Tagged: Cubs

Zambrano and Cubs Blank Nats

W Flag.jpgAfter losing a heartbreaker the night before, the Cubs won in decisive fashion were able to avoid their first three game losing streak of the season.  With Saturday’s win , the Cubs have matched the highest April win total in franchise history with No. 16 — and there are three more games remaining. The team also won 16 in April 1969. Lou said before the seasson started that he wanted to get the Cubs off to a hot starts, especially since their are very few home games in September.  The Cubs still hold a 1 1/2 game lead over second place St. Louis and have a chance to make this a winning road trip with a win over the Nationals tomorrow.

Friday Night Heartbreak

It was a game that we have gotten used to the Cubs winning, but in the end,  backup catcher Wil Nieves’ hit a two-run, walk-off home run off Bob Howry for the win.  It was Neves’ first career home run.  The Cubs could not get a clutch hit, leaving ten men on base, including an eighth inning one out bases loadedsituation.  The loss took away from an incredible Reed Johnson catch that is being called one of the best catches ever. Ryan Dempster also pitched well, giving up only two earned runs in seven innings.  Dempster went deep into the game and other than a bad first inning, really should have gotten his fourth win.

Stopper Comes Through

The Cubs needed a good pitching performance to end a two game lossing streak, and he had another great outing.  This is by far the best Z has pitched in April.  Zambrano threw seven
Zambrano 4-26.jpgshutout innings, allowing five hits and striking out five.  He did walk four batters, but was able to get himself out of trouble every time.  The last three Cubs starters, Marquis, Dempster, and Zambrano all went seven innings, a relief for a bullpen that was definately taxed.  The Cubs were sparked by tablesetters Reed Johnson and Ryan Theriot.  WIth Washington’s Matt Chico on the mound, Johson, Theriot, and Lee were 6-6 in their first three at bats.  Johnson and Theriot led off the game with back to back singles, followed by a Lee single to score the first run of the game.  Aramis popped out, but Fukudome walked to load the bases.  DeRosa hit a single to score Theriot and Lee, making it a 3-0 ballgame.  In the top of the third and one out, Johnson singled and reached third on a Theriot single.  Both runners scored on Derek Lee’s double, and after just three innings, the Cubs led 5-0.  They may have scored more, but Derek Lee was caught stealing third base while Ramirez was up.  More on that later.  Aramis would later hit a two run double to give the Cubs a 7-0 lead.  Michael Wuertz looked a little better and Jon Lieber closed the game.

Stealing Bases

I know that Lou wants the Cubs to be more aggressive, especially when it comes to stealing third.  The only trouble is that the Cubs have gotten caught twice trying to steal third in the past two games.  It didn’t really cost them on Saturday, but it did on Friday.  With one out, Reed Johson was hit by a pitch.  He scored on a Ryan Theriot double, cutting the Nationals lead in half, 2-1.  With Derek Lee up to bat, Theriot was caught trying to steal third.  Lee would walk and Ramirez would reach on an infield single.  Who knows what may have happened if Theriot wasn’t thrown out?  Theriot was later thrown out at second on a strike’em out throw’em out.  Pinella still feels it was the right move. 

Theriot knocks out the ball 4-10.jpg“A lot of good things are happening that are not noticed by the casual fan,” Piniella said of his strategy. “One, pitchers are slide-stepping against us a lot more. Two, infielders are holding runners on, which are creating more holes, and catchers are calling more fastballs, and those are all advantages.

“You don’t want to see a baserunner thrown out with your [Nos.] 3, 4 hitters coming up.”

Theriot ran on a changeup, which was a good pitch to run on.

“You take a risk,” Piniella said. “With certain release points and also reports on how the catcher is throwing, certain times dictate you run and the percentages are in our favor. Unless you stumble, fall, or get a real bad jump, you’ve got an 85-percent chance of making it. When you do it, it works great.  We’re creating opportunities and forcing teams to adjust to our style of play.  Nothing’s going to work 100 percent, but if everything works 80 percent in your favor, you have to take advantage of those things.”

Fair enough.  The one thing that Bob Brenly mentioned after Theriot was caught Friday and Lee on Saturday is that the runners are not getting good secondary leads and they need to be moving towards second as the pitcher is winding up instead of flat footed.  I am sure Lou and his staff will adress this soon.

