Game 54 Recap: Cubs 8, Rockies 4

Best Team in Baseball


W-
Wuertz (1-1), pitchers who can't field their position, first MLB RBIs, double-steals


L-
Herges (2-2)


Box Score
, Photos


Things to Take from This Game


1. Balanced Attack

Soriano, Lee, Ramirez, Soto and Johnson all had RBIs, with XBH by Ramirez and Fukudome (2Bs) and Lee (Solo HR.)

2.Cotts almost has a good sixth inning

Almost. He relieved Marquis with a 3-1 lead and the bases loaded, one out. He gets Willie Tavares in an 0-2 count, before Tavares bloops one just over the drawn in Lee, scoring two and tying the game at three. He K's Seth Smith, and seems to K Helton swinging, but it's just barely a foul tip, popping out of Soto's glove. Helton walks on the next pitch. So much for Cotts' return to the majors. Marquis wasn't great, but some bad luck after he had left gave him a final line worse than it might have been.


3. Messy 7th gives Cubs a comeback

A blooper into the bermuda triangle, another soft single, an error, a hit by pitch and a sacrifice fly gave the Cubs two generous runs off of Matt Herges.

4. Messy 8th gives Cubs an easy win

A double, a bad throw on a sac bunt, a single, a double steal, a single with a dropped ball on a play at the plate, and the Cubs get three more in the eighth, for an 8-4 lead. After some shakey middle-infield play by the Cubs early in the game, it was the Rockies who played sloppy the rest of the way.

With the win, the Cubs move past a certain AL East powerhouse, to claim the best record in baseball. The cream of the crop details, follow.

Game Recap

Inning 1 - Top

  • Podsednik grounds out to short, deflected off of Marquis' glove.
  • Smith singles to center
  • Marquis K's Helton swinging on a change up.
  • Atkins grounds into a 6-4 force.

Inning 1 - Bottom

  • Soriano flies to the warning track in left.
  • Atkins is pulled in, and Theriot bounces one past his left, for a single
  • 3-2 count, Lee lines to Podsednik.
  • Ramirez doubles to the left-center Under Armor sign. Theriot slides in around the tag, and the ball bounces away, anyway. 1-0
  • Soto lines to Spilborghs.

Inning 2- Top

  • Spilborghs doubles past Ramirez down the left field line.
  • Stewart hits a high fly to deep left center. Soriano makes a running catch, Spliborghs goes to third.
  • Torrealba hits a slow roller to the right of Theriot. He charges, but the ball clangs out of hs glove. Runner at third holds, Torrealba safe at first. Looks like Theriot was checking out the runner at third, taking his eye off the ball
  • Quintanilla K's swinging, changeup.
  • Francis hits one to Ramirez. Easy 5-3, nice escape from the inning

Inning 2- Bottom

  • Fukudome walks.
  • DeRosa with a lazy fly to right.
  • Johnson hits one down the third base line. Atkins again is playing in, can't quite react quickly enough. The ball hits off the bag, trickles away. Runners at 1 and 2.
  • Marquis trying to bunt.
  • With an 0-2 count, Marquis takes a real bad bunting stab at a pitch, strikes out.
  • Soriano flies to just short of the warning track in right.

Inning 3 - Top

  • Podsednik grounds out to DeRosa
  • Smith singles just to the left of DeRosa, who stretches up to snag it, just out of reach.
  • Runner goes, pulling Soto out of his crouch to throw. The pitch skips in the dirt, bounces up off his glove as he goes for the backhand, up into the stands. It's ball four, so Smith stays at second, Helton takes first on the walk.
  • Atkins flies to deep left
  • Spilborghs bounces to Ramirez, steps on third for the force

Inning 3 - Bottom

  • 3-2 pitch, Theriot K's swinging at a low slider
  • Lee hits a belt-high fastball over the middle plate out to straight-away left field, for a home run.
  • Ramirez grounds to short.
  • Soto K's swinging

