Roy Oswalt, RHP
14-9, 2.57 ERA
1123/34 K/BB, 12 HR in 178.2 IP
Carlos Zambrano, RHP
9-9, 4.54 ERA
96/26 K/BB, 21 HR in 156.2 IP
LF *Matt Lawton CF Wily Taveras
2B *Todd Walker 2B Craig Biggio
1B Derrek Lee LF #Lance Berkman
3B Aramis Ramirez 3B Morgan Ensberg
SS Nomar Garciaparra 1B *Mike Lamb
CF *Corey Patterson RF *Orlando Palmeiro
RF *Jeromy Burnitz SS Adam Everett
C Michael Barrett C Brad Ausmus
P #Carlos Zambrano P Roy Oswalt
Man, I like typing that # before Big Z's name. How silly is it that he switch-hits? I think it's one of the coolest things going. I'm happy to see that the lineup seems to be stabilizing over the last week or so -- we have a Lawton/Murton platoon in left, Blanco catches Maddux and Prior, and the 3-4-5 is Lee-Ramirez-Nomar. Pretty much the way it should be. PS -- Davey Johnson is managing again, and managing a team of youngsters to boot. Just sayin'.
In's Strike Zone Archives, you'll find a quick rundown of next year's free agents and a guess by the author of who they'll end up signing with. It goes position by position and even gives a sneak peek of the top free agents for the following year as well. Here's who they think will sign with the Cubs and their reasoning:
Now is not the time for irrational exuberance. The win last night raised the Cubs' post-season chances from 1.10% to 1.72%. The optimist in me points out that the Cubs improved their chances by 56%, while the pessimist in me wonders how there can possibly be an optimist in me after 30 years of following the Cubs. Tonight our creaky warrior, Carlos Zambrano, takes on Houston's little giant, Roy Oswalt, who is six feet tall in the same way I resemble Brad Pitt. No matter, he brings the heat and is one of the main reasons, along with Clemens and Pettitte, that the Astros are in good position to capture the wildcard. Have you seen their upcoming schedule? Milwaukee, San Diego, Los Angeles, Cincinnati -- if they haven't put some ground between themselves and the pack of dogs in the NL East, I'll be shocked. Back to Zambrano and his back for a second...apparently the Cubs have given El Toro a regimen of exercises to help his back. When I went to physical therapy for my back last year, I got a series of exercises, and let me tell you, they worked great. When I did them. All the prayer stretches, cat-and-camels, and Superman stretches in the world don't help you when you spend your time slouched in front of the computer chatting with your friends in distant places. Carlos, man, take it from a guy who knows: DO YOUR STRETCHES. You'll be glad you did. One final note -- I got an email from Peter Bragiel, who has created a website for Wrigley Field beer vendors. check it out, find the vendor who serves your section, and make sure to tip generously on the next Old Style you buy.
Andy Pettitte LHP
10-8, 2.62 ERA
116/31 K/BB, 11 HR in 154.2 IP
Greg Maddux, RHP
9-9, 4.54 ERA
96/26 K/BB, 21 HR in 156.2 IP
RF *Matt Lawton CF Wily Taveras
2B #Neifi Perez 2B Craig Biggio
1B Derrek Lee 1B #Lance Berkman
3B Aramis Ramirez 3B Morgan Ensberg
SS Nomar Garciaparra RF Jason Lane
LF Matt Murton LF *Orlando Palmeiro
CF *Corey Patterson SS Adam Everett
C Henry Blanco C Brad Ausmus
P Greg Maddux P *Andy Pettitte
In the back of my mind and locked in a box high upon a shelf, I hold out hope that the Cubs will make some mad dash toward the playoffs in these last 42 games. In reality, we have a 1.08% chance right now. The Giants have better odds right now to make the playoffs as do the Dodgers and every team in the NL East. So, for the rest of the season I have come up with a cheat sheet for my rooting interests, in order of importance. 1. Fantasy Baseball Stats (I have Aramis, Prior and Z on my team) 2. Derrek Lee's Quest for The Triple Crown 3. Greg Maddux winning 15 games 4. Matt Murton getting playing time and doing well 5. Hendry sees enough to realize that Bakerschild (Baker/Rothschild) are not the right coaches for this team. 6. The Astros don't make the playoffs The item above takes precedence over the item below and if the Cubs do make some remarkable run, they will of course take over precedence to all other items. Today Maddux goes for win #10 and he's only got about 8 to 9 more starts to win 6 more games this season. I hope good old Maddog does it once again, just for the novelty and more proof that showing up everyday is almost as important as playing well when you do play. We'll see if the Cubs can recover from yesterday's butt-whoopin'. At least with Maddux on the mound we're unlikely to be witness to a parade of walks. The long ball is another story though. Go Cubs!
