Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Radio Recaps: Talkin' Z on The Score

It's our 700th post here on Everything Cubs Blog! Let's get into some radio chatter from this week so far.

Ken Rosenthal was on 670 the Score with Mully & Hanley yesterday to talk about Big Z:
  • The ideal solution would be to trade Carlos Zambrano immediately.
  • The idea that Zambrano cannot be traded isn't accurate. Ken cited the Milton Bradley trade as a situation where the Cubs saved money on a guy that was considered untradeable.
  • If Zambrano comes back, he will pitch in the bullpen. Then, they will work feverishly to trade him.
  • The only way Rosenthal could see a trade happening is if there's another big contract like Carlos Silva out there for the Cubs to swap for Z. He thinks there could be a few others out there that match.

Len Kasper was on the Danny Mac show to talk about the situation:

  • Brian Schlitter does not have a fork ball or else it would be a Schlitter splitter.
  • Just about every game Zambrano pitches Kasper is asked the question, "How do you think he'll be today?"
  • The team meeting on Saturday could help this club to relax more.
  • Len is not convinced that the Lou blowup in 2007 caused the Cubs hot streak, and he is not convinced that this incident will help this team play better.
  • Kasper didn't like the fact that Zambrano was not showing emotion towards himself, he was yelling at everyone else.
  • In the case of Z VS Lee, Derrek gets the benefit of the doubt.
  • D-Lee didn't want to fight Zambrano, he just told him to calm down and shut up.
  • There were issues with Carlos even before the Cubs gave him the big contract.
  • Len thinks that Zambrano was moved to the bullpen the first time because he fit there, not as a punishment. This time around, it is more of a punishment.
  • Kasper has never had an issue with Z off the field, and gets along with him great.
  • Walking into the clubhouse and saying "Hey guys, I'm sorry," might not cut it this time.

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

Monday, June 28, 2010

Series Preview: Cubs VS Pirates

Two divisional foes in the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates will meet in a three game series that kicks off tonight and runs through Wednesday. The Cubs dominated the season series in both 2008 (14-4) and 2009 (10-4), but this year it's been a different story. The Bucs have take all three series that the clubs have played against one another and lead the season set 7 games to 2. The last time the Pirates and Cubs met, the Cubbies took a one game makeup on June 7 for their first victory at PNC Park this season.

After Wednesday, these Central division opponents will not play each other again until August 30. Both teams have had frustrating seasons to date. The Pirates are accustomed to finishing at or near the cellar in the NL Central, but the Cubs had high expectations for 2010. They are at risk of suffering their first losing season under skipper Lou Piniella.

Pittsburgh is in last in the division with a record of 25-50, which is 16.5 out of first. The Cubs are eight games ahead of the Pirates, but still nine under .500 and 8.5 behind the Reds, who lead St. Louis by a half of a game going into play today.

The North Siders just finished losing two of three at U.S. Cellular Field against their Crosstown rivals. The weekend included another Carlos Zambrano blow-up, and this one got him suspended indefinitely. After a team meeting on Saturday, the Cubs seemed like a different club on both Saturday and Sunday. They still lost Saturday night's contest in a 3-2 heart breaker, but then they managed to salvage something beating the Sox 8-6 on Sunday. The Cubs were clicking on all cylinders during the final game of the weekend. Tyler Colvin put the Cubs in front with a three run homer early, and then they settled in and got more comfortable at the plate. The final score was closer than it should have been because of a circus ninth inning against Carlos Marmol. The Cubs closer did not have the intensity that he usually has in a tight game, and ended up allowing the Sox to bring the winning run to the plate even though the Cubs had a five run lead going to the final frame.

The Cubbies have made a habit of losing the first two games of a series before finally waking up and winning the finale. They've dropped the opener in each of their last eight sets, a string they hope to end tonight. With a last place team in town, Lou's crew has a chance to end a miserable month on a high note. They hold a 9-14 record in June going into these final three games.

The Bucs are concluding a nine game road swing at Wrigley. They are 0-6 to start the trip after being swept by both Texas and Oakland in interleague games. The Pirates have had an even tougher month than the Cubs, 4-19 in June entering play tonight. The next time the Cubs see this squad, they will probably be revamped. Pittsburgh, once again, will be selling at the deadline.

Ron Santo will be honored by the organization prior to the game tonight. Santo celebrated the 50th anniversary of his big league debut on Saturday. The Cubs played the Pirates in Ronny's first career game on June 26, 1960. They swept a double header in Pittsburgh 7-6 and 7-5. He started at thirdbase and had three hits and five RBIs on the day. Santo went on to become a fixture in the Cubs lineup until 1974, when his final year of pro ball was spent with the White Sox. The 9-time All-Star is now in his 21st year of broadcasting on WGN Radio. Flags will fly at Wrigley in his honor starting tonight. In addition, Ron will toss out the first pitch tonight and sing "Take Me Out the Ball Game" on Thursday.

Game 1: Monday, 7:05 CT
Cubs Pitcher: Randy Wells, RHP (3-6, 5.21 ERA)
Pirates Pitcher: Paul Maholm, LHP (4-6, 4.24 ERA)
TV/Radio: CSN/WGN Radio 720

Game 2: Tuesday, 7:05 CT
Cubs Pitcher: Ted Lilly, LHP (2-6, 3.28 ERA)
Pirates Pitcher: Jeff Karstens, RHP (2-2, 4.60 ERA)
TV/Radio: WGN-TV/WGN Radio 720

Game 3: Wednesday at 1:20 CT
Cubs Pitcher: Tom Gorzelanny (2-5, 3.41 ERA)
Pirates Pitcher: Brad Lincoln (0-2, 6.00 ERA)
TV/Radio: WGN-TV/WGN Radio 720

One positive thing from the Zambrano incident is that Tom Gorzelanny is back in the rotation. Lou Piniella has said that if/when Z returns, he will head back to the bullpen and Gorzo will stay in the starting five. Tom pitched well during his stint of relief work. He earned his first career save in Seattle on Thursday and bailed Zambrano out to keep the Cubs in the game on Friday. Gorzelanny will work against his former team on Wednesday afternoon. Jose Ascaino, who went the other way in the Gorzo/Grabow trade, is on the 60 day DL. Kevin Hart, another produce of last July's swap, is in the minors, so the only former Cub we'll see in the series is shortstop Ronny Cedeno.

The Cubs are opening up their final homestand of the first half. The 7-gamer continues as the Reds come in for four starting on Thursday afternoon. The Cubs will spend the final week prior to the All-Star Break on the West Coast. The Pirates will come home for a four game series with the Phillies, but then they'll be right back on the road, where they've really struggled this season.

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

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Weekend Quick Hits: Zambrano & More

  • The Cubs made a roster move yesterday calling up right hander Brian Schlitter from AAA-Iowa. Brian was the PTBNL in the trade that sent Scott Eyre to the Phillies during the '08 season.
  • The Cubs needed the fresh arm the pen because of the short outing by Zambrano on Friday. Lou Piniella said that the Cubs were forced to send down a guy that didn't deserve to be sent down in Jeff Stevens.
  • A team meeting was called before yesterday's game. The media was asked to leave and the guys spent sometime venting about the Z situation. Lou asked his players to give him some criticism as a manager, and it was decided that he needs to post the lineups sooner.
  • The Cubs brass was not too thrilled that Zambrano was out to dinner with Ozzie Guillen Friday night. Assistant GM Randy Bush said that they would like too have seen Carlos spend time reflecting on his actions yesterday.
  • If and when Zambrano returns to the Cubs, it will be out of the bullpen. Tom Gorzelanny will take his spot in the starting five, according to the Tribune.
  • The Cubs are waiting to see what their options are with the suspension. They sent a letter to Major League Baseball and are waiting for feedback.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer reports that Z is blaming Derrek Lee for turning this into a big deal. He said he was just trying to pump the team up. Team sources say that the rant, much of which was in Spanish, included Zambrano yelling "This team is horse (bleep)."
  • Ken Rosenthal thinks that Z is tradeable, but only if the Cubs are willing to eat most of his $45MM contract.
  • The A's have dumped another former Cub, sending Eric Patterson to the Red Sox.

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

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Numbers Breakdown: The Cubs Struggles

Is there a pattern in Cubs history that explains their struggles this year? We'll found out today as we go by the numbers...

The Chicago Cubs have always had problems opening decades with good seasons. Since the early part of the 1900s, the first year of each decade has been a struggle. Let's check this theory out.

Cubs Record in First Year of the Decade
2010: 32-41*
2000: 65-97
1990: 77-85
1980: 64-98
1970: 84-78
1960: 60-94
1950: 64-89-1
1940: 75-79

Place in the Division
2010: 4th*
2000: 6th
1990: 4th
1980: 6th
1970: 2nd
1960: 7th
1950: 7th
1940: 5th

Games Back of First
2010: 8.5*
2000: 30
1990: 18
1980: 27
1970: 5
1960: 35
1950: 26.5
1940: 25.5

2010: ???
2000: No
1990: No
1980: No
1970: No
1960: No
1950: No
1940: No

*= This season, still in progress

So in the last eight decades, the Cubs have only started off with a winning season once! They have failed to make the postseason in the first year of every decade since they made it to the World Series in 1910.

And remember, the numbers don't lie!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Breaking News: Zambrano Suspended

Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano has been suspended indefinitely for his actions in the first inning of today's game against the White Sox. For those of you that missed it, Z through a temper tantrum in the dugout after allowing four runs in the first inning. To make matters worse, Zambrano was not mad at himself but he was mad at his teammates for not diving for some of the base hits in the frame. Carlos and Derrek Lee had a face-to-face spat that was broken up by Lou Piniella and Larry Rothschild. Zambrano was removed from the game at sent home by Lou after the first inning. Tom Gorzelanny came in and the bullpen did a nice job, but the offense could not muster up anything in a 6-0 Cubs loss.

Piniella called Zambrano's behavior unacceptable, saying that he would have to apologize to his teammates as a start. Lou added that he would support whatever decision GM Jim Hendry made regarding the issue. Hendry made his decision about 20 minutes later that Z is suspended until further notice.

The one time ace's future with this ballclub is in question, if not in doubt.

Series Preview: Cubs VS White Sox

If the Chicago Cubs where ever in need of a series win, it's right now. The Boys in Blue are in danger of dropping out of third place if they lose today. The Brewers are Cubs are tied for third in the NL Central, both 8 games back of first place St. Louis.

When the White Sox and Cubs met from June 11-13, both teams were struggling and hoping that a series win against their rivals would get them going. The White Sox won the series and have a 9-0 mark since then. The last time the Sox lost a game was the finale at Wrigley when Ted Lilly flirted with a no-hitter and Carlos Marmol came on to save the thrilling 1-0 Cubs win.

The South Siders are looking to stay red hot. They've won 13 of 14 to climb to 37-34, which puts them in third place in the AL Central. The Twins are in front, 2.5 ahead of the Sox and 0.5 ahead of Detroit. Ozzie's crew is hoping for to extend their winning streak to ten today with a win at U.S. Cellular Field. The homestand started with a sweep of a solid Braves club this week.

The Cubs, now 32-40, started this road trip by dropping two of three to the last place Mariners. Sweet Lou's club just started a stretch of 20 games in 20 days (17 remaining) leading up to the All-Star Break. The Cubbies got a big win yesterday 3-2 in a 13-inning affair to avoid the sweep in Seattle. The bullpen played a key role in allowing the game to last long enough for Marlon Byrd to stroke a single to put the Cubs in front in the top of inning number 13.

The BP Crosstown Cup is on the line this weekend. The Cubs need to win all three games in order to be awarded the trophy, but the Sox only need a series win to guarantee themselves the prize. The last time the teams met, there was a sort of friendly feeling going around because the Blackhawks brought this city together. This time around, both teams mean business.

Prior to the game, the Cubs made a roster move activating Aramis Ramirez from the 15-day DL. Rami will hope for a big return against the Crosstown Rivals. He spent the Seattle series working with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo in order to get his swing back. Aramis has been rehabbing from a thumb injury. Before going down, he hit just .168 with 5 homers.

In order to clear space for Aramis on the roster, the Cubs decided to designate Chad Tracy for assignment. This means they have ten days to either trade him, release him, or place him on waivers. Chad hit .250 in 28 games this year, and many fans would have rather seen him stick around than Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot.

Saturday night's game will be the 20,000th game in Cubs history. The Cubs first gave ever contest was a 4-0 victory at Louisville on April 25, 1876. They reached 10,000 games on June 9, 1947 in a 1-0 loss to the Braves. Hopefully by #30,000 the Cubs have their third World Series title.

Saturday (June 26) is also a special day for Cubs legend and current broadcaster Ron Santo. It marks the 50 year anniversary of Ron's big league debut in Pittsburgh in 1960. Santo missed the trip to Seattle to rest up, and will return to the WGN Radio booth this afternoon. The Cubs will honor Ron's anniversary in a ceremony on Monday.

Game 1: Friday at 3:05 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Carlos Zambrano (3-5, 5.10 ERA)
White Sox Starting Pitcher: Jake Peavy (6-5, 5.07 ERA)
Cubs TV Broadcast: CSN
Sox TV Broadcast: WGN

Game 2: Saturday at 6:10 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Carlos Silva (8-2, 3.01 ERA)
White Sox Starting Pitcher: Freddy Garcia (8-3, 4.85 ERA)
National TV Broadcast: FOX

Game 3: Sunday at 1:05 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: TBA (Most likely Ryan Dempster)
White Sox Starting Pitcher: John Danks (7-5, 3.23 ERA)
Cubs TV Broadcast: WGN
Sox TV Broadcast: CSN

The Sox dodge Ted Lilly, who tossed a 1-hitter against them the last time the two teams met, but they'll have to deal with Silva instead, who was scratched from the Seattle series with a hamstring injury. After this game, the Cubs go back to the Friendly Confines as they welcome the Pirates for a three game series to close out the month. The South Siders will travel to Kansas City for a three game set starting Monday.

"Let's go get a win today!"

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cubs in the All-Star Game?

The MLB All-Star Selection Show will be on TBS on July 4. At that time, at least one of our Cubbies will become an All-Star. The team is nine game under .500, but there are still several players on the club having great years.

If one of the top hitters in the league is not an All-Star, something is wrong. Marlon Byrd is hitting .326, which ranks second in the National League (only behind Atlanta's Martin Prado). Somehow (as of Tuesday) Byrd was not even in the top 15 NL outfielders in the fan voting. Even teammate Alfonso Soriano (.283 AVG, 10 HR) is in front of Byrd. Sori is 11th in the outfield voting with 725,614 tallies. Voting on Cubs.com is over next week, so if you haven't given Marlon your 25 votes (per email address) yet, do so! It is not likely that Byrd will finish in the top three outfielders to start in the game, but he needs to at least be pushed into the top 15.

Marlon still does have a chance at being selected as a reserve by either player voting or as a manager's pick.

There are two guys named Carlos on the Cubs who deserve to play in the game at Angel Stadium on July 13, but neither one has a last named that starts with the letter Z. Carlos Marmol has been fantastic as the closer, although his save chances have been limited because the Cubs are not winning. Marmol still has saved 13 games, notched two wins, has an ERA of 1.71, and has struck out 58 in just 31.2 innings. Marmol was an All-Star in the 2008 game at Yankee Stadium and deserves a return trip to the Mid-Summer Classic.

The other Cubs hurler who is among the game's elite is starter Carlos Silva. Silva is 8-2 on the year, and started the season by winning his first eight decisions. Carlos, who came to the Cubs in the Milton Bradley trade with Seattle, has posted a 3.01 ERA in his bounce back season so far.

Likely, the Cubs will have only one or two guys on the NL roster of the three mentioned. Last year their lone representative was Ted Lilly, but Ted did not get a chance to pitch in the game. Lilly most likely will not return, as he's 2-6 with a 3.42 ERA in 2010. Each National League team must have at least one All-Star on the squad.

With just over a week left until the selections are announced, Byrd, Silva, and Marmol must continue to perform in order to earn their spot in the 2010 Major League Baseball All Star Game.

Vote on the poll on our right sidebar to tell us which Cub you would most like to see in the Mid-Summer Classic!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Midweek Quick Hits: Ramirez, Santo, Silva, and More

  • Aramis Ramirez has joined the team, but the Cubs will wait to activate him until Friday. Aramis will work with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo to get his swing back during the series in Seattle.
  • Former Mariner Carlos Silva was scheduled to start against his old team, but he tweaked his hamstring during his start against the Angels. Silva has been pushed back and may start on Saturday against the White Sox.
  • The Cubs will honor Ron Santo on Monday in a pre-game ceremony at Wrigley Field. Saturday will be Ron's 50th anniversary of breaking into the big leagues on June 26, 1960 with the Cubs. Flags to honor the anniversary will fly from the Wrigley Field roof starting next Monday. Also, he will throw out the first pitch before the game on Monday against the Pirates and sing the seventh inning stretch on July 1 (Thursday).
  • MLB.com reports that the Cubs have agreed to terms with Micah Gibbs, who was their third round draft pick. Gibbs is a catcher from Louisiana State University. The Cubs have also announced the signings of Pierre LaPage (13th round), Elliot Soto (15th round), Ryan Hartman (16th round), and Chad Noble (37th round).
  • Two Cubs farmhands will participate in the MLB Futures Game at Angel Stadium on Sunday July 11. Brett Jackson (outfielder, Class-A Daytona) will play for the U.S. team while Hak-Ju Lee (SS, Class-A Peoria) will play for the World. Jackson hit for the cycle last Monday and is having a great year. The game will be on ESPN2.
  • According to the Sun-Times, Lou Piniella plans to use the rest of this A.L. trip to rotate regulars through the DH spot, giving them some rest in the field. Derrek Lee and Marlon Byrd are expected to DH tonight and tomorrow respectively.
  • The Orioles have picked up another ex-Cub in Jake Fox in a trade with Oakland that sent a minor league pitcher and cash the other way.
  • Phil Rogers would have rather seen Ryan Dempster moved to the bullpen than Carlos Zambrano. He thinks Demp would be more effective in relief than Z.
  • On August 8, the Cubs will launch a Fantasy Camp at Wrigley Field.
  • Jack Moore of Fan Graphs gives his take on what the Cubs should do at the trade deadline.
  • First round draft pick Hayden Simpson tossed a bullpen session at Wrigley and will report to Mesa next. From there, he'll head to Boise to join the Cubs "Class-A Short Season" affiliate for the rest of the season. This fall, he will go back to Mesa for the Arizona Instructional League. Simpson signed a deal on Saturday worth $1.06 million.
  • David Kaplan reports that Jim Hendry is actively trying to trade Kosuke to create a spot for Tyler Colvin to play everyday.
  • Rotoworld.com lists Ryan Theriot a possible replacement for injured Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

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

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday Radio Recaps: Brenly & Levine on the Airwaves

Cubs TV Color guy Bob Brenly was on The Danny Mac Show on 670 the score yesterday:
  • The weekend was not a great one for the Cubs, but it ended on a positive note.
  • The Cubs are not taking what they learn from the advanced scouts. Some of the players might not be paying enough attention to the information that they are given.
  • Bob has seen the scouting reports and thinks that they are good, but they are just not being absorbed by the players.
  • Like Lou has said, it all comes down to the players. In order to be a winner in the big leagues you have to focus on every pitch and every at bat everyday.
  • The Cubs want guys who can not only play the game with their bodies, but also with their heads.
  • The Cubs have had 56 different lineup this year, they can't hit with guys in the clutch, they're playing bad defense, and the middle relief situation is not good. It's going to be a tough decision for Jim Hendry to decide whether the Cubs are going to sell or not.
  • In Bob's eyes, the Cubs still have a chance. This is a talented ballclub on paper.
  • Brenly says that when you think back to seasons past, certain teams will take off at unexpected times. Things like that happen in the game of baseball.
  • Piniella is trying to find a good combination with the lineup. Bob likes the fact that Lou continues to experiment.
  • It's a tough decision to become sellers, because you send your fans a message that your club is waiving the white flag. However, you could lose guys like Derrek Lee and Ted Lilly for nothing at the end of the year instead of getting prospects now.
  • Brenly loves Koyie Hill as a backup catcher, but if Soto is hitting well then Geo should be the starter.

Bruce Levine always stops by Afternoon Saloon on ESPN 1000 to talk Cubs. Here's what he had to say yesterday:

  • The Cubs have a long way to go. Guys like Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, and Carlos Zambrano are going to have to step it up.
  • The Cubs have already had some great opportunities including a stretch of four series in a row against sub-.500 opponents. However, they still have a chance on this road trip playing the Mariners and White Sox.
  • Aramis Ramirez says that this Cubs season has been embarrassing. He cannot put his finger on the cause of the defensive and mental errors.
  • Levine doesn't think it really matters where professional ballplayers bat in the order. He thinks that spots in the lineup are overrated.
  • Bruce isn't so sure that Lou Piniella will retire after this season. "I'll believe it when I see it," he said.

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

Monday, June 21, 2010

Series Preview: Cubs VS Seattle

Tomorrow night the Cubs will return to action to battle the Seattle Mariners in the first of a three game interleague set. The off day today came at a perfect time for the club to rest up after dropping six of the last seven series. On Sunday, the bats showed some signs of life in a 12-1 stomping of the L.A. Angels to avoid the weekend sweep at Wrigley.

Geovany Soto was the only Cub to homer yesterday launching his eighth dinger of the year. It was good to see Geo go deep, but it was also good to see the Cubs finding some other ways to score some runs. Carlos Zambrano helped his own cause with a run scoring single and got his first win at Wrigley since last July. Z went seven innings and allowed only one run to improve 3-5 overall on the year. Despite the fact that the game was already in the bag, Andrew Cashner and Carlos Marmol got their work in pitching the eighth and ninth respectively. Neither man surrendered a run. Derrek Lee drove in four runs and Marlon Byrd, who was hitting lead-off doubled twice.

The Seattle Mariners are not having a fun 2010 campaign either. They are just 28-41, which puts them in last of four teams in the AL West and 13 game behind first place Texas. The M's have played decent ball at Safeco Field where they hold an 18-17 mark.

The Mariners also have an off day today. They are in the midst of a four game winning streak including a sweep of the Reds this weekend to kick off their six game homestand. They are also in the middle of 15 straight games against NL opponents.

Seattle has several former Cubs on its roster, most notably controversial outfielder Milton Bradley. The Ex-Cubbie is hitting just .215 with 6 homers and 25 runs batted in. He will be swamped by his old pals from the Chicago media all series long. Luckily for him, Bradley does not have to go back to Wrigley to face the Cubs' faithful, which he has publicly ripped since departing from the North Side. Pitcher David Aardsma is also with the Mariners. Aardsma was a piece in the Cubs bullpen during the forgettable 2006 season before they shipped him to the White Sox in the Neal Cotts trade. The only reason David will be remembered by Cubs fans is because his last name comes first alphabetically on the list of all the players in Cubs history. Garrett Olson is another familiar name on the roster. Olson has never appeared in a game in the blue pinstripes, but he was a Cub for a short time during the 2008-2009 offseason. Garrett came over from Baltimore in the Felix Pie deal but was sent to Seattle along with Ronny Cedeno in the trade that netted the Cubs reliever Aaron Heilman.

These two clubs don't exactly have a long history of playing one another. They've played a total of six games (three in Chicago, three in Seattle) most recently at Wrigley in 2007. The Cubs took two of three in '07 and in '02 when the clubs met in Seattle. Every year, they face off during Spring Training games. This spring, they played only one Cactus League game against one another... a 1-0 Cubs win in Peoria on March 28.

This series will be a homecoming for manager Lou Piniella, who led the M's from 1993 to 2002. The Mariners made four postseason appearances during his tenure including 2001 when they won 116 regular season games.

Cubs' legend and radio broadcaster Ron Santo decided not to make the trip to his hometown. Ronny, who's 70 years old and has already had several health scares this season, is feeling fine and just wants to stay back to rest up. He will rejoin the Cubs when they play at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday. Santo plans to cut back on his travelling because of his health. Dave Otto will fill in for this series.

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez is expected to come off the DL at some point during this series. Rami finished his rehab stint in Peoria 1-6 with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. Gordon Wittenmyer reports that the Cubs will activate Aramis, who was hitting just .168 before going down with the thumb injury, prior to Wednesday night's game. The Cubs will have to make a corresponding roster move... which means Chad Tracy could be in danger of being sent back to Iowa once again.

Game 1: Tuesday at 9:10 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Ryan Dempster (5-5, 3.67 ERA)
Seattle Starting Pitcher: Jason Vargas (5-2, 2.88 ERA)
TV/Radio: CSN+, WGN Radio

Game 2: Wednesday at 9:10 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Randy Wells (3-5, 4.92 ERA)
Seattle Starting Pitcher: Cliff Lee (5-3, 2.55 ERA)
TV/Radio: WGN, WGN Radio

Game 3: Thursday at 2:40 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Carlos Silva (8-2, 3.01 ERA)
Seattle Starting Pitcher: Felix Hernandez (5-5, 3.39 ERA)
TV/Radio: CSN, WGN Radio

The Cubs are embarking on a six game road trip, but after the three in the Pacific Northwest they will be right back to the city of Chicago to play the South Siders. They are 31-38, 7 games out of first, and in third place in the NL Central. The bottom line: The Cubs are much in need of a series win... and against last-place Seattle a sweep would not be too much to ask for.

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

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Radio Recaps: Sandberg & Levine on ESPN Radio

Ryne Sandberg discussed the state of the Cubs with Waddle & Silvy on Thursday:
  • The season is going by pretty quickly for Ryno. The I-Cubs are tied for first and playing well.
  • One of the fun parts of managing at Triple-A is calling a guy into your office and telling them that they're going up to help the big league club.
  • Andrew Cashner was in the I-Cubs rotation for three starts and then he got the word from Chicago to move him to the bullpen.
  • Jeff Samardzija is 5-0 out of the pen for Iowa. He has gotten a couple of spot starts as well. Jeff is showing some improvement and working on some different things. Pitching more often is a good thing for him.
  • Sandberg said, "I believe that I'm ready (to manage in the big leagues) if someone else believes that I'm ready."
  • He would like to get a shot just like some of his players that are wondering why the phone hasn't rang for them yet.
  • Ryne's not sure what the biggest challenge of becoming a big league manager will be. He has learned how to manage the media and coach a lot of different areas in Iowa.
  • He's really enjoying what he's doing and he's having fun, so that's a good thing. If the chance to manage the Cubs ever came about, he'd like the opportunity.
  • He's been ejected two times so far this year at AAA.

Bruce Levine joined Afternoon Saloon on Friday to talk about yesterday's loss:

  • Carlos Silva cramped up after his at bat in the heat and was removed before the seventh.
  • The Cubs team "set themselves up" for the loss playing another bad ballgame on defense.
  • Jeff Baker made two costly errors at third base, but Levine does not like to get down on a guy for making errors. Overall, this team has not played good defense.
  • Lou take a long look at the numbers before each game. The reason Tyler Colvin led off yesterday was the fact that Scott Kazmir has trouble against lefties.

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

Friday, June 18, 2010

Numbers Breakdown: The Cubs Aren't Doing the Little Things

Today's poor performance defensively led to another Cubs tough loss to swallow. The Cubs have suffered from hitting woes, but they haven't played any "small ball" or good defense to help make up for the meager hitting.

Team Fielding
Fielding Percentage: .979 (14th in the NL, only better than Florida & Washington)
Errors: 52 (4th most in the league)
Team Leader in Errors: Starlin Castro, 8

Team HBP
The Cubs do not have many guys who are willing to "take one for the team." In fact, they only have one guy who's willing to do so.
Marlon Byrd HBP: 9
Rest of the Team: 12

Team Speed
The Cubbies are also a club with very little speed.
Total Stolen Bases: 30
NL Rank: 15th in the NL, only more swiped bags than the Giants
Team Leader: Ryan Theriot, 14 (Yes, the rest of the club has only 16)

Helping Yourself
0- the total number of home runs by a Cubs pitchers this year. Usually every once and awhile a hurler will help himself with a longball, but the Cubs staff (even Z) has yet to get one this year.

Moving Guys Over
The Cubs have done a recent job in the sacrifice department, it's driving the guys in that's been the problem!
Sac Hits/Bunts: 29
League Rank: 8th
Sac Flies: 23
League Rank: 6th

Remember... the numbers don't lie!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Midweek Quick Hits: A Big W, Simpson Close to Signing, Jaramillo is Trying, and More

  • The Cubs had dropped five series in a row, but they won a thriller against Oakland today to take two of three.
  • Also, the win today gave the Cubbies back-to-back W's for the first time this month.
  • Randy Wells pitched a great this afternoon. He needed it after struggling (espicially in the first inning) in recent starts. Greg Maddux and Larry Rothschild helped Wells get mentally prepared for today's game.
  • Today was Ryan Theriot bobblehead day at the ballpark. Usually bobbleheads feature players hitting or fielding, but The Riot was fishing!
  • Aramis Ramirez will go on a minor league rehab assignment before rejoining the Cubs. Rami will play in Peoria on Saturday and Sunday to test his thumb.
  • Carrie Muskat reports that the Cubs appear to be close to signing their first round draft pick Hayden Simpson.
  • The L.A. Angels will make their first ever visit to Wrigley Field tomorrow in a game that starts at 1:20. The two clubs will play all day games this weekend as the Cubs finish out their nine game homestand. After tomorrow, all 30 MLB teams will have played at Wrigley Field.
  • The fans appreciated Alfonso Soriano's sacrifice bunt the other day. It was Sori's first sac bunt in his Cubs career.
  • John Grabow was activated off the DL earlier in the week and rejoined the Cubs bullpen. Mitch Atkins was sent back to Iowa after a brief big league stint.
  • As Gordon Wittenmyer points out, if the Cubs are going to pick it up then Ramirez and Lee need to pick it up.
  • The Cubs offense has not showing any signs of improvement over last year now that Rudy Jaramillo has taken over as hitting coach. Jaramillo says that he is not a miracle worker.

