August 2006

- Sean Marshall will likely start Saturday against the Giants. Also, Carlos Marmol will head to the bullpen when he's ready to come off the DL. The rotation for the final month will likely be Z, Hill, Marshall and then two of either Angel Guzman, Juan Mateo or Wade Miller. We also have Hendry digging his own grave here:
"There's no sense moaning and groaning about it. We just have to have a good off-season."
Damn straight. - How about some love for Ryan Theriot? He's doesn't have enough to be a major league starter, but I can see him as an actual useful bench player, one who can get on base and actually steal a base. Beyond his 5-hit game yesterday, he stole his 7th base in 8th chances, which puts him third on the team already. Always one of my bigger criticisms of Dusty is that he goes on and on about having speed but isn't nearly aggressive enough on the basepaths. I'm a much bigger fan of the power and patience method of baseball, you know, walk, walk, 3-run homer but you can make speed work for you. A good example is the Angels, a team with only one real blazer in Chone Figgins, but is constantly forcing the issue on the basepaths, consistently putting pressure on the defense. I'm not just talking about this year, but all the recent incarnations of the Halos. As I mentioned, it's not a philosophy I really stand behind, BUT if you're going to focus on speed on your team, then go about using it the right way. As Scioscia states:
" If you have team speed, you have to use it."
Anyway, that's my rant for today. And Hendry reitertated that Baker is staying through the season. Also, John Mabry is possibly being pursued by the LA Dodgers, rumor has it the Cubs are eyeing a promising intern in the PR department in exchange.
It's already 1-0 Cubs in the first with the based loaded and I haven't had my morning coffee yet. Go Cubs or go draft pick....either way. GAME ONE HUNDRED-THIRTY-THREE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (54-78 (Div) 5th - 16.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 13.0 GB) AT PITTSBURGH PIRATES (52-81 (Div) 6th - 18.5 GB; (Wild Card) 13th - 15.5 GB) PNC PARK, 11:30 am CDT Weather: TV: CSN, DirecTV 734 Radio: WGN, XM 183
Victor Santos, RHP 5-9, 5.59 ERA, 106.1 IP 75 K, 41 BB, 16 HR 312/375/506 againstJuan Mateo, RHP 1-2, 3.38 ERA, 24 IP 12 K, 10 BB, 2 HR 305/380/411 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Phil Nevin, 1B *Jacque Jones, RF Michael Barrett, C Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, SS Juan Mateo, P *Chris Duffy, CF Jose Bautista, 3B Freddy Sanchez, SS Jason Bay, LF *Jeromy Burnitz, RF Xavier Nady, 1B #Ryan Doumit, C Jose Castillo, 2B Victor Santos, P

Cubs vs. Santos: Michael Barrett: 4-23, 174/269/217, 2 K, 2 BB, 1 2B Aramis Ramirez: 7-21, 333/364/714, 1 K, 1 BB, 5 2B, 1 HR Derrek Lee: 4-20, 200/292/500, 3 K, 3 BB, 2 HR John Mabry: 3-13, 231/231/462, 3 K, 0 BB, 1 HR Jacque Jones: 3-11, 273/333/364, 4 K, 1 BB, 1 2BPirates vs. Mateo: No Pirates have faced Mateo
Z's Cy Young quest continues tonight versus the generally hapless Pirates. Z of course leads the NL in strikeouts and is tied for the league lead in wins, always a favorite stat of the voters. He's also sixth in ERA, but more surprisingly considering our offense, he's 14th in Run Support at 5.51 runs per game while the team itself only averages 4.22 runs per game. Take out the day's that Z starts and the Cubs average about 3.87 runs per game for the other starters. That would be what the scholars deem --- lousy. Go Cubs or go draft pick....either way. GAME ONE HUNDRED-THIRTY-TWO IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (54-77 (Div) 5th - 16.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 12.5 GB) AT PITTSBURGH PIRATES (51-81 (Div) 6th - 19.5 GB; (Wild Card) 13th - 16.0 GB) PNC PARK, 6:05 pm CDT Weather: TV: WGN, DirecTV 734 Radio: WGN, XM 183
Paul Maholm, LHP 6-10, 4.82 ERA, 153 IP 99 K, 70 BB, 18 HR 306/384/467 againstCarlos Zambrano, RHP 14-5, 3.31 ERA, 184.2 IP 180 K, 99 BB, 19 HR 207/315/358 against

*Juan Pierre, CF *Freddie Bynum, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Derrek Lee, 1B Michael Barrett, C Matt Murton, LF #Angel Pagan, RF Ryan Theriot, SS #Carlos Zambrano, P *Chris Duffy, CF Jose Bautista, 3B Freddy Sanchez, SS Jason Bay, LF Xavier Nady, RF Ronny Paulino, C #Ryan Doumit, 1B Jose Castillo, 2B *Paul Maholm, P

Cubs vs. Maholm: No Cubs with more than 10 Ab'sPirates vs. Zambrano: Jack Wilson: 8-31, 258/324/290,2 K, 3 BB, 1 2B Jason Bay: 8-22, 364/481/909, 6 K, 5 BB, 3 HR, 3 2B Jose Castillo: 5-17, 294/333/471, 5 K, 1 BB, 1 HR
When two baseball heavyweights collide, you know a nation will be tuned in to catch every last pitch. Guzman tries to put two good starts in a row together and good to see that someone told Dusty that Theriot can play short. Go Cubs! (or Go Pirates cause that higher draft pick couldn't hurt) GAME ONE HUNDRED--THIRTY-ONE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (54-76 (Div) 5th - 15.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 12.5 GB) AT PITTSBURGH PIRATES (50-81 (Div) 6th - 20 GB; (Wild Card) 13th - 17.0 GB) PNC PARK, 6:05 pm CDT Weather: Drizzle, 75 degrees, Wind in from CF @ 4 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 734 Radio: WGN, XM 187
Ian Snell, RHP 11-8, 4.53 ERA, 151.1 IP 133 K, 58 BB, 21 HR 278/342/463 againstAngel Guzman, RHP 0-3, 5.84 ERA, 37 IP 41 K, 26 BB, 4 HR 275/393/444 against

*Juan Pierre, CF *Freddie Bynum, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Jacque Jones, RF Derrek Lee, 1B Michael Barrett, C #Angel Pagan, LF Ryan Theriot, SS Angel Guzman, P *Chris Duffy, CF Jose Bautista, 3B Freddy Sanchez, SS Jason Bay, LF Xavier Nady, RF Ronny Paulino, C #Ryan Doumit, 1B Jose Castillo, 2B Ian Snell, P

Cubs vs. Snell: No Cubs with more than 10 Ab'sPirates vs. Guzman: No Pirates with more than 10 AB's
The Cubs activated Derrek Lee from the 15-day DL and optioned Buck Coats back to AAA, although I'm sure we'll see him again this weekend when rosters expand. That gets rid of one more wart on our starting lineup. Let's see what we can do about Bynum and Cedeno now.
Another day, another rookie pitcher. Good news is I think I saw Joe Morgan doing the Little League World Series so hopefully he won't be doing tonight's game. Little victories. Jae-kuk Ryu was optioned back to Iowa to make room for Walrond for some reason. Kerry Wood was transferred to the 60 day DL to make room for Walrond on the 40-man if your keeping track of such things. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED--THIRTY IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (54-75 (Div) 5th - 14.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 12.0 GB) AT ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (68-60 (Div) 1st - 0 GB; (Wild Card) 1st - 0 GB) Busch Stadium, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 85 degrees, Wind out to CF @ 7 mph TV: ESPN Radio: WGN, XM 187
Jeff Weaver, RHP (NL Only) 2-3 5.74 ERA, 42.1 IP 21 K, 14 BB, 10 HR 309/367/530 againstLes Walrond, LHP (AAA) 10-5, 3.98 ERA, 133.1 IP 104 K, 59 BB, 11 HR 267/350/403 against

*Juan Pierre, CF *Freddie Bynum, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Jacque Jones, RF Michael Barrett, C *John Mabry, 1B Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Les Walrond, P Preston Wilson, RF *Chris Duncan, LF Albert Pujols, 1B Scott Rolen, 3B *Jim Edmonds, CF Juan Encarnacion, RF Ronnie Belliard, 2B #Aaron Miles, SS Gary Bennett, C Jeff Weaver, P

Cubs vs. Weaver: Jacque Jones: 8-27, 296/345/407, 2 K, 2 BB, 3 2B Phil Nevin: 7-25, 280/333/400, 7 K, 2 BB, 1 HR Juan Pierre:n 4-12, 333/333/500, 0 K, 0 BB, 1 3B John Mabry: 2-11, 182/250/455, 4 K, 1 BB, 1 HR Aramis Ramirez: 2-11, 182/308/182, 1 K, 2 BB Cardinals vs. Walrond: No Cardinals with more than 10 AB's
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Well Dusty is back at it. You've probably already read this quote in the comments or another paper but it's so mind-bogglingly idiotic, I'd thought I'd share it with you all:
"On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage. On-base percentage just to clog up the bases isnít that great to me." "I think the problem we have to address as much as anything is the home run problem. They have out-homered us 2-1 in our own ballpark. That's the bigger problem."
Well yeah, our offense has been pretty darn putrid this year, here are our ranks in a number of categories: 10th in Home Runs, 15th in Extra Base Hits, 12th in Slugging Percentage, 16th in On-Base Percentage and 16th in Runs Scored. You can definitely see where power has been a problem this year. And it's really hard to put your finger on why that's been a problem. I mean it seems like we're missing a solid thirty to forty home run bat in the lineup. Right now the Cubs stand at 128 homers on the year, add thirty home runs to that and we're fifth in homers. Where could that come from? Maybe the guy who finished third in the NL MVP voting last year? Maybe if we didn't replace him with zeroes, Neifi, Jerry and Mabry for the bulk of his absence, we'd be doing a little better in the power department. I don't know, call me crazy.Yeah it's been a problem in terms of not having the proper backups on the bench to fill Lee's role, a fault which lies equally on Baker and Hendry. I put this up in the comments but it's worth repeating. Here's the Cubs rank in a number of offensive categories since Dusty took over. (HR/XBH/SLG/OBP/Runs Scored) 2003: 8/7/11/13/9 2004: 1/1/2/11/7 2005: 2/2/2/11/9 2006: 10/15/12/16/16 Hmm, which number seems to be dragging down our runs scored every year, particularly in 2004 and 2005? I think it's pretty clear that OBP is what has brought our offense down and not the power so much. The loss of Lee this year was catastrophic, particularly when Dusty decided to try and win with pitching and defense despite not having many good pitchers. He had some power bat options like Restovich and Nevin when he arrived. Yeah, they're not glamorous, but if he really feels that power was lacking, don't go starting the likes of Mabry, Neifi and Hairston instead. Go far away Dusty!
A few quick notes... - Jake Fox will play some left field and first base when he goes to the AFL, along with right field and catching that he's already doing in AA. Grant Johnson was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the DL in June and it looks like that's where he'll stay. Reports are that his velocity is back in the low 90's. - Then there's this weird article from the Trib headlined: "Marmol's pitch count too high, Baker says". Baker says Marmol throws too many pitches early in a game but then says guys get put on the DL right away now when before they'd pitch through it. And here's a fun quote talking about Maddux throwing 167 pitches in a game early in his career:
"If I left somebody out there 167 pitches, you'd [criticize] me."
Is he saying that high pitch counts can lead to injuries (like in Marmol's case) or that pitchers today and their organizations are just wimps? Once again you baffle me Dusty. He also downplayed that whole USA Today article about Cubs fans being racist. As for our current Cubbies, nice to see the real Angel Guzman step up yesterday even if the offense couldn't crack the wife-beater(let me guess, the fans at the park didn't boo Myers?) for most of the night. Guzman's got the repertoire of a #1 pitcher and he just needs to get the experience that the last few years of injury took from him. The kids going to be good if he can stay healthy which you can probably say about 95% of top pitching prospects. Speaking of top pitching prospects, Cole Hamels and his 10.30 K/9 rate show up today. I wonder if him and old pal Lee Gwaltney (now in the Cubs minor league system) got together and toured the Wrigleyville bar scene this week. Have a few drinks, get in some fights, use your pitching hand to throw a punch and then get one of your friends released because he's a bad influence. It should be a fun pitching matchup, the over/under on Zambrano's walks today is 7. Get your bets in. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-TWENTY-SEVEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (64-62 (Div) 2nd- 13.5 GB; (Wild Card) 3rd - 1.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (53-73 (Div) 5th - 13.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 12.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:20 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, 75 degrees, Wind out to CF @ 9 mph TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 187
Carlos Zambrano, RHP 13-5, 3.34 ERA, 177.2 IP 173 K, 98 BB, 19 HR 206/317/360 againstCole Hamels, LHP 6-6, 4.40 ERA, 90 IP 103 K, 33 BB, 13 HR 237/304/423 against

#Jimmy Rollins, SS #Shane Victorino, RF *Chase Utley, 2B *Ryan Howard, 1B *David Dellucci, RF Chris Coste, C Joe Thurston, LF #Abraham Nunez, 3B *Cole Hamels, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Phil Nevin, 1B Matt Murton, LF Michael Barrett, C #Angel Pagan, RF Ronny Cedeno, SS #Carlos Zambrano, P

Phillies vs. Zambrano: Abraham Nunez: 2-17, 118/250/176, 3 K, 3 BB, 1 2B Jimmy Rollins: 3-14, 214/267/286, 2 K, 1 BB, 1 2B Jose Hernandez: 2-10, 200/400/200, 4 K, 4 BB, 0 XBH Cubs vs. Hamels: No Cubs have ever faced Hamels
Hey look, Jones sitting versus a tough lefty. You go Baker!
So has there even been another baseball team with two Angel's on their team? Hmmm, I wonder. The Cubs march to a top five draft pick continues as they continue to help another team's quest for the playoffs. And if the Cubs fans who go to the games were any real kind of baseball fans, they'd go out and boo the hell out of Myers for taking some aggression out on his wife instead of poor fellas like Jacque Jones not even a month into a new deal. Go Angel, Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-TWENTY-SIX IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (63-62 (Div) 2nd- 13.5 GB; (Wild Card) 3rd - 2.0 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (53-72 (Div) 5th - 13.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 12.0 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, 88 degrees, Wind Out to RF @ 12 mph TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 187
Angel Guzman, RHP 0-3, 6.68 ERA, 31 IP 33 K, 23 BB, 3 HR 292/412/467 againstBrett Myers, RHP 8-6, 4.40 ERA, 141 IP 130 K, 48 BB, 23 HR 271/330/459 against

#Jimmy Rollins, SS #Shane Victorino, RF *Chase Utley, 2B *Ryan Howard, 1B Pat Burrell, LF *David Dellucci, RF Mike Lieberthal, C #Abraham Nunez, 3B Brett Myers, P *Juan Pierre, CF *Freddie Bynum Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Michael Barrett, C *John Mabry, 1B* Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, SS Angel Guzman, P

