Writing About the Chicago Cubs and Looking at the Team’s Past
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Well, it looks like the drought is going to reach 100 years because the Cubs season ended yesterday. They put the guys on base to win the game, they just couldn’t bring them around to score and the four double plays obviously didn’t help. And Rich Hill was touched up early and he lasted just three innings. The pen did okay, but by then the game was pretty much over with.
This should be a very interesting offseason as the Cubs will be sold. This will probably hamper their pursuit of free agents but they spent so much money last season that it’s hard to believe they’d go all out for a second season. Plus, the free agent class isn’t all that great.
What a ride though. The Cubs looked like they were done before the first half but put it together and won the division. Yeah it was a weak division, but they made it to the playoffs none the less. Still, to go out like this is tough.
Well, the Cubs need to win three straight games to advance to the NLCS after losing two in Arizona. The scene shifts to Chicago, but there’s little doubt the Cubbies face an uphill battle if they want to advance.
Ted Lilly was knocked around for six runs and he didn’t get through the fourth inning. Kevin Hart wasn’t much better and he gave up two runs in the route. And on offense, Geovany Soto and Daryle Ward drove in two runs a piece. Soto belted the only Cubs homer.
Rich Hill will need to get it done tomorrow if the Cubs want to play another day. I like our chances against Livan Hernandez though.
This game was a kick in the dick and I really hope it doesn’t come back to haunt us. In a best of five game series, every games counts and the Cubs blew a game last night when it looked like Lou Piniella went to the pen a little early. After just 85 pretty dominating pitches, Lou went to the pen and in the very next inning, Carlos Marmol gave up two runs that cost the Cubs the win.
The Cubs scored their only run in the sixth inning. With two outs, Ryan Theriot singled home Derek Lee and that was it. The Cubs will have to even up the series tonight and they have Ted Lilly on the mound. Cubs hitters will face Doug Davis.
The Cubs have just over two weeks left in there season and while a two game lead is hardly comfortable, it’s about as good as they’ve had all season. They’ve done it with four straight wins and they can make it five straight with a win against the Cardinals tonight. As it stands, their magic number is now 14 and all they have to do is keep winning. It’s hard to believe, after the horrible start this team had, that they’re in the drivers seat in the Central this late in the year.
What can you say about Aramis Ramirez. He had the injury like he usually does yet he’s still the team leader in just about everything. Alfonso Soriano has been solid but not yet worth the money we’re paying him. He can make up for that with an MVP performance in the postseason. Probably the biggest question mark has been Derek Lee. His 2005 “breakout” season is looking more and more like fluke. And while he hasn’t been horrible, it’s nowhere close to that magical 2005 campaign.
I really like the rotation heading into the final two weeks too. While even Carlos Zambrano isn’t quite elite yet, the Cubs have four starters who all have a solid chance of throwing a win which is better the most teams. The depth won’t help them as much in the playoffs but it could definitely help them get in there.
So Cubs fan have something to enjoy in September. Let’s just hope they have something to enjoy in October as well. I mean it’s only been 99 years.
I had this great post about how well the Cubs have been doing of late and the net ate it up. Sigh. Oh well. The ending just has to do with the Cubs burying the Cardinals this week. Zambrano can set the stage in the opener with a nice start tomorrow. A few losses from the Brewers would be nice as well.
I’m still getting the details on this, but the Cubs have made a trade with the A’s for Jason Kendall. It sounds like we gave up one of our catchers (maybe Bowen) and another minor leaguer. I have to run, but I’ll break this down tomorrow.
One game over .500 doesn’t sound like much, but when you look at where this team’s been at in the first half, it isn’t all bad. Still, the Cubs have their work cut out for them. They have league leading Brewers four ahead of them in the loss column and then the Cubs lead their hated rivals and 2006 World Champion Cardinals by just two games in the loss column. There’s still a lot that can go wrong, but the Cubs have played some good ball of late and they just have to build on that.
