Game 135 Thread / Phillies @ Cubs (2 of 4)

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SP Joe Blanton SP Rich Harden
(NL) 1-0, 4.03, 27 K, 15 BB, 38 IP (NL) 4-1, 1.47, 70 K, 14 BB, 49 IP
SS #Jimmy Rollins LF Alfonso Soriano
CF #Shane Victorino SS Ryan Theriot
2B *Chase Utley 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Ryan Howard 3B Aramis Ramirez
LF Pat Burrell CF *Jim Edmonds
RF Jayson Werth 2B Mark DeRosa
3B *Greg Dobbs RF *Kosuke Fukudome
C Carlos Ruiz C Henry Blanco
P Joe Blanton P *Rich Harden


A few aftershocks from last night's game...the come from behind win was the 38th for the Cubs this season, second to the Yankees 39. It was their 19th win when trailing in the seventh inning or later, best in baseball ahead of their current foe - the Phightin Phils.

Today, ex-teammates do battle as Rich Harden and Joe Blanton take the mound. I'm sure a steak dinner at Morton's is on the table for the winner.


Some more game notes fun after the jump...

ABH - Anybody But Hamels

I think I'm taking the 2008 Cubs for granted. I headed to my car for my commute home last night just as the Phillies were scoring three runs in the sixth. And even with Cole Hamels carving up the lineup, I never thought we were out of it. I tuned into XM radio by that point and it had Pat and Ron going and Pat was carrying on that the Phils bullpen has been worked hard lately. If the Cubs could just work up  that pitch count up on Hamels. If he could go eight, the Phils would just go to Brad Lidge which probably wouldn't have done the Cubs much good considering he's a perfect 31 for 31 in save opportunities. The key was to get into the pen before that. After seven, Hamels was up to 108 pitches but due up third, and Charlie Manuel obliged by pinch hitting for him.

Boom. Mike Fontenot goes yard on Ryan Madson. As I heard Bob Brenly say on the replay, "ABH - Anybody but Hamels".

Next up, Soriano sounds like he just missed one for a double. After the Theriot single, Derrek Lee stepped up and I'm sure many the skeptical Cub fan were expecting the double play that he seems to be so prone to hitting to this year. But he already had two hits on the night and his one out sounded like a well-struck ball to the outfield. He's also managed a .923 OPS over the last 7 days. Chad Durbin left his control in the bullpen though and the bases were loaded for tonight's hero.

Whenever a Cub hits one deep, you can always tell with Pat if it's going out or not by the first or second word. He tries to put some excitement in any ball that looks like it has any chance but there's just this little extra inflection he puts in his voice when a ball is definitely going out. When Soriano hit his double, it wasn't there. When Fontenot and Ramirez hit there blasts, I could tell right away just by the subtle change in Pat's voice.

After missing on the first pitch to Ramirez and considering Durbin just walked Lee, I figured Ramirez would be taking. Instead I'm listening to Pat Hughes calling yet another Cubs comeback victory. 

Ramirez is certainly the game's hero, but let's be sure to give Kerry Wood his deserved praise. Working on his fourth straight game against the four best Phillies hitters was no small task. He had a bit of breathing room, but an outstanding outing by him as well to navigate the ninth inning for his 28th save.

The Win Probability chart after the jump...

Game 134 Thread / Phillies @ Cubs (1 of 4)

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SP *Cole Hamels SP Ryan Dempster
  11-8, 3.20, 162 K, 43 BB, 188.2 IP
15-5, 2.85, 153 K, 65 BB, 170.2 IP
SS #Jimmy Rollins LF Alfonso Soriano
2B *Chase Utley SS Ryan Theriot
LF Pat Burrell 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Ryan Howard 3B Aramis Ramirez
CF #Shane Victorino C Geovany Soto
RF Jayson Werth CF Reed Johnson
3B Pedro Feliz RF *Kosuke Fukudome
C Carlos Ruiz  2B Mark DeRosa
P *Cole Hamels P Ryan Dempster


The Cubs and Phillies play the first game in Major League history in which the umpires—or at least the crew chief—will have the option to summon an instant replay to assist a call. (The Rangers/Angels and Twins/A's games starting later Thursday will also be replay-enabled; umpires at all games will be onboard starting Friday.) The reviewable plays will be limited to potential home runs, i.e., fair or foul, over the fence or in play, fan interference or not.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella thinks it's all just a grand idea:

"This is not going to work. I shouldn't say it's not going to work, but this could turn into a little bit of a fiasco initially."

