Archive for September, 2008

Bring On The Rain

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Depending upon which report you believe, it was either raining or threatening to rain at Shea Stadium as game time approached. The prediction was that rain would begin to fall, would increase in intensity, and would continue for days.

Of course, The Cubs and The Mets were approaching this particular game from completely different perspectives. The Mets have, at most, four games to pull themselves into the post season. So they were in the “Go For Broke”, “Do Or Die”, “Pull Out All The Stops” and “It’s Now Or Never” mode.

The Cubs, on the other hand, are in the playoffs and have locked up home field advantage for the duration. So they were in the “Husband Your Resources”, “Don’t Catch Cold”, “Don’t Get Hurt” and “Let’s Get The Young Guys Some Experience” mode.

It has been said that : ”Amateurs argue tactics, while professionals discuss logistics”. So any specific tactics I mention in this piece will be considered only in the context of the larger overall logistical picture.

Lou said in the pregame show that he is considering using Z out of the bullpen in the near future. You do what ya gotta do.

Micah Hoffpauir had a big night at the plate tonight. Five hits, comprising two four-baggers, two singles and one double. Kosuke Fukudome drew two intentional walks. Rich Harden pitched six full innings.

I’m experiencing this game on radio only tonight. Since I can’t SEE the game, I ask: Is Koyie Hill still telegraphing pitches as he did last night?

**BIG CUBS INNING ALERT** With 2 outs in the 1st inning, Micah Hoffpauir takes Pedro Martinez to right center with a home run to start the festivities. Let’s get this one in before the sky opens up. Jim Edmonds walks and takes 3rd on Mike Fontenot’s right field single. Edmonds scores on Casey McGehee’s single to right. Cubs lead 2-0. Fuku looks at strike 3, ending the inning.

In the Mets’ 1st, Jose Reyes is safe at 1st base on an error by Hoffpauir. Reyes steals 2nd and takes third on Dan Murphy’s 6-3 at bat. Reyes scores on David Wright’s sac fly. Cubs lead 2-1.

**CUBS SCORING ALERT** In the 3rd, Ryan Theriot draws a walk and scores on Micah Hoffpauir’s double off the wall. Fuku looks at strike 3, ending the inning. (Is there an echo in here?) Cubs lead 3-1

Rich Harden walks two Mets in the 4th and they both score on Ryan Church’s double to right. This ties the score 3-3 with 2 out. And the rain picks up. If they can get the 5th inning in the game is official. The 4th inning ends with the score tied 3-3.

In the bottom of the 5th, Jose Reyes draws a walk and steals 2nd, where he dies. This is now a complete and official game, the score of which is tied at 3.

David Wright walks to lead off the Mets 6th, but Harden ends the inning by striking out Ramon Martinez. A strong finish for Rich Harden. Score remains tied at 3.

**BIG CUBS INNING ALERT** Feliz Pies leads off the Cubs 7th with a single to right. Let’s get him around. Pie steals 2nd. Theriot walks and Micah Hoffpauir hits his 2nd homer of the night, a 3 run blast to right off reliever Riccardo Rincon. Cubs lead 6-3 in a game which could be called at any time due to rain. Mike Fontenot doubles but dies at 2nd when Koyie fans to end the inning. Cubs lead 6-3.

Chad Gaudin (or is it Gaugin?) is pitching for the Cubs in the bottom of the 7th. He gives up a double to the 1st batter, Robinson Cancel, who takes 3rd on Marlon Anderson’s ground out to short. Cancel scores on Jose Reyes’ ground out to short. Chad Gaudin/Gaugin gave up a double but got the next 3 out in order. Not too bad.
The 7th inning ends with the Cubs leading 6-4. Can we call the game now??

Neal Cotts gives up a single to David Wright to open the Mets 8th. Carlos Delgado hits into a 5-6-3 double play. When’s the last time you remember a 5-6-3 double play? Beltran singles, Church singles, and Cotts is gone. The tying run is on at 1st, the lead run is at the plate. Say hello to Bob Howry. Beltran steals 3rd. Ramon Martinez singles to left, scoring the Mets 5th run. The tying run is at 2nd base with 2 outs. Cancel singles to right, Fuku’s throw is in time to nail the runner Church, but Koyie Hill misses the tag. The game is tied at 6.
Neal Cotts faced 4 batters and gave up 3 hits.
Bob Howry faced 3 batters and gave up 2 hits.

