Chicago's Inside Pitch

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Lou and Big Z

Posted by Bruce on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 18:03
Lou had to shoot down one story during today's pregame. No, not that he and Big Z are still feuding. No, he had to dance around speculation that he might quit as Cubs manager if the Cubs win it all this year. Sounds a little like the Ozzie story of a few years ago. Lou created this one himself, telling the New York Daily News' Bill Madden the other day that the job can take a toll and that he wasn't sure how much longer he wanted to do it. When pressed, Lou said he would honor his contract, which runs through next year with a club option for 2010. Cubs chairman Crane Kenney already has talked of giving Lou an extension.

Pressure squarely on Twins

Posted by scotgreg on Tue, 09/23/2008 - 18:54
Ozzie's been heaping a lot of love on the Twins since he took over as White Sox manager in 2004. At times, maybe he's gone too far, but Ozzie hit the brakes before Tuesday night's big game against Minnesota at the Metrodome. "It seems like when we come here, we're going to play against the 1957 Yankees," Ozzie said, although he probably meant the 1927 Yanks. "We haven't played well here in the past but this week, I have a great feeling. I have a lot of confidence in the ballclub." This is a much bigger series for the Twins, and the Sox know it.

Roster games: Pie? Ward? Hoffpauir?

Posted by Bruce on Tue, 09/23/2008 - 14:11
I'm sitting here at Shea Stadium trying to hear myself blog as the planes fly about nine feet overhead. Won't miss this place. But I'll say one thing. It looks better here only because of the new Citi Field going up beyond the outfield. It's going to be quite a change, and the greatest part appears to be the Ebbets Field-like entrance way. Here are some thoughts before I come back with the lineups later: If the Cubs take 11 pitchers to the playoffs, you've got to figure these guys are in: Dempster Lilly Zambrano Harden Marquis (yes, he'll be on the roster) Marshall Samardzija Cotts Marmol Wood

Big Z no lock for Game 1

Posted by Bruce on Mon, 09/22/2008 - 18:06
Lou has juggled the rotation slightly for the Mets series this week. Sean Marshall will pitich tomorrow night instead of Rich Harden, who goes Thursday instead. Carlos Zambrano will pitch Wednesday as scheduled. Lou says Harden is fine and that he foresees no limits on him Thursday. The interesting question is whether Big Z pitches Game 1 of the NLDS next Wednesday. Lou wouldn't say. He said only that he and pitching coach Larry Rothschild will set the rotation this weekend in Milwaukee.

Sox in bind with Linebrink

Posted by scotgreg on Sun, 09/21/2008 - 17:43
Maybe Scott Linebrink can move back into the setup role he so capably filled before injuring his shoulder and get the job done again. It looks like the White Sox won't find out until next season. Linebrink has made 5 appearances since coming off the disabled list, and he actually had success in his last outing (Friday) with 1 scoreless inning. Before that, the veteran right-hander pitched 4 innings and allowed 5 runs. Ozzie said he's going to throw Linebrink back into the fire and hope for the best, but I don't think it's going to happen this year. Linebrink has yet to be called on in a tight game, and Sunday, Ozzie called on closer Bobby Jenks with one on and two outs in the eighth inning.

Fuel for Twins?

Posted by scotgreg on Sat, 09/20/2008 - 21:50
Besides having to deal with too many deadbeat airlines, the worst part of this job is having to listen to stupid questions, mainly from radio and TV reporters who aren't around much but somehow always try to get an hour or two worth of responses from their inane inquiries. These people can be found in every major-league city, including Tampa Bay. Here is a classic example. As reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a reporter covering the playoff-bound Rays, who very well could face the White Sox in the first round, asked Twins manager Ron Gardenhire the following question before Saturday's game: "The Rays might see the White Sox in the first round of the playoffs. What's your scouting report on the White Sox?"

A Cubs dynasty?

Posted by Bruce on Sat, 09/20/2008 - 20:45
Whoa, there, they haven't won a World Series yet and none for 100 years. But Lou said he feels this team can become the Red Sox and Yankees of the National League in the coming years. In other words, a dominant team. "Chicago is a major city," Lou said. "I've said, and I told (GM) Jim Hendry this, and I've told (chairman) Crane Kenney this, 'This team here should dominate the National League Central the way the Yankees and Red Sox have dominated the American League,'" Lou and the champagne were talking tonight. "And that's not to take anythying away from the teams in our division, because they're all good, competitive teams, and they've got good ownership, and they're well managed.

World Series or bust? Not so, says Lou

Posted by Bruce on Sat, 09/20/2008 - 14:26
Lou was on fire this morning. For some reason, it seems stuck in his craw that the public would like for the Cubs to win the World Series one of these years. Don't know why that would be. The guy that hired Lou, former team president John McDonough, made it the organization's singular goal when he took over after the disastrous 2006 season. The Cubs are spending about $125 million this year on top of it. But here's Lou's take:

Buehrle just keeps on rolling

Posted by scotgreg on Fri, 09/19/2008 - 23:11
When he's off his game, no pitcher in major-league baseball gets hit harder than Mark Buehrle. It was right here at Kauffman Stadium on Aug. 2 when the White Sox' lefty lasted just 4 1/3 innings while being pounded for 8 runs on 14 hits. It was also the only time in 15 years covering the Sox that I thought I could go down to the field and get a hit off a pitcher. Fortunately for the Sox, Buehrle's bad ones are typically few and far between. In his return to Kansas City Friday night, Buehrle went over 200 innings for the season while going 6 in a win over the Royals. Not only did Buehrle look sharp pitching on just three days’ rest, he became the only active pitcher to log at least 200 innings while making at least 30 starts and winning at least 10 games in eight straight season.

Soto out with hand injury (and other stuff)

Posted by Bruce on Fri, 09/19/2008 - 11:44
Lou greeted us with the news this morning that catcher Geovany Soto is a late lineup scratch because of a hand injury. It apparently bothered Soto yesterday, but not enough to prevent his ninth-inning game-tying homer. He has had hand issues in the past, and we're still awaiting word from the trainer. The other big issue this morning was how the Cubs would celebrate if they clinch today. If they win, they'll have to wait to see if the Reds beat the Brewers tonight. It may be that the players gather on their own somewhere away from the ballpark. Last year, they clinched on a Friday night in Cincy, and a wild clubhouse celebration ensued. This year, it may be more businesslike, as the Cubs realize the NL Central is only the first step.