Reds drop Cubs, plan to keep GM Jocketty

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Reds drop Cubs, plan to keep GM Jocketty

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011
Posted: 8:46 p.m. Updated: 10:31 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com Cubs Insider Follow @CSNMooney
Box score
Red Sox coming to Wrigley Field in 2012
VIDEO: Jocketty, LaRussa, Pujols to Cubs?

CINCINNATI All sorts of names will pop up on the radar screen as the Cubs search for their next general manager.

It sounds like Walt Jocketty a good friend of Jim Hendry and the architect of the 2006 Cardinals team that won a World Series title isnt going anywhere. The Reds executive, whos working on an expiring contract, wouldnt be an ideal fit anyway.

But less than 24 hours after a Sun-Times report mentioned that the Cubs have discussed the extreme long-shot possibility of maybe bringing in Jocketty to run baseball operations, Reds owner Bob Castellini told The Cincinnati Enquirer on Wednesday that he will keep his management team in place next season.

That means Jocketty and manager Dusty Baker should be back in 2012. Even though the Reds (73-76) have taken a step backward this season, the defending division champs still have pieces to build around, from Joey Votto to Jay Bruce to a surplus of young pitching that would make the Cubs (65-84) jealous.

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Twenty-five-year-old Johnny Cueto who began the day ranked second in the majors in ERA (2.36) left the game in the fourth inning with a strained right lat muscle. But by then, it was already essentially over.

Trying out for the 2012 rotation, Casey Coleman bombed on Wednesday night in his latest audition. Coleman gave up six runs in 3 23 innings as the Cubs lost 7-2 at Great American Ball Park.

Coleman who went 4-2 with a 3.33 ERA in eight starts late last season hasnt capitalized on the opportunity this year. Hes now 2-8 with a 7.06 ERA and will have to impress a new administration in spring training. He says hes not feeling the pressure.

I dont try to think about it, Coleman said. Im out there just trying to give this team the best chance to win. Last year I feel like I was worry-free. I would get myself into jams and pitch my way out of it. My mentality I feel like its the same I just havent had as much luck getting out of jams. The big innings killed me.

Its been a long year for everyone.

Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Honda Road Ahead: Cubs offense looks to build off showing against Clayton Kershaw

Honda Road Ahead: Cubs offense looks to build off showing against Clayton Kershaw

CSN's Kelly Crull and analyst Dave Otto discuss the upcoming matchups and Kyle Schwarber's slump in this edition of the Cubs Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland & NW Indiana Honda Dealers.

The Cubs haven't received any California love so far on their six-game road trip. 

At Dodger Stadium this weekend, the North Siders were swept away in three games that were never really close. And, now, Joe Maddon's club must regroup on the fly as they head to San Diego to open a three-game set with the Padres on Monday. 

If it's any consolation prize, the Cubs' bats did show signs of life against three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw on Sunday. They roughed him up for 11 hits and four earned runs. 

"I liked the at-bats that the Cubs had against Kershaw and the Dodgers today," Dave Otto said following the Cubs' 9-4 loss in the series finale. 

To salvage a decent road trip, the offense has to find some sort of consistent groove. The lineup was shutout twice in Los Angeles. 

Watch the video above to hear Kelly Crull and Dave Otto break down the upcoming series and the slumping order. 

 

Stranger than fiction: Dodgers sweep Cubs as Lester vs. Kershaw doesn’t live up to expectations

Stranger than fiction: Dodgers sweep Cubs as Lester vs. Kershaw doesn’t live up to expectations

LOS ANGELES – In a Cubs season that has already gone off script – or at least not followed the dynasty-in-waiting narrative – it made perfect sense that a Jon Lester vs. Clayton Kershaw matchup at Dodger Stadium would devolve into a slugfest and a bullpen battle.

Randy Newman’s voice – “I Love L.A.” – echoed from the sound system late Sunday afternoon as the Dodgers put the finishing touches on a three-game sweep of the defending World Series champs. The Cubs led for one half-inning during this entire weekend and a Hollywood team will wake up in San Diego on Memorial Day with a 25-24 record.

This 9-4 blowout again showed that the Dodgers should be a force in October. Forget about the way forward-thinking manager Dave Roberts basically tried to MacGyver his way through last year’s National League Championship Series with three pitchers: Kershaw, lefty curveball specialist Rich Hill and star closer Kenley Jansen.

“That’s the big separator between what I saw last year and right now,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said, “how they’re pitching.”

This time it didn’t matter that the Cubs knocked Kershaw out in the middle of the fifth inning. Willson Contreras, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo launched home runs off Kershaw and the Cubs generated all of their 11 hits against the three-time Cy Young Award winner. This game still never really got tense or felt like the Dodgers were out of control.

“It sounds like fiction to me, but it happened,” Maddon said.

Kershaw still outlasted Lester, who dropped his head, stared at the grass and walked off the mound with one out and two runners on in the fourth inning. Lester (3-3, 3.86 ERA) – the sturdiest piece to a shaky rotation – put the Cubs in a 6-1 hole after giving up three-run homers to Cody Bellinger and Kike Hernandez.

[MORE: Joe Maddon has no choice but to ignore noise and trust young Cubs lineup]

In back-to-back shutouts, the Dodgers (31-20) had already beaten a Cy Young Award winner dealing with questions about his velocity and looming free agency (Jake Arrieta) and a three-time World Series champion who is 38 years old and now has a 5.18 ERA (John Lackey).

“It seems like they’re firing on all cylinders,” Lester said. “They played better than us all the way around this weekend.”

Standing in the middle of a cramped visiting clubhouse, Lester sounded annoyed – “Put what together?” – after being asked when or how the Cubs will go on a run and start playing up to expectations. 

“We have to play for today,” Lester said. “You can’t worry about a run. You can’t worry about showing up and trying to go nine (innings) before you throw a first pitch. You can’t worry about trying to go 3-for-4 before your first at-bat. Worry about today. Worry about the task at hand.

“You can’t worry about a run. You can’t make runs happen. Sometimes, it’s better to kind of sit back and let things come to you. You’re not pressing. You’re not grinding. You’re not doing things that you don’t need to be doing.

“We got a good team. It’s just a matter of showing up, day in and day out, and putting the work in and it will come. It will click.”

Take Kershaw out of the equation and the Cubs generated zero runs, five singles and no extra-base hits in 22.2 innings against Los Angeles pitching. The Dodgers only used Jansen in one non-save situation.

“You got to tip your cap to them,” reigning NL MVP Kris Bryant said. “That was a pretty impressive pitching performance on all days. I felt like we got to Kershaw a little bit. But their bullpen – it just felt like every pitch was right there at the top of the strike zone. Every single one. To all of us. It was unbelievable.

“It felt like every guy they ran out there was throwing it right where they want.”

Three games against a last-place Padres team tanking for the future should change the subject before the Cubs head home to Wrigley Field. But the Dodgers sure looked like the talented, balanced, hungry team that wants to take down the Cubs.

“It’s always tougher the second time, because everybody’s gunning for you,” said Ben Zobrist, who should stabilize the lineup on Monday after missing two games with a sore left wrist. “Your expectations are even higher than they were before.

“But this team is definitely equal to the task. That’s not the problem as much as we just got to get back to the fundamentals and execution of the little details in the game. And everything else kind of takes care of itself.”