Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Site update....

In exciting news (for me), if you type in Transplanted Cubs Fan into Google, I show up 1st (per link from baseball blogs.org) and 4th is a direct link to the site.

Type in Cubs fan site and I'm like 56th or something. Work to do....

Also I added some links to cubs baseball blogs which are to the right and closer to the bottom icons for baseball blogs.org and sports blogs.org which were kind enough to add me to their list of sites.

Also I added the little envelope icon at the bottom of each post so you can easily email a post to someone if you deem it worthy. (why you would do that I don't know)

Interesting strategy....

I can only assume the Cubs strategy is to let the teams still within reach win games so we can crush their hearts out later in a close race. Right??? No other excuse for letting the Astros, Padres, Giants, Dodgers (and I only can assume Marlins) win series' from us. Sat. night was another brutal one run loss, this time a comical play involving Zambrano and Barrett. I don't know about you guys, Barrett's bat has been fantastic this year, but as a defensive catcher.....I can only say 'Oui'. I know he came up as a 3rd baseman but he just never looks comfortable going after pop-ups, blocking pitches and I can't tell you how many times I've seen the ball pop out of his glove. It's like he's still not used to the mitt.

And if we can talk Patterson into moving to left, I'll be happy to sign Beltran. Otherwise I certainly hope he liked the American League more and I certainly EXPECT him to sign with the Yankees (they in need of a CF and they with money to burn)

Last night Maddux was his vintage self. I know everybody realizes his defensive greatness, but have you ever actually watched him after every pitch. It's just amazing... Once he releases the ball he's already shading his body towards either 1st or 3rd depending on the location and is in perfect fielding position after almost every pitch. Genius!!! This is in stark contrast to K. Wood who after every pitch is usually falling so far off to the 1st base side that he completely opens up the middle. I swear ballplayers don't watch games when their in the dugout...

Week in review....

- The Angels win 9 in a row, 10 of their last 12 and I believe lose a game in the standing to the A's and Red Sox. That's tough.. They did play tougher competition though and the Red Sox still have 6 games left versus the Yanks, not to mention a brutal 9 game stretch starting tonight versus the Angels, A's and Rangers.

- Speaking of Angels, went to the game Sunday afternoon and low and behold, T. Glaus is back. I'm sure statistically the Red Sox, Yanks and Cards all have better middle of the order lineups, but you can't tell me there's anybody who wants to look at V. Guerrero, G. Anderson, T. Glaus and then J. Guillen all in a row. Who do you pitch to? Saber folks I know aren't big fans of Anderson in particular (and well this year his power has just disappeared and the long-term deal he signed wasn't such a smart move by the Angels), but well he still hits the crap out of the ball and if they get anything resembling good starting pitching, I still like them to get one of those playoff spots.

- B. Bonds hits 2 moonshots on Sunday and will now be walked for a week straight...... Wimpy managers.

- K Farnsworth injured himself after kicking a wall or fan after a brutal outing on Friday. The words "poetic justice" come to mind, either that or "about time". Kyle, if you need to take, let's say 3 month to recover, feel free no one wants you back.

- K. Williams (GM of the White Sox) in so many words said he's not going to re-sign M. Ordonez. I have this on-going bet with a buddy every year at a $1 a game between the Cubs and Sox. (Whoever is up in the standings at the end of the year by how many games wins the money). With K. Williams as the Sox GM, I'll be winning for years. I don't know anything about Ordonez's injury but when he's healthy he's damn good. Way to give up on one of your best players.

Short list (5 best Gm's in the game)
1. John Schuerholz (Braves)
2. Billy Beane (athletics)
3. Terry Ryan (Twins)
4. Brian Sabean (Giants)
5. Jim Hendry (Cubs)

Honorable mention: Walt Jocketty (Cards), Brian Cashman (Yankees), Mark Shapiro (Indians), John Hart (Rangers)

I'm neglecting guys who haven't been on the job for at least 2 years as it's too hard to judge at this point.

Worst 5 Gm's
1. Kenny Williams (White Sox)
2. Jim Duquette (Mets)
3. Chuck LaMarr (Devil Rays)
4. Allen Baird (Royals)
5. Dan O' Dowd (Rockies)

Keep beating up the pastsies Cubs!!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

If they let me in charge....

So another Cubs blowout and I'm feeling better everyday, not to mention Sosa knocked one out to right which is always a good sign. Not much to report, Prior wasn't exceptionally sharp but got through 6 innings and apparently him and the Cubs heard my plea for a damn win for my fantasy team.

I was looking at the schedules and I really have no expectations or hope that the Cubs will beat out the Cards this year. I do hold out hope that we'll make up some ground and go cruising into the playoffs and cut the lead to 4 or 5 games. The Cards although not a difficult schedule do have to face the Padres for 6 and Dodgers for 6 more games, plus a bunch of games versus the Astros. I would love for them to struggle and play no better than .500 ball the rest of the way, (which still means close to a 100 wins..sickening). Hopefully the combo of Padres, Giants, Dodgers & Cards who will all meet each other (Cards & Giants are done with each other actually), will have the affect of beating up on each other, while the Cubs cruise through the patsies they have left (Pirates, Reds, Expos, Mets, Marlins, and the final series versus the Braves). This is what I wish for.....

win the Wild card around Sept. 27th at home versus the Reds, so we can get our pitching order in line (Wood, Zambrano, Clement, Prior or Maddux in that order)

still be withn 3-5 games of the Cards so they really can't rest their starters quite yet and start getting nervous about how they blew 8 games in the standings

- pray that B. Bonds and the Giants don't take over the division lead cause I don't want to see him in the playoffs

- somehow the Padres do win the division and I get tickets to go see the games at Petco (I'll take the Dodgers as well)

Okay make it happen Dusty and the Cubs.

This was supposed to be big.....

Astros versus Cubs, Miller, Petitte, Clemens, Oswalt, some #5 pitcher versus Prior, Maddux, Clement, Wood, Zambrano. These were the 2 teams supposedly fighting for the division this year, little did we know Tony Womack was going to have a good year for the Cards.

Pitching matchups:

Backe vs Prior (Prior's been shelled at home this year)
Oswalt vs. Wood (Will the beanballs continue? have to think Wood will refrain as another suspension at this point wouldn't be smart)
Clemens vs. Zambrano (hope I can watch that one)
Hernandez vs. Clement (Clement finally catches some breaks)

Well we get 2 really good pitching matchups in this one and I'll take 3 out of 4 and be happy. Our wild card competitors get Atlanta and Montreal respectively. J. Schmidt is back though and will pitch Saturday against the Braves and the Expos have actually been playing pretty well since the All-Star break, so hopefully they'll give the Padres some troubles.

More importantly though, fantasty baseball news....

- My absolute WORST fantasy baseball moment is when you see a team score a whole bunch of runs and you have a guy on that team. Then you check the box score and your guy either DIDN't play or in my case barely contributed. Last night the Angels scored 21 runs and I have Eckstein & Figgins on my team. Neither did horribly but, Eckstein didn't get a hit (did score a few runs) and Figgins was 2 for 4 with a double and few runs scored. But with 21 runs I WANTED MORE.......

- I have the best pitching in my league (3.37 TEAM ERA...2nd place is 3.53...3rd place is 3.84), yet I'm only 3rd in total points. Why? Cause of the damn wins. (For those of you who play in 4x4, 5x5, 6x6 or any of those traditional roto leagues, just ignore this as I play at stats.com and the scoring is COMPLETELY different.....MUCH, MUCH better but different) Somehow with a staff of R. Johnson, T. Glavine. C. Zambrano, K. Wood, a combo of M. Prior/R.Oswalt (now I have Prior, I traded Oswalt for him), and relievers J. Nathan, Percival and J. Frasor. This is a GREAT staff, but I've been stuck with a .500 win percentage while the other teams have had ridiculous winning percentages above me. Not to mention, the tough luck of Wood, Johnson & Glavine has led me with only 61 wins which is about 8th in a 12 team league. Plus any saves (I have 73 total) over your wins don't count until your wins match or exceed your saves (like in 'REAL' baseball where you can't get a save w/o a win). I'm starting to get annoyed. The D'Backs had the bases loaded with 1 one out in the top of the 9th last night and Baerga hits into a double play and Sunday Wood gets tossed after 4 1/3 while cruising to an easy win. Someone is out to get me......

As usual, Go Cubs, and if you happen to drill Oswalt in the shoulder blades, so be it. We'll understand.....

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Nice to win one of those

This time it's Maddux's turn to be screwed by the bullpen instead of Clement which is a shame. Not sure why Maddux took himself out of this one as he looked to be on cruise control, maybe it was Baker's decision, but I doubt it. Patterson should get the win instead of Hawkins, but I guess it doesn't work that way. The Cubs sweep a team that should have been swept and even better we destroyed them which makes it all the better. I love the laughers.

So that's what now? 7 of 8, and very well could have been 8 of 8. Maybe we will run away with the wild card after all, that would be nice. Padres, Giants & even the Dodgers will get to beat up on each other a little bit next month (unfortunately they get Colorado & Arizona to make them feel better in between, here's hoping The Big Unit pitches against all of them). We do have the lead in the all important loss column (at least they say it's more important whoever "THEY" are). The theory is that you control your own fate that way, but, let's face it, that's COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS!!!! It's MUCH, MUCH, easier to lose a game than a win game...(read that again if you have to). How many games your up or down in the standings, is what matters, whether it's losses or win, that you're ahead or behind in, really doesn't matter. Right now the Cubs are 70-56, while San Fran (if they win tonight) are 70-58. So the "EXPERTS" will say the Cubs have the advantage as they control their own destiny by winning. Well there's 36 games left and their not winning all of them, they're a game up, win column, loss column, however you want to put up.

Alou has been smokin' of late and good things coming from Sosa as well. If/When Hollandsworth returns, I hope Walker gets a few more starts at 2B and occassionally LF. Grudz has been great of late, but I think Walker has been a little greater. Either way you can't go wrong.

The Astros come in for their last 4 against us this year and hopefully we can continue to beat up on them. I do believe we'll get Oswalt and Clemens in the series at some point. Ahh...whatever...our guys are better.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Getting better...

Some weak opponents and the Cubs are on a hot streak, should have been a little hotter but once again we lose a one run game, this time due to the ill-fated Macias throw on Saturday. Nonetheless we've won 5 of 6 and are tied for first in the Wild card and hopefully the injury to J. Schmidt will effect him the rest of the year.

In a surprising turn of events, Clement gets Capuano today and not B. Sheets who the Cubs have actually roughed up his last 2 outings now. Let's hope for a win for the biggest tough luck season for a pitcher you'll ever see. Crazy Z was spectacular yesterday (at least until the 7th) and may have leapfrogged Sheets in the Cy Young race. With Schmidt suffering from an injury, I think we can still hold out hope for Zambrano to sneak in for the award.

Garciaparra's heel has been acting up on him and what probably cost us the game on Saturday against the Astros (you gotta think Martinez is playing third instead of SS in that situation if Garciaparra was playing, but I could be wrong). I'm sure he'll gut it through with an occassional missed game the rest of the season, although any plans to sign him long-term will have to seriously consider the magnitude of the injury.

In other news around the league....

- The Angels are 'en fuego'. Big sweep of the Yanks is the kind of thing that can propel a team into a huge hot streak, of course they'll have to face J. Santana this weekend which is never good for a team trying to win games. The bigger news is that Glaus is already swinging a bat and launched a few in BP yesterday and it very much looks like he'll be back in early to mid-September which would be a huge boost to the team. Coupled with the resurgence of Colon in the 2nd half and the Angels might sneak away with one of those 2 playoff spots up for grabs.

