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Browsing posts from August, 2011

Big Z On The Big ‘DL’

By bullpenbrian - August 14, 2011 - 1:11 am Leave a comment.

Can’t say I remember the last time the Cubs placed a player on the DL, as in ‘Disqualified List’…not the disabled list.

Apparently it’s the same list our favorite former hot-head, Milton Bradley, landed on in 2009 with Chicago…but it seems I only remember that as a being labeled a suspension. Nevertheless…

As Paul Sullivan of the Tribune put it “In a virtual reenactment of the end of Milton Bradley’s Cubs career, the players had few positive things to say about what might have been Zambrano’s last act with the team.”

According to the MLB Rule book: Disqualified list includes those who play with or against a club which during the current season has had a connection with an ineligible player or person; and the Ineligible list collects those involved with attempts to throw games, bribe players or umpires, or bet on games, and those convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude.

Moral turpitude seems to sum up Zambrano nicely. He’s obviously well deserving of the list and left Jim Hendry no other immediate choice but to release him.

The 30-days suspension without pay is meaningless for Zambrano. But it does give the Cubs some time to think through its next move for the troubled pitcher.

Releasing Carlos is still a viable option, of course, but maybe Zambrano does decide to retire letting the Cubs off the hook for the rest of his super-sized contract, which is easily worth waiting 30 days for.

It’s also possible another team could be interested in acquiring Z. The Mariners, after all, traded for Milton Bradley. And if Z clears waivers, there’s a chance Hendry could move him in September, although Z wouldn’t be playoff eligible for any contenders.

Whatever the case may be, Carlos returning to the Cubs, this season or beyond, should not be considered. How could it be?

I can’t even imagine a scenario where Zambrano pitches another game for the Chicago Cubs.

Heaven help us if he does.


Chris Jaffe of the Hardball Times talks about Zambrano and The ALL Time HR List For Pitchers.

For now, here are the top ten all-time at hitting homers while pitching:

HR    Pitcher
37    Wes Ferrell
35    Bob Lemon
35    Warren Spahn
34    Red Ruffing
33    Earl Wilson
29    Don Drysdale
24    Bob Gibson
24    John Clarkson
23    Walter Johnson
23    Carlos Zambrano


Big Z, Big Mess. Now What?

By bullpenbrian - August 13, 2011 - 2:01 am 2 comments.

My goodness…where to begin?

Just when I thought Mike Quade was saving his job with a (14-12) record since the All Star break, the wheels came off yet again.

The Cubs may not lose 100-games this season, but they’ll come close. Trouble is, there’s a larger problem at stake for Mike Quade.


Mr. Cubs Race!

By bullpenbrian - August 13, 2011 - 12:02 am Leave a comment.


Sheffield & Waveland HRs

By bullpenbrian - August 12, 2011 - 1:30 am Leave a comment.

Thursday’s weather more than made up for Monday night’s rainout.

In fact, it turned out to be a perfect day to catch the game from the left field bleacher seats, and watch the Cubs defeat Washington 4-3!

The only thing missing was the battery life on my digital camera. Forgot to charge the damn thing before the game. Thank goodness for the ol’ Blackberry!

LF Bleachers

Under LF Bleachers

Ron Santo Statue


Three hits left the yard on Thursday, two of which cleared the bleachers. Ryan Zimmerman’s first inning blast off Dempster easily sailed over the left field seats and nearly cleared Waveland Avenue.

Immediately following Aramis’ seventh inning 2-R shot into the left field seats, Carlos Pena tagged Nats starter, Jordan Zimmermann, with a towering shot onto Sheffield Avenue.

Zimmerman’s long home run marks the fourth time an opponent has hit Waveland this season. Rickie Weeks being the last to do so against John Grabow on June, 15th.

Pena’s majestic hit, however, marks the Cubs’ first home run all year to clear the bleachers on either side. And not a single Cubs opponent has hit one on Sheffield in 2011. Ryan Howard takes the honors as the last opponent to do so connecting off Bob Howry on July 15th, 2010.


The Cubs have hit back-to-back homers on five occasions this season:
-4.29.11, Soriano & Soto
-6.08.11, Pena & Ramirez
-6.25.11, Ramirez & Soto
-8.02.11, Soto & Soriano
-8.11.11, Ramirez & Pena

Chicago has yet to knock back-to-back-to-back home runs in 2011.


Earlier this week Cubs organist, Gary Pressy, worked his 2,000th regular season game at Wrigley Field.

Pressy began full-time for the Cubs in 1987, with the home team compiling a (1,023-973-3) record under Gary’s tenure. Not bad…not bad at all.


Why Is Soriano Still A Cub?

By bullpenbrian - August 11, 2011 - 2:01 am Leave a comment.

It seems popular belief that Jim Hendry was an idiot for signing Alfonso Soriano to a mega-deal in 2007.

I never quite looked at it that way. Rather, I though Hendry was simply willing to take a major gamble on a player, who at the time, was very capable of helping the Cubs win a World Series.

Back to back division championships showed us Hendry wasn’t too far off base, but in typical Cubs fashion, they choked both postseason opportunities away.

For argument sake, had the Cubs won, or at least reached the World Series, Hendry would have been absolved from some, if not all of his sins, including Soriano.

But that gamble, of course, never panned out…leaving the Cubs’ GM stuck with an overpaid LF who’s better fit as a DH than an everyday outfielder.

