Game 144 Thread / Cubs @ Cardinals (1 of 3)

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SP Ryan Dempster SP Kyle Lohse

15-6, 2.99, 167 K, 72 BB, 183.2 IP
13-6, 3.76, 106 K, 44 BB, 182 IP
       
LF Alfonso Soriano CF *Skip Schumaker
2B *Mike Fontenot 3B Troy Glaus
1B Derrek Lee 1B Albert Pujols
3B Aramis Ramirez RF Ryan Ludwick
RF Mark DeRosa LF *Rick Ankiel
CF *Jim Edmonds C Yadier Molina
C Geovany Soto 2B #Felipe Lopez
SS Ronny Cedeno P Kyle Lohse
P Ryan Dempster SS Cesar Izturis

 

The Cubs and the Cardinals meet in the first of three at Busch and the first of six matchups between now and the end of the season. The Cubs lead the season series, 5-4, and have won 10 of their last 15 in St. Louis.

Dempster won his only start this year against the Cardinals, allowing 2 ER over 6 2/3 in a 6-2 Cub victory in early August. Lohse is 0-1, 6.92 in a pair of starts this season vs. the Cubs, but is otherwise having a fine year, producing more ground balls, yielding fewer long balls, and allowing fewer walks than at virtually any other point in his MLB career.

By Baseball Prospectus's reckoning, the Cubs, 4 1/2 games up on Milwaukee, enter play with an 88.8% likelihood of winning the division, 10.3% chance of winning the Wild Card, and a 99.1% overall likelihood of reaching the post-season. The Cardinals, 9 games back of the Cubs and 4 1/2 behind the Wild Card-leading Brewers, come in at .2% / 4.5% / 4.7%. In other words, deprived of greater glory, Cardinal fans may realize no more significant joy in these last few weeks than seeing their heroes get in the way of a Cubs celebration.

Every time the Cubs and Cards meet and I enter the batting orders, I stumble as I remember to enter the St. Louis pitcher in the eighth spot. That led me to look up a few team season stats. First, what kind of production the Cubs and Cardinals are getting from their respective #8 hitters:

  AVG
OBP
SLG
OPS
 HR  RBI
Cubs 8th-place hitters .300 .362 .442 804 12 79
Cards 8th-place hitters .196 .247 .292 539  8  51

 

Then from the #9 hole:

  AVG
OBP
SLG
OPS
HR
RBI
Cubs 9th-place hitters .231 .271 .340 611  10  60
Cards 9th-place hitters .266 .322 .323 645  2  34

The Cubs' #8 numbers have been helped by the fine season they have received from Reed Johnson. The Cubs #9 numbers reflect an offensively outstanding pitching staff (thank you, Carlos Zambrano!), one that's 105 OPS points better than the next best-hitting group of pitchers, which happens to belong to St. Louis.

And the Cardinals' production from the 9th place? That right there is what you call the handiwork of a former Chicago Cub, one Cesar Izturis.


Rob G: Just a little roster note that Felix Pie and Randy Wells will be joining the team. To make room for Wells on the roster, the Cubs have moved Jon Lieber to the 60-day DL.

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Comments

I predict...Ronnie Cedeno will go out to his SS position riding a horse (that he recently fell off of), after Lou says to him, "git right back on that horse"

or else Theriot is still having dizzy spells.

I predict Ronny Cedeno will hit a home run.

With the lineup change can we make that a pinch hit home run?

love that "batting the pitcher 8th" crap...when its not the cubs.

walk lopez (if an issue...and he's gonna see more walks rather than hits if they keep hitting him #7) and set up the double play with the 2 pieces of crap following...esp. the #8 piece of crap.

lopez isnt a beast but its nice to have the bat taken out of his hand or not having to pitch to him seriously early in the game.

7-1 in the 2nd...

Dempster for the stop - hey, ho, let's go!

Theriot recovered and starts, bats 2nd

Fontenot bats 8th

Cedeno back in the doghouse's little bench but pockets the horseshoe.

Glaus out after his first at bat after a checked swing...injury is being called a shoulder strain

Miles in at 2B, Lopes moves to 3B.

seems like ARam's sense of smell has improved...he's smelling RBI's again.

Nice single in the 3rd on an outside pitch he took to RF scoring Riot after his one out triple

off topic...

Konerko taken out after slipping on a throw to 2nd injuring his right knee, left in obvious pain being helped off by two others. Looked like a possible ligament sprain to me. (overheard as they put him on the stretcher: "put him on the board...")

just kidding, no stretcher.

Win the Florida State League championship with a 7 - 3 victory of Fort Meyers.

overheard on Brewer's telecast in reference to a quote by the brewers manager...

"That's one of those Ned Yost-isms."

sac fly by CPat (out of the leadoff spot), 1-1

does that qualify as an oxymoron, albeit with a positive outcome?

Encarnacion 2 run BOMB, followed back to back by Jay Bruce off Suppan...knocking him out of the game.

4-1 Reds, 6th

the second replay was used in the Houston-Pirate game on a Pence 2 run double in the 6th. apparently replay agreed with the original call.

I get this very distinct feeling with this team that when they blow the lead to go to extras, they will lose.

This team needs to learn how to win quickly. Even if we get into the playoffs, if they play like this they will be out soon.

I was at the game Sunday when Cabrera was us with first base open in teh 9th. Same situation tonight, with 1st open why not walk Izturis and set up teh force at home or teh DP? I understand wanting to pitch to Izturis and not Shumaker, but we would have had the force at home OR been at DP depth and turned two tonight...just don't get it i guess

This is just bad, bad, baseball.
Can someone please tell me why Soto was bunting in the 8th?
1 hit in 4 innings against a weak relief pitching staff.

This is no fun.

Ugh. I'm not visiting any Cubs blog until they win again. This just makes me miserable. I'll pretend they just didn't play today.

Dear Cubs,

I am not a panicky idiot, a curse alchemist, or an arrogant fan. I really do not think I am asking for much here. Win a damn game please.

Unhappily,
Pell Mell

Get out the video cameras, folks -- you are witnessing something epic, that will blow 1969 out of the water. You will tell you grandkids about this September.

I have lost count, but that's at leat 3 last AB losses in this 9-game stretch.

And the Reds blow a base3s loaded 1 out opportunity in the top of the 9th.

So the Cubs were up 3-0 and the Cards tied it on a 3-run homer by Asshols. The Brewers were down 4-1 and tied it on a Durham 3-run homer.

I think Green Day put it best when they sang, "wake me up when September ends."

The Reds blow a 4-1 lead by gving up 3 runs on one hit, then don't score after loading the bases with one out in the 8th.

Time to go to bed -- this has been another lousy night.

I don't get why Lou doesn't set up force plays with the winnign run at third -- why the hell not?

Anybody see Soto's reaction after bunting into a DP -- violently slammed his helmet down in the dugout. They are clearly feeling the pressure.

Sigh....

By the way -- what's Houston's magic number?

10 to eliminate houston from the division (I think it was 12 ten days ago)
11 to eliminate Cardinals from the divsion
11 to stay ahead of the Phils.

11 to clinch a playoff spot (But now need cards and phils to lose to gain)

This team has just lost its mojo :( hopefully they can find it again at some point. I was really surprised that Marmol was going to go 2, I have a distinct feeling that Lou has lost confidence in every other pitcher in the pen.

On a brighter note..haven't some of the recent world series champions basically backed into the playoffs?

Maybe we can join that club?

I'm still not concerned (Yet) about the Cubs making the playoffs. But these are the games that were consitantly breaking the Cubs way while they were rolling. The team just looks tight all around, hitting, pitching and managing and that's not good. Offense still blowing way too many opportunities and leaving leadoff hitters on base.

Soriano's great game the other night is masking a pretty bad offesnive slump...and that seems to set the tone for the team.

Still, am I the only one completely flabergasted that Soto was bunting in the 8th? I don't get that at all.

OK -- what am I missing?

Two games in a row -- runners on 2nd and 3rd, one out, winning run at 3rd --- why the F*CK doesn't Lou walk the next guy to set up either a DP or a force at home?

It makess absolutely no sense.

If this team doesn't make the playoffs -- I'm done.

Frustrating!

so just how many sacrifice bunts does soto have this year?
that was the game right there
hell he could of grounded into dp but bunt into one

soriano is a completely different story
mr all or nothing?

1) Lou definitely the one making mental errors in this game. Did anyone mention that Soto has zero sacrifice bunts all year and Lou asks him to do the one thing he's NOT GOOD at?

2) And interestingly enough, no player has yet called a team meeting.

3) Phillies and the Brewers have taken ZERO advantage of this slump and continue to reduce the Cubs magic numbers.

It's make or break time. If the Cubs can pull out of this adversity then that sets them up for a fine playoff run. Keep your heads up fellas and hope for the best.

LOU is a mental error. Its not funny to see a ballclub like this unable to execute and Lou has no idea of who to turn to in the lineup.As I stated before, complacency has set in and no answers are available. Mr Hendry would not spend money or make any trades for extra security in September.Yes we are still standing pat waiting for a hero,Jim. REMEMBERING 1969.

What trades should have been made?

CIN takes a 5-4 lead over MIL in the top 11th

gives the Reds the lead in the 11th...

Lou on the postgame reporter session was angry and said "we just gotta kick some ass"

if nothing, he's entertaining

btw, the run was on a CPat double and a Brandon Phillips single after an intentional walk to Votto.

final 5-4 in milwaukee

bless you Francisco Cordero

the Cubs just might touch the finish line with their ass facing forward

Magic Number for division 14, amazing to still have a 4 1/2 game lead after losing 8 of 9

Rob has 15 under the L. Which one is right?

give me a chance to update next time.

I'm fast, but not that fast.

you need lessons from John Turturro:

"I'm berry berry isnicky, ser"

Go back a day or 2 in the threads.There's your answers. What I just read on ESPN in yesterdays comments from LOU was that he was not to concerned about the Cubs slump. Now tonites comments state just the opposite. See ESPN'S STORY OF A MORE CONCERNED LOU. Talk about a turn around.

DO you have a link for the ESPN STORY OF A MORE CONCERNED LOU?

can't find it . . .

chicken little probably means some of the quotes in the game recap

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=2809091...

Brewers 2-7 on homestand.
If I was them, I'd start rooting for the Cubs.
3.0 ahead of Philly
3.5 ahead of STL
4.0 ahead of Houston

Astros are 4 games out of the playoffs. That's completely nuts.
Gained 7 games on Milwaukee since 9/26.

I was saving this for the playoffs, but now looks like a good time as any:

WE NEED Ne!f!

Well, we might just Cardinal this season, backing into the playoffs. Here's hoping Soriano pulls off one of his streaks when it matters. That man frustrates the hell out of me.

When's Z pitching?

Honestly the whole reason the Cubs are struggling is because of losing Zambrano. He's been ineffective since early August and they hung in there. But eventually it wears on a team when their ace doesn't have his presence every 5 days. Throw in Harden taking a break and it just put a lot of pressure on the ballclub. Dempster has more pressure on him instead of thriving on being in Z's shadow, etc. It trickles down to them all.

Pressure to score runs builds and people stop hitting. Mojo gone.

They probably will make the playoffs -- but it all comes down to Z as to how well they play in late September and whether they'll have a run in October. Z is a guy when he is strong who thrives on the big game. Those guys are rare and effect the whole team.

We'll see.

It's interesting theory but I don't think it's accurate. The Cubs were actually playing well when Z was stinking it up, and Marshall has pitched better than he did (in August).

Don't see what Zambrano's struggles have to do with the LOB totals over the last 10 days.

In the 7th and 8th, you have your choice of pitchers. In the 9th, you have to give the ball to your closer. Make it Wood. He's just better. He can pitch the last two innings once in a while.

Marmol is changing my mind on the importance of the closer. Three outs from a win, why give the ball to your #2 reliever?

Bottom line, Marmol has just never had good radar on his fastball.

LOL.

Comment of the day.

