Dead bird.....Gonna put it on you!!!!! Cubs 2 Cards 1.

Dead bird.....Gonna put it on you!!!!! Cubs 2 Cards 1.

With the familiar odor of wet sneakers and Stale beer permeating from the traveling Cardinal fans inside Wrigley Field, the Cubs kept their focus and defeated their arch rival 2-1. Fabulous pitching from starter Travis Wood, and relievers Carlos Marmol and Save Bot 6300 was all that was needed to hold up the Cubs offense, which consisted of a Nate Schierholtz 2 run homer. And for the first time in his 27 years playing against the Cubs, Yadier Molina made a boneheaded play that actually cost his team a chance at extending the game. With two on in the 8th, Molina, a catcher, and not a catcher known for his speed, tried to be the coolest kid in school and steal 3rd base. Marmol threw him out by a good 10 feet, and Brandi Lynn, Bobby Joe, Cooter, and the rest of Cardinal nation went into the WrigleyVile night with an L on their chest, a jug full of nickels and food stamps looking for a bar that sells PBR. Let's get sushi and not pay....

THE PITCHER WHO

So 7 quality starts in his last 7 appearances. Groove, thy name is Travis. 6.2 innings with just an Allen Craig HR blemishing the scoresheet. Wood allowed 5 hits and walked 1 while striking out 8. Wood's command has never been sharper. He threw what he wanted, when he wanted to. In the 1st, he got Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday on fast balls. In the 6th, he struck two out with cutters and off speed. Great job. Almost as nice as the beard.

LATELY I'VE BEEN RUNNING ON FAITH

So Dale Sveum is obviously  got the blinders on when it comes to Carlos Marmol. While Cub fans absolutely lose their mud every time he comes in, Sveum sees whatever positives he can and tries to build upon them. And right now, everyone from Jed Hoyer on down sees that there's still some workable stuff ( The fastball still sits low to mid 90's, The slider is maybe 40% of what it was but still can work....). I thought putting him out there to face 1 batter in the 7th was actually pretty smart. I thought for sure when Bowden was warming up he would pitch the 8th. And while the Sphincter meter did rattle and hum in the 8th, we'll say 3 Karats, He got out of it. With more relief headed to the pen in some form or another ( Fuji, possibly Villanueva) Dale can continue to peck out his spots for Mr. Marmol.

DARWIN DOWNER

So Darwin Barney is 0 for his last 20. That's simply unacceptable. Even for someone hitting in the 8 hole and playing excellent defense, which Barney is certainly doing. He gets a little leeway in that Sveum has talked about Barney being more aggressive, and for the life of me I can't figure out why. Barney used to be patient and work counts. But now he's hacking at everything. Apparently with Dale's blessing. Anyway, if we're on this accountability trip that Dale claims we are, Barney might want to have a seat in the next game or two and take some extra BP and video sessions.

So that's two. And beating the Cardinals and their in-bred following is always a ray of sunshine, even on a Tuesday night. Yeah, the 9 strikeouts are probably a talking point, but things are going well enough that we can focus on the positives. The Moose-tache takes the mound and could possibly be making his last start for awhile against Jake Westbrook who isn't nearly as good as his numbers are suggesting. A .500 homestand would be a nice thing before heading off to the nation's capital. Onwards.

Box score

 

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  • Only 3 Karats?... I'd say he registers 3 Karats just throwing in the bullpen.

  • Nahh. lower part of the order. Slow as runner on base ( As evidenced....) Wasn't as concerned as previous outings.

  • In reply to felzz:

    I don't care if its an AL pitcher, in a one run game... Marmol is 8 Karats minimum... And yet with all this hatred for him, he will eventually turn it around. We likely will trade him for next to nothing. And then at some point, he will make our Sphincters squeal again as an opposing pitcher...lol

  • Do you think Yadier was trying to draw a balk? He got Carlos to step off the prior pitch as well. Just can't believe he was actually trying to steal, with Marmol pitching to boot.

  • Always good to beat the Cards. Oh for a sweep tomorrow.

    Travis Wood is looking more and more like a core piece to me. Cost-controlled, LHP, 26...I think he's someone who can help them win long term. Maybe an extension might not be a bad idea.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    He had a nice stretch last year too, then the wheels sorta fell off. But yeah, I think his best baseball is still ahead of him.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Although I'm usually the guy advocating trading everyone not named Shark or Rizzo, I'm inclined to agree here.

    He's not quite set in stone as "core" for me yet, but at this point the return would have to be pretty intense. I might as well consider him a core piece considering how unlikely a trade would be that would be worth it.

    Realistically, the only way I think he gets traded is if our stat gurus think maybe he's been lucky and won't maintain these stats. But I haven't seen ANY evidence of this.

    Wood is actually a great example of WHY I want to see the Cubs flip as many short-term assets as possible. If our scouting department can find more hidden gems like Wood, the years ahead are looking good.

  • "Fabulous pitching from starter Travis Wood, and relievers Carlos Marmol and Save Bot 6300" LOL that was great,

    http://cdn2.screenjunkies.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Charlie-Sheen-Wild-Thing-Major-League-4.jpeg

    Gregg is the New WILD THING Baby!!!

    he is throwing strikes, has a good fastball, and has a quiet confidence yet attitude to him, http://youtu.be/RxtYSC7MtrA

    Love it, almost proud of him ;)

    Let's go Cubbies, only 7 1/2 games back, could easily have 5 to 7 more wins too!

    Also I can't believe how guys like Feldman/ Wood/ Vilanueva/ and Shark can have such quality starts and we can't even get 1 from Edwin Jackson, Shake My Head! Can't wait for Garza to come back too.

    Last season was torture to watch, but I can honestly say I really like this team, lineup, Rotation, and I think the Bullpen will come around actually really soon, can even be a strength.

  • I just wrote a comment, it said thanks for your comment, has to be checked by administrator, was that because I included a picture and video?

  • In reply to Nik0522:

    Possibly. Sometimes, let me check the pending file.

  • But what if Wood brings you the "huge haul" you were expecting to get from a Garza trade.

    I'm with you, I love me some pitching and will take whenever I can get it And will pucker up tighter than a snare drum to get rid of it. But If Wood,s cost control and effectiveness is enough for a team to give up a significant haul.....

    But this is a discussion for July. Right now the fact is that the Cardinals lost.

  • In reply to felzz:

    The goal is to get good MLB players who are young enough to have an impact when the team is ready to contend, not collect prospects. I don't know why we want to trade good young MLB players once we have them...for guys who might, might have an impact in 2-3 years.

    I think constantly trading good cost-controlled guys for prospects isn't rebuilding, it's running on a treadmill. You're constantly taking from your team to try and replace it again year after year. At some point you need to start building with actual MLB players rather than collect prospects and hope they all work out.

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    In reply to felzz:

    This is a tough argument, but I could side with both sides.

    The only thing that gives me pause with Wood, the thing that would convince me to take a really good trade package, is that even when he's pitching well, his "stuff" isn't going to impress anyone on any given day.

    It's great that he's pitching so well, but you put Wood up against a Matt Harvey, or a Latos, or a Bumgarner, and I'll take the other guys in a second, even when Wood's numbers are better. All pitchers have days when their command just isn't where they want it, and it's nice if your pitcher has the kind of stuff where he can just reach back an crank up the mph's.

    So if there's a team that's willing to part with a high-end arm (that might not be ready just yet)+ a package for Wood, I have to take that.

    I'm not advocating collecting prospects for the sake of collecting prospects, but come the end of July, if a team thinks that Travis Wood is the piece they need this season and are willing to let go of a Taijuan Walker, or a Zack Wheeler, or a Arhice Bradley, or some name I don't even know who our minor league scouts are in love with then sure, I'm in.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    You could say that about any player -- well, if we get such and such a package in return then we'll make the deal. But getting a #1 prospect for Wood is not realistic.

    What you got is a young, cost-controlled LHP who figures to get better -- that is the type of player you should be getting. Wood was once a top 10 prospect himself for the Reds organization. Not all of these guys pan out, so when they do, you have to keep them. Can't keep selling sure things for maybes indefinitely. I can assure you the Cubs aren't looking to trade every player that has success -- particularly guys who fit Wood's profile. They're looking to build a core first and foremost. If prospects help them do that great -- but if they're taking from the core to do get prospects, then they're not going to do that.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Agree with this 100% John. This can be applied to our other young, core players whose name have been thrown around in hypothetical trade scenarios(Castro-Shark-Rizzo etc) Once you get those guys and they are cost-controlled you keep them no matter what the package unless the other team is offering surplus MAJOR LEAGUE READY value.

    That's why the chances are so low on trading the young big names like Stanton, Castro, etc. It's addition by even more subtraction.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Not to get semantic, but you can't say that about any player. I don't think there's a package of prospects that exist that could convince the FO to trade Rizzo or Shark.
    Those guys are exactly what they want, and essentially irreplaceable.

    Don't get me wrong I'm not saying guys like Wood grow on trees, but finesse pitchers aren't wholly irreplaceable. In fact, in the past two seasons we've found two in the bargain bin in Maholm and Villanueva.

    Wood is younger with years of cost control, but his stuff itself is neither rare nor special.

  • Bonus points for the first commenter to find what this recap has in common with these two earlier recaps:

    http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/04/its-nothing-like-when-it-began/
    http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2012/09/brain-farts-keep-raining-on-my-head-stones-6-cubs-0/

    It's been a while since I've commented, or even had the time to read through the comments :(

    However, I would like to take the time yet again to say "hats off" to the Cubs Den crew for all that they do. I am glad to say that I have read through every article since the start of 2012, and that my Cubs news will have been entirely Tribune-free for a full year come Memorial Day. (With the exception of following one Cubs Den link to see Marcel take Phil Rogers to task in their comment section.)

    I have to laugh now at how I thought of myself as a "well-informed" Cubs fan before becoming a Den-izen. The fact my response to a call-up from Iowa before 2012 was "Who?" more often than not is embarrassing to me in hindsight. But I can put that embarrassment out of my mind by getting considering how excited I am at the thought of possibly seeing a Low-Level A game in Kane County the next time I'm in Chicago. I owe all that to John, Tom, and felzz.

  • In reply to gocubsgo25:

    Thanks GoCubsgo!

  • In reply to gocubsgo25:

    Does anyone have that Marcel v. Rogers link? I'd really love to read that.

  • Thanks for looking in to it John, It was just me saying Keving Gregg is the new Wild Thing with a picture of Charlie Sheen from the movie Major League as "The Wild Thing" lol, he has a good fast ball with a quiet confidence and attitude, then I put the link to when Kevin Gregg got in a fight with Big Papi! lol, I'm proud of him...

  • In reply to Nik0522:

    No problem. He does look a little like that Sheen character ;)

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    John, I know a lot of people do not think much of Kevin Gregg but at what point does Kevin Gregg start to have value in trades. His 1st outing this year was little rough but since then he has been pretty trust worthy. Obviously he is not part of the future.

  • In reply to Kevin:

    He's got a nice first name.

  • In reply to Kevin:

    I don't know if he'll ever have much value because no matter how well he does, people still know what he is. That said, it can't hurt to have a big year. You can always hope he'll ride that momentum for the whole year. I think it's going to take a career year and a team desperately needing a closer for it to happen. Realistically, I don't think they'll get a whole lot, but they may get a Class A type pitcher, probably with some limited upside.

  • Not sure I remember Barney ever being one to "work the count". Always thought he was a hacker. I know he has drawn some intentional walks this year, but I thought his walk rate was about the same as in previous seasons.

    Nice to see an actual baseball game played at Wrigley last night. Hope it is a trend.

  • I thought Wood was really being squeezed by the ump in the first few innings. He was painting the outside corner to righties with his cutter, Castillo was catching the ball what appeared to be in the middle of the plate, yet he continued to call those pitches a ball. So I'm impressed that he was able to overcome that and get them out anyway.

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    I have a very hard time figuring how we get five starting pitchers better than Travis Wood has been. It's difficult for me to see a realistic trade that would bring back the same kind of value that four more cost controlled years of Travis Wood brings.

  • fb_avatar

    Small excerpt from respected Tom Verducci on FA and how bad it's been lately. Courtesy of MLBTraderumors and Sports Illustrated

    "Free agency has become "a used car lot cluttered with lemons," with only a few bargains to be found, Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated argues, citing the examples of Josh Hamilton (Angels), B.J. Upton (Braves) and Zack Greinke (Dodgers). Thus far, Hamilton and Upton have failed to produce with their new teams, and Greinke is hurt. In the past four seasons, Verducci notes, there have been 24 free-agent contracts worth $35MM or more. Most of those have turned out badly, and some (such as Jason Bay's deal with the Mets) have looked bad almost immediately.

    That means that "win[ning] the winter" by signing the biggest-name free agents isn't all it's cracked up to be, as the 2012 Marlins can attest. This year's Angels and Dodgers have struggled out of the gate, and so have the Blue Jays (who had a big offseason mostly driven by trades)."

    Pretty much my exact feelings on FA(that I spout somewhere on here every other day) put into much better words lol

    Thought this could start up an interesting topic. With FA becoming a bargain bin(I think the game is better this way) and teams that relied on FA, like the Yankees, Red sox, etc, feeling the effects of not being able to buy a good team what do you guys think the impact will be on us? Is it possible that Theo and co saw this coming and prepared for it?

  • Nothing against DeJesus. But I sure would like to see Borbon string together a few starts in CF. I like his speed and defense that he brings. Over these few games he might prove to be a catalyst on offense. The old saying throw something at the wall and see if it sticks. You can spot start DeJesus in LF and spell Soriano a game or two.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    I agree. We are playing too many tight games where Borbon's speed will help on offense and defense.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    Good point. I was surprised awhile back when Sveum had Borbon in LF and kept DeJesus in CF. I think it was the Brewers series. I say give it a go. Slot Borbon #1 and see if this can provide a spark to the offense.

  • I understand the various levels of enthusiasm for our mini winning streak, especially when we are able to win a close one against the Redbirds, however, it needs to be pointed out that the early outstanding starting pitching will not last. Check the stats - we have 3 starters with ERAs under 3, a 4th that is is sitting at 3.09, and then we have the ugliness of My Jackson.

    And yet, we are still just 13-20, and in last place - same as last year after 33 games.

    I will hazard a guess and project that none of our starters will close the year with ERAs below 3.50.

    Any we still have that awful offense. One that will continue to struggle to score runs. When this nice early run of pitching beigns to even out, I suspect the angst and frustration will again rise to the surface.

    I revel in the moment, but I do not for a sec believe that we are a team that is close to competing with the better teams - yet.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    The two starters I can see breaking the 3.50 ERA for the year are Wood and Jeff S. I highly doubt based on history Feldman and Villianueva will continue at their current pace. Jackson should start righting the ship and come closer to his career norms, which I think is a tad above 4.00.

  • Just wanted to say I love the "in-bred cardinals" tag on the posting. I get a genuine laugh coming to this site daily. I don't think I will be able to say Scott FELDMAN again without caps thanks to Felzz.

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