4 and Counting

GAME 159 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (77-81) @ HOUSTON ASTROS (87-71) @ THE JUICE BOX 7:05 pm CDT, TV: CSN, Fox Sports Southwest
Wandy Rodriguez, LHP
10-9 5.62 ERA
77/52 K/BB, 17 HR in 121.2 IP
Glendon Rusch, LHP
8-8 4.62 ERA
106/52 K/BB, 13 HR in 138.1 IP
2B #Jose Macias 2B Craig Biggio
SS #Neifi Perez CF Wily Taveras
1B Derrek Lee 3B Morgan Ensberg
3B Nomar Garciaparra 1B #Lance Berkman
LF Matt Murton LF Jason Lane
RF *Jeromy Burnitz RF Chris Burke
C Michael Barrett SS Adam Everett
CF *Corey Patterson C Raul Chavez
P *Glendon Rusch P *Wandy Rodriguez
4 straight wins for the Cubs and they finish at .500. 4 straight wins and 3 wins by the Phils this weekend and the Astros are sent home for the winter. 3 out of 4 for the Cubs and a Phils sweep over the Nationals and we have ourselves a one game death match for the Wild Card. The Cubs who may be the poster child for playing down or up to their competition (depending on your viewpoint, which matters a lot, just ask Obi-Wan Kenobi); Try and assume the role of arch-nemesis to this merry band of space travelers. At least I suppose that's what Astros are, maybe they're just big Jetsons fans down there in Houston. As you can tell, they're isn't much to say about this game or the rest of the season. Not only was it over a long time ago, but we're subjected to a lineup half-full of guys I hope never wear a Cub uniform again. Wow, has it not been fun to be a Cub fan the last month or so. And no, I'm not blaming Baker for these lineups, there's no one left on the roster who's capable to play right now worth watching (assuming Theriot still has his head buried in a toilet somewhere). For the rest of the week, I'll try and keep the other playoff race summaries up-to-date after the jump. NL East The Atlanta Braves clinched the division on Sept. 27th NL Central Cardinals clinched the division somewhere around April 20th, I believe. NL West The San Diego Padres clinched the division on Sept. 28th NL Wild Card Astros up 2.5 game over Phillies Magic number: 2 Games Left: Houston (4): 4 versus Cubbies Phillies (3): 3 @ Washington AL East Yankees are up 1 game over the Red Sox and they play each other the final 3 games of the season Magic number: 4 Games Left: Boston (4) 1 versus Toronto, 3 versus Yankees New York (4) 1 @ Baltimore, 3 @ Boston AL Central White Sox clinched the division on Sept. 29th AL West The Angels clinched the division on Sept. 27th AL Wild Card Tribe and Red Sox are tied. Magic number: 5 (for either team) Games Left: Cleveland (4): 1 versus Tampa Bay, 3 versus Chicago Boston (4) 1 versus Toronto, 3 versus Yankees
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Comments

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Abbott and Costello discuss tonight's lineup...

Abbott: I say Who Cares on first, What's Macias doing on second, I Don't Knomah's on third.

Costello: All I'm trying to find out is the fellow's name on first base.

Abbott: Who Cares.

PAUSE

Costello: Then tell me who's playing left field.

Abbott: Who's playing first.

Costello: The left fielder's name?

Abbott: Why.

Costello: Because, he strikes out alot!

Abbott: Oh, he's centerfield.

thanks for the laugh....

"Not only was it over a long time ago, but weíre subjected to a lineup half-full of guys I hope never wear a Cub uniform again."

Sad to say but for much of my lifetime this has been the case just about every year.

patterson...tsk tsk tsk...

dunno if anyone is actually watching the game, but its been a decent game and pretty swift in pace...already the bottom of the 9th in 2 hours.

patterson just screwed up royally having a bat throwing pity-fit over a K while a ball passed the catcher about 50+ft...not that it would do anything but make a chance of putting him on 1st, but it was still a pretty ignorant show of playing.

