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GAME 107 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (54-52) @ PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (55-52) CITIZENS BANK PARK, 6:05 pm CDT, TV: CLTV, CSN
Robinson Tejeda, RHP
2-2, 2.95 ERA
42/39 K/BB, 2 HR in 55.0 IP
Jerome Williams, RHP
3-4, 4.61 ERA
36/20 K/BB, 8 HR in 56.2 IP
LF *Matt Lawton SS #Jimmy Rollins
CF Jerry Hairston CF *Kenny Lofton
1B Derrek Lee 2b *Chase Utley
RF *Jeromy Burnitz RF *Bobby Abreu
3B Aramis Ramirez LF Pat Burrell
2B *Todd Walker 1B *Ryan Howard
SS #Neifi Perez 3B David Bell
C Michael Barrett C Mike Lieberthal
P Jerome Williams P Robinson Tejeda
How nice of the managers to put out the same lineups as last night, makes putting together these previews much simpler. Unfortunately for the Cubs, Jerome Williams doesn't handle the lefties as well as Big Z normally does. Something to watch for in tonights game. I wasn't witness to the cardiac moments of last nights game, but by all accounts it seems the Cubs staved off flatlining the season for at least another day. Today they face what appears to be a rookie having quite a nice little season when you look at that ERA. Then you look at his K/BB ratio and the fact that he's walking 6.4 per 9 innings and you realize he's ripe for a drubbin'. Sure he seems to keep the ball in the park (no small feat at Citizens Bank) as well as probably being the benefactor of some outstanding defense. But if there was ever a night for the Cubs offense to remain patient at the plate, tonight would be the night. Go Cubs!
Faced with a glut of outfielders, the Giants designated Marquis Grissom for assignment yesterday. Normally, I'm all against signing aging players who are showing a considerable decline in their skills. BUT, over the last 3 years there is one thing that Grissom has done well and it's something we are in the need of. The boy's been mashing lefties... against lefties from 2002-2004: .325/.369/.616 against righties from 2002-2004: .272/.303/.414 It could very well be just a statistical anomaly as his career splits look like this... vs. lefites .285/.336/.467 vs. righties .266/.310/.393 Still, quite a measured difference in slugging. He has been rather horrible this season against all pitchers, but he's been injured as well, so his at-bats have been limited. The only reason to do this would be to get a respectable right handed bat to be used off the bench as we're very much lacking that. Right now the options for Baker are, Murton (on the days he doesn't start), Macias, Blanco or Barrett depending on who's starting that day, and soon to be Neifi/Garciaparra, once again, depending on who's starting. Since I can't tell you how much I dislike carrying 12 pitchers, all the more reason to find a guy who can fill a more needed and useful role. Of course, the more I think about it, the more I realize what a dangerous situation it would be. Dusty could very well fall in love with Marquis's veteran moxie and end up using him over Murton and Hairston, including a number of unnecessary starts. His defense is just about as bad, if not worse then Hairston's, so there's another knock against him. And what we really need is bullpen help (unless Wood/Williamson are the saviors.....to say the least I have my doubts) and preferably a more dependable starter to insert behind Prior/Zambrano. Anyway, just something I saw today and thought Hendry could look into.
GAME 106 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (53-52) @ PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (55-51) CITIZENS BANK PARK, 6:05 pm CDT, TV: CSN
Vicente Padilla, RHP
5-9, 5.45 ERA
54/42 K/BB, 16 HR in 79.1 IP
Carlos Zambrano, RHP
7-4, 3.43 ERA
128/61 K/BB, 12 HR in 139.0 IP
LF *Matt Lawton SS #Jimmy Rollins
CF Jerry Hairston CF *Kenny Lofton
1B Derrek Lee 2b *Chase Utley
RF *Jeromy Burnitz RF *Bobby Abreu
3B Aramis Ramirez LF Pat Burrell
2B *Todd Walker 1B *Ryan Howard
SS #Neifi Perez 3B David Bell
C Michael Barrett C Mike Lieberthal
P #Carlos Zambrano P #Vicente Padilla
Wow, that's a lot of lefties in the Phillies lineup. Luckily Big Z handles them almost as effortlessly as he does the righties. I suppose we found the answer to the "Where Will Matt Lawton Play" sweepstakes? Sorry, Murton. Let's hope that he still gets to play against lefties as Lawton doesn't hit those southpaws all so well. As anyone could have predicted, Dusty pretty much went with alternating righties and lefties down the order, so let's hope we have a few more Felipe Alou's out there. I made my point last week that we needed to do a lot better in our homestand if the playoffs were to be reached this year. So we've now moved onto having to roll over the competition rather then just beating them soundly. And since the teams we face this week are some of our direct competition, 5 out of 6 is just about mandatory. And with three-fifths of our rotation nothing more than average, that will be a tough task to accomplish, unless Lawton can inspire our offense to another nice stretch of healthy run scoring. Go Cubs!
