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Game 40 Discussion

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Cubs (3) @ Padres (0)

W: Kyle Hendricks (1-1)
L: O. Despaigne (2-3)

I hate that I wasn’t able to see this game, so I will instead leave this open for discussion on the following questions.

1. Do you feel that the Cubs need to make a move for a starter this year to be contenders for a playoff spot? World Series?

2. Assuming we move someone decent from the young prospects, who do you feel most comfortable moving? Why?



1968 – At Wrigley Field, Pirates’ slugger Willie Stargell hits three home runs and just misses a fourth in a 13-6 rout over the Cubs. ‘Pops’ also hit a single and a double, which bounced off the railing of the left field fence back onto the playing field.

1977 – In a 14-10 Boston victory at Fenway Park, the Red Sox (6) and Brewers (5) combined for 11 home runs to tie a major league record. The round-tripper riot matches the mark set by the Yankees and Tigers in 1950 and equaled by the Cubs and Mets in 1967.

1990 – During the Cubs’ 2-1 victory against the Reds in a 16-inning contest at Wrigley Field, Andre Dawson is walked five times intentionally to set a major league record. The previous mark of four free passes in a game was established by Yankees outfielder Roger Maris in 1962 and then equaled by Padres shortstop Gerry Templeton in 1985.

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Game 39 Notes – If You Watch, You’re Out

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Cubs (3) @ Padres (2)

W: Justin Grimm (1-0)
L: Tyson Ross (2-4)
S: Hector Rondon (9)


Tsuyoshi Wada – Right now, I’m going to file this in the good column, but long term, I’m not so sure. If you missed the game, Wada came into the game trying to make his case for the rotation after Travis Wood has struggled this year. While he was almost unhittable in the innings he pitched, he was removed from the game before getting through the 5th inning and only throwing 69 pitches. It was a curious move, but they saw something that led them to believe it was the right move. Had the pen stunk, we’d question it. Because the pen did the job, we can praise it. If you are a fan of the strikeout looking, which is my personal favorite type of strikeout, this was the game for you. Wada struck out the side in the 1st and 3rd innings and five of them were looking. It seemed like everyone was just going down watching, on both sides.

Now the question with Wada becomes whether or not he can be consistent enough in the 2nd and 3rd time through an order with his less than overpowering stuff to not tax the pen too much and keep the offense in the game during his starts. Under normal circumstances with a winning team, you can get by, but when we also have to worry about the same thing with Kyle Hendricks, that’s tough on a pen. I would like to see someone like Jason Hammel spaced in between the Wada / Hendricks combo to at least try to rest the pen a little. Either that or put Jon Lester between them. While Wada is a decent strikeout pitcher (7.4 K/9 in 2014), he isn’t the guy we saw last night (17.4 K/9).

Kris Bryant not only continues to hit, extending his hitting streak, but he’s been really good on the bases as well. It’s fun to watch him each night. It’s so refreshing to watch a guy come up and be what we hoped and heard he would be. After being a Cub fan and being burned by guys that were supposed to be the next great thing, Bryant is finally showing us what that actually looks like, and that’s fun to see.


Nit picking here, but just a couple things

  • Anthony Rizzo struck out twice
  • I still hate Chris Coghlan (no, I didn’t skip yesterday’s game notes because he hit two home runs)



1907 – After the Giants’ 3-0 loss to the Cubs that drops New York out of first place, the players need to form a protective ring around umpires Hank O’Day and Bob Emslie. Pinkerton guards fire shots in the air, trying to disperse unruly fans who have spilled onto the field at the Polo Grounds.

1927 – For the second consecutive day, an umpire at Ebbets Field is the target of fan abuse. Arbitrator Frank Wilson needs a police escort after the Robins (Dodgers) drop a twin bill to Cubs.

1986Rafael Ramirez strokes four doubles in seven trips to the plate. The infielder’s quartet of two-baggers helps the Braves to edge the Cubs in 13 innings at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, 9-8.

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Game 37 Notes – Bad Baseball Fest

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Pirates (3) @ Cubs (0)

W: A.J. Burnett (2-1)
L: Jake Arrieta (4-4)
S: Mark Melancon (9)


Not really a lot to report in this section today. I guess the biggest thing is that we close out the week going 6-1. That’s a heck of a way to rebound off a really bad week of baseball. You have to look at the positive despite the bad result today. Jake got the short end of the stick today despite a really nice seven inning outing. He was dominant, recording seven strikeouts, yet efficient enough to work through the 7th with just over 100 pitches. If we had any offense today at all, he may have picked up a win. What’s crazy to me is that he has four losses and a total of eight decisions already. Aside from his outing, I think one of the only other positives was Brian Schlitter coming in for a non-Schlitter type 9th inning. It didn’t matter much, but it’s good to see.


I’m not going to harp on these guys today, but there was some bad baserunning and overall just some bad baseball. No offense and very little to say positive things for in the field. Oh, and the bullpen vomited on the field again. After professing my love for the pen early in the year, I would like to officially dedicate this song to them. We are going to need some time apart because watching them makes me want to curse.



1931 - Dodgers’ outfielder Babe Herman hits for the cycle for the first of two times this season. In 1933, as a member of the Cubs, he will again hit for the cycle, making him and Bob Meusel the only major leaguers to have accomplished the feat three times since 1900.

1990 - Cubs’ second baseman Ryan Sandberg’s errorless game streak comes to an end after 123 games and 584 chances. Joe Morgan had held the previous record of 91 games.

2008 – Marlins’ second baseman Luis Castillo, who has stolen seven bases in his last two games, is one theft shy of tying a National League mark. The record of eight pilfered bags in consecutive contests was set by Walt Wilmont of the Chicago Colts (Cubs) in 1894.

2012 – Kerry Wood ends his major league career on his own terms when he strikes out the one batter he faces before walking off the mound into an embrace from his 6 year-old son in front of the Wrigley Field dugout. The 35 year-old much-injured Cubs’ right-hander, an All-Star as both a starter and closer, believes today’s final strike-out to be the most significant and the most memorable moment of his 14-year career.

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Game 34 Notes – A Sweep!!!! Who Would Have Thought?

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Mets (5) @ Cubs (6)

W: Pedro Strop (1-2)
L: Jon Niese (3-3)
S: Hector Rondon (8)


  • A SERIES SWEEP - It’s hard to believe this was the same team as just a week ago, a sweep of the Mets was about impossible to think of happening. To be fair, the Mets have played some pretty bad baseball after starting the year off really hot, so we caught them at a pretty good time in the schedule. At the same time a sweep (especially a four game sweep) is hard to do, so this feels good coming off the heels of some bad baseball last week.
  • OUTFIELD SWAP – It was good to see Matt Szczur in the outfield for a chance to show something over Chris Coghlan. I can’t stand Coghlan so to see Szczur get a hit in his three at bats was fun. I’d like to see Joe run him out there again today against the Pirates and give him a shot to get some consistent AB’s, especially since Jorge Soler really could use a day off.
  • BULLPEN BACK TO NORMAL? – It certainly seems like that of late, but this has been a great example of why I don’t believe in paying for bullpen arms. I build my pen from within with guys that maybe don’t quite have enough to start, but throw hard. You take your chances that they click and then fill in the gaps with guys like Jason Motte or Phil Coke. Some will suck and some will hit. Buy lots of lottery ticket arms and hope to hit one or two. It’s very similar to what we have seen them do with the rotation. The pen has been great of late, but that could also completely turn around in the Pirates series. You just can’t predict bullpens.


  • I couldn’t watch this game because I have a job and it was during the day. Once I got home, I was too tired to watch the archive and I saw the score on social media so I wasn’t interested in watching.
  • Travis Wood continues to be concerning. I consider him our 5th starter at this point, and that makes me sad because he’s one of my favorite players on the team.
  • Welington Castillo is not helping his trade value by not performing at the plate, however, when you are used to starting and not able to get starter’s at bats, what can you expect? It’s a tough situation for him right now and I’m sure it’s weighing on him.



1960 - After being traded from the Phillies, Don Cardwell no-hits the Cardinals in his Cub debut. Thanks to three outstanding defensive catches, including Walt Moryn‘s game-ending grab, the Winston-Salem, NC native becomes the first pitcher to keep the opponents hitless in a first start after being traded.

1997 – In an 8-2 win over San Diego, the Cubs score half their runs when Brian McRaeDoug Glanville and Sammy Sosa all triple in the bottom of the seventh inning off Friar right-hander Tim Scott. Chicago third baseman Jose Hernandez also chips in with a run producing three-bagger during the fourth inning of the Wrigley Field contest.

