Hoo-boy, the night game to day game turnaround is a tough one, but today's is going to be even worse than usual. The Cubs pulled out an 8-6 victory in 18 innings last night (not the only 18-inning game in the majors last night, incredibly), but it took two innings from today's scheduled starter, Rich Hill, which means they have about 3 hours to figure out who's going to start today. The Cubs used all 25 of their players in the game -- both Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Marmol pinch-hit in extra-innings -- and six players (Juan Pierre, Jacque Jones, and the entire infield of Aramis Ramirez, Cesar Izturis, Ronny Cedeno, and John Mabry) played the entire game. Both Pierre and Mabry went 1-for-8, while Cedeno went 1-for-7. I'm predicting an infield of Neifi!, Ryan Theriot, Cedeno, and Phil Nevin today, with Angel Pagan starting in place of Jones against the lefty Pettitte today. As far as today's starter goes, it's not as easy as disabling someone and dipping down to AAA, as all the potential Iowa callups (Ryu, Williams, and the rehabbing Marshall) would be pitching on 0-3 days rest. The starter from five days ago, lefty Ryan O'Malley, isn't on the 40-man roster. This is sort of interesting, though -- the scheduled starter in tonight's game is a rehabbing Wade Miller, who threw five days ago at West Tenn. It's supposed to be his final rehab start, and it's in Round Rock, which is about four hours from Houston. I would not be surprised to see him called up to start this afternoon, with Angel Guzman, who was set to be skipped but threw three innings last night, sent down to make room, and neither would Phil Rogers. Speaking of Rogers, I give him a hard time a lot of the time, so it's worth pointing out that I agree 100% with his "Give up on Prior? You're crazy!" column from Monday. I couldn't have said it better myself, Phil. [UPDATE 10:40 AM] Pretty much no sooner did I type that than word comes via the comments that the Cubs may have, in fact, called up O'Malley. No official word on who was sent down or disabled to make room, but the way Scott Eyre looked limping off the field last night, I'm guessing it's him. O'Malley is a 26-year old lefty who was undrafted out of Memphis and signed with the Cubs in /02. He pitched very well at A and AA as a reliever and occasional starter, but in both '04 and '05 he struggled in callups to AAA: 2004 A+ Daytona: 2.64 ERA, 30 2/3 IP, 27 H, 6 BB, 28 K 2004 AA West Tenn: 3.72 ERA, 55 2/3 IP, 49 H, 20 BB, 37 K 2004 AAA Iowa: 8.62 ERA, 15 2/3 IP, 23 H, 6 BB, 8 K 2005 AA West Tenn: 3.91 ERA, 78 1/3 IP, 78 IP, 25 BB, 55 K 2005 AAA Iowa: 6.33 ERA, 27 IP, 40 H, 11 BB, 26 K This year he's started more than he's relieved, and in 123 2/3 innings he's put up a 4.08 ERA, given up 135 hits, walked 30, and struck out 71. He has a mid-80s fastball who pitches to contact. He's described as a "control pitcher" but has walked 2/7 batters per 9 innings in his minor-league career, which doesn't bode well. According to this Inside The Ivy article, he doesn't like being called a "finesse pitcher," so we'll just go with "crafty lefty."
We have a small disparity in experience between our two starting pitchers tonight. Let's look at the tale of the tape:
Clemens  vs. Mateo:
  681 &nbsp&nbsp GS &nbsp  1
  345 &nbsp&nbsp W &nbsp&nbsp  1
  4552   K &nbsp   3
  4764.2 IP &nbsp  7
No pressure kid, good news is you have Blanco behind the plate to make sure you throw strikes. The other good news is the Astros offense is just about as pathetic as ours. The bad news is you have Blanco behind the plate and he has to hit. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-NINETEEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (50-68 (Div) 5th - 12.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 11.0 GB) AT HOUSTON ASTROS (57-61, (Div) 3rd - 5.5 GB; (Wild Card) 6th - 4.0 GB) The Juice Park, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Roof Closed TV: WGN, DirecTV 741 Radio: WGN, XM 186
Roger Clemens, RHP 4-4, 2.24 ERA, 60.1 IP 50 K, 14 BB, 3 HR 280/315/431 sgainstJuan Mateo, RHP 1-0, 2.57 ERA, 7 IP 3 K, 5 BB, 0 HR 223/268/339 against

*Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis, SS #Angel Pagan, LF Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF *John Mabry, 1B Ronny Cedeno, 2B Henry Blanco, C Juan Mateo, P Wily Taveras, CF Craig Biggio, 2B *Mike Lamb, 1B #Lance Berkman, RF *Luke Scott, LF *Aubrey Huff, 3B Adam Everett, SS Brad Ausmus, C Roger Clemens, P

Cubs vs Clemens: Jacque Jones: 7-26, 269/367/577, 4 K, 4 BB, 5 2B, 1 HR Michael Barrett: 4-23, 174/208/174, 2 K, 1 BB, 0 XBH Aramis Ramirez: 7-21, 333/391/476, 3 K, 2 BB, 1 HR Juan Pierre: 7-19, 368/368/526, 0 K, 0 BB, 2 XBH Neifi Perez: 3-18, 167/167/167, 4 K, 0 BB John Mabry: 3-16, 188/235/188, 5 K, 1 BB Cesar Izturis:3-11, 273/273/364,1 K, 0 BB, 1 2B Astros vs. Mateo: No Astros with more than 10 AB's
Pagan batting third, huh? That's, um, interesting.
Seven walks in eight innings and zero runs allowed; that can't happen too often and I don't know if I should praise Z for gutting through a game without his best stuff or laugh at the Astros for their ineptitude at getting guys home. The Cubs now have 5 shutout victories this year, 3 of them against the Astros, 2 of them in games started by Zambrano (The other was by Sean Marshall). The other 2 shutouts were in back-to-back games versus the Nationals in games started by....wait for it.....Zambrano and Marshall. On the rehab front, we've got Derrek Lee taking 20 swings yesterday off a tee, Mark Prior saying he's not giving up on 2006 (even though he should) and Wade Miller is set for another minor league start tomorrow with Iowa. And good news (sarcasm), Miller is probably going to be around next year as well:
We both had pretty much an agreement this was going to be more than just one year. See how it goes this year, and if Iím able to pitch next year, hopefully Iíll be able to stick around here.î
You say you want Murton batting second in the order? Guess who disagrees:
ìNo, not against Oswalt. Not when Neifiís hitting .430-something against him or whatever it is. Thereís probably more temptation to move (outfielder Angel) Pagan in the 2-spot because of his speed and the fact heís a switch hitter. No. We need production out of Murton and hopefully down in the order. ìHeís done pretty good down in the order, sixth or seventh, so you donít really mess with it too much.î
Everyone remember 1984? We had our best hitter batting 2nd all season and had a pretty good offense. There's even a study out there that suggests putting your best hitters in the #1, #2 and #4 slots to maximize offense. Of course I could be wrong, putting guys up top who won't be on base for our best hitters is probably a better idea. UPDATE: Our pals over at "Inside the Ivy" tip us off that AA players Brian Dopirak, Nic Jackson and Gary Cates are done for the year. Apparently Dopirak's foot was still broken when he came off the DL (Shocked I tell you, shocked). Thanks to Steve Holley over there for the info.
Although Z hasn't really been the good Carlos of late, he's certainly better than Mr. Walk Machine who took the mound yesterday. Of course Z is well on pace to walk more than 100 guys himself this year which isn't a very good sign at all. As for the Astros, they're still my pick to win the wild card, the only team with any decent starting pitching in the NL right now, even if it hasn't shown up on the field consistently. But no matter where we are in the standings, it's always kind of fun to beat up on Roy Oswalt. Michael Barrett has a particular good time against him which I revel in considering their past issues. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-EIGHTEEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (49-68 (Div) 5th - 13.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 11.5 GB) AT HOUSTON ASTROS (57-60, (Div) 3rd - 5.0 GB; (Wild Card) 4th - 3.5 GB) The Juice Park, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Roof Closed TV: CLTV, DirecTV 740 Radio: WGN, XM 186
Roy Oswalt, RHP 9-7, 3.27 ERA, 157 IP 109 K, 29 BB, 14 HR 280/315/431 sgainstCarlos Zambrano, RHP 12-5, 3.54 ERA, 162.2 IP 162 K, 89 BB, 18 HR 206/316/364 against

