Tagged: cubs

The Cubs’ Dilemma, Plus What The Blue Jays Should Do With Alex Rios

After this season, one of the Cubs’ top starting pitchers, Rich Harden becomes a free agent.  Harden is one of many pitchers who show an ability to dominate when healthy, but due to injury concerns, cannot go 6, 7 innings consistently.  Harden was superb in 2008 for the Cubs, going 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA, and a 0.97 WHIP in 12 starts after being acquired at the trade deadline, however, injury concerns caused him to throw only 71 innings for Chicago,  not quite 6 innings per start.

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Harden has had an up-and-down 2009, complete with HR struggles, and back issues.  Through 19 starts this year, Harden is 7-7 with a 4.41 ERA, and a 1.35 WHIP.  His high ERA and WHIP are products of a high BABIP, and a regression from a low BABIP in 2008.  Despite his struggles, Harden has shown almost identical strikeout and walk rates in 2008 and 2009.

With all the injuries the Cubs have had this year, and the fact that Harden has dominated in his combined full season with the Cubs, it is necessary that the Cubs re-sign Harden as he hits free agency.  However, with Harden’s injury history, the Cubs, or any team for that matter, should commit to a deal longer than two-years.  The optimal deal would be a 2-year $12-16 million contract, but who knows what Harden will demand, or receive with all his potential.  The Cubs do not have a player who could step in take over Harden’s rotation spot, which is why they must re-sign him this offseason.

  • Alex Rios and the Blue Jays

Alex Rios

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Temperental bust, awarded a 7-year/$70 million, heavily backloaded contract, based on one good year.  Rios has shown that his ceiling is only a 20/20 player.  He’ll lose part of that speed over time, for sure.  If the Blue Jays hang onto him, which seemed to be their only choice because of his contract, they would eventually be paying 12.5 million dollars for a solely above-average, hitter and an average fielder.  But now the unthinkable has happened.  A MLB team, likely the White Sox, has claimed Rios on waivers.  The Blue Jays now have ’till 1:30 ET tomorrow to trade Rios to the claiming team, or let him go to the claiming team for nothing.  This is a golden opportunity for the Jays to shed payroll, they should just let Rios go.  Why any team would want Rios is just puzzling.  Once again, a golden opportunity to let Rios walk away.

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A Pair Of Dramas

  • Who Says The Cubs Offense Is Dormant

The Chicago Cubs are back.  Well, not completely.  But a offense that had been scoring about two runs a game coming back in the final two innings from huge deficits to win 6-5, and 8-7, certainly shows life.  Yesterday against the Indians, Cubs starter Rich Harden struggled through five innings, giving up 7 runs.  The Cubs offense managed to chip away a pair of runs of Cleveland ace Cliff Lee, who went seven innings.  But in the eight inning, the Cubs came back, scoring four runs off relievers Joe Smith, Rafael Perez, and Matt Herges.  The innings’ key hit came when injury replacement number eight hitter Andres Blanco, hitting just .220, drove a two-out, two-run base hit, going into the 9th, the Cubs were down 7-6, but that quickly changed when Derrek Lee blasted a one-out solo homerun, his second of the game to tie the score.  Kevin Gregg kept the game tied in the top of the tenth, then Ryan Theriot drove a bad-hop single that scored Alfonso Soriano for the teams second straight walk-off win.

  • Tom Glavine won’t play again in ’09, may retire

Tom Glavine will not retire.  He is too big-headed to realize so quickly that no team wants him any more.  Glavine must realize that this not the 90’s any more.

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He has been injured, he has pitched ineffectively, he is 42.  He is done, he had a great career, I wish him success in any future endeavors, but just retire already!!!!!!!

Do You Know How To Count To Three?

Milton Bradley doesn’t.  In the eighth inning of yesterday’s game, he caught a deep fly ball near the warning track, and tossed the ball into the stands, assuming that he had caught the third  out.  Now there was minimal impact on the play, Nick Punto had already scored via the sacrifice fly.  But runner Brendan Harris was able to move up to third because of the gaff, and if Alfonso Soriano had missed Justin Morneau’s fly ball, then well…. uh….. uh…. uh…. aha! The Cubs would have lost 8-4, instead of 7-4.  Now, Milton

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how can we teach you to count to three?  Three is the fourth number when you’re discussing outs in baseball.  The numbers for outs go 0, 1, 2, 3.  Or perhaps you prefer zero, one, two, three.


