The Dodgers are just piling on now. Greg Maddux was scheduled to pitch today's game but was pushed back so he can face the Padres this weekend, them being the Dodgers closest competition in the NL West race. Instead they give Hong-Chih Kuo his second major league start. Someone must have gotten the scouting report to Grady Little that the Cubs can't hit the newbies. If you have time to pick him up in your fantasy league, he's a good bet to throw a gem today. The Cubs were officially eliminated from the post-season last night. They did pick up a game on the Royals in the race for the top draft pick, trailing them by a mere 2 games with the D-Rays only a game and half behind the Royals for the top stop. Here's the schedule breakdown for the 3 teams: Royals: (Home - 9): Mariners (4), Angels (2), Tigers (3) (Away -7): Twins (4), Tigers (3) D'Rays: (Home - 7): Orioles (3), Yankees (4) (Away -10): Yankees (1), Blue Jays (3), Red Sox (2), Indians (4) Cubs: (Home - 9): Dodgers (1), Reds (3), Breweres (2), Rockies (3) (Away - 7): Phillies (3), Reds (4) Who said this September won't be exciting? Sure, I'd rather see 16 straight gems from our starting staff, but on the other hand it's pretty tough to completely screw up the first pick in the draft, Matt Bush and Brien Taylor notwithstanding. GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-SEVEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] LOS ANGELES DODGERS (77-68 (Div) 1st - 0 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (58-88 (Draft) 3rd - 2 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:20 pm CDT Weather: Sunny, 71 degrees, Wind in from CF @ 9 mph TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 188
Wade Miller, RHP 0-1, 12.00 ERA, 3 IP 3 K, 5 BB, 2 HR 385/556/846 againstHong-Chih Kuo, LHP 1-4, 4.46 ERA, 36.1 IP 43 K, 29 BB, 2 HR 223/366/338 against

#Rafael Furcal, SS *Kenny Lofton, CF Nomar Garciaparra, SS #J.D. Drew, RF Jeff Kent, 2B #Wilson Betemit, 3B *Marlon Anderson, LF Russ Martin, C *Hong-Chih Kuo, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Derrek Lee, 1B Matt Murton, LF #Angel Pagan, RF Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS Wade Miller, P

Dodgers vs. Miller: J.D. Drew: 3-23, 130/310/261, 8 K, 6 BB, 1 HR Kenny Lofton: 8-22, 364 /440/545, 1 HR, 1 2B Marlon Anderson: 6-19, 316/364/368 Rafael Furcal: 2-14, 143 /368 /357, 3 K, 5 BB, 1 HR Jeff Kent: 5-12, 417/417/583, 2 K, 0 BB, 2 2B Cubs vs. Kuo: No Cubs with more than 10 AB's
We can really stop giving Blanco just about every start. At least split time with Reyes and Soto.
Glendon Rusch has taken his fair share of criticism over the year for his apparent lack of off-season conditioning as well as being one of the worst pitchers in baseball. But today we learn of some very somber news, that Rusch will miss the rest of the season with a blood clot in his right lung. As Dusty points out in the Trib article, it's the second time this has happened to a Cubs player this year, the first being Freddie Bynum who missed two months of the season dealing with it. I don't know enough about blood clots to tell anyone whether one in the arm or one in the lungs is more serious than the other, but it's definitely serious business, trainer Mark O'Neal even stating that it could be life-threatening. Here's to a full and speedy recovery to Glendon and best wishes to his family. As for the Cubs, they got eliminated from the NL central crown some time over the last couple of days and a Padre win, coupled with a Cubs loss should eliminate them from the wild card. GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-SIX IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] LOS ANGELES DODGERS (76-68 (Div) 1st - 0 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (58-87 (Draft) 3rd - 3 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, 64 degrees, Wind from L to R @ 13 mph TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 188
Angel Guzman, RHP 0-5, 7.53 ERA, 49 IP 57 K, 30 BB, 8 HR 303/406/492 againstBrad Penny, RHP 15-8, 4.21 ERA, 171 IP 126 K, 48 BB, 17 HR 271/326/421 against

#Rafael Furcal, SS *Kenny Lofton, CF Nomar Garciaparra, SS #J.D. Drew, RF Jeff Kent, 2B #Wilson Betemit, 3B *Marlon Anderson, LF Russ Martin, C Brad Penny, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF *John Mabry, 1B #Cesar Izturis, SS Henry Blanco, C Angel Guzman, P

