May 2007

Game 36 Recap: Cubs 4, Mets 5

An avoidable loss

GameCenter Recap

W - Heilman (4-2), (A win with only one pitch thrown!)

L - Wuertz (0-2), the Strike Zone

Important things to take from this game

1. The Lineup: With Lee out, DeRosa took over at first. Additionally, Blanco spelled Barrett for the night. With the lefty Glavine on the mound, Pagan played CF in place of Jones. Finally, Soriano got dropped to third in the lineup, with Theroit leading off and Izturis hitting second. 2. The Early Offense: The Cubs Offense (read, Marquis) staked Marquis to 4-0 lead after two innings. A combination of some shakey OF defense, balls dropping in, and a 2-run single by Marquis, and he had room for error, early on. 3. A Very Ugly Play: Bottom of the fifth, Endy Chavez lays down a great bunt. Ramirez gets out of the way just in time for Marquis, who then nearly hits Ramirez with the throw. The throw sails wide, into the basepath, and Chavez collides with DeRosa, hitting DeRosa's exposed throwing hand. Everyone stays in the game, but it looked really bad. 4. The Middle Relief: Marquis never really had it tonight, but held things together through 5+, exiting with a lead (and just 87 pitches thrown) but also with the tying runs on base and nobody out. It's times like this where you really need a knock-out performance from a middle reliever. Ohman in to face Green, overpowers him for the strikeout. Cherry in for the next batter, LoDuca, who doubles to score a run. Easley gets a sac. fly, and the game is tied at 4. Nuts. 5. From Bad to Wuertz. In the bottom of the 9th in a tie game, Wuertz gets two easy outs, then gives up a single to Reyes, a stolen base, and then totally loses it. 9 straight balls to load the bases. Facing Delgado withthe bases loaded, he goes to a full count. One pitch determines if we lose, or live to fight out the tenth. Two more foul balls later, and Wuertz walks in the winning run. Stunning how quickly he lost control of what looked like an easy inning. Mets win. The comedic relief is below.

Anomaly? Who Said Anomaly?

Back in the first week of the season, I wrote about the apparently freakish excellence of Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis in their respective Cub debuts. Well, here we are, several weeks and 13 starts later, and the two Cub newbies continue to pitch superbly. Combined 2007 numbers for Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis over 15 starts: 101 IP, 70 H, 27 R, 72 K, 21 BB Put another way, the average Lilly/Marquis start this season: 6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 5 K, 1 BB !!!!!

Game 35 Recap: Cubs 4, Phillies 1

A Lilly for Mother.

Game Center, Play-by-Play, Box Score, Photos, Recap, GameChart

W - Lilly (3-2), Mom. L - Lieber (1-2) S - Dempster (8) Important things to take from this game: 1. Lee's pain in the neck. Derrek Lee wasn't supposed to start today, due to a sore neck. He talked his way into the lineup, but then left after the end of the first inning. For the day, he was 0-1 with a GIDP. Daryle Ward came in to replace him at first. Early report from Len is "neck spasms, day-to-day." 2. The great starting pitching. Lilly was absolutely dominant, allowing one hit (which should have been an out) through seven. He got several called strike-threes on the Lilly-hammer. Lieber was hitable, but succeeded in pitching out of a few jams (with some help from the Cubs.) All told, it was a crisp, clean, refreshing game through seven. With that choice of adjectives, I feel the need for a cheap domestic "beer." 3. The Eighth Inning. With a 2-0 lead, 94 pitches thrown and only one hit allowed, Lilly comes out to start the eighth. Helms singles, Nunez singles, and runners are at first and third with no outs. Ruiz lines one to Ramirez, who catches it but then tries to double the runner off of first. It was ill-advised to begin with, before accounting for Ramirez's wild throw. The runner on third scores, the runner on first advances to second, 2-1 Cubs. A soft fly-out gets the second out. A line out to Soriano, and we escape the inning. Should have been scoreless, but could have been much, much worse. 4. The Ninth Inning. The Cubs load the bases with one out, and Ward up. Fabio Castro comes in to face Ward, Cubs respond with DeRosa off the bench. DeRosa is among MLB leaders with 4.33 pitches faced per AB. That percentage will be a bit lower, after walking on four pitches, for a much needed insurance RBI. Another run scores on a Ramirez FC, which should have been an inning-ending DP. Dempster pitches an effective ninth, with two ground balls, and an Utley single that ended with a Soriano assist, as he tried to stretch it to a double. My more extensive write-up is below.

Game 34 Recap: Cubs 7, Phillies 11

Game Center Play-by-Play Box Score Game Chart Photos

W - Alfonseca (2-1) L - Howry (0-3), Humanity Important things to take from this game: 1. Guzman's return. Other than the second inning, Guzman basically pitched well. He only walked one, struck out six, and had a few dominating innings. Still, he needs to work quite a bit on his command. 2. Soriano's running: On a play at the plate where he was tagged out, Soriano either lolligagged around the bases (if you believe Tim McCarver and Pat Hughes) or was limping a bit, perhaps from a tweaked hamstring (if you believe most of Parachat). The trainer came to check with Soriano in the dugout after he was called out at home, and Soriano also seemed to be going half speed in the OF on a Nunez triple, a few innings later. Stay tuned. 3. The Cubs Comeback. Down 5-1 and looking totally out of it, the Cubs rallied in the top of the 7th, led by a 3-run, pinch-hit HR by Matt Murton and super-clutch go-ahead double by Jacque Jones. 4. The weather. With the Cubs rallying and Geoff Geary struggling, the rain came down in buckets, delaying the game. The Cubs continued their rally after the return, but the rain then came down again in the ninth, when the Cubs again were trying to mount a rally. 5. The "relief" corps: Eyre couldn't strand the runner he inherited from Guzman. In the bottom of the seventh Ohman got the first two outs, before giving up hits to Rowand and Utley. Howry couldn't get Burrell or the Unstoppable Greg Dobbs out, or noted slugger Carlos Ruiz. With two outs, the relievers let in six runs. That made for a seventh inning where each team scored six runs. Game over.
Below is my more extensive run-down, written as the game progressed.

