The Happ-less Cubs Drop Eighth in a Row – Cubs 1, Astros 2

Game Forty-Three – Cubs 1, Astros 2
WP – J.A. Happ (4-3) LP – Travis Wood (0-1) Save – Brett Myers (11)

The Cubs’ slide continued Tuesday night in Houston. Once again, the Cubs had chances to score runs against J.A. Happ and the Astros’ pen but could not put the ball in play, much less get a hit, with runners in scoring position. Sveum’s Cubs outhit Houston 6-4 but not when it mattered … 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and six left on base.

The Cubs only run came in the fourth inning. Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a home run and two strikeouts) hit his fourth home in the last eight games.

Starlin Castro was a miserable 0-for-4 and left four runners on base Tuesday night. Castro struck out swinging four times, earned a golden sombrero and will more than likely receive a day off on Wednesday. Tuesday marked the second time in his career that Castro struck out four times in a single game.

The Cubs struck out an alarming 13 times and seven of the last eight outs the Cubs’ offense made were strikeouts.

Travis Wood put together a solid outing in his second big league start of the season. Wood gave up a home run to Jose Altuve in the bottom of the first then a ground rule double to Jed Lowrie but that was it while he was on the mound. Wood struggled with his command and pitched from behind in the count for a majority of his outing but he seemingly made the right pitch when he needed it.

Travis Wood left with the game tied at one with two outs in the sixth. Wood walked the last batter he faced and turned the game over to Shawn Camp. Camp could not record the third out before allowing the Astros to take the lead.

Shawn Camp uncorked a wild pickoff attempt to first (tenth charged error by a Cubs pitcher, leads the majors) which allowed Justin Maxwell to advance into scoring position. After issuing a two-out walk to Carlos Lee, J.D. Martinez blooped a 3-1 pitch into shallow right center that plated Maxwell with the go ahead run.

Travis Wood was charged with two runs on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Wood threw 97 pitches, 54 for strikes, and notched his third hit of the season … a one out double in the third. Wood was 1-for-2 at the plate.

Starlin Castro and Tony Campana turned in highlight-reel plays Tuesday night. Starlin Castro robbed Chris Johnson of a hit in the fourth with a diving stop in shallow left. Castro got to his feet quickly and threw a one-hop strike to first base.

Tony Campana ran for Reed Johnson in the eighth. Wilton Lopez’s pickoff attempt ended up down the right field line and Campana rounded second and headed for third. Campana avoided the tag by diving headlong over Downs.

The Cubs have not had a lead in a game since the fourth inning of last Wednesday’s game against the Phillies … 59 innings.

With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs drop to a season-worst 13 games under .500 with a 15-28 record … David DeJesus led off the game with a single to left (2-2 pitch). Reed Johnson followed with a routine grounder to third. Chris Johnson’s throw to second was off the mark. DeJesus was forced but he disrupted the play. Carlos Lee could not handle Althuve’s throw and Reed Johnson took over at first. Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging to end the inning. J.A. Happ threw 17 pitches in the first, 13 for strikes.

On Travis Wood’s third pitch and just 12 minutes into the game, the Cubs found themselves in a hole. Jose Altuve launched a 1-1 pitch from Wood off the facing of the wall in left center … and just like that the Astros led 1-0. Jed Lowrie followed and ripped a 1-0 pitch down the right field line for a ground rule double.

Travis Wood continued to pitch from behind after the Lowrie double but got out of the first inning without allowing any more runs.

Wood struck out Justin Maxwell swinging (3-2 pitch) and retired Chris Johnson on a groundout to second. With Jed Lowrie at third, J.D. Martinez looked at a 3-2 pitch for the third out. Wood threw 23 pitches in the first, 12 for strikes.

After Joe Mather grounded out to third to start the second, Jeff Baker pulled a 1-2 pitch into left. Darwin Barney flied out to center (2-2 pitch) for the second out. Baker then misread a ball in the dirt and tried to advance to second with Blake Lalli at the plate. Chris Snyder gunned him out to end the inning.

