Archive for June, 2007

Game 79 – Some Games Don’t Need a Recap

Saturday, June 30th, 2007


June 30th, 2007

Teams

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
Milwaukee 4 3 2 0 1 0 1 0 2   13 15 0
Chicago 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0   4 7 3
W -  S. Marshall (4-3)  L  - B. Sheets (10-3) S – None
Homeruns: R. Braun (7) C. Counsel (2)

Box Score

This is one of them. I’ll be honest with you. I almost turned this one off after the four runs that the Brewers picked up in the first inning. Then, the Cubs got two of their own and I decided to stick it out. I regret doing so as the only thing that I enjoyed was listening to Pat and Ron. I don’t ever get a chance to listen to them, because I watch all the games on TV, so this was a nice treat. My advice to you, the reader, would be to put this one behind you and get ready for the final game of the series tomorrow. In the meantime, I’d like to muse on a couple of things I’ve been thinking about.

  • Potential for a huge run – If the Cubs can win tomorrow, they will be staring at a streak of 8 out of 9. With two less than playoff bound teams on the schedule before the break in Washington and Pittsburgh, a huge run is very much a possibility. Is it really out of the question to think we can’t take all seven games from the Nationals and Pirates? I don’t think it is. Good teams that expect to go to the playoffs need to dominate those teams and just play .500 against the big boys. If we’re going to be considered playoff contenders, it would be a big step toward it by beating those teams down before the break. I’m excited about the July 4th game I’m going to. Hopefully we’ll be on our way toward winning ugly as we head to the All Star game.
  • Cubs promoted Rocky Cherry – I speculated that they would make a move today before the game, but I thought it would be Rapada. After today’s bullpen workload, I wouldn’t be surprised to see poor Rocky Cherry get sent down and Clay Rapada recalled. I don’t put too much hope in Jason Marquis facing this Brewers lineup, so we may need help again early tomorrow. Let’s hope I’m wrong on the help needed, but I’d really like to see Rapada instead of Cherry, and ultimately would like to see Petrick back when his ten days are done.
  • Mike Fontenot is not a SS – Let’s end that experiment now, please. If you’re going to play him and DeRosa in the middle infield, you need to play Fontenot at second and DeRosa at short. I’d love to see Fontenot eventually expand his availability to short, but right now it needs to be done in warmups and late in the game with a big lead or big deficit.
  • Ron Santo cracks me up – In the middle of the game, Pat and Ron had Scottie Pippen in the booth. On a side note, Scottie’s “Take Me Out To the Ballgame” performance was atrocious. He didn’t even know the words after all the years of working as a vendor at the stadium. Shame on him. Back to Pat and Ron. When Pippen left, Pat turns to Ron and begins to ask if he ever told him about the time that he played basketball with Pippen. He says “Ron, did I ever tell you about the time…” and Ron cuts him off right there and says “No”. Now Ronnie, how can you say no when you don’t even know what Pat is going to say?
  • This is why I would never play for the Cubs – In the Tribune, there was this nugget of info on Ichiro. “When Seattle was in town recently, I asked Ichiro, through a Japanese reporter, if he’d be interested in spending some quality time at Wrigley Field. The reporter told me Ichiro said he loves Wrigley Field, but thought the fans were a little too rough. In all probability he’ll stay in Seattle, but Floyd is doing a nice job out there for now.” Cub fans have got to learn to lay off. I really believe it’s affecting our chances of getting players. Why come here if you know you’re going to get torched by the fans that should be supporting you?
  • Hey Hey for Tuffy Rhodes – Tuffy Rhodes recorded his 1,500th career hit in Japanese professional baseball Saturday, reaching another milestone in his 11th season in Japan. Good for him. I’ll never forget this game.

    STARS OF THE GAME – All based on WPA

  • First Star – Ryan Braun (17.0%)
  • Second Star – Prince Fielder (17.0%)
  • Third Star – Mike Fontenot (10.6%)
  • Turd of the Game – Sean Marshall (-47.6%)

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  • Game 79 – Open Thread

    Saturday, June 30th, 2007

    Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
    Ben Sheets – Sheets continues to make a strong case for his inclusion in the 2007 All-Star Game. The right-hander pitched six innings of one-run ball in a 6-1 win over the Astros his last time out, allowing five hits and three walks and striking out five. In his past 13 starts, Sheets has gone 8-1 with a 2.41 ERA.

