White Sox hosting the Tigers in what should have been a great season-ending series at the Cell.
Bears trying to go 2-1 with a tough game in Seattle.
Cubs Finishing up final road trip in San Francisco.
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With a favorable home schedule for 24 of the last 40 games of the 2009 MLB schedule, the Cubs still had aspirations of winning the NL Wild Card and reaching post-season play for a 3rd consecutive year. But after losing 2 of 3 games to the lowly Washington Nationals – the worst team in all of baseball – those aspirations have all been washed away. With that realization, speculation is that Cubs Manager Lou Pinella should take the blame. He answered those cries the other night at Wrigley Field.
If you take a look at his roster, you can easily see that the 2009 collapse is not his fault. 4 of the 5 Cubs starting pitchers have been on the DL at least once during the season. The Cubs best hitter – Aramis Ramirez – missed 2 months with a dislocated shoulder. Newly signed closer Kevin Gregg was a complete disaster with 6 blown saves and a hefty 4.32 ERA. Closer in training Carlos Marmol has had control problems all season long – 55 walks in 59 1/3 innings pitched, good for a 1.48 WHIP and a 3.64 ERA. Poor performances from free agent signees Milton Bradley (.259 batting average and only 11 HR’s and 35 RBI’s) and Aaron Miles (.177 batting average). Mike Fontenot was handed the Cubs 2nd base job after the un-popular trading of Mark DeRosa, and he quickly showed that he is not an everyday player with a .225 batting average with only 9 HR’s and 37 RBI’s. Throw in awful years from Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto, and you can see why the Cubs have struggled so much in 2009. In fact, it’s a miracle that the Cubs even have a winning record.
Kudos to Pinella to tell people to blame him. It would be easy to rattle off the numbers like I just did, but he had stood by his players, for better or for worse, and will likely be back at the Cubs helm in 2010. Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing for Lou, but at least he’s a trooper, ready to see this thing through…
The St. Louis Cardinals made another solid move in their push for the 2009 MLB post-season by signing John Smoltz to the league minimum on Wednesday. Smoltz struggled in 8 starts for the Boston Red Sox during the 2009 MLB schedule. Smoltz posted a 2-5 record in 40 innings pitched. He gave up a whopping 37 ER’s and 8 home runs, sporting a hefty 8.32 ERA and 1.70 WHIP. Smoltz rejected the Red Sox offer to stay in the ‘pen for the rest of the season, and when the Red Sox could not orchestrate a trade with another team, Smoltz became a free agent after this Monday’s deadline.
The Cardinals will pay Smoltz the pro rate portion of the league minimum for the rest of the season. The Red Sox are still on the hook for the $5 million deal they signed him to this off-season, less the portion paid by the Cards.
Smoltz will likely serve as a set-up man for Cards closer Ryan Franklin or as a late inning reliever. This is a GREAT MOVE for the Cards. Smoltz was once a closer for the Braves – – so he has the experience there. Smoltz also seemed to fare better during the 1st few innings of his starts this season – in his last 5 starts for the Red Sox, he did not give up any runs in the 1st 2 innings of any start. That could mean that Smoltz still has what it takes for an inning or 2, but lose his good stuff or become more predictable the longer he stays in the game. The Cards are in the driver’s seat with a 6-game lead over the Cubs in the NL Central, and the addition of Smoltz just makes them that much deeper in the bullpen. With the earlier additions of Mark DeRosa and Matt Holiday, the Cardinals have clearly made some of the best mid-season moves in all of baseball. Kudos to General Manager John Mozeliak and his staff and Manager Tony LaRussa for putting the pieces together to form one of the best teams in the National League in 2009.
The Good – Y. E. Yang – 2009 PGA Champion – Yang turned a 2-shot deficit into a 3-shot win over golf’s greatest player – Tiger Woods. The 2 played head-to-head in the final pairing in Sunday’s final round, and Yang proved that Woods is mortal. Yang knocked in a 60-foot chip on the 14th hole to take a 1 shot lead over Woods – his 1st lead of the tournament. Although Yang bogeyed the 17th hole, Woods did too, and Yang clung to his 1-shot lead heading into 18. Normally this is when Woods turns the tides and pulls off the improbable victory, but it wasn’t meant to be this time around, as Yang birdied and Woods bogeyed to give Yang the 3-shot win. Yang became the 1st Asian-born male to win a men’s major championship. Yang had this to say about his play: “I usually go for broke. The odds are against me. Nobody’s going to be really disappointed that I lose. So I really had nothing much at stake, and that’s how I played it.” Yang also hopes that his win will spark interest in golf in Asia and South Korea as Se Ri Pak’s 1st major championship win for an Asian born female did back in 1998 – since then, 7 different South Korean women have combined to win 11 women’s major championships. Congrats Y.E.!
The Bad – Chicago Cubs “Ace” Carlos Zambrano – “Big Z” has been out with back soreness and back spasms and the team’s medical staff has implored Zambrano to maintain the strength in his core by strengthening his abdominal muscles and his hamstrings. Big Z had this to say about his conditioning: “There’s things in life you don’t like that you have to do. I don’t like to do abs, but I’ll have to start doing my abs every day… Like the doctors say, I’m a strong man, a big man, and that’s what big men do. Wherever they are weak, they get stronger.” Really?! Wow – a professional athlete actually has to work out and keep his body in shape during the course of an MLB season? Unbelievable…
Big Z was on the DL earlier this year when he injured his hamstring trying to beat out a groundball. After coming out of his previous start after only 3 innings with back stiffness, Zambrano did not obtain any special treatment during the 5 days leading up to his next start and ended up aggravating his back injury by swinging too hard during batting practice. Doesn’t this guy realize he’s getting paid $16+ million each season to pitch, not be the next Babe Ruth? What a moron – especially from your “Ace” pitcher. Zambrano was able to throw all of his pitches in a productive bullpen session on Sunday and is scheduled to pitch for Class A Peoria on Thursday. If all goes well, Zambrano will start against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field on Tuesday, August 25th.
The Phillies announced that Pedro Martinez will make his 1st start of the 2009 MLB schedule against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field. Martinez will oppose right-handed starter Jeff Samardzija – former standout wide receiver at the University of Notre Dame – in the 2nd game of a 3-game series between the defending World Series Champion Phillies and the struggling Cubs. The 37-year old Martinez bumped the 46-year old Jamie Moyer from his spot in the Phillies starting rotation, while Samardzija is filling in for the injured carlos Zambrano. Although Martinez did fan 11 guys in 6 innings of his latest rehab start, I’m thinking that he will be rusty – as will Samardzija – and it will be a high-scoring slugfest at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field…
We all kind of suspected it, but our suspicions were confirmed when the NY Times reported that Sammy Sosa was one of the players that tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs back in 2003. The Yankees Alex Rodriguez is the only other player that has been linked to the 2003 positive PED test results.
Sosa went from a skinny outfielder to a muscular hunk of a ballplayer during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Sosa is the only player in major league baseball history to hit 60 or more home runs in 3 different seasons. While the release of Rodriguez’s name and Sosa’s name has raised other issues – the test results were to remain anonymous under an agreement between MLB and the players union – it is a shame to finally have confirmation that Sosa used PED’s to enhance his play on the field. Sosa played for the Cubs from 1992-2004 and was the main draw for Cubs fans during that time. He is the Cubs all-time home run leader with 545 home runs.
During the Cubs-White Sox cross-town classic this week at Wrigley Field, Cubs Manager Lou Pinella and White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen both commented on the Sosa outing and the test results.
Pinella had this to say: “It’s a shame that baseball keeps going back to the past. Baseball is doing a good job today of cleaning up all these issues. That’s what we should be focusing on. I don’t know how this news gets out. In my case, I wasn;’t here, and I wish that we would just focus on today and what the sport is doing as opposed to what happened in the past.”
Guillen had this to say: “It’s very, very sad how names start to come out. And every week baseball has to deal with these names. And whoever is leaking the information, whoever got the rights to the information, they should right away say something and get it over with, because it’s put everyone in baseball, not just Chicago people, everyone in baseball, dealing with this situation they shouldn’t be dealing with any more. We got enough time to clean this thing.”
Only 2 of the 103 players that tested positive during the 2003 testing have been identified. At this point, if names are going to be leaked out 1 by 1, we should really just get it over with it and have all the names disclosed. It’s ridiculous that all of the focus is on Sosa and Rodriguez because someone broke the law and violated the terms of the confidentiality of the testing. The person leaking these names should be forced to disclose the source, so that the source can be properly punished for violating the terms of the testing. We doubt this will ever happen, but until someone makes a fuss over this, we’ll continue to get information piecemeal over time. Not good for baseball, for the players or for us, the fans.
Its a good thing Denise Richards is hot because the Chicago native did not know the words to take me out to the ball game. Yes she even admits that growing up she was a Cubs fan. Harry Carry wouldn’t be happy that they let this genius up in the booth. Check out the video below.
We know that is not how you want to see Denise Richards so here is the only movie she is famous for.
We spend most of our days looking at many different web sites for pro sports teams. The one thing I have noticed over the last few months is just how sad the Chicago Cubs web site is. The news or breaking news they post is just pathetic, with things like “Bradley out with flu; Miles nears return” and “Piniella knows there’s work to be done”. After seeing months of this I just have to say, what the hell? I guess this could be a preview of what is to come this season. A team that has been swept the last 2 years in the post season and has not been in a World Series in over 100 years, has nothing to talk about? I guess this also could be because they did nothing in the office season, expect for getting Milton Bradley that is. This is a team that has record breaking ticket sales each and every year and what have they done. I guess there is only one person you can blame for this, the fans. Hey Cubs fans stop spending money and making the team rich and they will get you a winning team. I’m sure I will have a lot of Cubs fans upset for this, but what else is new they are always pissed about something. If you are looking for a funny read check out the Cubs home page.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday that the Cubs are close to a deal with Jake Peavy. Today the Cubs released a statement denying these report saying the Cubs are not “remotely close” to a deal. ESPN is reporting that there are multiple reasons the Cubs can’t close the deal. First, the source said, the Cubs’ “No. 1 priority” is adding a left-handed-hitting outfielder, not a starting pitcher. And the team isn’t close to acquiring that bat. The Cubs have interest in a half-dozen outfielders who meet that description, with free agents Raul Ibanez and Bobby Abreu seemingly at the top of that list.
Second, the Cubs’ muddled ownership situation leaves Hendry and his baseball people unsure about whether they would be permitted to take on a contract as large as Peavy’s. The 27-year-old right-hander will make $11 million next season and has as much as $81 million remaining over the next five years if his team picks up his 2013 option.
Lets hope the Cubs can do something we don’t need a 3rd year of not making it past the first round of the post seasons.