September 2006

Not sure if I'll be able to throw up any more previews as we're preparing for a very busy off-season here at TCR. Okay, I got to work this weekend and I'm far too wrapped up in trying to secure third place in the TCR Fantasy Pool. - A San Diego paper tells us that in 2002 Jim Hendry approached Kevin Towers in trying to acquire Bruce Bochy to manage the Cubs and was told he wasn't going anywhere. According to the article:
One Cubs official said Bochy would be his first choice if something can be worked out. Bochy is guaranteed about $1.9 million in 2007.
Interesting... - Speaking of managerial speculation, this Trib article has a doozy for you. Bob Brenly in as manager of either the Cubs or Giants and Steve Stone back in the booth. - Juan Pierre became the first Cub to reach 200 hits since Ryne Sandberg. Yeah for meaningless milestones. The Cubs offense has actually been decent since Pierre started hitting, unfortunately it didn't happen until June. They say speed never takes a day off, but you know what does take games off? Singles hitters with little patience. - I know we're way past this, but bottom of the 9th, 2 on, 0 outs, a tough lefty on the mound in Brian Fuentes. Guess who's coming up? That would be Jacque Jones and I believe my exact words in the parachat were "just strike out and give Murton a try". Jones predictably grounded into a double play squashing the rally. Think Baker has seen him fail enough yet? - If you're the praying type, say one for Derrek Lee and his family. His daughter has been diagnosed with something known as LCA (Leber's Congenital Amaurosis), an "inherited form of blindness that is usually apparent shortly after birth." So far it's just affected one of her eyes and let's hope it only gets better from here on out. Otherwise see you in the Parachat on Sunday...
Don't believe what you're hearing on Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, or reading in the NY Post or Daily Mirror or Weekly World News. To set things straight, once and for all.
* No, the Parachat party hasn't been cancelled due to fire-code violations * No, we aren't letting Mariotti be the DJ * No, it's not true that Neifi Perez is threatening to sue us for libel or slander if we go through with the Parachat party * No, the VIP section of the Parachat Club is not a ghost subsidiary of the Tribune * No, the gift-bags you will receive upon entry are not taxable income, the IRS can not go after you for whatever baubles you might receive at the party. * Yes, we've done thorough background check on ALL of the Hell's Angels that we hired for private security. * To the best of our knowledge, no, participating in this event does not make you an "enemy combatant." * Yes, Augie Ojeda will be serving drinks. * Yes, we turned away Paris Hilton, and yes, we got a restraining order on Joan and Melissa Rivers to keep them 1000 feet away.
I hope this clears up any confusion. See you in Parachat on Sunday.
Back in the day, I was always excited about the final weekend series in Wrigley because of Fan Appreciation Weekend. The Cubs always advertised a raffle for prizes that to a prepubescent kid seemed like they were giving away gold. I watched in awe on WGN as I imagined fans walking out of the stadium with more Cubs stuff than they could hold. I mean what a cool thing to do, the generous Cubs just giving stuff away to fans out of the kindness of their hearts as a way to say thanks. Of course, years later and much wiser, I'm thinking the Cubs need to be giving away houses, cars, $10,000 in cash to each and every fan as a way to give back for the crap they've put on the field. Funny thing what age does to you... Last chance to see Z do his magic, all with a stiff wind out to CF. Cubs are now tied with Pitt (who face the Reds this weekend) for 5th in the division and the 4th draft slot if you care about such things. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED SIXTY IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] COLORADO ROCKIES (74-85) AT CHICAGO CUBS (65-94) Wrigley Field, 1:20 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, 55 degrees, Wind out to CF @ 10 mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 743 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Carlos Zambrano, RHP 16-6, 3.44 ERA, 207 IP 201 K, 111 BB, 20 HR 211/317/359 againstJosh Fogg, RHP 10-9, 5.62 ERA, 165 IP 89 K, 60 BB, 24 HR 304/365/511 against

Kaz Matsui, 2B *Jeff Salazar, CF Garrett Atkins, 3B Matt Holliday, LF *Todd Helton, 1B *Brad Hawpe, RF Troy Tulowitszi, SS Chris Iannetta, C Josh Fogg, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF *John Mabry, 1B Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS #Carlos Zambrano, P

