Game 115 Thread / Astros @ Cubs (3 of 3)

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SP Brandon Backe SP Jason Marquis

6-10, 4.72, 100 K, 56 BB, 129.2 IP

6-7. 4.68, 64 K, 45 BB, 117.1 IP
2B #Kaz Matsui LF Alfonso Soriano
RF Hunter Pence SS Ryan Theriot
1B #Lance Berkman 1B Derrek Lee
LF Carlos Lee 3B Aramis Ramirez
SS #Geoff Blum CF *Jim Edmonds
3B Ty Wigginton 2B Mark DeRosa
CF *Darin Erstad RF *Kosuke Fukudome
C Humberto Quintero C Geovany Soto
P Brandon Backe P *Jason Marquis


What a surprise!

I returned Tuesday night from a wonderful vacation on the East Coast, and based on the news mix I got from the all-sports radio station in Boston, I assumed all of MLB had gone on hiatus while the Red Sox negotiated their divorce arrangements with Manny Ramirez.

Turns out the Cubs had, in fact, stayed busy, eviscerating the Brewers and taking two-of-three from the Bayless Bucs while building a 5-game lead in the Central. This afternoon they try to even up their season mark against Houston—currently they're 5-6—while capturing yet another series win. In 18 series so far this year at Wrigley, the Cubs are 14-3-1.

Jason Marquis, winless in his last six starts (0-4, 5.25), goes for the home team. Brandon Backe, the losingest pitcher on Cecil Cooper's staff, has an ND and loss against the Cubs this season.

Hey, I see the Cubs are stumping for permission to play some of their home night games on Fridays and Saturdays. Why not? Then Erin Andrews could cover the games in a cocktail dress.


saturday night games in wrigley would be awesome

Sean Gallagher is expected to go on the disabled list with a sore shoulder. A source told the San Francisco Chronicle that Gallagher felt a "pop" in the shoulder in his July 25 start against Texas.

bet no one had Gallagher ahead of Harden in the pitcher death pool...

Jason Marquis, winless in his last six starts (0-4, 5.25)

That is not a really fair look at Marquis.

Four of his last five starts been solid or good, all being "quality starts," which should be more than enough to win on this team.

...then Erin Andrews could cover the games in a cocktail dress.

Hmm... and maybe Bruce Levine can wear a Tux or something.

Oh wait... we don't care what he wears, because he is a guy.

Poor parallel. What Andrews wore was unprofessional. If Levine wore cut-off jeans and flip flops, that, too, would be unprofessional and worthy of comment.

Umm... how is a dress at all comparable to cut off jeans and flip flops?

Poor parallel.

The parallel lies in their unsuitability in what is, for all of the other reporters and the players themselves, a place of business.

No... they are not.

Wearing a dress that makes a woman look sexy has no similarities to a man wearing cutoffs and flip flops.

Sorry... strongly disagree with you on that one.

You're wrong on this dave.

It's about what is appropriate and what is not. She was not dressed appropriately.

I've gotta disagree on this. Bruce Levine's job isn't to be on tv. Like it or not, Erin Andrews isn't a typical "journalist". She's like a host on E!, except she talks about sports instead of celebrities. Part of her job is to look good for the camera.

I have absolutely no problem with her dressing a little sexy. If she were a beat writer using her tits to get a scoop, then that's a problem. But she's not. She's a fucking sideline reporter who appears on camera 4-5 times per game and lobs the players/managers softball questions for our entertainment.

so what you are saying is that she is eye candy and is not to be respected as a real journalist.

That's a real stretch from what I said. You may have your own issues if you think you can't be both attractive and respected at the same time.

There's a reason you don't see very many ugly people on television. Part of her job is to look good. The other part is to ask a few questions that we (the viewer) might find interesting.

And let's drop the whole "respected journalist" garbage. It doesn't make me sexist or a mysogynist because I don't think she's breaking the next Watergate any time soon. And that has nothing to do with her gender or her looks. It's because she's a SIDELINE REPORTER. Woodward and Bernstein she is not, but she's good at what she does.

she wants to be thought of as a hot chick first and a reporter/journalist second.

the same does not go for other women reporters.

that's a stretch considering she doesn't take her work as a joke.

you aware that a great number of sports writers never wanted to be sports writers? it's just the job/beat that they were put on or assigned to for a lotta them.

it's like any specialization, though...once you work it enough it becomes a whole lot easier to go from place to place within your specialization.

besides, the pressure to wear what she wears may not even be her call.

the changing face and dolling up of jennie zolasco...who's a very legit baseball reporter...doesn't even remotely match her personality.

she wants to be thought of as a hot chick first and a reporter/journalist second.

She does? I didn't realize that you knew her.

Very few sports guys are "respected reporters". The entire genre is built first on entertainment with real journalism a very distant 10th or 11th. So Erin first going for the entertainment part of the job is absolutely no different from any male reporter first going for the entertainment story about a player, or reporting only ARod's infidelity.

I'd say Erin wearing a revealing dress is a lot better actually then all the drivel spouted by ESPN talking heads.

But god knows if you show some cleavage you must be a slut and have no real value as a human being, let alone a reporter.

just what she puts out there.

legit reporters don't pull that kind of stuff.

She could be both, not that I'd notice. She had me at hot chick.

What he meant to say was that she isn't a real journalist. She has no business being outside the kitchen. She should be barefoot and pregnant somewhere in the south.

Seriously... someone can't be attactive and a respected "real journalist?"

The two are not exclusive.

actually, yes. very attractive people don't do well in journalism. That is why news anchors were never very handsome guys. not ugly. just not 'hot'.

Huh? There are a ton of attractive/very attractive new anchors.

Chad... lets be honest - you have zero credibility on this issue. You believe that women have no place in men's sports, which leads to you having no credibility in issues related to women in men's sports.

There are no news anchors who would be considered "hot". Like the way George Clooney is considered hot.

Lauren Sanchez is the only 'hot' news anchor in Los Angeles of all places and no one takes her seriously.

I'm just saying that maybe you can find someone in America?

Just sayin'

Maybe I could, but why bother? She may be French, but she can surrender to me any time.

Connie Chung was considered pretty hot in her day.

Chad's fightin' hard for the title.

in Parachat for the Brewers/Cincy game while I wait for the Cubs one...

Another strong outing by Reds' Homer Bailey -- coming in to the game, teams were hitting .381 against him.

Today -- 5.1IP, 8H, 6ER.

In hindsight, perhaps Mr. & Mrs. Bailey shouldn't have named their son "Homer". Not the best name for a pitcher, unless your last name is "Howry", in which case it's perfect.

I am so done with Carlos Lee, just go away.

I'm done with him and Marquis. What kind of retard pitcher throws an inner half fastball on an 0-2 count? Especially to the one guy on the team who absolutely destroys the Cubs?

New rule for Marquis: No shaking off Soto. Ever.

Dave, can you try to go one day without an "Umm"? I challenge you!

Heh... I will try. :)

Amazing that they continue to throw CLee strikes.

Andrews, meanwhile, said she did nothing wrong.

"These players are not into me like that," said told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "If anything, I think these guys look at me like a little sister or one of the guys."

Riiiiggght. One of the guys they want to nail.

Yep -- pro athletes are famous for a "hands off" approach to hot women in short skirts.

Give me a f*cking break.

I don't get our pitchers keep giving Lee opportunities to beat us. Intentionally walk him, throw him crap, or put the god damn ball in his flabby ribs, but don't throw him fast balls over the plate. Eeeesh.

I mean, really, this is not that complicated --- 2 outs, 2 on, a .228 hitting SS on deck...and you throw CLee (who is Pujols when he is in Wrigley) something to hit?


DeRosa's been putting a charge into the ball the last few days. After coming up 2 feet short of being the hero the other night, it looks like he had an extra bowl of Wheaties this morning.



Now, get Marquis the hell out of there.

I'll take this a step further...I don't even think Andrews is that good at what she does. She generally asks lousy questions along the lines of, "So, how do you feel right now?"

I can't think right now of a "good" sideline reporter, but I don't think she's one of the better ones.

She is, however, smoking hot.


1. Mark DeRosa, I think I like you a little.

2. Oh my.

I think the wheels have come off for Backe. Soriano just ANNIHILATED that pitch.

Bob Brenly: This is why you don't send Geovany Soto on what could have been a close play at home plate.

(less than 2 seconds later)


I might have to ask Brenly for the Mega Millions numbers this week.

Wow!!! Two outs, man on first, then -- BOOM! Eight big runs.

Really, really like having Fonzie back.

Marquis, you just got bailed out, don't piss off your teammates by ruining it now.

Speaking of incredibly attractive women who are respected in their professions, here's possibly the most beautiful woman in the world:

Well that was fun.

Imagine the last few minutes from the Brewers' perspective. They finish off the Reds and take one last look at the scoreboard, Cubs down 4-1.

By the time they get to the clubhouse and flip on ESPN it's 9-4 Cubs.

That's got to suck just a little bit.

Also, if Erin Andrews were my little sister I might have to rethink my position on incest.

Boy, Marquis barely got out of that one. I hope he isn't planning on throwing any strikes to Carlos Lee next inning.

Theriot out -- hurt, or just a rest? Odd, given that tomorrow is an off day.

fouled a pitch off his foot...hopefully just precautionary...

Cubs lead the NL in BOTH OBP and SLG, and thus lead the league in runs scored by a wide margin -- 604 runs vs. 558 for the 2nd place Phils. Today's game will likely improve all 3 metrics.

So, while no individual is having a killer year (maybe Fonzie on a pro-rated basis), the team certainly is.

Well done, Jim Hendry.

so you are saying there is upside?

Yup -- if Rammy, K-Fuk and Soto get crankin'.

And Lee.

This may go against the mainstream opinion, but I believe Marquis is an above average starting pitcher for the role he plays on the Cubs - 5th starter. Somewhere on this site there must be a sabermetrician, cruncher of numbers, (where are you Dave from the old site?), who could no doubt prove my point. If you take Marquis' GS, W/L, ERA, IP, SO to BB ratio, etc., and compare Marquis against every other 5th SP in the majors, I would be very surprised if he wasn't in the top 5 - maybe even top 2-3.

The frustration most Marquis-haters have is that they compare him to other teams #2 or #3 starters and that ISN'T the role he's been asked to play for the Cubs. Getting Harden solved that issue. Marquis' job on the Cubs is take the ball every 5th day, pitch 6+ innings, so Z, Harden, Dempster, Lilly aren't over-used and the bullpen isn't blown out every 4-5th game. In his first 20 starts he's logged 117 1/3 IP, 6-7 record, 4.68 ERA.

Marquis is doing everything the Cubs could have hoped from a #5 starter. Is he overpaid for most 5th starters? Hell, yes. But I don't think any of us need to hold a fund-raiser for a team that's going to draw 3.3 million fans this year and is going to be sold for north of $750 million.

The bitch of it is for Marquis is that he almost certainly won't make the playoff roster as they won't need 12 pitchers in the playoffs.

Also, the Cubs should walk Carlos Lee every other time he bats against them this season anytime the Cubs have less than a 6 run lead.

I agree, although I too would like to see the numbers to back it up. I have the impression his ERA and Quality Start stats have been pretty damned solid for a #5.

He pales in comparison to the other Cubs starters, but the Cubs have arguably three aces (Z, Dempster, Harden) and another guy (Lilly) who would be a #2 or #3 on most teams.

I support Marquis. He competes, he hits, he pinch runs, he's solid. He gets paid too much, but since it's not my wallet, I don't care. I just want to see the Cubs win.

FWIW, I'd also rather see Marquis than Howry on the postseason roster. :-)

EDIT - And apparently I failed to hit the reply button... argh.

I disagree.

Overpaid #5 starters ultimately hurt the team. The payroll is not infinite, and Marquis' performance could probably be duplicated by a much cheaper alternative (Marshall).

That may not matter this year, but, when the Cubs are looking to sign a FA OF next year, we will regret having an overpaid #5 starter.

