A League of Her Own

Chicago Cubs Wednesday Headlines: Whither Offense?

Cubs Pitcher Dempster Throws Against Brewers

If the Cubs could ever manage to get the offense and pitching going at the same time, I would really appreciate it.

PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs were looking to get over the .500 mark for the first time in 2010 with Ryan Dempster on the mound against Pittsburgh.

"We've been there (three) different times and we've fallen back," manager Lou Piniella said. "The way we've been playing lately, the way we've been swinging the bats, hopefully this is a time where we can have a good road trip and get above .500 and go forward."

But the Pirates won the opener 3-2 on Ryan Church's two-out, two-run home run off Dempster in the sixth. The Cubs stranded 12 base-runners and got only a pair of solo home runs by Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto.

Not only is Alfonso Soriano's bat telling us all where to go, it's also coming dangerously close to setting records:

PITTSBURGH -- Alfonso Soriano homered for the fourth straight game Tuesday night at PNC Park and could tie the all-time franchise record if he hits one Wednesday.

Hack Wilson, Ryne Sandberg and Sammy Sosa are the only Cubs with home runs in five consecutive games, giving Soriano something to shoot for.

Is Soriano's resurgence a byproduct of his work with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, or does he just have more confidence at the plate?

"I would think you get yourself in bad habits, bad habits allow you not to be too successful, not being too successful makes you lose confidence, so they're all inner-related," manager Lou Piniella said. "But I think it all starts with the mechanics and escalates from there."

Soriano hit his seventh home run in the fourth off Paul Maholm with no one on base. He came to the plate against reliever Evan Meek with two on in the seventh and the Cubs trailing by a run, but struck out after Meek had fallen behind 3-0.

Overall, Piniella said he sees a new Soriano who is more patient at the plate.

"The four at-bats he had Sunday (against Arizona) were the best four at-bats he has had in one game since I can't remember," Piniella said. "Not only did he hit the ball hard and hit the ball for power, but he laid off pitches, he worked the count ...

Speaking of Cubs and records and rare air and all that good stuff, the Hawk reported to the HOF for orientation, where he met his RA, checked out the campus with his family, and played with his phone during a mandatory lecture on date rape:

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Andre Dawson gripped one of the bats Babe Ruth used 80 years ago. He admired the quality of the wood and the lightness of the Bambino's prolific offensive weapon.

"I could have swung this," Dawson proclaimed with a wide smile.

Dawson soaked in the joy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum with the wonderment of a child Tuesday, enjoying a low-key private tour with his wife, Vanessa, in advance of his July 25 induction.

Erik Strohl, the hall's senior director, guided the tour that included seeing the plaques of fellow former Cubs Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Ryne Sandberg.

"They really do look like the players," Dawson observed, before gazing at the empty space where his plaque will be situated in two months. "Is mine going to be with or without a mustache?"

Terrifyingly, Bruce Miles warns us that Lou is considering tinkering with the lineup (again), in an attempt to get Rami going:

The Cubs must get Ramirez going if they're going to win consistently.

"Either that, or I'm going to have to get him out of the middle part of the lineup," Piniella said. "I've been thinking of moving (Alfonso) Soriano up a little. We'll see what happens with that."

Ramirez said he will go along with whatever Piniella does.

"He's the manager; you've got to ask that question to him," Ramirez said. "I just react. Wherever he wants me to hit, I hit. I can't control that. I don't care. Like I say, I'm going to try to do my best wherever I hit."

When asked if he has spotted anything with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, Ramirez replied: "Right now, no. Everything. I'm late on the fastball, early on the breaking ball.

OMG Lou, why would you do ANYTHING with Soriano right now? We all know how sensitive he is to changes in the batting order. . .  just leave him be.

I note that there's still chatter about Ramirez being later on fastballs, etc. Back when I was a gymnast/diver, I would sometimes confuse the ceiling and the floor when spinning fast in a tight ball. Obviously, landing upside down on your head (on the floor) or on your stomach (in the water) is less-the-an-optimal result. To combat this, our coaches used to stand on the side of the mat/pool and yell "het!" or "kick!" to let us know when to open up and land.

Maybe Rudy could do something similiar with Rami? Stand in the batters' box and yell "swing!" at the right time?

Don't look at me like that. Nothing else is working!

Moving on, we'll give Alan Trammell the last word this morning, as he remembers broadcasting legend Ernie Harwell:

PITTSBURGH _ As you probably know by now, legendary Detroit Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell died today at age 92. Ernie, whose voice carried a charming Southern lilt, delighted listeners for decades. Cubs bench coach Alan Trammell played for the Tigers from 1977-96 and managed them from 2003-05.

"I'm going to say it with a smile, because I'm not smiling inside," Tram said after tonight's ballgame. "I think we all know where he's heading. What a gentleman. What a great person. It's a sad day for baseball, not just for people in Detroit or Michigan. He treated everybody with a quality that very few have, or had, everybody the same, whether you're the president or somebody on the street. That's a quality not too many people have."

Tram said he'll remember an appearance he made with Ernie this past December "that we can look back on very fondly. He was very sharp. But I did hear of late that his health was declining and he was ready. I think we all know where he's going. Sorely missed. A lot of people will be mourning, but he didn't want any of us feeling that way. Great life. Ninety-two years old, and I think we all would hope that we can live that long. He did it with class, with dignity. It's sad. We shed a tear tonight, that's for sure, and probably in a few days when we hear what the arrangements are going to be. Great man."

RIP Ernie.

 


Recommended

[?]

Recent Posts

Subscribe

Leave a comment

67 Comments

gravedigger said:

user-pic

yeah, remember how soriano wasn't hitting before moving down? seriously, don't fuck with it.

kiwibob said:

user-pic

I'm fascinated by how sensitive he is to any change whatsoever.
If all the planets align in the right positions, the Knee-O-Meter twitches to the right setting and sunspot activity is at a minimum, then he goes on the hottest hot streak ever.
Those moments when he steps out of the batter's box and calls time?
He's been distracted by an earth tremor in Peru...

Anything can disturb this balance. We need to just hold our breath and hope like hell it lasts a bit longer.

JulieDiCaro said:

user-pic

Remember the time his argument for staying in the leadoff spot was that he was "thrown off" if he came up to bat and someone was standing on base?

Yeah . . . just leave him alone, Lou.

Teebob2000 said:

user-pic

And we see now Soriano was 1000% wrong about his position in the line-up. He's whacking the cover off the ball in his current spot.

How many times lately have we had something going in an inning, and then Rami comes up to the plate: what's your reaction and what's the outcome? "Oh shit," and typically not good recently. As Bob said on the teevee, you pitch to him like he's hitting .150 not like he's Aramis Ramirez. You don't put a .150 hitter in the 5-hole; just ask celler-dweller Fontenot last season. And you don't put a .300 hitter in the 8-hole; just ask Soto this season (or in 2008).

I love Rami as much as the next guy (or gal), but it's hard to justify keeping him in that spot in the current situation. If Soriano is really a big concern, move Soto to 5, keep Sori at 6 and move Rami (sorry, Rami) to 8.

Cubs Psychologist said:

user-pic

Has Lou not heard of the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?" I'm guessing he is trying to produce consistency in producing runs (18 LOB last night), but moving Sori is NOT the answer.

JulieDiCaro said:

user-pic

Well, Rami is broke . . . but I don't see how breaking Fonzie makes things better.

Cubs Psychologist said:

user-pic

True. Plus, Lou knows how sensitive he is about moving around in the lineup. It's almost like birthorder among children, depending on where you fall impacts your confidence.

Umbra said:

user-pic

I don't think moving Soriano around in the order will affect how he plays. Even if Soriano were to look me in the face and tell me that it does affect him, I don't think he's correct.

It's a very simple game: see the ball, hit the ball. The individual incentives and risks and rewards may change due to the score of the game, if there are runners in scoring position, how many pitches have already been thrown, the ability of the people batting after you, etc., but don't over-think it! See the ball, hit the ball.

