Tagged: Geovany Soto

I know I’ve lost the bet

I’m resigned to the fact that I will not win the Cubs/Cardinals wager with my Father.  I’m already looking a the calendar to see when I can get over to Wrigley Field to be photographed in Cardinals attire.  After yesterday’s 8-3 beating of the Cubs, the Cardinals now own a 7-3 head to head advantage.  Since the teams only play 16 games head to head, if the Cardinals win one more game against the Cubs, I cannot win the bet.  The best I could do is a draw.  That’s if the Cubs would win the remaining five games.  Yeah, that’s not happening.  Have you seen the Cubs lately?

47994567.jpgMy sentiments exactly, Rich.
Phil Velasquez, Chicago Tribune/ July 10, 2009
The Cubs are a game under .500 and tied for fifth place.  The Houston Astros have now passed the Cubs!  To make matters worse, the revolving door of injuries keeps spinning.  This week, both Ryan Dempster and Geovany Soto have landed on the DL.  Dempster got there by breaking his big toe jumping out of the dugout to celebrate a win.  That totally epitomizes the Cubs.  Soto’s DL stint began because he strained an oblique during batting practice.  Both of these injuries do not sound serious, but they are the type that can linger.  My wife once broke her toe and she says that the one month absence they are projecting for Dempster is very optimistic at best.  And an oblique strain can be bad, because you use it every time you swing.
The way I see it, the Cubs definitely have to trade for another starter.  Just expect Dempster to be out a while.  Last night, my wife and I talked about two trades the Cubs could possibly make.  One is a garbage contract for garbage contract trade.  It involves the Cubs trading Alfonso Soriano to the Giants for Barry Zito.  Both have big contracts and both could probably use a change of scenery.  The Giants need a power bat.  The Cubs could use a starter.  
The other trade senario has the Cubs trading for Roy Halladay.  The Cubs should offer Toronto Carlos Zambrano, Randy Wells, and/or Josh Vitters.  Zambrano is younger than Halladay and recently signed a contract extension.  Wells is another pitcher who could move right into the starting rotation.  If these two trades would happen, it would leave the Cubs with a rotation of Halladay, Lilly, Zito, Harden, and Dempster/Marshall.
If nothing else, baseball is about wishful thinking.
Photo Credit:

The Powder Keg Explodes!

I said it was going to happen.  I said that it needed to happen.  Someone on the Cubs exploded in rage.  While it wasn’t Lou or Bradley, Big Z provided plenty of fireworks for the faithful this afternoon at Wrigley.

With the Cubs leading 2-1 in the seventh, Big Z threw a wild pitch with Nyjer Morgan on third.  Morgan came home just as Geovany Soto threw the ball back to Zambrano for the tag.  It was a bang-bang play, and the umpire called Morgan safe to tie the game.  Well, Zambrano went nuts. It was good to see a little passion and fight out of the Cubbies, even if it will cost Zambrano a pretty good suspension.  Big Z bumped the umpire, mocked him as he was ejected, threw his mitt, threw a ball out into left field and finally took a bat to the poor gatorade machine in the Cubs dugout.  What do the Cubs got against that machine, anyway?  Only two days before, Dempster went and beat it up.
Here are some pictures from the Chicago Tribune that tell the tale.
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Maybe the Gatorade machine should change it’s name to Dr. Pepper or something.  It needs a doctor after this week.
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Tell him, Big Z!
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Carlos, you might have a future in the WWE!
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You know the players have got to be trying their hardest not to laugh.
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Here’s my favorite!  Lou’s just walking away going, “I’ve taught him well.”  The expression on pitching coach Larry Rothschild is priceless!  Anyone out there care to come up with a funny caption to tell what Larry is saying?
Well, that should loosen up the Cubs.  If they were tight before, they’re for sure loose now.  I’m not advocating childish, unsportsmanlike behavior, but the Cubs need something to get them going.  They can enjoy their current TWO game winning streak!  That’s right, thanks to Reed Johnson’s home run and some insurance in the eighth, the Cubbies won 5-2.  We’re now above .500 once again.  That’s good because we now have the Dodgers coming in to town for a four game weekend series.  Even without Manny, the Dodgers own the major’s best record at 33-15.  Like I said before, it doesn’t get any easier.
Anyone care for some Gatorade?
Photo Credits:
Phil Velasquez, Chicago Tribune / May 27, 2009
Phil Velasquez, Chicago Tribune / May 27, 2009
Phil Velasquez, Chicago Tribune / May 27, 2009
Charles Rex Arbogast, Associated Press / May 27, 2009
Phil Velasquez, Chicago Tribune / May 27, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

To all the troops, past and present, who have fought for the freedoms we enjoy, thank you.  

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The Cubs are really not worth talking about right now.  I really can’t say anything about them that I haven’t said before.  The loss of Aramis Ramirez is exposing their weak bench.  Geovany Soto looks more and more like another Jerome Walton or Rick Wilkins if you want a catcher comparison.  Signing Milton Bradley was dumb.  Getting rid of Mark DeRosa because they figured Mike Fontenot could play every day was even more dumb.  You know, there’s a reason why a player stays in the minor leagues until their late twenties or early thirties.  There has to be some flaw in their game.  Over the weekend I think I saw one of Bobby Scale’s flaws.  He has no arm.  Scales played third base on Saturday and looked like he had to put everything he had and more to get the ball to first base.  Mike Fontenot and Micah Hoffpauir are both twenty-nine.  Why did they stay in the minors as long as they did?  Can the Cubs depend on Hoffpauir to be an everyday player?  He’s playing more, and his average has been plummeting.  
Derrek Lee was scratched before Sunday’s 7-2 loss to the Padres due to illness.  Watching this garbage at home is making me sick, I can only imagine what it does to you to see it up close.
Weather wise, this was one of the best Memorial Day weekends I can remember.  If Memorial Day is the kickoff to summer, then we may be in store for a great summer.  It was great to break the grill out over the weekend and enjoy the beautiful weather!  
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Maybe my 22 month old son Joshua could teach the Cubs a thing or two about hitting.
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Yeah, this didn’t happen.  I hate the Red Wings.
Photo Credits:

What Next?

The Cubs traded Joey Gathright to the Orioles for Ryan Freel, a player that was scratched from playing today because he has hamstring tightness.  Perfect.

Oh, by the way, the bullpen imploded again in a 12-6 loss to the Brewers.  Now Aaron Heilman can’t find the plate.  Chad Fox, whom they just called up, got hurt throwing a pitch in the eighth inning.  Derrek Lee is going to have tests done on his neck tomorrow.  He didn’t play, again.  Ramirez will be out at least six weeks.  Geovany Soto looks disinterested.  I’m afraid to watch tomorrow’s game to see what’s going to happen next.

A Riot at Wrigley

This was a game the Cubs needed to win.  Having already lost the opening game of a four game series with the first place Marlins due to their imploding bullpen, the Cubs found themselves five games behind the Cardinals.  This weekend, the Cardinals are padding their stats against the Nationals.  So when the Cubs fell behind 5-1 to the Marlins Friday, the prospect of digging a huge hole in the division for them loomed large.  

Rich Harden struggled.  He didn’t make it out of the fourth.  Harden’s low point was hitting a batter with the bases loaded to force in a run with two out in the fourth to make it 5-1.  Harden’s ERA has blown up to 5.11.  Not a good way to start May.  The Cubs added a run in the bottom of the fourth to make the score 5-2.  It stayed that way until the bottom of the sixth.
With the bases loaded and two out, Ryan Theriot stepped to the plate.  The Riot promptly launched his first career grand slam to put the Cubs ahead 6-5.  It was great to hear Ron Santo going nuts on the radio.  For those of you who have never heard Ron Santo on WGN radio, you’re missing something.  Santo is a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve and he lets it all out, good and bad.
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                            Phil
Velasquez/Chicago Tribune / May 1, 2009 
Yesterday was a great example why Ryan Theriot is my favorite Cub.  He always comes to play.  He’s dependable.  Sure, he may lack some baseball smarts on the base paths at times and he doesn’t have all the God given gifts other players have, but whatever he lacks he makes up with heart.

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Phil
Velasquez/Chicago Tribune / May 1, 2009


Some Game Notes

The bullpen struggled with control again.  Marmol walked the first two hitter he faced.  He did pitch out of it in the eighth.  Kevin Gregg made it more interesting than it needed to be in the ninth, but he held on to the Cubs’ 8-6 win.

Everyone knows I criticize Neal Cotts a lot on this blog.  Today I have to give Cotts his props.  After the Cubs took the 6-5 lead, Neal Cotts was warming up in the pen. “Please, no!”  I said to my self.  Well, I actually used more colorful language than that, but you get the idea.  Cotts came into the game in the top of the seventh and promptly did what he seems to do best, the four pitch walk to the first hitter he faced.  On the radio, Ron groaned.  The Cubs quickly got Marmol warming up, but would he be any better?  They finally got some offense going and got the lead on my favorite player’s grand slam and now they were going to blow it!  Cotts then retired the next three batters, including two on strikeouts.  I almost drove off the road.  I have to say something I never thought I would.  Good job, Neal!

Some Cubs who had been previously struggling at the plate showed some signs of snapping out of their funks.  Derrek Lee, Geovany Soto, and Reed Johnson each had three hits apiece.  Keep it up.

Aramis Ramirez came in to pinch hit, so hopefully we’ll see him in the lineup today.

Today, it will be Ted Lilly vs. Anibal Sanchez in a 12:05 start at Wrigley.

Photo Credits:



Did the Cubs make the April grade?

April has come to an end.  Twenty-one games are in the books.  Being a teacher, I’m used to grading my students’ performance.  I’m going to take this opportunity to grade the Cubs players’ April performance.

Outfielders
Alfonso Soriano, B
        He’s personally won at least two games this year.  His batting average has started to
        dip.  I’s now .284.
Reed Johnson, C+
        Outfield play has saved Cubs on a number of occasions.  Great attitude and seems to
        be a great team guy.  He is hitting only .216, though.
Kosuke Fukudome, A
        Solid start to season with his .338 average.  He leads team with 15 RBI.  We’ve seen
        this before, however.  Can he extent the hot hitting after the All-Star Break?
Milton Bradley, F
        Should be an incomplete, as he hasn’t played much.  His attitude and distractions
        earn him an F.
Joey Gathright, INCOMPLETE
        One hit in nine at bats.  The jury is still out.
Micah Hoffpauir, B-
        .303, two homers, nine RBIs.  Sloppy defense at times.
Infielders
Derrek Lee, C-
         Good defense.  Some timely hits, but still hitting only .189.  Time to move down in the 
         order.
Aramis Ramirez, B+
         When he’s in there, he’s the Cubs most dangerous hitter.  .358 with 14 RBIs.  Has
         battled injury issues thus far.  The Cubs CANNOT afford to lose him for any extended
         length of time.
Ryan Theriot, B+
         Hitting .317.  Plays hard and is dependable.  Base running gaffes are a weakness.
Mike Fontenot, B-
         Hitting only .232, but has four homers and ten RBIs.  A good team guy.  His defense is
         better this year.
Aaron Miles, C+
         Cubs are getting what they should have expected from this light hitting infielder.
Catchers
Geovany Soto, F
         This saddens me.  Slow start, hitting .109 with only five hits on the season.  Is he
         still hurt?  Can’t throw out any base stealers.  A Cubs Rookie of the Year off to a slow              
         start the following year.  Anyone remember Jerome Walton?
Koyie Hill, B
         A solid backup.
Starters
Carlos Zambrano, C+
         Can be inconsistent.  Still will let his emotions take over at times.  4.64 ERA.
         36 hits allowed in 33 innings along with 13 walks.
Ryan Dempster, C
         29 hits allowed in 30 innings along with 14 walks.  5.40 ERA.
Ted Lilly, C+
         2-2 with a 3.80 ERA.
Rich Harden, B
         If you take out the awful game I saw him pitch against Colorado, he’s probably been the 
         best of this bunch so far.  2-1, 3.86 ERA.
Sean Marshall, B-
         3.32 ERA is best among the starters.  He keeps the Cubs in the game.
Bullpen
Aaron Heilman, C+
         I was actually ready to give him an A- before todays game because of his 0.82 ERA.
         I’m so mad after tonight, I’ve downgraded him.
Angel Guzman, C-
         His 3.97 ERA now actually looks good in this bullpen.  Sad.
Kevin Gregg, F
         11 hits in 9.2 innings pitched and a 5.59 ERA is not going to get it done as a closer.
Davis Patton, F
         Threw a home run derby pitch to Pujols with the bases loaded.  Has a 9.35 ERA.
Carlos Marmol, C+
          Mr. Reliable started out strong.  Even he has struggled of late, even before his injury.
          6.00 ERA.
Neal Cotts, F
         Only because there isn’t a grade lower than F.
Jeff Samardzija, F
        You see Jeff Samardzija, I see Kyle Farnsworth.  6.75 ERA.
The Overall Grade = C
The Cubs finish April at 10-11.  They are a very average team right now with a lousy bullpen.  
They’ve scored 97 runs and given up 104.  They are 4-5 at home and 6-6 on the road.  The Cubs face a challenge right now.  They trail St. Louis by five games right now.  St. Louis has three more games against the woeful Washington Nationals this weekend.  The Cubs have three more games against the first place Marlins.  The Cubs don’t want to start digging themselves too deep of a hole.  There’s an old baseball adage that says while you can’t win a pennant in April, you can lose a pennant in April.  Thank God it’s May.
         

Limping Home

Yesterday, the Cubs played one of their most lackluster games of the year.  They could not solve Doug Davis, managing just two hits in a 10-0 loss to the Arizona D-Backs.  The Cubs dropped the midweek series two games to one and ended their most recent road trip at two wins and four losses.  Theriot and Miles were the only Cubs to record hits.

Game Notes

Derrek Lee returned to the Cubs lineup.  Lee went 0-3 with a walk.  He’s now hitting .200.  Lou had him hitting cleanup.

Carlos Marmol also returned to action yesterday.  Marmol came in during the five run seventh when Arizona put the game away.  Marmol faced five hitters and walked four of them, one intentionally.  The one batter he did retire sacrificed runners to second and third.  Marmol looked rusty, not able to find the strikezone.  Ron Santo, on WGN radio, said he expected Marmol to be rusty because of his layoff.  We all hope he gets going again.  He is the key to the Cubs bullpen this year.

Im worried about Geovany Soto.  Not only is he not hitting, as evidenced by his .111 batting average, but his defense has been lacking.  When was the last time Soto threw out a would be base stealer?  Arizona swiped two more bases on Geo.  Teams have thirteen stolen bases against Soto, while only being caught three times.  He also had a passed ball yesterday as well.  A sophomore slump?  Is his shoulder still not right?  Let’s hope he can get it going.

Aramis Ramirez was said to have gone for an MRI today on his left calf.  If he should be sent to the DL, then the Cubs will call up 31 year old Bobby Scales from Iowa to replace him.

Next up for the Cubs, a big four game weekend series at Wrigley vs. the tough, 13-8 Florida Marlins.  The Marlins are 8-4 on the road this year.  Tonight, it will be Sean Marshall vs. Chris Volstad.  The Cubs have several players who have hit Volstad well, including Mike Fontenot (.600), Reed Johnson (.667), and Derrek Lee (.400).