Thursday's Chicago vs. Chicago showdown at Wrigley Field will be the first Major League game to be streamed live to mobile phones, specifically to iPhone and iPod Touch users who have installed the MLB.com At Bat 2009 app and the new Apple 3.0 operating software.
Be forewarned—the entire downtown area is overrun with Nordic boys wearing Kirby Puckett jerseys. I know; I have seen it for myself!
This afternoon's Twins starter, Kevin Slowey (8-2, 4.21), is prone to the gopher ball. (That's "gopher" as in home run, not Golden Gopher.) Cubs starter Randy Wells is prone to getting screwed by the non-performance of his offense and/or his bullpen.
Arizona's Dan Haren was lifted from Sunday's start at San Diego after the seventh. He held the Padres scoreless for 6 2/3 innings before allowing a solo blast to Kevin Kouzmanoff. In all, Haren was charged with 1 run on 4 hits. He fanned 5, walked 1, and at one point, retired 13 Padre hitters consecutively.
He was deprived of his fifth win of the season, however, when the Arizona bullpen failed to protect a 6-1 lead going into the bottom of the ninth. (The Diamondbacks eventually won, 9-6, in 18 innings.)
I didn't get to see all of Saturday night's loss, but the portion that I did catch was more than enough for me to get the gist:
The Cubs' woeful offense—over the last two nights, for example, the team is 0-for-17 with RISP—offers no cover for defensive mistakes and boneheaded baserunning.
If the starting pitching weren't so good, the Cubs wouldn't even be competitive.
Carrie Muskat wrote yesterday that Alfonso Soriano has been playing with a sore knee since April 23rd, when he "banged his knee against the wall" while running after what turned out to be a Joey Votto home run.
"It hasn't been the same since,"
Soriano said. "It's getting better."
Lou Piniella said athletic trainer Mark O'Neal hasn't told him that Soriano can't play. He'll take it day by day.
"Soriano is a tough kid and wants to play," Piniella said. "If it
persists, we might have to get him out of there for a few days."
In 31 games since April 23rd, Soriano, has hit .233/.266/.431/697 (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS). He has hit 7 HR, though none in his last 10 games. His current line of .253/.313/.495/807 is a season low, across all categories.
Today at Baseball Prospectus (subscription), Joe Sheehan wrote about how the Cubs have become one of baseball's most home run-dependent teams and tonight, we saw, yet again, where that generally gets you.
A pinch-hit home run by Bobby Scales in the eighth inning against Randy Wolf accounted for all the Cubs' scoring Thursday night in the team's most recent, painful defeat.
Monday night's game seemed otherworldly from even before the first pitch.
A Wrigley Field home game on a holiday at night? It made scheduling sense, given that the Cubs had to fly all the way east from San Diego following Sunday's game, but it still felt wrong.
Then the lineups were published and owing to a combination of illness, injuries, and an opposing lefthander, we saw Reed Johnson hitting cleanup and an infield of Freel, Theriot, Miles, and Hoffpauir. In other words, the stuff of split squad spring training games.
After losing to the likes of Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, and Jake Peavy earlier in the current losing streak, the Cubs fell Saturday night at San Diego to young Josh Geer, who came into the game with a 5.61 ERA and no victories in five starts.
Reader Osiris flagged this bad news by way of Paul Sullivan in the Tribune:
The Cubs placed Rich Harden on the 15-day disabled list with a back strain on Friday, and inserted Randy Wells into the rotation for Saturday's game.
This will allow the Cubs to activate Carlos Zambrano without having to make another roster move, i.e., demote Wells. Harden felt "a twinge" when he pitched last Sunday against the Astros.
Everytime I recall Szcur's bone marrow donation to a stranger, it makes me smile:
If Matt is out will Kawasaki get the call-up? Or "Shane"?
"Matt Szczur will undergo an MRI on his right hamstring on Tuesday."
One of the reasons I think Maddon is a great manager -- he has changed the conversation on Baez from HR & strikeouts to great defense, versatility and an all-around good ballplayer. He rarely talks about his offense, which is the only thing anybody used to talk about with Javy. He took a lot of pressure off the kid, and he seems to have responded.
Good pitching and some nifty D tonight -- nice win.
In case you didn't see it -- it was the Little League play where the guy on first gets caught in a rundown on purpose and the guy on third tries to score. It worked.
Gotta love the Pirates pitcher intentionally hitting Zobrist, then allowing Zobrist to score on a 2-out wild pitch.
Also, glad to see Zobrist coming around with RISP after my remarks last week. Heh!
ESPN reporting heyward day-to-day with an injured wrist
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.