August 17th, 2007

Teams

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
St. Louis 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0   1 4 0
Chicago 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 X   2 4 0
W – R. Hill (7-7)  L  - B. Looper (10-10) S – R. Dempster (18)
Homeruns: A. Pujols (26) J. Jones (5)

Box Score


(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Big Z Gets Paid!!!

Today was a game that I mentioned in the preview as one that would help the Cubs to begin to knock the Cardinals out of the race. They’ve been playing extremely well over the past few days, sweeping the Brewers and have had me a little nervous. We got a great performance from the pitching staff and just enough offense courtesy of Jacque Jones to get a win to start the series. Let’s get into some specifics.

New Features
Over the past few days, I’ve added a couple new things to the site. The main two that I’d like to mention are the standings on the side and the red words you’ll see from time to time in my posts. The standings widget is auto-updating at the completion of each game using the MLB.com standings page. It saves me a ton of effort and really makes the page more of a one stop shop. We’ve also added the ability to toggle it between each of the six divisions. Unfortunately, no wild card standings are available as of yet, but just know I’m working on it. As far as the red words, this is just a friendly helpful tool for you when I use words or stats that you may not be familiar with. When that’s the case, I’ll use red text. Anytime you see red text, mouse over it and a bubble should appear explaining or defining the term.

Shhhh, I’m taping the game
One of my biggest pet peeves as a sports fan comes when I am not able to watch a game live and have to set the TiVo for it. When I lived in Chicago, it was incredibly hard to go about the day and not hear something about the particular game being recorded because it’s on the radio, the TV and in the conversations of most around you. Since moving to North Carolina, I’ve found it a lot more DVR friendly because most around here only care about the ACC and generally don’t follow baseball. With today being my first day back to work since summer break ended, I had no idea Zambrano had signed his extension or what the score was in the game when I called Matt. When he picked up the phone, I asked him if he could take care of the recap for Saturday, which he couldn’t, and then made some small talk. I mentioned that I was on my way home to watch the game and that I was recording it on TiVo. No more than a minute later, I was informed by Matt that the score was 0-0 and there were only a few hits in the game. Now, I don’t mean to pick on Matt. My frustration comes in the fact that this always seems to happen to me and it drives me insane. Once I was car shopping with my wife in the middle of Asheville, NC and some guy comes up to me out of nowhere, sees my Cub hat and proceeds to tell me they lost. Longtime friend and designer of the VFTB website, Andy Rut, posted something very similar on his blog awhile back. He even came up with a T-Shirt design.

Zambrano Gets Paid
This was a move that had to get done. My question to you as the reader and a fan of the team is this. Would you rather have Zambrano locked up long term beginning next year OR have a down year without Zambrano next season and then make a hard and fast run at Johan Santana for 2009? It’s a tough question and one I’m not sure where I stand on.

Our Manager is better than your manager
This series pits my two favorite managers against each other. It got me thinking about the fact this series features probably two of the five best managers in the game today. My list, with order not being important is:

  • Lou Piniella
  • Tony LaRussa
  • Jim Leyland
  • Bobby Cox
  • Ron Gardenhire

    I know I didn’t mention Joe Torre. I did it on purpose. He’s going to be in the hall of fame someday, but I think Gardenhire has done a better job with the talent he’s been given over the long haul. Torre has always had a virtual all-star lineup at his disposal with the Yankees. With Atlanta, his record was .529. With the Mets he was just .405, and with the Cardinals just .498. Sure it takes a lot to manage egos, but it takes more in my book to manage the Twins to consistently good play.

    I heart Jacque Jones
    I’m running out of ways to serve up crow for people to eat about him. He was a huge part of this win today and continues to be one of the best hitters in this lineup since the all star game. Today he hit the game winning homerun in the 6th to center and made a tremendous catch to save a run as he sprinted straight back and then bang into the brick wall. Hats off to ya, Jacque!!

    Rich Hill says “Please Score For Me!!!”
    Unfortunately the Cubs didn’t answer the plea. Rich Hill continues to be the least supported starter in all of baseball, coming into the game with an average run support of 2.91 in games he starts. The Cubs have now scored three or less in those starts 18 times. That’s just wrong. You have to wonder what his record would be if he just got more behind him. Baseball is funny like that sometimes. Someone always just seems to be the hard luck pitcher on the staff. This year it’s Rich. He pitched well enough to get his 7th win today, despite being squeezed multiple times on his curveball early and his fastball late.

    Diving back into the rule book
    Today the rule book came into play again when Jason Kendall was impeded from throwing to second base to get Albert Pujols. Kendall’s hand slammed into Rolen’s shoulder on the strikeout and the throw went wide of second. Pujols was then declared out due to interference by the batter for the third out of the inning. Later in the game, a similar play happened when Molina tried to make a throw after Derrek Lee swung and missed. No interference was called on the play. Let’s take a look at why that was the case.

    Rule 7.09d – It is interference by a batter or a runner when any batter or runner who has just been put out hinders or impedes any following play being made on a runner. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of his teammate.

    Because Lee did not really impede Molina’s throw, seeing as it beat the runner to the base, no interference was called. LaRussa argued, but was denied.


    STARS OF THE GAME – All based on WPA

  • First Star – Rich Hill (28.4%)
  • Second Star – Jacque Jones (25.9%)
  • Third Star – Ryan Dempster (16.8%)
  • Turd of the Game – Juan Encarnacion (-15.3%)
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    Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail