A League of Her Own

Game thread Archives

Wrigley Renovation Is Music To My Ears, But Ricketts Hitting All The Wrong Notes With Fans

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 I've been on board with a full-on renovation of Wrigley Field (and when I say 'full-on,' I mean knocking down everything but the ivy, the marquee, and the scoreboard and starting over.) I hadn't been all that fired up about a Fenway-esque renovation until I got the chance to check out Target Field this Spring and came home 5 different shades of green with envy.

So I was exicted to see today that the Ricketts and I seem to be ont he same page on this issue:

The owner of the Chicago Cubs is asking the state to help finance more than $200 million in renovations at Wrigley Field that will ensure the team stays at the historic ballpark for the next 35 years.

The Ricketts family, which purchased the team last year from Tribune Co. in a deal valued at $845 million, has pledged that the project will not be financed by new taxes or an increase in existing taxes.

The family's plan calls for the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, which owns U.S. Cellular Field, to float up to $300 million in bonds. The bonds will be paid over 35 years through amusement taxes that Wrigley Field customers already pay.

While Illinois taxpayers are going to be understandly hesitant to embrace state money going to renovate an already wildly-popular stadium while dealing with an $11 billion budget deficit, the bottom line is that Wrigley Field and the Cubs bring in enormous amounts of money to local businesses every year. Bars, restaurants, hotels, convenience stores, and local merchants all benefit from Wrigley Field. The more Cubs fans are in the area, the more money local merchants make. The more money they make, the higher the taxes they pay. The more taxes Illinois collects, the better it is for everyone in the state.

And lest you're one of the "purists" who doesn't want a hair on Wrigley's head touched or altered in any way, do yourself a favor and take a trip up to Target Field in Minneapolis. It will cure you of the Wrigley-is-perfect-the-way-it-is-itis right quick. Beautiful wide concourses, stairs and ramps that don't force you to take your life in your hands every time you go up or down, two different light rail lines that drop fans off within feet of their seats, an unbelievable variety of restaurants and bars. . .  and that's before I even start talking about the intimacy of the setting and the beauty of the field.  

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Twins At Yankees Live Game Thread

Minnesota Twins' Jim Thome (L) and Joe Mauer celebrate their win over the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago on August 10, 2010. The Twins won 12-6.   UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom

Here we go, Twinkies, her we go! CLAP CLAP!

Game 3 is a must win. Can the Twinks steal one in the House that Jeter built? Or will the LOHO curse strike the Twins for the second year in a row?

Only one way to find out!

Game time: 7:30 pm CT

Channel: TBS

Pitchers: Brian Duensing v. Phil Hughes

Lineups:

Twinks

Span CF
Hudson 2B
Mauer C
Kubel RF
Young LF
Thome DH
Cuddyer 1B
Valencia 3B
Hardy SS

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Live Game Thread: Yankees @ Twins

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Carl Pavano throws against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning of their American League baseball game at Safeco Field in Seattle, August 29, 2010. REUTERS/Anthony Bolante (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)




The game has already started, it's Andy Pettitte against Carl Pavano. 1-1 after 4. The Twins need us (or probably don't)! Show your support!

Live Game Thread: Yankees @ Twins

Minnesota Twins Michael Cuddyer (from left), Denard Span, J.J. Hardy , Jason Repko and Danny Valencia celebrate their 9-3 win over the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago on September 14, 2010.   UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom
 

Our wild ride to the World Series starts tonight with a battle of left-handed starters. Amply-framed CC Sabathia (21-7, 3.18) toes the rubber against Francisco Liriano (14-10, 3.62). In case you didn't know, Liriano led the AL with an unreal 0.4 HR/9. Hopefully he doesn't regress to the mean tonight.


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Cubs Saturday Game Thread: And Then There Were Two

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 Two more games to go, kids.\

Two more games until we're relegated to watching other people's teams play in the postseason, staring out the window, and counting the days until Spring.

What's more, Big Z will make his final start of the season tonight. I know the new Z is all about talking about his feelings and writing in his anger management journal and all that, but I still maintain that., when Z is pitching, there's always a chance something fun could happen.

If you still need a reason to watch, I'll mention that out baby Cubs, led by the likes of Brad Snyder, Starlin Castro, and Dawin Barney, are playing some pretty darn good baseball thses days.

Speaking of good baseball, let's have a Mike Quade update:

HOUSTON -- Mike Quade has three games left in the 2010 season before the waiting game begins.

The Cubs will pick their next manager before the organizational meetings begin the first week of November, and Quade has moved from longshot to probable favorite in a matter of weeks.

General manager Jim Hendry won't talk about the interview process, and Quade said he doesn't know when his interview with Hendry will take place.

"No I don't, and I really am in a day-to-day mode," he said. "I'll manage here these three days and finish up. I'm in no hurry to leave Chicago. I do want to catch a fish, but I'll be there for several days. I've talked so much about the process, that process will take care of itself, too. I'm flexible as can be.

"When that conversation happens, if anyone needs me, I'm always available, whether I'm in Florida or whether I'm in Chicago. To be honest, I haven't concerned myself with that."

Uh. A couple of things:

He's been coach for something like 35 games. I thought that WAS the interview?

Secondly. .  when exactly is Hendry planning on interviewing all these guys? Oh right, after all the other teams have hired them and there's no one left. How silly of me.

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Cubs Friday Night Game Thread: It's Not Over Yet!



Chicago Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano (12) celebrates with teammates after hitting two home runs to help defeat the San Diego Padres in their MLB National League baseball game in San Diego, California September 28, 2010.  REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Why the hell are you celebrating this crappy season?

Despite the fact that the Cubs have been 158-1 since becoming manager, the Cubs are still 162-394 for the season.  So why are we still watching them?
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Whoops Live Game Thread: The Cubs Are On

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Yes, it's you tonight.

You can't have all your games at 9:05 and then suddenly just throw a 5:35 game in there and expect everyone to remember!

Game time: In like, an hour

Channel: CSN

Pitchers: Tom Gorzelanny (7-9, 4.28) v. John Garland (14-12, 3.58)

Lineup:

DeWitt 2B
Castro SS
Byrd CF
Ramirez 3B
Nady 1B
Snyder RF
Soriano LF
Hill C
Gorzelanny

I had a funny thought while posting this: I don't think I've been able to identify the top of the rotation since, like, the All-Star Break.

Cubs Live Game Thread: Chris Young Punches Like a Pre-Schooler

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Stop it! Stop it, you brute!

Even though Derrek Lee has gone to a galaxy far, far away, I'm still holding out hope for a really good fight before this season is over.  It would be especially fun with the noodle-armed Chris Young on the mound. Maybe this time, he'll actually land a punch.

Only 5 more games to go until we're mercifully put out of our misery. Let's suffer thought them together, shall we?

Game time: 9:05 pm CT

Channel: CSN

Pitchers: Randy Wells (8-13, 4.28) v. Chris Young (1-0, 1.20)

Lineup:

Fukudome RF
Casto SS
Byrd CF
Ramirez 3B
Nady 1B
Soriano LF
DeWitt 2B
Hill C
Wells P

Cubs Live Game Thread: And Then There Were Six

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More games

 I'm not sure if I caught the flu that's going around or if my body is just finally reacting to the season in a physical manner, but I've come down with something and probably won't be around for late niight at LOHO tonight.

On the other hand, I might just lay here, miserable, and unable to do anything but stay conscious.

It's really kind of a toss-up.

Tonight Ryan Dempster will take on Matt Latos in the battle of pitchers who have each won 14 games. Who will triumph? Only time will tell.

Game time: 9:05 pm Ct

Channel: WGN, MLBN

 

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Big Z Is Pitching. Or Something

Carolos Zambrano

Um yeah, so there's a Bear Cubs game on tonight or something.

Big Z is pitching.

They're playing someone in the NL West.

Pads, maybe?

Um. .  game is at 9:05 pm CT.

On WGN.

Oh, and because the Pads are only half a game back, this game has huge playoff implications. Or something.

Um. .  so . . . yeah.

I'll be watching the Bears.

Bear down!

Game time: 9:05 pm CT

Channel: WGN

Pitchers: Carlos Zambrano v. Matt Stauffer

Lineup:

RF Fuke
SS Castro
CF Byrd
3B Ramy
1B Nady
LF Sori
2B DeWitt
C Hill
P Zambrano

Cubs Live Game Thread: Farewell, Old Friend

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Until next year.

When you think about it, it's pretty fitting that Jeff Samardzija is closing out the home season at Wrigley.  After all, some of us started the season with such high hopes. And what have we been reduced to? Considering Jeff Samardzija for the starting rotation.

It's such a perfect way to sum up the entire season. And what we've all been reduced to.

What's more, for those of you who were on board the "Bob Brenly For Manager" express (I'm looking at you, Alex Quigley), your bus has been impounded

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Saturday Headlines & Game Thread: Cards @ Cubs, 12:05 CDT

A man instpecting the remains of the Snowdonian Mountain Railway engine 'Ladas' which derailed and crashed at the bottom of a precipice on the opening day of the service, Llanberis, Wales. One person died in the incident and the railway was closed for a year. Original Publication: Illustrated London News, 18th April 1896. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Has the Quade Express derailed?


After becoming the greatest Cub manager ever, has the team quit on Mike Quade? They've now lost 3 of 4 at home after yesterday's 7-1 loss to the Cardinals.

"We're not an offensive juggernaut to begin with," said Quade, who is 18-10 as manager. "Now you run into good pitching. We're missing a few players and all the rest of it. This ain't the yellow-brick road, I'm telling you right now. This is going to be a tough task these next few days with the clubs we're playing and the pitching. San Diego's going to run stuff at us that's really good. The veterans know, and the kids are going to find out."
Quade's setting us up for a disappointing run to end a disappointing season. In the visitor's clubhouse, the Cardinals still seem to have an alcohol problem. Here's Adam Wainwright after the game:

"My team gave me a beer shower after the game," he said. "The team continues to impress me, continues to make me feel wanted, make me feel at home. There's not a better bunch of guys to share this with.

"It's fun to pitch at Wrigley, always. To beat the Cubs for your 20th win is an extra treat, no doubt."




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Cubs Live Game Thread, Giants still in town

Character on the pitcher's mound

Game on people! game on!
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Cubs Live Game Thread: EEEUUUHHHHHHHHH

Seriously, i've got nothing.

It's the most boring time of the year (between summer and fall).

In the most boring division in baseball.

With a totally boring team.

And an even more boring manager.

We're playing against a better, though equally boring, team. 

Our most boring pitcher, Randy Wells, is pitching tonight.

The only player I was having fun watching is out for the season because another player tried to put a stake through his heart.

I feel like I sould be getting paid to watch this team.

Game time: 7:05 pm CT

Channel: WCIU

Pitchers: Randy Wells v. Jonathan Sanchez

Lineup:

 Barney 2B
Castro SS
Byrd CF
Ramirez 3B
Nady 1B
Soriano LF
Fukudome RF
Hill C
Wells P

Enjoy. I'll be watching the Hawks. 

Chicago Cubs Game Thread: Post-Bomb, Day One

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I've got myu doubts about this one, kids.

Then again, it's not like we have months in which to schedule a makeup game.

As for the game, I have nothing to say, except let's try to not to get anyone killed. I'm looking at you, Wellington.

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Cubs Sunday Headlines & Gamethread (@ Marlins, 12:10 Central), Bears Gamethread (@ Cowboys, 12:00 Central)

Chicago Cubs manager Mike Quade talks with coaches in the dugout before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on September 14, 2010. Chicago won the second of three games, 7-2. UPI/Bill Greenblatt Photo via Newscom
Whay you talkin' 'bout, Trammell?


The Mike Quade-led Cubs just keep on winning. Last night they won their fifth in a row for the first time this year. Just when you thought this season would spiral down into a high draft pick, they've won with consistency.

Only two teams in the majors have a better record than the Cubs' 16-7 since Quade took over (Colorado at 19-6 and Minnesota at 17-7).

''I'm aware,'' he (Quade) said of the century-drought burden Ricketts mentioned. ''And the challenge of being involved with a group of guys that changes that -- my God, what a great thought that is. But that's the result, to me, not the process by which you're going to go about hoping to change that.''

And in case you needed one more reason to watch football over the Cubs, here it is.

For the next year or so, the process will include younger teams than the Cubs have had in recent years, regardless of who the new manager is. Ricketts said as much.

For an extreme preview, watch today. With contenders on the schedule for 10 games in a row after this series, Quade plans to empty his bench of young guys for the finale against the Marlins.



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Saturday Cubs Headlines/Live Game Thread

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I'll be real honest here.

 By the time the game rolled around last night, I was about a bottle and a half of wine into my evening and in no shape to be allowed anywhere near a computer. So for those of you who were disappointed by the lack of a game thread, I apologize. It will make you feel better to know that I am paying for it today.

But hey! It looks like we won!

Dempster threw seven shutout innings for the second straight start, allowing four hits in another sterling performance. He earned his 14th victory, and likely has three starts remaining to give him a chance to tie his career high of 17 in 2008.

The Cubs' starting pitching has been on fire during the first seven games of the nine-game trip, allowing three earned runs over 48 1/3 innings for a 0.56 ERA.

"The mix has been good," manager Mike Quade said. "The veterans have done a nice job, the kids, I think, have gotten better, especially the kids in the middle of the bullpen. I can't pinpoint any one thing, but we've pitched really good on this trip and there's no better place to start when you're going to win ballgames than on the mound."

There are a lot of other boring headlines today, like "Barney Showing He Can Play" (zzzz) and "Cubs Counting on Castro, Colvin, Cashner" (duh). So let's not bother with those.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: S-W-E-E . . . . !

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Y'all come back real soon!

In the end, it's turning out to be a pretty good day.

The White Sox are out of it, the Twins are IN it, and we're on the very of you-know-whating the Cards two series in a row.

Sure, a guy who has no job, no prospects, and no conceivable reason for getting out of bed in the morning* turned us down for an interview, but who cares? WE'RE ON THE VERGE OF ENSURING THE CARDS DON'T GO TO THE POSTSEASON.

It's the little things in life.

Not only is playing the Cards fun these days, but tonight we get to watch Big Z (8-6, 3.88) goes for his fourth really, really good outing in a row. So suck on that, haters.

Z's worthy opponent tonight is none other than Chris Carpenter (15-6, 3.09). Hey, guess who isn't going to win 20 games this season? That guy! (points to tiny photo of Chris Carpenter on Cubs.com).

What's better, you can ALL watch this epic smackdown, because the game is on ESPN! And what's more, with the Cards' falling apart and Big Z on the mound, we have one of our best chances of the year for a fight. My guess? LaRussa is hammered by the third inning and charges the mound.

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Live Game Thread: Cubs @ Cards, 7:15 PM CDT

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Randy Wells delivers during the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at U. S. Cellular Field in Chicago on June 26, 2009. The Cubs won 5-4. (UPI Photo/Brian Kersey) Photo via Newscom



I like to play the rah-rah blind optimist character on here, but tonight's game doesn't inspire it in me. Coming off Samardzijamania, the Cubs and Randy Wells (6-13, 4.61) face off against Adam Wainwright (18-10, 2.38) and the Cards. In case you're a baseball novice, all those numbers mean that Randy Wells is bad and Adam Wainwright is good.

There is one hope for tonight, in that Albert Pujols won't be playing for the Cards, either because he's afraid of getting plunked again or because he has a sore left elbow. I can't be sure which is the truth. Unfortunately, Starlin Castro is out once again for the Cubs due to his bruised hip.
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Cubs Live Game Thread: Jeff, It's Not You, It's Me. . . Okay, It's You.

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 Oh. .  hello.

What are you doing back here? I thought I'd made it clear that you were out of my life for good.

No, I don't want to hear that you've changed, that you've matured, that you're going to do things differently this time. You broke my heart. Worse, you EMBARRASSED me in front of all my friends.

Anyway, weren't you going to go away for a while, work on yourself, run some routes, catch some passes? I don't want to tell you how to live your life, but I can really see you succeeding in that arena.

This arena? Not so much.

And anyway, I think football is the kind of place where showing up to parties in Von Dutch hats and no shirt is more accepted, Baseball requires a certain level of . .  . decorum. Also, there are a lot more football players with long, flowing locks. Who do you have in baseball? Little Boy Lincecum and Doofus Arroyo. That's who.

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Sunday Headlines and Live Game Thread: Cubs @ Brewers, 1:10 Central

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster delivers a pitch to the St. Louis Cardinals in the third inning at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on August 15, 2010. St. Louis lost the game 9-7.  UPI/Bill Greenblatt Photo via Newscom
A noble spirit embiggens the smallest Canadian


It finally happened. The moment we've been waiting for all year came to pass. Ryan Dempster didn't suck like he had in his last two starts and finally got his 100th career win. He became the fourth Canadian in MLB history to get 100 wins. How does it feel to be a living legend, Ryan?

"It's a weird feeling," he said. "Just to get to the big leagues is one thing. To win 100 games, it's a special thing, it really is. It means a lot, especially coming from Canada.

"There's not a lot of people who've done it. Really, it gives me a greater appreciation for those guys out there that have won 300 games.

"I feel like I've been pitching for a long time, and I got 100 wins. It really does give you a sense of appreciation for the people who have done it year in and year out and accumulated that many wins."


Now that Dempster's 100th is out of the way, the only question that remains for the Cubs is can they continue to shut out every opponent for the last 20 games this season?



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Cubs Live Game Thread: To The Mystery Machine!

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With Carl at the wheel, Cubbiejulie and the rest of LOHO (in the cargo area of the van) ride to solve the mystery!

Stop whatever you're doing. There is a mystery afoot!

The Cubs aren't going to like hearing that a fake press release was inserted with the game day press notes in the Miller Park press box describing a fake book which was supposedly authored by Cubs general manager Jim Hendry.

Here's a photo from Paul Sullivan's Twitter page.

Brewers Vice-President of Communications Tyler Barnes said they are looking into the incident, and that it was "impossible to know where it came from."They have not apologized to the Cubs or Hendry yet, but have spoken to the Cubs about the hoax. 

"You've got people credentialed from every city in the country around here," he said. "Without knowing who did it... It's an unfortunate incident. It's a lousy attempt at a practical joke and in that way we're certainly sorry. But without being able to know who did it..."  

Under a headline that said "A new book certain to be a best seller" was the fake book title: "How to Finish Near Last Place with the Highest Payroll in the League."

The release said: "Read in Jim Hendry's own words how the Chicago Cubs managed to finish near the bottom of the National League Central; Division with the highest payroll in the National League."

It also said the chapters included:

"Why I signed Milton Bradley!"

"Why I released Casey McGehee only to see him hit 20 home runs and drive in nearly 100 runs for a division rival!"

"Why I hired former Pittsburgh general manager Dave Littlefield, the man who helped make the Pirates what they are today, as my special assistant!"

"How I botched the recall of Micah Hoffpauir from our minor league team in Iow by losing track of the number of days that he was in the minors!"

"Why I signed players to long-term contracts with limited trade options!"

Ruh-roh.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Who is Doing What to the Who Now?/ UPDATED!

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 Oh . .  why hello!

I didn't see you there!

(smiles)

Hmmm? What's that?

There's a what tonight? A game? A Cubs game? Goodness, I had no idea they were still playing baseball. It IS baseball we're talking about, and not some type of caravan, correct?

Why, you don't say. I had no idea they were still . . .  doing whatever they do.

Let's look at the particulars, shall we?

It seems the hapless Cubs will be taking on the equally hap-challenged Brewers in Milawaukee this very evening.

By God, you were right! Good show!

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Astros @ Cubs 7:05 pm CT

Randy Wells

How can anyone say "ball" to this face?

 I'm on my way out the door to (yet another) pee wee football event. I would be upset about missing so many Cubs games if the Cubs weren't so unwatchable.

But for those who find them less-unwatchable than I do, consider this your highly-entertaining game thread.

 Game time: 7:05 pm CT

Channel: CSN +

Pitchers: Brett Myers (10-7, 3.02) v. Randy "Boom Boom" Wells (6-12, 4.56)

And your Chicago Cubs winning lineup is:

DeWitt 2B, Castro SS, Byrd CF, Nady 1B, Colvin RF, Soto C, Soriano LF, Barney 3B, Wells P

What? No Samardzija? How upsetting.

Buck up kids, only 23 more games to go until we're out of our misery. In the interim, enjoy this amusing parody of a beloved childhood movie.

Labor Day Headlines & Game Thread: Astros @ Cubs, 1:20 CDT


Tribune Photo by Scott Strazzante


I'm not sure what to say about yesterday's game, so I'll just turn it over to Mike Quade.

"Tough day," said manager Mike Quade. "Win a series and feel lousy. Demps had a tough day, obviously. Still, he's an out way from keeping us in the thing. One of those days, and then it got away from us and got sloppy after that. - The mistakes of youth showing up again. I've said before, it's not a straight line. There are going to be relapses. There's going to be trouble. The kids have done a good job, but you're going to have days like this."

Quade went on to finish: "There'd be days like this my mama said."



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Cubs Live Game Thread: Goodbye, Bagels. It's Been Nice

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Stupid Cuibs. You spend the whole summer losing, and then when there's finallly something in it for me, you decide to start playing baseball.

As the result of the Mets appearing to b e worse than the Cubs (at least for one series), my Throwing Like a Girl podcast partner and Metsgrrl blogger, Caryn Rose, has won herself a Due's pizza.

As for me? I get a big fat pile of nothing.

Thanks a lot, stupid winning Cubs:

Manager Mike Quade improved to 8-3 since taking over for Lou Piniella, which is the best start since the ill-fated regime of Jim Essian in 1991.

And the new, improved
Carlos Zambrano improved to 4-0 with a 1.98 earned-run average in six starts since undergoing anger management counseling.

So you know how Carlos is supposed to be writing down his feelings in a journal when he gets angry? I am willing to pay HANDSOMELY for a copy of said anger-journal.

Just sayin'.

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Chicago Cubs Saturday Headlines & Game Thread: Mets @ Cubs, 12:05 CDT

Apr. 16, 2010 - Chicago, ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES - epa02120370 Chicago Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano hits a double to left field to drive in Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd for a score against the Houston Astros in the seventh inning of their Major League Baseball game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois, USA 16 April 2010.



The Quade express just keeps on rollin'. With a 7-6 victory over the Mets, Mike Quade is now 7-3 as manager of the Cubs. Each win pushes the Cubs away from a higher draft pick. Yesterday's win also put Julie one win away from having to send Chicago pizza to Metsgrrl. Maybe Tom Ricketts will pay the shipping?

Have Mike Quade's magical powers infected the clubhouse, passing on great baseball skills to the entire team? Almost the entire team, anyway?

Wells ended up with a no-decision, as his record remained 6-12 while his ERA rose to 4.56. It's quite a different season from his rookie year in 2009, when he was 12-10 with a 3.05 ERA.

"That sophomore jinx or whatever they talk about where guys struggle a little bit the second year, that's not the jinx; there are reasons for that," said Quade, who is 7-3 since taking over for Lou Piniella. "He's shown some resiliency this year, fought through some tough outings.

"It's a command thing with him, and he's just got to keep on doing that (working). He's a big old guy, a big horse. He's a converted catcher. He's still learning."

Remember how adamant Randy Wells was all spring about not suffering through a sophomore slump? Yeah, me too. Quade wasn't making excuses about Blake DeWitt, though. In fact, after DeWitt's game-winning home run yesterday, we learned that Quade's had his eye on him for quite some time.

"I saw him in the minor leagues," Quade said. "You're looking at a guy that I projected out 15-ish, maybe a few more, homers. He's still learning. He swings the bat well. I still would think he'd make more consistent contact and be able to drive the ball. He's a blue-collar guy. He's a baseball player."


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Pizza and Bagels and Mets. . . Oh My!

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It's a race to the bottom between the Cubs and the Mets this weekend. If we're lucky, the Cubs will drop every game in the series, thus improving their draft pick AND bringing a little bit of sunshine to my life. 

Why, you ask?

Because, as everyone knows, my Throwing Like A Girl podcast partner, Caryn Rose of Metsgrrl, and I have a little wager going as to whose team is worse: Cubs lose the series, she has to send me real, honest-to-god New York bagels. If the Mets drop the series to the Cubs, she gets a genuine Chicago-made deep dish pizza delivered right to her doorstep.

Looking back, it's clear that we were hungry when we made this bet.

In news that is far less happy than pizza and bagels, it looks like the human target, Tom Gorzelanny, has a fracture after all:

Cubs pitcher Tom Gorzelanny will miss at least one start because of an incomplete hairline fracture and swollen left hand after being hit by a line drive during the team's 5-3 victory Wednesday over the Pirates.

A CT scan Thursday revealed the small, incomplete hairline fracture underneath the fingernail of his left little finger, which is stable. But it is his swollen palm that will keep Gorzelanny from making his next start. How long he misses will be determined after the swelling subsides.

No starter has been named to take his place next week, but Carlos Silva could be activated by then. He has been on rehab assignment (irregular heartbeat) at Class A Peoria.

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Cubs Sunday Headlines & Game Thread

Chicago Cubs batter Kosuke Fukudome hits a RBI double in the fourth inning of their MLB National League baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis, Missouri, August 15, 2010. REUTERS/Sarah Conard (UNITED STATES- Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)


Kosuke had the game winning RBI last night with a two-run homer. But the bullpen helped out, too.

Never mind the auditions for next year. The temperature's also rising with each outing for some guys just to stay in the auditions with a squeeze coming on available starting slots down the stretch.

''I don't know how you approach it any other way,'' interim manager Mike Quade said after starter Randy Wells pitched well enough to snap a six-start skid, and rookies James Russell and Andrew Cashner were powerful in relief in a 3-2 victory Saturday over the first-place Cincinnati Reds.

 

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Mike Quade's Reign of Terror Is Over

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With the Mike Quade era in tatters, Cubs fans everywhere clamored for  a change in Cubs management.

Jay Bruce wound up with three home runs and Johnny Cueto improved to 12-4 with eight solid innings as the Reds put on a show for the Fireworks Night crowd of 36,219.

The Cubs fell to 3-11 against the Reds as Tom Gorzelanny fell apart in the fifth inning when he gave up a first-pitch, three-run homer to Bruce and then a solo shot to Chris Valaika. The Reds quickly had a 6-1 lead to put the game out of reach.

"I refuse to make any kind of excuses for anybody," Quade said of Gorzelanny. "He was fresh, felt good, and just made a couple of mistakes they didn't miss."

I know what you're saying: it's only one game. But what about when they lose the NEXT game under Quade? And the one after that? Next thing you know, we have a manager dogged by losses.

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Cubs Friday Night Game Thread: It's Quade-licious!

 

As Mike Quade looks to the heavens for guidance, the Cubs look to remain undefeated under his rule.  Tonight, they're taking on the Reds and Captain Toothpick.  Yes, those same Reds who have been the bane of our existence these past few seasons.

 

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Quadelicious

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I feel obligated to include a Quade photo in every game thread until we lose. Which very well could be tonight, seeing as how Quade decided to mess with a winning lineup.

Tonight's looks like this:

Fukudome RF
Castro SS
Byrd CF
Ramirez 3B
Hoffpauir 1B
Soriano LF
Dewitt 2B
Soto C
Dempster P

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Cubs Live Game Thread:Un-Deaf-eat-ed! Clap! Clap! Clapclapclap!

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Get rid of that stupid corkscrew swing and I'll make it worth your while...

What promises did Mike Quade make to inspire our formerly-lackluster Cubbies to greatness this evening last? We can only speculate. But one thing is for sure: it didn't involve hair care products.

Speaking of hair care, does Carlos still have the frosted tips? Or did those go the way of goodwill amongst teammates this summer? At any rate, Carlos (4-6, 4.97)and his (possibly-frosted) tips will take on John Lannan (5-5, 5.13) tonight at Nationals Park.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Cubs @ Nats, 6:05 CDT: The Rise of Quade

Chicago Cubs third base coach Mike Quade stands on the field against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Wrigley Field in Chicago on August 22, 2010. The Cubs announced that Quade would be taking over as manager after Lou Piniella stepped down Sunday,   UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
from whence cometh my help.


Tonight begins the Mike Quade era of Cubs baseball. One thing that can be said for Quade is that he doesn't have any hair to turn spectacularly gray before the end of the season. Another is that he has a good amount of managerial experience to fall back on.

While naysayers might point out that all his managerial experience is in the minor leagues, I say that's exactly the kind of experience this team calls for. He'll be managing what is essentially a AAA team the rest of the way, anyway. So maybe, just maybe, Quade will take this ragtag bunch of misfits and manage to keep them out of the cellar in the NL Central. On second thought, we'd rather have a better draft position, so run this ship aground.


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Cubs Live Game Thread: Lou Will Manage His Last Game Today

Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez flies out to center field in the fifth inning against the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field in Chicago on August 18, 2010. UPI /Mark Cowan Photo via Newscom



After the bullpen nearly ruined another good start, the Cubs managed to hold on and break their eight-game home losing streak yesterday.

Gorzelanny (7-7) tossed 7 innings of 1-run ball, equaling his longest outing of the season. His 9 strikeouts were 1 shy of his career best, which he set May 2 against Arizona. He walked a pair.

The Evergreen Park native wouldn't say it was the best stuff he's had all year.

"No, I wouldn't," he said. "I think I've had maybe a couple of better games. It was one of the games where I was pounding the zone and attacking hitters. It was the game plan I want to do every time out. Sometimes I don't. I'm not able to do it."

Fukudome continues to hit well in his "look at me, I'm tradeable" tour.

Getting a chance to play, presumably as a showcase, Fukudome is hitting .340 in August with two homers and seven RBIs, compared with a .162 average in June.

 

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Live Game Thread: Braves @ Cubs, Now

 

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Tom Gorzelanny throws against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning of their MLB National League baseball game in San Francisco, California August 11, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

The Cubs (Tom Gorzelanny) are facing the Braves (Tommy Hanson). It's on FOX.

Cubs Friday Headlines and Game Thread: The Return of D. Lee: Braves @ Cubs, 1:20 PM CDT

Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella pulls starting pitcher Casey Coleman in their game against the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field in Chicago on August 18, 2010. UPI /Mark Cowan Photo via Newscom



Another day, another loss. This play says it all.

With Justin Berg pitching, Chris Denorfia bounced the ball to third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who tossed to catcher Koyie Hill at home. Hill ran baserunner Chase Headley back to third, tagging him out.

It looked like Hill tried to call timeout, but the umpires didn't acknowledge it. As Hill walked toward the mound, Venable took off from third for home. Hill threw, but first baseman Xavier Nady, coming down the line, could not beat Venable, and the Padres had their fourth run of the inning.

Fortunately for us, Koyie Hill took the blame and won't play again this year.

"What's frustrating is that it wasn't lack of concentration. It wasn't just cluelessness. It just happened. I don't know how to explain it. I felt like I asked for timeout with the same gesture I always use for timeout. Ultimately, it's the player's responsibility. And so far as being accountable, no doubt, I'll be accountable right there."

On a bright note, Big Z wasn't great, but he only gave up one run.

"It was kind of like my earlier games in the big leagues," Zambrano said. "I walked a lot of guys but I was able to command myself when I had to. I walked the first guy (in each of the first two innings), and I was able to get a groundball or a flyball. With men on base, I was able to be more aggressive.

"Larry (pitching coach Rothschild) told me if I want, just send the leadoff hitter to first base and start pitching like that. Otherwise, I felt good the whole game."

 

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Uno Mas

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 Look.

I've given up on winning.

I've given up on spoiling.

I've given up on playing decent baseball.

I've given up on developing young players,  humiliating the Padres, and beating the Pirates.

I've given up on this season.

I've given up on next season.

I've given up on getting my money's worth in tickets. I've given up hope that the Cubs will ever handle Big Z.

I've given up on

a lot.

All I want now is one spectacular brawl, with Baker throwing sissy-punches and Z waving his belt over his head like an inmate escaped from the asylum, and Lou watching it all, bored, from the dugout.

I don't thin that's too much to ask for.

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DLee: Leaving on A Jet Plane? (Live Game Thread)

It's so haaaaaaaaaard, to say goodbyyyyyyyyyyyye, to yesterdaaaaaaaa-AAAAAAAAAY"

Before everyone has a coronary, here's what we know as of right now:

The Cubs and Braves have an agreement in principal that contemplates DLee to the Braves for prospects.

Some media outlets have reported that DLee is willing to waive his no-trade clause.

Derrek is not

in the lineup today.

So as of right now, we're at DefCon 3: close, but no cigar.

For now, we're in wait-and-see mode.

Even though I'm supposed to be working, I'm hitting "refresh" on Twitter every 5 seconds to keep everyone updated.

Turning to today's game, we've got Caseyu Coleman v.  Clayton Richard. We've also got a 5-game home losing streak and the fact that we haven't scored a run on the Padres yet.

We've also got a really young lineup taking the field today. Me likey: 

 

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Rod is Fired Up and Ready for a Win!

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Ladies and Gentlemen, People of the Great State of illinois, I stand here before you and say, from the bottom of my heart. . .

WHEW! Thank God that's over, ammiright?

If I had to spend one more day listening to whichever one of the Adamses smells like mothballs going on and on and on about tthat trial thing, without even letting me get a word in edgewise, I was REALLY going to do something they could lock me up for!

Now that everyone in Illinois, American, and indeed the entire world has been witnsess to the Judge saying I did nothing wrong, how about we play some baseball?

I know the Cubs have had a tough time without me this summer. I haven't been able to call and give advice to my good friend, Lou Piniella, as I like to do, because I've been stuck in small rooms talking to lawyers all day. But now that even the U.S. Goverment has admitted that I'm completely innocent of every charge brought against me, I'll have plenty of time to help Lou turn this thing around.

First thing's first: Get Ryan Theriot back. I don't know what Jim Hendry was thinking, but Ryan Theriot was the best thing to happen to this team in last 10 years. He's gritty, all hustle, and there's not an ounce of quit in that kid. Kinda like me. I never quit on myself, my family, or the People of This Great State of Illinois. In fact, I might even sue Obama for wrongful imprisonment, if I can do it without having to spend all my time talking to lawyers and judges. Unless, of course, Obama apologizes to me. On national TV. And gives me a cabinet position.

I'd also accept and ambassadorship, but I want to go someplace GOOD, No Tonga or Mowgli or whatever the hell those godforsaken places are called. I'm taking London, Paris, Hong Kong, RIO.

I mean, I've got this wrongful prosecution thing wired, it's f*cking golden, and I'm not just going to let it go for nothing.

Ammiright?

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Let's Get Back In This Thing!

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 Now that we've taken 2-3 from the lofty Cardinals, it's time to climb back in this thing. After all, we're only 17 games back--what's 17 games with 6 weeks of the season left?

As you can see, Marmol is fired up and ready to go. Too bad he only gets to pitch in the 9th inning.

Tonight the Cubs take on the Padres at beautiful and historic Wrigley Field. Tom Gorzelanny (6-6, 3.65) will take the hill for the Cubs, which is odd, because he should be pitching tomorrow for Polish Heritage Night. Speaking of which, I got a very nice press release for Polish Heritage Night. However, it is in Polish, so I have no idea what the details are

Anyway, Kevin Correia (9-7, 4.86) will pitch for the Padres.

Meanwhile, I continue my quest to see ONE SINGLE FREAKIN' CUBS FIGHT this season. Let's face it, there's really nothing left to see. There's no post-season to look forward to, no big trades on the horizon. The rookies continue to be great on some days and lousy on others, as rookies are wont to do.

Only the hope of reliving the image of a t-shirted, beltless Carlos Zambrano racing out of the clubhouse, weilding his belt high over his head, hell-bent on defending Derrek Lee's honor against Chris Young, keeps me going this season.

Or, if not that, something kinda like it.

 

 

 

 

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Cubs Sunday Headlines & Game Thread: Cubs @ Cards, 1:15 PM CDT

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano points skyward following the end of the third inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on August 14, 2010. UPI/Bill Greenblatt Photo via Newscom
It was a hot day in St. Louis. Carlos Zambrano took the mound and gave up a first-inning run. All of Cubdom was ready for a spectacular implosion. But cool, calm collected Carlos showed up at Busch Stadium yesterday, and the Cubs won a one-run game.

Zambrano was sharp, as he used three or four different pitches and kept his walks total down to two after walking seven his last time out.

"Every time I go to the mound, I expect to win," said Zambrano, who is 4-6 with a 5.27 ERA. "Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn't happen, but today I got blessed by God. Thank God everything was working today against a tough lineup."

Zambrano gave up a two-out run in the sixth, when Mateo finished the inning. After undergoing anger-management treatment, Zambrano was the picture of calm and cool on a hot day in a tense game.


It wasn't enough just to win the game though, Carlos went ahead and dispensed wisdom on not being angry.

''It has to be; it has to be,'' he said. ''We learn from things that happen in our life. Obviously, we also learn from things that happen in baseball. I've learned the lesson. Now I just have to be in control of what I can do. Whatever [teammates] can do, I understand, and I'm OK with that. They try their best and try as hard as I do, and they're human, too.''

And a bit more on what he can and can't control:

"Today I was calmer and just went out there and had fun," Zambrano said. "Just throw the ball, and whatever happens. I have the control to dominate the ball before I release it. After I release it, I don't have the control of what they do."

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Cubs Saturday Headlines & Game Thread: Cubs @ Cards, 3:10 PM CDT


Chicago Cubs third baseman Blake DeWitt fumbles the ball for an error which makes the St. Louis Cardinals batter Jon Jay safe at first base during the seventh inning of their MLB National League baseball game in St. Louis, Missouri, August 13, 2010.  REUTERS/Sarah Conard (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)




The rookies keep playing, and for most of them, my only thought is, "Don't we have any better rookies?" Thomas Diamond  once again showed why he didn't make the team when the roster had decent pitchers.

On the mound was Thomas Diamond (0-3), and it was another short night for the big right-hander, who lasted 4 innings, giving up 6 hits and 4 runs.

The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a double by Marlon Byrd, but Diamond ran his pitch count to 86 over his 4 innings.

Albert Pujols homered in the first for the Cardinals. It was his 29th homer. The Cardinals scored twice in the third and once in the fourth.

"The first couple innings were all right, and just from there, location went out the window," Diamond said.

Lou Piniella wasn't impressed, either.

"He wasn't really sharp," Piniella said of Diamond. "I expected him to pitch better today. St. Louis is a good ballclub, and they have a good lineup. He just wasn't sharp. Behind. Wasn't locating well. We'll see. No decision's going to need to be made today."



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Cubs Live Game Thread: If Only We Could All Be Cardinals

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Alas, we can't all be members of the self-appointed "best fans in baseball." Especially those of us who know how to spell "morons." Or who think that fact that 90% of a team has a DUI is a problem. Or who have all our teeth. Or Joe Buck.

But even though we're a lesser quality of fan, we can still enjoy the mere proximity of being so close to baseball greatness tonight when the Cubs take on the Cards at the self-appointed "best stadium in baseball." With the self-appointed "Delicate Genius."

Come to think of it, there's a lot of self-agrandizing going on down there in the Lou, which I guess makes sense. God knows no one else is going to agrandize them.

 

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Chicago Cubs Live Game Thread: Darwin Barney in the Hizzhouse!

Barney Gumble

Carrie Muskat has reported that the next in line of Cubs phenom rookies, Darwin Barney, has arrived in San Francisco, grabbed a donut (no word on filling or icing), and signed his contract with the Cubs.

Until we get a photo of Barney, we'll have to go with this.

Alas, the future Hall-Of-Famer isn't in the starting lineup tonight. Oh Cubs, why must you tease us so? How much longer until we get to see the all-rookie lineup?

Today's matchup features Randy Wells (5-10, 4.37) against Cubs killer Matt Cain (9-9, 3.06). At least, it WILL feature Wells until about the third inning, when he'll be lifted for one of the Berg/Russell combo . . . followed by the other one. As Adam stated today, a good tip for telling Berg and Russell apart is that Berg is usually the one on the mound when the loss becomes official.

Or is that Russell?

 

 

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Live Game Thread: Cubs @ Giants, 9:15 PM CDT: Last Link to Swingin' Sammy Officially Gone

30th October 1948:  Boer War veteran James McDonald saying goodbye to his grandson as he leaves home to become a Chelsea Pensioner living at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea which was founded by Charles II. To qualify pensioners must be in receipt of a service, disability or campaign pension, over 55 and able to look after themselves. Original Publication: Picture Post - 4659 - Chelsea Gets A New Recruit - pub. 1948  (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)
Mike Fontenot walks into the
waiting arms of Brian Sabean


Tonight's game thread started out as a rambling piece with no apparent direction. But thanks to a late-breaking news story, it's turning into a Mike Fontenot farewell party. Fontenot was just traded from our beloved Chicago Cubs to the very team he helped ensure a win against last night, the San Francisco Giants. Maybe it was that two-run double that helped seal the deal.

I feel like it's the end of an era, as Fontenot was the last player remaining from the Sammy Sosa-to-Baltimore deal. I'd like to think that we here at LOHO wish nothing but the best for Mike, and hope that they have a tailor on duty to shorten his pants. My only regret is that he didn't take Xavier Nady with him.


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Live Game Thread: Cubs @ Giants, 9:15 CDT: The Return of Hufflepuff

Chicago Cubs' Micah Hoffpauir slides safely into third base with a triple as Houston Astros third baseman Jeff Keppinger waits for the throw from the outfield during the eighth inning at Wrigley Field in Chicago on July 29, 2009. The Cubs won 12-0. UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom
Are you ready for some Hufflepuff?



There are so many things to get excited about tonight, I'm not even sure where to start. First up, it's the return of Micah Hoffpauir from Iowa. If you're excited now, you'll be even more excited when we get to the lineup. Secondly, it's a chance for Ryan Dempster (9-8, 3.76) to win his tenth game of the year. So that's pretty exciting, too.

If you're into good pitching, you'll probably see some from the Giants, as the man who's won the last two NL Cy Young awards is on the mound tonight. That's right, we get to see Tim Lincecum (11-5, 3.15) strike out a boatload of Cubs tonight. And I found out from Tim Lincecum's Wikipedia page that he's half Filipino. Who knew?


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Cubs Game/Open Thread: Does Anybody Care Anymore?

So, its like the 3rd or 4th or 5th inning and everyone has gone to bed.  Nobody cares about this game.

But my question is: does anybody care about this team this season?  Or at all?

Some things have been good:
  • Geo Soto has quietly put together quite a good season
  • Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin have done about all you can ask out of a couple of rookies
  • Carlos Marmol is fucking nasty.  And Marshall too.
  • Carlos Silva had a half year where he was almost worth his ridiculous $12 million salary
I'm not even about to bullet-point out the bad.  We've been there and experienced it.  Which is why I ask, once again: Does anybody care about this team?

This is my second game thread in three days, and I don't know who this team is playing.  I don't know who is pitching, what starters are playing.  In years past, I'd know this, as well as everyone's stats.  Yet, I didn't even know until last week that Soto was one of the three best players on the team (by far).  I don't even know who is in the bullpen except for Marmol and Marshall.

Clearly, I don't care.  But I have this question for everyone else:  Do you care at all what happens the remainder of this season?

Also, there's a game on, so if you're up, feel free to comment.

Sunday Headlines & Game Thread: Reds @ Cubs


Tribune Photo by Chris Sweda


Another day, another loss. I think LOHO poster FrankS put it best in yesterday's thread:

Wow, another typical Cubs loss. A quality start by the pitcher and a one run loss. Glad I slept through this one. Year One!
I slept through the first part and drank through the rest. But, we're at it again today. Rookie starter Thomas Diamond (0-1, 4.50) will take the mound for his second start today against Travis Wood (2-1, 2.42). I expect another disappointing loss. Game time is 1:20, available on WGN tv and radio.

Game Thread: Cubs are playing somebody, I think

I'm pretty sure the Cubs are playing somebody.  I don't know the details.  I also don't care enough to look.  It is past 5:00pm in Iceland, so it is time for me to locate an adult beverage.


If anybody cares about this game, please do contribute.

Apr. 16, 2010 - Chicago, ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES - epa02120332 Chicago Cubs right fielder Kosuke Fukudome (L) and Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd (R) nearly collide as they both chase and miss a fly ball hit by Houston Astros right fielder Hunter Pence in the fourth inning of their Major League Baseball game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois, USA 16 April 2010. Byrd was charged with an error on the play.

Shit like this is why I drink so much and don't watch this team.

Reds at Cubs Game Thread

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 20: Red Sox Pitcher Bronson Arroyu performs a private party celebrating the release of Red Sox pitcher, 'Bronson Arroyo's debut album, Covering the Bases' at Sonny McLean's Pub on August 20, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)

Hello ladies, Bronson Arroyo here, with an 11-6 record with a 4.01 ERA. After watching me pitch on CSN at 1:20 Central, why don't you let me serenade you with songs from my album Covering the Bases. My favorite base? Home plate, of course. *wink*

My opponent is another former Pirate, Tom Gorzellanny (6-5, 3.48).

You can see how jealous my teammates are of my great hair in this video:

Brewers at Cubs Game Thread

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Creative Commons licensed photo by Bill Dimmick

Just in case you needed another excuse to hate being at work, the Cubs play a day game today! They are trying to avoid another sweep and snap a season-high seven-game losing streak.

Player to Watch:

Geovany Soto continued his comeback season on Tuesday, when he went 1-for-4 in Chicago's loss. Soto, who went into Tuesday's game with the highest OPS (.903) of any big league catcher, is batting .305 (40-for-131) with nine home runs and 28 RBIs in his past 41 games. In nine games prior to that tear, he hit just .120 (6-for-50).
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Live Game Thread: Brewers @ Cubs, 7:05 PM CDT

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Do it for John Cusack

Look, I get it. It's hot and humid. It's hump day. The Cubs are riding a six game losing streak, the latest of those being the 18-1 humiliation last night. But we have to fight the good fight. We have to keep on caring. Why, you ask? Because if we don't care, celebrities won't care. Just look at John Cusack over there. He's not even a real Cubs fan and he's disheartened.

Do we really want to face the prospect of two more months of apathetic celebrities at games, looking sad in the front row or singing the seventh inning stretch without verve? I didn't think so. So let's give them what they came for: boundless optimism and drunkenness.

The first bit of exciting news heading into tonight's game is that Mitch Atkins, one of LOHO's favorite interchangeable bullpen parts, is back from Iowa. Brian Schlitter goes back to Des Moines till next week when he'll be called back to replace Casey Coleman or someone else (maybe Mitch Atkins!). Isn't that exciting?

The second bit of fun is that tonight will be the major league debut of Thomas Diamond, who will be starting for the Chicago National League Ball Club this evening. He's 5-4 with a 3.16 ERA for  Iowa so far this year.  He's also from New Orleans and his name is Diamond. He's got to be cool. He'll probably throw a no-hitter or something. Even if he tanks, we might have Big Z coming back to the rotation to replace him. It's a win-win.

Facing Mr. Diamond tonight will be Chris Narveson (8-7, 5.90). So even the Cubs' sad offense should be able to score at least a couple runs off him.
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Chicago Cubs Live Game Thread: 5 Reasons To Be Happy

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 There's no denying that there's no joy in Cubville right now. For the first time in a long time, the Cubs were sellers at the trade deadline. Then they barely "sold" anybody. We're still stuck with a bunch of aging, contract-heavy, not-particularly-likeable veterans who have done little to lead this team anywhere except 10 games out of contention.

We've got a lame-duck manager, an unruly "ace" fresh off anger management, and a front office who seems have been dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming. We're facing several years of rebuilding.

In short, it ain't fun to be a Cubs fan these days.

