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Randy Wells wasn’t terrible today, he just wasn’t getting any calls on the periphery of the zone. And, if you know Wells, he absolutely has to get those calls, or he’s not going to have a good, long day. He was fortunate to give up only two earned runs. The Cubs had a scare when Starlin Castro took a Johnny Cueto fastball off the elbow, but he stayed in the game.

The Cubs came back from an early 2-0 lead to tie the game in the bottom of the 5th inning, only to give those two runs right back in the sixth. And I mean give – the Reds scored both runs without the benefit of a hit. The Cubs’ bats were good enough to get lots of opportunities, but not good enough to take advantage of many of them.

Alfonso Soriano had a particularly frustrating, but typical, Soriano at bat: he comes to the plate in the 7th with the bases loaded and one out. The batter before him walked on five pitches by a reliever who’d just come into the game. What does Soriano do? Naturally he hacks away at the first two pitches he sees, and then strikes out on a low and away slider that never even sniffed the strike zone.

The Cubs get enhanced today, but, if they’d loss, you could have done the same thing to the Reds…

  • Papa

    The Soriano saga is getting pretty old. New year, same old Soriano. Can’t wait till he rides the pine.

  • Cee-Dee-Vee

    - Is it just me or does it seem like Lopez has given up about 15 runs this season?

    – Please get rid of DeWitt and bring up Cardenas

    – Sveum im a big fan but you’ve been pissing me off lately. Why would you take out your best power hitter who’s hitting for a good average so damn early?!!

    – And Soriano…..yea…..not even worth venting over.

    Such a frustrating loss

  • rcleven

    Where is that walk column for the pitching. Sloppy Sloppy Sloppy. Was it eight?

  • Papa Bear

    Dozed off woke up with bases loaded and the number 4 coming up no Lahair , did he get hurt

  • Njriv

    Soto needs to leave, dump DeWitt and bring up Cardenas/Valbuena. I say if LaHair and Rizzo are doing good when Rizzo is brought up, I think if the Cubs don’t feel like they can get the deal that they want for LaHair, they should platoon him in left with Soriano, he could also come in handy next year when inter-league play is being played throughout the year.

  • Jay Anderson Jr

    I thought Randy pitched well. If he had got a few iffey calls the other way, he would have gone at least 7. I still think Sveum took him out to early, only 93 pitches I believe.

    Campana did good. We see what his speed can do. Those errors were caused strickly by his speed. He a must in the line up.

    Soriano. Well, what can I say. I love the guy, but damn.

    Im a big Soto fan, but Clevenger needs to play more. I like his approach.

    Lahair. I love Lahair. I’m kind of regreting time getting closer for Rizzo. Lahair is a cool dude. I know Rizzo will be good, but I don’t wanna get rid of Lahair.

    • Shawon O’Meter

      So let me get this straight, 11 base runners in 5 innings gets a “pitched well” yet someone who had 7 in 5 innings, 6 in 6 innings, and 9 in 5 innings is “horrible”?

      Sveum was correct in taking Wells out when he did…95 pitches in 5 innings is the definition of laboring on the mound.

      • Jay Anderson Jr

        I’m a results guy. He gave up 2 runs. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters. The game is decided by runs. Not walks, strikeouts, hits, errors or anything else. Plus, great pitchers pitch out of Jams. Not saying wells is great, but that’s what he did. Volstad would love to have an outing like Wells had today.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Runs affect rather than decide games.  Moreover, runs are affected by walks, Ks, hits, errors, etc.  So, if walks, K’s, hits, errors, etc., affect runs, and runs affect games, then it necessarily is true that walks, K’s, hits, etc., affect games.  At any rate, it certainly is true that the team that takes the most walks, gets the most extra-base hits, etc., typically wins the game.  This was another case of that.

          • Jay Anderson Jr

            Right, but wells looked “bad” and gave up 2 runs. Volstad has pitch with his usual stuff, and got knocked around for more then 2 runs in each start.

            Also, if you get 12 hits and 3 runs and I get 5 hits and 4 runs, who wins. I do. Hits and walks don’t matter as much as situational hitting and talking walks at critical times. When Wells had to make pitches today, he made them, like striking out back to back hitters with the bases loaded. When Volstad has been in similar situations, he could NOT make the pitches he needed to. Situational pitching is what you may call it. Or Maybe a clutch Gene. Call it what you want, but with a decent offensive effort, a better defensive effort, Soriano bad play in left bacause the wind, and minus 2 errors, Wells would have only had maybe 70 pitches at the mist through 5 innings.

            • Jay Anderson Jr

              Correction. Didn’t watch the whole gamedont know when the errors were committed. Don’t know if the affected his stats or not.,

            • DocPeterWimsey

              When Team A gets 7 more hits than Team B, then Team A is 27-1 this season.  (And, no, it was not the Cubs who lost despite getting 7 more hits than their opponent; it was the Angels.)

              • Jay Anderson Jr

                Just being hypothetical. Runs are the only thing that matter. Having more hits has on an effect on run scoring possibilities, but they don’t directly win the game. If we had a decent offense, Wells wins today. He kept us in a game against a true Ace. Thats more then I can say about Volstad.

                • ThereWillBeCubs

                  It would be fun to take a magic school bus tour inside your brain. Your fervor for Wells, Zambrano, and Campana reminds me of Christians defending the historical accuracy of the bible.

                  • Jay Anderson Jr

                    Ill argue the historical accuracy of the bible against anyone, so I guess you’re right.

                    • AB

                      which of the hundreds of versions of the bible constantly re-edited since Constantine??

                • Brian Myers

                  The obvious problem is that the number of runs given up in this specific game doesn’t cover the real issue. If that kind of performance is indicative of his stuff this year (and his 9 point ERA in the minors indicates it might be) then more often than not he will lose, regardless (within reason) of the number of runs the Cubs score.

                  But this team does have problems scoring runs, they also have a group of pitchers that are quite obviously questionable. Discussions of “this pitcher is better than this pitcher” are non-productive when the issue is degrees of ineffectiveness.

                  This team is better than a 4-12 record in talent if they play the way they are capable of, but realistically they are not much better than perhaps 7-9… which still isn’t good enough. But they will get better as the year goes along and they mature (and new talent is brought up).

                  • Jay Anderson Jr

                    Losing more often then not(Wells) is better then losing every time out(Volstad). That’s only point I’m making. I know Well is no superstar, and everybody on this board knows he is better then his AAA stint. The only argument is he give us a better chance to win.

          • Ron

            I may need an example of a time when a game was not decided by the team that scored the most runs.

    • rcleven

      Wells got pretty lucky. Walk five batters. He did work out of difficulty. Needs to throw more strikes to make it thru seven.

      • ty

        The ump had him throwing into a tin can. Plus Soto set up outside all day.

  • Zogie

    Advanced Box Score
    The cubs just could not score runs when they needed. 22 runners LOB and 2-11 with RISP. DeJesus had another typical day. 1-4, BB. He continues to get on base on top of the line-up. Campana 1-2, BB, looked great today, but was taken out for Johnson. Johnson could not come through in his pinch-hit AB going 0-1 today. Castro played great today going 2-4, 3B. LaHair continues to hit well in the 4 hole. 1-2 RBI, BB. He was taken out of the game early because of matchups. Clevenger had a great AB pinch hitting and a Terrible AB later striking out to Marshall. Soriano continues to struggle. 0-4 today with 7 LOB. He is supposed to be an RBI guy, but failed terribly today. He also had a bad play in the first Inning in left. Let Sori ride the pine when the wind is blowing straight in. I’m still waiting for his first extra-base hit, and I’m going to remember his terrible AB with the bases loaded chasing 2 breakingballs. Stewart had a rough day as well going 1-5, 3K. He had a terrible time with lefties today. Soto continues his hitless streak going 0-4, 2K. He did hit the ball hard twice but nothing came of it. DeWitt 0-3 but at least Barney gets a rest. Barney pinch-hit but grounded out. Mather 0-1, BB, HBP. He looked good today and hopefully he will get some more playing time. Lastly, Scott Maine continues to pitch well even though he gave up one run on a walk. Shawn Camp gets my shout out today with a great 2 Innings of relief.

    • ty

      Good stuff Zogie!

  • drew

    Maine pitched well. I didnt think he gave up a run, though?

    • rcleven

      Bases loaded walk giving up lead in hit less sixth.

    • drew

      Thanks. Missed the last part of the game, did he come into the game with the bases loaded?

  • art

    let’s see, Dale said when hired, he likes to go with a regular line-up, LaHair should not worry about Rizzo, 1B was his.

    so far i see no regular line-up, LaHair is now a platoon player.

    Mather and Clevenger deserve to play more.

    as for playing Soriano and Soto for teams to see, lol. other teams already know who and what they are.

    most of the time a coach/manager, should/would give his team the best chance to win by playing his best players. i don’t see that here.

  • Kyle

    The Reds had even more LOB.

    • drew

      Good point- that is a good example of one of Doc’s findings from earlier; teams leaving the most men on base are winning much more often than losing.

      • ferrets_bueller

        Which makes sense- the more you get on base, the more youre going to be left on base…andt eh more youre going to score.

  • Terry

    Totaly agree with Njrv with the idea of platooning LaHair and Soriano if they dont trade LaHair when they bring up Rizzo.

  • Kbreezy

    I definitely think that Clevenger needs to play more. I mean, the guy is batting over .500. However, I was not happy with his at bat late in the game where he took 3 straight pitches in the same spot for a K. Other than that, Soto needs to leave.

  • clark addison

    Sloppy, sloppy baseball on the part of both teams. Can’t blame it all on the weather.

  • rcleven

    Brett:

    Phil Humber’s ability to achieve perfection caught the attention of SI swimsuit model @KateUpton http://cmcst.sn/aaaQoR #WhiteSox

    Guess you have pitch a perfect game.

  • Mrp

    Soriano, he left a small village on the base paths today.

    However, I fully blame Lopez for today’s loss and not necessarily with his pitching. He barely left the mound on the two bunts in the 6th inning that Soto ended up fielding and throwing away. Barring his legs being blown off from a land mine, he had no reason to not have his butt over there getting those balls. Soto was almost half way down the line on them. Completely unacceptable. It is one thing to suck, but at least put forth some effort.

    • ThereWillBeCubs

      I think the Cubs should have considered themselves lucky only being down 2-0 when Wells got pulled. How do you give up 5 walks with the wind blowing in? He looked like he was definitely pressing.

      • ty

        Soto set up outside all 5 innings. If there ever was a day to just gut pitch–impossible to hit one out–throw it high and down the middle=fly balls.

  • ry34

    cubs are such a joke, play like a little league team day in and day out. laughingstock of major league baseball, soto, the fat bastard, is so pathetic, soriano sucks ass tremendously and is dumb as shit, just a joke of a team from top to bottom. the next two moves should be soto and soriano to the bench but the cubs brass are too stupid to do that. prerequisites of being a cub:
    have to love walking batters
    choking when it matters most
    not be able to make the most routine baseball plays
    and not give a shit if you are the joke all around baseball!
    fucking pathetic team

    • ThereWillBeCubs

      You sound like a real fan. Maybe it’s time to jump on some other team’s bandwagon?

      • ry34

        what part of it isn’t true, you want me to gloss over it as if its going to be ok if we just stay positive and pick out the bright spot everyday as we careen towards 4 and 30? sometime the truth hurts pal, deal with it! i have been a fan of this for over 30 years, look around, im not the only one frustrated with this team, is this your first time on this site?

        • ThereWillBeCubs

          What you don’t get, is that no matter how bad many losses this team picks up, they won’t be able to just bench ALL OF THEIR STARTERS because short-sighted fans are demanding results.

          Soto’s WAR totals since becoming a starter in 2008: 4.1, 0.1, 3.3, 1.8
          http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/sotoge01.shtml

          You better believe that the front office is going to try and extract all possible remaining value out of Soto’s perceived “bounce back” year and benching him won’t allow them to do that.

          Clevenger will keep getting opportunities as long as his bat stays hot. The fact is that he’s largely untested. Clevenger’s real value will be seen down the road after opposing teams have had a chance to scout him and make adjustments. The Cubs probably will take offers on Soto at the trade deadline, but that is wholly dependent on Clevenger and Castillo at AAA. They will be able to afford giving up Soto because they would hypothetically be dealing from a position of strength.

          As far as Soriano is concerned, the team’s interest in trading him isn’t exactly breaking news. He’s ultra-streaky and in decline. If he doesn’t get any extra base hits in the next few games you WILL see him riding the pine.

          Getting all huffy and puffy over a team that is expected to do poorly, in a rebuild year, is a waste of time. The fact that you’re 30+ and can speak on behalf of Soriano’s intelligence:

          “soriano sucks ass tremendously and is dumb as shit”

          shows your own intelligence and maturity. The fact that you are able to turn your back on team veterans after 15 games makes me glad you don’t represent the organization.

          • Bric

            I think what you don’t get is Sori isn’t selling tickets anymore. Did watch the game and see all the empty seats after just 15 games? Tickets still being hawked by Len and Bob for a night series against the Cards tomorrow?

            You can’t bench all the starters? Why not? Could their start be any worse than it already is? The only positive right now is the production of the younger players. It’s not short sided. It’s about giving the fans a reason to go to the games. I’m pretty confident that even if Sori goes 4 for 4 with a couple of homers tomorrow it won’t change the chances of trading him in the least. After 14 years all the other teams already know what he’s about.

            Ricketts had better figure out that he’s gonna have to bite the bullet on these contracts and holdovers or he’s going to lose more fans and revenew this year than ever before. And then he’ll have to make these changes anyway.

            • ty

              It was like Alaska today–no-Ankorage was warmer. My son said he lost all feeling in his feet.

            • ThereWillBeCubs

              That’s a real good point.

              However, I don’t think swapping Sori for Mather in the OF is going to put anybody in the seats either. Attendance is going to go down as long as the team keeps losing… and they’re going to lose a bunch.

              Throwing Campana in there is really fun to watch (on the basepaths or on defense). He’s not going to be a real game changer either though and that novelty will wear off.

              Outside of LaHair when healthy, who is a legitimate threat in this line-up? I totally get that Soriano might not every produce again… but are we ready to pull the plug now?

              We won’t see Jackson until June and I’m not sure they’re going to rush Rizzo solely to boost attendance.

              • Bric

                That’s true, Mather might not produce any more wins or sales than Sori, and the weather probably had a lot to do with it.

                But if you look at the psychological side of it, was it a coincidence that Byrd gets told to pack his bags and suddenly the team pounds out 15 hits? The Dodgers finally get past their ownership nightmare and bust out like a house on fire. Sometimes a little cage rattling wakes people up. what’s the old phrase?- “God is coming… look busy”.

                • ThereWillBeCubs

                  I agree that Byrd probably should have had his bag packs a long time ago and that he didn’t at all fit into the Cubs’ long-term plans. And I agree that it was probably a combination of his non-offense, Ellsbury and Dempster getting injured, Jackson getting so much attention, roles on the bench, etc. that led to him being shipped sooner than later.

                  I’m not sure about the 15 hit bit cause the box score shows 6, unless you’re talking about combined games.

                  I think the Dodgers pretty much already had their pieces in place. The Cubs on the other hand, need to acquire or develop. The talent is just not there… or not “ready.”

                  Since they’re not really shop-crazed at the moment, all we can expect are table scrap waiver pick-ups or waiting until June.

                  It just seems like bailing on the veterans concedes that the front office either: a) admits that the players are terrible and thereby lose any negotiating leverage, b) can’t evaluate talent properly by putting out a team that can’t compete, c) instills a culture of fear in which nobody’s job is safe.

            • ThereWillBeCubs

              Didn’t they do a bunch of weird promotions towards the end of last year? Hot dog wednesdays or something?

    • ty

      Rhyno–Is that really you?

  • nkniacc13

    I have no problem with Soto playing today because Wells is coming up from AAA and Soto is familiar with him. Id like to see Clevenger play a bit more but you do that you diminish what trade value Soto has

    • ry34

      i kind of see your point w regards to wells, but just how much trade value does a catcher who cannot even hit .200 who is overweight most of the time and plays like he could care less most of the time actually have. the only cubs with any kind of trade value whatsoever are garza and castro. of course we actually got a breathing human being for byrd which i thought that was damn near impossible so maybe in some universe soto actually does have value!

  • nkniacc13

    I really would like to see the Cubs get rid or Lopez when Bowden needs to be put on roster tomorrow. The next move after that is get rid of Dewitt please

  • Cheryl

    Trade LaHair. It isn’t doing the cubs any good the way he’s being played. Bring up Rizzo and be done with it.

    • BleacherBum

      LaHair can play the outfield, specifically left field. You don’t trade him, you trade Sorryano when you call Rizzo up and put LaHair in left.

  • BleacherBum

    I am really getting annoyed by the errors. What happened to fundamentals? Why isn’t Sveum sitting these guys? I am so tired of the Cubs already they are unbearable to watch. I couldn’t even watch the game today. I really hope Sorryano falls in a bucket of aids and has to retire.

    • Njriv

      you really are a bum for that last statement

      • drew

        I almost responded, instead I just prayed my kids are never ignorant enough to say something like that.

        • BleacherBum

          awwwww

          • Cubs Dude

            Soriano is horrible, and i think all Cubs fans are sick of him. But that statment you made Bum just proves as bad as Sori is you’re equally ignorant. And that is very ignorant, because Sori is an awful player.

  • dick

    Clevenger in starting lineup – Cubs 3-1
    Soto in starting lineup – Cubs 1-11

    2011
    Hill in starting lineup – Cubs 22-16
    Soto in starting lineup – Cubs 49-70

    Small sample sizes? This year yes, last year not that small.
    Soto should be benched then traded? Yes.

