Comeback In Houston

Cubs 4 Astros 3

How many times have we heard this...the bullpen could not hold the lead...Cubs lose. BUT NOT TONIGHT. Tonight it was the Astros' pen that blew the ballgame. The Cubs came back in the 9th to win the game.

Roberto Novoa has had a good year, but not tonight. After Zambrano had left the game in the 8th, the Cubs were ahead 2-1. Novoa gave up a 2 run blast, opposite field to Lance Berkman and Big Z did not get his 15th win. Zambrano had a good outing. He threw a lot of pitches 115. Zambrano's pitch count really concerns me for the future. Carlos has been the best pitcher on the Cubs' staff the past 2 years and I would hate to see him go the way of Prior and Wood. Z finished the night giving up 1 run on 4 hits and throwing 9 strike outs. Zambrano has had a GREAT YEAR...hopefully he can continue in 2006.

But back to the ballgame...in the 9th the Cubs were down 3-2 and Murton led off the 9th with a single. (MATT MURTON HAS TO MAKE THIS TEAM NEXT YEAR) Burnie singled, Murton to 3rd. Barrett doubled to tie the game. Patterson got a fielder's choice and Todd Walker came off the bench to drive in the winning run. UNBELIEVABLE!!! This was a great comeback. I thought it was over when Lidge came in...but boy was I wrong. Novoa gets the win and Dempster gets number 33. The Cubs are now 9-5 on the year against the Astros. The Cubs won the season series against the Astros and the Cardinals...can anyone out there explain that to me?

Derrek Lee got 1 hit closer to 200, he is in the top 10 in 16 offensive categories in the National League. AMAZING!! Any other year or maybe if the Cubs had a winning record...he would be the MVP. Theriot got his 1st career double, Barrett had a good night...I am SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW. The Phillies won, so the Astros are only up by 1. The Cubs are within 2 games of .500 and ANDY PETTITTE HAS NEVER BEATEN THE CHICAGO CUBS in 6 career starts. Gotta Love It!!! No Champagne For You!!

Saturday - Jerome Williams(6-9/4.28) vs. Roger Clemens(12-8/1.89)

O.K. my excitement might be short lived. The Rocket will go tomorrow for the Astros. Williams will have to pitch his best game of the year to beat Clemens. Williams is 2-2 with a 2.10 ERA in five starts in September and he will have to be better than that tomorrow. Clemens has had a tremendous year and is VERY tough to beat. This will be Clemens' 1st start since September 19th. The Cubs must not give the Astros any extra outs and play a near perfect game. Small ball is the key tomorrow. Sac bunts, sac flys...whatever it takes. Lee is only 1 away from 200 and wouldn't that be nice against Clemens.

Play smart, play small, keep Hamilton and Ashby quiet...and beat the (blankin') Astros!!!


Out At Home

Cubs 3 Astros 2

The roof was off at the Juice Box tonight, but the Cubs pitching staff was not. Glendon Rusch had another quality start. Rusch went 7 strong innings, allowing 2 runs on 7 hits. He actually beat Rodriguez for the 3rd time this year(3-1). Micheal Wuertz came in and pitched another fine 8th inning and Dempster picked up his 32nd save.

DLee and Matt Murton supplied the pop for the Cubs offense. Lee went deep for number 46 and Murton had a solo shot as well. Nomar added 3 hits and there are rumors he wants to stay in Chicago and the words 'play in the outfield' have been mentioned(will talk about this soon). The offense did not light up the sky, but with the pitching and defense the team played tonight, 3 runs was enough.

The excitement came in the 9th. Dempster had 2 outs and a runner on 1st. Charles Gipson was the pinch runner and he tried to score on a hit by Luke Scott. Corey Patterson made one of the best plays he has had in a long time. He fired the ball in to Jose Macias and Macias relayed a perfect throw to catcher Henry Blanco...Gipson out...Cubs win and the Astros' magic number is still 2. No champagne for you!!

I am trying not to sound to excited, it is only 1 win....but it is a win. The Cubs are now 3 games under .500 with 3 games left. Wouldn't a sweep be nice?

Friday - Carlos Zambrano(14-6/3.33) vs. Andy Pettitte(17-9/2.42)

Big Z had a bad game last week against the Astros and it would be nice to see him bounce back and finish the season on a winning note. Pettitte has never beaten the Cubs and hopefully that will not happen tomorrow. The Astros need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Maybe that in itself will fire up Zambrano. Lee is 2 hits short of 200 and it would be great to get that over with on Friday. The Astros will be eager to get the win tomorrow with the Phillies only 2 games back. Play to that, the Cubs need to make the Astros beat them...play smart and hard.

Have I mentioned how bad Milo Hamilton and Alan Ashby are? Just checking....

Be patient, keep Hamilton and Ashby quiet...and beat the (blankin') Astros!!!


Wake Me When It's Over

Cubs 2 Pirates 3

The Cubs were at Wrigley today, to bad they forgot to play a game. The Cubs were swept in a 2 game series by the Pirates. For the second straight day, the Cubs offense made another Pirate Rookie look like a Seasoned Vet. The Cubs had plenty of chances today.

In the 5th, the Cubs had first and third with one out and failed to score. And in the bottom of the 9th, the bases were loaded with no outs and the Cubs failed to score...again. The past 2 seasons of lack of 'small ball' is DRIVING ME CRAZY. The one positive that came out of the 5th inning mess, was that Matt Murton (a rookie), hit a ground ball to score a run. Murton...did I mention he is a rookie...gave himself up for the good of the team...not himself. Until the Cubs find more players like Murton and Derrek Lee, we will continue to watch(or listen) to them lose. Today was just awful. Santo sounded like I felt. Santo is not going with the Cubs to Houston to finish the season, so he gets to remember this horrible effort for the next 4 1/2 months.

To add insult to injury, Ryan Theriot was supposed to start the game and was pulled due to illness. Is Dusty going to have enough guys to finish the season? Where is Hawkeye Pierce when you need him?

The Cubbies fly to Houston tonight to finish the season with the Astros. Time for the Juice Box and the horrible Astros announcers.

Thursday - Glendon Rusch(8-8/4.62) vs. Wandy Rodriguez(10-9/5.62)

This is a rematch of the September 23rd game that Glendon Rusch won. It would be great if the Cubs could sweep the Astros this weekend, finish .500 and end the Astros season(I guess I am sleeping). I just hope the guys make a good showing in Houston. It is going to be hard enough to hear them celebrate their playoff birth....I just hope the games are close and the Cubbies make them earn it. The Cubs have been a better road team this year...so who knows.

Keep Hamilton and Ashby quiet, be patient...and beat the (blankin') Astros!!!!


Maddux's Streak Is Over

Cubs 3 Pirates 5

Tonight was an end to an era in Chicago. Greg Maddux's pursuit of 18 consecutive seasons with at least 15 wins ended tonight. For the second time this season Maddux threw a complete game and lost. Maddux pitched a fine game and deserved to win, he made one bad pitch to Jason Bay in the 5th inning, a 3 run homer, and it cost him a chance at history.

Greg Maddux has had a remarkable career, we will not go into that. I hope he returns for 2006. I am not a sentimental person. It was time for Sosa to go...but I do not think it is time for Maddux. I would like to see Maddux be on the winning end of a season in Chicago. He has been a great Cub and I hope he goes into the Hall with a 'C' on his hat, not the 'A' he wore for to many years. Greg Maddux is an Everyday Joe. He does not look like an athlete, but he is one of the best of all time. The Cubs let him go once...I hope they do not make that mistake again.

Nomar tried to give him the win. Nomar went deep for a 2 run homer in the 3rd. DLee got another hit and is still 10 points ahead of Pujols. So there is still hope for that one. Ryan Theriot did score a run tonight, but ended up 0-4. The ad in the Trib should read, 'Wanted A Leadoff Hitter...Apply Within'. The Cubs have to fix this in the offseason.

The Cubs announced today that Aramis Ramirez, Jerry Hariston Jr. and Todd Walker will likely miss the rest of the season. I think with only 5 games left...likely is more like...definite.

With tonight's loss, the Cubs drop to 3 games under .500. I have been hoping for a better end to the season....but I guess this year will end like so many of the others. How many days until Spring Training?

Wednesday - Mark Prior(11-6/3.73) vs. Paul Maholm(2-1/2.08)

Mark Prior will make his last start of the season tomorrow. He needs to finish the season with a win. Prior has had a lot of success against the Pirates and should continue that success tomorrow. Mahlom is a rookie and patience at the plate could result in a win. The Cubs are 12-4 this year against the Bucs and number 13 would look very good. Wednesday is the last home game of the season and the Cubs announcers will call the game from the bleachers, weather permitting....ala Harry Caray....please do not let them sing too.

Be patient, have fun....and beat the Bucs!!!


Transactions, Thoughts and Useless Information?

While the Cubs take their last day off of the season....

Ryan Dempster has had a great year out of the bullpen for the Cubs. He has converted 31 out of 33 save opportunities this year, a .939 success rate, which is the 14th best since 1969 for pitchers with at least 30 saves. The highest is Eric Gagne's perfect 55 for 55 season in 2003 with the Dodgers. Dempster joined an elite list of Cubs relievers to have saved 30 games in a single season. According to cubs.com, the other Cubs pitchers who have totaled at least 30 saves in one season include: Ted Abernathy (1965), Rod Beck (1998), Joe Borowski (2003), Randy Myers (1993, '95), Lee Smith (1984-87), Bruce Sutter (1977, '79), and Mitch Williams (1989). Dempster is riding a streak of 17 straight save conversions. He's the sixth Cub with 16 or more consecutive saves in one season. The others are Rod Beck in 1998, Tom Gordon in 2001, Randy Myers in 1993, Lee Smith in 1982, and Bruce Sutter in 1979. Also, Dempster is one of only three pitchers to have registered at least 30 saves and started a game in the same season since the save became an official stat in 1969. The other two are Danny Graves, who started four games for Cincinnati in 2002, then moved to the bullpen; and Mike Marshall, who started one game for the Minnesota Twins in 1979. Dempster is 4-0 with 31 saves and a 1.92 ERA (12 earned runs in 56 1/3 innings) as a closer.