- My AL picks to this point:
Cy Young
1. Johan Santana
2. Ryan Drese
3. Curt Schilling
4. Brad Radke
5. T. Hudson (if gets enough starts it, he'll begin to move up)

1. Manny Ramirez
2. G. Sheffield
3. D. Ortiz
4. V. Guerrero
5. I. Suzuki
6. M. Mora
7. C. Guillen
8. M. Tejada
9. T. Hafner
10. I. Rodriguez

1. L. Ford
2. B. Crosby
3. Somebody who qualifies

Cy Young goes to Santana who along with Radke have given the Twins a huge 1-2 punch in that rotation. Hudson has been good but has missed too much time and R. Drese has been amazing considering that he pitches half his games in the Ballpark or whatever they call it these days.

MVP is M. Ramirez so far this year, Ortiz and Sheffield could sneak in there but I doubt it. Suzuki is threatening the hits record but that's about it, Guerrero has slowed a little since the start of the season but plays in a pitchers park. Somehow 2 Orioles and Tigers make my list. The Tigers will improve by about 30 games this year all by their offense and the deal Mora made with the devil ha been paying off. The biggest thing on the MVP list is the omissions. No A. Rodriguez, no A. Soriano. I really expected Soriano to enjoy the Ballpark this season and put up career numbers, but I'm not at all surprised by A-Rod. All those yapping about him deserving the MVP the last 2 (or more seasons), one of which he got, well you know what he didn't deserve any of them in my opinion. The guy is great but he feasted on his ballpark the last few seasons, not to mention was a notoriously slow starter on a team that couldn't afford a slow start. Don't get me wrong, I wish he was playing SS for the Cubs, but I believe the only year he deserved the MVP was 1996, not the last few that everyone has been harping about.

Bury the Brewers!!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Neifi Perez????

Really, did we just sign Neifi Perez? Sadly we can only assume that Perez was signed for a purpose and what is that purpose? My hope is that it's too carry Garciaparra's stuff around (or maybe Garciaparra himself) so he doesn't strain his Achilles anymore, occasionally grab him some water and when needed come in as a defensive replacement when the score is 18-0 in favor of the Cubs. Probably jumping the gun since he's not even on the 40 man roster, but I certainly hope this isn't the answer to a left handed bat off the bench? I haven't heard a good thing or in that matter anything on Hollandsworth which can't be good. More wackiness by the Cubs.

We did win a series though and Cubs hit something other than a solo HR. Yeah!!!! Maddux gets the win after another rough 1st inning, win #301. Maddux could easily be the poster child for the UNIMPORTANCE of the win-loss record. Proponents of the win-loss record use such arguments as, a pitcher who knows how to keep his team in it, a pitcher who knows how to pitch when ahead, a pitcher who miracously keeps his run totals down below his opposing pitcher, etc, etc. Here's Maddux, who seems to always start out with a rough first inning, putting his team in a hole and he's going for his 17th straight 15 win season. Where exactly is that keeping his team in the game? By putting them in a hole in the 1st inning? Yet he still has a great win-loss record.

The only thing Maddux knows how to do is get out of games when he's ahead and be blessed with the fabolous bullpens/run support of the Braves the last decade. He's a great pitcher don't get me wrong, I love the guy, but him winning games this year and Clement not, is nothing but luck and run support. You want to know who's a good pitcher? Scan right past win-loss record and look at ERA (or runs allowed, good pitchers don't give up runs whether they're earned or not), K/BB ratio and HR's allowed. The pitcher win(or loss) means pretty much nothing, especially in this day and age. In the past, when guys were completing their own games, the win-loss record probably had a lot more validity. Run support was still an issue, but bullpen was taken out of the equation, so when Koufax, W. Johnson, etc took the mound, they knew when they started they had to outpitch the opposition's pitcher, and if they got the lead, it was up to them to keep it, So a starting pitcher truly won or lost a game. Nowadays a starting pitcher, just needs to pitch well, hope he has the lead when he leaves the game and that his bullpen can save it. How does win-lost record validate any of that?

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

It's gets more annoying everyday....

There are many reasons the Cubs aren't doing well and they have plenty of time to right the ship, but as I mentioned yesterday it really shouldn't go down like this. They should cruise to the wild card by this point, but it looks like it will be a nail biter, let's hope the breaks go our way and the umps stop costing us runs. Last night, with runners on 1st and 3rd and one out, the Brewers flew out to center and the guy on first strayed too far and Patterson gunned him out, but the ump blew the call and the runner from 3rd scored. My understanding of the rules is that even if the guy crossed home before he was out at first, it wouldn't have counted. That being said, 2 errors that inning is why those guys were on base and later in the game L. Overbay inexplicably didn't tag up with the bases loaded after C. Counsell flew rather deeply to center, basically giving us that run back. Umps didn't cost us the game last night, but it's still frustrating to watch.

Tonight Clement gets the start....take a guess who's starting for the Brewers, one guess, go ahead...I'll give you a second....

Of course it's B. Sheets of the 2.74 ERA and insane K/BB ratio, who would be either 1st or 2nd in the Cy Young race with any run support. Who else could it have been? I've looked at the Cubs schedule for the rest of the season and if everybody stays in their rotation spots (which probably won't happen with the Wood suspension), the rest of Clement's starts will probably go like this:

Aug 23rd vs. Brewers (B. Sheets)
Aug. 28th vs. Astros (R. Clemens)
Sept. 3rd vs. Marlins (C. Pavano or J. Beckett)
Sept. 8th vs. Expos (P. Martinez circa 1997)
Sept. 14th vs. Pirates (D. Drabek circa 1990-1992 or Oliver Perez)
Sept. 19th vs. Reds (T. Seaver late 70's)
Sept. 25th vs Mets (T. Glavine,A. Leiter, Seaver early 70s)
Sept. 29th vs. Reds (J. Rijo early 90s)

After each game Clement gets splashed with a puddle from a passing car while standing in the rain waiting for the team bus.

