A League of Her Own

Lackluster Offense Puts Pigpen in Position to Fail


(José M. Osorio, Chicago Tribune / April 18, 2010)



Sunday generated another chapter in the 2010 season, for which I'm using the tentative title "Same Old Story." Ryan Dempster pitches well, leaves with the lead, the Astros score one in the eighth, ninth and tenth innings to win 3-2.  The only offense the Cubs could muster against a team with two wins for the year was a two-run single in the third. After Sunday, Lou had had enough.

"I'm going to change the lineup around a little bit," Piniella said. "See if we can spur this offense on a little bit. I think I'm going to put Byrd in the leadoff spot and move (Ryan) Theriot to the eighth spot against left-hand pitching and see if that does a little more for us. Move (Jeff) Baker to the 2-hole. Shake it up a little bit."

The Cubs will get a chance to see Piniella's plan in action as early as tonight in New York, where the Mets will send lefty Jonathan Niese against them. In the four-game series at Citi Field, the Cubs also will face lefties Wednesday (Oliver Perez) and Thursday (Johan Santana).

Ryan Theriot didn't sound overly enthusiastic about the move.

"I guess it's worth a shot; see what happens," he said of moving down. "I've always hit lefties pretty good throughout my career. I hit the ball hard today, didn't have much to show for it. We'll see. If it gets everybody clicking and gets the bats going, it's a good thing."

Despite taking the loss on Sunday, it looks like Sean Marshall has supplanted John Grabow
as the primary left-handed set-up man. And it's about damn time.

With Sunday's game tied at 2-2 in the 10th, Lou Piniella turned to lefty Sean Marshall and not to John Grabow.

Before the game, Piniella said of Marshall: "He's throwing the ball as well as I've ever seen him throw it."

Marshall gave up the winning run in the 10th, but he said he appreciated the confidence shown to him by Piniella. In 8 innings over 7 games, Marshall has given up 4 hits while striking out 12 and walking one, and that was an intentional walk Sunday.

Speaking of lefthanders, Ted Lilly is scheduled to make his final rehab start tonight at Peoria.


Left-hander Ted Lilly will stay in Chicago after his start at ClassA Peoria tonight, joining the Cubs in Milwaukee on Friday. He is tentatively scheduled to pitch Saturday if his rehab stays on track.

Lilly's return will trigger several corresponding moves, including moving a player to make a roster spot available and sending one of the starters to the bullpen. Though Tom Gorzelanny, another left-hander, might seem the likely choice, moving him to the bullpen would mean four lefties -- Gorzelanny, Marshall, James Russell and John Grabow -- in a relief corps of seven.

''I don't know who's going to the bullpen,'' Piniella said. ''I won't make any guesses yet. It hasn't been discussed too much. We've been waiting for Lilly to be ready. Let's wait until after he pitches [tonight].''

And speaking of other lefthanders, Gorzy seems to be just fine after Saturday's line drive scare.

Gorzelanny was OK Sunday, a day after being hit in the upper arm by a line drive by Pedro Feliz. He's expected to make his next scheduled start Thursday in New York.

If you happened to miss it yesterday, go check out the "Throwing Like a Girl" podcast here or you can download it from itunes.


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50 Comments

JulieDiCaro said:

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Jeez Lou, clam down. I'm not sure flipping Theriot and Byrdmania! is the solution to our bullpen sucking.

gravedigger said:

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I can't believe nobody commented on this. I laughed.

JulieDiCaro said:

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This probably shouldn't make me laugh as much as it does: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncSYYDYvSHE

FrankS said:

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Some of the comments were funny as well. I liked the "moonwalk of death" bit. It made Deadspin as well:

http://deadspin.com/5518950/mascot-falls-off-dugout-roof-thrills-hundreds

I've been trying to find out if the person was hurt at all, but no luck so far. Since it's been difficult to find a report of an injury, I'm going to guess that he or she is okay. One person in the comment section claimed to be the mascot's roommate and said he was fine, but you can never be sure.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I just assmumed he/she was fine because the big red blob just kept dancing. But I suppose he/she could just be a huge jerk.

gravedigger said:

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You know, this really just isn't working out for me anymore. We've been together for so long, but there is somebody new in my life. The someone new isn't perfect, but right now they provide better for me (more wins/fewer losses). They make my life more exciting (fireworks after home runs). There's no more long-distance (I live right next door). And they have such great future potential (Strasburg).