But wait! Before you move into Pessimist Pub permanently and drink yourself under the table, there are still reasons for Cubs fans to be happy. Specifically, I came up with FIVE WHOLE REASONS. The least you can do is hear me out.

5. Silva is out of the starting rotation: In fact, Silva was placed on the DL today after being released from a hospital in Denver. While we're all glad that Silva appears to be okay after the heart scare last night, I don't think any of us are too sad about not having to watch him regress the rest of the way to the mean. Right? Right.

4. More Kids! Bust out your sippy cups and fire up the Elmo DVDs, because more kids are on the way. Today, the Cubs called up minor leaguers Casey Coleman and Thomas Diamond from Triple-A Iowa to replace Lilly and Silva in the starting rotation. Of course, I would have enjoyed seeing Wells and Gorzelanny replaced in the rotation much more, but we can't look a gift horse in the mouth.

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Chicago Cubs Sunday Headlines & Game Thread: Cubs @ Rockies, 2:10 Central

Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella watches the Colorado Rockies score three runs during the third inning at Coors Field on July 30, 2010 in Denver.     UPI Photo/Gary C. Caskey Photo via Newscom


The Cubs lost in spectacular fashion once again last night, by allowing a cycle-completing game-ending home run to Carlos Gonzalez. But there's much more interesting news than the result of last night's game. First, we'll highlight the return of Carlos Zambrano.

The game marked the return of pitcher Carlos Zambrano from more than a month away for anger-management treatment. Zambrano worked two-thirds of an inning in the seventh, creating some trouble for himself but leaving the bases loaded. True to form, he said he could start again, and soon.

"I'm ready," he said. "I'm ready to pitch Tuesday, Thursday, whenever they want me to pitch. I'm ready to go back in the starting rotation if they want me to go back into the starting rotation."

There was something of a big trade yesterday, too. Jim Hendry got an assist from one special assistant in evaluating some talent.

if Greg Maddux ever becomes a major league general manager, he can look back on Blake DeWitt as his first move.

Cubs GM Jim Hendry gave Maddux some credit for the decision to acquire the Dodgers infielder in the Ted Lilly/Ryan Theriot deal.

"We've certainly liked him for years," Hendry said. "He's a tough kid. He's 24 years old, so his better days are way ahead of him. ... He has a chance to be a complete player. He has to be better offensively. Greg spoke highly of him, when Greg pitched for the Dodgers, and in my discussions with Greg about him a few weeks back.

"He's a guy we've always had our eye on and have asked about him in the past."


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Cubs Live Game Thread: V-Day

As in "Victory Over Crappy Middle-Infielders Day."

Ryan Theriot being his typical self

 

Never again!

Now that the National League's Human TOOTBLAN has been traded away to Hollyweird, you're probably all clamoring for the debut of our new, shinier, younger Theriot. Alas, you'll have to wait a little longer before you can lay your hungry eyes on the dashing Blake DeWitt. He's not in the starting lineup.

 

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Cubs at Rockies Game Thread: The Prodigal Z Returns

CHICAGO - JUNE 6: Starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano #38 of the Chicago Cubs kicks dirt on the mound after giving up a two-run home run in the 1st inning to Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees during the MLB Interleague play at Wrigley Field on June 6, 2003 in Chicago, Illinois. The Yankees defeated the Cubs 5-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

As Carl mentioned in the headlines, today is the day that Carlos Zambrano returned to the team after his dugout explosion. I don't envy his position as a high-intensity guy who is likely to be stuck here with the Cubs because of his contract and poor performance this year, not even mentioning anything else.

As I'm writing this post this afternoon, MLB Trade Rumors is listing the Tigers and the Reds as clubs in addition to the Dodgers that might be interested in Lilly. It's also saying that the Cubs turned down the Red Sox's interest in Sean Marshall.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Goodbye Stranger?

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It's been nice.

OH MY GOD, IS THIS THE LAST TIME WE'LL SEE TED LILLY IN A CUBS UNIFORM?!?!?!?!

Does anyone else feel like we've been saying that every time he's pitched for the last 6 weeks?

Tonight Ted takes the mound for what could be his last time in a Cubs uniform. The guy who should be scared to death to tread on the same mound as the guy who took down Yadier Molina? Brett Myers.

Say your prayers, wabbit.

Game time: 7:05 pm CT

Channel: WGN

Lineup:

rf colvin
ss castro
1b lee
3b ramirez
cf byrd
lf soriano
2b theriot
c hill
p lilly

Let's go Cubs!

Cubs Live Game Thread:

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Rally Vizcacha (Carl wanted it)

Look kids, sometimes Cubbiejulie has a bad day. Sometimes, after a bad day, Cubbiejulie has to stop by Whole Foods on the way home to pick up a raspberry/mango sorbet, because it's just been that kind of a game and she just wants to feel better, dammit. And sometimes she really regrets going 80% vegan, because she really REALLY wants the carmel/sea salt gelato instead of the stupid sorbet. And sometimes that causes her to be a bit late with the game thread. But that's LIFE, people.

Anyway, if we ever  needed a new rallymal, tonight is the night. Not to rally the team, you see, but to rally the front office to stop talking about getting back into this thing and start moving some of the deadweight from this team.

 Anyhoo, the game is on.

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Chicago Cubs Live Game Thread: S-W-E-E. . . .

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It's a big day here in Cubdom. First, everyone's favorite player with bionic knees, Andre Dawson, gets inducted into the Hall of Fame. Tonight, the Cubs have a shot at sweeping the first place Cards. Not only that, but we *might* get our first Miller/Morgan-free game tonight! Then again, with Cubs fans' luck, ESPN hired some supersonic jet to get Miller and Morgan back to Chicago in timne for the game. 

If you missed Andre's Hall-of-Fame speech, you can check out the post below, where I live-blogged the entire HOF ceremony. However, this was my favorite part:

"From my heart, thank you Cubs fans. You are a true blessing in my life. I never knew what it felt like to be loved by a city until I arrived in Chicago. And though it wasn't my way to show it, I can't tell you whatit meant to me. You were the reason I kept playing baseball. You were the wind between the Hawk's wind.  . . . In 1987 I was thinking of giving up baseball, or playing in Japan.  had to find a place where baseball was fun again. I found that place in Wrigley Field."

Also, if you missed Doug Harvey's speech, do yourself a favor and find it online. It was, in my opinion, the best HOF speech ever. Really.

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World's Fastest Game Thread

May 23, 2010 - Shanghai, CHINA - epa02169724 Jamaica' Usain Bolt smiles as he crosses the finish line to win the Men's 200m race during the Diamond League event in Shanghai, China on 23 May 2010.
The game is starting, so here is a game thread.

Cubs Live Game Thread: Cubs Managers We'd Like To See

As the dust settles around Lou's surprise retirement announcement, the search for a new Cubs' manager begins. Since everyone and their grandmother's dog is throwing in their two cents, we here at LOHO would be remiss if we didn't share our choices for the 2011 manager of the Chicago National League Ballclub.

LOHO' short list:

Gallery sneak peek (14 images):

View the gallery...
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Cubs Live Game Thread: World Series-Bound!

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 Now that the soul-sucking first half of the season is over and we've taken 3 out of 4 from the defending NLCS champions, we can forget all this silly talk about trading Ted Lilly and concentrate more on winning the division. And trading Ryan Theriot.

 

Not to say "I told you so," but I seem to remember a certain auburn-haired prognosticatrix who TOLD YOU GUY the Cubs would come out of the starting gate red-hot in the second half, then tank once Jim Hendry decides to keep this world-series caliber team together.

And now it's coming true.

Don't forget, people, I once killed a bird with my mind.

If you're inclined to watch the Cubs as we roll over the lowly Astros on our way to the top of the NL Central and the postseason, you'll be interested to know that Cy Young Candidate Carlos Silva (9-3, 3.45) will take on perennial Cub-killer Wandy Rodriguez (6-11, 4.97). Can Silva get his ERA below 1.00? With the likes of Jeff Baker and Aramis "Butterfingers" Ramirez playing behind him, how could he NOT?

If you're not inclined, feel free to go to bed and we'll tell you what happened tomorrow. We will NOT, however, try to recreate the magic for you. You snooze, you lose.

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Sunday Headlines & Live Game Thread: Phillies @ Cubs, 7:05 Central





It was almost a dramatic victory. Then it turned into an ugly defeat.

• Marmol retired the first batter of the ninth but wound up walking five, one intentionally.

• On one of those walks, Marmol uncorked a wild pitch to allow a run to score.

• The game looked to be over and in the books as a 1-0 Cubs victory when Placido Polanco singled to left field with two outs and runners on first and second. Tyler Colvin's throw to the plate came in on one hop, but catcher Geovany Soto dropped it, even with time to get the slow-footed Brian Schneider coming to the plate.


Both Marmol and Soto wanted to take the blame:

"Nothing to say, no excuses," Soto said. "Nobody's responsible for this game other than me."

"That was my responsibility," Marmol said. "If I hadn't walked those two guys..."

In case you were wondering the last time a Cub pitcher walked that many in an inning, you've got an answer:

The last Cub pitcher to walk five batters in less than an inning was Speed Martin on June 11, 1920 at Philadelphia. The last Cub reliever to walk five batters in an inning was Johnny Vander Meer at Philadelphia June 27, 1950.


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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.


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Cubs Live Game Thread: Phillies at Cubs Game 2

June 08, 2010- Milwaukee, WI. Miller Park..Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ted Lilly  pitched for 8 innings giving up 1 runs and 4 hits to the Milwaukee Brewers..Milwaukee Brewers won over the New York Mets 3-2..Mike McGinnis / CSM.

The Cubs scored 12 runs yesterday, which means that they will score between zero and none for the rest of the series. C'est la vie.

The Phillies did use 6 relief pitchers last night, so I think it's important for the Cubs hitters to be patient, work counts, and get to the depleted bullpen as soon as possible.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Zambrano Throws Again

June 09, 2010- Milwaukee, WI. Miller Park..Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano  pitched for 5 innings giving up 3 runs off of 2 hits to the Milwaukee Brewers..Milwaukee Brewers lost to the Chicago Cubs 4-9..Mike McGinnis / CSM.
Carlos Zambrano is back! Kinda. The day his non-suspended teammates looked to resume baseball-related activities (i.e. losing to pretending to care while laying down for taking on the Phillies tonight at 7:05 CT @Wrigley Field on WCIU and WGN AM 720) Carlos reported to Mesa, Arizona where he threw 25 pitches. Things got pretty heated, literally, as the thermometer hit 111 degrees. I've heard no confirmation of the rumor that Zambrano was, in fact, to blame for the heat wave.
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Chicago Cubs Sunday Headlines & Game Thread: Cubs @ Dodgers, 7:05 Central


Jul 10, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd (24) eludes the tag of Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis (17) to score in the second inning at Dodger Stadium. Photo by Image of Sport Photo via Newscom



The Dodgers scored two runs on another Keystone Cops play by the Cubs' defense on Saturday. Were that the only bit of the game you'd seen Saturday, you would've expected another 14-3 loss. Instead, that was the only costly blemish the Cubs made all day in a 7-2 victory.

Tom Gorzelanny pitched 6 innings to run his record to 4-5, and the Cubs got home runs form Geovany Soto and Aramis Ramirez as they improved to 4-2 on the road trip with one more game to play before the all-star break.

A little more of this over the first 21/2 months of the season and maybe the record wouldn't be 39-49.

"That's the way you put it down on paper," said manager Lou Piniella, who watched the second half of the game from the cool and comfort of the clubhouse after being kicked out after the fifth inning for arguing a call on the bases.

Unfortunately, Lou didn't go out in a blaze of glory. But he did give us a play-by-play after the game:


"It was a continuation on the play," Piniella said after the Cubs' 7-3 victory. "I had a pretty good view of it from the dugout. The baserunner was out, and Jerry convinced me he wasn't until one of my coaches saw the replay. He sort of baited me out there, but it's all right.

"I told him, 'You missed the call.' He said, 'I can't hear you. I can't hear you.' Some guys have better hearing than others, I guess."

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Saturday Cubs Headlines & Live Game Thread

As if facing the prospect of getting swept by the lowly Dodgers wasn't enough, it looks like we're going to end up with these two idiots calling our game today:

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Tweedle Dee And Tweedle Dum

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Rangers Trade For the Wrong Lee

June 08, 2010- Milwaukee, WI. Miller Park..Chicago Cubs Derrek Lee  had 2 walks at the plate tonight..Milwaukee Brewers won over the New York Mets 3-2..Mike McGinnis / CSM.

Cliff Lee is a Ranger:

As first reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Rangers are giving up young slugger Justin Smoak(notes) and three other prospects for only a couple of guaranteed months from Lee, as well as relief pitcher Mark Lowe(notes).  

The opening of the Rangers' talent wallet -- coupled with general manager Jon Daniels mapping a route around the team's bankruptcy by having Seattle foot part of Lee's remaining salary -- ended what was a dramatic afternoon for a Friday in early July. While a deal involving the Yankees and their top prospect Jesus Montero(notes) was reported to be "imminent," it was the Rangers' last-minute sweetening of Smoak that kept the rich from getting richer in the Bronx.

No idiots, we needed you to trade for the Lee that's hitting .230, making $13.25 million this season, and who clearly is so done being a Cub he might as well have it plastered on the front of his jersey.

You know, the one no one else wants?

 

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Let's Make it Four! Let's Make it Four!

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Why Do We Watch?

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Meet tonight's cleanup hitter.

It's a question I ponder fairly often:

Why do we continue to watch?

I mean, really. Few things in my life have been more painful than watching this Cubs team play on a daily/nightly basis. Child birth comes to mind, as does that time I got dry sockets after I had my wisdom teeth pulled. Then there's watching this team try to play baseball,. Then comes the time I got headbutted in the nose and knocked unconscious.

And yet.

Every day, we all wake up, check the Cubs headlines, and start talking about this team. How far out of it are we? Can we make up any ground? Is it time to blow this team up? Who should be prime trade bait? How are the minions doing down on the farm?

And so I wonder: what is it about this team (or us) that renders us so unable to walk away and forget them until next year? To this end, I've compiled a list of guesses:

10. It's either the Cubs game or "America's Got Talent."

9. We're waiting for the inevitable moment that Lou completley loses his sh*t and is carted off, babbling and drooling, to the old folks' home.

8. Because it's there.

7. After a summer of watching uncoordinated imbeciles fall off large rubber obects on "Wipeout," watching Ryan Theriot get caught stealing looks like pure athletic excellence.

 

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Chicago Cubs Saturday Headlines/Game Thread: Reds @ Cubs, 12:05 PM CT


Tribune Photo by Phil Velasquez


After such a horrible loss, I'd normally turn to Lou, who would have something funny to say. But even Lou has his limits, and it seems as though he's in a funk, just like the players. Instead, first we'll turn to Ryan Dempster:

"Things can happen in a hurry, especially when you put guys on," Dempster said. "It's unfortunate. The game was closer than the score dictated. It turned what could have been a good game into a terrible one."

Dempster's take on keeping things together: "Guys are working hard. Guys aren't showing up a half-hour before they have to be out there or not putting the work in. They continue to put the work in. Hopefully, that will get the results."

I'm not sure the world's best PEDs could get this team results right now. Up next, Koyie Hill:

"A little adversity never hurt anybody," said catcher Koyie Hill. "You can trust guys' character a little bit, the team's character. We've got a strong group in here. We've got a strong bunch of hearts. Guys are going to come in tomorrow with their heads held high, with confidence. In the long run, when it turns around, we're going to feel good about it, battling through it."

Was Koyie dehydrated after the game? He seems delusional.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Can We Hire Stan Bowman?

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 Dear Jim,

Hi! How's you're summer going? Having a good time at the ol' ballpark? Glad to hear it.

Me? Not so much.

I don't know if you're aware of what's going on with the Blackhawks lately. As you're probably aware, they were a pretty good team this year. In fact, you may have seen a large, silver object being used as a giant beer bong in various haunts around the city.

Even though the Hawks were a VERY good team; one of the best, in fact, they've never stopped trying to improve their team. So far this off-season (which is only about a month old), they've managed to trade Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Kris Versteeg, Brent Sopel, and others. These guys are good hockey players and "good clubhouse guys." They were even fan favorite. But the Hawks used them as trade bait anyway. Why? To improve their team.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Things We Know So Far

The Cubs are a baseball team.

The Cubs play baseball poorly.

The Cubs can't beat the Pirates.

The Cubs probably can't beat the Reds, either.

Now please enjoy this short film by @plamorte:

 

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Sor-i-ano! *clap clap clapclapclap!*

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Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune

As you guys can probably tell, I'm not having the easiest of days here.

But my day is in marked contrst with Fonzie's night, in which he hit the holy hell (that's a technical term, look it up) out of the ball.

For the first time in ages, the Cubs looked like a real, honest-to-God baseball team. With hitting and pitching and fielding and everything! And, (you may want to sit down for this one), they have a chance to win the series today. AGAINST THE PIRATES! I KNOW I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT, EITHER!

Due to my aforementioned bad day, we were forced to skip this morning's headlines. However, to stay current on the state of the trainwreck at the corner of Clark and Addison, you should know the following: Ernie defends Big Z (kinda), Ted Pitched a Gem of a Doozey last night, and the Cubs have called up James Russell and a "Jeff Russell" from AAA Iowa.

I suspect that last one might be an attempt to sneak Samardzija into the pen under an assumed name.

So today's the rubber match against the Pirates. We might win 2-1; we might lose 50-0. It's really hard to say with this team.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: How HAAAAAARRRRRRRD Can Beating The Pirates Be?

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"My favorite French existentialist? Jean Paul Sarrrrrrrrtre!"

I'm a bit late this evening. My deepest apologies.

Tonight, the Cubs will try AGAIN to beat the Pirates, one of the worst teams in baseball, who were the proud owners of a 17-game road losing streak until. . .  well, until last night.

Ted Lilly is on the mound for the Cubs, and he's sporting a sparkling 2-runs in support from his teammates per outing. It's a good thing Z went nuts on his teammates first, because it was only a matter of time before Ted went over the edge. And he's WAY scarier than Z.

If you didn't get a chance to vote in my super-fun 7th-inning stretch poll, please do so. I put this up last night after a represenative from the Cubs front office advised me that the Cubs believe fans are in favor continuing to allow random, B-list celebrities to sing the stretch. They base this on the fact that, when random celebrities sing, "the fans always cheer them on."

Please vote and make a difference today.

 

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Let The Winning Streak Begin!

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One in a row! One in a row!

 Tonight, with the dreaded Pirates (did you ever think you would hear the words "dreaded" and "Pirates" in the same sentence? Me either) in town, the Cubs look to take their one game win streak and turn it into a playoff run.

And now that that pesky Carlos Zambrano has gone missing, they will be nothing to stand in our way!  Randy Wells, take us to the promised land!

What? Randy Wells is 3-6 with a 5.21 ERA?

Oh.

But I bet he turns that around starting tonight! Right? RIGHT? Who's with me?!?!?!?!

At the very least, I can content myself with the fact that Garrett Jones is in town.

Before we get to the game details, I wanted to send a big shout out to Joel at Cubs Fan Report, who mentionned LOHO when asked by the guys at Cubscast about the best Cubs blogs around. Seriously. A tear?

 

 

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Forget About Bragging Rights; Just Win One Freakin' Game

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I feel like Tyler. (Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune/Sweda)

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Cubs Live Game Thread: 20 Things I Would Rather Do Than Watch This Team

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20. Someone else's taxes.

 This list is fairly self-explantory and, I assure you, universally unappealing.

Without further ado, here are 20 things I would rather do than watch this imprtent team attempt to  baseball:

20.  Someone else's taxes. For free. And not just anyone's taxes. . . someone who has tons of losses and carryovers and pass throughs and blah blah blah. Actually that sounds like HEAVEN compared to watching Ryan Theriot flail away at curveballs down and away over and over and over.

19.   John Kruk after he hasn't showered for a few days.

18.  Public Relations for Milton Bradley.

17.   Get drooled/snotted on by Glen Davis.

16.   Head up France's triumphant return to their homeland after getting bounced from the first round of the World Cup.

15.   Clean out the hot tub on "Jersey Shore."

14.   Give Lou Piniella a pedicure.

13.    Dig the shattered remains of Duncan Keith's teeth out of his bloody gums.

12.    Eat corn smut.

11.    Have AJ Pierzynski sweat on me.

 
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Cubs Live Game Thread: I'll Watch If I Can See The TV Through My Tears

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Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune/Strazzante

While the Cubs continue to make no moves to improve either this year's OR next year's teams, the Chicago team that actually won something was busy trading one of its biggest stars away to the Atlanta Thrashers in order to clear cap space for even better players. Rumor has it that Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, and Ben Eager are headed to the Thrashers.

And, while most of us knew it was coming and understand why it had to be done, it's with a heavy heart that we say "goodbye" to the man who was able to smash Chris Pronger into the board with a simple swing of his hips and drive the Canucks to seek off-season therapy.

Also, it's hard to say goodbye to a player who left it all on the ice every single game and who never gave anyone cause to doubt his heart, desire, or competitiveness.

I feel like I wouldn't have a similiar problem if some (read: "most")  of the Cubs were traded, particularly as 90% of them look like they would rather be back at the hotel watching "What Not to Wear" than playing baseball.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Cubs @ Mariners 9:10 pm CT

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Sorry guys, I'm cashed. This is the best I can manage for a game thread tonight.

So . .  um, the Cubs are playing the Mariners in Seattle. It's Ryan Dempster v. Jason Vargas. Milton may play. Or he may not. Only time will tell.

Aramis is back with the team and due to be activated from the DL on Friday against the White Sox. This may be a good thing. Or it may not. Only time will tell.

The game is on Comcast +

Gooooooooo Cubs!

 

 

Chicago Cubs Father's Day Headlines and Game Thread: When Can We Expect the Fire Sale?


Chicago Tribune Photo by Chris Sweda


First up, I'd like to wish all those dads out there in LOHO land a happy Father's Day. Hopefully the Cubs won't ruin it.

We've probably all wondered what depths this Cubs team can plumb. Yesterday, several LOHOers got to see first hand just what depths the Cubs can plumb. Yikes. Ted Lilly went from no-hit form to yes-hit form.

Lilly didn't allow a hit to the White Sox last Sunday until the ninth inning on his 108th pitch, but the left-hander was battered by the Los Angeles Angels Saturday for 8 runs (6 earned) on 9 hits in 104 pitches. He didn't make it out of the sixth inning of a 12-0 loss in front of 40,008 restless fans at Wrigley Field.
The offense and defense were bad, too.

The offense managed only 2 hits against Angels starting pitcher Jered Weaver (7-3) and reliever Scot Shields, and the defense committed 2 more errors. The Cubs have made 11 errors in their last five games and 5 errors in two losses to the Angels
And Lou Piniella's at the end of his rope.

"I can see us struggling with the bats, but we just can't catch the ball all the sudden," Piniella said. "I mean, that's something you should be able to do at the big-league level is catch the ball with consistency.

"What am I supposed to do, yell and scream? Criticize people? That doesn't do any good. You've got to go out and play on the field. That's all you can do, play on the field. And if not, you're going to get embarrassed like we did."

The Cubs skipper said he's out of ideas as to how to spark this team.

"We've tried everything we have here," Piniella added. "We've pitched everybody, we've played everybody, we've changed lineups. We've done everything that I can humanly do to get this thing turned around. That's all I can do."

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Return of the Rally Noodle

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It's amazing how the little things can change your whole point of view on something. (photo by @plamorte)

It's been pointed out to me that I've shown a disproportionate amount of rage towards a large plastic pasta noodle. While this may or may not be true, I would be remiss in not pointing out that the Cubs DID score their first noodle-era win last night, so perhaps we're on a roll. 

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Cubs Take My Advice; Fail Miserably Anyway

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Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune Breaking Sports

So when I wrote yesterday that the Chicago Cubs are in need of massive changes in their marketing department and front office, the above is not exactly what I had in mind.

According to the article, this is purported to be a giant noodle. . . you know, as in Kraft Macaroni & Cheese noodles. Raise your hand if you got that without a little help.

I didn't think so.

Now raise you hand if you, like I do, feel like the Cubs have hired someone from the Electric Company as the head of marketing. How many giant things do we need in and around one park? Giant pictures of the players! A giant Toyota sign! A giant litter box in the men's bathrooms to pee into! A giant noodle!

 And, while I hate to harp on the "bad corporate sponsorship" thing, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that, in a country where childhood obesity is running rampant, a product that comes in a box with a packet of powdered cheese and encourages you to add whole milk and butter to it ain't exactly helping.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid

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Back away from the phone, Jim.

I don't want to alarm anyone, but I believe in honesty and facing our fears head on. Here goes:

At this very moment, both Jake Fox and Gary Matthews Jr. are unemployed and available.

 I feel confident that Jim knows and understands that Jake Fox can't hit a curveball, but I just have this horrible feeling that the narrative of the prodigal son coming home, jump-starting the offense, and leading his team to the playoffs like his father before him is going to be too much for Jim to reisist.

At this point, all we can really do is hope for the best. And try to distract Jim with shiny objects and sweets until this crisis is over.

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Chicago Cubs Sunday Headlines & Game Thread: Sox @ Cubs, 7:00 PM


Tribune Photo by Phil Velasquez



The Cubs got another good start from Carlos Silva, but the offense didn't give him the run support to which he's become accustomed. And he was a bit grumpy after the game.

Silva got help from neither his offense nor his defense. The Cubs were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and they stranded 10 runners.

"I don't know," Silva said. "You can ask that question to Rudy (hitting coach Jaramillo). He's the one working with them."

Lou didn't sound much better:

The Cubs are a season-worst eight games under .500 at 27-35. And it's getting late.

"Let me tell you this: We're not going to quit," Piniella said. "That I can tell you. But you just can't continue to lose these types of ballgames. You just can't."


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Cubs Live Game Thread: Don't Tread on Me! (Why Every American Should Love Soccer)

Before we get to the Cubs/Sox game today, I want to take a moment to talk about a much, MUCH bigger game about to kick off this afternoon. The USA will play England in the first round of the World Cup at 12:30 pm CT on ABC. It's hard for me to describe the beauty of this game, or the passion it invokes in its fans to Americans who have never played, or don't understand the game. This has been a source of frustration to me since I started playing soccer as a small child.

During the last World Cup, Bryant Gumbel ranted about the World Cup and said, I think, what every footy fan wishes they could say:


 "Finally tonight, a few words about World Cup soccer. Please spare me the stifled yawns and typical American gripes about how boring the sport can be. For God's sake, we're a nation that venerates one-nothing baseball games, watches cars make endless left-hand turns and televises people playing poker and dominoes.

 
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Cubs/Sox Live Game Thread: Reason 47, 928 To Love Lou

 

So far this season, he's told off Ken Rosenthal AND Steve Stone:

For those too lazy to watch the video:

"It's a tough situation," he said. "I know I get criticized for it. We've got a lot of people here that haven't managed and won any games in the big leagues, but they know everything. You know? They really do.

"I think they should try to put the uniform on and try this job and see how they like it when they get criticized unjustly. That's all I've got to say about that issue. But you get tired of it. I'm trying to do the best job I possibly can and the only people I need to listen to are the people in my organization, that's it.

"But I get tired of being nitpicked and tired of being criticized unjustly. Why don't they talk to me first before they do it, OK, and get my viewpoints and my feelings and then make a determination? The same way that I get called ridiculous, they're ridiculous in the same way they report things, too."

The subject changed to Jake Peavy, but Piniella wasn't finished by a long shot.

"And another thing I'm going to say: I won over 1,800 games as a manager and I'm not a damn dummy, that I can tell you. There are only 13 other (managers) that have won more games than me. I guess I think I know what the hell I'm doing."

Haha. Get him, Lou1

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Cubs at Brewers Hungover Game Thread

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(Creative Commons licensed photo by Spencer E Holtaway)

HI CUBS FANS! Oh, sorry, too loud? I'm not feeling too hot right now either, so I'll keep this short. Ryan Dempster (4-5, 3.76; vs the Brewers this season 2-0, 3.86) is starting today against Dave Bush (1-4, 5.97).

The game is at 1:10 Central on WGN. Hopefully the Cubs home runs keep coming.

Fukudome RF
Theriot 2B
Byrd CF
Tracy 3B
Nady 1B
Colbin LF
Soto C
Castro SS

Cubs Live Game Thread: Let's Be Honest, We'll All Be Watching the Hawks

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Hey Cubs, if you can't beat the Brewers, you can kiss my a$$.

I'm not even sure why I'm doing a game thread tonight, because I'm pretty sure we'll all be otherwise occupied. For those of you who won't be out at a bar or friend's house watching the Hawks, feel free to intermingle your Hawks talk with Cubs talk here.

It was humiliating enough to lose to so many games to the Pirates, but the Pirates don't have obnoxious, cheese-stuffed fans to gloat about their victories all over the stateline area. Or any fans, actually. 

I'll get straight to the point: I DON'T LIKE LOSING TO THE BREWERS. Especially when our starting pitcher throws a gem and deserves better. And I don't like seeing Corey Hart succeed at anything. and I REALLY don't like that stupid thing the Brewers in pulling out their shirts at the end of the game.

What do I like? Well, last series in Milwaukee, someone forgot to let the sausages out of the field and they just kind of all milled around in LF looking for the door for a while. That was kinda fun.

Also, I LIKE BEATING THE BREWERS.

 

 

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Let's All Laugh At the Brewers

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Yes, I KNOW it's an old joke. I'm pulling out all the stops tonight.

Let's be honest, when you're down, nothing makes you feel better than making fun of someone who is more down than you are.

Tonight, that's the Brewers.

As bad as the Cubs have been, the Brewers have been worse. Considering they gave a fan base with a bigger chip on their collective shoulders than Milton Bradley, this brings me great joy.

Oh sure, it's more intellctually honest for me to wax nostalgic for the 1982 Brewers, remember fondly many a summer night spent at Telfer Park watching the Beloit Brewers, and realizing that, in the end, the answer to everything is love.

But, in another, more accurate way, it's far more fun to say that Prince Fielder must eat more edamame than any vegetarian in history, even Ed Hardy thinks Ryan Braun's clothing line is douche-tacular, and the that Brewers fans put cheese AND gravy on their hashbrowns. Seriously, give it a try.

Don't you feel better?

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Chicago Cubs Sunday Headlines and Game Thread: Cubs @ Astros, 1:05 PM Central


MLB: Brewers vs Cubs APR 25



Tyler Colvin has been taking his vitamins and saying his prayers in the hopes that Lou Piniella would see fit to unleash Tylermania! Last night, he got to play and made good.

In the seventh, Colvin homered into the upper deck in right with a man on against Oswalt. One day earlier, Piniella said he was going to start playing Colvin more.

"That was great; it was good to get a win and put some runs on the board," said Colvin, who is batting .300 with 6 homers. "I'm not going to hit too many home runs. I wouldn't get too excited about that."

As far as playing time, Piniella may find it hard to keep Colvin out of the lineup.

"Colvin, we're going to play," Piniella said. "I'm just going move him around. I'm going to be fair to everybody, but Colvin will be in the lineup most of the time."

Though the Cubs' eight-run outburst may have had more to do with the awakening of two middle-of-the-order bats that have been slumbering.

Aramis Ramirez homered and knocked out three hits and Koyie Hill made another step toward becoming the starting catcher with two hits.

Ramirez and Derrek Lee had multi-hit games in the same game for the first time this season.

And even Ryan Theriot got in on the action.

And on they day of the Belmont Stakes, Ryan Theriot coaxed his first walk since May 1, the date of the Kentucky Derby.

"Let's hope the next one is not the Arlington Million," Piniella said with a laugh.


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Chicago Cubs Saturday Headlines and Game Thread: Cubs @ Astros, 6:05 PM Central


Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano throws a pitch to the New York Mets in New York


That didn't quite work out as planned. Big Z returned, but the Cubs once again turned in a lackluster performance in a loss. Lou Piniella says changes have to be made.

"We'll make a couple changes tomorrow," Piniella said. "I'm going to get Colvin into the lineup and let the kid play. I've been patient enough watching. I'm going to let the kid play and see what he can do, give us some energy. So we'll have him in the lineup.

"I'm probably going to put Hill behind the plate, too. We're not scoring any runs. We need somebody that keeps the other team from running. We'll do that tomorrow and see what happens. I know these guys are trying. I know they're trying. But, boy, I tell you what, we see the same thing every day, day in and day out."

And despite not necessarily getting the results he wanted, Zambrano felt good in his return.

"I felt good today," Zambrano said. "The most important thing was my fastball was good today. My sinker was good today. We're just not hitting good. We need to score more runs. Sometimes we don't pitch good and we hit. Sometimes we don't hit and we pitch good.

"Just execute better on my pitches next time, and with the knowledge that I have and the experience that I have in the big leagues, it will turn around."

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Cubs @ Astros Live Game Thread: 7:05 PM Central: The Return of Big Z, Take Two

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Wednesday, we were deprived of the return of Carlos Zambrano to the starting rotation. Tonight, we get take two, and thanks to a retractable roof, nothing can stop Z from bringing the pain.

The stars appear to be aligning tonight for Z. He has an outstanding career record against the Astros (13-7, 2.54), Houston is horrible offensively (last in AVG, OBP and SLG) and he's a beast offensively against them (5 career HR).

Facing Z tonight for the Astros is Felipe Paulino (0-7, 4.40). You might notice that he's been a victim of the woeful Astros offense.




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Cubs Live Game Thread: Big Z's Return

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We've been waiting for it since, well, since the Cubs shippeed Carlos off to the pen. A  move, in my humble opinion, which was dripping with dumbassery.

Tonight, dogs and cats will be divorced, the world will be restored to its proper axis, and Big Z will return to his rightful place in the starting rotation. It sounds like Z (who hasn't been properly stretched in any sense of the word), will be limited to about 90 pitches. The pitch count could be reached  in the 7th inning of the top of the 2nd, it's really hard to say. Likewise, we could see no-hitter Carlos tonight (he tends to play really well coming off of long breaks) or Wow-maybe-we-should-have-moved-Grabow-to-the-starting-rotation-instead Carlos. Again, it's anyone's guess.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Let's Get This Over With Already

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The Cubs are playing tonight. Assume the position.

 Earlier today, I was bemoaning how uninteresting Cubs games have become of late. Win 8-11 from teams above .500, lose just about every game to teams below .500.

It's all so predictable.

However, a good samaritan took time out of his busy day to brighten mine, by pointing out that Cubs games are anything but predictable lately.

Oh sure, they can't beat Pittsburgh, but it's HOW they lose that holds the mystery. Will they be able to score more than a single run (if that)? Will the pigpen blow it in the 8th? Will the starter give up 5 in the first?

It's really impossible to know.

With that in mind, we head back out to Pittsburgh tonight to see if the Cubs can manage to salvage some iota of respectability from this series with the lowly Pirates. My guess? They probably can't, but a girl can always dream!

If anyone can stop this train from running completely off the rails, it's perennial stopper Ted Lilly (1-4, 3.63), who heads to the hill tonight against Jeff Karstens (1-1, 4.78) 

 

 

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Blackhawks Live Game Thread: When You Feel Like Watching a Team Capable of Winning a Game

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He's crazy amounts of hot, he actually scores in games, and women all over Chicago would amputate things for a shot at him. On a scale of 1-10, how much does Ryan Theriot wish he was Patrick Sharp?

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Chicago Cubs Monday Headlines and Game Thread: Happy Memorial Day/Cubs @ Pirates, 12:35 Central


U.S. Flags Are Placed At Graves At Arlington National Cemetery


I think it's worthwhile every Memorial Day to take a few moments to appreciate that so many have sacrificed their lives to build this great nation in which we live. I'd rather more people focus on that than on boating and grilling, but we all have our own thing.

I'm not going to mention yesterday's game, so we'll just jump to the exciting news. Our newest minor league prospect savior is on his way. Andrew Cashner will join the team in Pittsburgh.

Asked if the Cubs planned to make a roster move to balance out the bullpen with Carlos Zambrano returning to the rotation, Lou Piniella said Andrew Cashner, the organization's top draft pick in 2008, would join the team before the Pittsburgh series.


However, general manager Jim Hendry later sent word through the Cubs' media relations department that Cashner would likely join the Cubs at some point during the Pittsburgh series, not necessarily today.

The right-handed rookie would bring balance to the bullpen as far as matchups. With the left-handed Gorzelanny joining the bullpen in place of the right-handed Zambrano, the Cubs would be carrying four lefty relievers and only two right-handers, not including closer Carlos Marmol. A corresponding move to clear a roster spot will follow.


As you may have heard, this Cashner kid seems like the real deal.

Cashner has enjoyed success in the minors this season. He began the year at Class AA Tennessee, where he went 3-1 with a 2.75 ERA in 6 starts. In 5 appearances with Class AAA Iowa in May, the 23-year-old went 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA in 21 innings with 17 strikeouts and 2 walks. Cashner's last 2 appearances at Iowa were in relief. Piniella did not specify Cashner's immediate bullpen role.

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Chicago Cubs Sunday Headlines and Game Thread: Carlos Silva Still on Cy Young Express


Tribune Photo by Phil Velasquez


Remember the Carlos Silva that we didn't want anywhere near a pitching mound after the Milton Bradley trade? Me neither. Sure, I know that he's due for a regression, but Saturday's game was nothing short of a pitching clinic, and he's now 7-0 with a 3.12 ERA.

Talk about a quality start. Yes, Saturday's was just that as the big right-hander went 7 innings and finished with a career-high 11 strikeouts while allowing only 2 hits and no walks.

No, here's the quality start that's really impressive: Silva is the first starting pitcher to begin his Cubs career with 7 victories since King Cole in 1910. And that's long before anybody knew anything about quality starts and everybody was throwing them.

"Today, I didn't throw any pitch just to throw it. Every single pitch had a purpose," Silva said. "I threw very good, very good."


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Cubs Live Game Thread: Lou Says What We're All Thinking

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Del Boca Vista: Phase II's "Kahmaniwannaleah" Party, Spring 2010

It's not like I need another reason to love Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella other than his penchant for afternoon cocktails, his intolerance for incompetence (John Grabow notwithstanding), and his ability to stop a raging Carlos Zambrano from charging.

But I have one, anyway:

Piniella was asked about his critics because Fox-TV reporter Ken Rosenthal is at Wrigley Field this weekend for Saturday's Cubs-Cardinals telecast. Rosenthal recently wrote a column on foxsports.com suggesting Piniella be fired and replaced by Alan Trammell if the Cubs don't turn things around.

"Look, when a person doesn't see your team play ..." Piniella said. "I think he should at least see the team play before you start making comments. Outside of that, I really don't care. He has no bearing at all on whether I have a job here or not."

That's right, Cubs fans. Not only does Lou get paid to play baseball and spend half his summer at Wrigley Field, NOW he's declared the insufferable Ken Roshenthal to be irrelevant for all the world to hear.

Lou Piniella, you are my hero.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: McGwire Is Full of Fail

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Yeah, because it was the milk.

Mark McGwire: liar, cheater, bad hitting coach.If there's one thing to be happy about this season, it's the fact that the St. Louis Cardinals are 17/30 teams in batting average this season, while our very own Chicago Cubs are sitting pretty at number 11.

I credit this startling turn of events to their fantastic new hitting coach, who isn't here to talk about the past and whose knowledge of hitting is more pharmaceutically-driven than mechanically-driven.

I love the fact that, of all the available hitting coaches in the world, the Cardinals decided to go get the one guy who's hitting numbers are widely believed to be, shall we say . . .  fake.

It's like hiring MilliVanilli to be your vocal coach.

(And yes, I know he was a great hitter before the steroids, and steroids don't help you hit a fast ball or give you more discipline at the plate, blah, blah blah. Look--steroids increase strength. Strength helps you muscle a warning track ball out of the park. This is what Mark spent most of his time doing.)

In fact, the two most feared hitters in the Cards' lineup,  Albert Pujols and Matt Holiday, are only OPSing .943 and .801, respectively. These are decent, even GOOD, numbers for mere mortals, but nowhere near the career averages of St. Albert and his newest BFF. 

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Rubber Game

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You were all expecting something else, weren't you? Get your minds out of the gutter!

It's May 27, 2010, and the Chicago Cubs are 22-25, 3 games under .500 and 5 games in back of the (gulp) DIVISION-LEADING Cincinnati Reds (and seriously, how long can that last?).  

The Cubs have a chance to pick up some serious ground on the hated Cardinals this weekend, as the Southern Beer Team comes into Wrigley for a 3-game series. But first thing's first. Before we make up ground, we have to not lose any ground.

If the Cubs are able to beat the Dodgers today, we'll have won 3 of our last 4 series, having swept the Rockies, split with the Phils, and taken 2-3 from the Rangers prior to facing the Dodgers. For the record, EACH of those teams is over .500 for the season.

So are things looking up? 

Yeah, I think they are.

Speaking of things looking up, today's starter, Ted Lilly (1-4, 4.30) looked damn near spectacular, giving up only 2 earned runs and 6 hits over the course of 6.2 innings. Unfortunately for Ted, the offense didn't come through and he was saddled with the loss. Let's hope that today he has better luck.

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Cubs v. Dodgers: Part II

MLB: Cubs vs Mets APR 22

Tom Gorzelanny (2-4, 3.09) pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings his last start before getting nailed in his left ring finger by a line drive and still getting the ball to first to get the out. Thankfully X-rays were negative and he's back on the mound tonight.

Opposing him is Chad Billingsly (5-2, 3.66) for the Dodgers.

The game is at 7:05 PM on WGN. Lineups to come.

Cubs v. Dodgers: Live Game Thread

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That weather station at the top really kills the visual

Before the game starts, let's all take a moment to sympathize with the Dodgers, as there are no oxygen bars, high-colonic clinics, Andre Ethiers, or random pop stars willing to date Matt Kemp in Chicago.

It's been way too long since we got to watch baseball, so let's dispense with the small talk and get to the game.

Tonight, Ryan Dempster (2-4, 3.73) will face Clayton Kershaw (4-2, 3.23) tonight at Wrigley.

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Chicago Cubs Sunday Headlines/Game Thread/Cubs @ Rangers, 1:05 Central


MLB: Cubs vs Mets APR 22



The Cubs won a one-run game last night, but the more interesting story is Lou's beard. In case you haven't yet seen it, the best I could do is find a not great picture of it (it's the second in that slide show). On to the beard news:

The beard is back. And apparently it's not going away any time soon.


''I haven't had the energy to shave,'' Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. ''And I feel comfortable this way.''


Lou's feeling listless and Randy Wells was looking to score some laughs.

''It's kind of sweet,'' starting pitcher Randy Wells said of Piniella's thicker version of the fairly common stubble look. ''I might put a little Just For Men in his locker tomorrow.''


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Hastily Thrown Together Game Thread/Cubs vs. Rangers Going on Right Now

Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals


The Fonz just hit a home run putting the Cubs ahead 2-0 in the second. It's Randy Wells against lefty Derek Holland. The game is on Fox, unless they chose to pick another game in your area.

Cubs/Hawks Live Game Thread: Looks Like Bobby's Back in Town

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I'm glad Bobby is back and I don't care what any of you have to say about it. And besides, as I've been tweeting all day, Howry's 1.67 WHIP is highly preferable to Grabow's 2.13 WHIP. Of course, Grabow is still on the team, and Berg, who had better number than either of the other two, was sent to Iowa, but THAT'S NEITHER HERE NOR THERE, PEOPLE.

At any rate, the Cubs won three in a row, and then split a series with the best team in the NL, so I'm feeling significantly better than I did at this time last week. Will we be able to hang with 1st Place Texas? Only time will tell.

I'll be forgoing previous plans for merrymaking to flip back and forth between the Cubs and Hawks, and I hope you'll all join me. After all, I need something to keep my mind off the fact that my new nephew is over 12 hours old and still doesn't have a name!

Tonight, Ted Lilly (1-3, 4.65) will take on Colby Lewis (3-2, 3.68).

500 LOHO points to whoever can find me the video of Howry staring down that guy who rushed the mound in 2008.  

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Live Game Thread: Cubs @ Phillies, 1:05 Eastern/12:05 Central


Michael Jackson impersonator performs during game 3 of the World Series in Philadelphia



Today we get day baseball on the road! It's get-away day, so the Cubs and Phillies play early, at 1:05 Eastern/12:05 Central. Last night the Cubs matched their win total against the Phils for the entirety of 2009, so today provides the chance to double that mark.

On the hill for the Cubs is Ryan Dempster (2-4, 3.49). Opposing him for the Phillies is Joe Blanton (1-2, 5.49).

The lineup for today:
RF Fukudome
2B Theriot
1B Lee
CF Byrd
LF Soriano
3B Fontenot
SS Castro
C Hill
P Dempster

Is something wrong with Soto?

Cubs Live Game Thread: And Here We Find Ourselves Again

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And IIIIIIIIIIIIeeeeeeeIIIIIIIIIII will always love yoooooouuuuuuu-oooooooh. Will always lo-ove youuuuuuuuuuuu! Iiiiiiii will always love YOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUU!

Now that my shameful, 20-year crush on Jamie Moyer has been revealed, I'm going to, without hesitation, revel in the fact that a 47-year old man with a 35-mph fastball is 5-2 with a 1.10 WHIP so far this season. For those of us in our 30s, 47 looks less and less old these days.

The Cubs current 3-game win streak heads into serious jeopardy this evening, as the Cubs face the reigning NL chumps-turned-champs and the team with the best winning percentage in the National League (.632 to our .450), the Philadelphia Phillies.

While not an ideal foe to take on in the middle of a win streak, the good news for the Cubs is that Brad Lidge got a cortisone injection yesterday and is on the 15-day DL along with J.A. Happ, Chase Utley is coming off a 2-day sick leave, and Jamie Moyer is 47-years old.

The bad news? Everyone on their team is hitting the tar out of the ball.

Who among the Cubs will be chosen to face this formidable opponent? Unfortunately for us (and him), it's Tom Gorzelanny (1-4, 3.60). Not that I think Tom isn't ABLE to beat the Phillies, it's just that I think he's going to get lit up like a Christmas Tree covered in jalepeno pepper lights. It's just that, given how much trouble he had with the Pirates last time out, it seems like Howard, Utley, Worth, Victorino, et al might be a problem for him. Nothing personal.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: The Roof, The Roof, The Roof Is On Fire!!

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 For those of you who will be unable to join us for tonight's rooftop festivities, I've done my best to provide you with a visual representation of where everything will be, so as to give you as close to a first-hand experience as possible.

Take a look at the photo. See? Don't you feel like you're there? You're very welcome.

For those heading to game, we'll convene at Murphy's Bleachers (3653 North Sheffield Avenue) between 5:00 and 6:00 pm (if you're in the neighborhood, please stop by and say "hi!"). We will, however, keep a keen eye a few doors down to Skybox on Sheffield, where the doors will open at 6:05 pm sharp.

By May 1, I'd given up hope that we could put together back-to-back wins. But sometimes dreams DO come true! Can we make it 3 in a row? Doubtful, but let's keep our fingers crossed, anyway.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Not "Boooooo!"; "Looooouuuu!"

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Maybe it's just me (God knows it wouldn't be the first time it's just me), but I don't understand all the calls for Lou's head.

I mean, it was pretty clear to everyone before Spring Training that this team had a lot of problems. An aging, streaky core, three real starters, the complete lack of a bullpen. So why all the surprise?

And why is the ire directed at a the manager, who can only work with what he's given (see, e.g., a bullpen featuring Samardzija, Jeff and Grawbo,w, John), rather than the architect of this disaster (see e.g., Hendry, Jim)?

