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Crosstown Rivalry: White Sox Get To Carlos Zambrano

This article is also available on The Daily Cub and The Chicago Perspective .

After taking two out of three games in their first series against the Cubs, the White Sox were able to rattle Carlos Zambrano’s cage enough to give him a mental breakdown and get him taken out after one inning. Zambrano was also involved in an altercation with Derek Lee in the dugout.

In the first inning, the White Sox were able to put four runs on the board, mostly thanks to Carlos Quentin’s three-run homer that brought in Alex Rios and Paul Konerko.

Zambrano was noticeably livid heading into the dugout. The episode ended with Lou Piniella and Alan Trammel escorting Zambrano into the clubhouse. Zambrano was consequently told to go home.

ESPN is now reporting that Zambrano has been suspended, but they don’t have information on how long the suspension will be.

The altercation overshadowed another outstanding performance by Jake Peavy, who went seven scoreless innings for the White Sox, bringing his consecutive scoreless inning total to 21.

As for the Cubs, the bullpen did a great job of stopping the bleeding, only allowing two runs through the next eight innings.  Gorzelanny was fantastic, allowing just one run over the next 3.1 innings.

The Cubs bats were silent as they only had six baserunners through the game.  Meanwhile, the White Sox were able to score six runs on seven hits and two walks.

The White Sox now lead the crosstown rivalry 3-1 on the season, and the Cubs are going to have to win these next two games to pull off another tie on the season.

It is going to be tough, however, as the White Sox have won 10 straight games since losing the series finale to the Cubs in their last meeting. The Sox have won 14 of their last 15 games.

Meanwhile, the Cubs are nine games below .500 and are 2-4 over their last six.

I’m Joe W.

Joe Willett also write at The Daily Cub and The Chicago Perspective .

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Carlos Silva: Is There Any Chance You Were Expecting This?

This article is available at The Daily Cub and The Chicago Perspective

Check out each site for more articles about the Chicago Cubs and Chicago sports in general.


The Chicago Cubs may have made one of the more lopsided trades in recent memory when they shipped troubled player Milton Bradley for supposedly over-paid under-performing Carlos Silva.

Well, he was under-performing.

Coming into this season, a lot of people were expecting nothing out of Silva.  He was going to be in the bullpen, possibly the fifth starter until Ted Lilly returned to the rotation.

Then, there were reports coming out of Spring Training that he was working on his delivery and he was looking very good . Still, few expected anything special out of him.

Then, the major league season started, and he came out and won his first start. 

He gave up just one run over six innings, then Esmailin Caridad gave up four runs in the eighth inning to lose the game and give Silva a no decision.

Still, it’s just one start.

Next thing you know, he is 4-0 with a 3.40 ERA and some more people are starting to come around to the belief that he is a legitimate pitcher who can help the Cubs this season.

All the while, Milton Bradley is continuing his lifelong implosion in Seattle.

Now, Silva is 8-0 through 11 starts with an ERA of 2.93 and every day, more and more people are jumping on his bandwagon .

Making $12 million puts a lot of pressure on a player as they have a lot of people expecting them to be an ace on the pitching staff, something that he has done so far this season.

He leads Cubs starters in wins, ERA and WHIP and he is doing so after few expected him to even be in the rotation.

If he keeps up this pace, by the end of the season he will have set career highs in wins, (he is on pace to go 22-0) ERA, WHIP, strikeouts, and a few more categories.

He has allowed four or more runs just twice this season and allowed no more than five runs in any one start, and never pitched fewer than five innings.

By every account, Silva is having a year worthy of being an All Star, Comeback Player of the Year, and getting an apology from everybody in Chicago who scolded him and thought he shouldn’t make the major league squad.

Meanwhile, Seattle can brew in anger while they watch Milton Bradley throw another temper tantrum.

Oh yea, he’s got more strikeouts than hits and walks combined.

I’m Joe W.

Joe Willett writes runs two blogs, The Daily Cub and The Chicago Perspective .  Check them both out, they may be the greatest blogs you ever read.

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2010 MLB Draft Results, Day 2: Chicago Cubs’ Second-Day Picks

This article is originally posted at The Daily Cub .  Visit to get Chicago Cubs analysis, news, and opinions.

Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs took what, to many, was a big reach when they took Hayden Simpson with their first round pick.

So now that Day Two is complete—who has been picked by the Chicago Cubs?

Round Two: Reggie Golden, OF

Golden, hailing from Wetumpka High School, is still deciding whether or not to move to the minor leagues or officially sign with the University of Alabama, where he has a full scholarship.

In 2010, Golden batted .460 with 28 runs, five home runs, and 24 RBI.  He said he was expecting to go within the first 35 picks.

Round Three: Micah Gibbs, C

Gibbs is a junior at Louisiana State University, where he batted .388 with 47 runs with 10 home runs and 60 RBI.

Round Four: Hunter Ackerman, LHP

Ackerman pitched for Louisberg College last season and pitched very well.  He went 8-1 with a 1.41 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings.

Round Five: Matt Szczur, OF

Szczur may be a messed up name, but he was the second fastest player according to Baseball America and the 19th best centerfielder.  Last season, he batted .443 and earned All Big-East honors.

Round Six: Ivan De Jesus, CF

De Jesus, no relation to first base coach Ivan DeJesus, has been part of multiple championship teams in Puerto Rico, being on championship teams in both 15-under and 16-under levels.

Round Seven: Benjamin Wells, RHP

Although Wells has signed with Arkansas already, the Cubs will hope to change his mind.  He recently lead his high school team to a state championship by pitching a five-inning perfect game.

Round Eight: Cameron Greathouse, LHP

Greathouse went 10-2 with a 3.06 ERA in his most recent season as a sophomore at Gulf Coast Community College in Florida.

Round Nine: Kevin Rhoderick

Rhoderick was the All Pac-10 Conference Honorable Mention last season, going 2-2 with a 3.13 ERA and four saves.

Round 10: Aaron Kurcz, RHP

The first pitcher the Chicago Cubs took with a relationship to Bryce Harper, Kurcz played on the same team as Harper this previous season.  He struck out with 52 in 35 innings and held opponents to a .225 batting average.

To see the rest of the Chicago Cubs’ draft picks, visit The Daily Cub.

I’m Joe W.

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MLB Draft Day: Chicago Cubs Take Hayden Simpson With First Round Pick

The Chicago Cubs have a history of reaching for draft picks in the first round.  They did so again this season when they took Hayden Simpson, expected to be a second to fifth round pick, with the 16th pick of the first round.

Hayden went 13-1 in 15 starts for the South Arkansas Muleriders during his junior season.  He also had a 1.81 ERA and struck out 131 batters compared to just 35 walks in 99 and a third innings.

Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken compared Simpson to major league stars Tim Lincecum and Roy Oswalt, which is big praise for D-ll pitcher.

“I feel Hayden is potentially a major league starter,” Wilken said. “He has four above-average to plus-pitches. He’s a very athletic pitcher, and he has a good feel for pitching. We had really good reports and very good coverage on Simpson.”

Despite the high praise given to him from within the Cubs organization, however, he hasn’t been recognized by those around the league as a talent worthy of being taken this high.

As you can see from the picture above, they had to make a name plate for him on the spot, and didn’t have a draft report when he was drafted.

Simpson was also ranked 191st by Baseball America, but so was Tyler Colvin in 2006 when he was ranked near the tail end of Baseball America’s Top 200—Colvin is now producing in the majors for the Cubs.

Another Cub who was taken higher than expected was Andrew Cashner in 2008.  Cashner is now three appearances into his major league career and has yet to allow a run.

Simpson is a pitcher with a fastball in the mid-90’s, a solid curveball, slider, and circle-change that a very good speed differential from his fastball.

It has also been reported that a team with a pick soon after the Cubs was taking a serious look at Simpson for their first round pick, so Wilken may not have been the only one who felt he was worth a first round selection.

I’m Joe W.

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How Derek Lee and Aramis Ramirez Are Holding the Chicago Cubs Back

This article is also available at The Daily Cub.  Visit for opinions, game recaps and more.

While watching the Cubs today, you got a great view of just how bad the Cubs supposed “stars” are, while also seeing how the less impressive players have stepped up to try to fix the situation.

The Cubs entered the day with four straight wins and were hoping to sweep a second straight two-game series, after taking the first game last night in convincing fashion.

This game was much closer, and was included multi-hit games by both historically-underwhelming Mike Fontenot, and rookie Starlin Castro.

