Game 23 Thread / Cubs @ Nationals (1 of 3)

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SP Ryan Dempster SP *Odalis Perez
  3-0, 3.00, 16K, 11 BB
0-3, 3.38, 20 K, 12 BB
CF Reed Johnson 2B #Felipe Lopez
SS Ryan Theriot SS #Cristian Guzman
1B Derrek Lee 3B Ryan Zimmerman
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Nick Johnson
RF *Kosuke Fukudome CF Lastings Milledge
LF Mark DeRosa C #Johnny Estrada
C Geovany Soto LF Wily Mo Peña
2B Ronny Cedeno RF *Rob Mackowiak
P Ryan Dempster P *Odalis Perez












WIth tonight's first-ever visit to Nationals Park, the Cubs will have played in three different cities in three different time zones, necessitating somewhere around 2,700 miles in air travel, all in a little over 72 hours. Gotta love those schedule gremlins.

Even with yesteday's loss to the Rockies, the first-place Cubs have won 8 of 10. After opening the season 3-0, the fifth-place Nationals, who needed 13 hits against the Mets on Thursday to raise their team average to .233, have lost 16 of 20.

The Cubs beat Washington in 6 of 7 games a year ago, winning 3 of 4 at RFK.

As for tonight's pitchers, the Cubs' Dempster labored through five innings and 94 pitches last Sunday against the Pirates, a game the Cubs won 13-6. Perez, the first of three lefty starters the Cubs will see in this series, hasn't hooked up with the Wrigleys since his days as a Dodger in 2004. He has also pitched well enough to win in four of his five starts, but hasn't won any.

Five runs of offensive support in 26 2/3 IP will do that to a guy.

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He wasn't laboring at all until the fifth inning when he suddenly lost his command as only Ryan Dempster can do. Took him 37 pitches to get out of the inning.

For those not watching the game, Johnson just made a highlight reel catch. One of the best I've seen this year.

That catch by Johnson was amazing. You have to see it to believe it.

However, I saw it and I still can't believe it...

well, that sucked. Theriot can't steal bases worth shit anymore. Howry is still struggling. We burned another long inning out of Marmol. And, as hard as it is to say, I would have much rather had Cedeno hit with the bases loaded. Using up Cedeno, Ward, Murton, Blanco, and Fontenot to get one RBI walk and one K seemed like a waste.

I have to admit I was a bit suprised by all that. When the bases got loaded after the IBB and Cedeno up, I thought he'd go to Fontenot since Acta would certainly go to the lefty and burn Fontenot instead of Ward there...and then go Murton. That would have left Ward for the next AB instead of Fontenot. Unless Lou thought there was a chance that Acta would have left Ayala in there...but that seemed unlikely.

Cubs seem to be finding ways to lose the last couple of games. Haven't been getting the big hit or making the big pitch/defensive play at the end of games. Oh well. It's a long season and there was bound to be some bounce back from their nice run of late. Neither loss was necessarily a poorly played game, but just a couple of wasted opportunities.

I will say, though, that it may be time to find a different answer on the bench than Little Lord Fontenot, at least for the time being. He's not really giving them what they need. He's not a good glove guy and he's drawn 1 walk so far in almost 40 PA's. He looks very unsettled at the plate and it really seems to be wearing on him. He strikes me as a good guy and I think he can be a good role player, but this team really can't wait for a bench guy to find himself. When Sori comes back, I'd let Murton hang around and send Fontenot down to find his groove.

not getting the big hits the last couple games. still opportunities, but not the big, break-it-open hit. Guess that's why we have 5 runs in 2 games.

How long will Lou stick with Fontenot on the team? He's been pretty useless -- huge K today with the bases loaded and one out in a tie game. Loved him when he was hitting .400 last year -- since then, not so much.

I agree about Fontenot. Enough. However, the vaunted Mark DeRosa has been terrible and a strike out king with bases loaded, or any key hitting situation - save for one time against the Mets so far. In fact, imo, if I never see him bat w/the bases loaded again it will be too soon.

Recent comments

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  • 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. 

  • 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?

  • AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?

  • Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.

  • AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.

  • I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.

    But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.

  • Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.

    Jason deGrom -- oh, my.

  • Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.

    Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.

  • Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.

    Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.

  • that game sounds fun as hell.

  • I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.