Blum hit a two-run bomb off Wood in his second inning of relief last week. It was a first-pitch 92 mph fastball.

Marmol gave up a first-pitch bomb this past week but at least he threw it 95, and the runs didn't matter.

Marmol has a much better ERA (2.69 to 3.26) and a better WHIP. He has thrown more innings and had to clean up other people's messes.

I would say 9 out of 10 baseball people would say Marmol is better, but I'm bucking Cub-fan nostalgia here.

So it's better to give up a homer when the pitch was 95 than when the pitch was 92? That makes perfect sense. Too bad Koyie Hill wasn't catching Woody. Then Blum's homer would have been tolerable at 97 and the one Marmol gave up would have been down right pleasant at 100.

This team isn't just retarded, they're Palin baby retarded.

WYF??

One word: Parachat.

what happens in parachat...should probably stay in parachat next time.

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Your consternation is giving me a rash.

Nice...You stay classy Mr. Whipple.

What's the problem? Did that joke make my ass look fat?

we could be Brewers or Diamondbacks fans right now...

The Cubs were doing fine without Z. What's killing them is their lack of offense. Marshall pitched as well as you could possibly hope Z would have on Sunday and they lost. Dempster only gives up three tonight and doesn't get a win. They need to start scoring 4, 5 and 6 a game or they're just asking too much of the starters and what's left of the middle relief.

I don't think you're getting my point. Obviously they were doing fine without Z.

But September is a different thing entirely. This is when you need your true anchors, your Josh Beckett's and the like. Z kept the team loose because he absorbed pressure (loved it) and that enables people to thrive. Offenses play looser, other pitchers are able to thrive in a less pressure filled setting etc etc etc.

I felt the pressure mounting with each of Z's poor starts. I'm sure some others did too. The real swagger comes from players like him who free up others to do their job. And in september it's all pressure.

To say that the club can win without him is a bit short sighted I believe. They can be average without him but not dominant.

Also I believe there is some element of rediscovering how to win with grit that is coming back around on them now. They didn't have to for the whole third quarter of the season. Things just kind of fell their way. This actually might not be a bad thing though. Some battle testing right now could actually serve them well in the playoffs but they need Z back and the ship has to be righted probably within ten days or so.

While it certainly doesn't help that Z started sucking in Early August...I couldn't disagree with you more strongly as to it being the #1 reason for this swoon.

Quite simply, the offense went dead. There is no way you can blame that all on Z. Lee has zero power, Aram hasn't had much...Soriano is in a pretty major slump outside of his one brilliant game. Starting pitching is keeping them in the ball game, but the offense that was so spectacular for so long just can't get it together.

Cubs lack of offense is what's causing them to tighten up at the plate over an extended period...not the lack of Z.

I can see that you still totally missed jimmer's point. He's NOT blaming Z for the team's bad play. What he is saying is that the "loss" of Z has led to a domino effect of bad things happening culminating in 8 of 9 losses.

It's actually not a bad assessment at what is the root of the problem. Losing games is just a symptom. Losing confidence due to increased pressure to overcome the absence of Z could possibly be the cause.

I'll say it again: Z is NOT being blamed for the losses, but rather how the rest of the team have reacted to his absence.

Losing games is just a symptom. Losing confidence due to increased pressure to overcome the absence of Z could possibly be the cause.

I'm not buying it. Whenever this kind of slump happens, people start talking about "grit" and "swagger" and "confidence" -- or lack thereof -- rather than objective factors. I have a friend who claims to just know that Derrek Lee is not a good leader or a confident player, and therefore will neither regain his power stroke nor ultimately be an effective component of the team going forward. How does he know this? Lee just "looks mopey" on the field. In my own low moments, I envision all sorts of media-stoked drama, reporters so in love with the curse story that they repeat it over and over to the players, getting inside the players' heads and leading to DOOOOOM....

We talk this way as a way of expressing our despair, but we can't ever really know the things we profess to observe. Did Dempster give up the bomb to Pujols because he was heartsick over the team's prospects without Z, or did he (or Lou) just make a decision to pitch to one of the game's best hitters with a base open? The ultimate result stinks, sure, but I can't agree that the cause was that the team shares my dread.

