The briny deep. Pirates 7 Cubs 6

The briny deep. Pirates 7 Cubs 6

The Cubs sent out their 12th different starting pitcher today against the Pirates, and he pitched the way you thought a 12th different pitcher might, burying the Cubs early in a 7-6 loss to the Pirates.  The Pirates scored in everyone of Jason Berken's four innings, some in part to two Cub errors, and had an easy 6-1 lead. The Cubs would chip away with two in the fifth on a patented Joe Mather fielder’s choice and an Alfonso Soriano single. A Clint Barmes home run off of a Lou Reed-ish Alberto Cabrera would make it 7-3. The Cubs would add one in the eight and load the bases with the tying and winning runs in scoring position. But Dave Sappelt couldn’t do anything with a Joel Hanrahan fastball on the edge and the blue flag was raised above Wrigley. Cast off the lines and let’s go crabbing…




There were some that were mildly interested to see if Jason Berken had anything to offer after being plucked out of the Oriole organization. They can stop. He doesn’t. 6 runs (only two were earned.) off of 8 hits in four innings, walking two and striking out one. No real stuff to speak of, no command, not much of anything really. This guy is basically filling a seat till the star gets back from the john at the Oscars. I personally am looking forward to reading a book while he makes his next start. Dolis came on and had a nice inning. Jeff Beliveau would be a little less impressive. Alberto Cabrera would be a little less impressive than that. And Bowden was fine but so what to close.




While Wellington Castillo was throwing pickoffs to first basemen who weren’t there and Josh Vitters was auditioning for Cirque De Soleil at third, Darwin Barney was putting on a clinic on how to be a gold glove second baseman. In the 5th, Barney went deep in the whole to his left, fielded Pedro Alvarez’s groundball, 360’d and made a perfect throw to get him. Barney would top it in the next inning, going out on a cheap Clint Barmes fly ball and robbing him of a bloop hit while avoiding an oncoming Dave Sappelt. Barney must be a shoe in for a gold glove, and if Theo/Jed/ Dale is going to harp on the Cub Way/ Defense is important/hustle/effort than you have to reward the guy who is the epitome of what you speak. So I’m assuming Barney is going to be around awhile.




We’re constantly looking for some things to feel positive about and to me there was three today that when you combine them; give you an overall good vibe. The first was Jorge Soler’s workout today at Wrigley field. The kid is just a monster. Two or three years away but still. To see all that mature. Wow. The second was listening to Dale Sveum’s comments about Starlin Castro. You can read the comments here. You not only get a sense that Castro could be a hitting STAR, but you really get the sense that Sveum has a plan and really know how to groom hitters. And the third was the ninth inning. Every at bat was a grindy, make the pitcher earn it, at bat. Yeah, it came up short and you would have liked to see Sappelt foul that last fastball off, but the approach was spot on. Combine these things and it might be something awesome this way comes.


This game looked like it was going to be a laugher and it wasn’t. And Hanrahan was wild enough that a comeback was entirely possible. But the silver linings from this game were very pretty. Chris Volstad will hump it on to the mound tomorrow and this time I’m sure of it. He’ll oppose Jeff Locke. Despite winning, the Pirates are looking for a nice piece of ground to lie down on and take a nap. Here’s hoping the Cubs oblige.


One more Saturday night.





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  • Are the Cubs doing Vitters a favor by continuing to play him at this level? Today it was an early error to allow three unearned runs and two consecutive double plays to make sure nothing good happened early in the game. What's this doing to his confidence?

  • In reply to JayPea:

    I thought about that but I think it's fine. The truth is Vitters did fight through those 2 DP's and error to have a nice hit and settle down. I think Vitters can go 24 for his next 30 AB's or go 2 for his next 30 and it wouldn't change anything for him. He got the harsh wake up call that I believe management wanted him to get. He was succeeding down at AAA with this flawed approach and he found out that ain't gonna fly in the bigs. From all reports he's a very hard worker. I'm positive he'll go to Iowa to start next year ( if he's not traded in the off-season. A distinct possibility.) and work his tail off and come back stronger next July. The Rizzo plan if you will....

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    In reply to felzz:

    It seems like it would be very difficult to get value in return for him at this point. But maybe the real value is opening a 40-man slot.

  • I was at the game today. I know, I've gotta start going to games that are against someone other than the Pirates. Got a signature from Campy, and just missed out on Blake Parker. Anyway, I've got a few things to say.

    First, anybody who hopes Reed Johnson is going to come back for yet another stint on the Cubs is crazy. Dave Sappelt has a similar skill set, except he is faster and younger. He was actually much faster than I expected.

    Berken was just ugly. I don't want to hear his name past this year. Actually, I'm rooting for Casey Coleman to start over him. The errors mean nothing to me. This guy is rarely going to miss bats with his dreaded 89 mph fastball. Sure, he can force a bunch of grounders, but they were all very hard hit. Not everybody can be Darwin Barney in the field.

    What I value most about Castro's contact ability is how he can oppo the ball into a gap. Stretching a double into a triple becomes just that much easier when you can do that. He actually did it twice today, but neither quite worked as well as they should. He tripped rounding 2nd base on one instance, and it curved foul on the other.

    Cabrera wasn't all bad. He had a nasty K on McCutchen. I'm still just as gaga over him as John is.

  • In reply to elusivekarp:

    Hey Karp ... you and Felzz both made no mention of the game-saving play by Barajas with the based loaded in the 9th. That dope Hanrahan threw one so far up and so far in that Barajas had to catch the ball with his hand fully extended over his head.

    For the record, I'm with you on Sappelt!! Liked him in the short stint with Cincy last fall. Good comments on RJ comparisons!

    Felzzy, good call on the grindy ABs in the 9th.

  • I don't want Reed or any other old veteran on this team every again.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Nothing wrong with older players if they are pulling their weight and their contract.

  • Lets think of some of the past Cubs bench players in the past several decades.......

    Larry Biittner
    Mike Vail
    Greg Gross
    Mark Bellhorn
    Kal Daniles
    Brian Dayett
    Cliff Johnson
    Mark DeRosa
    Richie Hebner
    Jose Hernanadez
    Pete LaCock
    Champ Summers
    Carlos Lezcano
    Mike Lum
    Brant Brown
    Davey Lopes
    Rodney Scott
    Lenny Randell

    I saw Cliff Johnson hit a home run at Wrigley in the early 80's, and I still believe it is still traveling in the air.

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    Kal Daniels....

    If I was John, I'd ban you from the site just for mentioning that name!!! ;-)

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Blasts from the past? Anybody remember when Biittner lost the ball under his hat in the outfield? How about Brown dropping that flyball and Santo just about crying? Lot of hitters on that list.

  • Everyone loves that Santo "Oh No!!!!" I thought ( and still do) it was pathetic. Brown was a first baseman being played out of position in center field. Yeah, he dropped the ball. He also hit a home run that won the game before it. But nobody remembers it because of Santo and his ridiculous whine.

    Dwight Smith became a pretty good bench guy after a good rookie year. Lloyd McClendon too.

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    In reply to felzz:

    God, I thought I was the only one. Brant Brown threw up an OPS+ of 118 that year as a utility guy. He was a huge part of us even getting to the playoffs, and yet all anyone remembers is that one play. And I agree Santo has a lot to do with that. (Having said that, I laugh hysterically when Pat Hughes tells the story.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I thought he had a "Billy Williamsesque" type swing and I really had I high hopes for him.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    I did too!! Silver lining he got the Cubs Jon Lieber!!!

  • I remember seeing that on WGN....Biitner was in RF and rolled over, looked around and couldn't find the ball......

    here are some more bench players names......Mel Hall, Gary Woods, Sandy Martinez, Gene Clines, Thad Bosley, Hecter Cruz, Steve Henderson, Tyler Houston, Billy Hatcher, Rob Sperring, Joe Wallis.....

    names that will stick in our hearts forever.

  • One of my favorite bench players was Jim Sundberg.

    For some reason, I video-taped a game in 1987 between the Padres and Cubs. It was the day AFTER Dawson was hit by Eric Show. In that game, the Cubs scored 8 runs in the 8th inning to turn an 8-4 deficit into a 12-8 win, capped by a grand slam by Sundberg onto Waveland.

    I have no idea why I taped that game, as it was during the course of a rough stretch. Dunston and Sandberg were on the DL, replaced by Mike Brumley and Paul Noce, and Dawson was out of the lineup due to the beaning. Jamie Moyer was the starter and Rafael Palmeiro played in LF. Kind of fun to take that tape out every now and then to listen to Harry and was a great Harry Caray day (LISTEN. To. THIS. Crowd!!!!

  • So the bench players who I believe were great help to the Cubs....Were DeRosa and Bosley........both came off the bench and hit many key hits for the Cubs ......Brown was a great bench hitter, but his dropping of the ball will be his Cubs trademark.

  • Carrie Muskat gave a list of Cubs players that will be in the instructional league this year......


    Jose Arias, Dallas Beeler, Paul Blackburn, Gerardo Concepcion, Nathan Dorris, Corbin Hoffner, Pierce Johnson, Trey Lang, Dillon Maples, Chad Martin, Carlos Martinez, Ryan McNeil, Juan Paniagua, Stephen Perakslis, Starling Peralta, Anthony Prieto, Austin Reed, Duane Underwood, Ben Wells.


    Wilson Contreras, Chadd Krist, Rafael Lopez, Justin Marra, Lance Rymel.


    Arismendy Alcantara, Gioskar Amaya, David Bote, Stephen Bruno, Jeimer Candelario, Ben Carhart, Marco Hernandez, Jesse Hodges, Carlos Penalver, Jacob Rogers, Tim Saunders, Dan Vogelbach.


    Albert Almora, Yasiel Balaguert, Shawon Dunston Jr., Trevor Gretzky, Trey Martin, Bijan Rademacher, Jorge Soler.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    thanks for posting this info. good to see Arismendy Alcantara healthy and playing again.

  • Alfonso is one away from 30 HR's & 100 RBI' doubt many playoff teams under estimated Soriano's trade value this year.......with two years left on the contract, expect a trade to be made in July 2014......but who knows, the Cubs might need Alfonso for the playoff push themselves!

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    Theoyer need to get Mather off this roster in the offseason. Nothing against him personally, and I hope he catches on with someone else. But a true CF is playing RF today while a RF is playing CF. Sveum gets locked in on one player and screws the entire team over because of it.

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