Let’s revisit that inning yesterday, when Nick Punto singled, there were 0 outs, when Luis Ayala bunted, and Punto advanced to second, there was 1 out, when Brendan Harris singled, and Punto moved up to third, there was still 1 out, when Joe Mauer hit a fly ball to you, and you caught it, there were 2 outs, and when Justin Morneau flew out to Alfonso Soriano, then there were 3 outs, and the inning was over.

A quote from Uncle Milton:

“The other fly ball [in the eighth], I turned my back to shade the sun some,” he said. “I caught it. I exhaled, and I was still seeing purple and green spots because I was looking into the sun. I sensed that something wasn’t right. My heart was in the right place, I tried to give a souvenir. It was messed up.”


At least it’s not screaming at umpires, or storming the broadcast booth, some of Bradley’s earlier exploits.



This Day In Baseball History


1905-Giants’ hurler Christy Mathewson pitches his second career no-hitter defeating the Cubs, 1-0.


1913-In the top of the ninth inning with no outs at New York’s Polo Grounds, Christy Mathewson strands a runner on third base to record his 300th career victory as the Giants edge the Cubs, 3-2. During his 17-year major league career, ‘Big Six’ will compile a 373-188 record.


1924-After Bob Meusel get hit with a pitch in his back in the top of the ninth, the Yankee outfielder hurls his bat at Tiger pitcher Bert Cole, and charges the mound. The resulting melee, including players, fans and police, lasts for nearly 30 minutes and when ump Billy Evans is unable to clear the field, he forfeits the game to New York, 10-6.


1948-With the crowd of 49,641 singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to the Babe, the Yankees celebrate the silver anniversary of Yankee Stadium by holding ‘Babe Ruth Day’. With members of the 1923 team (the first team to play in the stadium) looking on, the dying superstar’s uniform number 3 is retired and sent to Cooperstown.


1957-Red Sox outfielder Ted Williams becomes the first American Leaguer to have two three-homer games in one season. The ‘Splendid Splinter’ drives in five runs helping Boston to defeat the Indians, 9-3.


1957-At Comiskey Park, an ugly brawl, precipitated by an Art Ditmar pitch behind Larry Doby’s head, breaks out when the White Sox infielder takes exception to being the target of the bean ball and punches the Yankee hurler. Billy Martin, Walt Dropo, Bill Skowron and Enos Slaughter all actively participate in the melee.


1973-The Dodgers infield which will be together 8 1/2 years, setting a major league record for longevity, play together the first time. First baseman Steve Garvey, second baseman Davey Lopes, third baseman Ron Cey and shortstop Bill Russell are in the line up in the 16-3 defeat to the Phillies.


1994-At the age of 34, Cub second baseman Ryne Sandberg suddenly retires walking away from $16 million.


1998-The first triple play ever completed at Dodger Stadium is turned by Darren Dreifort, Eric Young, Jose Vizcaino and Bobby Bonilla.


1999-With his Astros ahead 4-1 in the 8th inning, the game is suspended when Houston manager Larry Dierker can’t speak, falls and begins shaking violently due to a gran mal seizure.


2003-On his fourth attempt, Roger Clemens becomes the 21st pitcher and the first since 1990 to record 300 career wins as the 40-year-old righty goes 6 2/3 innings in the Yankees’ 5-2 inter-league victory over the Cardinals. In the second inning when Edgar Renteria swings through full-count fastball, the ‘Rocket’ also joins Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Steve Carlton (4,136) as just the third hurler to record 4000 career strikeouts.



The Indians Are Done

It’s still early in the season, but when your offense can’t score, when your marquee player is injured, and when this happens you’re sunk…

  • Indians demote Fausto Carmona to Rookie League to “Work on his mechanics and mental approach”

What has happened to the 2007 version of Fausto Carmona?  As a quick reminder, that year, Carmona went 19-8, with a 3.06 ERA, and pitched 215 innings, more than he’d ever pitched in a single season.  Carmona’s performance came with an abnormally low BABIP.  What could be so bad in his mechanics to justify sending him down to Rookie league.  Sending a player to Rookie League to work on something, not rehabilitation, but i.e. mechanics, does not motivate a player, to try harder, it makes him feel insulted, and work less.  Back to the main question, what was his mechanical problem?