Rockies vs Zambrano: Todd Helton: 3-15, 200/333/200, 5 K, 3 BB, 0 XBHCubs vs. Fogg: Aramis Ramirez: 7-24, 292/414/792, 2 K, 4 BB, 4 HR Juan Pierre: 12-24, 500/520/583, 1 K, 1 BB, 2 2B
As I get ready to do some editing on the end-of-year roundtable (and those of you who haven't gotten your answers in yet, you know who you are), I thought I'd take a look back at what we thought about this team at the beginning of the season. Obviously no one foresaw Derrek Lee's injury, but plenty of people foresaw Wood & Prior's struggles. Just about everyone thought Matt Murton would have a decent-to-good year if he got to play, and opinion was decidedly mixed on whether or not the Juan Pierre trade would turn out to be a good one. Opinion was also mixed on Rafael Furcal, with lots of people wishing the Cubs had done what it took to sign him, and others suggesting that what it took was too much. I thought I'd pull out a few predictions, ones that look smart in retrospect and ones that don't, so we can all cast our minds back to six months ago, when anything seemed possible. I mean no disrespect to those people who show up on the bad side of the ledger, all of whom had some prescient things to say as well. If you want to read full responses, you can go back and see what TCR writers, TCR readers, and other Cubs bloggers had to say. The end-of-year roundtable will be posted early next week. THE GOOD MikeC: "A possible disappointment could be Ryan Dempster, he still hasn't got his control problems fixed. Very lucky pitcher last year and baseball has a tendency to even out that luck." ruz: "Jones, meanwhile, will be an albatross by 2008, but this year I expect him to contribute." Rob G.: "Iím glad they stayed away from A.J. Burnett, big upside but just as injury prone as any of our big guys." John Hill: "The short-term results, especially in Cedenoís case, may be ugly, no better than what Neifi Perez might achieve." Rob G.: "I think the biggest surprise will actually be Jacque Jones." ruz: "Sean Marshall looks like he's going to get a chance to prove some things in April, but I think before the end of the year it'll be a different tall lefty, Rich Hill, we'll be talking about." MannyTrillo: "[Hendry] did not properly prepare for the very likely injuries to Wood and Prior."
As the 2006 season comes to a merciful end, you can look forward to Jim Hendry making a few roster moves in the next few weeks and months in an attempt to improve the Cubs for 2007. Besides trying to re-sign some of his own free-agents (almost certainly Aramis Ramirez, and probably Juan Pierre, Kerry Wood, Wade Miller, and Henry Blanco), the Cubs GM will also likely try and acquire a starting pitcher or two, maybe a power-hitting outfielder, and maybe a veteran middle infielder, via free-agency or trade. But there are also other roster moves that will be made, the type that are made "under the radar" by all MLB clubs every year at this time. And since we want you to be prepared, here's what you might expect to see happen in the coming weeks and months...
I know, the last thing anyone really wants to read is another freakin' piece bashing Dusty Baker. Do not fear, that's not what this is about. This one is all on Sir Hendry. Back in July, Hendry stated that Dusty would stick through the season and Hendry would "try to move expediently and make a decision as to what direction to go" once the season ended. Well that's all well and good and I do hope that the only thing he's deciding at this point is whether to fire Baker on the Monday morning following our last game versus the Rockies or do it right after the game to save Baker a trip back out to the office to clean out his collection of war books and designer toothpicks. My concern and where I believe Hendry may have taken a misstep is not taking care of this mess a whole lot sooner. What worries me is that the Cubs have a couple of guys on the team who will be vying for new deals this off-season, most notably Aramis Ramirez and Juan Pierre. When it comes to wooing free agents, itís my opinion that 98% of the decision-making is based on the money offered, with the other 2% a mixture of locale, amenities, manager, cronies and other such intangibles. But when trying to retain your own guys, I think the intangible percentage can play a bit of a higher factor especially if you want to sign those players for a few bucks less than they may get on the open market, which, of course, is certainly a wise business decision. While the image of the modern ballplayers is one with dollar signs in their eyes and no sense of loyalty to their current teams, more a collection of mercenaries for hire rather than a group of soldiers fighting for a common ideal, I do believe that it's not quite that grim of a picture. I think most players would prefer to stay where they're at rather than go through the process of uprooting themselves and their family, having to worry about fitting into a new team, and all the other headaches of finding a new place to play. Granted, millions of dollars tend to soothe those headaches a lot easier, but I still think it's part of the decision-making process, albeit a small one. It's also my feeling that the longer the player has played in one place, the more they want to stay. And as you start taking things away that are familiar to that player, that's a few less reasons holding them here.. And this is where I think Hendry may have messed up.
I think Jacque Jones needs to sire a few more kids as he went 3 for 5 last night with three RBI's, a homer, a double and three runs in his triumphant return to the starting lineup after taking a few days off to be with his newborn daughter. Congrats to Jones and his family and keep the hot-hitting up. Tonight is the final night game of the year and the final opportunity to watch Rich Hill pitch. Then the last off day of the year which I'm sure will be used as a mandatory practice day and the final showdown with the Rockies to finish the year off. Cubs lost out on the first pick in the draft last night with their victory and the Royals loss. Second place is still in reach, but so is fourth place as the Pirates have to contend with the Astros and Reds the rest of the way who are both trying to unthrone the rapidly collapsing Cardinals. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-NINE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] MILWAUKEE BREWERS (73-84) AT CHICAGO CUBS (64-94) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Clear, 63 degrees, Wind from L to R @ 15 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 743 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Rich Hill, LHP 6-7, 4.29 ERA, 92.1 IP 83 K, 37 BB, 13 HR 226/304/424 againstDave Bush, RHP 12-11, 4.54 ERA, 202 IP 161 K, 38 BB, 26 HR 256/305/427 against

Brady Clark, CF Tony Graffanino, 2B Jeff Cirillo, 1B Bill Hall, SS Corey Hart, RF David Bell, 3B Mike Rivera, C Vinny Rottino, LF Dave Bush, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF *John Mabry, 1B Henry Blanco, C *Scott Moore, 3B Ronny Cedeno, SS *Rich Hill, P

Brewers vs. Hill: No Brewers with more than 10 AB'sCubs vs. Bush: Jacque Jones: 5-17, 294/294/588, 4 K, 1 HR, 2 2B Juan Pierre: 6-14, 429/429/714, 1 HR Ronny Cedeno: 3-11, 273/250/545, 1 HR Aramis Ramirez: 3-10, 300/417/700, 1 HR
This has been a wretched excuse of a year. To celebrate our release from suffering on October 1st, I invite everyone to ring out the year in style, in Parachat. Let's fill the chatroom for the Sunday Oct. 1, 1:20 pm game against the Rockies, and toast the end to another fruitless season. Come in costume, come naked, come drunk, or with the lucid sobreity of a fan who has seen it all and wishes to see no more. Tell the bouncer at the door that you're a Friend of Trans, and he'll be sure to let you in. He'll ask you to check your sour mood at the door, but otherwise, anything goes!
A Royals loss coupled with a Cubs win will eliminate the Cubs from getting the top pick in next year's draft, mostly thanks to the Royals recent seven game skid. The Cubs are 2.5 back of the D'Rays for the second spot at the moment and you never know if the Royals will cheap out on a signing bonus (or for that matter the D'Rays) so there's still hope the Cubs can land the best talent in next year's draft. The Royals did shell out on Luke Hochevar this year so they may finally realize the value in building from the ground up. This is likely Sean Marshall's final start of the year and his last chance to leave something better than the taste of rotten milk on the Cubs palette. It hasn't been pretty at all for Marshall since his return from the DL (which coincided rather closely to the loss of his mentor Greg Maddux). Carlos "Don't Call Me Hector" Villanueva is a 22-year old Brewer prospect who was the bounty in the big Wayne Franklin deal with the Giants two years ago. He didn't break the Brewers top 10 prospect list by Baseball America last year but he was rated as having the best changeup in their organization. He put up a nice season between AA and AAA this year going a combined 11-6 with a 3.22 ERA, 120 K, 40 BB, 12 HR in 128.2 IP. This will be his first chance to terrorize us for many years to come. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-EIGHT IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] MILWAUKEE BREWERS (73-83 (Draft) 7th) AT CHICAGO CUBS (63-94 (Draft) 3rd - 4.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Clear, 70 degrees, Wind out to CF @ 6 mph TV: WCIU, DirecTV 744 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Sean Marshall, LHP 5-9, 5.64 ERA, 119.2 IP 74 K, 56 BB, 19 HR 270/357/440 againstCarlos Villanueva, RHP 1-1, 3.35 ERA, 40.1 IP 30 K, 9 BB, 5 HR 204/264/395 against

Brady Clark, CF Tony Graffanino, 2B *Prince Fielder, 1B Bill Hall, SS Corey Hart, RF Kevin Mench, LF David Bell, 3B Mike Rivera, C Carlos Villanueva, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF *John Mabry, 1B Henry Blanco, C *Scott Moore, 3B Ronny Cedeno, SS *Sean Marshall, P

