LIVE BLOG TODAY
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Please join in for today's live blog as the Cubs face the Astros in their rubber game of the series. AJ and I will be giving some insight from the game by each half inning.
It looks like Milton Bradley is not in the starting lineup today as the roof is closed. Here is the Cubs lineup:
1. Alfonso Soriano - LF
2. Ryan Theriot - SS
3. Kosuke Fukudome - CF
4. Derrek Lee - 1B
5. Micah Hoffpauir - RF
6. Mike Fontenot - 3B
7. Koyie Hill - C
8. Andres Blanco - 2B
9. Ryan Dempster - P
Well, this is odd. Russ Ortiz is pitching from the stretch to start. I have a feeling he's not going too deep into this game. Let me pose this question to Lou and everybody. Can we please give Soriano a day off? I mean this is getting a little crazy after he grounds to third to start the game. Just an FYI, the Cards are down 5-3, and the Brewers are also playing an afternoon game today. Nothing doing early on. 0-0 after the top half.
Not the greatest of starts for Dempster after a lead off 2B for Michael Bourne. If you've haven't been on the web today, you might not know that the Cardinals are looking at Miguel Tejada, who beats out an infield single to put runners on first and third. Dempster could really use a double play or a strikeout. Big K for the first out, now it's time for a double play to end the inning. It doesn't look like Dempster has great command today. Hopefully, he can improve as the day goes on. A sac-fly by Carlos Lee gives the Astros a lead, but he gets Berkman K's. It could be worse.
Astors 1, Cubs 0
Alright, Fonty gets Lee to third with one out! Can Three-Finger Hill lift one to score Derrek?
Aaaaand he can't. Double play ball. Damn. Astros hold a slim lead, 1-0.
A 1-2-3 from Demp in the bottom half. Nice. Is it just me, or has most of Dempster's trouble come in the 1st inning this year?
I'll be surprised if we score in the 3rd.
Having said that, if Blanco does get on, Demp could definitely move him over. But we all know how Sori's been hitting with men on base.
Hey, Demp's on! But like I said, Sori sucks with men on base. Courtesy of Yahoo!:
Soriano, Bases empty: .267/.316/.509
Soriano, Runner(s) on: .164/.278/.403
And just like that, Soriano hits into a double play. I would say the reason the Cubs haven't taken off so far this month is because Soriano has been single-handedly keeping the offense down. He's been BAD. And I mean, REALLY BAD.
Ortiz singles, setting up the perfect opportunity for a double play ball from Tejada, now that Bourn's out.
In the meantime, I've created a new poll. I think you'll like it.
And we're out of the inning! Let's see what the offense would be like if Theriot led off.
After a personal Rain Delay, I'm back to give some comments the next few innings. The Cubs have had some chances, but they can't seem to put together any big hits. Ok, Ortiz might be the slowest pitcher ever. Even Blum is laughing about about how long Ortiz takes. I haven't really noticed, but Hoffpauir's numbers are really dropping. Coming into the fourth, he's hitless in his last six at bats. Make that seven in a row.
Updates from around the league: Cards come back and beat the Marlins, but the Brewers are down 2-0 to the Rockies.
Cubs wasting another good pitching performance so far. Demp gives up a hit, but no real damage. Still 1-0 after 4 innings.
Answer me this, why is it such a big deal that Frank Thomas is joining the Comcast Sports Net broadcast crew for the Cubs/White Sox series? Maybe White Sox fans care, but I really don't give a hoot. As for the offense, nothing doing as Ortiz goes 1-2-3.
Dempster has to find a way to get the pitcher out. After giving up his second hit to Ortiz, he's able to get out it. Still 1-0, and he is leading off the 6th.
Astros do have a few guys up in the pen, so you have to think that this inning is probably Ortiz's last inning regardless of what happens.
Soriano has a big chance in the 6th after a lead-off walk to Dempster, and somehow gets a hit up the middle. I thought we had his second double play of the game. Thank goodness Tejeda doesn't have range he used to, but it's up to Theriot, who chases a pitch out of the zone for the first out.
Ortiz is finally out, but Tim Byrdak is in to face the left-handed hitting Fukudome. It goes from bad to worse as Fukudome strikes out. Cecil Cooper uses the Managing for Dummies book and brings in the righty to face Lee. This just ugly as Lee grounds out to 2B, and the Cubs still trail 1-0.
Well, Dempster is doing his job as he works around a 2-out double by Berkman.
Michael Bourn just robbed Hoffpauir of at least a triple as he tumbles up the hill and makes catch. Anywhere else in the Majors and this game is tied. A walk to Fontenot is wasted. Anybody still want Hill catching full-time? He looked pretty bad in that last at bat.
Wow, I didn't realize that Cub starters have the best ERA in the league. That is telling stat of how bad the bullpen and hitting has been. Hill does throw out a runner, and Dempster cruises through another inning. It would be nice to go out and get a win for him.
It's Aaron Miles for Dempster. I don't feel like this is much of an upgrade. Right on cue, he grounds out to second. Cubs nothing doing in the 8th, and it's up to Lee, Hoffpauir and Fontenot in the 9th.
Carlos Marmol cruises through the 8th, which is actually some good news on this otherwise crappy day so far.
If there is any silver lining it is that the Astros are turning to LaTroy Hawkins for the 9th. Fukudome saw a lot of pitches, but couldn't get on. DERREK LEE!!!!!!!!!! You have to love Hawkins. Fontenot can't give the Cubs lead, but the game is tied after Lee's blast to Right. In the double switch, the Astros burned Carlos Lee.
Marmol out for a second inning of work. This should be interesting.Good morning, good afternoon, and good night to Jason Michaels. That was just sick to start the inning. After a walk to Berkman, Marmol is able to get the next two guys, and we're heading for some free baseball.
Milton Bradley is the PH for Koyie Hill, which is odd with Geo on the bench. Hey, it works as Bradley dumps a hit into left. Oh brother, a bunting situation.......and it works.....not bad. Now the Cubs need a big hit. Soriano will be walked, which might be a blessing. It is now up to Reed Johnson, but he fails to come through for the Cubs.
Kevin Gregg gets the call to start the 10th. I haven't seen the other changes, but I guess Soto just came into Hill's spot in the lineup. Blanco's bat may be bad, but I do like his glove as he makes the first out of the inning. Just as I brag on Blanco's D, he commits an error, but it doesn't matter as Gregg gets Pence to ground out to end the 10th.
When I decided to do the live game blog, I didn't count on extra innings. Well, I'm going to keep it up throughout, but I would really like for the Cubs to bust out in the 11th. Hoffpauir finally gets a hit, but Fontenot just misses one to left to send the game to the bottom of the 11th.
Trouble brewing in the 11th for the Cubs. I'm really starting to hate Blum after he singles to put two runners on for the Astros. Well, I'm impressed after Gregg gets the 6-4-3 double play to end the 11th.
We really need to improve the offense. Geo, Blanco and Miles do nothing and we're heading to the bottom half.
Sunday's hero, Jose Ascanio, is on the mound to start the 12th. I wonder if the Astros have anybody left on the bench? Because they just let the pitcher hit for himself. Nope, they have two guys left, but Ascanio cruises through the inning.
Anybody else feeling an extra-inning Soriano home run? We've bashed him enough, haven't we?
And with that, he flips it to the right fielder for an out. Come on, BOBBY SCALES!!!
That's a K for Bobby, and a groundout for Kosuke. Nothing doing on offense. Wow, this offense is really bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ascanio's back out. Do people still think we have bullpen problems based on what our young arms have done? Ascanio, Marshall, and Guzman have been impressive, not to mention Randy Wells.
In other news, that fifth pitch to Pence looked like a strike on Gameday.
Aaaaaaaaaaand it's over! We'll talk about this later.