Travis Wood sat down the Astros in order in the second.

After two, the Cubs trailed 1-0 and Travis Wood had thrown 38 pitches, 21 for strikes.

Blake Lalli tapped back to Happ to start the third. Travis Wood then stepped in and just missed a home run. Wood ended up with a double off the top of the wall in left center. David DeJesus grounded out to second, Wood ended up at third and held when Reed Johnson walked. Starlin Castro could not check his swing on a 1-2 breaking ball and was called out to end the Cubs’ third.

Wood retired Happ (broken bat liner back up the middle) and Altuve (bunted back to Wood) to start the third. Jed Lowrie walked on four pitches. Wood fell behind Maxwell 2-1 before the Astros’ three-hole hitter tried to bunt his way on … and popped up the bunt back to Wood to end the inning. It took 55 pitches (29 for strikes) for Wood to complete three innings of work.

Alfonso Soriano led off the fourth and quickly found himself in a 0-2 hole. Soriano worked the count back to 3-2 then killed the eighth pitch of the at bat. Soriano launched his fourth homer of the season off the façade in left center and tied the game at one.

Joe Mather followed Soriano’s blast with a single to right (2-2 pitch) but Baker (struck out swinging), Barney (flied out to right) and Lalli (fouled out to third) went down in order to end the inning.

Travis Wood retired the Astros in order in the fourth … with a lot of help from Starlin Castro. Chris Johnson ripped a 1-2 pitch deep into the hole at short. Castro dove into the grass in shallow left, got to his feet quickly and threw a one-hopper to Baker to nail Johnson. The Astros’ third baseman did not agree with the call on Castro’s web gem and was thrown out of the game.

The Cubs did nothing in the fifth … and Travis Wood retired the Astros in order in the bottom of the fifth. Wood threw 85 pitches in five innings, 49 for strikes.

Starlin Castro struck out swinging for the third time in the game to start the sixth. After Soriano grounded out to second (3-2 pitch), Joe Mather walked on four pitches. Jeff Baker popped out to right for the third out.

Jose Altuve popped out to shallow right to start the Astros’ sixth. Jed Lowrie hit a sinking liner to left on a 3-2 pitch. Soriano made a diving catch for the second out. Wood then lost his command and issued a four-pitch walk to Justin Maxwell.

Dale Sveum made a double-switch and replaced Travis Wood with Shawn Camp and brought in Bryan LaHair at first for Jeff Baker.

Camp missed on his first offering to Carlos Lee then uncorked a wild pick-off throw to first. Maxwell advanced to second on Camp’s mistake … the 10th error by the Cubs’ pitching staff this season. Camp ended up missing on a 3-2 pitch to Carlos Lee and walked him with two outs. Camp continued to pitch from behind and it finally cost the Cubs a run. J.D. Martinez dropped a 3-1 pitch into shallow right center that plated Maxwell with the go ahead run.

With runners on first and third with two down, Matt Downs ripped the first pitch into deep right. David DeJesus caught the ball near the wall to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing in the seventh against Wesley Wright.

Shawn Camp and James Russell sat Houston down 1-2-3 in the seventh.

Wesley Wright stayed in and started the eighth. Wright stuck out David DeJesus for the first out. Brad Mills went to his pen and brought in Wilton Lopez to face Reed Johnson.

Johnson reached on an infield single (Altuve, up the middle) and Sveum sent Tony Campana in to run for Johnson. Starlin Castro missed Lopez’s first pitch. Lopez then uncorked a wild throw to first. Campana got to his feet quickly, rounded second and headed for third.

Carlos Lee’s throw was up the line. Matt Downs caught the ball but Tony Campana leaped, head first over Down’s tag and past the bag. Campana made it back to third safely with the tying run … but Starlin Castro struck out swinging for the fourth time and Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging for the second time to end the inning.

James Russell gave up a leadoff double to Jose Altuve in the eighth but that was all and the Cubs went to the ninth trailing 2-1.

Brett Myers struck out Joe Mather and Adrian Cardenas then Darwin Barney ended the game by grounding out to first. Myers threw just nine pitches, eight for strikes.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to take the hill for Jamie Quirk in the finale against Wandy Rodriguez.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO


  • Anonymous47701

    All I can say is…”Sell High in July, Cubs!”

    • Anonymous47701

      But leave Garza, Castro and Samardzija alone.

      • CubsTalk

         No, Garzo goes!

  • Aaron

    Project #1 pick, here we come!!!!!!!!!!!

    Neil, is there any possible way to do a side tracker on the site for the last place standings tally throughout the year? I just thought while they’re losing, we might as well have some fun with it, right?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I’ll see if I can find code that would list all 30 of the teams by record.

      • Aaron

        Well, that would be alright too…   :)

        However, I was thinking more along the lines of making fun of them for being so bad, so having a running tally of the top 5 worst teams on the race for the #1 pick would be pretty entertaining. Tom could perhaps write an update article on it every now and then, or Brian could do a “Rambling…about the first pick” at the end of every month to give an update….just thinking creatively…LOL

        Cubs now have the #1 pick next year…up 1/2 game on the Twins.

        We could make it into a thing where they’re up by a certain amount of games, etc….I know it’s late, so I’m talking crazy, but I personally think it’d be hilarious

  • Michael

    Everyone should be up for sale, except:
    -Garza
    -Castro
    -Shark
    -Rizzo
    -Lahair
    -W. Castillo/Clevs

    This squad we have now on the field just isn’t competitive. They are 4 A talent, mostly 4/5th OF or infield options.

    I personally am high on Lahair. He’s going through a slump, everyone does, and who cares if he’s a LF who rarely sees lefties and hits righties hard and hits around 25hr out, what’s wrong w that?

    I think BJax is overrated and will struggle with MLB pitching. I think if we keep Rizzo, trade BJax while he has high value, that’s ok. Go after Melky Cabrera in the offseason if he doesn’t re-sign with Los Gigantes. People will think I am crazy to trade “highly touted” prospects, but that’s all they are just prospects. Every Cub fan was skeptical of trading away Chris Archer, and yet I think the Cubs were the winners in that deal.

    Keep some young core players like I listed above but most importantly gets positions players first that can make us competitive then system wide depth. This won’t be an easy or quick fix. It will take time and above all patience.

    • Aaron

      Michael,

      I happen to agree with you on everything you said except for Garza. The Cubs just aren’t going to compete for the next 2 years, so it makes absolutely ZERO sense to have a Garza-$14-16 million or a Dempster-$14 million on your roster. Younger and more cost-controlled guys like Samardzija is who you build around.

      Same goes for Castro, Castillo, etc. You simply don’t build around the likes of Stewart (getting more expensive without production to match), Soto (ditto), Marmol (ditto), etc.

      I also happen to agree with you about the Garza trade, which I was not at all a fan of in the first place. In fact, it embarrasses me to say that I believed Hak-Ju Lee would be better than Castro (he still might, but it doesn’t look at all that way). Fact is, if the Cubs play their cards right, there is a very high likelihood that they might get a bigger haul for Garza than they gave up in the first place to get him, ESPECIALLY if they’re dealing with the Rangers or Blue Jays.

      I still believe that the Hendry-led Cubs did the wrong thing in the first place with that trade, because it was clearly a desperation move to save his job. The Cubs weren’t even considered a contender when the trade was made, and yet that’s precisely the move you make if you are a contender.

      Sometimes prospects pan out…sometimes they don’t. For every Joe Carter, Lou Brock, Palmeiro, etc. that were traded as prospects or early in their careers, there’s always the Bobby Hill’s, Eric Patterson’s, Murton’s, etc. that never seem to pan out. 

      If Archer and Lee pan out, and become productive MLB players, then there’s a chance the Cubs might still lose the trade, but right now, they clearly won it, especially if they trade him for more as I just indicated could very well happen. But Guyer (injured), Chirinos (injured), and Fuld (injured) are non-factors at this point due obviously to injury and age. Archer and Lee are still young enough to make it a win for the Rays.

