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The Pirates were sliding HARD before they faced the Cubs a week and a half ago (and were swept). But, assuming the Pirates don’t make the playoffs now, I wonder if, in the years to come, Pirates fans will remember the Cubs as “the crappy team that sunk them.”

  • Jeff Samardzija is adjusting to life on the bench, after being shut down a week and a half ago. “It’s tough, it’s really tough,” Samardzija said of not playing, per ESPNChicago. “You get into a routine and your body knows when it’s ready to go. I’m not used to sitting and watching, it hasn’t happened in a long time. But there are other ways you can participate. If I can help out during a game, that’d be great too. Obviously, mentally, you can help out in certain situations, just paying attention in general. There’s always something you can learn.” And you can still help out by pinch running, as Samardzija did on Saturday.
  • A little more housekeeping: if you’re looking for some sports action, that is to say, a place that offers online betting, why not check out sports betting here?
  • Dale Sveum says Josh Vitters, who sat against a lefty yesterday, needs to keep working on routine plays. “It’s the routine plays that seem to be giving him the most problem,” Sveum told Bruce Miles. “The spontaneous plays, he’s made all those, in great fashion, really. He’s got up and made good throws on the dives and the body-control plays, he’s done well on. He’s coming and gotten a lot better since the first day I saw him.” Sveum added that one of Vitters’ issues is staring down the runner when he fields an easy grounder, rather than just focusing on first base. I find it interesting that Sveum generally discusses Vitters’ defense when asked about the youngster’s struggles – the kid is hitting .110/.159/.207. I suppose defense was the question mark coming into 2012 for Vitters, so maybe that is the proper focus, regardless of the offensive line. It’s only 88 plate appearances, after all.
  • Anthony Rizzo says his walk-off homer against the Cardinals on July 29 tops his grand slam from yesterday. That was a fun game, indeed. Feels like a hundred years ago.
  • Jaye Chapman once again comes in for love, this time for keeping things tied yesterday despite (1) a leadoff triple, (2) having to face Andrew McCutchen, and (3) having a runner break for home when Chapman’s back was facing the plate. Chapman struck out McCutchen, and, after the next batter, deftly swirled and fired, nailing that runner at the plate. Dale Sveum is obviously a fan, and Chapman’s going to be in the bullpen mix next year, “September stats” or no.
  • Alfonso Soriano will join elite, elderly company when he hits his next homer: he’ll be just the fifth Cubs player, age 36 years or older, to reach 30 homers and 100 RBI, joining Hank Sauer in 1954 (41 home runs, 103 RBI, age 37), Andre Dawson in 1991 (31 home runs, 104 RBIs, age 36), Fred McGriff in 2002 (30 home runs, 103 RBIs, age 38) and Moises Alou in 2004 (39 home runs, 106 RBIs, age 37).
  • Starlin Castro tried to catch a pigeon with his glove yesterday. Which, like, OK.
  • A discussion of socially-positive investing, featuring Tom Ricketts’ Incapital.
  • The MLBullets at BCB look at, in part, the AL divisional races.
  • http://prospectmeta.webs.com tim

    Thanks for the honest opinion on Jaye Chapman.

  • Frank

    Pirat

  • Frank

    Pirates fans will do what they do every year: remember the Pirates as the crappy team that beat them.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha. Ouch.

  • ssckelley

    Is Vitters the Cubs opening day starter at 3rd base next season?

    • Tommy

      If I were to bet, I’d say they bring back Ian Stewart on a 1 year deal and he starts to begin the year, and Vitters starts out in AAA. I think they invested too much time, effort, and money into Stewart to not find out if the surgery helped make him into a better ball player.

      And I can’t imagine they couldn’t resign him at very low risk. It’s not like teams are going to be lining up for him this offseason.

      Long-term – Valbuena might be the guy at 3rd, though. He seems to be getting better over time, and they seem to like him (from all the playing time he’s gotten).

