Archive for June, 2008

Cubs looking at Sabathia and Randy Winn?

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Trade Rumor Roundup

  • Cleveland.com mentions that scouts were in attendance at C.C. Sabathia’s latest start, but the article doesn’t mention whether the Cubs were one of the teams with scouts at the game. I’d imagine they were, though. – (Source)
  • The San Francisco Chronicle mentioned that Gary Hughes, one of our lead scouts, was at the Giants / A’s game and mentions possible interest in Randy Winn. – (Source)

News & Notes

    Stateside movie full

  • JR Mathes pitched 7.0 scoreless innings
  • Mitch Atkins only allowed 2 runs and 4 hits over 5.2 innings pitched
  • Robert Hernandez struck out 7 batters and only allowed 3 earned runs over 6.0 innings pitched yesterday
  • Nate Spears was 3-for-3
  • Mike Burns allowed one run in 5 innings pitched

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Organizational Roundup

(AAA) – Iowa Cubs – Won vs. Nashville (7-0) & (7-1)

(AA) – Tennessee Smokies – Won vs. Mississippi (6-4)

(High A) – Daytona Cubs – No Game

(A) – Peoria Chiefs – Tie vs. Burlington (3-3)

(SS) – Boise Hawks open their season June 17th

(RK) – Arizona Cubs open their season June 22nd

(RK) – Dominican Summer League Cubs – No Game

View the full organizational report courtesy of First Inning here.

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Boise Hawks defeat BSL All-Stars in Exhibition Game

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

BOISE, Idaho – The 2008 Boise Hawks tuned up for the Northwest League season with an exhibition victory over the Boise Summer League All-Stars at Memorial Stadium.

Played more like an Extended Spring Training game, the two teams had extra hitters in the line-up, had innings that saw four outs, but got both clubs the work needed to prepare for their upcoming seasons.

The All-Stars, from the Nampa-based collegiate summer league, jumped out to a 1-0 lead off Hawks starter John Muller in the second on a Joel Oliver single, but the professionals battled back, tying the score in the second on a passed ball, then taking the lead for good on a Josh Vitters RBI single in the third.

The Hawks would add a pair of unearned runs in the fourth – one on a Carlos Perez fielders choice, the other on a Tony Campana single, and a single run in the fifth, as Michael Brenly doubled home Jake Opitz, who led off the frame with a triple.

The 2008 Northwest League season opens up Tuesday night, as the Eugene Emeralds come to town for a five-game series.

Stateside buy

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Father's Day Fun

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

A time to forgive? - Jason Marquis is doing well of late, but at this point, does anyone really care? Be honest with yourself. If you’re a Marquis hater, and you know who you are, the truth is that he could have 10 straight starts in which he’s masterful and you’re still going to trust him the same amount. You’re still going to want him off the team as soon as possible. Right? I think that’s the way Cub fans have gotten with him. I went on record and called for his head, only to regret that statement as he’s gone out and been great lately. Take a look at his splits:

Perhaps it’s time for us to bite the bullet and forgive Jason for all the talk we’ve done about wanting him off the team. I understand that he’s notoriously been an above average pitcher in the first half of the season, but as a player ages, he’s got to begin to figure things out, right? Couldn’t this year be that year that he finally figures out how to be successful throughout the entire year? I believe he can.

Bizzaro Cubs – Sports Illustrated ran a really cool cover that talked about how bizarre this baseball season has been. On the cover was a comic book type representation of the Rays as they’ve exceeded many people’s expectations this year. What has been lost in the shuffle for us is how much of a bizzaro year it’s been in terms of Cubs norms. Here are some examples.

  1. Kerry Wood is healthy and has been for the entire year. There has been no worries or mysteries about his health. For the first time since he dominated in 2003, Kid K is alive and well. I guess that means I can finally not feel embarrassed when I say that he’s my favorite Cub.
  2. The Cubs are walking like it’s going out of style. We lead all of baseball in on base percentage and it feels great to watch the entire lineup taking pitches and making the starters work deep into counts. Need an example that sums it all up? Aramis Ramirez was 10 walks away from his career high in a season coming into Sunday’s action. That’s insane.
  3. We have a Japanese player for the first time in team history.

  4. We have the best record in all of baseball.
  5. We have a catcher that is hitting the ball with authority and will probably start the all star game.

