Infected

Somewhere along the way the Cubs contracted the "paralyzing suck" virus and it seemed to spread from one Cub to the next last night. I felt like I was watching 28 Days Later, just waiting for the Cubs fans at the park to start ripping each other apart. It started with Ryan Theriot, and not on that ill-advised bare-handed play. After Soriano singled and took second, Theriot flailed away looking thorougly overmatched by Chad Billingsley. What a fantastic time for a guy who hits the ball to the right side about 95% of the time to fail.

He sure made up for it later though when he attempted a bare-handed do-or-die play on a ball he should have probably have just gloved. I admit I stepped away for a second and only saw the back end of the replay.  The Parachat crowd was 50/50 on whether Theriot would have even gotten Loney had he tried to field it cleanly, but nonetheless, it certainly wasn't a good play.

Next up was DeRosa, who turned two routine outs into none when he muffed an admittably hard-hit ball. Had he not been infected with "the paralyzing suck" virus, he might have realized he still had plenty of time to at least secure one out, but instead rushed his throw to still try and get a double play which was gone as soon as he didn't fieldl the ball cleanly.

Around the diamond it went and next up was Derrek Lee who did all he could to keep a hot smash in front of him, but unfortunately the "paralyzing suck" virus must mess with your equilibrium because he couldn't pick up where the ball went. And to complicate matters, Zambrano was a little late getting to the bag.

I think somewhere in that exchange, Zambrano caught it because a few hitters later, he left an absolute cookie up for Russell Martin that pretty much sucked the air right out of Wrigley.

Quick sidebar: That was just an absolutely fantastic drag bunt single by Furcal right before that. Hope Hendry can land him this time around in free agency.

Oh but, it wasn't done. Aramis booted a ball later in the game and the entire offense started hacking away down five runs rather than remain patient and try to chip away one run at a time. In the 7th, the virus spread to the dugout when Neal Cotts was brought in to face Andre Ethier and James Loney. Problem being with Bob Howry warmed up in the pen, Lou left Cotts out there to face Matt Kemp who predicatbly singled in a run. You ask, what's the difference between 6-0 and 7-0, I say a whole lot when you have as talented an offense as the Cubs do. They're in every game and the manager doesn't need to be giving up in the 7th inning.

By the 8th, Lou decides to go with his bullpen aces and they certainly weren't immune. Marmol gives up another two and Wood - in possibly his last game as a Cub in Wrigley - gives up one more. Everyone gets a ride on the "suck ass" carousel.

More ranting after the jump....

- Way to be a leader of the team, DeRosa...

Beforehand, Piniella was taken aback by second baseman
Mark DeRosa saying the Cubs already were in a do-or-die situation. If
that was the case, Piniella said, they might as well forfeit Game 3.

Piniella had a little talk with DeRosa and amplified his feelings afterward.

"And this is why I don't like talking about do-or-die
things, and I heard that from a few of our players," he said. "I'll
talk to them about it. This is not do-or-die. Actually, we're sending a
pretty good pitcher out there on the mound in Los Angeles on Saturday
in (Rich) Harden, and we're sending a darned good pitcher to the mound
also on Sunday in (Ted) Lilly."

- Good to see the Cubs learned about being up front to their fans about injuries....

Multiple team sources confirmed Thursday that Harden received an
anti-inflammatory shot for the discomfort that sidelined him for 12
days between his Aug. 29 and Sept. 11 starts.

It's not rare for pitchers to get anti-inflammatory injections, and
insiders suggest it can be considered maintenance as much as injury
relief for a pitcher with a history of problems but no structural
damage.

- Alright, this curse shit is complete bullshit, but the last fucking thing anyone associated with the Cubs needs to be doing is perpetuating it. So a hardy fuck you to Crane Kenney:

The story began a couple days ago, when Cubs
Chairman Crane Kenney left a message on Greanis’ voice mail to call
him. Greanis thought his friends were playing a prank on him, but when
he eventually got in contact with Kenney, he found out the reason for
the call.

“He said, ‘I’m a devout Catholic, and I’m not superstitious, but if
there is anything there, I want to take care of it,’” Greanis said
Thursday.

The Billy Goat curse was placed on the Cubs in 1945 when Billy Goat
Tavern owner William Sianis was denied entrance to a World Series game
at Wrigley Field because he wanted to bring in his goat. The curse was
immortalized in newspaper columns over the years, particularly by
syndicated columnist Mike Royko, and gained widespread attention during
the 2003 postseason when Fox played it up during the Cubs-Florida
match-up in the National League Championship Series.

Kenney told Greanis that they wanted a Greek Orthodox priest to
bless the dugout, since the alleged curse was placed by a
Greek-American.

“I told him ‘I’m honored,’” Greanis said. “I said we’d bring some
holy water and say a prayer. It’s not for ensuring the Cubs winning,
but for being safe and protected. I’m a priest first, and a Cubs fan
second. I don’t want anything to be mocked, and neither did Mr. Kenney.”

Greanis came to Wrigley on Wednesday well before the media was
allowed inside the park. But a TBS cameraman setting up near the dugout
saw the ritual and got some of it on tape. TBS then aired it during
their pre-game show, ensuring it would get national publicity. 

- However you feel about "The Sports Guy", Bill Simmons, his take on why this game means so much to many of us and why many of us take each and every loss so personally is about as spot-on as I've ever read:

The relationship between a fan and his baseball team is unlike anything
else. If you love a team -- if you truly love it -- then that team
infiltrates your daily life for six straight months (seven if you're
lucky). You wake up, you shower, you eat, you work, you eat, you watch
your baseball team, you sleep. When the Mets collapsed for the third
straight season last week, my devastated friends who follow them all
said the same thing: it wasn't losing again as much as reflecting on
those 162 games and the hundreds of hours wasted along the way. They
felt betrayed. Only baseball does that to you. It's a game of routine,
of watching one at-bat after another, hoping something different
happens, of relishing the little things that happen along the way. You
don't know your favorite players personally, but you feel like you do

- I'll have the "pleasure" of being there for Games 3 and a possible Game 4. Sort of like the pleasure of contracting genital herpes.

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Comments

Actually, we're sending a pretty good pitcher out there on the mound in Los Angeles on Saturday in (Rich) Harden, and we're sending a darned good pitcher to the mound also on Sunday in (Ted) Lilly."

Does that mean that Lou thinks Lilly is better than Harden? Because "pretty good" is not as good as "darned good."

I think.

and I'm still as pissed as I was in the 2nd inning.

Bah.

Crane Kenney a trib guy? Newspaper guy?

Sounds like a hack move to get another story out.

technically he's the chairman of the Chicago Cubs, but he's just the guy that says yes to whatever Jim Hendry wants after McPhail left. He's a big-wig with the Tribune.

http://www.tribune.com/about/bios/kenney.html

I was a pesimist before game 1...given the season up after game 1...now I'm an optimist.

We win Saturday...then the pressure is on LA to close it out at home on Sunday. We win Sunday, all the momentum and home field is back with us. We've won 2 straight plenty of times before against good teams and good pitchers. I see no reason we can't do it again.

On the otherhand, considering Wall Street has kicked my ass over the last 2 weeks, I can deal with getting my $130 back for Sunday's game.

I'll have what he's having ^^^^

Have fun at the games guys.

Two night games at Dodgerland for Harden (.62 G/F ratio) and Lilly (.74) should be just what the doctor ordered for the pitching staff. Now if the offense can get back to it's OBP machine ways, even without Fukudome, I won't be shocked at all if we can get it back to Dempster for game 5. Unfortunately, that would mean Big ERA Z for game 1 of the NLCS, but beggars can't be choosers. Have faith!

Z looked a lot better than Dempster imo, wouldn't be too surprised if he goes Game 5 instead. At least he threw strikes...

I agree Z for game 1(can't believe we are talking about this) he will be on 4 day rest then bring back Dempster.

Dempster could be available out of the bullpen (it's must-win, after all) in a Game 5 started by Zambrano. But yeah, it's probably not worth talking about.

Z pitched WAY better than Dempster. So I don't know why

a. you think that Dempster would be a better option than Z for game 5.
b. even if he is, why having z game 1 of the nlcs would be a problem.

In the game I watched, Dempster was one pitch away from not givng up any runs. Which pitch could Zambrano have changed to say the same thing?

Wow... seriously? Do you seriously think that Dempster pitched better than Z?

You are way off on this one. Dempster was wild the entire time. Z pitched much better.

If Lou thought Dempster was the best option in Game #1, why would he not think so in Game #5? I wouldn't think one start should change that.

Lou has a tendency to go with the hot hand. He'll pitch whoever he thinks gives him the best chance to win on that day.

I hope we're still around to argue his choice for game 5 starter. ;-)

So how did Fukudome have a hot hand in Games 1 & 2?

At least with the herpes you get sex.

Show a little faith,
There's magic in the night......

you ain't a beauty,
but hey you're alright...

and that's all right with me...

Just curious, could someone fill me in on why Wood might not be around next year? Is there a thought that the Cubs won't want him back or that he won't want to come back?

I guess I just hadn't contemplated it until people started talking about it last night.

You aint a beauty
but hey your alright

Brick-

He's looking for one last big contract, him and Dempster, with ownership in flux and moneys already spent unless he gives a deep homecount discount he would go to highest bidder.

maybe he wants to go back to the rotation and the Cubs won't want him there...maybe he doesn't want to take another home town discount...maybe it's time for a change, maybe the Cubs have over $100MM tied into 9 players already and the new owner doesn't to pay.

a lot of reasons...

or he might just come back and close. Marmol would be a cheaper and probably better option though.

From what I heard, the Cubs expect to resign both Wood and Dempster, and reports say the guys want to stay in Chicago (for what that's worth). Wish I could link, but I've read this at Rotoworld more than once. Light weight rumor stuff, though.

Thanks to the Reds doctor/quack Timothy Kremchek, Wood will never be able to be a starter again. I could be wrong, but from what I remember reading is that the surgery turned out to be unnecessary and did more harm than good, which is why he (Wood) wasn't sure he could ever pitch again. He physically cannot do that sort of multiple inning pitches again. Anyone know better, lemme know. Clownsevelt & Woody are staying.

"There's no curses here," Lou said. "I don't know how many times I have to answer about curses. Who did it? Crane graduated from Notre Dame. He might have had somebody from South Bend."

Lou went on: "I don't believe in those things. I really don't. I've said it many times. Good pitching, good defense and timely hitting. Those are the ingredients that win baseball games. I saw it a little bit on TV. I saw the sprinkling. The other guy's praying, too. God doesn't care about a baseball game."

http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/675

hell yeah lou

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/spor...

Passengers at O'Hare Airport were surprised to hear his name being paged over the public address system in Terminal B on Friday morning.

But it turned out that it was all a joke.

"Paging Kosuke Fukudome, paging Kosuke Fukudome ... Please report to the Cincinnati Reds. You have been traded for a player to be named later."

9:35 PM CST on Sunday, 8:37 PM CST on Tuesday

Would love to see Furcal, but if memory serves, once the back - loaded contracts kick in next year we'll have a $160MM payroll(?). So for that ginormous amount of money, in the playoffs you get terrible pitching, instructional - league defense, and the worst case of the yips in the batter's box in the history of the game. But wait, there's more...

something like over $100 MM tied into 9 players I believe...

Ramirez(15.65), Lee(13), Harden(7 is a club option), Zambrano (17.75), Fukudome(11.5), DeRosa(5.5), Soriano(16), Lilly(12), Marquis (9.875)

$108.275 plus incentives and bonues aren't even included

that's 16 roster spots to fill, some with auto-renewal and arb-eligible players.

Maybe Hendry can have a conversation with Fukudome along the lines of Albert Brooks with the casino owner in "Lost in America": "As the boldest experiment in public relations history, you give us our money back."

Brewers fans saying the same thing about CC?

Guy didn't even make it out of the 4th inning.

"...8:37 PM CST on Tuesday."

Is that the same time when Hell literally freezes over?

No one has clinched yet, and its not even known if any of the division series will need a game 4 or 5.

So how is it that MLB couldn't decide until today what the game times would be for those two "if necessary" games?

It could possibly be based on TV ratings for game 1 on each series. They wanted to see the ratings so they could get the most bang for the buck, by placing the higher rated games in prime time.

Just a thought, nothing more.

You are probably right

Would love to see Furcal, but if memory serves...
---------
Furcal as a Cub...with his history of back surgery, Cubbery will prevail and he'll become the first cub shortstop AND hunchback.

