Game 4 Recap: Cubs 3, Brewers 4

Blown.
W - Villanueva (1-0), Poorly designed stadiums

 

L - Gregg (0-1), the three and a half hours I could have spent grading, that now need to be repaid.

 

 

Things to Take from This Game

 

1.  Harden is just fine, thank you.
Harden hit 96 a couple times, sat at around 92, and gave up three hits, two walks (one intentional) and one earned run on a Hart solo homer through six innings.  He also struck out ten with a nasty changeup and a well placed fastball.  It's pretty cool to see that sort of line and think "yeah, that's about what we expect from our fourth starter."  The other run against Harden was an unearned run in the first.  (A slightly high Theriot throw pulled Lee off the bag, and eventually Braun drove in a run on a single.)

 

2.  Likely and Unlikely HRs.
Bradley got off the O-fer with a huge solo homer, and Hill hit a go-ahead two-run homer that put Harden in line for a win.

 

3.  But...
Lou hard to burn through his bullpen in the seventh and eighth, using Heilman, Cotts, Marmol, Marshall, Vizcaino and Gregg to preserve the lead going into the ninth.   He also pinch hit with Miles with a chance to drive in an insurance run from third with one out in the eighth, when Hoffpauir also was available, and Miles gave us an inning-killing GIDP.

 

4.  So...
A walk, a ground out, a Weeks game-tying double, and another walk into the ninth, and Gregg finds runners on first and third with one out in the ninth.  Braun hits a medium-to-slow roller three steps to Theriot's right.  Theriot chooses to try for the out at home instead of the double play, and Weeks just does get his hand on home in front of the tag.  Brewers win the game.

 

The second-guessing begins, below.
Game Recap
Pregame
  • Woo, I finally get to see my first game on WGN!  Len tells me that the weather in Milwaukee resembles me: cold and blustery.  Therefore, the dome is closed. 
Inning 1 - Top
  • First pitch of the game, Soriano fouls off a Lopper pitch wide of third. 
  • Leads to a swinging strikeout, way out in front of a splitter.
  • Fukudome up, takes a fastball strike.
  • And Fukudome rolls out to Hardy.
  • Lee walks.
  • Len and Bob point out how the sunlight is pouring through the windows, sort of cathedral-style, making it hard to see fly balls.
  • 3-2 to Bradley, another easy roller to Hardy. 
Inning 1 - Bottom
  •  91 mph fastball from Harden, inside ball one for his first pitch.
  • Weeks swings and misses at the next fastball, also 91
  • Len and Bob telling us how Harden says velocity isn't as important as changing speeds.  Len and Bob readily concur.  Sounds like some obvious effort from all to downplay the decline in velocity
  • 93 mph inside to weeks.  2-2 count.
  • Slow roller just to the right of Theriot, he rushes the throw just a bit, and it's a bit high and left causing Lee to reach.  Lee has to slide just a bit towards the baserunner, and might have been a bit distracted as the ball glances off the tip of his glove.  Throwing error on Theriot. Weeks to second.
  • Hart with a nice bunt up the first base line, LEe gets it, tags out Hardy who had passed Harden in race to the bag.  Sacrifice, Weeks to third.
  • Braun sneaks a grounder into right on a low and inside fastball for an RBI single.  1-0 Brewers
  • 91 mph fastball inside corner gets Fielder swinging.
  • 93 mph fastball outside for ball 1 to Hardy.  WGN tells us Harden has 613 K in 613.1 IP.
  • Hardy flies out to Soriano right on the left-field line.
  • I missed it, but Chad, Carlos and CincyKid and the parachatters telling me WGN gave a 94 and 96 reading on a couple of fastballs. Way to go, triple-C.
Inning 2 - Top
  •  Ramirez languidly glances at a wide fastball and takes the leadoff walk.
  • Weeks playing toward the bag, and Fontenot hits one sharply right at him for the 4-6-3 GIDP.
  • Theriot tries to make up for the error by doubling off the left-center wall on the fly.  Surprising pull and power from Theriot.
  •   3-1 count to Hill.  Not much to hit in front of Harden with a RISP and 2 outs.  And a curve for ball four.
  • Harden misses a bunt and flails at two more pitches, a quick K.
Inning 2- Bottom
  • WGN shows the footage of Joe Martinez taking a liner off the temple last night.  I mentioned it a few years ago at TCR, and was told I was a female reproductive organ, but:  MLB should invest in finding some sort of sleek protective headgear for pitchers and at least see if it's practical for pitchers to wear.  We don't call Rip Hamilton a wimp for wearing a face mask in basketball, and I don't need to see a pitcher struck dead from a line drive.  Some sort of thin padding for the temples, you could even fit it into the baseball cap....
  •  Cameron waves through a Harden changeup.
  • Hall K's looking
  • Kendall K's swinging, ball gets away, easily out at first.  FB mostly at 94 this inning.
Inning 3 - Top
  •  Dempster is waving to someone in the opposing dugout, it seems.  WGN catches it on camera.  Funny.
  • Soriano with a soft liner to Hart in right.
  • 3-1 count to Fukudome.  Swings at a high fastbal and hits a lazy fly to Braun.
  • And an uninspired fly ball to Hart from Lee.   Easy inning.
Inning 3 - Bottom
  •  The shadow patterns at Milwaukee for a day game with the roof closed are just nuts, and seem to change wildly by the inning.  Last inning, the mound was in shadows and the plate in sunlight, and now it all is in sunlight save one interruption by a thick band of shadow..
  • Looper with an easy bouncer to Theriot.
  • Week K's on three pitches.  5 Ks for Harden.
  • Hart takes an 86 mph slider and smites it way up into Toyota Tundra Territory in right-center.  2- 0 Brewers.
  • Three pitches to Braun, culminating in a rising 96 mph fastball at which Braun feebly flails. 3 innings, 50 pitches, 0 BB and 6 K so far for Harden.
Inning 4 - Top
  •  Bradley takes what I think was a rolling inside slider and deposits it to the left-hand side of that Toyota Tundra Territory in right center, joining Braun's ball on the right side of the Tundra.  Absolute shot.  2-1 Brewers.
  • Aramis lines out to Braun, who is shielding his eyes from the glare.
  • Fontenot pulls a ground-ball single through the 4-3 hole.
  • Theriot up, Fontenot tries to steal second.  Fastball up and a bit in, Theriot leans back, Fontenot out at second.  Bob thinks it's a hit-and-run and Theriot should have been swinging.  Yeah, LouPa looks unhappy.  Jason Kendall has thrown out a Cub.  Egads.
  • Theriot walks.
  • And now nearly gets picked off at first.  Shaky start to the day for Theriot.
  • And first pitch to Hill is a pitchout.
  • Hill K's looking at a curve.
Inning 4 - Bottom
  •  3-1 count to Fielder, an 85 mph changeup inside for ball four.
  • 85 mph changeup strike to start off Hardy.  11 first pitch strikes to 14 batters
  • low fastball for strike 3 looking to Hardy.  Harden looking really sharp.
  • Deep fly ball off Cameron's bat into left-center, Fukudome takes it, avoiding a collision with Soriano.  Got the communication right at the last moment.
  • 0-2 to Hall, he pops one into nearly medium-range left field.  Soriano is playing very deep, and then gets a bad break on the ball.  Theriot runs way out there, sees Soriano isn't close to it, calls of Soriano while Theriot still is running with his back to home plate, and then can't catch it.  Theriot's miss on the play, but Soriano's fault.  Fielder goes to third, Hall to second.
  • Kendall intentionally walked to load the bases with two outs for Looper.
  • 2-0 count on Looper as a fastball misses wide.
  • Looper hits a 2-1 pitch up the middle.  Harden quite deliberately kicks out his foot to try to do the kick-save, and the ball shoots up into the air just left of the second base bag.  Initial reaction here is "oh god, we'll never get to that deflection, should have let Theriot try for it."  Wrong, with the pitcher running Theriot is able to throw him out at first.  Inning over, no damage.
Inning 5 - Top
  •  Harden bloops a single into left-center
  • Soriano sharply lines one into left, Braun makes a nice running catch going back and to his left.
  • Fukudome rolls a single through the right side hole, Harden to second.
  • 3-2 to Lee, he thinks it's a fastball outside.  Nope.  Called strike three, Lee not too happy about it.
  • 3-0 to Bradley. 
  • Bradley swinging on 3-0, flies out to Braun.
Inning 5 - Bottom
  •  The lighting in Milwaukee is awful.  Theriot and Ramirez now dealing with the glare.
  • Weeks K's swinging, I miss it as the UPS guy arrives.
  • Hart makes a sorry excuse of an effort to hit a changeup, and strikes out.
  • Braun pops to Fontenot.  84 pitches, 3 hits, two walks (one intentional) and 9 Ks through 5 for Harden.
Inning 6 - Top
  •  McClung in to pitch.
  • Aramis flies to Cameron.
  • and Fontenot to Hart.  ~yawn~
  • Theriot lines a single to left-center.
  • Holy Crap.  Hill takes a fastball opposite field and drives it just over the left-center field wall for a home run.  I thought Cameron was a good bet to rob it, but no, it's 3-2, Cubs.   Cameron got there just a bit too late, ball was another foot to his left.
  • Harden, who now has the lead he deserves, strikes out. 
Inning 6 - Bottom
  •  Controversial finish to the wiener-race, as the hot dog stumbles and dives across the finish line, not breaking the ribbon but instead diving below it, while the chorizo, I think it was, cuts through the ribbon.  Official verdict still pending....
  • Tenth strikeout for Harden as Fielder K's on a changeup.
  • Harden still at 93 mph.
  • Harden tries for another kick save on a roller up the middle by Hardy, misses, and the ball rolls directly to a waiting Fontenot.  4-3 putout.
  • Cameron flies to Bradley on the warning track.  Never a threat.  Inning over.
Inning 7 - Top
  • Soriano K's swinging at a high and tight fastball
  •  Fukudome hits a double inside the left-field foul line.
  • Lee rolls to Hardy.
  • Bradley walks on a full count.  Bob admires how he watches each pitch he takes all the way into the glove.
  • Ramirez rips a fastball on a 2-1 count up the middle, but Weeks makes a nice play, gets Aramis at first.

