The Cubs announced which players they'll be sending to the Arizona Fall League this year and the lucky seven are: (Drumroll Please) Carmen Pignatiello - LHP Lincoln Holdzkom - RHP Grant Johnson - RHP Clay Rapada - LHP Jake Fox - C Scott Moore - 3B Eric Patterson - 2B It appears the trend for the Cubs lately in regards to the AFL is to reward position players who have had a good season and then mix up the pitchers between relievers and those who missed time due to injury. This year Johnson and Holdzkom fall into that last category much like Angel Guzman last year. This will be Patterson's second consectutive trip to the AFL. I'm also guessing one of the players will be deemed a "taxi squad player" since I believe you can only send six regular roster players to the AFL. Taxi Squad players can only play on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Cubs will also be sending AA manager and former major league Pat Listach to manage the Mesa Solar Sox who are comprised of players from the Astros, Dodgers, Twins and Mets as well as the Cubs.
Just in time to temper our excitement over Neifi getting traded, the Cubs activated Freddie Bynum and Glendon Rusch today, while putting Carlos Marmol on the DL. The Pfightin' Phils come into town on the back of 2 ex-Cubs pitchers, Jon Lieber and Jamie Moyer. Okay, more on the back of Ryan Howard and a guy who could have been a Cub, Chase Utley. How could he have been a Cub? Well he was drafted 15th in the 2000 draft, 12 picks ahead of the extremely useless Luis Montanez. Of course, fourteen other teams had a crack at him too. The Phils themselves have shot back into the playoff race since jettisoning David Bell who had a strangle-hold on the organization. Once they showed that trouble-maker the door, a whole new spirit infected the team. There was also that little trade with the Yanks involving some All-Star guy whose name evades me at the moment. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-TWENTY-FOUR IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (61-62 (Div) 2nd- 14 GB; (Wild Card) 4th - 2.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (53-70 (Div) 5th - 13.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 10.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Clear, 77 degrees, Wind from R to L @ 8 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 740 Radio: WGN, XM 187
Rich Hill, LHP 3-5, 6.90 ERA, 44.1 IP 32 K, 26 BB, 9 HR 285/379/533 againstJon Lieber, RHP 5-9, 5.10 ERA, 120 IP 72 K, 22 BB, 18 HR 281/317/459 against

#Jimmy Rollins, SS #Shane Victorino, RF *Chase Utley, 2B *Ryan Howard, 1B Pat Burrell, LF Aaron Rowand, CF Chris Coste, C #Abraham Nunez, 3B Jon Lieber, P *Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis, SS Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF #Angel Pagan, LF *John Mabry, 1B* Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, 2B *Rich Hill, P

