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 Post subject: Cubs in 2008
PostPosted: 31 Mar 2008, 19:29 
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2007 NL CENTRAL STANDINGS:
85-77 | CHICAGO CUBS: 0.0
83-79 | Milwaukee Brewers: 2.0
78-84 | St. Louis Cardinals: 7.0
73-89 | Houston Astros: 12.0
72-90 | Cincinnati Reds: 13.0
68-94 | Pittsburgh Pirates: 17.0

Manager Lou Piniella’s biggest concern is getting off to a good start. He still has nightmares about last year, when the Cubs stumbled out to a 22-31 start by June 2 and fell 8 1/2 games behind Milwaukee later that month.

Now in his second year as Cubs manager, Piniella said he feels this year is different because he knows his personnel better and knows in which roles they fit best.

The Cubs have a whopping 33 games at Wrigley Field during April and May, and they’re going to have to find a way to turn that into a home-field advantage. The weather can be brutal early on, with the wind whipping in off Lake Michigan and holding flyballs in the park. For that reason, Piniella said he’ll try to use the speed in the lineup.

Felix Pie and Reed Johnson figure to have their speed put to good use. However, the cold weather may hamper Alfonso Soriano, who had leg problems last year, including a hamstring problem in April.

Kerry Wood begins his first season as the Cubs’ closer. He had a brief bout with back spasms during the spring, and the Cubs will watch to see if the cold weather affects him.

Primed For A Big Season: LHP Rich Hill struggled with his command all spring, but manager Lou Piniella said Hill was due for a breakout season and easily could up his win total from the 11 he had last year to 18 this year.

On The Decline: LHP Scott Eyre endured a miserable first half of 2007 before righting himself after the All-Star break. He’s been so-so this spring, and he opens the season on the disabled list. Eyre is 35, and he’s logged a lot of action the past few years.

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• LHP Carmen Pignatiello made the Opening Day roster ahead of Sean Marshall. Both had been vying to be the lone lefty out of the bullpen in the absence of Scott Eyre, who is on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation. Pignatiello had an 0.87 ERA in 11 spring games. He pitched in four big-league games last year. Marshall was optioned to Class AAA Iowa, where he will start. The Cubs see Marshall as an emergency starter down the line.

• LF Matt Murton was optioned to Class AAA Iowa. Murton’s fate was sealed last week when the Cubs signed OF Reed Johnson after the Blue Jays released him. The Cubs are still looking to trade Murton, who hit .348 this spring. Johnson can play all three outfield positions, while Murton is limited to left and right, with left being his best position by far.

• C Geovany Soto and RF Kosuke Fukudome will give the Cubs two rookies in the starting lineup. Fukudome is a veteran of Japanese baseball. Soto played in 18 major league games last year and made the playoff roster. CF Felix Pie is not a rookie, but he’s only 23 and has just 87 games of experience.

• LHP Scott Eyre was placed on the 15-day disabled list with what the Cubs term left elbow inflammation. Eyre has battled a bone spur in the elbow the past two seasons, and the problem flared up again late in spring training. The Cubs don’t view Eyre’s situation as long term.

• C Geovany Soto will call pitches most of the time, according to manager Lou Piniella. On occasion, Piniella and pitching coach Larry Rothschild will call pitches from the bench, but for the most part, Soto is on his own.

• LF Alfonso Soriano will bat second for the time being, with SS Ryan Theriot leading off. However, manager Lou Piniella may go with OF Reed Johnson in the leadoff spot on days when he starts. It’s also possible Piniella will move RF Kosuke Fukudome up from the No. 5 spot to No. 2 and to leadoff when the Cubs face a left-handed pitcher.

By The Numbers: 12—Pitchers the Cubs took north. Eleven is the ideal number because it would allow manager Lou Piniella an extra bench player, but Piniella likes the security of the extra reliever. Expect to see 12 pitchers most of the year.

