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Posts Tagged ‘Jacque Jones’

Chicago Cubs Pull One Out Of The Fire

Posted by sportsmaven on August 21, 2007

The Kid was dealing it tonight.  I said that to myself after every missed swing and strikeout.  Down and hard with nasty movement.  Giants P Tim Lincecum was bringing the heat and was virtually un-hittable tonight, shutting out the Chicago Cubs on 3 hits through 8 innings.  Then came the 9th inning, the three hardest outs in baseball.  Lincecum deserved better tonight, but he got hit in the 9th, hit by Ryan Theriot, Jacque Jones, and Derrek Lee.  By the time Cliff Floyd and Jason Kendall were through, the Cubs were on their way to a 5-1 victory and Lincecum was hung with a loss.  By the way, is it just me or does Lincecum look like the long lost twin of Ferris’s best friend, Cameron Frye from the movie Ferris Buehler’s Day Off?  Talk about pulling one out tonight, the bats looked dead, Cubs P Jason Marquis looked like a hard luck pitcher.  Marquis threw a wonderful game, escaping time and time again from the 5 walks he issued.

Cubs Pull One Out Of The Fire

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)
With the St. Louis Cardinals winning earlier tonight against the Florida Marlins and the Milwaukee Brewers taking it to Arizona Diamondbacks, the Cubs needed this win badly and came through in the clutch.  Wins are at a premium now, with less than 40 games left in the season, the Cubs are finding ways to win.  With OF Alfonso Soriano set to return in the next two weeks, the Cubs surely have another good run in them with their envisioned lineup intact.  Tomorrow’s matchup is a dandy, with Cubs LHP Rich Hill facing Giants LHP Barry Zito….stay tuned for more magic…….

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Mark Prior Lit Up In Cactus League Opener

Posted by sportsmaven on March 6, 2007

The expectations for Mark Prior have never been lower than they were today. Mark Prior pitched in his first Cactus League game in forever and got lit up. For the Chicago Cubs, they were estatic that Prior finished his outing and walked off the field under his own power. For how the mighty have fallen. It was only 3 years ago that Mark Prior was labeled the next Tom Seaver. He was coming off an 18-win season and nearly took the Cubs to their first World Series since 1945. But since then, Mark Prior has won 18 games total over 3 seasons and has been on the disabled list as much as Kerry Wood, or 100 times, whichever is lower. And now this.

Mark Prior Gets Bombed In Cactus League Debut
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The Cubs did beat the Seattle Mariners, 6-5, but Prior did not look sharp today, having trouble thowing strikes and getting behind nearly every hitter he faced today. He gave up hits, he walked batters, and he didn’t have any strikeouts and was pulled before he could finish his scheduled 2 innings of work. After yesterday, at least he didn’t give up any homers. It is still early in the spring, but Prior has to be a concern if you are Lou Piniella and Larry Rothschild. After all, Prior is the key to the effectiveness of this Cubs rotation. When healthy, Prior has the stuff of a #1 starter. Having a #1 in Carlos Zambrano and a #1a in Prior takes tremendous heat off the remainder of the rotation. Without an effective Prior, the Cubs rotation has to pick up more slack and is more exposed. The jury is still out on Prior, but the concerns about injury and effectiveness are a constant reminder of the past 3 years for Cubs pitching….The Prior watch continues.

Kerry Wood Dominant In His Cactus League Opener
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

As for Kerry Wood, he was the opposite. He was as dominant as he’s ever been, needing only 12 pitches to complete his scheduled one inning of work for the day. He struck out one and was throwing 95-96 MPH. His line was full of zeroes today; no hits, no walks, no runs. Again, similar to Prior, it’s still early. Lets see how he handles the next few outings, but you have to be encouraged about his performance today. I believe Wood will ultimately wind up in the closer role for the Cubs, but today in middle relief, he looked very strong.

Finally, I wanted to point out that Felix Pie went 3-5 today with 2 runs scored and an RBI. I would love to see Pie in CF this season with Alfonso Soriano moving to RF and for the Cubs to move Jacque Jones. If it doesn’t happen this season, it will by next season, no doubt, but in my opinion, it can’t happen sooner if it happens now, and if I were Jim Hendry, I would be shopping Jones tomorrow morning, regardless of what Pie does for the rest of spring training.

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Early Thoughts From Chicago Cubs Camp

Posted by sportsmaven on March 4, 2007

The spring games have started and it seems like developments are becoming more apparent as the early games begin. Some of my thoughts on the Chicago Cubs in the early going are:

1. Looks like the Cubs are going to hit and score runs this season. The batting order looks solid with some questions around who will hit in the #2 hole (early leader appears to be Matt Murton when he’s playing, although Murton is getting some time hitting lower in the order.) With Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Murton, Michael Barrett, and Jacque Jones, there aren’t a lot of spots in the Cub order to pitch around. If Mark DeRosa hits like he did last year, sprinkle in a healthy Cliff Floyd, this lineup of hitters are the best in the National League Central Division.

2. On the other hand, defense may be an issue. Cesar Izturis is a Gold Glove caliber player. So is Derrek Lee. After that, it gets quite sketchy. Mark DeRosa appears to be solid and if he indeed is the starting second baseman, playing one position will help him, defensively. Soriano in CF is an unknown at this point. Ramirez can play defense if he wants, and Pinella will demand that he does. Barrett needs work, especially with baserunners and limiting his passed balls. Jones and Murton are ordinary. Most of the defensive lapses from the Cubs through the first three games of Cactus League play are from guys that are probably not going to make the team (like Scott Moore, Ronny Cedeno, and Mike Kinkade) but clearly, Lou Piniella is not pleased.

3. Speaking of Lou Piniella, looks like he will be more demanding from the players both publicly and privately, than Dusty Baker ever was with the Cubs. I like that. Lou calls it like he sees it. He’s not blunt, he’s honest. I look forward to more of that in the upcoming season. This will be refreshing, informative, and certainly entertaining.

Tomorrow is Cubs-White Sox in Mesa, Rich Hill vs. Jon Garland. Monday, is Mark Prior’s scheduled debut in Cactus League play and Kerry Wood is also scheduled to pich. It’s starting to get more interesting……

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Welcome To Chicago, Mr. Floyd

Posted by sportsmaven on January 25, 2007

Another Floyd has blown into the Windy City today with the Chicago Cubs signing OF Cliff Floyd to a one-year contract with a mutual option for a second year. The contract may be worth up to $17.5M for the two years. Here’s hoping that Cliff has a better Chicago tenure than Tim, the last prominent Floyd that hit the Chicago sports landscape. Cliff, you better come out banging and healthy, because if not, you will wish you were with Tim at USC.

I’m not exactly sure what to think of this acquisition. When healthy, Cliff Floyd can be outstanding, but he has found his way onto the DL in something like 7 out of the last 8 years. Floyd’s value seems to be his left handed bat, something the Cubs have coveted for a long time. He will take playing time away from a developing Matt Murton, which is what I really don’t like about this signing.

Unless the Cubs trade Jacque Jones, there is a logjam of OF on the current Cubs roster, which is not entirely a bad thing, but something that must be resolved in spring training.

Mr. Floyd, welcome to the Friendly Confines, welcome home.

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