Cubs Recap

Loss Ends Rich Harden's Season

Just when you let that little piece of hope back in, the Cubs yank it out of you like their Mola Ram from Temple of Doom. Rich Harden left his change up in the zone all game and paid for it as the Brewers knocked him for 5 runs in 3 innings. The first two courtesy of back-to-back two out hits by their 8 and 9 hitters in the 2nd. In the third, Aramis backed up on a chopper by Ryan Braun with a man on first. The ball went past him and one of the nicest gift doubles was awarded to Braun by the official scorer. That changed the whole inning, because instead of a man on 2nd and 1 out, you've got 2nd and 3rd and Prince Fielder up. He was intentionally walked and after a Casey McGehee sac fly (should have been the 2nd out and wouldn't have scored a run), Harden walked another and got a fielder's choice that would have ended the inning in theory and kept the game at 3-0(or possibly 2-0). But after seeing Alcides Escobar flail at 2 change-ups down and away, Harden went to the well one more time but missed right over the plate and Escobar pretty much ended his night (UPDATE: It appears they changed their mind and gave Ramirez the error afterall, just 2 ER for Harden last night).

It looks like it may have ended Harden's career as a Cub as well, as the team announced this morning that he will be shutdown the rest of the season. I imagine his agent is thrilled with the news considering his impending free agent status. I imagine the Cubs are thrilled at the prospect of not getting those two draft picks for his Type A free agent status. Tom Gorzelanny will slide into the rotation.

(UPDATE #2: Looks like Sullivan had a case of the jump to conclusions, as Muskat is reporting that Harden is just being skipped a turn in the rotation and there's nothing wrong with him).

The Cubs got 2 back in the bottom frame and were looking for more, but Milton's epic September slump continued, thanks to a fine play by Escobar to end the threat. That was Bradley's last at-bat of the game, as Lou curiously double switched, even though he has a 12-man pen and brought in Micah Hoffpauir to play RF and David Patton to pitch. Patton coughed up a run in the 4th and three more in the 5th, although two scored after Justin Berg relieved him. The Cubs battled back to make it 9-5 on an Aramis Ramirez home run and Bobby Scales RBI, but that was all the scoring for the night and the Cubs 3-game win streak ends.


The Blind Cub Squirrel Finds a Nut and Friday Notes

I watched not one second of Friday's affair. I managed about 10 minutes of Internet access and caught the 2-1 score, posted this premature comment and then later flipped on my XM radio to catch the final 5-2 win. The good news is the Cubs got a win and Milton Bradley and Alfonso Soriano went a combined 6/6 with 1 HR, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 2 Runs Scored and 2 BB's. The bad news was the comedy of errors from the offensive heroes and the Cubs needing a dramatic come-from-behind win against a team missing their five best players.

Some links and notes after the jump...

Cubs Win and Bradley is Suddenly Very Chatty

The Cubs and Nationals battled to a 2-2 tie through 6 innings, before Milton Bradley drove in his third run of the night on a fielder's choice to score Koyie Hill in the bottom of the 7th. Bradley had homered earlier in the game for the Cubs first two runs. The Cubs piled on in the 8th with five runs and ended up winning easily 9-4. 38 games left to bear unless we luck out with some rainouts.

Following up yesterday's comments, Bradley claims he has no regrets signing with the Cubs, but says he dreads extra inning home games:

" I can be out there the least amount of time as possible and go home."

Not quite as poetic as "I'd play this game for free", now is it?

He goes on to talk about facing hatred on a a daily basis including at restaurants, but sarcastically doesn't believe it has anything to do with race.

"America doesn't believe in racism."

That one made me chuckle.

Then he pulls a little Stuart Smalley on us.

``I feel love for me, because I love me,'' he said. ``I look in the
mirror and go out there and play and feel love for my teammates and
love for the coaching staff and for myself.''

That one made me laugh out loud.

Too Soon?

Let's never speak of last night again...

Good news is that the Cubs get a favorable pitching match-up today when Ryan Dempster faces....(shuffles papers)

(Yells at TCR Secretary)

What do you mean Cliff Lee is starting?....Who? He's just the AL Cy Young Winner....No, I don't need a sandwich Mom and don't come down here...Yes, I know it's the basement, but it's my office...and my bedroom. bad news is that the Cubs have lost 6 of 7 and are facing last year's AL Cy Young Winner and recent Philly acquisition Cliff Lee in an attempt to avoid the sweep. Good news is that the Earth hasn't been hit by a large asteroid in a really long time.

