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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    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