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MLB Surprise Money Starters

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

The MLB season is nearly a month old and already baseball bettors have been treated to some very profitable surprise starting pitchers.

Here’s a look at a sportsbook review of three of these money-making arms and whether they’ll continue to cash in as the baseball season goes on:

Nick Martinez, Texas Rangers:

The Rangers’ right hander has jumped to the top of the money standings with a 2-0 record and slim 0.35 ERA through four starts this season – all of which ended in wins for Texas as a plus-money underdog. But buyer
beware of Martinez’s stellar start to the year.

He’s climbed near 100 pitches in those four starts despite not going more than seven innings and has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.38, well off the pace of the top pitchers in baseball. This second-year starter could wear
himself thin before the calendar gets to June at this pace.

Bartolo Colon, New York Mets:

The veteran hurler is proving he has plenty left in the tank with a strong debut to 2015. Colon is a perfect 4-0 with a 2.77 ERA through four starts, striking out a combined 23 batters and walking just one in that span. The
Mets were moneyline underdogs in his first two starts but the market has quickly corrected and betting New York with the right hander on the mound now comes at a price. Colon is usually a slow starter, which is why his strong April is puzzling.

The hefty hurler peaked around June and July last year and then again toward the end of the season. His heavy frame is made for those long hot days in August but as long as he keeps his pitch count down, he should
continue to surprise.

Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks:

Bradley entered the season with his top prospect mantle tarnished, battling back from injuries that took some velocity off his fastball and break off his curve. The 23-year-old righty has proven those doubters
wrong with a strong start to his rookie campaign.

Bradley is 2-0 (Arizona 3-0) with a 1.45 ERA through three starts. Those efforts have come against the Dodgers, Giants (on the road) and Rangers, so there’s still plenty to prove. However, the youngster did overcome some early control issues against Texas and battled back with a few double-play setups. The price is always going to be right for Arizona if Bradley continues this hot streak.

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Game 33 Notes – Rub Some Dirt on it, and Walk It Off

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Mets (1) @ Cubs (2)

W: Hector Rondon (2-0)
Carlos Torres (1-2)


  • Jason Hammel was outstanding in the game and it was frustrating to go through the entire game and wonder if the start was going to be wasted. It has to be frustrating when you’re on the mound and not getting run support, especially when you know someone like Matt Harvey is on the mound against you and he’s dealing as well. It was a tough assignment that Hammel drew, but at the same time, he’s been very consistent this year. I wonder if, in the back of his head, he fears he may be traded again at the deadline. He took a leap of faith to come back. I fully expect this deadline time to be different, but you still have to wonder if he worries about it just a little. They key to Hammel’s success so far this year is his ability to throw strikes consistently. He’s kept the walks down and has seen his K/B ratio double compared to a nice campaign with the Cubs last season. They made the comment on the broadcast last night that if Hammel is your # 3 or # 4 starter, you’re in pretty good shape.
  • Hector Rondon seems to be back to his old self now and picked up a blemish free 9th inning. It wasn’t  an official save situation, but it was about as close as you get, with the Cubs needing to shut the Mets down to allow for the game to go to the bottom of the 9th tied up. Zac Rosscup was called on to get one guy out and he failed. After that, it was up to Rondon.
  • I probably should have led with the fact that the win was comeback style against a team that was undefeated all year when leading after the 6th inning. Coming into the game, the Mets were 17-0 this season when that was the case. After last night, that number is 17-1. I doubted, but they proved me wrong.


  • Jorge Soler is really struggling at the plate and I wonder if he doesn’t just need a few days off mixed in their to get his head right. His 0-for-4 in the box score consisted of two strikeouts and two double plays. That’s a tough night. It would have been better had he just had four strikeouts. The problem is that there isn’t many other options in RF right now so he basically has to work through it on the job. I think a day off would do him well, though.
  • I didn’t like the substitution by Joe Maddon in the 9th inning to pull Anthony Rizzo for a pinch runner after he led off the 9th inning with a single. I understand the game was tied and that the move to put Matt Szczur worked in the end, but if you play armchair QB, you have to do it and stick to what you felt at the time, and at that time I felt it was a bad move because it takes your best hitter and your best fielding first base option out of the game should it go to extras. Had we been down a run, I may have felt different, but I just d0n’t feel like the potential benefit of what Szczur brings over Rizzo on the bases exceeds what Rizzo brings over anyone else on the bench in the lineup and at first base. I don’t like the move.



1883 – The Phillies, known as the Quakers at the time, win their first game in franchise history when they rout the White Stockings, later to be known as the Cubs, at Chicago’s Lake Front Park. Philadelphia had lost their first eight games of the season before today’s 12-0 victory, and will finish the season in last place in the eight-team National League with a dismal 17-81 (.173) record.

1950 – Pirates’ first baseman Johnny Hopp helps his team crush the Cubs, 16-9, when the Nebraska native goes 6-for-6 including a pair of homers. The All-star infielder is called ‘Hippity’ by his teammate.

1989 – In his first at-bat as a Cub, Lloyd McClendon hits a three-run homer in a 4-0 victory over Atlanta at Wrigley Field. The 30 year-old utility player, obtained in an off-season trade from Cincinnati for Rolando Roomes, plays an important role for the division champs, hitting .286 and 12 home runs in 259 at-bats.

2000 – Although Sammy Sosa gets five hits, Henry Rodriguez drives in seven runs and Eric Young steals five bases, the Cubs still manage to lose to the Expos, 16-15. Young’s accomplishment on the bases is the most by a Cubs player since 1881 when George Gore stole seven bases.

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Game 32 Notes – Jake Arrieta is Good and Noah Syndergaad is Gonna Be Too

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Mets (1) @ Cubs (6)

W: Jake Arrieta (4-3)
L: Noah Syndergaard (0-1)


With the score at 1-0, Cubs, Starlin Castro came up with one man on in the 6th and doubled to left field, scoring Jorge Soler. (WPA Added – .190) (Watch Video)


  • STARTING PITCHING – I admit that I was starting to worry about Jake a little, but he came out dealing yesterday. It started off a little shaky against the first batter, as he walked Curtis Granderson, but he induced a double play to Addison Russell and we were off and running. When the dust cleared, a line of 8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 10 K was entered into the box score. For Jake, it was his best outing of the year, posting a game score of 80 and it comes after two rather stinky performances in his last outings. It’s good to see both Jon Lester and Jake put up back to back solid outings in the rotation. That’s what you pay for when you have horses. You pay to get a string of solid outings in a row and that’s how you win series.
  • KRIS BRYANT CAN HIT – See, and you guys were worried about the lack of power so far this year by Bryant. Power comes in bunches, just like hits. Baseball is a sport of streaks. I knew the power would come and for Bryant, it came in the form of home run number three last night. He was actually just a double shy of the cycle. Bryant has now hit three home runs in the last four games, so my guess is that we’re going to see a nice little power streak out of him, which comes at the right time.
  • BLEMISH FREE BULLPEN – That’s a little easier to produce when you only call on them for one inning, but James Russell came in with a five run lead and pitched a scoreless 9th. I actually turned the game off in the 7th (shame on me, but I was tired), so I missed the outing, but as I was going to sleep I wondered if I’d wake up to a win or if the pen would blow it. At the time, it was 4-1, so thinking they may blow it was not out of line. The key right now for this pen is baby steps. If the starters can relieve some of the pressure by working deeper into games, it allows for rest. If the offense can do their part to put the pen in low leverage situations, it goes a long way toward relieving the stress. That should help us see a better bullpen.


  • I CAN’T GET CHRIS COGHLAN OFF MY BASEBALL TEAM – Since I made the statement that I thought he was useless, he’s actually played well. While that seems like it would be a good thing, I don’t believe it to be a long term solution. I’d rather see him suck and be off the team. If he keeps producing, Joe will need to keep running him out there.
  • NOAH SYNDERGAARD IS GOING TO BE GOOD – Don’t look at his final line. Keep in mind that this was his first ML outing and look at how he did in innings 1-5. He was matching Jake inning for inning. That’s another good arm in the NL that the Cubs are going to contend with, because he’s as advertised and he should have come out after five innings and around 85 pitches.
  • CAN WE NOT COME UP WITH ANYTHING BETTER THAN THIS? - I’m all about making sure pitchers are protected on the mound from the comebacker off the bat. It’s a scary position to play and we’ve seen way to many guys get drilled, but this is not good.



1942 – Braves’ pitcher Jim Tobin, en route to a 6-5 victory over the Cubs, becomes the first modern-day hurler to hit three home runs in one game, equalling the feat of Guy Hecker, who hit three inside-the-park round-trippers playing for Louisville in 1886. ‘Ironsides’, who pinch-hit a homer in the eighth inning of yesterday’s contest, would have hit five consecutive blasts, if his first inning fly ball, which was caught against the right field fence, had gone out.

1958 – As a pinch-hitter, Stan Musial collects his 3000th hit in the sixth inning off Moe Drabowsky in the Cardinals’ 5-3 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. ‘The Man’, the youngest player to reach the milestone, is the eighth major leaguer to accomplish the feat.

1969 – With his daughter Jan, along with her classmates, in attendance at chilly Wrigley Field, first baseman Ernie Banks drives in seven runs with two three-run homers and a double in the Cubs’ 19-0 rout of San Diego. Following the consecutive no-run performances by Ferguson Jenkins and Ken Holtzman, Dick Selma adds another, making it the first time in 60 years that the team has shut out its opponents in three consecutive games.

1982 – The Cubs become the first major league team to win 8,000 games when Allen Ripley and Lee Smith combine to shut out Houston in Chicago’s 5-0 victory at the Astrodome. The milestone comes in the 15,337th contest in the 107 year history of the franchise.

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Game 31 Notes – The Mets Can’t Handle Our Dingers

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Mets (3) @ Cubs (4)

W: Jon Lester (3-2)
L: Jacob deGrom (3-4)
S: Hector Rondon (7)


  • BACK TO BACK JACKS - Our minds tell us that it will be a regular occurrence once this lineup of hitters gets a little more established, but when it happens, it’s fun to see. What better way to start off a series against a hot Mets team than to get your leadoff man on and then see Kris Bryant christen the LF bleachers with a two run shot and Anthony Rizzo follow it right up on the very next pitch with a solo shot to CF? That’s the way to rattle an young SP and get the fans excited about things. It’s going to be fun in the future watching this lineup. In the ideal projection, everyone up and down should have 15-20+ home run power. That is a crazy, scary good offense and one that I would be terrified to face if I were an opposing pitcher.
  • THE BLEACHERS OPENED ON TIME…SORT OF – Last night saw the opening of the left field bleachers, “on schedule”, albeit a delayed on time. It’s going to be really cool when this whole renovation project is finished. Living in NC, I don’t get to Wrigley much, and I’ve not been there since they put the seating area in the batter’s eye. I’m going to wait until everything is complete before I get to the park so I can be completely overwhelmed by how different it looks. I remember taking the bus as a kid, buying tickets the day of the game for the bleachers, and eating at the hot dog place next door that we called “Yum Yum Donuts”. It will be crazy to see how much different it is when the whole Wrigley experience, hotel included, is complete.
  • THE PITCHING – All I ask is that my # 1 and # 2 starters give me six innings of three run baseball with a start that produces seven innings every so often and then the back end and fill in the gaps. Jon Lester was able to give us just that, and really looked pretty good until a couple of solo shots in the 6th that also went back to back, courtesy of Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores. We’ve seen a drastic improvement from Lester the last few starts. He was 2-0 with an ERA of 1.80 in his three starts coming into the game, and he picked up another win (because we all know that it’s a stat that matters most) in the process of last night’s outing. That said, it was crazy nerve wracking to watch the bullpen, but they came in and got the job done. Justin Grimm pitched a pretty easy 7th inning and was brought back out in the 8th. I liked the move from Joe Maddon today. I didn’t like it with Pedro Strop due to his struggles and early season overuse, but with Grimm it was the right call. Unfortunately, while Maddon’s hook was longer than most managers, he was quick to pull Grimm after the leadoff man reached base on a single. Zac Russcup and Hector Rondon finished things up, despite the fact that I fell asleep in the bottom of the 8th and missed the 9th. Baby steps for the pen. Baby steps.


  • STRIKE ZONE ISSUES IN THE 6TH – I despise the whole situation between Lester and the home plate umpire, Andy Fletcher, in the top of the 6th. While the calls being made by Fletcher on pitches that were borderline were not going Lester’s way, you have no place to show up and disrespect an umpire by shouting from the mound and clearly berating him. Fletcher would have had every right to toss Lester for showing him up, but he kept his head. The calls we bad and Lester’s response was bad. About the only thing commendable in the situation was Fletcher handling it with poise and not turning it into an ump show. He did a good job just ignoring things.
  • FAILURE TO POUNCE – If I have to nitpick a little on a win, it would be toward Rizzo for failure to pounce on an already dazed Met’s team in the 4th. With the bases load and two outs, Rizzo had the chance to step on the throats a little and drive home a pair of runs at least. Instead, he not only grounded out to end the inning, but he did so right to the pitcher. Not good.


  • The Cubs signed Pedro Feliciano prior to the game to a minor league contract. At this point, we are looking for trash to treasure type guys and hoping one sticks in an effort to address this bullpen situation.
  • John Arguello posted a look at 10 players the Cubs could look at with the 9th pick in the upcoming June draft. Take a look at the piece.
  • Crane Kenny visited the booth last night and discussed the new bleachers.


Game 2 of the 4 game series with the Mets tonight at 8:05p EDT. For the Mets, Noah Syndergaard, the top prospect in their system, makes his Major League debut. Syndergaard was 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA in five starts with Las Vegas this season. All that I’ve read is that he’s the real deal. He’ll be opposed by Jake Arrieta, who desperately needs a good start after struggling in his last few outings.


1955 – After walking the bases full in the bottom of the ninth, Cubs right-hander Sam ‘Toothpick’ Jones whiffs Dick Groat, Roberto Clemente and Frank Thomas to preserve his 4-0 no-hitter against the Pirates. Unfortunately, only 2,918 fans are on hand at Wrigley Field to witness the first no-hitter ever thrown by a black player and the ninth rookie to throw a hitless game.

1956 – At Ebbets Field, Carl Erskine tosses his second career no-hitter when he holds the crosstown rival Giants hitless in the Dodgers’ 3-0 victory. The right-handed ‘Oisk’ also threw a no-no against the Cubs in 1952.

1968 – The Mets play their 1000th game in franchise history, losing to Chicago at Wrigley Field in the first game of a doubleheader, 4-3. The Amazins have compiled a 332-664 record along with four games that ended in a tie during the span, but start their next 1000 games of match ups with a resounding 10-0 rout of the Cubs in the nightcap.

1970 – At Wrigley Field only 5,264 fans see Ernie Banks hit his 500th career home run, but on hand to witness the historic home run is Frank Secory, one of the umpires of the 1953 contest in which Mr. Cub hit his first round-tripper. The second-inning line drive, hit off Braves’ pitcher Pat Jarvis into the left-field bleachers, bounces back onto the field and is given to the Cub first baseman after the ball is retrieved by Atlanta outfielder Rico Carty.

1974 – In a 4-3 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Bronx native Ed Kranepool collects his 1000th major league hit. The James Monroe High School graduate, who will play his entire 18-year career with the Mets, retiring as the all-time franchise leader with 1,418 hits.

1998Mark Grace is the first player to have his home run ball land in the swimming pool, which is located 415 feet from home plate just behind the right-center field fence of the new Bank One Ballpark. The Cubs’ first baseman, who will become a fan favorite in Arizona after signing as a free agent with the club in 2000, will not accomplish the feat again during his three seasons of playing in the desert.

2004 – In one of the most remarkable at-bats in big league history, Alex Cora fouls off 14 consecutive pitches and then hits the 18th thrown to him by the Cubs’ Matt Clement over the right-field fence for a two-run home run which doubles LA’s lead to 4-0. The Dodger Stadium crowd cheered each foul ball as the total started to be displayed on the scoreboard.

2013 – The Cubs and Anthony Rizzo agree to a $41 million, seven-year contract in a deal that could reach $68 million over nine seasons. In January of 2012, Chicago acquired the 23 year-old first baseman and right-handed starting pitcher Zach Cates from the Padres in exchange for right-handed starter Andrew Cashner and outfielder Kyung-Min Na.

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Game 30 Notes – Back to .500 and I Hate Ryan Braun

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Cubs (2) @ Brewers (3)

W: Michael Blazek (3-0)
L: Jason Motte (1-1)


  • THE BULLPEN – It’s hard to pin the loss completely on them, but they let us down again. Zac Rosscup came into the 7th with a 1-0 lead after Justin Grimm got out of the 6th to preserve the lead. Joe Maddon elected to pull Kyle Hendricks after 85 pitches, a ballsy move in my opinion, because he had gotten hit hard the last few batters. They are trained to know when a guy is done for the day, so I trust him, but it seems like such a hard move to make when the pen has been so god awful lately. I was tricked by Grimm’s inning that I even started to type out a tweet asking if fans would still go to Pedro Strop in the 8th to preserve the lead. Literally as I was halfway through typing it on my phone, Rosscup gave up the solo home run to tie the game and then the very next batter gave up another one to cough up the lead. The Cubs would ultimately tie the game and send it to extras, but Jason Motte would piss it away in the 11th. I trusted this bullpen with my heart and they’ve stomped on it and treated it like they don’t care. It hurts, but I still believe they will come back to me and be the faithful pen I believe in.
  • CHRIS COGHLAN – Can we please face it that Coghlan is not a very useful baseball player at this point. He’s on the wrong side of 30 years old, and had a career year last year that has helped him hang around longer than he probably should. I’m tired of him being on my baseball team. Yes, he was the Rookie of the Year for the Marlins and was drafted in the 1st round. There should be talent there, but there just isn’t. He’s hitting .189 on the season and taking at bats away from guys like Matt Szczur or Junior Lake. Neither of them I consider to be stars either, but at least see what you have. It can’t be worse, right?
  • THE UMPIRING – They missed several calls in this game, and while I never blame the umpire for a loss, it’s hard not to notice. What’s the point of replay if you can’t correct an error you might see in the video that isn’t challengeable? Isn’t the goal to get the call right? There were bad strike calls and bad judgement calls. It wasn’t a good day for blue.
  • RYAN BRAUN – I can’t stand this guy. I honestly think he’s my least favorite player in sports. In his first at bat, frustrated that he popped up to the catcher, he got in Miguel Montero‘s way a bit so he could do a dramatic bat flip in disgust. Had Montero not made the play, Maddon probably could have lobbied for interference. The next at bat, frustrated on a called third strike, he flipped the bat in disgust again. Finally, late in the game he made a good play in the field but was over dramatic and dove when it wasn’t necessary. I took a look at the MLB media center and neither of the bat flips are on the highlight reel, so if you want to see them, go back and watch the condensed game. I’m tired of Braun. He should have been ejected for the second bat flip and the Cubs need to hit him the next opportunity they can when it won’t hurt the team.


  • STROP’S OUTING OUT OF THE PEN – There were some good things. Not only did Strop pitch a nice 8th, but he pitched a nice 9th as well. I can’t say that I agree with leaving him out there to pitch the 9th, given his struggles and over use, but that’s why I sell insurance and Maddon manages a baseball team. It’s good to see Strop do well. Hopefully this will be an encouragement to him and we can begin to see the dude we all love.
  • HENDRICK’S START – It wasn’t dazzling and it wasn’t long, but sometimes size doesn’t matter. Hendricks got in there and did what he needed to do. I was encouraged by the outing and hopefully he can build on it for next time. He’s the 5th guy in the rotation, so expecting much more is silly.


The Cubs come home to face the Mets in a four game series. It will see the opening of the left field bleachers, so maybe that will give the Cubs a needed boost from the fans.

Jacob deGrom goes for the Mets. deGrom struck out nine Orioles in his last time out to earn the win. Only Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro have ever faced him and they are a combined 0-f0r-5.

Jon Lester takes the mound for the Cubs. He is 2-0 with an ERA of 1.80 in his last three starts. We could use another good outing to get the series off to a strong start against a really good baseball team.


1955 – With the help of an Ernie Banks grand slam, Chicago snaps the Brooklyn’s 11-game winning streak, 10-8. The bases-filled homer will be Mr. Cub’s first of five on the year.

1998 – Striking out 13 Diamondbacks, Cubs’ Kerry Wood sets a major league record for strikeouts in consecutive games with 33 in two games. The previous record for strikeouts (32) in two starts was held by Luis Tiant (1968 – Indians), Nolan Ryan (1974 – Angels), Dwight Gooden (1984 – Mets) and Randy Johnson (1997 – Mariners).

2000 – Beating the Cubs, 14-8, it takes the Brewers four hours and twenty-two minutes to play a regulation nine-inning game. The time breaks the National League record and ties the mark set by the Orioles and Yankees on September 5, 1997 for the longest non-extra inning game ever played.

2006Hideki Matsui‘s streak of playing in every game since starting his MLB career with the Yankees in 2003 ends at 518 games as the left fielder breaks his left wrist attempting to make a diving catch. The 31 year-old Japanese star established the big league record for consecutive games to start a career, surpassing Hall of Fame infielder Ernie Banks, who played in 424 contests at the start of his playing days with Cubs from 1953-56.

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