In the 9th, Fontenot singles to right and takes 2nd on a wild pitch. McGehee fans and Fuku is intentionally walked. Fontenot moves to 3rd while Fuku is forced at 2nd on Hill’s 6-4 fielder’s choice. Pinch hitter Daryle Ward chops the ball back to the mound and is thrown out, ending the scoreless inning. Cubs had a runner at 2nd with no outs, but could not score.

Bottom of the 9th. Kevin Hart is pitching. Jose Reyes singles to right. Daniel Murphy bunts foul with 2 strikes. On the play Reyes stole 2nd, but since it was a foul ball, he returns to 1st. David Wright fans as Reyes steals 2nd again. An intentional walk is issued to Carlos Delgado. Carlos Beltran singles to right, winning the game. I will live. And The Cubs will live to win another day.

The Mets used everything they had tonight. The Cubs played numerous backups and rested their horses. The question is whether the Cubs’ horses will be up to the challenges in the next week or two or three. I am comfortable with the way Lou is very intelligently doing everything he can to maximize the Cubs’ chances going forward.

So we shall see what we shall see. I hope I can get the Miller Park games on TV this weekend.Assassins move

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Interview with Cubs 2B Mark DeRosa

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

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With the NL Central Division Championship in hand Thursday, the Chicago Cubs decided to give Mark DeRosa 007 Casino Royale , one of their most valuable bats and versatile defenders, a few days of rest. DeRosa suffered a strained calf in Wednesday’s 9-6, 10-inning win over the New York Mets.

The free time allowed the Cubs right fielder and second baseman to join MVN’s Joe Aiello and Brandon Rosage Thursday for a chat about Lou Piniella’s enthusiasm for studying video of opponents, his injuries through the ’08 campaign, Chicago’s stream of comeback wins and recovering from a heart procedure mid-season to correct an irregular heartbeat.

The discussion also covered DeRosa’s pre-season struggle with Cubs management over their efforts to find a new second baseman, as well as his risk assessment of blogging in the Chicago clubhouse and managing two personal websites, markderosa7.com and markdesrosa.mlblogs.com.

The Mark DeRosa interview was produced as part of MVN’s Major League Baseball talk podcast “The Pitch,” which is released every Monday and Thursday at mvn.com/thepitch Dorothy Mills movie full .

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New York Mets State Of Mind

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

ESPN introduces the Cubs as “The Best Team In The National League”. Oh, that is sweet. I’m looking forward to hearing Rick Sutcliff’s analysis of Z’s pitching tonight.

The first batter of the evening, Alfonso Soriano, is satisfied with only a single off a hit to left which Dan Murphy tries for, misses and leaves on the ground. Lotsa empty seats in Shea tonight, at least in the top of the 1st. A Theriot DP wipes Soriano off the bases. Dee Lee walks. Aramis hits two air homers on the first 2 pitches. And on the 5th pitch. K for Ramirez.

Now let’s see the Z-Man! Three up and three down. Z-Man looks good in the 1st.
Rick Sutcliff is discussing the Care and Feeding of the home plate umpire. Rick feels that the proper Care and Feeding benefitted Zambrano in the bottom of the 1st, while Perez and the Mets experienced the opposite result in the top of the 1st.

Mark DeRosa lofts a home run to left. That one was fair by at least 5 feet. Cubs lead 1-0. Cedeno takes a called third strike on a low pitch. Sutcliff calls it a “generous” call for the Mets. Zambrano will lead off the 3rd inning.

Bottom of the second. Z is throwing sinking 1 seam fastballs tonight according to Rick Sutcliff. Zambrano has the Mets 6 up and 6 down. Let me put it another way. There have been 2 hits in this game. The Cubs have 2 hits.

I enjoyed Bill Murray’s color commentary in the top of the 3rd. He’s sounding very mellow. Retired, he is. Interesting analysis of Zambrano’s trouble in his last start.

**BIG METS INNING ALERT** Argenis Reyes gets the 1st hit of the evening for the Mets. He’s put out at 2nd on Zambrano’s fielder’s choice of Oliver Perez’ poorly placed bunt. Jose Reyes draws the Mets 1st BB of the evening. Runners at 1st and 2nd with 2 out. Dan Murphy walks to load the bases.