Brewers vs. Marshall: No Brewers have ever faced MarshallCubs vs. Villanueva: No Cubs have ever faced Villanueva
Well if that lineup doesn't scare the hell out of Hendry into giving Ramirez whatever he wants, nothing will.
After this, it's back to Wrigley for a -- what's the opposite of "victory lap" anyway? Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-SEVEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (63-93 (Draft) 3rd - 4.5 GB) AT CINCINNATI REDS (76-79 (Div) 3rd - 4.5 GB; (WC) 4th - 6.0 GB) The Great American Home Run Park, 11:35 pm CDT Weather: Sunny, 60 degrees, Wind out to L @ 5 mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 735 Radio: WGN, XM 186
Bronson Arroyo, RHP 14-10, 3.38 ERA, 226.2 IP 176 K, 59 BB, 31 HR 246/297/404 againstWade Miller, RHP 0-2, 4.97 ERA, 12.2 IP 14 K, 12 BB, 3 HR 222/397/444 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF #Angel Pagan, RF *John Mabry, 1B Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS Wade Miller, P *Chris Denorfia, CF *Scott Hatteberg, 1B Rich Aurilia, SS Adam Dunn, LF Edwin Encarnacion, 3B Brandon Phillips, 2B *Todd Hollandsworth, RF David Ross, C Bronson Arroyo, P

Cubs vs. Arroyo: Aramis Ramirez: 4-14, 286/333/571, 2 K, 1 BB, 1 HR Jacque Jones: 3-18, 167/211/222, 2 K, 1 BBReds vs. Miller: Rich Aurilia: 6-16, 375/474/500, 3 BB Adam Dunn: 1-23, 043/185/174, 13 K, 4 BB, 1 HR
Mateo returns to the rotation after dealing with his back issues and the Cubs avoid a 100-loss season with there win last night. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FIFTY-SIX IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (63-92 (Draft) 3rd - 4.5 GB) AT CINCINNATI REDS (75-79 (Div) 3rd - 5.5 GB; (WC) 5th - 6.0 GB) The Great American Home Run Park, 12:15 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 69 degrees, Wind from R to L @ 13 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 735 Radio: WGN, XM 186
Aaron Harang, RHP 14-11, 3.91 ERA, 216.1 IP 198 K, 56 BB, 26 HR 274/323/442 againstJuan Mateo, RHP 1-3, 4.38 ERA, 39 IP 30 K, 15 BB, 4 HR 289/363/447 against

*Juan Pierre, CF *Freddie Bynum, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Scott Moore, 1B Henry Blanco, C *Buck Coats, RF Ronny Cedeno, SS Juan Mateo, P *Chris Denorfia, CF *Scott Hatteberg, 1B Rich Aurilia, SS Adam Dunn, LF Edwin Encarnacion, 3B Brandon Phillips, 2B Norris Hopper, RF Jason LaRue, C Aaron Harang, P

Cubs vs. Harang: Aramis Ramirez: 4-17, 235/278/412, 2 K, 1 BB, 1 HR Juan Pierre: 3-12, 250/250/417, 2 K, 0 BB, 1 3B Reds vs. Mateo: No Reds with more than 10 AB's
Rich Hill looked like he had some dominating stuff yesterday, striking out 10 batters in 5 innings, but he also got touched for three homers and Mother Nature took care of the rest, washing out the game before the offense could get Hill off the hook. Oh well, they all can't be great. Today Z hits the mound, on some sort of personal quest to try and win the Cy Young. A fool's quest it seems. He's 5th in the NL in Win Shares among starting pitchers, 7th by VORP, 5th in ERA and he's dropped to 4th in K's because of his time missed. He is 2nd in wins and only one win shy of being tied for the league, but that's because for whatever reason the Cubs offense decides to perform when he pitches (6th best run support in the league). Of course, some of that could be because of Z's presence in the lineup itself. Eight lousy games left! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FIFTY-FIVE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (62-92 (Draft) 3rd - 3.5 GB) AT CINCINNATI REDS (75-78 (Div) 2nd - 5.5 GB; (WC) 3rd - 5.5 GB) The Great American Home Run Park, 6:10 pm CDT Weather: TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 186
Kyle Lohse, RHP (NL Only) 2-4, 4.33 ERA, 54 IP 43 K, 15 BB, 5 HR 288/335/418 againstCarlos Zambrano, RHP 15-6, 3.38 ERA, 200 IP 194 K, 108 BB, 19 HR 210/318/356 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF #Angel Pagan, RF John Mabry, 1B Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS #Carlos Zambrano, P *Dewayne Wise, CF *Scott Hatteberg, 1B Edwin Encarnacion, 3B Adam Dunn, LF #Javier Valentin, C *Todd Hollandsworth, RF Brandon Phillips, SS #Ray Olmedo, 2B Kyle Lohse, P

Cubs vs. Lohse: No Cubs with more than 10 AB'sReds vs. Zambrano: Adam Dunn: 7-34, 206/364/559, 10 K, 9 BB, 4 HR Jason LaRue: 4-24, 167/231/208, 11 K, 0 BB Royce Clayton: 4-19, 211/250/368 Rich Aurilia: 4-14, 286/375/286 Scott Hatteberg: 4-13, 308/526/615, 2 K, 6 BB, 1 HR Edwin Encarnacion: 3-10, 300/417/600, 1 HR
I assume something is wrong with Jacque Jones. What the hell is wrong with Dusty to start Mabry over Moore?
In Hill's last outing he threw a complete game shut-out against these very Reds on 118 pitches, walking one while striking out ten, giving up only two hits and facing a mere thirty-one hitters. I'd call that a good game. A matter of fact if you go by Bill James's game score, it was the best pitched game this year along with a gem by Dontrelle Willis earlier in the year. It'll be tough for him to top tonight, so I expect nothing less than a no-hitter or a 20 K night out of the Michigan alum. This is the last road trip of the season for the Cubbies before a final adventure in the Friendly Confines to wrap up the season. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FIFTY-FOUR IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (62-91 (Draft) 3rd - 3.5 GB) AT CINCINNATI REDS (74-78 (Div) 2nd - 6.5 GB; (WC) 6th - 5.5 GB) The Great American Home Run Park, 6:10 pm CDT Weather: TV: CLTV, DirecTV 737 Radio: WGN, XM 186
Chris Michalak, LHP 1-3, 4.88 ERA, 27.2 IP 7 K, 11 BB, 4 HR 306/380/481 againstRich Hill, LHP 6-6, 4.12 ERA, 87.1 IP 73 K, 35 BB, 12 HR 227/305/408 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF #Angel Pagan, RF Henry Blanco, 1B Ronny Cedeno, SS Geovany Soto, C *Rich Hill, P *Chris Denorfia, RF Brandon Phillips, SS Rich Aurilia, 1B Adam Dunn, LF Edwin Encarnacion, 3B David Ross, C Juan Castro, 2B Norris Hopper, RF *Chris Michalak, P

Cubs vs. Michalak: No Cubs with more than 10 AB'sReds vs. Hill: No Reds with more than 10 AB's
Look, I would love to see the Cubs sign a premier starting pitcher like Jason Schmidt, or a "big bat" like Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Lee. I really would. But I just can't see that happening.
Well we didn't get the pitching gem I was hoping for but we did get seven RBI's out of Aramis and the offensive explosion continues. And winning is always nice, even if it'll cost us a slot or two in the draft. Today it's the ageless Moyer against "Scruffy" Miller. Scruffy was pretty solid in his last outing versus the Dodgers, giving up a mere hit in his five innings of work in a game eventually won by the Cubs thanks to another three-run dinger by Aramis Ramirez. Scruffy topped out at 90 mph from what I saw, although he seemed to have trouble locating at that speed. Most of the time he was in the high 80's with his fastball and I thought his curve and change worked nicely. This spoiler role is kind of fun, so Go Cubs! One more win by the Cubs and they will avoid 100 losses this year. Little victories. GAME ONE HUNDRED-FIFTY-TWO IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (62-89 (Draft) 3rd - 4.5 GB) AT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (77-73 (WC) 2nd - 1.5 GB) Citizens Bank Park, 6:05 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, 75 degrees, Wind from L to R @ 8 mph TV: WCIU Radio: WGN, XM 184
Jamie Moyer, LHP (NL Only) 2-2, 4.32 ERA, 33.1 IP 17 K, 3 BB, 4 HR 271/321/470 againstWade Miller, RHP 0-1, 6.75 ERA, 8 IP 6 K, 8 BB, 3 HR 214/389/536 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Henry Blanco, 1B Ronny Cedeno, SS Geovany Soto, C Wade Miller, P #Jimmy Rollins, SS #Shane Victorino, CF *Chase Utley, 2B *Ryan Howard, 1B *David Dellucci, RF Pat Burrell, LF Chris Coste, C #Abraham Nunez, 3B *Jamie Moyer, P

Cubs vs. Moyer: Jacque Jones: 6-18, 333/400/389, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 2BPhillies vs. Miller: Jose Hernandez: 6-23, 251/320/435, 1 HR David Dellucci: 6-15, 400/471/667
Two straight gems by our starting staff has been a refreshing departure and Sean Marshall has about two to three more starts this year to leave some sort of impression going into the off-season. Hopefully it's a good one. While Marshall's final numbers at the end of the year probably won't be much to talk about, I think he's shown the ability to get major leaguers out and even flat out dominate at times. I'd say not to bad for a guy with about ten starts in AA before this season. And since consistency is generally the one thing lacking of rookie players, it's one of the things you hope he'll find in the very near future. And it's not like I'm advocating that the team guarantee him a spot this off-season and ignore the opportunity to acquire more talented players, but as the adage seems to go, you can't have enough good pitching. As for the Phils, once again the Cubs get an opportunity to either play spoiler or springboard. So far it's the role of spoiler as they take an early 3-run lead on an Aramis dinger. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FIFTY-ONE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (61-89 (Draft) 3rd - 3.5 GB) AT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (77-72 (WC) 2nd - 1 GB) Citizens Bank Park, 6:05 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 78 degrees, Wind out to CF @ 3 mph TV: CLTV Radio: WGN, XM 184
Jon Lieber, RHP 8-9, 4.87 ERA, 153.1 IP 91 K, 24 BB, 24 HR 290/320/469 againstSean Marshall, LHP 5-9, 5.34 ERA, 116.1 IP 71 K, 54 BB, 18 HR 268/354/437 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF #Angel Pagan, LF Henry Blanco, C *Scott Moore, 1B Ronny Cedeno, SS *Sean Marshall, P #Jimmy Rollins, SS #Shane Victorino, CF *Chase Utley, 2B *Ryan Howard, 1B Jeff Conine, RF Pat Burrell, LF Chris Coste, C #Abraham Nunez, 3B *Jon Lieber, P

Cubs vs. Lieber: Aramis Ramirez: 9-27, 333/333/407, 6 K, 0 BB Juan Pierre: 7-22, 318/318/364, 2 K, 0 BB John Mabry: 3-17, 176/222/235, 6 K, 1 BB Jacque Jones: 5-16, 313 /313 /500, 1 HR, 6 K, 0 BB Henry Blanco: 5-14, 357/400 /429, 4 K, 1 BB Phillies vs. Marshall: No Phillies have ever faced Marshall
48 Cubs prospects will soon be playing in fall leagues in Arizona and Hawaii. A number of other players from the Cubs organization (TBD) will play in Latin Winter Leagues in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic.
Derrek Lee will miss the rest of the season to tend to his 3-year old daughter. They haven't clarified what illness she's suffering from but she has lost some vision in one eye. As Lee states, you think breaking a wrist is a big deal and then something like this happens. Our thoughts and prayers to the whole Lee family as I don't even want to imagine what his family is going through right now. Z is back on the mound today to try and give the Cubs the series win after Rich Hill's gem yesterday. Go Bears, I mean Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FIFTY IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CINCINNATI REDS (73-75 (Div) 2nd - 6.5 GB; (WC) 5th - 4.5 GB ) AT CHICAGO CUBS (60-89 (Draft) 3rd - 2.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:20 pm CDT Weather: TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 188
Carlos Zambrano, RHP 14-6, 3.50 ERA, 193 IP 188 K, 104 BB, 19 HR 212/318/359 againstEric Milton, LHP 8-7, 4.84 ERA, 152.1 IP 89 K, 42 BB, 27 HR 262/314/461 against

*Dewayne Wise, CF *Scott Hatteberg, 1B Rich Aurilia, SS *Adam Dunn, LF Edwin Encarnacion, 3B #Javier Valentin, C *Todd Hollandsworth, RF #Ray Olmedo, 2B *Eric Milton, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Henry Blanco, 1B Ronny Cedeno, SS Geovany Soto, C #Carlos Zambrano, P