Dodgers vs. Guzman: No Dodgers have ever faced Guzman Cubs vs. Penny: Juan Pierre: 7-19, 368/455/474, 3 K, 3 BB, 2 2B Aramis Ramirez: 7-18, 389/389/444, 1 2B
Can we make it a rule that Scott Moore gets to start at 1B on the days Lee sits?
The Dodgers have done a fine job through Paul Depodesta and Ned Colletti of acquiring a bunch of players the Cubs should have had over the last two years including: Rafael Furcal Nomar Garciaparra J.D. Drew Derek Lowe Wilson Betemit Kenny Lofton Okay, I'm stretching a bit especially on Derek Lowe since the Cubs weren't really looking to acquire a starting pitcher last year but the point remains that I like the Dodgers pickups of the past few seasons a lot more than I like the Cubs pickups. I also like the Dodgers record this year a lot more than the Cubs record. GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-FIVE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] LOS ANGELES DODGERS (76-67 (Div) 1st - 0 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (57-87 (Draft) 2nd - 3 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Overcast, 66 degrees, Wind From L to R @ 13 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 742 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Sean Marshall, LHP 5-9, 5.27 ERA, 112.2 IP 69 K, 50 BB, 17 HR 266/350/435 againstDerek Lowe, RHP 14-8, 3.64 ERA, 193 IP 105 K, 49 BB, 13 HR 254/304/353 against

#Rafael Furcal, SS Julio Lugo, 3B Nomar Garciaparra, SS #J.D. Drew, RF Jeff Kent, 2B *Andre Ethier, LF Matt Kemp, CF Russ Martin, C Derek Lowe, P *Juan Pierre, CF *Freddie Bynum, 2B Derrek Lee, 1B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF *Scott Moore, 3B Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS *Sean Marshalll, P

Dodgers vs. Marshall: No Dodgers with more than 10 AB's Cubs vs. Lowe: Jacque Jones: 8-23, 348 ./348/522, 6 K, 0 BB, 3 XBH Juan Pierre: 2-16, 125/176/125 Derrek Lee: 7-14, 500/533/714, 6 K, 1 BB, 1 HR John Mabry: 3-10, 300/364/700, 4 K, 1 BB, 1 HR, 1 2B
Yeah my bad on yesterday's headline, didn't realize this was a Friday to Monday four game series. Of course the premise still applies for today. Good news is three weeks from today, you'll wake up without having to worry about how the Cubs will embarrass themselves on the field that day. Instead it will be how they'll embarrass themselves in the front office. At least we're giving Atlanta fans some hope. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-FOUR IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (56-87, (Draft) 2nd, 2.5 GB) AT ATLANTA BRAVES (69-73, (WC) 7th, 5 GB) Turner Field, 6:05 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 82 degrees, Wind from R to L @ 12 mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 737 Radio: WGN, XM 184
John Smoltz, RHP 12-8, 3.63 ERA, 201 IP 183 K, 45 BB, 20 HR 245/291/391 againstRich Hill, LHP 4-6, 4.83 ERA, 30 IP 21 K, 11 BB, 4 HR 317/384/488 against

*Juan Pierre, CF *Freddie Bynum, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Derrek Lee, 1B *Jacque Jones, RF #Angel Pagan, LF #Cesar Izturis, SS Henry Blanco, C *Rich Hill, P Martin Prado, 3B Marcus Giles, 2B Edgar Renteria, SS Andruw Jones, CF Jeff Francoeur, RF *Brian McCann, C Matt Diaz, LF *Daryle Ward, 1B John Smoltz, P