    Sean Marshall – Marshall is coming off a win over the White Sox, tossing 6 1/3 scoreless innings while yielding just five hits. It was encouraging after he struggled a bit against the Rangers on June 19, lasting four innings in his only non-quality start this season. Marshall is 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA in three starts at Wrigley and has yet to face the Brewers this year. Last season, he was 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in one start against Milwaukee.

    View the Cubs career numbers vs. Ben Sheets – ESPN Splits

    View the game preview from Baseball Reference

    View/Listen to a Gameday Audio replay of yesterday’s big win that somebody posted on YouTube


    The Farm Report

    Hitters

  • Kyler Burke (A) – 0 for 4, 3 K
  • Ronny Cedeno (AAA) – 1 for 3, HR, R, RBI
  • Tyler Colvin (AA) – 2 for 3,
  • Brian Dopirak (A+) – DNP
  • Jake Fox (AA) – 0 for 4, K
  • Matt Murton (AAA) – 1 for 4, 2 K
  • Eric Patterson (AAA) – 0 for 4, 2 K, BB, CS
  • Geovany Soto (AAA) – 1 for 3, HR, BB, CS, R, RBI

    Pitchers

  • Rocky Cherry (AAA) – DNP
  • Juan Mateo (A) – DNP
  • Carmen Pignatiello (AAA) – 0.1 IP, 0 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 K, 2 BB
  • Bret Prinz (AAA) – 2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 K, BB
  • Clay Rapada (AAA) – 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 K, 1 BB
  • Jeff Samardzija (A+) – DNP
  • Joel Santo (A+) – DNP

    Don’t see someone listed? Leave us a comment and we’ll be sure to add that name to the regular rotation.

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  • Game 78 – Walkin’ Off With a Win!!!

    Friday, June 29th, 2007


    June 29th, 2007

    Teams

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
    Milwaukee 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0   5 8 0
    Chicago 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 3   6 10 1
    W -  B. Howry (5-4)  L  - F. Cordero (0-2) S – None
    Homeruns: K. Mench (3) A. Ramirez (15)

    Box Score

    I sat down to watch the game today after the power finally came back on. We had a bit of a storm here in North Carolina and my DirecTv service found itself temporarily interrupted. I paced around the house wondering if I would miss the first pitch (I hate missing the first pitch). Thankfully, God had mercy on me and allowed me to partake in my addiction that is Cubs baseball. But, like a kid that eats too much cake on his birthday or drinks too much eggnog at Christmas, I immediately felt sick to my stomach watching the 5-0 lead we spotted the Brewers to in the first. Nothing will take the hype out of a heavyweight title bout like this one more than a swift kick in the nuts in the first round. As the game wore on, and our bullpen continued to place 0′s on the board, something in me began to formulate this storybook ending that I would be able to document. It went something like this. The Cubs would battle back and would have a chance to win the game in the 9th inning. Into the box steps Cliff Floyd, whose father was attending the game for the first time since he was hospitalized. Floyd works the count to 3-2 and launches a game winning homerun to Sheffield Ave. Floyd’s father sees his health miraculously return and the Cubs begin a tremendous run to the division title. Now that’s a story. Unfortunately, Cliff never got a chance to hit in the 9th inning. Or should I say, fortunately? Aramis Ramirez comes in and puts one out to win the game and cap off a tremendous, chip away type comeback. These are the kind of wins that a team on a hot streak picks up. I have to wonder if this is going to be motivation for the Brewers to come back hard, or a bullet in the gut that staggers them enough for the Cubs to come away with a series win or even a sweep.

    Rich Hill
    The best way I can describe Rich’s outing today was that he pitched to contact. Unfortunately, that contact resulted in 40+ foul balls, five hits, and a good deal of runs. When the dust cleared, Hill was done after only three innings of work. Anytime you have to go to your pen as early as the Cubs did today, especially when it comes at the beginning of a series, it takes a lot of banding together to overcome the early hole. I’m sure Rich feels terrible about the start. The best thing for him to do is relax, put it behind him, and get ready for his next outing. His next scheduled start should be Wednesday in Washington. I’ll be at that game, so I really hope he returns to the dominant pitcher because it will probably be the only game I’ll be able to attend this season. I think he’ll bounce back, but two out of his last three starts haven’t been good. A win before the all star break for him would be a great way to end the first half of the season.

    Bullpen
    We needed our bullpen bigtime today and once again they came through with a job well done. I asked the other day who you had confidence in and who you didn’t, and it amazed me how different the answers were. As for me, I have a good amount of confidence in the whole lot. I truly believe this is going to turn into one of the top 3 pens in all of the NL by the time the season is through. Everyone seems to be turning corners and pitching the way this team figured they would when the season started. The big question now is can Sean Marshall get enough innings in tomorrow to give the crew a bit of a rest? Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a move to send Petrick back to the minors and a recall of Clay Rapada for the simple reason of giving a fresh arm in the pen for the remainder of the series. Rapada threw 20 pitches on Wednesday and would be rested if they held him out today. His previous outing was on the 24th, so he could provide a good amount of relief. Another potential option, assuming that Jacque Jones is not going anywhere, would be to move Henry Blanco to the 60 day DL, retroactive to May 31st, which would place his return at the end of July. That would open up a 40 man roster spot for someone else from the minors.

    Fox Saturday Baseball
    Let me rant for a minute about how much I hate the MLB blackout rules. Originally, tomorrow’s game was scheduled at a time that would put in on my Extra Innings package. It was before the 3:55pm EDT time that the Fox games run, and would therefore be on my package. Instead, MLB has decided to change the game time to accommodate Fox and screw me. Obviously they aren’t doing it with screwing me in mind, but ultimately, that’s what it does. Now, I am blacked out on MLB.tv and will only be able to see the Mets face the Phillies. What bugs me the most is that MLB.tv has a slogan that says “Watch every out of market game right from your computer…” Really, then why won’t I be able to see tomorrow’s game? Screw Fox. Screw Scooter the talking fastball, and screw Joe Buck. I’m sorry Mr. Buck. I still love you, but please quit the Fox job, so I won’t have to hate you on Saturdays, because I really want to love you.


    STARS OF THE GAME – All based on WPA

  • First Star – Aramis Ramirez (89.2%) – WOW!!!
  • Second Star – Kevin Mench (20.0%)
  • Third Star – Matt Wise (15.9%)
  • Turd of the Game – Francisco Cordero (-90.3%)

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  • Game 78 – Open Thread

    Friday, June 29th, 2007

    Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
    Yovani Gallardo – Gallardo tossed another gem in his second Major League start, holding the Royals to a lone run on five hits and two walks in seven innings. The right-hander struck out eight and left the game with a 2-1 lead, but the Brewers bullpen blew the save to deny him his second win. Gallardo will take the mound in place of Dave Bush, who was bumped to Sunday so Gallardo could stay on regular rest. Gallardo likely will be assigned to the Brewers’ bullpen following this start.

    Rich Hill – In his last outing, against the White Sox, Hill was able to regain his successful form from early in the season. The lefty gave up one run on six hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings while striking out six, but he didn’t get a decision. He was coming off his worst start of the year, a three-inning outing against San Diego. The difference? Hill was aggressive in his approach again, and able to locate his fastball better. Hill has split a pair of decisions against the Brewers, posting a 3.29 ERA in two starts.

    View the Cubs career numbers vs. Yovani Gallardo – ESPN Splits

    View the game preview from Baseball Reference


    The Farm Report

    Hitters

  • Kyler Burke (A) – 0 for 4
  • Ronny Cedeno (AAA) – 1 for 5, HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 K
  • Tyler Colvin (AA) – 1 for 4
  • Brian Dopirak (A+) – 3 for 4, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R
  • Jake Fox (AA) – 1 for 4, K
  • Matt Murton (AAA) – 3 for 4
  • Eric Patterson (AAA) – 3 for 5, R, 2 CS
  • Geovany Soto (AAA) – 0 for 4, 2 K

    Pitchers

  • Rocky Cherry (AAA) – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K, 1 BB
  • Juan Mateo (A) – 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 K, 3 BB
  • Carmen Pignatiello (AAA) – Did Not Pitch
  • Bret Prinz (AAA) – Did Not Pitch
  • Clay Rapada (AAA) – Did Not Pitch
  • Jeff Samardzija (A+) – Did Not Pitch
  • Joel Santo (A+) – Did Not Pitch

    Don’t see someone listed? Leave us a comment and we’ll be sure to add that name to the regular rotation.

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  • Life on the Block

    Friday, June 29th, 2007

    Just a little reading material to keep you all occupied before the game today. It’s off of MLB.com, and covers how players deal with trades. More specifically it spotlights Michael Barrett and Robert Bowen.

    Players reactions to Trades

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    A Look Towards The Weekend

    Thursday, June 28th, 2007

    As we approach the all-star break and the Cubs sit one game below .500, I cannot help but feel pretty good about where the team stands. Seriously, despite how things look in the win/loss columns, the fact of the matter is that the Cubs are in a pretty good position to enter the break within striking distance of Milwaukee. A series win versus Milwaukee and a successful road trip versus two teams that the Cubs should beat up on, could result in the Cubs being 45-42. Hopefully within 5 games of the Brewers come July 10th. Mark my words. Still, I’m getting ahead of myself.

    All of this week’s excitement has been great, but now the real build up starts. Don’t get me wrong, the last seven days have been a wild ride for the Cubs and their fans. The Sox sweep was a much needed confidence boost, and the “The Comeback” was a terrific momentum builder. While the Cubs fought their way back into that game, I think we know that we all owe a large “Domo Arigato” to Kaz Matsui. Yet in the grand scheme of things, it is the upcoming weekend that now looks bigger than ever. So let’s take a little peek ahead.

    The probable pitchers look to be:
    Friday: Yovani Gallardo, RHP (1-0, 2.70) vs. Rich Hill, LHP (5-5, 3.13)
    Saturday: Ben Sheets, RHP (9-3, 3.09) vs. Sean Marshall, LHP (4-2, 2.44)
    Sunday: Dave Bush (6-6, 5.06) vs. Jason Marquis, RHP (5-4, 3.46)

    The Cubs are 5-4 versus the Brewers this year, 4-2 in Milwaukee and 1-2 at home. Overall we have outscored them 51-41.

    The importance of this weekends games cannot be overstated. After this series, the oppurtunities to take head-to-head games versus the Brewers comes down to one more 3 game set in late August. There may not be a better time for the Cubs to be hot. Yet the Brewers are pretty warm themselves. They come in off of a sweep of Houston and winning 13 of their last 15. Buckle up folks, this should be a great series to watch.

    Back to the Brewers pitching. While the Cubs have enjoyed a reasonable amount of success against Dave Bush and Ben Sheets this year, and in the past, they have never seen Gallardo. Gallardo is billed as a “rookie phenom”, and games versus new pitchers are always tough. I visited a few different baseball sites to try and get the book on Gallardo. I pooled and condensed what I read, and here it is.

    Gallardo was called up June 14 to replace Cris Capuano after Capuano went on the 15 day DL. Gallardo was drafted by the Brewers out of high school and has enjoyed a fast rise through High A and AA thanks to a combined 188 Ks last season. This year Gallardo has been having a pretty good year, already amassing 110 Ks in 77 2/3 for AAA Nashville. Gallardo supposedly has 3 very good pitches. A mid 90′s fastball, high 80′s slider, and a very good curveball that has been called the best in all of AAA baseball. He also has a developing change up but supposedly lives on steady use of his fastball and curve. Scouts say that he is very mature in his approach and uses all of his pitches to set up hitters. They also say that he uses drastic changes in speed and various arm slots to keep hitters off balance. His first major league start was a win versus SF, although his numbers were a little less than phenomenal. In 6 1/3 he gave up 4 hits, 3 walks, and struck out 4. He was charged with 3 earned runs and gave up 1 solo HR. Gallardo’s second outing was a little more impressive. In 7 innings of work versus the Royals, Gallardo gave up 5 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 8. He gave up one earned run. The jury is still out on whether to call him a power pitcher or a finesse guy. Apparently he has the ability to us both approaches. A lot of sites did mention the fact that he is a fly ball pitcher and can be beat up with the long ball.

    Looking over the Brewers last month of games, it is obvious that the name of the game for them is run support. Their pitching gives up plenty of runs, but their powerful hitting usually compensates. So really the key to this series has to be the Cubs pitching. The starters continue to do a pretty good job, but the Cubs bullpen is a mess and the Rockies series showed just how vulnerable ANY lead can be going into the late innings. That will have to change for the Cubs to have any success against the Brew Crew. I guess we will find out tomorrow if this day off has helped the bullpen get some rest. If the Cubs hot hitting continues. If Jacques Jones remains a Cub. Most importantly, if “Big Mo” is still hanging around Wrigley. I can hardly wait!

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    Thursday Morning Prospect Report

    Thursday, June 28th, 2007

    Rather than combine two days worth of prospect reports tomorrow because of the off day, I figured I’d shoot one up this morning before Tony’s preview of the Brewers series. Enjoy and Discuss!!

  • Donald Veal (AA) – 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 HR, 11 K, 4 BB (5.64 ERA)
  • Carmen Pignatiello (AAA) – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB
  • Clay Rapada (AAA) – 1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER
  • Ronny Cedeno (AAA) – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 1 BB, 1 RBI
  • Tyler Colvin (AA) – 3 for 5, 2 doubles
  • Brian Dopirak (A+) – 0 for 5 with 1 K
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    Game 77 – Sweeping is Fun

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2007


    June 27th, 2007

    Teams

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
    Colorado 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 0   4 6 1
    Chicago 0 1 3 1 0 0 1 0 X   6 6 0
    W -  C. Zambrano (9-6)  L  - J. Hirsh (3-7) S – C. Marmol (1)
    Homeruns: M. DeRosa (7) M. Fontenot (3)

    Box Score

    I’m going to do this recap a little different today. I took the day off of score keeping and instead just used my clipboard to jot notes. As I did, I found that my notes over the past few games have basically be very similar. So rather than write the same stuff over and over, I’d like to open this one up for some discussion on your part, especially with the off day going tomorrow. That should give us a good long time to get some good debates in. With that being said, here are the questions I’d like to pose to you, along with my general answers. I’m keeping my answers brief so as to not spoil the discussion element.

  • What did you think of the performance of Billy Petrick? – Personally, I thought the kid did about what we could have expected. When you look at the box score, it looks as if he was terrible, but I don’t think he was. He pitched a perfect 7th inning, getting two of the hitters to strike out. He probably should not have come back out in the 8th inning, but with the amount of taxation on the pen over the last few days, Lou really wanted to get some of them some rest. Even that inning, Petrick looked good. His velocity was in the mid 90′s and aside from the walk to Matsui, he had good command and control.
  • If you look at the current corp. of relievers, what is your confidence level when they come into the game? If you had to rank each guy from 1-10 with 1 meaning you are not confident at all and 10 meaning you write it in the books. I’ll wait to give my rankings until there is a bit of discussion.
  • Kaz Matsui botched a pop fly and was given an error because the ball hit him. Troy Tulowitzki also botched one because of the “sun” and was not charged with an error. What are your thoughts on the way errors are given for fly balls that should be caught but due to the fielder being retarded, drop in front of them? Should they be errors or hits?
  • Do you feel bad for Florence Loewe, the 104 year old lady at the game today? She was somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 years old when the Cubs won the world series and will probably die without ever really seeing one (who remembers things when they are 5 years old?)
  • Finally, I took the liberty of taking a look at the lineup construction that Lou Piniella has put on the field this year. In 76 games leading up to today, Lou has used 64 different batting orders and 53 different player lineups, not including pitchers. That got me to thinking about what my ideal Lou lineup would be. Here it is:

    Alfonso Soriano (LF)
    Mike Fontenot (SS)
    Derrek Lee (1B)
    Aramis Ramirez (3B)
    Cliff Floyd (RF)
    Mark DeRosa (2B)
    Felix Pie (CF)
    Rob Bowen (C)
    Pitcher Slot

    I’m not 100% sold on the idea of Soriano in the leadoff spot, but he’s the best option right now. I toyed with the idea of putting Fontenot at leadoff with DeRosa hitting 2nd and moving Soriano to the 5th spot with Floyd protecting him. What are your thoughts?


    STARS OF THE GAME – All based on WPA

  • First Star – Mark DeRosa (27.2%)
  • Second Star – Carlos Zambrano (17.9%)
  • Third Star – Carlos Marmol (7.8%)
  • Turd of the Game – Jason Hirsh (-21.2%)

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  • Game 77 – Open Thread

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

    Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
    Jason Hirsh – Hirsh had his second consecutive rough outing in his last start, allowing five runs on seven hits while walking three over 5 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays. Hirsh has been enduring an up-and-down June. The 25-year-old allowed five runs over 4 1/3 innings on June 16 against the Rays, but in his start before that, Hirsh went the distance and allowed just one run against the Orioles. Hirsh has never faced the Cubs in his two-year career.

    Carlos Zambrano – Zambrano is 3-1 with a 1.14 ERA in four starts since his “new season” began June 1. He matched his career high with 12 strikeouts against the White Sox in his previous start, giving up one run on three hits over eight innings. Zambrano was sharp in the outing, mixing his pitches well and displaying sharp movement on his breaking ball.

    View the Cubs career numbers vs. Jason Hirsh – ESPN Splits

    View the game preview from Baseball Reference


    Notable Performances From Down On The Farm

  • Kyler Burke (A) – Went 0-2 with two walks (Acquired in the M. Barrett trade)
  • Ronny Cedeno (AAA) – Went 5-6 with 3 doubles
  • Brian Dopirak (A+) – 2 for 4 with a HR
  • Geovany Soto (AAA) – 3 for 5 with 2 RBI
  • Joel Santo (A+) – 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 6 K, 4 BB (W, 5-4)
  • Bret Prinz (AAA) – 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 K, 1 BB (Signed from the White Sox a couple days ago)
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