Cubs Need Lilly To Come Up Big

The Cubs would love nothing more than to win tomorrow, take the series, make this a winning road trip, and get some momentum going into a big three game set at home against Milwaukee.  Lilly will start for the Cubs while John Lannan will go for the Nationals.  Like Odalis Perez, the Nats’ starter on Friday, Lannan has pitched well but his record doesn’t indicate this because of Washington’s lackluster bats.  Lilly had a good outing last time and looks to build on that start.  Let’s hope the Cubs can continue to make franchise history on this road trip, winning it’s seventeenth game in April.

Go Cubs! 

 

Cubs Get Win Number 10,000

W Flag.jpgLadies and gentleman, if I hadn’t seen it with my own two eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it.  I’m going to be honest with you, I really thought the Cubs were going to lose this game.  No one gets this lucky.  No one gets this many clutch hits.  Sooner or later the breaks stop going your way.  I wasn’t that disappointed, with the Cubs having won five in a row.  But wait!!!! The Cubs were having none of that, came back, and stole a game from the Rockies.  The Cubs won an unbelievable ballgame tonight, 7-6 in extra innings to become only the second team in MLB history to reach the 10,000 win milestone.  If this is one of my beautiful Cubs dreams, don’t wake me up! Let me sleep!!

I don’t even no where to start.  How about the Cubs hitting to triples, one from Fukudome and one from Lee?  How about Lee and Soto having four hit nights.  How about that homer by Soto in that second?  How about Rich Hill and the Cubs leading 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth before giving up five runs and going through four pitchers? 

Could you believe that the Cubs had the bases loaded in the top of the seventh with only one
Ramirez jacks it 4-23.jpgout and one runner already in, before DeRosa lined out and D-Lee was doubled off second?  That should have been the ballgame.  All momentum should have gone to the Rockies.  The Cubs should have just hung their heads and given up?  But no, this team has fight.  After Bob Howry set down Holliday, Atkins and Hawpe in order in the bottom of the eighth, the Cubs had one more chance to win it.  Derek Lee started off the inning with a single.  Then to the surprise of Len and Bob, every member of Cubs nation, and Derek Lee himself, Lou pulled him for a pinch runner, Felix Pie. No pinch runner was needed as Aramis jacked one to deep left center off of Manny Corpas, who blew a game the night before, to give the Cubs a 6-5 lead.

Kerry Wood came in to close it out, and looked phenomenal, getting Tulowitzky and Torreabla out on consecutive strikeouts.  But then Rockies manager Clint Hurdle put in long time Cubs nemisis Scott Podsednick into the game.  Podsednick killed the Cubs when he was a Brewer, killed the Cubs when he was with the White Sox, and now he was standing at home plate against Wood.  I knew he would score.  Podsednick singled and scored the tying run on a Spilborghs double.  Ok, now the Cubs really should have lose.  The closer comes in, blows the game after the Cubs took the lead in the ninth, and again Colorado has the momentum

Then, in the top of the tenth, Kip Wells took over for Corpas.  Soto singled to lead off the inning and was lifted for pinch runner Mike Fontenot. Cedeno bunted to move Fontenot into scoring postition.  Daryl Ward came in to pinch hit for Wood and was intentionally walked.  With one out, Reed Johnson worked the count, but popped out to short left field.  With two outs and his Canjun twin on second, RyanTheriot hit a single down the first base line, scoring Fontenot.  Just to make things interesting, Carlos Marmol had to pitch the 10th and face Todd Helton, Matt Holliday, and Garrett Atkins, with Mark DeRosa playing first base!!  No sweat for Marmol as he retired them in order and the Cubs win. 

This was an amazing game and I am just going to soak this up.  My brother was at the game and will email me photos soon.  Jason Marquis will take the hill tomorrow against the Rockies in a day game, 2:05 start.

Go Cubs! 

Cubs Win Game Number 9,999

W Flag.jpgThe Cubs don’t have to convince the Mets that they are for real, not after the Cubs put another beat down on them, this time 8-1.  The Mets have got to be thankful this was only a two game series.  The Cubs hit a combined 15 runs off the NY, while the Mets could only manage two meager runs.  Not only that, but the Cubs did it in front of a nation wide audience, and now the Cubs are beginning to open a lot of people’s eyes.  Lou is trying to keep Cubs fans from going too crazy;

“This is a long season,” Piniella said. “Let’s not get all crazy about this thing. Let’s just stay cautionary and let’s just keep playing good baseball, that’s all.”

