Archive - Jul 2008

I thinks it's important that we come up with the perfect term to describe the annihilation of the Brew Bitches from the North. So please fill-in with the most appropriate verb. All submissions are welcome.

The Cubs (blanked) the Brewers.

a few to start you off: dominated, beat-up, skull-fucked, etc... 

If you need to add a metaphor or point of reference to the end of the sentence, that is acceptable as well.

I'll try and post anything I come across with the most recent news on the top. Feel free to add anything in the comments. The deadline is 3 PM CST, although finalized deals often come in as much as hour or two later.

3:15 PM CST: Sullivan says it doesn't look like the Cubs made a move at the deadline, although he's not 100% certain yet.

3:07 PM CST: The deadline has passed and not much out there. But, a lot of last minute deals take a good hour or two to get reported. 

2:18 PM CST: ESPN reporting that Cubs are out of the Ibanez derby.  

1:50 PM CST: Filed under WTF? - Jonah Keri hearing whispers that the Cubs may be in on Will Ohman. 

1:23 PM CST: Bruce Levine supposedly reported that the Cubs turned down an offer from the Padres for Brian Giles. No idea what the offer was though. 

1:09 PM CST: Our token Mexican reader Carlos tells me that ESPN Latin America reported that the Royals want a starter for David Dejesus, preferably an MLB-ready one like Sean Marshall.

12:47 PM CST: ESPN.com reporting that Yanks and Red Sox are interested in Steve Eyre.

12:45 PM CST: Someone watching the ESPN special has Gammons reporting that the Cubs still think a deal for Ibanez can get done even if the original asking price was too high.

12:30 PM CST:  Cubs asking about David Dejesus, Brian Giles and Raul Ibanez.

12:30 PM CST: Hendry asking about Milton Bradley. 

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP Rich Harden SP Dave Bush
(NL) 0-1, 1.04, 30 K, 8 BB, 17.1 IP
5-8, 4.51, 71 K, 26 BB, 111.2 IP
       
LF Alfonso Soriano 2B Rickie Weeks
SS Ryan Theriot 3B *Craig Counsell
1B Derrek Lee LF J.J. Hardy
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Prince Fielder
RF *Kosuke Fukudome LF Ryan Braun
RF Mark DeRosa RF Gabe Kapler
CF *Jim Edmonds CF Mike Cameron
C Geovany Soto C Jason Kendall
P Rich Harden P Dave Bush

Two Cubs trade rumors from this morning - the first comes from CBS Sportsline:

  The Chicago Cubs, who already made a big splash with pitcher Rich Harden, are exploring deals to add a lefty-hitting right fielder. The Cubs have inquired about Seattle's Raul Ibanez, San Diego's Brian Giles and Kansas City's David DeJesus, according to sources.

 

I think pretty much any left-handed hitting outfielder is going to be associated with the Cubs over the next few hours. Lo and behold, we have some rumblings from the cubs.com board that Jim has asked the Rangers about Milton Bradley. 

As Robert Ripley would say - Believe it or Not! 

July 30th

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP Ryan Dempster SP *Manny Parra
11-4, 2.99, 117 K, 57 BB, 138.2 IP
9-3, 3.72, 92 K, 54 BB, 113.2 IP
LF Alfonso Soriano 2B #Ray Durham
SS Ryan Theriot SS J.J. Hardy
1B Derrek Lee LF Ryan Braun
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Prince Fielder
CF Reed Johnson RF Corey Hart
2B Mark DeRosa 3B Bill Hall
RF *Kosuke Fukudome CF Mike Cameron
C Henry Blanco C Jason Kendall
P Ryan Dempster P *Manny Parra

The Cubs were able to secure wins over the Brewers big two, and now the Brewers will try and retaliate amidst our big three. Dempster goes for back-to-back road wins for the first time in seven years and looks to draw even with Zambrano for the team lead with twelve wins. A win for the Cubs tonight would also put them back up to twenty games over .500, which is a neat little number. Dempster will have to watch out for Ray Durham and Jason Kendall, both of whom are sporting OPS's over 1.000 against him over their careers.

It'll be Manny Parra for the Brewers, who I suppose makes the third leg of the Brewers troika (TCR word of the week sponsored by Motorola) of starting pitchers. He survived a brutal April and is 8-2 with a 3.40 ERA since the beginning of May. He has one career start versus the Cubs last August and lasted only three innings after giving up three runs in the second.

TRADE RUMOR UPDATE (4:23 PM CST): Jayson Stark reports that the Mariners are asking a steep price for Ibanez:

The Cubs, meanwhile, are resisting attempts by Seattle to get Felix Pie and a second prospect for Ibanez. The Cubs almost certainly would be willing to offer a couple of prospects in the Sam Fuld stratum. But teams that have spoken with the Cubs say they've shown little sense of urgency to overpay to add a final piece or two of late. 


A few notes about the Cubs/Brewers series first...

- So the Cubs win the battle of the aces last night, with Carlos Zambrano putting together the type of heroic effort that should be remembered for years. 118 laser precision-like pitches over eight innings with nine strikeouts and only five hits and the Cubs are guaranteed to be still in first place after the series ends. They're also set-up nicely for a series win or dare I say series sweep with Ryan Dempster and Rich Harden going the next two games. (Doing my best Mel Allen) How about that?

- The "struggling" Cubs offense has pounded out 26 hits over the last two games. Apparently you can just turn it on when it's needed most. 

- Entering the series, Jason Kendall had morphed himself into a late-90's Ivan Rodriguez, throwing out 27 of 57 baserunners for a league-leading .474 caught stealing percentage. Lou and the Cubs baserunners didn't seem impressed. They're now a perfect five for five in the first two games. Kendall needs to take another dip into whatever fountain of youth he found.

Some trade rumors after the jump...

July 29th

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP Carlos Zambrano SP Ben Sheets
  11-4, 2.96, 87 K, 44 BB, 133.2 IP
10-3, 2.87, 115 K, 31 BB, 135 IP
       
LF Alfonso Soriano 2B #Ray Durham
SS Ryan Theriot SS J.J. Hardy
1B Derrek Lee LF Ryan Braun
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Prince Fielder
CF *Kosuke Fukudome RF Corey Hart
RF Mark DeRosa 3B *Russ Branyan
2B *Mike Fontenot CF Mike Cameron
C Geovany Soto C Jason Kendall
P #Carlos Zambrano P Ben Sheets

My apologies for lack of a game thread last night, I was out on a 3-day weekend celebrating seven years of marriage with the Angelfan wife. Many ask what our secret is (okay, no one does), and the answer? Marry a girl who likes baseball and doesn't mind if you check the scores on your cellphone during a sunset dinner at the beach. Lucky in love I am...

July 28th

Game 106 Thread / Cubs @ Brewers (1 of 4)...how's that for a good bluff, Rob?

From Stripes:

John Winger (Bill Murray): C'mon, it's Czechoslovakia. We zip in, we pick 'em up, we zip right out again. We're not going to Moscow. It's Czechoslovakia. It's like going into Wisconsin.

Russell Ziskey (Harold Ramis): Well I got the shit kicked out of me in Wisconsin once.

=================

After a glorious 6-4 win in the opening game of this key Milwaukee series, I wanted to take a minor detour and reflect on my recent travails, aka, life following the Cubs in central Europe including the Czech Republic.

July 27th

Game Chat | BR Preview

SP Rick VandenHurk SP Jason Marquis
  1-1, 6.10, 14 K, 8 BB, 10.1 IP
6-6, 4.44, 56 K, 41 BB, 105.1 IP
       
SS Hanley Ramirez LF Alfonso Soriano
RF *Jeremy Hermida SS Ryan Theriot
3B Jorge Cantu 1B Derrek Lee
LF Josh Willingham 3B Aramis Ramirez
2B Dan Uggla CF *Jim Edmonds
1B *Mike Jacobs 2B Mark DeRosa
CF Cody Ross RF *Kosuke Fukudome
C * John Baker C Henry Blanco
P Rick VandenHurk P *Jason Marquis

 

The Cubs need this game to preserve at least a tie for first place and to halve the four-game series. Marquis hasn't faced the Marlins this year, but was hit hard in each of his two starts against them last year. VandenHurk has never faced the Cubs, hasn't shown the ability to put up an ERA below six, and has as many major league innings pitched this year as Marquis has in his last one and a half starts. Fukudome bounces from eighth up to seventh.

 

In 9 PA Jeremy Hermida has a 1.083 OPS against Marquis. In as many PA, Ramirez has a 1.111 OPS against Marquis. Edmonds is the only Cub to have faced VandenHurk.

 

VandenHurk was born in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Its history dates back to its founding in 1232, is home of Philips light bulbs and Rik Smits.

Cubs 2008 20th round draft pick and current AZL batting leader LF Jericho Jones (who is now hitting .437) rapped out four hits (three singles and a double), 1B Bryan Jost reached base five times (two singles, a triple, and two walks), and RHP Ryan Searle returned from Australia to throw three innings of no run/no hit relief (0/5 BB/K), as the AZL Cubs rallied from an early 8-0 deficit to edge the AZL Brewers 9-8 at Fitch Park Field #3 Saturday morning. 

box score

July 26th

Game Chat | BR Preview

SP Chris Volstad SP Rich Harden
  2-1, 2.16, 9 K, 6 BB, 16.2 IP
5-2, 2.12, 112 K, 36 BB, 89.1 IP
       
SS Hanley Ramirez LF Alfonso Soriano
RF *Jeremy Hermida SS Ryan Theriot
3B Jorge Cantu 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Mike Jacobs 3B Aramis Ramirez
2B Dan Uggla 2B *Mike Fontenot
LF Josh Willingham RF Mark DeRosa
C *John Baker C Geovany Soto
CF #Alfredo Amezaga CF *Kosuke Fukudome
P Chris Volstad P *Rich Harden

 

Rise and shine, Cubbies. A 12:05 day game in Chicago sees Rich Harden looking for his first win as a Cub, the Cubs looking for reliable offense, and fans looking to maintain bragging rights over the charging Brewers. That's three more uses of the verb "looking" than I'd make if I wasn't rusty from yet another long hiatus.