Phillies vs. Hill: No Phillies with more than 10 Ab's Cubs vs. Lieber: Phil Nevin: 5-24, 208/222/292, 7 K, 1 BB, 2 2B Aramis Ramirez: 5-23, 217/217/217, 6 K, 0 BB Juan Pierre: 6-18, 333/333/389, 2 K, 0 BB, 1 2B Michael Barrett: 4-15, 267/313/267, 0 K, 1 BB John Mabry: 2-14, 143/200/214, 5 K, 1 BB, 1 2B Jacque Jones: 3-13, 231/231/462, 5 K, 0 BB, 1 HR Henry Blanco: 4-11, 364/417/455 3 K, 1 BB, 1 2B
UPDATE: Here's the press release from cubs.com. It doesn't say anything about the Cubs sending cash the Tigers way which means there's some millions freed up for next year. According to Len on the WGN broadcast, TCR whipping boy Neifi Perez has been dealt to the Detroit Tigers for 22 minor league old catcher Chris Robinson. Robinson was a third round selection of the Tigers in the 2005 draft and made the Florida State League All-Star team this year. And he's a U of I boy to boot which I'm sure will make many Cubs fans happy. Here's a quick blurb via tigstown.com:
He controls pitching staffs well, and provides a calming influence during games. His receiving skills are only average, but he works diligently to try and improve them. Robinsonís arm is very strong, with a quick release, and very good foot work.
Offensively he doesn't sound like much now, a line drive stroke that hasn't translated into much power. His numbers at Hi-A Lakeland for the year were: 288/338/367 with 1 HR, 47 RBI, 72 K, 25 BB in 319 AB's. As for Neifi, don't let the door hit you on the way out. Good riddance! I really don't want to spend another moment on his worthlessness. Good luck Tigers, you'll need it. AZ PHIL: Cubs minor league managers, coaches, and players have had a chance to get a good look at Chris Robinson the past two seasons, what with Chris playing last year in the Midwest League at West Michigan and this year in the FSL at Lakeland. A little more on Chris Robinson: DEFENSE: Chris Robinson's defensive stats compared to other catchers in Cubs organization (thru 8/19): AT LAKELAND Chris Robinson 32-126 CS (25%) - 7 E, 16 PB CUBS: Michael Barrett 21-104 CS (20%) ñ 5 E, 9 PB Henry Blanco 12-26 CS (46%) - 1 E, 1 PB IOWA: Geovany Soto 32-118 CS (28%) ñ 8 E, 3 PB Jose Reyes 24-65 CS (37%) - 2 E, 3 PB Casey Kopitzke 9-22 CS (41%) ñ 0 E, 2 PB WEST TENN: Jake Fox 29-98 CS (30%) ñ 7 E, 19 PB Tony Richie 14-46 CS (30%) - 1 E, 2 PB DAYTONA: Jake Muyco 49-99 CS (49%) ñ 8 E, 6 PB Alan Rick 13-50 CS (26%) ñ 0 E, 8 PB PEORIA: Mark Reed 32-82 CS (39%) ñ 3 E, 3 PB Blake Lalli 6-24 CS (25%) ñ 3 E, 4 PB Olin Wick 1-5 CS (20%) ñ 1 PB, 1 E BOISE: Matt Canepa 5-37 CS (14%) ñ 3 E, 9 PB Mario Mercedes 10-29 CS (34%) - 2 E, 5 PB Adam Hackstedt 9-14 CS (64%) ñ 0 E, 3 PB Welington Castillo 0-2 CS (0%) - 0 E, 2 PB MESA: Carlos T. Perez 16-48 CS (33%) - 5 E, 4 PB Cory Vanderhook 18-36 CS (50%) ñ 0 E, 2 PB Blake Parker 4-6 CS (67%) ñ 1 E, 3 PB Robinson's defensive numbers are very similar to those of Jake Fox, except Fox has a slightly better CS % while Robinson has three fewer passed balls. But both clearly have significant defensive shortcomings. However, Fox's defensive problems are a bit more tolerable because he profiles as a power-hitting middle-of-the-order run producer type, while Robinson is more of a "singles hitter." OFFENSE: Robinson does not hit home runs, but he does hit doubles. He also doesn't walk much ("Welcome to the Cubs!") and he strikes out about once in every five PA. After struggling at the plate through the first three months of the season, Robinson has been on fire in July & August: JULY-AUGUST 29 GAMES 36-104 (.346) .370 OBP .451 SLG .821 OPS 0 HR & 19 RBI 11 2B 4 BB 19 K Robinson will probably share catching duties the last few days of the 2006 season with Jake Muyco at Daytona. Muyco is an excellent defensive catcher and is one of the best "catch & throw" guys in all of minor league baseball. Muyco's problem is that he is a lousy hitter. Maybe they can help each other improve in the areas where they are deficient. Otherwise, I would expect Robinson or Muyco (but probably not both) to move up to AA in 2007, with the other remaining at Daytona to share catching duties with lefty-hitter Mark Reed (who will almost certainly move up from Peoria to Daytona next season). In summary, Chris Robinson does not appear at this point to have the combination of offensive & defensive skills to be a #1 catcher. Hopefully he will continue his hot hotting into the 2007 season and work hard to improve his defense.
Poor Juan Mateo is scouring up memories of Sergio Mitre from last year when he had to face Clemens and Halladay , although not in back-to-back starts. Of course Mitre went out and threw two of the best games he'll probably ever pitch. I'm all for a repeat. Cubs are only a half game behind the Nationals in the wild card race. Keep the hope alive....or don't. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-TWENTY-THREE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (65-57 (Div) 1st- 0 GB; (Wild Card) N/A) AT CHICAGO CUBS (53-69 (Div) 5th - 12.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 9.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:20 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 73 degrees, Wind in from LF @ 11mph TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 187
Juan Mateo, RHP 1-0, 3.00 ERA, 12 IP 5 K, 6 BB, 0 HR 205/318/359 againstChris Carpenter, RHP 11-6, 3.09 ERA, 160.1 IP 131 K, 34 BB, 18 HR 267/365/333 against

