Archive - 2007

September 16th

3 of 4 in St. Louis

Box Score, Play by Play, Photos

W- Jason Marquis (12-8), Foul home-runs, the B-Team L- Mark Mulder (0-3), Blowing teams out when given the chance S - Ryan Dempster (28) Magic Number - 13 Things to Take from This Game 1. Winning with the Reserves Soto, Monroe, Cedeno and Murton all started, and contributed with 9 hits, all 4 RBI and 2 runs scored. The big hit being Murton's 3-run home run. Soto looked just terrific at the plate, going 4 for 5 with a couple of doubles. Jones, Floyd, Theriot and Kendall all rest, and we still win. Good news. 2. Left on Base We had a chance to blow the Cards out of the game early, but left an enormous number of men on base. The Cards returned the favor later in the game, unable to convert on several good scoring opportunities, most notably in the seventh. 3. Marquis over Mulder Mulder looked like he didn't have anything at all on his pitches, and is lucky to only have given up 4 runs in 3 IP. Marquis looked really sharp, wtih lots of movement on the sinker, especially through the first 5 IP, before running into some trouble in the 6th and 7th. Marmol was wild, Howry gave up a few hits, but Dempster had a very easy 6-pitch ninth for the save. The Brewers won, keeping pace in the loss column. Your first-place details, below.

Game Chat : BR Preview : Game Notes Jason Marquis vs. Mark Mulder Lineups:
A. Soriano LF A. Miles 2B
M. DeRosa 2B R. Ankiel RF
D. Lee 1B A. Pujols 1B
A. Ramirez 3B J. Edmonds CF
M. Murton RF R. Ludwick LF
C. Monroe CF S. Spiezo 3B
G. Soto C Y. Molina C
R. Cedeno SS M. Mulder P
J. Marquis P B. Ryan 2B
Mulder is coming off two brutal starts following his return from the Disabled List. This past Tuesday, the Reds tagged him for seven hits and seven runs (two unearned) in just four innings...which was arguably better than his earlier start against the Pirates--eight hits and six runs allowed, also in four innings. Lifetime, the lefty is 2-3 against the Cubs, but has given up 54 hits in just 42 2/3 IP. Derrek Lee hasn't just hit Mulder hard, he has savaged him: 11-for-15 with a homer, five RBI and a 1.698 OPS. Cub starter Marquis, who has been better this year at Wrigley than on the road, is following a not-so-good no-decision against the Astros. Right before that, however, he had consecutive strong outings against Houston and the Dodgers. Marquis is 2-1 against his former teammates this season, including a sterling 7-inning, no-walk, no-runs-allowed start back in April. Jason, I think we'll take one of those, if you don't mind.

September 15th

Game Chat : BR Preview : Game Notes Sean Marshall vs. Joel Pineiro Lineups:
Soriano LF Taguchi LF
Jones CF Ryan SS
Lee 1B Pujols 1B
Ramirez 3B Ludwick RF
Floyd RF Edmonds CF
DeRosa 3B Molina C
Kendall C Spiezio 3B
Theriot SS Pineiro P
Marshall P Cairo 2B

In beating the Cardinals 3-2 in the sunshine half of Saturday’s day-night doubleheader, the Cubs:
  • Overcame a rocky first inning that put them in an early hole
  • Won despite a dominant starting pitching performance by the opposition
  • Got the game-winning hit and a nice ninth-inning catch from the same, very important leftfielder
  • Saw their closer pitch like Friday night never happened
And we did it all in the blistering heat of a pennant race and at the expense of the Saint...Louis...Cardinals. Game two can’t begin soon enough.

Game Chat : BR Preview : Game Notes Ted Lilly vs. Braden Looper Lineups:
Soriano LF Miles 2B
Theriot SS Taguchi LF
Lee 1B Pujols 1B
Ward RF Ludwick RF
Jones CF Edmonds CF
DeRosa 3B Molina C
Soto C Cairo 3B
Fontenot 2B Looper P
Lilly P Ryan SS

September 14th

Nail, Meet Coffin.

GameCenter, Box Score, Play by Play, Photos

W- Zambrano(16-12), Industrial-size antacid bottles, sparing the life of a perfectly good wooden bat, quick games, clutch pinch-hits.

L- Wainwright (13-11), closers in non-save situations, defending your World Series title. S - Howry (8), Ward, Zambrano's "ace" reputation, the season? Things to Take from the Game 1. A quickie. Before Isringhausen and Dempster stumbled through the ninth, this game was on pace to finish in just over two hours. Zambrano and Wainwright just mowed 'em down, each walking just two and striking out just three. A very, very effective game by Z. 2. The biggest pinch-hit of the year? With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the ninth in a 2-1 game, the Cubs took down Zambrano for pinch-hitter Daryle Ward. Ward cleared the bases with a double, and some insurance runs that we wound up needing, because.... 3. A Very Scary Finish Dempster gave up solo HRs to Edmonds and Ludwick, bringing the game to 5-3, then a single to Molina, and exited the game for Howry, who then loaded the bases with two more singles. Miles grounded out on a very softly hit, slow roller towards the second base bag, which Theriot fielded for the out at first. The Reds have just beaten the Brewers, putting the Cubs 1.5 up on Milwaukee, and 6 up on the cards, with just over two weeks left in the season. Your first-place details, below.

Game Chat : BR Preview : Game Notes Carlos Zambrano vs. Adam Wainwright Lineups:
Soriano LF Miles 2B
Theriot SS HGH RF
Lee 1B Pujols 1B
Ramirez 3B Edmonds CF
Floyd RF Shumaker LF
DeRosa 2B Spiezo 3B
Jones CF Molina C
Kendall C Wainwright P
Zambrano P Ryan SS

September 13th

The Cubs once again find themselves the sole proprietors of the NL Central's top spot with tonight's series win over the Houston Astros. Lou won the first leg of the 4-start parlay he laid down earlier this week as Tricky Trachsel hemmed and hawed his way to a laborious 5-inning win, most of it thanks to a 4-spot the Cubs hung on Woody Williams before he could remember where he stashed any foreign substances on his uniform. The power show the Cubs put on tonight was certainly an encouraging sign but the key item to take away from the game was that we stole a win with one of Hendry's worst ideas ever on the mound. The first three innings were a chore enough to watch as Trachsel continuously balanced a tightrope, an act which he made all the more difficult by adding a degree of difficulty each inning. One inning on a bike, the next balancing some bowling pins and finally riding a bike and balancing some bowling pins. By the time the fourth showed up, he was lucky there was that 4-run safety net ready to catch him. Let's take a quick peek at what was going on in Trachsel's head during the 4th. (81 mph junk to Cub-killer Carlos Lee hammered to left) Trachsel: Man, he hit that hard, lucky this park is huge, Soriano should have that one. (Lee rounding the bases, the crowd in a frenzy) Trachsel: WTF? How did that get out? When the hell did they put those ridiculous seats in left field and what happened to the Astroturf? Eight wonder of the world, my ass. And why the f*** is there a train whistle going off? (Lamb steps up to the plate) Trachsel: Lamb huh? Lamb chops don't sound bad for dinner. Man there's a real good place downtown I recall. I wonder if Archie still works the bar there. That guy made the best hi-balls. (The entire stadium patiently awaits for the first pitch) Trachsel: Aw crap, I guess I better throw something. Will it be the 75 mph junk that goes to the left or the 80 mph junk that goes down? (Lamb grounds out to second, Luke Scott to the plate) Trachsel: Luke Scott huh? I hate it when people have two first names. It's really weird. You know what else was weird? That man-hug McGwire gave his first base coach when he hit #62 off me. That was really uncomfortable. (Trachsel finally gets around to throwing a pitch to Scott) Trachsel: Almost as uncomfortable as watching Mark Grace trying to pick up chicks when he was in a slump. When he meant fat, he meant fat. My arm's starting to hurt. (At some point he retires Scott and then Loretta hits a liner that ends up falling in the first few rows) Trachsel: Damn, that might be a double....WTF? When did we start playing at Thillens? And seriously why the f*** is there a train whistle? (The #8 hitter Eric Munson walks on 6 pitches) Trachsel: Did I really just walk the #8 hitter with no one on? I even put myself to sleep when I pitch. (About 26 pitches into the inning and pitcher Woody Williams fouls off a ball) Trachsel: Damn this is taking forever and damn my shoulder hurts. God, I always said I would never bother you about baseball, lord knows you have bigger things to worry about. But if you could make this pain in my shoulder stop for ten minutes, I would really appreciate it. Well you know the rest, a nice series win; would have been nicer if it was a sweep, but first place for a day either way. Time to put an end to the Cards season....