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  • Grady Sizemore’s injury

Elbow inflammation+possible hamstring injury = bad.  Now he may have surgery and miss six weeks .  I’ts time for Cleveland to sell players like Mark Derosa, and Cliff Lee.

This Day In Baseball History


1920-The Cardinals play their last game at Robison Field (renamed Cardinal Field in 1917), their home field since 1893, beating the Cubs, 5-2. One of new owner Sam Breadon’s first decisions is to agree to a ten-year lease for $20,000 annually allowing his team to move six blocks to share Sportman’s Park with the Browns, and then using the money from selling the aging ballpark to finance Branch Rickey’s idea of establishing a farm system by investing in a club afflilation with a minor league team in Houston, Texas.


1925-White Sox Eddie Collins, at the age of 38, becomes the sixth major leaguer to collect 3000 hits when he doubles off Washington’s Walter Johnson.


1934-Myril Hoag becomes first Yankee in franchise history to collect six hits in one game, a major league record of six singles. The 26-year old outfielder’s 6-for-6 performance helps the Bronx Bombers rout Boston at Fenway Park, 15-3.


1939-Bert and George Bebble and Carl Stotz form the Little League organization in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The three youth teams in the league have uniforms thanks to a $35 donation.


1940-Warren Spahn, who will become the winningest left-hander in baseball history with 363 victories, signs a contract with the Boston Bees (Braves). Due to a clash with manager Casey Stengel and his enlistment in the U.S. Army, the 19-year old southpaw will have to wait six years before he gets his first major league win.


1941-The New York Giants become the first team to wear protective headgear as they don plastic helmets in a game against the Pirates.


1957-After an 86-minute delay, the first fog out in major league history occurs at Ebbets Field when the umpires call off the Dodgers’ game against the Cubs due to poor visibility.


1958-Osvaldo ‘Ossie’ Virgil becomes the first black player to appear in a Tigers’ uniform. The versatile Dominican will eventually play every position but pitcher during his nine major league career.


1965-Tom Tresh hits three consecutive home runs as the Yankees blast the White Sox, 12-0.


1976-After a storm drops seven inches of rain causing floods in Houston, twenty fans canoe to the Astrodome to get rain checks for the canceled game at the enclosed stadium.


1986-Before the game against the Braves, Padres’ skipper Steve Boros tries to give ump Charlie Williams a videotape of a disputed play from the previous night and is ejected prior to the first pitch of the game.


1992-Eddie Murray drives in two runs against the Pirates to surpass Mickey Mantle (1,509) as the all-time switch-hitter RBI leader.


2002-The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission agrees to drop its lawsuit against the Twins and Major League Baseball. The deal settles a lawsuit blocking baseball’s contraction plan and removes the Twins from consideration for elimination for the 2003 season.


2006-When Eric Gagne, who will earn his first save in over a year, throws his first pitch to his receiver Russell Martin, the pair become the first All-French-Canadian battery in major league history. The pitcher and catcher both attended Polyvalente Edouard Montpetit High School, one of the few schools in Montreal which had a baseball program.


2007-At Petco Park, Trevor Hoffman becomes the first reliever to save 500 games. It takes the all-time saves leader 10 ninth inning pitches, including an 87 mph fastball thrown past Russell Martin for the final out, to reach the milestone in the Padres 5-3 victory over the Dodgers.