A couple of things to watch for over the last week of the season:

Derrek Lee is the first Cub to have 100 runs, 100 RBIs, over 40 home runs, and over 40 doubles in a single season. DLee now leads the National League with a .340 average over Albert Pujols of the Cardinals (.333). He could be the first Cub to win the batting crown since Bill Buckner in 1980.

Greg Maddux will start Tuesday, seeking his 14th win of the season. Maddux is trying to extend his streak of consecutive seasons of at least 15 wins to 18. Maddux will also start the last game of the season in Houston on October 2nd. Let's hope the Cubs can get those 2 wins for him.
According to cubs.com, the pitcher with the most consecutive seasons with 13 or more wins is Cy Young, who did so 19 straight years. Maddux is second, having done so 18 consecutive seasons. Warren Spahn is third at 17 years. Spahn and Maddux are tied for most consecutive seasons with at least 14 wins at 17 years each. Cy Young won at least 15 games 18 times, but did so 15 years in a row....second to Maddux.

Wednesday's final home game against the Pirates will be the last time we see Wrigley Field in its current state. The bleacher expansion project will begin soon and the Cubs are saying the renovations will be complete by Opening Day 2006. Hopefully the change of Wrigley will bring about a change in Wrigley.

Hopefully the Cubs can put together a successful last week of the season. What I am looking for is .500 and a third place finish. Can they do that? I hope so...

Just because the season is almost over does not mean I will stop talking about the Cubbies. I have A LOT PLANNED in the offseason, including an entirely different web address, look and name. I will be reviewing the 2005 team, who I think will stay and go, potential free agents, breaking news, rumors and EVERYTHING NORTHSIDE BLUE for the CUBS FAITHFUL. Next year starts in a week and the pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Spring Training before you know it. Don't be left out in the cold....2006 is the Year the Cubs get their Series Fix!!!


A Delayed Win

Cubs 3 Astros 2

For the second straight day there was rain in Chicago. Unlike Saturday, the Cubs came away with the win. Jerome Williams had another qualtity start and put his team in a position to win the ballgame.

Derrek Lee hit his 45th home run to give the Cubs the lead in the 1st inning and it was 1-0 with the rain came in the 3rd inning. After a 58 minute rain delay both starting pitchers came back and pitched into the 7th inning. When Pettitte left the game the Astros were ahead 2-1 and the bullpen for the Astros could not hold the lead. Derrek Lee led off the 7th with a single and after 2 fielder's choices...Jeromy Burnitz stepped up to the plate. Burnitz hit a 2 run homer off of Mike Gallo to give the Cubs the lead at 3-2. Andy Pettitte has NEVER BEATEN THE CUBS. Gotta love it!!

Michael Wuertz came in to pitch the 8th and did another fine job. Wuertz is one of the bright spots this year for the Cubs. Wuertz is in his 2nd season with the Cubs and is 6-2 with a 3.96 ERA in 71 games (72 2/3 innings pitched). He looks like he is getting more comfortable in his role out of the pen with every appearance he makes. With all of the changes I see coming, all of the experience the young guys have gotten this year in the bullpen will pay off in 2006. I think we will see Wuertz, Ohman and Novoa back in the pen next year, along with Ryan Dempster.

Dempster came in today and picked up his 31st save. I thought when the club came out of Spring Training that Dempster should be the closer and it turns out I was right. Dempster is 'just wacky' enough to make an excellent closer. Dempster has blown only 2 saves all year and the Cubs won those games anyway. Just think of the 15 that were blown and lost before Dempster got the job...if they could have won 1/2 of those games...the Cubbies would be at least 6 games above .500.....what could have been? Woody has said he wants to be a starter again next year, if that is the case the Cubs must sign Dempster for 2006.

With today's win the Cubs are back to within 2 games of .500 with 6 games left. With the Pirates coming in for 2 games on Tuesday, the Cubs must sweep the Bucs before finishing the season in Houston to have a chance at .500.

Monday - The Last Day of Rest before the Bucs come to town.

Tuesday - Greg Maddux(13-13/4.14) vs. Zach Duke(6-2/1.94)

The Pirates come into Chicago on Tuesday for the last 2 games of the year at Wrigley. The Cubs will face Zach Duke, the rookie left-hander, who has pitched very well for the Pirates in the 2nd half of the season. Duke went 8 innings against the Cubs in July and shutout the Cubs on 6 hits. Maddux will have his hands full with the young Pirates. Runs will come at a premium against Duke and the Cubs must play smart. I still think Dusty should change the lineup on Tuesday. Macias is 0 for 8 the last 2 days. Play the kids....

Be smart, play smart, be patient...and win one for Maddog!!!


Z Is Not Perfect After All

Cubs 3 Astros 8

Although the post season hopes for the Cubs ended weeks ago, the Astros officially eliminated the Cubs from the playoffs today. Zambrano could not hold down the Astros' offense and gave up 6 runs on 9 hits in 6 1/3 innings before the rain came.

Before the 1 hour 28 minute rain delay, the Cubs could not get the offense started. Dusty not only played Macias, but hit him in the lead off spot. Macias went 0-4. I bet you Ryan Theriot could have done that. One of the many differences between the 2 teams today, were the Astros' top 2 hitters. Taveras and Biggio went a combined 4 for 7 with 3 runs scored, 2 RBI's and a walk. Needless to say Morgan Ensberg (#3 hitter) had a big day as well. On the other hand, Macias and Perez went a combined 1 for 8 with 1 run scored. One of the major changes that must take place in the offseason is for the Cubs to find a leadoff hitter. The Cubs were held to only 4 hits today. Nomar had a nice 2 run home run, but that was really it.

With today's loss the Cubs fall to 3 games under .500 with 7 left to play. I cannot believe the season is almost over...feels like I was just at Spring Training.

Sunday - Jerome Williams(5-9/4.39) vs. Andy Pettitte(17-9/2.45)

Andy Pettitte has never beaten the Cubs and I hope that streak continues. Dusty has to mix up the line up tomorrow in order to win. Pettitte is a great veteran pitcher, but maybe the kids do not know that yet...and....well maybe the Cubs could use that to their advantage. While I was listening to the rain delay, one of he ESPN guys mentioned that Chipper Jones of the Braves is showing up to the park in a better mood than he ever has with the Braves. When asked, Jones replied it is because the team is playing well and all the young players are great to be around. Young players are great to be around? Does anyone have Dusty's email address? The kids are the Cubs only shot at having a winning season....

Play young, play smart, be patient...and beat the (blankin') Astros!!!


Congratulations...I'm Sorry!!

Cubs 5 Astros 4

It was a good win...and a bad loss today at Wrigley. Glendon Rusch had a good start. He went 5 innings and allowed 4 runs (3 earned) on 9 hits. I did not think the Cubs could beat the Astros if Rusch had a short outing and I was wrong. Wuertz came in for the 6th and 7th and had 2 good innings. He held the Astros at bay and did not give up a hit and stuck out 4. Williamson started the 8th and gave up a lead off double. Before Williamson was done, he loaded the bases with only one out. Dusty brought in Novoa, and I just held my breath. Santo was yelling at Williamson, it was great. Novoa got Jose Vizcaino to pop out to DLee and struck out Willy Taveras to end the inning. I thought Santo was going to have a heart attack. Novoa was AWESOME. Ryan Dempster pitched the 9th to record his 30th save. He is now only the 8th Cub pitcher in history to have 30 saves in a season. The pitching staff did their job and according to Glendon Rusch, the bullpen deserved the 'W' today.

The Cubs got on the board in the 1st inning. After a Todd Walker single, Derrek Lee doubled and Walker left the game. Walker was on his way to 3rd base and came up with a leg injury. He hit the bag and went down on all 4's. According to cubs.com, Walker collapsed at the bag in obvious pain. Walker was able to walk off the field, although he needed help. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for an MRI exam. "He does not have any significant ligament damage," Cubs athletic trainer Mark O'Neal said after seeing the MRI results on Friday. "There's no ligament damage in his knee, there's no meniscal damage in his knee.

I wonder if today was Todd Walker's last day in a Cubs' uniform. With only 8 games left, I really do not see him playing again this season. Walker joins Hariston and Ramirez on the 'walking wounded list'. It is a shame Walker had to go out this way. He gave the Cubs a chance to get back to .500 and with him gone, the chances of that happening are very slim. Dusty will continue to play Jose Macias and I do not agree. Macias is a GOOD BENCH PLAYER and that is all. Try Ryan Theriot. He is trying to make an impression and will play hard. This is what the Cubs need for the next week. Maybe his hustle and enthusiasm would spill over to the rest of the team. This would also be a good time to put Nomar at 2nd and have Scott McClain play 3rd. Anything different at this point would be good...just do not stick in Macias.

With today's win the Cubs are back to within 2 games of .500. Anything less than 6-2 will not get them back to .500.

Saturday - Carlos Zambrano(14-5/3.17) vs. Ezequiel Astacio(2-6/5.76)

The Cubbies get a break on Saturday. Roger Clemens will miss his scheduled start and Ezequiel Astacio will go in his place. Like today, the Cubs need to get up early and not let off. The Astros are a dangerous team. For a team that has been shutout 16 times this year to be leading the Wild Card race...be careful. Zambrano will get the ball and hopefully he can keep pitching the way he has. Carlos is 8-1 with a 2.36 ERA since the All Star break and has become the ace of this staff. Hopefully Carlos will keep the Astros offense in check and let Nomar, Burnitz and Lee do their job. Play Theriot or McClain!!!

