July 2007

Game Chat Jason Jennings vs. Carlos Zambrano Lineups:
Biggio 2B Soriano LF
Pence CF Theriot SS
Berkman 1B Lee 1B
Lee LF Ramirez 3B
Loretta SS Floyd RF
Lamb 3B DeRosa 2B
Scott RF Jones CF
Munson C Soto C
Jennings P Zambrano P
Baseball's back baby and let's hope the 2nd half is more 2003 than 2005.
Category Astros Cubs
Runs Scored 402 (7th) 396 (10th)
Runs Allowed 441 (13th) 368 (4th)
Team Defensive Efficiency .691 (12th) .718 (2nd)
Starters ERA 4.36 (7th) 3.94 (2nd)
Relievers ERA 5.08 (16th) 3.96 (10th)
Batting Average .260 (10th) .269 (5th)
On-Base Percentage .331 (7th) .327 (10th)
Slugging Percentage .411 (9th) .412 (8th)
2008 will be the 100th Anniversary of the last time the Cubs won a World Series. This past off-season (post-2006 season), the Cubs went on a $300M+ spending spree, hoping to win a World Series (or at least maybe get into the playoffs) before the Centennial Celebration commences. But with the new owners of the Cubs yet to be decided (apparently until further notice), it appears that the club's executives may take a passive approach toward the future, as evidenced by failing to sign Carlos Zambrano to a contract extension, taking the risk that he will walk away after the 2007 season. So here is what the Cubs might look like in 2008 should the sale of the club remain in limbo, and if the Trib decides to continue taking a more passive approach to player retention and acquisition during the next off-season:
Nothing like a little rumor mongering on an off-day as the trade deadline approaches.... - Reader Wes with the tip...
Talk persists that Adam Dunn could soon be wearing another team's uniform (Angels? Dodgers? Astros?), and even he believes it. Ken Griffey Jr. could be moved, too, and forget Seattle. Insiders say he'll only go to Chicago or Atlanta.
- Reader chifan3887 heard ESPN's Bruce Levine on the radio saying that as many as 3 teams are interested in Cesar Izturis (Insert Joke). Apparently the same radio report says Geovany Soto has been called up, no word on the corresponding roster move. UPDATE: Felix Pie down, Soto to start Friday. - Reader Jacos points out this Sun-Times article by Greg Couch with this nugget, " The Cubs' bean counters are expected to meet in the next week or so to set a plan, set a framework." Jacos provides the one-liner as well: "Nice sense of urgency." - Reader The Real Neal turned us on this wonderful site, Inside Edge. Some fun stats you'll find there include: Most Likely to Hit a Ball Hard: Aramis Ramirez .331 Well-Hit Avg, 2nd is Cliff Floyd at .286 Least Likely to allow a Hard-Hit Ball: Carlos Marmol .140 Well-Hit Avg., 2nd is Ryan Dempster at .161 Best Fastball Hitter: Mark Derosa .384 Fastball .BAVG Best Fastball Pitcher: Rich Hill .224 Fastball .BAVG against Or check out some of the player pages, Rich Hill and Derrek Lee for example.
If you purchased tickets for any of next week's Cubs/Giants games so your kids could one day say they saw Randy Winn or Mark Sweeney playing leftfield, you may be screwed. Per the Commissioner by way of Phil Rogers in today's Tribune:
When Aaron was chasing Babe Ruth's record of 714, then-Commissioner Bowie Kuhn ordered the Atlanta Braves to play Aaron during a series in Cincinnati rather than hold him out so he could hit the record-breaker at home. Selig seems set to follow that precedent if the San Francisco Giants should sit Bonds during their upcoming trip to Chicago and Milwaukee. "Clubs are in pennant races now," Selig said. "I would hope that would be the overriding issue and factor. You want to try to win every game and play your best team. … I hope everybody uses good judgment. I believe they will."
