Game Preview and Thread: And now batting 4th for your 2016 Chicago Cubs...Dan Vogelbach?

UPDATE (10:30): I decided to extend this to a game preview and thread since the game is way early today (11:35 CT) and I didn’t want to interrupt the great discussion on the DH question right now.

Tonight I’m going to bear the cold and watch the Cubs future in action.  I’m talking, of course, about the prospect laden Class A team, the Kane County Cougars.  The guy batting cleanup should be the mighty Dan Vogelbach, who tore up rookie level Arizona and then continued to rake after his promotion to the Northwest League (short-season A ball) with the Boise Hawks.

Despite the gaudy minor league numbers (.322/.410/.641 across both levels), Vogelbach still has some hurdles to clear. He still needs to adjust to more sophisticated and talented pitchers as he moves up the minor league ladder. But the biggest obstacle to the majors may not be opposing pitchers, but rather a player in is own organization — current Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo.  Rizzo already does much of what Vogelbach hopes to do well one day at the MLB level — most notably hit for power and be a middle of the lineup run producer.  He also already does something Vogelbach does not — play Gold Glove caliber defense at 1B.

One simple rule change could wipe out both obstacles at once, however.  That would be the adoption of the designated hitter by the National League.  Can it really happen?

Theo Epstein seems to think so.

“I think we’re going to see the DH in the National League,” Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein told USA TODAY Sports. “Hopefully we’re just a few years away.”

It may not be that easy.  There will be resistance — not just from baseball purists, but also from National League owners who will have to accommodate another potential large salary on their payroll.  Perhaps it’s an avenue for the player’s association to increase salary and job opportunities for players.  It will also extend careers and allow us to see hitters in the NL that are usually lost to the American League.

Detractors will say it takes away from what they like best about baseball — the strategy.  The presence of the pitcher in the lineup forces NL managers to bunt, pinch-hit, double-switch, and manage the bullpen in a more calculated way than their AL counterparts.  It’s how the game was meant to be played.


The game has evolved and the talent level has risen significantly since the game was invented.  No longer can players seamlessly transition from being a top pitcher to the best hitter in the game, as Babe Ruth once did.  Even as late as the 1960 and 1970s you’d see players who were able to excel on the mound and at the plate.  Pitchers like Bob Gibson, Don Newcomb, Ferguson Jenkins, Don Drysdale, Rick Rhoden, and Don Robinson could actually help their teams without necessarily having to square up to bunt.

Yes, there are still pitchers who can hit.  Rick Ankiel made the transition and had a good year or two at the plate.  Micah Owings and Adam Loewen have attempted to make the same transition. Brooks Kieschnick remained a solid pinch-hitter even after being moved from the OF to the mound.  But all of them switched only after not being able to master their craft on the mound or at the plate. They were, in an odd way, “tweeners”.  We can also say that the Cubs have three pitchers capable of helping themselves at the plate in Edwin Jackson, Travis Wood, and Jeff Samardzija — but they don’t really strike fear in opposing pitchers. They are good enough to stay on the mound, but it’s doubtful any of them could actually make a living at the plate — and certainly not without dedicating a lot of time and effort to it. That’s time and effort that would take away from their work on the mound.

The game has changed.  The level of competition to become a MLB pitcher requires intense, long-term dedication to that craft.  The same goes for hitters who are facing those pitchers. The game has become more specialized and there just isn’t enough time to master the art of pitching and hitting — not at the current level of competition.

I do understand the reluctance to change, however.  I’ve been a National League fan for about 40 years and it would be weird to see a DH in the lineup.  I think I can get used to it, though.  Especially if it means watching Dan Vogelbach mashing baseballs in a Cubs uniform.

News and Notes:

  • Cubbie Doc Examiner has their own interesting take on the National League DH question.
  • Baseball Prospectus has a free article on the players scouts think can pull a Jose Fernandez.  That is, which players are most likely to be able to handle the jump from A ball.  At the top of the list?  Javier Baez.
  • A gentle reminder that we will continue our minor league recaps this year.  We feel it’s the most comprehensive, informative recap anywhere with the best combination of scouting reports, statistics, and first hand observation (both live and through video).  Please make sure to bookmark it.  Note: It may be a bit late tonight (or early tomorrow) because I’ll be at the Kane County game early tonight.  Be sure to check in and get some first hand info on how Pierce Johnson, Dan Vogelbach and the Cubs most prospect laden team performed.

Today’s Lineup:

  1. DeJesus, CF
  2. Starlin Castro SS
  3. Anthony Rizzo 1B
  4. Alfonso Soriano, LF
  5. Nate Schierholtz RF
  6. Dioner Navarro C
  7. Luis Valbuena 3B
  8. Brent Lillibridge, 2B
  9. Travis Wood, LHP

What to Watch For:

Tom: I’m watching the mound again today as James McDonald is winless against Cubs in 6 starts with 5.71 era and hoping it ignites Cubs offense. Especially want to see A Rizzo get back in the HR column. Current Bucs hitters are hitting .191 against Travis Wood.

John: Since we’re talking DH or pitcher batting, I’m watching Travis Wood…at the plate as well as on the mound.  In fact, I’m not so sure he shouldn’t bat 7th today.

Felzz: Nate Schierholtz. Never thought I’d be happy to see Nate BACK in the lineup but here we are. But Nate had a very good first game. And it would be nice if he can build on it. If he can shut doubters like me up and maybe make Sveum think twice (It’s alright) about that all righty lineup then he will be referred to as St. Nate…..


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  • fb_avatar

    If this happens then maybe we can end the idea that the AL is the better offensive league. It's is because they have an extra hitter but when you factor out the DH from the AL teams and the pitcher from the NL teams the numbers are even. I also think this is the year that the NL wins the interleague battle for the first time since 2003.

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    Agreed. It's a huge part of the equation. Not only the DH itself, but it allows you to structure the lineup in a completely different way.

  • I feel like full-season interleague play is the first major step towards this. Which I have a feeling will then be followed by road AL teams being allowed to make the decision for or against the DH when in NL parks, and eventually the universal DH.

    I remember a while back, I was in my room, listening to the game on the radio, and the second I heard about Greg Maddux hitting a home run, I ran out into the living room to see it. And while that's fun to see from time to time, seeing Vogelbach launching bombs onto Sheffield with regularity seems like a lot more fun.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    This is very much how I feel Jim. I appreciate the pitchers who are skilled enough to hold their own at the plate, but I'd rather see someone up there who can really hit on a consistent basis.

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    Vogelbach is a good prospect, but before I can get concerned about where he fits in the lineup, let's see him rake at AA first. THEN we can get excited.

    We have had a BA top-100 left handed hitting 1B prospect drafted in the 2nd round out of a Florida High School before, who raked at low minor league levels, getting us excited about lineups to come. Brian Dopirak, remember him?

  • In reply to Zonk:

    We all know it's too early to make specific plans for Dan Vogelbach. I meant using him more as an illustration and I do say he has work to do as far as adjusting as he moves up.

    It's more about making room (via the DH) for players who can make an impact and Vogelbach is the guy Cubs fans point to as far as a guy who may not get an opportunity -- even if he reaches his potential at the plate. It's about whether you would like to see players hit.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    In other words, Vogelbach is a tangible representation of what it might be like.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Good reminder, Zonk. From my KC days I add two cautionary names, Bob "The Hammer" Hamelin and Clint Hurdle, to the list.
    At 6'1", 240, lefty slugger Hamelin was the 1994 AL ROY with 24 HR. After leg and eye injuries, he was out of baseball by 1999 (now scouts for the Red Sox).
    Clint Hurdle hit his first homer over the water displays in Kauffman and was touted as the next superstar. Instead, he's known as the current Pirates and ex-Rockies manager, not as a great hitter.
    I'm with the wait-and-see crowd with Vogelbach. Let him succeed in AA first, before we get too excited.
    But it is fun to watch what transpires, which is why I look forward to seeing the Daytona Cubs and the Smokies this year.

  • I am not a fan of the DH, but I think it is beyond ridiculous to have the two leagues playing under different rules. My choice would be to drop the DH from the AL and expand to 27 man rosters. More jobs in MLB to appease the union and more strategy in the game for the fans.

    But since there is zero chance of that happening, I would like to see the NL adopt the DH and standardize the rules.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Agreed. I don't the DH is going anywhere, so if you want to merge the rules for both leagues, it's the NL that will have to adapt.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I agree 100% with what you suggest we'd like to see and the realization of what we are likely to see.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    I probably should have added that I favor expanding the roster now that we don't have to sit through the thousands of extra pitching changes Tony LaRussa would have made with a nine man bullpen.

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    I really don't care if the NL adopts the DH or if the AL drops the DH, I just think that both leagues should follow the same set of rules.

  • There something about Vogelbach that leads one to believe that he will be different. His swing is natural and his disposition easy going. A good combination for the love of the game. I am a baseball purists and enjoy the NL game more, but it would be hard to watch Vbomb raking for an AL team.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    That would be hard for me too. Long way to go, of course, but have to say Vogelbach is fun to watch at the plate and also a fun guy to have around the clubhouse. You don't want to lose guys like that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Well, I guess all I would say about this is that I would prefer to eliminate the DH instead of expanding its use in the NL. Supporting its expansion just because we have a bomber in the minors is a very short-sighted perspective.

  • In reply to Boogens:

    Agree with this. For a board that is usually one of the most objective and rational (and maintains perspective), it's amazing to see everyone falling in love with the DH because we have a hot prospect in A ball.

  • In reply to MrBillySir:

    My vote for the DH in the National League is not influenced by any prospect. Rather the issue is easy for me. The most exciting (at least to me) aspect of a baseball game is when the club that is batting places the pitcher in the position of having runners in scoring position and 2 outs in the inning (I know that hasn't been all that common for the Cubs recently, but I am still excited about the future). It is a real bummer to see the typical pitcher at bat or on deck in this scenario. The excitement is reduced (more changes to dread) and it seems like a good time to get a snack. The little bit of extra strategy is not as interesting to me as knowing that there is a legitimate hitter coming to the plate.

    Also notice that there is a loss of strategy on both sides of this question. With the typical pitcher coming up to bat, the opposing manager doesn't have to think very much about whether he needs to go to the bullpen. With a real hitter at the plate, the manager has to make a decision.

  • In reply to Boogens:

    I'd be fine with that. Have said numerous times that the article isn't about adopting the DH specifically for Dan Vogelbach. Just using him as an example to illustrate since he is the most prominently mentioned -- which is why I said in the last comment, "you don't want to lose guys 'like' that". In other words, develop good hitters and the DH offers an option. The Cubs won't stop developing good hitters after Vogelbach.

  • In reply to Boogens:


  • In reply to 44slug:


  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Sorry, but I don't know what that means.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Means he agrees with you emphatically.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes, it means I emphatically agree with your definition of me emphatically agreeing with him....

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    In reply to 44slug:

    I prefer George Herman Vogelbach over VBomb

  • I used to be a proponent of dropping the DH until now. I just feel like I've seen enough of awful hitting and it may help attract even more younger and casual fans. Besides it could help the Cubs in this case.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    It would also hurt the Cubs because their pitchers would no longer get to face other pitcher.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Chicks dig the longball

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    I voted yes, but only because I'm a believer in objective reality. I believe both leagues should be playing under the same set of rules, and the reality is that the AL will never give up the DH. So the NL will have to adopt it. When the Cubs win the WS in 4 games in 2016, after having swept the Divisional series and the League series, the lineup will look like so.

    2b Watkins L
    Ss Castro R
    1b Rizzo L
    Rf Soler R
    Dh Vogelbach L
    3b Baez R
    Lf Jackson L
    Cf Almora R
    Ca Castillo R

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    BTW, I really wanted to put Stuart Turner at catcher, but I won't until the Cubs draft him in June.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Mike I really like your lineup. I think both leagues should be using the same rules. Right now I think the AL teams have an advantage.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I do agree it's far more likely that the NL switches. Not going to happen the other way around.

  • I think the DH will be adopted by the NL and soon. Also, I believe after it has been in the NL a generation, or maybe two generations, the young fans will be saying, "Really, the NL didn't have the DH while the AL did for that many years. That must have been odd." And BTY John, Big Z swung a bat like a mini Babe Ruth too.

  • In reply to Moonlight:

    He sure did. Though I'd say he had only one plan -- swing as hard as possible at whatever they throw at him.

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    If we could just a DH for 3rd base, 2nd base, CF, LF...We would be all set

  • In reply to Barry Bij:

    Football style platoons!

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    Voted yes for the sole purpose of Vogelbach. He look like he could be huge and I just don't want to see the cubs trade him away (however, if the cubs get an ace pitcher back I'd be less upset).

  • I didn't vote because I haven't made up my mind on the subject. I love seeing double switches and all the other strategy that involves having the pitcher hit. If the DH were around years ago, Babe Ruth would have retired as a pitcher.

    Instead of changing over to a DH, I'd rather see each team have the option of adding a 26th spot, so we could use it to carry a DH or a pitcher but only allowing it in AL parks. This would put the NL om more of an equal footing with the junior league.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I am a bit like this too. I still have a strong pull toward the no-DH side. I'd miss the strategy aspect of the game a lot.

  • Agree with all the others that say they used to be against the DH, but now want it implemented. With the new year round inter league play, the 2 leagues kind of have to have the same rules. Could be good timing for us to have someone ready when that switch is flipped.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Could very much work in Cubs favor -- and Theo and co. have been better at drafting/evaluating hitters anyway.

  • I want to get rid of umpires, but in this sense, I guess I'm still a purist.

    American League teams that have to have their pitcher take on National League teams, in NL parks, have the exact same defiencies, if not more, since their pitchers rarely hit at all.

    I like the idea of mixing and matching players in right situations, and the truth is that in the AL, guys have less of a chance to showcase themselves if they are on the bench. In the NL, they get a chance to show their abilities more, because of the ability to pinch hit for the pitcher.

    You gotta think of all the times a pinch hitter is called for a pitcher over the course of a season. It's a lot. That is a lot of at bats guys are missing. I guess you could give all those at bats to one guy, but I don't think the system is broken on this one, imho.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    And replace that ump with the all-seeing robotic eye? Wrote a story once on that and how Milton Bradley once argued with it on a strike call. The all-seeing robotic eye ump spoke with the calm, dispassionate voice of the HAL9000 from the movie "2001".

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ha! Would love to read it. Got a link?

  • At this point the dh seems inevitable. It is like gay marriage. One can be strongly opposed, but it looks like it is going to happen.

  • fb_avatar

    I think we have to look past a Cubs lineup with Vogelbach in it if the NL adopts the DH. Vogelbach's career won't last as long as the rule change will last. So the better question would be is the adoption of the DH in the NL a good thing for baseball?

    Overall I think it just might be time. Baseball is just more fun when runs are being scored. It's time both leagues have the same rules, imo......

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Most definitely it goes way beyond Vogelbach. Just meant him as a way to put a face (or bat) to the DH question.

  • No DH. Period. Players should play their positions and swing the bat.

    Let me pose this question? Why stop at DH? Why not have a designated runner who takes over for the lethargic DH when he gets on base?

    Heck, how about an offense that only bats and a defense that only plays the field?
    Think of the acrobatic plays you'd see in the field, and the sluggers belting away at the plate. Would make a great game even more exciting, right?

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    I can see this point, but the AL has managed to keep it just for the pitcher, so I don't think there is a slippery slope. NL pitchers are the only players who are asked to do 3 things: Pitch, hit, and field their position -- so I think they are the exception.

    Besides, no way owners would ever want to pay for all those extra players ;)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You make a good point about the NL pitchers. My view is that AL pitchers should have to do those 3 things as well. Regardless, the DH is clearly here to stay, and ultimately I do believe the NL will adopt the rule. In the meantime, one could make an argument that MLB could throw NL teams an extra roster spot to compensate for the fact that they have to carry additional bench players that the AL doesn't, because of the DH.

  • No DH, Like the see managers manage

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    A few days ago Ernie Banks was on Sportsnight with Kaplan on WGN Radio. They talked about Ernie technically being the first black manager in MLB because he managed the rest of a game after the Cubs manager (Lockman?) was ejected, around '73 I think. They won the game. Ernie said that Tony LaRussa was on that Cubs team and Ernie told LaRussa he learned everything he knew about how to manage from Ernie.

    It was a fun interview and nice to hear Ernie sounding so good after his health scare in the last year or so. Classy guy and one of the biggest baseball fans that has ever lived. Chicago is blessed to not only have had him play here but continue to live here and be an ambassador for the game. I got his autograph when I was a kid in the late 70's one day at Wrigley and he was as nice as a person could be.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Ernie has blessed Cub fans since the '50s. We need to show more appreciation of him while we still have him around. He WAS the franchise for many, many years. There was no one more happy to be a Cub, even on bad bad Cubs teams, and there is no one more likeable than Ernie.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Banks was my first favorite Cub.

  • Honestly, I lost a bit of respect for Epstein after that quote. He did grow up a Red Sox fan though so I guess he doesn't have the same perspective.

    I know it's probably inevitable. But I selfishly want them to hold off on the DH as long as possible. I've been to Fenway several times, and, like Wrigley, it's a great experience and great place to see a ballgame. But to me the games are so much more boring it's not even funny. It ceases to be a thinking man's game, unless you're the one actually pitching, catching, or batting.

  • Thanks for that Baseball Prospectus link John. I also noticed Soler received an honorable mention. There's nothing blocking either one of them this year or next year. One can dream, can't we?....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    We certainly can.

  • So, if people enjoy more offense in baseball, then it's a no-brainer. I can also appreciate the argument for consistency. I personally prefer there to be no DH and make the players play their positions (though I do understand the point about pitchers needing to do three things... although the same could be said for catchers too).

    Regardless of preferences, I'm sort of baffled by why everyone says that AL teams have such an advantage over NL teams. Maybe true... if all of the games were played in AL parks. But c'mon. I'd venture to say that on most AL teams, the DH is one of the higher paid and higher skilled players on the team, and at an NL park the AL team doesn't get to use that weapon (or they sacrifice defense in the process). In addition, the NL teams have one less position to pay for, so conceivably they could take the, say, $10 million it takes to have a stud DH and buy a solid pitcher instead.

    I just don't get why, in a home-and-home series, the AL would have such an advantage.

  • In reply to mosconml:

    It starts with acquisition. Do you take the risk of signing an aging veteran with bad knees? If you have the flexibility of throwing him in DH when those knees eventually debilitate his defense, he becomes more viable and you can offer him more money. Thus, the big sluggers become more accessible to AL clubs.

  • I know you say your using Vogs as an example, but he is also the reason the vote went towards the DH. I admit that I do want to see both Rizzo and ultimately Vogelbach in the same lineup, but I hate, the idea of making the managers job an afterthought. Do NL managers make more? They should!

  • fb_avatar

    How many times has Starlin swung at a second pitch ball already this season?

  • Article on about the best lineups in each of the minor leagues. Includes the Dayton Cubs as the best line up in the FSL and says “The Cubs’ 1-2 punch of Javier Baez and Jorge Soler might be the most formidable prospect duo in all of the Minor Leagues”.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Sweet. Thanks for the link. I like their lineup from top to bottom -- though obviously those two are the big difference makers.

  • fb_avatar

    I would much rather see the AL ban the DH than the NL add it. It makes for boring games, no late inning chess matches, and let's face it, without the DH most of the guys who fill that role would be out of baseball. Even when the DH came into effect it was promoted as a way for fading stars to extend their careers. That's not baseball to me.

    And while they're banning the DH in both leagues they should ban Hawk Harrelson from ever calling another game. :)

  • fb_avatar

    C'mon, let's make things exciting, that's what fans are demanding, right? If the NL adds the DH they may as well just extend the silly concept all the way: Designated hitters for every position player that can't hit. Courtesy runners like in softball. Guys like Billy Hamilton won't have to worry about getting hurt playing defense or batting, they can just come in and steal 200 bases a year as a courtesy runner. Heck, get rid of the rules completely and let guys like Hamilton run for any and all runners, as many times in an inning as a manager wants. Why even have a lineup? Just let the manager choose which batter goes to the plate in each situation? If the only thing that matters is excitement and scoring runs, so let's just throw out all the rules. They can rename the sport the XMLB and players like HEHATEME can get paid.

  • fb_avatar

    Nice AB for Castro. First swing was at a pitch he could drive, and he just missed it. Then a single on the two-strike pitch most hitters would have been happy to foul off. More of that!

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think we have to kind of accept who Castro is at the plate and it's pretty good. I don't think he'll ever walk a ton. I'd be thrilled with an 8% rate which seems realistic. Just get that .350 OBP or so. Whether it means hitting .320 with a 4 % rate .300 with an 8% rate, or .280 with a 12% rate it's all good to me as long as he's driving the ball and playing good defense.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    By the way, don't know if those numbers come out...just throwing figures out there ;)

  • We're all excited at the prospect of seeing Vogelbomb in a Cubs uni, but the adoption of the DH would mean that every team, not just the Cubs, has another slugger in their lineup. So the question isn't do we want to see this kid hit, it's will he be appreciably better than the other teams' sluggers (and is that margin higher than the separation between our hitting pitchers and theirs). I don't know. But I'm against the DH. I just dig the old style game and watching a pitcher hit a HR.

  • In reply to Dan Bradley:

    No doubt. The DH is not necessarily a Cubs advantage. Just something I've been warming up to for the past several years. I can see the arguments from both sides, but just leaning a little toward the DH now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I can see why. But i also fear change!

  • Can't say I'm a fan of the DH, but I feel more like a purist. Part of the reason I like baseball is its history, which I think needs to be respected. I like the idea of nine guys getting together to play ball full time, not ten, with two playing half of the time.

    I realize this is not practical, that the AL will never give up the DH, and that the NL will likely eventually go with the DH. I also realize that the current setup seems unfair to NL teams.

    Just because it is easier does not make it the right thing to do.

    Imagine if in basketball in the 1990s if the Magic or the Lakers were allowed to designate a free throw shooter for Shaq. This seems like a fair approximation to me. This statement really has no point, but I wanted the opportunity to say it...

    When the change happens, I will deal with it, support the Cubbies, and grumble about the good old days of real baseball. Here's to hoping I won't have to do that as soon as Epstein seems to think.

  • No Marmol trade to the Tigers, for the time being at least. The Tribe signed Jose Valverde to a minor-league contract. He can opt out if he's not on the ML roster by May 5. Looks like the Detroit bullpen-by-committee has a new member-in-waiting.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Valverde not to the Tribe, but the Tigers....mea culpa.

  • So McCutchen, one of the most dangerous hitters in the league, is leading off in the 7th in a one-run game, but he's 0-for-life against Travis Wood, who's cruising along. So why not let him take a crack at McCutchen before bringing on Camp?

    I realize that McCutchen got on base the cheap way against Camp, but I still don't think Dale made the right call there. With a team as deficient as offense as this one, you can't afford to make any tactical mistakes.

  • WIth Fujikawa in for the 8th, and Camp and Russell already used, this game is setting up for a Marmol 9th.
    Brace yourselves....but according to karmic balance, it's Good Carlos's turn today.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Pitching has been looking darned good again,.... but yes - here's hoping we get 'Good Carlos' this afternoon. No margin for error with a 1 run lead.

  • Fujikawa is showing Carlos how much easier the job is if one comes in the game throwing strikes. Let him pitch the. 9rh. He only threw 9 pitches in the 8th.

  • I hate to be pessimistic, but I'm getting the feeling that Marmol's about to use a can of spray paint on this Cubs pitching masterpiece.

  • In reply to Taft:

    That home run by Schierholtz sure does give some breathing room.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Bad Carlos is in the house!

  • In reply to Taft:

    He made it scary,... but we escaped with the win.

  • Marmol is getting squeezed. This may be the result of a rep for wildness instead of actual wildness.

  • Same old Marmol!

  • God Marmol is a dumpster fire so far this year.

  • God, Marmol is a dumpster fire so far this year.

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    Carlos Marmol is clearly a plan to get Carlos Rodon even with a substantially better team than Houston or Miami. Brilliant.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think after last season and my excitement for this years draft, I feel ready for another 100 loss season and a shot at Rondon. I am being very selfish with this thought, because with work I won't really be able to watch much of the Cubs until after May and I figure there's a good shot we'll be out of contention by then. So why not loose a few extra games early and get a head start losing to win?

  • This is going to be a LONG year if Marmol is the closer.

  • Ha! Marmol rallied! Never a doubt, right guys?

  • In reply to Taft:

    Always a doubt with Carlos Taft,... but he does pull it out more often than he tanks.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Very true -- and he's the most exciting player on this team, perhaps in franchise history. Exciting in the same way that base-jumping is exciting, or bungee-jumping.

    But we'll eventually need him to bring that ERA back below 20. ;)

  • I am not of the opinion that a team should ever actively sabotage wins in order to gain a little more in the draft. (After today and Tuesday) By continuing to run out Marmol in the 9th, as your closer, that is exactly what they are doing.

  • It's hilarious that he gets a save for that semi-fiasco. I'll take it though.

  • Piece of cake !!! We're .667 on the road !!!

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    What's the problem with Marmol? 1 Hold, and 1 Save in 2 games. He's perfect so far! So what if his ERA is 20.25? You guys need to lighten up, he's getting the job DONE! :)

    Seriously, he's not good right now, but we probably have to keep sending him out on a short hook

  • In reply to Zonk:

    There is no short hook short enough for that guy. I don't néed this kind of aggravation any more. He is taking up somebody's spot who could use the chance to prove themselves. A worthless pitcher will give you nothing useful in trade. He destroys hope. This can not be good for the team. Dump his but now?

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Still better than Axford

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    In reply to Zonk:

    Exactly. Also, the Cubs took 2 of 3 on the road from a team that finished ahead of them in their division. That's a good opening season. Here's hoping they get the bats going in Atlanta.

  • In the predictions thread, I had Schierholtz as a core piece. Good left handed bat. Good signing!

  • Thank goodness for Nate's 2 run homer! Cubs Win!

    And the main focus should be on Travis Wood. If he can pitch well all season (and I think we can and will) and Garza comes back healthy, we just might have ourselves one heck of a rotation -- as good as any in the division.

    Let's Go Cubs!

  • John, I see a Marmol article/poll in your near

    I didn't think he pitched that bad today. The Martin AB he struck him out if the ump could pull the freaking trigger. Problem is he's been so wild for so long, that he's not going to get anything close. He hammered Navarro's glove in the same spot back to back with sliders. First one was a called strike, the second one not. Don't get me wrong, I've had my fill of him too. Problem is, I think he would benefit by a change of scenery...

    Wood was solid! Let's hope for more of that!

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    You're right; as I said during the game, he was getting squeezed by Phil "S'cuzzi" Cuzzi. You could see it on the strike-zone charts.
    And the squeezing will probably continue, unless and until he establishes command consistently. Like the second half of 2012. Until that happens, we'll have to live with it.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Agree that we will have to live with whatever the Cubs decide. Don't agree that we have to live with Marmol. Cubs management should show mercy to their fans and change their stubborn minds.

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    In reply to Bilbo161:

    Why start now? Also, it took a year but Dusty Baker finally took his toll on Sean Marshall. He has "minor" left shoulder fatigue.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    The thing is they weren't even close to being fringe pitches. They were on the white part of the plate. It sucks, but he has to understand that when he establishes a little consistency, he won't get squeezed so badly.

    I still do not think we have anything better to replace him on the 25 man roster right now.

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    Just keep looking forward. Castro, Rizzo, Baez, Soler, Almora, Castillo....... 6 possible All Stars in a Cubs uniform!!!!

    And if we get to draft Appel, you got Jeff Samardzija and Mark Appel on the top of your rotation!!! Oh my!

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    And IF we adopt the DH rule..... Vogelbomb added for more offense...... Just devastating!

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    A lot of fans dressed as empty seats today in Pittsburgh, don't like to see that anywhere.

  • Have a great time at the game John.

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    I'm a little late to this convo but whatever.

    I used to be totally against the DH, but have recently changed my mind. I saw an article that broke down just how inept pitchers had become at hitting. The article had plenty of graphs showing that back in the small ball days, pitchers really weren't much, if any, less effective than the rest of the order.

    But now, outside of a few, pitchers are outright embarrassing. And even those few aren't really GOOD per se, just not a trainwreck.

    And it makes sense. Sports in general, including baseball are becoming more and more specialized. You're not just a pitcher, you're a setup man, or a closer or long relief, or a starter.

    You're not an infielder, you're a second baseman.

    You're not an outfielder, you're a Center fielder, or you're a prototype RF, or you end up in left.

    Many players a expected to have a niche position, and often they are assigned that spot early on in their careers and can't get out of that niche even if they want to.

    So pitchers work on their specialty and nothing else. They take close to no batting practice and it shows. When their spot comes up at #9 in the order, at this point in baseball history, it's just a WASTED at-bat. Good for nothing.

    So if pitchers have their specialty, why not batters. Vogelbach is obviously an example, but the Mariners traded for Jesus Montero last year and although his position is catcher, every scouting report said he's a pitiful backstop but the trade is worth it because his bat could be special at DH.

    And obviously there's the possibility of extending the careers of quality hitters that no longer have the legs for the field.

    So I'm all for it. And I think this season will help A LOT. With a full year of interleague play, The disparity will be all the more obvious and transparent, and selig's hand will probably be forced.

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