Be patient, get up early...and get #7!!!


Put Away The Broom

Cubs 3 Brewers 0

First I was right about Scott McClain and yesterday I was right about Maddux...Dusty whenever you want to add me to the payroll, leave a comment and I will get back with you A.S.A.P.

Greg Maddux pitched a GREAT game. He went 8 innings, giving up only 4 hits and NO RUNS. NO RUNS... and he threw only 78 pitches. I really hope Prior was watching today and took very good notes. Maddux gave the Cubs everything they needed and Dempster finished them off to get his 29th save. The game only lasted 2 hours and 19 AWESOME minutes. Win today's win Maddux is now only 2 away from 15.

The offense did fine and with the way Maddux was throwing today, 3 runs was more than enough. Neifi had a good day. He went 3 for 4 with and RBI and a run scored. Neifi was also involved in a bizarre play.

In the 5th inning, Barrett was on 3rd and Neifi was on first after a single. Helling kept throwing over to 1st to keep Neifi close. He kept throwing and throwing. Several times both Neifi and Gary Mathews asked the 1st base umpire if Helling was committing a balk. Finally, Helling threw one wide of 1st, Neifi went all the way to 3rd and Barrett scored easily. I do not remember how many times Helling threw over, but even the Brewers' fans were starting to 'boo'. I have never heard a play like this...

Today's win helped the Cubs get back to 3 games under and prevented the 2nd sweep in Brewtown this year. Time to go back down I-94....

The Houston Astros

Friday - Glendon Rusch(7-8/4.59) vs. Wandy Rodrigues(10-8/5.43)

Friday starts the last homestand of the season. The Astros are in for the weekend and then the Pirates. The Astros are leading the Wild Card race and wouldn't it be nice for the Cubs to spoil the October plans of the (blankin') Astros. Rusch will get the ball in the opener and I hope the Glendon Rusch of the last month shows up. Rusch is 2-0 in September with a 3.20 ERA. He has been pitching better and needs to keep it up to give the Cubs a chance to win. A short game for Rusch will result in a loss. They must keep the ball out of the hands of the long relievers. Wandy Rodriquez has had a up and down season, but he beat the Cubs in August. Rodriquez is a fine young pitcher, just not consistant. The Cubs are 5-4 against the Astros this year, win number 6 would be real nice. At least I do not have to listen to Milo Hamilton and Alan Ashby tomorrow.

Be patient, score first...and get number 6!!!


Nine Times

Cubs 6 Brewers 7

ROONEY "If the Cubs think they'll coast through these last 10 games, they're sorely mistaken."
JOYCE: "This is all news to me."
ROONEY: "So far this year alone, they've lost against the Brewers nine times, including today."
JOYCE: "Nine times?"

Yes, nine times. With today's loss the Cubs have lost the season series to the Brewers for the 1st time since 2002 and the all time series is now even at 61 and 61. I would like to know who's bright idea it was to move the Brewers from the American League to the National League. Just another reason to dislike Bud Selig.

Mark Prior did everything he could to give the Cubs a win tonight. Prior went 6 innings and gave up 3 runs on 6 hits and struck out 10. He left for a pinch hitter in the 7th and the Cubs were in line to get the victory. Prior even drove in the first 2 runs the Cubs scored tonight. The offense was not the problem.

Everytime the offense fought back to tie or take the lead, the (blankin') bullpen would give up he lead in the next half inning. Burnie, DLee and Nomar all had a good game...Patterson even had 2 hits, yes 2 HITS, but he was picked off 1st after one hit and thrown out at 2nd on the second. The Cubs kept fighting tonight but they could not get past the Brewers offense.

Like I said yesterday, the losing season to the Brewers...blows my mind. I really do not understand how they can beat the best team in the National League and lose to the team up I-94. When Baker and Hendry sit down to review what needs improvement for next year, they must point to the Brewers (and the other sub-par teams) a championship caliber team should beat. From where I am sitting, the 2005 Cubs play to the level of their competition. Until that philosophy is changed the Cubbies will continue to be a sub .500 team themselves.

With tonight's loss the Cubs drop to 4 games under .500 with only 10 games left. The dream of reaching .500 again this season...is that just a dream.

Dusty needs to play all the kids. Try Murton in the lead off spot. He has a very high OBP and who knows how he will react. I know Murton is not very fast, but who cares. The objective of a lead off hitter is to get on base so the RBI guys can knock them in. I can only imagine how many RBI's Derrek Lee would have if Patterson had not been hitting lead off for half of the season. Try Ryan Theriot. The Cubs brought him up, see what he has got. Like Murton he seems very patient at the plate. Give McClain more at bats. What about Nomar at 2nd base? Mix it up!!! This year's team is broken...try to fix it for 2006!!!

Thursday - Greg Maddux(12-13/4.31) vs. Rick Helling(2-0/2.19)

Maddux is 11-3 with a 2.29 ERA in his career vs. the Brewers and tomorrow he needs number 12 to have a shot a 15. Maddux must go 7-8 innings for the Cubs to have a shot at the win. The bullpen is young and after 151 games very overworked. DLee and company must bring the lumber and get on these guys early. In the first 2 games of this series, the Brewers have scored first.

Mix it up...and win one for Maddog!!!


Hasenfeffer Incorporated

Cubs 3 Brewers 5

After tonight's game, I could use a beer....Why can the Cubs beat the Cardinals and not the Brewers? I do not understand it. After tonight's loss the Cubs have 6 wins in 14 games against the Brewers. And have dropped 3 games under .500 and 1/2 game behind the Brewers for 3rd place in the Central. Tonight did not even seem like the same team that took the field on Sunday. Remember this...the Brewers will be a lot better next year and this is just the beginning of the Cubs troubles with the Brewers. The Brewers have a very strong farm system. Do not be surprised if the Brewers make the playoffs or even win the Central Division next year. (I will talk about this after the season is over).

Jerome Williams had a rough start, settled down and ended up giving up 4 runs on 9 hits in 6 innings. Carlos Lee continued giving Cubs' pitchers nightmares, he had 2 big RBI's that proved to be the winning run. I really do not care for Carlos Lee and I hope he does not end up with the Cubs next season. Lee's name has been mentioned in the rumor mill for next year. He is a good hitter, but I do not like his attitude or playing style. The Cubs are almost finished paying for one headache, I hope they do not add another.

The Cubs biggest problem again tonight was fundamentals. For example they loaded the bases in the 7th inning with no outs and failed to score. They miss the cut off man, get caught stealing 3rd, miss sacrifice bunts and cannot catch the ball at home plate to tag a runner out. Spring Training should be very interesting for the guys that are still on the team next year. Nomar had a 2 run homer and Murton had a solo shot and went 2 for 4. Tonight was Murton's 40th game at the big league level and he is hitting .340 with 5 home runs and 10 RBI's. He has an OBP(on base percentage) of .402 and a SLG(slugging percentage) of .545. The lack of clutch hitting has been the downfall of the 2005 Cubs and it continued tonight. As much as I do not want to admit it, the Brewers played the game tonight to win and the Cubs just showed up again. I will talk about the overhaul I think this team needs after 11 more games.

Wednesday - Mark Prior(11-6/3.70) vs. Tomo Ohka(11-8/3.97)

Tomorrow's game is the 15 of the season between the Cubs and the Brewers and believe it or not, Mark Prior will make his 1st start of the season against the Brewers. I think this is another good example of what went wrong for the Cubs this season. Like Nomar hitting his 1st home run in August, Prior making his 1st start against the Brewers in September is a good recipe for a losing season. Tomo Ohka lost his only start against the Cubs this year giving up 5 runs on 9 hits in 6 2/3 innings. Ohka has had a good season, but if the Cubs bring their bats, he can be beat. The Cubs need these next 2 games to have a shot at .500 and 3rd place, plus a split of the season series vs. the Brewers.

Be patient, hit the ball...and just beat the (blankin') Brewers!!!


Transactions, Thoughts and Useless Information?

While the Cubs rest, thought I would pass on some information. And away we go...

-Sunday's win gave the Cubs their first 10+ win season against the Cardinals since they went 11-7 in 1992.

-Sunday's win was the first time since 1995 the Cubs won the home and road series against the Cardinals in the same season.

-The Cubs are now 74-76 for the 2005 season. At Wrigley they are 36-40 and on the road they are 38-36. Maybe Dusty should find a hotel in Wrigleyville.

-Greg Maddux has a record streak of 17 years with at least 15 wins. The closest active streak is 5, held by Mark Mulder. With Maddux's loss on Saturday, it looked like the streak would not get to 18 years. The Cubs announced on Sunday, Maddux will get 3 more starts this year. Larry Rothchild and Dusty Baker shuffled the rotation and Glendon Rusch will skip a start in order to give Maddux a chance at getting to 15 wins. According to cubs.com, Maddux did not ask for the extra start and Rothchild and Baker are doing this out of respect for him. Usually I do not agree with trying to 'get or hold onto' a record. I do agree with Rothchild and Baker. I think that if the bullpen would have done their job for Maddux, he should have gotten at least 3-4 more wins with 2 starts left. His record is 12-13 . Maddux will pitch Thursday against the Brewers, on September 27th vs. the Pirates and on October 2nd vs. Houston, the last game of the season.

-With all of the bullpen talk I am doing, I thought I would do research on the origin of the term 'bullpen'. To my surprise it was in Monday's Cubs' Mailbag. According to cubs.com and The Cultural Encyclopedia of Baseball, the term bullpen arose when fans were allowed into games for 10 cents if they arrived after the first inning. Latecomers were penned in like bulls behind ropes in foul territory beyond first and third base. Relief pitchers warmed up along the sidelines near those areas. The term was not used until around 1915, but the first formal bullpen area was in the Polo Grounds (The New York Giants) in 1905.

