April 2008

Luke Sommer beat-out a dribbler down the third-base line for a game-winning infield single, as the EXST Cubs rallied to edge the EXST Angels 8-7 at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.

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SP Jeff Suppan SP Ryan Dempster
  1-0, 3.48, 11 K, 10 BB
3-0, 2.90, 21 K, 14 BB
       
2B Rickie Weeks LF Reed Johnson
CF Mike Cameron SS Ryan Theriot
LF Ryan Braun 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Prince Fielder 3B Aramis Ramirez
RF Corey Hart RF *Kosuke Fukudome
3B Bill Hall 2B Mark DeRosa
SS JJ Hardy C Geovany Soto
P Jeff Suppan CF *Felix Pie
C Jason Kendall P Ryan Dempster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cubs are one loss from dropping out of first place behind the Cardinals and into a second place tie with the Brewers. A loss would also give the Cubs their first real losing streak of the season (I start counting at three) and they'd lose a second consecutive series to their main competition for the Central crown. So yeah, today would certainly be a nice day for a win.

Dempster will take to the mound to try and help accomplish that and he did start the one lone victory in the opening series. We'lll happily take another six inning, two walk, five strikeout, one earned run performance if you have it in you. He hasn't had a lot of experience versus the members of the current Brewers (possibly the reason for his last success), but do watch out for Jason Kendall who's 13 for 28 versus Dempster for a 464/583/536 line.

2nd Basemen | Poll
1st Basemen | Poll

We march on around the diamond. Today it's the double play partner of yesterday's vote. The Cubs so far have the 2nd best first basemen and second basemen in the division. Can Ryan Theriot keep the streak going? Answer - no!

Your scrap-tastic contenders after the jump....

UPDATE: Thanks to you wonderful readers, it was brought to my attention to check Tejada's projections since he revealed his true age. His WARP-3 three year projection is updated in the chart and went down from 4.13 to 3.2. I'd still rate him first though even though he now drops behind Hardy and Wilson in the WARP-3 projections.

Five Cubs pitchers combined to throw a two-hitter and Gian Guzman drove in three runs, as the EXST Cubs defeated the EXST Giants 5-1 at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.  

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SP Ben Sheets SP Jason Marquis
  3-0, 0.96, 24 K, 4 BB
1-0, 3.47, 15 K, 9 BB
       
2B Rickie Weeks LF Reed Johnson
CF Mike Cameron SS Ryan Theriot
LF Ryan Braun 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Prince Fielder 3B Aramis Ramirez
RF Corey Hart RF *Kosuke Fukudome
3B Bill Hall 2B Mark DeRosa
SS JJ Hardy C Geovany Soto
P Ben Sheets CF *Felix Pie
C Jason Kendall P *Jason Marquis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No, you're not imagining things--this is the Brewers' second visit to Wrigley Field in the season's first month while the Cubs have yet to visit Milwaukee and won't do so until after the All-Star break.

While the Cubs (16-9) were losing two of three on the road to the Nationals and scoring 10 runs this past weekend, the Brewers (14-11) were dropping two of three at home to the Marlins and scoring six runs. The Brewers, who led the NL in batting with RISP (.303) going into the series, went just 1-for-26 against the Marlins in those same situations.

I delayed my end-of-homestand post for a day so I could see how Sean Gallagher followed up on his brilliant outing from last week.

The results? Mixed.

Gallagher retired the first ten Fresno hitters he faced. He entered the sixth having surrendered only one run and retired the first two routinely before an infield single dripped from the faucet. A stolen base followed, then an intentional walk, then an accidental walk and Gallagher called it a night, leaving the bases loaded and the water running for Carmen Pignatiello.

Tags: 

1st Basemen | Poll

I started off with the first basemen yesterday and I'll leave the poll up until I get through all the positions. If you need a primer on all this, be sure to check out that first post as well on the first basemen.

Today though we move to the second basemen. While Hendry tries to win by sheer numbers, it's about quality, not quantity. Your contestants after the jump....

Quotation marks make their first appearance in the Hits of the Week headline since this week's list includes two walks.

So here they are, the five hits...er, that is, offensive events...that did the most to enhance the Cubs' chance of winning during the past week, as measured by FanGraphs' Win Probability Added (WPA):


#5 Big Hit:
Tuesday, v. the Mets, 4th inning-- With the bases loaded and two out and the Cubs already leading 1-0, Reed Johnson drives a single to left field, scoring Ronny Cedeno and Henry Blanco, and the Cubs' margin is three, which, on a day when the Mets can't seem to get an important hit, is more than margin enough. WPA .151

I was going to try and get this up before the season started, but that clearly didn't happen for a variety of reasons. But that's no excuse to let the work go to waste. Basically I thought it would be fun to go through each position player in the division and the starting pitchers and see how we rank them. Who’s the best now? Who will be the best over the next 3 years? I'll be using Baseball Prospectus's WARP-3 numbers for the most part, which includes both offense and defense and most importantly for this exercise, projections for the next three years. Once we get through the eight positions and the starting pitchers, I'll finish it off with a Bill Simmons inspired (ripped off) trade value chart.

Here are the ground rules. We're trying to figure out who you'd rather have on your team. Do your best to take your Cubs bias out of the equation if possible (that shouldn't be hard for some of you). But we're also trying to figure out who has the best players on the their team right now, so I'm going to use the players projected to get the most playing time this year. Sure, Jay Bruce will eventually take over center field duties in Cincinnati, but who knows when. The chart after the jump includes their 3-year WARP-3 averages (2005-2007) and their projected 2008-2010 averages.The final column, appropriately labeled "Rob's Rankings", are simply how I ranked them before looking at any stats. For the most part I was pretty close to what the numbers bear out. I should also note that I did my rankings before the season started.

We'll start off with the toughest and most talented position, the first basemen. Your gladiators after the jump....

I Bet You Didn't Use the Term Base-Clogging Even Once
"We talk about it. On-base percentage. We've
been doing a better job. What can I say? Two of our new additions,
(Reed) Johnson and Fukudome, have done a nice job in that regard."
- Lou Piniella

"We're second in the league in runs scored to Arizona,
and to me, you score runs, you win. On-base percentage, hitting with
men in scoring position, left on base -- those are all byproducts of
how many runs you score."
- Lou Piniella

Moneyball was So 2003
"That'd be a great thing if that was contagious, because then we'd be
like the Oakland A's. The big thing there is on-base percentage. That
means you have a lot of chances to score a lot of runs and put pressure
on the other team consistently."
- Daryle Ward

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SP *Ted Lilly SP *John Lannan
  1-3, 7.30, 18 K, 11 BB
1-2, 3.42, 21 K, 10 BB
       
CF Reed Johnson 2B #Felipe Lopez
SS Ryan Theriot SS #Cristian Guzman
1B Derrek Lee 3B Ryan Zimmerman
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Nick Johnson
RF *Kosuke Fukudome CF Lastings Milledge
LF Mark DeRosa RF Austin Kearns
2B Ronny Cedeno LF Wily Mo Peña
C Henry Blanco C Wi Nieves
P *Ted Lilly P *John Lannan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cubs go for the series win and a winning road trip (3-2).

Lilly is coming off his first win and best outing of the year, on Tuesday when he beat the Mets. Though his pitching line was pretty attractive--6IP, 4H, 1ER--he also walked four and needed a couple of key pitches to avoid some serious problems.

The Cubs may face a good test in young Lannan, who fanned 11 New York Mets in just six innings on April 17th, then blanked the Braves for seven innings this past Tuesday, on his way to a victory over John Smotz.

Ronny Cedeno, hitting .400 (10-for-25) over the last week, gets bumped up in the order to seventh, Henry Blanco gets the obligatory Sunday start for backup catchers, and Geovany Soto gets a much needed day off, during which he can contemplate an atrocity so awful, veteran baseball man Lou Piniella has never seen anything like it.


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SP Carlos Zambrano SP *Matt Chico
  3-1, 2.67, 27 K, 5 BB
0-4, 6.04, 17 K, 10 BB
       
CF Reed Johnson 2B #Felipe Lopez
SS Ryan Theriot SS #Cristian Guzman
1B Derrek Lee 3B Ryan Zimmerman
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Nick Johnson
RF *Kosuke Fukudome CF Lastings Milledge
LF Mark DeRosa RF Austin Kearns
C Geovany Soto C #Johnny Estrada
2B Ronny Cedeno LF Wily Mo Peña
P #Carlos Zambrano P *Matt Chico

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so it falls to Cub ace Carlos Zambrano on this, Hack Wilson's 108th birthday, to reverse the curse:

The Chicago Cubs have never won a game in Washington's Natonals Park. For the love of God, they've never even held a lead!!!