Inning 4 - Top

  • First pitch, Stewart lines a triple to right-center. Johnson had been playing around towards left.
  • Torrealba hits the sac fly to center, scoring Stewart. Johnson lost sight of it for a second, but caught it without any problem. 2-1 Cubs
  • Quintanilla breaks his bat, and the grounder scoots under DeRosa's backhand. Error on DeRosa.
  • Francis bunts him to second.
  • Lee makes a nice play on a Podsednik grounder, 3 unassisted, out of inning

Inning 4 - Bottom

  • Fukudome lines one high off the wall in left-center, for a double.
  • DeRosa swings over the top of what I think was a slider. mlb.tv is not very good
  • Johnson inside-out ones to right. Fukudome waits to see if it'll go through, but still scores without a play. 3-1.
  • This time, Marquis gets the bunt down the third base line. Johnson to second.
  • Soriano bounces to Atkins, 5-3

Inning 5 - Top

  • Smith grounds to Lee
  • Helton lines one inside the third base line for a double.
  • Atkins bounces to Theriot, Helton to third.
  • Marquis breaks Spilborghs bat, and he bloops to DeRosa, who makes a nice running, leaping catch near second base. Out of the jam.

Inning 5- Bottom

  • Theriot walks.
  • Lee K's swinging
  • Ramirez flies to a step short of the wall, just left of center. Len points out that the wind has shifted, blowing straight in. Might have been a homer, earlier in the game.
  • Soto grounds out 5-3

Inning 6 - Top

  • Stewart hits a check swing down the third base line. Ramirez makes a leaping dive for it, and hit hits just off the glove, rolling away far enough for a base hit. Nice play saves a double, at least.
  • and Torrealba singles to left. Stewart to second.
  • Tight strike zone, Quintanilla walks. Bases loaded, no outs.
  • Francis taken out of the game, Jeff Baker pinch hits
  • Marquis throws several nice sliders to Baker, the last one striking him out, swinging.
  • LouPa comes out to pull Marquis. He wants to stay in.
  • Cotts in to face Podsednik
  • Willie Tavares in to pinch hit
  • Cotts throws strike one and strike two.
  • Two pitches fouled off.
  • With Lee pulled in, Tavares fights one off, blooping it just over Lee's leaping glove-hand. It rolls into the Rockies bullpen. 3-3 game. Runners on 1 and 2
  • Smith K's looking at strike three. Fastball, inside corner.
  • 3-2 count on Helton, He swings, misses, and it pops out of Soto's glove. It's ruled a foul tip (and seems to be), Helton stays alive.
  • And he walks on the next pitch. Bases loaded.
  • Wuertz in to face Atkins
  • 3-2 count to Atkins, Wuertz K's him looking at a tough slider on the inside corner.

Inning 6 - Bottom

  • Corpas in to pitch, Taveres in center
  • Fukudome grounds out to second.
  • DeRosa walks.
  • Johnson lines sharply to Atkins, who makes a diving catch, gets up, and doubles DeRosa off first.

Inning 7 - Top

  • Spilborghs with a bloop single into center.
  • and just does get in on a steal of second. Nice effort by Soto on a low pitch.
  • Stewart then slices a double into the left field corner. 4-3. Stewart needs a homer for the cycle.
  • Torrealba grounds to Theriot.
  • Quintanilla lines one in to center. Stewart is running, for some unknown reason, and Johnson easily doubles him off with a lobbed in bouncer to second.

Inning 7 - Middle

  • Santo does the stretch. It's good to see him looking well.

