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Zambrano Equals Manny

By bullpenbrian - October 21, 2009 - 12:56 am Leave a comment.

We can only hope the Cubs are paying attention to what’s transpired with Manny’s arrival in Hollywood.

Despite Philadelphia’s 3-1 series lead in the NLCS, the Dodgers’ over-hyped, over-paid knucklehead is once again the headliner and for all the wrong reasons, of course.

Instead of enduring L.A.’s tough loss in Game 4 with his teammates on the bench, Manny gets caught showering in the clubhouse before the end of the game.

And in typical fashion, the Dodgers’ entire organization covered for him…again.


Cubs Season Slipping Away

By bullpenbrian - August 14, 2009 - 1:47 am 2 comments.


You can just feel the playoffs slipping away.

The Cards lead the Central by 4.5 games with less than 50 games to play.

And while I sat in section 209 watching Cliff Lee and the Fightin’ Phils complete a convincing three-game sweep of the Cubs, I thought about a scene from the movie Cast Away.


Don’t Rush Samardzija!

By bullpenbrian - August 13, 2009 - 2:45 am Leave a comment.


The Cubs better be careful with Jeff Samardzija.

It doesn’t take long for major league hitters to ruin a young pitcher’s confidence.

At some point, of course, you have to get Jeff’s feet wet as a starter, but as I’ve said all season long, this kid isn’t big league ready yet–as a starter or reliever.

That’s not Samardzija’s fault, either–he’s just 23-years-old.  And so what if he needs another year of minor league seasoning under his belt.

The Cubs, however, don’t seem as patient. They’ve continuously bounced Samardzija between Triple-A and the major leagues.

I think it’s a noticeable disservice to the young man, especially rushing the guy to The Show as a reliever when you want him to start?


No Aramis No Runs

By bullpenbrian - August 12, 2009 - 2:44 am Leave a comment.


The Cubs are toast without Aramis Ramirez.

They can’t seem to score without him, and it’s costing them dearly in the standings.

Doesn’t matter that Ramirez won’t be fully healthy for the remainder of the season, the Cubs just need whatever he can give.

D-Lee could use the protection, Fukudome could use the leadoff spot and the starting pitching could use the support that was present with Aramis batting fifth.

Until Aramis’ return, however, we’re subject to watching the Cubs’ offense repeat its struggles from the season’s first half.

This aint May or June, mind you, so what you see is what you get…and I see the Cubs slipping worse than a rusty bicycle chain.


Cubs Can’t Score

By bullpenbrian - July 22, 2009 - 1:16 am 6 comments.


The lack of run scoring just doesn’t make any sense.

Since June the Cubs have improved its average 38-points entering Wednesday’s game.

Yet, they’ve scored a meek two runs in two games against Philly.

With all the pop in this order there’s no excuse for the amount of quality starts wasted. And if it hasn’t come back to bite the Cubs just yet, it certainly will.


Lilly Lays A Stinker

By bullpenbrian - July 21, 2009 - 1:25 am 3 comments.


This was a stinker from the words ‘play ball.

A label which applies anytime you make more errors (2) than runs scored (1).

Lilly was behind in the count and left pitches up all night, which is never a good thing at little ‘ol Citizens Bank Ballpark.

Don’t know if the left knee was bothering Ted or not. Either way, it’s a forgettable outing.

Despite the two errors (Soriano’s dropped fly ball and Blanco’s errant throw) the Cubs are still ranked second in the majors in fielding efficiency according to Baseball Prospectus.


Lou Manager of the Year

By bullpenbrian - November 14, 2008 - 1:07 am Leave a comment.

NY Times

Photo: NY Times

Even Sweet Lou winning the NL Manager of the Year doesn’t help relieve the sting from the first week in October.

In fact, in unfortunate circumstance, the award going to Piniella actually reopens the wounds of the heart-break season that was for the 2008 Chicago Cubs.

Sorry ‘over it’ Cub fans but, I’m still recovering.

Listen, I’m a huge Piniella fan, no matter where he’s managing.

The guy is a winner, a great motivator and a strong leader in every sense, and the Cubs are nowhere near 97 wins this season without him.

Yes, Lou is deserving of the award, no question, but what about Charlie Manuel, skipper of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies?

Doesn’t Chuck deserve the top credit too? (He finished second in the balloting).

Nonetheless, it a wonderful credit to Piniella from his peers, but we’d all trade it in for a trip to the World Series in 2009…or perhaps, just a single victory in the 2009 NLDS.


Holliday Heads to Bay

By bullpenbrian - November 10, 2008 - 3:37 am Leave a comment.

Holliday slides safely into Oakland

Holliday slides safely into Oakland, for now.

