Cubs Get Their Phillies

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies

The Cubs needed that win last night in Philadelphia. Not because they have a shot in the standings for any mid season drive towards the playoffs, but simply they got hammered by the Pirates. Not so against the Phillies. In fact, Jake Arrieta garnered nine strikeouts and is clearly the Cubs ace this season. If the Cubs can’t be beat the Phillies then who can they beat?

“Looked like his ball had a lot of life,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “He was obviously commanding the zone. Made some pitches when he needed to. Got us through seven innings and did a really good job.”

The other kid who did a great job and continues to do an amazing job this season is Starlin Castro. “Kid Castro” chipped in a two run shot in the fourth inning to receive his ninth homer this year.

Is this season a breakout year for the Cubs or is it a resume padding one for the North Siders? I have to admit, I took a running start and jumped on the Mike Quade and Dale Sveum bandwagons, but watching the passion of Rick Renteria this season has made me see the error in my ways. Quade always looked confused reading the lineup cards and Sveum reminded me of a bad hangover I once had. I think Renteria has come out of the dugout more this season then the other two combined. It says a lot when a manager sticks up for his guys and approaches the difficult duties of a Cubs Manager with a smile. When was the last time a Cubs Manager smiled?

It’s not a trivia question.

Believe it.

—Mark

The Cubs Hoping For The Best But…

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs

We’re into the home stretch before Opening Day 2014 and the Cubs didn’t disappoint. Ryan Sweeney let loose and crushed the ball to get his first home run of the Cactus League season. Travis Wood looked good and Wellington Castillo, Justin Ruggiano and even Darwin Barney. Yes, old Golden Glove Barney managed to get a hit.

So, are the Cubs ready for the season? I think they’re as ready as they can be for this year. The Cubs made the announcement that Mike Olt and Ryan Kalish made the cut.

This is great news. Let’s see more of Mike Olt this season. More than likely he’ll be at third.

“Olt had a great spring with the bat, his at-bats were very good, patient, aggressive, his swings were aggressive and he did a lot of damage and drove in a lot of runs,” Jed Hoyer said. “It was pretty clear if he was able to play third and get enough innings in and get enough reps, it was clear we wanted his bat in Wrigley.”

I think Javier Baez wanted his bat at Wrigley. Don’t worry Javy, we’ll be seeing you soon enough.

After this weekend the fate of the Chicago Cubs rests in Rick Rentiera’s capable hands. He’s going to be a great manager for the team and unlike some in the past like Lou Pinella who was in the twilight of his career and Mike Quade who was given the unenviable task of taking over a team that was falling apart. Was he a good coach? Somebody give Mike a second chance. Then there was Dale Sveum who in hindsight maybe wasn’t the right coach for a team in transition. Notice I didn’t use the term, “rebuilding”?

This is Rick’s team. He’s personable, capable and likes to laugh a lot which is probably the most important skill to have this year. Will he lose his job if the Cubs don’t live up to expectations? They’ve got nowhere else to go. Please Theo and Jed, this is the guy.

“Every time we came into Chicago, I felt this would be the place I would want to be a part of,” Renteria said. “I feel very comfortable here. I feel I’ve been welcomed by everyone. It’s a tremendously joyous spring and a very productive spring, and I’m looking forward to being part of the Chicago Cubs organization.”

Believe it.

Mark

All Star Break Report

So, it’s a little early.

The Cubs lost their third straight game against the up and coming Washington Nationals.  I don’t know what else to say except to spew out some cliches.

‘Close isn’t good enough”

“We’ll get better after the All Star break”

“We’ve had some injuries”

Something’s not working within the Cubs organization.  They can keep saying that they’re rebuilding but what started out as a somewhat promising season has quickly turned into a disastrous outing by a proud organization.  Carlos Pena was supposed to be their saviour and for what it’s worth, he’s done an outstanding job this year.  I would go as far to say that he’s surpassed all expectations.

Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Tony Campana have all shone for the Cubs but what’s quickly becoming apparent is Mike Quade is not the right person for the job.  He’s done ok, but not great.  You can’t be a “player’s” manager before long when multi million dollar players walk all over.

Kosuke Fukodome has done way better than I expected and I’ve apologised a lot about my harsh criticism.

I think the real reason the Cubs aren’t doing great is they have too much money tied up in wasted areas and that might clear up at the end of the season or it could continue through until next season.

Jim Hendry and Mike Quade need a break.  They’re not the right people for the organization.  Hell, Mike Quade managed my hometown Ottawa Lynx years ago and I still think he’s got to go.

Ok, Ryne Sandberg where are you?

—Mark Gauthier

 

“Everything Happened So Danged Quick”

The World Series champs San Francisco Giants beat the Chicago Cubs in both games of a beautiful double header day(does that make sense?)  On a day when Mike Quade was named to the National League All Star coaching staff, the Cubs were humiliated.

“Everything happened so danged quick” said Doug Davis. 

On the bright side, Carlos Pena got his 17th homer of the season. 

Nuff said.

—Mark Gauthier

Cubs Are On a Royal

Cubs 6

Royals 4

It’s taken almost mid season, but the Chicago Cubs have finally come out of hibernation.  I caught most of the game but went to bed during the eith inning when things were tied. 

The young guns are hitting the ball and getting it done.  Starlin Castro recorded his 102 hit of the year which is remarkable.  He’s still reckless, I should say careless when on base but at the plate he’s unstoppable.  Starlin Castro puts fear in pitchers everytime he steps up to the plate. 

DJ LeMahieu got two hits and is progressing well.  Once Rookie of the Year hopeful, Darwin Barney gets back off the injured list, things will really heat up.

Jeff Baker got a triple on a really good play.

Mike Quade hit the nail on the head by saying there were a lot of agressive things that happened last night.

You know, this time of year, the Cubs need to get a little agressive if they want to keep playing through October.

—Mark Gauthier

Cubs Lose a Tough One

Milwaukee Brewers 9

Chicago Cubs 5

They couldn’t make it three in a row but there was some good things to come out of last night’s game against the Brewers.  Reed Johnson hit a three run homer which I don’t need to preach about how good a player he is.  The Cubs are the only team in the Majors that haven’t won three in a row.

 I guess everyone is getting worried including the Ricketts.  Something tells me you don’t want to get the boss upset,”Everyone in the organization is frustrated.” Ricketts told the media, “Mike’s done a great job, I have 100 percent confidence in Jim.”

Now, this might seem like everything is fine on the surface but I can guarantee that one of them will not be there after the All Star break.  Hey, he’s the captain of the ship and his job is to be cool under pressure and say all the right things to the media, but as every fan knows that  when teams aren’t winning, the coach and the GM are the first to go.

—Mark Gauthier

Garza a Hit

Another tough loss yesterday.  However, Matt Garza got his first hit.  In the end, it was a tough loss to take.  Nobody needs to know the importance of division rivals.  These are the games to win.

Everyone can say that everyone did their jobs but in the end, they just didn’t win.  Now, Tyler Colvin isn’t playing the best but Mike Quade says,”I need to get him involved but can’t do it at the expense of players who are playing well.”

You know what?  The kid’s gotta play.  Put him in coach.  Even if you have to bench one of the guys who are playing well.  The only way a player will end his slump is to play.  It’s that simple.  Put Fukodome on the bench for a game.  Tough love, but confidence in a young player will grow.

I would also love to see the Cubs steal more bases. 

Actually, I’m going to sit back and see what happens.  The sun is coming out, it’s a beautiful Saturday and the Cubs are going to win today!

—Mark Gauthier