Posted on: September 29, 2008 1:36 am
Edited on: September 29, 2008 4:20 pm

The Cubs' 2008 Year in Review

A memorable season that was, is, and is to come.  You got Ron Santo going crazy again, Len Kasper making those memorable calls that all Cubs fans love to hear.  The crowd singing "Go Cubs Go" to the tune of 55 home wins.  42-38 on the road isn't all that shabby either.  That's 2nd best in the national league only behind the Philadelphia Phillies.  Lou Piniella making the move to switch Kerry Wood out of the starting rotation and bringing Ryan Dempster into it.  Reed Johnson (March 25th), Jim Edmonds (May 15th), and Rich Harden (July  9th along w/ Chad Gaudin; E-Pat, Matt Murton, and a catching prospect sent to the Athletics) becoming Cubs players during the season.  Some statistical things to review:

Chicago Cubs --- NL Central Division champs --- 97-64, 7.5 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers
AVG leader: Ryan Theriot
HR leader: Alfonso Soriano
RBI leader: Aramis Ramirez
W, ERA, and K leader: Ryan Dempster

Now for some more fun stuff -- (lots of credit to donbedouin, thanks for helping w/ the Cubs moments)

March 31st, 2008 --- That's right, opening day at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs played the Milwaukee Brewers in a game that I hope many Cubs fans won't forget.  Kosuke Fukudome's debut at Wrigley Field turned out to be a great one.  He went 3-for-3, but no hit more important than the hit against Eric Gagne.  Though the Cubs lost, it was satisfying.
---Kosuke's 3-run blast---

April 9th, 2008 --- This would just be the beginning of a lot of close games and come from behind victories the Cubs would get.  Aramis Ramirez was able to finish this game off w/ a home run in the 14th inning, continuing the dominance against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
---Am-Ram 2-run homer---

April 23rd, 2008 --- This wasn't one of those shocking victories that Cubs were able to pull out, but it was the Cubs' 10,000th win in franchise history.  Big congrats as they became the second franchise to reach that milestone.
---The Final Out---

April 25th, 2008 --- Just 2 days later, Reed Johnson would come up with one of the most amazing catches that I have ever seen.
---Reed Johnson's catch---

May 19th, 2008 --- Geovany Soto has had an amazing season in his first full year as the Chicago Cubs' catcher.  This will probably be one of his favorite/least favorite moments (depending on if he likes running) as he would hustle all the way for an inside-the-park home run.
---Soto inside-the-parker---

May 30th, 2008 --- Chicago Cubs facing the Colorado Rockies.  The Cubs would go down 8 runs after the Rockies pounded in run after run after run.  But the Cubs were feeling the magic, coming all the way back to win the game 10 to 9.  This game includes Jim Edmond's first Cub home run and a huge six run inning.  Take it away Len.
---Edmonds' first Cub home run---
---Huge inning to rally---

June 11th, 2008 --- A complete game by Ryan Dempster is overshadowed by the fact the Cubs lost Alfonso Soriano for a good amount of time.  The Cubs did do well without him, but if Soriano was gone any longer, I don't know how much trouble this team could've been in.
---Soriano's hand injury---

June 12th, 2008 --- How do the Cubs respond?  Well, Jim Edmonds would love to tell ya.  Len, take it away.
---Edmonds' tying home run---

June 18th, 2008 --- Another devastating (well, maybe not the right word) injury for the Cubs as Carlos Zambrano would go down w/ an injury.  The Cubs responded well again, as you'll see, 2 days later.
---Big Z's injury---

June 20th, 2008 --- You know it was coming, Aramis Ramirez.  Mr. Clutch.  Whatever you want to call him, Am-Ram, whatever, he is amazing.  Len, I'll let you take this one too.
---Walk-off against White Sox---

