May 2006

Go! Go! Two In A Row!

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

Only A 13 Game Winning Streak

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)

Another Starting Pitcher

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

The Makings of a Disaster: A Chronology

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.

Have We Learned Nothing

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

“Watch Some Other Teams Who Can Actually Play This Game And Watch Them Win”

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 ( only) Radio: WXYT, WHB, XM 181
Mike Maroth, LHP 5-2, 2.45 ERA, 47 2/3 IP 22 K, 15 BB, 5 HR


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.

Existential Dread

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.


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.

Game Of The Weak

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.

What Is This Strange Feeling?

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:

Shall We Make It a Pair?

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

And He Shall Be Livan

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

Fifteen Questions

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?

Your Iowa Cubs

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

For the Series Win

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

Make It Stop

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

Since You Gotta Go, You Better Go Now

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.

The (Media) Circus Comes To Town

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

The Week Ahead: Week Six

In last week's Week Ahead, I said:
Hi Carlos! How are you? Have you remembered that you are very good yet?
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

Anytime Now

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

Come On Now

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


Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • it's day old news, and it's got nothing to do with the cubs, but ichiro signed a $2m deal with MIA (with a $2m option for 2017).

    neat. 41 years old and damn close to 3000 hits.

    also, rain delays suck.

  • take that giants

  • I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.

  • Per Jesse Sanchez at, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus. 

  • BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).

  • TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.

    TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.

  • Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.

  • Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.

    Think Baby Maddux.

    Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.

    Kyle is on the far left.

  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.