Arietta Still Searching For 20th But Cubs Win In Extras

Chicago Tribune

Sometimes it comes down to the “Needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few” which was the case in the Cubs’ come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Jake Arrieta needed his 20th win of the season but the Cubs quest for division crown was far more crucial. In the end took extra innings to reach that goal.

“I made an inexcusable mental mistake in the sixth inning that could’ve cost us the game,” said Arrieta, who scattered six hits over eight innings and struck out five. “That’s my one takeaway. That’ll bother me for a while.”

You know what? That’s what potential Cy Young winners do. They take ownership of the situation and carry on. Another player that’s having a great second half is Starlin Castro. That “Almost Traded’ player that everyone loves to hate delivered an amazing grab in the ninth flipped it to Javier Baez so he could touch second and torpedo the ball to first for the double play. Aramis Ramirez-out.

“That was a great play, and I told Castro so later,” said Aramis Ramirez, the former Cubs third baseman. “Probably a game-saver, because Marte would’ve gone to third on that, if it gets through.”

The Cubs play a matinee game today. 12:35 is the start and Kyle Hendricks gets the ball. Today, there is no jinx or superstitions. The Cubs need a win today. Pure and simple. They’re three games in back of the Pirates and face their arch rivals this weekend at Wrigley Field. It’s been awhile since September ball has meant so much.  The Magic Number is 10.  There were very few fans that dreamed at the start of the season that the team would be in contention for the post season, but here they are.

“One of the things I’ve always used as a benchmark is an extra-inning win on the road. That’s not easy to do. Under these circumstances, in this place, at this time of year, I’m really proud of our effort.” says Joe Maddon.

So are we Joe, so are we.

Believe it.

Who Would Have Thought?

Who would have thought that the Pittsburgh  Pirates would be this good?  I had no idea and I also thought that Chicago might do better this season. Yesterday, the Cubs were beat 9-2.

I’m not being cynical or anything but it’s the All Star break and I really didn’t think the Cubs would be this bad.  Second worst record in the majors!  37-55 record.

There was a dugout argument between Ryan Dempster and Mike Quade.  I don’t know about anyone else but there’s trouble with this team.  Barring a miracle, the likely chances of the Cubs making the post season or even for that matter turning the corner to respectability is a long haul.  They can do it, but something’s gotta change.  I’m not expecting Quade to come back after the all Star break.

Aramis Ramirez says,Èveryone needs a break.“

I think they need more practice.

—Mark Gauthier

Aramis Ramirez ,Ortiz and Rookie of The Year

I haven’t said enough about Aramis Ramirez.  In a way, he’s the guy on your team that goes about his business all quietly but expected to perform.  Last week, Aramis Ramirez hit 6 Home Runs out of eight games.

He hit that thing of beauty against the Giants that sent the game into extra innings which the Cubs hung on to win 5-2.

Aramis Ramirez has earned four Player of The Week awards in his career.  Congratulations!!!!

Ramon Ortiz got the start for the Cubs yesterday in their match against the Nationals.  He’s 38 years old and his last start was last May.  Could it be that an old guy turns the team around in the second half?

Last night I was flipping through the channels and came across an old movie,”Rookie of The Year”  however improbable the premise is, it was a “cute” film and seeing Gary Busey as the aging pitcher was priceless.

—Mark Gauthier

 

A Great Game!

Last night’s game was one of the best games I’ve ever seen!    A real pitcher’s fest.  Ryan Dempster was incredible.  Tim Lincecum was amazing.  Nope, you couldn’t have asked for a better game. 

So, here’s how I look at it.  Mike Quade pulled Dempster because he had no choice.  If the Cubs were playing .500 ball Dempster would have stayed in the game for sure.  Hell, if the Cubs were up a few more runs, he would have stayed in the game.  Unfortunately, the Cubs needed that win real bad and it couldn’t have been against any other team except the champs.

Carlos Marmol feels bad for the win but what are you going to do?  We know how great the game was and that’s all that matters.  Did anyone see the look on Dempster’s face when Marmol got that strikeout?  A real team player.

Kudos to Kelsey Grammer for the best version of  Take Me out To The Ball Game.

What about Tony Campana?  When he was at third and it looked like nobody was going to stop him  from reaching home.  I have to admit, I was ready to go to bed at the end of the eighth but seeing Aramis Ramirez crack that ball out to the field was priceless. 

Last night, the Cubs played like they were in the World Series.  Hell, they played like champions.

—Mark Gauthier

Four!

What took place yesterday?  Not only did the Cubs destroy the Rockies but Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez hit two home runs each.  That’s right, two home runs each!  Count em!

However, don’t start the celebration yet, Mike Quade says there’s plenty of work still needed to be done.  I a gree.  The Rockies just stopped over for the game that was a make up game.  After playing the Yankees, you would say that the Rockies were tired.  This doesn’t change the fact that the Cubs showed what kind of firepower they have and hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.

The Cubs still play sloppy ball but Aramis Ramirez is on a roll hitting six homers in his last 26 games.  This is good news since Marlon Byrd is due back soon.

