thecubsfan.com

Game 51: Marlins 9 – Cubs 0

May
31

POTG: none
Runner Up: none

9-0 is a forfeit score. So there’s that.

Nice to see SERGIO! doing well. Between his wacky facial hair and the black/teal uniforms, he actually looks like a Marlin. I’m not sure how to explain it to it, except he looked like he belonged on that team, which is more than we could ever really say for the Cubs.

I’ve got nothing else. I was complaining about the 48 breaks before, but I’m pretty okay with it now.

chicago national league ball club , Comments Off on Game 51: Marlins 9 – Cubs 0

Joe Versus The World – 55: Mike Sempervive

May
31

Mike Sempervive joins us for a show dedicated to the Japan wrestling scene. We hit all the big feds, including Noah, New Japan, All Japan, Zero One, and much more, including the new Harlem Heat, cowardly Young Lions, Dick Togo rules, Super Crew vs. Bad Force, we get the urge to merge feds, special new theme music, dramatic renditions of Zero One angles, the life and times of El Samurai, and Mike goes off his meds with sad results. Over 80 minutes of all out action!

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.

Mike was previously on the 2006 in Japan wrapup show, and attempted to share time with Dr. Keith back in August. You can hear more of Mike Sempervive on the Audio Nightmare @ f4wonline.com. We thank him for coming on the show again.

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:
55: Mike Sempervive [japan] (05/30)
54: Matt Foy [ROH] (05/16)
53: Alex Koslov & thecubsfan [lucha] (05/13)
52: Justin Shapiro [the condemned] (05/06)
51: Dr. Keith Lipinski [everything] (05/02)
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)

Game 50: Marlins 9 – Cubs 4

May
30

Cubs 22-28
Marlins 25-27

POTG: PH/SS Ryan Theriot (2R HR)
Runner Up: 1B D Lee (HR, 2B, 2 RBI – but 3 pitch K to end game), LF Alfonso Soriano (2 H, R), RP Carlos Marmol (2 IP, H, BB, 4 K, 0 $)

Misadventure to the park:
– got half way there, realized I left my cell phone in my charger, at home
– got to the parking lot, realized my ticket was not in my car (it was on a table, at home)
– it was 6:50ish when I finally gave up looking for the ticket and got on the bus to go to the park
– knew one of the people I was with had an extra unused ticket, but was probably already in the park
– I could call him, but I didn’t have my phone. And I couldn’t remember the number, because it was on my phone
– BUS SPRINGS A GAS LEAK AND COMES TO A HALT SHORT OF THE STADIUM

Let me tell you, at the time, I did not realize that I had passed the threshold of general personal dumbness to a series of wacky mishaps. (It was more “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” thoughts, to tell the truth.) But I did end up getting to my seat and saw all but the first batter and stayed the whole time, so it ended well.

This isn’t a great Marquis line, but he was hurt by his defense into a long inning in the 4th, when DeRosa really should’ve made a better play on the ball, and put right back into a stress situation to start the 5th when Ram threw the ball into the stands. You like to see guys pitch better, but I’d give Jason a pass on this one.

I know Wuertz has been one of the better guys, but I couldn’t believe Pinella didn’t have someone warming up in the bullpen as soon as he walked the first two batters. I mean, that’s a pretty obvious bad sign, and for the second straight game, Pinella stuck with a visibly struggling reliever as he turned a close game into a blow out (and wasting a decent shot at coming back in the 9th, once again.) It seems like Lou has a much quicker trigger earlier in the season, and now he’s just kinda given up on making switches.

I don’t know what the deal is with that, and I don’t know what the deal with Barrett getting caught making bad base running plays twice in three games. It hurt them later in the game, where Barrett and DeRosa both should’ve moved up on a wild pitch, but now are so completely gun shy that they don’t want to risk being throw out (and Olivo still has a gun, so they might have not been complete fools.)

If this season continues it’s death spiral, I think there will be a lot of thinking about what to do with Barrett, since he’s a free agent at the end of the season. He’s going to end up hitting better than most catchers and I think he genuinely is thrilled to play for the Cubs (though, after the Expos, I think anyone would be thrilled to have a slightly louder crowd), but everyone’s had issues with his defense from day 1, and his pitch calling has come into question. I think he works it at, but…if Z’s all the sudden super with Blanco, and if Jake Fox can move up from AA (where he’s hitting 339/369/577 right now) and do well at AAA, Barrett starts to become very expandable.

