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It was a ho-hum offensive performance for the Cubs, who struck out eight times against Joe Blanton in just about seven innings. Yeah, he came into the game striking out 3.4 per 9. Nicely done, boys.

As for the other side of the ball, well, Randy Wells just didn’t have it. He skated through the first three innings (in thin ice, that is), before disintegrating in the fourth, where he couldn’t even finish the frame.

And it’s official: Bryan LaHair does only three things at the plate: gets a hit, takes a walk, or strikes out. Just try to catch a LaHair fly ball or make a play on a LaHair grounder. You can’t do it.

(Edit: To be clear, the below is not at all a shot at the Bulls (see my sentiments here – I’m feeling for you), but a sharing in the pain. Come on now. You know me better than that.)

  • Packman711

    Too soon on the Bulls. Too soon.

  • Njriv

    Wow Brett, way, way too soon. I thought this would be the one place to help get my mind off that but i guess i was wrong.

  • calicubsfan007

    At least we got to see Castillo play, the relief pitchers were pretty solid, and campana did well in a pinch hitting situation. Other than that, I got nothing.

  • Zogie

    The cubs offense just could not get anything going. 11Ks killed all the momentum. Wells looked good early, collapsed in the 4th inning. At least the bullpen continues to look good. Bowden had one hanger that Ruiz hit a mile, but other than that Bowden, Camp, and Maine shut down the Phillies line-up. DeJesus 1-4 K, seems to be pressing a bit. He had a few good counts to work in the game, but went after some tough pitches that were recorded for outs. Barney 1-4 K, GIDP. He chased a few bad pitches tonight which resulted into easy outs. Castro 1-4 RBI. He continues to hit the ball and has played some great defense the past few days. LaHair 1-4 RBI 3k continues to hit and strikeout. His strikeout totals are scary high the past few games. Soriano 1-4 K. He just missed an extra-base hit. Stewart 0-4 2k looked dreadful tonight. He has not hit the ball as hard the past few games, but hopefully he breaks out soon. We are going to need his bat. Johnson 1-4 had a decent day and gave Campana a day off. Castillo 0-3 K had a bad start to his season, but it is just 1 game. Campana 1-1 on a sharp groundball single. The cubs offense is relying mainly on Castro and LaHair to hit and DeJesus and Campana to get on base. They will need more out the rest of the line-up if they want to pull off some more series wins. Lastly, my shout out goes to Scott Maine. He had 1 inning of great relief.

  • AP

    About LaHair, he may be a three true outcomes guy, but that’s still two more outcomes than many of the “can’t miss” prospects we’ve brought up through the system lately.

  • Fishin Phil

    Wells keeps saying he wants to stay up here, but he sure doesn’t do much to make a case for himself.

    • calicubsfan007

      Agreed. He needs to pitch more than 3.2 innings if he expects to stay up here. Just a horrible outing. When will Theo trade him?

  • Josh Z

    Sports suck..Now that Rose is out I have to wait till Aaron Rodger busts out his championship belt in September to watch a good team

    • Tyler

      You mean until Cutler wins the super bowl with the Bears

    • Brady

      I am a Yotes/Suns/Cubs/AZ Cards/Oregon fan so I get used to mediocrity on all sports but lately things have been looking up elsewhere. Yotes tearing up the playoffs thanks to Mike Smith, sorry for the elimination boys we have history to make, and I think after this draft Arizona will give SF good competition come September. I do feel bad for Chicago though, yall just cant catch a break.

    • brittney

      Finally another cubs/bulls/packers fan!

  • Cee-Dee-Vee

    Brett! I’m pissed about the game so I come here to vent, and now the first.thing I read is ”Bulls” and.i automatically get sad again :/.

    Anywhooo

    - LaHair really needs to cut down on those strikeouts.

    - hey what do you know, Campana comes in, gets a hit and scores. idk if it’s because I absolutely love Campana but….is.it just me or was this game not as exciting from the beggining?

    - for those of you who made a case for Wells staying in the rotation when Dempster comes back, well….this is Randy Wells 75% of the time

    • DocPeterWimsey

      This came up while discussing BJax, but with “true outcome guys” like LaHair, it’s all for one and one for all.  These guys K for the same reason they walk and slug: selectivity (resulting in called strikes and balls), and “drive” swings (resulting in swinging strikes and well-hit balls).  Decrease the selectivity, and the batter puts more balls into play at the cost of walks and extra-base hits.  Cut down on the swing, and the batter puts more balls into play at the cost of walks and extra-base hits.  Simply put, all K’s are not created equally!

