The Nightly News: Cubs Beat Crew in ESPN Game

Highlights, lowlights and other observations from the Cubs' 8-5 win over the Brewers Sunday night in Milwaukee, a victory that leaves the Cubs at 4-2 as they return home for the Wrigley Field opener on Monday afternoon.

"We've Seen This Movie Before" Moment of the Night:

In his first at-bat since beating the Brewers with a dramatic, ninth-inning home run on Saturday, Alfonso Soriano crushed Jeff Suppan's first pitch of the game over the centerfield wall, his fourth HR in the young season.

Play of the Night:
Reed Johnson's leaping catch to rob Prince Fielder of what would have been a game-tying grand slam in the bottom of the fifth. Instead Fielder wound up with a sac fly and a reason to tip his helmet to Reed Johnson.

Incongruous Inning Total of the Night:
Four runs on one hit—what the Cubs compiled in the top of the fourth, when they combined a Ryan Theriot single with a hit by pitch and five walks to turn a 1-1 tie into a 5-1 lead. All four of the runs scored on bases loaded walks.

Escape Artist of the Night:

Cubs starter Ryan Dempster, who yielded six hits and three walks and threw 110 pitches over six innings, but still emerged as a winner.

Erroneous Former Cub Mention of the Night:

When Mike Fontenot batted for the first time, Jon Miller called him Ray Fontenot. When Fontenot next batted, Miller corrected himself, explaining that Ray was a southpaw who used to play for the Yankees. What Miller failed to acknowledge was the lefthander's one inglorious season for our very own Cubs.

Box score line of the night:
(Combined pitching line for Brewers pitchers Suppan, Julio, McClung, and Stetter.)

"Oh crap!" Moment of the Night
Milton Bradley appeared to pull up lame on his way into third base following what should have been a run-scoring single by Ryan Theriot in the top of the fourth. Five games and four innings into his Chicago Cub career, Bradley was lifted from the game with an apparent injury and was replaced by Johnson, which, all things considered (see "Play of the Night" above), worked out pretty well.

Update (from Paul Sullivan in the Tribune):

The Cubs said Bradley had strained his right groin, which he apparently
aggravated while taking extra batting practice. Piniella said Bradley
would miss Monday's home opener. His status is day-to-day.

Instant Redemption of the Night:
After taking too long to throw to first and allowing Fielder to reach base in the last of the third, Mike Fontenot made a diving stop of a scalding one-hopper by the very next hitter, J.J. Hardy, to get the Cubs out of the inning.

Announcer Exchange of the Night:
Steve Phillips offered a reasoned, frequently heard argument for moving Alfonso Soriano down in the Cub lineup. Joe Morgan's response, which he repeated about five times, was that it takes a certain mindset to hit in the RBI positions in the lineup and anyway, Lou Piniella had tried moving Soriano down in the lineup previously and the experiment simply didn't work. For the record, in his previous two seasons with the Cubs, Soriano has started a total of 230  games in the leadoff spot; 11 games in other spots in the order (just 2 last season). If this qualifies as trying Soriano elsewhere in the lineup, it does so just barely.

Joe Morgan Circular Logic Example of the Night:
After the announcing trio endorsed the value of OPS, Morgan explained that the reason we know OPS is a valid statistic is that the best player, Albert Pujols, had the highest OPS last year.

Mascot Close-Up of the Night:
ESPN cameras caught Bernie Brewer just as Reed Johnson robbed Fielder of what would have been his first career grand slam. Though Bernie's giant mascot face continued to flash that permanent
grin, his body language and arm flailing screamed, "Goddamnit!" or whatever they say in
Milwaukee these days when they're desperately disappointed.



Great game tonight. Like most of us, I'd like to see less use of Howlin' Howry Light in key situations. As Morgan said (or maybe it was Miller) Gregg doesn't have the stuff to strike guys out and thus will give up hits (or at least balls in play) and things like tonight and Friday will continue to happen.

Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring. Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.

I want to announce my presence with authority.