Zambrano is throwing (or is having to throw) a lot of pitches tonight. He walks David Wright, scoring Argenis Reyes with the first Mets run. Score is tied, 1-1. Carlos Delgado takes Z to left center with a 4 run homer. Ohhhh, this is baaaaad. Score is 5-1, Mets. On the plus side, Zambrano has a 2 hitter going.

Before the game Lou said he wanted to leave Z in for a good long stretch tonight. (“We’ll let him work as long as possible.”) I think Lou will do just that, but, at this rate, the final score may end up being 15 or 20 to 3.

**BIG CUBS INNING ALERT** The bases are loaded for Mark DeRosa with 1 out in the top of the 5th. Two runs score on DeRosa’s double to left. That makes the score 5-3 with 1 out. Reed Johnson, representing the go ahead run, is up. Duaner Sanchez is pitching. Reed Johnson singles to left. Dan Murphy misjudges the ball and leaves it on the ground. Aramis and Fukudome (in for DeRosa) score, tying the game at 5. DeRosa, we are told, is out of the game with a knee injury. I don’t like the sound of that. The inning ends with the score tied 5-5.

Zambrano walks the 1st batter in the 5th, gets the next 2 out, then puts David Wright on and that’s all for Z. Neal Cotts comes in and puts out the fire. Rick Sutcliff sure called that sequence of events accutately.

Soriano leads off the 6th with a long out to left. Theriot grounds out 6-3. Dee Lee walks, Ramirez singles to right. Riccardo Rincon comes in to pitch to Fuku with 2 out and runners on 1st and 2nd. Fuku pops out to short. No runs scored. We hear how weak the Mets bullpen is, but they look pretty good to me. And, according to ESPN, Mark Derosa has a right calf strain.

Cotts walks Beltran to open the bottom of the 6th. Beltran steals 2nd as Church fans. Evans fans. Beltran steals 3rd with 2 out. Argenis Reyes fans, as Cotts strikes out the side.

In the 7th, Reed Johnson beats out an infield hit. Cedeno bunts back to the pitcher who cuts down Johnson at 2nd. Well, that’s better than a DP. Hoffpauir singles to right. Daryle Ward, pinch hitting for the pitcher, pops out to SS. Soriano doubles to left, scoring Cedeno. Theriot ends the inning 1-3. Cubs take the lead, 6-5.

Ramon Martinez, hitting for the pitcher, doubles to center to lead off the Mets 7th. Reyes bunts safely. Runners at the corners. The word is Cedeno was slow covering 1st, and then dropped the throw. The word from Rick Sutcliff is that Hart “almost” balked. Dan Murphy lines into a Dee Lee unassisted DP and Dave Wright flies out to Soriano. No runs score.

Dee Lee grounds out to 1B to open the 8th. Aramis walks. Fuku hits into an inning ending DP.

Samardzija is pitching in the 8th. Delgado doubles, Beltran singles, Church fans, Beltran takes 2nd, Evans grounds out to 3rd & Chavez gets a free pass to load the bases. Ramon Martinez walks to force in the tying run. 6-6. Reyes grounds out 4-3.
Samardzija throws about 30 pitches in the inning. Rick Sutcliff points out that Koyie Hill is telegraphing what pitch is coming next by how he sets up behind the plate.

In the 9th, the Cubs go 3 up and 3 down against Luis Ayala.

Bottom of the 9th. Howry is pitching. As Rick Sutcliff predicted, Hill telegraphed a breaking ball, and Murphy slammed it into the great big right center gap for a triple. The winning run is on third with no outs. Wright fans and the Cubs intentionally walk the next 2, Delgado and Beltran. Church hits into a 4-2 fielder’s choice. #8 batter fans. We’re out of the inning. Mets strand 3.

Top of the 10th. Theriot singles with 2 out and steals 2nd. He scores on Dee Lee’s bloop double to right. That was a clutch hit! Cubs lead 7-6. Aramis lines a homer to left. Cubs lead 9-6. Fuku ends the inning for the 3rd time tonight. All 3 of Fuku’s at bats have ended innings tonight. DeRosa, batting in that same 5 hole earlier (before being taken out with an injury) was 2 for 3 with a home run and a double.

Bottom of the 10th. Kerry Wood is pitching. 3 up and 3 down. Cubs win 9-6. Schadenfreude Baby!!

Z mowed ‘em down in the 1st 2 innings tonight, but he got bombed in the 3rd. Zambrano is threatening to become a short order pitcher, ala Kerry Wood or Carlos Marmol. Or maybe the Cubs will eventually platoon him with another pitcher (ala Edmonds and Johnson in center field) so Z can start every 10th day .

