If It Is Not Broken...

Cubs 0 Dodgers 7

Do Not Try To Fix It! The line-up was changed today and none of the young Cubs got to play. Dusty needs to realize this year is now about preparing for next year. Johnny B. sat Cedeno and Murton in favor of Perez and Patterson.

Neifi Perez has been a very solid player this year for the Cubs and without him the Cubs record would be worse than it is. At this time in Neifi's career, he is just a back-up. Perez is not an everyday player anymore, but someone good to have on your bench. Cedeno is a very good prospect with his entire career in front of him. He has shown progress everytime the Cubs have brought him up this year. Not playing Cedeno everyday is not going to allow him to grow.

Corey Patterson's games with the Cubs are down to 29. I do not see him returning next year. Corey needs a change and the Cubs need to provide it. Matt Murton has shown he is a better hitter and team player, at this point, than Corey Patterson. Patterson needs to sit and allow Murton to play and get very valuable experience. Hariston is not a left fielder, the Cubs need to leave Hariston in center and allow Murton to mature as well.

Glendon Rusch was horrible. I did not realize he had become the batting practice pitcher for the Dodgers. 7 runs on 7 hits in 2 innings. Bring back Rich Hill. Rusch needs to go back to the bullpen where he can get spot outs when necessary. He is not a starter and should not be in the future plans of the Cubs. I cannot believe how bad he was...

The offense got one hit today and made Derek Lowe look like Sandy Koufax. When they got down today, all the vets had no reason to try. This is another reason Dusty should play the young guys...they want to prove something. And if they do not, they just answered a big question.

The bullpen did come in and hold the Dodgers. Jermaine Van Buren made his major league debut and in 2 innings only allowed 1 hit and struck out 2. Very good sign.

Thursday - Off Day

The Cubs get an off day before heading on a ten game road trip. There are 3 stops on this trip in 3 different time zones. Friday starts a 3 game set with the Pirates before heading to St. Louis and San Francisco. Hopefully the calendar change will be good for the Cubs. The Cubs were 9-19 in August.

Friday - The Pittsburgh Pirates

Greg Maddux(10-11/4.43) vs. Josh Fogg(6-9/4.90)

The Cubs make their last trip of the season to Pittsburgh. The Pirates have been playing better ball lately and will give the Cubs all they can handle. The Pirates are very young, but are getting better as the season goes on. The Cubs took 3 out of 4 in mid-July and should do it again. Dusty has to play Murton, Cedeno and Co. to have success. The September call-ups should be interesting and will Todd Walker be traded? We will all find out...

If you do not give them experience, how will they get it?

Play 'em...and win one!!


A Glimpse of The Future?

Cubs 6 Dodgers 3

And the youth shall led them...tonight was so much fun to watch. In my eyes this is what the future can look like. The Cubs played a solid game..one they could have easily given up on.

Mark Prior pitched very well, he had a shaky start and the Cubs got down by 2 early. Prior settled down and kept his team in the game. Prior ended up going 6 strong innings, allowing 3 runs on 8 hits, while striking out 7.

Nomar got the scoring started with a solo home run. Nomar has had a lot of health problems over the past several years, but he can still hit. When he went on the DL in April, he was hitting .157. Nomar is now up to .267. I would still like to know if he can play second base.

Ronny Cedeno hit second in the line-up tonight and played very well. Got his first stolen base and went 2 for 3 with a run scored. Cedeno is really playing well, both at the plate and in the field. I hope Dusty lets him play as often as possible. He does not look or act like a rookie. And then there's Matt Murton..

Where can this guys not hit? When Murton was sent to AAA (for the first time), he hit .353 and tonight he went 1 for 3 with a run scored and his Major League average is up to .339. With the recent departures of Matt Lawton and Todd Hollandsworth, Murton should play everyday. He also stole his first big league base tonight and had a sac bunt that led to a run in the 8th. DLee also went 1 for 3. The bullpen of Ohman and Novoa held the lead and Dempster closed it.

Also, by boy Scott McClain had a pinch-hit double tonight, keep an eye on this guy. He wants to play and it shows.

This team looked different tonight. The Cubs looked like they wanted to play...and away we go!

Wednesday - Glendon Rusch(5-7/4.35) vs. Derek Lowe(8-13/4.11)

The rubber game. The Cubs need this game with the long road trip ahead. Derek Lowe has been a disappointment this year for the Dodgers after coming over from the Red Sox. The Cubs have beat him this year, and with the way they played tonight, they should again tomorrow. Rusch has to pitch better than his last 2 starts and give the offense a chance. Dusty needs to keep playing Cedeno and Murton and see what they can do on a daily basis, not just spot starts. Hollandsworth was traded last night, could Walker be going to the Indians tonight? Will Neifi be a Cub tomorrow? Nomar? We will see...but what will the Cubs show us tomorrow?

Build on this... and just win!!


Nightmare on Clark and Addison

Cubs 6 Dodgers 9

Too little to late. The Cubbies got down 6 runs in the second inning and could never bounce back. Jerome Williams pitched as bad tonight as he has pitched all year. Williams is only 24 years old and will have great years for the Cubs...just not tonight. The defense was shaky to start and they just simply could not get the six runs back.

Burnie hit 2 homers tonight and added a double. Nomar had a good night with a home run. And my boy Scott McClain had a big RBI in the 8th inning. The Cubs actually had the tying runs on in the 8th and Perez grounded out to end the inning. Williamson came out of the pen and gave up a big home run in the 9th...and the Dodgers put it out of reach. This has been the repeating story of the 2005 team. Inconsistant pitching, lack of clutch hitting and when the offense starts to battle back, the bullpen gives up extra runs to put the game out of touch.

I did hear several things today that will make next year better.

The Cubs actually announced today that Kerry Wood will have his shoulder surgery on Wednesday, ending his season. I think this is a very positive move and one that should get him into Spring Training on time. Woody apparently talked with Rick Sutcliffe before tonight's game and Sutcliffe asked him when he came back would he be a starter or a reliever and Kerry's response was he 'just wants to come back and be good at something'. Although that does not sound good, I take it as positive. From that statement I take it that Kerry is tired of being hurt and tired of hurting. He wants to come back and be the pitcher he is capable of being and do what it takes for him and the Cubs to win. This is good...no ego. Also, the Cubs training staff will be changing and giving Aramis Ramirez an off-season work out schedule to strengthen his legs to keep the injuries from happening next year. This is the 2nd year in a row Ramirez has had to be shut down for quad problems. And Derrek Lee...

It is a shame that Derrek will not be awarded for the great year he has had. And has anyone noticed he is the only Cub to wear a 'Believe' bracelet? He was interviewed before tonight's game about the Triple Crown and he could only mention that 'the game is about winning..the most important thing is for this club to finish above .500 with a winning record and all of the other stuff will take care of itself'. Where can the Cubs find more like this guy? He is a throwback to the players I grew up watching. Derrek Lee will probably not win this year's MVP, but he is one...and that is more important.

Tuesday - Mark Prior(9-5/3.68) vs. Brad Penny(6-8/3.75)

The Cubs offense will have their hands full with Brad Penny. He is a very good pitcher, just on a bad team. The Cubs will call up Matt Murton tomorrow to replace Kerry Wood on the roster. The Cubs need to play Murton and Cedeno. This is the future. Do not be surprised if some of the veterans like Todd Walker, Todd Hollandsworth, Neifi Perez, Glendon Rusch and even Greg Maddux, yes Greg Maddux get a new address this week. Teams have until August 31st to set their playoff rosters and the contenders will be looking to add veteran players. It has been a couple of years since the Cubs have been through this. The Cubs organization is preparing for next year...I hope Dusty is too.

Play the future...and just win one!


Sunday's Fish Fry

Cubs 14 Marlins 3

There was a wonderful fish fry at 1060 West Addison in Chicago today. The extra activities included a jersey retirement, a home run display and a look into the future.

Sandberg's jersey retirement was very tasteful and showed Sandberg the same respect he showed the game. Sandberg had plenty of his teammates with him, including throwing out the first pitch to Andre Dawson. I found it very interesting that the Cubs were the last team to have numbers on their jerseys and now #23 will never be worn again. Sandberg was in the booth for the big 8 run 7th inning and it was great to here him talk in length about his playing time, the respect he has for his teammates and his repect for the game. His comments were extremely interesting about today's players..Sandberg spoke the truth and will make a VERY GOOD MANAGER someday.

Anytime I get to see Josh Beckett lose a ball game is a VERY good day. He pitched very well, but Zambrano just out pitched him. Beckett got down early thanks to DLee.

Derrek Lee is warming up again. He hit 2 more home runs today, with one going out to rightfield. It would be great to see him get hot again and win the Triple Crown. He has been a very bright spot on an otherwise dim year.

Speaking of brightspots. Here are 2 more:

1) Zambrano came through again. 3 runs on 6 hits through 8 innings. He pitched great. The only thing I did not like about Big Z's outing today was the fact Dusty allowed him to pitch in the 8th. The Cubs were up at that point 12-3 and Zambrano had nothing else to prove. Get the starters out and save their arms. Zambrano ended up throwing 108 pitches. Be careful, he is a big part of the future.

