Saturday, August 28, 2010

Catching Up Quick Hits: Wedge Interviews, Silva Rehabs, Girardi Speaks, and More

First of all, I apologize for the hiatus the last few days. It's been a wild week and no posts have made it up onto the blog. We should be back to posting everyday, or every-other-day at the least!

Let's catch up on all the latest Cubbies news and notes:
  • Carlos Silva made a rehab start for the Peoria Chiefs last night. He went 2.2 shutout innings and is expected to make one more rehab before returning to the Cubs rotation.
  • Tyler Colvin is still taking ground balls at first base, but the Cubs are not going to rush him into game action at his new position.
  • Carlos Zambrano flew home to Venezuela to be with his nephew during an illness. He will rejoin the team this weekend and is scheduled to start against the Pirates on Monday.
  • Lefty Scott Maine was called up from AAA-Iowa on Tuesday night and made his big league debut on Friday against the Reds. He is the 10th Cubs rookie to break into the bigs this season.
  • Justin Berg was optioned back to Triple-A but should be back in the 'pen when rosters expand this coming week.
  • Jim Hendry has started the interviewing process to find the next Cubs manager. According to Paul Sullivan, Eric Wedge has received the first known interview for the Cubs job.
  • Joe Girardi, who is in town for the White Sox/Yankees series, met with the Chicago media before the game last night. Girardi says that he is focused on the Yankees and winning this year. He is not worried about his contract situation or coming to the Cubs at this point.
  • Happy 67th birthday to former Cubs manager Lou Piniella and a happy 28th to tonight's Cubs starter Randy Wells!
  • Ken Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers placed Ted Lilly on waivers yesterday, but Jayson Starks says a trade is unlikely.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer has sources that tell him that Girardi would be a candidate, possibly a leading candidate, to land the Cubs job if he is available.
  • Jon Heyman gave his take on the opening. He says that many feel it will be Ryne Sandberg, Mike Quade is a long shot, and Girardi is listed as the second most likely guy. Tony LaRussa and Bobby Valentine could also be in the mix according to Heyman.

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

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Look at Lou Piniella's Cubs Career

Sweet Lou may have failed in his attempt at a World Series ring in Chicago, but he is a classy future Hall of Fame manager. Piniella's style and personality will never be forgotten by the Cubs' faithful.

"Look," let's take a look back at Lou's career with the Cubs.

October 16, 2006
Lou Piniella agreed to a three year $10 million contract with the Chicago Cubs. The deal included a $5 million option for a fourth year. In his press conference Lou said, "We'll dispel these curses in short order.

April 13, 2007
The new Cubs skipper had his first rant with the media after a disappointing 6-5 loss to the Reds. He was not happy with a question about what was going wrong for his team.

June 2, 2007
In perhaps the most famous moment in Piniella's career with the Cubs, he was ejected after throwing his hat and kicking dirt on third base umpire Mark Wegner. The umpire had called Angel Pagan out on a close play at third, but it did appear on the replay that Wegner had made the right call. Lou was suspended four games, but his team turned things around after his ejection.

September 28, 2007
The Chicago Cubs win the NL Central title in their first year under Piniella. The beat the Reds 6-0 while the Padres beat the Brewers to clinch the division on the final weekend of the season.

September 20, 2008
The team beat the Cardinals 5-4 to clinch their second straight Central crown under Lou. However, the team would go three and out in the playoffs.

September 30, 2008
The Cubs excercise the option for the fourth year of Piniella's contract.

November 12, 2008
Sweet Lou was named the NL Manager of the Year, the third time in his career he got the honor and his first award as the Cubs skipper.

June 26, 2009
Piniella pulls Milton Bradley out of a game against the White Sox and sends him home. He gets so mad that he calls his right fielder "A piece of (expletive)."

April 5, 2010
The Cubs fall 16-5 on Opening Day against the Atlanta Braves.

June 25, 2010
Lou sends Carlos Zambrano home after he gets in the face of teammate Derrek Lee during a rant on the South Side of Chicago.

July 20, 2010
Piniella announces that this season will be his last as a big league manager.

August 22, 2010
Lou announces that he will step down after that game in order to spend time with his mother who is ill. His career ends the same way the 2010 season started, a 16-5 loss to Atlanta.

Happy retirement!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Series Preview: Cubs VS Nationals

The Chicago Cubs will look to rebound after an embarrassing 16-5 defeat in Sunday's rubber match against the Braves. The Boys in Blue are now 51-74, 21.5 game behind the first place Reds. A new era of Cubs baseball begins with this series in Washington D.C.

Lou Piniella announced before yesterday's game that it would be his last as a big league manager. Sweet Lou had to step down earlier than expected in order to tend to his sick mother in Tampa, FL. He said it would be unfair to continue to leave the team and come back, so since it was his last year anyways he went ahead and stepped down.

Lou had a fantastic managerial career but he did not go out the way he had hoped. Third base coach Mike Quade will have a tall task ahead as he takes over as skipper for at least the rest of 2010. All eyes will be on the dugout tonight the new interim becomes the 51st manager in the history of the Chicago Cubs.

Quade and Ryne Sandberg are the two candidates that Jim Hendry has announced for the 2011 opening. Bench coach Alan Trammell will not receive consideration and will most likely leave the team after this season. Ivan DeJesus, who was the Cubs first base coach, will take over Quade's job at third for the rest of the year. Bruce Levine reported last night that minor league roving instructor Bobby Dernier will join the team as the first base coach, but that has not yet been confirmed. Matt Sinatro is also a candidate to take over at first for now.

The Washington Nationals are not in much better shape than the Cubs. They are 53-71 going into this set. The Nats had a decent first half, but they've gone down hill since and now reside in the basement of the NL East. They are 20 games behind the first place Braves.

