Cubs Send Into Extra Innings But Come Up Short

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Did anyone expect the Cubs to pull out the heroics two nights in a row? A show of hands? Just what I thought, oh wait, there’s someone in the back with their hands half mast. There’s one in every crowd.

Last night the Cubs fell to the Rockies 6-4 in ten innings. It seems Luis Valbuena has picked up steam crushing his eighth home run of the season and sending the game into extra innings.

“We just fell a little short,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said.

Ok, I’ve noticed a pattern in Renteria. At the start of the season he was talkative and hopeful. Check out this quote:

“I’ve been involved in a youth movement my whole life,” Renteria said. “Players, in essence, keep us young. I try to use everything I’ve ever had as a parent — for example, dealing with whatever moments of frustration or issues that might have occurred in the family — to my advantage. I’ve used that in my thought process through the game and teaching.”

That was a quote after he was hired as manager. Remember the start of the season? Now we get, “We fell short.” So has the speeches.

You know, there’s a part of me that wants the Cubs to go all the way this season, you know, win it all. Then, there’s another part of me that says, “Wait, hold on. There’s help coming. Be patient.”

The start of that help came yesterday with Felix, no not that Felix, but Mr. Doubront from Boston for an as yet to be named later player. There’s not much to get excited about with that deal an ERA of 6.07 makes me want to go, “Oh hey, that’s awesome, he should fit in well with the club.” but I’m feeling more like, Meh? The Cubs have also acquired Jonathan Martinez in the Barney deal.

It’ll be an interesting day today. Rumour has it Emilio Bonifacio is headed to Kansas City. Will this happen? Will Javier Baez see action?

I can’t stand the suspense.

Believe it.

Cubs’ Baker Johnny On The Spot

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The Cubs continued their winning ways last night, er should I say this morning. This game had all the elements of a classic North Side matchup. It was windy. Damn windy. It was damp and chilly forcing Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies to run for cover. In the end, the Cubs proved mighty in their victory over the Colorado Rockies in the 16th inning with a walk off hit from the new and improved(and a slightly more mature) Starlin Castro 4-3.

It was also in true Wrigley wonder, well it was weird. John Baker, yes that John Baker, pitched. He did his job and then in the bottom of the 16th inning, he drew a walk. I tell you folks, these kind of things don’t come around too often. A Pennant Race? Who needs one. A World Series ring? Probably end up in a pawn shop anyways. The Cubs are all about these kind of grind out wins.

“They asked if I’d be willing to do that, and I said, ‘Yeah,'” he said. “I’m not going to say I don’t want to pitch at Wrigley Field in the longest game of Cubs history in the 100th anniversary season and give myself a chance to get the win. I trust my stuff.”

But Baker wasn’t the only star in Chicago. Emilio Bonifacio was a triple away from hitting for the cycle.

Sometimes it’s these kind of games that make fans forget of the struggle that the Chicago Cubs have gone through these one hundred plus years. They don’t come around too often but when they do, it’s marvel to see.

“It’s really cool,” Baker said. “It’s really, really cool. I was having trouble not smiling on the mound. You never get opportunities to do things like this. I think about how many guys I played with who were pitchers and never got a chance to pitch in the big leagues. This is something I’ll cherish for a long time.”

Believe it.


Wada Win For Cubs

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Yesterday was, perhaps a turning point in the future of the Cubs. Darwin Barney is now an LA Dodger and most likely going to have his first shot at a post season. This is baseball, right? Anything can happen.

The Cubs soundly beat the Colorado Rockies in a suspenseful game if you include that eighth inning bases loaded Anthony Rizzo at the plate kind of nail biter. Of course there wasn’t a grand slam, I mean this is the Cubs right? for a brief moment, the friendly folks at Wrigley almost witnessed a chance at immortality for their young captain.

Tsuyoshi Wada collected his first win as the Cubs beat the Rockies 4-1 and earning his first win.

