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   1. Andere Richtingen Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4100974)
Ditto here. But really, little has changed since we talked about the season back in January.

I think we will see a lot of what we saw in the first few games. Some decent starting pitching (although I'll believe it when I see it from Samardzija), a powderkeg bullpen and a very weak lineup. The bullpen can likely be fixed, but the lineup is unlikely to get better.

I hesitated to make a prediction, but I would predict a win total in the low 70s. .500 is a possibility if the pitching gels. I can't see how the lineup is going to be anything but weak all season.
   2. McCoy Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4100991)
LaHair looked good in his debut so that is nice. Soriano looks like he'll have a hot start to the season. He just needs some better weather and he'll get a bunch of homers on his baseball card. Castro is still the same old fielder that was last year so far. Makes some nice plays and then does something stupid out there. If Castro doesn't break down this year he might just go out there and steal 60 bases.

I'm hoping the Cubs stop going up there and hacking at the first pitch like they were doing all series long or else a lot of pitchers are going to look good against the Cubs.

Dale looks like he has absolutely no confidence in his bullpen this year and I'm not really sure he knows what he is doing out there with the pitchers. Regardless of the outcome of the 9th inning I wasn't crazy about keeping him out there for the attempted CG in his first start of the year. Let him throw 8 innings of great ball with a decent pitch total and hand it over to your pen.

Dale's shifting is probably going to annoy me all year long.
   3. zonk Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4101017)
BPJ has apparently risen and become SPJ.

I'm suspicious, too, but he looked awfully good on Sunday... awfully good.

Marmol looks more lost than usual and if Wood is going to be so walktastic, hoo boy...

I'm excited to get a look at Reuschel II tonight.

I have three goals for this season:

1) More consistency from Castro

2) Someone from among Volstad, BPJ/SPJ, or Travis Wood -- hopefully even two of them - to emerge as legitimate mid-rotation starters that the team can pencil into the rotation for a couple years.

3) Fonsie to have a mammoth first half that makes him marginally tradeable to a desperate/stupid team.
   4. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:37 AM (#4101023)
Samardzija had 90 pitches heading into the 9th and was still throwing upper 90s heat. I had no problem with him going back out there.
   5. zonk Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4101035)
Samardzija had 90 pitches heading into the 9th and was still throwing upper 90s heat. I had no problem with him going back out there.


Yeah - I'm almost always on the tender side of SP handling, but he's 27, coming off a good spring, and was absolutely cruising. I'd have let him try to finish it in that case, too -- and he would have, too, if not for Castro.
   6. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4101050)
Yeah, where did that velocity come from? It's possible (likely) the gun was fast but even if his 97 mph in the ninth inning was really 93 or 94 that's more juice than he had been showing.

His two-seamer had some very nice movement but his off speed stuff is still a work in progress. Still, if he can avoid walking 4-5 per nine innings he will miss enough bats to be effective. I am cautiously optimistic here.

   7. McCoy Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4101059)
Samardzija had 90 pitches heading into the 9th and was still throwing upper 90s heat. I had no problem with him going back out there.

Yeah - I'm almost always on the tender side of SP handling, but he's 27, coming off a good spring, and was absolutely cruising. I'd have let him try to finish it in that case, too -- and he would have, too, if not for Castro.

He also has 35 more starts this year, has never been a full time starter, and hasn't thrown that many pitches at that level of velocity in maybe ever. There is really nothing to gain by having him go out there and pitch the 9th. For the most part all it can be is either neutral or a negative.
   8. zonk Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4101080)
He also has 35 more starts this year, has never been a full time starter, and hasn't thrown that many pitches at that level of velocity in maybe ever. There is really nothing to gain by having him go out there and pitch the 9th. For the most part all it can be is either neutral or a negative.


Sure, I get that - and like I said, generally speaking I tend to be cautious about early season starts.

But in this case, we WAS cruising, he still had good stuff, and not that there's a magic number, but he started the 9th at about 90 pitches. For a guy transitioning into the rotation full-time who has had some ups and downs, I think a complete game gem does have some confidence value. My POV is shaded by the fact that I don't have a good long-term feel for him; if it were a 22 yo well-thought of prospect, I might want to save him the wear-and-tear, but it's pretty much now or never for Samardzija. I'm not saying that's a license to be reckless with him, but given this season isn't likely to go anywhere, I'd be pushing him as far as I can reasonably push him to see if he really can be a longer term option for the rotation.
   9. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4101084)
The last time somebody started 36 games was 2003. If he stays fully healthy, he might have 32 more.

