Saturday Game Preview: Pirates (15-20) at Cubs (15-21)

Cubs try to even up their series with the Bucs after losing the first four matchups of the season series. It's the first time the Cubs have dropped their first four games against Pittsburgh since...well, I refuse to look it up because it would depress the crap out of me.

The lefty Paul Maholm (2-3, 4.91) starts this afternoon against Ryan Dempster (2-3, 3.44). This was the pitching matchup back on 5/4 at PNC when the Cubs clung to a 2-1 lead with two out in home 6th. Dempster then told Lou Piniella that he had enough left in the tank to retire Ryan Church with the tying run aboard, at which point Church crushed a pitch into the rightfield bleachers, and all of everybody's premonitions about how Lou should have yanked Dempster in favor of Sean Marshall were proven right.

Cubbie memories—there's nothin' like 'em.

Saturday's starting lineups:

Pirates:
Iwamura 4, LaRoche 5, McCutchen 8, Jones 9, Church 7, Doumit 2, Clement 3, Cedeño 6, Maholm 1

Cubs:
Theriot 4, Byrd 8, Lee 3, Ramirez 5, Soto 2, Soriano 7, Nady 9, Castro 6, Dempster 1

With all of the attention on the struggles of Lee and Ramirez, I don't think Xavier Nady has gotten due notice for how much of a non-factor he has been. For the record, he has started in 11 games and in those games, he's hitting .222/.310/.361. In the 13 games he has come in off the bench, he's 0-for-10 with a couple walks.

It was understood he was coming into the season at less than 100% physically and it's not like he has been in the lineup on any sort of regular basis, but still, on a team that is playing so poorly, every contribution is important and so far, 'X' hasn't contributed anything.

Comments

the horror

There goes the starting pitching...

remarkable amount of 2-out, nobody on hits so far today through 5

our #4 hitter got his OPS above .500 today. awesome.

Get those fair weather fans outta there. Where's the roar? Small ball parks are supposed to rock. What do we have to put up a dome to amplify the noise? Comeon, Cubs fans!

a 140m team with a 15-21 record who's lost 8,272 games in a row to PIT...they'd have to knock a couple dollars off a can of old style to wake this place up.

nice bounceback Dempster, get some no-Doze for the offense

Never mind. I just saw the pregnant woman with the Cubs logo on her baby-to-be. Yuck.

41,000 rather silent fans in attendance today...damn.

140m worth of 15-21.

awesome.

Cubbie memories—there's nothin' like 'em.
---
100 years from now, very few will remember how much this game sucked

(maybe some kid whose mom took him to the game in utero)

We used to be 15-21. Now it's worse.

Any guesses on who will be the leadoff man tomorrow? Lou is going to teach Theriot a good lesson, I bet, for striking out in the ninth.

be nice if we had someone off the bench in that spot that could put a ball in the OF for at least a chance at a sac fly.

tyler colvin isn't much a 2-out pinch runner on 1st type, imo...

I just don't care.

post of the year candidate

My baseball life at the moment:

1) Check my fantasy lineup.
2) Check to see when the Cubs are playing.
3) Do some work.
4) Check my fantasy lines.
5) See how much the Cubs are losing by.
6) Do some work/take a nap.
7) Check to see how much the Cubs lost by and if anyone got a hit.
8) Go to sleep and repeat.

tick,tick,tick...

but hey, how 'bout those i-cubs, eh? 5 in a row to reach .500! another 4 hit game for tracy and...never mind...

Pretty poignant post-game report from the Daily Herald's writer:

"What are you going to do?"

http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=381063&s...

"What are we going to do, I mean what are we going to do?" Piniella said to wrap up a 1 minute, 25 second postgame meeting with the media...
...
So why don't we go to some of our other contestants, starting with you, Ryan Dempster.

What are you going to do?"

i hope deflecting the media to the locker room with these short/no-soundbite interviews is part of some plan to embarrass/hassle/motivate/whatever the players. these post-games are getting shorter by the week.

Are we going to quit playing a DH in right field where he arm costs us a run a game and his bat doesn't make up for it? No, I guess not.

He sounds readier and readier to resign.

Some big questions coming into the season:

Soto, Soriano, Byrd, Fukudome, Silva.

All have been much better than expected, and the phenom is hitting over .350 -- and, despite having a $120+ million payroll and no significant injuries, and playing a very weak stretch of teams, the season is on the verge of slipping away.

Pure Cubbery.

Not Fukudome.

Another great April. Then his hitting coach flies back to Japan and Kosuke's batting average goes with him.

Will Hendry have the balls to admit this team sucks and be ready to
sell off parts of it maybe his job depends on it.
If he doesnt do anything and they still suck he should be canned.
If he becomes a seller and clears payroll well Ricketts might like that.
With colorado and philly next week i dont see any improvement happening.

i-cubs win 6th straight...tracy BA over .600 [17/28]...wellington castillo w/ 3 run HR, 3 caught stealings & 1 pickoff @ 2nd base...

CarrieMuskat: #Cubs lineup for Sun rf fuke, ss castro, 1b lee, 3b ramy, cf byrd, lf sori, 2b font, c soto, p lilly

Saw this on mlbtr, of course it's mentioned without a real source:

According to multiple scouts, the Cubs would move Derrek Lee if they could. Lee is earning $13MM in the final year of his contract, and also has a no-trade clause.

According to multiple scouts, scouts don't talk with the GM of other teams.

It's possible that the other GM's have told their scouts to take a look at Lee, but it's more likely multiple scouts are fictional or talking out their ass to sound important.

one of the many reasons I can't stand MLBTR.

just a fancy re-hash gossip rag.

It does a nice job when it just summarizes articles by the local beat writers, but when they act like they actually have "contacts", well it's pretty transparent.

it's from a Nick Cafardo article in the Boston Globe

It's from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/article...

page 5.

However, in this case they were plagiarizing.

Someone should tell their employers.

Wonder if the same scouts told him that Lee had a no trade clause... I guess he does if you mean "clause in the CBA". What a tool.

You can be assured that EVERYTHING posted at MLBTR was sucked off the internet. The source of this rumor is NICK CAFARDO who writes for the Globe (Boston.com).

Here's the complete quote:

9. Derrek Lee, first baseman, Cubs: If the Cubs could move him, they would, according to multiple scouts. The 34-year-old first baseman is in the final year of a five-year, $65 million contract, earning $13 million this season. The Cubs are looking to shake things up, but a taker for Lee will be hard to find if teams feel his bat is slowing. Lee also has a no-trade clause.

In the same article, Cafardo has a story that demonstrates once more that when you take the checkbook away from Jim Hendry you might as well have kept MacFail. I mean just add a few "fucks" and "fucking"s to this and it could have been Doughnuts talking:

8. Andy MacPhail, president, Orioles — He used the new media to offer a three-minute “State of the Orioles’’ address to fans via MLB.com Wednesday. “We have all had to endure a terrifically horrendous start,’’ said MacPhail. “The first 18 games were terribly problematic for us and a miserable way to start the season.’’ MacPhail said the early issues were the explosion of the back end of the bullpen and an inability to hit in clutch situations. He asked the fans to stick with the team. “We appreciate your support,’’ he said. “Keep the faith. We’re going to get this thing straightened out.’’

page 5 of a five page article.

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/article...

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  • delayed until 7:20 (tarp off the field)...

    CLE/TOR in the top 18th in case you're bored. 2nd baseman r.goins pitching for TOR...hit 90mph so far. 1ip 2h 1bb 0k, 0 r/er (bb was ibb). he threw a fastball/change mix. crowd loved it. d.ross is not impressed.

    crunch 4 min 49 sec ago view
  • BRADSBEARD: Javier Assad was still pitching into the 6th inning, and the first batter he faced reached base on an E-4 (that was Assad's 70th and final pitch of the game). Then Leathersich relieved Assad and retired the second batter 4-3 on the first pitch of the AB (the runner at 1st base advanced to 2nd on the play), and then on an 0-1 pitch the third batter in the inning (second one faced by Leathersich) lined into an inning-ending 6-4 DP (baserunner doubled off 2nd base).

