July 2008

I thinks it's important that we come up with the perfect term to describe the annihilation of the Brew Bitches from the North. So please fill-in with the most appropriate verb. All submissions are welcome.

The Cubs (blanked) the Brewers.

a few to start you off: dominated, beat-up, skull-fucked, etc... 

If you need to add a metaphor or point of reference to the end of the sentence, that is acceptable as well.

I'll try and post anything I come across with the most recent news on the top. Feel free to add anything in the comments. The deadline is 3 PM CST, although finalized deals often come in as much as hour or two later.

3:15 PM CST: Sullivan says it doesn't look like the Cubs made a move at the deadline, although he's not 100% certain yet.

3:07 PM CST: The deadline has passed and not much out there. But, a lot of last minute deals take a good hour or two to get reported. 

2:18 PM CST: ESPN reporting that Cubs are out of the Ibanez derby.  

1:50 PM CST: Filed under WTF? - Jonah Keri hearing whispers that the Cubs may be in on Will Ohman. 

1:23 PM CST: Bruce Levine supposedly reported that the Cubs turned down an offer from the Padres for Brian Giles. No idea what the offer was though. 

1:09 PM CST: Our token Mexican reader Carlos tells me that ESPN Latin America reported that the Royals want a starter for David Dejesus, preferably an MLB-ready one like Sean Marshall.

12:47 PM CST: ESPN.com reporting that Yanks and Red Sox are interested in Steve Eyre.

12:45 PM CST: Someone watching the ESPN special has Gammons reporting that the Cubs still think a deal for Ibanez can get done even if the original asking price was too high.

12:30 PM CST:  Cubs asking about David Dejesus, Brian Giles and Raul Ibanez.

12:30 PM CST: Hendry asking about Milton Bradley. 

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SP Rich Harden SP Dave Bush
(NL) 0-1, 1.04, 30 K, 8 BB, 17.1 IP
5-8, 4.51, 71 K, 26 BB, 111.2 IP
       
LF Alfonso Soriano 2B Rickie Weeks
SS Ryan Theriot 3B *Craig Counsell
1B Derrek Lee LF J.J. Hardy
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Prince Fielder
RF *Kosuke Fukudome LF Ryan Braun
RF Mark DeRosa RF Gabe Kapler
CF *Jim Edmonds CF Mike Cameron
C Geovany Soto C Jason Kendall
P Rich Harden P Dave Bush

Two Cubs trade rumors from this morning - the first comes from CBS Sportsline:

  The Chicago Cubs, who already made a big splash with pitcher Rich Harden, are exploring deals to add a lefty-hitting right fielder. The Cubs have inquired about Seattle's Raul Ibanez, San Diego's Brian Giles and Kansas City's David DeJesus, according to sources.

 

I think pretty much any left-handed hitting outfielder is going to be associated with the Cubs over the next few hours. Lo and behold, we have some rumblings from the cubs.com board that Jim has asked the Rangers about Milton Bradley. 

As Robert Ripley would say - Believe it or Not! 

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SP Ryan Dempster SP *Manny Parra
11-4, 2.99, 117 K, 57 BB, 138.2 IP
9-3, 3.72, 92 K, 54 BB, 113.2 IP
LF Alfonso Soriano 2B #Ray Durham
SS Ryan Theriot SS J.J. Hardy
1B Derrek Lee LF Ryan Braun
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Prince Fielder
CF Reed Johnson RF Corey Hart
2B Mark DeRosa 3B Bill Hall
RF *Kosuke Fukudome CF Mike Cameron
C Henry Blanco C Jason Kendall
P Ryan Dempster P *Manny Parra

The Cubs were able to secure wins over the Brewers big two, and now the Brewers will try and retaliate amidst our big three. Dempster goes for back-to-back road wins for the first time in seven years and looks to draw even with Zambrano for the team lead with twelve wins. A win for the Cubs tonight would also put them back up to twenty games over .500, which is a neat little number. Dempster will have to watch out for Ray Durham and Jason Kendall, both of whom are sporting OPS's over 1.000 against him over their careers.

