Author Archive

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)

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

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)

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

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)

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

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)

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Game 23 – Cubs fall to three games below .500

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Cubs 3, Rockies 4

Box Score / Video Highlights

I’ve been watching this season with a sense of growing apprehension, particularly because of the Cubs starting rotation. Going into 2011 the Cubs looked to have one of the better starting staffs, at least one that was better than average. But the results so far have been slightly less than abysmal – going into this evening’s game the Cub starters sported a combined ERA of 5.81, last in the majors. Tonight Jeff Russell did nothing to improve that and the Cubs lost the game 4-3.

What went right:

  • The top of the order impressed once again – Castro and Barney are the new daily double. Don’t you love these guys? If Starlin can just shore up his defense the Cubs appear to be set up the middle for years to come.
  • Jeff Baker continues to impress: I’m surprised but he’s hitting both righties and lefties. This is really big because so far Carlos Pena appears to be a big bust – the Cubs first base version of Corey Patterson. Thank goodness he’s a rent-a-player.
  • The Cubs bullpen is hot – they’ve pitched over sixteen innings of scoreless baseball, at least when it comes to earned runs. Berg, Marshall, Woody and Grabow all had effective relief innings tonight.
  • Soriano homered which is always a good thing.

What went wrong:

  • Jeff Russell continues to be unimpressive as a starter – I’m finished with Russell after being patient, this guy doesn’t presently have what it takes to start at the Major League level. For example: Gopher balls thrown to Helton and Wigginton – these guys can hit, why did we throw pitches they could jump on? I can excuse Helton’s first home run but not the next two. Mike Quade has been patient – he’s the team manager. But my patience has run out – send this guy down now, not tomorrow.
  • The wind was blowing out tonight, why didn’t our hitters hit more line drives? Quade did the right thing and loaded up the order with right handed hitters but the hitters didn’t respond. If the Cubs want to be one of the two top teams in the division rank and file players have to produce – we have what we need in the one and two holes, what about three through eight?

So the Cubs go three games below .500 and look to avoid a sweep tomorrow. The game will be televised on CSN and begin at 1:20 CDT. The Cubs have now lost four out of five to the Rockies and I’ll be glad to see them leave town.

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

1st Star – Jorge De La Rosa (.257 WPA)

2nd Star – Todd Helton (.139 WPA)

3rd Star– Ty Wigginton (.139 WPA)

Official Recap Standings

Buddy 3-1 (.750)

Joe 5-5 (.500)

Mark 2-3 (.400)

Chet 0-1 (.000)

Brandon 0-3 (.000)

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us: