Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Brewers – 07/27/11

Game One Hundred Four: Cubs (42-61) vs. Brewers (55-49)
Game Time – 7:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Miller Park, Milwaukee

Carlos Zambrano (7-5, 4.70/1.42) vs. Zack Greinke (7-4, 4.84/1.20)

The Cubs will try to get back in the win column tonight behind Carlos Zambrano … and the Cubs offense will not get a break with Zack Greinke on the hill. Greinke has not lost a game at Miller Park this season and has issued only four walks in 44 innings at home this year.

Mike Quade and his team view this road trip and the next 12 games as a way to get back into the race in the NL Central. The Cubs enter play tonight 19 games below .500 and just 17-30 on the road this season. After the next two games in Milwaukee, the Cubs travel to St. Louis for three then to Pittsburgh for four … Q’s squad opens a three-game series against the Reds on August 5.

In other newsKerry Wood was unable to make the trip to Milwaukee for the start of the three-game series against the Brewers. Wood stayed in Chicago and dealt with flu-like symptoms. Wood was expected to be examined today but it is unclear when he will rejoin the team … much less pitch in a game.

Reed Johnson was unavailable Tuesday night for the second game in a row. Johnson’s back has stiffened up again and he is listed as day-to-day.

Jim Hendry and his staff did not make the trip to Milwaukee and stayed behind to monitor moves heading into the trade deadline according to a report from Carrie Muskat.

From the Rumor MillAccording to Bruce Levine, the Cubs want to keep Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson as a part of their bench for 2012 and neither one will likely be moved before the deadline. Reports have stated the Cubs view Baker as being untouchable and apparently the Cubs view the free-agent-to-be Reed Johnson the same way.

According to Bruce Levine, a number of teams have looked at John Grabow “but his inconsistencies have caused teams to hesitate.”

Tonight it all starts with Carlos Zambrano

Carlos Zambrano is coming off a decent outing and a win against Houston. The Astros nickeled and dimed Zambrano and scored two runs on nine hits (all singles). Z issued only one free pass and struck out three. Z picked up his first victory since June 20.

Z has put together a good but inconsistent season. After a posting a 1-2 record in six starts in June with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP, Z is 1-1 in his last two games with an 8.44 ERA and a 1.97 WHIP … teams are hitting a robust .364.

Zambrano will make his third start of the season against Milwaukee. Z is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP … Z is 13-9 in 33 career games, 30 starts, with a 3.85 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP.

Brewers Career Numbers against Carlos Zambrano

  • Yuniesky Betancourt – 2-for-6
  • Ryan Braun – 11-for-40 with 3 doubles, a home run and 4 walks
  • Craig Counsell – 8-for-33 with 2 doubles and 7 walks
  • Prince Fielder – 15-for-44 with 5 doubles, 3 home runs and 7 walks
  • Corey Hart – 10-for-33 with 2 doubles, a triple and 5 walks
  • Mark Kotsay – 1-for-9 with a walk
  • Jonathan Lucroy – 3-for-7
  • Casey McGehee – 5-for-19 with a double, a home run and 3 walks
  • Nyjer Morgan – 9-for-25 with a walk
  • Rickie Weeks – 11-for-49 with 4 doubles, a home run and a walk

Zack Greinke has been inconsistent this season and has not pitched the way Milwaukee hoped he would when they traded for him over the winter. Greinke is coming off a good outing, but a loss to Arizona. Kirk Gibson’s team scored two runs on five hits in seven innings without a walk and Greinke struck out seven. But the Brewers did not scored a run off Ian Kennedy.

Greinke has been very good of late and is 0-1 in his last four starts with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP.

Zack Greinke is a perfect 5-0 at Miller Park this season. In seven starts, the former AL Cy Young Award winner has allowed 22 runs, 20 earned, on 41 hits with just four walks and 62 strikeouts in 44 innings (4.09 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP).

Matt Garza beat Greinke back on June 16 at Wrigley … the Cubs scored eight runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings against Greinke while striking out 10 times (two walks). Look for Greinke to make a point tonight after the Cubs handed him his worst loss of the season.

