For all those who would rather shoot the messenger.
GAME 30
PADRES 5 CUBS 9
W: Steve Trout (2-0) L: Mark Thurmond (2-2) S: Lee Smith (4)
I have no interest in giving a review of the May 14, 2006 9-0 debacle. Instead, here's a review of the Cubs/Padres game from May 11, 1986. It was a real team effort today, with six Cubs driving in at least one run, and the bullpen picking up the slack for Steve Trout, who despite the win, logged his fourth consecutive poor outing. No one can get Gwynn out, and Terry Kennedy went four for four, after seeking out some pre-game tips from the hitting coach about how to approach left-handed pitchers - from the CUBS hitting coach, Billy Williams. While Trout's struggles are cause for concern on a team desperate for a reliable starting pitcher, the offense showed signs of life. Lopes hit his first homerun of the year, Sandberg doubled twice and Cey once, while Durham and Davis contributed two hits and Dernier scored twice. The Cubs' half of the second inning featured some of the ugliest baseball seen this year, as the Cubs scored four off of fielding errors by Jerry Royster and Garry Templeton, with Tim Stoddard coming in to replace Mark Thurmond. The Cubs should have had more, really, except for a botched bases-loaded squeeze play that resulted in Durham being picked off third. After Baller put two men on in the ninth, Big Lee was woken up from the pen to throw a one-pitch save. Dunston took the 0 for 5, snapping his modest six-game hitting streak. With Dernier hitting even less than Dunston, something needs to be done with that leadoff spot. That something, frankly, should be Lopes, who continues to pound the ball and show the best baserunning instincts on the team, forty years old or not. It's probably too much to ask him to play Center, however, and so far, the rumors of Moreland's moving from Right to Third, with Cey benched, traded, or released, prove to be just that, rumors. The other corner positions are manned, unless we want to ship off Matthews and/or Durham to make room for Lopes this year, and then Grace and Palmeiro next year. While there are plenty of Cubs fans ready to throw in the towel with our slow start and play for next year, already, it's premature to call for either of the kids to be brought up, as each one probably needs at least another year of seasoning. Same with Dave Martinez, but realistically, he could out-hit Dernier, now. Tomorrow is an off-day, and with exhibition games scheduled later this week against Des Moines and then the White Sox, Frey plans on going with four pitchers in the starting rotation. This will effectively keep Guy Hoffman in the bullpen, while Sutcliffe and Trout try to figure things out. So while problems abound for Frye and the '86 Cubs, at least today provided some much-needed respite.
As critical as I have been of Baker, I actually am not yet ready to join the "Fire Him Tomorrow" crowd. I just don't see the failings of the 2006 Cubs to be Baker-induced. No Prior, no Wood, no Lee, no offense from Ramirez, Pierre or Jones - these things are not Dusty's fault. Murton (up until now) and Cedeno have played every day. I really don't get the argument that we are seeing the results of a team filled with Dusty-style players. Who are they? Lee? Ramirez? Walker? Barrett? Cedeno? Murton? Dempster? Zambrano? Maddux? Is Jones more of a Dusty Player than Burnitz was? (Pierre over Patterson, sure, I'll give you that.) If anything, the fundamental play of the team has improved over last year while the number of seemingly random and innane managerial decisions has declined, at least from my vantage point. Most fundamental, if we were to fire Baker tomorrow, who would replace him? Another Bruce Kimm? If we can't entice Bobby Valentine or Lou Pinella to take over, who is there that we could get, mid-season, that would be worth having? While we should have fired him last year, I don't think that firing Dusty now would accomplish anything more than a hollow, token gesture to fans demanding immediate but half-baked solutions to problems that extend wider and deeper than our choice of toothpick-tasters. Replacing Baker with Matthews, Rothschild or Clines would be meaningless. And all that said, I don't want Baker around for 2007. With that in mind, here are the first 15 questions I would ask a prospective Cubs manager, before even bothering to entering into discussions about specific personel. What would you ask? How would you answer?
GAME THIRTY-SIX IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] SAN DIEGO PADRES (20-16, 1st, 0.0) AT CHICAGO CUBS (15-20, 5th, 7.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:200 PM CDT Weather: Crappy TV: CSN Chicago, DirecTV 735 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Greg Maddux, RHP 5-2, 3.64 ERA, 42 IP 33 K, 8 BB, 3 HRChris Young, RHP 3-2, 3.61 ERA, 42 1/3 IP 33 K, 16 BB, 7 HR

*Dave Roberts, LF Mike Cameron, CF *Brian Giles, RF Mike Piazza, C Khalil Greene, SS Vinny Castilla, 3B *Adrian Gonzalez, 1B Josh Barfield, 2B Chris Young, P*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Jerry Hairston, LF Neifi Perez, 2B Henry Blanco, C Greg Maddux, P
Padres vs. Maddux: Brian Giles: 11-27, 407/500/667, 1 HR, 5 BB, 5 K Vinny Castilla: 13-45, 289/319/556, 3 HR, 1 BB, 9 K Mike Piazza: 17-65, 262/273/462, 4 HR, 1 BB, 10 K Geoff Blum: 6-25, 240/269/240, 1 BB, 7 K Eric Young: 12-55, 218/237/255, 2 BB, 2 KCubs vs. Young: Jacque Jones: 2-11, 182/182/455, 1 HR, 2 K

The Cubs have sent Angel Guzman back to Iowa and called up Jae-Kuk Ryu to take his place on the roster. Since Kerry Wood is scheduled to be activated on Thursday, I'm guessing Ryu will start on Wednesday and then will be sent back down to make room for Wood. What? You want to know something about today's game? Hmm. I think the best thing that could happen today would be for the game to be rained out. That would prevent the team from fielding a lineup that includes Neifi and Blanco, with Matt Murton on the bench. I'm guessing this won't be a one-game rest for Murton; I expect we'll find out tht he's been benched, so now he can sit around all day and think about how he's thinking too much. That's useful. And why, exactly, did Hendry bother to call up Ryan Theriot? Do you think it's doing him any good to be sitting on the bench watching the team lose? I mean, yeah, it's the majors and all, but how is this helping his development?
what a horrible lineup. Jones has a bad groin and Dusty says Walker needs a day off. Guzman's already hit a guy and walked Giles. Good start. Well I'm swamped at work. This will have to do. Cubs Lineup: *Juan Pierre, CF #Neifi Perez, SS Ronny Cedeno, SS Aramis Ramirez, 3B Michael Barret, C *John Mabry, 1B Matt Murton, LF Jerry Hairston Jr., RF Angel Guzman, P Padres *Dave Roberts, LF Mike Cameron, CF *Brian Giles, RF Mike Piazza, C Khalil Greene, SS Vinny Castilla, 3B *Adrian Gonzalez, 1B Josh Barfield, 2B Woody Williams, P
GAME THIRTY-FOUR IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (15-18, 5th, 6.5 GB) AT SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (16-18, 5th, 3.5 GB) Telephone Company Park, 2:30 PM CDT Weather: 68 degrees, Sunny, Wind Out to RF @ 13mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 735 Radio: WGN, XM 189
Jamey Wright, RHP 2-3, 4.61 ERA, 33 IP 19 K, 16 BB, 5 HRSean Marhsall, LHP 2-0, 3.12 ERA, 34.2 IP 26K, 11 BB, 3 HR
Ronny Woo-Woo, SS *Shrunken Head, CF *Having A Horrible May, 2B Please Start Hitting, 3B *Isn't This Why We Got Him?, 1B 1 RBI in 3 Weeks???, C *See I'm Not That Bad, RF One Step Closer to Getting Benched, LF *Still A Rookie, P, P*Randy Winn, RF #Omar Vizquel, SS Lance Niekro, 1B *Asterisk, LF Pedro Feliz, 3B *Steve Finley, CF Mike Matheny, C Kevin Frandsen, 2B Jamey Wright, P

Cubs vs. Wright: Aramis Ramirez: 6-29 207/273/241 1 XBH, 2 BB, 6 K John Mabry: 8-25 320/346/360 1 XBH, 1 BB, 2 K Juan Pierre: 7-14 500/500/786 1 HR, 3 2B, 0 BB, 1 KGiants vs. Marshall:

