR (with 14, while Yanks have 30). This leads us to . . . .
    #6 The Cubs have been getting on base, but with little power, and no hitting with RISP, are only very average in runs scored.

  • Tom U

    Trey NcNutt scheduled to start tonight for Tennessee.

    Robinson Lopez gets his second start for Peoria.

    • BillyFinT

      Good to hear that McNutt is well. When you reported that he’s Dolis was hurt, I was like, OUCH.

      edit: Yeah, got mixed up. Either way, the Cubs need to call up one of them to make this team look less than miserable.

  • paulcatanese

    Quade and Johnson need to take the heat for the second loss. By his own addmision Quade said Russell is not a starter but situational at best. why in the world would he pitch him knowing that? As I mentioned last night the kid was set up to lose. On top of that wasn’t Russell suposed to be on a strict pitch count? 70 plus pitches is way over what he should have thrown.With the way that Quade has managed the bullpen nd the lineup for that matter he needs an instuctional manual to teach him the game. Big difference between a coach in the majors and a manager. What he did in the minors applies to managers the same as players. When you get to the bigs,things change, and he has not adjusted to that change. Reed Johnson, while he showed that anyone can hit the ball out in the first game,that was a no-brainer for him, all he had to do was run around the bases and no pressure to find the next base. However the second game opened up one reason that he is not playing regularly,( although with our hitters?) First he gets a base hit and for some reason thinks he is Lou Brock and tries to steal second,only problem was he only got to 85 feet of the base before he stuck in the mud. Then with a rally going on he hits a liner down the left field line that stops at the wall. Mr Johnson feels this is a triple, not realizing the ball that he hit was not to the oppisite field but to his pull field, and there not many triples at Wrigley on the pull side of the hitter. At any rate he should have stopped at 2b. That would have kept the inning open, it ended up costing a run,they add up by the end of the game, and it would have been tied. 3-4 is nice,but not when you negate two of them yourself with baserunning errors.

  • John_CC

    The Brewers just extended Braun til 2020. In his Soriano year he’ll be making the same, 18M$ at age 35. I suppose in 2019 18M$ might look like chump change, but at 35?

    These people are insane. It’s like a panic 4 years before the end of his current contract! INSANE.

    I reckon that means they have written off any chance of re-signing Prince.

  • Matt

    How are the smokies doin so far?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      The Smokies are losing … but Brett Jackson is having a big night.

      Brett Jackson just homered in the eighth, second longball in as many days for Jackson. He doubled and scored earlier in the game.

      Trey McNutt did okay, the Smokies defense did not help him. McNutt reached his pitch count and left. Gave up three runs but threw strikes. McNutt ended his night by striking out Fred Lewis, who is on a minor league rehab stint, looking on what was described as a great changeup.

      For more updates check the CCO’s Twitter feed …

      • Matt

        Ok thanks Neil!

      • cc002600

        NIIIIIIIIICE !!!!!

        G BJax !!

  • Tom U

    Daytona has become the first squad in the organization to record double digit wins. The D-Cubs defeated Lakeland tonight 5-3 for their 10th victory.