Posted on: June 23, 2010 1:07 am

Piniella on Bradley: 'I wish him the best'

Lou Piniella They probably didn't go out to dinner after the game, but Cubs manager Lou Piniella was at least diplomatic when talking about Milton Bradley.

The Cubs on Tuesday opened a three-game series in Seattle, where Piniella managed for 10 years. Bradley is with the Mariners this year after a disastrous season in Chicago and an even more disastrous (from the Mariners' perspective) trade between the Mariners and Cubs (who got the resurgent Carlos Silva and a load of cash in the deal).

Piniella and Bradley clashed repeatedly last season, including an incident in which Piniella sent the outfielder home in the middle of the game. Bradley left a Mariners game in May by his own choice, then took a two-week leave of absence. He said he went for counseling after his on-field struggles caused him to have thoughts of suicide.

"I'm glad that he's gotten some good help," Piniella told reporters Tuesday afternoon, as reported by the Chicago Tribune . "I'd like to see Milton do well. He was with us a year in Chicago and he did what he could. He came here to Seattle, and we like to see our ex-players do well, and Milton is no exception."

Did Piniella plan on speaking with Bradley?

"If I see him," he replied. "But I'm sure he's doing the best that he can and I wish him the best."

The same could not be said of the large contingent of Cubs fans at Safeco Field, who loudly booed Bradley when he came to the plate.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 22, 2010 8:31 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2010 12:25 am

Silva pushed back, won't face M's

Carlos Silva won't pitch against his former team after all. Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports via Twitter that Cubs right-hander Silva will not  make his scheduled start in Seattle on Thursday due to hamstring tenderness. Ted Lilly will pitch Thursday and Silva will be pushed to Saturday against the White Sox.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 18, 2010 10:22 am
Edited on: June 18, 2010 10:29 am

Geren to limit Bailey's innings

Bob Geren On Thursday, the Athletics clung to a slim 2-1 lead against the Cubs entering the eighth inning.

When Michael Wuertz loaded the bases against the Cubs, A's manager Bob Geren decided it was time to bring in closer Andrew Bailey with one out. The only problem is that he did not double-switch Bailey into the game, leaving the pitcher's spot to bat in the top of the ninth.

Bailey would surrender an inherited run and Oakland went on to lose the game on a bases-loaded walkoff single by Kosuke Fukudome in the bottom ninth after Bailey was pulled from the game. Fans everywhere wondered why Geren didn't double-switch Bailey out and why he didn't pitch the ninth as well, given Bailey is no stranger to multiple-inning outings.

On Friday morning, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle revealed that Geren told Bailey last weekend he was going to start limiting Bailey's outings to just one inning to keep the closer fresh all season and get some set roles for other relievers.

"I just think he wants to get guys more roles and have them confident in certain situations, which will play out through the end of the year," Bailey noted. "I think it's a smart move."

Hence, Jerry Blevins in the ninth.

That doesn't necessarily absolve Geren of all blame, however. Putting aside the moment whether the philosophy should have been abandoned to give Oakland the best chance of winning the game, the question of double-switching remains.

Geren said that if Bailey had preserved the 2-1 lead in the eighth, "that would have been a decision right there."

Unfortunately for Oakland, Geren's decisions up to that point played a factor in a 3-2 defeat.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 17, 2010 5:24 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2010 5:42 pm

AL manager struggles with NL strategy

See, the way this interleague play thing works is that you play by National League rules in National League parks and by American League rules in American League parks. So, if say, you're playing at Wrigley Field, pitchers have to hit.

Oh, wait, you knew that? Oakland manager Bob Geren apparently didn't. Perhaps Billy Beane should have gotten off his exercise bike to let him know that for Thursday's game against the Cubs.

Instead Jerry Blevins was in the game in the ninth and loaded the bases with three walks before Kosuke Fukudome's walk-off single.

In the eighth inning, the A's led 2-1 when Michael Wuertz loaded the bases and with one out, Geren brought in his closer, Andrew Bailey. That sounds about right, it's the highest-leverage situation. Where he went wrong was not double-switching, knowing the pitcher's spot (in this case, the No. 6 spot) was coming up to lead off the ninth.

In fairness, Geren showed an awareness of the National League rules in the seventh inning when he had Gabe Gross hit for Dallas Braden and stay in the game in right field, replacing Jack Cust.

But in the eighth, Geren brought Bailey into the game and made no other move. Bailey suffered his third blown save of the season when he gave up a sacrifice fly to Xavier Nady, before getting Alfonso Soriano to ground out to end the inning.

Ryan Sweeney singled to lead off the inning, but the A's couldn't get him in, setting up Fukudome's heroics.

The A's bullpen blew the win for Braden, who still hasn't picked up a victory since his perfect game on May 9. Braden was in line for the win after allowing just one run on five hits in six innings.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Posted on: June 13, 2010 9:41 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2010 10:30 pm

Dueling no-nos not to be

When does a no-hitter turn into a no-hitter watch? Well, in Chicago, six may be enough. They're through six without a hit. Which team? Either.

Ridiculous. Both the White Sox and Cubs have struggled offensively, but this is ridiculous.

Gavin Floyd has walked two and struck out seven, while Ted Lilly has walked one, hit two and struck out three.

Top 7: Lilly is through the top of the 7th. Lilly has 97 pitches.

Bottom 7: Derrek Lee walks with one out. He's thrown out by A.J. Pierzynski after Lee tries to advance on a ball in the dirt. And then Soriano doubles for the first hit of the game -- for either freakin' team.

Top 8: Gordon Beckham is booed after trying to lay down a bunt with oen out. He misses it. And then he pops up. After Jayson Nix pops out Lilly is through 8.

Top 9: It's raining, but they're gonna try to get this in. Juan Pierre singles up the middle and that's it for the no-hitter and for Lilly. I'm sure it's Dusty Baker's fault.

And in the end, Carlos Marmol tries to find a way to lose it, but gets out of a bases loaded jam and Lilly wins.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 12, 2010 7:49 pm

Silva's luck runs out

Cubs starter Carlos Silva has been pitching well this season, but he's also been getting plenty of run support (almost seven runs per nine innings, fifth in the National League). That dried up today , and so did Silva's bid to go 9-0.

Silva went seven innings against the White Sox, allowing two runs, but his offense couldn't deliver, scoring just one run in the ninth.

Silva was the first Cub to go 8-0 since Ken Holtzman went 9-0 in 1967, and the first pitcher to start 8-0 in his first season for the Cubs since King Cole 100 years ago.

The right-hander is going to be an All-Star, something inconceivable at the beginning of the season considering how utterly awful he'd been the past two seasons in Seattle (5-18 with a 6.81 ERA).

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 12, 2010 1:41 pm
Edited on: June 12, 2010 1:42 pm

Stanley Cup going to Wrigley

The Cubs haven't had their own championship trophy in the past 102 years, but Sunday they'll be showing off someone else's.

The Chicago Blackhawks will be visiting and bringing the Stanley Cup for Sunday's game, says the Chicago Sun-Times . There will be a ceremony prior to the game between the Cubs and White Sox, which is a national TV game on ESPN.

In a way, Wrigley is home turf for the Blackhawks. They played the Red Wings in the NHL Winter Classic at the ballpark in 2009.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Tags: Cubs
Posted on: June 11, 2010 5:56 pm

Sign of the times at Wrigley

The Cubs hosted a game Friday for the first time since the addition of a large Toyota sign that hovers over the left-field bleachers at Wrigley Field. The Cubs got final approval from the city to erect the sign on Wednesday and had it in place the next day.

One of Wrigley's notable features has been the absence, or at least minimalism, of advertising. Very few ads within the ballpark are visible from the seating bowl (the rooftops or surrounding buildings another story), and the ones that are, such as ads on the outfield wall, are hardly noticeable, particularly in comparison to the other 29 major league ballparks.

At 360 square feet, the Toyota sign, which will light up red at night, is by far the most prominent ad to appear at Wrigley in modern times. Obviously the move has generated passionate debate in Chicago, where Wrigley is a subject of reverance for many.

Even the Chicago Tribune is split over the issue. In a blog on architecture and urban spaces, Blair Kamin argues that the sign is an unwelcome addition , springing up from the low-slung ballpark like "a giant red Jack in the Box."

Tribune sports columnist Phil Rogers tells Cubs fans to get over it:

"The lack of advertising at Wrigley is still a throwback feature of the park. Remember the fight to add the eight extra rows onto the outfield bleacher seats? Or the one over luxury boxes? Or lights? Yeah, those things have really ruined the place, haven't they? The thing that will ruin it is bad baseball on a yearly basis."

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Tags: Cubs
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