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The Cubs and White Sox get back to doing battle tonight, as the Cubs continue their all-Sox stretch.

  • The Cubs are now 3-15 against left-handed starters this season, which is an almost inconceivably bad mark. Despite the rotten luck, Cubs manager Dale Sveum continues to use a virtually all right-handed lineup against th0se lefties. “It’s not that they’re doing horrible, but we’re not getting the slugging percentage at all against left-handed pitching, which is holding us back from scoring multiple runs in an inning,” Sveum said of his righties. But he intends to keep running that lineup out there against lefties, presumably believing that the law of averages will kick in at some point. I can’t say he’s wrong, but it’s not a lot of fun to watch.
  • Geovany Soto is expected to be activated from the disabled list today after completing his rehab stint in Iowa. Although you’d expect one of the two catchers on the roster (Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo) to go down, the Cubs are toying with carrying all three catchers, in part due to Clevenger’s versatility. Were the Cubs in a playoff race, I could see that making sense, but wouldn’t they rather see someone like Castillo getting regular at bats at AAA? Most days, two of the three catchers will be sitting on their duff all day. I’m not sure I understand that unless there’s a trade already in the works. If all the catchers stay up, someone like Adrian Cardenas will head back to Iowa.
  • Koyie Hill decided not to accept his assignment to AAA Iowa, and instead will take his chances in free agency. Given that he was toiling away in AA for the Reds before he was plucked up by the Cubs, I have a hard time seeing him find a better situation than AAA for the Cubs, but, hey, best of luck to him. I give it a month before the Cubs try to bring him back.
  • A nice Bryan LaHair story, about his long road and the support of his father.
  • MLBullets at BCB notes that Mark Prior is actually on the verge of making it back to the big leagues after six years in the wilderness.
  • For those of you who still don’t buy that Alfonso Soriano is one of the hardest working players in baseball, and one of the best teammates, why don’t you take it from Reed Johnson, who returned to blogging to defend Soriano:

It was hard for me to hear that from the fans. I know how much Sori means to me as a teammate. He plays hurt. I wish the fans could be inside this clubhouse and see what we see as players. Dave McKay didn’t know what Soriano is all about until he came over here and he said, “Man, I absolutely love that guy.” He said, “When I was on the other side, I wasn’t too sure. He hits home runs and watches them a little bit and enjoys it and enjoys the game.” Once you play on that guy’s team, you see. I was telling Sori that he and Rafael Furcal are my two favorite teammates. They come to the park with so much energy and they’re always happy. You wish the fans could get an inside look at a guy rather than just judging a guy from what they’ve read or heard.

  • Josh

    I don’t understand the comment about Soriano coming to the ballpark with a so much energy. If that’s true, why does he look so lazy on the field?

    • Fishin Phil

      Oh I don’t know, maybe because he has the knees of an 80 year old? Just a guess.

  • JB88

    I just have a hard time understanding the need to boo this team at all. They are bad. They were meant to be bad. Booing this Cubs team is like heckling a challenged person.

    • ETS

      “Booing this Cubs team is like heckling a challenged person.”

      That’s worthy of a sig line somewhere.

      • Leroy K.

        consider it stolen. don’t worry—I will give credit where credit is due.

    • Ogyu

      I heckle people at this site all the time. Does that count? ;-)

      • Professional_High_A

        +5

  • Steve

    I think this is a great article and a great inside look at Sori the teammate and professional and an awesome testimonial from a legit teammate. Fans that never competed a day in their life and don’t understand hard work are the ones that rush to judgement about players or a specific play. They don’t get it, it seems to be more Cubs fans the new generation of Cubs fans who are generation X ers who had everything given to them from Mommy and Daddy. I hope Sori and Demp get traded for the sake of smelling victory for a top contender.

    • scorecardpaul

      Steve, If everything about him is so great, then why are the Cubs willing to eat most of his salary, and why are no teams lining up to take him for free?

      • hansman1982

        see Fishin Phil’s comment above.

      • DRock

        I agree with you, scorecardpaul. I was at the game Sat. when Soriano hit the ball to 3rd and then stood in the batter’s box and didn’t even move a muscle. Even with his 80 year old knees, he still could have at least started to light jog in the direction of first base, but nope, he just stood there like a deer in the headlights. As a loyal fan who was trying to love this team no matter how bad they are, I couldn’t handle this. A dad with his young son sitting next to us, had to explain to his son that this is something you should NEVER do when you hit the ball. You ALWAYS need to run it out even if you think the guy will catch it. Why? Because he might drop it and you can get on base- stuff you learn in little league. This is what happened with Sori and he could have made it to first and a run could have scored, changing the entire game. Instead, we all boo him and that is the main thing we all remember from the game on Sat. This is why I have a problem with Soriano and am done defending him because of “his knees”. Trade him now, PLEASE!!!

        • Scotti

          Just because a dad is telling a son to run to the base after he believes he made an out doesn’t make it the right thing to do. And, no, Soriano would not have made it to first. The game would not have been changed. Now, had Cub fans known how the game is played (and actually cheered their team and players) that could have had an impact on the game.

