Writing About the Chicago Cubs and Looking at the Team’s Past
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April 30, 1908 at West Side Park
Cubs 3, Cardinals 1 (8-3)
The Cubs picked up just three runs in this one but it was good enough because Chick Fraser held the Cubs NL rival to a mere four hits. He gave up just the one run and he walked two and struck out two.
Johnny Evers was the hitting star in the win. He went two for three with a sac. bunt and a run.
April 29, 1908 at West Side Park
Pirates 2, Cubs 1 (7-3)
Jack Pfiester gave up a pair of runs in the top of the ninth inning as what could have been a spectacular start went to waste. He gave up the two runs on five hits and one walk with three strikeouts.
The Cubs managed just four hits in the contest. Johnny Evers had one of those with a double and he scored the lone Cubs run.
Not satisfied with the city’s lack of sports related injuries, the fine folks of Freeport, Illinois have opened a miniature replica of Wrigley Field. The above shot is a picture of the little field not yet covered with ivy.
Nothing screams safety more than 11 and 12 years olds and brick walls. But that’s OK, once the ivy grows in it’ll be plenty of padding for little Johnny’s skull.
All kidding aside, it’s a pretty sweet concept and I’d be thrilled if I was a Little Leaguer.
Now, where is the replica Tropicana Field for the little Rays fans in Tampa?
The Cubs last four games have been less than steller, but have no fear Cubs Nation, your savior Alfonso Soriano is coming back! From the Sun Times:
How much leadoff hitter Alfonso Soriano can do fresh off the disabled list is anybody’s guess, but the $136 million man had his best, most vigorous workout since injuring his right calf April 15 and promises to be ready to play at close to full speed by Thursday when he’s eligble to come off the DL. He has another big day of on-field work Tuesday.
“We’ve held our own well, to the credit of our team, and we look forward to getting him back,” manager Lou Piniell said.
He’s done so well, according to a completely made up source of mine, he’s already swinging and missing at game speed.
It’s clear from the photo above that Cubs rookie catcher Geovany Soto knows how to keep his eye on the ball. I mean, look at that focus. A roague catcher’s mask won’t get in the way between him and that baseball!
Unfortunately when Soto doesn’t have a large object dangling from the side of his face, he has a much tougher time keeping his eye on the ball. Case in point: eight straight strikeouts, five of which came Saturday at Washington. If not for his day off on Sunday, he may have added to his illustrious streak. But no worries, even with an extra day off to sit around and just think about how much five strikeouts in one night sucks, Soto doesn’t seem anxious about the prosepect of striking out more:
“I’m sure I’m not the only guy in history to do it. There’s still going to be someone after me, so I’m not worried about it.”
Hm, something tells me that would be the last thing you’d want to say if, for instance, you cheated on your significant other, robbed a bank or killed someone. But it’s certainly the right attitude to take after you’ve struckout eight straight times.
Wednesday’s probably starter for Milwaukee: Ben Sheets.
Yeah, I think Soto is going to be just fine.
It’s certainly not the end of the season, but don’t you wish Mark Grace was embracing you right now after a difficult 2-0 loss to Washington? I know Ted Lilly could use it. The guy struggles to start the season, finally puts together two consecutive quality starts and has a boring 1-1 record to show for it.
His two earned runs over six innings, oh and seven strikeouts, weren’t good enough for a team that is currently second in the National League in batting average and RBI.
Ryan Theriot (0-for-3) left four runners on base and Ronny Cedeno (1-for-4) left three of his own out to dry to point out the only notable statistics from the offensive side of the plate. At least Derreck Lee earned two walks to cover up his 0-for-2 day.
Cedeno was quick to take back his more-than-optimistic comments following Chicago’s impressive 7-1 win over the Mets April 21. Since then the Cubs have gone 3-3. Fortunately, things haven’t changed much. Chicago is still just a half a game up on the Cardinals in the division and the starting pitching continues to be solid.
In fact, since Ted Lilly gave up five earned runs to the Reds on April 18, no starter has given up more than three earned runs and just once has a starter given up that many (Ryan Dempster v. Pittsburgh April 20). As for the bullpen, it cost the Cubs late at Washington Friday and almost cost the Cubs a game last Wednesday. But with the exception of last Wednesday (a game Chicago ultimately won), the bullpen has pitched well enough to keep the Cubs in the game and that’s really all you can ask for from your pitchers.
Chicago gets a day off before beginning a huge stretch of six games agains division rivals — St. Louis and Milwaukee. The Cubs are just a half game up on the Cardinals and two games ahead of Milwaukee.
April 24, 1908 at West Side Park
Reds 4, Cubs 2 (7-2)
The Cubs four game losing streak came to an end as the Reds did a number on Carl Lundgren. The right hander gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks with a strikeout in six innings.
The Cubs were held to a mere four hits in the contest. Pat Moran had the only extra base hit with a double and he scored one of the two Cubs’ runs.
April 23, 1908 at West Side Park
Cubs 2, Cardinals 1 (7-1)
The Cubs have a new season long winning streak as the beat the Reds for their fourth straight win. Overal Overall won his third start of the season with a solid game. He gave up just one run on seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts in the complete game.
Harry Steinfeldt doubled and he scored one of the Cubs two runs. Joe Tinker was the only Cub with a pair of hits.
April 22, 1908 at West Side Park
Cubs 7, Reds 3 (6-1)
The Cubs won their third straight overall, their fourth straight against the Reds and more importantly, they won their first home game as they opened up West Side Park with a win. Catcher Johnny Kling was one of the hitting stars with a single, a double and a pair of runs. Harry Steinfeldt tripled and scored a run.
Chick Frasier picked up the win with a decent start. He gave up three runs on seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts. It was his first start of the season.
Now, I’ve never been to Wrigley Field so I don’t understand the intricacies of being a bleacher bum. But I didn’t think one had to risk his own life for the opportunity to cheer on the Cubs.
The gentlemen at Awful Announcing posted this video of a hot dog-eating contest in the bleachers and the results are, well, priceless.
I think AA is right on the money when they say:
It’s never good when you A) Lose to a woman in an eating contest and/or B) Almost dying and needing the Heimlich Maneuver.
I’d also include “C)Your friend is laughing hysterically while videotaping your near-death.”
The worst part is that a Reds fan was trying to save his life. If their fans perform just as well as their team, I think I’d rather take my chances with trying to cough the hot dog up.
You know things are going good for your team when Felix Pie hits a three-run home run.
Pie, who is currently hitting a healthy .172, notched his first home run of the season during the Cubs’ 7-1 win over the Mets last night. That’s doubly impressive when you consider he hasn’t started since April 15, taking the time to work on his swing.
No Fukudome? No problem for the Cubs.
Considering how bad the Pirates have been against the North Siders, Lou Piniella could have started my brother’s Little League team and still won.
April 20, 1908 at Robison Field
Cubs 2, Cardinals 0 (5-1)
Carl Lundgren improved to 2-0 on the season with a spectacular start for the Cubs in their rubber game with the Cardinals. He gave up just five hits and a walk with four strikeouts in the Cubs second shutout of the season.
The Cubs scored both of their runs in the sixth inning and they did it without picking up a hit in the inning. The Cubs picked up two walks, executed a double steal and then scored on an infield grounder and an error by the Cardinals.
Having trouble at work? You should pitch against the Pirates.
Girlfriend broke up with you? Pitch against the Pirates.
Has your house been foreclosed? Well, you should probably find the cheapest hotel in the area. Then pitch against the Pirates.
Fact of the matter is, if you’re having a tough time and you need pick-me-up, pitching against the Pirates is the best possible thing you could do.
For the second straight day Pirates hitters made a struggling Cubs pitcher looked more like Mordecai “Three Fingers” Brown. Chicago took Pittsburgh behind the woodshed for a 13-1 shellacking .
Jason Marquis was solid on the mound (six innings, one run, seven strikeouts) and picked up his first win of the season.
At the plate, Derreck Lee jacked a two-run homer to give him a league-leading seven home runs for the season. Mind you, last season he hadn’t hit No. 7 until mid July. His replacement, Daryle Ward, also knocked a two-run home run. Mark DeRosa and Ronny Cedeno were the other two players to knock in two RBI for the game.
Chicago (11-6) is now just half a game behind division-leading St. Louis and tied with Milwaukee. For those of you who have erased last season’s start from their heads, this win gives the Cubs one more than they had all of last April. Wooooo!!!!!
Chicago should dispatch the woeful Pirates tomorrow afternoon before playing a couple of real Major League teams (Mets and Rockies) during the week.
April 19, 1908 at Robison Field
Cubs 3, Cardinals 2 (3-1)
Orval Overall got just enough from his hitters as he improved to 2-0 in the Cubs third win of the season. The big right hander gave up three runs on nine hits and one walks with six strikeouts.
Frank Chance was the hitting star. He went two for three with a double and a run.