      • GaryLeeT

         The reality is that prospects rarely pan out, so why not hold on to proven players?  The Cubs are not the Pardres. They can afford to pay Garza while other pieces are added. Do you know what the odds are that the Cubs will get a prospect that performs as well as Garza in the next 3 years? About 10%. Pretty crappy odds, if you ask me.

        • Henry

          I agree!  If prospects are suspects then why give up Garza?  the thought here is even though we are not going anywhere we still have to play the games.  As we bring up prospects we have to have some pieces for the transition. We do not want to demoralize the young players on the field.  Gary is right we are not the padres, royals, or pirates.  We can afford to pay Garza. He wants to be here. Sign him to a competitive long term contract now.  

          • Michael

            Aaron,

            You make a good point about Garza. We won’t be competitive for at least 2+ years, so it might be best to deal him to a contender for at least one solid pitching prospect.

            It’s just a tough spot to figure out what’s best for the organization and Garza.

        • cc002600

           100% agree !!!!!

          Its absurd to keep trading away your best players for a bunch of 22 y/o’s that will most likely never pan out.

          Ask the Pirates and Royals how that has worked out in the last 20 years.

          At some point, you have to build around something. Garza is still young enough to be one of those guys.

          • cubtex

            I hear your frustration because the Cubs are so pathetic…..but if Theo is insistant on building through the draft….it will take 4 years at a minimum to be ready to compete. This is all about Theo’s plan to rebuild. If it was a big market rebuild they could get some free agents and compete sooner.

          • cc002600

             Did you think its Theo’s plan to re-build solely through the draft ?  I don’t agree.

            If that’s really the case, you are looking at way, way longer than 4 years. HS players take about 5-6 years to reach the big club. Obviously, college players would be less.

            Plus, you’re telling me that the  cubs will have a bunch of young players and a $75M payroll over the next few years ? I don’t see that.

            I guess I just don’t get this mentality that any player with value that is 28 or older (i.e Garza) should be IMMEDIATELY traded for prospects. Prospects need a long time to develop into productive MLB players and there’s no guarantee that he will be good, as we have seen a million times over.

            You can develop young players while at the same time trying to win.

          • cubtex

            I feel he will try to add some lower priced free agents along with the Rizzos and Castros and try and hit some homeruns and then deal them. I don’t think he hit any homeruns this year. DeJesus has been decent but Stewart is still struggling and Maholm doesn’t have a lot of value. Unfortuately……..I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel for several years.

          • cc002600

             Jeez, you are depressing !
            LOL

            Well, to me if they don’t spend money like a big market team while still charging high ticket prices, it will be PR nightmare. You can get away with that for 1 year, but not long term.

            I don’t think that Rickets and Theo are that dumb.

          • John_CC

             I agree here and have the same feeling that the Cubs will spend money when the players come along that fit the plan.  I fully believe that if Hamels, Anibal Sanchez and/or Grienke hit the FA market this winter that the Cubs will be in on as many as they can be. 

            The only young FA that they did not pursue last winter was Prince Fielder and Reyes.  And the international sweeps on Darvish.  And the rumors had them in on Fielder and Darvish. 

            The rest of the big money FA were all over 30; Wilson, Pujols, Buehrle…and all got too much money and too many years.

            All those saying that the Cubs are at least 3 years away from contention…in 2006 the Cubs were awful, 70-92. In 2007 they added Soriano and Lilly and won 87 games.

            No way will the Cubs suffer through another 90 loss season in 2013.  They will spend money this winter, IF the right players are available.

          • cubtex

            Why would next year be any different than this past offseason? Why would you go after Greinke or Hamels if you didn’t pursue a top pitcher last offseason. I am curious to hear on why next year is different.

          • John_CC

             too skinny. see the bottom.