          • rcleven

            It’s the effort not the action. ie: Last night man on first 2 outs easy pop-up to short right field (easy out) second baseman drops easy pop-up and man on first scores because he didn’t take for granted the ball was going to be caught.

            • Drew7

              that wasnt an easy play at all: Pedroia went hallway into RF twisting and turning the entire time. With 2 out, Barney is running on contact. It was a heads up play by Barney, but the comparison is apples-to-oranges

              • DocPeterWimsey

                But without making apples to oranges comparisons, how can we conclude that Soriano was being lazy?

                • MichiganGoat

                  ((Hustle/PA) * Scrappy Range Factor) – contract $$ = laziness. Geez Doc I thought you were the stat guy :)

  • Fishin Phil

    Re Koyie Hill – “I give it a month before the Cubs try to bring him back.”

    Bite your tongue!

    Best of luck to Koyie, but if I ever see him in a Cub uniform again, it better be in a coaching capacity.

    • cccubfan

      I still say that Koyie will be back as a Cub coach or something before long. He is liked by the team players and front office and I think he could help them. Maybe not as a hitting coach…LOL….You know what I mean. Also, Soriano knows he will get booed. Every Cub that has ever been in the uniform know they will get booed from time to time. In this case I don’t feel it was justified. Like Sveum said 99% of the players now and forever would not have ran that one out. I see players stop on line drives all the time, he just happened to do it in a Cub uniform….I am with ya Sori….

  • TakingWrigleyToSãoPaulo

    There were a few rumors that the Cubs had taken a scout taken off assignment to attend a few Rancho Cucamonga Quakes´games. Think the target is Zach Lee, the Dodgers # 1 prospect? Too much to ask for Demp?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Where did you hear that? I’m sure there are a number of players the Cubs could be scouting on that team; and if they’re scouting Lee, it could be for – as an example – a Matt Garza trade, too.

      I suppose all I’m saying is that teams scout other teams’ prospects for a number of reasons, and it’s a dangerous game to try and guess which prospect goes with which trade rumor.

      • TakingWrigleyToSãoPaulo

        Someone at the game was talking to the particular scout and was posted on Twitter. By no means I am saything that´s the target but I guess a high upside player at high A makes some sense for a guy like Dempster. Was more curious to see what people thought about that return. Too much, too little?

        • Cubs Dude

          I don’t think there is anyway we could get Lee for a 3 month Dempster rental. But I agree with Brett it could be for Garza maybe..

          • ETS

            What was zach wheeler had for? May not be that far out of reach.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            The Mets got Zack Wheeler for a few months of Carlos Beltran, and the Giants knew when they made the trade that they would not receive any compensatory picks (due to clauses in Beltran’s contract).  I don’t think Lee for Dempster is completely impossible.

            Unlikely, but not impossible.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Yeah, Lee seems pretty steep for Dempster, even if there are a ton of buyers. Dempster plus something else? Maybe. Certainly would be exciting.

        • ETS

          My question is about timing. Does it make more sense to trade Garza first so that Dempster doesn’t “hurt” the garza market? Or is this a non-issue?

  • Andy

    Prediction – Mark Prior will be an effective and possibly even dominant reliever for 5-6 seasons.

    • Billy

      I hope this is true. I always liked Prior, he def got a raw deal with all the injuries

      • ETS

        He should have sued Dusty Baker for $150m. Pretty sure you could make the argument that that is about what Dusty cost him.

    • rcleven

      My crystal ball saw the obit for Mark Prior and it said he died of at the age of 65 pitching at AAA Pawtucket trying to make a come back.

  • Edwin

    Love the pic and quote. That movie is pure gold.

  • ROBERT MUDD

    I am hoping that if Garza is traded, he can go to Toronto with the hope that they can snag catcher, Travis d’Arnaud and P Justin Nicolino..D’Arnaud is ready now, and Nicolino is on the fast track up..

    • Jp

      That’s what we’re missing in the system is a top catching prospect! We have a bunch of mediocre prospects. I won’t get my hopes up too much but what the hell else we got going of us this year

      • hansman1982

        so the absolutle lack of top flight pitching prospects is not concerning to you?

    • CubbieBlue085

      The only reason I can see the blue jays taking this is if they truly believe that Arencibia is the catcher of the future. Arencibia has shown amazing power but lack of discipline at the plate thus the high strike out ratio. He is also not the greatest defender behind the plate. I would hope to get a player like D’Arnaud and Nicolino for Garza but given that the blue jays are a nice up and coming team with a solid group of youngsters coming up. Maybe a couple of those guys would push them over the top. I hope I’m wrong but I just dont see that being the fit

    • Cubs Dude

      That seems like a huge risk for the Blue Jays and a lot to give up. They would have to have a ton of things go right to make the playoffs in the AL East, and they are so banged up are they really willing to go all in? I wish..

      • ROBERT MUDD

        Epstein/Hoyer asked for team’s top 3 prospects for Garza before the season. Asking for a #1 and #6 is not far fetched. If they dont get something similar to this, they wont make a deal and sign Garza long term.

        • Kyle

          Before the season, Garza had two full years of team control left and was coming off his best season.