2) Ronny Cedeno...wow is this kid going to be a good one. Not only did he go 2 for 4 today, he scored a run and had 2 RBI's. And had an unbelievable at bat against Beckett in the 6th, fought off pitch after pitch and finally got a hit that drove in a big run. Cedeno showed maturity at the plate that most of the veterans have not shown this year. He also played a solid shortstop...get on the Cedeno bandwagon this year, before everyone else does.

Between Derrek Lee, Carlos Zambrano and Ronny Cedeno's play in today's game makes tomorrow look a lot better.

Also, Scott McClain made his Chicago Cubs debut today in the 9th and recorded 3 put outs. Welcome to the Show!!

Monday - The Los Angeles Dodgers

Jerome Williams(4-6/4.74) vs. D.J. Houlton(4-7/4.86)

The Cubs can sweep this series and could really use 3 wins before going on a 10 game road trip. The Dodgers are not playing well and are having a soap opera of their own. Apparently Milton Bradley, a very talented player, has accused Jeff Kent of not being able to get along with his 'black teammates'. Kent has always had trouble being a good teammate and this just adds to his reputation. The Cubs need to take advantage of this and beat the Dodgers. Williams had his best outing as a Cub his last time out and needs to build on his last start. Get on these guys early, Gagne is out and their bullpen is horrible.

Just win again...wouldn't it be nice?


Chicago's Other #23

This past July 31, Ryne Sandberg was inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame. And on Sunday, August 28, 2005 the Cubs are retiring Ryno's #23. This is a great day for Sandberg and a great day for the Cubs.

Ryne Sandberg is one the reasons I am a Cubs fan. I always enjoyed coming home from school and turning on WGN and watching Ryno and listening to Harry Caray. Sandberg was 'a throw in player' on a trade from the Phillies before the 1982 season. The Cubs sent shortstop Ivan DeJesus to the Phillies for shortstop Larry Bowa and a little know third baseman, Ryne Sandberg. Sandberg moved to second base and became the best at his position in his era. In my eyes he as an 'everyday Joe' that looked like he was having as much fun playing the game as I was having watching him. Ryno made every play in the field like it was second nature to him. His glove was just a big hand to gobble up every grounder and liner hit at him.

Sandberg was a part of the 1984 and 1989 National League East Champion teams and was a leader every step of the way, including winning the 1984 National League MVP honor. Ryno led by example, he was not blessed with the given talent that most of today's athlete wastes, he made himself a Hall of Famer. Bowa always wondered why Sandberg took extra infield practice and now he knows, to make himself the best ballplayer he could be.

I was fortunate enough to see Sandberg play on several occasions and was living in Chicago the first time he retired in 1994. I remember being very sad that one of my heroes had retired and that I would never see his grace and joy on the field again. Well he returned several years later and like all of us a little older and a little slower. Sandberg retired for good in 1997 and in 2005 took his place in Baseball's Hall of Fame.

I miss the days of the 'Daily Double'. I miss the days of Sandberg to Dunston to Grace. Although those teams won as many games as they lost, it seemed different. It was a different time. Then you hoped the Cubs would win and today you expect it. Wrigley Field was a place of magic and Sandberg was the magician. I have and will always be a fan of Michael Jordan, but the only 23 in Chicago is Ryne Sandberg.

Thank You Ryno!!!

HBM - Hit By Maddux

Cubs 1 Marlins 2

Maddux pitched his 2nd complete game of the season today..but he lost. Maddux held the Marlins to 2 runs on 5 hits, but the other 2 hits cost him and the Cubs the game. Maddux plunked Juan Pierre to start the game and he came around to score. In the 6th he did the same with the bases loaded. Maddux hit Dontrelle Willis to give the Marlins the lead and Willis and company shut the door down on the Cubs.

With today's loss, Greg Maddux's streak of 17 years straight with at least 15 wins is in jeopardy. With only 33 games left and maybe 5 more starts for Maddux, he will have to win the remainder of his starts to keep this unbelievable streak going. I think today was a great showcase of pitchers, however Willis is on his way up and Maddux is near retirement. Maddux has said if he feels he can remain effective, he will pitch again next year. Maddux and the Cubs have an option on his contract that he signed prior to the 2004 season. The option states if Maddux pitches 400 inning in 2004 and 2005, then he can exercise the option for the 2006 season. According to my math, he is 9 2/3 innings short of that option kicking in. Maddux and the Cubs will have to make a decision on his future with the club very shortly. If he decides to stay, the Cubs could use his knowledge to help all of the young pitchers that will be on the staff next season. If he goes it will be an end to another era in Chicago...one without a pennant.

While I was listening to the game today, Dave Campbell mentioned that the Cubs pitching staff's ERA is 1 run per game less when Henry Blanco is catching then when Michael Barrett is catching. This is very interesting and a topic I have brought up before. What is more important to the Cubs, a catcher that is hitting .289 with 13 home runs and 58 RBI's or a one run per game difference on their staff ERA? This is another area the Cubs will have to address in the offseason. How many more 1 run games do the Cubs have to lose?

Sunday - Carlos Zambrano(10-5-3.03) vs. Josh Beckett(12-7/3.45)

Great, my favorite pitcher in the whole wide world...Josh Beckett. I really wish he would go pitch for an American League team, as long as it is not the White Sox, so the Cubs will not have to face him again. I saw enough of this (blank) in 2003 to last a lifetime. I hope the Cubs can at least win 1 out of 3 against the 'Stinkin Fish' and beat Jost Beckett.

The Cubs played well today, just not well enough to win. Zambrano can beat these guys. Big Z has to have his head on straight and throw strikes. The Cubs hitters have to be patient against Beckett and let him beat himself. Get on him early and often. The pressure is off guys, relax and remember why you started playing this game to begin with...

Have fun...and win one!

My Crystal Ball

The Cubs today purchased the contract of Scott McClain from AAA Iowa. I want to point out that on my post from Wednesday, August 24th titled 'Somebody Get Me A Doctor!', I brought up the Cubs should bring up Scott McClain from Iowa. Apparently someone is reading...I wonder who?

In order for McClain to be brought up the Cubs traded OF Matt Lawton to The New York Yankees for RHP Justin Berg.

What will I see next?

Transactions and Thoughts

Before the Noon game today vs. The Marlins the Cubs traded OF Matt Lawton to The New York Yankees for RHP Justin Berg.

According to cubs.com, Justin Berg is 21 and in his second professional season, as he was selected by the Yankees in the 43rd round of the 2003 draft. In 30 career games (10 starts), the right-hander has gone 9-4 with a 4.33 ERA. This season, Berg is 6-2 with a 3.53 ERA in 15 games (nine starts). He has held opponents to a .226 average and allowed just 3 home runs in 58.2 innings of work.

Matt Lawton was acquired at the trade deadline from The Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for OF Jody Gerut. Gerut was acquired in a trade with The Cleveland Indians for OF Jason Dubois in mid-July. So basically the Cubs have traded Jason Dubois for a minor league pitcher. Dubois is a fine young hitter, but a work in progress. His bat is better suited for the American League, but I did not like it when they traded him then and now I really do not like it. Dubois will be a very good major league player for the Indians for years to come. The Cubs tried the Hollandsworth / Dubois platoon in left field to replace Moises Alou and it did not work and they traded Dubois.

Also today, the Cubs purchased the contract of IF Scott McClain from AAA Iowa to fill the roster spot vacated by the trade of Matt Lawton. According to cubs.com, Scott McClain, 33, joins the Cubs after spending the entire season at AAA Iowa where he hit .291 with 27 doubles, 30 homers and 93 RBI in 121 games. He had 30 multi-hit games and 24 multi-RBI games - and drove in a season-high 5 runs on June 20 at Nashville. McClain was a non-roster invitee to big league camp in 2004 and batted .348 with 6 homers and 16 RBI in 24 spring training games. He re-signed with the Cubs on February 8, 2005, as a minor league free agent. In 1,364 career minor league games, McClain has batted .268 with 265 doubles, 203 homers and 794 RBI.
McClain will wear uniform #9.

McClain will add depth to the Cubs bench and give us a look at the future.

As the season comes to an end, I think we will start to see more and more moves to prepare for the 2006 season. I know this has been a very difficult season, but this could help the Cubs for years to come. Remember this is just year 3 in the Dusty Baker reign, year 4 could be very special.

Just Believe!!


The Dusty Baker Experiment

Cubs 5 Marlins 7

6 innings late and no cigar. The Cubbies dug themselves a hole they could not get out of. Again the Cubs got no clutch hitting, 10 LOB. Poor starting pitching, Glendon Rusch had another bad start 5 runs, 4 earned on 8 hits over 4 2/3 innings. Despite all of this, in my eyes there were some bright spots.

With all the things that seemed to go wrong, the bullpen pitched very well. Scott Williamson, Will Ohman and Roberto Novoa held the Marlins hittless the last 3 innings of the ballgame. It was a gut check for these guys and they came through. They held the Marlins in check and the offense almost came back. They scored 5 runs in the 6th inning topped off by a Jerry Harriston double to empty the bases. The Cubs had a chance in the 8th with 2 on, but Lee could not do it again. The Cubs could have easily given up, but they continued to battle until the end.

