Thursday, July 31, 2003

Here Comes the Ghost of Cubs Past

I have about 30 minutes to write this little story before I have to go to our going away party in Klagenfurt. I took my final yesterday and I still have 13 more days to travel, but until then lets get to the Cubs.

Yesterday Doug Glanville was added to the Cub roster and if reports are correct Matt Stairs will not be far behind. Jim Hendry is pulling out all the stops to get x-Cubs in his quest for a Division Title. Now the hot rumor is that the Cubs are trying to Rafael Palmeiro. I do not believe this in a million years, but it is fun gossip for all the internet hounds out there. This got me thinking who else could we bring back this year. Jose Hernadez has come and gone, Doug is back, and rumors about Palmerio. I would not be against Seeing Palmerio back, he does have 24 HR and 70 RBI. The thing is that he is hitting lefties better than right handed pitching this year, but it will not happen any way so why bother.

So lets take a look at the other possible moves before the deadline. These are EX-Cubs that could come back.

1. Steve Trachsel- I remember hating Steve back in the day, but he has pitched well in New York. He would fit in the same time period as the recent players have added. Might as well just gut the farm system. I mean Shawn Estes straight up, the Mets took Mo Vaughn from the Angels, why not bring back Shawn. I heard Glavine was hurt any way.

2. Jose Hernadez- Might as well just bring him back even if we just traded him. I am sure the Pirates would take Ramon Martinez for him. The Cubs are just tying to bring back the Magic.

3. Terry Mulholland- We can just bring him in to pick off baserunners. Another lefty cannot hurt.

4. Brant Brown- He just needs another chance, he has to be able to hit better than O'Leary or Harris.

5. Mark Grace- He has his world series. His bat has slowed, but he may make us laugh.

If these players cannot cut it lets go old school with this one.
Joe Carter- He was terrible in the broadcast booth, so why not just bring him out of retirement to play again. It could right a wrong the Cubs made and Joe could prove some worth. I would have said like Lou Brock, but I have heard he may have lost a step or two.

I ran out of time, I hope to add a few more names before the deadline, or you can suggest some. Lets all jump on board the EX-Cub trend. Leave no former Cub behind.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Cubs Add to Bench

Doug Glanville is back in Chicago. The Cubs traded for the outfielder today, just before the game.
Cubs Strike First

The Cubs got off to a great start last night as they beat the Giants 3-0. Matt Clement was on his game and even recieved a standing ovation from the crowed after he struck out in the 8th. The only Cub offense came in the fist inning as Alou hit a 3 run HR. This series is very important as the Cubs picked up another game last night on the Astros. They are now 3.5 back as Kerry Wood heads to the mound today.

The trade deadline is getting close and the Cubs may or may not make a move. I would not be surprised if they add to the bench, but knowing our luck even if we add a bat, Lenny Harris will still be around. The Cubs need to go on a roll and start a nice winning streak, but winning series may do. This weekend they will face the D-Backs, so we shall see. July is almost over and Cubs are staring to put things together. I guess we will see how the other teams in the Central use the trade deadline. I think if the Cardinals do not add some pitching they could be in trouble. With Oswalt hurt again, the Astros could use some help. It should be a fun 2 months to end the season, lets hope the Cubs have enough.

I took my final today in Austria, and probably will not be around this weekend as I head to Vienna. Then I am off to Germany to visit my Uncle. I will be back in the U.S.A. on August 13th, I am really looking foward to getting back.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Boone and Bowden Gone

I know it is not Cub related but Bob Boone and Jim Bowden have been fired from the Reds.

Could the Fire Sale happen next?

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Cubs Take Two of Three As I Get Back From Venice

I am so happy today. I was scared that when I left for Venice that I would come back and the Cubs season would be over. Well, I was wrong. I got to listen to the game today and the Cubs are fighting. I love the fact that Estes was pulled in the 5th, but would rather not have seen you know who, but the Cubs battled and won. The Astros lead now stands at 4.5 and they play the Giants starting Tuesday as the Astros play the Braves. I hate the Braves, but I will have to hope they win this week.

Also if you want to added to my email list for my adventures in Austria, then just drop me a line and I will add you to it. I went to Venice this weekend and I head to Vienna next weekend. I have only 17 days left before I get to see the Cubs again and I cannot wait. More later.

Saturday, July 26, 2003


Dusty Baker makes a tough call that pays off. With two outs in the 7th inning, Baker chooses to stay with starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano instead of pinch hitting. It pays off to be a wonderful call, not only because he belts a two run home run to tie the game but goes on to pitch 8 1/3 innings giving up only 5 hits. Joe Borowski came in for the final two outs to shut done the Astros for his 18th save, but only after Moises Alou hit a two run home run to get a 5-3 lead in the eigth.

This could be a big turning point for the Cubs because they showed great resolve against the division leaders. With a win like this under their belts they should have tons of confidence and hopefully go on a little tear. This could be the game that helps to prove that they can win the division and hopefully they will back it up in the next couple of games.

