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Browsing posts from April, 2010

Prospects For Pitchers?

By bullpenbrian - April 20, 2010 - 12:06 am Leave a comment.

So much for changing the lineup against left-handers. Cubs have been shut down by southpaws in back-to-back games…three total runs…two losses.

Doesn’t get any easier this week. Up next…Oliver Perez & Johan Santana.

If tonight was any indication, Lou better figure something out quickly against the southpaws.

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Chicago…We Have A Problem

By bullpenbrian - April 19, 2010 - 12:04 am Leave a comment.

Where to start with the Cubs losing a home series against lowly Houston?

How about…inexcusable?

Good teams don’t lose like this…not in the rubber-match…not on get-a-way-day…not with Ryan Dempster pitching his fanny off…and not against Houston’s anemic offense.

The Cubs, no doubt, ran into some tough starting pitching this series. Roy Oswalt’s vintage performance Saturday…and Wandy Rodriguez–the Stros’ leader in wins, starts and strikeouts last season–on Sunday.

We know the Cubs rely on the long ball to score. But good pitchers, guys like Oswalt and Rodriguez, they don’t allow many home runs…which in turn, gives this Cubs lineup fits.

The gut-wrenching part, however, is what little offense the Cubs did mustard this weekend should’ve resulted in victories…not one-run losses.

Didn’t help that Carlos Marmol, who’s been solid thus far, uncorked his first blown save of the year. How he responds, of course, is imperative.

Marmol’s got to keep a closer’s mentality–that short memory–and maintain his confidence. Because let’s face it…without a focused Marmol…this bullpen and the Cubs are doomed!

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Will Roy Oswalt be Traded?

By bullpenbrian - April 18, 2010 - 12:30 am Leave a comment.

Good pitching beats good hitting. Case in point, Roy Oswalt’s performance Saturday at Wrigley.

Didn’t matter the Cubs broke out offensively this week…Oswalt pitched like it was 2005…the year he won 20 games…and led Houston to the World Series. And that’s really, really hard to beat!

So give the Cubs a break. They fell to a red-hot ace…not a No.5 starter. It happens…but you move on, tip the cap and go get’em tomorrow.

No one, by the way, seems to know whether Oswalt will be traded this summer. He’s 33-years-old…has back problems…and is coming off a season of eight wins in 30 starts. But his outing Saturday was classic Oswalt…power pitches, no walks, six Ks. What contender couldn’t use that line in September?

Of course, you’d be giving up a lot to get him…but I’d do it without thinking! I’m not saying he ends up a Cub…but maybe the Mets or Braves would pull the trigger?

Ultimately, I believe Oswalt stays with Houston. The asking price will be too high…and Houston’s ownership and its fans love him too much to part. He’s the new-school Bagwell and Biggio…another great Astro who will finish his career right where it all started.

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Cubs Curse Blackhawks

By bullpenbrian - April 17, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

The Blackhawks did its best Cubs impersonation Friday night…losing on home-ice against Nashville 4-1.

Any coincidence the Cubs were in attendance?

Canadian native and hockey enthusiast, Ryan Dempster, set up the affair…the Cubs players sporting Hawks jerseys and cheering from a luxury suite.

Go figure the Hawks get out-classed in the opening round loss…much like the Cubs did against Los Angeles in 2008.

A playoff series in which the Cubs played under the pressure of a 97-win season and 100 years of championship futility.

Likewise, the Hawks are playing under similar pressure as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference…it showed…and the Preds staked an early 1-0 series lead.

Perhaps the Hawks have better luck in Game 2 Sunday…at the very least, the Cubbies will be traveling to New York, and not the UC.

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Cubs HRs, Byrd & Samardzija

By bullpenbrian - April 16, 2010 - 12:05 am Leave a comment.

The Cubs appear to have turned the corner offensively.

They plated 22 runs in three game against Milwaukee after totaling 18 runs during the opening six-game road trip.

Scoring via the home run remains the same. Nine different Cubs have gone yard totaling 15 HR through nine games…now that’s digging the long ball!

Of course, there’s still something to be said about ‘Get’em on, Get’em over, and Get’em in…especially against top of the rotation guys…but the Cubs’ lineup is built around power, not small ball.

I couldn’t care less how the runs cross the plate…long ball, wild pitch, whatever…just as long as they keep coming. And while the offense has come to life, the bullpen remains, well…scary to say the least.

So it’s score, score, score some more…the winning formula for a bullpen as poor as the Cubs’.

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Jackie Robinson No.42

By bullpenbrian - April 15, 2010 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

Bud Selig retired Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 for all teams in 1997.

Three years ago Ken Griffey Jr. asked Selig if he could wear the number to honor Robinson on April 15, the day Jackie made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers–the commish agreed.

Now all players are invited to wear his number on April 15. Very cool.

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Derrek Lee’s Thumb Injury

By bullpenbrian - April 14, 2010 - 12:32 am 1 comment.

Huge relief Derrek Lee’s right thumb checked out okay after Monday’s game.

He’s the only guy hitting with any consistency…6-for-19 on the opening road trip…and 2-for-3 Monday.

Lee’s reached base safely in all seven games…and is hitting .364 overall.

The guy’s picked right back up where he left off last season…as the Cubs best hitter… .306 avg., 35 HR, 111 RBI.

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Cubs Opening Day Pictures

By bullpenbrian - April 13, 2010 - 12:05 am Leave a comment.

What a view from the Skybox on Sheffield!

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Chicago Cubs Home Opener

By bullpenbrian - April 12, 2010 - 12:45 am Leave a comment.

Monday is a great day to be a Cubs fan–it’s the club’s 95th home opener!

Hasn’t been pretty the last six years, Cubs are just 2-4 in home lid-lifters. All-time, however, they’re still 9-games above .500 (51-42-1).

Ryan Dempster toes the rubber against the Brewers. In 17 starts against Milwaukee he’s 11-3 with a sparkling 2.69 ERA.

Three of those win came last year…(3-1) in four starts…3.67 ERA…28 strikeouts.

Pitching aside, the Brewers can rake. And while all eyes will be on Dempster, the Cubs better score runs!

I’m at the Skybox on Sheffield tomorrow. Will post some pictures from Monday’s festivities as well!

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Cubs’ Season Is Not Early

By bullpenbrian - April 12, 2010 - 12:30 am Leave a comment.

Don’t tell me the season is early. Leave that for  pitchers and catchers reporting in February…and meaningless games in March. That’s early.

Believe me, I understand this is a marathon season…we’re only six games in…there’s plenty of time to turn things around. I get that.

But as of last Monday, these games count…it’s part of the 162…a loss is a loss…a win a win…doesn’t matter how you get there…it all counts in the standings.

There’s no good reason for the Cubs to be 2-4…they’ve had five quality starts in the six games…they’ve held the lead in each outing…and for heaven’s sake, they’ve had plenty of opportunities to score runs.

In the three games at Cincinnati, however, the Cubs left 25 men on base…25unreal! Collectively the lineup is batting .197…Theriot, Ramirez, Soriano…they’ve all been awful.

First inning, bases loaded, no outs…and the Cubs fail to score a single run against a 22-year-old rookie making his major league debut. Sad, sad, sad.

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