July 12th, 2008 --- It was my mom's birthday.  But that's not why it's here.  Reed Johnson, the guy we acquired from the Blue Jays, strikes again.  A very close call at the plate and the Cubs get another walk-off victory.  Len Kasper, the crack in his voice is just so funny.
---Reed Johnson walk-off single---

July 29th - August 1st, 2008 --- The Cubs would face the Brewers in an important series that would ultimately give them the division lead for good.  A huge series sweep at Miller Park would keep the Brewers down and the Cubs up.
---Part of that series sweep---

August 3rd, 2008 --- Reed Johnson comes through once again.  Len, just take it away.
---Johnson go ahead homer---

August 8th, 2008 --- Hey hey!  Another Cubs walk-off!
---Hank White provides the heroics---

August 15th, 2008 --- Daryle Ward was really struggling up to this point.  The game is in Miami, Florida where the Cubs are facing the Florida Marlins.  D-Ward up at the plate in the ninth with a chance to at least make it a one run game.  Oh heck, let's take the lead.  No Len this time though..
---D-Ward comes through---

September 14th, 2008 --- Carlos Zambrano returns from 12 days of rest.  Hurricane Ike is striking upon Houston, Texas and moves this game to Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I do feel sorry for the situation in Houston and wish everyone down there the best as they continue to clean up.  Anyway, to the game, Zambrano throws his first career no-hitter.  Len Kasper with yet another great call.  I'm sorry, I don't have it. (edit: Thanks to donbedouin for finding the link)
---Zambrano no-hits Astros---
---Len's call---

September 15th, 2008 --- The Cubs gave up only one hit to the Astros in the 2 games at Miller Park.  The 3rd game will never be played, but it was still a great series for the Cubs.
---Lilly gives up one hit---

September 18th, 2008 --- Another series between the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers.  Cubs and Brewers split the first two games.  In game 3, the Cubs were down 4 runs, but Geovany Soto solidifies the reasons that he should be the NL ROY.
---Game-tying 3 run blast---
---Lee finishes it off---

September 20th, 2008 --- The Chicago Cubs would clinch the NL Central by beating arch-rival St. Louis Cardinals 5 to 4.  A Ted Lilly suicide squeeze play would end up being the key play.  Here's their clincher (sorry, FOX TV had the game).
---Cubs Clinch!---

September 24th, 2008 --- Another Cubs comeback to top it all off.
---Lee's double---

And you know what?  The Cubs' season isn't finished yet.  We have 11 more wins to get, just 11 more.  I'm so excited for the postseason start.  Hope you enjoyed the year in review.  Another great year to store in Cubs fans' memory banks.
Category: MLB
Tags: Chicago, Cubs, Review, Year
Posted on: July 9, 2008 1:20 am

Who got the better deal?

Well, the question is, who got the better deal between the Cubs getting Rich Harden (and Chad Gaudin) from the Athletics and the Brewers getting C.C. Sabathia (and no one else) from the Indians.  Well, if you want to be technical, we don't know who got the better deal.  Maybe I should rephrase the question to say, who will have the better deal.  I'll make a couple of predictions and scenarios here.

Now, I believe that the Brewers will have the better deal getting Sabathia to come play for them.  He is a proven winner (defending AL Cy Young Award winner), he played on a winning team (see '07 Indians), and he is a gamer.  Take a look at CC's stats, he went 19-7 last year w/ an ERA of 3.21.  He struck out 209 and walked 37.  He's already 2 over that walk total, but no need to worry.  This year (if you combine his start w/ the Brewers), he is 7-8 with an ERA of 3.79.  He has struck out 128 and walked 39.  Sabathia's 2006 was a great year also.  This guy is for real.  The Brewers have definitely the best 1-2 punch in the NL w/ Sheets and Sabathia. (I have changed my mind)

CC - Have the Brewers struck gold?

