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Browsing posts from June, 2010

Next 20 Games Shape Cubs’ Season

By bullpenbrian - June 22, 2010 - 1:15 am Leave a comment.

Tuesday marks the first of 20-games in 20 days for Chicago heading into the All Star break.

It’s a stretch that will certainly shape the rest of the season, and perhaps more importantly, the long term roster.

Win…and the Cubs’ current roster remains intact for another month. Lose..and you can start waiving good-byes to Lee, Lilly and potentially a slew of other regulars.

Try and wrap your head around this: the Cubs went 53-straight games without being shutout, before a 12-0 drubbing on Sunday. That’s its longest stretch since a 65-game run in 2007. Never would’ve guessed it. Not with the offensive ineptitude we’ve witnessed this season!

–Chicago’s pitching staff has the third most quality starts in the NL…and fourth most in all of baseball. Carlos Silva leads the club with 10 QS.

–The Cubs have played 26 one-run games this season–the most in baseball. But, they’re just 10-16 in those contests.


Derrek Lee On Angels’ Radar

By bullpenbrian - June 22, 2010 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

Derrek Lee to the Angles remains one of the hot trade rumors heading into July, and the Halos got a firsthand look at Lee over the weekend during the three-games series at Wrigley.

Here’s a review of Lee’s weekend:

4-11 at the plate, 6 RBI, 5 two-out RBI, 2 HR, 2 runs scored, 1 double, 1 walk, 1 strikeout and 1 error.

Despite his third error this week, Lee played 59-straight games without an error to start the season. He’s also batting above .350 with RISP and has reached base safely in 55 of 67 games played.

The guy basically showed Anaheim everything they want: a solid fielding first baseman with a little pop and a knack for hitting in the clutch.

If the Cubs continue to slip, the Angels will certainly come calling.


Cubs Baseball Still Better Than Golf

By bullpenbrian - June 21, 2010 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

I realized two things Sunday afternoon. First, I’d rather watch a World Cup game than the US Open, and secondly, the Cubs can hit good pitching when they want too.

Respectfully speaking, I’ve never been a soccer fan. I’ll blame the low scoring and ridiculously long stretches of boring nothingness.  But is there any televised sport less thrilling to watch than golf? Perhaps bowling, but leave it to the US Open to bore me to near death!

Back to the Cubs…it seems Saturday’s embarrassing loss had a lot to do with the Cubs cranking out 18 hits and 12 runs Sunday. And they did it against Joe Saunders, who’s no push-over on the road.

Zambrano was equally as good on the bump…by far his strongest outing since returning from the pen’, and maybe his best outing all year.

This is the type of baseball we’ve expected since Game 1…from the offense, from Z, from Lou. And if Sunday proved anything, it’s that the Cubs are capable of playing good baseball…good enough to compete, good enough to climbed back to .500, good enough for a second half run.

It’s a sign of life, albeit a brief one, we haven’t seen in weeks…the Cubs playing with desperation, with passion, with pride. They took a solid team to the cleaners Sunday, avoided a home-sweep and skipped town on a high note for Seattle.

If they can keep this edge, which they haven’t done all season, we’ll be in for a real treat come July. Otherwise, we’re looking at a second half about exciting as a televised round of golf!


Official Scoring – Error Cubs

By bullpenbrian - June 20, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

I’ve seen more scoring in the World Cup matches than I have from the Cubs’ offense.

Saturday’s 12-0 drubbing against the Angles was just another example: more errors (3) than hits (2), which is embarrassing to say the least.

That’s 12 miscues in the last five games. Pitiful! If you can’t hit, you better play solid defense…and the Cubs do neither well.

Sunday’s outlook isn’t much better. Joe Saunders is 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA in his last three road starts…and 29-11 for his career on the road—the best winning percentage among active pitchers.

Meanwhile, Big Z has been anything but stellar since returning from the bullpen. His 11 walks in 15.3 innings pitched is absurd. If this man’s an ace, he’s sure not acting like one.

The Angles are poised to become the first AL team to sweep the Cubs at Wrigley since Detroit in ’06, while the Cubs will have lost 13 of its last 19 games.

Seriously, will it ever end?


Cubs Still In The Race?

By bullpenbrian - June 19, 2010 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

Just look at the fantastic division races across the National League!

The biggest lead in any divisions is one game–San Diego leading Los Angeles–with the Braves and Cards holding just a half game lead over New York and Cincinnati.

Wild Card race is tight, too. Five teams are within five-games of the Mets. The Cubs, however, are currently out of the mix–nine-games back.

Which means…Chicago’s best bet remains the division race, where neither the Cardinals nor Reds have separated themselves.

