Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Game Recaps

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Game Recap: Cubs 6, Astros 3

Cubs 6, Astros 3
It's odd, but I've read multiple recaps about the game and nowhere have I seen a mention of the passed balls capitalized on by the Cubs. 

Regardless, Reed Johnson's big day was emphasized by scoring not once but twice on passed balls.  But probably more impressive was Reed's 3-run triple in the 1st inning and Aramis Ramirez's homerun in the 7th, giving the Cubs all the offense they'd need to beat a putrid Astros team. 

On the mound Rich Harden pitched 7 splendid innings of 1-run ball; unfortunately Lou elected to dip from the well once too often and left Harden in there to be hammered in the 8th.  But then Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg - both of whom will be the subject of an afternoon post if I can remember it - stepped in and closed out the game for a Cubs win.

Overall the Cubs collected 8 hits and 4 walks, and the only two members of the Questionable Quartet to start today - Bradley and Soto - combined to go 1 for 8 with a walk and 2 runs scored.  Not exactly splendid by any means.

Talent In, Garbage Out
Although we Cub fans appear to be brimming with common sense, Hendrinella did not release Neal Cotts yesterday and designate Angel Guzman as the defacto LOOGY, but they did smartly demote the struggling Jeff Samardzija while promoting an Iowan Fox - only not the right one for the job.

Chad Fox - rather than the ball-crushing Jake Fox - has been called up.  Fox apparently enjoys the taste of pain, otherwise he'd be retired by now.  Presently in 11.1 innings of Iowan work he has an ERA of 1.59, but I ask again - why do the Cubs need 7 relievers?

The other Fox presently has a .393 AVG in 89 at bats along with 12 homeruns.  And did we mention that before this season he's played 274 games at catcher, 119 games at first, 4 games at third, and 99 games in the outfield?  Isn't that kind of versatility valuable? 

Cubs play for the mini-sweep today.

Quick Links
Series Preview: Cubs at Astros
Game Cast: May 6th Cubs at Astros

Series & Game Recap: Giants 6, Cubs 2

Giants 6, Cubs 2
You can tell that Lou Piniella likes Tim Lincecum on account of how he apparently tried to give him a good chance of tossing a no-hitter today.  Here was the lineup the Cubs trotted out there against the Giants:

CF Joey "GONNA LOSE HIS GIG" Gathright
SS Aaron Miles
RF Fukudome
1B D.Lee (went 1 for 4, which is a mild improvement on going "0 for suck")
LF Micah Hoffpauir
3B Mike Fontenot
2B BOBBY SCALES (went 1 for 4, collecting his first ever big league hit)
C Koyie Hill

In other words, five of the eight Cubs weren't typical starters and today's game resembled more of a split-squad Spring Training game than anything else.  Naturally, the Cubs lost.

The positives were that a) this isn't a lineup that was indicative of how the Cubs will perform this year on account of how the majority of those players aren't meant to be big league starters and b) Bobby Scales played and performed decently, although I was somewhat befuddled to see Fontenot start at third and Scales at second. 

The negatives were that Jeff Samardzija continues to leave us baffled as to why he was called up to pitch out of the pen as he has yet to display in 2009 the ability to get out major league hitters.  This time the consequence was that Sean Marshall's ERA took an unecessary hit, after the lefty had given 7 innings of decent baseball. 

Oh, and on the day in which I note that Neal Cotts hasn't faced the minimum but once, he did it again.  Go figure.

Current Record: 14-12
Position in the NL Central: 2nd place, 3 games out of first
Best Possible Record: 150-12
Worst Possible Record: 14-148
Record needed to win 110: 96-40
On Pace For: 87-75

Quick Links
Series Preview: Giants vs. Cubs
Game Recap: Cubs 4, Giants 2
Just a brief word prior to the GameCast
GameCast: May 5th, Giants vs. Cubs

Game Recap: Cubs 4, Giants 2

Cubs 4, Giants 2
Zambrano to miss time

Those of you who bet on "Carlos Zambrano" to be the first Cub to go to the DL, collect your money.  But hold off if you thought it would be due to arm issues - nope, our Big Moose hurt himself while trying to beat out a bunt single, that effin' lunatic.

Consequently the Cubs are promoting BOBBY SCALES! to replace him on the active roster which is good on a number of levels - most of them pertaining to Bobby playing the left side of the infield and being the modern day Crash Davis.  The only problem is that the Cubs don't have an immediate replacement for Z. in the rotation and a quick look at the schedule shows that they sort of need one by Friday. 

ESPN has the Cubs scheduled to turn to Randy Wells on Friday, the only problem being that he's not, y'know, technically on the ML roster yet.  So either Scales's trip to Chicago will be a very short one or somebody else - Dave Patton, Joey Gathright - is playing with an expiration date.

(Actually this may be a clever way to get around 25-man roster limitations.  My understanding of the rules is that you can promote/demote players as often as deemed necessary and it only counts once toward a notch against their service time.  The Cubs could travel with Scales and Wells, promoting Wells every 5th day while demoting Scales, only to re-promote Scales immediately after Wells finishes his start.  I'm sure there's something in the rules which prevents ambitious GM's/managers from doing that, though.)

Game Recap
I really think Ryan Dempster has been hard-luck this year, just in a different-than-usual sort of way.  Typically "hard-luck" reflects losing low-scoring games, but what's happened to Dempster is that his WHIP hasn't been horrible, but it seems that any time he gives up a walk or allows a hit it bites him in his ass.  But last night he had his best outing of the year against a Giants offense best known for sucking.

Dempster threw 7 innings, allowing 5 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs while striking out 7.  Cubs ace relievers Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg combined for 2 innings of relief, allowing 1 hit, 1 walk, and striking out 4 between them.

Offensively it was a "passable" day for the Questionable Quartet - 3 of whom played.  Bradley, Lee, and Soto combined to go 2 for 7 with 4 walks, 3 of which came from D.Lee.  But more impressively, Juice Theriot went yard -- again.

I know that we're not supposed to look gift horses in the mouth, but Ryan Theriot?  3 homeruns in under a week?  What the hell?!!  Seriously!  What the hell!

Nevertheless, the Cubs are now 14-11 and have won 4 straight.  Consistency, ladies and gentleman.  Consistency! 

They play for the mini-sweep tonight.

The Zambran-0-Meter
Incidentally, the Zambran-0-Meter is updated and ready to go on my computer back home.  I would have uploaded it last night or this morning, but I have a strict policy of cruelty when it comes to responding to loyal readers who act as if they are entitled.  It's nothing personal.

Quick Links
Series Preview: Giants vs. Cubs
GameCast: May 4th, Giants vs. Cubs

Series Recap: Cubs 3, Marlins 1

A big thanks to Yarbage for kindly covering for me while I was away.  Naturally the Cubs took advantage of my absence by playing some of their best baseball this season.  I'm not going to take a deep look into things because that would be redundant, but I'll give a few quick spins on the games played this weekend.

Game One
Cubs lose
Cubs lose, yadda yadda, season over, etc. etc., more of the same old tailspin rhetoric that feeds so much content into this blog.

Game Two
Cubs ... win?
Ryan Theriot.  I told my best buddy - not a Cubs fan - about the unlikelihood of Theriot's granny and his response was this:

If you look up "due" in the dictionary, they've got a picture of Ryan Theriot hitting that grand slam below the definition.  Probably my favorite part of this game was that the Cubs were down at various points by a lot of runs.  They were down 3-0 when they scored their first run of the game, and were down 5-1 when they went on their rampage, scoring 7 times before the Marlins were able to tack on a garbage run in the 9th.

Impressive events of this game - Theriot's granny, and Lee, Soto, and Fontenot - three of the now-legendary Questionable Quartet - combined for 2 hits each and went 6 for 10.  The team as a whole also drew 5 more walks, and while Rich Harden was chased the Succeptible Seven - also known as the bullpen - allowed only 1 earned run in 5.1 innings of work.  Cudos to Neal Cotts for almost succeeding in facing the minimum.