          Right now, Garza has 1.5 years of team control left and is in the middle of a solid but lesser season.

          We’re not going to get as much as we hoped in the pre-season, I’m guessing.

          • ROBERT MUDD

            a #1 and a #6 is less..

      • ROBERT MUDD

        Epstein/Hoyer were asking teams for their top 3 prospects in return for Garza..This would be #1 and

  • ROBERT MUDD

    And before you say we have 2 catchers already, D’Arnaud is the #1 rated catching prospect in the minors..

  • Cubs Dude

    Jeff Baker for President! Just kidding…

  • rcleven

    I am not a Dale hater but he slowly driving me to it. Every time I see the right handed line-up being marched out against lefty’s I just have to shake my head wonder why. Law averages? Strange. Left or right handed you still have to put your best eight on the field every day.
    The players sure aren’t being worn out on the base path.

  • coal

    I think of catchers like I think of NFL running backs – it’s great to have an awesome one, but their lifespan is too short (and/or too risky) to pay out the nose for one (in either salary or trade bait). Joe Mauer is, of course, Exhibit A. The reason Koyie Hill is still hanging in there is because catchers get beat up.

    A side note – there was an awesome article in yesterday’s Sunday New York Times on Russell Martin. Catching is rougher than anyone who hasn’t played the position can appreciate. Great read.

    • ROBERT MUDD

      Giving up Garza for the top ranked catcher and a top pitching prospect is not paying through the nose..It would not suck to have a possible elite catcher for 7 years before trading him to an A.L. team..

  • DowntownLBrown

    The Cubs number this season is 59 Wins. If they win less than 59, worst Cubs team ever. If they win 59, the 1962 Cubs still take the cake for worst winning %. Currently they are on track to win 54 games.

    If we trade Garza, Dempster, Soriano, and bring up Rizzo and K happy Jackson, I see this team contending with the 2003 Tigers to be the worst team in the modern era. (43 wins). It will be close.

    • ROBERT MUDD

      And won the A.L. Championship in 2006….What’s your point?

      • DowntownLBrown

        Your point makes no sense. So 3 years later they won an “AL Championship”. Lets breakdown what makes no sense about your rebuttal of a fact/statistic.
        1) Tigers won 3 years later? When did I ever say the Cubs couldn’t? And what does that have to do with the Cubs current winning %?
        2) Tigers are in the AL, not NL. Comapring an NL championship in 2015 to an AL in 2006 makes no sense.
        3) 3 years is 1,095 days. Alot can happen in that time. Good and bad. You make it sound as if, if you finish with a bad record, in 1,095 days you will win a championship. World doesnt work that way.

        Thats

        • ROBERT MUDD

          You make it sounds as if this season really matters..

  • SoCal Cubs Fan

    I don’t see how you can hate Dale for this. The moves are not wrong, the players just suck! We lost the 2 games to the Red Sox because of (NON) relief pitching and the inepitude of the right handed bench players. Our relief pitchers either can’t find the plate or are throwing BP fastballs right down the middle and our right handed bench players other than Reed Johnson should be ashamed to cash their checks!!

    • rcleven

      I admit the tools aren’t there. But to keep marching out the same RH hitters hoping the law of averages will catch up is insane.
      The pen is the pen. If we had a starter that could keep his pitch count below 100 by the end of the fifth and go late into the 7th or 8th the pen becomes less of a concern.

  • DRock

    Why are we still not starting LaHair and Campana? Mather, Valbuena, Baker? Are you serious?

  • willis

    The RH lineup is dumb.

  • Drew7

    OPS against LHP:

    LaHair – .457
    Campana – .607

    Johnson – .808
    Mather – .747

    I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but Campana is terrible.

    Vabuena is the only serviceable 3B on the roster

    • Kyle

      If Valbuena is the only servicable 3b on the roster, then I’ll just go ahead and say we have no serviceable 3b on the roster.

      • Drew7

        You’re on a roll today :)

        Hey, at least he saved Marmol’s ass on Friday…

        • MichiganGoat

          I think it’s more about the definition of serviceable. If by that word you mean Koyie Hill serviceable (decent to good at his position (although threw up in mouth as I said that)) or serviceable meaning he can field his position and put up an acceptable line (ie DeJesus).

      • MichiganGoat

        Yeah, he might be as good as Stewart which doesn’t say much right now. 3B is our greatest weakness right now, no one ready to come up that installs confidence. Hopefully by next year someone is ready to take over 3B, but right now we are looking at a plus defender that can barely bat .200.

  • rocky8263

    Went to my second game last night and sat in my new seats and they are the bomb. This team is really bad. I know that’s the plan but man it’s painful to watch. Boston fans are well mannered and polite. Like Cub fans they watch the game. Didn’t see T.R. roaming around. I’m glad to see the Cubs hired David Axelrods company to handle the deal with the city. Consider it done.

  • Spencer

    The law of averages isn’t going to fix the Cubs’ struggles against lefties because 1) the Cubs are a bad team in general, and 2) that lineup is made up of a ton of bench players. There is a reason that they are bench players, even on a Cubs team with little talent. When they are all in the lineup at the same time it’s nearly impossible to win.

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