4/7 Tough loss

The Cubs are 0-2 after losing 3-2 to the Braves Wednesday night. They also began the 2008 season 0-2 and would eventually recover to win a National League-leading 97 games and make the playoffs. The New York Yankees started the 2009 season 0-2, losing to Baltimore, and won the World Series. Wednesday was a tough loss but not the end of the world.

“It hurts,” Alfonso Soriano said. “We have to come back with more energy.”

And hopefully avoid double plays. The Cubs have hit into five double plays in the first two games.

Sean Marshall has struck out seven in 3 2/3 innings in two games. A reporter asked Piniella if he might consider changing the lefty’s role.

“We’ve just played two games,” Piniella snapped. “We’re not in our 22nd game or our 42nd game. We’ve played two games, for God’s sake. What do you want? Roles changed in two games? It was a tough loss and we’ll leave it at that.”

– Carrie Muskat

6 Comments

I really like Lou’s comment here. Some fans are already off their seats because the Cubs have started the season so sloppily. We have 160 games left, plenty of time to recover easily.

Really do need to work on those double plays though…

Hey, games like last night’s 3-2 loss are going to happen and happen to good teams. Sure, Grabow gives up the 2 run bomb to a long time nemisis Jones and that too is going to happen, Jones is a solid clutch player and Grabow is just a good reliever, not great but not bad. There are plenty of games left to a looooong season. The more troubling aspect remains the personel on this team, the lack of speed and outfield defense, and how and when Colvin gets in games. It seems (early on albeit) that Soriano should be the odd man out at least once or twice a week to get Colvin some time in left field. The Braves play there “stud” every day in right, the Cubs keep their “stud” on the bench because of Hendry’s embarrassing free agent signings. Do the math and figure out why Atlanta always is good and the Cubs are only good when every few years when lightning is caught in Hendry’s bottle.

Four things stick out in my mind that led the Cubs to defeat:

1-Lou’s IDIOTIC use of the bullpen. WHY use Marshall (arguably should have earned a spot in the rotation this spring) in the 7th against the bottom of the order only to bring in Grabow (another lefty!) to face the top of the Braves lineup in the 8th? Marshall threw all of 13 pitches striking out two and getting an infield pop-up after an off-day yesterday.
2-D-Lee apparently missing a sign on a double-steal in the top of the 8th led to an inning ending DP. Fukudome took off while Lee did not and he was forced out at 2B by a step as the lead end of the double-play; if he’s running there, the Cubs have 2nd and 3rd with two outs and Byrd is up NOT facing Billy Wagner.
3-D-Lee’s lack of effort on a foul pop-up by Chipper in the bottom of the 8th landed in the FIRST row of the stands and was EASILY reachable for the 6’5” Lee. Show some heart and effort D-Lee! Chipper hit the game winning bomb two pitches later.
4-Soto’s game-ending AB – 4 pitches, 3 strikes, ZERO swings with the tying run on base

I know we’re only two games in but they have ZERO clutch players on this team. The Braves have one (at least) and he came through with the game-winning bomb in the bottom of the 8th while the Cubs hit into 3 DPs including another line-out into a DP.

Dempster and Marshall were spectacular in their work; too bad Lou STILL doesn’t know how to run a bullpen and blew the game AGAIN.

Lou’s post-game comments only confirm my thoughts – he retired after the 3-game playoff sweep in 2008. He’s just out there collecting a BIG check now just like half the players on this team along with Crane Kenney and Jim Hendry.

Watch out 21daman, you may rile all the “Hendry brought us two consecutive playoff seasons for the first time in a billion years” crowd. I said watch out, not stop. Nice observations about last night’s game. Do you agree that it’s time (if not now, for sure in 2011) to oust Hendry and Lou? Bringing in Ryno maybe to manage and let Maddux take over as GM (or Stony if he can be had?)? I’ve coached
little league teams and softball teams that know better than to “go down lookin'” with 2 strikes on you. “Protect the plate” just doesn’t resonate with some hitters. I think we may have already seen the best of Soto and Theriot, we never saw the best of Soriano or Fukodome, Lee and Ramirez still have something left but our most talented players may be either on the bench (Colvin) or in the minors (Castro).

I’ve been BEGGING the Cubs for the last two years to get rid of Hendry and Lou. Hendry has had more than enough time to bring a winner here and hasn’t done it. There are just ZERO clutch players on this team…ZERO.

Theriot was my favorite player a couple years ago but he was never a stud; just a scrapper as I was as a short kid growing up playing ball.

The MLB in general has a totally different mindset with 2 strikes than they did “back in the day”. I saw Troy Glaus take a HUGE cut at a high fastball to whiff against Dempster earlier in the game and then Soto standing there with the bat on his shoulder. There is no “protect the plate” or “shorten up and put the ball in play” any more with these guys. They get paid too much to hit HRs and not enough emphasis is placed on NOT striking out.

I cannot even believe we have 5 more years of Soriano! Worst contract in the history of sports! Hendry should be fired for that move alone although the list for Hendry to be fired is ridiculously long both for who he signed and who he didn’t sign – Bradley, Adam Dunn, Miles, DeRosa, Gregg, Fukudome, Pierre, Peavy, Brian Roberts, Zambrano, etc. I could go on, but I’m tired already and we’re only 2 games in to this pending disaster.

5 more years…sigh…thanks for the wake up call. It’s time for the Ricketts to sever ties with Hendry regardless of their past “loving” relationship with him and allow a more competant GM to try to SALVAGE ANYTHING from the damage incurred by way of the Soriano, Fukodome and Zambrano contracts. Let’s examine what makes the starting players VALUABLE shall we? Oh, o.k. then here we go:
SOTO: Only his youth and the possibility of him getting better but nothing as far as offensive or defensive skills.
LEE: Very good hitting, fielding, power and run production.
One of only a few of Hendry’s great decisions. RAMIREZ: (see LEE). Fontenot: Not much. Theriot: (see Fontenot) SORIANO: Only his occassional flash of power which is diminishing by the year, he brings nothing else to the game including his “great arm” which would only benefit him if he were able to get to balls quickly. BYRD: Good defense, good bat, decent speed, good clubhouse presence. FUKODOME: Good defense, good OBA. ZAMBRANO: Only his little chance of ever harnessing his physical talent, but his hot/cold ability negates that little chance. Dempster: Solid starting pitcher, cool under pressure, good clubhouse presence. Wells: His youth, and solid 2009 performance, and his maturing mound presence. He may be the pitcher with the most upside of the bunch, still too early to tell. Lilly: Quality pitches, left handed, goes deep into games, doesn’t get rattled. Silva: He’s not Bradley. Now I ask, what the heck is preventing this organization from going with Colvin and Castro as fulltime players? Hendry? Lou? Then send them both packing. Will we see Colvin tonight get the first of his “one or two” starts PER WEEK as stated by Lou? Hell, I’d rather have him batting lead-off and drop Theriot down to 7th.

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