Cubs vs. Smoltz: Juan Pierre: 6- 24, 250/250/292 John Mabry: 6-21, 286/375/429, 1 HR Derrek Lee: 3-16, 188/235/313, 7 K, 1 BB Aramis Ramirez: 4-11, 364/364/909, 2 HR Braves vs. Hill: No Braves with more than 10 Ab's
Izturis is back and Cedeno and Theriot sit so Bynum's family can watch him play. Makes perfect sense, no?
If nothing were to change during the off-season, and if all pitchers are healthy come Spring Training, the Cubs would probably enter the 2007 season with a starting rotation consisting of Carlos Zambrano, Mark Prior, Rich Hill, Sean Marshall, and either Angel Guzman, Juan Mateo, Jae-kuk Ryu, or Ryan OíMalley. In an interview with Len Kasper on WGN-TV last week, Cubs GM Jim Hendry was talking about 2007 and mentioned the need to upgrade pitching as (obviously) something he (obviously) would be trying to do. Obviously. With Ryan Dempster, Scott Eyre, and Bob Howry signed through 2008, and with four or five younger relievers (Will Ohman, Michael Wuertz, David Aardsma, Roberto Novoa, and Carlos Marmol) already on board and another half-dozen or so possible candidates (Federico Baez, Lincoln Holdzkom, Carmen Pignatiello, Clay Rapada, Andy Shipman, and Randy Wells, plus Guzman, Mateo, Ryu, and OíMalley if they don't start) likely to compete for a spot in the pen, I would imagine when Hendry was talking about addressing pitching, he was mainly talking about adding at least one veteran established healthy starting pitcher to the rotation, or possibly two.
I'm going to go watch football. GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-THREE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (56-85, (Draft) 2nd, 2.5 GB) AT ATLANTA BRAVES (68-73, (WC) 7th, 5 GB) Turner Field, 12:05 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 81 degrees, Wind from R to L @ 9 mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 734 Radio: WGN, XM 184
Lance Cormier, RHP 2-4, 5.26 ERA, 53 IP 27 K, 31 BB, 3 HR 304/394/436 againstJuan Mateo, RHP 1-2, 5.10 ERA, 30 IP 21 K, 11 BB, 4 HR 317/384/488 against

*Juan Pierre, CF *Freddie Bynum, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF *John Mabry, 1B Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS Juan Mateo, P Willy Aybar, 3B Marcus Giles, 2B Edgar Renteria, SS *Adam LaRoche, 1B *Brian McCann, C Jeff Francoeur, RF Matt Diaz, LF *Ryan Langerhans, CF Lance Cormier, P

Cubs vs. Cormier: No Cubs with more than 10 Ab's Braves vs. Mateo: No Braves with more than 10 Ab's
The much anticipated, season saving return of Wade Miller is tonight. Thanks for joining the club in such a timely fashion. Be sure to pitch really well so you can show off for your future employeer. Guzman once again pitched poorly last night, falling behind in the count and then laying a meatball right down the middle of the plate to avoid the walk. Sort of the anti-Marmol, but same cruddy result. Since the Cubs are playing for nothing and Guzman probably has the most talent in the Cubs farm system, you stick with him through the rest of the year and hope he can turn a corner sooner rather than later. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-TWO IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (56-85, (Draft) 2nd, 3.5 GB) AT ATLANTA BRAVES (67-73, (WC) 6th, 7 GB) Turner Field, 6:05 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 80 degrees, Wind from L to R @ 7 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 737 Radio: WGN, XM 184
Chuck James, LHP 8-3, 3.65 ERA, 88.2 IP 60 K, 34 BB, 14 HR 232/311/423 againstWade Miller, RHP (Guess the Year) 15-4, 3.28 ERA, 164.2 IP 144 K, 62 BB, 14 HR 249/322/387 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Derrek Lee, 1B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS Wade Miller, P Marcus Giles, 2B Willy Aybar, 3B *Adam LaRoche, 1B Andruw Jones, CF *Brian McCann, C Jeff Francoeur, RF *Ryan Langerhans, LF Tony Pena Jr., SS *Chuck James, P