One Crazy Day

One no two no three big things happened in baseball yesterday…

  • The Pirates Trade Nate McLouth to the Braves

I will start off by saying that I am of the opinion that Nate McLouth is overrated.  He creates runs with his power bat, (which I am skeptical of), and his base running intuitiveness, but gives up runs with his poor defense.  However, he is still an excellent partial fix to the Braves’ outfield problems.  Atlanta was able to give up some good, but expendable prospects, to get McLouth.  The Pirates were able to get three players:

1. Charlie Morton, who’s been excellent at Triple-A the past couple of years, he is a strikeout pitcher with solid control.  He projects as a 3rd/4th starter.
2. Jeff Locke, currently playing at Class-A+, is another strikeout pitcher, however he’s seen a spike in his walk total this year, and will need to keep it under control to make it to the majors.
3. Gorkys Hernandez, currently playing at Double-A, is a fleet center fielder with no power whatsoever.  His main asset his his speed, he is a strong defender in center with a strong arm.  He must learn plate discipline, and that’s a problem.
All in all, the Pirates got a good deal, but they were building for the future with McLouth, if the wanted to make room for top prospect Andrew McCutchen, then all they had to do was move McLouth to a corner, and trade Brandon Moss, for a pitcher.  The Pirates new motto: Trade, Trade, Trade away
  • Pirates Promote Andrew McCutchen

Well, the Pirates did promote Andrew McCutchen, to replace McLouth.  What else were they supposed to do.

  • Sammy Sosa Retires

Sammy Sosa you helped save baseball in 1998.  PED’s or not, you belong in the Hall Of Fame.

  • White Sox Promote Gordon Beckham

Welcome to the first player from the 2008 draft to reach the majors.  Beckham’s here to stay, mark my word.

And in random news that doesn’t deserve a header, Tony LaRussa is suing Twitter.
This Day In Baseball History

1890-Submariner Tim Keefe of the New York Giants franchise of the Players League defeats the Boston Reds, 9-4, to record his 300th win. ‘Sir Timothy’, who won 19 straight decisions in 1888, will finish his 14-year career with 342 victories.

1937-Gus Suhr establishes a new National League record as he plays in his 822th consecutive game. The Pirates first baseman’s streak ends the following day when he attends his mother’s funeral in San Francisco.

1951-Pirates’ outfielder Gus Bell hits for cycle in Philadelphia as the Bucs beat the Phillies, 12-4. His son, Buddy, and his grandson, David, will also play in the major leagues.

1964-Dodgers’ southpaw Sandy Koufax throws his third career no-hitter blanking the Phillies 3-0.

1967-Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood’s errorless streak of 227 games and 568 chances ends when he drops a fly ball in a game against the Cubs at Busch Stadium.

1968-Dodger right hander Don Drysdale pitches his sixth consecutive shutout defeating the Pirates, 5-0.

1976-In an 11-0 victory at Dodger Stadium, Mets right fielder Dave Kingman hits three home runs. Sky King’s two-run dinger and two three-run round trippers drives in eight runs, a new club record.

1986-In a 12-3 rout of the Braves, Pirates rookie outfielder Barry Bonds hits his first major league home run off Craig McMurtry. Bobby’s son will become the All-time career home run leader hitting 762 during his 22-year career playing for Pittsburgh and the San Francisco Giants.

2000-Esteban Yan becomes the 14th player in baseball history to hit the first pitch thrown to him in a professional game for home run. In addition to his historic homer, the Devil Rays hurler picks up the victory in the inter-league contest against the Mets.

2004-At Turner Field, Julio Franco became the oldest player in baseball history to hit a grand slam. The 45-year old Dominican first baseman’s first inning base-loaded home run proves to be the difference as the Braves beat the Phillies, 8-4.

Back to .500 Again

Why are the Cubs tanking again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


One week it’s the hitting, the next it’s the starting pitching, and now it’s the bullpen!!!!!!!  Poor Randy Wells, the journeyman minor league pitches 6 2/3 innings of no-hit ball, yet the bullpen can’t hold a 4-run lead for two innings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  First Carlos Marmol gives up a pair of runs in the eighth, fine 2-run lead for Kevin Gregg.  Two outs, and Gregg implodes again!!!!!!!!!!!  Game tying two-run shot by Jeff Francoeur, and Atlanta wins in the 12th.  The Cubs may only be 4 games out of first, but with Zambrano suspended, Harden injured, and nothing functioning, can this season get any worse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This Day in Baseball History

1888-Ernest L Thayer’s poem Casey at the Bat appears in the San Francisco Examiner.

