Tagged: Rich Harden

It must be great to be a baseball player

This week Rich Harden told the Cubs that he doesn’t want to pitch any more this year.  I don’t believe any reason was given, meaning it’s not an injury issue.  I guess he just doesn’t want to waste the energy for a team not going to the playoffs and go out there and earn the money the team is paying him.  When Harden made his request, the Cubs just said, “O.K.”  While Milton Bradley made some idiotic comments recently, he was right when he said that there are reasons why this team hasn’t won in so long.  What a joke.  Being a teacher I can only imagine what would happen if I went into my principal’s office in May and said “I don’t want to teach for the rest of the month, the school years just about over anyway.  Oh, and by the way, keep my job for me in September.”  I’m sure someone else would be in my classroom come September.  I wonder if Rich Harden is giving back his salary for the last two starts or so that he will miss.  Somehow I doubt it.  If the Cubs wanted to grant his request, fine, but they should have also told him where the door was, take Milton with you, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.  If he’s back next year, it will be 102 years and counting for the Cubs. 

So, the Cubs have suspended Milton Bradley for the season.  That’s about three months too late.  Eat his salary and get him out of here.
The wager will be collected sometime in October.  I don’t know what Cardinal gear I will be wearing, yet.  I’ll have to have something blue under it so that the St. Louis stuff doesn’t touch my skin, right Dad?  By the way, congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals for winning the NL Central last night.  They’re my pick to go to the World Series, but watch out for the Rockies.  I’ve been watching a lot of Rockies games this month, and let me tell you, that is a TEAM.
I’m very happy that my son is really starting to get into baseball.  Of course, there’s the fear that he will become brainwashed into being a Cardinals fan, but if that’s the case, then so be it.  Joshua has been throwing everyone through the loop be his identification with the Boston Red Sox.  As I’ve mentioned before, we have the MLB baseball package on DirecTV, so we spend evenings with baseball on TV.  We’ve pretty much been watching the Red Sox games on NESN and the Rockies games after 9:00.  We switch back and forth to the Cubs game, but it’s been painful.  Without being prompted, Josh correctly identified the Red Sox when I asked him who was playing.  Did he hear it on TV, did he notice the bright red Sox logo on the sleeves of their road jerseys?  Whatever the reason, if Josh is asked if he wants to watch baseball, he always says the Red Sox.  I was at Target recently and bought him a Red Sox hat, which he loves.  He now knows who Big Papi is.  I even gave him my old Starting Lineups of Roger Clemens and Wade Boggs to play with.  Hey, he likes baseball.  On my iTunes, I did have the song “Dirty Water”, by the Standells.  I played it for Josh and told him they play this song when the Red Sox win.  He went nuts.  Yesterday, I filmed him listening to this song.

Good Bye, 2009

I do not want to see the 2009 Cubs succeed.  To do so would be to go against every baseball sensibility I have.  It would be to go against any sense of justice and fairness in this world.  To see the 2009 Cubs succeed would be a slap in the face of the baseball gods (sorry, Dusty Baker).  To see the 2009 Cubs succeed would validate stupidity. When a G.M. takes a 97 win team and needlessly overhauls them in the offseason with head-scratching, nonsensical moves, it should not be able to win.  I want to see the Cubs win a World Series, but my God, not this team.  Cub fans deserve better than this ill-conceived team Jim Hendry has put together and Lou Piniella has watched over.  I’ve heard people say the Cubs will actually make the playoffs because they play most of their remaining games against sub .500 teams such as the San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals.  Sure.  I’m so glad that we have the MLB Extra Innings package on DirecTV so I can actually watch real baseball this September. 

Why is Milton Bradley still on this team?  I don’t care if the Cubs buy out his contract and cut him tomorrow, it is painfully obvious that he cannot remain on this team.  Hey, he even said he does not feel comfortable at Wrigley Field.  Who actually thought Milton Bradley would behave differently on the Cubs, a team that has no obvious leaders?  No, to root for the 2009 Cubs to succeed would mean Milton Bradley succeeding.  It may be juvenile, but I can’t do it.
Good luck to Rich Harden and Aaron Heilman after being claimed off waivers.  Hopefully for them, they will indeed end up someplace else so they don’t have to ride out this train wreck.
Now that the Cubs have new owners, the Ricketts family (Isn’t that the name of a disease?  Maybe it’s fitting for the Cubs), we should expect a lot of moves.  At least I hope so.  Do they really know what they’re getting into?  Will they completely sever all ties with the Tribune and start anew, or will it just be business as usual?  The new owners have a lot of work to do.  I wish them well and hope that they can deliver a Cubs World Series with a team that would live up to the image of a champion.

