Cubs Can't Fend Off Gnats

Sobering thought...the Cubs just got beat 2 of 3 at home by the worst team in baseball the last two years. Sure, anyone can win a 3-game set, but the Cubs sure didn't look like a better team at any moment in this series. And yes, the Nats are a better team this year than year's past, but they also were missing Ryan Zimmermann for the set. All of that is just a convoluted way of saying that the tea leaves aren't really predicting a bright 2010 future at the moment for the Cubs.

The Good: The Cubs walked 4 times(Colvin, Fukudome x2 and Nady) and had 9 hits including Theriot and Fukudome getting on-base 5 times in total. Dempster had a solid 8 IP, 3 ER affair with just one walk and 6 K's. Marlon Byrd's circus catch losing the ball in the sun. I wonder how the media and crowd reacts if he doesn't make that catch as they were sure quick to jump on Bradley last year for losing the ball in the sun.

The Bad: 21 LEFT ON-BASE! 11 as a team including Marlon Byrd leaving 6 all on his own. In the 7th, Fukudome and Lee led off with singles, but then Aramis Ramirez grounded into  double play on a 3-2 pitch in on his hands promptly erasing the rally. Colvin couldn't deliver the 2-out RBI. In the 8th, Byrd singled to right which the right fielder fumbled for a gift double. Fontenot is allowed to swing away after two singles already in the game and pops up to the shorstop. Aargh!!! You know the one good time to sac bunt, is when you need one run and can get a runner to third base with less than two outs. Or just make sure you pull the ball. Tracy, Nady and Theriot couldn't pick up the run either (more on that in the moment). Dempster did give up two solo shots to Adam Kennedy and Adam Dunn with the wind howling in.

The WTF? Back to the 8th, after Byrd "doubled" and Fontenot popped up, Lou pinch-hits for Koyie Hill. Smart. He pinch-hits with Chad Tracy though. Dumb. He's already gonna have to use Geovany Soto in the top of the 9th for Hill, just use your hottest hitter. I know Chad Tracy has had an illustrious pinch-hitting career before this year in like 100 PA's or something, but let's use a little common sense. Tracy predictably strikes out, Nady walks (still could have used Soto there if you wanted to) and Theriot can't deliver the 2-out RBI.

Next Up: The hot-hitting Diamondbacks test the Cubs starting pitching for a 4-game set.

Comments

re: byrd...

wtf? wow.

That's the new Van-Slyking. I expect him to be "forced" to catch balls behind his back (or rather at his side) all year long now.

If the Cubs had won two-out-of-three from the Brewers and then two-out-of-three from the Nats, their record would be exactly the same as it is now and we would all be feeling good about the Cubs winning two series in a row. However, this doesn't feel as good, does it?

It's not so much about their record or the fact that the Cubs won four of their last six games (and five of eight). Instead, we dwell on the fact that they lost two in a row to a team that is not supposed to be very good (although the Nats do have a winning record so far in 2010). I guess it's all in your perspective.

heh hoh Mr. Sunshine

but yeah, winning a series vs a team missing their best player at home is usually a good idea.

Rob --

I completely agree with your perspective. I feel the same way. All I'm saying is it's weird how we would feel completely differently if the Cubs had achieved the exact same record but in a different manner.

Yours truly,

Mr. Sunshine

"I wonder how the media and crowd reacts if he [Byrd] doesn't make that catch as they were sure quick to jump on Bradley last year for losing the ball in the sun."

I've heard similar questions asked so far this year and I just don't understand the comparison. Marlon Byrd is a different person than Milton Bradley. He came to the Cubs with a completely different attitude and background. He is a more mature, positive person than Bradley was. Byrd has the type of attitude and approach to the game that makes fans want to root for him. The opposite was obviously true of Bradley.