Inning 7 - Bottom

  • Matt Herges in to pitch
  • Fontenot hits for Wuertz
  • and K's swinging
  • Soriano hits one into the trianble between second, RF and CF. It drops in, with Stewart coming closet to making an over the shoulder catch
  • Theriot hits one to right, Soriano to third.
  • Theriot getting a lot of attention at first
  • Lee hits a tapper to the left of the mound. Herges goes for it, throws it to first, where it hits Lee in the butt, getting away from Helton. Soriano then comes home, Theriot to third, 4-4 game
  • Ramirez HBP on a 2-1 pitch. Fastball that runs up and in, clipping the jersey in front of his chest. Bases loaded
  • Soto flies to right. Theriot scores, Smith throws behind Lee at second, almost getting him. 5-4 Cubs.
  • Fukudome K's looking

Inning 8 - Top

  • Marmol in.
  • Cory Sullivan (who?) hits for Matt Herges
  • and flies to center.
  • Tavares with a foul tip K on a fastball
  • Marmol K's Smith on a nasty slider. Made the inning look easy.

Inning 8 - Bottom

  • Sullivan in right, Taylor Bucholz pitching, Smith out of the game, double-switch.
  • Bucholz his Rafael Betancourt or Steve Trachsel-esque in his pace, and it's already a ten pitch AB
  • 11th pitch, DeRosa hits the right field gap for a double.
  • Cedeno in to pinch run
  • Johnson bunts a dribbler down the third base line. Bucholz gets it, and like Herges, throws it into the path of the runner. This time, Helton catches it, and Johnson's helmet bumps it out of the glove. Cedeno to third, Johnson safe at first, error on the pitcher.
  • Hoffpauir in to hit for Marmol
  • Lines a single up the middle, through a drawn in infield. 6-4 game. First career RBI for Hoffpauir, congrats.
  • Double steal. Pitch is in the dirt, no play. Runners at 2 and 3
  • Soriano singles up the middle. Tavares throws home trying to get Hoffpauir from second, a nice one-hopper. Torrealba can't handle it, Hoffpauir gets his hand on the plate as he slides around Torrealba. 8-4
  • Alberto Arias in to pitch
  • Theriot walks.
  • Lee hits a sharp liner to Quintanilla, who knocks it down, then completes the 6-4-3. Soriano to third
  • Ramirez pops to Atkins

Inning 9 - Top

  • Wood in to pitch
  • Helton K's looking at a tough slider
  • Atkins K's swinging at a slider
  • Spilborghs singles to right, takes second on indifference.
  • And Stewart K's looking at a nasty slider. Wood really had the stuff going, tonight.

Parachat Recap

Inning 1

  • Evidently, I died.
  • How did I die? Opinion is divided between sci-fi, sexual, and redneck-related answers.
  • Can we cheer Whipple up?
  • King Felix.
  • Ontology
  • Kalamazoo

Inning 2

  • Who plays center, part 5,194
  • The Pie vs. Cake gender divide
  • Jesse Litsch, Pat Listash
  • Where have you gone, Cubs draft class of '02?
  • Marquis' sad at bat
  • You're a Towel. Ouch.

Inning 3

  • The All-Japanese MLB Player Team.
  • Facing Glendon Rusch

Inning 4

  • Tonight's fantasy results
  • Choo Freeman: where is he now?
  • Mexican-Arkansans.
  • Cubs hitters over .800 OPS
  • Better than Ezra
  • Rob G is a Knob.
  • Bad fantasy weeks

Inning 5

  • I step out for two minutes, and I...
    • get fired
    • am declared dead
      • again
  • I return, get my job back, and am resurrected
  • No wait, I'm told I'm a zombie.
  • mmmmm. Brains......
  • Brains......
  • Are there any brains in my refrigerator?
  • Mmmmmm..... Musician brains....
  • Mmmmm... Rachel Ray and right-wing blogger brains.....
    • Still hungry after that light snack
  • Who starts a keeper-league fire sale in May?
    • Zombies.
  • Submitting Rick Astley to......
    • a Zombie buffet?
  • Throwing lesbians out of Safeco
    • and into a horde of Zombies.

Inning 6

  • The Butthole Surfers
  • Firing people...
  • ...out of cannons
  • Is Basketball over yet?
  • griping about the game
  • We have failed to cheer up Whipple.
  • Music.
  • New rule: a one-to-one matching of every musical group referenced with the word "boobs"
  • Sombrero-wearing wi-fi users under cactii.

