Chris Volstad was brutal in the first inning, with no clue where the ball was going once it left his hand, and with absolutely no sink on his sinker. The Cubs’ defense wasn’t much better, resembling clowns tumbling out of a tiny car while kicking the ball all over the field.

Even when Volstad strung together a few “good” innings, the ball still didn’t look like it was doing what he wanted it to do. I won’t be surprised to hear some post-game comments about the cold, and his grip. I’m not saying whether or not I think those comments will be legitimate. I just expect to hear them.

Credit to the Cubs’ offense for trying to claw back into the thing by scraping runs together here and there. It’s not their fault the pitching kept giving the runs right back. Ian Stewart had three sure-fire hits that were absolutely robbed.

  • johnbres2

    these are the kinds of games we will completely forget ever happened, while talking to our grandchildren….

  • ryan

    June, 2013

    With the first pick in the 2013 MLB amateur draft, the Chicago Cubs select….

    • Kyle

      Magic number for top pick: 149

  • John

    Brett- I have been watching the positioning of the fielders and questioning the advance scouting. Are we that far out of position for routine ground balls? Barney shifted way up the middle and a hitter slaps it where he was suppose to be. Or is it a matter of the pitcher not pitching to the defense? Just curious on your take. And in St Lou Byrd playing shallow and is burnt deep several times or shifted and cannot catch up. Thanks

    • Brett

      I noticed and wondered the same thing. I can only assume those balls went against tendency.

  • Chef

    How long must the Shawn Camp experiment last?

    • Bric

      Better question, when will the Lendy Castillo problem go away? Didn’t we learn anything from the David Patton experiment? Oh, wait. We did but Sveum and Jedstein didn’t because they weren’t here then.

      • college of coaches

        Does anyone know the history of the whole David Patton experiment? It seemed so odd, drafting a player from A ball, and playing him for the entire season despite the fact that he was clearly outmatched by major league hitting. I know it was a different front office, but why didn’t they just release him during the season, forfeit the money they spent on the Rule 5 Draft, and bring up someone else? They went on to release him that off season, so he was clearly not part of any long-term plan.

  • When the Music’s Over

    ….and people still think Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols could have saved this team.

    • Kyle

      It would have also involved not handing out roster spots to really bad players and intentionally putting together the worst bullpen you could.

      • When the Music’s Over

        This team would have needed to sign two of the top 10 free agents plus another 3-4 from the top 10-30 list. It probably would have been a $60-70M a year commitment.

        There’s just far too much dead weight chewing up salary.

        • JustSwain

          To make a legitimate run at a playoff spot, they would have had to spend big bucks. To put together a bullpen that wasn’t rejects and has beens it would have cost them $5mil over their current payroll. They wouldn’t have won the World Series, but they might have put together a competitive team. I’m with Kyle on this one.

          • drew

            I understand what youre saying, but this team is and will continue to be bad because of the anemic offense. I know the bullpen has dropped the ball a couple of times, and I agree it should have been addressed, but I dont feel its what is keeping them from being competitive.

            • JustSwain

              The offense has signs of hope, the Bullpen has very few. This bullpen has lost every game they realistically had a chance to lose. That is unacceptable. Getting a better lineup would have cost money, getting a better bullpen would have been quite cheap. Even in hindsight, the only contracts for offensive upgrades I would have wanted this year are Yoenis Cespedes and Melky Cabrera, and we already had Byrd in center, and no reason to think he would start the season the way he did. On the bright side, Cabrera is a FA this offseason…

              • drew

                Like I said, the bullpen should have and could have been upgraded, its just not the difference between being competitive and what we are seeing now; those two things are miles apart.

                I disagree that with the offense having signs of hope without some sort of change; No power, no patience, and very little upside. Maybe youre seeing something I’m not though.