Quote To Note: “Oh, God. They did? Let’s hope that they’re right. That’s all I can say.”—Manager Lou Piniella, on the Cubs being picked by Sports Illustrated to win the NL pennant.

Roster Report

As much as the Cubs wanted to make a deal for a backup center fielder and possibly for Baltimore 2B Brian Roberts, manager Lou Piniella did admit all the trade talks had an “unsettling effect” on camp. Because of injuries, the Cubs did not get nearly as many at-bats for their regulars as they would have preferred. As camp entered its final week, Piniella noted that there still was “work to be done.” Depth in both the rotation and bullpen seemed to counterbalance Piniella’s fears about his offense.

Rotation:

1. RHP Carlos Zambrano
2. LHP Ted Lilly
3. RHP Ryan Dempster
4. LHP Rich Hill
5. RHP Jason Marquis

The Cubs went to camp with seven starters competing for five spots. They chose a veteran-laded rotation that’s strong at the top but contains question marks the rest of the way.

Zambrano is a Cy Young Award candidate, and Lilly is as steady as they come. Dempster acquitted himself well in his bid to move from closer to starter. Hill turned into a project again, as walks and mechanical problems caused him to be wild all spring. Marquis pitched well despite an early war of words with Piniella over his role. RHP Jon Lieber impressed the Cubs with his ability to throw strikes and work quickly, but he didn’t crack the rotation.

Bullpen:

RHP Kerry Wood (closer)
RHP Carlos Marmol
RHP Bob Howry
RHP Michael Wuertz
LHP Carmen Pignatiello
RHP Kevin Hart
RHP Jon Lieber

The story all spring was who would win the closer competition. Howry came to camp as the favorite because of his veteran status. Marmol’s “electric” stuff put him in the lead for a while. Wood touched 98 mph on the radar gun and appeared to have the job as camp entered its final week. The final hurdle for Wood was being able to work on back-to-back days—and he did that March 22-23.

The unsung hero of the ‘pen is Wuertz. The Cubs held him back at the beginning of camp to build his arm strength, and it paid off as he took a 0.00 ERA into the final week. Wuertz’s slider is among the best in the game when he’s on. Hart showed toughness and a good cutter. With LHP Scott Eyre likely to start the year on the disabled list, Marshall and Pignatiello were fighting for his spot.

Lineup:

1. SS Ryan Theriot
2. LF Alfonso Soriano
3. 1B Derrek Lee
4. 3B Aramis Ramirez
5. RF Kosuke Fukudome
6. 2B Mark DeRosa
7. C Geovany Soto
8. CF Felix Pie

Manager Lou Piniella promised that he will become more “constant” with his lineup this year, but seeing will be believing. Piniella used 125 different lineups last year. His personnel is better this year, but he’s still not sure what to do with Fukudome, and Soriano has shown a preference over his career for batting leadoff.

Fukudome is probably ideally suited as a No. 2 hitter, and Piniella says he knows that. However, he doesn’t want to put undue pressure on Soriano and his troublesome legs by putting him in the leadoff spot and making him feel he has to run. Pie will have a tough task of hitting in front of the pitcher. The middle of the order should provide plenty of pop.

Reserves:

C Henry Blanco
INF/OF Daryle Ward
INF/OF Ronny Cedeno
INF Mike Fontenot
OF Reed Johnson

Blanco showed in spring training he’s over the neck problems that limited him to 22 games last year. He’ll not only be a solid backup, but he’s already proven to be a mentor to Soto.

Ward is one of the top pinch hitters in the game. The Cubs describe him as a “professional hitter.” His only problem last year came in the form of nagging injuries. He can back up at first base. Johnson was a late spring pickup, and he prevents the Cubs from having to use Cedeno as a backup center fielder. Fontenot came on strong in spring training.

Rookie Watch: C Geovany Soto did not hit as well as expected in spring training. The Cubs have to keep reminding him to hit to right and right-center. They like his confidence, his throwing ability and his work with pitchers.

