I just read this over at FoxSports.com, a little brief snippet on Derrek Lee's chances of winning the triple crown...
Anyhow, if Lee is able to maintain his lead in all three categories, he'll become the first hitter to pull off the feat since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. More notable, however, is that Lee would become the first National League hitter ever to win the triple crown.
I suppose he means other then Paul Hines (1878), Hugh Duffy (1894), Heinie Zimmerman (1912), Rogers Hornsby (1922 & 1925), Chuck Klein (1933) and Joe Medwick (1937). Sheesh... It is Fox Sports though, so what should I expect? [Update] It looks like someone got the word to Mr. Perry as he's changed the wording. It now reads...
Anyhow, if Lee is able to maintain his lead in all three categories, he'll become the first hitter to pull off the feat since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
I didn't mean to pick on the fella - it's the first time I recall reading any of his stuff and the rest of the article was quite enjoyable with some good insights. Anyway, in other news...
GAME 64 PREVIEW FLORIDA MARLINS (32-30) at CHICAGO CUBS (34-29) Wrigley Field, 7:05pm CT, TV: FSFL, WGN
SP Greg Maddux SP A.J. Burnett
CF *Juan Pierre SS #Neifi Perez
2B #Luis Castillo CF *Corey Patterson
LF Miguel Cabrera 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Carlos Delgado RF *Jeromy Burnitz
3B Mike Lowell 3B Aramis Ramirez
C Paul Lo Duca 2B *Todd Walker
RF Juan Encarnacion LF *Todd Hollandsworth
SS Alex Gonzalez C Michael Barrett
Pitcher's spot Pitcher's spot
First things first, Sergio! A wonderful performance blighted only by the return of his facial hair. And the fact no-one now can bring themselves to look past his last sixteen innings or so whenever someone has the audacity to suggest he should be traded. But you know me, though I'm one of Mitre's biggest fans, since before this time last week too, I'm audacious. And trading Mitre now makes a lot of sense. His value may never be higher, this team still has serious needs that can only be resolved via trades, and the Cubs are staring down the barrel of a serious pitching roster crunch come next year, with five or six pitchers the Cubs believe to be major-league ready (Maddux, Rusch, Mitre, Williams, a healthy Guzman and now Rich Hill too) potentially fighting over just two rotation spots behind Prior, Zambrano and Wood. It's a nice position to be in, but something is going to have to give somewhere. What a contrast in styles we'll see today. There's Maddux, of course, who hasn't thrown a pitch over 90mph in years. And then there's A.J. Burnett, who hasn't thrown a pitch over 100mph in, well, the last four days (actually, I'm not even sure of that, he's probably thrown a side session in that time). There's Maddux, who throws more pitches than you can shake a stick at (but no curve) with all the guile in the world. And then there's Burnett, who throws nothing but red-hot heat and knee-buckling power curves (okay, that's not quite true, he does once every few starts throw a change, and that change is about as fast as Maddux's fastball!). There probably couldn't be a greater contrast between two pitchers, at least short of Maddux being left-handed. And yet both at their best are as good as any pitcher in the game. There's more than one way to skin a cat. Go Cubs! And behave yourselves in the comments, or I'll send Greg Maddux over to skin your cat. And you thought he looked like such an amicable guy...
According the Arlington Daily Herald, LHP Rich Hill will get called up this weekend in time for the Yankees series. The club will probably use him out of the bullpen over the weekend, figuring that a player's first major league start in Yankee Stadium would be a bit much. Chances are he'll get his first start next week versus the Brewers. Talk about rapid ascension through the system, Hill, who hadn't pitched above advanced A ball before this season(and rightfully so), suddenly found his control to go along with all those strikeouts. He began the season quite terribly at AA West Tennesse, before finding his groove and then getting the call to go to Iowa a few weeks ago. His stats so far this season: W. Tenn: 4-3 3.28 ERA; 57.2 IP; 21 BB; 90 K; 9 HR Iowa: 1-1 4.34 ERA; 18.2 IP; 6 BB; 29 K; 5 HR Totals: 5-4 3.54 ERA; 76.1 IP; 27 BB; 119 K; 14 HR Rate Stats: 14.07 K/9; 3.19 BB/9; 4.40 K/BB; 1.65 HR/9 He certainly gives up a few too many home runs, but if you want to dominate big league batters, you do it with the strikeout and he's certainly gotten that part of the game down, leading all of the minor leagues so far this season in that category. I believe a 40 man roster move will need to be made, although I must admit I've lost track of it's current state. If a move does have to be made, Bartosh, Borowski or Koronka lead the way in my opinion. Nothing like a legitimate prospect getting his chance in the show to get me giddy this morning.