I gotta hope that Pattersuck just didn't see that get by the catcher. If he did and just didn't feel like running...waive him.

hell of a game! hell of a ending...go blanco...way to make us nervous dumpster...cubs win.

For all of us Dusty detractors...

Dusty finally made a savvy late game switch. Blanco in for defensive purposes replaced Barrett, and it led to a win!

Exciting final play concluded by Blanco's block of the plate and tag (if Gipson had slid he might have been safe, the on deck hitter was giving the slide signal). I doubt Barrett would have made that play.

This is meaningless but you gotta love games where Murton is the Comcast player of the game (for a HR and a fine catch against the wall) and DLee beats the bejeebers out of his HR smash.

I didn't see the game but I'm guessing Blanco was also key to holding Gipson at 1st and thus saving the game. Way to go Henry!

Henry Blanco aka Hank White for second half comeback player of the year!!!

there was also the called pitchout on the squeeze earlier in the game resulting in a rundown/out.

it was a hell of a game...quick, too.

Dusty must REALLY, REALLY want to have finished above .500 on the season. I mean, ever since the Macias #1, Neifi #2 experiment, the top 2 in the lineup have gone a whopping 3-39 w/ 2bb. Wow. Un-frickin-believable. That's a BA of .085! OBP .122!!!! Damn you Dusty, THIS is why the cubs suck. Learn how to make a damn lineup.

The only time Macias and Perez should be at the top of the order is when the Cubs team charter crashes and they miraculously survive.

Oh and if our entire farm system came down with Ebola, Avian Flu, and West Nile then Macias and Perez should be #1 and #2. Other than that, no excuse on the planet justifies doing what Dusty is doing.

Hi everyone. I hope this isn't a repost, but I haven't seen it yet. I noticed several MLB clubs are showing part or all of next year's schedule. Of course the Tribbies are going to keep us in suspense as long as possible, but here's what I was able to cobble together.

Mo 4/3, We 4/5 @ CIN

Tu 4/11 - Th 4/13 vs CIN

Mo 4/17 - We 4/19 @ LA

Mo 4/24 - We 4/26 vs FLA
Fr 4/28 - Su 4/30 @ MIL

We 5/3 - Th 5/4 @ ARI
Fr 5/5 - Mo 5/8 @ SD
Tu 5/9 - Th 5/11 @SF
Fr 5/12 - Su 5/14 vs SD

Fr 5/19 - Su 5/21 @ CHW
Mo 5/22 - We 5/24 @ FLA

Mo 5/29 - We 5/31 vs CIN

Mo 6/5 - We 6/7 @ HOU
Th 6/8 - Su 6/11 @ CIN
Tu 6/13 - Th 6/15 vs HOU
Fr 6/16 - Su 6/18 vs DET
Mo 6/19 - We 6/21 @ CLE
Fr 6/23 - Su 6/25 @ MIN
Mo 6/26 - Th 6/29 vs MIL

Mo 7/3 - We 7/5 @ HOU
Th 7/6 - Su 7/9 @ MIL

Tu 7/18 - Th 7/20 vs HOU

Mo 7/31 - Th 8/3 vs ARI

Tu 8/8 - Th 8/10 @ MIL
Fr 8/11 - Su 8/13 @ COL
Mo 8/14 - We 8/16 vs HOU

Mo 8/21 - Th 8/24 vs PHI

Fr 9/1 - Su 9/3 vs SF

Tu 9/12 - Th 9/14 vs LA
Fr 9/15 - Su 9/17 @ CIN
Mo 9/18 - We 9/20 @ PHI
Fr 9/22 - Su 9/24 vs CIN
Tu 9/26 - We 9/27 vs MIL

It is also worth noting that every team in the NL Central except the Cubs gets to play the Royals.

I didn't see the game tonight, but from the comments about the speed of the game, got me thinking...I was at the game at Busch were Rusch had a perfect game into the seventh inning, and I noticed his pace...he was pitching unbelievably fast, and doing very well at it. Is this something he always does, or is it just a few isolated incidents?

I note the following comment in today's Trib. It is the first I have heard of anyone being designated the "goat" for this year. I guess this is the next step as you can't fire Steve Stone again.

"Coaching decision

Baker and Hendry will meet Monday in Chicago to decide whether all of Baker's coaches will return. The one considered to be on the hot seat is pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who could be replaced by Triple-A Iowa pitching coach Rick Kranitz."

From Baseball Prospectus Player VORP ratings. The leading HACKING MASS candidate for the worst centerfielder in baseball:

71. Corey Patterson CHN NL 2005 CF 466 7.7% .218 .251 .353 15 4 -.255 -0.223 -0.091 -28.0 -24.6 -10.1

Corey is very happy Christian Guzman, the worst player in baseball, is still in the league and has 3 years still to go on his contract. It will be interesting to see how Corey's agent spins these stats at the arbitration hearing. "Corey's importance to the Cubs is shown by the fact that he got 7.7% of the team's total plate appearances. Derek Lee only got a a 11%."

The minus 28.0 MLV means that if you had a team with seven other major league average hitters in the line-up, a team with Corey on it would score 28 less runs then a team with just 8 average major league hitters on it. Derek Lee has a MLV of 85.6 (a team with seven average hitters and Lee would score 85.6 runs more than team with just 8 average hitters.)

Jetsons fans! I like that. I'll have to razz my cousin about that the next time I see him.

I've been more into football lately, and I saw this quote today from Bill Parcells, coach of the Dallas Cowboys. When I said it, I thought wow, that makes a lot of sense -- and then I realized these were the very words which many of us would kill to hear come from the mouth of Dusty Baker:

"It is human nature for a coach to want to play a guy [veteran] who he is sure knows exactly what to do," Parcells said. "I understand that, but that can go on forever. I'm committed to playing young players this year, this season. I think it is the only way if they are going to get better, if you expose them."

Sigh...

AP article about the game:

Instead, the Cubs made two perfect throws to end the game.

Ryan Dempster walked Orlando Palmeiro with one out, Gipson pinch ran and pinch-hitter Mike Lamb struck out before Scott pinch hit. Center fielder Corey Patterson cut off Scott's drive and threw to second baseman Jose Macias, who made the relay to Blanco, well ahead of Gipson.

``When you draw up a relay play, that's the way to draw it up,'' said Dempster, who struck out two and got his 32nd save.

``We executed that cutoff play perfectly. That was a very athletic play,'' manager Dusty Baker said. ``That ball went into the gap, and it was obvious that they were going to send him. It was a perfect hop, a perfect throw and a perfect tag.''

Gipson not sliding was key. The Cubs have got to love him. He's played about an inning against them in three years and ended two games on the bases with bonehead moves in that time,

Corey II, coming to a ballpark near you?

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Thursday that top center-field prospect Felix Pie could vie for a spot on next year's roster, depending on how he looks in winter ball.

"Things happen out of nowhere," Hendry said

Yessireebob. A centerfielder who strikes out too much, doesn't walk and doesn't know how to steal bases. All against AA comp by the way. Bring him up and feed him into the grinder. What could possible go wrong?

Talk about playing to your level of competition. This may have been pointed out recently, but here are the Cubs' records vs. various teams:

vs. STL: 10-6
vs. HOU: 8-5
vs. SD: 4-3
vs. SF: 5-2
vs. PIT: 11-5

However:

vs. ATL: 1-6
vs. CIN: 6-9
vs. MIL: 7-9
vs. WAS: 1-5
vs. ARI: 2-5

Say whatever you want about everything that led up to Stoney's departure, but he WAS NOT FIRED. He chose not to come back.

WPZ, I don't see the White Sox at Wrigley in your schedule. What's up?

The White Sox didn't release a road schedule. It's probably the same arrangement as this year with the home parks reversed; the interleague games should be at Wrigley July 14-16.

The Sox home schedule, in PDF, is here in case anyone wants to get a better idea on when the Cubs are likely to play home games.

Rothschild is the obvious man to head out of town.

Firstly, Baker was forced to take him on as he was here from the previous regime.

