GAME 14 REVIEW
CUBS 5 DODGERS 4 W: Scott Williamson (2-0) L: Danys Baez (0-1) SV: Ryan Dempster (4) Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart| Photos
I made it out to Dodger Stadium once again and scored some nice tickets right behind home plate, second level, prime area for foul balls. (More on that in a minute). The AngelFan Wife and I got a babysitter and went to the game with a pal from work and his gal. He's a moderate Dodger fan, but was more interested in the Cubbies that were on his fantasy team performing well (Barrett & Ramirez). The Dodgers have two video scoreboards at the park, one basically consists of generals stats and what not, the other is the fancier color version with tidbits on the players. Here's what I learned from the Dodger information board: - Michael Barrett's cousin is Scott Fletcher - "O" is for Offense (that was for Olmaedo Saenz) - John Mabry was the Cardinals Rookie of the Year in 1995 - John Mabry is 9 home runs away from 100 (I'm sure the Mabry watch will be up on ESPN in no time) - Jacque Jones attended USC - Ronny Cedeno is the 3rd best hitter in the NL against right handed pitchers - Ronny Cedeno is the 2nd best hitter in the NL at night - Neifi Perez has played 2b, SS, 3B and Catcher in the majors (guess who our new emergency catcher is) Why do I mention all of these factoids? Cause the game isn't worth talking about. The Cubs played poorly and lucked into a victory. The Eyre/Lee bunt fiasco will hopefully turn out to be a whole lot of nothing, but to say the least I'll be on edge until I hear a definitive word (so far X-rays were inconclusive on Lee's wrist). While I'm sure most of you watching the game noticed all the dinks that fell for the Cubs, it was even worse at the ballpark as just about every ball hit by the Cubs had that wobbly wood sound of a ball that clearly missed the sweet spot of the bat. This game was the anthisesis of Monday's game, instead of well-pitched, well-defended, well-executed affair, it was luck and bad defense that got the Cubs win. I did get to witness Cedeno's first two walks of the season, although the first was one of the most extreme unintentional-intentional walks I've ever seen. Marshall was okay, his curveball will certainly be his defining pitch through his career. Batters were bailing at it all day and it appears he can throw it at 2 very different speeds (low 70's and mid 80's). And why Marshall gets pulled after 85 pitches and retiring 10 batters is a bit beyond me. I suppose we can't complain about Baker hurting young arms though. I pretty much missed most of Aardvark's inning as the AngelFan Wife was on a quest for an It's It Ice Cream, which apparently is no longer sold at the ballpark. Considering how cute she looks in a cap & jersey, I'll forgive her. Walker's "I Hope I Catch It" defense worked once, then it cost us a run later in the game, Jacque Jones saved another run on the same play with a good throw to home which pretty much ended up saving us the game. Well, okay, Baez and Repko saved the game for us, but whatever. Oh yeah, the foul ball thing....Bill Mueller, 2nd inning, screaming foul ball straight back just over the screen. Right at me and I cup my hands together for sort of a basket catch. BAMN!, right off the palm of my left hand and 3 rows back. Should of had the right hand over the left and tried to get my body in front of it. Humiliating and made more so by the fact that a buddy from work and the AngelFan Wife were there to witness it. I won't be able to live it down unless I catch the next one and who knows when that will happen. I'm honestly devastated, maybe that's why I'm so disgusted by the game. The Cubs won, makes the off-day more bearable and you need these kinds of win every once in awhile. The Redbirds are up next starting on Friday. Another series victory over them would really get me to start believing. That's unless Derrek Lee's wrist is broken, then I'm going to start believing that we actually may be cursed.
...with the series victory. GAME FOURTEEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (8-5, 2nd, -1.5) AT LOS ANGELES DODGERS (7-8, 3rd, -2.0) Dodger Stadium, 9:10 PM CDT Weather: Clear, 71 degrees, wind out to center at 5 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 741 Radio: WGN, XM 189
Brad Penny, RHP 2-0, 1.50 ERA, 18 IP 18 K, 1 BB, 2 HRSean Marhall, LHP 1-0, 7.71 ERA, 9 1/3 IP 4 K, 2 BB, 2 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF *Todd Walker, 2B Derrek Lee, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *John Mabry, LF Jacque Jones, RF Michael Barrett, C Ronny Cedeno, SS *Sean Marshall, P#Rafael Furcal, SS *Kenny Lofton, CF #Jose Cruz, LF Jeff Kent, 2B Olmedo Saenz, 1B Bill Mueller, 3B Sandy Alomar, C , LF Brad Penny, P

