When you start writing a sports blog, there's a little handbook handed out to everyone that tells you how to drive up your traffic. The list includes posting drunken photos of players, hot women (they don't even have to be sports-related), making up trade rumors and top ten lists. The criteria for this post was the top ten moments I could remember off the top of my head...I only came up with five.
#5 - Michael Barrett grand slam home run at Wrigley
There wasn't a whole lot of hope entering the 2006 season, but there still was some if EVERYTHING broke the right way. And if Mark Prior and Kerry Wood were healthy ($5 to the TCR tip jar for uttering that phrase). The Cubs started off splitting two against the Reds on the road and then came home for three against the Cardinals. By the time Sunday rolled around, they had won the first two and were looking for blood - Cardinal blood!!
Sean Marshall got the first start of his career and put the Cubs in a quick two-run hole after giving up a first-inning blast to Scott Rolen. The Cubs battled back and by the eighth it was 4-3 Cardinals. After Ricardo Rincon walked Todd Walker to leadoff the inning, God's-gift-to-managing Tony LaRussa went to his closer Jason Isringhausen for the two-inning save. He promptly walked Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez to load them up for Michael Barrett. Barrett then nailed a 2-2 pitch deep into the Sunday night air, way out in left field to give the Cubs a 7-4 lead. They added an insurance run and won 8-4.
The Cubs made it through April with a 13-10 record and then lost about 25 straight to start May and maybe another 15 or so to end May and I think there were a few 10 and 8 game losing streaks as well in June and July. But for one magnificent evening, Michael Barrett made us feel like champions (cue theme song from "Rudy").
|SP||Chris Carpenter||SP||Ryan Dempster|
|0-0, 1.00, 4 K, 2 BB, 9 IP||12-5, 2.93, 133 K, 59 BB, 150.2 IP|
|CF||*Skip Schumaker||LF||Alfonso Soriano|
|LF||Joe Mather||RF||*Kosuke Fukudome|
|1B||Albert Pujols||1B||Derrek Lee|
|RF||Ryan Ludwick||3B||Aramis Ramirez|
|3B||Troy Glaus||CF||*Jim Edmonds|
|C||Yadier Molina||2B||Mark DeRosa|
||*Adam Kennedy||C||Geovany Soto|
|P||Chris Carpenter||SS||Ronny Cedeno|
|SS||#Cesar Izturis||P||Ryan Dempster|
Amazing game, this baseball.
Just two days ago, we were aglow over the possibility that this weekend set could end with the Cardinals nine games behind the Cubs and all but out of the NL Central race. Then on Saturday the league's highest-scoring road team bludgeoned the Cubs' nominal pitching ace and suddenly, St. Louis has a chance to win this series and close to within five games of first place with the Brewers once again also breathing down the Cubs' necks.
|SP||Braden Looper||SP||*Ted Lilly|
10-9, 4.29, 65 K, 32 BB, 134.1 IP
|11-6. 4.35, 129 K, 50 BB, 140.2 IP|
|LF||#Vince Coleman||LF||Alfonso Soriano|
|CF||#Willie McGee||SS||Ryan Theriot|
|2B||#Tommy Herr||1B||Derrek Lee|
|1B||Jack Clark||3B||Aramis Ramirez|
|RF||*Andy Van Slyke||RF||*Kosuke Fukudome|
|3B||#Terry Pendleton||C||Geovany Soto|
||Mike Heath||CF||*Jim Edmonds|
|SS||#Ozzie Smith||2B||Mark DeRosa|
|P||*John Tudor||P||*Ted Lilly|
UPDATE: Screw LaRussa, I have to get back to work. Let's see how he does with Mike Heath in the lineup from 1986.
(I'm posting this without a Cardinals batting order. Based on what Bernie Miklasz is reporting here, Tony LaRussa is waiting to see if Rick Ankiel and his strained abdominal muscle are ready to go before he posts the lineup.)
At around 8:45 this morning, I saw a middle-aged couple walking hand-in-hand in downtown Chicago, wearing matching St. Louis Cardinals t-shirts. This reminded me of two things: first, that the Cards were in town to play the Cubs, and second, that middle-aged couples should never wear matching t-shirts.
As for baseball, all of the analysis of the Cards' unexpected success this season has overlooked the obvious—Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan are witches.
It didn't take long to find a home for Scott Eyre and Jim Hendry does him the favor of putting him in another pennant race. Eyre goes to the Phillies for minor league RHP Brian Schlitter (thanks to reader Chifan for the tip).
...it's like Friday Notes, but on Thursday...and on 'roids.
Alright, I've been compiling links and notes for about three weeks now and finally had a chance to get it all down today, so plenty of diversions for the off-day today before we knock the silly out of the Redbirds this weekend. And yeah, some of this stuff is old.
- Let's go back in the time machine and talk about home field advantage for the All-Star game. I think most of the sentient baseball universe realizes the absurdity of awarding home field advantage for the most important games of the year to the league that wins an exhibition contest. MLB says they can't do the rational thing of awarding it to the team with the best overall record, as it won't give them enough time to plan and book events in the potential cities. I call SHENANIGANS!!!
When do they start booking these hotels and start planning? Using the current All-Star method, you know that after the season ends, one of four teams could be hosting the majority of the games. After one round, it's down to two teams. If they use the best record, there are seven teams that could host the majority of the games (throw out the playoff team with the worst record), and after the first round, it would be down to three cities (once again throw out the record of the worst team left). This doesn't seem like such a scheduling catastrophe as MLB makes it. And the NBA and NHL seem to have figured it out.
Today's double-barreled day off for the Chicago and Iowa Cubs seems like a good time to assess how the two teams' fortunes intertwine as their respective seasons round third.
Like their parents the Iowa Cubs enjoy a five game bulge over their nearest divisional pursuers [the Cardinal proteges in Memphis]. Since the PCL regular season ends on Labor Day [Monday, September 1], the I-Cubs are only a couple dozen games away from a likely playoff spot. That likelihood makes the annual speculation about September call-ups a little less idle than in most years.
I'm a relatively patient person - a dog, twin 3-year old daughters, the Angel-fan wife and being a Cubs fan do that to a person. But the antics of Bob Howry have grown tiresome. And yeah, I'm probably the last on that bandwagon (see above about being patient).I mean, he was good for us in 2006 and 2007. Not great, but good; as he posted ERA's of 3.17 and 3.32, along with respectable win probabilty added scores of 0.93 and 1.73. So I think some of that patience was warranted - unfortunately so does manager Lou Piniella.
Lou's consistent reliance on Howry out there in crucial situations, even with a depleted bullpen of late, is near Dusty-level stupid. The decision to let Bob Howry pitch to notorious Cub-killer Carlos Lee with first base open yesterday, is Andy McPhail-stupid.
Let's take a look at what could be troubling Howry...
If he were dealing with Chicago traffic, I would take my chances with the golf cart.
You can get to the MKE airport from Miller Park via all surface streets, no real reason to get on the expressway. Unless he is in a real hurry to get to Az.
CUBSTER: I would think a cab or a limo would get Motte to the airport faster than a golf cart. The maximum speed of a golf cart is (what?) maybe 15 MPH, which could actually be dangerous on an expressway.
from the Sunday Trib...
Reliever Jason Motte waved as he left the visitor’s clubhouse at Miller Park on a golf cart en route to the airport to catch a flight to Arizona to start a rehab assignment.
Motte has been on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 24 because of a right shoulder strain, but there’s a possibility he could rejoin the Cubs if they advance deep in the playoffs.
Motte is scheduled to pitch in simulated games and in Instructional League games in Arizona.
8 in a row to end the year...let's do this playoffs thing.
shelby miller (ATL) finishes the season with a win, snapping his 24-game winless streak...because ATL bats are non-existent.
3.02 era, 1.25 whip, 205.1ip, 171K
Totally independent of the Cubs winning or losing today, Dan Haren came into today's game having earned $2M of his potential $3M in performance bonuses for 2015.
By making the start (his 32nd start of the season) he picked up $500K, and he'll get the remaining $500K if he can throw at least 8.2 IP in the game (he was at 181.1 IP coming into the game, and he needs to reach 190 IP to get the remaining $500K),
It's a bit like the old "Bowling for Dollars" TV show, but of course Haren is actually "Pitching for Dollars."
holy crap, MIL is just...awful.
i think he's currently playing for the Santo Domingo Meths. he's an Adderall-Star player there.
I'm longing for a Neifi sighting.
if you have stable/fast internet you can stream with and you don't mind giving up $20 a month check out "sling tv".
TBS, TNT, ESPN 1+2, etc...100% legal.
68 pitches (50 strikes)
love seeing that...especially with the batters doing very little with it.
Yeah, keep him off the playoff roster.
Or, he's looked exactly like Ted Williams.
Lately he hasn't looked like Ted Williams...