In Tuesday night's 78th All-Star Game, the American League beat the National League 5-4, the tenth consecutive ASG victory for the AL. The Cubs' Alfonso Soriano brought the NL to within a run with a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, but after J.J. Hardy, Derrek Lee, and Orlando Hudson walked to load the bases, the Angels' Frankie Rodriguez retired Aaron Rowand to secure the win. All in all, the Cubs acquitted themselves quite nicely. In addition to his ninth inning walk, Lee had a single and a stolen base. Soriano went 1-for-3. Total Cub production for the night: 2-for-5 with 2 RBI, a walk, a run scored, and a stolen base. The National League clearly owes the Cubs a debt of gratitude for the effort. Maybe they will grant the Cubs an automatic berth in the post-season. That would be nice. Update: Prince Albert is mad at Tony LaRussa for leaving him on the bench while Rowand flew out to end the game. Considering that "this game counts," it did seem like an odd decision.
I apologize for the lack of original content the last few days, weeks, etc. We should have had some extraordinary first half review or second half look-forward for all our wonderful readers. Unfortunately real-life and a lingering family emergency has sapped my time and motivation these days. I do hope everyone understands. In the meantime, some Cub-related links worth reading. Baseball Prospectus Free Talent All-Stars Chicago Reader on Ryno's first half as manager (potentially some NSFW ads on there) Top 10 worst losses 4th Round pick Darwin Barney signs Southern League All-Star coverage - Nice night for most of the Cubbies Donnie Veal's latest player journal
In honor of reader Mister Whipple, the chat is open for the Home Run Derby. Collectively we can survive three+ hours of Chris Berman.
Game Chat Carlos Zambrano vs. Shane Youman Lineups:
Soriano LF McLouth CF
Theriot SS Sanchez 2B
Lee 1B LaRoche 1B
Ramirez 3B Nady RF
DeRosa RF Bay LF
Fontenot 2B Bautista 3B
Pagan CF Paulino C
Hill C Wilson SS
Zambrano P Youman P
Game Chat Ted Lilly vs. John Van Benschoten Lineups:
Soriano LF Bautista 3B
Theriot SS Sanchez 2B
Lee 1B Nady CF
Ramirez 3B Bay LF
Ward RF Phelps 1B
DeRosa 2B Doumit RF
Jones CF Paulino C
Hill C Wilson SS
Lilly P Van Benschoten P
Sorry about that, MVN servers decided not to post this as scheduled. Let's retroactively complain about the lineup that scored 7 runs tonight.
In the aftermath of Friday night's loss at Pittsburgh to Pirates LHP Paul Maholm, Cubs manager Lou Piniella called for another right-handed bat, mainly to hit off the bench. Stating the player will almost certainly have to come from within the organization, the candidates named in Paul Sullivan's article in the Chicago Tribune are (alphabetically): 1. Ronny Cedeno 2. Jake Fox 3. Matt Murton 4. Geovany Soto Bringing up Soto to platoon with either Rob Bowen or Koyie Hill (both Bowen and K. Hill are out of minor league options, so it doesn't really matter which one stays and which one goes) could provide one right-handed bat immediately, and Fox (who can play 1B-3B-LF-RF and catch in a pinch) could be the other (replacing Felix Pie on the 25, or Jacque Jones if he can be moved). After going 4-5 Friday night, Cedeno is hitting close to .400 and would probably be an upgrade over Cesar Izturis at SS (if and when the Cubs can find a taker for Izturis).
Game Chat Jason Marquis vs. Paul Maholm Lineups:
Soriano LF McLouth CF
Fontenot 2B Sanchez 2B
Lee 1B LaRoche 1B
Ramirez 3B Nady RF
DeRosa RF Doumit C
Pagan CF Bay LF
Theriot SS Bautista 3B
Bowen C Wilson SS
Marquis P Maholm P
A few quick tidbits for your discussion... - Bruce Miles with some news and notes heading into the break. The cliff notes version is that Hendry reiterated to him that he'll have the resources to add payroll for the stretch drive, Piniella is smart and Dempster wants to be a starter. At least that's what I got from it. - Neifi Perez suspended 25 games for using a banned stimulant. Reader (CA) Phil had the best line:
Now we know what put the ! in Neifi!
- Ryan Dempster won't be activated until after the break and Kerry Wood may start a minor league rehab assignment at around the same time. Wood could possibly be activated by the end of July.
I've got two for you...
Which pitcher won the most games for the Cubs in the 1990s?
and
Who holds the Cubs record for most stolen bases in a single season since 1900?
As per usual, try to answer without a web search.
Game Chat Sean Marshall vs. Jason Bergmann Lineups:
Soriano LF Logan CF
Fontenot 2B Belliard 2B
Ward 1B Zimmerman 3B
Ramirez 3B Young 1B
Floyd RF Kearns RF
Jones CF Lopez SS
Hill C Schneider C
Izturis SS Fick LF
Marshall P Bergmann P
Dr. Joseph Hecht takes a look at what's troubling Henry Blanco and the possibilities to our roster if he does return ------ Henry Blanco remains on the DL after getting three cervical (neck) epidural cortisone injections for his disc herniation. The latest from this Sun-Times article says he’s going to start testing how improved he is by throwing to second base. If his rehab progresses he might be ready after the All-Star break. If not he’ll probably opt for season ending cervical fusion surgery. If Hank White can return, it seems odd to say but his bat will be considered an upgrade compared to Koyie Hill and Rob Bowen. Based on the small sample size of Bowen and Hill’s play this year compared to Blanco’s play from 2006, it might be. Blanco’s defense this year was affected by his disc problem, which pinches a nerve sending pain down his arm as well as possibly creating some weakness. So which Henry Blanco that shows up after the All-Star break is anyone’s guess. Improvement from cortisone injections doesn’t imply complete resolution of the problem. If Blanco’s defense isn’t up to his previous standards, I’d rather we keep our defensive catchers and not mess with the chemistry they’ve brought. Who gets moved off if Blanco can play?
The All-Star break will give Jim Hendry and the Cubs a great chance to minimize the effect on the 25-man roster of Derrek Lee's impending suspension. Here's how:
The bottom three hitters in the Orioles lineup for tonight's game at U.S. Cellular Field were Freddie Bynum, Paul Bako, and Corey Patterson. BB&P went a combined 3-for-13 with four strikeouts. Still, the trio collected a pair of walks and scored three runs between them, and Bynum, who had two of the ex-Cubs' safeties, also smacked a triple. Bynum (4th) and Patterson (16th) stole bases as well. The fact that these three have landed on the O's roster at the same time and in their starting lineup ON THE SAME NIGHT says a lot about the state of the Baltimore American League Ballclub and the job in front of Andy MacPhail. It also says something about the state of the Chicago White Sox, who the Orioles hammered tonight, 9-6.
Game Chat Rich Hill vs. Matt Chico Lineups:
Soriano LF Logan CF
Theriot SS Belliard 2B
Lee 1B Zimmerman 3B
Ramirez 3B Young 1B
DeRosa RF Kearns RF
Pagan CF Lopez SS
Fontenot 2B Fick LF
Bowen C Flores C
Hill P Chico P
I can't say I'm use to this feeling of expecting to win. I hope I didn't jinx us. If I did, send hate mail to [email protected]
Game Chat Carlos Zambrano vs. Tim Redding Lineups:
Soriano LF Langerhans CF
Theriot SS Belliard 2B
Lee 1B Zimmerman 3B
Floyd RF Young 1B
DeRosa 3B Church RF
Fontenot 2B Lopez SS
Pagan CF Schneider C
Hill C Fick RF
Zambrano P Redding P
In 1997, all Major League and Minor League teams retired uniform number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. Who was the last member of the Cubs to wear #42?
As always try to answer without a web search....
Livin' on a prayer Take my hand and we'll make it - I swear Livin' on a prayer We've got to hold on ready or not You live for the fight when it's all that you've got We're half way there Livin' on a prayer Take my hand and we'll make it - I swear Livin' on a prayer Where have you gone, Bon Jovi? A (Cub)nation turns its lonely eyes to you. 81 games in makes projecting stats pretty much 3rd grade math - which makes it right up my alley.
Game Chat Ted Lilly vs. Jason Simontacchi Lineups:
Soriano LF Logan CF
Theriot SS Belliard 2B
Lee 1B Zimmerman 3B
Ramirez 3B Young 1B
Floyd RF Kearns RF
DeRosa 2B Church LF
Pagan CF Lopez SS
Bowen C Schneider C
Lilly P Simontacchi
Congrats to Alfonso Soriano, the National League Player of the Month:
Soriano hit .336 (41-122), with seven doubles, two triples, 18 RBI and 24 runs during the month. The 31-year old leftfielder led the N.L. with 41 hits and finished tied for the league lead with 20 extra-base hits. He added 12 multi-hit performances and finished with a .697 slugging percentage. Alfonso hit three home runs in his first three at-bats against Atlanta on June 8th. He homered in three consecutive games twice during the month, June 2-4 and June 22-24. The right-handed slugger recorded the third five-hit game of his career which included a three-run home run at Milwaukee on June 4th. This marks the third time Soriano has been voted a Player of the Month. He won the award in April and September of 2003 when he was a member of the New York Yankees.
He also led the league with 11 homers in the month of June. It would be nice if Derrek Lee led the NL in homers in the month of July.
A little something to break up the afternoon before debating how to attack former, almost-Cub Jason Simontacchi... The following is from the Milwaukee Journal's game story by Tom Haudricourt. See if you can decipher it. I cannot.
The Brewers hit the official halfway mark of the season with a 47-34 record, matching the best in franchise history (1979). With only three games left against Milwaukee (Aug. 28-30 at Wrigley), the Cubs will need help to make a serious run at the Brewers, much less any other NL club with a notion of playing serious baseball at some point. (Emphasis added)
Obviously, the Cubs will need outside help to make up the 6.5 game deficit. But what's with the rest of that passage? Doesn't it come off like a slam? Those nice folks up north don't talk trash...do they?
Scott Eyre though is still waiting for his phone call. Soriano got edged out by MLB public relations in the final vote as Bonds surpassed him. As the MLB.com article states:
He trailed Soriano 1,332,581 to 1,213,423. In the final vote total, Bonds had 2,325,391 to Soriano's 2,202,513.
Hmm, two-plus months of voting results in a million-plus votes but in the last week they doubled their vote total? Okay, sure. Richard J. Daley approves. MLB public relations is also trying to save the managers of the respective teams some flak by telling us who are the manager's choices and who got in by player vote. One such player who got in by player vote was Derrek Lee, so congrats Derrek. The Cubs do have a shot to add one more All-Star to the team as the fans can vote for the final roster spot. Naturally, the man who is 10th in the NL in OPS (second among third basemen), leads the Cubs in RBI's and is tied for the team lead in home runs was put on the list - Aramis Ramirez. Wait...let me check that...nope, it's the guy with an ERA over four - Carlos Zambrano. Okay. Z's competition for the final spot are Chris Young, Tom Gorzelanny, Brandon Webb and Roy Oswalt. I guess they decided they needed an extra pitcher. If you just want to see another Cub at the All-Star Game, go vote for Z, if you want to give it the player who actually deserves it, then go vote for Chris Young and his 8-3 record and microscopic 2.14 ERA. Congrats to Derrek and Soriano, well-deserved All-Stars.
Game Chat Dave Bush vs. Jason Marquis Lineups:
Hart RF Soriano LF
Hardy SS Theriot SS
Braun 3B Lee 1B
Fielder 1B Ramirez 3B
Hall CF DeRosa RF
Estrada C Fontenot 2B
Jenkins LF Pagan CF
Weeks 2B Hill C
Bush P Marquis P
Rocky Cherry lasted a day, as he was sent to the 15-day with a right lat strain. Billy Petrick didn't even have to bother finding an apartment in Iowa and is back with the big league club. A win today would be nice, not only do we take another series from the Brewers, but sets up the Cubs to possibly be a game over .500 after half the season.

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