Preview: Yarbage Cub Review
Yarbage Cub Review
News and Comments on the Cubs Since April 2003
Cubs need some help
I know haven't posted much, but I'm still around, but spending a little time over at with the guys at GROTA
In the next couple days the Cubs are in a spot where they could make or break the season. On one hand, they're 2.5 games back, but they are still in 4th place.
Stay tuned for more.
Baseball has been out of mind
I've had a tough time since our 2008 season, but I'm ready to get started back up. The Cubs have been up a few moves the last few weeks, and I will start to go over them in depth later on.
I will be back soon.
Game 1: Over and done with
Last night just plain sucked. There isn't anyway around it. Scott Lange, of the Northside Lounge
, and I watch the game together. There wasn't much talking after the James Loney's 5th inning Grand Slam.
So, do we panic yet? It sucks to lose, but I'm not ready to panic, because these Cubs have found a way all year. The worst part of the loss is having to sit here all day and think about it. I'm teaching To Kill a Mockingbird
, and it is just hard to get into Scout jumping in front of the lynch mob three times in a day with the thoughts of Manny Ramirez golfing a home run out in my mind, but I soldier on.
We still have eight and half hours before Dick Stockton(who is just a step away from death) and crew start calling Game 2, but thankfully I have the XM for Pat and Ron.
The biggest surprise to me was the lack of engery from the crowd. I don't know if MLB took have the tickets, but the crowd just never got into it, even for Mark DeRosa's HR.
Well, we are still the better team, and we can just pray that Good Zambrano shows up for the game tonight.
This week I made an agreement with Mrs. Yarbs that I wouldn't watch the Cubs, because I've basically seen every game since July (Take away maybe 3 games). So, we watched some 24 (trying to catch her up before the new season starts), but after Terri and Kim finally got rescused, I turned the game for a minute. With two runners on in the fourth, Ryan Theriot singled to left to load the bases, then Jason Marquis hammered a pitch over the wall for a Grand Slam to give the Cubs a 6-2 lead. What an amazing sight. There is something about this season, and I can't wait for next week.
I'm in Heaven
There aren't a lot of things that get me excited, but the Cubs making the playoffs is always one of them. I know it has been a little while since I've posted over here at the Yarbage Cub Review, but that's because I've been moonlighting at another blog. I will go into more details a little later, but back to the Cubs.
Since we swept the Brewers back in July, I really haven't been worried about making the playoffs. I wish we would have played better to start the month, but you can't ask for much more than clinching with over a week to play.
I will try and break down the postseason rosters a little before the playoffs start, but I have a few ideas about the rotation.
If Big Z can come out on Wednesday and throw well, he should go Game 1. If not, just slide everbody up 1.
Game 1: Zambrano vs. (Santana/Hamels/Lowe/Webb)
Game 2: Dempster vs. (Pelfry/Myers/Billingslea/Haren)
Game 3: Harden vs. (Martinez/Moyer/Kudora/Johnson)
Game 4: Lilly vs. (??????)
I think we should really go with the four-man rotation throughout to keep everybody healthy. Big Z has already shown that he can't pitch coming off a plane flight, so quick rest probably isn't a great answer, and Lilly has been really solid in September.
Enjoy the rest of the week, and go Cubs.
Post trade thoughts
That was fast Jim, and I have to say I love this deal. There are a few reasons for this feeling, including the fact that you upstage C.C. Sabitha's (Sorry CC, now) first start for the Brewers.
Now onto the deal, first for the Athletics:Matt Murton
: For whatever reason, whether it be his right-handed at bat or his red hair, Murton was never going to play for Lou or the Cubs it seemed. He put up decent numbers over his career (.296/.362/.810), but was off to a slow start this year with no power.
I would've liked to see Murton get time last year, but the powers that be didn't feel the same. So, there really isn't much loss here, since he wasn't going to play. Sean Gallagher
: Sean went 3-4 with a 4.45 ERA this season. He was bounced back and forth between Iowa and Chicago, but was a luxury for a team that is going for it. When healthy Harden is going to be more valuable, but that is a big "if". I would rather have Gallagher than Jason Marquis, but in the end he was younger and cheaper.
