One to forget on Memorial weekend
W -Billingsley (3-0), finding ways to lose
L -Guzman (0-1), finding ways to win
Things to take from the game
1. Second Guessing
It's been a good day for the armchair managers. Let's see:
- Lou pulls Hill, who has thrown 66 pitches in 6 shutout innings, so that Ward can pinch-hit with a runner on second and two outs in a 0-0 game. Doesn't work.
- Lou asked Barrett, hitting fourth and with no sac. bunts on the year, to bunt with runners on 1st and 2nd and nobody out in a 1-0 game in the eighth. Doesn't work.
- With the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth, Lou pinch hits Aramis Ramirez for the hot-hitting Pagan, a move that requires Jones to enter the game as a defensive replacement. Doesn't work.
- Lou pulls Wuertz, after an effective seventh, for Eyre, who hasn't pitched in a week, to start the eighth. Doesn't work. (Eyre gives up HR to Ethier, tying the game)
W -Seanez (2-0), Fate
L - Ohman (0-2), faith in a benevolent creator
S - Saito (15)
Things to take from this game:
1. The Magnificent Seventh
It isn't just that we came back from a 5-1 deficit with a seven run outburst. It's how we did it. Seemingly every hit this inning was opposite-field on controlled swings and purposefull at-bats. It was easily the most enjoyable half inning of Cubs offense all year.
2. The Execrable Eighth.
It was followed by the most frustrating inning all year. Wuertz got pulled after a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh, for Howry. Howry gave up three straight line drives, and looked pretty frustrated with himself upon exiting for Ohman. Ohman faced one batter, gave up a hit, and in came Guzman who gave up the lead. Five straight hits, total, to start the inning.
3. Take Jeff Kent. Please.
Kent had four RBIs off of Lilly, and also arguably the hardest hit ball, all night, which wound up being just a fly out to the center field wall in the heavy LA night. At least he flubbed an easy double play attempt.
It's sort of a small thing to focus on, but Derrek Lee got picked off of second, the play after doubling in the tying run in the seventh. Without that, we would have had one more run, and, conceivably, a tie game after nine
5. Soriano feeling better?
He misplayed a ball in the outfield, but at least Soriano looked like an offensive force, today. He took third on the throw after an RBI double, and seemed to look good doing it. Three hits, two RBI and two runs scored out of the leadoff spot.
The details, in all their triumph and tragedy, follow.
Aww, Hell's Bells.
I stayed up for this?
W - Massett (2-1), Joe West's ego, infield drying compound stock-owners.
L - Zambrano (4-4), Joe West, Soriano's legs, brooms.
Things to take from this game
1. Just a couple of bad innings
It's not much consolation, but Z actually looked good for most of the game. He totally lost it in the seventh, we didn't get him out of the game soon enough, and Cotts couldn't pitch out of the jam. (That AJ guy brought in four runs with one swing of the bat.) But other than thatinning and the third, Z actually looked sharp to me.
2. 2 out RISP
Barrett had a couple missed opportunities to knock in some 2-out runs. In the grand scheme of things, it wound up being the least of our problems, but at the time it seemed consequential. Sox had far, far more LOB, by the end of things.
3. Sox pitching
Massett looked shakey in the first, but settled down to give up only 3 hits and 2 runs through 5 and two thirds. The Sox bullpen didn't allow a hit until a Theriot single in the eighth.
4. What's up with Soriano?
At this point, I'm convinced that either Soriano isn't healthy, or he isn't hustling. Either way, it's noticable affecting his on-field play. (FWIW, my guess is this is health-related.)
5. Joe West strikes again
With West and Bucknor in this umpire crew, we should have set up a pool for whom would eject whom, and why and when. Answer winds up being West ejects Floyd in the bottom of the 9th, over balls and strikes, and West's inability to distinguish the one from the other.
More interesting observations than you can handle, below.
W - Howry (1-3), Drama.
L - Aardsma (2-1), MLB.TV, FOX, and everyone else who conspired to keep me from viewing this game.
Things to take from today's game
1. Blowing in the wind
The fifth inning saw a series of home runs, including a particularly wind-aided one from Barrett, and another from Marquis.
2. Derrek Lee nearly killed Santo
Lee hit a pinch-hit grand slam, his first at bat in a week, in the bottom of the 8th, breaking the game open 11-6. The Cubs had already come back to take the lead in the inning, on a triple by Theriot, single by Soriano, and triple by Ramirez.
3. Rockin' Wrigley
Limited to the audio feed, it was impressive to hear the chorus of boos that preceded each A.J. at bat, the chants of "Let's Go Cubbies," and especially, the sing-along at the end of the game. It sounded as if 40,000 were joining in on "Go Cubs, Go."
Due to only having the audio cast, I don't have many observations about the game. Help me fill them in, on the message board. Parachat review, below.
Pagan WorshipL -MacDougal (1-1) S - Dempster (9) Things to take from this game 1. The other Chicago team can play ugly ball, too. Four errors, passed balls and wild pitches. The Cubs capitalized on a very sloppy game by the Sox. 2. The other Chicago team's bullpen can blow games, too. Buehrle left with a 3-1 lead, and MacDougal tacked on two more runs to Buehrle's record. MacDougal had no control at all today, and wasn't helped by catcher Toby Hall, who was playing his first game from coming off the DL for shoulder injuries and spelling A.J. against the lefty. 3. The Bullpen strikes back. Howry and Dempster pitch 2 spotless innings, with 4 K's. Man, did we need that. 4. Lilly struggles through Lilly didn't have the dominant curve or sharp command of his fastball, but managed to pitch out of trouble all game. 5. Pagan's big game. It wasn't just the hitting (3-5 with a triple and 2 RBI), it also was the energy. His triple was on a ball that didn't get passed the spot on the first-base line where the outfield wall juts outward, and he then scored on a wild pitch on what would have been an impossible play for a slower runner. The details follow.
W - Burgos (1-0), the forces of evil. L - Dempster (1-2), decency. Things to take from this game 1. We got the Mets' B-team today No Wright, no Beltran, no Reyes, no Easley, no LoDuca, no Alou. Starter Jason Vargas is making his debut for the Mets. Julio Franco is playing 3rd base. He played 3 games there last year, and hadn't played at third prior to that since his rookie year. In 1982. For 2 games. Gotay has never played SS before his one inning there, last night. David Newhan is an OFer playing 2nd base. Brenley mentioned something about a league policy requiring at least 4 "regulars" in a starting lineup, and wondered if Selig might put a phone call in to the Mets for this. Only if we beat them, Bob..... (ah, seems Bob was discussing a spring training policy? In any case, we're facing the B-team.) 2. The pitching "duel" Don't let the box score fool you: while Guzman and Vargas kept the game low-scoring through five, neither was really dominating. It wasn't the sort of pitching duel that has you oohing and ahhing. Vargas was "pitching to contact" and retiring Cub after free-swinging Cub on lazy grounders and fly balls. Guzman kept pitching out of minor trouble, inning after inning. Finally, Vargas started to lose it in the sixth, ending this faux-duel. 3. Cramps Guzman gets a cramp in his leg, batting int he top of the sixth. The Cubs procede to hit a pair of 2-run HR that inning (Pagan and Ramirez), and Guzman is pulled from the game, in line for his first ML Win. 4. Solid Middle Relief Wuertz and Ohman both pitched well. 5. The Ninth Dempster loaded the bases with one out in a 5-1 game when he walks Beltran. Dempster must have looked at the home plate umpire the wrong way, as the ump then gestures at him. Seemed like an overreaction on the umpire's part. Facing Chavez, Dempster goes 3-2 on him, then walks him, too. 5-2 game, winning run now at bat in Ruben Gotay. He gets Gotay in an 0-2 hole, when Gotay serves a single into left. 5-3, bases still loaded with one out... With Shawn Green up, Lou calls for Eyre, who has great numbers against Green in their careers. Green is removed in favor of David Wright. Wright lines the first pitch right back up the middle, just out of the reach of Izturis. 5-4, bases still loaded, one out. And with Delgado facing Eyre, he singles just past a diving Theriot. Murton tries to throw out the winning run at the plate, but his throw is way off the money. Probably wouldn't have mattered, anyway. We enter the bottom of the 9th leading 5-1, leave it with a loss.
All Wet GameCenter, Recap, Photos, Box Score, Play by Play W - Sosa (3-0) L - Hill (4-3), Mother Nature, every Cubs fan who stayed up to watch, everybody who now goes out and picks up Sosa in their fantasy league. Things to take from this game 1. It got played.
Three hours and seven minutes delayed by weather, the game finally started around 10 eastern time. Maybe 2000 people stayed for the start of the game.2. Jorge Sosa
We got one-hit through 7+ innings by Jorge Sosa.
I will let that set in for awhile.3. Did I mention that Jorge Sosa one-hit us? 4. Reyes tweaked something.
Running out of the box in the bottom of the eighth, Jose Reyes came up limping. Not sure why, yet.5. Hill's start
Hill was a bit wild, with four walks, but really only looked bad on the HR to Easley. Still got a lot of strikes with the big bad curveball. Certainly not his best performance, but also probably not as bad as his line might indicate. In a game of Hill against Jorge Sosa, you really expect to win, even if Hill is having a bit of an off night. Tough game to lose so thoroughly.The full run-down follows. I can't believe I stayed up for this.
A Laugher. (And we were the ones laughing!)
W - Zambrano (4-3 ). The fight against high-blood pressure L - Maine (5-1) Important things to take from this game. 1. The Latest Lineup: For two days in a row, Theriot leads off and Soriano hits third. 2. Fontenot's 2007 debut : While I'm sure he is too esoteric of a player and the move too inconsequential for anyone here to have an opinion about it, nonetheless I will point out that he stroked a double in his pinch-hit appearance. 3. Like the title says: It's been a long time since we had a game that was over, early. Let alone, in a good way. 4. Z's return to form. Z had several dominating innings, and several more innings where he successfully avoided potential disasters, the sort of one-bad-inning-to-ruin-a-good-start events that we've seen from him before. He only struck out 3 through 8, and gave up a couple of shots to Shawn Green. But still, it was a great improvement. 5. Ramirez's mammoth grand slam. Aramis hit a tape-measure grand slam to blow the game open in the sixth. You'll be seeing it on the sports highlight show of your choice. And now, for what you really came here for....
5 HR in his last 5 games (3, 1 run...1, 2 run)
sure, 3 HR were in colorado, but 2 were in night games in SD. that evens out somehow.
My guy Addy
oh, another a.russell HR...whatever.
Dylan Cease throwing gas tonight for the Emeralds. In first three innings, has hit 100 mph six times, averaging 98 mph
Can I get a gif of Joe West's jowls waving as he chews gum?
/Asking for a friend
my gawd...that castillo-to-bryant pickoff was a thing of beauty. the knock on him in the minors being slow out of the crouch is looking less like a thing.
bless your heart. *pinches cheeks*
real shame I missed this week's episode of The Crunch Reporter.
It's highly unusual.
It does matter a little.
It matters much less than you think.
four winds field is awesome. it's crazy how minor league parks have "grown up" since the 80s/90s and that park was one of the late-80s models that showed a low-capacity ballpark could look like you're at something other than a highschool baseball game.
On another topic....I returned to South Bend last night for the 2nd time this season (still haven't tried either the deep-fried mac & cheese sandwich nor "The Porknado", as the drive home is over an hour and that could get ugly), and was pleasantly surprised to find D. Underwood pitching in a rehab start. He looked good -- although, to be fair, these are low-A hitters -- fastball consistently at 94-95 (if the SB scoreboard is to be believed -- several pitches were clocked in the 30s...) and with good location.
he gains nothing, no advantage, no saving of resources, nothing...there is not a cost/benefit tradeoff...him letting the running game go on around him for others to control isn't gaining him an advantage elsewhere. it's putting him at a disadvantage even if it's not cashed in with a run.
And out of respect for the rest of TCR, I'm done on this. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the other camp, but time to let it go. (Until the next Lester start. I kid.)
He is putting himself at a disadvanage. But how much of one relative to the rest of his game? He's not Justin Germano -- he's inarguably one of the best SPs in baseball, issue or not. It would be more of thing to discuss ad nauseum if it constantly caused him to give up runs and lose games. But it doesn't.