      • Kyle

        Even TTO guys have to make an acceptable amount of contact. You can’t be a successful major league hitter in the long haul striking out in 33% of your at-bats, unless you have ungodly Bondsian power.

        Coming in to tonight, LaHair was swinging at 47.4% of pitches. The league average is 45.1%. He’s not really being selective. He just isn’t very good at making contact.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Well, he is walking 10% of the time, which indicates some selectivity: he’s more than willing to take balls, and he must be taking some strikes to get that many walks.  However, the high K rate does indicate that his “trigger” zone is bigger than, say, Barry Bonds was.  (Bonds was about a baseball in size, I think….)

          My real point is that the “three” are not independent: cutting down on his swings to “cure” the K’s is also going to “cure” his walks and HR.  Ultimately, I think we are seeing why LaHair is a AAAA player: he’s got good pop and he’s good at drawing walks, but he does so at very high K rate while playing a “non-skill” position.

      • Cee-Dee-Vee

        Yea I understand that these kinda guys will strikeout but I guess what gets me the most upset is that LaHair strikes out on balls in the dirt about every time. Yea every.now and then you could fall or some but not every time. And the other K’s come with fast balls pretty right down the middle (some a little outside). He should atleast make contact.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Added a little note to make clear that I’m not crapping on the Bulls, I’m sharing in the pain. I’m not a Bulls fan, but I can sympathize (and I do). This is in the sarcastic, self-loathing vein that I *thought* all Cubs fans shared…

    • Cee-Dee-Vee

      I still have confidence in them so come Monday I’ll be okay lol
      What NBA team do you root for?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        None. Not really an NBA fan. If I had to root for a team, though, it would of course be the Bulls.

        • Brady

          I have major issues with how the NBA is run but in addition to that my team is owned by someone who doesn’t seem to want to improve. Even when the PHX Suns were in contention we quickly dealt away all talent, trained up amazing replacements (i remember a couple years ago when our bench was scoring 50 pts a game) and then sold them all off. Their lack of caring makes me hope that my favorite player (Steve Nash) goes elsewhere just so he can get a ring before he retires. Poor ownership ruined the sport for me. Also it’s one of those sports that if your team blows its hard to watch. I have watched football because I dont mind watching other teams. I watch baseball for stats and exciting young prospects. I watch hockey for amazing plays (saves and scores) and because its one of the few violent sports left (now that they want to make football so you cant hit anybody). Basketball just seems to be all down to the last 2 min of the game and when your team blows you are already down by 20 at that point and its all about missing shots and watching your team back up down the court for an hour. Maybe that is just my impression.

        • Cee-Dee-Vee

          Good choice Brett ;)

        • JustSwain

          I had to stop watching the NBA. As bad as the officiating is in MLB, its NOTHING in comparison to the NBA. So subjective that superstars are given different rules than regular Joe average. I don’t mind losing, but I get incensed when its because of bad officiating. For my hearts sake I limit myself to MLB and NFL now.

  • Andrew

    Bulls are still gonna win the title you negative people. Cubs are still gonna win the world series. wanna know why? cuz im a cubs fan and THIS IS THE YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • JustSwain

      Are you sure its not next year?

      • Andrew

        well the 10k grand i put down on the cubs winning the world series, in vegas, said this is the year. and money talks, so therefore, logically, this is the year

  • Kyle

    If you average out Ian Stewart and Bryan LaHair, you have a reasonable BABIP.

    • JustSwain

      Stewart was inbetween on almost all of his swings tonight, and that scares me. He’s in front of every breaking pitch and behind every fastball. Its a recipe for bad contact hitting. He’s also been getting himself into bad counts by swinging at every changeup he sees on the inside portion of the plate.

      • Adventurecizin’ Justin

        I’m not professing to be a hitting expert…but, I don’t like the way Stewart holds himself at the plate. It reminds me too much of Blake Dewitt for some reason. However, holding his hands as he does seems to create the need for extra movements that he doesn’t need. I think he needs to simplify. Just my uneducated opinion!

        • JustSwain

          He has a few timing devices he uses right before the delivery, but like many guys with that “extra movement” he gets himself into a fundamentally sound hitting position before he takes his hack. I’m more worried about his pitch selection, and his ability to get an early read on pitches.

