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.


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