Unfortunatlly I will be gone for a week and not have access to a computer so I can not write about the Cubs sweeping the Astros or about them going on a big win streak. So hopefully their record will write it for me and I won't have to say anything when I get back other then how mad I am that I was not able to watch them do it.

Go CUBS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2003


Even though the game we played tonight was pretty bad and to boot we lost Tom Goodwin for a little while, there was still good news that came out of it. The good news was an announcement of a trade we made. We traded the strike out king Jose Hernadez and two other players for Kenny Loften and Armais Ramirez. This fills in our third base hole and gives us speed since Goodwin got hurt.

This trade will hopefully put us over that little threshold that we have been stuck at and put us back to where we deserve to be.
I am World Wide Now

I have written a story about my exploits over in Austria, but I have let my good friend Allison publish it on her site. So go over to and enjoy. You should add it to your daily reads any way. More later after the Cub game.
Lenny F. Harris Will Play

So I was over reading the and come across this little tid bit about the Cubs bench. Baker can say whatever he wants about color, but good gracious Lenny Harris is not getting any better. This story is from Paul Sullivan.

Baker gets criticized sometimes for sticking with struggling players, such as Lenny Harris and Troy O'Leary, but he hasn't let it affect the way he uses them.

"What are you going to do?" Baker said. "You can't beam 'em up from outer space. Yeah, you have to stick with them. Older guys I've noticed are better second-half players than [younger] guys."

After a good night I have to read something like that. Hendry must cut Harris, ok that is it no more sounding off on Harris the rest of the year. It is up to Jim now, because Dusty remains the same.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Braves go down

15-6 in the Cubs favor. The Cubs started off with a bang in the first inning and did not let up throughout the whole game. I was actually worried when Estes gave up the lead but then the Cubs pulled it back and got lots and lots of insurance. Sosa hit his 20th home run and A. Gon hit his 15th which put the Cubs back in the lead. Two days in a row with a lot of offense. I did not see us doing this but I am very glad we did because I hate the Braves.

Also Dave Veres was money tonight, shutting down the Braves with the bases loaded and no outs to keep the game to one run. On a side note the Braves fans are not there for baseball. While the Braves had the bases loaded a bunch of the fans were trying to start a wave and I don't think they even realized that they didn't score any runs. I just got to say you don't do a wave during a close game with your offense about to strike. Another note, when it turned 10 p.m. suddenly all of these damn bugs came out of no where. I've never seen that many bugs in one place in my life. I guess the Braves attract them.

Tomorrow Maddux is going for the Braves so we need to rough him up so we can win keep this little win streak alive and make it a big one so we can take back the division. Houston also lost tonight so we are only 3.5 games back.

Go Cubs beat the braves!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2003


The Cubs come through today to go back over the .500 mark with a great game. I won't say much cause my brother Chris is recapping the game today. All I got to say is I hope we can keep swinging the bats 1/4 of what we did today. Because the next couple of days we will need the bats with the pitching we are going with against the Braves since Prior will not be pitching.

By the way, this is back-to-back wins, which to say- we have not seen in a long time.
Cubs Crash Willis Mania

What a game. The Cubs get through a rain delay of a hour, but Willis did not not. After the break he was not the same. The Cubs pounded him as they sent 11 men to bat in an inning. They scored 6 runs that inning. Carlos Zambrano took no chances today. He did it on the mound and with the bat. He is 3 for 4 with 2 RBI's and a run scored. The Cubs really need this series win and it puts them back over .500. Also Trenidad Hubbard also went 3 for 4. He picked up his first 3 hits as a Cub. Prior will miss his start, and my brother will be sad, because he thought he was supposed to see him.
Prior to Miss Start. Headed to the DL?

I have just heard that Mark Prior will not pitch Tuesday. He is headed back to Chicago and will have a MRI on his right shoulder. According to the WGN Radio Crew, Jim Hendry will make his mind up by the end of the game on the status of Prior. I would love to see Cruz pitch Tuesday, but they are saying he would not be on his normal rest. I am sure there will be more later. It would have to rain on the only day I am able to listen to the Cubs all week.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

I was Sad for the First Time

I missed the 1-0 Gem by Kerry Wood, and for the first time all year I really missed not getting to see it. Do not get me wrong, I love being in Austria, but just reading about what was going on made me a little sad. The Cubs will be in contention as long as there pitching continues to throw some gems. Carlos goes for the much needed Series Win today. It would put the Cubs over .500 heading into Atlanta. My brother will be at the first two games of that series, so he will give you the details. Well, I will have to write more later, as I am about to go to Slovenia and visit. I am right on the boarder, so this should be nice.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Below .500

First time this season we have been below .500 and I don't like it. It's not a good feeling to have more loses than wins but fortuantly we are only 4 and a half games behind the Astros so we still have a good chance to win the division. A 6-0 loss tonight is not a very good way to start off the second half.