JulieDiCaro said:

user-pic

I agree with this 100%. Except that I don't think Fonzie agrees with it. I was lucky enough to be in a batting cage with Billy Williams once, and he said the exact same thing: "The secret to hitting . . . see the ball and hit it."

Unfortunately, baseball players are notorious for over-thinking EVERYTHING.

gravedigger said:

user-pic

Also, "terrifyingly" is an excellent adjective. Or is that an adverb? I'm too hungover to tell.

gravedigger said:

user-pic

well, it is describing "tells," right? that would make it an adverb.

Little Bear said:

user-pic

Adverb

thisyearcub said:

user-pic

Classy touch on the banner. RIP Ernie, indeed. With him gone and Bob Uecker sidelined with heart surgery, all I have left is Vin Scully.

plamorte said:

user-pic

Vin has been dead for two decades, you must have mistaken his robotic replacement for him. I kid. It's probably blasphemous to even joke about Vin, Dodgers fan or not. At least we still have Dick Clark, though I miss the good old days when he could count(down) to(from) 10.

Teebob2000 said:

user-pic

I catch every Dodger game I can on DirecTV JUST to listen to Vin Scully. Don't know who you're listening to, but he's quite alive and still the best one calling games, IMO. Nobody better.

plamorte said:

user-pic

poking fun of his age, not his performance in the booth.

gravedigger said:

user-pic

i find him boring. and no, im not joking.

Teebob2000 said:

user-pic

You should listen to him when you're sober; you'll probably have a more positive reaction.

JulieDiCaro said:

user-pic

when Colin was a baby who NEVER-EVER slept, Vin kept me company many a night when I was up into the wee hours.

i

secdelahc said:

user-pic

Agreed. I noticed the banner and thought it was a great touch.

JulieDiCaro said:

user-pic

that was all Abe.

Dmband said:

user-pic

Is it just me or does ARAM not only look bad at the plate, he just looks bad in general. He constantly looks tired or sick or something. I dont know, he just isnt right.

I hate to recommend this, but they may want to consider sitting him for an extended period of time...perhaps a few weeks.

Cubs Psychologist said:

user-pic

Do we send him down for "rehab?" He does look bad, physically. You have to wonder how all of this is impacting his confidence.

JulieDiCaro said:

user-pic

Agree.

I know the Cubs would never consider it, but sending him to Iowa for a couple of weeks to get some ABs out of the glare of the spotlight might not be the worst thing in the world.

One thing we know about Rami is that he's best when he's flying under the radar. Right now, he's a big, fat, blob right in the middle of the radar.

He needs a break.

J Pep said:

user-pic

How about all those innings Big Z is racking up. WTF

Eric From The Dugs said:

user-pic

We seem to be either scoring a ton of runs or down by 1 or 2 lately. Both situations aren't a typical spot for your setup guy.

The couple of times we've put him in though, Lou seems open minded to the concept of leaving him in for more than 3 outs, so comparatively he'd be a harder worker than other setup guys.

But, I agree. It's worrisome that a starter that's used to being stretched out a bit isn't getting consistent work.

summerguy said:

user-pic

Ok... But Ramirez is absolutely KILLING us in the cleanup spot. How many times has he come up in situations where a base hit would put us ahead and he does not come through? Pretty much every goddamn time.

Ok so don't put Soriano there... How about this:

Theriot-Fukudome-Lee-Byrd-Soto-Soriano-Ramirez-Fontenot-Pitcher

Soto has been an on-base machine mainly because the opposing pitcher is not giving him anything to hit. If they continue with that approach, they are gonna be screwed while Soriano is on this hot streak. It would be perfect to bat Soto ahead of him and Ramirez near the bottom until he shows us that he can hit a fucking meatball. So far this year he has struck out or choked on every mistake pitch made by opposing pitchers. Sickening.

plamorte said:

user-pic

I'm really not a fan of moving guys when they get hot. Seems mentally tasking, moving Sori and Soto would put pressure on them and then they get cold and then everyone will be screaming for their benching. Leave Byrd 4th and let Rami work it out in the 5th spot. He's been too consistent for too long to be this bad all year. He'll come around just like Soto and Sori did.

kiwibob said:

user-pic

I agree ARam is killing us in the 4 or, more recently, 5 holes. He's either got to sit for a while and work on it or move down in the order. That was a very winnable game they just dropped and you only get to drop a handful of those in a season if you want to compete.

(And, come to think of it, the Cubs have probably already used up their allowance of winnable games you can drop if you still want to compete.... they really can't afford to fritter many more away just so Aramis can try and work things out in game situations in his normal line up spot)

summerguy said:

user-pic

Now I don't know how sitting Ramirez is going to help him much, I do agree he should work through it... on the other hand, maybe giving him a game off a series in favor of Tracy until he shows he will produce may at least savage some form of offense we could be producing.

kiwibob said:

user-pic

I'm as flummoxed as Aramis obviously is... I don't know whether sitting for a bit and getting him to work on stuff with our new guru (if he's not actually doing that... and the interview between Rudi and Ron on the pre-game yesterday almost hinted he may not be) would actually help him.
It might help the Cubs though, who've lost more games through lack of offense and timely hitting than they have through pigpen implosions....

Teebob2000 said:

user-pic

I posted almost exactly that above. Didn't read down this far first, sorry. But suffice it to say, you're absolutely correct.

summerguy said:

user-pic

I don't get why managers are so hesitant to move a struggling player down in the order. Guys in the 3,4,5 spot are going to be placed in positions to drive in runs because those 1,2 guys are usually good OBP guys.. therefore you want your guys who are producing in those spots. You do NOT want someone who is struggling in those spots to be "working things out" there because you are effectively KILLING rallies on a daily basis about 3 times a day.

kiwibob said:

user-pic

And the frustrating thing is, if those rallies had a decent chance to develop instead of being killed it would be unlikely we'd be discussing a team that is one game under .500.

JulieDiCaro said:

user-pic

Works for me.

Marlon Byrd should absolutely be in the cleanup spot. See graphic to go with tonight's game thread *hee hee*.

Eric From The Dugs said:

user-pic

I'd be fine with this.

One minor tweak I'd consider is going Byrd-Soto-Lee 3-4-5. I like to see someone that can run well in the 3 hole, kind of as a table setter of the big bats. Lee's a decent runner but a) if it came down to it, I bet Byrd beats him in a foot race and b) Lee's not exactly tearing the cover off the ball either.

secdelahc said:

user-pic

Ernie Harwell was a class act. I didn't really understand how great radio broadcasters could be until I moved to Michigan and got to listen to him. Before mlb.tv and Gameday audio, when the Cubs weren't on, we had Ernie. I'll forever be a Cubs fan, but Ernie Harwell made me appreciate that you don't have to see the game to know what's happening and how beautiful this game is.

RIP Ernie.

Doc said:

user-pic

The Cubs should bat Ramirez leadoff. That will solve all of our problems.

Teebob2000 said:

user-pic

You mean to get him out of the way first so he doesn't make the 3rd out with men in scoring position AGAIN, right?

Doc said:

user-pic

Exactly.

JulieDiCaro said:

user-pic

This is why we should be running the Cubs.

Doc said:

user-pic

Of all the players I thought might have stuggled this year, Ramirez was probably at the bottom of that list. Absolutely baffling.

Eric From The Dugs said:

user-pic

Nah. I remember 2 years now where Rami was struggling in April, saying he was trying to do to much with it. He welcomed his early season injuries because they slowed down his swing and made it more natural, rather than a motion intended to hit the ball into the lake.

It looks like he's trying to do too much again. It's the Zambrano opening day syndrome where he's trying to throw a no hitter out of the gate.

Dmband said:

user-pic

ARAM is either favoring his shoulder because it hurts or favoring his shoulder because he is completely freaked out about seperating it again.

Im convinced he's not 100%.

Dmband said:

user-pic

Cubs Psychologist-

I dont think you send him down.....I think you sit him, I really dont know what to do...

As far as the confidence, you're probably more qualified for that response :)

JulieDiCaro said:

user-pic

what good does sitting him do? he's just going to sit there and wallow and get all upset and nervous.

send him to Iowa for a couple of games. let him work through it outside the glare of the spotlight.