The Chicago offense went hitless in seven AB's with men in scoring position in Friday night's 5-3 defeat. Ryan Theriot, however, was able to extend his National League lead in Caught Stealing.

...just a few notes promoted from the comments and other site fun.

- Rich Hill will get his next start skipped with the day off Monday. 10 or so days off should really help him with his control problems.

- Another gem from ex-Cub, now blossoming writer Doug Glanville; that includes this gem:
And I recall seeing an electric young pitcher, Kerry Wood,
when he was the ripe old age of 19. He had yet to set foot in a major
league stadium when we watched him pitch in an instructional league
game in Arizona. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop me and everyone else
from realizing that he was a man among boys. Years later, he would set
the record for most strikeouts in a game. He just had something that
made his blank sheet of experience rise to the top of a pile of
bullet-point-riddled résumés.

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SP Ryan Dempster SP *Odalis Perez
  3-0, 3.00, 16K, 11 BB
0-3, 3.38, 20 K, 12 BB
       
CF Reed Johnson 2B #Felipe Lopez
SS Ryan Theriot SS #Cristian Guzman
1B Derrek Lee 3B Ryan Zimmerman
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Nick Johnson
RF *Kosuke Fukudome CF Lastings Milledge
LF Mark DeRosa C #Johnny Estrada
C Geovany Soto LF Wily Mo Peña
2B Ronny Cedeno RF *Rob Mackowiak
P Ryan Dempster P *Odalis Perez

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WIth tonight's first-ever visit to Nationals Park, the Cubs will have played in three different cities in three different time zones, necessitating somewhere around 2,700 miles in air travel, all in a little over 72 hours. Gotta love those schedule gremlins.

Even with yesteday's loss to the Rockies, the first-place Cubs have won 8 of 10. After opening the season 3-0, the fifth-place Nationals, who needed 13 hits against the Mets on Thursday to raise their team average to .233, have lost 16 of 20.

For those of you who might be interested in looking ahead a little bit, he are projections for the Cubs 2009 payroll, potential Cubs free-agents, Cubs players eligible for salary arbitration, 2009 minor league option status for Cubs players presently on the 40-man roster, potential post-2008 Cubs minor league free-agents, and Cubs minor league players who will be eligible for the December 2008 Rule 5 Draft.   

Remember, these are projections based on the way things stand right now, and are very much subject to change.  

What does a Cubs player do when he realizes that he is a pitcher trapped inside a position player's body? Well, he goes to Fitch Park for a Transpositional Assignment Conversion. 

How does it work?

Well...

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SP Jason Marquis SP Aaron Cook
  1-0, 3.86, 11K, 7 BB
2-1, 3.12, 12 K, 8 BB
       
2B *Mike Fontenot CF *Scott Podsednik
SS Ryan Theriot 2B Clint Barmes
1B Derrek Lee 1B *Todd Helton
3B Aramis Ramirez LF Matt Holliday
RF *Kosuke Fukudome 3B Garrett Atkins
LF Mark DeRosa RF *Brad Hawpe
C Geovany Soto SS Troy Tulowitzki
CF *Felix Pie C Chris Iannetta
P *Jason Marquis P Aaron Cook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pinch-hitting/pinch-running specialist Jason Marquis gets to try his hand at pitching this afternoon at Coors Field as the Cubs play the Rockies and seek their seventh consecutive win, which would match their longest streak of a year ago.

MLB Press Pass Game Note of the Day: At 15-6, the Cubs are nine games over .500, something they didn't accomplish last season until September 22nd, when they beat the Pirates to rise to 82-73.

In Marquis's one start at Coors in '07, last August, he had one of his best outings as a Cub (6 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 5 K, 0 BB). In fact, throughout his career, Marquis has been outstanding in this park (3-0, 2.49 over 21 2/3 IP with just one homer allowed).

The home team has lost four games in a row, and in each of them, the Rockies had a lead heading into the eighth inning. The last time they won was last Saturday, at Houston in a game started by Aaron Cook, who allowed the Astros just four hits over seven innings.

