Game #73 Preview: Cubs (32-40) @ White Sox (37-34)

Back on June 13th, after Ted Lilly nearly no-hit the White Sox at Wrigley Field, the Sox' record was 28-34, and the Cubs stood at 28-35. The White Sox haven't lost since, and the Cubs have continued to stumble. They're now eight games under .500 and the same number of games behind the division-leading Cardinals.

On this, his 32nd birthday, Aramis Ramirez returns to the lineup after a stint on the DL with that nagging thumb problem, and Chad Tracy has been DFA'd. Tracy hit .250 (11-for-44) in 28 games for the Cubs.

In the big news of the day...

The I [for Invisible] Cub

Maybe Jim Hendry just came to Des Moines to escape the heat of the Chicago media. Maybe he dropped in to chat behind closed doors with the trim and ambitious Ryne Sandberg, though if/when Chicago comes calling Ryno back, the call probably won't come in the person of Hendry. In any case, big Jim's reason for being here almost certainly isn't to get a closer look at Sam Fuld, the scrappy leadoff hitter and center fielder. Hendry's mind is made up about Fuld, I imagine, which is tough luck for Sam.

Game #72 Preview: Cubs (31-40) @ Mariners (30-41)

In the time it took John Isner to beat Nicolas Mahut, the Cubs scored once, lost twice, fanned 17 times while walking three times, dropped nine games behind the NL Central-leading Cardinals, fell a season-worst nine games below .500, and went 1-for-16 with RISP. Oh, yeah—that one hit was a double by Alfonso Soriano which came with Geovany Soto on second base but only got Soto as far as third.

Angels Rally in 9th to Edge Cubs at HoHoKam

Down to their last out, the AZL Angels rallied for three runs in the top of the 9th to defeat the AZL Cubs 6-4 in Arizona League Opening Day action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this evening.


Looking at Lou

In preparation for the Cubs' three-game series beginning tonight in Seattle, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times interviewed former M's manager Lou Piniella over the weekend. The use of the word "weary" in the headline gives you a pretty good idea of the portrait which Stone paints. I thought this passage stood out.

I reminded Piniella of a quote he gave me back in 2007, when the Mariners played at Wrigley during his first season. Noting the difficulty of the Cubs' challenge, he said, "It ain't going to drive me crazy. I want to get it done, but it's not going to drive me crazy." That's still his story, and he's sticking to it. "Our organization hasn't won in a long time," Piniella said. "Because of that, there's a lot more scrutiny here. And because of it, it makes managing probably tougher than it should be."

Who's On Deck?

Saturday night I watched 14 innings of baseball at Principal Park, the same number it took the Iowa Cubs to sweep a doubleheader earlier in the week.The I-Cubs were down to their third-string first base coach by the time this one ended on a walk-off play at the plate with lightning crackling in the distance. Until then the highlight was my leaping grab of a hot dog burped up by the bazooka that scoots around the perimeter of the field on a golf cart between innings. I say burped because we were seated in the front row between the visiting dugout and the visiting bullpen. Maybe bunted would be a better verb.

The game broke from the box quickly before settling into a pitching duel. Sam Fuld played a first-inning single into a triple going for another highlight reel catch. Then in the bottom of the first he was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single. He plays like a kid and I enjoy watching him. The second out of that frame was a tag play at the plate after Ryne Sandberg appeared to change his mind from stop to go in the third base coaching box. Albuquerque seemed on their way to a 27- hit shutout.

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  • Did anybody see that Zobrist strikeout?

    That was extremely disappointing.

    Old and Blue 1 hour 12 min ago view
  • Strangest win of the year, and one of the sweetest. Twice I thought it was easily in the bag, then after the first 2 hitters in the 9th I thought all was lost. Big game for Grimm, Strop & Rondon. But, man, those Cards can hit for power.

    billybucks 1 hour 47 min ago view
  • Very satisfying, gut-check win today. The beers on the trip back to Chicago are going to taste fantastic.

    Eric S 2 hours 3 min ago view
  • It's still very early but this game felt very important to me and probably knocked 2 years off my life. Seemed like every inning was big.

    johann 2 hours 50 min ago view
  • Yes then they moved him two spot then not so much, back batting 7th

    jacos 2 hours 50 min ago view
  • This is the exact game that the Cubs would have lost in years past to the Cardinals.

    The E-Man 2 hours 50 min ago view
  • Arrieta starting. Leads of 6-1 and 9-4. You don't expect to have such a sense of relief when they win.

    Brick 2 hours 51 min ago view
  • phew

    Rob G. 2 hours 51 min ago view
  • At least the end result was worth the wait.

    Rob Richardson 2 hours 52 min ago view
  • I guess he's better than what they've had. He started out like the Babe there.

    The E-Man 3 hours 1 min ago view
  • Fair enough, but Castro isn't really very good.

    Rob Richardson 3 hours 21 min ago view
  • I can just hear Pat Hughes chortling "typical Cubs-Cards game..."

    JoePepitone 3 hours 23 min ago view
  • As long as Maddon uses him against RH he is good. Against LH - not so much.

    His recent HR's obviously have not been great pitches.

    So, let's just say my personal confidence in the guy is not there yet.

    The E-Man 3 hours 27 min ago view
  • not that I'm agreeing with E-Man in anyway here, but Warren's FIP and peripherals are not really good (5.20 FIP/5.19 BB/9/.128 BABIP), although his actual results are a lot better. Well until today...

    Trade was also to make room for Zobrist and it'll be a few years before we can really judge it.

    Rob G. 3 hours 29 min ago view
  • Eventually, the Maddon "play everyone everywhere" thing was going to create a problem.

    billybucks 3 hours 36 min ago view
  • This ump blows.

    Ryno 3 hours 46 min ago view