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Game 4: Houston 4 – Cubs 3

Apr
04

Cubs 1-3, 6th (2.0 GB)
Astros 2-3, 5th (1.5 GB)

POTG: C Soto (H, 2 RBI)
Runner Up: RF Fukudome (2 H, R), 2B/3B Mark DeRosa (HR, 2H, really bad E), SP Rich Hill (6IP, 4H, 2ER, 3BB, 4K, QS [1]), RP Wuertz (IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 R)

I thought about this game, though about how I didn’t have much to say, and thought about waiting until tomorrow to write about it. And then I realized I wasn’t going to actually have the time to do such a thing, so I’m running blank here.

It does not help that MLB’s Gameday Audio was broken for the entirity of the game, so I had to follow thru text updates for most of the game. I caught the video of the bigger players later on MLB.com’s highlight package.

From what I saw, Soriano just took a really odd route to the ball. The only thing I can figure is he thought the ball was going to get trapped along the wall and was headed towards the gutter, because there was plenty of time for him to adjust his path and he was still way off when the ball got to him.

The hitting still isn’t there. Last year’s team scored 4.64 runs per game, and this is supposed to be an improvement over that perfomance (and I’d hope for it to end up in the 4.85->4.90 range). The Cubs have only reached 4 runs once so far.

Hill got himself into trouble and out of it early on (the second probably should’ve been really bad), but he pitched good enough to win. Wuertz looked fine. Lieber would’ve been fine with some better defensive support.* If the Cubs can use him in good spots, to take up two innings instead of two or more pitchers doing the same, they can get some decent mileage out of him as a long reliever.

* MLB’s scoring listings him as giving up zero earned runs, but does not give Soriano credit for an error – so wouldn’t Tejada’s run have to be an earned one? Missing something…

The Cubs late double switch was a bit odd, but I guess it would’ve worked out pretty well if they could’ve gotten one more guy on and given another AB to Ward. The really questionable move of the afternoon was Cecil Cooper countering Ronny Cedeno with a righty with Ward still waiting on the bench. It was not a great outcome for Darryl, but I’d pick him taking a shot over Cedeno every single day and I think most people would agree. Probably even Cooper, so I’m wondering if he’s not yet worked out “thinking one move ahead.”

The Cubs really shouldn’t win a matchup of Jason Marquis vs Roy Oswalt, but sometimes you win games you’re not supposed and maybe this will be it.

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PS3 Releases: week of March 31, 2007

Apr
04

on the shelves

Nothing! Unless you import the Nippon Professional Baseball game, which now that I’ve said that, I totally want. Actually, how hard would it be to add another league, FIFA style, to the current MLB games?

in the store

Nothing! They’re in a holding pattern for a couple weeks while they’re readying a new look to the store. The current version is HTML based, the new will be a faster software program, and hey posted new screens instead of the usual update list.

The store will be relaunched on 04/17, surely thru another version update. The idea clearly is to clean up things in preparation for Gran Turismo 5 Prologue’s launch on that day, which will be available in the store. Same price as the physical disc, less video content, but you don’t have to leave your house to get it.

Other News which I care about

– Sony’s dropping the Six Axis controller sometime this summer (as soon as they run out.) This is the standard version of the controller packaged with the system.

A DualShock version (read: “rumble pack”) of the controller went on sale this week ($55 , way too much for a controller.) They haven’t officially announced it’s replacing the old controller but since it does everything the old one does, that seems pretty likely. IIRC, the DualShock wasn’t used due to an dispute about licensing costs, but they’ve put the capability for it in PS3 games for the last year. Some games require a patch to get the rumble working and all new games will have a DualShock3 compatible icon on the box.

– The MTV Multiplayer blog also has an interesting explanation of why some PS3 games require long/big installs: the disc have so much space, the Blue Ray was wasting too much time seeking thru empty areas. Some developers have figured out how to deal with this, some have just installed critical info on the hard drive to get quicker access, and some have just put multiple copies of the same game on the disc just to fill it up.

I’ve got a friend who may end up getting a PS3 this summer and hates the rumble pack, so I’m already trying to figure out a trade.

– Wyclef Jean’s song “Fast Car” and music video “Fast Car” (Wyclef Jean playing Burnout while inside of Burnout) so completely do not work together.

over the horizon
04/07: nothing
04/14: Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (downloadable)
04/21: NBA Ballers: Chosen One
04/22: Monster Madness
04/28: Midnight Club: Los Angeles
04/29: Grand Theft Auto IV (and special edition)
05/02: Fatal Inertia
05/02: Iron Man
05/13: The Chornicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
05/19: UEFA Euro 2008
05/20: Haze
05/27: Kung Fu Panda
06/01: Soulcalibur IV
06/02: Civilization Revolution
06/03: LEGO Indiana Jones
06/03: The Incredible Hulk
06/03: Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway

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Game 3: Cubs 6-3

Apr
04

Cubs 1-2, 2nd (1 GB)
Brewers 2-1, 1st, take the series

POTG: RF Kosuke Fukudome (2 BB, 2B, SB, 2 R, E)
Runner Up: LF Soriano (H, R, BB, 2 RBI, SB), 3B A Ram (HR, 2 R, BB), SP Ryan Dempster (6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, W [1], QS, [1]), RP Kerry Wood (IP, H, 0 R, Sv [1])

For the record, after one half inning of the third game of the 2008 season, I got a text message from someone giving up on the season. Technically, it just said “Cubs suck”, but I’ve decided it means they give up and will use it against them for the next 6 months.

The first inning would’ve been a blip on the radar had the Cubs actually won some games before it. We’re already learning new things about this team as they start the play, and the lesson from that inning is having three outfielders with cannon arms does have downsides. I’ve never seen a Cubs team with as good everyday outfield arms in every spot, and not a single one of them believes in hitting the cut off man. Even though I have normally hate giving out an error for a batter moving up – every other ‘tough play’ is just a play – Kosuke’s throw moving Soto so far up the line and in the path of the runner, he was definitely responsible for the collision and the run scoring.

Anyway, maybe they’re going to gun some guys down, and maybe the pitchers need to be running behind the mound to better catch the throws that get away. That was the only thing Ryan Dempster wasn’t better than expected in this game. I don’t think anyone’s expecting him to be a stopper in the rotation, but it worked for one day. The walks are still going to be a problem, but he didn’t give up as many hits as you’d expect so it worked in aggregate.

I didn’t do projections because I don’t believe I’ll have anything more to accurate than the hundred already being done, but it is fun to have something to track as the season goes. The easiest semi-useful counting suggestions is Quality Starts. With a bullpen as solid as this one should be and a decent offense, 6 IP and 3 R is going to get the Cubs a win the vast majority of the time.

2007 Cubs QS
20 Ted Lilly
18 Z
17 Rich Hill
15 Jason Marquis
10 Marshall
01 Steve Trachsel

Rich Hill had a good year for a #3 starter. If Marquis got about 2 more good starts down the stretch, people probably wouldn’t have been annoyed with him. It’s the difference between terrible and bad. 17 seems a decent goal for the non-top 2 people, and I’d like to see 20-ish from Z and Lilly. Dempster has 1, Z has 1.

Nice the Cubs finally got around to torching Kendall on the basepaths. I want to see 4 SBs every game against him. Everyone ought to be running. Wood was fine in a closing situation, and everything’s feeling a bit better than it did the rest of the week.

Next series
04/04: Rich Hill vs Chris Sampson (win?)
04/05: Roy Oswalt vs Jason Marquis (bad idea game on many levels)
04/06: Z! vs Brandon Backe (Astros have no starters)

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