Another bright spot today was that Dusty stepped out of 'his box'. He played Ronny Cedeno(Ramirez was put on the 15 day DL and they recalled Cedeno from AAA Iowa), mixed up the line-up and played Nomar at third. Nomar has never played third as a professional and the last time he did was in high school. Nomar went to Dusty and asked to play there and Dusty listened. Nomar did make an throwing error today, but I still stay Nomar at third is better that Jose Macias at third. I know this does not seem like major moves, but to me it was. Dusty could have stuck Macias at third, and Nomar at short, and been done with it..he did not. He played Cedeno, he tried Nomar and he hit Barrett 4th. This shows me with all of the changes coming for this team, he has the ability to change with his team. Dusty is known as a 'player's manager', which in my eyes means he plays veterans and stands by them. With the fact that philosophy has not worked, this may teach him change is good...roll with it.

Saturday - Greg Maddux(10-10/4.56) vs. Dontrelle Willis(17-8/2.67)

Look out for the D-Train. Willis is having a Cy Young type season and everytime I hear his name...I just want to cry. Willis was in the Cubs farm system and was traded for Matt Clement, who is now in Boston, and Antonio Alfonseca, who is now pitching for Florida. This trade did not work out too well for the Cubs and Willis seems to rub it in everytime he pitches against them. Although the last time out against the Cubs on July 8, the Cubs got 8 runs on 9 hits and knocked him out in the 4th inning, one of his shortest outings of the season. Willis is a young, exciting pitcher and can dominate a game. He can be beat, but the Cubs will have their hands full. Maddux has to be sharp and needs a win to have a shot at continuing his streak. Be patient, take pitches, stay out of the box...and just win one.


Useless Information?

Here are some more thoughts and tidbits:

Monday night's Cubs/Braves game was televised locally on TBS Superstation. Earlier in the season I attempted to watch a Braves game on TBS and could not because Chip Caray was calling the game, well Monday I did not have a choice. The phrase 'Don't know What You Got 'Til It's Gone' kept ringing through my head. See this is only the second season of me being a Cubs' fan that I have not listened to and or watched a member of the Caray family call a Cubs' game. (In the off-season I will talk more about the Carays and the current WGN play-by-play guys) Monday night I realized how good Chip is, how much I missed listening to him and how much that family means to Cubs' fans. The entire Caray family can make watching or listening to a ball game, feel like the first one you have ever seen. Here's to you Harry and Chip...

I also noticed on Monday they changed the sign at Wrigley to 'AC026097'.(I will explain this in the offseason). Sad...but true!

No further information is available on Aramis Ramirez. The Cubs said he would be looked at again on Friday before making a decision.

Cubs.com reported possibilities today on the September call-ups. Ronny Cedeno, Matt Murton and Rich Hill are easy choices. What about Felix Pie? Pie has been hurt most of the year and I think a September call-up could be as dangerous as helpful. Leave him in the minors and invite him to Mesa, start fresh in 2006.

Todd Walker and Todd Hollandsworth cleared waivers today. I think this is the beginning of the end for those 2 in a Cubs uniform.

I also found this info very interesting. Although I like Nomar, this is what cubs.com had to say about his future with the Cubs. 'Nomar Garciaparra, 32, does have good years left, just don't know if they will be with the Cubs. That's another hot topic for the Cubs brass to discuss. They are high on Cedeno, who batted .355 with eight homers and 36 RBIs in 65 games with Triple-A Iowa and had an on-base percentage of .403.'

My question is, can Nomar play second base? With them putting Walker on waivers, that is telling me he's gone at the end of the season. Would Nomar be able to remain healthy at a less physical position? Would we see the 'old' Nomar? The one that can hit the cover off the ball. His defense has gotten worse over the years, could this help. Remember Ernie Banks was a shortstop and when he got older moved to first base. Johnny Bench did the same. I am not comparing Nomar to these guys, I am just comparing the situation. An infield of Derrek Lee, Nomar Garciaparra, Ronny Cedeno and Aramis Ramirez..that might be something special.

Time to go Fishin'...just win one!!


Somebody Get Me A Doctor!

Cubs 1 Braves 3

And the hits just keep on coming. The game ended as it started, on a bad note. The Cubs' All-Star Third Baseman, Aramis Ramirez, went down in the first inning of today's game trying to beat out a double play ball. He hit the first base bag and immediately went face down and had to be helped off the field by Cubs' Trainer Mark O'Neal and Manager Dusty Baker. The extent of the injury is yet to be determined, but is listed as a moderate to severe strain of his left quadricep. So now half of the 'Daily Double' is out for an extended time.

According to cubs.com, "It's another hit," Cubs second baseman Todd Walker said of losing Ramirez. "I guess at this point you could say it's almost expected that somebody you depend on is going to go down. I've never heard of this, much less seen that many people you depend on go down."

So far this season, Nomar Garciaparra, Todd Walker, Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Scott Williamson and Jerry Hairston, Jr. are among the current Cubs that have spent time on the DL. Is this a continuation of 2004? Or is this depending too much on a group of guys with a questionable track record? Lee said 'you can't make excuses for losing on injuries' and he is correct. A baseball season is a marathon and not a sprint, guys are going to get hurt. It is up to the coaches and management to fill the holes with quality players that want to win. See The Atlanta Braves.

Mark Prior pitched well today, he just got tired. His throwing error in the 7th, put runners on first and third with no outs. Prior then struck out the next 2 batters he faced. With 2 strikes, Furcal hit a rocket off of Lee's glove, into right field, 2 runs scored. 'Superman' cannot do it all. The offense just could not get that one hit today when they needed it. Macias left 3 on base, hitting in ARam's spot, could Ramirez have done better? What bothered me about Prior today was that Dusty allowed him to throw 131 pitches over 6 2/3 innings. 131 PITCHES! Why? I know they want to win, but 131 PITCHES! If the Cubs are not careful, Prior will join Woody with arm problems. Find a bullpen in the off-season you can trust and quit abusing Prior and Zambrano. Prior is one of the best in the league, treat him this way and he and Zambrano will anchor this rotation for many, many years.

Thursday - A Day of Rest

The Cubs get a much needed day-off on Thursday. With the question marks around Nomar and ARam's health, this will give them an extra day to find a solution. Nomar is saying his back is not getting better, put him on the DL again and call up Ronny Cedeno. Give Cedeno some playing time. Dusty said this week, 'Cedeno is our shortstop of the future'. Well the future is now. How about bringing up Scott McClain from Iowa? I saw him play here in Nashville and he looked good. I think he hit a homerun that night. I remember thinking with Ramirez at third and DLee at first, they better teach this kid another postion. Good stong bat and arm. What would it hurt? Macias is not the answer. See what this kid is made of.

Friday - The Florida Marlins

Glendon Rusch(5-6/4.21) vs. Jason Vargas(4-1/2.43)

I know everyone is picking the Phillies or the Astros to win the Wild Card, but I think the Marlins will. They have great young pitching with Willis, Beckett, Burnett and Vargas and just enough offense to be a force in the playoffs. They have not had any consistancy this year. The Cubs swept the Fish in Florida right before the All-Star break, and depending on which variation of the 2005 Cubs shows up, could do it again. The weakness of the Marlins, like most teams, is the bullpen.

Be patient...stay healthy...and win one!


Slammin' Burnie?

Cubs 10 Braves 1

10 runs on 15 hits, and only 1 home run. This is the line that I have been wanting to see all year. It was the Jerome/Jeromy show tonight. Jerome Williams pitched his best game as a Chicago Cub. He threw 7 2/3 innings, giving up 1 run (a bomb by Andruw Jones), on 3 hits and striking out 5. Williams also added a 2 for 4 night at the plate with a double and a run scored. Tonight they showed up and played as a team. They played small ball and did not depend on the long ball to score.

Burnie has officially broken out of his slump. He went 2 for 4, with a walk, 5 RBI's and the 'Slam'. I was not happy when they signed Burnie in February, but I will have to say he has played better than I ever imagined. Burnie has done much better than the former right-fielder for the Cubs. Sosa is not having a good year. He is hitting .223 with 14 home runs and 45 RBI's and Burnie is up to .264 with 19 home runs and 65 RBI's. I wish Sammy the best, but I think Hendry made the right decision with this one.

It was so fun to listen to Ron Santo tonight. I will talk about Santo in the off-season. But he is so awesome. He says and feels what all Cubs fans go through with every pitch. Santo sounded like a kid in a candy shop tonight. I'm 'Clicking My Heals' for you Ron.

Build on this one. Don't let up...you just never know. Is this the brilliance? Or is this .500?

Wednesday - Mark Prior(9-4/3.66) vs. Mike Hampton(5-3/3.50)

O.K. guys, you beat John Thompson pretty badly. Prior is pitching, how do you respond? I read somewhere today, the Cubs are still alive. Yes, technically they are, now they have to believe it and show it. Hampton is a very good pitcher, if you allow him to get comfortable, he WILL beat you. The Cubs need to get on him early and get to the bullpen. Farnsworth and company are the weakness of this team. Expose it!!

