thecubsfan.com

Heat #462

Apr
30

the end of Josh (for now.)

It must suck to be Chris Masters. When you’re working 50/50 programs with VAL VENIS, it’s not a good sign. Maybe they wanted to program him with a good worker for an extended period of time to see if he improves. Maybe losing to Val Venis is the last we’ll ever see of him.

The fates must really not like Cryme Tyme. Or the bookers. They’re never going to get a title shot if they keep having the good guys as champs, and I think they could actually have a match the fans would get into – this match, right here from Heat, a few minutes longer.

The show has gone 4 weeks without an all-clip show week. I would not have suspected such things.

articles , , Comments Off on Heat #462

Game 23: Cubs 8 – Cardinals 1

Apr
28

Cubs 10-13, clinch series
Cardinals 10-13

POTG: CF/RF Jacque Jones (3 H, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, R)
Runner Up: 1B D Lee (2 R, 2 H, 2B, RBI, BB), 2B Mark DeRosa (2 H, R, BB), C Hank White (2 H, 2B, R, RBI), SP Carlos Zambrano (7 IP, 7 H, ER, 0 BB, 2 K, QS, W [2/66])

Any time Jacque gets a game breaking hit off an actual left handed pitcher, I’ve got to give him some sort of award. At the time, I was begging for a Murton pinch hit at bat (actually, I was looking for it when Cliff was up, but rethought it when I realized Jacque was still to come.) I think that’s still the right move – it was a huge leverage situation, with the possibility to pretty much end the game even though it was only the 5th – but Jacque doesn’t actually get to make the moves so it’s not his fault. It was his first hit vs a lefty all season, and it nearly went out of the park. Jacque’s also looked perfectly acceptable in CF, and that can only increase his value.

This was a better Z start, compared to rest of the month. This was still a below average Z start compared to his usual performances. As long as he’s improving, I’ll take it. It seems like he was quite likely about to fall into the same old problems and blow up in the half inning right after the Cubs scored a lot of runs, but he got bailed out by a DP and kept it together after. I’m not as down on him as Thom Brenneman was during the game, but he’s definitely still got to improve. At least this time, he hung around long enough to get a few at bats; he’s never going to repeat as Silver Slugger if he keeps having disaster starts with only one PA.

Chris Duncan can not possibly be as bad as he seemed today in LF, right? Anyone playing like that would’ve been moved to an AL team to DH or something by now. They would’ve been better with Pujols back in the OF. The 1st inning play, with Duncan whiffing on the catch (which wasn’t really shown till the 3rd or 4th replay) and falling thru the bullpen door was blooperrific. During the game, I was trying to convince people the play should be a homerun – the ball did go past the fence, after all. I guess it doesn’t work that way. MLB limits itself to no more than one weird protested play per day, too.

Good to see Rocky Cherry have a nice outing. I’d kinda like the Cubs to stick with 11 when Angel comes up for his start, but with Howry’s injury (and no idea how long/well Guzman’s going to go), I’m thinking Rocky might stick around for a bit, so it’s good that he might actually be effective. I think they’re leaning towards Cedeno, because that’ll allow the Cubs to platoon Jacque out of the lineup versus any lefty, but I think I’m still rooting for Pie to go down and get some more ABs.

Not the jinx it, but the Cubs really should win Hill vs Wells tomorrow night. I really wanted a sweep this weekend, of course, but I didn’t really expect it. Everything the Cubs can do to bury the Cardinals early will help later on. Plus, the Cubs next series starts off pitchers with ERA of 7 and 11, so they could build a nice streak to get back to 500.

chicago national league ball club , Comments Off on Game 23: Cubs 8 – Cardinals 1

Game 22: Cubs 5 – Cardinals 3

Apr
28

Cubs 9-13
Cardinals 10-12

POTG: RP Ryan Dempster (1.2 IP, H, 2K, 3 of 3 Marooned, S [4/63]
Runner Up: SP Jason Marquis (6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, QS, W [3/59], 3B A Ram (HR [5/201], 2 RBI), CF PIE! (HR [1/1], 2 RBI), SS Izturis (H, RBI in only at bat), LF Alfonzo Soriano (H, SB, 2 AS)

See, now THAT’s a game that makes me feel positive about this team. About the game of baseball, actually, Baseball is super.