Washington was blanked in the final game against the Phillies on Sunday 6-0. Ex-Cubs manager Jim Riggleman has not been able to get the job done this season. Third base coach Pat Listach will also receive a lot of attention from the media during this series. He is a former Cubs minor league manager at Triple-A Iowa and has expressed interesting in coming in as Lou's successor next season.

After the Cubs leave town at head for Cincinnati, the St. Louis Cardinals will come to Nationals Park looking to regain the top spot in the Central. This is the Cubs first trip to our nation's capital of the year, but they did host the Nats back in April. The Boys in Blue won the first game, but Washington battled back to win the next two.

Young phenom Stephen Strasburgh will not pitch in this series, but the Cubs will see a familiar face in Jason Marquis on Wednesday. Washington first baseman and free agent to be Adam Dunn could receive a look from the scouts in this set, as the Cubs could be looking for a new first baseman this winter.

Unless of coarse, Jim Hendry is happy with Tyler Colvin's play at first. Colvin sat out most of the weekend at Wrigley in order to take grounders at first base and is expected to debut there during this series. However, Colvin is in tonight's early lineup in right field.

Perhaps Quade and his staff were not happy with Tyler's play at first, because Micah Hoffpauir has been called up for tonight's game, according to a tweet from Gordon Wittenmyer. Geovany Soto is also expected to be activated from the disabled list and in the starting nine tonight. The club will have to make two corresponding moves, so most likely Sam Fuld and Welington Castillo are both headed back to Triple-A without getting much of a chance during there time with the team.

Perhaps the Cubs will pull off an Oriole-like win streak under a new skipper.

Let's just go get a win!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Breaking News: Lou Piniella Steps Down

Cubs manager Lou Piniella has announced that he will step down effective after today's game against the Braves. Piniella wants to be able to stay with his ailing mother in Florida. Her health is not well and being with her comes first. He did not envision his career ending like this.

Third base coach Mike Quade will be the interim manager the rest of the year. He will be considered as a candidate as the 2011 skipper, but bench coach Alan Trammell will not. Trammell's job on the staff will certainly be in danger at the end of the year, and The Score reports that there is a feeling the whole coaching panel could be let go at season's end.

Sweet Lou should get a nice ovation prior to today's game against the Braves. Despite the fact that we did not win a playoff game, Piniella's tenure with the Cubs will never be forgotten.

Sweet Lou, we'll miss you.

I'll update if I get any more info!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Cubs 2006 Rookies

A few weeks ago, we profiled all of the rookies that have seen playing time for the Cubs this season. Since that time, Darwin Barney has become the 15th rookie to play for the Cubbies this year. In 2006, Dusty Baker held a similar tryout with tons of rookies getting playing time. A year later, the Cubs were in the postseason. Did the rookies that debuted in '06 play a factor and go on to have solid big league careers?

Buck Coates
MLB Debut: August 22
Position: Outfield
Age: 24
2006 stats: 18 games, .167 AVG, 1 HR
Career Stats: 3 seasons, 46 games, .193 AVG
Where is he now?: Playing at Double-A in the White Sox organization, last appeared in MLB in '08 for the Blue Jays

Angel Guzman
MLB Debut: April 26
Position: Pitcher
Age: 24
2006 Stats: 15 games, 7.39 ERA
Career Stats: 88 games, 4.82 ERA
Where is he now?: still in the Cubs organization, suffered season ending injury in Spring Training, was expected to be a big part of the Cubs bullpen

Carlos Marmol
MLB Debut: June 4
Position: Pitcher
Age: 23
2006 Stats: 19 games, 13 starts, 5-7 record, 6.08 ERA
Career Stats: 239 games, 23 saves, 3.42 ERA
Where is he now?: The Cubs closer!

Sean Marshall
MLB Debut: April 9, 2006
Position: Pitcher
Age: 23
2006 Stats: 24 starts, 6-9, 5.59 ERA
Career Stats: 134 games, 4.55 ERA
Where is he now?: A key part of the Cubs bullpen, serving as a set-up man used in the late innings

Juan Mateo
MLB Debut: August 3, 2006
Position: Pitcher
Age: 23
2006 Stats: 11 games, 10 starts, 1-3, 5.52 ERA
Career Stats: 11 games, all in '06
Where is he now?: Signed a minor league deal with the LA Angels before the 2010 season but was let go in Spring Training

Scott Moore
MLB Debut: September 4
Position: Third base
Age: 22
2006 Stats: .263 AVG, 5 RBIs, 16 games
Career Stats: 80 games, .223 AVG
Where is he now?: Moore has been in the Orioles organization since 2007

Ryan O'Malley
MLB Debut: August 16, 2006
Position: Pitcher
Age: 26
2006 Stats: 2 games, 2 starts, 1-1, 2.13 ERA
Career Stats: 2 games
Where is he now?: Pitching coach for the AZL Rangers

Angel Pagan
MLB Debut: April 3, 2006
Position: Outfield
Age: 24
2006 Stats: 77 games, .247 AVG
Career Stats: .285 AVG
Where is he now?: Having a great year for the Mets

Jose Reyes
MLB Debut: September 13, 2006
Position: Catcher
Age: 23
2006 stats: 4 games, 1-for-5
Career Stats: 4 games
Where is he now?: Played in the Mets system in 2007, hasn't played since

Jae Kuk Ryu
MLB Debut: May 14
Position: Pitcher
Age: 22
2006 Stats: 10 games, 1 start, 0-1, 8.40 ERA
Where is he now?: Signed with the Rangers last January

Most likely, of the current load of rookies, a few will latch on as big time big leaguers. Even though their stats are not all good, just look at the number of Marmol and Marshall in '06. You never know who will develop into a great player and who will not!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Look at Derrek Lee's Cubs Career

Derrek Lee is a Cub that we'll never forget. He will be missed badly by all of the fans and everyone in the organization. Always a class act, always willing to talk to the meeting, always signing autographs, always has a smile on his face, always a joy to watch play the game... let's take a look at Lee's time with the Cubs.

