A League of Her Own

Chicago Cubs Headlines For Tuesday

Chicago Cubs catcher Koyie Hill and starting pitcher Randy Wells talk on the mound against the Houston Astros

No, see. My thumbs grow right out of my hand. . .

All hail Randy Wells!

CINCINNATI -- As a 38th-round draft pick in 2002, Randy Wells never received the same hype as the Mark Priors of the world. 

It took Wells seven years to get to the major leagues, but now he's making the most of it. The rookie right-hander earned his fourth straight victory Monday in a 4-2 win over Cincinnati, giving him eight wins in his last nine decisions.

"I don't want the hype at all," Wells said. "I could care less if anybody recognizes me or if anyone knew who I was. As long as I can go out there every fifth day and can pitch, that's enough for me.

"I love being here. I love everything about it -- the charter flights, the camaraderie of the team. I can stay under the radar as long as I want to, but the reality of it is it's not going to happen. You start winning games, and guys are going to start gunning for you."

Wells (8-4) threw seven shutout innings before being touched for a solo home run by Alex Gonzalez in the eighth and left after 7 1/3 innings and 106 pitches."

The Cubs continue to dangle Randy Wells in front of us like a carrot in front of a mule:

CINCINNATI -- Geovany Soto began his rehab assignment at Double-A Tennessee on Monday, going 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI single in a 7-1 win over Carolina.

Soto will DH for Tennessee on Tuesday and could be back in a Cubs uniform by Wednesday night.

"I'm going to see if I can get Soto over here as quickly as I can, so we can give [Koyie Hill] a breather," manager Lou Piniella said, adding: "Wednesday wouldn't be soon enough for me."

Groggles admits what we all know; he's bad at baseball:

CINCINNATI -- If Cubs manager Lou Piniella knew Sunday what he knew on Monday, he probably wouldn't have used Kevin Gregg in the ninth inning of the finale of the Marlins series. 

"He has a little bit of a tired arm," Piniella admitted before Monday night's game. "No pain in any particular area but just aching. What I'm going to do is talk to him, and if that's the case, we can stay away from him. We've got to know it beforehand."

I vote we stay awa from him, anyway. All in favor?

I have no idea what Jeff Stevens did to deserve such shabby treatment, but there is no excuse for putting him in the same category with Spellcheck.

The Cubs will send a reliever, likely Jeff Samardzija or Jeff Stevens, to Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday to make room for starter Tom Gorzelanny. Samardzija has been ineffective against left-handed hitters, who are batting .393 against him. 

"The stuff looks good to me," Piniella said, adding Samardzija's command is the real problem. "He throws a lot of pitches, he falls behind, he walks people -- and that's not good."

Piniella also said Aaron Miles is almost ready to return from Iowa, which could mean a demotion for Andres Blanco."

I love how Sullivan threw that last little bit in there. Get yer torches and pitchforks, folks, Aaron Miles' return is imminent.

Bruce Miles is desperate to get Jake Fox more playing time. I suspect he is not alone.

First let's congratulate Jake Fox on catching Milton Bradley in home runs and passing him in RBI. Jake did that yesterday in the Cubs' loss at Florida. In 107 at-bats, Jake has 8 homers and 27 RBI to go along with a hitting line of .308/.347/.607 for an OPS of .955

Bradley, in 256 at-bats, is .250/.385/.387 for an OPS of .772, still far below the .999 that led the American League last year. He has 8 homers and 26 RBI.

Lou needs to find a way to have Fox start almost every day, whether it's at third, first, left, right or even behind the plate, where Koyie Hill has started 23 games in a row. The last Cubs catcher to do that was Damon Berryhill, who started 25 in a row in '89. Since July 7, Hill has caught 207 innings, and Fox has caught 6. The next-busiest catcher since July 7 is the Dodgers' Russell Martin, who has caught 181.2 innings, or about three 9-inning games fewer than Hill. Geovany Soto will rehab at Class AA Tennessee tonight, where GM Jim Hendry will get a look. Geo could be back Friday, when the Cubs got to Colorado.

 

Chris DeLuca reminds us all why we're stuck with Groggles, after all:

There is a reason Piniella stands behind Gregg. Love him or hate him, he remains the Cubs' best option in the ninth inning.

If you must worry, worry about the Cubs' bullpen as a whole.

The Cubs entered Monday with a 62 percent (26-for-42) save percentage, putting them 13th among the 16 teams in the National League. The Dodgers were right behind them at 61 percent (30-for-49), showing why they made the most aggressive push for Sherrill.

And for those wanting to see Marmol in the closer job, keep in mind, he doesn't get burned by home runs, but he has a remarkable knack for hitting batters -- leading all major-league relievers entering Monday with 10. It would be nice to say this is just the result of pitching inside, except most of those errant pitches are sliders that clearly got away from the right-hander.

This is especially troubling when Marmol is walking more batters than he did last season, when he seemed primed for a move into the ninth-inning job. In 2008, Marmol walked 41 and struck out 114 in 87 1/3 innings. He entered Monday with 48 walks and 60 strikeouts.

And in 2008, Marmol's WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) was an outstanding 0.93; entering Monday, it was 1.47 (Gregg's is 1.35). Marmol's 1.47 WHIP put him 44th among 51 NL relievers who have pitched at least 40 innings this season.

Sloth goes tonight against the Reds at 6:10 pm CT. Lord bless this rockethouse and all who dwell within the rockethouse. 

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35 Comments

gravedigger said:

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so the bullpen is hopeless? were not we all just saying about a week ago how solid it had become?

