Baseball Diamond News

Friday, June 30, 2006

Cubs Ramblings

Today the Cubs start their 2nd series verse the White Sox. My prediction is that the Cubs will win 1 of the three. Yeah I know you are thinking, "Greg, how can you think that? They should get swept." but I have a good feeling on this prediction. Though they only won 1 verse the Brewers in the last series, they actually started to show a little life as they were behind in all the games and showed some ability to try and mount comebacks (though game 1 they blew it in 9th and game 3 came up a little short). Now I am not getting any false hopes, as the groundskeepers say in Major League, "They are still shitty."

Carlos Marmol pitched very well in his last start and most likely has bought himself 2 more starts out of it, if not more if he does well. Though I still think he needs to be in the minors, he might push Sean Marshall down to minors (where he belongs) if he continues to be inconsistent. The Cubs either need to start pitching Angel Guzman or send him down to get innings in. Angel sitting in the bullpen and not pitching is not going to help him, and I am not a big fan of the pitching coach Mr. Rothschild so I don't think he is helping out Angel much. This just adds to the fuel that the Cubs management has no game plan for the team and continues to think that there is nothing wrong with that.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Cub's Death Spiral

The Cubs continue their "Death Spiral" with the help of the coaching staff. I have been busy watching the World Cup and have not really had anything I wanted to write about. Yeah I know Derek Lee came back, but with or without him the Cubs still suck.
Today the Cubs are facing a lefty (the one thing Murton hits), so who is starting in LF? Phil Nevin. That makes no sense, if you won't play Murton against lefties, then Baker and the Cubs need to send him to the minors so he can re-find his swing.
The Carlos Marmol experiment should be hitting the end of the ride after Weds. I think that Carlos needs another year in the minors (so does Sean Marshall for that matter) and after he gets hammered on Weds against the Brewers, management will have no choice but to send him down to the minors.
Freddie Bynum heads to the DL as the Cubs activated Derek Lee. I actually didn't see the play that he got injured on, but from what my buddy told me didn't look to bad, but from what I read, Freddie has past problems with his shoulder and blood clots. I can only hope for him that he gets well soon.
Angel Pagan goes to AAA to continue his rehab and should hopefully be able to help the Cubs after July 4th or so. Now getting Pagan back probably won't make much difference in the win column, but having him on the bench is a better option than Mabry or Perez.
My guess for the Cubs staff to be fired if no improvement to their record is July 27th. I would do it sooner, but I have a feeling that management will allow them some extra time now that Derek Lee is back and Mark Prior (according to their theory) should be hitting stride in a start or so.

Monday, June 19, 2006

10-game Suspension upheld

Today MLB upheld the 10 game suspension given to Michael Barrett. I figured they would let him off a few days, but I guess that they want people to know that you shouldn't just go punching guys in the face. The one good thing is that Michael has a strained back and now this will allow him to rest it up for the next 10 days and hopefully come back at 100%. Hopefully Henry Blanco can keep his hitting going over the next 10 days, but not holding my breathe, I figure if he bats .25o during that time it will be a bonus for the Cubs (not over Barrett, but just in general compared to Blanco's early season batting).

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Prior season debut

Mark Prior probably wishes that the Cubs had left him in Iowa for a few more days after this performance. Four homers and 8 runs (7 earned) in 3.2 innings is probably also not what the Cubs had in mind either. I was going to say it was a good thing we got Prior back today because it forced the Cubs to put Glendon Rusch on the DL (and hopefully he stays there for a long while for roster purposes, not wishing Rusch any worse physical problems), but with this type of performance I don't know which situation is better. I hope that Prior's next start goes better than this because it would sure be hard to do worse.
The Cubs have worse troubles than pitching though. Yeah, it is hard to believe. I just got off the phone with a good old friend of mine, Mike Marron and he has informed me that this Cubs team has finally turned him off. Now I know people are thinking who cares about that guy not liking the Cubs, but it actually is a much bigger problem than you would think. Why? Well Mike has been a Cub fan for ever since he could cheer for baseball and has even been a season ticket holder for a while also. Now do the ineptness from top to bottom (Tribune Company, McPhail, Hendy, Baker, players, and a bunch of in-between people left out) in the organization and no signs of improvement anywhere he has finally decided to give up on them. No he is not becoming a band wagon White Sox fan either, just not going to cheer for or give the Cubs organization any money. Now I have not been pushed to the point that I am going to think about giving up on the Cubs (heck I am a Blackhawk’s season ticket holder), but I hope this happens to more people, maybe then the organization will learn.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

When will the Cubs ever learn?

I just would like to know when Dusty Baker and the Cubs will learn that Glendon Rusch doesn’t have it any more (not like he ever really did) and that he should not even be in the pen, let alone the rotation. I was going to write the other day about how Glendon shouldn’t be getting a chance to start and that Angel should have been starting, but I just didn’t have the energy or time. Angel did very good out of the pen for the Cubs, but I think that Carlos Marmol has earned a couple more starts, so when Prior comes off DL, the Cubs should just send down Guzman so he can get more innings. Also I think that they should call up Michael Wuertz and just eat the rest of Glendon’s contract. If Arizona will eat 23 million dollars of Russ Ortiz’s contract, the Cubs should be able to eat the 3.8 or so million left on Glendon’s.

Another thing that is bothering me is Matt Murton. He had such a beautiful swing at the beginning of the season and now he has a major uppercut and doesn’t look like he is trying to use the whole field. I am not sure if this is because the Cubs are telling him he needs to hit 30 hr’s or it is the fact that their hitting coach has screwed him up. I am thinking it is probably both because that is what the Cubs are good at, taking a good young hitter and turning him into a crappy hitter. He is about to be a platoon guy with Freddie Bynum and hopefully while he is on the bench, he will spend some time looking at old film and maybe even calling an old hitting coach or two.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Kerry Wood on DL

Wow, that was quick. I think that if the Cubs hadn't already, they should now, just forget about him pitching again for the Cubs. He can't stay healthy and then when he is healythy it is for a game or two and they usually are very short starts. I agree with the Cubs calling up Angel Guzman again to take his place as long as he becomes a starter. I also think the Cubs should let Carlos Marmol start a game or two until Prior comes back and send Rusch back the pen. Glendon as a starting pitcher has been pretty awful and if he doesn't improve some the Cubs should start thinking about dumping him and the rest of his contract.

Cubs-Reds Game Last night

Last night I was in Cincinatti with the family and sat in section 520 Row V seat 2, which for those that don't know is the last row in the staduim and watched the Cubs hold on to win 6-5. I am not a big fan of the Great American Ballpark, but from my seats you could see most everything. The Cubs got lucky when Kearns dropped to his knees and missed that easy pop-up and then with "Hammerin" Henry Blanco having a great offensive game. Going into the bottom of the 9th inning I looked at my sister-in-law Amy and told her the way the game looked the Cubs were going to lose 7-6. She told me that wouldn't happen (she is a Reds fan) and Ryan Dempster tried his hardest to make me a non-liar. What truly upset me was that he wasn't throwing strikes and that just can't happen, you need to throw strikes when you have a 2 run lead.

I then came home to see the Cubs 1st round draft pick Tyler Colvin hit a grand-slam to win the game for Clemson. That is always nice to see and hopefully he can prove me and the rest of the nay-sayers wrong.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Good luck Ariane

My sister Ariane (who reads this blog, might be one of only ones), is taking a big test next week National Board's (as she is in her 2nd year at med School out in Virginia). I just want to say good luck to her, though she doesn't really need any as I know she knows her stuff. I would appreciate anyone else that reads this to leave a nice good luck comment for her, as she is stressed out and I know it would help her feel more at ease. Just leave an anonymous comment if you are too lazy to sign in or don't have an account. Thanks.

ONCE AGAIN, GOOD LUCK ARIANE!!!!! From Butkus and Carl

Cubs pick Tyler Colvin

The Cubs picked OF Tyler Colvin today with their first round pick (13th). This pick is a big surprise, his national rank (according to Baseball America) was 170th. In the scouting report it says that he has no tools that standout, but has added power over the year. Also is an above-average baserunner and an average arm. It was thought that he could go in the 1st 3 rounds.

My take on this pick is that he will become at best another Derrick May. I am hoping that Tyler proves me wrong, but this looks like another 1st round pick that is going to be wasted by the Cubs again. I know this draft was more deep in pitching than hitting, but I have to think that there were many better position players out there than Mr. Colvin.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Scott Williamson on DL

The Cubs have place Scott Williamson on the 15-day DL today and have recalled Carlos Marmol to take his spot. I don't think that Marmol will be in the majors long, as he is mostly a stop-gap and insurance just in case (which might happen) Kerry Wood needs a few more days off. Also I don't think that the Cubs are allowed to recall Michael Wuertz for 10 days after sending him down (IF ANYONE knows the rule, send me a message/comment).

