Monday, September 15, 2008

Zambrano dazzles and delivers, no-hits Astros!

Zambrano dazzles and delivers, no-hits Astros!

Unbelievable! That's the word which pops into my mind after finding out about and MISSING the historic game Sunday. First of all, I thought the game was postponed without knowledge that the venue was moved to Miller Park in Milwaukee. What a comeback performance from Carlos Zambrano, baby! He records the first Cubs' no-hitter in 36 years (Milt Pappas in 1972 at Wrigley Field). Who said Big Z has a dead arm? Oh, please! The Z man was only saving his energy for such a sterling occassion when the Cubs had a chance to pull ahead and inch closer to a division title. The Cubs ace managed to walk one batter and hit a batter while serving up 10 strikeouts. Way to Go Zambrano! Adding to the Sunday delight was Alfonso Soriano who launched his 28th homerun as Derek Lee hit a double and drove in 2 runs.

With Hurricane Ike hitting the Houston area this weekend everything worked out fine for the Cubs. Game 1 and 2 got postponed. They got out of the city at a good time, unfortunately others didn't being left to contend with the havoc from the winds and rains. It's also a shame Houston didn't get to be apart of the piece of history tossed yesterday. What a bummer for the many Cubs fans who didn't get to see this one since WGN didn't broadcast the game (or at least not in my area). An extra lead over the Brewers is what is in order to maintain sole possession of first place. At the moment the Cubs are up 7.5 games.

The rest of the series with Houston is going to be made up this week at the designated neutral location. Since Milwaukee is close to Wrigley Field the Astros are complaining that this is an unfair advantage for the Cubs. Commissioner Selig decided to move the series at the site with the idea I suppose since no other options nearby were available and to not have further delays or inteferences from the weather. The 2 games would have been moved elsewhere if the Brewers weren't scheduled to play on the road. With the arguments surrounding the change in venue, one thing can't be denied: the no-hitter stands. Nothing can be taken away from Carlos Zambrano's performance. After finishing up with the Astros the Cubs head back home to face the Brewers for 3 games then the Cardinals. These series may lead to the Cubs clinching the division. Congrads to Big Z on capturing his 1st career no-hitter! Wooooooooooo, go Cubs!

Pete Harveyhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/09244146801174434996noreply@blogger.com

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The Big Z Gets the Big No

The Big Z Gets the Big No

We know Carlos Zambrano loves baseball. He must've been chomping at the bit over the past two days with the unknown nature of when/where his next start would take place. His energy level must've been off the chart. Thankfully, he was able to control that energy tonight. And he did it in a big way.

9 innings pitched, zero runs, zero hits. That's right, I said zero hits. A no-hitter for the Big Z. He survived the game without yielding a hit despite being upset with himself for striking out in the seventh. But as the bat went parallel to the ground and his knee raised, he controlled himself and decided against breaking another bat over his knee.

This is the first Cubs No-No since 1972. Z did it in an almost un-Z-like 110 pitches. Not bad, considering Lou wanted to limit him to 100. But with the 100th pitch being thrown in the bottom of the 9th inning, Lou may not have made it back to the dugout if he had tried to take Z out of the game. Z may have also been helped before the ninth began, as he was scheduled to bat fourth in the inning. He didn't get a chance, as the Cubs went 1-2-3, but the fact that he had to mentall prep (and we know Z takes every AB importantly) may have allowed him to ignore the fact that he was heading into the ninth without a hit.

A great performance. Congrats, Z.

noreply@blogger.com (Lionel) Sun, 14 Sep 2008 21:49:00 -0500

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Carlos Zambrano Tosses No Hitter.

Carlos Zambrano Tosses No Hitter.

Big Z, baby. He's back. Carlos Zambrano throws the Cubs' first no-no since 1972. Check out the video here.

Oh...and in other news. The Brewers lost another 2 to the Phillies today while Z was dominating in their home ballpark. The Cubs now lead the division by 7.5 games. The Cubs magic number folks? Down to 7!

noreply@blogger.com (jumbo) Sun, 14 Sep 2008 21:48:00 -0500

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Talkin' Cubs Live - Cubs vs. Astros - 09/14/08

Talkin' Cubs Live - Cubs vs. Astros - 09/14/08

Game One Hundred Forty-Seven: Cubs (88-58) vs. Astros (80-67)
Game Time - 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage - TV: WGN (Chicago Area Only) - Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186
Location - Miller Park, Milwaukee

Carlos Zambrano (13-5, 3.58/1.31) vs. Randy Wolf (10-11, 4.45/1.39)

After receiving a day off on Friday and spending Saturday on call with the MLB front offices, Lou Piniella's crew will return to work tonight against the hottest team in all of baseball....the Houston Astros. The unfortunate circumstances in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike has moved two of the three games to Miller Park in Milwaukee and the third game will be played on September 29th after the conclusion of the regular season if the game is needed to decide either the NL Wild Card or the Central Division Champion.

At the beginning of play on Sunday, the Cubs lead in the central is 6 games over the Brewers (7 in the loss column) and 8 1/2 over the Astros (9 in the loss column). The Brewers have a day-night doubleheader in Philadelphia and own a 2 game lead over the Phillies and a 2 1/2 game advantage over the red-hot Astros.

The Astros have won 14 of their last 15 and have many comparing their patented last season surge to the impressive run the Colorado Rockies made a year ago. Roy Oswalt and Randy Wolf are a combined 17-2 since July 27th and Geoff Blum and Ty Wigginton have led the offense. Randy Wolf told Holden Kushner on XM Radio Saturday that the team is playing relaxed, loose and with a lot of confidence. The Astros wanted these games played in Houston, and rightfully so, but with all of the damage in the Houston area, they chose for the right reasons to allow two of the three games to be moved to Miller Park....despite the fact the Brewers' home field is known as 'Wrigley Field North'.

For only the third time since 1961 weather has forced Major League Baseball to relocate games to a new location. Hurricane Ivan forced the Marlins to play the Montreal Expos at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago (September 13 - September 14) in 2004 and last season snow in Cleveland forced the Indians to open their home schedule at Miller Park against the Angels (April 10 - April 12). The last time the Cubs were involved in games being postponed due to a hurricane was in 2004.

Jason Marquis and Jack Cassel were originally scheduled to pitch in the opener on Friday night. Marquis will face Brian Moehler on Monday afternoon instead and hopefully the Cubs will not have to make a trip to Houston at the end of the season to play a meaningful game. The Cubs have 16 games left on the schedule and 15 games in 15 days before the last day of the season on September 28th....two weeks from today.

Carlos Zambrano will make his first start since facing these Astros on September 2nd at Wrigley. Zambrano will not face Carlos Lee but a very dangerous and confident lineup that includes Hunter Pence (19-for-59 in 15 games against the Cubs this season with a home run, 6 doubles and a triple - .322/.355/.508/.863) and Miguel Tejada (18-for-57 in 14 games against Cubs' pitching this year with a home run, 5 doubles and 2 triples - .316/.339/.526/.865).

Maybe the down time gave the Cubs offense a chance to get a breathier, especially Derrek Lee. The Cubs need one of their leaders to step up and start producing or it might be time for Lou Piniella to move him down in the lineup....

neil@chicagocubsonline.com (Chicago Cubs Online) Sun, 14 Sep 2008 15:30:00 -0500

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Brenly Signs Extension

Brenly Signs Extension

On the same day a part of the Cubs past inked a 6-year deal to remain on the South Side, a part of the organization's present signed a 4-year extension to stay in the Cubs' broadcasting booth along side of Len Kasper. According to a report in the Daily Herald by Barry Rozner, Bob Brenly signed a 4-year contract extension with the Cubs on Saturday reported to be worth in the "neighborhood of $3.5 million."

Rumors suggested Steve Stone might return to the Cubs booth if Brenly did not re-up with Cubs.

neil@chicagocubsonline.com (Chicago Cubs Online) Sun, 14 Sep 2008 13:20:08 -0500

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Update: Cubs @ Astros in Milwaukee Sunday And Monday

Update: Cubs @ Astros in Milwaukee Sunday And Monday

UPDATE FROM AL -- Added to the front page so everyone will see this. Thanks for posting it!

Update: Ticket Info here! (Thanks to Neifi Puppy for providing the link!)

 

cst_cubs cst_cubs Finally. Cubs and Stros to play in Milw, 7:05 sunday, 1:05 monday. Will play 3rd game 9/29 if needed. from txt

 

Gordo hasn't added ticket info yet, but I will update as soon as it comes across the wire, or at least as soon as Twitter updates.

And heres hoping the 3rd game is of NO importance... I really don't want to make it up that late!!

 

Update: Looks like McLane finally came around to make this happen:

Minute Maid Park in Houston avoided serious damage and has been deemed playable, but not even Astros officials suggest any longer that games should be played amid the hardships area residents are enduring in the aftermath of Ike.

``We’d hate to play our game in Houston if there’s still lots of suffering in the city,’’ McLane told the Houston Chronicle. ``We could get out and play somewhere else.