October 2003
Lee, a member of the Florida Marlins, played a series that he talked about in his meeting with the media after the trade. He'll never forget the intensity and the fun of that set, especially the games at Wrigley. Even though the first baseman only his .188 in that set, Jim Hendry and the Cubs saw something they liked.

November 25, 2003
D-Lee was traded to the Cubs in a deal that sent Hee-Seop Choi and Mike Nannini to Florida.

April 5, 2004
The Cubs new first baseman goes 0-for-3 but does walk and score a run on Opening Day in Cincinnati. The Cubs won the game 7-4.

April 7, 2004
Derrek's first hit as a Cub is his first home run as a Cub. However, his solo blast was the only Cubs run in a 3-1 loss to the Reds.

July 12, 2005
D-Lee, a first time All-Star, is the clean-up hitter and first baseman for the National League. He goes 1-for-3 with a double but the American League wins the game at Comerica Park 7-5.

October 2, 2005
Lee goes 0-for-4 on the final day of the regular season, but his batting average is still a robust .335, good enough for the NL batting title.

November 2005
His great season is honored as Lee finishes third in MVP voting, wins the NL Silver Slugger at first base, and wins the NL Gold Glove at first.

March 2006
Lee was named to team USA for the World Baseball Classic. He hit a home run in the inaugural event. He was the first player ever to go deep for team USA in the WBC.

April 10, 2006
After 2005 NL batting champ signed a five-year $65 million extension with the Cubs.

April 20, 2006
Lee broke his wrist on a collision with Dodgers base runner Rafael Furcal. He missed 59 games due to the injury, which continued to irk him over the next few years.

May 19, 2007
The Cubs first baseman continued his great year with a pinch hit grand slam in the eighth inning of a game against the White Sox. The slam put the Cubs ahead and they went on to win it 11-6.

June 16, 2007
The usually calm and professional Derrek Lee threw a punch at Padres pitcher Chris Young after being hit in the head. The blow started a bench clearing brawl and resulted in Lee's ejection for the game. Derrek and Chris both ended up suspended five games.

July 10, 2007
D-Lee was a reserve for the National League All-Star team, his second appearance in the Mid-Summer Classic. He went 1-for-2 with an RBI off the bench in a 5-4 AL victory.

October 2007
Derrek's bat is hot in his first postseason series as a Cub. He went 4-for-13 in the three game set with the D'backs, but it was not enough as the Cubs suffered a sweep.

July 2, 2009
Lee crushed a 3-run homer and a grand slam in the same game for a total of 7 RBIs as the Cubs pummel the Brew Crew 9-5.

June 9, 2010
Lee launched his 300th career home run in a game against the Brewers.

August 18, 2010
The Cubs two time All-Star approves a deal and waives his no trade clause to go to the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs get three minor league pitchers and save some cash in the deal, but they lose their seven year team leader, who is a free agent at the end of the season.

The Braves are at Wrigley to start a three game series tomorrow!

Good luck in Atlanta D-Lee.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Breaking News: Cubs Close to Sending D-Lee to Atlanta

Update 4:50 CT- The trade has been finalized. Derrek Lee has been sent to the Atlanta Braves. In return the Cubs get RHP Robinson Lopez, RHP Tyrelle Harris, and LHP Jeffrey Lorick. Lee will be available for Friday's game at Wrigley Field between the Braves and Cubs and is expected to make his Braves debut against his former team this weekend.

Update 12:40 CT- Bob Nightengale tweets that the deal will be finalized this afternoon.

The Cubs are close making a waiver trade that would send Derrek Lee to Atlanta. David Kaplan, who broke the news on his blog this morning, reports that Lee will waive his no trade rights and approve this trade because the Braves are a playoff contender that would give him a chance for another World Series ring.

The trade was first talked about on Sunday night when Jim Hendry was contacted by the Braves GM after Chipper Jones went down with a knee injury. The deal is not finalized yet, partly because of the bulging disc in Lee's back which has had him out since Sunday.

Atlanta wants to make sure that Derrek is healthy before they add his contract. The Cubs are not expected to get much talent back in return for their first baseman, but they will get some salary relief.

I'll update with more information as soon as it's available!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Catching Up Quick Hits: Rotation Switch, Sori Resting, Injury Updates and More

  • Casey Coleman will make his first big league start in on Wednesday. He will take Thomas Diamond spot in the rotation. Diamond will switch roles with Coleman and head to the bullpen.
  • Alfonso Soriano was out of the lineup for two games this weekend, but he just go two days off because of the heat. He returned on Monday night.
  • Darwin Barney got his first career hit on Monday, a double in his first at bat at Wrigley.
  • Barney was starting at shortstop in place of Starlin Castro, who got a much needed day of race after playing three games in the heat in St. Louis.
  • Ron Santo returned to the broadcast booth Monday night. He missed the last road trip to rest up, but says he plans on going on the next road trip. The Cubs visit Washington D.C. and Cincinnati next week.
  • Derrek Lee is out with a bulging disc in his back. He left Sunday's finale against the Cardinals after he had already launched two home runs on the day. D-Lee was heating up with four bombs in the three game set. He is expected to return on Thursday.
  • Geovany Soto is expected to take batting practice tomorrow. He could return from the DL as soon as next Sunday.
  • Carlos Silva is expected to begin a minor league rehab program soon.
  • Oneri Fleita joined WGN Radio's David Kaplan on Monday. He said that Chris Archer, Brett Jackson, and Josh Vitters will all be in the Arizona Fall League in Mesa this October. Vitters, who is rehabbing from a broken hand, will see time at first base and third base.
  • Bruce Levine reports that Padres bench coach Ted Simmons is interested in the Cubs managerial opening. The search for a new manager could go all the way up to the team's organizational meetings in November.

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

Sunday, August 15, 2010

St. Louis Weekend Recap

I was unable to post this weekend because a very busy schedule during my trip to St. Louis. For this post, let's go in a little bit of a different direction and recap my time in the Gateway City.

On Friday afternoon, I arrived at my hotel "The Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark". The room had an amazing view of beautiful Busch Stadium from the window. The park was great... but there's nothing that can match Wrigley.

Next I walked across the street to the stadium and took a look at all of the statues of Cardinals legends. At 5:15, the gates opened and folks starting flooding into the park. Cardinals batting practice was about half way through and many of the Cubs were starting to get warmed up. At about 5:40, the Cubs starting taking some BP. During this session I ended up with a souvenir on a ball tossed into the crowd by Jeff Baker and an autograph from Tom Gorzelanny.

The seats were very good, great view from the second level. The game was not as good, as the Cubs scored twice in the first but then the bats went silent in the loss. Derrek Lee did blast a solo home run.

The next morning I got up and headed over to see the Saint Louis Arch. Because of the line, I opted not to go up into the arch but still got some great pictures.

D-Lee stayed hot with another dinger on Saturday. Aramis Ramirez also went deep and Carlos Marmol held on for a 3-2 W! Prior to Saturday's 3:15 contest, I arrived early once again in order to watch BP when the gates opened at about 1:15. Many of the Cubs chatted with fans and signed autographs, including Starlin Castro whose signature I nabbed just minutes before game time.

After the Cubs/Cards battle on Saturday, I walked down the street to the Edward Jones Dome where the Rams were opening up their preseason. They fell to the Vikings 28-7 but it was thrilling to see the pro debut of Sam Bradford. The dome, which was very nice, had a decent sized crowd that showed up with hopes of a better year for their team.

I did not catch the Sunday game, but I tuned in on the radio on the way home as the Lee homered twice and the Cubs took the series.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Series Preview: Cubs VS Cardinals

St. Louis here I come! I'll be blogging live from Gateway City all weekend as I take in the games on Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

The Cubs are trying to get things together. They are in the middle of a tough stretch of 20 games in 20 days, while the Cardinals are enjoying a stretch of three off days in an eight day span. The Cubbies lost three of four in San Francisco but played well in all four games. The bats are showing signs off life, but in the end a lineup of mostly subs couldn't get the job done against the Wild Card leaders.

They were without their starting first baseman & manager due to family problems, their catcher and third baseman due to injuries, and their second baseman and reserve infielder due to trades. On top of that, Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd both received a day off in the series. Their bullpen includes five rookies. What about their two best starting pitchers in the first half? One disabled, one traded. It's no wonder the Cubs lost that series.

The Cubs have seen a ton of prospects get the chance to get some big league experience lately. Three position players alone were called up from Iowa during the set with the Giants. Darwin Barney made his big league debut at second base on Thursday but did not come to the plate. Welington Castillo made his debut on Wednesday night and doubled in his first big league at-bat. Micah Hoffpauir went 0-for-6 with an error in one start and one pinch hit AB in the series. Micah could be sent down today when Derrek Lee is activated off of the bereavement list.

D-Lee is expected to rejoin the team. Keep the fan favorite first baseman in your thoughts as his grandfather is very ill. Lou Piniella will also return to the dugout tonight after leaving to be with his ailing mother. Bench coach Alan Trammell managed the last four games and is now 1-6 on the year when he takes over for Lou.

While the Cubs will be with their manager, the Cardinals will be without theirs. Tony LaRussa was suspended by Major League Baseball for his involvement in a bench clearing brawl in a game between the Cards and Reds earlier in the week. LaRussa will start his suspension tonight and then return for the series finale on Sunday. Bench coach Joe Pettini is expected to be at the helm in place of the suspended skipper.

While the Cubs are 17 games out of first and falling fast, this is a very important series for the St. Louis ballclub. They swept the Reds this week and hold a one game lead over Cincinnati for the top spot in the NL Central. The Reds, who will also be without manager Dusty Baker because of the brawl, will take on the Marlins this weekend.

The Red Birds come in at 64-49, while the Cubs hold a record of 48-67. The pair of old rivals will see a lot of each other down the stretch. They play a three game series at Busch Stadium Sept. 13-16, and then the Cards come to Wrigley September 24-26. That series will conclude the Cubs final homestand of the season.

The Cardinals are one of the only team in the division that the Cubs do not have a record under .500 against... but their mark against the Cards is at .500 at 3-3. They dropped two of three at home May 28-30, but then the Cubs won the set July 23-25. This is the first trip the Cubs have made all season to Busch Stadium.

Aramis Ramirez could be back in the lineup tonight. He injured his left side on Monday when he dove for a ball and missed the end of the Giants series with soreness. The Cubs are starting to get some guys back in there, but another waive of guys from Triple-A is still expected.

Game 1: Friday at 7:15 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Thomas Diamond, RHP (0-2, 8.00 ERA)
Cardinals Starting Pitcher: Jake Westbrook, RHP (0-0, 3.46 ERA)
TV/Radio: CSN/WGN Radio

Game 2: Saturday at 3:10
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Carlos Zambrano, RHP (3-6, 5.76 ERA
Cardinals Starting: Chris Carpenter, RHP (13-3, 2.89 ERA)
TV/Radio: FOX/WGN Radio

Game 3: Sunday at 1:15
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Ryan Dempster, RHP (10-8, 3.66 ERA)
Cardinals Starting Pitcher: Kyle Lohse, RHP (1-4, 5.89 ERA)
TV/Radio: WGN-TV/WGN Radio

Let's push the Cardinals out of first!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fontenot Traded, Barney Called Up

As many of you read or heard yesterday, Cubs infielder Mike Fontenot has been traded to the San Francisco Giants. The deal is odd in the sense that Mike just had to walk across the field into the Giants dugout to wear his new uniform for the third game of the series between the two clubs.

Fontenot did not make his Giants debut last night, and he is not in the starting nine for today's game either. However, he could come off the bench this afternoon as a pinch hitter.

In return, the Cubs got a minor leaguer by the name of Evan Crawford. Here is some information about him:
  • B/T: Right
  • Position: Outfield
  • Age: 21
  • Level: Class-A Advanced
  • 2010 Stats: .255 AVG, 4 HR, 29 RBIs, 109 games
  • Drafted: By the Giants in the 9th round of the 2009 draft
  • Height/Weight: 6'2''/167

The Cubs have called infielder Darwin Barney up from Triple-A Iowa to take Fontenot's place on the roster. Barney has joined the team today and could come off the bench even though he is not in the starting lineup. Darwin is set to make his big league debut either today or in St. Louis.

More on Fontenot's time with the Cubs later.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cubs 2010 Rookies

The 2010 Chicago Cubs team has been full of rookies, especially on the pitching staff. Tonight, another the third different rookie position player to take the field for the Boys in Blue this season.

Here are some numbers on the young Cubs:

14- Rookies to suit up for the Cubs this season

11- Rookies to pitch for the Cubs this season

8- Guys to make their big league debut for the Cubs this season

6- Pitcher to make their big league debut for the Cubs this season

Let's review the debuts!

April 5, 2010
James Russell, the only rookie pitcher to break camp with the Cubs, pitches two shutout innings on Opening Day! The Cubs were crushed by the Braves 16-5.

May 6, 2010
Starlin Castro breaks in with a bang, launching a homer, a triple, and 6 RBIs! The Cubs beat the Reds 14-7 behind their new starting shortstop.

May 31, 2010
Andrew Cashner throws only one pitch to get the out he needed in his debut in the 8th inning. The Cubs fell to the Pirates 2-1.

June 28, 2010
Brian Schlitter got the job done against the Pirates, striking out both men he faced. After the previous pitcher left mid-better, it only took Brian two pitches to notch his first career K. The Cubs went on to lose the game 2-1.

August 2, 2010
Casey Coleman breaks into the big leagues with a wobbly first appearance. He becomes the third generation of MLB hurlers in his family, the first family ever to send three generations of guys to the bigs as pitchers! Coleman was charged with six earned runs in a lopsided 18-1 loss to the Brewers.

August 3, 2010
Thomas Diamond, called up to replaced Ted Lilly in the rotation, pitches well in his debut. He went six innings and gave up only three runs on seven hits. However, the Cubs couldn't score enough runs for a win and Diamond ended up taking the loss.

August 9, 2010
Marcos Mateo is tossed right into a tied game in extra innings the day he was called up from Iowa. He did not allow a run in the tenth inning, but then the Giants scored with one out in the 11th on a walk-off sac fly.

August 11, 2010
Tonight Welington Castillo is in the lineup, batting 8th and catching. He will make his debut as the batterymate of Tom Gorzelanny. Castillo will look to have a big night at the plate against Giants lefty Barry Zito.

Will these guys be able to help the Cubs win in 2011 and beyond?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Former Cub Updates: 8-10-10

Many former Cubs have been on the move lately, so let's take a look at the ex-Cubs that have found new homes over the past few weeks.

  • Ryan Theriot: traded from the Cubs to the Dodgers on July 31. Stats with new team: 8 games, .258 AVG, 2 RBIs
  • Ted Lilly: traded from the Cubs to the Dodgers on July 31. Stats with new team: 2-0, 2.77 ERA, 13 IP.
  • Jim Edmonds: came to the Reds in a waiver deal with the Brewers yesterday. He's not in the starting lineup for the Reds game against the Cardinals tonight. Jim has now played with four different NL Central teams.
  • Will Ohman: traded on July 31 from the Orioles to the Marlins for Rick VandenHurk. Stats with new team: 0-1, 3 games, 3 IP, 3.00 ERA
  • Kerry Wood: traded from the Indians to the Yankees for a PTBNL at the deadline. Stats with new team: 4 games, 4.1 IP, 2.08 ERA
  • Kyle Farsworth: traded from the Royals to the Braves along with Rick Ankiel for Gregor Blanco and Jesse Chavez. Stats with new team: 4 games, 2.2 IP, 16.88 ERA
  • Chad Tracy: Signed with the Marlins on August 5. Stats with new team: 1-for-4, 3 games
  • Mark Prior: Signed with the Orange County Flyers of the Independent Golden Baseball League on August 3. Stats with new team: 1 IP, 0 R
  • Randall Simon: Signed with the Gary Railcats of the Independent Northern League on July 29. Stats with new team: 11 games, .286 AVG, 5 RBIs
  • Francis Beltran: Drafted by the Cubs and spent two seasons in the bullpen. He was part of the trade that netted the Cubs Nomar Garciaparra. Signed with the Kansas City T-bones of the Independent Northern League on August 4.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on these ex-Cubbies.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Series Preview: Cubs VS Giants

The Cubs are headed back to the West Coast, where they will meet the Giants late tonight. The Cubbies offense has done nothing lately, and they will face very good pitching in the next seven games.