It’s hard to pick an MVP for this team. Aramis Ramirez still leads the team in a lot of the power categories despite the injury and Derek Lee has been the best “hitter.” Alfonso Soriano has done his job although he has just 33 RBIs despite having 15 homers. And then you can make a case for Mike Fontenot for the spark he’s provided. I’ll give it to Derek Lee though just based on OPS and the fact that he’s been there the whole season.
Ted Lilly, for all of the hype surrounding how bad his contract was, has put together an impressive season and I give him a slot nod over the surging Carlos Zambrano. He has two fewer wins then Carlos but Lilly’s ERA is about a half point lower and he’s right up there with Zambrano in strikeouts. Rich Hill also has to be given some props despite the fact he hasn’t picked up a win in, like, forever.
The Cubs first opponent after the break is the almost in last place Houston Astros. Carlos Zambrano throws against Jason Jennings in the opener and I like that matchup. Ted Lilly versus Roy Oswalt I don’t like as much so the series could come down to the rubber game. In the meantime, the Brewers take on Rockies. It’d be nice to just keep pace this weekend.
At least the Cubs own Chicago these days. And even at four games below .500, the Cubs have moved back up to the top of the scrap heap and while second place is still far away from the first place Brewers, there’s no riff raff between the Cubs and the Brew Crew. It’s just unfortunate that the Brewers caught fire and the Cubs needed three straight wins over the White Sox just to keep pace.
Pitching was the name of the game for the Cubs this weekend as their hurlers allowed just two runs over three games. My brother is pretty annoyed but that’s always a good thing because the Cubs scored just ten runs in their three games to pull off the sweep. The best outing was yesterday with Sean Marshall and three relievers combining to throw a shutout. Marshall has been a solid call up and he’s now 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA. Good stuff from a guy who struggled last year after he was forced into the musical chairs rotation the Cubs had going.
Alfonso Soriano is also starting to really heat up. His batting average is now comfortably above .300 and he’s hit homeruns in his last three games as well as four of his last five. All solo shots, but what do you expect from a guy who they have leading off. Soriano would easily have 40 RBIs if they’d just push down in the lineup. Good stuff from the leftfielder though.
Carlos Zambrano had possibly his best start of the season on Friday and he remains red hot. He struck out a season high twelve batters and he gave up just three hits and one walk. That’s three straight starts he’s gone at least eight innings and given up just one run and his last bad start is a distant memory way back on June 1.
Next up is three against a hot Rockies team who have take people by surprise. Jason Marquis will go up against a tough left hander in Jeff Francis. I like the pitching matchups in the other two games though so I wouldn’t be too sore if we lost the first one but took the final two. The Brewers play the Astros, who have been struggling so the Cubs will probably have to take two just to keep up.
Just when the Cubs look like they’re going to break out, they go on a mini-skid. And this is a tough one because they lose 1-0 on Sunday and then they get blown apart on Monday by the Padres. That Saturday game was a fun one to watch though with the brawl and everything although you wonder if it was worth the five game vacation that Derek Lee received.
Still, the Cubs are just six games back of the Brewers in the loss column and while a losing streak could push them all the way down into fifth place, a winning streak could push them into immediate contention. It’d be nice if, by the All Star Break, they could push the team’s behind them down a couple of games and maybe pull to within three or four games of the Brewers. Wishful thinking but it’s definitely realistic.
Speaking of the All Star Game, I wonder who the Cubs representative will be. Derek Lee is one choice as a reserve but there’s quite a bit of traffic at first base. For now Alfonso Soriano is entrenched as the third outfielder and there’s a pretty good chance he could be the only Cub heading to San Francisco. At least that’s what I’d put my money on if I were into sports betting.
One encouraging thing about the Cubs is that Carlos Zambrano is coming around. He’s had three great starts in a row and he looks like the Zambrano of old. Now we just have to get through the Aramis Ramirez injury and if he comes back and we’ve made up some ground, it’s all the better.
The Cubs start a three game series against one of the worst teams in baseball, the Rangers, this week so this might be a nice time for the Cubs to get back to their winning ways. Tonight it’ll be the impressive (so far) Sean Marshall going up against Robinson Tejada and his 6.49 ERA.
