Archive - Sep 2006

September 29th

Not sure if I'll be able to throw up any more previews as we're preparing for a very busy off-season here at TCR. Okay, I got to work this weekend and I'm far too wrapped up in trying to secure third place in the TCR Fantasy Pool. - A San Diego paper tells us that in 2002 Jim Hendry approached Kevin Towers in trying to acquire Bruce Bochy to manage the Cubs and was told he wasn't going anywhere. According to the article:
One Cubs official said Bochy would be his first choice if something can be worked out. Bochy is guaranteed about $1.9 million in 2007.
Interesting... - Speaking of managerial speculation, this Trib article has a doozy for you. Bob Brenly in as manager of either the Cubs or Giants and Steve Stone back in the booth. - Juan Pierre became the first Cub to reach 200 hits since Ryne Sandberg. Yeah for meaningless milestones. The Cubs offense has actually been decent since Pierre started hitting, unfortunately it didn't happen until June. They say speed never takes a day off, but you know what does take games off? Singles hitters with little patience. - I know we're way past this, but bottom of the 9th, 2 on, 0 outs, a tough lefty on the mound in Brian Fuentes. Guess who's coming up? That would be Jacque Jones and I believe my exact words in the parachat were "just strike out and give Murton a try". Jones predictably grounded into a double play squashing the rally. Think Baker has seen him fail enough yet? - If you're the praying type, say one for Derrek Lee and his family. His daughter has been diagnosed with something known as LCA (Leber's Congenital Amaurosis), an "inherited form of blindness that is usually apparent shortly after birth." So far it's just affected one of her eyes and let's hope it only gets better from here on out. Otherwise see you in the Parachat on Sunday...

Don't believe what you're hearing on Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, or reading in the NY Post or Daily Mirror or Weekly World News. To set things straight, once and for all.
* No, the Parachat party hasn't been cancelled due to fire-code violations * No, we aren't letting Mariotti be the DJ * No, it's not true that Neifi Perez is threatening to sue us for libel or slander if we go through with the Parachat party * No, the VIP section of the Parachat Club is not a ghost subsidiary of the Tribune * No, the gift-bags you will receive upon entry are not taxable income, the IRS can not go after you for whatever baubles you might receive at the party. * Yes, we've done thorough background check on ALL of the Hell's Angels that we hired for private security. * To the best of our knowledge, no, participating in this event does not make you an "enemy combatant." * Yes, Augie Ojeda will be serving drinks. * Yes, we turned away Paris Hilton, and yes, we got a restraining order on Joan and Melissa Rivers to keep them 1000 feet away.
I hope this clears up any confusion. See you in Parachat on Sunday.

Back in the day, I was always excited about the final weekend series in Wrigley because of Fan Appreciation Weekend. The Cubs always advertised a raffle for prizes that to a prepubescent kid seemed like they were giving away gold. I watched in awe on WGN as I imagined fans walking out of the stadium with more Cubs stuff than they could hold. I mean what a cool thing to do, the generous Cubs just giving stuff away to fans out of the kindness of their hearts as a way to say thanks. Of course, years later and much wiser, I'm thinking the Cubs need to be giving away houses, cars, $10,000 in cash to each and every fan as a way to give back for the crap they've put on the field. Funny thing what age does to you... Last chance to see Z do his magic, all with a stiff wind out to CF. Cubs are now tied with Pitt (who face the Reds this weekend) for 5th in the division and the 4th draft slot if you care about such things. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED SIXTY IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] COLORADO ROCKIES (74-85) AT CHICAGO CUBS (65-94) Wrigley Field, 1:20 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, 55 degrees, Wind out to CF @ 10 mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 743 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Carlos Zambrano, RHP 16-6, 3.44 ERA, 207 IP 201 K, 111 BB, 20 HR 211/317/359 againstJosh Fogg, RHP 10-9, 5.62 ERA, 165 IP 89 K, 60 BB, 24 HR 304/365/511 against

Kaz Matsui, 2B *Jeff Salazar, CF Garrett Atkins, 3B Matt Holliday, LF *Todd Helton, 1B *Brad Hawpe, RF Troy Tulowitszi, SS Chris Iannetta, C Josh Fogg, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF *John Mabry, 1B Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS #Carlos Zambrano, P

Rockies vs Zambrano: Todd Helton: 3-15, 200/333/200, 5 K, 3 BB, 0 XBHCubs vs. Fogg: Aramis Ramirez: 7-24, 292/414/792, 2 K, 4 BB, 4 HR Juan Pierre: 12-24, 500/520/583, 1 K, 1 BB, 2 2B

