Rambling While Reflecting on the Walk-offs

The Cubs were down then Mather found some redemption, some ice and some shaving cream. Marmol blew it the next night, but was bailed out and the Cubs walked off again. Matty G and the Shark pitched well, Wrigley was having fun and the Cubs won a series against the defending World Champions. Hey, quite a nice series in a down year.

It’s Friday, let’s have some fun and go rambling …

  • Yes, I know “down year” might be a rather large understatement.
  • I am now taking credit for “Matty G and the Shark.” They will be so much more successful than “Hootie and the Blowfish.” You heard it here first.
  • So, yes, the Hendry regime should have given LaHair a shot. They didn’t. End of story.
  • The current story and focus is on LaHair, and his great start. How can anyone NOT root for the kid?
  • Okay, so at 29 he is no longer a “kid,” but he could be the Rookie of the Year, so let’s decide what “young person moniker” he deserves. Let’s hear it below.
  • Okay, Mr. Volstad, we are getting closer and closer to that point where you really need to pitch, um, well.
  • Heck, I will take average at this point.
  • Somewhere, Randy Wells best be getting ready for his next chance because he is going to one in the rotation.
  • I know this thought is shared by many and has been discussed, but come on Dale, make Clevenger the starter. It is time. There is NOTHING to lose.
  • Soriano has 15 hits and 14 singles. Yep, exactly what you want out of a middle of the order hitter. Let’s go, Sori.
  • LaHair has over half the Cubs home runs. Awesome.
  • Have to give Theo credit for getting something, anything for Byrd.
  • Slowly, but surely McThoyer is turning over this roster. It is going to take some time, but progress is being made.
  • Dempster has a 1.33 ERA through 20+ innings. I will take that without thinking twice.
  • The longer this goes, the more I am excited to see what happens with Garza. As I said last week, every time I get high on Garza, he gets shelled.
  • However, with all the soon-to-be-available pitchers re-upping, Garza will be sought after by many. A windfall could be had. It will be interesting.
  • Sveum played shortstop. Listasch played shortstop. Castro plays shortstop. Someone help him with his defense. It is UGLY.
  • DeJesus’ average may be a bit low, but a .384 OBP is not anything to bat an eye at. That is very good for a leadoff hitter. He deserves some credit for that.
  • James Russell still has a 0.00 ERA. This will become a weekly bullet point from me. Can’t complain about that from your lefty specialist.
  • The Cubs top three starters have 74 strikeouts in 70.3 innings. I am just trying to find as many silver linings as I can, but this is definitely a good thing.
  • Rafael Dolis needs to stop falling backwards when he releases the ball. He just has to.
  • Let’s hear it folks. Let’s hear it all. It’s Friday. The Cubs are off for Philly for the weekend so before the games start, let’s all ramble and throw it all out there.

Have a great weekend, kids. And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!


  • Dorasaga

    Lahair, “Journeyman in a Labyrinth.” He could have been released by J. Hendry. He could have been traded with Rizzo to replace. But he owned this moment.

    And I like Starlin Castro’s talent as a shortstop. He’s one of those kind that need a little “attention” to become great. Normally, having as much attention won’t make one a Major Leaguer, albeit a good Major League shortstop.

    • Chadaudio

      Does anyone else wonder how the lack of a backup SS has hurt Castro’s growth on defense?

      I feel Castro has already had a couple of games where he seems a little “out of it” (not hustling out of the box, etc.)… and I thought for sure that Sveum would bench him in order to stick true to his “Not hustling is not ok” rule.  But, in the end, he couldn’t bench Castro the next day and have any hope of winning.  Benching Castro isn’t just a hit to the lineup, but it is a huge hit to the defense having Barney at SS (even as bad as Castro is as SS).  

      What do you guys think?

      • paulcatanese

        Don’t be too quick to say Barney is a downgrade at SS
        it’s his natural position, and he makes the ROUTINE plays where Castro has his problems.
        Where the defense would suffer(such as it is ) would be at 2nd base with Barney over at short.
        It may be boring if Barney moves over there for a game or even two (not on a long term basis) but not a downgrade.

        • Chadaudio

          I don’t know about that.  Most scouts (like Keith Law) feel that Barney canot play SS at the big league level at all (not even as a backup).  My understanding is Barney is like Fontenot… he came up playing SS, but that doesn’t mean he can pass as an SS at the MLB level.