  • JustSwain

    I can’t believe people are particularly upset about THIS loss. Every team has to lose some games, and at least it was an honest loss. Our defense was good, the other team got a bit of luck with that Rollins double dropping, we were a bit unlucky with the Soriano shot curving foul. The only pitcher who got roughed up was probably headed down to AAA anyway, no errors, Starlin Castro got 2 more stolen bases, our bullpen allowed 2 hits and 1 run over 4+ innings. It sucks to lose, but I’d rather lose like this than the way we had been losing earlier in the season…off of errors, bad base running, and a sucky bullpen. The Cubs have always had problems with Blanton. Every time we face him I keep thinking, this is going to be the game where we finally stick it to that meatballer, and he almost always stymies us. I’m more pissed at MLB scheduling than the Cubs right now. We are trying to rebuild, can we PLEASE stop playing contenders?????

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Well, the Cubs would play all these teams over the course of 162 games, so it will all be the same in the end.  Indeed, that should be our bright spot: the first month might very well be the toughest month on the Cubs’ schedule!

    • Hansman1982

      Castro is on a year this year. Just needs to start breaking out the power.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      I’m not that pissed…but, how does Joe Blanton strike out 8? Another thing to note…we drew 0 walks.

  • JustSwain

    Wait…we don’t play a non-contender until the 21st of may???? The 21st of may???? Shenanigans! I’m calling Shenanigans on MLB. Someone witness it so we can make it official and I can go get my broom.

    • Brady

      Well to be fair they are supposed to be contenders but Philly is below .500 currently ha ha.

      • JustSwain

        Yeah, but you have to beat Doc Halladay to get a win off those guys. Thats the difference between a projected contender, and say, Pittsburg, or Houston, or San Diego (mutter). Heck I’d take Atlanta over Los Angeles right now, the Brewers are the only team we play in the next few series who are really playing bad baseball. At least we get Cinci next. They are a dusty team, so we’ve got that going for us.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          And that’s if you are lucky: usually you have to face Hamels and Lee, too.  Their problems have been an anemic offense: but, again, losing both Howard and Utley is a blow that would stagger the best of teams.  They’ve also had horrible luck: several of their players have really bad BABiP right now.  Of course, they are a team of players who do best when they can hit flyballs, and tonight they had a member of that increasingly rare breed….

  • JustSwain

    Yeah, I’m still hoping against hope that next year its the other teams that have to face Hamels.

  • Cheryl

    LaHair is sometimes very selective and sometimes he strikes out too much. He can be praised for his plate discipline one day, get needed hits another and then strike out three times like he did tonight. I did read somewhere that he has a 17 or 18 day streak for getting on base, but there’s no denying that if he continues at this strikeout rate it will be, or is, a problem. I would guess that tomorrow he will revert to a minimum of one strikeout, if that. I root for him, but this is maddening.

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  • art

    i see the Nationals don’t care about the extra year as Harper gets his first hit.

    • JustSwain

      My god did you see that game? He is absolutely awesome. He looked more composed than guys who have spent 8 years in the minors. If we had anyone in our system as good as Bryce Harper not only would I be doing a happy dance every time he came to the plate, I’d be yelling at the top of my lungs for the front office to forget service time and call him up. And just for the record by waiting until this late in the year they do get an extra year of service time out of him, its just that his service time is going to start at 19! He deserved his call up. He had a double, a sac fly, and would have had an outfield assist if the ump hadn’t blown the call. I’ve never liked a non-Cub player as much as I like this kid. His haircut is ridiculous but he can sport a faux-hawk all he wants if he plays like that every day. He’s fast, he’s got incredible outfield instincts, a cannon for an arm, unearthly power, he is the complete package. I’ve never been one to buy into hype, I had to see it with my own eyes, but it took about five seconds of watching him in the bigs to know he is something special. Mike Trout can take a flying leap, Bryce Harper is the best rookie in baseball.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Called up today or call up in 3 months, he’s under team control for the same length of time…he’s just now going to be eligible for the 4th year of arbitration. I would think the Nats would have an extension planned with him well before then, so it doesn’t do anything.
      Also, I don’t know if his call up means he’s up for good.

    • dabynsky

      Um, the Nationals waited until they got the extra year before calling Bryce Harper up. They apparently don’t care about super two status because Harper will certainly get that if he isn’t ever sent back down again.

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