Cubs talking points: Glanville waits for radio call

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Cubs talking points: Glanville waits for radio call

Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011
Posted 3:35 PM Updated 6:22 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

Fans have been asking Doug Glanville about it all weekend. Even the guy that used to walk Glanvilles dogs whos in Korea now saw his name mentioned in an online article and wanted to reconnect.

The idea of Glanville replacing the late Ron Santo in the WGN Radio booth gained momentum among fans on Twitter, but there are obstacles, like his ESPN contract, and the fact that he hasnt been contacted about the job yet.

WATCH: Cubs fans enjoy the convention

I have no idea, Glanville told CSNChicago.com on Sunday. Its not like WGN or the Cubs have called me or anything like that. I work for ESPN. So Ill be working for them this year, but obviously a lot of people come and go in different places like (Buck) Showalter leaves (ESPN) in the middle of the season to manage (the Orioles). Thats where Im focused right now.

All that doesnt automatically disqualify the 40-year-old Glanville, who was signing copies of his book The Game from Where I Stand at the Hilton Chicago. Glanville is a gifted writer who used to contribute to The New York Times op-ed page and appear on CSN.

Team president Crane Kenney interviewed one candidate on Saturday, and said that the speculated names are generally accurate. Dave Otto and Keith Moreland also fit the profile as former Cubs with extensive broadcast experience. It could take weeks before the Cubs and WGN make a final decision.

I dont know where it goes, Glanville said. Im always listening. And you always know, just like in baseball, (that) your job is a blink away from being something else someone gets rid of you. I definitely keep all those options open.

Glanville described himself as a huge Santo fan, and played the day the Cubs retired No. 10. He still lives in the Chicago area, and has young children hed have to think about before considering the travel commitment of broadcasting close to a 162-game schedule.

READ: Santo statue begins Wrigley makeover

But the University of Pennsylvania graduate is naturally curious.

To think about even replacing him for anybody is impossible, Glanville said. But its more about respecting his legacy and then figuring if you can add your own flavor to the passion of Chicago and Cubs baseball.

Whoevers selected will benefit from working next to Pat Hughes, a radio fixture in his own right. With the Cubs Convention closing Sunday, here are some of the talking points youll likely hear from Hughes and his partner in 2011:

The fine manager. Mike Quade recently rode the Orange Line in from Midway Airport, in a car where hustlers were trying to run a game of three-card monte. He insists that hes still going to take the El, figuring hed rather spend two bucks than 20.

Quade knows that he wont have the same sense of privacy anymore, and maybe the job will ultimately wear him down. But a sense of humor will help, like when a fan wonders whether Greg Maddux could become Carlos Zambranos life coach.

If were going to have individual guys taking care of each (player) that has some emotional issues, Quade said, were not going to have a big enough plane.

The passion. Welcome to Chicago, Matt Garza, and endless (unfair?) comparisons to Zambrano, who asked by a fan if hes going to open a rehabilitation center for Gatorade coolers.

WATCH: Garza happy with Cubs

Yes, they are both talented and emotional, and eventually well have a better idea to what degree. But the Cubs did their homework on Garza, even calling his former coach at Fresno State University.

There wasnt one person that works for the Cubs that wasnt all in on Matt Garza, general manager Jim Hendry said. He seemed like the perfect guy because he has three years left before hes a free agent. Hes in the prime of his career. Hes been completely clean medically.

The Rudy Jaramillo effect. Carlos Pena was scheduled to leave for Dallas on Sunday to spend a week with the hitting guru. The Cubs were willing to look beyond Penas .196 average last season, and he will initially get the benefit of the doubt because of his reputation as a class act. But for how long?

All you see is the numbers, (but) it doesnt make sense, Jaramillo said. Im looking to the future. Whatever happened to him in Tampa, (well) figure it out.

The system. The Cubs love hyping their prospects, but Matt Szczur (pronounced like Caesar) is an interesting name to file away. A two-sport athlete at Villanova University, he once put it all on hold to donate peripheral blood cells to a young leukemia patient who had only a 1-in-80,000 chance of finding a match.

