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Browsing posts from August, 2010

Former Cub Andres Blanco

By bullpenbrian - August 22, 2010 - 1:01 am Leave a comment.

Andres Blanco is making a go of it with Texas this year.

Since being acquired by the Rangers in March, the 26-year-old made his first Opening Day roster and has filled in primarily as a utility infielder for the first place Rangers.

Blanco’s biggest contribution is his glove. He’s shown terrific range up the middle despite committing 6 errors in 30 games started at three different positions: 2B, 3B & SS.

It’s his lack of offense, however, that continues to hamper his opportunity to become an everyday starter. Through 48 games he’s batting .238 with eight runs scored and six RBI.

The Cubs had little choice but to move Blanco this spring. Not only was he out of minor league options, but he also faced the much anticipated debut of Starlin Castro.

The move made sense at the time, but given the Cubs’ current state, a starting lineup filled with big league prospects, it would’ve been interesting to watch Blanco in a starting role during the final two months on the North Side.

To that, however, we’ll never know.

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Ted Lilly Best July Trade 2010

By bullpenbrian - August 21, 2010 - 1:01 am 2 comments.

Ted Lilly is shaping up to be the best July trade of 2010.

Since joining the Dodgers, Lilly is 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA through his first four starts.

Still a victim of the major’s worst run support, Lilly has received two or fewer runs in three of his four outings. But unlike the Cubs, L.A. has found ways to win close ballgames behind the 34-year-old.

He tossed a two-hit shutout Thursday against Colorado, retiring 19-straight at one point, walked two and struck out a season-high 11.

Not since Kaz Ishii won his first six starts in 2002 has a Dodger pitcher won his first four starts with the club.

Despite Lilly’s ace-form, the Dodgers are all but eliminated from the playoff race. They’ve lost seven of ten falling a distant eight-games back of both the West leading Padres and Wild Card leading Phillies.

Lilly, however, is positioning himself to be a top free agent this offseason, which makes it tougher financially on the Cubs to regain his services for 2011 and beyond.

But if Teddy is open to a return to the North Side, Tom Ricketts would be wise to open the purse strings to resign him.

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Respect Wrigley Field

By bullpenbrian - August 20, 2010 - 12:01 am 4 comments.

Perhaps the sign pictured above, located in the right field bleachers, should be removed and placed in the Cubs dugout.

The Padres’ four-game sweep at Wrigley Field, its first ever in 42 years of  existence, lengthens the Cubs’ home losing streak to seven-games.

That’s the longest such streak by the Cubs at home since dropping nine straight from May 31-June 27, 2006.

Chicago is 1-9 in its last 10 home games dating to August 2 and nine-games below .500 for the season (27-36).

With 18 home dates remaining, the Cubs are in jeopardy of setting its worst home record since 2006 when the club finished (36-45).

Cubs home records:

2009: 46-34
2008: 55-26
2007: 44-37
2006: 36-45
2005: 38-43
2004: 45-37
2003: 44-37
2002: 36-45
2001: 48-33
2000: 38-43

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Derrek Lee Deserves Braves

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

I’m glad Derrek Lee accepted the trade to Atlanta.
He’s deserving of a winning team and another shot at winning a championship.

I’ve always respected D-Lee the player, but never more so than last year when he rebounded from an awful start to lead the Cubs in home runs, RBI, runs scored, and OPS.

Lee accomplished the feat despite all the nay-sayers, like me, who screamed for Micah Hoffpauir, and despite the Cubs’ poor record, and despite the lack of protection in the lineup.

His second half was so brilliant (1.092 OPS and 92 RBI after the All Star break) that he finished ninth in the MVP voting. Who knew, right?

Dare I say, D-Lee may have even been undervalued heading into the last year of his contract?

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Cubs Just Good Enough To Lose

By bullpenbrian - August 18, 2010 - 1:00 am 1 comment.

I’d be interested to know how many times the Cubs have committed more errors than runs scored this season?

My guess is in the four to five range, including Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to San Diego, in which the Cubs made two miscues and grounded into three double plays.

Think how different this season could be if the Cubs averaged one more messily run per game…or made one more clutch hit per week.

Cubs have played 44 one-run games–the most in the majors–but stand 14-30 in those contests. Better still, more than half of its 120 games played have been decided by two or fewer runs, but the Cubs are just 23-40 in those outings.

That’s truly the summary of the Cubs’ 2010 season: just enough offense to lose.

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Miami Marlins New Stadium

By bullpenbrian - August 17, 2010 - 12:10 am 1 comment.

One of the biggest hurdles keeping the Marlins from becoming a financial power-house is the crummy ballpark that is Dolphin Stadium.

If the Marlins are smart when designing their new park, to be completed by 2012, there’s a strong possibility this organization will transform from frugal spenders in to big-budget contenders.

The club’s historically poor attendance records reaffirm the idea that baseball is not best observed, or enjoyed, while played on a football field in ninety-degree heat–and from terrible site lines, no less.

Building a dynamic stadium located in downtown Miami–a top-10 U.S. market, mind you–could very well allow the Fish to thrive financially under the retractable roof of a baseball only facility.

Quite frankly, it’s astonishing the city didn’t approve a new stadium sooner given Miami’s warm climate and its Latin flavor, which simply adores baseball.

But strictly from a baseball perspective, I believe the right stadium puts the soon to be Miami Marlins in the same financial class as its division rivals in New York & Philadelphia.

Winning, of course, is always of most importance and the Marlins are no strangers to championship teams. They’ve reached the summit twice, and more noteably, doing it once on a belt-busting budget and once on a shoe-string budget.

A new stadium with new unis and a revitalized fan base is sure to draw some of the most coveted talent in the major leagues, only this time around the Marlins will be able to reasonably afford its players long-term.

Of course this all sounds crazy right now, but if you don’t believe it, you soon will.

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Name That Cub!

By bullpenbrian - August 16, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Has hit safely in last seven games going 9-for-26.
Was 8-for-23 with three runs scored, two doubles and two RBI
during the recent road trip through S.F. and St. Louis.
Posted a career-high eight-game hitting streak during
late May into early June.
Is batting .343 with RISP.
Name that Cub!

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Cubs At 15 Rookies & Counting

By bullpenbrian - August 15, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Chicago has called up 15 rookies in 2010, the most since 2006 when the club used 16. It’s also the most this early in a season since 1974 when 18 new jacks appeared in the first 115 games.

The Cubs are just one of two teams this year to play 15 or more rookies, Detroit being the other, having utilized 15 rookies as well.

Chicago’s franchise mark for rookies played dates way back to 1902 when 27 rookies suited up for game action.

Including rookie Darwin Barney, who joined the club Tuesday, Chicago currently has 11 newbies on its 25-man roster.

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Cubs Hit New Low, 20-Games Sub .500

By bullpenbrian - August 14, 2010 - 1:00 am 2 comments.

The Cubs’ 6-3 loss against St. Louis drops them 20-games below .500 (48-68).
Think about that for a second…twenty games sub .500 for the third highest payroll in baseball! Who knew that was even possible?

As of Friday’s game, 15 rookies have appeared for Chicago, nine making their MLB debut. That’s the most debuts since the 2000 season when the Cubs finished 65-97, but did so without playoff expectations. This current bunch, however, has simply dropped the ball–in more ways than one, obviously.

The Cubs have now lost three straight, seven of eight and 14 of 16.
They’ve won just three of its last 18 games, and fallen to 12-26 in series openers this season.

Who thought four months ago this would be the state of the Cubs–a glorified Triple-A team with six weeks left in the season? But sadly, that’s what 2010 has become.

And to make matters worse, St. Louis has the pleassure of beating the Cubs’ pants off while streaking towards another NL Central title. Call me a dreamer, but that’s not the vision I had for this club out of spring training, and something tells me I’m not alone.

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Chipper Jones’ Career vs. Cubs

By bullpenbrian - August 13, 2010 - 1:03 am Leave a comment.

Chipper Jones tore the ALC in his left knee against Houston while making a jump throw from third base Tuesday night.

The injury, which requires surgery, ends Jones’ season early, and may spell the end to what is sure to be a Hall of Fame career.

My gut, however, says Chipper won’t leave baseball on the operating table.
I fully expect the 38-year-old to make a comeback in 2011.

In the meantime, here’s how Jones’ career has shaped up against our
Cubbies to date:

-101 games vs. Cubs in 17 brilliant seasons with Atlanta.

  • 102 hits in 377 at-bats (.271 avg.)
  • 24 HR
  • 79 RBI
  • 64 runs scored
  • 17 doubles
  • 50 walks vs. 61 strikeouts
  • 7-for-10 in stolen bases
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