It's a Threepeat—Cards Beat Punchless Cubs to Complete the Sweep

Let the autopsy report on this ghastly series read: three games, two runs, 14 hits, three losses.

Lou Piniella made a lineup change on Thursday night, sliding Mike Fontenot from third base to the more familiar ground at second and starting the seldom-used Ryan Freel at third. The moves paid dividends...to the Cardinals:

In the third inning, Freel gloved a hard-hit grounder by Tyler Greene, then launched a throw about five feet over Derrek Lee's head, leading to an unearned run.

Fontenot, meanwhile, went hitless in three at-bats and is now in a 2-for-39 sinkhole, one which Lou Piniella characterized this way:

"Fontenot, God almighty. I don't know what to do there. I think I need a Corona. It's been a while. I think
maybe we'll just sit him for a while and see." 

Sean Marshall was charged with two earned runs in five innings, both of those coming on solo homers, by Albert Pujols and Brian Barden.

Kosuke Fukudome accounted for the only Cubs run of the night with an
RBI single, plating Bobby Scales in the sixth. 

In closing, we turn tonight to Paul Sullivan in the Tribune:

The Cubs will get one of their best bats back in the lineup Friday night in San Diego, when Carlos Zambrano returns from the disabled list to face Jake Peavy.

Comments

Lou's trick up the ol' sleeve?

from the sun-times:

Manager Lou Piniella said before Thursday's game that he has one more move up his sleeve to try to wake up his slumbering, slumping lineup. But he called it ''a measure of last resort.''

Four hours and five hits later, Piniella may have reached that last resort, which would be moving left fielder Alfonso Soriano to second base and putting .314-hitting Micah Hoffpauir in left.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/15865...

wut...

HA HA

It's April Fools, right?

He would move Alf to 2B but not out of the leadoff spot? This reeks of desperation.

How about just sticking Hoffauir out in right? Things aren't getting better with Milton (just his name sounds crazy to me...think Office Space). The guy just isn't getting any better as he's batted a buck thirty-three over the last week.

The Fontenot/Miles 2nd base connection is nothing short of a disaster. Is it that ridiculous to just say screw and shove Soriano in there?

"Is it that ridiculous to just say screw and shove Soriano in there?"

yes. it's a footwork and timing position where footwork and timing makes outs. i'd feel more comfortable with him at 3rd, honestly...and it's not like i'd be thrilled with that. he at least has the arm for it.

who'll score more tonight, the cubs or the blackhawks?

and i hope z gets pencilled in the 5th spot, behind lee and ahead of hoffy and soto and bradley.

with a soriano to 2nd scenario, will we see more throws like the one freel launched?

happy holiday weekend.

Hilarious, yet sad over/under.

I say fuck defense for a week or two, put Hoff in left, Soriano at second, and call up Fox to play third. It would be abysmal at times, but it would be fun to watch a lineup of Soriano, Theriot, Fukudome, Lee, Bradley, Hoffpauir, Fox, and Soto hit on a daily basis

A defense like that would also give new meaning to the word, "laugher".

It could, if the Cubs lost due to defense and those guys didn't hit. But they are losing now, and there is also a chance that they could out-hit their poor defense and the Cubs would win - in which case laugher would not be a good description.

Our friends at Brewerfan.net (are they really our friends?) have posted an interview with former Cub (and Brewer favorite) Brooks Kieschnik. While Brooks definitely plays to his audience of Brewers fans, I found his description of how the Cubs handled their prospects interesting.

The interview is at:

http://www.brewerfan.net/ViewArticle.do?articleId=292

good read.

"I just never got 500 ABs to prove myself, and they labeled me as a guy who couldn't field, and couldn't hit lefties."

Career 248/315/444 in 306 ABs
Vs LHP 190/227/333 in 21 ABs

While it is true that he never got his 500 ABs at the major league level, it is certainly not true that he wasn't given a change to prove himself. In over 3500 PAs in the minors at all levels is hitting line is only 273/338/491. In his defense, Brant Brown hit worst in the minors (281/332/432) and was given a longer look before he too showed that he couldn't really hit major league pitching.

Good point, but how about the # of at bats he got with the Cubs, as their LF of the future, their #1 draft pick?
1996- 29 at bats
1997- 90 at bats.

Gone in the expansion draft after that. That's it?
1994 AA: .282/.332/.438, 25 2B, 14 HR, 55 RBI
1995 AAA: .295/.370/.495, 30 2B, 23 HR, 73 RBI

I hate to say it, but that is really the Cub way.
Fuck..who the hell had a shot then? Good thing the Cubs had the rotting corpse of Brian McRae .240/.329/.372 to pick up the slack, istead of shifting Doug Glanville to CF and putting Kieschnick in LF

with Ryne Sandberg. He would be a hall of fame 2b with another team.

I am a big believer in giving top prospects a chance to prove themselves and failing while doing so. With a mix of veterans and kids, the struggles shouldn't hurt the team too much, but will help the player develop. I hope we take a more relaxed approach if/when the hitters from AA Tennessee (Thomas, Barney, Clevenger and/or Smith) get here in the next few years. Clevenger should be a good utility guy/back up catcher (if not a starter at some position), Thomas could be starting at 2b, Barney...SS challenge for Theriot. Marquez Smith is a very good 3b who likely (from Baseball America reports on winter ball) could play 2b and he is hitting a ton.

Unfortunately there is not room for all of them and we may see a circus of call-ups/demotions if these players do not produce right away.

The Cubs problem with Brooks Kieschnick is not that they didn't give him a chance, it is that they drafted Brooks Kieschnick and he turned out not to be very good.

Sure they could have played Glanville in center and Kieschnick in left, but that would not have turned them into winners. At least they would have saved the money they waisted on McRae. Man the 90's sucked.

Maybe, but he got 120 at-bats over 2 seasons to show that with the Cubs? A #1 pick who hit .295 with 23 HR's in AAA gets 90 at-bats the next season to prove himself?

Pathetic...typical..

I think we are in agreement that the Cubs should have started him and given him a full season to prove himself, if the alternative was Brian McRae. That said, I am confident that he would have proved that we was not a good major league hitter.

I am not sure I follow this. Shouldn't we actually be praising the Cubs for NOT starting Kieshnick since he turned out to suck? He never did anything for any other team either. So the Cubs could project well enough from his minor league performance to know he wouldn't do well, and thus chose not to waste anymore time with him. The main problem is that A) they drafted him, and B) they played others like Brant Brown instead who they were wrong with and thought would turn out well. Kieschnick was not the problem, and didn't get a chance for a reason.

Of course you're right. I mean...if your#1 pick from 3 seasons ago hits .295 in AAA with 23 HR's and 30 doubles. I mean, hey the savvy Cub scouts just knew that at age 24 he couldn't do the job, especially after going 10 for 29 in a late season cup of coffee..
I mean..if after 90 at bats the next season, he isn't hitting .450 with 12 hr's..I mean of course he is a bust.

Oh, I forgot he became an all-star and is still playing baseball today - sure sad to see those other teams take advantage of this star that the Cubs didn't see. Thanks for reminding me.

In fairness to McRae, he was at least decent his first two years:

.288/.348/.440/92 R/27 SB
.276/.360/.425/ 111 R/ 37 SB

And I recall him being pretty damn good with the glove.

Kieschnick was a better pitcher than he was a hitter.

Okay fellas, the I-Cubs are back from the road, but our son is graduating from HS this weekend & all that hoopla will keep me from being @ the ballpark as much as otherwise. For now I can tell you that Jake Fox caught again last night - the official reason being that Chris Robinson has a stiff back & Mark Johnson has a stiff neck...Atkins got roughed up again as the Cub cubs were thumped 9-2 by Fresno which jumped to a 4-0 first-inning lead & refrained from use of the SB despite the presence of the reputedly defenseless Fox behind the plate...all this catching [2 games] may be wearing on JF; he only got one hit last night, that a mere single...

Mike Wellman:
Okay fellas, the I-Cubs are back from the road, but our son is graduating from HS this weekend & all that hoopla will keep me from being @ the ballpark as much as otherwise.

Weak.

Well clearly I'm kidding. Congrats.

Because we are all depressed does not mean we can have a little fun at the expense of our Sox brethren.

At 12:40 ask your Sox friend "what time is it?"

And they reply " 20 to 1", you say you don't want to know the Sox score but what time is it.

GET IT!?!?!? GET IT ?!?!?

(this weekend can't come fast enough)

This is how bad its gotten with the 4-game losing streak:

you folks are actually spending time out of your lives, that you will never get back again, discussing Brooks Kieschnik.

Isn't there more pertinent things to discuss?

Like the Cubs RPG average in 29 games of 3.33?

Or, the fact that out of 16 teams, the team is 14th with RISP? With a $140mm payroll!

Or, the nice streak pitched by "Guz"?

Fontenot's 2 for his last six weeks?

Instead: you're discussing Brooks Kieschnik.

- sigh -

Actually, we should all be weeping because of a four-game losing streak that came after a five-game winning streak (and an 11-3 stretch).

So - you are dancing a jig b/c the team is a couple games above .500, and the $140MM payroll, without the best insurance policy in baseball, whom the GM traded, is going to play a team on a six-game winning streak?

Weeping is a bit strong. Being concerned is more realistic.

Out of 8 position players, only one or two are performing successfully with any consistency. That doesn't bother you?

It's tough to dance a jig while typing, so no, I am not doing that.

I have concerns. I also stay away from ledges.

I have to think that at some point, the guys who have hit in the past will hit again.

I'm not concerned that the Padres have won six in a row.

I hated the DeRosa trade then, and I hate it now.

i also think talking about b.keischneik is useless
a bad draft pick when we drafted alot of bad ones.

would the cubs make 2 roster moves today a pitcher
and a position player.
hendry should be on the phone trying to make a trade.

Let's get this straight: The Cubs keep lamenting the team can't hit, they're getting even worse, while they have a guy in AAA hitting over .400 but they won't even call him up because their multi-million dollar busts will continue to get the majority of ab's and it's not fair to call up Fox to sit on the bench. My view is, are you trying to win? It's not fair to Fox to have him rot in AAA hitting .400 without getting a shot in the majors. He deserves a shot more than Scales did, based on production. If Hendry won't call up Fox then trade him to a crappy team like the White Sox where he could get a few ab's at DH, 1b, etc. I think Hendry dislikes Fox because Fox can't play 2b, the position Hendry has sloppy donut wet dreams about.

lou seems to like scales a lot, too, fwiw...which is not much.

i still refuse to believe that soriano-to-2nd rumor because it's so ass-backwards stupid, though.

btw, yes i know he mentioned it, but i'm not gonna go 100-post-dusty-dumbass-freakout on the guy based on something he mentioned as a longshot in a post-game interview of all things.

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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 1 min 40 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 17 min 41 sec ago view
  • Wow. The site actually loaded without an error! Happy 4th all, and Go Cubs!

    The E-Man 50 min 21 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 25 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 50 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 7 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 46 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 2 min ago view
  • Only 3 pitches for Leathersich. Not much of a rehab outing.

    Thanks for the reporting Phil.

    QuietMan 7 hours 14 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 15 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 23 min ago view
  • Sounds like a much better game than last night's fiasco in Flushing.

    Old and Blue 10 hours 40 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 41 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 14 min ago view
  • Did you expect anything different?

    billybucks 19 hours 45 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 7 min ago view