Browsing posts from April, 2009
Lou talked about the lack of intensity after the game. Says his team needs to realize they have a bull’s-eye on their back after winning back-to-back NL Central titles.
The lack of intensity was clear Wednesday afternoon. The end result – a 10-0 shutout - marked the worst effort by the Cubs this season and, a (2-4) road trip.
Chicago has scored fewer runs (95) than runs allowed (96). And that has everything to do with the offense – not the pitching.
Respectfully speaking, this isn’t a game you tip your cap to Doug Davis. The Cubs lineup was brutal. Two hits and two men in scoring position all afternoon against a guy who threw 116 pitches in seven innings – plate discipline was non existent.
And while Aramis’ return should help, it means little if the guys around him – Lee, Bradley and Soto – can’t hit.
It was fun watching Zambrano pull a role reversal on the D-backs.
And while Z fell a bit short of topping Dan Haren’s performance on the mound Monday night, he certainly made up for it with his bat – only missing a triple to complete the cycle.
Without question, Zambrano is the most dangerous hitting pitcher in the game – Micah Owings coming in second.
Yesterday, I was concerned about Soriano feeling some ill affects from being nailed in the noggin on Sunday. That worry left the yard with his three-run blast in the third.
Sori has been locked in from the opening bell. Healthy legs have brought back his power stroke and, the guy isn’t flailing at pitches out of the strike zone either.
Plus, the leadoff debate is officially over, which, keeps Alfonso happy in the leadoff spot.
Now, we can only hope the offensive outburst continues Wednesday. Another blow out would go a long way in restoring some confidence in the lineup top to bottom.
This one felt like the ’07 Division Series all over again. Cubs go to Arizona, Lilly pitches poorly – Cubs lose.
Walks can kill you. They did Monday night against Lilly. Having allowed just two free passes all season, his two walks in the fourth inning loaded the bases for the never dangerous Dan Haren.
Truly though, the pitcher’s two-run double is more of a bad break for Lilly than anything else. But give Haren credit – he put the bat on the ball and made his own break.
Soriano’s leadoff job is a big relief. You never know how well a player will respond after being plunked in the head. Let’s hope the bomb restored some confidence in Sori – assuming the beanball must have had some mental affect on him.
It appears Soto is taking his poor at-bats to the field and vice versa. Lou is sitting him for Tuesday’s game – couldn’t agree more with the manager’s decision.
No question Sunday’s game is the biggest win of the season for Chicago. Cubs avoid the sweep against its bitter rival, produce some much needed clutch hitting and maintain a record above .500.
Plus, winning on get-away-day is always a shot in the arm. And let’s face it, the Cubs needed some breaks before heading to Arizona where they are (10-25) since the ’99 season.
Kosuke Fukudome provided the offensive breaks Sunday. Just remember that six weeks ago Kosuke’s hitting was still a major concern. Now, he’s the centerpiece to a make shift lineup.
We heard all offseason how much extra conditioning Kosuke was doing to better prepare himself for his sophomore season – it appears to have paid off. Give the guy credit.
The hitting aside, quality starting pitching is the best cure to losing streaks. And, guys like Harden are who you want on the mound after dropping four straight.
If hitting is contagious, the Cubs have a clean bill of health.
In the last four games Chicago has scored 0, 1, 3, and 2 runs. Not surprisingly, it adds up to a four-game losing streak.
It’s been hard to watch and, the end to this offensive ineptitude doesn’t appear near. Obviously, the injuries to Aramis and Bradley hurt the lineup, but they’re seven other batters responsible for hitting too.
Cardinals have committed four errors this series, Cubs have basically done nothing to capitalize.
What’s more, Chicago’s starting pitching has hurled four consecutive quality starts, but the lack of situational and clutch hitting has humbled the mighty Cubs back to .500 baseball.
Winning streaks cover weaknesses, losing streak makes them glaring realities.
We know the Cubs’ offense is better than this. But the lack of clutch hitting has cost the Cubs three straight wins and wasted some very good starting pitching as well.
Lou has all the leverage for retooling the lineup, even more so with the Cubs going 1-for-10 with RISP Friday night.
I like Fonsi batting third. Would have liked to see him start the season there, but you can’t argue with his performance at the leadoff spot thus far.
Perhaps, the best part is Soriano doesn’t need to change his approach…he bats like a clean-up hitter from the leadoff spot anyway. And, if he stays there the guy could put up some huge numbers.
Of course, Cubs fans already know this and have pleaded for such a move since Soriano’s arrival. Now it’s done. What’s left to say if it doesn’t work???
Put this series six feet under. Dropping two of three against the NL’s worst hitting offense speaks for itself.
Reds outscore the Cubs 10-1 in the final two games. Cubs go 5-for-25 with RISP for the entire series.
Chicago gift-wrapped the final two games tossing the ball around like Detroit’s pitching staff in the ’06 World Series. Where’s the PFP from Spring Training???
I say it all the time: DEFENSE MATTERS!
Love Theriot in the two-hole. And, if Fukudome stays on track he’ll get prime RBI chances batting fifth. I like the move.
A veteran ballplayer should know better than to hide from reporters. But, Milton Bradley does what he wants too, good or bad.
Yet, here’s what M.B. doesn’t understand…when you run, the media chases.
Top third of the Cubs lineup combines for five hits. The middle third leaves eight men on base. As a team, 14 are left stranded, 0-for-4 with RISP. Can’t win if you don’t score.
The sore thumb sticking out is Bradley who went 0-fer with three promising opportunities to drive in runs. Strikeout, ground out, strikeout. He’s now 1-for-23 this season.
Cueto was dealing. Didn’t walk a single batter. He’s just 23-years-old. Good chance he’ll be a pain in the Cubs’ side for a long time.
Thought Lilly looked good, but the guy has no luck against Cincy. He’s now (1-6) lifetime vs. the Reds…(0-5) dating back to last season. Although, he did pitched well enough to earn a win…but no pitcher wins without run support!
The Cubs starting pitching vs. the Reds starting lineup is a total mismatch. Dusty penciled in six players – all starters – batting (.222) or less. That’s awful.
In turn, Cincy’s lineup was sweet tasting medicine for Harden, who didn’t work from the stretch until the fourth inning. Not to mention, it’s a nice rebound game after his short three inning stay against Colorado.
Theriot is flying under the radar. Two more hits tonight. He’s batting (.409)…and better, holds a (.412 avg.) with two strikes. The guy goes twinkle-toes with his left foot and suddenly becomes a (.400) hitter. He’s batting eighth in the order. Says a lot about the strength of Chicago’s lineup.
Hoffpauir is playing like he belongs on the Cubs’ 25-man roster…that’s a huge mental hurdle for a 29-year-old rookie.
Chicago staying with the all blue caps on the road is a good look. Funny thing is, I never particularly liked the red-brimmed road caps until last season…they actually started growing on me.
Cubs say sticking with one cap makes it easier on the equipment managers. Bullpen Brian say$ the tough economy call$ for cut$…good bye road cap$!!!
Side note: when are the Mets going to ditch the use of black on its caps and jerseys? It’s a terrible look, especially the two-toned batting helmets. The whole attire is better left buried with Shea.
The Reds are getting lots of press as one of this season’s IT teams, but they’re not there yet.