: Patterson is probably the most valuable player the Cubs are giving up, but he is a somebody that can be replaced. The Cubs already have Theriot, Cedeno, Fonenot and DeRosa that can play in the middle infield. Plus, we know that Patterson is no outfielder.
John Donaldson: We already have have Geovanny Soto. Not to mention, John is a former Auburn Tiger, and we don't need any of his kind (Editors note: I'm a Alabama Grad, so that statement might be a little slanted).
As for the Cubs:Chad Gaudin
: In a deal like this, you usually don't get another player in the deal. Well, I guess Rich Harden's injury troubles allowed Jim Hendry to add another quality arm in bullpen or to spot start.
This year Gaudin is 5-3 with a 3.59 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. Also, he's only 25 and he doesn't walk many. Rich Harden
: Obviously, Harden was the centerpiece of the deal. Granted, he has an injury field past, but was probably the best player available in all of Major League Baseball.
This season, Harden is 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 13 starts. He spent a month of the year on the DL, but since then as been great. Does he stay that way? Only time will tell. Harden is only 26 and will resemble Prior's injury history. I heard somewhere that Harden has a cheap option for next year, so that is a plus if he is healthy.
Overall, I'm real happy with the deal. It is the exact thing that the Cubs needed to match the Brewers. Now we just need to go out and win some games.
Rich come on down...
The Cubs just landed Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin for Eric Patterson, Matt Murton, Sean Gallagher and John Donaldson. I have to say this is a great move for Jim Hendry. More on the deal later.
Live Game Log: Post Soriano
Hello, everybody. It's been some time, since I have posted. Since the last post, school has ended. The Cubs have been on fire, and oh yeah....I got married.
Stay tuned for a running log of today's game. Not sure if I'm going to watch the WGN broadcast in SD, or th Braves broadcast in HDTV, I guess we will see.Pregame:
I'm all for gimics, but the whole black and white thing is a little odd. I might have to watch a little of the Braves broadcast today to get through the first few innings, and I just hate watching in SD.Top 1:
The question of the day is anybody going to get hit? I say no, unless there is a blowout.
Ok, the camera angles and no replays on the WGN broadcast. I understand this is a throwback to WGN, but no replays is a little rough. Big Z. got two quick outs, but Chipper Jones gets an infield hit. You have to get a few of those to hit .400 and that was a gift as Derosa, Lee and Zambrano all went for the ball. Stil. Z gets out of it and game is 0-0Bottom 1:
Two quick outs, but Derrek Lee is battling with a 2-2 count. He has fouled off like 5 or so pitches. Doesn't pay off in this inning, but it might down the road. 0-0 after 1.
Zambrano gets ahead of Francour, but he hits it up the bleachers in left to give the Braves a 2-0 lead after 1 and a half.Bottom 2:
Braves already have four hits on Z, including a hit by Tim Hudson.
Working on something
Trying to get a photo hosted to upload my new team logo for my Fantasy Baseball team.
Cubs Win and Trade Rumors
The Cubs got a much-needed solid outing from Carlos Zambrano on Tuesday. He went 8 strong innings to improve to 5-1, but more importantly it gave me something to feel good about after a walking out of my Grad School Final. I now have 31 hours that are now finished. That leaves two classes this summer and I will have my masters.
Also, there is a lot of talk that Lou wants to add a Left-Hand hitting OF that can protect Ramirez and Lee. Hmm, let me think.....
I'm going out on a limb here, but I think I have an answer. But first lets look at some of the canidates of some other teams. I will look at teams that are either not going to contend, teams that off to rough starts or players that are close to end of the contract.
Player A: .317/.407/.495 (902 OPS) 3 HR 14 RBI
Player B: .300/.347/.531 (878 OPS) 6 HR 33 RBI
Player C: .235/.313/.378 (692 OPS) 4 HR 15 RBI
Player D: .222/.376/.414 (790 OPS) 5 HR 15 RBI
Player E: .269/.402/.433 (834 OPS) 3 HR 14 RBI
Player F: .270/.372/.435 (807 OPS) 3 HR 15 RBI
Player G: .257/.310/.317 (627 OPS) 0 HR 11 RBI
Ok, so who are these guys?
