thecubsfan.com

Game 71 to Game 95

Jul
18

Yea, I’m not doing 22 entires. Wanting to talk about a game, not being able to talk about beacuse there are a dozen entries left to go, and forgetting about what you wanted to say when it finally comes up is awful lame. So I’m going to go lightning round on these, and start fresh tommorow.

re: throwback day – didn’t actually SEE much of it. My experience was mostly listening on the radio, and hearing Santo complain frequently about the lack of replays (he can’t identify pretty much anything on the original play, it seems) and the overall setup. Ron was quite not a fan.

I did get home just in time to see Len do the Brickhouse HR call, which he was so excited about (and I’m probably good with missing him talking about it for three hours prior.) I did have time on that day to go back and watch a little bit of the early innings, and the 1st (or 3rd?) base camera angle for pitches was…well, you can easily tell why everyone uses the CF camera nowadays. Even if it wasn’t disorienting, it wasn’t very good.

71: Cubs 2 – Rays 3
POTG: SS The Riot (H, BB, RBI)
note: this is actually one of the more memorable plays. Consensus is Reed made a good call by trying to for the game tying squeeze bunt with 2 outs in the 9th, because it was placed just right, but Longoria was moving in the right direction and made a great play.

72: Cubs 4 – Rays 5
POTG: C Soto (HR, 2B, injury spotting)
note: this was the “oh crap, Z’s hurt” game. Luckily, it turned out to be a vacation.

73: Cubs 3 – Rays 8
POTG: SP Sean Gallagher (6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K)
note: the night it went bad for Marmol. It kinda snuck up, because it wasn’t really like a switch came on – Marmol’s been especially wild for the month before, and you can’t be too concerned when he walks guys because he usually does that and still gets out of it. Not so much here, though it’s worth nothing it was Eyre who came in and gave up the grand slam. And everyone was still chalking Marmol up to one bad night.

Despite the sweep, I still didn’t believe in the Rays. I just don’t expect their pitching to hold up. We’ll see how wrong I am.

74: White Sox 3 – Cubs 4
POTG: 3B A Ram (2 HR)
notes: for all the vaunted White Sox bullpen, Dotel and Linebrink took it on the chin here. Ted Lilly giving up multiple home runs on even slightly home games is becoming very old hat. Howry got a huge out late.

75: White Sox 7 – Cubs 11
POTG: CF Jim Edmonds (2 HR, BB)
name: this was the utterly ridiculous 4th inning, where almost everyone scored a run. Soto got 2 of the outs, so Edmonds picked him up with 2 HRs. It was unbelievable to listen to, and hear two back to back home runs in one inning. It got closer than it should’ve been before the end, but I was pretty okay with Wood picking out the 1 out save for fantasy baseball purposes.

76: White Sox 1 – Cubs 7
POTG: LF Eric Patterson (HR, 2 H, 3 R, 2 BB, CS)
Note: E-Pat is very slightly past Dempster, who held the White Sox in check despite giving up double digit hits. It very much helped that Javi Vazquez is more than willing to pitch himself out of ballgames, and that this Cubs teams are more than happy to take any walks they can get. This one was easily over early.

77: Orioles 7 – Cubs 5
POTG: CF Edmonds (HR, 3 RBI)
Note: I was at this game! In the second to last row! It was still a decent seat, and a much better game than it seemed it was going to be for quite a while. When it’s 7-1, you start hatching escape plans to avoid the traffic, but this Cubs team scores as many runs in late innings as any I could remember, and it seems very very likely the Cubs were going to make one more crazy comeback at home. (Win Expectancy actually had them as 51/41 favorites when Ronny Cedeno came in, despite being down two runs. Bases loaded and two out helps.) Cedeno, Fukudome and Blanco are not the most intimidating threesome ever, but I could better believe Sherrill on the All Star team after he struck out all three on 11 pitches.

Not as crushing as trying to get of the parking lot after game. People driving crazy to sneak in line caused a car to bump mine from behind. I couldn’t actually get out to check, so it wasn’t the most fun ride home. When I got a chance to look, I couldn’t even find a mark. YAY BUMPERS.

78: Orioles 4 – Cubs 7
POTG: C Soto (2 H, 3 RBI)
notes: you probably should be winning any game the starting pitcher goes 1/3rd of an inning before leaving for major surgery. The Cubs didn’t do much after the Orioles moved on from the first reliever, Cormier, but they did all they needed to. Another home run by Edmonds, now making Hendry looking like the smartest GM in history.

79: Orioles 11 – Cubs 4
POTG: 2B Fontenot (2H, R)
notes: Jason Marquis being Jason Marquis. Not that it mattered, but no XBH doesn’t help.

80: Cubs 3 – White Sox 10
POTG: C Soto (3 H, HR)
notes: Dempster’s first really bad outing of the year, which didn’t make for the greatest timing. Lieber was a bullpen life saver on a day they needed it, but this one was over when Swisher’s home run landed.

81: Cubs 5 – White Sox 6
POTG: 1B D Lee (5 H, 2 2B, 3 RBI)
notes: not the strongest outing from Gallagher, but he battled. Vazquez was still bad, but the White Sox bullpen was much stronger this trip thru, and Marmol gave up just enough to lose it. Ram struggling hurt here – how else does Derrek get on five times and never score?

82: Cubs 1 – White Sox 5
POTG: 2B DeRosa (2B, R)
notes: being swept on Sunday Night Baseball, never fun. Marshall pitched good, just didn’t get any offense and Ascanio getting toasted didn’t help.

83: Cubs 9 – Giants 2
POTG: 3B DeRosa (2 HR, 3 R, 3 H, 6 RBI, BB)
runner up: SP Ted Lilly (8 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)
notes: swear to go, in the first two innings, Len Kasper said “With everyone out, what we really need tonight is someone to pick up the team – a two home run, six RBI game, an eight inning start, something like that.” Never in my life have I seen such a display of someone skipping to the end and spoiling the results, because I do not how else he could’ve been so on. DeRosa got the hitting, Dempster got the pitching.

I don’t what to say about A Ram’s departure during this bit, because I still have no idea what was going. The whole thing was weird: papers/radio briefly saying it was for a birth while the game brodcast never said anything more than a personal matter, Ram asking for 4 days but the clubs deciding 3 days (as if that one day would’ve made a difference), Ram never actually going on the seemingly all-purpose bereavement leave so the Cubs could call someone up (seems like it’s been used for situations like this, but would require revealing what was going on.) So odd.

84: Cubs 1 – Giants 2
POTG: 1B D Lee (2H, 3B, R)
Notes: the token good Jason Marquis spot to keep him from being kicked out of the rotation. Giants young pitchers have talent, and it’s a shame the Giants team has no idea how to get hitting (and haven’t, since the World Series) year so they never support.

85: Cubs 6 – Giants 5
POTG: CF Edmonds (HR, 2R, 2 RBI)
Notes: Runner up to Fontenot and his big eight inning home run to grab the lead. He had to, because this was yet another Marmol blow up. He was throwing strikes this time around, but they were just being hit hard and hit out to blow a Dempster win. Going back to Fontenot, he’s hit for much more power than I ever expected out of the game. A near 500 SLG is impressive, and he’d be a 30 HR hitter if he was a full time starter. It’s really helped by Lou picking Fontenot’s spots well:

(starst as of July 18)
2008 vs RHP (153 PA): 11 2B, 7 HR, 275/371/519
2008 vs LHP (16 PA): 1 2B, 0 HR, 167/333/250

Yea, he probably wouldn’t be as bad versus lefties if he got more at bats, but he still would be bad enough that Lou’s doing a fine job keeping him in situations he can succeed.

86: Cubs 3 – Giants 8
POTG: 1B D Lee (2 H, R, RBI)
notes: Gallagher wasn’t bad – the defense really did not do him any favors. Bullpen was pretty universally awful. When Wuertz is the positive guy, it’s going bad. Marmol giving up the big home run ended this one and started the questions.

I think the Giants are closer than everyone thinks. Not that they should go for it this year, but hitting seems easier to acquire than pitching, and they have enough pitching right now. It’s up to their GM to get people who can hit instead of people who used to be able to hit, but the NL West isn’t as tough as people thought it would be.

87: Cubs 2 – Cardinals 1
POTG: SP Z!!!!!!!!!!! (6 IP, 4 H, 0R, 2 BB, 5 K)
notes: !!!!!!!!!!!!! oh did I miss that. The scene after the 6th was totally predictable but enjoyable – Z trying to talk his way into just one more inning, Lou saying now but offering him an AB instead. I like a lot of guys on this team, but it’s not the same without Z taking the ball every five days. Doesn’t hurt it was against the Cardinals, and doing it to them in their own park. Soto had a nice day – calling this game and hitting a HR for the margin.

88: Cubs 4 – Cardinals 5
POTG: 1B D Lee (3 H, 2B, R)
notes: Kerry Wood blew the game, which was notable for actually existing. I think people were worried Wood wouldn’t work as a closer; if they were told Marmol had a perfect inning and Wood blew a save, you’d expect peopel calling for them to switch roles instead of slight relief and slight disappointment. Even though this goes down as his 5th blown save, he’s been better than those expectations after struggling early. He was perfect in June, so you can’t hold this one against him too much. It was just disappointing to see the dreams of a crushing sweep be flipped into a painful loss.

