Johnson Bunts … and the Cubs Beat the Cardinals – Cubs 3, Cardinals 2

Game Ninety-Nine – Cubs 3, Cardinals 2
WP – James Russell (4-0) LP – Joe Kelly (1-4) Save – Carlos Marmol (13)

wflag.jpgThe Cubs ended their five-game losing streak against the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon at the old ballyard. Reed Johnson drove in the game winner with a pinch-hit RBI bunt single in the seventh inning. The bullpen pitched three scoreless frames in relief of Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs held on for their 17th win since June 25 (17-10).

Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a triple and two RBI) gave the Cubs an early lead with his first three-bagger of the season. Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) and David DeJesus (2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk) scored and the Cubs took a 2-1 lead in the first inning.

The game remained 2-1 until the sixth inning when all of the free passes finally caught up with Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija issued two of his six walks on the afternoon in the sixth and Matt Carpenter tied the game with a sac fly to right. Samardzija was able to wiggle his way out of another jam and the Cubs took the lead for good in the seventh.

Bryan LaHair (0-for-2 with a walk) walked to start the seventh, the Cubs first free pass of the day. Tony Campana ran for LaHair, stole second and advanced to third on a single to left off the bat of Geovany Soto (1-for-3). After Jeff Baker and Luis Valbuena failed to get the run in from third with less than two outs, Dale Sveum sent Reed Johnson up to hit for James Russell.

Reed Johnson surprised the Cardinals and bunted Brian Fuentes’ first pitch up the third baseline. The ball hit, died in the grass and Campana slid in safe with the go ahead run.

The Cubs offense managed only six hits and two walks on the afternoon and at one point rookie Joe Kelly retired 14 in a row. But the Cubs took advantage of the opportunities they had (3-for-9 with RISP, five left on base) and held on at the end.

Jeff Samardzija was excellent and horrible all at the same time. Samardzija issued a season-high six walks but allowed just three hits while striking out seven over six innings of work. Samardzija limited the high octane Cardinals’ offense to just two runs after giving them six free baserunners.

Jeff Samardzija’s first seven pitches of the game were out of the strike zone. Samardzija walked the bases loaded with no outs in the first but was able to escape his jam with allowing only one run. Two of the six walks Samardzija issued scored and both runs scored without a hit. Samardzija threw 104 pitches, 58 for strikes, and received a no decision on a day he could have been blown out.

James Russell improved to 4-0 on the season after facing the minimum in the seventh. Shawn Camp pitched a scoreless eighth and despite making things interesting in the ninth, Carlos Marmol closed it out and picked up his 13th save of the season.

Dale Sveum was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing a call at first base. With the bases loaded and two down, Starlin Castro hit a slow roller to short that replays showed he beat out. Sveum argued and had to watch the final two innings in the Cubs’ clubhouse.

With Saturday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 41-58 on the season …

Jeff Samardzija’s day began on a sour note. Jeff Samardzija had control issues and missed the strike zone with his first seven pitches. After walking Skip Schumaker on four pitches, Samardzija missed on his first three offerings to Jon Jay. Samardzija finally threw a strike before bouncing a breaking ball in on a 3-2 pitch. With Schumaker and Jay on via free passes, Matt Holliday stepped to the plate. Samardzija walked Holliday on five pitches to load the bases with no outs.

Carlos Beltran bailed out Samardzija by swinging at the first pitch. Beltran hit a slow roller to Jeff Baker at second that Baker backed up on before making a low, side-arm toss to Starlin Castro. Holliday was called out (Castro was in the neighborhood) but the Cubs could not turn the double play and Schumaker scored the first run of the game. With runners on first and third, Samardzija struck out Lance Berkman for the second out. Yadier Molina hit a 0-1 pitch toward third that Valbuena fielded and threw to Baker to end the inning.

Jeff Samardzija did a good job getting out of his jam and basically recording four outs with allowing just one run. Samardzija threw 22 pitches in the first, 10 for strikes.

David DeJesus singled to right (1-2 pitch) to start the Cubs’ first inning. Starlin Castro barreled up a 1-1 pitch and drove the ball to deep left center. The ball one-hopped the vines and DeJesus held at third on Castro’s double. Anthony Rizzo took a poor swing at Joe Kelly’s first pitch and popped out to Daniel Descalso in short left for the first out.

Alfonso Soriano pulled a 1-0 pitch into the left field corner. DeJesus and Castro scored easily and Soriano ended up at third with his first triple of the season. Soriano ran the bases well and took advantage of Matt Holliday’s defense. With Soriano at third and one down, Bryan LaHair grounded out to second (2-2 pitch). Soriano could not score and was stranded when Geovany Soto hit a weak grounder to short (first pitch) to end the inning.

After one, the Cubs led 2-1.

Matt Carpenter flied out to left center for the first out in the second. Daniel Descalso lined Samardzija’s first pitch just out of the reach of Castro into left for the Redbirds’ first hit. Joe Kelly tried to bunt him to second but bunted the ball too hard and right back toward the mound. Samardzija picked up the ball and threw a strike to Castro. Kelly hustled down the line and just beat Castro’s throw. Skip Schumaker worked a full count. Mike Matheny started his pitcher from first on the 3-2 offering to Schumaker and Kelly was able to make it to third on Schumaker’s line drive single to center. Jay grounded out to Rizzo (2-2 pitch) to end the inning. Samardzija needed 39 pitches to get through two innings, 21 for strikes.

The bottom of the Cubs’ lineup did nothing in the second.

Samardzija set down the top of the Cardinals’ lineup in the third. Samardzija struck out both Carlos Beltran and Lance Berkman swinging to end the inning … 48 pitches for Samardzija after three, 28 for strikes.

The top of the Cubs’ lineup did nothing in the third. Kelly threw 49 pitches in his first three frames, 33 for strikes.

Jeff Samardzija struck out Molina swinging (1-2 pitch) to start the fourth. Matt Carpenter worked a one-out walk and advanced to second on a 1-2 pitch in the dirt to Daniel Descalso. Descalso grounded out to second, Carpenter advanced to third and was stranded when Kelly tapped back to Samardzija (first pitch) for the third out. Samardzija’s pitch count stood at 68 (41 strikes) after four.

The middle of the Cubs’ lineup went down in order in the fourth.

Samardzija retired Schumaker (swinging strikeout), Jay (pop out to short) and Holliday (groundout to short) in order in the fifth … 82 pitches for Samardzija after five, 49 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the fifth … 14 in a row retired by Joe Kelly.

Samardzija started the sixth inning by striking out Carlos Beltran on a 96 mph fastball … and the inning went downhill from there. Berkman walked on five pitches. Mike Matheny called for a hit and run on a 1-0 offering to Molina. Molina broke his bat on a single to left, Berkman held at second with one out … just the third hit allowed by Samardzija. Carpenter walked on four pitches to load the bases with one down.

Daniel Descalso launched a 1-0 pitch to deep right. The wind knocked the ball down, LaHair caught it and Berkman tagged from third. Berkman scored the tying run while Molina advanced to third with two outs. Samardzija ended his day by striking out Joe Kelly swinging to end the sixth.

David DeJesus pulled a 1-0 pitch to the hole at second. Schumaker made a diving stop but could not field the ball. DeJesus reached on the Cubs’ first hit since the opening inning. Castro struck out swinging. Rizzo worked a long at bat (eight pitches) that ended with a fly out to center. Soriano popped out to shallow right center to end the sixth.

After six, the game was tied at two.

James Russell gave up a single to Skip Schumaker to start the seventh. Jon Jay popped up his bunt attempt to Russell but with Rizzo charging there was no one at first quickly enough to double off Schumaker … but Matt Holliday pulled the first pitch to Luis Valbuena, 5-4-3 inning ending double play.

Bryan LaHair worked the Cubs’ first walk of the game leading off the seventh. Mike Matheny left Joe Kelly into face Geovany Soto as Tony Campana took over at first for LaHair. Kelly paid a lot of attention to Campana and nearly picked him off. Campana took off for second on a 1-0 pitch to Soto … and slid in safe with his 26th stolen base of the season. Soto lined a 2-0 pitch into left. The ball was hit too hard and Pat Listach held Campana at third. Jeff Baker hit a soft liner to Schumaker on the first pitch.

Mike Matheny made his way to the mound and went to his pen for lefty Brian Fuentes. Luis Valbuena struck out swinging for the second out. Darwin Barney was in the on deck circle but was called back for Reed Johnson.

Reed Johnson surprised the Cardinals by bunting the first offering from Fuentes up the third baseline. Fuentes picked up the ball but had no play. Campana slid in safe with the go ahead run. David DeJesus walked on four pitches to load the bases with two outs.

Starlin Castro hit a slow roller toward short (1-2 pitch). Daniel Descalso fielded the ball and made a strong throw to first. Castro was called out by first base umpire Mike Winters. Replays showed Castro beat the throw. Dale Sveum argued his case and was ejected.

At the end of seven, the Cubs led 3-2.

Shawn Camp struck out Carlos Beltran and retired Lance Berkman on a pop out to center to begin the eighth. Yadier Molina worked a walk. Camp got Matt Carpenter to roll over the top of a 0-1 pitch (groundout to second) to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against lefty Barret Browning in the eighth … and the game went to the ninth with the Cubs clinging to a 3-2 lead.

Daniel Descalso singled to center off Carlos Marmol to start the ninth. Tyler Greene ran for Descalso. Allen Craig hit for Barret Browning and launched a 2-2 pitch into center that DeJesus hauled in for the first out. Marmol paid a lot of attention to Greene and even pitched out with Schumaker at the plate. Greene swiped second on a 1-1 pitch to Schumaker. Soto’s throw was low, got past Castro but Barney was backing up the play and kept Greene from advancing to third. Schumaker worked a full count before swinging over the top of a slider for the second out. Jon Jay stepped in with the tying run on second. Jay was 0-for-5 in his career against Marmol with five strikeouts … Jay chopped a 2-2 pitch back up the middle that Darwin Barney fielded and made a side-armed off balance throw to Rizzo for the 27th out.

It is always a good day when the Cubs beat the Cardinals.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Paul Maholm is scheduled to face Adam Wainwright on Sunday afternoon in the series finale.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time." – Lou Brock

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  • Ripsnorter1

    “Talking Baseball with Bruce Levine” this morning….said Mr. Garza will go on the DL (that’s the Disabled List for those of you who are big Team Theo supporters) as soon as the trading deadline passes.

    The reason he is not there now? Why, you can’t trade a pitcher on the DL!

    Bad news, Team Theo supporters. Doesn’t look like Mr. Garza is going to be traded. And his stats for 2012 has not been stellar….5-7 with a 3.91….hey wait! That’s right there with his career stats….3.84 career ERA….57-61 career record….I’m sorry. This is the real Garza. My bad.

    Then why did Garza call it a “crap season?”

    • Tony_Hall

      What does Garza going on the DL, have to do with “big Team Theo supporters”?

      We all have figured out that last year was the anomaly to his career, well most of us have anyway.

      • cubtex

        Please stop with this career year at age 28!

        • Tony_Hall

          You going to chastise Rip, he has said the same thing. Plus that is about the age, a lot of players have their career years.

          • cubtex

            Rip doesn’t tell people to stop posting their thoughts. Hmmm. Can you think of someone on here who does that? hahahaha

          • Tony_Hall

            You, when you told all of us not to enjoy a player when they are on a hot streak, because it is a small sample size.

          • cubtex

            Enjoy the hot streak…..but I am saying be careful when you label a player after a short sample size. LaHair….as smooth a power stroke as anyone in the game to left field. Travis Wood is a proven 3 or 4. Clevenger is a starting catcher and great hitter. Give them time and see how they adjust when the league does.

          • Tony_Hall

            Lahair still has a nice stroke to left center, Wood does look to be mid to back of the rotation pitcher, and I really don’t believe anyone labeled Clevenger a starting catcher, I have always called him a back-up.

            Why not let people just enjoy the good parts of a season, when winning and a playoff hunt is not a part of it. All we have is the development of young players.

          • cubtex

            I agree Tony. Enjoy it but I just don’t like the label part. I have seen a lot of that labeling 1st hand for years and it probably bothers me more than most. No hard feelings. I respect your passion for the Cubs!

          • Tony_Hall

            Have a good night!

          • Mike Simala

            The funny thing is you do exactly what you tell us not to. Its just you take on the negative side. Wood has 3 bad starts in a row, and its see we lost that Marshall deal so badly. Wood has given us 7 quality starts 2 other good ones and 4 bad ones on the year. Now to me those 4 starts that were bad are an awfully small sample size of “bad” to pigeon hole him as being maybe a 5th starter.

          • cubtex

            Mike…..I have said that I like Wood. Do I think the Cubs could have done better on the Marshall trade???? No doubt, but it is over with and I haven’t said much about it for months. Wood has to hit his spots because he doesn’t have great stuff. He has the stuff of a back end starter. I have heard by many on how Garza is a #3. If you compare Garza’s stuff to Wood…it isn’t close. Garza gives up less hits per IP and K’s almost a hitter per inning. That is not a shot at Wood but if you talk to any scout….they will say he is a back end guy.