With 20-plus games remaining before the All Star break, the Cubs are surprisingly within striking distance. Even a little four-game winning streak could close the gap enough for the Cubs to make a second half run.

But we need the real Cubs to stand up…take the stage and perform the way we know they’re capable of. Scoring more than two runs per game would be an excellent start.

But if all remains the same in Cubs Land, the curtain on the 2010 season will close faster than it appears on paper.


New Music At Wrigley Field

By bullpenbrian - June 18, 2010 - 12:01 am 4 comments.

Besides seeing the Cubs’ season slip away, we’re also witnessing the changing of Wrigley Field.

First the Toyota sign in left field, then the giant noodle on Clark, and now, the end of live organ music to introduce Cub batters at the plate.

I get the advertising deals…the Cubs need more revenue streams. But the organ music is a staple of Wrigley, something other ballparks don’t have, but probably should.

Nonetheless, the baseball world turns, and as Lou would say ‘what can you do?’

The new trend started last weekend, although several Cub players have yet to choose a theme song. If I were a Cub, here are the cuts I’d have playing when stepping to the plate.


Cubs Playing Single-A Ball?

By bullpenbrian - June 17, 2010 - 11:45 pm Leave a comment.

Feels like the season hit a new low Wednesday night, and not just because the Cubs have dropped 10 of its last 14 games.

This was the ugliest baseball we’ve seen to date…booted balls, botched throws, and pure ineptitude at the plate.

Zambrano laboring through the first inning. Colvin blundering around in right field. Even the sure-handed Derrek Lee contributing two errors…and in the same inning, nonetheless.

Lou had a great response to Lee’s comment that the Cubs played “like a Single-A team“… “I didn’t know class A teams played that bad,” said Piniella.

He’s right, too…even the Peoria Chiefs would’ve given a better effort.


Former Cub Jake Fox DFA

By bullpenbrian - June 16, 2010 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

Never thought Jake Fox would be DFA by Oakland. He appeared to have All Star potential on the North Sidebut just needed more playing time.

Jim Hendry made the right decision by giving Fox that opportunity…with a trade to Oakland in December. I figured Fox would take advantage of a starting role, even the DH spot, to become that All Star.

Turns out, that never materialized. Fox batted .214 with 2HR and 12 RBI through 39-games. Jake Fox DFA…never would’ve thunk it.


Harden, Suppan & Snell

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

Shocking news out of Rangers camp…Rich Harden has been placed on the DL with a strain glute.

The right-hander struggling so badly in Texas he was nearly removed from the rotation just days before.

Now he’s back in his comfort zone, on the training table for the next 15-days.

How this man makes $7.5M is beyond me. Jim Hendry could not have been more right parting ways with Harden when he did.


In another unsurprising move, the Brewers released Jeff Suppan who’s steadily gotten worse since 2007 when he signed the richest contract in Milwaukee’s history: $42M over 4-yr.

Now he’s back with the Cardinals, and pitching guru Dave Duncan, who made Suppan a very respectable post season pitcher in 2006 during St. Louis’ World Series run.

It’s just what the Cubs don’t need–Duncan rekindling an old flame!


If I’m Jim Hendry, I take a look at Ian Snell who was dumped by Seattle this week.

Snell never adjusted to starting in the American League, but he did have a few successful years with Pittsburgh.

I’d take a run at Snell as a veteran bullpen arm…Lord knows, the Cubs need the late inning help!


A Lilly No No

By bullpenbrian - June 14, 2010 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

Damn, I wanted Lilly to get the no-hitter!

Not just because it was the White Sox, but because I fear Lilly could be dealt come July.

And whether Cubs fans want to recognize it or not, Lilly’s the true ace of this staff. To trade him would be a mistake.

But there’s no way the Cubs deal Lilly without backlash if he no-hits the cross-town rival.

A no-no might have been the only thing to make up for a season of virtually zero support from his mates, too.

Instead, it’s a 1-0 win to go along with his second win of the season…a far cry from where his win total should be.

Maybe if the guy gets a little run support he relaxes to close out the final three batters. But as usual, the lineup left him hanging…and not just with the game on the line, either. No, not even with its best hurler on the mound, throwing a no-hitter, can the Cubs score runs.

Then there’s Juan Pierre, a man who just loves torching the Cubs. First with Florida, then the 2006 season, and now this, breaking up Lilly’s no-hit bid in the ninth…c’mon man!

Chad Tracy’s backhanded snag at third wasn’t exactly the DeWayne Wise catch in the Buehrle Game, but would’ve been the defensive gem remembered if Lilly throws the no-hitter.

Can’t believe Lou leaves Lilly in the game after Pierre’s single. Marmol almost blew it, which would have been so Cubs.


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