May 2011 Archives

Cubs Quarterly Report Card: The Outfield

Here is the tricky thing about defensive statistics: there isn't any agreement among them about who is a good fielder.

If you want an example of the disconnect, take Alfonso Soriano.

Wander over to the Fan Graphs page and their UZR statistics rate Soriano as actually having saved a run this season prior to Wednesday night's bobble, and that he was a semi-decent outfielder last year.

Really?

Cubs series roundup: Almost 100 years later, still losers at Fenway

The hype has passed so now the Chicago Cubs can finally get back to playing baseball.

It is hard to believe a series between an actual contender (the Red Sox) and an also-ran could generate the attention that it did. Perhaps it is a sign that Interleague play has lost so much of its novelty - and purpose - that just visiting a park for the first time in almost 100 years warrants three straight days of drooling.

Never mind that the series didn't actually affect the standings. Just neglect the fact that the Red Sox are stacked with stars, while the Cubs are stacked with the over-the-hill gang.

This was absolutely made for television (sense the sarcasm here?).

Cubs Quarterly Report Card: The Infield

A little more than a quarter of the season has passed, time enough to look back and assess the preseason predictions and also give out a few grades for the team based on their performances so far.

OVERALL:

Before the year, we thought the Cubs had a shot at finishing just about at .500, probably good enough for third or fourth place.

But to do that, everything had to work perfectly. The team had to stay healthy - always difficult no matter what uniform you wear - and a few players needed to return to form.

Reality has been a harsh to the team, which is sitting at 18-23 after defeating the Florida Marlins on Wednesday night. It is good enough for fifth place, six games behind the Cincinnati Reds.

Cubs remove rough Diamond from 40-man roster

You can file this under the category of "Things that I wouldn't be certain about, but look pretty good at this point in time."

By this I mean that I am pretty certain that Cubs minor-league pitcher Thomas Diamond's professional career is the metaphorical toast at this point, after being dropped from the Cubs' 40-man roster to make way for the aged Doug Davis.

In case you missed it, the Cubs called up Davis to start Saturday's rain-soaked, Fox-required affair against the Giants.

The rivalry might still have its appeal, but the Cubs and Cardinals series that just completed won't be remembered for the baseball that was played.

Two blowouts and a sloppy 24-hit extravaganza (featuring 20 singles) did nothing to add to the history that surrounds the battle between the two clubs.

Instead the games will be remembered for three things that took place mostly outside the games: the hug, the deluge after the deluge and fake Tony LaRussa.

Injury bug strikes again, Castillo up for Soto

If there was one thing Cubs couldn't afford to have at this point in the season, it was another injury.

Tuesday night, Geovany Soto went down to block a ball, and being no gymnast, couldn't quite get back up again. When he did pick himself off the dirt, it wasn't pretty.

Cubs series roundup: Quiet bats doom Cubs, drop 2 of 3 to Reds

The series against Cincinnati might not have gone the way the Cubs were hoping, but it did help to put the Cubs back on track.

Finally the team looked like the one that was expected to be playing coming into the season.

The starting pitching was solid. Matt Garza may have had his worst start of the season, but Ryan Dempster (still not wholly convinced he is back yet) and Casey Coleman pitched well enough to keep Chicago in the game.

It was again the hitting that was suspect.

Coming into the series against the Fighting Seligs, you could have imagined that the Cubs would have been lucky to leave with just a single victory.

Instead the Seligs allowed Chicago to come away with two wins and close the season series with a 3-3 record.

Just going by performance so far, it isn't hard to see how amazing that is. The Cubs were throwing James Russell (who it finally appears is off the hook in the 5th starter spot as Chicago will go with a four-man rotation for the time being*) and Ryan Dempster out there. Plus the inconsistent Carlos Zambrano doesn't give anyone a warm sensation in their belly.

The Cubs seemed doomed.

Injuries around the league should have Cubs trying to move Ramirez

It started with the Tampa Bay Rays, and quickly spread to now have impacted Florida, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Washington, San Francisco (twice) and Los Angeles.

It is a rash of injuries to third basemen around the league, injuries that have knocked out some of the top players in the game at the hot corner.

Cubs series roundup: Split with Arizona extends Cubs hitting woes

The rainout condensed the Colorado series to two games and the way the Cubs lost didn't yield any real data to look at the team beyond the bullpen (more on that later). But it is always helpful to have that four game series to follow up a short one in order to make the numbers come alive.

Chicago split the series against the Diamondbacks, which allows them to scrape together a 4-3 mark to end the season series against Arizona.

That the season series is already over is a tad bit of a joke, but it gives the team an important benchmark to judge their strength through the opening month of the season.

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

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