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Tuesday

21

June 2011

34

COMMENTS

Game 72 – Going Deep

Written by , Posted in General

Cubs 6, White Sox 3

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

WHAT WENT RIGHT

  • Soriano DH’ed! Soriano DH’ed!
  • The Cubs put together a two-out rally in the 3rd, scoring twice on a solid single by Starlin Castro. Castro then swiped second on a pitch out.
  • The Castro Show continued in the 6th with a solo shot to tie the game. A few minutes later, Carlos Pena gave the Cubs the lead with a three-run bomb.
  • Carlos Zambrano battled through eight innings for his sixth win of the season. Zambrano struck out five, including Adam Dunn three times.
  • Aramis Ramirez had his glove working tonight. He made two excellent plays on hard-hit grounders, turning one of them into a double play.
  • Carlos Marmol navigated some 9th inning trouble to notch his 15th save.

WHAT WENT WRONG

  • The Cubs gave up a cheap run in the bottom of the 1st when Carlos Quentin cued a weak RBI single to RF. The next two runs certainly weren’t cheap, as Paul Konerko jacked yet another homer. That’s 20 for Konerko if you’re scoring at home.
  • The Cubs knocked out starter Gavin Floyd, but did next to nothing against the Sox bullpen.
  • D.J. LeMahieu continues to look overmatched at the plate.
  • Comcast gave us Len and Bob instead of Hawk and Steve. In the 3rd inning we were treated to a vanilla interview with GM Jim Hendry. Len and Bob tossed him a few softball questions that weren’t even worthy of a high school broadcaster.  For example: “What do general managers talk about when they get together before a game?” “Can you think of a faster player than Tony Campana?” Riveting.

DOUBLE DIPPING

The annual Cubs-Sox series usually gets me thinking about players who have suited up for both Chicago teams. We all remember the obvious two-timers (George Bell, Lance Johnson, Vance Law, Ron Santo, Sammy Sosa, Steve Stone, and Steve Trout), but here’s a quick look at a few you may have forgotten:

  • Jaime Navarro—Navarro racked up lots of innings, but most of them were bad. As a Cub in 1996, he led the NL in hits allowed. The next year he did the same thing for the Sox (in the AL of course). Navarro frequently looked like he was throwing batting practice.
  • Ron Hassey—A spare part in the Rick Sutcliffe deal, Hassey was a nice weapon off the bench in 1984, hitting .333 in limited action. The portly C/1B moved to the south side in 1986 and racked up even better numbers that season. One year later, he was straddling the Mendoza Line.
  • Tom Gordon—“Flash” was a hammer out of the Cubs 2001 bullpen, punching out 67 batters in only 45 innings. Unfortunately, an injury cut his season short. In 2003, he took his arsenal across town and logged 74 solid innings for the Sox. Did you know that Gordon hung around the Majors for 21 seasons?
  • Jay Johnstone—When we were kids, Johnstone was my neighbor’s favorite player. Looking at his career, I’m not sure why. Johnstone didn’t hit a lick for the Cubs or the Sox. For what it’s worth, he did have a couple decent seasons for the Phillies in the 1970s.
  • Matt Karchner—In 1998, the Cubs were looking for bullpen help to solidify their playoff run. They decided to acquire Karchner from the White Sox in exchange for prospect pitcher Jon Garland. As I’m sure you remember, the Cubs got the short straw in this deal. Karchner was completely rotten, and Garland has gone on to a respectable ML career. He spent eight seasons in the Sox rotation and piled up a ton of league-average innings, which isn’t too bad.
  • Steve Christmas—How can you not love that name? Too bad Luke Easter wasn’t available.

NOT MY CUP OF TEA

I have to admit, the “Crosstown Classic” does very little for me. It really brings out the worst in both fan bases, and I simply can’t stand watching Juan Pierre play baseball. Seriously, how can a Major League team play such a crappy hitter in LF? It isn’t 1963.

In case you were wondering, the Cubs were 82-80 in 1963. Ron Santo and Billy Williams tied for the team lead with 25 homers. Dick Ellsworth went 22-10 with a 2.11 ERA. I’d give my left arm for 82 wins this year.

OK, maybe not.

Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)

1st Star – Starlin Castro (.282 WPA)

2nd Star – Alfonso Soriano (.242 WPA)

3rd Star – Carlos Zambrano (.131 WPA)

Cubs Hitting: +.323 WPA

Cubs Pitching: +.177 WPA

  • chet

    All I look for in a hometown announcer is that they don’t make my skin crawl (see Hawk Harrelson)….outside of that I expect them to be homers (See Len and Bob)…I like len and Bob…..especially Bob.

