Friday, April 30, 2010

Sullivan on 670 The Score

Paul Sullivan joined Mully and Hanley yesterday to talk Cubs:
  • Wednesday it was George Castle who made Lou Piniella mad, Thursday it was a guy from Comcast.
  • Sullivan agrees with the decision to let Fontenot swing the bat with men on base earlier in the week. Some question Lou's strategy and think that Mike should have put a bunt down.
  • The Cubs are wasting amazing starting pitcher. Also, they are playing the teams "that you have to beat".
  • If you go by last year's records, the Cubs had the easiest April schedule in the National League.
  • At the end of the season, you are going to look back at these games and realize how much they mattered.
  • The bullpen situation has been straighten out. They have an ERA under 2 since Zambrano has been moved out there.
  • The guys in the bullpen do have a good time down there.
  • Sullivan says that the stars on the team are working on their own. Rudy Jaramillo will work individual with any players that want to. .
  • Aramis Ramirez seems to be slowly coming out of it.
  • Geovany Soto is quietly having a solid year.
  • It's too early to make any final judgements on Jaramillo.
  • The Cubs still feel pretty good about Lilly.
  • Ryan Dempster is a guy who will answer all of the questions win or lose. Dempser always understands the job of the media.
  • Sully thinks that the Demp we are seeing now is the one that we did not see at the start of last season. He is picking up where he left off at the end of last season.
  • The Cubs could have used Kevin Millar. They picked Tracy because he is left handed and can play first base.
  • Sully says that Kevin really does help in the clubhouse. He has a great personality that brings the team together.
  • The Nationals are a team that really have a good time and enjoy themeselves. The Cubs could use a guy like Millar to shake things up.
  • The whole personality of this team has looked flat so far this season.
  • The Cubs really need a left handed bat off the bench that can come up with a hit. Chad Tracy has not worked out.

That's it for now!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

End of the Week Roundup: Castro, Kosuke, Caridad, and More

Castro on the Way Up?
Bruce Levine of ESPN has reported that Starlin Castro's promotion to the big leagues is just around the corner. It's undetermined at this time when he'll be brought up and he could spend some time at AAA first. Assistant GM Randy Bush is currently with the Tennessee team evaluating.

Sasaski Likes What He Sees
Kosuke Fukudome's hitting coach has seen some encouraging signs from his pupil this season. Kyosuke Sasaski and Rudy Jaramillo agree that Kosuke needs a more compact stance. Sasaski thinks Fukudome will finish the year hitting over .300. Kosuke hit his first MLB Grand Slam today in the Cubs' 13-5 loss to Arizona.

Caridad to Rehab
Rookie Esmalin Caridad will pitch in the Cubs' Extended Spring Training game on Saturday in Mesa. The one inning of rehab will be his first outing since going on the DL with a forearm issue.

Theriot and Ramirez Heating Up
Even though Aramis Ramirez's season numbers are down, as Carrie Muskat points out he has hit safely in the last six games. Ryan Theriot has been red hot, hitting .488 during his current 9 game hit streak.

Links, Links, Link

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Minor League Radio Recaps

I recently discovered a great Cubs website called Every Thursday their show features the Cubs' minor league system, so be sure to check it out tomorrow morning.

Last week "B-Squared" were joined by pitcher Chris Archer:
  • Archer has started three games this year in Daytona. He is adjusting to the Florida State League after pitching in Peoria last year.
  • There are better hitters in the FSL, but his team is batter as well.
  • All in all, his third start was probably his best.
  • Archer has very good stuff, but he has been working on his command.
  • It's been a slow but steady process to where he is now.
  • His offspeed stuff has good command but he needs to control his fastball.
  • Chris understands that "sometimes in pro ball you're just going to have to do what you're told." He thinks it's a good thing that the Cubs are protecting young arms.
  • At this point it's all about development.
  • The organization wants younger guys to throw less pitches. Once you've been in the organization for a few years, you can build your pitch count up.
  • Archer came over from Cleveland in the DeRosa trade. He says that the Indians organization preaches how to attack guys.
  • The Cubs worry less about the mental side of the game and more about mechanics. Chris likes looking at the physical aspect.
  • The Florida State League hitters don't swing at as many bad pitches as Midwest League hitters.
  • Archer is enjoying the weather and beaches in Florida.
  • The Daytona Cubs get along on and off the field. They enjoy spending time together.

The guys quizzed Archer with a trivia challenge. I cannot believe he missed some of these:

1. When was the last time the Cubs won the World Series?

Archer: 1929

Correct Answer: 1908

2. Who is Mr. Cub?

Archer: Ryne Sandberg

Correct Answer: Ernie Banks

3. Who is the owner of the Chicago Cubs?

Archer: Jim Ricketts

Correct Answer: Tom Ricketts

After that Chris settled in and got a few, but it still is honestly disappointing that there is someone playing in the Cubs system that got both of these first two questions wrong!

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Numbers Breakdown: Cubs So Far

Today let's go by the numbers to find out what Cubs are contributing and which Cubbies are slacking! A few of these stats may surprise you!

First the team ranks-
Batting Average: .269, 6th in NL
Home Runs: 23, 4th in NL
Runs Scored: 93, 7th in NL
Team ERA: 3.70, 6th
Strikeouts by Pitchers: 155, 2nd
Runs Allowed: 83, 8th

Now some of the Cubs bests and worsts!
Best Batting Average: Marlon Byrd, .355
Worst Batting Average (non-pitcher): Aramis Ramiez, .145
Best OBP: Geovany Soto, .517
Worst OBP (non-pitcher): Chad Tracy, .143
Most Home Runs: Derrek Lee, 4
Position Players Still Look for first HR: Fontenot, Hill, Tracy, and Theriot
Most RBIs: Marlon Byrd, 15
Most Runs Scored: Ryan Theriot, 13
Most Errors: Soriano/Zambrano, 3
Best ERA among starters: Carlos Silva, 1.73
Worst ERA among starters: Ryan Dempster, 2.60
Best ERA among relievers: Carlos Marmol, 0.84
Worst ERA among relievers: John Grabow, 8.10
Most Innings Pitched: Ryan Dempster, 27.2

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pitching Shuffle: Z to the Pen, Lilly Returns, Shark to AAA, and More

Samardzija Sent to AAA
Yesterday the Cubs had to make a roster move to make room for Ted Lilly on the active roster. 90% of you that voted on our right sidebar agree with the move to send Jeff Samardzija to Iowa. Jeff went 0-1 with an 18.90 ERA. He will join the I-Cubs bullpen.

A Pair of Debuts
Last night was a big night for the Cubs' pitching staff. It was like adding two new pitchers to the staff without making a transaction. Carlos Zambrano made his first relief appearance of the year. Before taking the hill, Z delivered a pinch hit sac fly at the plate. Then allowed a walk and 2 hits in the 8th which led to a Brewer run, but he was able to work out of the inning. The new addition to the starting rotation was lefty Ted Lilly, who started the year on the DL. Ted surrendered just one run on three hits in 6 innings of work in his season debut at Miller Park. The Cubs won the game 5-1.

Lead-off Situation
Paul Sullivan reports that Lou Piniella is happy with Ryan Theriot leading off. Marlon Byrd led-off a game against a left handed pitcher last week, but don't expect to see him there every time a southpaw is on the mound. Pineilla would rather have one set lead-off guy than a platoon.

Not Him Again
With Milton Bradley back in Chicago to face the White Sox this weekend, his name has been appearing all over Chicago newspapers and websites. Bradley told CSN on Friday that he was misunderstood on the North side of Chicago and mentioned that race could have played a factor in the way he was treated. Bradley describe himself as a non-violent, non-threatening nerd. He is hitting just .167.

Caridad's Progress
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Esmalin Caridad is expected to come off the DL by the end of next weekend. He is rehabbing at Fitch Park in Mesa.

Zambrano Won't Go Back to Back
The Cubs will not be using Carlos Zambrano again today. Since Z is used to pitching every fifth day, Piniella wants to wait until he has three or four relief appearances under his belt to use him on back to back days. Expect to see Carlos on the hill "about every other day." Having Big Z down there allows the Cubs to use the bullpen better.

Byrd Gets Day Off
Marlon Byrd leads the club in RBIs and is red hot, but he sat out today's series finale against the Brewers. The Cubs are trying to rotate their outfielders so that everyone gets some rest. In addition, this allows them to use rookie Tyler Colvin more. Tyler got the nod in center field today.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Night Quick Hits: Lilly's Return, Football at Wrigley, & More

After a rough series in New York that saw the Cubs drop three of four, it was good to see the Boys in Blue bounce back tonight. They got a big 8-1 win over the Brewers behind a strong outing by Ryan Dempster and a Tyler Colvin 2-run bomb. Here are the latest notes:
  • Carlos Zambrano warmed up tonight but did not get into the game. He could make his bullpen debut tomorrow.
  • Also tomorrow night, Ted Lilly will come off the DL and make his season debut. Lilly has pitched well in rehab outings and is ready to go.
  • Aramis Ramiez, who's hitting just .127, got the last two nights off to work with Rudy Jaramillo. Chad Tracy played third base for the Cubs.
  • Ron Santo was back in the broadcast booth tonight. He did not go to New York because of a health issue, but we are happy to report that Ronny is feeling better.
  • Whether they'll be a game at Wrigley in October or not remains to be seen, but they'll be one there in November. The Northwestern Wildcats will battle Illinois as football returns to the Friendly Confines.
  • Ken Rosenthal suggests that the Cubs trade Tom Gorzelanny for a reliever. This would create an opening in the rotation that could be filled by Andrew Cashner or Jay Jackson.
  • Milton Bradley is back in Chicago to face the White Sox.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Getting to Know the Cubs: Jeff Gray

When the Cubs placed Esmalin Caridad on the DL, they made their first minor league callup of the year. Let's meet the newest Cubs.
Full Names: Jeffrey Michael Gray
Position: Pitcher
B/T: Right
Drafted: By the A's in the 32nd round of the 2004 draft
Came to the Cubs: On December 3, 2009 in a trade with Oakland. Jake Fox and Aaron Miles were sent the other way in the deal.
MLB Debut: September 8, 2008
2010 Stats: 2 Games, 3 IP, 3 ER
Career Big League Stats: 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in 31 big league games.
Age: 28
College: Southwest Missouri State University

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Zambrano to the Bullpen

Well that was the most surprising Cubs news I've heard in a long time. According to the Chicago Tribune the Cubs have decided to move Carlos Zambrano into a setup role. How often do you see the Opening Day starter moved to the bullpen before the end of April?

To me, this move makes sense. Zambrano needs to get going and the Cubs need an 8th inning man. The match could work out perfectly. Big Z is handling it okay, but he seems to be under the impression that this move in temporary, while Lou Piniella says that the Cubs are looking for stability.

Ted Lilly will return to the rotation on Saturday to take Zambrano's place. Another roster move will have to be made in order to make room for Teddy. (Vote on the right sidebar for which reliever you think will be sent down!)

Bruce Levine is reporting that the Cubs have scouted Braden Looper, who's currently a free agent. David Kaplan says that they could be looking to make an even bigger move, but he mentioned tonight on Cubs' Tenth Inning on WGN Radio that "not many deals are made in April."

After Lou told the media that Zambrano would be used in the eighth, the Cubs went out an snapped a four game losing skid with a big win over the Mets. Alfonso Soriano has a great game. Perhaps better things are on the way!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Extended Spring Training Roster

Many Chicago Cubs prospects have started their 2010 season in Mesa getting some work in at Fitch Park. The Extended Spring Training club is filled with players that are there for a variety of reasons. Some are lower level prospects that will join the Boise Hawks when their shortened season begins in June. Some are recovering from injuries, while others are working on position changes or other adjustments. The clubs is managed by former Cub Jody Davis, who will manage the Hawks after the 2 month Extended Spring season is over.

The Cubs EXST team is 2-3-2 in game action against mostly the Giants, A's, and Angels.

Here is the latest roster from Mesa (thanks to and other sources):
  • Frank Batista, P
  • Rogelio Carmona, P
  • Eduardo Figueroa, P
  • Jesse Ginley, P
  • Yohan Gonzalez, P
  • Gian Guzman, P
  • Cody Hams, P
  • Alvido Jimenez, P
  • Danny Keefe, P
  • Austin Kirk, P
  • James Leverton, P
  • Luis Liria, P
  • Hector Mayora, P
  • Jade Mendez, P
  • John Mincone, P
  • Tarlandus Mitchell, P
  • Marcos Perez, P
  • Jose Rosario, P
  • Drew Rundle, P (converted OF)
  • Alvaro Sosa, P (converted C)
  • Larry Suarez, P
  • Tzu-An Wang, P
  • Yao-Lin Wang, P
  • Sergio Burruel, C
  • Jose Guevara, C
  • Jae-Hoon Ha, C
  • Jonathan Mota, C (converted INF)
  • Carlos Romero, C
  • Arismendy Alcantara, INF
  • Vismeldy Bieneme, INF
  • Ping-Chien Chen, INF
  • Wes Darvill, INF
  • Rafael Disla, INF
  • Brandon May, INF
  • Blair Springfield, INF
  • Charles Thomas, INF
  • Bobby Wagner, INF
  • Xavier Batista, OF
  • Runey Davis, OF
  • D.J. Fitzgerald, OF
  • Francisco Guzman, OF
  • Albert Hernandez, OF
  • Kyung-Min Na, OF
  • Manuel Pestana, OF
  • Cody Shields, OF

Guys that have been in Mesa on Injury Rehab:

  • Justin Bristow, P
  • Julio Castillo, P
  • Angel Guzman, P
  • Marcus Hatley, P
  • Dylan Johnston, P
  • Dong-Yub Kim, OF
  • Casey Lambert, LHP
  • Toby Matchulat, RHP
  • Rebel Ridling, 1B
  • Melvin Rosa, RHP
  • Adam Spencer, RHP
  • Jon Nagel, RHP

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Roundup: 3 Straight Losses, Lineup Changes, Rotation Decisions, and More

Lineup Tinkering
Tonight the Cubs tried out their new lineup that will take the field against left handed hitters. The changes didn't pay off as the Cubs hitters scored just 1 run in a 6-2 loss. Here is the Cubs new look batting order VS LHP:
1. Marlon Byrd, CF
2. Jeff Baker, 2B
3. Derrek Lee, 1B
4. Xavier Nady, RF
5. Aramis Ramirez, 3B
6. Alfonso Soriano, LF
7. Geovany Soto, C
8. Ryan Theriot, SS

Santo Out Sick
Cubs WGN Radio color man Ron Santo missed the game at Wrigley on Friday and Saturday because of a heart problem that led to a trip to the hospital. Santo was back at the ballpark on Sunday and was feeling a lot better. However, he did not make the trip to New York to play it safe. Ronny is not much of a fan of New York anyways. Keith Moreland will join Pat Hughes for all four games in this series.

