Game Recap

I watched just two innings of last night's affair, tuning in as Micah Hoffpauir gave the Cubs the lead and turning it off right before Ryan Raburn's ball landed. The saying goes something like "a picture is worth a thousand words"...well here's my word quota for the night.

 

Not the way to be celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Sandberg Game.


A Loss, or a Metaphor?
W - Vazquez (5-6)
L - Dempster (4-5)
S - Soriano (6)
Things to Take from This Game

 

1. An Evening Full of Singles and Scoring Opportunities...
The Cubs had 9 hits off of Vazquez, all of them singles, and another hit off of Soriano in relief. 

 

2. ...That Leads to Nothing but a lot of Getting Left Stranded on Second Base.
The Cubs left 12 men on base.  Perhaps most
confounding was the decision to let Blanco bat with the bases loaded
and two outs in the sixth. 

 

3. But at Least there are Consolation Prizes?
We can be happy that Dempster had a fine performance, gutting out 6.2 innings in the Atlanta heat.  He still had some control problems, but other than McLouth, the Braves struggled to do much against him.  And that has to make up for some of the frustration at getting shut out, right?

 

The futile details, below.
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Single in the Gloamin'

 

W - Gregg (2-1), the bullpen, hopes for a good second half, belief in the Ex-Cub Factor, TCR authors who predicted "seven runs shall not win this game."
L - Vizcaino (1-3), anyone who went home early. 

 

Things to Take from This Game

 

1. Cleveland Scores Seven Unanswered
Harden didn't have it today, and gave up three-run homers to Luis Valbuena and Victor Martinez in the second and third.  DeRosa added an RBI single in the fourth.

 

2. Cubs Score Eight Unanswered
The Cubs began their comeback in the fifth with a solo HR by Johnson, and another by Lee in the sixth.  They scratched out four in the eighth, featuring a two-run single by Blanco, but the highlight of the game had to be Derrek Lee's second homer of the day, a game-tier in the bottom of the ninth off of Kerry Wood.  The game ended in the tenth with Luis Vizcaino giving a two-out walk to Soriano, who then stole second and scored on a generous "hit" as Theriot smashed one off of Victor Martinez at first base.

 

3. Signs of Life
Patton and Heilman gave us three easy innings of relief, Marmol worked out of a jam of his own construction and Gregg one of the defense's construction, for five shut-out innings total.  Soto and Soriano looked a lot more comfortable today, and of course Lee is red hot. Blanco also looked surprisingly good at the bat.

 

The exciting details, below
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Y
es, Six.
W - Gregg (1-1)
L - Thornton (4-2)
Things to Take from This Game
1. Eventful day for Getz
Sox second-baseman Getz doubled in a run, made a fine run-saving catch at second, but also had two errors.  The second one was notable because...
2. Big 8th for Cubs
...it came at the start of the Cubs' half of the eighth, letting Hoffpauir get on.  Without that, the inning would have ended with a Bradley strikeout with one man on base.  Instead, Lee had a chance to save the rally, and hit a three-run homer to bring the Cubs within a run at 5-4.  Soto made it back-to-back homers off of Linebrink, tying the game.
3. Z, Bradley, Lee look fine
Z gave up a two-run homer to Alexei Ramirez and the Getz double, but otherwise looked like he was in command of his fastball and pitched well.  Bradley, other than that strikeout, continued to show a good eye and had a couple of sharp singles. Lee of course continued his hot hitting.
4. Most everyone else does not
Marmol kept getting hit on sliders up in the zone, giving up a couple of Runs.  Soriano kept hitting from behind in the count, Theriot kept swinging from his ass, Fukudome and Blanco failed to spontaneously transmogrify into major-league hitters.
5. However...
After the exciting 8th, Reed Johnson led off the bottom of the ninth with a pinch-hit single, Blanco bunted him to second, and Soriano got just enough of one to bloop a ball into right-center for the game-winning hit.
All the late-inning heroics follow....
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A Dank Day.
W - Danks (5-5)
L - Dempster (4-4)
S - Jenks (15)
Things to Take from This Game

1. K to BB
Danks walked none and struck out nine.  Dempster walked six and struck out four.  You tell me how the day went.

