Game 159: Marlins 6 – Cubs 4


Cubs 83-76, +2 (still)
Marlins 69-90, -18

POTG: RP Kerry Wood (2 IP, H, BB, K, 3 Marooned)
Runner Up: LF Soriano (2 H, 2B, RBI, BB), 3B A Ram (4 H, 2B, R, RBI)

As of the start of day, September 28, the team in the NL with the most secure shot of making the playoffs are the Chicago Cubs (the team that just got swept by the Marlins.) Backing into the playoffs may not be glamorous or exicting, but the Brewers are going to let it happen. With the Padres needing to win games and Milwaukee unable to, the Cubs might not have to win another game the rest of the way – but I think we’d all like that to change, just for sanity’s ake.

Even I have to admit the Trachsel trade is a total failure. It’s hard to say it’s the worst recent Cubs trade when this series featured D-Train and Reynol Pinto shutting the Cubs down and I had hopes of vengeance when Trachsel sat down nine in a row. Trachsel wasn’t good enough, and they would’ve done as good sticking with Marshall or going to Gallagher or Hart. I think it was still a worthwhile gamble but the results were not there.

Scott Eyre’s been good of late so it was sad to see him struggle. Anyone who’s been watching this team knew Dempster was giving up run(s) when he came in a non-save situation so that was no surprise. At least we can take Wood’s really good performance from this game as far as the pitches are concerned. If he allowed any runs in at that point, the game is mostly over. It’s just too bad the Cubs couldn’t do anything with 9 more outs.

Ram had a nice day, and I’ve noticed he seems to be the designated Cub to pick up 6th-10th place votes on MVP ballots this year, but the Cubs need more than doubles to win. This game was the only one where it felt like the Cubs might yet rally back for a huge win, but they just ran out of gas after the sixth inning. (Pinto walking his way thru trouble to get to Jacque paid off big – not sure if it just happened to work that way or they meant to walk Floyd and Monroe for a high risk/high reward shot.)

After this game, I decided to unplug from the rest of the world – did some reading, messed with my new iTouch (which, in fact, is awesome – but I need a case and the rest of the world needs to hack it for me), and pretty much ignored all responsibilities to get away from the MLB scoreboard for a night. It worked out fine – I didn’t have to follow the Brewers pitch by pitch for them to lose another, and there’s plenty of chaos still to unfold on the last few days. It was a good day to take off from the race from a mental health standpoint.

I’d bet on Z tonight. (Actually, I AM betting on Z tonight in my fantasy league.) With Capuano starting for the Brewers, the Cubs have a fine shot of ending the drama tonight.

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Game 158: Marlins 7 – Cubs 4


Cubs 83-75, +2
Marlins 68-90, -19

POTG: CF Jacque Jones (SF, H, 3 RBI)
Runner Up: RF Cliff Flod (2 H, 2 BB, 2B), 2B Mark DeRosa (2B, 3B, 2R, but a crippling bad throw for an error)

I don’t even know where to start with this game. It was kinda a flashback to last year and earlier starter, where a random unknown starter is the worst thing the Cubs can hope to face – but it was even beyond that. The Cubs did light up Barone to a good extent, scoring 4 in under 4 innings. The bigger offensive problem was the inability to do anything with the Marlins bullpen – they ended up throwing 5.1 IP of 2 hit, no walk, no run ball. The Cubs had to find someone in the nix to actually hit.

Marquis did not have a great day, but the game was derailed by DeRosa’s inability to make a good thru on Hanley Ramirez’ second inning at bat. It seemed to me an accurate throw starts a double play and the Cubs are out of the inning with the game still tied. It’s just one bad day, just like Marmol’s bad outing was just one bad outing, and DeRosa tried to make it for it at the plate. That was just the moment which swung it for this game.

I’d like to see the Cubs finish this out strong, but getting in is getting in, and if the Brewers want to choke it away, it’s fine by me. I kinda actually want to see the Brewers take one of their upcoming games, just because the Padres slipping back into a tie with the Rockies would be awesome for many reasons, but I think I’ll be okay if they want to take care of the Cubs winning number by themselves.

Today might be the biggest start of the rest of Steve Trachsel’s career. Also, besides the playoff things, he could make me look less like an idiot for endorsing that trade. It’d be nice time to get the first win against the Marlins.

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Game 157: Marlins 4 – Cubs 2


Cubs 83-74, +2
Marlins 67-90, -20

POTG: CF Keystone Monroe (2R HR)
Runner Up: RP Michael Wuertz (2IP, 0R, 0H, 3K)

This is not a night Andy Fletcher will look back at proudly. I know the Cubs have had some bad umpiring games this season, but this sure seemed like the worst. The strike zone was bumped 1-2 ball widths outside, with pitches clearly missing the strike zone being called strikes. The Cedeno “strikeout swinging” was an all time bad call, and seemingly a sign the umpire was reacting to the questioning of his calls by making even more questionable calls.

It’s good thing A Ram is the type to say something and keep on walking, because being ejected will probably only get him a fine here. It was kinda lucky he was the only one – DeRosa was just as ticked after his strikeout.

Bad calls aside, this was not the best of efforts by the Cubs.

1st inning: 11 pitches
5th Inning: 7 pitches (including a 4 pitch walk by Murton!)
6th Inning: 10 pitches
7th Inning: 10 pitches

D-Train was good but not THAT good. The Cubs didn’t keep the energy level up from the home series and it showed. With the Brewers annihilating the Cardinals, it was a bad time for a let down. Made for a quick game, though.

Possibilities remaining for a draw (or worse)

(Brewers get unnaturally hot)
Brewers go 5-0, Cubs go 3-2

(Cubs collapse in a horrible fashion)
Brewers go 4-1 (or better), Cubs go 2-3
Brewers go 3-2 (or better), Cubs go 1-4
Brewers go 2-3 (or better), Cubs go 0-5

It’s on the Cubs, and I think they’re still plenty good enough to go 3-2. I’m a bit more nervous after losing that game, though. Lose another and you’ll have just about everyone freaking out.

as an aside: totally rooting for the Rockies to make it or at worst, cause some sort of tie at the end of the season. I was so annoyed with the Giants for giving up the game versus the Padres.

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