Cubs Psychologist said:

user-pic

On my HS team, our leadoff hitter went through a horrible slump. It became so bad that he almost lost his starting job, until coach made a decision. Let him start two JV games. He started to see the ball hit the bat and remembered what it felt like. Most importantly, he remembered that he had the ability to make that happen. He came back and earned a full-ride to a D-I school. Sometimes you just need a reminder that you can do things....such as hit the damn ball.

thisyearcub said:

user-pic

The answer is quite simple, guys and gals: Send Ramirez to the bullpen. He can hang out with Z and warm him up or something. SUCCESS!

Dmband said:

user-pic

My suggestion on sitting him is based 100% on the assumption (for which I have no evidence) that he is not right, physically.

But Im with you guys, if its strickly a mental or hitting issue, then yes, sometime where he can experience some level of success might work..

But I maintain he physically looks bad...like something is wrong.

FrankS said:

user-pic

Are you recommending putting him on the DL? That's about the only way they could send him to Iowa or Tennessee, on a rehabilitation assignment. Otherwise I think Aram would have to pass through waivers and I'm sure that somebody would claim him.

Dmband said:

user-pic

correction "strictly"

Doc said:

user-pic

Sounds like those assholes in the Seattle media are trying to stir up trouble and have plotted against Milton Bradley...

Bradley left team after striking out with bases loaded.

The reader comments are so funny. You'd think you were in a time machine reading something from last year!

JulieDiCaro said:

user-pic

what a fruitcake. he seriously needs to be medicated. he couldn't get along with the dalai lama.

Doc said:

user-pic

Well, the truth is, Julie, the Dalai Lama is a jerk, and he's out to get Milton because he's racist.

Doc said:

user-pic

I'm sure the Dalai Lama will forgive me for saying that about him.

Karen said:

default userpic local-auth auth-type-mt

This was my favorite comment...from the Seattle Times story.

"And you all said my man, the 2010 CY Young Winner Silva was the problem! Look at who you traded him for!"

Doc said:

user-pic

BAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

I know the season is early and they could still turn thing around out there, but Seattle pretty much changed everything about their team this past season except for their ballpark and Ken Griffey Jr....and they still have the same problems as they did last year.

Dmband said:

user-pic

FrankS-

15 Day DL....again though only if something is physically wrong...

Do you guys see what Im talking about though...he looks extremely sick or tired or like he's in pain....maybe Im wrong..it just seems that way...

Cubs Psychologist said:

user-pic

15 Day DL. I do see what you are talking about. He doesn't seem like himself. I vote they send him to TN. He would be only 3 hours from the house. Road trip!! Like Julie said, give him to opportunity to fix things out of the spotlight.

Dmband said:

user-pic

Nothing Milton does would shock me at this point...he could literally come crashing into the stadium in a man made helicopter suit and it wouldnt shock me.

plamorte said:

user-pic

Speaking of ex-Cubs, look at bad ass Farnsworth at ESPN: http://bit.ly/cOgjJ1

Doc said:

user-pic

I'd love to have him back on the team...he can take up a roster spot...only let him pitch in blow out games...otherwise, just have him sit on the bench given mean looks to the players on the other team. I think it would be well worth the roster spot.

plamorte said:

user-pic

sorry its an insider story, i uploaded the pics for your "pleasure"

http://yfrog.com/e80503farnsj
http://yfrog.com/cb0503farns2j

Eric From The Dugs said:

user-pic

When asked to comment, Kyle replied, "I have a tattoo of a jet."

"On my midsection."

And then he punched me.

baturkey said:

user-pic

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NZ5_5wPE0M

"It was Wilson that went out to get Farnsworth. Big mistake."

kiwibob said:

user-pic

Still in my top five favourite moments ever....

Leave a Comment?

Some HTML is permitted: a, strong, em

What your comment will look like:

said:

what will you say?

Most Active Pages Right Now

ChicagoNow.com on Facebook

A League of Her Own on Facebook

A League of Her Own - A Chicago Cubs Blog on Facebook