Anyhow, having beaten our boys twice (and nearly three times) in a three-game series in Philadelphia back in April, the Philles begin this four-game set as the only NL team with a lead in their season series against the Cubs.

Cubs Assign Six Prospects to Arizona Fall League

Tentative rosters for the 2008 Arizona Fall League (AFL) were announced yesterday (they are incomplete and also subject to change), and six of the seven Cubs prospects who will be playing for the Mesa Solar Sox this fall have been named:

Lucky Number Seven

Quite a night for the Cubbies, who looked nothing like the team with the best record in baseball, other than the final result. Errors, defensive miscues, bad starting pitching, bad relief pitching and yet they overcame all that thanks to Craig Hansen's pitching and Geovany Soto's hitting. Soto had been on a steady decline since his monstrous April putting up OPS numbers of 1.048, .868, .747, .740 heading in August. But things have turned around for him and he's put up a 1.014 OPS with 20 RBI's matching his April RBI total with five games still to go this month. His seven RBI outburst yesterday tops his 6 RBI game in April versus the Brewers and is the second most RBI's for a Cubs catcher in a game trailing the likes of Barry Foote, George Mitterwald and Ed Bailey (since 1956).

If you happen to be wondering who had the most RBI's in a game for the Cubs since 1956 like I was, the answer is after the jump.

Game 133 Thread / Cubs @ Pirates (3 of 3)

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SP Jason Marquis SP *Zach Duke
  8-7, 4.76, 71 K, 52 BB, 134.1 IP
4-12, 5.29, 72 K, 42 BB, 151.1 IP
LF Alfonso Soriano RF *Nyjer Morgan
SS Ryan Theriot SS Jack Wilson
1B Derrek Lee CF *Nate McLouth
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Adam LaRoche
CF Reed Johnson LF *Brandon Moss
RF Mark DeRosa 2B Freddy Sanchez
2B Ronny Cedeno 3B Andy LaRoche
C Henry Blanco C Raul Chavez
P *Jason Marquis P *Zach Duke


The Cubs go for the sweep, and once again I am reminded that I don't know how to add Rob's broom graphic to the game results box at the top of the right-hand column. I'll make you a deal, Jason Marquis: you win the game, and I'll work on the broom.

Game 131 Thread / Cubs @ Pirates (1 of 3)

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SP *Ted Lilly SP Jeff Karstens
  12-7, 4.25, 148 K, 56 W, 161 IP 
2-2, 2.25, 11 K, 8 W, 28 IP
LF Alfonso Soriano CF *Nate McLouth
SS Ryan Theriot 2B Freddy Sanchez
1B Derrek Lee C  #Ryan Doumit
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Adam LaRoche
CF *Jim Edmonds RF  Jason Michaels
2B Mark DeRosa LF *Brandon Moss
RF *Kosuke Fukudome 3B Andy LaRoche
C Geovany Soto SS Jack Wilson
P *Ted Lilly P Jeff Karstens


The Cubs open a three-game set at PNC Park, concluding their 9-game stretch against the Reds, Nationals, and Pirates before they resume play against Major League opposition. (Yes, I'm tempting fate: Friday's smug game preview was just a preamble to an ugly 13-5 loss to the Nats, but 30 games over .500, I'm feeling smug all over again.)

Coming off a tough luck defeat in which he held the Reds hitless for the first 5 innings and wound up yielding just 2 hits in 7 IP, Lily has reduced his ERA to a season-low 4.25.The lefty has given the Cubs Quality Starts in 8 of his last 10 turns, and that defeat to Cincinnati was his first after five consecutive W's.

This will mark Lilly's fourth start of the year against the Bucs. He's 1-0, 5.63 in the three previous starts, with a butt-ugly 8.38 ERA in his two outings at PNC.


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