Reds vs. Zambrano: Adam Dunn: 7-32, 219/366/594,10 K, 8 BB, 4 HR Jason Larue: 4-24, 167/231/208, 11 K, 0 BB Royce Clayton: 3-18, 167/211/278, 5 K, 1 BB Ken Griffey Jr.: 5-16, 313/421/875, 1 HR Ryan Freel: 2-14, 143/294/143 Rich Aurilia: 3-12, 250/308/250 Scott Hatteberg: 4-11, 364/563/727, 2 K, 5 BB Cubs vs. Milton: Aramis Ramirez: 9-27, 333/333/741, 4 K, 0 BB, 3 HR Juan Pierre: 6-22, 273/385/318 , 1 2B Derrek Lee: 4-18, 222/286/722, 3 HR Matt Murton: 6-17, 438/471/813, 1 HR Cesar Izturis: 3-11, 273/273/545, 1 HR
I imagine by the end of this series, the Reds will think they're right back in the playoff hunt. We've already given new hope to a number of teams the last month or so. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-NINE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CINCINNATI REDS (73-74 (Div) 2nd - 5.5 GB; (WC) 5th - 3.5 GB ) AT CHICAGO CUBS (59-89 (Draft) 3rd - 2 GB) Wrigley Field, 3:05 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, 78 degrees, Wind from R to L @ 14 mph TV: CSN Radio: WGN, XM 188
Rich Hill, LHP 5-6, 4.60 ERA, 78.1 IP 63 K, 34 BB, 12 HR 243/321/438 againstChris Michalak, LHP 1-2, 5.09 ERA, 23 IP 6 K, 10 BB, 4 HR 299/378/494 against

Ryan Freel, CF Norris Hopper, RF* Rich Aurilia, 1B Edwin Encarnacion, 3B *Adam Dunn, LF Dave Ross, C Royce Clayton, SS Brandon Phillips, 2B *Chris Michalak, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Henry Blanco, 1B Ronny Cedeno, SS Geovany Soto, C *Rich Hill, P

Reds vs. Hill: No Reds with more than 10 AB's Cubs vs. Michalak: No Cubs with more than 10 AB's
I assume something is wrong with Derrek Lee. We know something is wrong with Dusty Baker. Does Blanco have some incentive clause or something Baker's trying to reach for him?
The Cubs pulled off a nice comeback victory setting up a great NL West showdown this weekend between the Dodgers and Padres, a mere half a game separating the two. The Cubs though lost ground to the Devil Rays who are now only a half a game behind the Royals in the race for worst in baseball. Long-live the Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-EIGHT IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CINCINNATI REDS (72-74 (Div) 2nd - 5.5 GB; (WC) 5th - 4.5 GB ) AT CHICAGO CUBS (59-88 (Draft) 3rd - 2 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:20 pm CDT Weather: Sunny, 73 degrees, Wind from R to L @ 4 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 734 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Juan Mateo, RHP 1-3, 4.75 ERA, 36 IP 27 K, 13 BB, 4 HR 306/373/472 againstBronson Arroyo, RHP 13-9, 3.29 ERA, 213.1 IP 165 K, 52 BB, 29 HR 247/294/401 against

Ryan Freel, CF Norris Hopper, RF* *Scott Hatteberg, 1B Rich Aurilia, 3B *Adam Dunn, 1B Dave Ross, C Royce Clayton, SS Brandon Phillips, 2B Bronson Arroyo, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, LF Matt Murton, LF *Scott Moore, 1B #Cesar Izturis, SS Henry Blanco, C Juan Mateo, P

Reds vs. Mateo: No Reds have ever faced Mateo Cubs vs. Arroyo: Jacque Jones: 3-16, 188/188/250,1 2B Derrek Lee: 3-11, 273/333/545, 1 HR Aramis Ramirez: 3-11, 273/273/545, 1 HR
Someone give Dusty's lineup generator a whack, I think it's broken.
The Dodgers are just piling on now. Greg Maddux was scheduled to pitch today's game but was pushed back so he can face the Padres this weekend, them being the Dodgers closest competition in the NL West race. Instead they give Hong-Chih Kuo his second major league start. Someone must have gotten the scouting report to Grady Little that the Cubs can't hit the newbies. If you have time to pick him up in your fantasy league, he's a good bet to throw a gem today. The Cubs were officially eliminated from the post-season last night. They did pick up a game on the Royals in the race for the top draft pick, trailing them by a mere 2 games with the D-Rays only a game and half behind the Royals for the top stop. Here's the schedule breakdown for the 3 teams: Royals: (Home - 9): Mariners (4), Angels (2), Tigers (3) (Away -7): Twins (4), Tigers (3) D'Rays: (Home - 7): Orioles (3), Yankees (4) (Away -10): Yankees (1), Blue Jays (3), Red Sox (2), Indians (4) Cubs: (Home - 9): Dodgers (1), Reds (3), Breweres (2), Rockies (3) (Away - 7): Phillies (3), Reds (4) Who said this September won't be exciting? Sure, I'd rather see 16 straight gems from our starting staff, but on the other hand it's pretty tough to completely screw up the first pick in the draft, Matt Bush and Brien Taylor notwithstanding. GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-SEVEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] LOS ANGELES DODGERS (77-68 (Div) 1st - 0 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (58-88 (Draft) 3rd - 2 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:20 pm CDT Weather: Sunny, 71 degrees, Wind in from CF @ 9 mph TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 188
Wade Miller, RHP 0-1, 12.00 ERA, 3 IP 3 K, 5 BB, 2 HR 385/556/846 againstHong-Chih Kuo, LHP 1-4, 4.46 ERA, 36.1 IP 43 K, 29 BB, 2 HR 223/366/338 against

#Rafael Furcal, SS *Kenny Lofton, CF Nomar Garciaparra, SS #J.D. Drew, RF Jeff Kent, 2B #Wilson Betemit, 3B *Marlon Anderson, LF Russ Martin, C *Hong-Chih Kuo, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Derrek Lee, 1B Matt Murton, LF #Angel Pagan, RF Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS Wade Miller, P

Dodgers vs. Miller: J.D. Drew: 3-23, 130/310/261, 8 K, 6 BB, 1 HR Kenny Lofton: 8-22, 364 /440/545, 1 HR, 1 2B Marlon Anderson: 6-19, 316/364/368 Rafael Furcal: 2-14, 143 /368 /357, 3 K, 5 BB, 1 HR Jeff Kent: 5-12, 417/417/583, 2 K, 0 BB, 2 2B Cubs vs. Kuo: No Cubs with more than 10 AB's
We can really stop giving Blanco just about every start. At least split time with Reyes and Soto.
Glendon Rusch has taken his fair share of criticism over the year for his apparent lack of off-season conditioning as well as being one of the worst pitchers in baseball. But today we learn of some very somber news, that Rusch will miss the rest of the season with a blood clot in his right lung. As Dusty points out in the Trib article, it's the second time this has happened to a Cubs player this year, the first being Freddie Bynum who missed two months of the season dealing with it. I don't know enough about blood clots to tell anyone whether one in the arm or one in the lungs is more serious than the other, but it's definitely serious business, trainer Mark O'Neal even stating that it could be life-threatening. Here's to a full and speedy recovery to Glendon and best wishes to his family. As for the Cubs, they got eliminated from the NL central crown some time over the last couple of days and a Padre win, coupled with a Cubs loss should eliminate them from the wild card. GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-SIX IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] LOS ANGELES DODGERS (76-68 (Div) 1st - 0 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (58-87 (Draft) 3rd - 3 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, 64 degrees, Wind from L to R @ 13 mph TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 188
Angel Guzman, RHP 0-5, 7.53 ERA, 49 IP 57 K, 30 BB, 8 HR 303/406/492 againstBrad Penny, RHP 15-8, 4.21 ERA, 171 IP 126 K, 48 BB, 17 HR 271/326/421 against

#Rafael Furcal, SS *Kenny Lofton, CF Nomar Garciaparra, SS #J.D. Drew, RF Jeff Kent, 2B #Wilson Betemit, 3B *Marlon Anderson, LF Russ Martin, C Brad Penny, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF *John Mabry, 1B #Cesar Izturis, SS Henry Blanco, C Angel Guzman, P

Dodgers vs. Guzman: No Dodgers have ever faced Guzman Cubs vs. Penny: Juan Pierre: 7-19, 368/455/474, 3 K, 3 BB, 2 2B Aramis Ramirez: 7-18, 389/389/444, 1 2B
Can we make it a rule that Scott Moore gets to start at 1B on the days Lee sits?
The Dodgers have done a fine job through Paul Depodesta and Ned Colletti of acquiring a bunch of players the Cubs should have had over the last two years including: Rafael Furcal Nomar Garciaparra J.D. Drew Derek Lowe Wilson Betemit Kenny Lofton Okay, I'm stretching a bit especially on Derek Lowe since the Cubs weren't really looking to acquire a starting pitcher last year but the point remains that I like the Dodgers pickups of the past few seasons a lot more than I like the Cubs pickups. I also like the Dodgers record this year a lot more than the Cubs record. GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-FIVE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] LOS ANGELES DODGERS (76-67 (Div) 1st - 0 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (57-87 (Draft) 2nd - 3 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Overcast, 66 degrees, Wind From L to R @ 13 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 742 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Sean Marshall, LHP 5-9, 5.27 ERA, 112.2 IP 69 K, 50 BB, 17 HR 266/350/435 againstDerek Lowe, RHP 14-8, 3.64 ERA, 193 IP 105 K, 49 BB, 13 HR 254/304/353 against

#Rafael Furcal, SS Julio Lugo, 3B Nomar Garciaparra, SS #J.D. Drew, RF Jeff Kent, 2B *Andre Ethier, LF Matt Kemp, CF Russ Martin, C Derek Lowe, P *Juan Pierre, CF *Freddie Bynum, 2B Derrek Lee, 1B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF *Scott Moore, 3B Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS *Sean Marshalll, P

Dodgers vs. Marshall: No Dodgers with more than 10 AB's Cubs vs. Lowe: Jacque Jones: 8-23, 348 ./348/522, 6 K, 0 BB, 3 XBH Juan Pierre: 2-16, 125/176/125 Derrek Lee: 7-14, 500/533/714, 6 K, 1 BB, 1 HR John Mabry: 3-10, 300/364/700, 4 K, 1 BB, 1 HR, 1 2B
Yeah my bad on yesterday's headline, didn't realize this was a Friday to Monday four game series. Of course the premise still applies for today. Good news is three weeks from today, you'll wake up without having to worry about how the Cubs will embarrass themselves on the field that day. Instead it will be how they'll embarrass themselves in the front office. At least we're giving Atlanta fans some hope. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-FOUR IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (56-87, (Draft) 2nd, 2.5 GB) AT ATLANTA BRAVES (69-73, (WC) 7th, 5 GB) Turner Field, 6:05 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 82 degrees, Wind from R to L @ 12 mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 737 Radio: WGN, XM 184
John Smoltz, RHP 12-8, 3.63 ERA, 201 IP 183 K, 45 BB, 20 HR 245/291/391 againstRich Hill, LHP 4-6, 4.83 ERA, 30 IP 21 K, 11 BB, 4 HR 317/384/488 against

*Juan Pierre, CF *Freddie Bynum, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Derrek Lee, 1B *Jacque Jones, RF #Angel Pagan, LF #Cesar Izturis, SS Henry Blanco, C *Rich Hill, P Martin Prado, 3B Marcus Giles, 2B Edgar Renteria, SS Andruw Jones, CF Jeff Francoeur, RF *Brian McCann, C Matt Diaz, LF *Daryle Ward, 1B John Smoltz, P

Cubs vs. Smoltz: Juan Pierre: 6- 24, 250/250/292 John Mabry: 6-21, 286/375/429, 1 HR Derrek Lee: 3-16, 188/235/313, 7 K, 1 BB Aramis Ramirez: 4-11, 364/364/909, 2 HR Braves vs. Hill: No Braves with more than 10 Ab's
Izturis is back and Cedeno and Theriot sit so Bynum's family can watch him play. Makes perfect sense, no?
If nothing were to change during the off-season, and if all pitchers are healthy come Spring Training, the Cubs would probably enter the 2007 season with a starting rotation consisting of Carlos Zambrano, Mark Prior, Rich Hill, Sean Marshall, and either Angel Guzman, Juan Mateo, Jae-kuk Ryu, or Ryan OíMalley. In an interview with Len Kasper on WGN-TV last week, Cubs GM Jim Hendry was talking about 2007 and mentioned the need to upgrade pitching as (obviously) something he (obviously) would be trying to do. Obviously. With Ryan Dempster, Scott Eyre, and Bob Howry signed through 2008, and with four or five younger relievers (Will Ohman, Michael Wuertz, David Aardsma, Roberto Novoa, and Carlos Marmol) already on board and another half-dozen or so possible candidates (Federico Baez, Lincoln Holdzkom, Carmen Pignatiello, Clay Rapada, Andy Shipman, and Randy Wells, plus Guzman, Mateo, Ryu, and OíMalley if they don't start) likely to compete for a spot in the pen, I would imagine when Hendry was talking about addressing pitching, he was mainly talking about adding at least one veteran established healthy starting pitcher to the rotation, or possibly two.
I'm going to go watch football. GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-THREE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (56-85, (Draft) 2nd, 2.5 GB) AT ATLANTA BRAVES (68-73, (WC) 7th, 5 GB) Turner Field, 12:05 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 81 degrees, Wind from R to L @ 9 mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 734 Radio: WGN, XM 184
Lance Cormier, RHP 2-4, 5.26 ERA, 53 IP 27 K, 31 BB, 3 HR 304/394/436 againstJuan Mateo, RHP 1-2, 5.10 ERA, 30 IP 21 K, 11 BB, 4 HR 317/384/488 against