Carlos Zambrano Killed My Buzz

I attended my first game of the season Wednesday night and saw the latest episode of Jason Marquis’ serial drama, “I’m Gonna Prove That All You People Didn’t Know What The Hell You Were Talking About,” co-starring Larry Rothschild as The Mentor. It was a joy to behold, so much so that I was almost oblivious to the fact that one of our hitters left nine of his teammates out on the bases. Anyway, I got home too late to post anything. Now, I’m at the keyboard and in the interim, Carlos Zambrano went out and struck the latest blow in his battle to become our fifth starter. As the game report at cubs.com points out, opponents are hitting .361 against Zambrano in their first-inning at-bats, and Z has yielded 13 first-inning runs in 8 starts. To date, the chief suspect has been arm angle, as in, Carlos’s has been too low or too all over the place.

The Marquis de Shutout

(Yeah I got a million of those for the rest of the year for Marquis) If you're a fan of the pitching duel, last night's game may well have been the highlight of the season. If Chicago-native Tom Gorzelanny could have a mulligan after the leadoff home run to Soriano, we could have been looking at another 15 inning affair. The good news this time would have been that our bullpen would have been plenty rested as Marquis cruised through 9 innings and 30 batters including the first five innings of perfection. All this on a 109 pitches, 72 of which were strikes, in other words  about 5 innings for Zambrano.

Streaking

Sorry about the lack of writing, been busy with the paying gig. A little bit of food for thought though... - The Cubs are currently on a five-game win streak, already surpassing last year's high-water mark of four. In 2005, they twice reached the five-game mark getting up to as high as seven during a streak that started at the end of May and ended in early June.

Bully For The Cubs

The Cubs have now beaten two of the game’s most pitiable teams five times in a row. Even though our favorite team has hardly been a juggernaut this season, since the now 9-22 Nationals came to town Friday, I felt like I was like rooting for the bully to steal the innocent kid’s lunch money. It’s fun to be on the side of the bully sometimes. With another innocent kid coming to town on Tuesday, lunch money in hand, the prospects of the Cubs extending their win streak to six, seven or eight appear good.

The Game Behind the Game

A few quick observations from today's game: - MLB and their blackout rules are on a whole new level of stupid. The game started three hours before anything was going on FOX today and it was blacked out. I feel this should be it's own level of stupidity, their's the Titanic, the Scott Kazimir trade and MLB blackout rules.

Draft and Follow

David Price? Matt Wieters? Josh Vitters? Max Scherzer, maybe? The Rule 4 Draft (AKA "June Draft", or "First-Year Player Draft") is just about a month away (June 7-8), and the Cubs are preparing their list, and checking it twice. Thanks to their lousy 2006 season, the Cubs will have the 3rd overall pick in the draft, as well as the #48 overall pick as compensation for losing Type "B" FA Juan Pierre to the Dodgers. However, in addition to players selected in the draft, the Cubs will be able to sign more players...

Pages

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • "KingKongVsGodzilla"? So - was there a winner?

  • Baez is looking like a pretty special player.

  • Hey AZPhil,

    Love checking TCR for your writeups. Quick question - any of these 2015 positional IFAs stand out to you yet? I'm most specifically referring to Kwon, Sierra, Paredes, and Amaya, but I know there's a couple other guys from that class in EXST as well.

  • bored...looking at stats for the hell of it...

    felix pena (26yo) moving to the pen in AAA is looking like an insanely good fit so far in a smallish sample size

    13ip 4h 3bb 20K

    remembering back to spring training he was regularly hitting mid-90s (though he didn't have a good spring stats-wise). as a starter in the minors he usually worked low-90s.

    this could be an arm worth keeping an eye on even if he's only a 1-inning guy who was "demoted" to the pen to start the year.

  • Phil, historically this front office has been patient with their prep pitchers keeping their IP low and moving them one level at a time. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, and you may not be able to formulate an opinion on this, but you've seen a lot of pitchers over the years, so...

  • nice.

    also, after tonight's loss, STL is 13-14.

    also also, the wsox are 19-8.

  • Win tomorrow, and the Cubs would have a 6-game lead. On May 4.

  • Fully agree on Addy -- hope he is our SS for a long time. I'm just surprised he has 4 errors already -- the last 2 on routine plays.

  • Guess how many Carlos Correa has?

    3

    I would still rather have Russell, right now, than any shortstop the team has had in many years. The future is bright enough to wear shades.

    EDIT: Gonzo WOULD have been my favorite, 'cepting a certain error of a double-play ball...

  • Hi Phil, made it home tonight safely. Looks like Cease is getting better each outing. I see Crow did ok today too. I will be reading your write_ups everyday. Great seeing you while there!

  • tomorrow's game is a 12:35pm EST game for some ungodly stupid reason...then it's back to wrigley field for a night game on the 5th.

  • The best part of tonight's game was 6 different players with RBIs. Truly a lineup that doesn't give up top to bottom.

  • excubs [email protected]_NEWS

    Jake Arrieta first Cub to go 6-0 in first six starts since Three Finger Brown in 1908.

  • Russell now with 4 errors -- that's a big (unpleasant) surprise.

  • Thanks Phil!

  • Throwing error to 2nd on a possible double play ball.