Four in San Fran starts tonight for a team that is coming off a 1-5 homestand and a sweep at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds. The Cubs come in at a new low water mark for the season, 17 games under .500 at 47-64. They are in fifth place, 16.5 back of first and 0.5 back of fourth. The Boys in Blue have dropped nine of their last ten.

The Giants come in after losing three of four in Atlanta in a big series this weekend. Tonight they will start a stretch of seven straight at AT&T Park, where they host the Cubs and the Padres this week. It will be an important week for San Francisco, because they are two games back of San Diego for the top spot in the NL West.

A 63-49 overall record puts the Giants atop the Wildcard standings in the National League. They will look to catch the Pads down the stretch, but at the same time they're trying to fend off the Phillies and Cardinals in the Wild Card race.

This series will be the first one between the two teams this season! This is the Cubs only trip to the Bay Area all year but the Giants will come to Wrigley September 21-23. The two teams haven't seen each other since a few Cactus League battles back in March.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who's having a tough summer personally and professionally, will not be with the team for this series. Sweet Lou's mother is in the hospital and he will head to Tampa, Florida to take care of her. He hopes to rejoin the team in St. Louis. For the time being, Alan Trammell will serve as the acting manager once again. Tram will get another chance to get his first W of the year after going 0-3 when Lou left the team for his uncle's funeral.

The Giants have couple of former Cubs farmhands on their roster in pitcher Todd Wellemyer and outfielder Andres Torres. Manager Bruce Bochy hopes his team can take advantage of the slumping Cubs and win this series before battling the first place Padres this weekend.

WGN Radio broadcaster Ron Santo has been skipping many of the Cubs road trips lately in order to stay healthy. Santo is a 70 year old type 1 diabetic. Dave Otto will join Pat Hughes on the broadcasts in San Fran.

Carlos Zambrano will make his return to the rotation tonight. Big Z hasn't made a start since the late June game against the White Sox where he exploded in the dugout on his teammates and ended up suspended for three games and then placed on the restricted list. Since then, Zambrano has undergone treatment from doctors, minor league rehab outings, three big league relief appearances, and is finally set to return to the rotation.

Both teams are expected to have their regular catchers back in the lineup on Monday. Buster Posey of the Giants received Sunday's game off but did pinch hit in the 9th. Geovany Soto missed the games on Saturday and Sunday due to a mild ligament sprain in his right shoulder.

Game 1: Monday at 9:15 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Carlos Zambrano, RHP (3-6, 5.61 ERA)
Giants Starting Pitcher: Madison Bumgarner, LHP (4-4, 3.20 ERA)
TV/Radio: CSN+/WGN Radio

Game 2: Tuesday at 9:15 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Ryan Dempster, RHP (9-8, 3.76 ERA)
Giants Starting Pitcher: Tim Lincecum, RHP (11-5, 3.15 ERA)
TV/Radio: WGN-TV/WGN Radio

Game 3: Wednesday at 9:15 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Tom Gorzelanny, LHP (6-6, 3.51 ERA)
Giants Starting Pitcher: Barry Zito, LHP (8-6, 3.35 ERA)
TV/Radio: CSN/WGN Radio

Game 4: Thursday at 2:45 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Randy Wells, RHP (10-5, 4.37 ERA)
Giants Starting Pitcher: Matt Cain, RHP (9-9, 3.06 ERA)
TV/Radio: WGN-TV/WGN Radio

Have the Cubs hit rock bottom yet?

Let's play the role of spoilers!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Catching Up Quick Hits: Soto & Colvin Rest, Lou & Ronny Skip San Fran, The Next Manager, and More

Here's the latest from Wrigleyville:
  • Geovany Soto sat out the final two games against the Reds because of a ligament sprain in his right shoulder. He is expected to return to the lineup on Monday night.
  • Tyler Colvin was also given two straight days off, but Carrie Muskat reports that it was just a breather and not an injury for the Cubs rookie.
  • The Cubs used four rookie pitchers on Sunday, the most they've tossed in one game since September 30, 2006. Thomas Diamond, Casey Coleman, James Russell, and Mitch Atkins all worked on Sunday. Five Cubs rookies pitched in that '06 game- Juan Mateo, Jae-Kuk Ryu, David Aardsma, Angel Guzman, and Les Walrond.
  • Lou Piniella left for Tampa, FL to be with his mother after Sunday's game. Lou's mom has been hospitalized, so he'll miss the series with the Giants. If everything is well, Piniella will return in St. Louis. Alan Trammell will take over in Lou's absence. It's the second time in the past month that Sweet Lou has had to leave his club for a family reason.
  • Carlos Silva, who's been out with a heart issue, has been doing some throwing. The Sun-Times reports that he will undergo another cardiac test on Monday.
  • John Grabow, disabled with a sprained left knee, is headed for Mesa, where he is expected to pitch on Monday. He will continue his rehab at AAA-Iowa or AA-Tennessee and could return in time for the team's next homestand, which starts a week from Monday.
  • The Cubs are expected to bring up some more prospects from Iowa soon, especially if waiver trades are made. "I think you'll see some other guys," Jim Hendry told the media.
  • Bruce Miles reports that Tyler Colvin will stay in the outfield and Derrek Lee will remain the starting first baseman the rest of the season.
  • Ron Santo if feeling fine, but he has been skipping many of the Cubs road trips lately in order to stay healthy. Ronny will not go on the trip to San Fransisco or St. Louis. Dave Otto will fill in on WGN Radio with Pat Hughes.
  • The Cubs have played 39 one run game this season, the most in the bigs. They have a terrible 13-26 record in those contests.
  • Bruce Levine reports that Jim Hendry will interview more than 15 candidates for the open managerial position.
  • Ryne Sandberg, Pat Listach, Fredi Gonzalez, Joe Girardi, Bob Brenly, Ted Simmons, Alan Trammell, Joe Torre, Larry Rothschild, Bobby Valentine, Eric Wedge, and Chris Speier are all possible candidates.
  • Carlos Zambrano is expected to throw 75-80 pitches in his return to the rotation tomorrow night against the Giants.
  • The Tribune reports that the Cubs might make their first ever trip to Fenway Park for an interleague series May 20-22, 2011.