Meanwhile, Scott Williamson will be flying to Cinci to visit Dr. Tim Kremchek to check out his "tennis elbow". Dr. Tim Kremchek performed Scott's first 2 arm surgeries, so maybe he can get the 3rd one for free (if needed).

2 in a row

The Cubs have won 2 in a row and 4 of their last 5, which is important since they all have been division rivals. Greg Maddux goes out there today and tries to help the Cubs get the sweep in St. Louis which could then help them get closer to 4th place. I know 4th place isn't much, but the Cubs need to take baby steps if they plan on climbing up the ladder this year.

The Cardinals lost Albert Pujols yesterday with a "strained oblique muscle" for an undetermined amount of time, while you never cheer for an injury to a player, it might help the rest of the division catch up to the Cardinals if they can't overcome the lost offense that Pujols provides.

The last time up David Aardma looked awful and very timid on the mound, I must say that in the 14 inning game the other night verse the Cardinals, David was magnificent. He looked like the reliever that was advertised to the fans and Cubs last season when he was acquired. I know he is very young and will have some bumps in the road, but now with Scott Williamson probably headed to the DL, it is time for him to prove himself in more than one game.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Cubs trade for Phil Nevin

Yippee, the Cubs went out and traded for Phil Nevin from the Texas Rangers for utility player Jerry Hairston. This trade comes a little bit late into the Derek Lee injury (about 35-40 days late), but I guess better late than never right? Well I might not go that far, 2004 was Nevin’s last semi-productive year as last year he was an albatross in both San Diego and in Texas. This season he got off to a blazing start in April, but currently has 2 hits in his last 32 at-bats, both home runs, so I guess his non-hitting is just what the Cubs need. If this trade works out, then I say Hendry should only be allowed to trade for old 1st baseman or with Pittsburgh. His track record would be 2-2 with old 1st baseman (Nevin,Karros) (Lee was young so did not qualify, but a good trade) and getting Ramirez was a great deal for the junk he gave up, but besides those moves Hendy has for the most part been pretty much worthless.

I will have to say I am glad that Hairston won’t be on bench any longer and that the Cubs are only paying Nevin about 375,000 of his monstrous 10 million dollar contract. The one suggestion I have for the Cubs is that Nevin might be useful at catcher when Barrett goes on suspended list and if Hendry was thinking of that when he made the trade kudos to him and if not well now might be the time to relay that message to Dusty.

Cub thoughts

Well to my loyal readers, I was on a mini-vacation with my wife for her b-day in Florida and did not have anyway to access net, though there were a few things I wanted to write about. So here goes.

First let’s start out with a quote I have seen on from my favorite person Dusty Baker:

Baker called Sunday's four-run, ninth-inning comeback a "big confidence boost for us." Atlanta hit four home runs off Ryu, who may have been tipping his pitches.

"There's some things we picked up," Baker said of the rookie right-hander. "These are big-league hitters. There's some things he was doing. You wonder how they're hitting everything they throw up there. They saw something and we saw it, but we saw it too late. We didn't have much time to make an adjustment. “

My first question is, isn’t that the job of my other favorite coach Larry Rothschild to figure out before the game when looking at sideline session and maybe tapes from the minor leagues? If it is not his job, then please I beg anyone to tell me what his job is then?

Now to my second story I want to yap about, was in the Tribune about Jacque Jones mom confronting some fans about them yelling at her son. I don’t know what was said about Jones and I am sure it is hard for a parent to hear their child criticized, but when he is getting paid as much as he is and makes bone head plays (yeah he is hitting better) like he has been then he deserves to get yelled at.

After the incident Jacque then went on to say that "You shouldn't have to listen to that when you come to games." Well I am sorry Mr. Jones, but we are paying your salary and you are not performing the way you should, so unless we can fire you and not pay you the rest of your salary for underperforming at your job, then just shut-up and take it until you actually start earning your 3-year deal for 15 million dollar.

Also while I was away during the same game Ryu got bombed, the Cubs showed some fight and came back to tie a game in which I thought they had no chance, but to then blow it on another bonehead defensive play by Aramis in the 11th when he missed a pop-up that resulted in a 2 base error. It just shows the lapses of concentration the Cubs go through during games and needs to be addressed by the coaches.

"No excuses," Ramirez said. "I didn't see it."

Well good that he is making no excuses, but that still doesn't make it right.

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