Inning 7

  • Whipple must be feeling better, he and Crunch have resumed explaining what's cool to us. :)
  • Kelly Clarkson.
  • We educate Carlos about the decisio-making process in gay sex.
  • Foreskins
  • Evidently, I'm a Zombie foreskin. Who knew?
  • BEES!
  • Carlos: Bustin' Fontenot lined a double into tha left-centa gap. Soriano then hit a shawty bloopa dizzle tha left field line thizzat J-to-tha-izzust did drop in fair territory.
    • This section edited out to preserve my prospects for being selected as a V.P. candidate in a major political party.
  • Continuing: Chizzan Ho Pizzark relieves Saito. Heh mah nizzle. On a N-to-tha-izzight where Fernando Tatis is play'n fo` tha Mets, n wit Scizzay Elarton also called up . It dont stop till the wheels fall off. I'm amused and yo momma.

Inning 8

  • "Consistently out of his mind - like he's sippin' on the Dusty Juice" - SJS Kenosha
  • Rally Bush language?!?!
  • Superdelegates
  • Rays fans.
  • Blackhawks, Red Wings, Bulls, Red Bulls. Oh My.
  • Potato skins as sex toys.
  • Carlos tells us how we should vote in November.
  • RALLY POLITICS!

Inning 9

  • Wood and Helton in a beard-off
  • PONIES!
  • PICKLE SURPRISE!
  • Carlos looks for low-cost bids on a Ph.D.
  • Wes's GPA vs. his ERA


Cubs record in games recapped moves to 8-3. Coincidence? (Yes.)

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Comments

you are getting very skilled at the bullets and sub-bullets and sub-bullets once removed.

Great job, Trans, as always.

That's very nice of you. Can I

  • Eat your brains?
    • or have a job?
      • preferably, a job eating brains?
  • Have that in writing?
    • preferably, with a side of brains?
  • Get tomorrow off?

Can I
* learn HTML?
- quick?

damn, they don't even indent.

Try adjusting your "Input format" to rich text editing.  You should see the input format button just abuot the "preview comment" button.

 

At least, I think that is what to do, andhow it works....

NERDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

/Ogre Palowakski

and:
no to brains.

you can't have a job and tomorrow off too. If you were referring to tomorrow off from recapping, I still say no...keep recapping until you've proven that there's not a causal relationship between the recaps and the wins.

there, you have it in writing.

Chizzan Ho Pizzark!

I live with a right-wing bloggerette who likes Rachel Ray. I can't decide if it's good or bad that I missed that conversation. ;-)

Don't listen to your woman. Vote Obama. He's good. He's black. He's there for you.

(harmless tongue in cheek comment... don't flame me)

OBAMER.

Barack Obama is your new bicycle.
http://barackobamaisyournewbicycle.com/

weather forecast doesn't look so nice for friday...

http://www.weather.com/outlook/homeandgarden/home/...

Weather map looks ominous and forecast says it probably won't clear up until late tonight. They call it yet?

from the Sun-Times:

Daryle Ward (back) said he'll probably need another two days to strengthen his right leg before he can take on-field batting practice. He said it should be a quick return to the active roster from there.

''I'll be able to hit, regardless -- I was born to hit,'' said Ward, who was eligible to return Thursday.

The Cubs are expected to send him on a brief minor-league rehab assignment, putting his return in the week-to-10-days range.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/97867...

"I was born to hit," said Ward,

Heh. Awesome.

Hit the...dining table?

Any clues on why the Cubs are doing so much better this year? It's kind of mind-blowing b/c Cubs '07 & Cubs '08 are pretty much the same team! I have a hard time believing this stark difference is due to Jones-Fukudome & Barrett-Soto upgrades.

