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Browsing posts from September, 2010

Cubs A Saturday Delight

By bullpenbrian - September 10, 2010 - 12:14 am Leave a comment.

Wouldn’t exactly call them weekend warriors.
But the Cubs seem to do its best on Saturdays.

Maybe that has something to do with an awful Friday record?
Anyhow, here’s a look at the Cubs’ record by ‘Days of the Week’:

Sat.      (13-9)
Wed.   (10-11)
Mon.  (9-9)
Sun.    (9-13)
Tue.    (7-13)
Fri.      (7-15)
Thu.    (5-10)


Will Cubs Hit 100 Losses?

By bullpenbrian - September 9, 2010 - 12:05 am Leave a comment.

The Cubs have not lost 100-games since the 1966 season (59-103).
They have, however, come close a few times since:

2006 – (66-96)
2002 – (67-95)
2000 – (65-97)
1999 – (67-95)
1997 – (68-94)
1980 – (64-98)
1974 – (66-96)

Thankfully, the Cubs (60-80) won’t reach the mark this season. Although, it’s appeared at times as if they’re trying to. But with 22-games remaining, the Cubs are 20 losses shy of triple digits.

I think they’re good for about eight more wins, which puts them at 94 losses.
Not exactly the 87-win season I predicted.
But it can’t be this bad next year, right?


Silva For Bradley A Steal For Cubs

By bullpenbrian - September 8, 2010 - 12:30 am Leave a comment.

Carlos Silva has won me over this season.
And that’s saying something because I didn’t give the guy a chance at first blush.
Over-weight, over-paid and over-valued, I thought.

Never thought Silva would make it past spring training, and I said as much!
Sure as heck didn’t think he’d win 10 games or have 13 quality starts, either.
Heck, I was content just seeing ‘Milton the Terrible’ depart Chicago–forget about gaining Silva.

But Silva’s been respectable for the Cubs.
He’s pitched well, carries himself as much, and says all the righ things, too.
Had he not suffered the heart setback, which cost him a month, he could be working on a 15-win season, which is outstanding given the circumstances.

Getting Silva for Bradley, who’s been a dud for Seattle, was a steal for Jim Hendry. Didn’t know it last December, but I’m all in for Silva as a Chicago Cub.


Quade, Castro & Soto

By bullpenbrian - September 7, 2010 - 12:01 am 2 comments.

–So Mike Quade is showing the Cubs he can bench star players, too.

Fredi Gonzalez, a reported leading candidate for the Cubs manager position, gained much support for his benching of Hanley Ramirez earlier in the season with Florida. Shortly after, however, Gonzalez was fired by the Marlins.

Quade sat Starlin Castro on Monday after the rookie forgot how many outs there were in the seventh inning of Sunday’s awful 18-5 loss against St. Louis.

It’s a fitting punishment for Castro, who needs to learn star players can’t take plays off, no matter the score of the game.

–Castro has been red-hot at the plate since July 10th. He has the most hits (76) and doubles (20) of any other player in baseball during this stretch.

–Geovany Soto, who had the game-winning home run on Monday, has basically flown under the radar this season. But the catcher has posted decent numbers through his 89 starts–.284, 17 HR & 51 RBI. All said, it’s been a nice rebound year for Soto after his debacle of a sophomore season–.218, 11 HR & 37 RBI.

On top of his rededication to staying in shape, Soto has also refined his plate discipline posting an on-base percentage of .398–34-points higher than his ROY season in 2008.

The catcher has smartly got his act together in time to show Jim Hendry he’s worth a multi-year deal this offseason. He’s currently signed through the season for $0.575M.


Name That Cub!

By bullpenbrian - September 6, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Batting .290 since the All Star break.
That’s 80-points higher than his first half.
Has 16 HR and 47 RBI in his last 51 games.
Earned NL Player of the Week honors (July 25).
Has 31 two-out RBI and one seven RBI game.
Is 6-for-19 on the homestand–2 HR, 4 runs scored & 8 RBI.
Name that Cub!


Carlos Zambrano Is Fool’s Gold

By bullpenbrian - September 5, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Big Z has been terrific on the mound since returning from knucklehead rehab–
(4-0) in six starts. But I’m not buying the ‘new & improved’ Carlos.

Why should I?

