Archive for August, 2007

Game 133 – Preview

Friday, August 31st, 2007

***** Breaking News *****

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today acquired right-handed pitcher Steve Trachsel from the Baltimore Orioles for right-handed pitcher Rocky Cherry and infielder Scott Moore.

Trachsel, who returns to the organization that originally selected him in the eighth round of the 1991 Draft, is expected to be added to the Cubs’ roster this weekend. Chicago’s 40-man roster currently stands at 38 players.

The righthander joins the Cubs having recorded a quality start in each of his last four outings and in five of his last six starts with the Orioles, going 1-1 with a 2.37 ERA (10 ER/38.0 IP) in six starts this month. His 2.37 ERA is the fourth-lowest mark in the American League in August. Overall with the Orioles, Trachsel went 6-8 with a 4.48 ERA (70 ER/140.2 IP) in 25 starts this season.

The 36-year-old Trachsel has pitched in all or part of 15 major league seasons with the Cubs (1993-99),
Devil Rays (2000), Blue Jays (2000), Mets (2001-06) and Orioles (2007), compiling a 140-151 record with a 4.29 ERA (1166 ER/2440.0 IP) in 406 major league appearances, all but one as a starter.

A 1996 National League All-Star with the Cubs, Trachsel has posted double-digits in victories in seven seasons and made 30 or more starts in nine seasons. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder reached 200.0 innings pitched seven times.

Trachsel broke into the big leagues with the Cubs at the age of 23 in 1993 and was named National League Rookie Pitcher of the Year by The Sporting News in 1994, going 9-7 with a 3.21 ERA in 22 starts for Chicago. He owns one of the only 10 Cubs one-hitters in the last 25 years (a 5-0 win vs. Cincinnati on May 13, 1996), he started the Cubs’ 1998 Wild Card tiebreaker and won 5-3 vs. San Francisco to clinch a post-season berth, and he was the Cubs’ Opening Day starter in 1999, the final season of his first stint with the organization.

During his first stint with the Cubs, Trachsel went 60-69 with a 4.35 ERA (554 ER/1146.1 IP) in 187 outings (186 starts). For the decade of the 1990s, Trachsel led all Cubs pitchers in wins, starts, innings pitched and strikeouts (829) in that span.

Cherry this season made his major league debut with the Cubs, going 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 12 relief appearances. The 28-year-old spent most of the 2007 campaign with Triple-A Iowa and went 2-0 with seven saves and a 4.59 ERA in 43 appearances, all but one in relief.

Moore has played in 18 games with the Cubs the last two seasons, batting .233 with two homers and five RBI at the major league level. He went 0-for-5 in two games with the Cubs earlier this season. The 23-year-old spent most of the 2007 season with Iowa and batted .265 with 19 homers and 69 RBI in 103 games at Triple-A.

Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
Wandy Rodriguez – On the road again — four little words that have meant a big difference for Rodriguez. The left-hander owned a 2.28 ERA at home entering Sunday’s start against the Pirates. But Rodriguez’s road ERA is a whopping 7.80, the third largest difference in the Major Leagues since 1957 according to Stats, Inc. Rodriguez was roughed up the Pirates (four earned runs in five innings) and has given up 11 earned runs in his last 9.1 innings.

Sean Marshall – Marshall had been going through a rough August, without a quality start in four tries, but he rebounded in his last outing against the D-backs on Saturday. He allowed just one run on two hits over six innings of work, striking out five in picking up the victory. Marshall felt he was able to be more consistent with his location and is hoping to carry that through to his next start.

Additional Notes on Rodriguez
Assets: When he’s on, Rodriguez keeps his good fastball low in the zone and induces ground balls, while setting the heat up with a solid change and good breaking stuff.
Flaws: Command can be a problem, unable to establish a first-pitch strike often enough. Must work on his approach with runners on and on his endurance beyond the sixth inning.

Thoughts From Last Night
The thought that keeps coming to my mind is that Alfonso Soriano does not look healthy. He says he’s 90%, but unless that means 90% injured, I can’t see how it would be true. Are you guys worried with what you’ve been seeing? He’s limping and dragging that injured leg. I’m scared to death. I would really like to see us rest him starting tomorrow when the roster expands. It’s looking more and more like we’re going to the playoffs and a healthy Soriano would be a huge plus for us.

View the game preview from Baseball Reference for all sorts of useful information including how our guys have faired against today’s starter, bullpen rest report, and much more.

Tracked Players Results

Team Results

  • AAA – Iowa 3, Memphis 6
  • AA – Tennessee 5, Carolina 2
  • High-A – Daytona 6, St. Lucie 7
  • A – Peoria 3, Quad Cities 1
  • Short Season – Boise 8, Spokane 7
  • Arizona Rookie League – Cubs 4, Athletics 0

    View the full organizational report from First Inning

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

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  • Game 132 – Preview

    Thursday, August 30th, 2007

    Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
    Manny Parra – Instead of using righty Yovani Gallardo on regular rest the Brewers are expected to pitch Parra, who would make his second big league start. The Cubs are 12-20 against left-handed starters this season and entered the series batting .252 against left-handed pitching overall and .274 against right-handers. Parra’s only other start was July 28 at St. Louis, his third Major League appearance. Parra pitched six innings against the Cardinals, allowing three runs, one of them earned.

    Ted Lilly – Lilly rebounded from a couple of poor recent starts but took a hard-luck loss on Saturday against the D-backs. He had given up 11 runs over his previous two starts, but held the D-backs to two runs on just four hits over six innings. Lilly struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter. However, he made one mistake to Conor Jackson, a fastball out over the plate, and Jackson parked it for a two-run homer that was enough to saddle Lilly with the loss.

    What to Watch For
    Facing a pitcher making his second major league start in the heat of a pennant race and countering with our most consistent starter all year, there is no excuse for why we shouldn’t come away with a win of the game and the series this evening. I will accept no less.

    View the game preview from Baseball Reference for all sorts of useful information including how our guys have faired against today’s starter, bullpen rest report, and much more.

    Roster Move(s)

  • The Cubs have sent Buck Coats to the Reds for a player to be named later. Remember, the Cubs are still owed a player from Pittsburgh as well from the Ceasar Izturis trade.
  • The Cubs have sent Clay Rapada to Detroit via waivers, which satisfies the player we owed them from the Craig Monroe deal.

    News and Notes

  • Tyler Colvin, the Cubs first round pick last year, is preparing to play for Team USA (Source) and was mentioned as the 12th best CF in the minors in Kevin Goldstein’s Future Shock column on Center Fielders:

    A first-round pick last year, Colvin has good numbers on the surface, reaching Double-A in his full-season debut and accumulating 225 total bases in 118 games. Unfortunately, the bad news balances out the good, for the most part. Colvin’s over-aggressive approach has led to just 14 walks in 462 at-bats, including just four in 55 games since a promotion to Tennessee. In addition, Colvin’s ability to play center has come into question, leading us to one of the tenets of prospect analysis–-when there are whispers that a player might have to move off a position, the chances are overwhelming that in the end that player will move off the position. There’s lots to like here, but still lots of work to be done, and if the walks don’t reach something approaching an even marginally acceptable level, then none of his other skills will matter much. (Source)

    Tracked Players Results

    Team Results

  • AAA – Iowa 3, Memphis 1
  • AA – Tennessee 4, Chattanooga 5
  • High-A – Daytona 0, St. Lucie 11
  • A – Peoria 5, Kane County 0
  • Short Season – Boise 9, Spokane 0

    View the full organizational report from First Inning

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

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  • Game 131 – Let’s Talk Z

    Thursday, August 30th, 2007


    August 29th, 2007

    Teams

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
    Milwaukee 0 0 0 1 1 0 4 0 0   6 11 0
    Chicago 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0   1 9 2
    W – B. Sheets (11-4)  L  - C. Zambrano (14-11) S – None
    Homeruns: None

    Box Score

    Rather than waste our time talking about something that’s not on everyone’s mind and instead, cut right to the chase. Let’s have a good discussion in the comments about Zambrano. In order for it to work, you’ve got to participate. Check back throughout the day and read the comments, participate. It’s therapy. Get it all out. Here are some ideas for topics:

  • Based on Zambrano’s recent struggles, is he still your game 1 starter in the first round of the playoffs?
  • What seems to be his problem out there? Why can’t he win # 15?
  • Do you feel he concentrates too much on what he does at the plate?
  • Are you worried about the cramping issues?
  • Does the big contract he signed make you nervous? If the Cubs had 1 day to take it back, would you want them to?
  • Does Carlos Zambrano need to “start his season over” again like he did earlier in the year? That would put him on season # 3.

    Let’s talk it up. Can we get 50 comments? I think we can.

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  • Game 131 – Preview

    Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

    Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
    Ben Sheets – The team thought right-hander Ben Sheets might be able to pitch on Aug. 25 in San Francisco, but a second blister on his middle finger derailed those hopes. Now they are shooting for this series in Chicago, a key showdown between the National League Central’s top two teams. Sheets has not pitched since mid-July because of torn tissue around a tendon in his middle finger, and the blisters prolonged his time on the shelf. He threw in the outfield on Tuesday and said he expected to be ready to go.

    Carlos Zambrano – Zambrano walked four and gave up six hits over 5 1/3 innings in his last start against the Giants. He is 0-for-August, and has fallen short in four tries at his 15th win. Big Z also has yet to win since signing his $91.5 million contract with the Cubs. Zambrano has to watch the walks – he walked three in one inning, including a free pass to pitcher Matt Cain, who later hit a two-run homer. Zambrano is 2-0 against the Brewers so far this season.

    Additional Notes on Sheets:
    Assets: With a fastball that can reach into the upper-90s, Sheets keeps hitters off balance by mixing in a hard breaking curve. He has tremendous control and doesn’t shy away from working inside.

    Flaws: Hitters have a lot of success on the first pitch. Tends to slow down in the middle innings, but can pick it back up for the later frames.

    What to Watch For
    After a bad start last outing, tonight is the night we need him to show he’s worth the money he just received. Let’s look for 7 innings of work with limited to no walks and a cool temper at the plate. No temper tantrums and no fielding with your throwing hand.

    View the game preview from Baseball Reference for all sorts of useful information including how our guys have faired against today’s starter, bullpen rest report, and much more.

    News and Notes

  • Inside the Ivy takes some time to talk about Neal Cotts. Remember him? (Source)
  • Ryan Harvey and Nate Samson will be headed to Winter Ball in Hawaii this year.
  • Clark Hardman went 4 for 5 for Mesa

    Tracked Players Results

    Team Results

  • AAA – Iowa 8, Memphis 2
  • AA – Tennessee 7, Chattanooga 5
  • High-A – Daytona – No Game
  • A – Peoria 9, Kane County 10
  • Short Season – Boise 2, Spokane 3
  • Arizona Rookie – Cubs 7, Padres 2

    View the full organizational report from First Inning

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

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  • Game 130 – So Far So Good

    Wednesday, August 29th, 2007


    August 28th, 2007

    Teams

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
    Milwaukee 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0   3 8 1
    Chicago 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 0 X   5 9 0
    W – R. Hill (8-7)  L  - S. Linebrink (4-6) S – R. Dempster (22)
    Homeruns: None

    Box Score

    I mentioned that sweeping this series would all but eliminate the Brewers from this race and I’ll stick by that despite some disagreement. If we end this series at 4.5 games up on the Brewers, coupled with the fact that we don’t play them again this season and how they’ve played, there is no way they come back to be a factor. Right now, the Cardinals are the team we need to worry about, and we have five games still to play with them.

    Starting Pitchers
    Both starters looked decent last night on a night where it figured to be a hitter’s affair. Rich Hill continues to reinstate my confidence in him with another good start last night. This is the best time possible for him to begin to figure it out again. If the season were to end today, he’s my number three starter for the first series. He’s been more dominant than Jason Marquis and Sean Marshall, though Marshall at times has been close. I really think it will come down to those two as we move closer to October, with Marquis going to the pen as the long relief man.

