It's nothing like when it began

It's nothing like when it began

The Cubs opened Wrigley Field today and before Cub fans could finish their 5th beer and sit in their seats it was 4-0 Brewers. The game wouldn't get much better for the local heroes and despite loading the bases and sending the winning run to the plate twice, the game ended as glumly as it began, losing to the Brewers 7-4.  The brewers hounded a wild Edwin Jackson. Norichika Aoki would lead off with a single and then advance to third on a single by Roidy McRoidington. A fielder's choice would find Aoki tagged out at home but Jackson then issued back to back walks which would score Roidy and  load up the bases. Martin Maldanado obviously had a problem with the bases being full and promptly clear them with a double to right. A beef Wellington home run fired up the crowd. But Shawn Camp gave up two runs in the 7th inning in relief of Jackson. And the Cubs would stage their unsuccessful comeback in front of an exiting and disinterested group. Let's go get Sushi and not pay...


Edwin Jackson might have been nervous pitching the home opener. Or he quite possibly could have been "overamped". What you can't dispute is he was "Bad". That 34 pitch first inning crushed him and command was clearly an issue. A 60% strike rate is ok ( 60-102 pitches.) But 8 hits and 5 walks in 6 innings is not. I suppose he should get some points for recovering from that 1st inning to make it through 6. But I'm not feeling that charitable. Camp came on and peed blood for an inning in the 7th. Marmol got an inning to get hellaciously booed ( Maybe a little tough love from Dale?) and figure things out in a shaky but eventually harmless 8th and Michael Bowden mopped up.


Nate Schierholtz is going to be a popular player at Wrigley. I don't know if someone that tall can get the "grindy" tag, but his hustle is very very apparent.  he also had two hits, scored a run and knocked in another. Yeah, in an ideal world he would be hitting 7th along with 3/4 of this lineup. But he's hitting fifth and decided to take that challenge head on. I, for one, am being won over.


So The Cubs score two runs, have the bases loaded with 1 out in the 9th, and Dave Sappelt and Starlin Castro coming up. Now the new Cub way is to grind out at bats and work counts, which Castro sort of did going 8 pitches in his At-Bat which ended with a warning track fly ball to right. But part of grinding out at bats is shortening up your swing. And Castro and Sappelt took full, long hacks trying to get the ball up into the brisk wind. Hopefully, by June, July, Sometime, this year we look back and see how far they've come. Because that wasn't cool to see.

Since it's the home opener, this game will be over ANALyzed. But the bats got some hits. And I think they should be able to build off of it. Travis Wood tries to follow up his sensational start against Wly Peralta- Suuuper Geeenius! tomorrow night. 2-5 sucks. But these Brewers can be beaten. And if the Cubs were to get to 4-5, that's right about where I thought they could be. Guess we'll sleep this one off. And settle into baseball without all the TV cameras now. Which is always cool. Till tomorrow...





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  • I'm excited to see the rooftops and the Cubs managed to get a deal negotiated. Wait, what?

  • I think Castro was very aggressive at the beginning of the at bat, but he ended up putting a good swing at the end... But Sappelt... He started out great and maybe it's OK to take 1 big hack, but then when he was 3-2, he kept fouling off fastballs right down the middle while taking hacks so big his head was about to fall off... I would've taken a dribble for a base hit... And he needs to learn his role, he's not a power threat, he need to get on base... Our 5th hitter, Schierholtz, dropped the head of the bat on a ball to dump it the other way... Why is our 5'8 CF, Sappelt taking those huge hacks?

    At least Castro has that extra base pop and he tried to shoot it the other way too at the end of the at bat, but 2 singles would've put us back in the game.

    I also think 15 mins before it happened, that Castro fly out would've actually been a hr if it wasn't because the wind decided to shift and blow in at the end.

    Hopefully we get them tomorrow.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Personally , I liked Sappelts hacks.. I thought he showed explosiveness in his swing. Henderson was it? .. He just had a more explosive fastball that hopped the last 5 feet. I dont think Sappelts swing was long either. Do you want pinch hitters to just stick the bat out? try to bunt swing? My opinion was that he just got beat by a more explosive pitcher.

  • After every lose we should point all the good things (if there are any)

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Nobody got hurt.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Estrada didn't have elite command today or anything, but the Cubs worked a lot of deep counts (at least they did in the 1st 5 innings that I was able to watch). Better ABs and slightly better results. Unfortunately, the pitching didn't hold up its end of the bargain today.

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    Love the title. Hopefully tomorrow's post will be "Everything's coming up roses and daffodils, sunshine and lollipops."

  • Thought you'd like that one....

    I was hoping to use "Color me impressed" but same idea

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    In reply to felzz:

    Better than "Color Me Badd" :(

  • On the plus side,.... Marmol pitched a whole inning and nobody scored.

    Small things,... gotta focus on the small things,...

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    Marmol did get booed several times, including pre-game introductions, and then after his first pitch (resulting in a double).

  • I've never personally been a fan of booing. I find it to be socially belligerent.

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    In reply to Denizen Kane:

    For the most part I agree. It doesn't help your own player/team to boo them. However, I remember Pete Rose being booed constantly at Wrigley and I was all for that, especially after he spiked the ball after every 3rd out. :)

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Don't mention "Mr hit king" to me. Only player I have every
    disliked. I got to give him credit. How a slow, no athletic player
    did what he did.

  • Most of the time you are going to come at hitters, but when the wind is blowing out 24mph hour, I don't think it's a wise move.

    I think Jackson did good today considering the conditions. You just can't lay fastballs in there on days like this or bad things start to happen to them.

  • I'm having trouble trying to understand why the Cubs spent big money to sign Edwin Jackson, what was the reasoning? We all know the Cubs are really like 3 to 5yrs(hopefully) away from contending in our division... so did the FO sign him to flip him?
    Also would you guys call me crazy if I said I think the Cubs should try to trade the Shark for 2 to 3 top future young aces? he is already 28yrs old and the Cubs seem to really need some top pitching prospects... I'm kind of in the flip everyone mode but Castro, Rizzo,Castillo, and JRussell...
    Cubs should be able to get talent for Schierholtz, DeJesus, Vilanueva, Barney, etc. Still very excited for June draft and to see who we can get back in trades...
    Thanks for listening! first time commenter, long time reader, read everyday.

  • In reply to NikTheQuick:

    I like the Edwin signing. I think he is an athletic style of pitcher that has a high floor with maybe a streak of high ceiling. Either way he will not burn you. Pushing 30 with lots of innings and hasn't been hurt. Low risk, Near high reward. Watch his mechanics. Theres a reason he throws hard and doesnt get hurt. And in the opener today, I like him more. Bounces back from a strange first inning that could have easily "domed" him. His mechanics allow him to be repeatable. Hes strong enough to guarantee his career as a good 3 with bouts of upside.. High Floor, with high ceiling moments.. Low risk high reward. We likey.

  • In reply to NikTheQuick:

    As for Shark, I would not want to trade him because I think you'd be selling low at this point. Other teams would say '28', 'unpolished', I think his upside is totally worth the risk of sitting on him. It seems too difficult to me to try and connect on some unknown minor league aces in return, should that offer even be a part of it, possibly it could work but the juice wouldn't be worth the squeeze. I think his stock is still rising. And im a fan of selling high

  • In reply to Tgunz:

    I want to add , that Jeff Sharks floor in my opinion is Max Sherzer of Detroit. Sharks mechanics look so much more athletic to me. Sherzer is a car wreck. Way more violent. To me, Shark's floor is a Sherzer that has much higher odds of avoiding the DL

  • First off, Thanks for reading Nick,thanks for posting, don't be a stranger.

    I wouldn't call you crazy. I will however disagree with you. I can't see a team that 1) has the pitching prospects it would take and 2) would be in a position to need Samardzija so badly to give them up. And 90 % of these precious prospects aren't gonna get to the level Shark is at now...Pitching is so precious that when you have a chance to get itand keep it you do it. That's also why they signed Jax....

  • In reply to felzz:

    Appreiciate your knowledge Tgunz and Felzz!

    I just wanted to think outside the box and throw that idea out there bc i haven't read or heard anyone say it about trading Jeff... I just feel Garza, Jackson, and Shark are a lot alike, so why do ppl only talk about trading Garza? I've always liked Edwin's stuff and mechanics too, but he just doesn't ever seem to stick with a team... all 3 are about the same age aswell.

    My main concern is spending big money on Edwin when the team isn't ready to compete, and i'm afraid we will spend even more on Shark and it all be for nothing... I don't see the Cubs realisticly being ready for atleast 4 to 5 years...

    Jeff, Matt, and Edwin are a great top 3 for a team that is ready...

    Thanks for your thoughts guys!

  • Marlmol was at his best when he was a set up man. He was never suited to be a closer, and after the cubs tried to make him one, and paid him like one and Marmol started to believe he should be one, that is when the problems came. If you think about it, it is not hard to see why this happened. Why is a pitcher lights out effective as a 8'th inning set up man but never able to put it toghether as the closer. In Marmols case it is obvious isn't it? His out pitch is a slider, his best strike pitch is a slider, this is fine in the eigth inning when you can just mow throught the order but when it gets to the ninth and things get ratcheted up, pinch hitters get sent up, and closers need to have heat or maybe a wipeout pitch like a splitter. A slider won't get it done as your out pitch, not by itself. Marmols fast ball was good enoght for eighth inning duty but not for a closer in the ninth. I think he can get back to being a better than average setup man again, and then some team may see this and trade something for him. But he'll never be a closer unless he can add a splitter.
    I know all this because sources have told me so.

  • In reply to eddie35:

    Marmol was at his best when his slider broke faster and longer. This has nothing to do with the situation. We have seen his slider sort of "taper off" for about 3 years now. Back when that pitch was elite, it worked as his out pitch, everytime. I hate the style of 3-0, 3-1 sliders, but back when it was an Elite pitch it worked. He was a one trick pony and its been catching up for years. What I'm contemplating is why a 93-94mph fastball can get hammered so often.

  • In reply to Tgunz:

    Marmol is fat. He's off balance. That's one big fat reason why he stinks.

  • Am I the only one slightly concerned with Rizzo at the plate so far this season? I know he still has developing to be done and a lot of people were expecting him to not necessarily start off crushing the ball, but he seems to be lost at the plate more often that not.

    Do you think there is a better way of to handle game management for his development of the plate, or am I being too quick in my assessment of him, so far this year?

    For the record, I'm not one of these "the sky is falling" fans. Just an observation I have noticed in the first week.

  • In reply to SymposiumX:

    I noticed it as well and mentioned it during ST. Playing for Italy he was watching good pitches go by for called strike three and chasing pitches out of ther strike zone. Nothing has changed in the regular season. Maybe Rizzo should have just stayed in camp. Didn't Geovany Soto have the same fate? I hope that the Cubs get more than one half year out of Rizzo. I am not a fan of young players missing much of ST in order to play for a home country. Let the veterans and AAAA guys fill their rosters.

  • In reply to SymposiumX:

    I have a buddy who is freaking out about rizzo too. My take is: results are not always your best indicator. Ex. Bjaxx was on a terror last year at one point, but when you really broke it down he was succeeding despite having major issues with his mechanics.

    What we DON'T want is the type of player who sacrifices proper mechanics in fear of falling stats. Rizzo appears to be continuing to find a groove within his proper mechanics, & that's what is good. Not to mention seeing a good amount of pitches.

    Sandberg was always god awful in april/may, people freaked out for years. Eventually people realized it took him a while to realky get in the groove.

    So i say, be patient! If you're JUST looking for results at this point in the season, then do yourself & your friends a favor & don't start watching baseball till june. It can be hard to decipher who's working on the right things while not getting results & who's succeeding "incorrectly".


  • In reply to MikeyB:

    If the team plays poorly until June, the season will already be over. What is Spring Training for?

  • I think you have reason to be a little concerned about Rizzo. Like I've said in earlier wraps, his stats, as well as his approach against lefties has been sub par and it might be carrying over into his overall game. I know I'm not baseball saavy enough to know if there's a better way to handle his game management. I'd just look at it as a bad start and hope it doesn't turn into anything bigger.

    Marmol set a record for K/9 as a closer. I don't think his struggles have anything to do with a switch in roles. I do believe that he may be struggling with an Arm that's been abused from over use durig the latter stages of Pinella's tenure and during the one year that Magoo managed the Cubs. He pitched in 80 games, and he probably warmed up in an additional 30-40. Everyone passed it off as "Oh he has a rubber arm..." But I think all those appearances damaged him. Just my opinion...

  • I'm not a big fan of booing. Don't know what good it does. Very impressed with Castillo. I still like this team but we need production at end of the order and relief pitching looks weak. The draft and the minors are just great to follow. This site is pack with great info and far and away the best.

  • I would like to add , because i didn't really solidify a clear response to the question. You might call me crazy, but just from the first seven games, i think the best hitter on this team is rizzo. I know the results aren't coming through, like i said- be patient. The league needs WEEKS for the dust to truly settle, not days. But the thing that is most impressive about rizzo is his apparent commitment to form and technique. That's a recipe for stardom as it usually takes an entire career for a player to grasp that concept.

    The best thing he can do at this stage is see as many pitches as possible so he eventually turns at bats into reactive swings instead of a guessing game. "Guessing" is a cousin of "confusion", reaction can allow the ability to recall, create repetition, create a sytem, destroy.

    The indication i get from watching this much is that rizzo seems like he's a very hard worker, also what you want to see.

    Another way to put it - if i was starting my own franchise & got to pick one position player from the cubs, it'd be between castro & rizzo, without a doubt (there's nobody even close to them), & i'd probably go with rizzo. Again, MY assessment of what i see so far. Castro's natural abilities are off the charts, no doubt. But rizzo leaves the impression he's working on the right things & going in the right direction in all facets of the game. The lefty/lefty adjustment is a major one for all players at the mlb level, so if you can't understand that then that's your own issue i suppose.

    But castro has years of experience on rizzo already & i'd say rizzo is better at his position already. That being said, it looks as though castro has worked hard this offseason on his defense- or at least re-thought things. He looks like a new man out there -on his way to being an anchor of the infield.

    With proper guidence, by the time baez is called up he should be joining the NL's best SS & 1st baseman, & that could be quite a combo. They definitely appear to have the makeup.

    Like i've been telling people- rizzo, baez, or that albert almora have the makeup to be a world class star & leader for any organization. Getting them to chicago is the big key.

    Sorry for the ramble.

  • In reply to MikeyB:

    i like Rizzo, but wonder if he did his part getting ready for the start of the season.

  • In my opinion, the booing is an outgrowth of misguided media coverage. I don't understand why the beat reporters can't explain to their dwindling readership the straightforward logic of trying to build Marmol's value by letting him try to be the closer at the beginning of the season. To boo the player makes about as much sense as booing the rain.

    By the same token, it's inevitable. Marmol has about 9 million ways to console himself. And the players should be able to tell the difference between a few hundred idiots booing and the sound it makes when there are 40,000.

  • Sometimes booing falls under the label of 'fun at the ole balloark'.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    There's always been booing. There will always be booing. MLB players gotta know that or they're living in a dream world.

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