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In last week's Week Ahead, I said:
Hi Carlos! How are you? Have you remembered that you are very good yet?
And:
As of today the Cubs' next three opponents are a combined 28-47 (.373). With or without Wood, Prior, and Lee, these are games the Cubs need to win.
If you're scoring at home (or even if you're alone), that would be one yes and one no, which is a .500 percentage, which is something the Cubs are now three games away from. Bleah. San Francisco Giants Know Your Enemy: McCovey Chronicles, El Lefty Malo, Only Baseball Matters Tuesday, 9:15: Rich Hill vs. Jason Schmidt Wednesday, 9:15: Carlos Zambrano vs. Matt Cain Thursday, 2:35: Sean Marshall vs. Jamey Wright It looks like the Cubs will get a second chance to be party to a slugger passing Babe Ruth, as Barry Bonds sits on 713 home runs with the Cubs on their way to the Phone Booth in The City by the Bay. Did you know that legendary San Francisco newspaper columnist Herb Caen used to refer to San Francisco as "Baghdad by the Bay"? I'm sure it was a compliment when he said it, but I doubt any city wants to be compared to Baghdad right now. This oughtta be a barn-burner of a series. Rank in the NL in key offensive categories: Runs: Giants 11th, Cubs 16th Home Runs: Giants 11th, Cubs 15th Average: Giants 9th, Cubs 14th OBP: Giants 11th, Cubs 15th Slugging: Giants 13th, Cubs 15th Of course, the Padres rank below the Giants in all those categories and they just waxed the Cubs for four straight. On the bright side, the Cubs scored 6 runs over the last two games, as many as they had scored in the previous eight. Bleah. San Diego Padres Know Your Enemy: Ducksnorts, Gaslamp Ball Friday, 1:20: Woody Williams vs. Angel Guzman Saturday, 1:20: Greg Maddux vs. Chris Young Sunday, 1:20: Rich Hill vs. Clay Hensley Padres.com has a TBA scheduled for Friday, with Williams pushed back to Saturday -- not sure why. Also, Dusty has not officially named Angel Guzman as the starter for that game. It doesn't seem like there's any chance that the Cubs will activate Kerry Wood, though, so the only other option seems to be bringing Glendon Rusch back to the rotation. Of course, Dusty says that will "probably not" happen, but what are the other alternatives? Bringing back Jerome Williams? Bleah. If the Cubs really don't want Guzman in the rotation for another start, how about calling up Les Walrond for one start? He's a minor-league journeyman (29 years old, 8 major league innings) who is off to a 4-1, 2.12 start at Iowa. He's not a long-term solution, but it might be nice to reward him for what he's done over the ifrst month. He's not on the 40-man, so they would need to make room for him, but do they really need to keep Mike Restovich on the 40-man roster? Bleah. [UPDATE:] As mentioned in the comments, Restovich was outrighted to Iowa because he is out of options. So, he's off the 40-man and there is a spot open.
GAME THIRTY-ONE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (14-16, 5th, 6 GB) AT SAN DIEGO PADRES (16-15, 3rd, 2.5 GB) Puppy Park, 9:05 PM CDT Weather: Lovely TV: CSN, DirecTV 738 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Chris Young, RHP 2-2, 3.53 ERA, 35.2 IP 30 K, 14 BB, 6 HRGreg Maddux, RHP 5-1, 2.35 ERA, 38.1 IP 29 K, 6 BB, 2 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF Ronnie Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B Greg Maddux, P*Dave Roberts, LF Mike Cameron, CF *Brian Giles, RF Mike Piazza, C Josh Barfield, 2B Vinny Castilla, 3B Khalil Greene, SS *Adrian Gonzalez, 1B Chris Young, P

Cubs vs. Young: Jacque Jones: 0-8 2 K &nbsp&nbsp&nbspPadres vs. Maddux: Mike Piazza: 16-63 254/266/460 4 HR, 1 BB, 9 K Vinny Castilla: 13-43 302/333/581 3 HR, 1 BB, 8 K Brian Giles: 9-25 360/448/600 1 HR, 4 BB, 5 K

Maddux back to the mound and hopefully he'll fare better than his last outing as he got a bit torched by the D'Backs. The Cubs are in desperate need of something exceptional, either an other-wordly pitching performance, some crazy 4 for 4 day by an unlikely hero, or Dusty getting himself thrown out, something to spark this lifeless team. Get a win Cubbies!!! UPDATE: Mike Restovich is off the cubs.com 25-man roster and shows up on the Iowa Cubs roster, so I assume he's the unlucky soul. By my count, the Cubs have 6 players who can play second base, but only five who you could expect to hit a home run. I love this game!
The Cubs will add INF Ryan Theriot to the roster today. For the life of me, I can't find out who they're sending down although you'd assume it's between Mike Restovich or Freddie Bynum. Both would have to clear waivers, but somehow I doubt that would be a problem. If it is Bynum, you have to really question his acquisition. Hindsight being 20/20 and all and I could really care less about John Koronka, but why give up a pitcher with options left for a guy who doesn't seem to do anything better than a guy we already had. Theriot doesn't have Bynum's speed, but since scrapping switch-hitting, he's been hitting the ball much better and he's always been considered a superior defender. A matter of fact, in his draft class he was considered the second best defensive shortstop behind the A's Bobby Crosby. I don't think it would be impossible for a guy with superior defensive skills to be able to pick up the outfield spots if needed, which is about the only thing that Bynum seemed to have an edge on. Go figure. Some other quick notes: -For those displeased with Mr. Hendry, Jay Mariotti's got your back. - I have a heavy man-crush on Bruce Miles. Speak it, brother! He also came up with the nickname, "The Riot" for today's newest Cub Ryan Theriot, which just rules. - Under no circumstances whatsoever are hitters hitting in the low 200's allowed to watch their home runs. I'm looking at you Aramis. I'm amazed someone hasn't drilled him yet for gawking. In the grass is always greener compartment, if the Cubs pulled a miracle trade of getting Miguel Cabrera and dumping Aramis (in separate deals of course), I would not shed a single tear. - If you haven't read this already, former Cub 1st round pick Matt Clanton was released over the off-season and had some choice words to say about Jim Hendry and the organization. According to Clanton, Jim Hendry once said this to him:
ëThis [organization] is not a democracy. It is a dictatorship. You shut the f--k up.í
No truth to the rumor that Hendry then made him drop and give him 20 in the mud right afterwards.
Here is the updated roster status of players in the Cubs organization who are on the 40-man roster, and players on outright assignment who are either eligible to be six-year minor league free-agents after 2006 season or who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft after 2006 season.
GAME THIRTY IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (14-15, 5th, 5.0 GB) AT SAN DIEGO PADRES (15-15, 3rd, 2.5 GB) Petco Park, 3:05 PM CDT Weather: Probably 72 and sunny, the bastards TV: CSN Chicago, DirecTV 740 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Woody Williams, RHP 2-1, 3.06 ERA, 32 1/3 IP 21 K, 11 BB, 4 HRAngel Guzman, RHP 0-1, 5.91 ERA, 10 2/3 IP 12 K, 7 BB, 2 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Jerry Hairston, 2B Angel Guzman, P*Dave Roberts, LF Josh Barfield, 2B *Brian Giles, RF #Mark Bellhorn, 3B Rob Bowen, C Khalil Greene, SS *Adrian Gonzalez, 1B Ben Johnson, CF Woody Williams, P

Cubs vs. Williams: Juan Pierre: 12-25, 480/500/680, 1 BB Neifi Perez: 15-43, 349/364/488, 1 HR, 1 BB, 2 K Todd Walker: 11-49, 224/345/347, 1 HR, 9 BB, 8 K Aramis Ramirez: 9-35, 257/297/371, 1 HR, 2 BB, 5 K

