Welcome back, Todd!

GAME 44 PREVIEW HOUSTON ASTROS (15-30) at CHICAGO CUBS (21-22) Wrigley Field, 6.05pm CT, TV: ESPN, CSN
SP Greg Maddux SP Brandon Backe
CF *Orlando Palmeiro CF Jerry Hairston
RF *Todd Self SS #Neifi Perez
2B Craig Biggio 1B Derrek Lee
LF #Lance Berkman RF *Jeromy Burnitz
1B *Mike Lamb 3B Aramis Ramirez
3B Morgan Ensberg 2B *Todd Walker
SS #Jose Vizcaino LF Jason Dubois
C Brad Ausmus C Michael Barrett
Pitcher's spot Pitcher's spot
The Cubs go for their longest winning streak of the season, their first three game sweep and a return to .500, and they'll be doing so with Todd Walker back in the lineup a full six weeks after he went down injured. Onto the disabled list to make room for him goes Mike Remlinger, who protests he could start a game tomorrow. Go Cubs!


Nice breadbox strike zone there, John.

Notably missing again tonight: Corey Patterson

Potential trouble for Houston: The bottom of the Cubs batting order tonight. There's a lot of hitting ability 5-9 just waiting to explode.

Out of gas: Tonight's Astros have hit a combined 20 homeruns this season.

Gas: Greg Maddux has allowed 8 homeruns in 9 starts.

ESPN? I don't have it on ESPN...

Bill T,

It sure is being televised on ESPN tonight.

Well ****, the game isn't broadcasted in Houston :(

Gassed: Maddux issues another homerun, his 9th.
Houston 2 Cubs 1

Defensive play of the game?: MICHAEL BARRETT manages to catch a Maddux pitch that was thrown behind O Palmeiro's back. With a runner on third base he saved an important run.

If you have any questions because you can't watch, feel free to ask.

comcast is carrying game locally, if this is of any help

So Boats, I guess you're saying its a good thing Dusty didn't use the defensively superior (according to you) Henry Blanco tonight?

Thanks John Hill.

Game Note: When Maddux retired the side in the 7th he lowered his ERA below 4.00 to 3.94.

Another run saving play: This time a great stop by ARam with 1 out and a man at third. Held runner and threw batter out at first.

Game Note: Maddux gives up a run in the 8th and his ERA crosses the line back above 4.00. Wuertz allows a Maddux runner to score ...Hairston butchers it in CF.

C'est La Vie

c'est la guerre

Michael Barrett has quietly gotten his average to the .270 mark.

Man oh man, when is Aramis going to turn it on? I was hoping to see him, Prior, Zambrano, and D.Lee represent the Cubs up in Detroit. I have been thinking that Busty needs to move him back to 3rd and bat D.Lee 4 so that A-Ram can see some good pitches to hit. we've got 6 1/2 weeks til the break and in order for this team to even think about sniffing at the wildcard or division we need to have A-Ram hitting like we all know he's capable of.

We got rid of a crap .250 hitter, we dont need another-certainly not Aramis!

p.s. lets pickup Billy Wagner...not Danny Graves!!!

Like I said, I have loads more confidence in Glendon Rusch pitching well than in Maddux right now. Of course, it's a heck of a lot easier to pitch when you have something called an OFFENSE supporting you.

Jesus, Backe only threw 81 pitches through 7 innings? This is starting to become a really bad theme.

The rest of the lineup should be ashamed if Neifi Perez out hits you on any night.

*looks at Aramis Ramirez*

Dude, buddy, your turning into the craptastic 3rd baseman we hoped we were not getting from Pitt. Pick it up or else your going to understand why Sammy Sosa, he of some of the greatest offensive seasons in recent Cubs history, became public enemy #1. You don't have the career numbers to be doing this poorly and still get a free pass. So what do you say? Hit.......the.........ball?

"I have been thinking that Busty needs to move him (ARAM) back to 3rd and bat D.Lee 4 so that A-Ram can see some good pitches to hit."

Yeah, let's move a .225 hitter up in the lineup. ARAm should be batting 6 at best right now, maybe 7th until he breaks out. It seems like evertime we get a few runners on he comes up and kills the rally.

It seems like evertime we get a few runners on he comes up and kills the rally.

I'm starting to think it doesn't matter who is on this team...they will find ways to kill a rally.

Enter St. Louis Cardinals where Outtahere Molina comes up with a big basehit with two outs and the bases juiced....then another batter...then another batter....

I don't think Sosa was as much the rally killer as he was....he was just a Cub....same for Ramirez. I'm starting to think there is something to the billy goat thing.

