2 Runs, 1 Hit...3 Runs, 2 Hits...4 Runs, 3 Hits

Pretty much everytime they flashed the boxscore last night after the 5th inning, I just had to cringe. Rich Harden continued his stampede to free agency with another brilliant effort. He held the arguably best offense in the league to....well nothing, for 5.1 innings and then gives up a walk to #8 hitter Carlos Ruiz before Jimmy Rollins sent one in the bleachers to tie what was looking like an easy victory. So while the Phils efficiently scored their first 2 runs on a hit, the Cubs managed 7 hits through the first six, a few double plays and line drives right at people and only 2 runs.

Then the 8th happened, with Lou and Marmol providing the frustration. We know players are supersitious, some won't step on the chalk line, others eat a bucket of a chicken before every game and Marmol ceremoniously walks a batter when he comes in. He looked like he might wiggle out of it after getting Greg Dobbs and a loud out to Jimmy Rollins, but then uncorked a wild pitch that missed Shane Victorino, although the umps said it hit him in the ankle. The ball was so badly thrown though that Victorino probably deserves the base just on principle. Now the Phillies had Utley, Howard and Ibanez due up. Last I checked they were lefties and the Cubs have two of them in the pen. I know Carlos Marmol has danced along this highwire act a few times, and I could even live with giving him a chance to get a struggling Chase Utley. But Lou didn't even get Grabow warmed up until he walked Utley and in the meantime, Marmol walked in the go-ahead run. Finally Lou goes to Grabow who strikes out Ibanez on three pitches. The Phils actually score their 3rd run without the benefit of a hit.

The Cubs comeback in the 9th off troubled closer Brad Lidge with a clutch walk by Fukudome to lead off the inning, a sac bunt and a single by Milton Bradley continuing his second half surge and on to extra innings we go. In the meantime Guzman pitched 2 innings of perfect ball before handing the ball to Kevin Gregg in the 11th who actually got their big 3 lefties out 1-2-3 with Sean Marshall sitting in the pen. But then the 12th happened and Gregg does what he does best, which is leave something very hittable over the heart of the plate and Ben Francisco gave the Phils their 4th and final run on just their 3rd hit with a basket home run.

The good news of the night was that Rich Harden and Milton Bradley continue their regression to the mean, and the Cards, Rockies and Giants all lost. The bad news is that Lou still seems to trust Carlos Marmol. The blind faith he has in him has to be put to an end until he can find some control which is bloody unlikely at the moment. Guzman has more than proven his worth to this point and probably won't be perfect the rest of the way, but at least he'll make the other team earn it with a hit.

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"The slumping Milwaukee Brewers have sent former All-Star shortstop J.J. Hardy to the minors, given up on third baseman Bill Hall and fired pitching coach Bill Castro."

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4394074

The Brewers will be news again when they get some pitchers. :)

Or trade us Fielder.

Bill Hall might be an interesting guy to "Buy Low" on?

He can/has play(ed) Ss,2nd,3rd,Cf and you'd assume could play the corners as well.

His upside is surely better than that of Aaron F'N Miles or Jeff Baker.

Best case, is you have yourself a new 2nd baseman/SS with 30 HR power. Making MLB minimum none the less.

I'd take a flyer on him if he refuses assignment and gets released. I don't see the Brewers eating his salary and trading him to us, but maybe Lou and Von Hayes Joshua Tree could work some magic, since they are doing such a great job with our other hitters this season.

I say Lou should put Marmol on a pitch count...of 3 pitches. If at least 2 are strikes, he gets another 3. Otherwise, yank him. I was going to say 7 pitches, but by that time you could have a walk and 2 hit batters.

Best plan I've heard in a while. Or how about trading Marmol to the Brewers for JJ Hardy?

This might be 3/44, but there is an awesome feature on Sam Fuld up at ESPN: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4391911

The article came about when I met the writer at a Mariners-Rangers game in Seattle. She loved the saga of Sam Fuld and told me she thought it would make a good story... that is when I found out she worked for ESPN. Crazy stuff. Make sure it gets lots of hits! Thanks...

There's a quote from Mike Fontenot about Sam Fuld in that ESPN article that reveals why Fontenot struggles so much, he's, well, how do I say this politically correct...mentally challenged?

"His catch at Wrigley, jumping into the padded wall and then throwing a guy out, that was one of the best plays I've ever seen," said Cubs second baseman Mike Fontenot."

