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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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