If that makes Hendry an idiot, so be it. His risk, his responsibility. And if Hendry is fired following the season, the Soriano deal is what he’ll most likely be remembered for.

That said, I had a gut feeling Hendry would find a taker for Soriano at the trade deadline, especially following the Cubs’ decision to eat most of Fukudome’s contract.

Moving Sori would have certainly been viewed as a desperation move, but what’s to be expected from a team bumbling through the season and a GM whose job is on the line?

What the Cubs need is fresh talent, a new start, and a more flexible payroll…not an aging, injury plagued, poor fielding outfielder who’s better served as an ideal short-risk gamble at DH for an AL contender.

Eating Soriano’s contract to move him seemed very logical, but instead is a missed opportunity on Hendry’s part. 

Soriano finishing the season with Chicago is yet another reminder of Hendry’s failure to turn the Cubs back into a consistent winner.

Hendry gambled early with Soriano and lost. He’s also had two years to right the ship with Soriano, but to no avail. Now he’s stuck with him, all $51M of him.

So is there any question the Cubs should take another gamble on Hendry?


Dag Wang-It Cubs!

By bullpenbrian - August 10, 2011 - 1:01 am Leave a comment.

In the words of Harry Doyle: That’s all we got, one goddamn hit?

Yep. That’s all the Cubs could mustard through six innings against Chien-Ming Wang Tuesday night.

And if it wasn’t for Campana’s pinch-hit infield single, who knows how long Wang would have no-hit the Cubs?

Despite the fact Wang has struggled, as expected, in his two year return from shoulder surgery, let us not forget this guy was a two-time 19-game winner for the Yankees.

And the 31-year-old had his old form working during his first ever start at Wrigley Field.

In fact, Wang appeared just as strong as his only start against the Cubs coming six years earlier–8.0 innings of five hit, 1-R baseball in an 8-1 win for New York.

True to form, Wang was aggressive Tuesday night throwing strikes and his patented sinker…a pitch that’s produced a 2.72 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio for Wang–2nd highest in the bigs among active pitchers.

The Cubs obliged by pounding 11 ground balls into the dirt vs. four fly balls. Six innings, 81 pitches–Game. Over.

I have no problem tipping my cap to Wang. But let’s hope the Cubs lineup isn’t as accommodating Wednesday night to Ross Detwiler (1-1) 2.66 ERA, who’s still in search of his first career road win in nine starts.


Wrigley’s Rain, Starlin’s Shine

By bullpenbrian - August 9, 2011 - 2:00 am Leave a comment.

The many rain delays at Wrigley Field seem so fitting for the Cubs. It’s like the entire season has been played under dark clouds hanging over Wrigleyville.

Monday night’s rainout marks the 11th time a home game has been delayed, and the fourth time its been suspended due to unplayable weather.


Starlin Castro’s 150 hits leads the NL and is third best in the majors.

He’s collected 17 hits over the last seven games, six of which were multi-hit outings, and four of the three-hit variety.

Castro has registered three hits or more 19 times, tops in the NL and second in the majors. Only Bill Buckner has more three-hit outings for the Cubs—24 of them in 1980.

The 21-year-old is riding an eight-game hitting streak batting .486 with a .513 on-base percentage and .730 slugging mark.

Castro is on pace for 211 hits this year.


More Castro Please

Not surprisingly, Starlin has scored a run in nine straight games, which equals Derrek Lee’s streak from September of 2009.

Mark DeRosa, who was recently removed from the Giants’ 60-day DL, is the last Cub to score a run in 10 straight games happening in May of 2008.

Tampa Bay’s Ben Zobrist is the only big leaguer to score a a run in 10 straight games this season.


In Quade We Trusty?

By bullpenbrian - August 8, 2011 - 1:01 am Leave a comment.

A tough 8-7 loss to the Reds on Sunday ended the Cubs seven-game winning streak. But the string of wins greatly improves Chicago’s chances of avoiding 100-losses.

That means little in the grand scheme of things, the Cubs still stink and remain one of baseball’s worst clubs, but it’s huge for Mike Quade.


Because it’s tough justifying the return of any manager whose team reaches triple digits in the loss column, and especially for a club expected to contend.


Central Talk, Pena’s Walks

By bullpenbrian - August 7, 2011 - 1:09 am Leave a comment.

With eight weeks to go the race for the NL Central flag is now a two horse chase between Milwaukee and St. Louis.

The Brewers and Cardinals have separated themselves from the pack due in large part to the Cubs’ seven-game winning streak vs. divisional opponents.

With Chicago’s four game sweep at Pittsburgh, the Pirates have fallen flat losing nine straight while dropping 9.0 games back of Milwaukee.

The Cubs’ spoiler streak continued Saturday having won the first two of three vs. Cincinnati, all but eliminating the defending champ’s run at a repeat. The Reds have lost three straight and trail the Brewers by 9.5 games.

Chicago has six game left against both front runners. Who knew the division ran through Chicago?


For the third time this week Carlos Pena drew a bases loaded walk. Not exactly what you’re looking for in a run producer, but getting the runner home should stand for something.

For all that’s made about Pena’s .224 average, his on-base percentage is 120 points higher than his batting average.

Pena has drawn a walk in nine of his last 10 games, and 14 of his last 18 contests.

He also leads the club in HR (21) and walks (67)–good for third best in the NL.

Maybe keeping Pena at the trade deadline wasn’t so bad after all?


Mr. Cubs Race!

By bullpenbrian - August 6, 2011 - 1:01 am Leave a comment.


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