A Chicago Cubs Blog
EST. 2007


Join The Bandwagon


Bullpen Brian's Tweets

Tony Campana slices left hand, gets eight stitches

By bullpenbrian - March 8, 2013 - 12:15 pm Leave a comment.

Tony Campana Chicago Cubs

The scrappy former Cubs outfielder sliced his left hand while attempting to steal second base in a Cactus League game yesterday. The laceration required eight stitches.

Campana (.222/.263/.389) has 4 hits in 19 plate appearances this spring, including 2 runs batted in and a run scored. He’s drawn 1 walk vs. 5 strikeouts and is 1-for-2 in stolen bases. 

Per Hardball Talk:

“Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that Diamondbacks outfielder Tony Campana suffered a lacerated left hand Thursday while trying to steal second base during a Cactus League game against the Brewers and wound up needing eight stitches.

Campana will likely be held out of baseball activities for the next several days while the laceration heals.

The 26-year-old speedster was acquired from the Cubs this offseason in exchange for minor league right-handers Erick Leal and Jesus Castillo. He boasts 54 stolen bases in 59 career attempts and is currently in the running for a spot on Arizona’s bench.”


D-backs proudly display lineup card from 2005 season opening 16-6 loss vs. Cubs

By bullpenbrian - February 28, 2013 - 3:05 pm Leave a comment.

Diamondbacks opening day lineup 2005

I stumbled across this picture on the blog Old Time Family Baseball. The writer, Michael Clair, is a finalist to join the MLB Fan Cave for the upcoming season.

He recently snapped the photo while on a tour of Chase Field in Arizona. Not entirely sure why this particular lineup card is on display at the ballpark–the Cubs won the 2005 season opener 16-6 vs. the Diamondbacks.

Nonetheless, there are some former Cubs ties with players Luis Gonzalez (1995-96), Chad Tracy (2010) and Koyie Hill (2007-12).

As for the game, the Cubs scored in 7 of 9 frames, mashing the D-backs’ pitching for 23 hits. Starter Javier Vazquez was lit up allowing 7-ER on 10-H in 1.2 innings.

Derrek Lee (who would go on to have the best all-around season of his career winning the National League batting title (.335), a Silver Slugger Award and a Gold Glove while finishing third in MVP voting), went 4-for-6 with a HR and five RBI.

Aramis Ramirez went 3-for-4, including a HR, 4 RBI and 4 runs scored. Jeromy Burnitz had 3 hits and Nomar Garciaparra added 2 hits and 3 RBI. Even Corey Patterson had a big day going 3-for-5 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored.

Carlos Zambrano started for the Cubs, but lasted only 4.2 innings allowing 3 runs on 7 hits with 4 walks and 8 strikeouts. Glendon Rusch took over in the fifth, pitched 2.1 innings allowing 2 runs, and earned the win.

Despite a promising start, the Cubs lost the next three games and hovered around .500 until the beginning of May, when they suffered a 7-game losing streak. A few weeks later the Cubs bounced back winning 7 straight to jump above .500, but the success was short lived.

The Cubs thereafter experienced two 8-games losing skids, one in July the other in August, that wipe the team out of postseason contention. They finished the campaign (79-83) under Dusty Baker, then in his third season as Chicago’s manager (sad trombone).


Where Tony Campana fits with the Diamondbacks

By bullpenbrian - February 19, 2013 - 12:00 pm Leave a comment.

Tony Campana
Two pitchers for Tony Campana? What a steal.

I figured Campana would hit waivers, get claimed, and the Cubs would simply enjoy freeing up a roster spot.

Instead, the Cubs receive two 17-year-old, right-handed pitchers in return: Erick Leal and Jesus Castillo.

Who knows where either pitcher ends up with the Cubs? They’re barely legal age, let alone, years off from making any sort of run at the big leagues. But the fact is, at least the Cubs got ‘something‘ for Campana, which is a bonus.

Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks, who have a formidable club this season, finished 12/16 in the National League in stolen bases last year. And only Pittsburgh (52) was caught stealing more times than Arizona (51).

Campana is 54/59 in stolen bags the past two seasons, including 30 swipes in 2012. He immediately helps replace the 18 stolen bases lost to Atlanta with the trade of Justin Upton, who tied Paul Goldschmidt for the team lead last season.

Trading for Campana is obviously a move that makes sense for Arizona, who will need every edge competing against the defending world champion Giants and the heavy firepower of the Dodgers.

But this is also an opportunity for Campana to hear new voices and receive new instruction on becoming a better hitter. His fate is ultimately tied to improving his bat and his on-base percentage, which he didn’t do in Chicago.

Campana lovers, pay attention. The D-backs have one scheduled visit to Wrigley Field this upcoming season. It happens during a three-game weekend series from May 31 to June 2. The Cubs then travel to Arizona following the All-Star break for a four-game series from July 22-25.


Will ‘Beast Mode’ Prevail?

By bullpenbrian - October 7, 2011 - 2:01 am Leave a comment.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Here’s a quick thumbnail sketch of Friday’s decisive Game 5 between Arizona-Milwaukee. Fist pitch is scheduled for 4:07 CT on TBS.

Simply said, we’re looking at a rematch of Game 1, a 4-1 win for Milwaukee, between starters Yovani Gallardo & Ian Kennedy.

Gallardo is is 6-0 with a 1.18 ERA in six career starts against Arizona.

Kennedy, meanwhile, is a 21-game winner that was cruising through Game 1 until allowing a two-run homer in the seventh to Prince Fielder, who by the way, may be playing his last game in a Brewers uniform.

Ryan Braun, Fielder and Rickie Weeks are coming off a woeful 3-for-23 road trip in Arizona. The three, however, combined to go 10-for-22 in Games 1 & 2 at Miller Park.

The D-Backs are riding high offensively having plated 18 runs over the past two games, both victories in Arizona.

They also became just the second team ever to hit grand slams in consecutive postseason games, joining the 1977 Dodgers.

The Snakes are also looking to become just the eighth team to recover from an 0-2 series deficit in a best-of-five series, which isn’t out of the question considering they managed a major league best 48 come-from-behind wins during the regular season.

But Milwaukee isn’t likely to go down without a fight, where they too, set a major league mark in 2011 reaching 57 home victories.


MLB Playoffs Game 5

By bullpenbrian - October 6, 2011 - 3:01 pm Leave a comment.

We knew the MLB Postseason would have a hard time surpassing, let alone matching, the high drama of last Wednesday’s playoff push.

However, for just the second time since 1995 three of the four Division Series are headed to a decisive Game 5, the first of which begins tonight at Yankee Stadium.

The last time this happened was 2001. Aside from Atlanta sweeping Houston 3-0, Arizona defeated St. Louis in five games, Seattle bested Cleveland 3-2, and New York rallied from an 0-2 hole to take the series against Oakland.

But the excitement was short lived with both league championship series ending in five games: Arizona defeating Atlanta 4-1, and New York doing the same against Seattle.

Conversely, under the shadow of 9/11, the postseason closed with one of the more memorable World Series in recent memory: the Diamondbacks winning a seven-games series against the Yankees.

Obviously, there are no guarantees this Fall Classic will follow suite with 2001. But so far, baseball’s playoffs are living up to the hype!


D-Backs Show Cubs The Way

By bullpenbrian - August 19, 2011 - 1:05 am 2 comments.

I look at the Arizona Diamondbacks this year and think ‘why not the Cubs?’

After two straight seasons of finishing last in the NL West, the organization made swift changes in 2010 firing manager A.J. Hinch and GM Josh Byrnes in favor of a gritty Kirk Gibson and savvy GM Kevin Towers.

The cost of doing such business was extremely high: both Hinch and Byrnes were under multi-year contracts. But the turn-a-round, again notably expensive, has quickly paid dividends in 2011.

Perhaps most importantly was the revamping of the Snakes coaching staff. Gibson surrounded himself with former All Stars and well respected baseball minds.

Former Cubs coach, Alan Trammell, joined as Gibson’s bench coach. Don Baylor the hitting coach. Charles Nagy the pitching coach. Eric Young and Matt Williams man the baselines.

No question the coaching has strongly contributed to the D-Backs surge atop the NL West where they currently lead the Giants by 2.5 games.

Their 69 wins already surpass last season’s mark of 65. And wouldn’t you know, attendance at Chase Field is on the rise.

So why couldn’t the same formula work in Wrigleyville?

Ditching Mike Quade and Jim Hendry wouldn’t come at the expense it cost Arizona to make management changes.

A Hall of Famer like Ryno could lure the experience and expertise of some of baseball’s best coaches. Add a GM the likes of Pat Gillick and the Cubs could win again—and soon–packing Wrigley Field from the bleachers to the rooftops.

This offseason presents a perfect opportunity for Tom Ricketts to make his first bold move as owner of the Cubs.

Following Arizona’s lead would send the Cubs organization and its fans a clear message that enough-is-enough, losing is no longer tolerable on the North Side.

If the D-Backs can do it, so can the Cubs. Right?


Name That Cub!

By bullpenbrian - January 3, 2011 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Is a right-handed switch-hitting infielder.
Attended the University of Tennessee.
Traded to the Cubs from Baltimore in Dec. 1999.
Played four seasons in Chicago, 2000-03.
Batted .299 at Triple-A Iowa in 2002.
Went 4-for-9 against the Cubs in the 2007 NLDS.
Name that Cub!


Not Bob Howry!

By bullpenbrian - May 20, 2010 - 12:15 am Leave a comment.

Before Aaron Miles and Milton Bradley, there was only one Cub I ever begged Jim Hendry to release: Bob Howry.

The right-hander was simply dismal with the Cubs in 2008. But the best record in the NL masked Howry’s inabilities as a set-up man.

Hendry stuck with him…Howry got hammered…and I fumed each time he took the hill.

It wasn’t a personal dislike of Howry–I’ve always respected his up-most professionalism–but rather, a distaste for what the pitcher had become–extremely hittable.

So when the D-backs released Howry earlier this week…it didn’t go without notice on my end.

In fact, I planned a post about it…


Cubs Snakebitten?

By bullpenbrian - May 1, 2010 - 12:15 am Leave a comment.

Cubs always seem struggle against Arizona.

Not sure why, but they’re just 38-53 all time against the Snakes…and having won just one series against them since 2003 (Cubs took four of six games in ’08)…a win tomorrow and the Cubs win this four-game series 3-1.

That’s big…it makes for a winning homestand…and puts the Cubs above the .500 mark at home…where they’re just 6-6.

Winning at home goes without saying. And with the Cubs in the middle of a stretch that sees them paying 15 of its next 21 games at home…it’s an important couple of weeks.

Furthermore, Monday marks the end of 19-traight games without a break, which began April 14. Cubs are currently 9-9 during this stretch.

May needs to be a spring board to catch St. Louis. If the 4.5 games back widens by June 1…the final curtain could easily drop on the North Siders.


Chicago, Cubs Both Lose

By bullpenbrian - October 3, 2009 - 12:14 am Leave a comment.


Just what the Blackhawks didn’t need: Sports Illustrated picking them to win the Stanley Cup.

Talk about a bad omen, the Hawks might as well sign Milton Bradley to play right wing.

Yet despite Si.com’s dubious prediction, there’s still no good reason why Coach Q’s bunch shouldn’t compete for a championship, but then again, I felt the same way about the Cubs too.

I guess you never can tell.


Our Sponsors