Lilly Set to Return
Ted Lilly worked 7 innings and gave up just 1 run to lead Class A Peoria to a 2-1 win in his final rehab start before he makes his 2010 Cubs debut. They lefty is schedule to go at Miller Park next weekend.

Soriano Drops Hop
Alfonso Soriano is planning to get rid of his signature hop. He has finally relized that this makes is handed to catch the baseball. Let's hope this helps his defense improve!

Caridad to Extended Spring Training
Esmalin Caridad will head out to Mesa to work with the Cubs Extended Spring Training team on a rehab assignment. Esmalin is on the 15-day DL with a right forearm issue.

Big Z to the Bullpen
Gordon Wittenmyer tweeted early that Lou Piniella has left the door open for one of his top 3 starters to leave the rotation when Lilly returns. At this point, sending Wells or Dempster to the bullpen would not make sense, so Gordon speculated that Zambrano could be moved to the pen. Most likely, either Carlos Silva or Tom Gorzelanny will lost their rotation spot. Gorzo threw on Monday for the first time since being removed from Saturday's game after being nailed with a liner.

Bullpen Struggles
When Lilly is activated, the Cubs will have one pitcher too many. Jeff Samardzija has been pitching poorly and could be in jeopardy of losing his bullpen job. Jeff Gray could also be sent back to AAA Iowa. If Gorzelanny is sent to the bullpen, the Cubs may want to keep four right handers so James Russell may be shipped out.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Radio Recaps: Jaramillo, Samardzija, and Hollandsworth

Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo joined the guys on Talkin' Baseball on ESPN 1000 yesterday:
  • Rudy is still in the process of trying to "win these guys over" and get them to understand his program.
  • He wants to have communication with his hitters because it is important in any sport.
  • Derrek Lee is a special athlete. Jaramillo thinks it is smart to stay out of Lee's way and let him do his thing.
  • Lee is a gentlemen that is fun to be around.
  • Alfonso Soriano is starting to gain some confidence. He's working really hard and comes into the cage twice a day. "We still have a long way to go, but at least he's going in the right direction," Jaramillo said.
  • His bat speed is there, but his foundation is out of whack.
  • Marlon Byrd plays hard, brings energy, and comes ready to play everyday. Right now, Byrd is not hitting for the average that they want him to, but that will improve.
  • At times he is trying to do too much, but that is pretty common when you come to a new team.

Jeff Samardzija joined the Danny Mac Show on Wednesday:

  • Samardzija felt a lot better once he got back out there for the home opener and pitched well.
  • Working a quick inning felt great.
  • There's always a little bit of pressure when you take the ball to pitch in a big league game.
  • Jeff goes out there every time looking for perfection.
  • He still feels like he is young and his arm has a lot left. He looks forward to getting as many big league innings as possible.
  • In the bullpen, everyday is different and you don't know when your going to get in the game.
  • Samardzija has gained respect for successful relief pitchers around the league. The hardest part is that you only have 5-7 minutes to get warm instead of the 45 minutes starters get.
  • Everyone in the bullpen is on the same page. The bullpen staff's goal is to work the middle innings and get the ball to Marmol.
  • Not too many guys are worried about what role they have in in the bullpen.
  • The more experience you get, the better.
  • Jeff hears football questions in every interview every day.

Todd Hollandsworth joined Dan and Matt on Friday to talk Cubs:

  • Holly never had the opportunity to support other pro teams in the city he was playing in during his big league career. Todd likes the fact that Dempster and the Cubs are rallying behind the Blackhawks.
  • Todd doesn't like the idea of having Carlos Marmol pitch more than 1 inning.
  • If you do that, you will get to the All Star Break and have an even bigger mess.
  • You want to be able to use your closer as much as possible but you don't want them to be overused early in the season.
  • Matt and Dan want Marmol to have a massive work load, but Holly points out that the future is an unknown. It's a manager's job to be cautious with your closer.
  • The most encouraging thing Todd has seen is 2-out hitting. There have been some good signs early in the year.
  • The Cubs look confident and look like they are believing in each other.
  • This offense is what it is. You might need to lean on the home run a little more than you should.
  • Tyler Colvin should get more of an oppertunity to play. Lou is not doing Colvin any favors by keeping him on the bench. If Alfonso Soriano is not hitting, there is not much else he brings to the game.
  • Colvin is earning the starting job. If your going to take Soriano out in the 7th inning, you might as well do it in the first.

A 4-2 homestand sounds pretty good. Let's got get a win.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cubs Roundup: Releasing Soriano?, Lilly to Return, Silva, And More

The Chicago Cubs are back up to .500! Let's check out the latest news and notes:
  • Bruce Levine reports that the Cubs still having a glaring weakness- the bullpen. Bruce says that Jim Hendry will gladly overpay in prospects if the Ricketts will let him add an arm.
  • Health Bell could be one reliever that will be on the market.
  • Bringing Andrew Cashner up from AA has not been talked about.
  • Some Cubs were on hand at the United Center last night to support the Blackhawks' in their first playoff game. Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Marmol, Ryan Dempster, Ryan Theriot, and Lou Piniella were among the Cubs in attendance.
  • Derrek Lee's thumb injury has not been slowing him down, as he's homered each of the last 2 days.
  • Jim Hendry told Jim Memolo on XM Radio's MLB Network Radio yesterday that the Cubs will not eat Alfonso Soriano's contract.
  • Carlos Silva has been masterful so far this season. His ERA is 0.69.
  • Rob Neyer thinks there's a 50/50 chance that Alfonso Soriano will be released before his contract expires.
  • Ted Lilly will make his next rehab start next Monday in Peoria. If all goes well, he could return to the Cubs rotation next weekend in Milwaukee according to Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald.
  • The Cubs have 2 more day games against the 1-9 Astros on this homestand before they head to New York to take on the Mets on Monday.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Catching Up Quick Hits: Soriano, The 8th Inning, and More

Let's catch up on all the Cubs news and notes from this week!
  • The Cubs lost today but won 2 of 3 against the Brewers in the first home series of the year.
  • The 1-8 Astros will be in town starting tomorrow.
  • Derrek Lee returned the the lineup today after missing some time with a thumb injury. He launched his 100th career home run at Wrigley Field before being thrown out of the game after a called third strike call in the 7th.
  • Today was Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball. All players, coaches, and umpires sported number 42.
  • Yesterday the Cubs placed right handed pitcher Esmalin Caridad on the DL with a forearm strain. Jeff Gray was called up from AAA-Iowa and looked rocky in his Cubs debut.
  • Ted Lilly's rehab starts in Iowa have gone well. He could return to the rotation sometime after April 23.
  • The 8th inning has continued to haunt the Cubs. Carrie Muskat reports that Lou will continue to call on Marshall and Grabow for setup duty, and he may not use a right hander.
  • Carlos Marmol says he's up for pitching 2 innings, but the Chicago Tribune reports that the most he will be called upon for is four outs.
  • Bruce Miles reported that the Cubs have threatened to bench Soriano, but the Chicago Tribune says that Lou denied this. Today Soriano was on the bench and Tyler Colvin was in left field, but Piniella was just "rotating his outfielders".
  • Phil Rogers likes what he's seen from Andrew Cashner.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Getting to Know the Cubs: Xavier Nady

This winter, the Cubs added a new backup outfielder to the mix. He's coming off Tommy John surgery, so to start the year his defense is limited. Let's learn a little bit more about this former Pirate.