Tonight will be Greinke’s second career start against the Chicago Cubs.

Cubs Career Numbers against Zack Greinke

  • Jeff Baker – 0-for-3
  • Marlon Byrd – 2-for-16 with a home run and a walk
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-1 with a double and 2 walks
  • Blake DeWitt – 0-for-3
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-3 with a triple
  • Reed Johnson – 0-for-2
  • Carlos Pena – 4-for-30 with a double, a home run and 2 walks
  • Aramis Ramirez – 0-for-3
  • Alfonso Soriano – 4-for-13 with a double and a walk
  • Geovany Soto – 2-for-3

Boys of Spring – The Movie
Friend of the CCO, Tim Sheridan, is putting the finishing touches on a Cubs documentary about his time with the Chicago Cubs. Tim is the long-time P.A. announcer at HoHoKam Park in Mesa and the film is full of behind the scenes, never-before-see footage shot by Tim as he worked next to Cubs legends like Harry Caray and Ron Santo.

From the official press release: To be a part of Boys of Spring – The Movie, fans can donate as little as $10 using an Amazon.com account. As a thank you, fans will receive a copy of the Boys of Spring documentary before its official release next spring. There are a range of donation levels and rewards available on Kickstarter.com, including Cubs memorabilia and your name in the movie’s credits.

Boys of Spring isn’t about a team winning or losing. It’s about something deeper. An examination of life on its winding path and how, in spite of perceived failures, there is happiness and success. Cub fans will find joy this season and for years to come with the Boys of Spring film by donating and claiming their place in Cubs history. An epic World Series drought can’t stop the faithful Cubs followers, who know better than anyone – “There’s always next spring!”

BoysofSpring-Pub.jpg

The CCO will be running reminders during game previews for the next few weeks and I encourage the Faithful to check out ‘Boys of Spring – The Movie

Boot Campaign
Randy Wells and the Chicago Cubs are raising awareness of needs of military personnel. Wells will trade in his cleats for combat boots this week as part of the Boot Campaign, an initiative aimed at showing appreciation of the active military and raising awareness of the needs of military personnel.

Official Release from MLB.com

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The CCO has been asked to pass this info onto our readers and we will run reminders throughout the week. For those that are interested in helping this great cause, please visit www.BootCampaign.com and purchase the “Give Back” combat boots.

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1512275173 Matt Collins
    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1512275173 Matt Collins

      cubs trying to unload big z

  • diehardcubfan

    Surprise, the Yankees want nothing to do with Zambrano even after the Cubs offered to cover the bulk of the money.

    At least they have some common sense.

    Now with Baker and Johnson untouchable, I do not see the Cubs even making a trade before the deadline. 

    I will definitely be shocked to even see Fukudome moved though I am sure that they will talk further with the Indians now that Beltran is heading to SF.

    • paulcatanese

      Not a surprise at all(joke). Your’e point about moving anyone before the deadline is accurate, I have said the same thing for months. No-one wants anyone of these guys.This is another reason Quade needs to have a reality check. JH deciding that Johnson and Baker are untouchables should be a certain signal to Ricketts that he needs to make changes and if he does not then he gets what he deserves, a team that will not be in contention for a long time to come, incuding next year. That promises to be the same all over again.If they have untradable players this year they will be untradable next year.That should not be hard for Ricketts to figure out. Nothing brings nothing in return. Ricketts will have to pillage his minor league prospects this year or next, as thats the only way to bring anyone productive to Chicago. Other teams know this as well and will take full advantage ot the situation. I would love to eat crow over this prediction but don’t think it will happen.

      • GaryLeeT

        Why would any team do a deal with the Cubs before the trade deadline?
        Every player making over 4 million a year, except maybe Byrd, would
        easily clear waivers. If I were a GM on another team, and there was even a remote of chance I would want a Cub player, I would let the Cubs continue to pay their grossly inflated salaries until crunch time.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    Fukudome-RF
    Castro-SS
    Ramirez-3B
    Pena-1B
    Byrd-CF
    Soto-C
    DeWitt-LF
    Barney-2B
    Zambrano-P

  • BosephHeyden

    This is Ricketts’ fault now that they’re not making moves to better the team.  Either Hendry knows he’s done and doesn’t feel like making any moves to better the team, or Hendry thinks he’s safe and is showing the sheer level of dementia he currently possesses by deeming most of the team “untouchable”.

