Monday, July 30, 2007

First on the line........Live Game Log 7-20-07

By now, everyone knows what is at stake tonight as the Phillies come to town. The Cubs are 1.5 games back and are already 1 game ahead in the loss column. With a win tonight, the Cubs would be in first place.

What a night for a baseball game. Now it is a time for a live game log of tonight's first place game.

Pregame: Chase Utley thinks he will be back in three weeks. Good for us, bad for the Phillies.

Top of the First: Good start for the Cubs after Shane Victorino chased ball four and a quick flyout.

Odd as Lilly throws behind Jimmy Rollins. I wonder if somebody said something the last time these teams played? Well, Rollins thought he had a home run, but it just missed. Now, big hitting Ryan Howard up and it will be interested to see how Lilly goes after him. Going after Howard, and Lilly just got squeezed. Doesn't matter, Lilly strikes him out and the Cubs come up tied 0-0.

Bottom of the First:
Two outs one two groundballs to short. We might try and hit it somewhere else. The Cubs go quietly in the first. Not much news to talk about, but i hate quick innings.

Top of the second:
So, lets take a look at couple of the deals from baseball that happened today.

I love the deals for the Braves. They pick up Octavio Dotel, Mark Texiera and Ron Mahay. This gives them two solid bullpen arms and a All-star 1B, a place they really needed. They are doing their best job to catch the Mets.
While I like the move, they still need one starter. The Braves have a pretty good lineup, but are still 4.5 games back in the NL East and 2.5 games back in the Wild Card.

I will check on the other teams throughout tonight's game.

While gushing about the Braves, Lilly is in a little trouble after a walk to Wes Helms to put runner's on first and second.

I really hate watching games on ESPN, because they repeat a lot of their news all game. That is the second time they have reported on Chase Utley's hand.

Lilly is going to have trouble it can't find the curveball tonight, but he is able to work out of the jam.

Bottom of the second: Nothing like getting a hit coming off a break. Aramis Ramirez knocks a solid single to left.

Wow, more hard hitting journalism about the Cubs attitude being better. Nothing better than fluff pieces about a team that is winning. Nasty pitch by Hamels to strike out Mark DeRosa.

I wish our lefties had an out pitch like that. "Thunder" Matt Murton finally getting a start and gets lucky as a ball drifts foul. Ouch, 9-15 against lefties and Murton doesn't help with a strikeout. The Cubs do nothing and we're still tied 0-0 after two.

Top of the third: This is a big inning for Lilly, because he has struggled with command a little and the top of the lineup up in the third.

The Phillies picked up Tadihito Iguchi two days ago. Pretty good move with the Utley being out for almost a month. This is the type of move Jim Hendry failed to do last year when Derek Lee went down. Go figure, Iguchi walks and does something good.

Lilly and not afford giving up walks in front of Rollins and Howard. Wow, Lee just makes a great play to retire Rollins, that's our gold-glover.

Can't believe that Iguchi didn't goo home on a mashed double to right and Lilly is living dangerously again. Well wouldn't you know, Aaron Rowand blasts a three-run home run to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead.
Lilly just find the curve and it is hurting him tonight. He gets out of the inning, but the Cubs trail 3-0.

Bottom of the third: First place is not looking good tonight as Hamels cruises through the third. Phillies 3-0.

Top of the fourth:
After giving up three runs in the third, it is never a good sign to walk the pitcher. Wow, but gets a double play to end the inning. Phillies 3-0.

Bottom of the fourth: "The Riot" hits a ball off Hamels for a hit. Maybe it will disrupt his pitching, but Lee can't follow with a hit.

Theriot gets a steal, but Ramirez is behind 0-2 in the count. The Cubs can't do anything and still are behind 3-0.

Top of the fifth: Iguchi digs the hole a little bigger with a leadoff home run to put the Phillies up 4-0. Not looking good. Lilly gets through five, but the Cubs trail 4-0.

Bottom of the fifth: Hey, Hey....Murton draws a leadoff walk. It can't hurt, maybe the Cubs can get a big inning. It will be interesting to see if Lou pinch hits for Lilly if Kendall walks here.

Lou does pinch hit and it is Ronny Cedeno. Ronny has been hot in AAA, but he hasn't been facing Cole Hamels. Cole just walks two hitters, but Ronny hack at the first pitch and pops it up to first. I miss Daryle Ward.

