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BREWERS 16, CUBS 2 W: Doug Davis (1-2) L: Glendon Rusch (1-4) Gameday | Box Score
I have very little to say about this game. When the search for good news points to Mike Restovich's first hit as a Chicago Cub, it's time to go home. Dusty Baker is making noise about taking Rusch out of the rotation, and i don't think there's anyone who would argue against that right now. Except, of course, there is the question of who would replace him -- Rich Hill, I suppose, or possibly the return of Jerome Williams, neither of whom fill me with delight, but either of whom would be better than Rusch is. Today's game looks like it isn't going to happen, at least not on time. I'm currently sitting in the Indianapolis airport, and my flight to O'Hare is delayed, as is my flight out of O'Hare. If the game does happen, there's a good chance we'll fly right over Wrigley Field (the flight path to Harrisburg does that most of the time) so I'll make sure to wave. UPDATE 2:05 PM: I'm still on the ground at O'Hare thanks to mechanical problems, but it looks like they're playing at Wrigley. Win #1 from Big Z would make my bad travel day, which is keeping me away from the No Longer Tiny Baby, a little easier to take.
GAME TWENTY-TWO IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] MILWAUKEE BREWERS (12-11, 4.0 GB, 5th) AT CHICAGO CUBS (13-8, 2.0 GB, 4th) WRIGLEY FIELD, 1:20 CDT Weather: 59 degrees, overcast, wind 12 mph left to right TV: WGN, DirecTV 746 Radio: WGN, XM 185
Glendon Rusch, LHP 1-3, 6.41 ERA, 19 2/3 IP 14 K, 8 BB, 7 HRDoug Davis, LHP 0-2, 7.66 ERA, 24 2/3 IP 20 K, 21 BB, 3 HR
Rickie Weeks, 2B JJ Hardy, SS Geoff Jenkins, RF Carlos Lee, LF *Prince Fielder, 1B Bill Hall, 3B Damian Miller, C Brady Clark, CF Doug Davis, SP*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Jerry Hairston, 2B Henry Blanco, C *Glendon Rusch, SP

It is nice of the Brewers to send out a pitcher pitching worse than Glendon Rusch against the Cubs today. 21 walks in 24 2/3 innings? That is rough. Seeing how the Cubs are tied for last in the NL in walks taken, though, it might not be that big of a deal. The Tony Clark rumors continue to gain steam. I think he would be a nice pickup for a the Cubs, a guy who could fill in while Lee is out and then move to a pinch-hitting role for the rest of the season. As far as other candidates are concerned, I was at the Indy Indians-Columbus Clippers game last night and was excited to see that Carlos Pena was in the lineup for the Clippers. I thought he might be a decent dark-horse candidate for the Cubs -- cheap to get and might put up some decent numbers -- but I saw nothing from him that made he think he was ready for the big leagues right now. So, scratch that and let's hope Jim Hendry can put something together to get Clark. The Cubs are humming along nicely with significant pieces of their team missing. They're doing it with pitching (4th best ERA in the NL), not hitting (2nd worst OPS in the NL), and it would be nice to pick up a decent bat to guard against a day when Walker and Cedeno will no longer be hitting in the mid-.300s. Hey, if you're in Indanapolis, Montreal, Denver, or Fort Myers (random, huh?) turn on your radio in about an hour to hear me chat with Will Carroll on the second hour of Baseball Prospectus Radio. Yes, the second hour, otherwise known as "the hour they don't podcast." I'll have them record it for me, though, and if I manage to say anything remotely interesting I'll have it posted on TCR later this week.
CUBS 6 BREWERS 2 W: Greg Maddux (5-0) L: Dave Bush (2-2) Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play
Greg Maddux goes to a MLB-leading 5-0 and wins the 323rd game of his career, leaving him just one win behind Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton for 13th on the all-time win list, as the Cubs (13-8) beat the Brewers (12-11) 6-2 at Wrigley Field Friday afternoon. With Wood, Prior, and Miller out until... whenever, having Greg Maddux get off to what is probably the best start of his career really hits the spot. And I'll have another one, thank you. I guess it wasn't the best Greg Maddux performance you'll ever see, as he struggled with his command at times. But still, Maddux at less than his best is better than Glendon Rusch (who was skipped to allow Maddux to get the start), so it was plenty good enough for me and I'm happy. It was nice to see Jacque Jones do what he does best, and that is crush RHP. An RBI double and a solo HR (his 4th of the season) to left-center plus a single thrown in for good measure equals a 3-4 day for Jonesy. He also got his batting average up to a more respectable .231. Ronny Cedeno had three more hits, including a two-run home run and a bunt single, and Matt Murton contributed an RBI double. Juan Pierre had two hits and scored two runs, and Todd Walker was on base three times. And even Henry Blanco got a hit. Almost lost in the glow of Maddux's 5th victory of the season and career win number 323 were the three no-hit shutout innings (1 HBP, 1 BB, and 6 K) by the Cub bullpen (Howry to Eyre to Williamson), with Eyre striking out the side in the 8th and Williamson striking out the side in the 9th. The Cubs bullpen is pretty good. MLB ALL-TIME WINS: 1. Cy Young - 511 2. Walter Johnson - 417 3T. Grover Cleveland Alexander - 373 3T. Christy Mathewson - 373 5. Warren Spahn - 363 6. Pud Galvin - 361 7. Kid Nichols - 360 8T. Tim Keefe - 341 8T. Roger Clemens - 341 10. Steve Carlton - 329 11. John Clarkson - 327 12. Eddie Plank - 326 13T. Nolan Ryan - 324 13T. Don Sutton - 324 15. Greg Maddux - 323
GAME TWENTY-ONE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] MILWAUKEE BREWERS (12-10, 3.5 GB, 5th) AT CHICAGO CUBS (12-8, 2.5 GB, 4th) WRIGLEY FIELD, 1:20 CDT Weather: 64 degrees, sunny TV: WGN, DirecTV 746 Radio: WGN, XM 185
Greg Maddux, RHP 4-0, 0.99 ERA, 27.1 IP &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp 18 K, 5 BB, 1 HRDave Bush 2-1, 3.54 ERA, 28 IP 23 K, 6 BB, 2 HR
Rickie Weeks, 2B JJ Hardy, SS Geoff Jenkins, RF Carlos Lee, LF *Prince Fielder, 1B *Corey Koskie, 3B Damien Miller, C Brady Clark, CF Dave Bush, SP*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF #Neifi Perez, 2B Henry Blanco, C Greg Maddux, SP

The powers-that-be here are all going to be away from their computers all day, so this will have to do as a preview. Greg Maddux goes for victory number five in the month of April. To say the least, he's been pretty good so far this year. His biggest problem of the last few seasons has been giving up an absurd amount of home runs, a problem which so far has been rectified, only one long ball to date and that was to Jim Edmonds in a game that was already in hand. And I wouldn't be too surprised if Maddux served that one up to set up Edmonds later down the road, a devilish trick he's been known to play on opposing lineups. The Brewers are the "sleeper" pick of choice this year for a playoff run whether by division or wild card. After finally finishing a season at the .500 mark, Doug Melvin and the Brewers braintrust have assembled a fine team on a modest budget with uber-prospects Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy and Prince Fielder already making contributions. Even the man on the mound, David Bush, was quite the coup in the Lyle Overbay trade(in my honest opinion) and if those peripherals stay in that range, he'll be a thorn in the Cubs side for years to come. I still think they're a year away from truly contending from the playoffs, but a run of good luck for them and bad luck for the rest of the NL Central and I definitly see them fighting for playoff glory in September. More than anything, they seem to be our nemesis along with the Reds the last two seasons, so expect some hard fought battles. GO CUBS!!! Hanley Ramirez, SS #Alfredo Amezaga, CF Miguel Cabrera, 3B Josh Willingham, LF *Mike Jacobs, 1B Dan Uggla, 2B Chris Aguila, RF Matt Treanor, C &nbsp&nbsp * Scott Olsen, P*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B *Jacque Jones, RF Henry Blanco, C Angel Guzman, P
Here are the team-by-team start breakdowns for the entire Cubs sytem again, including the major league team. What other information would you like to see in a report like this? CHICAGO CUBS C: Michael Barrett 15, Henry Blanco 5 1B: Derrek Lee 14, Todd Walker 5, John Mabry 1 2B: Todd Walker 11, Jerry Hairston 6, Neifi Perez 3 3B: Aramis Ramirez 18, Neifi Perez 2 SS: Ronny Cedeno 19, Neifi Perez 1 LF: Matt Murton 19, John Mabry 1 CF: Juan Pierre 20 RF: Jacque Jones 15, Angel Pagan 3, Freddie Bynum 1, John Mabry 1 SP: Carlos Zambrano 5, Glendon Rusch 4, Greg Maddux 4, Sean Marshall 4, Jerome Williams 2, Angel Guzman 1
MARLINS 7 CUBS 5 W: Ricky Nolasco (1-0) L: Scott Williamson (2-1) SV: Joe Borowski (3) Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart| Photos
Top of the 8th, bases loaded, one out, Baker calls for Howry and double-switches with the guy who made the last out, Jacque Jones(pretty good defender) with John Mabry(not so good defender). The next hitter hits a flyball toward the right foul line which Mabry appeared to lose in the sun (not wearing any sunglasses) and the ball drops in for a double, 2 runs score and another run scores on the ensuing sac fly. Howry then does NOT come out for the ninth inning, which you would think would be the point of the double-switch, since you could have just pinch-hit Mabry for Howry if Howry wasn't going to pitch the ninth. In betwen, the Cubs score 2 runs in the bottom of the eight (thanks to Fish-Killer Matt Murton's 2 out, 2 RBI single) that would have given them the lead. This is how manager's can lose games for teams. Should Mabry have caught the ball? Absolutely. Should Williamson not have loaded the bases? You bet. Was there any reason to double switch at that point? Not a single one; at least not a good one. A stinging loss as the rest of the NL Central wins (again), sans Houston who plays the Dodgers tonight (and Pittsburgh but they don't really count). Angel Guzman looked the part of his first major league start. Occasionally wild, often filthy, squeezed a bit by the umpire, but good enough to last 5 innings with only 3 runs against. 2 of those runs off a Josh Willingham homer that was hit off a curveball well below the zone that Willingham just lifted into left field and the wind helped out a bit. A solid, if not spectacular debut by Guzman. Personally, I thought it looked a little better than Marshall's debut although the level of competition paled in comparision. No way to go into an off-day, thanks Dusty!!!
GAME TWENTY IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] FLORIDA MARLINS (5-13, 7.0 GB, 5th) AT CHICAGO CUBS (12-7, 1.5 GB, 4th) WRIGLEY FIELD, 1:20 CDT Weather: 56 degrees, Sunny, Wind Blowing Out to CF @ 8 mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 745 Radio: WGN, XM 185
Angel Guzman, RHP (2006 AAA)1-2, 6.61 ERA, 16.1 IP &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp 23 K, 3 BB, 4 HRScott Olsen, LHP 1-1, 1.50 ERA, 12 IP 7 K, 8 BB, 0 HR
Hanley Ramirez, SS #Alfredo Amezaga, CF Miguel Cabrera, 3B Josh Willingham, LF *Mike Jacobs, 1B Dan Uggla, 2B Chris Aguila, RF Matt Treanor, C &nbsp&nbsp * Scott Olsen, P*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B *Jacque Jones, RF Henry Blanco, C Angel Guzman, P

It's the much anticipated major league debut of uber-prospect Angel Guzman, who's struggled through a variety of injuries throughout his storied minor league career. His ERA doesn't look pretty from Iowa but that K rate and K/BB rate sure do. If he continutes that sparkling control along with lofty strikeout rates, it's going to make for some tough decisions when Blue Cross & Blue Shield (Jay Mariotti's line, not mine) are ready to return. He won't have quite as friendly weather conditions as Marshall did yesterday, but he still has the same pitcher friendly Marlins lineup. A word of advice kid, pitch around Miguel Cabrera if anyone is on. Jacque Jones makes another start versus a lefty, third straight in the series. Discuss. Of course, according to Dusty, you have to fail in front of his eyes first. If only we had some sort of record, maybe a shorthand that would recap the history of a players accomplishments and setbacks throughout his career, if we only had the technology. GO CUBS and good luck Guzman!!!
CUBS 3 MARLINS 1 W: Sean Marshall (2-0) L: Dontrelle Willis (1-1) SV: Ryan Dempster (6) Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart| Photos
Apparently Dontrelle had some crazy streak of never losing in April in his career. That was before he met the his lefty match, the one, the only, THE Sean Marshall. An efficient 7 inning, 96 pitch outing (AAA lineup notwithstanding) and Marshall comes away with his 2nd victory of the season while Willis's streak ends. I only listened to the game on XM radio, but I'm guessing the chilly weather and the fierce wind blowing in helped suppress the score. The Cubs adapted to the weather well though, executing "small ball" to perfection. After an Aramis Ramirez walk, #5 hitter Michael Barrett sacrificed Ramirez over and "Marlin-killer" Matt Murton brought him in with a single. In the 7th, the Cubs added 2 more runs after a Barrett double (in which he jammed a finger sliding into second, luckily he was scheduled for a day off tomorrow), another RBI hit by Murton (this time a double), a sac bunt by Jacque Jones (at least he can do something against lefties) and the most exciting play in baseball, a suicide squeeze dropped down by Jerry Hairston, that was good enough to not only score Murton from third but Hairston was safe at first(later to be picked off by Willis). Howry gave up his 2nd run of the season in a rocky 8th inning, which included having to face Miguel Cabrera representing the go-ahead run. Dempster though shut the door in the 9th with a 1-2-3 inning and his numbers so far this season are a Gagne-like: 10 K, 3 BB, 0 HR, 11 IP, 1.64 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, .154 BAA. Another shining example of how spring training numbers don't mean a thing. A bona fide winning streak now at three games, with the major league debut of Angel Guzman tomorrow in the sunshine. A sweep would be quite nice against these guys.
GAME NINETEEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] FLORIDA MARLINS (5-12, -6.0 GB, 5th) AT CHICAGO CUBS (11-7, - 1.5 GB, 4th) WRIGLEY FIELD, 7:05 CDT Weather: 43 degrees, Overcast, Wind Blowing In From CF @ 16 mph TV: CSN Chicago, DirecTV 739 Radio: WGN, XM 185
Sean Marshall, LHP 1-0, 6.28 ERA, 14.1 IP 8 K, 5 BB, 3 HRDontrelle Willis, LHP 1-0, 2.92 ERA, 24.2 IP 15 K, 9 BB, 0 HR
Hanley Ramirez, SS Dan Uggla, 2B Miguel Cabrera, 3B Josh Willingham, LF Wes Helms, 1B Miguel Olivo, C Chris Aguila, RF Reggie Abercrombie, CF &nbsp&nbsp * Dontrelle Willis, P*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Michael Barrett, C Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B * Sean Marshall, P

The D-Train rolls back into Wrigley for the fifth time. Want to impress your friends with small sample size goodness? Drop this one on them before gametime: Willis is 2-0 at Wrigley with a 1.01 ERA. In 27 2/3 innings, he's struck out 23 and hasn't given up a home run. Meanwhile, our young lefty (only seven months younger than Willis, actually) is being positively babied by Dusty Baker, a manager with a reputation for over-extending his young starters (when he actually plays them). And I'm not trying to re-open either the pitch-count argument or the Dusty-doesn't-play-kids argument, because I'm actually trying to draw attention to something he's doing that I agree with. Marshall has been extended in each of his starts, from 65 pitches to 79 to 86 in his last start. I expect him in the mid-90s tonight -- now he just needs to figure out how to make those pitches stretch over more than five innings. Is it too early for scoreboard watching? The Astros start their second fifth starter, Fernando Nieve, against Brad Penny & the Dodgers, while the Cardinals offer up Jeff Suppan to the Pirates and the Reds (how are they six games over .500?) try to suggest that Dave Williams is a major league starting pitcher. Good luck with that.
CUBS 6 MARLINS 3 W: David Aardsma (1-0) L: Josh Johnson (1-2) SV: Ryan Dempster (5) Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart| Photos
So much for stability from our boy Z, just as crazy as ever, accentuated by his Bo Jackson-like breaking of a bat over his knee after striking out. In the end, he kept us in the game long enough for Josh Johnson and some suspect defense to give the Cubs the victory. Another one of those not so pretty victories, but they all count the same. Ronny two-bounced a throw to home on a double in the corner that should have had Miguel Cabrera. Then, after making a nice scoop on a bad throw by Neifi at second base, unnecessarily rushed a throw to first that pulled Walker off the bag. No harm on that one though as Z got out of the inning. Walker butchered a pop fly in the infield and Barrett then 2 hopped a throw to second base on a stolen base attempt that should have erased Walker's miscue. Once again, no harm done though. It all led up to the bottom of the eight which started off with a double by Juan Pierre and then 2 walks to Cedeno and Walker, who had been robbed by 3 fine defensive gems up to that point. Ramirez hit a high chopper to Cabrera at third base who inexplicably threw home in an attempt to nail Pierre with the all important first run for the Cubs, despite the Marlins being up 3-0. Should have went for the sure out, Mr. Cabrera. Murton had another excellent at-bat, going with a pitch up and away to right center to tie the game and then Jacque Jones finished the comeback with an opposite field 3-run shot. The chic pick for next Cubs manager Joe Girardi just left poor Josh Johnson out there to suffer, despite obviously having no control over his pitches (like the 8 BB's in 8 IP wasn't enough of a sign). Cubs go for 3 in a row tomorrow with Sean Marshall on the mound. Let's see if he can survive past inning 5 this time.


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