    • Bret Epic

      thanks for the statistic. This should open some eyes, at least to the fans.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Wasn’t Hill preferentially catching Garza last year?

        • dick

          Hill caught Garza twice last year. He caught Doug Davis, Casey Coleman, and Lopez 11 times, so he got to catch the dregs along with the aces. He did catch Dempster 16 times, starting after Dempster’s ERA was about a million in April when Soto caught him.

  • Josh Z

    Wow. 7 LOB for Soriano. The next move for the Cubs I think needs to be trading Soto. I think they can get some value for him and I think Clevenger or Castillo would do fine as the catcher. I hope to see them trade Dempster as well even though he is one of the Cubs most effective pitchers. I would like to see LaHair move to RF because I don’t want to see him be traded once Rizzo arrives. The Cubs will not get good value for LaHair since he has had such limited playing time so it would be worth the risk to keep him on board.

  • ty

    Bad case of pitcher envy when Sean Marshall showed out today!

  • BleacherBum

    Why even bother trying to trade him? The Cubs will pick up 98 percent of his contract anyway. They need to just get rid of him. Pay him his money and release him. Bring up Castillo and play either Clevenger and Castillo in a platoon or just go with match ups.

    • ry34

      So true!

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    Alfonso Soriano has 0 value. No one is likely to bail us out. He is defended by his imbecility. With 1 out the bases loaded, he has in his MLB career learned nothing. He whiffs on 2 horrendous Curve balls out of the strike zone. He’s the consummate 18M 36 year below the Mendoza line who has no power.

    I don’t blame them for trying to squeeze enough out of him to trade him, but at some point they will just have to release him and eat it, no one will bail us out.

    On the plus side, when Theo gives him something to work with at the ML level Sveum looks like a good manager.

  • Huch

    I was at the Iowa Oaks game today (throwback Cubs) and I think it is getting really close to Rizzo and Jackson time. They looked ready to me!

  • Diamond Don

    Bench Soriano and keep him there until he demands/accepts
    a trade. Cubs will never win with Sori in left
    and him batting 4th or 5th. He left 7 in scoring position today.
    He sucks!!!!He is a terrible player.
    Put Lahair in left and bring up Rizzo for first and the
    team will improve by leaps and bounds.
    Great move Jed and Theo on the Byrd trade!
    Now get rid of Sori, Baker, Sota and Dewitt next.

  • Gregb

    Im excited for the fact that the cubs are trying to build a contender the right way epstein/hoyer know what their doing but damn its getting hard to even watch this team and its not even a month into the season i cant wait until we start calling up some prospects to see what they offer for the future i was sad to see byrd go he always hustled and played the game the right way but it was time for the cubs and him to both move on lastly brett if you ever happen to be in houston let me know would love to have a beer and catch a game and that goes for anyone else whos a transplant like myself us chi fans gotta stick together

  • djriz

    Maybe the Dodgers will trade Kemp after his terrible game today! For Soriano!

    My point…you can trade whoever you want, but how much better will we be? We aren’t getting much for our trade bait and we really aren’t loaded in the high minors.

    And why does everyone seem suprised?

    • Diamond Don

      Good point. But I say bring up and play the
      kids to see what they can do and give them
      the experience in the majors. I say if we are going
      to lose, let’s at least have our future players
      get the experience. I hate watching players like
      Soriano play who doesn’t know the fundamentals
      of baseball after all his years in the majors and for
      this he gets 18 million a year. He’s just a bad
      baseball player.

  • Dustin S

    I like Sveum and I have seen some improvement in the fundamentals over last year…still not great by any stretch but at least from a F to a C if you were grading them on that.

    The one thing though I’m not sold on yet is his ability to fire up the team. I’ve seen a little too much of the Lovie Smith passivity in him so far. He came out today for a short time on a blown call (for maybe the first time this year), said 2 words and went kind of meekly back in the dugout. These players are pros and shouldn’t need big inspirational speeches, but I do think there is something to that from time to time. There were 2 pretty clear blown calls today actually that I would have liked to have seen him get more fired up about.

    As for players, this team isn’t 1 or 2 moves away from even being a .500 team. We’re heading in the right direction, but I think that 3/4 of this roster will be different names than today by the time this is a playoff team. I’m not sure I could pick out more than maybe 6 guys on the current 25 man that are going to be around that long for various reasons; age, team control, skill, etc.

    Actually I thought about that for a minute and just for curiosity’s sake I went back and checked the 2009 Cubs roster. A whopping 7 players from that team are still with the Cubs today. So maybe 6 is overestimating…

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