Cubs Can’t Tame Cardinals

Chicago Cubs v St. Louis Cardinals

You can’t have Runner’s In Scoring Position with one out and end up leaving them stranded. Championship calibre teams don’t do that. If it were two out, then maybe, just maybe that happens.

For the Cubs, leaving runners stranded is a normal occurrence. Of course it shouldn’t happen, but it does. They’re young and inexperienced. Then again, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo are the exception on the team. They’re doing their respective jobs and it’s about time.

So what should the Cubs do with Nate Schierholtz? I like the guy but you know it just might be time to move on. it’s no secret he’s struggling this year. He’s fourth on the team in At Bats with 121. That’s great, right. Some of you nice folks might even think What’s wrong? Well, Junior Lake has 106 with 27 hits compared to Nate’s 24. He’s fourteenth in OBP to Lake’s ninth spot. Here’s the kicker, Nate has 32 strikeouts. He’s not having a good year folks.

Is it time to make a deal or call someone up? Do the Cubs write off this year or as Jason Hammel says,

“You’ve got to look at the positive,” Hammel said. “We’ve played a lot of good ballgames. We’re not getting blown out. It’s not ugly games. It’s one or two pitches here or there, or one or two timely hits that we haven’t gotten. It’s not like we’re just laying down. It’s obviously frustrating, but I think we’ve played pretty good ball.”

Well if that’s what you want to call it Jay. He’s not lying, but he’s not exactly telling all the truth. Hammel was taken to school in the second inning which is another thing I harp on. Pitchers shouldn’t be that bad that early.

The Cubs need help and now’s the time to make a change.

Believe It.

–Mark

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The Cardinals Protect The Nest Against Cubs

MLB: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

One of the things that managers dream of is to have their pitchers play deep into the games, lead off hitters to get on base and clean up hitters to do just that.

The Cubs are having trouble this season in just about every area, with the exception of Bonifacio who is doing a great job in his role.

“I wasn’t efficient enough, and that’s what led to the high pitch count and early exit,” Jake Arrieta said. “I feel bad for having the bullpen come into the game too early there. There’s no reason they need to be in the game before the sixth or seventh at least. That’s what I’m harping on the most.

There isn’t any reason. Great teams have pitchers that duke it out and chisel their way throughout the game. Craftiness goes a long way. The Cubs have decent pitching, but when Samardzija who hasn’t earned his first win even though he’s pitched extremely well all season, exposes the holes in the Chicago Cubs team.

The key for the Cubs is to get Jeff his win. Once they do that, then maybe the Cubs can turn that all elusive corner and put more wins up on the board.

Give them the credit where it’s due though, the team does manage to claw their way back into the games, but can’t seem to finish the job.

“I’d be more concerned if we didn’t fight back and get into those positions,” Rick Renteria said. “We make sure our guys keep fighting.

—Mark

Cubs Feast on Cardinals

MLB: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

In a perfect world, yesterday’s deconstruction of the much maligned Red Birds of St Louis by the hands or paws of the Chicago Cubs would constitute a mauling of immense proportions. It wasn’t just a feast, but a buffet ending with a 17-5 humiliation.

This my friends, is what the Cubs will look and play like in a year or two. Mark my words, geez, I sound old. First off, they should change Junior Lake’s name to Ocean because driving in six runs is equivalent to a Tsunami which you won’t find in a Lake. Secondly, Mike Olt. Sure, his average is a paltry .187 but man, the rook has some serious pop in the hickory. Hits a grand slam one day a homer the next and now this? If he keeps it up, there could be a Rookie of The Year award in the future. He leads rookies with 8 home runs and 19 RBI’s

“That’s what makes baseball so much fun,” Olt said. “You never know what’s going to happen. We came out aggressive today and carried through the whole game.”

With the Cubs, no truer words could ever be spoken.

Ok, maybe the Cubs aren’t there yet like Renteria said, but with Olt, Rizzo and Castro those things will come.

“When we get to the field, we want to win,” Junior Lake said. “If we’re positive, we can make the adjustments and get a win like today’s.”

—Mark

—Mark

Mother’s Stand By Their Cubs

Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves

No offense, but the Cubs were anything but yesterday. The good news is it was Mother’s Day so no matter what the box score looked like, at least their Moms still love them.

Naw, I’m just kidding. I hate the Atlanta Braves. Believe it or not, I like the Yankees and the Cardinals more than I like the Atlanta Braves. So, it comes with great disgust to see the Braves beat up on the struggling Cubs. Really. It. Does.

There’s going to be good days, but there’s going to be even worse days for the Northsiders and yesterday was one of those days.

Edwin Jackson had a great outing and it’s awesome to see that since last year’s travesty of a season. Maybe that’s too harsh of a word, but for the Cubs, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

“Are these guys the final product? No. That’s my answer,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “These players are not the final product. There’s a lot of skill in these guys and they’re just not completely there yet. They’re chipping away.

