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Red Alert

By bullpenbrian - April 21, 2009 - 1:15 am Leave a comment.

Chicago staying with the all blue caps on the road is a good look. Funny thing is, I never particularly liked the red-brimmed road caps until last season…they actually started growing on me.

Cubs say sticking with one cap makes it easier on the equipment managers. Bullpen Brian say$ the tough economy call$ for cut$…good bye road cap$!!!

Side note: when are the Mets going to ditch the use of black on its caps and jerseys? It’s a terrible look, especially the two-toned batting helmets. The whole attire is better left buried with Shea.

The Reds are getting lots of press as one of this season’s IT teams, but they’re not there yet.


Cubs trade for starter or reliever?

By bullpenbrian - January 29, 2009 - 12:10 am Leave a comment.

Aaron Heilman grew up in Indiana rooting for the Cubs

Indiana native Aaron Heilman grew up rooting for the Cubs

Last season when Bob Howry stood as the Cubs’ best bullpen option before Marmol and Wood, it was obvious the relief corp. was hurting.

As many of you know, I spent the remaining summer months pleading for more bullpen help (and Howry’s departure) – but of course, it never arrived.

Sure, Chad Gaudin – part of the Harden deal – was a plus, but the ’08 Cubs’ pen needed more than one good arm.

And that’s still the case this January despite the club’s trade for Aaron Heilman yesterday afternoon.

There’s already plenty of chatter about Heilman moving into the Cubs’ rotation, but I see room for the guy.

First of all, come Spring Training the often forgotten about Rich Hill will make his case again for a starting position as will Sean Marshall.

Not to mention, it also makes sense for the Cubs to look at Samardzija moving into the rotation, a spot he’s familiar with from his days at Triple-A Iowa.

This leaves Heilman as my odds on favorite to partner up with Gaudin for the middle relief innings.

Heilman has been mediocre during his six seasons with New York, the last three as a reliever.

The plus side is he’s shown some durability, has hovered around a .500 record and averages near one strike out per innings pitched.

Some ballplayers hit their stride late, and at 30-years-old it’s possible Heilman could still improve.

At worst, he’s still an upgrade over the handful of 4-AAA relievers on the Cubs’ roster.

Although I still would’ve liked to see Olson’s development in the Cubs’ farm system, it’s encouraging to see the bullpen get some reinforcements before the start of the season.


Glavine Speaks Clearly

By bullpenbrian - January 7, 2009 - 12:45 am Leave a comment.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Brett Favre took note of Tom Glavine’s decision not to hold his team hostage during the off season?

While openly stating he’d enjoy another season in Atlanta, the lefty has graciously offered to pitch elsewhere if the Braves don’t want him back for 2009.

There’s no reading in-between the lines, no confusion as to what’s being asked for and most importantly, no drama.

Although, with Smoltz setting sail for Boston, I think it’s more likely Glavine follows suit and heads east as well.

The Mets seem like the most logical option…easy transition for Glavine and the club has yet to broker a deal with any of the top F.A. pitchers on the market.

Not that Glavine -a 300 game winner- has anything more to prove, but you’d have to believe Tommy would be in favor of redeeming himself in New York after his final start of the 2007 season which sealed the deal for the Mets’ historic collapse: 7 ER, 5 H & 2 BB in 0.1 of an inning against Florida.

I say, go for it Glavine.


Z’s Own Fault

By bullpenbrian - September 24, 2008 - 12:51 am Leave a comment.

  • Wednesday September 24th – Shea Stadium
  • Game (157): Cubs 9 – Mets 6
  • Record (96-61)

The skinny: After Zambrano tossed his no-hitter I had the feeling his monumental achievement would help mellow the guy out on the mound.

Sometimes I sense the right-hander doesn’t feel appreciated by his peers around baseball, that Z’ is bothered by the fact he’s not always mentioned in the same breath as Santana, Webb, Sabathia or Chamberlain.

Sure, Zambrano has the numbers: (96-61) career record, 1,170+ K’s, and (51) road victories since 2002, second only to Johan Santana’s (52).

But, his irrational behavior when an inning goes astray makes him look more like a fool than a staff ace.

Perhaps, I thought, the ‘no-no’ against Houston would change all that, relieve Carlos of his self inflicted pressure to become a ‘recognized’ ace throughout the baseball world.

Essentially, the no-hitter would put Zambrano on the map, permanently.

Well, that’s turned out to be more wishful thinking than true.

And, Carlos has only himself to blame.

Plus, Z’s own refusal to address his ridiculous behavior on the mound seriously puts his future career in jeopardy, as well.

Eventually, the electric bullets in Z’s right arm will dwindle and he’ll stand at the cross road of becoming either extinct or becoming a true pitcher, a hurler who outthinks hitters rather than overpowering them.

That takes mental toughness, not fit throwing antics.

All the great ones make a turn towards learning how to pitch: Maddox, Glavine, Smoltz, Mussina, Pedro..ext.

This is Carlos’ seventh season in the bigs; learning how to handle adversity should be a thing of the past.

The fault lies completely with Carlos, and especially considering his willingness to ignore the advice of his own great manager to mature as a pitcher.

[ Lou ]:

  • “I wish he would just quit fighting himself out there and just relax and pitch and have fun,”
  • “He gets angry when he doesn’t do what he expects to do. It detracts from his ability.
  • I’ve tried to tell him that so many times.
  • He understands when I tell him, and I think he forgets when he pitches.”

It’s not that Z’ forgets, people, it’s that he simple doesn’t care.

And, that’s too bad given his tremendous ability to throw a baseball.

And more, is it crazy-talk to suggest Lou could sport an NLDS rotation with Z’ as the No. 4 starter?

Dempster in game 1, Harden game 2 and Lilly game 3?

Bob Howry escaping a leadoff triple in the ninth is a sports miracle…seriously, did that really happen?

Talked about the importance of Theriot getting on base yesterday…Ryan singles in the 10th, steals second and scores the go-ahead run after a nice piece of hitting on D. Lee’s part.

Again, no player is more clutch in this Cubs’ lineup than Aramis.

Not at all pleased with Cedeno’s play tonight…tardy to cover first on a bunt and then slides into first base trying to beat out an infield hit.

If I were a manager I’d fine players who slide into first…run through the bag, it’s faster than sliding!

I’ll admit to empathizing with Mets fans tonight, well, just a little anyway.

First, the Mets blow an early 5-1 lead, then fail to score the game-winning run after a leadoff triple in the ninth against the dreadful Bob Howry.

Cubs fans have already forgotten about this game, whereas this loss might cost the Mets its chance at winning the NL East or the Wild Card.

It’s a bad feeling, one Chicago fans are far too familiar with.

W – Howry (7-5) – Wood (34)

L – Ayala (2-10)

  • Notes: Zambrano is (7-5) in 14 starts away from Wrigley this year; no decision tonight.
  • Cubs have won 10 of 13.
  • Chicago‘s (38-19) record is the best in baseball during the past two calendar months.
  • The team is (10-6) in extras this season.
  • Lou becomes just the 14th skipper all-time to earn 1,700 big league wins.
  • Piniella is also just the second manager in history to achieve 90+ wins with four different clubs: Yankees, Reds, Mariners & Cubs.
  • Dick Williams was the first to turn the trick: Red Sox, A’s, Expos & Padres.

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