...setting up another animated film for Disney or at least a knockout punchline for him and Samardzija.

Hopefully if we sign Furcal we can get Prior and Garciaparra back too.

Count me firmly in the 'better a mediocre player than $7 million for a guy on the DL' camp.

How much anyone want to bet that the MLB powers are hoping that the Rays don't make it into the WS? I generally dislike teams built around domes, but they're fun to watch - but I would think that the rest of the country could care less.

BTW, that confrontation between the Ray's relief pitcher Balfour and Cabrera was awesome - I think the reliever said something like "sit the f-ck down!" after striking him out and having to watch him kick dirt in his direction earlier - twice.

"Brewers fans saying the same thing about CC?"

If they really are saying that about CC, then they're total asshats. Guy makes three consecutive starts on 3 day's rest, and basically pitches his arm off continually since the trade was made, in order to get them into the playoffs. Worst case of pitcher abuse since...well, you know.

Furcal would be nice but unrealistic unless D.Lee could be moved for salary relief thus enabling the Hoffpauer era + a cheap right handed platoon partner(or simply DeRosa sliding to 1B with Theriot at 2B). Marquis might be able to be moved as well given the final contractual season but still, Furcal is going to get at least $13M a year..possibly more. Plus it appears TOR is going to go hard after him and LA will do everything they can to retain him as well..especially if Manny leaves. And oh yeah, Furcal missed half of the year with back injuries, and a month last year with recurring ankle injuries. He would be a significant risk that quite frankly the Cubs current back-loaded payroll situation probably couldn't absorb. Though if I were a team like LA or TOR I would definitely give him $13M a year rather than toss $9-10 at O.Cabrera or Renteria as long as he'd take another 3 year deal.

Now if you excuse me, Dick Stockton wants me to drop by Johnny Red Kerr's place and pick up some of his embalming fluid for him.

IIRC he's coming off a 3 year 39 million dollar contract. Can he command another 13 mil on the wrong side of 30?

should be interesting, seems to be more $$ out there now, but Furcal is coming off a bad back and a few years older.

I think he'll get something around the same though.

You've got to let this flow over you and consume you for a couple hours. You have to. "Z" was pitching a great game, he's feeling good, the double play gets turned, we go back into the dugout and the whole game is different. Our offense is able to relax and it's different.

But when you find yourself down 5-0, a team that has a 1-0 lead in the series, they're able to relax, Billingsley is able to pound the strike zone, their hitters are a lot more patient, a lot more calm. They're trying to have good at-bats and tack on runs. We're trying to press to get the score tied and take the lead. For me, this is terrible. I don't know -- I'll be up for awhile tonight.

http://markderosa.mlblogs.com/

I really like DeRosa so much as a person. What a stand-up person.

He seems like a genuine, down-top-earth, smart cat.

Unfortunately, the baseball gods just do not treat him well in key situations (in the playoffs).

Just sad. Make the DP, who knows what happens...

...of winning series.

I thought it would be lower.
http://playoffodds.blogspot.com/2008/10/friday-upd...

Started at 52%
http://playoffodds.blogspot.com/2008/09/wednesday-...

had some early doubts about the series as well...
http://playoffodds.blogspot.com/2008/09/why-i-hate...

How could we have almost the same identical chance to advance as the Brewers? The Brewers are sending to the mound a league average guy in Bush and a guy making his fourth start coming of ACL surgery in Gallardo this weekend aganist the best line-up v. RHP in the NL and in Game 4 they they have to face a top 5 pitcher in the NL in Hamels. It is very unlikely they can force a Game 5. Meanwhile we send a guy in Harden to the mound tomorrow, who one national writer said was the best pitcher this year and in Game 4 we send a guy to the mound in Lilly who in his last 2 starts had a no-hitter going into the 7th inning pitching in a park almost made for him. LA's lineup isnt as good as Philly's and they do not have a pitcher as good as Hamels. I can see us forcing a Game 5 unlike the Brewers.

Brewers:Home as Cubs:Road equals same odds.

I am surprised they would give that much of a boost for a team being at home. If Santana does not calm down soon the best team in each league could lose the first two games in their serieses and 3 of the 4 games being laughers. Baseball isnt like Basketball or Football were home court/field advantage is everything.

I say November 2 is the day the first Brian Roberts rumor appears in the media.

probably start tomorrow if the Cubs tank tonight. With DeRosa going into the final year of his contract there will be a strong possiblity to see Hendry try to sign/trade for 1 middle INF..likely a SS, with Theriot going to 2B where he seems better suited. It also wouldn't shock me to see Hendry try to sell high on DeRosa either if the Cubs were to sign Furcal. I just hope it isn't a O.Cabrera or Renteria signing.

Orlando Cabrera would be a big mistake on anything but a short, bargain basement contract. This year he was merely average with the glove and not impressive with the bat, and he's definitely getting older. At least Edgar Renteria has at times been a really good hitter. I wouldn't be real thrilled about adding any of their intangibles to the roster, though.

Cabrera's attitude has been called into question of late, Renteria took a pretty cheap shot at Fontenot a little over a year ago, and Furcal has multiple DUIs, doesn't he?

I hope Lou is not infected! He played Fukudome where in the 2 hole he hit .154 with a .250 OBP and in the 8 hole where he hit 211 with a 348 OBP.

Fuki out, Mighty Mike in. I just wonder if DeRo will be able to cover the ground in RF. I imagine if he can't, we'll see Johnson or Pie in fairly quickly.

It might be a wet field tonight as well, 60% chance of rain today and tonight. But you have to have DeRosa's bat in there...

With Tampa beating the White Sox the last 7 LDS have been 2-0 going into Game 3, the Yankees were the only team last year to force there LDS into a Game 4.

The Rays are running the WSox right out of the series - they look old and slow out there. But at least they've been competitive, and they don't play D like rookies.

That is because, for the most part, they ARE old and slow.

This team choked across the board MANAGER, hitting, fielding and pitching...
I really blame LOU for game 1...which should have the title CLUELESS...
with 100+ pitches and noone warming up in the 5th and demp in trouble every inning..WHY THE HELL WOULD U HAVE SOMEONE WARMING UP LOU? especially in a 5 game series you have plenty of time to win tomorrow ..(YEA RIGHT) and THEN why the hell wouldnt you think about putting marmol in, in the 5th..why BECAUSE YOUR LOU WHO CANT MANAGE CORRECTLY IN PLAYOFFS PINIELLA

You can't have Marmol and Wood pitch the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th...

No.... but you could have Marmol pitch in the highest leverage situations.

Yeah, except you don't know what those are until the game is over. Sure, the 5th might have been a high leverage situation, but you don't know if it's the higest or even one of the highest. If you burn him then, then everyone cries when Homerun Howry comes into the 8th with the bases loaded.

YOU take care of the situation at hand and get out of the problem now not what might happen later.. thats the difference between managing during the season and the post season and thats why the cubs lose in post season and thats why the marlins beat us because they used beckett and any starter they had to to win THAT GAME AT THAT TIME not what might happen later

Hindsight is indeed 20/20, easy to criticize after the fact. Lou obviously hasn't had his best games in this series, but the club's failure has been a team - wide meltdown, just as in the Marlins series.

Dempster to the bullpen for tonight - middle relief if needed - in all the papers

Go Cubs! Let's win one.

Another mistake by Lou. He looked as gimpy as hell on Thursday. I hope we dont lose because he cant get to a ball.

The Cubs, all of them, are just PRESSING so hard, not loose at all.

I sincerely hope that now that they are away from Wrigley, they will RELAX a bit and LOOSEN UP and not THINK SO MUCH and just PLAY THE KIND OF CUBS BASEBALL THAT GOT US ALL HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!

Curse, schmurse. Just play the damned game.

We aren't done yet.

This team has a bit more fight in it. The pressure is all on the Dodgers now to close it out in their home field. So let's go out and steal a couple from them and get this back to Wrigley.

Here's what I expect:

Cubs will squeak out a win tonight with decent but not spectacular pitching from Harden. Lilly will dominate game 4.

Series will come back to Chicago and the Cubs will find yet another novel way to rip our heart out and show it to us.

Now if only we could find an antibiotic for comments like this.

I actually like Lilly's chances if we get to game 4 - a real gamer, he's stopped the bleeding all year during losing streaks. C'mon, guys - we just need tonight, don't worry about the rest.

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