 

Sorry Lou, but the Cubs haven’t started out this good since 1975. Heck, old Crawly still wasn’t even born yet!   Not only that, but the Cubs are playing great baseball.  Did you realize that the Cubs are in the top five of every important hitting category?  They are in the top five in average, runs, onbase percentage, slugging, on base plus slugging, and stolen bases.  Great defense, smart baserunning, high on base percentage, cluch hits, and hopefully the pitching is starting to come around. Ted Lilly finally got his first win of the season, and will hopefully
Lilly pitches 4-22.jpgpitch like the Lilly we saw last season.  Lilly went six innings, giving up only four hits and one run.  The real test in this game came in the fourth inning.  For whatever reason, Lilly has had trouble this season in the fourth inning, but today he overcame that.  The Cubs blew a bases loaded no outs oppotunity in the second, when Ronnie Cedeno struck out and Henry Blanco hit into a double play.  Then it was the Mets’ turn.  In the top of the fourth, Lilly had a no hitter going.  He got the first batter, Jose Reyes, to strike out.  Then, former Cubs Angel Pagan hit a double to break up the no no.  Lily walked the next two batters, David Wright and Carlos Beltran, to load them up with only one out.  Lilly kept his composure and was able to get Carlos Delgado and Dameon Easley to pop out, ending the threat.

The Cubs offense came roaring back in the bottom of the fourth.  After Ramriez flied out to start the inning, Fukudome hit a single to right.  Mark DeRosa hit a fly ball for the second out, but Ronnie Cedeno, fresh off the heroics from Monday nights game, hit a double, and Fukudome flew around the bases to score.  Is Fukudome not the most fun player to watch?  The Mets intentionally walked Henry Blanco to get to the pitcher, Ted Lilly.  With runners at first and second and two outs, Lilly hit a soft liner in between the pitcher and first base, and Delgado and pitcher Luis Figueroa thought the other would get it and Lilly was safe, loading the bases.  That’s when Reed Johnson singled, scoring Cedeno and Blanco and making it a 3-0 game.

Lilly was able to work out of another jam in the sixth.  After getting Wright to ground out, Lilly walked Beltran and gave up a single to Delgado.  Easley singled to the load the bases with one out.  Lou kept his faith in Lilly, and Ted got Brady Clark to ground out for the second out, but Beltra n scored, making it 3-1 with runners at first and second and two outs.  Lilly got Raul Casanove to ground out to end the inning. Bob Howry came in to relieve Lilly and worked a quick 1-2-3 inning in the seventh.  In the bottom of the inning, Aramis greeted Mets reliever Joe Smith with a single and tKoske followed that up with a double, putting runners at second and third with no outs.  DeRosa singled,scoring Ramirez and giving the Cubs a 4-1 lead.  The Cubs were able to load the bases, but couldn’t score anymore runs.

Cedeno curtain cull 4-22.jpgThen in the bottom of the eighth, it was time for more Ronnie Cedeno heroics.  With Jorge Sosa pitching, Felix Pie and Derek Lee hit back to back singles.  Aramis flied out, but Fukudome walked to load the bases.  It looked like the Cubs would miss another opportunity when DeRosa hit a ball to shortstop Jose Reyes for an easy double play ball to end the inning, but Reyes had a brainfart and threw the ball home for the foce out.  Insteasd of an inning ending double play, Ronnie Cedeno came to the plate and hit a grand slam, giving the Cubs an 8-1 lead, sealing the win for the Cubs.  Cedeno had a career high five RBI’s.

Playing the Hot Hand

It’s a good problem to have, but I wonder how Lou manages the lineup.  The team has played the last two days without Theriot, and the Cubs have really gotten on a role after the Soriano injury.  Since then, Reed Johnson has been incredible leading off and Cendeno look like an entirely different player.  Cedeno was 10-for-18 (.556) on the homestand with 10 RBIs, while  Johnson was 11-for-28 (.393) with four RBIs.  Johnson is the  prototypical lead off hitter the Cubs have been looking for since Kenny Lofton in 2003.  He works the count, takes pitches, and has had his fair share of cluch hits.  He seems to be full of hustle and has a high baseball IQ. 