Keep hitting..show pride and...just win!!


And My Other Brother Larry

Cubs 2 Braves 4

Larry "Chipper" Jones pretty much put an end to the Cubs hopes of the post-season tonight. Carlos Zambrano and Kerry Wood only made 2 mistakes tonight, both to Chipper. Jones went 2 for 4, with a pair of 2 run homers. Zambrano served up the first one in the 4th inning, after allowing a lead-off double by Furcal and Woody served up the second one in the 9th.

Zambrano showed why he has become the ace of the staff. He gave up 2 runs on 3 hits, through 8 and striking out 10. Z was just out pitched. Hudson threw a complete game and Derrek Lee's 37th of the year was the only mistake he had. The Cubs had a chance with the bases loaded in the 4th, with no outs, to do some damage. ARam grounded into a double play, to score the first run and Burnie grounded out to end the inning. This Cubs team has not learned how to play 'small ball' and until they do, these are the results that will continue to happen. Woody just made a bad pitch, to a good hitter, a mistake. But when you are fighting to get to .500, a small mistake becomes a big one.

The Cubs front office and Dusty Baker will have to start looking at next year very soon. I know they think they still have a shot, but from where I am sitting..not really. This team has shown spots of brillance this year, like taking 5 out of 7 from the Cardinals and Astros, but then at other times they have looked like a Babe Ruth team just playing out the season. Dusty Baker and Jim Hendry have to change their philosophy of what they want this team to be. The Braves are on the verge of their 14th straight division title and they are winning with young, homegrown talent.

The Cubs farm system is full of this talent and I have mentioned names over the past several weeks. The days of trading for a veteran, in my eyes are over. Veterans are acquired usually by trade or free agency. With a trade you are giving up your future, see Mr. Willis who is now pitching for Florida, for players that usually do not stick around, i.e. rent-a-player. Or by free-agency. With free-agency you must ask yourself, why does their present club not want them anymore? Usually it is too much money for what the player has left in their tank. See the 2005 New York Yankees. Evaluate and motivate what you have, not what you wish you had.

Tuesday - Jerome Williams(3-6/5.13) vs. John Thompson(3-3/4.53)

It is a new day and yes, next year starts tomorrow. The Cubs need to show some pride and scratch and claw to get back to .500. The September call-ups are just around the corner and I hope Dusty will play these kids that are their future. Dusty said today they are still in the race, but that they first must get back to .500. They are now 5 games under and just 2 infront of the Reds. Bring on the Youth.

The Fat Lady is singing...show some pride and win one!


The Rockies Horror Picture Show

Cubs 7 Rockies 9

Today's word boys and girls is 'Fundamental', as in 'Fundamental Baseball'. According to Merriam-Webster.com, the definition of fundamental is 'of central importance, belonging to one's innate or ingrained characteristics and one of the minimum constituents without which a thing or a system would not be what it is'. The Cubs need to learn what this means.

7 runs on 14 hits, 10 LOB and a popped-up bunt. Several times today the Cubs had runners in scoring position with 1 out or less and failed to score. And what has become a mainstay for the 2005 season, allowing the other team to score runs with 2 outs. In the bottom of the 5th, after the Cubs offense had made it 5-3 in the top of the inning, Maddux could not retire the side. He gave up a 2 run homer and a solo blast back to back(Holliday and Atkins) to make it 6-5 Rockies. Then in the 8th with 2 outs, Scott Williamson puts 2 on and then gives up a 3 run homer to Jorge Piedra, a pinch-hitter, a PINCH-HITTER. Unbelievable.

Nomar had a good day, 2 doubles. He should be hitting in the 2 spot. Harriston did well in the lead-off spot, 2 for 5. DLee(36) and ARam(31) both went deep in the 9th, this generation's 'Daily Double'. Burnie had a good series, hit his first homer(18) in almost a month today. It was just not enough.

Extra outs, extra outs and more extra outs. This is the main reason the Cubs are now 4 games under .500 and 6 1/2 back of the Wild Card. And how many times can Corey Patterson NOT do his job at the plate. The past 2 games, he has been up with the winning runs on base and has not even gotten the ball out of the infield. The Rockies even walked Barrett to get to Patterson in the 8th. Why does he refuse to shorten his swing? With 2 strikes a batter must shorten his stroke and make contact with the ball, putting his team above himself. NOT COREY. Corey is swinging for the fences everytime. Maddux gives up a home run on a bad pitch and gets visibly upset, Derrek Lee fails to get the runner home from 3rd and gets visibly upset, Patterson strikes out and shows no emotion. Can Mr. Hendry get a group rate at the psych ward?

Monday - Carlos Zambrano(10-5/3.07) vs. Tim Hudson(9-5/3.45)

The Braves have shown the entire league how to win with young talent. At one point this year the Atlanta Braves looked like the Richmond Braves and they still won. Hopefully Baker and Hendry will have their notebooks with them for this series to take notes on how to motivate young players and utilize their talents. Like I've said before a manager can only put players in the right situation to be successful, but at the end of the day it is up to the players to be successful. Bobby Cox knows how to make them successful. The Cubs must play almost perfect ball against the Braves to sweep this series. The Braves starting pitching is their strength. For the Cubs to win, they must get to the bullpen. Allowing the Braves' starters to get to the 7th or 8th is a recipe for a loss. The Cubs have 38 games left, 21 at home and 17 on the road.

That fat lady is going through her scales...just win!!!


Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen

Cubs 2 Rockies 4

It was Aaron Cook's night. The Rockie right hander held the Cubs to 1 run on 7 hits through 7 innings. The sinker-baller was on, getting ground out after ground out. Rusch did a pretty good job tonight, but the defense...oh the defense. Walker's 4th error of the year in the 1st allowed the 2nd run of the inning and the Rockies never looked back.

The Cubs did not play bad tonight. A game like this in May or June is fine, not a big deal, but in August when you are fighting to get to .500, it cannot happen. They had a chance in the 8th, but left the bases loaded down 3-2. DLee doubled for the second time in the game and Ramirez singled him home, Burnie singled and Barrett walked. With one out and the bases loaded Perez popped up to the short-stop and Mr. Patterson hit the first pitch to second. Ground out...inning over.

I have always liked Corey Patterson, until recently. It appears that he has all of the talent in the world to make himself one of the best players in the game. But for some reason, he thinks he can do things he clearly cannot. He has trouble focusing during ballgames. Patterson has more mental breakdowns that an institution. Corey has world class speed, but he chooses to swing for the fences everytime he gets to the plate. Of Patterson's 12 home runs this year, 11 are solo. That is not a team player. Sacrifice yourself for the good of the team and good things will happen for you. When Derrek Lee was asked earlier in the year about how important winning the Triple Crown would be to him, he response was 'I would rather win in October'. That is a team player. I would imagine we are all watching the last of Corey Patterson's career in Chicago. Don't let the door hit you...

Sunday - Greg Maddux(10-9/4.40) vs. Jeff Francis(11-9/5.87)

This one is HUGE. A win tomorrow puts the Cubs back to 2 games under .500 going home to face the Braves. The Wild Card is still there, but barely. With the loss tonight, they are 5 1/2 behind Philadelphia. Maddux's last 2 outings were the best he has pitched all year. He has to do it again. Francis is a good young pitcher, but the Cubs got to him big in Chicago on May 29th. They got 5 runs on 9 hits in 5 innings. They need that again. Dusty needs to be very aggressive tomorrow with his game plan. Francis is a rookie, run on him, make them make plays, do not wait for the breaks, make them. Change the line-up. Hit Nomar in the 2nd spot, or even Barrett. Move Todd Walker out of the 2 hole. Put him in a position to drive in runs and give Ramirez or Burnie some protection. Just a thought....

That famous lady is starting her warm ups....just win!!!


Welcome Back!

Cubs 5 Rockies 3

It was homecoming in Colorado today. 4 of the 9 starters for the Cubs are ex-Rockies. And all of them came back to bite their former team. Henry Blanco(1999), Todd Walker(2000), Neifi Perez(1996-2001) and Jeromy Burnitz(2004) led the Cubs to victory today. Burnitz used the thin air of Denver to his advantage. He broke out of his slump, going 3 for 5 with 2 RBI's and a run scored. Walker went 2 for 3 with a homer and a run scored. Neifi went 1 for 3 while filling in for Nomar, who sat out today's game. And Henry Blanco went 0 for 3, but he had a big RBI and called a great game.

Speaking of pitching, Prior had a quality start today. He threw 6 strong innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out 10. He seemed to be a little off with his command today. Prior threw way to many pitches for 6 innings. Dusty has to be careful with him. In his last 2 starts he has thrown 122 pitches against St. Louis and 118 today. I know Dusty does not trust his bullpen and they need the wins, but he cannot run down his starters. Remember 2003. Woody pitched great again, he did walk one, but in between he struck out 2. The campaign poster will read: KERRY WOOD FOR CLOSER IN 2006. Dempster had his first 1,2,3 inning in a long time to get his 19th save. With the thin air in Colorado to only give up 3 runs, consider it a success and move on.

Also, Jerry Harriston, Jr. was activated today and to make room for him Matt Murton was sent to AAA Iowa. I knew this was going to happen and there was nothing that could be done. Murton will be back in Chicago with the September call-ups, but he should not have been sent down at all. Harriston has not been consistant and is very close to just being an answer to a trivia question. Murton, Ronny Cedeno, Felix Pie and Rich Hall ARE THE FUTURE of this team..and from where I am sitting the future is looking good.

Saturday - Glendon Rusch(5-5/4.28) vs. Aaron Cook(1-1/5.16)

The Cubbies took the first one today, now its time for number 2. Rusch has to be better than his last start in Houston. Prior's outing today gave the bullpen additonal rest, which could prove to be very valuable. With the importance of every game, Rusch should have a short leash. The offense did fine today, but in Colorado 5 runs is usually not enough. Hopefully Nomar will be back tomorrow (Message to Dusty, 'Hit Nomar in the 2 hole') and will still have the hot bat(.350 since coming off of the DL).

Be patient, no extra outs...and just win!!



(Note: added 10/29/05 for updated Cubs info visit Chicago Cubs Online)

The Day of Rest....

This is a quick preview of what I will be doing in the offseason, days of etc. I will post little tidbits, reviews, roster moves...just things that will make you think. This is one of the many tidbits I will share. On a personal note, my grandmother lived and died since the last time the Cubs won the World Series.

Just in case we need to remember how hard it can be to be a Cubs fan, here are 20 major events that have occurred since the Chicago Cubs last laid claim to a World Series championship:

1. Radio was invented... Cubs fans got to hear their team lose, now there is XM that adds to the frustration.

2. TV was invented... Cubs fans got to see their team lose.

3. Baseball added 14 teams... Cubs fans get to see and hear their team lose to more clubs.

4. George Burns celebrated his 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th, 70th, 80th, 90th and 100th birthdays.

5. Haley's comet passed Earth... TWICE.

6. Harry Caray was born... and died. Incredible, but true.

7. The NBA, NHL and NFL were formed, and Chicago teams won championships in each league.

8. Man landed on the moon.

9. Sixteen U.S. presidents were elected.

10. Eleven amendments were added to the Constitution.

11. Prohibition was created... repealed.

12. The Titanic was built, set sail, sank, was discovered, and became the subject of major motion pictures, the latter giving Cubs fans hope that something that finishes on the bottom can come out on top.

13. Wrigley Field was built... and becomes the oldest park in the National League.

14. Flag poles were erected on Wrigley Field's roof to hold all of the team's future World Series pennants. Those flag poles have since rusted and been taken down.

15. A combination of 40 Summer and Winter Olympics have been held.

16. Thirteen baseball players have won the Triple Crown; maybe another this year, Go DLee.

17. Bell-bottoms came in style and went out... and came back in.

18.The Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks and the Florida Marlins have all won the World Series.

19. The Cubs played 14,153 regular-season games, and lost the majority of them.

20. Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Oklahoma and New Mexico were added to the Union.

I know Red Sox fans thought they had it bad, notice the past tense. But while Red Sox Nation has Babe Ruth, the '75 Sox and Bill Buckner. The Cubs Faithful are stuck with a goat, Leon Durham and Steve Bartman....

Just something to think about.


Zambrano Knows Best

Cubs 4 Astros 2

2 outta 3 ain't bad! There is still hope! Zambrano pitched another great game. 2 runs on 3 hits, only 1 earned and 10 k's over 8 1/3 innings. The Big Z became the second Cubs pitcher to win 10 this year. When the Cubs needed the win, Zambrano got it. Z also hit a home run off of Roy O, not bad, not bad at all. It looked like for a minute there, he might get his 6th complete game of his career, but he fell short in the 9th. With one out, he ran the count to 3-2 and just missed on the outside corner of the plate, Dusty pulled a double switch and brought in Dempster. And the adventure began, Dempster threw a ground ball out, perfect setup for a double play. Walker did not charge, Perez missed the bag. Runners safe. Dempster then throws another ground ball out, DLee to Perez for one, and Dempster dropped the ball at first. He then walks the bases loaded and I started to wait for the glass to spill (wonder what Santo was going through). He got Ausmus to ground out to Perez, game over...Mission Accomplished!!

This team has played its best ball of the season over the past week. 5 out of the last 7 against the Cards and Astros. This is what we were all hoping for at the beginning of the year. It just never happened. I think this is what Dusty is capable of doing with a healthy team. And speaking of health, Nomar left the game in the 4th with stiffness in his back, he is listed as day to day. Just when you thought he was back...this happens. Nomar hit his 2nd homer of the season tonight and made a great play at short early in the game. He is my favorite shortstop(and not because he is a Cub), but he cannot stay healthy anymore.

According to the awful Astros announcers (just another reason to not like the Houston Astros, these guys are HORRIBLE), Nomar just made a bad throw, they said nothing about his injury. One thing I can say about Pat Hughes and Ron Santo is they are baseball fans first, Cubs fans second and they do a very good job of painting a picture for you, I do not think Milo Hamilton and Alan Ashby even knows what a canvas looks like.

The Cubs are still alive. They are 5 1/2 games back in the Wild Card Race. With 5 teams infront of them. 59-62 over all, 3 games under .500. Time to head to Colorado.

Thursday - A Day of Rest

Thursday the guys will get a much needed day off. This is their first day off since August 1st....off to the Rockies.

Friday - The Colorado Rockies

Mark Prior(8-4/3.70) vs. Byung-Hyun Kim(3-9/5.33)

As with every game left this season, this is a huge series. A sweep of the Rockies and the Cubs will head home at .500 to meet the Braves, anything less could be trouble. There is not much time left to keep digging holes. Hopefully the thin air of Denver will wake up Burnie's bat. He did well there last year and hopefully this will act as a homecoming. Prior can beat this team and should have a lot to show them after their last meeting. Give Nomar sometime to heal, the Cubs need his bat and they should be able to beat the Rockies without him. Dusty put Jerome Williams in the pen for the next week, a big reason for that is Colorado's launching pad, and Harriston is supposed to be activated on Friday. Note to Mr. Hendry: 'Do not option Matt Murton to AAA Iowa'. But I think that is what will happen. The last time the Cubs played the Rockies they got on a roll and won 11 out of 12...Can this happen again..wouldn't it be nice?....just win!!


Is There Anybody Out There?

I have been noticing over the past few days the hits on this site have increased. I am VERY pleased about this. However, I started doing this for several reasons and one is comments. I would enjoy talking sports and our beloved Cubs with anyone interested. Your comments are welcome.

I have a passion for Cubs baseball and I hope you do too. Continue to log in and...

Let's Get Some Runs!!!

The ARam and Maddog Show

Cubs 4 Astros 1

What a difference 24 hours makes..where has this Greg Maddux been all season. His past 2 starts have been AMAZING to watch, it is like we all went back in time when he was with the Braves and kept thinking he should be doing this with the Cubs, and now he is. One earned on 3 hits over 7, with a very low pitch count...WOW!! And look who called the game. The last time he pitched this well, the young guns got going again...continue to follow the leader boys.

O.K. it is official, I am now on the Kerry Wood for closer bandwagon. He looked like he wanted to be there. I really like Ryan Dempster, but Woody seems to have the hitters scared and guessing. He recorded 3 outs on 9 pitches and made those hitters look little leaguers.

Ramirez came through with a 3 for 4 night. 2 doubles, 2 runs scored and a home run. Not only did he bring the lumber, he also brought the glove. Several great plays at third, including the game ending 5-4-3 double-play. ARam and DLee have to keep hitting in order for Cubs to have any chance at the post season. Nomar is starting to pick it up, what about hitting him second? He went 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored, while Lawton and Perez went 1 for 10 combined, without any runs scored. I really think Walker in the 5th spot would suit him a little better and might allow Lee to have runners on base in front of him...just a thought...

I also forgot last night to mention Matt Murton hit his first big league home run. And followed up tonight going 1 for 3 against Andy Pettitte. Message to Dusty, 'Keep playing this Kid'. Red has something special and he seems to always be on base. CPat did fine again tonight, couple of k's and one big mental error running the bases. Did anyone notice that Maddux and Patterson's batting average is very similar? Great game guys...

Wednesday - Carlos Zambrano(9-5/3.17) vs. Roy Oswalt(14-9/2.57)

Get this win and hopes are still alive. Oswalt is a number 1 pitcher on every other team in this league that does not have Roger Clemens on it. He always beats up on the Cubs, so Zambrano will have to have his A+ game tomorrow. A win of this series, against the team in the NL win the best home record, would be a huge lift going into the off day, before heading to Colorado. The Astros are starting to question their offense now. Biggio said before the game he was expecting yesterday's result after what the Pirates had just done to them over the weekend. He said it was today's game the was very important to them to keep the offense going. Well the Cubs staff just held them to 1 run on 4 hits...the doubts are there...the Cubs have to turn their doubts into reality. Time to return the favor from last year...and just win!!!


