As Shawn Camp came to the mound in the 9th for his first save attempt of the year, I thought to myself, “You know, there’s gotta be a reason that a guy who’s been such a good reliever for so many years only has 10 saves in his career.”

There is a reason.

The Cubs were up one in the bottom of the 9th when Camp came on, and they were down one an inning later when the game ended. That usually means that you lose. Bummer.

I’m starting to get a sense of Travis Wood as a pitcher. Because he doesn’t have overwhelming stuff, to be successful, he has to hit his spots quite well. Sometimes, he is exceptionally good at that, and, on those nights, he can look like a top 20 starter in the NL. If he’s off by just a little bit from those spots, however, one of two things happen: he gets hammered, or he nibbles, and is forced to throw a ton of pitches. Tonight was a case of the latter, and Wood managed to go just five meh innings.

The Cubs’ bats were on tonight, with Starlin Castro and Ian Stewart among the big ones. The bullpen, however, was uninterested in pitching well, and the Cubs lost their second straight extra-inning game. That also makes a ridiculo-ton of one-run games in a row that they’ve lost, and I believe they’ve now set a franchise record.

But, win or lose, you know the story tonight …

  • hansman1982

    combined total (in metric feet) of Soriano’s homeruns… 92923587359872350790743985089723540397498234750237498475023587985723 – do you hear that opposing GM’s???? YOU NEEEEEED Soriano, you should pay the Cubs to get Soriano. Trout + Harper + free Pulos = not quite enough

    • calicubsfan007

      You must be a used car salesman… lol. Trying to sell a lemon to people who may or may not be stupid (the GMs of the other teams). If they do try and trade for Soriano, I will consider you the best salesman alive.

  • calicubsfan007

    I hate it when we waste games when our offense does well. Wood did so so, but I really think we lost the game when Wells blew the lead in the 6th. I know we scored after that, but I think it was deflating for the Cubs.

  • mudge

    This is the first game I’ve had a chance to see on TV this year. Russell was breezing through the 8th. They had the game won. I saw Camp warming up and my heart sank. I was sure they were going to lose and even moreso when I saw Camp’s apprehensive demeanor on the mound. Why the hell can’t they leave a guy in who is throwing the ball well? I haven’t first-guessed a manager’s lousy calls so often since Dusty Baker. Three games during the 12 game losing streak could have been tied or won by bunting guys home from third. But guys don’t get bunted home, which makes sense, they get bunted over, which doesn’t. I liked this managerial pick. But I don’t like his managing. How the hell can you take a utility player, call him “Super-Joe” and shove him into the three-hole to save your team? It’s lousy psychology. Arrgh.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Anyone else see this story about the white sox getting alexei Ramirez Olympic medal back? Good story but its very suspicious that they do this right near the Jorge Soler bidding? Ramirez is also Cuban, so they are trying to sweeten the pot and say how nice the White Sox are to there Cuban players. It irks me a little bit because honestly they are mostly likely doing this nice gesture to try and win Jorge Soler over. It a great deed but it loses its lust when they do it for the wrong reasons.

    • Luke

      I don’t think there is any possible way the White Sox would part with the mint required to sign Soler.  This is the organization that spent only $18.5 million in the draft from 2007 to 2011 combined.  For the White Sox, Jorge Soler potentially represents TEN YEARS of amateur draft budgets.

      Odds are good that the White Sox are just doing a good deed for the normal PR value, and not any thing specifically connected to Soler.

  • J Wilson

    Is anyone else extremely worried about Castro’s dismal .320 OBP? He swings at so many ball fours, like the one in the top of the 7th today. He had ball 4 on the 3-1 count, would have been runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out, but he fouled a horrible pitch on the 3-1 and then you know what happened. 3 outs, nobody on.

    I’d much prefer that Castro hit .290 with a .370 OBP than .305 with a Soriano OBP. Someone should be in Castro’s ear constantly, telling him it’s okay to keep the bat on your shoulder once in a damn while.

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Ditto. He is young though, so that should change. Atleast he isn’t hitting .265 with a .280 obp. Most 22 yr olds don’t have patience though. Just one of those things you have to live with when you play a kid that young. Remember, he was in the majors when most are learning the patience you speak of.

      • Drew7

        Probably not. Hitters dont develope plate discipline. Will he continue his 2% (or close to it) walk rate? Probably not, but hes never gonna make a huge leap – it just doesnt happen.

        • Dob2812

          Drew, the majority of players develop increased plate disciplines as they age. It’s one of the few skills that can continue to develop beyond a player’s natural peak.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Dob: that’s not true at all.  The vast majority of players have the same plate discipline throughout their career until the end.  Guys who improve significantly (like Sammy Sosa did) are very unusual.

            • Andrew

              Doc – (I’m sure you’ll have some stats to prove me wrong, which is really why I throw this out there, because I’m curious) Couldn’t Sosa’s significantly improved plate discipline actually be that for a large portion of the later part of his career people were actually scared to pitch to him. Guys who hit 66 HR’s in a season tend to force pitchers not to throw them strikes. Sure, he laid off the balls to take walks, but I’m sure that a lot of those balls were easy to lay off of because they weren’t hittable. Not to mention the fact that he most likely had a drastically increased percentage of intentional walks as he got older (well, excluding the last couple of years when he should’ve already been retired). Just curious.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                That is the traditional explanation and it puts the cart before the horse.  Sosa always had tremendous power: he just swung at too many pitches outside of the strike zone.  This was an issue in ’96 and ’97: some people said that Sosa needed “protection” while other people noted that the problem was that Sosa was swinging at non-strikes, not that pitchers were throwing him non-strikes.

                Sosa’s elevation to a mega-slugger coincided with him pulling his strike zone towards the plate.  He always had great opposite field power, but he started taking pitches on the outer half of the plate to right field (often for HR), and laying off of the outside pitches.  He also shortened his swing zone a little.  (The 1990’s probably was the zenith of the tiny strike zone: or should that be the strike zone’s nadir?)  So, his HR rate and BB rate went up for the same reason: Sosa stopped swinging at non-strikes.

            • Caleb

              Doc- I’m not sold on that idea. I’ve seen players change significantly with my eyeballs. I’ve tried to corroborate this, but I don’t find many stats/research that speak to it. In fact, some sabr researcher specifically mention the fact that there’s no real way to measure a “batters eye.” interesting corollary arguments though. For instance, see:

              I’m sure we COULD measure this somehow though. I would say that successful hitters probably don’t change much, but an increased eye helps marginal players take the next step up. It makes sense- we often watch minor leaguers and hope that they improve their plate discipline, or improve BB/K rates. And hitting coaches often significantly impact a teams overall approach at the plate.

              Something to chew on.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Batting eye is not the same as walks, but increased walks are an expected outcome of a better batting eye.  Bill James looked at this a year or two ago.  Sosa was one of the few guys who significantly increased his walk rate.  Shawon Dunston actually significantly decreased his.  That might sound impossible, but Dunston’s rate was so low in the first place that cutting it in half (which he did) was really, really tough.

                Most guys go through most of their careers with BB rates fluctuating randomly around some general mean.  For example, guys like Sandberg, Grace and Palmeiro had the same rates in their peak years as they had in AAA ball: and that is the norm.

                Of course, there is a downward trend: guys often see their walk rates plummet later in their careers as they begin swinging at more and more non-strikes.  As those of us over 30 (and 40…) can attest, your eyes do just up and go….


                The issue with Castro is, is he the sort of player who could increase his walk rates?  He does not seem to swing at a lot of non-strikes, but he does seem to swing at anything that might be called a strike.  To increase his walks (and his general productivity), Castro needs to lay off of strikes and near-strikes that he cannot drive.  It will increase his K rate, too, but he’ll go deeper into counts, draw more walks and get more extra base hits.  The question is, is that what he’s really doing?