2. The Cubs' "Offense"
Was "led" by two bloop singles by Milton Bradley.

3. Sox scratch it out
Dempster almost was effectively wild.  Alexei Ramirez hit a home run in the first, but the other runs were products of some effective small ball played by Guillen and the Sox - a couple of impressive bunt plays, a sacrifice fly, and a squib triple accounted for the rest of the Sox scoring.  The story here isn't a weak performance by Dempster or Danks looking unhittable;  it's Cubs hitters continuing to swing from their asses and producing nothing.

 

The "I bought a bad-ass new computer, and all I have to show for it is this stinking recap?" details, below.
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Rainout
W - Nature
L - Humans
Things to Take from This Game
1. It got rained out.  No reschedule date set, yet.
 
The soggy details, below.
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I didn't get to see all of Saturday night's loss, but the portion that I did catch was more than enough for me to get the gist:

The Cubs' woeful offense—over the last two nights, for example, the team is 0-for-17 with RISP—offers no cover for defensive mistakes and boneheaded baserunning.

If the starting pitching weren't so good, the Cubs wouldn't even be competitive.

Before the game, I wondered what problems Lou Piniella was creating by stationing a defensively challenged rookie in rightfield. Turned out that having a second baseman butchering the third baseman's job was problem enough on this night.

Randy Wells, who has been mostly brilliant but mostly without support from his bullpen or his team's bats, pitches Sunday against Bronson Arroyo as the Cubs try to escape Cincinnati with a series win.

The Cubs take a nail-biter from the Reds to open their series, winning their second road game in a row.

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It took 11 innings, but the Cubs walk away with their first road victory in almost a month.

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The Cubs split versus the best team in the league and head out for a 9-game road trip, where they've played ever so well.

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Today at Baseball Prospectus (subscription), Joe Sheehan wrote about how the Cubs have become one of baseball's most home run-dependent teams and tonight, we saw, yet again, where that generally gets you.

A pinch-hit home run by Bobby Scales in the eighth inning against Randy Wolf accounted for all the Cubs' scoring Thursday night in the team's most recent, painful defeat.

An eventful afternoon at Wrigley as the Cubs take their first series in two weeks and climb back over the .500 mark.

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The Cubs end their eight game losing streak with a 6-1 rain-shortened victory over the Pie-rats.

Why the Cubs Won: The offense continued where it left off yesterday with a six-run outburst in just five innings of play. Fukudome started the fun with a home run in the first, his first home run in May after four in April in what should be his only other start this homestand besides Friday against Chad Billingsley as south-paws are scheduled to face the Cubs the rest of the month. Sean Marshall then came through in the second with a single to score the Cubs second run and and a Hoffpauir double to deep right netted the Cubs third run in the first three innings. They tacked on three rather meaningless runs in the bottom of the fifth and then the clouds opened up to ensure the win and end this rather dreadful losing streak.

Marshall on the mound was effective as well, including a few defensive gems to help himself out. He finished with the easy 5 inning pitched complete game with 6 K's and just one run allowed.

Fun Stat: 5.14 Runs per game at home for the Cubs, 4.04 on the road.

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Monday night's game seemed otherworldly from even before the first pitch.

A Wrigley Field home game on a holiday at night? It made scheduling sense, given that the Cubs had to fly all the way east from San Diego following Sunday's game, but it still felt wrong.

Then the lineups were published and owing to a combination of illness, injuries, and an opposing lefthander, we saw Reed Johnson hitting cleanup and an infield of Freel, Theriot, Miles, and Hoffpauir. In other words, the stuff of split squad spring training games.

The Cubs finish off the road trip a perfect 0-6, scoring a grand total of five runs in those six games and are now 21-21 on the season. $140 million doesn't buy what it use to in this crazy world.

Why the Cubs Lost:  Because God hates the Cubs and all their fans.

Ted Lilly pitched...not particularly good or bad, but he pitched, giving up five runs in his 6.1 IP. Aaron Heilman came in to try and bail him out in the seventh with a man on third and one out and struck out Scott Hairston. This would be when I remarked in Parachat that he'll still end up letting the run in and after intentionally walking Adrian Gonzales, Heilman hung a slider to Kevin Kouzmanoff and three runs later, the game was completely out of reach.

The offense sputtered along once again with no baserunners until a Mike Fontenot single in the fifth with two outs. They manage to mount a few rallies in the upcoming innings that predicatbly fizzled out including a sharp two-out grounder by Ryan Theriot up the middle that Chris Young kicked to the second baseman that would have scored a run. Reed Johnson did knock a meatball into the front row in left field for the Cubs only two runs and the Cubs come home with their tails between their legs and hoping the Friendly Confines live up to their name.

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