Szczur will work out later this month at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and projects as a middle-round pick in the NFL draft. He also hit .347 across 25 games in the low minors last year. He could earn a 500,000 bonus if he commits to play only baseball by a certain date in early February. The NFLs labor uncertainty cant hurt the Cubs in this case.

Weve not lost sight of Matt, scouting director Tim Wilken said. I think we got a real good shot to sign him. Well see what happens, (but) hes got a chance to be a big-time, front-line centerfielder.

The actual, um, baseball team. Too often this offseason the Cubs have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. They are not just a marketing machine and a political action committee. Let Showtime and the San Francisco Giants film their reality show. Even the Undercover Boss is ready for spring training.

My 15 minutes are over, Todd Ricketts said, and we can go back to focusing on baseball.

PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Joe Maddon has not seen anything like these recent implosions from Cubs pitching staff

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AP

Joe Maddon has not seen anything like these recent implosions from Cubs pitching staff

Joe Maddon has not seen anything like these single-inning implosions lately.

At least not at the major-league level.

For the third time in the last five Wrigley Field contest, the Cubs pitching staff has allowed at least seven runs in an inning.

This time, it was nine runs before the first out was recorded in the eighth inning of Friday's 11-4 Cardinals victory.

The Cubs actually entered the inning clinging to a 3-2 lead and had their best setup guy — Carl Edwards Jr. — slated to pitch against the top of the Cardinals order.

But after taking out his teammate with a foul ball, Matt Carpenter began the wacky inning with a double off Edwards and the rout was on.

"We had a bad inning pitching," Maddon said after the game. "That's the third time in a week here at this ballpark, if you go back prior to the break. It's a seven, a nine and a 10 in an inning. 

"I've not seen that since rookie ball. That's crazy stuff. I'm saying it straight up: We played good baseball today. We just pitched badly for one inning. Some really good pitchers had a tough time.

"...That's kind of a strange day. We played well and lost because we gave up nine runs in an inning, which is really awkward to watch from the dugout."

Thirty-eight minutes after Edwards threw the first pitch of the inning, the Cubs finally retired the Cardinals and were looking up at an 11-3 score. 

Neither Edwards nor Hector Rondon recorded an out and they combined with Justin Grimm to allow six hits, six walks and nine runs.

Here's how it all went down:

That's the second straight Wrigley Field game that has featured at least nine runs in an inning but a Cubs opponent. Ace Jon Lester surrendered 10 runs in the first inning to the Pittsburgh Pirates on the day before the All-Star Break began.

And the day before that series began, Mike Montgomery and the Cubs gave up seven runs to the Milwaukee Brewers in a rain make-up game at the "Friendly Confines."

"You see it every now and again. Not often," said Jake Arrieta, Friday's starting pitcher who was in line for a win before that wild eighth inning. "You stick around this game long enough and you see some crazy things happen. And really, that was the turning point in the game. 

"A couple guys had a pretty rare outing in the 8th there. You won't see that rarely ever or ever again from those two guys. Just a tough one."

Rondon, who had entered the game having allowed just two runs in his last 13 innings, could do nothing but shake his head in trying to explain it after the game.

"That was a weird, weird inning," Rondon said. "First time I've seen something like that — nine runs with no outs. But it is what it is. They got us today and we'll see tomorrow."

Maddon has seen control issues with his bullpen all year, but still has confidence in the unit as a whole. He knows not to overreact to one game.

However, Maddon did point to the first game coming out of the All-Star Break where Montgomery and the Cubs bullpen squandered an 8-0 lead before Addison Russell's heroics to break the tie for good late in that contest.

"The bullpen has been fabulous," Maddon said. "Twice since the break, they just had tough games."

Rondon and the Cubs relievers won't overreact, either.

A year ago at this time, Rondon was the Cubs' closer and they hadn't yet traded for Aroldis Chapman. So no, one outing won't get him down. 

"Right now, I'm pissed and whatever," he said, "but tomorrow, I'll come in with a different mentality and try to win the game."

