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GAME THIRTY-NINE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] WASHINGTON NATIONALS (13-26, 4th, 11.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (16-22, 5th, 7.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 PM CDT Weather: 54 degrees, Rain, Wind in From LF @ 17 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 744 Radio: WGN, XM 187
Sean Marshall, LHP 2-1, 4.93 ERA, 38.1 IP 28 K, 16 BB, 3 HR Zach Day, RHP 2-3, 5.85 ERA, 32.1 IP 15 K, 15 BB, 4 HR

Alfonso Soriano, LF Marlon Byrd, CF #Jose Vidro, 2B *Nick Johnson, 1B Jose Guillen, RF Ryan Zimmerman, 3B Wiki Wiki Gonzalez, C Damien Jackson, SS Zach Day, P*Juan Pierre, CF Matt Murton, LF *Todd Walker, 1B Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Jerry Hairston, Jr., 2B Ronny Cedeno, SS *Sean Marshall, P
Nationals vs. Marshall: Cubs vs. Day: Juan Pierre: 2-10, 200/200/200, 1 K,

Since I'm enjoying another day of 70 degree sunny weather, I don't know how bad it's raining in Chicago but the game is currently being delayed. I assume they'd play two tomorrow if they can't get the game in as I believe this is the Nationals only trip to Chicago this year. It's amazing how one start can skew a pitcher's numbers so early in the season. I put up a preview for Marshall's last game versus the Giants in which he was resoundingly beaten before most fans could get in their seats to enjoy their Gilroy Garlic Fries. His numbers went from "ace in waiting" to "still a rookie". We'll see which Marshall we get tonight (or tomorrow). And just when you think Dusty has trouble filling out a lineup card, Frank Robinson (or one of his assistants as he's not at the game suffering from severe back spasms) has decided to put Soriano as his leadoff hitter. Tough to imagine why these guys are doing even worse than us. If we get it in, go Cubs! Tomorrow is the return of Kid K.
Our jeremiad had no apparent effect -- one day later and no one (not even Transmission) has been fired. So, back to what's happening on the field. GAME THIRTY-EIGHT IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] WASHINGTON NATIONALS (13-25, 4th, 10.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (15-22, 5th, 8.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 PM CDT Weather: TV: WCIU, DirecTV 744 Radio: WGN, XM 186
Carlos Zambrano, RHP 1-2, 3.88 ERA, 48 2/3 IP 54 K, 33 BB, 6 HR 233/359/439, .300 BABIP Livan Hernandez, RHP 1-4, 6.52 ERA, 50 2/3 IP 34 K, 17 BB, 11 HR 307/359/533, .323 BABIP

Alfonso Soriano, LF #Jose Vidro, 2B *Nick Johnson, 1B Jose Guillen, RF *Ryan Church, CF Ryan Zimmerman, 3B Wiki Wiki Gonzalez, C Royce Clayton, SS Livan Hernandez, P*Juan Pierre, CF Matt Murton, LF *Todd Walker, 2B Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF *John Mabry, 1B Ronny Cedeno, SS #Carlos Zambrano, P
Nationals vs. Zambrano: Daryle Ward: 6-25, 240/269/280, 3 K Royce Clayton: 3-16, 188/188/313, 5 KCubs vs. Hernandez: John Mabry: 12-21, 571/591/952, 2 HR, 2 K Aramis Ramirez: 6-19, 316/316/737, 2 HR, 4 K Henry Blanco: 5-15, 333/412/400, 2 BB, 2 K Neifi Perez: 8-30, 267/290/300, 1 BB, 1 K Juan Pierre: 18-68, 265/296/294, 2 BB, 6 K