Does it still mean as much?

cubs-logo.jpgVS

sox_logo.jpgIt’s Cubs 1, White Sox 1
Does this series mean that much anymore?  It seems like every year the teams split the head to head matchup anyhow.  This match up meant more when both teams were in the second division.  Then it was about city “bragging rights”.  I can recall an exchange between a Cubs fan and Sox fan I overheard at Wrigley about ten years ago when I went to one of these battles.  The Cubs fan said “Sox suck!”  The Sox fan came back with “Cubs suck”.  The Cubs fan, left with nothing else, shrugged his shoulders and simply said “I know”.  The best thing about the crosstown showdown is seeing all the T-shirts poking fun at each team being sold outside the stadium.  There are some funny ones.  Since the Sox won the World Series in ’05, city “bragging rights” doesn’t seem to mean as much.  That’s just my opinion.  Sure, Ozzie tries to ruffle the North Sider’s feathers by saying that every time he comes to Wrigley he pukes.  Well, not every team can be blessed with a state of the art facility that despite being less than twenty years old, has already been renovated.  Lou says nothing, of course, because he has no answers right now.  Doesn’t it seem like Lou is just counting his days in Chicago, playing out his contract.  Rumor has it the Yankees want to hire him as a consultant.  Hmm…consult for the Yankees or deal with Milton Bradley for two more years?
Was the Cubs power display in the eight inning yesterday a sign of good things to come or a result of Scott Linebrink throwing batting practice?
With the Indians coming to town today, I propose we trade Milton Bradley and the Gatorade Machine for Mark DeRosa and Kerry Wood.
Judging by the weather today, today’s game may be in jeopardy.  The Cubs have about four or five rain outs to make up already.  That’s not good because they won’t have too many off days in the second half.  As the All-Star game nears, the Cubs enter the make or break portion of their schedule.  At 31-31, the Cubs are now closer to last place then they are to first or second place.  Before the break the Cubs have to play three with Cleveland (don’t sleep on Cleveland, they can score runs and the Cubs can’t), one makeup game with the Braves, three with the first place Tigers, three with the White Sox, three with the Pirates (only two games behind the Cubs right now), four with the Brewers, three with the Braves, and four with the Cardinals.  If the Cubs play well in this stretch, they’ll be fine.  If they don’t, they’ll be done.
I’m looking forward to today’s match up of Cliff Lee vs. Rich Harden.  That is, if they play.

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

Lakers, Hawks, & Cubs

As I write this, my Lakers are pasting the Rockets by 39 points in the fourth quarter.  Big deal. This is what they should have done to Houston on Sunday.  Do the Lakers need a smack in the face to get motivated?  Not good.  Totally unacceptable.  They’ll end up getting past Houston, but they will definitely be the underdogs against Denver.  Yeah, I said it.  I don’t care about home court advantage in this next series.  I’ll go with the hot team.  The Lakers need to prove me wrong.

The game just ended.  Lakers 118, Houston 78.  Good for you, Kobe & company.  Now quit playing like chumps and close it out on Thursday.
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Robert
Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Kobe needs to take command.  Who cares if someone calls you a ball hog.

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Wally Skalij
/ Los Angeles Times

Quit dancing and learn how to make a free throw.

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Robert
Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

You need to play better.      
Lakers, take a cue from the Blackhawks.
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Scott Strazzante, Chicago Tribune / May 11, 2009

These guys know how to close out a series.

Look Who’s 4-1

Don’t look now, but Rich Harden is now 4-1.  Harden beat the Padres tonight with the help of a two run homer by Milton Bradley.  It was good to see the bullpen hold a lead once again.

eVbdDRdi.jpg

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP


Way to go, Bobby!

Congrats go out to Bobby Scales on hitting his first career home run Tuesday night.  It was greatly appreciated.


Opportunity Knocks

The Cubs have five more games to go on this current home stand, two more with San Diego and three with Houston.  These teams are struggling right now.  The Cubs need to be opportunistic and sweep both of these series.  It looks like the Cardinals offensive machine may be slowing down.  The Red Birds lost Tuesday to the Pirates, 7-1.  Being just 1.5 games out of first right now, the Cubs need to put themselves into position to take back the division lead from the Cardinals when they play them again next week.  Are you ready for round three, Dad?


Photo Credits:


http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-lakers-rockets13-2009may13-pg,0,4064474.photogallery

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/hockey/blackhawks/chi-chicago-blackhawks-playoffs-photos,0,2877113.photogallery

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/wrap.jsp?ymd=20090512&content_id=4687430&vkey=wrapup2005&fext=.jsp&team=home



Roster Move

On Wednesday, Jeff Samardzija was sent down to Iowa and right handed reliever Chad Fox was called up to the majors.  From what I’ve read, the Cubs intend to start Samardzija for Iowa on Saturday.  Why did they bring him up to put him in the bullpen?  Piniella said today that they have a young bullpen and they could use a veteran reliever in the pen.  Fox is a 38 year old journeyman.  From all accounts, Fox pitched well during the spring.  So, why didn’t they just call up Fox instead of Samardzija in the first place?  Samardzija needs time in the minors.  He has one pitch, a fastball, and major leaguers clearly have have caught up with it.  On Tuesday, Aaron Rowand was in an 0 for twenty something slump and the cure for that turned out to be Jeff Samardzija.  He’s not fooling anyone right now.  I realize they have a huge stake in Samardzija, they did pay him some huge signing bonus with a ton of guaranteed money.  For now, the Cubs should stick to developing Samardzija as a starter.  I believe that is where he will have the most value to the team.

