Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Game Recap: Padres 9, Cubs 5 -- Resigned to Medocrity

Hey -- remember that guy, Kevin Correia?  Remember how I said that he'd be the Cubs best hope of victory, because he's a middling starter at best?

Six innings pitched, 5 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, 0 runs.  Ouch.

Meanwhile, Tom Gorzelanny -- one of the more reliable pitchers on the Cubs -- reliably surrendered 9 hits and 3 walks in 6.1 innings of work while allowing 5 earned runs, with most of the damage coming in the 7th.

And that's when things got interesting.

In the bottom of the 7th, trailing 5-0, the Cubs offense, er, "exploded" for 2 runs thanks to a Fukudome double.  Padres 5, Cubs 2.  Could a comeback be of order?

Nope.  The Padres scored two more runs in the top of the 8th, extending their lead to 7-2.  But wait!  The Cubs weren't done!

In the bottom of the 8th, Soriano doubled and DeWitt homered, giving the Cubs another 3 runs and 5 runs on the day.  Could a comeback be of order?

I sound like a broken record, but nope.  The Padres scored 2 more runs in the 9th, as they succeeded in making the Cubs bullpen their bitches in the late innings.  Final score 9-5.  Not so shocking.

If you are reading vitriol in my post, look again -- it's hard to get angry about a 90+ loss team losing to a team that's possibly headed to the post season.  At this point, I feel more resigned to mediocrity than anything else.

But hey, kids!  More baseball tonight!  Woo-hoo!

Series Preview: Cubs vs. Padres

Overview
Unless you're the Yankees or Red Sox, years like this one are bound to happen.  Especially if your team is managed by a doof who can't draft, and who throws piles of money -- and no-trade clauses -- at every swinging dick in the major leagues.

Actually, if this year teaches us anything, it should be that the Cubs need to renovate the holy hell out of Wrigley Field.  (Purists, this is your opportunity to leave the blog.)  Fans love Wrigley, but players hate it.  The training facilities are a joke.  The clubhouse is as cramped as a Cold War submarine.  Consequently, the best players in baseball aren't inclined to play at Wrigley Field.

I have always felt that compromises can be made.  The Cubs can, theoretically, gut Wrigley Field but leave it aesthetically pleasing.  This is something that perhaps needs to happen soon, or else we'll continue to have these down years where the teams' expensive, untradeable, excessively OLD veterans drag the team down like an anchor. 

Anyway, onward:

Monday, August 16th -- Tom Gorzelanny (6-6, 3.65 ERA) vs. Kevin Correia (9-7, 4.86 ERA)
If the Cubs don't get swept, it's because Tom Gorzelanny pitches respectably, while Kevin Correia relies on the success of the team which surrounds him.  Gorzo -- who, by no means am I advocating for in 2011 -- has pretty much done everything the Cubs have asked of him these last two years.  Correia's really nothing special.

Tuesday, August 17th -- Randy Wells (5-10, 4.60 ERA) vs. Jon Garland (11-8, 3.41 ERA)
Probably two months ago, I posted a comment about Wells being, potentially, a one-year wonder.  Sayers responded with a responding disagreement. 

Well, it's too early to say.  Just ask Geovany Soto, who went from being a Godsend to a one-year-wonder to a resoundingly effective catcher, one of the best in the league.  But, so far, Wells has severely disappointed us.  He's been inconsistent at best.

Jon Garland, meanwhile, could've been a Cub this whole time.  Just saying.

Wednesday, August 18th -- Casey Coleman (0-0, 8.64 ERA) vs. Clayton Richards (10-5, 3.80 ERA)
Regarding Casey Coleman: who? 

A guy goes on a road trip for two weeks, and when he gets back Geo Soto is on the DL and Casey Coleman is starting for the Cubs?  WTF?  Considering how effective Clay Richards has been, I wouldn't exactly count on the Cubs to win this one...

Thursday, August 19th -- Carlos Zambrano (4-6, 5.27 ERA) vs. Mat Latos (12-5, 2.32 ERA)
This game should be an excellent learning opportunity for Latos.  If he wants to see how the pros throw fits and violently lose their tempers, then Carlos is the mentor for Mat.

Conclusions

Confession time: sometimes I look at the young talent around the league and I feel real envy.  I realize that Starlin Castro is doing great (although his crunchy numbers are lacking), and that Tyler Colvin is on pace to hit 25 homers (altho' he's barely batting Geovany Soto's weight), and that Wellington Castillo has finally been given the call.  But, still, the Cubs seem lacking in the young, exciting players like Latos.  Maybe I'm just being grouchy.

Either way -- can the Cubs possibly win this series?  I sorta hope not.  It'll take a minor miracle, but my fingers are crossed for a really, really good draft pick...

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Rookie of the Year Race

On the heels of Starlin going 0 for 5 and his batting average dropping down to .314, I thought it might be a good time to look at the NL Rookie of the Year race:

I don't conisder Tyler Colvin a candidate so the leading candidates are as follows, with their stat line behind:

Jason Heyward: 417 PA, .259/.372/.443 .359wOBA, 2.6WAR 8/13 SB.

Heyward is the starting right fielder for the NL East leading Atlanta Braves. He is above average defensively but has struggled mostly with injuries and making contact this year. His K rate is over 23%. He has to lose some points in this race by being a right fielder and his batting average doesn't look that great. He has fantastic peripherals however and does get points for being on a pennant contending team.

Buster Posey: 273 PA, .331/.381/.500 .378wOBA, 2.5WAR 0/1 SB

Posey benefits from also being on a winning team and being a catcher. He has struggled recently bringing his batting average down from the rafters. He his excellent and I think his candidacy needs to be revisited once he gets to 400 PA.

Starlin Castro: 347PA, .319/.363/.445 .344wOBA, 2.3 WAR 6/11 SB


Starlin, of course, is the one candidate who is far from a pennant race {sob} but he has easily the most defensive value and has been smoking hot. One cautionary tale about him, however, is that he has a much higher BABIP than either Heyward or Posey. Notice the SLG (coming into Sunday's game) was higher than Heyward. Castro is not supposed to have much power but I happen to think it's pretty cool to see him produce a .136 ISO as a 20 year old playing shortstop. Makes me think the future is bright.

Jaime Garcia: 126.1 IP, 2.71ERA, 3.86 xFIP 2.5 War

Garcia has shown himself to be an outstanding student of the Duncan way. His ground ball rate is over 50% and he has done a fair job with his K/BB rate also this year. He has struggled of late and his ERA looks a lot worse now than it used to. 

My take is that right now, Heyward is still the man. He is leading in WAR, he has great raw stats and is playing right field for the first place Braves. I do think Castro will become a more talked about candidate nationally if he starts to make waves in the batting average race. I see that as being the easiest way for him to win the award. Right now, I'd vote Heyward/Posey/Castro and not vote for Garcia but that could change in the next month or longer.  

Gamecast (August 15, 2010) Cubs @ Cardinals

Yeah, Cubs stink but amazingly they won a one run game yesterday! Who knew they could do that? The Cubs are currently 14-29 in one run games this year and theres no rhyme or reason to it. They are easily the worst team in baseball in these games and just snapped an 8 game losing streak in one run games! Holy crap!

Dempster vs Lohse today. The Cubs should win this game and take 2 out of 3 from the Cardinals again. Who knew that it's the Cardinals that the Cubs can beat! I guess that's a good thing.

Here's the important thing, though: Starlin is hitting .319 in 347 plate appearances. 366 plate appearances are currently needed to qualify for the batting title. Joey Votto and Carlos Gonzalez are tied for the NL lead in batting average at .322. Starlin could win a batting title. He is giving me, at least, a reason to watch this team.

So Go Cubs! and most of all Go Starlin!

Series Preview: Cubs @ Cardinals (Aug. 13-15, 2010)

Overview
Last weekend the Reds swept the Cubs, and then the Reds turned around and got swept by the Cardinals. So by that logic, the Cubs are in for a bad, bad weekend against the Cardinals. I actually think it will turn out that way. Its the northsiders first trip to Saint Louis this year, and we're coming in at the wrong time as the Cards are hot and the Cubs are terrible, having lost 13 of 15. Fontenot has been shipped out of town..who's next? Maybe we can trade Nady to the Cards and he can just switch dugouts like Font did? We'll see what happens, but I think we're gonna get swept.

Friday: Thomas Diamond (0-2, 8.00) vs. Jake Westbrook (0-0, 3.46)
Diamond was just about as awful as he could have been last time out on Sunday against Cincy. He didn't have good stuff, his command was all over the place, and he was quite hittable. He was out of the game early, and the bullpen got overworked as a result. We'll see if things are different tonight. Even in his first start Diamond was hittable, despite striking out 10. With Samardzija pitching well in AAA, and Jay Jackson warranting a look, Diamond probably doesnt have that much rope to work with here. Westbrook has been pretty solid in his 2 starts with the Redbirds. I saw some of his last outing against the Marlins, and he looked like Jake Westbrook, against lesser quality hitters. He was a nice get for the Cards.

Saturday: Carlos Zambrano (3-6, 5.46) vs. Chris Carpenter (13-3, 2.89)
Speaking of bad pitching performances, Z turned one out in his first start since being reinserted (again) into the rotation. He made it threw 5 innings, and only allowed 2 runs, which on the surface looks good, but it wasn't just what was on the surface. He walked 7, struck out only 3, and had awful command. His sinking fastball, which used to just be one of his pitches, was about the only thing he threw in tight counts. And instead of it being 94/95 like it used to be, it rarely got to 90, usually working in the 88-89 range. Maybe he's still building arm strength. We'll see Saturday. I'd love to see some more velo. Carpenter's been a stud this year again, and despite him being a dick a lot of the time (did anyone catch him berating Aaron Miles on Monday?), he's still a damn fine pitcher, unlike Z - who's a dick a lot of the time and isn't a damn fine pitcher anymore.

Sunday: Ryan Dempster (10-8, 3.66) vs. TBD
It's not definite yet, but it sounds like Kyle Lohse is gonna be hauled up from rehab to take this start for the Redbirds. He had a pretty shaky start against Omaha, but rebounded well and pitched 7 strong on Tuesday. He's been pretty awful in his MLB time this year. On the other side, Dempster's been easily the Cubs best starter, and he pitched well enough on Tuesday night in the Bay to earn his 10th win of the year, tying Heart-Condition Silva for the team lead. If there's one pitching matchup that favors the Cubbies, its clearly this one.

Despite the Cubs being awful, the Cubs/Cards series is still fun for me. I still really look forward to it, and this weekend is no exception. Go Cubs! Play Wellington Castillo over the awful Koyie Hill please! Get Darwin Barney some time too!

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Top Ten Lessons Learned in 2010

Goat Riders of the Apocalypse is not going so strong, lately.  But, GOOD LORD?  Can you blame us?

Even the most optimistic, blue sky Cub fans could not possibly enjoy what they are seeing on a daily basis?  Losers of 13 of the last 16?  As it happens, Hendry and Piniella are pretty much doing what I asked them to do earlier this week - treat the rest of this year as if it is Spring Training 2011.  It began when Derrek Lee and Lou himself removed themselves from the proceedings - neither of them are going to Mesa next spring.  We have brought up the freshest produce from the farm.

But, once again, it goes sour, because pretty much everyone we brought up has sucked so far.  It would have been nice to see Micah the Hoff hit a few quick welcome-back dongs, or a Marcos Mateo pitch lights-out.  It is early in our extended Spring Training, but it doesn't appear that any of our recent call-ups are going to help us anytime soon.  So, as was the case going into this season, it appears that most of the heavy lifting in 2011 will be done by the men currently on the roster, a roster, once again, that is last in the majors in one-run losses.

So what have we learned thus far in 2010?

10) Alfonso Soriano may not be the most overpriced sixth hitter in major league history - but then again, he might just be. 

As a longtime student of the intangible and the psychological, I understand why Hendry signed #12 back in 2007.  The interim owner gave him permission to spend whatever it took, and Alf was the premier free agent that winter.  Jim was convinced that the Cubs would win a World Series that year or next, and figured if we had, that people wouldn't care that the club would then owe Soriano $18 million a year for all perpetuity.  It was a crap shoot, and the first two years, Jim shot eights, but then last year, the dice came up seven, and now we're stuck with a number six hitter with degenerative legs, a miserable glove, and absolutely no knowledge of situational baseball.  For the next three years.

9) Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Silva are the yin and yang of miserable free agent pitching judgement

A few years back, officials at two separate organizations took a look at two big, strong, tough Venezuelan guys named Carlos and decided that yes, these guys were Quality, they would eat innings, win games, and lead men.  It would be the wisest thing to sign them to long term contracts worth nearly 8 figures, because everyone knows the work ethic of South Americans is second to none.

Ahem.  So it was inevitable that a few years later, los dos Carloses would both be Cubs, serving as twin anchors, keeping us firmly tethered to the bottom, representing the main sunk costs to the most miserable team contract picture in MLB history.

The difference is: Silva the Hutt is a follower, and Z is a leader.  There is no way to reign in #38 with the Cubs, none.  He appears to respect nobody but himself, which is the very reason why it is going to be so painful when he inevitably moves on to the Yankees a couple of years from now and starts winning games again (hey, Kerry Wood?  How YOU doin'?)  #52, on the other hand, is a follower, and I honestly feel that in the right situation, with the right guidance from the right pitching coach and staff, that Silva could be poked, prodded, and coaxed in a useful direction.  However...

Cool 2010 is the death knell of the Larry Rothschild Era

Several of my knowledgeable friends, like the boys over at HJE have called for the head of Rothschild for years now.  I personally was torn.  For every Wood and Prior who caved in, a Dempster or Marmol seemed to rise up.  Maybe, I have always thought, Rothschild wasn't part of the problem.

But lately?  Outside of Dempster, Marmol, Marshall, the first three months of Silva and the occasional Gorzellany outing, Cubs pitching 2010 has been beyond dreadful.  Walks, mistakes, walks, mistakes.  A conveyor belt of arms have made their way back and forth between here and Des Moines. 

Here's my problem with Rothschild - these guys pitch well in Iowa, come here, get blasted, go back to Iowa, pitch well, come back, get blasted.  And it isn't just a function of the quality of the hitters.  It is the command that they seem to lose here.  Is it the pressure?  Shouldn't be any pressure, throwing for a fifth-place team.  And if it is, whose job is it to help these guys acclimate?  As I see it, he is taking good arms and turning them bad once they get here.

When the new manager arrives, he should be allowed to pick his own pitching coach.

7) Marmol is a major league closer

Speaking of Marmol, he hasn't had a lot of opportunities in 2010.  Yes, the team has the worst one-run record in baseball, but curiously enough, it isn't really the closer's fault.  Most of the games have gone the way yesterday's game went - we fall far behind, and either come back to within a run and fall short, or tie it up only to let one of our "middle" guys, usually Cashner, go blow it. 

The few saves Marmol has blown, his defense helped blow.  Which, speaking of:

6) Our defense utterly sucks

Our catcher is "offensive-minded", a euphemism for a guy who isn't Yadier Molina.  Our third baseman is getting old, frail, and losing what little utility he ever had.  Our shortstop is better than the man he replaced, yes, but is young and may or may not be a major league shortstop.  Our second basemen define 'suck', We got DeWitt because we thought he is better than Theriot, of course, the Dodgers think just the opposite.  Uh oh.  Our fancy hood ornament, DLee has had his worst fielding year.  Soriano has had an Epic Fail year in left.  Our slick fielding right fielder can't hit enough to play, and the guy who can hit in RF should be playing left field. 

5) Marlon Byrd is a nice player

Byrd does everything pretty well.  He is not and will never be an impact major league ballplayer, and his CF play is very average at best.  He is the beneficiary of the "Robbie Gould Syndrome", in which he is surrounded by badness, so his relative competence shines brighter in comparison.  He is a fourth outfielder on a championship team, and although he actually tries to provide the leadership this team so woefully lacks, he really doesn't have the oomph in his game to back it up.

Starlin Castro gets one of his 4 hits4) Starlin Castro is a major league hitter

The storybooks are full of great men who started off as middle
infielders who committed a ton of errors in the field, and were
converted to other positions so their teams would not lose their bat. 
Mickey Mantle comes immediately to mind, and Alf Soriano is a recent,
close-to-home example.  With Hak-Ju Lee in the low minors, there are
discussions that Lee will eventually be the SS, and Castro will play
2nd.  Or maybe 3rd, since the 24 year old DeWitt is on board, except
that DeWitt has 'utility guy' written all over him, and don't 3rd
basemen usually hit with more power?

It is easy to forget that Castro was born in 1990, and that he will gain
most of his strength in the next seven years.  He will never have
A-Roid power, but maybe Jeter power.  The most pleasant development of
2010 has been that, for once, we can believe the hype.  Starlin Castro
seems to be for real.

3) Here comes Adam Dunn

A couple of years ago, when it was late in the free-agent season
(this was the year we signed Milton Bradley early, remember) and Adam
Dunn still did not have a team.  The only substantial offer for a man
who had averaged 40 homers a year the previous five years was from the
godforesaken Nats, and human nature being what it is, there rose an
effort to find out what, if anything, was wrong with Dunn.

Rumors arose that Dunn did not like playing baseball much, that much of
the conversations that would arise when opposing players would stand on
first base next to the Big Donkey revolved around offseason hunting. 
Growing up, Dunn was a football player first, and teams perhaps
questioned his character when formulating contract offers for a
one-dimensional guy.

So, he has played nearly every day in Washington, has continued to hit
his 40 homers a year, and has weathered two trade deadlines.  You know
what?  The man would rather play football and shoot pheasants.  But he still hits and we are going to sign a first baseman this winter.

And just
our luck, watch us sign the guy and watch him age faster than the Nazi
mope in "Raiders of the Lost Ark".  In my gut, I see us going after
Adrian Gonzalez his off season, and ending up with Adam Dunn.  Because
Dunn has always been one of "Hendry's Guys", like the Marquis Du Suck
and Kosuke Fukudome, and we always seem to end up with Hendry's guys.

2) Since nobody seems to know what is going on, Hendry is staying, I guess

The inmates run the asylum at Wrigley Field.  As bad as the Cubs have performed, and for as much pressure that the General Manager of a team such as ours ought to be under, compounded by the fact that he has a known history of heart trouble, Jim Hendry looks pretty damn healthy.

Is he taking his statins and his red krill oil?  Maybe, but hey, why shouldn't he look healthy?  He has the greatest job in the world.  Where else in American business can you mess up, again and again, and nobody calls you on it?  Wall Street?  Well, yeah, but those guys always have the specter of the SEC (Securities Exchange Commission, not the high-falutin college football conference) breathing down their necks.  Lots of those guys jump off bridges, lock themselves in their garages with their Bentleys running, but not Jim Hendry.  His boss is a failed corporate attorney who doesn't know spit from shinola, who in turn works for a owner who is more concerned with piss troughs and gaudy neon signs than a winning ballclub.

There is only one man on earth who gets to play fantasy baseball for real, and lose all the time, and not get called on the carpet for it.  Until there is some accountability established in the Cubs' organization, what you see this year is what you will continue to get in the future.

1) 2011 is going to look a lot like 2010.

Soriano will play for the Cubs next year.  Ramirez will play for the Cubs next year.  Fukudome will sit on the bench and take the Cubs' money next year.  Byrd and Colvin and Castro and DeWitt and Soto will play for the Cubs next year.  Jim Hendry has no ability and no gumption to make a blockbuster trade involving young major league talent for impact major leaguers in return.  Could you see him somehow packaging Castro and Colvin in a trade for, say, Albert Pujols?  Maybe not Pujols, because a Cubs-Cardinals trade will NEVER happen, but something of that magnitude?  How about for Miggy Cabrera or Joe Mauer?  Young stars for a superstar?  Never happen.

As for the pitching, good lord.  While the positional outlook seems stale yet static, the pitching outlook is totally fluid, and utterly without direction.  We have a #2 starter, maybe a #4, a closer and a utility guy, a LOOGY who isn't really a LOOGY with a torn knee ligament, and about 20 other guys who have walked a lot of batters and given up a lot of late-game home runs.  You can't fix that.  The only thing you can do is throw a ton of money at it, and HOPE the guys you sign don't get injured or fat-and-sassy. 

And Ricketts is NOT going to spend a lot of money in the offseasons.  So forget about the Ol' Free Agent Injection.

Fans of the Chicago National League Ballclub have survived the past 102 years on one glorious element: hope.  Yep, the same hope that got our president elected, the same hope that is being frittered away by this same president each day.  Hope is perishable.

I ate whole platterfuls of Cubs hope as a kid, and into my early adulthood.  I confess to have spent good money on the all-you-can-eat hope buffet as recently as fall of 2008.  Nowadays, there is very little fresh hope in the steamer, most of it is discolored and spoiled, like the bananas Soriano and the Fukudome skirt steak.

Our third base prospect, Josh Vitters, is rehabbing.  The next great Korean hope is still years away.  Andrew Cashner was supposed to be the next big thing, but I can't figure out what that thing is supposed to be, unless he is supposed to be a Matt Karchner impersonator.  That's something he does quite well.

But hey, Castro went 4-for-5 yesterday.  Rookie of the Year, gotta be?  Right?

Gamecast: August 12, 2010 Cubs at Giants

Mark Twain once said: "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."  Weather aside, the trip to the Bay Area has been cold so far for the boys in blue.  With the Cain to the Cub's Abel on the rubber today, it looks to get considerably colder.  At least with the subtraction of Mike Fontenot the average height of the team has increased considerably.

This afternoon the Cubs run into the scoreless innings train that is Matt Cain.  Sure, he doesn't have a current innings streak going after giving up runs against the Braves in his last start.  However, remember that series preview I wrote that said Matt Cain owns us?  Well, this ain't no urban myth.  In his last three starts against the Cubs (from 2008-2009) Cain has put up the following line against the Cubs: 23 IP, 0 R(earned or otherwise), 27K.  Yeah... so there's that scoreless inning streak.  If those numbers don't scream "Cub Killer" I don't know what does.

Looks like it should be a fun afternoon.  At least it's Thursday.  And Thursday means good happy hours.  Take solace in that, Cubs fans.

Iowa Cubs lose. (Game Recap: Cubs 4, Giants 5)

Cub starter Tom Gorzelanny sucked at the outset of last night's game: single, walk, single, RBI ground out, single, K, single, fly out. That gave the Giants an early 3-0 lead, and while the Cubs came close to surmounting it, in the end the task proved impossible, with Justin Berg allowing a game-winning solo shot in the eighth (I guess Cashner/Marshall/Marmol were unavailable?).

This isn't the first time this year Gorgonzola has struggled in the first inning. In fact, Tom has posted a 6.88 ERA in his 17 first innings pitched this season. His second innings are a little better -- he has a 4.50 ERA in those. And once he makes it to the third inning, he's solid, with ERAs of 2.00, 1.59, 3.24, and 3.75 in each of the next frames.

And before you go off on small sample sizes, check out Tom's career ERAs in each of the first six innings of a game:

  1. 6.29
  2. 4.48
  3. 4.01
  4. 3.43
  5. 4.73
  6. 3.77

I guess there's some selection bias here; obviously, if Tom doesn't have his good stuff in the first, he likely won't make it to the sixth. And teams will usually put their best hitters at the top of the order, so you face the best to start the game. But check out the ERAs by inning for Jon Garland, a decent pitcher whose name I just yanked out of my butt (ew, gross):

  1. 4.11
  2. 3.49
  3. 5.06
  4. 3.87
  5. 5.25
  6. 4.67

So maybe Tom needs to focus on getting off to a good start to become a better pitcher. He seems to have a better handle on batters his second and third times through the order as opposed to his first. And his ERA as a reliever -- 5.40 ERA in 23.1 IP, with 14 BB -- seems to support that, too. But what do I know?

Other quickfire notes on last night's game: Tyler Colvin hit his 18th home run, and Starlin Castro went 2-for-4.

GameCast: Fontenot traded.

The Cubs play the Giants tonight. And Mike Fontenot will be on the other side of the diamond.

Fontleroy was traded to the Giants this evening. In exchange, the Cubs receive Evan Crawford, a center fielder at the single A level that just turned 22 (happy birthday, your new team sucks!). In 156 career games, Crawford has a .706 OPS. This year, the man has 12 doubles, 12 triples, and four home runs, plus 24 steals in 477 plate appearances.

But before you get too excited, let Kevin Goldstein from Baseball Prospectus wake you up with a little dose of reality. Says Goldstein on Twitter:

"
If anything was special about Evan Crawford, he
wouldn't be coming over in a post-deadline deal for Mike Fontenot."

Well said, Kevin!

Darwin Barney is on his way up from Iowa. He will replace Mike Fontenot on the major league roster. That gives us: Berg, Cashner, Coleman, Diamond, Mateo, Russell, Castillo, Castro, and Colvin -- NINE rookies -- on the active roster right now.

I don't get it. (Game Recap: Cubs 8, Giants 6)

You mean to tell me the Cubs won last night?

I thought it was pretty funny myself. I was using them Twitterdecks last night when the game started, and when Kosuke hit his bomb into McCovey Cove to put the Cubs up 4-0, EVERYONE had the same response, which was some variation of, "Who are these guys, and what have the done with the Cubs?"

Then again, when the inning ended, another rampant bout of groupthink -- tweet after tweet asked, "How quickly will Demp give this lead up?"

The defense tried its best to lose the game last night, with errors from Blake DeWitt, Micah Hoffpauir, Starlin Castro (his 17th) and Tyler Colvin (not a centerfielder). But somehow we came through.

Castro had a nice night, going 2-for-5 with three RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base. Kosuke's blast into the cove in the first was super, and Mike Fontenot contributed a late pinch-hit two-run double that would give Carlos Marmol much-needed insurance for later in the game.

Ryan Dempster was hittable (8 H in 6.2 IP) and didn't blow it past anyone (3 K, 2 BB) but managed to post yet another quality start (4 R, 3 ER). Cashner, Marshall, and Marmol closed the game out, striking out three and walking one in 2.1 innings of relief (Marmol allowed two runs on four hits but managed to secure the win eventually).

Finally, last night's Photo of the Night, brought to you by the Associated Press:


Don't worry about the errors, folks -- this guy is for real.

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