        • Jschroeder

          You’re not gonna walk your way off the island

    • Cheryl

      He won’t change. The more he makes an out and doesn’t take a walk when he can the more determined he will be to hit the ball no matter where it is and his average will continue to go down.

  • Dustin S

    With each game like this, I can’t help but think that the only good thing to come out of this season will be some good future trivia questions…

    • Leroy K.

      In 2012 the Chicago Cubs lost this many games in a row by 1 run.

  • Twiz

    According to buster olney, cubs, dodgers, yankeess, braves, are top 4 for soler.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      i have a bad feeling the dodgers are going to get him because the new ownership wants to put their first fingerprints on the organization and make flashy or some what exciting move to show fans they want a winner

      • Glotzbach

        I also think the Dodgers are going to go after Soler hard, but I feel like they are going to go more aggressively after top tier free agents, because I’m pretty sure Dodger fans don’t even know who Jorge Soler is.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Dodger fans also are steeped in “good old days” tradition in which they brought up their own players.  They did have quite the run of Rookies of the Year in the 1990’s and going back further, they still remember the team of the 1970’s that was heavily built on their farm system.

  • Rev. Bud Green

    The thing I took away from this game was Target field. The cubs need to cut out the score bord take the bricks and ivy and leave Wrigley.

    • calicubsfan007

      As much as I hate to say this, I do think that it is time for the Cubs to get a new place. You are right, Target Field is amazing. Way better than the piece of crap the Twins used to call home.

  • hudog

    strongly agree with the rev

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    The problem with a new stadium is the sentimental aspect of Wrigley. They would have to completely blow everyone away (which is hard to do) to minimize the backlash for getting rid of Wrigley. Look at what the Yankees had to do.

    • Luke

      If they time the completion of the Wrigley Look-a-like new stadium with the Cubs becoming serious division title contenders, I think the backlash will get lost in the excitement of a pennant race.  Winning cures all ills.

      • Njriv

        I’ve heard David Kaplan bring up the idea of building a stadium on the Waveland Golf Course, so you can modernize Wrigley can still keep the look of the playing field if you wanted to, still have a great the view of the city, better parking and of course play more night games. He also said they can turn Wrigley into a museum or turn it into a sports recreational center for the city. Thoughts?

  • Glotzbach

    I don’t care if they made the playing field look exactly the same. As long as the foundation isn’t falling apart, they have updated player facilities and played more night games, I’m pretty sure the players would be thankful and their performance would reflect that.

  • lou brock lives

    From a report in a local Florida paper Cubs # 14 pick RHP Corbin Hoffner has agreed to terms with the Cubs & will be flying out to Arizona on Sunday. Exact terms in dollars not revealed in the article but the young pitcher 6’5″ 235 lbs. seemed very pleased with the contract terms.

  • lou brock lives

    Keep Wrigley open & purchase the Peoria Chiefs & have them play their home games in Chicago. its a win / win for all involved. Use the revenue from the minor league team to help pay for the new stadium either at Waveland or at Lane Tech. The Red Sox have a minor league team playing in Lowell, MA. & their AAA team is in Pawtucket RI. Isn’t that the model the new Cub management are following ?

  • Oswego chris

    Wow… just popped on and saw the new stadium comments

    Could not agree more…F$&k the neighborhood and the landmark status…there was no Wrigleyville when I went there as a kid in the 70’s…it was a dump…Rickets has made some mistakes but he needs to play hardball…remove the landmark status..let him have all the revenue streams he wants( a night game on a Friday? What a novel idea!)…I firmly believe the Cubs would thrive in the suburbs…if the Cubs left, that part of the city dies…or at least loses a sh** load of value…

  • Kevin

    I’ve heard David Kaplan bring up the idea of building a stadium on the Waveland Golf Course, so you can modernize Wrigley can still keep the look of the playing field if you wanted to, still have a great the view of the city, better parking and of course play more night games. He also said they can turn Wrigley into a museum or turn it into a sports recreational center for the city. Thoughts?

