Writing About the Chicago Cubs and Looking at the Team’s Past
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Great, another weak hitting infielder. While I wasn’t surprised to see Maddux go, I would have thought he’d be worth a little more then, well, nothing. Heck, the Devil Rays got Joel Guzman for Julio Lugo.
The Cubs season may be done, but this was nice. Taking four more against the Cardinals, who we’ve actually owned this season, is sort of a consolation prize on a horrible season.
On Thursday, the Cardinals took a 4-2 lead in the third inning. That lead stood until the Cubs rallied for three runs in the sixth inning. Neifi Perez and Juan Pierre both had RBI singles and Michael Barrett gave the Cubs the lead when he reached on Scott Rolen’s throwing error in which Angel Pagan scored. Rich Hill struggled in his start but the bullpen really picked him up. Six relievers combined for 5 2/3 shutout innings to keep the Cubs in the game.
Friday was another come from behind win, and the Cubs got all their offense in one inning. Down 3-0, the Cubs scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. The inning was capped off by a bases loaded clearing triple by Juan Pierre. Carlos Marmol picked up the win despite walking seven batters in 5 1/3 innings. Ryan Dempster picked up save number 19 with a perfect ninth.
Yesterday may have been the last start for Greg Maddux as a Cub, but he made it a good one. Maddux gave up one run on five hits with six strikeouts through six innings. Juan Pierre and Michael Barrett both had two hits and a run in this one and Ryan Dempster picked up save number 20.
The Cubs finished the sweep this afternoon behind a strong outing by Carlos Zambrano. The Cubs gave him five runs to work with in the first two innings and he gave up only two runs on five hits and five walks with five strikeouts through six innings. Ronny Cedneo hit his third homerun of the season and Aramis Ramirez went three for four with a run and an RBI.
Next up is four against the Diamondback at Wrigley Field.
It’s hard to believe the Cubs almost swept anyone, much less the 2006 version of the New York Mets. That’s exactly what happened this week. Not sure if the Mets are feeling comfortable with that lead or whether the Cubs are turning a corner, but this was definitely a good sign.
Greg Maddux picked up his first win in a long, long time despite giving up seven runs on ten hits through six innings. The Cubs finally hit for him and a five run fifth inning turned out to be the difference. The inning was capped off by back to back homeruns by the red hot Aramis Ramirez and Jaque Jones. Ramirez hit his 22nd homerun of the season, had two runs, two RBIs and two walks.
The Cubs scored eight more runs yesterday. Carlos Zambrano didn’t have his best outing but he hit a solo homerun to help out his own cause. He improved to 11-3 and he gave up five runs on eight hits with six strikeouts through seven innings. Ramirez hit homerun number 23 and he drove in three runs and Henry Blanco drove in three as well.
Today’s game was the antithesis of the previous two games. John Maine and Mark Prior locked up in a pitchers dual for at least a while. Prior threw 5 2/3 no hit innings but he walked five before the pen took over. The game went into extra frames without either team scoring, and then in the tenth, Glendon Rusch gave up the game winner despite getting the first two batters out in the inning. I guess you can’t win them all, and when you’re the Cubs, you can’t win that many.
Next up is four game set at Wrigley against the second best team in the National League. It doesn’t get much better then this.
As if things couldn’t get worse, Derek Lee’s injured wrist has flared up and he’s now back on the 15 day DL. Not that it matters to much, and with the Cubs where they are, I wouldn’t be taking any chances at this point.
Greg Maddux finally won another game. Woo Hoo.
Rich Hill is one those guys where you’re pretty sure he’s not going to be a great big league pitcher, but he has flashes of brilliance. Last year, he was shelled in ten big league games and didn’t fare much better in four starts this year. He’s been downright ugly at AAA though. And he’s the subject of conversation by Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus. At 26 years old, if we can get something for Hill, I say go for it.
Goldstein also talks about Felix Pie’s poor season at AAA this year. Good stuff.
It was a battle of two of the bottom feeders, and the Nationals came out on top. If you’re a Nationals’ fan, your lucky number is seven because that’s how many runs the Nats scored in each of the three games.
Friday’s game was the closest. The Cubs took a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the eighth when the Nationals tagged Bob Howry for three runs to give the Nationals the lead. Mark Prior had another bad start and he hasn’t won a game since some time last year. He lasted only 3 1/3 innings and he gave up four runs on four hits and three walks. Aramis Ramirez was on fire and he went yard twice and drove in three runs.
The Cubs had the lead yesterday as well but the Nationals scored the final five runs of the game to win it 7-3. Scott Williamson took the loss and got traded for his troubles (more on that). Ramirez homered two more times and he drove in two runs. Sean Marshall left the game after four innings and he’s now on the disabled list with a rib injury.
This afternoon’s game was the most lopsided. The Cubs scored their one run on Neifi Perez’s sac. fly. Once again, we couldn’t get an official game out of starter as Carlos Marmol gave up five runs on six hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings.
And it doesn’t get much tougher because the Cubs start a three game series against the best team in the National League, the Mets. The Cubs are no 23 games below .500 and they have only two more wins then the last place Pirates.
The Cubs did make a deal this weekend. They traded Scott Williamson to the San Diego Padres for Fabian Jimenez and Joel Santo. Both were sent to Single A and neither show up in John Sickel’s Baseball Prospect Book. Both had horrible strikeout to walk ratios so far this year and both have a WHIP above 1.500, so these are guys we won’t be seeing for at least a couple of years.
At this point in the season, the Cubs aren’t playing for much. Being the consumate professionals that they are, they’ll still have an impact on who makes the playoffs by winning some games now and then. And this week, the Cubs put a road block in front of the Astros and pushed them down a notch or two in the Wild Card standings.
Phil Nevin came up huge in the series opener. His three run homerun in the fourth inning gave Carlos Marmol what he needed to pick up his third win of the season. He walked six, but only gave up one run on four hits and he struck out six. Ryan Dempster picked up save number fifteen with a perfect ninth.
Yesterday was a matchup for the ages. The only current 300 game winners went head to head. Greg Maddux has been horrible lately, and this game was an improvement. Unfortunately, he didn’t win. He gave up three runs on seven hits through seven innings of work. Todd Walker was the Astros offense. He hit a two run shot in the eighth of off reliever Trever Miller. The Cubs managed only three hits off of Clemens. Looks like the Rocket’s back.
Carlos Zambrano threw a nice game this afternoon. One run on two hits and ten strikeouts over eight innings. Michael Barrett went deep with a homerun and he finished the game with two RBIs. Aramis Ramirez also went yard went his 17th of the season. Dempster ran into trouble in the ninth, but he got out of it and picked up save number 16.
The Cubs hit the road and head to the nation’s capital for three games. This series of no consequence to anyone, including Cubs and National’s fans.
My name is Aaron Maxwell, and yes, this is another Cubs blog. There’s a lot of good ones out there, but I had to throw my hat in the mix for more reasons then just interest in the team. I lived in Northern Michigan and we had a unique family. My dad grew up in the Detroit area and he’s a die hard Tigers fan. My brother always played catcher and his idol was Carlton Fisk so he grew up a White Sox fan and that included the usual dislike for the Cubs. Me? I wanted to annoy my brother and I grew up watching Cubs games on WGN so I grew to like the Cubs. My favorite player was Ryne Sandberg although I was still pretty young when 1984 happened.
In fact, my brother is also a blogger. He began writing about the White Sox last year (pretty timely) and you can check him out (and ridicule him) at his site, Black Sox Blog. So expect some banter back and forth.
So what’s with the name of the site. There’s a lot of reasons the Cubs haven’t won a World Series in almost 100 hundred years. The one common denominator has been their awesome stadium. Since moving into Wrigley Field in 1916, the Cubs haven’t won a World Series. Five times they made it to the World Series and all five times they lost.
The good news is, the curse is going to end soon. I’m convinced of it. Step one will be Dusty Baker leaving town. Now I’m not a rabid Dusty hater. In fact I appreciate the fact that he came closest to bringing us to the promised land in a long time. I just think his time here is about done. Once he’s gone, we can then move on and start filling this team with some quality hitters. Anytime you have a lineup that includes Juan Pierre, Neifi Perez and a young Ronny Cedeno, you know from the start you’re not going to score many runs.
There’s is hope though. Derek Lee is a guy you can build around and we should make some gains this year at the trade deadline. And then there’s some quality players in the minors so if we can combine that with some top notch free agent acquisitions, it shouldn’t take the Cubs long to get back to the top of the NL Central.
So I’ll be keeping my eye on that. Also, I’ll be writing about some Cubs history. If you stopped by brother’s site, you noticed he’s been doing a day by day diary of the 1906 White Sox. Next year will be the 100th anniversary of the Cubs first World Series, so I’ll be doing the same with the 1907 Cubs. You’ll learn about Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown, Frank Chance and Johnny Evers. Should be a fun look.
I threw up some Cubs links that I found but if I don’t have your site, please don’t be offended. It’s not that I don’t like, it’s just that I’ve never come across your site. So just drop me a line and I’ll be sure to add you.
As a regular buyer of Chicago Cubs tickets I am disappointed by the fact that we are ranked 5th in the NL central division. I was very happy to disappoint those with St Louis Cardinals tickets in our 4-0 home series victory in late July. It certainly made up for my buying Washington Nationals tickets only to watch my cubbies lose 3 games against a side scoring 7 home runs. The erratic fashion in which the Cubs seem to win against teams in our own division yet fail to pick up the points in other, less crucial matches has left us somewhat adrift in the standings. May 2006’s Cubs at San Diego Padres games are but one example of this kind of loss.
Immediate hopes for advancement are realistic, however. Cubs fans looking for victory could do well with either Dodgers tickets or Braves tickets for upcoming games, while I think the games that will be the greatest help in inspiring a more consistent level of attacking play against less familiar National League teams will be seen with either Phillies tickets or Arizona Diamondbacks tickets. Our batting remains strong as we head for the closing stages of the season, the combined 245 hits of Aramis Ranmirez and Juan Pierre bringing particular aid to the cause. Our pitching has also been of a comfortable standard. It is the 22 saves of Ryan Dempster that have been so important for us that reflect the way in which scrappy play has affected us recently. I will definitely be buying Pirates tickets in hope of some wins, but I think we will eventually be dependent on the results of other teams. Reds tickets will provide a lot of worry for traveling Cubs fans late in the season, while my pick of the most exiting match up still to come will be the Boston Red Sox at Yankees games in September.
In these troubling times for the Cubs fans I have turned my attention to other Chicago sports. I purchased Chicago Bears tickets for the first time recently and enjoyed myself immensely. I will be looking forward to the Lions versus Packers games later this season. I am very happy to be living in the kind of city that offers the opportunity to see so many different professional sports events. As a casual soccer fan I have been looking forward to getting some Chicago Fire tickets for some time, but I can’t decide if it would not be better to find some Chicago Bulls tickets for one of their home games as I have never attended an NBA game in person. The fact that our Chicago hockey team seems to be experiencing similarly frustrating results in the standings as the Cubs inspires me to become a fan and buy some Blackhawks tickets as well.
The overwhelming number of exciting Chicago theater events has also surprised me recently. Seats at hot new shows like Jersey Boys tickets and Monty Python Spamalot tickets are definitely a distraction from the events of the baseball season. Although my hopes are high for a Cubs recovery as we head down the end of season stretch I still have other music and theater events I would also like to see. My seats at the next Cubs game may well be sacrificed for tickets to see The Who or Dave Matthews Band tickets.
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