                • JustSwain

                  signs of hope=Lahair, Stewart, Castro, Barney, Dejesus, Clevenger. Only Castro is a superstar, but Stewart has been showing some pop, had a really impressive 0 for 4 today, and that shot Lahair hit onto Sheffield against the Brewers was impressive. I think these kookie lineups are reducing production along with continuing to let Byrds horrid streak continue. Let him work out of it…in AAA. As bad a season as he’s having if he’s half the team player he claims to be he’d volunteer to get sent down to work out whatever issue he is having. Soto has been disapointing, but is starting to make solid contact more often. Soriano probably isn’t going to hit 0 home runs this year. Though he might hit 5 home runs each in 5 games or something like that as clumpy as his power tends to be. He also has a much better 2 strike approach than in years past. Our lineup has holes, they aren’t going to overpower, but they aren’t all as bad as the numbers indicate. I didn’t say I love the lineup, just that it has signs of hope.

    • Cubmig

      We don’t need players—–we need a team.

      • rcleven

        We need to get a few breaks. Stewart hit the ball well but couldn’t get anything fall. Castro hit a ball on another day would have hit the building across the street. Soto also hit some balls well today. At the present moment the team is just snake bit.

      • die hard

        and they laughed when I predicted 40 wins max…I may have been too optimistic

  • King Jeff

    More enhancement for the box score. In 3 hitless at bats, Marlon Byrd saw a total of 7 pitches.

    • RY34

      yet another reason to shitcan byrd, the dude is toast.

  • JungleDrew

    Hey check it out.. Mr. Not Ready For The Big Leagues Scott Maine struck out 2 and is the only pitcher who didn’t give up a run… was anyone actually watching him in spring training when he was dominating? But I bet tomorrow there will be some report about the cubs looking for another left hander….

  • Zogie

    Advanced Box Score.
    Congrats to the Reds with their 10,000 win. The cubs again could not do much offensively. DeJesus went 1-4 today, but he continues to have good ABs. Barney went 0-4 with 1 bad AB in the 8th. Barney did play some good defense today though. Castro went 1-4 with 1 bad AB and another error. He was also robbed of a homerun today by the wind blowing in over 17 mph. He crushed a hanging breaking ball and lucky there was a fielding error on that same ball which allowed the cubs to score 2, but it ended up not mattering at all. LaHair continues to have a hot bat going 2-4, 2B, RBI. On the bad side, he had 2 Ks and an error. Soriano went 0-4 with an RBI and a K. He was hot at the start of spring training, but he faded toward the end and he has continued to hit just singles. Where is the power Sori? Stewart went 0-4 and seems to be one of the unluckiest people I know 3 Lineouts today and a solid flyout. It seems like Stewart has been robbed about once each game so far this season. Now, for the “terrible twos.” Soto 0-4 had 2 bad ABs and 1 terrible AB. When the wind is blowing in, Soto’s goal needs to be to hit the ball hard. LINEDRIVES! Today he looked like a guy trying to kill the ball just to add another HR to his stats. Byrd is still not the word. 0-3 with 1 terrible and 1 bad AB. DeWitt 1-1 finally came through today with a 2B. Mather 0-1 had a terrible AB. My suggestion would be to promote Campana for Mather since Mather is rarely used and Byrd is struggling. Also Clevenger should start ever other day. His hot bat needs to be in the line-up. Lastly, I need to give a shout out to Scott Maine, the only Cubs reliever not to give up a run today.

    • bazfan1234

      Soriano’s power in Spring Training was partly due to the fact that he was seeing a steady diet of fastballs. We all know what Soriano can do when he knows he is going to see a fastball. Now that he is seeing breaking and curveballs, he is back to guessing which pitch to swing at.

  • Kyle

    Ian Stewart had legitimately one of the best 0-for-4s I’ve ever seen.

  • drew

    No walks! The guy was walking 4-5 per 9 and you can draw one damn walk?

    • RY34

      we will work on patience next year, no time for that now. or ever if you are a cub.

  • matt

    It’s a miracle they only gave up 9 runs…I think this is the “it finished closer than it actually was”…6 walks, 3 errors, 12 hits.
    Cubs: How do you catch a ground ball?
    Wait till it stops rolling and pick it up
    This team is epically bad. Soto, and Byrd are a 5 pitch 2 out sequence 3-4 times per game. The 4-5 slots in the rotation I would think we should just use a T and take advantage of the extra fielder….but I don’t believe anyone can catch, and if they do…they sure as hell can’t throw.

    The countdown to call-ups is on!

    • chazspurgeon

      That is too funny! Good stuff– unfortunately, you aren’t kidding! Marlon Byrd looks like he can’t see the ball–reminds me of Sosa after his beanball…..never was the same hitter IMHO….Soto only has a decent year at the plate every other year [that was last year] so we should put him in some inactive list for this year….. I’m with you….start the call ups!!

  • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t we just sign Soto to a one year deal to avoid arbitration? Since he is not locked in to a long-term deal, why are we so afraid to insert Clevenger’s hot bat in there and see what he can do for an extended period?

    • JustSwain

      The 1 year deal to avoid arbitration doesn’t preclude him from having future arbitration years, it just means that they settled on a mutually agreed apon number instead of taking it to a hearing. Soto is under team control until 2014.

  • stu

    The logic behind sending Byrd out there everyday is flawed. If he was hitting line drives that were getting caught, just missing hits while fouling it back to the screen, taking 3-4 pitches per at bat with a “good” eye, etc. that would be something to have patience with.

    But where is there any evidence that he is about to come out of it? Why not keep him out of the lineup and work on extended batting practice and film to figure it out? Do we have to throw every game with 2-3 automatic outs?

  • Kevin

    The Cubs are trying to get the most out of any potential future trades. If any of these players have just a short hot streak then their trade value goes up. Let’s look at the big picture. I like this chess game.

  • ty

    Zogie–nice job.

  • H

    Release Byrd your not going to get anything in a trade for him. Send a message if you can not produce we will call up players who might. Can’t be any worse. Trade soto he has always been inconstant decent one year crappy the next. Play the younger players let them take their lumps and develope. Finally lahair batting fourth, why did it take so long. Trade sori for a bullpen catcher anything just move him out.

    • nkniacc13

      You may get more for Byrd than Soriano right now simply because to the contract. You want to play young kids and let them take their lumps? Well what happens if they lose their confidence? Also you start their free agency clock and that’s just stupid when this season was all about rebuilding the farm system. You rebuild the system by trading vets that’s why Byrd and Soto will be given a long leash so that the Cubs can try to get something out of them come the trade deadline.

  • EB

    Did anyone else think Castro’s error should have been on Soto? It looked like a bad throw to me

    • Blitzenjohn

      Should have been E-2.


    • JustSwain

      Castro should have recognized the bad throw earlier and taken a step forward rather than still trying to make the play. Its on Castro, it was a bad throw, but its not like the ball was uncatchable.

  • Kevin

    Maybe some these players are so embarred they will ask for a release and try to work out a buyout with the Cubs. Maybe this will start to send a message.

  • dick

    I want to give Sveum a grace period, but he has been so stupid sending Soto and Byrd out there every game. Clevenger is a superior player than Soto, and Byrd is hopeless right now. Mather hit shots almost every at bat in spring training, and he is sitting on the bench while we trot Byrd out every day. Come on Sveum! A good manager figures out ways to shake things up when a team is slumping. Start your brain, Dale, or you’ll be a “one and done” manager.

  • dick

    A second comment….I saw a very good note that the Jedstein teams (BoSox, Padres, and Cubs) are a combined 10-31 this year so far. Smartest guys in the room, huh.

    • BeyondFukudome

      They’re all shooting for draft picks. Everything is proceeding according to the genius master plan.

      • nkniacc13

        The problem with that is the new CBA there won’t be hardly any offers simply because of the cost of the deal.

        • BeyondFukudome

          Well, nobody ever said they were the smartest guys in a room full of smart people…

    • Hansman1982

      So theo and Jed get credit for the padres and res sox offseasons as well. Wow they are amazing if they can control 3 teams.