  • Nathan

    So has anyone else noticed that Whitenack has been pitching really well down in extended spring training coming off of TJ surgery. Maybe they will move him up soon so he can start getting back on track. He could very well be a middle of the rotation guy.

    • Tom U

      Although  I am also encouraged, you don;t want to push someone who was had TJ surgery too quickly.

      Also, part of the reason for his success could be the talent gap. Whitenack is so much better and more experienced than the players he is facing in EXT, that he’s probably getting away with some things. 

      Let him take his time, so ends up as a good pitcher, not another Mike Harkey or Mark Prior.

      • Redlarczykg

        Tom,

        May sound dumb, but where do fans go to follow EXT?
        Some Web site I don’t know about?

  • Ripsnorter1

    Wandy Rodriguez? Another LHP….LaHair on the bench again tonight. 

    That leaves only Soriano as a power bat in the lineup. His career vs. Wandy: .114 in 35 career ABs with 11 K and 1 HR.

    But take the whole Cubs team together, and lifetime they have hit:.193 with 1 HR off of Wandy. (26 for 135). You can see that Soriano has that lone tater, too.

  • jw

    I thought it was the Stro’s that were going to be dreadful…they have actually performed pretty well…validates that they had more talent left than the Cubs.

    Jim Hendry should never have been a GM at the MLB level. Hendry should have been launched when the Ricketts got the team… they lost credibility and time with the foolish move of keeping him on.

    I wonder if the Yanks did not have Rothchild where they might be

    Also, is it suprising that Baltimore seems to thriving without boy genius who promoted Hendry from irrelevancy, Andy McPhail. In fairness he must have had some input on the current roster…and drafting better, right?

    We still do have a piece of the great Tribune legacy… good old boys club… that protected these folks and were legends in their own minds namely Crane Kenney. The Ricketts should not have kept him no matter what his competency on the business side. I do think the Tribune kept a small piece of the Cubs in the deal to make Zell’s shell game work so maybe that was in the contract that they had to keep Kenney.

    • cubtex

      Did JH construct the 2012 Cubs? Did JH make the Ian Stewart trade? Give credit where credit is due. This 2012 ballclub was put together by the one and only Theo Boy Wonder Epstein.

      • jw

        Fair question, but I don’t think it changes the fact they were left with little to work with.

        • cubtex

          No doubt……but Theo had some areas and chips to improve this ballclub. He traded Z with 16 mil for Chris Volstad. He traded Sean Marshall for Travis Wood,Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes(didn’t help this team for 2012 and killed the bullpen) Traded Cashner for Rizzo(I love Rizzo’s upside but another HUGE blow to the bullpen) Colvin and Lemahieu for Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers(gave us less production for 2012 with this trade) Traded Marlon Byrd and 5 mil for a DFA’d player in Michael Bowden. Signed Andy Sonnanstine and Manny Corpas and put them on the 40 man roster. The bullpen is all on Theo. JH left Shark,Cashner Marshall as bullpen pieces from last year.

    • GaryLeeT

       I think everybody expected the Astros to gut their roster, and they didn’t. Probably because they couldn’t find any takers. If I were a GM, I would take Wandy of their hands.

  • paulcatanese

    The difference between Castro and Soriono at the plate is getting closer and closer, both swing at bad pitches, at least Soriono has the ability to drive the ball out of the park. Dosent make either great to watch.

    • cubtex

      Castro is so so young and you can see that he is fighting mentally. Did you notice that he took the first pitch everytime yesterday? It was almost as if he was instructed to do that by the coaches. He led the league in hits last year. He is an aggressive hitter. You can see he was out of his comfort realm last night and he is fighting mentally. He should be the least of the Cubs worries. He is an unbelievable talent and will be playing in many future all start games. He will figure it out.

    • John_CC

       I’ve been feeling the same way Paul, but didn’t want to say it.

    • jw

      I think Castro is a flawed player and he is in the mold of Soriano and Sosa (Domincan Rep) These players are undisciplined and I do not believe possess baseball smarts…rely on natural talent and in the case of Sosa maybe some help.

