Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cubs look to sweep the O's as well

Classic Lou and Oz.

I fully expect the White Sox to get some sort of revenge at U.S. Cellular field this upcoming weekend, after being decisively swept by the Cubs in Wrigley. The Cubs will throw Gallagher, Dempster, and then Marshall. Not ideal, but with they way Aramis, Lee, Edmunds, and others are swinging the bat, the Cubs may be able to keep it up in a homerun field. Everyone on the Cubs is playing well. Soto is struggling a bit at the plate, but already looks like a veteran behind the dish. He calls a great game, and pitchers seems pleased to have him.

The Cubs start host the Baltimore Orioles tonight at 7:05. Sean Marshall(0-0), makes his first start againt Jeremy Guthrie(3-7).
The three starters for Baltimore this series is a combined 10-12 with 5.00 earned run averaged, as opposed to the Cubs 13-8 and 4.43.
Baltimore is 21st in MLB in batting with an average of .257, and 18th in pitching, with an e.r.a. of 4.14. The Cubs are 2nd in MLB in batting and 4th in pitching.
The odds say we at least win this series, but Baltimore really spreads the power around. Home-run leaders for the O's include Huff(14), Markakis(12), Luke Scott912), Kevin Millar(11), and Melvin Mora with 10. Brian Roberts is a true threat on the bases, so Marshall will really have to watch his stretch on the mound.
Marshall had pitched well in the minors, and earlier this year has given us some help from the pen. His carrer e.r.a. is over 4.5, but he's been here before, and his help with Zambrano out is critical. I've always been down on his cardiovascular fitness. He doesn't cover first fast enough, and always seemed to be "winded" by the fourth or fifth inning, but that's just my impression. I've never heard management address that. Good luck to him tonight.
The Cubs throw Lilly on Wednesday and Marquis on Thursday.

With the Brewers starting to come on, and the Cardinals hanging around, there will be no easy road before the All Star break. The Cubs have a heavy road schedule until the end of July, so it's important to get all the players at full health for Lou to manage.

GO Cubs Go!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sweet Lou Whitaker

I took my daughter to the pool today and noticed I had left my copy of "Lonesome Dove" in the city. Damn! I pulled out the old reliable Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract revised, published in 2001. Great book to have lying around to learn about each decade of baseball since 1870. He also rates the top 100 players at each position, gives history, opinion and analysis. The analysis is not something I'm crazy about. Gimmee the plain stats. No sabermetrics, win shares and other goofy mathematical formulas. I don't need to think about it that hard.
That being said, Sweet Lou Whitaker is rated as the 13th best second baseman. I looked at his career stats as I am home now, and believe he is got to be on the cusp of THE Hall of Fame.
Here is some basics.
19 seasons
5 time All-Star
World Series Champion
2369 hits
420 doubles
65 triples
244 home-runs
1084 r.b.i.'s
.276 lifetime batting average.

I won't go into comparisons, you can do that for yourself. Believe me, he compares. I remember him well as a player I knew when I was a kid, first starting to watch the game. This awesome, awesome game.

What really caught my attention was the description by James that Whitaker was known as being an airhead.
Here is the exact excerpt by James on Whitaker:

One time he showed up in the All Star game wearing an ill-fitting sort of uniform purchased from a souvenir stand, since he had forgotten to take his uniform to the game. Another time, when an airplane buzzed Tiger Stadium, Whitaker dived to the ground, and was so shaken up that he had to come out of the game. He was a hell of a player, though, and he knew how to play the game. He ranks ninth among all second basemen in runs scored, in RBI, and in total bases, and he was an above-average fielder.

That made me laugh out loud today, and thought I would share that.

Nice Sweep of the Chicago White Sox by the Cubbies this weekend baby!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

It makes me Sick!

Carlos Marmol's slider was HORRIBLE. A painful bottom of the seventh. What gets me more is that Blanco kept calling for it. Bad job, Blanco. We needed that win. Fastballs only at that point stupid!
If you didn't see the Cubs vs. Rays last night, the Cubs had a 3-1 lead before Marmol comes in to walk two batters and then hit two of them. After Scott "Stevie" Eyre comes in to relieve him, Carl "The Shit" Crawford makes em' pay with a salami.
Just like the day I ate pepperoni and then candy whoppers, this is how I felt.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Random Simpson clip

The Good, The Bad, The Uglies

The good news is the Cubs are still up 3.5 games on the Cardinals in the central, despite losing the first two games versus the Rays. The Cardinals have lost two one run games to the Royals, and man what a shame we couldn't even pick up one on them.
That's really it for the good news right now.
The Bad and Ugly:
Carlos Zambrano was taken out by Lou Pinella after 6 2/3 after experiencing shoulder discomfort. He has flown back to Chicago and will undergo a M.R.I. today. At 106 innings pitched already, I'm not surprised he has a little soreness! He is on pace to shatter 220 innings pitched this year, and even if he is cleared, it might be a good idea to skip his next start based on what the Cubs can do against the White Sox this week-end.
Jim Edmunds is suffering from plantar fasciitis. He wore gym shoes at times on the turf in Toronto. I have plantar fasciitis. It hurts bad. At times it is almost unbearable, and the only cure is good support and rest. This guy is old anyway, but has proven to be productive with the Cubs, and his veteran experience may be needed if continues to play the way he has.
Reed Johnson has back spasms. Any body part that ends with the word "spasm" is no good. So what do we have?
Matt Murton.
I've seen this guy play right field twice at Wrigley, and he's a disgrace out there. He can't read the ball off the bat very well, and is often just running blind out there. Sure, his bat is nice if he can catch up again, but I'd really like to see him packaged in a trade to the American League. I almost consider Murton bad luck for the team, but that's just foolish superstition of course. I believe he takes away mojo.
The Cubs struggles should not be long. They still own the best record in baseball based on winning percentage, and just have to much talent to go on an extended losing streak.
They are the Only team in the National league that has not lost three in a row. An impressive accomplishment.
Sean Gallagher(3-3) vs. James Shields(4-5). Game time is 6:10(central).
D. Lee needs to break out of it. He is batting .283, and Soriano has more home-runs(15), and has seen the D.L. twice. I expect at least a .310 batting average.
The baseball trade deadline is July 31. I always look for Jim Hendry to be active. The Cubs should be appealing to anyone who wants out. A.J. Burnett is a cry baby, quoted as saying "please" trade me. I'd take a chance on him. C.C. Sabathia is the gem everyone has their eyes on. Hendry says he is not restricted by future owners as far as trading and spending, so go get him. I'm sure if the Indians dealt him, the National League would be a good chance, based on what they can get in return.
The Cubs are almost there people, but if we can get a match for Zambrano, it could put them over the top.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Is he killing that guitar Daddy?

What the hell is Peter Gammons doing to that 6-string man?!!!!
I'm all for the seventh-inning stretch and all, but now it's getting a little embarrassing. I can't tell what he's playing. Is that guitar? It's really bad. Just report you Hall of Famer you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Most Exciting Event in Sports?

I was up very early this morning and have listened to two different radio shows on ESPN 1000, Chicago. Mike and Mike in the morning, and Waddle and Silvy. Let me say this: Golf is not the most exciting sport to watch. If I had to choose between golf and soccer, I would choose to watch On Golden Pond. All these radio personalities just raved how there is was nothing like the U.S. Open in all of sports, and if they had the choice they would watch that over any other event. This event is what gets them off the most.
I watched the last 5 holes of Saturday night's coverage, and had it on at work on Sunday before the NBA Finals. You know who I was watching? Tiger Woods. That's it. That's all. Yes, it was exciting, but over the Giants beating the Patriots? No way. Is it more exciting than let's say the Chicago Cubs winning a World Series? Absolutely not folks. How about game seven possibility in the NBA Finals with two of the most storied franchises? Never. As much as don't care for soccer, what if The United States won the World Cup?
Do you believe in miracles?
Tiger is why golf is so popular right now. I will not be watching the playoff. I'll find out later. If Tiger wins my reaction will be, "Well that's what he does, he's the best." If he loses, "Wonder what happened to Tiger?" In the newspapers and radio and blogs, the headlines won't even mention the winner if Tiger Loses.
Everybody can play golf, so I understand that there is a deep connection to the sport, and it is great. I love to play it myself, but come on, does everyone want a make-out booth here. Step right up to french Phil, Tiger, Els, etc!
Tiger makes this sport happen.
Tiger will continue to make this sport happen.
Let's not fill airtime with your idiocy.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Wood Leads League

Stayed up for the whole game last night, and it was amazing. A friend called me later and told me Ron Santo was a wreck. Saying "Why are they doing this to me". I understand that fully. The Cubs had the game in the bag early, but Dempster lost it, and still awaits his first road win.

Kerry Wood, while at times gets into a lot of trouble, manages save 17, to lead the National League. His line so far looks like this. He's 2-1, with an e.r.a. of 2.70. This includes 17 of 21 save oppurtunitis, with 7 walks to 38 strikeouts. As far as I can see, Woody looks great on the mound. He seems confident with the breaking ball again, and his fastball has plenty of bite at the end. Right now I can't question his health or confidence. Great call by Lou Pinella to name him the closer during spring training. People were screaming for Carlos Marmol to close, and might eventually be put there, but he is such a great set up man. He can pitch multiple innings, as opposed to Wood, who will not pitch more than 20 pitches.

Carlos Zambrano has pitched 86 innings. Dempster has 82 and Lilly 72. All of them are on pace for 200 plus this year. It's going to get hot soon around the nation, and these guys will hit the wall at some point, especially Dempster, who hasn't done this in a hanful of years. Our Bullpen is going to get taxed more. The solution? I have no idea. It's possible that Marshall will get called up to spot start, along with Lieber, to maybe give these three a six day rest between starts. It would be nice if Gallagher could go until the seventh tonight. Carlos Zambrano goes tommorrow, and if the Cubs offense can build a huge lead, I'd like to see "Z" come out early, letting Hart take the rest. He's fresh, and so is Cotts, who has looked very sharp out of the pen thus far.
Lou Pinella and his staff has managed this team great. He's a good leader, well respected, and reminds me of my grandpa. I just wanna hug him.
Mark Derosa has had a nice road trip so far. 5-14, with 3 home-runs.
Geovanny Soto might want to move to the bench a couple games and let Blanco play tonight and Sunday. He's looking worn out, swinging and missing, swinging and missing. Something is ailing. Perhaps his hands or wrist. He is an All-Star, leading in voting, so let's give the guy a break, Blanco has been tearing the leather off the ball.
Stat Note: Carlos Marmol has just as many strikeouts as Carlos Zambrano. 57.
Go Cubs Go!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

MLB Power Rankings, or Which Team Sucks The Most

Best record in baseball and winners of nine straight. Ranks number one in offense and the pitching has kept us in some games. The big test? Getting out of June and July with a heavy road schedule.

Why put the Rays ahead of the Phillies. Fuck Philly "itis", that's why. The Rays have better pitching right now. Upton, Crawford, Pena, and Longoria are exciting and exceeding expectations. Not sure if they can keep it up to win the A.L. east, but should be able to contend for a wild card if health agrees with them.

Well here they are. After a rough start they now own the fourth best record in the league. Chase Utley is crazy good. .325 batting, with 21 homers and 53 driven in. His .o.p.s. is 1.092. Jimmy Rollins, Ryan "Mr. K." Howard, and Pat Burrell lead a great offense. It took a while, but Burrell has it figured out. Pitching is weak, although Brad Lidge is back to form.

Last week, ESPN ranked these guys 9th, behind the White Sox, Marlins and Blue Jays. Laughable. Pedroia and Ellsbury have a combined 121 hits. Team batting avg. is .282, and they have the pitching depth to go back to the post-season. Health will be an issue down the road, but please, the Red Sox have been stacked for years and continue to win.

The L.A. Angels are one better in the win and loss column, but the Cards better them in batting with .276 to the Angels .256. Both teams e.r.a. are the same around 3.90. Pujols rbi's are down this year, but still batting .362, including 75 hit, and 14 home runs. If you look up and down the roster, everybody is producing. Molina(Yadier), owns the dish now! Ankiel, Glaus, Ludwig. You're fucking kidding me right? The pitching has been great too. What the hell! I curse you Cardinals. I curse you! Leave the Cubs alone already. Jesus!

Seemingly a better line-up than the Cardinals and are first in their division. A virtual tie in rankings, but the Cards are the surprise ahead of them.

I cannot put the White Sox ahead of the Marlins. Just can't do it. Slightly better batting by ten points, and that's not saying much. E.r.a is high at 4.48, but the offense is clicking and right behind the Phillies in the east.

Second in the A.L. in pitching with an e.r.a. of 3.36. High in strikeouts and keeping the base on balls low as well. Pitching is the ONLY thing keeping them in games, and I feel they don't deserve the ranking, but they are in first place. Without potential All-Star Carlos Quentin, the Sox are an embarrassment on offense. Thome(.208), Konerko(.202), Swisher(.202), Cabrera(.240), Uribe(.198). Astoundingly leading the A.L. central. Horribly boring team that waits for the offense to produce. Trot on Paulie. Trot on.

The Braves are fourth in the entire league in pitching with an e.r.a. of 3.58. Team batting ranks fifth in all of baseball with an avg. of .276, led by All-Star Chipper Jones's .409. Pitching will be a problem with them eventually, with Smoltz now hanging in the bullpen, and his retirement imminent.

Still have to put the D-Backs ahead of the A's and Blue Jays, who are both among tops in pitching throughout the league, but offensively stale. Arizona is fifth in the entire league in pitching and batting. They have a young team that is slumping right now, but I fully expect them to recover and win the division easily. Still in first place, the Dodgers have the only realistic chance of competing.

The rest
11. Oakland
12. Toronto
13. Twins
14. Astros
15. Yankees
16. Rangers
17. Dodgers
18. Indians
19. Orioles
20. Brewers
21. Tigers
22. Pirates
23. Giants
24. Reds
25. Nationals
26. Padres
27. Mariners
28. Royals
29. Rockies
30. Mets- Yeah that's right. They suck, and if you like them, YOU SUCK!