As I get ready to do some editing on the end-of-year roundtable (and those of you who haven't gotten your answers in yet, you know who you are), I thought I'd take a look back at what we thought about this team at the beginning of the season. Obviously no one foresaw Derrek Lee's injury, but plenty of people foresaw Wood & Prior's struggles. Just about everyone thought Matt Murton would have a decent-to-good year if he got to play, and opinion was decidedly mixed on whether or not the Juan Pierre trade would turn out to be a good one. Opinion was also mixed on Rafael Furcal, with lots of people wishing the Cubs had done what it took to sign him, and others suggesting that what it took was too much. I thought I'd pull out a few predictions, ones that look smart in retrospect and ones that don't, so we can all cast our minds back to six months ago, when anything seemed possible. I mean no disrespect to those people who show up on the bad side of the ledger, all of whom had some prescient things to say as well. If you want to read full responses, you can go back and see what TCR writers, TCR readers, and other Cubs bloggers had to say. The end-of-year roundtable will be posted early next week. THE GOOD MikeC: "A possible disappointment could be Ryan Dempster, he still hasn't got his control problems fixed. Very lucky pitcher last year and baseball has a tendency to even out that luck." ruz: "Jones, meanwhile, will be an albatross by 2008, but this year I expect him to contribute." Rob G.: "Iím glad they stayed away from A.J. Burnett, big upside but just as injury prone as any of our big guys." John Hill: "The short-term results, especially in Cedenoís case, may be ugly, no better than what Neifi Perez might achieve." Rob G.: "I think the biggest surprise will actually be Jacque Jones." ruz: "Sean Marshall looks like he's going to get a chance to prove some things in April, but I think before the end of the year it'll be a different tall lefty, Rich Hill, we'll be talking about." MannyTrillo: "[Hendry] did not properly prepare for the very likely injuries to Wood and Prior."

September 28th

As the 2006 season comes to a merciful end, you can look forward to Jim Hendry making a few roster moves in the next few weeks and months in an attempt to improve the Cubs for 2007. Besides trying to re-sign some of his own free-agents (almost certainly Aramis Ramirez, and probably Juan Pierre, Kerry Wood, Wade Miller, and Henry Blanco), the Cubs GM will also likely try and acquire a starting pitcher or two, maybe a power-hitting outfielder, and maybe a veteran middle infielder, via free-agency or trade. But there are also other roster moves that will be made, the type that are made "under the radar" by all MLB clubs every year at this time. And since we want you to be prepared, here's what you might expect to see happen in the coming weeks and months...

I know, the last thing anyone really wants to read is another freakin' piece bashing Dusty Baker. Do not fear, that's not what this is about. This one is all on Sir Hendry. Back in July, Hendry stated that Dusty would stick through the season and Hendry would "try to move expediently and make a decision as to what direction to go" once the season ended. Well that's all well and good and I do hope that the only thing he's deciding at this point is whether to fire Baker on the Monday morning following our last game versus the Rockies or do it right after the game to save Baker a trip back out to the office to clean out his collection of war books and designer toothpicks. My concern and where I believe Hendry may have taken a misstep is not taking care of this mess a whole lot sooner. What worries me is that the Cubs have a couple of guys on the team who will be vying for new deals this off-season, most notably Aramis Ramirez and Juan Pierre. When it comes to wooing free agents, itís my opinion that 98% of the decision-making is based on the money offered, with the other 2% a mixture of locale, amenities, manager, cronies and other such intangibles. But when trying to retain your own guys, I think the intangible percentage can play a bit of a higher factor especially if you want to sign those players for a few bucks less than they may get on the open market, which, of course, is certainly a wise business decision. While the image of the modern ballplayers is one with dollar signs in their eyes and no sense of loyalty to their current teams, more a collection of mercenaries for hire rather than a group of soldiers fighting for a common ideal, I do believe that it's not quite that grim of a picture. I think most players would prefer to stay where they're at rather than go through the process of uprooting themselves and their family, having to worry about fitting into a new team, and all the other headaches of finding a new place to play. Granted, millions of dollars tend to soothe those headaches a lot easier, but I still think it's part of the decision-making process, albeit a small one. It's also my feeling that the longer the player has played in one place, the more they want to stay. And as you start taking things away that are familiar to that player, that's a few less reasons holding them here.. And this is where I think Hendry may have messed up.