      • ssckelley

        I agree on Stewart, but I think even if they do bring him back that it will be a competition at 3rd base between him and Vitters. Valbuena should not be looked at as anything more than a solid replacement player, backing up the infield. I really do not want to see Valbuena start the year as the opening day starter at 3rd base.

        • Tommy

          I hear ya – I like Valbuena, but certainly not as a starter. And when I said long-term, I was only referring to the 2013 season (not beyond that). My gut just tells me they are not sold on Vitters because of his poor glove and inability to take a pitch. Valbuena, on the other hand, has an .OBP almost 100 points higher than his batting average (yes, his batting average is low). I didn’t check, but I would guess his .OBP to avg difference is probably the best on the team, and his numbers in Iowa were commensurate with Cardenas AND Vitters, and all we hear about them is how well they can hit.

          In fairness, Vitters is younger and shows a lot more power. If only his glove could improve.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            In fairness, Vitters is younger and shows a lot more power. If only his glove could improve.

            Vitter’s fielding is the least of his problems right now. He’s a contact hitter with contact skills not (currently) equal to MLB pitching.

            • Tommy

              Yes Doc – you are correct. I am not sweating the hitting right now, personally, though. Many players tank in their first efforts to the major leagues. Rizzo is one example.

              The extreme level of bad that Vitters has reached with his hitting is a bit concerning, but he hasn’t really been given a consistent chance to improve, either.

      • art

        IMO Valbuena has played cause no one else is ready yet.

    • art

      no.

  • Ash

    Let’s just hope the Pirates fans remember yesterday as the first of many days that Anthony Rizzo bashes their heads in.

  • ssckelley

    I am surprised at how little is being discussed about Marmol. After watching him earlier in the year struggle to get anyone out and losing his closers job I am amazed that he now has a 3.65 ERA and has converted 20 out of 22 save opportunities. He is finally throwing his fastball for strikes and not relying on his slider. Just an amazing transformation and he may have played his way back into being a nice trade able asset in the off season.

    • Patrick G

      I totally agree. I think we could get a pretty decent return assuming we ate most of his contract. Although, if he was not traded I would not be upset seeing that he is the only (semi) reliable pitcher out of our bullpen and the rest is in shambles. Keeing him and signing a few reliable bullpen arms could turn our biggest concern into something decent. I think the line-up will almost be the same as this year and maybe 1-2 starters being signed in the offseason.

      • http://prospectmeta.webs.com tim

        Think Sean Marshall. Theo had to deal him, or get nothing for him. I’m not sure who closes if he goes, but gambling on his control in 2013 seems gutsy.

        • ssckelley

          Is it really a gamble now that he is getting his fastball near the plate at 95 mph? His problems has always been fixable, heck I could tell sitting on the couch that hitters were sitting on his slider when he was not using his fastball.

          If I am a GM on a contending team in need of bullpen help I am kicking myself right now for not making a deal with the Cubs. You probably could have gotten him with just a couple of B level prospects and gotten the Cubs to eat part of the salary. With each successful appearance the price for Marmol keeps going up and I agree with Patrick, I would not be disappointed to see Marmol back in a Cubs uniform next season.

        • Spoda17

          I don’t think you can use the word “gamble” when it comes to any performance expectation for the Cubs next year… for a team that will lose 90+ games, “gamble” is a relative term…

  • SoCal Cubs Fan

    I think Vitters will start the year at AAA and maybe recalled in June, similar to Rizzo this year, if he improves in he areas highlighted by Sveum. I do believe Stewart will be the starter at 3B to start the year. If he proves he’s back then no need to recall Vitters. I don’t think they will trade Marmol until the deadline next year.

  • Deez

    Vitters just needs the ABs & time to adjust to the Majors. I think this callup has done not only him but the organization some good.
    I’m definitely not ready to give up on him yet UNLESS we can get something better in return.
    It’s not like Valbuena or Stewart were batting .275

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