Game Three
Cubs ... win again?!
Speaking of due, Ryan Theriot apparently decided that he likes the taste of the longball and hadn't had enough.  So, he hit his second homerun in as many days - doubling his total for last year - leading the way to an easy romp in Game Three. Wherever he's vanished to, Pseudo-Goat Rider Colin must be scratching his head over the sheer improbability of Theriot's offensive outburst.  (Consequently, we at GROTA will now refer to Theriot as "Juice" for obvious reasons.)

Every playing member of the Questionable Quartet got hits in this game as well, including Derrek who went yard.  The offense drew 5 additional walks, and Ted Lilly (who also hit a double) went 8 innings, striking out 10, and taking the lead for the title of Most Reliable Pitcher on the staff.  Oh, and Aaron Heilman struck out all 3 batters he faced in the 9th.  He's turning out to be shockingly good.

Game Four
And finally we have the decisive game.  On the plus side, Carlos Zambrano threw 5 innings of decent baseball before - on the down side - exiting with a sore hammy.  The Cubs are apparently going to shut him down, but I haven't read anywhere if he'll be taking a trip to the DL or just having a turn skipped in the rotation.

Regardless, the Cubs collected 6 runs from 9 hits and a Bakeresque 0 walks, including homeruns from two members of the Questionable Quartet - Derrek Lee and Mike Fontenot.  In this series, Fontenot's seen his AVG go from being around .230 to .266, and he now has 5 homeruns on the season.  Not bad for a guy who  some of our readers had given up on after about a week into the season.

The Cubs did what they needed to do - they beat the crap out of a first place team who I happen to hate with a hot, fiery passion.  Again a big thanks to Chris for covering for me while I was away

Maybe the Cubs will build on this play and hammer away at the Giants tonight.  After a week or so of harping about consistency, though, it's nice to see 3 games won by 6 runs or more in which different players contributed every night toward the offensive barrage.  That's what good teams do.  That's what the Cubs will do this year.

Current Record: 13-11
Position in the NL Central: 2nd place, 3.5 games out of first
Best Possible Record: 151-11
Worst Possible Record: 13-149
Record needed to win 110: 97-41
On Pace For: 88-74

Quick Links
Series Preview: Marlins at Cubs
Game Recap: Marlins 8, Cubs 2
Game Recap: Cubs 8, Marlins 6
Game Recap: Cubs 6, Marlins 1
Game Recap: Cubs 6, Marlins 4

P.S. The Carlos Zambran-0-Meter desperately needs to be updated.  It's at the very top of my to do list when I get home from work tonight.  Apologies for those who enjoy seeing the meter rise.

Game Recap: Cubs 6, Marlins 4

I didn't see any of today's game as I watched the Astros beat the Braves in Atlanta. By the way, the Braves might have the worst lineup in the majors right now if you were wondering.

As for the Cubs, Derrek Lee's grandslam in the fifth inning was enough to send the Cubs to a 6-4 victory. Apparently, Carlos Zambrano strained his hamstring beating out an infield single in the fifth inning that caused him to leave the game. I couldn't find anything on Zabrano's injury, so we will just have to wait and see.

During the top of the sixth, I remember looking at the Brave's scoreboard in right and seeing the Marlins with the bases loaded. I wondered what Zambrano was doing, but it makes a little more sense now. Angel Guzman did manage to get out of the jam by only allowing one run.

Carlos Marmol had another adventure in the 8th inning. He gave up a lead-off home run to John Baker, followed by a walk to Hanley Ramirez. He was able to get out of it. Then, Kevin Gregg picked up the save to the Cubs a 3-1 series victory.

Mike Fontenot hit his fifth home run, but Milton Bradley went 0-for-4 to push his average down to .116.

The Cubs picked up a half-game on the Cardinals, who were rained out. It was good to see the Cubs string a few wins together, and hopefully Ryan Dempster can put together a qaulity start against the Giants tomorrow.

Game Recap: Cubs 6, Marlins 1

Ok, who is spiking the kool-aid with HGH? No really, because this is the craziest thing since Ryan Theriot hit two home runs in one game. Anybody remember that one? I didn't, but thanks to Baseball-Reference.com for the information. Actually the entire offense was pretty good today with every regular getting a hit except Kosuke Fukudome, who ended up walking twice.

Theriot's blast in first inning was all that Ted Lilly would need. Lilly threw a brillant 8 innings, while striking 10 on the way to his third win of the year. Lilly's only mistake came in the fifth inning to Cody Ross, or he might have tossed a complete game.
The best thing about Ted's preformance was he didn't walk a hitter. Maybe it will rub off on a few more of the Cub pitchers.

The Cubs got all of their six runs off Marlin stater Anibal Sanchez, including another RBI by Mike Fontenot in the first inning that scored Fukudome to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead.

Taking inspiration from Dan Haren, Lilly came up with a huge 2-out, 2-run double in the third to give the Cubs a 5-run lead, which was more than enough. Derrek Lee added a home run in the fourth for good measure, and possibly a little ray of light that he isn't totally done.

Micah Hoffpauir continued to prove that he belongs on a MLB roster with two more hits and a walk. Of course the walk ended up as a caught stealing after Joey Gathright did his best Ronnie Cedeno impression by oversliding the bag.

More importantly, the Cubs were able to win for the second day in the row, and the Deadbirds finally lost to the Nats. The Cubs find themselves four back with one last game against the Marlins tomorrow. The Cubs have a great chance to take three out of four tomorrow if Carlos Zambrano can pitch well. At least he should be ready to hit after his third straight day pinch hitting.

Enjoy the rest of the night, and go Cubs.

Game Recap: Cubs 8, Marlins 6

I’m not sure if anybody was going to write the recap, so I will jump in and give my views of today’s improbable victory.

I left school with the Cubs down 3-1 and Rich Harden still on the mound. Within the first five minutes of my drive, Harden proceeded to walk the bases loaded, walk in a run and hit a man to give the Marlins a 5-1 lead. Needless to say, there were a few choice words that left my lips, none of which was too supportive of our Cubs.

The Cubs had a chance for a big inning in the fourth inning, when Mike Fontenot singled to cut the lead to 5-2 with one out, but Carlos Zambrano couldn’t come up with a hit. Then, Alfonso Soriano hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

The Cubs finally broke through in the sixth inning when Hayden Penn entered the game. Things started well for Penn as he struck out Geovanny Soto. Penn most of been inhabited by somebody else, because he walked Aaron Miles, followed by a single by Mike Fontenot that moved Miles to third.

All during this inning Pat and Ron are giving one of the most uncomfortable interviews with Denise Richards, who kept her answers so short that Pat must been going crazy trying to fill dead air after she refused to elaborate on any story. Of course she could have been scared as Ron threw a fit after Micah Hoffpauir hit a shallow fly ball to left for the second out in the inning.

The most amazing thing happened after that. No, Denise didn’t rehash stories about taking blow off Charlie Sheen’s chest. Soriano coaxed a two-out walk, which is something he usually doesn’t do. Personally, I was hoping for a three-run blast to tie it, because light hitting Ryan Theriot. Or so I thought. The Scrappy Cajun, who had seven home runs before today, hit his first career grand slam to give the Cubs a 6-5 lead. He has matched his HR total from last season and it gave the Cubs a much-needed spark.

The Cubs seemed destined for another lost, but they were able to scratch another couple runs across the plate in the 8th, thanks to a Soto RBI single and Fontenot sacrifice fly.

Even in victory, things weren’t all good for the Cubs. Carlos Marmol had all kinds of trouble after walking the first two hitters he faced, but he was able to get out of it by striking out the side. In the 9th, Kevin Gregg couldn’t sit the Marlins down, but only gave a run.

On the bright side, Derrek Lee, Reed Johnson, Soto, and Fontenot all had two hits. Bradley was able to single once again. The Cubs need to start producing soon, and this looks like a step in the right direction.

This was a game the Cubs really needed to win, but for six innings it looked like the Cubs were headed to another loss before Theriot’s heroics. Hopefully the Cubs will be able to put together a winning streak with Ted Lilly and Carlos Zambrano pitching the next two days.

Game Recap: Marlins 8, Cubs 2

Cubs lose
Flashbacks of October, 2003. The Cubs hold a tedious lead on the pesky Marlins. Then, things start to go awry. Very awry. One 6-run inning later and it was all over, with Aaron Heilman playing the Mark Prior role.

Now for the good news. Milton Bradley got another hit today while drawing a walk. It's his second homerun as a Cub and, for a guy with 4 hits in his first 34 at bats, Bradley has a surprisingly decent .333 OBP so far as well. Also among the offensive contributors - in fact, the only other guy to score a run - was Mike Fontenot, who hit his 4th homerun of the season and his 3rd in 4 games. His batting average remains a thugly .232, but his OPS is a respectable .787.

More good news: Sean Marshall gave what is easily his best performance of the season. He threw 7 innings, surrendered 6 hits, 1 earned run, walked 2 and struck out 6. His ERA is now 3.32 on the year -- not bad for a guy who's supposed to be the team's 5th starter.

The bad news is the Cubs offense was again held to a mere 3 hits. Apparently of all the Cub players to fail to get a hit - Soriano, Fukudome, Three Finger, Aaron Miles, and Derrek Lee, fans are only worried about D.Lee's 0-fer performance. Apparently when a guy misses several games due to a sore neck, if he returns and fails to get a hit then it's a sign that he's lost the ability to play at the major league level.

So let's break it down for a second and look at this team. At the moment, the regular offense looks like this:

Geo Soto - 5 for his first 46, .109 AVG. Anybody really think Soto is a .109 hitter all year long? Or even a .200 hitter? Is anybody certain he'll finish the year with an AVG below .250, or even .275? Just checking.

Derrek Lee - 14 for his first 74, .189 AVG. Lee is my favorite example of fan idiocy. In 2004 on the first of May Derrek was batting .233, incidentally. But if we can outline his season so far, it looks like this: Began the year 2 for 25 (.008). Went 12 for his next 42 (.286). Hurt his neck, didn't play for 2 games. While still possibly not at 100%, has gone 0 for 7. Nevertheless, with a .189 AVG fans are basically saying that Lee - who has a complete no-trade clause and is earning 13.5 million this year - is going to get traded.

But imagine for a moment that your apparent hopes are right. The Cubs decide to trade Lee. My questions for you are the following: 1. Why would Lee accept a trade anywhere if he's happy playing for the Cubs? 2. Why would the Cubs try to deal Lee when he's batting below .200, meaning that he has absolutely 0 value to anybody else in the league? 3. Speaking of "anybody else in the league," why the hell would they trade for a guy making 13.5 million a year who YOU like to point out is on the dramatic decline? Who is this magical Idiot GM who WANTS a guy making that much money playing that poorly?

Just asking, but back in reality even if Lee is on the decline he is a much better than .189 hitter. I'm not expecting him to wake up and bat .300 this year with 20+ homeruns, but based on his age and his trends it's probably safe to say that he'll give the Cubs better than .280, better than 15 homeruns, and more than 60-70 walks on the year. Those are entirely acceptable numbers ... for a #6 hitter. Lou needs to move him there NOW.

Mike Fontenot - 16 for 69, .232 AVG but with 4 homeruns already. Fans have been lamenting for the versatile Mark DeRosa, although I'm not sure how his versatility makes him that much more desireable when he's batting .236 and has only 1 more homerun than Fontenot this year. Here's the funny thing - the Cubs actually have a ton of players in their system who are exceedingly versatile. It's not an issue that they need a DeRo to fill 5 different roster spots. The issue is that they're not using them. So instead you've got Fontenot poorly filling in for Ramirez when he's hurt and Aaron Miles - the most versatile player on the bench - starting at second base. Dumb move by Piniella. Anyway, I fully believe that Fontenot will continue to put up as-good-or-better numbers than DeRosa over the course of '09. So far they're pretty much on par with each other. But I ask you the same question I asked for Lee and Soto - is Fontenot really a .232 hitter? Or will he begin playing better?