I’m surprised Matt Holliday is heading to Oakland; I actually expected the slugger would end up in Philly replacing Pat the Bat.

That being said, Burrell is just 31-years-old, and appears to have several more seasons like this one ahead of him (.250, 33 HR, 86 RBIs).

Burrell isn’t the best defensively but, it’s hard to knock a guy who just helped his team win the World Series, so why rush to get rid of him?

On the other hand, Colorado’s pitch to Holliday of a four-year, $72-million extension with a fifth-year player option at $12 million isn’t even close to what the slugger will get come free agency after 2009.

Besides the money issues, Holliday was also discouraged to remain in Denver after the Rockies dismissed Holliday’s close friend and strength coach Brad Andress.

Oakland seems a long shot to sign Holliday to a long-term deal as well meaning Billy Beane will use the left fielder as a trading chip come July.

It’s another crafty move by Beane who’ll more than likely spin Holliday into a package of talented prospects similar to the Dan Haren deal with Arizona.


Mad Men

By bullpenbrian - October 26, 2008 - 1:05 am Leave a comment.

There’s no better drama on television than AMC’s Mad Men.

It’s right on par with the Spranos, perhaps even better.

And Mad Men was the perfect escape to a rather boring Game 4 of the World Series, a 10-2 drubbing by the Phillies.

So, what’s the chance Tampa Bay rallies for a Game 6 with Cole Hamels – (4-0) 1.55 post season ERA – on the mound for the Phils tomorrow?

Let’s just say not likely.

And so, this isn’t exactly the series I was pulling for in this Fall Classic.

Sure, there has been some drama, last night’s walkoff dribbler, Utley and Howard’s back-to-back jacks, Joe Blanton’s bomb and an occasional flare from the Rays too, but this series is now largely in favor of Philadelphia.

The Phillies are already talking about its victory parade through downtown Philly, their confidence sky high with a 3-1 series lead.

And why not, Pena and Longoria are still hitless for Tampa Bay, the Rays are playing spotty defense and the once sleeping giant Ryan Howard is wide awake at the plate.

Oh, and did I mention Cole Hamels is throwing tomorrow?

Sorry Tampa Bay, you’ve been a wonderful Cinderella, but the shoe doesn’t fit.



By bullpenbrian - August 28, 2008 - 12:13 am Leave a comment.

  • Thursday August 28th – Wrigley Field
  • Game (134): Cubs 6 – Phillies 4
  • Record (84-50) – 1st place NL Central

The skinny: Most Cubs fans voted Carlos Marmol the team MVP last season, his 1.46 ERA speaking for itself.

However, my ’07 vote went to Aramis and his 26 HRs, 101 RBIs and .310 avg. – Marmol being a close second, mind you.

And I’m sticking with Aramis as team MVP again this year too.

No Cub is a better hitter in the clutch than Ramirez; not Soriano, not Lee, Theriot or Soto.

Ramirez loves the lime light, the drama and the chance to play hero.

His knack at coming through in a pinch isn’t coincidence, the guy lives for it.

And, I love him for it!

Plus, Ramirez is as good as it gets defensively at third; he’s also a solid teammate and a gammer playing through nagging injuries.

So, where would the Cubs be without Ramirez’s 24 bombs and 99 RBIs?

Probably not leading the division, of course.

Still, the better answer is recognizing how important Ramirez is to this lineup when it comes to key situations.

This season Ramirez leads the team in both game-winning RBIs (15) and 2-out RBIs (25).

He is the definition of an MVP type player!!!

Cole Hamels was so dominate this evening you could see the Cubs’ body language change immediately with the lefty out of the game.

Obviously, that left Ryan Madson (who’s no pushover out of the pen, 3.56 ERA entering tonight’s game) in a tough spot; the Cubs eager to see anything but a Hamels’ change-up.

And more, Chad Durbin has been even better for the Phils (1.95 ERA entering the game), but by the time the right-hander relieved Madson the Cubs had the momentum and Aramis at the plate.

Grand Salami – Game over.

Nice relief outing from Bob Howry: 1-2-3 inning, 9 of 10 pitches going for strikes with two ground ball outs and one K.

Most importantly, he protected a one-run lead: it’s about time.

W – Howry (6-4) – Wood (28)

L – Durbin (5-3)

  • Notes: Chicago is 34 games above .500 for the first time in 63 years: 34 games in 1945.
  • At Wrigley they’re (50-19).
  • The Cubs are (9-1) in its last 10 games against lefty starters and (27-12) vs. lefties for the season.
  • This is the Cubs’ 38th come-from-behind victory of the season.
  • Aramis’ GS is the eighth of his career.

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