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Browsing posts from May, 2011

Aramis Can Still Carry Cubs

By bullpenbrian - May 22, 2011 - 1:00 am 3 comments.

Aramis Ramirez had one his best at-bats of the season Saturday night–albeit an eighth inning walk to load the bases.

His 11 pitch battle against Matt Albers helped turn a close game into a rout. And Ramirez looked a lot like his old self again: a focused hitter thriving under the greatest pressure.

I’ve said many times Aramis was my MVP pick for the Cubs’ division winning teams in 2007-08. He came up big time-and-time again, in all sorts of situations, but especially the clutch.

I saw ‘that’ Ramirez again Sat. night. And should the old Aramis stick around to be the club’s MVP in 2011, Chicago will keep its slim chance at the division.

However, it’s going to be one heavy load for the ageing star. We know this club is nowhere near as talented as the winners from just a few seasons ago.

But if any one player can shoulder it, thrive with it, and keep this team relevant, even for a few more months, it’s No.16.

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Mr. Cubs Race!

By bullpenbrian - May 21, 2011 - 2:00 am Leave a comment.

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What Good Ball Looks Like

By bullpenbrian - May 21, 2011 - 1:59 am 1 comment.

Boston reminded us what good baseball looks like. The Cubs reminded us they don’t play good baseball.

The Red Sox played like contenders, pounding a lesser Cubs team into submission. The Cubs played like pretenders, offering us fans another humbling loss.

Third time this season the Cubs have committed four errors. Are you kidding me? Who’s the last playoff team to do that?

Two more boots from Starlin. Yeah, the kid’s young…but he’s repeating the same mistakes. Specifically on throws across the diamond. It’s a lack of concentration. And it’s worth Quade benching him a game.

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The Cubs’ 0.4% Chance

By bullpenbrian - May 19, 2011 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

According to accuscore.com, Chicago is on pace for a (75-87) record.

In addition, the Cubs’ current record of (18-23) grades out with a 0.4% chance of winning the division and 0.6% chance of making the playoffs as the Wild Card.

If it takes roughly 90 wins to take the division…the Cubs would need to finish the remaining 121 games going (72-49).

That’s playing (.595) baseball…and assumes neither the Reds, Cardinals or Brewers reach the 90-win plateau, which is also unlikely.

Not exactly the confidence builder we’re looking for is it?

That said, the Cubs 7-5 win at Florida Wednesday night was far from meaningless.

It quickly put Tuesday’s awful performance in the rear view mirror and gives Chicago a new starting point from which to build on.

The stark truth, however, is Chicago has a big hole to climb out of in the Central standings.

Overcoming a six-game deficit to Cincinnati is possible, but the Cubs have yet to show any indication they’re capable of stringing together a few wins.

In fact, the Cubs have yet to win three games in a row.

Even if this bleak reality has yet to set in…please do me the favor of refraining from crying out ‘it’s still early.’

Spring training games are early–not April and May baseball.

And right now, the only thing early about the 2011 season is the rapid approach of the Cubs’ post season exit.

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Red Flag Flies At Great American

By bullpenbrian - May 18, 2011 - 2:16 am Leave a comment.

It would be one thing for the Cubs to lose following Mike Quade’s closed door meeting to address the team’s embarrassing play following Monday’s loss against Cincinnati.

But it’s an entirely different matter to lose by allowing seven –SEVEN- unearned runs via four errors.

So as the first place Reds scored five runs without the help of a hit or the ball leaving the infield, it appeared as though Quade’s bunch isn’t responding well to his plea for more focus, and that’s a very scary thought in the middle of May. 

Quade certainly didn’t help his cause by letting Kerry Wood burn in the eighth. As the setup man struggled to get outs the bullpen was dead silent—even while the game remained within reach.

But this was yet another sign the skipper himself has struggled to push the right buttons. He gambled too long with James Russell in the rotation, failed to find playing time for Tyler Colvin and apparently misfired on his delivery during Monday’s post game tongue lashing.

This 7-5 loss, in particular, marks my second red flag of the 2011 season. One more warning flag and we can call the season a wash.