The man’s been fool’s gold for years.
He has great pitching ability, but maintains the temperament of a five-year-old.
That alone has limited Zambrano’s success, hurt his team and divided a clubhouse.

I’d love to give Carlos kudos for finding help, but it was Major League Baseball and the Cubs that forced his hand into treatment for anger management–not Z.

So why believe Z’s latest apology for amateur behavior is any more genuine than his last, or the one before that one?

The best part of Zambrano’s resurgence is his trade value this offseason.
A physically healthy Zambrano is a blue-chip trading piece for Jim Hendry.

Of course, Z’s unstable mental toughness and whopping $91M contract greatly depreciates his overall value, but trade options will remain available.

If Seattle came calling for Milton Bradley, the Giants Jose Guillen, and the White Sox Manny Ramirez, certainly there’s a trade match for El Toro.

It’s time Zambrano and the Cubs both agreed on a change of scenery.
Even a solid September can’t repair the damage Z caused in 2010.
Cut your losses Cubs and move on. No doubt you’ll be better off without him.


Mark Prior Passes Towel Drill!

By bullpenbrian - September 4, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Good to see Mark Prior back on track for the majors.
And glad we’re not talking about the towel drill!

Prior joins Triple-A Oklahoma City, a Rangers affiliate, this weekend.
The 30-year-old envisions his comeback as a reliever, not a starter.

The obvious health questions aside, Prior has a tough road to reach the Rangers’ bullpen. Texas relievers lead the AL in wins (25), are second in strikeouts and have posted a 1.80 ERA since August 19.

There are also two sure-fire prospects blocking Prior’s chances. Left-handers Michael Kirkman, who was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year this week, and Derek Holland, who went 6-2 with a 1.87 ERA for Oklahoma City before his recent call-up to Arlington.

However, a strong showing for Prior in Triple-A could earn a late September call-up. And although he would not be eligible for postseason play, an invite to spring training 2011 could put Prior back in the majors before we know it.

Prior spent one month this season pitching for the Orange County Flyers of the Golden Baseball League. In nine releif appearances Prior allowed just one unearned run, striking out 22 of 44 baters faced.


Cubs Leaderboard 2010

By bullpenbrian - September 3, 2010 - 1:23 am Leave a comment.

AVG:     S. Castro      .317 – Batting .365 since All Star break.
HR:       A. Soriano       21  – Nine straight years of 20 or more HR.

RBI:     A. Ramirez      69  – Eight RBI in last ten games.
SB:        S. Castro             7 – Fukudome is second with 6 steals.

Wins:   R. Dempster    12  – 4-2 with a 2.89 ERA in August.
ERA:    R. Dempster    3.71

Saves: C. Marmol        25  – Blown five save chances.

K:          R. Dempster    172


Is Fredi Ready For Wrigley?

By bullpenbrian - September 2, 2010 - 1:08 am Leave a comment.

I could live happily with Fredi Gonzalez as the next Cubs manager.

He thrive during his four years with the always frugal Florida Marlins (276-279) and has both minor and major league coaching experience.

Gonzalez was also mentored by one of the best skippers of all time, Bobby Cox, during his four seasons as third base coach in Atlanta (2003-06).

The resume as a whole isn’t breathtaking, but Gonzalez appears to have several standout qualities the Cubs are looking for in its next field general.


Cubs Running Express

By bullpenbrian - September 1, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

I take the CTA Red Line to and from downtown six days a week.
It’s like riding along the Cubs’ season–a long, slow and frustrating journey.

I piled on at the Fullerton stop Tuesday evening, the train well behind schedule.
We didn’t make it two stops before the conductor announced the train would run express to Granville, far beyond my stop.

So I unboarded the train and waited again for the next Red Line. But here’s the kicker. The reason for the train’s tardiness, according to the conductor, was “many defects to the train and an already prolonged delay.” Sounds similar to our Cubs, eh?

Got me thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if the Cubs could run express to the end of September, say, due to “many defects and 21.5 games out of first place.”

Anyway, the Cubs’ (4-10) record against Pittsburgh is simply embarrassing. What else can you say when you’re (3-5) at home against a club that’s (7-48) against the rest of its opponents away from home?

And it doesn’t stop there. The Peg Legs have won 12 of 16 games at Wrigley dating back to September of last year.

Now if that’s not a reason to run express, I don’t know what is.


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