Karros had another multi-hit game tonight and seems to be swinging the bat real well still. Hopefully today was just a fluke and the rest of the second half the Cubs can step up and show the league that they can really play and play to win. Tomorrow Kerry Wood is pitching so we should be back at .500 tomorrow evening.

Monday and Tuesday I am driving to Atlanta to catch the Cubs play the Braves, so it looks like I'll get to see Prior pitch. Well tomorrow hopefully I'll write some good new, until then Go CUBS!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Viewer or Reader Feedback

So I have been at this blog thing for about 3 months now. I want your feedback. I love checking the tracker and seeing all the different people looking at the blog, but I want to you are thinking. Here are a few questions for you.
1) What would you like to see more of?

2) What are things I could change?

3)I am willing to post guest spots. I know you want to write, so chime in and get your say, or heck open up your own blog.

Stuff like that, or maybe what was your most enjoyable read, I am really interested in what people think. I you think I ramble on how Lenny Harris should not be in the starting lineup, then say so, but that probably will not keep from bashing Lenny. Lets have some fun.

I will not get to hear tomorrows game because it stats late, but I will chime in something over the weekend. I head to Salzburg on Saturday and then off to Solvenia on Sunday, so it will be a busy weekend. I had my first German test today and I think I did well, so I am just in a good mood.

Auf Wiedersehen!

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Trade Winds are Blowing

There is a lot of talk about potential trades and I will not discuss them until one happens. Mainly because I have to write an Essay in German about my Life's Goals. The Only thing I dream about is the Cubs winning a World Series before I die. Who needs money?

Also be sure to check out Derek at Let's Play Two. He has his Q and A with Mark Grudszielanek.

So more later if I figure out what I want to do with my life.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Check Out the Other Blogs

The Mid-Season reviews are coming in. Over at the Northside Lounge, Dennis takes a look at the 5 Best and Worst games of the year. Brian Carstens of The [Untitled Cub] Page has his review up as well. I am sure there will be more to come.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Yarbage Mid-Season Review Part 4

We are down the last part. Here is the Outfield.

Sammy Sosa
2003: 70 Games, .312 Avg. 18 HR, 51RBI, .408OBP/.577SLG/.985OPS, 79 K
2002: 150 Games, .288 Avg. 49 HR, 108RBI, .399OBP/.594SLG/.993OPS, 144 K

Moises Alou
2003: 90 Games, .294 Avg. 14 HR, 56 RBI, .360OBP/.481SLG/.841OPS, 33 K
2002: 152 Games, .275 Avg. 15 HR, 61 RBI, .337OBP/.419SLG/.756OPS, 61 K

Corey Patterson
2003: 83 Games, .298 Avg. 13 HR, 55 RBI, .329OBP/.511SLG/.839OPS, 77 K, 16 SB
2002: 153 Games, .253 Avg. 14 HR, 54 RBI, .284OBP/.392SLG/.676OPS, 142 K, 18 SB

Tom Goodwin
2003: 59 Games, .267 Avg. 1 HR, 8 RBI, .307OBP/.325SLG/.632OPS, 20 K, 18SB
2002: 78 Games, .260 Avg. 1 HR, 17 RBI, .321OBP/.338SLG/.659OPS, 16 K, 16SB

Troy O’Leary
2003: 60 Games, .225 Avg. 3 HR, 19 RBI, .280OBP/.333SLG/.613OPS, 21 K
2002: 97 Games, .286 Avg. 3 HR, 37 RBI, .371OBP/.377SLG/.748OPS, 47 K

The outfield has seen the highs and lows just like everyone else on the Cubs. Sosa had a very non-typical month of May and early June. He struggled and could not find his stroke. He probably should have gone on a Rehab stint, but he gets to make those kind of choices. He really has found his stroke over the past few weeks and looks to have a monster second half. Alou has rebounded from 2002 in fine fashion. He is not the hitter he was 4 years ago, but he has put up solid numbers for the Cubs. The best surprise of the year had to be Corey Patterson. His numbers are far higher than anyone could imagine. With his injury, I think the Cubs may have let the playoffs slip away. Now the Cubs are 3 games back and 2 bats short instead of one. Patterson also was running more than ever. He could have easily had a 30 SB season or an outside shot at 30/30. Now that is gone and the Cubs hope he is 100% next season. The ACL is a common injury in sports now, but lets hope Patterson does not loose a step. Goodwin has played well lately, but his time as a major league player should be coming to a close. He does not have a good eye, but still has some speed. He already has 18 SB on the year and probably will get a few more. Troy has been bad off the bench. His numbers are way down, even tough he is mainly pinch hitting. He did play for a month, but that has not helped. With Corey gone the Cubs have to find another player, because Goodwin and O’Leary are not the answer. Sosa has overcome Cork-Gate and probably will hit about 45 HR this season.

