Samardzija Shelled – Cubs 3, Twins 11

Game Fifty-Nine – Cubs 3, Twins 11
WP – Scott Diamond (5-1) LP – Jeff Samardzija (5-4) Save – None

The Cubs lost Saturday for the 20th time in 24 games (15 of 16 on the road) after Jeff Samardzija was lifted with two outs in the fourth inning. For the second start in a row Samardzija had no command of his splitter and the Twins teed off on Samardzija’s fastball.

Entering Saturday’s start, Samardzija had allowed 13 earned runs in his last 51 2/3 innings. Jeff Samardzija allowed a season-high eight runs on nine hits with a walk, two wild pitches and a strikeout in 3 2/3 innings. Samardzija threw 78 pitches, 52 strikes, in what ended up tying his shortest outing of the year (3 2/3 innings on April 19). Samardzija looked uncomfortable on the mound and appeared to struggle with his release point.

The Twins torched Cubs’ pitching for the second time in two days. After scoring eight runs on 16 hits Friday night, Minnesota scored 11 runs on 16 hits Saturday afternoon … of the 11 runs, only run scored via a home run.

Casey Coleman could not stop the bleeding and allowed an ugly loss to become an embarrassment. Coleman allowed three runs on six hits with two walks and a strikeout in 1 2/3 innings. Jairo Asencio bailed Coleman out of his bases loaded jam in the sixth and pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball. Manny Corpas gave up a single in a scoreless eighth inning.

Scott Diamond kept the Cubs off the board during his six innings of work. The Cubs had plenty of opportunities early against Diamond before the game became a blowout. The Cubs were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left three on base in the first three innings. After the Twins put six on the board against Samardzija in the fourth, Diamond pounded the strike zone and took advantage of the Cubs’ overly aggressive offense.

The Cubs three runs came in the seventh and eighth off former Cubs’ reliever, Jeff Gray. Reed Johnson (2-for-5 with a double and a RBI) broke up the shutout with a fielder’s choice RBI ground out that plated Darwin Barney (2-for-4 with a run scored) in the seventh.

Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) hit another majestic homer, his third of the series. Soriano launched a two-run shot off Gray in the eighth. The ball ended up in the second deck beyond the left field wall and Soriano provided the Cubs only highlight of the afternoon.

Starlin Castro (0-for-3) received his first break of the season Saturday afternoon. Castro had played every inning of all 58 games and was lifted for a pinch-hitter (Adrian Cardenas) in the seventh inning.

The Cubs’ offense did not walk a single time on Saturday and have managed only one free pass in the series (18 innings).

With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs are 19-40 on the season … Reed Johnson led off the game with a double to the right field corner. Starlin Castro did not do his job and hit a chopper toward third on the first pitch. Johnson held at second. David DeJesus tried to bunt his way on but the ball went foul. DeJesus smacked a 0-2 pitch from Scott Diamond to second. Johnson ended up at third with two outs.

Alfonso Soriano drove a 2-2 pitch to the track in right to end the inning.

Jeff Samardzija retired the Twins in order on 14 pitches (nine strikes) in the first.

The Cubs did nothing in the second … Diamond threw only 22 pitches in two innings, 15 for strikes.

Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau reached on back-to-back singles to left to start the second. Samardzija jumped ahead of Ryan Doumit 0-2 before the former Pirate worked the count full. Doumit popped out to left for the first out. Samardzija’s first pitch to Trevor Plouffe was in the left handed batter’s box and Clevenger could not get a glove on the ball. Willingham and Morneau advanced ninety feet on Samardzija’s wild pitch.

Samardzija’s wild pitch cost him a run (and later a second one). Plouffe hit a routine grounder toward third. Ian Stewart fielded the ball and threw to first for the out. Willingham broke on contact and scored the game’s first run … without the wild pitch, the grounder would have gotten Samardzija out of the inning. Morneau held at second.

Brian Dozier fisted a very good 0-1 pitch from Samardzija (in on his hands) over Barney and into right center. Morneau scored, 2-0 Twins. Dozier broke for second on the first pitch to Jamey Carroll. Steve Clevenger made a good throw to Castro and Dozier was called out to end the inning.

After two, the Cubs trailed 2-0.

Darwin Barney led off the third with a single to left. After Ian Stewart predictably struck out swinging, Reed Johnson ripped a 2-1 pitch back up the middle and into center. Starlin Castro showed a little more patience in his second at bat but swung over the top of a slider on a 2-2 pitch for the second out … and David DeJesus looked at a 0-2 pitch to end the inning. The Cubs left three on base in the first three innings of Saturday’s game (0-for-5 with runners in scoring position).

The Twins went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the third … 43 pitches for Samardzija after three (29 strikes).

Other than a broken-bat, one-out bloop single off the bat of Jeff Baker, the Cubs did nothing against Scott Diamond (55 pitches, 39 for strikes) in the fourth.

The Twins put the game away in the fourth inning and chased Jeff Samardzija from the game before he could finish the inning.

Joe Mauer led off the fourth with a single to left. Josh Willingham flied out to center. The at bat that changed the inning belonged to Justin Morneau. Samardzija jumped ahead of Morneau (1-2) before the Twins’ slugger worked the count back to full. Morneau blooped a single into center with Mauer running and the Twins had runners on first and third with one out.