Team Records updated through 7/31/05; Individual Stats updated through 7/31/05
Organizational Records
TeamW-LGB/Pos.Last 10
Chicago Cubs53-52(Div)13.5/3rd
(WC)4.0/5th
5-5
Iowa Cubs48-5810.5/3rd2-8
West Tenn Diamond Jaxx*22-140.0/1st6-4
Daytona Cubs14-229.0/5th5-5
Peoria Chiefs17-206.0/5th6-4
Boise Hawks19-210.0/1st6-4
AZL Cubs0-33.0/9th0-3
Cubs Ex W/L: 53-52; (2003) 53-52; (2004) 57-48 * West Tennessee clinched the first half North Division title of the Southern League
The Cubs acquired OF Matt Lawton from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for OF Jody Gerut. I also stumbled across this tidbit which hasn't been widely reported.
The Pirates also sent the Cubs cash in the deal.
Goodness, what else did Hendry get in the deal, a free car wash, Littlefield's first 2 children, a tropical cruise, use of the company jet, free cellular minutes? Lawton's stats: 2005: .273/.380/.433 16/25 SB opportunities Career: .269/.370/.422 163/229 SB opportunities He hasn't played centerfield since 2000 for the Twins and not regularly since 1998, so I assume he'll either take over full-time left field duties or platoon with Matt Murton. Either way, the days of Todd Hollandsworth starting should be over. Dusty's ideas for a lineup are quite different then mine, but Lawton should immediately be put in the leadoff role. I'd try something like this. LF Lawton 2b Walker 1B Lee 3B Ramirez RF Burnitz C Barrett CF Hairston SS Perez P Pitcher Spot and when Garciaparra returns... LF Lawton SS Garciaparra 1b Lee 3b Ramirez RF Burnitz 2b Walker C Barrett CF Hairston P Pitcher Spot and if Lawton cares to play center or Burnitz in center, I mean, either can't be much worse then Hairston out there... CF/RF Lawton SS Garciaparra 1b Lee 3b Ramirez RF/CF Burnitz 2b Walker C Barrett LF Murton P Pitcher spot If you believe in the whole Righty-Lefty matchup thing you can even try this... CF/RF Lawton SS Garciaparra 1B Lee RF/CF Burnitz 3b Ramirez 2b Walker C Barrett LF Murton P Pitcher spot Overall I like the deal and it certainly addresses one of our biggest offensive issues. Of course, our starting pitching is mediocre, the bullpen still sucks, and we just lost 3 out of 4 to a sub .500 team at home, but whatever. It's a nice move, although I feel bad for Jody Gerut, who Cubs management told was going to be around for awhile. Kind of a bush league move to make towards a kid from Chicago. But I guess you can't pass up a good opportunity. Lawton is making 7.5 million this year and is a free agent after the season. He may lead to Burnitz's option not getting picked up this off-season and moving into the right field spot for next year as well. Time will tell. [ruz]: Well done again, Mr. Hendry, and why does Dave Littlefield keep taking your calls? Lawton provides an immediate upgrade in the outfield -- he's hitting 276/382/438 and has stolen 16 of 25 attempted bases -- and will look good at the top of the batting order. He's also a plus defender and a guy the Cubs might want to consider bringing back next year.
GAME 105 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (51-55) @ CHICAGO CUBS (53-51) WRIGLEY FIELD, 1:20pm CDT, TV: WGN, KTVK
Greg Maddux, RHP
8-7, 4.41 ERA
85/23 K/BB, 19 HR in 136.2 IP
Brandon Webb, RHP
8-8, 4.11 ERA
101/41 K/BB, 15 HR in 142.1 IP
2B *Craig Counsell CF Jerry Hairston
RF *Chad Tracy 2B *Todd Walker
LF *Luis Gonzalez 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Tony Clark RF *Jeromy Burnitz
3B Troy Glaus 3B Aramis Ramirez
CF *Shawn Green LF *Jody Gerut
SS Royce Clayton SS #Neifi Perez
C Chris Snyder C Michael Barrett
P Brandon Webb P Greg Maddux
No, not just because of the way this season seems to be slipping away from us inch by inch as we lose games because we can't score runs off Mike Gosling, but because Brandon Webb has one of the best sinking fastballs in the game. With Jody Gerut's downward chop of a swing, I'm betting on a lot of him grounding into a double play or two today.
Low-90s fastball, fine slider, side-arm herky-jerky motion, and these minor league numbers...
YearIPHHRBBKERASV
Double-A West Tenn200453.023224641.8721
Triple-A Iowa2004/0546.227617581.9319
Pringles Park, the home of the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, plays very much like the pitcher's park, and the Southern League as a whole is a pitcher's best friend too. But Van Buren, a former Rockies top prospect, now 25 and just over a year and a half removed from the Independent Leagues, has taken the same kind of success to Iowa and the Pacific Coast League, which is very much hitter friendly. With our bullpen in Chicago not exactly dependable, what's not to like? And what's to lose? The flagrant underemployment of Sergio Mitre, who's thrown just 3 innings since the All-Star Break? Send him to Iowa, or preferably elsewhere today via trade, anywhere where the innings will come thicker and faster, and give Van Buren the shot that he deserves.
GAME 104 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (50-55) @ CHICAGO CUBS (53-50) WRIGLEY FIELD, 3:05pm CDT, TV: WGN
Rich Hill, LHP
0-0, 4.22 ERA
14/5 K/BB, 1 HR in 10.2 IP
Mike Gosling, LHP
0-2, 4.13 ERA
10/14 K/BB, 1 HR in 24.0 IP
SS Royce Clayton CF Jerry Hairston
2B #Alex Cintron 2B *Todd Walker
LF *Luis Gonzalez 1B Derrek Lee
3B Troy Glaus 3B Aramis Ramirez
RF *Shawn Green RF *Jeromy Burnitz
1B Conor Jackson C Michael Barrett
CF Luis Terrero SS #Neifi Perez
C #Koyie Hill LF Matt Murton
P *Mike Gosling P *Rich Hill

Use this thread to discuss all the rumors that are flying around as Sunday's non-waiver trading deadline ticks ever closer...
GAME 103 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (50-54) @ CHICAGO CUBS (52-50) WRIGLEY FIELD, 1:20 CDT TV: WGN, Fox Sports Arizona
Mark Prior, RHP
7-3, 3.23 ERA
97/30 K/BB, 14 HR in 94.2 IP
Javier Vasquez, RHP
9-9, 4.37 ERA
127/24 K/BB, 20 HR in 140.0 IP
2B *Craig Counsell CF Jerry Hairston
RF *Chad Tracy SS #Neifi Perez
LF *Luis Gonzalez 1B Derrek Lee
3B Troy Glaus RF *Jeromy Burnitz
1B #Tony Clark 2B *Todd Walker
CF *Shawn Green LF Matt Murton
SS Royce Clayton 3B #Jose Macias
C Chris Snyder C Henry Blanco
P Javier Vasquez P Mark Prior
Let's hope this game turns out as well as the first time we faced Vasquez on Opening Day. I'm supposing that Ramirez's quad injury is acting up and that's why we're subjected to another Jose Macias start. Looks like Holly is back to the bench as Murton gets his first start versus a righty this season. I'm sure if he does well, Dusty will take all the credit. As I mentioned in the comments of the last post, if we can't take a series from the D'Backs at home, Hendry needs to keep his eye more focused on the seasons beyond this one, which means looking to move some of our veterans if the price is right. It doesn't have to be a fire sale, but anything that gets us better for 2006 and beyond should be considered if the cost is 2005. Of course a 3 game winning streak will change my opinion. Go Cubs!!!

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