Full Name: Xavier Clifford Nady VI

Positions: Right Field and First Base

B/T: Right

Age: 31

Drafted: By the San Diego Padres in the 2nd round of the 2000 amateur draft.

MLB Debut: September 30, 2000

Teams: Padres (2000-2005), Mets (2006), Pirates (2006-2008), Yankees (2008-2009), and Cubs (2010)

Career Games by Position: RF (409), LF (100), 1B (82), CF (45), DH 16, and 3B (3).

Career Batting Average: .280

2010 Stats: 3-7, HR, 4 RBIs, BB

Interesting Fact: Traded for Mike Cameron in 2005; traded for Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez in 2006; traded again from Pirates to Yankees in '08

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Friendly Confines

There's good news. The Cubbies are coming home. Let's take some time to remind you a little bit about our home ballpark.

Wrigley Field broke ground on March 4, 1914 and opened on April 23, 1914. It has always been located at 1060 West Addison Street, but it has not always been called Wrigley Field. The first name of the stadium was Weeghman Park. It was named after part owner Charles Weeghman. The name lasted until 1920, when "Cubs Park" took over. That title hung around for about six seasons, until the park was renamed Wrigley Field in 1926. That name stuck.

The current capacity of the ballpark is 41,160. It held just 14,000 back in 1914. In case you've forgotten, the field dimensions are as follows:

355 feet to left, 368 to left-center, 400 to straight away, 368 to right-center, and 353 to right.

From 1914 to 1915 the park was home to the Chicago Whales of the Federal League. The Cubs took over in 1916, but they haven't been the only team to call Wrigley home since. Two Chicago football teams, the Tigers (1920) and Bears (1921-1970) occupied the park during the winter. The Chicago Sting soccer club played their games at Wrigley from 1977 to 1982 then again in '84. Most recently, the Chicago Blackhawks played a game there on New Year's Day 2009 against Detroit. It was the NHL's Winter Classic.

Here are ten things that you probably love about our home park:
1. The Ivy
2. The Rooftops
3. The Wind Patterns
4. The Scoreboard
5. The Bleachers
6. The Atmosphere
7. The 7th Inning Stretch
8. The Day Games
9. The Playing of "Go Cubs Go"
10. The "W" Flag

None of those thing will change this season, but there are a few things that will. Let's take a look.

1. A Player's lounge with a new 60-inch flat screen TV
2. New Weight room and upgraded batting cages
3. Bison Burgers Available at Concessions
4. Changes to Restrooms
5. A brand-new kitchen for Otis Hellman to cook
6. Banners and photos of players covering the facade of the field
7. Six skyboxes have been converted into a private club
8. Sheffield Grill will now be open to the public.
9. Of course, they'll be four Cubs fans roaming around the park again this year. The change? This year, they own the club.

Ryan Dempster is set to face the Brewers at 1:20.

"I don't care who wins as long as it's the Cubs!"
-Bert Wilson, Cubs broadcaster 1944-1955

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Poll, Radio Recaps, and More

First of all, please be sure to check out our new poll on the right sidebar.

We Ask:
Out of the players the Cubs have, who should be the 8th inning man?

A) John Grabow
B) Esmalin Caridad
C) Sean Marshall
D) Justin Berg
E) Jeff Samardzija

Please vote! Also, feel free to comment with your thoughts. Commenting is quick, easy, and does not require signing in. Remember that you can email me anytime at

A big thanks to everyone who voted on our last poll! Here are the results:

Q: How many games will the Cubs win this season?
Tie-1. 80-89 (50%)
Tie-1. 90-94 (50%)

Ryan Dempster joined Waddle & Silvy on Thursday. Here's the recap:
  • Ryan says he is doing great. He promises that everything is going to be okay. There are always 2 game losing streaks in baseball.
  • Demp understands why he was taken out after the 6th inning. The baseball season is a marathon not a sprint.
  • He worked very hard this winter and during Spring Training, so he felt as prepared as he could be.
  • Going into the game, he did not feel any pressure. He was just excited to get out there.
  • There is no sense of "here we go again" in the clubhouse.
  • You cannot live in the past, you have to enjoy the present.
  • The Cubs have a really good team and everything will be just fine.
  • Ryan's daughter is doing very well. She continues to inspire him everyday.
  • Randy Wells knows how to pitch. He didn't just catch lighting in a bottle last year. Dempster expects him to keep it up this season.
  • Jeff Samardzija really wants to win at whatever he's doing. That's what gets him through the rough times.
  • Shark will make the adjustments back to the pen.
  • The nice thing about starting a new season is that you never know what is going to happen.

Paul Sullivan was on with Mully and Hanley on Thursday:

  • Sullivan says that Lou is already ticked off this early in the season.
  • Lou didn't like the question (from the media) about Sean Marshall changing roles. He didn't like the idea of moving John Grabow out of the setup role already.
  • The fact that it was Grabow who blew the game on Wednesday makes you more nervous. John is supposed to be the Cubs' top setup guy.
  • Piniella still has faith in Grabow.
  • Sullivan figures that he'll stick as the 8th inning man for most of the season. As wild as Marmol was, he kept the setup role for all of last year.
  • There are enough questions with this team to make you worry.
  • The way the hitting has been so far is not going to cut it. The bats did not make too much noise the last two weeks of Spring Training either.
  • The second game of the season felt more like a middle of the season loss. Getting their butts kicked in the first game and then blowing the second game cause a lot of frustration.
  • "When things go wrong with the Cubs, they just seem to go wrong."

Other Cubs Notes:

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Slow Start Blues

The Cubs have dropped three of the first four. Things are not looking very good, but it's still early. There is plenty of time for this team to turn it around. Ever since the start of Spring Training, everyone has known that the Cubs bullpen is weak. That has become even more obvious with the struggles of Grabow, Caridad, Berg, and Samardzija this week. Even Carlos Marmol caused some butterflies in the 9th inning of the only Cubs win so far this year.

Here are the latest news and notes:

Carlos Zambrano will look to improve on his Opening Day start when he faces the Reds tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Quick Hits After Opening the Year with a Thud

Let's catch up on the latest Cubs notes before they take the field tonight for Game 3 against the Braves.
  • Tonight Soriano, Soto, and Fontenot are all out of the lineup. Colvin, Hill, and Baker will all get their first starts of the year.
  • Randy Wells will be on the hill for the Cubs tonight.
  • Zambrano's next start will be Saturday in Cincinnati.
  • Alfonso Soriano said that his knee feels very good so far this season.
  • Minor league Opening Night is tonight. Andrew Cashner will pitch for Tennessee, Mike Parisi for Iowa, and Rafael Dolis for Daytona.
  • Jeff Gray and John Gaub are among guys to watch at the minor league level. Look for the Cubs to make a call up sooner rather than later if the relievers continue to struggle.
  • Lou Piniella just wants everyone to calm down. He is right on one thing for sure- it's only been two game.
  • Kosuke Fukudome won the Cubs random NCAA Basketball hat draw by picking Butler. This was his second straight year winning. The spread this year was seven points, and Kevin Millar had Duke.
  • The Cubs are worth 4% more than they were a year ago.
  • It's sunny now in Atlanta, and it looks like there will be baseball in the next hour.
  • Ted Lilly's rehab start at AAA has been pushed back to Saturday because of back stiffness. Lou claims that this is not a setback.
  • A statue of Jack Brickhouse will now become part of the city's public art collection.
  • Ron Santo lost a tooth biting into a piece of pizza before a Spring Training game last month.
  • The Cub Reporter has the countdown until the end of Soriano's contract going. Good thing Cubs fans are used to long waits.

Let's go get the first "W" of '10!

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday Radio Recaps

Todd Hollandsworth on Waddle & Silvy today:
  • Holly agrees that Opening Day left a bad taste in a lot of Cubs fans mouths.
  • The Cubs did not get their 2008 "swagger" back on Monday.
  • There were a lot of errors and mental mistakes in the game.
  • The bar is not set too high for Carlos Zambrano. Big Z is getting payed a lot of money, so he needs to step up and be the number one starter.
  • The question is, "Will the next 33 starts be quality?" You cannot lower the bar for Z.
  • If he can't step up, you have to find somebody else to be that guy.
  • Hollandsworth thought Zambrano's stuff on Monday looked "flat".
  • Todd still thinks that it's "between the ears" with Zambrano.
  • He thinks that the Cubs are already starting to feel the pressure. The pressure is coming from new ownership, the fan base, and the fact that some guys are nearing the end of their contracts.
  • 83 wins is not going to get it done this year.
  • The players understand that the rope may not be all that long. Soriano knows that he cannot get off to a slow start and keep his position.
  • Tyler Colvin is a kid who needs at bats. You don't want him getting rusty.

Len Kasper was on Afternoon Saloon Yesterday

  • Kasper got out of Turner Field as quickly as possible yesterday.
  • The disappointing thing about Jeff Samardzija is that he was very good during Spring Training. He was not throwing enough strikes yesterday.
  • Justin Berg was also all over the place and he's usually a strike thrower.
  • Len likes the Cubs young bullpen because when the guys go through struggles you can send them down the minors to get stuff worked out.
  • It's been proven that you should not overspend on middle relief pitching.
  • He likes Marlon Byrd, but he does not expect him to be a star who carries the team.
  • The Cubs have had a different Opening Day center fielder each of the last six years.
  • Sean Marshall is in the perfect role for him. His ERA as a starter is around five, and out of the pen it's in the low threes.
  • Marshall is simply better in relief. Len doesn't think you should mess with him if he's having success.
  • Mike Fontenot and Geovany Soto need to contribute a lot more production than they did last year.
  • Lou is not going to hesitate to put Tyler Colvin into the lineup.
  • Carlos Silva and Tom Gorzelanny each will have two starts to prove that they need to stay in the rotation. Kasper thinks the Gorzelanny will probably stay so that Silva can be a sixth or seventh inning guy. The Cubs need someone from the right side in the pen.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Getting to Know the Cubs: Tyler Colvin

Today we continue to profile Cubs players.
Tyler Colvin could get 2-3 starts a week in the outfield and we've heard a lot about him in Spring Training, so it's about time that we take a closer look.
Full Name: Tyler Eugene Colvin
Position: Outfield
B/T: Left
MLB Debut: September 21, 2009
Drafted: by the Cubs in the first round of the 2006 draft (13th overall)
College: Clemson University
Age: 24
2009 Minor League Stats: Hit .286 with 15 home runs in 116 games split between Daytona and Tennssee.
2009 Big League Stats: 3-17 at the plate
Spring Training Stats: .468 AVG in 25 games
Games Played by Position: CF (172), RF (91), & LF (87)
Uniform Number: 21
Interesting Fact: Added 25 pounds of muscle this offseason.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Opening Day Memories

We're just hours away from the start of the 2010 Cubs season! Today is the 135th Opening Day in Cub history. Let's take a trip back through some of the Opening Day starting lineups.

May 10, 1876
  • Chicago Cubs first game ever.
  • VS Cincinnati Red Stockings
  • W 6-0
  • Starting Lineup:
  • 1. Ross Barnes, 2B
  • 2. Cap Anson, 3B
  • 3. Calvin McVey, 1B
  • 4. Paul Hines, CF
  • 5. Albert Spaulding, P
  • 6. Bob Addy, RF
  • 7. Deacon White, C
  • 8. Johnny Peters, SS
  • 9. John Glenn, LF


  • 1. Jimmy Slagle, CF
  • 2. Jimmy Sheckard, LF
  • 3. Wildfire Schultee, RF
  • 4. Frank Chance, 1B
  • 5. Harry Steinfeldt, 3B
  • 6. Johnnny Evers, 2B
  • 7. Joe Tinker, SS
  • 8. Johnny King, C
  • 9. Ovral Overall, P


  • 1. Don Kessinger, SS
  • 2. Glenn Beckert, 2B
  • 3. Billy Willaims, LF
  • 4. Ron Santo, 3B
  • 5. Ernie Banks, 1B
  • 6. Randy Hundley, C
  • 7. Jim Hickman, RF
  • 8. Don Young, CF
  • 9. Fergie Jenkins, P


  • 1. Bobby Dernier, CF
  • 2. Ryne Sandberg, 2B
  • 3. Gary Matthews, LF
  • 4. Ron Cey, 3B
  • 5. Keith Moreland, RF
  • 6. Jody Davis, C
  • 7. Leon Durham, 1B
  • 8. Larry Bowa, SS
  • 9. Steve Trout, P

Now let's continue our trip down memory lane with a look at the last ten years. Note the changes to the starting lineup!


