Monday, April 11

4-11-05 -- Thoughts from JT - Cubs 0, Padres 1


Yesterday's Hero, Today's Villain

Burnitz's sixth-inning error, failing to catch a low-line drive from Brian Giles, led to the only run scored in this swift defeat at the hands of the San Diego Padres. His error, followed by Klesko's double off the right-field wall and Hernandez's fielder's choice RBI single, was the difference between two well-matched teams and even-tempered pitching performances.

One big play decides the game, and this one goes the way of the Padres.

Tomorrow Prior will take the mound against Jake Peavy, who, if you weren't already aware, led the National League last season in best ERA (15-6, 2.27 ERA in 166 1/3 IP). It will be an acid test for the Cubs, who need to see that Prior is fit and ready to contribute in 2005.

With Walker confirmed out of action for at least 4-to-6 weeks ("the best case scenario"), the pitching staff needs to be the glue holding their record together.


At 10:09 PM, Blogger Jim said...

The word is "goat," but Burnie will make up for it. He's a gutsy player.

At 10:33 PM, Blogger JT said...

I believe so... I wouldn't have been so upset about the error if he hadn't gone 0-4 with 3 Ks with the bat today.

Tomorrow is another day, and yes I agree, he is gutsy. The games he plays well in will far outweigh those in which he does things like he did today.

At 1:04 AM, Blogger Jim said...

We know Burnitz strikes out a lot. So did Sammy. Left and right fields in Wrigley have made fools out of many outfielders. The wells create problems and so do the brick walls, especially running along the foul lines. Burnitz will get better. He may even learn the Billy Williams hidden ball trick for the ivy.

In Sweet Swingin' Billy's day, outfielders all played either on the track or right in front of it. They gave up the single in order to protect against extra bases. In those days, hitting 300 was as rare as stealing fifty bases is today. The pitchers mound was higher and pitching was generally tougher.

Now outfielders are playing further off the wall, trying to cut the runners down from taking the extra base. It's a trade off.

I guess what I'm saying is that I've seen plenty of other outfielders make the error that Burnitz did today, and the drive that went over his head would have done the same against anyone else. There just was no way to get to it with him playing in. It was hit too hard. The strike outs fit in with his MO, and doing poorly at the plate often goes along with having trouble in the field, although guys go into slumps at the plate while continuing to field their positions.

By the way, astronomers now believe the earth is expanding at increasing rates of speed. Perhaps that's why the ball is traveling further and nearly every pitcher today can throw a fastball as fast as Bob Feller.

At 1:29 AM, Blogger limeycornelius said...

I love the Hidden Ivy trick!

The error wasn't the double hit over his head - it was in the 6th, where he was actually in the perfect position to make the grab, playing back to protect the single like you said. The ball was coming in around waist-high and he couldn't get his glove down in time, dropping it between his legs.

I know I'm being hard and it's the first week of the season. As we both read and write and watch the Cubs together, there'll be no cause for complaint.

Burnitz will be a great asset to the Cubs in the time he's with the club. Regardless of "thicker air" and playing away from Colorado, I do firmly believe he's a great hitter regardless of air and environment. With Walker out, he will need to.

What did you think to the injury? Did you see the incident with Lee?

How do you think Hairston Jr. will slot in now that he has time to grow into the club (bearing in mind he's had a lot of niggling injuries over the last 2 years or so)

Speaking of fastballs, Dempster was chucking so well today, as were the relievers.

At 1:33 AM, Blogger JT said...

Sorry Jim, that last comment was me, JT, signed in by another name. Apologies for the confusion. We'll be cheering tomorrow when Mark takes the mound.

At 7:31 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Both of Burnitz' problem plays in right field are common for non Cub players to make. I've seen both things happen plenty of times. It's part of the problem with right field in Wrigley. Even Cub players have problems with the line drive over the head, like the second play. The first though is common for the away team to make. It's an awful sun field, and the wind can play nasty tricks.

Cub players usually get the hang of it after about 40 games. Then the advantage of home field can kick in, provided you've got the pitching and hitting to go along with it. Let's see if we've got the 2003 version of Prior tomorrow. If we do, it could be Katy bar the door for the rest of the NLCentral.

Walker was at fault for his own injury. I hate to say it, 'cause I really like this guy. But they teach you to throw the double play ball from the BACK of second base. You NEVER cross over the bag to make that play, and Walker violated that rule. That never happened to Ryno for that reason. And of course it never happened to Bill Mazorowski either—the best DP second baseman I ever saw—because he would just jump twelve feet into the air, pivot like a ballarina, and fire a strike to first.


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