Archive - Sep 2007

September 30th

Our enemy finally has a face and it is the face of a slitherin menace. The Mets collapse (yeah 1969 karma is a b-tch) will send us to the Valley of the Sun beginning Wednesday. I'll break down the Dbacks further this week but it appears rotations have been set, at least for the first 3 games: Game 1 Wednesday @ Arizona: Carlos Zambrano vs Brandon Webb Game 2 Thursday @ Arizona: Ted Lilly vs Doug Davis Game 3 Saturday @ Wrigley: Livan Hernandez vs Rich Hill Things will get considerably more interesting starting with Game 4 as both teams will have the options of going with their "ace" on 3 days rest and it very well might matter which team is down 2-1. Then of course the decision on Game 4 will effect Game 5's starters. If the Cubs and Dbacks both decide to let their pitchers get their full rest than it'll likely be Jason Marquis and Micah Owings in Game 4 although Marquis's last few performances seem to have Lou rethinking that decision.

Game Chat Ted Lilly vs Homer Bailey Lineups:
Soriano LF Keppinger SS
Fontenot 2b Hanigan C
Lee 1B Votto LF
Floyd RF Encarnacion 3B
Ramirez 3B Cantu 1B
Jones CF Coats CF
Cedeno SS Ellison RF
Kendall C Lopez 2B
Lilly P Bailey P

September 29th

It's not only important for young Cubs players to learn the finer points of pitching, fielding, hitting, and base-running, it's also important for them to learn "Why We Fight" and which teams need to be targeted in a special way for defeat. So in what is the Arizona Instructional League version of the Windy City Classic, the Cubs defeated the White Sox 6-4 this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.

September 28th

 

CUBS WIN

 

 

DIVISION

 

Box Score, Play by Play, Photos

W- Zambrano (18-13), Cubs Fans Everywhere. Setting up your rotation for the playoffs. L- Arroyo (9-15), for one night, at least, talk of Cubs' history. Magic Number - 0 (Brewers Lose 6-3.) Things to Take from This Game 1. Cubs Clinch the Right Way
We're playing baseball in October, folks. Check out this picture, courtesty of our own "Brick." It's too large to really be done justice inside of a Word Press column.
2. Resting Easy, Early
Soriano led off the game with another solo Home Run. Theriot added a sacrifice fly in the second, and Zambrano looked to be in command of his pitches and his emotions early.
3. Power Game
Besides Soriano, Lee hit a two-run homer in the fifth, and Jones had a blast of an opposite-field, two-run double in the eighth. Really, from the second inning on, you just felt that we had this game in hand. But it was good to see the Cubs keep pouring it on.
4. Great pitching.
Z had no troubles at all with the Reds injury-riddled lineup, and neither did Howry or Dempster. Not a lot of strikeouts tonight (just 5), but really few serious rallies or even hard-hit balls.
your 4 years in waiting details, below.

Game Chat : BR Preview : Game Notes Carlos Zambrano vs. Bronson Arroyo Lineups:
Soriano LF Hopper CF
Kendall C Keppinger SS
Lee 1B Votto 1B
Floyd RF Phillips 2B
Ramirez 3B Encarnacion 3B
DeRosa 2B Valentin C
Jones CF Coats LF
Theriot SS Ellison RF
Zambrano P Arroyo P
The hopes of all Cubdom rest on the broad shoulders of Zambrano, who has pitched well in three of his last four starts. The clinker in that bunch, unfortunately, was a 5-2 loss to the Reds, who have already beaten Carlos four times this season. Zambrano's strikeout numbers are down significantly in '07; he's had particular trouble missing Cincinnati bats (just 11 K in 28 2/3 IP). Importantly, though, Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey, and Josh Hamilton--combined 1.112 OPS against Zambrano this year--are all sitting this one out with injuries.

The day that will forever be branded into our memories like a Rick Sutcliffe fastball blown by a helpless Joe Orsulak - followed by a leaping Jim Frey as he rushed onto the field tucking his cap into those classic 1984 away pullover jerseys. Maybe it'll be like 1989, with the tying run less than 90 feet away, the Wild Thing saves the day yet again in dramatic fashion versus an overmatched Mike Fitzgerald. And while the play-in game in 1998 was tense enough, there stands a good chance that if we do clinch tonight it'll be similar to waiting around for Neifi Perez to beat the Giants in game 162 rather than a glorious Cubs victory being the defining moment. And the last 3 games for the Northsiders were certainly an unfortunate bump in what will hopefully be an ever-growing road to the promised land, but the Cubs played 156 games before the Marlins series that put them in the position to sustain a pothole or two. And the Cubs might just back into a Central crown or they may win the next 3 games by a combined score of 35-3, just as long as they're playing on Wednesday. Random ranting after the jump....

Compare and contrast:
You can just look in their dugout and it's just like panic mode. Guys are pacing up and down the dugout.

--Florida's Cody Ross, speaking of your Chicago Cubs

Randolph, who rarely says anything while walking through the clubhouse with reporters present, saw a cluster of reporters crowded around Wagner and said to no one in particular as he passed by, “We’re still going to win this thing, we’re still going to win it.”

--New York Times

September 27th

Flushed by the Fish

Box Score, Play by Play, Photos

W - Olsen (10-15) L - Trachsel (7-11), ridiculously high left-field scoreboards that convert homers into doubles. My efforts to will the Cubs to victory by wishful thinking. S- Gregg (31) Magic Number - 2 (Brewers have LOST 9-5) Things to Take from This Game 1. Weak Starts Olsen and Trachsel had quite similar performances - they couldn't finish off hitters with two strikes, struggled early, found something resembling "grooves" for a couple of innings before running into trouble again, and getting run from the game early. Trachsel's splitter actually got a lot of swings and misses, but nothing else was working. 2. Attempted Comeback The Cubs got a big lift in the sixth when Cabrera threw away what should have been an inning ending double play. It led to three runs. 3. Great relief work by Wood, Marlins Kerry Wood inherited a bases loaded, no outs jam from Eyre in the sixth. A strikeout and 5-3 double play later, and we were out of it with no runs scored. He hit 97 on the gun, and looked totally locked in. Provided a big lift to the dugout, but we couldn't translate it into any success against the Marlins bullpen. Pinto in particular looked very vulnerable, coming with two outs after Ramirez had doubled high off the left-field wall. He walked the first two batters faced to load the bases, but then struck out Jones. Dempster pitched a shakey eighth, giving up an insurance run. 4. Middling Infielders Derosa and Theriot went 0-9 with a run scored and ten (TEN!) combined left on base. We left a combined 19 on base - the Marlins left 16. No matter what happens tonight, we're going into game 160 in first place. The still-worrisome details, below.

Game Chat : BR Preview : Game Notes Steve Trachsel vs. Scott Olsen Lineups:
Soriano LF Ramirez SS
Theriot SS Uggla 2B
Lee 1B Hermida RF
Ramirez 3B Cabrera 3B
DeRosa 2B Jacobs 1B
Soto C Linden LF
Monroe RF Olivo C
Jones CF De Aza CF
Trachsel P Olsen P
Paul Sullivan reports that following last night's loss, Steve Trachsel was shouting profanities at reporters from across the Cub locker room. It wasn't clear if something precipitated the behavior or if it's just an adorable quirk. Swearin' Steve is 1-2 in his second stint as a Cub, averaging about 4 1/3 IP, 7 hits and 4 runs allowed per outing. With all that's riding on today's result, no way Lou Piniella will let Trachsel anywhere near the fifth inning if he's struggling. Are the Cubs playing "tight"? After last night's game, Lou said he thought they were, and some of what we're seeing on the field--the constant chirping at umpires, the mental mistakes--would indicate the manager is right. Maybe last night's Brewer loss to the Cards will loosen everyone up. Also, I'm thinking that after losing every game they've played against this fifth-place team this year, the Cubs are at some point bound to have a victory land in their laps. Chicago-area native Olsen (3 no-decisions, 3.94 ERA lifetime v. Cubs) gave up eight unearned runs in his last start, against the Mets. That's a new Florida franchise record. I bet his family in Crystal Lake is proud.

Thursday was "Circus Day" on The Mickey Mouse Club, but Thursdays are "Camp Day" for the Cubs Arizona Instructional League team.   While some of you might think "Camp Day" is a day where the coaches take the Cubs players on a trip to the zoo or to the local water park, that's not exactly what it is.

September 26th

...to Tony LaRussa and the team formerly known as the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals, for all the untoward things the writers and readers of this site have ever written, implied, or even thought about you. (All those Red Schoendienst jokes were WAY out of line.) We couldn’t have reduced our magic number to 3 tonight without you. In fact, if we drop a few more turds like this one, we might not be able to reduce it any more without additional third-party help. Anyway, thanks for the helping hand. (And getting Yost tossed? Nice touch.)

Game Chat : BR Preview : Game Notes Jason Marquis vs. Daniel Barone Lineups:
Soriano LF Ramirez SS
Theriot SS Uggla 2B
Lee 1B Hermida RF
Floyd RF Cabrera 3B
Ramirez 3B Jacobs 1B
DeRosa 2B Linden LF
Jones CF Treanor C
Kendall C De Aza CF
Marquis P Barone P
Young Barone makes his first-ever start against the Cubs, hoping to capture his first-ever win as a Major League starting pitcher. Barone has appeared in 15 games this season, five as a starter. In those five, he's pitched to an 8.31 ERA, given up 9 home runs in 21 2/3 IP, and walked more men (11) than he has struck out (10). Sounds like the kind of guy who gives us trouble. The Marlins' Jeremy Hermida, whose second-inning double was a key moment in Tuesday night's Florida win, is hitting .335 since the All-Star break. He went 2-for-3 with a home run against Marquis when the Marlins beat the Cubs on May 29th at Wrigley. This will be Marquis's final regular season start unless the Cubs and Brewers need to meet in that Game 163 playoff, in which case I will be dead from stress and disappointment so I won't see it anyhow, therefore I'm counting tonight as Marquis's final regular season start no matter what. Nasty outing last time for Jason going up against the Pirates and the Wrigley Field jetstream, in which Marquis gave up seven runs in just 2 2/3 innings. Let the magic number reduction begin. Please.

In a possible preview of the World Series (well, maybe the 2015 World Series), the Cubs played the Angels this afternoon in Arizona Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, and even though MLB Commissioner Bud Selig was not at the game (at least I don't think he was there), his presence was felt at the end, as the game was called after nine innings tied 1-1.

September 25th

It Ain't Easy.

Box Score, Play by Play, Photos

W- Willis (10-15), losing quickly, "getting 'em tomorrow." L- Lilly (15-8), wide outside corners, getting ejected for talking to a teammate, the fight against high blood pressure, hypertension, and generalized anxiety disorders. S- Tankersley (1), the last threads of hope for Brewers fans. Cubs Magic Number: 4 
  • Brewers Magic Number: 8
  • Combined Games Left: 10
Things to Take from This Game 1. How did we let this guy beat us? Willis pitched 8 strong innings, and struck Soriano out three times swinging at mid-80s fastballs over the plate. Both pitchers were helped by a generous strike zone, but I still don't quite get how Willis dispatched with us so quickly, inning after inning. Only a long Monroe HR in the 8th kept us from being shutout 2. Some bloops and blasts in the 2nd Lilly didn't look too bad himself, with the big curve seeming to be his best pitch tonight, at sharp-but-not-dominant. He gave up a couple of weak bloopers to Willis and Ramirez, and a couple of shots to Uggla and Hermida, resulting in four runs in the second. Wuertz and Hart both looked quite strong in relief 3. Lack of Right-handed Pop off the Bench With an entirely right-handed lineup in against Willis, our first two hitters off the bench were Cedeno and Kendall. In the 9th, with Murton due to face right-handed Lee Gardner with two outs and representing the tying run, Piniella went to Floyd, which in turn brought in left-handed pitcher Tankersley. Floyd acquitted himself well against the lefty, but his lineout to deep left-center ended the game. 4. Loose Lips In the 9th, Derosa exchanged words with the home plate ump after a strike three call on a pitch that appeared to be well off the outside corner. The same pitch was called a strike on Ramirez, who later in the at bat flew out. On the way back to the dugout, he passed along some thought or another to Murton, within ear-shot of the umpire. Gets ejected. We'll have to hear the full story on this, later... Your not-yet-panicking details, below. (And the moment I type that, Bill Hall hits a three-run HR to make it a 7-1 Brewers lead. Nuts...)

Pages

X
  • Sign in with Twitter