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

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Are the Cubs Selling?

With about a month and a half until the July 31 MLB Trade Deadline, the question that all teams are asking themselves is Do we have a chance to win this year or are we better off building for the future? For some teams, the answer to this question comes easily, if you're in first place or less than 5 games out of first, you're buying. If you are in 4th/5th place or more than ten games out of first, get out the For Sale sign. However, for the clubs like the Cubs that are stuck in the middle, it will be interesting to see what they decide to do.

The Cubs have a record of 28-35 but they are in third place and just 7.5 back of first in the NL Central. The Wild Card will not help the Cubs this year, as they are in 9th place and eight games back.

So, the North Siders have three options-

A) Try to add some pieces that will help turn this thing around.
B) Dump some salary, add some prospects, and build for a brighter future.
C) Don't make any major moves and just finish out the season with the team we have.

Mostly likely, Hendry will wait and see what transpires on the field over the next two weeks. Then he will have a full month before the deadline to make some moves. Hopefully, no matter what happens, Jim will choose "C" because that will not help the Cubs this year or in the future.

Here are some names that could be on the market:
  • Xavier Nady: Today is June 15, the first day free agents signed last offseason are allowed to be traded. Nady could be one of the first guys to go since the Cubs have too many outfielders in need of playing time. The Angels were connected to Xavier a few weeks ago.
  • Ted Lilly: The Bulldog is a free agent at the end of the year, and in my opinion he should be re-signed. However, if the Cubs do not think Teddy fits into the team's plans beyond this season, it makes sense to try to get something in return. The Cubs do not want to let another pitcher leave for nothing when they could have had some value in a trade a few months prior like they did with Harden a year ago.
  • Bobby Howry/John Grabow: These guys are taking up spots in the pen that could be used to get some young arms adjusted to the big leagues. If the Cubs continue to lose, I'd expect one or both to be released or traded.
  • Soriano, Lee, Ramirez: The Cubs would love to trade all three of these guys, but the fact of the matter is that they all have big contracts and no-trade clauses. There is no doubt that Sori is untradeable, but there are some teams interested in D-Lee.
  • Ryan Theriot: With Starlin Castro taking over at short stop, it makes sense for the Cubs to try to move Theriot. He is one of only a handful of guys on this team that the Cubs can get a good package of prospects in return for.
  • Mike Fontenot: If they don't trade Theriot, either 'lil Mike or Jeff Baker has to go when Ramirez comes off the DL. There are a few teams that could be interested in Fontenot as a utility infielder.
  • Tom Gorzelanny: Gorzo has shown improvement this season, and needs to be in the starting rotation somewhere. He could be a solid back of the rotation start. Most likely, either Tom will take Wells' spot in the rotation or be traded. He does has value on the market.
  • Kosuke: The Cubs probably cannot get much in return, but it might be worth getting some younger outfielders more playing time. However, first they have to persuade Kosuke to waive his no-trade clause.
  • Carlos Silva: A lot of teams need starting pitching, and flopping this guy again could make sense if the Cubs are waiving the white flag. However, I think they'd be best hanging onto him since there is still another year left on his contract.
  • Randy Wells: Randy has lost much of his trade value with his poor performance on the hill this year. Trading Wells now would be like panicing and selling your stocks when their value is at the lowest instead of waiting until the stock market improves!

Will Jim Hendry overhaul this team, or will he stick with the same crew for the rest of the year???

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

Monday, June 14, 2010

Former Cub Updates: June 14, 2010

Let's check out how guys that were with the Cubs in 2009 that have left the club are fairing!

  • Kevin Gregg, Blue Jays: 0-2, 4.50 ERA, 26 Games
  • Reed Johnson, Dodgers: .287 AVG, 6 RBIs, 49 Games
  • Rich Harden, Rangers: 3-3, 5.68 ERA, 13 starts
  • Milton Bradley, Mariners: .224 AVG, 5 HR, 24 RBIs
  • Jake Fox, Oakland: .214 AVG, 2 HR, 12 RBIs, 39 Games
  • Aaron Heilman, D'backs: 2-1, 2.83 ERA, 29 Games
  • Andres Blanco, Rangers: .200 AVG, 1 RBI, 26 Games
  • Aaron Miles, Cardinals: .231 AVG, 7 Games

The Cubs will see many familiar faces in interleague play this month. Here is the schedule for game against Seattle (Bradley), Oakland (Fox & several other former Cubs).

  • Tomorrow VS Oakland 7:05
  • Wednesday VS Oakland 7:05
  • Thursday VS Oakland 1:20
  • June 22 @Seattle 9:10
  • June 23 @Seattle 9:10
  • June 24 @Seattle 2:40

Too bad Bradley and the M's are coming to Wrigley for the series!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lilly Says No! (Almost)

What a ballgame that was. That was the most fun I've had watching the Cubs play all season! Lilly had better stuff tonight than any Cubs since Zambrano's no-no in September of '08.

For those of you that missed it, you missed a good one. Lilly did not allow a hit through eight, but his no-hit bid was broken up by former Cub Juan Pierre with no outs in the ninth.

Not only was Lilly awesome, but Carlos Marmol did a nice job of working out of the jam in the 9th to get the Cubs the 1-0 win and earn the save. It's unfortunate that it looked like the rain may have played a factor in the 9th. I wonder if Ted could have gotten the three outs he needed if the showers had stayed away.

To do it against the Sox would have been great... but the big thing was for Ted to single handedly get us one win in the three game Crosstown series at Wrigley. Perhaps will get them back on the Southside.

With the appearance from the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, there was excitement from the start (even during the Anthem). Several of the Hawks sang The 7th Inning Stretch and all of them were on the field before the game. Ryan Dempster and a few other Cubs and Sox were given the chance to lift the cup.

The other oddity about this game was that both pitchers had no-hitter though six, something you rarely see. Gavin Floyd pitched a great game but was the hard luck loser Alfonso Soriano banged a 2-out double in the 7th for the first Cub hit and then Chad Tracy drove in the first run of the game with a clutch single.

I just figured this game deserved its own post! More stuff on the off day tomorrow!

Until then... Go Cubs Go!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Crosstown Showdown History

The Cubs and White Sox have been meeting each year since interleague play started in 1997. Bragging rights are on the line and this year even more so with both teams struggling and the BP Crosstown Cup up for grabs for the first time. Yesterday's game was not pretty, but hopefully the Cubs step it up the rest of the weekend at Wrigley.

Before we preview the rest of this year's Crosstown Showdown, let's take a look back at the history of the Cubs/White Sox series.