Sean Marshall has a 0.89 WHIP this year, holy freaking efficiency. It's been more than a pleasant surprise that he's been able to be so effective, so quickly in the majors. Let's hope he keeps it up today and we'll see if he has the guts to go after Bonds. After one comes two, let the streak begin!!!
OK! I finally figured out how to get my Big Board and organizational update file uploaded to the server. It's available here: Big Board and Organizational Update There are multiple tabs -- the first tab is the big board, showing the current rosters of every team in the system. Each team has its own tab as well, showing starts by position for each team. In addition, the players' names are linked to up-to-date splits for just about every player in the system, thanks to the tremendous work done over at Brew Crew Ball. I'll update this as often as I can, and as always I welcome suggestions and corrections. I've added a link to the right-hand column ("The Big Board") and I'll post notices here when I've updated the page.
GAME 34 REVIEW
CUBS 8, GIANTS 1 Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart | Photos
W: Carloz Zambrano (1-2) L: Matt Cain (1-5)
I didn't really catch much of the game, only the first few innings on XM radio. Jon Miller made it sound like the Cubs defense was a bit shaky(Jones error, Z didn't cover first base on a potential DP, Pierre let one over his head) but for once the bats were there to overcome. By all accounts Z looked good and we find out that when you go after Bonds, it is possible to get him out every so often. I thought Bonds was going to take his normal day off tomorrow as it's a day game following a night game but Alou said he'll play. It'll be up to Sean Marshall to try and win the series and keep Bonds from climbing a rung on the all-time home run ladder. Glad the losing streak is over, the dogs, AngelFan wife and kids are safe once again. Looking forward to starting a winning streak.
GAME THIRTY-THREE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (14-18, 5th, 6.5 GB) AT SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (16-17, 4th, 3.0 GB) Telephone Company Park, 9:15 PM CDT Weather: 63 degrees, clear, Wind Out to CF @ 17mph TV: CSN Radio: WGN, XM 189
Matt Cain, RHP 1-4, 6.27 ERA, 33 IP 26 K, 13 BB, 8 HRCarlos Zambrano, RHP 0-2, 4.43 ERA, 40.2 IP 48 K, 28 BB, 6 HR
Take A Freaking Pitch, SS *Out Machine, CF *Wishing He Got Traded, 2B Stop Gawking, Start Hitting, 3B *Desperate Times, Desperate Measures, 1B Pull A Pitch, LF *Fragile Ego, RF Hank To The Rescue, C #Drill Bonds for Me, P*Randy Winn, RF #Omar Vizquel, SS *Mark Sweeney, 1B *The Devil Incarnate, LF *Steve Finley, CF Pedro Feliz, 3B Kevin Frandsen, 2B Mike Matheny, C Matt Cain, P

Matt Cain's a pretty high-end prospect who's struggled out of the gate in 2006. I'm sure tonight will be a huge confidence booster for the kid. At least with Z on the mound, the chances of Bonds getting drilled skyrocket. Do something!
GAME 32 RANT
GIANTS 6 CUBS 1
Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart | Photos
W: Jason Schmidt (3-2) L: Rich Hill (0-2)
Eighth verse, same as the first. You know, I've been calling for Dusty Baker to be fired for so long now that I can't get particularly exercised about joining the growing chorus right now. It's like this $^#&@ piece of property I'm trying to sell in California -- we found a buyer last September, but have had to deal with the San Diego County bureaucracy and a ludicrously incompetent buyer's agent for so long that when (if?) we finally do close, I'm not going to feel any joy or happiness, or really even relief. All I'm going to feel is a sense that this Thing that has been hanging over me is gone, and there will be a void that will, eventually I'm sure, go away and we'll just start to get on with our lives without wondering every day if this is actually going to happen or if we're just going to keep slogging along, waist-deep in stress, for the rest of our lives. That's how it is with me and the Cubs at the moment. I'm not going to go back through the TCR archives and find all the times I and others wrote about getting rid of Dusty, but they are there. There are many reasons why I thought it was the right thing to do over the last few seasons, and all of those reasons still apply. In fact, they apply now more than ever.
GAME THIRTY-TWO IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (14-17, 5th, 6.5 GB) AT SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (15-17, 4th, 4.5 GB) Telephone Company Park, 7:15 PM CDT Weather: 56 degrees, clear, Wind Out to RF @ 20 mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 745 Radio: WGN, XM 189
Jason Schmidt, RHP 2-2, 3.77 ERA, 43 IP 33 K, 18 BB, 4 HRRich Hill, LHP 0-1, 11.25 ERA, 4 IP 1 K, 2 BB, 2 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Michael Barrett, C *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF #Neifi Perez, 2B *Rich Hill, P*Randy Winn, RF #Omar Vizquel, SS *Lance Niekro, 1B *Satan, LF Pedro Feliz, 3B *Steve Finley, CF Mike Matheny, C #Jose Vizcaino, 2B Jason Schmidt, P