"Piniella said Bradley would miss Monday's home opener. His status is day-to-day."

Ha! Bradley's status is ALWAYS day-to-day.

I made a quick check of DH DL Bradley's injury history and was amazed to find that
he has never used a groin injury as the reason he's not on the field. Milton has been day-to-day because of

a sore hamstring
a sore forearm
a sore quadriceps
a sore abdomen
a sore wrist
a sore back
a sore calf
a sore rib
a sore oblique
a sore ankle
a sore shoulder
a sore leg
a sore knee
a sore "side" (no details on which side was sore)
a sore thigh
a sore eye
a sore finger
and just plain general "soreness" in just the last seven years.

He's also sat out with the "flu" more than once
and the same goes for that old "I've run completely out of ideas" standby "illness."

But never before has Bradley missed a game with a sore groin.

Oh, I think MIlton has a long ways to go before he exhausts the possibilities. How about:

Ruptured testicle (Felix Pie)
Crushed testicle (Michael Barrett)
Flaming anus (Cesar Izturis, IIRC)
Scratched eyeball (wasn't this Farnsworth's excuse?)

BTW, out with "the flu" or "under the weather" has been baseball cover for a hangover since the 1800s. "Food poisoning" is cover for puking out your guts after a REAL bender the night before.

Don't forget the sneeze induced back pain...

I think Farnsworth's condition was known as "fan foot".

John Smoltz burned his chest while ironing a shirt that he was wearing.
Wade Boggs hurt his back when he lost his balance while trying to put on cowboy boots.
Odiebe McDowell cut his finger buttering a roll at the Texas Ranger's welcome home luncheon.
Ricky Bones hurt his lower back getting out of a chair while watching TV in the clubhouse.
Kevin Mitchell strained a muscle while vomiting.
George Brett hit his foot on a chair and broke his toe while running from the kitchen to the TV to see Bill Buckner hit.
Rick Honeycutt injured his wrist while flicking sunflower seeds in the dugout.
Chris Brown injured his eye by sleeping on his eye wrong.
Phil Niekro injured his hand shaking hands too hard.
Nolan Ryan was bitten by a coyote.

Daaaaaang, even Nolan Ryan's injuries were bad-ass.

Just goes to show you they don't make pitchers like they used to. No coyote injuries anymore, now they're slipping on jacuzzis and stuff.

And lol @ Neikro "shaking hands too hard". Who else thinks this is a euphemism for another activity?

Didn't Mike Remlenger break a finger by getting it caught in the Clubhouse recliner?

I think that's another lie. What really happened to Remlinger...

Mike Remlinger was the victim of a mad dash for the clearance rack at a local K-Mart when they put "Just for Men, Beard Formula" on blue light special.

Even GMs get in on the gig

16. Before the start of spring training in 2004, Cubs GM Jim Hendry tripped on a dustpan while carrying his son's birthday present down the stairs. He required reconstructive knee surgery, but still managed to sign Greg Maddux from his hospital bed.

SPIDER MAN is one of my faves.

And didn't Mark Grace break his toe when he jumped up in excitement over Damien Miller making the All-Star team?

And what was it with Clint Barmes? Didn't he injure his back or something carrying a bunch of deer meat?

And who was it that couldn't play because he burned his face in a tanning bed? (not Brian Giles)

Marty Cordova I believe

What is the correct way to sleep on one's eye?

Anal fissures was Kaz Matsui

That ESPN crew is just terrible. I feel stupider for just listening. But OK we are all used to all sorts of stupid that Joe Morgan, Steve Phillips, etc. will bring but after Reed's catch last night that was a new low. After an extremely electrifying catch (I don't care what center fielder makes a play like that, the bases were juiced, Prince Fielder hits a monster shot, the home fans are holding their breath, and . . . and . . . metaphorical crickets). I don't like a lot of hyperbole but they should have gone a little nuts. Morgan started talking about the great base-running of the Brewers for staying put and tagging up (which is true but completely wrong immediately after the catch).

I will never listen to those idiots again. Ever.

Miller in my mind is fine. I hate how he adds 8 syllabus to names like "Aramis" but other than that he seems to do an ok job of play-by-play and his voice isn't super annoying. But Morgan should have been gone years ago, he adds nothing to the commentary. It's like dude, we get it, you were good when you played. You don't need to remind us every game that you played with Rose and Bench and new Aaron, etc. We get it. And why they thought adding Philips and his inane dribble to this tandem would improve things is beyond me. Sutt, Hershiser, basically any of the other guys ESPN has are better than these two.

"Ah-ron-ni-mees Ram-ah-reese" - Jon Miller

Cub Haters - Steve & Joe

New York and L.A. are gods - ESPN

I really hate that crew too. Morgan with his, "Tt's just like I said. I called that earlier" over and over. Miller says EVERYTHING with incredulity.

After Reeds play, Morgan began talking about how that play was helped by the cameraman. It wasn't as good as it looked, but the cameraman made it look better than it really was. WTF?

Most important is that we are 2-0 in our first two series! As Willie Dixon said (and later Robert Plant) - Bring it on home...

Last night reminded me again of how much I miss the "Fire Joe Morgan" site - they had that guy pegged from the get - go, and their presence this season is already sorely missed.

Regarding strange baseball injuries/excuses - I believe that Jose' Cardenal missed a ST game when he woke up with his eyes glued shut. Another game he missed entirely because a cricket was chirping all night in his hotel room.

"I believe that Jose' Cardenal missed a ST game when he woke up with his eyes glued shut."

Haha. Ho boy. What won't your teammates do to you?

I read about a guy who kept his dentures in his back pocket, and on a slide as he stole second he bit himself in the ass.

(Did anyone else here have the "Hall of Shame" books? There was a whole series: "The Baseball Hall of Shame," "The Football Hall of Shame." That's where I read about it.)

Bradley begins his quest tonight for playing in the least amount of games and still get his 3rd year option.

What a joke of a player. He probably is tired and wanted to take a week off.

Sounds like you could use a week off.

Is that your deal with him? You think that he's faking injuries so he doesn't have to play?

Bradley has already admitted he took games off down the stretch in Texas to preserve his stats. When his team needed him the most, he didn't give two shits about his team. He wanted to get paid and now his only concern is making sure he gets his 3rd year option.

I said when we signed him he is either the toughest SOB in baseball or the biggest fucking pussy. Looking at his injury history, i lean heavily to biggest pussy in basebeall.

He is a master of the day to day injury and will use it so he can take days off when he isn't even injured. I knew that then and I know it now.

I don't really care if he is faking or not now. He isn't a player you can ever depend on for anything. He is either faking an illness to preserve his stats or he is as fragile as glass, either way he is fucking waste of a player that no team can ever count on or know when he is going to play or not play.

I will give him credit, i thought he wouldn't survive Spring Training without getting injured. Now he might not survive the first week.

He's also said that because the Cubs have committed to him, he feels committed to them and wants go out there and play as much as he can. He's also not going to take the first game at Wrigley off just to preserve his stats.

Maybe he is taking the first game at Wrigley off to hide from his stats.

Well as long as your objective.

Can you site your source on him taking days off to protect his stats? I mean, people, Ted Williams aside, have been doing that for 110 years, but I'd like to see this quote because I haven't heard it or seen it mentioned previously.

Was mentioned on TCR around the time this story appreared:

"If I’m being paid, and I’ve got the commitment to me that I give to them, you make more of an effort to be out there every day," (Bradley) said.

"When you’re on one-year deals constantly, you’ve got to put up as good numbers as you can. When you have days where you’re not feeling like you can contribute, you’re not going to go out there, because you’re not going to want your numbers to suck.

"So, if you’re in a situation like I am now, if they want me to go out there when I’m feeling a little banged up, I’ve got no problem doing that because they’ve made the commitment to me."

OK thanks.

That still reads to me like 'I don't want to turn a hamstring pull into a tear during a free agent year' needlessly.

I would say roughly 95% of players behave the same way, Bradley just has the misfortune to be honest about it. I guess Mike wouldn't have wanted Barry Bonds to sign with us when he left the Pirates either.

ESPN 1k is reporting that Aram has back stiffness and is not in the line-up. Given that the pitching matchup is Ubaldo Jimenez (really hard on RHB, career 1.26 WHIP and .229 BA vs. RHB) vs. Ted Lilly (Fly ball pitcher, meaning Lou could want to use Gathright over Hoffpauir) and given that three of our five best run producers arent playing I could see this craptastic line-up possiblities being empolyed by Lou:

CF Gathright
3B Miles/SS Theriot/RF Fukudome
1B Lee
LF Soriano
RF Fukudome/2B Fontenot
2B Fontenot/RF Fukudome
SS Theriot/C Hill/3B Miles
C Hill/3B Miles

Thanks, Chifan. I just posted the lineup that came over Twitter from Wittenmyer/Sun-Times.

Wow! No ARam, Soto or Bradley? Ouch.

Between that and the fact that it appears the weather is going to be shit (Cold, rainy and windy, high 41) I can't say I am too pissed I won't be there for Opening Day.

Unfortunately I can't watch the game at work, so I will have to "see" the game on CBS' GameCenter.

Go Cubs!

Well this would the game to miss if cant get on TV or web stream.

Recent comments

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  • QuietMan 7 hours 24 min ago view
  • Javy's grunge dive into the stands for the popup was awesome - the hitting into the double play not so much

    Eric S 7 hours 52 min ago view
  • Third time I've tried to post this (forgive me if it winds up appearing three times)

    Junior Lake, batting 9th and playing RF for the Blue Jays...

    Transmission 8 hours 5 min ago view
  • *That was a fun HALF inning.

    Brick 9 hours 9 min ago view
  • this game is no longer awesome.

    crunch 9 hours 9 min ago view
  • he was awesome.

    crunch 9 hours 18 min ago view
  • I'm pretty sure that Len called Bryant's home run a Brexit.

    Old and Blue 9 hours 20 min ago view
  • everyone but heyward with a hit and a 3 run lead with coghlan on 3rd through 5 batters. hell yeah.

    okay, this is just silly. 19 pitches in, 1 out, 4 runs in, men on 1st and 2nd...hendricks up to bunt.

    ...and almora contributes the final out. that was a fun inning.

    crunch 9 hours 22 min ago view
  • this game is awesome already.

    also, there's a lot of cubs fans in the park tonight.

    crunch 9 hours 30 min ago view
  • Clearly, Joe Maddon is a Lineup Wizzard.

    Transmission 9 hours 30 min ago view
  • "Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Friday that Anthony Rizzo (back) is feeling better and it's "possible" the first baseman could return to the lineup Saturday."

    crunch 10 hours 53 min ago view
  • Maddon shore isn't afraid to bat a rookie 4th in the order.

    Old and Blue 12 hours 9 min ago view
  • how many pairs of dice did dusty leave hidden around the park when he left the cubs?

    crunch 13 hours 4 min ago view
  • Line-up shakeup, going all-2015 with pitcher batting 8th, Bryant 2nd

    J-Hey, Bryant 1B, Zobrist, Willson, Coghlan, Baez 3B, Russell, Hendricks, Almora

    Eric S 13 hours 28 min ago view
  • The Cubs are currently down Schwarber, Fowler, Soler, and Rizzo and Montero appear to be day-to-day. Maybe not surprising that they are struggling a bit as they rely more than expected on Baez, Russell, Almora, Contreras, and Szczur to provide offensive value.

    Charlie 16 hours 7 min ago view
  • Joe: "I loved the way we brought it today, man. We'll take this every night and win a lot of ballgames like that. Losing 4 in a row...that's nothin'."

    The E-Man 1 day 6 hours ago view