Glendon Rusch has this split in his time with the Cubs...
as starter161.015214421153.41
as reliever67.084531524.30
It's enough to make you wonder just why this change to the rotation has been so long coming. It's long been obvious that a Rich Hill throwing just two pitches is not a major league starter. The disappearance of both his cutter and changeup at the major league level do lead one to wonder just how good a third pitch he really has. It doesn't need to be a great pitch, just good enough that he's able to throw it when and where he wants in order to keep the hitters guessing and off balance. That in turn will improve the effectiveness of his fastball, which isn't anything special, and his curveball, which is very special, will do the rest, provided he can throw it for called strikes. The trouble is that Hill has yet to prove that he can consistently get that curveball across the plate, and developing and improving pitches takes time, time that the 25 year old Rich Hill doesn't really have in abundance. If he can't make the necessary adjustments, he's doomed to life as a lefty specialist. Jim Hendry's behaviour at the deadline suggests he obviously believes in Hill's ability to adjust, and his upside if he can is pretty considerable. But then again Hendry seemingly also thought that Rich Hill was the best bet to step into the rotation when Kerry Wood went down in Cincinnati, and that right now looks like a poor judgement. Whatever, the Cubs now find Glendon Rusch back in the rotation, and Todd Wellemeyer once again makes the transition from Iowa starter to Chicago reliever. John Koronka's stay was thankfully a brief and irrelevant one. And Jermaine Van Buren meanwhile wonders just what on earth a guy has to do. Perhaps his overdue chance will come when the dominating relief ace Kerry Wood goes for his overdue surgery.
Wandy Rodriguez LHP
7-5, 6.18 ERA
57/34 K/BB, 14 HR in 78.2 IP
Glendon Rusch, LHP
5-4, 3.98 ERA
77/40 K/BB, 9 HR in 97.1 IP
LF Matt Murton CF Wily Taveras
2B *Todd Walker 2B Craig Biggio
1B Derrek Lee 1B #Lance Berkman
3B Aramis Ramirez 3B Morgan Ensberg
SS Nomar Garciaparra RF Jason Lane
C Michael Barrett SS Adam Everett
RF *Jeromy Burnitz LF Chris Burke
CF * Corey Patterson C Humberto Quintero
P *Glendon Rusch P #Wandy Rodriguez
Wow, this is the lineup of the team leading the wild card hunt. I guess pitching and defense can get you a long way. For the eternal optimists out there who still think we have a shot at making the playoffs, I think it's fair to say we have to sweep the Astros this series. We'll play them a grand total of 10 times before the season is out, but I doubt we'll be as lucky as to miss Roger Clemens in those 2 series at the end of September. And if you can't beat a fella named Wandy, you have no business in the playoffs anyway. I like this lineup a lot, which generally means that run scoring will be minimal. It's always a good idea though to load your lineup with righties when playing at The Juice Box and the super-short left field porch it houses. We'll see the good southpaw on the Astros in Andy Pettitte tomorrow, so it'll be another chance to load up the lineup with righties. I wonder if Murton will get a start in both games, spelling Burnitz tomorrow instead of Lawton. Some doozy pitching matchups after tonight as well, at least when you look at the names. Pettitte vs. Maddux tomorrow and Zambrano vs Oswalt on Wednesday. If the Cubs offense can't get going playing here and then Coors Stadium, there's nothing that will cure it. If anything, we can begin to play the role of spoiler and spoiling the Astros post-season hopes sure would be fun. Go Cubs!!!
For those lovers of Google News, there's another site called SportSpyder which does just about the same, but is devoted entirely to sports. What I like more about SportSpyder is that they update almost instantly AND now The Cub Reporter is one of the news sources. Check it out and I highly recommend bookmarking it if you like to stay up-to-date on Cubs news. On the left you'll see us listed an an independent news source and I think as long as we include the word "Cubs" somewhere in the post, it'll show up on the site. You can do searches as well, and just typing in Felix Pie came up with this week's Organizational Report as the top listing. I'm amused if anything.
Before we begin, if anyone is interested in writing a blog about the Cubs farm system, MVN is looking. Please contact Evan Brunell, writer of Fire Brand of The American League and owner of MVN. Be prepared to submit a writing sample. There are currently 3 minor league blogs on MVN that you can check out, a general minors blog, a D'Backs one and a Red Sox one. You should also be prepared to be able to write once a week. Back to our regularly scheduled programming. Team Records updated through 8/14/05; Individual Stats updated through 8/14/05
Organizational Records
TeamW-LGB/Pos.Last 10
Chicago Cubs57-61(Div)17.0/3rd
Iowa Cubs55-6311.0/4th5-5
West Tenn Diamond Jaxx*26-235.0/2nd3-7
Daytona Cubs22-279.0/5th5-5
Peoria Chiefs24-244.0/5th6-4
Boise Hawks22-312.0/2nd3-7
AZL Cubs3-115.5/9th3-7
Cubs Ex W/L: 57-61; (2003) 61-57; (2004) 63-55 * West Tennessee clinched the first half North Division title of the Southern League
The Tribune reported last weekend that Felix Pie, the undisputed number one prospect in the organisation, would be back playing for the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx (Double-A) as of Tuesday. But it's now Saturday, and as yet Pie has still not returned. It appears not that Pie's situation has worsened, but that Paul Sullivan had some pretty poor sources, and that Pie was never slated to return this week at all. Instead, he's still in Mesa, and remains a ways away, as the deep bone bruise to the inside of his sprained right ankle is taking its time healing. Pie sustained the injury trying to stretch out a triple on June 16th. The injury has so far cost him the chance to go to the Futures Game and the Southern League All-Star Game. That said, Pie would have attended neither had he been called up to Chicago in early July, as was Jim Hendry's crazy plan. The injury got in the way of that, thank God, because Pie is nowhere near close to being ready, and Greenberg got the call instead. Speaking of Greenberg, he has still not fully recovered from his first major league pitch, July 9th, which of course hit him in the head. Greenberg returned to play a few games for West Tennessee, but, suffering from dizziness and headaches when he plays, he's been sent to Mesa for further tests. His only consolation is a career major league on-base percentage of 1.000. Greenberg projects as a very useful fourth outfielder, for he can hit for average, draw walks, run the bases well and play defence at all three outfield positions. At least Adam Greenberg has had a taste of the majors, even if it was a short and very painful one. Angel Guzman tore the labrum in his right shoulder in 2003 in what was supposed to be one of his final minor league appearances before promotion to the big leagues. Fully healthy again in Spring Training this year, and expected to be up for good by May or June, Guzman then went down with a strained right forearm and later developed inflammation in his elbow. The injuries had kept him sidelined all year, but on Thursday Guzman was finally back. He started for the Arizona League Cubs in Rookie Ball, throwing 2 innings and 25 pitches, allowing one single and striking out four, his power-sinker of a fastball averaging 94mph, just a tick or two down on his velocity before the injuries. Guzman will now pitch every fifth day the rest of the year, and then head to the Arizona Fall League. If he can stay healthy, his three plus pitches (fastball, curve, changeup), his superb control and his well-regarded makeup on the mound make him an extremely good bet to be an above average major leaguer.