Oh great, blame the poor ol' billy goat ... that's gruff.

Until the Cubs can learn to play small-ball and not be a bunch of free-swingin' "launch it onto Waveland" homer homers, we're stuck with a mediocre offense and an occasional big night of fireworks. The White Sox gave the Cubs a lesson in manufacturing runs, but it does not seem to have sunk in.

With the big home-run swing expect more twinged groins from A-Ram. He learned at the feet of the masters (Sammy and Moises), and it will take considerable effort to unlearn that bad habit.

Just a comment on the papers and their reporters coverage of the Cubs. All four (Daily Herald, Tribune, Sun-Times, and Daily Southtown)had stories on Patterson batting lead-off. Only the Daily Herald mentioned Pattersons poor OBP (.307 as of today). Thank God for Bruce Miles. Apparently, Paul Sullivan, Mike Kiley, and Dusty Baker are all united in their belief in "speed" and in their disdain for "Moneyball" doctrine or they just have not gotten the memo. What silly, uninformed, ridiculous coverage (particularly this going on about Maddux not getting a chance to win 15 in a row). And newspaper people wonder why people don't read papers anymore.


I've tried to draw attention here to the fact that although Dusty Baker pretends to have disdain for the media, what he really wants is control of it.
Lately, the press seems to have decided to go with Dusty's flow and let him use them to manipulate his club to his own advantage.

At first blush all those stories about CP leading off look like an attempt to convince Corey to agree to do it. But of course if the manager wants CP batting first all he has to do is pencil him in there.

So then there's the other scenario where Dusty knows that CP performs better batting at the end of the order and he wants Hendry and McPhail to get him a real leadoff man asap. Of course Hendry's answer is you already have the guy, Corey P or T Walker. So what does DB do? He feeds the media this story about how he's having trouble getting CP to go for the role and how he's "asking" Neifi how he "feels" about hitting #1 and how Todd Walker isn't able 'cause his legs are wobbly et-interminably-cetera.

It's media stories like this one that help take the heat off Dusty.

I think he's triangulating right now. The theme of all these stories (Barrett, CP, Hawkins, the AAA bullpen, Remmy) is that his team just isn't cooperating with him and his lineup is full of holes that Hendry and McPhail need to fill.

Bruce Miles has done a good job of learning about the newer aspects of baseball understanding. He reports on Will Carroll's work, for example, and doesn't come off like one of the knee-jerk reporters who has no idea why pitch counts are an issue, but freak out every time they're high.


I agree totally with you until you get to why people don't read newspapers anymore. I don't think too many of the people thought critically and decided the information in the paper wasn't up to snuff. I think most citizens of our great Republic don't read papers because if they did, it would cut into their television watching. It's hard to see that giant screen with a newspaper in front of your face.

Re: Remlinger

Did anyone else notice that when Dusty needed to clear a spot on the active roster he went to the media with the story that Remmy's arm wasn't well?
Remlinger denied it, said he was healthy. But somehow it got back to Dusty that Remlinger had hurt a finger in the locker room. Caught it in a chair. So what does DB do?

He shakes Remmy's hand. The one with suspect finger. He squeezes so hard that Remmy yelps.

Voila! One broken finger. Remlinger is on the DL.

We'll never know what broke the finger. The chair in the locker room or Dusty's handshake.

Don't trusty Dusty if he needs you on the DL.

Bluewater -- I thought the same damn thing when I read that. I was just waiting for TCR's "This Week in Quotes". "I squeezed it real hard. Got an 'ouch'." It was as if Remmy owed him money, and this was his warning shot. Why not Macias while he's at it? Or Enrique?

i think dusty will next take a baseball bat to nomar's groin to test if it really hurts ... and maybe kick walker in the knee to make sure he's ok ...

Remlinger's reason for going on Dl-
Old and bad

I've always assumed that newspaper readership is going down for a simple reason - why buy a newspaper when you can get the same content off of said newspapers website for free?

So is the world ending and Perez is batting leadoff now?

Ever seen the Simpson's episode where Homer is screaming every second? That is what happened to me when I saw Perez batting #1.

Ahhhhhh! Ahhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh!
Ahhhhhh! Ahhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh!
Ahhhhhh! Ahhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh!
Ahhhhhh! Ahhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh!
Ahhhhhh! Ahhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh!
Ahhhhhh! Ahhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh!
Ahhhhhh! Ahhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh!

We need a way to register poster names on here. This happens too often.

Recent comments

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  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.

  • I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.

  • One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players. 

  • CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis  at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely. 

  • Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.

  • As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?