    I Agree 100%. Don’t put anymore money in Wrigley Field. PNC Park is designed perfectly, they did it right. Target Field is also nice but IMO, PNC wins out. Target Field cost $545M and PNC cost $212M. Why put so $300M in a hundred year old ballpark that needs major renovations vs building a modern facility and not being controlled by the rooftop owners. The Cubs need do it right and everyone will forget about Wrigley Field after a short period of time.

    • Sandberg

      I’d agree for the most part, but part of hardball for me is threatening to leave the city due to the ridiculous amusement tax b.s.

      • Matty

        I agree with all of the leave Wrigley comments, but it won’t happen. The Ricketts are Wrigley fans first and foremost, not Cubs fans. Tom wanted to buy the Cubs because he was one of the d-bag fans who use the bleachers like a singles bar. Leave Wrigley and that type of fan behind, and the Cubs could focus on the team, not where they play.

        • Leroy K.

          and it’s a real shame. It may be something little, but I think playing the majority of night games would help the Cubs.

        • Kevin

          Since these new stadiums have a retro look to them Wrigley Field no longer stands out as the best. Start from stratch and do it right.

  • Ogyu

    It’s nice to finally hear some people at this site talking sense about Wrigley.

  • william

    The way that Stewart and soriano played tonight with their bats it be nice if the twins or one al team saw how they played in the al and come calling for one or both of them I personally think right now at third vitters would be better then Stewart and Mather in left till Rizzo up then put lahair unless lahair gets delt also then I say sapelt on leftbut if lahair gets delt I hope it is for marlins package outlined by Dominguez or giants outlined by belt I see demp going to the redsox and Garza going to the tigers molhalm to Yankees DeJesus to the bluejays and Soto to the rays

  • stu

    The Cubs really need to cut Wells at some point. He is not in the picture for the starting rotation anymore and looks very hittable in long relief.

    Camp being brought in was not a good move. I never understand the need to change a pitcher when he is pitching well. The closer role is the most overrated role in baseball. If a pitcher is pitching well, LEAVE HIM IN.

    Soriano hot is great news for a possible trade deadline dump. How many losses will the Wrigley faithful tolerate before the stands are empty.

  • Kevin

    Just think, within 5 years, the Cubs win a World Series in their brand new ballpark. No more problems restricting the number of night games or being held hostage by the residents of Wrigleyville. Lets talk about financing the new ballpark. if the Angels can sign a $3.0 Billion TV deal with FOX for 20 years, just think how much the Cubs could get.

  • Rylee

    The old ownership screwed the Cubs over big time in the last TV deal. If the Cubs built a brand new stadium and negotiated TV rights with more night games…WOW!! I can only imagine the possibilities.

  • Kevin

    Privately funded new ballpark funded by a new TV deal. Cubs don’t renew contract with WGN and give the other 3 owners of Comcast the Cubs 25% share in exchange for early release. It’s a win win situation for all parties.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    unreal cubfans starting to see the big picture. 6 months ago you would be barbequed for even suggesting to tear down the sacred wrigley field. i am in 100% agreement if you want to do it, do it right start from scratch and tell that neighborhood to go scratch. go cubs go.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    sorryano deseves no props whatsoever. two decent months for 6 years and a 108,000,000dollars. never hustled will always repeat always be jim hendry’s folly.

    • Joe

      Right. I never saw any of the Cubs best homerun hitters “gawk” at their home runs the way Soriano does.(Can’t even recall Sosa stare at his homeruns) This is one of the reasons I dislike Sori. Not the only, just one.

      • calicubsfan007

        Although I am not really an anti Soriano person, I have to agree with you on the fact that he does stare at his homers. It makes him look arrogant.

  • Crazyhorse

    Perfect example of a Little Theo monkey