Remember back in April, when we weren’t sure about this Ryan Dempster Still As Closer idea? Apparently, we’re all morons, and it’s great. If Stupid Facial Hair guy’s shot goes about two feet to the left, perhaps we’re talking a bit different. But what happened actually happened (I rewound the tape and watched to make sure), and Ryan’s performance passed up Wuertz’s as the best of the season. It may be the best when the season’s over. That was huge.

I don’t think where this Jason Marquis came from, and where the old one went to, but I’m cool with it. Alien abduction, some sort of massive plastic surgery, demonic possession, it’s all good. Marquis can be a gateway to Armageddon on earth as long as he keeps pitching the way he’s been doing. Jason appears added by mental powers which compel batters to swing at questionable pitches while up in the count 2-0 and 3-1. Jason was fine here, but the Cardinals were over anxious and bailing him out.

You know what seems to be a hidden turning point of the season? Spring training, when Soriano was tutored by Pie in CF and they became Best Friends Forever. If Pie didn’t go so out of his way to help the man who seemed to be blocking him, would Soriano have been so fine with moving back out of that position? That move alone has really improved the outfield, if the last few games are any indication. I wouldn’t have a problem with Pie being sent back down when Angel comes, but I think he’s starting to get his feet in the MLB.

I was wondering if Soriano’s high assist total was a fluke thing, of people testing him and Soriano getting outs off misplays. Maybe we’ll still get some this year too, he just needs chances.

obNothing: In an alternate universe where I write posts about every Bulls game instead, I gushed about how awesome the Bulls/Heat game was, how incredible it was for the Bulls to come back after being so horrible in the second quarter and on offense in the third, and how excited I am for the possibility of Pistions/Bulls. In this universe, I’ll point you to a Blogabull post which says all that needs to be said.

obSAMMY: on FIRE. The Ranger fans don’t seem like they’ll ever accept him – everything the Rangers is/were/could be is constantly eclipsed by the Sammy story, and no one likes to see their team hijacked like this. But, if he’s going to warp back to ’98ish, I think they might get over it by June.

C’MON Z.

chicago national league ball club , Comments Off on Game 22: Cubs 5 – Cardinals 3

Game 21: Cubs 9 – Brewers 3

Apr
27

Brewers 13-8
Cubs 8-13

POTG: SP Ted Lilly (7 IP, 6 H, ER, 3 K, QS; W [2, 61])
Runner Up: SS! El Alboroto (2 H, 2 R, 2 RBI, baserunning follows), LF Cliff Floyd (2B, 4 H, R, 2 RBI), C Michael Barrett (2 H, 2 RBI), CF Felix Pie (2 H, 2B, R), 1B D Lee (2 2B, HR, H, 2 R, 2 RBI)

I started to write this on Wednesday – some claptrap about the Cubs needing this win and ME needing this win and blah blah blah no one cares. The one thing I agree with me of two days ago was this was an entirely meaningless game. Any rainy game on an April getaway day after losing the first two of a series does not really tell you much about a team’s fortune.

It’s two days later, and I still don’t have much to say about the game itself. The Cubs scored a lot of runs for once, but had Sheets not gotten hurt, I don’t know if they would’ve. This is a bad team right now, and they need to string together some wins before you can really be too optimistic about things.

The big point worth making
Cubs, 2006 after 20 games: 12-8
Cubs, 2007 after 20 games: 8-12

There lot of games to play, and the ones played so far don’t make too much big of a difference.

The point of this Game By Game review blog is to get all the excess thought about the game I have off my head after the game is over. Somehow, I just had no thoughts about this game. (It’s also apparently a mechanism to get me random radio appearances, but that’s next week.)

Outside the game, I’m kinda glad it’s over for the Cubs and Prior. Everyone seems convinced he’ll be non-tendered in the offseason, rather than paying him move for being a year older, and that Prior will be able to find a sweeter deal with another team. This is quite like what happened with Wade Miler, and we’ve seen how that turned out, but I don’t think that’ll be a determent. He was so good when he was good, Prior will be getting plenty of offers – 1 year deals with a option for a second year if he’s back in shape, like Dempster and Lieber got, I figure.

Prior will do fine, and I think the Cubs will do fine. I don’t know how much a distraction he and Wood can still be at this point. It’s like living next to the El – after three years, you do get used to the noise, and that’s all this is. Still, it’s good to break out of the cycle of Prior returning/Prior injured. We’ll only hear about him again on the non-tender date, and maybe it’ll be similar for Prior.

What I meant to do last year, and what I may remember again to do this year, is take all the POTG and actually total them up and see who wins one in April and I’m tottaly shocked those guy existed exist by September. So far, it’s looking like this:

7 – D Lee: 20, 19, 14, 8, 6, 5, 1
4 – Rich Hill: 21, 15, 10, 4
3 – Jason Marquis: 17, 12, 3
3 – Ted Lilly: 16, 11, 2
1 – Michael Barrett: 18
1 – Ryan Dempster: 13
1 – Michael Wuertz: 9
1 – Alfonso Soriano: 7

I think all those guys will still be on the team come September, so perhaps I need new goals for this.

If you told me Marquis would have 3 more POTG than Z before the season, I’d wonder if Z hurt his arm or something. (Did Z hurt his arm or something?)

Derek’s HR stats aren’t there, but he’s killed the ball for a month: 393/474/560. Yea, we need the long ball, but go bug someone who’s not getting on base nearly 1 out of 2 times. BP’s VORP has him as the 8th best player in the league, which is good enough for me.

and tonight: I don’t the Cardinals are great this year and, like I keep saying, it’s too soon to make definite opinions, but I’d feel a ton better if they could do something in St. Louis this series. Saturday’s the critical game, but it’ll be interesting to see if Marquis has actually been fixed, or if going back home will break him back apart.

chicago national league ball club , , Comments Off on Game 21: Cubs 9 – Brewers 3

I can’t think of a sarcastic title that hasn’t been used

Apr
25

Prior out for the season.

I’m glad we got this out of the way in April. If Wood can vanish too, that’d be great.

chicago national league ball club Comments Off on I can’t think of a sarcastic title that hasn’t been used

Game 20: Brewers 4 – Cubs 1

Apr
24

Brewers 13-7, clinch series
Cubs 7-13

POTG: 1B Derek Lee (2 H, 2B, didn’t leave anyone on base)
Runners Up: C Michael Barrett (2 H, 2B but E)

I was at the Bulls game for this, so I don’t have much to say of any use. I ‘watched’ the failure to score in the 2nd on my phone and was checking during the game, and did listen to the last two half innings on the radio, but it seemed pretty over by then. Eyre technically didn’t give up any runs, but he didn’t improve anyone’s confidence. I haven’t seen the highlight yet, but I’m pretty sure the DeRosa RBI was just a case of the conditions working against Mench, and the game would’ve ended one batter sooner if it hadn’t rained.

I don’t know how bad it was on the north side, but it didn’t get raining really bad till about a half hour after the game ended, so I wasn’t surprised they couldn’t bring it. (Then again, it’s not like I was looking out the windows of the United Center.)

Hill was going to look human at some point, and I guess it happened here. This loss really wasn’t his fault – from the highlights, it looked like he had good stuff and both HRs just barely got out – the Cubs have to score when they get 8 hits on a starter. This is on the batters.

John Kruk just said “What’s integrity?” on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight. Seems right.

chicago national league ball club , Comments Off on Game 20: Brewers 4 – Cubs 1

Game 19: Brewers 5 – Cubs 4 (12)

Apr
24

Brewers 12-7
Cubs 7-12

POTG: 1B D Lee (3 H, 2B 2 RBI)
Runner Up: LF Alfonso Soriano (2 H, 2R), 3B A Ram (HR, SF, 2 RBI), CF Felix Pie (2 H, 2B), RP Ryan Dempster (2 IP, K), RF Jacque Jones (great catch)

Now we know it for sure – if Jacque is in a big situation, the Cubs lose. Either he’s fated to fail and be blamed, or he’ll make it and he’s cursed to be forgotten by someone else blowing it. Poor Jacque never gets to be the hero.

This game killed me 15 ways. Apparently it killed Lou too, though I don’t think he had as many TiVo related issues as I did.

Carlos let the team down. The bullpen had to get six innings from the starter tonight, and really could’ve used seven. And we got 5 1/3rd. I don’t know if the contract, or if he’s trying too hard to live up to his own words, but something’s gotta change and it’s gotta change quick. If Lilly, Hill and Marquis weren’t pitching out of their minds (and that’s gonna end), this team might be in a hole they couldn’t escape. I’m not ready to pitch the season, but it can’t going like this.

I think Pinella and Gerald Perry had a point, though perhaps there were healthier ways of expressing it than trying to get in a fight with the umps. They blew the call on Derek’s steal, they probably blew the call on Soriano’s HBK strike (though we never got a slowed down look at it), and the strike zone was iffy. The strike zone’s been iffy quite a few times all year.

Do you think Lou waited till after the game to blow up because he secretly picked a date in May for his first ejection in the cubscast contest?

I keep thinking, if things stayed this way, I wouldn’t be surprised if Lou walked out in, say, June. I don’t think it’d happen, but I’m sure he’s not going to get himself tied to a boat headed south. (Who ties themselves to a boat? Never mind.)

I hate Claudio Varagas. THROW THE BALL. Someone needs to put a stopwatch on him next time (though I hope there’s never a next time.)

It’d be nice if Eyre didn’t look done, but at least Demptser’s looked pretty decent lately.

I can’t remember another start to the season where the bench and the bullpen has been unloaded so frequently. There’s no quick way to total it up, but I think they’ve used 19+ players in four to five games.

chicago national league ball club , Comments Off on Game 19: Brewers 5 – Cubs 4 (12)

things are falling back in to place

Apr
23

Now I know the season has really started – WGN Radio just reported Wade Miller will be put on the DL (for “back spasms”, but…cover injury to stash a horrible pitcher, CHECK), and Mark Prior will be undergoing exploratory surgery (CHECK.) We’re a player incident with the press from rolling.

Rocky Cherry got called up, and we would’ve all been a lot smarter about this if we had realized the Cubs didn’t need a fifth starter for 9 days.

04/23 vMIL: Z
04/24 vMIL: Hill
04/25 vMIL: Lilly
04/26 OFF
04/27 @STL: Marquis
04/28 @STL: Z
04/29 @STL: Hill
04/30 @PIT: Lilly
05/01 @PIT: ????

Carlos Marmol’s name is getting a lot more play of late, but everyone has plenty of time to sort it out from there.

chicago national league ball club Comments Off on things are falling back in to place

Game 18: Cardinals 12 – Cubs 9

Apr
22

Cardinals 8-10, win series 2-1
Cubs 7-11

POTG: C Michael Barrett (3 H, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB)
Runner Ups: 2B RYAN T. RIOT (3 H, 2 2B, R), 1B D Lee (H, BB, 3 R), 3B A Ram (HR, 2 R, 3 RBI), RF Jacque Jones (2 H, BB, 2 RBI), RF Mark DeRosa (H, 2 RBI), RP Michael Wuertz (1.2 IP, H, 2 K), Wind (Out)

The big signing for 2B is looking pretty pointing, because the kid they had no faith in is one of the biggest positive factors so far, the huge signing for CF is now moved in to LF, and the GM’s favorite player who was signed for LF is likely now a man without a spot. At least the big pitching signings are going fine so far – it’s last year’s big pitching signings which are blowing the heck up.

