Game 32 Recap: Cubs 2, Astros 0

Holy Moses! Wood K's 20, Parts Red Sea

W - Wood (3-2), History. Fastballs over the outside corner.  Generous outside corners.

L - Reynolds (2-3), any losers who didn't see this game live because they were out in the rain and cold shooting a bad round of golf.  Trying to come up with an adequate term for that freaky breaking pitch of Wood's.

Box Score, Photos, Standings


Things to Take from This Game

1. Wood Strikes Out 20, Two Batters Reach in Complete Game Shutout

From the first few pitches of the game it was clear that Wood had a potentially history-making fastball and breaking stuff working today.  Wood K'd his first five,and gave up his only hit on a grounder by Gutierrez off of Orie's glove.  This won't make me the most popular guy around here, but yeah, it was a hit.  It also was a play that Orie probably makes more often than not.  Tough luck for everyone involved. The only other runner came on a curveball that got away from Wood and beaned Biggio.  The performance is every bit as dominating as the box score will indicate.  Almost without exception, the Astros looked completely helpless.

2. Cubs scratch out 2 runs against Reynolds

Reynolds threw a complete game gem, himself, with 10 Ks and 1 ER in 8 innings.  The Cubs' scores came on a Grace "double" in the second, on an incredibly generous ruling where third-baseman Howell got completely devoured by a bouncer.  Grace then advanced to third as left-fielder Dave Clark throws away the potential play at second base.  Oh Henry! drove him in with a sac fly to Alou in deep center field.  They added another for good measure in the eighth; Morandini and Grace singled, with Morandini scoring on an attempted 5-4-3 double play that was too slowly turned and resulted in a fielder's choice.

3.  Greatest Game Ever?

A traditional recap can not adequatly contextualize this game.  The central question at this moment, just minutes after witnessing this gem, is not "what do we take from this game?" but "where will this game place among the all-time great games ever pitched?"  Larson's perfect game came in a far more important context.  Haddix's perfect game through 12 innings kept more hitters off base for longer.  Clemens has two 20-K games to his record, but as I thumb through the pages of my favorite baseball encyclopedia, I see that Clemens gave up five hits in his 1996 gem, and a run on three hits in 1986.  The 1996 Tigers and 1986 Mariners, furthermore, were no 1998 Astros.  IS this the greatest game ever?  If only we had some sort of pitcher's in-game dominance statistic, and a place that compiled every statistic from every game ever played.  Then we might have a more objective idea of where this game ranks on the list of all-time great pitching performances.  In the meantime, here's hoping that Wood's career is as successful and distinguished as the Rocket's.

4.  Looking to the Future...  All the way to the Year... 2000...

This has to portend well for the Cubs.  If Wood can stay healthy and anchor a rotation with Trachsel, and another talented young arm like Geremi Gonzalez or Terry Adams or Telemaco emerges as a compliment, we could have a dominant rotation for a decade to come.  We just need Wood's health to hold, and though we know he was worked hard in high school, he seems to be a very well built young man, and hopefully can keep his strength up.  The Cubs winning a world series may be about as likely as a black president or a second Great Depression, but Wood may have the arm to get us there.

The if-this-is-his-rookie-year, just-imagine-the-things-to-come details, below.


Kerry 20K Viewing Party Tonight

Join us for a little pre-preseason debachuary tonight and a final farewell to Kid K in parachat. Plus the Oscars are tonight, so we can pull double duty talking about the red carpet (ZOMG, did you see what Kate Winselt was wearing?)

You have three viewing options, either you own the Chicago Cubs DVD set, Itunes for $2(search for Kerry Wood or a series called Baseball's Best) or's the Houston broadcast and you have to register and possibly been a past owner of Game time is 9pm CST. With no commercials it shouldn't run more than two hours I believe and Transmission should be doing a parachat recap for tomorrow. Maybe this time we can get Kevin Orie to make the play.

Some quick notes from Mesa after the jump...

TCR Friday Notes

- Everyone's favorite topic...lineups!!!

On days when switch hitter Aaron Miles plays second base and Kosuke Fukudome plays center field, Piniella said he likes this lineup: Soriano, Miles, Lee, Bradley, Ramirez, Fukudome, Geovany Soto and Ryan Theriot. That's a right-switch-right-switch-right-left-right-right alignment.

Armchair managers commence bitching! Between rumors of 400 AB's and now batting second,  Aaron Miles has all the makings of being the new ¡Neifi! It's like no one in the Cubs organization has noticed that his likely unrepeatable .343 BABIP last season accounted for nearly all of his .753 OPS "success".

Lou's Six Man Bench

Spring training is nothing if not repetitive story lines, but Cubs manager Lou Piniella is once again hinting that he'd like to carry 14 position players and 11 pitchers.

Piniella admitted he doesn't have a set number of days off for
players. That won't be an issue until the regular season starts. Right
now, the Cubs have other matters to resolve. While thinking out loud,
Piniella said he'd like to carry 14 position players and 11 pitchers if
possible. The team isn't sure how to slot some players -- newcomer
Aaron Miles, for example. Piniella wants to see them on the field, and
the Cubs will have 39 spring games to evaluate the team.

It's not going to happen, it never does...but that won't stop me from taking a look at what the team might look like. And it's exponentially more interesting than where Alfonso Soriano might bat this year (hint: leadoff).

25 Random Baseball Things About Me

With kudos to Craig Calcaterra ("ShysterBall") over at The Hardball Times, who suggested giving the Facebook game, "25 Random Things About Me," a baseball twist, I offer my list of 25:(updated: mine now added, below Cubnut's, below the fold. - Trans)

1.) I attended my first Cubs game in 1968--Cubs v. Giants, Fergie Jenkins v. Ray Sadecki. I still have the scorecard and thanks to the miracle of Retrosheet have been able to confirm that I did a pretty decent job of keeping score for a 7-year-old.

2.) The first Cub baseball card I ever turned up in a Topps package was a 1968 Rob Gardner and yes, it was eventually thrown in the trash by my mother, along with all of my other precious cards.

3.) About three years ago, I bought a replacement Rob Gardner card on eBay. Take that, Mom!

Introducing Wiklifield - the Cubs Online Encyclopedia

In case Cubs history isn't your thing, there's a prospect post below this as well for today.

I've hinted at it enough over the last few months, but I suppose I'm ready to now to unleash it upon the world. Wiklifield (thanks to Cubnut for the name) has been my main project and passion this offseason and the goal is simple, if not ambitious -  a community project to capture the entire history, culture and atmosphere of the Chicago Cubs. And I truly mean entire...

Players, coaches, songs, books, movies, Wrigleyville bars, rooftops, blogs, TCR memes, brain-cell killing articles, minor leagues, major leagues, you
name it, I would love to have it in there eventually.  It's going to take years to accomplish and hopefully a lot of help from Cubs fans across the Internet, but I think it could be something special for Cubs fans to lose themselves in a few hours at a time. A few examples of similar projects include the Ultimate Mets Database, Sons of Sam Horn Wiki and the Baseball Reference Bullpen.

To achieve this massive goal, it's obvious that I couldn't do it myself,
nor the writers of TCR, so hence the open wiki interface that allows
anyone to contribute.
Now as you start looking through the site, you may start asking where's
this bit of info or why hasn't this been included. Well first, let me say back off...I've been doing it mostly by myself. Second, that's the
beauty of a wiki, if you don't see something just go ahead and add it. Of course that can also be its downfall as
the information can easily be corrupted, but more on that later.

Before I get to the nuts and bolts on how you can contribute, let me demonstrate a few examples of what I'm hoping to capture. Let's start with the entry for the Cleveland Indians.  My idea for these major league franchise pages is to include every way that the teams have interacted with the Cubs. The main sections as you'll see are head-to-head record, all transactions between the two franchises (including any rumors), and finally thanks to Baseball Reference and their multi-franchise player finder, players that have played for both teams. I've started pages for the current 30 franchises and some have been done already. I also needed to give a big shout out to reader homerzzz, who has volunteered a tremendous amount of his own time helping me take the retrosheet transaction files and converting them into something we can use on Wiklifield. 

Cubs Prospect List-Mania 2009

For the third year running, I go through the various prospect lists. I've also started compiling them at Wiklifield.

Five-Star Prospects
1. Josh Vitters, 3B

Four-Star Prospects
2. Jeff Samardzjia,RHP

3. Jose Ceda, RHP

Three-Star Prospects
4. Hak-Ju Lee, SS
5. Andrew Cashner, RHP
6. Tyler Colvin, OF
7. Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP
8. Ryan Flaherty, SS
Two-Star Prospects
9. Welington Castilo, C

10. Donald Veal, LHP

11. Micah Hoffpauir, 1B

Just Missing: Matt Cerda, INF; Jay Jackson, RHP; Logan Watkins, INF

Sleeper: Kyler Burke

What They Say: The Cubs are a very tough team to rank. That said, the top three prospects on my initial snapshot never moved, and you see them exactly where they started. Everything after that is a bit of a mess however, as one could jumble up the players ranked fourth through eleventh in any order and make some kind of reasonable argument for all.

Chicago, We Have a Problem (or Maybe Not)

We do love our guest columns since we all get to take the day off from writing. Today, it's the ever cantankerous Real Neal taking on The Fielding Bible System.

The other day I bought The Hardball Times 2009 Baseball Annual. I haven’t finished yet, but as of so far, I would say save your money.


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