-It has been 40 years since the last time a pitcher threw a no-hitter against the Cubs. Sandy Koufax of the Dodgers threw a perfect game against the Cubs on September 9, 1965.

-Only 2 pitchers in Major League History have 3000 strikeouts and under 1000 walks. Both are Cubs. Ferguson Jenkins and Greg Maddux. Jenkins was with the Cubs from 1966-1973 and 1982-1983. Maddux was with the Cubs from 1986-1992 before he resigned at the beginning of the 2004 season. Did you know they both wore (and still wearing) #31?

That is all I have, for now. Keep reading and watching to C the changes coming to my site. Time to beat the Brewers.

Until Tuesday.....



Cubs 7 Cardinals 4

The Cubs did not win the division or make the playoffs...but they did BEAT THE CARDINALS. The Cubs finished their season series today with the Cardinals. The Cubs won 10 of 16 games this year and the Cubbies are the only team in the Central Division to have a winning record against the Cardinals. Hopefully next year they will figure out how to beat the Reds, Astros and Brewers. I cannot believe how good the team played today. I am still in shock.

When the pitching matchups were announced on Thursday, I figured the Sunday game would be the tough one. Chris Carpenter. The Cubs lit up Carpenter for 4 runs on 4 hits in 4 innings. The guy that should win the Cy Young this year looked like the 5th starter in the rotation. He and Dusty even exchanged words. These 2 teams do not like each other. And then there is Zambrano...

Carlos Zambrano pitched his 2nd complete game of the season and kept his head on straight. Zambrano did not have his best stuff today and still won the ballgame. Zambrano is now 8-1 since the All Star break and picked up his 14 win. Big Z also went 2 for 4 and his average is up to .303. UNBELIEVABLE!!

Patterson had a good day going 2 for 3 with a run scored and a RBI. Patterson has the ability to be an excellent major league ball player, it is a shame he has not realized it yet. DLee went 1 for 2 with 2 walks, LaRussa will not pitch to him. And Todd Walker had a homerun in the 7th to give the Cubs some insurance.

Matt Murton hit the go ahead home run in the bottom of the 5th, after the Cardinals had just tied the game. Murton is really making an arguement for the Cubs' brass for the starting left field spot next year. I will stay off of the soap box...

With today's win the Cubs are back to within 2 games of .500 and are now in 3rd place in the Central, 1/2 game in front of the Brewers and the Cardinals are ALL DONE!!

On a personal note, this was one of the best sports days in my life. Not only am I a life long Cubs fan, I am a diehard Tennessee Titans fan and season ticket holder. The Titans shocked the Ravens today 25-10 and it was AWESOME. Then the CUBS BEAT THE CARDINALS. Both of my teams beat their arch rival today and this is the 1st time the Cubs and Titans have won on the same day (that I can remember). Outside of a World Series or Super Bowl, to beat the Ravens and the Cardinals on the same day....MY SPORTS LIFE DOES NOT GET MUCH BETTER THAN THIS.

Monday - A Day of Rest and off to Milwaukee

Tuesday - The Milwaukee Brewers

Jerome Williams(5-8/4.30) vs. Doug Davis(10-10/3.95)

The Cubs will battle for 3rd place this week with a 3 game series vs. The Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers have always given the Cubs more than they can handle and this week should not be any different. Jerome Williams is 1-1 in his last 3 games with a .084 ERA. Williams needs to stay hot against the Brewers offense. The Brewers have gotten better this year and will continue to do so over the next few years. The Nashville Sounds just won the PCL Championship and they are the Brewers' AAA affliate. The Cubs have a winning record(38-36) on the road this year and they need these 3 games. A sweep of the Brewers would put the Cubs a game above .500 and will go a long way towards a 3rd place finish. The Cubs will need to score early and often to keep the pressure on the young Brewers.

Be patient, no extra outs, smart base running, timely hitting...and beat the Brew-crew!!


Another One Bites The Dust

Cubs 1 Cardinals 5

When I heard the lineup today...I was in shock! I kept asking myself...why is Jose Macias hitting in the leadoff spot? Why is he playing 2nd base? Where is Todd Walker? Where is Jerry Hariston, Jr? What the (blank) is going on? Does Dusty not want to win? And all of this against the Cardinals with Greg Maddux trying to get to 15. I almost threw my XM out the window. I immediately got online...and what did I find? ANOTHER INJURY!

Jerry Hariston, Jr. arrived to the ballpark on Saturday on crutches. He hit a ball off of his knee on Friday and was unable to walk on it on Saturday. According to cubs.com Hariston was wearing a brace on his left leg because of a severe bone contusion suffered when he took a foul tip off his left knee in Friday's game. Hairston will be sidelined to let the swelling subside and wait for the pain to go away, Cubs athletic trainer Mark O'Neal said on Saturday. Hairston apparently has "jumper's knee," which is an injury to the patellar tendon and usually happens to high school or junior high athletes. "There is a real minor crack of the calcification [on his knee]," O'Neal said. Great just when the Cubs were getting production out of the leadoff spot...this happens. The Cubs have not said how long he will be out, but with only 13 games left, could we have all seen the last game of Jerry Hariston in a Cubs' uniform?

With the injury to Hariston, a couple of questions come to mind. Dusty does not trust Patterson in the leadoff spot...that point was proven today. If Dusty trusted Patterson, he would have hit CPat in the leadoff spot instead of removing Walker from the lineup and putting Macias in the leadoff spot. I know some of you will argue that Mulder is left handed and so is Walker and Walker would sit anyway. Wrong...Walker is hitting .337 vs. left handers and .293 vs. right handers. Does Dusty's actions today mean the end of Patterson in a Cubs' uniform? Second question. The West Tenn Diamond Jaxx season was ended today. They lost the Southern League Championship 3-1 to Jacksonville. Will the Cubs recall Adam Greenberg to try in the leadoff spot?

The game was...another disappointment. Maddux lost and now his streak of 17 years(working on 18) with at least 15 wins, is over. With today's loss, his record drops to 12-13 and with only 2 starts left the best he can do is 14. Maddux has done a good job for the Cubs this year. If the bullpen and not blown at least 4 of his games, he would have reached 15. Maddux should be back with the Cubs next year. His option has kicked in, so if he does not return that would be his decision. Hopefully the Cubs will have a better bullpen next year and Maddux can reach 15 again.

Sunday - Carlos Zambrano(13-5/3.22) vs. Chris Carpenter(21-4/2.31)

The last time Zambrano and Carpenter faced one another was a pitching clinic. Both Big Z and Carpenter went 9 innings in St. Louis and neither one got the decision. The Cardinals won that game in extra innings on a squeeze bunt by David Eckstein. That game in July was the best pitching dual I have seen in years. Tomorrow should be more of the same. Carpenter should win this year's Cy Young in the National League and Zambrano is 7-1 with a 2.40 ERA since the All Star break. Runs should come at a premium. The Cubs will have to play a near perfect game in order to beat Carpenter.

No extra outs, smart base running, timely hitting...and BEAT THOSE BIRDS!!


Gotta Love It!!

Cubs 5 Cardinals 3

Yes, this has been a disappointing year (one I kinda expected, will discuss in 2 weeks). But anytime the Cubs beat the Cardinals is a GREAT DAY. The walls could be coming down around me and it would not matter because the CUBS BEAT THE CARDINALS. With today's win, the Cubs have WON THE SEASON SERIES against the CARDINALS. Can you tell I am very happy? There are still 2 games left against the Redbirds, so I will hold back.

Glendon Rusch pitched very good today. He got the Cubs into the 7th inning with the lead and earned the win. Rusch went 6 2/3 innings and gave up 3 runs on 7 hits. A quality start. Wuertz and Novoa held the Cards in check and Dempster picked up his 28th save. The pitching staff as a whole did their job for the offense.

Burnie is the one that stepped up today. Jeromy Burnitz went 2 for 3 with 3 RBI's and a run scored. His 2 run single gave the Cubs the lead. DLee hit his 44th homer in the 1st inning and Walker, Nomar and Murton came through as well. Murton came in after Hariston was ejected for arguing balls and strikes and scored on the Burnitz single. CPat even had a hit today. The Cubs beat Matt Morris for the 4th time in a row. The offense was hot on a cool day in Chicago.

While I was listening to the game, I further realized how much I enjoy Pat Hughes and Ron Santo. Hughes delivers a solid play-by-play and Santo...well...is just being a Cubs fan. It is great to hear him yell at the team when they make a bonehead play. Santo is not the greatest of announcers, like Harry Caray, but he is so enjoyable to listen to. If Santo was not announcing the games, he would still be yelling at the radio or tv. Santo would be trying to tell the guys what to do or not to do. How many of you have done that? I have. And that is what makes Ron Santo priceless.

Just when I thought the Cubbies were going through the motions, they play like this...who knows what will happen tomorrow?

Saturday - Greg Maddux(12-12/4.22) vs. Mark Mulder(15-7/3.51)

Maddux has beaten Mulder in their last 2 matchups. Can Maddux do it again? To have a shot at 15, he must. Maddux has been pitching like the old 'Maddog' in his last few starts, so if the offense can do their job, he has a shot. Lee got help today and will need it tomorrow. Who will it be? Murton? Burnie? Nomar? Could McClain get a start? Maybe Blanco? A win tomorrow would put the Cubs to within a game of .500. LaRussa said today, even though the Cards clinched the division last night, he will not allow the team to celebrate until they win. From this Cubs fan...please do not allow them to celebrate at Wrigley.

Be patient, bring the bats, have fun...and just beat those Birds!!!


