June 2008

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SP *Ted Lilly SP *Barry Zito
  5-8, 5.40, 95 K, 36 BB, 98.2 IP
3-11, 5.91, 44 K, 48 BB, 80.2 IP
       
RF *Kosuke Fukudome LF *Fred Lewis
SS Ryan Theriot 3B Jose Castillo
1B Derrek Lee RF #Randy Winn
C Geovany Soto C Bengie Molina
3B Mark DeRosa CF Aaron Rowand
CF *Jim Edmonds 1B Rich Aurilia
LF Matt Murton 2B Travis Denker
2B Ronny Cedeno SS #Emmanuel Burriss
P *Ted Lilly P *Barry Zito

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well that whole American League thing was no good...the Cubs went a paltry 6-9 against what was considered to be a soft interleague schedule at the beginning of the year.

Now it's back to the NL and back to the NL West, whom the Cubs have collectively beaten at an 18-5 clip. They'll get the offensively-challenged Giants tonight and it'll be up to Ted Lilly to try to keep them challenged. Lilly's overall numbers have been disappointing this year, but he's managed a 3.21 ERA in June up to this point. Most of his struggles this year can be attributed to a tendency to give up the gopher ball, but there's some hope that'll correct itself.

When the golden boy took the mound yesterday he must have felt right at home, what with the golden dome of the Iowa statehouse beyond the center-field wall and the Notre Dame fight song blaring over the PA system conjuring flashbacks of his alma mater.

Six innings and 101 pitches later Jeff Samardzija left having made another tentative promise on his well-financed junket through the bush leagues to the big-time.

He surrendered only one run despite walking six and recorded his first AAA win in his second start at that level.

If his dues-paying teammates resent his gilded glide through the system you wouldn't have known it by watching Koyie Hill throw out two base stealers or Luis Figueroa snuff out another threat by going way out of his way to snare a ball on the inskirts of CF and throw out the guy who hit it there.

Samardzija [I spelled it that time without looking it up] was also helped by a viagran breeze blowing straight in from LF @ 20 MPH. It caught one ball smoked to left-center and blew foul another that was thumped well beyond the RF fence.

Over the course of his season-and-a-half in pro ball the kid the Cubs lured from the NFL has now made 43 starts covering 229 innings. He's surrendered 257 hits and walked 94 while fanning 118. Not exactly glittering results.

Still, having now witnessed the most recent six of those innings I get why the Cubs got Samardzija.

First of all, he's imposing on the mound at 6'5" and 220. When he gets in jams he pitches like he's playing football. Case in point: Yesterday he faced Dallas McPherson in the top of the third protecting a 2-1 lead. McPherson leads all of pro baseball this year with 28 homers and just this weekend had a string of seven straight games with a homer snapped. To that point Samardzija hadn't topped 91 on the scoreboard speedometer. The sixth pitch of what ended as an eight-pitch strikeout registered 94 [scouts at Principal Park have told me that their guns consistently register 2-3 mph's faster than the ballpark's].

After looking like a prop at the plate in his first two AB's, Samardzija came up with the bases loaded in the fifth and got interested, slicing a sharp single to right through a drawn-in infield.

In short, the guy clearly likes to compete.

He threw first-pitch strikes to only 14 of the 24 hitters he faced. He only had one inning where he retired three straight. But his arm is lively and, money no longer being a concern, he seems to care mostly about winning. McPherson, a one-time phenom himself, was quoted in the local paper this morning as saying that Samardzija's fastball and splitter are both big-league caliber.

Once they're thrown as accurately as the Brady Quinn passes Samardzija used to catch, that's where he'll be throwing them, I suspect.

ALSO: His two RBI's yesterday give Micah Hoffpauir 26 in only 22 games with the I-Cubs this year...Figueroa almost suffered an improbable injury when he emerged from the dugout to lead-off in the bottom of the 2nd and was nearly run down by the golf cart the hot dog gunner was riding in...as a p.s. to AZ Phil's Pie post yesterday, I got to interview Felix once last year not long after he was sent back from his first taste of the 'bigs'. It was a rainy morning on a weekday with a matinee scheduled. An I-Cub official escorted me to a players' lounge area of the full, bustling clubhouse where I waited for Felix, apparently the last of the team to arrive. When he did he was sullen and practically non-communicative until the subject of his buddy Alfonso Soriano came up. Later our chat was interrupted by the team official who had to inform Felix why his rental car had been towed after he parked it smack dab in front of his downtown hotel late the previous evening and where he would have to go to get it back. It didn't sound like anybody was going to go get it for him which surprised me at the time. As for his general demeanor and tardiness to the ballpark, I was inclined to chalk them up as natural for a kid with his background in a strange place where the language too was unfamiliar. Given all the whispers going around Chicago media this spring about Pie's bad case of 'big-leagueitis', I have to wonder now...MW