It'll be Manny Parra for the Brewers, who I suppose makes the third leg of the Brewers troika (TCR word of the week sponsored by Motorola) of starting pitchers. He survived a brutal April and is 8-2 with a 3.40 ERA since the beginning of May. He has one career start versus the Cubs last August and lasted only three innings after giving up three runs in the second.

TRADE RUMOR UPDATE (4:23 PM CST): Jayson Stark reports that the Mariners are asking a steep price for Ibanez:

The Cubs, meanwhile, are resisting attempts by Seattle to get Felix Pie and a second prospect for Ibanez. The Cubs almost certainly would be willing to offer a couple of prospects in the Sam Fuld stratum. But teams that have spoken with the Cubs say they've shown little sense of urgency to overpay to add a final piece or two of late. 


A few notes about the Cubs/Brewers series first...

- So the Cubs win the battle of the aces last night, with Carlos Zambrano putting together the type of heroic effort that should be remembered for years. 118 laser precision-like pitches over eight innings with nine strikeouts and only five hits and the Cubs are guaranteed to be still in first place after the series ends. They're also set-up nicely for a series win or dare I say series sweep with Ryan Dempster and Rich Harden going the next two games. (Doing my best Mel Allen) How about that?

- The "struggling" Cubs offense has pounded out 26 hits over the last two games. Apparently you can just turn it on when it's needed most. 

- Entering the series, Jason Kendall had morphed himself into a late-90's Ivan Rodriguez, throwing out 27 of 57 baserunners for a league-leading .474 caught stealing percentage. Lou and the Cubs baserunners didn't seem impressed. They're now a perfect five for five in the first two games. Kendall needs to take another dip into whatever fountain of youth he found.

Some trade rumors after the jump...

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SP Carlos Zambrano SP Ben Sheets
  11-4, 2.96, 87 K, 44 BB, 133.2 IP
10-3, 2.87, 115 K, 31 BB, 135 IP
       
LF Alfonso Soriano 2B #Ray Durham
SS Ryan Theriot SS J.J. Hardy
1B Derrek Lee LF Ryan Braun
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Prince Fielder
CF *Kosuke Fukudome RF Corey Hart
RF Mark DeRosa 3B *Russ Branyan
2B *Mike Fontenot CF Mike Cameron
C Geovany Soto C Jason Kendall
P #Carlos Zambrano P Ben Sheets

My apologies for lack of a game thread last night, I was out on a 3-day weekend celebrating seven years of marriage with the Angelfan wife. Many ask what our secret is (okay, no one does), and the answer? Marry a girl who likes baseball and doesn't mind if you check the scores on your cellphone during a sunset dinner at the beach. Lucky in love I am...

Game 106 Thread / Cubs @ Brewers (1 of 4)...how's that for a good bluff, Rob?

From Stripes:

John Winger (Bill Murray): C'mon, it's Czechoslovakia. We zip in, we pick 'em up, we zip right out again. We're not going to Moscow. It's Czechoslovakia. It's like going into Wisconsin.

Russell Ziskey (Harold Ramis): Well I got the shit kicked out of me in Wisconsin once.

=================

After a glorious 6-4 win in the opening game of this key Milwaukee series, I wanted to take a minor detour and reflect on my recent travails, aka, life following the Cubs in central Europe including the Czech Republic.

Game Chat | BR Preview

SP Rick VandenHurk SP Jason Marquis
  1-1, 6.10, 14 K, 8 BB, 10.1 IP
6-6, 4.44, 56 K, 41 BB, 105.1 IP
       
SS Hanley Ramirez LF Alfonso Soriano
RF *Jeremy Hermida SS Ryan Theriot
3B Jorge Cantu 1B Derrek Lee
LF Josh Willingham 3B Aramis Ramirez
2B Dan Uggla CF *Jim Edmonds
1B *Mike Jacobs 2B Mark DeRosa
CF Cody Ross RF *Kosuke Fukudome
C * John Baker C Henry Blanco
P Rick VandenHurk P *Jason Marquis

 

The Cubs need this game to preserve at least a tie for first place and to halve the four-game series. Marquis hasn't faced the Marlins this year, but was hit hard in each of his two starts against them last year. VandenHurk has never faced the Cubs, hasn't shown the ability to put up an ERA below six, and has as many major league innings pitched this year as Marquis has in his last one and a half starts. Fukudome bounces from eighth up to seventh.