Cubs vs. Schmidt: Neifi Perez: 6-20 300/391/450 1 HR, 3 BB, 2 K Michael Barrett: 4-20 200/200/350 1 HR, 0 BB, 2 K Aramis Ramirez: 5-18 278/350/611 1 HR, 3 2B, 1 BB, 1 K Juan Pierre: 5-17 294/333/412 1BB, 3 K John Mabry: 1-16 063/063/063 0 BB, 8 K Todd Walker: 4-14 286/412/286 3 BB, 1 K &nbsp&nbsp&nbspGiants vs. Hill:

The rematch we've all been waiting for, who could forget the epic duel between Hill and Schmidt last year on July 25th. In his first major league start, Hill labored through 5 innings, but held the Giants to merely two runs while striking out five. The veteran Schmidt though was up to the task, hurling seven strong innings, his only blemish - a Michael Barrett dinger. The Cubs offense persisted though, scratching a run off of Boo-Bird Hawkins in the eight, and then finally pushing through in the ninth off Tyler Walker. Cedeno leads off with a single, was moved over on a sacrifice bunt by Hairston, a sharp single to right by Todd Walker advanced Cedeno to third and that was followed up by the easiest decision ever made in baseball, an intentional walk to Derrek Lee. That set the stage for the one and only Jeromy Burnitz, who promptly flied out to centerfield, deep enough for the young Cedeno to scamper home with the winning run. 3-2, Cubs Win, Cubs Win!!!! Why did I write just write in such great detail about a meaningless game last July? Because it's a lot more exciting than the drivel the Cubs have produced over the last week or so. One other quick note from the game last year, Omar Vizquel stole 3 bases in the game, 2 off the Hill/Barrett combo that we'll see tonight. With Randy Winn now on the team, Hill's inability to hold runners and Barrett's well-known throwing deficiencies, I expect a track meet out there. Of course we stole five bases off Piazza over the weekend and scored one run off a Ramirez home run, so it probably won't matter much. The Cubs seven game losing streak though will take a backseat (at least on a national level) to the Barry Bonds pursuit of Babe's home run total. A mere two home runs from becoming the second greatest home run hitter of all-time, it will be up to the Cubs pitching staff to try and stave off the celebration until a later date. With Alou out at least 2 weeks (and likely more), I don't see any good reason to pitch to Mr. Bonds with anybody on base. Normally I abhor the "Walk Bonds" approach, because telling your pitchers that you don't think they're good enough to get Bonds out isn't the way to inspire future confidence when they do need to get a good hitter out. But in this case, I'd rather not watch that buffoon celebrate while I'm trying to watch the game. He may possibly be the greatest baseball player ever and I could care less, chemically enhanced or not, he's a jerk, a creep, and I hope he never even sniffs Aaron's record. If I was a major league pitcher, if I ever reached a three ball count on him, I'd just throw at his armguard every single time. Heck with George Mitchell's steroid witchhunt, go find out how much his home run rate went up once he started setting up half an inch off the plate with 2 feet of body armor covering his "tender" elbow. (On a sidenote, he is a free agent next year, man we could use a bat like that, Any takers? Anyone?........kidding) The Cubs are in desperate need of some offense, some defense, some kind of spark, a bench-clearing brawl, who knows. I suggest drilling Bonds each time, see what happens. Win a freakin' game!!!
In last week's Week Ahead, I said:
Hi Carlos! How are you? Have you remembered that you are very good yet?
And:
As of today the Cubs' next three opponents are a combined 28-47 (.373). With or without Wood, Prior, and Lee, these are games the Cubs need to win.
If you're scoring at home (or even if you're alone), that would be one yes and one no, which is a .500 percentage, which is something the Cubs are now three games away from. Bleah. San Francisco Giants Know Your Enemy: McCovey Chronicles, El Lefty Malo, Only Baseball Matters Tuesday, 9:15: Rich Hill vs. Jason Schmidt Wednesday, 9:15: Carlos Zambrano vs. Matt Cain Thursday, 2:35: Sean Marshall vs. Jamey Wright It looks like the Cubs will get a second chance to be party to a slugger passing Babe Ruth, as Barry Bonds sits on 713 home runs with the Cubs on their way to the Phone Booth in The City by the Bay. Did you know that legendary San Francisco newspaper columnist Herb Caen used to refer to San Francisco as "Baghdad by the Bay"? I'm sure it was a compliment when he said it, but I doubt any city wants to be compared to Baghdad right now. This oughtta be a barn-burner of a series. Rank in the NL in key offensive categories: Runs: Giants 11th, Cubs 16th Home Runs: Giants 11th, Cubs 15th Average: Giants 9th, Cubs 14th OBP: Giants 11th, Cubs 15th Slugging: Giants 13th, Cubs 15th Of course, the Padres rank below the Giants in all those categories and they just waxed the Cubs for four straight. On the bright side, the Cubs scored 6 runs over the last two games, as many as they had scored in the previous eight. Bleah. San Diego Padres Know Your Enemy: Ducksnorts, Gaslamp Ball Friday, 1:20: Woody Williams vs. Angel Guzman Saturday, 1:20: Greg Maddux vs. Chris Young Sunday, 1:20: Rich Hill vs. Clay Hensley Padres.com has a TBA scheduled for Friday, with Williams pushed back to Saturday -- not sure why. Also, Dusty has not officially named Angel Guzman as the starter for that game. It doesn't seem like there's any chance that the Cubs will activate Kerry Wood, though, so the only other option seems to be bringing Glendon Rusch back to the rotation. Of course, Dusty says that will "probably not" happen, but what are the other alternatives? Bringing back Jerome Williams? Bleah. If the Cubs really don't want Guzman in the rotation for another start, how about calling up Les Walrond for one start? He's a minor-league journeyman (29 years old, 8 major league innings) who is off to a 4-1, 2.12 start at Iowa. He's not a long-term solution, but it might be nice to reward him for what he's done over the ifrst month. He's not on the 40-man, so they would need to make room for him, but do they really need to keep Mike Restovich on the 40-man roster? Bleah. [UPDATE:] As mentioned in the comments, Restovich was outrighted to Iowa because he is out of options. So, he's off the 40-man and there is a spot open.
GAME THIRTY-ONE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (14-16, 5th, 6 GB) AT SAN DIEGO PADRES (16-15, 3rd, 2.5 GB) Puppy Park, 9:05 PM CDT Weather: Lovely TV: CSN, DirecTV 738 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Chris Young, RHP 2-2, 3.53 ERA, 35.2 IP 30 K, 14 BB, 6 HRGreg Maddux, RHP 5-1, 2.35 ERA, 38.1 IP 29 K, 6 BB, 2 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF Ronnie Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B Greg Maddux, P*Dave Roberts, LF Mike Cameron, CF *Brian Giles, RF Mike Piazza, C Josh Barfield, 2B Vinny Castilla, 3B Khalil Greene, SS *Adrian Gonzalez, 1B Chris Young, P

Cubs vs. Young: Jacque Jones: 0-8 2 K &nbsp&nbsp&nbspPadres vs. Maddux: Mike Piazza: 16-63 254/266/460 4 HR, 1 BB, 9 K Vinny Castilla: 13-43 302/333/581 3 HR, 1 BB, 8 K Brian Giles: 9-25 360/448/600 1 HR, 4 BB, 5 K

Maddux back to the mound and hopefully he'll fare better than his last outing as he got a bit torched by the D'Backs. The Cubs are in desperate need of something exceptional, either an other-wordly pitching performance, some crazy 4 for 4 day by an unlikely hero, or Dusty getting himself thrown out, something to spark this lifeless team. Get a win Cubbies!!! UPDATE: Mike Restovich is off the cubs.com 25-man roster and shows up on the Iowa Cubs roster, so I assume he's the unlucky soul. By my count, the Cubs have 6 players who can play second base, but only five who you could expect to hit a home run. I love this game!

Pages

X
  • Sign in with Twitter