          Good point about the downgrade to SS and 2B when Barney plays SS though… not only is SS worse with Barney there, but that also means someone worse then Barney is probably then playing 2B (Baker or DeWitt).

          • paulcatanese

            What does Keith Law know? He’s a kid:)
            My point was for one or two games, not on a regular basis,and what the Cubs have in their arsenal to even put someone over there for a break to Castro.
            But Castro should be on the bench for a rest only, he is young and benching him for discipline does not go over well for youngsters.
            The key is 2nd base to even make the move to Barney at SS. It wouldnt hurt the Cubs at SS for one or two games, but would kill them at 2nd as we have already seen(DeWitt).

          • Chadaudio

            Your reasoning is completely valid Paul… I just thought Sveum would stick to his, “Not hustling, and not keeping your head in the game is not OK” stance.  But, it doesn’t really seem like he did there with Castro.  Maybe he did behind the scenes?

          • paulcatanese

            Agree with you. I also happen to feel that Castro is so enamored
            with swinging the bat I think little else matters to him. When he dosent see a base hit on his swing he instantly loses interest and dosent run as fast as he should. Thats a really bad habit that I think Sveum is aware of and probably trying to figure out how to break him of it.
            Sveum actualy has most of the guys, including the pitchers busting their tails down the line after hitting the ball. Just a tough job dealing with Castro to get him on the right track.
            The only thing I would say will change Castro is if he stops hitting.
            “if he slumps, he will jump”:)

          • Dorasaga

             Just to make sure that we’re on the same plane here… You know Fontenot came up as a 2B; He was the double-play combo with Theriot **(SS( back in Tennessee, the college.

  • Cubs 31

    Let’s give James Russell a shot at closer.  Everytime Marmol comes in my blood pressure goes up.

    • Zonk

      I don’t blame you for getting angst around Marmol, but Russell should never be the closer.  He doesn’t miss enough bats, and though he has been effective in his career vs. LHH, he’s been killed by Righties.

      He’s a LOOGY, nothing more

      • Chadaudio

        He actually seems to slowly be getting better against right-handers too though.  I’m not saying he is a closer yet – but he may be emerging as something a bit more then a LOOGY.

  • Zonk

    Hendry shouldn’t be blamed for keeping LaHair back.  After all, he made the decision to pick him up when everyone else was taking a pass, including his original team, the Mariners.  Think they could use him right now? 

    Having Pena last year wasn’t a bad decision; he had a decent year, and wasn’t a long-term commitment

    • Chadaudio

      Agreed, Hendry actually did have some good moves (despite what some may think around here).

      I do blame Quade for playing Aram and Pena so much during the last couple months of the season though… would have been nice to give LaHair (and others) more at-bats then… but, oh well.

      • paulcatanese

        Agree, as you say, if Quade had done that it would have made this year a lot easier on everyone, from fans to the new front office.

      • John_CC

         Quade should have been playing the “next generation”, for sure. But he was managing for his next job.  Which is why Hendry should have traded Pena…but then again Hendry was quite the literal lame duck, having been privately fired…so I guess Randy Bush should have worked a deal but he didn’t feel like he should and/or could.  In all likelihood, Ricketts told him to stand pat and let the status quo run out.

        As we all know and can easily see, the Cubs organization was in major turmoil last year.  Which makes it a lot clearer that it will take more than a year to right this ship and dig out of the steaming pile of stink that this organization was buried in.

    • Dorasaga

      I don’t get that logic. “The GM picked up the right minor leaguer but refused to play him on the Major League level when the latter clearly has a need there.”

      Hendry picked up Torres, and refused to promote him when he’s raking AAA. The Cubs clearly needed an everyday-center fielder throughout last five or six years, and those are 486 games without a good CF. Hendry picked up Edmonds later on May, 2008, an aged veteran with more risk (Edmonds was done next year), while Torres could have more upside (at least speed-wise).

      We are all hindsight, but I’m not giving Hendry ANY credit for picking up someone to fill out his minor roster, period.

  • cubtex

    Has anyone else noticed that Yonder Alonso is hitting .195 at Petco so far this year and .217 overall? That ballpark will do that to alot of young hitters. That’s why there is not alot of reason to be too concerned about Rizzo’s struggles last year in SD. I think when he is called up this year he will be here for good!

    • Chadaudio

      Wow.  Cubtex with a positive comment… keep it up my man! Happy Friday!!

