July 2010

Manager Ryne Sandberg's Iowa Cub lineup SCORED 4 runs in 9 minutes? I LOVE THIS STAT! That translates to 26.6 runs per hour. Thankfully, they suspend games in triple-A rather than just wash them out and make it a do-over. The RPH just might go up when the game resumes in a month.

Manager Lou Piniella's Chicago Cubs GAVE UP runs at a similar velocity. After last night's 17-2 debacle vs the Rockies in an 8th inning that saw 11 consecutive hits (13 total hits but 11 hits with 2 outs) and 12 runs score...that's what I'm talking about, RUNS PER MINUTE. The only problem is that the Chicago National League franchise's role model has been Captain Peter Wrongway Peachfuzz. It was too painful for me to use a stopwatch on that fiasco. The last time the Cubs gave up 12 in one inning was Sept. 24, 1985 vs the Expos. The Expos won that game 17-15 and Expo hat wearing Andre Dawson went 4-6 with 8 rbi and 3 homers. Oddly, a pitcher named Ray Fontenot took the loss for the Cubs. At least those Cubs scored 12 runs over the last 3 innings, which is more than this inept group could claim.

Why can't the I-Cubs just play out their schedule at Wrigley and hide the lame ducks in Des Moines?

As far as the trading deadline ending later this afternoon, the Saturday morning latest says Lilly is still on the block with the Dodgers, Twins, Tigers and Yankees for some reason showing interest. "Minor sniff's" on Xavier Nada and Little Babe Ruth are out there per Ken Rosenthal. Something about interest in DBack Kelly Johnson too. If they wanted him now, it seems they missed the boat since he would have come for less when he was a free agent nobody wanted last off-season. Did Jim Hendry misread the saying as buy-high and sell-low? I hate it when we get stuff bass-ackwards.

and a bit more detail on runs-per-minute after the break...

Orioles President Andy McPhail, of the royal baseball McPhail lineage (grandpa Larry, dad Lee) had a chance to snag another ex-Cub and went another direction today by hiring non-nonsense manager, Buck Showalter.  Recent speculation by Tribster, Steve Rosenbloom, had Sandberg on Andy's speed dial but it seems it wasn't so. The O's beat writer for mlb.com said the short list was former O's catcher Rick Dempsey, former Indians manager Eric Wedge and Bobby Valentine, who has recently volunteered his services as the next Cub manager.

With less than 48 hours to go on the trade deadline and the Cubs season over long ago, Hendry seems on the brink of not being able to move any of his overpriced talent.

Well-done sir.

The latest of course is that Derrek Lee wouldn't waive his NTC to go to the Angels  who happen to reside in Southern California where he is building a home. As a 10/5 man, he has earned that right,  so fair enough. But please don't invoke the love of the city or your teammates because you're kind of screwing them over.

"I think the bottom line is family. I like Chicago, I enjoy my teammates. It was the decision we made."

You may be thinking that he just didn't want to go to the Angels who are pretty much out of it, but according to Bruce Levine, the Rangers came up with an offer as well and they're very well on their way to the playoffs at the moment. I don't know anything about Lee's personel life, but for the $13M he's making this year, it seems like he could overcome the 2-month inconvenience. Since Lee is still having a crap year and the team is obviously moving on past him for 2011, it'd be nice if he was benched for prolonged period of times to start giving whomever the Cubs think might be next year's first basemen some much needed game experience (Colvin, Soriano, Ramirez, Hoffpauir, etc).

- Ted Lilly seemed like a slam dunk to get moved, but teams seem to be balking at picking up his salary. The Cubs should of course just offer to pay most of it, if it can net them a decent pair of prospects, but Hendry still can't figure out how free agent compensation works, so I'm doubtful he'll figure out the idea of sunk costs. The Phillies are of course out now as they picked up Roy Oswalt, leaving the Mets, Twins and Dodgers as the most likely targets, although all seem hesitant at this late hour.

On the other hand, if these teams are so hesitant to pick up his salary or Lee's, both should easily clear waivers and if they don't, dear god Hendry, just let them go and save the money since there's no way in hell you'll offer them arbitration cause you never do that.

- I haven't heard much on the Ryan Theriot front lately past the Rockies and Tigers rumors. Xavier Nady's continued awfulness has nullified his trade value.

So at this moment, we all have the joy of following a terrible team that can't even conduct a proper fire sale. Cubs fever...catch it.