A. Milton Bradley - a guy the Cubs looked at two years ago, but passed to let Cliff Floyd and Matt Murton play in outfield. Bradley is doing what he does early on at any stop, play well until times get hard. He does have the highest OPS out of anybody on this list, but also is most likely to tear an ACL barking at a fan in the on deck circle.
B. Josh Hamilton - no way the Rangers trade him, but we had him two years ago and passed him for cash. So, do you think Hendry would still do that today?
C. Ken Griffy Jr. - Junior will play somewhere else this year, but it won't be in Chicago and this point, I'm not sure he helps the team, because we lose a little on defense.
D. Adam Dunn - the second Red on the list, but Dunn is your all or nothing hitter. He does three things well: hits home runs, strikes out and walks. Dunn will stay in Cinnci for at least a little longer, but he could be moved if the Reds can't find a taker for Griffey.
E. Brad Hawpe - Here is an interesting thought. A younger player that Colorado can't hang on to if they expect to resign Matt Holliday. That may or may not happen, but he has a lot of upside and we have a some arms that could pry him away.
F. Brian Giles - Giles is older, but he still gets on base at a good clip. Giles is the kind of guy that isn't flashy and his numbers might improve heading away from PETCO.
G. Randy Winn - Winn's numbers pretty bad, except against LHP, but we don't needas much help this year.
I left out one player. Would you want these numbers:
Who is this?
Barry Lamar Bonds.
I hate to say it, but the Cubs want a Left-hand hitting OF that can hit in the middle of the lineup. Well, I have to say that it doesn't get much better than Bonds. Soriano could move to Right and Barry could play left on most days. Imagine Ramirez getting pitched to with all those fast balls and Soto behind Bonds. I really want this to happen. I think one-year of Barry is worth a championship and it would cost a single prospect. Just think about it.
Oh What a Night
The Cubs are winning, I'm close to finishing grad school and I'm getting married in a month, what could be better? Well, maybe a million dollars, but I tell you the Cubs winning early and often sure makes me feel good.
I sat down tonight(while grading a bunch of research notebooks) and enjoyed a full game for the first time in about a week, because of various school functions. Like tomorrow, I will miss most the game since it starts while I'm in school and I've got grad school, at night, but I digress.
The Cubs have been on fire in the early going thanks to timely hitting (Pie, Cedeno tonight) and quality pitching (Big Z, and dare I say Dempster). Usually in a Cub game, you can since the impending doom that is coming, but I never felt that tonight. When Soto made a dump play, Z picked up him and got Reyes to ground into a double play.
In the 8th, the Cubs looked like they bust the game open, only to have Heilman get DeRosa and Soto out, setting up the heroics by Cedeno and Pie. Ronny is really staring to impress me at the plate and maybe he is starting to show that promise of AAA at the plate. Regardless, there really isn't a place to play him while Theriot and DeRosa are playing well, but Lou might be able to find him 2 starts a week.
For now, Go Cubbies.
Opening Day - LIVE GAME LOG!!!!!
Well, the start of the 2008 baseball season is finally here, after a hour delay because of rain. Billy Williams and Ernie Banks are walking out and lets hope that this season gets off to a great start. Check back for updates throughout the game with my thoughts and feelings of the game.Top of the First: It's time for baseball, finally. Enough talk of 100 years, curses and everything else. Lets go out and get the season started. Carlos hasn't pitched well on opening day, but maybe he will have the Brewers number. A few opening thoughts, I hope this batting the pitcher in the 8th spot comes back and bites the Brewers. Zambrano starts the year with a strike and is quickly up 0-2. What a fitting start to the year with a 3-pitch K of Richie Weeks. Now, 26 more of those and we are cruising into 1st Place. Well, damn. No no-hitter for Carlos after Ramirez can't handle a grounder to third. Here are situations where Carlos would come a little rattled in the past. The shift costs the Cubs a Double play, which means Carlos will have to face Ryan Braun. No harm, as Braun pops out to Soto. 0-0 heading to the bottom half.Bottom 1: Well, after a few internet problems (I'm at the beach today on Spring Break), Ryan Theriot and Alfanso Soriano both flew out to Corey Hart. Sheets looking sharp so far, and I have a feeling this might be a pitchers duel. Lee strike out and it is 0-0 after one.Top 2nd: Bill Hall back to third base this year, with Ryan Bruan moving to left. This will be interesting, because Braun was so bad at third last year. Hey, Hey, another 3-pitch K to start the 2nd. Wow, Hart hit a ball that just kept carrying, but Flex The "Pie" Maker makes the grab to retire the internal thorn in our side. J.J. Hardy, who hit 20 something HR's a year ago, dropped to the 7th spot in the order this year. Carlos got ahead of Hardy and was able to pop him up to end the Brewers' 2nd. Bottom 2nd: After Ramirez, Fukudome is welcomed to Chicago with a thunderous roar. He greats the Cubs faithful with a lined double over Tony Gwynn Jr. What a way to start, and I am quickly ordering my Fukudome jersey as I type this. With the wind blowing in, DeRosa missed a home run, but Fukudome moves to third on the tag. It's up to Soto to bring in Fukudome. I wonder if Ben Sheets will work around Soto to get to Pie, and that is what happens. I love seeing the 2-out walk. Now, Pie needs to come through. Damn, Pie strikes out and the Cubs fail to score. 0-0 after 2.Top 3: Ben Sheets, who is batting 8th, quickly strikes out, and then Big Z walks Jason Kendall. Big Z has to limit his walks if he wants to go deep into games. Z battles back as he pops out Richie Weeks. What a grab by DeRosa to end the top of the third. Bottom 3: The rain is starting to pick up. I hope we are able to get his game in today, with no major delays. Z's first at bat ends in a strikeout, but nobody was on, so no big deal. Bad News, the rain is here and it looks like we are heading for a delay.The rain delay is almost over, thank goodness. It looks like Big Z will be come back and pitch as will Ben Sheets. A 50 minute delay, lets up that it really hurts Sheets' command. Here we go and Sheets throws a strikeTheriot looks ugly on a strikeout as Sheets gets the second out. Sheets showing little rust after the 50 minute delay as he K's Soriano as well. Top 4: "Anything you can do, I can do better," says Z, as he K's Fielder to start the fourth.What a pick by Derrek Lee on a tough hop from Theriot's throw. 2 quick outs from Z and then he gets Bill Hall on one pitch to retire the Brewers in the 4th, still 0-0. Bottom 4: D-Lee and Ramirez both are retired quickly, but Fukudome is still perfect after drawing a 2-out walk. I already feel the bases b[...]
What's in Store for 2008?
Lets look at a few predictions for the 2008 baseball season.
AL East: Boston Red Sox
AL Central: Cleveland Indians
AL West: Seattle Mariners
NL East: Ny Mets
NL Central: Chicago Cubs
NL West: Arizona Diamondbacks
AL Wildcard: Detroit Tigers
NL Wildcard: Colorado Rockies
There will be no predictions for the World Series.
NL Cy Young: Johan Santana
AL Cy Young: Eric Bedard
NL ROY: Geovanny Soto
AL ROY: Billy Butler
NL Manager: Bobby Cox
AL Manager: Joe Madden
As for personal quests:
Wedding: May 24
Ballpark 19: Oakland May 28
Ballpark 20: San Francisco May 29
162 Games to go
The start of the season is almost here, and I can't wait for tomorrow. Until then, I will sit back and enjoy basketball and the Braves game tonight. Join me tomorrow for my annual opening day live game log coming from the beach this year, while I'm on Spring Break.
Enjoy the rest of the day and Go Cubs!.
Good Start, but talk to me in a month
The Cubs started off the 2008 Baseball season with a victory over the Class AA San Fransico Giants. I hope this continues, but I will reserve judgment until a later date.
On the to the Highlights:
Ryan Theriot - The "Riot" turns in a 3-for-3 day and scores three times. If he does that lets say to the clip of a .300 average, we will be just fine.
Kusake Fukudome - The Dome's a perfect 1-for-1, NL MVP here we come....
Felix Pie - The "Pie Maker" is off to a 2-for-2 start with a HR. IF he comes close his potential, we are in very good shape.
Well, we will see what the next day brings.
From Jones to Fukudome
For the past few weeks all we have heard about was Jim Hendry's quest to the Far East to find a prize, not to be confused with a new Indiana Jones flick or anything, but a quest. The expedition has landed Kosuke Fukudome, which is the greatest name in the history of the Cubs. Hee-Seop Choi doens't even come close to Fukudome. Of course, will Fukudome hit? That is hard to say. Jacque put up two years of hitting .285, but his power numbers dropped from 27 HR in 06 to just 5 this season. Jacque had basically became a singles hitter that struck out too much. Jones' slugging dropped from .499 to .400, which gave him a .735 OPS this last season, which is something you can't have out of your starting RF, even though Jones played Center most of the second half of the season. Our other OF, Matt Murton, posted a .791 OPS this season and it just doesn't look like the Cubs are going to him a chance to show he can hit on a regular basis. If anything, Murton might provide insurance if Felix Pie or Sam Fuld can't cut it as regulars in CF, or in a trade for another bat or pitcher. Fukudome isn't without baggage to start. He is coming off elbow surgery and players from Japan aren't always a sure thing. Akinori Iwamura, of the Tampa Bay Rays, posted a .780 OPS last season. Which isn't bad, but he posted a .933 OPS in his last season in Japan with 32 HR (He only hit 7 with the Rays). As for our guy, Fukudome posted a .963 OPS in limited duty last year and 1.091 in 2006. His numbers will come back to earth, but if his career .397 OBP comes across the Pacific Ocean, the Cubs get an on base player that they have lacked for years. For good measure, Hideki Matsui actually hit 50 HR in his last season in Japan, but only hit 16 in his first season in New York. Since then, he has become a 25 HR hitter with a high OBP. For Fukudome, I say he hits 23 HR and posts a .385 OBP in his first season. If his OPS lands around the .859 mark, it would be a good. It probably will be closer to .800, but remember Jones was .700 this year. Of course, Fukudome can improve our defense and speed, which don't always translate into stats. Lets take a look at the new lineup as of Dec. 12:1. Soriano - LF R2. Derosa - 2B R3. Lee - 1B R4. Fukudome - RF L5. Ramirez - 3B R6. Soto - C R7. Pie - CF L8. Theriot - SS RThe lineup isn't striking fear in anybody, but it is much improved with Fukudome in it. If Soto and Pie produce, this has a chance to be a very productive hitting team. The lineup still is very Right Hand heavy, but at least we don't have Kaz Matsui playing second. The Bench:1. Matt Murton - OF R2. Daryle Ward - OF/1B L3. Ronny Cendeno - INF R4. Henry Blanco - C R5. Sam Fuld - OF L6. Mike Fontenot - 2B LThis will probably change, because I bet the Cubs get another Utility type guy, unless they trade for a Brian Roberts and DeRosa becomes our first guy off the bench. Pitchers:1. Zambrano2. Lilly3. Hill4. Marquis5. Dempster/Marshall/Hart/Prior/The Cubs really could use another starter at the top of the rotation, but I think that might be tough to do. Somebody will get dealt or non-tendered (Prior). The First three are pretty good, the last five need some work. BullpenCloser - Kerry WoodSetup - Bob Howry7th Inning - Carlos Marmol RH - Michael Wuertz LF - Scott Eyre The Rest?Those five guys will be in the Pen, who will be the other six or seven to join them is the question. Carmen Pignatiello and Neal Cotts are lefties that have a chance. Then, Kevin Hart and Sean Gallagar will probably make the team. Rule 5 Tim Lahey will have a chance, along with Jose Ascanio, who was acquired in a trade.[...]
The Cubs are moving....slowly
After a few more moves the cubs still look about the same...minus Jones, Ohman.
But I'm waiting for the Fukudome to drop. I'm starting to like the thought of the Fukudome playing. So much so, I want a Fukudome Jersey.
A Trade, Lets look at the Lineup so far
After Today's trade, it is time to look how the lineup would look today if the Cubs didn't make another move.
First the starters by possible spot in the lineup.
1. A. Soriano - LF
He needs to stay healthy and will still bat leadoff, even with better options. We knew that coming in and we know he wants to bat there.
2. M. Murton - RF
I know Matt won't end up No. 2, but we can dream. Murton will most likely play against Lefties, unless he is dealt this offseason.
3. D. Lee - 1B
Enough said. Would love to see the power increase.
4. A. Ramirez - 3B
Aram was clutch all season, but not in the playoffs. Which wasn't the case in 2003. Lets hope he improves in 08.
5. G. Soto - C
I like the fact the the Cubs would open the year with a young Catcher. It will be interested to see how quick they will make a move, if he struggles.
6. M. DeRosa - 2B
Ok, DeRosa was just great in 08. Hopefully, his numbers will continue, because i love the way he plays the game.
7. F. Pie - CF
With Jones getting dealt it means Felix is ready for his shot. The kid has all the tools and the speed. If he puts it together, it won't be long until Pie hits at the top of the lineup.
8. R. Theriot - SS
Theriot really struggled down the stretch. He wore down a little and we have probably seen the best he can do.
H. Blanco - C
O. Infante - 2B/SS/OF
D. Ward - 1B/OF/PH
M. Fontenot 2B
A. Pagan - OF
S. Fuld - OF
E. Patterson - 2B
R. Cedeno - SS/INF
It looks like Blanco will be the backup for Soto to start. I wouldn't be shocked if Cedeno gets a look at short, if Theriot gets off to a slow start. If the Cubs keep Infante, Fontenot will be let go or sent to Iowa. Fuld is playing well in Arizona, but I can't see the Cubs giving him a chance this year.
Now for the pitching....
1. C. Zambrano
Big. Z gets big money and now we need Big results.
2. T. Lilly
Our best pitcher last year, but we can aspect a decline this year.
3. R. Hill
A full year and some real ups and downs. Hopefully, the year did him really well and he is ready to break out.
4. J. Marquis
Well, he was really up and down. We will get the same next year.
5. S. Marshall
Great start, slow finish. My guess is that he or Marquis gets dealt this offseason.
6. R. Dempster
Odd move, but maybe he can be more steady that Marquis
7. M. Prior
The Wild Card. I hope the Cubs don't give up on him, but I think they will.
It will be interesting to see what the Cubs do with the pen. I see Wood being the closer and everybody else slotting in.
I sure this will change as the season goes on.
Well after a lackluster postseason, I suspect that we will see a lack luster postseason.
The Cubs will one outfielder....
probably a Lefty.
I would love to see another starter, but I bet we see Ryan Dempster back in the rotation.
Now or never....Live action 9-19
It is getting old to say, but tonight is the biggest game of the year....Well, it may not be, but it is pretty big.Bottom 1st:Just as I start to blog, Alfonso Soraino takes a ball to the bleachers to gives the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Which is important after Ted Lilly got out of a major jam in the first inning. Too bad the Cubs can't do any more damage against Tom Shearn. After 1, Cubs 1-0. Astros-Brewers 0-0. Top 2:I could not see Edwin "Don't call me Juan" the rest of the year as he tied the game 1-1 in the Top of the 2nd. The key for Lilly is to limit the damage. In Houston, Brewer go 1-2-3 to end the top of the second. WOW!! Aramis Ramirez might not get a gold glove, but he has played really well this year and after that catch against Joey VOtto, he should get a web gem tonight on ESPN.Lilly settles and it is 1-1 after 1 1/2. Bottom 2:After a Ramirez grounder, Mark DeRosa gets a walk that might have been a gift. Maybe it can lead to something. Right on cue, Jones doubles down the right field line. Big AB for Soto here with Lilly on deck, and Soto strikes out on a looping curve. Lilly does the same and the game is still 1-1 after 2. In Houston, it remains 0-0 after 2.Top 3:Brewers do nothing in the top of the third, and Lilly sets down Shearn to start the Reds' third. Damn, Norris Hopper doubles to left-center. I can't wait not to see him either. The same goes for Jeff Keppinger, but Lilly gets him. That leaves only Cub-Killer Ken Griffy Jr.In Houston, Round Rock goes down 1-2-3 against Milwaukee. Opps, my bad, I meant the Astros. Wow, Lilly goes high and strikes out Griffy to keep it 1-1 after 2 1/2. 0-0 in Houston after three. Bottom 3:Wouldn't you know, Prince just went yard for the Brewers to make it 1-0 in the top of the fourth. Make it 2-0 after a sac fly.Ryan Theriot singles, but Derrek Lee continues to struggle a little. Cliff Floyd flies out and it remains 1-1 after 3. Top 4:DUNN HR and the Cubs trail 2-1 after 3 1/2.Bottom 4:The bad news is the Cubs trail, but the Astros cut the lead to 2-1 after a Carlos Lee HR. Double play and the Cubs are out of the inning. Bottom 6:Soto baby. Way to get us back tied. Top 6:Ted comes back and really shuts down the Reds. Now let get the offense in gear. Bottom 6:Key inning here and Lee gets a leadoff walk, but Floyd pops to second for the first out. ARam seems to find a way to come through in these situations and we need a big hit. Instead, we hit into another double play to end the inning. 2-2 after six. Top 7:Lilly gets squeezed and Dunn walks. Terrible way to start the inning. Big-time pitching for Lilly as he strikes out Edwin. Now lets get a double play and call it an inning. Damn, a single instead as Lee can't come up with a ground ball. Big spot here for Lilly and the Cubs. HUGE strikeout for Lilly, two down with a pinch hitter coming up with two down. In Houston, Corey Hart just robbed Berkman of a double and maybe a triple and the Brewers still lead 2-1 after six. Back to Chicago, Alex Gonzalez (no, not that one) is up. A sigh of relief as Gonzalez slices a ball foul. 0-2...............................................................................and he just gets a piece. GOT HIM!!!!!!! What a game from our ace.Bottom 7:As much as Jones has helped this team the last two months, that was an awful bunt attempt. No reason to give up outs at that point. Soto can't be the hero twice and he lines out to left. Well, it is up to Craig Monroe now, but he waves a fastball to end the inning[...]
Ninth Inning Magic
What can I say, but I was on the phone with Scott Lange, of the Northside Lounge
. Scott, who is now in Law School, needed some play by play, because his internet is always behind my MLB Extra Innings feed. I'm not sure he understood a word except CUBS WIN!!! (Of course does he really need to hear anything else?)
Well, the Cubs keep 1 game up of the Brewers with 11 games left (Magic #12). Big Z is coming off three days rest tomorrow, so lets hope his arm is ready against Aaron Harang, and the Astros find a way to win 1 game.
Also lets check out the elimination numbers of the NL CENTRAL.
1. CUBS N/A
2. Brewers 12
3. Cardinals 5
4. Reds 2
5. Pittsburgh Already Done
6. Astros Already Done
Back in first
The Cubs needed a big win and got one today against the suddenly less HGH'D Cardinals. The Cubs, on the other hand, finally brought the big sticks to the tune of 12 runs.
The really good news.....the Brewers got slammed by the Pirates. So, the Cubs and Brewers are tied again with 19 games left. I'm heading to Cincinnati for the final weekend of the year, and I hope it means something.
Next up...Cubs vs. Astros for 3, Brewers vs. Pirates for 2 (Mil. off on Thursday).
Labor Day Updates
I could think of no better way to spend the day than keeping a look at all the games today. So, throughout the day I will comment on the Brewers, Cubs and Cardinals.
The Cubs have a 1.5 game lead over the Brewers and a 2 game lead over the Cards. The Magic Number stands at 27 entering today. 2:25 p.m.:
Pirates take an early 1-0 lead. How great it would be to have the Brewers and Cards lose before we start?3:07 p.m.:
Well, things are off to a good start. The Cards are down to 4-0 to the Pirates. The Brewers trail 3-0 with their "Ace" Sheets on the mound. So far, so good.3:54 p.m.:
The Cards have chosen to fold today and give up as the Pirates have taken a 10-0 lead in the fourth inning. In the other game of interest, the Brewers have cut into the Astro lead and it is 3-2 now in the bottom of the sixth inning.
4:16 p.m.: The Cards are still down 11-0, but the Brewers have tied the game against the Astros. Not a good sign for them, but Big Z sits down the Dodgers in the first. So, the Cubs have a chance to at least gain on the Cards today.
4:20 p.m.: Just as the Cubs start, the Brewers take a 5-3 lead on the Astros. But to take away the sting, Alfonso Soriano homers to start the day. Cubs 1-0, Brewers 5-3, Pirates 11-0.
5:06 p.m.: What started as a very promising day has changed a little bit. The Brewers are about to finish off the Astros 7-4. The Cards are still going to lose, but Big Z continues to struggle with his command.