``We don’t want to play a game if folks are stressing with their homes. The safety of our fans is most important.’

halfblindcubbiegirl Sun, 14 Sep 2008 01:59:58 -0000

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The Sunday Funnies

The Sunday Funnies

For your amusement, while we wait for tonight's game...

The end of the saga. Or is it?

Click on cartoon to open a larger version in a new browser window

Al Sun, 14 Sep 2008 11:00:07 -0000

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Let's Get It Started, Again Thread: Cubs vs. Astros at Milwaukee, Sunday 9/14, 7:05 CT

Let's Get It Started, Again Thread: Cubs vs. Astros at Milwaukee, Sunday 9/14, 7:05 CT


Next Game

Chicago Cubs
@ Houston Astros

Sunday, Sep 14, 2008, 7:05 PM CDT
Miller Park

Carlos Zambrano vs Randy Wolf

Complete Coverage >


At last! Baseball again. By the time the Cubs play tonight, they'll know how their nearest competitors have fared -- I wanted to get this posted early, and some of the games have not yet been completed, plus the Brewers have the second game of their split doubleheader in Philadelphia tonight.

Here's the deal on TV tonight: the Cubs website is correct. The game is on WGN -- but only in Chicago, not on the national WGN feed. HOWEVER. The White Sox just announced that they are giving up the idea of playing a split (1:05/7:05) doubleheader today and are going to start a straight doubleheader as soon as it stops raining -- but that may not be for a couple more hours. The Sox' 2nd game is to be the ESPN game tonight. If the Sox start at 4:00 and play a long first game, I would imagine ESPN will pick up at least part of Cubs coverage. So, tune in... you might see some of the game, at least. Tomorrow's 1:05 Cubs/Astros game will be on CSN, and also on EI.

Here is today's gratuitous picture of Geovany Soto (taken last year in Cincinnati):

1463544227_32c4f3e59b_medium

via farm2.static.flickr.com

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
C. Zambrano
Cubs
vs. Randy Wolf
R.
Wolf

Astros
13-5 W-L 10-11
3.58 ERA 4.45
117 SO 146
64 BB 67
16 HR 19
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2008 - Carlos Zambrano 13-5 27 27 0 0 0 0 173.1 163 72 69 16 64 117 3.58 1.31


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2008 - Randy Wolf 4-1 9 9 1 1 0 0 54.1 51 25 23 5 20 41 3.81 1.31

The above numbers are Wolf's numbers with the Astros only. For Wolf's full-season stats see the pitcher box above.

Randy Wolf threw a six-hit shutout vs. the Cubs 11 days ago at Wrigley Field. But on May 12, also at Wrigley, the Cubs pounded him. So which Wolf shows up tonight? FWIW, he has pitched twice in Miller Park (vs. the Brewers, of course) since donning an Astros uniform with a 9.72 ERA in 8.1 innings.

Z's last start was 12 days ago vs. the Astros, the game he took himself out of. He says he's feeling great and is ready to go. Z has one of his best career marks vs. the Astros -- 11-7, 2.85 in 25 appearances (23 starts) -- and is 6-5, 3.67 in Miller Park (11 starts vs. the Brewers there). He is also a .267 career hitter in Miller Park and has hit five of his 16 career homers off Astros pitching.

See above for TV information for tonight. For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter. I'm not certain, but I believe MLB.TV viewers can watch tonight's game. Field reports would be appreciated, later today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

As always, you can find the overflow comment threads, including the first pitch thread, on the right sidebar of both the front page and any interior page in the box headed "RECENT STORIES IN GAME THREADS". Today's first pitch thread posts at 7 pm CT, and the overflow comment threads will post at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Al Sun, 14 Sep 2008 20:00:07 -0000

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cubs-Astros to Play at Miller Park

Cubs-Astros to Play at Miller Park

According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs and Astros will play two of the three games from this weekend series at Miller Park on Sunday night and Monday afternoon. The Sunday night game is scheduled for a 7:05pm C.T. start time and Monday will begin at 1:05pm C.T. Bob Nightengale from the USA Today is also reporting the Cubs and Astros will play two of the three games in Milwaukee.

The third game of the series will be made up on September 29th if necessary.

Updated - 9:06pm C.T. - It's Official - The Cubs and Astros will play at Miller Park on Sunday night and Monday afternoon.

On Standby....Cubs Wait for Decision from MLB

Updated - 3:49pm C.T. - According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have decided not to travel on Saturday which would make a game on Sunday in Houston a near impossibility. Major League Baseball has not announced on where and when the 3 game series will be played.