*Juan Pierre, CF #Neifi Perez, SS Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Phil Nevin, 1B Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, 2B #Carlos Zambrano, P Wily Taveras, CF Craig Biggio, 2B #Lance Berkman, RF *Aubrey Huff, 3B Morgan Ensberg, 3B *Luke Scott, LF Adam Everett, SS Brad Ausmus, C Roy Oswalt, P

Cubs vs Oswalt: Aramis Ramirez: 11-48, 229/220/458, 15 K, 0 BB, 3 HR Juan Pierre: 8-27, 296/321/370 , 0 K, 1 BB, 1 3B Michael Barrett: 12-26, 462/500/654, 1 K, 2 BB, 2 2B, 1 HR Neifi Perez: 10-24, 417/417/458, 3 K, 0 BB, 1 2B Phil Nevin: 5-14, 357/357/857, 1 K, 0 BB, 2 HR Jacque Jones: 3-10, 300/273/300, 3 K, 0 BB Astros vs. Zambrano Lance Berkman: 6-44, 136/296/341, 13 K, 10 BB, 3 HR Craig Biggio: 11-34, 324/465/618, 3 K, 7 BB, 2 HR Brad Ausmus: 8-34, 235/316/265, 9 K, 4 BB, 1 2B Adam Everett: 3-24, 125/160/208, 8 K, 1 BB, 1 2B Mike Lamb: 6-22, 273/385/455, 2 K, 4 BB, 1 HR Wily Taveras: 3-18, 167/167/167, 5 K, 0 BB Morgan Ensberg: 5-17, 294/429/471, 4 K, 3 BB, 2 XBH Jason Lane: 2-12, 167/167/333, 1 K, 0 BB, 2 2B
Got to get Neifi those starts....
As expected, Prior hit the DL yesterday with shoulder issues although surgery isn't expected (at the moment). He won't be throwing for at least 10 days and really what's the point of trying to bring him back this season. Shut him down! Another one of the "Cubs Young Guns" (&copy TCR Inc, All Rights Reserved) hits the mound today. Anyone want to take the over on Marmol hitting 110 pitches in 6 innings? Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-SEVENTEEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (48-68 (Div) 5th - 14.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 11.5 GB) AT COLORADO ROCKIES (57-59, (Div) 4th - 3.5 GB; (Wild Card) 4th - 2.5 GB) Coors Field, 2:05 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 188
Byung-Hyun Kim, RHP 7-7, 4.57 ERA, 106.1 IP 86 K, 40 BB, 11 HR 291/357/445 sgainstCarlos Marmol, RHP 5-5, 5.09 ERA, 63.2 IP 51 K, 47 BB, 10 HR 230/367/465 against

*Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis, SS *Jacque Jones, RF Aramis Ramirez, 3B *John Mabry, 1B Michael Barrett, C Matt Murton, LF #Neifi Perez, 2B Carlos Marmol, P Jamey Carroll, 2B *Todd Helton, 1B Garrett Atkins, 3B Matt Holliday, LF *Brad Hawpe, RF Ryan Spilborghs, CF Yorvit Torrealba, C Clint Barmes, SS Byung-Hyun Kim,P

Cubs vs Kim: Juan Pierre: 4-19, 211/286/211, 2 K, 1 BB Phil Nevin: 1-14, 071/071/071, 6 K, 0 BB Neifi Perez: 4-14, 286/333/571, 0 K, 1 BB, 1 2B, 1 HR Aramis Ramirez: 3-12, 250/308/500, 4 K, 1 BB, 1 HR Rockies vs. Marmol: No Rockies with more than 10 AB's
NEIFI!, oh we missed you so. Barrett gets a rare day game start after a night game.
With word that Mark Prior is likely headed back to the DL and probably done for the season, there should be another rotation spot up for grabs. Guzman will get his shot starting today and just like Rich Hill, it'll be a matter of finding the strike zone consistently for him to be successful, something he's shown to be more than capable of throughout his minor league career. Much like Hill, the Cubs just need to show some patience with Guzman, let him pitch every 5 days and re-evaluate at the end of the season. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-SIXTEEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (48-67, (Div) 5th - 14.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 10.5 GB) AT COLORADO ROCKIES (56-59, (Div) 4th - 3.5 GB; (Wild Card) 6th - 2.5 GB) Coors Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, 77 degrees, Wind in from LF @ 14mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 741 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Josh Fogg, RHP 7-7, 4.59 ERA, 127.1 IP 67 K, 44 BB, 17 HR 281/341/470 sgainstAngel Guzman, RHP 0-2, 5.68 ERA, 25.1 IP 29 K, 20 BB, 2 HR 258/402/398 against

*Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis, SS Michael Barret, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF *John Mabry, 1B Ronny Cedeno, 2B Angel Guzman, P Jamey Carroll, 2B *Todd Helton, 1B Garrett Atkins, 3B Matt Holliday, LF *Brad Hawpe, RF Ryan Spilborghs, CF Yorvit Torrealba, C Clint Barmes, SS Josh Fogg, P

Cubs vs Fogg: Aramis Ramirez: 6-21, 286/423/857, 2 K, 4 BB, 4 HR Juan Pierre: 11-21, 524/545/619, 1 K, 1 BB, 1 2B Neifi Perez: 6-20, 300/300/350, 0 K, 0 BB, 1 2B Michael Barrett: 10-20, 500/524/1110, 1 K, 1 B, 3 HR, 3 2BRockies vs. Guzman: No Rockies with more than 10 AB's
The Rockies whom have resorted to legalized cheating by placing baseballs in a humidor to nullify the "Coors Field effect" are in the thick of the division and wild card races. Has it helped? Here are their regular starting roation's ERAs, home ERA is listed first: Byung-Hyun Kim: 2.75/6.85 Jason Jennings: 3.00/3.84 Jeff Francis: 3.02/3.75 Aaron Cook: 3.81/4.11 Josh Fogg: 5.46/3.88 When you consider the other parks in the NL West are pretty strong pitcher parks beyond SBC (which has played neutral over the last few seasons), you have to wonder if something fishy is going on over there. I'm sure the Rockies are on the up and up and wouldn't dare think about having two sets of baseballs, one with the humidor turned on "Dead Ball Era", the other to "Steroid Era". But it does lead to some questions to exactly what is going on over there. If anything, you have to think the Rockies pitchers are at a major advantage on how the humidor-baseballs react differently on the breaking stuff since they use them on a regular basis. Personally, I think it's ridiculous and should be banned immediately. When did doctoring baseballs become legal again? The great lefty hope Rich Hill is back at it again off two very promising starts. I watched a bit of his last game versus the Pirates and despite the opponent, I thought he did a miraculous job of spotting his fastball on the corners, while mixing in his curve at just the right times. And it really appears that he has his confidence back, which seems to be the most important thing for the kid, who's actually the oldest pitcher on the starting staff at the moment. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FIFTEEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (48-66, (Div) 5th - 14.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 10.5 GB) AT COLORADO ROCKIES (55-59, (Div) 4th - 3.5 GB; (Wild Card) 6th - 3.5 GB) Montecristo Park, 8:05 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, 86 degrees, Wind in from RF @ 14mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 743 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Aaron Cook, RHP 7-10, 3.95 ERA, 152.2 IP 63 K, 39 BB, 10 HR 291/336/404 sgainstRich Hill, LHP 27 K, 21 BB, 8 HR 284/373/539 against

*Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis, SS Michael Barret, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF #Angel Pagan, LF *John Mabry, 1B Ronny Cedeno, 2B *Rich Hill, P Jamey Carroll, 2B Clint Barmes, SS Garrett Atkins, 3B Matt Holliday, LF Ryan Spilborghs, RF Luis A. Gonzalez, 1B Choo Freeman, CF Danny Ardoin, C Aaron Cook, P

Cubs vs Cook: Cesar Izturis:4-13, 308/438/308, 1 K, 3 BB Phil Nevin: 4-12, 333/385/417, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 2B Rockies vs. Hill: No Rockies with more than 10 AB's
(sigh)...No Murton again. I'd love to see the Cubs stick a first base glove on him or Pagan to keep both of them in the lineup and increase their versatility in case either one or both end up fighting for a bench spot next year. And who the hell is Ryan Spilborghs?
Much is written here about not wanting to rush Felix Pie, and some in the TCR community even question whether the Pie Man is even a top prospect. A couple of days ago, Dusty Baker was asked by the Chicago media whether the Cubs might consider recalling Felix Pie from the minors anytime soon. According to Paul Sullivan in the Chicago Tribune, Dusty replied: "Maybe. But at .270 Ö you guys have been talking 'Felix, Felix, Felix,' but Felix has to be the Felix you're all talking about if you're going to bring him up. I'd like to see him do a little more. I'd like to see everybody do a little more. I'd like to see everybody get here not only on name, but on merit at the same time." You can quibble about whether Felix Pie should be recalled, and if you look at his aggregate numbers for the entire 2006 season, Dusty's probably right, they don't jump out at you. For the year, Pie is hitting around .270 with a .333 OBP and a very bad SB/CS ratio. But a lot of that goes back to his May-June slump, when he went into a funk and it looked like he might be on the verge of a demotion to AA. You have to remember that Pie is a 21-year old playing at the most advanced minor league level (AAA), where the average age of the players in the league is about 25. Many of the pitchers in the PCL have MLB experience. And the idea in promoting a player to a higher level is to challenge the player, force him to adjust, and then hope for improvement. Well, Pie did struggle, but then he adjusted, and now he is showing improvement. Since the end of June, Pie has been consistently good. Very good. Over his last 38 games (more than 1/4 of the AAA schedule), he has had one ten-game hitting streak, 15 multi-hit games, and has reached base in 31 out of 38 games. He also has improved his base-stealing over this stretch, with nine stolen bases in 11 attempts. He struck out about once in every six PA during this period of time (still not good), but it's a better K rate than at any time previous in his career. Anyway, here are Felix Pie's numbers over his last 38 games (more than 1/4 of the AAA schedule): 38 GAMES 51-159 (.321) .365 OBP .453 SLG .818 OPS 30 RUNS SCORED 3 HR 14 RBI 12 2B 11 BB 26 K 9 SB (2 CS) 4 OF ASSISTS 1 E
Once again, I'm in a bit of a crunch at work, so this will be brief. All I ask is for the real Mark Prior to show up sometime before the season ends, the guy with the impeccable control, the killer breaking stuff and the winner-take-all competitive edge. You know the guy who we saw for most of 2003, the last month of 2004 and the beginning of 2005. Because the guy who's been wearing his jersey since he took a liner off the forearm isn't very good. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FOURTEEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (48-65, (Div) 5th - 13.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 10.5 GB) AT MILWAUKEE BREWERS (53-60, (Div) 4th - 8.0 GB; (Wild Card) 8th - 5.5 GB) Miller Park, 1:05 pm CDT Weather: Roof Closed TV: WGN, DirecTV 736 Radio: WGN, XM 184
Doug Davis, LHP 7-6, 5.01 ERA, 140 IP 101 K, 76 BB, 14 HR 274/364/421 sgainstMark Prior, RHP 1-5, 6.64 ERA, 40.2 IP 37 K, 24 BB, 9 HR 263/382/461 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Phil Nevin, 1B *Jacque Jones, RF #Angel Pagan, LF #Neifi Perez, SS Henry Blanco, C Mark Prior, P Brady Clark, CF Jeff Cirillo, 2B *Prince Fielder, 1B Kevin Mench, LF *Gabe Gross, RF Tony Graffanino, 2B David Bell, 3B Marco Rivera, C *Doug Davis, P

Cubs vs Davis: Neifi Perez: 6-24, 250/280/375. 3 K, 1 BB, 3 2B Aramis Ramirez: 3-17, 176/211/412, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 HR Michael Barrett: 4-16, 250/400/313. 3 K, 4 BB, 1 2B Juan Pierre: 6-15, 400/412/667, 1 K, 1 BB, 3 XBH Phil Nevin: 2-11, 182/308/273, 4 K, 2 BB, 1 2B Jacque Jones: 5-11, 455/455/545, 3 K 0 BB, 1 2B Brewers vs. Prior: Geoff Jenkins: 3-15, 200/278/400, 6 K, 2 BB, 1 HR David Bell: 4-11, 364/417/455, 1 K, 1 BB, 1 2B
Wow, there's a lefty out there that Jones has hit well. With the walk-happy Davis on the mound, it would be a good day to keep Murton in the lineup.
This one is going to be quick as I gotta run, but since the Cubs have won 3 straight since I decided to moan about each day's starter, I can't mess with the streak. Z's having a nice year, 12-4 looks pretty and all, but he's had the benefit of tremendous run support and honestly hasn't looked all so hot since July. But hey, it's better to be lucky than good. It would be nice if he could be both though. Go Cubs. GAME ONE HUNDRED-THIRTEEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (48-64, (Div) 5th - 13.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 9.5 GB) AT MILWAUKEE BREWERS (52-60, (Div) 4th - 9.0 GB; (Wild Card) 8th - 5.5 GB) Miller Park, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: 79 degrees, Clear, Wind in from CF @ 9 mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 742 Radio: WGN, XM 184
Dave Bush, RHP 7-8, 4.74 ERA, 142.1 IP 117 K, 32 BB, 19 HR 261/316/438 againstCarlos Zambrano, RHP 12-4, 3.42 ERA, 158 IP 158 K, 85 BB, 17 HR 205/314/361 against

*Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis, SS Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Phil Nevin, 1B Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, 2B #Carlos Zambrano, P Brady Clark, CF Tony Graffaninio, 2B *Prince Fielder, 1B *Gabe Gross, LF Bill Hall, SS *Geoff Jenkins, RF David Bell, 3B Damien Miller, C Dave Bush, P

Cubs vs Bush: Jacque Jones: 5-14, 357/357/714, 4 K, 0 BB, 2 2B, 1 HR Juan Pierre: 5-10, 500/500/900, 1 K, 0 BB, 1 2B, 1 HRBrewers vs. Zambrano: Geoff Jenkins: 8-32, 250/324/469, 8 K, 3 BB, 4 XBH Bill Hall: 5-23, 217/308/435, 12 K, 3 BB, 3 XBH Brady Clark: 4-17, 235/409/294, 4 K, 5 BB, 1 2B David Bell: 3-12, 250/308/250, 0 K, 1 BB Damien Miller: 3-11, 273/385/364, 4 K, 2 BB, 1 2B
I suppose many of you have seen the reports that Florida Marlins manager Joe Girardi got into it with the Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria over the weekend. The story goes that Girardi told Loria to basically shut it when Loria decided to heckle an umpire over some questionable balls and strikes calls. Of course you have to believe there's been some tension leading up to that point as that hardly seems enough to warrant what supposedly happened afterwards. The story goes that the discussion got even more heated after the game and there's a rumor floating that the Marlins were ready to announce Girardi being fired as the press room they use for such things was being set-up in anticipation of the announcement. Of course no announcement came, but the conspiracy theorists out there will certainly speculate that Girardi could be on a path to get himself fired in anticipation of taking over the Cubs this off-season. Well Girardi was happy to squash those rumors today, saying that he loves living in Florida and has no desire to leave for the Cubs right now.
''I am still the Marlins' manager, [and] I plan on being the Marlins' manager for a long time. People like to speculate that I am going to Chicago." ''If I was going to go to Chicago, I wouldn't have sold my house [in the north suburbs]. I have property there that we've kept there for a long time. I don't have a house there; I sold my house, my kids are enrolled in school in South Florida. I enjoy jumping in my pool every day. It's a nice life.''
Well maybe there's an out clause or a super-secret blood oath handshake?
''There are no outs. I have a three-year deal. No handshake agreement, no elbow rubbing, no kissing, nothing. Why would any club hire someone who had a handshake agreement that they could get out? Because you would know their heart's not in it. I think the one thing that you know about my heart is that it's about winning.''
Well there you have it, of course getting yourself fired might solve all that. Some other quick notes after the jump...
First, the moron(s) who started the wave at Wrigley on Sunday need to be shot, along with every fool who followed along. I suppose Hot Dog Races sponsored by Vienna Beef will be coming soon. Today is the day that we get to watch Carlos Marmol walk a bunch of guys and hope he can pull a Houdini out there. Sometimes it works for him and then other times he drowns in the glass tank with the straight-jacket still on, the handcuffs still around his ankles and the shark ripping off his limbs....much like his last start versus the Diamondbacks. It looks like Dusty has finally settled on an almost everyday lineup. That's kind of refreshing. Go Cubs!!! GAME ONE HUNDRED-TWELVE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (47-64, (Div) 5th - 14.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 9.5 GB) AT MILWAUKEE BREWERS (52-59, (Div) 4th - 9.0 GB; (Wild Card) 8th - 4.5 GB) Miller Park, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: 72 degrees, Clear, Wind L to R @ 8mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 742 Radio: WGN, XM 184
Tomo Ohka, RHP 3-2, 3.57 ERA, 58 IP 36 K, 21 BB, 5 HR 255/324/366 againstCarlos Marmol, RHP 4-5, 5.09 ERA, 58.1 IP 48 K, 43 BB, 8 HR 233/370/457 against

*Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis, SS Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF *John Mabry, 1B Ronny Cedeno, 2B Carlos Marmol, P *Gabe Gross, CF Tony Graffaninio, 2B *Prince Fielder, 1B Kevin Mench, LF Bill Hall, SS *Geoff Jenkins, RF David Bell, 3B Damien Miller, C Tomo Ohka, P

Cubs vs Ohka: Juan Pierre: 16-41, 390/390/415, 1 K, 0 BB, 1 2B Neifi Perez: 5-15, 333/375/333, 0 K, 1 BB Aramis Ramirez: 2-15, 133/278/400, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 HR Henry Blanco: 1-14, 071/071/071, 1 K, 0 BB Brewers vs. Marmol: No Brewers with more than 10 Ab's
Wow, Neifi is batting 333 versus an opposing pitcher and doesn't make it into the lineup. A lover's quarrel?
With the Cubs season not going too well, I just can't help but look forward to the 2006 Arizona Fall League. There is nothing like consortium baseball to get the juices flowin'!
GAME FIFTY-ONE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CINCINNATI REDS (28-23, 2nd, 5.0 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (19-31, 5th, 13.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 PM CDT Weather: 78 degrees, cloudy, wind variable @ 8 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 743 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Greg Maddux, RHP 5-4, 4.28 ERA, 61.0 IP 41 K, 16 BB, 5 HR 272/316/414 againstBrandon Claussen, LHP 3-5, 5.25 ERA, 58 1/3 IP 44 K, 18 BB, 12 HR 296/357/511 against

# Felipe Lopez, SS *Scott Hatteberg, 1B *Ken Griffey, CF *Adam Dunn, LF Austin Kearns, RF #Javier Valentin, C Edwin Encarnacion, 3B Ryan Freel, 2B Brandon Claussen, P*Juan Pierre, CF *Tony Womack, 2B Matt Murton, LF Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Todd Walker, 1B Ronny Cedeno, SS *Jacque Jones, RF Henry Blanco, C Greg Maddux, P
Reds vs. Maddux: Javier Valentin: 6-12, 500/538/1500, 4 HR, 1 BB, 2 K Ken Griffey: 9-21, 429/538/762, 2 HR, 4 BB, 7 K Ryan Freel: 6-19, 316/316/579, 1 HR, 2 K Austin Kearns: 7-24, 292/292/458, 1 HR, 6 K Jason LaRue: 5-17, 294/368/333, 1 BB, 4 K Adam Dunn: 4-28, 143/226/464, 3 HR, 3 BB, 8 K Rich Aurilia: 8-39, 205/205/410, 2 HR, 5 K
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W: Kerry Wood (1-) L: Elizardo Ramirez (2-4) S: Ryan Dempster (9)
It had been so long since we'd seen the W flag that I was afraid we'd lost the rights to it. But there it is, in all its glory. I didn't see the game -- I was at a barbecue watching The No Longer Tiny Baby splash around in a wading pool in the 90-degree heat -- but apparently Kerry Wood looked good, and the best thing about the box score was seeing that Todd Walker went 3-for-4 with 3 RBI. Also nice: the Murton-Cedeno tandem going 4-for-8. Not so nice: Tony Womack going 2-for-5. I mean, I'm glad he's not a giant sucking chest wound in the #2 hole, but I cringe every time he gets a hit because that means he's going to play even more. On Sunday I was bemoaning the Cubs to The Lovely Wife, as I am wont to do, and she said she thought this same thing had happened last May, or maybe the May before. So I went and looked, and sure enough, the Cubs started last May with a seven-game losing streak, which led to the TCR authors banning the use of the letter L. Not only that, but in the middle of last May I reached back into the TCR archives of May 2002, when the Cubs had a nine-game slide. Three out of the last five Mays have been painful for Cubs fans. Of course, in both '02 and '05 the Cubs would go on to have even worse months later in the year, and they finished 21 and 30 games out of first in those two years. So it's not like it's a cloud with a silver lining; it's more like a cloud filled with grapefruit-sized hail. Man, I can't even make a column about a win come out sounding happy. As Bushwick Bill once famously said, "times is hard."


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