I am fully commandoed. Let's get some runs. Also: LANSING LUGNUTS (19-10, 2nd, 0.5 GB) AT PEORIA CHIEFS (16-13, 2nd, 1.0 GB) O'Brien Field, 6:30 PM CDT Weather: Warmish, breezy TV: None Radio:WOAM AM 1350 Internet:milb.com
Billy Carnline, RHP 3-0, 0.32, 28 IP 31 K, 1 BB, 1 HRKerry Wood, RHP 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0 IP 0 K, 0 BB, 0 HR
Go Chiefs! But first, look at those stats for Lansing's pitcher. Pretty impressive.
GAME 29 Death Letter
PADRES 2 CUBS 1
Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart | Photos
W: Scott Cassidy (3-0) L: Bob Howry (2-1)
Tonight Cedeno and Murton were back in the line-up and acting as the speed guys, and it still didn't help. Neither did Jones' golden sombrero from the clean-up spot. Sean Marshall sees another fine outing wasted as the Cubs slip below .500 for the first time this season. Updating the unhappy totals: * One run in the last three games (again) * Two runs in the last five games: first time since June 15-20, 1968 * Four runs in the last six games: first time since June 16-22, 1968 * Six runs in the last eight games: first time ever (since 1901)
GAME TWENTY-NINE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (14-14, 5th, 5.0 GB) AT SAN DIEGO PADRES (14-15, 3rd, 2.5 GB) Petco Park, 9:05 PM CDT Weather: It's always nice in America's Finest City TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 188
Jake Peavy, RHP 2-3, 4.58 ERA, 39 1/3 IP 28 K, 8 BB, 4 HRSean Marshall, LHP 2-0, 3.45 ERA, 28 2/3 IP 20 K, 8 BB, 3 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B *Jacque Jones, RF Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF Michael Barrett, C Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B *Sean Marshall, PEric Young, LF Mike Cameron, CF *Brian Giles, RF Mike Piazza, C #Mark Bellhorn, 1B Khalil Greene, SS Vinny Castilla, 3B Josh Barfield, 2B Jake Peavy, P

Cubs vs. Peavy: Juan Pierre: 2-15, 133/188/200, 1 BB, 2 K

Let's get some runs.
Those of you who get upset when I or someone else at TCR calls for Dusty Baker to go, you might want to look away, because that's exactly what I'm going to do. Let's start by stating some obvious facts. Dusty Baker hasn't scored only five runs in the last seven games. Dusty Baker hasn't left 30 men on base over the last three days. Dusty Baker didn't go 0-for-5, ground into a double play, and make two errors last night. What he did do is take a struggling team and make it more difficult, rather than easier, to win a baseball game.
GAME TWENTY-EIGHT IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (14-13, 5th, 4 GB) AT SAN DIEGO PADRES (13-15, 4th, 2.5 GB) Puppy Park, 9:05 PM CDT Weather: 65 degrees, cloudy TV: CLTV, DirecTV 745 Radio: WGN, XM 189
Chan Ho Park, RHP 1-1, 5.34 ERA, 30.1 IP 24 K, 6 BB, 2 HRCarlos Zambrano, RHP 0-2, 5.35 ERA, 33.2 IP 38 K, 25 BB, 4 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF *Freddie Bynum, LF *Todd Walker, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Michael Barrett, C *Jacque Jones, RF Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B #Neifi Perez, SS #Carlos Zambrano, P*Dave Roberts, LF Mike Cameron, CF *Brian Giles, RF #Mark Bellhorn, 1B Khalil Greene, SS Vinny Castilla, 3B Josh Barfield, 2B #Josh Bard, C Chan-Ho Park, P

Cubs vs. Park: Neifi Perez: 14-41 341/391/439 4 BB, 7 K, 4 2B &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp John Mabry: 5-24 208/345/250 8 K Juan Pierre: 12-22 545/583/727 Todd Walker: 5-13 385/467/462 Aramis Ramirez: 4-13 308/308/385 Michael Barrett: 4-13 308/400/385 Jacque Jones: 3-12 250/357/583 Padres vs. Zambrano: Geoff Blum: 5-19 263/300/316 1 BB, 6 K Vinny Castilla: 7-15 467/529/533 2 BB, 1 K