  • Game was at Tokyo Dome in Japan.
  • 1. Eric Young, 2B
  • 2. Damon Buford, CF
  • 3. Mark Grace, 1B
  • 4. Sammy Sosa, RF
  • 5. Henry Rodriguez, LF
  • 6. Shane Andrews, 3B
  • 7. Jose Nieves, SS
  • 8. Joe Girardi, C
  • 9. Jon Lieber, P


  • 1. Eric Young, 2B
  • 2. Bill Mueller, 3B
  • 3. Sammy Sosa, RF
  • 4. Rondell White, LF
  • 5. Matt Stairs, 1B
  • 6. Ricky Gutierrez, SS
  • 7. Damon Buford, CF
  • 8. Joe Girardi, C
  • 9. Jon Lieber, P


  • 1. Delino Deshields, 2B
  • 2. Corey Patterson, CF
  • 3. Sammy Sosa, RF
  • 4. Fred McGirff, 1B
  • 5. Roosevelt Brown, LF
  • 6. Alex Gonzalez, SS
  • 7. Todd Hundley, C
  • 8. Chris Stynes, 3B
  • 9. Jon Liber, P


  • 1. Mark Grudzielanek, 2B
  • 2. Alex Gonzalez, SS
  • 3. Sammy Sosa, RF
  • 4. Moises Alou, LF
  • 5. Hee Seop Choi, 1B
  • 6. Mark Bellhorn, 3B
  • 7. Corey Patterson, CF
  • 8. Damian Miller, C
  • 9. Kerry Wood, P


  • 1. Mark Grudzielanek, 2B
  • 2. Corey Patterson, CF
  • 3. Sammy Sosa, RF
  • 4. Moises Alou, LF
  • 5. Aramis Ramiez, 3B
  • 6. Derrek Lee, 1B
  • 7. Alex Gonzalez, SS
  • 8. Michael Barrett, C
  • 9. Kerry Wood, P


  • 1. Corey Patterson, CF
  • 2. Todd Walker, 2B
  • 3. Nomar Garciaparra, SS
  • 4. Aramis Ramiez, 3B
  • 5. Jeromy Burnitz, RF
  • 6. Derrek Lee, 1B
  • 7. Todd Hollandsworth, LF
  • 8. Michael Barrett, C
  • 9. Carlos Zambrano, P


  • 1. Juan Pierre, CF
  • 2. Todd Walker, 2B
  • 3. Derrek Lee, 1B
  • 4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B
  • 5. Jacque Jones, RF
  • 6. Michael Barrett, C
  • 7. Matt Murton, LF
  • 8. Ronny Cedeno, SS
  • 9. Carlos Zambrano, P


  • 1. Alfonso Soriano, CF
  • 2. Matt Murton, LF
  • 3. Derrek Lee, 1B
  • 4. Aramis Ramiez, 3B
  • 5. Jacque Jones, RF
  • 6. Michael Barrett, C
  • 7. Mark DeRosa, 2B
  • 8. Cesar Izturis, SS
  • 9. Carlos Zambrano, P


  • 1. Ryan Theriot, SS
  • 2. Alfonso Soriano, LF
  • 3. Derrek Lee, 1B
  • 4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B
  • 5. Kosuke Fukudome, RF
  • 6. Mark DeRosa, 2B
  • 7. Geovany Soto, C
  • 8. Felix Pie, CF
  • 9. Carlos Zambrano, P


  • 1. Alfonso Soriano, LF
  • 2. Kouske Fukudome, CF
  • 3. Derrek Lee, 1B
  • 4. Milton Bradley, RF
  • 5. Aramis Ramiez, 3B
  • 6. Mike Fontenot, 2B
  • 7. Geovany Soto, C
  • 8. Ryan Theriot, SS
  • 9. Carlos Zambrano, P

2010 (Expected Lineup, Includes Number of Cub Opening Day starts)

  • 1. Ryan Theriot, SS (3rd)
  • 2. Kouske Fukudome, RF (3rd)
  • 3. Derrek Lee, 1B (7th)
  • 4. Aramis Ramiez, 3B (7th)
  • 5. Marlon Byrd, CF (1st)
  • 6. Alfonso Soriano, LF (4th)
  • 7. Mike Fontenot, 2B (2nd)
  • 8. Geovany Soto, C (3rd)
  • 9. Carlos Zambrano, P (6th)

"I don't care who wins... as long as it's the Cubs!"

Let's go get a win!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

30 Clubs in 30 Days Recaps: Chicago Cubs

Happy Easter Sunday Cubs fans! Opening Day is tomorrow! Carlos Zambrano will take the hill as the Cubs take on the Braves with the first pitch at 3:10 CT. Tonight, don't miss WGN-TV's special "What it Means to be a Cub" show which starts at 8:00.

For now, we'll conclude our preview of the National League Central by recapping the Cubs episode of MLB Network's "30 Clubs in 30 Days".

Here are the links to the other recaps:

We do not have the Reds preview at this time, but maybe we can get that up by the time the Cubs play the Reds next weekend.

Now let's jump into the Cubs "30 in 30".

Host Greg Amsinger was joined by Dan Plesac and John Hart. Hart said that whatever could have went wrong did go wrong for this club last year. The Milton Bradley situation was a snap shot of their season. John thinks this team is built to win again. If they don't win, they'll be disappointed. Dan pointed out that last year they were in the race until they lost the one guy they coudn't (and still can't) afford to lose, Aramis Ramirez.


  • Carlos Silva, SP
  • Chad Tracy, 1B
  • Marlon Byrd, OF
  • Xavier Nady, OF


  • Rich Harden, SP
  • Neal Cotts, RP
  • Kevin Gregg, RP
  • Aaron Heilman, RP
  • Milton Bradley, OF
  • Reed Johnson, OF

Plesac thinks that Bradley was a bad fit for the Cubs. It just wasn't meant to be. The other subtraction that could help is Kevin Gregg. He didn't have the kind of year he needed to in 2009. Hart says that Carlos Silva is a veteran guy who could help this ballclub. John called Marlon Byrd "the exact opposite of Milton Bradley." He's a solid defender and a good baseball player.

Hazel Mae joined the guys from Mesa with interviews and reports. First, she was joined by Derrek Lee, the clubhouse leader:

  • Lee likes to lead by example.
  • He thinks that something just clicked in for him last year.
  • Derrek was able to drive some balls over the fence in 2009.
  • The Cubs have the team to get into the postseason.
  • He doesn't see it as pressure, Lee just likes to go out there and play the games.
  • D-Lee likes the way everyone is hungry and guys came into camp ready to go.

Dan thinks that Lee has some gas left in the tank. He's a guy who is hard to root against. Hart pointed out that Derrek does a lot of the little things, he doesn't just make a living off of slugging the ball out of the ballpark.

2009 Offensive Ranks

  • Runs: 707 (10th in NL)
  • Average: .255 (12th)
  • HR: 161 (5th)
  • OBP: .332 (9th)
  • SB: 56 (16th)
  • SLG%: .407 (8th)

Lou Piniella joined the guys:

  • Soriano will not be hitting lead-off this year. The Cubs have found a home for him in the six hole. Sori's been working hard with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo.
  • The Cubs have a healthy Aramis Ramirez and they need him to swing the bat.
  • Lou is happy with the good arms in the bullpen, but they are having to rely on a lot of young arms.
  • Last year the Cubs scored 148 runs less than they did in 2008. They are hoping to get 3/4 of those runs back.
  • Lou is hoping that Marmol will be successful as the Cubs full time closer.
  • Piniella thinks he's calmed down a heck of a lot. He has had a lot of managerial experience.
  • He is going to do the best job he can do for this organization and we'll see what happens.