Has Fontenot ever gone out to the Wrigley outfield? Or, I don't know, ever heard anyone ever talk about the outfield? Padded? WTH?

Umm... you may want to rethink who is "mentally challenged."

The walls are padded. The outfield (i.e. ivy) walls are not padded, but the walls along the foul lines are.

If it's the play I think they're referring to, Fuld ran flat into the ivy. A thin layer of leaves is all the padding he had between his body and the bricks.

believe Fuld made 2 great catches, one at Wrigley against the brick wall which was the DP, another on the road in foul territory up against a padded wall(St. Louis?). Fontenot probably just got the two confused on where they happened and the writer was a little slow on picking up the mistake....or he's an idiot.

Fontenot said "his catch at Wrigley", which is the one where he caught the ball, ran into the ivy, and threw the runner out at first to double him up. There's no padding under the ivy.

Hey great article and thanks for passing it on. Didn't know any of that about Fuld. Now there is somebody to root for on this often hard-to-root-for team.

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/spor...

on Bradley...

between Kaplan and Sullivan, the overpaid athlete bandwagon is getting pretty full, yet Soriano remains unscathed.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/9922760/Sources...

Rsox have a few days left to trade him, otherwise they'll have to release him.

IF the Cubs were contending I would say that he would be a GREAT in the bullpen. *eye roll*

Seriously, though, the bullpen needs a few steady veterans that can come in the game and give you a high percentage of dramaless innings.

I like the idea of pursuing Smoltz. My personal belief (based on virtually no facts) is that Smoltz still has a little left in the tank, just not as a starter.

Of course that begs the question, if Smoltz would be willing to work out of the Cubs (or anyone else's) bullpen, why didn't the Red Sox just move him to their bullpen? Is it because Boston's bullpen is so stacked already?

I imagine he'd like to close...I'd begrudgingly be willing to relieve Gregg of that duty.

MLB Trade Rumors, quoting the St. Louis Post Dispatch, says that Tony LaRussa is lobbying to get John Smoltz (and Justin Speier).

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/08/la-russa-wan...

a power pitcher with a 88-90mph fastball and nothing to set up a slider that was never that great to begin with (well, it worked with a mid90s mph fastball and only then vs. righties).

brilliant.

god knows the rsox cut him because they're in last place and have no space for a pen arm.

i hear bj ryan is available. he used to be good.

stl getting smoltz would be fun.

Wittenmeyer tweets:

Theriot, milt, lee, fox, fuku, sori, baker, hill, shark

vs Pedro Martinez

5th game without a fontenot start...cold.

the guy started to show some shred of consistancy and power since late july...c'mon play the guy.

What? In his last 10 games, his average went from .228 to .231, with 1 homer. I guess you could call that consistency, but he is still the 2nd worst infielder on this team.

doubles are power, too.

he's making some solid contact he wasn't making earlier. he's smacking the ball.

Yeah, you're either pro-Fonte or anti-Fonte... It's kind of a faith thing at this point.

well, im not pissed he's not starting or something. baker's hit a lot the past 3 games or so and got 4 singles last night.

i'm just kinda amazed it's been 5 games.

It doesn't matter what level of suck we play at 2B.

I clamored for Julio Lugo, but he wasn't good enough for some of you.

S u c k!

why does it matter if it's not good enough for some of us? what does that have to with anything?

Shark hasn't been good for a year, Marshall is broken, Marmol can't throw strikes the pitching staff is falling apart after being so solid and keeping the team in contention.

The only silver lining here is we play much weaker competition for a few weeks...might be enough to at least keep it interesting for a while.

Smoltz btw doesn't want to pitch out of the bullpen for the Rsox, so doubtful he's coming to the Cubs.

Reed a couple of weeks away...

You know you've been a Cub fan for too long when you think to yourself, as you prepare to check the score, "Hmm, it was 8-1 before...I'm thinking it's probably 12-1 now." And it's 12-1 now.

Some douchebag in the left-center field bleachers threw a beverage on Shane Victorino as he was pulling in a Jake Fox deep fly on the warning track in the bottom of the 5th inning. WGN cameras showed him getting escorted from his seat by Wrigley Field security. They should let him have a short "private chat" with Victorino before they let him leave the park.

Sully wrote that security grabbed the wrong guy and the real culprit slipped out of the park. The Cubs apologized to Victorino and are working with the police to find the 'real splasher' and prosecute him.

I'm not sure what the law allows as punishment for throwing a drink on someone. I agree it's juvenile and shouldn't occur, but what, 40 lashes with a cane should be the punishment?

The great thing about Samardzija, see, is that he played football at Notre Dame, which obviously means he will be a good MLB pitcher.

I would hope that Shark Boy proved to Hendry that he doesn't belong up here, at least for the foreseeable future. It also seems very apparent that this team isn't going to make the playoffs unless there's a train wreck in front of them, and even if that happens they will likely get their behinds handed to them again because they play even worse against better teams.

I really wonder if Hendry gets axed if they miss the playoffs, or make it and get clobbered a third straight time. It reminds me of when the Bulls fired Doug Collins and Reinsdorf made some statement about Collins could get them from point A to point B, but they need someone to get them to point C and seal the deal, so they appointed Phil Jackson. The move was panned at the time because the team had a bright future after decades of stink. Kind of like how Hendry has helped revive the team and change our expectations, but can't seem to get beyond that point. I realize once a team is built there's still a lot of luck involved, including avoiding injuries, and we were kind of due this year after a couple of mostly injury free seasons. And even if Hendry were replaced, a new GM would be handcuffed by some of the contracts Hendry signed, most notably Soriano. Even Len Kasper made a bit of a swipe at Soriano tonight, repeating that he thought Sori could catch a ball that ended up a double (I thought the TV replay didn't back that, but we didn't get to see Sori's initial reaction, which is what Len was complaining about). Still, it's gotten pretty bad when the team's main cheerleader starts piling on.

I've really noticed some shades of '04 coming from the booth lately, and we all know how that ended up. I really hope the players don't start calling out the broadcasters, leading to Len and Bob's firing. I've grown to like them a lot as a team, and remember with horror the days of Joe Carter.

No broadcasters were fired after '04.

Photo of the beer thrower:

http://ow.ly/jTlk

100% clear video evidence that they threw out the wrong guy, via a comment on that blog you linked to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwWtXCcCgSI

Watch the :26 second mark. Then, at the 1:00 minute mark, the security guards come to kick out the wrong guy, and the guy who did it is clearly telling security that he did it. Sadly, they chose to ignore his confession.

Thank God this wasn't another Bartman incident or they could have ruined some innocent guy's life.

Video no longer available on YouTube, thanks to the MLB copyright German National Socialist Party dudes.

oddly...mlb is one of the best/fastest at catching copyright infringement.

people from the big networks should check out what system/people/etc. they're using...heh. they catch some real obscure titled/hidden stuff.

I love that even the jackass next to him with the blue headband is looking at him like, "Dude, wtf? When you get home, slap your mom in the face for bringing more stupid into this world."

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  • They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?

    QuietMan 7 min 1 sec ago view
  • Regarding Heyward--

    He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.

    What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.

    (All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)

    VirginiaPhil 7 min 39 sec ago view
  • Lester will probably be all right.

    I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.

    Seriously.

    VirginiaPhil 14 min 6 sec ago view
  • I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.

    billybucks 17 min 38 sec ago view
  • Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?

    VirginiaPhil 21 min 14 sec ago view
  • He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.

    But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.

    billybucks 30 min 10 sec ago view
  • The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.

    VirginiaPhil 32 min 2 sec ago view
  • Yup. Thanks Q

    The E-Man 37 min 48 sec ago view
  • QuietMan 45 min 46 sec ago view
  • I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.

    Rob Richardson 1 hour 4 min ago view
  • O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.

    The E-Man 1 hour 43 min ago view
  • Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.

    Old and Blue 2 hours 27 min ago view
  • I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.

    Old and Blue 2 hours 38 min ago view
  • You don't think he's improved? He looks completely different out there than he did when he first came up. The last I checked his K rate was in the low 20% range - 22-23 or so. When he came up it was 40%+.

    To me, what is scary about him if I'm the other guy is that he IS learning the strike zone. This guy could easily be the MVP someday.

    Old and Blue 2 hours 39 min ago view
  • So, playing .500 for the rest of the year puts them at 91 wins. You would think there is enough talent to do a little better than that, right?

    The E-Man 2 hours 58 min ago view
  • First team to 60 wins! Onward to 70, 80, 90 and 100!

    billybucks 11 hours 28 min ago view