Lou has his leadoff man? - If you didn’t catch the Daily Herald on Sunday morning, Lou had an interesting quote about the leadoff spot in Soriano’s absence. “I would think Johnson would be our leadoff hitter when he’s in there, and then we can work our lineup from there.” I can’t decide how I feel about this. On one hand, I think Reed could do the job and fits the mold. He runs well, does all he can to get on base (including sacrificing his body), and is a decent contact guy. On the other hand, I think there are possibly better guys for the job. For example, Kosuke Fukudome could get the job done and we could probably afford to move him up now that Geo has emerged as a middle of the order hitter. I’m not going to rant and rave about the decision. I just hope it works. How great would it be for the Cubs to get even hotter than they already are with Reed in that spot, which forces Lou to decide whether he should take him out of that spot when Soriano returns from the DL.

This Day in Cub History - 1964 – In a six player deal, the Cubs trade Lou Brock (will stay with team for fifteen years amassing 3,023 career hits) to Cardinals for Ernie Brogilo (will last two and half seasons with 7-19 record for Chicago).

Scott Eyre was perfect? – I don’t know how I didn’t notice it before today, but coming into the game, Stevie Eyre was perfect in terms of runs allowed. That’s a major difference from the player we saw last year that people wrote off and left for dead. After all, Lou couldn’t even remember his name, calling him Stevie for the greater part of the year.

Citizen Kane video

Stars of the Game

First Star – Ted Lilly (.318)

Second Star – Derrek Lee (.138)

Third Star – Reed Johnson (.052)

Turd of the Game – Vernon Wells (-.120)

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Daily Roundup

Sunday, June 15th, 2008
Scouting Today’s Starting Pitchers

Ted Lilly will be back on a familiar mound when he starts the Interleague series finale against his former team. He pitched in Toronto from 2004-06, including a 15-win season in ’06. The lefty is coming off a win over the Atlanta Braves in which he gave up three runs on four hits over 6 2/3 innings. He fell behind, 3-0, in the first inning and escaped a jam in the second, but would ease some of manager Lou Piniella’s concerns if he could have a smoother start to his starts. Lilly did strike out eight for the second straight game.

Jesse Litsch has struggled some with his command over his past two starts, during which he’s gone 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA, yielding 20 hits over 11 1/3 innings. In his previous seven games, the 23-year-old went 5-0 with a 1.96 ERA. On Monday, Litsch struck out four, walked one and matched a season high by giving up 10 hits against the Mariners, but he got no decision after giving up just two runs over six innings. Litsch has never faced the Cubs.

  • Has a decent sinking fastball, a bulldog mentality and loads of perseverance. Despite his relative youth, he’s a crafty right-hander.
  • Is a little undersized and his fastball is mediocre. Doesn’t have a dominant strikeout pitch, so he relies heavily on his defense to get outs.
  • A decent option to round out a starting rotation.
  • 0-1, 4.77 in last 11.1 IP
All Scouting Info taken from MLB.com and TSN.ca

News & Notes

  • Kevin Kreier did not allow a run in 4 innings pitched
  • James Russell did not allow a hit in 5 innings pitched
  • Tyler Colvin was 2-for-4 with a double
  • Sean Marshall allowed 2 runs in 5 innings pitched
  • Edilmar Infante struck out 8 batters and only allowed 2 earned runs over 6.0 innings pitched

 

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Organizational Roundup

(AAA) – Iowa Cubs – Won vs. Nashville (5-4)

(AA) – Tennessee Smokies – Lost vs. Mississippi (1-2)

(High A) – Daytona Cubs – No Game

(A) – Peoria Chiefs – Won vs. Burlington (3-2)

(SS) – Boise Hawks open their season June 17th

(RK) – Arizona Cubs open their season June 22nd

(RK) – Dominican Summer League Cubs – Lost vs. Yankees (3-0)

View the full organizational report courtesy of First Inning here.

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Wanna go to the All Star game for free?

Friday, June 13th, 2008
You can go to the All Star Game
Fans can enter the promotion daily through June 24 at www.sfCallYourShot.com/2008. The grand prize winner of Call Your Shot will win:
  • All-expense paid trip for four to the All-Star Game and State Farm Home Run Derby
  • First class hotel accommodations in New York
  • Tickets to a Broadway show
  • $1,000 MasterCard gift card

The grand prize winner will also get the chance to pick a spot to which two of the Home Run Derby players must compete to try to hit a ball. If the first player hits the ball to the called spot, the promotion ends. If either player succeeds, the fan receives a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe hybrid vehicle and a 2009 season-ticket package for any team.

