Third verse. Same as the first. Brewers 3, Cubs 1.

The Cubs sent out their best pitcher in an attempt to end a 5 game losing streak against the Brewers. And Jeff Samardzija responded. However, the offense didn’t get the memo and stayed in stasis. So when the Cubs defense went green for an inning in the 7th, the Cubs were somewhat helpless and drifted into the night a 3-1 loser. The outcome was the same but there were some things that definitely gave a clue towards next year. And maybe even some short-term thoughts as well. So give me the beat boys and free my soul, let’s get lost in this rock n’ roll and drift away…




I seem to be writing the same review when Jeff Samrdzija throws for the Cubs. But it’s a good review. And the hope is that we’re consistently writing good reviews. So I don’t mind saying that Shark was dealing. While he wasn’t dominant (7 hits in 7 innings is a tad high for him.) Shark has shown incredible poise. Both short term in getting out of jams, and long term rebounding from bad starts. Samardzija struck out ten while not walking a single Brewer. Yes a throwing error of his helped lead to a run, but Shark put up a sparkling performance that I now am expecting from him. And when you consider how fellow reliever turn starter Daniel Bard fizzled and popped, and how in spring training we all had him pegged as Shawn Camp, that’s remarkable.  Manny Corpas Manny Corpas and Jeff Russell Greek chorused the game out…




Since we’re already looking towards next year, let me throw this out. I believe the first move Jed and Theo will make is to sign a veteran catcher. This will serve two purposes. One, it will help settle down what will be a young and probably inexperienced staff. And it will serve as a big brother/teacher/mentor to Wellington Castillo, who is in need of some serious teaching. He has a cannon for an arm but his footwork is sloppy. He also can frame pictures better and he gets unfocused at times. Jose Molina, Miguel Olivo, someone in that range. Cost obviously won’t be a factor. But mentoring Castillo is a must next year.




So dale can send a statement tomorrow if he wants to. I’d be totally cool with it. Luis Valbuena cannot miss that ball. CAN. NOT. He can sit. Castillo can’t be that shaky when he’s the hub of the defense. Just can’t. Now, maybe Clevenger and Vitters are playing anyway and it’s all moot. But the team let down their pitcher tonight. And there should be consequences and repercussions for doing that.


The last game of this series is tomorrow and personally, I wish it started at 10 a.m.  The sooner it’s over with the better. The Brewers obviously have some kind of Hogwarts spell over the Cubs and I really just want it to stop.  I’m more than willing to take on the West leading Giants than play this ultra-mediocre Brewer team. It’s gotten that silly.  Brooks Raley takes the bump against Shawn Marcum. See you tomorrow afternoon.


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  • fb_avatar

    Glad they reversed the error call. That would have been a terrible way to lose the streak. (Let's be honest, Barney's defense at second has been the one thing truly great about this team.)

  • During the next 2-3 years they are going to need a few veterans
    each year to help settle the young players down. Catcher is
    a very key position and needs a leader for the young pitching
    staff. I hope Stewart can help at 3rd

  • I don't know about Stewart. I'd like to think they can do better. He's a nice fall back. I haven't even looked at the FA list or looked around at trade candidates. I'm not willing to chalk up the entire performance- the low BA, the enormous amount of K's, solely on the wrist.

    I just think the Theocrats can wrap up catcher quick. So that's my guess as to their first move.

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    In reply to felzz:

    Just to make that trade look even worse: D.J. LeMahieu is starting to hit.

  • Beef's issues behind the plate have been obvious for a while. What I'm not seeing is any progress on any of it. That's what is frustrating. I'm also really starting to second guess his baseball IQ may have a low ceiling.

    Does anyone know who calls the pitches? Is that discussed pre-game meetings and then it's Beef's show to call or is he taking signs from the dugout?... Bueller? That 3-1 belt high fastball to the #8 hitter is ridiculous, especially when 1B is open and your infield is in for the runner on 3B. Also, Wood did a good job busting Aramis on his hands last night. Brenly talked about this. But I didn't see Shark come in on him at all. Was he not able to command it tonight or was it (I suspect) just not being called?....

    I think Beef is fine with Shark and Garza next year. They've got the stuff to survive a few blunders.... But this finesse "pitch to contact" guys we've got competing for the other spots right now will get killed if Beef doesn't learn how to get them some close calls, etc...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I believe the calls come from the dugout and at any rate, I'm pretty sure nobody called a letter high 88 mph fastball. That's on Wood. He's been leaving balls up in the zone all year.

  • I also think that, with exception of course, catchers really need to grow into the role. granted, a Pudge Rodriguez or a Benito Santiago might be all-star caliber when they arrive but most struggle their first few years. Jason Varitek really struggled. Charles johnson was toolsy as hell but really raw when he first started with the Marlins. brian mcCann wasn't totally solid... list goes on. Castillo might not have made marked improvement but he's still in his infancy as a major league catcher.

  • Thanks, Felzz. Of the catchers you named, Olivo has the experience, but never was known for his glove. Humberto Quintero did a decent job for the Royals earlier this year, but was released when Salvy Perez finally got healthy. I think someone picked him up, but he may be available next year.
    Also, Matt Treanor of the Dodgers is a capable veteran defensive backup, but he may like the LA scene for his Olympian wife.

  • thanks Hubbs-y

    I was just generalizing. I haven't looked at who's available. but those names work too. Well, Maybe not Matt Treanor, only because his Olympian wife dries me bats. I should put Olympian in quotes because beach Voleyball is so damn niche and we only got it qualified as an olympic sport because we couldn't win gold in ACTUAL volleyball. But Treanor would be good too. Almost everybody not named A.J. Pierzynski. But we'll get to that in the post season "Jon and Tom explain the Universe."....

  • In reply to felzz:

    I agree with you on the "beach volleyball" and on "almost everybody not named A.J...." When the Twins let him go to the Giants to make way for Mauer, the Giants pitching staff had a fit with his game and his attitude. Result: He was gone from SF in one year.
    Funny how he fit in so appropriately with the Pale Hose. They seem to be made for each other, although he will be expensive to keep there.

  • So that blurb I had about Sveum maybe sitting Valbuena for a game for his Aramis-like whiff and letting in the third run? Yeah, forget it, Valbuena's starting. it was probably Vitters fault anyway. Castillo's back too.

  • The most significant thing about this game was that Darwin Barney Barney set the National League record for consecutive games without an error by a second baseman in one season.

    I agree that Welington Castillo needs to improve. He's 25 years old, so I would have hoped he'd be more polished defensively. I mean don't they teach you how to frame pitches in the minor leagues? I'm guessing that both Beef and Clever will end up being backup catchers and that the Cubs are going to have to find a starting catcher next season.

  • I am not 100% certain, but I believe that it was Bill James who stated years ago that one marker he noticed for predicting a pitchers future success were multiple games were a pitchers BB/K line was like last nights 0/10 for Samardzija.

    I think it was around the time of Dwight Gooden's ascent that he noted this observation in one of his Baseball Abstracts.

    Anyway, I thought it was worth noting since the remainer of this season is set to be filled with almost daily train wrecks and I wanted to point out what I think may be a bright spot for the team.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    It is impressive and nice to see. I wonder if it is something more than just improved command; like improved confidence in his splitter so he can throw it for strikes and batters can't sit on his fast ball and change, and he can then also throw those two pitches in the strike zone when he needs to without getting lit up. Somethings coming together for him.

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