Cubs vs. James: No Cubs with more than 10 Ab's Braves vs. Miller: Edgar Renteria: 0-22, 000/185/000 Chipper Jones: 7-16, 438/500/813 Andruw Jones: 4-15, 267/333/333
I know Renteria has had his problems with Miller but how long ago did all that happen?
Two of our minor league affiliates were enjoying the thrills of post-season baseball, here's a quick update as the playoffs began this week.
There are some around here who jokingly believe that if (and let's hope it's more like when) Dusty gets fired we won't have much to talk about around here. I'm starting to believe it myself because I just can't imagine another manager out there who could say so many non-sensical things for us to debate. Dusty's latest foray is this gem courtesy of The Daily Herald when asked about the Braves 14 year playoff run likely coming to a halt this season:
"It's more weird for me not preparing for the playoffs than the Braves. The Braves, 15 years in a row, that's a heck of a run"
As Miles points out in his article, since the Braves started racking up division titles in the early 90's, it's Braves 14 and Baker 4 in the race to the postseason. I'll miss you Dusty, kind of like missing the crazy, drunk aunt at Thanksgiving dinner.
The almighty Braves have fallen, their miraculous run of division titles will likely come to an official end this weekend. They still have the faintest of hopes for a wild card birth, but obviously chances are slimmer than slim when your seven games back and trailing seven other teams. Makes you think Leo Mazzone really was the genius over there, but then you look at the Orioles who have given up the 2nd most runs in baseball. Enough about Hotlanta, the Cubs are a story in themselves, a story of pain, suffering, heartbreak, and an ending about as upbeat as one would find in a James Ellroy novel. Only 22 more games to endure. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-ONE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (56-84, 2nd, 4.5 GB) AT ATLANTA BRAVES (66-73, (WC) 7th, 7 GB) Turner Field, 6:05 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 81 degrees, Wind in from RF @ 7 mph TV: CLTV, DirecTV 739 Radio: WGN, XM 184
Tim Hudson, RHP 11-10, 4.95 ERA, 189 IP 116 K, 66 BB, 21 HR 273/339/436 againstAngel Guzman, RHP 0-4, 7.05 ERA, 44.2 IP 50 K, 30 BB, 5 HR 297/408/451 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Derrek Lee, 1B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, SS Geovany Soto, C Angel Guzman, P Marcus Giles, 2B Edgar Renteria, SS *Adam LaRoche, 1B Andruw Jones, CF *Brian McCann, C Jeff Francoeur, RF #Willy Aybar, 3B *Scott Thorman, LF Tim Hudson, P

Cubs vs. Hudson: Jacque Jones: 10-32, 313/313/531, 6 K, 0 BB, 2 HR, 1 2B John Mabry: 4-16, 250/250/250 Juan Pierre: 3-13, 231/286/231 Aramis Ramirez: 3-10, 300/300/400Braves vs. Guzman: No Braves with more than 10 Ab's
Nice to see Soto get a start and it does seem like Dusty is at least trying to get Murton and Theriot more AB's than Bynum and Pagan, although the discrepancy is far closer than I'd like. I'm more curious to see how Guzman does with Soto than anything Soto does with the bat.
With the end of the season fast approaching and the Dusty Era (hopefully) coming to a close, Cub fans far and wide have been looking toward next season. One big question on everyone's mind is, "who will the Cubs' manager be in 2007"? Fredi Gonzalez' name has bandied about quite a bit recently (and, actually, since the last time the Cubs were looking for a skipper), and he's Arizona Phil's odds-on choice. But strange things are afoot in south Florida. Last month saw a strange series of events take place between Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and manager (and Peoria native, Northwestern grad, ex-Cub) Joe Girardi, leading lots of Cubs fans to get excited about the possibility of Girardi coming to Chicago next year. In order to give us some idea what kind of manager he is for the Marlins and might be for the Cubs, we asked one of the best professional baseball writers out there, Miami Herald/ESPN columnist Dan LeBatard, to answer a few questions about Joe:
So this Rich Hill character has looked pretty good since his most recent call-up and if they do keep him around and he does perform like this for the next 5-6 years, the Cubs get a guy through all his prime years on the uber-cheap. I'll take that. As for today's game, I updated the previews to reflect our race for worst record in baseball. It seems more fun to watch us go for something we're only 5 games back of in September. Go Cubs or go draft pick...either way! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] PITTSBURGH PIRATES (56-84, 2nd, 4.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (56-83, 4th, 5 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:20 pm CDT Weather: Sunny, 81 degrees, Wind Out to RF @ 9 mph TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 189
Sean Marshalll, LHP 5-9, 5.05 ERA, 108.2 IP 68 K, 48 BB, 16 HR 260/345/427 againstShawn Chacon, RHP (NL Only) 1-2, 4.97 ERA, 21 IP 12 K, 21 BB, 5 HR 278/437/557 against

*Chris Duffy, CF Jack Wilson, SS Xavier Nady, RF Jason Bay, LF #Ryan Doumit, 1B Jose Bautista, 3B Jose Castillo, 2B Humberto Cota, C Shawn Chacon, P *Juan Pierre, CF *Freddie Bynum, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF #Angel Pagan, LF *Scott Moore, 1B Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS *Sean Marshalll, P

