And I won't drive a truck anymore. Cubs 4 Astros 1

And I won't drive a truck anymore. Cubs 4 Astros 1

In one of the more agonizing wins of the year, the Cubs defeated the Astros in front of 237 people in Houston’s Minute Maid Park Monday night. The Cubs would get their go ahead run on a wild pitch. It was that kind of game. Dave Sappelt would put the game out of reach with a huge two run double in the top of the 7th. Hey, it’s 4 in a row for the Cubs and I like when the team wins. But this game certainly lacked the crispness the Pirate series had. (Yarrr!!!!) And with two football games and the Tigers biffing it against the White Sox, one was left to wonder why they were watching this mess. But we do and we did.  So let’s ring around the Rosie…

 

THERE ARE SIMPLY TOO MANY NOTES.

 

So Chris Volstad trudged back up the hill and…and…and well, while you can’t complain about his line- 5 IP, 4 H 1R- you can certainly complain about the 5 walks and you’re certainly entitled to be mad about needing 100 pitches to get through 5 innings. Good God. 99 pitches 9 No not going jay Z here…. won’t do it.) For 5 innings. What was good to see was good bullpen work, especially from Jaye Chapman, who gave his fourth strong scoreless inning, striking out 2 in the process.  Camp and Marmol finished up. Marmol is getting a lot more swings and misses. That’s good.

 

SAPPELT’S SHOW.

 

Dave Sappelt was the star of this game tonight.  Getting the tying RBI in the second with a double. Scoring the go ahead run on the wild pitch then putting the game away with a 420-foot double to the deep cavern of left center field. The first comparison that comes to my mind for Sappelt is Dave Clark. A right-handed Dave Clark. It was nice to see him do well but he won’t get enough at bats to make any kind of impression. His next big chance comes next February and March in Mesa.

 

SHIVER IN MY BONES JUST THINKING ABOUT THE MATHER.

 

Look I kill him when he doesn’t do jack squat so I may as well throw a bouquet when he does something well. And lately Mather has been playing pretty well. Two more hits today including a key single the other way where the second basemen vacated on a hit and run. Maybe it’s the switch to the high socks. Maybe that ridiculous time on the pitching mound brought him the Zen and even keel ness to do his job better. Whatever it is, it’s infuriating. He needed to be doing this in April may and June when he was a hustling utility guy trying to be a “shrewd pickup move” and now that there are only 327 people in the stands and the Cubs are 30 games under he starts…ugh. Well I’m glad he’s playing well in what has to be his last few games as a Cub.

 

So. The Cubs have their longest streak o the second half. And yet with each win, not only are Cub fans less impressed they seem less interested. But I took some solace that this was definitely a “Bullpen” win. There have been way to few of those. And maybe Sappelt builds off of this and I’m pulling my foot out of my mouth.  Justin Germano hopes to keep the good times Rollin against something called Lyles tomorrow. Sons of Anarchy returns tomorrow too so hopefully the cubs make quick work of everything.

Till then.

 

Box score.

 

 

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  • When I look back to this season losing the 2 or 3 pick and
    Garza going down right before the trade deadline is all I'm
    going to remember.

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    More proof tonight that Sveum doesn't know how to write out a lineup card. He had Dave Sappelt, a natural CF who has played 75% of his career games in CF, in RF, while Joe Mather, a RF who has played 462 games in RF in his minor league career vs 43 in CF, in CF.

    There's no reason for that kind of stuff. He did that often this year with Mather at 3b and third baseman Jeff Baker in RF.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    How about Joe Mather never getting in there except for when he bats for the pitcher?
    IMO, that a lineup done right!!

  • In reply to eaton53:

    ^^^^this!^^^^

    Mather is a AAAA player, not MLB starter. He'll kill it on AAA quality or finesse pitchers who miss their spots, but can't hit legit MLB pitching.

    He obviously has incriminating photo's of Sveum......

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Mather is a AAAA player, not MLB starter.