The two teams in the Windy City met for the first time on October 9, 1906 in Game 1 of the World Series. The Sox won the series in six games. The two clubs have never met in the World Series again to date, and they would not play each other at all in games that counted until interleague play in '97. The season series consisted of only one three game set at Comiskey Park in '97. The Cubbies won the first regular season game ever against to Sox on June 16, 1997 by a score of 8-3. The home South Siders bounced back and took two of three.

In 1998 the first and only sweep in the Crosstown Classic took place when the Cubs took all three at Wrigley Field. The next year the six game (3 in each park) format began. In 2006, one of the most famous (or infamous) Crosstown Series moments took place. Michael Barrett punched A.J. Pierzynski in the face after A.J. ran over Michael on the play at the plate. A bench clearing brawl and four ejections followed the punch.

For the first time ever both clubs in the Windy City met as division leaders in 2008. The road team won all six games of the series that year resulting in a 3-3 season tie. A Cubs/Sox game was postponed for the first time in 2009. It was made up in September, but both teams were already out of the race.

With the win yesterday, the White Sox now lead the All-Time regular season series 38-35. The Sox have won the season series six times, the Cubs have won three times, and they've split the six games four times.

Coming up at 3:10 on FOX the series continues with Game 2 at Wrigley. Carlos Silva, who's looking to improve upon his perfect 8-0 record, will pitch against Mark Buehrle. Tomorrow night the final game of Part 1 of the showdown will take place on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball at 7:05 CT. Ted Lilly (1-5) and Gavin Floyd (2-6) are both having tough years. They will face off tomorrow on the hill.

Cubs/Sox Series at U.S. Cellular Field:
Friday June 25 3:05 CSN
Saturday June 26 6:10 FOX
Sunday June 27 1:05 WGN

When the Cubs are in need of a win... Silva's the right guy to have going!

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

Friday, June 11, 2010

Weekend Roundup: There's Trouble Brewing on the North Side

Are the Cubs Getting Along?
Bleed Cubbie Blue, a usually reliable Cubs fan site ran by Al Yellon, reported yesterday that the Cubs are having major problems in the clubhouse. A "trusted" commenter on the site told Al that the Latin players, led by Ramirez and Zambrano, have separated themselves from the rest of the clubhouse. BCB also reported that Aramis Ramirez has totally shut down. They said that Rami refuses to practice and barley wanted to take the field for games.

Bruce Miles, a beat writer who actually sees what happens in the clubhouse everyday, gave his take on the clubhouse in the comments on his blog. "It's never fun after losses, but it's not a "bad" clubhouse by any stretch. Dempster, Lilly, Soriano and Byrd are all pretty good guys from a leadership or accountability standpoint. Soriano is always there after tough games, and he always talks. Howry and Marmol seem to be helping the young pitchers adapt."

Miles elaborated on specifically Ramirez- He took BP and fielding right up to the other day when he had to rest his hand, and he was talking in earnest with Rudy Jaramillo (contrary to other speculation). I asked another writer this question a minute ago: "Do we have a bad clubhouse here?" He said, "A bad clubhouse? What are you talking about?"

BCB is a great site, but I trust Miles and the other beat writers who are in the clubhouse on a daily basis.

Koyie's Done Losing
Last night, in an interview on Comcast Sports Net, Cubs' catcher Koyie Hill pointed out that he is fed up with the way this team is playing. Hill even went as far as to describe the Cubs as "one of the worst fundamental teams". Rarely do you see a guy rip his own club, but I like that fact that he's tired of losing. Hill is willing to step up and be honest. Soto hasn't done that poorly, but Koyie's a gamer it'd be great to see him the lineup on a daily basis.

All Isn't Well for Wells
Cubs pitcher Randy Wells appears to be suffering from the dreaded "sophomore slump". There were a few reports on various radio stations this morning that Randy was out late last night celebrating with the Chicago Blackhawks last night and was not well rested to pitch his 1:20 game today. Wells denied those reports. The Cubs righty has been struggling all year, especially in the first inning as of late. With Tom Gorzelanny pitching well in the Cubs bullpen, it could only be a mater of time before Wells and Gorzo switch roles.

Lou VS Stoney
Steve Stone started the argument between the Cubs manager and the White Sox broadcaster when he said, "Lou doesn't have a good grasp on what to do with young players," and made other comment about the way Piniella is managing this club. Today, when asked about Steve's comments, Sweet Lou fired back (to the Daily Herald) "And Steve Stone?" Piniella said. "He's got enough problems doing what he does with the White Sox. What job has he had in baseball besides talking on television or radio? What has he done? Why isn't he a farm director and bring some kids around? Why isn't he a general manager? Why hasn't he ever put the uniform on and been a pitching coach? Why hasn't he been a field manager?
"There's 30 teams out there that could use a guy's expertise like that. You know? I'm tired of some of these guys, I really am."

Steve made a joke out of the situation by saying "Lou's probably grumpy because he only went 3-11 against me with no RBIs."

That's all the controversies for today! On a final note, it was great to see Alfonso Soriano hit his 300th career homer today. Hopefully this will get him going, because when he's hot Sori can carry the club.

I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Honoring The Hawks

Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks on winning the 2010 Stanley Cup!

The game last night was amazing! During the celebration one thought ran through my head.... imagine what it's going to be like when the Boys in Blue finally win it all. As big as the Hawks celebration was, it was just a fraction of the size of a Cubs World Series win would be.

One drought in Chicago is over!

I know that Ryan Demper is happy.

The Stanley Cup Finals win for the Chicago Blackhawks came at an ideal time. The fans in the city of Chicago need a team to support, and with the slow starts for the Cubs and White Sox, many turned to the Hawks. They kept Chicago sports fans interested in a our clubs and took some of the negative attention away from the baseball teams.

In honor of the championship, here is the list of current and former Hawks who have sang the 7th inning stretch at Wrigley!
  • Kevyn Adams ('08)
  • Adam Burish ('08)
  • Coach Alpo Suhonen ('00)
  • Coach Brian Sutter ('01)
  • Chris Chelios ('98-'03, '07)
  • Bobby Hull ('08)
  • Brett Hull ('03)
  • Tony Esposito ('08)
  • Denis Savard ('01, '02, '05, '07)
  • Doug Wilson ('02)
  • Ed Olczyk ('00)
  • Keith Magnuson ('98)
  • Patrick Lalime ('08)
  • Stan Mikita ('98, '08)
  • Jeremy Roenick ('04)
  • Jack O'Callahan ('05)
  • James Wizniewski ('08)
  • Trent Yawney ('05)
  • Patrick Kane ('08)
  • Jonathan Toews ('08)

*This list is not complete and could have a few from recent years missing.

A special congratulations goes out to former Cubs front office members John McDonough and Jay Blunk. These two guys were a key part of the turn around and resurgence of the Blackhawks.

It was great to see the Cubs players going to the U.C. to support the Hawks, and the Hawks making a trip to Wrigley to take in a ballgame this year! I'm sure we'll see the guys at The Friendly Confines again sometime this summer!

We'll return our focus to baseball tomorrow as the Cubs start the Crosstown Showdown series with the White Sox!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mid Week Roundup: Ramirez to the DL, Howry Pitching Well, The Hawks, and More

We've spent the past few days focused on the draft, but it's time to get caught up on what's going on with the big league club!

Update 4:10 CT: Now it's official. Ramirez to the DL, Tracy called up. Chad is expected to be with the team tonight.