Carlos Zambrano, RHP
8-5, 3.30 ERA
134/65 K/BB, 12 HR in 150 IP
Jason Marquis, RHP
9-10, 4.24 ERA
68/55 K/BB, 19 HR in 142.1 IP
SS Little Davey Eckstein LF *Matt Lawton
3b #Abraham Nunez 2B *Todd Walker
1B Albert Pujols 1B Derrek Lee
CF *Jim Edmonds 3B Aramis Ramirez
LF *John Rodriguez RF *Jeromy Burnitz
2B Mark Grudzielanek C Michael Barrett
RF So Taguchi SS #Neifi Perez
C Mike Mahoney CF *Corey Patterson
P *Jason Marquis P #Carlos Zambrano
I hope the Cubs don't face too many more lefties. I can't handle Jose Macias at the top of the order like he was yesterday, and I don't care that got two hits yesterday or that he's hitting nearly .300. resident Pollyanna, Carrie Muskat, writes of how the Cubs are now "unburdened," like the fact that the Cubs managed to string hits together a few times will suddenly turn the season around and put them on the road to a stirring last-minute grab of the wildcard prize. It must be tough to be continually upbeat about your team like that, and never question them. At least the Cubs managed to end the losing streak before the double shot of national TV this weekend, so we'll be spared Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan droning on about the problems of the team, like they have any freaking clue what's wrong with them. I'm sure Morgan will have lots to say (or, more precisely, he'll have one thing to say and he'll say it over and over again) about Corey Patterson coming back; Patterson strikes me as just the type of player that a guy like Morgan, forgetting everything about what got him into the Hall of Fame, loves. On another note, keep a good thought for Mike Cameron; he's in the hospital after the most horrific collision I've seen in a game and even though he's a Met I wish him a speedy recovery.
Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart
W: Greg Maddux (9-9) L: Mark Mulder (13-6)
Well thank god that's over and I knew that it would take some sort of bizarro world where Maddux pitches a complete game, Noseferatu (Neifi/Macias) go a combined 4 for 10 with 3 runs and an RBI and Korey manages to go a game without a K. Take them any way we can get them.
Greg Maddux, RHP
8-9, 4.57 ERA
91/26 K/BB, 20 HR in 147.2 IP
Mark Mulder, LHP
13-5, 3.79 ERA
79/50 K/BB, 15 HR in 147.1 IP
SS Dave Eckstein RF #Jose Macias
3b #Abraham Nunez 2B #Neifi Perez
1B Albert Pujols 1B Derrek Lee
CF *Jim Edmonds 3B Aramis Ramirez
2B Mark Grudzielanek SS Nomar Garciaparra
RF *John Mabry C Michael Barrett
LF So Taguchi LF Matt Murton
C Einar Diaz CF *Corey Patterson
P *Mark Mulder P Greg Maddux
So are our arch-rival Cardinals the antidote to this poisonous play that has afflicted our poor Cubbies? I'd say we'll have to wait one more day. Z is due to pitch tomorrow and happened to be on the mound the last 2 times we ended long losing streaks. Save your energy complaining about the lineup, at this point, you might as well try anything. There's a bunch of rain in the forecast today, so they might not even play this one. If the game is rained out, we can try and lose 2 games tomorrow. Twice the fun! Also, John Koronka was called back up today and Rich Hill sent back to Iowa. Another interesting choice by the Cubbies. Todd Wellemeyer is actually pitching well, Sergio Mitre is a better pitcher, Glendon Rusch should be in the rotation, but the Cubs choose Koronka, I assume only cause his day in the rotation coincides with Hill's. If anything I hope for some good baseball this weekend, cause the last week or so has been anything but that. Go Cubs!
I have been, in my own small way, banging the drum for Davey Johnson to manage the Cubs since April of 2002. For the last few years, I've used all of my less-than-considerable resources to try to track Johnson down and figure out what he was doing, and why whatever he was doing was more important than becoming the Cubs' manager. Thwarted, I briefly turned my attention to Buck Showalter, but in my heart of hearts I always knew that Johnson was the right guy for the job. He finally surfaced in 2003 as the coach of the Dutch national basebal team. OK, I figured, he'll spend a year there, get fully re-infected by the managing bug, and be back in the majors in 2005. That didn't happen, though, and again I put his name out of my mind. Until now, when the manager-replacement talk is heating up on TCR again. When I asked Will Carroll about Davey the other day, he mentioned that Ray Knight told him on Baseball Prospectus radio that Johnson had heart problems. As this article points out, he did have health problems, but they weren't heart-related and they've been taken care of. Thom Loverro leaves all of us Davey-lovers with a tantalizing close to his article:
I asked Johnson if he would consider managing again, without referring to any job in particular. "I wouldn't rule it out," he said. "I really have enjoyed my time off. There are other things in life." But ... "I am getting a little bored," he said. "It would have to be someone I know and respect."
I don't know if Johnson knows Andy MacPhail and Jim Hendry, but I have to imagine he at least knows who they are. Does he respect them? I have no idea, but surely a few meetings with them would give him the oppotunity to get to know them a little better. I can't imagine that his work with Vantage Sports Management is really as challenging and rewarding a position as a guy like Johnson wants.
Rich Hill, LHP
0-1, 7.00 ERA
19/9 K/BB, 2 HR in 18.0 IP
Eric Milton, LHP
5-12, 6.75 ERA
87/40 K/BB, 33 HR in 133.1 IP
2b Ryan Freel LF Matt Murton
SS Rich Aurilia 2B *Todd Walker
CF *Ken Griffey Jr. 1B Derrek Lee
LF Wily Mo Pena 3B Aramis Ramirez
1B *Adam Dunn SS Nomar Garciaparra
RF Austin Kearns RF *Jeromy Burnitz
C Jason Larue C Michael Barrett
3B Edwin Encarnacion CF *Corey Patterson
P *Eric Milton P *Rich Hill
Another day, another random lineup. The team is actually closer to last place in the division then it is to gaining a playoff spot. Mighty, mighty sad. PLAY WITH SOME PRIDE boys. You know what you do when you're in a losing streak? Other then pull out the old Mark Grace slump buster. You make things happen, steal when no one is expecting you to steal, force the action, what do you think the smartest player on our team was trying to do on Saturday? And don't give me, we don't have the talent to do it with. Yes we do. You don't need a bunch of gazelles to know how to run the bases or realize which pitchers and catchers are easy targets to run on. Hit and run once in awhile, you have a lineup full of guys capable of putting the bat on the ball (besides Corey and Burnitz). Do something, the Reds are third from the bottom in defensive efficiency, make THEM score runs for you. My second favorite team are the Anaheim Angles, mostly due to the AngelFan wife. I watch them quite a bit (probably more then the Cubs since they're on everyday), and they're a joy to watch. Every single player on that team knows how to run the bases, knows when to take an extra base. Scioscia will send ANYONE on ANY count, just to keep the other team on their heels. It's a fun brand of baseball to watch and it's a winning brand of baseball. The Angels have HAD MORE INJURIES then us this year and are still in first place. Every single starter, minus Darrin Erstad and Garrett Anderson, has spent time on the DL. (and Erstad has been out the last few days as well) Their second and third best pitchers are on the DL right now, their closer was on the DL, but still they're in first place, weak division or not. Sorry for the rant, I'm beyond frustrated. I can handle losing, I can't handle a total lack of effort. A loss today and we match our season long eight game losing streak along with the dubious distinction of getting swept AT HOME by the god-awful Cincinnati Reds. If that's not enough to get some people fired, I don't know what is. Has anyone figured out how many days until Opening Day 2006?


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