GAME 63 PREVIEW FLORIDA MARLINS (32-29) at CHICAGO CUBS (33-29) Wrigley Field, 7:05pm CT, TV: FSFL, WGN
SP Sergio Mitre SP Josh Beckett
CF *Juan Pierre SS #Neifi Perez
2B #Luis Castillo CF *Corey Patterson
LF Miguel Cabrera 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Carlos Delgado RF *Jeromy Burnitz
3B Damion Easley 3B Aramis Ramirez
C Paul Lo Duca 2B *Todd Walker
RF Juan Encarnacion LF *Todd Hollandsworth
SS Alex Gonzalez C Michael Barrett
Pitcher's spot Pitcher's spot
Could Dusty perhaps do us a favour and get Corey out of the two spot? Honestly, there's just absolutely no good reason for it. Making outs, especially on the basepaths, with Derrek Lee coming up behind you really isn't the greatest way to help Lee's chances of getting enough RBI to win that triple crown. Todd Walker is the perfect two-hole hitter, and I personally couldn't care a less that Todd's in no hurry to break the 100m world record anytime soon. What else could be done to shake things up a bit? Well, I'm past wondering whether or not Cliff Bartosh deserves a spot on the roster (the conclusion I've come to is no), but I am now starting to wonder if Joe Borowski shouldn't be joining Bartosh on his way somewhere else, preferably quite far away. Borowski's fastball, as far as I've seen, is topping out at an extremly hittable 87-89mph, and his slider is equally unimpressive. And he's duly getting smacked as if it's 2004 all over again. Borowski's given up 3 home runs in his 8.1 innings, and unless his stuff magically improves, I'm not sure his results will either. As for Bartosh, I'm even less happy about that trade now than I was the day it when down (and I was pretty unhappy back then, let me assure you, because Bartosh was a day or two from going through waivers). Bartosh doesn't have the same problem with stuff as Borowski, but his results have been underwhelming to say the least, and I'm bitterly disappointed since I actually thought he'd be okay. Instead he's given up 5 home runs and walked 11 in 18.2 largely irrelevant innings. And largely irrelevant right now sums Bartosh up pretty nicely. Meanwhile, Bear Bay, who we squanderously gave up to acquire Bartosh, has taken promotion to High-A comfortably in his stride - on Sunday he threw seven innings of one-run ball while striking out 10, and his line on the year now is 66.2 IP, 62 H, 9 HR, 14 BB, 73 K and a 3.11 ERA. And in Iowa meanwhile Ben Grieve, Mike Fontenot and Jerome Williams, all ready right now to improve upon what we have at the major league level, at least in my view, are being left to fester. Great, just great. Oh. Go Cubs!
They've updated the All-Star voting and our boy NEIFI! is still off the radar. What are you people waiting for? Spread the word! I know some of you have season tickets, bring a sign, do what it takes. NEIFI! needs you!!! At the moment, here is where our Cubbies stand....
I came across this over at Bleed Cubbie Blue. (Don't forget to VOTE NEIFI!). To sum up, Todd Helton would be willing to move to left field if traded to a contender. The Rockies have reached the point of considering moving their franchise player, with first base prospect stud, Ryan Shealy tearing up AAA ball. As with any trade, this is wrought with obstacles such as... 1) He hasn't played left field since 1997, where he played 13 games 2) His contract runs until about 3001 for something like $800 million a year (actually 2011 with a club option for 2012 at about $16 million a year) 3) He'll turn 32 this year and is having a rather awful year, particularly a massive loss in power so far. 4) Career road splits: .296/.392/.519 Career Home Splits: .371/.464/.688 Now if the Cubs have the opportunity to make such a deal, do they pull the trigger?