Projected Lineup:

  • 1. Theriot, SS
  • 2. Kosuke, RF
  • 3. Lee, 1B
  • 4. Ramirez, 3B
  • 5. Byrd, CF
  • 6. Soriano, LF
  • 7. Fontenot, 2B
  • 8. Soto, C

Dan likes Ryan Theriot at the top of the lineup. He's not flashy, he makes all the plays, and he puts the ball in play. Fukudome hasn't lived up to what the Cubs thought they were getting. Ramirez is an "RBI machine" who hits good pitching. They need him in the lineup 150 days a year. Hart thinks Marlon can do a lot of things with the bat. John says that Soriano is the key guy with this club. Sori has a speed/power combo that is rare in the game today. Geovany Soto is better than he was last year.

Marlon Byrd talked with Hazel:

  • Milton told Marlon to just enjoy his time in Chicago.
  • Right now Byrd feels like Chicago is a great fit for him.
  • Rudy has made the transition to a new club easier.
  • Marlon doesn't feel like he has anything to prove. He knows he can hit, even outside of Texas.

Hart thinks that players believe in Rudy. He has a very good philosophy.

2009 Pitching Ranks:

  • Wins: 62 (6th in NL)
  • ERA: 3.71 (5th)
  • Opp. Avg: .252 (3rd)
  • Quality Starts: 94 (2nd)
  • Strikeouts: 839 (2nd)

Carlos Zambrano joined Hazel:

  • Cubs fans will see a new look Big Z in 2010. The biggest change is that he will keep his emotions in check.
  • Now that his daughter in 9 years old, he does not want her to see him do crazy things.
  • Zambrano has gone back to the basics of pitching. He will keep throwing his four pitches.

Projected Rotation:

  • Zambrano
  • Dempster
  • Wells
  • Gorzelanny
  • Silva

Looking at the top two, Z and Demp are a pretty good one, two punch. Plesac thinks that Ryan flies under the radar. He has great location of his fastball and does a good job commanding his split finger pitch. Randy Wells is built for innings and really emerged as a nice middle of the rotation starter last year. When the Cubs get Ted Lilly back they'll have a good lefty in the rotation.

  • Jeff Samardzija, RHP
  • Sean Marshall, LHP
  • Justin Berg, RHP
  • Esmalin Caridad, RHP
  • John Grabow, LHP
  • James Russell, LHP
  • Carlos Marmol, RHP- Closer

When Marmol is good, he's really good. When he's bad, he has a hard time finding the strike zone. In the first half of 2008, he was one of the best setup men in the league. This bullpen is revamped and very young. Hart says that Caridad has power stuff. Grabow is a veteran guy who can help the young guys. Samardzija came to Spring Training hoping to land a spot in the rotation, but he can still help the bullpen.

The farm system is solid, but they are a little thin at the top. They've traded guys away to get some big league talent, but they do a great job internationally. They do have some good young players. Here are the top ten:

  • Chris Carpenter, RHP
  • Andrew Cashner, RHP
  • Starlin Castro, SS
  • Tyler Colvin, OF
  • Ryan Flahery, 2B
  • Bradon Guyer, OF
  • Brett Jackson, OF
  • Jay Jackson, RHP
  • Hak-Ju Lee, SS
  • Josh Vitters, 3B

Lee is a guy that can do some things and looks like he could help this club at some point. Josh Vitters is a corner infielder with some pop. The guy that John Hart thinks will step up is Starlin Castro. He can do a lot of things.

Jeff Samardzija joined Hazel Mae:

  • Samardzija is excited to end up with the big league club. This is a team that he watched for a long time growing up.
  • He and Lou talked about the team situation and decided that Jeff fits best in the bullpen.
  • The 2009 season didn't go the way Jeff wanted it to, so he went to Mexico where he ended the year on a positve note. He was able to work on a couple of things in winter ball.
  • The MPL closed the gap from the offseason to Spring Training.

The Cubs All-Time Home Grown Team:

  • 3B- Santo
  • SS- Banks
  • 2B- Herman
  • 1B- Palmeiro
  • C- Hartnett
  • LF-Carter
  • CF- Brock
  • RF- Williams
  • SP- Maddux
  • RP- Lee Smith

Dan thinks this is a very impressive list. With this collection of players, it's hard to believe they haven't won the World Series. Plesac's argument is that Mark Grace should be on the All Time Home Grown club.

Billy Williams chatted with Hazel:

  • Williams' role is to give "a little teaching about hitting" and about playing the game of baseball in Spring Training.
  • He thinks he stays young by hanging around the young people in camp.
  • Guys like to pick Billy's brain about hitting.
  • It's refreshing to see a kid like Tyler Colvin on the verge of trying to make a ballclub. He is going to be a good player.

Baseball Prospectus Projection: 79-83, 8 GB, second in NL Central

Dan Plesac thinks the Cubs will finish 3rd because of the inexperience in the bullpen.

John Hart has St. Lou over Lou. He predicts that they'll finsh second.

Dan thanks Alfonso will have 30-35 homers. Hart agrees that he can bounce back with 35 dingers!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

30 Clubs in 30 Days Recaps: Milwaukee Brewers

Today we continue recapping MLB Network's "30 in 30" series for all of the NL Central teams. Now we will use the recap to preview the Brewers, and then we'll finish up with the Cubs tomorrow.

Host Greg Amsinger was joined by Dan Plesac and John Hart to talk Brewers. If you like hitting, this is a club to go see. Dan says they are a National League team who are made up like an A.L. club.

Offseason additions:
  • D. Davis, SP
  • R. Wolf, SP
  • L. Hawkins, RF
  • G. Zaun, C
  • C. Gomez, OF
  • J. Edmonds, OF


  • J. Kendall, C
  • J.J. Hardy, SS
  • M. Cameron, OF

John thinks that the Hawkins signing was good to strengthen their bullpen. Doug Davis is a very solid back of the rotation signing who gives you innings. Jim Edmonds was a big part of the Cubs team in 2008, and Plesac thinks there is some good baseball left in him.

Matt Vasgersian joined the guys from Arizona with interviews and reports. He started off by talking to Randy Wolf:

  • Wolf could tell that the Brewers really wanted him there.
  • After he talked to the GM and owner, he realized that this team was in first place in July last year. They are in a position where they could win.
  • Randy says that if he pitches well there could be a wolf pack in Milwaukee. He knows that fans there are very passionate.

Hart thinks that Wolf threw the ball very well last year. The Brewers had to do something to sure up the rotation. Dan thinks it's going to be the year of the wolf.

2009 Offensive Ranks

  • Runs: 785 (3rd in NL)
  • Average: .263 (4th)
  • Home Runs: 182 (3rd)
  • OBP: .341 (3rd)
  • Steals: 68 (14th)

Ryan Braun joined the guys:

  • Braun thinks batting average just comes out of consistency. He feels like he did a pretty good job of that last year.
  • His goal is to be a well rounded player. The transition to the outfield was not easy, but he worked hard on it every day. He "feels great out there" now.
  • Ryan feels like Milwaukee has a better team now than they did going into last season.

