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I said going into the Phillies series that I’d be happy with a split, so I suppose I have to hold myself to that. But, man, the Cubs came so close to winning the series in thrilling fashion last night. It still stings a little. I’m a hopeless romantic.

  • It sounds like a broken record with respect to Chris Volstad, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Here’s Dale Sveum on Volstad’s start last night: “Volstad just pitched his butt off to keep us in the game. Really, the whole game. The first inning, there were just some unfortunate breaks that went against us. A perfectly placed bunt, a little off-the-end squibber and then another seeing-eye base hit. He threw the ball unbelievable. He just had some tough breaks.”
  • Kerry Wood had a good throwing session yesterday, and is on schedule to return on Thursday (the same day as Ryan Dempster). When he returns, Dale Sveum says he might not put Wood right back into the 8th inning role. “Just to take a little stress off the whole situation, when he first comes back, we’ll possibly just move him into the seventh-inning role and see what happens,” Sveum said. Rafael Dolis would probably stay in the 8th inning, despite last night’s blown game.
  • For all his ridiculously awesome hitting, Bryan LaHair still feels the effect of his late Spring back injury. “Once the nerve gets damaged it takes a while to regenerate; it’s usually the last thing that regenerates,” LaHair said. “I still have pain in my foot but it’s not something that will hold me back. It’s something that’s just annoying more than anything.” It’s impossible not to be a huge Bryan LaHair fan right now. Impossible. I dare you.
  • Alfonso Soriano on his homerless April, per the Trib: “I’m surprised how I’m doing. I feel the same, but I haven’t hit one yet. I think when I hit one homer, I’ll be OK. There’s still five months left, so when I hit one I’ll be fine.” I hate to be the one to say it, but hitting just one homer this year isn’t a whole lot. Ba dum ching.
  • A small update on Junior Lake, whom you’ve by now noticed has yet to make his 2012 Minor League debut. As Luke and I have said, he’s still in Mesa, working out in extended Spring Training thanks to an injured back, but Carrie Muskat says the Cubs are hopeful that he’ll be assigned to a team within the next 10 days.
  • Quite a few great discussions going on right now over at the Message Board, including what the Cubs could hope to get from the Red Sox if they traded Matt Garza, whether Bryan LaHair is for real, whether Rudy Jaramillo’s tenure with the Cubs has been a success, what’s to be done with top pitching prospect Trey McNutt, and even the size of the universe. Head over. Join the discussion.
  • Steve Stone was on CTL last night, and he touched on a number of Cubs rumor subjects, including what happens to Bryan LaHair when Anthony Rizzo is ready, which players the Cubs are most likely to trade (Matt Garza has the most value, which, like, duh), and what the Cubs might look like in the next few years:

  • Cedlandrum

    Lake played in extended game yesterday for the first time.

  • Van

    I am tired of Stone giving Cub comments, painfully still bitter and still overrated.

    • Cedlandrum

      I thought his assessment was fair. I don’t have a problem with it. I didn’t agree with all of it, but it wasn’t that far off.

    • Steve

      I’ll fight you over Steve Stone. HE got railroaded.and I don’t like it.

      • Cheryl

        I liked Stone. Did think he got the shaft. Thought his assessment was fair. At the time he worked in regard to the cubs the farm system wasn’t very good. But its different now. And yes he is still somewhat bitter toward the cubs.

      • SouthernCub

        Totally agree w/ you Steve

        • B_Scwared

          I also liked Stone, but man he is a bitter dude.  The quality of his Cubs commentary has fallen off completely.  I would have liked for his issues with the Cubs to have gotten resolved when the new ownership took over, but that doesn’t look like its going to happen. 

          Oh well, Brenly is awesome.  He knows his stuff, calls it as he sees it, and offers up gems like: “Yadier Molina runs like he is angry at the ground” and “the State of Illinois should build a giant croquet player opposite the St. Louis arch”.  Love it.

  • florida Al

    stones a pudwack…never liked him as a analyst..hes way overrated..who cares what he thinks about the cubs ..hes still bitter over the way things happened when he got let go…

  • Cubs Dude

    Steve Stone is still made at how his Cub days ended. He managed to not say anything relevant in the over 5 mins of this interview. Move Castro from shortstop?? Genius thought Stoney…..

    • rcleven

      He told it the way it was when a color annalist with the Cubs. You dis your boss you get fired. I would rather hear the truth than listen to a bunch of kiss ass announcers.

  • ferrets_bueller

    Stone is a moron. He is very smart about on field baseball as it happens, and anticipating what is going to happen…..but other than those baseball instincts, he’s a moron, and a bitter one at that.