Well, the Cubs almost made it. They won the first two games in their series with the White Sox but then Carlos Zambrano was shelled in his start yesterday as the Cubs failed to sweep. That loss was the difference between hitting the .500 mark and not so now the Cubs have to get it done against the Padres in a west coast trip.
The good news is that, the Cubs have hung in the mix. They’re tied with the Astros in the loss column and they sit just six games back of the Brewers. One more good week and they could find themselves knocking on the door.
And speaking of Carlos Zambrano, this is a very cool look at his mechanics with video and pictures and everything. The author speculates that Zambrano might be hiding an injury but the evidence isn’t conclusive.
And then here’s a cool column on first base prospect Micah Hoffpauir. He had an awesome April but since then, he’s cooled down a bit but he’s still having a solid season at Triple A. And also be sure to check out Cubs Minors for all of your Cubs minor league coverage.
Hey, it’s been a while and while there’s not much to get caught up with on the current day Cubs, I know I’m behind on the 1907 diary. Please bear with me because the network I write for had some system wide problems that basically prevented me from posting. Things are fixed though, so I’m hoping to get caught up pretty quickly.
It seems like everytime the Cubs make a push at the .500 mark, they have a set back and fall back. The latest is a series of one win, lose one after dropping three straight last week. And with interleague play on the horizon, you never know whether, even with some wins, you can make up ground because you’re not playing someone in the division. The good news is though, the Brewers have cooled off so a few wins might mean a pickup in the standings.
Of course the Derek Lee injury is going to hurt. He hadn’t found his homerun swing but you can’t scoff at a .390 batting average and a 1.016 OPS. Aramis Ramirez has gotten it done and with Alfonso Soriano back to his old ways, the Cubs have the hitting in place. The pitching has been there as well, but the pen hasn’t been all that great and it seems like the Cubs have just gotten unlucky. They’ve underplayed their pythagorean win/loss by four wins and if you look at those standings, the Cubs would be just one game back of the Brewers. The 6-12 record in games decided by less then two runs sticks out.
The Cubs have one more game against the Mets this afternoon and then it’s back to Wrigley Field for three games with the White Sox. The Brewers have to contend with the Twins so that’s kind of a wash. And hopefully the Astros cool down as well. A guy can wish.
Another day, another series lost. Well, it’s not quite that bad but you get the gist. The Cubs hosted the Brewers and they needed a win in the finale to avoid the sweep. And that deficit (currently five games) isn’t getting any better, nor are the number of teams we need to pass to get there.
On Monday, the Cubs jumped out to an early 4-0 lead by the third inning but had given it all back by the eighth. Then in the twelth, Rocky Cherry made his major league debut and served up a solo homerun to Prince Fielder to lose it. Carlos Zambrano had a decent start and gave up just two runs but Scott Eyre blew the save and gave up the two runs in the eighth. Derek Lee was the hitting star. He went three for six with two RBIs. Aramis Ramirez hit the only Cubs homerun and he drove in two in the 5-4 loss.
Yesterday, the Cubs were just shut down. Mark DeRosa drove in the Cubs run and even that didn’t come until the ninth. Derek Lee picked up another two hits and he continued to rake and Rich Hill had his first mediocre start of the season. He gave up four runs on six hits and three walks with five strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
The Cubs finally got it done this afternoon. After a rain delay and an early exit by Ben Sheets, the Cubs jumped all over the Brewers pen. Derek Lee hit his first homerun of the season and he went four for five with two runs and two RBIs. Cliff Floyd also had four hits and he drove in two runs while Ryan Theriot went two for five with two runs and two RBIs. Ted Lilly evened his record at 2-2 with seven solid innings. He gave up two runs (one earned) on six hits with three strikeouts.
Next up is three against the Cardinals in St. Louis. It’d be nice to return the favor from last weekend and take this series. Heck, with a sweep, we could bury the Cards in the cellar. Jason Marquis gets the start in the opener and he’ll face Anthony Reyes.
The Cubs are back in last place and it happened with two losses against their arch-rivals, the Cardinals. Things appeared to get off to a good start on Friday as Ted Lilly threw a nice game he just couldn’t give up a run because the Cubs lost 2-1. Lilly gave up the two runs on four hits and two walks with six strikeouts and he lasted seven innings. The lone Cub run came on an RBI single by Aramis Ramirez.
On Saturday, Jason Marquis got it done to pick up the lone win the series. He gave up seven hits with five strikeouts in seven shutout innings and he improved to 2-1 on the season. Micheal Barrett and Ronny Cedeno both went yard and Barrett’s shot was of the three run variety. Felix Pie continued his struggles with an 0 for 4 game and Matt Murton finished with two hits and two runs in the 6-0 win.
Yesterday, the wind was blowing out at Wrigley. Enough said, huh. The Cardinals went yard four times and the Cubs hit two in the 12-9 ten inning loss. Ramirez homered and drove in three runs while Barrett had another nice game with his fourth homer and he drove in two and scored two. Wade Miller was hammered but the pen did their damage as well. Bob Howry gave up two runs and Ryan Dempster gave up the three in the tenth as he took the loss.
The Brewers roll into town today. Carlos Zambrano has had his troubles this season and tonight would be as good of a time as any for the Cubs to get going. Oh yeah, they’re in last place and they sit four games back of the first place Brewers. How better to pick up some games then to beat the leader?
Rich Hill looked awesome last night. He improved to 3-0 and in the process, he gave up just four hits in eight shutout innings. He struck out seven and he’s now given up just one earned run in twenty innings. At the plate, Michael Barrett and Aramis Ramirez went yard in the 3-0 win. Derek Lee walked twice and Barrett finished with two hits.
Wednesday’s game didn’t go quite as well. After coming back from a 5-2 deficit to take a 6-5 lead, Scott Eyre gave up three runs in the seventh to lose it. Carlos Zambrano’s start wasn’t all that great either as he gave up five runs on eight hits and five walks with six strikeouts in six innings. Mark DeRosa hit a homerun and drove in two while Derek Lee went two for four with two runs and an RBI in the 8-6 loss.
So the Cubs are tied with the Cardinals and both sit in the cellar. The good news is, the Cubs trail the first place Brewers by just three games so a little winning streak could heal a ton of wounds. And it’s a battle for last place as the Cubs host their arch-rivals, the Cardinals, in a three game series this weekend. Ted Lilly gets the start tonight.
The Cubs finally managed their fifth win of the season as they split a two game series with the Padres. In the first game, the Cubs did it all. Cliff Floyd homered and drove in four runs and Michael Barrett also went yard and he drove in three in the 12-4. Jason Marquis threw a good game and he picked up his first win of the season. He gave up one run on three hits and four walks with five strikeouts in six innings. The only downer of the game was that Alfonso Soriano hurt his hamstring and he’s expected to be out a week or so.
Today’s game didn’t go quite as well. The Cubs got some great pitching but the hitters managed only three runs in fourteen innings. Wade Miller was okay and the pen did very well until the Will Ohman gave up the game winner in the fourteenth. He was the seventh pitcher that Lou Pinella used. Aramis Ramirez tripled and drove in a run while Ryan Theriot went two for six with a run scored.
Next up are the Braves and it’s another two game series. Carlos Zambrano gets the start tomorrow and he’ll take on Kyle Davies.
Alright, this is getting crazy. I know a quick winning streak will pop the Cubs right back where they need to be but with all of the money the Cubs spent on this team, you’d think they’d be at least .500. Anyway, the Cubs lost their third series of the season (versus one win) and once again, it was at the hands of the Reds.
Friday’s game might have been the worst of the bunch. With a 5-0 lead, Carlos Zambrano gave up six runs in the fifth inning to give the Reds a 6-5 win. Will Ohman walked in two of those runs that Zambrano got credit for and most importantly, they were the tying and go ahead runs. Carlos Zambrano was actually the hitting star in the loss. He went two for two with a homerun and two runs. Ryan Theriot had three hits and he drove in two.
On Saturday, Rich Hill got it done and is showing he could be the potential ace if the Cubs don’t resign Zambrano. He gave up three hits and four walks with five strikeouts in seven shutout innings and he’s now 2-0. Derek Lee doubled and drove in three runs in the 7-0 win.
Then yesterday, Ted Lilly threw a gem. He gave up just a single run on two hits and a walk with ten strikeouts in six innings. Oh yeah, he took the loss as well because the Cubs bats were shut down by Kyle Lohse of all people. Theriot was the only Cub who really did anything with the stick. He had three of the Cubs four hits in the 1-0 loss.
Next up is a two game series at home against the Padres. There’s a rare night game tonight with Jason Marquis throwing for the Cubs. It’d be nice to win both of these but I’m not holding my breath because the Padres are a solid team.
This isn’t the home coming Cubs fans were looking for. The Astros rolled into town with just one win and they not only ruined the Cubs opening day, but they also took a secong game as well. The end result is a three game losing streak for the Cubs.
Bob Howry gave up a two run homerun to Adam Everett on opening day that broke a 3-3 tie as the Cubs lost on opening day. The Cubs came back from three down to tie it up but Howry couldn’t hang onto the game. Ted Lilly was mediocre and he gave up three runs on six hits and a walk with five strikeouts in six innings of work. At the plate, Michael Barrett went two for three with a walk and an RBI in the 5-3 loss.
Yesterday, the Cubs could never get it going. Derek Lee and Mark DeRosa had RBI singles in the ninth inning but that was the Cubs got in the 4-2 loss. Jason Marquis wasn’t really spectacular and he took the loss. He gave up four runs (three earned) on four hits and four walks with three strikeouts in five innings. Derek Lee went two for four, scored a run and then had an RBI in that ninth inning.
Then the snow hit so there’s no game today. There’s a day off tomorrow and then the Reds will roll into town for a three game series beginning Friday. I like the openers pitching matchup with Carlos Zambrano going against Aaron Harang in a battle of two of the NL’s best.
Six games are in the bag and the Cubs sit at an even 3-3 record. They needed a series win over the Brewers just to get there but hopefully from now on, they’ll put this losing record stuff behind them and continue to roll.
The Cubs really turned on the offense in the series opener. With six runs in the first inning, the Cubs coasted to a 9-3 win. Cliff Floyd, Michael Barrett and Mark DeRosa all drove in two while all nine runs were scored by different Cubs. Rich Hill was very impressive in his start. He gave up just a single solo homerun in seven innings with just one walk. He struck out six.
On Saturday, it was a battle of the titans between Carlos Zambrano and Ben Sheets with the Cubs coming out on top. Derek Lee had three hits and Aramis Ramirez hit a two run homerun in the 6-3 win. Zambrano gave up three runs on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts in seven innings of work.
Then yesterday, the winning streak came to an end. Wade Miller was knocked around for six runs on nine hits in the 9-4 loss. Derek Lee drove in two runs and had two hits while Mark DeRosa had a tough game with four strikeouts.
The Cubs open up Wrigley Field this afternoon with the Astros in town. It’s on WGN so I’ll be watching.
Well, the good news is, Jason Marquis threw a nice game. The Reds have some mashers and it’s a homerun park but he held the Reds to a run on four hits and two walks with a strikeouts in six innings of work. The downer was the pen. Bob Howry gave up two runs in the seventh and then Scott Eyre gave up two in the eighth and the end result was a 5-2 loss.
Aramis Ramirez had another great game. He went three for four with a double. Mark DeRosa had two hits including a solo homerun and Cesar Izturis doubled twice.
Rich Hill takes the mound tomorrow at Milwaukee against a solid Brewers team. Tomorrow is a night game and then both weekend games are in the afternoon. Saturday’s matchup should be a good one with Carlos Zambrano throwing against Ben Sheets.
Maybe the Cubs have somebody here in Ted Lilly. He held a high powered Reds offense in their home park to a single run on three hits and a walk with nine strikeouts. I’d call that a solid debut. Bob Howry and Ryan Dempster then threw a scoreless inning a piece and just like that, the Cubs had their first win of the season.
Aramis Ramirez accounted for the bulk of the Cubs offense. He had three hits and two runs while Mark DeRosa had two hits and two RBIs in the 4-1 win.
The rubber game is tomorrow afternoon. Jason Marquis makes his Cubs debut and hopefully it’s as successful as Lilly’s.
The Cubs never got on track in this one and Carlos Zambrano was roughed up as the Cubs lost their season opener. The only run of the game came in the fifth inning when Matt Murton scored on Ryan Freel’s throwing error which was originally a single by Derek Lee. The firstbaseman finished the game with two hits in the 5-1 loss.
Zambrano was tagged for five runs on six hits and five walks with two strikeouts in five innings of work. Give some props to the pen though because they did a decent job and held the Reds scoreless in three innings.
Ted Lilly gets the start tomorrow in his Cub debut. He’ll go toe to toe with Bronson Arroyo.
Joe Distelheim previewed the Cubs today over at the Hardball Times in a five questions column. He starts with a discussion on the manager change and gets around to a discussion on Alfonso Soriano and then closes with whether the Cubs will be any good this year (sure they will).
This is a huge surprise but Mark Prior is going to start the season at Iowa to build up his arm strength. There’s reason to be optimistic because Lou Piniella said that Prior has made some progress and the hope is that he continues to improve in the minors.
This is a drag but not at all surprising. Now it’s Kerry Wood’s shoulder that’s bothering him and the end result will be a stint on the disabled list. He’ll miss opening day and there’s no time table for his return. I wasn’t banking on Wood doing much for us this year but it sure would have been a boon had he and Prior did some damage and made an impact in 2007. I guess there’s still time but the chances are looking pretty slim.
John Perrote at Baseball Prospectus previewed the Cubs today. He talks about their drought and the poor 2006 season and then gets into all of the free agent signings. He then gets into how Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis should throw in 2007 and the state of the bullpen. He does offer some hope with the NL Central being a weak division but I think the Cubs are still a player or two away. Guess that’s why they play the games.
Should we really be that surprised that the odds are good that neither Mark Prior nor Kerry Wood will start the season on the big league team. It looks like it’s the DL for both of them but there’s still a chance if they get enough AND can show they’re ready, that one or both of them could be out there. No likely, but you never know.
While I’d never advocate gambling, sometimes it just makes watching the game that much better. An hey, the Cubs haven’t won it in a while so if it keeps you interested, then I’m all for it. Just make sure you use Bodog Sportsbook since they’re the best.
The Rocky Mountain News recently interviewed Ron Santo in what’s a great read. He touches on everything from all of the moves the Cubs made in the offseason to more personal stuff like his diabetes. He also talks about his prospects for getting into the Hall of Fame. Good stuff from Mr. Santo.
Tim Brown recently penned a column about future Hall of Famer, err, Triple A bound Mark Prior. You have to feel for Prior. He was on top of the world and then the injuries began to hit. Anyway, it’s a solid read and everyone has to keep in mind that Prior is still just 26, when a lot of major league careers kick off so there’s still time for him to turn it around. He’s still throwing in the 80s and while he got it by some minor leaguers, he hasn’t been able to do as well against the big league players.
The Cubs beat the Mariners today 9-3 and improved to 8-6 on the spring season. Ted Lilly picked up the win although he didn’t even last four innings. He only gave up one earned run on four hits and a walk with a strikeout.
Cliff Floyd and Aramis Ramirez both homered and Alfonso Soriano had a nice game. He went three for three with a triple and two runs. Jacque Jones had two hits and two runs.
Angel Guzman gets the start tomorrow for the Cubs. It’s against the Cubs cross town rivals, the White Sox.
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