    • Zonk

      It will be interesting to compare Alonso and Rizzo, since a) the Padres traded away Rizzo because they had acquired Alonso, and seemed to prefer him, and b) they were only 12 slots apart on the BA top 100 list. 

      Petco is death to left handed hitters.  A-Gon was just that good to produce there. 

      • Chadaudio

        Totally agree.  Alonso can slug too… I just can’t believe how different he is since being a Padre… I actually feel really bad for him.  Alonso looked like a monster when in Cincy… now he looks like a wash.

        A-Gon is the man!

    • paulcatanese

      Agree with that, it’s like Rizzo has been re-born. I think this is one time that a change of scenery will make the difference.

      Anxious to see how the new players perform in Phillie tonight.
      The fans there are unrelentless in backing their team and is not an easy place for visiting teams to play in.(almost as tough as playing in Austin:) ).

      • cubtex

        Hook Em :)

        • paulcatanese

          I know, been there saw that. Good solid fans, everyone know’s who they are rooting for:)

  • http://www.facebook.com/swifty84 Steve Swift

    Bryan AAAA is better than AAA LaHair

  • John G

    Well if LaHair was a young rookie, you could call him LaPeachfuzz, but since he’s kinda old for a rookie how about just calliing him “LaWhiskers”? or LaGray? or LaBald?

    • Zonk

      I prefer “LaHair Club for Men”

      • John G

        Let’s just hope he doesn’t become “LaHair of the Dog”.

  • paulcatanese

    Good post Brian, a lot of things to rant on.
    Agree with you on DeJesus, didn’t like him coming here at first
    but he has done a decent job at leadoff, and looks okay there.
    Thats a positive, but on the negative side, the Cubs should trade Marmol now and not play around waiting for him to improve in his role.
    I don’t think he will and waiting, the Cubs may not see any signigicant return for him.
    Right now, I think it’s not physical with him but mental, he is a head case trying to figure it out.
    Not quite the same venue, but Yogi Berra had said ” how can I hit and think at the same time?” I believe this applies to Marmol. He has to quit thinking and just throw the ball.

    • John_CC

       Marmol and the Cubs are in an interesting place.  Look around the league, we are in The Year of the Blown Save. There are always bum closers but this spring has been just nuts. So yes, there are quite a few teams that probably wouldn’t mind acquiring a new closer. But I think it’s way too early for any of those teams to toss their current save-blowing closer over the edge in order to take on the same risk in the Marmot. It’s no till closers get hurt or just lose all their effectiveness in July and August that GMs on the brink seem to lose their sanity over closers and make stupid acquisitions.

      I am really curious to see what happens to him.  If only the Yankees needed a set-up guy, I bet Larry would take him back. Otherwise, we have to wait it out…

      • paulcatanese

        Agree John, and I would say that the changes that have been made this year have been small, but a lot of them are working, and I am slowly coming around, not a 100% yet  but growing.

  • John_CC

    When I went back to school to finish my bachelor’s at the age of 30 I was considered a “non-traditional” student, or “non-trad”.  I would have preferred “journey man”, but whatever.

    LaHair is a Non-Trad Rookie.

    • John G

      I know what you mean. I went back to school at an advanced age, myself. I always remember when this really cute girl came walking up to me with a smile on her face. I got all excited until she said “Excuse me sir. Can you tell me where the Library is?” Talk about feeling old and deflated.

      • paulcatanese

        Agree, I went back when I was 40 and had some of the students that were in high school with my children
        in some of the same classes.

      • John_CC

        Shoot John, that’s when you say “i’m on my way there right now, can I walk with you over there…”

        For me, at 30, I had no problem with all the 20 something women around…it was more all the 20 year old boys.

  • CubsTalk

    There is not one player safe on this roster of not getting traded….including Castro.   But Castro is young, and needs to learn how to play his position.  If Castro cannot, then he needs a new position or a new team.  I believe Castro can turn into a “Miguel Cabrera” type of player.   Marlins still regret trading away Cabrera.  I do hope several teams with excellent farm systems go after Garza.  The same with Dempster.  At least we should get one high prospect for Dempster by July.  I’ll take a bag of balls at this point for Soto.  Marmol needs help with his pitching.  He can pitch, but not for the Cubs.  it is all in the mind to him now.  Please San Francisco, call us about Marmol.  Need to be in the playoffs by 2014 as a Wild Card team.  And winning the division by 2015.