Gameday Open Thread

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SP Jason Marquis SP Jeff Karstens

6-6, 4.69, 62 K, 44 BB, 111.1 IP (AAA) 6-4, 3.80, 55 K, 15 BB, 68.2 IP
       
LF Alfonso Soriano 2B Luis Rivas
RF *Kosuke Fukudome 1B *Doug Mientkiewicz
1B Derrek Lee CF *Nate McLouth
3B Aramis Ramirez C #Ryan Doumit
CF *Jim Edmonds 3B Andy LaRoche
C Geovany Soto RF *Brandon Moss
2B *Mike Fontenot LF Jason Michaels
SS Ronny Cedeno SS Jack Wilson
P *Jason Marquis P Jeff Karstens

The Cubs take a five game winning streak back to the Friendly Confines and a chance to extend their five game lead in the Central with 19 of 28 games at home through the month of August. Marquis goes against the third best offense in the NL, but that was before the trades of Jason Bay and Xavier Nady.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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. 

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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!

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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)

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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.

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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.

 

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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. 

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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.

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