Game 131 Thread / Cubs @ Pirates (1 of 3)

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SP *Ted Lilly SP Jeff Karstens
  12-7, 4.25, 148 K, 56 W, 161 IP 
2-2, 2.25, 11 K, 8 W, 28 IP
LF Alfonso Soriano CF *Nate McLouth
SS Ryan Theriot 2B Freddy Sanchez
1B Derrek Lee C  #Ryan Doumit
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Adam LaRoche
CF *Jim Edmonds RF  Jason Michaels
2B Mark DeRosa LF *Brandon Moss
RF *Kosuke Fukudome 3B Andy LaRoche
C Geovany Soto SS Jack Wilson
P *Ted Lilly P Jeff Karstens


The Cubs open a three-game set at PNC Park, concluding their 9-game stretch against the Reds, Nationals, and Pirates before they resume play against Major League opposition. (Yes, I'm tempting fate: Friday's smug game preview was just a preamble to an ugly 13-5 loss to the Nats, but 30 games over .500, I'm feeling smug all over again.)

Coming off a tough luck defeat in which he held the Reds hitless for the first 5 innings and wound up yielding just 2 hits in 7 IP, Lily has reduced his ERA to a season-low 4.25.The lefty has given the Cubs Quality Starts in 8 of his last 10 turns, and that defeat to Cincinnati was his first after five consecutive W's.

This will mark Lilly's fourth start of the year against the Bucs. He's 1-0, 5.63 in the three previous starts, with a butt-ugly 8.38 ERA in his two outings at PNC.

Karstens, who landed in Pittsburgh as part of the deal that sent Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to the Yanks, makes his fifth start as a Pirate. In his first, back on 8/1, he blanked the Cubs over six innings. His second time out, he was even better, carrying a perfect game into the eighth inning at Arizona, before eventually closing out a 2-0 complete game win. His last two starts have been much more ordinary—16 hits and 7 ER in 13 IP—and more like what you'd expect from a guy who has fanned just 11 men (and walked 8) in 28 innings.

The Cubs have won 11 of the 15 meetings between the two clubs this year, including 4 of the 6 played in Pittsburgh. 

Lastly, on Sunday, Mark DeRosa became the first Cub since Fred McGriff (2001) to homer in four consecutive games. If DeRo connects tonight, he'll join Sosa ('98) and Sandberg ('89) as the only Cubs since 1956 to go long in five straight.


  Sandberg (1989)
Sosa (1998)
McGriff (2001)
DeRosa (2008)
Patsy #1  
Andy McGaffigan  Livan Hernandez Jim Brower Josh Fogg
Patsy #2
Dennis Martinez Jim Parque Wil. Rodriguez John Lannan
Patsy #3
Bryn Smith Carlos Castillo Shane Reynolds     Garrett Mock
Patsy #4
O'Neal/Mulholland*    James Baldwin       Tim Redding Jay Bergmann       
Patsy #5
Larry McWilliams LaTroy Hawkins  ???

*Sandberg homered twice against the Phillies on 8/10/89 and eventually wound up with 6 HR in 5 games. What a stud.



fwiw, Lieber set to make 2 rehab starts with Peoria this week.

since the ted lilly fan club is missing iwill
give it a shot

6and two thirds 3 earned runs 1 unearned
no decision and the game will go extra innings

The Flying LaRoche Brothers!

/drumroll followed by circus music

I made the mistake of tuning in to ESPN1000 over the internet. OMG, Mac, Jurko & Harry are annoying. I sometimes forget important facts like that in my quest for a Cubs fix.

DeRo interview in a few minutes, if I can hold out that long...

DeRo on his recent homer prowess: " be honest, I've been guessing right a lot"



EDIT: And then over to WGN, just in time to hear Ronnie and Gerald Perry laugh about Ted Lilly's prowess with the bat. Priceless.

I was never such a huge fan to begin with, but my MJ&H Are Dead To Me moment came a few weeks ago. Mac was claiming, unconvincingly, to be pro-Cub-success, as follows: "No, no, I'm glad the Cubs are doing well, and I hope they get to the World Series, so they can get swept."

Dead. To. Me.

when we have DeRo having a .373 1.219 7HR 22RBI August.

I ask you, ....rhetorically.

Dammit Lee! Stop getting hits!

Maybe because the Cubs are 16-6 in August with Lee batting #3.

DeRosa is on a hot streak. That's great. But he had an awful July, and is not a #3 hitter. If Lou simply adjusted his order everyday to go with the hot hand, it would be a disaster.

Don't fix something that ain't broke.

I wouldn't have brought it up if it weren't broke.
Lee is clearly not 100% and hasn't been for a while now.

DLee since the All-Star break .234 .304 .331 .635

But like I said, it was a rhetorical question. DLee
bats third because DLee bats third.