April 18, 1908 at Robison Field
Cardinals 3, Cubs 2 (3-1)
The Cubs hadn’t lost and the Cardinals hadn’t won but both teams fortunes turned today as the Cardinals scored a run in the ninth to give the Cubs their first loss of the season. With runners at the corners and one out, Art Fromme hit a scorcher to Johnny Evers, who tagged the runner trying to make it to second base. Then Evers tried to make the play himself at first base but he lost the foot race and failed to complete the double play. In the meantime, the runner on third scampered home for the winning run.
Jack Pfeister took the loss after he came in to relief Ed Reulbach after a rough couple of innings. Pfeister gave up just four singles in the final seven frames but he took the loss when he gave up that game winner in the ninth.
The Cubs were held to just three hits in the contest. Joe Tinker doubled home both of the Cubs two runs while Jimmy Sheckard reached base three times with two walks and a single.
April 17, 1908 at The Palace of the Fans
Cubs 1, Reds 0 (3-0)
The Cubs finished a three game sweep in their season opening series over the Reds with a dramatic 1-0 win. Ed Reulbach got into trouble in the first inning and he pitched out of it and from then on, Chick Fraser proceeded to shut down the Reds over the final eight frames.
Frank Chance was the hitting star in the win. He was not only one of three Cubs to pick up three hits but he also scored the lone run of the game for either side.
April 16, 1908 at the Palace of the Fans
Cubs 7, Reds 4 (2-0)
The Reds scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to put a little bit of a scare into the Cubs but it wasn’t nearly as enough as Chicago started their season 2-0. Carl Lundgren picked up the win with a complete game. He gave up four runs on six hits and six walks with three strikeouts in the contest.
Jimmy Sheckard had a nice game at the plate. He went three for four with three runs. Frank Schulte singled, doubled and scored a pair of runs.
April 14, 1908 at the Palace of the Fans Cubs 6, Reds 5 (1-0)
Cubs 6, Reds 5 (1-0)
The Cubs kicked off their defense of the world championship with a tight win over the Reds. The Reds jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning but the Cubs slowly chipped away at the lead. Finally, in the top of the ninth inning, Heinie Zimmerman singled home Johnny Evers for the game winning run. Evers had an exceptional game with two singles, a double and three runs.
Orval Overall got off to the rough start when he gave up five runs in the first but he recovered to pick up the win. Three Finger Brown came in to get the Reds out in the ninth and he picked up what would now be a save in the game.
Ted Lilly wasn’t sharp for his third straight start and the Cubs lost their second straight game to the Phillies, 7-1.
Lilly had control problems all game and as a result he gave up five runs over 4-1/3 innings pitched. Lilly hasn’t made it past the fifth inning yet this season.
This was also the third straight game where the starting pitching has been less-than-stellar. Rich Hill lasted just three innings and gave up three runs during his start at Pittsburgh Thursday evening. Carlos Zambrano lasted longer duirng his start Friday but gave up five runs and took the loss. Now Chicago must rely on Jason Marquis Sunday to break this mediocre streak.
The same pitcher who have up four runs in 5-1/3 innings during his only start. That’s an ERA over six for those of you scoring at home. Awesome.
But I can’t criticize the pitching too much. The hitters weren’t particularly sharp, either. Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels struck out five and allowed just one hit in seven innings of work. The Cubs managed just two hits after that, one of them an RBI single from Alfonso Soriano, his only hit of the evening.
If you need a bright spot, take a look at pitcher Kevin Hart. After being knocked around on back-to-back appearances against the Pirates, Hart was solid against Philadelphia. He went 2-2/3 innings and gave up just one hit.
Are you a big fan of American Idol? No? Well, Mark DeRosa would be ashamed of you! Because he’s not just an avid fan of the show, he has a favorite singer: Michael Johns
And guess who was recently voted off the show. That’s right, DeRosa’s boy. But rather than keep his emotions to himself or vent angrily to his mother over the phone like most of us would, he decided to voice his displeasure with MLB.com.
All it took was one misplay and a miss on a catchable foul fly to bring Carlos Zambrano back from the chilled out stupor he’d been enjoying during his first two starts. Which is a great thing for me because I was beginning to worry about blogging an entire season without a Zambrano meltdown.