Ooch, Michael Bourne fell over the bullpen mound and really turned his ankle. It is amazing that he stays in the game.

The Cubs can't do anything with Hamels after two walks and still trail 4-0.

Top of the sixth: Good inning by Wuertz, but the Cubs need some offense.

Bottom of the sixth: The Riot cuts the lead to 4-1, but I'm still a little worried.

Top of the seventh: Wuertz gets lucky and then gets Howard and Rowand to keep it a three-run game. Time for the bottom of the lineup to come up big against Hamels.

Bottom of the seventh:

Top 8: Rocky Cherry good.
Bottom 8: Cubs' bats bad.
Top 9:
Ryan Dempster gets out of the jam and provides the Web gem with his blocking of home plate, but the Cubs are still down three heading to the bottom of the ninth.

Bottom 9: Lee flies out to right to start. Damn, when you are down three you have to get the leadoff runner on. Wow, did anybody notice Ramirez is hitting .321? He is sneaky good, but ops up to center. Well, it looks like 1 game behind the Brewers and 1.5 out of the wildcard.

I've got one thought for Jim: we need another RH batter to face lefties in the post-season.

Bottom 9:

Friday, July 27, 2007

Up next

The Cubs missed a golden chance last night to get within a game of the Brewers, but all is not lost. The Cubs stay two back of the Brewers and are a game back of the Diamondbacks.

The Cubs need to take 2-of-3 this weekend.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Live Game Blog----Cubs try for another series

I haven't done a game log is a quite some time, but with the Cubs on HD and the Brewers on the other channel in HD on Directv, there is no better time. Check back later for the the start.

I looked back at a post on June 25 (The Rockie 9th inning victory) and we were 7.5 games back (7 in the loss column). Now, almost a month later and the Cubs are 2.5 games back, but only two back in the loss column. Things are getting tight and today has a special feel to it.

Lets take a look at the different contenders as today's games get started.

NL Central W-L GB
Milwaukee (54-43) --
Chicago (51-45) 2.5

NL Wildcard W-L GB
San Diego (53-43) --
Chicago (51-45) 2
Atlanta (52-46) 2
Arizona (51-48) 3.5
Philadelphia (49-48) 4.5

The Padres are playing the Phillies. The Braves have the St. Louis Cardinals, or the Memphis Redbirds with the way they are playing. The Cubs have a great chance to gain a little ground.

2:00 p.m.: The Brewers get ready to face the Giants start. No Barry Bonds today, but it doesn't worry me. Barry Zito is about to play well. I have a good feeling about this.

Vargas (7-2) vs. Zito today as the Giants go for the sweep.

I know this has been touched upon a little, but the Giants really are old. They need to rebuild more than any team I know, other than the Astros. We find out that Bill Hall is due to be back in Milwaukee on Wednesday.

The Giants go quietly in the first. 0-0 after the top half of the first.

2:14 p.m.:
Why Does Zito sign with the Giants? Is it money? There can't be another reason, because he had to look at this team and think they were headed nowhere. Maybe, he just wanted to stay in the Bay Area.

Ned Yost changes the lineup and Rickie Weeks doubles to start the game. Wow, Rickie Weeks is gunned down at third after a great play by Omar Vizquell. When things are going bad, they really go bad.

Ok, Why can't the Cubs have rookies like Ryan Braun. As soon as I say that, he just belted a two-run home run to put the Brewers up 2-0.

2:22 p.m.: Time for the Cubs to start. The Cubs are 3-1 without D-Lee in the lineup and could go 8-2 on the homestand. This is quality baseball if you can win 8 of 10.

As Chris Young grounds out it makes me feel good. I love nothing more than getting the leadoff batter. It just makes everything feel a little bit better. Sean Marshall falls behind Orlando Hudson 3-0, but gets the 2B to fly to center for the second out of the inning. Damn, Eric Byrnes singles up the middle right after Len says that he has struggled against lefties.

Might be just keeping pace today, because the Brew Crew is up 4-0 after the first inning. Looks like it is Bad Zito today.

Marshall in trouble after Byrnes stole second and walked Conner Jackson on a couple close pitches. Marshall is not getting the inside corner today and that might come back and haunt him. It does, because Mark Reynolds singles in a run. Then, both runners advance because Soriano throws a ball past home plate. Cubs get out of the inning, but the damage is done 1-0 Dbacks.

2:45 p.m.: Soriano up to start the game. Is it just me or has he been a little cold? It has gone a little unnoticed, because the Cubs have been so hot. I would like to see him go about 3-for-4 with a 2HR. Ok, there is the one out for him all day.

Mike Fontenot singles with two-outs to bring up Aramis Ramirez, but the Cubs can't get any runs. DBacks 1-0 after one.

2:58: Quick check of the Brewers game, finds the Brew Crew up 4-0 after two.

One pitch, one out for Marshall in the second. After a one-out single. Marshall continues to battle on the mound. This doesn't look like a long outing for the lanky left-hander. Marshall gets out of it and the Cubs still trail 1-0.

Bottom 2:Update for the north in Milwaukee. Corey Hart dives for a ball, but misses it, which allows the Giants to score a run to make it 4-1 and two and a half.

Good to see Cliff Floyd back in the lineup, but I figure if the Cubs add anything it might be another OF, just in case Floyd goes down again. Well, not a great inning as the Cubs go down 1-2-3 and still trail 1-0 after two.

Top 3: Zito has settled down after the four-run first inning as the Giants still trail 4-1 after three innings.

Marshall finally gets a quick inning and keeps the game 1-0.

Bottom 3:
Jason Kendall is still looking for his first hit as a Cubs after popping out to first. Soriano almost hit a homerun, but it just hooked and hit off the outfield wall. "The Riot" has chance to tie the game up with a base hit. Damn, Theriot hit a line-drive up the middle, but it hit Petite and the Cubs are still down 1-0 after three.

Top 4:Quick check of the Brew Crew and in the Top of the Fifth it is still 4-1.

Ok, after a rough start, Marshall has really settled into a groove, but the Cubs still are behind 1-0.

Bottom 4: The Giants cut into the Brewer lead with a two-out RBI single by Dave Roberts. 4-2 in the top of the fifth.

Fontenot up for the Cubs. It is time for a big inning, but Mike flies to center to start the inning. Petit makes the Cubs look silly with another 1-2-3 in the fourth. Cubs still trail 1-0.

Top 5:
While I was watching the Cubs, the Giants cut into the lead again and made it 4-3 after the top of the fifth. Marshall gets two easy outs, but Chris Young gets an infield hit. It will be interesting to see how Marshall deals with this.

The Cubs have to do a better job of holding runners on, but Young ends up at second with a stolen base. Now, Marshall falls behind Orlando Hudson 3-0 and walks him with the fourth pitch. I suspect Larry is about to come out and talk to Sean. Right on que, Larry comes out.

Update,Zito sits the Brewers down in the fifth to keep it 4-3 Milwaukee.

Marshall gets out of the jam with a fly ball to left.

Bottom 5:

A check check of the other game and the Brewers sit down the Giants 1-2-3 in the sixth.

Ok, Petit has really shut down the Cubs, but there is still plenty time left in the game. After two quick outs, Kendall picks up first hit as a Cubs with a single up the middle.

This does two things. One-it allows the lineup to turnover, regardless of what Marshall does. Two-it gives Kendall a little confidence. Well, Marshall strikes out, but brings up Soriano in the sixth inning.

Top 6:Zito in trouble in the sixth inning. The Brewers have two on with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Bases loaded now with Richie Weeks up. Zito out as the Giants go to the pen.

The news keep getting worse, as Conner Jackson doubles to start the sixth. {Que the Baseball tonight music} J.J. Hardy singles in two runs to give the Brewers a 6-3 lead, but Marshall works around a leadoff double to keep it 1-0 Diamondbacks.

Bottom 6: Make it 7-3 now and the Cubs really need to win to keep it 2.5 back in the Central.

Well, not a great AB by Soriano as he pops the first pitch he sees to first. Why is it always the no name starters that shut us down? Petit has just dominated us.

Wow, another 1-2-3 inning and the Cubs are in trouble down 1-0 after six.

Top 7:
Pedro Feliz homers to start the 7th, but the Giants still are behind 7-4.

Marshall's day is done and Carlos Marmol is on. Grr...Chris Synder homers to put the Dbacks up 2-0. The good news is that Petit is out of the game.