Projected Starting Lineup:

  • R. Weeks, 2B
  • C. Gomez, CF
  • R. Braun, LF
  • P. Fielder, 1B
  • C. Hart, RF
  • C. McGehee, 3B
  • A. Escobar, SS
  • G. Zaun, C

Having Weeks back from an injury is going to really help this offense. Before the injury, John thinks he was starting to come into his own. Gomez could be a real key to this ballclub because he needs to get on base in front of the middle of the order. Braun is a grinder who comes to play everyday. Plesac says that Fielder can do it all with the bat and doesn't get enough credit on defense. Prince can hit the ball out of any ballpark. Dan called Escobar "a special player." Corey Hart had a disappointing 2010 because they tried him at the top of the order.

Matt was joined by Gregg Zaun:

  • Going into this offseason, Zaun wanted to find a home where they had a shot at a World Series and had an exciting young team. He feels like he got the best of both worlds.
  • Zaun is excited about the young Milwaukee pitchers.
  • He has the drive to continue to play year in and year out.

Hart thinks the Brewers will have a good club on defense. It won't be great, but they have an average defensive club. If their pitching steps up, Dan doesn't think the defense will hurt that much.

2009 Team Pitching Ranks

  • Starter ERA: 5.37 (16th in NL)
  • Bullpen ERA: 3.97 (10th in NL)
  • Opp. Average: .268 (13th in NL)
  • Quality Starts: 65 (15th in NL)
  • Blown Saves: 22 (T-6th in NL)

Matt chatted with Trevor Hoffman:

  • Hoffman doesn't come to camp fighting for a job, but he still likes the rituals of spring.
  • Being a relief pitcher allows him to have lots of fun in Spring Training.
  • Trevor is more than ready for 2010.

Projected Bullpen:

  • LaTroy Hawkins, RHP
  • Todd Coffey, LHP
  • Claudio Vargas, RHP
  • Mitch Stetter, LHP
  • David Riske, RHP
  • Carlos Villanueva, RHP
  • Trevor Hoffman- Closer, RHP

The back end of the bullpen is pretty good. Hoffman is not the same guy he was ten years ago, but he still just knows how to do it according to John Hart. Trevor has a positive effect by just being around. Hawkins is in great shape himself. Dan likes the middle relief core. Stetter is a lefty that flies under the radar. He held left handed hitters to a .178 average last season. This is a must better bullpen than we saw last September.

Projected Rotation:

  • Gallardo, RHP
  • Wolf, LHP
  • Davis, LHP
  • Suppan, RHP
  • 5 spot: Parra or Bush

Plesac thinks Gallardo is one of the guys on the brink of being an elite pitcher. He has good life on his fastball and good off speed stuff. He's really close to putting it all together. Randy will be missed by the Dodgers. Dan called him "sneaky fast". Doug Davis works so slow that he can put you to sleep sometimes. Davis is a good addition who has a good pick-off move. Suppan had a horrible year last year, but he is now going to have to nibble. It will rest on Jeff to have a better year. Manny Parra is the wildcard. He is the type of guy who has a world of ability, but still has to put it all together.

Top Prospects

  • Eric Arnett, RHP
  • Zack Braddock, LHP
  • Lorenzo Cain, OF
  • Kentrail Davis, OF
  • Alcides Escobar, SS
  • Kyle Heckathorn, RHP
  • Brett Lawrie, 2B
  • Jonathan Lucroy, C
  • Jake Oddrizzi, RHP
  • Angel Salome, C

Hart thinks the Brewers will focus on drafting pitching this June.

Matt talked to manager Ken Macha:

  • Camp has gone well. Macha thinks Doug Melvin took care of the short comings that they had last year.
  • The Brewers needs to find guys who toss quality starts.
  • Milwaukee has had a very positive and upbeat spring. Their team feels like they can go out there and win every day.

Then he chatted with GM Doug Melvin:

  • The Brewers have recrafted their pitching staff. They had to improve their starters because they got so few innings from the rotation last year.
  • They were aggressive in going after Wolf then Davis.
  • Having Rickie Weeks healthy will help because everyone in the clubhouse admires him.
  • Matt says that Doug has picked up a Wisconsin accent.

Baseball Prospectus 2010 Brewers Projection: 77-85, 4th in NL Central, 11 GB

Plesac thinks the Brewers will win the Wild Card and return to the playoffs. He thinks they will be a surprise team in the NL this year.

John Hart predicts that the Crew will end up 3rd in the Central.

Up Next: Cubs 30 in 30

Friday, April 2, 2010

2010 Prediction Time!

Well, you can't predict baseball because it's too unpredictable. But, we'll try anyways.

Cubs Record

Team Leader in Batting Average
Ryan Theriot

Team Leader in Home Runs
Derrek Lee

Team Leader in RBIs
Aramis Ramirez

Team Leader in Steals

Ejections For Lou Piniella

Most Time Spent on the DL (Besides Guzman)
Carlos Silva

Best Callup
Starlin Castro

Tyler Colvin, James Russell, and Tom Gorzelanny

Most Errors
Alfonso Soriano

Amount of Milton Bradley Stories by Paul Sullivan

Best ERA
Carlos Marmol

Most Ks
Carlos Zambrano

Most Wins
Ryan Dempster

Most Ejections (players only)
Carlos Zambrano

Place in Division

Most Quality Starts
Randy Wells

Most Holds
John Grabow

First Starting Position Player to be Benched
Alfonso Soriano or Mike Fontenot

Bold Predictions
  • Starlin Castro will be the Cubs starting short stop by the All-Star break.
  • Xavier Nady and Carlos Silva will most spend most of the year on the DL.
  • Marlon Byrd will not be much of a factor.
  • Soto will bounce back.
  • The Cubs team ERA will be the best in the league.
  • The Cubs will score at least 75 more runs than they did in 2009.

I also predict that this blog will be there for you throughout the season! (at least I should get one right!)

More soon!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Catching Up Quick Hits

Sorry there hasn't been too much posting going on this week! It's been a very crazy and busy one. Let's get right into catching you up on all the latest Cubs news and notes:
  • Chad Tracy won the final spot on the roster to start the season. He will back up Lee and Ramirez at the corner infield positions and be used as a right handed pinch hit bat with pop.
  • Since Chad made the squad, there was no room for Kevin Millar. The Cubs released Millar earlier this week.
  • Sam Fuld, Micah Hoffpauir, and Chris Robinson were the final three roster cuts. They will all join AAA-Iowa to start the season. Fuld and Hoff could contribute at the big league level at some point this season.
  • The Cubs will honor Hall of Famer Billy Williams with a statue outside of Wrigley Field. It will be unveiled before the game on September 7. This will be the third statue outside of Wrigley, the first two were for Harry Caray and Ernie Banks.
  • Angel Guzman plans to be ready to go next season.
  • Carlos Silva was a nice surprise this spring. We'll see if his performance carries over in to the regular season.
  • Ted Lilly is expected to toss 60 pitches in his minor league rehab start on Easter Sunday.
  • Jon Greifenkamp has been added to the front office.
  • There are only 3 days left until the day we've been waiting for since last September... Opening Day in Atlanta!

We'll have several posts up this weekend including:

  • Season Preview
  • "30 Clubs in 30 Days" Recaps
  • Getting to Know the Cubs post
  • And all news!

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!