Archive for September, 2008

Meaningless Games

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

During the past couple of weeks I’ve heard the term “Meaningless Game” used frequently, and I disagree with the whole concept.

I do understand that after a certain point in the season, which team wins a given game may have no impact on the final standings. So, in terms of the final standings, a particular game may be considered to be “meaningless”.

But I say, if the game is truly “meaningless”, it should just be forfeit. Like the bottom of the 9th when the home team is ahead. Why play it at all? Find a beach somewhere to relax on and sip Pina Coladas. I would like to think that these games were not played just for the gate receipts and TV revenues.

In a 162 game schedule, each game has 1/162 impact on the final standings. That’s less than 1% (0.61728% to be exact). I’m not a statistician but in my very limited statistical experience, generally anything less than 5% is considered to be negligible, ie., meaningless.

So, by that logic, each individual game of the regular season is “meaningless”, and by a pretty wide margin. If that’s the case, why do they play ‘em? And why do we watch ‘em?

Because they’re NOT meaningless. Individual games are not meaningless. Spring training is not meaningless. Batting practice is not meaningless. Conditioning and strength training are not meaningless.

I love this game too much to write off any part of it as meaningless.

There are those who consider the World Series to be the only “meaningful” games of the year, for those are the ones which directly determine the championship. For them, the entire regular season and all the playoff games are simply a spinning of wheels among mostly “also ran” teams.

Sorry, folks. I don’t buy it. There were no “meaningless games” during the regular season, and there aren’t going to be any “meaningless games” during October.

Now let’s get it on.

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The Offseason Outlook – Part I

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Off-Season already? We’re not even into the post season yet. I understand, but I thought it would be fun to see how the team shapes up for next year, before the off-season begins. Last season we went out so quickly that most fans, myself included, mourned a few days and didn’t care to read about the Cubs, let alone the off-season. I thought I would get a jump on that and show you what this team will look like assuming no one that is eligible for free agency returns.

C – Bloodline release Geovany Soto / Koyie Hill

1b – Derrek Lee / Micah Hoffpauir

2b – Mark DeRosa / Mike Fontenot

SS – Ryan Theriot / Ronny Cedeno

3B – Aramis Ramirez

LF

– Alfonso Soriano

CF – Felix Pie / Sam Fuld

RF – Kosuke Fukudome

SP – Carlos Zambrano

SP – Ted Lilly

SP – Jason Marquis

SP – Sean Marshall

SP – ? (Potential options are Rich Hill, Jeff Samardzija, Kevin Hart, Chad Gaudin)

MR – Angel Guzman

MR – Michael Wuertz

MR

– Neal Cotts

MR – ? (Potentials – Billy Petrick, Jose Ascanio, Jose Ceda, Randy Wells)

MR – ?

CL – Carlos Marmol


Obviously, I don’t truly believe that the Cubs will bring back no one and go with in house options, but it’s important to take a look at what we have in house before going out into the market to fill the needs. Tomorrow, I’ll take a look at the free agents and give my take on which should be brought back and which should be let go. Until then, bask in the wonderful team that could be yours.

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A Day Of Rest

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Lou announced in yesterday’s pregame show that today, Monday, was going to be a day of rest for him. No baseball thoughts. No thinking about who’s healthy and who’s injured. No thinking about who’s hitting and who’s not. No thinking about who’s gonna start and who’s gonna relieve. No thinking about who matches up with whom. So I’m gonna take day of rest, too.

Rest and relaxation. R and R. Or rest and recuperation. R and R. Or rest and rehabilitation. R and R. Sometimes referred to as I and I (you can fill in the blanks).

I think Lou said he might get in some golf. I’m not a golfer but if I were, today would probably have been a good day for it. At least until the rain started.

I gotta tell you, my day got off to a really good start. Then I walked Bowser and did some yardwork. Took a load of brush to the dump. I may still fit in a run and some bicycling and some some reading, too.

A day without the Cubbies between the regular season and the playoffs. I would tell you about the book I just finished, but that would bring up the “C” word and I’m not going there today.

Maybe tomorrow. Not today. Today is a day of rest.

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Here We Go Again

Monday, September 29th, 2008

I don’t know about the rest of you, but Wednesday can’t come soon enough. I’m already trying to figure out if I can get the H E double hockey sticks out of work early to make sure I’m at home in time to catch the first pitch. The last two playoff appearances have left a bad taste in my mouth, and I’m ready to see some butt whoopin’ from what is probably the best Cub team we’ll see in our lifetimes. Which is kind of a strange thought, considering all the complaining we do about them.

This is the first time in a long time, that I was really stuck to the TV all weekend long. Not to watch the Cubs, but to see how everything else played out. It still amazes me that after 162 games, it still always seems to come down to the last day. I hated the Wild Card when it was introduced, but I’ve certainly warmed to it the past few years. It really has made baseball more exciting. That’s the single best call Bud Selig has made.

As for the Cubs, I like the match up with the Dodgers. It’s going to be interesting to see which team can break through first against two very good rotations. Speaking of which, did Ted Lilly just make one heck of a statement for being in the playoff rotation over Zambrano? I think he did. I guess Lou thinks otherwise, since Zambrano is scheduled for Game 3.

Rest up people, although I don’t think this ride is going to be as bumpy as 2003, it’s going to be exciting, nailbiting, and one that makes us reach for the Pepto regularly.

Go, Cubs, Go!

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A Great Day To Be Alive

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

It’s A Great Day To Be Alive. Remember that, today, it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how the bullpen performs. And how the regular starters hit. And, hopefully, nobody slips on the Miller Park turf.

It’s 3 up and 3 down in the Cubs 1st.

And Angel Guzman does, in fact, take the mound. He’s throwing heat at 95 mph. Guzman strikes out the side in the Brewers’ 1st, after giving up a lead off single.

Aramis Ramirez breaks up CC’s no hitter with a single to left. Micah drives the ball through the legs of the Brewers’ “Plus Size” 1st baseman, putting runners on the corners. Cedeno hits a double play ball, but he’s safe at 1st (and he gets an RBI) because “a tie goes to the runner”. Aramis scores on the play. Cubs lead 1-0. And so the 2nd inning ends.

Angel Guzman returns to the mound in the Brewers’ 2nd, and takes them 3 up and 3 down.

Carlos Zambrano leads off the Cubs 3rd, batting for Guzman, and goes down swinging. Alfonso draws a walk, but Theriot hits into a 4-3 double play.

Chad Gaudin is pitching for the Cubs in the Brewers’ 3rd. The Brewers go 3 up and 3 down on 3 infield ground balls.

Sabathia takes the Cubs 3 up and 3 down, with 2 Ks, in the 4th.

Neal Cotts is on the mound in the Brewers’ 4th. After a K and a 7, Prince Fielder goes down swinging. The Cubs’ Bullpen Committee had a one hitter going.

Micah looks at strike 3. If the Fox radar gun is to be believed, that was a 105 mph toss.
And the Cubs go 3 up and 3 down in the 5th. Mr. Sabathia has a 1 hitter going.

Kevin Hart is pitching and Koyie Hill is catching in the Brewers’ 5th. 3 up and 3 down.

Koyie Hill looks at a called 3rd strike, Alfonso flies out, and Theriot gets the Cubs’ 2nd hit of the day, a single to center. Dee Lee pops to Ray Durham on the outfield grass.

In the 6th the Brewers go three up and 3 down. Score remains 1-0 Cubs.

Aramis opens the 7th with his 2nd single of the day, and the Cubs 3rd hit of the game. But a double play takes him off the bases. Micah flies out to center. Three up and three down for the Cubbies in the 7th.

Ray Durham leads off the Brewers’ 7th with a double, the Brewers’ 2nd hit of the day, against the new Cubs’ pitcher Sean Marshall. He takes third on a grounder to third. One out. The Brewers’ Buffmobile 1st baseman takes a semi- intentional BB, and that’s all for Sean Marshall.

Michael Wuertz walks JJ Hardy on 4 pitches to load the bases with one out. Corey Hart fans on 3 pitches. 2 outs. Craig Counsell walks on 5 pitches, forcing in the tying run. Jason Kendall hits into a fielder’s choice to end the inning. Brewers tie the score 1-1.

The Cubs go 3 up and 3 down in the 8th. CC Sabathia looks good, today.

Bob Howry is on the mound for the Cubs in the 8th, with the score tied 1-1. Howry gives up a single to Mike Cameron and a 2 run homer to Ryan Braun. Brewers lead 3-1 with 2 out. Jabba the Hutt goes down swinging to end the inning. Brewers lead 3-1.

The top of the order will bat for the Cubs in the top of the 9th. OK, guys, let’s see what you got. Alfonso Soriano flies out. Ryan Theriot singles to center. Dee Lee hits into a game ending double play.

CC Sabathia pitched his 3rd consecutive game on 3 days rest today, a complete game. CC gave up 1 run on 4 hits and he was definitely in control of the game.

Bob Howry takes a well earned and well deserved loss today. It was he who gave up a single and a 2 run homer in the 8th.

The Cubs’ Bullpen Pitching Committee did a pretty good job of pitching today. Maybe Lou should start “The Committee” every once in a while, just to rest the starters and just for the fun of it. Only thing is, apparently, Lou would have to bring in one of the starters to relieve the relievers in the 7th inning or so.

Both the Brewers and the Cubs had 4 hits today. I had no high expectations for the Cubs Bullpen Pitching Committee, so I’m not too worked up about the pitching, except to note that, overall, they did a great job.

But the lack of offense by the Cubs “A Team” championship batting lineup is, to me, cause for concern. That lack of run production cost them a game today and it will cost them games in the playoffs. Then again, this was a meaningless game so I probably shouldn’t try to extrapolate any meaning from it. Never mind…

**CUBBIE DUDE CUBBIE BLUE COLLAR CORNER**

I BELIEVE:
– Carlos Zambrano did get into the game today.
– Angel Guzman faced 7, got 6 outs with 1 hit, 4 Ks and no runs.
– CC Sabathian recorded his 1st K of the game against Carlos Zambrano (pinch hitting).
– Chad Gaudin faced 3, got 3 outs, all infield grounders.
– Neal Cotts faced 3, got 3 outs including two Ks.
– Kevin Hart faced 6, got 6 outs.
– Sean Marshall faced 3, gave up a double and a walk.
– Michael Wuertz faced 4, walked 2 (one of which forced in a run).
– Bob Howry faced 5, struck out 2, but also gave up a single and a 2 run game winning home run.
– CC Sabathia pitched a 1 run, 4 hit complete game on 3 days rest. He won’t be getting much rest this week, either.

– This has been an unbelievable regular season for the Chicago Cubs. I have truly enjoyed it. Now lets git ‘er done in the playoffs!Dodsworth release

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