Tuesday, May 31, 2005

An Eventful Few Days

In spite of the injuries woes, the Cubs have strung together four wins in a row for the first time this year. The Cubs are actually giving me something to be hopeful about amidst the negative aura. Well, Mark Prior has a "compression fracture", Aramis is starting to hit the ball, my man Jason Dubois is still getting playing time, and LaTroy has been dealt to the Giants.

I liked LaTroy - not as a closer, but as the setup man that he should have always been. When he came to the Cubs LaTroy was coming off a 9-3 record, 1.86 ERA, 75 K in 77.1 IP year with the Twins. He is not made for the closer role. One could see the writing on the wall from Hawkins' 2001 line. Four years ago he blew 9 saves in 37 opportunities (24.3% blow rate). When Baker thrust him into the closer role in 2004, he blew 9 out of 34 (26.5% blow rate). (It's more fun to quote blow rate rather than conversion rate, btw). So far this year, LaTroy has blown half of his 8 opportunities. I don't know what the splits are on LaTroy's performance as a closer versus a setup man, but I'd bet you'd find a marked difference (anyone out there know how to get that?). Regardless, LaTroy is a Giant now and we'll keep on trucking without him. Here's to David Aardsma and Jerome Williams. Let's pray they don't follow in the steps of the dubious Andy Pratt.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

FROM THE RED STATES

You know, I have never been one to lay much stake in hexes, curses, jinxes or superstitions but I am starting to think that maybe there is something to this "curse of the billy goat".

First of all, let me say that I really do feel bad about what happened to Prior yesterday. The guy is a horse and in my opinion the best young pitcher in the game. In fact, I even picked him to win the CY this season. I also feel bad because as a fan you want your team to be at full strength, as well as your competition to be at full strength. Last season when the Cardinals won I heard plenty, from various Cubs fans about what might have happened if so and so wouldn't have gotten hurt. You always respond with the standard "injuries are part of the game" or "we had our share of injuries as well." That's all candy coated crapola, because the reality of it is we don't know what might have happened last season if Wood and Prior stay healthy, if Sammy doesn't strain his back sneezing. It looks like another off season of wondering what might have happened. As a fan I hate it, because I want the Cards to spank the Cubs with both teams at full strength, with no excuses, no questions as to who is the better team. That's not gonna happen this year.

I don't know about this so called curse. I have always been one to believe that the team that works harder, executes better, and plays smarter will create their own luck. The breaks always seem to happen for those teams. I feel that the reason the Cardinals are running away with this division (although the Beermakers could make a run) is because they are just better. They work harder, the execute better, and the play smarter and harder. Obviously right now that is the case. For example, the other day I got to see the first couple of innings of the Cubs game and they were facing the pitcher with the most walks in the NL, as well as leading the league in ERA. A team that plays smart realizes "hey let's take a pitch or two, make this guy work, and see if we can't get him to walk a batter or two". What do the Cubs do, 6 of the first 9 batters go up hacking at the first pitch, 2 of which were retired on one pitch. That is just poor execution, not bad luck or a curse. Or the other day, trailing in the 9th to the 'Stros. Neifi Perez has a great at bat and after seeing like 10 pitches gets a knock. Patterson pinch hits, and goes up there pumping at the first pitch, trying to hit a grand slam with one man on base. After 4 or 5 pitches, strikes out looking failing to advance the runner. Next batter hit's into the dreaded 6-4-3, ending the inning that started so promising. Again poor execution, not a curse or bad luck. Also when Dusty Baker came over from the Giants, he was never known as a briliant strategist, he was known as a players manager, and was great for team chemistry. The kind of manager that players loved to play for. If he told you to jump of a bridge you would do it with everything you got. I have seen nothing of that since he has been with the Cubs. Recently whining about the schedule (although it is unfair) but what does that say to your team when their manager instead of motivating his players, building their confidence, Dusty is whining about the schedule. Demonstrating his lack of confidence in his team. Again has nothing to do with a curse or luck.

However, when a no name stiff from the Rockies hits a frozen rope off the million dollar right arm of the franchise, breaking a bone in his precious right elbow, then you start to think that maybe there is something to this curse. Oh and by the way, I am hereby now backing off of my prediction of a Cubs/Cards NLCS. What else is new. I don't know jack about predicting sports. I had Georgia Tech, Illinois, Syracuse, and UConn as my Final Four in the pool at work. Illinois being the only one to make it, heck they were the only ones to make it out of the second round. So I guess I am gonna predict the Red Sux to sweep the Cardinals in the World Series again this season. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Frustrated in Peoria…

I love Randy – our resident Cardinals fan who posts on this Cubs blog under the sub title “FROM THE RED STATES” - and I really enjoy his insights, but if you look at the last 4 posts, this blog is quickly turning into a Cardinals blog and I hope the other two alleged bloggers who profess to be Cubs fans are reading my frustration as I write this [AHEM].

Randy God bless you, you’re making us get off our rears and pound out sheer pabulum if nothing else.

SO, as a self-respecting Cubs fan (ok maybe self-loathing would be more apt in light of how the season is going), I simply had to post something, even though I don’t have much to say. So here we go: The Offense is Outrageous – the Bullpen is…well, they’re just plain Bad – and the Defense has been nothing short of Disastrous – but other than that – everything’s been peachy.

If you noticed, alliteration is about the only thing I can manage right now in my current state of mind - so please bear with me.

Oh yeah – the dude on this blog who has been the most positive about the Cubs team this year is a Cardinals fan! What the @#$%! does that tell you about the sorry state of this team? This team has only managed an 8-6 record their last 14 games and it’s been against the Pirates, Astros, Nationals, Mets, and White Sox – and of that bunch only the White Sox figure to be a legitimate playoff team if they can keep up that pitching (and yes interleague play is a joke and totally unfair as Randy pointed out. Six games can be the difference between making the playoffs and not - and this year [like the last] the Cubs have gotten hosed).

Oh and by the way, the Cubs’ record drops to 9-8 if you include the 2 out of 3 they dropped to the hapless Phillies in the series prior to the Mets – then it plunges to 9-11 if you include the sweep by Milwaukee, and then it gets even worse (10-13) if you trace their record back to the Astros series where they dropped 2 of 3 to what is turning out to be a really really bad team.

Disgraceful.

The pitching has been a problem – especially the bullpen. However, as bad as it's been, it's not the team’s most pressing concern. The number one concern has been (before the season ever began I might add) and it continues to be a consistent lack of offensive punch and until Jim Hendry adds a few legitimate power bats to this roster this team is going to continue to disappoint.

That’s a fact and all of the hoping against hope isn’t going to change it. Just watch it play out my friends.

FROM THE RED STATES

Ok, ok, ok I will say it and I realize that I will probably get bashed for it, being on a Cubs blog and all, but after Jeff Gordon's performance at "Wrigley Stadium" last night it is time to put this ritual to death. Singing "Take me out to the ballgame" was old when Harry did it, and it is even gotten worse since his death. Every Tom, Dick , and Harry who comes down the pipe know sings and it is getting ridiculous. Jeff Gordon, who is one of the best drivers on the Nextel Cup circuit, obviously don't know jack about singing. Apparently knows even less about baseball, I mean how in the world do you call it "Wrigley Stadium". That is without a doubt the funniest thing have ever heard. Jeff Gordon should stick to driving around in circles and the Cubs should do the honorable thing and kill this singing deal. While were at it, let's tear down the urine stench infested sewer known now as "Wrigley Stadium"and build, I don't know, how bout another mall.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

WHY INTERLEAGUE PLAY IS BAD FOR BASEBALL

I'm sure this weekend I would get the votes of most Cubs fans on why interleague is bad for baseball. After all the Cubs are playing 3 games against the team with currently , the best record in baseball, meanwhile the Redbirds are playing those same 3 games agaisnt the team with the worse record in baseball. First of all let me make this point, I didn't hear any Cubs fans whining about this in 2003 when the Cardinals were playing the Red Sox and Yankees, while the Cubs were playing Tampa Bay and Toronto. The fact of the matter is in both cases it blows, and the reason is because the schedule is unbalanced, and unfair. Really it is not so much interleague play that is bad, but the fact the divisions are not lined up evenly and this rivalry series stuff is impossible to play, and still have a schedule that is equal and balanced for all teams.

A few months ago, when I was off work for some time with a foot problem I read Bob Costas book "Fair Ball: A Fans Case for baseball", it was a classic read, one I highly recommend for any baseball fan. In this book he makes these arguments, as well as arguing against the wid card. He also suggests two World Series games played in the day time, like the old days. It is a great book, and Costas would get my vote for Commisioner of Baseball. Anyway his solution for balancing the schedule, while still having interleague play, and really when you think about it it is so simple a solution. First of the NL Central has 6 teams, while the AL West has 4, as long as this is the case the schedule can't be balanced. He suggests the Houston Astros moving from the NL Central to the AL West. The reason for the Astros moving is really because that would leave the Cards, Cubs in the same division, the Pirates and Reds who both have long standing National League tradition (much longer than the Astros), and the Brewers. Milwaukee is much closer geographically to the other 4 cities and since they just switched leagues a few years back, it would be unfair to make them switch back. Plus moving the Astros to the AL West instantly creates a intra-state, divisional rival with the Texas Rangers. So the divisions would look like this...

NL West
1. San Francisco Giants
2. Las Angeles Dodgers
3. Colorado Rockies
4. San Diego Padres
5. Arizona Dimaondbacks

NL Central
1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Chicago Cubs
3. Cincinnatti Reds
4. Pittsburgh Pirates
5. Milwaukee Brewers

NL East
1. Atlanta Braves
2. NY Mets
3. Florida Marlins
4. Philadelphia Phillies
5. Washington Nationals

AL West
1. Seattle Mariners
2. Oakland A's
3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (how big of a joke is that)
4. Texas Rangers
5. Houston Astros

AL Central
1. Chicago White Sox
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Minnesotoa Twins
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Detroit Tigers

AL East
1. NY Yankees
2. Boston Red Sox
3. Toronto Blue Jays
4. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
5. Baltimore Orioles

So we have 6 divisions with 5 teams in each division. First of all like was said earlier you can't balance the schedule and have these rivalry series, because as long as that happens the Cubs will play the Sox, and the Cards will play the Royals. It stinks now, and will stink even worse if some day the Royals become the best team in baseball, and the White Sox the worse. Balance the schedule with interleague heres how...Each team playes 18 games against the other 4 teams in their division 9 on the road and 9 at home or 3 -3 game series. So thats 18 x4= 72 games. Then you play 6 games against the other 10 teams in your league 3 on the road and 3 at home. 10 x 6= 60 games. Then you play 6 games against the 5 teams in a division from the other league. Again 3 games at home and 3 on the road. Certainly you rotate the divisions you play, alternating who plays at home. So if the Cards play at home against the Yankees this season in 2008 we will go to New York. So all the fans of all the teams will see all the other teams every 6 years. So 5 x 6 = 30 games. So we have 72 divisional games + 60 league games + 30 interleague games = 162 games. With every team in your division playing the exact same schedule. Pretty simple really. Plus it creates a schedule that plays all 3 game series. No more of this 2 games then a cross country flight to play 4 game series crap. It really makes alot of sense and is so simple.

My next post I will give Costas ideas, as well as mine as to why the Wild Card is even worse for baseball.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

FROM THE RED STATES

Ok, I know I picked the Cubs and the Cardinals to square off in the NLCS this year, and the Cubs as of right now do not look too good. However, I am not backing off my prediction just yet, and here is why...

First of all, this is still only May, and the Cubs are just 6 back after the Cardinals losing 2 out of 3 to a team not in their own division. I think the Cardinals are highly over rated right now. Rolen is out for atleast a month, Edmonds has yet to go on one of his patented hot streaks, and Walker is really finding the world a little different outside of Coors Field. 80% of our wins are against teams with losing records. We have basically gotten fat against the Reds, Pirates, Brewers. Against the rest of the league were under .500. We split with the Cubs, lost 2 out of 3 to the Braves, lost 4 out of 6 to the hapless Phillies, lost 3 out of 4 to the Padres, but did manage to win 3 out of 4 against the Dodgers, and 2 out 3 against the Mets. Forgive me, but with this resume I think I will wait to start printing the World Series tickets. Schedules even out over the course of the season, well atleast somewhat. The Cubs will have their chance to get fat against the Reds, and Pirates. Scheduling is why I doubt the wild card will come from the East. The NL East is far superior than that of the Central, and having to play 18 or 19 games against the Marlins or the Braves, the Mets are improved, compared to the Cubs playing those same 18 or 19 games against the Reds, Pirates, and Brewers. It's a huge advantage for the team in the Central that doesn't win the division.

I am not too sure the Cardinals will win this division. The offense is inconsistent, other than Pujols and really Grudzielanek. I am not sold on our starters yet either. Mulder might be challenging Wood for the most over rated pitcher in the NL right now. I've seen him pitch twice now and got shelled against the Braves and Mets. While shutting down the Astros, Pirates a few times, neither of those offenses strike fear in the eyes of NL pitchers.

Cheer up Cub fans, remember at the end of May last season the Cards were 23-24 and trailed the Reds by 2 games. Remember it is only May, Wood will be back soon, and the Cubs and Cardinals still play each other 17 more times if I am not mistaken. This deal is a long way from over.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

FROM THE RED STATES

I just sent an e-mail to my dear friend and fellow poster on this blog Chris describing the longest Saturday of my life, which occured yesterday. What shame and dishonor I brought upon myself yesterday. Why am I posting this you might ask? Well I figure since the beginning of the season is not off to a good start for the fans of the Chicago Cubs, you guys might need something to read that might put a smile upon your face, even if only for a brief moment. If it means humiliating myself to bringing a smile to your face, it is worth it. What happened ysterday? Here goes...

Well it seems that this die hard Cardinal fan has shockingly been spending a lot of time with a certain woman who is in fact a die hard Cubs fan. I once dated a woman who was a Cubs fan, and when she refused to convert I was forced to make a painful decision to end the relationship. I didn't really love her anyway and was just looking for an excuse to end it. The whole Cubs fan thing was just an example of how different we were. This is different, and I will explain why. First, I didn't know of this tragedy beforehand and now 6 weeks or so into the relationship I have this sprung on me. Why didn't she just tell me that she used to be a dude, or even worse a republican. No she is a Cubs fan, I mean a real life, bonafide, Steve Bartman hating Cubs fan. You know how some women say they are Cubs fans, but at the same time think Ryne Sandberg played quarterback for the Bulls when they won the Super Bowl in '85. No, not this one she is a die hard, real life Cubs fan. She even proved me wrong in our debate over who was the Cubs centerfielder when they won the division in '84. I thought it was Jerome Walton, she gladly pointed out that it was Bobby Dernier and I was mistaking '84 for '89. I was speechless. Second thing different about this woman, is it is actually baseball season now, adding even more pressure to the new relationship. Thankfully the Cardinals are ahead of the Cubs in the standings right now, but what happens if that changes, it would spell impending doom.

So Friday night she comes over and asks me if I have to work on Saturday. Before knowing what she has planned, and wanting to spend time with her rather than a Saturday spent with tractor frames I agree to not go to work to spend the day with her. I was shocked to hear what she had planned, she got a couple of tickets to the Cubs/Nationals game in Washington last night and wanted to go. What, go to a Cubs game, when they aren't playing the Cardinals. Why don't we just go a National Organization for Women rally, or a Matt Hale appreciation dinner. What did I do you ask? Well what do you think I did...I humiliated myself and went to the stinking Cubs game. I just pray that no one back home in P-town spotted me on tv in all my shame. I even disreguarded a sure sign from heaven that I was not in a place I should have been and sat through the 4 or 5 hour rain delay. Bringing further shame upon myself, all of cardinal nation, and most importantly bringing shame upon Almighty God who is indeed the biggest Cardinals fan of all. I mean after all, in the minds of some, the Pope is God's mouthpiece, well who just got done electing the new Pope, thats right the Cardinals. So therefore God must be a die hard Cardinals fan. Who else would be wise enough to allow his favorite baseball team to elect his next mouthpiece. Although it is debatable whether or not the Pope is in fact the mouthpiece of God, but it fits good for my theory in this case.

The only redeeming thing of this whole fiasco was I made her promise we would go to two count them two Cardinals/Nationals games when they are in Washington later in the season. I parlayed one disasterous night of Cubdom, for two glorious days of watching the best team in baseball. Like a typical Cub/ Cardinal deal, I think the Cardinals came out ahead on this one. Ala Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio.

So go ahead, make your jokes, wisecracks I can take the heat. If not I wouldn't dish it out.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Fabulous Over-Achievers

I did some statistical analysis this morning trying to create my own power rankings system. I've developed a fairly straight-forward simplistic system. Basically, it averages standardized values for the following statistics:

R, BA, OBP, SLG, WHIP, BA (against), OPS (against), ERA

Curiously, some of the rankings don't quite match up with each team's record. Below you'll see a ranking of over/under achievers. The Sox top the list as the team whose record ranking is much greater than their general statistical ranking. Cincinnati at the 17 spot is the first under-achieving team on the list.

Rk Team
1 Chicago Sox
2 LA Angels
3 Arizona
4 LA Dodgers
5 Atlanta
6 St. Louis
7 Texas
8 Baltimore
9 Boston
10 San Diego
11 Minnesota
12 Pittsburgh
13 Philadelphia
14 NY Mets
15 Toronto
16 Washington
17 Cincinnati
18 Oakland
19 San Francisco
20 Florida
21 Milwaukee
22 Cleveland
23 Seattle
24 NY Yankees
25 Tampa Bay
26 Houston
27 Chicago Cubs
28 Detroit
29 Colorado
30 Kansas City

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Where Do We Stand?

Amidst this nasty 8 out of 9 losing skid, I decided to see exactly where the Cubs stand in comparison to the rest of the NL in some key statistics.

Hitting

Avg - 7
R - 11
OPS - 6
SO - 11
BB - 15

The Cubs certainly aren't walking, but surprisingly, their OPS is fairly decent. I wasn't expecting them to be 6th in the NL.

Pitching

ERA - 10
WHIP - 13
K/BB - 8
K/9 - 1
BAA - 10
OPS - 12

This isn't looking good. The Cubs are again on top of the league in K, but I'd rather have a sub-4.00 ERA.

As a side note, Carlos Zambrano is currently ranked second in the majors in Pitcher Abuse Points by Baseball Prospectus. I have a theory that Zambrano's golden arm will eventually be torched through overuse. After that happens, The Tribune Company can just fire the training staff and say it was their fault.

Friday, May 06, 2005

LaTroy LaBlows Another!

Dusty Baker... Paging Dusty Baker... LaTroy Hawkins is a setup man and is not cut out for closing a ball game.

Given the Cub's woes lately, I'm going to have to resort to cheesy word games. Try to figure out what BS stands for in each of the following sentences:
  • Letting LaTroy close will probably result in a BS.
  • Whoever told Baker that LaTroy would make a good closer was feeding Baker a load of BS.
  • By losing their 6th game in a row, the Cubs have secured themselves a position in the middle of a BS.
  • The repeated attempts to let Hawkins close in spite of his lack of success leads me to believe that Dusty Baker was BS and sure as heck didn't receive a BS in college.
Ok, ok, it's out of my system. I like Hawkins and I'm still somewhat of a Dusty Baker fan, but the Cubs are going to have to do something to turn this around. I know it's early, but it's not looking good.

Are we having fun yet?

Well the first month of baseball has come and gone. Indeed, it has gone about exactly as we expected before the season ever began - miserable. If you'll recall, when all the off season free agents were slipping away and the folks at 1060 W. Addison were repeating the same ridiculous mantra, "We're happy with the team we've got - blah, blah, blah..." to an increasingly frustrated fan base (or at least some of us) - we were insisting that the club shore up the offense and the bullpen. They did neither, because after all they were "happy with the team [they] had" (a team that looked slightly worse than last years underachieving squad), and as a result - after a month of baseball (and the schedule has been relatively soft no less) the Cubs find themselves 3 games below .500 and 6 games out of first place. Yipee-ki-yaaa...[You know the rest].

Gee, let’s see – what are the chances this team makes the postseason this year?

[Voice of reason answers incredulously and sounding very much like Jim Mora, Sr.]: Playoffs??!!!

And to make matters even better – the White Sox have the best record in baseball!!!

I can't wait for 5 more months of this!

Anyone who has been reading this blog somewhat regularly should have guessed that we were in for a rough season when the contributor from this blog who was the most optimistic about the Cubs team this year was a Cardinals fan!

:-/

Ok – enough of that. On another note, perceptive visitors will notice that we have recently changed the byline to this blog. It used to read, "News and Commentary about the Cubs Pompously Opined from the Home of the Cubs Low A Affiliate!" and we have since changed it to what you currently see above.

Do you remember that ESPN special last year entitled “Whose Curse is Worse?” It was a program which argued (in front of a judge and jury) which curse was worse – the Cubs or Red Sox. It was a great idea, and they even had John Williams from WGN radio on the program. Alan Dershowitz (who could successfully defend the devil in front of a human jury) represented the Red Sox while some schmuck (of course) represented the Cubs.

This should have been an open and shut case – there is absolutely no question the Cubs curse is worse (and last years World Series only serves to vindicate this truth by the way). However, since the Cubs curse truly is worse, they lost the case, and the jury denied them (by a vote of 11-1) even that ignoble distinction. So the Red Sox were awarded the worst curse honor and they proceeded to show their appreciation by winning the World Series – they didn’t even wait a year.

The counsel for the Cubs tried to seize upon the fact that there never was actually a formal curse pronounced against the Red Sox as there was with the Cubs. I knew we were screwed when in the closing arguments, the schmuck representing the Cubs tried to employ the late Jonnie Cochran Jr. strategy of using poetry in his closing arguments (“If there’s no verse, there is no curse…” – to which I was thinking “What the @$%&*??!!…”) – Dershowitz didn’t need to say a thing after that – the jury returned the verdict and the kangaroo court was dismissed. I hung my head in disgust – this verdict was another tangible reminder of whose curse truly was worse – the Cubs couldn’t even win at this! It was only fitting if you really think about it: The verdict was in - The Red Sox curse was worse – or so they would have us believe.

But for true Cubs fans, we knew the truth. Heck, we have lived the curse for goodness sakes – we don’t need a jury to tell us whose curse is worse!

So here we are - The season’s getting flushed down the tubes faster than Barry Bonds’ former stash of flax seed oil. Don’t blame Dusty – Don’t blame Jim Hendry – Don’t blame the injuries, or the bullpen, or Kerry Wood or Corey Patterson (ok – maybe you can blame him just a little bit) – these poor simpletons are only pawns – pawns who are simply playing out their roles in this great cosmic drama which has been predestined from eternity past.

It’s the curse folks – simple as that. And they only exacerbated things by blowing up the Bartman ball last year and then serving it up for consumption. There's no turning things back now.

Don’t look for meaning in any of this – just try to take some measure of satisfaction in the fact that there is a certain honor to be had in rooting for the only truly cursed team in baseball.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

FROM THE RED STATES

Well, since Carlos Zam-no-brain-o is pitching tonight I must post with my prediction of what inning he gets ejected tonight. After much thought and consideration, I am gonna crawl out on a limb and predict that Dusty puts little Carlos in timeout, and he manages to stick around for the whole game. Although with the game being at night, little Carlos may have to leave eraly so his mommy doesn't get mad and ground him. She hates it when he is out past the time the street lights come on.

I think it would be intersting to compare the games when little Carlos gets tossed to when he is getting shelled. It seems every time little Carlos gives up a hit or two, let alone a run he throws a hissy fit and given the ol' umpire timeout. Now Carlos go sit in the corner and think about what you have done. So since he is pitching against the hapless Brew crew tonight I suspect he will pitch well and not get tossed. However if by chance he does give up a early run or two, lookout. It could be pacifier night at the 'ol ballpark.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Some Kerry Wood Humor

In spite of my recent Kerry Wood comments I thought I would share a fellow blog's entry. Ivy Chat had this post alluding to Steve Stone's comments about a month ago.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Dare I Say It?

It seems Kerry Wood's effectiveness has been one of those taboo topics in Cubdom. Ever since the man struck out 20 in his rookie season, we have raised him to popish status. As of now, I'm seriously questioning Wood's effectiveness and his role as a Chicago Cub. The man obviously has mechanics problems. He left yesterday's game with another "cranky" shoulder. How long is this going to go on before we realize this isn't working?

Some people were raising the question of placing Wood in the bullpen as a closer. Would the Cubs really want to do that? Look at Wood's performance early in the game. I would not be comfortable with him coming in with a high pressure situation given his history. He takes a few innings just to settle down and nowadays he just takes a few innings until he can't pitch anymore.

A starter who can't even throw more than 50 pitches in an outing isn't doing us much good.

Dubois

How about this guy? I'm a big fan of the big man. I'd love to see Dubois get more at bats. Is a pinch hit double and a pinch hit home run over the last two days enough to get Dusty Baker to let Dubois start a few games against a righty? I hope so. I think he's only going to get more solid as he gets more at bats.