    ---

    Agreed. He can be a bench player on a bad team like the Cubs, but at least use him (and others) properly. Making the team worse defensively at two positions multiple times this season makes no sense. Hopefully we can at least get a few more players like Cardenas, who has a small chance at being a decent big league player. I'd rather gamble on a bench full of those types of guys than older guys like Mather with no chance of being here in 2-3 years that also don't offer much, unless they are good role models who lead by example. Not trying to knock Mather, just saying that if he's going to be on the team, understand how to use him (and everyone else) to maximize his and the team's chances.

    This isn't a do or die issue, especially this season, but it would have been nice to see Sveum show some growth during the season and stop writing lineups like that.

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    C'mon felzz! Were there 237 or 327 people in the stands? This is important stuff...were you including the vendors??
    Like you said, painful to watch but that's how we were raised.
    Sometimes I wonder what will happen if the Cubs win the WS. Will they be just another team, their charm tarnished, the mystique gone?
    I would love to find out the answer!

  • In reply to AdolphoPhillips66:

    I went to a Cubs-Phillies game in Philly years ago and there was a "crowd" like that.

    No waiting for food or beer, no line to pee!
    And Harry announced on TV that I was there!!
    After Harry said "They're here from..." my mom got about a dozen calls back home asking if I was in Philly.

  • In reply to AdolphoPhillips66:

    Next June's draft will be key.

  • Guess that's one question the two-headed monster won't be tackling. I swear I have had the "What's the Mather Here" line run through my head each time I see his name in the lineup.

    On a related note, it occurred to me when Reds were in town recently that "10,000 Maniacs" described the Cincinnati fan contingent at Wrigley pretty well. (Though I realize now that, from what I've heard, that number would have been a little low.)

  • In reply to gocubsgo25:

    LOL.

    You definetly deserve a hat tip for the Maniacs. I read that and thought I might use that line. But then I feared you might accuse me of stealing. So I split the difference, used a Maniacs reference on the same subject but used a different line. "The shiver in my bones" speaks more to my irrational reaction to him being in the lineup.

    Besides, you don't want Loxas and Arguello answering Natalie Merchant questions. Loxas is more of a Tiger Lilly fan and I think Arguello prefers the Cranberries...( gonna get in trouble for that one.)

    Remember 10,000 maniacs warming up for...I wanna say REM at the UIC Pavillion. Pavillion very underrated place for large concerts... Very very good show.

  • Volstad finally got his ERA back under 6. His last five games, he's posted a 3.81 ERA. I'm not sure that he can argue for a raise in arbitration, but he might not be the worst guy to keep around, either. It appears that the problems that plagued him early have been resolved, at least to a passable extent.

    Glad to see Marmol and Soriano building up trade value. Both have really turned it on since about May 15th, and, assuming the Cubs are willing to eat all but a million or two on both of their contracts, they could both bring in a piece or two towards that eventual contender.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    Lets not get carried away on wanting Volstad back. 2 of those 3 wins he has were aganst the two worst teams in the league besides the Cubs, the Rockies and Astros who are both pretty much AAA offenses. 106 hits allowed and 36 walks in 91 innings (and only 52 strikeouts) is scary level bad. Hopefully the Volstad era is done after this season. He just is not a major league caliber starter.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    I agree with keeping him around. He'll only be 26. He was touching 94 last night. Command was off but he did show an improved ability to work out of trouble. Of course, he was facing an inept team, but Volstad had the same trouble in AAA. It's been more about him than the opposition. I see no reason for the Cubs to give up on young arms early. It's not like he's blocking anybody.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree with this. We could do a lot worse than bring Volstad back and try to coach him up.

