Goatriders of the Apocalypse

LIVE BLOG TODAY

We've reached the limit in the shoutbox this hour, so please keep commenting under this post.

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.

Pregame:

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

Top 1st:

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.

Bottom 1st:

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

Top 2nd:

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.

Bottom 2nd:

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.

Top 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.

Bottom 3rd:

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.

Top 4th:

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.

Bottom 4th:

Cubs wasting another good pitching performance so far. Demp gives up a hit, but no real damage. Still 1-0 after 4 innings.

Top 5th:

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.

Bottom 5th:

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.

Top 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.

Bottom 6th:

Well, Dempster is doing his job as he works around a 2-out double by Berkman.

Top 7th:

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.

Bottom 7th:

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.

Top 8th:

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.

Bottom 8th:

Carlos Marmol cruises through the 8th, which is actually some good news on this otherwise crappy day so far.

Top 9th:

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.

Bottom 9th:

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.

Top 10th:

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.

Bottom 10th:

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.

Top 11:

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.

Bottom 11:

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.

Top 12:

We really need to improve the offense. Geo, Blanco and Miles do nothing and we're heading to the bottom half.

Bottom 12:

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.

Top 13:

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bottom 13:

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.

Minimum of two home runs from

Minimum of two home runs from Cub hitters today. I'm calling it.

If you're playing from home,

If you're playing from home, take a drink every time Soriano makes an out on a pitch that is extremely low and away out of the zone.

The double to Bourn came on a

The double to Bourn came on a good pitch, might have been called a ball if he took it.

Over under on Ortiz is set at

Over under on Ortiz is set at 3 2/3 innings.

Living in the South

The one problem with living in the South are the summer afternoon thunderstorms that just pop up. Thanks to AJ for taking the 2nd and 3rd innings. Hopefully, I will be able to rejoin in the top of the fourth.

I'll take the over

Of course, I would have said this even if I hadn't just jumped on here at 2:00. I SWEAR!!

Sure you would've.

Sure you would've.

AJ with the rookie mistake

AJ with the rookie mistake ... I've stickied this thread at the top of GROTA until after the game, at which point the Fonz survey will resume its status until we post the Game Recap.

It's the bullpen and also the

It's the bullpen and also the ridiculously inconsistent offense. Apparently this team can't have individual players with slumps; they have to do it in groups. It's ridiculous and Lou has done nothing to improve the team's odds of putting runs on the board.

Yeah, this is starting to

Yeah, this is starting to worry me a little bit. Lou's fine when everything is going well, but he's shown nothing that makes me think he can get to the guys this season.

Shoutbox

Shoutbox over the post limit Sad

Lou is feeling really bold today leaving Marmol and Gregg in for two innings each

He really doesn't have much

He really doesn't have much of a choice, but hopefully it will work out.

I say that, but I guess it

I say that, but I guess it comes down to he doesn't trust anybody else.

Thank god for the DP

Thank god for the DP

Hopefully Ascanio comes in next inning

That would be my guess unless

That would be my guess unless we get the lead.

Yup cause Patton certainly

Yup cause Patton certainly wont come in, Marshall is possible, Heilman maybe, Guzman shouldnt be available, and idk about Waddell

The longer it goes, the worse

The longer it goes, the worse I feel about our chances.

Odd that he subbed for Miles

Odd that he subbed for Miles on defense, instead of saving Scales for a pinch hit and then subbing him

I guess it's a double switch

I guess it's a double switch and Scales is in the pitcher's spot.

Miles!

It's great to have him back. I, for one, am REALLY HAPPY the Cubs chose to keep Bobby Scales instead of fox. Clearly, Miles is the elixir the Cubs have been missing.

I for one

Am tired of Len telling me how many extra inning games we've played on this trip. Yikes.

Wow. Two games in a row where

Wow. Two games in a row where pence draws a hose-job walk and blum hits a single to drive him in. WTF.

Ok, time to go home.

Mea culpa about the sBox. I

Mea culpa about the sBox. I promised an upgrade like three weeks ago.

I need to get from our webmaster the log-in information so I can register it to upgrade. When that happens, no more sBoxy pst limity.

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