    Hill struck out five of the first six hitters he faced, and made the hitters in the first inning look silly by getting two of them on a called strike. I love called strike three more than any other type of strike out. To me, it shows the pitcher out thinking the hitter and just dominating them. If the pitch is good enough to be called a strike, the hitter should have been protecting. The fact that they’re not swinging means they’re not expecting that pitch and are totally fooled, or they just don’t have a very good eye. Rich Hill made some good hitters look pretty bad in the first two innings. In the end, we got seven innings out of him and no walks, which is exactly what you want from your starter and were able to turn it over to the pen for the last two. Both Howry and Dempster also struck out two and closed the door. When the game was finished, the Cubs pitches did not issue a walk all night. That’s something we need to do more of.

    What are your thoughts on Rich Hill? Is he your number three starter if the playoffs started right now?

    Roster Moves
    Reinstated OF Alfonso Soriano from the 15-day disabled list and optioned LHP Carmen Pignatiello to Triple-A Iowa; Outrighted C Koyie Hill to Triple-A Iowa.

    Just to explain a little on these, starting with the Soriano reinstatement. I was a little surprised to see Pignatiello optioned to make room, but it makes sense when you think of it. With the rosters expanding to as many as 40 on September 1st, the Cubs probably wanted to keep that extra outfielder on the team to give Soriano a rest late in the game if needed. An 11 man pitching staff can be something Lou can deal with for a few days while we wait for the roster expansion.

    Koyie Hill had nothing to do with Alfonso Soriano. You may remember that on the 20th, the Cubs designated K. Hill for assignment and placed him on waivers. The purpose of this move was to make room on the 40 man roster for Henry Blanco who was returning from the 60 day DL. Once Hill cleared waivers (i.e. – No one wanted him), the Cubs have the ability to either release him, or assign him to the minor leagues. The Cubs chose to “outright” him to Iowa, meaning that he didn’t have to use an option. We will not see K. Hill up this September.

    Random Stat
    A few days ago, we debated what to do with Soriano and the leadoff spot. Someone mentioned that Soriano sees less pitches than Theriot and that he’s a hack. I agreed when I read the comment, but was surprised to see that it wasn’t entirely true. I wanted to show you what I found.

    This year’s pitch per plate appearance:

    Soriano: 3.66
    Theriot: 3.59

    Hmmm, what does that do for our opinions? I’m not sure.


    STARS OF THE GAME – All based on WPA

  • First Star – Jacque Jones (32.1%)
  • Second Star – Jeff Suppan (20.9%)
  • Third Star – Corey Hart (14.0%)
  • Turd of the Game – Scott Linebrink (-58.8%)
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  • Game 130 – Preview

    Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

    Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
    Jeff Suppan – Suppan matched up against Arizona ace Brandon Webb on Wednesday and remained winless in 11 starts since June 22 despite one of his better efforts. Suppan pitched seven innings for the first time since June 1, and was saddled with three runs on seven hits in a 3-2 loss. D-backs rookie Chris Young hit a changeup for a leadoff home run, and Orlando Hudson followed with a triple that turned into a go-ahead run in the first inning, but Suppan settled in after that flurry and the Brewers forged a short-lived tie in the sixth. Suppan is 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA against the Cubs this year.

    Rich Hill – Hill posted his 14th quality start of the year in his last start, but did not get a win. He struck out 10, the fifth time in his career he’s reached double digits in strikeouts. What was working? His curve and a consistent fastball. He also was aggressive in his approach, which Hill needs to be successful. He shrugs off his personal win-loss record. “Personal goals aren’t what you look for,” Hill said. “When it’s all said and done at the end, it’s not what you did during the season, it’s how the team did. It’s a positive way of looking at it.”

    Additional Notes on Suppan:
    Assets: He has a workhorse mentality on the mound and bears down in the clutch. Uses his excellent curveball as an out pitch.
    Flaws: His fastball isn’t too hot, so he has to learn to work around hitters’ hot zones, while still throwing strikes. Must work on his approach against right-handed hitters.

    What to Watch For
    This is our chance to essentially eliminate Milwaukee from the race. If we can sweep them, we can focus our attention to beating the Cardinals. We’ve got our three best starting pitchers on the mound this series, we’re at home, and we get Soriano back today. No Excuses!!!

    View the game preview from Baseball Reference for all sorts of useful information including how our guys have faired against today’s starter, bullpen rest report, and much more.

    News and Notes

  • Donald Veal finally got himself deep into a ball game, going 7.1 innings yesterday. Maybe he’s figuring things out.
  • The Cubs have announced that the following players will be attending the Arizona Fall League
    - Matt Avery
    - Justin Berg
    - Grant Johnson
    - Rocky Roquet
    - Josh Lansford
    - Joe Simokaitis
    - Sam Fuld

  • Baseball America’s Hot Sheet mentioned a couple of baby Cubs (Source)

    Geovany Soto – It’s unclear why Soto is still in Triple-A, where the 24-year-old has proven to be one of the best hitters in the Pacific Coast League and the Cubs have shifted through multiple bodies behind the plate. Soto is hitting .358/.427/.653 on the year, and has hit .417/.465/.771 in August after a .367/.450/.735 July. Although Jason Kendall has hit well beyond any reasonable expectation (.298/.392/.404 in 104 at-bats) since joining the Cubs, Soto is likely the better near-and long-term option for the franchise.

    Josh Vitters – It may be harsh to hit the No. 3 overall pick in 2007 so early, but the hype he received as a hitter has not proven anything yet. In his first five games he is hitting .095/.091/.095 in 21 at-bats. He has also struck out five times and hasn’t drawn a walk yet. It’s hard to have a higher average than on-base percentage, but he’s done it so far.

    Tracked Players Results

    Team Results

  • AAA – Iowa 8, Memphis 10
  • AA – Tennessee 7, Chattanooga 3
  • High-A – Daytona 4, Vero Beach 3
  • A – Peoria 4, Beloit 2
  • Short Season – Boise 7, Yakima 5
  • Arizona Rookie – Cubs 8, Rangers 7

    View the full organizational report from First Inning

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

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  • From Right Field – Best Time of the Year?

    Monday, August 27th, 2007

    For those of you that weren’t in the Chicagoland area last Thursday, we were hit hard with an incredible storm. I was on my way to O’Hare when it hit, and my Blue Line run took a mere hour and twenty minutes. When I arrived, the power was out to the O’Hare Hilton, with the exception of their work out room. I found that odd. The halls were lit with flashlights, but the workout room was fully lit with TV’s and the music blaring. In any case, I found out my flight to Arizona was canceled, and I decided right there that it was not to be, and gave up on the whole thing. It took me an additional three hours to get home. Sometimes I hate Chicago weather. On the bright side, I realized I had nothing to do for the weekend for a change, and I could finally sit down and watch the Cubs, and catch a pre-season Bears game.

    My second favorite sport to watch is football. As with the ’84 Cubs, my childhood memories revolve around the ’85 Bears. How could a kid not remember those Superbowl shuffling Bears? The Fridge, Iron Mike, Samurai Mike, and Sweetness? There’s been only two times in my life that I remember getting a reprieve from bedtime as a kid. The first was when the Cubs clinched the pennant in 1984, the second was when the Bears came back against the Vikings on Monday Night Football. I fondly remember my Dad yelling in the other room, and running down to get me out of bed to watch the rest of the game. It was one I’d never forget. Mostly because if any of you have seen my Dad run, you know it’s a funny scene.

    This weekend I sat on our couch after a day of fighting, I mean installing, a bifold door. I think I put sailors to shame with some of the language that spewed from my mouth. I needed a break, and the Cubs game was on just in time. As I sat watching and sipping some fine brew, my wife kept flipping back and forth to the Bears’ game. I found it annoying at first, as I had not been able to watch a Cubs game in over a week. After awhile, I began to enjoy it, and realized this may be the best time of the year for me. Football, both college and pro, and baseball is in full swing. 40 some games left, and the Cubs are in the hunt. Heck, in few days, Completely Useless By September can no longer be muttered this year. This could be a truly magical year for Chicago fans. The Bears should be on the Superbowl prowl, and with Alfonso Soriano returning tomorrow, the Cubs’ destiny is in their own hands.

    Not since 2003, I know it’s not so long ago, have I had a reason to run home to watch the Cubs, or stare longly at my computer screen watching the updates. It’s an odd feeling, but one I’m happy to be having again. The dog days of summer are passed, but the heat of the fall is just beginning.

    “From Right Field” appears every Monday on VFTB. Unless, Matt is arguing with doors.

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    Game 129 – Failed Execution

    Sunday, August 26th, 2007


    August 26th, 2007

    Teams

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
    Chicago 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0   4 9 0
    Arizona 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 X   5 7 2
    W – E. Gonzalez (6-2)  L  - J. Marquis (10-8) S – J. Valverde (40)
    Homeruns: D. Lee (15) C. Floyd (5) C. Young (27 & 28)

    Box Score

    There is no reason to Hit & Run
    Most of the time, I don’t second guess Lou Piniella and his moves. I don’t harp on his frequent changes in the lineup or theory of playing the hot hand. For the most part, Lou has pushed the right buttons this year, but today I’ve got to say something. With the first two hitters reaching base in the 9th and the Cubs down a run, Jason Kendall came to the plate. After trying to get a bunt down in the early part of the at bat, Lou decided to put the hit and run on with two strikes for three straight pitches. The third pitch was a swinging strike by Kendall to strike out and allow Mike Fontenot to be thrown out at third base for the second out, completing the double play. Kendall was the number nine hitter in the order, which means that the top of the order was due up. I can understand the idea that Kendall is a good contact hitter, but when all you need is a single to tie the game, why put the hit and run on? I’m not saying this was the reason we lost the game, because it wasn’t, but it certainly didn’t help.

    The return of Soriano
    The biggest news out of this weekend was the announcement that not only would Alfonso Soriano return to the leadoff role when he came back, but that his return was slated for this Tuesday night against the Brewers. While I’m thrilled that he’ll be back in this lineup with his big bat, I’m scared out of my mind that he’ll push himself too hard and aggravate that injury. If he strains it again, we’ve pretty much lost him for the season. I know it’s a big series against the Brewers, but I’d really just like to see him wait until after Labor Day to return. That was the original plan of action and I think it was a better one. What are your thoughts? Should Alfonso Soriano be coming back on Tuesday? Are you worried about re-injury? Do we need him to beat a struggling Brewers team?

    Why was Craig Monroe playing today?
    I don’t mean to be hard toward are new acquisition, but did no one inform Lou Piniella that Craig Monroe doesn’t hit well against the righties? He’s hitting just .221 this season against them and a measly .249 in his career. He was brought here one reason and one reason only, to hit against lefties. He shouldn’t be in there for any other reason. Why not give Felix Pie a start today and let Jacque shift over to right field? Let’s not forget that this is not the savior. When you can’t hit righthanders, it doesn’t make you that valuable. There is a reason Detroit designated him for assignment. I just hope the Cubs don’t try to rely too much on him down the stretch, because I’m afraid they’ll find themselves to be very disappointed with the results.

    Most exciting play in baseball?
    Len Kasper referred to Derrek Lee’s inside the park homerun as perhaps the most exciting play in baseball. Lee’s didn’t look as pretty as one by someone like Carl Crawford or Ichiro, but it counted just the same. My question to you is this. What are other nominees for the most exciting play in baseball? The ones I could think of was a play at the plate in a clutch situation.

    On a side note, the last Cub to hit an inside the park homerun was Sammy Sosa on October 6th, 2001 against the Pirates (box score).

    Cliff Floyd is a beast!!!
    When Cliff hits a homerun, you always seem to know he got all of it. He hasn’t hit many of them this year, which has been a disappointment, but when we has, they have been “no-doubt-about-it” type homeruns. He hit one again today and as soon as he made contact I found myself wishing I was in Arizona so I could watch that ball majestically sail past that right field wall.

    Misc. Notes

  • Both errors by the Diamondbacks in the 1st inning were really bad errors. Conor Jackson completely missed a pickoff throw and Stephen Drew made a weird throw to third for no apparent reason.
  • Did you know that Chris Young was part of the White Sox farm system very recently? He was brought to Arizona in 2005 with Orlando Hernandez & Luis Vizcaino for Javier Vazquez.
  • I wonder if slamming the bat down in disgust is the wisest thing for Aramis Ramirez to be doing with an injured wrist.
  • Bob Melvin used Micah Owings, yeah the one that pitched against us, as a pinch hitter in the 4th inning, but had him bunt. What’s up with that?
  • I saw the commercial for the Wrigley Pavers outside the field and it got me wondering if anyone that reads this site has one or knows of someone who does.

  • Mark Prior says his goal is to be ready for opening day. Do you think A) he’ll be ready & B) that he’ll come of the pen like Kerry Wood? (Source)

  • Jose Valverde looked like a crazy Gramatica brother as he got the final out of the game. Take a chill pill man, it’s not that big of a game
  • Jacque Jones continues to flash the leather in CF. Whoever said he can’t play that position has some apologizing to do to Jacque.
  • As this season moves closer to the end, I find myself more afraid of the Cardinals than the Brewers.


    STARS OF THE GAME – All based on WPA

  • First Star – Chris Young (30.3%)
  • Second Star – Jose Valverde (16.8%)
  • Third Star – Daryle Ward (16.2%)
  • Turd of the Game – Jason Marquis (-25.4%)
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  • Game 126 – Preview

    Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

    ***** Breaking News ******

    The Chicago Cubs have acquired Craig Monroe (OF) from Detroit for a PTBNL

    SAN FRANCISCO – The Chicago Cubs today acquired outfielder Craig Monroe and a cash consideration from the Detroit Tigers for a player to be named.

    Monroe is expected to join the Cubs tomorrow night when the club begins a three-game set in Phoenix against the Arizona Diamondbacks at 8:40 p.m. CT.

    In all or part of seven seasons with Texas (2001) and Detroit (2002-07), the 30-year-old Monroe owns a .277 batting average with 35 home runs in 714 at-bats against left-handed pitching. In 2007, Monroe is batting .302 (29-for-96) with five homers, eight doubles and a .542 slugging percentage against southpaws. Overall, Monroe is a career .258 hitter (618-for-2,400) with 103 home runs and 384 RBI in 699 major league games.

    A member of the 2006 American League Champion Detroit Tigers, Monroe last season set career highs with 28 homers, 35 doubles and 92 RBI in 147 games. In the previous four seasons prior to 2007, the right-handed batter and thrower averaged 22 home runs and 81 RBI per season, reaching 20 homers or more in three of the four campaigns and totaling at least 70 RBI in all four of the years.

    Monroe has played all three outfield positions in his major league career, seeing action in 429 games in left field, 201 games in right field and 70 games in center field.

    The 6-foot-1, 205-pound native of Texarkana, TX was batting .222 (76-for-343) with 19 doubles, 11 homers and 55 RBI in 99 games for Detroit this season before being designated for assignment on August 17

    Scouting Report on todays starters from MLB.com
    Carlos Zambrano – Zambrano started Sunday night, but threw 44 pitches over three innings before the rain came, so he’s being moved up in the rotation. The right-hander, who signed a new $91.5 million, five-year contract, looked as if the negotiations were not on his mind on Sunday. He threw just three innings, but struck out three, and did not give up a hit.

    Matt Cain – Cain continued his run of solid starts his last time out, allowing three runs on six hits in seven innings to beat the Marlins. He allowed a homer on his first pitch and another run later in the inning but worked into a groove after that to notch his fourth straight quality start. Cain was tagged for six runs in four innings in his only other start against the Cubs this season.

    View the game preview from Baseball Reference for all sorts of useful information including how our guys have faired against today’s starter, bullpen rest report, and much more.

    What to Watch For
    Matt Cain is one of the hard luck pitchers in the league that doesn’t get a lot of run support. Couple that with a newly signed Carlos Zambrano who showed No-Hit stuff on Sunday and you’ve got a recipe for a sweep. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a complete game shutout by Zambrano today.

    News and Notes

  • John Sickels of Minor League Ball has a piece about Sean Gallagher and has some images of his start. (Source)
  • The Hardball times has a good analysis and ranking of the draft (Source)

    Tracked Players Results

    Team Results

  • AAA – Iowa 3, New Orleans 4
  • AA – Tennessee 1, Mobile 3
  • High-A – Daytona 5, Jupiter 6
  • A – Peoria 8, Wisconsin 0
  • Short Season – Boise 4, Vancouver 6
  • Arizona Rookie – Cubs 5, Royals 8
  • Dominican Summer League – Cubs 2, Rockies 1

    View the full organizational report from First Inning

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

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