Cubs vs. Penny Aramis Ramirez: 6-15, 400/400/467 Juan Pierre: 5-16, 313/421/375, 3 BB, 2 K Todd Walker: 3-20, 150/150/300, 1 HR, 4 K Neifi Perez: 3-18, 167/211/222, 1 BB, 1 K Michael Barrett: 1-16, 063/059/125, 5 K

I mentioned that last night's game had the potential to be "a nice tight game," and both pitchers held up their ends of the bargain. Zambrano pitched out of trouble a bit (walking five and hitting one) but timely defense kept most of those baserunners from crossing the plate. Derek Lowe was just slightly better, blanking the Cubs and getting out of the only jam he found himself in, in the 6th. Tonight's starter, Brad Penny, has looked great so far this season. In his three starts he's truck out 18 and walked only one. He's given up only one earned run in each of his starts. Sean Marshall, on the other hand, has struggled. I've seen a number of articles talking about how well he's pitched, and his poise, and I guess that's true when you look at the fact that he has barely any experiece above A ball, but examined as major league starts, they're not that great -- he's given up nearly a run an inning. On the positive side, he's only walked two batters and he's keeping the ball down. After throwing 65 and 79 pitches in his last two starts, he should be available to be stretched out a bit, possibly up to the 90-100 pitch range.
I have to admit, I'm feeling the pull of unrealistic hopes and dreams that Trans talked about last night. Maybe that's why I'm on my way toward three posts in one day. Of course, it could also be because The Lovely Wife and (Not So) Tiny Baby are out of town. Whatever the reason, my increased output is your theoretical gain -- before I post the lineups for tonight's game, here's a look at the next seven days. First up, a trip to Chavez Ravine, home of the mellifluous Vin Scully. One of the nice things about the Extra Innings package is getting to hear Vin call some game throughout the summer -- I'm hoping tonight is one of those nights. Maybe I'll watch the game on the tiny TV in the bedroom so I can drift off to Vin's dulcet tones. I'll keep my eye out for Rob G. in the stands -- I imagine he'll be the guy who's still there in the 8th inning. Know Your Enemy: Dodger Thoughts, 6-4-2 Monday: Greg Maddux vs. Brett Tomko Tuesday: Carlos Zambrano vs. Derek Lowe Wednesday: Sean Marshall vs. Brad Penny The Dodgers will be without Jeff Kent tonight and possibly longer. They're already without Nomar Garciaparra (shocking, I know) and Eric Gagne, but still have plenty of weapons, like Cub Nation's winter mancrush Rafael Furcal, the currently-uninjured D.J. "J.D." Drew, and Bill Mueller, who just keeps hitting. By the way, Tueday's matchup ought to be interesting, as two of the biggest grounball pitchers in the game (Derek Lowe was 33 in the majors last year, Zambrano #14) face off. Could be a nice tight game, as long as Z keeps his emotions in check and Lowe lays off the sauce. After L.A., it's on to St. Louis, and our first look at new Busch stadium. Know Your Enemy: Get Up Baby, Cardnilly Friday: Glendon Rusch vs. Sidney Ponson Saturday: Greg Maddux vs. Mark Mulder Sunday: Carlos Zambrano vs. Jason Marquis Cubs.com has Jerome Williams scheduled for Friday, but I'd say it's more likely Williams will be skipped so that the rest of the starters can stay on normal. By Friday Albert Pujols' consecutive at-bats-with-a-homer streak could be up to about 15, and Izzy's blown save streak should be just about as high. Jim Edmonds is sitting out the current Pirates series after getting cortisone injections, but he'll be kind enough to return in time for the Cubs series.
I can't guarantee I'll be able to keep this up all season, but I went through all the box scores for the Cubs and all their minor-league affiliates and tallied who had started at what position, and how often. At the beginning of the season, before too many injuries, demotions, etc., this should give a good idea of who is considered the "starter" at each position and at each level. I will leave it to Arizona Phil to come along and add his interpretation and analysis; for now, here are the numbers: CHICAGO CUBS C: Barrett 8, Blanco 3 1B: Lee 11 2B: Walker 7, Hairston 3, Perez 1 3B: Ramirez 9, Perez 2 SS: Cedeno 11 LF: Murton 11 CF: Pierre 11 RF: Jones 6, Pagan 3, Bynum 1, Mabry 1 SP: Zambrano 3, Rusch 3, Maddux 2, Marshall 2, Williams 1 IOWA CUBS (AAA) C: Soto 8, Kopitzke 3 1B: Sing 9, Deardorff 2 2B: Fontenot 6, Theriot 4, Coats 1 3B: McGehee 9, Coats 1, Deardorff 1 SS: Ojeda 6, Theriot 5 LF: Restovich 4, Strong 4, Deardorff 3 CF: Pie 11 RF: Coats 5, Restovich 5, Theriot 1 SP: Ryu 3, Walrond 2, Valdes 2, Guzman 2, Hill 2 WEST TENN DIAMOND JAXX (AA) C: Richie 7, Reyes 2, Farina 1 1B: Hoffpauir 8, Dopirak 1, Lewis 1 2B: Patterson 10 3B: Moore 8, Lewis 2 SS: Rojas 7, Cates 3 LF: Montanez 7, Lewis 2, Hoffpauir 1 CF: Walker 9, Greenberg 1 RF: Greenberg 8, Montanez 2 DH: Lewis 3, Moore 1, Cates 1 SP: Mathes 2, Marmol 2, Wells 2, Mateo 2, Cash 1, Baez 1 DAYTONA CUBS (A+) C: Fox 8, Rick 2 1B: Craig 10 2B: Spears 8, Salas 2 3B: Spearman 10 SS: Simokaitis 10 LF: Jackson 5, Culpepper 4, Salas 1 CF: Fuld 10 RF: Harvey 6, Culpepper 4 DH: Jackson 5, Fox 1, Harvey 1, Rick 1, Wick 1 SP: Berg 2, Gallagher 2, Hagerty 2, Holliman 2, Johnson 2 PEORIA CHIEFS (A) C: Muyco 5, Reed 4, Morgan 1 1B: Norwood 9, Garcia 1 2B: Chirinos 9, Rivera 1 3B: Taylor 10 SS: Johnston 7, Rivera 3 LF: Valdez 6, Defendis 4 CF: Gregg 8, Ciaramella 2 RF: Ciaramella 6, Defendis 2, Valdez 2 DH: Garcia 8, Chirinos 1, Norwood 1 SP: Veal 2, Blackford 2, Billek 2, Yepez 2, Atkins 2