Game Chat : BR Preview : Game Notes Ted Lilly vs. Braden Looper Lineups:
Soriano LF Miles 2B
Theriot SS Taguchi LF
Lee 1B Pujols 1B
Ward RF Ludwick RF
Jones CF Edmonds CF
DeRosa 3B Molina C
Soto C Cairo 3B
Fontenot 2B Looper P
Lilly P Ryan SS

September 12th

How's that for September baseball? The Cubs a mere three outs from being once again tied for the NL Central lead, handed the closer duties to the always entertaining if not frightening Ryan Dempster, the night after he went one+ innings and took the loss. The potential for catastrophe loomed large. I was well on my drive home at this point and got the Astros-filtered version through known Cub-hater Milo Hamilton. Here's the 9th inning paraphrased recap of Milo Hamilton and my brain: Milo: Mark Loretta with a chopper down the right field....OHHH!! it hit the bag (blah blah blah I hate Harry Caray). The Astros FINALLY catch a break, it seems like that's a play that would happen to us. My Brain: F***; 30 comments waiting at TCR about Dempster blowing this now. And the Astros suck this year that's why your team can't catch a break, Milo. Milo: (Still droning on about the Astros finally catching a break). LAMB WITH A LINE DRIVE TO RIGHT CENTER AND PIE OVERRUNS THE BALL (bunch of old man jibberish). Lamb with a triple. My Brain: F***, F***, F***. Somehow folks at TCR are going to still blame Dempster for letting the ball hit the bag and Pie misplaying one. Milo: Scott with a little dribbler down to third annnnddd...he just gets him. Lamb would have been a dead duck if he tried to score. My Brain: This would be a helluva Houdini act if Dempster could get out of this. Maybe we should bring Blanco in here to save the eventual wild pitch that Dempster's about to throw though. Milo: BALL FOUR IN THE DIRT! My Brain: I wonder what we're having for dinner. Milo: The team has to get that runner home from third, Pence waiting on deck. My Brain: We're doomed. Chinese food sounds good. Milo: Munson with a shot to first, Lee throws to second (long, long pause....voice trailing off) and the game is over. My Brain: (Multiple fist pumps) YEAH!!!! Someone will still be calling for a new closer in the comments. Quite the ballgame to say the least, huge effort from Rich Hill tonight after two straight sub-par starts. The Big Red Dog had a nice night too with a booming homer and a triple and another flyout that he seemed to just miss. A chance to win the series tomorrow with Steve Trachsel on the mound (insert throwing up in mouth cliché).

Game Chat : BR Preview : Game Notes Rich Hill vs. Matt Albers Lineups:
Soriano LF Pence CF
Jones CF Biggio 2B
Lee 1B Berkman 1B
Floyd RF Lee LF
Ramirez 3B Loretta SS
DeRosa 2B Wigginton 3B
Kendall C Scott RF
Theriot SS Quintero C
Hill P Albers P
I guess Lou couldn't stomach letting Cedeno get a start.