Secondly, the pitching staff has not stayed healthy, maybe not his fault, but he was unable to get through to some to change their mechanics.

Thirdly, pitchers like Farnsworth and JoBo went on to have good seasons after leaving Rothschild.

Lastly, Larry was unable to really get the young pitchers to improve enough in the bullpen to be good. TOO MANY WALKS!!!

#16 of 26: By CubFanInGermany (September 30, 2005 04:38 AM)
I note the following comment in today's Trib. It is the first I have heard of anyone being designated the "goat" for this year. I guess this is the next step as you can't fire Steve Stone again.

"Coaching decision

Baker and Hendry will meet Monday in Chicago to decide whether all of Baker's coaches will return. The one considered to be on the hot seat is pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who could be replaced by Triple-A Iowa pitching coach Rick Kranitz."

==============================================

I think it more likely that Dick Pole will be the new pitching coach, with Dusty's ol' buddy Sonny Jackson moving into the bench coach slot, and Vince Coleman replacing Gary Matthews as 1st base coach. Shawon Dunston is another possibility for the 1B coaching gig if Coleman remains the arganizational base-running instructor (that is, personal base-stealing coach for Felix Pie at Iowa and Eric Patterson at West Tenn).

Why not go after Orel Hershier for pitching coach? He is going to leave TEX after the weekend. Alot of people think he is a top-tier PC. He did a good job with Cordero, Drese, fixing Rogers, and Chris Young. He can not help it that he was given crap to work with. Plus he can be groomed to take over as manager as early as June 2006. Also if Bench coach is going to be changed lets get Cito Gaston. He was a wonderful startagist with the Blue Jays, maybe he could convince Dusty into making some smart choices for once.

Ok, I have an off-topic question...
If New York takes one out of three from Boston, meaning the Red Sox win two, and the Indians also win two of their remaining three games, giving all three teams a 95-67 record, what is the tie breaker? Do they do a three team playoff?

New York and Boston would play Monday to break the divisional tie, the loser would play Cleveland Tuesday to break the WC tie.

Thank you very much...makes sense...

Chifan:
"Plus he can be groomed to take over as manager as early as June 2006."

Still with the wishful thinking?? Dusty's dismissal has been said to of happened after 2004 season, then when teh team went through the 1st 8 game losing streak, then the 2nd 8 game losing streak, then after the season and now in June of 2006 and then somepeople say after 2006.

Man for your sake i hope McPhail doesn't give out thsoe extenstions this offseason or your time table will take you to 2008. :)

Ron,

Makes sense. Although, after playing for the championship of the East, the loser would actually have a worse record than Cleveland since these extra games are considered regular season games.

"Still with the wishful thinking?? Dusty's dismissal has been said to of happened after 2004 season, then when teh team went through the 1st 8 game losing streak, then the 2nd 8 game losing streak, then after the season and now in June of 2006 and then somepeople say after 2006."

Manny,

I for one do not think they will get contract extensions unless Hendry builds a Kick A-- team in the off-season. Anyways that June of 2006 was half in jest but if he does not have an extension and after May there like 25-25 or worse I would not rule out the possibilty that someone else would be in the Manager's role.

Thirdly, pitchers like Farnsworth and JoBo went on to have good seasons after leaving Rothschild.

Of course I agree with this and everything else you said in that post because I said it first.

Nice to see you break ranks with the bleeding bores on this site and join me in noting that the reason the Cub bullpen sucks is because it's pitching for other teams.

But to be fair, not only did they and others resucitate their careers after leaving Rothschild, they did so after getting out of the clutches of Dusty Baker and the Cub organization as well.

I firmly believe that the present sorry state of the Cubs is the result of a team effort.

farnsworth had some great years with the cubs...he seems to be on a 1 good/1 bad freak schedule...you really think his problem is coaching or his chronic drinking and anger issues?

and borowski...1 good month with TB and 1 month with TB so bad its not funny (12ip 14h 9er 5bb 6k)...that's good?

Well besides the "fact" that Bluewater Pennant said something first (just like he was the "first" to suggest Kerry Wood should be used in the bullpen about two years after Peter Gammons wrote about the possiblity) the facts simply don't back any of it up.