That said, I do like the guy -- as has been said, he hits, runs, and hangs tough after the other team scores a few runs.

Well, it's sort of a tough question to answer without really digging into each team.

The first problem, is that Marquis was really the 4th starter, not the 5th, until Harden arrived. The second problem is that it is pretty rare for a 5th starter to get 32 starts. Typically the team thinks they can do better than that guy and he will be replaced peroidically or someone gets hurt on the staff and he moves up to #4 or #3, and you have a new 5th starter.

But if you look at all NL Pitchers with 100 IP's (57 of them), Marquis ranks:

44th in Quality Start Percentage
42in ERA

57/5 = 11.2 So you would expect your 4th starter to be rank between 34 and 45, and your 5th starter to be between 46 and 57.

By this simple analysis, Marquis is a bottom half 4th starter or a very good 5th starter.

I think he was brought in to be a 4th starter, so in that regard he's not doing well. However, with the current roster, he can be seen as a strength compared to other teams. He's probably not going to make the post-season roster barring injury.

While I have the page up, the list of guys who rank behind Marquis in ERA is pretty impressive:

43 Roy Oswalt HOU
44 Aaron Harang CIN
45 Johnny Cueto CIN
46 Joel Pineiro STL
47 Zach Duke PIT
48 Brett Myers PHI
49 Brandon Backe HOU
50 Barry Zito SFO
51 Bronson Arroyo CIN
52 Andrew Miller FLA
53 Jeff Francis COL
54 Mark Hendrickson FLA
55 Adam Eaton PHI
56 Micah Owings ARI
57 Ian Snell PIT

You've got a Cy Young winner, two Cy Young contenders, one more staff ace, a couple of #2 starters and a couple more ROY hopefuls (when the season started), and Cub killer Zach Duke who rolled into the season with a 2.10 career ERA against us.

The bigger issue to me is firmly believing other pitchers like Marshall could do as well or better while making far less money.

I am not convinced about that. I am especially not convinced that Marshall would be able to pitch every fifth day, and end up with 30 starts.

Nor am I convinced that the money Marquis is getting is limiting the Cubs in other areas.

give him a break hes just trying to support his family
times are tough for the marquis family

Well, he is a native New Yawker, so $10 million may only buy him a modest studio apartment.

Well said George Altman re: Marquis.

Also, it always gets lost in the mix that he makes all his starts. Would Marshall do that? One of the reasons I think Hendry got both Lilly and Marquis was durability. Each has made all their starts for the last 5 years now except one year for Lilly. After the year when the Cubs started either 16 or 17 different pitchers, Hendry got the concept of durability of starters having a trickle-down effect to the bullpen.

What I hated about Marquis yesterday was a 2-out walk to Hunter F'in Pence with Berkman and Lee to follow.

Agreed. I think Marquis just isn't a very smart pitcher, but he thinks he is. It seems like he's always shaking off the catcher, and there were rumors LaRussa hated him because he was so uncoachable.

While a guy like Maddux can shake off the catcher all he wants, Marquis just ends up making mistakes. You know, like throwing an inner-half fastball to Carlos Lee on an 0-2 count, which then got hit about 385 feet.

If my math from last week was correct, Marquis has now had 21 starts, and the Cubs are 12-9 in those games, despite his W-L record. Some of that is certainly due to the prolific run totals the team is putting up, but some of it is also because his starts have been competitive.

All that said, if the Cubs continue to win half of Marquis' starts the rest of the year, I'll have very little to complain about.

Watching the highlights -- interesting reaction from Backe after the ball left Soriano's bat. He threw his hands up in disgust -- either at himself, at his catcher, or at his manager for leaving him out there to absorb the pain of an 8-run inning -- perhaps a combination of all 3.

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  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 36 min ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 38 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 48 min ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 3 hours 31 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 8 hours 16 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 8 hours 17 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 17 hours 58 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 20 hours 56 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 21 hours 9 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 21 hours 17 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 21 hours 23 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 21 hours 41 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 22 hours 17 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 22 hours 35 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 22 hours 37 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 22 hours 55 min ago view