Every now and again, baseball schedule makers do something right.
Scheduling the Cubs at home for a holiday weekend is nothing short of brilliant. I got home from work a bit early today and turned on the Cubs game. They’re gridlocked in a 5-5 game with the Phillies and it’s a game between two teams where there couldn’t be much less on the line. But oh man, to be a Chicagoan with a healthy functioning liver on this sunny day in Wrigleyville. It’s equivalent to a life in paradise. And win or lose – they’ll celebrate in Chicago tonight like it was a make or break day at the old ballyard today for the futile Cubs.
You know they’ll be twisting doobies with that extra recovery day coming Monday. You know they’ll be drinking those delicious cold 312′s like they’ll only be sold until 2 am and then never offered again. They’ll stumble back to their shanty’s in this big city and then wake (and bake) and do it all over again tomorrow morning like it’s a college football campus.
I can’t wait until the Cubs get good again because I’m going to go up to Chicago and join in the fanfare myself. For the meantime, there’s no better place for baseball to begin a holiday weekend than Wrigley Field, even if the Cubs are once again mired in the throws of mediocrity.
Summer is dwindling, but the Dodgers and Yasiel Puig are staying white-hot.
Puig put another ballgame together. He collected three hits tonight – his 31st multi-hit campaign of his rookie season already – and the Dodgers beat the Cubbies 6-2 late night out in Los Angeles.
A slashing double to right field. A smoke single through the left side. And then this Hollywood bomb about halfway up those neat old yellow bleachers in left field at Chavez Ravine in the bottom of the 8th inning to seal it. Look at the way the ball explodes off his bat, almost unnaturally, almost as if it shouldn’t have been a pitch hit with that trajectory.
In the past 20 years, there’s probably never been a time to have been a Dodger fan like right now. They have it good. This… this is what it must feel like to be on the top of the baseball world at one moment. They’re at that coveted spot.
We kind of had the feeling Yasiel Puig would do this last night in his first game in Chicago. He seems like the kind of guy who likes to start a weekend early – and start the weekend early he did.
The ball was flying out of Wrigley last night like crazy. The Dodgers won the game 6-4, their 12th straight road win. The highlight was clearly Puig catching this low breaking ball and hitting it deep into the Chicago night. Look where this damn shot lands.
The thing is, Puig looked so terrible on a few swings early on in this at bat. Then he adjusted and crushed it. And that is the quality that reminds me of Manny Ramirez in young Puig.
We’re not going to blog about all his bombs, but we saw this one live; and it put the stamp on another Dodger win. This was just before Kenley Jansen entered in the ninth and blew away the Cubs for his 15th save. Right now this Dodgers team is easily the most dangerous team in baseball. I have no problem attaching my name to that statement.
Michael Bowden watches Jay Bruce’s game tying double roll to the wall
The Cubs were at it again tonight but this time Carlos Marmol somehow stayed out of the spotlight. The Cubs are not a great team but they have Theo Epstein so they will probably win a World Series soon despite severed goat’s heads. Tonight it almost seemd liek they would steal one from the Reds. In the top of the 13th the Cubs were able to score 2 runs off of Alfredo Simon on a home run by Luis Valbuena. Going int the bottom of the inning up by 2 runs seemed like a good position to be in. Nobody told Michael Bowden though. This is what happened:
Giving up 4 hits in one inning is a good way to blow a lead. 2 singles, 2 doubles, and 3 runs put the Reds over the top and hung an L on around Michael Bowden’s neck. The Reds have had few one the good side and few on the bad side.
Side note: It seems like the Reds have played 32 extra inning games. In fact they have only played 4 and gone 2-2 in them. Why was I so confused?
When you see a rank relief post you always have a good chance of the Cubs being involved – usually the bad side. Well today they played both parts. The Cubs were looking at a 2-0 victory if they could hold off the Giants in the top of the 9th. Well Kyuji Fujikawa would have none of that. Cubs fans may have thought they got rid of this kind of thing with Carlos Marmol. History and a goat’s head says otherwise. Here’s what Fujikawa did:
One inning, 3 runs. Not what you want out of your new closer.
But remember this is a double dose of rank relief. Sergio Romo was also feeling generous today. Trying to capitalize on the second save chance of the game he entered in the bottom of the 9th.
Details of how Romo gave up the save and the win and moved Fujikawa from the loss to the win column. The best part is giving up a home run to Dioner Navarro. Baseball is funny sometimes.
Tonight in a game at Wrigley Field, the Cubbies defeated the Brewers 6-3 in a game the baseball universe will forget forever in 24 hours. The key to take home is that John Axford was actually responsible for Carlos Marmol getting awarded a win.
Axford did his usual dance steps, entering the game and promptly got Alfonso Soriano to fly out to center. The Hurricane Axford storm clouds were only brewing at that point (no pun), though.
In the bottom of the 8th of a 3-3 ballgame, Axford allowed a double to Nate Schierholtz and a couple of walks. Of course, those men would all score after Axford was removed from the game.
This prompted this Brewers fan to create the ever creative hash-tag of #wiscohatesyou.
John axford literally has no place in society. He should just start running into parked cars. #wiscohatesyou
The lesson to be learned here is that; when John Axford and Carlos Marmol both dress in uniform and are in attendance at the same ballpark, someone is shitting the bed. There’s just no getting around it. Also, if John Axford’s goal ever becomes getting hit by parked cars we have full confidence in him. If ever a guy was on a roll getting hit, Axford’s certainly found his groove.
Apparently licking your fingers is the appropriate response to giving up runs in the bottom of the 9th.
Since it’s going to happen pretty much every night, we’ll continue to highlight the shitty relief performance of the night. (I think we need a name for it). Tonight’s winner was Carlos Marmol. Yes, yes. He did actually record a save. But check out the stat line: 1IP, 1BB, 1K, and a 20.25 ERA. Saves are dumb. Marmol shouldn’t get any kind of positive stat for this performance. He should be punished. I don’t think he hold the closer’s role for whole season because of performances like this. Here’s the play by play:
He got a break getting the double play to end the carnage. Kyuji Fujikawa is likely to get a shot at some point to steal the closer role. I just love the look of a pitcher looking at the hit he just gave up and thinking about whether or not he should bother to back up up home plate. (He did). My greatest fear is that the Tigers are so desperate for a closer they trade for Marmol. (Although they did just sign Jose Valverde back). Don’t do it Detroit. Use Phillip Coke and his beer belly or Al Albuquerque and his sweet name.
I just want to preface this post by saying, you haven’t read a Cubs season preview post until you’ve read our Cubs 2011 season preview post. It could be the Cubs preview post every year, and it should be. But I don’t want anyone to accuse me of laziness other than my wife–so I’m going to give you a real Cubs preview instead of just telling you about how much the Cubs fans love their weed. We also told you that in the 2010 Cubs season preview post. If you haven’t read them yet, you need to. Trust me.
Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of this preview instead of telling you the things you should already know about the Cubbies fan base (hint: they do smoke up a lot!).
Major Off-Season Moves:
Signed Scott Baker
Signed Scott Feldman
Signed Kyuji Fujiwaka
Signed Nate Schierholtz
Signed Carlos Villaneuva
Signed Edwin Jackson
Whew. If that’s not enough to get you excited I don’t know what you were hoping for. The Cubs shored up some spots in the rotation but most of their acquisitions were of stop-gap in nature.
As we experienced first-hand in our first and only trip to Wrigley Field this past spring, Wrigleyville is a hard place not to have a good time. There’s never an excuse not to party. Even if Edwin Jackson headlines your off-season signings, you can still drink 312 beer for breakfast, toke your one-hitter just before passing through the turnstiles into the cathedral and then just space out and get lost staring into that ivy. Continue reading →
This is a great post about polish sausage, Chicago, the Cubs, boozing at the ballpark, and Bill Murray’s love for America’s past time. I had no idea how awesome it would have been to be Bill Murray in the early 90′s until I read this today. [Deadspin]
The Reds clinched a playoff berth today by sweeping the Cubs at Wrigley Field today. They were the first MLB team to clinch, and the victory (accomplished by a mostly scab lineup and with Dusty Baker out of comission) was their 91st of the year.
Sometime in the next day or so, the Reds will clinch the NL Central division. And I’ll follow up with a longer post. Today should have been a small celebration on the inside for the Reds and their fans. But we all know that this isn’t what we were playing for this season. There’s high drama that’s still coming.
For the second time in less than a calendar week, Bryce Harper has homered twice in a game. Name another 19-year old ballplayer who has done that. You can’t.
This time he was cordial enough to do it in front of the hometown fans. And he did it against the Cubs to further torture a fan base that can’t get enough torturing. Way to go, Bryce.
The first one he deposits into the backside power alley off Chris Volstad. Does Volstad do anything these days except give up tape measure shots? I mean just look at this damn thing. It’s a majestic, effortless blast. Ladies you might want to sit down for this.
The second is just a line drive off the facing of the upper deck that looks like it was straight out of a Playstation video game. Ho hum.
Even though it’s supposed to be engrained in my bloodline to hate the Cubs as a Reds fan, I hope the Cubbies have landed a power hitting star in his youth. Baseball is just more fun when the Cubs are relevant.
(*Note: Rizzo posted a .141/.281/.242 in his initial debut with the Padres last year)
The Cubs are letting teams know that nearly everyone but starter Jeff Samardzija is available, two high-ranking team officials told USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because of competitive reasons.
Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster are veterans starters who can fill out the top of a rotation for a contender. Shortstop Starlin Castro already is a star at 22 but can be obtained for two impact prospects. First baseman Bryan LaHair, a surprise bright spot with 10 home runs, can be cleared to make room for top prospect Anthony Rizzo.
And the Cubs gladly will chip in cash for a team to take left fielder Alfonso Soriano and the more than $45 million left on his contract.
I figured the Cubs would try to capitalize on LaHair’s month of fun by way of trade, but dangling Castro? Then again, Castro has just five walks in 2012 and an OBP of .329, which isn’t going to jive with Theo Epstein’s rebuilding plan.
I still say the Cubs allow Castro to stay and become one of the better role-player suppliers around baseball in a short time. It’s too bad really.
Is it wrong that I have sympathy for the Cubs organization and their fans after spending time at the kingdom that is Wrigley Field and Wrigleyville and becoming enchanted?
I’m not a Cubs fan, but Kerry Wood’s name will forever remain synonymous with their emblem. I remember that May 6th, 1998 afternoon like it was yesterday–the 20 strikeout game.
He’s made himself available to pitch out of the bullpen one last time at Wrigley Field in this afternoon’s contest against the Chicago White Sox. After that, he’ll hang up the cleats and close out a 14-year career for good. Hopefully the baseball Gods will have their way with things and make it so.
I think it’s been mentioned in these parts before; but after making a trip to Wrigley a few weekends ago, there’s nothing better to kick off a weekend of fun than a beautiful afternoon game at Wrigley. In a way, Wood’s career ends fittingly.