Ryan Doumit pulled a 0-1 pitch down the first baseline. The ball hit off Baker’s glove and ended up down the line. Mauer scored (3-0 Twins) and Morneau stopped at third on Doumit’s double. With the infield in, runners on second and third with one out, Trevor Plouffe crushed a 1-1 pitch to center. Joe Mather could not catch up to the ball. It hit the track and hopped over the centerfield wall. The Twins took a 5-0 lead on Plouffe’s ground rule double. Dozier grounded out to short. Plouffe held at second with two outs.

Samardzija lost his command at that point. Not only did he walk Jamey Carroll but his 3-2 pitch got past Clevenger and allowed Plouffe to end up at third. Denard Span pulled Samardzija’s first pitch into right for a double, Plouffe scored and the Twins took a 6-0 lead. Ben Revere tapped Samardzija’s last pitch just past the mound. Barney could not field the ball quick enough to throw out the speedy Revere at first. Carroll scored the Twins seventh run and Dale Sveum made the slow walk to the mound.

Casey Coleman took over with runners on first and third with two outs and the Cubs down 7-0. Joe Mauer greeted Coleman by launching a double off the wall in left. Span scored easily, 8-0. Coleman finally ended the inning by striking out Josh Willingham swinging (1-2 pitch).

Ian Stewart singled to center with one out in the fifth. Reed Johnson hit a tapper between the mound and first base. Diamond fielded the ball and recorded the out at first as Stewart advanced to second. Castro grounded out to third to end the inning.

Casey Coleman walked Justin Morneau (3-1 pitch) to start the fifth. Ryan Doumit hit into a 4-6-3 double play. Trevor Plouffe continued tormenting Cubs’ pitching. Plouffe hurt a 0-1 pitch from Coleman. The ball ended up in the Cubs’ pen beyond the left centerfield wall and the Twins made it 9-0. Dozier grounded out to second to end the inning.

After Scott Diamond struck out David DeJesus swinging to start the sixth, Alfonso Soriano singled to center. Jeff Baker flied out to right. Joe Mather kept the inning going with a single but Clevenger lined out to short to end the inning. The Cubs were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base through six innings.

Denard Span singled to left with one out in the sixth. Coleman continued pitching from behind and gave up a single to right to Revere on a 3-1 offering. With runners on first and third with one down, Joe Mauer ripped a 2-2 pitch into right. Span scored and the Vikings took a 10-0 lead over the Bears.

Josh Willingham made it 11-0 with a single to center. Revere scored and Coleman walked Justin Morneau to load the bases with one out. Dale Sveum made his way to the mound and brought in Jairo Asencio. Asencio retired Doumit on a fly out to shallow center and Plouffe grounded out to second to end the inning.

Former Cub Jeff Gray took over for Scott Diamond in the seventh. Darwin Barney singled to left to start the inning then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Stewart tapped a 3-2 pitch back to the mound. Barney advanced to third with one out. Reed Johnson grounded out to third; Barney scored and broke-up the shutout. Adrian Cardenas hit for Starlin Castro and grounded out to second for the third out.

Jairo Asencio pitched the seventh and other than issuing a one-out walk to Jamey Carroll he was sharp and kept the Twins off the board.

Jeff Gray gave up a single to Koyie Hill to start the eighth … and Alfonso Soriano made him pay. Soriano crushed a 1-1 pitch, the ball ended up in the second deck for his third homer in two games. Baker, Mather and Clevenger went down in order to end the eighth.

Manny Corpas pitched the eighth and other than a one-out single by Darin Mastroianni, the Twins went down quickly and took the 11-3 lead into the ninth.

Ian Stewart reached on a one-out single off Jeff Manship in the ninth. Reed Johnson hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice and Adrian Cardenas grounded out to second to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Ryan Dempster is scheduled to face Francisco Liriano in Sunday’s finale.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO


  • SuzyS

    I’m thinking it might just be Demp’s last start as a Cub. It’s almost time for the trading action to begin.

    • Ripsnorter1

      This isn’t July 31st….

      But I agree: trade him now before he really starts regressing to the pitcher he really is….

      Having said that, I do not expect Jed to really score much in the way of prospects. Why? Because it’s Jed doing the deal for our side……

  • BosephHeyden

    They have to be able to trade Soriano at this point.  His value is at one of its highest points during his tenure with the Cubs.  His homers are just spread out enough to think this isn’t a hot streak and he’s getting hits to the opposite field instead of pulling everything.

    He’s no outfielder anymore, but he has to be a DH.  Even though the Cubs have to eat his contract, he has to have at least some return to him.

    • paulcatanese

      I gotta say this, if the All Star game were in an AL park Soriono would be a lock for the All Star team.

      I think about this, I know each team must be represented, I wouldnt want a player who can’t count, nor one who cannot hit leftys (to this point).

      Right now, today, Soriono is hitting everyone.

  • Ripsnorter1

    WHAM! 

    Did you hear that??!!??

    That was the Cubs dropping into last place in MLB. The San Diego Padres finally managed to win a game, and they have now pulled 1/2 game ahead of your Chicago Cubs.

    Congrats to Team Theo!

    • cubtex

      Team Theo needs to raise the white flag and dismantle this crap he put together this past offseason. The trades he has made(other than Cashner for Rizzo) were brutal. The free agents he picked up(other than DeJesus) have been brutal. He traded Zambrano for a pitcher who was going to be DFA’d
      He traded Byrd for a player who was DFA’d
      He will probably trade Soriano and almost all his salary for a player who is DFA’d…. lol

      Boy Wonder needs to sign Soler. He needs to sign Albert Almora. He needs to do something other than this small market re-build that he has done.

      We better hope he makes a good trade for Dempster and Garza…..because if he doesn’t……Team Theo will not last past their current contract.

      • Calicub

        The Byrd trade was a flp on both sides.

        Byrd was DFA’d today by the BoSox

        • BosephHeyden

          Not really.  Byrd was designated for assignment because the Red Sox got all their outfielders back and Byrd was the odd man out.   Meanwhile, Bowden was actually DFA’d when we traded for him, and we wound up DFA’ing him again because he was awful.

          Byrd needed a change of scenery and it worked out for the Red Sox while they had him, but that organization is as bad, if not worse, run than ours is.  Bowden was just a bad arm that proved to be a bad arm and was sent to the minors accordingly.  And, through it all, we still ate salary.

        • paulcatanese

          Whatever Mather brings with the bat, he is just not as fast as Campana is in center field. The one hit over his head day would have been caught.
          The one that Campana almost caught yesterday, no one else would have been even that close to make an attempt.

          Amazing that getting blown out today that Campana didn’t get into the lineup.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Campana is persona non grata. 

            Sveum doesn’t seem to like him. 

            Mather is slugging a mere .417…
            Campana slugging a mere .310….

            Campana hitting .274…
            Mather hitting a mere .265…

            The question: do you want power or speed?Do you want a LH bat or RH bat?

          • cubtex

            I rather see Campana than Mather…..but neither are starting centerfielders. Campana can’t hit enough. They need to bring up Brett Jackson and let him get some experience.

      • paulcatanese

        He could always go back to Boston, or could he?:)

        • Ripsnorter1

          Theo is so popular there in Boston, isn’t he?

          They greeted him like he was a Savior.[Sound of train wreck].

      • Ripsnorter1

        And the Cashner for Rizzo trade hasn’t yet profitted the Cubs at all. 

        Cashner is going to be a starter. He might start winning 15 games per year, too.

        • Tony_Hall

          So you believe his arm will handle being a starter?   

          He pitched 2.1 innings today and is going to the minors to try and get stretched out.  A long, long ways from being a starter in the majors and a really long way from winning 15 games one time, let alone doing every year.     Remember we are all waiting for Randy Wells to win 15 games…

          • Ripsnorter1

            Cashner has produced more for San Diego at this point, than Rizzo has for the Cubs. 

          • Tony_Hall

            You mean the Chicago Cubs…because Rizzo has been awesome for the IOWA Cubs.

        • Dnuge

          Cashner never will be a quality starter, his arm is subject to fail at any time & he still has control issues.

      • roseyc

        You keep sounding like we were going to be a good team this year and we weren’t We aren’t until we get rid of Soriano,Dempster and Garza. All of the deal except the Rizzo deal were just to get rid of the players. Realistic Lahair needs to go too. He doesn’t need to play the outfield. We need the kids to plays. When your playing Koyie Hill and JBaker and Reed Johnson you have no chance to win. Coleman isn’t and never will be a major league pitcher.I like what Theo is doing. You have to give more than a half a season to really judge him. I expected a horrible season. Nobody else could have done any better

        • cubtex

          Ummmmmm. The Sean Marshall trade? Ummmmm. The Ian Stewart trade?

          • Tony_Hall

            Marshall hasn’t been the dominant Marshall that we had the last few years that you remember and T Wood is not as bad as you try to make him out.  He is in the rotation for the next year and a half, if he keeps pitching the way he has so far.

            Stewart trade…which All-Star did we give up, because I believe we traded Colvin (283 OBP in 107 AB’s)and Lemahieu (226 avg in 31 AB’s).

          • cubtex

            I am contradicting Roseys statement that all of Theo’s trades were to get rid of the player. I don’t think Travis Wood is terrible……but he is a back of the rotation starter. Ian Stewart has been a bust.

        • Ripsnorter1

          How long are you going to give Team Theo?

          • Tony_Hall

            I think he has had enough time to produce a World Series caliber team…my as well fire him….

          • cubtex

            Do you think he has done a great job so far?

          • Dorasaga

            George Steinbrenner, R.I.p. if he ever leaves hell, will call you his bro. The “win now” or “no patience” or “football” mentality has been here on CCO. I totally understand, and I think you are well-represented.

            Having said that, I have no problem with Hoyer & Co. handling this franchise so far. If his draftees (the to-be-signed, of course) fail in three years, then I’ll raise my eyebrows. Stick with his plan.

          • Tony_Hall

            If the goal was to win as many games as possible this year and still not make the playoffs, then no, this has not been a good year.  

