Posted by: thescoundrel | April 9, 2007

Cubs 2007 – Weekly Thoughts

The Cubs spent the first week of the new baseball season on the road and split the games three wins and three losses. They lost two out of three to the Reds and won two out of three from the Brewers. They could and should have one at least one of the games they lost to the Reds. But their bats and the bullpen failed at the wrong time, during game three with the Reds. Also, game three with the Brewers did give hope of possible things to come. Though they lost, it was a good image of what could be if the bullpen holds when the starting pitching fails. Despite the starting pitching giving up a lot of runs early, the batting squad which was stifled early by Cub killer pitcher C. Capuano, started a comeback that fell just short until the bullpen imploded again. The hitters on this team should be able to generate run scoring success from what would normally seem unsurmountable comebacks totals, that will keep this team in competition most games played.

The high points have been Aramis Ramirez’s (unusual) early season tear at the plate; plus Derrick Lee has also been smashing the baseball with authority. They both have a high batting average and slugging percentage to start off the season, though both are not really having a good start in the homerun competition. Mark DeRosa only has a .280 batting average to start the season but he leads the team in slugging percentage and homeruns. If DeRosa can continue a similar pace throughout the season, he will validate his contract signing by Hendry. Though it is unlikely he will carryout the numbers throughout the season, Izturis is also starting out the season with a good batting average and slugging percentage. But he was obtained for his fielding not his hitting and his fielding has lived up to its accolades. He and DeRosa should help the pitchers keep their ERA manageable as long as they continue to field well. Cliff Floyd has looked very good in limited appearances and his slugging ability will probably push the team to play him more and Murton less. The team has looked very good batting for average so far though there has been a lack of clutch hitting and homeruns from a team that is supposed to built for the homerun style of game. Other players that have started out on the right foot include Rich Hill and newcomer pitchers Lilly and Marquis. All three had very good first outings. And though Zambrano had trouble finding the strike zone and performed badly in his first game he improved distinctly in his second outing. I hope I can say the same thing about Wade Miller after his next start, as he looked mostly atrocious during his first start.

The downsides have been, starting with Soriano, as he has not shown much hitting at the plate. It is early and I expect that he will be a more visible force throughout the season. I still do not like the choice of him leading off. Also Zambrano has had his usual poor start. Barrett is struggling at the plate though it looks like he might be coming out of his early season batting funk.

The team has been missing key opportunities to score runs with guys in scoring position: I hope this improves. The bullpen has been a strength except for Eyre who has struggled big time and Guzman who is still early on the MLB learning curve. I hope to see Lilly, Marquis and Hill to continue to perform well. If they can hold their ERA’s to around 4.00, once this batting squad gets on track at driving in the ducks on the pond – this Cubs team will be difficult to beat. Time will tell the story.

An update on the projected selling of the team stated that the experts feel that the sale of the team will exceed the 2002 record selling price of 660 million dollars for the Red Sox. Ouch, better get my Cubs merchandise early before the new owner, whomever it is, raises prices to cover the purchase price.

Hitting and pitching Statistics



  1. Despite another good pitching performance by Ted Lilly, The Cubs went down to defeat (5 to 3) by the Huston Astros on 04/09/07. The Cubs trailed most of the game until Alfonso Soriano tied the game after getting on base, then stealing second and finally scoring on an infield hit and an error in the seventh inning. It brought the crowd to life as it tied the score at three runs a piece. The game was lost when last years steady reliever Bob Howry gave up a two-run homerun in the eighth inning. Chicago Bears rookie phenom, Devin Hester, threw out the ceremonial first pitch and sang during the seventh inning stretch. His rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” shall go down as not as bad as Ozzie Osborne’s version but it was still lacking in content and ability.

  2. Well game two of the home opener series was not any better than game one. The Cubs lost to Huston 4 to 2. The starting pitching was spotty and Marquis gave up four runs of which, three were earned. Marquis lasted five innings before being replaced by Guzman and the final three outs were pitched by Eyre. The bullpen looked good today and closed the door on the Huston scoring opportunities. Marquis struggled in the first inning and the Astros pushed three runners in to score. In the fifth inning there was an error by Izturis at SS and then a control lapse by Marquis walking two batters to load the bases. A fielder’s choice then allowed the fourth and final Huston run to score. It was an uncharacteristically bad defensive day for Izturis at shortstop. He had two errors in the fourth inning, which did not affect the score of the game. But his third error, in the fifth inning, allowed a runner on base that eventually scored and made the score 4 to 0 at that point. However if the Cubs’ pitching staff can continue to hold down the opposition to four runs or less a game then they are doing their part to make this team a winner. But once again the problem was in the run-scoring department. The Astro’s pitching staff held the Cubs batters scoreless until the ninth inning. They were held to seven hits, only managed one base on balls and left six men stranded on base. This Cubs team should be scoring many more runs than they are. They are a power-laden team. But as the weather warms I feel this team will make most pitchers have arm cramps before the game starts. It is just too powerful of a lineup to keep scoring this few of runs per game. And when they break loose it should be a beautiful sight for Cub fans and a a huge relief for the Cubs’ pitching staff. Better days are coming!

  3. Nice blog!

  4. Nice blog!

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