He wasn't laboring, his mechanics were sound, and he hadn't thrown a lot of pitches. You see no value, confidence wise, in letting a guy pitch when he still has it?
   10. Brian C Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4101130)
I didn't have any problem with him starting the ninth, either. If they pulled him, fine, if they didn't fine. Absent any strong opinions of my own, I'll trust the coaches' judgment that he was still good to go.

The big problem here is that Marmol is still the closer, and Marmol looks terrible. His spring training numbers were quite poor, also. I don't know what to do about this, because as of now he can barely get anyone out.
   11. McCoy Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4101133)
No. Pulling him after 8 innings and 90 pitches still keeps his confidence. Letting him pitch the 9th simply means he'll either still have that confidence or it will erode.

If he stinks in his second start what will that do to his confidence? Not pitching the 9th probably helps him pitch a better second game.
   12. Brian C Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4101153)
By the way, as far as season previews go - I think we need an over/under for the number of players on the Opening Day roster who are still in the organization at season's end.

I'll set the initial line at 16.5 - here's the Opening Day roster for posterity:

Jeff Baker
Darwin Barney
Marlon Byrd
Shawn Camp
Lendy Castillo
Starlin Castro
Steve Clevenger
David DeJesus
Ryan Dempster
Blake DeWitt
Rafael Dolis
Matt Garza
Reed Johnson
Bryan LaHair
Paul Maholm
Carlos Marmol
Joe Mather
James Russell
Jeff Samardzija
Alfonso Soriano
Geovany Soto
Ian Stewart
Luis Valbuena
Chris Volstad
Kerry Wood
   13. zonk Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4101161)
I'll take the under..

Barney, Castillo, Castro, Clevenger, Dolis, Russell, BPJ, Volstad, and Wood are the only locks I see. There are several more "likely's" - but there are a lot of cheap spare parts I see moving if Thed decides to go Trader Jack on us.

   14. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4101171)
If he stinks in his second start what will that do to his confidence? Not pitching the 9th probably helps him pitch a better second game.


Then why pitch him in the 8th?
   15. Andere Richtingen Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4101186)
If he stinks in his second start what will that do to his confidence? Not pitching the 9th probably helps him pitch a better second game.

I don't think that's probable at all.

It was a close call -- the idea of easing starters into the season predates sabermetric ideas about the pitch counts. I really doubt that Samardzija suffered any ill effects from throwing 110 pitches, but at the same time, calling it a day at eight innings would have been reasonably cautious. Did Sveum have another bullpen meltdown in mind? Maybe, and yeah, showing them some confidence might be as helpful as showing it for Samardzija. Anyway, I don't fault him for going the way he did.

And before it happens: I think the probability of Samardzija screwing the pooch in his next start is pretty decent whether he threw 90 or 110 pitches yesterday.
   16. Andere Richtingen Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4101188)
By the way, as far as season previews go - I think we need an over/under for the number of players on the Opening Day roster who are still in the organization at season's end.

12.5
   17. Brian C Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4101198)
Barney, Castillo, Castro, Clevenger, Dolis, Russell, BPJ, Volstad, and Wood are the only locks I see. There are several more "likely's" - but there are a lot of cheap spare parts I see moving if Thed decides to go Trader Jack on us.

As the guy who set the line, naturally I'm not sure which way to lean. Probably over. By the way, when I said "season's end" I meant game 162, just to clarify.

The thing is, like you say, there aren't many guys who are locks. I don't even think a lot of guys on your list are locks, frankly. Barney, Dolis, Russell and Volstad could all be lousy and get packaged as trade filler or outright released (e.g., Volstad if he's crappy). BPJ could get traded if the front office doesn't like his longterm projection, especially if he remains a passable starter; he does have a 5.0 BB/9 career walk rate to this point, and that's not going to fly with this regime if it doesn't come down dramatically.
   18. Brian C Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4101204)
12.5 is way too low to set the line. They could turn over half the roster, but that seems really unlikely. Remember that I said "still in the organization" and not "still on the active roster".
   19. Andere Richtingen Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4101225)
12.5 is way too low to set the line. They could turn over half the roster, but that seems really unlikely. Remember that I said "still in the organization" and not "still on the active roster".

THAT'S MY STORY AND I'M STICKING WITH IT!
   20. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: April 09, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4101307)
Somewhere between 12.5 and 16.5 feels right to me.

I also think 70 wins would be a nice number to get too. Anything higher, I'll be pleasantly surprised; anything lower wouldn't be that shocking or disappointing (well, 50 would be pretty damn upsetting).
   21. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 09, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4101388)
I'm sticking with 76.
   22. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: April 09, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4101505)
74-88, eight players on the opening day 25 man roster will be gone before the end of the season.
   23. zonk Posted: April 09, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4101540)
69 wins... if I can't just take the under on 16.5, I'll say that only 14 players that started the season on the 25 man will be left in the organization come October.
   24. Brian C Posted: April 09, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4101587)
Oh, and I said 73 wins in one of the other threads, I'll stick with that.

And yes, zonk, you can just take the under. I'm just taking the over.
   25. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: April 09, 2012 at 05:58 PM (#4101644)
I didn't get to tune in until the 8th yesterday and wondered when BPJ had been moved back to the pen. I had no idea he was still out there because, well, he was STILL out there.

I probably got to see a cumulative two innings from this series, so I don't really have much to add other than I can't recall two games to open a Cubs season in recent history where the set-up guy and closer both #### the proverbial bed in both games.

And just because I'm as interested in the performance of Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez in their new laundry as I am with anything relating to the Cubs: Aramis had a weak opening weekend and Zambrano has a spiffy 6.00 ERA.
   26. Brian C Posted: April 09, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4101653)
Another over/under: the number of homeruns the Cubs will hit this season.

Lets' say ... 120.5

I'll take the over, but I feel a little tentative about it. They're the only team in the majors that doesn't have one yet.
   27. McCoy Posted: April 09, 2012 at 06:19 PM (#4101671)
Then why pitch him in the 8th?

Why indeed.
   28. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 09, 2012 at 06:20 PM (#4101673)
The Cubs haven't hit that few (excluding '94) since 1992. I'll take the over.
   29. McCoy Posted: April 09, 2012 at 06:21 PM (#4101674)
Well, we've already lost one from the opening day roster.
   30. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: April 09, 2012 at 06:53 PM (#4101716)
Well, we've already lost one from the opening day roster.

Valbuena is in Iowa, correct?
   31. Brian C Posted: April 09, 2012 at 06:55 PM (#4101718)
Well, we've already lost one from the opening day roster.

No, Valbuena's still in the organization, playing for Iowa.
   32. McCoy Posted: April 09, 2012 at 09:57 PM (#4102185)
The Volstad act hasn't started so well and now the rest of our pen looks like crap as well.
   33. Brian C Posted: April 09, 2012 at 10:07 PM (#4102216)
Rizzo has two more homers tonight, though. Travis Wood has one as well. Bring 'em both up.
   34. Walt Davis Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:44 PM (#4102389)
Guesswork:

Near-lock sticks: 1 of Baker/DeWitt/Barney, Castro, Clevenger (or is he out of options?), 1 of Volstad/Maholm, Soriano, Stewart, K Wood (7)
Probables: Soto, DeJesus, LaHair, Marmol, Samadzija (5)
Unlikely: 1 of Baker/DeWitt/Barney, Byrd, Dempster, Camp (he might not survive April)
Coin flip/who cares: 1 of Baker/DeWitt/Barney, pretty much any reliever, Johnson, Mather, Valbuena
Big question: Garza

So we'll call it 11 of the first three goups and 5 out of the next group and a Garza coin flip ... damn 16.5 which is quite unlikely to be the correct answer. OK, don't know the options status on Clevenger, Castillo and Dolis but probably all 3 still in the org at the end of the year so I guess I'll take the over.

I'll take the over on 16.5 wins too. :-)
   35. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: April 10, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4102522)
I think I'll be disappointed if Marmol finishes the year with the Cubs. As soon as he puts together another one of his dominant/unhittable stretches (and yes, it will happen), Thed should be selling high. I'd say one of Soriano/LeHair is gone when it's time to bring Rizzo up. And since I don't believe in BPJ at all, much less as a starter, I almost (almost) hope he's traded before his next start...
   36. zonk Posted: April 10, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4102538)
I'll be most thrilled if Thed can find some way to shed Soriano -- either in a nothing dump without eating virtually all the remaining dollars or in a trade that brings back something interesting, eating all of it.

