Tagged: Micah Hoffpauir

The Curse of Being a Fan

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a few days, but I’ve just been totally consumed by the Lakers.  Since they clinched last Friday, I’ve been pretty much thinking and worrying day and night about how they’re going to win this title.  They have to win.  Well, they rewarded me tonight with their second best effort of the playoffs (the closeout of Denver was still more dominating).  Apparently, the Lakers are interested again, which is good for me because I can at least sleep good the next couple of nights.  I know it’s silly, but those of you that are obsessive about your teams will understand.  I think.  One not so humorous thing about tonight.  Well, it’s something I’m sure we’ll look back and laugh about.  Tonight is the eve of our fourth anniversary, the fruit anniversary.  My wife went out and got her hair done.  Our son was staying with my parents today, so I went to pick him up and take him home.  They live 40 miles from us, so I did not get home until the player introductions for the game.  My son was cute, because he knew Kobe right away (I’ve taught him well).  Well, when I came in and put my son down, I became consumed with the game and did not notice my wife’s hair or make a comment about it. (She looked beautiful, but then again she always does).  Finally, when the Lakers started to open it up in the second quarter, I noticed.  I apologized profusely.  My wife understood.  She blamed Kobe.  I am so sorry, honey.  I did bring home a dozen roses, however.  And I did plan a great outing on Saturday to celebrate.  It still doesn’t excuse it, though.  Why do we get so consumed by a game on TV played far away by people who don’t know us?  It’s the curse of being a fan.

The Lakers success has taken some of my attention away from the Cubs.  Right now, this may not be a bad thing.  Where do I begin?  Let’s recap the rain shortened series against the Braves.
The still suspended Carlos Zambrano misses the team flight to Atlanta on Monday.  Way to go, Carlos.  Lou said he gave him a talking to.  Big Z was supposed to pitch today, but that game was rained out.  He’ll go tomorrow in Cincinnati instead.  I have a bad feeling about that.
Milton Bradley got hurt again.  Yawn.  However, the Cubs just call him day to day again and won’t put him on the DL.  They can’t say when he’ll play, though.  Are they serious?  You know, I would not care if they just cut him and ate the two years remaining on his contract.  There is a silver lining to his injury.  It means Reed Johnson will get to play more.  The Cubs are better with Reed Johnson then they are with Milton.
With the injury to Ramirez and the injury of the week to Bradley and others, the Cubs are becoming a team of Triple A players.  Andres Blanco, Bobby Scales, Jake Fox.  These guys aren’t young, either.  Scales is 31, Fox is 27, Blanco is 25.  Micah Hoffpauir is 29.  I admit, I liked the Bobby Scales story, but if the Cubs are going to depend on these three guys for a long stretch of time, they are not winning the division.  To remain in the minors until your 29 or 30 tells me there are some fatal flaws to your game, otherwise they’d be up sooner.  The other teams will figure the flaw out and exploit it.
Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg turned in a tag team effort to blow Tuesday night’s game.  Poor Randy Wells had a no hitter into the seventh inning and left leading 5-0.  Marmol gives up 3 runs in the eighth and Gregg gives up two in the ninth to force a sure win into extra innings.  In the twelfth, Heilman provided the cherry on top by giving up the winning run.
The next night, the Cubs blew a 2-0 lead and had the game go into extra innings.  Fortunately, they won this game to stay one game over .500.
Now the Cubs start a big series with the Reds, who are a game ahead of them.  Now would be a good time to start a winning streak.  OK, Big Z, your the ace.  Go and pitch like one.
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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:

It Finally Happened

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Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press / October 4, 2008

Rich Harden is headed to the 15-Day DL.  That’s never been seen before.  Actually, it took longer than I expected.

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KYLE ERICSON,
Associated Press / May 21, 2009     

So Lou Piniella is playing around with the idea of moving
Soriano to second base to allow for Micah Hoffpauir to play left field.
 The move is seen as an effort to generate more offense to what has become
an offensively offensive team.  Don’t want to panic yet, Lou.  I know
Soriano originally came up as a second baseman, but there is a reason that he
no longer plays that position.  He was a complete butcher at second.
 Will this move really help the Cubs’s offense?  I don’t know, but
it’sbeginning to look like Lou may be running out of answers.

Last night, the Cubs dropped their fifth game in a row, losing
to the Padres and Jake Peavy 4-0.  In those five losses, the Cubs have
scored a grand total of seven runs. Actually, they’ve scored just 2 runs in
their last four games.  The sad thing is that the Cubs pitchers have
allowed an average of a little over 3 runs a game over their current losing
streak.  The pitchers, including the bullpen, have started to do their
job.  Now, the hitters have gone into the tank.  The thing that scares
me is that a few of the hitters have never been out of the tank at any point
this season.  Soto is hitting .206, Fontenot is hitting .193, Miles is
hitting .207, Bradley is hitting .182, Johnson is hitting .232.  Derrek
Lee has started bring up his average, but he’s still only hitting .240.
 With stats like these, they can’t expect to score many runs.
 Ramirez being out is killing them right now.

Photo Credits:


http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-rich-harden-chicago-cubs-photos,0,3994655.photogallery

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-chicago-cubs-photos,0,6973722.photogallery

My Head is Going to Explode!

My head is going to explode.  Being a sports fan in Chicago, I’ve come to have known our local teams to have a tendency to be cheap.  Our owners do not have a long history of throwing money around.  For example, the Cubs lost Greg Maddux at the end of 1992 over how much extra money?  So I could understand signing a player like Milton Bradley if they were just going cheap.  There would be a rationale there.  After last October’s debacle, all I kept hearing was that the Cubs are built to win now and all they need is a left-handed power hitting outfielder with a high on base percentage.  Here’s where my head is about to explode.  Currently, Bobby Abreu is hitting .370 with an on base percentage of .435.  Milton Bradley is hitting .043 with an on base percentage of .267.  I know, I know, you can’t compare the two because Bradley has missed much of the young season.  But, that’s another thing.  Abreu always plays while Bradley has almost always been on the DL.  And for as much as Piniella likes on base percentage, what is not to like about a career OBP of .405?  Well, at least we can explain the signing of Bradley as the Cubs just being cheap.  I mean, 3 years 10 million a season.  The would have had to pay Abreu 5 million for one year.  Oh, wait, that’s right the Cubs were not being cheap.  They overpaid for Bradley.  I don’t get it.  The Cubs are built to win now.  Abreu for one year could have helped them win.  They then could let him go.  Who cares?  Now, Piniella says that Bradley will not play until he is 100% healthy.  How many big leaguers starting in the major leagues can honestly say they are 100% healthy?  I do not expect anything from Milton Bradley this year.  If he comes in to pinch hit and is hit by a pitch, he would have exceeded my expectations.  This is the last time I’m bringing this up.  I promise.  Reed Johnson and Micah Hoffpauir will do just fine.

My worst fears may be coming true.  The Cubs cannot take the Reds lightly.  It is very early, but the young nucleus of the Reds seems to be gaining confidence.  It always seems like the Reds give the Cubs fits.  It was no different today at Wrigley, where the Reds beat the Cubs 7-1.  Aaron Harang outpitched Carlos Zambrano.  That is the story today.  Then again, Harang does seem to throw his best games against the Cubs.  The Cubs now find themselves 2 games behind the Cardinals and a half game behind both the Reds and the Pirates.  This just adds more importance to this weekend’s showdown with the Redbirds in St. Louis.  I see that Pujols hit two more home runs in today’s game for the Cardinals.
References:

Cubs Win!

Tonight the Cubs used productive fifth and sixth innings to topple the Reds 7-2 in a showdown for first place.  The win pushes the Cubs to a game and a half over the Reds.  Of course, the Cardinals won so the Cubs are still tied with them atop the division.  All in all it was a good win for the Cubbies.  Rich Harden went six strong innings, striking out eight.  Micah Hoffpauir continues to produce when given the chance.  Hoffpauir hit a homer and delivered a sacrifice fly.  Even though Hoffpauir did not make it to the majors until last season when he was twenty-eight, I believe that he will be a valuable member of this team as the season rolls on.  He always seems to deliver when given the chance.  Aramis Ramirez was the other hitting star with his three RBIs.

As I was watching the seventh inning of the game tonight with the Cubs up 7-2, WGN showed the Cubs bullpen and Neal Cotts was warming up.  I threw my hands up in frustration, nearly spilling my beverage.  The only thing that could stand in the way of a Cubs victory tonight was…Neal Cotts!  I’m sure every team has at least one reliever who makes you want to turn the channel when you see them warming up.  When you see this reliever, you just know something bad is about to happen.  So, I turn the channel and start watching the Dodgers-Astros game on MLB Extra Innings.  After some time, I turn the Cub game on and it is in the top of the eighth, there are two men on and Carlos Marmol has just come into the game.  How did the two men get on base?  Well, Neal Cotts, of course.  Right now, the only way I want to see Neal Cotts in a game is if the Cubs are up by double digits or if they’re losing by ten runs in the second inning and you need someone to come in just to take one for the team.  When Neal Cotts comes into the game at Wrigley, they should play that wobbly trombone music from the Brady Bunch they played when Cousin Oliver kept causing bad things to happen and he thought he was a jinx.  They could play that, or just play a sound clip of Ron Santo grunting.  When Neal Cotts comes into the game, something bad is going to happen.  Does every team have one of these pitchers?  I just don’t understand it.  He was so good for the White Sox in 2005.  It’s not fair to Carlos Marmol that his role on the team has become cleaning up Neal Cotts’s mess.
Speaking of the Cardinals, I’m still working on that wager with my father.  I will see him tomorrow and I WILL have a wager agreed to.  We must because this weekend is round two of Cardinals-Cubs.