As for Rich Harden, his most complete year was his 2nd year w/ Oakland, where he went 11-7 w/ a 3.99 ERA.  He struck out 167 and walked 81.  Yikes.  A great deal?  Sean Gallagher gone?  I don't know, we'll see.  His last two years have been injury filled.  They have been great years when not injured.  So far this year, he is 5-1 w/ an ERA of 2.34, he has struck out 92 and walked 31 (already, with 6 fewer starts).  This is a wait and see thing, but I wouldn't get too excited w/ the Mark Prior of the AL in Rich Harden.

Will the Cubs get all they want out of Harden?
Category: MLB
Posted on: April 17, 2008 9:09 pm

Some suggestions for Piniella

Even though some good things have been done with the lineups lately, I have a couple of things I could suggest to Piniella while Alfonso Soriano is out..

We could have a lineup like this.

SS Ryan Theriot
CF Reed Johnson
1B Derrek Lee
3B Aramis Ramirez
RF Kosuke Fukudome
C   Geovany Soto
LF Mark DeRosa
2B Eric Patterson
Pitcher's spot

Now, I know, E-Pat in the lineup?  What are you thinking?  Here's my reasoning, I say give the kid some chances first.  He has just been called, and we might as well play him while he's up here.  I think The Riot can still have a chance to do some good in the leadoff spot while Reed Johnson is a formidable 2-spot batter.

Here's another one:

2B Mike Fontenot
SS Ryan Theriot
1B Derrek Lee
RF Kosuke Fukudome
3B Aramis Ramirez
C   Geovany Soto
LF Mark DeRosa
CF Felix Pie
Pitcher's spot

With Fontenot swinging a good bat (even though he went 0-for-5 earlier today w/ 7 men left on base), he could get on base in front of the red-hot Derrek Lee.  Meanwhile, with Am-Ram still struggling, Fukudome could move up to the cleanup spot and give Am-Ram some time to heat up.  Felix Pie has struggled and could be replaced w/ Reed Johnson at some point.

By the way, the rotation really isn't that great.  Ted Lilly has been pitching like a 50 year old Dave Bush and is proving more and more that he was a fluke last year.  Rich Hill can still get it going though and Ryan Dempster has been a pleasant surprise.  We could possibly think about giving Sean Marshall a chance to start if Lilly continues pitching like this (he was a little better today though).  Sean Gallagher is a possibility also..

Just some things to think about..
Category: MLB
Posted on: April 14, 2008 6:06 pm

The Real Losers?

I've been thinking about how the Cubs have been labeled losers of the past century only because we have failed to win a WS title since 1908 (not to mention not winning the NL Pennant since 1945).  It got me to thinking though...are we the ultimate losers?  I don't really think so.  Sure, it's been a little miserable not seeing a WS title hoisted in Chicago's north side since for 99 season, but technically, I don't think we should be labeled "losers."  It got me to thinking, remember last year when the Philadelphia Phillies became the first team to reach 10,000 losses?  Sure, they've been successful in recent years, but yet, they still only have 1 World Series title (compared to the Cubs' two) and have won the pennant only 5 times compared to the Cubs' 16 (granted, the Cubs have been a team for 7 years longer).  Do you think the label of "losers" should be planted onto the Phillies?  Maybe, maybe not, the choice is yours.  Just some food for thought..
Category: MLB
Posted on: March 31, 2008 7:02 pm

Why in the world are people ALREADY crying...

...about Kerry Wood?  He pitches one bad inning and people have the guts to say, "the same old" Kerry Wood???  The same old Kerry Wood was the pitcher that had the most electrifying stuff in baseball.  He was able to lead the Cubs and be the strikeout pitcher that he is.  Be patient.  Kerry Wood has the veteran presence and he's adjusting.  He's used to being a starter, but has learned how to pitch out of the bullpen.  This is a learning experience and everyone just has to be patient.  Same thing goes for Eric Gagne.  He isn't learning, but he was at once the best closer in the game.  I can't believe how unbelievably patient some people are...One game doesn't mean a season..

..Just like this loss doesn't mean a season...
Category: MLB
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