    • WGNstatic

      Do you really think Brenley is a kiss ass announcer?

      • Frankiroxx

        yes

  • Cubs Dude

    I love the part where he talks about how bad the Cubs farm system is and has been. Doesn’t the team he works for have by FAR the worse farm system in mlb?

    • rcleven

      The White Sox are not a win at all cost origination. With Reinsdorf in charge the dollar comes first.

  • Katie

    There’s also discussion about the lack of scantily clad women.

    • Diesel

      If I come out for an I-Cubs game will you attend and be scantily clad?

      • Katie

        Good God no! Hahahaha!

        • hansman1982

          I would be though. Bring my gold BN banana hammock with me!

          • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

            BN hammocks 4 Lyfe, son!!!

            • Katie

              That’s hot.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Damned laptop just lost everything. Bottom line is if Stone was a GM his organization wouldn’t have any players left. They would all be cut, traded or quit. His biggest problem would be finding the 1 or 2 guys left in the world who are perfect enough to play in his perfect world. And then he would never sign them because they would tell him to F.. Off. Steve aren’t you voiding your contract with Sox by doing local talk shows talking about the Cubs. What he says is what everyone else already knows. He is interview was meaningless unless you just woke up from a 2 year coma.

  • Dustin S

    Good to hear on Lake. I’m seeing Peoria play next week so I was hoping he would be with them by then, although that might be a longshot.

    As far as Steve Stone, he isn’t a brilliant baseball analyst but I have a soft spot for him because I have alot of great memories watching and listening to the Cubs games (especially with my dad) back in the 80s and 90′s with Steve and Harry. Maybe it was relative to Harry that I appreciated his baseball insight, and it was always funny when Steve would try to keep Harry on-track. Also I do think he got the short end of the stick when he left.

    But Steve Stone for GM…god no. Just thinking of it puts the image of the Titanic in my head.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Lake probably heads to Tennessee when ready…

    • Mike Foster

      Nice to see someone else appreciates the job Stony did with Harry. They were great together. I remember times when Stony could hardly speak over some ludicrous thing Harry had said or worse a Harry Caray pronunciation of some name. Golden Days of Cubs Baseball for me. All that said, Brenly is awesome.

  • clark addison

    I thought this was the most balanced discussion of the Cubs I’ve heard from Stone. Except for his comment about moving Castro from shortstop.

    He was way overrated as a color commentator. Stone couldn’t carry Bob Brenly’s microphone.

    • Ferrets bueller

      Well, to be fair…not many people could come anywhere close to brenly. The only person right now in the same league is vin scully, IMO.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        You jest, surely.  I cannot listen to Brenly: his every comment reminds me of why so many people joke that he turned a boring 4-game WS into a thrilling 7 gamer…..

        • Pat

          Glad I am not the only one who cannot understand the Brenley love. Talented ball player, but hardly the brightest bulb in the room.

  • Ivy Walls

    LaHair has some very weird stats, they could be Ruthian or they could go the way Soriano but here you go:
    59 AB’s = 25 SO’s! (42.37% of the time) that would mean over 260 SO’s in 600 AB’s

    BUT

    59 AB’s =.471 OBP and .780 SLG’g or a whopping 1.251 OPS

    AND

    59 AB’s = 23 HITS (38.98%) of which 13 are XBASE 5 HR’s and 8 Doubles (10 singles) or 56.52% of his hits are for Xbase, 21.73% go over the wall over 600 AB’s 233 hits, 131 XBase hits and 51 HR’s!

    PLUS

    LaHair has 11 walks, or in 70 Plate appearances he has a .600 BABIP!

    Broken down in 70 Plate appearances, he has reached base 34 times, 5 round trippers, 13 XBase hits, while he has been K’d 25 times, while 11 other times he has hit the ball and made an out.

    BOTTOM LINE

    Find more ways for LaHair to make contact!

    • Kyle

      35.7% of his fly balls have been home runs. That’s a level of power that Bonds in his PED-fueled prime would struggle to match.

      • hansman1982

        I shudder to think of the cold stretch followed by the whailing and gnashing of teeth that is coming. Hopefully it isn’t until August 1.

      • Drew

        35.7% happens to be his K rate as well. Cant say I’ve ever seen that before.

        • Andrew

          60% of the time it works every time. I believe that’s what the .600 BABIP means.

          • KyleNovak

            “That doesn’t make sense. And I’m not going to lie Andrew, that cologne smells like pure gasoline.”

      • KyleNovak

        Actually. . . Bonds did surpass that and hung around that territory: :)

        He had the following HR/FB percentages:

        2001: 42.2%
        2002: 26.3%
        2003: 22.3%
        2004: 24.5%

        Those were his four consecutive, late-thirties, elephant growth hormone aided MVP seasons. His career number was 18.2% and he was arguably the best hitter in baseball history (albeit chemically aided).

        But yeah. . . LaHair won’t sustain that.
        In the event that he does, give him every award possible this year and I call dibs to co-author his eventual biography that is primed to hit store shelves in 2013.

    • MichiganGoat

      Those stats = unsustainable. He can’t maintain this level and strike out that much

      • Drew

        Be careful what you say MG, or risk being labeled a “naysayer.”

    • DocPeterWimsey

      “Find more ways for LaHair to make contact!”

      The problem is that increased contact would come at the price of reducing his walks and HR.  MG and others are correct: this is unsustainable, as nobody gets a BABiP of 0.600 for very long.  (A month is pushing it!)  Still, LaHair has shown that he can slug and he can work counts.  That is valuable.

    • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

      Two bats?

  • Ferrets bueller

    I can’t believe that I can’t thinks of his name right now,but who was the kid from Detroit who was absolutely ridiculous for the first month a few years ago? Small sample size.

    • Ivy Walls

      Of course it is small sample size, which is the point, if he can keep his OPS above 1.000 (he had .890 in 2011 in 69 PA) his trade value will be strong by Memorial Day weekend and then the Cubs could bring up Rizzo and receive a dividend.

      The k’s are much though.

    • Shawon O’Meter

      I want to say it was Chris Shelton back in 2005. He appeared out of nowhere and I believe he is now out of baseball or playing in Japan at the ripe old age of 31.

      • KyleNovak

        You are correct, it was Shelton, but it was 2006.

        He led the AL with ten homers in March/April and his line was .326/.404/.783. His final line for the season was a respectable .273/.340/.466 in 412 PA (1.6 bWAR) Sean Casey was added to their lineup so he wasn’t even on Detroit’s playoff roster when they got to the World Series.

        His 2005 season was actually the best of his career. (.299/.360/.510, 2.4 bWAR in 431 PA)

        • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

          I started my first month of pony league baseball (7th grade-ish) with a 2.7342 OPS and an OPS+ of around 327. Some said I couldn’t sustain those numbers through the grueling two and half month summer season. Sadly, we’ll never know as I broke my thumb and ended my baseball career; still the undisputed statistical leader in small-town-Iowa baseball history.

          Oh, and during the same stretch I also started 5 games on the mound. 5-0, ERA of 0.00, with 6 (okay, a lot more) hit batsmen. Good numbers, but I was actually in a 5 way tie for first when I was injured. Tough league.

          • KyleNovak

            It’s a surprise that McDonalds didn’t come out and offer you an endorsement deal. Cheeseburgers fueled that epic stat line and it’s all you needed to perform at that peak level.

            Ah, youth baseball days. . .

            My best claim to fame was that I became the only person to be the winning pitcher, leave the game, come back in, and get the save in the same game without the umpires, the opposing coach, or opposing players pointing out that those turn of events, were in fact, not allowed. It was in a seventh grade game and I had pitched five shutout innings (in a six-inning game), then watched as another kid walked four straight to force in a run. My coach (who was borderline insane), told me to “go back out there and finish it,” so I ran back out and struck out the side.

            • Caleb

              To bill brasky!

              • Ferrets bueller

                Are you guys talking about bill brasky? I know bill brasky!

  • louis

    Boesch?

  • ISU Birds

    Steve Stone is the most either loved or hated person in the Cubs universe. I think he should just leave us alone.

  • djriz

    Did the ‘Stone Pony’ really say anything that hasn’t been said on this site? Try to be original, man.

  • daveyrosello

    Steve Stone is the Milo Hamilton of ex-Cubs ballplayers. What a nozzle.

  • Jay Anderson Jr

    You don’t get unlucky for a half a year consecutive. Volstad did catch some bad breaks last night, but he still has not performed like a MLB starting pitcher. He looks good at times. His problem seems to be that when he gets in the same situation that every pitcher gets in, he can’t make the pitches he needs to so he can get out of it.

    • Spencer

      Every pitcher has a streak where they don’t win for 9 months, right? How long are people going to continue to defend him?

  • Jeremy

    Nice a thread I started is in a bullets thread! Thanks for linking it in this Brett! Hoping we can get more opinions from everyone!!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Let that lesson be for everyone: say interesting stuff on the Message Board, get e-hugged in the Bullets.

  • RoughRiider

    Steve Stone is a better Baseball Analyst and Announcer than he was a restraunteur.

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