I’m not talking bad about anyone elses teams but the NL Central isn’t the strongest of divisions.  The Astros and the Cubs are sitting in the basement of the division.  Now, does that mean that the rest of the teams are just that good?  I can’t believe the Pirates.  Well, I have to say that I’m happy for them, it’s about time.

It’s not going to get any easier for the Cubs when they play the World Series champs, the Giants today.  Here’s my prediction:  If the Cubs can get by the Giants, then they’re going to tear up the Central.

—Mark Gauthier

Cubs Have Speed

I don’t believe in curses.  However, just in case this picture might help ward off anything that comes our way.

There’s an old saying from the film Rocky, “Speed is what we need, we need more speed.”  Mickey said that.  I like the saying,”I’m going to make you crap thunder and eat lightning.” a heck of a lot better.

The Cubs have now won two in a row. Aramis Ramirez slammed one into the left bleachers and Geovanny Soto got one too but it was the steller play of Tony Campana and Starlin Castro that sealed the victory in the tenth inning.

Like what Mickey said about eating lightning, Tony Campana’s speed landed him on second and Starlin Castro got a walk-off to score Campana.

Reed Johnson got his first hit since being back in the Cubs lineup.  Now, when Marlon Byrd gets back the Cubs will be flying.

This is exactly the win the Cubs needed I think.  It’s not just against any team but the Brewers.  It’s two in a row now and I think it’s about getting that confidence that can really get the bats swinging.  That’s really a huge thing.

—Mark Gauthier

Holy Cow!

The Chicago Cubs finally pulled it off and they did it in an explosive way.  Carlos Pena got a home run and then Aramis Ramirez didn’t want to be overlooked, so he blasted one way out into the bleachers. 

I was out in the yard doing some gardening and trying to listen to the game but the television was too far.  However, when I came in to get a drink, I saw both home runs and wow, were they a beauty.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t any time to think they’re going to turn the season around, but it’s a start.  They still should make some major changes but it should help the Cubs gather some momentum.

Oh, and for Len and Bob; say Kapuskasing three times fast.

The Cubs  go and face Philadelphia today.

—Mark Gauthier

Whoops!

So, yesterday the Cubs lost a close one.  Carlos Pena hit a two run homer of a beauty to tie the game but in the end it was Albert Pujols’ lethal bat that got the best of the Cubs.  Now, some people might think that pitching to Albert that late in the game cost them but in truth, I think it comes down to being a crap shoot.  It’s just that great players can do that at any given time.  A 5-4 12th inning win will do that to someone.

On the upside, I think Carlos Marmol did a redemption from his last game and went 25 scorless innings on the road, a Cubs record!

Aramis Ramirez should be back today and Matt Garza is expected on Monday.

Whatever is happening to the Cubs this year hopefully they can find their mojo and get their groove back.  Plenty of ball to be played.

—Mark Gauthier

Leading Off With a Promise

Kosuke Fukodome promised Cubs fans something great after leading off with a home run.  However, things kinda fizzled out afterwards.  It was a beautiful day for baseball and our son Darcy and I had a great nap throughout most of the game while Mary Beth was out and about doing errands.

The funny part was I woke up just around the same time that Aramis Ramirez got beaned at third base.  Looking at the recap, I don’t know why Kerry Wood was pulled so quickly.  He was doing all right.

So, Matt Garza comes back next week and I think in the next two weeks, we’ll see some more guys coming off the DL and hopefully the Cubs will be able to put up some more wins.

Next weekend, we’re going to Toronto to see a Blue Jays game against the Red Sox.  It’s an early Father’s Day present and we’re planning to go to the Hockey Hall of Fame as well.

If the Hockey Hall of Fame is anything like Cooperstown, we’re in for a treat.  We’ll be staying overnight in Toronto and hang out at the Hall.  Saturday is the Meet and Greet with the players and maybe we might get to shake hands with Jose Bautista.  It’s always great to witness greatness and in light of the scandals that have happened in the last years, seeing Bautista make a run for the record is truly inspiring.

I’m also looking forward to posting some pictures of the game and the Hockey Hall of Fame.  I’m a history buff and when we were at Cooperstown and standing a few feet from Babe Ruth’s bat was incredible.  Now, imagine being a few feet from Wayne Gretzky’s stick?  Wow!

—Mark Gauthier

Ramirez Rockets the Cubs to win over the Pirates

 

Aramis Ramirez Aramis Ramirez #16 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after swinging and missing a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field on May 29, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Pirates 3-2.

Aramis Ramirez ended his homerless drought.  It took 155 At Bats but he blasted the ball over the bleachers to help the Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2

Ryan Dempster picked up the win to even his record at 4-4.  Well done! 

With yesterdays’ win, Coach Quade said,”If we can excecute like that on a regular basis, and get Campana’s speed involved, we should be ok.”  That’s just paraphrasing, but he must have been reading the blog a few days ago.

Maybe there should be more rain delays.

The Cubs start a series today against the Astros.  It’s a must win series for the Cubs if they want to stay in the race in the Central.  The Cubs are trying to battle back into the .500 position and the game today in Houston shouldn’t be a problem.

—Mark Gauthier