Well, I don’t completely agree with Renteria there. Yeah, he’s got a point but did he just give his players a vote of confidence or did he just throw them under the bus? I’d be asking for my walking papers if a manager told me that. “Don’t worry, Mark’s not the final product.” I’d feel a lot less better about myself. Great managing Rick.

All right, all right I know what you mean, but guys like Mike Olt, Anthony Rizzo, the much improved Starlin Castro, Emilio Bonifacio and I can name a whole bunch of other guys who work their tails off. The players know it sucks not winning games. Do the Cubs need Bryant, Soler and Baez? You better believe it, but the guys playing now are the guys who have the potential to perhaps, now don’t lynch me here, but gain a wild card spot.

Don’t toss em’ under that bus, Rick. Be their manager, encourage them. Believe in them when everyone else doesn’t.

Yesterday, we went out to a ballpark and hit the balls around. My three year old son Darcy, was crouched down like Castillo with his glove covering his face. Sure he was playing shortstop like his favourite guy Starlin Castro but I cringed every time he tried to catch the ball without wearing a mask. When he took his turn at bat, I told him to swing like Starlin. He knew who he was. He stared me down when I tossed him the ball and he screamed when he missed.

Why? Because Darcy believed he will hit that ball.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Even though they lost, Mom’s will always believe in their Cubs.

—Mark

Cubs have a saying,”It’s Olt-a Here!”

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You know, for all the criticism the Cubs are getting this year and let me tell you that there is plenty, when the Cubs put the maple to the leather, they can really score some runs. Take for example, last night. The Cubs avoided a sweep against crosstown rivals the Chicago White Sucks. 12-5. That’s not a typo.

There’ll be glimpses this year of what the Cubs can do in the future. Mike Olt crushed a Grand Slam, his first ever! Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro chipped in like they’re supposed to do and belted homers each.

The key this year for the Cubs is to not look at the standings and focus on improving in each position. We know they’re going to be good in a couple of years, hopefully next year when the kids come up. For now, we’ll have to enjoy these games when the machine is working. That is working really well!

“For us, it’s a matter of staying focused, not trying to do too much,” Rick Renteria said. “We’re trying to find a level run — don’t want to get too high, don’t want to get too low. We’re still working on that.”

Yeah, it’s a work in progress and the Cubs won’t have every game played this well but to have moments when they shine like Rizzo, Castro and Olt did was the kind of games where fans should just soak it up and enjoy it.

“The White Sox had a lot of hits as well and we limited their damage — we did more damage than they did today,” Anthony Rizzo said.

No matter how badly the Cubs lose this season, there’s no denying that the club has some pop in their bats and seeing a grand slam by a rookie gets this guy really excited for what is to come.

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs Get Beat By White Sucks

It should be an exciting series between the Crosstown Rivals, but the Cubs have now lost three in a row. Yesterday, falling to the White Sox, 8-3. It was ugly, that’s all I have to say.

“Today, they’re going to feel this,” Rick Renteria said of the loss. “Every day that we go out there and do not come out with a victory and have lapses that occur because of situations in the ballgame, they take it to heart, they evaluate it, and we talk to them about it. They have to put it to bed and we have to start again tomorrow. Tomorrow when I come here, it’ll be a new day and we’ll be ready to play baseball.”

Nothing was working out right for the Cubs yesterday. No offense, no pitching and no defence. The White Sox had eleven hits and the Cubs had just three.

That’s no way to get the job done.

—Mark

Cub’s Shark Samardzija Getting Chummy With Theo.

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As one of the biggest supporters of Jeff Samardzija, I think he pitched one hell of a game last night. In light of the recent comments that former Cubs pitcher matt Garza has made, “pitch your way out of there” (oh yeah, that lower case on his first name is not by accident in case you’re wondering). The Shark struck out seven batters over nine innings and do you think he stopped there? Nope. He scored a run to boot and that my friends, is how a pitcher is supposed to do it.

But…

The Cubs still lost to hometown rivals Chicago White Sucks, 3-1 in twelve innings. It was a tough loss for the Shark because he’s still searching for his first win of the season.

“You do your job,” Samardzija said. “I’m just going out and doing my job and doing my part to win a ballgame. I can’t control things on the outside. It’s not my job. Every fifth day is my job and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”

No matter what’s going on off the field, Samardzija is at least, giving the illusion that he wants to remain a Cub. I like that. So, whatever Samardzija’s intentions are, whether he’s padding his stats for a possible deal or is doing it for the team, there’s no denying that he’s an elite pitcher and the Cubs should do the right thing and sign him to an extension.

“He’s big,” shortstop Starlin Castro said Monday. “That’s one of the guys you need when you try to be a winning team. . . . But I don’t make those decisions.”

I’ve discussed before about those big game pitchers like the Adam Wainwrights who are capable of pitching those complete games which he did five times last season and giving that bullpen the much needed rest that they deserve and in the Cub’s case need.

Listen up Theo and Jed. Keep Samardzija happy.

Believe it.

—Mark