September 27th

I think Jacque Jones needs to sire a few more kids as he went 3 for 5 last night with three RBI's, a homer, a double and three runs in his triumphant return to the starting lineup after taking a few days off to be with his newborn daughter. Congrats to Jones and his family and keep the hot-hitting up. Tonight is the final night game of the year and the final opportunity to watch Rich Hill pitch. Then the last off day of the year which I'm sure will be used as a mandatory practice day and the final showdown with the Rockies to finish the year off. Cubs lost out on the first pick in the draft last night with their victory and the Royals loss. Second place is still in reach, but so is fourth place as the Pirates have to contend with the Astros and Reds the rest of the way who are both trying to unthrone the rapidly collapsing Cardinals. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-NINE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] MILWAUKEE BREWERS (73-84) AT CHICAGO CUBS (64-94) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Clear, 63 degrees, Wind from L to R @ 15 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 743 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Rich Hill, LHP 6-7, 4.29 ERA, 92.1 IP 83 K, 37 BB, 13 HR 226/304/424 againstDave Bush, RHP 12-11, 4.54 ERA, 202 IP 161 K, 38 BB, 26 HR 256/305/427 against

Brady Clark, CF Tony Graffanino, 2B Jeff Cirillo, 1B Bill Hall, SS Corey Hart, RF David Bell, 3B Mike Rivera, C Vinny Rottino, LF Dave Bush, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF *John Mabry, 1B Henry Blanco, C *Scott Moore, 3B Ronny Cedeno, SS *Rich Hill, P

Brewers vs. Hill: No Brewers with more than 10 AB'sCubs vs. Bush: Jacque Jones: 5-17, 294/294/588, 4 K, 1 HR, 2 2B Juan Pierre: 6-14, 429/429/714, 1 HR Ronny Cedeno: 3-11, 273/250/545, 1 HR Aramis Ramirez: 3-10, 300/417/700, 1 HR

This has been a wretched excuse of a year. To celebrate our release from suffering on October 1st, I invite everyone to ring out the year in style, in Parachat. Let's fill the chatroom for the Sunday Oct. 1, 1:20 pm game against the Rockies, and toast the end to another fruitless season. Come in costume, come naked, come drunk, or with the lucid sobreity of a fan who has seen it all and wishes to see no more. Tell the bouncer at the door that you're a Friend of Trans, and he'll be sure to let you in. He'll ask you to check your sour mood at the door, but otherwise, anything goes!

September 26th

A Royals loss coupled with a Cubs win will eliminate the Cubs from getting the top pick in next year's draft, mostly thanks to the Royals recent seven game skid. The Cubs are 2.5 back of the D'Rays for the second spot at the moment and you never know if the Royals will cheap out on a signing bonus (or for that matter the D'Rays) so there's still hope the Cubs can land the best talent in next year's draft. The Royals did shell out on Luke Hochevar this year so they may finally realize the value in building from the ground up. This is likely Sean Marshall's final start of the year and his last chance to leave something better than the taste of rotten milk on the Cubs palette. It hasn't been pretty at all for Marshall since his return from the DL (which coincided rather closely to the loss of his mentor Greg Maddux). Carlos "Don't Call Me Hector" Villanueva is a 22-year old Brewer prospect who was the bounty in the big Wayne Franklin deal with the Giants two years ago. He didn't break the Brewers top 10 prospect list by Baseball America last year but he was rated as having the best changeup in their organization. He put up a nice season between AA and AAA this year going a combined 11-6 with a 3.22 ERA, 120 K, 40 BB, 12 HR in 128.2 IP. This will be his first chance to terrorize us for many years to come. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-EIGHT IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] MILWAUKEE BREWERS (73-83 (Draft) 7th) AT CHICAGO CUBS (63-94 (Draft) 3rd - 4.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Clear, 70 degrees, Wind out to CF @ 6 mph TV: WCIU, DirecTV 744 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Sean Marshall, LHP 5-9, 5.64 ERA, 119.2 IP 74 K, 56 BB, 19 HR 270/357/440 againstCarlos Villanueva, RHP 1-1, 3.35 ERA, 40.1 IP 30 K, 9 BB, 5 HR 204/264/395 against

Brady Clark, CF Tony Graffanino, 2B *Prince Fielder, 1B Bill Hall, SS Corey Hart, RF Kevin Mench, LF David Bell, 3B Mike Rivera, C Carlos Villanueva, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF *John Mabry, 1B Henry Blanco, C *Scott Moore, 3B Ronny Cedeno, SS *Sean Marshall, P

Brewers vs. Marshall: No Brewers have ever faced MarshallCubs vs. Villanueva: No Cubs have ever faced Villanueva
Well if that lineup doesn't scare the hell out of Hendry into giving Ramirez whatever he wants, nothing will.

September 25th

After this, it's back to Wrigley for a -- what's the opposite of "victory lap" anyway? Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-SEVEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (63-93 (Draft) 3rd - 4.5 GB) AT CINCINNATI REDS (76-79 (Div) 3rd - 4.5 GB; (WC) 4th - 6.0 GB) The Great American Home Run Park, 11:35 pm CDT Weather: Sunny, 60 degrees, Wind out to L @ 5 mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 735 Radio: WGN, XM 186
Bronson Arroyo, RHP 14-10, 3.38 ERA, 226.2 IP 176 K, 59 BB, 31 HR 246/297/404 againstWade Miller, RHP 0-2, 4.97 ERA, 12.2 IP 14 K, 12 BB, 3 HR 222/397/444 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF #Angel Pagan, RF *John Mabry, 1B Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS Wade Miller, P *Chris Denorfia, CF *Scott Hatteberg, 1B Rich Aurilia, SS Adam Dunn, LF Edwin Encarnacion, 3B Brandon Phillips, 2B *Todd Hollandsworth, RF David Ross, C Bronson Arroyo, P

Cubs vs. Arroyo: Aramis Ramirez: 4-14, 286/333/571, 2 K, 1 BB, 1 HR Jacque Jones: 3-18, 167/211/222, 2 K, 1 BBReds vs. Miller: Rich Aurilia: 6-16, 375/474/500, 3 BB Adam Dunn: 1-23, 043/185/174, 13 K, 4 BB, 1 HR

September 24th

Mateo returns to the rotation after dealing with his back issues and the Cubs avoid a 100-loss season with there win last night. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FIFTY-SIX IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (63-92 (Draft) 3rd - 4.5 GB) AT CINCINNATI REDS (75-79 (Div) 3rd - 5.5 GB; (WC) 5th - 6.0 GB) The Great American Home Run Park, 12:15 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 69 degrees, Wind from R to L @ 13 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 735 Radio: WGN, XM 186
Aaron Harang, RHP 14-11, 3.91 ERA, 216.1 IP 198 K, 56 BB, 26 HR 274/323/442 againstJuan Mateo, RHP 1-3, 4.38 ERA, 39 IP 30 K, 15 BB, 4 HR 289/363/447 against

*Juan Pierre, CF *Freddie Bynum, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Scott Moore, 1B Henry Blanco, C *Buck Coats, RF Ronny Cedeno, SS Juan Mateo, P *Chris Denorfia, CF *Scott Hatteberg, 1B Rich Aurilia, SS Adam Dunn, LF Edwin Encarnacion, 3B Brandon Phillips, 2B Norris Hopper, RF Jason LaRue, C Aaron Harang, P

Cubs vs. Harang: Aramis Ramirez: 4-17, 235/278/412, 2 K, 1 BB, 1 HR Juan Pierre: 3-12, 250/250/417, 2 K, 0 BB, 1 3B Reds vs. Mateo: No Reds with more than 10 AB's

September 23rd

Rich Hill looked like he had some dominating stuff yesterday, striking out 10 batters in 5 innings, but he also got touched for three homers and Mother Nature took care of the rest, washing out the game before the offense could get Hill off the hook. Oh well, they all can't be great. Today Z hits the mound, on some sort of personal quest to try and win the Cy Young. A fool's quest it seems. He's 5th in the NL in Win Shares among starting pitchers, 7th by VORP, 5th in ERA and he's dropped to 4th in K's because of his time missed. He is 2nd in wins and only one win shy of being tied for the league, but that's because for whatever reason the Cubs offense decides to perform when he pitches (6th best run support in the league). Of course, some of that could be because of Z's presence in the lineup itself. Eight lousy games left! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FIFTY-FIVE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (62-92 (Draft) 3rd - 3.5 GB) AT CINCINNATI REDS (75-78 (Div) 2nd - 5.5 GB; (WC) 3rd - 5.5 GB) The Great American Home Run Park, 6:10 pm CDT Weather: TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 186
Kyle Lohse, RHP (NL Only) 2-4, 4.33 ERA, 54 IP 43 K, 15 BB, 5 HR 288/335/418 againstCarlos Zambrano, RHP 15-6, 3.38 ERA, 200 IP 194 K, 108 BB, 19 HR 210/318/356 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF #Angel Pagan, RF John Mabry, 1B Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS #Carlos Zambrano, P *Dewayne Wise, CF *Scott Hatteberg, 1B Edwin Encarnacion, 3B Adam Dunn, LF #Javier Valentin, C *Todd Hollandsworth, RF Brandon Phillips, SS #Ray Olmedo, 2B Kyle Lohse, P