“He’s a pesky hitter who works the count, puts the ball in play,” Piniella said. “Occasionally he’ll bunt for a base hit. He sets the tone.”

Reed Johnson 4-22.jpgThe Cubs actually lead the NL in on base percentage.  Kosuke Fukudome leads all Cubs regulars with a .442 OBP going into Monday’s game against the Mets, followed by Geovany Soto (.437), Mark DeRosa (.425), Derrek Lee (.419), Reed Johnson (.418) and Ryan Theriot (.408).  The Cubs are wearing down pitchers, getting men on base, and now those solo home runs are becoming 2 or 3 run homers.  Even grand slams.  With all these guys getting on base, they are putting more pressure on the pitchers and getting better pitches to hit.  Just to let you know, the last time the Cubs led the league in on base percentage-1945.

Now Pinella will have to face a bunch of questions when Soriano gets closer to being off the DL on May 1, one week from Tuesday.  Ryan Theriot, before the back spasms was also doing a great job.  So what does Lou do?  What would you do?  Nice to have these problems and nice to still be in first place.  Now the Cubs try to become the second team in MLB history to get 10,000 wins.  Let’s go get’ em in  Colorado. Rich Hill takes on Franklin Morales in game 1.   

 Go Cubs!

Cubs Prove They Are Ready For Prime Time

A lot of people are wondering if the Cubs are real or not.  A lot of doubters point to the fact that a lot of the Cubs victories have come against some bad teams.  But on Monday night, the Cubs faced the New York Mets, everyone’s pick to win the east after signing Santana, on ESPN.  It was a matchup between Carlos Zambrano and John Maine under the lights at Wrigley.  Man, if you saw it on a nice high def TV, Wrigley Field looked just gorgeous.  The crowd at Wrigley got to witness a great game, as it was a nail biter all the way until the seventh inning, when the Cubs busted it open to take the first game of the two game series 7-1.  It’s games like these that make you feel like this may be a magical season at Wrigley.

As expected, it started out as a pitchers dual.  Zambrano was really on tonight, Big Z gave up only five hits, walked two and struck out four over seven innings. The defense also came up big, turning four double plays.  The Cubs were able to get to Maine in the bottom of the fourth, when Derek Lee led off the inning with a single.  That’s when Aramis Ramirez hit a home run to tie the game.  Ramirez has now homered in cosecutive games and it looks like he’s heating up.  In the top of the sixth, Z ran into a little trouble.  Endy Chavez started out the inning with a double that just missed being a home run.  John Maine was up next, and bunted the ball right in front of home plate.  Soto tried to throw out the lead runner at third, but Chavez got a good jump and everyone was safe.  With runners at first and third, Jose Reyes hit into a double play, scoring Chavez and cutting the Cubs lead in half.  With the double play, it looked like the inning was done, but Luiis Castillo hit an infield single and David Wright drew a walk.  That brought up Carlos Beltran with the tying run at second.  Z go Beltran to fly out to left to end the threat.

Busting it Open

With the Cubs leading 2-1, Carlos Marmol took the mound in the eighth inning.  He made quick work of the Mets, getting them out in order. Marmol made veteran pinch hitter Marlon Byrd look goofy on a knee buckling breaking ball.  With Kerry Wood warming up in the bullpen, the Cubs were looking to add some insurance runs.  The inning started out well, with Derek Lee reaching on an error by the shortstop Jose Reyes.  Relief pitcher Aaron Heilman hit Aramis, putting runners at first and second.  Then the place went nuts, chanting Fukudome’s name, and he didn’t disappoint. Fukudome fought off pitch after pitch before slapping a single to left field to load the bases with no outs.  But then it started to happen.  Mark DeRosa had a horrible at bat, striking out for the first out.  Than Geovany Soto popped out for the second out.  It looked like the typical Cubs, loading up the bases and then letting the pitcher off the hook, swinging momentum back to the opposing team.  Not only that, but Ronnie Cedeno, who was a late game addition after Theriot couldn’t play with back spasms, was up to bat.  Cedeno was 0-3 at that point, reaching base on an error by David Wright.  Down quickly in the count, it looked like the Cubs would spoil the opportunity, but then Cedeno hit a ball up the middle to drive in Lee and Ramirez and give the Cubs a 4-1 lead.  After that, Heilman was pulled and Jorge Sosa came into the game.  Lou brought in Pie to pinch hit for Marmol, and Pie jacked one to right, giving the Cubs a 7-1 lead.  Pie’s reaction was priceless.  Wood put ’em away 1-2-3 and the Cubs put on a dazzling display of ptching, defense, and timely hitting.