Felix Pie went 2-3 with a lead-off first-pitch double roped down the RF line, a bases loaded RBI walk on a 3-2 pitch, a grand slam HR hammered over the CF fence, and a hard-hit 4-3 GO, as the AZL Cubs thumped the AZL Royals 18-1 at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in hot and sunny Mesa. 

box score

So do I really think Pie was sent to Fitch Park to "rehab" a "sprained thumb"?

Well...

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SP *Sean Marshall SP *Mark Buehrle
  0-1, 5.40, 12 K, 8 BB, 13.1 IP
5-6, 4.04, 57 K, 27 BB, 104.2 IP
       
RF *Kosuke Fukudome SS Orlando Cabrera
SS Ryan Theriot C *A.J. Pierzynski
1B Derrek Lee LF Carlos Quentin
3B Aramis Ramirez RF Jermaine Dye
DH Geovany Soto DH *Jim Thome
LF Mark DeRosa 3B Joe Crede
CF *Jim Edmonds 1B #Nick Swisher
C Henry Blanco 2B Alexei Ramirez
2B Ronny Cedeno CF Brian Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 About a week ago, the Cubs set an ugly precedent by losing three in a row to the Rays. I see no good reason to set another today by losing their fourth in a row.

Sean Marshall takes the mound and it could be his last start for awhile. When Zambrano returns, Marshall could be headed to the bullpen to give Lou another lefty while Eyre nurses his sore groin or he'll head back to Iowa. Unless he does something special today and someone craps their pants before a decision has to be made (looking at you Marquis).

Back-to-back ESPN Sunday night games and I'll be watching this with one of my oldest friends who's visiting for a few days. I've tried not to hold it against him that he's a White Sox fan all these years. But sometimes I can't help it...

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SP Sean Gallagher SP Javier Vazquez
  3-3, 3.97, 39 K, 19 BB, 47.2 IP
7-6, 4.24, 97 K, 29 BB, 107 IP
       
RF *Kosuke Fukudome SS Orlando Cabrera
LF Mark DeRosa C *A.J. Pierzynski
1B Derrek Lee LF Carlos Quentin
DH *Daryle Ward RF Jermaine Dye
3B Aramis Ramirez DH *Jim Thome
CF *Jim Edmonds 3B Joe Crede
C Geovany Soto 1B #Nick Swisher
2B *Mike Fontenot 2B Alexei Ramirez
SS Ronny Cedeno CF *Dewayne Wise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Some juggling of the 2, 4, and 5 spots in the Cubs lineup today, and Theriot sits for another game.  Ramirez plays for Uribe, otherwise the same lineup for the Sox.  Today also marks the half-way point in the Cubs' season, with a win putting the Cubs exactly on pace for 100.  Cubs beat Vazquez pretty easily last time; this is Gallagher's first time facing the Sox.

 

AZ PHIL UPDATE: Prior to the game, the Cubs placed LHP Scott Eyre on the 15-day DL (groin), and recalled RHP Jose Ascanio from AAA Iowa. 

Ascanio just recently returned to the Iowa Cubs from Venezuela, after missing about ten days (Bereavement Leave and then visa problems) while attending his brother's funeral. 

Although Ascanio is one of the Cubs top pitching prospects, and while he does have MLB experience, the Cubs probably would have preferred to bring up a pitcher who can throw more than one inning (Ascanio is Iowa's closer), but Kevin Hart (concussion) and Randy Wells (leg) are injured, and MLB veterans Mike Burns and Hector Carrasco threw a lot of pitches the last couple of days. (The Cubs could transfer RHP Chad Fox to the 60-day DL if they need to open a slot on the 40-man roster for Wells, Burns, or Carrasco at some point down the line).

 

In what may have been the worst professional baseball game I ever saw, the AZL Cubs defeated the AZL Padres 16-15 yesterday in a four-hour nine inning game in 108 degree heat at Fitch Park Field #3.  