At this point, though, I’m mentally trading everyone, so I don’t know if this actually would make sense.

That 9th was such a tease. Bases loaded, 1 out, and Floyd and Lee go down swinging on 8 pitches combined. I have a friend who picked up Kevin Gregg and is so completely thrilled with how this series is going. Good that someone is.

Cesar Izturis saw only 11 pitches over 4 at bats. That’s kinda amazing when you think about it. If he bats second again, I may keel over.

chicago national league ball club , Comments Off on Game 50: Marlins 9 – Cubs 4

Game 49: Marlins 5 – Cubs 3

May
28

Cubs 22-27
Marlins 24-27

POTG: RF Cliff Floyd (2 H, 2 RBI, 2 BB)
Runner Up: SP Sean Marshall (6.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 6 K, QS), 3B A Ram (2 H), CF Jacque Jones (H, BB, R), 2B Mark DeRosa (H, BB, R)

Hey, look, another loss. I’m rapidly running out of things to say about losses.

Sean Marshall looked fine enough. I was surprised he was left in the 7th, which cost. I was surprised Scott Eyre was brought in and kept it and like everyone else, note how those two runs he gave up were the difference – it’s so obvious, it seems like it says all it needs to say by itself. The upside is there’s no way he’ll be used Tuesday and probably not on Wednesday.

It’s not good when BYK shuts you down. From the post game talk, I think they were expecting him to do their work for them, getting behind in counts, and Kim out maneuvered them by throwing strikes for once. They still should’ve done something against him.

Marshall was fine and deserves not only to have the five spot, but some leeway on it.

No extra base hits today. If they can’t get the bullpen help, they’ve got to make it up elsewhere, and a little bit more power would help.

(If it’s Memorial Day, it’s time for the first all these day games are HARD story.)

I got tickets for tomorrow’s game at the beginning of the season, and I’m pretty happy to get to see D-Train. He hasn’t been as much this season, but I’m thinking he might do okay this start. (Then again, I’m starting Marquis on my fantasy team.)

chicago national league ball club , Comments Off on Game 49: Marlins 5 – Cubs 3

Game 48: Dodgers 2 – Cubs 1 (11)

May
28

Cubs 22-26
Dodgers 29-21

POTG: SP Rich Hill (6 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 K, QS)
Runner Up: LF Alfonso Soriano (2 H, R), CF Angel Pagan (2B, 2 H)

If we got nothing else out of this game, at least we got this Paul Sullivan line:

The Cubs are in desperate need of a mysterious back injury to put Scott Eyre on the disabled list, but Eyre insists he feels fine.

(To be fair, we also got Hill looking good and maybe actually having a stretch move that works for him.)

This is not a game that Eyre will want to remember. Or Lou, for putting him in there – the platoon switch works only when you’re talking pitchers of equal quality, and Wuertz is easily much better than Eyre right now. Or Barrett, between his CS and his really bad defense in the 11th.

They’re not alone – the Cubs really should’ve scored more than 1 run in this game, and closed it out well before it got to the 11th. The 1 run losses are all winnable games, and the difference between a competitive season and what’s going on right now.

It sounds like we’re moments away from Wade Miller being released. They may wait till after today’s game – just to see if Marshall has any issues – but the report from Iowa is actually worse than ever.

chicago national league ball club , Comments Off on Game 48: Dodgers 2 – Cubs 1 (11)

Game 47: Cubs 4 – Dodgers 2

May
27

Cubs 22-25
Dodgers 28-21

POTG: RP Will Ohman (.1 IP, K, 3 runners marooned)
Runner Up: SP Z! (7.2 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, BB, 8 K, QS, W [5/69]), 3B A Ram (HR, 2H, R, RBI), LF Matt Murton (2 H, 2B, R), SS Cesar Izturis (2 H, R)

I keep meaning to do this, and get distracted by the paint on the wall or something.

Cubs in 2006 thru 47 games: 18-29
Cubs in 2007 thru 47 games: 22-25

That’s a 4 game improvement. Over the course of a season, that would be an improvement of 14 games, which is enough to get managers battling for awards in most seasons. Before the season started, I think we all heard and should’ve known that jumping from what was 2006 to playoffs in 2007 was quite a stretch, but I think that went all out the window as soon as the season started, just because the talk was “(the division is bad enough that) they might compete!” This team may not (yet?) be a success in adding a flag to the top of the stadium, but it is successful in being much better than last season’s team.

The Cubs ave gotten this far without THEOLD Carlos Zambrano, but it sure looked like he was back today. He’s still 2-3 miles off from what he should be throwing, but the movement on the ball is there, the location seems to be there, and the going crazy after every pitch that doesn’t go his way. Z throwing over 120 pitches for no good reason is also a blast from the past. This was a classic fun dominating Z start and I’m hoping we start getting more of them.

Pinella very obviously had zero trust in the bullpen besides Dempster going into this game. I think he was thrilled to hear Z say he wanted one more guy, because he really didn’t want to put in Ohman. Ohman earned another chance after coming thru, but I’m not sure what it’ll take for the rest of the guys to get used again. Eyre is either buried or got left behind in Chicago. Lou didn’t even consider going to Guzman or Marmol or any of the right handers (despite Wuertz looking fine the previous game.) I think we’re going to see streaks of guys getting in a lot, having a bad appearance and then not getting in at all in critical situations until everyone ahead of them blows up.

It was a little disappointing that the Cubs offense disappeared after four innings, but it was just enough to pull this one out. It’d be huge if they could take Sunday’s game, even out the road trip and get Hill back going.

chicago national league ball club , Comments Off on Game 47: Cubs 4 – Dodgers 2

Game 46: Dodgers 9 – Cubs 4

May
26

POTG: LF Alfonso Soriano (3 H, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB, CS)
Runner Up: 2B Mark DeRosa (2B, R, RBI, BB), 1B Derek Lee (2 2B, 2 RBI, CS), C Michael Barrett (2 H, R, RBI), CF-RF Jacque Jones (2 H, 2B, R, RBI)

Hey, a 1 run loss. That’s really old.

Ever the 7th, I was thinking that if I had to stay up to 1AM to see the end of the game, it’s cool that it’s a really awesome game. And then I thought it’d really suck if this was the Philly game, Part 2.

And it does suck. This was horrible – legendary so, if it was at a time anyone saw.

I guess my “Howry is bad every other appearance” theory is looking thru. Not sure why they couldn’t just leave in Wuertz, seeing as he threw all of 6 pitches in his one inning of work. Ohman and Angel aren’t good coming on with runners on base, and everything that could go wrong did, just like it did for the Dodgers a couple innings previously.

So, on the day we get the hitting going, the bullpen goes again. I don’t know. I’m happy there’s a game in 13 hours, so we don’t have to linger on this one too long.

Game 45: Cubs 3 – Padres 1

May
25

Cubs 21-24
Padres 26-21

POTG: SP Jason Marquis (7 IP, 5 H, ER, 3 BB, 5 K, QS)
Runner Up: LF Soriano (2 H, 3B), 3B A Ram (2 H, 2B, R), C Michael Barrett (2B, IH, RBI)

Kinda had to figure they were getting the extra run in the 9th; it’s not as though they could win a 1 run game, has to be 2.

This was quite similar to the Wednesday game, with the pitchers completely overmatching the hitters in a quite fast game. This time, the Cubs were able to get to the bullpen. They almost got the Linebrink and even Hoffman in that game, and they did manage to get to Meredith here. It made sense in the situation for the Padres to pinch hit for Chris Young, but he probably could’ve sailed thru another couple of innings if they left him in. In a weird way, walking Sledge to bring the 9 spot up might have been one of Marquis’ bigger plays.

Jason, on the other hand, looked pretty done at the end of the game. The announcers noted Marquis seeming to have some sort of back injury at the end of the game, but none of the game stories picked up on any news at that point. Maybe because it was a late game? It’s something working checking for tonight/tomorrow morning. Hopefully it’s a non issue.

That top of the 6th – Soriano tripling, DeRosa, Lee and Ram all striking out swinging – was horrifically bad. I’d like to chalk it up to Young, especially because the team won anyway.

I think Marcus Giles made the right move, going for home to try and preserve the tie. I understand you’d want to not open the door to the door to a big inning, but if you’re done in the 9th inning, you’re in trouble regardless of how many you’re down by. Lee just took a good path to the plate.

This is not a win Howry particularly should get credit for, but he did look as good as he’s looked lately. He’s been good one game, poor the next, so hopefully they don’t pitch him again until it’s a blowout.

thru 45 games:
2007 21-24
2006

It helps to keep in perspective.

I’m so glad tonight’s the last night game for a while, though it’s going to be super fun to watch a game starting at 9:40, and then wake up tomorrow at 7 to help move someone from apartment to apartment. (So, either this gets done right after the game tonight, or much after the game tomorrow.)

chicago national league ball club , Comments Off on Game 45: Cubs 3 – Padres 1

Game 44: Padres 2 – Cubs 1

May
24

Cubs 20-24
Padres 26-20, clinch series

POTG: 2B Mark Derosa (4 H, 2B, 3B, RBI)
Runner Up: RF Matt Murton (2B, R, BB), SP Sean Marshall (7 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 2 BB, 8 K)

I’m convinced, watching the this team and looking athte box scores thie next day, the Cubs are missing some power in the lineup, and that’s the tipping point – that’s the reason the above average pitching and above average hitting hasn’t lead to an above average record. The thing is, while certain individuals haven’t been hitting as well as advertised, there’s no numbers I can come up to say that team is even below average in slugging, much less poor.

Cubs.com’s recap points out the runners in scoring position average looks good – 40 points better than the better than the Brewers. The much questioned defense is actually the second best at turning balls in play into outs according to Baseball Prospectus’ metrics. There seems a lot of shards of information indicating good things about this team in pieces, but for some reason, the sum of the team is actually less than it’s parts.

There are times where you can blame it all on the bullpen, but this was quite obviously not one of those games. Sean Marshall looked great, completely fooling batters on multiple occasions, and it was just one bad pitch (or maybe leaving him out there long enough for one bad pitch) that changed the game. Reading the post game talk, it sounds like they changed strategy on Kozumanoff, trying to use a breaking ball to start a double play, rather harder stuff they’d been using on him. The pitch got up, and then it go out, and then it was pretty much over from there.

Cesar’s probably the least valuable player of the game, because of the 7th inning double play, but it’s not as though the middle of the order was doing much tonight. The 8th inning was disappointing; once Soriano took second and Pagan struck out, that was the end of Lee getting a chance to hit, and Ram just had a bad game.

At least we’ve gotten a very positive sign from Marshall out of this. Hopefully Marquis can prevent the sweep.

chicago national league ball club , Comments Off on Game 44: Padres 2 – Cubs 1

Game 43: Padres 5 – Cubs 1

May
23

Padres 25-20
Cubs 20-23

POTG: LF Cliff Floyd (2 H, RBI)
Runner Up: 3B A Ram (2 H), LF Alfonso Soriano (3 BB, R), SS Cesar Izituris (3 H), RP Angel Guzman (1.2, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 H, 2 K)

What can you say about this game? The league’s caught up to Rich Hill, and the Cubs couldn’t do much against a superior pitcher. Hill’s pitches were all getting up, and I guess you can in fact hit high fast balls out of any stadium, including Petco Park. My big worry now is that this pitching staff has peaked – Hill and Marquis and Lily have done their best, and will be bringing it back down to average the rest of the season – and the peak couldn’t keep us over 500.

What was the deal with Dempster being brought in, for one batter? It’s not like people are going to start a closer controversy if Dempster doesn’t pitch the last batter of a four run loss and it’s not like Guzman was having any trouble or even threw many pitches (21, 16 strikes.)

It looks like the rotation is

Tue: Marshall
Wed: Marquis
Thu: Lilly (with an extra day off)
Fri: Zambrano (go check out the great article on his arm slot)
Sat: Hill

Marshall probably gets at least two starts if he’s fine, one start if he blows up – Miller could be in line to take that spot if Sean can’t lock it down, and I think they’ll be silly enough to give him another shot.

After reading that Z arm slot article, it’s starting to seem like – well, I don’t know he’s tragically injured, but I think he would have had a DL stint if he wasn’t a free agent at the end of this season.

The Padres own the Cubs. Khali Green really owns the Cubs on defense for whatever reason. You think it’d be the Cubs turn to own them at some point.

chicago national league ball club , Comments Off on Game 43: Padres 5 – Cubs 1