      He has a ton of talent but I am not sure he would be a core player to build around in my veiw. Someone mentioned a stat here that he has twice as many errors as walks…hardly Ozzie Smith credentials

      • ldsteam

         Wow, all this Castro bashing.  He is the least of our worries right now.  He is 22 years old, and players at his age are usually in Double A or Triple A.  He has been asked to handle batting third, reserved for the best hitter on the team.  A lot to ask of someone at 22.  He still needs to refine his game that’s a given, but to say he is Soriano because he has had a bad couple of weeks is a bit of a stretch.  Did Soriano ever lead the league in hits?  Was Soriano in the majors at 22?  (I have not idea).  I do think Castro will be moved from SS (to third or maybe the outfield), but he will get better.  What was I doing at 22?  Bar hopping, and getting drunk just about every weekend in college.  That is all for now. 

        • daverj

          The Castro bashing is because he is slumping the past few weeks.  Most posters are of the “what have you done for me lately variety” or make judgments based on small sample sizes or the wrong stats.  When Castro heats up (like he did in April), they’ll all be posting about a plaque for him in Cooperstown.  I have found the up and down posts on Dempster throughout his tenure with the Cubs to be the most amusing.

          Bottom line … You just can’t take these posts seriously when they are based on reactions to (i) small sample sizes, or (ii) stats like ERA, Batting Average, and RBI instead of contact rates, hit percentage, strand rate and other skill stats.

        • cubtex

          Exactly! He is FREAKIN 22 YEARS OLD. He led the league in hits last year. He currently is still hitting over .300 and leading this pathetic team in RBI’s. Is he struggling this year so far…..Yes! But Please….Put things in perspective here.

        • jw

          Too damn funny! Thanks for the laugh! I hope you are right!

          PS I am not a windsocker on this…it has been my opinion that while he has great tools and will be an exceptional MLB player I don’t think he will ever be what one might consider a smart or disciplined player

        • John_CC

          For the record, I am not bashing Castro, at least I do not intend to sound that way. We all know that he is young, and that he lacks mental focus from time to time.  He is a phenomenal natural talent and being asked to do too much for his maturity level, in my opinion. 

          I like Starlin a lot, and love watching him play.

          His OBP is currently 0.010 points higher than his Batting Average.  That is serious problem in his plate approach.

          To answer your question Idsteam; No, Soriano was not in the ML when he was 22. He came up for a cup of coffee (22 games) at age 24. His first full season (age 25) he hit .268/.304/.432.  Then he his prime; in this age 26 season Soriano had 209 hits (39HR/41SB) and hit .300/.332/.547.  Pretty awesome season for the 26 year old 2Bman. The next year (his last before he was traded to Texas in the ARod deal) he had 198 hits and slash: .290/.330/.525.

           What am I saying? I don’t know exactly, I just like to look at and analyze stats.  We can hope/assume/expect Castro to develop some power.  How much power?  20HR per season? 

          What is Castro’s ceiling?  Serioulsy, I’d like to hear anyone’s ideas/predictions.  Why not? What the hell else are gonna talk about? How bad everyone else is? 

          I just want to state that I do expect Casto to develop, he has to right? He’s 22. But I don’t think he is ever going to be a superstar. He is not Hanley, or Tulo, even Jeter.  Now there is a good comparison.  Do you think Castro could develop into a Jeter-esque type hitter?  No, because he is too aggressive.  A guy can be a great “bad ball hitter” and rack up 200 hits in a season and have .310 BA but if he only hits 10HR with that and walks 20 times all year…then what? 

          For what it’s worth, I think one of Castro’s strengths is that he plays SS and is incredibly athletic there. He is getting better and will continue to get better there. A stellar SS that hits .300 and 15HR is a great asset. 

          But is he ever going to be a super star?

          • ldsteam

            That is hard to say at this point.  I know that is your point too (nothing else to talk about).  There are a lot of variables into which way Castro goes in the next 5 years.  Does he learn and progress?  Or does he stay the way he is, aggressive at the plate?  My guess is that he progresses, and maybe not to superstar status (Jeter-esque), but yes hitting 300 and having 15 hrs, consistently every year (I will take that all day long from the Cubs SS).  I would love to see him stay at SS, but he will have to vastly improve his defense in the next few years.  Other guys in the system will be able to field the position much better, if he does not improve in that area. 

    • CubsTalk

      Blame it on Rudy….his message is not getting across on all these hitters.

    • paulcatanese

      I guess I have to answer myself. I always felt Castro was a vey talented athlete. But I have said the same things for the last two years.
      I think the point is being missed here with him. Yes, he will continue to hit .300,10-15 HRs a year. BUT because of his discipline at the the plate (or lack) he should do a lot better than he is.
      This is not new with him, since he has come up he swings, and swings and swings at anything he thinks he can reach.
      That prevents him from doing better than he is. I don’t think he will ever be a smart hitter and realize what he could do.
      He needs to start thinking in terms of how he can help the team with his at bats.Until he does that he will be the same hitter he is now, a run of the mill.
      He has been at the Major League level over two years now and has been given carte blanche in his approach.
      They need to stop telling him he is a superstar and play the game that he is capable of. He really has no ceiling that he cannot reach.

  • CubsTalk

    Castro just had a bad night at the plate….no worry about him……LaHair, now that is a guy to worry about.  he will be our version of Kevin Maas…..anyone remember that Yankee first baseman who filled for Mattingly, and everyone thought he was the “second coming”….. Maas turned out to be a flash in the pan…..so will be LaHair.

    • cubtex

      I agree and voiced my opinion about LaHair. He absolutely cannot hit lefthanded pitching and he is starting to be exposed by right handed pitching. Those that think LaHair is part of the future are way off base. I know you like poll questions. How about this poll question.

      Alfonso Soriano will pass Bryan LaHair in Home Runs this year by…….

      A. June
      B. July
      C. August
      D. September
      E. Never

      My vote is by early July and I mean early July

      • cc002600

        Holy cow, can we at least give him 500 AB’s ??

        What’s the rush ?

        This team is on the path to 95 losses, what do you have to lose ?

        The guy has 1 bad week and all the doomsayers come out like its the end of the world.

        Newsflash: Its called a “slump” 

        I wasn’t aware that LaHair is not allowed to go into a slump at any point during the season.

        And the obvious answer to your question is E.

        NO WAY will Soriano will have more HR’s. It won’t even be close

        • cubtex

          He cannot it lefties that is obvious. Even Sveum is starting to platoon him now. How many players in mlb have had an outstanding month or 2 and then vanished into mediocrity? Way too many to mention and I feel LaHair will be another one to add to that list.

        • cubtex

          Do you know LaHair has only driven in 7 runs the entire month and only once did he drive in more than 1 run in a game and that was 2 RBI. Is that what you want out of your #4 hitter? He strikes out a ton and can’t hit lefties and can’t play defense. Other than that…….he looks good in his uniform :)

          • cc002600

             Ok, despite how tough this last month has been his slash line is still .313/.411/.617

            What is your expectation ?

            Who do you want to play 1B until Rizzo arrives ?  Baker ?  wow

            And why do you keep defending Soriano ?  We know what Soriano can do, which isn’t much.  Please tell me what we have to lose by letting him get 500 AB’s in a lost season ???

            And why does everyone always mention some other guy that has failed in the past as a reason that this guy should be benched ???  Makes no sense.

            So if he ends up with 25 HR, 80 RBI, which he should get easily, would you consider that a failure ? 

            What are you expecting ?

            I don’t get it.

  • John_CC

    cubtex said:

    “Why would next year be any different than this past offseason? Why would
    you go after Greinke or Hamels if you didn’t pursue a top pitcher last
    offseason. I am curious to hear on why next year is different.”

    Last year was way different for what seems like an obvious reason; the regime from the front office to the new scouting dept. had very little knowledge of the system.  No matter what was said at times about being competitive every year, every knows that this season always was going to be about evaluation.  After sound evaluation, then they can build/re-build, whatever you want to call it.

    They could have gone out and spent a bunch of money on FA last winter and probably been competitive this year, but it isn’t the way they wanted to do it. I think that is the crux. They put a plan in place, they being the entire franchise, Ricketts down, and the plan was not to try to spend as much as possible and hope the team gels. You don’t have to like the plan. Obviously, a lot of fans don’t.

    I digress, I believe that after the draft and a full season of develpment that the Cubs will know what they want/need and that Ricketts will be more than willing to pay for free agents to immediately improve the team.  He has already proven that he is willing to do so by eating Zambrano’s $16M salary.  I ask you, and I’m not being antagonistic, what makes you so adamantly believe that the Cubs will not spend money on free agents? 

    Also, and I’m sure we’ve been right here more than once, who are the free agents that you think the Cubs should have signed last winter?  CJ Wilson? Buehrle?  Darvish, Cespedes, Fielder?  Every indication is that they did pursue all three of the latter, being young enough to contribute for years. 

    I don’t think that the Cubs have acted or said anything that supports the idea that they are not willing to pursue and spend money on free agents in the coming year. In fact, I see it just the opposite. They have cleared a lot payroll from the books and personnel and have eaten one big contract already. 

    • cubtex

      As I have said before…..Why would a ‘top” free agent sign with the worst team in baseball? Money? Will Cole Hammels want to go from the penthouse to the outhouse for a few million dollars more?
      I think it is the exact opposite of what you laid out. Theo will feel that they are no closer to being competitive next year than they were this past offseason. He will work in the Rizzos and maybe BJAX(if he improves) keep developing Shark and whoever they might have gotten in a Garza deal. Have DeJesus start another year. Eat Soriano’s contract and play another young outfielder in LF next year. They are a long way away. They have maybe 4 players who you would want starting on the team in 2014 and beyond. Rizzo,Casto, Garza and Shark. Name me another? Maye BJAX but he is struggling in AAA this year.
      Adding an Anibal Sanchez or Greinke or Edwin Jackson will not take this team over .500. They need to get lucky with some players who had down years again….and roll the dice and hopefully next year Theo does a better job of hitting on some players.

      • John_CC

         Fine, we disagree on what we each think Epstein and Hoyer will do.  That’s been apparent for quite some time! :) and fine. 

        BUT, you asked me a question and I quoted it to be clear, and again: “Why would next year be any different than this past offseason? Why would
        you go after Greinke or Hamels if you didn’t pursue a top pitcher last
        offseason. I am curious to hear on why next year is different.”

        And then I went on to answer in length (sorry, I’m sick today and quite bored).  Then your rejoinder is: “Why would anyone want to play for the Cubs?”  That is not a rebuttal to my case of why I think the Cubs will approach this off-season differently.  That is a non-sequitur and what makes having discussions/arguments with you so frustrating.

        • cubtex

          don’t take it so personally. we disagree….that is why the USA is the greatest country in the world. freedom of speech etc.
          anyway……I have heard Bowden and many other former gm’s talk about how important it is for most top free agents to play for someone who is ready to win now. The players who most likely would sign with the Cubs are the Brandon McCarthys….Edwin Jackson….David DeJesus types. There are always exceptions to the rule but Fielder,PuJols,CJ all signed with winning teams last offseason and I will bet that will be the case with Hamels next year as well.

    • cc002600

       I agree. I think they will spend some money this winter

      and quite frankly, I think they have too.

      Not saying they have to have a 150M payroll, but I think it would be a slap in the face to the fans paying big time ticket prices for a team with a $75-80M payroll.

      I am part of a season ticket package, and I can tell you that I will not be happy if they don’t spend some dough this winter.
      this ain’t KC or Pitt.

      • cubtex

        They will spend it on Soler and maybe some other mid tier free agents. They will spend some money but it won’t be on any one stud player. my opinion