“I appreciate that the Cubs used me again after that outing I had [against San Diego], which wasn’t very good,” Wada said “My command was definitely better than last time, and it’s the second time I pitched in Chicago, so I was a little more relaxed. The last time I was more excited and anxious about that game.”

The Cubs have virtually no chance at a post season, but stranger things have happened to this club. With the Dodgers signing Barney and the deadline fast approaching, who should the Cubs deal? Is it Nate Schierholtz or send Junior Lake down? Schierholtz is on a bit of a hot streak lately, but I think he’s good trade bait.

“When you have players who are working together over time, continuity does seem to help,” manager Rick Renteria said. “You can’t guarantee that change won’t occur after the Trade Deadline. I wish I could tell you that I have a crystal ball and I know exactly what’s going to happen, but I don’t.

All right Ricky, I’m going to tell look into my crystal ball and see what’s going to happen.

I see a lot of smoke. I see a face. A big C on a shirt. Bonif, oh no wait…


The ball is cloudy, I see no more.

Believe it.

Cubs And Cardinals Friends Forever

You can learn a lot from yesterday’s tough loss against the St. Louis Cardinals. A 1-0 defeat is a bitter pill to swallow. So are those 70’s uniforms. What were those designers thinking?

It’s not going to matter too much in the standings at this point of the season, but one can hope that the Cubs would play spoiler to a Cardinals team in position to snag the NL Central. Of course, that didn’t happen.

“All pitchers are out there thinking, at least that’s the goal,” Hendricks said. “I just take that mindset, watching video, trying to figure out the hitters, and then on the mound, the biggest thing is making the adjustments. I think that’s what separates a lot of good pitchers from being average — just figuring out what the hitters are trying to do against you during the game is huge and making adjustments to combat that.”

Yes, the Cubs pitching is looking solid going into next year’s young class coming up. Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks are putting together a solid foundation on the mound.

“The big picture is that we want to win every game, but the way we’re competing and holding our own on a daily basis, I think the attitude that these young men have is in the right place,” Renteria said. “I think they’re trying to do things the right way and we just fell a little short.”

Yes, the Cubs are trying to do things the right way and building for a long term organization so history doesn’t repeat itself. Hopefully, not those 70’s uniforms. Wow.

So, I want to send out some positive vibes to Cardinal fans. Sure, there’s a bitter rivalry going between the Cubs and Cardinals, but it’s a only a game. I came across this song by PS I Love You and thought of the rivalry.

Why can’t we be Friends Forever?

Believe it,


Cubs Almost Clawed Out A Victory Against Cardinals

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In what is supposed to be the Hall of Fame Weekend where generations upon generations enjoy the magic and whimsical wonder of a Nation’s pastime, the Cubs seemed in a nostalgic mood against the Cardinals. One day after a spectacular win, the Cubs decided to give a Hall Of Fame worthy loss 6-3. Was it the jitters of seeing AJ Perzynski in the division red?

“I’ve faced him several times in the past, and he’s had quite a bit of success against me,” Jake Arrieta said of Pierzynski, who is now 6-for-8 against him. “He’s a veteran hitter and knows what he’s doing up there. … He’ll be big for the team, especially with Yadi gone. It’s a good pickup on their part because he’s been around for a long time.”

And so the end result wasn’t exactly the outcome the Cubs were hoping for but Arrieta had a quality start. He fought back and went six innings. You see? even in a loss there’s always some sparkling good things for fans to see.

“That performance is indicative of how much he’s grown,” Rick Renteria said. “If that had been a couple years ago, and he was struggling, he wouldn’t be able to grind through and pitch six innings without his best command or stuff. Today he did.”

Jake Arrieta could very well be that pitcher who’ll lead the pitching staff to the playoffs real soon. They kept it close, but sometimes the games can run away from a team.

Maybe Nate Schierholtz wants to remain a Cub? He homered. It could be his last ditch attempt at saying, “Hey guys, don’t trade me. Last year wasn’t a fluke. The old Nate’s back.”

Believe it.