Inning 7 - Bottom
  •  Heilman in.
  • Gyeh, walks Hall to leadoff the inning.
  • Finally, the shadows in Milwaukee make sense.
  • Kendall bunts to Lee, easy sacrifice.  Tying run to second with one out.
  • Craig Counsell in to hit for McClung, LouPa brings in Cotts
  • Ball one to Counsell, who stays in to face Cotts.
  • And Cotts hits Counsell with a fastball up and in on the hands.
  • LouPa with a much, much slower walk up to the mound.  LouPa is not a happy camper.  Marmol coming in to put out the seventh inning fire.  Marmol finishes his last bullpen toss with a highly stylized leg kick and spin on the delivery's follow-through. 
  • As Bob correctly points out, this right here is why Marmol is in the setup role, not the closer's role.  We'll see.
  • Marmol hangs a slider just a bit, but Weeks lines it right to Fontenot.  No chance to double up either of the runners.
  • 3-2, two outs to Hart with the runners on 1 and 2.
  • Slider just high, called a ball, and Hart walks.  Bases loaded for Ryan Braun.  Marmol getting the slider up.
  • Sean Marshall racing to get ready to face Fielder
  • 97 mph fastball over the plate, Braun takes a huge rip and misses.
  • another blazing fastball for called strike two.  Braun not happy with it.
  • Braun fights off a much better slider low and away, foul.
  • Another good slider, easy fly to right, Bradley calls for it, has it.  3 pitchers to preserve the lead, but it is preserved!

Inning 8 - Top
  •  Fontenot sneaks a grounball between a diving Fielder and the first base line.  Joke about the consequences of a diving Fielder, if you must.  Double.
  • Theriot grounds up the middle to Weeks, Fontenot advances on the out.
  • Hill up, Marmol is in the on-deck circle.   Ball one to Hill.  Fastball over, 1-1, looks like they're not pitching around Hill.  Surprised they're doing this.  Slightly surprised they didn't double-switch in Marmol.
  • Brewers disappointed they don't get the call on a check swing. 3-2 count.
  • next pitch hits Hill in the shoe, he stumbles over himself.
  • Miles hits for Marmol.  Aaron Miles?   As Bob points out, with Soto on the bench, Miles is the backup catcher, and Koyie Hill just got hit on the foot with a pinch.  Why not hit Hoffpauir, the better hitter, who also lets you preserve your backup emergency catcher?
  • Miles rolls into a pathetically easy 6-4-3 GIDP.  Further commentary on this inning would be a case of cursing the darkness.
Inning 8 - Bottom
  •  Sean Marshall in to pitch the eighth.
  • And starts out Fielder with a 3-0 count.  Walks on five pitches.  LouPa comes out, wanders around aimlessly and confused for a bit, before going to the home plate umpire to make the change.  In comes Vizcaino.
  • Rolling curve catches the outside corner, 0-1 to Hardy.
  • Rolling curve, again, and Hardy lines one to deep left, Soriano battles the brutal glare of the sun, and makes a nice running backhanded catch to his right.
  • Rolling curve, ball one.  I am detecting a pattern here.
  • Rolling curve (or, to be fair, it might be a rolling slider) check-swing foul.
  • Bob tells me it's a slider that's rolling.  Thanks Bob.
  • Rolling slider, it is, speed fools Cameron, strike swinging, 2-1
  • Thank god, something that doesn't roll.  A fastball, 2-2 count.
  • Vizcaino looks like he has a whole lot of nothing.
  • Cameron bounces to Vizcaino, it bobbles out of his glove, he recovers and can only get the out at first.  Cost us the potential double play.  Gyeh.  Two outs, runner on second.
  • Gregg in.
  • Gregg drops in a nice curvefor a strike on Hall.
  • Swing and miss on an 88 mph fastball, strike two.
  • A sharp slider, Hall not even close on the swing.  3-pitch strike out, we somehow, remarkably, still have the lead.
Inning 9 - Top
  •  Carlos Villanueva in to pitch.
  • Soriano's bat splits in two as he bounces out to Hall.
  • Fukudome called out on a check swing.
  • Lee flies to straight-away center, where we discover that Chris Duffy has replaced Cameron.

