Game 1 Recap: Cubs 4, Astros 2

Perfect Season?
W - Zambrano (1-0)
L - Oswalt (0-1)
S - Gregg (1)

 

Things to Take from This Game

 

1. Zambrano is Sharp
Zambrano cruised through six before getting into a bit of trouble in the seventh.  He got pulled before he could get himself too far into a jam, Heilman immediately induced a GIDP, but a run then went onto Z's account when Bourn "drove in" a runner from third with a 40 foot chopper up the first base line.  For Zambrano it was one measly run, 6 Ks, 3 BB, a bunch of ground balls and a very efficient first six innings, 98 pitches total.

 

2. Cubs Get to Oswalt Early
Soriano and Ramirez led off the first and second innings with solo home runs to left: Soriano's a bomb to deep left-center, Ramirez's a liner into the boxes more down the line.  Oswalt settled down and also induced one grounder after another through an efficient seven innings. The Cubs added two more runs with a Theriot sac fly scoring Fontenot in the 6th, and a Hoffpauir single scoring Fontenot in the 9th.

 

3. Bullpen works as planned
Heilman and Cotts got the Cubs out of a seventh-inning jam, allowing Marmol and Gregg to cover the eighth and ninth.  The run against Gregg came after Bradley had the ball pop out of his glove on a tough-but-ought-to-be-caught effort at a sinking line drive.  Overall, about all one could hope for on Opening Day:  The big bats hit a couple homers, the middle infielders got on and got around, the pinch-hitter pinch-hit, Z was Good Z, and set up the bullpen to execute their assignments.

 

The undefeated details follow.
Game Recap
Inning 1 - Top
  • Soriano with a leadoff Homerun that I miss first because I'm learning the game isn't on WGN, or my ESPN 2, it's blacked out on my MLB.TV, and only can be found on my FSN station. 1-0 Cubs From there, three groundouts.  (Finally seeing a replay, it's on a fastball down the middle, a no-doubt homerun to the deep part of left-center, by that large concrete terrace monstrousity of a thing in this god-foresaken ballpark)
Inning 1 - Bottom
  • Z walks Matsui on four straight, and my recap for all of this gets lost when MLB.TV freezes my computer and crashes my browser.  7 year old computer strikes again.  So everything from here to the fourth inning is by memory.
  •  After I-Rod flies out, Berkman lines to right, Matsui to second.  Right field has weird sun and shadow patterns as the light comes through the windows of the closed dome.
  • Lee filies into a weird double play where Bradley makes a nice play running in and towards the line in right.  Matsui broke from second, is standing on third as Bradley flips it in to Lee at first, who tosses it to Theriot at second for an inning-ending double play.
Inning 2 - Top
  • Ramirez leads off the second with a lined shot home run into the left field bleachers.  A fastball that was supposed to be inside but caught the plate. 2-0 Cubs
  • Fontenot looped a single to right and Soto lined one to left, Theriot inside-outs a grounder between Berkman and the line that he makes a nice play on to get the out with the runners advancing.  The rally ends, though, with  Zambrano grounding  out to Matsu, drawn in, and Soriano also grounding out.
Inning 2 - Bottom
  • Tejada singles, then with Blum batting, is thrown out when he tries to take second on a ball in the dirt that bounces out just in front of Soto.  He's out and throws a tantrum over the call.  Blum then softly flies out and Pence, who still is just incredibly ugly and stupid-looking, bounces a one-hopper to Aramis.
Inning 3 - Top
  • Fukudome called out on an inside fastball.  Lee flies out to Lee, just in front of the Waste Management "think green" sign adorning the padding at the left field fence.  Bradley walked, but Aramis flied out.
  • Somewhere around the top of the third, I think it was, the FSN announcers explain thatsome Dodge-Ram sponsored thingy tonight will tell us what Lance Berkman has in his pocket.
    • do I really want to know?
    • Now, they're talking about cheese sandwhiches and hot dogs found in players pockets when they slid into second, back in the day.  Dear god.
Inning 3- Bottom
  • Bourn singles to left-center and Oswalt sacrifices him to second.  Matsui dumps one in front of Fontenot and Bourn reads it well, going to third.
  • Z gets out of it, striking out Rodriguez swinging and Berkman rolling to second.
  • And I've now re-entered the heavily summarized version of everything I lost.  For the love of god, please, let's do a fundraiser to buy me a decent laptop.
Inning 4 - Top
  •  Fontenot lines a double over Lee's head in left, one-hops the wall.
  • Soto bounces to Berkman, Fontenot advances on the out.
  • The FSN field reporter, one Patty Smith (sadly, not Patti Smith, Punk Rock Goddess and my personal hero) is explaining how they've added advertising to the foul poles.  They're now the Chic-Fil-A Fowl Poles.  If an astro hitter hits a home run off the pole, it's free crappy southern fast food for everyone!
  • Theriot flies out to Pence, who makes his typically weird-ass looking thrown in, but Fontenot scores easily.  3-0 Cubs.
  • Zambrano grounds out, Blum to Berkman.
Inning 4 - Bottom
  • Lee fouls to Lee.
  •  Tejada looks stupid as he K's swinging.
  • Blum with a lazy fly to Soriano.  Easy inning for Z.  58 pitches through 4, fastball still around 92, 93.
Inning 5 - Top
  •  Soriano lines a single into left.  It's so weird hearing them saying "Patty Smith is waiting."  I want my Patti Smith!
  • Fukudome grounds into a 4-6-3, tailor-made, right at Matsui.
  • Oswalt with 10 groundball outs.  Now, more from Patty Smith.  (Play "Pissing in a River," Patti!!!!)
  • Oswalt hangs a slider just a bit, but Lee pops it to Matsui.
Inning 5 - Bottom
  •  Pence and Bourn both look at fastballs on the corner for called strike threes. 4 K 1 BB on the night so far.
  • Oswalt bounces back to Z, who casually tosses it to first.  Easy inning!  72 pitches through 5, nice.