            If you go into each game thinking anything but a win is bad and horrible day, then yes, this has not been a good year.

            But the goal was to clean out the bad and take some chances on some players this year, in hopes that 1 or 2 of them will be around to help the team in the future.   The goal was to build a foundation, you usually have to dig a big hole and make quite a mess to do that.  Check, check.

            The goal was to turn what little value was at the major league level over and get younger players.  

            I will look at where this team is at next year on Opening Day and the trade deadline to judge what kind of job they have done.  

            I know many out there wanted them to come in and win immediately…go for it out of the gate.   

            Been there, done that. 

            You never get a second chance to clean house, you end up chasing the roster year after year, trying to win now.   Just ask JH.  I bet he and many other GM’s would have loved to have a chance to clean house at first.

            Now, is this a guarantee that the team will build a foundation of sustained success…no, unfortunately, there are 29 other teams trying to win and there are no guarantees.  But where many of the teams who have cleaned house, usually fail, is the inability to keep their 1st wave of young players as they get expensive and have the 2nd and 3rd waves ready to make the team really good.  The Cubs will have no issues keeping the talent that they want to keep.

            I know for some people patience has been gone for years, but patience is what is needed as we watch them execute their plan.  Just because we haven’t been given the plan through the media, doesn’t mean they aren’t executing it.  The next 2 1/2 months of trades should hopefully clean house.  Who knows with Soriano going to a lighter bat (finally), someone may actually pay $5M a year for him….but I doubt it.

          • Ripsnorter1

            With the CBA, he saved all the money for……what? New latrines? Why not? I mean, after watching this, some folks are going to be vomiting it all up, right?   lol

          • Tony_Hall

            No one gets that you don’t have to spend every dollar every year anymore.  

            You can save it and spend it later.  Having cash is never a bad thing.

        • cubtex

          Nobody else could have done any better?

          • Tony_Hall

            Of course someone else could have done better this year.  But that’s not their plan.  

            I keep getting the feeling you don’t like their plan…or the architect of the plan…or any of his hires….signings…traded for players…

          • cubtex

            He has and had limited valuable trade pieces. The Marshall trade was not one I would categorize as a good trade. Cashner….even though you bash him and his health……was a valuable arm and trade chip. The buy low thinking is so small market. Ian Stewart was a bust….Paul Maholm has been flop and will not bring back any prospects…..the manager he hired is brutal…..the Andy Sonnanstines…….I can go on and on. I want to highlight SO FAR. SO FAR…….Theo has been as bad as the Cubs record.

          • Tony_Hall

            You can’t call the Marshall trade a bad trade yet either.

            Cashner has a great arm, but to give a guy, who has arm issues and control issues for Rizzo, looks to be a good calculated risk.

            Ian Stewart has been a bust, but we didn’t give up much either.

            Maholm hasn’t been a flop, he’s not great, but not a guy you just cut because he has flopped.  We should be able to trade him for something.

            Sonnanstine…who cares, he was just a ST opportunity, like so many teams bring in.

            You have chosen to look at everything with a critical eye, on the new regime.  That is your choice, but there are many people out there that are seeing the big picture, that is building a foundation to this franchise. 

            Here is their stated goal:

            “Build a consistent winner, a team that is playing baseball in October. Regularly. And the team that will ultimately win the World Series. That does not happen overnight. ”

            Patience my friend, patience.

          • cubtex

            I will be more optimistic if he does something to give me hope. So far it is only Rizzo. Travis Wood is a back end guy. I think he can be an OK #5 but that is what he is. He traded one of the top left handed set up guys in baseball for a #5 and an A ball 2nd baseman. The big buildup for the draft was very disappointing. Theo could have made a statement by drafting Appel and drafting higher regarded players. Time will tell on the draft but it doesn’t seem to be any different from previous regimes. He needs to hit a hr on the Dempster and Garza deals….and then I will give him props. But so far he has not done anything at all to give me hope….besides Rizzo.

    • BrutalTruth

      actually Rip, I’ve heard that the Ricketts have a plan in place with Team Theo to put together the worst team possible so that the attendance becomes so low that it means that they can move the team to Florida.  Turns out that when Ricketts was talking with Florida officials, it was all about moving the entire organization to Florida, not just the spring training aspect.  The Ricketts relationship has soured with Mayor Emanuel because he has learned of this plan and is not happy about it. 

      • Christian2334

        And where did hear that? If anyone thinks for one second that would happen, your insane. That’s like moving the packers out of green bay or the Knicks out of NY! Wow! I’ve heard some ridiculous “rumors” before, but that takes the cake!! Thanks, I neded a chuckle!

      • Tony_Hall

        That could make a great movie…

        Thanks for sharing and spreading false rumors, but if they wanted to move out of Chicago, they would go to the suburbs, where a massive bidding war would take place.

  • BosephHeyden

    The Padres just beat the Brewers, meaning that the Cubs will be the last team in the majors to win twenty games.  This season was already headed south, but this has to be a real kick in the pants.  Or the Cubs could just not care because they’re “rebuilding”.

  • CubsTown

    Let the trades begin…..

