Friday, May 18, 2007

Suck the White Fox (Part 1)

This is not the game summary (Stuck will hopefully get to that later...), but I will summarize the game. Glorious.

Theodore Lilly was solid, Angel Pagan (Mr. My-name-is-a-contradiction)
was clutch, and Howry and Demp didn't suck. An excellent way to start the series.

<--Pagan single handedly spanked the White Sox

A side note: A.J . Pierzynsk did not play. Obviously he asked for the day off after he saw Barrett was behind the plate.

And another thought

The Mets practically gave that game to us (or at least they were trying to). By resting 5 starters for their cross-town series with the Yanks that starts today, they were saying "go ahead cubs, we aren't expecting to win today anyways." The Mets bench is the only reason the starters got an at bat after it became a game in the bottom of the 9th.

We lost to their bench.

Ok, I'm over it. Go Cubs.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Here's a thought

How about Lou makes good on his threats and switches the current bullpen with our AAA team. I'm too old for this sh**.

This is Not How Things Were Supposed to Go Down

I've been saying for a while now that Ryan Dempster is bad. We all know that, we saw how he pitched at the end of last year. But this year he had been decent, so when Angel Guzman pitches a great game, giving up only one run in 5 innings of work, Lou of course thought let's put in the closer to make sure Guzman gets his first win. Big. Mistake.

Dempster loaded the bases, walked in a run, and gave up a single for another run. This put the score at 5-3, still a decent lead. So Lou finally wised up and brought in Scott Eyre to try for the save with only one out. Scott always seems to fail to live up to expectations, and this time was no different as he allowed all three runners on base to score, bringing the score to 5-6 and losing a thoroughly embarrassing game for the Cubs. I think Lou was right on the money when he discussed calling up people from Iowa, which is where Eyre and Dempster need to go.

Game Summary for May 16th, 2007

  • Score: Cubs lose an embarrassing game to the Mets again, 6-5.
  • Player of the Game: Angel Guzman. The kid only gave up one run in five innings of pitching and deserved the win.
  • Subject of Lou's Wrath: The abomination that is Ryan Dempster/Scott Eyre. Combined to give up 5 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks in the 9th inning, while only getting one out. They are not going to have a happy flight home.
  • Comments: All you need to know about this game is what happened in the 9th inning. That huge display of sucking wiped out the great inning the Cubs had in the 6th, when Pagan and Ramirez both had 2 run homers to left field.
  • Magic Number: Still 130. Milwaukee finally won a game today.

This weekend is going to be insane. I'm going to all three of the Cubs-Sox games. That's right, I'll be there Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So posting will be sporadic, and I might get into some fights, but after it's all said and done I will try to recount what it was like. It may very well be that words will not be able to describe it, but I'll try. The first game is tomorrow at 1:20, with Ted Lilly pitching against Mark Buehrle. Let the madness begin.

It Was a Long, Rainy Night

The Cubs withstood a 3 hour rain delay before their game against the Mets began. By the end, they wished that the Game had been postponed. A dismal showing from the offense and pitching made for a painful, long game.

Game Summary for May 16th, 2007

  • Score: Cubs lost a rainy one to the Mets, 8-1.
  • Player of the Game: Cliff Floyd. Had one of only two Cubs hits, and the only RBI.
  • Subject of Lou's Wrath: Rich Hill. He's losing the spark he had before, and this game was pretty terrible. Gave up 4 runs in 6 innings. He needs to get back on track.
  • Comments: Not much to talk about here. Jorge Sosa was very solid, and Rich Hill wasn't. Neither was our bullpen, but that's not a surprise. Neal Cotts had an especially bad night, giving up 3 runs in his one inning of pitching and skyrocketing his ERA to 3.31.
  • Magic Number: 130. The Brewers are on a 4 game losing streak, and we can't capitalize on it.

Today, actually right now, Angel Guzman is making his third start against Julio Vargas, who is making his first start of the year. Let's win this one, split the series, and get some momentum going into the big crosstown classic.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Zambrano's Hips Don't Lie

The big news before today's game was that Carlos Zambrano had been working on his mechanics. Apparently he was doing something wrong with his hips during his delivery, and that's what caused him to look like a fifth starter. Right. Well whatever it was that Zambrano fixed (maybe just using the computer less?), it worked extremely well. Big Z was in late 2006 form, pitching a full 8 innings while only giving up one run. He even went up to bat in the 9th inning, as if to tell the bullpen "That's right, we don't trust you, even with a 9 run lead". Lou did bring in Scott Eyre to finish off the game, however, and soon discovered that Scott Eyre is only good when he is given an enourmous lead. Who knew?