    On a side note, this dude sweats more than any other player on the roster. Secondly, why on gods green earth, does such a large man appear so freakin' soft? He throws 93mph but intimidates no one.... When he keeps that low 90's sinker at the knees & commands his secondary stuff, he can chew up some innings and give us a chance to win. Which is what you want out of a #4 or #5 starter.... but I keep catching myself thinking "Dude!, you're 6'8" how's about a little nasty attitude once in a while?".... I got $20 says Barney or Campana could kick his a$$.....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    It's weird but it seems like there's a few players whose size doesn't match they're intimidation factor. I remember a pitcher the Cubs had a tall pitcher a while back named Bob Scanlan but he was more of a finesse guy. You'd really like to see guys like that take advantage of what they have. In the MLB, you need every edge you have, so you have to use it.

  • Marmol's contract isn't really that bad and he'll be in the final year of it regardless. It really shouldn't be a problem if a team truly needs a closer. But who knows. Tampa Bay has taken two of the worst relievers- kyle Farnsworth and Fernando Rodney- and turned them into killer closers.

    I'm just glad he's pitching well. and the back of the Bullpen has stabilized.

  • This site and the hot stove league will be a fun read.

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    MLB Reverse Standings as of 09-12-12 A.M.

    Pick Team W L W% GB
    1 Astros 44 97 0.312 0.0
    2 Cubs 55 86 0.390 11.0
    3 Rockies 57 83 0.407 13.5
    4 Twins 59 82 0.418 15.0
    5 Indians 59 82 0.418 15.0

    As long as the Cubs lose enough to maintain the second overall pick, you will get no complaints from me.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Go, Cubs! Win, Cubs!

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Freaking Pirates sweep :(

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    And the biggest problem is, our remaining schedule is relatively easy compared to the Rockies, Twins, and Indians. So, so Cubs to go on this little winning streak when the only thing it does is hurt the team. Seriously -- and I know this sounds wrong -- game 3 in Pittsburgh was the only time all season I had the annual temptation to throw in the towel as a Cubs fan.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I know Mike. They have a legitimate chance to be in a position to land exactly what they need, and they're probably going to blow it because they're the Cubs. Of course, there will be much joy of the winning of a bunch of meaningless games, and it won't be all bad, as long as we're winning because the kids are getting better, but if the Cubs cost themselves a shot at Appel, Stanek or Manaea for no real gain, I'm just flat going to be pissed. I mean going out and buying a cat just to kick it kind of pissed.

    This one is for you felzzy. I mean, "I'm a reformed alcoholic. You go ahead and have that double martini. I'll just be over in the corner kicking the cat," kind of pissed.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    It is one of the most frustrating things I've ever see, and to have the team we're scheduled to kick all around the infield this week do it exactly right is doubly frustrating.

  • How pathetic are the Astros? The Cubs ran Volstad out on the mound along with some fringe bullpen arms. They fielded a lineup with Mather, Sappelt, Vitters-- none of them quality MLB starters at this point.

    Supposedly they got a .05 TV rating on Sunday. They traded all their veterans for minor leaguers who are not impact guys. The lineup may not have a single player with a long term ceiling as a league average regular.

    They could at least try to look like they're not tanking the season.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Worst team I have ever seen. The goal was clearly lose and get as many pieces as they can. I actually give the Astros credit for those trades. They didn't get impact guys, but they got legit major league regulars to insert around the team they're building based on Correa, McCullers, Singleton, Altuve, and whatever off-the-charts prospect they get next June. For my money, Luhnow is executive of the year. I'm sure Theo and Jed are currently asking themselves: how can we be more like Jeff.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I wrote about this very scenario back in December, that the new CBA would cause teams to tank the season.

    http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2012/05/cubs-den-archives-maybe-the-new-market-inefficiency-is-to-stink-for-a-couple-of-years/

    I'm not sure if Luhnow is executive of the year, though. He inherited all their best prospects and the guys he traded for probably won't be starters. At least not good ones. Not that he had much to trade. Now it seems he's trying to distract fans by bringing in high profile guys like Roger Clemens.

    This year's draft is nothing special and may be one of the weakest in years. Not much difference between top 5 picks unless you're in the camp that Appel can be a front line starter in the next couple of years. Stanek and Manea are intriguing but they're not on the level of guys lie Bauer, Bundy, etc. two years back.

    I think what Luhnow did can't be judged for a couple of years at minimum. It could end up being a disaster.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Okay, I'll buy that. Having said that, all of this was him:

    Cleverly using the slotting system to add two high-end players to the system (Correa and McCullers).

    Finding a trade with a sickeningly deep Toronto team to add two middle of the rotation starters that could be up as soon as next year, (Musgrove and Wojciechowski).

    Adding Kevin Cormer from the Blue Jays who is one of those Theo Epstein "high risk/high ceiling" guys that could fit into a 2/3 slot.

    Grabbing Carlos Perez from the Blue Jays. The Astros desperately needed a cost-controlled catcher, the Jays were 3-deep

    Okay, other than draft mastery, I guess I'm pretty much praising one trade, but it was one heck of a trade. I like grabbing Colton Cain for nothing (Wandy Rodriguez), too. He could slot into the bullpen as a situational lefty.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think calling those guys mid-rotation starters is a big stretch right now. They may start out of necessity, but more than a few people think they're relievers. The same goes for McCullers.

    Comer is interesting but a long way away. I agree he did well in that deal considering he didn't deal away much, but AA isn't in the habit of giving up impact talent, so I'm skeptical on all these guys right now. I think they got some MLB players, but I'm not sure any will be difference makers.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    No doubt the 2013 draft is as shallow as the 2012 draft. All the more important to secure the highest pick still possible. There is no possibility to catch the Astros, but there is no excuse for letting the Rockies and/or the Twins catch us. Maybe the FO passes on Appel, Manaea and Stanek, but I want them to have that opportunity.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Would wanting to do one's best count as an excuse?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    The excuse would be that they're winning ball games. That's what ballplayers do. That's why they play. Now if the Cubs were winning with a bunch of vets in the lineup, that's one thing, you could blame the FO/management... but the Cubs are playing kids and spare parts. If the kids play well and help them win, what are you going to do, tell them to stop trying? Tell them to stop getting better?

    You can also make the argument that in a weak draft, the stakes are lower. There isn't a huge difference between 2 and 5 in this draft and there's not a whole lot of depth that you want throw money at later in the draft.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    My pick for executive is Ben Cherington for that single blockbuster trade where he unloaded those contracts and got some good pieces in return.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    That was the trade of the year. Really took advantage of a team with lots of money willing to make a deal for what were essentially big names -- but not a lot of value there. The fact that he got two good young arms in the deal is tremendous.

  • Can I say the "C' word here?.......

    It is time for MLB to get rid of several teams. These teams are not producing the $$$$$$$ for the MLB money pot.

    So here is my way to appease the union......

    Every team roster goes from 25 to 28 players.....

    What teams need to go?........Astros & Marlins....these teams are a joke when it comes to attracting fans.

    I also believe that it is time to bring baseball back to Brooklyn, New York.........maybe a team like Miami needs to relocate to Brooklyn. That new stadium in Miami does not work.......neither does the players.

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    The Astros are intentionally a joke. They are stocking their farm system so they will be world beaters in a few years.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Plus their nonexistent attendance will make them a welfare team, giving them additional picks.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    They may still be a joke over the next several years. With the mediocre quality of their new "stars", the only world they may be beating is the AAA minors.
    Or playing enabler to Roger C's fantasy HOF world.

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Their new "stars" are in the minors. Singleton and Correa, in particular, look for real.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Not to say it can't succeed, but the Astros strategy to me is far more risky. At any rate, just wrote up a new article and poll on the subject.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I know that. That's two "prospects". They'll need lots and lots to turn it around, especially in the AL West.
    I stick to what I said.

  • Hey Felzz,
    "And I won't drive a truck any more...."

    I counter with
    "If memories are all I mean,
    I'd rather drive a truck.
    But it's all right now...."

    I enjoy our Friendly Confines Garden Party.

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