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This Guy’s A Cubs Killer

By bullpenbrian - May 15, 2012 - 2:15 pm 1 comment.

In this installment of ‘Name that Molina’ I’m talking about Bengie, Jose, Yadier Molina, the Cubs killer who’s a lifetime .281 hitter with 9 HR and 48 RBI through 101 games vs. Chicago.

This year alone he’s batting .346 with 1 HR & 9 RBI against the Cubs. Certainly numbers the Chicago coaching staff are aware of.

But with all due respect to Sveum and his staff, I don’t understand why the Cubs keep pitching to Molina, especially in clutch hitting situations?

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Mr. Meltdown Strikes Again

By bullpenbrian - May 4, 2012 - 2:30 am 2 comments.

Let’s not get caught up in Dale Sveum’s semantics. The skipper’s not “considering removing Carlos Marmol from the closer’s role.”

Marmol is as good as gone. The real question is what took so long?

Watching Marmol toss meatball sliders has been frustrating to no end, and a red–faced Todd Hollandsworth said as much on CSN Chicago following Marmol’s latest meltdown.

“You owe it to the rest of the clubhouse to fix this situation…this will beat a clubhouse up.”

Just when everything was looking up, too. Dempster off the DL with his 0.95 ERA, three home runs in one game, a 3-0 lead heading in to the ninth and the potential for a 4-2 road trip through Philly & Cincy on the horizon.

Carlos Marmol, C’mon on down!

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Just A Mather Of Time

By bullpenbrian - April 24, 2012 - 2:30 am Leave a comment.

Joe Mather dialed up exactly what Cubs fans and the team needed: an exciting win, against the Cardinals, no less.

The Cubs have dropped so many close games it felt good to finally win one and brush away the doom and gloom hanging over Wrigley Field, even if just for one night.

It also spared me from writing another post centered around the all too familiar story of a strong Matt Garza outing wasted due to a lack of run support, one which I’ll gladly save for a later date.

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Cubs Playing Like 2011 All Over Again

By bullpenbrian - April 20, 2012 - 11:00 pm Leave a comment.

I’m want to give Dale Sveum and his staff the benefit of the doubt after a (3-11) start to the season.

The troubling part, however, is the Cubs have played eerily similar to last year’s version than to the team we were promised during spring training.

The battle cry echoed from Mesa announced the Cubs would play harder, with more purpose and all around better baseball. 

Instead, we’ve seen a team riddled with mental mistakes, fielding errors and lackluster performances. Mike Quade, are you still here?

Four times the Cubs have committed more or as many errors as runs scored in a game. The lineup is batting .211 with RISP and leads all of baseball having hit into 16 double plays.

And for all the hullabaloo over the spring bunting tourney the Cubs have but two sacrifice bunts to show for it. Dare I mention the bullpen?

My frustration doesn’t lie with the fact the Cubs have but three wins, it’s how they’re losing that’s irritating.

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Alfonso Soriano Sputtering In Clutch

By bullpenbrian - April 13, 2012 - 11:00 pm Leave a comment.

Alfonso Soriano is holding down the cleanup spot–barely.

Despite leading the team with 6 RBI, Soriano has squandered numerous chances to drive in runs, which, of course, is the main objective of a true No.4 hitter.

Having been at the plate 14 times with RISP, most on the team, he’s delivered but three hits, twice drew a walk and once grounded into a double play.

It’s no wonder all five of the Cubs losses have come by three or fewer runs.

Most notably, however, is the absence of an extra base hit for Soriano–in any situation.

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Will Cubs Stay Below .500 For Entire 2012 Season?

By bullpenbrian - April 7, 2012 - 1:30 am 1 comment.

Here’s a scary thought; the Cubs might not reach the .500 mark at all this season thanks to its (0-2) start.

If that sounds preposterous, it shouldn’t.

Washington is just one win away from sweeping the season opening series and sending the Cubs to its worst start in 15 years (0-14, 1997).

If, however, Chicago does win its first game of the season on Sunday, the .500 mark still remains in jeopardy with an unforgiving April schedule ahead.

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Soriano Not Far From Leading Off

By bullpenbrian - March 27, 2012 - 12:53 pm Leave a comment.

Don’t be surprised if Alfonso Soriano ends up in the leadoff spot this season.

It won’t happen anytime soon, or necessarily come as a permanent change, but dire circumstances could place Soriano atop the Cubs order once again.

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Dempster Right Choice For Opening Day

By bullpenbrian - March 22, 2012 - 4:00 pm Leave a comment.

Even if Dale Sveum isn’t saying it, the Cubs Opening Day start was Ryan Dempster’s to lose.

That’s the only way to explain Sveum’s ‘open’ competition for the rotation’s No.1 spot between Dempster and Matt Garza.

Otherwise, Sveum has a no-brainer decision selecting Garza, a 28-year-old stud who was the Cubs best starter in 2011, vs. the soon to be 35-year-old Dempster coming off a career-worse 14-loss season.

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Is Sveum The Next Quade?

By bullpenbrian - March 5, 2012 - 9:01 am Leave a comment.

It’s not fair to compare Dale Sveum to Mike Quade–the Cubs newest manager hasn’t even coached a meaningful game yet.

But this year’s spring camp has a similar feel to last year’s. A new manager preaching accountability, fundamentals and playing the game the right way.

Sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it Cubs fans?

As much as we want to believe this year is different, if for no other reason than Theo/Jed & Sveum, there’s no telling until the Cubs take the field one month from now. And even then we’re only expecting the Cubs to be marginally better than in 2011.

Sveum couldn’t be off to a better start. His leadership thus far is getting rave reviews from players and media alike. But the same was said for Quade 12 months ago.

Sweet Lou warned us not to get too “giddy.” We should have listened. Quade, it turned out, talked a better game than he managed. Here’s hoping it’s the opposite for the soft spoken Sveum.

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Alfonso Soriano To Clean Up Or Clean Out

By bullpenbrian - March 2, 2012 - 12:01 pm 2 comments.

Dale Sveum pictures Alfonso Soriano hitting in the cleanup spot. Really?

Seems hard to believe given the 36-year-old isn’t nearly the hitter he was five years ago when he joined the Cubs.

Even Mike Quade never hit Soriano above the fifth spot last season, instead using him primarily as a sixth & seventh hole hitter, which seems more in line for a guy who batted .244 with an on-base percentage of less than .300.

Of course, Quade had Aramis and Pena. Sveum has, well, Soriano, whose 26 home runs in 2011 tied Aramis for second most on the team and trailed only Carlos Pena’s 28 HR. Soriano’s 88 RBI was also second best, trailing A-Ram’s 93 RBI.

But with Ramirez and Pena having departed the North Side, Alfonso remains the Cubs most experienced power bat, which appears why Sveum will pencil him into the four hole.

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