Doesn’t really occur to me how important and valuable Lee has been until I go thru the list of individual games where he’s meant a lot. There’s not a lot of games where he takes over, and you could make the case that DeRosa had a stronger day here (HR/3B), but Derrek is scary consistent.

89: Cubs 7 – Cardinals 1
POTG: SP Sean Marshall (6 IP, 6 H, R, BB, 4 K)
notes: Ram had nice day (2 SF) and he’s not the only one, but Marshall continues to out perform expectations. He’s never going to be a top starter, but he looks to be maturing into a lefty who will make a lot of money for a long time. I’m sure, if money was no object, Marshall would permanently have a spot in the rotation over Marquis. Even though Gallagher has the better pitches, the Cubs clearly prefer Marshall. Two lefties in the rotation means at least one per series and more pressure on the lefty sluggers.

90: Reds 3 – Cubs 7
POTG: SP Ryan Dempster (7 IP, 2 H, R, 4 BB, 5 K)
notes: when did Aaron Harang get so bad? He was just awful here, no control of anything. The odd pitch that was hittable was hit hard. It seemed the performance of someone hiding an injury, and he did end up going on the DL after this one, so perhaps someone needed to be a bit more proactive here.

With 10 wins at home and 0 at home, Dempster’s officially ridiculous. It’s not like his stats are that different

(thru July 18)
home: 204/296/291
road: 225/296/396

The slugging difference is all due to giving up twice as many HRs on the road. He’s given up 1 in every single road start since the first, but you wouldn’t think Wrigley would be easier to keep the ball in the park. It’s still a great bit of luck and sample size stuff going on, but I can’t say I’d be too disappointed if he ended up getting like 16 wins at home and 0 on the road.

91: Reds 1 – Cubs 5
POTG: SP Z!!!!!!!!!!! (8 IP, H, ER, 0 BB, 5 K)
notes: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think it was about the sixth where we realized that, if not for one bad pitch to Adam Dunn, Z would have a no hitter. He’d actually have something beyond that, but I don’t even know what you call it when a pitcher gives up no hits and no walks but his defense gives up an error. If not for that Dunn home run, Z would’ve surely been out to finish it. Same thing, if it wasn’t his second start from a DL appearance. Cubs almost needed him, but I got Wood’s second 1 out save in a month, so I’m not complaining.

92: Reds 12 – Cubs 7
POTG: 2B Fontenot (HR, 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R)
Runner Up: I don’t know that the Cubs have figured this out yet, but as much as I like Rich Harden, he can’t be the Cubs #2 starter necessarily. Z’s pitching the first game, whenever wherever, but Ted Lilly has to pitch on the road, even if that means Harden’s pushed back. Maybe things will improve, but right now he’s completely untrustworthy at home.

Home ERA: 5.34
Road ERA: 4.07

OPS actually has him about the same regardless of where he is – 801 at home, 760 on the road – but all his disaster starts of late have come at home. I don’t know why it’s not working, but he’s not the pitcher I thought he was last season.

93: Giants 1 – Cubs 3
POTG: SP Marquis (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K)
notes: Marquis token very good start. If you’re going to pitch him, you might as well get it. Runner up for Ram, who actually only saw five pitches on the day. 1 hit him, and 1 he hit out for all the runs. That works.

In retrospect, Kerry’s struggles in the 9th was probably all blister related. They did a fine job of keeping that quiet until it got close and late the next day.

94: Giants 7 – Cubs 8
POTG: RP Marshall (2 IP, 2 K, 0 R; H)
notes: Harden was great for the time he was in, but 5 1/3rd performances was the reason I was worried about picking up Burnett. He seemed to have the same concerns after the game.

Marmol’s implosion was not fun to watch. He wasn’t helped out by the defense – his own, and Theriot’s really dumb throw. And he wasn’t helped out by Lou, who clearly did not want to put Marshall in unless Marmol collapsed on the mound, rather than risking his last healthy pitcher in play. It was great for everyone’s sanity that Marshall shut down the Giants and got the hit to start the rally, and it was great that the next day was the last for a while.

95: Giants 4 – Cubs 2
POTG: 1B Lee (2 H)
notes: the problem here was the Cubs kinda took the Break a day early. Not totally, but a little is all Lincecum needs. Dempster did not have a great game and didn’t get much help. Credit to Guadin for keeping it close enough late that the Cubs had a chance for a big rally, but it wasn’t meant to be on this day.

I’ll add up all the POTG a bit later.

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