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Good Duel, Bad Result
W - Vazquez (6-7)
L - Zambrano (4-4)
S - Soriano (9)
Things to Take from This Game
1. Z does fine on short rest
Zambrano pitched an efficient six innings on three days rest, the only blemishes being a couple of run-scoring hits by McCann.  

2. Vazquez pitches like an All-Star scorned
Not as much shame in this weak performance by the Cubs' offense, as Vazquez, Gonzalez and Soriano pitched well.  Ramirez looked pretty good at the plate, with a couple hits to show for it.  Soriano managed to sneak a couple hits in, as well, and Hill got the lone RBI.  There isn't much to report in the way of missed rallies or failed execution or bad approaches at the plate, the team just ran into three good pitchers and...

3. Some good defense
Maybe no plays that make Sportscenter, but for the most part it was a well-defended ballgame.  No errors, and some particularly good D up the middle.  A satisfying game in everything but the result.

The hard-fought details, below.
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5 Runs on the Road, Lilly Pitching, Not Enough.
W - Galarraga (4-7)
L - Lilly (7-5)
S - Rodney (16)
Things to Take from This Game

 

1. Fox, Fukudome lead Attack
Jake Fox staked the Cubs to a 3-0 lead on a big home run in the first.  Fukudome had a triple and a double in the game, while Hoffpauir hit an impressive opposite field home-run in the ninth.  An encouraging day from the supporting cast, but also a day with continued futility when there were RISP.

 

2. Lilly is Ineffectively Wild in the Strike Zone
Lilly got hurt on several breaking and offspeed pitches that got up into the heart of the strike zone. Just one BB to 6 Ks, but10 hits an 6 ER in 6 IP.  Santiago and Ordonez each hit two-run homers off of him, and Raburn had two RBI hits. Cabrera also hit a homer that was incorrectly ruled a double.

 

3. No Dramatic Comeback, Today.
Rodney gave up the homer to Hoffpauir, but otherwise slammed the door by striking out the side.

 

The one-run-short details, below.
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A Loss, or a Metaphor?
W - Vazquez (5-6)
L - Dempster (4-5)
S - Soriano (6)
Things to Take from This Game

 

1. An Evening Full of Singles and Scoring Opportunities...
The Cubs had 9 hits off of Vazquez, all of them singles, and another hit off of Soriano in relief. 

 

2. ...That Leads to Nothing but a lot of Getting Left Stranded on Second Base.
The Cubs left 12 men on base.  Perhaps most
confounding was the decision to let Blanco bat with the bases loaded
and two outs in the sixth. 

 

3. But at Least there are Consolation Prizes?
We can be happy that Dempster had a fine performance, gutting out 6.2 innings in the Atlanta heat.  He still had some control problems, but other than McLouth, the Braves struggled to do much against him.  And that has to make up for some of the frustration at getting shut out, right?

 

The futile details, below.
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Single in the Gloamin'

 

W - Gregg (2-1), the bullpen, hopes for a good second half, belief in the Ex-Cub Factor, TCR authors who predicted "seven runs shall not win this game."
L - Vizcaino (1-3), anyone who went home early. 

 

Things to Take from This Game

 

1. Cleveland Scores Seven Unanswered
Harden didn't have it today, and gave up three-run homers to Luis Valbuena and Victor Martinez in the second and third.  DeRosa added an RBI single in the fourth.

 

2. Cubs Score Eight Unanswered
The Cubs began their comeback in the fifth with a solo HR by Johnson, and another by Lee in the sixth.  They scratched out four in the eighth, featuring a two-run single by Blanco, but the highlight of the game had to be Derrek Lee's second homer of the day, a game-tier in the bottom of the ninth off of Kerry Wood.  The game ended in the tenth with Luis Vizcaino giving a two-out walk to Soriano, who then stole second and scored on a generous "hit" as Theriot smashed one off of Victor Martinez at first base.

 

3. Signs of Life
Patton and Heilman gave us three easy innings of relief, Marmol worked out of a jam of his own construction and Gregg one of the defense's construction, for five shut-out innings total.  Soto and Soriano looked a lot more comfortable today, and of course Lee is red hot. Blanco also looked surprisingly good at the bat.

 

The exciting details, below
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Y
es, Six.
W - Gregg (1-1)
L - Thornton (4-2)
Things to Take from This Game
1. Eventful day for Getz
Sox second-baseman Getz doubled in a run, made a fine run-saving catch at second, but also had two errors.  The second one was notable because...
2. Big 8th for Cubs
...it came at the start of the Cubs' half of the eighth, letting Hoffpauir get on.  Without that, the inning would have ended with a Bradley strikeout with one man on base.  Instead, Lee had a chance to save the rally, and hit a three-run homer to bring the Cubs within a run at 5-4.  Soto made it back-to-back homers off of Linebrink, tying the game.
3. Z, Bradley, Lee look fine
Z gave up a two-run homer to Alexei Ramirez and the Getz double, but otherwise looked like he was in command of his fastball and pitched well.  Bradley, other than that strikeout, continued to show a good eye and had a couple of sharp singles. Lee of course continued his hot hitting.
4. Most everyone else does not
Marmol kept getting hit on sliders up in the zone, giving up a couple of Runs.  Soriano kept hitting from behind in the count, Theriot kept swinging from his ass, Fukudome and Blanco failed to spontaneously transmogrify into major-league hitters.
5. However...
After the exciting 8th, Reed Johnson led off the bottom of the ninth with a pinch-hit single, Blanco bunted him to second, and Soriano got just enough of one to bloop a ball into right-center for the game-winning hit.
All the late-inning heroics follow....
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A Dank Day.
W - Danks (5-5)
L - Dempster (4-4)
S - Jenks (15)
Things to Take from This Game

1. K to BB
Danks walked none and struck out nine.  Dempster walked six and struck out four.  You tell me how the day went.

2. The Cubs' "Offense"
Was "led" by two bloop singles by Milton Bradley.

3. Sox scratch it out
Dempster almost was effectively wild.  Alexei Ramirez hit a home run in the first, but the other runs were products of some effective small ball played by Guillen and the Sox - a couple of impressive bunt plays, a sacrifice fly, and a squib triple accounted for the rest of the Sox scoring.  The story here isn't a weak performance by Dempster or Danks looking unhittable;  it's Cubs hitters continuing to swing from their asses and producing nothing.

 

The "I bought a bad-ass new computer, and all I have to show for it is this stinking recap?" details, below.
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Rainout
W - Nature
L - Humans
Things to Take from This Game
1. It got rained out.  No reschedule date set, yet.
 
The soggy details, below.
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I will leave these questions open for voting for two days, and we'll revisit them at games 100 and 150.

How satisfied are you with the performance of the Chicago Cubs ball-club?

How satisfied are you with the performance of Lou Piniella?

How satisfied are you with the performance of Jim Hendry?

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