July 2007

Down to the Trading Deadline Wire…

Rumor mongers vs the real deals. Eric Gagne, Bronson Arroyo, Octavio Dotel, Bobby Kielty, Ryan Church or Reggie Sanders? 4 way deal for A-Rod? Have at it. ...and Carlos, MVN's own "The Transaction Guy" is monitoring every possible wire report for information on that last minute deal coming at cha. (OK, so it's a shameless plug)

Will This Be The Week?

The Cubs—now just a half-game behind the flailing Brewers—open a seven-game homestand Monday night with a four-game series against the Phillies, followed by a three-game set with the Mets. The Brewers will begin a six-game homestand against the same two clubs in reverse order. However, since they don’t open against the Metropolitans until Tuesday night, the Brewers will have no direct control over whether or not they go to bed Monday night in sole possession of first place in the NL Central. One of baseball’s enduring clichés is the one that says a victory at the beginning of the season is worth just as much as one in the final days of a pennant race. Is it the same with defeats?


The Cubs ended their mild two game swoon against the soon to be former World Champions with yet another one-run victory, giving them a 14-16 record in that bit of baseball whimsy. The game was harmless enough, Zambrano picked up his NL leading thirteenth win, lowered his ERA to 3.65 and took 117 pitches to not even make it through seven innings. I think we've seen that movie before. It did mark Derrek Lee's triumphant return to the lineup and he was kind enough to plate a particularly useful insurance run in the 9th. An insurance run that was very much needed with the return of the Ryan Dempster Experience back in the closer role. Handed a two-run lead, Dempster quickly hung a meatball to Yadier Molina to leadoff the inning, immediately putting the tying run up to the plate. A couple outs later, he gets Ryan Ludwick into an 0-2 hole before meatball number two is lined into left field, scoring a run after a Soriano bobble and bringing up Mr. All-World Albert Pujols. And any strategy that involves having to pitch with Albert Pujols representing the winning run isn't a good one. Then of course the Cubs had been dancing with this devil a few times already.

Cubs Trivia

Who was the first member of the Chicago Cubs to win the Most Valuable Player award as voted on by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America?
You can  use the previous post to rant on whatever is on your mind today, try to save this one for Cubs trivia. As always, web searches are discouraged.

The Nomar Corollary

The recent run of winning by the Northside Nine has brought along a swell of optimism that could take down some prime Lakefront property. The Cubs reached their low point of the season on June 2nd, nine games under the mediocrity line, a day after the battery batted on each other and the day that Sweet Lou left a bitter taste with the umps. There seems to be a growing sentiment that the weekend of turmoil was the turning point to what looked like to be just another season of discontent. That the outward displays of raw emotion at each other and at the umpires were a culmination of the seething fury over the first two months of lackadasical losing baseball. The team responded, the front office jumped into action and we now have this well-oiled machine of winning that we've all enjoyed over the last few weeks. Of course the Cubs didn't take off right from that very day, they went from 9 games to 6 games under over the next few weeks but lost a half game in the standings before the next major marker in the season, the Michael Barrett trade. Was the trade of TCR's (and Z's) favorite scapegoat the real launching point of the team's recent good fortune? Well that remains to be seen, but the similarities to a recent World Champion are worth noting.

The Cubs Win A Freak Show

How else to describe scoring nine runs in the first five innings on six singles and a double? (Obviously seven Giant walks to that point contributed.) Or the Cubs scoring 12 runs without Ramirez or Lee in the lineup and with Soriano only contributing a walk. Or Carlos Zambrano batting for himself in the last of the 5th, then not taking the mound in the 6th, departing with a 2-hit shutout after throwing only 80 pitches. (The long Cub fifth inning would seem to be the reason.) Or Koyie Hill collecting 5 RBI, all with two outs. (He must REALLY be ticked off about that Jason Kendall trade.)

The Jason Kendall File

For your amusement, everything you need to know about the newest Cubbie, Jason Kendall.... - Son of former major leaguer Fred Kendall - Swings one of the lightest bats in the majors, 30 oz. sometimes 29.7 oz. - 3 Time All-Star, 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting in 1996 - Career 279/378/402 hitter at Wrigley Field - Inside Edge scouting report grades: Overall Effectiveness: D-

Game 91 Recap: Giants 2, Cubs 3

Don't Call it a Comeback

Game Center Play by Play Box Score Photos

W-Rich Hill (6-6), Aramis Ramirez's MVP candidacy. L- Correia (1-5), Sutcliffe's Thesaurus. S- Howry (6) Things to take from this game: 1. Starting Pitching Showcase On points, I gave the contest of the starting pitchers to Lincecum - Soriano and Lee both whiffed for strike three on the high heat, very impressive. But both he and Hill pitched great games. It appeared that LouPa might have left Hill in one inning too many, as he gave up an unfortunate run in the 8th (with help from a bad Soriano boot in the outfield), but Hill wound up with the win because... 2. Aramis Ramirez Rules This World With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Theriot had a broken-bat infield single. Lee singled through a hole on the right side created by the hit-and-run call, and Aramis hit one to the bottom of the left field ivy, scoring the tying and winning runs. 3. A Shout-out to Koyie Hill The dude deserves acknowledgement for his early solo HR, given that he will now lose ABs to the newly aquired Jason Kendall. You go, Koyie. 4. No Bonds Needing to score a run in the top of the ninth, we never saw Bonds as a pinch-hitter. Instead, Winn, Durham, and Molina go down with a whimper. A really, really weak offensive lineup tonight for the Giants. The rest of the goodness can be found down below.

When You’ve Got Your Health, You’ve Got It All

Dr. Joseph Hecht gets us up to speed on the Cubs injury front... ------------- Mid July, a time to assess the walking wounded, and not all of them are even walking. Rotoworld.com has a nice link with all MLB players on the disabled list in a team-by-team format. Doing some simple math, here are the league leaders: Healthiest/Fewest players on the DL: Padres (1) Termel Sledge OF Diamondbacks (2): Randy Johnson SP, Jeff DaVanon OF Indians (2): David Delucci OF, Aaron Fultz RP 6 teams have 3 players on the DL including the Brewers (Bill Hall, Elmer Dessens, Corie Koskie), Red Sox (includes Matt Clement), Pirates, Rockies, Astros and Giants.

Can’t The Astros Stay Here For A Few More Games?

The Cubs’ flashy new lefty-bashing lineup—with Ryan Theriot hitting leadoff and Alfonso Soriano hitting fifth--claimed its first victim Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field, as the red-hot home team recovered from a 5-0 second-inning deficit to beat the Astros, 7-6.


Recent comments

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  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the mlb.tv internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup equation...plus joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • 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.