          • Tony_Hall

            Garza is a #2/#3, Wood is a #4/#5, with a weaker rotation, he could fill in as a #3, no different than how Garza can be the #1.

          • cubtex

            I don’t think Garza is a #1 either

          • Tony_Hall

            It’s about time you admit that…

        • Tony_Hall

          Hmmm… telling people what to post…

    • Neil

      That is not what Levine reported during his show this morning, he said “likely” based on the team’s pitching needs. The Cubs would have to call someone up if they trade Ryan Dempster before his start on Tuesday. The only option the team has right now is Justin Germano, who is likely to start Monday. If Garza does go on the DL, he would be back dated and really only pushed back a couple of days from Friday.

      Also, pitchers can be traded on the DL … see Jake Peavy. And if I remember correctly, Levine pointed that out this morning as well.

      Garza’s injury has nothing to do with the front office.

      • RynoTiger

        wow Neil just called out Rip! Neil just picked up some cool points with the kids in the cafeteria

  • cubtex

    White Sox aquired Francisco Liriano. You got to hand it to Kenny……He goes for it. He is not afraid to make a deal anytime….anywhere….with anyone!

    • Neil

      White Sox were looking at Maholm

    • Mike Simala

      Yeah even if it helps out Detroit more then it does the Sox.

    • Tony_Hall

      From the outside….many, if not most White Sox fans complain about Kenny and how he has depleted their farm system, one that they have never been big on spending money to fill.

      • cubtex

        It is amazing how many mistakes he has made and depleted the farm system. He is fearless though. He trades Gio Gonzales, Daniel Hudson, Chris Young, and the list goes on. Who on earth would have picked up Alex Rios’ contract a couple of years ago? No one. Just goes to show you there are more ways to skin a cat.

    • cubtex

      It doesn’t look like the Sox gave up much for him. A #10 prospect and a #30

  • cubtex

    With all this trade activity….Can someone explain to me why it seems this Dempster deal has to be done first before any other trades the Cubs make? I mean….how does that hold up a Jeff Baker deal? Or a Reed Johnson deal? I mean it seems like the Cubs are losing suitors since teams are aquiring other pieces.

    • Tony_Hall

      Not sure it has to be, but if Reed, or Baker, or Soto, etc need to be added into a deal for Dempster or Garza to get the prospects back in return, it sure would seem like bad planning to have traded them the day before.

      I expect they have deals in place for some of these guys, and there will be lots of little deals in all of MLB between now and Tuesday’s deadline.

  • Aaron

    After reading all the Twitter messages about the White Sox getting Liriano, because Williams is a genius, blah blah blah….I just had to comment.

    While I think Williams has balls, which Hendry NEVER had….he’s also made some pretty dumb moves as well. He deserves to be commended for the Myers, Youkilis, and Liriano trades, because he got exactly what his team needed, which was pen depth, a decent 3B, and a starting pitcher.

    However, to say that he’s a genius for getting all of them for minor leaguers versus actual prospects is a bit short sighted…at least in my opinion.

    The Red Sox could barely give Youkilis away, and with Myers, he was an average reliever this year, and with Liriano, he was average, until coming on of late, plus he’s a FA after this season….

    One thing is for sure…if the Twins were able to get more from another team for Liriano, rest assured, he would NOT be with the White Sox right now. Either one of two things happened….that really was the best deal out there, or they over-played their hand, and another team moved on (much like what happened with the Cubs)

    So how does all of this relate to the Cubs? A lot of fans might be wondering why the Cubs just don’t trade him to the Dodgers for whatever they are offering to be done with him. The problem is, the Cubs are desperately trying to improve the team for the future, and you don’t just give away an asset like Dempster because a dumb-a$$ GM like Coletti who was all buddy-buddy with Hendry before says, “pretty please, can you give him to me?!?” Epstein and Hoyer are doing it right in this situation, and they got screwed by Dempster…and the Braves for leaking the trade before they could tell him personally. We’ll have to see if they’re able to unload assets like Johnson, Baker, Soto, Marmol, Camp, etc. for useful pieces, but they’d be doing the organization a disservice by just giving guys away right now, because it will diminish their returns in subsequent years if/when they have to sell pieces.