Although much has been said about Cubs fans (particularly those in the bleachers), we/they are not all racist idiots. People boo'd Bradley because of the type of person and ball player he was. They cheer for Byrd for exactly the same reason. That leads me to believe that Cubs fans would not have reacted negatively had Byrd not caught the ball in question.

some of us couldn't care less about bradley's attitude and never did. it wasn't a sport to jump on the guy because of how amusing his reactions are for some of us.

soriano is warm and fuzzy...he takes blame (in his own special way sometimes) for things...he accepts and apologizes for mental lapses and laziness...he waves to and interacts with bleacher people and regulars...

...then he goes out there and does the same stuff day after day after month after year...

good fuzzy words! i'd like to have a beer with him.

meeeeeeeeeeeeh.

Cubs fans boo and cheer on the whim of whatever the media feeds them. Bradley was pre-judged before he stepped on to the field as was Byrd as the anti-Bradley.

The bigger point to me is worry about what's happening on the field.

@crunch - I never got the impression that fans were riding Bradley to see what kind of reaction they could get out of him. I always felt they rode him because they didn't like his abrasive personality or his disrespectful approach to the game.

@Rob -- I think you are correct that the media helped to stir the pot with Bradley, but it's not like he didn't give them a ton of ammunition. He had a long and storied history of conflicts and bad behavior that pre-dated his days in Chicago. Was the press fair to Bradley? Probably not; especially guys like Sullivan. But Bradley did plenty on his own to cause fans to dislike him. The press just added to what Bradley wrought on his own.

The guys on ESPN 1000 (Afternoon Saloon) have been talking as if Starlin Castro has been called up. Did I miss something?

Now they seem to be talking about the clamor to call him up to move Theriot (a .300 hitter) to second and replace another .300 hitter (Fontenot). With Lee and Aram being the hitting problems so far (both sub .200), it doesn't solve that problem, is their discussion. No guarantee Castro will hit as well as Theriot or Fontenot, either.

First question, why are you listening to the afternoon salon?

I think you mean "Afternoon Saloon". Big difference.

"why are you listening to the afternoon salon?"

It was during one of the commercial and/or news breaks duing the WGN post-game show. I thought I'd try to catch a Bruce Levine report or a replaying of Lou's testy news conference about why he didn't bunt in the 8th inning after Byrd's dooble.

Besides, I think Jurko is a pretty funny guy and I could use a good laugh after a game like today. NPR just wasn't going to cut it.

wait until they find out jason heyward isn't in the HOF yet...they'll be outraged.

maybe it came from this article

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

Chicago Cubs prospect Starlin Castro’s ascension to the major leagues could be right around the corner, according to a major-league source.

The 20-year-old shortstop is being monitored on a daily basis by the Cubs organization to determine when the time will be to start his major-league career.

wouldn't Theriot actually get you something in return though? I mean you might as well just release Baker or Tracy. Fontenot might get a low level minor league C prospect I'm guessing. Theriot could possibly get a major league reliever I would think, although I can't think of one team looking for a shortstop.

Southside would welcome Theriot.

Fontenot as a .300 hitter, sure...but:
.308/.339/.346, 0 HR, 2 doubles. He's not exactly tearing the cover off the ball.

Agreed though, it's too early to make a move like that. I think...

Weak Link Update:

Gorzelanny/Silva: 48 IP, 33 H, 32 K, 10 BB, 2.06 ERA

Ramirez/Lee: 29-for-163, .178 AVG, 42 K, 22 BB

Godd***it.

Lincecum pitching a gem against Philly into the 9th, gets the first guy, then walks Victorino. Giants have a 3-run lead at this point and he's at 106 pitches with middle of order due up.

They go to Wilson who gets Polanco, gives up a single to Utley, walks Howard and Werth ties it up on a double.

think you have to at least give him one more hitter unless his velocity was dropping, although Wilson has been good this year.

neglected to mention Fukudome's lack of hustle in the first...

Colvin popped up on the infield and Kennedy booted it and Fukudome didn't get past 2nd. Didnt' end up mattering, but he should have been on third.

Racist.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_s...

DH in both AL and NL cities, extra position player, pitcher that went on Sunday is ineligible and will be replaced on roster, one position player is designated as being able to return

That's about the only time where I think a DH is a good idea. Although, eliminating the ASG altogether is my first choice.

agreed on both...

if the boston market All mcdonalds Star geico Game century 21 wasn't such a snickers commercial whoring chevy event...it might seem a little more like a game to me...

gotta pay those MLB pensions and for those incompetent drug tests somehow.

I'd really like to see how many pitchers actually bat in an ASG anyway. They always get PH for - unless their team is scoring a lot in which case, it's no big deal and they'll get more at bats to get more players in regardless.

Rob, I thought the exact same thing when Lou used Tracy instead of Soto. Sometimes the opposite hand matchup play goes too far.

I'm with you. My jaw about hit the floor when I saw that Tracy was pinch hitting. They had two of their absolute hottest hitters on the bench in Soriano and Soto, and he brought up Tracy, who hasn't played consistently all year. Lou keeps confusing me more and more every day.

But isn't that part of why Tracy is on the team? An experienced, good lefty PH?

As far as we can tell, he's on the team to make outs.

damn. that is one tense as hell room.

only 22 games in

Maybe when Lou is done here he will give a tell-all interview about the Chicago media, how much he hated them, how their constant pick-pick-pick at the whole Cubs Thing seemed to him to be a factor, however small, in the constant failure. Maybe if he does that, it'll be to the good somehow. Maybe Paul Sullivan will have an epiphany and change his ways (or at least finally stop writing about Milton Bradley).

But for now, this kind of behavior is inappropriate and simply painful to watch. And by "this kind of behavior" I mean not only this postgame performance, but PH'ing Tracy instead of Soto. Both things evince a "who cares, I don't want to be here" attitude.

ROB G: Regarding the Bradley/Byrd comparison, today after the game Byrd stood up and said he just HAS to do better than a weak pop-up in a RISP situation. He was embarrassed and owned up. I have no problem with that - and Milty always blamed everyone else: the fans, umps, conditions, injuries, day games, he is "alone" - etc.

Also, Byrd to this point plays hard, all the time, and just "does his job" on the field. It is a refreshing change from last year's bullshit.

Just out of curiosity, say you played baseball, and an umpired called ball 4 strike 2, then called ball 4 strike 3... who would you blame?

who would you blame?
---
Michael Barrett?

The problem with Bradley was that he was quick to blame other people for their actions (i.e. umps making bad calls), but never pointed the finger at himself for his actions. I think E-Man is pointing out that Byrd is not pointing the finger at others. He is pointing it at himself.

Yeah, but Bradley is extremely self critical and there were quotes from him about it, and others about it for the last 10 years. E-Man is incapable of being objective Bradley.

the usual starting 8...what's the record for men left on base?

theriot, fukudome, dlee, aram, byrd, soriano, fontenot, soto, LILLY (per Muskat)

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  • "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 3 hours 27 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 3 hours 42 min ago view
  • Only 3 pitches for Leathersich. Not much of a rehab outing.

    Thanks for the reporting Phil.

    QuietMan 3 hours 55 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 4 hours 56 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 7 hours 3 min ago view
  • Sounds like a much better game than last night's fiasco in Flushing.

    Old and Blue 7 hours 20 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 7 hours 21 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 15 hours 55 min ago view
  • Did you expect anything different?

    billybucks 16 hours 25 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 16 hours 47 min ago view
  • men on 2nd/3rd, 0 out...and nothing.

    cubs lose :(

    crunch 17 hours 20 min ago view
  • UH OH! RALLY TIME!

    crunch 17 hours 30 min ago view
  • Getting tired of this Heywood weak sauce

    jacos 17 hours 41 min ago view
  • Yep, can't say I disagree with that. His first batter and resulting walk was just brutal. Reminded me of a bit of Jacque Jones spiking his throws into the ground from RF.

    Eric S 17 hours 49 min ago view
  • The use of Peralta in any semblance of a high leverage situation is questionable at best.

    fixed that for ya.

    crunch 17 hours 56 min ago view
  • The use of Peralta in any semblance of a high leverage situation is questionable at best. Hind sight is easy but Peralta had nothing.

    Eric S 18 hours 4 min ago view