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GAME 113 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CINCINNATI REDS (50-62) @ CHICAGO CUBS (54-58) WRIGLEY FIELD, 1:20 pm CDT, TV: WGN
Mark Prior, RHP
7-4, 3.64 ERA
112/35 K/BB, 17 HR in 106.1 IP
Aaron Harang, RHP
7-10, 3.90 ERA
118/41 K/BB, 12 HR in 145.1 IP
SS #Felipe Lopez LF *Matt Lawton
C Jason LaRue 2B *Todd Walker
CF *Ken Griffey Jr. 1B Derrek Lee
LF *Adam Dunn 3B Aramis Ramirez
1B *Sean Casey RF *Jeromy Burnitz
RF Austin Kearns SS Nomar Garciaparra
3B Edwin Encarnacion CF *Corey Patterson
2B #Ray Olmedo C Henry Blanco
P Aaron Harang P Mark Prior
Looks like they're still playing games at Wrigley, I mean the Cubs stopped playing baseball about a week and a half ago, but they still dutifully put on the uniform and sleepwalk through 9 innings so as to pretend to make an effort. Well at least seeing Corey back up gives us something to watch for the remainder of the season. It would bring me great joy if he would return to being a useful part of this team. If we could only ship off Matt Lawton or Jeromy Burnitz and get Matt Murton some regular playing time and then find a way to get Sergio Mitre back in the rotation (I'm looking at you Maddux), we can start working on next year. In due time I suppose. And can we give Derrek Lee a day off? Is Dusty just waiting for him to actually collapse on the ballfield before he realizes he could use a day of rest? Because I would very much like for him to muster up one more hot streak and make a run at the Triple Crown. Harang made us look silly last time and a look at his peripherals say that he's a MUCH better pitcher then the ERA and win/loss record show. For you folks who play fantasy baseball, keep an eye out for him next year. Chances are that ERA is a result of a whole lot of bad luck and bad defense which tends to equal itself out in ensuing seasons. Prior tries not to suck as much as he did in Philly and maybe he's got another 16 K game in him like last Septemeber versus the Reds. Amusingly enough the opposing starter that day was Aaron Harang. Go Korey!!!
The Cubs have recalled Corey Patterson from Iowa, sending Ronny Cedeno down. It's a good, bad and ugly wrapped up in one single transaction. Good When the Cubs first promoted Cedeno on April 21st, I commented...
Cedeno, still only 22, is not yet ready for the major leagues, and at this stage sitting on the major-league bench and getting infrequent playing time [Ö] is the last thing his development needs. The major-league bench may well be where in the long-term his future most probably lies, but, here and now, as long as thereís a still chance that Cedenoís bat may be good enough to ultimately justify something more than that, the Cubs have to give it that chance. If that means a woeful veteran instead, for once, so be it.
Thankfully, the Cubs soon signed Enrique Wilson on May 17th, and Cedeno was allowed to return to the minor leagues, where he unfortunately hit so well that the Cubs decided on June 28th to outright Wilson and give Cedeno another chance in the majors. Then I wrote...
Regarding Cedeno, my take on him is this: whatever happens, I want him playing everyday this year, working on his game, upon adding the walks and the power that in the long-term he needs if heís to not precariously rely too heavily on average as his sole source of offensive productivity. Obviously that is something that would assuredly happen at Iowa. But whether thatíll now happen in Chicago with Dusty around is much more debatable, and whether it should happen, whether Cedenoís capable of outperforming even Neifi right now by an extent large enough to justify the service time heíd accrue doing so, is another matter too. Iím sceptical on all counts, and as bad as Wilson was, he did have two things going for him: he wasnít just 22, and he had fully established his performance level, albeit at ìuselessî. Thereís a danger Cedeno could go the same way if the Cubs arenít careful, but letís hope the Cubs know what theyíre doing.
Apparently they didn't, or they disagreed on what they were doing, because Cedeno amassed a meagre 7 starts and 41 plate appearances in six weeks on the major league roster. And, for what it's worth, those six weeks, in conjunction with his stint in the majors earlier in the year, mean that Cedeno has more than fifty days of major league service time, and thus he'll not be eligible for Rookie of the Year honours next year. This is, officially, his rookie year, and the Cubs have had him waste it as Neifi's bat boy. Cedeno now, finally, goes back to the minors. So that's the good aspect to this transaction. He'll doubtless be back up again if Garciaparra re-injures himself or when rosters expand in September, whichever comes first. Bad Well, the Corey Patterson bit of the transaction. I wrote about this just last Friday...