The Cubs trail the Astros by 3 games and the Cardinals by 2. It is not looking good. The schedule is hard after the break and the Cubs still have not played their best baseball. If they get hot, then there is a chance, but some moves have to be made. Well, lets see how it plays out. That is it for the review. I was going to review Dusty Baker, but all I have to say is stop playing Lenny Harris. The Cubs are better this season, so he has done his job. There have been some mistakes, but for the most part the I am happy. 47-47 is not great, but at least we are in contention. At least I am in Austria, so I do not have to see the fall from Grace.
Yarbage Mid-Season Review Part 3


Damian Miller
2003: 69 Games, .235 Avg. 6 HR, 26RBI, .318OBP/.376SLG/.694OPS, 57 K
2002: 101 Games, .249 Avg. 11 HR, 42RBI, .340OBP/.434SLG/.774OPS, 88 K

Paul Bako
2003: 32 Games, .190 Avg. 0 HR, 8RBI, .261OBP/.260SLG/.521OPS, 26 K
2002: 87 Games, .235 Avg. 4 HR, 20RBI, .295OBP/.329SLG/.624 OPS, 46 K

Catcher was one of the biggest concerns of the off season and the Cubs brought in two new catchers to replace Hundley and Girardi. Neither one of these two have done much in the way of offense. Miller’s OPS is way down this year, mainly because of his SLG. He had 20 RBI after May and only has 6 then. On the plus side Miller has only committed 2 errors on the season and he has 6 PB. He has thrown out 13 of 42 runners. Bako has thrown out 7 of 13, so that is a plus. While these two have not made the fans forget the offense wows, they have played well behind the plate. Miller has hit .333 in his last 7 games, so lets hope that continues.

First Base

Hee Seop Choi
2003: 58 Games, .242 Avg. 7 HR, 23RBI, .37OBP/.471SLG/.848OPS, 51 K
2002: 24 Games, .180 Avg. 2 HR, 2RBI, .281OBP/.320SLG/.601OPS, 15 K

Eric Karros
2003: 67 Games, .323 Avg. 8 HR, 23RBI, .386OBP/.503SLG/.889OPS, 20 K
2002: 142 Games, .271 Avg. 13HR, 73RBI, .323OBP/.399SLG/.722OPS, 74 K

First base has been a welcome addition this season. Karros and Choi have been an improvement over Fred “Stone Hands” McGriff. They have 15 HR and 46 RBI combined. Also they have only committed 6 Errors combined. If the Cubs fall out of contention then I would love to see Choi get the majority of playing time, but right now Karros has earned the time. When Choi went down on the DL, I was real worried, but Karros is hot. The biggest surprise is Karros’s SLG increase of .104. Choi is showing signs he is a rookie at the plate, but that is not a big shock. His numbers are pretty good. An OPS of .848 for a rookie is better than can be imagined, unless you are Albert Pujols. Just for your knowledge Pujols had a 1.013 OPS his rookie year. Now back to the Cubs, I think the platoon should continue right now. If will be interesting to see how much Choi plays if the Cubs are in contention with the way Karros is swinging the bat.

Second Base

Mark Grudszielanek
2003: 81 Games, .301 Avg. 2 HR, 19RBI, .359OBP/.400SLG/.759OPS, 47 K
2002: 152 Games, .271 Avg. 9HR, 50RBI, .301OBP/.304SLG/.665OPS, 89 K

Another part of the “Let’s get rid of Todd Hundley” trade, has Mark Grudszielanek playing solid baseball for the Cubs. He has done everything the Cubs have asked. He beat out Bobby Hill at the beginning of the year and has never looked back. The main problem is the fact that Mark is real streaky. He will go a week without hitting and then turn it on later. He has committed only 6 errors all year. He also has tuned 71 DP. He only turned 76 all of last season. The Cubs got the better end of the trade. I am not sure how the Dodgers could not get more than just Hundley else where, but hey sometimes it is all about salary.

Short Stop

Alex Gonzalez
2003: 90 Games, .247 Avg. 12 HR, 35 RBI, .304OBP/.426SLG/.730OPS, 67 K
2002: 142 Games, .248 Avg. 18 HR, 61 RBI, .312OBP/.425SLG/.737OPS, 136 K

Call him Mr. Game Winner. Alex has a flare for winning games, but other than his late game heroics his offense is average. Looking at last season, his numbers are very similar. He may hit for a little more power this season, but that is about it. Now the main difference is his defense is back. Last season he had 21 errors. He was known for his glove in Toronto, but he forgot it last season. This season he has 7 errors and he has turned 62 double plays compared to last years 84. He has played well enough, but it is clear that he will never be a star with the bat. The Cubs do not have any better options, and who would rather have batting in the 9th.

Third Base.

Ramon Martinez
2003: 65 Games(20 Starts), .287 Avg. 3HR, 23RBI, .351OBP/.421SLG/.772OPS, 20 K
2002: 72 Games, .271 Avg. 4HR, 25RBI, .335OBP/.414SLG/.749OPS, 26 K

Lenny F. Harris
2003: 65 Games(22 Starts), .167 Avg. 1HR, 7RBI, .238OBP/.211SLG/.449OPS, 17 K
2002: 122 Games, .305 Avg. 3 HR, 17 RBI, .355OBP/.411SLG/.766OPS, 17 K

I will only list these two right now because Bellhorn is gone and Jose has not had enough at bats with the Cubs. Looking at this you would think that Ramon would start everyday, but not in Dustyland. I was really hoping that Lenny might get cut or something, but why nightmare has become a reality as Harris is still a member of the Cubs. Looking at his 2002 stats, I am not sure if somebody did not abduct the real Harris. No major leaguer should be that bad. There are 4 pitchers that have a better OPS than Harris. At this point this is not a slump, but a trend. The Cubs need a third baseman. Ramon is probably better off subbing in and not starting. Enough has been said about it, so why beat a dead horse. Well, because Harris has an .238 OBP. A drunk fan from the bleachers could have an .238.

The Outfield is Next.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Yarbage Mid-Season Review Part 2

Ok, The starters are done. Now lets look at the Relief Pitching.

Joe Borowski
2003: 43.2 IP, 1-1, 17 SV, 42 Games, 2.68 ERA, 45 K’s, 12 BB, .210 BAA, 3 BS, 10HR
2002: 95.2 IP, 4-4, 2 SV, 73 Games, 2.78 ERA, 97 K’s, 29 BB, .239 BAA, 4 BS, 3HR

Joe has been everything the Cubs could have hoped for. He was just to fill in while Alfonseca was out, but he has the job now. It does not look like he will give it any time soon. He has only blown 3 saves all year and has looked rough at some points. For the most part Joe keeps doing the right thing. The big difference is that Borowski has never been a closer. He is the best option for the Cubs, but he really could use another pitch. Unless the Cubs make a move Joe will be the closer the rest of the season.

Antonio Alfonseca
2003: 33.0 IP, 0-1, 33 Games, 6.27 ERA, 21 K’s, 13 BB, .276 BAA, 3 BS, 19 SV, 5HR
2002: 74.1 IP, 2-5, 66 Games, 4.00 ERA, 61 K’s, 36 BB, .257 BAA, 9 BS, 0 SV, 5HR

There has been a lot written about Antonio’s struggles and they keep getting worse. He is lousy right now. I am not sure if it’s because he is no longer the closer or what, but he is not doing his job. I was never sold on Alfonseca because of his days in Florida. He was never in real pressure situations, and it is showing now. His strikeout to walk ration is terrible this year and his BAA has risen almost .020 points. If the Cubs could get any value for him this would b the time to deal him, but I doubt they can.

Mike Remlinger
2003: 40.0 IP, 5-3, 43 Games, 4.50 ERA, 28 K’s, 28 BB, .216 BAA, 0 BS, 9HR
2002: 68.0 IP, 7-3, 73 Games, 1.99 ERA, 69 K’s, 28 BB, .198 BAA, 5 BS, 3HR

In typical fashion for the Cubs they get a player off career few years and he cannot bring it to Chicago. For the most part Remlinger has been inconsistent. He has looked great against Jason Giambi. Then he cannot get an out. The biggest concern is his increase in walks. I wrote about this earlier that his walks were way up last season. The ERA has raised also, but for the most part in big situations he has come through. His changeup is really tough when he gets it across for strikes. Lets hope that he turns it around and gets his control back.

Kyle Farnsworth
2003: 44.0 IP, 3-0, 44 Games, 2.66 ERA, 49 K’s, 21 BB, .172 BAA, 1 BS, 2HR
2002: 46.2 IP, 4-6, 45 Games, 7.33 ERA, 46 K’s, 24 BB, .293 BAA, 6 BS, 9HR

I guess if Kyle were to return to the 2002 form, he could play linebacker for the Bears. On the serious side, Kyle is back. Kyle is no longer just throwing gas, but has really learned to pitch a little better. He added a pitch and it has made him more dangerous. His BAA is best measure of his success this season. It is done .121 points. There is a lot of talk always about his potential and it seems this season Farnsworth is living up to it again. I would have to say the Kyle has been the best option out of the bullpen this season.

Mark Guthrie
2003: 22.1 IP, 35 Games, 2.42 ERA, 14 K’s, 10 BB, .241 BAA, 0 BS, 4HR
2002: 48.0 IP, 68 Games, 2.44 ERA, 44 K’s, 19 BB, .207 BAA, 1 BS, 3HR, 1 SV
Mark has spent time on the DL this season, so his numbers are much less than the other Cub relief pitchers. I went digging into his splits and found that right handed batters are hitting .282 off Guthrie and left handed batters are .200 against him. Guthrie is really the only specialist on the team. Remlinger is close, but he pitches more to both sides. Last season Guthrie was much tougher on both sides of the plate. Right Handed was .223 and Left Handed was .187. Guthrie has not pitched bad, but he has to find out how to get the right side of the plate out to help the over worked bullpen.