In good news for the Cubs, the lack of run support and tough matchups will give them ammunition in the inevitable arbitration case against Clement this offseason and later they can post it on their website how they defeated him. (For those you haven't heard about this. E. Gagne went to arbitration this offseason, lost and then the Dodgers had an article on their website about the person who helped them defeat Gagne in arbitration, I assume by pointing out how overvalued closers are) Classy!!!! From what I've heard, Gagne has sworn not to resign with the Dodgers when his contract is up. Could be media hype but you can't blame the guy for being upset. Hope it's true, cause I'll take him. I agree with closers being overvalued, but if they can pitch more than one inning occasionally and completely dominant as well, they are worth it. Other than Gagne, I'd only want Rivera, maybe Hoffman, possibly Foulke, and most definitely F. Rodriguez.

Start kicking ass Cubs, it's getting annoying.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Stop playing around...

In all honesty there's no such thing as a must win at this time of the year, cause as long as we stay within a game or two up to the last week we're still in it. That being said, I really am in no mood to go through the agony of the last year and have this boil down to the last week of the season when in all honesty we should wrap this up before THIS month is over. Our schedule is easy until we play the Braves the last weekend of the season and they will have wrapped up their division by then. The ups and downs and mediocre play are all well and good, but it's time to make our push and get rolling into the playoffs so we have that certain, "No One Can Beat Us" attitude and everyone will be scared to meet us in the playoffs like they should be.
Rob Neyer I recall had an article last season showing Dusty's teams records in the last month and for the most part they were quite good, no reason to stop that now.

I didn't have time to look up the Cubs stats at Miller Park, but after an impressive 1st half the Brewers have come back down to earth and still have one of the best (if not best) pitchers in the league this year (who seems to destroy the Cubbies). Team comparisions:

Runs Scored_____546(7th)___462(15th)


Zambrano attempts to continue his dominant ways against the Brewers and faces V. Santos who has done reasonably well this season, although has struggled mightily lately. Then M. Clement gets screwed once again and faces off against Cub Killer & 2000 Olympic Hero Ben Sheets. Maddux faces the surprising(a term I assume has been used a lot this year around the Brewers) rookie Chris Capuano in the 3rd game. I expect a bunch of low scoring games and/or Sosa to break out of his slump. The season series stands at 5-3 in favor of the Brewers, but they have struggled in losing 9 of their last 12, of course so have the Cubs.

Dusty needs to do what he does best and that is get his team to forget the debacle that was that last homestand and start tearing up the NL. I haven't heard about A. Ramirez yet but Hawkins is due back from his suspension which I only HOPE means less time for Farnsworth. As for Dusty's lineup experiments, why not try this one:


I know Patterson has done well lately in the leadoff spot but he doesn't belong there. Baker has said he wants to keep Ramirez at the 5 spot so he's not running around the bases too much with his groin injury and he's not ready to lower Sosa. Fine!!! When the playoffs come though, try this instead, it will work better and we may have a few less solo HR's.

As usual, Go Cubs!!!!

Monday, August 16, 2004

Week in review....

After a stretch of playing our closest rivals and the big trade, I was expecting to write this column with a cozy 4-5 game lead as we head into our stretch of cupcakes to finish the season. Instead we're tied cause K. Farnsworth keeps pitching, our bullpen really does suck overall and B. Froemming cost us a game on an ump decision. (Although that Beltre check swing on Saturday against Wood in the 8th was highly questionable). I'm officially worried. I really was expecting us to cruise into this wild card spot but it just doesn't look like it will happen. Plus I fully expected to kick the Dodgers asses so if/when we get them in the playoffs they'd know how bad they are and I wouldn't have to hear it from the co-workers. Oh well...

A day off and a chance to write about some other things:

- Look at them Indians, just missed a sweep and tie for the AL Central. I was talking to a buddy around the All-Star Break trying to figure out why this team wasn't better (had 3 good starters, weak division, amazing lineup)...figuring that bullpen really was that awful. Don't really think they'll win it this season but you have to think they'll be poised for another long run of contention with that lineup and staff. What a job by their GM Shapiro and impressive forecasting by Baseball Prospectus and R. Neyer (Prospectus labeled V. Martinez as probably the 5th best catcher in the majors this year & Neyer said watch out for the Indians as your surprise team, i.e. Marlins, Angels of the last 2 years).

_ There's a growing contigency of people thinking Rolen should win the MVP this year mostly due to his 100 RBI's. Although I'd be first in line not to give an award to Barry Bonds, no way in hell this year should that happen. Here's why/

Since the MVP, no matter how you define it, it is supposed to reflect who the best player of that season was, completing disregarding RBI's and hitting with runners on, would be silly, since although they may not be predictable stats, they certainly have a lot of value within a season. On the other hand, to completely disregard how a team is doing would be silly since last time I checked it was a team game and the ultimate goal is to win games . That all being said, my pick would still go to Bonds for the following reasons.

#1)The Giants aren't that bad, they're even with the Padres/Cubs for the wild card and 9 games over .500.

#2) The Giants are 3rd in runs scored in the NL, despite playing in what normally is considered a pitchers' park (although not this year for some reason) and having not a single player above a 900 OPS besides Bonds.

#3)Other than defensively, Bonds has no impact on the Giants putrid pitching and bullpen(sans J. Schmidt) which has been their weakpoint this year. Defensively he's still middle of the road for a LF.

#4)That OBP of .600 is beyond incredible

#5)Rolen has had the luxury of OBP machines Pujols and Edmonds hitting in front of him to pad his RBI totals(depending on where Rolen hits). Bonds as mentioned has no one hitting in front of him and their AVG with runners on is nearly equal.