Inning 9 - Bottom
  •  Kendal bounces to Aramis, who makes a nice lunging stretch to his left.
  • Duffy must have come in on a double switch, and is up in the ninth spot.
  • Huge curve just off the outside corner, 2-1 count on Duffy.  Now a slider just high for ball three.
  • Swings through a fastball, 3-2.
  • Something, I'm not sure what, bounces in the dirt for ball four.
  • Weeks up, and lines a fastball to deep left.  Soriano struggles to read it in the sunlight, and probably never really had a chance to catch up to it.  One-hops the wall for a double, game tied at 3.  Nuts.
  • Len points out that as we've burned through our relievers, we're left with Guzman, who LouPa wants to rest today, and Patton.  And that's if we make it out of this inning with the winning run on 2nd and one out.
  • Hart swings over a slider. 2-2 count.
  • Next pitch skips away from Hill just a bit, and Weeks takes third.
  • In comes the infield and the outfield. 
  • Hart walks.  No biggie.  DP now in order, Braun up.
  • Braun rolls a ball just to Theriot's right.  It's not a perfect GIDP ball, but Theriot probably should go for the 6-4-3.  Instead he throws home, one-hopping Hill who tries to keep the plate blocked while tagging Weeks.  It doesn't quite work, as Weeks' left hand just does crash through for the winning run.  Hill is livid, spikes the ball and yells at the ump.  Replays show the ump got the call correct, it's Theriot whose call needs to be questioned.
 
Parachat Recap
Pregame
  •  I enter Parachat and see the announcement "In Rob's absence, Wes is in charge."  Nice kick in the nuts, Rob.
  • There.  Entrance message fixed to say "With Rob away from Parachat, Transmission has changed the locks."
  • Next up, using admin. controls to ban rob.
  • Deep Throat.
Inning 1
  • Our mutiny carries into the game, as we're going to overthrow TCR and make it The Royal Reporter.
  •  Teams that lack a good fan blog.  White Sox, among others, due to Sox fans being poor.  Because the best way to insult your rivals is to joke that they are poor.  ha, ha.
  • Trans makes the first Adenhart joke.  Trans, who actually was quite bothered by the news, quickly buries his saddness underneath a veneer of cruely too-soon humor.
  • Gestures, pointless and pointed.
  • Vin Scully's commentary on Adenhart's passing.  I had the incredible good luck of hearing it live while watching my mlb.tv telecast in the office yesterday.  Thanks for the link to the transcript, Carlos.
  • We love Scully.
Inning 2 
  •  Broadcasting styles we do and don't like.
  • Theriot's range at short.
  • Discussing the clip of the horrific Joe Martinez  injury from last night.
  • Best right-handed change-ups?
  • Jason Kendall's fantasy value.
Inning 3
Inning 4
  •  CincyKid identifies Crunch's favorite Price is Right contestant.
  • Unprofessional email addresses.
  • The most incredibly coincidentally appropriate entrance by a parachatter, ever, comes as Four_and_Twenty enters immediately following the Price is Right contestant discussion.
  • Wes, that Rob G brown-nosing jerk, joins.  You brown-nosing jerk.
  • Annoying/alarming parachat sounds.
  • I need a thesaurus.
Inning 5
  • Computers. 
  • Carlos thinks four_and_twenty secretly is Ted Lilly Fan Club.
  • The conversation has lost me entirely.  Seriously, I don't have the slightest idea what anyone is talking about.
  • Parachat is being invaded by the Killer C's:  Carlos, Chad, CincyKid, CPH2133, Crunch, CT_Steve, MikeC, Mornington Crescent, token_cripple.   Only Four_and_Twenty, Wes and me remain C-less.
  • Crunch tells me I fear being Cransmission.  True.
  • Life in dumbfuckistan, learning the culture of the dumbfuckistanies.
  • and in the United Retard Emirates.
Inning 6
  •  Wes's accidental purchase of transsexual porn, and its relation to Seth McClung
  • Discussing the sausage-fest at Milwaukee
  • Why is it that Wes knows the names of each of the Milwaukee Meats?

Inning 7
  • Baseball injuries:  for or against them? 
  • Is this ESPN poll in bad taste, stupid, or both?
    • yes
  • Now, four_and_twenty is suspected of being Bob Brenly.
  • You know life is bad when someone from MSNBC is asking you who the Mike's Hard Lemonade is for....
  • Wow, parachatters seem to know a lot about the To Catch a Predator show.  hmm.
  • That child-predator "look"

Inning 8
  •  How we like our Marmol-ade
    • spread all over the place, of course.
  • Aaron Miles?  Seriously?
  • Parachat not thrilled with LouPa's decisions today.
  • Tense parachat.
Inning 9
  •  How much do we like Gregg as our closer?
  • Trauma.
  • Recriminations.

Cubs record in games recapped (accept no substitutions!) falls to 1-1.

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Comments

kevin gregg=bob howry light

oh my. That's a little rough. Nasty curve, didn't get any calls. Let's just wait a bit more although I've never seen him pitch before this year.

Ummm, why did we give up Kerry Wood again? This Gregg thing isn't working out too well. I know it's early but...Theriot didn't help matters much either when (the double play) would have sent the game to extras instead of trying to throw out weeks at the plate. DUMB.

Theriot's defense yesterday made me long for the golden era of Ronny Cedeno and Neifi Perez.

Its too early to tell about Gregg, he's off to a bad start for sure but I think he reverts to his career norms he will be just fine.

Just one of those games that didn't turn out well, its early so we'll have to see if Lou burning through 6 relievers and using Miles to pinch hit instead of Hoffpauir is going to be a regular problem.

Derrek Lee looked horrible though, he's on my 'small sample worry' list while Fukudome all the sudden looks ok.

Fuk's approach at the plate has been like this:

Spring: EXCELLENT

All other times: HORRIBLE.

Let's see what transpires.

I thought that Lou had already learned that Gregg cannot be used in more than one inning. Exactly the same thing happened like a week ago, and Gregg just did horribly in the second inning of work... Keep for the ninth, and I think he'll be okay...

F you Kevin Gregg! Put Marmol in at closer Lou!

F everybody!!!

Marmol is too good at shutting down rallies no matter what inning. If he becomes the closer, who does that job????

I thought Gregg didn't walk people?

I bet Wes could say better cuz he pitched somewhere once and so maybe he paid attention better than me? But I think Gregg got a couple of bad calls. Like, 6 or 7. I could be wrong though -- I am a very subjective fan.

except for that awful Theriot throw. I think Hill was pissed at Theriot, not the ump.

I don't really have a problem with Theriot going home on the last play of the game. If he felt there was even a decent chance he wasn't going to turn the DP, he had to go and take his chance there. A better throw had him, but he doesn't have a strong arm.

Very small zone all day yesterday, actually. Marmol and Vizcaino got squeezed, too. But, that's Jim Reynolds. I'm too lazy to even try to look this up, but I'd wager that year in and year out he's among the bottom of the list in called strikes, particularly strike three. That dude NEVER punches anybody out.

I just think Gregg threw poorly yesterday, obviously. Bouncing that 55 foot curveball to walk piece of shit Chris Duffy was stupid. Gotta make that kid beat you. Quit being a girl and throw some god damned strikes. I can live with walking Fielder or Braun if he's the tying run, but Chris Duffy fucking sucks. Then you come back to a pretty good hitter and groove a fastball that he hits off the LF wall. Nice, dude.

Lots of stupid pitching in that game yesterday. Cotts hit the ONE GUY he was supposed to face. Vizcaino got away with throwing about 7 straight hanging sliders. Just kept throwing those cement mixers up there right in the middle of the zone. I would reckon that's why Lou went to Marmol when he did.

Reynolds had the 13th (of 70) highest ERA among umps with more than 400 innings last year, courtesy of BP. Not in the mood to crunch the numbers but his K's look about in alignment with that.

Sounds about right.

when the starting pitcher (not named zambrano) has more base hits than the lead-off hitter, your club is going to have a rough day.

i wonder if lou will now consider late-inning replacements for defense for theriot.

lou needs to give himself a swift kick in the arse for burning through 71 pitchers, and hitting miles and not hoffpauir. if you're gonna squeeze, use miles. if you're gonna hit, use hoffpauir. with one out, hoffy more likely to hit the fly ball that would have doubled the lead. bad managing.

lou is gonna need a bigger doghouse: cotts, theriot, gregg, he was even cussing at fontenot on the missed (?) hit and run.

here's hoping today's collective pile of stupidity is a one-off and not a trend.

"i wonder if lou will now consider late-inning replacements for defense for theriot."

Who would that be, Miles, The Fontenaught or Hoffpauir?

erased

Horrible loss for the Cubs. Blowing a lead in the 9th is always one hard to swallow, especially when the manager has his fingerprints all over it. Back to .500 (2-2).

THE GOOD:
Harden - A very good start, one that he deserved to win. 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 hits and 10 K's. Stay healthy and he could have a very good season.

Fukudome, Theriot and Fontenot - Multi-hit games for all three and continuing to have a hot start.

Bradley - Got his first hit as a Cub and it was a HR.

Hill - Two-run HR = blind squirrel nut, blah blah blah.

THE BAD:
LH Relievers - Both Marshall and Cotts were brought in to face lefties and neither could get their man out. It didn't cost them today but in the future it very well could.

THE UGLY:
Pinella - What a horrible job of handing the bullpen today. He blew through 6 relievers, but worst of all he asked Gregg to go more than 1 inning. Absolutely inexcusable in April to do that.

Gregg - While he shouldn't be asked to go more than an inning especially in April, he has not looked good in his first few outings. It might not be long till people start wondering why we didn't resign Wood or if Marmol should be closing.

Got Big Z on the mound tomorrow, Let's go get them...GO CUBS!!

Never a big fan of the Gregg trade mainly because he walks the tight rope like Ryan Dempster as a closer.

Didn't like him as teh Marlins closer, really dont like him as the Cubs closer.

It's early, but Gregg has had 3 appearances, and none of them have been impressive.

As others have said before -- he led the league in blown saves while pitching in front of 25 sleeping 80-year olds in Florida. So far, he hasn't looked up to the pressure of real MLB baseball.

Better pick it up quickly, Kevin -- the Wrigley crowd is already impatient. And we really, really liked the guy you replaced.

Wood/Ceda out, Gregg in -- never liked it, probably never will. A closer who "pitches to contact"...no thanks.

And, Lou -- what the hell?

The Miles dp was really frustrating. How about a bunt in that situation? It's early but I don't think this team is going to play a lot of small ball...

I'm also down on Dlee. I like Bradley and Ramirez back to back but would rather see Lee hitting 5th or even 7th. He should have caught Theriot's high throw...

I can see the case for moving Lee down the order.

His defensive game is as good as ever, though. We rarely see those errant infield throws zing by first base into foul territory. It's an easy thing to take for granted, but Lee is defensively one of the best in the game.

Rough day -- but, hey, the Bulls just clinched a playoff spot. Nice mid-season turn-around. Good trades by Pax, and del Negro found a rotation that works, although Rose has got to be exhausted. I digress -- but, congrats Bulls!

This recap made me laugh really hard, so hard that someone came to my desk to ask me if I was still sane -- which I'm not.

I didn't want to be the first person to point it out, but yes, this recap tesifies to my ability to reach into the ether occassionaly and pull from it something sublime...

So you call your pants "ether"?

So you think that what's inside my pants is sublime?

In other news, if you go outside and discover that the weather is missing, blame Cubnut. He disappeared it.

meanwhile, Jason Marquis

7IP, 5H, 2R and the win

Great. Talk to me in July about it. Not after 1 game. You might have added Mark De Rosa is batting around .100, too. And you neglect to mention how well Fontenot is doing in his place. These things will even out during a season.

It's documented here you wished for Dunn and Abreau over Bradley, as did Dr. Aaron B. We'll see how it all goes...

What to make of your post?? I think you're confused. I am Fontenot's first fan. I started the FREE FONTENOT movment when he was in the minor leagues. I thought he should have been our starting second baseman ALL of last year. And I don't recall saying much about Dunn much less Abreu -- where would we play Dunn by the way? As for DH Bradley, Hendry signed him to a nice little contract that removes most of the risk --- unlike the lifetime contract he gave Fonzie.

The Marquis situation is interesting for a number of reasons one which is many Cubs fans forget that he has a tendency to have good first halves and I might have kept him around til the All-Star break to take advantage of that before moving him. But he's gone, in some part, because he has a habit of ticking off his managers. And he didn't waste time with Colorado when he announced he was changing his delivery during ST to increase his effectiveness. He wound up as their #4 starter, dropping a few spots from their original plans. But then he turns around and pitches a gem. It's gotta have a lot of people scratching their heads.

My point, for all us prognosticators, is that it is too early to point to individual players as benchmarks if they have a good (or bad) game in the early going. The reason Jason Marquis has been a #5 starter for four+ years is he is inconsistent, in a consistent manner. And, do think no other GM's know that Marquis pitches better the first half? So its going to be so easy to trade him at the deadline right? Nice arm-chair GM there. Don't quit your day job just yet.

I am glad Fontenot is FREE, btw.

It's a hard thing. We all think about how hard it is, when it comes to the Cubs, and, well, sometimes it just gawdamm get hard enough. Some of us were fool enough to think Bill Madlock would do the damn trick, and, well, others, like me, had higher hopes.

Question: can GOOZ take over the ninth inning role if Gregg continues to struggle? I've been really impressed with Guzman so far this season, he's got nasty stuff...

If there were concerns about trusting Kerry Wood with an important bullpen role due to uncertain health issues....don't but Guzman in a key role, the guy cannot stay healthy...makes Wood look like an ironman. Plus, his control is hit or miss. Gregg has way better control than Guz. If the Cubs move Gregg out of the closer role, it will be to make way for Marmol, and no one else.

Pretty good parachat for me yesterday. I'll take it.

And let's not lie, McClung would make a terrible tranny. Seriously. Not something he should consider.

I have become obsessed with creating a nickname for Theriot and Fontenot. I appreciate that "The Cajun Connection" already is circulating, but it also kind of stinks as a nickname. imho. So my question is, do you think the collective talents of TCR could come up with something better, and something that could dislodge The Cajun Connection? If so, we could run it as a contest. Hell, if we get something really good, we could slap it on a T-shirt and see if we could make the author of the new nickname and TCR a bit of scratch.

2 Scrappy 2 Quit.

Took me 30 seconds. Yup, it sucks, but less than the Cajun Connection. That sounds like a 900 number in Baton Rouge.

While than name sucks as a nickname, it will make an excellent title for the Theriot-Fontenot rap video that will surely follow from a better nickname.

Harden pitched great yesterday, Bradley was productive and didn't get hurt. Everything else from yesterday comes out in the wash.

LOL, yeah, I also think The Cajun Connection sounds like a southern escort service, hence the desire for a better nickname.

I just realized that Theriot backwards is Toireht...which is an east Asian way of pronouncing toilet. I found it interesting because of the way he's been playing short.

As for a duo nickname, I vote for "The-Not". I don't know why.

[edit] also "2 Short", because of their midginess and the respective positions.

OK, that makes two votes for trying to come up with something better than The Cajun Connection.

 

I'll run an article on Monday officially calling for your nickname submissions.

The Ot Couple ?

That got an honest LOL from me.

It's settled, we're having a contest on the off-day.  Save that suggestion, T-dubs!

 

Trans: It seems there may be a marketing opportunity for TCR. A little Internet searching may lead you to the real Cajun Connection, who you can hit up for advertising.

Because if one-legged Cajun hookers having sex with circus animals hasn't already come up in Parachat, it's simply a matter of time.

T-Dubs: That's f'in BRILLIANT. I think the rest of us are already playing for 2nd place.

Actually, Ron's Cajun Connection is a really good Louisiana-style restaurant in the unlikely location of Utica, Illinois. It's between Peru and Ottawa on U.S.6. It's run by an actual Southwest Louisianian, and their etouffees, gumbo, and po'boys are better than anything I've had north of Ponchatoula. They even have Abita beer. It would be awesome to "connect" them to Fontenot and Theriot. Here's their website:

http://www.ronscajunconnection.com/

Fullykrausened

Clearly Theriot and Fontenot's agents are not doing their jobs.

Do they deliver to Chicago?

And, what about beniegts?

Well, its gotta be mud-bug season pretty soon now. Mmmmm.

No beignets, but they do have pecan pie and bread pudding. Yeah, the mudbug season is at its peak, but Ron's only boils them on special occasions. Wish they did deliver.

Two from LSU?
Scrap Incorporated?

Was at I-Cubs at Round Rock AAA game last night. Jake Fox can really crush a baseball, my first time seeing him in person. Question: What is up with moving Ascanio from the bullpen to being a starter? Does he project as a starter?

Sidenote, at Dell Diamond, the clubhouses are behind left field so the players walk through the crowd to a staircase that goes down to the left field "fowl" pole. There are a bunch of autograph seekers, some kids and some pros along the walkway. Jeff Smardijakdjlf was the number one target for the pros. He ignored them (rudely to the aggressive ones)and their shiny baseball cards and only signed the scraps of papers that the kids would put in front of him and was very gracious to them. There was one pro with a binder, briefcase and spreadsheet that used his 7 year son to get an autographed baseball, kid really didn't want to be there. All in all, made me like Smardja a little bit more.

pro auto collectors are garbage, imo.

they send their own little kid trolls (yes maam, i'll take your kid to the game, i'm a good neighbor with good intentions)...they take their premium give-aways (some)...and they put the kids to work.

in 3rd world countries these people are considered exploitative scum...to the people doing it they're showing kids a good time in exchange for something.

couple years ago i saw a kid getting bitched out by one of these "men" because the kid took a bobble head out of a box to play with instead of giving it to his straw boss to resell it on ebay. i let the man know how useless of a person he is while he let me know that him taking kids to a game while these kids parents were too busy made him a saint. i reminded him he was screaming at a 5-10 year old kid over something he might get $10 for on ebay and to get his priorities straight...or at least not talk himself into believing he's some kind of saint.

you see lots of weird things at minor league games...as an aside.

i sit near the bullpens a lot at games...you'd be surprised how many soccer-moms and weekend-dads feel like they can walk up to anyone during a game and try to drop their kids off in the middle of the bullpen or bench "just because." you'd also be surprised how many of these parents take it personally when they're told "umm, we're working here." or just plain old "we can't do that."

i've seen some players break this rule for sick kids or moms/dads that get to the players at a randomly "right time" that hits the players hearts. the sick kid thing is hard to watch...seen a few times where what the players in the pen were doing with the kid was worth so much more than what was going on the field.

That is truly incredible. I would never think of "dumping" my kids like that. Quite imposing on the players. I suppose it would be marginally different if a player was staying at the home of one of these folks - which happens - but what you describe is weird.

it's not the kids that scare me as much as the 30-40something year old parents who, for some reason, believe they can "make things happen" for their kids that's not supposed to happen. i got NO problem with the "well, can't hurt to try" crowd, but some of these parents think it's some business-like game to try to gain special access.

these people don't seem to realize they're not trying to go backstage after/before a concert...they're trying to get on stage while the performance is going on.

as another aside...some of these players will talk to some people while they're working though the pen coach will get a little peaved if it's not logically warranted.

as another another aside...it's not uncommon for the guys to bring their "girl friends" into the pen area for a little chat or uncommon access to the game. oddly (heh) the pen coaches seem to be lenient on this one. ah...minor league ball.

CUBS WIN!!! CUBS WIN!!! Beat MIL 6-5 to improve to 3-2 on the year. This was a game where Soriano saved the bullpen which was on the verge of blowing another game already this year.

THE GOOD:
Zambrano - While not looking very sharp he did get through 6 IP and had the Cubs in the game. Z threw 119 pitches and it felt like 75 of them were pitches that were fouled off.

Soriano - GW 2-Run HR in the top of the 9th. Woo!!!

Ramirez & Fukudome - Each had solo shots to help Cubs chip away and stay close in the game.

Marmol - Came through in the 9th for a 1-run save. Is this our new (and should have been already) closer??

THE BAD:
Lee - Looks lost and absolutely atrocious at the plate. He is 2-22, and 0-5 tonight, in this early part of the season, but he just looks bad at the plate hitting lots of weak pop ups. Not sure if Lee is our #3 hitter anymore.

THE UGLY:
Cotts & Guzman - Can you guys throw a strike? It could be a long year if these guys keep walking so many guys.

Tomorrow let's go for our second road series win to finish up the road trip and get ready for the home opener Monday. Go Cubs!!

Lee - Looks lost and absolutely atrocious at the plate.

Hmm... I heard that .118 BABIP is going to stay like that. And I heard that 5 games were a pretty meaningful sample size.

And, FWIW, I don't think he has looked that lost at the plate. He hit a couple of balls quite hard tonight, just right at people.

He will be fine.

I can care less what his BABIP is. But yeah it is only 5 games, but either way he is 2-22 in those 5 games and just does not look good. It might just be a slump, but I think ever since he broke his wrist he has been regressing and serious thought needs to be made about whether he should be our #3 moving forward.

While I agree that Lee is going to come around, and eventually start hitting, I don't think that Lee has been the best candidate for #3 hitter for two years now! How long before Lou sees it too???

Theriot
Fukudome
Ramirez
Bradley
Soriano
Fontenaught
Lee
Hill
Dempster

That should be our lineup tomorrow.

Flip-flop Soriano and Ramirez and I'm sold.

I like that - but how about when Soto comes back?

Agree.
Its tough to watch Cotts blow classic LOOGY opportunities.
Lou is going to kick him in the nuts one of these times.

If Jason Waddell and/or Jeremy Papelbon want to go ahead and dominate their respective minor leagues I wouldn't complain; the Cubs may need another LHRP sooner rather than later.

"Can you guys throw a strike? It could be a long year if these guys keep"

Lou has shown very little patience for guys who don't throw strikes. I don't think it's fair to assume he'd allow them to pitch the whole season in key situations if they keep walking batters.

Then who is he going to have pitch? Right now there aren't many relievers throwing strikes. But I do agree, Lu will have little patience for not throwing stikes, but I just don't know who Lou could turn to.

Maybe he will turn to himself, and stop trying to use 1 to 2 inning guys as loogy's so they can relax and get into a grove.

If it gets bad enough, don't think the Cubs won't just cut them loose and bring up some minor leaguers or something.

Samardzija is probably the first call up, but obviously its not like he's a control artist.

After that it would be probably be Mitch Atkins and Randy Wells. Both around 3 BB per 9 in their minor league careers.

Chad Fox has a horrid career walk rate of 5 per 9 IP.

We all know Kevin Hart is a walk machine.

Jeff Stevens is around 3 walks per 9 innings in his minor league career. He's been groomed as a reliever so he's a possibilty.

Those are some of the names, none all that exciting.

It's been a roller coaster first week, but at the very worst, we start out the season playing .500 on the road against two division rivals.

What's the old adage? Play .500 on the road and over .500 at home and you'll be fine?

I thought the same thing, worse that can happen is a .500 road trip. And I like the Dempster vs Suppan matchup for the Cubs also. A 4-2 road trip will be nice to start the year.

Looking VERY long term, it looks like bullpen help is what Hendry is going to have to go after when whatever trade market starts to form.

I think Lee we are going to see is more the Lee of the 2nd half of 08 unfortunately. There is just no denying his decline. I don't know if Lou will ever get it right and move him down, but I don't see him having a great year by any means.

hank white has 2 HR tonight...in SD...one of them landing in the 2nd deck. ha.

And in the "player not in decline" department, did you see this hombres:

Pujols tonight, 7 fucking RBI's. 2hr.

Sheeit!!

And in the early going once again La Russa has his team ready for show time.

Hoffpauir looked silly tonight.

lou turns to patton tomorrow nite.

patton/gregg/marshall are the "fresh" guys

MLB has started a steriod investigation on Fukudome.

Cubs are 3-2 on the road wih Lee and Bradley hitting under .100. Not bad, that.

If Fonzie isn't batting leadoff, he doesn't come up and win the game in the 9th inning. Getting extra ABs for your best power hitter ain't all bad.

Had he batted 2nd or possibly 3rd he would have still come up in the 9th.

After two games in a row, I have come to the conclusion that Brewers fans are the absolute worst in the National League. Keep it classy Milwaukee.

(God, I long for the days when Milwaukee becomes an also-ran once again.)

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