A Rainy Night in Chicago

Cubs 1 Cardinals 6

It was a rainy, gloomy night in Chicago and the Cubs started the series against the Cardinals with a loss. Mark Prior started the game tonight and had another bad inning. He did not have a bad start, just one inning. Prior allowed 3 runs in the first inning and threw almost 40 pitches again. Prior has had at least one bad inning in every start this year. After that he settled down and held the Cardinals scoreless. Prior left after 5 innings, throwing 93 pitches. This is the 1st time the Cardinals have beaten Prior this year. Prior has had a good year, especially after missing the month with his elbow injury. I was glad to see Dusty pulling him out in the 5th. Prior has been throwing a lot of pitches lately and with the way Jeff Suppan pitched tonight...it was a good call.

Jeff Suppan shut the Cubs down, except for DLee. As usual this year, Derrek Lee was the only bright spot. Lee went 2 for 4 and hit his 43rd home run. The rest of the Cubs only managed 4 hits against Suppan. I do not think the guys did a bad job tonight, Suppan just had their number.

The Cubs fought back in the 9th, but with the bases loaded and 2 outs, the rain came back to stay. The game was delayed for 51 minutes and then called. It was a strange end to a strange night.

With tonight's win, the St. Louis Cardinals are the 2005 Central Division Champions.

The Cubs have played the Cardinals better than any other team in the Central this year. If the Cubs can win 1 game of the series, they will actually win the season series against the Cardinals for the first time since 2001. The age of the Cardinals' players are starting to show will all of the injuries they have had this year. I hope this is the beginning of the Cubs beating the Cardinals on a regular basis...and who knows...maybe the 2 teams could switch place in the standings next year. Wouldn't that be nice?

As one would expect, the Cubs look like they are going through the motions. It has been a very long season, there is only 15 games left. With tonight's loss the Cubs dropped to 3 games under .500.

Friday - Glendon Rusch(6-8/4.62) vs. Matt Morris(14-8/4.04)

Matt Morris will go for the Redbirds on Friday and that could benefit the Cubbies. Morris has lost his last 3 starts against the Cubs. Morris started the season very strong and has cooled down lately. Glendon Rusch has pitched better in his last 2 starts and even had a perfect game into the 7th inning his last start against the Cardinals. The bullpen has been used to much in the last 3 games and Rusch will need to pitch into the 7th or the 8th for the Cubs to win. DLee could use help, who will step up? Nomar? Murton? Burnie? Walker? Hopefully a day game will wake up the offense and the Cubs can get back in the win column.

Be patient, bring the bats...and just beat those birds!!


Same OLD Song and Dance

Cubs 4 Reds 7

FUNDAMENTAL BASEBALL. According to Merriam-Webster .com the definition of fundamental is of central importance or belonging to one's innate or ingrained characteristics. I am going to email this to Dusty's boys.

The Cubs had plenty of chances tonight to put away the Reds and did not. They had a chance to win the game in the 8th with Lee on 3rd and Nomar on 1st with no outs. Burnie popped up and Barrett got hit in the head to load the bases. Barrett is O.K. and walked off the field on his own power. Murton then ground to 3rd, force out at home and Neifi popped up to end the inning (on the 1st pitch). Winning run left on 3rd. The Cubs missed the cut-off man, gave up the go ahead run on a balk (for the 2nd time this year against the Reds) and tried to force a play at second in the 11th inning that cost them the game.

The lack of fundamentals have cost the Cubs all year and tonight cost them a chance at getting to .500. I never thought I would be so excited about the Cubs getting to .500 as I have been in the past month. The last time the Cubs were at .500 was August 4th. At this point the playoffs are gone and a winning season is all there is to root for. If they could pull that out, it would be the 1st time since 1970, 1971 and 1972 the Cubs had 3 winning seasons in a row.

As good as the bullpen pitched last night, they were just as bad tonight. Jerome Williams pitched his best game of the year at Wrigley and should have gotten the win. Jerome went 7 strong innings and only allowed 1 run on 8 hits. Then here comes the bullpen. Novoa gave up 2 and Ohman balked in the go ahead run. Dempster and Wuertz held the Reds in check. Jermaine Van Buren walked the leadoff hitter in the 11th and Dusty brought in Rich Hill. Hill loaded the bases and gave up a 3 run double to Sean Casey...game over.

The young Cubs all played like rookies tonight. I have been singing the praises of Matt Murton....well tonight Matt Murton had one of his worst games as a Cub. I think this guy will be something special, just not tonight. Murton ended up 0-5 and left 8 runners on base, including 2 times with the bases loaded. Hopefully Murton will learn from this and he will become a better ball player. A baseball player has to put his team above himself...see Derrek Lee.

No more Reds until 2006....

There is a joke that goes 'an optimist sees the glass half full, a pessimist see the glass half empty and a Cubs' fan waits for it to spill'...that sums up tonight.

Thursday - The St. Louis Cardinals

Mark Prior(11-5/3.64) vs. Jeff Suppan(14-10/3.69)

Thursday starts a 4 game series against the Cardinals. This is the Cubs last 4 games against the Cardinals and hopefully the Cubs can play them as tough as they have all year. A win this weekend will give the Cardinals the Central Division Title for 2005. I do not want to see that at Wrigley...but we all know it is going to happen sometime this weekend. The Cubs are back to 2 games under .500 and anything less than winning the series will put a big dent in the chance of a winning season. The Cubs are a better team than the one that played the Reds...or are they?

Play hard, play smart, be patient...and just have FUNdamentals.


Finally...A Cubs Win!

Cubs 4 Reds 3

The Cubs finally beat the Reds tonight in the bottom of the 10th inning. Tonight's come from behind win ends a 6 game losing streak against the boys from Cincinnati. Matt Murton led off the bottom of the 10th with a single and scored on a Todd Walker single to end the game. This was not a pretty win...but a win is a win.

Zambrano pitched a good game. Big Z went 6 innings only giving up 3 runs on 3 hits and striking out 9. Carlos has become a real stopper for the Cubs when they need it..and the bullpen came up big tonight. Williamson, Ohman, Novoa and Dempster all did their jobs and held the Reds scoreless. Micheal Wuertz pitched the 10th for the win. It was not a pretty performance from the bullpen, but remember a win is a win. Derrek Lee had another good night going 2 for 4 with a home run and a RBI. But it was Matt Murton that had the BIG night.

Murton ended up going 3 for 5 with a RBI and 2 runs scored. He also hit his 2nd triple of his career and hustled all night long. Murton was responsible for 3 of the 4 Cubs' runs tonight. The past 2 nights there have been 2 Cub veterans that have not run out balls hit in the infield and both times it cost the Cubs. Last night the lack of hustle from Todd Walker cost the Cubs the game and tonight it almost happened again. Then there is Matt Murton...he is running out every play, every ground ball and doing everything he can to help the team win. He is a rookie and knows how-to-play-baseball better than some of the vets. Dusty has to let Murton play out the season in left field. He is going to make mistakes, but the good of Matt Murton out weighs the bad.

With tonight's win the Cubs pull back to within 1 game of .500.

Wednesday - Jerome Williams(5-8/4.52) vs. Randy Keisler(2-0/6.69)

Wednesday the Cubs go for the series win. Jerome Williams will go for the Cubs and his starts this year at Wrigley have been very inconsistant. Williams is 1-5/5.73 at Wrigley this year and is 4-1/2.93 on the road. Dusty needs to put him in a hotel tonight.... Williams has to pitch well for the Cubs to win tomorrow. If Williams has a rough start look for Rich Hill to make an appearance. Hill has not been used since his callup and should have a fresh arm. Randy Keisler will make his first start of the season tomorrow and if the Cubs can be patient they should be able to win. Nomar needs to get hot again tomorrow and help put the Reds away early. Tomorrow is the last game of the season vs. the Reds (thank goodness) and a win would be great. Wouldn't it be nice to be .500 again?

Be patient, get on 'em early...and just win!!

The Cubs Faithful MVP

During the Cubs-Reds game on Tuesday night. Derrek Lee made history. In the 1st inning off of Eric Milton, Lee hit his 42nd home of the season to go along with 100 RBI's. Derrek Lee is the first Cub to total 100 runs scored, 100 RBIs, 40 home runs and 40 doubles.


Transactions, Thoughts and Useless Information?

While the Cubs play the Reds, thought I would catch up on what has been going on.

On Monday, September 12th the Cubs called up Ryan Theriot from AA West Tenn Diamond Jaxx. Theriot is an infielder and was the Diamond Jaxx Most Valuable Player in 2005. According to cubs.com Ryan Theriot is a native of Baton Rouge, La. and Theriot (TARE-ee-oh) batted .304 with 28 doubles and 53 RBIs for West Tenn. He's the third player in Diamond Jaxx history to hit .300 or better for an entire season.

On Tuesday, the Cubs called up outfielder Ben Grieve from AAA Iowa. The Iowa Cubs season is over and Grieve had gone home. Dusty decided the Cubbies needed another left handed batter off of the bench, so they ended Grieve's vacation.

FYI - Cubs' Centerfielder Corey Patterson is hitting .163 since the All Star break and has yet to decide if he will play winter ball. On a similar note, Ronny Cedeno has announced he feels he could use extra work and will play winter ball. Cedeno is hitting .300 for the Cubs this season in 40 games.

Cubs' Hall of Fame Pitcher Ferguson Jenkins sang the 7th inning stretch during Tuesday's game. It was good to hear Fergie, especially with Ron Santo. Jenkins is one of only 2 pitchers in Major League history with over 3000 strikeouts and under 1000 walks...the other is Greg Maddux. Jenkins pitched over 300 innings 4 straight years for the Cubs between 1968 and 1971. Ferguson Jenkins was a member of the Cubs from 1966-1973 and 1982-1983.

The West Tenn Diamond Jaxx(AA) will play Jacksonville in the Southern League Championship best-of-five series. The series starts on Tuesday in Jacksonville. The Diamond Jaxx swept Carolina in the first round, 3-0.

Keep on reading and watch for major changes to this site...


The Friendly Confines?