    One thing is for sure…Theo and company prefers pitchers that throw strikes, and hitters that have high OBP and take pitches. One of the things you look at with this team is guys that don’t fit that description:
    T. Wood

    It’s pretty sad when the only regulars on the team with an OBP above .350 are LaHair, Rizzo, and DeJesus…and the only other one on the bench is Johnson, who is in rare territory for him with his .354 OBP.

    When Epstein and Hoyer said that this would take awhile, and they needed to completely rebuild the system, they weren’t kidding. I’ve seen a ton of comments on here about Castro being too selective now, and they ruined him, blah blah blah…Yes, it’s true, they might’ve messed with a good thing, but the fact remains….about the only players on this team that you could realistically see Team Theo building around would be Castro, RIzzo, Samardzija, and Garza (if they can extend him for reasonable $$). If you have an ideal player you want on your team that takes pitches, etc., then you might as well try to mold him into what you want, or cut ties and get a huge return.

    I’m a HUGE believer in Moneyball and Bill James. If you follow that general plan, you should be alright. Sometimes you miss (cough…..Stewart….cough), but most of the time, if you can get those guys that subscribe to the theory of taking pitches=knocking out the starter earlier=getting into the pen=better overall results, then you’re way ahead of the game.

    I just hope Team Theo is able to land some pitching talent in trades, and they are able to teach their position talent in the minors how to increase their OBP, as that is the ONLY way the Cubs will turn this around quickly.

    And while I say that I hope Team Theo doesn’t just give Dempster away… just never know, as they could deem it too much of a distraction to keep him, and if that’s the case, I hope they get a final commitment from Dempster, and call up the Jays, Nationals, or Braves, and basically give him away to them rather than the Dodgers……I just don’t like Coletti, as he’s one of the “good ‘ole boys” network type of guys, and the Dodgers have crap prospects to begin with. You teach them a lesson….I know it’s a bit juvenile, but you have to show teams like that they can’t lowball you like that.

    • Zonk

      I often do not agree with you Aaron, but I agree with this post. We unfortunately have to be patient, because if you look at our minor league talent level, particularly in pitching, we are years away from contending.
      We have some good position players now in the system, but our pitching situation is very bleak; the Braves probably have 4 or 5 pitchers in their system that would rank #1 pitcher in our system. That bad.
      Unfortunately, guys like Baker and Johnson will net very little in trade; at most, a high-risk A ball kind of guy. The return on Liriano was underwhelming, and even Grienke didn’t send back a haul; while the Brewers got some projectible players, none project to be an all-star.

  • SuzyS

    Talk about Nostalgia!!! I really enjoyed the banter on this particular thread this am.
    GaryLeeT…Great first game memory!!! The summer of ’69 the Tribune ran a full page center spread on the Cub’s “Million Dollar Infield”..(Santo/Beckert/Kessinger/Banks)…God, what a fun summer that was through July. (No shadows of August/Sept.
    were showing yet.

    Tony/Cubtex, Dorasaga et al….thanks for the fun banter.

    I don’t know if the Cubs will win in my lifetime or not….but they certainly have given me a ton of great memories.
    Go Cubs!!!

  • paulcatanese

    As long as memories are being tossed out here I have to add a few.
    Mine go back to Wrigley, when it was clean,pristine, and the grass smelled fresh at 10:30AM when we were allowed in the park to watch batting practice and infield.
    With no one in the park, the crack of the bats could clearly be heard.
    Out on the field, Pafko,Hack, Merrilo,Lowry, Sheffing and Caveretta were getting loose, Hank Borowy was pitching for the Cubs (believe the Cubs traded for him) they were playing the Dodgers. Bill(swish) Nickolson was also there.
    This is from memory and maybe one or two were not there, but have seen all of them play.
    The Dodgers led off this particular game with Gene Hermanski and he got a base hit, but then was thrown out stealing. From that point on no more hits or baserunners.
    Followed Caveretta from when he came from Lane Tech to the Cubs and his playing days to when he became a manager, and just a little thing, I believe he was credited with designing inserts in the cap for Ernie Banks(later became helmuts for all)
    Saw Jackie Robinson play on his first western swing, Robin Roberts his rookie year. Richie Ashburn and his steal theory,
    Those were the memories I have of Wrigley.Over on the South side, night games were happening, and I saw Dimmagio, Rizzuto and the rest of the Yankees. Saw Ted Williams play.
    Luke Appling.
    Many years were to follow and a lot of players to see but this is what I remember of the years that came to form my becoming a Cub fan, never will forget them.