#Aaron Miles, SS *Chris Duncan, LF Albert Pujols, 1B Scott Rolen, 3B Juan Encarnacion, CF Preston Wilson, RF Ronnie Belliard, 2B Yadier Molina, C Chris Carpenter, P *Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis, SS Matt Murton, LF Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Phil Nevin, 1B Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, 2B Juan Mateo, P

Cardinals vs Mateo: No Cardinals with more than 10 Ab's Cubs vs. Carpenter: Aramis Ramirez: 8-31, 258/258/387, 8 K, 0 BB, 1 HR Micahel Barrett: 6-29, 207/258/414, 7 K, 2 BB, 2 HR Juan Pierre: 3-16, 188/278/250, 0 K, 2 BB, 1 2B Neifi Perez: 3-14, 214/200/214, 0 K, 0 BB, 0 XBH Jacque Jones: 3-14, 214/214/500, 7 K, 0 BB, 1 HR Phil Nevin: 0-13, 000/000/000, 3 K, 0 BB Carlos Zambrano: 6-10, 600/600/700, 2 K, 0 BB, 1 HR
Dick Pole: So here are the numbers against Carpenter, looks like Nevin has had all sorts of problems against him. Dusty: (Snore) Dick Pole: Oh yeah and Neifi is one of the worst hitters to ever play baseball. Dusty: (Snore) Dick Pole: Um, Dusty, wake up man. Dusty: (Waking up) Dude, here's the lineup for today, my grandma once told me that you've got to breathe, eat right and always start the gnome-like shorstop. Dick Pole: What? Dusty: All I know is that Nevin is due for a hit. Dick Pole: (under breath) All I know is that you're an idiot. Slap a first basemen's glove on Z for god's sake or something. So what's up with Barrett?
Okay so we don't own the Cardinals at Wrigley, my bad. I meant to say we bow to your greatness, you crimson-colored state bird of Illinois. Z's back on the mound today and I wonder if he's approaching the season record for walks given up in a season, because he's given up a whole lot. Anyway, a national audience gets to watch our patheticness today. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-TWENTY-TWO IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (65-56 (Div) 1st- 0 GB; (Wild Card) N/A) AT CHICAGO CUBS (52-69 (Div) 5th - 13.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 9.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 12:20 pm CDT Weather: Overcast, 73 degrees, Wind from L to R @ 8 mph TV: Fox, Radio: WGN, XM 187
Carlos Zambrano, RHP 13-5, 3.38 ERA, 170.2 IP 167 K, 96 BB, 18 HR 205/318/359 againstJeff Suppan, RHP 9-7, 5.00 ERA, 133.1 IP 74 K, 51 BB, 19 HR 287/357/482 against

#Aaron Miles, SS *Chris Duncan, LF Albert Pujols, 1B Scott Rolen, 3B #Scott Spiezo, LF Preston Wilson, CF Ronnie Belliard, 2B Yadier Molina, C Jeff Suppan, P *Juan Pierre, CF #Neifi Perez, SS Matt Murton, LF Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF *John Mabry, 1B Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, 2B #Carlos Zambrano, P