If you're not "buying" it, then I'm guessing that you don't believe that what is on the inside of a person affects what happens to him/her on the outside?

Take Rich Hill for example. The guy obviously has all the talent and skill to be a solid major league pitcher. These are "objective" or observable qualities. Then how come he isn't on this roster pitching in Chicago? Don't even try to mention injury either cos he was gone long before he got hurt. There is obviously something wrong "inside" of him that is affecting his outward play.

That is what I am saying is the root of the Cubs problems. Bad play is the symptom (observable). Bad confidence, emotions, or mental distractions, etc. is the cause (hidden).

Hill isn't pitching because they changed his delivery to reduce steals and he couldn't pitch effectively with the the new delivery.

Soriano isn't hitting because he goes into major slumps. Always has, always will. Lee isn't hitting for power because he hasn't since the beginning of the season. Good AVG, not many HRs. Yes, tightness, lack of confidence does make a difference and I'm sure the players have it right now, but players also just go on slumps. Some of the slumping started before anything happened to Z.

My rankings of the reasons for the Cubs ill fortunes as of late.

1. Offense
2. Relief Pitching
3. Unstable Rotation

If the Cubs hit like they did Apr-Aug, any of our pitching problems would be minor blips.

Yeah, it's the offense at No. 1. It got hot outside, the team stopped trying to manufacture runs with line drives and BBs, Kosuke fell off the table, now it's cooled down again and the Cubs are marking less runs than 2008 Jesse Owens.

Piniella: You've got to stay aggressive. You've got to do the things that you've done all year.

Like having Soto attempt a sacrifice bunt?

The Cubs will be alright... they're just having some problems with pitching, offense, and defense. That's all.

You left out "manager".

2nd and 3rd, one out, winning run at third. Don't walk the next hitter to set up a DP or force at the plate; lose on a tag play at the plate. Gosh, who could have seen that coming?

I'm a Lou fan, but he has made the exact same basic mistake two games in a row. Can't predict how it would have turned out, but he is not putting his team in a position to win (or at least avoid losing).

"This team isn't just retarded, they're Palin baby retarded."

That comment is way beyond the pale - and a hearty FU to you as well, asshole.

The idea that the Cubs' offense went in the toilet because the players had a growing apprehension after watching Z stink up the second half is a novel one. I do not think Lee, Soriano and Ramirez would hit the ball farther nor Fukudome and Edmonds more often if Z had pitched up to his capabilities.

I think the Cubs have scored more than 3 runs twice during this swoon. As I said, if they don't start scoring over four or five a game, nothing's going to save them.

"The idea that the Cubs' offense went in the toilet because the players had a growing apprehension after watching Z stink up the second half is a novel one."

Of course you're oversimplifying. Z's bad pitching may not be the direct cause for the offense tanking, but you cannot ignore the fact that when your "ace" isn't performing like he should be that it detracts from overall team confidence. When something is bothering you on the inside, it can affect your performance.

lack of confidence ==> bad play ==> more lack of confidence ==> more bad play

That is what I see: a vicious cycle that needs to be broken

The team is up 8 in the loss column for a playoff spot with 18 games to play. I don't even think the Cubs can screw that one up. While it would be nice to have the Cubs playing good going into the playoffs, the thing I am most worried about is the health of Z and Harden. If they are healthy and able to pitch well, I will take my chances. But I do agree with many here, the offense does worry me.

I agree with 10man obviously.

But this isn't rocket science guys. What is at the heart of a team going flat dead after a season of domination?

Maybe Fatigue? Other than that when many players start playing from their weakness all at once for a significant amount of time you can usually relate it to something psychological or at least intangible.

As far as Z, something has obviously been wrong with him since early August. He pulled himself (strangely) out of a game after 5 innings in early August well before his reported injury. Does anyone recall Z being the type of player who would pull himself out so early with a lead? It was VERY STRANGE actually and he said something along the lines of "that's all I had in the tank". THAT IS NOT THE ZAMBRANO WE ALL KNOW?

After that several weeks of getting dominated by other teams. Then an actual MRI.

I'll skip completely rehashing what 10man and I are saying, but how can you argue that a team's confidence and performance are not effected by losing their ace and emotional leaning post?

That's why they call them STOPPERS folks. No stopper? You're vulnerable to extended bad streaks and then pressures build and VOILA! here we are . . .

Yes. Something has obviously been wrong with Z starting in August.
And the Cubs went something like 20-8 in August.

I absolutely think losing your ace hurts you. Of course it does. But there is absolutely no rationale reason you can look at this team and say they are 1-8 over the last 2 weeks because Z is injured. Lee lost his power stroke in June. Fukudome lost any concept of the plate beginning in May. Aram has been in a fairly extended slump with his first RBI's in a week last night, and Soriano is in a funk.

Bottom line, the offense was covering up these slumps earlier with the fact that DeRosa and Theriot and others were picking up the slack for the big guys. Now that they've cooled off a bit, the holes in the offense are exposed. This is not caussed by Z being gone.

You are making an argument of convienance as you are completely ignoring all stats and data that doesn't support you (How well they did in August when Z sucked) and then isolating some information from one bad stretch...and blming it on our pitching...which has simply NOT been the problem.

I get your point. I get you think there is a psychological effect with having your #1 pitcher out. Sure, I think it has some effect on your team...but I think you are completely and totally off the mark in how much you are putting on Z to explain this funk.

I get your point. I simply think it's very, very, wrong.

The Cubs will make it into the playoffs, barely.

Then, we will all get the same results. One and done.

Sorry - but all indications are not pointing up anymore in my view. The Cubs have never been a team that "turns on the switch" when they ned to, and it is obvious that we really do not have a true superstar the likes of an Albert Poo-holes.

It has been a fun year at the park for me personally, going 17-2 in my games this year. Many awesome games - including the Colorado-come-from-behind (with CUBSTER)

However, I am afraid that I am seeing a movie I have seen too many times before.

It sickens my stomach, but there is nothing we can do. Its another "wait 'til next year" brewing.

Well, they've got 18 more games to get hot again. Better to be cold now rather than later, I suppose. The playoffs haven't started yet.

Like (the surprisingly optimistic) Manny said, I'm more concerned with Zambie and Harden's health. If they're ok/recover, then we should be ok.

I'll get worried two weeks from now if they still suck.

I will mark this down right next to your prediction that Fukudome would outplay Theriot in September. Hopefully your predictive powers remain consistent. Or maybe there is still time for both of your predictions to reverse, with perhaps the realization of the first contributing to the downfall of the second.

Burn!

That must be someone else.

I do not recall saying that.

It was me. When you live in a world of angst, I guess it's easy to confuse us.

Theriot is hitting .250 .314 .344 .658 for September, trade a couple of singles for a triple and that's pretty much what I predicted. He's also striking out more and more as the season wears on, which explains his dropping BA.

Fukudome, sadly, is scuffling along at .143 .250 .143, but he's only had three starts, so hopefully a 3-4 tonight will get him going. That would put him at .278 .350. Sample size, it's a wonderful thing.

I try very hard to find flaws with this team and I just don't see any--with the possible exceptions of a lack of speed and a disinclination to play smallball. Aaron miles drag bunts to set up Pujols, who hits a bomb. We don't do that. Theriot never tries to bunt for a hit. Soriano shouldn't, but Theriot should, since it's only going to be single anyway. And everybody except Theriot is trying to be Pujols.

But that's a quibble. Lou likes them to swing away. Most days, we score runs in bunches in three different innings and we don't have to scratch for runs. We're just cold right now. It's bound to change fairly soon.

(I would like to see more Reed Johnson and less Edmonds.)

Miles has a .353 OBP and Theriot a .386. If we had Pujols as our #3 hitter, Theriot's little things would look a lot better too.

Come one Neal... you should know that a .353 OBP is better as long as the player drag bunts sometimes.

Who wants an extra 30 points in OBP anyway?

We want bunts, DAMNIT!