*Juan Pierre, CF *Freddie Bynum, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF *John Mabry, 1B Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS Juan Mateo, P Willy Aybar, 3B Marcus Giles, 2B Edgar Renteria, SS *Adam LaRoche, 1B *Brian McCann, C Jeff Francoeur, RF Matt Diaz, LF *Ryan Langerhans, CF Lance Cormier, P

Cubs vs. Cormier: No Cubs with more than 10 Ab's Braves vs. Mateo: No Braves with more than 10 Ab's
The much anticipated, season saving return of Wade Miller is tonight. Thanks for joining the club in such a timely fashion. Be sure to pitch really well so you can show off for your future employeer. Guzman once again pitched poorly last night, falling behind in the count and then laying a meatball right down the middle of the plate to avoid the walk. Sort of the anti-Marmol, but same cruddy result. Since the Cubs are playing for nothing and Guzman probably has the most talent in the Cubs farm system, you stick with him through the rest of the year and hope he can turn a corner sooner rather than later. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-TWO IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (56-85, (Draft) 2nd, 3.5 GB) AT ATLANTA BRAVES (67-73, (WC) 6th, 7 GB) Turner Field, 6:05 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 80 degrees, Wind from L to R @ 7 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 737 Radio: WGN, XM 184
Chuck James, LHP 8-3, 3.65 ERA, 88.2 IP 60 K, 34 BB, 14 HR 232/311/423 againstWade Miller, RHP (Guess the Year) 15-4, 3.28 ERA, 164.2 IP 144 K, 62 BB, 14 HR 249/322/387 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Derrek Lee, 1B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS Wade Miller, P Marcus Giles, 2B Willy Aybar, 3B *Adam LaRoche, 1B Andruw Jones, CF *Brian McCann, C Jeff Francoeur, RF *Ryan Langerhans, LF Tony Pena Jr., SS *Chuck James, P

Cubs vs. James: No Cubs with more than 10 Ab's Braves vs. Miller: Edgar Renteria: 0-22, 000/185/000 Chipper Jones: 7-16, 438/500/813 Andruw Jones: 4-15, 267/333/333
I know Renteria has had his problems with Miller but how long ago did all that happen?
Two of our minor league affiliates were enjoying the thrills of post-season baseball, here's a quick update as the playoffs began this week.
There are some around here who jokingly believe that if (and let's hope it's more like when) Dusty gets fired we won't have much to talk about around here. I'm starting to believe it myself because I just can't imagine another manager out there who could say so many non-sensical things for us to debate. Dusty's latest foray is this gem courtesy of The Daily Herald when asked about the Braves 14 year playoff run likely coming to a halt this season:
"It's more weird for me not preparing for the playoffs than the Braves. The Braves, 15 years in a row, that's a heck of a run"
As Miles points out in his article, since the Braves started racking up division titles in the early 90's, it's Braves 14 and Baker 4 in the race to the postseason. I'll miss you Dusty, kind of like missing the crazy, drunk aunt at Thanksgiving dinner.
The almighty Braves have fallen, their miraculous run of division titles will likely come to an official end this weekend. They still have the faintest of hopes for a wild card birth, but obviously chances are slimmer than slim when your seven games back and trailing seven other teams. Makes you think Leo Mazzone really was the genius over there, but then you look at the Orioles who have given up the 2nd most runs in baseball. Enough about Hotlanta, the Cubs are a story in themselves, a story of pain, suffering, heartbreak, and an ending about as upbeat as one would find in a James Ellroy novel. Only 22 more games to endure. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-ONE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (56-84, 2nd, 4.5 GB) AT ATLANTA BRAVES (66-73, (WC) 7th, 7 GB) Turner Field, 6:05 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 81 degrees, Wind in from RF @ 7 mph TV: CLTV, DirecTV 739 Radio: WGN, XM 184
Tim Hudson, RHP 11-10, 4.95 ERA, 189 IP 116 K, 66 BB, 21 HR 273/339/436 againstAngel Guzman, RHP 0-4, 7.05 ERA, 44.2 IP 50 K, 30 BB, 5 HR 297/408/451 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Derrek Lee, 1B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, SS Geovany Soto, C Angel Guzman, P Marcus Giles, 2B Edgar Renteria, SS *Adam LaRoche, 1B Andruw Jones, CF *Brian McCann, C Jeff Francoeur, RF #Willy Aybar, 3B *Scott Thorman, LF Tim Hudson, P

Cubs vs. Hudson: Jacque Jones: 10-32, 313/313/531, 6 K, 0 BB, 2 HR, 1 2B John Mabry: 4-16, 250/250/250 Juan Pierre: 3-13, 231/286/231 Aramis Ramirez: 3-10, 300/300/400Braves vs. Guzman: No Braves with more than 10 Ab's
Nice to see Soto get a start and it does seem like Dusty is at least trying to get Murton and Theriot more AB's than Bynum and Pagan, although the discrepancy is far closer than I'd like. I'm more curious to see how Guzman does with Soto than anything Soto does with the bat.
With the end of the season fast approaching and the Dusty Era (hopefully) coming to a close, Cub fans far and wide have been looking toward next season. One big question on everyone's mind is, "who will the Cubs' manager be in 2007"? Fredi Gonzalez' name has bandied about quite a bit recently (and, actually, since the last time the Cubs were looking for a skipper), and he's Arizona Phil's odds-on choice. But strange things are afoot in south Florida. Last month saw a strange series of events take place between Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and manager (and Peoria native, Northwestern grad, ex-Cub) Joe Girardi, leading lots of Cubs fans to get excited about the possibility of Girardi coming to Chicago next year. In order to give us some idea what kind of manager he is for the Marlins and might be for the Cubs, we asked one of the best professional baseball writers out there, Miami Herald/ESPN columnist Dan LeBatard, to answer a few questions about Joe:
So this Rich Hill character has looked pretty good since his most recent call-up and if they do keep him around and he does perform like this for the next 5-6 years, the Cubs get a guy through all his prime years on the uber-cheap. I'll take that. As for today's game, I updated the previews to reflect our race for worst record in baseball. It seems more fun to watch us go for something we're only 5 games back of in September. Go Cubs or go draft pick...either way! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] PITTSBURGH PIRATES (56-84, 2nd, 4.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (56-83, 4th, 5 GB) Wrigley Field, 1:20 pm CDT Weather: Sunny, 81 degrees, Wind Out to RF @ 9 mph TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 189
Sean Marshalll, LHP 5-9, 5.05 ERA, 108.2 IP 68 K, 48 BB, 16 HR 260/345/427 againstShawn Chacon, RHP (NL Only) 1-2, 4.97 ERA, 21 IP 12 K, 21 BB, 5 HR 278/437/557 against

*Chris Duffy, CF Jack Wilson, SS Xavier Nady, RF Jason Bay, LF #Ryan Doumit, 1B Jose Bautista, 3B Jose Castillo, 2B Humberto Cota, C Shawn Chacon, P *Juan Pierre, CF *Freddie Bynum, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF #Angel Pagan, LF *Scott Moore, 1B Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS *Sean Marshalll, P

Pirates vs. Marshall: No Pirates with more than 10 AB's Cubs vs. Chacon: Aramis Ramirez: 7-11, 636/667/2000, 4 HR, 3 2B
I think Ramirez has your number Chacon. Just can't stomach to give Soto a start, can you Dusty?
I never really thought we'd catch the Pirates or the Royals for worst record in the league, but honestly a top pick in the first three slots of the draft is usually a good thing especially since the Cubs don't seem to shy away from giving out bonus money. This isn't a team that's so young that any type of moral victory such as fifth over sixth place would mean anything, so might as well go for the high draft pick. The Royals are playing well so they're definitely catchable for the overall worst record. You want to see some of the kids on the team do well, I'm particularly interested in Murton, Theriot, Hill, Guzman, Marshall and Ryu and on a lesser scale Soto, Marmol and Mateo, but anytime a vet needs a break or what not, no reason to put them out there I say. Well maybe we should put Rusch out there, he'd definitely help with the losing. Go Cubs or go draft pick...either way! GAME ONE HUNDRED-THIRTY-NINE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] PITTSBURGH PIRATES (56-83 (Div) 5th - 18.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th -16.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (55-83 (Div) 6th - 19.0 GB; (Wild Card) 13th - 17.0 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Clear, 77 degrees, Wind in from RF @ 8 mph TV: CSN, DirectTV 745 Radio: WGN, XM 189
Rich Hill, LHP 4-6, 5.24 ERA, 65.1 IP 46 K, 30 BB, 12 HR 252/333/479 againstZach Duke, LHP 8-13, 4.97 ERA, 179.1 IP 94 K, 59 BB, 14 HR 310/367/456 against

*Chris Duffy, CF Jose Bautista, 3B Freddy Sanchez, SS Jason Bay, LF #Ryan Doumit, 1B Ronny Paulino, C Joe Randa, 3B Jose Castillo, 2B *Zach Duke *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Derrek Lee, 1B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS *Rich Hill, P

Pirates vs. Hill: No Pirates with more than 10 AB's Cubs vs. Duke: Matt Murton: 8-14, 571/600/929, 1 HR, 2 2B Ronny Cedeno: 6-13, 462/462/462 Aramis Ramirez: 3-12, 250/308/500 Juan Pierre: 1-11, 091/091/091 Derrek Lee: 2-10, 200/200/300
According to Bruce Miles in the Daily Herald, the Pirates "commandeered" Wrigley Field for some extra batting & fielding practice prior to last night's game. So Bucs manager Jim Tracy apparently had a novel idea: How about some extra practice during the season? And Paul Sullivan in the Chicago Tribune reports that Cubs #1 prospect Felix Pie is upset that he didn't get a September recall, and that he is being sent to Fitch Park in Mesa to work one-on-one with hitting instructor Von Joshua and base-running instructor Bob Dernier instead of getting a chance to strut his stuff at Wrigley Field in September.
A break in the action here at work gives me some time to pop this up. Tonight's loser gets to be queen for a day, possibly longer. Go Cubs or go draft pick...either way! GAME ONE HUNDRED-THIRTY-EIGHT IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] PITTSBURGH PIRATES (55-83 (Div) 6th - 19.0 GB; (Wild Card) 13th -16.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (55-82 (Div) 5th - 18.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 16.0 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Clear, 72 degrees, Wind in from RF @ 4 mph TV: WCIU, DirectTV 744 Radio: WGN, XM 189
Juan Mateo, RHP 1-2, 4.15 ERA, 26 IP 14 K, 11BB, 2 HR 208/313/356 againstVictor Santos, RHP 5-9, 5.54 ERA, 112 IP 79 K, 41 BB, 16 HR 314/387/419 against

*Chris Duffy, CF Jose Bautista, 3B Freddy Sanchez, SS Jason Bay, LF Xavier Nady, 1B *Jeromy Burnitz, RF Ronny Paulino, C Jose Castillo, 2B Victor Santos, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Derrek Lee, 1B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS Juan Mateo, P

Pirates vs. Mateo: No Pirates with more than 10 AB's Cubs vs. Santos: Aramis Ramirez: 9-24, 375/400/750, 1 HR Derrek Lee: 4-20, 200/292/500, 2 HR Jacque Jones: 5-14, 357 /400/429 John Mabry: 3-13, 231/231/462, 1 HR Juan Pierre: 2-12, 167/167/417, 1 HR
The Cubs acquired AA pitcher Adam Harben from the Minnesota Twins to complete the Phil Nevin deal from last week. They also called up pitcher Jae-kuk Ryu and catcher Jose Reyes. To make room on the 40-man roster for Harben, the Cubs also put Jerome Williams on waivers and he was claimed by the Oakland Athletics. Sayonara Sir Williams! Harben was a 15th round pick of the Twins back in 2002 out of community college in Arkansas. Scout.com had him at #11 in their pre-season Twins prospect ranking but dropped him down to #38 when they revisited the list mid-season. Harben recently turned 23 and finished his AA season going 4-9 with a 3.96 ERA with 74K/67 BB/5 HR in 122.2 IP. I believe he's been shuttled between the pen and the rotation. Judging from his splits this year, he's pretty decent at getting righties out (.197 BA against) and keeps the ball on the ground (2.03 GO/FO ratio). Harben once threw in the high 90's, but his velocity starting taking a dip in 2005 and he throws in the low to mid 90's. He also features a slider and a change, both of which he seems to have trouble commanding. Sounds like he's about what you'd expect for an aging, one-month rental. A kid with some upside and tools, but all kinds of trouble putting them together. He was expected to go to the AFL for the Twins, so we'll see if the Cubs do some switching around. This will probably have to suffice for today's preview. Stupid job getting in the way. It's Juan Mateo versus Victor Santos. A loss and the Cubs take over last place in the division. Yeah 2006!

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