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Cubs Lose 17-1 | At Least It Was Sunny

By bullpenbrian - June 28, 2012 - 3:30 am 2 comments.

Wrigley Field Scoreboard

The only positive I could draw upon while walking away from Wrigley Field Wednesday afternoon was the nice weather–87-degrees and sunny.

I mean, what positives are there after a 17-1 drubbing against the Mets? Here’s the short answer: there are none.

The real kicker, however, was the Cubs lone run scored despite a continuous breeze blowing straight out to centerfield. That’s unheard of under such conditions.

Everyone knows the first order of business upon entering Wrigley is checking the centerfield flags–then comes the Vienna beef hot dogs and Old Style.


Jeff Samardzija Not A No.2 – Yet

By bullpenbrian - June 23, 2012 - 4:30 am 2 comments.


Jeff Samardzija’s had an encouraging season thus far. But he’s not the No.2 starter-material many Cubs fans believe him to be.

That doesn’t mean Samardzija won’t get there. In fact, the signs are promising he’ll eventually attain such status–perhaps, possibly becoming a true ace.

But to do it, the Shark needs to improve in three areas:


Fog Lifting Over Surging Cubs

By bullpenbrian - May 8, 2012 - 1:30 am Leave a comment.

Cubs win 5-1 vs. Braves Monday night. That’s 3 wins in the last 4 games.

Since starting (3-11), the Cubs have won series against St. Louis & L.A., and split series vs. Philly & Cincinnati.

The Cardinals lead the Central division. The Reds are second. Los Angeles has the best record in the National League and the Braves lost for just the 8th time in the past 26 games.

What does it all mean? It means our woeful Cubbies are competitive, and may have a shot at reaching the .500 mark by June. Who would’ve thunk it?


Will Cubs Revamp Its Rotation?

By bullpenbrian - May 2, 2012 - 9:10 am 4 comments.

Wishing for a revamping of the Cubs pitching staff is not wrong at all. The troubling part, however, is the organization is void of better options for the time being.

As of this posting the Cubs team ERA of 4.21 ranks 22/30 in the majors. The starting staff’s ERA is 4.20 and ranks 20th in the majors. The Cubs bullpen ERA is a tick higher at 4.23, ranking 22nd in MLB.

Any way you shape it, that’s not very good. But to be fair, the Cubs starting rotation doesn’t deserve much blame for the team’s (8-15) start to the season.

Matt Garza & Ryan Dempster have been simply terrific. Jeff Samardzija is holding his own and Paul Maholm has come on strong winning his last two starts.

But that’s where the good ends and the bad begins.


Cubs Starters Tops In NL

By bullpenbrian - April 12, 2012 - 11:00 pm 1 comment.

The Cubs have only two wins to show for it, but its starting staff is off to a terrific start.

Chicago ranks second in MLB for innings pitched by its starters (46.2), trailing only Seattle’s (48.0). And had it not been for Paul Maholm’s abrupt outing on Tuesday, 4.0 IP, the Cubs likely would lead all of baseball in this category.

It’s an uplifting sign for a club struggling to score runs and a life-saver from its bullpen ranked last in the NL. But as long as the starting pitching holds strong, the Cubs have a chance to creep back towards the .500 mark.


Cubs Poll | Samardzija

By bullpenbrian - March 30, 2012 - 2:06 pm Leave a comment.

Cubs Spring Stats Hot & Cold

By bullpenbrian - March 16, 2012 - 1:01 am Leave a comment.


Hot Spring Batters:


Extra Base Hits


A. Soriano


7 (4 HR)


J. Mather




D. Barney





Cold Spring Batters:


Extra Base Hits


G. Soto




D. DeJesus




J. Vitters





Hot Spring Pitchers:





R. Lopez





J. Samardzija





L. Castillo






Cold Spring Pitchers:





M. Garza





C. Marmol





T. Wood






Rotation Or Bullpen For Samardzija?

By bullpenbrian - February 20, 2012 - 5:30 pm Leave a comment.

Picture Chicago Tribune

I’m wondering what the Cubs’ New Way has in store for Jeff Samardzija?

Starter, reliever, go-between?

The indecision of the Cubs’ old regime damn near wasted five years of this kid’s career piddling around with the idea of making him a starter or reliever. That’s simply ridiculous for a power-arm the Cubs paid a precious $10M dollars for over 5-years ago.

And over those five seasons, thanks to the Cubs’ flip-flop mentality, it’s become rather tough as what to make of Samardzija’s progress, if there’s been any at all.

When his first option year was due following his best season to date in 2011: 75 relief appearances, (8-4) record, 2.97 ERA, it still wasn’t clear if the Cubs were better off with him or without him?

The decision was ultimately to decline his option, but only so the Cubs could resign him at a more reasonable price, which they did.

It’s bought Samardzija not only more time to establish his path in the major leagues, but to do it with the team that drafted him, the team that paid him a small fortune to choose professional baseball over the National Football League.

Yet regardless of what Samardzija is, or is to become, he at least deserved this opportunity to rightfully prove himself at the big league level under the Cubs direction as either a full-time starter or reliever.

The Cubs have two spots open in the starting rotation this spring; Samardzija would like to have one of them. Let his spring outings decide his fate–if the rotation isn’t meant to be, the bullpen should suffice. The outcome, whatever that might be, should end this discussion once and for all.

And if avoiding cases such as Samardzija’s isn’t in Theo’s new organizational manual, it most certainly ought to be. I’d call it Timely and Decisive Decision Making—a guide on how not  to groom your top prospects.


Cubs Decline Samardzija, But Offer Fresh Opportunity

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

It’s clear the Cubs didn’t get their moneys worth from the 5-yr, $10M contract Jim Hendry gave Jeff Samardzija in 2007, which is why the Cubs new brass has declined his $3M option for 2012.


Samardzija’s Streak Over

By bullpenbrian - May 12, 2011 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

Jeff Samardzija wasn’t himself Wednesday night, or was he?

It’s tough to tell given his tale of two stories this season: one as a pitcher who’s been plain awful, and the other as a pitcher who’s been plain brilliant.

So what exactly is Samardizija?

Is he the hot-mess from early April with an ERA of 7.50…or the pitcher who went 14-consecutive scoreless innings before allowing three runs to the Cardinals?

Right about the time I blasted Samardzija, saying he’d be off the Cubs’ roster by June, the kid turns un-hittable lowering his ERA to 2.33 entering Wednesday’s game.

Obviously, I can’t figure the guy out, but I’m thrilled with his short-term success, nonetheless.

A solid bullpen is critical to the Cubs’ chances at the division, especially for a team that lacks offensive run production.

If the ‘good’ Samardzija keeps showing up, and we all hope he does, the Cubs’ bullpen remains a saving grace.

Otherwise, the Cubs will certainly suffer in the standing…and determining Samardzija’s trade value will be one of many issues Jim Hendry must sort through come late July.


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