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While I continue to plug away on the group predictions for the Cubs players (I really didn't think about how much work this would be when I announced it), here's a new discussion thread for the day. Maybe we can use this space to talk about the Cardinals being SHUT OUT last night. Or maybe about Albert Pujols saying that Tom Glavine "wasn't good. He wasn't good at all," after Glavine SHUT OUT the Cardinals last night. It's up to you all.
Let's finish up our look back at the 2006 season with roundtable responses from Derek Smart of Cub Town, Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue, and Chuck Gitles of Ivy Chat. Not surprisingly, there are some significant differences among the three of them when it comes to what the Cubs need to do this off-season. But, there are some pretty solid agreements as well. -------------------- 1. Dusty, Dusty, Dusty, is there any reasonable scenario that you can see him staying? And if he does go, sum up his tenure in 2 sentences or less. Derek: Define reasonable? If we're leaving aliens, rips in the space/time continuum, sordid photos of Andy MacPhail with a jar of mayonaise and their ilk out of the discussion, then I can't envision an extension of Dusty's reign.
With the end of the season fast approaching and the Dusty Era (hopefully) coming to a close, Cub fans far and wide have been looking toward next season. One big question on everyone's mind is, "who will the Cubs' manager be in 2007"? Fredi Gonzalez' name has bandied about quite a bit recently (and, actually, since the last time the Cubs were looking for a skipper), and he's Arizona Phil's odds-on choice. But strange things are afoot in south Florida. Last month saw a strange series of events take place between Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and manager (and Peoria native, Northwestern grad, ex-Cub) Joe Girardi, leading lots of Cubs fans to get excited about the possibility of Girardi coming to Chicago next year. In order to give us some idea what kind of manager he is for the Marlins and might be for the Cubs, we asked one of the best professional baseball writers out there, Miami Herald/ESPN columnist Dan LeBatard, to answer a few questions about Joe:
It's hard to believe that only two months ago I reacted to a Dempsterian meltdown by taking the time to figure out what to look forward to for the rest of the year. And that was after actually watching the game! I experienced this week's back-to-back 11th-inning disasters only via the coments here and ESPNews at the gym, and it was still enough for me to write a sentence that I really never thought I'd write: I'm done with this team for this season. Seriously, what is to be gained by watching this team over the next month? Jerry Seinfeld has a well-known riff about how rooting for a specific team is just rooting for laundry, and I gotta tell ya, this laundry sucks. I'm gonna torture this metaphor for a little while: the ownership needs to sort through the laundry, throw out a bunch of it, and get some new clothes, preferably a nice pair of flat-front slacks that can hit 30 home runs and plays a passable outfield defense. Maybe a snappy blazer that can play second base, too. Oh, and a new manager. Until that happens, I can't follow this team. All of my favorite players are either hurt or traded, with the exception of Derrek Lee, and Lee isn't enough to keep me paying attention. There's just too much negativity, too much suckitude, too much "clog-the-bases" anger-making bullshit for me to deal with on a daily basis. It isn't healthy. I'm working on tabulating the results of the "Wisdom Of Us" contest (remember that?), and I'll be unveiling the results throughout October. Hopefully that month will also bring us a few decent free agent signings and a new manager. For those of you who aren't as completely burned out on this team as I am, there's a little bit of actual content after the jump:
I have to admit, I'm feeling the pull of unrealistic hopes and dreams that Trans talked about last night. Maybe that's why I'm on my way toward three posts in one day. Of course, it could also be because The Lovely Wife and (Not So) Tiny Baby are out of town. Whatever the reason, my increased output is your theoretical gain -- before I post the lineups for tonight's game, here's a look at the next seven days. First up, a trip to Chavez Ravine, home of the mellifluous Vin Scully. One of the nice things about the Extra Innings package is getting to hear Vin call some game throughout the summer -- I'm hoping tonight is one of those nights. Maybe I'll watch the game on the tiny TV in the bedroom so I can drift off to Vin's dulcet tones. I'll keep my eye out for Rob G. in the stands -- I imagine he'll be the guy who's still there in the 8th inning. Know Your Enemy: Dodger Thoughts, 6-4-2 Monday: Greg Maddux vs. Brett Tomko Tuesday: Carlos Zambrano vs. Derek Lowe Wednesday: Sean Marshall vs. Brad Penny The Dodgers will be without Jeff Kent tonight and possibly longer. They're already without Nomar Garciaparra (shocking, I know) and Eric Gagne, but still have plenty of weapons, like Cub Nation's winter mancrush Rafael Furcal, the currently-uninjured D.J. "J.D." Drew, and Bill Mueller, who just keeps hitting. By the way, Tueday's matchup ought to be interesting, as two of the biggest grounball pitchers in the game (Derek Lowe was 33 in the majors last year, Zambrano #14) face off. Could be a nice tight game, as long as Z keeps his emotions in check and Lowe lays off the sauce. After L.A., it's on to St. Louis, and our first look at new Busch stadium. Know Your Enemy: Get Up Baby, Cardnilly Friday: Glendon Rusch vs. Sidney Ponson Saturday: Greg Maddux vs. Mark Mulder Sunday: Carlos Zambrano vs. Jason Marquis Cubs.com has Jerome Williams scheduled for Friday, but I'd say it's more likely Williams will be skipped so that the rest of the starters can stay on normal. By Friday Albert Pujols' consecutive at-bats-with-a-homer streak could be up to about 15, and Izzy's blown save streak should be just about as high. Jim Edmonds is sitting out the current Pirates series after getting cortisone injections, but he'll be kind enough to return in time for the Cubs series.
I can't guarantee I'll be able to keep this up all season, but I went through all the box scores for the Cubs and all their minor-league affiliates and tallied who had started at what position, and how often. At the beginning of the season, before too many injuries, demotions, etc., this should give a good idea of who is considered the "starter" at each position and at each level. I will leave it to Arizona Phil to come along and add his interpretation and analysis; for now, here are the numbers: CHICAGO CUBS C: Barrett 8, Blanco 3 1B: Lee 11 2B: Walker 7, Hairston 3, Perez 1 3B: Ramirez 9, Perez 2 SS: Cedeno 11 LF: Murton 11 CF: Pierre 11 RF: Jones 6, Pagan 3, Bynum 1, Mabry 1 SP: Zambrano 3, Rusch 3, Maddux 2, Marshall 2, Williams 1 IOWA CUBS (AAA) C: Soto 8, Kopitzke 3 1B: Sing 9, Deardorff 2 2B: Fontenot 6, Theriot 4, Coats 1 3B: McGehee 9, Coats 1, Deardorff 1 SS: Ojeda 6, Theriot 5 LF: Restovich 4, Strong 4, Deardorff 3 CF: Pie 11 RF: Coats 5, Restovich 5, Theriot 1 SP: Ryu 3, Walrond 2, Valdes 2, Guzman 2, Hill 2 WEST TENN DIAMOND JAXX (AA) C: Richie 7, Reyes 2, Farina 1 1B: Hoffpauir 8, Dopirak 1, Lewis 1 2B: Patterson 10 3B: Moore 8, Lewis 2 SS: Rojas 7, Cates 3 LF: Montanez 7, Lewis 2, Hoffpauir 1 CF: Walker 9, Greenberg 1 RF: Greenberg 8, Montanez 2 DH: Lewis 3, Moore 1, Cates 1 SP: Mathes 2, Marmol 2, Wells 2, Mateo 2, Cash 1, Baez 1 DAYTONA CUBS (A+) C: Fox 8, Rick 2 1B: Craig 10 2B: Spears 8, Salas 2 3B: Spearman 10 SS: Simokaitis 10 LF: Jackson 5, Culpepper 4, Salas 1 CF: Fuld 10 RF: Harvey 6, Culpepper 4 DH: Jackson 5, Fox 1, Harvey 1, Rick 1, Wick 1 SP: Berg 2, Gallagher 2, Hagerty 2, Holliman 2, Johnson 2 PEORIA CHIEFS (A) C: Muyco 5, Reed 4, Morgan 1 1B: Norwood 9, Garcia 1 2B: Chirinos 9, Rivera 1 3B: Taylor 10 SS: Johnston 7, Rivera 3 LF: Valdez 6, Defendis 4 CF: Gregg 8, Ciaramella 2 RF: Ciaramella 6, Defendis 2, Valdez 2 DH: Garcia 8, Chirinos 1, Norwood 1 SP: Veal 2, Blackford 2, Billek 2, Yepez 2, Atkins 2
4-16-1957 Traded Ray Jablonski and Ray Katt to the New York Giants. Received Dick Littlefield and Bob Lennon 4-16-1938 Traded Curt Davis, Clyde Shoun, Tuck Stainback and $185,000 cash to the St. Louis Cardinals. Received Dizzy Dean 4-17-1976 The Phillies are down 12-1 in Wrigley after three innings, as Steve Carlton fails to escape from the second. Rich Reuschel, Mike Garman, Darold Knowles and Paul Reuschel can't hold the lead, however, and the Cubs trail 15-13 after the Phillies score 3, 5, and 3 runs in the 7th, 8th and 9th. The Cubs rally to tie the game at 15 in the bottom of the 9th, but the Phillies score three more in the 10th, including Mike Schmidt's fourth home run and 8th RBI of the day. The Cubs rally for one more in the bottom of the 10th, but the Phillies win, 18-16, while the Cubs set a National League record for the largest blown lead to lose a game. 4-17-1974 Newly acquired catcher George Mitterwald hits a double and three home runs, including a first-inning grand slam, with 8 RBI. The Cubs beat the Pirates, 18-9. Mitterwald finishes the season with 7 HR and 28 RBI
GAME 11 REVIEW
CUBS 7 PIRATES 3 W: Glendon Rusch (1-2) L: Ian Snell (0-1) Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart
We saw several encouraging things in today's game. Glendon Rusch pitched six strong innings, marred only by Craig Wilson's homerun. Aramis Ramirez seems to be getting locked in - he followed up yesterday's long double with a two-out RBI single in the first, and a two-run homerun in the sixth. Juan Pierre had three hits and scored two runs, hopefully a sign that he's coming out of his early-season slump. Cedeno continued to hit the ball sharply and gave a strong performance in the field. Finally, the mildly injured Jacques Jones made an appearance as a pinch-hitter, and drew a walk. But what's most impressive - and surprising - for me is Ryan Dempster. Admittedly, I was unable to follow the Cubs very closely at the end of last season. So while I knew Dempster was pitching very well, I didn't have a good sense for just how well. Pat Hughes tells me that Dempster now has a 28 and 1/3 scoreless inning streak, spanning 28 appearances, I believe. Is it premature (or perhaps, even over-due?) to talk about Dempster as one of the game's elite closers? As I write, the Cubs are 7-4, in a four-way tie for first place. They're there without Prior, Wood, and having had to start their 5th OF due to injuries. Feeling the pull of unrealistic hopes and dreams, yet?
