Game 4 Thread / Astros @ Cubs (1 of 3)

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SP Chris Sampson SP Rich Hill
(2007) 7-8, 4.59 (2007) 11-8, 3.92
CF *Michael Bourn LF Alfonso Soriano
RF Hunter Pence SS Ryan Theriot
1B #Lance Berkman 1B Derrek Lee
LF Carlos Lee 3B Aramis Ramirez
SS Miguel Tejada RF *Kosuke Fukudome
3B Ty Wigginton 2B Mark DeRosa
2B Mark Loretta C Geovany Soto
C J.R. Towles CF *Felix Pie
Chris Sampson P *Rich Hill












Profiling the Astros:

Record: 1-3 (6th in NL Central)


RS: 12


Team OPS
: 630 (13th in NL)

Team ERA:
4.09 (11th in NL)

Record v. Cubs (2007):
Key additions since '07: Jose Valverde (RP), Darin Erstad (OF/1B), Miguel Tejada (SS), Kaz Matsui (2B; currently disabled), Michael Bourn (OF), Shawn Chacon (SP/RP)
Key departures since '07: Brad Lidge (RP), Jason Jennings (SP), Craig Biggio (2B), Chris Burke (2B), Mike Lamb (3B), Luke Scott (OF)

Cecil Cooper (2nd year: 16-19, .457)

Manager's Nickname:
"Coop" (shared by White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper and every other American male whose last name is Cooper)

Reasons to Hate Them:
Team introduced AstroTurf to Major League Baseball; team lent its name to "AstroTurf"; franchise was in bed with notorious corporate criminals, i.e., "Enron Field"; stupid Tal's Hill in centerfield at Minute-Maid Park--a crippling injury just waiting to happen; Craig Biggio's helmet--why couldn't the guy bother to grab a rag and wipe the pine tar off of it?; club failed to defeat White Sox in 2005 World Series; they continue to let Milo Hamilton announce their home games and in this case I'm using the word "announce" loosely.
You don't like the Astros very much, do you?: That's very perceptive of you. No, I don't. In fact, I'm disappointed they didn't sign Roger Clemens. It would have made them even easier to despise.




I forgot Cecil Cooper was the Houston manager.

I guess Pie's wrist is okay from getting plunked.

said it had a bad bruise and would evaluate today...must be fine.

how many starts do you give a struggling pitcher before pulling the plug? I'm really worried about Hill. Him and the strike zone are having relationship issues. Of course I'm only seeing gameday. To me it looks like the Astros are bailing him out by swinging away.

Well... first of all, he has given up 2 runs in 5 innings against a pretty good offensive team.

Second, when you pitched as well as Hill did last year, you have earned the right to pitch through some struggles.

This whole taking the day off when Rich Hill pitches routine the offense likes to do is really getting old.

NOTE: do not try to hit HRs when wind is blowing in. Focus on singles/doubles.


Would that explain all of the "flied out to center" descriptions I keep reading in Yahoo Sports?

While I'm on the topic, wouldn't the correct term be flew out to center?

Many would argue that flied isn't a word and that it should be always flew, but you can find flied in dictionaries etc. and baseball seems to be unique in that it often uses flied.

I think it's to distinguish it from what would happen if the batter grew wings or hopped a plane and made his way to centerfield, in which case he would indeed have "flew out to center."

lol, perhaps. So the ball flew out to center but the batter flied out to center - makes sense to me.

Great start to our season!!!!!!!!

dominated by Chris Sampson and defense lets us down...


Add in more great defense...stir....and Voila....a craptacular start to the season.

Pie sucks. The sooner the Cubs get this through their heads the better off everyone will be.

Soriano's hitting .059. Aramis is hitting .154. Soto's hitting .167. Riot and Lee are hitting .222.

Seems like blaming Pie for being the lone source of our problem is probably a mistake.

I'm not blaming Pie. I'm just saying that he sucks. ARam and Lee are in mini slumps and will come around. Why? Because they are talented major leaguers. Pie will not come around. Why? Because he is a bad baseball player. It would be better if Cubs would realize that fact sooner rather than waiting until after he's made about 450 outs for our club.

I realize I could be way off about this. It's just that I don't think I am.

This team seems absolutely determined to once again make this season very hard on themselves. Countdown to Lou losing game I'm thinking, if they don't win, it might be Lee Elia II.

So how many more games till Lou moves the lineup around again? Definitely a disappointing start since we basically healthy and supposedly Lou knows his players this year. Oswalt on the mound against us tomorrow, ugh!!

i would have no issue hitting fuku 2nd, personally...its one of the 3 slots he's supposedly gonna play in the past month anyway.

Pie sucks. The sooner the Cubs get this through their heads the better off everyone will be.

Wow, more in depth commentary at the Reporter. Nice post. I assume you're a scout, right? You must know something we don't after 5 games.

This team seems absolutely determined to once again make this season very hard on themselves. Countdown to Lou losing game I'm thinking, if they don't win, it might be Lee Elia II.

WE'RE 5 GAMES INTO THE SEASON GUYS, CHILL OUT. The team has looked pretty good so far and has shown no big weakness. The hitting will come around, this lineup is too good...including Pie.

Yeah, but according to the media last year, the team only came alive after Sweet Lou's tantrum. Let's just go ahead and get it out of the way and we can play like champions the rest of the season.

Any objections?

"I assume you're a scout, right? You must know something we don't after 5 games."

Firstly, we have only played 4 games. Secondly, Pie has played in many more than that. I am not yet ready to say he sucks, but I don't think he is going to be anywhere as good some thought. I think he is going to be another CPat.

And you're right, he very well may be Korey part deux. He certainly has looked like it from some of his poor swings and poor pitch recognition. But the point is that it's time to find out. Pie has nothing left to prove in AAA and it's time to find out if he's going to be a major league hitter or not. I'm willing to give him a season to figure that out if he continues to play great defense. I would also bat him 7th rather than 8th so that you can give him some better pitches to hit. Bat Theriot 8th and he'll have a chance to run or be bunted over if he gets on.

I find guys are on base hitting when we get to soto. Then he is our only hope and pie/pitcher effectively end the inning. To me this means fuku - 2nd, lee, aram, derosa, soto. At least then we have two possible hitters to known people in.

that, or, put pie on the bench.

maybe MIL is so good cause they use players who are not latin hiters and they can deal with weather outside of 85 degrees.

Agreed on Fbomb hitting second, and soto 6th

Soto leads the Cubs in RBI's with 4, although you wouldn't guess that reading some of the comments on TCR.

This team just needs another bat. Otherwise, I think we're going to be scraping for runs every game. Unfortunately, there's not much place to add one other than at SS or CF.

Marshall worked just three innings in the Triple-A start, but retired all nine he faced with 6 K's.


pie is not getting a fair shot he needs to
be in 7 hole with theriot in the 8th

maybe MIL is so good cause they use players who are not latin hiters and they can deal with weather outside of 85 degrees.

Utter nonsense.

Pie has had 192 Major League AB's and is 23 years old...... I'm not ready to throw in the towel on him yet.

I don't have a problem with Pie at this point - if the rest of the team was producing, it wouldn't be noticeable. Not happy about his missing the cut - off man a few days ago, but that throw was on the money and just a hairbreadths of a second late.

Recent comments

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  • Baez still learning

    jacos 15 min 51 sec ago view
  • heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.

    he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.

    crunch 1 hour 19 min ago view
  • stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.

    that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.

    crunch 2 hours 25 min ago view
  • brock stewart...steven times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.

    crunch 3 hours 14 min ago view
  • Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.

    VirginiaPhil 7 hours 45 min ago view
  • video of Maddon.

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 22 hours 55 min ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 23 hours 1 min ago view

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 23 hours 6 min ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 23 hours 17 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 23 hours 29 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 23 hours 54 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 1 day 34 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 1 day 1 hour ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 1 day 2 hours ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 1 day 2 hours ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 1 day 2 hours ago view