I certainly dislike Bonds for a multitude of reasons:

c)repuation which now means he gets every fringe call on a pitch and every manager/pitcher would rather not pitch to him so they don't have to answer reporters questions on why you did pitch to him, rather than realizing you'd get him out a lot more if you did pitch to him and be hailed a genius on how did you get him out.

Like many voters I would love to find a way to vote someone else the MVP, but I just don't see it YET this year. He would have to drop a bit and one of the 3 Cards(Edmonds, Rolen, Pujols) would have to pick it up a lot. Both are doubtful.

- As for the other NL races without going much in depth, my top 5 for Cy Young are:

J. Schmidt (tough call but the W-L gives him the nod)
B. Sheets (that's one insane K/BB ratio)
R. Clemens
C. Zambrano
R. Johnson

In the less than exciting ROY race:
1. Khalil Greene ( I have to pick somebody)
2. A. Miles (Inflated Coors numbers but looks like a top notch defensive 2B)
3. K. Matsui (See comment for K. Greene)

Do your magic Dusty and let's whip the Brew Crew.

Friday, August 13, 2004

In how many ways can I say that sucked?

Cubs play 3 games against a potential playoff opponent and lay a big egg in the 1st one. Impressive start by Maddux but the wind and a complete defense and bullpen collapse in the 9th and the Dodgers continue their surpising winning ways. I assume in about a week, all the talk show call-ins will finally be praising Mr. DePodesta after bashing the guy from the day he was hired. Fruitcakes out here.....

Granted I wasn't a huge fan of the Finley, Choi, Penny for LoDuca, Mota and prospects trade only in the sense that is was a weird deal to make with a team in 1st place (although I did say it would be a good trade for the future). I am not a Yale (or Harvard) graduate and should occassionally not open my big mouth. Unfortunately now I will have to probably live with the flaky Dodgers fan in my office for the next 5-10 years. The only good news is McCourt is their owner and he's going to piss a lot of his players off with his lowball contract offers, smartly though he hired DePodesta to go find cheap talent.

I'd love to post something brilliant and insightful about the Dodgers, but I really can't bring myself up to it. I only hate the Cardinals more. (if you don't understand, live out here with their fans and you will quickly understand....everything you've ever heard about a Dodger fan is probably true especially if it was negative).

Stats wise they've scored 10 less runs than the Cubs this year (539-529), hit 2 points higher (.269 LA/.267 Cubs), have an OBP edge of .337 to .324, but are outslugged by the Cubs .779 to their .769(20 less homers and playing in Dodger Stadium will do that to a team). In terms of pitching the Cubs now have the 2nd best ERA and the Dodgers the 4th, although their K/9 isn't nearly as close as they were last year. Their defense makes up for it, with the best fielding percentage, least amount of errors and 2nd in zone ratings. Like the Cubs(who are 3rd in fielding percentage and have committed the 3rd least amount of errors), their not giving games away on defense (well the Cubs have been lately actually).

Wood gets to start tomorrow as the ruling on his suspension has still not come in and then we'll see if it's the good or bad Prior on Sunday. Good news for Cubs fan is that Kaz Ishii is starting a game on Saturday and he's been horrible.

Thursday, August 12, 2004


Well not the way we wanted that series to go was it.....

After all is said though, you can only blame one person and it was 2nd base umpire Bruce Froemming. At least he admitted to blowing the call. If you happened to miss it, on a hit and run, R. Aurilia smacked a ball up the middle that hit the mound and veered to the left of Grudz who was going to cover the bag. As he fell down he caught the ball and then flipped it from his back to Garciaparra who then had to avoid T. Long who was the guy stealing and Grudz who was lying on the ground and airmailed the ball into the stands behind 1st base. Aurilia went to 2nd and Long scored on the play. The problem was that Garciaparra was clearly ON the bag when he caught the ball so Long should have been out. Aurilia later scored with 2 outs and Froemming after the game admitted he blew it. IT DOESN'T MAKE ME FEEL ANY BETTER. We of course go on to lose in extra innings and now are only 1 up on the Padres with the super hot Dodgers coming to town. Although the box score will never say it, that was 2 unearned runs against the Cubs and Leicester. Horse S***!!!

The Dusty magic needs to make an appearance tomorrow and we need to forget about this game, immediately, cause it should have been a WIN!!!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Time to make a move...

The Padres roll into town for 3 games which could easily determine their season if their swept. Since we swept them in May with Maddux, Mitre and Rusch (which I had to joy to experience in person), hopefully the combo of Prior, Zambrano and Clement can do the same. As usual Clement gets matched up with their best pitcher, in this case Jake Peavy. As a team, they've scored 30 less runs than the Cubs this year with the same team batting average (.267) but a slightly higher OBP (Cubs .325-Padres.335). The Cubs have outslugged them .456 to .395 (Cubs are 3rd best- Padres are 3rd worst (14th overall in the NL). A lot can be attributed to playing at Petco Park as it has played as the most extreme pitchers park so far this year (although most people prefer 3 year averages meaning we really won't know about Petco for 2 more seasons). Phil Nevin though hates Petco:

"I know I had three balls this week that would have changed games this homestand and didn't go out," said Nevin before the postgame exhange -- perhaps the loudest since Towers became GM in 1996. "Just make it real. That's all I asked."

Not exactly sure what "Just make it real" means, considering centerfield at Petco is the 2nd shortest in the NL(according to baseball-almanac.com) interestingly enough only to Dodger Stadium (also a massive pitchers' park) RF is one of the shortest in the league as well and LF is about middle of the road. Considering Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium, SBC Park & Network Associates are all pitchers park as well maybe Nevin should not be blaming Kevin Towers but the state of California. I'm sure our governor will be anxiously awaiting his phone call. Of course when I went to Petco, the Cubs clobbered the ball the entire series so maybe it's just that Giles, Klesko and Nevin are 33 and not aging well (particularly Klesko).

