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Remembering Kerry Wood

In Sunday’s edition of the New York Times PLAY magazine, Buzz Bissinger (“Friday Night Lights" and "Three Nights In August”) profiles Kerry Wood and his famously injured right arm. There is not a lot of news here, particularly for anyone who has lived with this story the way Cub fans have—and the readers of TCR more than most Cub fans—but the piece is well done and, in case the 2007 season hasn’t already been heartbreaking enough, you’ll find plenty of memories here to be heartbroken about. Aside from interviewing Wood, Bissinger hooks up with Jim Riggelman, who sounds sorry for possibly having contributed to Wood’s health issues; Dusty Baker, who sounds completely defensive; and Mike McGilvray, Wood’s coach at Grand Prairie High School, who places 100% of the blame on the Cubs.

Lists

Conclude what you will... NL hitters with more home runs than Derrek Lee (incomplete list): Tony Clark Scott Thorman Joe Borchard Ronny Paulino NL hitters with more RBI than Alfonso Soriano (incomplete list): Rich Aurilia Joe Borchard Chris Duffy Ryan Theriot NL hitters seeing more Pitches per Plate Appearance than Mark DeRosa: Todd Helton Adam Dunn Albert Pujols NL hitters with a higher batter average with RISP than Derrek Lee: (None)

Cub Plays Of The Week

As measured by David Appelman’s wonderful Fangraphs site, which calculates Win Probability Added—the methodology is explained here—the five worst and five best moments in the remarkably dramatic Cubs week that began with last Sunday’s game against the Phillies and ended with Saturday’s game against the White Sox. The Five Worst (in ascending badness): 5.) Monday v. Mets, 6th inning. Paul LoDuca doubles off Rocky Cherry, driving in Carlos Delgado to cut Cubs lead to 4-3. (Decreased likelihood of Cub victory by 22.3%) 4.) Saturday v. White Sox, 8th inning. Paul Konerko homers off of Bob Howry, giving White Sox 6-5 lead. (-24.1%) 3.) Saturday v. White Sox, 6th inning. Joe Crede homers off of Jason Marquis, tying game, 5-5. (-25.2%) 2.) Monday v. Mets, 9th inning. Michael Wuertz walks Carlos Delgado. Mets win 5-4. (-33.9%) And the #1 Worst Moment of the Week for the Cubs… Thursday v. Mets, 9th inning. Carlos Delgado hits two-run single off Scott Eyre. Mets win 6-5. (-45.7%)

East Coast Road Trip Misery Loves Company

Since beginning a trip to New York and Philadelphia last Friday, the Brewers have lost 5 of 6 and been outscored 35-28. Their win was a laugher (12-3) against the Mets, and they’ve also been on the wrong end of an ass kicking, 9-1, by the New Yorkies. The Cubs have lost 4 of 6 with the Phillies and Mets and been outscored 33-28. One of their wins was a laugher (10-1) against the Mets, and they’ve also been on the wrong end of an ass-kicking,  8-1, by the Mets.

Anomaly? Who Said Anomaly?

Back in the first week of the season, I wrote about the apparently freakish excellence of Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis in their respective Cub debuts. Well, here we are, several weeks and 13 starts later, and the two Cub newbies continue to pitch superbly. Combined 2007 numbers for Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis over 15 starts: 101 IP, 70 H, 27 R, 72 K, 21 BB Put another way, the average Lilly/Marquis start this season: 6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 5 K, 1 BB !!!!!

Carlos Zambrano Killed My Buzz

I attended my first game of the season Wednesday night and saw the latest episode of Jason Marquis’ serial drama, “I’m Gonna Prove That All You People Didn’t Know What The Hell You Were Talking About,” co-starring Larry Rothschild as The Mentor. It was a joy to behold, so much so that I was almost oblivious to the fact that one of our hitters left nine of his teammates out on the bases. Anyway, I got home too late to post anything. Now, I’m at the keyboard and in the interim, Carlos Zambrano went out and struck the latest blow in his battle to become our fifth starter. As the game report at cubs.com points out, opponents are hitting .361 against Zambrano in their first-inning at-bats, and Z has yielded 13 first-inning runs in 8 starts. To date, the chief suspect has been arm angle, as in, Carlos’s has been too low or too all over the place.

Bully For The Cubs

The Cubs have now beaten two of the game’s most pitiable teams five times in a row. Even though our favorite team has hardly been a juggernaut this season, since the now 9-22 Nationals came to town Friday, I felt like I was like rooting for the bully to steal the innocent kid’s lunch money. It’s fun to be on the side of the bully sometimes. With another innocent kid coming to town on Tuesday, lunch money in hand, the prospects of the Cubs extending their win streak to six, seven or eight appear good.

Short Story

A compelling aspect of Wednesday’s Cubs-Brewers game, apart from the fact that the Cubs actually won, was Lou Piniella’s decision to start Ryan Theriot at short. As Lou explained:
"We need a lift. We need somebody who hopefully can get us going a little bit. I've been trying to figure out where to play him. He's been getting work at shortstop. We'll put him out there at shortstop and let him play."
Theriot, naturally, was elated to get the opportunity and said he wasn’t intimidated about moving over from second.

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  • Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.

    billybucks 10 min 23 sec ago view
  • There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!

    billybucks 11 min 12 sec ago view
  • Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.

    billybucks 12 min 33 sec ago view
  • Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.

    Jackstraw 15 min 56 sec ago view
  • Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.

    Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.

    billybucks 16 min 19 sec ago view
  • Baez still learning

    jacos 44 min 9 sec ago view
  • heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.

    he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.

    crunch 1 hour 48 min ago view
  • stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.

    that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.

    crunch 2 hours 53 min ago view
  • brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.

    crunch 3 hours 43 min ago view
  • Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.

    VirginiaPhil 8 hours 13 min ago view
  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 23 hours 24 min ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 23 hours 29 min ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 23 hours 34 min ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 23 hours 46 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 23 hours 57 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 1 day 22 min ago view