Updated 5:43pm C.T. - Ken Rosenthal reported that Jim Hendry has told his team to report to Wrigley on Sunday with their bags packed and ready to get on a plane. According to Rosenthal, the Astros are adamantly opposed to the games being played at Miller Park because it would be turned into home games for the Cubs.

While thoughts and prayers remain with those being directly affected by Hurricane Ike, the Major League Baseball schedule is being affected and not only the first two games of Cubs-Astros series in Houston this weekend. There are six double headers scheduled for Saturday for the first time since 1974 and one on Sunday in Philadelphia between the Brewers and Phillies.

The latest on the Cubs is the scheduled workout for today at Wrigley has been changed to a meeting with all of the rain in the Chicago area. Players have been instructed to report to the park at 2:30pm C.T. with their bags packed as they await word from the MLB front offices of where and when they will play their next ballgame.

Let's Try This Again Thread: Brewers vs. Phillies, Saturday 9/13, 2:55 CT

Next Game

Milwaukee Brewers
@ Philadelphia Phillies

Saturday, Sep 13, 2008, 2:55 PM CDT
Citizens Bank Park

Manny Parra vs Cole Hamels

Partly cloudy with a 30-percent chance of rain. Winds blowing in from left field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game Time temperature: Around 80.


Stay safe, everyone.

While a large swath of the central and eastern USA is about to be hit by the remnants of Hurricane Ike, the Brewers and Phillies will try to begin their series this afternoon. The Cubs were going to work out at Wrigley Field today, but this photo taken from the Wrigley webcam at 10:30 am says that isn't happening:

Wrigley Field, Saturday 9/13, 10:30 am CDT

And with the White Sox likely rained out of their doubleheader this afternoon, the first game of which was going to be shown on Fox to about 24% of the country (Just think! You were going to be treated to the commentary of Rob Dibble if you were in that Fox region!), the Brewers/Phillies game will now be shown to just over half the country. See the link below for info on your market.

This link was posted in the comments of a couple of posts last night, but it bears repeating here: as of 11 pm last night, Miller Park was still under consideration for the Cubs/Astros series:
If that series is moved to Miller Park, there would be a game later in the day Sunday and a doubleheader on Monday. And you can bet Cubs fans would flock from Illinois to attend those games.
This was confirmed on the Brewers website:
Brewers spokesman Tyler Barnes confirmed that the team is on stand-by, and is waiting for direction from MLB.

We shall see. If I hear anything, I'll post it ASAP.

UPDATE: You can rest assured that playing in Houston will be impossible. The Ravens/Texans game that was rescheduled from Sunday to Monday has been postponed due to damage at Reliant Stadium, which is about six miles from Minute Maid Park. No reports from Minute Maid yet, but there may very well be damage there, too, or elsewhere in downtown Houston that would make it impossible to play there.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Manny Parra
M. Parra
Brewers
vs. Cole Hamels
C. Hamels
Phillies
10-7 W-L 12-9
4.03 ERA 3.12
138 SO 180
72 BB 47
14 HR 26
vs. Phi -- vs. Mil


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2008 - Manny Parra 10-7 29 28 0 0 0 0 158.2 166 81 71 14 72 138 4.03 1.50



W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2008 - Cole Hamels 12-9 30 30 2 2 0 0 208.0 173 82 72 26 47 180 3.12 1.06

This game is on Fox. It was originally to go to only 26% of the country, but with the likely White Sox rainout, it will now be seen in a little over half of the USA. For tonight's schedule see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

Baseball-reference.com game preview (at posting time this link was not working, but it should be later this morning or early afternoon)

I'm not going to open overflow threads for this game -- if this one gets too slow, please feel free to open one on the FanPost list.

Back on the right pace: Cubs snatch up series in St. Louis

With all the constant negative reminders and forewarnings for ultimate doom the Cubs find a way to get back in stride. After experiencing a bad stretch where they lost 6 in a row the trip to St. Louis did the Cubs some good. Not only did winning the series lift their spirits, but the Cubs also gained a little ground in the division. Thanks to a Brewers defeat last night the Cubs garner a 5.5 game lead. The pitching was on point for the last 2 games, being stingy behind efficient run support. Thursday night before finding out the upcoming series in Houston will be postponed due to the hurricane approaching and probably moved to another city the Cubs focused on beating those Cardinals. Things got interesting in the 9th, but the Cubs pulled out a 3-2 victory!

Ryan Theriot came through on offense, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. To put the Cubs ahead 3-0 in the 6th inning Mike Fontenot drove in a run with a single. The Cards tried to make a comeback with 2 runs in the bottom half then came up empty. Kerry Wood, this time was able to be in control as he nailed down his 30th save. Not that their wasn't drama in the 9th, but it worked out in the Cubs' favor. Rich Harden was effective, pitching 6 innings. He didn't appear to show any ill-effects of a nagging arm problem. The following is his statline:

6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR

I noticed Felix Pie entered the game again as a defensive replacement yet didn't get an at-bat. That doesn't enable his future growth and a handful of plate appearances would benefit his future development. I understand Lou wants his best in the game during crunch time, but I think a few prospects off the bench could provide the extra offense Chicago needs.

I can only imagine what the Cubs' record would be if they'd have closed out other 1-run games earlier this year. That doesn't matter as much as staying atop in the NL Central and have the lineup stay productive for the rest of the way. Lou Piniella has plenty options now with the expanded rosters and can feel better about having his 2 starting pitchers back. Plus with the delay with the series in Houston will allow Zambrano and Harden to get extra rest and strength in their arms. I believe the next series in Milwaukee could give the Cubs the chance to put first place out of reach for their division rivals. Then again it all depends on how the Brewers respond later and the fact both teams square off for a final series at the end of the month.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Season Recap: Peoria Chiefs

Season Recap: Peoria Chiefs

Ryne Sandberg's Peoria Chiefs will mostly be remembered for the July brawl that occurred while Ryno was attending HOF ceremonies in New York. Ryno may have been one of the best offensive and defensive 2-sacks in MLB history, but his team didn't have many good sticks and had some terrible defensive players.

Record:
30-38, 7th place (of 8) in the First Half
30-40, 7th place (of 8) in the Second Half

The only thing that the Chiefs really have to hand their hat on is the fact that some of their better players were promoted to Daytona, and that organizationally, this was by far the weakest team in terms of talent.

All Stars:

None

Top Ten Prospect Players:

None

Offensive POY: Luis Bautista

Essentially, this was a three-horse race, between Luis Bautista, Jovan Rosa, and Marquez Smith. But Smith was promoted to Daytona in early July and Rosa's K numbers (127) were too overwhelming to ignore. Bautista, a 32nd round pick of the Cubs in 2007, was the only Chief to hit over .300 for the year, coming in at .313. He hit 13 HR's, racked up 25 doubles and drove in 50 in 326 AB's. Exploration time: that's 24 HR's, 46 doubles, and 92 RBI's over a 600 AB season. Despite being a 6-4, 230 lber, Bautista also managed to steal 5 bags in 7 attempts.

Pitcher of the Year: Jordan Latham

Picking this was one difficult, because the Chiefs had a number of good relievers roll through the organization. But in the end, it was Latham who had spent the most time with the Chiefs while posting the best numbers. Latham, a 29th round pick in the '06 draft, spent the year with the Chiefs until a late July callup to Daytona. He pitched 31 games in relief for Peoria. He went 4-2 with a 1.93 ERA and 3 saves. He struck out 59 batters in 60 and 2/3 innings. More impressively, he had a 3.47 K/W ratio, so he was striking people out while maintaining control. He allowed 23 runs to score, but only 13 of them were earned. While that is a lot of unearned runs, the Chiefs had two players with 29 errors a piece.

Other Notables:

Josh Harrison (6th round, 2008): .262, 6 stolen bases in 31 games after call-up

Luis Flores (7th round, 2008): .189, but .290 OBP in 33 games after call-up

Jay Jackson (9th round, 2008): 2-2, 3.00 ERA in 24 innings after call-up

Brandon Guyer (5th round, 2007): 269, 14 HR's, 22 SB's

Dylan Johnston (4th round, 2005): .288, 15 HR's, but 4 of 12 in stolen base department

Notable Players Promoted, Numbers at Peoria

Todd Blackford (acquired in Todd Hollandsworth trade): 1-1, 2.60 ERA in 9 appearances

And Now, We Wait: Cubs 3, Cardinals 2

And Now, We Wait: Cubs 3, Cardinals 2

The Cubs have now played four straight one-run games. Last night's heartstoppingly exciting 3-2 win over the Cardinals evened their one-run game record at 21-21, gave them their first series win in two weeks, expanded their division lead to 5.5 games over the Brewers, who lost 6-3 to the Phillies, and reduced their division title magic number to Don Kessinger.

Yes, I think that's how I'll refer to the magic numbers from here on out, and that's who is currently appearing on the right sidebar, the best Cub to wear #11 since the last pennant in 1945.

There were many heroes last night -- Rich Harden threw a solid six innings, though as Bruce Miles tells us, his velocity was down to the low 90's. It didn't matter because Harden changed speeds extremely well, something that is the key to victory for almost every pitcher. From Bruce's article:

"I don't know why everybody puts so much on velocity," Harden said. "Location's always the most important thing, change of speed."

That's a moment where you picture a lightbulb over Harden's head suddenly going on, or watching him hold his hand out flat and then smacking his forehead really hard. It took him this long to figure that out? Note that I'm not criticizing Harden, who has been an effective major league pitcher, when healthy, over the last few seasons. But there's more to that quote from Harden in Phil Rogers' column:

"I used to rear back and try to put everything I had on every pitch."

Obviously, that's a recipe for disaster, if not injury, and maybe that's why Harden has always been hurt. If he really has learned the "changing speeds" lesson, not only will he stay healthy, but he will be a much more effective pitcher.

The game was won in the 8th inning when, with a 3-2 lead, the Cubs turned two outstanding defensive plays; first, a tumbling catch by Alfonso Soriano on a line drive hit by Albert Pujols, and then, with two runners on base, a leaping grab by Kosuke Fukudome of a Felipe Lopez blast to the wall in right field, that would have easily scored both runs had he not made the catch. There may not be another right fielder in baseball who could have made that catch; if Dome's offense is still moribund, he has value to this team as a plus defender. Carlos Marmol then struck out Josh Phelps to end that threat, and in the 9th, Kerry Wood did his best Mitch Williams imitation by allowing two hits; the Cubs got a break when Brendan Ryan overslid third base on a sacrifice attempt and was tagged out by Aramis Ramirez, and then Wood got Pujols to pop up to end the game.

And now, we wait. The Cubs returned to Chicago after last night's game, instead of flying on to Houston, where Hurricane Ike is going to make landfall sometime late tonight or early tomorrow, and they will have a workout at Wrigley Field tomorrow and wait... and wait... and wait... for someone to make a decision on how and where and when the three-game series against the Astros will be played.

I understand the desire for Astros management to play the games in Houston; they were expecting three sellouts, probably 125,000 paid admissions, and the Astros have a good home record (43-29) while they are under .500 away from the Juice Box (37-38). But I cannot imagine that the city of Houston will be in any shape to host major league baseball on Sunday or even Monday -- even if there is no damage to the ballpark itself, there may be flooded streets, power failures, and damage in other areas which might prevent team employees from getting to downtown Houston for the games.

Obviously, no one has control over such a dangerous storm, and though it may put the Astros at a disadvantage, at least two of the games should be played at a neutral site. Atlanta or Washington would be the best choices, as those stadiums are at least somewhat familiar to both teams. As noted in Chanman25's FanPost, there is an event at Nationals Park Saturday night -- a simulcast of the opera "La Traviata" on the stadium Jumbotron. But that doesn't mean they couldn't have it ready for a noon doubleheader the next day. Atlanta makes some sense, since the Astros are heading to Florida for their next series. My suggestion: play a Cubs-Astros doubleheader in Atlanta on Sunday, then hold the third game till the end of the season and play it in Houston on September 29 if it's needed to determine anything for the postseason. That, I think, is the best compromise; it allows the Astros a game in Houston, played after hurricane cleanup, and keeps the off-day for both teams on Monday.

We await developments. I may open a front-page thread for everyone here to discuss the Brewers/Phillies game later this afternoon.

No Room for Error - Cubs 3 Cardinals 2

Game One Hundred Forty-Six - Cubs 3 Cardinals 2

WP - Rich Harden (10-2, 5-1) LP - Todd Wellemeyer (12-7) Save - Kerry Wood (30)

wflag.jpgWhat a ballgame! For the first time since Rich Harden last appeared on the mound, August 28th and August 29th, the Cubs put together back-to-back victories and notched their first series win since taking three from the Pirates from August 25th - August 27th. All three games of the series were decided by one run and the difference in the last game of the year in St. Louis was in the field, not at the plate. At Busch Stadium, the Cubs finished the year 5-4.

Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome turned in highlight reel catches in the 8th with the Cubs up by a 3-2 score. Soriano made a diving catch to take away a single, if not more, from Albert Pujols. With the tying and go ahead runs on with 1 out, Fukudome made a leaping catch as he crashed into the wall in right on a ball of the bat of Felipe Lopez. Carlos Marmol struck out Josh Phelps with the bases loaded to end the inning.

