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Game 5 Thread / Astros @ Cubs (2 of 3)

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SP Roy Oswalt SP Jason Marquis
(2008) 0-1, 5.06, 6 K, 1 BB (2007) 12-9, 4.60
       
CF *Michael Bourn LF Alfonso Soriano
RF Hunter Pence CF Reed Johnson
1B #Lance Berkman 1B Derrek Lee
LF Carlos Lee 3B Aramis Ramirez
SS Miguel Tejada RF *Kosuke Fukudome
3B Ty Wigginton 2B Mark DeRosa
2B Mark Loretta C Geovany Soto
C Brad Ausmus SS Ryan Theriot
P
Roy Oswalt P *Jason Marquis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here's where we are:

The Cubs need to win a game started by Roy Oswalt or be assured of having lost the season's first two series, at home, to division rivals Milwaukee and Houston.

Yeeech!

The good news is, the Cubs have had at least a few productive offensive games against Oswalt (11-10, 3.97 lifetime v. Cubs), which is more than they can say about their encounters with Chris Sampson.

Game 4 Thread / Astros @ Cubs (1 of 3)

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SP Chris Sampson SP Rich Hill
(2007) 7-8, 4.59 (2007) 11-8, 3.92
       
CF *Michael Bourn LF Alfonso Soriano
RF Hunter Pence SS Ryan Theriot
1B #Lance Berkman 1B Derrek Lee
LF Carlos Lee 3B Aramis Ramirez
SS Miguel Tejada RF *Kosuke Fukudome
3B Ty Wigginton 2B Mark DeRosa
2B Mark Loretta C Geovany Soto
C J.R. Towles CF *Felix Pie
P
Chris Sampson P *Rich Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profiling the Astros:

Game 2 Thread / Brewers @ Cubs (2 of 3)

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SP Jeff Suppan SP Ted Lilly
(2007) 12-12, 4.62 (2007) 15-8, 3.83
       
2B Rickie Weeks SS Ryan Theriot
CF Gabe Kapler LF Alfonso Soriano
1B *Prince Fielder 1B Derrek Lee
LF Ryan Braun 3B Aramis Ramirez
3B Bill Hall RF *Kosuke Fukudome
RF Corey Hart 2B Mark DeRosa
SS JJ Hardy C Geovany Soto
P Jeff Suppan CF *Felix Pie
C
Jason Kendall P *Ted Lilly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sun is shining over Lakeview, The Cub Reporter made it through April Fool's Day without hearing from a single corporate attorney, and the Cubs are only one game out of first. A good day to be alive.

Fukudome's First Was Fabulous, But He's No Kaz Matsui


Kosuke Fukudome's Cub debut
was so riveting Monday afternoon, it was almost enough to distract from Kerry Wood's ninth-inning failure and the larger disappointment of losing the opener to the Brewers.

But terrific as it was, Fukudome's plate performance didn't quite match up to what one of his countrymen, Kaz Matsui, did when he first took the field for the Mets four years ago. On that evening, Matsui slugged the first pitch in his Major League career 429 feet, well over the center field fence in Atlanta's Turner Field, and set his new team off on a 7-2 season-opening victory. In addition to the homer, Matsui ripped a pair of doubles and walked twice, so he reached base five times in five PA's.

Given the way Matsui eventually stunk up New York, it could be argued that his Met career went straight downhill following that first game.

In any case, here's a review of the most prominent Japanese hitters to cross the Pacific and how they fared in their first regular season games on American soil:

It's All About Us: Opening Day 2008 From A Cub Perspective

For an Opening Day loss to a bitter in-division rival in which our ace had to leave the game prematurely, our leadoff man looked overmatched, and our new closer was tagged for three runs in an inning, that was a pretty satisfying game. All the credit goes to you, Kosuke. Thanks.

But former and perhaps future Cubs had a hand in games all across the land, and there were other Cub connections evident on this, the true Opening Day 2008.

Here is a Cub-flavored summary of today's already completed games:


D-Backs 4, Reds 2
.
Dusty loses his first game in the Cincy dugout. Corey Patterson goes
0-for-4, but doesn't strike out. Not once. In the whole game.


Nats 11, Phillies 6
.
Following their one-game home series against the Braves, the Nationals
traveled to Philadelphia to play the Phils. I can't find any way to
connect this game to the Cubs, except for the fact that scheduling a
Cubs-Brewers game in Chicago in late March when there's a perfectly
adequate domed stadium 90 miles north of Chicago is asinine...much like
scheduling the Nationals for a one-game home stand and then sending
them on the road.

The Last Time... (Cubs Opening Day Edition)

 

"Why, I remember when my father and I used to wake up at 5:30 in the morning and watch the season start in Japan."

--The Onion ("On Baseball's Opening Day")

Has Opening Day lost any of its luster since Major League baseball trash-canned the quaint tradition of starting every season with a single game, played in Cincinnati, the home of the game's first professional team, where the occasion was celebrated with a parade down the city's streets? Is the day less magical now that it has unfolded in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Japan, and the weekday game in the Queen City has given way to a made-for-ESPN event played on Sunday night? Of course it has.

But the thing is, it's still a damn special day on the baseball calendar and in WAY too many of the past 99 Cubs seasons, it has been the one and only day of the season when Cub fans' optimism was in full bloom.

Could Lou Piniella Be A Better Manager Than Mike Scioscia And Worse Than Ozzie Guillen?

Absolutely, if you accept the premise behind an analysis in Friday's Wall Street Journal, which ranked 20 big league managers on:

    • Their teams' performance in close games, i.e., games tied through six innings
    • Their teams' won-loss record relative to its projected record based on runs scored and allowed (the "Pythagorean" projection)
    • How players' individual performances improved or declined under various managers, with allowances made for the players' ages

The managers were ranked in each of the three categories, and the ranks were averaged, giving each manager a composite score.

Former Cub Manager Gomez Critically Injured But Improving

Catching up on day-old news here, but former Cubs manager Preston Gomez was critically injured Wednesday morning when he was struck by a pickup truck in Blythe, California.

The 84-year-old Gomez, who has been a special assistant for the Angels for many years, was on his home from spring training at the time of the accident. Gomez stopped for gas and after refueling his car, "stepped out around the end of the gas pumps and into the path of a large pickup truck," according to the Blythe police.

More On The Newest Cub, Reed Johnson

So the Cubs' Extra Righthanded-Hitting Outfielder spinner stopped and it landed on...former Toronto Blue Jay, Reed Johnson. The Cubs signed the 31-year-old Johnson to a one-year contract on Tuesday, in time for Johnson to make his Cactus League debut this afternoon against the Giants. (He went 2-for-5.)

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  • CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now. 

    LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.  

    RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.   

    Arizona Phil 4 min 43 sec ago view
  • AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).

    I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):  

    * bats or throws left 
    # bats both

    Arizona Phil 32 min 47 sec ago view
  • Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.

    Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)

    VirginiaPhil 54 min 34 sec ago view
  • E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season  either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.

    Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.  

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 47 sec ago view
  • Rob Richardson 1 hour 29 min ago view
  • Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.

    Send Soler down!

    Old and Blue 2 hours 23 min ago view
  • Awesome thanks AZ

    Old and Blue 2 hours 26 min ago view
  • Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.

    John Beasley 3 hours 15 min ago view
  • Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!

    Hagsag 6 hours 3 min ago view
  • given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.

    i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.

    crunch 7 hours 16 min ago view
  • Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?

    He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.

    My guess? Toronto.

    tim815 7 hours 39 min ago view
  • PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.

    The E-Man 7 hours 45 min ago view
  • Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?

    azbobbop 11 hours 45 min ago view
  • Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.

    Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.

    The E-Man 12 hours 32 min ago view
  • Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.

    While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.

    billybucks 13 hours 5 min ago view
  • jacos 13 hours 6 min ago view