With NL Central suddenly bunched up, a reminder it won't all be sunshine, lollipops and rainbows for Cubs in second half

With NL Central suddenly bunched up, a reminder it won't all be sunshine, lollipops and rainbows for Cubs in second half

So that six-game winning streak was fun while it lasted, wasn’t it?

The Cubs’ perfect second half came to a crashing halt Friday in the series opener with the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, an 11-4 drubbing low-lighted by a never-ending eighth inning in which the Cards torched the Cubs’ bullpen for nine runs.

It was a screaming reminder that the second half, even with its 6-0 start, won’t be all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows for the defending champs.

One nasty result after a six-game stretch of hot bats and hot pitching shouldn’t send Cubs fans panicking about a falling sky — even though the heavens opened up and poured a gigantic, watery metaphor down on the Friendly Confines after Friday’s bullpen implosion.

But it also looked like an indication that the troubles of a sub-.500 first half might not be totally exorcized from Wrigley Field’s home clubhouse. Not that that’s denting the team’s confidence in any way.

“I don’t think we’ve gotten too high or too low, even throughout some slumps where we weren’t very happy about the way we were playing,” starting pitcher Jake Arrieta said. “I feel like we’ve been able to maintain an even keel and stay focused. While there has been some frustration, that’s just kind of the nature of not playing up to your potential and knowing you’re better than you’re playing. But having said that, we are positive and will remain to be so throughout the near future and stretch of games we have coming up. We look forward to playing some good baseball.”

Most importantly, perhaps, Friday’s result showed that it’s not just the first-place Milwaukee Brewers that the Cubs have to be concerned with in what is suddenly a tight and crowded race in the National League Central.

The Cubs might have gotten within a game of the Brewers, but the Cardinals and the surging Pittsburgh Pirates are right there, too. After Friday’s game on the North Side went final, the four teams were within four games of each other. A Brewers loss Friday night in Philadelphia could make things even closer.

“Baseball’s crazy,” outfielder Kyle Schwarber said. “You’ve seen a lot of races, I’m sure, and this is just the way that this division’s playing out. It’s really competitive between all of us.”

[CUBS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Not dissimilarly from that up-and-down first half, Friday’s contest had signs both positive and negative for the team still on a quest to repeat as World Series champions.

Arrieta might’ve been relatively unremarkable, but he only gave up two runs in six innings, bettering numbers that were downright ugly earlier this season and perhaps signaling that his second half will be far more consistent than his first. In four July starts, he’s got a 2.13 ERA after posting ERAs above 4.50 in each of the first three months of the season.

Willson Contreras continued his torrid July with a first-inning home run. He’s batting .363 on the month with five homers and 12 RBIs in 14 games.

But the negatives were gaudier and more directly involved in the result. In addition to the offense going 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranding nine base runners, a bullpen that had been incredibly reliable fell apart in can’t-look-away fashion. Carl Edwards Jr., Hector Rondon and Justin Grimm combined to allow the first 11 batters of the eighth inning to reach. The first nine of them scored. Five of them walked.

Theo Epstein’s front office likely won’t answer the call of fans on Twitter howling for the team to trade for relief help. There’s no need to do that. Only the seemingly unbeatable Los Angeles Dodgers have a better bullpen ERA in the NL than the Cubs’ 3.51 mark.

“I trust our guys,” Maddon said, reacting to Friday’s nightmarish eighth. “The right guys are out there. C.J. was the right guy for the moment, it didn't play out. Rondon’s been throwing the ball great, but I really put him in a no-win situation. That’s my fault. And finally, Grimmer just had to suck it up.”

Maddon’s not wrong in singing the season-long praises of the three guys who got lit up Friday. But undoubtedly those three relievers provided some evidence that the final two and a half months of the regular season might not feature the Cubs sprinting away from their division-mates.

No, this could be a knock-down, drag-out fight to the finish. And the Cubs have 26 games remaining against the Brewers, Pirates and Cardinals.

So buckle up.

“That’s what you get when you play these kinds of teams that have a shot to reach the postseason,” Arrieta said. “We’re all within a few games of each other, so in our minds it’s up for grabs, it’s ours to take and we look forward to the opportunity to do so.”