4-16-1957 Traded Ray Jablonski and Ray Katt to the New York Giants. Received Dick Littlefield and Bob Lennon 4-16-1938 Traded Curt Davis, Clyde Shoun, Tuck Stainback and $185,000 cash to the St. Louis Cardinals. Received Dizzy Dean 4-17-1976 The Phillies are down 12-1 in Wrigley after three innings, as Steve Carlton fails to escape from the second. Rich Reuschel, Mike Garman, Darold Knowles and Paul Reuschel can't hold the lead, however, and the Cubs trail 15-13 after the Phillies score 3, 5, and 3 runs in the 7th, 8th and 9th. The Cubs rally to tie the game at 15 in the bottom of the 9th, but the Phillies score three more in the 10th, including Mike Schmidt's fourth home run and 8th RBI of the day. The Cubs rally for one more in the bottom of the 10th, but the Phillies win, 18-16, while the Cubs set a National League record for the largest blown lead to lose a game. 4-17-1974 Newly acquired catcher George Mitterwald hits a double and three home runs, including a first-inning grand slam, with 8 RBI. The Cubs beat the Pirates, 18-9. Mitterwald finishes the season with 7 HR and 28 RBI
GAME 11 REVIEW
CUBS 7 PIRATES 3 W: Glendon Rusch (1-2) L: Ian Snell (0-1) Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart
We saw several encouraging things in today's game. Glendon Rusch pitched six strong innings, marred only by Craig Wilson's homerun. Aramis Ramirez seems to be getting locked in - he followed up yesterday's long double with a two-out RBI single in the first, and a two-run homerun in the sixth. Juan Pierre had three hits and scored two runs, hopefully a sign that he's coming out of his early-season slump. Cedeno continued to hit the ball sharply and gave a strong performance in the field. Finally, the mildly injured Jacques Jones made an appearance as a pinch-hitter, and drew a walk. But what's most impressive - and surprising - for me is Ryan Dempster. Admittedly, I was unable to follow the Cubs very closely at the end of last season. So while I knew Dempster was pitching very well, I didn't have a good sense for just how well. Pat Hughes tells me that Dempster now has a 28 and 1/3 scoreless inning streak, spanning 28 appearances, I believe. Is it premature (or perhaps, even over-due?) to talk about Dempster as one of the game's elite closers? As I write, the Cubs are 7-4, in a four-way tie for first place. They're there without Prior, Wood, and having had to start their 5th OF due to injuries. Feeling the pull of unrealistic hopes and dreams, yet?
GAME ELEVEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (6-4, 4th, -0.5) AT PITTSBURGH PIRATES (4-9, 6th, -4.0) PNC Park, 12:35 CDT Weather: Cloudy, 58, Wind right to left @ 8 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 743 Radio: WGN, XM 185
Ian Snell, RHP 0-0, 9.00 ERA, 10 IP 7 K, 5 BB, 3 HRGlendon Rusch, LHP 0-2, 8.00, 9 IP 6 K, 3 BB, 6 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF *Freddy Bynum, RF Derrek Lee, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Todd Walker, 2B Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, SS Henry Blanco, C *Glendon Rusch, P* Nate McLouth, CF Jack Wilson, SS Jason Bay, LF Craig Wilson, 1B Freddy Sanchez, 3B *Jeromy Burnitz, RF Jose Castillo, 2B Humberto Cota, C Ian Snell, P

Pirates vs. Rusch Jack Wilson: 15-33, 455/500/667, 1 HR, 3 BB Craig Wilson: 14-26, 538/571/769, 1 HR, 2 BB, 5 K Jeromy Burnitz: 2-20, 100/217/250, 1 HR, 1 BB, 2 K

Bynum #2 and Walker #5, huh? I think it would be smarter to put Walker #2, move Murton and Cedeno up, and bat Bynum #7. But, of course, Bynum is fast, therefore he has to bat at the top of the order. This could this be Rusch's last chance to keep his rotation spot, though more likely he'll stick around until Kerry Wood is ready, even if he's merely mediocre. But we can hope, can't we? The guy he's matched up against, Ian Snell, hasn't been too impressive this year either, but at least he hasn't given up six home runs. Angel Pagan's hamstring injury from last night is serious enough that he'll probably head to the DL. There's a chance Felix Pie will be called up, but Mike Restovich seems more likely. I haven't seen or heard an official annoucement yet. I'll post the transaction here as soon as I know it. And, of course, it's time for my annual MLB blackout rules rant. When I was living in San Diego, I didn't get to see the Padres, even though I was more than 60 miles from San Diego and the town I lived in did not carry the cable channel the Pads were on. Now that I live in Pennsylvania, I'm lucky enough to have four teams blacked out: Phillies, Nationals, Orioles, and Pirates. I get Baltimore, Philly, and Washington games either via the regional sports channel or over the air, but I'm too far away from Pittsburgh for DirecTV to give me the Fox Sports channel from Pittsburgh. So, no Pirates games to be found anywhere. It's just silly.
GAME 10 REVIEW
CUBS 1 PIRATES 2 W: Zach Duke (1-1) L: Jerome Williams (0-1) S: Mike Gonzalez (2) Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart
Ugh, a tough game to lose. Zach Duke returned to last season's form. After the Cubs had forced him to scuffle and struggle and throw pitches in the first two innings, the lefty settled down, pitching seven strong innings. The Cub defense let down Jerome Williams, aiding the Pirates in the only two runs they would need. Cedeno got charged with a throwing error on a difficult play in the hole, which allowed Craig Wilson to score from third. Bynum, (who replaced Pagan in right field after Pagan seemed to seriously injure his left knee while running to first) misplayed a Wilson drive off the right field wall, and then jogged after the ball while Wilson legged out a triple. (What was up with Wilson's wheels? He stole a base in advance of the Cedeno error, and eventually scored after his triple. Wilson hit one triple and stole three bases all of last year!) Williams also threw a ball away on a pickoff play, giving Cub fans everywhere a sense of deja vu. The Cubs had one golden scoring opportunity in the eighth, with runners at first and second, one out, Duke out of the game, and Ramirez and Barrett up; Ramirez popped up, Barrett struck out, and that was pretty much the game. If that's the bad news (and indeed, it's considerable), the good news is that Williams pitched quite well - certainly well enough to merit another start, while our horde of supposedly near-ready injured starting pitchers continues to recuperate. Murton kept raking, and Eyre looked good in relief. While I'm not sure that this really counts as good news, I'll also add that Aramis managed to not pull a leg or butt muscle, when he had to go from a walk to a sprint in a single step upon realizing that his 410 ft. double was not, in fact, going to be a home run. Congrats, Aramis.
GAME TEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (6-3, 1st) AT PITTSBURGH PIRATES (3-9, 6th, -4.5) PNC PARK, 6:05 CDT Weather: Clear, 72 degrees, wind out to center 15 mph TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 186 -->
Zach Duke, LHP 0-1, 6.55, 11 IP 6 K, 5 BB, 3 HRJerome Williams, RHP 0-0, 3.60, 5 IP 2 K, 5 BB, 1 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF Jerry Hairston, 2B Derrek Lee, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Michael Barrett, C #Angel Pagan, RF Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, SS Jerome Williams, PChris Duffy, CF Jack Wilson, SS Jason Bay, LF *Jeromy Burnitz, RF Craig Wilson, 1B Joe Randa, 3B Jose Castillo, 2B Humberto Cota, C *Zach Duke, P


After writing how the Pirates haven't been using Craig Wilson enough, we'll see him tonight in place of Sean Casey, who will be out 6-8 weeks with two fractures in his lower back after a collision with John Mabry last night. Yeowch. In other Pirate (and ex-Cub) injury news, Jody Gerut has been placed on the Restricted List after electing to have knee surgery against the wishes of the team. The Cubs made a roster move too, sending Michael Wuertz to AAA where he blongs and recalling the 100% valley-fever-free Roberto Novoa. Todd Walker gets four hits last night and sits tonight. Get used to it, Cubs fans. Jerome Williams makes his first start of the season tonight. As Kerry Wood, Wade Miller and Mark Prior inch closer to returning (Wood threw to hitters today and both Miller and Prior had 40-pitch sessions yesterday), Williams needs to establish himself if he hopes to stay in the rotation past May. Then again, he could always take Glendon Rusch's spot.
GAME NINE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (5-3) AT PITTSBURGH PIRATES (3-8) PNC PARK, 6:05 CDT Weather: Overcast, 68 degrees, wind right to left @ 12mph TV: CSN+ Radio: WGN, XM 186
Victor Santos, RHP 1-1, 4.66 ERA, 9 2/3 IP 9 K, 4 BB, 0 HRSean Marshall, LHP 0-0, 8.31 ERA, 4 1/3 IP 2 K, 1 BB, 1 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF *Todd Walker, 2B Derrek Lee, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Michael Barrett, C *John Mabry, RF Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Sean Marshall, P*Nate McLouth, CF Jack Wilson, SS *Sean Casey, 1B Jason Bay, LF Joe Randa, 3B *Jeromy Burnitz, RF Jose Castillo, 2B Humberto Cota, C Victor Santos, P

Cubs vs. Santos Michael Barrett: 2-19, 105/150/158, 1 BB, 2K Derrek Lee: 3-18, 167/286/500, 2 HR, 3 BB, 3 K Aramis Ramirez: 7-16, 438/438/938, 1 HR, 1 K

Aramis is back in the lineup, as is Todd Walker. Jacque Jones will apparently miss the entire series, allowing Dusty to use Mabry tonight and probably Angel Pagan tomorrow. Who knows, maybe Freddie Bynum will get a start on getaway day. I'd like to see Marshall last a little longer than he did in his first start. In his (short) outing, he wasn't too bad, and now he has a chance to build on his spring success and force Dusty's hand when Wood/Miller/Prior are ready to return. GO CUBS!!!
As the Cubs head to Pittsburgh to start their first road trip of the season, I thought I'd take a few minutes to tell you what you need to know about this NL Central rival. When their fans close their eyes at night, they see Sid Bream in their nightmares. My buddy Mark might want to avert his eyes for the next few paragraphs. In the early '90s, the Pirates were the class of the NL East. They won three staight division titles from 1990-1992 behind an exciting core of young players which included Bobby Bonilla, Andy Van Slyke, Doug Drabek, Jay Bell, John Smiley, and Barry Bonds, who won his first two MVP awards in 1990 and 1992.
Mike Kiley reports in the Sun-Times that Kerry Wood is scheduled to pitch a simulated game tomorrow at Fitch Park in Mesa, and probably another next Thursday. If all goes well, that would put Woody's first minor league rehab start on April 25th, keeping him on the same pitching schedule as the temp #5 starter. If he stays on that schedule (pitching the same days as the temp 5th starter), and depending on how many rehab starts he needs to make (probably at least two, those being the April 25th and April 30th Iowa Cubs home games in Des Moines), Wood could return to the Cubs starting rotation on Friday night May 5th at SD, or certainly no later than Wednesday night May 10th at SF (again, if all goes well and there are no setbacks). It is possible (but not real likely) that he could make just one rehab start (April 25th at Des Moines) and return to the Cubs rotation at Wrigley Field on Sunday April 30th versus MIL. There is no specific schedule suggested for the return of Mark Prior or Wade Miller at this point. As far as the current 3-4-5 starters are concerned, all three (Sean Marshall, Jerome Williams, and Glendon Rusch) are scheduled to pitch the three games this weekend in Pittsburgh. Pitching tonight, Marshall is the only one of the three who could start next Wednesday night in LA, but don't forget that Angel Guzman is "shadowing" Marshall at Iowa, pitching on the exact same schedule. So if Marshall gets blasted tonight, Guzman could be recalled to replace Marshall in the starting rotation as early as next Wednesday in LA. And between Williams and Rusch, whichever one pitches best this weekend will probably get the start next Friday night in STL, with the other skipped until a 5th starter is needed on April 25th. That 5th starter slot (needed permanently beginning on April 25th) is the one Kerry Wood would slip into, either on April 30th, May 5th, or May 10th (depending on how the rehab goes).

One more time....