    Cubs will not wait around for July 31st to start trading off players……there are more teams in contention now than there will be at the end of July….so make the moves now….before other Sellers come into the market……and before we have Dempster and Garza heading to the DL…….Soriano does have a high value now….one of the hottest hitters in the majors……Would the Yankees, Rangers, Tigers or the Angels take a chance?…but that contract overshadows any deal……Rickets would want Theo get one major prospect for Soriano if he has to eat 90% of this contract…….Theo & Jed need to pull the trigger on deals before the market has too many Sellers……no need to sign Garza, this Cubs team will be in a rebuilding process for two more seasons.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Cubs on a pace to win 52 games. 

    However, in the dog days of August, that could accelerate and they might not win that many.  

    Think of the glory if they win but 40 games!!

    • cubtex

      At least they will get the #1 pick next year :)

      • cubtex

        And maybe they can draft Almora again:)

        • Tony_Hall

          Almora will sign,but if he doesn’t, it’s 3 years of college for him.

          • John_CC

             Is that a rule, Tony? I mean is there a set amount of time if one is drafted but opts to play in college?

          • Tony_Hall

            Here are some basics.

            http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/draftday/rules.jsp 

            Since he is going to a 4 year school, he would have to complete his junior year to be eligible again.

          • Tony_Hall

            It’s also why high school players drafted in the Top 10, usually put their name on a contract.  3 years is an awful long time to stay healthy, and very hard to be sure that they will be a Top 10 pick again.  

            Almora will sign his contract with the Cubs, it would cost himself a bunch of money and development time, plus why would he go use an aluminum bat against college players, when he could be working his way through the minors, getting himself to the majors sooner.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Yes.

          • cubtex

            Yes you are right :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/steveartist Steve Baier

    So… we’re on pace to lose 108 games, give or take. Good thing LaHair and Campana weren’t playing, I mean, why would we want power and speed in the lineup when we can get neither from Baker and Mather?

  • CubsTown

    Reports out of Pittsburgh and from ESPN Jason Stark, Pirates looking to trade for Bryan LaHair in exchange for pitching prospects.

    • Aaron

      dude, that came straight from mlbtraderumors. There are no sources…just speculation.

  • SuzyS

    also from Stark a great read regarding Pittsburgh vs. Scott Boras negotiations. We have the same deal going….
    http://espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/stark_jayson/id/8029349/mark-appel-signing-test-new-draft-rules

  • matthew8510

    soriano vs lahair 
     
    soriano has 35 more ab than lahair and 8 less strikeouts than lahair 
     
    lahair 55 so 
    soriano 47 so 
    trade him  now

    • Tony_Hall

      Don’t expect much for Lahair.  He is 29, k’s a lot, as you pointed out and has only 2+ months of MLB experience.  No GM is going to overpay for a guy this old, this inexperienced, and with this big of hole in his bat.  

      The best chance to trade him, will be if he can hit, at a high level for a whole season and maybe a season and a half.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Look at the RBI’s LaHair doesn’ have….

      168 AB….25 RBI

      That’s because he’s hitting .167 with RISP in 48 PA.

      Soriano is hitting .308 in 62 PA with RISP.

      • cubtex

        I said Soriano would catch LaHair in homeruns by early July. He ended up doing it in early June. For all the crap he gets on this site…..he goes out there and plays hurt and plays hard.

        • Tony_Hall

          $111,111

          Whether he plays or not he gets paid this amount, every game.   

          I guess it is not enough pay, to expect a player to play through pain and to play hard every play….like the players who get paid what he makes in less than 5 games, do every game.

          He has fixed many of the issues that people had with him, lack of effort in the field, poor baserunning, not running out of the box, etc…if he had done this from the beginning, people wouldn’t have been so hard on the guy…

          Hopefully he will be gone by the trade deadline.

          • cubtex

            He is not the problem and he didn’t put a gun to the Cubs to give him that contract. I would rather see him play than LaHair.

          • Tony_Hall

            No he hasn’t been this year, but you would think he would have done more of the little things, like hustling and caring on defense before.  But it just goes to show you the difference in coaches and their  styles and getting a message across.  And most importantly, getting your highly paid aging vets to buy into it.   Soriano has bought in.  

            Where would your prediction be, if he was still swinging that heavy lumber?

          • cubtex

            Cmon. You don’t actually think it is all about a lighter bat? He was about to get hot regardless. Lol

          • Tony_Hall

            You are right, his swing isn’t getting slow as he ages.  

            He hasn’t had this long of a sustained hitting streak in years.

          • cubtex

            I don’t know how much baseball you have played but it isn’t all this Roy Hobbs magic bat. He is swinging a little lighter bat. He hit 26 HR’s last year with 85 RBI’s last year with the heavier bat. He has hit over 20 HR’s a year with that heavier bat. He would have done that again no matter what.

          • John_CC

             You seriously do not believe that lighter bat has anything to with Soriano  FINALLY hitting more than singles?

          • cubtex

            It might help a little but not to the extent that you and many are saying.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Too bad he didn’t switch to the lighter bat about 4 years ago, too…….

          • Tony_Hall

            And too bad a coach or manager was not able to make him play better D, when he still had his legs.  

            Give credit where credit is due, Soriano has finally become coachable, and the credit goes to the the coaching staff.  He has always been talented, but stubborn in making changes.

  • cubtex

    One other terrible move by Theo. He hired Dale Sveum as manager. How has that worked out :)

    • Ripsnorter1

      He hired Jed, too.

    • John_CC

      Do you not think that Sveum and McKay, his hire, have nothing to do with Soriano’s resurgence? You bring up Soriano every chance you can, and it is deserved, Soriano is playing harder – and better – than he has in 2 years.

      Lou couldn’t get him to go to a lighter bat, or run to the wall, or not hop at pop ups. Q didn’t teach him how to take better routes in the OF.

      The guy is a rookie manager. And is taking all this crap in stride. His team plays better defense than we’ve seen in 3 years and they play through the 9th inning. Yes, they are a bad team, but they are playing. More than can be said for the last 3 years.

      • Dorasaga

        That also tells us how bad the team was the last 3 yrs. Other than a few big bats, the Cubs had too many fundamental problems; the baserunning, the defense… It’s just a funny little world all by themselves. I’m glad Sveum has changed how players and fans look at baseball; the effort, the shift, the drills.

        This situation reminds me of Ron Washington. When he took over the Rangers, they were doormats. He was voted one of the worst managers through an espn poll. Two World Series appearances in a roll now, the Ron became the Manager of the Last 3 Yrs. How win-loss can affect fan perspectives. It didn’t take long, either.

        • John_CC

           Great analogy.

        • cubtex

          How many times can you think of this season where you thought Sveum outmanaged a team and made a decision to win a game in the late innings? You manage around the talent that you are given. You have watched every game as you have said. He doesn’t put this team in situations to win. He makes baffling decisions and that is one of the reasons they have the worst record in baseball.

          • Dorasaga

            Unlike some of us, I don’t mind the defensive shifts and platoon-loaded lineups. I saw more positives from Sveum & Staff then the previous regimes. I know where anger came from, as we all wanted the Cubs to play better. The Cubs got more talent than the M’s had, when they lost consecutive 100s. There’s no excuse in losing a 100 if that’ll eventually happen. But I’m not expecting that, nor am I expecting anything more than a losing season in a rebuilding year.

            What I’m more concerned, though, is the lack of solid players to build around the above-average talents here already. That’s why the success of this draft, whether Hoyer trades for better Big leaguers or they be moved up fast, will be a big reflection of the team’s success or disaster in three years.

          • cubtex

            Cubs are 6-16 in 1 run games. That says it all. Sveum is not a good manager.

          • Tony_Hall

            Give me a break…he doesn’t exactly have the 27 Yankees out there.  

          • cubtex

            Obviously….but good managers can win close games with strategy and putting his team in situations to win. Sveum almost does the opposite :)

          • Dorasaga

            Or maybe Hoyer needs to find him better bullpen arms. You mentioned “strategy” down here. This is the strategy: Play them 162 games, and see how talents fit into the future teams 2013 and beyond. If you want to get into “tactics” for winning per game, those are better tricks for tennis or college football, not the long season of Major League baseball. Trey Hillman always played his hands earlier the seasons with the Royals. They won in April-s and could never again. He was fired and doubtfully a managerial candidate for serious teams. Mike Quade late into the season is another example. Stick with their plan, then I’m happy.

          • cubtex

            Hitting and running instead of bunting with a man on 1st and no outs down a run? Not using a pinch runner like Campana in late innings? Not having a lefty ready to face a lefthanded hitter? He is overmatched and his record as a manager shows that.

          • Dorasaga

            Are you sure? His Crew last Oct. almost made it to the World Series, for crying out loud!

            I’m usually open-minded, so if the article below will make you happy, blame Sveum and praise Bobby V:

            http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/effective-andrew-miller-helping-bostons-bullpen/

  • Ripsnorter1

    Brett Jackson….2012 edition….

    Has more walks (25) than RBIs (22)….
    Has more triples (8) than home runs (7)….
    Has fanned 78 times in 225 AB, or 1 for every 2.88 AB….
    Is slugging .489 and OBP is .340…..
    Is hitting .261….

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Brett Jackson

      Vs. Lefties this season: .344/.425/.750/1.175, 5 doubles, 3 triples and 5 home runs

      Last 10 games: .343/.395/.600/.995, 4 doubles, a triple and a home run

      • Tony_Hall

        Maybe that is the development side of player development, that they work through their issues in the minors.  Maybe, just maybe the coaches know some of the same issues that we all know on here and are actually working to fix them…in the minors.

        • John_CC

           Now hold on Tony!  Are you saying that We, the Cubs bloggers of the universe, do not know more about minor league players than the coaches that are working with them?  How dare you!

          • Tony_Hall

            I know it is shocking, that the best baseball minds are not all of us, sitting at home watching the games on TV, but I really think they could have a few guys who know a thing or 2 about the game :)

    • Tony_Hall

      When has having 8 triples and 7 home runs by early June been a bad thing.  That is on pace for around 20 of each over a full MLB season.  Sounds impressive to me.

      261/340/489 – 829 OPS

      Sounds about right for BJAX.

      The k’s are the issue, and why he is still in AAA.

      No player is perfect…but we know that, because you will point out their flaws.   BJAX does so many things well and is not a finished product.  He will K a lot, which comes from taking pitches and working counts. 

      Count his plate appearances though, as that is a better look at how often he k’s (still a lot).  He has 25 BB and 3 HBP.  When you have work counts and get on base a lot with walks, it greatly decreases your “official”  AB’s

      • Ripsnorter1

        Tony, Tony, Tony…tsk, tsk, tsk…

        READ THE POST AGAIN.
        I never, ever said anything bad about Jackson. I simply posted his stats. That’s the whole thing. I simply posted his stats.You are a good man, and I enjoy reading your posts, but you often read into my posts.Sure, I do not like Theo’s direction in that he abandoned the ML club this year. Jed has proved that he can assemble a team in San Diego and in Chicago that cannot hit. Jed also did not handle the roster well. Claiming players and waiving them before ST, and such the like. But all I did was look at Jackson’s stats and post them. I thought it was interesting to look at.

        • Tony_Hall

          You are right, I assumed you were saying those things were bad, not sure why I would think that, but….you really weren’t???

          It is amazing that the claiming and waiving of players before ST, was seen as good strategic moves by others, yet seen as blundering on here by many.  Many of them were done to keep some players in the minors (controlled), and do so without losing many of them to other teams.  Timing is everything on waivers.  

  • paulcatanese

    As I think about it, I cannot be too upset the way the Cubs are playing.
    Each and everyone of them are giving it their all. They hustle and try hard to be a success.
    It’s simply they don’t have the talent at the Major League level. They were put into a position to fail even before they were brought over to the Cubs.
    I cannot blame them as what were they supposed to do? Tell the brass that they have 0 talent? Of course not.
    Thats why I still watch the Cubs, 0 talent, not playing as a team, but not because they don’t try, and I can’t be upset with that.
    I watch, and if they win, fine, and if they lose, well at least I know why,
    and it’s not really their fault, blame the guy who put them out there.
    And I really cannot call it “rebuilding” as these guys are fillers, waiting for someone to step up, and if it’s players signed out of high school, it will be later than sooner.
    Think about it, what is the ratio of players signed out of high scholl that make it to the bigs, and if they do, how long does it take?
    And just for my own information, I wonder how big the profit margin is for the Cubs now, regardless if people show or not.

    • John_CC

       I agree Paul.  And this IS rebuilding. Exactly the way they said they would do it. By putting in place an expectation of how to play the game; hustle, play hard and aggressive and for 9 innings.  This is the first step.  And I think Sveum and his staff have everything to do with it.

    • Zonk

      I agree….this is rebuilding.  We can’t blame Sveum, or Theo, or anyone here for the mess.  This year is about clearing bad contracts, selling short-term assets for long-term ones, re-stocking the farm system, and evaluating young talent we have.  It isn’t about winning games. 

      It sucks, but this season was entirely predictable, and in fact it was planned. 

      Could we have been better?  Absolutely, but that would have required spending money and sacrificing long-term plan for short-term gain.  And where would it have gotten us?  72-90?  No closer to the ultimate goal.  In fact, farther away from it.

      • cubtex

        Where are these long term assets?

    • Zonk

      PS:  And you are right about talent level.  The Cubs have exactly 2 future impact players on their roster:  Shark and Castro.  That’s it. 

      Darwin Barney, for example, I beleive gives everything he has.  He is the best player that Darwin Barney can be.  Which is to say, a major-league bench player forced into a starting role.

  • Bryan

    As always, I enjoy the opinions and commentary here.  A couple thoughts though…

    Many on here talk about the need for patience as the top brass execute “their plan”.  So, folks, what is the plan?  Is is cost savings, is it development through the farm system, is it redeveloping the McDonald’s lot, is it scouting, is it free agency signings?  Remember, one of Theo’s first statements was the club would view each season as a chance to win the WS…I guess he wasn’t referring to this season.  It would be nice to see Theo, Jed, etc, articulate a bit about this “master plan”. 

    Second, I’d like to hear from the top brass regarding their philosophy on when top prospects get provided the opportunity at the top level.  All we hear, being now the worst team in all of baseball, is that there are no plans for the likes of Rizzo, Jackson, Vitters, etc.  What other franchise, when in last place and playing terrible ball, would convey this mindset?  If there’s a plan for some of these top prospects, how about sharing it?

    Lastly, I’ve been a Cubs fan since the mid 60′s, and certainly remember this mindset of “needing to have patience” over and over again.  Every new GM comes in, and the honeymoon period begins.  It’s one thing to “have patience” when you’ve won a few WS’s (or even one), and need to re-tool because of an aging squad, etc.  But this is a franchise that hasn’t won a darn thing in over 100 years, and yet we drink the kool-aid for a new round of patience.  What makes anyone think that Theo can change the result, especially with the inept owner now in place?  Many have stated this before….as a major market team that draws over 3+ million fans per year, the loyal fan base deserves better…and atleast deserves better communication.  Sad how throughout this current mess that Theo/Jed have essentially disappeared, and even Sveum’s messages seem contradictory to the whatever the master plan is (aka, “Rizzo seems ready”). 