Cardinals vs Zambrano: Scott Rolen: 7-36, 194/237/417, 5 K, 2 BB, 2 HR Albert Pujols: 8-36, 222/333/444, 7 K, 6 BB, 2 HR Jim Edmonds: 6-33, 182/357/394, 18 K, 6 BB, 2 HR Juan Encarnacion: 2-19, 105/150/105, 5 K, 1 BB, 0 XBH Preston Wilson: 5-19, 263/263/316, 7 K, 0 BB, 1 2B David Eckstein: 3-19, 158/200/158,1 K, 0 BB, 0 XBH Ronnie Belliard: 2-11, 182/357/273, 2 K, 3 BB, 1 2B Aaron Miles: 4-11, 364/500/364, 2 K, 2 BB, 0 XBH Cubs vs. Suppan: Jacque Jones: 11-33, 333/488/697, 7 K, 10 BB, 4 HR Aramis Ramirez: 5-18, 278/350/556 ,1 K, 2 BB, 1HR Michael Barrett: 8-18, 444/474/444, 1K, 1 BB Cesar Izturis: 5-18, 278/316/333, 0 K, 1 BB, 1 2B Neifi Perez: 5-15, 333/375/333, 0 K, 1 BB Juan Pierre: 4-13, 308/357/308, 1 K, 1 BB Henry Blanco: 2-10, 200/200/500,2 K, 0 BB, 1 HR
I wonder why Barrett's getting the day off? I wonder why Dusty hates us?
The almighty Redbirds march into Wrigley Field which has been their own version of "The Killing Fields", losing all seven games they've played here this year. Today's pitchers met back on July 28th here at Wrigley, a game in which Marmol walked seven in a five and third innings. That sounds familiar. But we seem to bring out the very worst in Scott Rolen who committed a throwing error in the fourth which would have ended the inning (He has something like 3 or 4 crucial errors against us this year, he only has 10 for the whole season). Pierre promptly tripled in three runs and the Cubs held on for victory. Another fun stat, Pujols is 4 for 24 at Wrigley this year without a homer. Do not taunt Albert Pujols or Happy Fun Ball! Cubs could make the Central very interesting with another sweep this weekend. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-TWENTY-ONE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (64-56 (Div) 1st- 0 GB; (Wild Card) N/A) AT CHICAGO CUBS (52-68 (Div) 5th - 12.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 9.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:20 pm CDT Weather: Overcast, 82 degrees, Wind Out to CF @ 8 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 735 Radio: WGN, XM 187
Carlos Marmol, RHP 5-5, 5.50 ERA, 68.2 IP 52 K, 55 BB, 11 HR 234/378/464 againstJason Marquis, RHP 12-11, 5.71 ERA, 156 IP 73 K, 55 BB, 28 HR 283/352/497 against

David Eckstein, SS *Chris Duncan, LF Albert Pujols, 1B Scott Rolen, 3B Juan Encarnacion, CF Preston Wilson, RF Ronnie Belliard, 2B Gary Bennett, C *Jason Marquis, P *Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF #Angel Pagan, LF *John Mabry, 1B Ronny Cedeno, 2B Carlos Marmol, P

Cardinals vs Marmol: No Cardinals with more than 10 AB's Cubs vs. Marquis: Juan Pierre: 6-23, 261/346/435, 1 K, 3 BB, 3 XBH Michael Barrett: 8-22, 364/440/591, 0 K, 4 BB, 4 XBH Aramis Ramirez: 8-19, 421/476/737, 1 K , 2 BB, 3 XBH Cesar Izturis: 5-12, 417/417/500, 2 K, 0 BB, 1 2B
Preston Wilson signed with the Cardinals today and Edmonds is out indefinitely with post-concussion syndrome, something that has knocked Corey Koskie and Mike Matheny out for the season. Poor Matt Murton sits again. I don't even want to bring up his August numbers.
We are just about at the 3/4 mark in the 2006 MLB season. With the addition of Ryan O'Malley to the 40-man roster yesterday, the Cubs 40-man roster is now full. When (if) Wade Miller (shoulder) returns from the 60-day DL (probably sometime in the next couple of weeks), it is likely that Kerry Wood (shoulder) will be transferred to the 60-day DL to make room for Miller on the 40-man roster. Like Miller, Sean Marshall (oblique) and Freddie Bynum (blood clot in shoulder) are presently on minor league rehab assignments and could be reactivated from the DL in the next few days. Glendon Rusch (elbow) is probably healthy enough to be reactivated from the DL right now, but I would be surprised if he is reactivated before September 1st. Scott Eyre (hamstring) will be eligible to be reactivated from the 15-day DL on August 31st, but will probably be reactivated on September 1st when rosters are expanded. If Derrek Lee (wrist) and/or Mark Prior (shoulder) return to action prior to the close of the 2006 season, it will probably be no earlier than sometime in September. Here is the current up-to-date personnel status for the Cubs organization, nearing the end of the 2006 season and soon to be heading into the off-season:
Today's tale of the tape:
Pettitte  vs. O'Malley:
  350 &nbsp&nbsp GS &nbsp  0
  183 &nbsp&nbsp W &nbsp&nbsp  0
  1661   K &nbsp   0
  2257.1 IP &nbsp  0
Ryan O'Malley gets the default start today with Scott Eyre hitting the DL with a strained hamstring. According to that Trib article, he's the 7th Cubs rookie pitcher this year and 4th to make his major leage debut in a starting role. As for last night's marathon affair, I tuned in on my XM radio on my drive home to hear the Astros take the lead and pretty much got through the bottom of the eighth. Forgetting the game was on WGN and figuring it was over, I went inside and spent a couple of hours with the kids before putting them to bed. I went to check the boxscore to see the final damage and saw the game was still going on and in the 15th inning. I decided to check out the parachat to see if any insomniacs were still around and there were a good 10-15 TCR'ites still fighting the good fight. Of course they were playing Hangman and 20 Questions, but most stuck around until the end. There were calls to officially reference the game as "The Murton Game" ala the '84 "Sandberg game", but I'm not sure ballplayers can get games named after them in a non-playoff season. But still what a performance by Murton and by most of the bullpen sans Wuertz and Ohman. Today should be fun, Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-TWENTY IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (51-68 (Div) 5th - 12.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 10.0 GB) AT HOUSTON ASTROS (57-62, (Div) 3rd - 6.5 GB; (Wild Card) 6th - 4.0 GB) The Juice Park, 1:05 pm CDT Weather: Roof Closed TV: WGN, DirecTV 734 Radio: WGN, XM 186
Andy Pettitte, LHP 11-12, 4.86 ERA, 159.1 IP 136 K, 54 BB, 22 HR 300/353/493 againstRyan O'Malley, LHP (AAA) 7-7, 4.08 ERA, 123.2 IP 71 K, 30 BB, 9 HR 286/330/429 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B Phil Nevin, 1B #Angel Pagan, RF Matt Murton, LF #Neifi Perez, SS *Ryan O'Malley, P Wily Taveras, CF Chris Burke, 2B #Lance Berkman, 1B *Luke Scott, LF Morgan Ensberg, 3B Jason Lane, RF Adam Everett, SS Brad Ausmus, C *Andy Pettitte, P

Cubs vs Pettitte: Neifi Perez: 8-29, 276/276/414, 2 K, 0 BB, 4 2B Phil Nevin: 6-21, 286/423/524, 6 K, 5 BB, 1 HR Aramis Ramirez: 6-17, 353/353/882, 2 K, 0 BB, 3 2B, 2 HR Jacque Jones: 2-16, 125/176/188, 7 K, 1 BB, 1 2B Michael Barrett: 5-15, 333/474/600, 4 K, 4 BB, 1 HR Matt Murton: 4-14, 286/412/286, 3 K, 3 BB, 0 XBH Juan Pierre: 4-11, 364/417/455, 1 K, 1 BB, 1 2B Astros vs. O'Malley: No Astros with more than 10 AB's
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?

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