Bad fielding, bad pitching, bad everything.

box score

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SP Ryan Dempster SP José Contreras
  9-2, 2.63, 85 K, 38 BB, 102.2 IP
6-6, 3.96, 56 K, 26 BB, 97.2 IP
       
DH *Kosuke Fukudome SS Orlando Cabrera
LF *Eric Patterson C *A.J. Pierzynski
1B Derrek Lee LF Carlos Quentin
3B Aramis Ramirez RF Jermaine Dye
RF *Daryle Ward DH *Jim Thome
CF *Jim Edmonds 3B Joe Crede
C Geovany Soto 1B #Nick Swisher
2B *Mike Fontenot 2B Juan Uribe
SS Ronny Cedeno CF *Dewayne Wise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's time for Round Two of the Cubs versus White Sox, a.k.a. Team Inferiority Complex.

The Cubs go with a lineup that's long on lefties and rich on suck. Fontenot? Cedeño?? Ward in the field??? Lou is clearly trying to win the game with one hand tied behind his back, thus completely demoralizing the hosts.

Dempster, who yielded just one run (though 10 hits) to beat the White Sox on Sunday night, gets the nod against Contreras, who the Cubs undressed last Saturday (9 ER, 10H allowed in 3.1 innings).

John Nuveen poster for Wrigley Field

From a campaign for Nuveen Investments designed specifically for use in and around the Wrigley Field skyboxes.You can see the rest of the posters here and here.

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SP Radhames Liz SP Jason Marquis

1-0, 6.27, 14 K, 9 BB, 18.2 IP
6-3, 4.43, 41 K, 31 BB, 81.1 IP




2B #Brian Roberts LF *Eric Patterson
SS #Alex Cintron SS Ryan Theriot
RF *Nick Markakis 1B Derrek Lee
1B Kevin Millar 3B Aramis Ramirez
3B *Aubrey Huff CF *Jim Edmonds
LF Jay Payton C Geovany Soto
CF Adam Jones RF Mark DeRosa
C Guillermo Quiroz 2B *Mike Fontenot
P Radhames Liz P *Jason Marquis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sure, baseball is a 162-game marathon and one individual game generally means very little in the grand scheme of things. But once in awhile a key game comes along that can define a team and a season. The Orioles threaten to take the series today, which would mark the Cubs first series loss at home since the end of April to the Brewers. We shall not stand for this threat against our beloved Friendly Confines So rise up, my beloved Cubbies against this island of misfits led by the Cubs' bespectacled cast-off.

WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE!

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SP Matt Albers SP *Ted Lilly
  3-2, 2.77, 25 K, 21 BB, 48.2 IP
7-5, 4.71, 91 K, 34 BB, 91.2 IP
       
2B #Brian Roberts LF *Eric Patterson
RF *Nick Markakis SS Ryan Theriot
3B Melvin Mora 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Aubrey Huff 3B Aramis Ramirez
C Ramon Hernandez CF *Jim Edmonds
LF *Luke Scott C Geovany Soto
CF Jay Payton RF Mark DeRosa
SS #Alex Cintron 2B *Mike Fontenot
P *Matt Albers P *Ted Lilly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Albers gets the emergency start in place of the scheduled O's starter, Brian Burres.

As you may have noticed, the top three teams in the NL Central, the Cubs (48-29, .623), Cards (45-33, .577), and Brewers (43-34, .558), also currently have the three best records in the National League. Who'da thunk?

Here is how the Big 3 rank against the rest of the NL in various categories.

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SP *Sean Marshall SP Jeremy Guthrie
  0-0, 4.15, 5 K, 7 BB, 8.2 IP
3-7, 3.51, 68 K, 30 BB, 102.2 IP
       
2B #Brian Roberts RF *Kosuke Fukudome
RF *Nick Markakis LF *Eric Patterson
3B Melvin Mora 1B Derrek Lee
1B Kevin Millar 3B Aramis Ramirez
C Ramon Hernandez CF *Jim Edmonds
LF *Luke Scott C Geovany Soto
CF Adam Jones RF Mark DeRosa
SS #Alex Cintron SS Ryan Theriot
P Jeremy Guthrie P *Sean Marshall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bah...the Internets ate my preview, so here's the cliff notes version.

  • Orioles first trip to Wrigley...ever
  • Marshall called up, Reed Johnson to the disabled list.
  • Cubs going for 15th straight home win, Orioles are .400 on the road. Do the math.

Go Cubs!

2008 33rd round pick Sean Hoorelbeke (Central Michigan) roped a two-run double into the left-centerfield alley on a 3-2 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning, driving in the tying and winning runs and giving the AZL Cubs a 4-3 victory over the AZL Giants at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.

box score

The AZL Cubs are now 1-2 in AZL league play.

3B Junior Lake gave the AZL Cubs a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning when he blasted a towering HR onto 8th Street, but the lanky 18-year old Dominican infielder got yanked out of the game by Manager Franklin Font after he failed to run out a ground ball in a later AB.

Just a typical Day in the Life of AZL baseball.  

Prior to the AZL game, LHP Rich Hill threw a two-inning (35 pitches - 22 strikes & 13 balls) simulated game on Field #1 under the watchful eye of Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator Mark Riggins (who stood at various vantage points around the infield and home plate area during the session, including behind the mound).

MLB has released the latest update on the All-Star voting and there would be three Cubbies in the starting lineup. Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome are one and two among the outfielders and Geovany Soto has a commanding lead over Brian McCann at catcher.

Of course, none of them deserve it, but it pays to be on a popular team that also happens to have the best record in baseball. A matter of fact, all the Cubbies are enjoying the residual benefits of a. 632 winning percentage. Derrek Lee is second in the voting, Mark DeRosa is second (poor Dan Uggla), Ryan Theriot is third and Aramis Ramirez is second(actually well-deserved). Using an advanced metric such as Runs Created, as tracked by The Hardball Times, here's how the All-Star voting should be shaking out. An asterisk indicates they are actually leading the voting.

The Tribune reports Tuesday that Mark DeRosa is "still hearing about" the Orioles' Brian Roberts, who will be on the field with his Baltimore mates tonight at Wrigley. (Wild thought—the primary sources of the Roberts reminders are those who ask DeRosa about Roberts and then write stories about his reaction to the reminders.)

For what it's worth, here are the 2008 numbers. First, an offensive comparison of Roberts, DeRosa (his total '08 numbers, not just those accumulated while he's playing 2B), and Cubs second basemen in total:

The five hits from the past week that did the most to enhance the Cubs' chances of winning, according to Win Probability Added as calculated by Fan Graphs:

#5.) Tuesday, 9th inning at Tampa, man on first, one out, Cubs trailing the Rays, 3-1. Kosuke Fukudome doubles against Troy Percival, sending Mark DeRosa around to third. It's so obvious the Cubs will at least tie up this game and send it to extra innings. It's so very, very obvious...right up to the moment the Rays retire Reed Johnson to lock down the 3-2 win. Fukudome double = WPA .150  

#4.) Saturday, 4th inning vs. White Sox, men on first and second, one out, Cubs trailing the Sox, 4-3. Fukudome hits a ground single to right, scoring Ryan Theriot from second base to tie the game 4-4, with much more run-making yet to follow in this fourth inning. Fukudome single = WPA .159

The countdown continues after the jump.

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SP Javier Vazquez SP Ryan Dempster
  7-5, 4.13, 93 K, 24 BB, 96 IP
8-2, 2.76, 81 K, 37 BB, 94.2 IP
       
SS Orlando Cabrera RF *Kosuke Fukudome
C *A.J. Pierzynski LF *Eric Patterson
LF Carlos Quentin 1B Derrek Lee
RF Jermaine Dye 3B Aramis Ramirez
1B #Nick Swisher CF *Jim Edmonds
3B Joe Crede C Geovany Soto
CF *Dewayne Wise RF Mark DeRosa
2B Alexei Ramirez SS Ryan Theriot
P Javier Vazquez P Ryan Dempster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The national ESPN spotlight shines this evening on 1060 West Addison, which can only mean one thing:

The Yankees and Mets aren't playing each other this weekend.

According to the Sun-Times' up-to-the-minute Cubs reports via Twitter, Rob Reiner and his kid are in the house tonight. Could there be any clearer indication what an important contest this is?

Regarding tonight's starters...

Oh, about a week back.

When Reed Johnson collided with Ray's 1B Willie Aybar to end the Tuesday game in Tampa, he looked like a pinball bouncing off a bumper. Given that he missed most of last year because of a lumbar disc herniation, ultimately treated by surgery in April 07, I knew this could be trouble. Playing two series on astroturf (Toronto and Tampa consecutively), worried me just because of his history of back surgery. It's being reported that he was suffering from back spasms since the collision.

Supposedly he was available for pinch hitting duty for Thursday but he hasn't been used since the collision. A tidbit in this morning's Tribune says he received an anti-inflammatory injection in his back on Thursday. So unless that information is a bit off, he might have been given the injection in Tampa. The team didn't fly back to Chicago until the wee hours of Friday morning for the day game against the Sox. If he did get an epidural cortisone injection (ESI), it's similar to how Daryle Ward's herniated disc condition was treated although I don't believe Ward has ever had surgery on his disc, so it's not quite comparable. Ward's rehabbing in Arizona and is getting a minor league rehab assignment with the Iowa Cubs this week before probably coming off the DL for the Sox series next weekend. Hence, DWard's DL stint is going to amount to just short of 6 weeks.

If Reed Johnson does go on the DL Monday (an off day before the Baltimore series), expect Sean Marshall's call up to mean that Eric Patterson (or Matt Murton) gets to stay up more than their usual 3 day stint for a change. Somehow I don't understand why they didn't fill the roster spot sooner, unless Reed Johnson truely was capable of playing. We've been playing a man short since last Tuesday, more if you consider Edmonds missed a few games. If the scrappy one (of scrappy, scrappier and scrappiest fame) was capable of pinch hitting (explaining why he's not on the DL yet) but hasn't been used, any DL stint can still be retroactive to his last game on June 17th.

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SP José Contreras SP Jason Marquis
  6-5, 3.24, 55 K, 24 BB, 94.1 IP
5-3, 4.24, 37 K, 30 BB, 74.1 IP
       
SS Orlando Cabrera RF *Kosuke Fukudome
C *A.J. Pierzynski LF Eric Patterson
LF Carlos Quentin 1B Derrek Lee
RF Jermaine Dye 3B Aramis Ramirez
1B #Nick Swisher CF *Jim Edmonds
3B Joe Crede 2B *Mike Fontenot
CF *Dewayne Wise C Geovany Soto
2B Alexei Ramirez SS Ryan Theriot
P José Contreras P *Jason Marquis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First, the Z news:

The Cubs have placed Carlos and his shoulder strain on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 19th (Zambrano's second career trip to the Disabled List, the other coming in 2002), and they have recalled Eric Patterson from Iowa. Patterson is in Lou Piniella's lineup this afternoon, playing left field and hitting second.

As for the game at hand, the first-place Cubs go for their 13th consecutive win at Wrigley and try to improve on their overall 30-8 record at home, while trying to extend a four-game winning streak over the White Sox, the longest streak either team has enjoyed since interleague play began in '97.

The White Sox—with a mark of 17-21 away from U.S. Cellular Fans Beating Up Opposition's First-Base Coach Field—try to avoid their 8th consecutive road loss.

And everybody hopes that those isolated thunderstorms find somewhere else to play besides the corner of Clark & Addison.

 

 

Hello again from Des Moines, the soggy branch office of the Chicago Cubs National League ballclub.

A bizarre homestand that began last weekend with a flood-delayed game played behind closed doors as a public safety precaution ended last night with the season's largest crowd witnessing the latest episode in the unraveling of Rich Hill.

One night after Sean Marshall required only 87 pitches to get 24 outs, Hill scatter-gunned 45 before he was taken into custody after a mere two-thirds of the first inning.

He hit batters, batters hit him, he walked #'s 29, 30, 31 and 32 in 28 Iowa innings, threw in a wild pickoff throw that seemed almost gratuitous and generally made a[n] [Steve Bl]ass of himself before being ushered to the showers by tepid applause that was as unwarranted here as it would have been at a gallows.

How appropos that the opponent for the Iowa Floods was the New Orleans Hurricane.

The visitors' operatic lineup sparkled with Gustavos and Casanovas and Rauls and Valentinos and Pascuccis.

Understudies to Marshall on Thursday night, they killed Hill in the first act on Friday before the concessionaires had beaten back the first charge of a crowd in excess of 11k.

Marshall apparently won't be here much longer. He's ripe and ready for the call. As for Hill, he's best-suited right now for casting as Nuke Laloosh in a 'Bull Durham' remake.

The anti-climactic pitching note of the evening was the appearance of a young moose named Estrada for the I-Cubs. Recently promoted from Tennessee where his #'s were ordinary, he's listed at 6'8" and 260#. So far in two stints here he's allowed five hits and two runs in seven innings while walking zero and fanning 10. File him under future reference.

Following the good example of their parent club the I-Cubs now hit the road still in first place - high and, more importantly, dry...MW

 

 

After the game the Cubs announced that the MRI/Arthrogram performed on Carlos Zambrano's right pitching shoulder showed absolutely NO structural damage. Specifically there was no evidence of a labrum injury or rotator cuff tear. There was some inflammation in the back of the shoulder which probably refers to the infraspinatus muscle, hence the Tribune reporting the test showed a minor shoulder strain.

The infraspinatus is the posterior of the four muscles that make up the rotator cuff. Cuff tears are mostly synonymous for a tear in the supraspinatus tendon which is the superior muscle and tendon. The muscle in front is the subscapularis and the teres minor is posterior below the infraspinatus. A mild muscle strain implies some inflammation but no significant stretch or tear of the muscle fibers. So with no structural damage and a collective sigh from all places Cub Blue, the conservative thing is to let Zambrano's shoulder rest for two starts. Supposedly they discussed this with Z and they wanted to know if he should miss only one start (vs. Baltimore) or two starts (at US Comisk-ular). Rumor has it that when Zambrano was told he would not bat in an AL team home park he opted to miss two starts.

Daylight Drama


W -
Wood (4-1), back-to-back jack winners, Aramis Freakin' Ramirez, A day's worth of bragging rights, listening to stunned silence of Hawk and DJ


L -
Linebrink (2-2), Blithering idiocy, Hawk Harrelson, listening to blithering idiocy, listening to three hours of Hawk Harrelson's blithering idiocy


Box Score
, Photos


Things to Take from This Game


1. Quality starts by the lefties

Lilly continued to have problems with the Home Run ball, giving up a solo shot to Dye in the second and a two-run blast to Pierzynski in the third.  Those wound up being the only runs the Cubs gave up, as  Lilly worked out of trouble in both the fifth and sixth.  Danks had a stronger game, striking out five and walking none, and left with a 3-1 lead.  He only gave up a run-scoring GIDP to Lee in the first.  However...


2. No Contest in the Battle of the Bullpens

Dotel came in for the seventh, and promptly surrendered back-to-back jacks to Lee and Ramirez.  Howry by contrast got the last out of the seventh and had an easy eighth, while Wood survived a near-miss home run that only registered as a leadoff double, and got out of the ninth without damage.  That set up the bottom of the ninth, where... 


3. Ramirez Walks Off

Aramis hit his second home run of the game, this one off of Linebrink and to dead center into the juniper bushes. Cubs win a great game, 4-3.

 

 The "why did you miss this game, and need to rely on my thrilling recap?" details, below.

Tags: 

Daryle Ward went 2-3 and scored a run, and Sean Hoorelbeke and Dwayne Kemp drove in two runs a piece with RBI doubles, as the AZL Cubs and AZL Angels played to a 5-5 tie at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in what was a final tune-up for AZL Opening Day on Sunday.

Ward, who played 1B and hit 3rd in the order, left the game amidst the usual handshakes, hugs, and kisses that accompany a "rehabber" leaving for the airport in the middle of a game. Whether DW will end up in Iowa or Tennessee is apparently still TBD. But if all goes well at who knows where, Ward is supposed to rejoin the Cubs next week In Chicago.  

Game Chat

SP *John Danks SP *Ted Lilly
  4-4, 2.90, 61 K, 24 BB, 80.2 IP
7-5, 4.76, 83 K, 31 BB, 85 IP
       
SS Orlando Cabrera CF *Kosuke Fukudome
C *AJ Pierzynski SS Ryan Theriot
LF Carlos Quentin 1B Derrek Lee
RF Jermaine Dye 3B Aramis Ramirez
C #Nick Swisher CF Geovany Soto
3B Joe Crede RF Mark DeRosa
2B Alexei Ramirez LF Matt Murton
CF Brian Anderson 2B Ronny Cedeno
P *john Danks P *Ted Lilly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Schizo Game

W - Balfour (2-0), getting out of Tampa

L - Marmol (1-2), 7-run sevenths.


Box Score
, Photos

Things to Take from This Game


1. Shields was fantastic

Shields pitched a fantastic six innings before giving up a run in the sixth on a Fontenot double, and leaving with runners on 2 and 3. The relievers allowed both inherited runners to score on a bloop by Fukudome and a seeing-eye bouncer by Theriot. Though he technically gave up 3, Shields was much more dominant than that for most of his outing.


2. Gallagher was terrific

Gallagher also pitched very well, with a particularly impressive live fastball. The Devil Rays successfully extended several at bats, with the same sort of grinding approach that we've enjoyed watching the Cubs employ for most of the year. Gallagher still managed to get through six, and worked out of a couple jams. A very encouraging outing by Gallagher, who only gave up one run, and that came on a double play that followed an error by Lee.


3. Marmol and Eyre were.... uh...

Marmol comes in to protext a 3-1 lead in the seventh, and goes walk, walk, hbp, hbp. Eyre comes in and goes Grand Slam to Crawford, triple, double, sac fly, double. Marmol was missing with his slider, both the HBP coming on sliders that got too far inside. Eyre was just bad.

The "we never again have to listen to pundits pointing out that the Cubs are the only team to not have a three-game losing streak this year, there, are you happy, Cubnut?" details, below. :)

Tags: 

Angel Guzman threw two innings (25 pitches - 19 strikes, 3/1 GO/FO) in an AZL Cubs intrasquad game at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning, allowing two runs (one ER) on two hits, with no walks and two stikeouts (both swinging). 
 
Also, Daryle Ward continued his rehab at Fitch Park, with an extended pre-game BP session in which he clubbed bomb after bomb over the RF fence. He also shagged some fly balls in RF.

Ex-Sox skipper Jerry Manuel is already in place in New York. Now, the heads are continuing to roll in Seattle. The M's have canned manager John McLaren and replaced him with bench coach and former Cubs manager Jim Riggleman.

After three seasons running the Padres, Riggleman managed the Cubs from '95 through '99 and went 374-419 (.472). The team's best season under Riggs was in 1998, The Year of Sammy, when they went 90-73 and won a one-game playoff against the Giants to reach the post-season.

How Many Losses?

W - Sonnanstine (8-3), loud domes, cowbells

L - Zambrano (8-3), soreness and discomfort, opposite field singles

S - Percival (17)


Box Score
, Photos

Things to Take from This Game


1. Cheap Runs

The Devil Rays scored a run in the first when DeRosa missed a line drive that allowed the runner to come around from first. It was a pretty bad miss by DeRosa. In the third the Devil Rays scored four times on a seemingly endless series of controlled swings producing opposite field singles.


2. Missed Spots, Calls

Zambrano didn't have much command of the fastball, missing up in the zone with some frequency. The home plate ump didn't have much command of his strike zone, either. It made for a bit of a bumpy game. But other than the third, both Z and Sonnanstine worked quickly and effectively. Cotts gave up a leadoff walk, but Wuertz got through the rest of the game without incident.

3. Missed Opportunity

The Cubs had a great chance to score in the fifth, with the bases loaded and no outs for Theriot, Lee and Ramirez. Theriot beat out a potential GIDP to score one run, but Lee and Ramirez couldn't drive the other runners in.

4. Another Wild Ninth

Soto makes up for last night's near-miss, and lines a home run off of Percival in the 9th, to make the game 5-4. DeRosa then walked, but Percival managed to nail things down from there. Another dramatic loss.

5. Uh. Oh.

Z left the game with two outs in the seventh after throwing a pitch to Eric Hinske. Soto saw something, and immediately got up, motioned to the dugout, and all went out to the mound. Z left and as of this posting has "Right Shoulder Discomfort" Edmonds had left the game in the fourth with "Left Foot Soreness." With Reed Johnson hobbled by a strained back, Fukudome had to play center. As per usual, stay tuned for updates.

 

Your "they're still the Devil Rays, no matter what their marketing department thinks the focus groups want" details, below.

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SP Carlos Zambrano SP Andy Sonnastine
  8-2, 2.98, 66 K, 32 BB, 99.2 IP
7-3, 4.89, 54 K, 14 BB, 84.2 IP
       
RF *Kosuke Fukudome 2B *Akinori Iwamura
SS Ryan Theriot LF *Carl Crawford
1B Derrek Lee CF BJ Upton
3B Aramis Ramirez RF *Eric Hinske
CF *Jim Edmonds 3B Evan Longoria
C Geovany Soto DH *Cliff Floyd
LF Mark DeRosa 1B #Willy Aybar
DH *Micah Hoffpauir C #Dionar Navarro
2B Ronny Cedeno SS Jason Bartlett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of our trusted readers tells us that he heard on WGN radio that Lou Piniella has decided to bat Kosuke Fukudome leadoff until Alfonso Soriano is back...or until Lou changes his mind again. I would assume that Jim Edmonds would get the bulk of the work at the five spot from now on, at least versus righties.

I also wanted to share this story that another reader found via the Sun-Times:

Mark DeRosa interrupted Matt Murton's back-in-the-big-leagues news conference Tuesday with the question most people want the answer to:

''Will you stop hitting swinging bunts and start driving balls out
of the ballpark with your quads the size of bricks?'' DeRosa said,
grinning. ''Let's ask the real questions. You going to hit some home
runs?''

Replied Murton: ''Why not?''

That's the even bigger question -- the one probably most responsible for keeping Murton in the minors longer than expected.

 That is the million dollar question with Murton, now isn't it?

 

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SP Ryan Dempster SP *Scott Kazmir
  8-2, 2.81, 75 K, 35 BB, 89.2 IP
6-2, 1.74, 54 K, 16 BB, 51.2 IP
       
CF Reed Johnson 2B *Akinori Iwamura
SS Ryan Theriot 1B #Willy Aybar
1B Derrek Lee CF BJ Upton
3B Aramis Ramirez RF *Eric Hinske
DH Geovany Soto 3B Evan Longoria
RF Mark DeRosa DH *Cliff Floyd
LF Matt Murton C #Dionar Navarro
C Henry Blanco RF *Gabe Gross
2B Ronny Cedeno SS Jason Bartlett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Murton has been called up and Eric Patterson has been sent down. Welcome back to the Show Orange Guy, and good luck with Scott Kazmir, who has given up all of one run in four home starts this year (thanks nohit). The entire Rays team has been enjoying the comforts of Tampa, Florida with a shiny 26-11 mark at Tropicana Field. That's good for second best in the home record in the American League and has helped catapult them from the worst overall record in the league last year to the current AL Wild Card leaders. Most of that turnaround can be attributed to their pitching and defense and not that sketchy lineup that I'm looking at. But I guess you don't need good hitters if you can "Execute to the Max".

Game notes fun after the jump...

Ten days after the 2008 Rule 4 Draft, the Cubs have signed 23 of their 51 draft picks.

Ten days after the 2007 Rule Draft, the Cubs had signed 23 of their 50 selections, although they eventually signed 33.

In the opener of the Cubs' just-completed series in Toronto, Derrek Lee, playing the part of Designated Hitter, went 0-for-3 with a strikeout; Aramis Ramirez, in his regular third base role, went 2-for-5.

On Saturday, Ramirez took over the DH role and went 1-for-5 with two K's and left five men on base; Derrek Lee returned to his accustomed position at first base and went 3-for-4 with two runs scored.

Always one to jump to a quick conclusion, on Saturday night, I got to thinking that just maybe this DH thing was a little trickier than one might imagine, especially for National League players who don't know what it is to have four or five at-bats in a game separated not by time in the field, but by long idle stretches in the dugout, or back in the clubhouse, doing whatever it is DH's do when they're not sitting idle in the dugout.

There isn't a whole lot going down today. The last-ever Hall of Fame game was to feature the Cubs versus the Padres this afternoon...and was poetically rained out. That'll save the Cubs from a freak injury at least.

To hold us over until the big Cubs vs Rays series tomorrow (imagine that, an IMPORTANT Cubs vs Rays series), reader Carlos sent me a link to a Len Kasper chat wrap on Baseball Prospectus from last week. He touches on his love of sabermetrics along with a bit of inside info on the personalities on the team. It's certainly worth a read.

I also would like to mention that the Cubs reached 20 games over .500 with the win yesterday. This is the soonest they've reached that mark since...1906, which is still the record for highest team winnng percentage in a season. Lou's 2001 Mariners did tie the 116 win mark, but had ten more games to do it (162 versus 152).

Some minor league info and run differential update after the jump...

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SP *Ted Lilly SP Jessie Litsch
  6-5, 5.13, 77 K, 26 BB, 79 IP
7-2, 3.42, 42 K, 12 BB, 76.1 IP
       
LF Reed Johnson RF Alex Rios
RF *Kosuke Fukudome 2B Marco Scutaro
DH Derrek Lee 3B Scott Rolen
3B Aramis Ramirez CF Vernon Wells
CF *Jim Edmonds LF Kevin Mench
C Geovany Soto C Rod Barajas
2B Mark DeRosa 1B *Brad Wilkerson
1B *Micah Hoffpauir DH #Greg Zaun
SS Ryan Theriot SS John McDonald

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Father's Day!

Angel Guzman (on the 60-day DL while rehabbing from 2007 TJS) threw two innings (28 pitches) in an intrasquad game, and Daryle Ward (on the 15-day DL while rehabbing from a back injury) took an extended BP session, as the AZL Cubs spent their first day home alone at Fitch Park. 

Also, three more players signed out of the recent Rule 4 Draft have reported to Fitch Park, bringing the count up to 22 drafted players signed (with 29 still unsigned), plus three non-drafted free-agents (NDFA) signed.

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