Author Archives

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP Carlos Zambrano SP *Oliver Perez
14-6, 3.77, 128 K, 68 BB, 184 IP
10-7, 4.10, 168 K, 97 BB, 184.1 IP
       
LF Alfonso Soriano SS #Jose Reyes
SS Ryan Theriot LF *Daniel Murphy
1B Derrek Lee 3B David Wright
3B Aramis Ramirez CF #Carlos Beltran
RF Mark DeRosa 1B *Carlos Delgado
CF Reed Johnson RF *Ryan Church
2B Ronny Cedeno C *Brian Schneider
C Henry Blanco 2B #Argenis Reyes
P #Carlos Zambrano P *Oliver Perez

 

After a lifetime spent listening to ballgames on the radio, I have come to associate certain parks with a certain tone, a certain pitch in the crowd sound. Obviously, my ear is well attuned to the way that Wrigley Field crowds come across on-air. Same with Dodger Stadium, Fenway Park, and the Metrodome. (Loved hearing all those Twins fans Tuesday night!)

Shea Stadium is another one of those parks. Unlike what you hear over the radio from those other parks, however, the crowd sound that goes out over the airwaves from a raucous Shea isn't one of collective joy. It's much more coarse, much more dangerous, a wild, unruly roar—like the sound of inmates rooting on two guys aiming to shank each other in the middle of the yard.

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP Adam Wainwright SP Carlos Zambrano
9-3, 3.20, 84 K, 26 BB, 121 IP
14-5, 3.41, 127 K, 65 BB, 182.1 IP
       
CF *Skip Schumaker LF Alfonso Soriano
LF Ryan Ludwick SS Ryan Theriot
1B Albert Pujols 1B Derrek Lee
2B Felipe Lopez 3B Aramis Ramirez
3B Troy Glaus CF *Jim Edmonds
RF *Adam Kennedy RF Mark DeRosa
SS *Aaron Miles 2B *Mike Fontenot
P Adam Wainwright C Henry Blanco
C Jason Larue P #Carlos Zambrano

 

In his post-game press conference Thursday, a giggly Lou Piniella implied he was planning to go out last night to tie one on in celebration of the spectacular comeback victory. (I believe the exact quote was, "This is going to be a bad night for me.") It's a relief then, looking at today's lineup, to see Lou didn't stumble into the lockerroom still drunk and blindly pencil Koyie Hill into the leadoff spot as his second baseman or give a spot start to Michael Wuertz.

Geovany Soto gets the day off owing to irritation of a joint in his left hand. He is listed as day-to-day.

Our man Zambrano makes his first start since last Sunday's no-no at Milwaukee. I took a look at the last ten National Leaguers to throw complete game no-hitters before Zambrano to see how they fared in their very next outing.

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP David Bush SP Rich Harden
9-10, 4.24, 103 K, 42 BB, 172 IP (NL)
5-1, 1.65, 78 K, 19 BB, 60 IP
       
CF Mike Cameron LF Alfonso Soriano
2B #Ray Durham SS Ryan Theriot
3B Ryan Braun 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Prince Fielder 3B Aramis Ramirez
SS J.J Hardy CF *Jim Edmonds
RF Corey Hart 2B Mark DeRosa
3B *Craig Counsell C Geovany Soto
C Jason Kendall RF *Kosuke Fukudome
P David Bush P *Rich Harden

 

I sat through last night's loss at Wrigley, which I could have done without. On the other hand, I may have the distinction of having seen Ben Sheets's last-ever appearance for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Today's starters, Bush and Harden, matched up during that fateful series in Milwaukee at the end of July. The Cubs won that game, 11-4, and Bush (1-7, 5.16 lifetime against the Cubs) allowed seven runs in 6 1/3 innings. Harden fanned nine and allowed just one run in his only career appearance against the Brewers. Overall, the Cubs have won 8 of the 10 games he has started since coming over from Oakland.

On the subject of magic numbers and division-clinching, Barry Rozner of the Daily Herald points out that if the Cubs clinch the NL Central on Friday, the clinching wouldn''t be official until the Brewers play at night in Cincinnati, long after the Cubs/Cardinals matinee is over. Same thing could happen on Saturday. In other words, there might be no in-Wrigley celebration for the players or the Cub faithful this weekend.

