Can we schedule a rain delay more often?
After a long rain delay, the Cubs offense caught on fire. Finally. And even got a few (lots) of hits with men in scoring position. 7-for-13 with RISP? Can I get a Hallelujah?
Enough runs to survive another rocky bullpen outing. Production from the entire lineup. Garza survived the rain to pitch very well. Castro returned from his mini-vacation. Pena remembered that not all at-bats must end in a HR, K or BB. It’s fine to hit a single or double every once in a while. Especially with men on base. Quade didn’t try to get just one more inning out of a starter, and allowed the relief pitcher to start a fresh inning.
Hallelujah. A Good Day At Wrigley.
Oh, and I promised not to talk about the future plans of He Who Shall Not Be Named until the season is over. You’re welcome.
If the Cubs bats don’t look hot again today, I’ll be the guy standing on the roof at Wrigley, dumping buckets of water on the home plate umpire.
The sun’ll come out tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun!
But can we have rain again today?
After yesterday’s absolutely, atrociously ugly affair (by both teams), the Cubs get a huge win today against the class of the division, the Cincinnati Reds. This was a game the Cubs needed, and needed badly. And it didn’t look good for a while…
Coleman gave an outstanding start against the always tough Arroyo… and Quade gave it all right back trying to squeeze that extra inning out of a tiring starter. I love ya Q, but it is far easier for a relief pitcher to start a fresh inning, than come in with two men on base and no outs. Stop it. Stop it now. He wasn’t breezing through the game. He was running on fumes. Just Stop it Now.
Welcome to the lineup Blake DeWitt! A homerun and the game winning run in the 9th probably earned you some more playing time.
Today’s Cubbie Occurrence was when the apparent game winning hit by Baker bounced over the wall in CF – for a ground rule double – holding the game winning run to third. From ecstatic cheers to oh, my god I hope the Reds don’t win the game after that in 10 seconds. But that only lasted long enough for everyone’s favorite Japanese import Fukudome to win the game five pitches later.
But, today’s man, myth and legend is the much maligned Mr. Carlos Pena. He has obviously finally read the top-secret internal memo: If you want to hit a homerun with the wind blowing in at Wrigley – stop hitting it 500 ft straight up. The wind will eat that alive. Line Drives please and thank you. Huge Clutch Hit.
We can’t realistically say that the Cubs are contenders… yet. So this was just another divisional game for the extremely talented Reds. They are very, very good.
But this was far more important to the Cubs – a huge, emotional win to get them rolling on a very tough homestand. These are the kinds of wins that CAN jump start a team. Cross your fingers.
Is it tomorrow yet?
It’s time to recap April, locate those kernels of hope, drink the blue kool-aid and look forward to May! Woooooooo! May!
After a rough start, the Cardinals promenaded their way back to the top of the division, with the rest of the teams mired in the mud within a few games of the .500 Reds. The Cubs? Right about where most people expected them to be. I was hoping for better, but there are plenty of reasons why a 12-14 record in April is exciting…
- The Starting Pitching has not been good. Not good at all.
What was hoped to be a strength struggled through the monsoons of April, the injuries to Cash and Wells, and the disappearance of Dempster. The Cubs rank dead last in the NL in quality starts (it’s not even close), team ERA, and walks issued. Garza and Big Z have 7 of the 8 quality starts. The Cubs still managed to win 12 games.
- The Bullpen was a little bit Dr. Jeckyll and a little bit Mr. Hyde.
Marmol, Marshall and Wood have been very, very good. Samardzija has been shockingly useful. It’s almost as if he realized this is the last year the Cubs are going to be paying him. The rest have been up and down and up and down. Although, with even a little bit of starting pitching, the Cubs won’t depend on them nearly as much. Despite the ups and downs, and the fan-favorite All-Bullpen Days, the Cubs still won 12 games.
- The Offense has mainly consisted of Castro, Barney and Soriano.
Zambrano is tied for THIRD on the team in homeruns with 1. Soriano has almost as many homeruns as the REST OF THE TEAM COMBINED (10 of 21 total). Barney has more RBI than Ramirez (14 – 11). Pena is SOMEHOW hitting worse than last year. Unsurprisingly, the Cubs are 12th in the NL in runs scored. The Cubs still won 12 games.
- The Cubs do not lead the league in Antidefense, but they’re close.
Not every Cub feat of antidefense shows up in the errors column. Thankfully. There have been enough botched run-downs, missed bunt assignments, dropped fly-balls (it’s not just a south-side disease), Dunston like throws to first base, throws to the wrong base, and pigeon attacks in the outfield – to lose a few close ones. The Cubs still won 12 games.
- Quade is learning on the job.
Early in the year, I admonished Cub fans to trust in the Quade. I’ll stick to that. He IS getting better. The Quade is sticking with a struggling and/or tiring starter less often (trying to squeeze that ONE more inning out of a pitcher is almost always a big bucket of Fail when facing major league hitters). Heck, he even got thrown out of a game for the first time. And then promptly admitted being wrong for arguing (after seeing the replay). Despite some puzzling batting orders (always overplayed in the media), and lack of Tweeting from the clubhouse… the Cubs still won 12 games.
The Cubs have hit just well enough to hand off some leads to the three headed monster in the back of the bullpen. And that is enough to go 12-14. Despite a lot of room for improvement.
So I’m proudly drinking the Blue Kool-Aid out of a glass that looks half full. 3.5 games back after significantly under-performing for the month? Sign me up.
Now, bring on May. Cardinals and Reds at Wrigley? First road-trip to Fenway?
This is the Month!
I think it was Moreland in the booth last night that mentioned 1984’s Daily Double of Dernier and Sandberg at the top of the order. Castro was 3 for 5 with 3 runs scored… Barney was 2 for 3, 2 walks, 2 runs, 1 rbi.
I’m not going to confuse Barney for Sandberg any time soon… but that was fun to watch. Lots of energy, and plenty of chances for the big guns to drive in runs… which they did. 4 for 9 with RISP. They boys did a good job of making the most of their chances.
Which brings us to the pitching. Great start by Dempster. Which we really really needed.
Is that enough ‘Glass Half Full’? Can I put down the koolaid for a minute to complain, even though the Cubs won?
I trust you Quade. I really do. I know Demp is the ace, and you’re going to need him to battle through some innings this year, help you rest the bullpen… especially with two men down in the rotation already. But… If he’s over 100 pitches, the game is close, it’s in the 7th inning or later, and the FAA calls to demand a flight plan be filed for the last two balls hit… it’s time to go to the bullpen. Great night Demp, we’ve got it from here.
Yesterday’s 6-5 loss to the Brewers will certainly not calm down nervous Cubs fans. There will be plenty said about the homer Wood served up, and the failed stolen base attempt by Byrd with nobody out in the 9th.
Byrd has been, without a doubt, one of the most positive, hard-working players on the team during his short tenure. And, just that quickly…. his answers in the postgame are being compared to Milton Bradley. Ouch. It’s a given in modern-day sports that when you fail, the media will ask about it. If there’s a decision to second-guess, it WILL be second-guessed. The media in Chicago may not be quite as rabid as in New York, but there is a pressure that comes with playing for the Cubs that has crushed better players and managers.
Compare Byrd’s postgame interview after losing an April baseball game…
to Rory McIlroy’s interview yesterday just minutes after imploding on the final day of the Masters to lose after leading for 54 holes.
I’m a big fan Marlon, big fan. Normally, I’m biased against the media… asking losing athletes about a tough loss just minutes after that loss seems a bit cruel. The media frequently asks questions just to get responses like this, because it’s news. The right answers to questions are boring in the eyes of the media. But that being said, I’m having trouble defending you here Marlon. It was unprofessional, and nobody should want to be compared to Bradley. You owe the media an apology today.
I love the fire, and I LOVE that you’re upset about losing. Good. But be professional. The correct response is that it just didn’t work out, and tomorrow begins another important division series. Quade defended you, saying that he may have screwed up a sign. I know you didn’t want to throw the 3rd base coach under the bus, and that’s good too. It didn’t work out, and tomorrow is another game. If you respond professionally, and the media continues to press, that’s another story. That’s on them.
And for the record, the game wasn’t lost in the bottom of the 8th or the top of the 9th. It was lost in the first five innings, when they continually let the Brewer ace off the hook. 2 for 17 with runners in scoring position. The Brewers have a very good team, and you can’t squander opportunities to beat them. Quade said it best, “We’re just not giving ourselves much room for error. … It’s tough. You need to add on when you can. When you have a guy like Gallardo on the ropes, you need to put him away.”
Shake it off Marlon. You’re a much better person and player than you showed yesterday. I’m a HUGE fan. Everyone has bad days, and I’m not worried – on the field or off the field. Apologize and move on. Tomorrow is another game. I’m looking forward to it.
It’s time to embrace the great city of Chicago’s secret weapon: our Qoaches.
It all started with that crafty Quenneville intimidating opponents with the stache while Toews, Hossa, Keith, Sharp and the boys muscled their way through the league to return home with Lord Stanley’s Cup.
And, while you got some much needed rest last night, Qhibodeau was plotting this year’s Running of the Bulls. Captain Rose, Noah, Boozer, Deng and a grizzly band of pirates are preparing to sink the fleets of King James and Admiral Hollywood, before the entire league sinks into the Maelstrom of Labour Disputes. Population Two.
Which brings us to the Quade. It’s been wacky so far, and I have no doubt it will continue. The most impressive two fifths of the rotation so far this year on the DL after just one turn through the rotation? Check. A second-base platoon with TWO hot-hitting right handed batters? Check and Check. Russell scheduled to get the start as the 5th man WITHOUT getting stretched out? Quade planning on 45 pitches from him and then rolling with the bullpen? Probably followed by newly promoted Stevens for a couple of innings? Yes!
He’s going to take a ton of heat for it, especially if it fails, but I love it. The fifth starter will probably be used three times this month. Russell doesn’t really have time to be properly stretched out, but he’s pitched well. The AAA season has just started, and there’s no sense screwing up the development plan for the Iowa starters this early – especially since Russell was the next best choice in Spring Training along with Coleman. If we need a longer term solution (cross your fingers for NO), the Iowa starters, Coleman and Russell will all have had a few starts, and the Q can make a decision. A three inning start is perfect to stretch him out, and move him into a starter’s routine. His next start, he should be ready to throw 80+ pitches. Heck, it beats a SIMULATED GAME. Bah-dum-bum. Tip your waitresses Cubs fans, I’ll be here all season.
Trust in the Q.
Also, if the Bears want to jump on the bandwagon, I would recommend:
No need for the White Sox to change anything. Ozzie is already crazy enough to be an honorary Q.
And… they’re off. Sort of. Cubs fall to the Pirates 6-3. The Pirates pick up where they left off last year. Beating the Cubs. The Pirates’ young hitters looked good, as expected.
Recap: Dempster gives up a Grand Slam. Cubs get 11 hits (all singles) and leave 10 on base.
Welcome back to Wrigley Field, Mike Quade. No free pass from the media and fans like the last month of a lost cause season. I’ve already counted three questions in the post-game about Dempster pitching the seventh after getting out of trouble in the sixth.
Somewhere, Lou is yelling at the television:
Ask him why Colvin didn’t start! Ask him! Why did he leave in Dempster? Why’s Byrd batting third? Soriano seventh? Don’t let him off the hook!