Cubs Win Streak Ends at 5
The Cubs five-game win streak doesn't make it to six and and the loss coupled with the Cardinals win over the Dodgers, drops the Cubs back to second place. Ryan Dempster returned from the disabled list and was nothing short of awful. 5 IP, 9 H, 3 K and 5 ER, 6 total and the error was his own. But at least he didn't walk anyone! With the Cubs catching a huge break when Roy Oswalt left in the second inning with a back injury, the Cubs just needed some decent pitching to stay in this one and they sure didn't get it from Dempster or the bullpen.
Armchair Managing: The Cubs first comeback started in the fourth when Wesley Wright just completely lost it and missed the strike zone on 10 straight pitches and quite a few more before and after as well. He walked the bases loaded on two occasions with a sacrifice fly in-between and with lefty Mike Fontenot in the original lineup with Oswalt starting, Lou went to the bench early and called on Reed Johnson to pinch-hit and he came through with a 2-out, 2-run single. Then a nicely executed double steal put runners on 2nd/3rd but also gave the Astros the opportunity to intentionally walk Koyie Hill and force Lou's hand with Dempster due up. Lou didn't take the bait and let Dempster hit and he naturally struck out. If you're already going for the big inning by pinch-hitting for Fontenot, I think you have to do the same with Dempster there. And if Lou called for the double steal, he basically ended the Cubs inning if he wasn't going to pinch-hit for Dempster, since you know Cooper would walk Hill there. This all leads me to believe that Lou is a terrible chess player. Dempster then rewarded Lou's faith by giving up a 2-run HR in the top of the fifth that gave the Astros a 6-3 lead.
Ramirez's three-run dinger int he bottom of the fifth neutralized the damage though and then the bullpen proceeded to flush the game and first place with it.
Half-Ass Parachat Recap:
- Miggy's 3-run HR in the first
- well it looked like a HR, sac fly instead
- Debating Top 10 defensive plays of the decade
- Was Giambi safe?
- Was Giambi safe?
- laughing at the Astros misfortune with Roy Oswalt
- Valverde with Fulchino is delicious
- Transmission's date with his sister
- Following Buehrle's quest for back-to-back perfectos and congratulations on the new record...now go die!
- "Ryan Dempster is NOT pitching a perfect game" - Ryno
- Finding Trans a date on craigslist
- We wouldn't have to do this if you weren't having dates with your sister.
- I get bored doing the Parachat recap...
- stupid blackout rules, bring Trans back to us
And congratulations to the Angel Fan Wife on being married to me for 8 years...I imagine it's been just as insufferable as being a Cub fan sometime over the last 100. Lots of expectations, but neither of us deliver....
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.