Rick Sutcliff’s analysis has been spot on tonight.

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Let's Review

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

I didn’t allow myself to get worked up over the final score last night. After all, winning the game was not the object of the drill. Oh, winning was AN object alright, but it wasn’t THE object.

No, I’d say the object of last night’s drill at Shea Stadium was threefold:
1. Provide rest to those who would benefit from rest;
2. Provide playing time to those who would benefit from additional playing time;
3. Provide performance information for evaluation and improvement of performance.

Let’s review these three objectives:

1. Beneficial rest – I’m thinking of regular or semi-regular players here, like Ryan Theriot, Aramis Ramirez, Jim Edmonds, Geovany Soto, Rich Harden, Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood.

This objective was achieved. All the players listed sat out last night’s game.

2. Beneficial playing time – These are the players who Lou and his staff feel need improvement in a specific aspect of play, i.e., hitting, fielding or pitching. I’m thinking Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Derrek Lee, Ronny Cedeno, Micah Hoffpauir, Casey McGehee, Daryle Ward, Koyie Hill, Sean Marshall, Chad Gaudin, Kevin Hart, and Angel Guzman.

This objective was achieved. All these players got additional playing time.

3. Performance evaluation, adjustments and lessons learned – Since none of the Cubs are batting 1.000, and since the Cubs are not going to win 162 games this year, there is room for improvement. I’ve never been a prefessional athlete, baseball player or coach, so my observations and opinions should be taken with a grain of salt. But some trends appear to be obvious.

Positive trends: Had Lou pulled Sean Marshall after 4 innings as originally announced, the overall evaluation might have seemed rosier. In the 5th inning Marshall’s situation deteriorated. He hit a batsman, gave up a weird infield single, walked a batter and then allowed a 2 run single. Still, he completed 5 innings with 6 Ks, 2 BBs, 3 hits and 2 runs allowed. I’m sure Sean and his coaches learned things which will help him in the future.

I’d like to see Kosuke Fukudome get 4 hits every game with multiples for extra bases. But, as Lou says, “That ain’t gonna happen”. Last night Fuku had 2 hits in 4 at bats, including an RBI double and a single. So he batted .500 for the evening and that’s pretty good.

Historically, Reed Johnson does well against Johan Santana. Last night was no exception. He drew a walk and was 2 for 3 officially with 2 singles and 1 RBI. His successful hitting vs. Johan Santana continues unabated.

Downward trends: Chad Gaugin returned to the mound after an absence and received a rude welcome. He faced 5 batters and got 1 out. He allowed 4 consecutive hits and made one “ill-advised” throwing error (an error in judgement). I think Chad would agree that this was not the performance he had hoped for.

The most disappointing performance last night, in terms of actual or potential improvement, was, in my humble opinion, that of Alfonso Soriano. He was 0 for 4 at the plate and his fielding was lackadaisical. Maybe the lackadaisical part is just a misperception on my part. I hope so.

But if I compare the fieldwork of Alfonso to that of, say, Kosuke, for example, the difference in attitude and approach seems clear. Kosuke’s defensive play is focused, concentrated, crisp, intense and effective. Alfonso’s performance tonight seemed, in comparison, to be unfocused, disinterested, mushy and lacking in spirit.

My guess (and it’s only a guess) is that Soriano’s situation is psychological. Either he thinks he should have been given a rest with the other regulars tonight, and so his heart wasn’t in it; or his performance level is, in his mind’s eye, “good enough”, so no improvement is required. And when he bangs one of his extra base hits, or demonstrates that cannon of an arm in a crunch situation, it’s hard to argue.

Still, my perception is that Alfonso has an attitude thing which is limiting his effectiveness. I didn’t break it, and I can’t fix it.

So, to summarize, the Cubs accomplished their 3 major objectives last night.

Let’s keep our eyes on the prize.

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My Favorite Things

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

In retrospect, I guess I was a little harsh on NYC last night. I want to set the record straight.

A few years ago I had an opportunity to spend a week in New York City, a first for me. After being exposed to negative reports about NYC my whole life, I was prepared to hate it. I was expecting to hate it. I think I wanted to hate it.

I loved it!

I ran every day in Central Park. I visited Strawberry Fields. I saw the Statue of Liberty and visited Ellis Island. On Monday night I caught Les Paul live. Les Paul!! And every where I went I met good people. Really good people.