Phillies vs. Guzman: No Phillies with more than 10 Ab's Cubs vs. Myers: Juan Pierre: 13-34, 382/405/412, 1 K, 2 BB, 1 2B Aramis Ramirez: 4-12, 333/333/667, 4 K, 0 BB, 1 HR
Barrett's back in action, Bynum though is hitting second. With the good comes the bad. Wind is blowing out to right at 12 mph, get our your gloves when Howard and Utlley come up.
Game time is fast approaching but the Cubs made (another) roster move today as Ryan O'Malley found out what life as a Cubs pitcher is like pretty fast, hitting the DL with a "medial left elbow sprain". Jae-kuk Ryu has been called up to rid Wrigley of annoying pigeons that hang out under the grandstands. In other news, Will Carroll over at BP.com has heard some whispers that Prior's shoulder issues may be similar to Kerry Wood's. And well that rehabilitation process went really well. And is it the same injury that Wood had surgery for or the one that was just diagnosed? Unless the first diagnosis was a misdiagnosis, which in that case it's all the same injury. Carroll also teases us with this little bit:
Marcus Giles wonít return to the Braves lineup until the weekend. The Braves are expected to deal him in the offseason.
(Drooling) And Derrek Lee looked fantastic in batting practice the other day and reported none of the issues afterwards that he experienced the first time he tried to come back.
Cesar Izturis was placed on the DL today after straining his hamstring last night, and Buck Coats' contract was purchased to replace him. Oh, if only the Cubs had a guy like Neifi Perez on their roster, who could step in and take over for Izturis. I'll let Arizona Phil talk about Coats in a bit more depth, but my impression of him is that he's a guy who hits like a middle infielder but can't field like one. Today's tale of the tape:
   Moyer vs. O'Malley
GS 510 1
W 211 1
K 1966 2
IP 3299.2 8
Moyer makes his first start for the Phillies and first start at Wrigley Field since October 2, 1988, his last start as a Cub before he was traded, along with Rafael Palmeiro and Drew Hall, to the Texas Rangers for Mitch Williams, Paul Kilgus, Steve Wilson, Curt Wilkerson, Luis Benitez and Pablo Delgado. After bouncing around for the first half of his career (six teams in the first decade), he ended up in Seattle at age 32 and pitched for them for the last decade. When Moyer left the Cubs, Ryan O'Malley was 8 years old. GAME ONE HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (62-62 (Div) 2nd- 13.5 GB; (Wild Card) 3rd - 2.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (53-71 (Div) 5th - 13.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 11.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Clear, 84 degrees, Wind out to C @ 5 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 743 Radio: WGN, XM 187
Ryan O'Malley, LHP 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 8 IP 2 K, 6 BB, 0 HR 172/314/172 againstJamie Moyer, LHP 6-12, 4.39 ERA, 160 IP 82 K, 44 BB, 25 HR 285/331/484 against

#Shane Victorino, CF #Danny Sandoval, 2B #Jimmy Rollins, SS *Ryan Howard, 1B Pat Burrell, LF Mike Lieberthal, C *Dave Dellucci, LF #Abraham Nunez, 3B Jamie Moyer, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Phil Nevin, 1B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, RF Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS Ryan O'Malley, P

Phillies vs. O'Malley: No Phillies has ever faced Cubs vs. Moyer: Phil Nevin: 7-24, 292/370/458, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K Jacque Jones: 5-16, 313/389/375, 1 BB, 2 K
Michael Barrett's arm must be pretty banged up, as we're being treated to our third straight day of Blancomania. Or maybe he's in the lineup as part of Dusty's "Give a Guy With A Sub-.300 OBP A Regular Job Campaign" now that Neifi is gone. The Phils are dealing with some injuries, too -- I got a chance to watch last night's game, the first Cubs game I've seen in weeks ever since I switched from DirecTV to Comcast and lost the Extra Innings package, and witnessed the collision between Aaron Rowand and Chase Utley that put Rowand on the DL with a broken ankle and Utley on the bench tonight. Rowand is lucky he doesn't have a concussion and/or a broken neck or shoulder, given how awkwardly he landed on his head after the collision. Go Cubs!
The Cubs announced which players they'll be sending to the Arizona Fall League this year and the lucky seven are: (Drumroll Please) Carmen Pignatiello - LHP Lincoln Holdzkom - RHP Grant Johnson - RHP Clay Rapada - LHP Jake Fox - C Scott Moore - 3B Eric Patterson - 2B It appears the trend for the Cubs lately in regards to the AFL is to reward position players who have had a good season and then mix up the pitchers between relievers and those who missed time due to injury. This year Johnson and Holdzkom fall into that last category much like Angel Guzman last year. This will be Patterson's second consectutive trip to the AFL. I'm also guessing one of the players will be deemed a "taxi squad player" since I believe you can only send six regular roster players to the AFL. Taxi Squad players can only play on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Cubs will also be sending AA manager and former major league Pat Listach to manage the Mesa Solar Sox who are comprised of players from the Astros, Dodgers, Twins and Mets as well as the Cubs.
Just in time to temper our excitement over Neifi getting traded, the Cubs activated Freddie Bynum and Glendon Rusch today, while putting Carlos Marmol on the DL. The Pfightin' Phils come into town on the back of 2 ex-Cubs pitchers, Jon Lieber and Jamie Moyer. Okay, more on the back of Ryan Howard and a guy who could have been a Cub, Chase Utley. How could he have been a Cub? Well he was drafted 15th in the 2000 draft, 12 picks ahead of the extremely useless Luis Montanez. Of course, fourteen other teams had a crack at him too. The Phils themselves have shot back into the playoff race since jettisoning David Bell who had a strangle-hold on the organization. Once they showed that trouble-maker the door, a whole new spirit infected the team. There was also that little trade with the Yanks involving some All-Star guy whose name evades me at the moment. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-TWENTY-FOUR IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (61-62 (Div) 2nd- 14 GB; (Wild Card) 4th - 2.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (53-70 (Div) 5th - 13.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 10.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Clear, 77 degrees, Wind from R to L @ 8 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 740 Radio: WGN, XM 187
Rich Hill, LHP 3-5, 6.90 ERA, 44.1 IP 32 K, 26 BB, 9 HR 285/379/533 againstJon Lieber, RHP 5-9, 5.10 ERA, 120 IP 72 K, 22 BB, 18 HR 281/317/459 against

#Jimmy Rollins, SS #Shane Victorino, RF *Chase Utley, 2B *Ryan Howard, 1B Pat Burrell, LF Aaron Rowand, CF Chris Coste, C #Abraham Nunez, 3B Jon Lieber, P *Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis, SS Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF #Angel Pagan, LF *John Mabry, 1B* Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, 2B *Rich Hill, P

Phillies vs. Hill: No Phillies with more than 10 Ab's Cubs vs. Lieber: Phil Nevin: 5-24, 208/222/292, 7 K, 1 BB, 2 2B Aramis Ramirez: 5-23, 217/217/217, 6 K, 0 BB Juan Pierre: 6-18, 333/333/389, 2 K, 0 BB, 1 2B Michael Barrett: 4-15, 267/313/267, 0 K, 1 BB John Mabry: 2-14, 143/200/214, 5 K, 1 BB, 1 2B Jacque Jones: 3-13, 231/231/462, 5 K, 0 BB, 1 HR Henry Blanco: 4-11, 364/417/455 3 K, 1 BB, 1 2B
UPDATE: Here's the press release from cubs.com. It doesn't say anything about the Cubs sending cash the Tigers way which means there's some millions freed up for next year. According to Len on the WGN broadcast, TCR whipping boy Neifi Perez has been dealt to the Detroit Tigers for 22 minor league old catcher Chris Robinson. Robinson was a third round selection of the Tigers in the 2005 draft and made the Florida State League All-Star team this year. And he's a U of I boy to boot which I'm sure will make many Cubs fans happy. Here's a quick blurb via tigstown.com:
He controls pitching staffs well, and provides a calming influence during games. His receiving skills are only average, but he works diligently to try and improve them. Robinsonís arm is very strong, with a quick release, and very good foot work.
Offensively he doesn't sound like much now, a line drive stroke that hasn't translated into much power. His numbers at Hi-A Lakeland for the year were: 288/338/367 with 1 HR, 47 RBI, 72 K, 25 BB in 319 AB's. As for Neifi, don't let the door hit you on the way out. Good riddance! I really don't want to spend another moment on his worthlessness. Good luck Tigers, you'll need it. AZ PHIL: Cubs minor league managers, coaches, and players have had a chance to get a good look at Chris Robinson the past two seasons, what with Chris playing last year in the Midwest League at West Michigan and this year in the FSL at Lakeland. A little more on Chris Robinson: DEFENSE: Chris Robinson's defensive stats compared to other catchers in Cubs organization (thru 8/19): AT LAKELAND Chris Robinson 32-126 CS (25%) - 7 E, 16 PB CUBS: Michael Barrett 21-104 CS (20%) ñ 5 E, 9 PB Henry Blanco 12-26 CS (46%) - 1 E, 1 PB IOWA: Geovany Soto 32-118 CS (28%) ñ 8 E, 3 PB Jose Reyes 24-65 CS (37%) - 2 E, 3 PB Casey Kopitzke 9-22 CS (41%) ñ 0 E, 2 PB WEST TENN: Jake Fox 29-98 CS (30%) ñ 7 E, 19 PB Tony Richie 14-46 CS (30%) - 1 E, 2 PB DAYTONA: Jake Muyco 49-99 CS (49%) ñ 8 E, 6 PB Alan Rick 13-50 CS (26%) ñ 0 E, 8 PB PEORIA: Mark Reed 32-82 CS (39%) ñ 3 E, 3 PB Blake Lalli 6-24 CS (25%) ñ 3 E, 4 PB Olin Wick 1-5 CS (20%) ñ 1 PB, 1 E BOISE: Matt Canepa 5-37 CS (14%) ñ 3 E, 9 PB Mario Mercedes 10-29 CS (34%) - 2 E, 5 PB Adam Hackstedt 9-14 CS (64%) ñ 0 E, 3 PB Welington Castillo 0-2 CS (0%) - 0 E, 2 PB MESA: Carlos T. Perez 16-48 CS (33%) - 5 E, 4 PB Cory Vanderhook 18-36 CS (50%) ñ 0 E, 2 PB Blake Parker 4-6 CS (67%) ñ 1 E, 3 PB Robinson's defensive numbers are very similar to those of Jake Fox, except Fox has a slightly better CS % while Robinson has three fewer passed balls. But both clearly have significant defensive shortcomings. However, Fox's defensive problems are a bit more tolerable because he profiles as a power-hitting middle-of-the-order run producer type, while Robinson is more of a "singles hitter." OFFENSE: Robinson does not hit home runs, but he does hit doubles. He also doesn't walk much ("Welcome to the Cubs!") and he strikes out about once in every five PA. After struggling at the plate through the first three months of the season, Robinson has been on fire in July & August: JULY-AUGUST 29 GAMES 36-104 (.346) .370 OBP .451 SLG .821 OPS 0 HR & 19 RBI 11 2B 4 BB 19 K Robinson will probably share catching duties the last few days of the 2006 season with Jake Muyco at Daytona. Muyco is an excellent defensive catcher and is one of the best "catch & throw" guys in all of minor league baseball. Muyco's problem is that he is a lousy hitter. Maybe they can help each other improve in the areas where they are deficient. Otherwise, I would expect Robinson or Muyco (but probably not both) to move up to AA in 2007, with the other remaining at Daytona to share catching duties with lefty-hitter Mark Reed (who will almost certainly move up from Peoria to Daytona next season). In summary, Chris Robinson does not appear at this point to have the combination of offensive & defensive skills to be a #1 catcher. Hopefully he will continue his hot hotting into the 2007 season and work hard to improve his defense.
Poor Juan Mateo is scouring up memories of Sergio Mitre from last year when he had to face Clemens and Halladay , although not in back-to-back starts. Of course Mitre went out and threw two of the best games he'll probably ever pitch. I'm all for a repeat. Cubs are only a half game behind the Nationals in the wild card race. Keep the hope alive....or don't. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-TWENTY-THREE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (65-57 (Div) 1st- 0 GB; (Wild Card) N/A) AT CHICAGO CUBS (53-69 (Div) 5th - 12.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 9.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:20 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 73 degrees, Wind in from LF @ 11mph TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 187
Juan Mateo, RHP 1-0, 3.00 ERA, 12 IP 5 K, 6 BB, 0 HR 205/318/359 againstChris Carpenter, RHP 11-6, 3.09 ERA, 160.1 IP 131 K, 34 BB, 18 HR 267/365/333 against

#Aaron Miles, SS *Chris Duncan, LF Albert Pujols, 1B Scott Rolen, 3B Juan Encarnacion, CF Preston Wilson, RF Ronnie Belliard, 2B Yadier Molina, C Chris Carpenter, P *Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis, SS Matt Murton, LF Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Phil Nevin, 1B Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, 2B Juan Mateo, P

Cardinals vs Mateo: No Cardinals with more than 10 Ab's Cubs vs. Carpenter: Aramis Ramirez: 8-31, 258/258/387, 8 K, 0 BB, 1 HR Micahel Barrett: 6-29, 207/258/414, 7 K, 2 BB, 2 HR Juan Pierre: 3-16, 188/278/250, 0 K, 2 BB, 1 2B Neifi Perez: 3-14, 214/200/214, 0 K, 0 BB, 0 XBH Jacque Jones: 3-14, 214/214/500, 7 K, 0 BB, 1 HR Phil Nevin: 0-13, 000/000/000, 3 K, 0 BB Carlos Zambrano: 6-10, 600/600/700, 2 K, 0 BB, 1 HR
Dick Pole: So here are the numbers against Carpenter, looks like Nevin has had all sorts of problems against him. Dusty: (Snore) Dick Pole: Oh yeah and Neifi is one of the worst hitters to ever play baseball. Dusty: (Snore) Dick Pole: Um, Dusty, wake up man. Dusty: (Waking up) Dude, here's the lineup for today, my grandma once told me that you've got to breathe, eat right and always start the gnome-like shorstop. Dick Pole: What? Dusty: All I know is that Nevin is due for a hit. Dick Pole: (under breath) All I know is that you're an idiot. Slap a first basemen's glove on Z for god's sake or something. So what's up with Barrett?
Okay so we don't own the Cardinals at Wrigley, my bad. I meant to say we bow to your greatness, you crimson-colored state bird of Illinois. Z's back on the mound today and I wonder if he's approaching the season record for walks given up in a season, because he's given up a whole lot. Anyway, a national audience gets to watch our patheticness today. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-TWENTY-TWO IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (65-56 (Div) 1st- 0 GB; (Wild Card) N/A) AT CHICAGO CUBS (52-69 (Div) 5th - 13.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 9.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 12:20 pm CDT Weather: Overcast, 73 degrees, Wind from L to R @ 8 mph TV: Fox, Radio: WGN, XM 187
Carlos Zambrano, RHP 13-5, 3.38 ERA, 170.2 IP 167 K, 96 BB, 18 HR 205/318/359 againstJeff Suppan, RHP 9-7, 5.00 ERA, 133.1 IP 74 K, 51 BB, 19 HR 287/357/482 against

#Aaron Miles, SS *Chris Duncan, LF Albert Pujols, 1B Scott Rolen, 3B #Scott Spiezo, LF Preston Wilson, CF Ronnie Belliard, 2B Yadier Molina, C Jeff Suppan, P *Juan Pierre, CF #Neifi Perez, SS Matt Murton, LF Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF *John Mabry, 1B Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, 2B #Carlos Zambrano, P

Cardinals vs Zambrano: Scott Rolen: 7-36, 194/237/417, 5 K, 2 BB, 2 HR Albert Pujols: 8-36, 222/333/444, 7 K, 6 BB, 2 HR Jim Edmonds: 6-33, 182/357/394, 18 K, 6 BB, 2 HR Juan Encarnacion: 2-19, 105/150/105, 5 K, 1 BB, 0 XBH Preston Wilson: 5-19, 263/263/316, 7 K, 0 BB, 1 2B David Eckstein: 3-19, 158/200/158,1 K, 0 BB, 0 XBH Ronnie Belliard: 2-11, 182/357/273, 2 K, 3 BB, 1 2B Aaron Miles: 4-11, 364/500/364, 2 K, 2 BB, 0 XBH Cubs vs. Suppan: Jacque Jones: 11-33, 333/488/697, 7 K, 10 BB, 4 HR Aramis Ramirez: 5-18, 278/350/556 ,1 K, 2 BB, 1HR Michael Barrett: 8-18, 444/474/444, 1K, 1 BB Cesar Izturis: 5-18, 278/316/333, 0 K, 1 BB, 1 2B Neifi Perez: 5-15, 333/375/333, 0 K, 1 BB Juan Pierre: 4-13, 308/357/308, 1 K, 1 BB Henry Blanco: 2-10, 200/200/500,2 K, 0 BB, 1 HR
I wonder why Barrett's getting the day off? I wonder why Dusty hates us?
The almighty Redbirds march into Wrigley Field which has been their own version of "The Killing Fields", losing all seven games they've played here this year. Today's pitchers met back on July 28th here at Wrigley, a game in which Marmol walked seven in a five and third innings. That sounds familiar. But we seem to bring out the very worst in Scott Rolen who committed a throwing error in the fourth which would have ended the inning (He has something like 3 or 4 crucial errors against us this year, he only has 10 for the whole season). Pierre promptly tripled in three runs and the Cubs held on for victory. Another fun stat, Pujols is 4 for 24 at Wrigley this year without a homer. Do not taunt Albert Pujols or Happy Fun Ball! Cubs could make the Central very interesting with another sweep this weekend. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-TWENTY-ONE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (64-56 (Div) 1st- 0 GB; (Wild Card) N/A) AT CHICAGO CUBS (52-68 (Div) 5th - 12.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 9.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:20 pm CDT Weather: Overcast, 82 degrees, Wind Out to CF @ 8 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 735 Radio: WGN, XM 187
Carlos Marmol, RHP 5-5, 5.50 ERA, 68.2 IP 52 K, 55 BB, 11 HR 234/378/464 againstJason Marquis, RHP 12-11, 5.71 ERA, 156 IP 73 K, 55 BB, 28 HR 283/352/497 against

David Eckstein, SS *Chris Duncan, LF Albert Pujols, 1B Scott Rolen, 3B Juan Encarnacion, CF Preston Wilson, RF Ronnie Belliard, 2B Gary Bennett, C *Jason Marquis, P *Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF #Angel Pagan, LF *John Mabry, 1B Ronny Cedeno, 2B Carlos Marmol, P

Cardinals vs Marmol: No Cardinals with more than 10 AB's Cubs vs. Marquis: Juan Pierre: 6-23, 261/346/435, 1 K, 3 BB, 3 XBH Michael Barrett: 8-22, 364/440/591, 0 K, 4 BB, 4 XBH Aramis Ramirez: 8-19, 421/476/737, 1 K , 2 BB, 3 XBH Cesar Izturis: 5-12, 417/417/500, 2 K, 0 BB, 1 2B
Preston Wilson signed with the Cardinals today and Edmonds is out indefinitely with post-concussion syndrome, something that has knocked Corey Koskie and Mike Matheny out for the season. Poor Matt Murton sits again. I don't even want to bring up his August numbers.
We are just about at the 3/4 mark in the 2006 MLB season. With the addition of Ryan O'Malley to the 40-man roster yesterday, the Cubs 40-man roster is now full. When (if) Wade Miller (shoulder) returns from the 60-day DL (probably sometime in the next couple of weeks), it is likely that Kerry Wood (shoulder) will be transferred to the 60-day DL to make room for Miller on the 40-man roster. Like Miller, Sean Marshall (oblique) and Freddie Bynum (blood clot in shoulder) are presently on minor league rehab assignments and could be reactivated from the DL in the next few days. Glendon Rusch (elbow) is probably healthy enough to be reactivated from the DL right now, but I would be surprised if he is reactivated before September 1st. Scott Eyre (hamstring) will be eligible to be reactivated from the 15-day DL on August 31st, but will probably be reactivated on September 1st when rosters are expanded. If Derrek Lee (wrist) and/or Mark Prior (shoulder) return to action prior to the close of the 2006 season, it will probably be no earlier than sometime in September. Here is the current up-to-date personnel status for the Cubs organization, nearing the end of the 2006 season and soon to be heading into the off-season:
Today's tale of the tape:
Pettitte  vs. O'Malley:
  350 &nbsp&nbsp GS &nbsp  0
  183 &nbsp&nbsp W &nbsp&nbsp  0
  1661   K &nbsp   0
  2257.1 IP &nbsp  0
Ryan O'Malley gets the default start today with Scott Eyre hitting the DL with a strained hamstring. According to that Trib article, he's the 7th Cubs rookie pitcher this year and 4th to make his major leage debut in a starting role. As for last night's marathon affair, I tuned in on my XM radio on my drive home to hear the Astros take the lead and pretty much got through the bottom of the eighth. Forgetting the game was on WGN and figuring it was over, I went inside and spent a couple of hours with the kids before putting them to bed. I went to check the boxscore to see the final damage and saw the game was still going on and in the 15th inning. I decided to check out the parachat to see if any insomniacs were still around and there were a good 10-15 TCR'ites still fighting the good fight. Of course they were playing Hangman and 20 Questions, but most stuck around until the end. There were calls to officially reference the game as "The Murton Game" ala the '84 "Sandberg game", but I'm not sure ballplayers can get games named after them in a non-playoff season. But still what a performance by Murton and by most of the bullpen sans Wuertz and Ohman. Today should be fun, Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-TWENTY IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (51-68 (Div) 5th - 12.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 10.0 GB) AT HOUSTON ASTROS (57-62, (Div) 3rd - 6.5 GB; (Wild Card) 6th - 4.0 GB) The Juice Park, 1:05 pm CDT Weather: Roof Closed TV: WGN, DirecTV 734 Radio: WGN, XM 186
Andy Pettitte, LHP 11-12, 4.86 ERA, 159.1 IP 136 K, 54 BB, 22 HR 300/353/493 againstRyan O'Malley, LHP (AAA) 7-7, 4.08 ERA, 123.2 IP 71 K, 30 BB, 9 HR 286/330/429 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B Phil Nevin, 1B #Angel Pagan, RF Matt Murton, LF #Neifi Perez, SS *Ryan O'Malley, P Wily Taveras, CF Chris Burke, 2B #Lance Berkman, 1B *Luke Scott, LF Morgan Ensberg, 3B Jason Lane, RF Adam Everett, SS Brad Ausmus, C *Andy Pettitte, P

Cubs vs Pettitte: Neifi Perez: 8-29, 276/276/414, 2 K, 0 BB, 4 2B Phil Nevin: 6-21, 286/423/524, 6 K, 5 BB, 1 HR Aramis Ramirez: 6-17, 353/353/882, 2 K, 0 BB, 3 2B, 2 HR Jacque Jones: 2-16, 125/176/188, 7 K, 1 BB, 1 2B Michael Barrett: 5-15, 333/474/600, 4 K, 4 BB, 1 HR Matt Murton: 4-14, 286/412/286, 3 K, 3 BB, 0 XBH Juan Pierre: 4-11, 364/417/455, 1 K, 1 BB, 1 2B Astros vs. O'Malley: No Astros with more than 10 AB's
Hoo-boy, the night game to day game turnaround is a tough one, but today's is going to be even worse than usual. The Cubs pulled out an 8-6 victory in 18 innings last night (not the only 18-inning game in the majors last night, incredibly), but it took two innings from today's scheduled starter, Rich Hill, which means they have about 3 hours to figure out who's going to start today. The Cubs used all 25 of their players in the game -- both Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Marmol pinch-hit in extra-innings -- and six players (Juan Pierre, Jacque Jones, and the entire infield of Aramis Ramirez, Cesar Izturis, Ronny Cedeno, and John Mabry) played the entire game. Both Pierre and Mabry went 1-for-8, while Cedeno went 1-for-7. I'm predicting an infield of Neifi!, Ryan Theriot, Cedeno, and Phil Nevin today, with Angel Pagan starting in place of Jones against the lefty Pettitte today. As far as today's starter goes, it's not as easy as disabling someone and dipping down to AAA, as all the potential Iowa callups (Ryu, Williams, and the rehabbing Marshall) would be pitching on 0-3 days rest. The starter from five days ago, lefty Ryan O'Malley, isn't on the 40-man roster. This is sort of interesting, though -- the scheduled starter in tonight's game is a rehabbing Wade Miller, who threw five days ago at West Tenn. It's supposed to be his final rehab start, and it's in Round Rock, which is about four hours from Houston. I would not be surprised to see him called up to start this afternoon, with Angel Guzman, who was set to be skipped but threw three innings last night, sent down to make room, and neither would Phil Rogers. Speaking of Rogers, I give him a hard time a lot of the time, so it's worth pointing out that I agree 100% with his "Give up on Prior? You're crazy!" column from Monday. I couldn't have said it better myself, Phil. [UPDATE 10:40 AM] Pretty much no sooner did I type that than word comes via the comments that the Cubs may have, in fact, called up O'Malley. No official word on who was sent down or disabled to make room, but the way Scott Eyre looked limping off the field last night, I'm guessing it's him. O'Malley is a 26-year old lefty who was undrafted out of Memphis and signed with the Cubs in /02. He pitched very well at A and AA as a reliever and occasional starter, but in both '04 and '05 he struggled in callups to AAA: 2004 A+ Daytona: 2.64 ERA, 30 2/3 IP, 27 H, 6 BB, 28 K 2004 AA West Tenn: 3.72 ERA, 55 2/3 IP, 49 H, 20 BB, 37 K 2004 AAA Iowa: 8.62 ERA, 15 2/3 IP, 23 H, 6 BB, 8 K 2005 AA West Tenn: 3.91 ERA, 78 1/3 IP, 78 IP, 25 BB, 55 K 2005 AAA Iowa: 6.33 ERA, 27 IP, 40 H, 11 BB, 26 K This year he's started more than he's relieved, and in 123 2/3 innings he's put up a 4.08 ERA, given up 135 hits, walked 30, and struck out 71. He has a mid-80s fastball who pitches to contact. He's described as a "control pitcher" but has walked 2/7 batters per 9 innings in his minor-league career, which doesn't bode well. According to this Inside The Ivy article, he doesn't like being called a "finesse pitcher," so we'll just go with "crafty lefty."
We have a small disparity in experience between our two starting pitchers tonight. Let's look at the tale of the tape:
Clemens  vs. Mateo:
  681 &nbsp&nbsp GS &nbsp  1
  345 &nbsp&nbsp W &nbsp&nbsp  1
  4552   K &nbsp   3
  4764.2 IP &nbsp  7
No pressure kid, good news is you have Blanco behind the plate to make sure you throw strikes. The other good news is the Astros offense is just about as pathetic as ours. The bad news is you have Blanco behind the plate and he has to hit. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-NINETEEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (50-68 (Div) 5th - 12.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 11.0 GB) AT HOUSTON ASTROS (57-61, (Div) 3rd - 5.5 GB; (Wild Card) 6th - 4.0 GB) The Juice Park, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Roof Closed TV: WGN, DirecTV 741 Radio: WGN, XM 186
Roger Clemens, RHP 4-4, 2.24 ERA, 60.1 IP 50 K, 14 BB, 3 HR 280/315/431 sgainstJuan Mateo, RHP 1-0, 2.57 ERA, 7 IP 3 K, 5 BB, 0 HR 223/268/339 against

*Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis, SS #Angel Pagan, LF Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF *John Mabry, 1B Ronny Cedeno, 2B Henry Blanco, C Juan Mateo, P Wily Taveras, CF Craig Biggio, 2B *Mike Lamb, 1B #Lance Berkman, RF *Luke Scott, LF *Aubrey Huff, 3B Adam Everett, SS Brad Ausmus, C Roger Clemens, P

Cubs vs Clemens: Jacque Jones: 7-26, 269/367/577, 4 K, 4 BB, 5 2B, 1 HR Michael Barrett: 4-23, 174/208/174, 2 K, 1 BB, 0 XBH Aramis Ramirez: 7-21, 333/391/476, 3 K, 2 BB, 1 HR Juan Pierre: 7-19, 368/368/526, 0 K, 0 BB, 2 XBH Neifi Perez: 3-18, 167/167/167, 4 K, 0 BB John Mabry: 3-16, 188/235/188, 5 K, 1 BB Cesar Izturis:3-11, 273/273/364,1 K, 0 BB, 1 2B Astros vs. Mateo: No Astros with more than 10 AB's
Pagan batting third, huh? That's, um, interesting.
Seven walks in eight innings and zero runs allowed; that can't happen too often and I don't know if I should praise Z for gutting through a game without his best stuff or laugh at the Astros for their ineptitude at getting guys home. The Cubs now have 5 shutout victories this year, 3 of them against the Astros, 2 of them in games started by Zambrano (The other was by Sean Marshall). The other 2 shutouts were in back-to-back games versus the Nationals in games started by....wait for it.....Zambrano and Marshall. On the rehab front, we've got Derrek Lee taking 20 swings yesterday off a tee, Mark Prior saying he's not giving up on 2006 (even though he should) and Wade Miller is set for another minor league start tomorrow with Iowa. And good news (sarcasm), Miller is probably going to be around next year as well:
We both had pretty much an agreement this was going to be more than just one year. See how it goes this year, and if Iím able to pitch next year, hopefully Iíll be able to stick around here.î
You say you want Murton batting second in the order? Guess who disagrees:
ìNo, not against Oswalt. Not when Neifiís hitting .430-something against him or whatever it is. Thereís probably more temptation to move (outfielder Angel) Pagan in the 2-spot because of his speed and the fact heís a switch hitter. No. We need production out of Murton and hopefully down in the order. ìHeís done pretty good down in the order, sixth or seventh, so you donít really mess with it too much.î
Everyone remember 1984? We had our best hitter batting 2nd all season and had a pretty good offense. There's even a study out there that suggests putting your best hitters in the #1, #2 and #4 slots to maximize offense. Of course I could be wrong, putting guys up top who won't be on base for our best hitters is probably a better idea. UPDATE: Our pals over at "Inside the Ivy" tip us off that AA players Brian Dopirak, Nic Jackson and Gary Cates are done for the year. Apparently Dopirak's foot was still broken when he came off the DL (Shocked I tell you, shocked). Thanks to Steve Holley over there for the info.
Although Z hasn't really been the good Carlos of late, he's certainly better than Mr. Walk Machine who took the mound yesterday. Of course Z is well on pace to walk more than 100 guys himself this year which isn't a very good sign at all. As for the Astros, they're still my pick to win the wild card, the only team with any decent starting pitching in the NL right now, even if it hasn't shown up on the field consistently. But no matter where we are in the standings, it's always kind of fun to beat up on Roy Oswalt. Michael Barrett has a particular good time against him which I revel in considering their past issues. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-EIGHTEEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (49-68 (Div) 5th - 13.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 11.5 GB) AT HOUSTON ASTROS (57-60, (Div) 3rd - 5.0 GB; (Wild Card) 4th - 3.5 GB) The Juice Park, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Roof Closed TV: CLTV, DirecTV 740 Radio: WGN, XM 186
Roy Oswalt, RHP 9-7, 3.27 ERA, 157 IP 109 K, 29 BB, 14 HR 280/315/431 sgainstCarlos Zambrano, RHP 12-5, 3.54 ERA, 162.2 IP 162 K, 89 BB, 18 HR 206/316/364 against

*Juan Pierre, CF #Neifi Perez, SS Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Phil Nevin, 1B Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, 2B #Carlos Zambrano, P Wily Taveras, CF Craig Biggio, 2B #Lance Berkman, RF *Aubrey Huff, 3B Morgan Ensberg, 3B *Luke Scott, LF Adam Everett, SS Brad Ausmus, C Roy Oswalt, P

Cubs vs Oswalt: Aramis Ramirez: 11-48, 229/220/458, 15 K, 0 BB, 3 HR Juan Pierre: 8-27, 296/321/370 , 0 K, 1 BB, 1 3B Michael Barrett: 12-26, 462/500/654, 1 K, 2 BB, 2 2B, 1 HR Neifi Perez: 10-24, 417/417/458, 3 K, 0 BB, 1 2B Phil Nevin: 5-14, 357/357/857, 1 K, 0 BB, 2 HR Jacque Jones: 3-10, 300/273/300, 3 K, 0 BB Astros vs. Zambrano Lance Berkman: 6-44, 136/296/341, 13 K, 10 BB, 3 HR Craig Biggio: 11-34, 324/465/618, 3 K, 7 BB, 2 HR Brad Ausmus: 8-34, 235/316/265, 9 K, 4 BB, 1 2B Adam Everett: 3-24, 125/160/208, 8 K, 1 BB, 1 2B Mike Lamb: 6-22, 273/385/455, 2 K, 4 BB, 1 HR Wily Taveras: 3-18, 167/167/167, 5 K, 0 BB Morgan Ensberg: 5-17, 294/429/471, 4 K, 3 BB, 2 XBH Jason Lane: 2-12, 167/167/333, 1 K, 0 BB, 2 2B
Got to get Neifi those starts....
As expected, Prior hit the DL yesterday with shoulder issues although surgery isn't expected (at the moment). He won't be throwing for at least 10 days and really what's the point of trying to bring him back this season. Shut him down! Another one of the "Cubs Young Guns" (&copy TCR Inc, All Rights Reserved) hits the mound today. Anyone want to take the over on Marmol hitting 110 pitches in 6 innings? Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-SEVENTEEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (48-68 (Div) 5th - 14.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 11.5 GB) AT COLORADO ROCKIES (57-59, (Div) 4th - 3.5 GB; (Wild Card) 4th - 2.5 GB) Coors Field, 2:05 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 188
Byung-Hyun Kim, RHP 7-7, 4.57 ERA, 106.1 IP 86 K, 40 BB, 11 HR 291/357/445 sgainstCarlos Marmol, RHP 5-5, 5.09 ERA, 63.2 IP 51 K, 47 BB, 10 HR 230/367/465 against

*Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis, SS *Jacque Jones, RF Aramis Ramirez, 3B *John Mabry, 1B Michael Barrett, C Matt Murton, LF #Neifi Perez, 2B Carlos Marmol, P Jamey Carroll, 2B *Todd Helton, 1B Garrett Atkins, 3B Matt Holliday, LF *Brad Hawpe, RF Ryan Spilborghs, CF Yorvit Torrealba, C Clint Barmes, SS Byung-Hyun Kim,P

Cubs vs Kim: Juan Pierre: 4-19, 211/286/211, 2 K, 1 BB Phil Nevin: 1-14, 071/071/071, 6 K, 0 BB Neifi Perez: 4-14, 286/333/571, 0 K, 1 BB, 1 2B, 1 HR Aramis Ramirez: 3-12, 250/308/500, 4 K, 1 BB, 1 HR Rockies vs. Marmol: No Rockies with more than 10 AB's
NEIFI!, oh we missed you so. Barrett gets a rare day game start after a night game.
With word that Mark Prior is likely headed back to the DL and probably done for the season, there should be another rotation spot up for grabs. Guzman will get his shot starting today and just like Rich Hill, it'll be a matter of finding the strike zone consistently for him to be successful, something he's shown to be more than capable of throughout his minor league career. Much like Hill, the Cubs just need to show some patience with Guzman, let him pitch every 5 days and re-evaluate at the end of the season. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-SIXTEEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (48-67, (Div) 5th - 14.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 10.5 GB) AT COLORADO ROCKIES (56-59, (Div) 4th - 3.5 GB; (Wild Card) 6th - 2.5 GB) Coors Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, 77 degrees, Wind in from LF @ 14mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 741 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Josh Fogg, RHP 7-7, 4.59 ERA, 127.1 IP 67 K, 44 BB, 17 HR 281/341/470 sgainstAngel Guzman, RHP 0-2, 5.68 ERA, 25.1 IP 29 K, 20 BB, 2 HR 258/402/398 against

*Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis, SS Michael Barret, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF *John Mabry, 1B Ronny Cedeno, 2B Angel Guzman, P Jamey Carroll, 2B *Todd Helton, 1B Garrett Atkins, 3B Matt Holliday, LF *Brad Hawpe, RF Ryan Spilborghs, CF Yorvit Torrealba, C Clint Barmes, SS Josh Fogg, P

Cubs vs Fogg: Aramis Ramirez: 6-21, 286/423/857, 2 K, 4 BB, 4 HR Juan Pierre: 11-21, 524/545/619, 1 K, 1 BB, 1 2B Neifi Perez: 6-20, 300/300/350, 0 K, 0 BB, 1 2B Michael Barrett: 10-20, 500/524/1110, 1 K, 1 B, 3 HR, 3 2BRockies vs. Guzman: No Rockies with more than 10 AB's
The Rockies whom have resorted to legalized cheating by placing baseballs in a humidor to nullify the "Coors Field effect" are in the thick of the division and wild card races. Has it helped? Here are their regular starting roation's ERAs, home ERA is listed first: Byung-Hyun Kim: 2.75/6.85 Jason Jennings: 3.00/3.84 Jeff Francis: 3.02/3.75 Aaron Cook: 3.81/4.11 Josh Fogg: 5.46/3.88 When you consider the other parks in the NL West are pretty strong pitcher parks beyond SBC (which has played neutral over the last few seasons), you have to wonder if something fishy is going on over there. I'm sure the Rockies are on the up and up and wouldn't dare think about having two sets of baseballs, one with the humidor turned on "Dead Ball Era", the other to "Steroid Era". But it does lead to some questions to exactly what is going on over there. If anything, you have to think the Rockies pitchers are at a major advantage on how the humidor-baseballs react differently on the breaking stuff since they use them on a regular basis. Personally, I think it's ridiculous and should be banned immediately. When did doctoring baseballs become legal again? The great lefty hope Rich Hill is back at it again off two very promising starts. I watched a bit of his last game versus the Pirates and despite the opponent, I thought he did a miraculous job of spotting his fastball on the corners, while mixing in his curve at just the right times. And it really appears that he has his confidence back, which seems to be the most important thing for the kid, who's actually the oldest pitcher on the starting staff at the moment. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FIFTEEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (48-66, (Div) 5th - 14.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 10.5 GB) AT COLORADO ROCKIES (55-59, (Div) 4th - 3.5 GB; (Wild Card) 6th - 3.5 GB) Montecristo Park, 8:05 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, 86 degrees, Wind in from RF @ 14mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 743 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Aaron Cook, RHP 7-10, 3.95 ERA, 152.2 IP 63 K, 39 BB, 10 HR 291/336/404 sgainstRich Hill, LHP 27 K, 21 BB, 8 HR 284/373/539 against

*Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis, SS Michael Barret, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF #Angel Pagan, LF *John Mabry, 1B Ronny Cedeno, 2B *Rich Hill, P Jamey Carroll, 2B Clint Barmes, SS Garrett Atkins, 3B Matt Holliday, LF Ryan Spilborghs, RF Luis A. Gonzalez, 1B Choo Freeman, CF Danny Ardoin, C Aaron Cook, P

Cubs vs Cook: Cesar Izturis:4-13, 308/438/308, 1 K, 3 BB Phil Nevin: 4-12, 333/385/417, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 2B Rockies vs. Hill: No Rockies with more than 10 AB's
(sigh)...No Murton again. I'd love to see the Cubs stick a first base glove on him or Pagan to keep both of them in the lineup and increase their versatility in case either one or both end up fighting for a bench spot next year. And who the hell is Ryan Spilborghs?
Much is written here about not wanting to rush Felix Pie, and some in the TCR community even question whether the Pie Man is even a top prospect. A couple of days ago, Dusty Baker was asked by the Chicago media whether the Cubs might consider recalling Felix Pie from the minors anytime soon. According to Paul Sullivan in the Chicago Tribune, Dusty replied: "Maybe. But at .270 Ö you guys have been talking 'Felix, Felix, Felix,' but Felix has to be the Felix you're all talking about if you're going to bring him up. I'd like to see him do a little more. I'd like to see everybody do a little more. I'd like to see everybody get here not only on name, but on merit at the same time." You can quibble about whether Felix Pie should be recalled, and if you look at his aggregate numbers for the entire 2006 season, Dusty's probably right, they don't jump out at you. For the year, Pie is hitting around .270 with a .333 OBP and a very bad SB/CS ratio. But a lot of that goes back to his May-June slump, when he went into a funk and it looked like he might be on the verge of a demotion to AA. You have to remember that Pie is a 21-year old playing at the most advanced minor league level (AAA), where the average age of the players in the league is about 25. Many of the pitchers in the PCL have MLB experience. And the idea in promoting a player to a higher level is to challenge the player, force him to adjust, and then hope for improvement. Well, Pie did struggle, but then he adjusted, and now he is showing improvement. Since the end of June, Pie has been consistently good. Very good. Over his last 38 games (more than 1/4 of the AAA schedule), he has had one ten-game hitting streak, 15 multi-hit games, and has reached base in 31 out of 38 games. He also has improved his base-stealing over this stretch, with nine stolen bases in 11 attempts. He struck out about once in every six PA during this period of time (still not good), but it's a better K rate than at any time previous in his career. Anyway, here are Felix Pie's numbers over his last 38 games (more than 1/4 of the AAA schedule): 38 GAMES 51-159 (.321) .365 OBP .453 SLG .818 OPS 30 RUNS SCORED 3 HR 14 RBI 12 2B 11 BB 26 K 9 SB (2 CS) 4 OF ASSISTS 1 E
Once again, I'm in a bit of a crunch at work, so this will be brief. All I ask is for the real Mark Prior to show up sometime before the season ends, the guy with the impeccable control, the killer breaking stuff and the winner-take-all competitive edge. You know the guy who we saw for most of 2003, the last month of 2004 and the beginning of 2005. Because the guy who's been wearing his jersey since he took a liner off the forearm isn't very good. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FOURTEEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (48-65, (Div) 5th - 13.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 10.5 GB) AT MILWAUKEE BREWERS (53-60, (Div) 4th - 8.0 GB; (Wild Card) 8th - 5.5 GB) Miller Park, 1:05 pm CDT Weather: Roof Closed TV: WGN, DirecTV 736 Radio: WGN, XM 184
Doug Davis, LHP 7-6, 5.01 ERA, 140 IP 101 K, 76 BB, 14 HR 274/364/421 sgainstMark Prior, RHP 1-5, 6.64 ERA, 40.2 IP 37 K, 24 BB, 9 HR 263/382/461 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Phil Nevin, 1B *Jacque Jones, RF #Angel Pagan, LF #Neifi Perez, SS Henry Blanco, C Mark Prior, P Brady Clark, CF Jeff Cirillo, 2B *Prince Fielder, 1B Kevin Mench, LF *Gabe Gross, RF Tony Graffanino, 2B David Bell, 3B Marco Rivera, C *Doug Davis, P

Cubs vs Davis: Neifi Perez: 6-24, 250/280/375. 3 K, 1 BB, 3 2B Aramis Ramirez: 3-17, 176/211/412, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 HR Michael Barrett: 4-16, 250/400/313. 3 K, 4 BB, 1 2B Juan Pierre: 6-15, 400/412/667, 1 K, 1 BB, 3 XBH Phil Nevin: 2-11, 182/308/273, 4 K, 2 BB, 1 2B Jacque Jones: 5-11, 455/455/545, 3 K 0 BB, 1 2B Brewers vs. Prior: Geoff Jenkins: 3-15, 200/278/400, 6 K, 2 BB, 1 HR David Bell: 4-11, 364/417/455, 1 K, 1 BB, 1 2B
Wow, there's a lefty out there that Jones has hit well. With the walk-happy Davis on the mound, it would be a good day to keep Murton in the lineup.
This one is going to be quick as I gotta run, but since the Cubs have won 3 straight since I decided to moan about each day's starter, I can't mess with the streak. Z's having a nice year, 12-4 looks pretty and all, but he's had the benefit of tremendous run support and honestly hasn't looked all so hot since July. But hey, it's better to be lucky than good. It would be nice if he could be both though. Go Cubs. GAME ONE HUNDRED-THIRTEEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (48-64, (Div) 5th - 13.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 9.5 GB) AT MILWAUKEE BREWERS (52-60, (Div) 4th - 9.0 GB; (Wild Card) 8th - 5.5 GB) Miller Park, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: 79 degrees, Clear, Wind in from CF @ 9 mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 742 Radio: WGN, XM 184
Dave Bush, RHP 7-8, 4.74 ERA, 142.1 IP 117 K, 32 BB, 19 HR 261/316/438 againstCarlos Zambrano, RHP 12-4, 3.42 ERA, 158 IP 158 K, 85 BB, 17 HR 205/314/361 against

*Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis, SS Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Phil Nevin, 1B Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, 2B #Carlos Zambrano, P Brady Clark, CF Tony Graffaninio, 2B *Prince Fielder, 1B *Gabe Gross, LF Bill Hall, SS *Geoff Jenkins, RF David Bell, 3B Damien Miller, C Dave Bush, P

Cubs vs Bush: Jacque Jones: 5-14, 357/357/714, 4 K, 0 BB, 2 2B, 1 HR Juan Pierre: 5-10, 500/500/900, 1 K, 0 BB, 1 2B, 1 HRBrewers vs. Zambrano: Geoff Jenkins: 8-32, 250/324/469, 8 K, 3 BB, 4 XBH Bill Hall: 5-23, 217/308/435, 12 K, 3 BB, 3 XBH Brady Clark: 4-17, 235/409/294, 4 K, 5 BB, 1 2B David Bell: 3-12, 250/308/250, 0 K, 1 BB Damien Miller: 3-11, 273/385/364, 4 K, 2 BB, 1 2B
I suppose many of you have seen the reports that Florida Marlins manager Joe Girardi got into it with the Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria over the weekend. The story goes that Girardi told Loria to basically shut it when Loria decided to heckle an umpire over some questionable balls and strikes calls. Of course you have to believe there's been some tension leading up to that point as that hardly seems enough to warrant what supposedly happened afterwards. The story goes that the discussion got even more heated after the game and there's a rumor floating that the Marlins were ready to announce Girardi being fired as the press room they use for such things was being set-up in anticipation of the announcement. Of course no announcement came, but the conspiracy theorists out there will certainly speculate that Girardi could be on a path to get himself fired in anticipation of taking over the Cubs this off-season. Well Girardi was happy to squash those rumors today, saying that he loves living in Florida and has no desire to leave for the Cubs right now.
''I am still the Marlins' manager, [and] I plan on being the Marlins' manager for a long time. People like to speculate that I am going to Chicago." ''If I was going to go to Chicago, I wouldn't have sold my house [in the north suburbs]. I have property there that we've kept there for a long time. I don't have a house there; I sold my house, my kids are enrolled in school in South Florida. I enjoy jumping in my pool every day. It's a nice life.''
Well maybe there's an out clause or a super-secret blood oath handshake?
''There are no outs. I have a three-year deal. No handshake agreement, no elbow rubbing, no kissing, nothing. Why would any club hire someone who had a handshake agreement that they could get out? Because you would know their heart's not in it. I think the one thing that you know about my heart is that it's about winning.''
Well there you have it, of course getting yourself fired might solve all that. Some other quick notes after the jump...
First, the moron(s) who started the wave at Wrigley on Sunday need to be shot, along with every fool who followed along. I suppose Hot Dog Races sponsored by Vienna Beef will be coming soon. Today is the day that we get to watch Carlos Marmol walk a bunch of guys and hope he can pull a Houdini out there. Sometimes it works for him and then other times he drowns in the glass tank with the straight-jacket still on, the handcuffs still around his ankles and the shark ripping off his limbs....much like his last start versus the Diamondbacks. It looks like Dusty has finally settled on an almost everyday lineup. That's kind of refreshing. Go Cubs!!! GAME ONE HUNDRED-TWELVE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (47-64, (Div) 5th - 14.0 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 9.5 GB) AT MILWAUKEE BREWERS (52-59, (Div) 4th - 9.0 GB; (Wild Card) 8th - 4.5 GB) Miller Park, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: 72 degrees, Clear, Wind L to R @ 8mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 742 Radio: WGN, XM 184
Tomo Ohka, RHP 3-2, 3.57 ERA, 58 IP 36 K, 21 BB, 5 HR 255/324/366 againstCarlos Marmol, RHP 4-5, 5.09 ERA, 58.1 IP 48 K, 43 BB, 8 HR 233/370/457 against

*Juan Pierre, CF #Cesar Izturis, SS Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF *John Mabry, 1B Ronny Cedeno, 2B Carlos Marmol, P *Gabe Gross, CF Tony Graffaninio, 2B *Prince Fielder, 1B Kevin Mench, LF Bill Hall, SS *Geoff Jenkins, RF David Bell, 3B Damien Miller, C Tomo Ohka, P

Cubs vs Ohka: Juan Pierre: 16-41, 390/390/415, 1 K, 0 BB, 1 2B Neifi Perez: 5-15, 333/375/333, 0 K, 1 BB Aramis Ramirez: 2-15, 133/278/400, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 HR Henry Blanco: 1-14, 071/071/071, 1 K, 0 BB Brewers vs. Marmol: No Brewers with more than 10 Ab's
Wow, Neifi is batting 333 versus an opposing pitcher and doesn't make it into the lineup. A lover's quarrel?
With the Cubs season not going too well, I just can't help but look forward to the 2006 Arizona Fall League. There is nothing like consortium baseball to get the juices flowin'!
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