    A Cubs franchise is disarray…how many times have we seen this?

    • Tony_Hall

      You and so many others quote only half the quote.

      Every season as sacred…but not at the sacrifice of the long term success.   

      They have told us all their plan’s philosophy, and told us not to expect short term decision over long term decisions.  Don’t expect them to publicly tell you the actual plays.

      Re-listen to it, they have already told us what they plan to do.

      http://audio.weei.com/a/47586868/theo-epstein-s-introductory-press-conference-with-the-chicago-cubs.htm 

      • Bryan

        Tony…you are always the eternal optimistic (and supporter of Cubs management)..and you’re entitled to your view as well. 

        • Tony_Hall

          Not sure how long you have been reading the CCO, but I was all for JH being gone and cleaning house and doing a rebuilding of the mess he left.  

          So, I don’t consider 1 offseason and 2+ months of a rebuilding year, to be enough time to complete a rebuilding of that mess.  Many on here kept saying as the months and years went by, how long it would take to fix after JH was gone.  So many of those now expect that it should be completed already.

          We are all entitled to our opinions, and it is fun discussing it with most everyone.  

    • cubtex

      Well said.

    • Brp921

      Jim Hendry got us close to the world series by spending alot of money on aging stars and career year players, but that is all. Look at what we are left with, a farm system in disaray and a team about to lose a hundred games if they can improve the pace they’re on. The team definately needs to be rebuilt. Once they fix the foundation they can then bring in free agents they think can put them over the top. I was not a proponent of bringing in Theo or of hiring Sveum, but they are here so let’s give them a chance. So far I like a few things I’ve seen and disagreed with some as well, but whomever was hired would have had a dismal year this year if they were truly trying to rebuild the team into a winner and not just trying to stay above water.

    • Zonk

      Do you really think there is no plan in place?  There is a good reason Rizzo is at Iowa; because it sets his FA back a year, and saves the club millions in a year where it might count, as opposed to winning 5 more games or so in a season where it won’t make a difference, other than maybe dropping us a draft slot.  They just can’t SAY that so explicitly.

      The reason Theo isn’t communicating with you isn’t because he doesn’t have a plan.  It’s because winning ballgames right now isn’t the #1 priority.  They aren’t going to communicate that to the masses, not that bluntly anyway, but we can read between the lines.

      I attend Church with a prominent baseball writer who spoke to Theo in private this offseason, and Theo was as blunt as above off the record, if not moreso.  This year was a write-off all along.  They can’t say that to the fans, though, they have to sell tickets.

      • Bryan

        Hey, I’m not looking to get into a debate with anyone here…just expressing another fans view.

        But a question for you…how many “write off” seasons has this franchise had in the last century?  Answer….way, way ,way too many.

      • John_CC

         To some, everything is Black and White.  Always. No reading between the lines, no gray area, no nuance. I can’t imagine living like that, I’ve just never thought that way. 

    • SuzyS

       Bryan,
       Nice to see you comment again…even if it is in a tough season.
      I completely understand your point of view…watching our
      “major league” team sometimes makes me want to puke.

      However, I do believe that in the big picture…that we are on the path to righting wrongs that have been around for decades….and it is extremely painful.

      To me, this season did not count much anyway…as it is the tear-down and installation phase of the whole thing…the groundbreaking…

      Are Theo/Jed the baseball saviors for the Cubs…I really don’t know…But I do know they ARE solid baseball people…trying their best to do something that has never been done before with the Cubs…or…if you think about it…ANY major market team. Completely rebuild an ORGANIZATION…NOT JUST A TEAM.

      In my mind, Hendry was a Darwin Barney….a backup…never intended to start without direction from above….When McPhail
      left…Hendry should have gone with him…and an entirely new regime should have been installed THEN.

      But the Tribune/Zell were not really interested in an ongoing
      organization by that time…and “let’s just get by mentality”…was the modus operandi.

      Ricketts WAS smart enough to know that he & the family were NOT baseball people…and so he went out and hired what HE considered to be the best…turned it over to the baseball people…and Theo has installed an entirely new organization…from the bottom up.
      New facilities…(Domincan/Spring Training/front office) needed
      just to get the Cubs up to date and competitive with other major league teams.

      Individual decisions and trades can be debated…(so far thew trades have been lackluster)…But the overall direction of this franchise is NOT in dispute. Ricketts has stated he wanted a world class organization….with the stated goal of being competitive year after year…with some World Series wins thrown in.

      If you follow Ricketts statements and MONEY…it has gone exactly where he said it would…I have no reason to believe that we are not on our way to the World Series…just not this year.

      • Brp921

        Very well said Suzy.

      • Tony_Hall

        BRAVO!!!!!   Suzy, it is great to see some level headed comments, that understand the big picture.

  • Marvin Ferguson

    It’s no secret that the Cubs are consistently losing ball games. Starting pitchers and the bull pen are not affective, not to mention the offense. Is it possible that the Cubs need more experience behind the plate like a take command catcher like the Cardinals have in Molina?