In the ninth inning, the Cubs were down just one run and going up against former crosstown rival Jose Contreras, and they started off the inning with a bang.

Alfonso Soriano took somewhere near 500 pitches and broke two bats before getting hit by a pitch.  With some good timing, Soriano was able to make it to third thanks to a hit-and-run—the hit coming via blooper to center from Fontenot.

So the Cubs have had back-to-back solid at-bats, Contreras has already thrown more pitches than he was expecting to throw, and he has yet to record an out with the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on first.

After Starlin Castro strikes out, Aramis Ramirez comes up, only needing to put the ball in the outfield for the at-bat to be considered a success, and he strikes out while swinging at a ball that he couldn’t have connected with if he were standing on home plate.

Ramirez is just two nights removed from a game winning home run in the 11th against the Colorado Rockies, an event that had some Chicagoans proclaiming that his slump was over and he was ready to start performing again.

Little did those Chicagoans know that he would go 0-8 over the next three games, striking out three times and drawing one walk.

Ramirez has the second-worst batting average among hitters with at least 120 plate appearances, something that no player, just two seasons removed from an All Star game appearance, should have.

Having one player who is having a season this bad is something that a team can overcome, but when you throw in the fact that Derek Lee, star first baseman, is 28th on that list with a batting average of .226, then it is just too much.

The combo of Lee and Ramirez, usually the meat of the Cubs lineup, have 61 hits this season with 70 strikeouts.

Meanwhile, six Chicago Cubs have batting averages over .300.  They have also struggled to knock in runs. Lee and Ramirez are fourth and fifth on the Cubs in RBI, a statistic where they generally fight it out for first place.

They wouldn’t even be that high if it weren’t for their position in the lineup for most of the season.

Lee and Ramirez have always been players with great power who only needed consistent production before them.  This season, they are getting just that with Kosuke Fukudome and Ryan Theriot batting 1-2 and each having batting averages of .310.

Theriot has even done a good job of becoming a decent base-running threat, stealing seven bases thus far, putting him at a tie for 22nd in the majors.

With the starting rotation, bullpen, and everybody around them getting their act together, Lee and Ramirez are the only two keeping the Cubs from taking charge of the mediocre NL Central.

At only five games out of the lead, a break out by these two players would catapult the Cubs into the drivers seat for a playoff spot.

I’m Joe W.

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Cubs Win Three Strait and Zambrano Primed For a Return As a Starter

This article was originally published at The Daily Cub.  Visit for game recaps and opinions about the Chicago Cubs

Last night, Carlos Silva got another quality start, pitching six innings and allowing two runs to drop his ERA to 3.35 and improve to 5-0 on the season.

On a night when we learned that Carlos Zambrano will be returning to the starting rotation shortly, a different Carlos was able to steal the show by pitching six scoreless innings before allowing a two-run home run without recording an out in the seventh and being taken out.

After going 2-9 in an 11 game stretch, the Cubs have been able to pull off three strait wins after taking the finale against the division rival Pittsburgh Pirates and sweeping a two game series against the Colorado Rockies.

The Cubs were helped offensively by young shortstop Starlin Castro who put the Cubs up 2-0 on a fielders choice in the fourth to help give the Cubs some early insurance on the Rockies.

Then, in the eighth, he knocked in Tyler Colvin, who scored twice and stole his first career base, on an infield single to put the Cubs up 4-2. Later in the inning, the Castro scored on a Ryan Theriot single along with Geovany Soto to give the Cubs the final score of 6-2.

The bullpen, which has been an issue for the Cubs this season, pitched very well last night, allowing just one hit and one walk over the last three innings.

After Silva was pulled, Esmailin Caridad came in and walked Miguel Olivo. Caridad was immediately replaced by James Russell, who struck out two and finished the inning.

Sean Marshall pitched a scoreless eighth and Carlos Zambrano pitched a perfect ninth while striking out two and finally having a good outing in the bullpen.

Zambrano received more good news when he found out later that night that he would be returning to the rotation after a few long relief appearances.

With diminished velocity and poor performances, the bullpen experiment has been a complete failure. The only problem is, who will Zambrano replace?

The starting rotation has been the only positive for the Cubs and the only reasonable suggestion for the Cubs may be to move to a six man rotation. Although there is no definitive ace on the staff, there is also no weak spot in the rotation either.

Adding Zambrano, will likely give the Cubs one of those two things.

Zambrano’s velocity has been his mark in the past, but over the past two seasons his fastball has dropped from the mid 90’s to the high 80’s, reaching the around 90-91 on occasion. Without his fastball, he has lost his edge and hitters are taking advantage.

This season, Zambrano came in laid an egg in the season opener against the Atlanta Braves, getting pulled after just 1.1 innings and allowing eight runs.

That one start, however, was seemingly his only bad start. Over his next three starts before getting put in the bullpen he pitched 18 innings and allowed eight runs. That isn’t ace material, but it’s an ERA of 4.00 through three starts, which isn’t worthy of being put into the bullpen.

Since going to the bullpen, Zambrano has allowed six runs in 9.2 innings, but five of those runs came in two appearances while he has six scoreless appearances.

Zambrano was moved to the bullpen in hopes that he could find his velocity and give the Cubs a legitimate set-up man for Carlos Marmol. It appears that Marshall will be moving into that spot for the remainder of the season.

Although Zambrano is no ace, he will get a chance to prove that he should be a starter when he gets back into the rotation.

It was a great night for Cubs named Carlos, now it’s time to see if guys named Carlos can make a great season for the Cubs.

I’m Joe W.

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Chicago Cubs: Who Is to Blame For The Disaster Thus Far?

This article was originally published at The Daily Cub.  Visit for more original Chicago Cubs coverage.

One week ago the Cubs were 13-13, coming off of a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks and looked to be back on track to get the most out of their team this season.

All was well in Wrigleyville.

Fast-forward to present day and the Cubs are 14-20 and coming off of being swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates (14-19), and about to suffer the same fate against the Florida Marlins (16-17) pending tomorrow’s matinée,  as the Cubs try to stop their four game slide.

So one big question continues to pop up in my mind, as I always love to play the blame game. That question is…

Who is at fault for this horrible excuse for a team that takes the field in Chicago Cub uniforms?

It certainly isn’t Marlon Byrd, who I didn’t expect to repeat his numbers last season, but who is surprising me by playing well game in and game out. He is batting .339 with six home runs and 23 RBI.

It surprisingly isn’t Carlos Silva, who could have destroyed the Cubs every five games. He is 3-0 with a 3.50 ERA and a WHIP of just 1.17.

It isn’t Kosuke Fukudome, who is batting .330 with five home runs and 18 RBI.

Alfonso Soriano? Batting .311 with seven home runs and 18 RBI.

It’s not Tom Gorzelanny. Despite being 1-3, his ERA is just 2.83, and he is striking out 9.86 batters every nine innings.

You can’t blame Carlos Marmol, the up-and-down pitcher has yet to allow a home run, saved four games in five attempts, and has an ERA of just 0.61 in 14 appearances. He would just love to close out more games for the Cubs but he doesn’t get the chance.

So who are the people that are most deserving of the blame, if it isn’t all of these guys who could have easily laid a goose egg this season instead of being the only people playing well?

It’s Ted Lilly. He’s 1-3 with a 4.88 ERA, his second highest ERA since his third season in the Major League.

It’s Carlos Zambrano, the “ace” who has pitched so bad this season that he has earned himself a spot in the bullpen. He would be known as the other Carlos if it weren’t for his nearly $19 million salary. If you aren’t happy about your new bullpen spot, try getting your ERA below six.

It’s Aramis Ramirez, who is batting just .156 with three home runs, and said today that he was his own hitting coach. He may want to fire his hitting coach.

It’s Derek Lee, who must have hired Ramirez as his hitting coach. He’s batting just .220 this season with four home runs.

Although Lee and Ramirez have decent RBI numbers this season, it’s hard not to when you have Byrd, Fukudome, and Ryan Theriot in front of them. Those three have no problem getting on base, and would have less trouble scoring if it weren’t for the production behind them.

It’s the defense, which has 28 errors already this season, tied for second with the Detroit Tigers in the entire MLB. This also puts them alone in second in fielding percentage this season thus far.

With every person who needed to play at their best doing just that, you would expect the Cubs to be above .500 and surprising every analyst who expected the Cubs to be a flop this season. Instead, every player who was actually expected to play well decided to take the season off. You did everything you could to prove your haters wrong. If you keep doing this, maybe those who were expected to play well will use you as an example instead of the other way around.

I’m Joe W.

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