On Memorial Day, 1922, the Cubs and Cardinals completed a trade between games of a split doubleheader. After playing for their respective teams in the morning game, Cubs outfielder Max Flack and Cards OF Cliff Heathcote were traded for one another. Each man played for his new team in the afternoon.

The Cubs and Rockies have no doubleheaders scheduled this weekend, but in line with rumors that have been coming out of Chicago the past couple days, the Denver Post is reporting that Ryan Theriot may begin the weekend series as a Cub and end it as a member of the Rockies.

Four pitchers combined to throw a five-hit shutout, and Vismeldy Bieneme reached base four times, stole two bases, and scored three runs, as the AZL Cubs blanked the AZL Padres 3-0 in a game that was played in a steady monsoon drizzle at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa Tuesday night.  


By all accounts, Ted Lilly will be an ex-Cub by Saturday's trading deadline, in which case tonight's start at Houston will be his last for the team. Signed in December, 2006 after finalizing a deal with Cubs GM Jim Hendry moments before Hendry underwent an angioplasty, Lilly will go down as one of the GM's savvier acquisitions.

If you're a Twitter user and are not currently following us (@thecubreporter), please do so. The goal is to get to 600 followers—we're currently at 584—before Alex Rodriguez hits his 600th home run.

And then rub his nose in it.

A couple items from the rumor mill...

Ken Rosenthal says the Cubs are running a Kosuke Sale. And Bruce Levine is apparently reporting that Ryan Theriot's stock went up over the weekend and that he is now on the radars of the Rockies, Padres, and Tigers. Tip o' the hat to @TheCCO, who passed along Levine's report, and also to Tim McGinnis of Aisle 424 (@Aisle424) who wrote so eloquently of Theriot:

The last post is getting a little long in the tooth and a little bitchy, so let's move on to happier things like Andre Dawson's Hall of Fame induction today and the Cubs on the brink of a three game sweep over the Cardinals.

I don't have much to add actually on Dawson's speech today much like anything involving this site lately, but that smiling photo with the plaque classes up the joint.

As for the Cubs, they're third in the league in runs scored in July behind the Giants and Yankees. Who'd thunk? Three guys have OPS numbers north of 1.000 (Castro, Ramirez and Soto) with Byrd, Lee and Colvin around the .800 or above mark, leaving Soriano(.732 but with 5 HR's) and Theriot(.641) to bring up the rear.

Z threw two scoreless last night for Iowa with no walks, a hit and three K's and should join the team this week if he apologizes to his teammates for...giving a shit about losing? And probably for destroying the Gatorade cooler, I hear it was a clubhouse favorite.

Dempster got beat up a bit against the weakly 'Stros last time, but the offense bailed him out of a loss.

Lineup for tonight's game from Muskat's twitter feed:

rf colvin, ss castro, 1b lee, 3b ramy, cf byrd, lf sori, c soto, 2b riot, p demp

It's official. I've double-dared (if I were Ryan Theriot, it would be a single dare) the Baseball Gods to invoke their wrath. All I can hope for is that they won't think about reversing reverse psychology.

My spouse loves to travel. I love baseball season. This has lead to 30 years of negotiating the avoidance of travel during just a few parts of the year. Early April and September-October.

I'm serious losing this battle. Last year we took a 3 week trip to China, breaking my string of being at Wrigley Field for opening day, a streak of over 30 years (I've been back in Chicago since college days).

The one absolute taboo was that we wouldn't take a major trip in September or October because that was the wrapup of the baseball season and playoffs. Her argument was September/October is the best weather for travel to many of her favorite places. For years, she checks in every so often asking that if the Cubs were out of contention, could we take a trip in September or October.

After taking this seasons beatings and holding out hope as long as I could, I've given in. The plane tickets are booked to southern France and I'm daring the Baseball Gods to beat me up, invoking the 1935 Cubs as my lesson on what I'm about to miss...

He said he would meet the press on Wednesday afternoon but word was he jetted back to Chicago instead. Then the plan was to talk with media types after a pitching cameo Thursday night. He pitched a little but didn't talk at all, using the Iowa Cubs media relations people the way bigshot execs use secretaries to dodge phone calls. The enabling continues.

To his credit, Carlos Zambrano took it upon himself to scribble a few marks of Zorro for unaccountably adoring fans before last night's game in Des Moines. The biggest crowd of the year, nearly 13,000, had assembled, but Zambrano wasn't the only attraction. It also happened to be Casey Blake bobblehead night and Casey Blake is big in these parts. He hails from Indianola, a village not too far south of town.

— A season-high crowd of nearly 13,000—more than 5,000 above than the I-Cubs' average—was on hand for Carlos Zambrano's rehab appearance last night in Des Moines. 

Zambrano threw a bumpy but scoreless inning in which he got 10 of 15 pitches over the plate, but allowed two singles and was saved from a third hit by Sam Fuld's catch against the center-field wall. (See Mike Wellman's full account here.)

 

Current plans are for Zambrano to pitch in Round Rock over the weekend and then in Albuquerque on Tuesday before rejoining the big club in Colorado.

After getting stood up at a mid-day press conference with a once angry pitcher in exile from the big leagues I went home after work to change into shorts and sandals and then headed back to the ballpark. Last night I pulled my first shift of the summer in the "Ryne Line," the nightly queue that forms in the stands to get a brief audience with the only HOF'er currently at work in baseball's minor leagues.

Since I was there alone I was left to pass the wait by watching the Oklahoma City Redhawks take BP before the grounds crew painted the infield a dark red and bright white. I couldn't help but eavesdrop on some of the conversations going on around me. One guy a few spots back remarked that he can't stand the Metrodome and doesn't plan on going to a Twins' game again until or unless they get an outdoor stadium. Good luck with that, pal!

Eventually I got the manager of the first place Iowa Cubs to sign a PCL ball and one of the cards they were passing out at the Wrigley Field turnstiles on the day in 2005, about a month after his induction at Cooperstown, when his #23 was retired and hoisted up the foul pole.

I don't know enough about big league baseball or Ryne Sandberg to know what kind of a manager he would be at that level. I do think he has grown into his role as a manager at this level.

After all these years, I should know better than to underestimate the Cubs' ability to screw things up, but each time they do, I am somehow sickened anew. This 10-week, all-expenses-paid farewell tour of the National League granted to Lou Piniella is just the latest example.

After 23 years as a manager and many, many victories, though not a single one of them in the post-season as the manager of the Chicago Cubs, Lou Piniella is retiring at season's end.

Piniella, Jim Hendry, and Tom Ricketts are scheduled to meet with the press at about 4:15.

More to come later on.

Carlos Zambrano got into his first game action since his infamous dugout meltdown at U. S. Cellular Field on June 25th, throwing a perfect 1-2-3 second inning (12 pitches - 10 strikes) at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa tonight.


The AZL Cubs lost the game 2-1, as the AZL Royals scored two runs in the top of the 6th off RHP Luis Liria (4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 6/4 GO/FO, 58 pitches - 37 strikes) to overcome a 1-0 deficit.


box score


Iowa Cubs RHP Jeff Gray (groin strain) got the start for the AZL Cubs, throwing one inning (12 pitches - 9 strikes) in what was his second rehab outing in three days (he threw an inning for the AZL Cubs this past Saturday night also). Gray struck out Cameron Connor (swinging) to lead-off the game, before surrendering a one-out single to Daniel Mateo. Gray then got out of the inning when Michael Antonio grounded into a room-service 6-4-3 DP. Gray has been on the I-Cubs DL since May 31st, and looks to be about ready to return to Des Moines.


There wasn't much Cubs offense tonight, as Royals pitchers limited the Cubs to just one run on four hits, retiring 10 of the last 11 Cub hitters. The Cubs scored their lone run in the bottom of the 4th when Albert Hernandez and Ryan Cuneo singled, advanced a base a piece on a well-executed double-steal, before Hernandez scored on a WP.


Here is Zambrano's inning, pitch-by-pitch:


According to the Playoff Odds Report at Baseball Prospectus, your Chicago Cubs enter play tonight with a .66% chance of reaching the post-season. Yes, point-six-six percent, as in 66 percent of 1 percent. Pretty sad, huh?

The Astros, however, come into the game with a .00075% chance of reaching the playoffs, so by BP's figuring, the Cubs are about 866 times more likely to get to the post-season than are the Astros.

Feeling better now about 2010?

The Astros lead the season series, 4 victories to 2.

Astros lineup v. Carlos Silva (9-3, 3.45; 2-0, 3.12 all-time v. Astros)
Bourn 8, Sanchez 6, Berkman 3, Pence 9, C. Lee 7, Keppinger 4, C. Johnson 5, J. Castro 2, Rodriguez 1

Cubs lineup v. Wandy Rodriguez (6-11, 4.97; 4-4, 3.74 all-time v. Cubs)
Colvin 9, Castro 6, Lee 3, Ramirez 5, Byrd 8, Soriano 7, Soto 2, Baker 4, Silva 1

"It's just disappointing, I guess, to think you have a team where everybody in here thinks you can still do it and you can't. You'll never know what could have happened."

So said White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura to Phil Rogers of the Tribune on August 1, 1997, the day after Ventura's bosses completed the so-called "White Flag Trade," in which the Sox shipped three of Ventura's veteran teammates to San Francisco for six minor leaguers, all while Ventura's team—52-53 at the time—sat just 3 1/2 games behind the division-leading Cleveland Indians.

"This team had a chance, and it didn't seize it. It was hard to look at this team and feel very confident. I wasn't interested in finishing second in a poker hand."

Deep Threat beat Rich Harden Friday night, a guy he relieved effectively a few times in late 2008 when both were better pitchers than either of them has been in 2010...Brad Snyder mashed TWO three-run homers last night as the I-Cubs won again to preserve their one-game lead in a division where all four teams are separated by a mere one and a half games. If the Iowa record could be promoted to Chicago the Cubs would find themselves a scant half game behind the Reds...let's see, there was one other thing - oh yeah, Zambozo's coming to town on Tuesday and Wednesday on a rehab assignment before assuming his new duties as the Cubs' anger manager. I suppose it's too much to ask that the tranquilizer darts wear off while he's back in town for the first time since playing here on his way up as an allegedly teenaged man-child, but I'll try to drop in just in case.

With one month left until the deadline to sign players selected in last month's 2010 Rule 4 Draft, here are the draft picks and Non-Drafted Free-Agents (NDFA) who have been signed by the Cubs, and those who remain unsigned.


So far, the Cubs have signed 23 of their 50 draft picks, plus three NDFA. The Cubs typically sign about 30 of their 50 picks, so expect the Cubs to sign maybe another seven players before the deadline.


In some cases, the Cubs are scouting draft picks who are playing in summer collegiate "wood bat" leagues or with high school all-star squads to determine if the player is worth what the player is asking. In other cases, the Cubs may be waiting to sign a player to an "over-slot" bonus until closer to the deadline so as to not have too much of a negative impact on other clubs who are still negotiating with players selected in that same round.


Generally speaking, players selected on the 3rd day of the draft (round 31 and below) are either "fall-back" options in case players selected in higher rounds are not signed, or "long-shots" with low market value, or players who are thought to be virtually unsignable due to a solid college commitment.


NOTE: The 8/15 deadline does not apply to college seniors selected in last month's draft, but the Cubs have already signed all of the college seniors they drafted.


2010 RULE 4 DRAFT PICKS SIGNED:
1. HAYDEN SIMPSON, RHP (Southern Arkansas) – at AZL Cubs (DL - illness)
3. MICAH GIBBS, C (LSU) - at BOISE
4. HUNTER ACKERMAN, LHP (Louisburg JC) – at AZL Cubs
5. MATT SZCZUR, OF (Villanova) – at BOISE
8. CAM GREATHOUSE, LHP (Gulf Coast CC) – at BOISE
10. AARON KURCZ, RHP (College of Southern Nevada) – at BOISE
11. ERIC JOKISCH, LHP (Northwestern) – at BOISE
12. AUSTIN REED, RHP (Rancho Cucamonga HS – Rancho Cucamonga, CA) – at AZL Cubs
13. PIERRE LePAGE, 2B (Connecticut) – at BOISE
14. COLIN RICHARDSON, RHP (Winter Haven HS – Winter Haven, FL) – at AZL Cubs
15. ELLIOT SOTO, SS (Creighton) – at BOISE
16. RYAN HARTMAN, RHP (Mt. Zion HS - Mt. Zion, IL) – at AZL Cubs (DL – unknown)
19. DUSTIN FITZGERALD, RHP (Hill JC) – at BOISE
20. RYAN CUNEO, 1B (Delaware) – at AZL Cubs
22. JEFF VIGURS, C (Bryant U.) – at BOISE
23. MATT LOOSEN, RHP (Jacksonville U.) – at BOISE
24. DUSTIN GEIGER, 3B (Merritt Island HS - Brevard County, FL) – at AZL Cubs
25. ERIC RICE, RHP (Palm Beach State CC) – at AZL Cubs
28. JOE ZELLER, RHP (The Master’s College) – at AZL Cubs
32. BRENT EBINGER, LHP (Lambuth U.) – at BOISE
34. DUSTIN HARRINGTON, INF (East Carolina) – at AZL Cubs
37. CHAD NOBLE, C (Northwestern) – at AZL Cubs
41. DALLAS BEELER, RHP (Oral Roberts) – NOT ASSIGNED YET


2010 NON-DRAFTED FREE-AGENTS (NDFA) SIGNED (ALL WERE COLLEGE SENIORS):
DOUG CHERRY, 2B (U. of Washington) - at AZL Cubs
ANTHONY GIANSANTI, OF (Siena) - at AZL Cubs
JAKE McALOOSE, 3B (Old Dominion) - at AZL Cubs


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


2010 DRAFT PICKS STILL UNSIGNED:
2. REGGIE GOLDEN, RF (Wetumpka HS – Wetumpka, AL) – will attend U. of Alabama if he does not sign
NOTE: Cubs will receive 2011 2nd round pick one slot lower than where they selected in 2nd round in 2010 if Golden does not sign
6. IVAN DeJESUS, CF (Cupeyville School – San Juan, PR) – will attend UAB if he does not sign
7. BEN WELLS, RHP (Bryant HS – Bryant, AR) – will attend U. of Arkansas if he does not sign
9. KEVIN RHODERICK, RHP (Oregon State)
17. STEVEN BROOKS, CF (Wake Forest)
18. BROOKS PINCKARD, RHP/OF (Baylor)
21. CODY COX, RHP (Grassfield HS – Chesapeake, VA) – will attend Old Dominion if he does not sign
26. DANNY MUNO, SS (Fresno State)
27. BRYAN HARPER, LHP (College of Southern Nevada) – will transfer to U. of South Carolina if he does not sign
29. CASEY HARMAN, LHP (Clemson)
30. KARSTEN STRIEBY, 1B (Arizona Western JC)
31. BENITO SANTIAGO, Jr, 1B (Lon Morris JC)
33. MATT STITES, RHP (Jefferson CC) – will transfer to U. of Missouri if he does not sign
35. CHRIS ANDERSON, RHP (Centennial HS – Blaine, MN) – will attend Jacksonville U. if he does not sign
36. TYLER BREMER, RHP (Yavapai JC) – will transfer to Baylor if he does not sign
38. JEREMY FITZGERALD, RHP (Patrick Henry CC)
39. CASEY LUCCHESE, RHP (College of Charleston)
40. BRIAN SMITH, LHP (St. Mary’s Catholic SS – Pickering, ON) – will attend Volunteer State CC if he does not sign
42. TREY NIELSEN, RHP (Skyline HS – Salt Lake City, UT) – will attend U. of Utah if he does not sign
43. DANNY WINKLER, RHP (Parkland JC) – will transfer to Central Florida if he does not sign
44. JAKE ROGERS, 1B (St. Petersburg CC)
45. DEVON AUSTIN, C (Couer D’Alene HS – Couer D’Alene, ID) – will attend New Mexico State if he does not sign
46. JERAD EICKHOFF, RHP (Olney Central CC)
47. CLAYTON CRUM, RHP (Klein HS – Harris County, TX) – will attend Ohio State if he does not sign
48. ERIC PAULSON, 3B (Fremd HS – Palatine, IL) – will attend Bradley U. if he does not sign
49. BRYCE SHAFER, RHP (Valparaiso)
50. ERIC JAGIELO, SS (Downers Grove North HS – Downers Grove, IL) – will attend Notre Dame if he does not sign


 

UPDATE:

Phillies (47-41) @ Cubs (40-50)

Phillies lineup v. Ted Lilly (3-8, 4.08; 1-4, 6.43 all-time v. Phillies)
Rollins 6, Victorino 8, Werth 9, Howard 3, Francisco 7, Ransom 5, Ruiz 2, Valdez 4, Blanton 1

Cubs lineup v. Joe Blanton (3-5, 6.41; 0-0, 2.75 all-time v. Cubs)
Theriot 4, Colvin 9, Lee 3, Ramirez 5, Byrd 8, Soriano 7, Castro 6, Soto 2, Lilly 1

 


— According to Bruce Levine, Carlos Zambrano had a 25-pitch throwing session in Mesa, following the completion of his anger-management counseling. Zambrano and the Cubs are supposed to decide next week where Zambrano will be headed for his rehab stint.

— Paul Sullivan wrote that Jim Hendry and Ted Lilly got together before last night's game to discuss Lilly's future. Lilly, who will start this afternoon's game against the Phillies' Joe Blanton, was awful in his last two starts before the break, against the Reds and Dodgers—5 homers, 18 hits and 14 ER allowed in just 10 1/3 innings.

Sergio Burruel smacked a bases-loaded triple to put the Cubs on the board, and Blair Springfield reached base four times on two singles, a double, and a walk, drove-in two runs, and scored two more, leading the AZL Cubs to a 10-5 victory over the AZL Rangers in Arizona League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa tonight.


Xavier Batista rapped out three singles and an RBI double and scored four runs, and his teammates took advantage of six errors, as the AZL Cubs defeated the AZL Dodgers 11-5 in Arizona League action at HoHoKam Park in Mesa tonight.


Hey, consecutive weeks with three-day undefeated stretches! Do you think…never mind.


Ever been to an all-star game? I’ve been to two which ties with holes-in-one on my personal list of something-you-don’t-see-every-day experiences.


I went with some pals to the 1983 game at Comiskey Park where Fred Lynn hit the first [and still the only?] grand slam in AS history off of Atlee Hammaker. What I remember more than that is drinking across the street at a joint called McCuddy’s [I think] that was presided over by an old matriarch proprietress who regaled us with stories about Ruth dashing over for a cold one between innings when the Yankees were in town. Speaking of the Bambino, the other highlight of that trip was another old gal, the Babe’s sister, who was in attendance and whose autograph I got on a game program which I cannot locate now. I don’t remember her name but I remember that she noted herself as “Babe Ruth’s sister” in a parenthetical p.s. to her signature.


On Monday, June 28 I watched the Cubs snap the Pirates’ 17 game road losing streak from the vantage point of Bob Uecker seats in the last row of section 506 at Wrigley Field. They didn’t look any less ugly from there than they would have up closer.

Five days later was my maiden voyage at sparkling new Target Field in the Twin Cities. What a contrast of premises AND tenants.

The Cubs go for 3 in a row. 3 WINS in a row!!!! It's the start of something big, like starting to trade players away.

Ken Davidoff tweets that the Mets are quite interested in Ted Lilly and the Cubs seem to be smart and willing to pay most of Lilly's remaining salary to get it done. No idea whom the prospects or players might be at this point or how serious the talks are, but Lilly's a good fit in spacious CitiField and the Cubs need to start thinking about some future year where they'll be good again and interesting.

Lou has come to terms with the team being sellers and is already talking retirement. Is that a white flag I see in your pocket?

I'll put the lineups up when they become available.

UPDATE: Fukudome 9/Theriot 4/Lee 3/Byrd 8/Ramirez 5/Soriano 7/Castro 6/Soto 2/Dempster 1

Also Brian Schlitter to disabled list with a shoulder impingement, Mitch Atkins called up.

Update:

Lineups for Cubs @ Diamondbacks...

Cubs vs. Ian Kennedy
Fukudome 9, Theriot 4, Byrd 8, Colvin 7, Nady 3, Ramirez 5, Castro 6, Soto 2, Gorzelanny 1

D-backs vs. Tom Gorzelanny
Young 8, Johnson 4, Upton 9, Montero 2, Reynolds 5, LaRoche 3, Drew 6, Gillespie 7, Kennedy 1


The dramatic high point of my Independence Day was seeing a little kid take a dump in our community pool.

Speaking of the Cubs...

Sunday's 14-3 loss marked not just the Cubs' second defeat to the Reds by 11 or more runs in the course of their four-game series, it was the Cubs' third such shellacking in their past nine home games. (You may have forgotten this doozy from a couple weeks back.)

Not sure what other point to make about this except personally, I'm pretty numb to the whole business. The 14-3's no longer bother me any more than the 3-1's or 2-0's.

Acceptance is the last of the Seven Stages of Grief, right?

Three Cub pitchers combined to throw a four-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts, as the AZL Cubs celebrated the 4th of July with a 2-0 blanking of the AZL Indians in Arizona League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa tonight.  


Is it just me or has the number of good old fashioned slugfests at Wrigley Field dwindled in recent years? Even throwing out the fact that this year's Cubs couldn't hold up their end of one, my sense is that there are lots less of the 10-9, 11-7, 14-10 type scores that used to tax the old green abacus on a regular basis once the summer wind started to blow out of the south.

Who else listened to or saw the Cub-Phillie classic that I think was 8-7 after one and ended 23-22? I remember moaning that the Cubs were the only team that could put up 22 and still get beat.

With Cubs Player Personnel Director Oneri Fleita in attendance, RHP Jadel Mendez worked-out of a no outs/bases loaded jam in the top of the 8th to preserve a scoreless tie, but was not as fortunate in the top of the 9th as the AZL Angels scored four times en route to a 4-0 whitewashing of the AZL Cubs in Arizona League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this evening.


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