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

Friday, August 6, 2010

Series Preview: Cubs VS Reds

Many baseball people and Cubs fans have deemed the 2010 season a lost cause for Lou Piniella's squad. However, the final two month will be very important in terms of getting some younger guys experience and playing time. At the same time, the Cubs must work to try to increase the trade value of some of their veteran players that could be dealt this winter or even swapped in a waiver trade before the end of August.

The fifth place Chicago Cubs meet the first place Cincinnati Reds this weekend at Wrigley to finish up this six game homestand. This series is huge for the Reds, who are trying to hold off the Cardinals for the top spot in the NL Central. The Cards are only a half a game back.

With the Astros recent winning streak, they've passed up the Cubbies, who continue to slump on all cylinders. The 'Stros are now only 13 games out of first and the Cubs are 13.5 games back. The Cubs are coming off a big 15-3 win in the series finale against the Brewers on Wednesday before enjoying an off day on Thursday. They still dropped the series with the Crew after suffering a bashing on Monday and another loss on Tuesday. The victory on Wednesday snapped a seven game skid.

The Reds, who are 61-48 for they year, have hopes of capturing their first NL Central crown since 1995. This year could be their first trip to the playoffs in 15 years. Cincinnati is coming off a series where they beat the Pirates two out of three at PNC. This set concludes a six game trip, then they will return home on Monday to welcome the Cardinals and Marlins to town.

Lou's crew has dropped every series of the year with Dusty Baker's team. They are 3-7 against the Reds this season. This will be the first meeting since the All-Star break between the Midwest foes. The last time they met the Cubs lost three of four at Wrigley to start the month of July.

The Boys in Blue return to The Queen City August 27-29 for the final meetings of the year between the two teams. The Cubs will have to take all six game left against the Reds in order to take the season series, and they need to go 5-1 to split it.

It will be interesting to see what kind of reaction Joey Votto gets when his name is announced today. Votto made some comments about Cubs fans during the All-Star break at Angel Stadium. He has said that he doesn't have an issue with Marlon Byrd or the organization, but just with the fan base. Joey's problems with the Faithful started when the Cubs won the NL Central at Great American Ballpark in front of thousands of Cubs fans in 2007. Votto says he will not sign autographs for supporters of the North Siders.

Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin are both making cases for the Rookie of the Year in the National League. They will continue to bat one and two in the Cubs order this weekend and throughout the rest of the season. Jim Hendry has said that more players for AAA-Iowa are on the way. Will the Cubs add guys like Welington Castillo, Bryan LaHair, Brad Snyder, and Darwin Barney to the roster soon?

Carrie Muskat of thinks the chances are good that we will see Darwin Barney at Wrigley this year, but it may not be until September. The story is the same for many of the other position players that are playing well at Triple-A.

The last time the Cubs were in first place was one year ago today- August 6, 2009. For all of the fans that thought last year was a total failure as well, it's weird to think that at this point last season they were in first place.

Yesterday the Marlins signed former Cub Chad Tracy to try to help them to the postseason. In other news, Jeff Samardzija is pitching well in the rotation in Iowa. He's throwing a good cutter and getting swings and misses according to scouting reports. He could return to the bigs to either start or relief at some point soon.

Game 1: Friday at 1:20 CT
Reds Starting Pitcher: Bronson Arroyo, RHP (11-6, 4.01 ERA)
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Tom Gorzelanny, LHP (6-5, 3.48 ERA)
TV/Radio: CSN/WGN 720

Game 2: Saturday at 12:05 CT
Reds Starting Pitcher: Edinson Volquez, RHP (2-1, 6.35 ERA)
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Randy Wells, RHP (5-9, 4.40 ERA)
TV/Radio: CSN/WGN 720

Game 3: Sunday at 1:20 CT
Reds Starting Pitcher: Travis Wood, RHP (2-1, 2.42 ERA)
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Thomas Diamond, RHP (0-1, 4.50 ERA)
TV/Radio: WGN-TV/WGN 720

The Cubs go to San Fransisco and St. Louis on their next trip which starts on Monday.

It's time to play the role of spoilers!

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

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Look at Ryan Theriot's Time with the Cubs

Ryan Theriot had been with the Cubs his whole career until last week's trade to Los Angeles. Let's remember The Riot with a little look back at his tenure in the Windy City.

June 2001
Ryan Theriot was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the third round of the MLB First Year Player Draft. He was a shorstop out of LSU.

September 13, 2005
Theriot made his major league debut as a pinch hitter against the Reds.

September 14, 2005
Ryan recorded his first big league hit against Brian Shakelford.

March 10, 2007
First year manager Lou Piniella wastes no time in telling Theriot that he has made the team. It was the first time in his career that the young utility infielder made his club coming out of Spring Training.

May 2007
Theriot, who had played all over the diamond in the first few months, started to get more and more starts at shortstop. He eventually got the everyday nod in favor of Cesar Izturis, who ended up traded in July.

July 14, 2008
Ryan and Johnnah gave birth to their second daughter and third child Georgia Grace. They also have kids named Houston and Macey.

Opening Day 2010
Theriot got the start at short with college teammate Mike Fontenot rounding out the Cubs middle infield as the starting second baseman.

May 1, 2009
Ryan launched his first career grand slam against the Florida Marlins to give him team the lead. The Cubs went on to win the game 8-6.

May 2009
The ex-LSU star went on a power surge, hitting five home runs in the month. He is normally not known for his power, but a little pop was certainly welcome. He doubled his career homer total in the span of a few weeks.

2009-2010 Offseason
Theriot allowed WGN Radio listeners to learn a little bit more about him off the field as he joined David Kaplan for a weekly segment on "Sports Central". He also co-hosted Kap's live broadcast from the Cubs convention in January.

February 19, 2010
Ryan became the first Cub to go to an arbitration hearing since 1993. The Cubs one the case, so he had to settle for a one year $2.6 million contract.

May 7, 2010
The longtime shorstop was moved to second base in order to make room for 20 year old rookie Starlin Castro to take over short.

July 31, 2010
Theriot's Cubs career came to an end as he was traded to the Dodgers along with pitcher Ted Lilly. The Cubs got Blake DeWitt and two minor league hurlers in return.

Good luck Ryan... We'll miss you at Wrigley!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mid Week Quick Hits: Cubs on Waivers, Diamond Fans 8, and More

  • Brian Schlitter was sent back to Triple-A Iowa today to make room for Mitch Atkins to come back up and join the Cubs bullpen. Atkins has been shuttling back and forth from Des Moines to Chicago all season.
  • Carlos Zambrano will be considered for a spot in the Cubs rotation says Cubs manager Lou Piniella. Z is in the bullpen for now, but with Silva on the DL the Cubs will need another starter.
  • Thomas Diamond struck out ten in his big league debut tonight and was the first Cub to do so since Mark Prior in 2002.
  • Diamond was the 6th Cub to make his big league debut this season and the Cubs now have 8 rookies on their roster.
  • The Brewers asked for a scoring change on a ball hit to shortstop in the ninth inning of their 18-1 win over the Cubs. The scorer ruled the play an error on Starlin Castro, but the Brewers wanted their 26th hit of the game.
  • Former Cubs ace Mark Prior has signed with the Orange County Flyers of the Golden Baseball League.
  • Casey Coleman made his debut last night, becoming the third generation of Colemans to pitch in the big leagues. Coleman's father was a pitcher for the Cubs.
  • Matt Szczur was drafted by the Cubs in June's draft. He was playing for the Peoria Chiefs, but he has left the team to join Villanova for the fall football season.
  • reports that manager Lou Piniella has not gotten a chance to say goodbye to Theriot and Lilly, but he will call them on Thursday.
  • Carlos Zambrano was placed on waivers, but Gordon Wittenmyer doesn't expect anyone to pick up his beefy contract.
  • Alan Trammell went 0-3 in a three game stint sitting in for Lou Piniella. He is not ready to talk about the possibility of him becoming the Cubs manager for 2011.
  • Hot Stove Cubbies reports that Nady, Baker, Lee, Ramirez, Kosuke, Soriano, Grabow, Fontenot, Silva, and Dempster will all be placed on waivers.

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

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Look at Ted Lilly's Cubs Career

Don't close the book on Ted Lilly's Cubs career just yet. The idea of Teddy, who is a free agent at the end of the season, returning the the Cubs for 2011 has already been mentioned. Jim Hendry and Lilly are both "open to the possibility".

But for now, let's celebrate what was a terrific and underrated stint with the Cubbies for the left handed pitcher. Click for Ted Lilly's "Getting to Know the Cubs" that I posted a few weeks back.

Dubbed The Bulldog, Lilly brings a high level of intensity night in and night out. Here are some of his more memorable moments in a Cubs uniform.

December 15, 2006
Ted Lilly was signed by the Chicago Cubs. Cubs general manager Jim Hendry was in the hospital and completed the signing from his hospital bed.

April 5, 2007
The Bulldog makes his Cubs debut against the Reds, a 4-1 W in Cincinnati. He took a no hit bid into the fifth inning and gave up only one run over seven strong. Click for the game story from the Sun Times.

April 9, 2007
Lilly pitches the Cubs home opener in front of a sell out crowd at Wrigley. He went six inning and was charged with three runs, but did not get a decision.

June 10, 2007
Lilly defending his teammates by hitting Atlanta Brave Edgar Renteria. There was bad blood between the two teams all series long, but Ted was the one to get ejected from the game. The Cubbies dropped the contest 5-4.

October 4, 2007
The D'backs beat the Cubs and starter Ted Lilly 8-4 in game two of the NLDS. It was Lilly's only postseason start in his tenure in the Windy City. He took the loss.

September 11, 2008
Teddy pulled a move that nobody expects from a pitcher. He ran over St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina in a Cubs/Cards game trying to score a run at the plate. Every time he takes the field, Ted shows that kind of fire!

March of 2009
The lefty got the chance to represent the USA in the World Baseball Classic. He served up a home run to former batterymate Henry Blanco in one of his two appearances.

June 13, 2010
Lilly took a no-hitter into the 9th inning of a Sunday night game at Wrigley against the rivals from the South Side. On a night that the Stanley Cup was at the ballpark, Lilly almost made history of his own. However, ex-Cub Juan Pierre got the first White Sox hit to lead off the 9th. Carlos Marmol came in and got the save in a dramatic 1-0 Cubs win. The victory remains one of few highlights to the Cubs season.

July 27, 2010
Ted did not allow a run in 5.2 innings in his final start as a Cub, but he fell victim to lack of run support once again. The bullpen did not get the job done and the Astros won the game 6-1.

Stats with the Cubs
2007: 15-8, 3.83 ERA, 34 starts
2008: 17-9, 4.09 ERA, 34 starts
2009: 12-9, 3.10 ERA, 27 starts
2010: 3-8, 3.69 ERA, 18 starts

Lilly will make his Dodgers debut tomorrow night.