JulieDiCaro said:

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but last week was before this week. . .

flyball said:

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I think we were ok with some of it, but using particular players to keep our pessimism intact

JulieDiCaro said:

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I'm okay with Jeff Stevens, but they keep trying to get rid of him.

Doc said:

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It's fairly simple. They only pitch well at home.

thisyearcub said:

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Cubs can solve this problem. Five-step plan:

1. Send Samardzija down. It's apparent Lou only uses him when he absolutely has to, meaning he has no value. Also, he's terrible.

2. Use Sean Marshall more, not just as a LOOGY. He's shown he can handle righties.

3. Marmol moves to the sixth- or seventh-inning role. His mentality is so f'ed right now, it's hard to imagine him figuring it out this season. He can't be trusted in pressure spots, which is sad because he still has the pitches to be dominant, the control has just disappeared.

4. A lot of people want Guzman to go into the eighth-inning role. I'm fine with that, but just as well would like to see Andrew Cashner called up from AA. He would be a great addition and has a smoking fastball. Think Rays/David Price last year. That's what he could mean to the Cubs.

5. Keep Gregg in the closer's role. Hey, he's not the best. But he's not the worst, has been better than the guy he replaced and is the best option to close among the current 'pen. I'm glad he came out and admitted he had a tired arm (not surprising since the Cubs relied on him to get some two-inning saves). Let him rest a couple of days.

So you would have:
Gregg
Guzman
Cashner
Marmol
Stevens
Grabow
Heilman (but this is who I would send down when Lilly comes back, and put Gorzelanny in the bullpen)
Marshall

Good by me

JulieDiCaro said:

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I'm okay with that. We're stuck with Gregg, I think, whether we like it or not.

Doc said:

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um...

1. I agree
2. I agree
3. WBC messed him up completely.
4. No. Don't rush Cashner. I don't want this kid ruined.
5. I agree. Just don't let him face the Marlins again.

Gorzelanny I think will be a vast disappointment. The Cubs should have kept him at Iowa. I hope I'm wrong.

JulieDiCaro said:

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The Cubs should have left him in Pittsburgh.

Doc said:

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A couple thoughts for this morning...

First, the ESPN guys last night that the Cubs are considering sending Jake Fox to an instructional league this offseason to learn to play 2nd base. This sounds like a stupid thing. How about sending Bradley on a one way ticket to Antarctica and putting Fox in right?

Second, how much longer will the players' union wait before the file a grievance against Dusty Baker? If the players' union has any concern for the welfare of its members (which is a good question of its own), they should going after Dusty repeatedly destroying the careers of pitchers. It is truly unbelievable the list of young pitchers that have gone down under his watch since 2003...Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Matt Clement (he was damaged goods after he left the team) and now Edinson Volquez. And I think most people agree there is something wrong with Aaron Harang was well. Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey had better watch out. I thank our lucky stars that Zambrano was able to escape with very little damage during those 4 years.

flyball said:

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Matt Clement pitched really well with the Red Sox the first half of the season after he left the Cubs, made it to the All-Star game and everything, his first start back he got hit on the side of the head with a line drive, thats when the problems started

Doc said:

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I know, I still blame Dusty. If Dusty hadn't managed him, he would have been able to get out of the way of that liner.

And if we want to get technical, I'd actually place more blame on Jim Riggleman (who was a worse manager than Dusty) for Kerry Wood's problems.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I love the idea of Jake Fox learning to play 2nd.

Doc said:

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I honestly don't trust his ability to play any position in the field with or with out an instructional league stint...putting him in right field I think gives him the chance of making the fewest errors.

Besides, he doesn't have the build to be a second baseman. He looks more like a third baseman or catcher.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Gimme a break. If we can put Freddy Bynum and Aaron Miles at 2nd, we can put Jake Fox there.

thisyearcub said:

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True that!

Doc said:

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flyball said:

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that "he doesn't look like the typical (fill in the blank position)" makes me laugh, there are a lot of players that aren't typical or ideal and do just fine

thisyearcub said:

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Really, this is not the worst idea. Especially if he goes down to winter ball. He'd have to work on his pivot and turning DPs the most, also getting to the bag on steals. May have to lose a little of that weight.

Doc said:

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He has no range...what so ever.

Why not just put Soriano back at second and put Fox in left field then?

JulieDiCaro said:

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so what? you hate chubby people? is that what you're about?

Doc said:

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I don't hate chubby people. In fact, I want Chubby Fox to do well. I just would like to see the Cubs put him somewhere where I think he can play his best, and that position isn't second base.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Chubby hater.

Doc said:

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Well, when you put it that way...

millertime said:

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All I can think of is "My schedule however, is as open as my relationship with my wife. So why don't we pair up? And hit the town together! I'll be your wingman. Even if it means me taking a chubby, I will suck it up!"

JulieDiCaro said:

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and I'm not so sure how well the bunny hop would work at 2nd. There's more room for error out there.

Doc said:

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I think Soriano, as bad as he was at second, would be better than Fox at second.

flyball said:

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can we have a bad-off? like a Top Gear who's car is worse contest?

flyball said:

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and can we get Jeremy Clarkson to narrate?

Doc said:

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um...no. I'm thinking Bud Greenspan.

flyball said:

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that wouldn't be nearly as funny

Doc said:

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Dusty's poor handling of pitchers has spread onto other another team.

Dusty ruins another arm.

The guy is a menace.

summerguy said:

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ha. Dusty strikes again.

berselius said:

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...or it could just be that some pitchers are due for an injury anyway? Volquez (and Cueto) haven't been particularly overworked with Dusty.

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