Cubs vs. Lohse: No Cubs with more than 10 AB'sReds vs. Zambrano: Adam Dunn: 7-34, 206/364/559, 10 K, 9 BB, 4 HR Jason LaRue: 4-24, 167/231/208, 11 K, 0 BB Royce Clayton: 4-19, 211/250/368 Rich Aurilia: 4-14, 286/375/286 Scott Hatteberg: 4-13, 308/526/615, 2 K, 6 BB, 1 HR Edwin Encarnacion: 3-10, 300/417/600, 1 HR
I assume something is wrong with Jacque Jones. What the hell is wrong with Dusty to start Mabry over Moore?

September 22nd

In Hill's last outing he threw a complete game shut-out against these very Reds on 118 pitches, walking one while striking out ten, giving up only two hits and facing a mere thirty-one hitters. I'd call that a good game. A matter of fact if you go by Bill James's game score, it was the best pitched game this year along with a gem by Dontrelle Willis earlier in the year. It'll be tough for him to top tonight, so I expect nothing less than a no-hitter or a 20 K night out of the Michigan alum. This is the last road trip of the season for the Cubbies before a final adventure in the Friendly Confines to wrap up the season. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FIFTY-FOUR IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (62-91 (Draft) 3rd - 3.5 GB) AT CINCINNATI REDS (74-78 (Div) 2nd - 6.5 GB; (WC) 6th - 5.5 GB) The Great American Home Run Park, 6:10 pm CDT Weather: TV: CLTV, DirecTV 737 Radio: WGN, XM 186
Chris Michalak, LHP 1-3, 4.88 ERA, 27.2 IP 7 K, 11 BB, 4 HR 306/380/481 againstRich Hill, LHP 6-6, 4.12 ERA, 87.1 IP 73 K, 35 BB, 12 HR 227/305/408 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF #Angel Pagan, RF Henry Blanco, 1B Ronny Cedeno, SS Geovany Soto, C *Rich Hill, P *Chris Denorfia, RF Brandon Phillips, SS Rich Aurilia, 1B Adam Dunn, LF Edwin Encarnacion, 3B David Ross, C Juan Castro, 2B Norris Hopper, RF *Chris Michalak, P

Cubs vs. Michalak: No Cubs with more than 10 AB'sReds vs. Hill: No Reds with more than 10 AB's

September 21st

Look, I would love to see the Cubs sign a premier starting pitcher like Jason Schmidt, or a "big bat" like Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Lee. I really would. But I just can't see that happening.

September 19th

Well we didn't get the pitching gem I was hoping for but we did get seven RBI's out of Aramis and the offensive explosion continues. And winning is always nice, even if it'll cost us a slot or two in the draft. Today it's the ageless Moyer against "Scruffy" Miller. Scruffy was pretty solid in his last outing versus the Dodgers, giving up a mere hit in his five innings of work in a game eventually won by the Cubs thanks to another three-run dinger by Aramis Ramirez. Scruffy topped out at 90 mph from what I saw, although he seemed to have trouble locating at that speed. Most of the time he was in the high 80's with his fastball and I thought his curve and change worked nicely. This spoiler role is kind of fun, so Go Cubs! One more win by the Cubs and they will avoid 100 losses this year. Little victories. GAME ONE HUNDRED-FIFTY-TWO IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (62-89 (Draft) 3rd - 4.5 GB) AT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (77-73 (WC) 2nd - 1.5 GB) Citizens Bank Park, 6:05 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, 75 degrees, Wind from L to R @ 8 mph TV: WCIU Radio: WGN, XM 184
Jamie Moyer, LHP (NL Only) 2-2, 4.32 ERA, 33.1 IP 17 K, 3 BB, 4 HR 271/321/470 againstWade Miller, RHP 0-1, 6.75 ERA, 8 IP 6 K, 8 BB, 3 HR 214/389/536 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Henry Blanco, 1B Ronny Cedeno, SS Geovany Soto, C Wade Miller, P #Jimmy Rollins, SS #Shane Victorino, CF *Chase Utley, 2B *Ryan Howard, 1B *David Dellucci, RF Pat Burrell, LF Chris Coste, C #Abraham Nunez, 3B *Jamie Moyer, P

Cubs vs. Moyer: Jacque Jones: 6-18, 333/400/389, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 2BPhillies vs. Miller: Jose Hernandez: 6-23, 251/320/435, 1 HR David Dellucci: 6-15, 400/471/667


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