Writing About the Chicago Cubs and Looking at the Team’s Past
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The Cubs new bench coach will be Alan Trammell. This wasn’t Pinella’s first choice but he’ll have a guy with big league managerial experience to help him out in the dugout. Of course Trammell’s claim to fame is that he’s the guy managed the 119 loss Tiger team back in 2003.
Here’s an update on how the Cubs’ prospects are doing down in Arizona this fall. Sounds like Jacob Fox is having a pretty good run lately.
I touched on this yesterday, but I would have rather seen the Cubs go with Joe Girardi. Regardless, Lou Pinella is the man so we’ll see how this works. He’s the most high profile coach to take the job since, well, Dusty Baker and we’ll see how Pinella does with a decent payroll.
I’ve said this before, but I think Joe Girardi is the man for the job. Lou Pinella is a good coach, but he won once, and he won that early in his career. I’m a what have you done for me lately kind of guy and I like the job Girardi did in Florida this year despite a pretty hostile working environment. It looks like Bob Brenly and Bruche Bochy are also being considered so we’ll see what happens here.
As expected, Dusty Baker is gone. I’ve said this before, but he didn’t do a bad job. He took us closer to the promised land then any other coach but I think his time just ran out. Also gone is the team’s President, Andy MacPhail. He could never do what he did for the Twins (two World Series) so we’ll see what happens. Joe Girardi should be looking for a job and I think he’d be a nice fit.
During the offseason, I’m going to be doing some play profiles of the first Cubs World Series team back in 1907. This will lead up into a 1907 Cubs Championship diary similar to what my brother did for the 1906 White Sox at Black Sox Blog. And of course hopefully the Cubs will give us something to talk about during the off season.
I like saying that, even if it was just a two game series. Regardless, the Cubs took both games of a two game series against another team out of contention. Woo hoo.
The Cubs turned on the offense on Tuesday. Sean Marshall was solid through six innings and Henry Blanco had four hits and four RBIs in the 14-6 win. Jacque Jones and John Mabry both went yard in the blowout win.
Yesterday’s game was a pitchers dual and Rich Hill didn’t get a decision despite throwing seven solid innings. He struck out seven in the game and Freddie Bynum hit his fourth homerun of the season in the 3-2 win. The big shot though was a walkoff RBI single by Henry Blanco to finish up the game.\
The Cubs finish at home against the Rockies. Yawn.
At this point, the Cubs would need a miracle to get out of the cellar, but they are spending the final five games of the season in front of their home town fans. And the ones that show up will be the real fans so hopefully the Cubs put on a good show for them.
It’s strange that all three losses in this series were close while the one Cubs win was a blog out. The Reds took Friday’s game in a five rain shortened innings. Henry Blanco hit his sixth homerun of the season and Rick Hill had a mixed bag of a start. He struck out ten but he gave up four runs (three of which were homeruns) on four hits and two walks in five innings of work. Final was 4-2.
Saturday was the blowout win for the Cubs. Carlos Zambrano not only hit his sixth homerun of the year, but he threw a nice game as well. He won his sixteenth game and struck out seven in seven innings. John Mabry drove in three runs and Aramis Ramirez hit his 36th homerun in the 11-4 win.
Saturday featured the first of two one run games. Ryan Dempster dropped to 1-9 when he gave up two runs in the ninth. It was also his ninth blown save. Juan Mateo had a nice start. He gave up only one run on three hits but he walked four in five innings. Ramirez hit his 37th homerun and Buch Coats hit his first career homerun in the 3-2 loss.
This afternoon, Ken Griffey, Jr. burned us. His three run shot in the eight off of Scott Eyre gave the Reds a 5-4 win. A nice start by Wade Miller went to waste (five shutout innings) and Henry Blanco drove in two runs in the 5-4 loss.
The Cubs have Thursday off so they have two against the Brewers then three against the Rockies to close things out.
This time is was the Phillies. As the season plays out to it’s conclusion, the Cubs are playing for very little outside seeing how of their budding young stars might do. They’re not even playing in a series the rest of the way against a contender so the Cubs don’t even have to put up the front of trying anymore.
The Cubs actually got the bats going on Monday, at least Aramis Ramirez did. Ramirez went yard twice and he drove in seven runs in the game. It’s been a very solid season for Ramirez this year, unfortunately it’s been lost in the Cubs poor play overall on the field. Juan Pierre and Scott Moore also went deep in the 11-6 win. Sean Marshall was bumped after he gave up six runs in 3 1/3 innings and Mike Wuertz picked up the win.
By Tuesday, it was back to the losing. Jamie Moyer shut down the Cubs and he was a little better then Wade Miller, who took the loss. Miller did strikeout eight guys in 4 2/3 innings so that’s encouraging. Matt Murton hit homerun number 13 and he had two hits in the 4-1 loss.
Wednesday was more of the same as Bret Myers did a number on the Cubs. Les Walrond walked five guy in only three innings and he took the loss. Aramis Ramirez drove in a run and scored in the 6-2 loss.
Next up is four against the Reds, who are pretty much out of it now.
Misery loves company and Reds fans have to be pretty miserable right now. They were on top of the playoff mix for a lot of the second half until an August decline and now they’re pretty much out of it after the Cubs squashed them over the weekend.
Things didn’t start well. The Cubs were shut out and held to five hits on Friday. Juan Mateo was throwing very well but he came out after three innings with some back problems. Carlos Marmol then came in and got shelled and gave up all four Reds runs in the fourth inning.
The Cubs returned the favor on Saturday and Rich Hill is looking better and better as the year goes on. He threw a two hit complete game shutout in which he struck out ten. Jacque Jones hit his 25th homerun of the season and Aramis Ramirez had two hits and two RBIs in the 4-0 win.
Yesterday was a beat down. The Cubs tagged Eric Milton for six runs in a start that he didn’t even get out of the first inning. In the meantime, Carlos Zambrano coasted to an easy win with seven shutout innings. Zambrano is 15-6 and while he won’t get much play for the Cy Young, he certainly should get some votes. The Cubs hit six homeruns, including two by Ryan Theriot. Jones drove in three runs in the 11-3.
Two more weeks left, and fortunately, it looks like the Cubs won’t be losing 100 games this year. They’re two games back of the Pirates for last place in the National League. Next up is the Phillies, who are another spoiler candidate.
This is the part of the season where the little things make you happy. The Cubs are bad, but they can still hurt you. And that’s what happened to the Dodgers this weekend. They’re not clinging to a razor thing lead in the NL West.
The Cubs made six errors on Tuesday, but they still won the game. A five run fifth inning was capped off by a two run double by Matt Murton. Cesar Izturis got it done in the eleventh when he singled home Juan Mateo in the eleventh. The Cubs used just about every player on their roster in this one.
Wednesday’s game was ugly. The Cubs were held to nothing on seven hits. Angel Guzman lasted only four innings and he’s now 0-6.
Thursday, the Cubs bounced back though. Aramis Ramirez hit a huge three run shot in the seventh to give the Cubs a 6-5 lead. It was Ramirez’s 100th RBI of the season on the hit and Angel Pagan drove in two runs in the win.
Next up is three against the Red. Maybe we can bury them too.
Can this season please end.
On Friday, Angel Guzman dropped to 0-5 on the season. He was knocked around and didn’t even last five innings. Jaque Jones hit homerun number 23 and he scored twice in the 8-4 loss.
More of the same on Saturday. Wade Miller made his first start of the season and he got bounced after three innings. Matt Murton homered in the 7-3 loss.
At least Sunday’s game was close. Juan Mateo threw six solid innings but the Cubs only gave him two runs of support. Freddie Bynum hit a solo shot for one of the two Cubs runs in the 3-2 loss.
Monday was… a WIN??? Wow, the Cubs actually got the bats going and put eight runs up. Derek Lee was the man. He homered twice and drove in four runs. Rich Hill put together another nice start. He gave up two runs (one earned) on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. He’s now 5-6 on the season.
Next up is three against the Dodgers. Maybe the Cubs can play spoilers. To someone.
The Cubs have lost eleven of their last thirteen, including six of seven to the former last place Pittsburgh Pirates. Right now, the Cubs are 4 1/2 games ahead of the Royals for worst team in all of baseball. At least we’ll get a good draft pick. The last time we had a #2 pick, we got Mark Prior. Oh, wait……..
On Monday, the score went to 5-4 in a hurry. Two innings in a hurry. Then neither team scored the rest of the way as the pens took over. Carlos Zambrano had one of his worst starts all season and didn’t even last two innings. Ryan Theriot drove in three runs.
Tuesday was another one run loss. The Cubs went down 5-1 early but they tied it up in the fifth. Neither team scored until the Pirates put the game away with a run in the ninth. Ryan Dempster fell to 1-8 and Juan Mateo lasted only four innings. Juan Pierre had three hits, two RBIs and a run in the 6-5 loss.
Finally, the Cubs procured a win on Wendesday. Derek Lee homered and drove in four runs and Rich Hill had a very nice start despite not getting a decision. He went 7 1/3 innings and he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks with eleven strikeouts. If Hill can get any kind of consistency, he could be a nice number two guy to Carlos Zambrano down the road.
Sean Marshall was knocked around this afternoon and he last only four innings. Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Marmol and Scott Moore all hit homeruns. It was both Marmol and Moore’s first career homeruns. Final was 7-5.
Next up is four against the Braves in a wrap around series. Hard to believe the Braves are kind of out it in September.
The Cubs lost again today. It’s the team’s sixth straight loss and the Cubs now sit only a game and a half back of the Pirates for the worst record in the National League. They’re six games ahead of the Royals for the worst team in all of baseball. None of this is good.
Monday’s game was a blow out. At one point, the score was 9-1 before the Cubs put some runs on the board to make it look less like a blow out. Derek Lee returned to the lineup and he had a hit and two RBIs. Juan Pierre hit homerun number two this season. He racked up three hits, two RBIs and two runs. Angel Guzman gave up eight runs through only three innings and he dropped to 0-4.
Yesterday’s game was the first of two eleven inning games. The Cubs jumped out to 4-0 lead only to see that disappear. The game went into extra frames and while Derek Lee put the Cubs on the board in the eleventh, the Pirates scored two runs in the bottom half on Ryan Dempster to make it a 7-6 final. Dempster dropped to 1-6 and it’s his seventh blown save this year. Carlos Zambrano was only okay in seven innings of work.
Today was just like yesterday only with more runs. The Cubs were down 7-3 and scored runs in each of the final three innings to tie it up and send it into extra frames again. This time the Cubs scored two in the top of the eleventh only to have the Pirates score three to win it in the bottom of the eleventh. Ryan Dempster did it again and he’s now 1-7. Each team racked up 20 hits. Ryan Theriot had five hits in six at bats and neither team hit a homerun.
Next up is a three game set against the Giants. I love baseball, but I’ve never wanted a season to end as much as this one. How about Joe Girardi for our manager next season? He might be available.
Things always revert to the mean. The Cubs are a pretty bad team this year and the Cardinals are pretty good. Somehow though, the Cubs have taken it to the Cardinals at least up until the past two weekends. This time, things fully reverted back, and the Cardinals took care of business by sweeping the hapless Cubs.
On Friday, all the Cubs could manage was five hits. Freddie Bynum had two of them as did Angel Pagan. Nobody scored and while Juan Mateo threw a really nice game, he dropped to 1-2.
The Cubs still couldn’t get their bats going on Saturday. This time, the Cubs scored but only managed three hits. Phil Nevin hit a solo homerun against Chris Carpenter and the two teams were actually tied heading into the bottom of the ninth. Roberto Novoa gave up thw winning run with two outs though and he took the loss.
The Cubs finally got some runs yesterday, but this time, the pitching wasn’t there. Walrond was shelled and didn’t last it through the third. The Cubs actually tied the game up, but then Bob Howry have up a grand slam in the ninth to end it. On ESPN’s game of the week no less. Jacque Jones drove in two runs in the 10-6 loss, and Juan Pierre and Bynum each scored twice.
Next up is three against a team that’s actually worse then we are. I wonder how attendance will be at Pittsburgh this week.
You’d think after all of these years of losing and let downs that I’d be used to losing. Anyway, the Phillies came into our house and took three of four. Not good and it’s our second straight series loss after a decent stretch after the break.
A late inning comeback on Monday fell short. The Cubs went down 5-0, scored three in the seventh only for the Phillies to score a very important insurance run in the eighth. Then in the ninth, the Cubs tagged Arthur Rhodes for two runs, but fell a run short of sending the game into extra innings. Rich Hill was only okay and Jacque Jones hit his 21st homerun of the season.
Ryan O’Malley took the loss on Tuesday. He and Glendon Rusch each gave up three runs and Juan Pierre of all people came up with the Cubs only big hit. He drove in two runs with a single in the fifth inning.
Yesterday, the Cubs ran into Bret Myers. Matt Murton tied the game at 1-1 with a solo homerun in the eighth, but the Phillies tagged Bob Howry for a run in the ninth. A solid start by Angel Guzman went to waste. He gave up a single run on four hits and three walks with eight strikeouts in six innings.
Finally, the Cubs put the wood on the ball. Aramis Ramirez homered and tripled and had three RBIs in the 11-2 win. Angel Pagan, Michael Barrett and Phil Nevin all hit homeruns as well. Carlos Zambrano improved to 14-5 and he gave up two runs on six hits and one walk with seven strikeouts over seven innings.
Next up is three more against the Cardinals. It’d be nice to return the favor from this past weekend and cost them a game or two in the standings.
I guess you can’t win them all, especially against the Cardinals. A team we’ve owned all year, the Cardinals finally took a series against us.
Carlos Marmol was gone after three innings on Friday and the pen didn’t fare much better. Michael Barrett and Aramis Ramirez both homered in the blowout loss.
The Cubs avoided a sweep by holding off a couple of Cardinals comebacks and then winning it in extra frames. Phil Nevin’s bases loaded single scored Jaque Jones to win it. Jones finished with two hits and two runs and Mike Wuertz picked up the win. A solid start by Carlos Zambrano went to waste as Bob Howry and Ryan Dempster both blew saves.
Yesterday, the Cubs ran into Chris Carpenter and could never quite get on track. Juan Mateo gave up four first inning runs and while he calmed down, that was all Carpenter would need. Ramirez hit homerun number 30, his third straight year he’s hit that milestone.
Next up is four against the Phillies. If I didn’t love baseball so much, I’d say get this season over with. It’d be nice to see at least something to build on for next year other then the fact that someone finally took Neifi Perez off of our hands.
In 2006, it’s the little things that count to Cubs fans. We all know the Cubs won’t make the playoffs, but it’s nice to see they’re ruining another team’s chances. The Astros are now looking at five teams ahead of them in the Wild Card and they’re now four and a half games down. We won’t be able to drag them down to our level, but misery loves company.
Monday was the first of two shutouts by the Cubs in this series. Carlos Zambrano threw a gem and held the Astros to four hits through eight innings. He did walk seven, which was disconcerting, but he and Ryan Dempster combined for the shutout. Phil Nevin did it all. He drove in three runs on three hits including a homerun.
Yesterday’s game was an all nighter. The Astros and Cubs played out eighteen innings. Ernie Banks always said “let’s play two” and that’s effectively what they did. The Cubs tied it in the ninth on Matt Murton’s solo homerun and then nobody scored until nine innings later when it was Murton who came through again. He singled home Aramis Ramirez and Jaque Jones to make it an 8-6 final. Angel Guzman and Ryan Dempster both threw three shutout innings and Rich Hill picked up the win after pitching the final two frames.
With both teams being tired and with their pens depleted, it almost seemed like the Cubs and Astros agreed to play a “first team that scores wins” game. Michael Barrett came through for the Cubs and hit his fourteenth homerun in the sixth inning for the only run of the game. Ryan O’Malley made his major league debut and he pitched eight shutout innings to pick up a win. Bob Howry finished things off in the ninth to pick up his fourth save of the season.
Next up is three games against the NL Central leading Cardinals. Incidently, the Cubs have owned the Cardinals so it’d be nice to sweep our arch rivals…..again.
Looks like runs are back in vogue in Colorado. The winner in each of the three games in this series scored at least eight runs. Not too shabby.
The wheels fell off the wagon for Rich Hill in the fifth inning. He was crusing along before he got shelled for four runs. He dropped to 2-5 and Jacque Jones hit homerun number 19. John Mabry drove in the other run for the Cubs in the 10-2 loss.
The Rockies doubled up the Cubs yesterday. Angel Guzman was gone before the end of his third inning and he dropped to 0-3. Matt Murton hit homerun number seven. He finished with three hits and two RBIs in the 8-4 loss.
The Cubs did come from behind today to beat the Rockies to end their skid. Down 7-4, the Cubs ate away at the lead with a run in the seventh and then they took the lead with three in the eighth. Ryan Theriot had the big hit. His pinch hit three run double gave the Cubs that lead in the eighth inning. Aramis Ramirez hit his 28th homerun of the season and he drove in two runs.
Next up is three with the Astros. Once again, the Cubs can play spoiler. Tuesday we’ll get to see Roger Clemens. Tomorrow’s matchup is probably the best. Carlos Zambrano will go up against Roy Oswalt.
You knew the winning ways had to end. The Cubs lost their first series in a while as they lost two of three to the Brewers. The only thing stopping the Cubs from flirting with last place has been a four game losing streak by the Pirates.
Tuesday’s game went well though. Carlos Marmol was mediocre but only let three runners cross the plate. Then again, he was spotted five runs in the first inning by the Cubs hitters. Jaque Jones and John Mabry (he’s still playing) each hit two run shots in that big first inning.
The Brewers turned the tables and beat us by the exact same score as the game before. Carlos Zambrano got knocked around and he didn’t even last five innings. He’s now 12-5 on the season. All three Cubs runs were scored on a three run shot by Aramis Ramirez.
The Brewers won the rubber game this afternoon. The Brewers jumped out to an early 8-1 lead and while the Cubs fought back, they came up just short. Mark Prior was shelled again and he was pulled after three innings. Ramirez did it again with a three run shot. The homerun was his 27th of the season.
Next up is three in Colorado. The Rockies are in the thick of the Wild Card race, so maybe we can make an indirect impact in the playoff picture that way.
Don’t look now, but the Cubs are actually playing some pretty good baseball. Since sweeping the Cardinals, the Cubs have now won four of their last seven. The team isn’t playing for much, but it’s nice that Dusty Baker has the team at least doing something down the stretch.
Friday’s game was the lone blemish, but man was it a beat down. Rookie starter Tom Gorzelanny and the pen held the Cubs to three hits. On top of that, Carlos Zambrano was knocked around and he gave up five runs on nine hits and three walks with six strikeouts over six innings.
The Cubs bounced back on Saturday behind Mark Prior’s first win of the season. The Cubs spotted him four first inning runs and Prior gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks with five strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings. Matt Murton and Angel Pagan both went yard while Juan Pierre scored twice in the 7-5 win.
The Cubs made it two in a row yesterday behind Rich Hill’s second straight quality start. Hill went seven innings and gave up one run while striking out nine. Ronny Cedeno hit his fourth homerun of the season in the 6-1 win and Aramis Ramirez had three hits and two runs.
Next up is three games against the Brewers, who stand in fourth place just ahead of the Cubs. Not that fourth place is something to shoot for, but it’d be nice to drag somone else down to our level.
This was a weird series. It was basically four blowouts, two to a side. Oddly, the Cubs are the second hottest team in the National League over their last ten games. Only the Phillies at 8-2 are better then the Cubs 7-3.
Mark Prior was beat up again. He did give the Cubs five innings, but he dropped to 0-5. All five runs were scored by the third and all five runs were scored on three homeruns. Aramis Ramirez hit homerun number 24 and he drove in two runs. Juan Pierre stole his 38th base of the season.
On Tuesday, the Cubs buried the Diamondbacks early. They scored two in the first, two in the second and three in the third. Ramirez, Michael Barrett, Matt Murton and Jaque Jones all homered for the Cubs. Rich Hill improved to 1-4 with eight very solid innings. He struck out six and walked only one batter. Very good progress for the rookie.
The rain came Wednesday, and that forced a Thursday doubleheader. Game one went to the Diamondbacks, 10-2. Marmol was knocked around for five first inning runs and the D-Backs never looked back. Juan Pierre and Michael Barrett both had three hits in the game. The Cubs blew a lot of chances and stranded thirteen base runners.
Game two went to the Cubs. Mateo threw five solid innings in his major league debut and he’s now 1-0. Matt Murton accounted for most of the Cubs offense in the 7-3 win. He had four hits and he drove in five runs. Pagan scored three times and Phil Nevin crossed the plate twice.
Next up is a three game set against the last place Pirates, so this is a series nobody outside of Cubs or Pirates fans will care about.
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.
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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