A League of Her Own

Monday Cubs Headlines: A Pigpen of Her Own

Greedy Piglets



To be fair, the blame for Sunday's loss lies just as much on the offense as the bullpen, but it's easier to go with the pigpen motif than to try and come up with a nickname for the offense. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments. So, what happened Sunday, or maybe the better question is, what didn't happen Sunday?

• With the bases loaded and nobody out in the first, Aramis Ramirez popped out, Marlon Byrd struck out and Alfonso Soriano flied out swinging at a first pitch. All this came against a pitcher making his major-league debut.

• The Nos. 4-7 hitters were a combined 0-for-15, and No. 8 hitter Geovany Soto (.091) was 0-for-2 but had 2 walks.

• The Cubs stranded 12 runners, two days after leaving 13 on base. In addition to striking out with the bases loaded in the first, Byrd grounded out to strand two in the third. He grounded into a double play with two on to end the fifth. In the seventh, Byrd flied out, again leaving two aboard.

All of this conspired to ruin another good starting pitching effort by one Tom Gorzelanny. Oh, and one other event on the defensive side might have hurt, too.


Jonny Gomes lifted a flyball to deep left. Soriano ran over, but the ball went off his glove for an error that loaded the bases. Sean Marshall came on to pitch and gave up an infield single to tie the game.

"I saw it all the way, but at the last minute, I took my eyes off the ball and just thought about the wall," said Soriano, who is batting .143 and whose defense has declined in recent years.

"At the last moment I didn't have concentration because I was thinking about the wall. I took for one second, my eyes off the ball, and I think that's why I dropped it."

It's far too early to start jumping to conclusions, but after the first week, you'd have to say that Rudy Jaramillo isn't yet earning his salary as the highest paid hitting coach. And it's going to be even harder for him with the Cubs returning to Wrigley Field today.

Jaramillo has built a successful daily coaching routine around constant access and regular use of the batting cage, which was easy to do with the modern, spacious facilities at the Texas Rangers' ballpark, where he spent the last 15 seasons.

But 96-year-old Wrigley Field has the worst batting-cage facilities in the majors. Only Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium don't have a second cage. And the hassle factor is compounded because the cage is cramped and on the opposite end of the park from the Cubs' clubhouse, under the right-field bleachers.

''I usually have a rotation,'' said Jaramillo, who uses the cage time for instruction and talking about game plans and opposing pitchers. ''I like to go cage, live, shag, video. But I'm not going to be able to do that there because [the other team is] in there when I'd like to be rotating. So I'm going to have to go early, and then I don't know.''

One advancement the Cubs have made in the realm of the batting cage is to install one-way glass so that fans can watch the players take batting practice.

For all the Wrigley upgrades and changes to be unveiled today, there is one that involves the batting cage: a one-way window that allows fans to watch, giving it a sort of zoo effect.

''No more hitting with my shirt off,'' Ryan Theriot said.

We also get another gem from Lou on this very same subject.

Lou Piniella was not aware that the batting cage at Wrigley Field will now have a one-way glass, so fans can see the hitters but the players can't see the fans.

"It's like a sea aquarium," Piniella said.

Though the offense is bearing the brunt of the attack today, we ought to mention the bullpen, since they're featured so prominently in the title and photo of this thread.

Two nights after walking his first two batters and giving up a grand slam to blow one game, Cubs rookie Esmailin Caridad came in Sunday with the bases loaded in the eighth and immediately walked home the go-ahead run in another loss.

I wish there were better news than, "Hold on! Jeff Gray is on the way!" But that's all we've got for now.

Meanwhile, Jeff Gray pitched two scoreless innings for Class AAA Iowa on Saturday and looks healthy again after missing most of spring training because of a groin injury.
Has Lou had enough yet? It looks like he's getting there.


'It's still early in the year,'' Piniella said. ''The one thing that's disappointing to me is we go all spring with very, very few walks. I compliment the pitchers for doing that. And then the season starts, and here come the walks.''

(snip)

''That's why sometimes you look at spring training with a grain of salt,'' Piniella said of evaluating young players. ''You can look at his stuff. You can look at demeanor. You can look at a lot of things. But there's no substitute for when the season starts and it's for real.''


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33 Comments

itsjenjen said:

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I can give the guys a break for not producing much the first time through the order against a pitcher new to the majors. But they wasted a lot of opportunities later on, especially when he started to get wild. As for Jaramillo, a coach is only as good as what he has to work with. What we saw yesterday was like what we saw for a good part of last season.

MN Pat said:

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I'm almost glad that I've had too much homework the past week to pay attention to what's going on with the Cubs. This just makes me sad.

secdelahc said:

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Hallelujah!! I can access LOHO again!! I was so lonely without you guys!

AndCounting said:

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Go Cubs. That is all.

gravedigger said:

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The Cubs are terrible at baseball.

Fixed that for ya.

AndCounting said:

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You say that like you don't enjoy the tasty misery.

gravedigger said:

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So there's no offense and the bullpen is shitastic. This year is different from last year how, exactly?

flyball said:

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is it just me or is this team actually performing worse than even you and I expected

abe frohman said:

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Hold your horses. Don't forget: the Cubs will be in 1st place by May 10, remember? It was in the NEWSPAPER!

gravedigger said:

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I kind of expected rock bottom, but I really did think they might score a few runs.

Also, how surprised wasn't I when they couldn't score more than one fucking run off of a guy who has NEVER PITCHED IN PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL?

abe frohman said:

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I don't think you were not very un-surprised.

secdelahc said:

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Story of our lives, Abe...

secdelahc said:

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Oops, I meant gravedigger, not Abe.

abe frohman said:

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Um . . . they're paying the hitting coach a lot more?

gravedigger said:

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lol, forgot about that. very good investment

FrankS said:

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What I fear is that as this season progresses we are going to look back fondly at 2009 because for 2010 the Cubs are going to be bad, very bad. That $90,000,000 albatross in left field better start hitting or this team might not win 70 games.

flyball said:

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how many games do you think they need to lose before the team has a Marlins style fire sale (only without the World Series ring as a parting gift for all the players)

abe frohman said:

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If I was Tom Ricketts?
Five.

flyball said:

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if wishes were gumdrops and dreams were lollipops we'd all have lots of cavities

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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The only problem is... who takes the bad contracts?

abe frohman said:

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The Orioles always did in the past. I keep hearing what a "respected" GM Jimbo is around MLB. Fire him, some other team will pick him up, and then he can trade for all of "his" guys: Soriano, Theriot, et al.

flyball said:

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could you just trade Hendry, and have like a package deal?

Shanny said:

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plus a bag of balls.... just to sweeten the deal.

Teebob2000 said:

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Oh, yeah - and fucking Soriano too.

JulieDiCaro said:

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At the Rte 59 train station, girding my loins for the obnoxious Cubs fans from the western burbs.

Fontenot gets a lot of all star votes from this crowd. Ugh.

Teebob2000 said:

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Is that for all-star Muppets posing as big-leaguers?

Umbra said:

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Must be fun to judge all those people from your lofty tower. "Ooooh! I have a law degree! Ooooh! I'm a parent! Who let all these hill people on the bus?"

JulieDiCaro said:

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Easy for you to say. I had to ride in with the cast of Jersey Shore x 1000.

summerguy said:

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since soriano hasn't contributed much of anything besides the lone HR... I think I'm not alone in saying he shouldn't be worried about a freaking wall. At least slamming into it would show us he's trying out there

jarowcliffe said:

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If he had hit the wall it would at least be a hit...he cant hit a baseball so he may as well hit a wall

DustyBaylor said:

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Wait....girding your what for who now?? I never get to use that expression....

secdelahc said:

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So, Doug Davis has a 9.00 ERA. The Cubs should be able to get some hits, right? Right?!?!

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