First Star – Jason Michaels (.411 WPA)
Second Star – Brandon Lyon (.281 WPA)
Third Star – Pedro Feliz (.244 WPA)

Ted Lilly has been traded to….That’s the way I’m going to be starting a post real soon. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if that post came today, on an off day. I don’t like that I’m going to have to type those words, but that’s what happens when your team under performs, with the shining example being yesterday. It started to make me think about how crappy it would be to get traded. All of a sudden yiu’re forced to pack up everything and move to somewhere you’re probably not familiar with at all. I know when I moved from Chicago to North Carolina, it took getting used to. There are subtle differences. For example, in Chicago the groceries stores are Jewel and Dominicks. Here, we have Food Lion (which my parents call the Lion King) and Harris Teeter (Something wrong sounding with that name). It doesn’t seem fair when you get traded. I wish Ted all the best, because I have a feeling this was the last time we’ll see him pitch in our uniform.

STRIKE ONE – If ever there was an example of why Jim Hendry needs to start selling it was yesterday in the 9th, 10th and 11th innings. All three featured prime scoring opportunities. You can tell by looking at the graph and seeing all the red marks that show how critical / game changing various situations were. The game was a sleeper until the late innings and the Cubs failed miserably to capitalize.

In the 9th, Fukudome started it with a leadoff single, but Koyie Hill couldn’t get him to 2nd after striking out and broke his bat over his knee. Side note: I’ve been waiting for Koyie Hill to do that for a long time. If anyone on this teams like the tough guy type, it’s Hill. After all, dude sawed his fingers off and still plays. Theriot came up next and singled to put the Cubs in business with just one out. When you’ve got a guy at third with less than two outs, you’ve got to bring him home. Instead, Soriano flied out and Colvin struck out and we ended the 9th.

STRIKE TWO – In the 10th, Castro led off with a double and you got the feeling this was the inning it was going to happen. The heart of the order was coming up and we only needed a single to use Castro’s speed for the winning run. Lee’s fly ball got Castro to third and once again we had two outs to make it happen. A-Ram gets walked, which is the obvious choice based on how hot he’s been, but Marlon Byrd can’t come through with a single and instead, walks. That loads the bases and brings Fukudome and Hill up. A cork screw swinging stikeout, pinch hitter and fly out later and we’ve screwed up the 10th.

STRIKE THREE – The 11th inning was more of the same with Theriot reaching base to start the inning and getting to second on a sac bunt by Fontenot. Colvin gets intentionally walked, which makes me laugh. Normally that would get you even closer to the heart of the order, but apparently our heart doesn’t scare many people. We need a heart transplant. Castro and Lee fly out and we’re done in the 11th.

The Astros, sick of waiting for us to finish them off, take care of business in the 12th and the red phone in Jim’s office with the glass box housing it labled “Emergency” starts ringing. It’s time, Jimmy Boy, it’s time. Make the calls and let’s start moving.

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers. 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 and helps people protect their assets as an independent insurance agent. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail