Browsing posts from June, 2010
Alfonso Soriano takes his fair share of criticism, some of which is deserving, but also comes with the territory of an 8-yr, $136M contract.
No one, however, has ever questioned Soriano’s leadership.
Last year he criticized Milton Bradley’s destructive actions. This weekend he chastised Zambrano for his insane dugout outburst.
In both cases Soriano said what needed to be said…and said publicly what no other Cub would: temper-tantrums are unnecessary and hurtful to the team.
So this is how the Cubs respond to winning its most important game of the season on Sunday.
Another pathetic loss against Pittsburgh…a team riding a 17-game road losing streak…a team regarded by many as the worst club in all of baseball…a team the Cubs are 2-8 against this season.
But its not about the Pirates standing in the Cubs’ way of the postseason. It’s about the Cubs getting out of its own way, something they haven’t done all season.
Which means I’d be foolish to say the Cubs are still in this thing after the way they played Monday night. No drive, no passion, no urgency to win.
You simply can’t play the way the Cubs have against Pittsburgh, or anyone else for that matter, and call yourself a contender.
As quickly as I thought the Cubs may have saved its season Sunday, one day later it seems all but a formality…our Cubbies are pretenders, far closer to the bottom feeding Buccos than the division leading Reds.
Happy Birthday Jim Edmonds, who turned 40 on Sunday!
The former Cub is batting .266 with 3 HR & 8 RBI through 44 games with the Brewers this season.
Not bad for a guy who sat out 2009 and made the team as a non-roster free agent out of spring training!
The four-time All Star, and eight-time Gold Glove Award winner, is also approaching a few career milestones…12 walks away from 1,000, 15 homers shy of 400 and 31 games short of 2,000.
Wouldn’t be surprised if Edmonds hangs on for another year. Wouldn’t rule out a return to St. Louis, either.
Still wish the Cubs would’ve brought Edmonds back in ’09. Then again, we never would’ve enjoyed the Milton Bradley era!
The Cubs are a season-worse 10-games below .500 and 9.5 games back of the division leading Reds.
That’s the same deficit the White Sox trailed Minnesota by three weeks ago…before rattling off 15-wins in 16-games to close the gap to 1.5 games back.
It’s been a remarkable run for the Sox, and a sobering illustration of what the Cubs must do to play catch-up.
Cubs brass claims there’s still time. Cub players say they need to start winning soon.
Does anyone realize the calendar flips to July in four days, that the season is nearly half over or that the Brewers have quietly slipped into third place?
What about three weeks from now…still enough time then, even if the Cubs are 15-games back?
Never mind the Sox’s run…the Cubs could just start by winning a series.
Carlos Zambrano has crossed into Milton Bradley territory.
Criticizing the team’s leader, Derrek Lee, for a lack of effort is simply ridiculous…no more so than Zambrano’s tiresome act or Bradley’s umpire tirades.
I’ve never defended Zambrano’s childish behavior–which should have subsided years ago–but Cubs management is partly responsible, too. They’ve enabled Zambrano’s antics by not suspending him before…now it’s finally caught up to them.
I will, however, credit Lou and Hendry with handling this latest embarrassment with poise. But how can you welcome back a player who refuses to mature, refuses to earn his god-awful contract, and continuously embarrasses himself and the organization?
It’s simply, really…you can’t.
The difference between the Blackhawks’ recent trades and the Cubs’ soon-to-be trades is the Hawks knew it was coming all along–Stanley Cup champions or not. If the Cubs were competing, however, we wouldn’t be talking about Lee, Lilly and Fukudome on the trade-block.
The Hawks trade players because they have too…they’re being crushed by the league’s salary cap. The Cubs, unfortunately, will trade players because it’s their best option to compete…next year!
–I’ve said many times Ted Lilly is the staff ace, but the Cubs offense doesn’t act like it. Lilly has the lowest run support in baseball, about two runs per game. He got two more runs and another no-decision Thursday, which, marks the 11th time in 12 starts Lilly has gotten fewer than three runs of support. Awful!
–Is Carlos Marmol better at escaping jams or creating them? He walks three batters in the 10th and escapes a bases loaded jam with one out and the winning run on third. Len Kasper calls it the ‘Carlos Marmol Special’…I like that!
–John Grabow lasts two scoreless innings earning his first win of the year. He hasn’t allowed a run since returning from the DL June 15.
–Andrew Cashner made seven appearances before issuing a run on Thursday. It tied the score at 2-2 and results in Cashner’s first blown save of the season. Although, his ERA is a puny 0.87.
–Cross Town Classic Friday at 1pm. Comcast Sports analyst Todd Hollandsworth likes the Cubs to take 2-of-3…I’m not so sure. But hey, I’d be happy if the Cubs just avoid the sweep!
Cliff Lee is plain sick.
The 31-year-old spun his second consecutive complete game, beating the Cubs 8-1, while lowering his ERA to an AL best 2.39. His four complete games this season leads the AL.
Lee has not walked a single batter in his last four starts. He’s issued just four free passes all year. His strikeout to walk ratio–a remarkable 19:1. Unheard of!
To put that in perspective, Brett Saberhagen remains the lone starter since 1901 to complete an entire season with a double-digit ratio in that figure. Lee, however, is well on his way to becoming the second.
Despite suffering three losses in 11 outings, Lee has a 2.70 ERA in those defeats, limiting the damage to nine earned runs in 30 innings pitched. Again, just sick.
There’s a case Lee’s the best pitcher in baseball! And whoever get this guy via trade–and he will be traded–becomes an immediate threat to advance to the World Series. The best starting pitcher in baseball traded three times in three years–what’s next?
Here are my starters for the 2010 All Star Game. Sadly, there’s just one Cub, Marlon Byrd, who undoubtedly should be Chicago’s representative.
Marlon Byrd’s case to be a 2010 All Star…
- Ranks second in the NL in batting average (.323)
- 17 of his 34 RBI have come with two outs.
- Has reached base safely in 53 of 69 games played.
- 29 multi-hit games including 23 doubles.
- Batting . 402 against left-handers.
Has hit safely in last eight road games, going 18-for-34 (.529 avg.), including 6 doubles, 2 HR, 7 RBI, seven runs scored and six multi-hit efforts.
He’s produced despite numerous changes to his spot in the order, and played well defensively.
The question is…what hasn’t Byrd done to deserve your vote?
–Mark DeRosa has quietly opted for season-ending surgery on his left wrist. He underwent surgery last offseason on the same wrist, but in a different area from his current nerve injury.
Because of the surgery, the Giants took much grief for signing the 35-year-old to a 2-yr, $12M deal this offseason. The criticism is sure to linger with DeRosa out after batting .194 with 1 HR and 10 RBI through 26 games.
–Gary Matthews Jr. signed with Cincinnati after the Mets cut him loose earlier this week. All indications show Dusty Baker is doing his long time friend, Gary Matthews Sr., a favor by bringing the Little Sarge aboard. The elder Matthews played four years for the Cubs (1984-87)…Matthews Jr. played two seasons on the North Side (2000-01).
–Eric Patterson, the younger brother of Corey, was DFA by Oakland this week. He was shipped to the A’s in the Rich Harden deal.
–Baltimore sent Oakland a minor league pitcher and cash to acquire former Cub Jake Fox, who was DFA by Oakland last week. If Fox rebounds to his 2008 form, .259, 11 HR, 44 RBI, it could spell the end to Garrett Atkins’ tenure with the O’s.