    Arizona Phil 20 min 50 sec ago view
  • Wow. The site actually loaded without an error! Happy 4th all, and Go Cubs!

    The E-Man 53 min 30 sec ago view
  • OK -- my 4th of July resolution is to try to stay more positive. So -- 10 games to the AS break, meaning the Cubs will be in first place at the break! First time since...2008? Also, hopefully, Willson, KB and Javy learned something about Familia yesterday that they can use in the future.

    billybucks 1 hour 28 min ago view
  • Hmmm, my math might be fuzzy but if he retired 3 batters with 3 pitches, how did he get a 1/1 GO/AO ratio?

    bradsbeard 2 hours 53 min ago view
  • Pls DFA Peralta when Richard comes back. Richard 1 IP, O R, O ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks in first rehab appearance. We really need to trade for a LHRP.

    chitownmvp01 3 hours 10 min ago view
  • "The Boston Red Sox were banned from signing any international players for the next year and had five of their teenage prospects declared free agents on Friday after a Major League Baseball investigation showed they circumvented signing-bonus rules last year, a source familiar with the situation told Yahoo Sports."

    https://www.yahoo.com/sports/news/source-red-sox-b...

    Rob Richardson 6 hours 50 min ago view
  • The thing with Heyward is its not just free agency. He is way under performing his career #s. He's making the same % of contact but his soft contact is much higher and hard contact much lower than all his previous years so there is something very specifically going on this year causing the issues. Chances are he will eventually get back to his previous #s and it's better to get the slump now and get that hot run later but I wish I knew what is different about this year. He's either just not seeing the ball as well or a swing change is causing it.

    johann 7 hours 5 min ago view
  • Only 3 pitches for Leathersich. Not much of a rehab outing.

    Thanks for the reporting Phil.

    QuietMan 7 hours 17 min ago view
  • He's the nastiest pitcher I've seen in awhile. I'm gonna give them all a mulligan on this one.

    Coghlan's strike out was more disappointing. He was fighting off a lot of pitches and not swinging at crap, and on the last pitch, he swung at stuff he was laying off, and struck out.

    And Heyward, too. I don't blame Heyward - I blame free agency. I hate it. You almost never get a valid return on the investment.

    I look forward to the day when ball players own the teams. The current economics are not sustainable.

    Old and Blue 8 hours 18 min ago view
  • Oh, I'm sure you're right. He's not 27-27 in saves for nothing. But, man, I hope they learned last night that he didn't throw a single pitch in the zone to KB, Contreras or Baez, and they all just kept swinging.

    billybucks 10 hours 26 min ago view
  • Sounds like a much better game than last night's fiasco in Flushing.

    Old and Blue 10 hours 43 min ago view
  • I'm pretty sure it looks like a sweet pitch on the way in. How many sinkers like that are there at 98 mph? I agree that they should just do a Lackey and stand their with their bat on their shoulders until he throws a strike next time, but I can see how that's hard to do.

    The bullpen, on the other hand, is a mess, and Heyward is starting to piss me off.

    Old and Blue 10 hours 44 min ago view
  • I noticed that too. He's getting to everything, but when he gets right under it on a high flyball he looks uncomfortable

    cubbies.4ever 19 hours 18 min ago view
  • Did you expect anything different?

    billybucks 19 hours 48 min ago view
  • Wow, did they blow this game. Stupid plays by the kids in the 7th -- Almora throwing to 3rd instead of 2nd to keep the DP in order (when a DP probably wins the game) and Baez throwing to 3rd (to a backpedalling KB) instead of getting the easy 2nd out at first - cost them the game. Also, Contreras almost throws the ball into RF on a nonexistent pick-off play. And Maddon, for using Peralta in the first place. Did they do a bunch of shots in the dugout before the 7th? Unbelievably bad baseball. I thought Almora had a high baseball IQ?

    billybucks 20 hours 10 min ago view