A few players we talked to Wednesday came up with some other ideas.

First of all, they're certain the team leaders, Ryan
Dempster and Kerry Wood, will organize a group outing to a restaurant
or bar where the club can watch in private, and, if necessary, douse
each other with cheap, sticky, smelly beverages that never fully leave
your clothes.

I wish Rozner's sources had been a little more specific about the possible site of this player party. I'm thinking I'll just camp out at the TGI Friday's I know of in Oak Brook and cross my fingers.

Out of the corner of my eye last night, the one corner that wasn't marveling at how grotesquely obese Prince Fielder has become, I noticed what was happening to a couple of our National League Central friends:

The Cardinals, who were officially eliminated from the division race last night, were continuing to get their brains beaten in (six straight losses, five straight road losses, and 10 road losses in their last 11 tries), and the Astros were continuing to not hit (a 5-1 loss at Florida, which means Houston has scored two runs in three games).

Most everyone agrees that the Cards overachieved all season long and that they haven't been viable contenders for quite a while. However, if LaRussa & Co. had any flickering hopes, the Cubs went a very long way toward snuffing them out with their series win in St. Louis last week.

As for the Astros...

Tags: 

Dan Fox offers a historical perspective on the Brewers' firing of Ned Yost while in the thick of the race for the post-season.

Turns out the 1932 Cubs were the first team to change managers mid-season (Rogers Hornsby out; Charlie Grimm in) and then go on to win the pennant. The 1938 Cubs repeated the maneuver (Grimm out; Gabby Hartnett in) and again, the result was a National League championship.

Cub-related names are all over this phenomenon:

[Updated 10:40 by ruz]: Whoooooooo!!!!!!! 

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP Carlos Zambrano SP *Randy Wolf
13-5, 3.58, 117 K, 64 BB, 173.1 IP
10-11, 4.45, 146 K, 67 BB, 174 IP
       
LF Alfonso Soriano LF *Darin Erstad
SS Ryan Theriot CF *Michael Bourn
1B Derrek Lee SS Miguel Tejada
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B #Lance Berkman
C Geovany Soto 3B #Geoff Blum
RF Mark DeRosa RF Hunter Pence
CF Reed Johnson 2B *David Newhan
2B Ronny Cedeno C Humberto Quintero
P #Carlos Zambrano P *Randy Wolf

 

About 72 hours and one hurricane ago, the Cubs held on to beat the Cardinals, 3-2, and extend their NL Central lead over the Brewers to 5 1/2 games. As the Cubs and Astros take the field tonight at Miller Park, where they have been driven by Hurricane Ike, the Cubs' lead is 6 1/2, and the Brewers are desperately trying to hold off the Phillies and Astros for the Wild Card lead.

The Astros, who must surely have many other things on their minds right now besides baseball, have won six in a row and 14 of their last 15 to claw back into post-season contention. (They were 11 games behind the Brewers as recently as 8/27.) One of the highlights of the hot streak, and one of the lowlights of the Cubs season, was the three-game sweep the Astros pulled off at Wrigley, beginning on Labor Day. Randy Wolf, tonight's Houston starter, was the winning pitcher in the series finale, throwing a complete game shutout in one of the better efforts of his career.

Carlos Zambrano returns to action tonight, having been sent to the sidelines 12 days ago with shoulder tendinitis. Z's last start, against this same Houston club in that same nasty series at Wrigley Field, only lasted five innings before he asked to come out.

Funny pre-game note via Gordon Wittenmyer's Twitter feed:

Astros sticking it to Cubs by every means possible -- including forcing the less familiar, bigger, nicer home clubhouse on them. 

Rob G. Update: Apologies for the server crash or whatever it was this afternoon...should be fixed now.

