Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Cincinatti Reds - Game 2

Last Game: On Tuesday the Cubs lost to the Cincinatti Reds 6-5 after Mike Fontenot's potential walk-off shot fell 10-feet short. Boxscore.

Next Up: The Cubs will try to take game two of the series against the Reds tonight at 7:05 CT. Here's your starters:

Cincy - Phil Dumatrait (0-1, 7.71 ERA)
Cubs - Ted Lilly (13-5, 3.51 ERA)

In the Division: St. Louis visits Milwaukee tonight, also at 7:05 CT. AFter a 12-4 victory last night, the Cardinals are only 3 games behind the Cubs. The Milwaukee loss kept the Cubs at 1.5 games back.

What's New: Zambrano is 1-3 against the Reds this season and Tuesday night marked the third time he faced Harang this season. Thank God he is lights out against everyone else.

Scouting the News:

Monday, August 13, 2007

Cincinatti Reds - Game 1

This is a great chance for the Cubs to get some positive momentum, with their ace taking the mound and starting a home stand at Wrigley. Today's starters:

Cincy - Aaron Harang (11-3, 3.37 ERA)
Cubs - Carlos Zambrano (14-8, 3.69 ERA)

Zambrano is coming off a tough outing in Houston in which he gave up 7 earned runs in 5.2 innings. This is as big a game as the Cubs have had all year, since Zambrano is the catalyst for this team and something needs to be kick-started before the Brewers have a chance to pull away.

Gametime is 7:05 CDT at Wrigley Field. Gamecast.

Milwaukee starts a 3-game set with St. Louis tonight, also at 7:05 CDT.

The Bad News Bears

In his article about ten great baseball flicks that relate to this year's pennant races, ESPN's Jonah Keri compares the Brewers and Cubs to the 1976 classic "The Bad News Bears." Keri says:
The Brewers and Cubs both apply here, and not for being a lovable group of troublemaking kids. Panic has set in for Milwaukee, which has seen its once-sizable lead in the NL Central dwindle to 1½ games, thanks to erratic pitching and an offense that's struggling to get consistent production from anyone other than Prince Fielder and "The Hebrew Hammer," Ryan Braun.

But despite a miserable 4-7 August, the Brewers have held onto their lead, thanks to an even uglier 4-8 month for the Cubs. Alfonso Soriano's injury weakened an already shaky Cubs outfield. Chicago's pitching staff, one of the best in baseball with a 4.01 ERA, has allowed nearly six runs a game this month. The team that wins this division might finish just a hair over .500. Not that style points matter, though, especially in the NL Central. Just ask the 2006 Cardinals.

I have two things to say about this:

1) Keri is right to compare this situation to the 2006 Cardinals. The Cubs and Brewers both have solid 1-2 starters with an inconsistent back-end of the rotation and situational hitting. If either team has their starters get hot as they enter the playoff stretch, watch out.

2) Where Keri is wrong is that the team that wins this division will finish a hair over .500. The Cubs do not play a team with a winning record after September 6th, and the Brewers have far too much talent to continue on this recent slide.

A Much Needed Day Off

Last Game: On Sunday the Cubs lost to the Colorado Rockies 6-3 after the Rockies broke a 3-3 tie with 3 runs in the bottom of the 6th against pitcher Kerry Wood. Boxscore.

Next Up: The Cubs are off today for the first time in 20 days after posting a 9-11 record in that stretch. If any team needed a break to regroup, its this one. The Cubs start a 3 game series at home against the Cincinatti Reds on Tuesday.

What's New: The Cubs activated INF-OF Daryle Ward from the 15-day DL on Sunday and placed OF Cliff Floyd on the bereavement list. Cliff was at the bedside of his father, Cornelius, Sunday at the time of his passing. Our condolences go out to Cliff and his family, and we hope to see him back soon.

Mark Derosa is batting .313 in 62 games since June 1. After all of the talk about Derosa not living up to his contract early in the season, he has been able to turn things around nicely and contribute to the Cubs playoff run.

Mike Fontenot hit .448 against the Rockies this season. It is too bad the Cubs were not able to capitalize on his stellar play.

The Cubs had nine hits, all singles, in the 6-3 loss on Sunday. I know that this singles-happy shift is refreshing, but the Cubs will have to find some power soon if they hope to make the playoffs. With Soriano on the DL and Aramis hurting, the Cubs are going to have to look somewhere for some power (more on that tomorrow).

Recently, the Cubs claimed Scott Podsednik off of the White Sox waivers. It seems though that Jim Hendry is satisfied with the team that is taking the field at present, and will make no effort to offer sufficient compensation to Ken Williams' crew. Shannon Stewart would be a much better option (and was also claimed by the Cubs from the A's), but it seems that Oakland is asking for too much compensation.

Scouting the News: The Tribune has two articles today that are of interest. First, the report on Cliff Floyd leaving the team for a few days. Second, a recap of yesterday's game that bashes Kerry Wood for imploding in a key situation. I think Paul Sullivan from the Trib jumping on Wood a little prematurely, as it will take some time for pitcher to regain his command of the strike-zone during clutch situations. If we are still talking about this in September, then go after him.

Here is an article from the Sun Times that is a bit more sympathetic to Wood learning his new role with the Cubs.

The Cubs are not upset where they stand in the Central, according to Piniella. Even though the cubs have lost 11 of 20, they made up 1 1/2 games on the Brewers in the process. That may be fine, but they better not be content to tread water this week at home.

My First Post

This is the start of what will become the premier site for all of your Chicago Cubs needs. I am a 23-year-old Cubs fan that loves to just sit back and dream about that elusive World Series championship. I refuse to be a pessimist when following my favorite team or be influenced by their dismal history. I believe this team will eventually win it all (in my lifetime, I hope).

In this blog I will give my opinion on recent games the Cubs have played, their chances to win it all, and whether certain trades, personnel moves, and lineup changes are effective. I will also discuss reports, updates, and editorials from media regarding the Cubs. A reader of this blog will also find useful daily links to articles, scores, and updates to satisfy all of their Cubs needs.