September 11th

There's a term they use out here in Hollywood-land - recycling scripts - that could pretty much sum up tonight's game. The same plot just dressed up with different characters and a few minor plot point changes. Tonight's game seemed like a rehash of those heartbreaking one-run losses in April and May. Cubs score some runs early, give the lead back up, the offense takes a snooze and the bullpen pitches well, just not quite well enough. Rinse. Repeat. The Cubs had nothing but chances, walking ten times and leaving fifteen men on-base as a team. I can't find the article at this moment, but I believe Baseball Prospectus last year did a rundown of team walks per game and if I recall this correctly, no team lost last year who walked 10 or more times in a game. And in a pure moment of Cubbery, the Cubs only walk allowed turned into the winning run. Eighteen more games of fun...or misery left. Hopefully the Cubs dust off that 2003 regular season script and leave the 2004 one in the trash.

Game Chat : BR Preview : Game Notes Jason Marquis vs. Brandon Backe Lineups:
Soriano LF Pence CF
Theriot SS Biggio 2B
Lee 1B Berkman 1B
Floyd RF Lee LF
Ramirez 3B Loretta SS
DeRosa 2B Scott RF
Jones CF Wigginton 3B
Kendall C Quintero C
Marquis P Backe P

• About the business of our pitchers starting on three days rest: Z was right--except for taking the mound August 23rd against the Giants right after the 8/19 rainout against the Cardinals, he has never done it. Lilly has done it once in his career (4 1/3 IP, 7H, 2 ER). And Trachsel has done it five times (1-3, 6.04, 6 HR allowed in 28 1/3 innings), but not since 2000, when he was 29-year-old Steve Trachsel. • In his MLB Power Rankings published Monday, the Tribune’s Phil Rogers had the Cubs 9th among all MLB teams—six spots in front of the Brewers and seven spots ahead of the Dodgers—though heading into Monday’s game, the Cubs had the 9th best record in the National League. • Though the Cub defense has been a bit wobbly lately, for the season the Cubs and Mets are solidly atop the rest of the National League in Defensive Efficiency (turning batted balls into outs). I know there are more relevant things to be talking about just now, but in case things don't go well over the next 19 games, I'm going to need something to cling to. • Your wife may be mad at you, your kids may not respect you, and your boss may wonder why you're still on the payroll, but take heart. John McDonough is very proud of you.

September 10th

Game Chat : BR Preview : Game Notes Joel Pineiro vs. Ted Lilly Lineups:
Ryan 3B Soriano LF
Taguchi LF Theriot SS
Pujols 1B Lee 1B
Ankiel RF Floyd RF
Molina C Ramirez 3B
Edmonds CF DeRosa 2B
Miles 2B Jones CF
Pineiro P Kendall C
Eckstein SS Lilly P
Notes: This game is the make-up for the 8/19 rainout that spoiled Carlos Zambrano’s near no-hitter vs. the Cardinals (“near” as in, just six innings short). When the rain fell, the Cubs were 63-59, one-half-game ahead of the Brewers and four up on St. Louis. Since then, the Cubs have gone 9-11, the Brewers are 10-9, and the Cards, 11-9. In other words, things haven’t changed much in three weeks and a day, except that the Cubs now have 20 fewer games to discover that one remaining hot streak they supposedly have left in them. Today’s pitching matchup is a repeat of the Pineiro-Lilly duel when the teams last met on 8/20, the day after the rainout. The Cards won that day, 6-4, and Lilly was hit hard, particularly by Scott Rolen, who smacked two doubles and drove in three runs. The Cub lefty is fresh off a victory at Wrigley against the Dodgers, and he will tie a career high if he can notch his 15th win of the season this afternoon. The Brewers play at Pittsburgh tonight. In fact, this is the only day game in the majors, which means all eyes, especially those that seek out games between profoundly mediocre baseball teams, will be trained on Clark & Addison.

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