Went to a live Broadway show. Ate great food in great restaurants. Did I mention that I had a great time? So I have fond memories of NYC and I hope I get the chance to go back some day.

But that fondness does not extend to the NY Mets. I have no fond memories of the NY Mets. That might be forever. I guess that’s just the way it is. I’m a Cubs fan. Third generation Cubs fan.

Loving the Cubs. Not loving the Mets. These are a few of my favorite things.

Last night The Cubbies pulled together as a team. Jason Marquis was having trouble putting the Mets away from the mound. So he rocked a grand slam, and put the game out of reach that way instead. When Carlos Marmol had a hard time finishing the thing off, Kerry Wood leapt in and put the hammer down. What a team.

Tonight Lou is resting many of the starters. My hope is that Johan Santana wears himself out real good tonight. Whether or not the Cubs win tonight is immaterial. They’ve already won by resting the guys who need rest. And by wearing out a guy who needs to be worn out.

Dee Lee doubles but dies on 2nd. Johan Santana looks strong in the 1st.

Sean Marshall is getting hit pretty solidly in the 1st, but he gets out of the inning with no runs scored. Casey McGehee makes a good play of a shot down the 3rd base line, cutting down the lead runner at 2nd on a fielder’s choice.

McGehee and Fuku get solid back to back doubles off Santana. I like to see that. And it’s still early. Cubs lead 1-0.

I’m going out of my way to not repeat posts from the live blog here, but I will respond. Joe gets his wish. Johan will lead off the third. Good call, Joe.

Cedeno doubles in the 3rd inning. That’s 4 Cub doubles already off Santana tonight. He appears to be hittable. (Hey Joe, I said it first. Great minds think alike!) And Cedeno scores on Johnson’s single to center. Mets go 3 up and 3 down. Marshall Ks the pitcher, and 2 pop outs follow. Cubs lead 2-0 after 3 innings.

Kosuke singles to right. Lou asked us not to refer to his playing of reserves and relievers as “auditions”. So I’ll say that Lou’s tactic of getting maximum at bats for Fuku seems to be working, at least so far.

Lou said in the pregame that he plans to leave Sean Marshall in for only 4 or 5 innings tonight.

Sean walks David Wright, the 1st batter in the bottom of the 4th, and Wright dies at 1st. Cubs lead 2-0 going into the 5th.

Interesting graphic on TV. Marshall has thrown 66 pitches: 22 balls, 44 strikes.

The bags are loaded with 2 out for David Wright as Lou leaves Sean Marshall in. We got to this point by Sean: hitting Evans, giving up a weird infield single to Santana, and walking Castillo. David Wright singles to left, tying the game 2-2. Soriano’s throw to the plate was early but way off track up the 1st base side. The 5th inning ends with the score tied, 2-2.

**CHAD GAUGIN ALERT** Chad Gaudin is pitching for the Cubs in the bottom of the 6th. Delgado doubles inches fair in left. Castro singles to the pitcher. Gaudin errs on the throw, sending Delgado home (with the go-ahead run) and sending Castro to second. Back to back singles to right load the bases with no outs. Welcome back, Chad!

Johan Santana likes to jump around in the batter’s box. We’ll give him an Academy Award for acting. Santana hits into a fielder’s choice, 4-2, and that’s all for Chad Gaudin. Let’s see, a double, three singles and a fielder’s choice. Five batters faced, one out. Thanks for stopping by, Chad.

Kevin Hart is now pitching for the Cubs with 1 out, the bases loaded and speedster Jose Reyes up . Reyes hits a 3 run triple to right. Hello Kevin! Mark DeRosa makes a nice unassisted put out on Castillo at 1st base. Reyes must be winded at third, as he just stands there. David Wright fans and we’re out of the inning. Mets lead 6-2.

The lead off batter in the Cubs lineup, Alfonso Soriano, flies out to left – his fourth out of the evening. Cubs go 3 up and 3 down in the 7th. The ninth position in the Cubs lineup has struck out 3X tonight. That includes a pinch hitter.

Angel Guzman is pitching for the Cubs in the bottom of the 7th. He gives up one walk and gets 3 outs. Mets take a 6-2 lead into the 8th.

