A League of Her Own

Chicago Cubs Saturday Headlines & Game Thread: Phillies @ Cubs, 12:05 Central


Ted Lilly practices the cha cha for his Dancing with the Stars
turn and gets an RBI in the process



Watch out, NL Central, the Cubs are back!  Now only 9 games under .500 and 9 games behind first place Cincinnati, the scorching Cubs have won two in a row against the mighty Phillies to return themselves to playoff contention. Ted Lilly drove in a run and pitched 7 good innings, and we're all ready for delusions of grandeur.

An impending free agent, Lilly's name has been out there as possible trade bait for a contending team. Like the rest of the Cubs, Lilly hasn't given up on the Cubs being a contender despite a 41-50 record and an 81/2-game deficit in the standings before Friday night's action.

"I would like to be a part of that here," he said. "That's my thought. I'm pretty optimistic. I know that we have a long way to go to make something like that happen. But we do have some talent. I'd certainly like to win a division here.

"We're trying to do something crazy here, like come back from 9 games or whatever."

The real Aramis Ramirez has returned, and he pitched in with the game-wining homer in the 8th.


Speaking of crazy, Ramirez has been crazy good of late. He was 3-for-4 Friday and has hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games, going 24-for-64 (.375) in that stretch. During July, he's batting .400 with 5 homers and 14 RBI.

His game-winning homer came on a 3-2 pitch from reliever Ryan Madson.


Alfonso Soriano helped out the cause Friday by making a diving catch in left.

It might not be a play you see on ''Web Gems,'' but left fielder Alfonso Soriano's running grab of a short fly by Jimmy Rollins to start the Cubs' 4-3 victory Friday certainly got his teammates' attention.

''That was the kind of catch I was working very hard to make, and I want to keep making more of those plays,'' Soriano said. ''When I hit the ground, my mouth hit the ground. Last year, I would not have made that play. I have been working so much with [first-base coach] Ivan DeJesus on that extra step to make plays like that.

''What I am really happy about is [pitcher Ted] Lilly. Everybody is happy for him. And when he batted with the bases loaded and walked, I was very impressed with him. We can't let trade talk be a distraction. If it happens, it happens.''

Derrek Lee professed his undying love for Carlos Zambrano yesterday, or at least revealed that he doesn't bear him ill will.

"It's going to be fine," Lee said. "He's going to come back and help us. Now it's in the past. It's over with and we'll all be fine."

The laid-back Lee never has been in a situation like that with a teammate, but spoke up in the dugout when the tantrum Zambrano staged allegedly to "pump up" the team got too personal. They engaged in a shouting match that has been replayed dozens of times.

"You always want to get along with all your teammates," Lee said. "It's not a fun situation, but it happens. You deal with it and move on."

This just in: Carlos Marmol is very, very good.

Carlos Marmol struck out Jayson Werth, Ryan Howard and Ben Francisco in a perfect ninth, giving him 81 strikeouts in only 42 2/3 innings.

The Cubs record for a reliever is Bruce Sutter's 129 in 1977. It took Sutter 107 2/3 innings to set the mark.

"I never heard about that (record)," Marmol said. "I never think about a strikeout until I get to two strikes. You want to strike them out, especially good hitters."


As for the Cubs' third win in their 4-game sweep of the Phillies, it occurs today at 12:05 Central. It features Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.78) against Randy Wells (4-7, 4.61). It'll be on CSN and WGN radio.

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14 Comments

kiwibob said:

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Waht annoys me most about this season is this 2 game win streak off the all star break.
I know it means nothing. I know there is no chance they will catch the Reds.
But there is this horrible urge to watch...
And, in Dusty I stlll trusty...

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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I fully expect they'll be demolished today.

kiwibob said:

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Ah... normal service has been resumed. Nothing like stinking it up in the 9th to snap one out of that "second half miracle" delusion

MillsChC said:

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Bingo!

baturkey said:

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Whoa! Another steal of home by Castro this series.

baturkey said:

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Okay, technically not a steal this time.

Edelweiss said:

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No, but the squeeze works with him because he runs when the signal is given. He scores whether the hitter gets the bunt down, or not.

Maim said:

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What's the score? I'm hiding in a room with no TV, but with luxurious freezing cold a/c.

baturkey said:

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Cubs 1, Phillies 0, Bottom 8th.

MillsChC said:

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Everybody with "A catcher blows the game on the would-be final out" on your bingo card... mark it off.

baturkey said:

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It seems like Marmol is either lights-out or terrible.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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That's the pattern, though this year the terrible version has made very few appearances.

Edelweiss said:

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On the positive side, a certain Cubbie finally got the snazzy new shoes he has been asking for.

truebluecubsfan said:

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Is it just me, or does Soto lead the league in dropped throws by a catcher by a wide margin!!!

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