Farnsworth's having a good year, but its certainly not shocking considering he's in his prime and is finally showing the potential he flashed in 2001 and 2003. The guy had a track record of partying too hard, and getting moved away from Wrigleyville has forced him to focus. In return, we got a young guy with similar potential that doesn't cost 2 million dollars and is under club control for several more years.

Borowski: Yuck. He's now lost 5 games and blown 4 saves for the Rays. After having a nice August pitching to AL hitters who'd never seen him, his ERA has ballooned to nearly 7 in the month of September.

Hawkins: Has found a way to get even worse pitching for the Giants. His ERA has climbed even since leaving the Cubs and he's blown 5 saves in 7 chances.

I'm surprised to see the schedule. 2 weekend series in Milwaukee? Those will be the first weekend series in 3 seasons.

"I'm surprised to see the schedule. 2 weekend series in Milwaukee? Those will be the first weekend series in 3 seasons."

Marigold,

Milwaukee is a team that has to be considered a contender in the NL central now with all that good young talent they have. They will add a good starter in any Overbay trade they make. There set in the rotation and on starting position players. They can spend the $$$ they will have on pen guys to help Turnbow and some bench guys to rest some regulars. Given the fact that it is a good rivarly the schudling makes sense.

Jim Hendry was just on ESPN Radio 100 here in Chicago and here are some quick blurbs from the interview:

-He, nor anyone, is happy with this season, even if they get to .500.
-If he had one thing to go back and change it would to trade Sosa earlier.
-Second thing was to try and put Dempster as closer earlier.
-Thinks Demp can close for Cubs in future.
-Rotation depends on Wood and Prior's health.
-Will look for starter and make a deal if it makes sense.
-Pen will be tweaked and but expect to see Novoa and Weurtz for sure next year.
-Wood should be throwing off mound sometime in january.
-Wood is expected to be in rotation.
-Feels good about Murton and Cedeno, but they are not getting handed jobs, they will be given oppurtuinty to win them though.
-Dusty has no problem playing rookies.
-Has no answers about CPat, not lack of tring on his aprt or coaching staff.
-Dusty and Hendry have talked about the rumors about Dusty going to LA and he said the rumors are bogus. Dusty wants to stay in Chicago and he will.

Pretty good interview. Nothing mentioned about contract extenstions. Of course Hendry could not talk about certain players as that would be tampering, but said he will attack the offseason in both FA's and trades.

http://www.suntimes.com/output/cubs/cst-spt-c...

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

There were pieces in the Sun-Times and Trib too about next season.

- Depending on how Pie does in winter ball, he may compete for CF

- Some doctor thinks Wood should be back to his '03 form, if not better.

- "But we would look into [acquiring another starter] if we could, if you find somebody that's the right guy and could make the staff deeper. I'm happy with the way [No. 5 starter] Jerome Williams has pitched at times. But we need to augment the pitching.''

- Told Glendon he would be considered in the rotation, basically saying thanks for the memories, please don't come back.

-Re-emphasis on tightening the screws on fundamentals and coming out of the gate stronger

The Williams comment was the most interesting, will they really go after Burnett or Millwood, or some other FA pitcher?

I think they would like to retain Williams and probably use him out of the 'pen. If Rusch is gone, who would be our backup starter the first time Wood gets hurt, Zambrano gets a blister, or an ACME anvil drops on Prior while he is shaving? The answer: Jerome Williams. I think he would be a decent backup if we were unable to sign Burnett or Milwood.

As a Wisconsinite who can't get to Milwaukee unless its a weekend game, I was surprised by the weekend games too.

I figure it has to do with one of two things:

1 - Between higher ticket prices for Cubs games, and having lots of games very early or late in the season, the Brewers didn't sell nearly as many tickets against the Cubs as they usually do, so they asked for some weekend dates.

or

2 - Bud's daughter no longer owns the team, so the Commish's office stopped telling the schedule makers to give the Brewer's preferential treatment.

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