A League of Her Own

Chicago Cubs Thursday Headlines: Silva Delivers Cubs unto Victory


Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune

Of all the wacky things that have transpired so far this year, the most shocking is probably the resurgence of one Carlos Silva. Remember when we were hoping he'd come nowhere near the mound at Wrigley this summer? Now we're praying for his turn in the rotation.

"I feel good," the 31-year-old Silva said. "I feel good not only because I'm 4-0. I feel like I've helped my team, like I'm helping my team right now. I feel good because I feel like I am somebody now."

Silva came to the Cubs last December in the trade for Milton Bradley. He says the good feeling started almost immediately.

"My first year with Seattle was very tough," he said of a 4-15 campaign. "I lost my confidence last year. This year, when I came to the Cub fest (Cubs fan convention), when I got the opportunity to be with the fans and everybody with the coaches and the way they were talking to me, it's like they made me feel like I had a great year.

"Especially the coaching staff in spring training, everybody was talking to me like, 'Oh, we're so happy you're here. We're glad that you're here.' They made it sound like I had a really great year in Seattle. That will give me a lot of confidence. I can say, 'Oh, they're counting on me.' "


In other good news, Starlin Castro wasn't booed on Wednesday. Maybe with fan favorite Ryan Theriot on his side, Cubs fans will give him a chance to play without being booed for every mistake.

Theriot said Cubs fans should cut Castro some slack.

"I couldn't imagine being a shortstop in Chicago at 20 years old," he said. "It was hard enough being a shortstop at Louisiana State University at 20, much less the Chicago Cubs.

"There's only one way you can go, and that's up. He's young and very, very talented, and he works hard. You just help him as much as you can. We're here to do one thing, and that's to win ballgames."

Jim Hendry wants to reassure you that he's not worried about the Cubs' start this year.

"Unfortunately, obviously, Aramis and Derrek are off to tough starts," Hendry said before Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Florida Marlins. "You'd like to think they're going to get back to their old selves. Hopefully, that one or two good games will get them going.

"I think we're 13-4 when we just score 4 runs or more. Offensively, we're certainly much better than 2 to 3 runs a game. We're in a funk. There's nothing you do about it except fight your way out of it. I don't think any of us would think we should be 5 or 6 games under .500. Nobody expected that. Nobody saw it coming."

Hendry was quick to say the Cubs have the right field manager in Lou Piniella.

"We just got to get through it," Hendry said. "We've been there before. Lou's the right guy to bring us out of it. The staff is working hard. There's nothing wrong with the coaching staff. Nobody can tell me we don't have good enough position players to swing the bat better than we have."


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58 Comments

AndCounting said:

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At what point do we think of a new nickname for Silva, or do we just stick with "Fail Whale" for the pleasant irony?

Cubs Psychologist said:

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I still like Orca. If it ain't broke (he's 4-0), don't fix it. Keep on with the nicknames.

plamorte said:

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I think someone pointed this out yesterday on here or on Twitter but Orca had 9 ER in his previous 10 IP before yesterday's start. I'd love love love for him to keep up his great start but I think a regression is coming.

AndCounting said:

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Oh, it's coming. His pitches have a curious habit of going to the warning track to die. At some point they'll find the bleachers and/or Waveland. But I think he's at least earned an "okay, you don't totally suck" nickname.

plamorte said:

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Yea, even he doesn't win a game the rest of the year, he has exceeded everyone's expectations. Maybe instead of Orca we upgrade him to something less insulting and more menacing like "Delphinapterus leucas" aka the Beluga Whale

Umbra said:

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It's already happened. Silva's HR/FB ratio was a very low 5% to begin the year. Since moving Zambrano to the bullpen, Silva has let up 5 HRs on 37 FBs, putting the HR/FB ratio for the season at a much more normal 10%.

Since April 21:
Carlos Zambrano: 7.2 IP, ERA of 3.52, Average Leverage Index of 1.06

Carlos Silva: 29.1 IP, ERA of 4.60, Average Leverage Index of 1.03

I WOULD LIKE TO REITERATE HOW STUPID THE CUBS ARE.

Teebob2000 said:

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With all due respect, "blah blah blah". He's 4-and-0.

People, let's celebrate what "is" shall we? Deal's already a win for us.

And why the juvenile fixation on the guy's size?? Yeah, he's an XXL or XXXL or whatever. Get past it. Geez.

flyball said:

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I think we should call him Big Deal, but in a good way

Doc said:

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I came up with Orca...and I'm sticking with it.

flyball said:

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as I don't believe I've ever used that nickname I feel no need to keep it

plamorte said:

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Are just now pointing out our juvenile tendencies? Do you not read this blog everyday?!?!

gravedigger said:

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Don't think the point is to demean Silva, but to point out that Zambrano, according to the stats Umbra showed, has been in the same ballpark as Silva. Zambrano should be in the rotation. The Cubs are stupid.

And, well, the fixation on his size is because fat=funny. May not be right, but most of us are on our way to hell anyway. I'm the co-pilot on that plane.

plamorte said:

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I'm in first class.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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First glass with gasoline boxers on!!

Edelweiss said:

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The guy pictured on todays blog gets a lot of picking on because of his size, but he seems to be resigned to it. At least you used a picture where he had his proper protective gear on. I wonder if he knows how that grand slam photo turned out.

gravedigger said:

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I left a comment in the other post, but I relaly don't think that's his junk...

millertime said:

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It's true. I saw this fat guy the other day, it was great.

Nothing better than watching a fat guy get robbed.

Also, if the Cubs actually think that having Zambrano in the bullpen while leaving Silva and Wells in the rotation is a good idea, they are all kinds of dumb.

It's moves like that that keep the Cubs from winning the world series in 100 years.

gravedigger said:

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I've never agreed with a comment from top to bottom more than this one.

AndCounting said:

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We're trying to get past it. But we're stuck!!!

Perkins said:

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Right now, Silva is outpitching his peripherals by quite a bit. His batted ball stats (GB/FB, IFFB%) are actually worse than his career norms. So far, he's been lucky, but that won't hold. He's doing what Jason Marquis did for the first couple of months of 2007; the bed-shitting to come will be equally epic.

Doc said:

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I've said all this before...at the time of his demotion, (with the exception of Lilly who was still hurt), Zambrano was the worst starter on the staff to this point in the season. And because of the fact that there were too many lefties in the bullpen, that left the choice to being Silva, Dempster, Wells or Zambrano. Based on their performances to that point, Zambrano, to me, was the right choice.

Based on what I've seen from Z out of the pen, I don't see any reason to change that right now. Starting pitching is not a problem for this team....and unless you are upset about the fact that Z's bat is not in the line up, then there shouldn't be anything to complain about with this move.

And with Z demoted, the bullpen has actually started to look much better.

The starting pitching has not suffered much since Z was demoted.

Umbra said:

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I think you're being inconsistent. If moving Zambrano to the bullpen is warranted because of his performance to that point compared with Silva, and Zambrano has outperformed Silva since then, why isn't a switch warranted now?

You could say that the switch won't make much difference and is outweighed by the transition costs of re-stretching out Zambrano and getting Silva bullpen ready.

Before April 21, the starters ERA was 3.49. Since then, it is 4.44.

Before April 21, the bullpen ERA was 6.14. Since then, it is 4.30.

The team ERA has remained almost exactly constant: 4.39 before, to 4.40 after.

gravedigger said:

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Also, this is just retarded, because Z would turn it around. For fuck's sake, he's one of the best in the league. This really makes me irate, and makes me want to see this team lose.

Can you believe this? I was actually upset when they won last night.

Perkins said:

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I was too. I've been rooting against them since they moved Zambrano to the bullpen.

Doc said:

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I think you are being inconsistent...

Your last statement says so...the team ERA hasn't changed...the bullpen, which was a serious problem, has been fixed for the time being, so why switch players from one roll to another and not have them prepared for the role they are involved in?

The rotation IS NOT A PROBLEM! So the ERA went up a little bit. Big deal...it's still not bad and the truth is, most of that was due to Randy Wells performance last week.

Speaking of Wells...why not send him to the bullpen? His ERA since April 21st is 6.26!!!!

Umbra said:

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You should not be surprised that the bullpen is fixed. If Carlos Silva had gone to the pen, it would have been fixed too- both he and Zambrano are better than Jeff Samardzija. Switching pitchers again keeps the bullpen fixed.

You justified the decision to send Zambrano to the bullpen on the basis of his performance. If he outperforms Randy Wells and Carlos Silva, why can't the same method you used to send Zambrano to the pen be used to send Wells or Silva there now?

Doc said:

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The reason is because nothing is broken right now.

Doc said:

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Um...let me just correct that a bit...nothing, pitching-wise, is broken right now.

millertime said:

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Except for the fact that silva is broken. All signs point to both Silva and Wells pitching worse. It doesn't matter how good the Bull-pen is if the starter lets up 5 runs in 5 innings start after start.

I want the best pitchers pitching the most innings, and Zambrano is the best, or close to the best, pitcher on the team. Certainly better than Silva and Wells.

Doc said:

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You need to have a larger sample size than 2 less than good starts by Silva and one bad start by Wells before you can say that they are broken.

At the same time, the Cubs probably needed a larger sample size before determining that Z should go to the bullpen. But he's there now. The bullpen is ok (not great).

And Zambrano may be the best or near the best pitcher on the team based on career stats, but he has not been this season.

gravedigger said:

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I'm glad Hendry's not worried. Hope he enjoys unemployment.

Doc said:

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He's getting close to that point...he's getting real close.

gravedigger said:

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I've always been his biggest fan/apologist here, but this is getting ridiculous.

AndCounting said:

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What exactly is getting ridiculous? The calling up of players who can play or the acquisition of players who are doing better than we thought they would?

I'm confused.

gravedigger said:

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Allowing his best pitcher to be in the bullpen? Configuring a bullpen two years in a row composed of mostly rookies and totally of inadequate players? Of moving way too late to address major black holes in the lineup?

AndCounting said:

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Zambrano really isn't the best pitcher, but he's probably second best . . . his being in the bullpen is high idiocy, though. Most bullpens are mostly rookies/young guys/not very good pitchers. Not sure who the great bullpen candidates were. Jose Contreras? Didn't hear a lot of overjoyed support for him, though he's doing fine in Philly. Matt Capps would have been nice to pick up, but he apparently really wanted to stay a closer. And where are the black holes in the lineup? Are you suggesting he should have acted sooner to replace . . . Lee and Ramirez? Because those are the only two everyday players hitting below .300.

gravedigger said:

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The last criticism was more about last season. And I'm sorry, but *ANYFUCKINGBODY* would have been better than Smardsjiazaliak and Grabow.

AndCounting said:

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To quote Nic Cage in Honeymoon in Vegas, "Hey, I KNOW that now! Okay!?!"

Yeah, you can say anyone could have done better than how they have, but you can't claim you saw it coming, not unless the rest (or even the majority) of your doom-and-gloom predictions also came true. A lot of us expected Smudge & Grabow to suck . . . and Silva and Byrd and Wells and Gorz and Fontenot and Soriano and Soto and everyone else in the bullpen. I don't see how Hendry's job should be on the line because 20% of fan skepticism turned out to be right. Unless people were sounding the alarm that Lee and Ramirez should have been traded or that Grabow, F7, and Berg would suck, I don't see any of the naysayers as all that prescient.

gravedigger said:

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I will say this: I call for Lee to be traded every off season. Not because I don't like him or would predict his terrible season, it's just because it usually pisses someone off and doing that to people sometimes humors me.

AndCounting said:

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I can't argue with that. Predicting baseball is very hit-or-miss. Irritating people always delivers.

Edelweiss said:

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I don't know anything, and was not told anything, but I think Theriot may be traded. He is saying all the right things, but he resents Castro's call-up. He is worth more as trade bait than little Mikey, but he is not performing any better.
In almost twice as many at bats, he has about the same number of extra base hits and RBIs as Pocket Rocket (now we know how he got that nickname.) His batting average is a bit better, and he has a few stolen bases, but his stats are better for him than for the team, as he steals in high run games, not the close ones. The Cubs have Darwin Barney, who could back up short and second cheaply, and Baker is now the backup at the corners. A starting shortstop who bats .333 can bring good trade value. If Castro sticks, there really is no room for Theriot.

Dmband said:

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Great start for Silva. I still think his Mom finally being in the US has a lot to do with it. Call me crazy, but I think these players tend to bring their personal stuff to the park far much more than we know.

--MGb said:

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Good point. Look at Dempster last year with his daughter. Once she got out of the hospital, it was off to the races.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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Same with D-Lee. Now, let's see if he can awake from his slumber.

Doc said:

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So do we know where Aramis's mother is right now? Maybe that's the problem.

secdelahc said:

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Do we need to hire a PI?

JulieDiCaro said:

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That may be true, but it's stupid. These are grown men. I would like nothing better than to have my daddy sitting at counsel table with me every time I have to do something scary in court, but generally, having your parents go to work with you is frowned upon once you get over the age of 10.

gravedigger said:

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Uh, really? Mom and I are going to have to have an awkward conversation pretty soon then...

flyball said:

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but taking out a major source of worry I completely understand

also most of us get to choose the basic region we live in, some choose to live near family, some choose to live 1000 miles away, but they are more or less told what city they will be living in

having a family member close by, maybe it keeps them grounded, or out of trouble, or just to have someone to talk to, I get it

JulieDiCaro said:

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i would deal with being told where i was going to live a lot better if i got paid $3 million a year.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Hallelujah--court is over for the week. Where's my booze?

flyball said:

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sorry, you weren't around, and school wasn't going so well, so I made myself a drink, or 2, or you know all

my bad

gravedigger said:

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seriously... i havent had a drink in 5 days (this is me practicing for AA) and i'm sitting at my desk thinking "this diet pepsi just doesn't taste right without bacardi"

secdelahc said:

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It's been weird for me, too. I haven't had a drink in a week, which is when I got home from school. My liver is loving me this week, as compared to the past year.

baturkey said:

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I forget what show I was watching where a character referred to orange juice as a "virgin screwdriver" and I started laughing.

gravedigger said:

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As I am a pretty uncreative person, I'm going to have to use that.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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I had my fair share of drinks last weekend. I finally earned that Ph.D. (Piled Higher and Deeper). I realized why I don't drink that often.

ningximin said:

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Great start for Silva

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