I'd be fine with trading Marmol the moment he regains any semblance of form, but I don't think he's gonna fetch all that much... he's just not the type that a bona fide contender dreaming of title is going to be after.
   37. Brian C Posted: April 10, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4102547)
As soon as he puts together another one of his dominant/unhittable stretches (and yes, it will happen)...

I dunno. He wasn't very good last year, either, and he looks broken now. His velocity isn't what it used to be, either.

He's always a pitcher for whom there's a thin line between dominant and disastrous, because he can't get the ball over the plate with any consistency and hasn't ever been able to. I'm not saying he'll always be this bad, but if his stuff has slid even a little, there's no guarantee that he'll return to dominance.
   38. zonk Posted: April 10, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4102551)
He's always a pitcher for whom there's a thin line between dominant and disastrous, because he can't get the ball over the plate with any consistency and hasn't ever been able to. I'm not saying he'll always be this bad, but if his stuff has slid even a little, there's no guarantee that he'll return to dominance.


He seems to have completely lost that slider... I don't know if he's overthrowing it or what, but it either seems to get away from him or just sort wounded duck its way up there like a big, looping curve.
   39. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 10, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4102693)
It's not even about getting anything in return for Marmol. Close contracts have finally come down to a reasonable level, and Marmol will be making more next year than Madson signed a one year deal for this year(I know, but still)
   40. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: April 10, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4102703)
Dave Campbell made an astute observation on Marmol when he subbed for Brenly during a game last summer. He said relievers with wicked stuff, namely a great slider, tend to lose a bit off of their best pitch each season and subsequently are a bit less effective each season. If you take out Marmol's 2010, that description seems to fit him nicely.

He was lights out during his 2007 stint, great in 2008 aside from that brief stretch of ineffectiveness*, a white-knuckle ride of wildness in 2009, amazing in 2010, and often hittable in 2011. I think the unsettling thing is that his ineffectiveness last year wasn't so much because of his command issues. They were still a contributing factor, but we saw more hitters square up Marmol's pitches last year than ever before.

As much fun as Marmol has been when he's on, I wouldn't lose any sleep if Theo found a way to move him for anything fungible.

*Remember how that was such an anomaly at the time that many of us in the chatters were genuinely in shock?
   41. SteveM. Posted: April 10, 2012 at 09:50 PM (#4103572)
I find it hard to believe anyone would want to see more of the Cubs bullpen. If someone can go for a complete game, let them. This is going to be one very bad pen. Someone tell some upside so I have reason to watch the games and have some hope for a better future.
   42. zonk Posted: April 10, 2012 at 09:54 PM (#4103578)
I find it hard to believe anyone would want to see more of the Cubs bullpen. If someone can go for a complete game, let them. This is going to be one very bad pen. Someone tell some upside so I have reason to watch the games and have some hope for a better future.


Lendy Castillo seems to throw awfully hard... but then, I think all you have to do is imagine a younger Kerry Wood to get the same results.
   43. zonk Posted: April 10, 2012 at 11:05 PM (#4103615)
So what's the odds on this Cubs team being historically, 100+ loss bad?

Would anyone give me 3-1 odds on the team losing 100 games?

I know it's early, but it's awfully hard to say things have gone especially poorly -- yes, the bullpen (and specifically, the two best relievers) have been crappy, but you had to be concerned about them coming in. The offense hasn't impressed, but there's no real reason to expect that it would have. The rotation has been pretty good - Maholm tonight aside - but I thought it would be the most underrated part of this team.

If Garza or Dempster miss 10 starts -- I think the odds of 100 losses are close to 50/50.
   44. McCoy Posted: April 10, 2012 at 11:42 PM (#4103636)
You had your chance to get on that wagon.
   45. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: April 11, 2012 at 01:42 AM (#4103662)
Hey, only two errors through five games!
   46. Walt Davis Posted: April 11, 2012 at 08:50 PM (#4104535)
I think I'll be disappointed if Marmol finishes the year with the Cubs. As soon as he puts together another one of his dominant/unhittable stretches (and yes, it will happen), Thed should be selling high. I'd say one of Soriano/LeHair is gone when it's time to bring Rizzo up. And since I don't believe in BPJ at all, much less as a starter, I almost (almost) hope he's traded before his next start...

All guesswork of course but what makes it more challenging is "in the organization." Sure Rizzo will almost surely be up for the second half of the season. That doesn't make trading Soriano any easier though. Soriano could stink bad enough they just cut him outright of course but if he's decent, he'll stay on the ML roster at least (barring the miracle trade). LaHair would be out of a starting job but it's not clear to my why they wouldn't stick him on the bench -- not a great option but he can take Mather's job. Even if they outright LaHair (or is it designate for assignment), there's no reason for the Cubs to not offer him an assignment to Iowa and he might not have a better offer.

Somewhat similarly Samardzija -- if he stinks, nobody will want him and the Cubs can still use him to eat innings in the rotation or pen; if he's surprisingly good then (a) they don't believe and will try to sell high or (b) they believe it and now he's a decent, cheap, young starter and they won't want to move him. Anyway, the only way I see him not in the organization is if he's traded which, for almost any player, has to be a reasonably low likelihood.

And Soriano is simply an untradeable contract. I know, Hampton and Wells and others prove there's no such thing as an untradeable contract, but I called those contracts untradeable so really the only hope we have for him being traded is me saying there's no way it can happen. :-)

Marmol is an interesting question. I'm not going to be upset if he gets traded at this point but it's a somewhat similar situation to Samardzija -- if Marmol rebounds, the Cubs might well want to keep him; if he doesn't, nobody will want him.

Then there's the DL. Camp could blow out his elbow in his next appearance and he'll be "in the organization" for the rest of the season. Marmol's probably as likely to need surgery as he is to get traded.

Now, if the question was what number would still be in the Cubs org on opening day next season, I'd see a lot more bodies heading out the door.
   47. McCoy Posted: April 11, 2012 at 09:03 PM (#4104544)
If Dempster keeps this up he won't be here come the end of June. Hell, I'd say that the Cubs should be actively shopping him and looking for the best deal by the end of the month if he keeps this up. There is absolutely no reason to keep Dempster on this team at this point.
   48. McCoy Posted: April 11, 2012 at 09:06 PM (#4104547)
In better news, Castro has gotten on base 8 times now (twice with doubles) and has stolen a base 5 times already.
   49. McCoy Posted: April 12, 2012 at 07:07 PM (#4105304)
What is it about that 3rd out in the ninth that makes it so hard for our starters to get? Twice now they've lost a CG because of an error.

I'm sure some will disagree but I see no point in having Matt Garza try for a CG with the Cubs leading 8-0.
   50. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 12, 2012 at 09:39 PM (#4105351)
There was no point to bringing Garza back for the 9th. He was already at ~110 pitches.
   51. Brian C Posted: April 12, 2012 at 11:45 PM (#4105392)
I am unmoved either way. I don't think there's anything wrong with running him back out there and giving him a shot to finish the game, and I wouldn't have really cared if Sveum had pulled him after 8.
   52. Andere Richtingen Posted: April 13, 2012 at 06:57 AM (#4105429)
I am unmoved either way. I don't think there's anything wrong with running him back out there and giving him a shot to finish the game, and I wouldn't have really cared if Sveum had pulled him after 8.

It's no huge deal, but it's early in the season and this is a time to give your bullpen a little work and maybe not burn out your starters. If the Cubs are going to do anything this season (I know this is questionable on its face) then they are going to need results from their starters and bullpen. Trying to avoid using the bullpen and stretching your starters out is not a very good strategy in mid-April.

I can't say I'm too impressed with Sveum so far in this regard. I know, it's early, and he may have his reasons...
   53. zonk Posted: April 13, 2012 at 09:02 AM (#4105452)
Eh, I don't think there's any way this team is going anywhere this season... so if Garza can be made to look a gaudier with a CG SHO or something for the trade market, whatever... If they plan to keep him, though, then my math changes.
   54. McCoy Posted: April 13, 2012 at 09:16 PM (#4106273)
It took BPJ 103 pitches just to get through 5 inningss today and he gave up 5 runs.

On the brighter side Starlin Castro now has 6 stolen bases through 8 games. That's a nice 120 stolen base rate.
   55. Brian C Posted: April 14, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4106504)
Rizzo had two more homers last night, giving him 5 already. Jackson hit his first also, but continues to strike out at an ungodly rate (12 in 39 PA).
   56. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: April 14, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4106550)
Wellington Castillo has had a phenomenal 21 PAs as well: .444/.542/.889.

I like Soto as a player but if the Cubs can get some value for him in trade, I wouldn't mind if they pulled the trigger. Both Castillo and Clevenger project to be around a .700 OPS (per ZiPS). Sure, that's a clear downgrade from Geo but a team in their position should take the risk that one of their .700 OPS catchers will improve and freeing up some major league playing time for them is a good way to do that.
   57. McCoy Posted: April 14, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4106600)
Soto's pretty cheap, don't you just wait until next year or the year after that to try that? Also isn't that kind of what the backup catcher role is for?
   58. Brian C Posted: April 14, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4106611)
Can't you get more for him while he's still cheap? That seems like a feature of the trade, not a bug.

The bottom line is that the Cubs have three catchers who look MLB-competent. They're not going anywhere this year, so why wait until next year to try to trade Soto, when he'll be worth less then?
   59. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 14, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4106619)
Soto makes 4.3M this year, and is a free agent after next.
   60. McCoy Posted: April 14, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4106687)
They're not going anywhere this year, so why wait until next year to try to trade Soto, when he'll be worth less then?

Because I don't think he is worth much on the FA market, probably could be signed to a cheap extension, and his two possible replacements haven't proven yet that they can play at the major league level.
   61. McCoy Posted: April 17, 2012 at 10:23 PM (#4109319)
Can somebody explain why Dale continues to bat LaHair at the bottom of the order and continues to have Ian Stewart bat ahead of him? Does Dale not want the team to score runs?
   62. Walt Davis Posted: April 18, 2012 at 01:38 AM (#4109379)
Another excellent Dempster performance. Another anemic offensive performance but Castro stole a base! Another bullpen implosion although I don't know why Sveum was trying to get a second inning out of Solis in a tie game. And the Cubs have slipped into last place.

And Cub pitchers are now a combined 0-21 at the plate. Meanwhile Z is 1 for 4! Also 7.5 K/9! Also 6 BB/9 but that doesn't fit my storyline so we'll skip that.

Alas at this point it seems the Cubs would be better suited playing arb clock games with Rizzo and Jackson but Soriano and Byrd are at least making it easy to make the move when the time comes (LaHair to LF). Unfortunately at this point I think the Cubs would find it hard to trade Byrd for anything, even Lincecum. :-)

On the plus side -- well, maybe it's just the offensive decline but the Cubs' peripherals look a lot better than an 84 ERA+.

And Castro's SBs. I knew we didn't have much to pay attention to this season so Castro's drive for 100 steals is a completely unexpected and welcome diversion. Probably not as much fun personally as Dawson's pointless run at 50 or Sammy's pointless 30/30 but cool nonetheless. Cubs' all-time record is 84, 20th century record is 67, liveball/postwar/21st century is 58 (Pierre).

It's the Drive for 85

EDIT: whoa, the Cubs grounded in 4 DP? C'mon, we only had 11 baserunners.
   63. McCoy Posted: April 18, 2012 at 10:30 AM (#4109531)
I'm betting Kerry will be going on the DL soon. Sent back home for a cortisone shot is never a good thing.

I think the real "watch" for Starlin Castro will be whether he ends up with more steals or with more errors. Currently sitting on 7 steals and 4 errors. As the season wears on I assume that Starlin will slow down a bit on the stolen base front while his error rate might just go up. Joe Tinker has the 20th century record with 72 errors while Todd Burns has the all time Cub error total with 96.
   64. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 18, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4109981)
His error rate might go up from 4 errors/11 games? You think he's going to make 60 errors?? Twice as many as he made last year?
   65. Brian C Posted: April 18, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4109996)
Hell, it sounds like McCoy's not ruling 90 out.
   66. McCoy Posted: April 18, 2012 at 08:25 PM (#4110129)
So Dale won't let LaHair bat higher than 6th (and had him batting 7th on Sunday) but he'll let his replacement (Baker) bat 5th despite the fact that Baker's OPS isn't even as high as LaHair's SLG is right now. Dale is rapidly becoming a Don.
   67. McCoy Posted: April 18, 2012 at 10:18 PM (#4110245)
Which team in history had the worst bullpen of all time? I don't know the answer to that question but i might very well know it at the end of this season.
   68. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 18, 2012 at 10:34 PM (#4110251)
They've got a ways to go to beat the 2000 Astros.

Or the incredibly consistent and consistently bad 1987 Red Sox. Five guys made 91% of their relief appearances, and all five had bad seasons. They won 78 games with only 16 saves.
   69. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: April 18, 2012 at 10:37 PM (#4110253)
The 2003 Tigers look pretty dreadful.
   70. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 18, 2012 at 10:44 PM (#4110255)
Or the incredibly consistent 1987 Red Sox. Five guys made 91% of their relief appearances, and none of them had a good season. They won 78 games with only 16 saves. (next lowest: 25, for the 101-loss Indians) The two guys who had those saves were Calvin Schiraldi and Wes Gardner, who combined to give up 32 home runs in 173 innings. then Schiraldi was traded to the Cubs.
   71. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 18, 2012 at 10:56 PM (#4110262)
Worst bullpen:

By ERA, it's the 1930 Phillies: 8.15. And in UER & it's over 9.

By ERA+, it's a tie: 1938 Phillies and the 1920 Cubs: 60. Tiebreaker to the Phillies as their 'pen tossed 286.1 IP vs. 202 for the Cubs.

Since WWII worst ERA+ is the 1953 Tigers: 66. Yes it was a long time ago, but they did throw 402.1 IP. And allowed 40 homers, 203 walks, while fanning 183 for a 6.17 ERA.

Since 1953: 1967 Astros, ERA+ of 70. 427.1 IP, 4.70 ERA in the Astrodome during the New Deadball Era. 43 HR, 164 BB, 318 K.

Since 1967: 1971 Yankees: ERA+ 72 in 288 IP. (Ralph Houk didn't like using his 'pen in general and certainly not with this one). That's tied with the 1980 A's, famous for never being used. No wonder why - they had an ERA+ of 72 (in just 210.1 IP).

Since 1980: with an ERA+ of 74 between the 2010 Diamondbacks. However, that's tied with the 1975 Cubs.

The 2007 Tampa pen deserves a mention too. 497 IP, 6.16 ERA. 77 HR, 251 BB. 605 H.


   72. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 18, 2012 at 11:03 PM (#4110266)
I couldn't figure out how to search for specifically bullpen stats, so I looked for teams that had zero pitchers with IP over 15 and ERA+ under 100 or something like that.
   73. Brian C Posted: April 19, 2012 at 12:36 AM (#4110286)
Which team in history had the worst bullpen of all time? I don't know the answer to that question but i might very well know it at the end of this season.

I doubt it. They're brutal now but not historically bad, and it's not going to get worse than this. It's early and they'll make personnel changes. I wouldn't be surprised if Dolis's next bad outing gets him and his 0.20 K/BB sent back to AAA, especially since Beliveau's off to a good start for Iowa and they could use another lefty. Lopez certainly won't be around long the way he's going either. They'll probably stick with Castillo, but he looks halfway decent and, his bad results notwithstanding, possibly worth the trouble.

It's also worth pointing out that, because the rest of the team has been so crummy, that their worst pitchers have gotten the most work; the top four relievers by IP are Dolis, Lopez, Camp, and Castillo (Sveum really should have gotten Marmol in the game tonight, he hasn't pitched since last Friday).

And at any rate, by OPS+ against, the Cubs pen this year hasn't been worse than Boston, Tampa Bay, or Atlanta.
   74. Brian C Posted: April 19, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4110478)
In other Cubs news, Brett Jackson finally went a whole game without striking out last night. You might think I'm being snarky in saying that, but it really is the first game this season in which he hasn't struck out at least once (he now has 20 K in 65 PA).