I promise to never make fun of another team's lineup after the historic futility that the Cubs have managed to reap upon us the last 6 or so games. It's been ugly, almost as ugly as the bulk of Z's starts this year. Here's Zambrano's numbers extrapolated for a full 33 starts so far: 0-11, 5.35 ERA, 185 IP, 33 HR, 137 BB, 209 K It's seems pretty obvious what his problem has been so far and from the games I've watched it appears Z is attempting to strike out every single batter. Go back to serving up groundball after groundball Z, cause this team is in desperate need of a dominant starting pitching performance, especially one where we don't give up any runs early in the game. The Padres offense is pretty sad too, not quite as sad as ours so far, and certainly not as sad as the lineup Dusty decided to pencil in today, but pretty darn close. Normally seeing Chan Ho Park in the rotation would be a welcome sight, but Park's peripheral numbers are actually pretty good and I'm not sure our offense would fare to well if the Padres decided to resurrect Eric Show from the grave. Score some runs...somehow!!!
GAME 27 REVIEW
DIAMONDBACKS 6 CUBS 0
Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart | Photos
W: Jose Cruz (1-0) L: Rich Hill (0-1)
The Cubs probably couldn't wait to get out of the desert and head over to America's Finest City. They've scored a total of five runs in their last six games, a level of offensive futility the Cubs have achieved only eight times in the last 105 years. Truly, this is historic -- the last time it happened was in 1992, and you have to go back to 1968 (The Year Of The Pitcher) for a more anemic offensive display. The good news? Hmmm...Mark Prior appears to be over his food poisioning and back on track, Todd Walker is getting on base, Michael Barrett and Ronny Cedeno are still hitting well, and Glendon Rusch didn't stink up the joint in his first bullpen appearance. Other than that, well, criticism without offering solutions is just bitching, and I'm too jet-lagged to be much more coherent than that.
GAME TWENTY-SEVEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (14-12, 5th, 4 GB) AT ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (15-13, 2nd, 1 GB) Chase Field, 8:40 PM CDT Weather: Still Hot!!! TV: WCIU Radio: WGN, XM 188
Juan Cruz, RHP 0-0, 2.65 ERA, 17 IP 17 K, 10 BB, 2 HRRich Hill, LHP (2006 AAA) 1-0. 1.44 ERA, 25 IP 33 K, 7 BB, 1 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Todd Walker, 1B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF *Freddie Bynum, 2B Henry Blanco, C *Rich Hill, PEric Byrnes, CF #Orlando Hudson, 2B *Chad Tracy, 3B Conor Jackson, 1B *Shawn Green, RF Damion Easley, SS #Johnny Estrada, C Andy Green, LF Juan Cruz, P

It'll be a battle for Hill to win over some fans after his disappointing debut last season. "One-pitch" Hill did little to impress as he relied almost exclusively on that 12-6 curveball and straight as can be fastball. He's always had a changeup and cutter, but aparently didn't feel confident enough in them to use them against major league hitters. Things have supposedly changed and he's got a slider in the repertoire as well now and hopefully remains his focused self as he did at the end of spring training and his first month in AAA ball. Personally, I hope Hill has found the way cause the potential of two dominating lefties in our rotation is quite tasty, plus I feel he's gotten a bit of a bum wrap around here as if it's impossible for him to adjust or improve upon his game from his less than stellar debut last year. Hell look at John Koronka, the guy finds a slider to go with his fastball/changeup and he's suddenly mowing down major league batters. On the mound for the D-Backs is ex-Cub Juan Cruz who gets his second start of the season. I'm guessing he's going to be pretty amped up to face his old team and it would be wise for the Cubs to take a few and let the guy get himself into some trouble. Of course that doesn't jive with our offensive game plan of swing early, swing often. The Cubs need to find some offense and find it quick. When things go wrong on the northside, there seems to be an automatic reflex of blame Dusty, but not a manager in baseball is going get runs out of a team who has 3 positions unable to top the new Mendoza line of a 300 OBP and their cleanup hitter not even slugging 400. Dusty can juggle it all you want, these guys just aren't producing right now and it's up to this offense to start hitting. I do like the small switch of Walker behind Ramirez as hopefully Ramirez will actually see some pitches near the strike zone. Of course, that small change is probably negated by having Blanco and Bynum in the lineup. Speaking of lineups, that's an interesting one that Bob Melvin is putting out there today. Andy Green? Is Davanon hurt or something? And Hudson batting second? The guy is hitting 220/277/336 from the right side for his career. I was always curious as to why a hitter who is just horrible from one side of the plate, just doesn't scrap switch-hitting. Of course Hudson does have a 281/343/438 line as a righty this year (in 32 Ab's) versus a 194/280/239 line as a lefty(67 AB's) but I'll guess that those numbers trend towards his career line by the time the year is up. Let's get a win Cubbies and GO HILL!!!

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