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Wait 'Till... The Weekend

 

W - DiFelice (1-0)
L - Marquis (10-9), drinking champagne on a thursday afternoon

 

Things to Take from This Game

 

1.  Horrid first four for Marquis
Marquis loaded the bases with a single and two walks, and Fielder cleared them with a double.  After that, Marquis settled down well enough, but the Cubs never overcame the deficit

 

2.  Short-Sheeted
Ben Sheets left after two innings due to tightness in his right forearm.  The Brewers emptied the bullpen, and they pitched very well.  Six relievers in six innings, no runs added on to the solo homer Ramirez hit off of Sheets.  The Cubs manage one run off of Torres in the ninth, but there never really was a sense of an imminent comeback.  Before the ninth, the Cubs had eeked out just four hits on the game.

 

3.  Who Cares, Our Magic Number Still is 4.

 

The rather uninspired details, below...

 

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Game Chat | BR Preview

SP Rick VandenHurk SP Jason Marquis
  1-1, 6.10, 14 K, 8 BB, 10.1 IP
6-6, 4.44, 56 K, 41 BB, 105.1 IP
       
SS Hanley Ramirez LF Alfonso Soriano
RF *Jeremy Hermida SS Ryan Theriot
3B Jorge Cantu 1B Derrek Lee
LF Josh Willingham 3B Aramis Ramirez
2B Dan Uggla CF *Jim Edmonds
1B *Mike Jacobs 2B Mark DeRosa
CF Cody Ross RF *Kosuke Fukudome
C * John Baker C Henry Blanco
P Rick VandenHurk P *Jason Marquis

 

The Cubs need this game to preserve at least a tie for first place and to halve the four-game series. Marquis hasn't faced the Marlins this year, but was hit hard in each of his two starts against them last year. VandenHurk has never faced the Cubs, hasn't shown the ability to put up an ERA below six, and has as many major league innings pitched this year as Marquis has in his last one and a half starts. Fukudome bounces from eighth up to seventh.

 

In 9 PA Jeremy Hermida has a 1.083 OPS against Marquis. In as many PA, Ramirez has a 1.111 OPS against Marquis. Edmonds is the only Cub to have faced VandenHurk.

 

VandenHurk was born in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Its history dates back to its founding in 1232, is home of Philips light bulbs and Rik Smits.

Game Chat | BR Preview

SP Chris Volstad SP Rich Harden
  2-1, 2.16, 9 K, 6 BB, 16.2 IP
5-2, 2.12, 112 K, 36 BB, 89.1 IP
       
SS Hanley Ramirez LF Alfonso Soriano
RF *Jeremy Hermida SS Ryan Theriot
3B Jorge Cantu 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Mike Jacobs 3B Aramis Ramirez
2B Dan Uggla 2B *Mike Fontenot
LF Josh Willingham RF Mark DeRosa
C *John Baker C Geovany Soto
CF #Alfredo Amezaga CF *Kosuke Fukudome
P Chris Volstad P *Rich Harden

 

Rise and shine, Cubbies. A 12:05 day game in Chicago sees Rich Harden looking for his first win as a Cub, the Cubs looking for reliable offense, and fans looking to maintain bragging rights over the charging Brewers. That's three more uses of the verb "looking" than I'd make if I wasn't rusty from yet another long hiatus.

Who is John Baker?

The biggest pregame news has to be Fontenot's promotion and Fukudome's demotion. This is by my quick count the second time this season Fukudome started a game in center, the first time Fontenot has started the game hitting fifth, likewise for Fukudome hitting eighth.

Up All Night

W - Marmol (2-3), kids scarfing garlic fries, parachat costumes

L - Walker (3-4), lucking into a "Win" decision, not getting a play by play due to kids scarfing garlic fries

S - Wood (21), Fontenot


Box Score
, Photos

Things to Take from This Game

1. Dempster pitches well enough to win.

Six innings pitched, 2 runs, 2 walks, seven Ks. He left with a lead and certainly deserved to improve his road-game record. As best as I could tell on a weak mlb.tv feed and inattentive broadcasters, Dempster featured a good slider tonight, getting a bunch of swinging strikes. He didn't get the decision because...


2. Marmol has another bad moment

After easily putting down the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh with strikeouts, Marmol gave up a walk, a hit, and a three run blast to Ray Durham. Bowker had hit one into McCovey Cove in the previous inning off Dempster, so the Giants five runs came on two swings of the bat.


3. Fontenot gets the final word

The Cubs scoring began with the Matt Murton Approved Run-scoring GIDP. Edmonds hit yet another swing-from-my-ass opposite-field 2-run HR, and Soto had a two-run single set up by a Fukudome and Theriot double-steal. (Fukudome would have been in danger at third, had there been a throw.) Fontenot broke a 5-5 tie in the 8th with a home run to nearly the same spot Durham hit his in the pavillion-thingy in right. A two-out triple not-withstanding, Wood nailed down the save in the ninth.

 

The why-am-i-suddenly-getting-the-"quick-find"-feature-toggled-on-in-firefox-whenever-I-hit-the-apostraphe-key,

-and-the-I-watch-the-west-coast-night-game-on-a-bad-mlbtv-feed-so-you-don't-have-to,

-and-first-recap-in-a-long-time-and-right-before-going-on-a-road-trip-and-probably-being-away,-again details, below....

 

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Game Chat | BR Preview

SP Sean Gallagher SP Javier Vazquez
  3-3, 3.97, 39 K, 19 BB, 47.2 IP
7-6, 4.24, 97 K, 29 BB, 107 IP
       
RF *Kosuke Fukudome SS Orlando Cabrera
LF Mark DeRosa C *A.J. Pierzynski
1B Derrek Lee LF Carlos Quentin
DH *Daryle Ward RF Jermaine Dye
3B Aramis Ramirez DH *Jim Thome
CF *Jim Edmonds 3B Joe Crede
C Geovany Soto 1B #Nick Swisher
2B *Mike Fontenot 2B Alexei Ramirez
SS Ronny Cedeno CF *Dewayne Wise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Some juggling of the 2, 4, and 5 spots in the Cubs lineup today, and Theriot sits for another game.  Ramirez plays for Uribe, otherwise the same lineup for the Sox.  Today also marks the half-way point in the Cubs' season, with a win putting the Cubs exactly on pace for 100.  Cubs beat Vazquez pretty easily last time; this is Gallagher's first time facing the Sox.

 

AZ PHIL UPDATE: Prior to the game, the Cubs placed LHP Scott Eyre on the 15-day DL (groin), and recalled RHP Jose Ascanio from AAA Iowa. 

Ascanio just recently returned to the Iowa Cubs from Venezuela, after missing about ten days (Bereavement Leave and then visa problems) while attending his brother's funeral. 

Although Ascanio is one of the Cubs top pitching prospects, and while he does have MLB experience, the Cubs probably would have preferred to bring up a pitcher who can throw more than one inning (Ascanio is Iowa's closer), but Kevin Hart (concussion) and Randy Wells (leg) are injured, and MLB veterans Mike Burns and Hector Carrasco threw a lot of pitches the last couple of days. (The Cubs could transfer RHP Chad Fox to the 60-day DL if they need to open a slot on the 40-man roster for Wells, Burns, or Carrasco at some point down the line).

 

Daylight Drama


W -
Wood (4-1), back-to-back jack winners, Aramis Freakin' Ramirez, A day's worth of bragging rights, listening to stunned silence of Hawk and DJ


L -
Linebrink (2-2), Blithering idiocy, Hawk Harrelson, listening to blithering idiocy, listening to three hours of Hawk Harrelson's blithering idiocy


Box Score
, Photos


Things to Take from This Game


1. Quality starts by the lefties

Lilly continued to have problems with the Home Run ball, giving up a solo shot to Dye in the second and a two-run blast to Pierzynski in the third.  Those wound up being the only runs the Cubs gave up, as  Lilly worked out of trouble in both the fifth and sixth.  Danks had a stronger game, striking out five and walking none, and left with a 3-1 lead.  He only gave up a run-scoring GIDP to Lee in the first.  However...


2. No Contest in the Battle of the Bullpens

Dotel came in for the seventh, and promptly surrendered back-to-back jacks to Lee and Ramirez.  Howry by contrast got the last out of the seventh and had an easy eighth, while Wood survived a near-miss home run that only registered as a leadoff double, and got out of the ninth without damage.  That set up the bottom of the ninth, where... 


3. Ramirez Walks Off

Aramis hit his second home run of the game, this one off of Linebrink and to dead center into the juniper bushes. Cubs win a great game, 4-3.

 

 The "why did you miss this game, and need to rely on my thrilling recap?" details, below.

Tags: 

Schizo Game

W - Balfour (2-0), getting out of Tampa

L - Marmol (1-2), 7-run sevenths.


Box Score
, Photos

Things to Take from This Game


1. Shields was fantastic

Shields pitched a fantastic six innings before giving up a run in the sixth on a Fontenot double, and leaving with runners on 2 and 3. The relievers allowed both inherited runners to score on a bloop by Fukudome and a seeing-eye bouncer by Theriot. Though he technically gave up 3, Shields was much more dominant than that for most of his outing.


2. Gallagher was terrific

Gallagher also pitched very well, with a particularly impressive live fastball. The Devil Rays successfully extended several at bats, with the same sort of grinding approach that we've enjoyed watching the Cubs employ for most of the year. Gallagher still managed to get through six, and worked out of a couple jams. A very encouraging outing by Gallagher, who only gave up one run, and that came on a double play that followed an error by Lee.


3. Marmol and Eyre were.... uh...

Marmol comes in to protext a 3-1 lead in the seventh, and goes walk, walk, hbp, hbp. Eyre comes in and goes Grand Slam to Crawford, triple, double, sac fly, double. Marmol was missing with his slider, both the HBP coming on sliders that got too far inside. Eyre was just bad.

The "we never again have to listen to pundits pointing out that the Cubs are the only team to not have a three-game losing streak this year, there, are you happy, Cubnut?" details, below. :)

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How Many Losses?

W - Sonnanstine (8-3), loud domes, cowbells

L - Zambrano (8-3), soreness and discomfort, opposite field singles

S - Percival (17)


Box Score
, Photos

Things to Take from This Game


1. Cheap Runs

The Devil Rays scored a run in the first when DeRosa missed a line drive that allowed the runner to come around from first. It was a pretty bad miss by DeRosa. In the third the Devil Rays scored four times on a seemingly endless series of controlled swings producing opposite field singles.


2. Missed Spots, Calls

Zambrano didn't have much command of the fastball, missing up in the zone with some frequency. The home plate ump didn't have much command of his strike zone, either. It made for a bit of a bumpy game. But other than the third, both Z and Sonnanstine worked quickly and effectively. Cotts gave up a leadoff walk, but Wuertz got through the rest of the game without incident.

3. Missed Opportunity

The Cubs had a great chance to score in the fifth, with the bases loaded and no outs for Theriot, Lee and Ramirez. Theriot beat out a potential GIDP to score one run, but Lee and Ramirez couldn't drive the other runners in.

4. Another Wild Ninth

Soto makes up for last night's near-miss, and lines a home run off of Percival in the 9th, to make the game 5-4. DeRosa then walked, but Percival managed to nail things down from there. Another dramatic loss.

5. Uh. Oh.

Z left the game with two outs in the seventh after throwing a pitch to Eric Hinske. Soto saw something, and immediately got up, motioned to the dugout, and all went out to the mound. Z left and as of this posting has "Right Shoulder Discomfort" Edmonds had left the game in the fourth with "Left Foot Soreness." With Reed Johnson hobbled by a strained back, Fukudome had to play center. As per usual, stay tuned for updates.