Cubs Take Flight Against Cardinals

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You have to hand it to Luis Valbuena. The guy who gives the “Peace sign to the sky” quietly goes about his business and gets it done. Knocking out another home run to put the Cubs ahead of rivals St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs went on to defeat the Red Birds 7-6.

The Cubs haven’t had it easy in July and this win was only their fourth out of the last seventeen. Their Wild Card dream is just a child’s “before bed prayer” but what the Cubs proved yesterday was they do have some talent and these sporadic wins are paving the way for a bigger picture.

Neil Ramirez. What more can be said about a guy who gives a kid a baseball at his first ball game? Well, the guy also throws some spectacular flames. He proved that yesterday against Matt Carpenter. If Mona Lisa played baseball, she would look like that out in the eighth. A thing of beauty leaving runners stranded.

“Carpenter is a tough out, a very tough out,” Ramirez said. “I tried to reach back and get a little bit extra today. I was able to get it past him and it was exciting.”

No way, Carpenter a tough out? If I looked into my crystal ball again, that play will be the Cubs every game in a couple of years. The Cubs haven’t seen those kind of moves since, well, since Carlos Marmol had that lights out kind of year.

Nope, those low key guys like Valbuena and Ramirez are key cogs that are slowly turning this team around. Never mind the leadership of Anthony Rizzo or the starry eyed Castro, the Cubs are hitting pay dirt with the extraordinary workmanlike play of these unassuming gentlemen. Wait, let’s not forget the Home Run hitting machine, Travis Wood. Now that’s versatility!

Speaking of unassuming turnarounds, our son was saying his prayers last night and I quote, “Bless baseball. I love you so much.”

Yup, you never know what comes out of a three year old’s mouth.

Believe it.


Cubs In a Pearl Jam Against Padres

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Everytime I see the Cubs these days, I can’t help but hum that old familiar song, “Scooby Dooby Doo, where are you?” after last night’s debacle the song really took over and I woke up this morning singing it again. It could be that my son has gotten into watching it. Damn you Netflix! Then it hit me. Are you ready?

“Javy Javy Baez, where are you? We’ve got some work to do now.” Last night, the Padres dismantled the Cubs 13-3. Somewhere in the sixth inning, the wheels came off.

“The bullpen is such a roller coaster ride, you try to ride the good stretches as long as you can,” Reliever Wesley Wright said. “I think for the most part we did that. Coming out of the break, we’ve gotten off to a slow start. All it takes is a couple of us finding that groove”.

No matter what spin they might put on it, losing 13-3 is not a good thing. Yeah, it happens from time to time with great teams, but the San Diego Padres aren’t that great team.

There’s a book out there called, “Golf Monster” by Alice Cooper. If you haven’t read it, read it. He says in it that, “People asked me why I haven’t joined the PGA” Yes folks, Alice is quite the golfer. “Sure, I could hit 70 sometimes I could hit in the 60’s but I’m not a pro. Pros do that everyday.”

That’s the difference. Great teams don’t lose 13-3 against really bad teams. I’m not saying the Cubs are that great team, because they’re not. Going 3 for 15 with RISP is not how a team wins championships.

If the Cubs are going to move forward, I agree with those kind folks who suggest it must be that time to cut ties with Edwin Jackson. The experiment just isn’t working out. The Cubs should just eat his contract and move on.<a

Believe it.


Cubs Out of The Frying Pan and Into The Friar Against Padres

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That was a tough one, no doubt about it. The Padres pounded the Cubs 8-3 it was almost a polar opposite to the night before where the Cubs treated the Padres like a Pee Wee team. Ah, but such is life with an up and down baseball club. Tsuyoshi Wada wasn’t as lucky as Kyle Hendricks in getting his first win.

“It seemed like he just didn’t get into a rhythm,” Rick Renteria said of Wada. “When you were watching him on the mound today, he was constantly fidgeting and it seemed like he was trying to get loose. He was grinding through it.”