On the other hand, he's hitting .273/.385/.545, so he's picked up right where he left off last season.
   75. Brian C Posted: April 20, 2012 at 03:24 AM (#4111084)
Rizzo with two more homers tonight. Travis Wood gave up 4 runs in 6.1 innings, and has a 5.19 ERA over three starts, but is also rocking a 18/5 K/BB. So I dunno about him, but so far his peripherals are better than his results. And Jackson went another game without striking out!
   76. McCoy Posted: April 20, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4111197)
Do people still think this team is a slightly below .500 team?
   77. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 20, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4111416)
Does 76-86 count as slightly below 500?
   78. zonk Posted: April 20, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4111442)
Heh... I'm starting to think my 69 wins was shooting too high.
   79. McCoy Posted: April 20, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4111472)
You want to quibble about 5 wins?
   80. McCoy Posted: April 20, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4111474)
Heh... I'm starting to think my 69 wins was shooting too high.

I pegged them at 67 wins on another site and I still think they'll be around that mark.
   81. Brian C Posted: April 20, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4111478)
Wood to DL, Maine up.
   82. zonk Posted: April 20, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4111512)
...and Dempster supposedly to get examined.
   83. McCoy Posted: April 20, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4111514)
4 hits and 2 walks already and the first inning isn't even over with yet. Yeah! But at least Dale finally moved LaHair to 4th.
   84. McCoy Posted: April 20, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4111520)
Well, if Dempster goes down you can pretty much kiss the pitching staff goodbye.
   85. Brian C Posted: April 20, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4111524)
You know, McCoy, we have game chatters for in-game commentary.
   86. McCoy Posted: April 20, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4111529)
My stating that Volstad is putting up a stinker of a game is interfering with your ability to do what exactly?

I didn't realize this was the place we recap minor league daily performances.
   87. Brian C Posted: April 20, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4111535)
My stating that Volstad is putting up a stinker of a game is interfering with your ability to do what exactly?

Nothing, I was just trying to get more action in the game chatter thread. But your unnecessarily defensive response reminds me that I should have kept my mouth shut, lest you actually start showing up in the game chatters.
   88. McCoy Posted: April 20, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4111561)
Yeah, how could I have misconstrued your so obviously pleasant and innocuous statement?

   89. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 20, 2012 at 03:17 PM (#4111565)
76-86 is 10 games under 500. Do you consider us slightly below 500 right now?
   90. McCoy Posted: April 20, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4111571)
76-86 is 10 games under 500. Do you consider us slightly below 500 right now?

So is a baseball season really 172 games long? If the Cubs win 77 games are they 9 games under .500? 76 wins misses a .500 season by 5 games not 10 games.
   91. Brian C Posted: April 20, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4111576)
EDIT: Never mind.
   92. Weeks T. Olive Posted: April 20, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4111578)
Oh, dear god no, not this argument.
   93. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 20, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4111581)
So we're just 3 games away from 500 now. What's everyone freaking out about?
   94. Brian C Posted: April 20, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4111583)
So we're just 3 games away from 500 now. What's everyone freaking out about?

Let's put this to bed, shall we?

1) If the Cubs had won 4 more games, they'd be over .500 this year.

2) The Cubs are 7 games under .500 this year.

Both statements are true.
   95. McCoy Posted: April 20, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4111588)
So we're just 3 games away from 500 now. What's everyone freaking out about?

Freaking out? I don't think anyone is freaking out now about the Cubs sucking.


If a baseball season was only 14 games long then, yes, the Cubs would have missed being a .500 team by 4 games. Since a baseball season is longer than 14 games the Cubs will need to go +8 wins over X amount of games to get to .500. One is looking to the future and one is looking to the past. This is pretty simple stuff here. I'm not sure why there is a need to quibble on it.
   96. McCoy Posted: April 20, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4111675)
Castro is at 5 errors to 7 stolen bases.
   97. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 20, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4111706)
Yep, only 91 more errors to go!
   98. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: April 20, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4111714)
Jeez, Tulowitzki's on pace for 81 errors at SS this year. Reyes is on pace for 62. Castro's on pace for 60 (through 13.5 games). Paxton Crawfor's on pace for 54. Man, that Es committed at SS leaderboard is gonna be ugly this year!
   99. Quaker Posted: April 20, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4111745)
Christ this team is awful. Soooo glad I only paid for the monthly MLB.tv instead of the whole year.
   100. Quaker Posted: April 20, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4111753)
Also, other than here, what is the best Cubs site out there? I can't stand the SBNation guy. I've been looking @ Cubs Den a decent am't but am open to other suggestions.
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