Cubs 2 Reds 5

The Cubs could not get it done against the Reds tonight. What made them a success on the road could not carry over to Wrigley Field. During the 8 win road trip, the best the Cubs have had since 1993, they got timely hitting and good pitching. Tonight....well...

Tonight they got good starting pitching from Greg Maddux, but nothing else. Nomar and Matt Murton had a good night. It seemed everytime Nomar got on, Walker would hit into a double play or a fielder's choice. Murton hit his 4th homerun of the year. The top of the Cubs' lineup ended up going 1-12, with Hariston getting the only hit. It is a shame Maddux did not get the win, he only allowed 2 runs, 2 solo homeruns, but did not receive any run support. Maddux is now 12-12 and with maximum of 3 starts left, his shot at 15 seems very unlikely.

The bullpen did not show up tonight, I think someone forgot to get them off the plane. Ohman got the first 2 outs in the 9th and then walked the next 2 batters. Dusty pulled Ohman and brought in Sergio Mitre. Yep, you got it. Mitre gave up a 3 run homer to Willy Mo Pena. Got ahead 0-2 and then hung a curve ball(I thought Santo was going to have a heart attack). Hopefully the Cubs will be able to package Mitre in a trade this offseason. Other than the 2 starts early in the year, Mitre has been a disappointment on the Major League level.

Just when I thought the Cubs might get back to .500, they ran into the Reds. Why is it that the Cubs can beat the Cardinals and the Astros, but not the Reds? Why does the Cubs make the Reds' pitching staff look like Hall of Famers? At the end of the season it will be games like tonight that Dusty should look back on as examples of what to improve on for next season.

The Cubs also announced today that Ronny Cedeno did break his hand on Saturday and will likely be out for the rest of the season. GREAT! ARam might be back in a week, but I think they should shut him down for the long offseason.

Tonight's loss was very disappointing. The Cubs played so well on the road...it is a shame they had to go home.

Tuesday - Carlos Zambrano(13-5/3.18) vs. Eric Milton(7-14-6.63)

Zambrano has to come out and shut down the Reds offense. The Reds have won the last 6 in a row vs. the Cubs. Big Z has to be the stopper. Milton threw his best game of the season the last time he faced the Cubs. The Cubs need to get a good night's sleep and light up Milton like the rest of the league has. Milton has been a huge disappointment for the Reds this season and if the Cubs could get on top early, they could get into Milton's head. Burnie should be back in the lineup tomorrow.

Be patient, get up early...and just win!!!


A Team Effort by the Bay

Cubs 3 Giants 2

The Cubs finished the road trip today with a big win over the Giants. The Cubs got down early on an RBI single by Moises Alou in the first inning. Nomar kept his hot bat going and singled and scored in the 3rd on the triple by Todd Walker. Matt Murton got a start today against the right hander Tomko and hit his 3rd home run of the year. Glendon Rusch had a quality start and deserved the win, but got a no decision in today's game.

The break came in the 8th with 2 outs. LaTroy Hawkins retired the first 2 Cubs he faced, including a strikeout of Corey Patterson...surprise, surprise. Hariston then doubled off of Hawkins and Neifi Perez doubled home Hariston to give the Cubs the lead. Williamson and Dempster held the Giants and the Cubs finished the road trip 8-2. Dempster picked up his 27th save. Where has this been all year?

This has been a very impressive road trip. The Cubs had different contributors in every game. One night was Nomar, the next was Burnie, Cedeno and Murton, DLee had a couple and today was Neifi. This road trip was the first time I saw a Cubs TEAM this entire season. I hope they can go home and have the same success. The Cubs are now 1 game under .500 and tied for 3rd with the Brewers.

Back to Chicago and the Cincinnati Reds

Monday - Greg Maddux(12-11/4.28) vs. Aaron Herang(9-12/3.60)

Monday starts a 7 game homestand vs. the Reds and the Cardinals. For the 1st time in history the Cubs will have 4 night games in a row to start the homestand. Maddux will go on Monday and to have a chance at 15 wins he cannot lose again this year. Maddux has to bring his A game against a very dangerous Reds team. The Reds have played the Cubs tough for the last few years and let us not forget the series sweep in early August. The Reds offense is one of the best in the league, it is their pitching that is questionable. Aaron Herang will go tomorrow night and he beat the Cubs his last time out. As with all pitchers, the Reds staff will buckle if the Cubs show patience at the plate. A win tomorrow will get the Cubs back to .500.

Be patient, no extra outs, pitch like a Hall of Famer...and just win.


Notes from the Soap Box

I found this info on the web to help prove my point about Ronny Cedeno and Matt Murton.

Here is the Cubs' record with Murton playing:
- 17-14 .548 in games he's played (89-73 projected)
- 11-8 .579 in games he's started (94-68 projected)

Here is the Cubs' record with Cedeno playing:
- 13-26 in games he's played (54-108 projected)
- 8-11 in games started (68-94 projected)

However, the Cubs are 5-5 .500 in games where Murton & Cedeno start...they are hardly hurting the team while learning to play at the Major League level and no worse than the seasoned veterans, considering the sub .500 record.

Here is the good news. The Cubs are now 4-2 (.667 win %) with Murton and Cedeno in the lineup since Murton was recalled to fill Ramirez's roster spot. The Cubs are 5-1 (.833 win %) in games Murton has played since returning and they're 6-3 (.667 win %) in games played by Cedeno since he returned on August 26th.

There are the numbers...and we all know numbers do not lie...I will keep you posted on this.

SOURCE: Yahoo Sports game log statistics for Murton & Cedeno.

Finish What Ya Started

Cubs 5 Giants 2

It is not how you start, but how you end...and Mark Prior proved that today. Prior had a very bad 1st inning, giving up 2 runs and throwing 40 pitches. Wellemeyer actually started warming up in the pen. But Prior settled down and held the Giants in check for the rest of the game. Prior has had 1 bad inning in every start this season and he held to that form today. He had to many 3-2 counts all day long. Prior's pitches were close...but he was not getting the calls. He ended up throwing 122 pitches.

The offense played very good today. Blanco came through..again. Since he switched his number from 9 to 24 he has been on fire. Lee had another RBI and 2 doubles today. Lee's RBI gave him 99 for the year, a new career high. He should have broken 100, but a ground rule double kept that from happening. Burnie had a 2 RBI game as well. Just a good performance..with a couple of things...

Ronny Cedeno was hit by a pitch in the 2nd inning and the X-Rays were negative. But the Cubs' trainer Mark O'Neal thinks there might be a hairline fracture and Cedeno will see a specialist on Monday when the team returns to Chicago. O'Neal said if he is right the possible point of the fracture is not in a 'bad place on his hand'. I do not know about you, but a fracture is a fracture. It is on his left hand, his non-throwing hand. So that is good news...this is a storyline that I will keep an eye on.

Corey Patterson....why is he leading off? Not only should Corey not be hitting leadoff, he should not be playing at all. Patterson needs to sit, put Hariston in center and Dusty needs to find out what Matt Murton is made of. Patterson went 0-5 and his batting average dropped to .219...look out Mendoza here comes CPat. Hopefully only 20 more games with Patterson.

With today's win the Cubs moved back to 2 games under .500 and into a tie for 3rd in the Central Division with the Brewers. The Cubs are 7-2 in September and on this road trip.

Sunday - Glendon Rusch(6-8/4.67) vs. Brett Tomko(7-14/4.71)

Like all of the games of late, Sunday's series finale is big for Glendon Rusch and the Cubs. Rusch showed what he is capable of in his last start vs. the Cardinals and with Bonds not playing, Rusch needs to build on his last start. A win tomorrow is big to finish this road trip 8-2 heading home 1 game under to face the dangerous Cincinnati Reds. The Cubs goal for the year has changed. The new goal is to have a winning record and a win on Sunday will go a long way to meet that goal. Tomko has always pitched the Cubs tough and with Cedeno out of the lineup, Murton and Nomar need to pick up the slack.

Be patient, keep hitting...and just win.


The House of Cain

Cubs 1 Giants 2

The Giants rookie pitcher Matt Cain shut the Cubs down tonight. Cain gave up only 1 hit, a homerun to Derek Lee(41) over the first 8 innings. Hariston added the 2nd Cub hit in the 9th and I can see why the Giants are so high on this guy. Cain out pitched Jerome Williams, who only allowed 2 runs, 1 earned in 7 innings. Williams on any other night would have won this game. Williams had a quality start, one I hope he can build on for the rest of the season.

This was a very quick game, just under 2 1/2 hours. Quality starting pitching and not much offense. Williams gave up 7 hits and the error by Neifi Perez cost the Cubs the win.

Dusty scratched Cedeno from the starting lineup, and I do not know why...yet. Cedeno was posted as the starter, I hope he is not hurt. Cedeno has been playing better than Neifi of late and Dusty would be better off with Cedeno in the lineup. Could Cedeno have made the play? We will never know...but Dusty has to put the best players on the field. PERIOD.

Patterson went hitless again tonight and after last night's pick-off at first base, what can he provide the Cubs with for the rest of the season? Like Cedeno, Dusty needs to play Murton as often as possible to give the Cubs a chance to win. Murton was on base 3 times last night, I do not remember the last time I can say that about Patterson.

After tonight's game, I am going to continue to be on the Cedeno/Muton bandwagon. I really feel these guys are doing a better job than Perez and Patterson. With the tying run on 1st base in the 9th tonight, Neifi swung at the 1st pitch (from a rookie) and popped it straight up. Why is a veteran doing this? A veteran should know to make a rookie work to earn the win. Neifi just gift wrapped it.

The Cubs did not play bad tonight, they just did not play the right guys. Let the vets sit...play the kids and finish above .500. A future star just won tonight...