Take care of business Cubbies!!! 2 out of 3 at least.

Monday, August 09, 2004


Here's a good article on Maddux at si.com, lots of fun quotes from other players and managers:


Some other thoughts....

A day off for the Cubbies and I don't really want to recall the horror that was this weekend (particularly Sunday's game). Easily should have been 2 out of 3 this weekend, particularly the bad defense yesterday which will never show up in any box score or stat, but yet we'll all know that not wearing your sunglasses and Grudz's wacky decision to not throw to 2nd coupled with Barrett not covering 3rd, pretty much cost us the game (Farnsworth's antics aside). In good news, we now have a 2 game lead in the Wild Card after a 6 game road trip which I believe we started a game back of the Padres(3 game swing is nice)

I think once a week I'll write about the rest of baseball, cause it's just kind of a fun thing to do.

- Cards acquire Larry Walker in something of a surprise trade. Good move for them as it seems to have cost them nothing and Larry Walker is still good. Not so good for the Cubs when the playoffs come.

- AL West- The Angels, Oakland and Rangers pretty much play the same competition over the next 2 months, and in particular the next month brings mostly patsies for all 3 teams. The Angels so far have have been taking care of business (took 3 from K.C. over the weekend) while Texas has not (been getting beat by the Orioles) and the A's have been locked up still with the tough teams. Their records so far vs. teams currently under .500 are Angels (30-8), A's (23-9) and Rangers (25-18). After today's games though, the A's only have a 3 game series versus the Red Sox, plus the normal back and forth between the Angels, Marines and Rangers that finish off the season, everyone else they play is close or under .500. The Angels and Rangers have series left versus the Yankees, Red Sox and Twins still. Currently you have to give the nod to the A's based on schedule. I think the Rangers will fade here at the end and the Angels definitely have a chance but need a little luck. Colon needs to continue to pitch well, b)Washburn and Molina have to come back from their injuries and c)Glaus needs to come back in September (highly unlikely).

- I was rooting hard against the Dodgers making the playoffs mostly cause I've never liked them or any of their fans. And the famous Dodger Dogs is a big sham. But the more I think about it, the more I like it so I can get playoff tickets when the Cubs come into town to kick their asses.

- Sosa is making me ill, he's best when he's patient and willing to take the ball to right field. Neither things he's attempting at this moment. As a manager Dusty's biggest job is to keep confidence in his players but he needs to seriously think about dropping Alou and Sosa behind Ramirez and Lee.

- Other than I think the AL West/ Wild card there is the potential that all of these races could be sewn up before September. The Cubs have the chance to beat up on the Dodgers and Padres this week and create some distance in the wild card, and the Braves/Dodgers/Cards are running away with their divisions. In the AL, the Twins have pretty much locked things up with Ordonez and Thomas out for the year in Chicago and I don't see the Indians contending this year. Yankees have wrapped up the East.

Padres come into town tomorrow and the Cubs can put a serious hurt on their season with another sweep just like in May. That would be nice.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Not Coors Field...

Well from a hitters park to a pitchers park, although for some reason it hasn't played like one this year, mostly I'm sure cause Mr. Bonds is getting on base at a .600 clip, which would help anyone's offense. Here are the Cubs numbers at SBC(formerly Pac Bell Park which ESPN.com still called Pac Bell Park in their preview today)

Name__________G___.AVG___OBP__SLG___HR__HR/AB__Career HR/AB
D. Lee _______12__.357__.440__.571___2___21.0_______21.8

Obviously it's more important whose on the mound than where the games are played, but I'm always curious about how guys do at certain ballparks. In a move that should drastically improve Maddux's 300 quest, Schmidt got moved up a day and will pitch tonight against Clement. Maybe it's cause Maddux hit him for a .375 clip (3 for 8) and Clement has gone 0-5 against him at the plate. (Okay maybe not) Lee and Ramirez have had some luck against Schmidt, while most everyone else has not. The Giants have been rather pitching poor this year and are trotting out some guy named T. Walker tomorrow who hasn't started all year and hasn't done very well in the bullpen either. Somebody named Lowry pitches Sunday and his numbers look good in limited action but so do Woods'.

As for the pitchers at SBC/Pac Bell:
Clement 1-2, 5.50 ERA, .212 BAA, 18IP, 16K, 13BB
Maddux 2-1, 1.29 ERA, .198 BAA, 21IP, 11K, 3BB
Wood 3-1, 4.50 ERA, .227 BAA, 30 IP, 36K, 18BB

Maddux has obviously enjoyed the spatious grounds up there in San Francisco. Clement has had his issues, particularly with walks for whatever reason. The big question is how to deal with Mr. Bonds (when you have an OBP over .500, you're automatically addressed as Mr. here at Transplanted Cubs Fan).

#1) I don't like the guy cause well he doesn't play for my team and he really does seem like a dick, media reports aside. #2)He's the closest thing to a baseball god since M. Mantle, B. Ruth or T. Williams. #3)I'll argue till it hurts, if you'd pitch to him like any normal All-Star his HR's would certainly go up along with his RBI's, but just about everything else would go down, including the most important number, which is how many runs the Giants will score against you. I think the league has turned into a bunch of patsies. Go after the guy and watch his numbers magically reduce to a .310/.450/.600. Still great numbers, but they will score less runs and your team will win more games against him. Luckily I believe Dusty believes in his pitching staff and unless first base is open, with runners on, and it's late, we'll see the Cubs go after him. Here are some of the Cubs pitchers numbers against Mr. Bonds:


Well apparently Maddux is as smart as they say as he won't even pitch to him and I don't even have to look it up, but I GUARANTEE that he hasn't walked a batter more in his career. Clement should be a little weary but he's been a better pitcher this year than in the past and if I see Remlinger in the game against him rather than Mercker, there will be lots of screaming going on in my house.

