Let me get on here today and add something without value (like, what else is new, right? Yeah, bite me)
I cannot tell you how many times in my early life I saw the Cubs cruise into the late innings with leads, only to see the Willie Stargells and Mike Schmidts and Tony Perezes and Dave Parkers and Steve Garveys (fornicate them Garveys, him AND his toothy ex-wife) and Will Clarks and Barroid Bondses and Albert PooHoleses and Bill Halls and Miguel Cabreras of the world come up and smash my dreams with a cold blue-steel hammer.
Plucking defeat from the jaws of Certain Victory, that has always been the hallmark of the Chicago Cubs. Every twenty years or so, you get a 9-run comeback deal like against the Asstrolls in 1989, but 95% of the time, when the going got tough, the Cubs would find a way to poop themselves. Sure, in 1984 they beat people into submission, and up until Game 6 in 2003, struck out fools like they weren't looking.
The big thing for me about 2008 is that it is just playing into the hands of every polly-anna Cubs fan like my dear wife, who watches every game until the final out, because she is under the delusion that a game is never over until it is over. Every other year of my life, after seeing Cole Hamels mow us down for seven, I would have chucked the remote at the front of my teevee, hoping it would hit the OFF button.
I don't know WHY they took out Hamels. But OMG I am glad they did, aren't you?
Of course you are, I'm not telling ANYONE here anything that you aren't already feeling. Am I writing this to show America that I am not a fatalist? Well, Yes. But you have to understand how superstitious I am when it comes to this team. I hate to brag, I've said it before, but I guess by my frequent denials, I am, in fact, bragging by proxy?
Just, damn. I don't want to hear any more from Ronnie Santo about his bad heart. His heart has to be just fine, to make it through what he has seen this year. Good God, Ramirez is just huge. Clutchy McClutcherson rides again!! I must admit I was swearing at Lee for yet again taking a walk when streetcleaning was needed, but walking with a co-worker (and Deadbird fan) Dave, he noted that "Lee doesn't have to take the big rip. He has Ramirez behind him. He knows that..." Man has a point.
The Cubs. So good. Can't write complete sentences. Gah!
It started out as a depressing night at Wrigley. Ryan Dempster was without his best stuff. He started the game by giving up a run and 2 hits in the 1st inning. The Cubs retaliated with a whole lot of nothing, getting a meager 2 hits in the first 4 innings of the game, before briefly tying it up with a Mark DeRosa RBI triple in the 5th. But then, in the 6th, Ryan Dempster appeared to surrender the game by letting the Phillies - who'd been trying to catch up to him all night long - score 3 runs on 3 hits. It was 4-1 Philadelphia and the Cubs looked dead-to-the-neck-up.
Then, in the 8th inning, the Cubs played as they have so often this year. They came from behind. Pinch hitting for Bob Howry - yep, Lou gave up on the game to the point of turning to Howry Doody - Mike Fontenot led off the inning by hitting his 9th homerun of the season, a solo shot. Alfonso Soriano then doubled, Theriot singled to right field, Derrek Lee craftily avoided the double play by drawing a walk, and then - and then! - Aramis Ramirez hit a grand slam to propel the Cubs ahead 6-4.
Kerry Wood closed out the game in the 9th after scaring us by allowing a leadoff single and then forcing the next 3 Philly hitters to harmlessly pop out to various parts of Wrigley Field.
Chicago would finish the game with 10 hits - including 1 from every regular - 2 walks, and sweet Aramis Ramirez goodness. They are now 34 games over .500, with 28 games left to play they are 1 game away from matching last season's NLCS pennant-capturing win total, and best of all, they've gained another half game on the slumbering Brewers.
The Cubs now need to go 16-12 the rest of the way in order to win 100 games this season. How many more games do they need to win before we change our take and pronounce that it's inevitable, rather then merely probable? And a more relevant question for you to discuss and debate: how many more games will these Cubs win before their next loss?
If you're like me, then last night's good times came to a sudden hault when Aramis Ramirez had to leave the game with lower body injury.
Accopanied with my confusion over how Bob Howry still pitches in baseball and how little woman flip themselves around on a 4-inch beam (yeah, I was doing a little channel-hopping), I was quite paranoid that some higher power had struck again by injuring one of our most clutch players.
Yeah, you heard me...I'm talking about you (points to the sky with rage).
Anyway, team doctors have diagnosed A-Ram with a hip contusion (AKA hip pointer) and have listed his status as day-to-day. But this quote really had me questioning them...
"I couldn't breathe down there," Ramirez said. "I thought it was real serious, because I couldn't breathe, but I'm good now."
Now I'm no doctor, but when you can't breathe, that's probably not good.
Since things are never what they seem when it comes to the Cubs with injuries (do I even need to give you an example), I decided to look up what exactly a hip contusion is.
According to my insider sources...
"A hip pointer is an injury is to the iliac crest, the bony prominence that can be felt along the waist line. When someone sustains a hip pointer injury, the bone and overlying muscle can be bruised. In more serious cases of hip pointer, the hit can be so severe that a fracture of the bone results. While the treatment may not change, a fracture will likely cause a delay in healing and more painful symptoms."
So it looks like everything is going to be OK, but just to have all of our bases covered, the other possible injuries that Aramis according to WebMD, errrrrr, the Surgeon General include:
Fractured hip, Hematoma, Tendintis, Abscess, and...way for it...Cellulitis.
This just in from like, an hour ago!
Aramis Ramirez left the game earlier today with a hip contusion, which happened in the 5th.
...erm, that's about all I've got, except that he's listed as Day to Day, which is very similar to my personal philosophy on my drinking habit. Ahem. Go Cubs.
Over the past 28 days - a number conveniently chosen because Baseball Reference lists it on the splits page - has hit, or really has not hit, .149/.233/.324. That's called "slugging Ryan Theriot's batting average," folks. Even Ryan Theriot does better than that.
This has officially freaked out a segment of the Cubs fanbase. People are also freaking out about Derrek Lee again - even though I asked them not to - because he's hitting .143/.143/.190 since the All-Star Break. (Incidently, Lee's overall seasonal line improved since I wrote that post.)
I'm going to, admittedly, go out on a slight limb here. This is a wager that is open to all other Cubs blogers, including the other Riders. (And if any, say, Brewers or Reds bloggers are interested in the bet, that'd be fine, too. Open to Cubs beat writers, too!)
I have Lee projected at .306/.382/.521 for the rest of the season, or a wOBA of .390. Similarly, Ramirez is projected to hit .288/.368/.523, wOBA of .384. (I'm using the Marcels, not the ZiPS, which in this case makes almost no difference at all.)
The bet, as it stands right now, is that over the next 30 days - so between tonight's game and the game against the Nationals on August 23rd - Aramis Ramirez will hit within one standard deviation of his projected wOBA or above. In order for the bet to to stand, Ramirez has to get at least 80 plate appearances. (Ramirez is on pace for 118 PAs over the next 30 games.) If Ramirez doesn't get 80 PAs during that time period, the bet shifts to Lee and his projected wOBA (within one standard deviation). wOBA is to be calculated using the weights published on Tango's website, and stats used to calculate wOBA for the time period will be from baseball-reference.com
The stakes are as follows - and are only in play if another blogger puts up a matching bet: if Ramirez (or, as a fallback, Lee) fails to do so, I will write a sonnet extolling the virtues of Ryan Theriot as a shortstop, baseball player and human being, to be published on Goat Riders of the Apocalypse no later than September 1st.
Please comment or e-mail me no later than the commencement of the Cubs-Marlins game tomorrow night if you want to be involved in this. Remember - there will be no Ryan Theriot sonnet if somebody doesn't match the bet.
Via Gordon Wittenmyer's Twitter account. Aramis Ramirez is back with the team and will be batting cleanup; Reed Johnson was activated off the disabled list, with Eric Patterson being optioned to AAA Iowa to make room. Johnson will start tonight in left field.
Geovany Soto fouls one off. See that white streak? That's the baseball.
How many White Sox does it take to catch a pop fly?
Carlos Quentin - swing and a miss!
Javier Vazquez couldn't get the ball over the plate tonight.
Aramis Ramirez' bat is too hot to handle right now.
Aramis Ramirez rounds third base after his fourth home run of the series.
Bobby Howry came in to mop up after eight great Ryan Dempster innings.