There was a very interesting story in last week's Sports Illustrated by Tom Verducci about Giants ace Tim Lincecum.
It's a long piece that delves deeply into pitching mechanics and is worth reading, but what struck me was the part about Bobby Brownlie, a 2002 first-round pick by the Cubs, whom the team released in 2007 after a series of arm problems and now languishes in the Nationals' farm system. Perhaps it's not, as many people think, that the Cubs as an organization ruin arms by overuse, but that their scouting department cannot recognize mechanical flaws that could lead to injuries. There's Brownlie, Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, who was often praised for his flawless mechanics but as the article suggests only because he looked like the prototypical pitcher.
In selecting Brownlie, whose fastball topped out at 97 at Rutgers, the Cubs passed up current major-league pitchers Joe Blanton, Jon Lester, Jonathon Broxton and today's starter Matt Cain.
It's an interesting theory.
Anyway, you'll have to wait until Sunday for Lincecum, when he goes against Ryan Dempster in a dandy pitching matchup. We'll also have to wait and see if Lincecum's arm eventually falls off, making this entire article bunk.
So how come I always get the Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis starts?
Note, the Cubs did draft Lincecum in the 48th round as a high school senior in 2003 but he didn't sign.
Today's news sees Michael Wuertz shipped to Iowa. He passed Kevin Hart on his way. Jim Edmonds and Kosuke Fukudome get the day off. Daryle Ward plays left, Reed Johnson in center and yesterday's left fielder, Mark DeRosa, in right. Got it?
It's all right here in the lineups.
Also, I should probably get an iPhone at some point so I can stop bugging my friends with iPhones to look stuff up for me -- the correct lyrics to "Sister Christian," CC Sabathia's listed weight, exact quotes from "The Big Lebowski," Ryan Giggs' age. Either that, or I'll just wait for the Google mind chip implant, which will enable a person to search Google by just thinking about it.
I probably shouldn't be typing while Wayne Messmer sings the National Anthem, but welcome everyone on and off the message board. We'll have some baseball shortly. Len Kasper says the wind now is blowing in, but I need to see the flags myself to belive that.
Oh, and a very special welcome to new reader "CHEAPESTcialisVIAGRAgta." Thanks for the post.
You know you love Night Ranger, Lillie Lee Lilly. OK, here we go: Marquis starts off the immortal Fred Lewis with a strike. Marquis gets Fred looking for the first out. Fred doesn't like Tim McClelland's call but what's a Fred to do? The aged or ageless (depending on your perspective) Ray Durham digs in and fouls off a few pitches to fall in a hole, 1-2. Durham bounces out to Ryan Theriot for the second out. So Len Kasper does not lie. Looks like the winds have shifted, the temps have dropped and that's certainly in Marquis' favor. So much for Tom Skilling's prediction that this would be the year's hottest day. It's now a comfortable 73 degrees with the winds off the lake, which means blowing in from right. Marquis saws off Randy Winn a few times, including an inside pitch that Winn fouled off his foot but Winn wins this battle and draws a walk. Bengie Molina bounced back to Marquis, who can't handle it but it bounces right to second baseman Mike Fontenot who has plenty of time to throw out the lumbering catcher.
Matt Cain blows a fastball by Ryan Theriot for strike three. The hot-hitting Fontenot takes a walk down the first base line. Derrek Lee takes a called third, thought it was a ball, slumps his shoulders and takes his sweet time strolling back to the dugout. Cain drills Aramis Ramirez on the elbow and it looks like it got the funny bone, or, as Bob Brenly calls it "the crazy bone." That's gotta hurt. Runners on first and second with two outs for Geovany Soto. Some random phone in the newsroom seriously has been ringing for, oh, 20 minutes. I've got about six rings in me and if it doesn't got to voice mail I'm outta there. Someone call that number and then go out to lunch? Full count to Soto and he can't catch up to a fastball and that ends the first inning of this game on the 11th of July, 2008.
Every male White Sox fan's man crush Aaron Rowand swings and misses at the first pitch. They call that a strike, I hear. Marquis jams Rowand and Rowand grounds out to second. Dude's got some sloping shoulders. First baseman John Bowker grounds to his counterpart and Lee steps on the bag himself. Rich (I call him Richie) Aurilia grounds out to short and that about does it for the top of the second.
From the board: "len's ipod : I have 15 different covers of "sister christian" on me." Yes, and they're all from early '90s indie Milwaukee bands. Your starting left fielder Daryle Ward takes a strike. Ward flies out to Rowand. DeRosa works the count full before fouling one off. Exciting. DeRosa walks. Reed Johnson falls behind 0-2 and fouls off three straight pitches. Johnson fights off another one and that makes the day of some lucky fan sitting behind first base. Johnson then pops out to Fred in shallow left. Fred battles the sun but Fred is more powerful than any celestial body. Marquis, who fancies himself as some kind of hitter, pops out to short to end the second.
Score? How about some hits
Omar Vizquel, who's hitting .156, shows bunt but takes a ball. He then flies out to left, dropping his average to about .153. The pitcher Cain strikes out swinging and Fred flies out to center. Marquis is dealing, let it be known. I'm convinced he had something to do with the wind shift.
Theriot and Fontenot huddle up and discuss something in the on-deck circle. "You like them crawfish?" "Yeah." "Me, too." Theriot bloops one to shallow right. Durham tries to make the ol' over-the-shoulder basket catch and drops it. That is ruled an error and strikes me as a bit harsh. With Fontenot at the plate, Theriot takes off and, as usual, is gunned down. Replays show Theriot was in there because Vizquel's tag was high. High as in right in the family jewels. Fontenot grounds back to Cain. Lee flies out to Rowand. Wait, Theriot's ball was ruled a hit. Sorry about that.
Nothing to see here
Theriot now has been thrown out eight times in 23 attempts. I guess he's thrown out only when I'm watching. Durham flies out. Eugenio Velez, who took over for Randy Winn in right at some point, grounds out to the pitcher. I guess Winn hurt himself when he fouled that ball of his foot. Molina draws a walk. Rowand bounces out to Fontenot.
Ramirez lines out to Velez in right. I've lost the Comcast audio. It's back just in time for Soto to take a called third strike. Ward flies out to center and the Cubs go down in order in the fourth.
We're still scoreless
Just in case this song has escaped your head, you must watch this at once. Thank me later. The Bowker bowks one off Marquis' ankle that bounces over to Ramirez, who makes a bare-handed play but Bowskie just beats it out. Marquis is limping around. The training staff is out there. Marquis will stay in the game but there goes the no-hitter. Aurilia rips one right at Theriot, who starts a very snappy 6-4-3 double play. Aurilia wasn't even in the picture when Lee got the ball. Vizquel lines out to Ward on the first pitch to end a four-pitch fifth that even included a hit. And as Len keenly points out, the pitcher was left on deck and he'll lead off the next inning, which I think is the sixth.
Cain makes DeRosa his fifth strike-out victim of the day, this one of the looking variety. Johnson lines out to center. Marquis goes down on strikes and, hey, kids, we've got ourselves an old-fashioned pitchers duel.
For those of you keeping track of such things, Randy Winn left with a right knee contusion. If you are keeping track of such things, well, good luck with that. As predicted, the pitcher Cain leads off the sixth. Cain strikes out. Fred singles up the middle. Can't keep Fred down for long. Durham shoots a single by a diving Theriot and the Giants have strung together two straight hits. Fred thinks about scoring but Fred stops at second. Marquis spins and throws to second in an attempt to pick off Fred. You've got to be kiddin' me with that move; I'm Fred. Velez looks at a sinker on the outside corner for strike three. Molina hacks at the first pitch and flies out to right to end the top half of the sixth. Someone get Fred his hat and glove.
So here were are in the bottom of the sixth. Matt Cain has given up one hit -- that third-inning blooper by Theriot that originally was ruled an error. Speaking of which, here's Theriot to lead things off. Theriot flies out to Velez in shallow right. Fontenot takes a called third and looks downright bemused on his way back to the dugout. Lee lifts one to shallow right where Velez has a diving go at it but misses. The ball bounces by him. Durham fetches it and Lee slides into second ahead of the throw. Cain misses twice to Ramirez and they'll just say screw it and walk him now. Whoa, the intentional ball three was nearly over the plate. Very. Tricky. Two on and two outs for Soto, who grounds out weakly to second.
Nothing. Nada. Zip.
Rowand flies out to DeRosa. Bowker pops up to shallow right. DeRosa charges, charges, charges ... battles the sun, stumbles and Fontenot grabs it right in front of him. Aurilia flies out to left. And here's actor, comedian, producer and occasional ChicagoSports.com contributor Jeff Garlin to sing TMOTTBG.
Ward hits one to the right-field corner. Velez makes an adventure of it, but, really, Ward's not cutting the bag at second. He's content with a double. Ronny Cedeno quickly comes on to run for Ward. Cain nearly drills DeRosa and then strikes him out swinging -- swinging for the fences. Cain fans Johnson, too. Kosuke Fukudome hits for Marquis. Fukudome pops up right in front of the plate and Molina nearly loses it but makes a basket catch on his knees. Onward.
There is no score in this baseball game
DeRosa moves from right to left. Fukudome takes over in right. Bob Howry relieves Marquis and will hit in the sixth spot. Vizquel flies out to Johnson in center. Jose Castillo hits for Cain. He pops out to Theriot in shallow left. Howry strikes out Fred on some high heat.
Righty Tyler Walker will come on to pitch for the Giants and he'll face the top of the order. Walker, listed at 6-3 275, is every bit of those 275 pounds. Wow. Forget Adam Dunn; there's your Mongo. Theriot lines a crisp single to left. Walker has quite the discrepancy in his success against righties versus lefties -- righties are hitting .172 against him, while lefties .356. Regardless, the lefty Fontenot bunts Theriot over to second. They'll walk Lee to get to Ramirez. Ramirez turns on the first pitch and rips a three-run homer just inside the foul pole in left. Ramirez flips his bat, watches it all the way and, yes, that was well fair and landed on Waveland. Ramirez take a curtain call. Len is, well, excited. So much for Tyler Walker's House of Payne for right-handed batters. Soto strikes out. Jim Edmonds will hit for Howry as, I assume, Kerry Wood warms in the pen. Edmonds swings over a breaking ball and we move to the ninth.
Cubs 3, Giants 0
Here's Wood to face Durham, Velez and Molina. Durham hits a flyball to left. DeRosa has no clue and it goes right over his head for a double. Shades of Alfonso Soriano out there. Wood falls behind, starts nibbling and walks the powerless Velez. That drives Bob Brenly nuts. Molina singles to right, driving home Durham. Larry Rothschild trots out to talk to Wood, Carlos Marmol gets up in the pen and some guy comes in to run for Molina. Whatever knowledge Larry dropped on Wood it's working so far. Wood gets ahead of Rowand 0-2 before wasting one high. Emmanuel Burris is the pinch runner and he takes off for second. The pitch is called a strike and Rowand is out, but Rowand also got in the way for Soto's throw. Brenly, the former catcher, points out that Soto should've gone ahead and thrown it, drawing an interference call that would've ended in Burris out, too. Anway, one out, runners on second and third. Bowker flies out to right and Fukudome comes up throwing but Velez stays put. Aurilia squibs one off the end of the bat. Lee takes it and flips to Wood covering first and this one's over, but not without some drama in the ninth.
Final: Cubs 3, Giants 1
Well, then. Right. A much better game to watch and Cubicle than yesterday's. Marquis doesn't allow a run and Ramirez hits a big, three-run homer in the eighth inning. Pretty good ballgame all the way around. That's all. Have a great weekend. Enjoy Night Ranger.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times