I'm kinda joking, kinda not. I really don't know what people expected Lou to do. I can fault him for over-shuffling the lineup and for putting Z in the pigpen (I'm not convinced this was Lou's decision anyway), but really he's not done much more than rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.

This isn't like it was with Dusty, who left starters in way too long, kept playing his beloveds (Neifi, Corey) no matter how poorly they played, and generally looked like a deer-in-the-headlights every time the team lost.

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Chicago Cubs Sunday Headlines and Live Game Thread: Pirates @ Cubs, 1:20 PM Central


Tribune Photo by William DeShazer




Saturday, the Cubs managed to lose their seventh straight game to the Pirates, dating back to last year. On the radio, Pat said that the Pirates have scored a run in the first inning in each of the five games this year. I think Lou Piniella said all there is to say.

''Boy, that big hit is really elusive,'' said Piniella, who's running out of answers.

''What are we gonna do? We've tried a little bit of everything.''

While fans of the Cubs are descending into madness, it appears as though the team has already found a happy place there.

Said Byrd: ''We're not worried. The solution is easy. You have to stay positive. There's no negativity, and it starts from the top. Lou still believes in us, Jim Hendry still believes in us, so we're not worried.

''We have to start stringing some wins some way, somehow.''

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Saturday Chicago Cubs Headlines and Live Game Thread: Maybe Today They'll Win?




Carlos Zambrano gave up the go-ahead runs yesterday in the eighth inning. It went a little something like this:

After coming into a 6-6 game in the eighth inning in his new role as set-up man, Zambrano promptly plunked the first batter he faced, gave up a single to the next batter and then served up a 3-run homer to Garrett Jones as the Pirates rallied for a 10-6 victory, their fifth straight win over the Cubs.

As Jones circled the bases, Zambrano circled the mound looking like it was the last place he wanted to be while the 39,000 fans on hand let him have it with a cascade of boos that didn't stop until the inning mercifully came to an end.


The Zambrano haters must've been salivating, waiting for him to do something so monstrously stupid they'd be able to give him a good public flogging.

How in the world would he act when reporters circled around him at his locker afterward?

Cool as a cucumber, that's how.

But how is that possible?

"Because I'm a professional," Zambrano said. "This was my first blown situation. I just have to keep my head up and come back ready for tomorrow. I'm ready to pitch back to back to help this team."

Once again, the question of leaving the starting rotation was asked. And he once again acted like an adult.

"Listen, let's get this clear; I wasn't happy the first day after they told me about (the switch)," he said. "I wasn't sure it was going to work. Now I accept it. I'm a reliever now and I have to do my job as a reliever. I'm happy now. I'm here and I can help this team."

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Oh Shi*t, It's the Pirates!

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The only good thing about playing the Pirates

 Fresh off a 3-game drubbing at PNC Park only a short time ago, the Cubs once again will face the offensive/defensive juggernaut Pittsburgh Pirates today at Wrigley.

Will the Pirates once again take their second-to-last-in-the-majors standing in runs scored, third-to-last-in-the-majors batting average, and dead-last-in-the-majors team ERA and use it to an unfair adventage against the Cubs?

Probably. But a fan base can always hope.

In other news, I'm still appalled by Jim Hendry's assanine comment that it's "short-sighted" to blame the bullpen for the last few weeks, given that they haven't blown a lead in the last 15-16 games.

I haven't had time to verify the last time they blew a lead, but if Hendry really thinks that blowing a lead is the only way a bullpen hurts your team, I think it's clear who's being short-sighted.

For example, your team bullpen could . . oh, I don't know . . come into the game when the Cubs are down by 1 run in the 7th and then give up ELEVEN MORE RUNS in 3 innings.  Offhand, I would say THAT's hurting your team. Or, your manager could, say, not GO to the bullpen early enough in a close game because he knows that they are, in fact, a pigpen, and then your starter could give up a 2-run homer because everyone is terrified of said pigpen. That could ALSO hurt your team.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Sit Down and Shut Up!

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Sit down and turn on your tv, you latter-drinking-volvo-driving-lincoln-park-condo-living Cubs fan!

What do you mean you don't care about the game today?

Look, I know this hasn't been a whole lot of fun so far this season, but I'll be damned if I'm going to be stuck running this blog and talking to myself for the rest of this god forsaken season, while the rest of you jerks head for greener pastures.

We're all in this for a long-haul, and it's going to be MAGICAL-FREAKING-SUMMER. SO YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO SHUT UP, SIT DOWN, TURN ON YOUR #$!#@$@#%@# TV, AND WE'RE ALL GOING TO HAVE THE BEST #$!#$@#$@ SUMMER SINCE BING CROSBY TAP DANCED WITH DANNY KAYE!

ARE WE CLEAR?!?!?!?!

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Cubs Live Game Thread: (Krusty the Klown Noise)

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I think the picture says it all.

The Cubs are scheduled to be beaten by the Marlins tonight at Wrigley Field.  But good news: MLB.com wants you to stop by and vote for a whole mess of Cubs to make the All-Star Game!

Cubs like Aramis Ramirez (.160/.226/.261)!!! 

Derrek Lee (,210/.331/.328)!!!! 

Alfonso Soriano (.933 fielding percentage so far)!!!!!

And Ted Lilly (ERA over 5.00)!!!

So don't forget to get in their and send some Cubs to the All-Star Game! God knows they deserve it!

Oh, and there's even MORE good news in Cubdom--John Grabow could return as early as next week! Halle-freakin'-lujah, everyone!!!

Tonight's game starts at 7:00 pm CT or something, which means that we'll be down by 13 at approximately 7:11 pm CT. The game is on CSN, so at least half of you out there have an excuse for not watching the carnage.

Ted Lilly (1-2, 5.29) takes on Nate Robertson (2-3, 4.85).

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LOHO Celebrates Mother's Day (Cubs Headlines and Live Game Thread, too)

This year, instead of handing out a bunch of coupons that say "Good for One Free Hug" or "I Promise to Wash the Dishes", we've found a much better way to celebrate Mother's Day. It involves no empty promises for housework (though I'll still give a hug to anyone who wants one) and features the rap stylings of a certain superstar. Mothers, you can thank LOHO in the comments for this:





Treat your mother right, indeed.
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Cubs Live Game Thread: The Return of Darlin' Starlin

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Welcome back, non-Jeff-Gray/non-James-Russell/non-Justin-Berg reliever.

For those who listened to me on WGN today (if you missed it, you can get the podcast here), you might remember that I mentioned that "a guy on my blog" came up with a bunch of anagrams for "Starlin Castro."

As most of you know, that "guy on my blog" was none other than LOHO favorite Umbra. And his complete list of anagrams (I could only remember two), is here:

Clarion Starts
Can Start Roils
Cilantro Stars
Corrals Titans
Tractor Snails
Art Clans Riots
Acorn Salt Stir

In the split second I thought about it, I didn't know if Umbra was comfortable with me using his real name on the air (it never occurred to me to say "Umbra"), so I want to make sure he gets the credit he so richly deserves.

And dammit, "Clarion Starts" was the one I was trying to remember.

Heeeeeyyyyy, it's almost game time. The Cubs are back at the Reds tonight, with hard luck pitcher Tom Gorzelanny (1-3, 2.48) taking on perennial fantasy draft hot potato, Aaron Harang (1-4, 6.68).

And everyone's favorite new smoochie-poo, Darlin' Starlin Castro, he of the SIX RBIs last night, is back in the lineup tonight. Now that he's been annointed this year's savior, watch Starlin go 0-4 and completely befuddle the entire fan base.

 

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Chicago Cubs Live Game Thread: All Hail Darlin' Starlin!!!

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photo by @plamorte

The Starlin Castro Era has begun.

Starlin starts at SS tonight. Theriot to 2B. Chad Tracy to the minors.

Can it help this team? Probably not, but Cubs fans are nothing if not eternally optimistic.

Game time: 6:05 pm CT.

 Game Channel: CSN

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Marlon Byrd is Magic

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photo by @plamorte

There's a lot of things for Cubs fans to disagree about this season.

Was moving Z to the pigpen a good idea?

Is the old Fonzie here to stay?

Should Aramis play or sit?

Luckily, there's one thing we can all agree on: Marlon Byrd is magic.

Don't believe me? Check out his line for the season:

.343/.370/.588/.959

and for the last 7 games:

.364/.417/.727/.1.144

Shame on you, off-season Julie, for not believing in Marlon!

Game time tonight is 6:05 CT. The channel CSN+.

The pitchers? One Theodore Roosevelt Lilly (1-1, 4.91) and Charlie Morton (0-5, 12.57).

I like our chances.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: 3 Reasons to Love Playing the Pirates

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Independent of the Pirates, PNC seems like a lovely place to play baseball.

It’s always hard to get fired up about playing the Pirates. If the drab uniforms and ho-hum skyline weren’t dreary enough, the perennial basement dwellers rarely qualify as must-see baseball, no matter what place the Cubs are in.

But with the Cubs (already) a pathetic 5.0 games behind the Cards, every game/win counts. Sweeping a three-game series against the always-beatable Pirates seems like a good start to making up some lost ground.

However, we here at LOHO realize that it’s early in the season, and many Cubs fans are not yet hanging on every game, much less every pitch. And so, we have compiled a list of Three Reasons to Love Playing the Pirates.

1.  The Parrot

I know that many of you hate mascots in general, and so do I … except for the Pittsburgh Parrot (does he have a name? I don’t even know). I first fell in love with the Parrot when, unable to get a grouchy Jacque Jones to interact with him between innings, he settled for walking next to JJ and (perfectly) imitating his walk and body language, step for step, FROM RIGHT FIELD ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE DUGOUT. 

 

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Sunday Headlines and Live Game Thread: Can the Cubs Take 3 of 4?


Chicago Cubs fans celebrate in the bleachers after their team beat the Milwaukee Brewers during their opening day MLB baseball game in Chicago



Here's the situation: Carlos Silva allows 5 runs in 5 innings. Carlos Marmol allows a hit and two walks in the ninth. Here's the expected result: Cubs lose. Not so! In fact, everyone's hero, Alfonso Soriano, came through once again, and Derrek Lee showed up in crunch time. The result? A come-from-behind win.

The heroes were Alfonso Soriano, again, with a game-tying two-run homer in the seventh inning; Derrek Lee for a bases-loaded, two-run single in the eighth; and reliever Sean Marshall, who pitched two scoreless innings for the victory and hasn't allowed a run in 11 of his 14 appearances.

A healthy knee and Rudy Jaramillo finally have Soriano swinging the bat like we'd been expecting.

''The most important thing now is I don't have to think about my knee. Last year I was thinking about my knee, and it took away from my [concentration on my] swing. I feel very good physically now. I work very hard every day on my stretching because I want to be 100 percent.''

Having his former Texas Rangers hitting coach, Rudy Jaramillo, on the Cubs has made a difference, too.

''I work hard with Rudy,'' said Soriano, whose average is .303. ''We work in the cage, and he tells me [to] swing at my pitches. I see the ball better because I'm patient.''

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Saturday Cubs Live Game Thread: Have you hyrd?

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What's the wyrd? (photo courtesy Chicago Tribune)

There's a lot going on in Chicago Sports today (Hawks), including an early Cubs game, so let's get right to the news and then on to the game. (Hawks)

First, we all take a moment to give thanks that this year's MB player has been highly superior (thus far) to last year's MB player:

Bradley was limited to 34 at-bats with injuries last April and batted .118 with two homers and two RBIs.

Byrd has hit .348 with four homers and 16 RBIs in 89 at-bats.

"So far, so good," Byrd said. "There are certain things I need to tighten up. ... Everybody tries to get better."

Byrd singled and homered Friday even though he didn't start.

While we're all celebrating Marlon, (Hawks) I would like to take a moment to say that, thus far, I was DEAD WRONG about Marlon. I'm happy he's here. (Hawks)

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Thursday Game Thread 1:20 CT/ 2:20 ET


Cleveland Indians vs Chicago Cubs
Ted strikes fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers, too


Today, Ted will single-handedly take on the Diamondbacks at 1:20 CT.  He brings with him only his awesomeness, which may one day cause the earth to explode.  The game today is on WGN.  Or you can follow on Gameday Cartoons.

Lineup:
Theriot SS
Fukudome RF
Lee 1B
Ramirez 3B
Byrd CF
Soriano LF
Fontenot 2B
Soto C
Lilly P

Live Game Thread: Nats @ Cubs, 1:20 Central

Houston Astros at Chicago Cubs
Day baseball is back at Wrigley, and just in time for the third and final game of the series between the Cubs and Nationals. So far this series, we've seen both versions of the 2010 Cubs. Monday night, the ass-kicking Cubs showed up, last night, the couldn't-hit-their-way-out-of-a-wet paper bag version showed.

Today could spell doom for the Cubs' hope of winning the series, as they're facing a rookie pitcher with one career MLB start. The young pitcher who the Cubs will attempt to make look like Cy Young is Luis Atilano. In his first career start against the Dodgers, Atilanot pitched 6 innings, giving up 1 earned run on 5 hits and two walks.

Today's starter who will pitch well and get the loss or no-decision is Ryan Dempster. Dempster won his last start at Milwaukee, giving up 1 run on 7 hits and 1 walk in 7.2 innings. He's had success against the Nationals in his career (who hasn't) to the tune of a 7-0 record and 3.16 ERA.


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A Brief History of Rally Animals

In the beginning, there was the rally cap. Then, for a long time, nothing happened . . . until tonight.

This evening, LOHO is pleased to debut a brand-new, 2010 rallymal!

To be honest, I don't even remember how this whole thing started . . . I think it may have had something to do with my love for both the Cubs and the elusive giant squid. At any rate, we got in the habit of creating rally animals (or "rallymals"), and posting them when the Cubs get into a jam.

Before we get to the new rallymal . . . let's take a current look back at our current stable of rallymals.

Gallery sneak peek (10 images):

View the gallery...
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Cubs Live Game Thread

Houston Astros at Chicago Cubs

Before we get to tonight's game, there have been rumblings and grumblings that Carlos is rumbing and grumbling about his move to the pigpen.

It all began this afternoon when Chicago Now's Dave Kaplan tweeted that Z was unhappy about his move to the pigpen and that the Cubs were "trying to deal with it quietly."

Then, this afternoon, we got this from ESPN and Bruce Levine:

In his first comments to reports since his move to the bullpen, Zambrano on Monday said he is OK with his new role and will return to the starting rotation as soon as Hendry finds another reliever to fill the eighth-inning spot.

Zambrano, who made his bullpen season debut on Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers, is available to pitch Monday night against the Washington Nationals. Cubs manager Lou Piniella said on Sunday that he won't use Zambrano in back-to-back games for at least the first three or four times Zambrano pitches out of the bullpen.

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Cubs Live Game Thread

Cubs Pitcher Lilly Throws Against the New York Mets

Ted Lilly.

The Man.

The Myth.

The Legend.

Lilly threw six shutout innings, allowing three hits in a 5-1 win over Milwaukee.

Carlos Zambrano replaced John Grabow in the seventh with two outs and runners on first and third, and induced Rickie Weeks to hit a check-swing comebacker on his second pitch. The Cubs added three runs in the eighth to make it 5-0, highlighted by Zambrano's sacrifice fly to right.

Zambrano was a little shaky in his second inning, throwing 24 pitches and giving up an RBI single to Corey Hart to snap the shutout.

The Cubs scored their early runs on Marlon Byrd's run-scoring single off Doug Davis in the third and Aramis Ramirez's RBI single in the sixth, snapping an 0-for-21 drought.

So basically, if you take the horrid John Grabow out of equation, the Brewers had to face Ted Lilly, Carlos Zambrano, and Carlos Marmol last night. Just when they got excited about getting Lilly out of the game, an amped-up, fresh-armed Big Z comes in.

I still don't support the "Z to the pigpen" move, but that was kind of awesome.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Baseball Jesus Returns

Please enjoy today's game thread, courtesy of Ted Lilly Fan Club:

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"Sunday, June 10, 2007. Cubs are 27-33 and struggling, team is a mess. TL takes the mound the day after Cubs lose to Tim Hudson and the Braves. To add insult to injury, Hudson plunks Soriano for "showboating." Game starts in predictable fashion, with Ted striking about the first two batters of the game. Next up Edgar Renteria. Ted hits Edgar Renteria and is ejected from the game. Cubs then go on a 58-44 tear and win the division. Advantage Ted.

September 10, 2008. Cubs fighting with St. Louis and clinging to a 4 game lead. Ted goes 8 strong, giving up 5 hits, and gets the win. Insignificant? What the box score doesn't show is TL's bone crushing hit to Cards catcher Yadier Molina in the second. Molina leaves the game. Ted doesn't. Cubs go on a tear and lock up the division. Advantage Ted (and YouTube for ability to house that video for eternity).

June 14, 2009. Ted Lilly parachutes into Wrigely from an F14 figher, accompanied by his Freedom Loving Hawk, Fury. TL beats the Brewers by going 10 Innings and striking out 30 Cub's ride the wave of Ted's All Star performance into the playoffs only to lose because of the alien invasion. That's what we tell our therapist and we're sticking to it. Advantage Prescription Drugs (and Ted..but mainly prescription drugs).

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Step Up and Make Your Predictions

What has two eyes, two ears, a despicable batting average, a sad look on his face, and is riding the pines for the second straight night?

Cubs Third Baseman Ramirez Throws Out New York Met Valdez
This guy.

That's right. For the second straight night, Rami is grabbing some bench while the rest of the team, after leaving a small nation on-base during the Mets series, tries to figure out how to score some runs.

It's been a weird couple of weeks for the Cubs. Who among us thought, a mere two weeks ago, that by the end of April the Cubs would be half a game out of last, Z would be in the pigpen, Rami banished to the bench, and Marlon Byrd would be winning our hearts with his bat?

If you raise your hand, I will inform you that you pants, sir, are on fire. 

Did I mention tonight Z is available in the pigpen?

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Cubs Live Game Thread/Live Chat With Icky Mets Fans

Tonight, Cubs fans and Met's fans will do their best to co-exist in the same chatroom.

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Unprecedented? Yes.

Frought with peril? Undoubtedly.

Metsgrrl's idea? Completely.

By the way, I'm going to have to ask you all to sign a waiver and to leave your weapons at the door (and YES, Mets fans, a sock full of nickels IS considered a weapon).

Cubs fans will be cowering in the corner tonight, as the so-so Tom Gorzelanny (0-1, 1.93) will take on St. Johan Santana (1-1, 3.00). Wait a minute . . . Tom Gorzelanny has a better ERA than Johan Santana? Heeeeey, maybe this won't be so bad after all.

Game time tonight is 6:10 CT/7:10 ET on WCIU and WGN radio.

We'll post the lineups as soon as they're available. Follow me below the jump for the chat room link:

 

 

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Hendry Throws In the Towel, Turns Cubs Lineup Over to Pre-Teen SABR Nerd

Boy (11-13) wearing joke glasses, eyebrows raised, smiling

In a move that stunned Cubs fans across the nation, Jim Hendry threw in the towel today, only two weeks into the 2010 season, and put 12-year-old Timmy Nerdlinger in charge of the Chicago Cubs personnel decisions.

Less than 3 minutes after he took over power, Nerdlinger proved that he would be a less-than-conventional GM, promptly sending former number one starter Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen.

"For me, this was a no-brainer," Nerdlinger explained. "I've developed an algorithm that proves Zambrano will be far more effective as a reliever than as a starter. I've been using him in relief for months on my MLB2K10 game and it's worked out better than I could have ever hoped."

When pressed by the media as to whether his experiment would prove as successful in an ACTUAL baseball game, Nerdlinger bristled.

"Look, I've spent more than half my life as a disciple of Bill James and Theo Epstein. I've shown over and over on my parents' Mac Book Pro that this is a winning formula. All that's left to validate my hypothesis is to test it out in a real game. And anyway, Zambrano looks just like this imbecile at school who took my DS and my date to the 6th grade co-ed mixer. He can rot out there for all I care."

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Tuesday Live Game Thread: Revenge of the Cubs 6:10CT / 7:10ET

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Hopefully, the Cubs will shove a pin through the heart of Mets fans today.


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Cubs Live Game Thread: Mets Call Up Ike

 

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Tonight, the Cubs play game one of their only series in Citifield, taking on the New York Mets, who seem to be aggravating their fans almost as much as Cubs fans are enraging theirs.

But alas, the Mets may have made the move that will put them over the top at last, calling up rookie "sensation" Ike Turner. Unfortunately, the Cubs don't HAVE a rookie sensation to call up, or the game would be afoot.

We DO, however, have a 2009 model rookie sensation in Randy Wells (1-0, 2.92), who will take the mound tonight against John Niese (0-1, 6.55). 

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Cubs Live Game Thread

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He's baaaaaack!

Our reprieve only lasted on, fleeting day. Alfonso Soriano has returned to the Cubs lineup.

Will he catch the ball? Only time will tell. As I mentioned on today's podcast with Alex Quigley, you can actually see the fear on Soriano's face whenever the ball is popped up to left.

"Oh no. It's coming to me. Oh nononononononon. Oh God, please let me catch it, please let me catch it, please please please let me catch it . . . . damn."

Today Carlos Silva (0-0, 1.50) will take the rubber against Felipe Paulino and the shameful, shameful Astros.

The game this afternoon is on CSN, MLBN and WGN radio. If none of these options are available to you, check out gameday online.

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Chicago Cubs Live Game Thread

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Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune

Today's is Jackie Robinson day, and it's another beeeeyoutiful day for baseball in Chicago. Because I'm sure that Jackie Robinson would be as appalled as we are by the atrocious "defense" being played in LEFT FIELD, I'm glad to see that Tylermania! is getting the start today in LEFT FIELD. Because the past few days have been pretty ugly out there in LEFT FIELD.

Look, I don't enjoy watching a grown man get booed off the field (especially after he hits a double), but there is simply no excuse for a player making $18 million per year not to be able to catch a routine pop up.

None.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Opening Day Is Upon Us

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As a great American orator* once said, "There are the things you know you know, the things you know you don't know, the things you know you don't know, and the things you don't know you don't know." Here are some things I know I know and know I don't know about Opening Day:

1) I don't know who we are playing (sure, I could look it up, but, in the spirit of honesty, I thought I'd throw it out there.)

2) I don't know if Lou is going to play Fonzie.

3) If Lou DOES play Fonzie, I have a feeling I know what kind of a reception he's going to get (NB: please don't boo people on Opening Day, Cubs fans. It is considered, as the French say, "not cool").

4) I don't know what to wear.

5) I know that Ryan Dempster is pitching.

6) I know I wish I worked for WGN so I could be on the field right now instead of having to go to court before I get on the train this morning.

*not really

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Cubs v. Reds Live Game Thread

Florida Marlins vs. Chicago Cubs

Greetings from beautiful Minneapolis, where I'm on my way to Target Field (and trying to wrangle my way inside). Will I be successful? Only time will tell. Well, I guess the security guards/pr people there will actually tell, but that wasn't quite as poetic.

Thankfully, I wasn't subjected to the Cubs game last night, so I'm still holding on to that last shred of optimism I  managed to glean from Thursday's game.

Today Carlos Zambrano (0-1, 54.00) will face Aaron Harang (0-1, 5.40). How will the "New Z" handle the game following his public humililtation at the hands of Jason Heyward and the Cubs' middle infield? In one way, only time will tell. But, in another, more accurate way, everyone watching will be able to tell.

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Cubs @ Braves Live Game Thread: Here We Go Again!


You didn't drink enough Monday. Have some more.



The Ricketts era dawned on Monday. Rather than usher in a new era with a majestic dawn, the Cubs decided to face dawn like a drunk with a bad hangover. They turned over and went back to sleep.

This is still the team emerging from an unexciting offseason. This is still the team with Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva in the rotation. And yes, Mike Fontenot is still the starting second baseman. But take a big swig of that KoolAid, and gather round, for I have news.


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Cubs Opening Day Live Game Thread: Play Ball!!

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In the beginning, man invented baseball. Then, for a long time, nothing happened.

Until today.

The Ricketts' era is officially underway. It's also the one day of the season when Cubs fans are full of unbridled optimism (ahem, gravedigger), not to mention beer, cheese fries, and gas.

So okay, it wasn't the most memorable off-season in Cubs history. Maybe we do have both Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva in our starting rotation. And perhaps for some unknown, incomprehensible, completely inexplicable reason, Mike Fontenot has been handed the starting job at 2nd once again.

But you know what I say to that today? 

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And So It Begins . . .

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Let's be honest. Now that the Red Sox have won 53 World Series titles in the last 5 years, the Boston/New York games have become a lot less interesting. I mean really, it's become the battle of whichever team can buy more of the cream-of-the-crop players than the other.

Wither the underdog?

But there are a couple of reasons we still tune into these games. First, I always expect, nay, I PRAY, that ARod will do something stupid and unsportsmanlike (slap the ball out of someone's hand, yell "I got it!" as he's running the basepaths), so we can all have a big debate about what a piece of crap he is.

Second, there have been some pretty good fights.

If neither of those things happen, we're in for a pretty boring game. Even so, the winter of our disconent is 24 hours from being over.

It's baseball! What's more, it's finally baseball that counts!

Feel free to join us for the game tonight in LOHO's live chat, which you can enter by clicking here.

Plaaaaaaay Ball!

  

Tylermania Keeps on Rolling

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Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune/Phil Velasquez

If, like me, you missed last night's game, here's what happened:

PHOENIX -- The Cubs mounted a late comeback against Arizona Friday night at Chase Field, but wound up losing 5-3 to the Diamondbacks.

Tyler Colvin had a triple and a double for the Cubs, Kosuke Fukudome homered, and Jeff Baker drove in the tying run in the two-run eighth.

But Mitch Atkins served up a two-run homer to Ryan Roberts in the eighth to give Arizona the lead again.

Ryan Dempster threw four innings, allowing only a two-run homer to Mark Reynolds. The Cubs fell to 17-12-3 going into their final game of the spring on Saturday.

Who among you stands against the tide of Tylermania? You can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him!

Speaking of people you can only hope to contain, it looks like Ted is inching ever closer to a real, honest-to-god rehab start:

Piniella announced that Ted Lilly will begin his minor league rehab stint next Friday at Triple-A Iowa. Last week he said Lilly might start out in a warm weather city, but Lilly fought that idea, saying it would be more conducive to pitch in conditions that he'll be facing when he returns in mid-April.

"The only place we have that's really warm weather is Daytona Beach, and it really hasn't been that warm in Florida," Piniella said.

Lilly will fly to Des Moines and then return to the Cubs before his next start on April 14.

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Penultimate Spring Training Game Thread

MLB: Cubs v Rangers June 19, 2007
Ryan Dempster pitches tonight at 8:40 Central against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. It doesn't look like there's a broadcast with Cubs announcers.
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More Cubs Who Need Statues

Wednesday's announcement that the Cubs will erect a statue to Billy Williams outside Wrigley Field (you may have seen it tweeted a time or 200 on Twitter) begs the question: How many statues are too many?

 As far as we're concenrned, there's no such thing as "too many" statues outside the Friendly Confines. In fact, we'd love to the see the area surrounding Wrigley turned into a labrynth of bronze Gods, forcing fans to drunkenly navigate their way out of the ballpark and no doubt resulting in many moments suitable for the likes of "America's Funniest Home Videos." Not to mention concussions.

To that end, we've come up with some other Cubs we think are deserving of their own statues outside Wrigley (with a little help from our friends):

Gallery sneak peek (16 images):

View the gallery...
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Contest! Who Will Win It All?

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How would you like your very own copy of this informative Cubs media guide?

While we wait for this afternoon's split squad games to get underway, hows about a friendly little contest?

To win a copy of the book feautured here, simply let us know who you think will win each division in Major League Baseball, as well as both pennants and the World Series. At the end of the season, we'll select the winner and he or she will get an authentic, handsomely-bound copy of this official Cubs publication. Need to look at the teams in each division? Go here.

Good luck!

Today, the Cubs are in split-squad action: Big Z will lead the mostly-big boys team againsts the Angels, while a group of mostly minor leaguers will play the Brewers.

The Angels game away feed will be broadcast on KLAA (via mlb.com's media center). The Brewers game will be broadcast via mlb.com (also available via the media center).

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Cubs Sunday Headlines: Tyler Colvin Is Magic

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Raise your hand if you're in love:

MESA, Ariz. -- The Tyler Colvin saga reached another level Saturday when he showed he also can be a leadoff man.

In the first game of his career leading off, Colvin went 4-for-5 with a home run, triple and two RBIs in a 2-2, 10-inning tie with the Padres.

"He's not looking for a roster spot," manager Lou Piniella said. "He's looking for somebody's position."

Colvin is hitting .475, and looking like the phenom the Cubs hoped he would be when they made him a first-round draft pick in 2006. He said he's not looking to take anyone's job, and downplayed the numbers.

"Spring training," he said.

Sigh . . . dreamy. And I'm officially calling shenanigans on the "He's a 4th OF at best" school of thought. The Tyler Colvin Bandwagon is officially leaving the depot, and I'm driving this bus. All aboard!

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Sean Marshall, Screwed Again

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Artistic Rendering of Sean Marshall (by @plamorte)

It's that time of year agian, when hope spring eternal for Cubs fans and Sean Marshall, no matter how well he's pitched in Spring Training, is relegated to the bullpen for another season.

The announcement earlier today that Carlos Silva and Tom Gorzelanny (gah) will get the last two slots in the starting rotation until Ted Lilly returns means that real baseball is just around the corner!

Today Sean gets the start (why? I have no idea) against the Rangers in juuuuuuuuust a few minutes. 

Today's game will be carried live on mlbtv.com in an "exclusive webcast." what does that mean? I have no idea. I'm the idiot who believed everyone yesterday when they said cubs.com was streaming the game for free, remember?

At any rate, the link to listen/watch is here.

Today's lineup looks like this (via @CarrieMuskat):

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Do The Cubs Hate Bloggers? (And Cubs Live Game Thread)

Chicago Cubs Dempster Pitchees Against Philadelphia Phillies

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be on ChicagoNow Radio with Alex Quigley and Anthony Mazzuca from FutureSox to discuss Spring Training in our respective teams' camps.

During the course of the segment (or possibly during the commerical), Anthony mentioned that, re: the White Sox DH situation, he had participated in a conference call with the White Sox front office. Morever, Anthony, as a popular blogger, had been contacted by someone or other in the White Sox front office and invited to participate in the conference call.

Oh but wait, it gets better.

During the course of said conference call, the whoever was representing the White Sox, who apparently are faced with a situation wherein Juan Pierre may wind up as their DH (bwahahahahahahahahahahaha!), stated that the White Sox were aware of the problem at DH, that they had some ideas on how to fix it, and that the problem would be rectified in the near future.

At this point, I politely fell out of my chair.

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Free Ozzie! (And The Cubs Live Game Thread)

Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen sits in the dugout against the Boston Red Sox in Chicago

I am so angry about this first story, I don't even know where to start:

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Usually affable, Ozzie Guillen's anger toward White Sox management boiled over Friday after his club's 8-4 loss to the Cubs.

The manager's middle son, Oney, resigned from the club's video department Friday because of the organization questioning his blunt Twitter posts and asking him to stop them.

"Hey kid we are behind you. No matter what," Guillen tweeted before he uncharacteristically walked silently past reporters waiting outside his office.

Guillen, through his Twitter account, later apologized to the media and wrote it wasn't "the right time for me to talk."

Look, Kenny. Let's get one thing straight: We're in the dog days of Spring Training. There isn't a whole lot going on in my world, baseball-wise. Ozzie's non-sensiscal, non-grammatical, Spanglish-laden tweets are one of the few things keeping me entertained these days, so BACK THE F*CK OFF.

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Friday Afternoon Baseball: Cubs v. Sox Live Game Thread

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Cubs take on the White Sox today at 3:05 CT.

The game will be on Comcast SportsNet (with Hawk and Stoney--BLEH) and on WGN radio (Hooray for Pat and Ron). If you can't watch the game live, it will be rebroadcast later today on tape delay on MLBN.

Of course, the game will also be available via mlbtv and mlbudio, which you can access here.

Carrie Muskat reports that the Cubs have trimmed 8 players from the mlb roster: Cashner, Parker, Mathes, Stevens, Diamond, Coleman, Castillo & LaHair. I'm a little surprised to see Cashner cut, as I thought he had a decent shot of making the team going into Spring Training.

After a couple of rough outings, Randy Wells will take the hill today for the Cubs. Do you want me to regale you with stories of how Kevin Millar and his great chemistry cheered him up after his last loss? No? Good.

While DLee's bruised foot appears to be on the mend, Aramis Ramirez is planning on getting some at-bats in minor league camp on Saturday, as he's still dealing with a sore tricep. Maybe it's just me, but "tricep"' is a little too close to "shoulder" for me to be completely comfortable with this. Anyone know if this wonky tricep is on the same side as the injured shoulder?

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Cubs Live Game Thread

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Lord bless this house and all who dwell within the rockethouse. (photo courtesy Chicago Tribune/Phil Velasquez)

So in 12 minutes Carlos Silva takes the mound against the Rangers. Will he look kinda sorta decent like he did the last time out against the Padres? Or will he be the Carlos Silva we've all come to know and not love, like in his first outing of the Spring?

Today's game is on WGN radion (huzzah!), and can also be heard via mlb.com's media center.

If you're outside of WGN's listening area and don't have an mlb.com audio account, LOHO just MIGHT maintain and account for your listening pleasure. Shoot me an email if you would like to avail yourself of this perk.

Today's terrifying lineup looks like this:

SS Theriot

 RF Fukudome

DH Nady

CF Byrd

1B Hoffpauir

LF Sori

2B Fontenot

C Soto

3B Tracy

Yeeeesh. No thanks, Lou. Let's try for better next time out.

To distract you from the wretchedness of that lineup, Carrie Muskat tweets that Ted Lilly will face live hitters on Thursday and is expected to start at least one Cactus League game this Spring.

Let's go Cubs!

 

 

Game Thread: Cubs @ Rockies 3:10 Central

Florida Marlins vs. Chicago Cubs




Don't look now, but your Chicago Cubs have a 4-game winning streak! That's the longest Spring Training winning streak since they won 6-in-a-row last year! If that's not enough to get you excited about the 2010 Cubs, I don't know what is.

You might have guessed by looking at the image above that today's game will feature Cubs' starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano. You might remember that his last start wasn't so hot. Three innings pitched, five hits, one walk and one grand slam led to 6 earned runs against the Giants. I'd like to think that Carlos is looking to improve on that performance.
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Sunday Cubs Headlines/Live Game Threads

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Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune/Phil Velasquez

Through some cruel twist of fate, SuperHulk Tyler Colvin, the one who is hitting holy beejeezus of the ball in the Cactus League, is having a much harder time finding a spot in the OF than his skinny, non-hitty version did last fall. Raise your hand if you knew all these long-term contracts would come back to haunt us:

MARYVALE, Ariz. -- Because of circumstances beyond his control, Tyler Colvin is blocked in right field until 2012, in center field until 2013 and in left field until 2015.

Long-terms contracts to Kosuke Fukudome, Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano, respectively, have clogged the outfield picture for the foreseeable future.

But Colvin, a first-round pick in 2006, has been one of the most impressive players in Cubs camp, hitting .556 after going 2-for-3 with a triple in Friday's 12-3 loss to Milwaukee.

"They have some good guys in here to play (the outfield spots)," Colvin said. "All I can do is go out there right now and give it my all, and if I make i
t a tough decision on them, that's my goal."

Bruce Miles wants to make sure that we all remember what a good thing it is to have a happy, healthy, Aramis Ramirez in camp:

Here are all things Ramirez:

Why didn't he get surgery? Ramirez, together with the doctors, felt the structural damage was such that he could strengthen the shoulder with a full winter of rehab and not surgery.

How impressive are his stats? Since his first full season with the Cubs in 2004, Ramirez has put up OPS (on-base plus slugging percentages) of .951, .926, .912, .915, .898 and .905.

He had 1 RBI every 4.71 at-bats last year, second among third basemen with at least 250 at-bats to Alex Rodriguez and his 1 RBI per every 4.44 at-bats.

Ramirez is the first Cub in history with at least 30 doubles and 25 homers five consecutive seasons (2004-08).

Is Ramirez a "clutch" hitter? Let's not get started on that debate. Most stats people will tell you there is clutch hitting but not clutch hitters because the stat is a random one.

Ask Ramirez about it after yet another one of his big hits in a game, and he replies, simply, "That's what I get paid to do."

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Cubs Live Game Chat!

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 After that horrible display of "baseball" put on today by the Cubs, they'll get a shot at redeeming themselves tonight at the White Sox in Vegas.

If you missed it, the Cubs fell to the cholesterol-y Brewers 12-3 this afternoon, after a performance by Jeff Samarasdasdaajhia that can only be described as "icky ba ba."

But Jeff isn't worrying, and he doesn't want you to, either:

This was Samardzija's first spring start, and he gave up four runs on five hits, including two homers, over two innings.

"They jumped on two fastballs," Samardzija said of the home runs. Gregg Zaun also connected in the first.

"We'll work in offspeed pitches earlier in the count," Samardzija said. "I thought we were aggressive, and I thought the splitter was great. The slider was here and there, but I felt pretty good."

See, you guys? They jumped on a couple of fastballs. No biggie. Giving up 4 runs in two innings is not at big deal at all.

Follow me below the jump for info on tonight's game and the live chat link!

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Cubs Afternoon Game Thread: Bud Wants Realignment, Big Z Pitches, and Milton Keeps Talking

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  If you've been around the interwebs at all lo these past few days, you're undoubtedly aware that Milton Bradley is completely incapable of shutting his trap.

Today, Jim Hendry responded to Bradley's allegations that he was "a prisoner in his home" and that the North Side is a tough place for African-Americans to play baseball.

Hendry called Bradley's implication to ESPN that he received hate mail from within the organization "absolutely ridiculous," and said Bradley needs to look "in the mirror" and accept responsibility for his poor 2009 numbers.

"We're all brought up in life to accept responsibility when we fail, and to judge people by how they act and how they carry themselves when things don't go well," Hendry said.

Hear, hear, Jim. However, I have a better idea that will allow all of us to get off this merry go-round. How about, in addition to Milton sticking with the ol' reliable "no comment" when asked about the Cubs, reporters JUST STOP ASKING HIM ABOUT IT.

He thinks we're all racist. We get it. He blames all of us for his inability to make it in the Windy City. I understood that the FIRST 10,000 times you asked him about it. It's old news. We're all tired of it. Report on something more recent like Mark McGwire admitting he used PEDs or George Brett retiring from baseball.

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Hey Cubs Fans, You're All a Bunch Of Jerks!

Not only are you responsible for the unexpected, never-before-seen emotional meltdown of Milton Bradley, but it's also gonna be your fault when Alfonso Soriano sucks this season.

Or so says Tim Brown:

Soriano was in left field, recovering from the single he'd just turned into an unearned run and a few extra bases, and the boisterous fan's two beers had become three [all right, four], bringing a wail of exasperation: "Even I can do that!"

Soriano, however, remains for Cubs fans as good a place as any to pile their This Is the Year insecurities.

At least mildly disappointing in his first two seasons in Wrigleyville, Soriano, on a damaged leg, became a free-swinging, loose-fielding, $136 million-earning target in his third. By the end of it, the whole of his Cubs experience included 125 missed games, unyielding debate about his place at the top of the order, a couple All-Star Games, a few months of carrying the club and far, far more months of being carried.

Fortunately, he has five years remaining (and another $90 million) to get all that turned around. In the short term, Cubs fans would accept him keeping singles at singles. Then they can talk about the season, during which, as it looks right now, he'll have to be very good, or the Cubs won't be.

You stupid people have NO RIGHT to expect your left fielder to take a few pitches or not to strike out three out of four times up at the plate! Or to be able to catch the ball regularly! Can't you just let the poor man collect the remaining $90 million on his contract and go home? Who are you to expect someone to do his job? HUH? Hey--I asked you a question! 

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Cubs Monday Live (Fake) Game Thread

Chicago Cubs Baker Fields Pop-up From Philadelphia Phillies Francisco

This afternoon, the Cubs take on the Oakland A's at 2:05 CT. We've just gotten news that there is, in fact, a radio feed for this one, albeit the A's feed. If you subscribe to MLB audio, you can listen here.  Otherwise, you can follow along with the "live" boxscore here.

Ryan Dempster gets the start for the Cubs today, followed by the much-maligned Tom Gorzelanny. If Gorzelanny has as bad an outing as Silva did on Saturday,. we're 80% of the way to getting Frank Grimes. .  I mean Sean Marshall. . .  his spot in the starting rotation.

Today's starting lineup looks like this:

Theriot: SS

Fukudome: RF

Lee 1B

Ramirez 3B

Byrd CF

Soriano LF

Soto DH

Hill C

Baker 2B

Other than the DH, this is the closest thing we've seen to a "real" lineup so far this Spring.

Theriot walked and Ramirez singled in the Top of the 1st, but no score so far in the bottom fo the inning.

Cubs Headlines for Sunday/Game Thread Cubs vs. Sox (2:05 PM Central)






One fun part of the Cubs playing the Sox is that we get an opportunity to read Ozzie's quotes. Here's Ozzie on Lou managing beyond this year:

'Noooo,'' said Guillen, who alluded to a rejuvenating effect after the hassles of '09 and battles with a certain right fielder. ''I don't see why he wouldn't come back. Lou can handle everything. One of his biggest headaches left. That makes his life a little easier.''

Headache?

''You know who I'm talking about,'' Guillen said. ''It's easy when you're managing the players that you want to manage and you can handle. It's not easy when you come to work and every day it's something different. It gets old. That happened to Lou the last couple of years. You have stuff like that and sometimes you don't want to come to work.

''We need people like Lou in the game. I think he's a great, great baseball ambassador. I feel sorry for whoever comes behind Lou. Because it was Dusty [Baker], then Lou. Whoever comes next has big shoes to fill up.''




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Cubs Live Game Thread: No Baseball for You!

Florida Marlins vs. Chicago Cubs

Today everyone's favorite crazy Venezuelan takes the mound in his first Spring Training appearance, marking the debut of the "new" Carlos Zambrano.

This is exciting news. But guess who won't be able to experience it?

You!

MLB.com and WGN, in their infinite wisdom, have decided not to broadcast today's game. Too bad for you. 

In other exciting things you won't get to be a part of today, Darlin' Starlin' Castro will be leading off the Cubs. Shockingly, I can't find a quote from Ryan Theriot on this subject. This alarms me, because half of my son's report on plate tectonics last week consisted of quotes from Ryan Theriot. Perhaps someone should be monitoring Ryan's current mental health status at all times?

As I was saying, Castro will lead off (oh please, oh PLEASE let this work out), Millar will hit cleanup, and Josh Vitters, Brett Jackson, and Brad Snyder will all start. It would be great day to get a look at some of these highly-touted kids.

If we could see/hear the game, I mean.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Play Ball!

 


Well beat the drum and hold the phone
The sun came out today
I'm born again, there's new grass on the field
Rounding 3rd and heading for home, it's a brown-eyed handsome man
Anyone can understand the way I feel

Today, I think we ALL can understand the way John Fogerty feels, because, for the first time in 151 days, 3624 hours, and 217, 440 minutes, we have Cubs baseball to enjoy.

This afternoon, the Cubs will take on the Oakland As at 2:00 PM CT at Ho Ho Kam Park in Mesa. Randy Wells (12-10, 3.05, 1.28 last season) will start the game for the Cubs, but Sean Marshall, J.R. Mathes, Mike Parisi and Esmailin Caridad are all expected to see action on the mound today.

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Super Bowl Thread: Let the Best Indianapolis Team Win!

Super Bowl XLI: Indianapolis Colts v Chicago Bears



So there's an American football game tonight. It should be a good game (especially if you're a Colts game). Kickoff is 6:25 Eastern/5:25 Central. Should you like to, you can leave a prediction in the comments, and we'll all make fun of you if you're wrong. I might mail a hand-written congratulations card to whomever gets the closest.

My prediction: Colts 33, Saints 19

World Series Live Game Thread/Drinking Game: Phillies @ Yankees

ALCS Game 5yankees@angels

What do you mean "I have to play well in 4 more games before I'm off the hook?"

Only 7 more games until we can officially start looking ahead to "next year." Tonight, in an epic battle for the ages, CC Sabathia will take on Cliff Lee. I don't care what team you cheer for, if you care about baseball in any way, this is one you don't want to miss.

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Bears Live Game Thread

Bears vs. Lions

Hello, cubbiejulie? Since you didn't have any Cubs threads today, would you consider having a Bears thread tonight? I could really use the support.
 

Awwwww. Anything for you, Pretty Boy.

Bears @ Dirty Birds 7:00 CT/8:00 ET NBC.

Gaines Adams, Adrian Peterson, Hunter Hillenmeyer, D.J. Moore all inactive tonight.

Bear down!

Non-Cub NLCS Live Game Thread

ZUMA Sports - January 20, 2009

You have to admit, Ryan Howard has a great smile.

So yeah, the NLCS starts tonight, and, once again, our team is home watching it on TV. Hell, even our fake team is home watching it on TV. And that's depressing.

On the other hand, I won't feel at all guilty for missing the first 3 innings while I watch "Flashforward." So there's that.

Something in my biological makeup keeps me from cheering for the Dodgers. Like. . . . ever. I just can't get behind a team whose fans don't show up until the 3rd inning. Or whose fanbase suffers from a dog-like devotion to Tommy LaSorda.

At any rate, it's playoff baseball, so I'll be watching. Though begrudgingly.

Just out of idle curiousity, will you be watching? If so, who are you cheering for?

 

Tonight's game starts at 7:07 CT on FOX. We go from Chip and Ron Darling to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. I thought America didn't believe in torture, FOX!

Lineups to come.

  

Twins Live Game Thread: Let's Try This Again

Twins vs. Tigers

Check out the extension on our catcher.
 

Hey guys! Is everyone excited for the big game tonight? I know I am--and I just know we're going to win. Because it would be ludicrous for our team to be swept out of the playoffs three years in a row, right? I mean, that would almost be like there was something wrong with US, instead of the team. Right?

RIGHT?!

To be honest, I don't know if I'm strong enough to go through this again. So let's all huddle together, hold each other, and hope for the best.

Whoever has their hand on my ass needs to remove it. I said "hold" each other, not "grope" each other. Jeez.

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Twins at Yankees Live Gamethread 6:07 Eastern 5:07 Central

Thinkstock Single Image Set
94 West and Just Follow the Signs
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HOUSTON, WE HAVE A POST SEASON TEAM!!!

(and no, it's not Houston)

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Who will it be? Captain of the football team? Artsy drama club guy? The dreamy quiet guy who just wants to be left alone with his music?

 

LOHO's 2009 Postseason Mystery Date is. . . .

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Non-Cubs Live Game Thread

Athletics-Twins

Only one more day until we find out who we're fake cheering for ! I can't wait--can you?

If you want a chance to control LOHO's collective postseason loyalties, you still have 18 hours to place your bid! Cardinals fans need not pay attention to this listing.

So tonight is the highly-anticipated Twinks v. Tigers matchup. Winner goes on to postseason glory, loser goes home wrapped in a cloak of shame. Will Joe Mauer be the hero Minnesota has longed for since the days of. . um. . . who? Dave Winfield? Will Miguel Cabrera go completely insane in the dugout and try to ride Justin Verlander around while making chicken noises? Will Minnesota fans EVER acknowledge that there's a swastika on the roof of their stadium?

Tune in tonight to find out.

Game time is 4:07 CT/5:07 ET. Hopefull I'll be back from "Cloudy With a Chancel of Meatballs (in 3D!!!! ugh) by then.