1932-In Philadelphia, Lou Gehrig becomes the first player in the twenieth century to hit four home runs in one game and barely misses a fifth as the Yankees hammer out a major league record for total bases with 50 against the A’s.

1932-Citing poor health, the Giants announce the resignation of long time skipper, John McGraw; in his thirty-two year tenure, the fiery manager won three World Series and nine National League flags including a record four consecutive pennants.Citing poor health, the Giants announce the resignation of long time skipper, John McGraw; in his thirty-two year tenure, the fiery manager won three World Series and nine National League flags including a record four consecutive pennants.

1978-Phillies’ Davey Johnson becomes the first major leaguer to pinch-hit two grand slams in one season. His ninth inning bases-loaded shot beats the Dodgers, 5-1.

1980-The Mets select 18-year old Darryl Strawberry as the #1 pick in the June draft.

1989-It takes 22 innings and seven hours and 14-minutes for the Astros to beat the Dodgers, 5-4 making it the longest game in National League history.

1995-Expo hurler Pedro Martinez hurls nine perfect innings against Padres before giving up a double to Bip Roberts in the bottom of tenth after Montreal had taken the lead. Mel Rojas saves the 1-0 gem.

2001-Manny Ramirez’s 491-foot, fifth deck home run is the longest home run ever hit in the history of the SkyDome. The Red Sox DH’s moon shot eclipses A’s first baseman Mark McGwire’s record established in 1996.

2003-Slugger Sammy Sosa is ejected from the game during the first inning after he shatters his bat and the broken remains exposes cork. The Cub outfielder will be suspended by major league baseball for 8 games (will be reduced to 7) his offense.

On Pace, Who’s Gonna Keep It Going

1. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Padres, is on pace for 67 Homeruns

Will he keep it up?  No.  No one is allowed to hit more homeruns than Sammy Sosa!!!!!!!
2. Chris Davis, 1B, Rangers, is on pace for 250 Strikeouts
Ouch!  Will he keep it up?  Probably not, but I can see him challenging the strikeout record, 204, set last year by Mark Reynolds.
3. Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays, is on pace for 168 RBI
Will he keep it up?  Slim chance, Manny Ramirez had 165 in 1999, and Alex Rodriguez had 156 in 2007, but I don’t consider Longoria that talented a player, yet…
Pitching coming later…
This Day In Baseball History

1891-Charles Garder Radbourn wins his 300th game beating the Beaneaters at South End Grounds in Boston, 10-8. ‘Old Hoss’, who will finish 484 of the 497 games he starts, will end his 11-year career this season with 309 victories.

1918-Facing only 28 batters, Dutch Leonard tosses his second career no-hitter as he holds the Tigers hitless in the Red Sox 5-0 victory at Navin Field. ‘Hub’ had also pitched a no-no against the Browns two seasons ago at Fenway Park.

1935-Babe Ruth announces his retirement from baseball.

1951-Due to the poor lighting during a Alabama-Florida League contest at Peanut Stadium in Headland, Alabama, Ottis Johnson of the Dothan Browns fails to get out of the way of a fastball thrown by Jack Clifton. The 24-year-old Class D minor League outfielder undergoes surgery and spends eight days in the hospital before dying on June 10 as a result of being hit by Dixie Runners hurler’s pitch.
R.I.P.

1987-Using their the number one pick overall in the draft, the Seattle Mariners select Ken Griffey, Jr. The signing of ‘Junior’, son a major leaguer Ken Griffey, will play a major role in Seattle’s success in the mid-1990’s.

1990-Randy Johnson becomes the first Mariner to pitch a no-hitter as the ‘Big Unit’ shuts out the Tigers, 2-0. The southpaw strikes out eight while walking six in the first no-hitter ever thrown in the 14-year history of the Kingdome.

1999-In the first-year player’s draft, the Devil Rays select North Carolina prep star Josh Hamilton as the top pick. It is the first time since 1993, when Alex Rodriguez was selected, that a high school player has been chosen first.

2000-With the Tigers visiting Wrigley Field for the first time since the 1945 World Series, Cubs’ reliever Rick Aguilera pitches a perfect ninth inning for his 300th save to nail down a 2-0 Chicago victory.