Reader art after the jump...


2 Runs, 1 Hit...3 Runs, 2 Hits...4 Runs, 3 Hits

Pretty much everytime they flashed the boxscore last night after the 5th inning, I just had to cringe. Rich Harden continued his stampede to free agency with another brilliant effort. He held the arguably best offense in the league to....well nothing, for 5.1 innings and then gives up a walk to #8 hitter Carlos Ruiz before Jimmy Rollins sent one in the bleachers to tie what was looking like an easy victory. So while the Phils efficiently scored their first 2 runs on a hit, the Cubs managed 7 hits through the first six, a few double plays and line drives right at people and only 2 runs.


The Lillyhammer Drops

UPDATE: Thanks to reader "The Joe" for finding the video of the collision which is at the bottom of the post.

With the Cubs in desperate need of a dominating pitching performance to take the pressure off the struggling offense, Ted Lilly delivered. 90 pitches, 8 IP, 5 H, 5 K,1 ER and a KO. All good for a 73 game score that could have been a bit higher if Lou didn't curiously go to Kerry Wood in the 9th. Padding save stats is nice and all and I'm sure Kerry's bank account will appreciate it next year, but when your team is in a funk and Lilly retires 11 straight and is only on 90 pitches, I'm not sure it's the best time to just give Kerry some work.

Nonetheless, the Cubs prevailed and our pals at TLFC couldn't be more thrilled with the performance. The other play of note was Lilly knocking over and knocking out Yadier Molina. In the theater of baseball, it was one of those plays that makes you stand up and cheer and hope it riles up the team to reel off 10 straight wins. When you think about the foolishness of your pitcher leading with his throwing arm to bowl over someone who outweighs him by 40 pounds, the shine wears off pretty quick. 

But damn, it sure was fun to watch (Pictures after the jump)...

Ward-o-saurus Walks the Earth Again

In one of those magic moments that seem to happen during every team's playoff run, Daryle Ward went from one of the Cubs 2008 goats to Northside hero. His three-run homer in the top of the ninth was good for a .647 WPA, which seems to be the biggest hit of the Cubs season.


Recent comments

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  • Totally independent of the Cubs winning or losing today, Dan Haren came into today's game having earned $2M of his potential $3M in performance bonuses for 2015. 

    By making the start (his 32nd start of the season) he picked up $500K, and he'll get the remaining $500K if he can throw at least 8.2 IP in the game (he was at 181.1 IP coming into the game, and he needs to reach 190 IP to get the remaining $500K), 

    It's a bit like the old "Bowling for Dollars" TV show, but of course Haren is actually "Pitching for Dollars."

  • holy crap, MIL is just...awful.

  • i think he's currently playing for the Santo Domingo Meths. he's an Adderall-Star player there.

  • I'm longing for a Neifi sighting.

  • if you have stable/fast internet you can stream with and you don't mind giving up $20 a month check out "sling tv".

    TBS, TNT, ESPN 1+2, etc...100% legal.


  • 68 pitches (50 strikes)

    love seeing that...especially with the batters doing very little with it.

  • Yeah, keep him off the playoff roster.

  • Or, he's looked exactly like Ted Williams.

  • Lately he hasn't looked like Ted Williams...

  • Reading between the lines on some of his comments he seems to know his longish swing doesn't play well with a man on third and two outs, and two strikes on him. I doubt a playoff adjustment is happening, just something he'll need to figure out next year. I have this odd feeling he will.

  • Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 4m4 minutes ago
    Bryant leads NL rookies in HRs (26), RBIs (99), 2B (31) and runs (86). Last rookie to reach 26 HR, 99 RBI, 31 2bs, 86 runs and 74 BBs?

    Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 4m4 minutes ago
    Boston’s Ted Williams in 1939

  • Surprised and bummed that Mark Buehrle is retiring. One of my all-time favorite pitchers. I think he could pitch for 5 more years.

  • Probably going to a bar/restaurant with TBS. Cord-cutting is so over-rated.

  • Thanks for the update on Underwood.

  • I know, man. What a season. 3rd best record in all of baseball, good enough to have won any division other than the one there in.

    With a win tomorrow, the Cubs will match their 2008 record. Bad omen, I know. If they do win, the most recent year in which the Cubs will have won more games would be 1945 (98-56), the last time they went to the World Series.

    I'll take that omen instead...