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP *Ted Lilly SP Braden Looper

13-9, 4.43, 161 K, 60 BB, 176.2 IP
12-11, 4.09, 87 K, 41 BB, 174 IP
       
LF Alfonso Soriano SS Cesar Izturis
SS Ryan Theriot 3B #Felipe Lopez
1B Derrek Lee 1B Albert Pujols
3B Aramis Ramirez RF Ryan Ludwick
C Geovany Soto C Yadier Molina
RF *Kosuke Fukudome LF Josh Phelps
2B Mark DeRosa 2B *Adam Kennedy
CF *Felix Pie P Braden Looper
P *Ted Lilly CF *Skip Schumaker

 

With the NL Central race now firmly under his team's control, Cubs manager Lou Piniella sounds like a guy who is prepared to enjoy a low-stress wind-down to his team's regular season before he has to deal with the high drama of the National League playoffs.

"After that little rough patch on the last homestand, it's good to see us clicking again," Piniella said following Tuesday night's one-sided win against the Cardinals. "We're playing like we expect to win and doing the things that got us here. It's fun to watch this club play right now."

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP Ryan Dempster SP Kyle Lohse

15-6, 2.99, 167 K, 72 BB, 183.2 IP
13-6, 3.76, 106 K, 44 BB, 182 IP
       
LF Alfonso Soriano CF *Skip Schumaker
2B *Mike Fontenot 3B Troy Glaus
1B Derrek Lee 1B Albert Pujols
3B Aramis Ramirez RF Ryan Ludwick
RF Mark DeRosa LF *Rick Ankiel
CF *Jim Edmonds C Yadier Molina
C Geovany Soto 2B #Felipe Lopez
SS Ronny Cedeno P Kyle Lohse
P Ryan Dempster SS Cesar Izturis

 

The Cubs and the Cardinals meet in the first of three at Busch and the first of six matchups between now and the end of the season. The Cubs lead the season series, 5-4, and have won 10 of their last 15 in St. Louis.

Dempster won his only start this year against the Cardinals, allowing 2 ER over 6 2/3 in a 6-2 Cub victory in early August. Lohse is 0-1, 6.92 in a pair of starts this season vs. the Cubs, but is otherwise having a fine year, producing more ground balls, yielding fewer long balls, and allowing fewer walks than at virtually any other point in his MLB career.

Update: We decided to try the losing thing all over again. A brutal, brutal, brutal 9th inning made possible by Kerry Wood's lack of control, Ronny Cedeno's inability to field a ground ball, and the offense's inability to take advantage of the myriad opportunities it had to crush a horrible team.

Good news—the Brewers lost and nearly got themselves perfect-gamed by Chris Young of the Padres, thus ending a 2-5 homestand which included a four-game split with San Diego. What's more galling: splitting four with the Padres at home or losing two of three to the Reds in Cincinnati? (There appeared to be so many Cub fans at the Great American Ballpark this weekend, I think these games should go against our home record.)


Update: The losing streak is over; the winning streak has begun.

Jason Marquis gave up just two ER over 7 1/3 Saturday night, and Cub hitters beat the Cub bullpen, 14-7.

Micah Hoffpauir started in right field, and Dave van Dyck writes that former Rookie of the Year candidate Kosuke Fukudome may want to get used to the view from the dugout.


If adversity really does build character, the Cubs are on their way to having a locker room full of Albert Schweitzers and Abraham Lincolns. Since August turned into September, the Cubbies, losers of six in a row for the first time since last June, are hitting .228 and the pitchers have a cumulative 6.32 ERA.

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP *Ted Lilly SP Bronson Arroyo

13-8, 4.23, 160 K, 57 BB, 174.2 IP
13-10, 4.97, 137 K, 57 BB, 166.2 IP
       
LF Alfonso Soriano CF *Chris Dickerson
SS Ryan Theriot SS Jeff Keppinger
1B Derrek Lee 2B Brandon Phillips 
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Joey Votto
2B Mark DeRosa 3B Edwin Encarnacion
CF *Jim Edmonds RF *Jay Bruce
C Geovany Soto LF Jolbert Cabrera
RF *Kosuke Fukudome C Ryan Hanigan
P *Ted Lilly P Bronson Arroyo

 

That well-known rabble-rouser, Mark Sheldon of mlb.com, is billing this series as a showdown between NL Rookie of the Year candidates Geovany Soto and Joey Votto.

Actually, I don't know anything about Mark Sheldon's rabble-rousing, but the comparison is not entirely off-base:

Pages

X
  • Sign in with Twitter