Since August 5th Lee is hitting .300 - .382 - .400 - .782 with hits in 12 of 16 games. He basically had a bad 2-3 week stretch from July 18th-August 4th. You don't move a guy in the order because of that. It's a mararthon not a sprint.

by Edmonds....

didn't help that he gawked at it for awhile.

so it would've been an inside the parker if he didn't stop to gawk??

Edmonds didn't gawk, he watched it for a split second. It's been a long time since he had a hit. Triple all the way.

To me it looked more like he was starting to coast for the stand-up double, but then the ball caromed away from the center fielder and he thougt "Oh, shit! Now I've gotta hustle to third." He definitely wasn't going 4, but maybe he could have gotten 3 a little more smoothly.

He gawked at it when he first hit, about a quarter to half way down the first base line before he realized it wasn't going out. Then put on the "afterburners" when he saw it bounce away from McLouth to get the triple. Not that big a deal...just the same shit he did with the Cardinals but no one cares because he's a Cub now.

Aramis sure repaid the five Pirates fans in the crowd for their boos.

Did Theriot come out because he was hurt, or is Lou just resting guys with a big lead?

Lou's resting the regular guys and getting the bench guys some time in the game.

The team could use a few more like that during September to keep rested for the playoffs.

Whatever Lou told Fuk through the translator, it's working tonight. 3-4, a double, sacrifice fly and 4 RBI.

I am loving watching Fukudome look so sharp. Even with his recent struggles, he's still one of my favorite players on this team. Keep it up whirlybird!

5-2 in the doormat (Cincy, WAS, PIT) stretch. 7-2 would be very nice.
Pitching matchup sure looks favorable tomorrow. Hope Z can get it together.

From Cubs Mail Bag!!

Didnt Zambrano do this a few years back?

Who was the last switch-hitter for the Cubs to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same inning? I say it was Mark Bellhorn, but a buddy of mine says no Cubs switch-hitter has ever done that. A free dinner rides on the answer.
-- Charlie P., New Johnsonville, Tenn.

On Aug. 29, 2002, Bellhorn homered from both sides of the plate for the Cubs in Milwaukee in the fourth inning. Enjoy your meal.

Shit!!! it says same inning.

My bad

Nice win today.

Edmonds and Fukudome looking sharp. I sure wouldn't want to face our lineup on a day when we're firing on all cylinders.

There's not a starter that I don't think can contribute offensively on any given day. I sure hope Fukudome can put it back together again. We're on track to have six starters finish the year with over 20 HRs and all 8 starting position players have over .340 OBP. Add our terrifying trio of starting pitchers, Lily as our #4, and Wood, Marmol, Samardzija, Marshall, and (maybe) Lieber out of the pen. Hot damn. I think this team's got a real shot at it!

Nothing like pounding the 90 pound weakling in the division with your #4 starter going 7 strong to make things look rosy.

It's the dude's first year in the big leagues. He's not used to playing more than 140 games/year. He's allowed to slump, imo.

Well he started slumping well before game #140. I bet he has a newfound respect for Ichiro, right about now.

Suntimes article about the bottom third of the Cubs order:

As impressive as DeRosa's and Soto's numbers are, consider this: The Cubs' No. 7 spot in the order was hitting a major-league best .310 with 20 homers and 83 RBI (entering play Monday).

No. 8: .293 with 11 and 64.

And perhaps most impressive of all: The pitchers' spot, No. 9, was hitting better (.227-8-52) than four American League teams -- Kansas City (.226), the Los Angeles Angels (.226), Baltimore (.225) and Oakland (.218).

this tidbit in the S-T:

The Class AAA Iowa Cubs are back in the playoffs for the first time in four years, and one small ramification at the big-league level is that a few anticipated September roster additions might stay with Iowa through its playoff series.

The exceptions: Pitchers Jon Lieber (foot) and Angel Guzman (elbow) are expected to be activated from the DL when rosters expand, and lefty hitter Micah Hoffpauir, who's having a monster season, is expected to join the big club right away.

So Hill, DuBois, Pie, Hart and Wuertz stick with AAA until the playoffs are over? No biggie. The Hoff is the main guy I want to see up anyway. He's got a shot at replacing Ward next year. Hill looks like a candidate to take Hank White's job when he goes off and becomes a starting catcher for a non-contender.

I don't really "get" the AAA playoffs. What's at stake, really? Why would an organization hold anyone back from helping out the big league team in order to perform better in the AAA playoffs? Or is it more that a few players who might get a few big league innings as a "reward" for their AAA performance will just have to wait 'til next year?

I don't think anything's really at stake except pride. These guys play for a team all year, and even though the main goal is to prepare for the big leagues, they're still competitive athletes who want to win. It would be weird if there were no playoffs. I mean, there's nothing at stake in my rec league softball playoffs, but I still try like hell to win.

Part of it is reward for battling the entire year and playing well. Part of it is experience in a playoff atmosphere and winning a championship. While it is not the same as it is at the Major League Level, having your minor leaguers know what it takes to win is important. Getting your teams more swings and pitches against the best competition in pressure situations can't hurt at all.

Also, the first round best of 5 series starts on September 3rd. So depending on how that goes, the potentially call-ups might only be called up a few days later than normal. If they make it to the next round the best of 7 starts on the 9th. So even if they go all the way they could still be up for 2 weeks instead of 4 with the Cubs.

And if they really thought they'd help out the big league team they will get called up regardless of the playoffs - like Hoffpauer will.

Thanks, guys.

The Sept callups don't play anyway or barely at that. Wouldn't you rather play for a AAA championship and get your cuts in then sit on the bench for an extra week or possibly two? The same players will still get called up.

Anyone else think Hoffpauer is AAAA player rather than the next big thing?

They are talking him up big time on Chicago radio.

Don't forget Jason DuBois had a similar monster-type season at AAA, and he was 2 years younger than Hoff when he did it. I'm not dogging Hoffpauir, he is a legit ML PH/IB/LF guy, he is Ross Gload revisited. There is nothing wrong with having a cheap Ross Gload on the roster.

A batting average of .368 is not the same as .314.

Soto hit .355 last season. He's lost 75 points of BA in the majors, but he could afford it. So can Hoffpauir. Where would a 75 point drop leave Dubois?

Pie hits .280-.285 in AAA, and drops 50 or 60 on the train to Chicago. I'm not so sure we'll see him in September. What's the point? He's not even the right callup if you just want someone to steal bases.

A batting average of .368 is not the same as .314.

Really? I thought they were the exact same!

Of course... you also ignore the fact that Hoffpauir currently has a .365 BABIP in AAA. That is not sustainable.

I'm not so sure we'll see him in September.

Wanna' put money on it?

What's the point? He's not even the right callup if you just want someone to steal bases.

Well... being that he is probably the best defensive outfielder in the Cubs system, and better than anyone on the active roster, base running wouldn't be all he is good for.

And stealing bases is not the only aspect of base running.

anybody else hoping for a cardinal sweep this week

Yes, go Cardinals!

~throws up in mouth~

We have to root for the Cardinals. The Brewers' schedule is much, much easier than the Cubs' from here on out. I like being in first, but five games is just not that much.


--these two games are the last time the Cardinals and the Brewers play each other this year

--the Cubs will play a total of 5 more games against below .500 teams this year

--the Cubs play over a third of their remaining games against Milwaukee and St. Louis

--while the Cubs have had a great August so far (16-5), the Brewers have kept pace (17-6)

Here's the rest of the schedule as of today:


31 games left (18 away, 13 home)

2 @ PITT, 4 PHI, 3 HOU, 3 @ CIN, 3 @ STL, 3 @ HOU, 3 MIL, 3 STL, 4 @ NY, 3 @ MIL

Games against above .500 teams (26):

4 PHI, 3 HOU, 3 @ STL, 3 @ HOU, 3 MIL, 3 STL, 4 @ NY, 3 @ MIL

Games against below .500 teams (5):

2 @ PITT, 3 @ CIN


31 games left (15 away, 16 home)

2 @ STL, 3 @ PITT, 3 NY, 4 SD, 3 CIN, 4 @ PHI, 3 @ CUBS, 3 @ CIN, 3 PITT, 3 CUBS

Games against above .500 teams (15):

2 @ STL, 3 NY, 4 @ PHI, 3 @ CUBS, 3 CUBS

Games against below .500 teams (16):

3 @ PITT, 4 SD, 3 CIN, 3 @ CIN, 3 PITT


30 games left (15 away, 15 home)

2 MIL, 3 @ HOU, 3 @ ARI, 3 FLA, 3 CUBS, 3 @ PITT, 3 @ CIN, 3 @ CUBS, 4 ARI, 3 CIN

Games against above .500 teams (21):

2 MIL, 3 @ HOU, 3 @ ARI, 3 FLA, 3 CUBS, 3 @ CUBS, 4 ARI

Games against below .500 teams (9):

3 @ PITT, 3 @ CIN, 3 CIN

Makes me wish we had about a 12 game lead right now.

Recent comments

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  • I love arriving here first thing in the morning, adding a few moronic posts (moranic for any Cardinals fans who may be trolling), and reading the sage posts of all you guys. Most knowledgeable fans on any forum, by far. So post like crazy today and help give TCR some visibility!

    I told my wife last night that I'm going to need a support system for tonight's game. Tonight is going to be a lot harder on me than it is going to be on these rookie bad asses.

  • James Russell elected free agency.

  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason.