May 2006

GAME FIFTY-ONE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CINCINNATI REDS (28-23, 2nd, 5.0 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (19-31, 5th, 13.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 PM CDT Weather: 78 degrees, cloudy, wind variable @ 8 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 743 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Greg Maddux, RHP 5-4, 4.28 ERA, 61.0 IP 41 K, 16 BB, 5 HR 272/316/414 againstBrandon Claussen, LHP 3-5, 5.25 ERA, 58 1/3 IP 44 K, 18 BB, 12 HR 296/357/511 against

# Felipe Lopez, SS *Scott Hatteberg, 1B *Ken Griffey, CF *Adam Dunn, LF Austin Kearns, RF #Javier Valentin, C Edwin Encarnacion, 3B Ryan Freel, 2B Brandon Claussen, P*Juan Pierre, CF *Tony Womack, 2B Matt Murton, LF Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Todd Walker, 1B Ronny Cedeno, SS *Jacque Jones, RF Henry Blanco, C Greg Maddux, P
Reds vs. Maddux: Javier Valentin: 6-12, 500/538/1500, 4 HR, 1 BB, 2 K Ken Griffey: 9-21, 429/538/762, 2 HR, 4 BB, 7 K Ryan Freel: 6-19, 316/316/579, 1 HR, 2 K Austin Kearns: 7-24, 292/292/458, 1 HR, 6 K Jason LaRue: 5-17, 294/368/333, 1 BB, 4 K Adam Dunn: 4-28, 143/226/464, 3 HR, 3 BB, 8 K Rich Aurilia: 8-39, 205/205/410, 2 HR, 5 K
CUBS 7, REDS 3
Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart | Photos
W: Kerry Wood (1-) L: Elizardo Ramirez (2-4) S: Ryan Dempster (9)
It had been so long since we'd seen the W flag that I was afraid we'd lost the rights to it. But there it is, in all its glory. I didn't see the game -- I was at a barbecue watching The No Longer Tiny Baby splash around in a wading pool in the 90-degree heat -- but apparently Kerry Wood looked good, and the best thing about the box score was seeing that Todd Walker went 3-for-4 with 3 RBI. Also nice: the Murton-Cedeno tandem going 4-for-8. Not so nice: Tony Womack going 2-for-5. I mean, I'm glad he's not a giant sucking chest wound in the #2 hole, but I cringe every time he gets a hit because that means he's going to play even more. On Sunday I was bemoaning the Cubs to The Lovely Wife, as I am wont to do, and she said she thought this same thing had happened last May, or maybe the May before. So I went and looked, and sure enough, the Cubs started last May with a seven-game losing streak, which led to the TCR authors banning the use of the letter L. Not only that, but in the middle of last May I reached back into the TCR archives of May 2002, when the Cubs had a nine-game slide. Three out of the last five Mays have been painful for Cubs fans. Of course, in both '02 and '05 the Cubs would go on to have even worse months later in the year, and they finished 21 and 30 games out of first in those two years. So it's not like it's a cloud with a silver lining; it's more like a cloud filled with grapefruit-sized hail. Man, I can't even make a column about a win come out sounding happy. As Bushwick Bill once famously said, "times is hard."
from reaching .500. There's always a bright side. We're a long way away from that 16-7 trouncing of the Reds on Opening Day. And don't forget the 5 error (3 thanks to Edwin Encarnacion), 4-1 win just a week later. Good news is we miss Bronson Arroyo's bat this series. Bad news is we're the Cubs. GAME FIFTY IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CINCINNATI REDS (28-22, 2nd, 3.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (18-31, 5th, 13.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:20 PM CDT Weather: 88 degrees, partly cloudy, Wind out to LF @ 10 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 736 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Kerry Wood, RHP 0-1, 6.30 ERA, 10.0 IP 9 K, 5 BB, 4 HR Elizardo Ramirez, RHP 2-3, 3.72 ERA, 29 IP 21 K, 11 BB, 4 HR

# Felipe Lopez, SS *Adam Dunn, LF *Ken Griffey Jr. CF Rich Aurilia, 3B *Scott Hatterberg, 1B Austin Kearns, RF Brandon Phillips, 2B Jason LaRue, C *Elizardo Ramirez, P*Juan Pierre, CF *Tony Womack, 2B Michael Barrett, C *Todd Walker, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, SS Kerry Wood, P
I'm running out of ways to complain about this team. I actually have the time to watch the game today, which is pretty rare on the weekends, I'm just not sure I want to waste the 3 hours. Although with a Smoltz/Ryu matchup the game could be done very early. Good luck Cubbies, even the worse teams win once in awhile. GAME FORTY-NINE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] ATLANTA BRAVES (26-23, 2nd, 3.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (18-30, 5th, 13.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:20 PM CDT Weather: 83 degrees, sunny, Wind out to CF @ 10 mph TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 189
Jae-kuk Ryu, RHP 0-0, 9.00 ERA, 1.0 IP 2 K, 2 BB, 0 HR John Smoltz, RHP 4-2, 3.12 ERA, 69.1 IP 57 K, 16 BB, 6 HR

Marcus Giles, 2B Edgar Renteria, SS #Chipper Jones, 3B Andruw Jones, CF *Adam LaRoche, 1B Jeff Francoeur, RF *Ryan Langerhans Todd Pratt, C John Smoltz, P*Juan Pierre, CF *Tony Womack, 2B *Todd Walker, 1B Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF #Neifi Perez, SS Jae-kuk Ryu, P
...and by "everyone" I mean whatever percentage of the country is getting this game on Fox instead of Mets-Marlins or Dodgers-Nats. It seems like the Cubs are finding new, creative ways to lose just about every day. How will it go down this afternoon? Here are a few possibilities: * Sean Marshall duels with Horacio Ramirez for 9 hitless innings. In the top of the tenth, the Braves score on a walk, a stolen base, a balk, and a sacrifice bunt. Ramirez strikes out pinch-hitters Freddy Bynum, Neifi Perez, and Tony Womack in the bottom of the 10th. Braves win 1-0. * With the wind screaming out to left field at 30 mph, neither starting pitcher makes it out of the first inning, though Horacio Ramirez does hit a home run in the Braves' seven-run first. After one inning, the score is 7-6, but the Braves add ten more runs by the fourth inning. The Cubs battle back to tie the game 22-22 in the 8th behind three home runs by Aramis Ramirez. In the 10th inning, pinch-hitter Tim Hudson hits the 12th home run of the day. Braves win 23-22. * Sean Marshall walks five Braves in four innings, all of whom eventually score. In the 9th inning, down three with none out, two on and the tying run at the plate, pinch-hitter Neifi Perez bunts into a triple play to end the game. Braves win, 5-2. * Tony Womack comes in as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning of a tie game. Chipper Jones hits a ground ball to him, but as Womack goes to throw the ball to first, a meteorite lands on him, knocking him unconscious. As Ronny Cedeno descends into the crater to look for the ball, Jones circles the bases. Braves win, 3-2. * Nothing really spectacular happens -- the Cubs get a bunch of guys on base but can't bring them in, draw no walks, and bunt a lot. The Braves take a number of walks, capitalize on scoring opportunities, and score a few runs. Braves win 4-1. GAME FORTY-EIGHT IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] ATLANTA BRAVES (25-23, 2nd, 3.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (18-29, 5th, 12.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 12:20 PM CDT Weather: 73 degrees, partly cloudy, Wind from right to left @ 10 mph TV: Fox Radio: WGN, XM 189
Sean Marshall, LHP 3-2, 5.29 ERA, 47.2 IP 36 K, 24 BB, 4 HR 214/320/324 against Horacio Ramirez, LHP 0-0, 15.00 ERA, 3 IP 3 K, 1 BB, 0 HR 571/556/643 against

Marcus Giles, 2B Edgar Renteria, SS #Chipper Jones, 3B Andruw Jones, CF Jeff Francoeur, RF Matt Diaz, LF Brian Jordan, 1B #Brayan Pena, C *Horacio Ramirez, P*Juan Pierre, CF Jerry Hairston, 2B *Todd Walker, 1B Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Sean Marshall, P
Cubs vs. Ramirez: Juan Pierre: 7-22, 318/348/318, 3 K Michael Barrett: 2-15, 133/188/133, 1 BB, 4 K
GAME 47 RECAP
BRAVES 6 BAD-NEWS BEARS 5
Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart | Photos
W: Mike Remlinger (2-2) L: Ryan Dempster (0-3) S: Kenny Ray (1)
So I decided that I'd keep a chronology of today's game, from start to finish. Little did I know that it would be a chronology of one of those games that is emblematic of what it means to be a Cubs fan, or to play Cubs-style baseball. At least it was an entertaining loss, which is more than what can be said of the other Cubs losses, of late. The rest is below the fold.
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I'm not sure I have the energy to even complain about today's lineup. The only thing that surprises me is that Blanco isn't making an appearance. Woeful. Pathetic. Insert adjective. Good luck Z, you'll need it. GAME FOURTY-SEVEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] ATLANTA BRAVES (24-23, 3rd, 4.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (18-28, 5th, 12.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:20 PM CDT Weather: 75 degrees, Sunny, Wind from left to right @ 12 mph TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 189
Carlos Zambrano, RHP 3-2, 3.53 ERA, 63.2 IP 71 K, 38 BB, 9 HR Tim Hudson, RHP 4-3, 3.95 ERA, 66 IP 45 K, 21 BB, 4 HR

Marcus Giles, 2B Edgar Renteria, SS #Chipper Jones, 3B Andruw Jones, CF *Adam LaRoche, 1B Jeff Francoeur, RF *Ryan Langerhans, LF Todd Pratt, C Tim Hudson, P*Juan Pierre, CF #Neifi Perez, 2B *Todd Walker, 1B Michael Barrett, C *Jacque Jones, RF Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Freddie Bynum, LF Ronny Cedeno, SS #Carlos Zambrano, P
Braves vs. Zamrbano: Edgar Renteria:10-23 435/536/565 1 HR, 5 BB, 6 K Chipper Jones:4-14 286/444/500 Andruw Jones: 2-13 154/333/385Cubs vs. Hudson: Jacque Jones: 9-29 310/310/517 2 HR's Todd Walker: 4-17 235/278/353 John Mabry: 4-16 250/250/250 Neifi Perez: 4-12 333/333/333

The long arm of MLB law reached out Friday and handed Michael Barrett a ten game suspension and an undisclosed fine. The only other player suspended for the fracas was White Sox outfielder Brian Anderson. Barrett rightfully appealed the suspension and will play in today's game versus the Braves. Hopefully MLB won't get around to hearing the appeal until Lee is back and hopefully MLB will reduce the suspension to a more appropriate 7 to 8 games. And if you want to be really annoyed by Andy McPhail, feel free and read this interview with the Trib. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy the 3 day weekend, just avoid that link. [UPDATE:] Tony Womack called up, Ryan Theriot sent down. I don't even have a joke here, actually I do, it's the previous sentence.
Excellent advice for an off-day from TCR reader Dr. Johnson. I'd call it a prescription, but I don't know if he's a real doctor. GAME FORTY-SEVEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] DETROIT TIGERS (32-14, 1st, +1.0) AT KANSAS CITY ROYALS (10-34, 5th, 21.0) Kaufmann Stadium, 1:05 PM CDT TV: None (MLB.tv only) Radio: WXYT, WHB, XM 181
Mike Maroth, LHP 5-2, 2.45 ERA, 47 2/3 IP 22 K, 15 BB, 5 HR 269/327/403 against, .283 BABIPDenny Bautista, RHP 0-2, 3.75 ERA, 24.0 IP 16 K, 10 BB, 1 HR 250/340/352 against, .296 BABIP

The Tigers have been the biggest surprise in baseball so far this year. They haven't finished above .500 since 1993, and a succession of uninspiring managers (Buddy Bell, Phil Garner, Alan Trammell) has helped erode the fan base to the point where even a new stadium (Comerica Park, opened in 2000) couldn't pull the team's attendance out of the lower depths for more than one season. This year, though, things have been different. A new manager (Jim Leyland), a couple of breakout players (Chris Shelton, Curtis Granderson, Justin Verlander, Mike Maroth), and good numbers from a couple of veterans (Magglio Ordonez, Ivan Rodriguez, Kenny Rogers, Todd Jones) has added up to the best record in baseball over the first quarter of the season. On the other side of the ball, we have the Royals, otherwise known as "the Cubs on the cheap." They're currently on a 12-game losing streak, their second double-digit skid of the year. They have the worst record in baseball, are near the bottom of the majors in just about every offensive category, have an injured first baseman (Mark Sweeney), a young pitching prospect who has yet to pitch this year (Zach Greinke), and a general manager (Allard Baird) under fire after the misguided decision to bring in mid-level free agents (Mark Grudzielanek, Doug Mientkiewicz, Scott Elarton, Mark Redman) in the off-season. It's like looking in a mirror sometimes.
So is it a bad sign when you barely even notice blowing a one run lead in the bottom of the ninth? I was listening to the game on XM radio on the drive home and let's say I was less than shocked when the Marlins came back to win. No angry tirade, no profanities, just a simple turn of the dial to the rest of the Heat/Pistons game. Sad. I do want to note that Marlins manager Joe Girardi is capable of the same stupidity as Dusty Baker. With his best hitter coming up next (Miguel Cabrera), he bunts with Dan Uggla essentially making it a no-brainer to walk Cabrera. Taking the bat out of your best hitter's hands isn't a really sound strategy in my humble opinion. Mike Jacobs saved the day for him though. Maddux goes for win number six today and about the only thing I have to look forward to this season beyond who the Cubs are going to be willing to sell come the trade deadline is how far Maddux will climb the wins ladder. If getting swept by the Marlins isn't the final nail in someone's coffin (I'm not even going to speculate who), then there's some serious lack of accountability going on over at Cubland. GAME FORTY-SIX IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (18-27, 5th, 11.5 GB) AT FLORIDA MARLINS (13-31, 5th, 14.0) Dolphin Stadium, 12:05 PM CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 86 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from CF TV: CLTV, DirecTV 734 Radio: WGN, XM 183
Brian Moehler, RHP 1-4, 7.29 ERA, 42 IP 18 K, 13 BB, 8 HR 333/382/559 against, .338 BABIPGreg Maddux, RHP 5-3, 3.76 ERA, 55.0 IP 37 K, 14 BB, 4 HR 266/309/391 against, .307 BABIP

*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 2B Michael Barrett, C *Jacque Jones, RF Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF #Neifi Perez, 2B Greg Maddux, PHanley Ramirez, SS Dan Uggla, 2B *Mike Jacobs, 1B Miguel Cabrera, 3B #Joe Borchard, LF *Jeremy Hermida, RF Reggie Abercrombie, CF Miguel Olivo, C Brian Moehler, P
Cubs vs. Moehler: Todd Walker: 7-18, 389/421/778, 2 HR, 1 BB, 4 K
God, this team sucks. I was talking with The Lovely Wife about it last night and I realized that, right now, I just plain don't like this team. I'm trying to figure out what it means to be a Cub fan when the team is like this -- I don't get any enjoyment from following them, and if that's the case why do I bother? I want the manager, the general manager, and the pitching coach gone, but also realize that unless Andy McPhail is removed from the chain of command, it won't matter who the coaching staff is. When I look at the players on the field, I feel like several of them are actively hurting the team. On top of that, I flat-out don't like some of the players on the team, and two of the players I really like are injured (Prior) or continually getting jerked around by management (Walker). Offensively, this team is offensive. ESPN.com lists 11 team offense categories, and the Cubs are last, or second-to-last, in nearly all of them. Not last or second-to-last in the NL; last or second-to-last in the majors. The bottom three in just about every category is occupied by the Devil Rays, the Royals, and the Cubs. That is beyond sad. In other cities, when your team sucks like this, you look to the youngsters and into the minors for hope. There are a few bright spots among the youngsters on the team (Zambrano, Murton) and in the minors (Pie, Patterson) but because of management's track record, I don't get a sense, like fans of some teams, that the kids will get a chance to play. Thanks to the big Jacque Jones contract and the presence of guys like Neifi Perez, Juan Pierre, and Tony Womack (he's not here yet, I know, but he will be), I feel like we're going to be stuck with a particular type of team for the forseeable future, a type of team that doesn't play the sort of baseball I enjoy. Not only that, but because of the way the team is built, there's no "quick fix." There's no "if they could just trade for that guy, they'd be back in the playoff hunt." I think the team is broken (though some may disagree), and it's broken in too many ways for a Band-Aid to do any good. So the team isn't contending, it isn't one player away from contending, it isn't rebuilding. I don't know where it is in the success cycle, and I don't think *it* knows where it is. As a fan, that's a really frustrating place for your team to be. The Lovely Wife suggested that how you feel about your team is similar to how you feel about your family. You might not always like your family, but you always love them. When someone in your family is off doing something stupid, or dangerous, or self-destructive, it makes you sad, and mad; you do what you can to help them, but if, at a certain point, the behavior continues, you eventually have to detach for a while and hope they can figure things out for themselves. All the while, you pray they can get their act together, and you're there to help when they ask for it, and there to give encouragement when they make tentative steps in the right direction. But sometimes it becomes too painful to watch every day, and you have to disengage. I think that's where I am with this team. It doesn't mean I'll stop paying attention, and it doesn't mean I'll stop posting. But it does mean I'll being doing less of both of those things, and trying my best to care a little bit less about what's happening between the lines. I don't know how long it will last, but at least for the near future I have to unplug a little bit.
Nice job, Michael Barrett. You let yourself get suckered into sucker-punching one of the smartest jerks in the game. I figure that punch is worth at least a five-game suspension and maybe more, and those will be games where the Cubs offense is even more anemic than it has been up to this point. There are very few people in the game who are better than A.J. Pierzynski at getting under the skin of opposing players. Did he have to bowl into Barrett? No. Did he have to slap the plate after he scored? Of course not. That's a straight-up dick move. But you damn well better believe he knew exactly what he was doing. I'm sure he didn't want to get punched in the head, but I imagine he probably didn't mind all that much, especially once he realized it took one of the Cubs best (only?) hitters out of the game. I'm already hearing how maybe this will be the thing that will fire up the Cubs and get them back on the winning track, but I have no idea how extra Henry Blanco in the lineup is going to do that. You know what will get the Cubs back on the winning track? Winning. Timely hitting. Any hitting. Taking the occasional walk. Not bunting in the first inning. Not bunting with two outs in the ninth inning. Getting more than two hits in a game, and when they do, not leaving those guys on base. Those sorts of things, not punching people in the face, even if they might deserve it. Barrett ought to be ashamed of himself.
So Maddux & Beuhrle came in below my prediction, and the game ended in 2:07. For the Cubs offense, it ended about two hours before that, though, as they managed to put only one run on the board, and that happened as the result of a single, a sacrifice, an error, and a sac fly. Dusty must be absolutely aglow at this fantastic smallball execution. The White Sox countered by taking what Greg Maddux was giving them, which was walks. Two hours later, it was another loss. Today's starter, Rich Hill, certainly appears to be in line for a demotion once Mark Prior returns to the rotation. If, at the beginning of the year, the question was which of Hill or Sean Marshall was ready for the big leagues, the answer now seems clear. Hill has walked 10 in 15 1/3 innings, and that, combined with a .310 BAA, leads to a 7.63 ERA. GAME FORTY-TWO IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (17-24, 5th, 9.5 GB) AT CHICAGO WHITE SOX (27-14, 1st, 0.0) U.S. Cellular Field, 12:20 PM CDT Weather: Sunny, 63 degrees, wind 10 mp out to left TV: FOX Radio: WGN, XM 180
Freddy Garcia, RHP 6-1, 4.56 ERA, 49 1/3 IP 28 K, 16 BB, 5 HR 242/301/389 against, .261 BABIPRich Hill, LHP 0-3, 7.63 ERA, 15 1/3 IP 9 K, 10 BB, 3 HR 310/400/621 against, .326 BABIP

*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, DH Michael Barrett, C *Jacque Jones, RF Aramis Ramirez, 3B *John Mabry, 1B Matt Murton, LF Jerry Hairston, 2B*Scott Podsednik, LF Tadahito Iguchi, 2B *Jim Thome, DH Paul Konerko, 1B Jermaine Dye, RF *A.J. Pierzynski, C Joe Crede, 3B Juan Uribe, SS Brian Anderson, CF
Cubs vs. Garcia: Todd Walker: 5-14, 357/438/429, 2 BB Jacque Jones: 7-36, 194/237/389, 2 HR, 1 BB, 7 K Jerry Hairston: 1-17, 059/059/059, 1 K
It's not quite like that feeling you get when you climbed the rope in gym class, and it's a little different than the feeling I used to get before I went onstage. But it's good, and I like it. I won't call it optimism, because I recognize that there are still plenty of problems with this team, and back-to-back shutouts doth not a playoff push make, especially in May. I guess it's...enthusiasm, like I said yesterday. It's amazing what a difference a couple of days and some good news can make: * Carlos Zambrano scatters four hits over eight innings, strikes out eight, and walks only two * Sean Marshall and three relievers combine to one-hit the Nationals * Kerry Wood makes his season debut tonight * Mark Prior makes his first Rookie League rehab start on Friday * Wade Miller makes his first Rookie League rehab start on Monday Like I said, it isn't optimism. All of this news is pitching-related, and even if every rehab start went extremely well, and Prior and Miller were smoothly integrated into the rotation alongside Wood, Big Z and Maddux, we'd still have to deal with the fact that the Cubs have some pretty significant problems on the offensive side, and the eventual return of Derrek Lee isn't going to solve them all. But for now, enjoy. GAME FORTY IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] WASHINGTON NATIONALS (13-27, 4th, 11.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (17-22, 5th, 7.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:20 PM CDT Weather: 54 degrees, cloudy, wind in From LF @ 20 mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 737 Radio: WGN, XM 187
Kerry Wood, RHP Season debutRamon Ortiz, RHP 0-4, 6.30 ERA, 40 IP 13 K, 17 BB, 4 HR 329/403/470 against, .340 BABIP

Alfonso Soriano, LF *Marlon Anderson, 2B *Nick Johnson, 1B *Daryle Ward, RF Ryan Zimmerman, 3B Marlon Byrd, CF Wiki Wiki Gonzalez, C Damian Jackson, SS Ramon Ortiz, P*Juan Pierre, CF Matt Murton, LF *Todd Walker, 2B Michael Barrett, C *Jacque Jones, RF #Neifi Perez, 3B *John Mabry, 1B Ronny Cedeno, SS Kerry Wood, P
Nationals vs. Wood: Daryle Ward: 6-18, 333/350/722, 2 HR, 1 BB, 2 K Jose Guillen: 2-15, 133/133/333, 1 HR, 6 KCubs vs. Ortiz: Neifi Perez: 6-14, 429/467/714, 1 BB, 2 K Jacque Jones: 6-21, 286/423/667, 2 HR, 2 BB, 1 K
GAME THIRTY-NINE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] WASHINGTON NATIONALS (13-26, 4th, 11.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (16-22, 5th, 7.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 PM CDT Weather: 54 degrees, Rain, Wind in From LF @ 17 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 744 Radio: WGN, XM 187
Sean Marshall, LHP 2-1, 4.93 ERA, 38.1 IP 28 K, 16 BB, 3 HR Zach Day, RHP 2-3, 5.85 ERA, 32.1 IP 15 K, 15 BB, 4 HR

Alfonso Soriano, LF Marlon Byrd, CF #Jose Vidro, 2B *Nick Johnson, 1B Jose Guillen, RF Ryan Zimmerman, 3B Wiki Wiki Gonzalez, C Damien Jackson, SS Zach Day, P*Juan Pierre, CF Matt Murton, LF *Todd Walker, 1B Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Jerry Hairston, Jr., 2B Ronny Cedeno, SS *Sean Marshall, P
Nationals vs. Marshall: Cubs vs. Day: Juan Pierre: 2-10, 200/200/200, 1 K,

Since I'm enjoying another day of 70 degree sunny weather, I don't know how bad it's raining in Chicago but the game is currently being delayed. I assume they'd play two tomorrow if they can't get the game in as I believe this is the Nationals only trip to Chicago this year. It's amazing how one start can skew a pitcher's numbers so early in the season. I put up a preview for Marshall's last game versus the Giants in which he was resoundingly beaten before most fans could get in their seats to enjoy their Gilroy Garlic Fries. His numbers went from "ace in waiting" to "still a rookie". We'll see which Marshall we get tonight (or tomorrow). And just when you think Dusty has trouble filling out a lineup card, Frank Robinson (or one of his assistants as he's not at the game suffering from severe back spasms) has decided to put Soriano as his leadoff hitter. Tough to imagine why these guys are doing even worse than us. If we get it in, go Cubs! Tomorrow is the return of Kid K.
Our jeremiad had no apparent effect -- one day later and no one (not even Transmission) has been fired. So, back to what's happening on the field. GAME THIRTY-EIGHT IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] WASHINGTON NATIONALS (13-25, 4th, 10.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (15-22, 5th, 8.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 PM CDT Weather: TV: WCIU, DirecTV 744 Radio: WGN, XM 186
Carlos Zambrano, RHP 1-2, 3.88 ERA, 48 2/3 IP 54 K, 33 BB, 6 HR 233/359/439, .300 BABIP Livan Hernandez, RHP 1-4, 6.52 ERA, 50 2/3 IP 34 K, 17 BB, 11 HR 307/359/533, .323 BABIP

Alfonso Soriano, LF #Jose Vidro, 2B *Nick Johnson, 1B Jose Guillen, RF *Ryan Church, CF Ryan Zimmerman, 3B Wiki Wiki Gonzalez, C Royce Clayton, SS Livan Hernandez, P*Juan Pierre, CF Matt Murton, LF *Todd Walker, 2B Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF *John Mabry, 1B Ronny Cedeno, SS #Carlos Zambrano, P
Nationals vs. Zambrano: Daryle Ward: 6-25, 240/269/280, 3 K Royce Clayton: 3-16, 188/188/313, 5 KCubs vs. Hernandez: John Mabry: 12-21, 571/591/952, 2 HR, 2 K Aramis Ramirez: 6-19, 316/316/737, 2 HR, 4 K Henry Blanco: 5-15, 333/412/400, 2 BB, 2 K Neifi Perez: 8-30, 267/290/300, 1 BB, 1 K Juan Pierre: 18-68, 265/296/294, 2 BB, 6 K

For the last few years, I've wondered if Carlos Zambrano might be a sort of Livan Hernandez 2.0 -- a big, beefy righty capable of putting up 200-inning seasons over and over without succumbing to injury. Up until this season, the comparison would have been a compliment. This year, though, Livo has struggled mightily. He's still a horse, averaging 104 pitches and more than six innings per start, but batters are hitting over .300 against him, something they've never done to him in his career. That number should come down into the .275 range, but it might not happen this year, and I'm actually optimistic it won't start heading down tonight. The current Cubs roster has hit him well, with John Mabry and Aramis Ramirez leading the way. Meanwhile, Zambrano has handled the current Nats, allowing no home runs and giving out only three walks, two to Jose Guillen (who's hurt) and one to pitcher Brian Lawrence. I don't know why I'm optimistic about tonight's game -- maybe it's because I've been travelling over the last three weeks and haven't actually witnessed much of the current skid -- but I am. Whatever it takes, I guess. Go Cubs!
At just about the 1/4 mark in the 2006 season, here is the Cubs intra-organizational leader-board. Nothing very complicated, just the kind of stats you might find in the newspaper.
For all those who would rather shoot the messenger.
GAME 30
PADRES 5 CUBS 9
W: Steve Trout (2-0) L: Mark Thurmond (2-2) S: Lee Smith (4)
I have no interest in giving a review of the May 14, 2006 9-0 debacle. Instead, here's a review of the Cubs/Padres game from May 11, 1986. It was a real team effort today, with six Cubs driving in at least one run, and the bullpen picking up the slack for Steve Trout, who despite the win, logged his fourth consecutive poor outing. No one can get Gwynn out, and Terry Kennedy went four for four, after seeking out some pre-game tips from the hitting coach about how to approach left-handed pitchers - from the CUBS hitting coach, Billy Williams. While Trout's struggles are cause for concern on a team desperate for a reliable starting pitcher, the offense showed signs of life. Lopes hit his first homerun of the year, Sandberg doubled twice and Cey once, while Durham and Davis contributed two hits and Dernier scored twice. The Cubs' half of the second inning featured some of the ugliest baseball seen this year, as the Cubs scored four off of fielding errors by Jerry Royster and Garry Templeton, with Tim Stoddard coming in to replace Mark Thurmond. The Cubs should have had more, really, except for a botched bases-loaded squeeze play that resulted in Durham being picked off third. After Baller put two men on in the ninth, Big Lee was woken up from the pen to throw a one-pitch save. Dunston took the 0 for 5, snapping his modest six-game hitting streak. With Dernier hitting even less than Dunston, something needs to be done with that leadoff spot. That something, frankly, should be Lopes, who continues to pound the ball and show the best baserunning instincts on the team, forty years old or not. It's probably too much to ask him to play Center, however, and so far, the rumors of Moreland's moving from Right to Third, with Cey benched, traded, or released, prove to be just that, rumors. The other corner positions are manned, unless we want to ship off Matthews and/or Durham to make room for Lopes this year, and then Grace and Palmeiro next year. While there are plenty of Cubs fans ready to throw in the towel with our slow start and play for next year, already, it's premature to call for either of the kids to be brought up, as each one probably needs at least another year of seasoning. Same with Dave Martinez, but realistically, he could out-hit Dernier, now. Tomorrow is an off-day, and with exhibition games scheduled later this week against Des Moines and then the White Sox, Frey plans on going with four pitchers in the starting rotation. This will effectively keep Guy Hoffman in the bullpen, while Sutcliffe and Trout try to figure things out. So while problems abound for Frye and the '86 Cubs, at least today provided some much-needed respite.
As critical as I have been of Baker, I actually am not yet ready to join the "Fire Him Tomorrow" crowd. I just don't see the failings of the 2006 Cubs to be Baker-induced. No Prior, no Wood, no Lee, no offense from Ramirez, Pierre or Jones - these things are not Dusty's fault. Murton (up until now) and Cedeno have played every day. I really don't get the argument that we are seeing the results of a team filled with Dusty-style players. Who are they? Lee? Ramirez? Walker? Barrett? Cedeno? Murton? Dempster? Zambrano? Maddux? Is Jones more of a Dusty Player than Burnitz was? (Pierre over Patterson, sure, I'll give you that.) If anything, the fundamental play of the team has improved over last year while the number of seemingly random and innane managerial decisions has declined, at least from my vantage point. Most fundamental, if we were to fire Baker tomorrow, who would replace him? Another Bruce Kimm? If we can't entice Bobby Valentine or Lou Pinella to take over, who is there that we could get, mid-season, that would be worth having? While we should have fired him last year, I don't think that firing Dusty now would accomplish anything more than a hollow, token gesture to fans demanding immediate but half-baked solutions to problems that extend wider and deeper than our choice of toothpick-tasters. Replacing Baker with Matthews, Rothschild or Clines would be meaningless. And all that said, I don't want Baker around for 2007. With that in mind, here are the first 15 questions I would ask a prospective Cubs manager, before even bothering to entering into discussions about specific personel. What would you ask? How would you answer?
GAME THIRTY-SIX IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] SAN DIEGO PADRES (20-16, 1st, 0.0) AT CHICAGO CUBS (15-20, 5th, 7.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:200 PM CDT Weather: Crappy TV: CSN Chicago, DirecTV 735 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Greg Maddux, RHP 5-2, 3.64 ERA, 42 IP 33 K, 8 BB, 3 HRChris Young, RHP 3-2, 3.61 ERA, 42 1/3 IP 33 K, 16 BB, 7 HR

*Dave Roberts, LF Mike Cameron, CF *Brian Giles, RF Mike Piazza, C Khalil Greene, SS Vinny Castilla, 3B *Adrian Gonzalez, 1B Josh Barfield, 2B Chris Young, P*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Jerry Hairston, LF Neifi Perez, 2B Henry Blanco, C Greg Maddux, P
Padres vs. Maddux: Brian Giles: 11-27, 407/500/667, 1 HR, 5 BB, 5 K Vinny Castilla: 13-45, 289/319/556, 3 HR, 1 BB, 9 K Mike Piazza: 17-65, 262/273/462, 4 HR, 1 BB, 10 K Geoff Blum: 6-25, 240/269/240, 1 BB, 7 K Eric Young: 12-55, 218/237/255, 2 BB, 2 KCubs vs. Young: Jacque Jones: 2-11, 182/182/455, 1 HR, 2 K

The Cubs have sent Angel Guzman back to Iowa and called up Jae-Kuk Ryu to take his place on the roster. Since Kerry Wood is scheduled to be activated on Thursday, I'm guessing Ryu will start on Wednesday and then will be sent back down to make room for Wood. What? You want to know something about today's game? Hmm. I think the best thing that could happen today would be for the game to be rained out. That would prevent the team from fielding a lineup that includes Neifi and Blanco, with Matt Murton on the bench. I'm guessing this won't be a one-game rest for Murton; I expect we'll find out tht he's been benched, so now he can sit around all day and think about how he's thinking too much. That's useful. And why, exactly, did Hendry bother to call up Ryan Theriot? Do you think it's doing him any good to be sitting on the bench watching the team lose? I mean, yeah, it's the majors and all, but how is this helping his development?
what a horrible lineup. Jones has a bad groin and Dusty says Walker needs a day off. Guzman's already hit a guy and walked Giles. Good start. Well I'm swamped at work. This will have to do. Cubs Lineup: *Juan Pierre, CF #Neifi Perez, SS Ronny Cedeno, SS Aramis Ramirez, 3B Michael Barret, C *John Mabry, 1B Matt Murton, LF Jerry Hairston Jr., RF Angel Guzman, P Padres *Dave Roberts, LF Mike Cameron, CF *Brian Giles, RF Mike Piazza, C Khalil Greene, SS Vinny Castilla, 3B *Adrian Gonzalez, 1B Josh Barfield, 2B Woody Williams, P
GAME THIRTY-FOUR IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (15-18, 5th, 6.5 GB) AT SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (16-18, 5th, 3.5 GB) Telephone Company Park, 2:30 PM CDT Weather: 68 degrees, Sunny, Wind Out to RF @ 13mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 735 Radio: WGN, XM 189
Jamey Wright, RHP 2-3, 4.61 ERA, 33 IP 19 K, 16 BB, 5 HRSean Marhsall, LHP 2-0, 3.12 ERA, 34.2 IP 26K, 11 BB, 3 HR
Ronny Woo-Woo, SS *Shrunken Head, CF *Having A Horrible May, 2B Please Start Hitting, 3B *Isn't This Why We Got Him?, 1B 1 RBI in 3 Weeks???, C *See I'm Not That Bad, RF One Step Closer to Getting Benched, LF *Still A Rookie, P, P*Randy Winn, RF #Omar Vizquel, SS Lance Niekro, 1B *Asterisk, LF Pedro Feliz, 3B *Steve Finley, CF Mike Matheny, C Kevin Frandsen, 2B Jamey Wright, P

Cubs vs. Wright: Aramis Ramirez: 6-29 207/273/241 1 XBH, 2 BB, 6 K John Mabry: 8-25 320/346/360 1 XBH, 1 BB, 2 K Juan Pierre: 7-14 500/500/786 1 HR, 3 2B, 0 BB, 1 KGiants vs. Marshall:

Sean Marshall has a 0.89 WHIP this year, holy freaking efficiency. It's been more than a pleasant surprise that he's been able to be so effective, so quickly in the majors. Let's hope he keeps it up today and we'll see if he has the guts to go after Bonds. After one comes two, let the streak begin!!!
OK! I finally figured out how to get my Big Board and organizational update file uploaded to the server. It's available here: Big Board and Organizational Update There are multiple tabs -- the first tab is the big board, showing the current rosters of every team in the system. Each team has its own tab as well, showing starts by position for each team. In addition, the players' names are linked to up-to-date splits for just about every player in the system, thanks to the tremendous work done over at Brew Crew Ball. I'll update this as often as I can, and as always I welcome suggestions and corrections. I've added a link to the right-hand column ("The Big Board") and I'll post notices here when I've updated the page.
GAME 34 REVIEW
CUBS 8, GIANTS 1 Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart | Photos
W: Carloz Zambrano (1-2) L: Matt Cain (1-5)
I didn't really catch much of the game, only the first few innings on XM radio. Jon Miller made it sound like the Cubs defense was a bit shaky(Jones error, Z didn't cover first base on a potential DP, Pierre let one over his head) but for once the bats were there to overcome. By all accounts Z looked good and we find out that when you go after Bonds, it is possible to get him out every so often. I thought Bonds was going to take his normal day off tomorrow as it's a day game following a night game but Alou said he'll play. It'll be up to Sean Marshall to try and win the series and keep Bonds from climbing a rung on the all-time home run ladder. Glad the losing streak is over, the dogs, AngelFan wife and kids are safe once again. Looking forward to starting a winning streak.
GAME THIRTY-THREE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (14-18, 5th, 6.5 GB) AT SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (16-17, 4th, 3.0 GB) Telephone Company Park, 9:15 PM CDT Weather: 63 degrees, clear, Wind Out to CF @ 17mph TV: CSN Radio: WGN, XM 189
Matt Cain, RHP 1-4, 6.27 ERA, 33 IP 26 K, 13 BB, 8 HRCarlos Zambrano, RHP 0-2, 4.43 ERA, 40.2 IP 48 K, 28 BB, 6 HR
Take A Freaking Pitch, SS *Out Machine, CF *Wishing He Got Traded, 2B Stop Gawking, Start Hitting, 3B *Desperate Times, Desperate Measures, 1B Pull A Pitch, LF *Fragile Ego, RF Hank To The Rescue, C #Drill Bonds for Me, P*Randy Winn, RF #Omar Vizquel, SS *Mark Sweeney, 1B *The Devil Incarnate, LF *Steve Finley, CF Pedro Feliz, 3B Kevin Frandsen, 2B Mike Matheny, C Matt Cain, P

Matt Cain's a pretty high-end prospect who's struggled out of the gate in 2006. I'm sure tonight will be a huge confidence booster for the kid. At least with Z on the mound, the chances of Bonds getting drilled skyrocket. Do something!
GAME 32 RANT
GIANTS 6 CUBS 1
Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart | Photos
W: Jason Schmidt (3-2) L: Rich Hill (0-2)
Eighth verse, same as the first. You know, I've been calling for Dusty Baker to be fired for so long now that I can't get particularly exercised about joining the growing chorus right now. It's like this $^#&@ piece of property I'm trying to sell in California -- we found a buyer last September, but have had to deal with the San Diego County bureaucracy and a ludicrously incompetent buyer's agent for so long that when (if?) we finally do close, I'm not going to feel any joy or happiness, or really even relief. All I'm going to feel is a sense that this Thing that has been hanging over me is gone, and there will be a void that will, eventually I'm sure, go away and we'll just start to get on with our lives without wondering every day if this is actually going to happen or if we're just going to keep slogging along, waist-deep in stress, for the rest of our lives. That's how it is with me and the Cubs at the moment. I'm not going to go back through the TCR archives and find all the times I and others wrote about getting rid of Dusty, but they are there. There are many reasons why I thought it was the right thing to do over the last few seasons, and all of those reasons still apply. In fact, they apply now more than ever.
GAME THIRTY-TWO IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (14-17, 5th, 6.5 GB) AT SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (15-17, 4th, 4.5 GB) Telephone Company Park, 7:15 PM CDT Weather: 56 degrees, clear, Wind Out to RF @ 20 mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 745 Radio: WGN, XM 189
Jason Schmidt, RHP 2-2, 3.77 ERA, 43 IP 33 K, 18 BB, 4 HRRich Hill, LHP 0-1, 11.25 ERA, 4 IP 1 K, 2 BB, 2 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Michael Barrett, C *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF #Neifi Perez, 2B *Rich Hill, P*Randy Winn, RF #Omar Vizquel, SS *Lance Niekro, 1B *Satan, LF Pedro Feliz, 3B *Steve Finley, CF Mike Matheny, C #Jose Vizcaino, 2B Jason Schmidt, P

Cubs vs. Schmidt: Neifi Perez: 6-20 300/391/450 1 HR, 3 BB, 2 K Michael Barrett: 4-20 200/200/350 1 HR, 0 BB, 2 K Aramis Ramirez: 5-18 278/350/611 1 HR, 3 2B, 1 BB, 1 K Juan Pierre: 5-17 294/333/412 1BB, 3 K John Mabry: 1-16 063/063/063 0 BB, 8 K Todd Walker: 4-14 286/412/286 3 BB, 1 K &nbsp&nbsp&nbspGiants vs. Hill:

The rematch we've all been waiting for, who could forget the epic duel between Hill and Schmidt last year on July 25th. In his first major league start, Hill labored through 5 innings, but held the Giants to merely two runs while striking out five. The veteran Schmidt though was up to the task, hurling seven strong innings, his only blemish - a Michael Barrett dinger. The Cubs offense persisted though, scratching a run off of Boo-Bird Hawkins in the eight, and then finally pushing through in the ninth off Tyler Walker. Cedeno leads off with a single, was moved over on a sacrifice bunt by Hairston, a sharp single to right by Todd Walker advanced Cedeno to third and that was followed up by the easiest decision ever made in baseball, an intentional walk to Derrek Lee. That set the stage for the one and only Jeromy Burnitz, who promptly flied out to centerfield, deep enough for the young Cedeno to scamper home with the winning run. 3-2, Cubs Win, Cubs Win!!!! Why did I write just write in such great detail about a meaningless game last July? Because it's a lot more exciting than the drivel the Cubs have produced over the last week or so. One other quick note from the game last year, Omar Vizquel stole 3 bases in the game, 2 off the Hill/Barrett combo that we'll see tonight. With Randy Winn now on the team, Hill's inability to hold runners and Barrett's well-known throwing deficiencies, I expect a track meet out there. Of course we stole five bases off Piazza over the weekend and scored one run off a Ramirez home run, so it probably won't matter much. The Cubs seven game losing streak though will take a backseat (at least on a national level) to the Barry Bonds pursuit of Babe's home run total. A mere two home runs from becoming the second greatest home run hitter of all-time, it will be up to the Cubs pitching staff to try and stave off the celebration until a later date. With Alou out at least 2 weeks (and likely more), I don't see any good reason to pitch to Mr. Bonds with anybody on base. Normally I abhor the "Walk Bonds" approach, because telling your pitchers that you don't think they're good enough to get Bonds out isn't the way to inspire future confidence when they do need to get a good hitter out. But in this case, I'd rather not watch that buffoon celebrate while I'm trying to watch the game. He may possibly be the greatest baseball player ever and I could care less, chemically enhanced or not, he's a jerk, a creep, and I hope he never even sniffs Aaron's record. If I was a major league pitcher, if I ever reached a three ball count on him, I'd just throw at his armguard every single time. Heck with George Mitchell's steroid witchhunt, go find out how much his home run rate went up once he started setting up half an inch off the plate with 2 feet of body armor covering his "tender" elbow. (On a sidenote, he is a free agent next year, man we could use a bat like that, Any takers? Anyone?........kidding) The Cubs are in desperate need of some offense, some defense, some kind of spark, a bench-clearing brawl, who knows. I suggest drilling Bonds each time, see what happens. Win a freakin' game!!!
In last week's Week Ahead, I said:
Hi Carlos! How are you? Have you remembered that you are very good yet?
And:
As of today the Cubs' next three opponents are a combined 28-47 (.373). With or without Wood, Prior, and Lee, these are games the Cubs need to win.
If you're scoring at home (or even if you're alone), that would be one yes and one no, which is a .500 percentage, which is something the Cubs are now three games away from. Bleah. San Francisco Giants Know Your Enemy: McCovey Chronicles, El Lefty Malo, Only Baseball Matters Tuesday, 9:15: Rich Hill vs. Jason Schmidt Wednesday, 9:15: Carlos Zambrano vs. Matt Cain Thursday, 2:35: Sean Marshall vs. Jamey Wright It looks like the Cubs will get a second chance to be party to a slugger passing Babe Ruth, as Barry Bonds sits on 713 home runs with the Cubs on their way to the Phone Booth in The City by the Bay. Did you know that legendary San Francisco newspaper columnist Herb Caen used to refer to San Francisco as "Baghdad by the Bay"? I'm sure it was a compliment when he said it, but I doubt any city wants to be compared to Baghdad right now. This oughtta be a barn-burner of a series. Rank in the NL in key offensive categories: Runs: Giants 11th, Cubs 16th Home Runs: Giants 11th, Cubs 15th Average: Giants 9th, Cubs 14th OBP: Giants 11th, Cubs 15th Slugging: Giants 13th, Cubs 15th Of course, the Padres rank below the Giants in all those categories and they just waxed the Cubs for four straight. On the bright side, the Cubs scored 6 runs over the last two games, as many as they had scored in the previous eight. Bleah. San Diego Padres Know Your Enemy: Ducksnorts, Gaslamp Ball Friday, 1:20: Woody Williams vs. Angel Guzman Saturday, 1:20: Greg Maddux vs. Chris Young Sunday, 1:20: Rich Hill vs. Clay Hensley Padres.com has a TBA scheduled for Friday, with Williams pushed back to Saturday -- not sure why. Also, Dusty has not officially named Angel Guzman as the starter for that game. It doesn't seem like there's any chance that the Cubs will activate Kerry Wood, though, so the only other option seems to be bringing Glendon Rusch back to the rotation. Of course, Dusty says that will "probably not" happen, but what are the other alternatives? Bringing back Jerome Williams? Bleah. If the Cubs really don't want Guzman in the rotation for another start, how about calling up Les Walrond for one start? He's a minor-league journeyman (29 years old, 8 major league innings) who is off to a 4-1, 2.12 start at Iowa. He's not a long-term solution, but it might be nice to reward him for what he's done over the ifrst month. He's not on the 40-man, so they would need to make room for him, but do they really need to keep Mike Restovich on the 40-man roster? Bleah. [UPDATE:] As mentioned in the comments, Restovich was outrighted to Iowa because he is out of options. So, he's off the 40-man and there is a spot open.
GAME THIRTY-ONE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (14-16, 5th, 6 GB) AT SAN DIEGO PADRES (16-15, 3rd, 2.5 GB) Puppy Park, 9:05 PM CDT Weather: Lovely TV: CSN, DirecTV 738 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Chris Young, RHP 2-2, 3.53 ERA, 35.2 IP 30 K, 14 BB, 6 HRGreg Maddux, RHP 5-1, 2.35 ERA, 38.1 IP 29 K, 6 BB, 2 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF Ronnie Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B Greg Maddux, P*Dave Roberts, LF Mike Cameron, CF *Brian Giles, RF Mike Piazza, C Josh Barfield, 2B Vinny Castilla, 3B Khalil Greene, SS *Adrian Gonzalez, 1B Chris Young, P

Cubs vs. Young: Jacque Jones: 0-8 2 K &nbsp&nbsp&nbspPadres vs. Maddux: Mike Piazza: 16-63 254/266/460 4 HR, 1 BB, 9 K Vinny Castilla: 13-43 302/333/581 3 HR, 1 BB, 8 K Brian Giles: 9-25 360/448/600 1 HR, 4 BB, 5 K

Maddux back to the mound and hopefully he'll fare better than his last outing as he got a bit torched by the D'Backs. The Cubs are in desperate need of something exceptional, either an other-wordly pitching performance, some crazy 4 for 4 day by an unlikely hero, or Dusty getting himself thrown out, something to spark this lifeless team. Get a win Cubbies!!! UPDATE: Mike Restovich is off the cubs.com 25-man roster and shows up on the Iowa Cubs roster, so I assume he's the unlucky soul. By my count, the Cubs have 6 players who can play second base, but only five who you could expect to hit a home run. I love this game!
The Cubs will add INF Ryan Theriot to the roster today. For the life of me, I can't find out who they're sending down although you'd assume it's between Mike Restovich or Freddie Bynum. Both would have to clear waivers, but somehow I doubt that would be a problem. If it is Bynum, you have to really question his acquisition. Hindsight being 20/20 and all and I could really care less about John Koronka, but why give up a pitcher with options left for a guy who doesn't seem to do anything better than a guy we already had. Theriot doesn't have Bynum's speed, but since scrapping switch-hitting, he's been hitting the ball much better and he's always been considered a superior defender. A matter of fact, in his draft class he was considered the second best defensive shortstop behind the A's Bobby Crosby. I don't think it would be impossible for a guy with superior defensive skills to be able to pick up the outfield spots if needed, which is about the only thing that Bynum seemed to have an edge on. Go figure. Some other quick notes: -For those displeased with Mr. Hendry, Jay Mariotti's got your back. - I have a heavy man-crush on Bruce Miles. Speak it, brother! He also came up with the nickname, "The Riot" for today's newest Cub Ryan Theriot, which just rules. - Under no circumstances whatsoever are hitters hitting in the low 200's allowed to watch their home runs. I'm looking at you Aramis. I'm amazed someone hasn't drilled him yet for gawking. In the grass is always greener compartment, if the Cubs pulled a miracle trade of getting Miguel Cabrera and dumping Aramis (in separate deals of course), I would not shed a single tear. - If you haven't read this already, former Cub 1st round pick Matt Clanton was released over the off-season and had some choice words to say about Jim Hendry and the organization. According to Clanton, Jim Hendry once said this to him:
ëThis [organization] is not a democracy. It is a dictatorship. You shut the f--k up.í
No truth to the rumor that Hendry then made him drop and give him 20 in the mud right afterwards.
Here is the updated roster status of players in the Cubs organization who are on the 40-man roster, and players on outright assignment who are either eligible to be six-year minor league free-agents after 2006 season or who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft after 2006 season.
GAME THIRTY IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (14-15, 5th, 5.0 GB) AT SAN DIEGO PADRES (15-15, 3rd, 2.5 GB) Petco Park, 3:05 PM CDT Weather: Probably 72 and sunny, the bastards TV: CSN Chicago, DirecTV 740 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Woody Williams, RHP 2-1, 3.06 ERA, 32 1/3 IP 21 K, 11 BB, 4 HRAngel Guzman, RHP 0-1, 5.91 ERA, 10 2/3 IP 12 K, 7 BB, 2 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Jerry Hairston, 2B Angel Guzman, P*Dave Roberts, LF Josh Barfield, 2B *Brian Giles, RF #Mark Bellhorn, 3B Rob Bowen, C Khalil Greene, SS *Adrian Gonzalez, 1B Ben Johnson, CF Woody Williams, P

Cubs vs. Williams: Juan Pierre: 12-25, 480/500/680, 1 BB Neifi Perez: 15-43, 349/364/488, 1 HR, 1 BB, 2 K Todd Walker: 11-49, 224/345/347, 1 HR, 9 BB, 8 K Aramis Ramirez: 9-35, 257/297/371, 1 HR, 2 BB, 5 K

I am fully commandoed. Let's get some runs. Also: LANSING LUGNUTS (19-10, 2nd, 0.5 GB) AT PEORIA CHIEFS (16-13, 2nd, 1.0 GB) O'Brien Field, 6:30 PM CDT Weather: Warmish, breezy TV: None Radio:WOAM AM 1350 Internet:milb.com
Billy Carnline, RHP 3-0, 0.32, 28 IP 31 K, 1 BB, 1 HRKerry Wood, RHP 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0 IP 0 K, 0 BB, 0 HR
Go Chiefs! But first, look at those stats for Lansing's pitcher. Pretty impressive.

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