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Game 79 & 80 – Double Dose of Crap

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Cubs 7, Giants 13
Cubs 3, Giants 6

Box Score (Game 1Game 2) / Highlights (Game 1Game 2) / Condensed Game (Game 1)

WHAT WENT RIGHT

  • Carlos Pena went deep to bring the Cubs within one and then Koyie Hill hit a HR to tie it early. It was down hill from then on in game one.
  • Homeruns by Montanez and Ramirez. Neither of these guys project into the Cubs future but it was nice to see them hit long balls.
  • Nice defensive plays by Castro and Johnson. You expect good glove plays from Johnson but Castro hasn’t been up to par recently. I’ve been laying off of him because of his bat but it was nice to see him flash some leather, perhaps he will be our starting third baseman next year. I’d like to see him transition to the hot corner.
  • Samardzija put in two solid innings of relief, as did Mateo.

WHAT WENT WRONG

  • Poor pitching by Lopez and Grabow, both of those guys need to be released. I’ve been patient with Cubs general management for a while but Hendry needs to go now. Why are these guys with the team? Because of bad management decisions – let’s cut the head off of the snake right now. Same with Clown Kenney. But we all know our new Bozo Tom Ricketts will express total support for the management won’t he? Get a show on WGN Ricketts, I want to play the bucket game again. It’s sad to say but we have a loser team, loser management and a joker for an owner. Other than that things are just fine on the North Side, it isn’t even July and the Cubs are not even an afterthought.

ON THIS DATE IN BASEBALL HISTORY

  • 1907: The Washington Senators stole thirteen bases on Yankee catcher Branch Rickey. Apparently he was a smart fella but didn’t have much of an arm.
  • 1910: Cub infielder Joe Tinker stole home twice in the same game.
  • 1939: The New York Yankees hit 13 homeruns against the Philadelphia A’s to set a major league record for most homeruns in a doubleheader.
  • 1970: The Cubs helped the Pirates close Forbes Field by losing a doubleheader and the Pirates tied the Mets in the standings. Then the Pirates were doomed to play in Three Rivers Stadium for several years, it was like watching baseball being played at an airport.
  • 2010: The Cubs put Carlos Zambrano on the restricted list. We still don’t know the outcome.


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Game 77 – Cubs lose rubber game 6-3

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Cubs 3, Royals 6

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

What went right:

  • The Cubs mounted two good offensive onslaughts – the first was in the third when Geovanny Soto homered to make it a 4-1 ballgame. During the fourth Reed Johnson hit a ball hard and landed on second – DeWitt doubled him home and the Cubs reduced the lead to two. Soto then doubled home DeWitt and the Cubs were back in business with a one run deficit.
  • In the sixth the Cubs had two nice defensive gems – firstly Reed Johnson made a nice shoestring catch to save a base hit. On the next at bat Starlin Castro ranged to the left and picked off a ball that was headed for left center and Pena made a nice pick at first digging a ball to complete the out.
  • Carpenter came in in the eighth and he was bringin’ it. I’ve been rather concerned about Cashner’s setback because this guy was showing us the kind of lightning that one would expect from a seventh or eighth inning set-up guy. Now Carpenter appears to fit that role and it’s nice to see someone come up from AA and fulfill a needed spot.

What went wrong:

  • Randy Wells struggled right from the get-go. The first six runners reached base and it was 4-0 before an out was even recorded. Later in the fourth Wells let two more runs in making it a 6-3 game. Wells looked good two years ago and had a poor sophomoric season that included some injury concerns. To me this is his “make or break” season – if he can’t do better than what we saw tonight then he should probably be let go or traded. His command was off and when he was in the strike zone he got hit. Starting pitching was our downfall tonight and that was what went wrong.

The Takeaway: The Cubs tried hard but they don’t have what it takes to beat a team like the Royals. Kansas City has been a whipping boy for so long that their draft picks have had no choice but to come to fruition. We are seeing the seeing the same from the erstwhile Pirate losers, a team that now finds itself eight games ahead of the Cubs. We have aging superstars like Ramirez and Soriano who are overpaid for what they do. We also have younger guys like Zambrano and Fukudome that get paid much more than what their performance merits. So I as a fan must watch the games patiently and hope for a miracle. Because that’s about what it’s going to take to turn this team around, I’m not confident that Mike Quade, Jim Hendry or Crane Kenney have what it takes to get the job done.