The Cubs make their lone trip of the season to Dodger Stadium next week and I was wondering who might be up for a little venture to Chavez Ravine for the Monday night game, April 17th; 7:10pm PST? The tentative pitching matchup is Greg Maddux versus Brett Tomko. Enjoy a little baseball, beverage and world famous "Dodger Dogs", (apparently world famous for their sucktitude). Email me if you're interested, we'll figure out the ticket situation once we know how many people are going. Those who think it's a good idea to leave before the 9th inning need not apply....

GAME 8 REVIEW
REDS 8 CUBS 3
Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart | Photos
W: Eric Milton (2-0) L: Carlos Zambrano (0-1)

The first piece of good news is we don't face the Reds again until the end of May. The second piece of good news is we're off to play the Pirates next and they've struggled mightily out of the gate. The third piece of good news is Matt Murton broke out of his mini-slump with 2 RBI's, 2 Hits and a Home Run. The final piece of good news is I saved a bunch of money on my car insurance.

What I really took from this game was the importance of on-field leadership. Without Henry Blanco catching and Neifi manning the hot corner, we could really see the calming influence they both had on Carlos Zambrano as he really settled down after gettting into some tough jams early. Oh wait, no he didn't, he tried to pick off Eric Milton from first for no apparent good reason and then he tried to pick off Eric Milton later in the game from third base for no apparent good reason. And I believe at one point I actually saw steam coming from his ears. At least Barrett's all well and rested. Hopefully his bat won't cool off with the rest.

What's there to say? The Cubs stunk up the joint today, Baker should of forgotten about getting the scrubs some starts today and put some better bats in the lineup, waiting until we were a bit closer to full strength (or at least until Aramis came back). Walker hits lefties just fine and Milton just fine as well, same goes for Barrett. Off for a nine game road trip from Pittsburgh to LA to St. Louis. Let's get them tomorrow Sean Marshall!!!

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GAME EIGHT IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CINCINNATI REDS (5-3) AT CHICAGO CUBS (5-2) WRIGLEY FIELD, 1:20 CDT Weather: Cloudy, 74 degrees, Out to Center @ 18mph TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 186
Carlos Zambrano, RHP 0-0, 4.42 ERA, 10 2/3 IP 10 K, 9 BB, 2 HREric Milton, LHP 1-0, 2.57 ERA, 7 IP 3 K, 0 BB, 1 HR
Ryan Freel, CF #Felipe Lopez, SS *Adam Dunn, LF Rich Aurilia, 3B *Scott Hatteberg, 1B Austin Kearns, RF Brandon Phillips, 2B Dave Ross, C * Eric Milton, P*Juan Pierre, CF Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B Derrek Lee, 1B Matt Murton, LF #Angel Pagan, RF Ronny Cedeno, SS #Neifi Perez, 3B Henry Blanco, C # Carlos Zambrano, P

Reds vs. Zambrano Adam Dunn: 6-25, 240/355/600, 3 HR, 5 BB, 8 K Austin Kearns: 3-16, 188/381/313, 4 BB, 5 KCubs vs. Milton Aramis Ramirez: 9-24, 375/375/833, 3 HR, 4 K Neifi Perez: 3-20, 150/190/300, 1 HR, 1 K Derrek Lee: 4-17, 235/222/765, 3 HR, 2 K Michael Barrett: 6-16, 375/444/813, 1 HR, 2 BB, 1 K

Big Z goes to the mound for the third time this season and tries to win the Cubs their 2nd series of the year. I understand Barrett can't catch every game and I kind of expected Blanco to be Z's personal catcher for most of the year. It seemed that Z was a little annoyed by Barrett in some comments I heard, plus the whole Venezuelan brothership thing going. But Barrett's been smoking hot and without Ramirez in the lineup (should be back tomorrow), you'd think it would be a good idea to bend the rules for a game. Of course with Homer Happy Milton on the mound and some gusty winds hopefully Blanco can lift a couple into the jet stream. GO CUBS!!!

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