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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    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