On this date in baseball history:

  • 1906: Baseball had it’s first death when Herbert Whitney of the Burlington Pathfinders was beaned by a pitch.
  • 1916: The Cleveland Indians became the first team to wear numbered jerseys.
  • 1938: Carl Hubbell got his 200th win against the Chicago Cubs. He was the first player to really master the screwball from what I’ve read.
  • 1960: Rookie third baseman Ron Santo made his major league debut. He went three for seven in a doubleheader and the Cubs swept the Pirates. Santo drove in five runs.
  • 1966: Ron Santo got hit in the face by Jack Fisher of the Mets. I remember reading about this as kid, he’s lucky it didn’t end his career like the ball that hit Tony Conigliaro.

Tomorrow the Cubs go home to play a makeup game against the Colorado Rockies. The game will be televised at 1:20 PM CDT on CSN.

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

1st Star – Geovany Soto (.263 WPA)

2nd Star – Eric Hosmer (.112 WPA)

3rd Star – Chris Getz (.083 WPA)

Cubs Hitting: -.166 WPA

Cubs Pitching: -.334 WPA

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Game 66 – Come From Behind Surprise

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Cubs 5, Brewers 4

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

Let’s break with orthodoxy here – the Cubs won this game inexplicably. Down 4-1 late in the game Mike Quade got tossed for arguing balls and strikes.  Way to show some moxy Mike!   Despite the win and last minute heroics this team needs to be broken up.

There’s no way to make this franchise look pretty – all of the older players must be traded. This is a team of losers and I only watch them when I have to. So what needs to be done? I propose the following acts which should happen no later than the All Star Game. What I recommend is as follows:

  • Immediate dismissal of Crane Kenney and Jim Hendry.
  • Takeover of said functions by Tom Ricketts.
  • Trade immediately if possible: Pena, Ramirez, Soriano, Fukudome, Byrd, Johnson, Marshall, Wood,  Dewitt – anybody of value except the youngest players.
  • Rebuild the minor leagues, trade guys that aren’t panning out, promote guys that are.
  • Put Quade on an “improve or be fired” program with a one year objective, he’s not putting the right lineup card in, playing guys like DeWitt in left field instead of Campana.

I’m not going to try to make music out of sour milk, it’s time for a change.

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

1st Star – Yovani Gallardo (.323 WPA)

2nd Star – Aramis Ramirez (.321 WPA)

3rd Star – Starlin Castro (.233 WPA)

Cubs Hitting: +.292 WPA

Cubs Pitching: +.208 WPA

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Game 57 – Cubs Lose Another Heartbreaker

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Cubs 2, Cardinals 3

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

Today the Cubs played another competitive game, only to be beaten once again by the better team (and who isn’t better?) The sweep was consummated by yet another walk-off homerun by Albert Pujols and the Cardinals put the Cubs to sleep for 2011 by beating them 3-2 in the 10th inning. The North Siders are now 11 games behind the Cards, 11 games below .500 and are sporting a 6 game losing streak. I don’t want to berate these guys because it’s obvious they are trying, that notwithstanding it’s time for major surgery.

Why? Because the fans deserve better and the Ricketts family is with the fans on this one. I really like the new owner – he’s seen all the time welcoming fans to the stadium, he’s accessible and a true Cubs fan. He even put his money where his mouth is. Despite the commitment his team is spiraling like a plane with a missing tail fin – nothing seems to be working and the fans are voting with their dollars. Attendance is down about 5000 fans per game and it’s just the beginning of June, wait until they get a load of August when it’s hot! I’m going to follow protocol with format in just a few minutes but let’s be honest with one another – it’s time to go another direction with this team. Half-truths aren’t going to work, it’s time to start over, even if that means a rebuilding phase. I’ve been in the corporate world since 1979 and I’ve worked for companies as small as $20 million a year in sales to as large as a few billion. Sometimes you have to realize that your vision is imperfect and it requires change and I think that is where the Cubs are. I am confident that Tom Ricketts will make some moves after 2011 and am also hopeful for the future of the organization. That having been said here are the game highlights:

What went right:

  • Ramirez had a good game offensively doubling in the first two runs; he also singled later in the game.
  • Bottom of the 6th: Barney made a terrific play up the middle making a 4-6 putout to end the inning. This was a pivotal moment in the game and it got the Cubs out of the inning.
  • Bottom of the 8th: Sean Marshall was masterful climbing the ladder on Pujols – this guy has found his game again and Sean got him looking for high cheese. Well done sir!
  • I’m glad that Quade found a way to insert Brad Snyder – this guy has done it at AAA Iowa. I like his approach at the plate but he needs to put on a few pounds of muscle. Brad could be a low cost high end contributor, I hope that Quade will play him more frequently now that the Cubs are done for 2011. Let’s see what this guy can do.

What went wrong:

  • Without belaboring the point the Cubs gave up another walk-off, this time courtesy of Lopez. Why is this guy even on our roster? And why in the Sam Hill are we letting a notorious Cub Killer beat us?
  • Ramirez showed us why he’s not the defensive third baseman he used to be at third during the bottom of the seventh – he totally fumbled a transfer from his glove hand to his throwing hand resulting in an E5. Fortunately he got Theriot at second in a fielder’s choice on the following play.
  • Tyler Colvin is now hitting under .090, I really feel sorry for this guy but he needs to proceed directly to Des Moines and play every day. I’m not giving up on Tyler at all; in fact it’s perplexing as to why he hasn’t done anything since he got hurt. My guess is that five at bats a day for thirty days will get him back on track.

Tomorrow the Cubs go to Cincinnati to play my worst enemy, the Reds. It’s unlikely that I will be able to see any of the games since WGN will not be televising and the Reds organization chooses to black out Nashville, TN. The consolation prize is that I won’t see any Cubs losses but I wish them well and hopefully this six game skid will come to an end against Dusty’s team.

On this date in baseball history:

  • 1982: Cal Ripken began his consecutive games streak, a record that may withstand the test of time (at least for a while.) As a litmus test I would put it in the same category as Hack Wilson’s RBI record – some day someone will beat it but it won’t be any time soon.
  • 1989: The Sky Dome became the new home stadium for the Blue Jays. Funny how it happened in mid season – I can remember when it was the twelfth wonder of the world and it was drawing three million fans a year. Those days are long gone and the Jays have not been a significant team since then. Perhaps they should have a Welcome Back Carter Day.
  • 2000: On this date the Florida Marlins used their first round draft pick to select first baseman Adrian Gonzalez; for some reason they decided not to keep him. And finally:
  • 2002: The Houston Astros re-named their stadium “Minute Maid Park,” replacing the stigma of the former sponsor Enron. I’ve been to this ballpark and it’s not a bad place to see a game (despite the fact that it has a choo-choo.) Houston wasn’t the only city to have a stadium named after a corrupt company – my hometown football venue was named after Adelphia and the Regas family’s progenitors will likely spend the rest of their natural lives in jail. That having been said the Enron spectacle was one of the worst corporate scams this nation has endured – their top management scammed innocent investors and gamed the energy market in California with it’s market manipulations. I’m glad that Jeff Skilling got what he deserved but saddened that Ken Lay didn’t die with a guilty plea on is record, nor did he get the jail time that he so rightly deserved.

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

1st Star – Ryan Theriot (.471 WPA)

2nd Star – Albert Pujols (.371 WPA)

3rd Star – Carlos Zambrano (.320 WPA)

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Game 53 – Marmol Meltdown

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Cubs 3, Astros 7

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

What went right:

  • The Cubs were “game” tonight, down 1-0 in the eighth they came back and took a 3-1 lead. Soto doubled and was replaced by Brad Snyder who scored when Houston pitcher Brad Lyles threw a ball away on a sac bunt by Colvin and Snyder scored. Colvin then advanced to second on the FC/E1. Barney then nailed a double off the wall which scored Colvin which made it a 2-1 game. Pena was then walked intentionally and Ramirez doubled him home making it 3-1. Things were looking pretty good.
  • I continue to be impressed by Tony Campana, although he doesn’t project to be a fixture in center field. He laid down a nice sac bunt tonight and came close to beating it out. He also helps out defensively when DeWitt is in left. This guy is fun to watch and he is rapidly becoming a fan favorite – he gives you everything he’s got.
  • The Cubs managed to put some guys in scoring position (although the weren’t able to get all of them home.)
  • As a general rule I like the effort that the young players are putting in – losing guys like Soriano, Byrd, etc. doesn’t bother me too much because we get to see our future.

What went wrong:

  • Men left in scoring position – this is what has really defined many of the Cubs losses this year. They get guys on but they don’t get ‘em home.
  • Marmol was a little more than pathetic – six runs in the 9th? Come on Carlos! Worst I’ve ever seen him, he can plan his off time in July because he sure isn’t going to the All Star game.
  • Errors by Castro – the scoop to his left got him again for an error, he has to square his body up on those short hops or get used to 20 error seasons. He also made a mental error arguing with an umpire on a dropped third strike. Starlin needs to learn that he will not win those arguments but he may very well win a base if he runs these dropped third strikes out.

Tomorrow the Cubs will try to avoid a sweep against the lowly Astros. The game begins at 1:20pm and it will be telecast on WGN.

On this date in baseball history:

  • 1869: Baseball had it’s first rain out as the Cincinnati Red Stockings were unable to play against the Antioch Nine.
  • 1937: Carl Hubbell lost his consecutive game winning streak at 24 games. Hubbell was known for his screwball and it was said that his hand faced out when he walked after retiring.
  • 1938: Lou Gehrig played in his 2000th consecutive game.
  • 1964: Baseball had it’s longest game, a 7 hour 23 minute 22 inning affair between the Giants and the Mets. The Giants won it when Gaylord Perry threw ten innings of relief and got the win 8-6. Ironically it was the second game of a doubleheader.
  • 1966: Ron Santo appeared in his 364th consecutive game at third base, a National League record.
  • 1976: The Braves lose to the Padres 10-7. New Atlanta owner Ted Turner invites the 2994 fans who showed up for the game to the next game as his guests.
  • 2009: Carlos Pena is the first player to hit a ball into the A ring, the highest catwalk at Tropicana Field. The ball bounces off the roof scaffolding in play and is caught by the Twins’ Jose Mijares for an out.

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

1st Star – Carlos Zambrano (.325 WPA)

2nd Star – Matt Downs (.302 WPA)

3rd Star – Tyler Colvin (.251 WPA)

Turd of the Game – Carlos Marmol (-.901 WPA)

Official Recap Standings

Mark 6-4 (.600)

Joe 11-10 (.524)

Buddy 3-4 (.429)

Brandon 1-5 (.167)

Chet 0-2 (.000)

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Game 46 – Cubs dominate the Mets

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Cubs 11, Mets 1

Box Score / Highlights


Tonight was a fun game to watch as the Cubs administered a beat-down on the Mets.  All things considered the damage was 11-1 as the Cubs gave the hometown fans something to cheer about.  Some highlights for the game:

What went right:

  • Offense offense offense:  The Cubs scored frequently and put the Mets away in the second.  The second inning was orgiastic as the Cubs plated five runs compliments to Ramirez (a single,) Montanez (a double,) and an RBI by Barney (who is tied for the lead in RBIs.)  Castro singled and the Cubs lead 5-0.  The Cubs tagged on two more runs in the fifth and sixth and then blew it away in the seventh.
  • Dempster pitched a strong game:  Ryan went into the game with a league-worst 6.91 ERA and came out with a 6.29 ERA.  All told his line was 7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER , 5K and 1 BB.
  • We didn’t make the defensive miscues, the Mets did:    Ronnie Paulino made a couple of defensive miscues which lead to the Cubs victory.  And Soriano made a shrewd play on a carom off the left field wall in the fifth.  Sometimes he looks comical out there, tonight he didn’t.
  • Great contribution by Cubs’ role players, particularly Lou Montanez.  I remember when this guy was drafted third overall – he was a hot-shot shortstop prospect out of Florida.  Things didn’t work out and he was let go; Andy MacPhail gave him a shot in Baltimore and he ended up with a minor league contract where he started in Chicago.  It was great to see him have a good game although I’m not sure he has what it takes to stick.  Personally I like Campana better.
  • Mop up:  Congratulations to Grabow and Samardzija for good relief, particularly the Shark who struck out the side.

What went wrong:

  • Nothing, unless you want to consider the Mets’ defense.

Other notes:

  • Today the Cubs put Matt Garza on the DL retroactive to the last date he pitched.  They said it was because of a bone bruise and I’m not reading much into it, he should be back soon.  Randy Wells seems to be slated to start Saturday’s game in his place and the MRI on Cashner came back negative.  I’m not sure Andrew will pitch again this year and quite frankly I’m not sure what his future will entail.  Shoulder injuries are a whole lot different than elbow problems, this year isn’t going to be one in which I see Cashner making a contribution.  We will see what happens but Andrew Cashner’s stock is much lower in my portfolio.

On this date in baseball history:

  • 1935:  The first night game was played at Crosley Field in Cincinnati.  President Franklin Delano Roosevelt pressed the button to turn the lights on.

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

1st Star– Ryan Dempster (.188 WPA)

2nd Star –Lou Montanez (.139 WPA)

3rd Star– Darwin Barney (.105 WPA)

Official Recap Standings

Mark 6-3 (.667)

Buddy 3-3 (.500)

Joe 9-10 (.474)

Brandon 1-4 (.200)

Chet 0-2 (.000)

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Game 44 – What an 8th

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Cubs 9, Red Sox 3

Box Score / Video Highlights / Condensed Game


A thrilling end of the game to say the least.  After some concerning injury setbacks the Cubs rallied in the eighth to pull off a victory and stop Boston’s win streak at eight.  The Cubs go into tomorrow night’s rubber game with questions insofar as the starting pitcher and center fielder as it was announced that Matt Garza is suffering from elbow tightness and Marlon Byrd was beaned early in the game.  Some highlights from tonight’s game:

What went right:

  • Zambrano pitched a quality game and hung in there – we needed a good start as the Cubs are now down three starters.
  • The Cubs hung in there and didn’t give up – they fought and scratched and kept the game close until the bats woke up in the eighth.
  • Timely hitting and pinch-hitting in the eighth – the Cubs scored 8 runs in the 8th to put the game away.  Barney and Castro did what they did best by setting the table, Ramirez got picky at the plate and coerced a walk out of Albers to load the bases.  Pena did the same and Albers walked the second Cubs run in – Johnson lined the game-winning hit off the scoreboard scoring the tying and winning runs.
  • Keystone Red Sox defense, they looked pretty bad.
  • Kerry Wood rebounded and pitched a strong eighth inning.

What went wrong:

  • Prior to the game the Cubs learned that Matt Garza would not be able to pitch on Sunday, this totally disrupts what was at best an uncertain rotation.  Rumor is that the Cubs will have a Bullpen Day on Sunday – I’d rather see them bring up the best Double A or Triple A option and give Garza two starts off.
  • Byrd got hit in the face and was immediately removed from the game.  It looked pretty bad but Marlon did not lose consciousness and appeared to be cut slightly under the left eye.

Tomorrow the Cubs will go for the series win with Tim Wakefield as the announced starter for Boston, hopefully the wind will be blowing in for the knuckleballer.  The Cubs could use some breaks after losing the opener and tying Game 2.

On this date in baseball history:

  • 1919:  The New York Giants traded Jim Thorpe to the Boston Braves for Pat Ragan.  Thorpe was a better footballer than he was a baseball player, as were a few that came after him.
  • 1952:  The Dodgers scored 15 runs in the first on the way to a 19-1 victory over the Reds.  It was a Major League record.
  • 2005:  Korean Dae-Sung-koo lines a double off Randy Johnson, causing Mike Piazza to lose a million dollar pledge.  Piazza told teammate David Wright that he would donate a million dollars to charity if the Korean got a hit.  I’m unsure as to whether or not Piazza delivered as promised.

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

1st Star– Casey Coleman (.273 WPA)

2nd Star –Marlon Byrd (.122 WPA)

3rd Star– John Buck (.115 WPA)

Official Recap Standings

Mark 5-3 (.625)

Buddy 3-3 (.500)

Joe 9-10 (.474)

Brandon 1-4 (.200)

Chet 0-2 (.000)

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Game 41 – A Team Win…Finally

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Cubs 7, Marlins 5

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game


Tonight the Cubs got the best of the Marlins, courtesy of a game-winning homerun by Marlin Byrd. All told it was a 7-5 victory, a see-saw affair that saw the Cubs scatter thirteen hits and come back from a fifth inning deficit to win a game that they really needed to win. Some highlights and observations on the game:

What went right:

  • Lots of contributions offensively: Fukudome went 2-4 (now hitting .330,) Barney really impressed me despite the fact that he was 0-4. He hit the ball where it needed to be hit and accounted for two RBIs by playing smart baseball. Byrd hit a towering homerun to win the game and is quietly hitting .307; Hill went three for three but even did well in his next at bat bunting Campana to third (who later scored.) I’m really liking what I’m seeing from Campana, this guy is exciting to watch on the basepaths and he’ll give Colvin plenty of time to get his game back on track. Reed Johnson got Dempster off the hook with a two-run homer while pinch-hitting for Dempster. Fukudome is hitting .330, Barney .333, Castro .329, Ramirez .290, Byrd .307 – great offensive resurgence by the Cubs!
  • No errors – the only bone-headed play was Soriano out-running a single in left but it didn’t affect the score.
  • Good game management by Quade, with the exception of his decision on Dempster in the fifth (more explanation later.) I like how he brought the Shark in, watched him carefully and let him finish the seventh. Then he substituted Marshall, who got the job done. The Cubs pen is now sizing up well with Samardzija at 2.96 ERA, Marshall at 1.53 (H-9) and Marmol at 1.49 (S-9.)
  • The Cubs didn’t give up – they could have after the fifth and they were playing against a quality righthander – one the Cubs gave up for Juan Pierre. Nolasco now sports a 3.32 ERA.

What went wrong:

  • Ryan Dempster melted down again in the fifth. This is the third game that I’ve recapped where Dempster pitched masterfully, only to lose it in the middle innings. I noticed Ryan with his arm wrapped tight in the middle of the fifth, granted it’s not unusual for pitchers to wrap their arms between innings. But it seems to me that he’s having issues with endurance and it doesn’t appear to be any sort of malaise. After hitting the game-tying homerun to get Dempster off the hook Reed Johnson went to put his arm around Ryan and he walked away dejected. He seems frustrated by his own pitching and it’s not because he’s not trying. I’m wondering if he’s possibly fighting through an injury, this guy is not one to give up without giving it his all. The Cubs right hander now sports a 6.91 ERA.
  • Some idiot decided to streak the game and do a cartwheel before being arrested. Welcome to the Florida State Sex Offender Registry you moron!
  • Hanley Ramirez can’t seem to get his act together – granted he hit a homerun to the opposite field. But he is hitting with his eyes closed sometimes and his body parts aren’t working together – this guy has what it takes to be one of the best players in the game but it’s not happening now.

Thankfully Cubs fans that watched the last two games were rewarded with a win, tomorrow night the Cubs will play the Marlins on CSN beginning at 6:10 CDT.

Around the league:

  • Bob Brenly had the honor of taking down a number on a countdown for the oft-named Marlins ballpark, their new stadium is becoming ready for the 2012 season with 56 games remaining. To me “Sun Life” is a little shop of horrors, I’ll be glad to see the day when the Cubs don’t have to play there again. It is a bad baseball venue and Miami fans have consistently voted the same way with their wallets. The team will be renamed the Miami Marlins in 2012, hopefully the same will one day happen with the Nashville Titans and the Denver Rockies.
  • Pirates Watch: Charlie Morton is now 5-1 with a 2.62 ERA. Where did this guy come from? He hasn’t pitched this well since leaving Atlanta. Brad Lincoln is pitching well for AAA Indianapolis, striking out 23 in 25 innings pitched. Look for him to come up soon.
  • Matt Holliday has a quad injury and had to leave Wednesday’s game.

On this date in baseball history:

  • 1931: Babe Herman hit for the cycle for the first of two times that season. Two years later as a Cub he did it again, making him one of only two players to hit for the cycle three times during the 20th century.
  • 1990: RyneSandberg’s 123 game error streak came to an end. I can actually remember seeing the play, you knew it had to end sooner or later.
  • 2004: Randy Johnson threw a perfect game against the Diamondbacks at age 40, making him the oldest pitcher ever to throw triple zeroes. It was his second career no-hitter.

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

1st Star– Reed Johnson (.258 WPA)

2nd Star – Greg Dobbs (.201 WPA)

3rd Star– Jeff Samardzija (.164 WPA)

Official Recap Standings

Mark 4-3 (.571)

Buddy 3-3 (.500)

Joe 8-10 (.444)

Brandon 1-4 (.200)

Chet 0-2 (.000)

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Game 30 – Cubs take two out of three in LA

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Cubs 5, Dodgers 1

Box Score / Video Highlights

Today the Cubs beat the Dodgers 5-1 in a game that featured good starting pitching and three homeruns. Both teams dressed in 1944 throwback uniforms; the Dodgers wore their “thirds,” a baby blue uni with white trim and Brooklyn lettering. They wore Dodger blue caps with the classic B in white. The Cubs wore road grays with “Chicago” in blue which was underlined with a red streak. Their socks were dark blue with three red horizontal stripes and their caps were Cubbie blue with a Cleveland-style red “C.” Today’s paid attendance was 28,419, I found it ironic that the Dodgers wore the uniforms of another city given their current financial plight. More to say about that later.

What went right:

  • A quality start, something the Cubs haven’t done much of this year. Carlos Zambrano pitched like a number one starter all day, he was cool and collected and the Dodgers’ weren’t able to do much with him.
  • The top of the order continues to get on base and irritate opposing pitchers – Castro and Barney got three hits in eight at bats and scored two of the Cubs’ five runs. They are now batting .313 and .324 respectively.
  • Power – if the 2010 version of the Cubs is to have any chance of winning the Central Division they will have to hit many more homeruns than last year. Today we saw a little of what could happen if the Cubs do just that.
  • No errors or comical plays that were not called errors.

What went wrong:

  • Miscalculations on the basepaths – Soriano committed the first by trying to advance from first to second on a deep fly ball. Later in the game Jeff Baker was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double and Darwin Barney was caught stealing.
  • If you were a Dodger fan you had to be disappointed in seeing Teddy Baseball get lit up once again by the Cubs. Lilly gave up 8 hits in 6 innings pitched and allowed 5 earned runs. Compare and contrast that with Zambrano’s 8 innings pitched with 5 hits and only 1 earned run.
  • The Cubs uniforms were putridly ugly (Note from Joe)

As I alluded to earlier, the Dodgers have real issues now with finances. Rotoworld reported that they may not be able to meet payroll later this month and that will necessitate MLB taking over the club and it’s payroll obligations. Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt places blame on the commissioner who he says is standing in the way of a long-term TV contract between the Dodgers and FOX. He says that the commissioner’s office refuses to talk with him and they have responded by saying that their refusal is because they don’t want anything they say to be used in a court of law. In any case it’s one big mess and it’s not going to help getting fans out to the ballpark. The Cubs will have an off day tomorrow and will start a home stand against my personal nemesis the Cincinnati Reds on Friday. Friday will mark exactly one month since Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner were sent to the DL, both are now in Arizona beginning their rehabs. The Cubs are also scheduled for another off day on Monday.

On this date in baseball history:

  • On May 4th 1871 the Cleveland Forest Cities lost to the Fort Wayne Kekiongas 2-0 in the first-ever major league baseball game between two professionally-paid teams.
  • 1939: Boston Red Sox rookie Ted Williams became the first player to ever hit a homerun that cleared the right field stands in Tiger Stadium. Also known as Navin Field and Briggs Stadium, this park was home field for the Detroit Tigers from 1912 to 1999. The most memorable homerun I saw at this venue was the one Reggie Jackson hit in the 1971 All Star game – it would have left the park were it not for a light stanchion on the roof. It’s been estimated that the ball would have flown 532′ had it not been for the lighting apparatus.
  • 1944: The St. Louis Cardinals allowed people of color to buy grandstand seats, the two St. Louis teams were the last in the league to do so.
  • 1963: The Milwaukee Braves’ Bob Shaw became the first pitcher to commit five balks in a game. Billy Williams walked and then scored on three consecutive balks, hard to believe there were two more.

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

1st Star – Carlos Zambrano (.326 WPA)

2nd Star – Geovany Soto (.157 WPA)

3rd Star– Marlon Byrd (.118 WPA)

Official Recap Standings

Buddy 3-2 (.600)

Joe 7-6 (.538)

Mark 3-3 (.500)

Brandon 1-3 (.250)

Chet 0-2 (.000)

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