Ramirez to the DL?
According to the Chicago Tribune and several other sources, Aramis Ramirez will finally be placed on the DL with a left thumb injury. The roster move should happen sometime today. The Cubs are expected to callup Chad Tracy, who's tearing the cover off the ball at AAA-Iowa. Aramis has been in and out of the lineup lately and is hitting just .168 this season.

Theriot's Coming Around
Ryan Theriot is finally starting to see the ball a little better. Ryan has worked a few walks this week but says he hasn't changed anything in his approach at the plate. He wants to be a little more selective but not overly defensive up there. Lou Piniella says that The Riot is still his best leadoff option.

Howry Pitching Well
The return to Chicago seems to have helped RHP Bobby Howry, who struggled before he was released by Arizona. Howry has not allowed a run in seven outings with the Cubs.

Cubs Draft Ivan De Jesus
The Cubs selected a centerfielder from Cupeyville High School in the sixth round of the draft. The odd thing is, the outfielder has nearly the same name as Cubs' first base coach Ivan DeJesus. However, the two men are not related. DeJesus (the coach) says he was surprised to see his name on the list of players drafted by the organization. Today the Cubs drafted Benito Santiago Jr., who is the son of the former Cubs catcher.

Site Notes
Please vote on our new poll on the right sidebar! Also, you can follow my Cubs Farm Updates Twitter at www.twitter.com/cubsfarmupdates. Don't forget that the right sidebar also features Cubs Links and a place where you can share this site on Twitter and Facebook! Questions, comments, suggestions, or ideas should be sent to cubsblogmailbag@aol.com.

Tonight the Cubs play the Brewers at 7:15 in a game that will be on ESPN-TV and 560 AM (instead of 720 because of the Stanley Cup Finals). Carlos Zambrano will get his second start since returning to the rotation.

Speaking of the Stanley Cup Finals... Go Hawks Go!!!

The Late Rounds Are on the Way!

Now, it's time for the late rounds of the 2010 Major Leauge Baseball First Year Player Draft. Today's final day of drafting starts at 11:00am CT. Today rounds 31-50 will take place.

For full details on what has happened in the draft the past two days, click here.

Let's take a look at some late round Cubs draft picks that went on to have solid careers.
  • Ryne Sandberg, 20th round, 1978
  • Randy Wells, 38th round, 2002
  • Micah Hoffpauir, 13th round, 2002
  • Tim Lincecum, 48th round, 2003- did not sign with the Cubs
  • Sam Fuld, 24th round, 2003- did not sign until he was drafted by the Cubs again in '04
  • Micah Owings, 19th round, 2004
  • Michael Brenly, 43rd round, 2005- another guy that did not sign until the second time he was drafted. He's not in the bigs yet, but he's still worth noting.

Will the Cubs find a hidden gem today? Follow all the action on www.twitter.com/cubsfarmupdates and on mlb.com!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Draft Recap: Cubs Select Simpson

The Chicago Cubs surprised everyone with their first pick (16th overall) in the 2010 MLB First Year Player Draft. Tim Wilken and company selected Hayden Simpson, a right handed pitcher out of a Division 2 school. Simpson pitched for Southern Arkansas this season as a junior and posted a 13-1 record with an ERA of 1.81.

He was the runner up for the Division 2 Player of the Year this season. Reports say that Hayden's velocity falls after about four innings of work. Perhaps he is best suited as a reliever in the professional ranks.

Wilken told Cubs.com that this pick "just made sense". Simpson wasn't expected to go until sometime between the second and fifth rounds. Most highly regarded publications ranked this guy at the back end of their top 200 list.

In high school, Simpson was the starting quarterback at Magnolia (Ark.) and also pitched for the baseball team. It was a shock for him for him to be selected in the first round, even though he new the Cubs had interest in him.

Here are some notes on the rest of the Cubs top five draft choices as the draft picked up where it left on with the second round getting underway this morning.

Reggie Golden

Micah Gibbs

  • Cubs 3rd round pick
  • #97 overall selection
  • Catcher
  • LSU
  • Switch Hitter
  • Just finished his junior year.
  • Good defensive backstop.
  • Profile on LSUsports.net

Hunter Ackerman

  • Cubs 4th round pick
  • #130 overall selection
  • LHP
  • Louisburg (Va.) College
  • Went 8-1 with a 1.40 ERA this year as a Freshman in college.
  • Last week he joined the West Virginia Miners baseball club of a college summer league.

Matthew Szczur

  • Cubs 5th round pick
  • #160 overall selection
  • Outfielder
  • Villanova University
  • Also played football as a WR in college
  • Has great speed and can his for average and power to all fields.
  • Just finished his junior year.
  • Villanova Athletics Bio

Picks 6-20

  • 6. Ivan De Jesus (no relation to the Cubs' coach), OF, Cupeyville (PR) High School
  • 7. Benjamin Wells, RHP, Bryant (Ark.) HS
  • 8. Cameron Greathouse, LHP, Gulf Coast Community College
  • 9. Kevin Rhoderick, RHP, Oregon State
  • 10. Aaron Kurcz, RHP, College of Southern Nevada
  • 11. Eric Jokisch, LHP, Northwestern University
  • 12. Austin Reed, RHP, Rancho Cucamonga (Cal.) HS
  • 13. Pierre LePage, 2B, University of Connecticut
  • 14. Colin Richardson, RHP, Winter Haven (Fla.) HS
  • 15. Elliot Soto, SS, Creighton University
  • 16. Ryan Hartman, RHP, Mt. Zion (IL) HS
  • 17. Steven Brooks, CF, Wake Forest
  • 18. Ronald Pinckard, RHP, Baylor
  • 19. Dustin Fitzgerald, RHP, Hill Jr. College
  • 20. Ryan Cueno, 1B, University of Delaware

The draft is still going on today and it will finish tomorrow (strarting at 11am CT once again). For updates on the draft all night check out our Cubs Farm Updates Twitter.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cubs 2010 First Year Player Draft Preview

Coverage & Times
Tonight the 2010 Major League Baseball first year player draft will get underway at 7:00pm CT. The first round will take place tonight televised on the MLB Network. The draft will resume tomorrow at 11am and finish on Wednesday.

This year, the Cubs have the 16th overall pick, which is the highest they've picked in the first round since 2007. All week I will provide you with full reports and updates on the draft on www.twitter.com/cubsfarmupdates!

Recent Top Picks
Here is the list of the Cubs' first round selections from the last ten years and where they are now!

2000: Luis Montanez (SS, #3 overall pick)- finally broke into the big leagues with Baltimore in 2008. He never panned out in his seven seasons in the Cubs' organization. Left the Cubs as a minor league free agent after the 2006 season.

2001: Mark Prior (P, #2 overall pick)- I don't think I need to update you on him. Prior was a good pitcher before all the injuries. Mark hasn't pitched in a big league game since 2006 despite several tries to come back in the Padres organization.

2002: Bobby Brownlie (P, 21st overall pick)- Has a career ERA over four in seven pro seasons. Brownlie pitched in the Cubs' organization until 2007, when he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals. Last season he pitched in 14 games with the Braves' AAA team and 11 Independent League games for Newark.

2003: Ryan Harvey (CF, 6th overall)- Now Harvey's playing in the Rockies organization. He hit .246 for AA-Tulsa last year. The Cubs finally gave up on him after the 2008 season.

2004: The Cubs did not have a first round pick, so their first selection was Grant Johnson, a pitcher out of Notre Dame, who was the 66th overall pick.

2005: Mark Pawelek (LHP, 20th overall)- left the organization at the end of the 2008 season. Currently, he's pitching in the Reds' chain.

2006: Tyler Colvin (OF, 13th overall)- Colvin became the first Cubs' top draft choice since Mark Prior to play in the bigs with the Cubs when he made his debut last September. So far Tyler is having a great season as the Cubs' extra outfielder.

2007: Josh Vitters (3B, 3rd overall)- Vitters was recently promoted to Double-A Tennessee,where he is hitting just .219 in 23 games. Josh is still adjusting to the pitching after his call-up from the Florida State League.

2008- Andrew Cashner (RHP, 19th overall)- Just got called up from AAA to join the Chicago bullpen. He made his big league debut last Monday against the Pirates. So far Cashner has not allowed a run in 3 innings of work.

2009- Brett Jackson (OF, 31st overall)- Enjoying a great season at Class-A Daytona, where he's hitting .274 with a .394 OBP.

What Are They Looking For?
As you can see, the Cubs have started to do a lot better in the department of drafting and developing young players over the last four years. Tim Wilken is reportedly focused on drafting the best athletes that are available. The Cubs are expected to look for some pitching depth. They also will look at the high school crowd a lot this year.

Prediction Time
Most experts think the Cubs will use their first round draft choice on a pitcher. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com predicts that the Cubs will take RHP Asher Wojciechowski from The Citadel. Wojciechowski, who most writers think will make a big league reliever, is also the guy that www.mymlbdraft.com expects the Cubs to take. Baseball America thinks the Cubs will pick Karsten Whiteson out of Chipley High School in Florida. Whiteson has a lively fastball to go along with his nasty slider and solid change-up.

Rounds 2-50 will have coverage only on MLB.com, starting Tuesday at 11 (Rounds 2-30) and continuing Wednesday (Rounds 31-50).

I'll will have full coverage of the draft all week right here on Everything Cubs Blog!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Numbers Breakdown: Cubs Starters VS Bench

Are the Cubs starting position players doing better than their potential replacements so far this season? Let's find out in today's Numbers Breakdown!

Geovany Soto: .254 AVG, .401 OBP
Koyie Hill: .250 AVG, .291 OBP

First Base
Derrek Lee: .238 AVG, .343 OBP
Xavier Nady: .260 AVG, .333 OBP

Middle Infield
Ryan Theriot: .274 AVG, .305 OBP
Starlin Castro: .289 AVG, .337 OBP
Mike Fontenot: .310 AVG, .358 OBP

Third Base
Aramis Ramirez: .171 AVG, .233 OBP
Chad Tracy (AAA stats): .380 AVG, .417 OBP

Alfonso Soriano: .295 AVG, .361 OBP
Marlon Byrd: .309 AVG, .347 AVG
Kosuke: .285 AVG, .383 OBP
Tyler Colvin: .300 AVG, .363 OBP

So, the Cubs have someone on the bench who plays each position with a better batting average than the current start at every position except catcher. Will we see some changes of this pattern continues through the next month?

Remember, the numbers don't lie!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Weekend Quick Hits: Colvin to Get More Playing Time, Lee Says He's Staying, and More

  • Lou Piniella is "fed-up" according to Paul Sullivan. He may bench Kosuke and Geovany Soto in order to get Tyler Colvin and Koyie Hill in the lineup everyday.
  • Today's report is the Lou is not "benching" Kosuke, but he is going to try to get Colvin in the lineup on an everyday basis. As Piniella points out, Tyler can play all three outfield spots.
  • Ryan Dempster pitched well in the first month but then had a tough month of May where he went 1-4 with a 4.54 ERA. Demp is on the hill tonight.
  • The Cubs and the Chicago Fire have begun talks to bring a soccer game to Wrigley.
  • Derrek Lee is staying a Cub. He has no desire to leave the organization, and says that any trade rumors are inaccurate.
  • Moving Alfonso Soriano back to the lead-off spot is not being considered.
  • Randy Wells will pitch tomorrow and Carlos Silva has been moved to Monday.
  • The Cubs are taking a longer and better look at Jeff Samardzja's stuff at AAA-Iowa before promoting him again.
  • Carrie Muskat reports that the Cubs would liked to see Ryan Theriot show some more patience at the plate.
  • Andrew Cashner and Jeff Stevens have both been pitching very well.

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

Friday, June 4, 2010

Numbers Breakdown: Cubs Closers

How does Carlos Marmol compare to other Cubs closers in recent year through the first two months? Let's find out!

*All stats are based on how the closers were doing at this point in the season!

2010- Carlos Marmol: 1.44
2009- Kevin Gregg: 4.85
2008- Kerry Wood: 6.00
2007- Ryan Dempster: 4.05

2010- Marmol: 11
2009- Gregg: 8
2008- Wood: 8
2007- Dempster: 11

2010- Marmol: 0
2009- Gregg: 1
2008- Wood: 2
2007- Dempster: 2

2010- Marmol: 1.12
2009- Gregg: 1.76
2008- Wood: 1.67
2007- Dempster: 1.13

Walks/9 innings
2010- Marmol: 5.4
2009- Gregg: 5.7
2008- Wood: 5.5
2007- Dempster: 3.6

HR/9 innings
2010- Marmol: 0.4
2009- Gregg: 1.76
2008- Wood: 2.00
2007- Dempster: 0.4

K/9 innings
2010- Marmol: 18.0
2009- Gregg: 10.6
2008- Wood: 10.5
2007- Dempster: 10.1

The point is, the Cubs have a very good closer. Marmol has not gotten the attention he deserves because of the team's struggles.

Remember, the numbers don't lie!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Catching Up Quick Hits: Cashner Called Up, A Possible Trade, & More

First of all, sorry for the lack of posting this week! It's been a crazy week, so I was forced to take some time off from the blog. I assure you that daily posting will resume!

Let's catch up on all the news and notes in the Cubs word this week:
  • David Kaplan and other sources have reported that the Cubs may be involved in trade talks that could send Derrek Lee to the Angels.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer tweets that L.A. is instead targeting Xavier Nady.
  • Carrie Muskat chimed in today and said that there is no truth to these rumors. Muskat says that the Cubs still feel they're in the race in the NL Central.
  • Carlos Zambrano has moved back into the rotation. He was scheduled to start on Wednesday, but the Cubs game in Pittsburgh was rained out.
  • Z will start tomorrow instead of Carlos Silva. The rest of the rotation for the weekend in Houston is still TBA.
  • The makeup game against the Pirates will be tacked onto this road trip. The game will start at 11:35 next Monday.
  • The Cubs called up top pitching prospect Andrew Cashner. John Grabow was placed on the 15-day DL to make room for the 2008 top drafted choice on the roster.
  • Speaking of the first year player draft, it starts next Monday! The Cubs could be focussed on adding an arm to the organization with their 16th overall pick.
  • The city of Mesa has announced a new financing plan to try to keep Cubs' Spring Training there.
  • Ron Santo returned to Chicago yesterday and is feeling better after spending Monday and Tuesday in a Pittsburgh hospital. The heat in the booth got to Ronny on Monday. Dave Otto will sit in on the radio broadcasts in Houston this weekend.
  • Xavier Nady is starting to swing the bat much better. He went 4-4 with a 2-run homer in Tuesday's loss.
  • Piniella will toss Cashner into low-pressure spots to start out.
  • Mike Fontenot was inserted in the lineup at second for a few games in place of the slump Theriot. It looks like The Riot is set to return to the starting nine.
  • Former Cubs pitcher Milt Pappas thinks instant replay would be perfect for Major League Baseball.

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