    If he fires him now, he can still get a GM to make competent trades by the deadline

    • KevininSandiego

      No you can’t , its too late to fire Hendry and still save the Deadline. What needs to happen is that he Fails and doesn’t do anything. He will be gone and the cubs just limp away and start from the beginning.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I don’t think performance has anything at all to do with Hendry’s future.

        The deciding factor is money, ie, the lack of it. Hendry is under contract, and Ricketts is not going to flush a lot of dough down the toilet to get rid of him. Ditto that with Soriano, Zambrano, Funko, Byrd, Pena, Dumpster, et al. 

        We’re stuck. For years to come.

        • cubtex

          Time will tell but according to sources the Cubs are willing to eat a lot of salary for Z and Soriano. I do not think they are stuck. I believe Q is gone for sure and Hendry will not be GM.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Yes: time will tell. You and I have this zero wager going. 

            Beltran is gone, and Mets sent $4 million along to get rid of him.
            WOW!

        • J Daniel

          Rip,

          I think you have nailed it on the head, money!  I can remember back at the press conference a comment made by the brother about spending money. I think they are on a really tight budget and would be surprised if JH is let go.  Maybe the answer is Gillick to be the top guy.

    • paulcatanese

      I would like to see that happen(fire JH) but after watching Ricketts on TV this year, he does not seem to have the desire to do so.His body language says it all, he is afraid to do so.

      • diehardcubfan

        I have to agree with you Paul that Ricketts will not fire JH.  He would have done it already.

        I am not even sure if the Cubs lost 100 games this year that Ricketts would fire JH. 

        Cubs outlook very bleak.

  • kb20

    International FA possible signing: 

    From a reliable blogger…(take it with a grain of salt)
    “This draft class is so impressive on paper…however, what’s just as impressive is the international free agents they’ve pulled in since Ricketts has taken over… Heard that draft day scare Onelki Garcia Speck has an MLB offer (a deal sim to what Bauer signed with Ari- less money but not by much) on the table from the team… Apparently has offers from the Mets, Red Sox, Royals and of course, Yankees, as well… If Speck signs here, he immediately becomes the top pitching prospect in the organization and really becomes the Cubs second 2011 First rounder… ”

    I like the direction that they are going…now they just have to develop these players. 

    • Calicub

      We all know how laughable palyer development is in the cubs organization. If I were a prospect, the only way i’d sign with the cubs is if absolutely no other team were interested

    • KevininSandiego

      I hope they are right.

    • Aaron

      Your “reliable blogger” is 100% wrong. 

      The reason Speck was eligible, then was declared ineligible had to do with MLB finding evidence he lived in the United States, and thus, any Cuban residing in the US is eligible for the draft. This explains why we heard so much confusion on draft day about the Cubs taking him, etc. HOWEVER, Speck and his representatives reportedly submitted fraudulent residency documents from Nicaragua, claiming he lived there in order to eschew the draft, and allow him to sign with whatever team he wanted for big money.

      He reportedly wanted $15 million. The issue is, because he submitted fraudulent paperwork, Speck would be suspended for 1 year from signing with any team.

      http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/baseball/mlb/07/13/cuban.player/index.html?sct=hp_t2_a16&eref=sihp

      • KevininSandiego

        Doesn’t mean a team woluldnt sign him. Just means he can’t play for a year after he is signed. It doesn’t mean the Cubs aren’t close to signing him.

        • Aaron

          From what I understand, it’s not that he can’t play for a year, it’s that he can’t SIGN for a year. I believe this process also happens for Latin players that falsify their ages. The team that “signs” them initially loses the guy, then a team can’t sign him for a year, and he’s open to all teams at that point yet again. 

          • KevininSandiego

            Ok I was confused then. Thank you for clearing that up.

          • paulcatanese

            Aaron, that sounds like a natural for the Cubs, sign him now, spend more usless dollars, wait a year then outbid everyone next year and sign him to a five year deal. The money this year would just let him realize the Cubs are thinking of him.

