Archive - Jul 2007

The non-waiver trading deadine has passed, and nary a peep from the Cubs.

Rumor mongers vs the real deals. Eric Gagne, Bronson Arroyo, Octavio Dotel, Bobby Kielty, Ryan Church or Reggie Sanders? 4 way deal for A-Rod? Have at it. ...and Carlos, MVN's own "The Transaction Guy" is monitoring every possible wire report for information on that last minute deal coming at cha. (OK, so it's a shameless plug)

July 30th

Game Chat Cole Hamels vs. Ted Lilly Lineups:
Victorino RF Soriano LF
Iguchi 2B Theriot SS
Rollins SS Lee 1B
Howard 1B Ramirez 3B
Rowand CF DeRosa 2B
Burrell LF Murton RF
Helms 3B Pagan CF
Ruiz C Kendall C
Hamels P Lilly P
Cubnut addendum... New Phillie: Former Cub farmhand Kyle Lohse, acquired today by the Phils from Cincinnati in exchange for minor league lefthander Matt Maloney. Lohse is just 6-12, 4.58 this season, but he threw what was arguably his best game of the season and one of the finest in his career back on April 15th against the Cubs. Lohse tossed eight innings of four-hit, shutout ball with 12 strikeouts in a game the Reds would win 1-0, though Lilly, Wuertz, and Dempster combined to two-hit the visitors. The memory of how Lohse dominated the Cubs that day gives me the willies, so, speaking for myself, I'd just as soon see the guy make his Philadelphia debut against somebody else.

July 29th

The Cubs—now just a half-game behind the flailing Brewers—open a seven-game homestand Monday night with a four-game series against the Phillies, followed by a three-game set with the Mets. The Brewers will begin a six-game homestand against the same two clubs in reverse order. However, since they don’t open against the Metropolitans until Tuesday night, the Brewers will have no direct control over whether or not they go to bed Monday night in sole possession of first place in the NL Central. One of baseball’s enduring clichés is the one that says a victory at the beginning of the season is worth just as much as one in the final days of a pennant race. Is it the same with defeats?

Game Chat Carlos Zambrano vs. Matt Belisle Christian here...Not sure if anyone at TCR Central is going to be able to post lineups before game time, but here are the probables. After yesterday's win and the Brewers' doubleheader loss, the Cubs are 1 1/2 games out of first place, the closest they've been to the top this late in the season since 2003. AZ PHIL UPDATE: Hiya Ruz! Despite the RHP starter for CIN, both Cliff Floyd and Jacque Jones get the day off. Maybe Jones has been (or is about to be) traded. Also, Koyie Hill is getting the start at catcher. Here's the lineups... * bats left # bats both Lineups:
Alfonso Soriano, LF * Scott Hatteberg, 1B
Ryan Theriot, SS Ryan Freel, CF
Derrek Lee, 1B * Ken Griffey Jr, RF
Aramis Ramirez, 3B Brandon Phillips, 2B
Mark DeRosa, RF * Adam Dunn, LF
* Mike Fontenot, 2B Jeff Keppinger, SS
# Angel Pagan, CF # Javier Valentin, C
# Koyie Hill, C Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
# Carlos Zambrano, P Matt Belisle, P

July 28th

Game Chat Sean Marshall vs. Aaron Harang Lineups:
Soriano LF Freel CF
Theriot SS Hopper RF
Lee 1B Conine 1B
Floyd RF Phillips 2B
DeRosa 3B Dunn LF
Fontenot 2B Keppinger SS
Jones CF Encarnacion 3B
Kendall C Ross C
Marshall P Harang P

July 27th

Game Chat Rich Hill vs. Bronson Arroyo Lineups:
Soriano LF Freel CF
Theriot SS Keppinger SS
Lee 1B Griffey Jr. RF
Ramirez 3B Phillips 2B
Floyd RF Dunn LF
DeRosa 2B Conine 1B
Jones CF Encarnacion 3B
Kendall C Ross C
Hill P Arroyo P
Billy Petrick and Jake Fox do get optioned to AAA as speculated and Matt Murton and Rocky Cherry are called back up.

Paul Sullivan is reporting in the Chicago Tribune that Matt Murton and Rocky Cherry are being recalled. It seems likely that they will be replacing Jake Fox and Billy Petrick, although it is also possible that Mark DeRosa could be placed on the DL. Murton is hitting 340/406/617 (1.023 OPS) with five HR and 20 RBI plus nine doubles and a 10/12 BB/K ratio in 106 PA this month at Iowa, including an eleven game hitting streak and 16 out of 17. Over his last seven appearances, Cherry has thrown 9.0 IP, allowing two runs (both earned) and six hits, walking one while striking out 10. Also, Kerry Wood and Henry Blanco continued their rehab assignments at Peoria last night. box score Woody went one inning (12 pitches), allowing one hit and no runs with two strikeouts, while Hank White went 1-2 with a walk. Cubs GM Jim Hendry will be attending tonight's game at Peoria, presumably to get a first-hand look at the two rehabbing players. It is expected that Wood will be continuing his rehab next week at Iowa, but Blanco could be very close to returning to the big club.

July 26th

Game Chat Jason Marquis vs. Braden Looper Lineups:
Soriano LF Eckstein SS
Theriot SS Edmonds CF
Lee 1B Pujols 1B
Ramirez 3B Duncan LF
Floyd RF Encarnacion RF
Fontenot 2B Rolen 3B
Jones CF Molina C
Kendall C Miles 2B
Marquis P Looper P

- Koyie Hill and Jason Kendall are going to split duties for awhile, supposedly to let Kendall get some extra work in with hitting coach Gerald Perry and try to get his hitting stroke right. - I heard on XM radio this morning that Ryan Theriot has something like a 338 inning errorless streak at shortstop going. His last error at shortstop was in the second inning of an April 27th game against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Zone Rating that The Hardball Times keeps track of has him at .877 at the shortstop position which would be good for third in the league if he qualified behind Jose Reyes and Omar Vizquel. - Two items from the print version of Sports Ilustrated... The stats on this first item are a little outdated as this was published right after the All-Star Break but Baseball Prospectus's author Nate Silver uses a formula known as Secret Sauce to predict the World Series participants. The ingredients so to speak: Equivalent K/9 (EqK9), Fielding Runs Above Average (FRAA) and it's strength of closer using Win Expectations Above Replacement (WXRL). The theory being those three items correlate strongly to postseason success, striking guys out, defense and a shutdown closer. Supposedly the formula correctly predicted the 2005 World Series matchup and a few others along the way. This being a Cubs blog, what do you expect? 1. Boston Red Sox 7.2 EQk9, 10 FRAA, 3.43 WXRL for Papelbon 2. Chicago Cubs 7.5 EQk9, 25 FRAA, 1.93 WXRL for Dempster 3. Anaheim Angels 6.8 EQk9, 17 FRAA, 2.64 WXRL for K-rod 4. The Metropolitans 6.4 EQk9, 28 FRAA, 3.19 WXRL for Wagner 5. Los Angeles Dodgers 7.4 EQk9, -11 FRAA, 3.74 WXRL for Saito And before we jump down Dempster's throat, I believe he's the only one of those closers to land himself on the disabled list. Item number two from SI was in this week's issue and there was a piece on the rejuvenated Cubs and touched on many of the topics that I covered in the recent "Nomar Corollary" about what jump started the turnaround. First, Hendry actually has a name for June 2nd, the day the Cubs reached their low-water mark of the year and Lou got ejected, "The Last-Straw Day". Not much for originality I guess. Also, there seems to be a slogan being bandied about Wrigley for the 2007 year, "It's Gonna Happen". Someone's even making bracelets. The most telling piece of the article though was this from Lou on getting thrown out the day after the Zambrano/Barrett brawl and Dempster's follow-up:
"I'm not going to say it was intentional, but truthfully I had to go out and argue that day. I knew that before the ball game. There was just too much scrutiny on our team. And when there's scrutiny on the team, basically a manager has to take a load of it. But that's not why we've turned around."
And Dempster's reply:
"I think Lou did a tremendous job of taking the heat off the players after everything that went on in the dugout and clubhouse. If he didn't get thrown out, we'd probably still be answering questions about Carlos and Michael." "The whole focus was on Lou for four days. Longer. Two weeks. It gave us a chance to breathe, to just play, get on a roll, and all of a sudden get our confidence. Now it feels like the fight never happened."
Strategic ejections, who knew? Cubs go for the sweep tonight, Marquis vs. Looper or better yet Rothschild vs Duncan.

July 25th

Game Chat Ted Lilly vs. Adam Wainwright Lineups:
Soriano LF Eckstein SS
Theriot SS Taguchi CF
Lee 1B Pujols 1B
Ramirez 3B Encarnacion RF
Floyd RF Rolen 3B
Fontenot 2B Duncan LF
Jones CF Molina C
Hill C Ryan 2B
Lilly P Wainwright P

The Cubs ended their mild two game swoon against the soon to be former World Champions with yet another one-run victory, giving them a 14-16 record in that bit of baseball whimsy. The game was harmless enough, Zambrano picked up his NL leading thirteenth win, lowered his ERA to 3.65 and took 117 pitches to not even make it through seven innings. I think we've seen that movie before. It did mark Derrek Lee's triumphant return to the lineup and he was kind enough to plate a particularly useful insurance run in the 9th. An insurance run that was very much needed with the return of the Ryan Dempster Experience back in the closer role. Handed a two-run lead, Dempster quickly hung a meatball to Yadier Molina to leadoff the inning, immediately putting the tying run up to the plate. A couple outs later, he gets Ryan Ludwick into an 0-2 hole before meatball number two is lined into left field, scoring a run after a Soriano bobble and bringing up Mr. All-World Albert Pujols. And any strategy that involves having to pitch with Albert Pujols representing the winning run isn't a good one. Then of course the Cubs had been dancing with this devil a few times already.

July 24th

While the Cubs were busy dumping the Cardinals Tuesday night, Kerry Wood was earning a victory for the Class ‘A’ Peoria Chiefs over the Fort Wayne Wizards. Woody entered the game in the 5th inning with the Chiefs already ahead 4-0. He threw 12 pitches, recording two ground outs and a fly out while walking one. According to cubs.com, Wood's pitches were clocked between 91 and 94 mph. Wood is slated to pitch back-to-back games this Thursday and Friday, when the Chiefs host the Dayton Dragons. Cubs GM Jim Hendry is scheduled to attend Friday night’s game. In five minor league outings this year spanning five innings, Wood has allowed one earned run. striking out five and walking two. He has been touched for four hits.

Game Chat Carlos Zambrano vs. Kip Wells Lineups:
Soriano LF Kennedy 2B
Theriot SS Schumaker RF
Lee 1B Pujols 1B
Ramirez 3B Duncan LF
Floyd RF Edmonds CF
DeRosa 2B Rolen 3B
Jones CF Miles SS
Kendall C Molina C
Zambrano P Wells P

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