Gotta Love It!

Sox_fan_baghead They say a picture says a thousand words.  What does this picture say?  It says that the Cubs just put the final nail in the 2007 White Sox’s coffin by sweeping the Sox at US Cellular Field.  The Cubs wound up winning the season series 5-1, sweeping the Sox for the third time since the beginning of interleague play in 1997, and the first time on the South Side.The five wins by the Cubs were the most by any team in the City Series, which turned from a three-game series to a six-game series in 1999. Other than some stupid base running at the end of Sunday’s game, this was the perfect weekend.  Let’ take a look at some highlights of this weekends games;

Friday-Cubs Win 5-1

Raomirez_hr_622 The game started out with a bang, literally.  Alfonso Soriano hit a nice solo shot on the first pitch of the game to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.  Two batters later, Aramis Ramirez hit another homerun in his first at bat since being activated.  The two runs were all the Cubs would need as Carlos Zambrano mowed down the White Sox in dominating fashion.  Zambrano threw eight innings of three-hit ball Zambrano_622 and equaled his career high with 12 strikeouts, with only one walk.  The only run he gave up was a Paul Konerko solo shot.  Since his brawl with Barrett on June 1, Zambrano is 3-1 with a 1.14 ERA (four earned runs over 31 2/3 innings) while striking out 35.  Felix Pie hit a big two-run single with two outs in the ninth to give the Cubs all the insurance they needed with a 5-1 victory.  Cubs Win!

Saturday-Cubs 2 White Sox 1

Soriano_622 Soriano did it again, starting the game off with another lead off home run off White Sox starter Javier Vazsquez.  The Sox were able to answer in the bottom of the first, when Rich Hill gave up a single to Scott Podsednik, who then stole second, advanced on a groundout and scored on Jim Thome’s groundout.  Hill pitched much better this game then his last start.  Hill gave up one run on six hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings, striking out six. But those two walks were to back to back hitters in the sixth, with two outs in the inning.  Lou Pinella went to his guy, Carlos Marmol, who got Josh Fields to ground out, keeping the score tied.  The game stayed locked at one until Cliff Floyd singled off Bobby Jenks in the ninth.  Floyd was lifted for pinch runner Angel Pagan, who reached third on pinch-hitter Daryle Ward’s single. Ward was lifted for pinch runner Theriot_623 Koyie Hill, and that brought Ryan Theriot to the plate.  Theriot, who was in an 0-for-17 skid, fouled a pitch off, then successfully executed a suicide squeeze to score Pagan. Bobby Howry nailed down the save in place of the injured Ryan Dempster (oblique strain).  Cubs Win! Cubs Win!

Sunday-Cubs 3 White Sox 0

Derek_lee_and_ozzie Sweep!  Sweep! Sweep!  How sweet it was, a three game sweep at the Cell.  The Cubs played a great game, with amazing defensive plays, timely hitting, and great pitching.  The Cubs played so well, Ozzie Guillen said after the game;

"If those guys keep playing like they did against us, they got a chance (to go to the postseason)"

Let’s hope Ozzie, but we’ll take it one game at a time. 

Sean Marshall finished the weekend by posting his sixth quality start and won his fourth straight decision, giving up five hits and one walk over 6 1/3 scoreless innings. The bullpen seems to finally be coming together, with Bob Howry and Will Ohman pitching better than they have the whole season.  The defense behind the pitching was sparkling.  First baseman Derrek Lee made a diving stop to rob Jim Thome of an RBI hit in the third. In the fifth, with runners on second and third and one out, Soriano caught Scott Soriano_throws_out_terrero_624 Podsednik’s fly to left and made a short-hop throw to home plate, but catcher Koyie Hill fielded the tricky hop and blocked the plate to tag Luis Terrero for the final out of the inning. Center fielder Angel Pagan fell down while nearly losing track of Paul Konerko’s high drive in the wind but made the catch on the ground to end the sixth.

Speaking of Soriano, he didn’t get a lead off home run again, but he did get one in the seventh.  Sorinano outscored the White Sox offense by himself, 3-2.  Soriano wasn’t the only offense though.  An inning before Soriano’s home run, Aramis Ramirez doubled to lead off, his fourth hit in the series, and reached third on Cliff Floyd’s single. Angel Pagan grounded out, driving in Ramirez Then in the eighth inning, it got a little crazy. Felix Pie was at second and Pagan at first when Mark DeRosa hit a ball over the right fielders’ Guillen_complaining_623 head, but Uribe and Pagan collided at second. For some reason, third base coach Mike Quaade held up Pie at third, but Pagan didn’t see this and got caught between second and third and was tagged out.  The Sox then tried to get Pie in a rundown between third and home, and he was tagged out.

The rundown was unnecessary. Uribe was charged with interference on Pagan, the runners were safe and the bases loaded. When the two collided, it was a dead ball. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen didn’t agree and was ejected. Hill then hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.  Howry nailed down his second save in a row and the Cubs end the weekend with a sweep.

Speaking of that weird play

One great thing about being a Cubs fan is you don’t have to listen to that **** announcing on the south side. Both the tv and radio guys are horrible.  Click here to read this article by Teddy Greenstein.   Basically, it tells about how Hawk Harrelson, Darrin Jackson, and Ed Farmer acted like a bunch of ****** when that crazy play happened in the eighth, while Pat Hughes immediately identified what had happened.  To his credit, White Sox colorman Chris Singleton also made the right call, but Farmer was just an idiot and sounded like a big crybaby when the umpires made the correct call all along.  Grow up you babies.

R.I.P. Rod Beck

Beck_wildcard Before the game, the Cubs family got some sad news when it was announced that former Cubs reliever, Rod "The Shooter" Beck, at age 38.  Rod Beck pitched two seasons with the Cubs, helping them win the National League Wild Card in 1998 with 51 saves for the Cubs that season.  His mullet, fu manchu mustache, and the trailer he kept behind the Cubs Triple A ballpark made him a fan favorite in Chicago.  He was at the Cubs Convention this last Cubs_vs_san_fran_9_2_06_033_1_1 January and he was nice enough to pose for this picture with me after he sang the seventh inning stretch at Wrigley, September 2, 2006.  He was always a colorful character and he will be missed.

Momentum

The Cubs should have swept the Rangers, but they blew that one.  They took care of buisness against the White Sox.  Now they come home to take on Colorado and then first place Milwaukee.  Colorado was, along with Milwaukee, one of the hottest teams in baseball.  But they were swept this weekend by Toronto.  The struggling Jason Marquis needs to come back strong  for the Cubs. The bats need to boom, and we need to eliminate mental errors.  Then Milwaukee comes in for three.  As of right now, the Cubs are 7 1/2 games behind Milwaukee.  After the three games this weekend, the Cubs don’t play Milwaukee again until the last week of August.  They need to make up ground now.  The Cubs will then play four against Washington, and three more against Pittsbugh.  During that last week, look for Derek Lee to drop his appeal and serve his suspension.  The Cubs will hope they can beat Washington and Pittsburgh without him, let him have an extended all star break rest, and have him ready when the season continues after the all Sweep star game.  We have to start making our move now.  The last time the Cubs won three in a row, it was the first week of May.  The Cubs longest winning streak this season was five games. Let’s hope we can get hot and Milwaukee gets cold.  I will be at the Monday night game and the Sunday game against the Brewers.  Hopefully I will see you at Bernie’s.  I’ll drink a few for the Shooter and hope the Cubs will get a massive winning streak going.

Below are the pitching match ups for the series against Colorado.  Let’s get rolling.

Go Cubs!

Monday: 7:05 p.m., CSN.  LH Jeff Francis (7-5 3.44 ERA) vs RH Jason Marquis (5-4, 3,.38)

Tuesday: 7:05 p.m., WGN-Ch. 9. RH Rodrigo Lopez (4-0, 2.93) vs. LH Ted Lilly (5-4, 3.90)

Wednesday: 1:20 p.m., WGN-Ch. 9. RH Jason Hirsh (3-6, 5.06) vs. RH Carlos Zambrano (8-6, 4.27)

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