This was a horrible day for pitching, but that only affects the ball after contact is made – Wade Miller was making it look bad before the ball even got to the plate. The wind helped things along, but all of the home runs were hit hard. I believe Wainright and Miller would’ve put up similar numbers on a neutral day; both (and others) were dropping their heads on as soon on contact of the big shots, because they didn’t have to follow it to know where it was landing.

Unfortunately, Guzman got lit up in Iowa, so you can’t easily make a move. Yet. One more bad start like this for Miller – a start where you can come in with an ERA of 9 and have it go up! – and I think they’ll try anything else.

I don’t generally like the idea of 12 pitchers on a team, but I think I can understand in this situation. Al Yellon actually got this wrong (which is notable because it’s rare) – it most games, you might bring in Dempster in a tie game in the 9th rather than saving him for a save, but Pinella didn’t hold out Dempster because of a overstrategized stat. He held out Dempster till the 10th because he was the last usable guy in the pen. Ohman pitched two yesterday, so he couldn’t give you much more than an inning, and probably not a good one at that. You had to wait as long as possible to use Dempster. This also explains a double switch I didn’t like at the time.

Basically, everything went to heck once Miller couldn’t make it out of the 5th and the Cubs got around the lineup far enough to require a pinch hitter but get nothing for it. The bullpen got burned off at a rapid rate from there, and Cotts walking more than he got out didn’t help any.

I do share Al’s concern about Soriano – if he’s not healthy enough to run around the bases on Sunday (and that looked to be true), how he’s going to be playing the outfield on Monday? They’ve been saying Soriano MAY be ready for Monday, and I think they could take advantage of the qualifier.

Assuming Soriano’s status doesn’t affect things, it looks like tomorrow will see a roster move to bring up a pitcher, just so they have someone besides Eyre ready to come in if/when Z blows up. I think there’s two ways to go:

– Pie gets sent down, Jacque moves to CF, Murton/Floyd is now a RF platoon and outfield defense is punted. Theriot, who was banned from the outfield days ago, returns to being a backup OF, probably center if they have the patience.

– Cedeno gets sent down, Theriot becomes back up SS and we all demand him become starting SS because that’d be one awesome lineup. Pie sticks around to play CF and catch every single ball possible.

I think I know which one I want. I think it all depends on why they believe Pie is hitting under 200 – if he’s just unlucky, he’s staying, if they think he’s overmatched, he goes back to Iowa.

Tomorrow’s a night game, so I think they’ll be discussing this for a good long while.

(Hey look, Jacque came thru in big situations and was overshadowed, yet again!)

Michael Wuertz needs a non-pun related nickname.

Joe Versus The World – 50: Party Time (04.22.2007)

Apr
22

It’s the senses-shattering fiftieth episode of Joe Vs. The World. It’s party time, as The Cubs Fan, Dr. Keith, Adam Summers, Mike Sempervive, Justin Shapiro, Matt Foy, Rob Naylor, and Tanvir Raquib all stop by to wish us happy birthday. You can hear about the humble origins of the show, what is was almost called, our philosophy of podcasting, and much more, plus a cameo from Bryan Alvarez and Vince Verhei (not really), the Lipinski/Gagne correspondence, Dave Meltzer’s Clone, Sempervive gets what’s coming to him, mixed martial malarkey, and I say HMMMM. An hour-long power packed party. WHOOOOO

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

To listen to this show, right click to download the mp3 file here, subscribe to the RSS feed @ http://www.thecubsfan.com/joe.xml, or add it to your iTunes Podcasts by clicking here.

We thank everyone who’s been on the first 50 editions of the show for being on, and thank YOU for listening.

Please visit http://www.joeversustheworld.com for an index of old episodes. If you use a non-iTunes podcatcher, check out http://feeds.feedburner.com/JoeVersusTheWorld for easy ways to add the show to My Yahoo, Google and a half dozen other places.

If you’ve got any feedback on this show or any other, we’d love to hear it. Either leave a comment below, or contact Joe at joegagne AT charter DOT net. Thanks for listening – if you enjoyed a show, we’d quite appreciated if you told your friends, or at least told us!

You can download any of our previous editions below. Right click and save them to your computer to take a listen.

Previous editions:
50: party time (04/22)
49: Rob Naylor & Bix [GWF] (04/11)
48: Dean Rasmussen [everything] (03/31)
47: Phil Schneider [Best of Japan Indies Results and more] (03/26)
46: Justin Shapiro & Matt Foy [WrestleMania, XI-XXIII] (03/22)
45: Justin Shapiro & Matt Foy [WrestleMania, I-X] (03/17)
44: Chris McLeod, Chris Dempsey, Alan Counihan, Kelvin Cabrerra, Llakor, Kid Zombie and Hobbes [potpourri!] (03/14)
43: Rob Naylor [everything] (03/07)
42: Mike Coughlin [MMA] (02/27)
41: Matt Foy [ROH] (02/21)
40: Mike Quackenbush [CHIKARA] (02/14)
39: Tanvir Raquib [WSX] (01/31)
38: Mark Coale [DVDs] (01/24)
37: Christopher Robin Zimmerman [a little bit of everything] (01/17)
36: Dr. Keith [a little bit of everything] (01/06)
35: Matt Foy & Rob Naylor [year in review, ROH] (12/27)
34: Justin Shapiro [year in review, WWE] (12/23)
33: Adam & Mike [year in review, Japan] (12/14)
32: thecubsfan [year in review, lucha] (12/07)
31: Sven Mascarenhas [wrestling video games] (11/27)
30: American Balloon (2) [wrestling in Japan] (11/23)
29: Scott Christ [TNA] (11/21)
28: Tom Feely [survivor series] (11/19)
27: Rob Naylor (2) [indy] (11/12)
26: Matt Foy (4) [ROH] (11/07)
25: Vince Verhei (2) [comebacks] (10/27)
24: Justin Shapiro (4) [the Marine] (10/21)
23: Bryan Alvarez (2) [everything] (10/10)
22: Ken Dreiling and Jesse “J-tron” Irwin [IWA-MS TPI] (10/05)
21: Matt Foy [ROH] (09/20)
20: Tanvir Raquib [09/11 RAW] (09/16)
19: Rob Naylor [News and tangents] (09/09)
18: Dean Rasmussen [DVDVR, life] (08/31)
17: Phil Schneider [Best of the 80’s Japan Indies DVD] (08/26)
16: CRZ [being CRZ] (08/17)
15: Justin Shapiro and thecubsfan [WON HOF, US, Mexico] (08/10)
14: Dr. Keith Lipinski and Mike Sempervive [WON HOF, Japan] (08/04)
13: thecubsfan [lucha] (07/24)
12: Matt Foy [ROH] (07/17)
11: Bryan Alvarez [being Bryan Alvarez] (07/12)
10: Mike Coughlin [MMA] (07/01)
9: Dr. Keith Lipinski [Japan, general wackiness] (06/27)
8: Tanvir Raquib [ECW, parallel dimensions] (06/17)
7: American Balloon [his career] (06/10)
6: Justin Shapiro [RAW, ROH] (06/03)
5: Albert Ching [Judgement Day, ECW] (05/28)
4: Vince Verhei [everything] (05/21)
3: Matt Foy [ROH] (05/14)
Bonus: Hogan Knows Best recap (05/08)
2: Justin Shapiro [WWE] (04/29)
1: thecubsfan [lucha] (04/22)