Who is John Baker?

The biggest pregame news has to be Fontenot's promotion and Fukudome's demotion. This is by my quick count the second time this season Fukudome started a game in center, the first time Fontenot has started the game hitting fifth, likewise for Fukudome hitting eighth.

July 25th

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP Josh Johnson SP Ryan Dempster
  0-0, 3.86, 10 K, 3 BB, 11.2 IP
11-4, 3.05, 111 K, 51 BB, 132.2 IP
       
SS Hanley Ramirez LF Alfonso Soriano
RF *Luis Gonzalez SS Ryan Theriot
3B Jorge Cantu 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Mike Jacobs 3B Aramis Ramirez
2B Dan Uggla RF *Kosuke Fukudome
LF Josh Willingham C Geovany Soto
CF Cody Ross 2B *Mike Fontenot
C Paul Hoover CF Reed Johnson
P *Josh Johnson P Ryan Dempster

 

With Jeff Samardzija (last name = 29 Scrabble points) in a Major League uniform for the first time and the Brewers so close you can smell the Miller High Life and cannibal sandwiches on their breaths, the Cubs go for a second win in a row against the Fightin' Fish.

Kosuke Fukudome returns to the starting lineup, as does Mike Fontenot, who has gone 14-for-41 (.341) with four homers and a 1260 OPS since the first of July.

July 24th

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP *Scott Olsen SP Carlos Zambrano
  6-4, 3.84, 64 K, 45 BB, 124.1 IP
10-4, 2.98, 81 K, 44 BB, 126.2 IP
       
SS Hanley Ramirez LF Alfonso Soriano
2B #Alfredo Amezega SS Ryan Theriot
3B Jorge Cantu 1B Derrek Lee
LF *Mike Jacobs 3B Aramis Ramirez
CF Cody Ross CF Reed Johnson
RF Josh Willingham RF Mark DeRosa
LF *Luis Gonzalez C Henry Blanco
C *John Baker 2B Ronny Cedeno
P *Scott Olsen P #Carlos Zambrano

Word is that Kerry Wood will head to the disabled list afterall, although Gordon Wittenmeyer says a corresponding roster move may not come until tomorrow. That roster move may be bringing up Jeff Samardzija from Iowa, where's he 4-1 with a 3.13 ERA in six starts with 40 K's and 16 BB's in 37.1 IP. I look forward to it if it happens.

Otherwise, another lefty on the mound which gives another day to rest Fukudome and Edmonds, plus Soto gets a break. Hopefully the Friendly Confines live up to their billing as the Cubs try to hang on to sole possession of first place for another day. 

Cubs 2008 #1 draft pick RHP Andrew Cashner (TCU) made his professional debut today, as the AZL Cubs edged the AZL A's 6-5 this morning at Fitch Park Field #3.

Michael TokarzCrain's Chicago Business reports Thursday that Tribune Company has asked two of the bidders for the team and Wrigley Field to pool their resources and make a combined bid. According to the Crain's source, the two bidders are 58-year-old Chicago native Michael Tokarz (pictured) of MVC Capital Inc., and Sports Properties Acquisitions Corporation, a New York company formed for the purpose of acquiring a professional sports franchise. Sports Properties is headed by Tony Tavares, former president of the Washington Nationals, and Hank Aaron—yeah, that Hank Aaron—sits on its board.

Tribune Company is said to feel that the two bidders' strengths are complementary: Sports Properties' team includes people with baseball experience, and Tokarz, formerly of the legendary New York equity firm, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, is stinkin' filthy rich.

Also this afternoon, the Tribune reports that the family of Joe Ricketts, founder of Ameritrade, is one of the groups that has advanced to the second round of the sale process.  

Tags: 

Good signs from Wednesday night's 10-6 Cub victory at Arizona:

  • Alfonso Soriano returning to the lineup with an RBI and a double; Alfonso Soriano returning to the lineup, period
  • Mark DeRosa being able to leave his outfielder's glove in the locker room
  • Derrek Lee hitting his first home run in more than a month
  • Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto breaking their respective 0-for-forever hitless streaks
  • Kosuke Fukudome walking three times
  • Ted Lilly sliding into third base without breaking his leg or his neck
  • Carlos Marmol snapping off some nasty sliders and working a scoreless ninth inning (I choose to overlook the double, the base on balls, and the fact that on Thursday, Kerry Wood will be off to meet another hand specialist and probably get a new ointment prescription)
  • Ronny Cedeno striking out as a pinch hitter on a head-high pitch—the familiarity of it is comforting

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