The 9th inning was a typical end of a Cubs-Cardinals game. Kerry Wood gave up a lead off double to pinch hitter Brendan Ryan. Cesar Izturis tried to sacrifice the tying run to 3rd but bunted the ball to hard to Derrek Lee. Lee threw a strike to Aramis Ramirez but he could not get the tag down. Ryan was called safe....but he slid past the bag, Ramirez stayed with the play and tagged out Ryan for the first out of the inning.

Skip Schumaker followed with a bloop single to left. With runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out, Wood struck out Aaron Miles swinging on three pitches. Albert Pujols stepped to the plate with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th with the winning run on 1st base.

Wood quickly fell behind Albert Pujols 2-0 then received a questionable call for strike one on an inside pitch. Pujols fouled off the next pitch then popped up to Mark DeRosa in shallow right center to end the game for his 30th save of the season. Game over, CUBS WIN!

Rich Harden pitched another very good game and picked up his 5th win as a Cub. Harden tossed 5 innings of shutout ball before giving up a pair in the 6th after a walk to Aaron Miles, a double by Albert Pujols and a 2-out RBI by Felipe Lopez. Harden struck out 3 on 86 pitches.

The offense sputtered against Cardinals pitching and managed only 7 hits on the night. The Cubs scored 2 runs in the 5th on 3 walks and an error by Albert Pujols and tacked on the third run after consecutive doubles in the 6th by Mark DeRosa and Mike Fontenot. They left nine on base and six in the first 7 innings.

Lou Piniella's crew picked up a huge win against their biggest rival on a night their closest pursuer lost in the City of Brotherly Love. The Cubs are back to 30 games over .500 on the season....

Talkin' Cubs Live - Cubs vs. Cardinals - 09/11/08

Talkin' Cubs Live - Cubs vs. Cardinals - 09/11/08

Game One Hundred Forty-Six: Cubs (87-58) vs. Cardinals (78-67)
Game Time - 7:15pm C.T.
Coverage - TV: Comcast SportsNet - Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 189
Location - Busch Stadium, St. Louis

Rich Harden (9-2, 1.99/1.05 - 4-1, 2.02/1.00) vs. Todd Wellemeyer (12-6, 3.74/1.22)

Updated - 5:10pm C.T. - Both the Friday and Saturday Games in Houston have been postponed according to multiple reports. There has not been a decision made on Sunday's game or when the two games will be made up.

Updated - 6:44pm C.T. - Jim Hendry stated on the Cubs pre-game show that the MLB office will have a neutral site worked out by Friday if the storm stays on its current path. They are hoping to play a day-night doubleheader on Sunday in Houston and use Monday's off day for the third game of the series. Hendry mentioned several times the game of baseball takes a backseat to the weather hitting the area. The Cubs will workout on Saturday at Wrigley and will fly out to a city on Saturday night. With using Monday as a make-up day, the Cubs last off day of the season will be Saturday.

As the Cubs prepare to play the Cardinals for the last time in St. Louis this season, the Brewers open up a 4-game series in Philadelphia and the Astros will finish their 4-game series against the Pirates in Houston. The Cubs-Astros game on Friday could be moved up from a 7:05pm C.T. start time to 1:00pm C.T. because of Hurricane Ike. Another scenario that has been reported is the Cubs and Astros playing the weekend series at Busch Stadium with the Cardinals on the road in Pittsburgh....stay tuned.

Rich Harden will make his first start since August 29th, 13 long days and a lot of struggles for the Cubs. Tonight, like the remaining 17 games, is an important game. The Cubs need a solid outing from Rich Harden in the rubber game of the series against Todd Wellemeyer....and to win back-to-back games for the first time since August 28th and August 29th.


Weekend Up in the Air

Weekend Up in the Air

With Hurricane Ike heading for Houston, the Chicago Cubs will not play ball for at least the next two days. Both the Friday and Saturday games were postponed and there is a lot of speculation on when the 3-game series will be played. The Cubs will take Friday off, possibly their last full off day of the season, workout on Saturday at Wrigley Field then fly to either a neutral city or to Houston on Saturday night.

The most common report is the two teams will attempt to play a day-night doubleheader on Sunday followed by a single game on Monday, the last open date on both team's schedules. With the Cubs hosting the Brewers on Tuesday night and the Astros opening a 3-game set in Florida on Tuesday, Monday figures to be rescheduled as a day game.

ESPN reported a possible scenario during Baseball Tonight on Thursday that would give the Cubs and Astros the next three days off with a day-night doubleheader on Monday and the third game played on September 29th if necessary....the last day of the regular season is Sunday, September 28th.