Additionally, 10 fans will win first place prizes consisting of a $300 MLB.com gift card and 25 second place prize winners will receive $100 MLB.com gift cards.
I would love to see one of our readers there. How cool would that be?

Highlights from yesterday’s game

Scouting Today’s Starting Pitchers

Sean Gallagher – walked three in his last start, against the Dodgers, and two of them scored. He knows better. The youngster has impressed manager Lou Piniella and the Cubs with his poise and his performance, and he continues to learn. He got into a jam in the fourth against Los Angeles, but struck out four of the last five batters he faced in the game. Gallagher struck out six, and has fanned 14 in his past two starts.

A.J. Burnett – Facing Baltimore in his last outing, Burnett suffered his worst start of the year. The hard-throwing right-hander allowed a season-high eight runs on 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings. He walked four and struck out five. At home this season, Burnett has struggled mightily, posting an ERA of 9.00 over 27 innings.

  • Has three main pitches that he throws quite effectively: A mid-90′s fastball, change-up and a dizzying curve. Strikes out a ton of batters.
  • Command has been an issue at times. His biggest flaw is a tendency to lose concentration. He’s also injury-riddled, which hinders his value.
  • A solid No. 2 starter when healthy.
  • 0-1, 7.30 in last 12.1 IP
All Scouting Info taken from MLB.com and TSN.ca

News & Notes

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde the movie

  • Julio Castillo pitched 5.0 scoreless innings
  • Yusuf Carter hit 2 extra-base hits
  • Felix Pie was 3-for-4

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Organizational Roundup

(AAA) – Iowa Cubs – Lost vs. Memphis (2-3)

(AA) – Tennessee Smokies – Lost vs. Mississippi (1-5)

(High A) – Daytona Cubs – Won vs. Dunedin (6-2)

(A) – Peoria Chiefs – No Game

(SS) – Boise Hawks open their season June 17th

(RK) – Arizona Cubs open their season June 22nd

(RK) – Dominican Summer League Cubs – Lost vs. Twins (1-4)

View the full organizational report courtesy of First Inning here.

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Back to the Future

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

For some reason, the Cubs and WGN picked today to celebrate their 60th anniversary and party like it was 1948. The atmosphere was fairly cool as the throwback uniforms looked good, some of the staff (including Len and Bob) were decked out in 40′s garb, and Brenly and Kasper were doing their best James Cagny and Jack Brickhouse impersonations, respectively. However, in 1948 the Cubs were the worst team in the NL and the Braves, then in Boston, went to the World Series.

And for most of the game, that was how it looked, as Tim Hudson cruised through the lineup twice and the Braves took the lead into the 9th. But then Hollywood Jim Edmonds shows up in his DeLorean and takes us back to good ol’ 2008 where the Cubs are a juggernaut and the Braves are 3-18 in games decided by one run. We go to extra innings where the Cubs load the bases in the 11th and bring up Reed Johnson to do what Reed Johnson does best – the walk-off hit-by-pitch. Go, Cubs, Go!

Some random notes and musings:

    Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde rip
  • Johnson is now one behind Chase Utley in the all important HBP category with 9. Of course, he has done it in just under 200 plate appearances, whereas Utley has come up to bat about 300 times, giving Reed an astronomical HBP rate of nearly 5%. Furthermore, Reed Johnson is the type of player who should be taking one for the team – valuable but expendable. Utley, likely the most valuable player in the NL, should do everything he can do to avoid the same injury that sidelined him for 6 weeks last year.
  • I wonder how my friends at Cut Jim Edmonds are doing to spin this one. Len was just dying to channel Jack Brickhouse and his “Hey, hey!” call, and had to wait until one out in the 9th before Edmonds gave him the chance with a line shot into the left field basket.
  • With Ramirez on 2nd and none out in the 11th, Soto singled to short left. Mike Quade was waving Ramirez to home only to throw up the stop sign just as A-Ram hit third and the left fielder had the ball. Aramis threw on the breaks quickly (hello, knee injury!) and returned to 3rd safely as he would have been out by 20 feet. I was surprised that nobody mentioned on the replay that Ramirez reached out with his hand as he was stopping and touched Quade. In my judgement he was clearly already stopped and in no need of aid, but the Cubs were lucky the umpire didn’t notice ans see things differently. In the official MLB rulebook, rule 7.09(g) states “It is interference by…the runner when…if, in the judgment of the umpire, the base coach at third base…by touching or holding the runner, physically assists him in returning to or leaving third base…” What was Quade even thinking waving at all with none out in the first place?
  • I know Big Z is a decent hitter, but is he really good enough to be batting with runners on 1st and 2nd with two men out in the bottom of the seventh and after throwing 100 pitches? That was a bad mistake, and probably should have cost the game. To make matters worse, Piniella pulls Zambrano after one hitter in the 8th. Lou, either keep your guy in there, or don’t; there’s an argument to be made for either position – but what actually happened made no sense at all.
  • Tremendous job by Eyre and Marmol working around that leadoff walk in the 8th, by the way. Eyre comes in to give up a double, but then strikes out two followed by three nasty Marmol sliders and one huge K. I tell you, that bullpen is tremendous, with at least four outstanding arms, and six quality ones if you count Wuertz and Cotts. Today’s line: 4 innings, 18 batters faced, 9 strikeouts, 0 runs! That’s getting it done.
  • Speaking of strikeouts, with his K in the 8th Marmol now has 61 on the year. Jason Marquis: 36. In almost twice the innings. Sunday’s gem notwithstanding that guy has got to go. Raise your hand if you think he is a better option than Sean Marshall.
  • The Cubs had the first two on and none out in the 3rd before Eric Patterson, starting for Soriano, grounded into a double play – except for the pesky little fact that he was safe at first and the umpire missed the call. Again. How many bad calls at first have gone against the Cubs the last week? Like, 4? Please, instant replay – now!
  • How hard is it to hit in the big leagues? Tm Hudson was a star two-way player in college at Auburn. He has a career ML OPS of around 390.
  • Late added note: Tim Hudson needed IV fluids after pitching on this humid day.  He was suffering from muscle cramps.  Presumably Zambrano had no problems – the bananas must be working.

And as an added bonus, I have got a few interesting tidbits for you, dear readers. As most of you know, the Cubs have gone nearly half the season without a single three-game losing streak. Of course, the chances of this continuing for the whole season is very unlikely, but just for a little added incentive, if they can keep that going, they would be the first team to achieve that feat since the 1902 Pirates (in only about 140 games). The only other team to do that was the 1882 (that’s an 18, not a 19) Reds, which was in only 80 games, so it doesn’t count (plus, it’s the Reds). A few more streak stats:

  • While going the season without a three-game losing streak is exceedingly rare, countless teams have gone a season without a four-game streak (based on my memory, I would say it’s been done about 30-40 times). The unofficial leaders by my count are, of course, the Yankees with 8 such seasons.
  • Interestingly, three teams have gone a season without a 3-game winning streak: the famous hapless 1899 Cleveland Spiders (in their last season) and the 1916 and 1919 Philadelphia A’s. The A’s were probably the modern game’s first real dynasty, before selling off their stars and becoming a laughing stock in the late 19-teens.
  • At least 5 teams have had both 11-game winning streaks and losing streak in the same season: the 1959 Kansas City A’s, the 1955 Phillies, the 1951 New York Giants (who won 16 straight to help close a 13-game Dodger lead on August 11th), the 1987 Brewers (who opened the season with 13 straight wins), and the 2004 Tampa Bay Devil Rays (manages by? yes – Uncle Lou. By the way, I have no recollection of the Rays ever having a 12-game winning streak.). Talk about roller coaster.
  • Finally, just to show that avoiding losing streaks doesn’t guarantee success, the 1972 Mets are one of the many teams to accomplish the impressive feat of never losing 4 straight. Their final record: 72-87.
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Cubs DL Soriano…Recall Eric Patterson & Micah Hoffpauir

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today placed outfielder Alfonso Soriano on the 15-day disabled list with a minimally displaced fracture of his left fourth metacarpal in his left hand and optioned right-handed pitcher Kevin Hart to Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs recalled infielders Micah Hoffpauir and Eric Patterson from Triple-A.

Hoffpauir and Patterson both begin their second stints with the Cubs this season and are available for this afternoon’s game against the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field.

The 28-year-old Hoffpauir was first recalled from Iowa on May 18 and batted .421 (8-for-19) with three doubles and one RBI in 11 games with the Cubs. The left-handed hitter batted .500 (4-for-8) with a double, three runs scored and one RBI in his final three games before being optioned to Triple-A on June 3. In 16 games with Iowa this season, he is batting .306 (19-for-62) with four doubles, three home runs and 15 RBI.

A Thin Line Between Love and Hate psp

Hoffpauir last season batted a career-best .319 (99-for-310) with 24 doubles, 16 home runs and 73 RBI in 82 games with Iowa to earn Pacific Coast League All-Star honors.

