Every Pitch Mather-s – Cubs 3, Cardinals 2

Game Seventeen – Cubs 3, Cardinals 2
WP – Rafael Dolis (1-1) LP – Jason Motte (1-1, BS 1) Save – None

wflag.jpgWhat a finish Monday night for a team that needed something positive to happen.

Jaime Garcia stymied the Cubs offense for 7 2/3 innings and Dale Sveum’s team went to the bottom of the ninth trailing 2-1. Jason Motte took the mound and made quick work of Alfonso Soriano. Soriano could not catch up to a fastball and struck out swinging for the first out.

Bryan LaHair hit for Jeff Baker and put together a game changing at bat. LaHair worked the count to 3-2 then fouled off six straight fastballs in the mid to upper 90s. LaHair ended up walking on the 12th pitch of the bat. Geovany Soto walked on four pitches and the Cubs had the tying run on second base. Steve Clevenger hit for Rafael Dolis and grounded out to first. Clevenger’s productive out put the tying and winning run in scoring position.

Joe Mather (2-for-3 with two RBI and a walk) fell behind 1-2 before taking a pitch. Mather hit Motte’s next pitch into center. LaHair scored easily … and Soto slid in safe with the winning run.

Rafael Dolis was rewarded with his first big league win after pitching 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball.

Matt Garza did everything he could to put a win on the board but he received no support from his offense. Garza struggled with his command early on before settling down and tossing seven solid innings Monday night. Garza gave up two runs on four hits with three walks, a hit batsman and five strikeouts. Garza threw 108 pitches, 65 for strikes.

Garza actually helped himself at the plate. Not only did he notch his first sacrifice bunt of the season but he also recorded the first hit by a Cubs’ pitcher … a single to right in the fifth. The Cubs could not score another run while Garza was on the hill and he turned the game over to the pen in the eighth.

James Russell had a rough outing and retired only one of the three batters he faced. Russell issued back-to-back one-out walks to Shane Robinson and Matt Holliday before Sveum brought in Rafael Dolis. Starlin Castro made a leaping catch of a soft liner off the bat of Carlos Beltran and turned it into an inning ending double play. Dolis faced the minimum in the ninth after the Cubs turned their second double play in as many innings.

Darwin Barney (2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk), Starlin Castro (1-for-4) and Tony Campana (1-for-1 with two stolen bases) provided the only highlights prior to the ninth and Barney scored the Cubs run in the first on a sac fly by Alfonso Soriano (0-for-3 with a sac fly RBI).

Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a first inning infield single. Castro has reached safely in 56 of the last 57 games he’s played.

With Monday’s win, the Cubs improved to 5-12 on the season …

The impatient offense almost cost the team another game. While Jaime Garcia had a good night he was also facing a lineup with too many outs. The Cubs offense made Garcia throw only 85 pitches in 7 2/3 innings, 61 for strikes, and grounded into two more double plays. Thanks to Joe Mather’s two-out, two-run single in the ninth, the Cubs finished the game 2-for-7 with RISP and left six on base.

Matt Garza made it through the first inning with allowing only a two out single to Matt Holliday but he was not sharp and threw a lot of pitches. Rafael Furcal flied out to right (3-2 pitch) for the first out. Skip Schumaker grounded out to short on a 3-2 pitch. After Holliday’s single, Carlos Beltran swung over the top of a 2-2 pitch from Garza to end the inning (23 pitches, 14 for strikes).

David DeJesus popped out to Furcal (0-1 pitch) to start the home half of the first. Darwin Barney hit a 1-2 pitch to the hole at short. David Freese picked up the ball but his throw was off and the hustling Barney beat the throw. Jaime Garcia’s first pitch to Castro got under Yadier Molina’s legs. Barney advanced to second on the wild pitch. Barney then broke for third on a 1-2 pitch to Castro.

Starlin Castro hit a grounder to Furcal but Barney running to third appeared to distract Furcal. Castro reached on an infield single … and extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

Alfonso Soriano did his job … and put a run on the board. Soriano lifted a 1-0 pitch into left. Barney tagged and scored, 1-0 Cubs. With Jeff Baker at the plate, Castro took off for second too early and was thrown out at second to end the inning (1-3-4).

Matt Garza struck out David Freese looking (2-2 pitch) to start the second. Yadier Molina grounded out to short. The ball went off Garza’s fingertips as he fell awkwardly to the ground. Garza appeared okay but walked Matt Carpenter. A 1-2 offering to Tyler Greene ended up in the dirt. Carpenter took off for second and was tagged out to end the inning. Soto’s throw was low but Barney made a nice pick and tagged Carpenter out.

The Cubs did nothing in the bottom of the second.

Matt Garza sat down the Redbirds in order in the third … after three Garza had thrown 49 pitches, 29 for strikes.

The Cubs wasted a chance to tack in the third after Joe Mather reached on a single to left (2-0 pitch) to start the inning. Matt Garza dropped down his first sac bunt of the season and advanced Mather to second. David DeJesus grounded out to second, Mather ended up at third but was stranded when Barney flied out to right center on the first pitch.

The Cardinals finally got to Garza in the fourth. Skip Schumaker pulled a 2-2 pitch to the hole between first and second. Baker dove but the ball went off his glove and Schumaker reached on an infield single. Matt Holliday placed a 0-1 pitch just inside the left field line. The ball rolled to the corner. Schumaker held at third with no outs.

With the infield back, Carlos Beltran grounded out to second, Holliday advanced to third as Schumaker scored the tying run. Garza plunked Freese on the hand to put runners on first and third with one down.

Yadier Molina hit a 1-2 pitch to Johnson in right center. Holliday tagged and scored the go ahead run. Garza then issued a two out walk to Matt Carpenter. After a 2-2 pitch got past Soto, Garza walked Tyler Greene to load the bases. Jaime Garcia flied out to right on the first pitch to end the inning.

After three and a half, the Cubs trailed 2-1 and Garza had thrown 77 pitches, 44 for strikes.

The Cubs made three quick outs in the fourth … three up, three down on eight pitches. It took Jaime Garcia only 40 pitches, 29 for strikes, to get through four innings.

Garza ended up facing the minimum in the fifth after Rafael Furcal led off the inning with a single to left. Skip Schumaker grounded into a 4-6 fielder’s choice then was caught in a rundown with Holliday at the plate (1-4-3). Holliday flied out to center on Garza’s 89th pitch (50 for strikes) of the game.

After Soto reached on a fielding error by Furcal, Reed Johnson hit the first pitch to Furcal … 6-4-3 double play. Joe Mather worked the Cubs’ first walk of the game. Matt Garza then singled to right. The first hit by a Cubs’ pitcher this season. DeJesus struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) for the third out.

Matt Garza retired the Cardinals in order in the sixth … 99 pitches, 58 for strikes, for Garza after six innings of work.

Jaime Garcia faced the minimum in the sixth after Starlin Castro grounded into the Cubs’ second double play in as many innings. After Castro’s double play erased Barney’s leadoff single, Alfonso Soriano flied out weakly to right to end the inning.

Matt Garza ended his night by sitting the bottom of the Cardinals lineup down in order … 108 pitches after seven for Garza, 65 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the bottom of the seventh … just 77 pitches for Garcia after seven, 54 for strikes.

James Russell took over in the eighth and struck out Furcal swinging (3-2 pitch) before issuing back-to-back walks to pinch-hitter Shane Robinson and Matt Holliday. Dale Sveum went to his pen and brought in Rafael Dolis to face Carlos Beltran. Tony Campana took over in center for Reed Johnson on a double switch.

Starlin Castro made a leaping grab of a soft liner off the bat of Beltran … and doubled off Robinson to end the inning.

Jaime Garcia retired Joe Mather on a fly out to center (first pitch). Tony Campana hit the first pitch into right but could not advance to second before David DeJesus struck out swinging. Mike Matheny went to his pen and brought in Mitchell Boggs to face Barney.

In between a lot of throws to first base (seven times), Barney fell behind 1-2. The Cardinals pitched out and Molina’s throw beat Campana to second but Greene lost the handle on the ball. Campana took off for third on the next pitch and made it without a throw. Barney walked to put runners on first and third with two down.

Starlin Castro hit a 1-1 pitch to short. Furcal fired to first to end the inning.

Rafael Dolis faced the minimum in the ninth after David Freese reached on a swinging bunt up the third baseline to start the inning. Matheny called for a hit and run. Molina flied out to right, DeJesus threw to first and doubled off Freese to complete the double play. Matt Carpenter flied out to left (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the bottom of the ninth down 2-1.

Jason Motte predictably struck out Alfonso Soriano swinging to start the ninth (2-2 pitch).

Bryan LaHair hit for Jeff Baker and put together a very good at bat. Motte challenged him and LaHair ended up walking on the 12th pitch of the at bat. Geovany Soto walked on four pitches to put the tying run in scoring position.

With runners on first and second with one out, Steve Clevenger hit for Rafael Dolis and grounded out to first (1-2 pitch). Both runners advanced to second and third with two outs.

Joe Mather came through and ripped a 2-2 pitch into center. LaHair scored easily and Soto rumbled around third and slid in safe as Shane Robinson’s throw was well off the mark … Cubs Win!

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Jeff Samardzija and Adam Wainwright square off Tuesday night in game two.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Trevor-Petersma/565104388 Trevor Petersma

    Great heading Neil.  Great ending to the game, its nice to get a walk off W against the Cards.  I really hope we see more of Clevenger and Mather.  

  • Josh Man

    While we’ve had 3 games this year we shouldn’t have lost, we got one of them back today. Motte’s a good closer, but we fought hard and stole one tonight. Love it. If only the Blackhawks could’ve pulled it out too.

  • Agustinrexach

    super title, as always good job neil.  

  • paulcatanese

    Not a bad way to end the night.:) The Cardinals got a taste of what they did to Texas last fall.

  • Aaron

    Finally the Cubs win a close game! Hopefully they learn to build on this and start taking pitches late in games rather than going down in pathetic fashion.

    A couple observations I had from the game…

    Baker, Soto, Johnson, and Soriano need to go NOW!!! They’re all the same as Byrd, with the one exception being Soto who is still somewhat useful as a catcher, albeit Clevenger is a better all-around catcher than Soto is at this point.

    Baker has NO business being on this team. The sole reason he’s even on it, is he used to kill lefty pitching, but this year, and even this spring, he couldn’t get it done. He’s also a HORRIBLE 1B, as he botched yet another groundball that could have cost the Cubs the game if not for Mather’s heroics.

    And Soriano? Need I say anymore? Johnson is also like Gary Gaetti, where the Cubs re-signed him after a resurgent season even though at his age, it was HIGHLY questionable.

    So…again, folks on here have asked me…”why do you want to see Ridling up so badly?” It’s NOT that I think he is some type of uber prospect, but he’s a solid hitter, and every season that he’s been healthy, he’s hit over .300.

    With the Cubs having Valbuena or Cardenas, Jackson (soon), Rizzo (soon), DeJesus, Stewart, and Clevenger all being lefty, it’d make a ton of sense to just keep Mather on the bench, and bring up Ridling as righty options. 

    Here’s how the team would look:

    C-Castillo, Clevenger (who also can play 3B and 1B in a pinch)
    1B-Rizzo
    2B-Barney, Cardenas
    SS-Castro
    3B-Stewart
    LF-LaHair, Ridling
    CF-Jackson, Campana
    RF-DeJesus, Mather

    versatility exists with Jackson, Campana, DeJesus, and Mather all being able to play the 3 OF positions, and the following:

    1B-Rizzo, LaHair, Ridling, Clevenger
    2B-Barney, Cardenas, Mather (played there in ST), Stewart (though he hasn’t played there in awhile)
    SS-Castro, Barney, Cardenas
    3B-Stewart, Mather, Barney, Cardenas, Clevenger
    LF-all OFers, plus Cardenas
    CF-Jackson, Campana, DeJesus, Mather
    RF-all OFers

    Anyway, that’s how I think the roster should be comprised by the end of May, because if they wait any longer, there’s absolutely NO chance they can catch the Cardinals.

    The free swingers, for the most part (Castro and Barney would remain) absolutely have to go to make this into a competitive team. By getting rid of Baker, Johnson, DeWitt, and Soriano, the Cubs would be gaining 4 guys in Cardenas, Jackson, Ridling, and Rizzo that know how to work counts. 

    • Schwimmer

      Great points, Aaron!  

      It amazes me that THEO & Company have all these young rookies who are worth giving a chance at the MLB level, yet, they’d prefer to play a lot of either old, mediocre, or, unproductive players like Baker, Johnson, DeWitt and Soriano (who should just be used as a 5th OF).

      I say trade SOTO.  Bring up Castillo and let our 2 young catchers play the season.  It would be exciting baseball for CUB fans to see a young team play ball each day.

      I think THEO & Company are over-concerned about playing young rookies “before they are ready.”  That’s why they are using the players you mentioned as “place-holders.” 

      If this is a “building-year” then I say give young players a special chance to play MLB that they wouldn’t normally get if you already had a well developed team (which, obviously, the CUBS don’t).

      Let’s see some exciting “rookie” baseball in Chicago!!!

      • Chadaudio

        I wish Soriano would work as a 4/5th OF because of his contract, but he just doesn’t do well coming off the bench, and his defense isn’t something we want to rely on in the late innings.

        As embarrassing as it would be, we are just going to have to cut Soriano at some point (probably not this year).  I don’t know that anyone would ever trade for him even if we ate all of his contract.

        • Zonk

          I feel that at some point we are going to eat Soriano’s contract.  Agree there.  Are we at that point yet?

          I can’t tell if he is in a slump, or in terminal decline.  Anyone can have a bad month.  His bat looked slow last year, so you know Sveum and Co. are watching him closely.  It’s hard to say, but we have to be 100% sure it’s terminal decline before cutting him, because last year’s Soriano is better than the alternatives we have for LF right now (he had some power at least).

          One thing for sure:  At this moment, he is not keeping a roster spot from anyone important.  I think Sveum and Theo want to answer the decline question though by the time Rizzo comes up, because if LaHair continues to hit, then Soriano WILL be blocking someone at that point

          • Chadaudio

            Agreed Zonk.  As I stated, Soriano is the LF for this year, but he will be cut before his contract is over… probably this offseason.

            What is a shame is how good he looked this spring training.  Also, it was great to seem him actually work and improve on defense this year.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            What puzzles me is that he destroyed the ball in spring…

      • Tony_Hall

        I have heard a few times, them say at least 500 AB’s at AAA.  Can’t say that is a bad thing.  Now if the major league team was in a dogfight for the playoffs, I can see them backing off them number a little, but for this year and future years, I don’t see it happening.

        By the end of the year, their will be plenty of young guys, that received playing time.

        • David Colby

          Castro didnt have 500 AAA at bats! I dont think he had 1 !!

          • Tony_Hall

            Different regime.  

            And a totally different player.  

            Not many players come up and hit like he has done at his age.

            If you use him as an example of how to bring up players, most players will fail at the major league level.

          • Tony_Hall

            And the move to bring up Castro before Super 2 status was up, will be felt next year, when he is arbitration eligible 1 year early.  A few extra weeks of Castro in 2010, will cost an estimated $8M over his arbitration years.  JH brought him up to try and save his job, to show that his farm system was producing young players.  You could see in ST that year, that Castro was ready with the bat, but his glove is still that of a 22 year old.

      • Zonk

        It’s too early to bench Soto.  He needs to play, if for no other reason than to drive up his trade value.  He is only 29, and has it in him to be a good ML catcher.  50 at-bats is WAY to early to decide that he is terminally bad, not for someone who is 29.

        Clevenger has earned more playing time, I agree there

        • Aaron

          No, Zonk, 4 full seasons, and 50 AB’s into his 5th season should show what type of player he is. He is poor defensively, and poor offensively. You can even go back to the minor league stats available to see how inconsistent he is. He was rightfully given the job for good after his ROY campaign, but he showed up to camp out of shape the following year, and never got it going. He had an upswing in 2010, then dropped down yet again in 2011, despite getting into even better shape than he did in 2010. This year he showed up in his best shape yet, and is having a dreadful season.

          Catchers that earn $4+million should not be having the type of inconsistencies he’s had. It’s even more important to note that he will “earn” even more money next year.

          His value will likely go up as the year goes on, because while I believe he is a bad player right now, I refuse to believe he is really THAT bad. Management probably feels the same way, and I given his past of having a rebound season every other year, it would seem prudent to let him increase his value, and trade him immediately after he starts turning it on again.

          Even though Castillo has received criticism for his game-calling, he keeps the other team’s running games in check, and from reports I’ve read this year, he’s improved the game-calling. His offense is also about on par with Soto’s, except for the OBP being slightly down from Soto’s, so I think it’s time to give him a shot

          • Tony_Hall

            Aaron – Help me understand how a major league catcher can struggle with game calling?  At 14U – we call the games from the dugout.  Yes it would be better if the catchers could call the game, and some do, but that is something that can be taken out of the catchers hands.

          • Aaron

            The more you call the game from the dugout, the more you open yourself up to sign stealing. Additionally, it’s labor intensive and exhausting to continually do that. In Little League and such, you’re only playing 5-7 innings, so it’s not that big of a deal, but to do that for up to 150-170 pitches a game is pretty crazy.

            The main benefit for catchers calling the games vs looking into the dugout after every pitch is, because the catcher can get a better read on the batter in the box. He can see how he’s setting up, if he’s late on pitches, etc.

            You’re absolutely right that it can easily be taken out of his hands, but even looking at scouting reports in the dugout isn’t a foolproof plan either, and like I said, if other teams pick up on your signs, they can eventually notify hitters what’s coming by something as simple as using the hitter’s first name from the dugout.

            If we determined signs, we used to say their first name from the dugout, and if it was an offspeed pitch, we’d say their last name…for instance “come on Dave…let’s go buddy”…”come on Smith…let’s go buddy”…that type of thing

          • Tony_Hall

            I agree it is labor intensive.  Past years when I was the head coach, we just talked before the game and between innings and had a system for calling pitches when we wanted a certain pitch.  But I wanted the catchers to learn how to call the game. This year we combined 2 teams, and we have a coach who works just with the pitchers and wants to call the game.  But I am assuming after (2) 4 team round robins on back to back days coming up, he might re-think that idea.  

          • Dorasaga

             Good luck working with a new coach. You’ll most likely compromise, like our Founding Fathers so wisely did.

          • gary3411

             First name last name thing was sooo fun in high school when you would have idiot coaches sitting on their bucket with the simplest sign pattern. HAHA.

          • Aaron

            Indeed….Remember the pick-off plays at 2B too…similar thing with who would cover?

          • Ripsnorter1

            I think Soto has Randy Wells disease:

        • paulcatanese

          Zonk, no disrespect here, but I totaly agree with Aaron below. I am so tired with all of the playing of retreads and over the hill,slumping players that somehow by playing are going to drive their trade value up, that is so beyond the realm of reality.
          No one can say that other GM’s do not have a clear picture of what these guys are capable of.
          I am not jumping on you Zonk,just venting my displeasure with the idea of contiued play to somehow drive value up, not intended in any way to go against you’re opinion.
          The only time I can see players out there to drive trade value up would be after an injury, and only to prove that they are healthy and nothing more.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          I agree.  If Soto sits he will have no trade value…

      • Aaron

        Thanks…but I wouldn’t say that they’re “Great points”…it’s nothing novel…it’s just common sense. 

        I think they’re slowly realizing that the seasoned veterans they kept around for the transition to keep things from getting too ugly are, in fact, the ones making things ugly.

        For instance, all you have to do is look at DeWitt’s at bats to know how useless he really is. He doesn’t look comfortable at all at the plate as each one of his swings is uglier than the previous one. Additionally, his defense is nothing short of atrocious. 

        Trading Soto, after the article the Tribune put out the other day, would be an extremely wise decision. He’s just not the same guy he once was. He gets credit for something he hasn’t ever really done well (handle a pitching staff). He also is extremely inconsistent with the bat. It has been well-documented that that the Team ERA jumps with Soto behind the dish, and he unfairly gets credit for the 2008 season, when everybody on the team was absolutely on fire.

        The Cubs are certainly concerned that they don’t bring up prospects before they’re ready, and I believe most of that has to do with the fact that Theo and Hoyer are a bit gun-shy from the Rizzo situation, as well as a few of their pitchers they brought up before they were ready in Boston.

        But I think they’re making too much out of it to be quite honest. Do you think Cardenas or Valbuena need more seasoning to replace DeWitt and Baker? How about W. Castillo?

        What about Campana? And come the end of May, if Rizzo is still hammering the ball, does he need more time?

        About the only two guys I’ve suggested (as well as others) that need a little more time are B. Jackson and Ridling.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          Aaron, no offense but you don’t always take complements very well.  Sometimes it’s just best to say…”thanks.”  You seem like a great guy but I’ve complemented you before and felt like you came back at me with almost a put-down.  

    • Chadaudio

      Some good points Aaron, but I don’t want to rush Rizzo and Jackson… let them figure some more things out in AAA first (this season is a wash anyway).  I know, I’m WAY sick of seeing bad at-bats and even worse defense – but we might as well do this the right way.

      Next, the big problem with your rookie roster is how left-handed it is… I know you address that some with Ridling, but that is a lot of expectation for Ridling to fill… Ridling would have to produce almost everyday for that lineup to work.

      Finally, your roster doesn’t address how bad our bullpen is.  We just have too many holes to ever be considered competition to the Reds, Cards and Brewers.

    • Zonk

      I think we’ll see alot of those young guys, so that’s good. 

      But again, I don’t understand the love for Rebel Ridling.  He doesn’t show up on anyone’s prospect list, probably because he is 26 and is still in AA.  He had a decent year in AA last year, but as a 1B-man he should rake AA at the age of 25.  He wasn’t quite there.  He is defensively challenged, all he can do basically is pinch-hit and backup Rizzo.  That’s not enough.

       Frankly, Jeff Baker, for example,  is a better player. 

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Great post Aaron!  I would love to see Ridling have a shot…

  • Ripsnorter1

    Kerry Wood may have to do a rehab stint when he starts throwing again, according to Dale Sveum.

    http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120423&content_id=29466534&notebook_id=29466538&vkey=notebook_chc&c_id=chc 

    Hayden Simpson….not looking too good for this #1 pick. 1-12 with career 6.38 ERA, and 7.11 so far this year. 3 starts….12 IP….3 K…2 balks and 1 HBP to go with 5 BB.   What’s worse is this is only A ball at Daytona.  El Busto!

  • Ripsnorter1

    I think Byrd will hit .260 for the BoSox with a handful of HRs. He was 1-4 last night.

    What was wrong with him here?

    HE WANTED OUT.

    Last year, when Funko was dealt to Cleveland, Byrd said to him, “Take me with you.” 

    I don’t think he was happy here. Losing all the time discourages a player making only $6.5 million per. Throw in the fact that he was told in ST that the Cubs were trying to deal him, and I think he was discouraged and it affected his performance.

    • Tony_Hall

      So glad he is gone…aren’t you.

      It was probably hard for him to come into ST all fit and in shape, only to see the youngster BJAX, totally out play him all ST.  He is a 4th OF, nothing more.

      Speaking of BJAX – 1 K in his last 29 AB’s…that’s a good sign.

      • Zonk

        Didn’t notice that K turnaround on B-Jax…thanks for sharing

        • cubtex

          He struck out twice at the game I was at in Round Rock on May 16th so that must have meant that he hasn’t K’d since if that stat is accurate. 

          • Tony_Hall

            IF it is accurate…c’mon man.  

            Go to Iowa Cubs stats and click on BJAX and get his game by game stats.

          • cubtex

            What is your problem dude! I was stating that I was at a game April(not May..my error) 16th!!!!!! Today is April 24th YOU GOT IT. 8 days ago where he struck out TWICE in the game. That must mean he has had 29 AB’s over the last 7 days with only 1 K. That is why I was asking if that stat you have is accurate. CMON MAN! Does it sound like I am yelling….good!

          • Tony_Hall

            Not sure why you are yelling.  Ridiculous if you ask me!

            Take a day off from the Cubs, you need it.

          • cubtex

            It’s you little condescending responses. go review your stats for your little fantasy baseball league. if you got this wrong there is a lot more you are missing..lol

          • Tony_Hall

            Take a  look at your responses, you jump on peopleall the time.

            Take a day off  from the Cubs, you are awfullysensitive.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            This is not acceptable here. Please end this conversation and take a break. I did not see this earlier.

            I am responding to you because of what the caps indicate.

          • cubtex

            I thought you were wrong(as usual) He also struck out twice on April 17th. So the correct stat should be 1 K in his last 23 AB’s.

          • Tony_Hall

            As usual…when have my stats every been wrong. 