You don’t want to admit it but at one time you loved Sammy Sosa. It’s alright, most of us did. I mean, what was not to like about him? His home runs were massive, his sprint to the outfield was cute and he had an adorably goofy smile. Unfortunately corking a bat, cutting our of games early and suddenly forgetting English kept Sosa from his rightful place in Cubs lore. Well enough is enough. Ernie Banks wants Sosa back in Chicago. OK, he doesn’t want the Cubs to actually sign Sosa but Mr. Cub himself believes the Cubs should welcome back Sosa with open arms. Heck, he’d even like Sosa to throw out a ceremonial first pitch just like Bill Buckner did on Monday in Boston. Hey, if Red Sox fans could forgive him, why can’t the North Siders do the same for Sosa, right? You know, because committing an error is just as bad as being suspected of cheating. Or corking a bat.
If a team wins and there’s no one there to see it, did that win really happen? When Felix Pie hit the eventual game-winning two-run single, there was about seven people sitting behind the backstop. Considering the attendance was just over 9,700 at the beginning of the game, I’m going to guess there was about 450 people left in the entire park to watch it till the end. I mean, I’ve heard more noise made during junior high girls’ basketball games for goodness sake.
Nevertheless, you don’t need a large audience to win ballgames, just timely hitting six innings after regulation. Oh, and excellent pitching.
I really couldn’t help myself from a pirate joke somewhere on this post and no better place to do it than right in the headline. But all kidding aside, how does a team blow a seven-run lead to the Pirates? Are you kidding me? I don’t care if this game was on the road and an Opening Day. There is no excuse for blowing a seven-run lead. And there is no excuse for booting easy ground balls (I’m looking at you Mark DeRosa).
But despite the drama that unfolded at PNC Park, Chicago walked away relatively unscathed with a 12-inninning 10-8 win. I say relatively unscathed because in a situation when you could rest most of your bullpen you were forced to use everyone but Kerry Wood. Fortunately the Cubbies have an off-day before the play again on Wednesday. But still, you blew a seven-run lead?
The worst part of it all was that I couldn’t even see the Cubs’ six-run third inning. The video feed went out all that was left was audio. Great job WGN. Including the first two innings I missed while I was in class, I actually saw the Pirates outscore Chicago 8-2. So, while the overall result was a win, I feel a bit cheated by the whole experience. I didn’t actually see much good on TV.
But, I’m being bitter. The encouraging thing is that Chicago put up 10 runs on the board without notching a single home run and just four extra base hits out of 13 total hits. Pretty impressive when you think about it. And the 12th inning epitomized the Cubs at the plate today.
Ryan Theriot walks, then steals a base. Alfonso Soriano walks and both runners advance on a wild pitch. One out. Derreck Lee is intentionally walked and Aramis Ramirez plates a run with a sacrifice fly. Another wild pitch followed by an intentional walk. DeRosa earns a walk to score the second run of the inning.
Talk about working for your runs. Two runs, zero hits. It’s the equivilent of a garbage goal in hockey; it won’t make top plays but it wins you games. And that’s how Chicago was all day. Patience at the plate, combined with timley hitting and some lucky bounces and you get ten runs without the aid of the long ball. It also helps that the Pirates pitchers sucked today, but that’s neither here nor there.
Kosuke Fukudome (3-for-5, RBI) and Lee (2-for-5) continue to tear it up at the plate and Soriano is slowly but surely raising his batting average (now a healthy .094).
And props go out to Jon Leiber, who lost the battle for the final two spots in the starting rotation, but stepped up in a big way by pitching three scoreless innings to earn the win. In baseball years he’s like 70, but as long as he gets the job done, I don’t care if most of his money is coming from social security.
Forget steroids or human growth hormones, ladies and gents. If you want to succeed at the Major League level what you need is bananas. A whole lot of bananas. At least it worked for Calors Zambrano who went seven innings and scattered seven hits and gave up two runs. Oh, and he struck out seven batters.
Carmen Miranda would be proud.
The best part is that Zambrano wasn’t the only pitcher to have a good afternoon. Carlos Marmol (who sounds more like a tasty candy rather than a Major League pitcher) sturck out two batters in his one inning of work and Kerry Wood pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn his third save of the season.
How bout them apples … er … um, bananas?
In the hitting department, both Derrick Lee and Aramis Ramirez went 2-for-3. Lee smacked his third home run and the game-winner in the seventh inning. Even Alfonso Soriano provided some offense with his fifth inning bomb. He’s still 1-for-28 (.077 BA) but who is paying attention to that, right?
As a result of the win, the Cubbies have won their first series of the season! And the three wins in the last four games ain’t so bad either considering Chicago travels to lowly Pittsburgh tomorrow afternoon. Three games against a National League bottom feeder is just what the Cubs need before their series in Philadelphia next weekend.
Things have come up and that’s why I’ve missed the last two wrap ups. But have no fear Cubs nation, tonight you will get not one, not two, but three wrap ups! OK, maybe not three whole wrap ups, but I will go over the Houston series, which concludes today at sunny Wrigley.
So, while I’m in the middle of a meaningless meeting at my newspaper at the moment, I’ll take this opportunity to make some quick-hitting comments about Chicago’s newest son — Kosuke Fukudome.
–He’s 8-for-16 with three doubles, one home run and five RBI
–He’s arguably the biggest star in Chicago since Jordan. I mean watch and listen everytime he comes to the plate. When was the last time you heard a crowd get that pumped about a single player?
–He’s clearly the best option for the lead off spot. He can hit for average, hit for power and bunt for basehits. He’s basically a good version of Alfonso Soriano.
So nothing very new, but I’ll have something a little more indepth about him in a day or two. Alright, I’m off to enjoy the game!
Ryan Dempster isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Prior to Spring Training, Dempster guaranteed a World Series victory for the Cubs, a pretty big statement considering
Chicago’s 99-year title drought. And after two losses to open up the season, critics were likely ready to pounce on the No. 3 starter if he couldn’t salvage
Chicago’s opening series.Well Dempster continued to speak but it was his pitching that did all the talking en route to a 6-3 win over
Milwaukee in the series’ final game.
The closer, turned starter allowed two runs (one earned) in the opening frame but was lights out the remainder game. When his day was finished, Dempster had allowed just three hits over six innings and struck out five batters.
Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood closed out the rest of the game. After giving up three runs in the ninth inning of Opening Day on Monday, Wood looked much better today, allowing just one hit and fanning two batters in the ninth.At the plate, five different players drove in runs for the Cubs. Alfonso Soriano, back in his traditional lead off spot, went 1-for-4 with two RBI and Aramis Ramirez notched his first hit off the season with his fifth inning solo home run off Brewers’ starter Dave Bush. But the main attraction continues to be Kosuke Fukudome. The Japanese sensation went 1-for-2 with two walks and a strikeout. He also scored two runs. So Cubs fans can now breathe a sigh of relief. Their team will not go 0-162. And Dempster can also take a deep breath. He still has a lot more talking to do.
When I was in high school I wasn’t the healthiest kid in the world. It was common for me to throw down Mountain Dew and pizza before many a summer baseball game. I even remember a double header where I ate five White Castle burgers between games. Five! So it’s no surprise I’m not a Major League Baseball player. (That and the lack of talent) Well, apparently Carlos Zambrano isn’t much healthier than I am. Those cramps he suffered in the sixth inning? The result of a pregame routine that’s similar to a college undergrad cramming for finals. From the ChicagoSports blog:
“Carlos Zambrano was asked by the Cubs medical staff to change some of his pre-game habits to try to alleviate the cramping issue that’s been a recurring theme for him over the last four seasons.The Cubs are asking Zambrano to cut down on his caffeine intake, drink more fluids and increase his potassium level by eating more bananas.”
It gets better:
“The Cubs will also have scientists from the Gatorade Institute analyze some of the tests conducted on Zambrano, who typically drinks coffee and energy drinks before his starts.”
Well, that probably explains what happened last season.
Despite the loss, Opening Day 2008 was a memorable one for Cubs fans. Ernie Banks was honored with a nifty trophy, albiet a grammatically incorrect one. And rookie Kosuke Fukudome said kinichwa to Major League Baseball in impressive fashion.
As for today? Um, yeah, this one was worth forgetting.
Ted Lilly gave up a home run on the first pitch of the game and the day just went downhill from there during the Cubs’ 8-2 loss to divisional-rival Milwaukee. Lilly gave up five runs total (four of them earned) in just 4-2/3 innings. If you’re doing the math at home that’s a healthy 7.71 ERA. Unfortunately for the Cubs, Lilly wasn’t the only pitcher to have an off day. Bob Howry gave up three hits and two runs over the last 1-1/3 innings of the game.
Offensively, Fukudome revealed that he is, in fact, human and that was unfortunate for Chicago since he accounts for over half the team’s runs over two games. Fukudome went 0-fer and struck out twice. Derreck Lee and Geovany Soto each had a solo home run for the Cubs’ only offense of the day.
Considering a lot of people have picked the Cubs to win the NL Central (and even the Wolrd Series) this 0-2 start is pretty disappointing. What’s worse is that it was against the Brewers, the top challenger in the Central. At least Opening Day was entertaining.
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