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Game 104: Phillies 4 – Cubs 1

Jul
31

Phillies 56-49, 3.0/1.0
Cubs 55-49, 1.0/1.5

POTG: SS Ryan Theriot (HR, 2 H, SB)
Runner Up: none

Somehow, I was smart enough yesterday to state I didn’t like the Cubs chances in this game, but dumb enough to still start Ted Lilly in my fantasy league. I guess I’m just filled with a mystery.

The Cubs batters couldn’t figure out Hamels out all night, and their only real hope was getting him out of their and working over the bullpen. There was some hope of that in the 7th, but Murton, Pagan and Kendall could get nothing going, and Fontenot, Soriano, and Theriot didn’t even challenge Hamels in the 8th.

The worst sequence of the night, by far, was Ronny Cedeno’s pinch hit at bat. After Jason Kendall has just walked on five pitches, Cedeno showed the form that got him sent back to Iowa in the first place (and would get him sent right back down if they could) by swinging at the first pitch. It was a horrible impatient pop fly, and Ronny deserved to get booed. Soriano almost did the exact same thing a batter later, but Bourn tripping over the incline gave him another chance (not that he did much with it.) That was pretty much it, and I don’t think Cedeno gets another critical at bat for quite a while.

Tonight’s Marquis vs Adam Eaton. On the upside, Adam Eaton is bad. On the downside, Jason Marquis is bad. It’s 70s night at the ball park, and I’m just hoping Jason makes it to the 70s in pitch count without blowing up the game. The under/over is 9.5, and I’d take the over.

trade deadline thoughts

Jul
30

I’m THRILLED not to be mentioned in Paul Sullivan’s look at Cubs blogs. I was going to say “Paul Sullivan’s semi-sarcastic look”, but that seems repetitive. Let’s not tell anyone about these Cubs posts, ever. Nothing good can come from it. I’ll keep up my part by continuing to bore.

elsewhere on that same blog

Mark Teixeira has been traded to the Atlanta Braves this morning, for a package of players built around catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who is quite the stud. Don’t be stunned if that deal is followed by a second one that sends catcher Gerald Laird from Texas to Chicago for prospects, possibly including Felix Pie.

oh please no no no no no no no – I haven’t looked up Laird’s stats but enough trading for catchers. And why would the Cubs give up their long term answer in center with no alternative? Don’t say Rowand.

Let’s say, what do we got with Laird this year: 241/299/359. For PIE? He’s got better numbers the previous season (better = league average when adjusted), I don’t get this idea at all, but the Cubs sure do like trading for people who were once good and aren’t now in hopes magic will occur.

Some other names rumored, while I’m losing my mind

Ryan Church: 255/337/418 – well, at least he walks! As a cheap guy taking Ward’s spot for a month, I’m (still) okay with him, though we’ve heard this name since March, and haven’t heard since Pagan got the spot.

LHP OFs vs Righty
Church, this year: 258/330/444
Jones, this year: 247/305/344
Jones, all time: 292/341/483

So he’d be an upgrade over Jacque, but if Jacque keeps pulling himself towards his career averages, it might not mean so much over four weeks.

Bobby Kielty, who’s a switch hitter, hasn’t barely played this season. Probably not worth it to evaluate him over 35 ABs. Last year, he was 270/329/441, which is also just about average, and you’re hoping he can bounce back as well. Kielty would be a better complimentary player too

vsL: 325/358/607
vsR: 229/308/314

It looks like maybe he should not be switch hitting at this point, but a guy who can crank lefties off the bench with some power would be a nice fit. Oakland’s already DFAed him, so he should be cheap.

Kielty’s missed most of the season due to a calf injury, but I got to figure Oakland ending up with 500 outfielders played a part in it. It’s tough to tell exactly what the deal with the calf was – looking back thru stories on him, it was initially reported just as a nagging injury, then one that might keep out a few days, then one that’ll put him on the DL in a surprise, and finally one that put him on the 60 day DL as a bigger surprise. A’s are strict with health news, but I think they’re not allowed to DFA him if he’s still hurt (which was the issue with Milton Bradley earlier) so you’d think he’d be fine now. And if not, it’s not like Ward could run.

Game 103: Cubs 6 – Reds 0

Jul
30

Cubs 55-48, 0.5/1.0
Reds 45-61, 12/12.5

POTG: SP Z! (7.1 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 R, W [14/78]; 3 H)
Runner Up: LF Soriano (2 H, 2B, 2 SB, R), SS Ryan Theriot (2 H, 2 R, SB), 1B D Lee (HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, HBP), 3B A Ram (2 H, 2B, R, RBI), RF Mark DeRosa (2 H, RBI, SF), CF Angel Pagan (H, 2 RBI)

When the Cubs left Cincinnati on April 5th, at the end of the first series of the season, they were two games out. In the 100 games since, they’ve managed to pick up 1.5 games! Or I guess the other way to look at it is they picked up 2.5 games in two days, but that’s not quite as fun.

I think the Reds were probably happy with what they got out of Matt Belisle, because he saved their bullpen a little bit after yesterday. It really didn’t matter who they were throwing out there today, they were losing. The only guy who was threatening to Z at all was Scott Hatteberg, but Z eventually figured him out and struck him out too.

Soriano’s home run probably should’ve been a homerun. I didn’t see the Reds broadcast clips which were supposedly conclusive, but it seemed like that should’ve hit the top of the wall. Meanwhile, all the starting pitchers are going to have practice RUNNING at some point.

This is going to be a tougher week of matchups. The Phillies and the Mets should be a step stronger than the two last two teams, and there will only be one Z start. Lilly’s been pitching great, but I’m not banking on the Cubs getting into first place tonight. A 4-3 week would be good enough; even if that backs them up a bit, they’ve got a soft part of the schedule next.

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Game 102: Cubs 8 – Reds 1

Jul
29

Cubs 54-48, 1.5/2.0
Reds 45-60, 12/12.5

POTG: LF Soriano (2HR, 3H, 3R, 5RBI)
Runner Up: SS The Riot (2 BB, R), 1B D Lee (HR, 2 RBI), C Jason Kendall (2 H, 2 R), SP Sean Marshall (6 IP, 6 H, ER, BB, 3K, W [5/11]), RP Carlos Marmol (2 IP, 2 H, 2 K)

Now THIS was the Reds bullpen I was eager to see. I mean, it was mostly over even before Harang left (though his injury may have played a part in it), but there’s so many fun guys for the Cubs to face. Every time someone came in with an opposing AVG over 300, and both splits were over 300, I was very amused. So were the hitters.

There’s no way the Cubs should lose Sunday’s game. I don’t believe in jinxes, I believe in lopsided matchups, and this is one of those.

It’d nice if they spread out the homeruns, instead of getting them like 4 at a time and then none for 10 days.

Jason Kendall is up to 310 as a Cub! They used Marmol for two innings and he was fine! Dempster is making up for baserunners he couldn’t put on when he was hurt! I really have nothing to say about this game.

It was nice of the Cardinals to sweep. 1.5 to the lead, perhaps the first time in a while where the Division lead has been closer than the Wild Card.

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Game 101: Reds 5 – Cubs 4

Jul
28

Cubs 53-48/3
Reds 45-59/12.5

POTG: SS Ryan Theriot (2 H, R, RBI, 2B)
Runner Up: 2B Mark DeRosa (3 H, RBI)

When Rocky Cherry came in and gave up those 2 runs, I didn’t think much of it because it didn’t look like the Cubs had the offense to come back this game. Looking back at it, those 2 runs and Aroyo being able to last 7 2/3rds were the turning points of the game, even if the collision was cooler to watch. In the limited time the Cubs saw the Reds bullpen, they didn’t have much to offer, and obviously if Rocky doesn’t give up those two runs, it’s 4-2 game in the of the 9th and Howry never pitches.

There were some things that could’ve been better played. I was annoyed to see Dempster not come in the 9th, but not really surprised. It would’ve been better if Lou had done a double switch when Marmol came in (he bats 2nd, Cedeno bats 9th and takes over SS), but I guess they wanted to the freedom to pinch hit with whomever if the pitcher’s spot came up, and who knows if Ronny would’ve gotten a hit there.

Just to make it clear, I was cheering when Kendall got that hit. I don’t think Jones purposefully slowed down at any time, I think they made the right move to send him, and that was a heck of a collision.

I can’t believe Torii Hunter, of the five teams he can block a trade to, the Cubs are on that list. Apparently, it’s true. I mean, he’d rather go to the Pirates? I don’t quite get it, though I’m sure it’s no coincidence the Red Sox are on there too. (BTF’s comments says it’s a brick issue, which I guess is a legitimate reason. A weird reason, but a reason.)

I think Murton’s probably got a day or two to prove something, before they look to trade for someone to fill the Ward spot. I don’t know if it’s Wigginton or Connie or whoever, but I suspect a small deal on Monday or Tuesday.

Game 100: Cardinals 11 – Cubs 1

Jul
27

Cubs 53-47, 2/1
Cardinals 46-52, 8/7

POTG: 1B Derek Lee (HR)
Runner Up: RF Cliff Floyd (2 H), C Jason Kendall (2 H, 2B)

(lifted from B-R’s gamelog, which I use extensively for these things.)