Game Summary for May 15th, 2007

  • Score: Cubs destroy the Mets, 10-1.
  • Player of the Game: Big Z. Great performance at the perfect time, giving our bullpen a chance to relax and not get blamed for a loss.
  • Subject of Lou's Wrath: Rocky Cherry. Don't know what he did wrong, but for some dumb reason he was just optioned back to Iowa for a middle infielder, albeit an impressive one. I just don't understand how a 2.89 ERA isn't good enough for the majors Lou. Send Ohman down to the minors, see how he likes it.
  • Comments: Zambrano got his groove back with a stellar outing, and the Cubs bats exploded against a young pitcher who though he was something. There can only be one Rich Hill kid, and I think your name is Maine or something. Tough luck. The grand slam by Aramis Ramirez in the 6-run sixth inning capped off an easy night for the team.
  • Magic Number: 131. Brewers lost yet again to the Phillies. I'm thinking east coast teams may be their kryptonite.

Rich Hill tries to dismantle the Mets tomorrow night, facing off against Jorge Sosa in the third game of this strenuous four game series. Let's put together a streak of some kind boys.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Opposite Ends of the Spectrum

The same day that Lou says he is going to go with whoever has been good in the past, he threatens to call up some rookies to try and solve the bullpen's lackluster pitching.

"I'm going to find out if there are some kids down in Triple-A throwing the ball," Piniella said. "Maybe that's the answer -- get some different kids up here who can throw the ball. I don't know what else to say. I've tried everybody out there. You keep hoping it comes around, but we're getting into the middle of May now."

I like the unpredictability Lou, you gotta keep those veterans on their toes. I just don't think this is the right time to pull out that threat though. Today you finally used Neal Cotts, Rocky Cherry, and Michael Wuertz like I've been begging for a while. Between those three, the only mistake that was made was an RBI walk given up by Wuertz, bringing up his ERA to a still incredible 2.08. You don't threaten someone who has a 2.08 ERA after one bad outing. You do it when people like Will Ohman and Bob Howry give up 6 runs right after the Cubs scored six runs. I love the attitude, you just gotta work on the timing.

Also, Ms. Muskat wrote this gem in the game recap:

"They weren't bad pitches -- they could've been better," Wuertz said. "I've just got to pitch better. This is one of those nights I'm going to forget about and I have to move on."

Whether he'll get another chance remains to be seen.

Does she honestly think Lou would send down Wuertz, of all people? That's the most ludicrous thing I've heard today. I think it's time the Cubs got a new beat reporter. Coincidentally, I'm available. Feel free to contact me Mr. McDonough, I have great things in mind for the Cubs website.

Game Summary for May 14th, 2007

  • Score: Cubs lose a hard fought battle to the Mets, 5-4.
  • Player of the Game: Jason Marquis' offense. Went 2-for-3 with a two run single.
  • Subject of Lou's Wrath: Apparently it's Michael Wuertz, because a 2.08 ERA just isn't good enough anymore, especially when we have people like Scott Eyre and his 8.76 ERA who could be pitching instead.
  • Comments: Jason Marquis showed that he's not invincible, giving up four runs over five innings and raising his ERA to 2.22, still one of the best in the major leagues. Three of the Cubs starting pitchers have an ERA in the 2's, which means there is no reason this team should be under .500. Obviously it's an issue with the bullpen, I just think Lou's frustration was a little misplaced today. Soriano batted in the 3-spot as Derrek Lee is out with neck spasms, and he did fairly well, going 1-for-3 with a run.
  • Magic Number: 133. The Brewers are on a two game losing streak. I say it's about time.

Zambrano tries to get his stuff together tomorrow against a pitcher named John Maine. I've never heard of him before, but with a 5-0 record and a 1.79 ERA, he makes Rich Hill look like a minor leaguer.

Who really is running this team?

It might be a valid question.

In light of a recent Tribune article on the bullpen, along with how Lou has been handling the outfield situation, I'm beginning to wonder if Pinella really is the hard ass that we all expected him to be.

"I've been going basically with the people that have done it here in the past." -Lou

Now this is all fine with me, as long as the guys that have been getting it done in the past are getting it done in the present. The problem is, they're not.

Mike Wuertz has stranded ALL of the 22 runners he's inherited so far this season. Rocky Cherry has limited the 32 hitters he's seen to 6 hits. But theses guys are not getting the ball because of Lou's current favoritism towards the "veterans".

I am all about giving these guys the chance to get back on track, but Cubs Nation shouldn't have to watch Howry and Co. (Eyre and "Oh man") give up 6 runs in an inning after the offense managed to take the lead with 6 just a half inning before.

And the same goes for the outfield. Jones and Floyd have had plenty of chances to prove that they are established vets, but they have yet to be the impact players that we need. We need Pie's defense in center.

Don't get me wrong, I effing love all these guys, but it's been a month Lou, quit playing the veterans just because they're older and play the guys that are showing results. Please.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ted Lilly to the Rescue!

Let's face it, the Cubs have been bad as of late. I mean really, exceptionally bad. Lost three games in a row, two out of three to the Pirates and Phillies successively, and our bullpen was acting like, well, our bullpen. Today was like a little shot in the arm for the Cubs, as Ted Lilly showed us why the only way we'll get to the playoffs at the rate we're going is to only let him and Jason Marquis pitch. No relievers, no Zambrano, no anything. Since that won't happen, we'll have to try and make something else work. Maybe Zambrano will remember he's in a contract year and get off his butt and pitch well. Maybe.

Game Summary for May 13th, 2007

  • Score: Cubs avoid the sweep against the Phillies, 4-1.
  • Player of the Game: Ted Lilly. Eight innings, only one run given up, 3 hits and 4 K's. A beacon of hope in a dark, dark team.
  • Subject of Lou's Wrath: Neck spasms. Derrek Lee was taken out of the game because of them, and when the Yahoo box score said he was out with a neck injury I thought our season was over. Once I found out it was neck spasms I felt better, but any game without Lee is not a good game.
  • Comments: Lilly continued to pitch extremely well in this game, and Dempster was able to hold down the fort for the save. The offense for the Cubs was decent, especially Thunder Matt Murton who went 3-for-5 with an RBI. Also of note was that Soriano's 20 game hitting streak was broken, as he went 0-for-4.
  • Magic Number: 134. The Brewers lost two out of three to the Mets, showing that they are in fact human.

Speaking of which, red-hot Jason Marquis pitches tomorrow against the legend Tom Glavine and the Mets. At the same time the Brewers face off against the Phillies. We seem to be trading opponents a fair amount which gives us little to no excuse as to why we can't keep up with them at all.

Scaring Cubs Fans Everywhere to Death

I'm at work right now, so I'm unable to watch the game, but I was just looking at the Yahoo box score and apparently Derrek Lee was taken out of with a "neck injury". This immediately scared the bejeezus out of me. So after some further sleuthing, apparently DLee has what he described as a 'crick' in his neck. Nothing to get worried about. Lou was gonna start Ward due to the 'crick', but Lee talked him out of it, and apparently Lou was right. Nothing to get worried about, he should be back in a few days at most.

At a Loss for Words

So many things about this game made me furiously angry that I'm basically out of things to say at this point. With the rain delay, completely incompetent relief pitching, and awful FOX announcers, there is too much to fit in here. So I'll be brief.

The color commentator in this game, Tim McCarver, was completely terrible. Apparently he has won a couple of Emmys for being a sports analyst, but apparently whoever voted for the Emmys was on crack. In the 6th inning, Alfonso Soriano steals 2nd base. This is notable because Soriano has been much more conservative on the basepaths ever since he strained his hamstring. Shortly thereafter Derrek Lee hits a single to center field, and Soriano is waved around third base. As he is rounding third, you can see him grimace in pain and he is running very awkwardly, almost with a limp. He is thrown out easily. For the next five minutes, Mr. McCarver tries to contemplate why in the world Soriano would run slowly on that play. Did he not feel like scoring a run? Was he just being lazy? Never once does he mention Soriano's recent injury and the fact that he was obviously in pain rounding third. No, McCarver instead believes that for some reason he just didn't feel like running on that play. I wanted to throw the TV out the window and listen to less moronic announcers on WGN Radio. Tim McCarver, whether you didn't know about Soriano's injury or you're just too dimwitted to make the connection, you sir are an idiot. Please go hang your head in shame.

Game Summary for May 12th, 2007

  • Score: Cubs lose to the Phillies, 11-7.
  • Player of the Game: Derrek Lee. Went 4-for-5 with two runs scored, though for some reason he is still completely incapable of hitting home runs.
  • Subject of Lou's Wrath: Bob Howry. Worst. Outing. Ever.
  • Comments: Lou, what the heck are you doing? When we're tied or have a tiny lead, you insist on bringing in pitcher like Eyre, Ohman, and Howry. Where's Michael Wuertz in these situations? What about Neal Cotts, or Rocky Cherry? Any of those would be better choices than what you're using. This is the one biggest thing I cannot understand about Lou's managing style at the moment. Wuertz and Cotts have ERAs of 1.62 and 1.98, respectively. Why don't they see any time in this game? Anyways, the three relievers we did use combined to give up 7 runs in 3 whole innings. Phenomenal.
  • Magic Number: 136. The team is skidding out of control, and I don't know if Lou has what it takes to get us back on track at the moment. I'm starting to lose faith.

Ted Lilly tries to prevent the sweep while pitching against former Cub Jon Lieber tomorrow. Failure is not an option here. Just get it done.