 

Your "they're still the Devil Rays, no matter what their marketing department thinks the focus groups want" details, below.

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In the second inning of Wednesday night's game, Soriano was late to react to a high and tight fastball from Braves' emergency-starter Jeff Bennett, and got hit on his left hand. He was taken from the game to a nearby hospital, where X-rays evidently revealed a "minimally displaced fracture of the fourth metacarpal."

 

I will leave it to our resident M.D., "Cubster," to fill in all the relevant medical details. (Any new visitors to TCR coming for Soriano information really owe it to themselves to come back and read his expert analysis, when he gets the chance.) The early report from the ESPN broadcast team indicated that Soriano might be out for at least six weeks. (Sportscenter now reporting "up to" six weeks, while the article at mlb insists "a minimum" of six weeks.)  On the local broadcast, Len also referred to several weeks on the DL.

 

Regardless of whether it was a direct response, this HBP comes a day after Ted Lilly threw a pitch over Brian McCann's head, the first pitch after having given up a three-run home run to Greg Norton. In the first draft of his post at the Tribune, Paul Sullivan reminded us that last year at Turner Field, Tim Hudson threw at Soriano, leading Lilly to throw at Edgar Renteria the following night, which then led to Renteria throwing a forearm at Mike Fontenot on a play at second. He also is reporting that Micah Hoffpauir will be called up tomorrow to fill the roster spot.

 

Six weeks from now would be July the 23rd, or 34 games between now and then. In the meantime, I would guess that Theriot moves to the leadoff spot with DeRosa being moved to LF and the two-spot in the order, with Cedeno and Fontenot covering second. (quick first update: that said, a quick review of the box scores from the last two weeks of April, when Soriano was out due to a leg injury, indicate that Fontenot and Reed Johnson split lead-off duties, with Eric Patterson also leading off once. Theriot stayed in the two-spot the entire time. While I could live with either of those two options leading off, again, my vote goes to a Theriot-DeRosa combo.)

 

To some extent trying to put a silver lining on this is like pissing in a river, but here are a few attempts. Remeber that Pujols looks like he also will be out for at least three weeks with a leg injury, and the Cardinals' offense is far more dependent on his bat that we are on Soriano's. (And in a complete lay-man's guess, I'd bet that the leg injury is more of a lingering problem than Soriano's finger.) The Cubs and their deep bench should be able to weather this better than the Cardinals will with Pujols out. Theriot and DeRosa won't be miscast at all as a 1-2 duo, and if anything, it should improve the defense a bit. Finally, remember how the Cubs did when Soriano was out for two weeks earlier this season due to a bum leg. The Cubs went 9-5 from April 16th, his first day out of the lineup until his return on May 1st. They averaged 7.35 runs in those games, including four games in which they scored 12, 13, 13, and 19 runs.

 

That said, get well soon, Alfonso.

 

Oh yeah - Cubs win, Dempster pitched a fantastic game.

Game Chat | CBS Sportsline Preview

SP Jason Marquis SP Brad Penny
  3-3, 5.02, 34/27 K/BB in 61 IP
5-7, 5.45, 42/13 K/BB in 76 IP
       
LF Alfonso Soriano LF *Juan Pierre
2B Mark DeRosa RF *Andre Ethier
1B Derrek Lee 2B Jeff Kent
3B Aramis Ramirez C Russel Martin
RF *Kosuke Fukudome 1B *James Loney
C Geovany Soto CF Matt Kemp
CF *Jim Edmonds 3B *Blake DeWitt
SS Ronny Cedeno SS Angel Berroa
P  *Jason Marquis P  Derek Lowe

 

The Cubs are the only team in baseball this season that has not lost more than two games in a row. Both of yesterday's starting SS get the night off. Can't say I'm too surprised Theriot gets the rest. Game is on ESPN, and the Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency and Homeland Security had all asked LouPa to bench Theriot, so as to avoid dangerous levels of exposure to Joe Morgan's patented Grit Pontifications.

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