    • SuzyS

      Paul, Wonderful memories…Thanks for sharing….I have a kabillion great memories of times at the ballparks. No matter what our team is doing…baseball is the greatest game…and even moneyball can’t ruin it…or the time spent with family and friends sharing it.

      • paulcatanese

        Thanks Suzy, sometimes age has it’s benefits.

    • Neil

      Thanks Paul, awesome.

      • paulcatanese

        Thank you Neil.

    • triple

      Very cool… thanks for sharing. My father used to tell me about how he’d ditch school and show up early to help the press/photographers carry their gear into Wrigley so they could get in for free.

  • paulcatanese

    Back on track, and good win, but still a tester for the fans when Marmol comes in. But the job got done.

  • triple

    Great recap! I didn’t get to watch, but I have one observation:

    If Samardzija can have an off game and the control problems he had today against a good offensive team and still give his team a great chance to win, as long as he can limit these kind of outings, I think there really is hope that he can develop into solid #2 pitcher.

  • Dnuge44

    Marmol does provide tons of drama !

  • GaryLeeT

    Ahhhh, so keeping the Card’s scoring within the mercy rule, is the key to beating them.

  • cubtex

    It is time to end the Bryan LaHair feel good story and bring up another outfielder after the trade deadline(if another one is not aquired)
    Check out these brutal numbers for LaHair over the last 28 days or month of July.
    60 PA 03B 02B 1HR and a whopping 3 RBI to go along with 23 K’s.
    Can you imagine that? Only 1 extra base hit for #5 hitter and 3 RBI for the entire month?
    If he is not dealt(and they missed the window on him and he isn’t even worth a bag of balls anymore) Theo should have listened to me :)… they need to bring up either BJax/Sappelt or whoever might be a part of the future and let him play the last month and a half or so.

  • cubtex

    and as if BJAx just read this…..he goes yard off of Jacob Turner pitching his first game after being dealt by the Tigers.

  • RickinMSP

    I’m with you on LaHair. They took a shot, but it just doesn’t seem meant to be. Maybe he’ll have a nice four or five year run in Japan. That said, I still like the way he grinds out at-bats, I just wish he could follow it up with a hit once in a while.

  • Dorasaga

    It’s just one month. He needs to be in the lineup more, not always platooned. Sample size, sample size, sample size… And they need to get rid of Baker. He had a few good at-bats lately, but even Stewart was more of an asset, at least defensively. The reason why the Cubs sucked against lefties this year is simply because of lesser players like Baker platooned.

  • paulcatanese

    He is on a pace to surpass Pena, without the homeruns.

  • Tony_Hall

    Using awful small sample sizes here…someone on here chastised others for doing this…

    Please stop with the should have been traded at the end of April or early May…it just doesn’t work that way.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Since May 15…before today’s collar….LaHair is hitting .214/.273/.327/.600 OPS.

    And I should add, “and dropping.”

    I personally am relieved that there is no such thing as a AAAA player. Team Theo has said so. And this is the proof.

    And let’s consider….LaHair has been batting almost exclusively vs. RHP. His stats vs. LHP are as follows: 50 PA….3 hits…..068 BA. That’s “Oh-Sixty-Eight” for a BA.
    With 25 strikeouts! YEAH!

    And the verdict is……

    JUNKO. FUNKO was better.

  • Zonk

    It’s a legit question on what to do with LaHair and Jackson. My quick response is let LaHair play the course, for a few reasons.
    1. Remember how Soriano looked washed-up 45 games into the season? Further proof you can’t make judgements on small sample sizes.
    2. That being said, LaHair has a problem; after showing good plate discipline in April/May, with good BB/K ratio, that has collapsed. He is striking out more, walking less, and getting fewer “good” pitches obviously. IMO, the league has made pitching adjustments, and not throwing him what he wants. He needs to adjust.
    We need to give LaHair time to adjust; he demolished AAA for 2 years, so can sustain some long-term success. I don’t think he’ll ever be an all-star, but we want to get him back to “useful”.
    3. B-Jax is showing improvement, but is not quite ready. He strikes out too much. He’s hitting more home-runs, but is becoming a master of the Three True Outcomes; Adam Dunn, with less power and better defense. Is that what we want?

  • cubtex

    I hope people are realizing how much Starlin Castro has improved this year as a shortstop defensively. True….he has struggled more than ever this year with the bat but he hasn’t taken it on the field with him.
    Compare these numbers with the great Hak Ju Lee.
    474 Chances 13 Errors .973 Fileding %
    Hak Ju Lee
    451 Chances 21 Errors .953 Fielding %

  • cubtex

    There have been some rumblings that the Braves could be back in on the Ryan Dempster market…..but according to Kevin Goldstein…..we can forget about Delgado being included. That train has left the station. Dempster blew it for us. The Braves realized that that was too much to give for Dempster and now they will offer a lesser package.

  • Brp921

    Even though I would like to trade Dempster, I would tell these teams that want to low ball us to go chase the pennant without him. Even if he walks and we get nothing in return, at least the league would know they can’t walk on the Cubs. Besides when it gets to Tuesday, I think someone will cave and pay our price. There are a lot of teams still in the race and not to many good pitchers available.

  • RickinMSP

    One of the highlights of the year for me has been the Cubs middle infield defense. It’s the best I’ve seen at Wrigley in many years. Maybe since Kessinger/Beckert, of course I may be remebering my youth a bit more fondly than I should.

  • Tony_Hall


    Comparing a player in AA, to a major league player?

    Lee has been improving all year, and is 21 years old. Not all players develop as fast as Castro.

  • Tony_Hall

    I think Castro is developing into a great SS. But let’s compare him to the best of the best.

    chances – errors – pct
    Mike Aviles – 456 – 10 – 978
    Yunel Escobar – 455 – 9 – 980
    JJ Hardy – 493- 5 – 990
    Brendan Ryan – 377 – 3 -992

    Castro has the chance to be the best all around SS in the game, as long as he keeps improving his defense and patience at the plate.

  • Dorasaga

    While I’m checking the summary stats for the miserable lineup of the Cubs against lefties, I’m also shocked to see the Cubs falling further behind in general, even after Rizzo inserted every game.

    With the smarter Ops being park-adjusted and adjusted according to the league, a Wrc+ of 100 is “average in Major League.”

    The Cubs is 78 before today’s game.

    They are also 64 wrc+ against lefties. Both dead-last in baseball.

    To put this into perspective, the Mariners have a 77 against LHP, with their left-hand batter Ackley brutally slumping the year. The Astros are 65, a hair better than the Cubs. The Cardinals is 122, best against lefties. The Twins come second at 115. Wrc+ is park-adjusted; both teams have a “neutral” ballpark not favoring either batting or pitching. Dbacks, in their batter-friendly ballpark taking a little away from their ops, 112.

  • cubtex

    Its not one month Dorasaga. May he hit .253 with 5 HR. June he hit. .231 with 3HR……..and July. .222 with 1 HR. Do you see the pattern? He is not hitting with any power whatsoever. He is not an outfielder. Move on. Bring up someone who might be apart of this team. LaHair is terrible.

  • Dorasaga

    I’ll expand this discussion on Lahair. He needs to be played more. For the past 30 days, the Cubs continued their struggle with a miserable wrc+ of 74.

    Meanwhile, Baker, a good platoon player against lefties, has been batting a 235 for the month. Lahair, platooned and warming bench with lefties on the mound, is 63, better than Castro and Barney the past 30 days.

    What I think people miss is that Lahair, despite his late struggle to fit his new role (not a starting first baseman anymore), has been walking a 9%. A league average walk of players for the season is 8%.

    Lahair walks 11% the year, striking out 32.4%. He walked 10.7%, struck-out 19.7% two years ago with Iowa Cubs, then 11.5% and K-ed 21.2% in his second year at Iowa. This year is not a trend of anomaly for him, but closer to his skill set.

    Baker walks 3.2%. Even with his good season now, his career wrc+ is 94, with a walk rate of 6.9%. His late success has something to do with hacking and luck.

    Lahair has been seeing pitches better. I’m curious why he needs to be platooned. I’m also concerned that despite his overall more full of a skill-set at the plate to all Cubs position players, he’s not being considered an everyday player.

  • Tony_Hall

    You have to bring up Ackley…and you were surprised when I dropped him.

    We have a good one going this week…I really need the win!

  • cubtex

    Castro born March 1990. Lee born November 1990. They are the same age.

  • Tony_Hall

    What part of players don’t develop as fast as Castro, don’t you understand?

    Some players don’t make the majors until mid to even late 20’s.

    And in baseball age, this is Castro’s 22 year old season, and this is Lee’s 21 year old season. Lee has always been a couple of years behind Castro.

  • GaryLeeT

    My first game at Wrigley had Santo, Kessinger, Beckert, and Banks, covering the infield, while Hundley, and Jenkins made up the battery. Sure they lost to a Gibson pitched Card team 2-1, but as a kid, I never knew how lucky I was to see that many HOFers in one game. You are not mistaken, the Cub’s infield was that good.

  • cubtex

    A little snippy this evening? Have a cocktail and watch the olympics

  • Tony_Hall

    Have you read the post you have been making? Take your own advice.

  • cubtex

    I am comparing 2 players born in the same year who were both in our system. I know you have a man crush on Lee….but get over yourself! There was nothing snippy about my post.

  • cubtex

    Snippy Snippy Snippy. Have a great weekend Tony! I had another great week! Life is great! If you don’t think everyday is a great day……just try missing one!

  • Tony_Hall

    Do you want me to go through and make snippy, snippy, snippy comments after your post…

    I had a great week as well, thanks for asking.

  • cubtex

    Micah Hoffpauir. Jake Fox. Casey Coleman. Kevin Orie. Gary Scott to name only a few AAAA players.

  • Tony_Hall

    Actually there was something snippy about your post, you did it just to dig at me.

    I think Lee will be an above average SS in MLB, and wish we wouldn’t have traded him.

  • cubtex

    What a great memory to have for your first Cubs game!

  • RickinMSP

    I got to see Santo play the first time I went to a major league game, too. Unfortunately, he was playing for the White Sox at the time. By the time I got to see Randy Hundley play, he was a Padre. My timing was always a bit off.

  • RynoTiger

    and the undercard for this evening features Tony_Hall vs. Cubtex…fight fight fight fight fight fight fight…..

  • cubtex

    no fight Ryno. Just having a friendly disagreement with another passionate Cub fan.

  • Tony_Hall

    Ryno – this doesn’t even make our Top 10…

    Cubtex and I have quite a history…it allows us to go at it with a “discussion”.

    We are like brothers who go at it, and then go outside and play catch.

  • Dorasaga

    I’m with you on call-ups. Hoyer and Epstein (can’t distinguish the two now, might as well call them Thoyer) talked about the need to streamline pitchers moving through the system and make it to the Cubs. But they have not done the same for most infielders in the system, which I thought is the Cubs strength.

    More on Lahair, as I explained below, it’s the kind of talent that I want to see (who can see more pitches, and better to result to walks or wear down pitchers). I don’t see the merit of playing Baker simply because the platoon works just recently, a month.

  • Dorasaga

    I was looking for the platoon effect in the above comments, which I showed it’s not that great so far for the Cubs.

    Ackley’s production didn’t pan out this year, esp. against LHP. Mind you, M’s batted him clean-up for more than a month, then 2nd. Not 7th or 8th, but the two most vital offensive plugs in the lineup. He took away too many runs by failing there. You surprised me for he’s an asset for the future; I thought you were looking for a keeper.

  • Tony_Hall

    I was, but when you struggle and you look at your roster and can honestly say he won’t be one of your keepers, you have to move on.

    Trout, Votto, Posey are locks with Hanley, Bonifacio for batters. Then I have Verlander as a lock, plus most likely at least 1 or 2 more pitchers, just because of how hard it is to find top notch pitching. Just no room to keep Ackley. Plus he is still out there as a FA, so I have to assume that means I made a good choice.

    I have a lead going into today, but you have 2 starts…

  • paulcatanese

    Not dis-agreeing Zonk, but think back a little to spring training with Soriono. Their was a pretty good hint that he may be on the verge of a decent year, as he had a good spring and was hitting the ball well.It just took a little time to get it going again.
    You are correct with LaHair, he looks totally lost at the plate, IMO he almost looks Pena type up there
    and seems to be so selective that he’s taking strike three before he knows it. He does need to adjust, but with the amount of time he has been playing already, that may be beyond his scope.
    Also think the move to the outfield ( where he is playing with extreme caution ) has hurt him , as he may be bringing his defense to the plate with him.
    The additional pressure of trying to be a success out there has to be telling, as thats the last stop for him, he dosent do well there and his Major League career may be over.
    B-Jax is an unknown for me, dont know that much about him. Strikeouts may be his downfall at the Major League level, but his advantage over LaHair would be his speed and defense that could carry him for a longer period of time than LaHair, with the only asset he has is his bat, much tougher for him.
    LaHair’s future is a DH, period, where all he needs to worry about is swinging the bat.