Milton Bradley - 4 for 34, .118 AVG, 2 homeruns. Same question. Is Milton Bradley a .118 hitter? Is he a .200 hitter? Is he a .250 hitter? Unless he lost an arm and isn't telling anybody, his numbers are much better than they appear.

So look at that. 4 Cubs starters who are presently 223 at bats into the '09 season with a meager 39 hits between them. They're batting .175 with 7 homeruns. This is half of the Cubs offense right now. Batting .175. HALF THE CUBS OFFENSE. No fricking KIDDING they're going to be playing like a .500 team when HALF THE OFFENSE is batting .175!!!!

Therefore unless you REALLY believe that these four Cubs are coming by their terrible numbers honestly; in other words, if you believe they can't possibly - or even probably - do better than they're doing right now, then I can understand why you think this is a 4th place team that is not pennant bound. But I also think that if you really believe that their current level of performance is indicative of how they'll play once the offense actually gets consistent, then I quit you. If this team is still playing around .500 once the offense actually starts coming anywhere close to meeting it's potential, then - AND ONLY THEN - that is when they are screwed and buried.

But we all know that they're a better team than their current record. So for gawd's sake relax already!

Quick Links
Series Preview - Marlins at Cubs
GameCast: April 30th Marlins vs. Cubs

Series & Game Recap: Diamondbacks 10, Cubs 0

D-Backs 10, Cubs 0

There's a downside to having a Cubs blog that actively covers the Cubs. That downside is this - if we are writing Series Previews, GameCasts, and Game Recaps to every game - and so far it's usually been me with a sprinkle of Jason and a dash of Yarbage doing all that - then we're essentially committing around 1,000 words daily to the team. If they suck, that means we're writing 3 pages a day about a team that sucks. If I instead chose to dedicate my life to writing 3 pages of fiction every day for the duration of the baseball season, then I would roughly have a Stephen King-sized book written by the time October rolls around.

So maybe I have something invested in the Cubs not being a bad team, which would explain why I stubbornly have been ignoring the signs.

Yesterday's theme was basically: the Cubs need to get consistent! Yesterday's game exemplified that theme - a day after blowing the D-Backs out of the water with an offensive barrage, the Cubs promptly got shut down and gave up 10 runs. But much as the Yankees were recently slammed by the Indians - who scored better than 20 runs against New York - whether the Cubs lost by 1 run yesterday or 10, it still only counts as one loss in the standings.

In my mind, here are the relevant issues with the consistency problems.

1. Poor ability to adapt. Most teams are built to handle a number of scenarios. It's not uncommon in a National League game to see Team A call on a lefty reliever, only for Team B to respond with a righty hitter, only for Team A to respond with a righty pitcher and so-on. But on a team that has a recent history now of carrying an extra pitcher, the team's adaptability is excessively poor - especially if some of your regulars are hurt, or slumping, and the majority of your backup hitters only know how to play outfield. I blame Jim Hendry for his continued obsessive-compulsive desire to load up on one position each winter and Lou Piniella for chosing those players to fill out the 25-man roster at the start of the season.

2. Poor performance. Yesterday's keen example was Ryan Dempster. As a paragon of patience, a warrior of waiting, a courier of caution, an example of etcetera., of all the players on the Cubs Dempster has me the most worried. Generally a player who has a ridiculous career year like his in '08, who then gets a huge contract extension for 4 years ... well, these guys aren't necessarily always going to pay off. Last year Dempster had the tremendous ability to get himself into and out of numerous situations via walks, ground-outs, and so-on. This year his walks have been hurting him and he's been lit up more than a cigarette lighter at a Metallica concert. On the surface 6 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings of work don't appear to be the worst numbers in the world, but 5 earned runs in those 6 innings? Do I need to say how NOT GOOD that is?