While watching tonight’s game at a local sports bar/eatery in our area, my wife and I couldn’t help notice how aggressive Ryan Theriot is becoming at the plate.  Does he now think he’s a home run hitter?  In the second inning he opened the at bat with two consecutive home run hacks.  Sure, I was happy to see the recent power surge out of Theriot, mainly because it helped the Cubs win some games.  Ryan, you’re my favorite player, but you’re not Aramis Ramirez all of a sudden!  Keep doing what you do best, working the count, drawing walks, timely base hits, etc.  Derrek Lee is the player I’d like to see more aggressive at the plate.
It was good to see the Cubs give Rich Harden some immediate run support.  The Cubs’ four run outburst in the first inning against the Astros was highlighted by a three run triple by Reed Johnson.  Harden, in turn, reciprocated by tossing what was probably his best outing of the year.  Cubs win 6-3.
Ted Lilly goes for win number four in game two against Houston.
I need to take this time to rant about my Lakers.  Tonight, the Lakers beat the Rockets 111-98 to tie the series at a game apiece.  They absolutely needed to lose that game one the other night.  The Lakers have not played a four quarter game in about a month.  Sure, they’ve been winning their games, but when you consistently build 15 to 20 point leads in the second half over opponents only to let them get back to within four or five late in the fourth, something is wrong.  They’re unfocused.  They’re not making free throws.  We’ve seen glimpses of the Incredible Shrinking Gasol.  They’re committing stupid fouls putting the opponent in the penalty with like 8 minutes left in a quarter.  Something has to give.  Getting embarrassed Monday at home was probably the best thing for the Lakers.  A crack over the head to wake them up.  They cannot take the Rockets lightly.  They’ll probably pull out this series, but honestly, right now Denver’s going to beat them in the next round.  The Lakers are at a crossroads.  One of two things can happen.  Either they will play like the champions they think they are or their erratic play will catch up to them.

Just when things are starting to look up…

The Cubs were in action today looking to keep their perfect May going.  Things are starting to look better.  Players are getting back into the fold after injuries.  Bats are heating up.  Power is coming from unlikely places.  The bullpen is actually holding onto late inning leads.  They were actually looking to win a four game series against a first place team.

Along with being a Cubs fans comes a sense of cautious optimism.  You never really want to get too high, because you know the other shoe will most certainly fall.  Being a Cubs fan is an emotional roller coaster.  Today was a perfect example of this.
Today began on a high note with the retiring of number 31 in honor of Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux.  
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Tribune photo
by Scott Strazzante / May 3, 2009 

Congratulations to both Fergie and Mad Dog.  This honor couldn’t happen to two classier men.  What a great day it turned out to be for such an event!  Maddux’s flag is on the right field foul pole and Fergie’s is on the left field foul pole.

Fast forward to the fifth inning with the Cubs and Marlins tied at two.  Zambrano leads off and lays down a bunt.  He caught the defense off guard and he legged out a hit.  What a great weapon Zambrano is!  The crowd is going crazy.  

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Scott
Strazzante, Chicago Tribune / May 3, 2009 
 

But wait.  Is that Zambrano limping?  Is that the trainer coming out of the Cubs dugout to go talk to the ace pitcher? 

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Scott Strazzante,
Chicago Tribune / May 3, 2009

Apparantly, Zambrano strained a hamstring.  Initially, Zambrano wanted to remain in the game.  I think Piniella wanted to pull him out and err on the side of caution.  When Piniella went back in the dugout, Big Z signaled that he needed to come out.  Oh, boy.  See, the Cubs are finally getting their walking wounded back, bats are heating up, Zambrano legs out a bunt hit, and what happens?  We can’t get too high because our ace pitcher is probably headed to the DL.  See how it works?  And who did Lou have pinch run for Big Z?  Let’s see, who’s on the bench?  Joey Gathright.  Nah, too speedy.  How about Rich Harden?  Exactly.  Lou put in Rich Harden to pinch run.  Harden, a pitcher who the Cubs should thank their lucky stars isn’t already on the DL this year.  Let’s risk him getting hurt on the base baths.  Lose two starters in the same inning to base running injuries.  Yeah, our bench isn’t weak, right?  The inning continued with the Cubs loading the bases for Derrek Lee.

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Scott
Strazzante, Chicago Tribune / May 3, 2009 

Derrek’s starting to heat up!  Lee smoked a grand slam to deep center giving the Cubs a 6-2 lead.  All was right with the world!

Until Carlos Marmol came in with the score 6-3 to drop the proverbial other shoe.  First batter he faces launches a homer to make it 6-4.  Then he walks the next batter.  Something isn’t right with Marmol.  Hopefully it’s only rust he needs to work out.  Well, he righted the ship and got out of the eighth inning.  

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Scott
Strazzante, Chicago Tribune / May 3, 2009 
 

Gregg pitched the ninth to preserve a 6-4 Cubs win.  So many ups and downs.  One thing for sure, the Cubs are starting to play better.  They’re starting to hit.  The bullpen looked better in the last three games against Florida.  We’re ready for the Giants!

Photo credits: