Rambling About Actual Baseball Games That Don’t Count

And I will say, it is much better than rambling about talk and preparation for the actual games that don’t count. What a rush it is to turn on the radio and hear the best seven words in the world,

“Chicago Cubs baseball is on the air.”

Just drink it in; it always goes down smooth.

The games are underway, the battles have begun and the team is, even if just a little, starting to take shape.

So let’s get rambling …

  • Okay, this bunt contest thing was a cool idea. I am happy the players got into it, but let’s just get the friggin thing over with already.
  • I hope Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad go back and forth like this all spring. Both very impressive. Both relatively young. Could be great options.
  • I am an ND guy, but I am really rooting for Shark to step up and become the pitcher we all hoped, and some us thought, he could. Controlling that cutter is huge, but mid-90’s consistency on the fastball was music to my ears.
  • Yes, it was only three innings. I know, but I can dream.
  • Oh, EA Sports, it was a decent effort depicting a World Series Celebration for the Cubs in your commercial. Now throw that on steroids, double down on the HGH and multiply all that times 10. And then it will be accurate.
  • Oh, Alfonso, just wait until they start throwing you curveballs. However, I will enjoy hearing about the bombs and how you look young and in great shape.
  • Hope definitely springs eternal especially in Arizona, home of my favorite town, Carefree.
  • I loved seeing Sveum’s comments regarding BJax. He plays every day, either in the Show or Triple A. Refreshing!
  • I just want everyone to know I am trying very hard not to make sweeping generalizations about the 2012 season based on five games. I ask that we all follow this rule.
  • Am I am the only who will never really be convinced about James Russell?
  • If Shark and Volstad keep it up, I find it hard to believe Randy Wells breaks camp with this team, and even with this organization.
  • I make this promise: I will not worry about Carlos Marmol until April 5th. Then we can discuss his performance.
  • Who is your surprise bullpen pitcher of the upcoming season? Mine is John Gaub? I know, no a good choice. But they need a second lefty.
  • And the weekly over/under on a pitcher’s win total continues … over/under on Ryan Dempster. I will set it at 11. And I will go under. Your thoughts?
  • And for the position players, over/under on Castro’s batting average. I am setting in at .306, and I will go over.
  • I like the idea of Starlin batting 3rd, but I hope that does diminish his base-stealing ability. He jumped from 10 in ’10 to 22 last year. Even given a full year in 2010, that is almost doubling it, on average. That is a weapon on which the Cubs need to capitalize.
  • It will be interesting to see if Campana gets a real shot. I am real curious to see what this “regime” things about him. His opportunity in camp will say it all.
  • McThoyer really talked up Beilveau as a guy they liked. Again, not going to judge on three games, but let’s say, I expect an improvement.
  • Haven’t heard a word about DeJesus. But again, three games, and I must remind myself of that.
  • And finally, let’s give Travis Wood some time. In no way am I saying he will be great, but so much time left.

That’s all for now. I eagerly await your thoughts on the over/unders and all other thoughts Cubs!

For now, we can dream on witnessing the EA commercial become reality.

And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Quote of the Day

"Now there's three things you can do in a baseball game: You can win or you can lose or it can rain." - Casey Stengel 

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  • J Daniel

    I love the rambles, great job!!!

  • The Maven

    The moment we’re all waiting for…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVGAfA15U1I

  • Ripsnorter1

    Marshall’s gone. And the talk is that Marshall may find himself as the closer over in Dusty-town by mid-summer. Really.

    And we have Mr. James Russell to be the left setup man in place of Marshall. It is time to give him a shot–after all, it is LaHair’s turn, too, isn’t it?

    .

    He may regress, and I’ll show you why you should expect some regression. But he also has the potential to become the next Sean Marshall.

    AS A RELIEVER IN 2011…1.074 WHIP vs. Marshall’s 1.097  Is Russell really on the same level as Marshall? No. Keep watching. 

    AS A RELIEVER IN 2011…2.19 ERA vs. Marshall’s 2.26. IM-Pressive, isn’t it?

    AS A RELIEVER IN 2011…5 HR in 49.4 IP for 1 HR per 9.82 IP…EXCELLENT
    !Marshall: 1 HR per 75 IP…..UNREAL!2010…3 HR in 75 IP. He really excels here, and this is what sets him apart as a LOOGY.

    BUT Marshall gave up 10 HR’s in 85 IP in 2009. So give some time for growth from Russell…he may improve as Marshall did

    BAA:Russell…as a reliever….242 and slugging .390..pretty good
    .Marshall…as a reliever….234 and slugging .284..UNREAL!

    But HERE is the real difference….

    Russell….33 K in 49 IP. 
    Marshall…79k in 75 IP. 

    FACT: a pitcher’s BABIP on ball that do not leave the yard is remarkably consistent across the league. In other words, Halliday may keep hitters from hitting the ball, but if they hit the ball and it stays in the yard, his BABIP will not differ much from anyone else’s. The likelihood of a hit will be about the same for Russell and Halliday. And that is why pitchers who pitch to contact are not successful in MLB over a long period to time. 

    Russell needs to continue to sharpen his ability to miss bats to reach the apex of Sean Marshall. 

    Conclusion: Russell deserves the chance to become the next Sean Marshall. He is not there now. If he does not improve the quality of his pitches or location, he will certainly regress. If he can make some improvements, he may become a Sean Marshall clone.

    • Redlarczykg

      Plain and simple Rip.  Russell gets hammered by righties.  Russell will never be like Marshall, unless he develops another pitch to use against righties.

      And if the Cubs are to move forward, they need to be in the position to wave goodby to ‘Wellsie”.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Wells: get rid of him if you have something better. He could start for the Yanks rotation, the Pirates, and several other clubs. He’s not totally Carlos Silva…..

        Russell vs RHHs overall in 2011 (including starts)..
        .312 BAA and .902 OPS…

        I don’t know how (other than manually doing the work myself, which I haven’t the time) to find out was his BAA and slugging vs RHH in a relief role was in 2011.
        But I remind you of two things:1. Marshall was a poor starter.
        2. Marshall grew into his role.So Russell might also improve. 

        His expected ERA last year was 3.59. He was #38 in MLB in that category for a LH relief pitcher. Marshall was #6.

  • Michael

    Unless Russell starts throwing a gyro-ball, he will always be smashed against righties. 

  • John_CC

    I will take the Over on Dempster, with confidence.

    Castro and .306 … Under.  As for the stolen bases, I would much rather see him drive in 80+ runs than steal 25 bags. Assuming the Cubs find a clean-up hitter that can actually “clean up”, sending the 3 hitter is completely stupid, imo.  The Brewer’s did it for Braun and he won his MVP*.  But I still think it’s stupid.

  • cubtex

    Here are my thoughts about the starting rotation battle. Shark should be developed as a starter……..but and this is a huge but….the bullpen will be brutal. No Marshall and No Cashner will be felt big time! But….this is a rebuilding year so there is no better time to see if Shark can be a solid starting pitcher than now. The bullpen will be a definate weak link for the team this year and they will blow a lot of leads.

  • Aaron

    -agreed…get the friggin’ thing over with already. On a side note, does anyone think Sveum purposely tanked it in his last match-up. If you read between the lines with what Theo had said (that he should bow out gracefully and let the players duke it out), then even though he slammed his bat, it probably was just for show, because he didn’t want Theo to be pissed at him….maybe I’m wrong

    -Volstad and Samardzija were great…but I’m more sold on Samardzija than I am Volstad, unless he miraculously jumped to mid-90’s from 91-92 mph.

    -I hope Samardzija does well. I’ve been rooting for him to do well since he was drafted, and other than 2008 and last year, I’ve been extremely disappointed. It was almost like he didn’t work that hard at his craft before…good to see him doing so now

    -RE: Soriano…truer words have never been spoken….once breaking pitches start, which should be this weekend and next week, he’s back to normal. We’ve seen this show before, and it NEVER ends well

    -Sveum’s comments regarding BJax were definitely refreshing to hear. That being said, I’m not at all optimistic about them trading someone to open a spot. #1-Soriano is entrenched due to his contract in LF…if he goes anywhere, it’ll be post-2012 season; #2-Byrd is not going anywhere, and just like Soriano, Hoyer already guaranteed that by saying neither player is going anywhere before Opening Day; #3-DeJesus just signed a 2 year deal. Granted, he’s oft-injured recently, and it’s not for as much money as Soriano and Byrd, but you don’t pay someone $5 million to ride the pine. I believe BJax and Rizzo will come up together, and the only way that happens in 2012 is if both light AAA on fire, and trades (which I mentioned won’t happen), or injuries and ineffectiveness spurs the Cubs to make changes.

    -man this pen sucks….aside from Wood…who are you confident in? Dolis gets my vote, but then what?

    -I’m not convinced with Russell either

    -at one point, I thought Beliveau was another option, but wow….he’s been awful

    -because of holes in the staff and quality depth in the minors, the following guys need to be dealt: Wells, Marmol, Soto, Byrd, Soriano, and Baker.

    • paulcatanese

      Aaron you are correct, Sveum did tank it in the bunting contest. As he was showing everyone up.
      But, getting back to what I had said yesterday, the lineup is blocked with the guys that they brought it and the vets.
      You made good sense on Baker, how many leftys will he be able to face? I just don’t understand the backing he is getting.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Aaron, I saw the match between Sveum and Maholm. He did not tank it. He was trying to win, even shooting for the 100 point bunt at the end … and he came close twice.

  • Coachdon

    I don’t think any of our lefty options can fill Marshall’s void. Sveum will have to do more mixing and matching. I think it is a bad deal that in a rebuilding year, we have an outfield of oldtimers. Epstein had a chance to see what the young guys could do for the future but signing DeJesus when you hadn’t moved Byrd or Sorry was not a good move. Right field could have been the proving ground for BJax. DeJesus does nothing for me, or the ballclub, except take up space.