  • Brentcarmona

    caesar the great (matt spellcheck) not in the daytona lineup tonight. i heard he was taken out early last night, any injury with him?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Matt
      Szczur was pulled in Daytona’s game last night with a dislocated pinky … listed as day-to-day.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Kerry Wood is available tonight. However, team trying to decide next step re: Reed Johnson, back has been bothering him

    • diehardcubfan

      No worries, we have bona fide outfielders in Baker and DeWitt to play out there.

      Besides, it would be better to put Reed on the DL since he is now untouchable and critical to next years success.

      We would not want him available for the start of next season if the injury should linger.

  • Tom U

    As reported yesterday, Marco Carrillo to start tonight for the Tennessee Smokies.

  • jey518

    What are the “plans” for Rebel Ridling? I’ve seen him play a few times when they play the Biscuits, and he seems pretty darn good. Last night he only went 1-3, I think, but he battled each time he came up. Clevenger looked good too. It just sucks that they will never get a chance under current management.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Nice 8-pitch first for Z

  • Aaron

    Quade’s other butt buddy DeWitt (why else would he be playing, right? Hill is the other one) just looks horrible at the plate, still has an option, and yet still is on the team. Again, but a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with this management

  • Aaron

    Elsewhere in Cub-ville…

    Simpson continues to get torched, giving up 2 runs in 1 1/3 IP for the AZL Cubs…happened to be the only runs Cubs pitching would give up on the day in a 7-2 win. His ERA is now in the 8+ range in ROOKIE BALL!!!!!!!!!! LOL…but he’s probably untouchable too, just like the scouts that signed him, etc., along with Baker, and Hill, and Johnson…Oh boy…this organization has MAJOR problems

    On a brighter note, Zapata, Hernandez, and Amaya continue to impress at the top of their order.

  • GaryLeeT

    According to Cotts, the list of the all time highest annual salaries paid to any MLB pitcher.
    1. Clemens
    2. Lee
    3. Halladay
    4. Zambrano
    Which one of these things is not like the other?

  • Aaron

    What I’m trying to understand is why the following players are still on the roster:

    Hill, 32 yrs old-$850k last year of contract, .207/.275/.326, 2 hr, 8 RBI, 9 walks, 23 K’s, 20% CS rate, 4.58 pitcher’s ERA

    Johnson, 34 yrs old-$900k, last year of contract, .328/.369/.555, 4 hr, 23 RBI, 3 walks, 36 K’s

    Baker, 30 yrs old-$1.175 million, last year of contract (arbitration eligible), .297/.315/.405, 2 hr, 19 RBI, 4 walks, 33 K’s

    DeWitt, 25 yrs old-$460k, last year of contract (arbitration eligible), .262/.280/.372, 2 hr, 15 RBI, 4 walks, 22 K’s

    Grabow, 32 yrs old-$4.8 million, last year of contract, 5.18 ERA, 1.638 WHIP

    ….and that’s not even counting big salary guys that shouldn’t be on the team like Soriano, Fukudome, etc.

    How Hendry actually thinks these guys are valuable for next year is beyond me. And if that’s not accurate, then what the hell are they all still doing with the team?!?!

    How Hendry is still employed by a MLB team after saying the things he’s said the past few years is also beyond me, from “we’re still in this” to “2-3 solid moves away” to “injuries” (as an excuse), etc. It’s ludicrous to think he’s still involved with an iconic franchise like this.

    Baker and Johnson have both been injured this year, both are in their 30′s, and both will likely cost over $1 million each next year.

    Why can’t Marwin Gonzalez and Ty Wright be just as effective as they are? For a grand total of $830k combined next year?!?!?

    I hate this franchise while moron Hendry is involved.

    • J Daniel

      Aaron,

      They should not be on the roster!  Hill, Grabow, DeWitt, and really have no value.  Baker is ok to use as a situational guy or pinch hitter.  Johnson maybe as a 5th outfielder but you can find better.

      Even if they did not believe the young guys are ready there are better guys for their roles.  Poor evaluations continually!