Dave Veres
2003: 10.2 IP, 9 Games, 4.22 ERA, 7 K’s, 2 BB, .278 BAA, 0 BS, 1HR
2002: 82.2 IP, 71 Games, 3.48 ERA, 68 K’s, 39 BB, .224 BAA, 4 BS, 12HR

Veres has spent most of the year on the DL. I have not seen him pitch since April, right before he went down. From what I have read, he was pitched fairly well since his return. Veres was one of the additions of the past off season to revamp the bullpen. The Cubs need him to fill in since Wellemeyer and Cruz have shown they have weaknesses in the pen. The problem right now in the Cub pen there is little long relief in the Cub pen and Veres will probably have to work back to form.


The Cub pen was very solid until a couple of weeks ago. It seemed to fall apart, but until that point the Pen had done the job. Every team goes through its ups and downs, but lets hope that these days are behind the Cubs. If the pen is strong in the Second Half then the Cubs can contend. This was the biggest weakness and right now I say it is still a strength, other than Alfonseca. The Cubs could add one arm to the pen, but that is probably low on the list right now.

Ok the infield will come later. Be sure to checkout the starters below.
The Yarbage Mid-Season Review

The Cubs have played 93 games and are one game over .500. They sit only two games back heading into tonight against the Braves. It is time to look at what the Cubs have done and where they are headed. I am taking the day off here in Austria, mainly because I have no energy left after this past week. So this really gives me a chance to sit back and look hard at the stats and figure out the highs and the lows. It is also a requirement for any Cub Blogger. So they should be pouring in over the next few days. Hopefully there will be enough to go around for everybody.

Hopefully this will give an overall picture of what is going on. Today we will look at the starting pichting and the Cubs overall preformance. For some reason it takes a while to get all the stats and stuff typed in. If I get more then posts will happen as soon as I finish them. The other problem is that fact I am 7 Hours ahead of my brother, and now he is heading to the beach, so you are just left with my comments.

First lets look at the Cubs overall. Last season after 93 games the Cubs were 40-53. There record at the All-Star break was 35-51. At worst the Cubs will be right .500. Thanks to the Baseball Reference and ESPN I was able to look at the all the stuff to make this happen. Justin will add his comments a little later, but here is a start.

Chris: No matter how you look at it the Cubs are better off than last season. Now the Cubs could really improve in some areas, but for the most part I am happy. The Cubs are lucky to be in the Central race, but hey we are in the race. The pitching for the most part has been solid. The bullpen has been a little suspect lately, but there have been some positives. The starting pitching is much improved. The Cubs hitting is another story. They have been sluggish a lot this season, and they need to really pick up a bat or two.

Now lets look at player breakdown. We will like the baseball scorer's list. So lets start with number 1 and move through #9.
I will put up this year's stats compared to last season's full stats. Hopefully this will put something in prosecptive.
Starting Pitching

Kerry Wood
2003: 127 IP, 9-6, 3.19 ERA, 156 K's, 11.06 K/9, 58 BB, 112.6 P/GS, 2CG, 16 HR, 1 SO
2002: 213.7IP, 12-11,3.66 ERA, 217 K's, 9.14 K/9, 97 BB, 102.5 P/GS, 4CG, 22 HR, 0 SO

Wood has really learned how to pitch this season. This numbers are similar to last season with the with an increase in K's and pitch count. Wood probably should have a better record, but the Cub offense did not help him at all in may. He was just named to his first All-Star game and he deserves it. He will be a main reason for the Cubs to contend in the second half. Wood is first in the league in K's with Prior right behind him, but it does not hurt that Schilling and Johnson have been on the DL. That does not take away from anything he has done.

Mark Prior
2003: 128.2 IP, 8-5, 3.01 ERA, 150 K's, 10.49 K/9, 34 BB, 111.3 P/GS, 1CG, 11HR, 1SO
2002: 116.2 IP, 6-6, 3.32 ERA, 147 K's, 11.34 K/9, 38 BB, 107.1 P/GS, 1CG, 14HR, 0SO

Prior is everything the Cubs could have hoped for. This is his first full season and he still is learning the major league game. He like Wood was just named to his first All-Star team and it looks like his first of many. With Wood and Prior at 1-2 in the Cubs rotation the future looks bright. His overall numbers are very similar to that of last season, but he already looks like a more polished pitcher. He will need to have a big second half also for the Cubs to stay in contention. It would be nice if the He could throw a CG everynow and then to give the bullpen a rest, but I supose that is just a matter of time.

Matt Clement
2003: 97.1 IP, 7-7, 4.39 ERA, 95 K's, 7.59 K/9, 41 BB, 97.1 P/GS, 0CG, 15HR, 0SO
2002: 205.0 IP, 12-11, 3.60 ERA, 215 K's, 9.44 K/9, 85 BB, 100.6 P/GS, 3CG, 18HR, 2SO

Now Clement is the model of an up and down pitcher. A few times this season Clement has looked like a dominent pitcher, but he has failed to the ground ball a lot of this season. In May he was rocked around a good bit. If it was not for a rain out on Mother's Day then his ERA would be even worse. The best sign is Clements last two starts. He is 2-0 and his game Saturday was his best of the season. If Clement is really turning it around then the Cubs will get a big push during the second half. The most alarming stat this season is HR's allowed. He has almost reached last season's total and his K's are down. He is 5-1 in last 8 starts. His ERA has dropped by about .7 during this time.

Shawn Estes
2003: 105.0 IP, 6-8, 5.74 ERA, 65 K's, 5.57 K/9, 56 BB, 93.9 P/GS, 0CG, 11HR, 0SO
2002: 160.2 IP, 5-12, 5.10 ERA, 109 K's, 6.11 K/9, 83 BB, 93.2 P/GS, 1CG, 13HR, 1SO

Estes has been the biggest disapointment of the season. He just can not find a rythem of any kind. One start he is terrible and the next he pitches well. Lately he even cannot find the good games. Back in April I thought he should go and let Cruz start. Right after that he started to show signs of improvement, but he is back to the old ways. So again is it time for Cruz to earn a starting slot. It might be worth a gamble. The Cubs have yet to have a big winning streak and with Estes still pitching it might not happen. He is 0-3 over his last 6 starts. The Cubs are 1-5 in the those starts. Now the Cubs are not playing good baseball, but Estes is not really giving the Cubs a chance to win.

Carlos Zambrano
2003: 115.2 IP, 6-7, 3.19 ERA, 90 K's, 7.00 K/9, 54 BB, 104.2 P/GS, 0CG, 4 HR, 0SO
2002: 108.1 IP, 4-8, 3.66 ERA, 93 K's, 7.73 K/9, 63 BB, 99.3 P/GS, 0CG, 9HR, 0SO

Carlos has been the biggest surprise in the pitching staff for me. He beat out Juan Cruz in Spring Training and it looks like he will stay in the rotation for many years to come. He like much of the staff has been hurt by the lack of offense. Just like Prior, Zambrano is in his first full year in the rotation. He stats look a lot like last year's. He has lowered his ERA, and cut back on his walks. The biggest shock was the fact he has only given up 4 HR's all year. That is amazing. He is 9th in the league in ERA. Carlos is the always there when you need him. Many times this season he has gone out there and pitched a great game to save the bullpen. There are some people out there who say we should trade him, but I am against that all the way. With Wood, Prior, and Carlos the Cubs' future is brighther than ever if they get some offense. He was little off against the White Sox and Philles, but a rain delay really hurt him against Florida.

Next Up Cub Relief Pitching.

Saturday, July 12, 2003


Back over .500 after a great game. Sosa keeps tearing it up with his 18th home run of the season. At this pace he will catch up with the home run leaders by the end of the season. Hopefully the Astros will lose tonight and we will be 2 games back, but we'll have to wait and see.

Matt Clement pitched well today only allowing 3 runs in 8 innings pitched. Tomorrow we need to win to split the series and finally win back to back games which we have not done in a month.

Who Really Wants to Take Over a Castle

I mean we are back to .500 and it looks bad. I turned off the game last night, because I do not get enough sleep anyway.

I went to the Austrian countryside today and it was all nice until we went to this castle. I will have the whole story later. I may publish it on another site, so stay tuned. It is a funny story.

The Cubs have two games withe the Braves left. The end is near I fear.

Friday, July 11, 2003

This is a Paid Service Ad for Mike Kiley

Austria is 7 hours ahead of home, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. That makes the Sun-Times the afternoon paper and the Tribune the night time paper. I was reading at 6:45 a.m. CST or 1:45p.m. here in Austria, about Kileys latest article on possibl trades with the Pirates. I just love how he throws out how Hendry has to gamble and see if Aramis Ramirez woud turn into the same player he was a 2 years ago.

So our friend Kiley writes:

If Hendry knew that he would be getting the Ramirez who hit .300 for the 2001 Pirates with 34 home runs and 112 RBI, he would probably make the deal swiftly and gladly pay $6 million. Although it's unknown how much Littlefield is asking for, chances are it's reasonable. He has to move Ramirez's money out of town.

Of course he pay the money, what kind of fool would not. The problem I have is that Kiley thinks he is passing this inside information. If the Pirates knew he would hit again, then they would not trade him. Kiley seems to forget that point. I am not sure where he went to school, but Kiley really needs to go back. Any time you can get a 3B with 34 HR's you take him, but Aramis has not lived up to the hype.

At least I get good comedy in the afternoon. I am sure you will see more about this in the other blogs as the rest of the world wakes up.