GAME ELEVEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (6-4, 4th, -0.5) AT PITTSBURGH PIRATES (4-9, 6th, -4.0) PNC Park, 12:35 CDT Weather: Cloudy, 58, Wind right to left @ 8 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 743 Radio: WGN, XM 185
Ian Snell, RHP 0-0, 9.00 ERA, 10 IP 7 K, 5 BB, 3 HRGlendon Rusch, LHP 0-2, 8.00, 9 IP 6 K, 3 BB, 6 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF *Freddy Bynum, RF Derrek Lee, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Todd Walker, 2B Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, SS Henry Blanco, C *Glendon Rusch, P* Nate McLouth, CF Jack Wilson, SS Jason Bay, LF Craig Wilson, 1B Freddy Sanchez, 3B *Jeromy Burnitz, RF Jose Castillo, 2B Humberto Cota, C Ian Snell, P

Pirates vs. Rusch Jack Wilson: 15-33, 455/500/667, 1 HR, 3 BB Craig Wilson: 14-26, 538/571/769, 1 HR, 2 BB, 5 K Jeromy Burnitz: 2-20, 100/217/250, 1 HR, 1 BB, 2 K

Bynum #2 and Walker #5, huh? I think it would be smarter to put Walker #2, move Murton and Cedeno up, and bat Bynum #7. But, of course, Bynum is fast, therefore he has to bat at the top of the order. This could this be Rusch's last chance to keep his rotation spot, though more likely he'll stick around until Kerry Wood is ready, even if he's merely mediocre. But we can hope, can't we? The guy he's matched up against, Ian Snell, hasn't been too impressive this year either, but at least he hasn't given up six home runs. Angel Pagan's hamstring injury from last night is serious enough that he'll probably head to the DL. There's a chance Felix Pie will be called up, but Mike Restovich seems more likely. I haven't seen or heard an official annoucement yet. I'll post the transaction here as soon as I know it. And, of course, it's time for my annual MLB blackout rules rant. When I was living in San Diego, I didn't get to see the Padres, even though I was more than 60 miles from San Diego and the town I lived in did not carry the cable channel the Pads were on. Now that I live in Pennsylvania, I'm lucky enough to have four teams blacked out: Phillies, Nationals, Orioles, and Pirates. I get Baltimore, Philly, and Washington games either via the regional sports channel or over the air, but I'm too far away from Pittsburgh for DirecTV to give me the Fox Sports channel from Pittsburgh. So, no Pirates games to be found anywhere. It's just silly.
GAME 10 REVIEW
CUBS 1 PIRATES 2 W: Zach Duke (1-1) L: Jerome Williams (0-1) S: Mike Gonzalez (2) Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart
Ugh, a tough game to lose. Zach Duke returned to last season's form. After the Cubs had forced him to scuffle and struggle and throw pitches in the first two innings, the lefty settled down, pitching seven strong innings. The Cub defense let down Jerome Williams, aiding the Pirates in the only two runs they would need. Cedeno got charged with a throwing error on a difficult play in the hole, which allowed Craig Wilson to score from third. Bynum, (who replaced Pagan in right field after Pagan seemed to seriously injure his left knee while running to first) misplayed a Wilson drive off the right field wall, and then jogged after the ball while Wilson legged out a triple. (What was up with Wilson's wheels? He stole a base in advance of the Cedeno error, and eventually scored after his triple. Wilson hit one triple and stole three bases all of last year!) Williams also threw a ball away on a pickoff play, giving Cub fans everywhere a sense of deja vu. The Cubs had one golden scoring opportunity in the eighth, with runners at first and second, one out, Duke out of the game, and Ramirez and Barrett up; Ramirez popped up, Barrett struck out, and that was pretty much the game. If that's the bad news (and indeed, it's considerable), the good news is that Williams pitched quite well - certainly well enough to merit another start, while our horde of supposedly near-ready injured starting pitchers continues to recuperate. Murton kept raking, and Eyre looked good in relief. While I'm not sure that this really counts as good news, I'll also add that Aramis managed to not pull a leg or butt muscle, when he had to go from a walk to a sprint in a single step upon realizing that his 410 ft. double was not, in fact, going to be a home run. Congrats, Aramis.

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