Cubs have not gotten a hit since the 4th inning. Johan Ks the 1st 2 batters in the top of the 8th. That’s 4 Ks in the last 2 innings. Reed Johnson singles to right and DeRo works Santana for a walk. And the Cubs strand both runners as McGehee grounds into a 6-4 fielder’s choice to end the inning.

Murphy walks to open the Mets’ 8th. Argenis Reyes, batting for the pitcher, fans. Jose Reyes draws a walk. Castillo fans. Wright lines to Cedeno to end the scoreless inning.

It will be up to Fuku, Blanco & a pinch hitter for the Cubs in the 9th, trailing 6-2. Pedro Feliciano is pitching for the Mets. Cubs have gotten only 1 hit since the 4th inning. Make that 2 hits as Blanco singles through the hole to left. Make it 3 hits as Micah Hoffpauir singles to right. Fuku must have softened up the pitcher, Pedro Feliciano, for these other guys. Ward pops out to end the game. Mets win 6-2.

Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to pitch tomorrow night. I wonder how that will turn out.

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Live Blogging Harden vs. Santana

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

We’ll be doing the second live blog tonight and we’ll be privileged to be joined by MVN Mets blog, Take the 7 Train, in doing a simulcast on their site. Jessica, one of their writers, and I will be covering the event live and welcome your attendance. If you’re not able to make it, feel free to go back and read what took place. See you at 7pm EDT


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My Heart Went Boom!

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Tonight we travel to Shea Stadium, home of the notorious New York Mets. Up until last night, when curiosity got the better of me, that was just about the sum total of my knowledge regarding Shea Stadium. That and the fact that the Beatles once played a concert there. Hence, the title above. If you have to ask what the connection is, you’ll probably never know.

I was not at The Beatles’ Shea Stadium Concert. I did see The Beatles on that same tour in Chicago at The International Amphitheatre down by the Stock Yards. I say I saw them, because I sure didn’t hear them. But that’s another story.

Now I am informed that Shea Stadium is actually within the City of New York, in the borough of Queens, upon a geographical location know as Flushing Meadows.

I do know a little bit more about the City of New York, in general, than I do about Shea. I know that the Dodgers and Giants left. I know that the Corleone Family left, too. And I know that John Lennon was shot and killed there.

But tonight we’re here for baseball. I understand that Ron Santo did not make this trip because of his lack of warm and fuzzy feelings for the Mets. I share those same feelings. Nineteen sixty nine seems like only yesterday. I do not forget, and I do not forgive.

Back to the present:

The Cubs open the scoring in the top of the 2nd with 2 outs. DeRosa doubles to left center and Reed Johnson sends him home with a single to center. Cubs lead 1-0 going into the bottom of the 2nd.

But the Mets come back to tie in the bottom of the 2nd. Carlos Delgado draws a walk to open the inning, moves to third on Luis Castillo’s single to right, and scores on a wild pitch. Jason Marquis is looking a little shaky tonight. Score is tied 1-1 after 2 innings.

The curveball of Jon Niese is looking sharp tonight.

In the bottom of the 3rd Marquis is getting knocked around a bit. He almost loses the pitcher, Niese, going 3-2 before grounding him out. Jose Reyes and Dan Murphy hit back to back doubles, yielding one run. But Jason comes back, striking out Beltran to end the inning. Mets lead 2-1 after 3 innings.

**BIG INNING ALERT** Now it’s Jon Niese’s turn to get bombed. Geovany Soto leads off the 4th with a double down the left field line, takes 3rd on DeRo’s single to left, and scores on Reed Johnson’s single to center. Score is tied 2-2 with no outs. Theriot’s bloop single to right loads the bases for Jason Marquis, who connects with one of those sharp looking curveballs, pounding a grand slam home run to right center. I take it all back, Jason. Cubs lead 6-2 with no outs.

Nelson Figueroa is now pitching for the Mets. With 2 outs Dee Lee slams a four bagger to center. Score is 7-2. Aramis doubles but dies on 2nd. With a 6 run fourth inning, the Cubbies bat around and lead 7-2.

**FELIX PIE INNING ALERT** In the top of the 5th Felix absorbs a straight uppercut as a foul tip caroms from bat to ground to chin. A “double bank” shot! He reaches 1st base on a fielder’s choice, takes 3rd on Ryan Theriot’s single to right and scores on Jason Marquis’ 5-4 fielder’s choice. Cubs lead 8-2 with 2 outs.

The inning ends as Soriano both strikes out and is hit by a pitched ball. The K takes precedence. Three outs. This is known as “Adding insult to injury”. Cubs lead 8-2 going into the bottom of the 5th.

In the top of the 7th Carlos Beltran tries to knock down the right center field wall, going full speed after DeRo’s long fly ball. Beltran makes the catch, the wall is still standing, and Carlos remains in the game.

In the bottom of the 7th Marquis hits the wall. Jose Reyes gets an infield hit and David Wright hits a 2 run homer. That’s all for Jason Marquis. Neal Cotts comes in and, eventually, gets the 3rd out. Score is 8-4 going into the 8th.

The Cubs went 3 up and 3 down in the 6th and 7th innings. In the eigth inning the Cubs go four up and three down with Theriot dying at first. Score remains 8-4.

Cotts hits Luis Castillo to open the Mets 8th. So long, Neal. Neal Cotts faced 4 batters tonight and got one out. Jeff Samardzija comes in to face pinch hitter Damian Easley.
Easley fans. Pinch hitter Endy Chavez works a full count, before flying out to Pie. Jose Reyes flies out to Fuku. Jeff Samadzija faces three Mets and gets three outs. That’s what I’m talking about.

**BIG INNING ALERT** In the 9th, Aramis doubles with one out and takes third on Koyie Hill’s ground out to 1st base. Ward walks. Feliz Pie beats out an infield hit to Castillo, scoring Ramirez. Cubs lead 9-4. Theriot singles to right, loading the bases with 2 outs. Fuku pops up to the 3rd baseman on the infield grass, ending the big inning. Fuku has had 2 at bats tonight and has popped out both times.

Bottom of the 9th: Carlos Marmol is pitching with a 5 run lead. Now he has a 4 run lead. Carlos Marmol just doesn’t have it tonight. He faces 5, walks 2 and gets 2 out. With 2 out and runners at the corners, Kerry Wood is called in to save the game for the Cubs. We only need one more out, guys.

Kerry Wood strikes out Luis Castillo on 3 pitches. Cubs win 9-5, clinching home field advantage through the playoffs. Oh, that sounds sweet!Rising Damp film Collateral Damage film Before Sunrise film

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Cubs Claim Brad Snyder and Designate Adam Harben

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today claimed outfielder Brad Snyder off waivers from Cleveland and added him to the team’s 40-man roster. In a corresponding move, right-handed pitcher Adam Harben has been designated for assignment.

Snyder, 26, was originally selected by Cleveland in the first round (18th overall) of the 2003 Draft. He has batted .273 (641-for-2,345) with 132 doubles, 32 triples, 84 home runs and 356 RBI in 639 minor league contests, having spent the last two seasons at Triple-A Buffalo.

A left-handed batter and thrower, Snyder hit .246 (101-for-411) with 28 doubles, 12 homers and 61 RBI in 115 games for Buffalo this season as the team’s centerfielder, including a .271 average (39-for-144) following the Triple-A All-Star break. He hit .300 (27-for-90) with four home runs and 16 RBI in 24 July contests before ending the campaign with a .304 batting average (17-for-56) with runners in scoring position and two outs.

In 2006 with Double-A Akron, Snyder led the Eastern League with 86 runs scored, was second with 233 total bases and 135 games played, was fourth with 141 hits and fifth with 62 walks. He ended the campaign with a .270 batting average (141-for-523), 28 doubles, five triples, 18 homers and 72 RBI.

With Akron in 2005, Snyder was named the Eastern League Player of the Week ending August 7 after hitting .419 (13-for-31) with 11 RBI in seven games. Later that year, he batted .367 (36-for-98) with three homers and 19 RBI in 25 games for Mesa in the Arizona Fall League – his .367 batting average ranked sixth in the league.

Harben, 25, was 3-6 with a 5.37 ERA (35 ER/58.2 IP) in 23 games (seven starts) for Single-A Daytona this season, missing time on the disabled list with a left calf strain (June 6-17) and a right shoulder strain (August 10-September 11). He was acquired by the Cubs from Minnesota September 5, 2006, in exchange for infielder Phil Nevin.Collateral Damage movie

Simon Says video

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All The Way

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

As much as I love “Go Cubs Go,” it really doesn’t come close to Eddie Vedder’s new song about being a Cubs fan. This isn’t the greatest slide show to music I’ve ever seen, but it’s good enough to make you smile about being a fan. And maybe, just maybe, the Cubs will go “All the Way.”

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