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Game 78: Cubs 6 – Brewers 5

Jun
30

Brewers 46-33, +6.5
Cubs 39-39, -6.5/-5.5

POTG: 3B A Ram (HR, 2B, 3 H, 2 R, 2 RBI)
Runner Up: RP Ben Petrick (2 IP, H, 2 K, 0 R), RP Michael Wuertz (2 IP, 1 H, BB, 0 R), LF Alfonso Soriano (2 H, R, 2B), SS Mike Fonetenot (2 H, R, RBI)

I swear, not only had I just set wheels in Milwaukee (heading out the other side), but I barely finished thinking about how this was another fine one loss the Cubs had gotten themselves into when A Ram took one swing, and Santo was yelling “YEA! YEA! YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

What it seems I had forget is these are the Cubs of June, which are a totally different team on the Cubs of April (who would’ve lost by 1 run) and the Cubs of May (who would’ve imploded after going down 5-0.) This Cubs team plays great games and wins them when there’s no chance they should.

Hill’s really flamed out. He was really great, but he’s been harmful to the team the last three times out
06/17 – 3 IP, 5 R
06/23 – 5.2 IP, 1 R
06/29 – 3 IP, 5 R

He’s been taking the team out of games (or close) and going so short that he damages the bullpen. When Hill’s good, and when he’s bad, he’s awful

in 5 Wins: 0.75 ERA – 2 HR
in 5 Losses: 7.76 ERA – 12 HR
in 6 ND: 3.06 ERA – 2 HR

Game 77: Cubs 6 – Rockies 4

Jun
28

Cubs 38-39, 7.5/6
Rockies 38-40, 6.5/6.5

POTG: 3B Mark DeRosa (2 H, HR, 2B, 3 RBI)
Runner Up: 2B Mike Fontenot (3 H, 2 R, RBI), Z! (6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 8 K, W [9/73])

It may be tempting fate to bring this statistic out, since things divebombed last time, but I’ll risk it.

after 77 games
2007: 38-39
2006: 29-48

Whatever this team has been thru, it’s a 9 game improvement. I know the expectations were high, and probably deservingly so, but if this team ends up 18-20 wins better, I think it’s some measure of success even without the playoffs. Or, it’s some sign about how bad the 2006 team was flawed, I’m not totally sure.

This was the least Z start of the run, but it was plenty enough for this day. Just a week ago, Rockies were getting some hype about maybe finally making it thru the desert and coming out a playoff caliber team the other side. They looked quite like the same old Rockies thru this series.

It’s impossible for Fontenot to keep this up, but it’s sure the right move putting him out there until he can’t. They’ve just got to be prepared to move on when it’s time.

It would seem like future ex-Cub Jacque Jones has played in his last home game at Wrigley, but the constant theme to trade talk about him this year is things are always taking much longer than anyone figures. My original thought was “the longer they wait, the less they’ll have to eat of Jacque’s salary”, but with Jacque glued to the bench, they’re just eating it in a less straightforward way each and every day. The only thing they can keep holding out for is more the other teams offering to take more money, but I can’t imagine that number increasing while Jacque’s playing time disappears. So we may be stuck here a while.

No Dempster till after the All Star break, and you get the impression Lou may just go by committee, though never actually saying that word. Hopefully it won’t be too interesting.

Game 76: Cubs 8 – Rockies 5

Jun
27

Cubs 37-39, 7.5 GB
Rockies 38-39, 6 GB

POTG: LF Alfonso Soriano (2 H, 2 R, 2B, SB, OF Assist [10/32]
Runner Up: RF Uncle Cliffy (HR, 2 IBB, intense terror of oppositon – or everyone thinks DeRosa sucks, not sure), SS Fontenot (R, 2B, RBI, BB, SB, no problems at odd position), C Koyie Hill (2B, 2 RBI), RP Michael Wuertz (2 IP, H, 3 K, WP)

Dan B asked me to mention Shawon-O-Meter, so I will. I think someone needs to start a Pie-O-Tron – what with the speed and the gun and the wild swinging, he’s the modern day successor.

Weird but true: With Milwaukee’s surge and the NL West teams knocking each other around, the Cubs are actually closer to the Wild Card lead (6.0) than the division number I’ve started to put up there. They’ve just got more teams to past that way; a win today puts them ahead of Rockies into 5th. Far more important, at the moment, is how close they are to being 500. They haven’t been two games under since May 20th. Last time they got to one under, it was Z on the mound, same as it’ll be today.

When Tulowitzki’s ball ricocheted off the left field wall, just before the indent, I thought it was actually a bad bounce. The ivy stole energy, and the ball seemed to die a bit short of where Soriano was expecting. And he still picked up, fired to second, and DeRosa got it so quick, he had time to trip and still put down the glove for Tulotwitzki to slide into it. That was as amazing as any home run he’s hit this season. I don’t know why people are still running on Alfonso, but it’s cool to see them pay.

Floyd’s really starting to grow on me. Getting a regular spot has helped, I think, but he’s just generally on fire – 342/419/526 this month. The Pagan/Floyd timesharing arrangement is working great, much better than Floyd/Murton/Jones was going.

It was nice of WGN to show a shot of Jacque in the dugout near the start of the game, not just to let us know he didn’t get traded, but to generally reminds us he still exists. He’s so the forgetten man on this roster. At least he’s had plenty of time to think about what he’s going to say when he leaves; yesterday was a chance to work it over in his mind for a few hours. Just for Jacque’s own sanity, they’ve got to make a deal in the next couple of days. Heck, I’d prefer it to be Thursday, just so he can leave on the off day instead of being hassled.

The end of this game started to mirror the previous game, with the bullpen starting to blow. I think I would’ve been more worried if Monday’s game didn’t also feature a big comeback, but I think that’s also what motivated Lou to pulling Marmol rather than let him work out of his own jam.

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Game 75: Cubs 10 – Rockies 9

Jun
26

Rockies 38-38, -5.5
Cubs 36-39, -7.5

POTG: 2B Mike Fontenot (5 H, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, CS)
Runner Up: 1B Derek Lee (3 H, R), RF Mark DeRosa (3 H, 3 RBI, R), CF Angel Pagan (HR, 3 RBI, BB), LF Alfonso Soriano (H, 2 RBI), SS Ryan Theriot (2B, SB, 2 H, 2 R)

To be honest, I watched this game (and had earlier gone to see the Cougars game) but I wasn’t much focused on it. It was on my TiVo, I kinda paid attention, I sometimes drifted off into other things and realized I’d been watching 3 minutes of commercials. Early on, I got a “I want to go crazy over what just happened, but I can’t because you’re watching on tape” phone call, so I figured something weird happened at the end. I just couldn’t figure out what it could be, because the Cubs were cruising for most of the game. Every time Marquis got into trouble, I figured that must be it, but he kept squirming out. After Eyre bailed out of Wuertz’s jam in the 7th, I was completely confused and figured it must’ve been a freak play rather than a close finish.

And then the 9th happened, and all heck broke loose. There’s gotta be something wrong with Scott Eyre. Either he’s hurt, or he’s done. It’s late June, he hasn’t come around, it’s time for some sort of action. You can tell Pinella has given up on him, because he’s only been in 4 games of the last 20. It doesn’t make sense to keep him on the active roster at this point.

I’m giving up Howry more of a benefit of the doubt, even though he was more horrible. It was his third day in a row, his fourth in five games, and his fifth in a week. That kind of workload will kill you. The Cubs really needed another arm down in the pen last night. Howry will almost surely get tonight off, and Marmol’s probably the closer for the night.

My guess is Eyre and Dempster go on the DL. This would allow the Cubs to circumvent the “can’t call back up for 10 days” rule to call up at least Gallagher, and whomever else. Bringing in two fresh arms will allow them to push back going to twelve relievers for another couple days. Perhaps that’ll get them enough time to do something with Jacque.

Nice of Soriano take my stats with runners on and stick them back in my face. I’m more than willing to be wrong about those sorts of things, just didn’t expect to be so rapidly wrong.

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Game 74: Cubs 3 – White Sox 0

Jun
25

Cubs 35-39
White Sox 29-41

POTG: LF Soriano (HR, 3 H)
Runner Up: 2B Mike Fontenot (2 H, SB), 3B A Ram (2 H, 2B, R), LF Uncle Cliffy (2 H), SP Sean Marshall (6.1 IP, 5 H, BB, 3 K, W [4/10]

The White Sox are an awful team.

It STILL would be nice for Soriano to get a home run with a man on base. Soriano has 15 home runs now, and only ONE with runners on base. (A three run shot on June 4th.) 4 are leadoff home runs, so that’s 10 homeruns with no runners on and a possibility to do so. To be fair, he’s had twice as many plate appearances with no runners than men on, but compare these numbers…

Men On: 103 PA, 239/340/341
None On: 211 PA, 342/370/663

Something’s off. Weird how he takes so many more walks with men on; if you factor out the IBB, it’s 300, but he’s still walking twice as often. The power is none existent with men on. Perhaps we DO want Soriano leading off!

For his career, Soriano loses 22 points off his average and 66 off slugging with men on, but the different in on base is tiny compared this year. It’s a thing with him.

How did Ryan Dempster hurt his oblique? We’ve never found out, and it seems a bit important. If Mamrol wasn’t hot and Howry wasn’t solid, they’d be in trouble right now. Well, as much as trouble as team already 7.5 games out could be.

After hearing so much about it, I’m kinda sad I missed Hawk losing his mind about the obstruction call and being totally incorrect about it the whole way. WGN totally kicked Comcast on production for this play and this game, and it wasn’t close. They’re the real winners here.

Stalled out on writing this, because it sure sounds like a move is coming down today, and there’s gotta be a 5% chance it’ll be JJ day. Lou wants to add another pitcher. Ward, Fontenot, Pagan and whichever is the backup catcher today aren’t going down. That leaves Jacque and the Riot, and while it makes sense to send down the guy who’s 0 for his last 19, it’d be an awful lefthanded bench.

Even though there’s potential to be a firestorm is Ryan goes down while Jacque stays, I think sending down Theriot is the right move. Releasing Jacque while still paying all of his salary for the 1 2/3rd more seasons for nothing isn’t the right move. Just not certian they’ll make it.

Game 73: Cubs 2 – White Sox 1

Jun
24

Cubs 34-39, 8.5 GB
White Sox 29-41, 13.5 GB

POTG: 3B The Riot (SQUEEZE)
Runner Up: SS Cesar Izturis (3 H, SB, E), LF Soriano (HR), Bullpen as a whole (3.1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 BB, 4 K)

I think some of the pitching success this series is do to Cubs pitcher, but a lot of it has to do with the White Sox being absolutely terrible. I don’t think I really understood how bad they were till now. I’ve been thinking they were just an average team in a tough division, but I think that may be an overstaetment. They seem plain bad, to the point where today’s ESPN scroll – “White Sox will trade Mark Burhele” – seems way too obvious to be news. Outside of trades, their season is pretty much over on Sunday regardless of who wins. There’s not much left to play for.

The Cubs lack of offense worried me, but at least they’re executing well. Even with Brenly pointing it out many many times during the broadcast, it’s tough to accept that they’re actually playing good fundamental baseball. I didn’t think such a thing was possible.

Marmol’s really taken to his role in the bullpen. I’m kinda okay if they don’t ever start saving him for saves, because he’s by far the best guy to have in tough situations.

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Game 72: Cubs 5 – White Sox 1

Jun
24

Cubs 33-39, 8 1/2 GB
White Sox 29-40, 12 1/2 GB

POTG: Z! (8 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 12 K)
Runner Up: LF Soriano (2 H, HR), 3B A Ram (2 H, HR, 2 RBI), CF Felix Pie (H, 2 RBI)

Carlos Zambrano is the awesomest thing ever. Brian Kendrick should change his finisher name from Sliced Bread #2 to Carlos Zambramo, because he clearly is the greatest thing since. If the team sale means Z doesn’t get resigned, I may have to buy Extra Innings, change the name of the website and throw out half my t-shirts. You MUST pay this man.

I was driving and eating a pretzel dog when the game was going on. I figured I was going to be too late to the Chicago area to hear this game live on WGN (and I was right), so I just turned my iPod on for the trip and waited till I got home to find out any of this (though I did get a phone call indicating it was going to be worth my time.) This was a great call.

Interesting but not particularly surprising they put Bowen behind the plate for the first Z start they could. I don’t think they want Carlos to be attached to Koyie (and to be fair, he probably is only attached to non-Barrett pitchers), but Bowen didn’t seem to be the different maker here. You’re not going to look good the first time you catch Z’s stuff, and Bowen sure looked like he was catching Z for the first time. It worked, so no complaints.