Is this team for real?  I don’t know.  I keep staring at stats and can’t believe how well the Cubs are doing offensively, especially when it comes to seeing pitches and taking walks.  The soft underbelly of most teams is middle relieff.  Have the pitcher throw a high number of pitches, get him out of the game  by the fifth or sixth inning, and go to town on the stiffs that most teams have in their bullpen.  I just though that Monday nights win against the Mets had one of those magical feelings at Wrigley, the kind that really get Cubs fans excited and make the doubters take notice. After struggling so bad in April last season, this is the kind of start Lou was looking for.  The Cubs play game two of the series at 1:20 tomorrow, with Ted Lilly taking on Nelson Figueroa.  Lilly wants to contribute in the worst possible way, and how nice would it be to see Ted get his first W tommorrow.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that Ted can finally get it going.

Go Cubs! 

 

Cubs Sweep The Buccos

IMG_1751.JPGWhat a glorious day!  What a glorious weekend.  Crawly Senior and I had the pleasure of wattching the Cubs pound Pittsburgh 13-3 on Sunday, completing their second straight sweep of the Buccos.  Not only that, but St. Louis got crushed and Eric Gagne blew a save for Milwaukee, putting the Cubs in first place!!!  Hey Hey!!  The Cubs offense is just clicking on all cylanders, as the Cubs hit 29 runs in the weekend series with the Pirates.  The starting pitching is still not where it needs to be, but I am sure enjoying this April a ton more than I did last season.  Listening to sports talk radio, I heard people wondering if this team is real or not, claiming that they are just beating teams with losing records.  Look, the Cubs didn’t make their schedule and not only that, they are winning the games they are supposed to, something that hasn’t happened over the last few years.  All I am saying is that I am happy that the Cubs are in first place. 

There are many things that excite me about this team.  I love the 1-2 punch of Reed Johnson and Ryan Theriot.  In the bottom of the fourth inning in Sunday’s game, Johnson was hit by a
Lee Homers 4-19.jpgpitch.  Theriot was up next, showed bunt, but the pitcher threw two pitches out of the strike zone.  With a 2-0 count, Johnson was running, Threriot hit the ball to the right side of the infield, and Johnson scored from first with Theriot advancing to second when Nady’s throw to home plate was late.  The Cubs are also a more patient team and that is allowing them to score more runs.  Do you realize the Cubs are second in MLB in runs scored, third in hits, fourth in total bases, have the fifth highest in average, second in on base percentage, and second in on base plug slugging percentage?   How about the Cubs being fourth in the amount of walks drawn?  Still feel like that clogs the bases Dusty?  The Cubs are also seventh in stolen bases.  Lou Pinella and hitting coach Gerald Perry have turn this team from a bunch of hackers into a disciplined hitting team.   

Do I think all is well in the world of the Cubs?  No.  Are starters are struggling to get past the fifth. Are bullpen is again giving up too many walks.  Questions remain on where to bat Soriano when he comes back from his injury.  Will our left handed starters begin pitching
Wood closes 4-10.jpgbetter?  Is Kerry Wood going to stay healthy?  These are all areas of concern for the Cubs,
but at the end of the day, there is only one stat in baseball that matters most: Wins, and right now,  the Cubs keep racking them up.  Now, the real test comes for the Cubs.  Starting Monday, the Cubs have a two game series with the Mets, then fly to Colorado for another two game series.  They travel to Washington for three (that one shouldn’t be difficult), then they play three with Milwaukee at home, travel to St Louis for three, Cincy for three, and then come back to Wrigley to fave the hottest team in baseball in the Diamondbacks and one of the toughest pitching staffs in San Diego, who will play in a four game series.  The Cubs then have three more games at Wrigley, than go to Houston and Pittsburgh.  When the dust clears on May 22, I believe this will really tell if the Cubs are for real or not.  If they can stay close to the top of the division after this schedule, I like our chances. 

Us Against The World

So, apparently Cubs fans are the most hated, obnoxious, and racist fans in baseball.  All week, Cubs fans have heard how horrible they are from all sides.From old man  Marty Brennaman’s crabby rant, to ironically the most hated and obnoxious columnist in Chicago, to jealous Brewer’s bloggers ,  people have been taking shots at us from all sides.  That’s fine that we’re the target of all their jealousy and rage.  Real Cubs fans know that there are no better fans in baseball.  Are there idiot Cubs fans?  Absolutely.  Are there obnoxious Cubs fans?  Of course.  Are there racist Cubs fans?  Unfortunately.  Just like their are idiotic, obnoxious, racist fans in every ballpark in every city in the United States.  Are there no drunk stupid fans in Milwaukee? OOOOhh, of course not. Everybody goes to Brewers games in suit and ties and keeps score.  In fact, they don’t even sell beer at Miller Park.  And there is absolutely nooooooo racist fans in Cincinnati.  Everyone knows that Cincinnati is the most tolerant city in the US.  So to all those haters out there, keep hatin’. Cubs fans piss people off because we will go anywhere to cheer our team on, including other teams’ ballparks.  Then we really get them mad when our cheers are louder than the cheers from the home team.  They hate us because we have fun, we love our ballpark, and we love our team.  Do we do
IMG_1270.JPGstupid thing?  Yeah.  Are we going to do stupid things in the future?  For certain. But we’re going to keep doing what we’ve always done; root, root, root for the Cubbies!   And most importantly, we will follow this team anywhere in the world, and if you don’t like it, learn to deal with it.

We are everywhere!!

Go Cubs! 

Cubs are Back to their Winning Ways

W Flag.jpgAfter the Cubs suffered a bit of a let down on Thursday, they came right back to beat Ian Snell and the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2.  Rich Hill got the first win for a lefty starter this season and the Cubs were able to do just enough to get past Ian Snell.  Hill, who confidence was in the dumps, was able to give the Cubs five innings, giving up one run on three hits and three walks with four strikeouts. 

“It was a start in the right direction for him,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “Like I told him, he needs to build on this now. He went out there and threw the ball. There were a couple rough spots, but it was a vast improvement. He threw the ball well today and let it go.”


Hill 4-18.jpgIt was another stomach turner for the Cubs. Hill walked the first batter he faced, Nate McLouth, on four straight pitches.  Luckily he was able to calm down.  The offense also struggled in the beginning of the game.  The Cubs had runners in scoring postition in the first, second, and third innings and failed to score a run. The worst of these blown opportunities was in the bottom of the third.  The Cubs were down 1-0 and had one out in the third when Ryan Theriot hit a triple.  With D-Lee and A-Ram coming to the plate, it looked like the Cubs would be able to tie it, but Lee grounded out to the pitcher and Aramis flied out to right.  It looked like it was going to be one of those days.  But Fukudome led off the fourth inning with a triple.  Mark DeRosa singled, tying the game, and then Geovany Soto hit a double, putting runners at second and third with no outs.  Boy, when Soto is out of the lineup, it really hurts the Cubs.  Reed Johnson hit an infield single, scoring DeRosa and giving the Cubs the lead.  For the second day in a row, there was a mix up with the signals, and Rich Hill grounded  into a fielders choice instead of bunting, but Eric Patterson hit a ground ball to short, allowing Soto to score and give the Cubs a 3-1 lead.  That insurance run would be the difference in the game.

After Hill was pulled in the fifth, it was up to the bullpen to preserrve the win.  Jon Lieber and Sean Marshall combined to work the sixth inning, giving up no runs.  Then Carlos Marmol
Wood closes 4-18.jpgcame out to pitch the sixth and struck out the side.  Then, Lou had him go back out in the eighth, and Marmol ran into some trouble. McLouth led off the inning with a solo home run, making it a one run game.  He got the next two batters, Luis Rivas and Freddy Sanchez out, but then walked Jason Bay and gave up a single to Xavier Nady.  With the winning run at second and two outs, Marmol got Adam LaRoche to strike out swinging.  Kerry Wood came out and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to get a new winning streak started.  Let’ see if the Cubs can beat Tom Gorzelanny for the second time this season.  The Cubs will be sending Jason Marquis to the mound.

Lou News

Two bits of Lou news that I thought was worth noting.  First off, Lou will have Reed Johnson bat lead off.  Good to see Lou is reading Crawly’s Cub Kingdom!!  With Fontenot, Theriot, and Patterson not doing much at lead off, it will be nice to see if Johnson can set the table for the big boys. Johnson has six hits the last two games and is hitting .375 for the season.

Lou also stepped to the plate for Cubs fans after senile old fart Marty Brennaman ripped Cubs fans for being “the most obnoxious fans” for throwing a bunch of balls on the field after Dunn hit a homer the other day.   Pinella told reporters

“Marty’s a Cincinnati guy, obviously he’s rooting for the Reds.  But I don’t think our fans are obnoxious. They get into the ballgame, they enjoy coming out to a ballgame and that’s why they draw here the way they do. It’s a fun environment and they get into it.

“As far as winning the division — hey, I like Marty Brennaman, I really do, I was over there for three years — but he has nothing to do with the Cubs winning or losing, I can tell you that,” Piniella said.

Brennaman.jpgPut that in your Depends and smoke it old man.  Mark DeRosa also weighed in on Brennaman’s comments, and either knowingly or unknowingly hit the nail on the head.

“I don’t want to get into a war of words with him,” Chicago’s Mark DeRosa said. “I respect how he handles his profession, but I didn’t agree with what he said. I think he could’ve used different wording.

“They’re very passionate people and passionate fans,” DeRosa said. “You’re torn in situations like that [when they threw balls back] — you get a chuckle out of it, and at the same time, it wastes 10 minutes of your life. I don’t think he needed to go that far with the comments. Obviously, he has some deep-seated hatred for Chicago.”

There are probably tons of reasons that Brennaman has deep seated hatred towards Chicago.  He probably is still bitter his son Thom (nice spelling Marty) was not being moved quicker up the ladder at WGN and that Harry Caray was pushing to get his grandon Chip into the booth.  Marty was always jealous of Harry and his popularity. 

Let’s go for two in a row tomorrow.

Go Cubs! 

Missed Chance

L_flag.gifUggh Just when the Cubs were looking great, they take a step back.  Look, I know its hard to sweep any major league team, and I know that you can’t win’em all.  It’s just the way we lost this game that was irritating.  It was just a bunch of bad baseball, and Ted Lilly is not making Cubs fans any less nervous.  After being a hero the other night, Mike Fontenot also stunk it up.  Even the coaching was a mess.  All in all, a pretty crummy day.

All though the box score show that Lilly had a bad game, six hits, five runs, and three walks in six innings, he at least looked better than he did in last Saturday’s loss to the Phillies.  The walks really hurt him and Joey Votto really hurt him.  Like last Saturday, Lilly was cruising
Lilly 4-17.jpgthrough the first three innings, giving up only one walk and one hit.  And like last Saturday, the fourth inning killed him.  He got Griffey to strikeout to lead off the inning, but then walked Adam Dunn, gave up a single to Jeff Keppinger, and then walked Edwin Encarnacion to load the bases.  Votto than doubled, clearing the bases.  With the Cubs still in the game down only 3-1, Lilly got Keppinger to ground out to lead off the sixth.  Encarnacion doubled, and than Votto hit a home run to give the Red a 5-1 lead.  The scary thing is that it doesn’t seem like Lilly has his velocity where it needs to be.  He’s not going to get to many major league hitters out with an 86 mile per hour fastball out.

It’s baffling,” he said. “My confidence is still there, for the most part. Obviously I’m not as confident as if I were 4-0, but I still feel good about what I’m capable of doing. I’m just losing patience as far as wanting to give us a solid outing and a chance to win. I certainly owe that to my teammates.”

