Zzzz. Cubs, Padres. Zzzzz shutout. Zzzznother loss. Zz--wha'? Derrek Lee might get traded?!
That's the rumor this morning, anyway. It's sort of a nice deflection from the dead-to-the-ears-up ball team we are currently stuck following. The Cubs last last night after allowing only 1 run, in the 1st off of a ground-out. They then succeeded to hold the Padres to only 3 hits all night, even as the Cubs failed to score any runs themselves.
Therefore, I have to give props to Randy Wells. Granted, he's a 5-11 pitcher this year now (ugly!), but he pitched 7 innings, struck out 6, walked 3, and lowered his ERA to 4.44. Hopefully he'll have a better record next year, if he's a Cub.
Anyway, back to Derrek -- earlier this season he said he'd refuse to okay a trade to the Angels, but it makes sense that the Cubs would've gotten his approval before negotiating with the Braves. With Atlanta losing Chipper Jones for the year, Lee makes sense to be a "McStiff Eats Ass" solution for them.
It'd be a cool idea. Anything's better than keeping Lee at this point. I doubt the Cubs would get any really good prospects, but who knows?
Rob puts in his two cents:
The latest word about the possible deal:
Those of you who get giddy about draft day and lust over single A prospects are having a confusing day. We wouldn't likely receive any compensation at all at the end of the year from Lee, but here's a chance to get the proverbial bukkit-o-spit.
Me, myself? I would have traded him this past winter, when his value would never be higher. We might have gotten some bullpen relief for him if he'd okayed the Angels trade. Now, we'll get a class A guy that most likely we will never see.
For all his gaudy stats in 2005 and 2009, Derrek Lee did precious little, in my opinion, to help us. FanGraphs recently revealed he was the least clutch starter in the majors in 2010, and even in his best years, when the cane got high, he was more willing to take a base on balls and hand the machete over to Ramirez.
I suppose I should be glad that I get six less weeks of DPLee than I was counting on. Ok, yes, I am glad. Of course, if that means I have to look at six weeks of X Nady and Micah the Hoff, what the hell's the difference?
It is time to find out if either Colvin or Ramirez can play first. If not, then as I said last week, look for us to spend the winter debating whether or not to sign Big Donkey Dunn. But if either of them can, then maybe we can use the money Dunn would want, and use it on some pitching.
But, of course! Ricketts owns the team now. He will use the salary savings to put a Smirnoff Ice Bar-n-Grill near the left field gate. Drinking, chicks, revenues and drinking is all that overgrown Chad thinks about. Fuckin' dick....
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!
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.
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:
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):
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.
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.
A few days ago I tweeted a quote I saw in an article about Carlos Zambrano's soon-to-be-triumphant return to the Cubs rotation:
"Like Larry Rothschild said, I have to throw the ball no matter what and don't try to locate it," said Z.
It's fairly obvious that Carlos meant what he said at that time, as the man walked seven batters in five innings last night. I guess his start actually ended up turning out OK, as he only allowed two earned runs during his start (although one of those came on a wild pitch). But that sure doesn't seem like a sustainable strategy going forward, right?
This one came down to a battle of bullpen depth, as the game stood tied at three runs a piece after nine innings of play -- and we all know how much depth the Cubs have in their bullpen (hint: < 0).
Indeed, after Alan Trammel burned through Justin Berg, James Russell, Andrew Cashner, and Sean Marshall in the first nine innings, we were treated last night to the debut of the Cubs' latest Iowa callup, Marcos Mateo. Mateo almost lost the game in the 10th, but was saved by a pair of good throws from Tyler Colvin and Mike Fontenot. Fortunately, Marcos was able to finish the job in the 11th, guaranteeing the Cubs a loss.
Now, our best hitter is on the DL, and our starting first baseman is an even worse hitter than Derrek Lee. But maybe Wellington Castillo can save the season? At any rate, he should replace Koyie Hill on the roster when Soto comes back.
The Cubs lost to the Reds three times this weekend. Tom Gorzelanny and Randy Wells both pitched well enough to win, while neither Thomas Diamond nor Casey Coleman were capable of such a feat.
Meanwhile, the offense didn't do very much of anything. At the same time, the defense was pretty busy -- at sucking!! Ohhhh!
Seriously I've waited this long to write this recap because there's nothing fun to write about. So can we just call this even now? Feel free to vent all you'd like in the comments. Hopefully the Cubs do something inspiring in San Francisco and we can have fun again sometime soon.
Ladies and gentlemen, your new leader in batting average for the Chicago Cubs is Starlin Castro.
By going 4-for-5 in yesterday's game, Castro (.318) took the lead over from Marlon Byrd (.315, 1-for-4). Other Cubs with multiple hits yesterday included Derrek Lee, Geovany Soto, and newcomer Blake DeWitt.
DeWitt seems to enjoy playing for Chicago, having gone 6-for-16 with a double and a homer in his first four games with the new club. He obviously won't hit .375 for the rest of the season, but I doubt it's hurting his psyche to be doing well early on.
I don't have anything else to say about Derrek Lee, but I will point out for Soto that he leads the team in OPS this year by just about 70 points. His OBP is at .398, his slugging at .519... dude, what a year. He may well get to 20 home runs by the end of the year.
Another factoid for ya: since coming off the 15-day DL on June 25, Aramis Ramirez has posted a .302/.338/.627 slash.
Cubs pitchers did well yesterday. Ryan Dempster posted a quality start (3 R, 0 ER in 6 IP), and Sean Marshall, Mitch Atkins, and soon-to-be-starter Carlos Zambrano each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.
So that's nice!
Is it time to get out of Denver or what?
I thought about naming this one "DeWitt's Debut," as the Cubs' new man at the keystone managed to do well -- and against a lefty, no less. DeWitt went 3-for-4 on the day, including an RBI double early on.
Other than that? A slogfest. Carlos Silva's heart earned him today's headline, with his having thrown just 15 pitches before needing to visit the hospital for an irregular heartbeat. James Russell relived Silva, and was a bit wild, but pitched well enough considering the circumstances, including a 1-2-3 third inning. And Carlos Zambrano did nothing to inspire confidence, allowing four hits, two walks, and two runs in his two innings pitched. All told: eight runs given up in the first five innings.
Marlon Byrd joined Blake DeWitt on the three-hit train, including a ninth inning triple off Huston Street. And it was cool to see Lou bat Geo Soto 4th with Aramis on the bench. Other than that, not much to say about the offense.
Speaking of "slogfest," I have a feeling that's what the rest of this season is going to feel like, too. Starlin Castro will probably hit closer to .270 than .300 by the end of the year; Derrek Lee will finish up around .250 or so; Tyler Colvin will strike out a bunch more, and will struggle to stay above .270 himself; the starting rotation will continue to confirm our fears that their best days this season are already behind them; and we'll get to watch several Iowa Cubs struggle, as the shuttle bus to Des Moines continues to roll.
So this is what rebuilding feels like, huh? Not as fun as I thought it would be.