There was some good news within the organization yesterday. Prospect, Javier Baez was conveniently moved to second base at Triple A Iowa. Hmn, one day removed of Darwin Barney being Designated For Assignment and Baez being moved to Second Base. It doesn’t mean a thing, but—

“The Baez second-base thing is really more big-picture than anything else,” Jed Hoyer said. “We want to increase his versatility. We thought it was the right thing to do to start putting him there. … These moves are not connected.”

So why did they make the move if they weren’t going to make a decision on something? Everything has a reason and moving Baez to second more likely than none means someday soon, we might just see Baez in one of those nifty retro uniforms.

Hey, what about Brian Schlitter’s awesome grab yesterday? As Jim Deshaies so astutely commented, “It’s an add for Selsun Blue!”

It’s Edwin Jackson on the mound tonight. Should be interesting.

Believe It.


Cubs Crystal Ball looks Clearer. Bye Bye Barney

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It’s amazing what a day can do. The Cubs designated Darwin Barney For Assignment, Anthony Rizzo became the National League Home Run leader and Arismendy Alcantara decided on his own that he wants to remain a Cub as the NorthSiders toppled the Padres 6-0. Wow!

Kyle Hendricks received his first win as well. Now, I’m not looking into a crystal ball, but suddenly things are looking a lot clearer than they have in the past. Nobody likes to be a “Told You So” either, but if you nice folks have been following closely, you would have saw that The Canuck Cubbie foretold Darwin Barney’s departure.

But nobody likes a “Told You So” right?

“We’re starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “‘Mendy’ coming up is helpful. The way Rizzo and [Starlin] Castro are playing is great. I think, in the not too distant future, [the prospects] will be out there.”

See? I’m not the only one. Hey, it’s a good sign when a player gets a nickname from the GM. That says, “Yeah, you’re in.”

So, what exactly happened to Darwin Barney? I’m reaching out because I honestly don’t have an answer. A former Gold Glove Winner who seemingly could do no wrong on the other side of the plate, just couldn’t hit the freakin’ ball this season. Never a power hitter, his AVG never reached .250 but he was just plain bad. To be fair to the guy, he was still great on defence, but I don’t know, there was something missing this year.

Welcome to the big leagues Mr. Hendricks, your first win is out of the way and many more to come.

“It’s definitely a day to remember,” Hendricks said. “It’s definitely the best day of my life. First Major League win, it’s what you work for since you were a little kid playing T-ball. I really can’t put it into words — it’s awesome.”

Speaking of T Ball, my son and I were hitting Wiffles in the backyard yesterday and for a three year old, Darcy can sure give Rizzo a run for the money. He went yard twice too. I tell you, the kid sure can hit.

Anthony Rizzo takes over the Home Run lead with 25 dingers. Is a possible MVP in the works? Can the Cubs make a turn around and win it all? Will we see a Javier Baez appearance?

I’m looking in the crystal ball, there’s still a lot of smoke. It’s swirling. Wait!! I see pinstripes, I see Ivy, I see lots of people smiling.

That’s all you get.

Believe it.


Cubs’ Rizzo Star Shines Brighter

Is there a feeling of pride when All Star First Baseman Anthony Rizzo, and yes we can say that now, wins National League Player of The Week? Of course.

Rizzo went 5 for 11 and knocked out three home runs, two of those blasts were in one game. Why is this significant, you might ask and then again I won’t blame you if you didn’t. The reason this is significant is that during this season, the young All Star has captured the respect and admiration of Managers and Players alike. Suddenly, there’ll be more players who want to come to the windy north side and play. Good players. Great and Outstanding players like, David Price.

‘‘I’m just trying to put good swings on the ball,’’ Rizzo said .

Don’t think he’d be a good fit in Chicago? Does Theo Epstein have the Chutzpah to pull off a deal. Remember, this is the guy that almost pulled off a deal that could have brought Masahiro Tanaka to Chicago. So, is there an ace up his sleeve?

The timing is perfect for this kind of deal. The team is on the verge of greatness. I’m not blowing smoke up anyone’s behind either. The struggles that the Cubs have been enduring for some time now could possibly be over as these young guys make their way up to the team.

Believe it.