GAME 62 PREVIEW FLORIDA MARLINS (31-29) at CHICAGO CUBS (33-28) Wrigley Field, 7:05pm CT, TV: FSFL, CSN
SP *John Koronka SP *Dontrelle Willis
CF *Juan Pierre SS #Neifi Perez
2B #Luis Castillo 2B Jerry Hairston
LF Miguel Cabrera 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Carlos Delgado 3B Aramis Ramirez
3B Mike Lowell LF Jason Dubois
C Paul Lo Duca RF *Jeromy Burnitz
RF Juan Encarnacion CF *Corey Patterson
SS Alex Gonzalez C Michael Barrett
Pitcher's spot Pitcher's spot
The Cubs get a brief respite from interleague play (they're now 4-5 against the AL this year, with six games to play) as fishy Florida visit town. On the mound tonight for those Marlins will be the one that got away, Dontrelle Willis, who is currently enjoyable an unbelievable season. No, literally, I don't believe it - he's 10-2 with an ERA touching two. I don't believe he'll keep it up either. The Cubs tonight have their chance to give his numbers a little more respectability, and in the process they could make themselves feel a little less rueful about throwing in the young lefty who'd never pitched an inning above Low-A ball when it came to acquiring the bust of a closer that was Alfonseca and fellow throw-in Matt Clement. At least he didn't figure out too badly. How the Cubs might be wishing they had either Clement or Willis starting for them tonight, given that as it is they have to throw John Koronka out there. Injuries or not, there's now no excuse for Koronka being in the rotation any more as far as I'm concerned, because the Cubs could surely by now have reconfigured schedules, days of rest and the like to avoid the unfortunate situation of a pitcher scarcely capable of getting out minor leaguers on a regular basis having to try and prevent major leaguers getting runs across the plate. Hopefully he can keep us in the game tonight, but I'm not holding my breath. Jerome Williams at Iowa is looking like quite a coup given the way he's turned his season around in his first three starts as a member of the Cubs organisation (18.1 IP, 18 H, 2 HR, 3 BB, 13 K, 2.45 ERA). The Cubs certainly have to balance the short-term needs of the big league club with the long-term development of their prospects at all times, but there's no real conflict of interest here now as far as I can see. Williams' weight (reportedly 260 pounds, 20 pounds overweight) isn't a concern in the short term given Williams' recent success in spite of it, nor in long term given Williams' own determination to shift it. Neither is his lack of a truly refined third pitch too problematic, given that he's already achieved major league success without one. Refining either his slider or curveball while in the minors would certainly be nice, but it's hardly essential or urgent, and the need for someone better than Koronka in the rotation right now seems to me more pressing. And Williams, given his recent success, looks like a good bet. Unfortunately, the Cubs seem intent on keeping Williams at Iowa for a while yet. In that case we can only hope Kerry Wood returns double quick. He's making his first rehab start at Iowa tonight on a 60 pitch limit - listen live here from 7.05pm CT if you like. The Marlins haven't been that impressive of late, winning just five of their last eighteen to drop from top to bottom of the NL East. Their big problem has been a shoddy bullpen and a lineup unintent upon scoring runs. Sound familiar? It was only a month or two ago we were in the same situation. Cubs, let's not go back there!
Added a 'Ex W/L' column to Organizational Records which is the major league teams expected win/loss record determined by the differential of runs scored and runs allowed, often referred to as the team's pythagorean record. Team Records Updated through 6/12/05; Individual Stats Updated through 6/12/05
Organizational Records
TeamW-LGB/Pos.Last 10Ex W/LW/L (2003)W/L (2004)
Chicago Cubs33-286.5/2nd6-434-2734-2732-29
Iowa Cubs 26-387.5/4th3-7&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp
West Tenn Jaxx40-210.0/1st5-5&nbsp&nbsp &nbsp
Daytona Cubs33-294.5/3rd6-4&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp
Peoria Chiefs32-323.5/4th5-5&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp
Boise HawksSeason begins June 22nd N/A N/A &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp
AZL CubsSeason begins in JuneN/A N/A &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp

&nbsp
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels "Henry was good. He said he will slap me." - Carlos Zambrano, on Henry Blanco coming out to talk to him after walking the first 3 batters in Sundayís game versus the Padres Not Settling for Second Best "It's early, but we don't want the Wild Card. We want to win the division. We will win the division. That's our goal." - Carlos Zambrano laying the smackdown Not That There's Anything Wrong with that... "He's a beauty." Jeromy Burnitz, on Carlos Zambrano
GAME 61 PREVIEW BOSTON RED SOX (32-29) at CHICAGO CUBS (33-27) Wrigley Field, 7:05pm CT, TV: ESPN
"The Cubs are just simply not a good team. They beat a lackadaisal, average team twice in a row and will likely sweep, but that doesnít make them good. Their closer is highly unimpressive. I donít like their bullpen. Zambrano now is an injury concern, what with his blister before and turf toe. Take Derrek Lee and Neifi Perez out of the equation, and theyíre lousy. Perez and Lee, repeating last year, and this club is below .500. Theyíre not a good club, period." --Evan Brunell, Fire Brand of the American League
And if a frog had wings, he wouldn't bump his ass a-hoppin'. Replace "Zambrano" with "Schilling" and "Lee and Perez" with "Ortiz," and it's like looking in a mirror, isn't it, Evan? I'm not too upset, though. It must be hard when you finally win a World Series and then, a third-of the way through the next season, you're in danger of finishing behind a team that you beat by twenty games last year. So, I can understand the frustration. Tonight, Glendon Rusch takes on knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. If the wind is blowing out, that'll be good for Wake and bad for the Cubs bats, so think "lake breeze" thoughts.
GAME 60 PREVIEW BOSTON RED SOX (32-28) at CHICAGO CUBS (32-27) Wrigley Field, 2:15pm CT, TV: FOX Greetings from Hannover Germany, where beer and cigarettes are the order of the day! Well, just the beer for me, actually, though I feel like I've been smoking for the last week. I'm checking in from my business trip to deliver some important breaking news. It seems that the Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908. Not only that, but they're in the middle of a series with the Boston Red Sox, who a) won the World Series last year, and b) before that, hadn't won one since 1918. Why, I had no idea! And apparently neither did anyone else in the country, since that seems to be the only storyline surrounding this series. OK, not the only storyline -- there's also the "Nomar gets his ring, sort of" story. But there's a whole lot more going on in Cub- and Red Sox-land. So here are seven other things that the national media should be talking about: 1. The Cubs have won 11 of their last 13 and are currently 1/2 game out of the wildcard spot. 2. With Kerry Wood and Mark Prior missing significant time with injuries, Carlos Zambrano (4-3, 2.94, 75K/31 BB) has emerged as the ace of the staff and one of the best young pitchers in baseball. 3. Zambrano isn't the best starter on the Cubs this year -- that honor goes to Glendon Rusch (5-1, 2.07, 42/27), who's gunning for the Mr. Unsung Award two years running. 4. Derrek Lee:hitting::German guys:beer drinking 5. N-E-I-F-I 6. The Red Sox are looking up at the Orioles, which is strange, but not as strange as the fact that they're looking down at the Yankees, and can't even see them because the Blue Jays are in the way. 7. Just like the Cubs, the Red Sox are weathering pitching injuries (to David Wells and Curt Schilling), though they're doing it mostly by climbing on Big Papi's back and letting him drag them over .500. I was going to go for ten, but I ran out of steam after two Red Sox ones and, honestly, I don't care enough about them to find three more. Go see what Evan has to say at Fire Brand of the American League if you want more Carmines info. Truth be told, the Red Sox are one of my favorite teams and I was really happy to see them win the Series last year. But I'll be even happier once El Toro shuts them down this afternoon on national TV, thereby verifying his All-Star bona fides, and Rusch does the same on ESPN tomorrow night.
GAME 59 PREVIEW BOSTON RED SOX (32-27) at CHICAGO CUBS (31-27) Wrigley Field, 1:15pm CT, TV:WGN
SP Greg Maddux SP Bronson Arroyo
CF *Johnny Damon SS #Neifi Perez
SS Edgar Renteria CF *Corey Patterson
1B *David Ortiz 1B Derrek Lee
LF Manny Ramirez RF *Jeromy Burnitz
RF *Trot Nixon 3B Aramis Ramirez
C #Jason Varitek 2B *Todd Walker
3B #Bill Mueller LF *Todd Hollandsworth
2B #Mark Bellhorn C Michael Barrett
Pitcher's spot Pitcher's spot
Nothing like two of the more storied franchises meeting each other to get the national media on it's high horse. I'll let them try and still grasp for some sort of story line that still links the two clubs. If this series was last year, I'm not sure I could bear to watch the coverage, but with last year's improbable Red Sox championship run, we're all spared a bit of the melodrama. Now to more important matters and the actual game in hand. Maddog versus Cornrows, I mean Bronson Arroyo. (Does he still have that ridiculous hairdo?). Maddux so far has escaped the first two innings without allowing a baserunner while Arroyo has given up 2 homers to Burnitz and Holly and the Cubs lead 3-0 in the bottom of the second. Dusty stacked the lineup with lefties today as as they are hitting .295 versus Arroyo this year compared to righties hitting only .170. Seems to be working so far..... I'm going to go enjoy the game and hope some of that good fortune the Red Sox enjoyed last year, rubs off on the Cubbies before they leave town.
Nothing like reviewing something that isnít complete. Almost every media outlet grades each teamís respective drafts in the NBA and NFL with some randomly chosen letter grade, as if you could pass judgement on something before anyone's put on a helmet or laced up a sneaker. NFL.com writer Gregg Easterbrook, a lover of all religions, puts my distaste for rating drafts much more eloquently then I could. The reality is, and especially when it comes to the grand old pastime, that a draft can only truly be evaluated a good few years down the line. Hereís all 51 of our picks and some information, useful or not, about some of the soon to be baby Cubbies.
GAME 58 PREVIEW TORONTO BLUE JAYS (31-28) at CHICAGO CUBS (30-27) Wrigley Field, 1:15pm CT, TV: ESPN, WGN
SP Sergio Mitre SP Roy Halladay
RF Reed Johnson SS #Neifi Perez
LF *Frank Catalanotto CF *Corey Patterson
CF Vernon Wells 1B Derrek Lee
1B Eric Hinske 3B Aramis Ramirez
3B Aaron Hill 2B *Todd Walker
2B #Orlando Hudson LF Jason Dubois
SS *Russ Adams LF *Todd Hollandsworth
C Ken Huckaby C Michael Barrett
Pitcher's spot Pitcher's spot
John got a bit tied up with other matters, I assume of vast importance, for how else could he dare shun his TCR duties? A demerit for him.... It was another disappointing loss last night, thanks in part to a mental lapse by Will Ohman (not covering first extended the eighth and the next hitter singled home a run) and then an unfortunate throwing error by NEIFI! (the ball squirted away from the outstretched Derrek Lee, resulting in another Blue Jay score). Two runs on two very makeable plays. The difference in last night's game? You guessed it: two runs. So today, although the game hasn't quite reached "must-win" status, more like "good idea to win" status, the Cubs trot out Sergio Mitre versus former Cy Younger Roy Halladay. Halladay has regained his 2003 form, it appears - he's 9-2 with a 2.56 ERA and 4.53 K/BB ratio. On paper it looks like the Cubs are set up to be swept, but, as the saying goes, that's why they play the games. Sergio has shutdown the Blue Jays for six innings so far and the first four and one-thirds of those innings were of the perfect variety before Aaron Hill reached on an infield single. Not impressed by the Cubs' offense, Sergio has contributed with the bat as well, doubling in a run and then scoring on a single by Corey. It's 2-0 Cubs entering the top of the 7th and Mitre is back on the mound with Ohman up in the pen. Keep it up....
GAME 57 PREVIEW TORONTO BLUE JAYS (30-28) at CHICAGO CUBS (30-26) Wrigley Field, 7.05pm CT, TV: CSN, RSN
SP *Glendon Rusch SP Josh Towers
LF Reed Johnson SS #Neifi Perez
RF Alex Rios 2B *Todd Walker
CF Vernon Wells 1B Derrek Lee
1B Shea Hillenbrand RF *Jeromy Burnitz
3B Aaron Hill 3B Aramis Ramirez
2B Frank Menechino CF *Corey Patterson
C #Gregg Zaun LF *Todd Hollandsworth
SS John McDonald C Michael Barrett
Pitcher's spot Pitcher's spot
It's been a hard day's drafting for the Cubs. Now they've got a ballgame to play too. Patterson and Walker return to the lineup, and Glendon Rusch, with a multitude of freshly drafted young arms queuing up behind him, takes the mound. Go Cubs!

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