June 2007

Wow, Just Wow!!!

If you missed that game, you'll be regretting it. Rich Hill spots the Brewers five runs in the first and then him and the bullpen combine to shut the Brewers the rest of the way as the offense chips away slowly at the lead. All to set up a 3-run ninth inning rally with a walk-off homer by Aramis Ramiez. 7 straight wins, six and a half games back and back to .500. Baseball is fun again.

Wood Whiffs 20…Again And Again

Recently TCR had the chance to review a DVD set commemorating great Cubs games since 1984. It seemed like something worth writing about on an off day. We’ve been looking for new fodder anyway—it gets SO monotonous covering a team that always wins. I remember the first time I came across ESPN Classic. I was clicking through the channels in a hotel room when I discovered it, and the thought that a whole cable channel could devote itself to showing historically significant games much as they were originally broadcast seemed too good to be true. After a few minutes, however, the novelty of seeing Willie Stargell and Steve Blass in a 1971 World Series game called by Curt Gowdy was outweighed by the tedium of waiting to see the game’s signature moment. In short order, I was back to grazing the cablescape in search of a Shannon Tweed movie on Cinemax. So it is with a handsomely packaged set of DVDs awkwardly entitled, “Chicago Cubs Legends Great Games Collector’s Edition” (CCLGGCE for short). The eight-disc collection was produced by A&E Home Video and Major League Baseball, and each disc presents one Cubs game from the past 23 years in its commercial-free entirety, some games more truly significant than others.

If Not Jacque Jones…

The Cubs continue to go with an 11-man pitching staff (six-man bullpen), but with a stretch of ten consecutive games looming starting tomorrow, and with hot and humid weather now a factor affecting the stamina of Cubs starting pitchers (Zambrano said he was sapped by the second inning yesterday), it seems very unlikely that Lou Piniella will want to go with a "short" (six-man) bullpen through the weekend. Trading Jacque Jones was supposed to be the method used to open up a spot on the 25-man roster for the 12th pitcher, but now it appears JJ might not be going anywhere anytime soon. So if Uncle Lou does indeed believe he needs a seven-man bullpen (and 12-man pitching staff), what move will the Cubs make to clear a spot for the 12th pitcher?

Jacque Jones Traded - Supposedly!

It's been all over the interweb the last hour or so, but we have our first reputable publication quoting a "National League source". So it's Jones and a "trunk load of the Cubs' money" to the Florida Marlins. The message boards are claiming the Cubs will get a pitcher from Single-A Greensboro. Stay tuned for updates.

Game 75 Recap: Cubs 10, Rockies 9


Game Center, Play by Play, Box Score, Photos

W- Howry (4-4) Wrigley security workers. Former LSU tigers. Soriano. Derosa. Pagan. Saving potential scapegoats from scapegoatdom. Fans who stayed for the bottom of the ninth. Darn near everyone.

L- Fuentes (0-2 ) Doom and Gloom. Loser fanatics who think being famous and tough is all about trying to blindside a pro athlete in the middle of game.

Things to take from this game Where to start..... 1. The 9th inning. (part 1) 8 runs crossed the plate in the ninth. Six of there were for Colorado, but the final two to cross were the ones that mattered most. In a questionable effort to relieve a strained bullpen, Eyre came out to start the ninth, up 8-3, after pitching an effective 1.1 innings. The first three batters reached,Howry came in, three more batters reached, capped by a go-ahead home run by Troy Tulowitzki. Six batters, six runs, without an out registered. 2. The Ninth Inning (part 2) Some jackass got within a couple feet of blind-siding Howry with a full head-on sprint, after the home run. Some member of the Wrigley security crew earned his paycheck, spearing the clown at just about the last possible moment. Len reminds us it's a felony charge, not to mention, I presume, permanent banishment from Wrigley. 3. The Ninth Inning (part 3) They weren't rockets, but Derosa and Koyie Hill singled. By the time we exchanged pinch runners and runners forced, you have Jacques Jones standing on second, Hill on first, with two outs. Theriot hits the game-ending grounder to second, which Kaz Matsui boots into a game-continuing error. Bases loaded for Soriano, who delivers the come-from-behind, game-winning, two-run single. 4. That Scrappy LSU Middle Infield and other Heroes. Fontenot went 5 for 5 and now has hits in seven consecutive at bats. Theriort, entering the game on a double-switch, went 2 for 3, with the one "out" being the Matsui boot. They also turned a nice double-play. They scored 4 runs, total, while Derosa scratched out the ugliest 3 RBI you could hope to get, and Angel Pagan smoked a three run HR, back when this looked like it would be an easy victory.... 5. The Response The fans booed Eyre as he was pulled in the ninth, unfortunate given that he'd had a solid outing, until being left in for another inning. By the time Howry was done giving up the lead after that, the mood was predictably glum. But wow, the reaction when Soriano hit that single.... The comedy-free details, below!

From the TCR E-mailbag

Well, it's time once again to dip into the mailbag and answer questions submitted by you, the fine readers and commenters at TCR. Let's see what's on your mind, and what I can do about it.

Dear Transmission,

For the last three and a half years, I was involved in an emotionally intense relationship with another man. You could cut the tension between us with a knife, but we always made it work, thanks to some wild but truly epic games of pitch and catch. In the last few months, however, well, it wasn't so good anymore. He'd go out when I'd want in, or I'd go down when he was expecting up. Things came to blows a few weeks ago, and while I've always had a temper, this was the first time that I ever hit him! I feel horrible about what I've done, but now, I'm afraid that I've driven him away for good. I think I've even driven him to "switch teams." Please help me, Trans, I'd do anything to get him back.

Buddy Is Gone, i'm a Zero.

Dear "BIG Z,"

This Rich Hill Kid Isn’t Too Bad

I didn't get to see yesterday's victory, but the Yahoo play-by-play and box score made it appear like we played a good, fundamentally sound game. I mean, a one-run win on a suicide squeeze, good starting pitching, solid bullpen work, an outfield assist and three hits by Cesar Izturis. And I'm in no mood to wake up from my daydream, so let me keep believing that we actually played a good game. As for this Rich Hill character, he seems to have one very troubling problem..... The San Diego Padres. Rich vs the Padres: 9 IP, 10.00 ERA, 7 HR Rich vs. the Rest of Baseball: 86 IP, 2.42 ERA, 8 HR And that second number even includes two less than spectacular outings versus the best offense in the NL (Phillies) and the East's best New York Mets who were second in runs scored when Hill faced them. Some trade rumors after the jump...

Gallagher Down, Ramirez Activated

The Cubs have optioned Sean Gallagher to AAA to make room for Aramis Ramirez being activated off the DL. This will put the Cubs down to 11 pitchers in the meantime and don’t be surprised by another roster move come Monday to get the team back up to 12 pitchers when National League play starts again.

Game 71 Thread/Cubs @ Rangers (Last of 3)

Game Chat Ted Lilly (5-4, 3.69) vs. Vicente Padilla (3-8, 6.57) Longtime American Leaguer Lilly is 4-4 lifetime against the Rangers, 1-1 last year as a Blue Jay. Padilla, the former Phillie, is 3-4, 4.40 lifetime against the Cubs, though no current Cub hitter has done much against him (D-Lee, 4-for-20; DeRosa, 3-for-16).

Lee Suspended 5 Games

....as was Chris Young. Both players were fined as well. Lee will file an appeal today delaying his suspension hopefully long enough until Aramis Ramirez returns from the disabled list. Hitting coach Gerald Perry was suspended for 3 games and cannot appeal his suspension. Jake Peavy and Brian Giles were both fined an undisclosed amount. Go Sammy! (send hate mail to [email protected])

My Afternoon In The Middle Of A Baseball Brawl

I had the incredible good fortune to watch Saturday’s Cubs-Padres game from the second row behind home plate, from a seat in nearly a direct line with the plate and the left field corner. In other words, I was about 25-30 feet from much of the brouhaha. (I have seen myself in the ESPN replays of the brawl. I’m wearing a light green polo shirt and I’m right behind the woman with the white shirt and the white hat who appears in the left part of the screen just after Derrek Lee throws the first punch.) A few thoughts on a remarkable game as seen from a perspective I won't enjoy again anytime soon:

TCR Poetry Corner - The Billy Goat

(With all respect for, and apologies to, Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven")

The Billy Goat

Once upon an evening dreary, while I watched a sad conspiracy -

One of many cruel and curious volumes of Chicago lore,

While I nodded, nearly snoozing, modestly I started musing

at their newfound ways of losing, losing at victory's door.

"'Tis the manager," I muttered, "balking at victory's door -

Only this, and nothing more."


Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak September,

And each separate stranded runner wrought its ghost upon the floor.

Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow

From the blogs surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Prior -

for the rare and radiant pitcher whom the angels named Prior -

Nameless here for evermore


And the doughy visage leaning from the dugout's edge

Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;

So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating

"Is that some manager entreating that we walk through victory's door?

Some old manager entreating that we walk through victory's door?

Could this be, so help me lord?"


Derrek Lee/Chris Young Brawl Recap, and other Game 67 Cubs/Padres things

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

First off, I didn't see the incident happen and wasn't planning to do a recap today. That said, here's a good effort at reconstructing what happened by watching all the replays. Eye-witnesses, please fill in the details in the comments.

So we know that the Padres were upset with Soriano's extended admiration of his home run, yesterday. Beyond that, I'm unaware of any other bad-blood between the teams. In the fourth, Chris Young goes up and in on Lee, knocking him down. The pitch hit him up high, I'm not quite sure where. It didn't hit flush, but obviously, fastballs near the head are always potential matters of life and death. While the home plate ump is busy talking with Padres catcher Rob Bowen, Lee starts walking towards first, but well on the infield grass, several feet in fair territory. He and Young start jawing. Early speculation from parachat suggests that Young was telling him to just take his base, and they were arguing over whether or not Young was deliberately pitching high and tight to Lee. Young appeared to laugh and motion at his cup (from my view of the replay) and Lee charged him, threw a haymaker right, missing. Young also missed with his haymaker (is there no ballplayer, today, who knows how to throw a real punch, not of the haymaker and sucker variety?) and like that, both benches clear. Marcus Giles was the first to arrive, sprinting in when he saw what was developing. Giles, all five foot three, ninety pounds of him, tries to tackle his own pitcher, the seven-foot five Young, very much Farnsworth-to-Wilson style. Instead of a tackle, Giles just manages to back Young off from the fray. LouPa was right behind Giles to the scene, and used his ample posterior to box out Lee. Lou might have a future in a senior basketball league. Zambrano came out, I'm told with his uniform undone and belt off, probably due to being, ah, back in the clubhouse. Peavy also came out, and Jake got ejected for his participation in the brawl. So did Gerald Perry. I have not yet seen footage of Z's, Jake's or Gerald's role in the fight. We continue with so much more, below...

Fan Interference

Can't do a full recap today, but as you probably know, there were a couple cases of fan interference in the OF bleachers today. In the first case, Lee hit a ball to the point in LF where the "well" begins, and the home run basket sort of goes upward and back, at an angle. A fan grabbed hold of a railing, leaned out, and caught what he clearly thought was already a HR, on its way into the basket.

Game 66 Thread/Padres @ Cubs (#1 of 3)

Game Chat Ted Lilly (4-4, 3.96) v. David Wells (3-3, 4.76) After taking the Mariners two out of three, the Cubs have climbed to within five games of .500. It’s hardly the sort of accomplishment Cub fans dreamed of this past off-season, but still, it’s the first time the team has been this close to breakeven since May 28th.

Game 65 Recap: Cubs 5, Mariners 4

Unlikely Heroes

Game Center, Play by Play, Box Score, Photos

W- Howry (3-3), the Cubs Bullpen, light-hitting shortstops L- Morrow (3-1), finger-wagging Things to take from this game 1. Good Bullpen Work Marquis pitched well enough through 5, got in trouble in the sixth, and wound up getting pulled after Ibanez hit a three-run double. Wuertz, followed by Marmol, Rapada and Howry, slammed the door, allowing the Cubs to come back late. Howry, in particular, looked very good in the eighth and ninth 2. Scoring early, scoring late We scored three in the first off of Weaver, featuring extra-base hits by Soriano, Pie and Fontenot, as well as a Floyd single. The big play of the game, however, came in the bottom of the eighth. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out, down by 1, Izturis (yes, Izturis) hit a two-run, go-ahead single. Howry made it stick. 3. Odd dust-up between Jose Guillen and Tim McClellan You can read the details, below. Gotta run!


Recent comments

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  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.

  • most likely cost sharing + the league is short on players anyway. not many teams are chipping in on 'advanced instructional.'

  • I'm glad this is a one game playoff coming up, because McCutchen is one of my favorite MLB players. And as a baseball fan, I rather like the Pirates. I hope we beat them bad, of course. No mixed feelings here. And, I don't want a nail biter. Too old for that shit. The team of moran fans is easy to hate, though, and more suitable for a longer series.

  • A Jurickson Profar sighting!!!!???

  • I'd guess Jackson over Coghlan for the defense.

    EDIT: Now that I think about it, is Jackson a better defender?

  • Less stress on the pitching staff?

  • I recall earlier this season when the Cubs played Bryant in center instead of left due to the weirdness that is the PNC outfield.

  • AZ Phil, what is the reason the Cubs are co-oping this team? They seem to have plenty of talent that would fill a roster.

  • RF is actually easier to play than LF in PNC so I'd guess Schwarber is there and that's why he was playing it Friday but yeah I'd say that's hopefully accurate.

  • Guess for Wednesday's lineup: Fowler (CF), Schwarber (LF), Bryant (3B), Rizzo (1B), Castro (2B), Montero (C), Russell (SS), Arrieta (P), Coughlan (RF)

  • Dusty already has blue and red wrist bands.

    /cmon dude

  • a day old, but fwiw...

    Carrie Muskat @CarrieMuskat · Oct 4
    Theo and Jed at Miller Park to talk to #Cubs Maddon and staff. Playoff roster to be finalized by Wednesday morning