            Plus, I took this quote from another website, that I wasn’t going to provide a link to, out of respect for Neil.  I took a look at his game to game stats and didn’t break down the game at the beginning of the steak.The point was that he had a streak of making contact, which is his biggest flaw.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Tony, I questioned the stat when I saw it, that is the reason I made the comment about working the count and making good contact.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        And he continues to work counts. Making solid contact and driving the ball to left.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yes, Byrd’s a 4th OF now. 
        Great news on Brett Jackson. Hadn’t noticed. I just see the totals on baseball reference or on Iowa Cubs AAA stats site.

      • Aaron

        Thanks for posting that Tony…like Rip said, I didn’t realize that either…just noticed totals on baseballreference

        Hopefully that is an indication he’s making more contact

  • Tony_Hall

    Here is one I have been keeping an eye on to play 2B, before our higher ceiling guys in A Ball get to the majors.

    Logan Watkins – 296/370/408 – 2 SB’s – AA Tennessee – nice start to the season.

    Not a super star, but if Valbuena, Cardenas, etc at AAA, don’t unseat Barney, this could be the one to do it.

    • Zonk

      After a slow start, Torreyes is up to .261 at A+.  More interesting, he is only 19, which is young for that level, and has a reputation as a Plus-defender at 2B.

      So, maybe we have some help coming at 2B.

    • Aaron

      I agree with Watkins….but the Cubs’ potential starting-caliber guys are all gone with Flaherty and LeMahieu. While I understand that some think LeMahieu was too big for 2B, I tend to disagree. Barney is a singles hitter, and that’s all. Additionally, when Barney makes contact, have you ever noticed that it’s typically a shot on the ground, finding a hole in the IF, or a bloop hit to the OF? 

      At least when LeMahieu makes contact, it’s typically a line shot to the OF….but I digress.

      Cardenas might have the best shot, outside of DeVoss and Torreyes of unseating Barney as the starting 2B in the near future. Cardenas, at least has plenty of extra base pop…He once had 41 doubles between AA and AAA with 79 RBI to boot.

      This year, his line is this: .344/.380/.578, 6 doubles, 3 triples, 1 hr, 9 RBI, 5 walks vs 3 K’s

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Chiefs Add Gerardo Concepcion to roster & will start Wed @ Lake County. Chiefs have also added Cuban born catcher Yaniel Cabezas.Lopez to DL w/ eye infection. Scott Wesimann to Double A Tennessee

  • WrigleyvilleBums

    Is McNutt going to a hand specialist? Blisters last year and again already in April?

    • Aaron

      I dealt with that on my index finger on the side towards my middle finger. It’s not a thing that goes away, unfortunately, and I exacerbated the situation with my slider, because I liked to put my index finger right on the seam. Actually, one of the reasons my two-seamer, my slider, and curveball were so effective, is that I had my fingers right along the same seams with all 3, so they looked the same coming in, is what I was told.

      I tried absolutely everything I could to resolve the blister situation, but as you can imagine, all the tape in the world wouldn’t hold throughout a game. It actually cured itself when I switched to closer in college, and I firmly believe it was because I threw less pitches…but also because my pitching coach told me to do something I originally thought was counterproductive. He told me to use a file, and gently remove the dead skin, and also use the facial scrub lotion…the one with the beads in it. I don’t know what it was in that stuff, but it actually worked. I still believe it was also the reduced pitch counts, but still…the file and lotion might’ve helped too.

      If you look at McNutt’s scouting report and his pitch counts, it pretty much gives away the reason for his problems. He throws a “heavy” fastball, which means his technically gripping the ball a on the tips of his fingers slightly more than a “riser” (which doesn’t technically rise, but is gripped lighter), and his big curveball would seem to indicate to me that he might have issues with his middle finger vs index finger.

      It’s also important as a pitcher that you keep your finger nails clipped evenly, so you have no overhang of the nail. I used to get wicked blisters right at the overhang, and it was exceptionally painful. I think it was because the skin would pinch up there, and when you do that frequently, and for as many pitches as he usually has, then you’re just playing with fire. I used to drain it with a needle too, but that just opens you up to infection. I was told there is some type of pill you could break open, and rub over that spot, and it would reduce in size, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was or if it was just an old wive’s tale

      • Roland

        Arron, can pitchers use a product like New Skin?  Or is that against the rules?  It would probably create less friction so probably make the pitch less effective?

        • Roland

          Sorry, Aaron not Arron.

        • Aaron

          Roland,

          Yes, you can use it, so long as it is not white in color. Most that I’ve seen have been “nude” color, and I used one once, but it failed…it just fell off. It was round in shape, and looked almost like one of the small, round band-aids, but it had grip on it.

          • Tony_Hall

            Aaron – I think Roland was talking about a liquid new skin, that dries and forms a coating over an area.  

      • paulcatanese

        That coach and his file was absolutly correct. A blister is an infection of the skin. Dealing with the wound care centers with my wife with blisters and skin infections for a year and a half, those wounds were continualy debrided, tricking the skin to heal, and was the only way they would heal. In effect thats what you were doing, debriding the dead skin, and they would heal. The pill that one would break open and rub over the spot was probably aloe, or directly from the leaf of the plant(juice)and put on the wound, but that one dosent always work.
        Breaking open a blister is not the wise thing to do of course, but if it does on its own, then debriding works.

        • Aaron

          Paul,

          I thought that too, but it wasn’t aloe, it was actually a capsuled pill you’d break open, and I can’t remember what it was. Could you ask those centers for me, because I’d really like to know if it was an old wive’s tale or not. I want to say that it was a common over-the-counter pill too, and if I remember, I’ll be sure to post

      • John_CC

         You’d think that a callus would eventually develop.  Did you ever try urinating on your hand?

        • paulcatanese

          You’re not serious are you?:):):)

          • Aaron

            Paul…not sure if you got the reference or not, but he was talking about the Moises Alou reference. LOL

            John…very clever, and NO, I didn’t

          • paulcatanese

            Aaron, I didnt get the reference, but thought it was very funny.
            The reference to Aloe was it’s supposed to work but it dosent, in fact on certain kinds of wounds can actually do more damage.
            The prescription that Sue(wife) was instucted to use on bliusters was a cream called
            Gentamicin Sulfate Cream USP, 0.1% and kept covered so no further infection spreads,and check the type of tape used, some peel the skin,causing spreading of the infection.
            Once any of it becomes an open wound it needs to be debrided, sometimes deep and beyond the scope of the wound to start the skin to heal again. Painful process.

  • John_CC

    Prospect service time consideration chart from MLB Traderumors:

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/02/service-time-considerations-for-top-prospects.html

    • gary3411

      Great article.

      If LaHair keeps producing he should bring in a nice haul at the trade deadline (probably one top pitching prospect and another player in the 10-15 (of the team) range) especially since he will be at league minimum at least next year as well, then still cheap after that. IF he keeps hitting I think it’s a no-brainer we trade him at the deadline, right when Rizzo can come up and still be controlled an extra year at the end. Makes a lot more sense than throwing him in LF in my opinion.

      • Tony_Hall

        I think if he is hitting, they will dump or if a miracle happens, trade Soriano, to open up LF for Lahair.  

        Probably not long term, but that is what I think they will do.

    • Zonk

      Great Article!  I was wondering what the dates were with Rizzo, given that the Padres played him last year.

      Reading that, we won’t see Rizzo until late June, as promoting him earlier could cost us millions down the road, as he would be a FA in 2018, instead of 2019. 

       If he continues to rake, I think the Cubs will ignore the Super-2 set back in late August, and promote anyway.

      B-Jax, it’s late June for Super-2, so may as well wait on him

  • paulcatanese

    I have to say a great game. I saw flashes of brilliance out there. Sveum with the guts to make changes bringing in “replacement players” that got it done.
    Even Castro’s footwork looked better.
    Which brings up another point with Castro. The more replacement players that are out their will benefit Castro, he becomes the senior example and whether he knows it or not he will become a leader and that can only improve his ALL around play.
    Up until this point all he cared about was swinging the bat and looked bored on defense, but put a bunch of replacements around him and he will show almost instant improvement.
    DeJesus, Barney will both feel the instant leadership, even though they are doubted will give the most that they can.
    I cannot see how this should not be brought about, it would be a re-building that fans can totaly go along with.
    Guess what, now I’m getting excited about this team.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Brett Jackson with a walk and a stolen base against Shelby Miller in the bottom of the first

    • Aaron

      Also…Kyler Burke at 5 IP now, 2 hits, no runs, and 4 K’s, lowering his ERA to 1.10

      • Aaron

        …now at 6 IP, 3 hits, no runs, 1 walk, 4 K’s, lowering to 1.04 ERA

        • Aaron

          we might have a rising pitching prospect on our hands. He’d been piggybacking as a starter this year, so it’s good to see him getting a chance now

          • Aaron

            In case anyone was wondering the scouting report on Burke as a pitcher, here it is:
            -Throws consistently in the 90-94 mph range, topping out at 97 mph
            -Breaking pitches considered advanced
            -Projected for relief, but Cubs have hope that he can develop as a starter

          • Zonk

            His breaking pitches are advanced?  And he basically just started pitching? 

            That would  be impressive. 

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

         Burke did a good job today

  • Dorasaga

    Checked Mather’s minor stats and report on a fly (well, took me almost half an hour), I think his career backs up his current performance.

    Barring more injuries or adjustment issues (Mather was a 3B before moved to OF 2007), he got talent. He could hit; was Player of the Card Org. many times.

    He started his career slow, couldn’t past single-A before age 25, and suffered multiple injuries the past three years. That really put him off.

    A.k.a., Move’em all — Reed and ol’Fonzi to a lesser role A.S.A.P. Same story is getting old with this ballclub. Many fans rather watch a hungry young man trying to prove what he got than watch what we thought is already known. (Reed has been underrated, b.t.w., another story for another article.)

    Being sarcastic above, I don’t see a point of moving Reed OR Soriano in the near future–proven veterans need to play (Before a call-up of U-know-Who). The management knows who’s ready and who’s not. This is not the month, yet, the least to say.

    • Aaron

      I agree with you, and had checked on Mather before. His stats were promising until his wrist injury took a lot out of him. 

      As for your other comments, I’m not sure what you meant by “Reed has been underrated”.

      I actually believe it’s the exact opposite…that he’s been overvalued. For one, he rarely sees pitches. He is allergic to walks, doesn’t have speed, and doesn’t have a good contact rate either:
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/j/johnsre02.shtml 

      He also seems to follow the Soto pattern of a good year every other year. This would appear to be his down year, and he is also 35 years old, so it ain’t gonna get better

      • Zonk

        I agree with Aaron that Reed Johnson is overrated.  He had a nice 309/348/467 slash line last year, but that was fueled by a BABIP of .394; completely unrepeatable. 

        With a BABIP more in line with his career averages, his 2011 would have looked alot like 2009-2010

        He’s a good guy and tries, but is overrated

      • Dorasaga

        On Reed, simply put, he’s getting on-base above league-average (NL circa 0.320*), standing at 0.323 the last two years. 2010-’11 aren’t easy for hitters, facing the biggest drastic drop of hitting performance throughout baseball.

        *It’s 0.310 as we speak… Maybe fans will miss steroid…

        He’s a scrappy hitter who can extend singles to doubles. He reads the ball well. He had a nice career; obviously, now the wrong side of it.

        Those are tangibles. What I’m saying is he got value as a filler or replacement as a 4th OF. Anything more would be a stretch, but hey, injuries happen. As soon as Bret called up, Reed shall be traded, and I’m sure there’ll be a taker.

        I’m looking forward to Mather getting a second look at 3B. Sveum and staff might spot something… maybe he’s below average defensively, or maybe he’s superior compared to Baker, who knows? More games will help.

  • Josh

    For anyone interested — here is my running list of :
    Top Performers in System

    HITTERS 

    Catcher

    Wellington Castillo (25) AAA: 318/426/545 — 4 2B, 2 HR

    Rafael Lopez (24) Low-A: 283/346/370 — 2 2B, 1 3B

     

    Infielder

    Anthony Rizzo (22) AAA: 380/429/718 — 3 2B, 7 HR, 1 SB

    Adrian Cardenas (24) AAA: 344/380/578 — 6 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 1
    SB

    Luis Valbuena (26) AAA: 320/410/500 — 3 2B, 2 HR

    Greg Rohan (26) High-A: 303/390/530 — 3 2B, 4 HR

    Rubi Silva (23) High-A: 346/404/481 — 5 2B, 1 3B

    Logan Watkins (22) AA: 296/370/408 — 4SB, 1 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR,
    4 SB

    Zeke DeVoss (21) Low-A: 254/365/381 — 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 1
    SB

     

    Outfielder

    Brett Jackson (23) AAA: 253/337/467 — 6 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 3
    SB

    Rebel Ridling (25) AA: 306/382/429 – 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 SB

    PITCHERS

    STARTERS (ERA/WHIP K/BB) – minimum 3 starts

    Michael Jensen (21) Low-A: 1.50/0.708 18/5

    PJ Francescon (23) Low-A: 2.57/0.762 18/4

    Nicholas Struck (22) AA: 2.45/1.227 21/10

    Dallas Beeler (23) AA: 1.08/1.200 9/2

    Trey McNutt (22) AA: 0.77/1.286 11/7

    Austin Kirk (22) High-A: 1.54/0.900 9/5

    Brooks Raley (24) AA: 2.79/0.931 8/2

    Chris Rusin (25) AAA: 3.38/1.125 9/4

     

    RELIEVERS (ERA/WHIP K/BB) – minimum 5 games/6 innings

    Yao-Lin Wang (21) Low-A: 0.00/0.250 6/1

    Blake Parker (27) AAA: 1.23/0.682 4/2 — 3 SV

    Esmalin Cardidad (28) AAA: 3.60/0.800 9/5

    Alberto Cabrera (23) AA: 1.74/0.871 12/4 — 1 SV

    Frank Batista (23) AA/AAA: 0.00/0.923 11/2 — 5 SV

    Tony Zych (21) High-A: 3.00/1.000 6/1 — 1 SV

    Kevin Rhoderick (23) AA: 2.00/1.000 12/3 — 2 SV

    Scott Weismann (22) Low-A: 3.52/1.043 7/0

    Austin Reed (20) Low-A: 3.86/1.143 8/3

    Joseph Zeller (24) High-A/AA: 1.64/1.182 12/6

    Jeffrey Lorick (24) Low-A: 0.00/0.750 11/4 — 2 SV

    Andrew McKirahan (22) 0.00/0.900 7/1 — 1 SV

    Casey Harman (23) High-A/AA: 0.77/0.943 8/3

    Kyler Burke (24) Low-A: 1.59/0.971 9/1
     

    • paulcatanese

      Nice post, you put some work in there.

      • Josh

         I’ll update from week to week. I’m sure lots of players will end up falling off and maybe a few will get added. If anyone has requests, let me know.

    • Dorasaga

       Thanks!

  • paulcatanese

    Lineup was posted, would have liked to see Clevenger in place of Soto
    though.