Do you hear me now, Cubs?

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What’s The Plan, Cubs?

By bullpenbrian - May 18, 2011 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

I’m confused and disappointed with the Cubs decision to demote Tyler Colvin to Triple-A Iowa.

If the Cubs intentions are to win now, or build towards the future, Tyler Colvin should be a part of the process at the big league level either way.

What good does it do putting this kid back in the minors? He showed everyone last year he’s a capable major leaguer.

Colvin is just as capable, if not more so, than Soriano, Byrd or Fukudome in the outfield in both run production and fielding. And Lord knows this team could use a dependable fielding mit.

I’m also greatly disappointed with Mike Quade’s refusal to put Colvin into the everyday lineup?

I hailed the skipper this winter after he declared Ryan Dempster the Opening Day starter. A move, in particular, which signaled a change of thought that only the players producing best, and not just those with huge contracts, would receive the bulk of playing time.

But how can I explain Colvin riding the pine with a team that doesn’t hit with RISP, fields poorly and sits six games under .500 before June 1st?

Seriously, what’s the plan here Chicago? And whatever that might be, demoting Colvin isn’t the answer I was looking for.

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Quade’s Verbal Lashing

By bullpenbrian - May 17, 2011 - 1:31 am Leave a comment.

I wouldn’t call Mike Quade’s closed door meeting overdue.

Instead, I’d say it’s just the right time with the Cubs five games under and six back in the division.

The Cubs are fading fast, and Qaude senses it. He knows…we all know…the next two weeks could very well determine the season.

If you’re a team not in the race come June 1st…good luck joining the party in the second half. It rarely happens once you’ve laid the groundwork for mediocrity or worse.

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Who Said It?

By bullpenbrian - May 17, 2011 - 1:03 am 1 comment.

Gone Fishing..Gone For Good?

‘I know it’s going to take some time and you have some work to do, but I want to be a Chicago Cub if you want me,’” ??? said.

“I knew when I left that restaurant that night that he was our guy,” ??? said.

“The opinion that he wouldn’t be a good teammate or he would be a disruption in the clubhouse couldn’t be further from the truth,” ??? said.

“I’ve seen a lot of cute headlines about me,” he said. “People who have never met me are speaking about me. It’s not very intelligent to speak about someone you’ve never met. That’s something I never do. I’m never going to judge somebody based on what I see on TV or read in the paper.”

“I even looked forward to answering all [the media's] questions today — that’s how much I’m happy to be here,” he said, smiling.

“My whole life all I tried to do was fit in places. I felt like I finally fit. Getting elected to the All-Star team last year by the players was a complete honor. A lot of that changed me. I just felt more comfortable being more open and letting people know who I am.”

“It’s been a lot of years and a lot of pain and grief for the [Cubs] fans out there,” ??? said. “I know with every fiber of my being, I want to win. The Cubs have been on my radar for a while now.

“It’s a new day, new way for this guy,” ??? said.

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Cubs Could Use A Bautista

By bullpenbrian - May 16, 2011 - 5:05 pm Leave a comment.

I simply marvel at Jose Bautista.

He’s homered 13 times in his last 21 games and leads MLB with 15 HR.

His 35 intentional walks also ranks first in the bigs, and he’s reached base safely in 31 of 32 games this season.

Man, the Cubs use a bat like that!

Meanwhile, just look at where this guy’s come from:

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Doug Davis a bright spot at rainy Wrigley Field

By bullpenbrian - May 16, 2011 - 5:01 pm Leave a comment.

Despite Cubs’ loss in rain-shortened game, Davis’ was good.

I thought Davis did a decent days work.

He threw strikes. He lasted five innings. He did what you expect from a fifth starter.

That’s more than James Russell could do…or should have been asked to do as a starter.

And while Davis appears to be a temporary god-send, wouldn’t it be nice to have Braden Looper and Carlos Silva still in the mix?

Davis barely has the stuff to make it any longer at this level. But he’s long been a pitcher, a crafty left-hander, an innings guy the Cubs desperately need.

Davis will never be the best arm in this rotation, but he’s surely the most important one, at least in the short-term.

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