I have no idea what channel this game is on. Additionally, could someone help out with the lineups?

Cubs (et al) Live Game Thread: This Is The End

Cubs vs. Astros

 

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.

---Bart Giamatti

And so another season ends, Cubs fans.

Unlike our first two years together, this year eneded with a merciful whimper. Well, I guess it ended with a whimper the last few seasons, too, but it was a whimper that came after the NLDS, rather than the regular season.

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Diamondbacks at Cubs Gameday 10/02/09 1:20 Central

Public Beaches Open In Chicago
Summer in the City
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Cubs Live Game Thread: Game Two

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Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune

Let's try this again. This time, with a better lineup.

In the second half of this day/night double header, Z (9-6, 3.69) takes on Jeff Karstens (3-5, 5.45).  Z's fresh off a spectacular outing. Let's hope he can give us another tonight. To be honest, I think his ego could use it.

In hilarious news, at least one Cub wants REEDZ back next year. Under his jersey today, Ted was sporting a t-shirt emblazoned with "With Reed We Will Succeed." "I believe that," Lilly told reporters.

I'm so with Ted on this one.

Happily, Derrek Lee says he's fine after fouling a ball off his foot. He's back in the lineup tonight.

In corresponding bad news, it looks like Aramis might be done for the year. His shoulder is sore and really bothering him. The Cubs haven't gone so far as to say he's "shut down." Yet.

Speaking of the lineup, it looks like this: Fuld (cf), Theriot, Lee, Hufflepuff (lf), Baker (3b), REEDZ (rf), Fontenot, Hill, Z.

Game time is 7:05 on CSN+.

Don't forget to go bid for the postseason rental of LOHO! You win, you get to pick our postseason team!

Cubs Live Game Thread: Game 1

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All Hail Ted.

 As you can probably guess from the photo, Ted Lilly Fan Club won LOHO's 2009 Fantasy Baseball League.

This photo was the price he exacted for his victory.

Actually, it works out great for me, because it just so happens that Ted (12-8. 3,02) will pitch the first game for the Cubs today. He'll be taking on Charlie Morton (4-9, 5.01), who I kind of vaguely remember from other beat downs the Cubs gave the Pirates this season.

Hey, if you missed the big announcement post below, LOHO's postseason loyalty is up for auction on Ebay. Highest bidder gets to pick our post-season team. If there's a team you really, really, REALLY want us to cheer for, you'd better get busy promoting this auction to said team's fans! Only 6 days left!

Today's lineup for game 1:  theriot, fukudome, baker (3b), hufflepuff (1b), fox (lf), scales (rf), soto, blanco, lilly.

Game time is 1:05 pm on WGN. Game two is at 7:05 on CSN+.

Let's enjoy this last week. . . together.

Tuesday Barebones Game Thread: Pirates @ Cubs 8:05 EDT/7:05 CDT

Why can't this happen all the time?

So, folks this is a do it yourself gamethread.  Nuthin' fancy here.  It's just the Cubs against the Pirates.  Unfortunately, it's no longer International Talk Like a Pirate Day,  but feel free to tell pirate jokes, since it annoys gravedigger so much.

It's Dempster against Kevin Hart today, so this could be fun!

(Julie pipes up, just in from soccer practice): As this is probably the night we are eliminated, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it will NOT be fun, but maybe that's just me. Also, having just turned on the game, I can see that Mike Fontenot is starting, and that is definitely not fun. Oh, and we're playing the Pirates, so there's that.

On the other hand, we're already up 3-0 in the bottom of the 1st, so that's kinda fun. As long as it stays that way.

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Chicago Cubs Headlines and Game Post -- 3:05pm CDT (on WGN) 27 Sept 09

Thanks to their third win in a row, a 6-2 victory over the Giants, the Cubs have lived to see another day.  Another fun fact?  The Giants have never been swept in four games at home by the Cubs since relocating to San Francisco.  Maybe this will keep your attention.

Of course, some attribute the Cubs' winning streak to the absence of Milton Bradley (who, if ESPN is to be believed, could be headed to the Rays).  It's true that they have won six of seven since he's been gone.  I just hesitate to draw too many conclusions. 

Randy Wells (11-9, 3.00) is going up against the equally young Matt Cain (13-7, 2.99), who is enduring a three-game slump.  

Thus, those who don't give a crap about the Bears (I will watch them, but only because I'll be at a friend's party, and the Vikings are playing right now) can tune into WGN at 3:05pm CDT to see if the Cubs can continue to be technically still in the midst of the wildcard hunt.  Who knows - maybe the Cubs will surprise everyone and.....whatever.  Just know that the game is on, and that the Cubs can mess with the Giants' wildcard chances.

On a final note, does the Cubs' recent play seem a little too late to make much of a difference?  Leave it to Jake Fox (a man who drove in two runs yesterday) to put a silver lining on that for you.

We're catching fire late, but wished it would have happened sooner," said Fox. "At the same time it's good to see it now because it's something to build on in the offseason."

Cubs Live Game Thread: Look FOX, We Both Know What I Want

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Sigh. So dreamy.

Look, FOX. Let's get a few things straight.

I've put up with a lot of crap from you over the years. From having to listen to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver call baseball games to having to listen to Joe Buck and Chris Collinsworth call football games. I also had to listen to Verne Lundquist refer to my team as the "Cowboys" during the 2007 post-season.

I think I've been pretty patient with your little joke of an "A" broadcasting team, especially this season, when McCarver's insanity seems to have risen to previously unimagined heights. So let me get right to the point: You owe me big time. It's one thing to watch the Cubs' season-long tank into baseball mediocrity. It's quite another to do so with Tim McCarver blathering away in the background.

This is the last time the Cubs will be on FOX this season, so let me be blunt:

 I want Karros.

Give me what I want, and we'll call it even. Then we can both toddle off into football season pretending that you don't know how much 90% of America hates Joe Buck.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: San Francisco, Open Your Golden Gate



If Julie can unleash her inner geek in a game thread,
I can unleash Judy Garland


Tonight, our beloved Cubs enter the City by the Bay for the start of a four-game series. The Cubs are hopelessly out of playoff contention, but can put the final nail in the coffin of the Giants' faint playoff hopes with some wins this weekend.


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Cubs Live Game Thread: Help Us Tyler Colvin, You're Our Only Hope

 

(wipes tears from eyes) Oh, that clip never gets old.

As you guys know (and btw, sorry about that), millertime and I have been constantly sparring over . . . a certain Cub for the last several months, on a seemingly interminable basis. I've finally run out of gass on this issue, and I desire to never discuss it again. So, by way of an olive branch, I'm giving millertime the Star Wars-themed game thread he's longed for.

By way of an even BIGGER peace offering, I give millertime the story of Milton's time with the Chicago Cubs (as millertime sees it):

Lou: For over a thousand generations, the Chicago Cubs were the guardians of peace and justice in the NL Central... before the dark times... before the St. Louis got a ballclub. Over time, a young rookie, who was a pupil of mine, until he turned to evil, helped the Cardinals hunt down and destroy the Chicago Cubs. He betrayed and murdered your our chance at a division title. Now, decent Cub players are all but extinct.

(Milton walks into the clubhouse, full of hope and light. As he sets his bag down in front of his locker, a huge, wild-eyed, Hispanic pitcher with stupid highlights starts screaming at Milton in a language he doesn't understand):

Ryan Dempster: [explaining] He doesn't like you.

Milton: Sorry.

Ryan Dempster: I don't like you either. You just watch yourself. We're wanted men. I have the death sentence on twelve systems.

Milton: I'll be careful.

Dempster: You'll be dead! Ta-da!

BTW, if you missed hilarious Patton Oswalt rant about the prequels that Ed posted. check it out here.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: 10 Reasons to Watch This Game

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All right, I'll admit it. It's a bit obnoxious to watch this club play as well as they have the past few games NOW, as opposed to oh. . .  three weeks ago. Despite the witty and highly entertaining banterthat takes place on EVERY LOHO game thread, I can understand if you're grasping for reasons to stay plugged in to this team.

Lo, I give you Ten Reasons to Watch Tonight's Cubs/Brewers Game:

10.    Fat Vegetarians: Will we ever tire of making fun of Prince Fielder and his giant pants? Or the fact that consuming two bags of Doritos and a 2-liter of Mountain Dew for dinner doesn't necessarily make you a "vegetarian?" Sure, it's all rooted in a desperate wish that he played for our team, but it's fun nonetheless. After the season we've had, we're entitled to a little  fun at the expence of others.

9.      Corey Hart: Last night he crashed into another OFer and fell down. That alone made the whole game worth it.

8.      Tyler Colvin: Will the future HOF-er continue his domination of Milwaukee pitching? Tune in tonight and find out!

7.      Brewers fans: Even though they've  stopped going to games, they're still pissed off that we haven't. The looks of unmitigated hatred while they stuff their faces with cheese curds and swill beer at an alarming rate are priceless.

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Chicago Cubs Live Game Thread: The Search for a New Right Fielder

I've spent most of the day scouring the personals for a RFer to fill in for Milty while he finishes his time in the corner. What? You don't seriously expect Lou to keep running Jake Fox out there, do you?

Rather than post the links to every possibility I've found, I decided to edit them all together into a montage. Please watch carefully:

 

 

Be a good citizen! Help Jim Hendry find out next RFer by voting below:

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Chicago Cubs Live Game Thread: So long, Grumpy

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Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune

This is what I've been afraid of all along.

As you've probably heard by now, Milton Bradley was suspended by the Cubs for the rest of the season following a couple of incidents over the last few days.

No doubt, there are many people out there blaming the fans, the Cubs, and the media for Bradley's failure. In their eyes, everyone was out to get Bradley from the start, he was never given fair shake, and this is just more proof of the inherent idiocy and racism in Chicago sports fans.

Several weeks ago, LOHO did a podcast on Cubs fans and racism. Anticipating the "Milton deserves a second chance" and "How come fans don't get as down on Zambrano and Lilly for the same kind of thing!" arguments, I prepared the following. It's a history of Milton's time in professional baseball.

I in no way intend this to further dismantle Milton's already very tarnished reputation, but rather to make the point that, rather than being a victim, Milton is a person who has had far more chances in life than most of us simply because he can hit a baseball.

Let's take a look:

  •  April 1, 1999: While playing in Montreal's minor league system, Milton was suspended after he spit on an umpire following an ejection for charging the mound.

  • July 19, 2000: Milton's MLB debut with the Expos

  • July 31, 2001: Milton traded to Cleveland after one year with the big club

  • Sometime in 2002: Milton is  removed by police from a Cleveland Restaurant after he refuses to leave, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

  • During the 2003 season, Bradley has "run-ins" with Paul Lo Duca and Jason Giambi, and reportedly had baseball cards of them taped above his locker in Cleveland

  • During the 2003 season, Bradley reportedly tossed his helmet and bat in the direction of Bruce Froemming.

  • September/October, 2003: Milton is pulled from a game afteran altercation with manager Eric Wedge, stemming from Wedge's allegation that Milton failed to run out a pop-up.  

  • February, 2003: Bradley is sentenced to 3 days in jail for yelling at and then driving away from a police officer who was attempting to give him a ticket for speeding. 

  • March, 2004: Milton is barred from Indian's training camp after Wedge again pulls Milton aside and tells him he failed to run out a pop-up. While all sides state the exchange was not heated, the Indians claim the disrepect Milton showed to Wedge in front of his teammates was the last straw

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Cubs Live Game Thread: St. Louis Edition

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There are a lot of things wrong with this weekend.

I'm a single parent until Sunday afternoon. Brian Urlacher will not be playing football. I can't get FB chat to work properly. I'm out of Nutella. I really need a pedicure. Aaron Miles continues to be allowed to play baseball.

Accordingly, I plan to be about 2/3 of the way into a bottle of wine by the 4th inning of tonight's game. If you don't come hang out for the game, you might want to come for the entertainment. In some of my finer moments, I've been known to bang out a few gems, such as "Ben Sneets is stupidoil."

If you can remember as far back as a month ago, this seemed like it was going to be a huge series. Unfortunately, thanks to the 2009 Cubs, it's not. But the fact remains that it's still a Cubs/Cards series, which is always worth watching, if for no other reason than the chances of a bench-clearing brawl are significantly higher than normal.

 

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Cubs Live Game Thread: It's So Hard(en) to Say Goodbye

richleave.jpg

Photo coutesy Chicago Tribune

Sniff.

I want so badly to believe this isn't true.

From the Chicago Tribune:

"

The Cubs are shutting down Rich Harden for the rest of the year.

Harden, who has struggled with his command the last three starts, including Wednesday's 71-pitch, three-inning outing, is being replaced in the rotation.

Manager Lou Piniella said Tom Gorzelanny would replace Harden in his next start on Monday and the Cubs would make plans afterwards.

But sources said Harden is done for 2009 and may have thrown his last pitch as a Cub, unless he re-signs as a free agent."

If we lose both Harden and Reedz to free agency, I'm not sure what my reason, as a woman, will be for watching this team next season. As a baseball fan, I'll probably stick around

davebush.jpg

Today Randy Wells (10-8, who has had control problems lately, too! Why don't we just shut HIM down as well?!?!?!?) will take on Dave Bush and his horrible beard. Yet another example of what NOT to do with your beard, fellows. No girl ever found Grizzly Adams sexy. This beard might not be Grizzly Adams yet, but it's at least Mountain Man and you can see Grizzly Adams from here.

 

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Fear Not, Cubs Fans!

So Taguchi at the plate

Worried about Sam Fuld being out for a week? Terrified about our lack of scrappy OFs to fill his shoes?

Fear not, Cubs fans. Help is on the way!

The Cubs called up So Taguchi from Triple-A Iowa, and he will be in uniform for Wednesday's game against the Brewers. Taguchi batted .248 for Iowa with four homers and 24 RBIs. The Cubs felt they needed an extra outfielder after Sam Fuld strained his right thumb. Fuld will be sidelined at least a week.

Taguchi, 40, played for the Phillies last season, appearing in 88 games and batting .220.

So, as you can see, we have nothing to worry about. What more could we ask for than a guy who hit .248 at AAA?

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Cubs v. Brewers 9-15-09 -- Live Game Thread

 

I’m no good at statistics, but I believe the Cubs will be watching the post-season on TV with the rest of us.  (Note to readers: it is extremely unlikely that any of the Cubs will be coming to your house. Perhaps Spellcheck, but only if you have a kegger.)  

We stand 6.5

 back with 20 games remaining, so have optimism if you want.  I choose whiskey.

 

That said, I still want them to win.  Win, damn you! 

Figure the lineups out yourselves.  I have whiskey to attend to.

 

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Now Braun-Free!

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Ryan Braun would like you to buy this douchey t-shirt.

If this season had gone another way, we could all have been super-duper excited for this game. Alas, unless Colorado, San Fran, Florida, and Atlanta undergo collapses the likes of which the world has not seen since 1969, it's just another boring series at the end of a disappointing year.

Believe it or not, we've actually picked up a few games in the WC race, now finding ourselves 7.5 back with 21 left to play.

On the other hand, if the Cubs decide to take out some of their long-simmering frustration on the Brewers, this series could be a big pile of awesome.

Think about it. How much would you love to see Corey Hart beaned in the goodies? Or Milty go, head down, into Kendall at home?

I would like it a lot. It's almost enough to make me wish Ryan Braun was playing. I'd give a lot of things up to see him pull a Sam Fuld into the wall. Oh relax! Ryan will be fine. If he's permanently disfigured and unable to play baseball, he can always fall back on selling his Ed Hardy knock-off t-shirts, the prime customer for which appears to be Jon Gosselin.

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Chicago Cubs Headlines/Live Game Thread for Sunday

FOOD



We almost got to experience a thrilling comeback yesterday, but it wasn't to be. Pre-closer Carlos Marmol showed  up and unleashed a typical 2009 inning.

Marmol entered the game with the score tied at 5-5 in the ninth. He gave up a hit but got a double play.

Then it was walks to Jonny Gomes and Kevin Barker before pinch hitter Drew Sutton made Marmol and the Cubs pay with a 2-run double to the right-field corner.



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Cubs Live Game Thread: Caption Contest

Astros-Cubs

 

I couldn't come up with a good caption, so I'm making you do it. To me, it screams something about Harden showing Rothschild/Rasputin the proper way to hold a girl while doing the merengue, but I couldn't quite put it into words. I know you can. Don't let me down.

Hey, now that we spent all day yesterday getting the hate our of our systems, I can point out that we've got a nice little win streak going here. What? Three games is a "streak," especially this season.

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Chicago Cubs Live Game Thread: 12:35 ET/11:35 CT

Winter Games NZ - Day 8: Curling
The Cubs seek to do today what these Chinese women
were doing  when the photo was taken



The Cubs end their series against Pittsburgh today after a stay that was entirely too short. Maybe we could take up a collection to bribe the schedule makers to work in 50 games between the Cubs and Pirates next year.

So far, this has been a series of records, with the Pirates setting the futility record for major sports franchises on Monday and the Cubs tying the MLB record for most consecutive hits to start a game on Tuesday. I wonder which record will be tied/set today?
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Chi Cubs Live Game Thread 7:05 ET/6:05 CT

Pittsburgh Skyline At Dusk



Once upon a time there was a team that we all thought might win the World Series. They were replaced by a team that can only beat the Pirates. But guess what? Tonight they play the Pirates, so they'll probably win.

Toeing the rubber for the Cubs tonight is our second-favorite Canadian, Ryan Dempster. You might remember he got beat by the White Sox last time out, but I'm told by Cubs.com that he really pitched well because he only gave up 3 unearned runs. But don't get your hopes up for another defense-ruined gem, as Dempster gave up 6 earned in 4 innings against the Bucs earlier this year.

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Chicago Cubs Live Game Thread: 11:35? Are you freakin' kidding me?

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I know, I was suprised, too. Better hit the pen.

 I don't know whose idea it was to have a game start before noon on Labor Day Monday, following one of the biggest party nights of the entire year, but it was a STUPID idea.

That said, this is a stupid team and they're going to play another stupid team, so perhaps it's all very fitting.

Today the Cubs take their flaccid bats into PNC park to take on the Pirates. I'd be tempted to say "Hey, if you can't beat the Pirates, you might as well pack it in," if we hadn't already said that about the Nats, Astros, and Mets.

I don't want to hear any more BS about how this team thinks they're still in it and they haven't quit.

They've totally quit.

Bob Brenley pointed out that he's seen an increase in selfish ABs from this bunch recently, and I tend to agree. Rather than working counts, trying to get on base, and put people in position to score some runs, we've seen a lot of Fukudome-esque corkscrew swings. You know, the "if we can't win this game I'm at least going to pad my stats with some HRs" kind of swings. I hate those kind of swings.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Fine.

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Me.

I can't believe you guys are being such jerks about LOHO's switch to following women's college lacrosse.

EXCUUUUUUUSE me for trying to take this blog to a happier, more zen place. But if you guys want to be subjected to his craptacular team and their dislocated ability to play baseball, then fine. Enjoy the rest of the season.

Today pretty boy Rich Harden (who is currently 8-8, but would probably be 28-0 on any other team) will face Nelson Figueroa (who is 2-3 and seems like he gave the Cubs an old-fashioned beatdown rather recently. You know, like 4 days ago?).

Game time is 12:10 pm CT on Comcast sports channel. I suppose I can come up with a lineup, if you're really interetested.

I still think women's college lacrosse is a good idea.

Jerks. 

Cubs Live Game Thread

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Greetings! And welcome to your live game thread for this evening! I'm delighted to be your host for tonight's contest.

I was on my way to tea at the Four Seasons in grand New York City when I heard that my required headgear is making quiet a splash around town. Alas, here I am, reading and waiting for the accolades I'm certain will shortly come my way.

Unfortunately, it seems I have to endure some sort of . . . athletic contest in order to witness the Gazoo-insprired fashion craze make its debut. Alas, I'm stuck sitting in this wretched athletic stadium watching a bunch of dum-dums try to hit a ball with a stick, and then run around in circles like a bunch of madman.

Ah, but we have to suffer for vanity my friends. It will be worth all the suffering once the entire world sees this. And realizes it was inspired by none other than MOI!

 

Mets Wright Wears New Rawlings Batting Helmet in Denver

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Cross-Town Smackdown Part IV (This Time It's Personal)

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"So I said 'I don't know what you want me to do! I call everyone a fag!'"

Though it's odd for it to come in September, today is one of those rare days when we forget about the Cards, forget about the wild card race, forget about who should stay and who should go, and focus on one thing and one thing only: Beating the #$@#$@%*@$@#$@ White Sox.

This is the part where a bunch of people jump in and say they like the White Sox just fine, you shouldn't root against a team from your city, there's no reason we can't cheer for both teams, yada, yada, yada.

Take it somewhere else, Chester. I don't want to hear it.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Ted-Approved

Cubs Pitcher Lilly Throws Against the New York Mets

 

After singlehandledly taking down Gmail &Twitter yesterday (and then giving both back to teach us the true meaning of summer), Ted Lilly prepares to lead the Cubs on a playoff charge the likes of which the world has never seen. You might want to set your DVRs for the remaining BBTNs this season, because people are going to be going out of their freakin' minds.

I'm not sure what we or the Cubs were supposed to learn from this August tank or being pushed to the very brink of post-season contention, but I do know this: When Ted feels like we've learned our lesson, everything will turn around. And I know not to question the ways of Ted, because the last time I did that he took Reed Johnson away. Whatever lesson Ted wants us to learn, I'm sure we deserve it.

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This Isn't Over Until I Say It Is -- Astros at Cubs Live Game Thread

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Over?  Who says this is over?  I am sick and tired of you sad sacks whining and complaining.  Technically speaking, the Cubs are nowhere near mathematically eliminated.  Do you realize how many freaking years that mathematical elimination has been a done deal by Labor Day? 

Now I am not saying that this is the beginning of a month-long winning streak that ends with the Cubs atop the NL Central.  Nor am I saying that the Cubs will suddenly stop BLOWING &$#%@ LEADS IN THE 8TH AND 9TH INNINGS.  What I am saying is that the facts are what they are.  Statistical analysis and breakdown is too much work for me.  Plus, I go from the gut, baby.  

 

Thus, below you will find the things that I will think about (other than naked ladies and free beer) while the Cubs begin their potentially triumphant September.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: And There Was Much Rejoicing

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The deadline has passed. Much to the elation of women and Cubs fans who enjoy quality starts, Rich Harden is still a Cub.

In related news, Aaron Heilman is also, inexplicably, still a Cub. Then again, the fact that someone claimed Heilman off waivers is even more inexplicable. I continue to maintain that this was some drunken GM's idea of a joke.

What's more interesting is what keeping Harden means for the Cubs. While I tend to believe that it's not significant of anything more than the Cubs and Twinks not being able to come to terms on a trade, everyone else seems to think it means that Hendry and the Cubs think they're still in it and that they're making a run for the wild card.

Someone should let the players know that making a run for the WC generally means putting a win streak together.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Let's Pretend It's October!

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Get Well Soon, Big Guy (photo courtesy Chicago Tribune)

I am ecstatic over the cool, breezy, fall-like weather in Chicago today. After sharing my love for the weather with LOHO buddy/haiku-extrordinaire Ed, who runs the fabulous blog Chicago Sports In Haiku, I got this little gem back from him:

Cool weather is nice/

We can pretend we're watching/Cubs

in October

Hear, hear. This is probably as close as we're going to get this season.

Many of you will be happy to hear that the Cubs have moved up Fonzi's MRI to today. My source tells me he's already headed off to the imaging center and the Cubs hope to have the results back before gametime today. 

Depending on what the MRI shows, Fonz might consider getting a cortisone shot in his knee (ouch), which would sideline him for 2-3 days (that's how painful the shot is.

More from mlb.com's Carrie Muskat:

 

Originally planned for Sept. 10 before being moved to Monday, an MRI of Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano's balky left knee was moved again to Saturday, as the club hopes to find the root of pain that affects the 33-year-old when he runs but not when he hits.

Soriano missed the Cubs' series finale against the Dodgers on Aug. 23 and their series opener against the Nationals on Tuesday, but he returned on Wednesday and hit a decisive homer in Chicago's 5-2 win over the Mets on Friday.

Even with the home run, which he hit off Brian Stokes, Soriano wasn't able to conceal a limp while trotting around the bases.

"There's no sense delaying it," manager Lou Piniella said. "We'll have him do it today, and once we get the results, then we know exactly what to do."

Soriano said he wanted to have the test done for peace of mind.

"It's something that needed to be done, so the quicker the better," Piniella said. "He's not moving well. Give him all the credit in the world -- he goes out there and does the best he can."

I finally decided we need to shut Fonz down, not just sit him down, when I watched him try to make it around the bases after his 3-run HR. It was like watching Jake Taylor try to make it to first on a bunt at the end of  Major League.

Ouch. 

 

Get well soon, Fonz.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Always Look On the Bright Side of Life

 

Things have been pretty rough around the Cubs blogosphere lately. Our team is in the proverbial toilet, we've been called some ugly names, and everyone seems to be arguing about one thing or another.

And that's not even the worst of it: I might not get to see Rich Harden's butt every 5 days next season.

But, as I always whistle, always look on the brightside of life.

Things that are making me happy today: 1) I get to watch (note: I did not say 'enjoy') another month of baseball; 2) it feels like fall today; 3) I am sitting in a coffeeshop, writing, on a rainy day.

Oh, and then there's this:

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Cubs Live Game Thread

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Smooth Move, Ex-Lax (photo courtesy Chicago Tribune)

 The Milton Bradley discussion has completely worn me out (see this morning's headlines for details).

Last night, I was pretty steamed when I wrote the game thread, and I recognize that "Shut the Hell Up Already" was not that nicest or most accurate way I could have expressed my feelings for Uncle Milty.

For now, I need some time to collect my thoughts. More on Milty's comments about racism and Chicago fans later. For now, I'll second Lou's comment for today:

"We've had enough problems... we really don't need any more controversy of any sorts."

Amen.

For now, we've got rainy, gray skies here in Chicago. I'm not all that optimistic about getting the game in. Only time will tell.

Now that we're back in playoff contention after last night's win, the homestrech is upon us! (/sarcasm font).

Today Randy Wells (9-6) will take on the Nats' J.D. Martin (2-3) at Wrigley.

Gametime is 1:20 on WGN.

Lineups to come.

Cubs Live Game Thread: Milton, Shut the Hell Up Already

Cardinals-Cubs

 

I am sick to death of talking about, reading about, and blogging about Milton Bradley. I understand he doesn't "feel comfortable" here. I understand he lumps all Cubs fans into the same category as the occasional asshole, despite all the cheers he also gets on a daily basis (which seems to me the same as lumping all African-American pro athletes in with Pacman Jones, but I digress). And I understand that the thinks he's the first player ever to be booed unmercilessly in Chicago (though I think Jason Marquis, Rex Grossman, Cade McNown, and Jacque Jones would disagree with him).

And most of all, I understand that he doesn't understand the concept of making his own bed and having to lie in it. You don't hit the damn ball and bitch about how the fans, your teammates, and the umps don't like you, you aren't going to earn many fans. Never in my memory has a Chicago player gone so far out of his way to distract attention from the fact that his season has been a big pile of suck.

I get it. We ALL get it.

That said, could you please shut the hell up already? You want to bitch about racism? Go talk to Hank Aaron, the Palestinians, the Israelis, or people living in Rwanda first.

Can we get back to baseball now?

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Are We Still In It?

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Submitted by Scott Blockowicz

Here we go again.

The Cubs are getting set to open a 10-game homestand against a bunch of really bad teams: Washington, the Mets, and Houston. In one corner, we have those who are insisting it ain't over until it's over for the Cubs (Steve Stone, Eric Karros, Ted Lilly, and Lou Piniella). In the other corner, we have those who have thrown in the towel on the Cubs (White Sox fans, gravedigger, my brother).

Considering, as Steve Stone pointed out this morning, that If cards play .500 ball rest of way, cubs have to go 28-12 the rest of the way to tie at 90 wins, we here at LOHO want to know what you think.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Will We Ever Win Again? With A Contest!

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Kind of sums up the whole season, doesn't it? (photo courtesy Chicago Tribune)

Will the Chicago Cubs win another game this season?

I'm not joking, I seriously want to know.

At this point, it looks kind of unlikely. Maybe the question should be "Will The Chicago Cubs score another run all season?" because, to be honest,  I'm not all that sure of that, either, at this point.

With a loss today, the Cubs will drop to .500 for the first time since the All-Star Break. I know it's difficult to believe that a team this craptacular has been above .500 for the last two weeks, but it's true.

So I ask you, dear LOHO reader, when will the Cubs win another game? Or, more to the point, when will they win two in a row?

Predict when (if ever) this Cubs team will put back-to-back wins together (this season, smart alecks), and you might win this handy-dandy Cubs pacifier!

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Picking Up The Pieces and Moving On

Thinkstock Single Image Set

My foray back to denial was a brief one.

So, okay. It's the end of August and we're 7 games back in the division and 6 back in the WC. That's. . . that's not so good.

But hey, there's more than one way to go with this information. I had a little epiphany this morning; allow me to share it with you.

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Cubs Live Game Thread

Cubs Manager Piniella Listens to Questions in Denver

Maybe I'll start bringing cocktails into the dugout. What could it hurt?

So there's a Cubs game tonight. It's against the Dodgers. Randy Wells is pitching for us. Randy Wolf is pitching for them. Heh. When's the last time you saw two guys named 'Randy' pitching against each other? I mean, it's not that common of a name.

The game is on at 9:10 pm CT on CSN plus.

I guess that's it.

(goes back to gin and tonic)

Chicago Cubs Headlines For Friday

Well, that sucked.

Cubs Live Game Thread: Welcome to Hollywood! What's Your Dream?

Marilyn_Monroe_and_Jane_Russell_at_Chinese_Theater_3.jpg
 Last night's win vaulted me all the way back to "denial" from "anger."

Call me crazy, but last night's team looked like a team that could actually compete for the division and (dare I say it?) in the post-season.

I mean. . . didn't it?

At any rate, indulge my fantasy for a moment as I discuss the current state of the Cubs' affairs. We're currently 6 games in back of the Cards (bleurgh), who are a team overdue of a nice, long, losing streak if I've ever seen one. We're 5 back in the WC race, behind Colorado, San Francisco, Florida, and Atlanta.

Do we have great chances of making the post-season? No. Right now the Cards look like they'll never lose again. But they will! The law of averages demands it!  Anyway, it's not like a monumental jaw-dropping collapse has never happened before. (see, e.g., Cubs, 1969). 

Sure, maybe our chance is one in a hundred. Maybe it's one in a hundred million. 

 

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Cubs Live Game Thread: The Five Stages Of Grief

Cubs vs. Phillies

Depression

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross almost certainly had Cubs fans in mind when she identified the 5 Stages of Grief:

  1. Denial: What? Can they still pull it out? OF COURSE they can still pull it out! Just wait until we get everyone healthy again. We might not even lose a game in September!
  2. Anger: I am never buying another ticket, hat, t-shirt, jersey, or thong related to this team ever again. I refuse to contribute to this laughingstock of a franchise. I will cheer for the WHITE SOX before I cheer for this joke of a team again. God, I hate Kent Mercker!!!!!
  3. Bargaining: Okay God, if we can just win the Wild Card, I will spend every spare moment of my time volunteering for charitable organizations. I will give 10 percent of my income to Amnesty International. I will talk to Streetwise vendors. Just please, please, PLEASE let us make the post-season!!!!!!
  4. Depression: I'll just. . . starting waiting until next year. I guess. . . . sigh.
  5. Acceptance: Meh, it's the Cubs. Where's my beer?

In which stage are you currently residing? 

(Note: If I can find the original link to Pessimism Pub, Confidence Island, and Uncertainty Lodge, I'll post them) 

 

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Cubs Live Game Thread: The Winner!

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Submitted by nearlynextyear

Actually, we had a three-way tie for 1st, but I had to pick one. The other two winning submissions were . . . . (drumroll)

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Cubs Live Game Thread: Late Nite At LOHO

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Put the coffee on and start popping the No-Doz, because we've got a late one tonight, kids.

Why would you want to stay up until midnight watching a team that's 5 games out in mid-August? I'll tell you why.

 
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Cubs Live Game Thread: Bust Out The Brooms

Custodian sweeping

What a rotten week for Cubs fans. A rout by the Rockies, followed by a rout by the Phillies, which included some idiot Cubs fan dumping a beer on Shane Victorino. . . as if it's Victorino's fault that this team shows up or doesn't show up, depending on the day of the week, the weather, and the phase of the moon.

A sweep (even of lowly Pittsburgh) sure would feel good right about now.

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Chicago Cubs Game Thread: Let's Do It Again!

 

It's Air Show weekend, everybody! As the daughter of a former Navy pilot and the sister of a current one, I would be remiss if I let the Thuderbirds hog all the glory this weekend. Besides, the Thunderbirds were never cool enough to have an entire Van Halen video dedicated to them. Even if it was the Sammy Hagar Van Halen.

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Cubs Live Game Thread: (*crickets*)

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I don't know what to say, either. (Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune)

 I've officially run out of things to say about this team.

Let's try this:

There's a game today.

The game is against the Pirates.

It's not against the Phillies (thank God).

It would be great if we could hit something.

It would also be great if out pitchers didn't give up 37 runs an inning.

Oh, and Aramis will be back today.

Let's see. . .what else?

Randy Wells (8-5) is pitching for the Cubs. Charlie Morton (2-5) is pitching for the Pirates.

Uh . . . the game is at home.

The game is at 1:20 pm CT. The game can be seen on WGN tv.

If you want more in-depth discussion on what's wrong with this team, who's to blame, and if it's fixable, I must direct you to the comments on this morning's headlines.

Um. . . lineups to come.

Cubs Live Game Thread: Let's Get This Over With

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After the debacle that took place last night (and the night before), today marks the last time we have to look at the Phillies ugly mugs until next season. Good riddance and take your back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back jacks lineup with you.

Happily, last night might have marked the last time we have to look at Jeff Spellcheck's ugly mug (and arm. and hair) until at least next year, as the Cubs optioned him to AAA today, brining up Justin Berg to help out in the pen. God knows we need it.

As thisyearcub asked in the headlines comments this morning, is Spellcheck's contract the worst ever given to a rookie? I think the answer has to be "yes." I don't even object as much to the garbage bags full of money we gave him as I do the no-trade clause.

Hope springs eternal, however, as the Cubs send a real pitcher to the mound for the first time in a while. Ryan Dempster (6-5, 4.04) takes the mound for the Cubs today. But surprise! He has to face Cliff Lee (9-9, 2.95)! I'm guessing our chances are about as good against Lee as they were against Pedro last night. 

Oh baseball, why must you be such a fickle mistress?    

 

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Phillies at Cubs - 7:05pm CT -- Live Game Thread (WGN, ESPN)

 

The game tonight is on WGN (and ESPN, but who cares), but if you tuned into WGN at 5:55pm tonight --- your very own (well, my very own) Cubbiejulie was just on WGN news promoting A League of Her Own and Chicago Now as a whole.  Thankfully, she wasn't bumped, so I didn't have to rough anyone up.

As for tonight's game, let's just hope for the best, shall we?  Spellcheck is facing Pedro Martinez.  Sure, Martinez is 37 (which is NOT OLD, thank you very much) and coming off the DL, this is his Phillies debut, and his first appearance in nearly a year.  That said, this is still Pedro Martinez.  Fortunately, Mr. Martinez has an even record against the Cubs at 3-3.  In fact, the last time he took the mound?  Six innings against the Cubs last September with nine struck out and f

ive runs given up (but no decision).

 

 

Nevertheless, we shall soldier on.  Spellcheck is too young to care, and he has a lot of hair to shield him from any criticism that may be thrown his way (and I have a bad feeling that there will be plenty of that in this game).  Sure, the DL is loaded with Lilly and Zambrano, and Ramirez probably begs each day to be added to it (and is actually off for the rest of this series).  But we have guys like Sam Fuld, Jake Fox, and other players with monosyllabic names whose youth (like that of the polysyllabic Spellcheck) prevents them from knowing that they might be headed to a certain loss. 

 

Help us, Milton Bradley....you may indeed be our only hope.  Well, LOHO and Chicago Now were on TV, so at least we'll get some free booze out of this.

 

Phillies @ Cubs: Live Game Thread

Scales weighing coins

The tipping point

As you can see by my clever use of the scales above, I'm officially declaring this series the tipping point of the season. As of right now, we're 3 games back in the central, 3 back in the wild card race.

We've got a three-game series against the Phils, then 3 games against the lowly Pirates AAA team. Meanwhile, the Cards have to play Cincy and then San Diego. By the time we get out of thesenext two series, we should have a pretty good idea of where we stand. Either we'll be holding tight in the thick of things, or we'll be 6 games in back of the Cards.

In August.

But never fear, help is on the way.Ted Lilly is slated to return to the starting rotation on Monday night against the San Diego, while Aramis Ramiez is going to have a cortisone shot in his shoulder and hopes to be back in the lineup on Thursday. 

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Cubs @ Rockies: Live Game Thread

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It was either this or the catholic schoolgirl uniform.

This Cubbie team is killing me
I must confess, I still believe (still believe)
The errors, no offense. . . I go out of miiiiiind
Hit me, Gorzy, one more time!

I just want to get out of Colorado with a split.

I don't expect a miracle; I didn't even expect to beat Jason Marquis. A win tonight puts us at 6-5 for the road trip, and that's about all we can ask for a team that frequently forgets its offense back at the hotel. If they wanted to forget Aaron Miles at the hotel, I'd be okay with that. A Cards loss would also be smashing, but I try not to get greedy. The baseball gods are touchy these days.

Speaking of touchy, let's hope the umps took a gander at the film of the blown call at 2nd last night and find a way to make it up to us. I really believe that call changed the entire tenor of the game. On the plus side, Lou got to take a nap, so we have that going for us. . . which is nice. I've heard that that the thin mountain air is hard on old, drinky people.

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Cubs @ Rockies: Live Game Thread

Cubs-Brewers

 

And the hits just keep on coming.

Today (or last night, I don't remember), the Cubs announced that Carlos Zambrano will be placed on the 15-day DL, retroactive to August 2. The Cubs are hoping he'll only miss one more start. If that weren't bad enough, Aramis Ramirez left last night's game with a sore shoulder and is still out of the lineup today.

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Cubs @ Rockies: Live Game Thread

Cardinals-Cubs

 

These are the times that try men's souls. . .

The Cubs placed right-hander Carlos Zambrano on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday, retroactive to Aug. 2, with back spasms.

To replace Zambrano on the 25-man roster, the Cubs recalled right-handed reliever Jeff Stevens from their Triple-A Iowa affiliate. Stevens is available for Saturday night's game against the Rockies at Coors Field.

As if that weren't enough, our offense seems to have gone D.B. Cooper on us again, Josh Hamilton admits to having fallen off the wagon, and we're facing a guy tied for most wins in the NL.

Did I mention that person is Jason Marquis?

(ducks and covers)

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Cubs @ Rockies: Live Game Thread

Brewers-Cubs

I think this is how we all feel about Geo coming back

Strap on an oxygen tank and prepare to have Coors thrust upon you, because tonight the Cubs roll on into Denver, and this time we have Geo Soto with us.

Carlos Zambrano (7-4, 3.55) will take the mound for Cubbies against the unfortunately-named Ubaldo Jimenez (8-9, 3.76). Jimenez is one of the few pitchers who can probably match Z when it comes to velocity. Luckily for us, Cubs hitters have had good luck against him in the past, with several of our players hitters over .500 against. The same can't be said for the Rockies, who have struggled against Z in the past.

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Wednesday Game Thread: Cubs @Reds 6:10 CDT



The Hollywood Reporter 38th Annual Key Art Awards Judging
Dunn smash ball!
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Cubs @ Cincy: Live Game Thread

Sports - February 04, 2008

 

The Tom Gorzelanny era begins tonight in Cincy.

There's a school of thought out there that says I should embrace every player on the Cubs roster, no matter what. I've always struggled with this philosophy, as it would also require me to embrace. . . say, Aaron Miles or, in the past, Corey Patterson. Sometimes it's just asking too much.

That said, I can't decide how I feel about waking up last week to find that Tom Gorzelanny was on the Cubs. On the one hand, he's a Chicago kid who seems to have grown up into a lovely young man. That's always a plus. On the other hand, we've spent a lot of time here making fun of Tom Gorzelanny, the Pittsburgh Pirate. Mostly because of this:

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Sloth love Chunk!

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Cubs @ Fish: Live Game Thread

Chicago Cubs Derrek Lee hits an RBI double against the Houston Astros

Oh Derrek Lee, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Let's get right to the news that I was up half the night waiting for. (Am I the only one who couldn't sleep until I heard that Z and Aramis were okay?):

It appeared Ramirez was hit on his left side but the Cubs said afterward it was his arm. Piniella said Ramirez was dizzy from pain when he went to first base after being hit and had to come out. He is expected to play Sunday.

Zambrano said he probably incurred the back injury from sleeping wrong.

"I was feeling it the whole game," he said Saturday. "I didn't say anything, but obviously as the game was going I felt worse and worse. I saw my arm dropping a lot. And Lou told me, 'Before you get your arm injured because of your back, let's take you out of the game.' And he was right."

Zambrano said he would make his next scheduled start Friday in Colorado.

So thank God for small miracles. I had the fork ready for the self-lobotomy if Z and Aramis went to the DL in addition to Lilly and Geo. Aaron Miles can stay there for as long as he wants.

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Cubs @ Fish: Live Game Thread

Bare trees in a lake in winter, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Welcome to my game thread, hosers.

Greetings from the Great White North, where it's cold, but not quite this cold, at the cabin on the lake where I'm currently ensconsed in several layers. The high today was 55--making for an even colder night. Lo, I, my yoga pants, and my mug of hot tea are very much looking forward to another hot night in Miami (on the TV).

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Cubs @ Marlins: Live Game Thread

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Kevin Harrrrrrrrrrt

The Cubs scored 24 runs in the last two days, which means that the next home game is Jack Bauer day. Today they take on the Marlins at Land Shark Stadium.

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Astros @ Cubs: Live Game Thread

Chicago Cubs shortstop Ryan Theriot drops the ball against the Houston Astros

You dropped something.

So yesterday was fun. Let's do that again.

Before we get to the game, there's some more news on the Boston Roid-y front. I know some of you will roll your eyes and say you don't care, and that's fine. I, however, am amused that ANOTHER Red Sock has allegedly turned up on the 2003 Cheatsy list. This is because I now find Boston fans to be even more obnoxious than Yankee or White Sox fans:

Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, the sluggers who propelled the Boston Red Sox to end an 86-year World Series championship drought and to capture another title three years later, were among the roughly 100 Major League Baseball players to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, according to lawyers with knowledge of the results.

And by all means, let's make sure to blame the lawyers who released the names, rather than the players who actually cheated. Just give us the damn list so we can all move on already.

Moving on.

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Astros @ Cubs: Live Game Thread

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Welcome to A League of Her Own!

Before we start today's live game thread, we'd like to take a moment to welcome all the new readers coming to LOHO for the first time through the link on the Chicago Tribune website. We're a group of social degenerates/Cub fans who hang out together during the games and chat. Mostly about the game, but also about whatever happens to pop into our heads. That's us up there in the LOHO Welcome Wagon. Well, not really. But it's at least a representation of us, as you'll come to find out. Except for pirate Ernie Banks. . .  I'm not sure why that's in there.

Can't watch the game? We'll keep you posted on all the action throughout the game.

Watching alone? Not anymore. We'll keep you company and entertained during the long, hard slog to the post-season (knocks on wood). Don't be shy--we welcome all comers. Feel free to jump in and join the fun.

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Astros @ Cubs: Live Game Thread

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Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune

If we're going to do this thing, kids, let's get one thing straight:

The first rule of a win-streak is you don't talk about the win streak!

The second rule of a win-streak: no outside food.

Tonight marks the triumphant return of one Ryan Dempster and his big toe, both of which suffered unfortunate injury in an ill-fated attempt to clear the dugout fence at Wrigley. Clearly, Ryan Dempster is no Ted Lilly, who, if you haven't heard, underwent knee surgery today. That and his bum shoulder should keep him on the DL until Mid-August. Do I buy this? No. I think Obama has called Ted in to resolve the healthcare crisis. It should take Ted about 15 days to wrap all that up, at which point he'll return to the rotation. And America will be better for it.

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Astros @ FIRST PLACE CHICAGO CUBS: Live Game Thread

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Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune

Tonight the FIRST PLACE CHICAGO CUBS take on the Houston Astros, who are only 2 games back of the FIRST PLACE CHICAGO CUBS and hot on the trail of the FIRST PLACE CHICAGO CUBS.

It's been a long, hard slog to get to first place for the FIRST PLACE CHICAGO CUBS, who have endured injuries, suspensions, bat-shit crazy pitchers, stupid injuries, more suspensions, a bat-shit crazy right-fielder, still more injuries, some minor leaguers, and a bat shit crazy manager who insists he is not a dragon.

(NB: Whether Milton actually said the quote that I based on my entire diary on seems to be in dispute. More on this in tomorow morning's headlines.)

But while Wrigleyville and Cubs fans everywhere rejoice in the afterglow of sweet, sweet victory, one sullen Cubbie has decided to use this joyous occasion to continue his descent into total dickitude:

"It's nice, but I don't think we're going to get any nicer articles written about us," Bradley said. "But we're in firstplace, so you can't find a negative in that."

It really means nothing, after all the Cubs have gone through?

"Am I going to get more cheers now?" he said. "Are we going to stop getting bashed by everybody, articles about our lineup and how it was better last year and all that garbage. Last year's team is sitting at home, just like everyone else. There's just one champion."

Actually, Sunday's lineup included seven players from last year's team, and Bradley was cheered after making a nice headfirst slide into home in the third and a running catch of a foul ball in the fifth.

"I don't notice it," he said."

Let's address your points in turn:

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Reds @ Cubs: Live Game Thread

Dusty Baker, Damian Miller, and Corey Patterson

The Reds and Dusty Baker (seen here examining an unconscious Hee Sop Choi) are having a crappy road trip, having lost four away games in a row. Let's hope that continues.

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Reds @ Cubs: Live Game Thread


Fun fact: Randy Wells is the third musketeer. (Tribune photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo)

Dusty Baker and the Reds come to town after getting swept out of LA. Whether the Cubs offense arrives as well remains to be seen.

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Cubs @ Team That's Better Than Us: Live Game Thread

We've got a game coming up in just under three hours, so we're going to combine our headlines and our game thread today.

MLB Chicago Cubs vs Washington Nationals in Washington

Sorry, dude

The game last night was a real heart-breaker, as our not-so-hitsy team managed to squander a great outing by Rich Harden's butt:
PHILADELPHIA -- Jayson Werth's two-out homer in the 13th inning Wednesday night, after Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez had walked, gave the Phillies a 4-1 victory over the Cubs.

The loser was Jeff Samardzija, who got the first two outs in the inning before issuing the walks.

The Phillies have won 10 straight games, while the Cubs lost their second in a row after starting with four victories in Washington following the All-Star break.

"We've see this movie before about not scoring runs," manager Lou Piniella said.

"We're challenged offensively, I can tell you that. You don't score runs, you can't win. We've played this game so many times before that you get tired of complimenting the other team's pitchers. I'd like to compliment our hitters once in a while.

"We might need a couple of hitters at trading deadline."

Joy. I can only imagine what kind of hitters we're likely to get, what with the entire world knowing that we couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. A fifth (sixth? sevent?) go around at Paul Bako? Another Jeff Baker? Is it too late to get Freddy Byn