Unfortunately Prior/Z aren't pitching this series as I think if you're going to have any luck against Mr. Bonds and you're not lefty, you need to throw hard and willing to pitch inside and as Clemens said, "Knock that armguard right off". On a sidenote I would like to see when Bonds started wearing that armguard and if it coincides with the year 2000 when his numbers began to skyrocket.

In terms of the Cubs, 2 out of 3 would suffice and make the Giants seriously think about next year and start the planning for Bonds breaking Aaron's record. Also all the games are available on TV this weekend which makes me happy, including Maddux's 300 quest tomorrow on FOX for the whole nation. As always GO CUBS!!!!!

Thursday, August 05, 2004

3rd base dilemma

Probably a little early to discuss what the Cubs should be doing for next year but I've been a little surprised that Hendry has not tried to sign Ramirez yet to an extension. Of course I don't have all the facts here other than Ramirez will be a free agent this offseason and well there's no reason not to sign him. He's young (26 supposedly), has enjoyed a year and a half of great baseball since joining the Cubs, and has vastly improved his defense this year. I suppose he may want to test the market, but I would do everything to not let him.

Looking through the league, there are maybe 5 third basemen I'd take over Ramirez.

A. Rodriguez

Well none of those guys are available, so who is or could be that are pretty good:


Mora has made some crazy deal with the devil and exploded the last 2 years despite being 32(very rare for a guy to enjoy his best years in his early 30's). I don't know his contract status but when you're the Orioles I'm imagining anybody not named Tejada is available. I don't want to talk about the nutcase that is Beltre. I know he's a free agent this year and putting up some crazy numbers at Chavez Ravine and definitely a better defensive player than Ramirez, but I wouldn't touch him. #1) The guy is certfiably flaky, over the last 3 years he seems to only produce when he needs to (either the Dodgers bring in someone to compete with him like Ventura or it's his contract year). That leaves us with Glaus, who I actually would prefer over Ramirez, he's definitely a better hitter, a little better with the glove, and has just turned 28 legitimately. When healthy I honestly believe only A-Rod, Rolen and maybe Chavez and Blalock are better. He's been injured most of the year which means you may be able to get him a little cheaper than he's worth and then still be able to sign Garciaparra and a M. Ordonez next year (a boy can dream right?).

That all being said, nobody knows what Glaus' plans are next year. He is a native Californian and went to college there. The Angels want to slim their payroll next year and have a 3B stud in Dallas McPherson waiting. That leaves L.A, San Diego, Oakland and San Francisco. Padres and A's are set at 3B, I don't know what Alfonzo's contract is but for some reason I don't see him going up there. He is on the other hand, the exact type player that DePodesta and the Dodgers want, power and patience. If I was a betting man, I'd lay odds on him ending up in L.A. and some sucker taking Beltre (hopefully not the Cubs).

So Hendry, go find Ramirez's agents number and hammer out a deal. He's going to end up being worth it.

That's what I'm talking about

Cubs are now 4-0 with Nomar, this is good, not that he's played all that spectacularly and well it was 3 games vs. the Rockies, I believe the first below .500 team we've played in 50 games.

It wasn't the runfest that we were all expecting, but the wins were nice. Prior looked like the Prior of last year with great control and overwhelming stuff. The bats wake up near the end again and we get the sweep we need. Now off for 3 in San Francisco where Maddux goes for 300 wins again unfortunately against J. Schmidt.

Patterson continues to enjoy Coors Field along with leading off and shows off some bunting skills, plus he took a walk. I am beginning to seriously worry about Sosa, he still hits HR, but is not the consistent on base guy he's been in the past and he's been back long enough to not blame it on injuries.

Last night's game was vintage Coors Field where neither bullpen could do anything mainly in the forms of Farnsworth and Chacon.

I'll write a little on SBC park and of course how to deal with Mr. Bonds tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

A few thoughts....

Nice recovery from Wood last night, what started out as a potential Coors Field ERA massacre, turned out to be a hell of a good start. Cubs offense had one big inning and then took the rest of the game off to watch Woods pitch apparently and catch all the pop-ups the Rockies were hitting into.

A couple of other observations....

Why is Corey Patterson hitting leadoff? I can hope it will only be against lefties as he's hit them rather well this year(small sample size ALERT, small sample size ALERT), Unless it's some exercise in patience for Patterson so he learns to take some pitches. If he magically learns to get on base at .370-.400 clip (hell I'd take .350) and with Garciaparra's ability to put ball in play and you have the makings of the 1984 Daily Double(of course Sandberg probably should have been batting 3rd but that's another story). Anyway make it stop Baker and put Walker back up there where he belongs(lefties or righties).

Speaking of Walker, he was in the on-deck circle in the 9th for Wood, but for some reason with only a 2 run lead in the 9th at Coors, Baker then chose Goodwin. Way to give up an out Baker.

Nice to see a guy who still chokes up on the bat in Aaron Miles....a lost art. I think Grudz still does it once in awhile but in my experience it certainly does cut down on strikeouts. I did play some baseball back in my day (like high school) and I went from a .200 hitter to a .300 hitter when I changed two things. #1)Choked up with 2 strikes and #2)stopped pressing and decided I was just going to have fun. #2 definitely had more to do with it than #1, but with guys on base putting the ball in play has its virtues particularly if you're not a big power hitter, which I was not. I don't want to see Sosa start doing it, but if your A. Miles it's definitely a good idea. You keep hitting .300 in this league and you'll always have a job. That being said, he doesn't walk a whole lot and has no power and apparently has had a big boost from Coors Field, but he'll definitely find a job with let's say the Anaheim Angels one day.