  • cubbylair

    Enough said about Sota and Byrd, It’s not like they are having a three week slump as their production noticeably began to fall off last year. The solution is the draft of 2013? I’ll be buried and dead before those guys make it to the major leagues. OK the solution is the acquisition program. Let’s see- the Cubs rotation includes Volstad, Maholm and Garza. Well Garza is a relative veteran and maybe the number 2 in the rotation and he is three games below .500. Oh I forgot Dempster may be hurt and Garza may be the Ace. But there is Volstad who is 9 games below .500 with a little over 70 decisions. Of course Maholm is 23 games below the magic mark. The new regime accounted for the last two pitchers. Well I guess Acquisition approach will not work either. I assure you I am a Cubs fan but a disheartened one.

    • drew

      The rotation is bad, but W-L records are just about the worst stat to use when youre trying to explain why it sucks. If you think Garza pitched “average” last year because of a 10-10 record, you are mistaken.

  • Eric

    Well the Cubs suck but Stacey King is a fuckin comedian. Love the guy.

  • GraceSanberg

    Stay the course? This is a joke. It’s time to make changes- not worth waiting for 100 AB or PA’s – nothing is going to change. Pitching and hitting stinks..forget the extra year for the kids. Play em, see if they’re major league caliber or unload em. This is a multi-billion dollar business.. Everybody (management & players) needs to be held accountable. To see today the caliber of baseball pains me & hear that we need extra time to evaluate the talent is a cop-out.. Swuem needs to put the most productive team on the field from the system or else he’s not doing his job and challenge mgmt to give him that flexibility. Time to play the best in the system and let McLoud do his job.. Expect a lot of feedback and mostly venting about losing – want to see the Cubs win everyday!

    Great site, Brett.. I am an avid reader and first-time commentor but so frustrated, I had to share my POV.. Thanks

  • Richard Nose

    No fucking walks. Cool.

  • ty

    Zambrano pitched his third excellentgame in a row. Gave up one run in 7 innings and lost. No walks and 6 strike outs. REALLY good movement on his pitches this year and keeping the ball down.

    • JustSwain

      And yet, I still don’t want him on the team…
      One of my favorite Cubs of all time…but he had to go. Something about pitching in Chicago was not sitting well with him. If he were on THIS team he would not be as happy or comfortable as he seemed sitting in that Marlins clubhouse, and it seems it was the best move for both sides. Go Zambrano! Tear it up for Florida!

  • Jay Anderson Jr

    We could be decent if we had a rotation of Zambrano, Garza, Dempster, Wells, Shark. Not saying we would be great, but we would be better. But we did save money by not having Z and Wells on the team, right…….(cough..cough). I meant yeah right. We are still paying them, plus the extra fornMajolm. Pitiful Theo and jed. Just pitiful.

    • Matt M

      Decent? You mean basically the exact same rotation we had last year? The group that won 71 games! Sounds better your right, but not enough. At least they shuck it up, got a little younger and might be sitting with yhe first pick next yeat. For what its worth I’m ok with the moves!

      • Kyle

        The Cubs went 58-54 with that rotation.

        It was the Doug Davis, Casey Coleman, Rodrigo Lopez bunch that lost most of the games.

        • Bret Epic

          Wasn’t Lopez 6-6?

  • JustSwain

    Hey Guys, it could be worse. I just pulled this off of MLBTrade Rumors:

    “L.A.A. is already committed to $74.2MM in 2016 to just four players”

    Hows that for a lack of payroll flexibility? Two of em are pitchers and could be completely ineffective due to injury at that point. And just to prove that money doesn’t always buy (small sample size early season) success, the Angels are 5 and 9. They look to have a tad more upside than us…but still.

  • H

    The theory that do not play the young kids because if the do bad they might loose confidence would mean that Castro would still be in the minors. If you don’t want to bring up rizzo and Jackson until mid season because of the whole player service time clock then fine, but the whole they might loose confidence thing is stupid. play Mather in center with reed Johnson, play clevenger at c, play the players who are producing not the ones you pray u can trade them for something. I thought the whole reason to play the game was to win not to get higher draft picks.

    • Eric

      No it’s not stupid. Castro has an ability to make contact that is above and beyond 95% of baseball players. Castro is a special case. How many baseball players do you think break the Major’s at age 20? Not many, and ones that do and have success quickly tend to go on and have great carreers.

  • BleacherBum

    Well, so much for the Astros being the worst team in the NL Central. *facepalm*