April 2011 Archives

Cubs farm report: BP and the Cubs system

Every once in a while, the boys over at Baseball Prospectus give us a glimpse behind the curtain into the world normally reserved for paying members.

Most of what is offered free on the site are blog with small bits of information, once a month, we get a look at the big meaty pieces, the ones they hope will get you to subscribe.

What we received Thursday was a look into Kevin Goldstein's* latest Minor league update, which looks at the games from the day before, and the prospects that one day hope to be playing on the big stage.

What Cub fans received was a sock in the jaw, exposing how some of the
prospects in the system highlight bigger issues at the major league
level.

Cubs personal ad: Desperately seeking starter, slugger

Perhaps the Cubs need to take out a personal ad on Craigslist.

After all, they are searching for a lot of things these days.

Cubs series roundup: Dodger bats don't slow down

Something happened over the weekend; the Chicago Cubs managed to get worse.

Playing against Bud Selig's new toy, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Cubs gave up 27 runs over three days.

Amazingly, they managed to win a game, a game that at one point, they held a 90 percent chance of winning, that went to 8 percent over the next 4 innings.

Yes, that is the Cubs this year, channeling the ghosts of the 1983 "Winnin' Ugly" White Sox. How else can you explain how the team has managed to avoid slipping into oblivion already this season?

Cubs series roundup: Cubs scratch out 2 against Padres to remain .500

San Diego is not Colorado. All signs in the final game to the contrary, when the Padres found the plug they kicked out of the socket to restore their power, San Diego can't hit.

While the Cubs needed to outslug the Rockies to just scrape up one win, they needed to outlast the Padres to get two.

Two extra inning wins are still two wins and ones that the Cubs will gladly take given how they had to win them.

Starlin Castro: Contact machine and .400 candidate

In the middle of Starlin Castro's hitting barrage Saturday night, it was hard not to think that the 21-year-old shortstop might be the first player since Ted Williams to hit .400.

It is a crazy thought. No one has come close in a full season since Williams, and with all respect to George Brett and Tony Gwynn, their best seasons were both cut short by at least 30 games (Gwynn by strike, Brett by injuries).

But Castro's approach at the plate - shortening up with two strikes, staying compact - and his uncanny ability to make contact with everything - currently 91.6 percent of all his swings have hit the ball - can easily lead one to believe for a moment that he is destined to break that mark.

The Rockies handed the Cubs another series loss with a 9-5 win Sunday. And for the first time this season, at least the Cubs on paper deserved to lose two out of three games.

Colorado is the hottest team in baseball and what should scare people is that they aren’t only winning at home. They have taken their team, built to win in the spacious Coors Field, and found ways to win on the road.

The Cubs will see that first-hand in about a week.

Cubs series roundup: Sleepwalking through two wins over Houston

Perhaps the Cubs should rename this road trip Survivor, although that might already be taken.

The Cubs are now 3-3 on the nine-game swing, and that is after the easiest part of the trek.

Starting Friday, Chicago will be playing Colorado where all the issues of the season might be exponentially multiplied in the thin air.

More worrisome though is that the Cubs seem to be playing to the level of their competition so far. They weren't expected to be much more than .500 on the season, but right now, the Cubs aren't even living up to mediocre.

Cubs ink Doug Davis in desperate move to fix pitching

The first tweets went out around noon.

"Cubs close to signing Doug Davis."

Then the instant messages filtered in.

"If you can't beat him, sign him."

Cubs series roundup: Brewers power past Cubs

There is a big difference going from interim manager to full-time skipper. One position is all about making sure things don't completely fall apart. The other is about dealing with the everyday issues and succeeding over the long term.

So when you are in the later and things don't appear to be working out just nine games into the season, a guy might get a little testy.

Mike Quade argued his first call Sunday, after watching his team get beat up by the Brewers on Saturday, and repeatedly squander leads the next day.

Cubs series roundup: Dbacks show Cubs how to play defense

When the schedule came out before the season, the Cubs should have been optimistic. They opened the year at home, against likely bottom feeders Pittsburgh and Arizona.

It looked like a fast start was in the cards.

But after finishing the two series at 3-3 overall, manager Mike Quade is still optimistic, having seen bright spots.

A closer look at the Cubs blown out bullpen

Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol were both given the day off Tuesday, after each threw in three straight games which left the Cubs having to go to Sean Marshall in the ninth to close things out against the Diamondbacks.

Debate what you will about when managers use their bullpen and how a team's best reliever shouldn't necessarily be used in the final frame, but that isn't important here.

What is obvious right now is that the Cubs are in a pitching crisis and it unfortunately took only five games to cause it.

Cubs series roundup: Lowly Pirates take two, should have swept

In baseball it is hard to believe that any team has another's number. Unlike in basketball where matchups, defenses and offensive schemes can enable an underdog to consistently beat a better team, there is no such planning that can turn a baseball game in that way.

But the Pirates certainly seem to have the Cubs number. A 10-5 record last season in the Bucs favors and already 2-1 this year.

Cubs Farm Report: Minor leaguers who made noise in spring

Every team wishes for a deep farm system. It gives trade bait, provides cheap talent and generally just makes fans feel like the team will succeed in the long term.

The Cubs though haven't exactly been masters of building a successful minor league pyramid.

But things appear to be starting to change on that front. Early returns on Starlin Castro are positive and despite losing some solid players in the Matt Garza trade, the Cubs have a good core of players who will be forming the starting lineup from 2014 on.

2011 Chicago Cubs Game 1: Bright spots in defeat, even to the Pirates

Just after the first pitch of the game, Cub fans watching on WGN were reminded that the team only managed a 5-10 record against the lowly Pirates in 2010.

The Bucs won 57 games last year, making the Cubs good for about 18 percent of the limited success in Pittsburgh.

After game one of the 2011 season, the Cubs are 100 percent responsible.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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