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Browsing posts from April, 2009

The Milton Bradley Game

By bullpenbrian - April 20, 2009 - 12:35 am 2 comments.

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From day one I’ve not been in favor of the Milton Bradley signing. I’m a firm believer in clubhouse chemistry and I also favor high-character guys over the self-centered gaudy statistics guy.

Basically, Milton Bradley doesn’t fit on my team, never will.

Of course, come September I hope M.B. proves me wrong. And, if that’s the case, I’ll fess up to striking out on this one, which, is only fair if you’re going to say ‘I told you so.’

But here we are, 11 games into the Milton Bradley era and the Cubs are getting exactly what they signed up for…injuries, ejections and distractions.

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PPD Bad For Me

By bullpenbrian - April 20, 2009 - 12:24 am Leave a comment.

My evening planed around watching the Cubs from section 215 was replaced with a dinner at Goose Island and a night on the couch watching Baseball Tonight. Not a terrible evening by any means, but it’s hard to top Cubs vs. Cards on Sunday night.

And, because of the rain I didn’t pull the trigger on exposing the digital camera to taking pictures of the new Captain Morgan Club. So, yet again, I’ll wait for a better day to grab some shots to post on-line.

Good news is the Cubs get an extra off day before playing 20 games in 20 days beginning Tuesday.

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Aramis The Man

By bullpenbrian - April 19, 2009 - 2:14 am 3 comments.

st-louis1cubs

There’s not a better clutch hitter on the Cubs than Aramis. Period. 

The more dramatic the situation it’s all the better for Ramirez. Brewers, White Sox, Cardinals–Aramis has tagged each for dramatic game-winning hits.

I’ll continue to say the Cubs’ third baseman is one of the most under appreciated players in all of baseball. Why, I don’t know?

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Healthy Legs Healthy Outcome

By bullpenbrian - April 18, 2009 - 12:27 am Leave a comment.

st-louis1cubs

It’s all about Soriano’s healthy legs, his wheels appearing to be fully healthy for the first time since signing with the Cubs. He’s now nailed three clutch home runs this season, two of which were game winners.

Healthy legs = healthy swing.

Sori goes down flailing in three of his first four at-bats, it looks as if his hot streak is all but over…fifth at-bat, BANG!, game-winning home run.

Without a red-hot Soriano the Cubs are sub-.500 in the standings.

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Cubs Not Hitting In Clutch

By bullpenbrian - April 17, 2009 - 12:05 am Leave a comment.

st-louis1cubs

Marshall was way too predictable…breaking ball, breaking ball, breaking ball. And worse, his breaking pitches consistently put him behind in the count. Cards then sat on his fastball and made him pay for throwing it.

I said if Marshall went five allowing three runs or less I’d be happy: he went five and allowed three runs. My reasoning was that would be enough for the Cubs to win it against the Cards’ pen.

Problem is, the Cubs couldn’t convert on multiply opportunities to drive in runs. And the Cardinals’ bullpen line is three innings of no-run, no-hit baseball…but the Cubs had their chances earlier against Wainwright.

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Mr. Inconsistent

By bullpenbrian - April 16, 2009 - 12:11 am Leave a comment.

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The Cubs faced Mr. Inconsistent on the wrong day. It’s the story of Jason Marquis’ on-again, off-again career. Really good when he’s on and really bad when he’s not.

However, my money was on the Cubs getting the better of their former mate, but Marquis did a nice job of staying around the plate and letting the Cubs get themselves out.

Conversely, once Harden lost his touch it made things too easy for Colorado at the plate. Give the Rockies some credit, they waited on strikes, took walks and somehow scored four runs while also striking out eight times in three innings.

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Ranking the NL Central’s Ballparks

By bullpenbrian - April 15, 2009 - 12:43 am Leave a comment.

The Mets organization hit it out of the park designing Citi Field. They’ve blended the old with the new, splashed the park with terrific colors and opened a ballpark for the ages.

Ultimately, that’s the goal for designing a park. Most organizations get it, others don’t.

And as wonderful as some of these new parks are, I do get discouraged that not a single team has broken the mold of reto-style park in favor of something ‘stadium 3,000-like.’

That said, I keep the grading simple…does the park look magnificent, are the field dimensions unique and is it instantly recognizable on television?

The NL Central, with the exception of Wrigley, is complete with the opening of new ballparks. Below, I’ve ranked the division’s stadiums on the above criteria.

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Lilly’s Rainy Day

By bullpenbrian - April 14, 2009 - 12:15 am Leave a comment.

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What a difference a day makes. Sunday the weather is absolutely gorgeous and Monday looks like a typical January day in Labrador. All the better for Lilly I suppose!

I thought Teddy had No-Hitter written all over him after retiring Helton for the second out in the top of the seventh. Then Atkins steps to the plate and delivers a single into left field – DANG IT!

Still, it’s all good news for Lilly. It took him four starts last season to find his rhythm…and he still won 17 games.

Obviously, the weather factors into the Rockies collecting just one hit…but I take nothing away from Lilly’s performance. After all, the Cubs’ lineup played under the same conditions and scored four runs on nine hits.

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Reed’s Rob Job!

By bullpenbrian - April 13, 2009 - 1:05 am Leave a comment.

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Reed’s terrific catch tops his grab from a year ago in Washington! Love the fact Prince tips his cap to Johnson after the play too.

Johnson replaces Bradley who’s lasted a whopping six games before suffering an injury. Now Lou probably sits M.B. for a couple of games, which is ideal if it keeps him off the DL.

Here’s the rub against Soriano: when he’s Hot he’s HOT…and when he’s Not he’s Not. It’s a give-and-take that’s hard for fans to adjust too – including myself.

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Sori Power!

By bullpenbrian - April 12, 2009 - 1:07 am 1 comment.

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Feels like the Cubs stole one tonight. That’s two clutch home runs from Sori in five games: Tuesday’s shot tied the game in Houston and tonight’s won it.

Old school Lou gives Cotts an earful after walking his batter in the seventh. New school Lou sends Rothschild to the mound to change pitchers. Either way, Lou gets his message across, which is the important thing.

Cubs have held a lead in every game this season, but the bullpen walks have to be addressed. Free passes cost Chicago a win Thursday, nearly did the same this evening as well.

And this speaks to the 118 pitches Z threw in just his second start of the season. But again, Lou knows he can’t rely on the pen right now in tight ballgames. That’s a major concern.

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