Thursday, July 10, 2003


Today was an awful day for Cub baseball. Shawn Estes showed once again his bad side on the mound. He had a great few innings spread out through this start but overall he was not too good. He allowed 6 of the 13 runs. Well while I hate pondering on the negative aspects of anything theres not to much to say good about a 13 to 3 shalacking.

If I was to find one good thing to say, it would be that Tom Goodwin is suprising me with his bat. He had another good day at the plate, even though he was pretty much the only one. His defence is allright, but he about made a fool of himself on the fly ball hit to deep center where he ended up running backwards and about fell down. Hopefully though his bat will keep going well and the rest of the Cubs will step up.

One last thing, why pinch hit Lenny Harris. Thats all I got to say.
Hate Your Daddy

A few of you may wonder what that site is linked to the left. Hateyourdaddy is written by my good friend Allison. She has great thoughts on life in general. We are cut from the same mold, both fomer music majors, but since changed our minds. So if you want to laugh go read yesterday's post on National Baked Bean Month and other things. So if you need a break from cursing Lenny Harris then take a break, and then go back to crusing Lenny Harris for batting leadoff. More later.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

A Good day
Cubs stay above .500 with a great pitching performance by Kerry Wood. Wood went for a complete game, 1 run, 3 hits, and 12 K's. Sosa also had a great day, which he seems to do everytime Wood is on the mound. Sosa hit home run number 15 for the year after driving in the tying run on a single earlier. Sosa also had a great catch at the wall to rob a hit. Who knows maybe Jose Hernadez is also starting to hit again, today he hit his 2nd home run with the cubs.

This is a good way to head into the Atlanta Braves who come into town for a four game series. This series could be the one that makes us or breaks us. If we can show that we can beat one of the best teams in baseball right now, that would not only help our record but help us mentally especially without Corey Patterson. By the end of this series hopefully we will be back in first place. Estes goes tomorrow and he is due to have one of those great games where we all say "where did that come from."

Go Cubs, beat the braves cuz thats the one team I can say I truly hate.
The Austrians Sure Know How to Party

Greetings Cub Fans. I see my brother has finally joined the blog world and is pretty much running the site while I learn German. I am having a great time over seas and have alread heard two games by Santo and Hughes. I have never been able to hear them before and I have to say that they call a good game. Last night was upsetting, but the by the grace of God the Cubs are only 1 game out. It looks right now that the Central will back into the All-Star break and probably the post season.

I hope I can listen to the game today, but the crazy night life over here may keep me from it. Now to a great story.

I was in class this morning about 10 a.m., 3 a.m CST. And these two teachers walk in and say we have a birthday. Well, I was like this is nice. All of the sudden they break out the Alcohol for everyone. We down a bottle of the bubbly like it was going out style and for free. I have to say the Austrians have it down. They know how to party. So I had two full glasses and it was not even 11 yet. Well more later.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

I missed the game today because of Intramural Volleyball and softball, but i looked like i didnt miss much. Luckily St. Louis lost so we are still a game back from first and now half a game behind Houston. At least Sosa seems to be getting the bat back so it looks like we might have a little win streak in the near future. I would write more but i got no time, one of my friends is turning 21 today so i'm going out.

Monday, July 07, 2003

This is a Test

Blogger has been giving me trouble over the past couple of days as I try to add my brother, but now it looks good.
Bad News

Today is a terrible day. First off Dusty Baker is in controversy over his comments about latino players playing better in the summer than their caucasion counterparts. I think that it is stupid to get mad about these comments, it seemed like he was just joking around like any other human being. The bad bad news is that Corey Patterson is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. I don't see how we can afford to lose a bat when we won't sign a good one anyways. This could be a begining to the end of the season, but hopefully the team will step up and start playing like they can. We play the Marlins tonight and who knows maybe at the end of the series one of the Marlins will stay behind(wishful thinking). I guess we'll see how the Cubs come back after the news of Patterson tonight.

P.S. This is Chris's brother Justin.

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Back From Camp, But On the Way to Austria

I leave for camp and the Cubs were one game back of first and today they are one game back. The Cubs need to start winning or there will be some major problems.

I am sitting in the Business Elite room as I wait for my flight, which is already 3 hours behind. I am going to be in Austria until August 13th, but I went ahead and got the MLB TV. I hope to see a few games. It seems like all the Cub Blog writers are heading out of town lately. I guess that just shows that we all have busy lives. My brother is going to be writing in and he is just as well versed as me in Cub baseball. I let him have a Diretv Reciever and extra dish I had, so he can use the MLB Extra Innings.

It looked like the game today was a good one and Alou is just hitting everything in site. Lets hope that continues and the Cubs find a 3B, but it looks like Lowell is not coming over. The thing is that you never really know. I should have my internet in my dorm room up about Tuesday, so look for new posts then. If anybody would like to write a guest article email it to me and I will post it for you. Ok, more later.