Patterson returns to the Cubs after batting .326 (59-for-181) with 13 doubles, three triples, five home runs, 27 runs scored and 26 RBI in 47 games with Iowa this season. He posted a .361 on-base percentage and a .514 slugging percentage. The 25-year-old was first recalled this season by the Cubs on April 16 and went hitless in six at-bats before returning to Iowa three days later. The left-handed hitter made his major league debut last season and saw action in seven games, going 2-for-8 (.250) with one double.

Soriano endured the minimally displaced fracture of his left fourth metacarpal last night when hit by a pitch in the bottom of the second inning. He is batting .283 (60-for-212) with 11 doubles, 15 home runs and 40 RBI in 51 games for the Cubs this season. Soriano returns to the disabled list for the second time this year, as he was sidelined for 15 days from April 16-30 with a right calf strain.

Hart is 2-1 with a 6.62 ERA (13 ER/17.2 IP) in 12 relief appearances covering two stints with the Cubs this season. He is 1-1 with a 3.81 ERA (11 ER/26.0 IP) in six appearances, all starts, with Triple-A Iowa this year.

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Questions Arise Out of a Win

Thursday, June 12th, 2008


(AP Photo/Jerry Lai)

Last night we saw Alfonso Soriano get hit in the hand with the diagnosis coming back positive for a broken hand. The estimate for his time on the shelf was set at six weeks and so some questions arose in my mind.

  1. With Soriano out, is it finally time to call up Matt Murton and give him a chance? I think now is the time. Six weeks puts us right up to the trade deadline. Giving Murton a chance to show his stuff will allow the Cubs to showcase him if he’s the player everyone believes he is. Everyone makes the statement that the reason he’s not on the roster right now is due to his weak defense in the outfield. If that’s the honest reason for not playing him consistently in left field, then you can’t make Mark DeRosa your every day outfielder. DeRosa is just as weak in his outfield defense as Murton. So I ask you. What needs to be done in with this roster spot? Is it Murton? Is it Pie? Is it Patterson? Is it someone else?
  2. Ryan Dempster rocked the house yesterday and is quietly punching all of his critics in the mouth with each and every start he makes. He got outs early in the inning, kept guys off base and was able to go the distance as a result. These are the kind of starts you need from your top of the rotation guys to ease the tension on that bullpen. The way Demp is going, I see no reason why he can’t represent the Cubs at Yankee Stadium in July. My question then is: Has Dempster finally won you over or are you still a doubter. I have completely bought into his success. The only thing I worry about is his durability toward the end of the year due to the fact that he’s still getting used to starting. I worry that as the innings reach the 150+ mark that his arm will begin to tire. I hope I’m wrong.
  3. I’ve seen lots of talk going around the internet, and not just on fan blogs, that the Cubs are going to be major players in the Indians decide to move C. C. Sabathia. Sabathia is fresh off a Cy Young year and hasn’t been as sharp so far. Still, you have to give the guy the props for being one of the most durable and consistently tough starters to face. Obviously it’s impossible to comment on whether or not the trade would be good without any incling of what it would look like from the farm system point of view, but if you ask me if I’d want Sabathia for the run I’d have to say, yes. If the price is right, make the deal. My question to you is this: Do the Cubs need to go out and get a starter to be able to win or can they win it with what we have in house?

Scouting Today’s Starting Pitchers
Tim Hudson saw his eighth win of the season vanish because of a ninth-inning error in the Braves’ 4-3 loss on Friday night to the Phillies. Hudson pitched 7 2/3 strong innings, allowing one run on five hits, and was in line for the victory until an error with two outs in the ninth. Hudson walked four (one shy of his season high) and struck out three. On a hot and humid night, Hudson said he nearly ran out of gas and decided it would be best if he was taken out with two outs in the eighth and a lefty at the plate. The only run he gave up Friday came on an RBI groundout. He has pitched at least six innings in each of his past four starts.
  • A sound technician who makes excellent adjustments. Uses all his pitches and has a plan out there. A workhorse.
  • Has lost a little of his strikeout dominance over the years. Can sometimes overthink when things go wrong.
  • Ace-level top-of-rotation starter.
  • 1-1, 2.43 in last 29.2 IP
Carlos Zambrano – The Cubs tweaked the rotation to keep Zambrano on five days rest, and moved him up. But hide the Gatorade coolers. Zambrano lost the game and his temper in his last start against the Dodgers. He had a 3-2 lead going into the seventh, and the Dodgers scored on a throwing error, a RBI single by Russell Martin and a three-run homer by Matt Kemp. Then he kicked and tossed the coolers in the visitor’s dugout. For the game, Zambrano gave up seven runs on 13 hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out six. Manager Lou Piniella says he doesn’t mind the emotion, as long as nobody gets hurt. Zambrano could’ve blamed his teammates, but blamed himself.
All Scouting Info taken from MLB.com and TSN.ca

News & Notes

  • Blake Lalli hit 2 extra-base hits
  • Dae-Eun Rhee allowed 1 hit in 4 innings pitched
  • Esmailin Caridad allowed one run in 5 innings pitched
  • Tony Thomas was 1-for-2 with 3 walks
  • Rich Hill struck out 6 batters and allowed 4 runs in 4 innings pitched

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Organizational Roundup

Citizen Kane divx

(AAA) – Iowa Cubs – Lost vs. Memphis (2-5)

(AA) – Tennessee Smokies – Lost vs. Mississippi (2-5)

(High A) – Daytona Cubs – Won vs. Dunedin (10-6)

(A) – Peoria Chiefs – Lost vs. Quad Cities (3-7) & Won (2-1)

(SS) – Boise Hawks open their season June 17th

(RK) – Arizona Cubs open their season June 22nd

(RK) – Dominican Summer League Cubs – No Game

View the full organizational report courtesy of First Inning here.

Peaceful Warrior full

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Lilly is starting to smell pretty

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008


(AP Photo/Brian Kersey)


  • One of the things that gets me extemely excited about a team is when they take pitches to get a starter out in the early innings due to pitch count. In a way, that’s how it worked tonight against Tom Glavine. Granted, he did leave the game after three innings due to a strained left elbow that will cause him to miss his next start, but the Cubs were getting to him. After throwing 17 pitches in the 1st, the Cubs tagged him for 31 & 25 in the 2nd and 3rd. Coming into the game, you know Glavine is going to nibble around that outside corner and the most important thing to do with him is to be patient. Glavine has only made one start all year in which he’s gone over 100 pitches. With that in mind, if the Cubs would just take some pitches, the bullpen would have to spring into action in a hurry and because it’s the first game of the series, it should lead to a good result overall. The key was Derrek Lee in the first inning as he fouled off pitch after pitch to see a total of 10. At the time, Glavine had tossed just seven and was about to get out of the inning easily. Lee’s at bat changed it around and I believe it was one of the keys to the game, despite the fact that it resulted in an out. Matt will think I’m crazy with that statement, but I’m sticking by it.
  • Ted Lilly got himself another good outing that started out a little rough. The start was very similar in result to his last outing against San Diego. In both games he gave up something in the first inning via the home run ball and then settled in for the long haul. He had the K’s working in both starts as well and has pitched deep into the game. He is slowly working that ERA down and has settled in as the 3rd starter on this staff. My confidence in him is not quite as high as it was last year, but I’m getting there. What’s suprising to me is that coming into the game, Lilly was hitting .263 in 19 at bats. If you watch Lilly, he’s probably the worst looking pitcher at the plate and I fully expect this average to quickly find its way back under .150 where it belongs.
  • Reed Johnson had a real nice night in CF and at the plate tonight. He picked up a couple really nice plays in the field and drove in a couple runs out of the 8th spot in the order, which is a huge plus down there. You can complain that he left three guys on base, but when you’re dealing with the number eight guys in the lineup, can you really nitpick on something like that?
  • What are your thoughts on the umpires warning pitches and the benches these days? It came up tonight, but thankfully didn’t change the course of the game. I don’t think Lilly was throwing at Brian McCann after Norton hit the home run, but apparently the home plate umpire thought differently. Sometimes I just feel like the umpires are taking things and turning them into something that’s not really there. Umps should be invisible. Let the guys play.
  • Alfonso Soriano got picked off in the 1st inning, but as Len Kasper mentioned, that’s a good thing to see. It’s nice to know that he at least has the confidence again in his legs to even think about stealing 2nd base.
  • This week the Cubs are celebrating 7-11 day at the park. Shouldn’t the game start at 7:11pm, like the White Sox are doing?
  • There were two ad boards behind the plate, and I can’t seem to remember when the 2nd one came along. Did I miss that? All I saw on the board to the right was a green screen all game. It had to be for another network, but I didn’t see the game listed on ESPN or TBS. If someone has the reason, I’d love to hear it.

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