Saturday - Mark Prior(10-5/3.69) vs. Brad Hennessey(4-6/4.96)

Mark Prior is losing his hold as the 'ace' of the Cubs staff and he needs to remind us how he earned that title tomorrow. The Giants still have hopes of the playoffs and with Bonds coming back, who knows what can happen in the NL West. Blanco should catch tomorrow's game, which will help. Hennessey is a right hander, so who knows if Cedeno and Murton will play. The Cubs can beat the Giants with Prior on the mound. The Cubs should show a little more patience at the plate tomorrow, go deep in the count and make the pitcher work. There were entirely to many 1st pitch swings tonight. The Cubs can still leave the bay 1 game under.

Play the kids, be patient...and just win.

Zambrano World

Cubs 5 Giants 3

It is becoming pretty obvious that this is Carlos Zambrano's World and we all just live in it. What can Big Z not do? He is 7-1 since the All-Star break. He is hitting .286 (.63 points higher than Patterson). He struck out the last five batters he faced last night and scored the go ahead run, after a single to start the inning. Zambrano ended up going 2 for 2. The big moment that impressed me was when the Giants came back to tie the game, Zambrano looked like he was going to have one of his classic meltdowns. He calmed down and continued to play the game. Zambrano is quickly becoming one of the top 5 pitchers in the league and yes, the ACE of the Cubs. Can Prior and Wood ever catch up?

Ronny Cedeno had his first 3 hit game of his career and continued playing a VERY good shortstop. Nomar continued his hot streak, driving in 3 RBI's, including the 2 to give the Cubs the lead. And what more can I say about Derek Lee? A triple with 2 outs...on a winning team he would be the National League MVP.

Hats off to Jerry Hariston Jr. He made 2 of the best catches you will ever see in centerfield, ala Jim Edmonds. Check out mlb.com to see the highlights. Hariston has been playing a lot better after his return from the DL.

The Cubs are now 6-1 in September and 2 games under .500, tied for 3rd with the Brewers. Where has this been all year?

Friday - Jerome Williams(5-7/4.77) vs. Matt Cain(1-1/2.25)

Jerome Williams will make his first start against his former team on Friday. Williams was acquired in May from the Giants, along with David Aardsma for LaTroy Hawkins. Williams will have his hands full with a very talented Giants lineup that could include Barry Bonds. Williams has to have his A-game on Friday. He is facing Matt Cain, a young phenom, who is only 20 years old, and was listed as the top prospect in the Giants system when the season started. Hopefully Dusty will continue to play Cedeno who has recorded multiple hits in 4 of the last 7 games that he has played, and has also scored 5 runs in 7 games. A win on Friday would bring the Cubs to within 1 game of .500 with 21 games left in the season.

Play the kids, be patient....and just win!!!


Transactions, Thoughts and Useless Information?

While the Cubs start their visit at the Bay, I thought this would be a good time to share some information. This is my first in game post. Check back on Friday for the Thursday night wrap up.

The Cubs finished their September call-ups this week. Geovany Soto and John Koronka joined Rich Hill and Sergio Mitre to complete the callups from AAA Iowa. This is Geovany Soto's first trip to the Major Leagues.

The Cubs have announced Ronny Cedeno will participate in Winter ball this year. The Cubs would like Cedeno to learn how to play 2nd base. I agree in making Cedeno well rounded, but I do not like this idea. I would love to see Nomar back and at 2nd base. Does this mean Hendry is going after Atlanta's Rafael Furcal? Furcal plays shortstop and is a good leadoff hitter. Furcal will be a free-agent at the end of the year and demand a HUGE contract.

Kerry Wood's shoulder surgery went well and he is back with the Cubs doing his rehab. Woody is planning on being in Mesa in late February in time for Spring Training. He has also said he is looking to rejoin the starting rotation. I have almost got my sign finished, 'Kerry for Closer in '06'...stay tuned for this one.

Last night was the last game at Busch Stadium and there have been many connections with the Cubs and Cardinals over the years. Here are some...and in no particular order:

-Harry Caray started his career as the play-by-play voice of the St. Louis Cardinals. He broadcast for Cardinals' radio for 25 years.

-Hall of Famer Lou Brock was originally a member of the Chicago Cubs.

-On September 7, 1998, Mark McGuire hit his 62nd home run of the year to break the record of 61 held by Roger Maris....against the Cubs at Busch Stadium.

-Bruce Sutter, the Cardinals all-time save leader, was originally a member of the Cubs from 1976-1980.

-Hall of Fame Relief Pitcher Dennis Eckersley was a starting pitcher for the Cubs from 1984-1986.

The Cubs will conclude the season series against the Cardinals next week end, September 15-September 18.

Time for the Giants...and just win.


Down Goes the Cardinals!

Cubs 2 Cardinals 1

The Cubs won their first season series at Busch Stadium since 1995 tonight. Maddux beat Mark Mulder for the 2nd time this year to earn his 12th win of the season and the 317th of his career. Maddux threw another great game and even pitched himself out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the 3rd inning. With tonight's game, Maddux passed his 400 innings needed to be back with the Cubs in 2006. The option is a part of the contract he signed before the 2004 season and is worth $9 million dollars. Maddux pitched 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball and the Cubs offense did just enough to win the game.

All of the scoring for the Cubs came in the 2nd inning. Perez had a RBI double and then Matt Murton had a single to right to drive in Perez. Mulder pitched very well, but Maddux and company just plain beat him tonight. Dempster came in for a nail bitting 9th to pickup his 24th save of the year.

The Cubs are the only team in the Central Division to have a winning record against the Cardinals this year. Why could they not play like this against the rest of the league? With tonight's win the Cubs are 5-1 in September, and on this road trip, and are back to 3 games under .500.

Anytime the Cubs take 2 out of 3 from the Cardinals is a reason to celebrate.

Time to head to the left coast..and The San Francisco Giants

Thursday - Carlos Zambrano(12-5/3.16) vs. Noah Lowry(12-11/3.71)

The big question for Thursday's game is will Barry Bonds be in the lineup or not? And if he is, will the Cubs pitch to him? The Giants have been playing good ball lately winning their last 7 of 8 before Wednesday's night game against the Dodgers. They do not need Barry to win, but who knows what Alou will do. This will be another homecoming for Dusty and the 2nd series of the year against Moises Alou. The Giants have always played the Cubs tough and Zambrano needs to continue to pitch well to give them a chance to win. Zambrano is 6-1 since the All-Star break. Dusty needs to play the kids. Nomar and DLee must keep hitting for the Cubs to have a chance. This is a big 4 game series before heading home to face the Reds. A sweep would put the Cubs above .500....well..I can dream can't I?

Get rest, enjoy the plane ride...and just win!!!



Tomorrow is the end of an era when the Cubs play their last game in 'Old' Busch Stadium. The Cubs played their first game at Busch Stadium on May 24, 1966. The Cubs won the game 2-0 and the Cubs lineup included Billy Williams(RF), Ron Santo(3B), Ernie Banks(1B), Glenn Beckert(2B), Don Kessinger(SS), Randy Hundley(C), Adolfo Phillips(CF), Bryon Browne(LF) and Bill Hands was the pitcher. We know Greg Maddux will pitch tomorrow, and that is very fitting, but who will Dusty have in the lineup and will it be as successful? A crowd of 15,790 was on hand for the first game and over 47,000 will be there tomorrow night.

The Cardinals have pretty much owned the Cubs in St. Louis over the past several years, so I am glad they will have a new address next year.

Thanks to ESPN building up the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, the media has forgotten about the Cubs and Cardinals. To me the Cubs/Cardinals rivalry is the best in the game.

What I find very interesting is that ESPN is not showing this game. Why? If the Yankees and Red Sox were to play on a Little League field in the middle of nowhere, they would show that game. Why is this different?

This game does not need the hype, the TRADITION is there.


Will The Real Glendon Rusch Please Step Forward?

Cubs 5 Cardinals 2

Glendon Rusch threw one of the best games of his career tonight. Rusch actually had a Perfect Game going through the first 6 innings. David Eckstein led off the 7th with a single up the middle and the thought of the 'perfecto' was over.

Those out there that did not see or hear this game missed something very special. Not only was a Cub pitcher throwing this well, but it was a Cub pitcher against the (blank) Cardinals. IT WAS GREAT!! I just wish I could have heard Ron Santo.

Derek Lee, Nomar, Neifi and Patterson supplied all the offense the Cubs needed. DLee actually hit his 40th homer on his 30th birthday. And the Cubs pounded out 13 hits against a very good Cardinals staff. The bullpen did it's job and Dempster recorded his 23 save.

This was a very good game and I think there will be more like this in '06!

Wednesday - Greg Maddux(11-11/4.41) vs. Mark Mulder(15-6/3.62)

The Cubs play their last game in 'Old' Busch Stadium tomorrow. The Cubs won the first game they ever played there and hopefully they can finish the way they started. Maddux will have his hands full with this line-up, but he needs the win to have a shot at 15. Mulder is one of the best pitchers in the league and after losing his last game against the Cubs will be hard to beat tomorrow. A win tomorrow will bring the Cubs to within 3 games of .500, and most importantly win the series against the Cards.

Be patient and...just win!!


Hang 'Em High

Cubs 4 Cardinals 6

In this case it was a curve ball to Albert Pujols that did in the Cubs. With the game tied 2-2 in the 8th inning. Dusty brought in Roberto Novoa to face the top of the Cards line-up. Novoa walked Eckstein and gave up an infield single to Nunez. Before I go any further, I would like to say Ronny Cedeno made a great play on the single by Nunez and almost nailed him at first. The throw was a little off the mark and pulled Derek Lee off the bag. This was one of those plays that makes me look forward to Cedeno being the Cubs everyday shortstop. It was AWESOME. Back to the game...Novoa ran the count to 2 and 2 and then hung a curve ball to Pujols that left Busch Stadium VERY QUICKLY.