For the last few years, I've wondered if Carlos Zambrano might be a sort of Livan Hernandez 2.0 -- a big, beefy righty capable of putting up 200-inning seasons over and over without succumbing to injury. Up until this season, the comparison would have been a compliment. This year, though, Livo has struggled mightily. He's still a horse, averaging 104 pitches and more than six innings per start, but batters are hitting over .300 against him, something they've never done to him in his career. That number should come down into the .275 range, but it might not happen this year, and I'm actually optimistic it won't start heading down tonight. The current Cubs roster has hit him well, with John Mabry and Aramis Ramirez leading the way. Meanwhile, Zambrano has handled the current Nats, allowing no home runs and giving out only three walks, two to Jose Guillen (who's hurt) and one to pitcher Brian Lawrence. I don't know why I'm optimistic about tonight's game -- maybe it's because I've been travelling over the last three weeks and haven't actually witnessed much of the current skid -- but I am. Whatever it takes, I guess. Go Cubs!
At just about the 1/4 mark in the 2006 season, here is the Cubs intra-organizational leader-board. Nothing very complicated, just the kind of stats you might find in the newspaper.
For all those who would rather shoot the messenger.
GAME 30
PADRES 5 CUBS 9
W: Steve Trout (2-0) L: Mark Thurmond (2-2) S: Lee Smith (4)
I have no interest in giving a review of the May 14, 2006 9-0 debacle. Instead, here's a review of the Cubs/Padres game from May 11, 1986. It was a real team effort today, with six Cubs driving in at least one run, and the bullpen picking up the slack for Steve Trout, who despite the win, logged his fourth consecutive poor outing. No one can get Gwynn out, and Terry Kennedy went four for four, after seeking out some pre-game tips from the hitting coach about how to approach left-handed pitchers - from the CUBS hitting coach, Billy Williams. While Trout's struggles are cause for concern on a team desperate for a reliable starting pitcher, the offense showed signs of life. Lopes hit his first homerun of the year, Sandberg doubled twice and Cey once, while Durham and Davis contributed two hits and Dernier scored twice. The Cubs' half of the second inning featured some of the ugliest baseball seen this year, as the Cubs scored four off of fielding errors by Jerry Royster and Garry Templeton, with Tim Stoddard coming in to replace Mark Thurmond. The Cubs should have had more, really, except for a botched bases-loaded squeeze play that resulted in Durham being picked off third. After Baller put two men on in the ninth, Big Lee was woken up from the pen to throw a one-pitch save. Dunston took the 0 for 5, snapping his modest six-game hitting streak. With Dernier hitting even less than Dunston, something needs to be done with that leadoff spot. That something, frankly, should be Lopes, who continues to pound the ball and show the best baserunning instincts on the team, forty years old or not. It's probably too much to ask him to play Center, however, and so far, the rumors of Moreland's moving from Right to Third, with Cey benched, traded, or released, prove to be just that, rumors. The other corner positions are manned, unless we want to ship off Matthews and/or Durham to make room for Lopes this year, and then Grace and Palmeiro next year. While there are plenty of Cubs fans ready to throw in the towel with our slow start and play for next year, already, it's premature to call for either of the kids to be brought up, as each one probably needs at least another year of seasoning. Same with Dave Martinez, but realistically, he could out-hit Dernier, now. Tomorrow is an off-day, and with exhibition games scheduled later this week against Des Moines and then the White Sox, Frey plans on going with four pitchers in the starting rotation. This will effectively keep Guy Hoffman in the bullpen, while Sutcliffe and Trout try to figure things out. So while problems abound for Frye and the '86 Cubs, at least today provided some much-needed respite.
As critical as I have been of Baker, I actually am not yet ready to join the "Fire Him Tomorrow" crowd. I just don't see the failings of the 2006 Cubs to be Baker-induced. No Prior, no Wood, no Lee, no offense from Ramirez, Pierre or Jones - these things are not Dusty's fault. Murton (up until now) and Cedeno have played every day. I really don't get the argument that we are seeing the results of a team filled with Dusty-style players. Who are they? Lee? Ramirez? Walker? Barrett? Cedeno? Murton? Dempster? Zambrano? Maddux? Is Jones more of a Dusty Player than Burnitz was? (Pierre over Patterson, sure, I'll give you that.) If anything, the fundamental play of the team has improved over last year while the number of seemingly random and innane managerial decisions has declined, at least from my vantage point. Most fundamental, if we were to fire Baker tomorrow, who would replace him? Another Bruce Kimm? If we can't entice Bobby Valentine or Lou Pinella to take over, who is there that we could get, mid-season, that would be worth having? While we should have fired him last year, I don't think that firing Dusty now would accomplish anything more than a hollow, token gesture to fans demanding immediate but half-baked solutions to problems that extend wider and deeper than our choice of toothpick-tasters. Replacing Baker with Matthews, Rothschild or Clines would be meaningless. And all that said, I don't want Baker around for 2007. With that in mind, here are the first 15 questions I would ask a prospective Cubs manager, before even bothering to entering into discussions about specific personel. What would you ask? How would you answer?
GAME THIRTY-SIX IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] SAN DIEGO PADRES (20-16, 1st, 0.0) AT CHICAGO CUBS (15-20, 5th, 7.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:200 PM CDT Weather: Crappy TV: CSN Chicago, DirecTV 735 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Greg Maddux, RHP 5-2, 3.64 ERA, 42 IP 33 K, 8 BB, 3 HRChris Young, RHP 3-2, 3.61 ERA, 42 1/3 IP 33 K, 16 BB, 7 HR

*Dave Roberts, LF Mike Cameron, CF *Brian Giles, RF Mike Piazza, C Khalil Greene, SS Vinny Castilla, 3B *Adrian Gonzalez, 1B Josh Barfield, 2B Chris Young, P*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Jerry Hairston, LF Neifi Perez, 2B Henry Blanco, C Greg Maddux, P
Padres vs. Maddux: Brian Giles: 11-27, 407/500/667, 1 HR, 5 BB, 5 K Vinny Castilla: 13-45, 289/319/556, 3 HR, 1 BB, 9 K Mike Piazza: 17-65, 262/273/462, 4 HR, 1 BB, 10 K Geoff Blum: 6-25, 240/269/240, 1 BB, 7 K Eric Young: 12-55, 218/237/255, 2 BB, 2 KCubs vs. Young: Jacque Jones: 2-11, 182/182/455, 1 HR, 2 K

The Cubs have sent Angel Guzman back to Iowa and called up Jae-Kuk Ryu to take his place on the roster. Since Kerry Wood is scheduled to be activated on Thursday, I'm guessing Ryu will start on Wednesday and then will be sent back down to make room for Wood. What? You want to know something about today's game? Hmm. I think the best thing that could happen today would be for the game to be rained out. That would prevent the team from fielding a lineup that includes Neifi and Blanco, with Matt Murton on the bench. I'm guessing this won't be a one-game rest for Murton; I expect we'll find out tht he's been benched, so now he can sit around all day and think about how he's thinking too much. That's useful. And why, exactly, did Hendry bother to call up Ryan Theriot? Do you think it's doing him any good to be sitting on the bench watching the team lose? I mean, yeah, it's the majors and all, but how is this helping his development?

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