BREAKING: Cubs Pull Deal Off The Table

Remember when Carlos Marmol was flat-out awful?  You should, it was this past season, that same Carlos Marmol was just traded to the Angels for three-time All-Star starting pitcher Dan Haren.  THAT is why it was so important to the Cubs for Marmol to succeed, and why Dale Sveum had to keep running him out there.  Today justifies all of that, Carlos Marmol was lights out in the second half, all of those factors led to the Cubs being able to acquire a top of the rotation pitcher.  Haren will be the Cubs property next year, at 32 years old there is a good chance that he can become part of the rotation when the Cubs are contending, that probably won’t be next year.  So the Cubs would have to sign Haren to an extension if they want his services after 2013, if the Cubs don’t sign Haren, and are not contending, they now own a huge piece to trade at next years deadline.  Ton’s of possibilities here, and really a stellar deal for Theo and the Cubs, of course this all hinges on Haren staying healthy, which he didn’t do last year.  I will update as necessary, great news on November 2, this bodes well…

[UPDATE] Gordon Wittenmeyer has confirmed via a source that the deal is official, Paul Sullivan reporting deal done as well.  We’ll see if pieces are added.

[THOUGHT] I suspect that once this deal is announced officially by both teams that more players would be heading to the Angels from the Cubs, Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson could be headed to Anaheim, that’s just a guess. not both, but one or the other..

[UPDATE 2]  As expected, because this involves the Cubs, there are reports now that the deal that so many legit sources confirmed might not exactly be 100% done yet… did someone say Dempster again!?  Stay tuned.

[UPDATE 3] Carrie Muskat and Paul Sullivan are saying that the rumored trade that would send Marmol to the Angels for Dan Haren is “off for now”

[UPDATE 4] Per multiple sources, the REPORTED deal of Haren for Marmol has been pulled off the table by the CUBS, and this is after Marmol said yes to go to the Angels, you can’t make this up, it’s the Cubs!

– George

Cubs Pull Off Nearly The Impossible In Loss

That’s right, the Cubs not only lost last night in Colorado, but they were shut out in the process, that’s not easy to do.  The Cubs, like their fans seem ready for the season to end given their effort the last couple of nights.  Last night was a sleepwalk effort if I have ever seen one as they could only muster five hits in the loss.  I can’t really blame them as these games really don’t matter, but I still would like to see a better effort and of course a better result.

Jason Berken got the start for the Cubs, and struggled through his Coors Field debut, as many pitchers usually do.  Berken only lasted four innings giving up six runs on nine hits while walking two and striking out two, the loss dropped Berken to 0-2 with the Cubs.  As I mentioned the Cubs offense left a lot to be desired but they did have their chances as they earned five walks on the night.  Unfortunately the Cubs couldn’t get a hit when they needed it as they were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left eight guys on base in the loss.  Dave Sappelt got a chance to lead off again, and for the second straight night was productive as he went 2-for-4 with a double.  Sappelt is making a very strong case to be a fourth outfielder on the Cubs 2013 roster with his September performance.

FULL BOX SCORE

Game Highlights:
Soriano Makes a Nice Play
Vitters’ Great Play

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Bats Stay Cold on Tuesday

Justin Germano and Homer Bailey went back and forth early each throwing up zeros for the first five innings.  Germano ran into some problems in the sixth when he walked the first three batters in the sixth inning and just like that Germano’s night was done.  Manuel Corpas was brought into a tough spot and got Scott Rolen to fly out, but Ryan Hanigan delivered the big blow hitting a three run double into the right center gap.  Corpas got out of the inning and pitched the seventh as well not allowing another hit.  Alberto Cabrera and Jaye Chapman did their job keeping the Reds right where they were as they combined to pitch two scoreless innings.  The Cubs threatened in the eighth when with one out Darwin Barney delivered his second hit of the game and would later score the Cubs lone run when Bryan LaHair lined a double down the right field line.  Homer Bailey was really good for the Reds, but that would be the end of his night and in came our old friend Sean Marshall.  After hitting Dave Sappelt he struck out Josh Vitters and got Anthony Rizzo to ground out to end the Cubs threat in the eighth inning.  With no Aroldis Chapman the Cubs saw Jonathan Broxton in the ninth and did absolutely nothing going three up and three down to end the game losing 3-1.  The Cubs offense was not good again on Tuesday only able to muster up four hits against the Reds, two of which were by Barney who extended his hitting streak to 13.

FULL BOX SCORE

Game Highlights:
LaHair’s RBI Double
Jackson’s Running Catch
Sveum Postgame

Thanks for Reading,
-Mark

Cubs Use Long Ball to Sweep Away Pirates

Wins at this point of the year don’t mean much for the Cubs, sure they might be able to avoid 100 losses, but that’s about it.  Across the field in the other dugout these wins mean everything, which renders this weekend as a complete disaster for the Pirates as they walk away from this series without a single win.  Today it was a combination of solid starting pitching from Chris Rusin, and the long ball as the Cubs blasted three home runs in the 4-2 victory.  Rusin was solid on the mound for the Cubs as he tossed five strong innings giving up one run on five hits while walking three and striking out three.  Unfortunately the Cubs bullpen couldn’t hang on to a one run lead late so Rusin had to settle for a no decision.  After the Pirates tied the game in the seventh on a  James Russell balk, Alfonso Soriano continued is ridiculous 2012 by blasting his 28th home run of the season in the eighth to put the Cubs up for good 4-2.  Soriano finished the day 1-for-4 with a home run, and two RBI’s, he’s now has 94 RBI’s on the season to go with his 28 home runs.  Josh Vitters and Anthony Recker had the other two home runs for the Cubs today, it was Recker’s first major league home run.  Carlos Marmol had an uneasy ninth inning but was able to nail down his 18th save of the season and lowered his ERA  to under four, which was something that no one thought he would do this year back in May.

FULL BOX SCORE

Game Highlights:
Soriano’s Game Winning Home Run
Marmol Escapes with the Save
Sappelt’s Nice Grab
Recker’s First Career Homer
Josh Vittes Goes Deep

Thanks for reading,
– George

Updated: Cubs Top 20 Prospects

MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has done an updated top 100 prospects lists as well as each organizations top 20.  Mayo will probably come out with a list prior to the 2013 season, but here is where Cubs prospects stand as of now according to Mayo.  To check out the entire top 100 list and to read a little more on these Cubs prospects.

1. Javier Baez – SS (#24)
When the Cubs picked Almora they new his bat was going to play and that is exactly what happened.  The Cubs top pick from 2011 was outstanding in his time with Peoria this year hitting .333/.383/.596 with 12 home runs, 33 RBIs and 20 stolen bases.  He struggled a bit when moving to Daytona, but overall it was very successful season for the young shortstop.
2. Albert Almora – OF (#52)
The Cubs top pick in this years draft didn’t sign right away, but when he did he didn’t disappoint.  He started with the AZL Cubs and moved to Boise shortly after.  Combined he played in 33 games hitting .321/.331/.464 with two home runs and 19 RBIs.  He also hit 12 doubles.
3. Brett Jackson – OF (#74)
It has been an interesting year for Brett Jackson who has dropped a bit in the prospect watch.  The good news first he has made it to the show and when he makes contact does some damage as he left Iowa with 22 doubles, 12 triples, and 15 home runs, to go along with 27 stolen bases.  He also plays great defense, the bad news is he has really struggled making contact striking out over 200 times between his two stops.
4. Arodys Vizcaino – RHP (#76)
Vizcaino was considered one the Braves best young pitchers and was deemed untouchable last year.  Things changed a bit this year as he missed the entire season after elbow surgery in March.  The Cubs are very pleased to have acquired Vizcaino, but it remains to be seen how he will recover from surgery.  Lets hope it is as a starter, but at the least he is a power arm out of the pen which the Cubs need badly as well.
5. Jorge Soler – OF (#77)
Jorge Soler did quite well in getting accustomed to baseball in America.  He is still very raw, but at 20 the Cubs feel very strongly he will be a big contributor to the big club in the future.  He spent time with the AZL Cubs and moved to Peoria where he finished the year.  He combined to hit .299/.398/.463 with five home runs and 25 RBIs in just 34 games.
6. Matt Szczur – OF
The speedy outfielder had a nice season in Daytona hitting .295/.394/.407 with 38 stolen bases, but struggled a bit in 35 games with Tennessee.
7. Trey McNutt – RHP
McNutt did not have the year he was looking to have going 9-8 with 4.26 ERA.  He struggled a bit and was moved to the bullpen, but maybe it will be better for him and the Cubs.
8. Junior Lake -SS
Lake played the entire year in Tennessee and did a pretty good job going .279/.341/.432 with 10 home runs, 50 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases.  He is still very raw and will continue to work on his game.
9. Pierce Johnson – RHP
The Cubs took Johnson with the 43rd overall pick in this years draft and he did quite well making six starts, two with the AZL Cubs and four with Boise.
10. Josh Vitters – 3B
The former first round pick, number 3 overall finally put it all together this year in Iowa hitting .304/.356/.513 with 17 home runs and 68 RBIs.  The PCL All Star got the call up, but has struggled so far with the Cubs, but at only 23 the future is still very bright for Vitters.
11. Dillon Maples – RHP
It took a while for Maples to make his first appearance, but when he did he showed signs of what he could be.  He was a bit inconsistent in his six appearances, but he will have more opportunities next season to show what he has.  He has tremendous upside.
12. Robert Whitenack – RHP
Coming off of Tommy John surgery Whitenack struggled pitching for Daytona going 1-6 with a 5.96 ERA.  Although the numbers don’t look good, remember he is coming off of major surgery and has good upside.
13. Dan Vogelbach – 1B
Not many Cubs prospects did as much damage as Vogelbach did this year.  The big first baseman played in 61 games this season between the AZL Cubs and Boise Hawks.  He hit .322/.410/.641 with 17 home runs and 62 RBIs.
14. Ben Wells – RHP
A 2010 draft pick the 19-year-old Wells missed most of the season with a right elbow strain.  He made a few appearances at the end of the year, but will look to stay healthy in 2013.
 15. Paul Blackburn – RHP
Another 2012 draft pick Paul Blackburn was chosen 56th overall out of high school.  He made nine appearances for the AZL Cubs going 2-0 with a 3.48 ERA.
16. Jeimer Candelario – 3B
Candelario played the entire season at Boise and at only 18 the corner infielder showed he can hit a little bit.  The switch hitting Candelario hit .281/.345/.396 with six home runs and 47 RBIs.
17. Gioskar Amaya – 2B/SS
Amaya played his season in Boise and put up some good numbers.  He his .298/.381/.496.  The 19-year old filled up the stat sheet with six doubles, 12 triples, and eight home runs.  He also drove in 33 and stole 15 bases.
18. Tony Zych – RHP
Zych shared time between Daytona and Tennessee out of the bullpen.  He combined to going 5-4 with a 3.67 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 61.1 innings.
19. Alberto Cabrera – RHP
Cabrera, who moved to the bullpen this year started in Double-A, but quickly moved to Triple-A before finally ending up with the big club.  His minor league numbers were really good going 4-1 with 3.11 ERA with 74 strikeouts to only 14 walks.  He has struggled since coming to the Cubs, but we’ll see where he factors in going forward.
20. Marcus Hatley – RHP
Hatley pitched well in Tennessee out of the bullpen going 3-1 with a 3.40 with 46 strikeouts in 45 innings.  He then got the call to Iowa where he struggled in his time there.

It is good to see the Cubs have five players who are inside the top 80 in MLB.  You can also see the emphasis the Cubs placed on pitching, drafting Pierce Johnson and Paul Blackburn in this years draft as well as bringing in Arodys Vizcaino in the Paul Maholm deal.  Looking a little further into things is the talent Theo Epstein and company brought in this year.  They obviously brought in the three pitchers above as well as Albert Almora and Jorge Soler.  three of those five are inside the Cubs top five and Pierce Johnson makes it four in the top 10.  The exciting thing is there are more who they brought in who I would guess are close to cracking this top 20 and who may even show up in the top 20 before the 2013 season gets underway.  Keep checking back this offseason as we will talk more in-depth about these prospects as well as many more.

Thanks for Reading,
-Mark

August 20 – 22, 2012; @ Brewers – Series Preview

Milwaukee Brewers Logo - 'MB' shaped into a baseball glove in blue and gold

It’s a battle for fourth place!  Sorry, I was just trying to liven things up a little bit.  The Brewers have had the Cubs number this year as they have won seven out of the first ten games between the two clubs.  The Cubs pitching staff has taken it on the chin during the season series as the Brewers are averaging 4.6 runs per game over the first ten games.  Funny thing is the Cubs are actually averaging 4.8 runs per game this year against the Brewers, the numbers get a little out of whack when you win 8-0 and 10-0, which is what the Cubs have done against the Brewers, all or nothing I guess.  Coming into this series both teams are struggling, only going 3-7 in their last ten games.  Not sure that matters much when you take into account the home and road record of the two teams.  The Brewers have been really good at home going 35-28, conversely the Cubs have been dreadful on the road to the tune of 17-45, yikes.  The Cubs are going to have to score with the Brewers if they want any chance to take this series as the Brewers are 5th in the National League in runs scored. 

August 20, 2012 – August 22, 2012; Miller Park, Milwaukee, WI

If this info is not enough, please go here to use the CSN channel finder to find CSN+ near you!

Here are the pitching matchups for the three game series.

Monday August 20, 2012
Cubs: Justin Germano (2-2, 3.91 ERA)
Milwaukee: Mark Rogers (0-1, 4.94 ERA)

Tuesday August 21, 2012
Cubs: Chris Rusin (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Milwaukee: Marco Estrada (0-5, 4.52 ERA)

Wednesday August 22, 2012
Cubs: Travis Wood (4-9, 4.83 ERA)
Milwaukee: Yovanni Gallardo (12-8, 3.67 ERA)

Season Series:  Brewers lead 7-3

Prediction:  Cubs win series, 2-1

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

Losing streak reaches 6; Bats MIA again

 

Well, that was fast.  The Cubs and Padres completed this one in two hours and 25 minutes, unfortunately the Cubs came out on the short end.  Part of the reason for the quick game was the Cubs approach at the plate.  After a solid 28 pitch first inning the Cubs fell back into bad habits as they rushed through at bats.  A troubling sight considering it was only a two run game thanks to a stellar effort turned in by Travis Wood.  Wood went six strong innings allowing two runs on five hits while walking three and striking out three.  With the loss Wood falls for 4-8 on the season with an ERA of 4.77.  As I mentioned, the Cubs offense was lacking and that’s putting it mildly.  Eric Stults and company held the Cubs to just five hits as they shut down the Cubs from the word go.    Welington Castillo was the only offense in the loss he went 2-for-4 at the plate.  The Cubs were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base.  Josh Vitters made his first major league start and was held hitless, just like everyone else, but did make an outstanding defensive play that might have saved a run.  The Cubs losing streak now sits at six, and until the bats get going that number will grow.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

Continue reading “Losing streak reaches 6; Bats MIA again”