Pujols is one of those players that you do not like because he plays for the other team, not because he is a 'bad' guy. All reports that I have read say he is a top notch person, as well as ball player. So it stinks to see him do well because he is a Cardinal, but it is good to see because of what you read about him. Then there is Jim Edmonds...

Edmonds hit a solo shot right behind Pujols to pretty much put the game out of reach. Dusty brought in Will Ohman to face Edmonds and this is one of the few mistakes Ohman has made all year. Ohman has been a very bright spot on an otherwise dim bullpen.

The offense played well today and Nomar kept hot. Burnie delivered a big 2 out single to tie the game. Prior pitched very well. He only gave up 2 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings. A very good start against a very good team. The only problem I had today, beside them losing, was the fact that Dusty pinch hit for Cedeno in the 9th with the bases loaded.

Dusty pinch hit Cedeno with Jose Macias and Macias did his job with a sac fly to drive in a run. But why not leave Cedeno in? See what the kid is made of and if necessary let him fail. Do not take him out, for a far less talented player, and send the message to him that you do not trust him. Dusty is a player's manager and I can respect that, but a player's manager must learn to trust young players until they prove otherwise. Both Murton and Cedeno seem and act like they want to be there and to learn, do not discourage this. Lead them and they will follow.

Tuesday - Glendon Rusch(5-8/4.83) vs. Matt Morris(14-6/3.91)

Tuesday is a BIG GAME for Glendon Rusch. After his last several outings Dusty has to have him on a short leash. Look for the bullpen to be ready early and often. Sergio Mitre was recalled from Iowa and pitched today. Dusty has a lot of arms in the pen to rely on tomorrow. The Cubs need this win to have a shot at .500 and 3rd place. Nomar needs to stay hot and the kids MUST PLAY in order to win. Patterson is just playing out the string. Murton wants to be there.

If you play them...and just win!!!


Get Out The Broom

Cubs 2 Pirates 0

For the first time since July 8 - July 10 against the Marlins, the Cubs earned a series sweep. I know it is the Pirates, but a sweep is a sweep. The 2005 Cubs have not beaten the teams they should and this weekend they did.

Jerome Williams had a very good outing. He went 7 1/3, allowing only 4 hits while striking out 5. The bullpen held the lead and Dempster recorded his 22 save of the year.

Nomar continued his hot streak going 2 for 4 with his 2nd homer of the series, 6th overall. Burnie supplied the only other RBI the Cubs needed. There were 2 times today the Cubs got a lead off double and failed to score. The lack of small ball might have cost them the game against a better team. But a win is still a win. The Cubs are 4 games under with 26 left to play...now for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Monday - Labor Day in St. Louis

Mark Prior(10-5/3.72) vs. Jeff Suppan(13-10/3.90)

The Cubs start a 3 game series with the Cardinals. This is the last visit to the current Busch Stadium. The Cardinals will open their new park, inspired by Wrigley Field, in 2006. The Cubs have played very well against the Central Division and the Cardinals this year. Nomar gets a chance to return to St. Louis where his season was cut short in April. The Cardinals are tuning up for the playoffs and will look to beat up on the Cubbies. Dusty needs to play Murton and Cedeno to have a shot at winning this series. The Cubs are playing for pride and jobs at this point. Prior will have his hands full with the best offense in the National League. Who knows....maybe we will see another glimpse of the future in St. Louis this week...the Cards are getting old and the Cubs are getting younger by the day...I choose youth. Shut down Pujols and...well....just win!


Extra! Extra! Extra!

Cubs 9 Pirates 5

Just when I thought I had Dusty figured out, he goes and changes the line-up again...and it worked. The Cubs had 13 hits today and 7 were for extra bases. Hariston had a good day going 1 for 3 with 3 runs scored and Henry Blanco added a 3 for 5 day with a home run and 3 runs scored. But it was the rookies that came through again.

Ronny Cedeno had another fine day in the field and at the plate. He went 2 for 4 with a RBI and a double. While Matt Murton hit his second home run of the season and went 2 for 5. I have been saying, these guys are playmakers and should be in the line-up everyday. Cedeno and Murton are going to make their share of mistakes, but the experience will play a big part in the Cubs' success for years to come.

Nomar played well again today and continued to showcase his abilities for other teams in the off-season. Although Todd Walker has been a good pick-up for the Cubs, I will wonder if Nomar at 2nd in 2006 would be the best move the Cubs could make. With Nomar's recent injuries, he cannot demand the high dollar contract that he could have a couple of years ago. With his recent play at 3rd, the Cubs would have a back-up for Ramirez, a back-up for Cedeno and the best offensive bat at 2nd base since Sandberg. The Nomar experiment at 2nd would not cost the Cubs a lot of money and could pay big...as in wins. This is not the last time I will bring this up...

Zambrano pitched well again today. Before the 8th inning, he only allowed 2 runs. Like Prior, Dusty left Zambrano in too long. Allowing Prior and Zambrano to pitch too many innings in September could come back to haunt Dusty in '06. Dusty needs to find out what he has in his bullpen and if he cannot trust those guys, LET THEM GO.

Sunday - Jerome Williams(4-7/5.20) vs. Kip Wells(7-14/4.66)

The Cubs go for the sweep tomorrow and they need it before heading to St. Louis. Williams has been very inconsistant for the Cubs this year and needs to let his last start be a memory. The young Bucs cannot feel good about the last two games and the Cubs need to get on them early and finish them off mentally. They have done a good job the past 2 games at not playing to the level of their competition and need to keep that up. A win tomorrow would be a great lift to head to St. Louis and would get them to 4 games under with 26 to play. A winning record and a third place finish in the division would be a great way to head into the off-season.

If you play them...just beat the Bucs!!


3 Strikes and the Pirates Are Out

Cubs 7 Pirates 3

The Cubbies started September off in the win column. With Derek Lee out nursing a bruise on his foot, the Cubs pitchers struck out 13 and allowed only 3 runs.

Greg Maddux started the game and won his 11th of the year. He had a very strong performance, but had to leave in the 6th after giving up 2 runs and having runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Michael Wuertz came in and gave his best performance of the year. After a wild pitch allowed the runners to advance to 2nd and 3rd, Wuertz reached back and struck out the next three batters he faced. Williamson and Novoa held the Pirates and Dempster got his 21st save of the year. This was one of the best team pitching performances of the year. Maddux can still get to 15...keep it up.

Nomar kept hot and had a 2 run homer. All of Nomar's homers, 5, have come since his return from the DL on August 1st, 21 games. Nomar also had a great defensive play at 3rd that preserved the win for Maddux. Nomar will make a good pick-up in the off season, I just hope he can stay in Chicago and play second.

Dusty was right with the line-up today. The vets came through. How does the saying go? 'In Dusty We Trusty!'

Saturday - Carlos Zambrano(11-5/3.04) vs. Dave Williams(10-10/4.21)

The Cubs get a brunch game tomorrow. An 11:35am C.D.T. start time. Let's all hope the coffee kicks in and they can win the 2nd game of the series. Zambrano has pitched well his last several starts and Blanco should catch tomorrow's game. Big Z can shut those guys down and maybe the offense will keep rolling. Rich Hill got the call-up today and he should be available in the bullpen. Look for Neifi to play again tomorrow. He is hitting over .500 for the year against the Pirates and went 3 for 5 tonight. Murton should get the start tomorrow. Hopefully this is a start of a winning month...just win!!


Transactions, Thoughts and Useless Information?

While the Cubs rest...

On Monday, August 29th the Cubs traded OF Todd Hollandsworth to the Atlanta Braves for 2 minor league pitchers. Todd Blackford and Angelo Burrows. Blackford was drafted in 2004 by the Braves and is in Class A ball. Burrows, 25, is a converted outfielder who is also in Class A ball. Both pitchers are projects and should be interesting to watch their career.

On Tuesday, August 30th the Cubs called up Jermaine Van Buren, 25, from AAA Iowa. Van Buren is a right handed reliever that picked up his 25th save on Monday for The Iowa Cubs. His first appearance on Thursday, was his Major League debut. According to cubs.com, Van Buren had a 1.98 ERA in 52 relief appearances, and was honored with a selection to the all-Pacific Coast League team. This is one of the young arms that we have heard so much about.

Did you know? The last Cubs player to wear #23 before Ryne Sandberg was current Dodgers' manager Jim Tracy. Tracy was a member of the Cubs in the 1980 & 1981 seasons.

It was great to see Ron Cey sing the 7th Inning Stretch on Tuesday night. 'The Penguin' was a big part of the Cubs success in the 1984 season. Cey signed with the Cubs in 1983, after playing with the Dodgers his entire career. Cey was a member of the Cubs from 1983-1986.

Kerry Wood's surgery went well on Wednesday. According to cubs.com, Wood underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder. The surgery entailed reinforcement of the labrum, debridement of the rotator cuff and debridement of the bursa. Beginning Monday, September 5, Wood will begin an exhaustive four-month rehabilitation program to regain range of motion and strength. He is expected to be ready for the start of the 2006 season. This is the first good move of the 2006 season.

Did You Know? Mike Remlinger was DFA'd by the Red Sox last week. He did not do well in their bullpen and currently is not on a Major League roster.

I am very surprised that the Cubs did not make anymore moves. I really thought Todd Walker would be traded. I still do not think he will be in their plans for next year, but who knows. I wish they could have gotten something for the guys that will be free-agents. Walker really loves Chicago...but I like the idea of Nomar at 2nd.

The September call ups were not announced today. The call-ups should be done before tomorrow night's game in Pittsburgh. Look for the Cubs to call up Rich Hill and Sergio Mitre. As far as possibilities, Felix Pie, Eric Patterson(Corey's little brother), John Koronka, Angel Guzman, Geovany Soto, Ben Grieve and David Kelton. Eric Patterson is supposed to be better than Corey, with the year CPat has had, let's all hope so.

If you play them, you will win!!!