It's possible the Cubs for a while considered recalling Corey Patterson [to replace Hairston on the roster]. Such a move would be a mistake. The Cubs sent Patterson down in order that they could work on his game and get him to the stage where he could once again be a good major league hitter. While Corey has reportedly been working on the processes - being more selective, laying off the high fastball, going the other way and not pulling everything, and so on - the results as yet haven't been entirely forthcoming. His walk and strikeout rates have importantly both headed very much in the right directions (7 walks and 15 strikeouts in 86 plate appearances), but he's still not hitting the ball particularly well, as evidenced by his .234 batting average. Given that we've heard all this talk about Patterson working on his game before, in camp this spring for instance, waiting until Corey's supposed new processes are yielding exactly the kind of results that'd make even Corey sit up and take notice is the right way to go. It's only that way that the processes will stick and the confidence return.
Corey Patterson has had a good four days since, with a couple of multi-hit games (including a multi-homer game last night) boosting his line at Iowa to .297/.366/.505 with 8 walks and 19 strikeouts in 102 plate appearances. All the same, that's still more strikeouts than is preferable, reports from those at the games suggest that not much has changed as far as Corey's approach goes, and the fact that three or four days can have such a profound effect upon his numbers is proof that the sample size isn't particularly significant, nor the success or the confidence anything more than transitory at this stage. He should have stayed in the minors as long as was necessary for them to become a little more permanent. Ugly It's the only word to describe the way this season has turned these last few games. And because things here have become so ugly, it wouldn't really have mattered had Corey stayed in the minor leagues, because, contrary to Dusty's assertion over the weekend, we don't need him in Chicago at all. Murton, Burnitz and Lawton from left to right is acceptable in every aspect save outfield arm, and even if it wasn't satisfactory, with the Cubs not making the playoffs, what difference would that make anyway? What freaking difference will Corey make? The biggest one as far I can see is that Matt Murton will find his backside glued to the bench once again. Murton isn't a great prospect, for he lacks the customary power of corner outfielders, but he's a decent one, and he deserves a shot this year to prove he should be here next year and beyond. In limited time so far he's been passing with flying colours. As a reward, he'll now sit and watch, seen and not heard, unloved.
Left-handed reverse-split reliever Mike Remlinger, who was designated for assignment last Friday to make room on the roster for the players returning from the disabled list, has been traded to the Boston Red Sox for "a minor league pitcher" whose identity has yet to be confirmed. Expect a far lesser name than the likes of Anibal Sanchez, Jon Papelbon, Jon Lester and Abe Alvarez, and the Cubs to be chipping in some money too. We'll have an update and a profile of the prospect as soon as we get a name. [Update: Olivio Astacio is the name, and the extent of the profile I can give you on him is that he's Dominican and 21 years old. When signed as an international free agent by the Red Sox a few years ago, he was considered a good prospect with a live arm. His numbers though have been relatively unimpressive, he's apparently been suspended and sent back to the DR this year, and he's still a long way away from the majors regardless.] The Red Sox are making a habit of acquiring elderly lefty relievers from us. Last year, the Cubs traded journeyman Jimmy Anderson to the Red Sox for a minor league reliever named Andrew Shipman and a player to be named later that ended up being Anderson himself. Anderson made just five appearances out of the Boston bullpen, pitching six ineffective innings, before the Red Sox dispatched him from whence he came. He spent the rest of the year in our minor league system, and right now you can find him pitching for the Devil Rays' Triple-A affiliate in Durham, North Carolina. Let's hope, for the Red Sox's sake, that a better fate awaits Remlinger. Andrew Shipman though, aged 23 but blessed with unremarkable stuff, is having quite a season at Double-A, posting a 54.0 IP, 47 H, 0 HR, 26 BB, 56 K, 3.00 ERA line. Indeed, not a single home run allowed in over fifty innings. It may be a pitcher's league and a pitcher's park, and he may not ever project as a major leaguer, but he's certainly giving those in West Tennessee some enjoyable innings. If only the fans in Chicago could say the same more often.
...today spat out, well, this... GAME 112 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CINCINNATI REDS (49-62) @ CHICAGO CUBS (54-57) WRIGLEY FIELD, 7:05 pm CDT, TV: WGN, Fox Sports Ohio, ESPN
Jerome Williams, RHP
3-4, 4.60 ERA
37/21 K/BB, 8 HR in 44.0 IP
Brandon Claussen, RHP
6-8, 4.85 ERA
70/29 K/BB, 20 HR in 98.1 IP
SS #Felipe Lopez RF *Matt Lawton
2B Ryan Freel 2B *Todd Walker
CF *Ken Griffey Jr. 1B Derrek Lee
LF *Adam Dunn 3B Aramis Ramirez
1B *Sean Casey SS Nomar Garciaparra
3B Rich Aurilia C Michael Barrett
RF Austin Kearns CF *Jeromy Burnitz
C #Javier Valentin LF Matt Murton
P Brandon Claussen P Jerome Williams
A quite serious malfunction has occured. Technicians will be working through the night to try to rectify the problem such that normal service can be resumed tomorrow. Apologies for the obvious inconvenience. Rob G: I suppose we all know the season is over by this point. Sure, we'll all be keeping an eye on the games, looking for just the slightest sign of hope. If the team manages to string a few victories together, we'll once again glance at the standings, then start figuring out what-if scenarios in our head. But the reality is that the ship is dead in the water and I just hope that Hendry isn't passing on any waiver wire deals that may make the team better for next year. We rocked Claussen something silly last time out in Cincy and maybe he's the cure for what ails this offense. All I want for the rest of this season is some FREAKIN effort, cause those games in New York were some of the most pathetic baseball I've ever seen. And I wouldn't mind Derrek catching fire one last time and making a run at the triple crown. Trans: The season is over. "Spat out" is a good way to describe how this lineup was concocted. I was thinking it came out from a different direction, however... Ruz: Over? Did somebody day over? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Oh, wait, I guess we just did decide. Yeah, I think it's time to shut Kerry down and figure out what the team needs to figure out for next year. Like: is Murton an everyday player? Who's going to play centerfield next year (yes, I think that means recal Corey)? Does Sergio deserve a spot in the rotation? Wait 'til next year, take 97...
Team Records updated through 8/8/05; Individual Stats updated through 8/8/05
Organizational Records
TeamW-LGB/Pos.Last 10
Chicago Cubs54-57(Div)16.0/4th
(WC)6.0/7th
2-8
Iowa Cubs52-609.5/4th5-5
West Tenn Diamond Jaxx*25-172.0/2nd5-5
Daytona Cubs18-239.5/5th7-3
Peoria Chiefs20-246.0/7th5-5
Boise Hawks20-260.0/1st3-7
AZL Cubs2-75.5/9th2-7
Cubs Ex W/L: 55-56; (2003) 57-54; (2004) 61-50 * West Tennessee clinched the first half North Division title of the Southern League
For the first time in a long time, I'm glad that I haven't seen a Cubs game in a while. I spent the weekend back at the old homestead, cleaning things up (literally and figuratively), and the only contact I had with the Cubs was reading TCR, yesterday's New York Times, and a little bit of ESPNews this morning. It looks like I didn't miss much. Or, rather, it looks like I missed a lot -- defensive lapses, poor judgment, anemic bats, a cranky back, etc etc etc blah blah blah. The net result is that the Cubs are now losers of five straight, three games under .500 in fourth place, a game and a half behind the frickin' Brewers, and six back in the wildcard, behind six teams. Is this the low point of the season? Probably. At a time like this, decisive action (or at least action that looks decisive) must be taken. That's why I'm predicting that Dusty Baker will be fired this week. All the signs are there, and in fact what's been hapening over the last few weeks closely resembles what happened during the endgame in San Francisco. You have the rumors of his interest in another job, the denial by Dusty of said rumors (with typical Bakerian anti-media comments thrown in), the dreaded vote of confidence from the GM, allegations of racism, and attention from the media outside Chicago. The only things missing are a feud between Dusty and ownership and team-leaked rumors of unsavory financial doings, and I wouldn't put it past TribCo to be looking for them. Oh, and I almost forgot about the bizarre spectacle of Dusty asking the team to extend his coaches' contracts. Is this really the right time for that, do you think, Dusty? Plus, you know, you've got the team playing badly, and not only badly but lacklusterly, which isn't a word, I know, but it fits. From the outside, this looks like a team that's quit on its leader. That's why I think it's going to happen, because something has to. I'm not saying it's the right thing to do (though it might be), mind you -- I'm just saying that all signs point to yes. All an antsy GM needs to do is look back at Florida in 2003 and Houston in 2004, and he might think that a managerial change might be just the thing a team needs to light a fire and get it back into contention. Again, I'm not saying that's going to happen; I'm simply saying one could see how one might think that could happen if one were to change managers. If it were to happen, who would replace him? I chatted briefly with Will Carroll about this very subject this afternoon, and here's what he and I had to say: christianruzich: I'm predicting Dusty gets fired this week Will Carroll: No chance christianruzich: No, huh? Will Carroll: As much as I'd like it, it's just not in Hendry's character to do it. He was a coach Will Carroll: I don't think Dusty will be back, but doing it now doesn't make much sense christianruzich: I think it does, it at least gives the perception of trying to get things done Will Carroll: The move now would be Little and I think they want a shot at Girardi vchristianruzich: Grady Little, eew Will Carroll: Exactly christianruzich: Girardi wouldn't be a bad choice christianruzich: What about Speier? Will Carroll: Possible Will Carroll: He'd probably get an interview. Who's the token interview choice? christianruzich: Do you need a token if the guy you're firing is black? Will Carroll: I think so. Sad that we refer to it that way christianruzich: Yeah. How about Terry Pendleton, then Will Carroll: Hmm. OK Will Carroll: Maybe Pat Listach Will Carroll: I just hope Rothschild is gone christianruzich: Where is Listach right now? Will Carroll: Iowa, isn't he? christianruzich: Really? I had no idea christianruzich: I'll be damned, he's the hitting coach there Will Carroll: He was interim mgr last year christianruzich: One thing i worry about: Lou Piniella Will Carroll: Not a Hendry guy Will Carroll: Esp if they're going young christianruzich: True christianruzich: Where the hell is Davey Johnson? Still in Holland? Will Carroll: Heart probs according to Ray Knight on BPR christianruzich: Did he say it means Johnson won't manage again? Will Carroll: No, just that he wasnt available right now christianruzich: I think Speier is the guy Will Carroll: Speier's got the quals...maybe Brenly christianruzich: God I hope not Will Carroll: I still think Girardi's the right guy Will Carroll: Maybe Sandberg? christianruzich: No experience christianruzich: That's the type of thing a team like the Reds or Orioles does, not the Cubs Will Carroll: Think Alan Trammell. If you're going to rebuild, you can distract and instill the "right way" christianruzich: Cubs don't need to rebuild, they have the talent, they're just not getting the most out of it christianruzich: Plus he doesn't strike me as a good communicator. Too quiet. And coming on the heels of his "today's players are whiny brats" HOF speech, I don't know if this is the right time to make him a mgr Will Carroll: I agree, but its the kind of thing Hendry would like. He's old school christianruzich: True. Which is why Girardi would be perfect, plus you have the Cubs connection Will Carroll: Right Will Carroll: And a bit more experience christianruzich: Hendry wouldn't be so "old school" as to bring in Larry F'ing Bowa, would he? Will Carroll: Yeah, but again, wouldnt be the right fit if he's going young Will Carroll: Bobby Dickerson! Will Carroll: With the season West Tenn is having, maybe he'd get it christianruzich: Maybe, but the last time the Cubs promoted from within it didn't work out so well Will Carroll: Exactly christianruzich: How much juice does Brenly have w/the Cubs front office? It might be tough to hire Speier over him if he (Brenly) wants the job Will Carroll: I just don't see it. He's too close to Dusty and this next phase is about player development. Oneri's the golden boy right now christianruzich: That's good at least, i don't think Brenly is who the Cubs need right now christianruzich: Another token possibility: Von Joshua, currently hitting coach at West Tenn Will Carroll: Tough to go that deep christianruzich: I guess i'd rank the guys I'd want to see Johnson, Girardi & then Speier. Even if he's not available, I still put Johnson at the top of my wish list Will Carroll: I'd go Girardi, Speier, Sandberg
GAME 111 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (54-56) @ NEW YORK METS (56-54) SHEA STADIUM, 7:05 pm CDT, TV: ESPN
Victor Zambrano, RHP
5-9, 4.19 ERA
76/57 K/BB, 10 HR in 118.0 IP
Carlos Zambrano, RHP
8-4, 3.24 ERA
132/64 K/BB, 12 HR in 147.0 IP
LF *Matt Lawton SS #Jose Reyes
2B #Neifi Perez 2B Miguel Cairo
1B Derrek Lee CF #Carlos Beltran
3B Aramis Ramirez LF *Cliff Floyd
SS Nomar Garciaparra 3B David Wright
RF *Todd Hollandsworth RF Mike Cameron
C Michael Barrett C Mike Piazza
CF #Jose Macias 1B *Marlon Anderson
P #Carlos Zambrano P #Victor Zambrano
Both Zambranos are switch hitters. That's pretty cool. Enjoy the Joe Morgan broadcast...
GAME 110 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (54-55) @ NEW YORK METS (55-54) SHEA STADIUM, 12:20 pm CDT, TV: FOX
Jae Seo, RHP
2-1, 2.00 ERA
14/3 K/BB, 3 HR in 18.0 IP
Greg Maddux, RHP
8-8, 4.67 ERA
86/24 K/BB, 20 HR in 140.2 IP
LF *Matt Lawton SS #Jose Reyes
2B *Todd Walker 2B Miguel Cairo
1B Derrek Lee CF #Carlos Beltran
3B Aramis Ramirez LF *Cliff Floyd
RF *Jeromy Burnitz 3B David Wright
SS #Neifi Perez RF Mike Cameron
CF #Jose Macias 1B *Marlon Anderson
C Henry Blanco C Ramon Castro
P Greg Maddux P *Tom Glavine
Perez, Macias and Blanco that is. When you include the pitcher in things, it really is almost laughable that there are so many days when we're fielding just five proper hitters. Still, that'd probably have been enough had the Mets sent out Kaz Ishii as scheduled. He's not a proper pitcher - he could probably walk the three blind mice to load the bases and give up a Greg Maddux grand slam. Sadly, the Mets came to their senses and so they sent him to the minors, and now the Cubs will have to face Jae Seo today...
GAME 109 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (54-54) @ NEW YORK METS (54-54) SHEA STADIUM, 6:10 pm CDT, TV: WGN, WPIX
Tom Glavine, LHP
7-9, 4.50 ERA
56/47 K/BB, 8 HR in 128.0 IP
Rich Hill, LHP
0-0, 3.78 ERA
18/7 K/BB, 2 HR in 16.2 IP
LF *Matt Lawton SS #Jose Reyes
2B *Todd Walker RF Mike Cameron
1B Derrek Lee CF #Carlos Beltran
3B Aramis Ramirez LF *Cliff Floyd
SS Nomar Garciaparra 3B David Wright
RF *Jeromy Burnitz C Mike Piazza
CF #Jose Macias 1B Chris Woodward
C Michael Barrett 2B Miguel Cairo
P *Rich Hill P *Tom Glavine
In an attempt to salvage the season, the Cubs are going to attempt a final, desperate treatment, both experimental and controversial. If successful, it could breathe life into a lifeless team, although the chances of success are remote. On offense, the Cubs will take an injection of Nomar-oxolin, something that certainly should improve run production but has the nasty side effect of allowing balls to travel safely into left and centerfield while the Cubs pitchers look upon in bewilderment. Of course with 2 backup shortstops now on the roster, Dusty can start making switches for defensive purposes as early as the 5th inning. Maybe we can petition the league to allow us to play a 10th man as a permanent short centerfield. For the bullpen, it will be alternating doses of Woodfil-citrate and Scott-exin. The pills are considered too volatile to be used on an everday basis and the side effects can be nasty. Woodfil-citrate was once considered a powerful drug to be used every 5th day and expected to provide positive results. The FDA has soured on it since and only considers it a last ditch attempt when all else has failed. It should now be used in only smaller, less potent doses until further modifications are made in the offseason. It could provide a boost, but it's more likely to result in chronic shoulder pain. Scott-exin has been effective in the past, but recent worries over it's stability and unstable structure have led it to be shelved for almost a year. Although there are hopes that it can be useful in the immediate future, chances are it won't reach it's full effectiveness until next season. The Cubs hopes now lie with the infusion of this merry band of three, can they resurrect our season? That's an awful lot of weight to put on a bad groin, an achey shoulder and a patchwork elbow. SBUC OG!! (Rally Cry)
GAME 108 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (54-53) @ PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (56-52) CITIZENS BANK PARK, 12:10 pm CDT, TV: WGN, CSN
Brett Myers, RHP
9-5, 3.21 ERA
135/41K/BB, 18 HR in 140.0 IP
Mark Prior, RHP
7-3, 3.26 ERA
105/20 K/BB, 14 HR in 102.0 IP
LF *Matt Lawton SS #Jimmy Rollins
2B *Todd Walker CF Jason Michaels
1B Derrek Lee 2b *Chase Utley
3B Aramis Ramirez RF *Bobby Abreu
RF *Jeromy Burnitz LF Pat Burrell
SS #Neifi Perez 1B *Ryan Howard
CF #Jose Macias 3B David Bell
C Henry Blanco C Todd Pratt
P Mark Prior P Brett Myers
The paramedics are coming tomorrow in the form of Nomar, Wood and Williamson, although I'm not sure if you can resuscitate a smoldering corpse. Today's game was a fantasy conflict for me, as I have both Myers and Prior on my team. Normally I root for a 1-0 victory by the Cubs in these cases, with the winning run scored against the opposing teams bullpen. But, more first inning shenanigans by Prior and now I'm just rooting for us to save our season. I do my best not to label anything a must-win game before September but this is about as close as you can get. Go Cubs!!!!

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