Don't get me wrong, Fukudome's patience & plate discipline is huge. Most around here know I have an irrational love of Pat Burrell and his patience at the plate is pretty much the reason why. When you see a lot of pitches good things happen... you'll eventually see better pitches, but even if you record an out you can run an opposing pitcher's pitch count up for the inning possibly giving hitters behind you an edge. If I remember correctly Fukudome was at the center of those long innings with Saito on Wednesday and Herges last night. It's a quality that doesn't show up in the stats.

My dream outfield: Burrell, D. DeJesus, Fukudome

One thing to remember is that from June 3rd on last year the Cubs played .578 ball, so it's not like they are worlds above last years team. I do think that performances of Fukodome, Soto, Cedeno, and Johnson are making the difference between .580 play and .600 play - that and lots of home games.

Any clues on why the Cubs are doing so much better this year?

Well... Lee is hitting better (though interestingly showing less patience), ARam is showing more patience, Fukudome and Soto are obviously huge upgrades, DeRosa and Theriot are both hitting as well, if not better, than last year.

The defense has been good. The bullpen has downright nasty at times. Zambrano is pitching better.

If you would have asked me about two months ago, I'm not so sure I would have considered Soto an upgrade to Barrett. What a year!

A full season of Carlos Marmol has been handy as well. I still don't think this is a 100 win team as of yet. Of course we haven't had any injuries to speak of so far. We live in a world where Colorado makes it to the WS. Stranger things have happend

I'd guess that the preponderance of home games has helped a bit, but didn't they kind of stink up the joint during the early stages last year?

The interesting thing is I can't remember a game this year, I'm sure there are several, that Cubs were not in ie blow outs or loss by 5 runs.

Milwaukee roughed us up in the 2nd game of the year 8-2, but given their high run differential, I am sure that is the only one.

They lost 8-2 to Mil on 4/2.
They lost 7-1 to Phi on 4/12.
They lost 9-2 to Cinci on 4/17.
They lost 10-7 to Mil on 4/29.
They lost 9-0 to Cinci on 5/9.

The other 16 losses were all 1 or 2 run games.

The Cubs lost 8-2 to the Brewes on April 2nd, 7-1 to the Phillies on April 12th, 9-2 to the Reds on April 17th, 9-0 to the Reds on May 7th. Those are the only games that they have lost by more than 3 runs. In fact, if you add in the 10-7 April 29th defeat to the Brewers, the Cubs have only lost by 3 runs or more 5 times, with the rest being 1 or 2 run defeats. The breakdown of the 21 losses looks like this:

1 Run = 7 times
2 Runs = 9 times
3 Runs = 1 time
6 Runs = 2 times
7 Runs = 1 time
9 Runs = 1 time

They've pretty much been in every single game. Not since the Leiber start more than 3 weeks ago have they been out of it. Also interesting, the April 2nd, April 12th, and April 17th losses were all Ted Lilly starts before he figured things out this year. So if you take out the Leiber spot start, once Lilly got on track the Cubs have only lost ONE game by 3 or more runs (the 10-7 Marquis loss to the Brewers) in SIX WEEKS of baseball!!

Looks like Big and I were posting this at the same time...

Last year through 54 games the Cubs statline looked like this:

AVG .268 OBP .327 SLG .418 OPS .745 R 249 H 516 2B 115 3B 11 HR 51 RBI 236 BB 164 SO 366 SB 26

Today (through 54 games) it looks like this:

AVG .284 OBP .366 SLG .442 OPS .808 R 304 H 541 2B 121 3B 5 HR 57 RBI 287 BB 236 SO 371 SB 32

Average, On-Base, and Slugging are all way up. They don't really have that many more extra base hits this year, but the near 20 point increase in average makes a huge difference. Walks have increased nearly 45% since last season!! And RBI and Runs are up by around 50.

The Cubs are currently 33-21 and 23-8 at home. They are also underperforming their expected W-L record.

At this point last year they were 22-29. They had also played poorly at home up to that point: 10-15.

Damn.

I missed Better Than Ezra, Rachel Ray and crazies, and Seattle lesbians.

I think I am going through parachat withdrawal.

Right now we have 5 of the top 19 leaders in OBP in the National League. And two of the other guys in our lineup are Soriano and Lee...

The Sports Illustrated Bizarro cover should have had the Cubs stats on it somewhere. The Cubs remind me of other teams I have liked in the past that work the count, drive pitchers insane by fouling off pitch after pitch after pitch with two strikes, etc. This is the bizarro world of the Cubs.

Since we are exactly 1/3 of the way through the season we can easly multiply by 3 to obtain what would be the Cubs players final numbers if they were to keep this pace up the entire way. Obviously this won't be how it looks in the end, but it gives an easier to understand perspective on how well the Cubs are playing right now:

Name AVG OBP SLG OPS H 2B 3B HR Runs RBI SB BB SO
Alfonso Soriano .287 .331 .543 .874 141 27 0 33 78 93 9 36 99
Ryan Theriot .317 .402 .387 .789 189 27 3 3 108 39 27 84 60
Derrek Lee .292 .351 .544 .895 198 48 3 39 126 111 9 63 90
Aramis Ramirez .301 .418 .522 .939 168 42 0 27 111 114 3 96 99
Kosuke Fukodome .305 .409 .426 .835 174 39 6 6 99 57 12 102 96
Geovany Soto .299 .392 .559 .952 159 51 3 27 63 111 0 87 144
Mark DeRosa .308 .400 .453 .853 159 39 0 12 96 78 9 75 123
Reed Johnson .262 .343 .356 .699 117 24 0 6 75 72 6 36 72
Ronny Cedeno .321 .402 .444 .847 78 21 0 3 75 72 6 30 36
Mike Fontenot .246 .350 .406 .756 51 15 0 6 36 36 3 33 39
Henry Blanco .313 .371 .313 .684 30 0 0 0 12 6 0 9 15

lol @ Fuku's 102 BB

Needs more base clogging.

Soriano like it or not is one of 4 impact bats in the lineup. For years we had 2 at best, now we got 4.

Lee, Ramirez, Soriano, and Fuku form a killer goup. And in all reality we have 5 impact bats at this moment in Soto with his 9 HR and 37 RBI.

I know the arguement can be made against Fukudome in that context but when your hitting .348 with a .492 OBP with RISP, that is huge.

But take a look at this...

Theriot - 28 BB - 20 K
Lee - 21 BB - 30 K
Ramirez - 32 BB - 33 K
Fuku - 34 BB - 32 K
DeRosa - 25 BB - 41 K
Soto - 29 BB - 48 K

The ability to take the walk and run up opposing pitchers pitch counts, and then getting to their bullpens is why this team is better than last year. And if your making opposing teams pitchers work harder you might get an extra go through with your lineup. I don't know about you guys, but getting 1 extra AB late in the game for guys like Soriano, Lee, Ramirez pays off.

Yeah, this year we have 2201 Total Plate Appearances, leading the NL. This is on pace for 6621 over a full season. In 2007 the Cubs had 6268, a difference of 353. So like an extra 5 or 6 games worth, something like that? It's basically 2.18 more batters coming to the plate per game than last year.

Running up the pitch count is huge. That's why I was surprised when the Dodgers took out Lowe the other night. He was getting the Cubs to bang the ball into the dirt and his pitch count I think was only in the 80s. If I was managing against this team and my guy was getting them to beat the ball into the ground with short pitch counts I'd forget about all other baseball norms and keep him in there till the end.

I probably would have taken Lowe out. If it was 2-0 instead of 1-0, then I leave him in. I couldn't let myself run him back out there and let the Cubs tie the game when my two studs in the bullpen (Broxton and Saito) are just watching it happen. I can't blame Torre for that. Those two guys are just about as nails as it gets. Just not that night.

Didn't Lou give the pending poor weather as one reason why he let Wood pitch last night?

LF Soriano
2B Fonteno
1B Lee
C Soto
RF Fukudome
CF Edmonds
3B DeRosa
SS Cedeno
P Lilly

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