Cook is an impressive 2-1. 2.14 over 21 innings lifetime against the Cubs, and our non-pitchers are a cumulative 9-for-42 against him.

My favorite moment from Wednesday night's Cub win:

Both Gordon Wittenmyer and Paul Sullivan are reporting that Alfonso Soriano will return to the Cub lineup without an intervening rehab assignment and that, according to the manager, Soriano will also step right back into the leadoff role upon his return, on or around May 1st.

From Wittenmyer in the Sun-Times:

Alfonso Soriano won't be hopping down the rehab-assignment trail, but
he will jump right back into the Cubs' leadoff spot when he returns
from the disabled list in another week, manager Lou Piniella said
Wednesday...

''We want to make sure that he can do all the things that a leadoff
hitter needs to do,'' Piniella said. ''We don't want to take any
chances here early in the year, bringing him back too soon, and all of
a sudden we've got another problem on our hands.

''But, yeah, when he comes back, he'll go to left field and lead off.''

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SP *Rich Hill SP *Franklin Morales
  1-0, 3.86, 11 K, 10 BB 1-1, 6.60, 5 K, 11 BB
       
CF Reed Johnson CF Ryan Spilborghs
SS Ryan Theriot 2B Clint Barmes
1B Derrek Lee 1B *Todd Helton
3B Aramis Ramirez LF Matt Holliday
RF *Kosuke Fukudome 3B Garrett Atkins
LF Mark DeRosa RF *Brad Hawpe
C Geovany Soto SS Troy Tulowitzki
2B Ronny Cedeno C Yorvit Torrealba
P
*Rich Hill P *Franklin Morales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rich Hill's flyball tendencies and big curve meet the thin air of Denver where he's 0-2 with 10.1 IP and an 11.32 ERA over his career. The Rockies counter with one of their many heroes from last year's late season surge to the NL pennant, Franklin Morales. 


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For those of you who follow the Cubs minor leagues, you may be interested to know that getting released isn't necessarily the End of the Baseball World as it once was.

Robert Hernandez threw three hitless innings and Dwayne Kemp drove in three runs with a sac fly, a triple, and a home run, leading the EXST Cubs to a 9-4 victory over the EXST Giants in Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning.   

  • Outscore opponents 67-28 (41-9 over the last 4 games)
  • Score first in 6 of the 8 games (they won 5 of the 6 games they scored first in)
  • Out-homer your opponents 10-8
  • Hit 342/436/535 as a team
  • Walk 43 times, while only allowing 28 free passes yourself
  • Hit .389 with 21 RBI's with the bases loaded
  • Pitch to a tune of 3.25 ERA as a team
  • Hold opposing team to a 219/300/364 line
  • Bear down and hold the opposing team to 197/310/361 with men in scoring position
  • Strike out 56 batters in 72 IP (7.375 K/9)
  • Beat up on the Reds and Pirates and use that momentum to finish off the Mets

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The season here in Des Moines has had a hard time getting started this year. Bad weather, bad team and bad schedule; you're out!

Yesterday was an exception.

Sean Gallagher served up a tasty lunch in a nooner matinee at Principal Park on one of the very few days so far when the elements didn't cross-up the schedule makers.

After seven innings Gallagher had thrown 86 pitches, allowing one run on three hits with no walks and 12 strikeouts. All 12 K's were swinging, most of them on a nasty breaking ball.

His pitch counts by inning were as follows: 11, 13,13, 14, 16, 9 and 10.

They trotted him back out for the eighth, the only frame when he failed to fan anybody. He walked the leadoff man, erased him on a DP grounder, gave up a base hit and called it a day after 101 mostly carveaceous, to coin a word, pitches.

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SP Nelson Figueroa SP *Ted Lilly
  1-0, 3.60, 14 K, 5 BB
0-3, 9.16, 14 K, 7 BB
       
SS #Jose Reyes LF Reed Johnson
RF #Angel Pagan CF *Felix Pie
3B David Wright 1B Derrek Lee
CF #Carlos Beltran 3B Aramis Ramirez
1B *Carlos Delgado RF *Kosuke Fukudome
2B Damion Easley 2B Mark DeRosa
LF Brady Clark SS Ronny Cedeno
C #Raul Casanova C Henry Blanco
P
Nelson Figueroa P *Ted Lilly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Normally you'd feel confident about a Ted Lilly vs Nelson Figueuroa match-up, but Lilly's fastball never made the flight from Arizona. And the Mets offense usually isn't too forgiving for someone trying to "figure it out".

I was shut-off from the Internet yesterday and had to rely on desperate measure to follow the game...my cellphone. By the 8th inning I figured out how to follow the game through MLB's gameday for your phone. I literally tuned in during Cedeno's at-bat and the screen kept refreshing with foul ball after foul ball, I figured it would eventually end with a breaking ball in the dirt and Ronny swinging. Imagine my surprise when I saw "Ball in Play, run(s) scored". And then Felix Pie with the cherry on top home run. Let's get the sweep!


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SP John Maine SP Carlos Zambrano
  1-1, 3.78, 10 K, 12 BB
2-1, 3.04, 23 K, 3 BB
       
SS #Jose Reyes CF Reed Johnson
2B #Luis Castillo 2B *Mike Fontenot
3B David Wright 1B Derrek Lee
CF #Carlos Beltran 3B Aramis Ramirez
1B *Carlos Delgado RF *Kosuke Fukudome
RF *Ryan Church LF Mark DeRosa
C #Raul Casanova C Geovany Soto
LF *Endy Chavez SS Ronny Cedeno
P
John Maine P #Carlos Zambrano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first-place Chicago Cubs--has a nice ring to it, don't you think?--are coming off a weekend drubbing of the Pirates, two games in which they scored 26 runs, amassed 30 hits, and still required seven innings of duty from their busy bullpen.

Veteran LHP Scott Eyre (on the 15-day DL with a sore elbow since 3/23) completed the Extended Spring Training (EXST) portion of his rehab this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, throwing one inning (18 pitches - 14 strikes) in the EXST Cubs 7-3 loss to the EXST A's.

Although Eyre did allow a run (a one-out broken bat single to center followed by an RBI double crushed off the centerfield "Green Monster"), he also struck out the side. His fast ball topped out at 91, and his slider was VERY sharp.

While Eyre was pitching, all of the young Cubs pitchers not scheduled to pitch today (who would normally sit in the grandstand and watch the game from there) crowded into the enclosed "bird cage" behind home plate to get a better look at a major league pitcher in action. They were pretty excited, especially since Eyre actually talked to them (unlike a certain now ex-Cubs pitcher who was rehabbing at Fitch Park for most of last season who shall remain nameless). .

RHP Chad Fox (elbow) completed the Fitch Park portion of his rehab on Saturday,moving his rehab to Daytona after proving he could throw two days in a row.

It's unkown for sure where exactly Eyre is headed to continue his rehab. The Cubs might want him to pitch in Florida (Daytona) where the weather is warmer than it is in Tennessee, Iowa, or Illinois, but they also might not want two rehabbing major league relievers at the same place at the same time. 

As is the custom when a Cubs player completes his rehab at Fitch Park and moves on, there were lots of handshakes and hugs as Eyre headed for the clubhouse. (I tried to give him a big hug, too, but I think he might have taken it the wrong way...) 

In addition to Eyre's final EXST outing, four other pitchers who are rehabbing also pitched today (and so naturally the Cubs team physician was in attendance).

The five hits that did the most to enhance the Cubs' chance of winning during the past week of Dusty-dissing and Pirate punishment, as measured by FanGraphs' Win Probability Added (WPA):


#5 Big Hit:
Friday, v. Pittsburgh, 4th inning-- With the Cubs trailing 1-0, Kosuke Fukudome rips a leadoff triple against Ian Snell. (Fukudome would score moments later on a Mark DeRosa single). WPA .120

Caffeine Watch '08

"I've never had Red Bull in my life, but I've actually seen people at a
bar order Red Bull and vodka. I can't comprehend that.
If I had a couple of those things, I'd be like the malt liquor bull
(from the old TV commercials) leaving the bar. My lord."'
- Lou Piniella

"You think Lou lives in my house in Chicago?"
- Carlos Zambrano
responding to questions that Lou thinks he's still drinking too many
caffeinated beverages

"Every time I don't want to drink Gatorade or water, they are all over
me .I appreciate that. They are doing a good job. I
have to keep going with my diet -- bananas, bananas and bananas.''
- Carlos Zambrano

I Sense Sarcasm...

"It was foul? You mean, the umpires were wrong?"
- Lou Piniella on DeRosa's "gift" homer on Sunday

First Place

Box Score, Photos

W - Dempster (3-0), Ivy
L - Duke (0-1), Bullpen mounds

 

Things to Take from This Game
1. The Fifth Inning
After giving up two hits to start the game, Dempster cruised through the first four innings before falling apart in the fifth. The Cubs entered the inning with a 5-0 lead, but Dempster gave up 3 on a hbp, two walks, a couple singles and a double. He recovered a loss of command to strike out LaRoche with the bases loaded. (LaRoche just had a horrible game, all around.)

The bottom half of the inning featured five Cubs runs, two Pirates errors, and a Ramirez two-run homer. It put the game away at 10-3.

2. The Cubs Outfield
Remember when the outfield was supposed to be Soriano, Pie and Fukudome? WIth an outfield of Murton, Johnson and DeRosa, the Cubs still scored 13 runs. Johnson scored three times, Murton had a couple of RBI ground-outs, and DeRosa... well, he didn't break his neck in right field while stumbling over the Pirate bullpen, so that counts as good.

3. Cubs Patience
Another day, another 7 walks, with just three strikeouts. Really, it was just an all-around strong offesnive performance, with everyone reaching base safely other than Dempster, Howry, and pinch-hitters Fontenot and Pie.

The Cards and Brewers both lost, so guess who's in first? The happy, three-and-a-half-hour details, below.

 

Tags: 

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SP *Zach Duke SP Ryan Dempster
  0-0, 2.89, 7 K, 4 BB
2-0, 2.37, 13 K, 9 BB
       
CF *Nate McLouth CF Reed Johnson
2B Freddy Sanchez SS Ryan Theriot
LF Jason Bay 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Adam LaRoche 3B Aramis Ramirez
RF Xavier Nady LF Matt Murton
C #Ryan Doumit RF Mark DeRosa
3B Jose Bautista C Geovany Soto
SS Brian Bixler 2B Ronny Cedeno
P
*Zach Duke P Ryan Dempster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WGN Radio is reporting that Kosuke Fukudome has a sebaceous cyst on his forehead which is causing some swelling in his right eyelid and thus, some vision problems. However, according to WGN's Cory Provus, Fukudome is on medication and is expected to return to the lineup on Monday.

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SP *Tom Gorzelanny SP Jason Marquis
  1-1, 6.75, 6 K, 11 BB
0-0, 5.23, 4 K, 6 BB
       
CF *Nate McLouth CF Reed Johnson
2B Freddy Sanchez SS Ryan Theriot
LF Jason Bay 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Adam LaRoche 3B Aramis Ramirez
RF Xavier Nady RF *Kosuke Fukudome
C #Ryan Doumit LF Mark DeRosa
3B Jose Bautista C Geovany Soto
SS Brian Bixler 2B Ronny Cedeno
P
*Tom Gorzelanny P *Jason Marquis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No kidding--starting pitchers' combined K:BB ratio this season is 1:1.7.

The Cubs go for five in a row this season against the Pirates and their eighth overall versus the Bucs dating back to last September.

This is semi-ancient baseball history, but for those of us who haven't thought a whole lot about Cincinnati Reds play-by-play man Marty Brennaman until the last 48 hours or so, we can enjoy this as if it were fresh and new.

In late April, 1988, the Reds were hosting the New York Mets in old Riverfront Stadium. Umpire Dave Pallone, who had a long history of conflict with the Reds in general and Cincy manager Pete Rose in particular, was working first base. In the bottom of the third inning, Rose and Pallone got into a chest-to-chest confrontation over a disputed play on the bases. Rose and Pallone got their fingers in each other's faces, Pallone told Rose, "Get your fucking finger out of my face," Rose shoved Pallone with his forearm and then, after Pallone had given Rose the official heave-ho and turned to walk away, Rose shoved Pallone a second time, in the back.

Here's where Marty enters the story.

I've been informed that indeed, the Cubs brass do read this website and have promoted Matt Murton. No word on who is getting sent down. Kidding about the Cubs brass reading this website, but our pal Steve Holley at Inside the Ivy is the one giving me the news and he's with the team currently in New Orleans. We can only assume it's Eric Patterson being sent down.


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