Pirates vs. Marshall: No Pirates with more than 10 AB's Cubs vs. Chacon: Aramis Ramirez: 7-11, 636/667/2000, 4 HR, 3 2B
I think Ramirez has your number Chacon. Just can't stomach to give Soto a start, can you Dusty?
I never really thought we'd catch the Pirates or the Royals for worst record in the league, but honestly a top pick in the first three slots of the draft is usually a good thing especially since the Cubs don't seem to shy away from giving out bonus money. This isn't a team that's so young that any type of moral victory such as fifth over sixth place would mean anything, so might as well go for the high draft pick. The Royals are playing well so they're definitely catchable for the overall worst record. You want to see some of the kids on the team do well, I'm particularly interested in Murton, Theriot, Hill, Guzman, Marshall and Ryu and on a lesser scale Soto, Marmol and Mateo, but anytime a vet needs a break or what not, no reason to put them out there I say. Well maybe we should put Rusch out there, he'd definitely help with the losing. Go Cubs or go draft pick...either way! GAME ONE HUNDRED-THIRTY-NINE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] PITTSBURGH PIRATES (56-83 (Div) 5th - 18.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th -16.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (55-83 (Div) 6th - 19.0 GB; (Wild Card) 13th - 17.0 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Clear, 77 degrees, Wind in from RF @ 8 mph TV: CSN, DirectTV 745 Radio: WGN, XM 189
Rich Hill, LHP 4-6, 5.24 ERA, 65.1 IP 46 K, 30 BB, 12 HR 252/333/479 againstZach Duke, LHP 8-13, 4.97 ERA, 179.1 IP 94 K, 59 BB, 14 HR 310/367/456 against

*Chris Duffy, CF Jose Bautista, 3B Freddy Sanchez, SS Jason Bay, LF #Ryan Doumit, 1B Ronny Paulino, C Joe Randa, 3B Jose Castillo, 2B *Zach Duke *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Derrek Lee, 1B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS *Rich Hill, P

Pirates vs. Hill: No Pirates with more than 10 AB's Cubs vs. Duke: Matt Murton: 8-14, 571/600/929, 1 HR, 2 2B Ronny Cedeno: 6-13, 462/462/462 Aramis Ramirez: 3-12, 250/308/500 Juan Pierre: 1-11, 091/091/091 Derrek Lee: 2-10, 200/200/300
According to Bruce Miles in the Daily Herald, the Pirates "commandeered" Wrigley Field for some extra batting & fielding practice prior to last night's game. So Bucs manager Jim Tracy apparently had a novel idea: How about some extra practice during the season? And Paul Sullivan in the Chicago Tribune reports that Cubs #1 prospect Felix Pie is upset that he didn't get a September recall, and that he is being sent to Fitch Park in Mesa to work one-on-one with hitting instructor Von Joshua and base-running instructor Bob Dernier instead of getting a chance to strut his stuff at Wrigley Field in September.
A break in the action here at work gives me some time to pop this up. Tonight's loser gets to be queen for a day, possibly longer. Go Cubs or go draft pick...either way! GAME ONE HUNDRED-THIRTY-EIGHT IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] PITTSBURGH PIRATES (55-83 (Div) 6th - 19.0 GB; (Wild Card) 13th -16.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (55-82 (Div) 5th - 18.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 16.0 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Clear, 72 degrees, Wind in from RF @ 4 mph TV: WCIU, DirectTV 744 Radio: WGN, XM 189
Juan Mateo, RHP 1-2, 4.15 ERA, 26 IP 14 K, 11BB, 2 HR 208/313/356 againstVictor Santos, RHP 5-9, 5.54 ERA, 112 IP 79 K, 41 BB, 16 HR 314/387/419 against

*Chris Duffy, CF Jose Bautista, 3B Freddy Sanchez, SS Jason Bay, LF Xavier Nady, 1B *Jeromy Burnitz, RF Ronny Paulino, C Jose Castillo, 2B Victor Santos, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Derrek Lee, 1B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS Juan Mateo, P

Pirates vs. Mateo: No Pirates with more than 10 AB's Cubs vs. Santos: Aramis Ramirez: 9-24, 375/400/750, 1 HR Derrek Lee: 4-20, 200/292/500, 2 HR Jacque Jones: 5-14, 357 /400/429 John Mabry: 3-13, 231/231/462, 1 HR Juan Pierre: 2-12, 167/167/417, 1 HR

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