(bottom of the 6th)
A Miles         Single to LF (Ground Ball)
B Looper        Walk; Miles to 2B
D Eckstein      Bunt Groundout: 3B-2B; Miles to 3B; Looper to 2B
J Edmonds       Walk
A Pujols        Hit By Pitch; Miles Scores; Looper to 3B; Edmonds to 2B
C Duncan        ...

I was, like your average person on a Thursday night, hanging out in the parking lot of the O’Hare Oasis (overlooking 294, heading north) when Chris Duncan came up to bat. I had just stopped there, about 15 mintues before 9. Except for the McDonalds, everything in the Oasis closes down at 9 PM, and some of the food places shut down an hour before. Making a decision between sticking around to hear this at bat or wandering around inside to see if the pretzel stand just happened to be open late wasn’t really much of a decision. I figured out which way this one was going.

C Duncan Home Run (Fly Ball to RF); Looper Scores; Edmonds Scores; Pujols Scores

The pretzel stand was closed, too.

Looper wanted to bunt, but Marquis wouldn’t let him give up the out. Edmonds was down 1-2, and Marquis threw 3 straight balls. Hitting Pujols might have been the best move Marquis made the decision – at least it limited him to one run. Didn’t matter much in the long run.

They really should’ve had someone warming up as soon as he walked the pitcher, to face Pujols. Maybe next time.

When Jason Marquis was signed (for THREE YEARS! We have 2.39 more years of this!), he was promoted as a guy who’d At Least eat up some innings. In fact, he’s on pace to get exactly 200 innings at this moment, and his ERA is actually below average. But those numbers are coasting on his performance in the first two months. He’s been a drag on the staff since Summer.

IP/Start (ERA)
April: 6.13 innings (2.35)
May: 6.67 innings (3.38)
June: 4.6 innings (5.09)
July 5.6 innings (6.67)

In a perfect scenario, I’d love for the Cubs to pick up Torii Hunter from the Twins as a rental the rest of the season, because I think it’d be the best way to improve. (The Indians just beat the Cubs to the Kenny Lofton idea.) But I think the easiest way to put a league average pitcher in Jason Marquis spot – he’s putting the Cubs in low win situations and stretching out the bullpen. Another Sean Marshall would pick up a lot of slack.

I just did some fast counting, and realized I’m going to just miss going to Marquis’ next start (assuming it’s on schedule.) I’m so thrilled.

Santo and Corey, the radio crew with Pat out sick, have absolutely no chemistry so far. Maybe they’ll get it someday, but it sure wasn’t happening last night. Santo was at least more informative than usual, explaining Marquis’ meltdown of an inning was because he had decided to solely use a fastball and couldn’t locate it. Santo explained this while losing his mind, but he did explain it.

In the slightly bigger picture, 2 out of 3 is good enough. It’s just very disappointing when there was a game to be gained on both the NL Central (where they’d be 1 game back) and the Wild Card (where they’d be leading.

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Joe Versus The World – 60: Naylor and Bix [ICW/IWCCW]

Jul
27

Rob Naylor and David Bix return for Joe Vs. The World #60 with a look at another dead fed: the ICW/IWCCW. Never heard of it? Don’t worry, we break down all the assorted insanity, including the Savoldi clan, fake Angelo Savoldi, the Rock n’ Roll Rockers, Bob Backlund is special, Paul Heyman’s views on abortion, Michael Cole: Mass Murderer, the Von Erichs: The Animated Series, Super Duper Mario, SD Jones gets a contract, Curly Moe, Joe Savoldi is against suicide, the Creator, tangents and inappropriate comments, and our beloved Dawna the Teen Reporter. 100 minutes of our craziest show yet!

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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.

This week, Joe Versus The World is also a visual experience. You can follow along with the videos mentioned on the show:

Joe Savoldi says “Don’t Kill Yourself”

Barry Windham says no drunk driving

The Creator

Bob Backlund and his plastic belts

Rob and Bix previously were on together talking about the history of the GWF in April Rob was also on in September, talking about whatever came to mind, November talking about indies, in December, talking about the year in ROH, in March, and in June.

You can read more of Rob @ Death Valley Driver.com, and you can hear more of Bix at davidbix.com.

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:
60: Naylor and Bix [ICW/IWCCW] (07/27)
59: Mike Quackenbush [CHIKARA] (07/17)
58: Bryan Alvarez [f4w] (07/14)
57: Tanvir Raquib [Rap & Wrestling] (06/21)
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)

Game 99: Cubs 7 – Cardinals 1

Jul
26

Cubs 53-46 – 2.0/.5
Cardinals 45-52 – 9/7.5

POTG: RF Cliff Floyd (2 H, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B)
Runner Up: LF Soriano (3 H, R, 3B, 2B), SS Ryan Theriot (2 H, RBI), 3B A Ram (2 2B, R), 2B Mike Fontenot (2 H, 2 RBI), CF Jacque Jones (2 H, R, RBI, 2B), SP Ted Lilly (7 IP, 6 H, ER, 3 BB, 2 K, W [11/70]; H, RBI)

(I’m definitely moving up to MT4, if only so scheduled posts actually get posted.)

I was wondering about this last night: the last win where Cliff Floyd played a complete game was June 29th. He does play some complete games, but only in losses for his bat.

CG: 17
W: 3 (1 at DH)
L: 14

NCG: 50
W: 32
L: 18

So Cliff’s getting pulled over 90% of the team in wins, and around 50% in losses, which is about what I thought. I’m not arguing with this time sharing arrangement with Pagan – it works and makes sense, and it makes sense to do it this often. I just don’t think I’ve ever seen a manager do it this often. Most of the time, they’ll be too worried about hurting someone’s feelings (so credit to Cliff for going along with that’s best with the team.) It’s a good move by Lou and, more important to me and my need to have proof of things, it’s definitive move by Pinella.

Anyway, the game itself wasn’t much. The Cardinals seemed dead – this was their most consistent starter, and he didn’t have much here. Ted never got into much trouble, probably could’ve gone a complete game if they needed him to (hitters did nothing with the relievers) but like Z’s previous start, it makes more sense to save that inning for down the line.

No homeruns, but it’s nice to see some extra base hits, and a lot of two out hitting. I’m not sure if it’s the Cubs hitting better with two outs, or just hitting better in general and it happens to be coming on two outs, but they’re up from where they were at the end of the weekend.

NYM 57-43 +3.0
MIL 56-45 +1.5
LAD 56-46 +1.0
SDP 54-46 ----
CHC 53-46 -0.5
ARZ 55-48 -0.5
ATL 54-48 -1.0
PHI 52-48 -2.0
COL 51-50 -3.5

The Mets, at least, seem to be starting to break way from their division. But that may just be the Pirates helping out.

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Game 98: Cubs 4 – Cardinals 3

Jul
25

Cubs 52-46, 3/1.5
Cardinals 45-51, 9/7.5

POTG: 3B A RAM (4 H, RBI)
Runner Up: 1B D Lee (2 H, R, RBI), SS Ryan Theriot (H, 2 R, BB, SB, CS), CF Jacque Jones (2 BB, H, RBI), SP Z! (6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, W [13/77])

The return of D Lee! The return of No Extra Base Hits! Ah, the comfortable lack of changes.

Larry Poncino, home plate, had an awful night. I’ve seen stamps bigger than the strike zone, it was quite unreal. The upside is Z! was tested to go insane and blow up, and did not blow up. It wasn’t a super performance, and you could tell he thought he should be doing better, but it was still pretty good.

This was a tough game to take seriously from the start because it was Z vs Kip Wells, but Wells did fair enough. It helps that the Cubs are just getting dink hits (and such, can’t get the big hit to key the big inning) but Wells did better than his numbers.

This was such a slow game. It got exciting at the end, and Soriano really ought to make sure he fields the grounder before he starts thinking about throwing it (he starting to give back those runs he took away earlier), but it did feel like forever for a while.

The playoff race:

NYM 54-43 +2.0
MIL 56-44 +1.5
LAD 56-45 +1.0
SDP 54-45 —-
ATL 54-47 -1.0
CHC 52-46 -1.5
ARZ 54-48 -1.5
PHI 51-48 -3.0
COL 50-50 -4.5

Nine teams, all within 5 games of making it or not making it. The other seven are pretty much done, but it’s going to be jumble going in the last 10 weeks of the season.

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Game 97: Diamondbacks 3 – Cubs 0

Jul
25

Diamondbacks 52-48/4.5
Cubs 51-46/2.5

POTG: SP Sean Marshall (6 IP, 5 H, ER, 2 BB, 5 K)
Runner Up: none

So, it’s 3-2 without D Lee. Sounds about right. It stings more when the 2Ls come at the end.

This was a classic case of a team not showing up before an off day. 4 hits! 0 walks! 5 Bases! An amazingly week performance.

Marshall pitched good enough to win this game. Actually, he pitched good enough to get to 98 pitches, first time in a month. It’s still obvious they’re concerned about over pitching him, either for injury or performance concern. He seemed to be cruising along fine, and one more inning couldn’t have been worse than Mamrol (not that it mattered), but they obviously feel more comfortable this way.

Petrick and Eyre looked fine, that’s a nice change. Kendall finally got a hit. Maybe he’ll get over 100 someday.

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