 

In 9 PA Jeremy Hermida has a 1.083 OPS against Marquis. In as many PA, Ramirez has a 1.111 OPS against Marquis. Edmonds is the only Cub to have faced VandenHurk.

 

VandenHurk was born in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Its history dates back to its founding in 1232, is home of Philips light bulbs and Rik Smits.

Cubs 2008 20th round draft pick and current AZL batting leader LF Jericho Jones (who is now hitting .437) rapped out four hits (three singles and a double), 1B Bryan Jost reached base five times (two singles, a triple, and two walks), and RHP Ryan Searle returned from Australia to throw three innings of no run/no hit relief (0/5 BB/K), as the AZL Cubs rallied from an early 8-0 deficit to edge the AZL Brewers 9-8 at Fitch Park Field #3 Saturday morning. 

box score

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SP Chris Volstad SP Rich Harden
  2-1, 2.16, 9 K, 6 BB, 16.2 IP
5-2, 2.12, 112 K, 36 BB, 89.1 IP
       
SS Hanley Ramirez LF Alfonso Soriano
RF *Jeremy Hermida SS Ryan Theriot
3B Jorge Cantu 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Mike Jacobs 3B Aramis Ramirez
2B Dan Uggla 2B *Mike Fontenot
LF Josh Willingham RF Mark DeRosa
C *John Baker C Geovany Soto
CF #Alfredo Amezaga CF *Kosuke Fukudome
P Chris Volstad P *Rich Harden

 

Rise and shine, Cubbies. A 12:05 day game in Chicago sees Rich Harden looking for his first win as a Cub, the Cubs looking for reliable offense, and fans looking to maintain bragging rights over the charging Brewers. That's three more uses of the verb "looking" than I'd make if I wasn't rusty from yet another long hiatus.

Who is John Baker?

The biggest pregame news has to be Fontenot's promotion and Fukudome's demotion. This is by my quick count the second time this season Fukudome started a game in center, the first time Fontenot has started the game hitting fifth, likewise for Fukudome hitting eighth.

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SP Josh Johnson SP Ryan Dempster
  0-0, 3.86, 10 K, 3 BB, 11.2 IP
11-4, 3.05, 111 K, 51 BB, 132.2 IP
       
SS Hanley Ramirez LF Alfonso Soriano
RF *Luis Gonzalez SS Ryan Theriot
3B Jorge Cantu 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Mike Jacobs 3B Aramis Ramirez
2B Dan Uggla RF *Kosuke Fukudome
LF Josh Willingham C Geovany Soto
CF Cody Ross 2B *Mike Fontenot
C Paul Hoover CF Reed Johnson
P *Josh Johnson P Ryan Dempster

 

With Jeff Samardzija (last name = 29 Scrabble points) in a Major League uniform for the first time and the Brewers so close you can smell the Miller High Life and cannibal sandwiches on their breaths, the Cubs go for a second win in a row against the Fightin' Fish.

Kosuke Fukudome returns to the starting lineup, as does Mike Fontenot, who has gone 14-for-41 (.341) with four homers and a 1260 OPS since the first of July.

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SP *Scott Olsen SP Carlos Zambrano
  6-4, 3.84, 64 K, 45 BB, 124.1 IP
10-4, 2.98, 81 K, 44 BB, 126.2 IP
       
SS Hanley Ramirez LF Alfonso Soriano
2B #Alfredo Amezega SS Ryan Theriot
3B Jorge Cantu 1B Derrek Lee
LF *Mike Jacobs 3B Aramis Ramirez
CF Cody Ross CF Reed Johnson
RF Josh Willingham RF Mark DeRosa
LF *Luis Gonzalez C Henry Blanco
C *John Baker 2B Ronny Cedeno
P *Scott Olsen P #Carlos Zambrano

Word is that Kerry Wood will head to the disabled list afterall, although Gordon Wittenmeyer says a corresponding roster move may not come until tomorrow. That roster move may be bringing up Jeff Samardzija from Iowa, where's he 4-1 with a 3.13 ERA in six starts with 40 K's and 16 BB's in 37.1 IP. I look forward to it if it happens.

Otherwise, another lefty on the mound which gives another day to rest Fukudome and Edmonds, plus Soto gets a break. Hopefully the Friendly Confines live up to their billing as the Cubs try to hang on to sole possession of first place for another day. 

Cubs 2008 #1 draft pick RHP Andrew Cashner (TCU) made his professional debut today, as the AZL Cubs edged the AZL A's 6-5 this morning at Fitch Park Field #3.

Michael TokarzCrain's Chicago Business reports Thursday that Tribune Company has asked two of the bidders for the team and Wrigley Field to pool their resources and make a combined bid. According to the Crain's source, the two bidders are 58-year-old Chicago native Michael Tokarz (pictured) of MVC Capital Inc., and Sports Properties Acquisitions Corporation, a New York company formed for the purpose of acquiring a professional sports franchise. Sports Properties is headed by Tony Tavares, former president of the Washington Nationals, and Hank Aaron—yeah, that Hank Aaron—sits on its board.

Tribune Company is said to feel that the two bidders' strengths are complementary: Sports Properties' team includes people with baseball experience, and Tokarz, formerly of the legendary New York equity firm, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, is stinkin' filthy rich.

Also this afternoon, the Tribune reports that the family of Joe Ricketts, founder of Ameritrade, is one of the groups that has advanced to the second round of the sale process.  

Tags: 

Good signs from Wednesday night's 10-6 Cub victory at Arizona:

  • Alfonso Soriano returning to the lineup with an RBI and a double; Alfonso Soriano returning to the lineup, period
  • Mark DeRosa being able to leave his outfielder's glove in the locker room
  • Derrek Lee hitting his first home run in more than a month
  • Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto breaking their respective 0-for-forever hitless streaks
  • Kosuke Fukudome walking three times
  • Ted Lilly sliding into third base without breaking his leg or his neck
  • Carlos Marmol snapping off some nasty sliders and working a scoreless ninth inning (I choose to overlook the double, the base on balls, and the fact that on Thursday, Kerry Wood will be off to meet another hand specialist and probably get a new ointment prescription)
  • Ronny Cedeno striking out as a pinch hitter on a head-high pitch—the familiarity of it is comforting

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SP *Ted Lilly SP *Doug Davis
  9-6, 4.49 ERA, 114 K, 43 BB, 122.1 IP
3-4, 4.14 ERA, 61 K, 38 BB, 74 IP
       
LF Alfonso Soriano SS *Stephen Drew
SS Ryan Theriot 2B #Augie Ojeda
1B Derrek Lee LF Conor Jackson
3B Aramis Ramirez 3B Mark Reynolds
C Geovany Soto CF Chris Young
RF *Kosuke Fukudome 1B *Tony Clark
2B Mark DeRosa C Chris Snyder
CF Reed Johnson RF Chris Burke
P *Ted Lilly P *Doug Davis

Before the game, the Cubs activated Alfonso Soriano and Scott Eyre and demoted Kevin Hart and Micah Hoffpauir. May your bat be blessed with many a run-scoring hit, Mr. Soriano.

During the game, Lilly and Davis will face-off again after their epic Game 2 duel from last October.  May you not throw down your glove in anger this time around, Mr. Lilly.

Please win!

Top of the 7th, two on and two out and Derrek Lee steps up to the plate and I'm thinking to myself, "Well, at least he can't hit into a double play here". (Sigh).

The Cubs find themselves just one game ahead in the Central and their offense hasn't been able to buy, rent or even lease a big hit. Besides hoping for the comforts of Wrigley, I'm not sure what they can do to get out of this funk. I'm usually not a big fan of catering to the hot hand, when that hot hand usually doesn't do much, but it might be time to let Mike Fontenot move up to the two spot for a few games until he cools off. His 1.240 OPS in July needs to be somewhere where it can do a little more damage and Fukudome and his .555 July OPS can figure out why he's no longer awesome at the bottom of the order.

Otherwise, I think the a team-wide slumpbuster (see definition #3) might be in order.  My source at Sky Harbor airport  is keeping an eye out to see if Rosie O'Donnell, Kirstie Alley, and Camryn Manheim show up for a little team remedy.

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SP Jason Marquis SP Yusmeiro Petit
  6-5, 4.44 ERA, 53 K, 39 BB, 99.1 IP
0-1, 3.06 ERA, 11 K, 1 BB, 17.2 IP
       
SS Ryan Theriot SS *Stephen Drew
RF *Kosuke Fukudome LF Conor Jackson
1B Derrek Lee 2B #Orlando Hudson
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Chad Tracy
CF *Jim Edmonds 3B Mark Reynolds
C Geovany Soto C *Miguel Montero
LF Mark DeRosa CF Chris Young
2B *Mike Fontenot RF *Alex Romero
P *Jason Marquis P Yusmeiro Petit

The Cubs reach the century mark of the season that may mark their century-long run of futility. A little known fact is that they've lost the 100th game of every season since 1909 foreshadowing their 100-year drought (don't bother looking it up, I've posted it on the Internet, so it must be true)

Jon Lieber and Scott Eyre threw in rehab outings with the AZL Cubs at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning, as Larry Rothschild, Lester Strode, and Carlos Zambrano (who was visiting buddy Angel Guzman) watched from the bench, and a gaggle of Cubs brass watched from the observation tower.

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SP Rich Harden SP *Randy Johnson
(NL & AL) 5-1, 2.48 ERA, 102 K, 34 BB, 82.3 IP
6-7, 5.23, 95 K, 28 BB, 98 IP
       
SS Ryan Theriot SS *Stephen Drew
LF Reed Johnson LF Conor Jackson
1B Derrek Lee 2B #Orlando Hudson
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Chad Tracy
C Geovany Soto 3B Mark Reynolds
RF Mark DeRosa CF Chris Young
CF *Jim Edmonds C Chris Snyder
2B Ronny Cedeno  RF *Alex Romero
P *Rich Harden P *Randy Johnson

The Cubs return to their personal Crystal Lake as they take on the Diamondbacks for the first time since the horrors of last October. Hopefully there will be less bloodshed this time around as they'll miss Brandon Webb and Dan Haren in this series. Of course, the Cubs missed Roy Oswalt the last series and look at the good that gone and did them. Wednesday's game will be the much anticpated Ted Lilly vs Doug Davis rematch though, sure to be carried on all major media outlets.

So while the Brewers and Cardinals beat up on each other in a four-game set, the Cubs get a chance to improve on their 22-8 record versus the NL West and a struggling Diamondbacks club, albeit a first-place club.

Hitting lead-off and serving as the DH, Alfonso Soriano got into his first game action in almost six weeks, as the AZL Cubs defeated the AZL Padres 6-3 at Padres Field #1 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, AZ this morning.

As you've certainly heard by now, Alfonso Soriano headed out to a minor league rehab stint with the rookies in the Arizona League. He lasted all of three at-bats against the AZL Padres in beautiful Peoria, Arizona going 0-2 with a walk, a strikeout and a run scored before being lifted for a pinch-hitter. Speculation arose on why he'd leave the game early and Will Carroll hinted that he might be activated for tonight's game.

Shae (Chicago): Will, there are rumors that Soriano might leave the rehab. game early and could even play tonight, what's the latest?

Will Carroll: That's what I'm hearing. I have someone at Sky Harbor watching ...

I'm not sure what that someone is watching at Sky Harbor since it's a 35 minute drive from Peoria, AZ to Phoenix, AZ, but don't be surprised if he's in the lineup tonight and (I would assume) Micah Hoffpauir gets sent down.

Milwaukee acquired second baseman Ray Durham from the Giants on Sunday in exchange for Class A outfielder Darren Ford and Triple-A pitcher Steve Hammond. The two teams waited to officially announce the deal until after they had played one another Sunday afternoon at AT&T Park, per the request of Durham, who didn't want to make his Milwaukee debut versus his former mates.

"Personally it was out of respect for the guys in this locker room,"
Durham said, saying his goodbyes in the Giants' clubhouse. "It really
was a stipulation I asked for."

The 36-year-old Durham, hitting .293 AVG / .385 OBP / .414 SLG / 799 OPS could complement and/or replace 25-year-old Rickie Weeks, who is hitting just .218 in 79 games for the Brewers this season with an OPS+ of 82.

Closer to home, Paul Sullivan makes it sound like the Cubs are inching closer to putting Kerry Wood on the DL for the 12th time in his career, owing to ongoing problems with that blister on his right index finger. Sullivan quotes Lou Piniella as saying:

"We're coming to the point where we're going to have to come to a conclusion about what to do."

If the Cubs were to backdate the DL decision to July 12th, Wood would be eligible to get back on the field next Sunday, when the Cubs wrap up their four-game series against the Marlins at Wrigley Field. According to Sullivan, Carlos Marmol will get to wear the closer's hat so long as Wood is unable to pitch. Marmol pitched a perfect ninth to close out the Cubs' 9-0 shutout of Houston on Sunday.

 

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SP Ryan Dempster SP Brandon Backe
  10-4, 3.25, 104 K, 350 BB, 124.2 IP
6-9, 4.76, 83 K, 50 BB, 111.2 IP
       
SS Ryan Theriot 2B #Kaz Matsui
RF *Kosuke Fukudome CF *Darin Erstad
1B Derrek Lee 1B #Lance Berkman
3B Aramis Ramirez LF Carlos Lee
CF *Jim Edmonds SS Miguel Tejada
LF Mark DeRosa 3B #Geoff Blum
C Geovany Soto RF Hunter Pence
2B *Mike Fontenot C J.R. Towles
P Ryan Dempster P Brandon Backe

 

The Cubs' NL Central lead is down to +2 over the Cardinals and +3 over the Brewers as the Lou Crew tries to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Astros.

Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto, and Kosuke Fukudome are a combined 3-for-32 (.094) in the series, and as a team, the Cubs have fanned 14 times and walked once.

Or, as Lou Piniella explained so elegantly after Saturday night's 4-1 fall, "We're not getting much hitting anywhere in the lineup."

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SP Carlos Zambrano SP *Wandy Rodriguez
  10-3, 2.84, 78 K, 38 BB, 120.1 IP
4-3, 3.48, 65 K, 23 BB, 75 IP
       
SS Ryan Theriot 2B #Kaz Matsui
CF Reed Johnson CF *Darin Erstad
1B Derrek Lee 1B #Lance Berkman
3B Aramis Ramirez LF Carlos Lee
C Geovany Soto SS Miguel Tejada
LF Mark DeRosa 3B Hunter Pence
RF *Kosuke Fukudome RF Ty Wigginton
2B Ronny Cedeno C Brad Ausmus
P #Carlos Zambrano P #Wandy Rodriguez

 

The Cubs and Astros meet in the middle game of their three-game series at Minute Maid.

Kosuke Fukudome, who is just 7-for-46 (.152) since the first of July and is hitting just .254 AVG/ .351 SLG/ .377 OBP/ 728 OPS since his average was a season high .357 back in late April, 72 games ago, drops down to the seventh spot in the order against the lefty Rodriguez.

Otherwise, Jim Edmonds sits against the southpaw, Reed Johnson starts in center, and once again, we all get to pretend that Mark DeRosa can play the outfield.

Zambrano is making his third start since his visit to the DL. In the first two, against the Cards and Reds, he allowed just one run and five hits over 14 innings.

 

Game ChatPress Pass | BR Preview

SP *Ted Lilly SP Brian Moehler
9-6, 4.68, 108 K, 41 BB, 115.1 IP
5-4, 4.28, 44 K, 24 BB, 75.2 IP
SS Ryan Theriot 2B #Kaz Matsui
RF *Kosuke Fukudome CF *Darin Erstad
1B Derrek Lee 1B #Lance Berkman
3B Aramis Ramirez LF Carlos Lee
C Geovany Soto SS Miguel Tejada
CF *Jim Edmonds 3B Hunter Pence
LF Mark DeRosa RF Ty Wigginton
2B *Mike Fontenot C J.R. Towles
P *Ted Lilly P Brian Moehler

 

The second half is upon us and the Cubs trot out Ted Lilly to start it...for some reason. I assume it was to give Z and Dempster an extra day after their All-Star appearances and to limit Rich Harden as much as possible before he goes on a 27 inning scoreless streak in the playoffs. Nonetheless, Lilly's homer-happy ways will be on display tonight with the ever-present Crawford boxes looming in short left field. If he can manage a win, he'll join Dempster and Zambrano in the 10-win club.

Before the game, the Cubs put Jon Lieber on the disabled list with a right foot strain (same foot that cost him most of last year) and recalled Micah Hoffpauir. 

A look at the ten Cubs hits from the season so far that did the most to enhance the team's chances of winning, according to FanGraphs' Win Probability Added statistic.

#10.) May 11th, 7th inning v. Arizona, man on first, one out, Cubs trailing the Diamondbacks, 4-2. Facing former Cub Juan Cruz, Reed Johnson cracks a two-run homer to tie the game, which the home team will go on to win 6-4, after Daryle Ward delivers a two-run double one inning later. Johnson homer = WPA .321

#9.) May 2nd, 9th inning at St. Louis, man on second, one out, Cubs trail the Cardinals, 3-1. Jason Isringhausen is in for the Cards, trying to preserve a 3-1 St. Louis lead for starter Adam Wainwright, but Alfonso Soriano will have none of it, clobbering an Isringhausen pitch for a game-tying two-run shot. Chad Fox, who clearly has no sense of drama in addition to his physical challenges, winds up serving a game-winning two-run homer to Skip Schumacher in the 11th inning. Soriano homer = WPA .342

#8.) April 23rd, 10th inning at Colorado, men on first and second, two outs, Cubs and Rox are tied, 6-6. The Cubs get two men aboard for Ryan Theriot, who lines a single to right field that scores Mike Fontenot with the lead and eventual winning run, extending a Cubs winning streak to six games. Theriot single = WPA .351

The countdown continues after the jump.

In a move that will surely change the landscape of Cubs blogging, one-time TCR writer Christian Ruzich announced that he was moving back to Chicago. A new job has necessitated a call-up from the minor leagues (Harrisburg, PA), and Ruzich and his family should be back in the city before the playoff roster deadline.

Scouts question what, if anything, Ruzich can bring to a Cub Reporter team without any glaring weaknesses. Known for his wit and insight in the early '00s, Ruzich has not been a regular fixture on the TCR scene in years, appearing only occasionally to offer a web link, off-hand remark, or occasional comment post.

Unnamed sources within the TCR organization have questioned whether Ruzich has anything left, but are quick to say they're happy Ruzich has returned home: "If all he does is hang out at the TCR clubhouse, telling stories about the Don Baylor days, that would be great. I'm just worried that, if he tries to write again regularly, he might upset the team's chemistry down the stretch." When asked if he saw this as an opportunity to re-establish himself in
the Cubs blogging world, Ruzich mentioned that he has been doing towel
drills for months, and hoped to be able to contribute to the team in
any way possible.

Tags: 

I just wanted to give you guys a heads up that I will be doing a very minor security upgrade to the site at 2:30 PM CST today.The whole process shouldn't take more than twenty minutes. Once finished, I'm pretty sure I've figured out how to keep Chad out of the site permanently.

I kid because I care.

Otherwise, I added a link to our mobile site in the upper navigation bar or you can enter your phone number in the box on the lower right and have the link sent to your cell phone. I've also added a brief shout-out to those who were are top givers during our April donation drive in the lower left sidebar. Finally, reader Wiscgrad provided us with a wonderful resource that lists how the Cubs have faired in All-Star games, award balloting, the Hall of Fame and much more. You can find the link via the "TCR Junk Drawer" in the navigation bar as well.

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Thanks to all the great work of one of our readers, WISCGRAD, a list of all the Cubs award winners, All-Star history, single season and career achievements, Hall of Famers and more.

MVP | Cy Young | Rookie of the Year | Manager of the Year | ASG 


National League Most Valuable Player Award Winners andVote-Getters

From Wednesday's Tribune...

A new channel devoted to the Cubs is one of the enticing potential revenue-generating items that Tribune Co. is floating as part of its planned sale of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and its 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet.

The story mentions some of the roadblocks that might prevent a New York Yankees/YES Network sort of channel from becoming a reality in Chicago, including the possibility that Tribune Company could box the team's new owner into continuing to air many games on Tribune-owned WGN. Still, one can certainly see why the concept might be attractive...

Game Chat | All-Star Game Web Page | BR Preview

SP Ben Sheets SP *Cliff Lee
  10-3, 2.85, 108 K, 28 BB, 123 IP
12-2, 2.31 ERA, 106 K, 20 BB, 124 IP
       
SS Hanley Ramirez (FLA) RF *Ichiro Suzuki (SEA)
2B *Chase Utley (PHI) SS Derek Jeter (NYY)
1B #Lance Berkman (HOU) CF *Josh Hamilton (TEX)
DH Albert Pujols (STL) 3B Alex Rodriguez (NYY)
3B #Chipper Jones (ATL) LF Manny Ramirez (BOS)
RF Matt Holliday (COL) DH #Milton Bradley (TEX)
LF Ryan Braun (MIL) 1B Kevin Youkilis (BOS)
CF *Kosuke Fukudome (CUBS) C *Joe Mauer (MIN)
C Geovany Soto (CUBS) 2B Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ASG comes to The House That Enrique Wilson Built for the fourth and final time as the National League tries to win the damn thing for the first time since 1996. Our man Fukudome and young Geo bring up the bottom of the NL order.

Come gametime, join all the cool kids in Parachat. I hear they're just going to be hanging out, drinking beer, and shooting off fireworks.

I can say, with some fair amount of certainty, that very few Cubs fans that read this website have been witness to the outstanding level of play that our beloved Cubbies put up during the first half this season. .600 winning percentage, utter dominance at home, best run differential in the league, best starting staff in the NL, best offense in the NL, and top three in defense and overall pitching. And to all that, we just added an pitcher who could end up being our ace and are due to get back one of our best hitters,  who has only played 53% of our games to date.

Gawk in amazement at our statistical dominance after the jump... 

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP Tm Lincecum SP Ryan Dempster
  10-2, 2.66, 126 K, 46 BB, 121.2 IP
10-3, 3.13 ERA, 98 K, 47 BB, 118 IP
       
LF *Fred Lewis SS Ryan Theriot
3B Jose Castillo 2B *Mike Fontenot
2B #Ray Durham 1B Derrek Lee
C Bengie Molina 3B Aramis Ramirez
CF Aaron Rowand RF Mark DeRosa
RF *John Bowker CF *Jim Edmonds
1B Rich Aurilia LF Reed Johnson
SS #Omar Vizquel C Henry Blanco
P Tim Lincecum P Ryan Dempster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A great pitching matchup between two All-Stars to end the pre-ASG schedule for 2008.

Lincecum has been everything the Giants hoped he would be; Dempster has been more than the Cubs could ever have hoped. Dempster remains undefeated this season at Wrigley (10-0, 2.58); Lincecum was undefeated on the road until losing to the Mets at Shea this past Tuesday. He's still a none-too-shabby 7-1, 2.23 away from AT&T Park.

Starting for the AZL Cubs versus he AZL Angels at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning, Rich Hill worked five shutout innings (68 pitches, 47 strikes, 8/0 GO/FO), allowing three hits (all three singles) and a walk, with five strikeouts. He really had his roundhouse curve and efficient two-seamer working today, as he went to a three ball count on only two of the 17 Angels hitters he faced.

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