I'm sorry, Cubs. I'm leaving you for the Nats.

AndCounting said:

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Enjoy snuggling with Jason Marquis.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Enjoy Jason Marquis!

AndCounting said:

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Poor Jason. He's the consensus pick as the worst thing about the Nationals.

gravedigger said:

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I forgot about him. Not sure how I could, after yesterday.

This is the thing, though. I can see the stadium from my balcony. I hear the crowd when they score. And as bad as they are, I'm not sure they're any worse than the Cubs. AND I can actually watch their games. And they have more cute players. I mean, this is really starting to become clear to me.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Marquis is big and hairy, just the way you like 'em.

gravedigger said:

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I don't think you know me very well.

JulieDiCaro said:

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i know you better than you know yourself.

gravedigger said:

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clearly, no.

FrankS said:

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I'll never understand all the Marquis hatred in Cub fandom. He played for the Cubs for two years and he was a league average pitcher. He was better than many of us expected him to be considering how poorly he pitched in his last season in St. Louis. It's all on Jim Hendry for how much he got overpaid.

Yes, he could be a bit whiny at times, but at least he wasn't sticking his face in front of every microphone and camera all the time like a certain Cub shortstop.

gravedigger said:

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I think (at least at LOHO), it was more of an inside joke that sort of took on a life of its own.

JulieDiCaro said:

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right.

first, it was the fact that we gave Jason Marquis giant garbage bagfulls of money, after he didn't make the Cards' post-season roster. Then gd said the infamous "OGDJM" line. Then Marquis got attacked by seagulls (this was actually a plus). Then Marquis was okay. Then he started sucking. Then he didn 't make OUR postseason roster. Then he whined in ST about not being a starter. Then he went somewhere else and was good.

What, exactly, am I supposed to like about him?

FrankS said:

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Yeah, he whined. Everyone whines. He got paid a bank's worth of money by the Cubs, not but us or by you, but by the Cubs. You can blame that on Jim Hendry who doesn't seem to have a clue about the value of money.

Anybody that looked at his past performance and ignored the money he was being paid expected him to perform as a 4th or 5th starter. And he performed at a higher level than that so I don't see a reason for the dissing (dising?) of the man. If anyone should be getting guff it should be the guy that signed Marquis to that contract.

LostinFla said:

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I really empathize with you on this one. I have tried to take baby steps away from the Cubs the past few years - I've made a little bit of progress with the Rays who are not too far away from me - but the attempt has largely been ineffectual. It has to be in the blood, unfortunately.

To Cubs Brass: It's been 101 years, guys. The time to win passed about 30 years ago. You can make money or you can make destiny. The choice is yours. Let me know of your decision.

baturkey said:

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Once the arms of the Cubs starting pitchers fall off, this season will be really great.

Dmband said:

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Breaking up with us for the Nats?

Thats like dumping Gweneth Paltrow for Lindsay Lohan.

I dont particularly like the movement of Byrd to the leadoff. I like him in RBI situations much more.

At this point, Im willing to try anything....once.

gravedigger said:

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Yes. I think I'm going to start my own Nats blog on Chicago Now.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I like even drinky/smokey Lindsay better than the insipid, vapid, self-important Gwenyth. Have you ever seen her website? GAH.

Besides, Gwenyth was never in anything as good a "Mean Girls."

JulieDiCaro said:

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I would jump naked into a pool filled with double-edged razor blades than go to court on this case this morning.

plamorte said:

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That's not too bad, that's what I do every year for my spring manscaping. What? I'm Italian...

JulieDiCaro said:

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Come on people, don't leave me hanging with this reference. . . Adam? Jeff? Tim?

Little Bear said:

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You have to scroll down a ways but you can find the lyrics here. http://en.allexperts.com/q/Country-Music-2273/Country-Bar-Songs-early.htm

Max Power said:

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Too easy for me, so I let that one go. The best line remains
"'Cause I'm stranded all alone in the gas station of love, and I have to use the self-service pumps."

LostinFla said:

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Actually, I'm pretty sure this was a scene is Saw II...

Little Bear said:

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Do other people's roommates heat things in the microwave, let them explode all over and then not clean it up too, or is it just me? What is up with that?

gravedigger said:

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This is why I don't do the roommate thing.

Edelweiss said:

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Tim Trott is still without a roommate, but anyone who doesn't clean up his dog poop is a slob. Also, he is big and sorta hairy.

J Pep said:

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Was able to attend my first game in about three years on Saturday and I am glad the tickets were free. I have no desire to return and not because of the game. I had great seats in the 16th row behind the Cubs dugout and still couldn't see what seemed like half the game. People constantly leaving and coming back. It seemed like ushers and vendors were always standing between us and home plate. Ther were six seats two rows in front of me that were occupied for four innings. Out of the blue a head usher asked to see their tickets and made them move back a row. No big deal except nobody ever showed up for the now vacated seats.
I have been a Cub fan for many many years and loved going to games but I've seen enough drunks and stupidity to go again.
Wrigley is really a shit hole and needs to be leveled.

AndCounting said:

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Seems like a non sequitur. Do you really think building a new stadium will stop the same fans from getting drunk/being stupid? I mean, if fans and staff alike are blocking your view by being inconsiderate, the problem seems to be less architectural and more cultural.

FrankS said:

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A lot of people go to the games just because of the ballpark. Build a new ballpark and maybe some of those people will go away. Of course, the Rickettses realize this too so I don't imagine Wrigley will be leveled any time soon.

gravedigger said:

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My dad hates going to games and would rather watch them on TV. Last time we went he got into an argument with a vendor who wouldn't move out of his way.

J Pep said:

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I am sure it is more cultural and the fact that I am just turning into the old grouchy SOB. The guy in front of me said it was worse than church with all the getting up and down but it seems like it has been that way the last couple of times I've been there.
And another thing. It should never take 15 minutes to sing the national anthem. My ears are still bleeding. Just sing it. You're not going to win any awards for holdig every note until you can no longer breathe

AndCounting said:

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When I went to Pac Bell, the usher refused to allow people to get up or go to their seats if their was a player in the batter's box, which was cool.

I will say, when I went to the home opener, the usher in our section repeatedly told people to sit down at the threat (albeit empty) of being tossed if they couldn't stay in their seats. Maybe they'll get the hang of it after a few weeks of training.

summerguy said:

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I am interested in who will go to the pen... obviously Lou has no confidence in the kids but who can really blame him? They have coughed up more games than we have won this year. And now Marmol and Marshall have ONE bad outting where both of them only give up a run apiece and people will start placing them in the same boat.

If Lou really wants to shake things up, keep Marmol, Marshall, Grabow, and Russell in the pen and send everyone else back to AAA or AA where they belong. Spellcheck should just be shipped to Notre Dame and let them deal with him.

gravedigger said:

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Smariadjziar; doesn't belong in the major leagues, period. I want to punch Grabow in the adam's apple. I don't even know who else is in the pen other than them and Marmol and Marshall. Those two I like.

JulieDiCaro said:

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ooooh. ouch.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I think we're going to do a joint chat room with a bunch of Mets fans tonight. Fun!

summerguy said:

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That does sound like fun... I wonder what they think of Ron Santo, if anything. He obviously has not let up on his feelings toward NY- specifically the Mets.

gravedigger said:

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Count me out, I'm going to be having ben gay rubbed all over my body for the rest of the night

Edelweiss said:

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Don't let anyone rub it in DOWN THERE!

JulieDiCaro said:

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Idiot. Someone is going to have an angry Steve Jobs on his hands:

http://gizmodo.com/5520164/this-is-apples-next-iphone

gravedigger said:

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That guy is getting fired so hard.

HoboHanson said:

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I'm in NYC for work this week and plan to go to the game on Wednesday if I can find some affordable/cheap/free tickets. I hope my life won't be threatened like last time I went to a game up here and wore my Cubs hat and the NY Mets were in the playoff race and the Cubs came back to beat them in extra innings and I laughed and laughed all the way home on the train. It was awesome except for the drunks seriously wanting to cause me bodily harm for the hat I had on my head. The Nigh Mets are my favorite.

And GD, since I am originally from that area, the Nats are my second favorite team. I root for them except against the Cubs. It's alright to have another team you root for. But I think it is impossible to denounce fandom after so many years. You're stuck with the Cubs.

gravedigger said:

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I know, it is my curse.

canopygrl said:

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Hell, I'm from Springfield and in 2006 I didn't even know DC had a team...
I too have thought about denouncing, but I can't. But if I get my job back up there, I sure will be at Nationals Park (and the tickets are so much cheaper)!

GD- Do you live at Ziegfelds?

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