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Browsing posts from May, 2009

Hoffpauir, Freel To Start

By bullpenbrian - May 21, 2009 - 1:34 am Leave a comment.

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The Cubs barely made Chris Carpenter work. A sad approach against a guy making his first start in a month.

With Carpenter’s pitch count hovering somewhere around 70-75, Chicago let the Cardinals ace off the hook with 67 pitches in five strong innings.

A big part in defeating a dominate pitcher is working the count. But, the Cubs have simply been too aggressive at the plate lately.

Chicago should have forced Carpenter out earlier by making him throw more pitches. After all, the Cards bullpen is its biggest weakness.

It’s time for  Soriano got hot again! He’s the lone guy in the lineup capable of carrying the team with the vast majority of the order struggling.

And if hitting is contagious, Alfonso is the right player to spread the hit-bug around the Cubs clubhouse.

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Cubs Hitters Get Reality Check

By bullpenbrian - May 20, 2009 - 12:41 am 2 comments.

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Joel Pineiro gave the Cubs a reality check.

It took just 92 pitches for the Cards’ right-hander to go the distance and shut out the Cubs. And, it didn’t appear all that difficult either.

Pineiro tossed strikes to a lineup with five starters batting .230 or less–Lee, Bradley, Fontenot, Soto, and Miles. Go figure.

Yet, despite the horrific batting averages, the Cubs have managed to win five of its last seven games. Meaning, if and when this team truly begins to hit they’ll pull away in the division.

That said, the Cubs offense is without an excuse for its poor hitting. Its mid-May, the weather is warm and the starting pitching has been terrific. So what’s the hold up?

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Ricketts Buys Cubs, Peavy Next?

By bullpenbrian - May 19, 2009 - 12:58 am Leave a comment.

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It’s taking three banks to help Tom Ricketts finance his purchase of the Cubs.

Think about that for a second. Not one, not two, but three banks. That’s some kind of coin.

The Cubs’ price tag is $900 million. Ricketts needs $450 million to close the deal–that’s where the three banks come in.

What can’t you buy for $450 million? Seriously.

Here’s a better question. What can the Cubs afford to buy at the trade deadline?

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What’s Happened to Fontenot?

By bullpenbrian - May 18, 2009 - 12:49 am Leave a comment.

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The Cubs let this one slip away. Not enough hitting and another poor bullpen outing trashed what should have been an undefeated homestand.

However, despite the rough fourth inning, Harden pitched well enough for the win. Yet, for whatever reasons, Rich isn’t throwing well at Wrigley. At home he’s (2-2) with a plus-six ERA. Why so bad???

Ascanio hits two batters–both come around to score the eventual game-winning runs. Cotts walks yet another batter. What’s his purpose in the pen if he can’t throw strikes?

And, what’s happened to Mike Fontenot lately?

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Gregg Still Better Than Hawkins

By bullpenbrian - May 17, 2009 - 1:55 am Leave a comment.

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Kevin Gregg led the NL in blown saves last year. Meaning, more outings like this one are bound to happen with the right-hander.

Doesn’t mean Marmol should close. Doesn’t mean Gregg can’t cut it in the ninth. And, Lou says he’s ready to throw Gregg back out there Sunday, if need be. It’s one of the beauties of baseball–there’s always tomorrow!

This was vintage LaTroy Hawkins pitching at Wrigley–blowing the save opportunity. Never liked the guy as the Cubs’ closer. And, I’d take Gregg over Hawkins any day.

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Rainout Recharges Cubs’ Batteries

By bullpenbrian - May 16, 2009 - 1:28 am Leave a comment.

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I’m a big believer in rest. Recharging the batteries is a good thing. Players, coaches, and even us peons all benefit from a well deserved off day!

Sure, rainouts stink for both the players and fans, and especially considering the Cubs are riding a season-high four-game winning streak.

But with the club scheduled to play 29 games in 31 days, Friday’s washout is a blessing in disguise.

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Milton Bradley’s Suspension

By bullpenbrian - May 15, 2009 - 12:16 am Leave a comment.

San Diegocubs

Milton Bradley says he’s not treated fairly by MLB. And, Milton is right. But, that’s to be expected with his history of suspensions.

Doesn’t matter if Bradley’s contact with the umpire was incidental–you can’t touch the guys in blue! When there’s contact there are also grounds for a possible suspension.

I didn’t have a problem with MLB’s initial two-game ban for Bradley. And I don’t have a problem with the reduction to a one-game ban either.

My only issue is that it took MLB a full month to resolve the problem. That’s too long.

Give Milton credit for addressing the media after the game. Answering the questions keeps the story from lingering any longer. He’ll serve the suspension Friday and put this whole story to bed.

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Soto Sighting!

By bullpenbrian - May 14, 2009 - 1:26 am Leave a comment.

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The Cubs made the most of their seven hits Wednesday. Four of six runs scored with two outs.

Soto drove in THREE two-out RBI! He’s nearing the .200 mark, and has reached base safely during his last 10 starts. Maybe his first jack of the season loosens him up even more at the plate?

Without question, Lilly has been the best starter on the staff. He was strong through all 6.1 innings. Even better, the lefty didn’t walk a single batter!!!

And, without the defensive miscues by Lee and Fukudome, Lilly probably last another inning.

Adrian Gonzalez is terribly underrated around baseball. Put this guy on a winner and he’s a house hold name.

Plus, it’s remarkable the way this guy hits with power to the opposite field. He makes it look easy– a calling card for the truly gifted athlete.

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Bobby Scales’ First Home Run!

By bullpenbrian - May 13, 2009 - 2:24 am 2 comments.

San Diegocubs

I’m buying a Bobby Scales tee-shirt.

His pinch-hit bomb in the seventh–his first MLB home run–reminded me of Felix Pie’s dramatic three-run shot against the Mets on Apr. 21 last year. Although, Pie was sent down less than a month later.

Scales, on the other hand, is off to an impressive start. A five-game hitting streak which includes a home run, triple, three runs scored and a .429 average to boot!

He’s making the most of his opportunity and, making it tough on the Cubs to send him back to Iowa. I hope he stays in Chicago all summer.

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Cubs In Need Of Padres

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

San Diegocubs

The Cubs’ roster won’t get healthy in the next three days. But, there’s a big opportunity for Chicago to get healthy in the standings while facing San Diego at Wrigley this week.

The Pads are a woeful (13-19) overall and coming off a stretch of 17 games played in 17 days. They finished the run (4-13).

They’re also (5-13) on the road this season. And, not since Jake Peavy’s win against the Mets on April 16th has the starting rotation recorded a single victory–(0-9).

Thus, many reasons for the Cubs to look forward to this three-game set.

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