    If you want good/unbiased/fair commentary during a game you have to hope for national coverage. You will learn a lot more about the way “your” team honestly plays baseball from a national broadcast then you will from local. Local will make it sound like they are just struggling, national will tell you they suck.

    At any rate, this series is personal for me, I can’t stand sox fans…even the ones I call friends.

  • Aaron

    @chet – Unbiased and fair commentary may come from national broadcasts, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good. There are few announcers I hate listening to more than Joe Buck and Tim McCarver (and I can’t actually think of any at the moment).

  • chet

    I never said it was good, just less homerish.

  • chet

    actually , I take that back….I did say good….not sure why, meant to just say unbiased and fair.

  • Speaking of announcers, someone on Fox or ESPN this weekend explained that Dempster’s wiggling of the glove was a timing thing. My memory from when Dempster started the wiggling is that it was to prevent tipping of the pitch.

    Is my memory wrong or was the announcer wrong? Not a good bet either way….

    I do like Pat Hughes. And he has stood the test of time for me. Often I will like an announcer for a year or so (or less!), but then he (she?) will have exhausted their vocabulary and stock of stories and tips on how the game is to be played and he (she?) becomes boring and repetitious.

    As I have gotten older, the announcer errors are more apparent to me (or maybe today’s announcers make more mistakes?) and I usually try to just ignore them.

  • Buddy

    I don’t mind Joe Buck, but McCarver is beyond terrible.

  • Buddy

    I thought it had to do with pitch tipping as well, Rich.

  • Scott Pickett

    I know the Cubs aren’t playing up to par right now, but I’m sure glad I’m a Cubs fan and not a Sox fan. We payed some serious money for Pena, but he’s starting to hit homers consistently, whereas Dunn looks absolutely lost at the plate. Plus, if you add Castro and LeMaheiu’s ages together, you still don’t even equal Omar Visquel’s. Yikes.

  • chet

    Well, theoretically it could be used for both purposes. Everything in a pitchers delivery has a certain ryhthm to it. I do however remember somebody saying it was done to keep from tipping his pitches.

  • Mark

    I have to agree and say that Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are the worst national broadcast team in the country. The second worst broadcast team in my book is Joe Buck and Troy Aikman for the NFL on FOX. Joe Buck’s pure hatred for Chicago is so annoying I often times turn the game off and just read the highlights here on VFTB!

  • Buddy

    Who is your alltime favorite baseball announcer?

  • @Buddy…Ronnie > Harry > Pat

  • Norm

    Definitely because of tipping his splitter.

    Love Bob and Len! Bob’s critical, Len brings in the stats. Good stuff.

  • Ok Buddy, I am calling you out on Navarro – that is, when he was a Cubbie. He got really awful when he went to the sox. Sure he led the league in hits in ’96 with 244, but that was in 236.2 innings along with 158 K’s, a 15-12 record with a 3.92 ERA. The year before with the Cubbies he was 14-6 with a 3.28 ERA. I am sure we would kill to have someone in our staff to have a 15-12 record with a 3.92 ERA this year…

    I guess we are victims of the steroid era, because Johnstone’s ’82 season (269AB 132B 10HR 40BB 41K .250AVE) with the Cubs wasn’t too shabby!!!

    I guess its all how we remember them!

  • Buddy

    Harry and Steve in the mid 1980s were outstanding. In 2011, I’d go with Darren (sp?) Sutton and Mark Grace from the Dbacks broadcasts. Informative, entertaining, and they don’t kiss corporate backsides.

  • Aaron

    @Rich – I think Dempster started fluttering the glove to prevent tipping the pitches, but he ended up getting so used to it that it became part of his routine and timing. So the answer to either/or is yes.

    My biggest complaint about Joe Buck is that he doesn’t seem to get excited. His voice may get a little louder sometimes, but that’s it. Even unbiased announcers, like Jon Miller when he was doing Sunday Night Baseball, or Gary Thorne when he does the national games, can express emotion regarding a good play. Buck just stays on that same even keel and it kills the entertainment value.

    My personal favorites were Harry Caray and Steve Stone. Steve told it like it was and Harry was… well, Harry was Harry.

  • Aaron

    Plus, I used to think Harry Caray was my grandfather. They looked a lot alike, especially to a three-year-old, so I would see the Cubs games on television and say, “Daddy, grandpa’s on tv!”

  • Buddy

    Good point Tom. I simply meant that most of Navarro’s career was bad. Lot’s of seasons with ERA’s of five plus.

  • Kris

    Maybe it is because I’m a Bears’ fan too, but I don’t think national broadcasters are always or exactly unbiased. (See: John Madden’s love affair with Bret Favre.) And whether it be Jon Miller, Joe Morgan, or now Joe Buck–the ESPN broadcasters are often both atrocious and biased. (Well, Joe Buck isn’t atrocious, but I’m not a huge fan.) Although I supposed the flip-flopping of excitement for whoever is doing better is rather unbiased.

  • PackerCubBull

    Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, Jon Miller, Joe Morgan, Mike Breen, Hawk Harrelson, and Mike North all need to be punched in the face. I can’t stand any of them.

  • PackerCubBull

    I’m with chet, this series is personal. I can’t stand the White Sox, or White Sox fans. They’re just Cubs haters who need a team to root for. Cubs Suck is the entire vocabulary of a White Sox fan. They hate the Cubs more than they love the White Sox. I really want to give them a serious ass-kicking. Let’s sweep them and get our first 3-game winning streak of the year

  • PackerCubBull

    And for the glove thing Dempster does, I think he does it so batters can’t see the baseball

  • Seymour Butts

    The glove thing is to avoid tipping the pitch.
    Stone was great, Harry was embarrassing. If he wasn’t intoxicated, he acted like it. No idea where a pitch was, who was batting, or how to pronounce any of it. You could hear Stone’s disgust in his silence.

  • Mark in Toronto

    I have to admit I’m a fan of Len and Bob, sure they are homers and definitely not impartial, but they have good chemistry and always find a way to make me laugh no matter how bad the game might be going for the Cubs. Since I have the MLB package on satelite, I don’t always get to see the Cubs broadcast of games (unless they are on WGN which I also get) and there are some really boring announcers out there for some of these other teams (mostly those part of local Fox Sports broadcasts).

  • Aaron

    Just to be clear, I’m not really a fan of Jon Miller. His broadcasts with Joe Morgan used to put me to sleep (which was good, considering the fact that they did Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN and the next day was the start of my work week…). I was actually pleasantly surprised with the trio of Dan Shulman, Bobby Valentine and Orel Hershiser, although I’ll admit that I stopped paying full attention this past Sunday around the top of the 8th inning. I’m also a fan of Len and Bob. I enjoy Bob’s commentary more than Len’s play-by-play, especially because he’ll be a lot more honest (a la Steve Stone) than certain other announcers.

    Incidentally, type “worst tim mccarver calls” into Google and you get some really interesting sites. My personal favorites are “Tim McCarver: My Reason to Envy the Deaf” and “ShutupTimMcCarver.com.”

  • Buddy

    Harry before the stroke was pretty damn entertaining.

  • Buddy

    It never bothers me that Len and Bob (or any broadcasters employed by a team) are homers. I just don’t find the two of them very informed or entertaining. The chemistry feels extremely forced (the endless music conversations for instance). They never bothered me much until I started listening to other teams’ broadcasters and found out what I was missing. Just my two cents.

  • Evan

    Hendry said in the interview that Samardzija has pitched well this year…that combined with a couple of other comments made me wonder if he even watches this team….Oh, and it looks like Soriano is back in left tonight, with Baker as the DH. At least Dewitt isn’t in left and batting third again…

  • Larry Sproul

    Well before Harry had the stroke he was better . I remember in the early days Steve Stone tried to correct him on a few things . That went over like a lead balloon . Stone also knew that he was only there because Harry wanted him there .

    Bob and Len have gotten better and Bob knows his baseball . I also wonder about the need to talk about music . There is no reason to interview Ricketts or Hendry . Can they ask either what has went so very wrong ??

  • Buddy

    I think both Len and Bob would be better with a different partner. Together, they make my head hurt. To be fair however, they did a better job interviewing Ricketts than Hendry.

  • Doc Raker

    All time announcers where Harry and Stoner. Today it is Kipe and Krukow of the Giants- best broadcasts by far. Don Sutton of the Braves is good and Gracey with the Dbacks is top notch. Gracey is like Harry in that they are both fans first, announcers second a great combination in my book.
    If you want honesty listen to the opposing teams broadcast, opposing broadcasters are always more honest about the the opposing team.

  • cap’n obvious

    I think Uecker does a good job on Brewer games…can’t stand McCarver and have really come to be annoyed with Vin Scully’s ramblings. Matt Vasgersian is another I kinda like.

  • Buddy

    Make it 21 homers for Konerko.

  • Buddy

    I hope you’re sitting down…Pena just homered off a lefty.