      Long way away from being competitive, sorry to say.

      • J Daniel

        Another perfect example of bad evaluation was the Gorzelany deal.  Not that he is great but the guys they have signed and run out there are any better?  And the reason, money?  Ha!  How much money have they spent on broken down guys?  Again, poor evaluation.  If you don’t think all of the young guys are ready they should have kept him.  You know there will be injuries and low and behold.

      • Aaron

        What ALL of those 4 guys have in common is they’re free swingers, refuse to take walks, and would never be counted on with other teams to produce.

        The most frustrating thing of all is with Johnson and Baker, they’ve both been injured this year, and Baker is incredibly one dimensional at the plate…can only hit lefties, and hasn’t even done that well since coming off the DL. In the field, he has no range, and is pretty bad defensively in the OF, just like DeWitt is when he is placed in LF.

        Square peg, meet round hole…that’s EXACTLY what Hendry does. It’s his calling card for crying out loud, and NOBODY sees this in leadership with the team. I’m going crazy with how incredibly stupid this franchise really is.

        Hendry trades away DeRosa, his most versatile player. So what does he do? He signs Miles to fill the same role, and Miles fails miserably doing so, in the field and at the plate. Then, because Miles fails, he gets Freel, and because Freel fails, he gets Baker.

        Do you see the whole connection here? Hendry spends a LOT of time, trying to correct his errors, without taking ownership for them, and he sticks with players solely because he wants to prove everyone wrong.

        The same thing also happened with Bradley. The move that really set that whole debacle into motion was prior to the 2007 season when they signed Soriano to be the CF, and he failed there, so they had to move him to LF. That set into motion Murton (a true LF) being thrust into a role in RF, along with a Floyd (also a true LF) being thrust into a role in RF, which made the Cubs move Jones (who was playing RF, but without a RF’s arm) to CF.

        Square pegs…meet round holes…that’s Hendry’s M.O.

  • GaryLeeT

    I thought that last night when the Cubs had the bases loaded, and nobody out, but did not score, they deserved to lose. Tonight, the Brewers had the bases loaded, nobody out, and did not score, but are going to win anyway. So the only conclusion I can draw from this lesson is that the Cubs never deserve to win, regardless of what happens during the game.

  • Anonymous47701

    Trade idea:

    OF Alfonso Soriano & C Geovany Soto to Yankees
    for 1B Mark Texiera

    • Jdarby

      Yeah, and the Yankees should throw in C.C. Sabathia while they’re at it.

      • Anonymous47701

        That wasn’t a sarcastic comment.

    • diehardcubfan

      Good idea but won’t happen. 

      They do not even want Big Z even if we thrown in the bulk of his salary.

      Maybe if we take up a collection or start a website to take donations.  That might help.

    • paulcatanese

      You can throw Zambrano and Pena in that group and the Yankees still would not make that deal. It sounds great dont get me wrong, its just no-one wants what the Cubs have for any amount.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs shutout 2-0 by #Brewers Wednesday night. Carlos
    Zambrano: 2R, 6H, 2BB, 3K in 6.2 IP; Cubs offense: 4 hits(2B) & 3 walks

  • Jdarby

    Wouldn’t there be some kind of poetic irony if the Cubs went on a 10-game losing streak as soon as Quade announced they were still in the thick of the race?

    • paulcatanese

      Entirely possible,one could almost count on it.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From the Tribune: Zambrano says he wants to stay a Cub as long as there is
    “change.” What kind of change? “Change,” he repiled. Hmmm.

    • diehardcubfan

      Change?  Thanks for the laugh Neil, I needed that.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Glad I could help  … this mess is about to get ugly.

        • jey518

          Uglier lol

  • jw

    As evidence of how bad Hendry has been in evaluating and signing talent there appears to be virtually no recognition of value by other teams in our $130mm roster. (Other than Cubs management who feel great about them)

  • roseyc

    The Cubs have Hendry and Quade and Ricketts and Kaspar on tv …this all equals poor excuses for quality ….This is hopeless. I hope the Cubs keep losing until they get rid of all of them. Ricketts is the owner he stays because he has too.