Free Passes in Houston

Cubs 4 Astros 12

What started out as a promising night...turned out to be a nightmare. The Cubs pitching allowed 7 more walks. I do not understand all of the walks and 2 out trouble. Do these pitchers not realize there are 7 more guys behind them with gloves? This is the pure definition of teamwork, they just do not trust one another. Rusch was horrific. The offense got 'em up and Rusch let 'em down, got to be able to get outs. A manager can only attempt to put the right guys in the right situations, but when he does the player has to perform more often than not. Tonight was the 'than not'. Wellemeyer comes in and does the job with the bases loaded in the 4th, comes back in the 5th and gives up 6 runs, all earned on 3 hits and 3 walks, while giving up 2 home runs. Was he throwing under hand? Give me a break. They just called him up on Sunday and he just got rocked.

This has been one of the problems this year, the bullpen. Between the young arms and the dead arms, it is an adventure everyday. Mr. Hendry has to address this problem in the offseason. I think the young arms will be better next year and more consistant (Novoa, Wuertz, Ohman), but you have to let the dead ones go. There is not a starting pitching staff that can be perfect everyday, you have to have a bullpen that is reliable and can stop the other team long enough for their offense to catch up. I think this is the major reason Woody and Prior have had so many arm problems the last few years.

In 2003, Dusty knew his bullpen was unreliable. So he did what any manager would do and rode his horses 'til they could go no more. And 2 years later he still does not have a setup man or closer. Everyone is on the 'Get Dusty Out Of Town' bandwagon, but what I wonder is how many games has he had his starting line-up on the field, his starting rotation in tact and his bullpen setup the way it was planned out of Spring Training? I will find out....

I said it last night...NO WALKS and NO EXTRA OUTS..Houston got the free pass tonight.

Tuesday - Greg Maddux(9-9/4.54) vs. Andy Pettitte(10-8/2.62)

The Cubs have their work cut out for them tomorrow. Pettitte has been lights out his past several starts and it will not get any easier on Wednesday with Roy O. Maddux has to continue what he started last week. Right now they are back to 7.5 out, a loss tomorrow would just about put an end to the post-season hopes.

On a side note, the play-by-play for Astros radio, Alan Ashby and Milo Hamilton are just impossible to follow....I thought the WGN TV guys were bad...

Go get up on the guys early, throw strikes, hold the lead and just win!!!


Prior and Nomar and Woody..Oh My!

Cubs 5 Cardinals 4

Oh boy is this great!!! 3 of 4 from the Cardinals. Prior looked good, no bad innings. Although he did not have any 1-2-3 innings, he still pitched VERY well. Nomar is looking very good, hitting over .370 since his return, 3-4 tonight and was in the middle of all of the scoring chances. We will not talk about the 9th. Woody, WOW did he look great. 2 scoreless innings, that was awesome. I have not been on the Kerry Wood for closer bandwagon, but now I am beginning to wonder. Mr. Morgan brought up the fact that hitters hate hitting against Wood....well in my book that is a closer and with the way he looked tonight, at one point a 99 mph fastball, who knows. Can he do it again tomorrow? Who would have thought at the beginning of the year Prior and Wood would pitch in the same game? Not me!!

Macias did it again, 2 run single...just when you thought end of inning, ball goes up the middle and the Cubs were up again by 2. CPat also had a homerun. You almost question, is that a curse or a blessing? The LAST THING this team needs is for him to be swinging for the fences again. Worry about that later....

Was that fair or foul. ESPN could not show a good angle on the ball, but Mr. Morgan thought is was foul, so I quess that is good enough. Please somebody stop Joe Morgan.

Lee must have taken batting practice today. Although I thought he hit the ball well, just right at their defense. 14 total hits against the Cardinals pitching. Take it and go to Houston...

Monday - Houston, TX

Glendon Rusch(5-4/3.98) vs. Wandy Rodriguez(7-5/6.18)

You want 'em, you got 'em. I remember around this time last year, the Cubs were leading the Wild Card race and if the Cubs could have taken the series from the Astros in Chicago, the Astros season would just about have been over. Well, the Astros took the series, got hot and won the Wild Card. I think it is time for the roles to be reversed. The Cubs got help this weekend from the Pirates, who shut-out the Astros the past 2 days. The Cubs are 6.5 out, a 3 game sweep and some help from other teams, would be a great way to start this road trip.

Rusch is a better starter than reliever and this could work to the Cubs advantage. Everyone knows this is a big game and series. It is important to get the first win and keep them down. No extra outs...and NO WALKS.

...just win!!

Transactions and Thoughts

On Thursday, August 11th, the Cubs optioned Rich Hill to AAA Iowa and recalled LHP John Koronka from AAA Iowa to go to the bullpen.

According to cubs.com, Koronka is in his second stint with the Cubs, as he was also with the club June 1-15, going 1-2 in three starts. The southpaw has spent the remainder of his season at Iowa (AAA), going 7-10 with a 4.71 ERA in 19 games. He struck out 82 batters and issued just 9 homers and 37 walks in 109.0 innings of work in the minors.

Koronka was impressive in his first start against the Dodgers and won his Wrigley Field debut. I had a chance to meet Koronka in spring training this year. He was very gracious and signed autographs for everyone around.

The Cubs also announced that Glendon Rusch will be inserted back into the starting rotation and will get his first start on Monday in Houston.

I think Rusch is a better starter than reliever and should do just fine in this role.

As far as Rich Hill, I still say he is one to watch. The Cubs brought this guys through the system VERY QUICKLY and let's hope that does not affect him in the future. Look for him to make a big impact in '06.

The Youth Movement is on its way...will preview in the weeks to come.



Deja Vu

Cubs 2 Cardinals 5

I think we have seen this team WAY TO MANY TIMES this year. Bone-head defense, zero clutch hitting, walks, walks and more walks. Everytime the Cardinals scored today was because of a lead-off walk. What is the problem with throwing a pitch over that big white thing right below the catcher's glove. GIVE ME A BREAK. Jerome Williams threw well enough to win today, except for the walks. Career high in strikeouts. But like I stated yesterday...NO EXTRA OUTS. What is ARam thinking?....on the first run of the game, he should have went around the horn...5 steps is way to many to take, then he makes a great catch, with the bases loaded, tags third and throws VERY wild to Lee, run scored. There is no way 1 person is going to get this team out of the hole they put themselves in. They need to take their time and PLAY THEIR GAME. Do not try to force something that is not there. BE A TEAM. TRUST YOUR TEAMMATES. I think DLee is getting hot again. That could take some of the pressure these guys have put on themselves away. Lee seems to be a leader by example, if he gets going again. Who knows?

Sunday - Mark Prior(7-4/3.65) vs. Matt Morris(12-4/3.65)

Great, we get to listen to Joe Morgan?!?!?!

The Cubs got to Morris the last time in St. Louis, hopefully they can do it again. Morris has cooled down after the start he had before the All-Star break. Prior has to stay away from the big inning. It cost him the last time against the Cards with the 3 homers in the first. The guys need to shake off today and get in front first. Scoring first will allow these guys to play their game. Just relax and take a deep breath. DLee continue to stay out of the cage...stay as far away as possible. The Cubs can win tomorrow, take the series and head to Houston feeling good about themselves....

Forget about it...and just win!!


Follow The Leader

Cubs 4 Cardinals 1

Maddux showed 'em how and Zambrano did. Six innings of shut out ball against the best team in the National League. Z has some of the best stuff I have seen in a while. As long as he keeps his head on straight, in my opinion he is one, if not the best, in the league. DLee came through AGAIN TODAY...is he gonna get hot again? If he does..lookout you never know what could happen with this team. Woody came in and did his job and well under pressure. The only problem I had today is, what is up with the 2 out meltdowns? It has killed this team all year and just when you thought the game was over, Burnie slips, does not catch the ball in the 9th and all I am thinking is..NOT AGAIN, NOT AGAINST THE CARDS. I will give it to Dempster, he collected himself and got the next out...game over...NO PUJOLS.

BELIEVE me, I am not getting too excited, but I think this is how the team could have played all year. Clutch hitting, good defense and the STARTING PITCHING.

Saturday - Jerome Williams(3-5/5.18) vs. Chris Carpenter(16-4/2.26)

This one will be tough. Carpenter is the best pitcher in the NL this year. Should win the Cy Young. Williams did have a quality start the last time against the Cards in St. Louis, but now this team has lost 2 in a row. The guys will have to be patient and Williams will have to be at his best tomorrow. No extra outs. DLee stay away from the batting cage.

Continue to follow...and just win!


The Other 42

Cubs 11 Cardinals 4

Where has this been? DLee 2 home runs, ARam, Nomar, CPat...and a complete game by Maddux. Believe me I am not too excited, but anytime the Cubs can beat up on the Cards like this IS A VERY GOOD DAY. When I heard the line-up with Macias batting lead-off, I was very scared. I will have to say, it was a good move. Let's keep this up. Maddux really pulled through today, he showed why he is a first ballot Hall of Famer. The bullpen needed the rest and the Cubs needed the win. Great team effort. Dusty said he told Derrek not to take batting practice, to save his energy...GREAT MOVE.

I know Dusty has been mixing up the line-up, and today it worked. Keep on managing.

After yesterday's loss, the Cubs had lost 60 games. I read somewhere once that 'Every team will win 60, every team will lose 60, it is the other 42 that separates the good teams from the bad teams'. It was great to see them start the other 42 with a win.

Friday - Carlos Zambrano(8-5/3.30) vs. Jason Marquis(9-10/4.24)

Maddux showed the young guys how it is done. It is time for Z to follow his lead. Hopefully Zambrano can pitch like he did the last time vs. the Cards. Need a stong performance to stay out of the bullpen too early. Keep the Cards on their heals.

You never know...this could be the start of something...just win!!


WALK This Way

Cubs 2 Reds 8

O.K., Rich Hill showed me up again. What an unbelievable 4th. Just when you though it could not get any worse...BAM! a 7 run 4th. I will get back to Rich Hill. As a pitching staff today, 10 BASE-ON-BALLS, 10...that is...horrible. Did the umps start the Reds with a 1-1 count? I know 2 were intentional, but come on.

Rich Hill will be a VERY GOOD major league pitcher, I just hope it is with the Cubs. He has the stuff, I am beginning to wonder if they pulled him up to soon. As far as the rest of the pitching staff, what the.... Has anybody thought about Michael Barrett's game calling? It seems to me Woody, Prior and Zambrano were all better in '03? Yes, they were younger..but they seemed better. Was that because they were winning? or Was that Damian Miller? I know the Cubs were not happy with Miller's offense, so they got Barrett. But did they sacrifice the pitching staff? Did these pitchers get worse overnight? I do not think so. So could it be the catcher? Miller has done well for the Brewers? Discuss among yourselves...

8 in a row, 6 games under .500(season worst), 19 games out of first place and 7 out of the Wild Card race...did I get it all?

The Matt Murton experiment as a lead-off hitter did not work today, maybe down the road. I have said it all year, these guys need a LEAD-OFF HITTER. It is amazing DLee has as many RBI's as he does with the OBP these guys have. Note to Jim Hendry: Find a lead-off guy in the off season...does the name Johnny Damon ring any bells??? The guys need to relax and play the way they can....get out of the quicksand.

Thursday - The St. Louis Cardinals (or The 2nd Evil Empire)

Greg Maddux(8-9/4.57) vs. Mark Mulder(13-5/3.79)

I CANNOT STAND THIS TEAM...I wish they would go away. I have two favorite teams...the Cubs and whoever is playing the Cardinals. I said earlier in the week, the Cubs needed a 5-2 homestand, now they just need to win this series. Hopefully Maddux can shut the door and the wind is not blowing out.

Go get 'em guys, what else do you have to lose?


Thoughts and Transactions

The Cubs today traded Mike Remlinger to the Red Sox for Olivo Astacio and cash considerations.

According to cubs.com, Astacio, 21, has gone 7-11 with a 4.33 ERA in 38 career games in the Red Sox organization. The right-hander has struck out 110 batters and allowed just 4 home runs in 139.1 innings of work. Astacio has worked primarily as a starter (31 games) and had his greatest success with Boston's Gulf Coast affiliate in 2004 - where he posted a 3.13 ERA and hurled his first career complete game.

I would like to wish Mike Remlinger the best. He has always seemed to be a class act.

Also, today the Cubs optioned infielder Ronny Cedeno to Iowa to make room for Corey Patterson on the roster. Hopefully this is the last time Cedeno will be in the minors. I really think this kid has the goods to be the Cubs everyday shortstop for many years. An infield of DLee, ARam and Cedeno could be the best infield this team has seen since the late 60's early 70's..of Santo, Beckert, Kessinger and Banks...but we will have to wait to see.

Also, I have been reading a lot about how much the Cubs' payroll is this year and how does a $100 million dollar team not make the playoffs? Here are my thoughts:

1) $11 Million is in right field or DHing for Baltimore...had to be done..no more future in Chicago
2) $8 Million just hit his first homerun of the season today
3) $3.5 Million is in San Francisco, doing what he was supposed to do in Chicago, set up the closer
4) $1.2 Million will no longer be pitching
5) $2.3 Million is in Tampa, saving games for the Devil Rays
6) $8.5 Million is pitching one inning a game now
7) $2.8 Million just returned from AAA Iowa
8) $3.8 Million was just DFA'd and traded to the Red Sox for a prospect

So of that $100 Million dollar payroll, $41.1 million is NOT doing what they were paid to do. So who is not doing their job...Mr. Hendry? Mr. Baker? Or the players?

...just a THOUGHT!

"Mr. Hendry, Can the Cubs Come Out and Play?"

Cubs 3 Reds 8

...Knock, Knock...Who's there? Not the Cubs offense that's for sure. The Big Red Machine strikes again. I thought Mark Prior pitched better than he has in his last three starts, just no run support and no leather. Hey guys, if you are not bringing the wood, you better bring the leather. Two runs on two errors..NOT GOOD. Who would have thought in Spring Training with the way Nomar was hitting that we would be saying 'Nomar hit his first home run of the season today', on August 9th. That sums up a lot. I thought CPat did well today, seemed a little bit 'less selfish'. I really thought the guys would do better today with Prior on the mound.

It was VERY disappointing to hear how Aramis Ramirez treated his pop-up to right field. Pat Hughes said he only made it about 40' down the line and was carrying his bat. After that Ron Santo said, 'Does he not want to play?'. I feel that sums up what the guys have been doing through this seven game losing streek, the 3rd of the season. They are just showing up. No emotion, no drive and no pride. Mr. Hendry or Mr. Baker MUST shake things up, close the doors and yell, spit, curse...whatever it takes to wake these guys up. Start issuing fines for taking plays off, not running out plays..etc. Hit these guys where it counts...in the POCKETBOOK. Set rules and follow them. Do not let the inmates run the asylum! Appoint a team captain, make him accountable. This year might be gone, but continuing to ignore and not admit there is a problem is going to affect this team for many years to come. There is to much young talent on this team and in the organization not to be competitive for MANY YEARS to come. This organization has the talent to become what the Atlanta Braves have been for the past 14 years. WINNERS, NOT LOSERS.


Wednesday - Rich Hill(0-1/7.00) vs. Eric Milton(5-12-6.75)

Curve..baby..curve. Hill has to be the stopper tomorrow. Going into a series with the Cardinals on a losing streak, could be season ending. Milton is a VERY good pitcher, he has just lost it this year. The guys MUST get on Milton and not let up. Let's do not forget the one-hitter he threw last year when he was still with the Phillies. Nomar, DLee and ARAM have to come through tomorrow.



Back to the Future

Cubs 4 Reds 9

It was anniversary night at Wrigley, 17 years ago tonight they turned on the lights, August 8, 1988. In some ways it seems like yesterday, but in someways it seems like the lights have always been on. I remember that game, and if memory serves me, that game was never finished. They restarted the next night. If I am wrong, someone please correct me.. Damon Berryhill, I think hit the first homerun under the lights.

Tonight was also '70's night at the old ballpark and I will tell you the Big Red Machine came in and looked great. It was nice to see Bench, Rose, Perez, Morgan(we will talk about him later), Griffey and Concepcion hit the ball the way they did....hold on wrong decade...I must be confused...that's right it is 2005, not 1975...but it sure did seem like it tonight.

I have been saying for the past couple of years, if the Reds could get some pitching, that offense is VERY scary and tonight they proved it.

Claussen shut the doors on the Cubs, two hits over 7 innings of shut out ball. If this kid could get some consistency, look out...he has the goods and showed it tonight. Please do not get me wrong, with the way the Cubs were hitting before the 9th inning, slow pitch softball might have been a challenge.

It was nice to see Nomar get the 9th started with a hit and to see DLee get one as well. Lee is struggling, over the past 10 games, he is not even at the Mendoza line. NOT GOOD, GIVE HIM A DAY OFF. Matt Murton, 1-3 with a walk, run scored and RBI. This kid has the goods. Look for him in Spring Training, cannot miss the red hair. Burnie did a fine job in center, maybe this outfield will work. The grapevine is saying CPat will be up by the weekend for the Cardinals, so this could all change.

Build on the 9th....

Tuesday - Mark Prior(7-4/3.64) vs. Aaron Herang(7-10/3.90)

Mr. Prior has to shut the door on the Reds, the season is hanging on by a thin thread. Maybe the nice sunshine will wake the offense up. Mix up the line-up again, try Murton 2nd and Walker 6th. Murton seems to be VERY patient and could get on base for the big boys. The would put Walker behind Nomar and give him some protection. Walker is a very good hitter, just not in the 2 slot.

No more magic number...just go win a game!


There Is No Crying In Baseball

Cubs 1 Mets 6

..Well after tonight there should be. When a big league team gives away extra outs, this is what happens. Big Z did everything he could, with the defense that is behind him, I am supprised he made it that long. Dusty has to quit playing Macias in centerfield, I know the team is banged up, CPat is in Iowa and he thinks this is his best option. But it is not. Macias and company showed the national television audience that you can run on the Cubs outfield. NOT GOOD. This Met team is not the '86 Mets and although the offense made Glavine, Seo and Zambrano look like Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz, it is not. Unless the outfield is changed, teams will continue to run. I know Dusty is a players manager and will not sit guys when they are slumping, but like Hendry said today 'time is running out'. Try something new.

Here is what I see. On the active roster the following players are listed as outfielders:

3 Jeromy Burnitz
28 Todd Hollandsworth
50 Matt Lawton
19 Matt Murton

First off, let me state the obvious JOSE MACIAS is not listed above, please do not use him again in the outfield. If you do please petition the league to use a right center fielder and a left center fielder, like in softball, the guy is AN INFIELDER.

Todd Hollandsworth has done well off the bench and in sub roles, continue to use him as that, not a starter. After that you have Burnie, Matt Lawton and Matt Murton. I know Lawton is coming off of knee surgery, that is fine leave him in left and to me Burnie has done a great job in right this year, leave him. That leaves Matt Murton. This kid is young and dumb, use that to your advantage, he wants to play, what is the worse that can happen, a guy can advance to second base on a routine fly out to center or a guy can score from first base on a hit and run grounder to center field.

All I can say is mix it up. What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing twice and expecting different results.

Monday - Sweet Home Chicago vs. the Reds

Jerome Williams (3-4/4.60) vs. Brandon Claussen (6-8/4.85)

Claussen is a good young pitcher, just not consistant. I saw him earlier in the year in Cincy and he was VERY good. Hopefully the offense will step it up. I was nice to see Nomar get a couple of hits, maybe this homestand will be good for him.

The way I look at it, this season hangs on the next week worth of games. Three at home against the Reds and with that offense anything can happen. And then four against the 'wonderful' Cardinals. This homestand needs to be 5-2 at worst, with a trip to Houston on the 15th.

Guys do not mail this in...none of the fans have...BELIEVE...magic number is 39.


This Is A Simple Game...

Cubs 0 Mets 2

...You Throw the Ball, You Hit the Ball and You Catch the Ball...well 2 out of 3..gets you beat. The offense was a non-factor, but Maddux pitched well enough to win. I think that the above statement sums up the entire year. Seems to me, 2 out of 3 has been present all year and I guess now that results in a 2 game below .500 record.

Again messages to Dusty, GIVE DLEE A DAY OFF and PLAY MATT MURTON. Why can't they try this kid in center. What do you have to lose? 5 in a row? I like the outfield of Lawton, Murton and Burnitz...try it, you might like it.

The Mets....it really hurts to see them lose to the Mets...hopefully tomorrow will bring a win and get out of New York...blah, blah, blah.

Sunday - Carlos Zambrano(8-4/3.24) vs. Victor Zambrano(5-9/4.19)

"Let's BEAT The Mets, BEAT The Mets, Step Right Up and BEAT The Mets". Hopefully Big Z will show up and shut the door on the Mets, end this losing streak and get home and continue winning.

Magic number still at 39....


Learning Curve

Cubs 5 Mets 9

Well....the curve did not break, the defense did not show up (i.e Todd Walker) and the Mets made the Chicago Cubs look like the Iowa Cubs. Mr. Hill has a lot of games ahead of him, I still say he WILL BE SPACTACULAR...just not tonight. 7 earned in an inning and a third, not good. Welcome to New York kid...have a nice day.

What is disturbing about this loss is now 4th place behind the Brewers is VERY embarrassing, I was not predicting greatness, but this is horrible. Now that I am done complaining....or am I? This is the Mets....

Bright spots...Scott Williamson looked great. No complaints here. Woody did fine...but he looks like a guy just showing up to complete his shift. Nomar...it was good to see him on the field...what else can I say. I cannot stand the Mets, almost as mush as the Astros, Cardinals and Marlins..tonight is very disturbing.

Message to Dusty...PLEASE GIVE DLEE A DAY OFF. He looks tired and frustrated. I think we are all learning how much he carried this team early on and with only 53 games left THE CUBS NEED DLEE.

Saturday - Greg Maddux(8-8/4.67) vs. Jae Seo(2-1/2.00)

Will Maddog show or will it be Greg? Maddux needs to show how he became a first ballot hall of famer on Saturday. Stop the bleeding. Show the fire that has become your trademark...do not just 'show up'. Neifi is supposed to start at short, how about Lawton in center? Another message to Dusty...PLAY MATT MURTON.

Magic number still at 39.....


The 3 Amigos

Amigos, Saviors...or just ball players. I think Jim Hendry and Dusty are hoping they are all 3.

Nomar, Woody and Williamson

T.G.I.F. might have a whole new meaning.

Will they be able to help..we will all find out.

My hope is that Nomar will spark the offense, if nothing else just to show the guys if he is willing to come back from this kind of injury, the season is not lost.Woody and Williamson will hopefully give the starters confidence there are guys in the bullpen that 'have their back'.

Will this be the end of Mike Remlinger in a Cub uniform?

Is this to late? Is this the Trade Deadline deals that were not made? We will all see.


Stuck In The Middle With You

Cubs 4 Phillies 6

Wow...another bad inning for Mark Prior. With everything that has happened this year, injuries etc..the expectations put on Prior and Zambrano is unbelievable. With Woody being out, Maddux...well not being Maddux, Williams being a good 5th, not a 4th and (insert another starter here)...the pitching staff has not lived up to expectations.

When the year started, it was easy to look at the line-up and wonder 'How are these guys going to score runs', but I never thought the starting pitching would be this bad. Bullpen yes, starters no.

A couple of weeks ago, Pat Hughes said 'this is typical of a .500 ball club, great one-day and horrible the next. No consistency.' He's right. To me, that is a perfect description.

Right now this team cannot seem to get all of the pieces to work together on the same day....a .500 ball club...but considering most of the years I have followed this club, they have not even been that, I should not complain, or should I?!?!

Well....let's go to New York

Friday - Rich Hill (0-0/3.79) vs. Tom Glavine (7-9/4.50)

What can I say, its the 'wonderful' Mets. I REALLY like Hill..GREAT curve ball.

Can the guys get the Philly Steak out of their heads and get out of the middle of the road... let's hope so...Brew crew on their tails...magic number still at 39.


How Bizarre?!?!?

Cubs 3 Phillies 4

Just when you thought this season could not get any stranger....here comes the passed ball..I still do not understand what Barrett was thinking. Anyway...they should really look at not using Remlinger anymore. He has become VERY uneffective. I think a dfa would be good as this point, especially with Williamson and Wood coming back on Friday.

It was great to see Hollandsworth come through off the bench. I think that is the best place for him...pinch hit.

I do have two words "PLAY MURTON". This kid came up short today in the pinch hit role, but I really think there is something there. Can he play center? That is the big question. I do not like the idea of a Murton/Lawton platoon, if that is the case "Why make the trade?"

I also think DLee needs a day off....play Walker at first and Neifi at second...and give Cedeno A LOT more time..again something special in that kid as well.

Thursday- Mark Prior(7-3/3.26) vs. Brett Myers(9-5/3.21)

Can they win the series? Hopefully the bats will wake up and Mr. Prior will pitch better than his last 2 outings....magic number still at 39....


"Now There Is Hope!"

"Now There Is Hope!" This is a phrase that has been sticking with me since last October. For all of us (fans) out there, we all know what this means. I do not know if this is a phrase for Cubs fans or for just life in general...but we shall see.

Now back to the game.


Zambrano pitched his usual great game tonight. Pitch for pitch with Padilla. Four hits over eight, shutout ball. Thankfully the "good" Zambrano showed his face. Ramirez(ARam) came through in the clutch..again. Thankfully they pitched to him, 2 iw's for Derrek Lee. And Dempster supplied us with another heartattack, but he got out of the jam.

Hopefully with Williamson and Wood coming back on Friday, this will ease the bullpen woes. I still think Dempster is the best choice as closer. I like this guy, he is "wacky" enough to be effective. Although I will say, whoever stole his bicycle, PLESE GIVE IT BACK. It seems like he has been struggling since it was stolen....just put it behind his house, let yourself out, and millons of fans will say 'thank you' at once.

I would also like to say, 'Welcome to Chicago Matt Lawton'. 2 for 5 in his Cub debut, with a run scored (he started the 8th) is not bad. One of these days, Pittsburgh will not answer a single phone call from Jim Hendry(and he got cash).

Wednesday - Jerome Williams(3-4/4.61) vs. Robinson Tejeda (2-2/2.95)

I read somewhere over the weekend the Cubs need to go 40-17 to get in the playoffs. Well there is #1, 39 to go...let's all believe.

Well...Here We Go

Well...here we go. That is a VERY broad statement. I have spent the past several months reading what all of the "so-called" Cubs fans are saying on the web. I am going to provide a place where "real life-long" fans can come to learn and discuss our beloved Cubs. This is all very new to me, so be patient. I have lived through the ups and downs like everyone else. And now I would like to share my thoughts, as well as yours.

So hang on for the ride and remember to "Root for the Cubbies"!!