Big Z goes today and tries to keep his ERA in tact at Coors. A Cubs sweep is close to necessary as the next 2 weeks brings a bunch of games with the West and the teams we're directly competing with for the Wild Card.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Video Game Baseball

That was always my take on Coors Field...it seemed playing there was like playing one of EA's video games on the Rookie Level where you could hit a HR pretty much anytime you needed it. In honor of the Mile High city and since I'm a big fan of baseball parks, I think for road games I'll be giving you guys how players have fared in those ballparks. I was more curious to see how the Cubs pitchers have done at Coors Field, since I've always thought if you wanted a semi-successful pitching staff there, you need guys like Wood, Prior, and Zambrano who rely heavily on K's and at least in Z's and Prior's case not giving up a whole bunch of HR's. That will get you success in almost any park but well you know what I mean.

So here are some interesting numbers from Cubs at the great video game ballpark.

Name__________G__.AVG__OBP__SLG__HR__HR/AB__Career HR/AB
Sosa(Mile High)12__.326__.429__.755__4____13.3
Alou (Coors)__ 30__.320__.381 __.631__10__12.2______21.5
(Mile High)_____7 __.400__.419__.600___1____30
D. Lee ________21__.324__.395__.507___1____71_______21.8
Patterson______ 6__.400__.423__1.000__4____6.3______33.7

I threw in Mile High Stadium numbers for Alou and Sosa as they were playing back then and the park was at the same altitude, so same issues. Garciaparra has played 3 games at Coors and did well but it wasn't worth mentioning. No suprise to anyone that other than maybe Barrett whose numbers are still good, all the Cubs have spanked the ball in Denver. For Sosa, Alou, Ramirez, Walker and Patterson they enjoy their best HR/AB at Coors (a close second is Minute Maid Park for Sosa, there are a couple of AL parks he's done better in but in only 3 games so I threw them out). Amusingly D. Lee has only 1 career HR at Coors in 21 Games while hitting 6 career HR's at Dodger Stadium in 22 games(an extreme pitcher's park). So my assumption is the Cubs hitters are frothing at the mouth as they touched down in Denver yesterday...as do all hitters I'm sure.

As for pitching matchups, we get Fassero tonight and lefties have not been kind to us mostly this year, particularly for Alou, Grudz and Sosa. Sosa is also dealing with his dizziness issues but I expect him to play as I'm sure the opportunity to pad his numbers at Coors will keep him in the lineup and August has historically been his best month, J. Wright has pitched well in limited action in his 2 starts since being called back up, but don't expect that to last and then J. Jennings for the 3rd game and well he's not the Rookie of the Year anymore.

Now the big question Cubs pitching. and their career numbers at Coors

Wood 5.25 ERA 12IP 3 BB 12 K .295 BA 2 HR
Zambrano 3.46 ERA 13IP 4 BB 7 K .188 BA 0 HR
Prior 2.08 ERA 13IP 1 BB 15K .204BA 0 HR

Well Prior hasn't been Prior this year and I still think they should shut him down and let Rusch pitch, not cause Rusch is better but because Prior is the future of this franchise and no reason to mess with that when you have viable options. We are talking limited sample size here but Prior and Z have had some success, Wood has not. Maddux and Clement luckily are the two guys who have been hit around the most and both will miss Coors Field this year. (Maddux 5.75 ERA at Coors with .323 BA against/ Clement has a 7.29 ERA with .328 BA against)

Well hopefully the Cubs bats continue their resurgence and our bullpen doesn't blow it, as a 3 game sweep would be real nice before we head into San Francisco and Bonds. I expect a particularly big series from Ramirez who has been hot lately and has loved Coors Field along with Sosa.

Monday, August 02, 2004

What Did I Miss?

Well let's see, perusing the Cubs news over the last week...

Called up R. Dempster and sent down T. Wellemeyer (maybe that will help the bullpen)

Hollandsworth seems to be getting better and should be back within the next couple of weeks (Bench needs him badly)

OH YEAH, we got Nomar Garciaparra for some minor league scrubs. Apparently Jim Hendry has read "Moneyball" and has liked the idea of the "holy S***" trade (or something like that, I forgot the exact terminology).

To say the least that was impressive, of course I was proven at least half wrong. I really didn't think they go after Garciaparra because A)it would cost too much and B)well he's not that good defensively, well he didn't cost too much but he's still not that good defensively. Honestly who cares, the glaring hole in our lineup is gone, it has to give the team a huge morale boost, and we gave up a guy who may be a really good reliever (F. Beltran), another guy who may be a everyday 2nd or 3rd baseman, but probably never an All-Star(B. Harris) and a 19 year old lefty who sounds good but is experiencing arm problems already. Plus we got an outfielder in Matt Murton who has some nice stats in A ball. Way to go Hendry, now go get some bullpen help cause Dempster isn't the answer.

I know a lot of people are high on Dempster and think he may be able to replace Clement next season in the rotation, but if you look at his career numbers there, um, how to put this gently. UGLY!!!

He had one great half season in 2000, but his career ERA is over 5.00 and sure he strikes out a lot of people but he walks an alarming rate, not to mention gives up a ton of HR's and that's with formerly pitching half his games in pitcher friendly Pro Player Stadium. And the tendency after Tommy John surgery is that your control takes the longest to get back and well he hasn't had a lot of that to start with.

That being said, what an amazing trade, potential Hall of Fame rental for 2 months and they gave up very little. That's the way to do it.

I won't talk about the other big MLB trades other than to say, obviously the White Sox realize there season is over without M. Ordonez and F. Thomas and the Dodgers sure didn't seem to make trades for a team that is ahead in the West and looking to make the playoffs. Penny is a good pickup, Choi I still love and think he'll be a superstar ONE DAY, and well Finley is old and moving from a hitter friendly park to a pitcher friendly park and has batted somehting like .184 since the All-Star break. Wacky moves but maybe Depodesta knows something we don't, cause that was a steep price to pay. I think in the long-run they'll be good trades but not the moves you make when your 2-3 games up in the division.