Not like the offense was much better.  After getting so many clutch hits the last few days, the Cubs fell short on Thursday.  The Cubs went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Fontenot, Fukudome, and Henry Blanco all struggled today and left way too many men on
Aramis 4-17.jpgbase.  Fontenot went 0-5, leaving seven men on base.  Fukudome went 0-4, leaving 4 men on base.  Blanco was 1-4, leaving seven men on base.  Theriot and Lee were’nt much better, both going 1-5.  It was the first time the Cubs saw Reds pitcher Edison Volquez, but they also didn’t hit the Reds’ bullpen either.  There were tons of missed opportunities to blow the game open and shift momentum.  The Cubs had the bases loaded and only one out in the bottom of the second, when Henry Blanco struck out.  Lilly was up next and drew a walk, giving the Cubs a 1-0 lead.  Fontenot grounded out to end the inning.  In the third inning, Theriot singled to lead off the inning, but that vanished when Volquez struck out Lee and Theriot was caught stealing.  In the fourth inning, DeRosa walked and Reed Johnson singled, putting runner at first and second with no outs. For some reason, Henry Blanco, batting in front of the pitcher Lilly, struck out attempting to bunt.

I don’t know what happened there,” Piniella said. “We never had the bunt sign on the whole at-bat. I thought Henry might be trying to leg out a bunt single or something. I don’t know exactly what happened. Obviously it was just a mix-up in signs.”

“We miscommunicated on the first pitch,”Third base coach Mike Quade said. “Because of our series of signs, that messed up the rest of the entire at-bat. Whether the bunt was on, the bunt wasn’t on. Whether we were playing hit-and-run, we weren’t playing hit-and-run. Henry is one of the most reliable guys on this club. He doesn’t miss signs. He gets everything. He has executed the hit-and-run, the squeeze, all of that.”

With the Cubs only down 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth, Fukudome grounded out.  DeRosa singled and Johnson doubled, putting runners at second and third with one out. Blanco reached on an infield single, making it 5-3, but Johnson couldn’t advance to third.  With runners still at first and second and only one out, pinch hitter Daryl Ward flied out and Fontenot grounded out to end the threat. 

Then, in the top of the seventh, the defense fell apart. Jon Lieber came in and Norris Hopper to ground out to Theriot, but Ryan booted the ball and Hopper reached on the error.  Then, Ryan Freel bunted to move Hopper to second, but with Lieber and Lee playing the bunt, Fontenot forgot to cover first and everyone was safe.  With the wind blowing to right center, Ken Griffey Jr hit home run number 596, making it 8-2 and ending any chances for the sweep.

Fontenot has been struggling since being moved to the leadoff spot after Soriano’s injury, going 2-for-15.  I wonder if it wouldn’t be better if Reed Johnson hit lead off and Theriot or Fukudome hitting second.  I guess there is no need to panic since it was only one game.  What is making me panic is that Rich Hill will be making the next start for the Cubs as they open the next series against the Pirates and Ian Snell, who is having a terriffic season so far. You know the Pirates want to kick some Cubbie butt after we swept them at home.  We missed Snell last time too. 

Brennaman Blows

Brennaman.jpgMarty Brennaman went off on Cubs fans after the ball throwing incident Wednesday night.  After Adam Dunn hit a homer, people started throwing balls onto the field.  I wasn’t happy that Cubs fans did it, but Brennaman took it a step too far.   Brennaman said ;

“This is the kind of thing that makes you want to see this Cubs team lose.  Among all baseball fans….far and away the most obnoxious fans in baseball in this league are those that follow this team right here.

That is so typical of Chicago Cubs fans (throwing the balls onto the field)

You simply root against them.  I’ve said all winter, they talk about this team winning the division and my comment is they won’t win because at the end of the day, they are still the Chicago Cubs and they will figure out a way to screw this whole thing up.”

Screw you Brennaman and the high horse you rode in on.  You are now considered an enemy of Cubs fans everywhere.  I agree with you that it was stupid of those fans to throw the balls on the field, but you had no right to blast all Cubs fans.  This is not over old man. I look forward to the next Cubs Reds game I go to so I can heckle you in the booth.  Your cranky old *** is not welcomed at Wrigley anymore and remember, Cubs fans have a long memory.  Maybe if the Reds knew how to draw fans, you might realize that there are always a few bad apples in the bunch . Cubs fans in general, are smart, caring, and loyal fans.You sound just as idiotic as your smug, idiotic buddy Joe Morgan.  This isn’t over Brennaman, not by a long shot.

Go Cubs!