LOL from Pittsburgh- I am listening to Chicago radio WGN online which is the “voice of the first place Chicago Cubs” as they’ve been saying all summer in their tag line. Maybe they are the jinx.

Now when they are running promotional spots for the upcoming Cubs games, they are running background music “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” under clips of all of the agonized groans of Ron Santo from these recent horrible baseball losses. “GEE WHIZ!!....Can you believe it?...UUUGGHH!!!....I just don’t understand…..Gosh Darn it!!!.....HOW CAN THIS BE?” etc

Comedy Gold.

Ain't it great to be a longtime cub fan? All this anxiety and suffering is worth it. Nobody else can parallel the extraordinary effort we go thru every year to ultimately end in disappointment. Everybody even at this moment still thinks the Cubbies can pull thru.Holy mackerrel! GO CUBS GO,
GO CUBS GO............

To be honest I'm not always sure if it is great.

I'm don't know how "All this anxiety and suffering is worth it." leads to: "the extraordinary effort we go thru every year to ultimately end in disappointment."

But I love the Cubs and hope for it to end well some day. To be honest, I think the Cubs can pull through, but haven't believed they will for a long time.

But, hey, that's just me.

Joe-

One example of why it's great. My (then) 10-year old son and I were hiking in Colorado. As usual, he was wearing a Cubs T-shirt and hat. Every single person we passed either said "Go Cubs!", gave him a high-five or a smile and a thumb's up, or something similar.

That doesn't happen if you are wearing a Reds or Diamondbacks hat.

Not to get too sappy, but it's a big family, and it's something special.

Now.....let's win some damn baseball games.

I agree to some extent. Being a fan is the reward and all that. But I want a friggin' payout. I watch baseball because I enjoy it...not just for the wins, but I'm really needing a win this year.

JHJ just hit a three run HR.

Reds 3 - Brewers 1

Top of the fifth.

Surprises don't usually last forever:

- Fukudome was an on-base machine
- Edmonds discovered the fountain of youth
- DeRo became a power hitter
- the pitchers were all healthy
- Samardzija was an unhittable phenom

None of these 5 factors was likely to be sustainable. Fukky and Shark were new to the league, the league now realizes Edmonds can't pull the ball any more, pitchers always get hurt and DeRo didn't suddenly become a 25+ HR power hitter. Dempster is the only surprise that has really lasted.

The Cubs are back to what we thought they were going to be before the season -- a good 85-90 win team with some holes, and in need of Z to pitch like a Cy Young candidate. If Z and Harden are healthy and tuned up for the playoffs, this could be a real good team. If not, well, then...

One the one hand -- if they make the playoffs, great (obviuosly).

On the other hand -- if they miss the playoffs, we are seeing history being made.

CPat and JHJ back on my XMas card list

I sure hope Sabathia isn't getting tired from all that overuse.

Very unfunny t-shirts worn by some Cardinals fans @ Busch III last night: click here.

Fuck them.

Wow. That's, um, pretty damn racist.

Not to mention extremely hypocritical and alienating to your own team, considering there are Latino players on all teams. But hey, when you're a hick 'moran' you needn't concern yourself with such inconsistencies.

It doesn't even make sense from a racism standpoint. Isn't the stereotype that all landscapers are Mexican? Well, Z is from Venezuela.

Unfortunately, Cubs fans don't have much room to talk as I still see those "Horry Kow" shirts everywhere. Surprisingly, I've even seen them on Cubs broadcasts when they pan to the crowd to show Cubs fans at visitors' fields. I'd think the producers would have enough sense not to show those a-holes.

I have always hated David Weathers.

He alays gets the Cubs out with his crap stuff -- and now he just blew the lead in the 8th.

I hate David Weathers.

No sweat. The Reds still took 2 of 3 from the Brews and that was a big help.

I thought Cards fans were always considered the "classiest and smartest fans in the National League." But then, I only think after I listen to what Joe Buck tells me.

Dmac,

The Cardinal fans themselves will also talk about how knowledgeable and classy they are. I've never seen a more self-congratulatory group of overweight people in red shorts and tube socks in my life.

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