Inning 6 - Top
  •  And we learn what Berkman has in his pockets. Nothing interesting.  A FSN announcer uses it as a chance to joke about European Man-bags.
  • FSN tells me that BP rates Minute Maid Park as neutral, not the band-box it's made out to be.  I want to see that with my own eyes.  Even so, it's still a crummy park.
  • 1-2 count on Bradley, just does check his swing on a fastball.  2-2 Jammed on the next pitch, pops it out just in front of the plate, Pudge catches it.
  • Aramis with an easy popup to Berkman.
  • Fontenot rolls out to Matsui, Oswalt now on a roll, too.  81 pitches through 6.
Inning 6 - Bottom
  •  Matsui K's on a check swing that the home plate ump called himself, not happy about it.
  • and now Pudge irked at a called strike two on a slider that looked like it backed up over the plate and got way too much of it.
  • Pudge swings through a 94 MPH fastball that was supposed to be outside corner, tailed back over to inside corner.  1 BB, 6 K for Z so far.  Making it look easy.
  • Z almost gets a called third strike on Berkman, fastball outside corner, but it's a ball.  Berkman comes back and works a walk.
  • Lee immediately grounds into an easy 6-4 force.
Inning 7 - Top
  • Soto grounds to Blum at third.
  •  Theriot with his patented inside-out swing through the right-side hole for a single.
  • Z can't advance Theriot, strikes out swinging
  • Soriano grounds into a 5-3 force, inning over.
Inning 7 - Bottom
  •  Tejada singles up the middle, and Blum walks.  Piniella hops out of the dugout and Z leaves.  Crowd is booing Z?  Jerks.
  • Heilman in, and Pence immediately hits into a perfect 6-4-3.  Tejada to third. Love that for the first relief pitch thrown on the season.
  • Bourn with a weak chopper that rolls maybe 40 feet for an rbi single.  It'll look like a line drive in the box score.  3-1 Cubs. 
  • Erstad in to "hit" for Oswalt, Cotts in to do the lefty-lefty thing.
  • Cooper counters with Jason Michaels.
  • 2-0 count to Michaels.
  • 3-1 slider called strike 2, michaels didn't like it.
  • Michaels with a soft grounder to Theriot.  Charges it, bobbles, gets him at first.
Inning 8 - Top
  •  Geoff Geary in for the eighth. Jeffs who spell their names Geoff have always driven me nuts, and here the Astros have two of them. 
  • Fukudome with a weak fly out to Lee.
  • Lee strikes out swinging at a fastball up and a bit in.
  • Bradley pops one into shallow right, and Matsui makes a fine over-the-shoulder tumbling catch.  Inning over.
Inning 8 - Bottom
  •  Inning begins with FSN showing replay of Bradley jogging to first looking to see if his blooper would fall, and he twists his ankle as it clips the side of the bag.  He's still in the game, but I'm sure we'll be hearing more about this.
  • Marmol in.
  • Matsui with an easy grounder to Theriot.
  • Pudge grounds one to Theriot's right, also an easy out.
  • first pitch to Berkman, he waves through a high 94 mph fastball.  Fun to watch.
  • Nice off-speed curve for strike 2 swinging, fastball low and outside for 3-2 count.
  • and Berkman walks on a curve inside. 
  • Lee up as the tying run.
  • Lee pops out to Ramirez in foul territory, up against the stands behind third base.  Inning over!

Inning 9 - Top
  • Ramirez grounds to Tejada.
  • Fontenot gets jammed, pops one out to shallow left, where Tejada and Lee watch it land between them.
  • Wild pitch sends Fontenot to second.  Pitch slipped, over Pudge's head.
  •  Soto K's looking at a pitch on the corner.
  • Theriot walks.  Really nice night for the LSU combo.
  • Hoffpauir in to hit for Marmol.  Takes a big rip at a fastball, misses, 1-1 count.
  • Hoff lines a single into right, and Fontenot, running on contact with two outs, beats Pence's throw.  It's a bit up the line and Fontenot slides around Pudge.  4-1 Cubs.  Theriot to third.
  • Soriano flies to Pence.
Inning 9 - Bottom
  • Gathright in to play center, Gregg pitching.  Sort of surprised they didn't swing Fukudome to right for Bradley, especially with the ankle.
  • Tejada grounds a single right back up the middle.
  •  Blum hits a sinking liner into right-center.  Bradley has a bead on it, makes a sliding effort to catch it, but the ball pops out of the glove and he sort of stumbles over himself at the end of the slide.  Runners at 1st and 3rd.  Yep. Should have moved Fuludome to right.
  • Pence flies to medium-depth center, Tejada scores easily on the sacrifice.  4-2 Cubs.
  • Michael Bourn flies one to deepish right-center, easy play forGathright.  two outs, runner still at first for pinch-hitter Jason Smith.
  • Smith with a roller to Lee, easy unassisted to the bag.  Game over!
Parachat Recap
Pregame
  • Carlos swears a blue streak.  He also has a blue cock.
  • John Kruk is an "emmy-nominated" analyst.  Heh.
Inning 1
  • Cheering on Pie-rats comeback against the Cards
  • Aramis, Musketeers and Slumdog Millionaire.  

Inning 2
  • How has the recession affected you?  (Don't ask.)
Inning 3
  • V-chipping Carlos.
Inning 4
  • Crunch and the whore ta culture. 
  • The Sosa for Fontenot trade gets better and better
  • I ask for lies I can use to insert in my Parachat recap, to conceal the factthat most of the first three innings were wiped out by my cheap computer and stupid mlb.tv.  I get few good suggestions.
  • First post-Election regular-season parachat.  Woo.
  • What will Al Yellon run for?
  • Remember, the world ends Dec 21, 2012
  • Would the Olympics be good for Chicago? (No.)
Inning 5
  •  Economics of the Olympics debate continues.
  • Rotating dicks
  • Puking out lout/loud.
  • He's happy.
  • MVP Polishing.
  • I'm not clicking on another Carlos-sponsored link, this season.
  • Z's mph on the fastball.
Inning 6
  •  Bagwell and Thomas for HOF?  (No and Yes)
  • More on Bagwell, Enron/Minute Maid vs. Astrodome
  • I choose life.
    • really, I choose laziness.
  • Lyle Lovett:  no new insightful commentary here.  Guess what, he's not the most handsome of men.
    • but he's still better than Pence.
  • Ugly ball-players and other celebrities
Inning 7
  • who has lost a job?
  • who has bought a car?
  • other random catching up from the off-season
  • Raising girls.
  • Is this the 10th year or 9th year anniversary for minute maid?
    • They're saying it's 10th year anniverary, but it only should be 9, as they're now STARTING season number ten.  Tenth anniversary will come on opening day of next year, damnit. 
  • Dick Trickle, Dick Pole make their first appearances
  • A Professor Ley, who claims to have met an Anita Ley.  No Way, Prof. Ley.
  • Whip jokes about having cancer.
  • And keeps joking.
  • What do I self-censor in parachat recaps?
    • Clearly, not cancer jokes.
  • How we're all going to die.
  • Blue-cock cancer. 
  • Christina Karl and Nate Silver jokes.
  • High-scoring Spots.
  • Inning 7 of Parachat, Game 1, quickly vaulting itself into a potential Parachat First Annual End-of-Season Award....
  • Who killed your people?  Heilman, or Cancer?
  • Gypsy whips.
  • Indeed.
  • Jason Michaels:  name of a pro wrestler, a serial killer, or a gay pop icon?
  • Escolar, the orange-oil-shooting-out-your-ass fish.
Inning 8
  •  Who would you rather have, Halladay or Peavy?
    • Roy, not even close.
  • Ass-fondling.
  • Twisted ankles.
  • More Big Blue Cocks.
Inning 9
  • Movies
  • Steve Phillips as a broadcaster
  • WBC
  •  Burt Reynolds gives Llamas as gifts.
  • LeBron James vs. Lyndon Baines Johnson in Center Field.
  • What's left on D. Lee's contract?
  • First-game celebration.

Cubs record in games recapped begins the year at 1-0.

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Comments

Great recap as always Trans. Thanks.

My early-game frustrations notwithstanding, it's always a treat to do them, and a bigger treat to hang out with everyone in Parachat.  Glad to be back at it.

Roy, not even close.

I'll be surprised if Bradley starts the next few games.

The over/under for K-Fuk's season-opening O-fer is.....

I will contribute a dollar to the Trans lap-top fundraiser.

(Trans-- you're not using the university resources?)

The laptop they let me use is almost as ancient, and doubles as my office computer, so it stays there when I go home.

Time to upgrade the Commodore 64!

Yay! A Trans recap! What a great opening day for the season!

You really couldn't ask for more, could you?

BTW, nice lookin' babe in a nice lookin' sweater on the "EarnMyDegree.com" ad at the top of the page. Eye candy...

If she's not there when you look for her, refresh the page a few times. I know I have.

Dunno....Milton Bradley in RF? Kevin Gregg in to close?

Feels weird.

baseball, ahhhhhh. I live in Austin, TX and planning to catch the I-Cubs/Round Rock Express games this weekend. Does anybody know when Smardzadkjfidna is scheduled to start? Thanks.

Trans,

If we take up a collection to buy you a new computer, will you post more?

Seriously, I have a problem when I'm reading the comments from three days ago because I need a Cubs fix and it would just be so much less creepy with more actual content :)

Honest answer, yes I would. It really does affect my ability to do recaps.

That said, A. at some point, I really will just save up the money and do it on my own, and

B.  I think that the Buy Trans a Laptop Fundraiser would have to be part of a larger Line The Pockets of Every TCR Blogger Fundraiser, not something specific for me. :)

 

Cheers!

T.

 

 

Good solid first win. The offense probably should have put up more but thats the way it goes. I think Marmol and Gregg probably have more to go before they are truly on their game. I don't know why Bradley was still in there in the 9th bad ankle and all, maybe move Fuku over to right, or does Lou have that little confidence in him at this point? I don't blame him.

Breakout player of the year: Fontenot!

I agree. Lou double switched to make the P spot due FIRST in the 10th if Gregg blows it. I would just as soon the P hit 3rd, bring Gathright in to play center and Fuku move to right.

But, that didn't happen, so I don't particularly care.

and to think i was denied a trade for fukudome even though i was offering willy taveras AND john danks. serves him right.

Great recap Trans!

Sounds like you guys had fun.

I though the two big takeaways from the game were Zambrano being useful on opening day and Hoffpauir doing his job as a PH. Hopefully that's two good tidings for the season.

Agree on both counts.

If I had to nitpick about something, it's that Z didn't throw nearly enough first pitch strikes for my liking. The middle of that order is a mighty scary one to keep falling behind 1-0 or 2-0.

Z still worked deep enough into the game to get a quality start out of it, but that's obviously a trend you don't want to continue.

Then again, if the 7th, 8th, and 9th inning guys are as dependable as we expect them to be, not sure how much efficiency should worry us.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/blagojevich/151...

A Nov. 19 memo released Monday night by the Illinois Finance Authority, marked "strictly confidential -- for discussion purposes only," outlines a complicated deal in which a new owner of the century-old stadium's tenant, the Chicago Cubs, would pay $25 million a year for 30 years.

cst_cubs: Fukudome can't catch the ball. And can't hit. In one year he's gone from the Natural to Brian Anderson to Timmy Lupus

yikes. Maybe I missed a play, but the only defensive mishap I saw was a blooper that he probably playing too deep on, but he didn't drop anything.

Bradley dropped one though, looked like he lost in the lights at the last second.

Fukudome dropped a ball that very easily could have been caught early in the game. Can't remember what inning or who it was. But IMO it was about as difficult of a catch as the one Bradley dropped.

I must've missed this. I watched almost all of the game on DVR, maybe I fast-forwarded past this by mistake. He let a ball fall in that maybe he could've gotten to, but I don't recall a play where he dropped the ball. Maybe I'm wrong or maybe you're thinking about Yankee Stadium. Someone help here.

If everyone else missed it, maybe I am wrong and getting games confused. Maybe I was thinking about that play in at Yankee Stadium (Saturday's game). I was at that game so maybe it is really sticking out. Man, how the hell can I get confused there has been only one regular season game!! My bad....

I agree with others... I don't recall the play.

Manny - what inning was it in?

Must have been the Yankee game. I watched the entire game last night and just re-checked the gameday. Fukudome only had two balls even hit to him the entire game.

3rd Inning: Kaz Matsui blooped one to center. It fell in front of Fukudome, but Sutcliffe was actually criticizing Bourne for not scoring from second since he should have read it as a hit off the bat. He actually said Fukudome got a lot closer to it than he thought he would. It wasn't an error, wasn't a misplay, and certainly wasn't a drop - he picked it up on one bounce and throw it in to keep Bourne at 3rd.

7th Inning: Miguel Tejada lines a single to center field.

Is Fukudome the biggest Cubs free agent bust ever? Or do Turd Hundley and Danny Jackson still tie for that dubious honor?

I'm excited though about the potential full season of play for the first time in a Cubs uni from Alf. Dude can hit. If only he'd hit as well as a cleanup hitter, he'd post an extra 25 RBI/year for the team. Fragile psyche there for Alf, but I love the guy anyway.

Oh yeah, Z is still my favorite Cub. How couldn't he be?

Wandy Rodriguez pitches game two, so do we see Miles in there in place of Fontegod? Hope not.

I may have to say Rojas was the worst. Dave Smith is up there too (no pun intended).

Jackson didn't get paid all that much and Hundley got turned into two useful players at the end of his contract.

Jackson didn't get paid all that much, but he averaged more than a million dollars per Cub win, which should say something about his sucktitude.

Dusty Baker was the Cubs worst free agent signing ever.

Yes.

at least every game managed isn't picked apart with a big money team and mr. lou.

i'm sure we'd have 100 posts about how dusty left mr. twisted ankle in the 9th to play OF defense along with an odd switch setting up a possible 10th with a 3 run lead.

damn u dusty.

So instead we have about 10 posts between this thread and the last wondering WTF Lou was thinking. Seems about right. Lou has his faults and f'ups, once they get to be an all-day every-day thing like it was with the worst in-game manager in recent Cubs memory, then I expect we'll get those 100 post threads.

I don't doubt for a second that Dusty would be getting the least out of this high salary roster as possible, just like he did with the lower price guys.

Maybe I'm wrong. Glad I don't have to ponder it too much.

"I'm excited though about the potential full season of play for the first time in a Cubs uni from Alf."

Give it time. He will hit a few home runs, get you to love him...and then boom, sliders, down and away, in the dirt, become his favorite thing to swing at. Caution with all that Alf love...

Good first game. Scoring 4 runs against Oswalt, with the 2, 3, and 4 hitters getting 0 hits and 0 walks...not a bad night. Shows the depth in the lineup.

The best part of the night was watching Carlos Lee in the 8th inning duck away from a Marmol breaking ball that was nowhere close to hitting him. Just nasty and almost unfair.

Technically, the 4 hitter did walk once, but point stands.

I think we should wrap Milton Bradley in Bubble Wrap before the next game. He looks like he's going to hurt himself out there.

His summersault on that missed catched was certainly Mannyesque, but he did get that assist and prevent another runner from advancing at one point.

you mean as if high fiving the fan on the foul wasn't manny enough?

Eh. That was no big deal. It's not like he did it in the middle of a play.

I don't think Manny is a player to whom I would compare Bradley.

Yeah Manny and Bradley you can't really compare.

Manny has been accused of taking days off while playing. But yet he still puts up awesome numbers.

Bradley takes weeks off because he just doesn't want to play and does it to presere his stats.

Manny thinks he is a star because he has proven over and over that he can hit.

Bradley thinks he is a star but has never put one relevant season together in his entire career.

Bot have huge ego's and one is a hall of famer, the other is a jack shit nobody.

you're gonna have a fun 3 years.

Thanks for the recap. I wish I could have parachatted, but I was watching on P2P and the feed was delayed. Sounded like a blast. Go Cubs.

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.js...

they've put out official press releases on every team except Daytona so far...get a post up when they're all done.

releases...
Released: RHP Ken Kadokura, RHP Tommy Mejia, LHP Matt Smith, LHP Mike Stanton, C Danny Fatheree, C Shawn McGill, 3B Esteban German

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=3...

Carrie Mustache sure is awesome at her job.

"Soriano definitely helped, quieting critics who don't feel he should be leading off. He [hit a home run] off Roy Oswalt.." Yes, Mrs. Mustache, critics don't want him leading off because they don't think he has enough power for the job. I don't mind him leading off personally, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to do any 'quieting' of critics.

Also of note, the reason Lou went out in the 7th was that Soto called Lou out because he thought Z was cramping. I was wondering what happened there.

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=2...

Blue cock kills person: click here.

1. It's admirable that he didn't kill the others in the theater.

2. It goes to show you that the sound in the theater is too damn loud (cue Grandpa Simpson - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3_HHZFi0As)

3. This can't bode well for the film's DVD advertising. "One dude loved this movie so much he couldn't bear to see it end."

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