Keep It Going Thread: Cubs vs. Cardinals, Thursday 9/11, 7:15 CT

Keep It Going Thread: Cubs vs. Cardinals, Thursday 9/11, 7:15 CT


Next Game

Chicago Cubs
@ St. Louis Cardinals

Thursday, Sep 11, 2008, 7:15 PM CDT
Busch Stadium

Rich Harden vs Todd Wellemeyer

Partly cloudy with a 50-percent chance of rain. Winds blowing in from center field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game Time temperature: Around 75.

Complete Coverage >


As if the Cubs didn't have enough to worry about, possibly heading into a hurricane tomorrow in Houston, they'll very possibly have to dodge raindrops tonight in St. Louis:

This Afternoon: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 81. Light east wind.

Tonight: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 69. Light southeast wind. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

We've been over this in several other threads, but I wanted to repeat my position: asking the Cubs to fly into Houston, either tonight, tomorrow or Saturday, in the face of evacuations, storm damage and power failures, is completely ridiculous. Friday's game has now been officially postponed, with no rescheduling yet announced.

I am well aware that the Astros stand to lose quite a bit of money if they don't play the games in Houston this weekend. It seems to me that MLB could make up the money to them somehow, and playing the games on a neutral site makes the most sense -- Atlanta, St. Louis, Milwaukee, anywhere but Houston. If they haven't made this decision by gametime tonight, let's hope they do the right thing before the Cubs leave St. Louis.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Rich Harden
R.
Harden

Cubs
vs. Todd Wellemeyer
T. Wellemeyer
Cardinals
9-2 W-L 0-0
1.99 ERA 4.14
167 SO 35
49 BB 27
11 HR 9
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2008 - Rich Harden 4-1 9 9 0 0 0 0 54.0 31 11 9 6 18 75 1.50 .91

A reminder, the above stats are for Harden with the Cubs only. See the pitcher box for his full season stats.
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2008 - Todd Wellemeyer 12-6 28 28 0 0 0 0 168.1 155 73 70 21 51 116 3.74 1.22

Rich Harden will be fine -- just fine. Yes, he hasn't thrown in 12 days -- but that's missing one start, even though Ted Lilly has started three times since then, due to having two off days in between. We knew he'd have to rest from time to time -- he's been handled the right way. He hasn't faced the Cardinals since 2004, and Adam Kennedy, who faced him quite a bit in the AL (7-for-22) is the only current Cardinal with more than four AB against him.

Todd Wellemeyer is 2-1 vs. the Cubs this year -- who knew he could ever be an effective starter in the majors, after washing out as a Cubs reliever? That includes this blowout Cub loss at Wrigley Field on August 9, the only game St. Louis won in that series. No current Cub has more than 10 AB against Wellemeyer (Reed Johnson, 4-for-10). Mark DeRosa is 3-for-7 with a HR.

Today's game is on CSN again -- good news if you think the broadcast channel has anything to do with the record. My EI listings show both home & road telecasts listed, so if you have EI you should get Len & Bob. Also see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

Once again, a reminder that you can find the overflow comment threads, including the first pitch thread, on the right sidebar of both the front page and any interior page in the box headed "RECENT STORIES IN GAME THREADS". Today's first pitch thread posts at 7 pm CT, and the overflow comment threads will post at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CT.

And as suggested, today's post will also have a gratuitous picture of Geovany Soto:

Go Geo!

via www.mlb.com

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Al Thu, 11 Sep 2008 20:29:54 -0000

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Talkin' Cubs Live - Cubs vs. Cardinals - 09/10/08

Talkin' Cubs Live - Cubs vs. Cardinals - 09/10/08

Game One Hundred Forty-Five: Cubs (86-58) vs. Cardinals (78-66)
Game Time - 7:15pm C.T.
Coverage - TV: Comcast SportsNet - Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 189
Location - Busch Stadium, St. Louis

Ted Lilly (13-9, 4.43/1.32) vs. Braden Looper (12-11, 4.09/1.30)

Ryan Dempster put tonight's game into the proper perspective following the Cubs' loss to the Cardinals on Tuesday night:

"We've just got to go out there tomorrow and try to win a baseball game. Have fun. We're putting pressure on ourselves to do more than we're capable of doing."

Lou Piniella's crew is 5-5 versus the Cardinals this season and it is past time to win a ballgame. Look for Carlos Marmol to not be available tonight and for Kosuke Fukudome to be back in the starting lineup in right field.

WGN Radio and TV reported during Tuesday night's game that Chad Gaudin is in Arizona rehabbing and there's no timetable for his return.

neil@chicagocubsonline.com (Chicago Cubs Online) Wed, 10 Sep 2008 16:15:00 -0500

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