He’s like 2 more of these away from an All Star Birth, right? 10 wins, ERA may be under 4…

Some of those Soriano home runs would look really nice with runners in front of him.

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Game 71: Rangers 6 – Cubs 5

Jun
24

Cubs 32-39, 8.5 GB
Rangers 28-44, 17.5 GB

POTG: 1B D Lee (3 H, 2 RBI, R, HBP)
Runner Up: LF Soriano (2 H, 2B, R, IBB), 1B Darryl Ward (2 H, R, BB), LF Angel Pagan (3 H, RBI), CF Felx Pie (2 BB!, SH)

This was a killer series for the slim playoff hopes. The Brewers have gotten unstuck, and the Cubs lost 2 of 3 to a horrible team. Which kinda makes the Cubs a horrible team. 8.5 might as well be 50 at this point.

I didn’t see or hear any of this game – I tried to get GameDay Audio working on my laptop, but it wasn’t working. I hate my laptop – I think there’s a defective RAM stick or something. It’ll just randomly blue screen of death after being on an hour or three. Don’t know when, don’t know why (guessing it’s a heating issue.) I would like to get a new laptop, and probably a Mac at that, but I don’t want to deal with the same sort of problems from something else. Right now, I’m just using programs which can autosave every five seconds.

It’s probably good I didn’t see this game, because just reading the description would’ve killed me. The bullpen has generally been better of late. Not this game. Offense should’ve done more with 13 hits and 6 walks, so I say it’s a group loss.

Even though the box score numbers don’t look good, Lilly did a good job keeping the Cubs in it and saving the bullpen by making it 7 innings. He didn’t give up a run after the 3rd, a hit after the 4th, and finished with 3 strikeouts. It’s totally an AL thing – he would’ve been lifted for a pinch hitter in the 4th or 5th in the NL

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Game 70: Rangers 7 – Cubs 3

Jun
24

Cubs 32-38, 8 GB
Rangers 27-44, 18 GB

POTG: LF Soriano (2 2B, HR)
Runner Up: RP Scott Eyre (1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 R)

21 hitting it off 21, seems about right. No matter what went down, they shouldn’t have given Sammy’s number away for 10 years. They shouldn’t have given away Grace’s either. I’m not going to argue Sammy’s Hall of Fame case, because when it gets down to it, I don’t really care about the hall of fame. All I know is Sammy was a Cubs for a long time, was the best player on some really bad teams and a couple good ones, and was by far the only best reason to watch the Cubs in the 90s. I don’t what kind of baseball fan or if I’d be one at all if he hadn’t been around.

I’ve always rooted for Sosa, it’s tough to remember a time when I didn’t. I defended him before he hit it big, so it doesn’t make sense for me to give up. I don’t think he’s the right fit for Texas right now, but I don’t care much about these Rangers. Let Sammy hit home runs.

Marquis pitching like we thought he would, check. Koyie might have hit a HR, but he saw all of 6 pitches in 3 at bats. Pagan saw 6 in one at bat. Cesar was hacking even more, 9 pitches in 4 at bats.

Cubs, game story, Rangers

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Joe Versus The World – 57: Tanvir Raquib [Rap & Wrestling]

Jun
22

Tanvir Raquib joins us again as we go over the history of rap and wrestling. We talk all the famous gimmicks, crossovers, and theme music and go off on fifty tangents, plus the rap pioneer that was Sheik Adnan Al-Kassie, we pay tribute to Ray Candy, Don t Step to Ron, Silkk The Shocker s birthday, DJ Ran all up in our area, we play plenty of SONGS, and I assemble my posse. Over an hour of hustle and flow! HOOTIE HOO.

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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.

You can check Tanvir’s new Iron Sheik You Tube Review blog. You can also listen to Tanvir’s prior appearances, Janurary (WSX), September ’06 (9/11 RAW) and June ’06 (ECW), or check out his latest article for this site, 2006 Year In Review. We thank him for coming on to the show.

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:
57: Tanvir Raquib [Rap & Wrestling] (06/14)
56: Rob Naylor [everything] (06/14)
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)