Last night, Carlos Marmol also joined the ranks of inconsistent performance. In his first game back from the leg injury he gave up 4 earned runs and managed to get only 1 out. My Caustic Cubdar (kind of like gaydar, but not about my keen ability to identify homosexuals) leads me to think that his leg is affecting his delivery which is affecting his performance which is affecting the suicidal tendencies of high-strung Cub fans. A crazy thought I'd like to implant in the mind of Lou Piniella: Caution Is Not Bad. Exclamation point! Your best reliever sprains his knee? Disabled list! Your injury-prone right fielder has a sore groin? Disabled list! Your third baseman hurts his leg? Disabled list!!!!

(Note: The Cubs are actually thinking about doing that with Rammy, placing him on the DL. I wonder who they'd call up to replace him ... maybe Jake Fox?)

A few days ago one pessemist asked, what happens if all the underperformers never perform in '09? Well, if that happens it would be historic. I'm hardly a probability expert, but mathematically speaking if something is possible it will happen given enough time and space. Since space and time are both essentially infinite, then that means that anything that could happen will happen eventually. But I'm not sold on 2009 being the year where half the Cubs lineup mysteriously gives up the ghost at the same time.

In other words, things will get better. Maybe they'll sort themselves out, or maybe they will require active puzzle-placement by Hendry and Piniella, but a little bit of tinkering to get the "sorting" portion started would not be a bad thing in my opinion.

Tonight the Cubs take on the Fish. Jason says he'll do the Series Preview, but the graphics might be a little late since I've got to go try on tuxedos.

Current Record: 10-10
Position in the NL Central: 5th place, 4 games out of first
Best Possible Record: 152-10
Worst Possible Record: 10-152
Record needed to win 110: 100-42
On Pace For: 81-81

Quick Links
Series Preview: Cubs at Arizona
Game Recap: D-Backs 7, Cubs 2
Game Recap: Cubs 11, D-Backs 3

Game Recap: Cubs 11, Diamondbacks 3

Cubs win
Carlos Zambrano demands an explanation!

The Big Moose also came extremely close to hitting for the cycle - he was just a triple short, and had he gotten an at bat in the 7th inning you just know that he would've stretched his legs to get it. I suppose this is the type of game where you'll often hear "Zambrano didn't have his best stuff but he delivered a solid performance nonetheless." They'll be saying that because through 7 innings of work he only struck out 3. The thing is, I don't believe that really demonstrates how good or mediocre his "stuff" was, because when Carlos struggles - even when he can contain the damage - he gives up lots of walks and, last night he only walked 2.

The offense, on the other hand, was apparently looking to make up for lost time. Every Cub regular got a hit - including Milton Bradley, who in fact did make his return. 6 of the 9 starters also managed to drive in runs. But if you're wondering what was the biggest reason for this breakout, I have one suggested reason: patience at the plate. On top of their 15 team hits, the Cubs drew 6 walks - 3 from Fukudome - and they took advantage of big opportunities. Alfonso Soriano had a rare runners-on situation and he capitalized with a 3-run homer, his second in as many days. Speaking of "second in as many days," Fontenot hit another homerun too. Don't look now but his batting AVG is rising.

Three Finger Hill started in place of GeoINO Soto and delivered a 3 for 5 performance, raising his AVG to .370 on the year. I still think Soto should spend some time on the DL or something, and Hill appears capable of filling in for a while. Oh, and lastly, Angel Guzman pitched 2 innings of shutout relief lowering his season ERA to 4.35. Maybe I was a little abrupt about him needing to be cut and I for one am willing to let him pitch for a while longer to see if he can get steady and consistent.

The Cubs play for the series win tonight. So far their offense has been excessive-hit or complete-miss and they have not been able to consistently produce numbers night after night. Maybe it's high time for a change about that.

Quick Links
Series Preview: Cubs at Arizona
Game Recap: D-Backs 7, Cubs 2
GameCast:Cubs at Arizona April 28th

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