Mean robots suck! Braves 9 Cubs 5.

The one thing you could say about the new regime Cubs was that they lacked the ridiculousness and embarrassment of the pratfall Cubs in the past. There was no Kent Merker, Michael Barrett, or Carlos Zambrano moments where you're seeing a team just fall apart at the seems. Well...... tick that box my friends. The Cubs lost the to the Braves in typical Cubs fashion- with the bullpen, neigh, Kevin Gregg, allowing 4 runs in the 9th. Afterward, Kevin Gregg went off in the press about losing his closers job, ripping everyone in the Cubs organization. Theo Epstien got wind of the comments and said "fine, if that's how you feel, I'll release you tomorrow". When it was explained that Gregg didn't lose his job, just that Strop would get one or two opportunities to close, Gregg apologized. And apologized. He apologized to Dale, he apologized to Theo, he actually went up to the press box (supposedly winded from the climb.....) and apologized. He went back down to Dale's office and apologized. He went to Slugger's and apologized. He's currently standing by the noodle apologizing right now.  Theo said he'll sleep on it before deciding whether to release Gregg or not, but it sounds like Theo is pretty ticked himself. Considering the Cubs clubhouse has become more of a big tent with Jackson, Samardzija and now Save Bot blowing up.

Oh right. The game. Cubs came back from 4-0 to tie it up 5-5 on a lot of home runs. Yes, that line again. Castro, Murphy and Dioner Navarro with the game tying knock.  Then Gregg came in, the player piano started, the Braves got 4 runs in the 9th, the Cubs lost and the shenanigans started. Head meet sand.


Scott Baker looked like a pitcher on rehab after not pitching for almost 2 years. The velocity just isn't there. And today, the movement wasn't really there. The final result was 4 innings, 5 runs on 4 hits while issuing 3 walks.  Kudos to the sextet of Rosscup, Rondon, Raley, Grimm, Parker, and Strop for keeping the Cubs in the game.


This had the looks of one of those "Oh sure.....NOW" games as both Castro and Rizzo had highlights that made you wonder why they weren't playing this way the whole season. Starlin Castro rocked his biggest homer of the year. A no-doubter that makes you think "this kid can hit 20 HR's easily"...only, he doesn't. Castro also made a play in the field where he was closer to McDonalds on Clark than he was to second base but fielded a grounder up the middle to retire Justin Upton. Rare is the day that someone out performs Andrelton Simmons. Rizzo had two more hits today. That's 5 in his last two games. Apparently it is Rizzo's lack of progress which has the front office not as solid on Dale Sveum. Which brings us to....


The Jacson and Samardzija blow ups were fairly understandable. Veterans frustrated at the end of a long season. But this Gregg onekind of turns it into a bigger thing. Now it might be possible that Gregg was kind of thick headed and didn't hear Dale correctly. But everyone read that Sveum said he was going to give Strop one or two chances to close. Everyone. Even me. So how does the message not get to Gregg. Don't you tell him first before you tell the press? And since it comes on the heels of the Samardzija yelling at David bell, and Multiple Ed going Sybill on Sveum, the Cubs have become a mess. This looks like latter day Baker and Mid season Quade.

Otter.....this is ridiculous. But this is what losing teams do. Losing begets losing.  And this is how people react when you play on a losing team. So for anyone to be shocked or disappointed....really shouldn't be. Maybe the losing will stop tomorrow when Travis Wood takes the mound against Kris Medlin. Will people even notice? We shall find out. Onwards.





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  • I am one of the guilty ones that reads this fantastic blog and likes to focus on the team in Daytona and Tennessee instead of the group at Wrigley but I want to thank you Felzz for your daily insights. You have such a unique, in-your-face writing style that I think is absolutely brilliant. Your titles are so creative, (my personal favorite was after a loss to the Brewers you titled it "Sit On It") and the nicknames are always colorful. Thank you for the work you put into this blog everyday and hopefully next year this team will actually be winning so that your recaps will be more cheerful!

  • In reply to Sandberg2014:

    Well said. I agree!

  • In reply to Sandberg2014:

    Thank you very very much Sandberg.

  • In reply to Sandberg2014:

    I'll second that.

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    I'll third that... 7000 miles away it's always good to hear a true fan's perspective rather than the dribble from the Tribune and Sun/Times and the vanilla of Muskat.

    Felzz, thank you for enduring this season on our behalf...

  • In reply to Sandberg2014:

    well said!

    Thanks for the entertainment Felzzy!

  • In reply to Sandberg2014:

    I couldn't have said it better. I can't believe I read this blog daily and read recaps of a team that does everything it can to shatter my hopes. Thankfully, I have you to write these colorful recaps and, despite the constant bad losses, I usually walk away from the recaps in a brighter mood. Hope you are doing these recaps when the Cubs are on up 3 games to 1 in the World Series in a couple of years.

  • The longer Dale stays, the more dysfuntional the Cubs will become. He's a loser and a terrible manager.

  • In reply to ELAN:

    Another second. It's been a tough season for all of us out here. I can only imagine what it's like in the clubhouse

  • Whaaaa? Saw the video: That wasn't a rant. Too much hoopla about nothing. Slow news cycle. Sorry to see Theo getting in on the silliness.

  • So much for the harmonious clubhouse which now resembles a house of cards. It may very well be the final nail in Dale's coffin. By the way, it hardly exhibits foresight not to have any right handed pinch hitters on the bench after September expanded roster.

    Please make it stop.

  • Pundits are divided on BEARS AT Steelers.

  • I thought a lot of people were getting too excited about baker. We need to see how he is after ten starts or so before we can make a judgement. I believe that is his last start of the season.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I was getting excited from the standpoint of him being healthy and showing some of the velo and command he had when he was a successful pitcher with Minnesota. Today his fastball was back down to 87-88 again and he got thumped by a good hitting team. I'm more disappointed that his stuff wasn't as crisp than I was about the results.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It's been so long though. Our expectations should be that he'll be erratic and inconsistent more times than not right now. Which hopefully keeps his price tag down. I have no doubt he'll return to what he was, possibly better. Epstoyer made the right gamble, timing was just off a few months. I hope we bring him back.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    With the injury he had, it may take awhile to get the velocity up. While at Kane county he didn't have much velocity just great control. I am sure in his first two outings he was jacked up and had some extra juice to put into pitches. He may hit a dead arm and then build up arm strength again. Will he have another start?

  • I flat out love the game of baseball. But today was another great example of what dumb asses a lot of ballplayers are.

  • In a second half where some guys on the bubble are performing "at or slightly above expectations," three guys, in mind, just said "goodbye" based on all this--Baker, Gregg and Sveum. Dear Joe (Girardi): We miss you, come home."

  • In reply to carmonfanzone:

    'Love that handle:) but it dates you.

  • Felzz, that's about the best wrap of the year. Thanks for the laughs amid the misery.

  • No comments on Gregg? A terrible team gives him a chance and he performs well. He is not traded at the deadline - most likely because most teams felt it was a mirage and we wouldn't have received value.

    He has some rough patches but continues to pitch well for the most part. And now he pitches a fit because he might not be used as a closer for the last week in a lost season when a bad team gave him a chance to rebuild his value? Common sense? Good riddance jackass.

  • In reply to Eric:

    What kills me is that this happens on the day he triggers a $500,000 bonus for his 50th appearance. And he soiled the lawn to boot.

    If he wasn't told it would be one thing. But everyone claims that he was told Strop would be used once or twice as closer.

    This was a guy on a couch who got a chance to pitch, close and extend his career. He needed to be a tad more professional about everything. And if he gets gascanned today he has nobody to blame but himself.

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    In reply to felzz:

    He'll need that $500K, because I think he cost himself some money and maybe a guaranteed deal from someone heading into next season. With just his pitching record, I could see a team taking a $2mil flyer on him as bullpen help, now teams may not want the headache with that if he doesn't close (which he almost certainly won't)

  • In reply to felzz:

    "What kills me is that this happens on the day he triggers a $500,000 bonus for his 50th appearance. And he soiled the lawn to boot"
    Perfect timing from Gregg's point of view.

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    In reply to Eric:

    Because Gregg hit 50 appearances yesterday, triggering that $500K bonus, I bet the Cubs plan all along was to get him to 50 appearances, THEN make the move. They were doing him a solid, actually; they could have done this on Tuesday, and screwed him out of $500K.

    And Gregg repays that classiness how?

    That's probably why FO is so upset....I can't blame them if that's the way it went down

  • In fairness and based on his performance to date he has been better than a lot of closers around the leagues and probably was hoping at least the opportunity to come back next year even on a low value contract.

    If he isn't coming back why hadn't he been waived already to allow Strop / Grimm to audition for next year?

    It would not be the first time that Sveum's atrocious communication and man-management skills had let him down.

    Players of whatever level deserve to be communicated with professionally - something that seems beyond Sveum.

  • In reply to Hustlelikereed:

    By all reports -- all reports -- Sveum told Gregg beforehand what the situation was.
    Maybe the problem this time was Gregg the non-listener, just as the problem on presumptive comments is the bias of the reader.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Maybe that is the case... but it is a repeated issue... Sveum appears to find it easier to talk to the media than the guys he should be managing and helping to improve.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    I think it was also revealing that Sveum came out in public and stated that he may have been partly responsible for the miscommunication...

  • I'm sorry. I don't recall Merkers outburst. What happened there?

  • In reply to CubsBuck22:

    In '04, Mercker called the broadcast booth to complain about Steve Stone and, with Moisés Alou, confronted Stone on a team flight.

  • In reply to CubsBuck22:

    As I recall, Roy Oswalt was pitching an outstanding game against the Cubs. And Steve Stone had the nerve to state that Roy Oswalt was pitching an outstanding game against the Cubs.

    And to this day, many of us still wonder how the heck Kent Mercker knew that Steve Stone was stating that Roy Oswalt was pitching an outstanding game against the Cubs.

    And to this day, many of us still fail the trivia question "Did Ken Mercker ever pitch for the Cubs?"

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Actually, the trivia question was "Kent WHO?"

  • I've been following the Cubbies since 1953, and for me, the teams from the last two years rank in the top 10 of the worst teams I've seen at Wrigley during this time period. The signing of Edwin Jackson by Theo was a disaster just as bad as Zambrano's since the Big Z had some very productive years for us prior to his big contract, much better than Jackson's, who did it for other teams. I know nothing about Tanaka except from John's evaluation, but I think Jedstein et al need to sign this guy to gain some credibility and put some fans in the expensive seats next year.

  • Could there be something else going on here? Theo may be more upset at Sveum's continued lack of communication of which this is only the latest example. It has come to the point where it forces him to act. He may have thoight Sveum would be the manager in 2014 and he could delay his decision on a new manager until 2015. Nowits on the front burner and he'kk have to have a new manager for next year. Who will that be? Whoever it is that manager will require a multi-year contract,,

  • Didn't Kevin Gregg say "I'm sorry". So why not "Apology accepted" and moved on?

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    My inclination would be to do what you suggest DropthePuck, but my guess is that maybe Theo wants to send a message that trashing the organization and then apologizing doesn't immediately buy your way out of jail. He may not want to set the precedent that you can bad-mouth people and then just be able to apologize to get out of any punishment. That's obviously speculation, but a possible answer to your question.

  • I still expect Sveum back next year. He's under contract and this team isn't going to compete on a post season level. If we were a year closer and Dale wasn't under contract, then sure... but hey, guess what that means for 2015? We'll be a year closer and he won't be under contract.

    They just need a manager to develop the youngsters, execute their philosophy, and teach the cubs way. Unless they feel Dale is not capable of that or is detrimental to the development of the youngsters.... He'll be back. There's simply no other reason to make a change now.

    While I'm not at all sold on Dale, and in fact am leaning towards replacing him in 2015... His evaluation is still "incomplete" in my eyes.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    The reason to make a change would be if one of their long term choices to be the manager became available now. Which just may be the case.
    I think the rumor mill hit the clubhouse a few weeks ago, and this is why players have been bucking against the manager and coaches. Lame ducks die painful deaths.

  • First of all, Girardi may not want to leave NY. Secondly, there's been nothing other fan hype and media hysteria fueling that. Theo/Jed may have no interest in Joe, even if they were to ax Dale. We don't know...

    These guys follow well thought out plans. I assure you, they have a succession plan if Dale proved not to be their guy. Just because the media isn't aware of it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. They depend heavily on metrics and they measure everything conceivable. When statistically speaking, a manager may be a difference in 2-3 wins a year (emphasis on maybe). They're not likely to waste the money or disrupt anything they've done by pursuing the media darling just to appease fans. They want to win and will focus on those things.

  • I long for the days when the managers first priority is wins and losses and not player development.

  • In reply to kansascub:

    Best comment of the week. The managers that are supposed to be developing players are in the minor leagues.

  • In reply to kansascub:

    Where's the "LIKE" button when you really need it?

  • Sveum and Gregg are both guilty of using the Press againsr players (Sveum) and the organization (Gregg). It would be nice if the communication between the FO, the manager and the players concentrated on the game and not this.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    I don't think a player needs to be told they are losing there role or spot. This isn't high school ball anymore. If management wants to give someone else a look at a roll or a spot then they should just do it. What I don't like is throwing players under the bus or telling the public first. That isn't how you run a business. Gregg is a smart guy if he can't see the strop or Grimm are knocking on his door then he is in trouble.

  • It's very odd that the Cubs seem to have more than their share of these guys who are trashing the "organization" or manager/coaches this year. Guys like Ian Stewart, Sappelt, Jasckson and now Gregg.

    Is this a trend, and if so, does this indicate something is going on in the organization that we fans can't see on the surface?

    I say that because I follow baseball fairly closely, and I don't hear about this level of player discontent from other organizations. I get the whole "the players are frustrated and sick of losing" thing, but this just seems odd that all this "frustration and anger" is hitting the Cubs harder than other teams.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Incidents like these are nothing new nor are they unique to this team. There are lots of stories about teammates (Gehrig and Babe, Bonds and Kent), whole teams (the WINNING A's and Yankees teams), and manager/coaches/players (Billy Martin and Reggie, Lou and Rob Dibble, Bobby Cox and Andruw Jones, ...) having "disagreements".

    Lots of good discussion (above) about the whys and wherefores of the latest episodes. The only thing I might wonder is if part of our problem is that we have a big void in clubhouse veteran leadership as ours is now playing in New York and Tampa Bay.

  • I didn't think it was right move to put Gregg out there to start the 9th. Anyone else have any thoughts?

  • Baseball is a people business just like all other businesses.

    You are always going to have emotions and flare ups. What Theo is trying to teach everyone is the value of dealing with these things internally rather than giving Felzz and the writers out there easy ammo for their next columns. ;) :) :)

    With that said, management is handling things just fine. Kudos to them and to Sveum.

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