RHP Kevin Hart impressed the Cubs enough last year when he came up and forced himself onto the playoff roster. He could become a closer down the road.

Medical Watch:

RHP Angel Guzman (elbow surgery in September 2007) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25. He had only begun throwing on the side by late March. He won’t be a factor until late in the season, at the earliest.

LHP Scott Eyre (left elbow inflammation) opened the season on the 15-day disabled list. The injury wasn’t expected to sideline him for a long stint.


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 Post subject: Re: Cubs in 2008
PostPosted: 31 Mar 2008, 19:34 
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 Post subject: Re: Cubs in 2008
PostPosted: 02 Apr 2008, 23:49 
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 Post subject: Re: Cubs in 2008
PostPosted: 15 Apr 2008, 01:26 
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In the largest division in baseball, and arguably the weakest, with Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Houston, and St. Louis watering it down, the team's start has Cubs' Nation thinking that next year can be this year.

The Cubs have all the tools to make a late October run. First with the obvious - Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, and Alfonso Soriano make the Cubs' lineup one of the scariest for opposing pitchers in the National League.

Carlos Zambrano continues to show his dominance early in the season and that he is one of the marquee pitchers in the NL. Yet to allow an earned run this season, Jon Lieber has been nothing but impressive early, building a 2-1 record.

Ryan Dempster, who is ranked third in the National League with an ERA of 0.69, has been a pleasant surprise in his shift from the bullpen to the rotation. And despite his rocky start, Kerry Wood has only allowed one run in his previous six outings of relief while picking up three saves and a win.

Now with what isn't quite as obvious. Kosuke Fukudome has started a frenzy in the right-field bleachers with every move he makes, and for good reason. Fukudome, the 30-year-old rookie from Osaki, Japan, has started hot, with a batting average of .333.

Beyond that, the managerial skills of Lou Piniella are more favorable then his counterpart Ozzie Guillen. Although both loose cannons have managed a World Series champion, can you really get behind a manager (Guillen) who yells at a kid on a commercial for not eating lima beans?

The Cubs' steady start is a good sign to come for the 2008 season.

http://media.www.dailyiowan.com/media/s ... age2.shtml


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 Post subject: Re: Cubs in 2008
PostPosted: 17 May 2008, 22:43 
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Until they lovingly accept goats in Wrigley Field, the cubs will remain forever cursed. That's just how it goes.

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 Post subject: Re: Cubs in 2008
PostPosted: 17 May 2008, 23:33 
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yes it is.... (those who dont know)

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October 6th, a sad day in Cubs history. The Cubs entered game four of the World Series leading the Detroit Tigers 2 games to 1, and needing to win only two of the next four games played at Wrigley Field. A local Greek, William "Billy Goat" Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern and a Cubs fan, bought two tickets to Game four. Hoping to bring his team good luck he took his pet goat, Murphy, with him to the game. At the entrance to the park, the Andy Fran ushers stopped Billy Goat from entering saying that no animals are allowed in the park. Billy Goat, frustrated, appealed to the owner of the Cubs, P.K. Wrigley. Wrigley replied, "Let Billy in, but not the goat." Billy Goat asked, "Why not the goat?" Wrigley answered, "Because the goat stinks." According to legend, the goat and Billy were upset, so then Billy threw up his arms and exclaimed, "The Cubs ain't gonna win no more. The Cubs will never win a World Series so long as the goat is not allowed in Wrigley Field." The Cubs were officially cursed. Subsequently, the Cubs lost game four, and the remaining series getting swept at home and from the World Series. Billy Goat promptly sent a telegram to P.K. Wrigley, stating, "Who stinks now?" For the next twenty years, throughout the remainder of Billy Goat's life the Cubs would finish each season at 5th place or lower, establishing a pattern that would reverse the Cubs luck and term the team "The Lovable Losers." The World Series would become a dream, and "wait 'til next year" would become the team's motto. From 1946 to 2003, the Cubs would post a 4250-4874 (.466) record, have only 15 winning seasons, finish in first place a mere 3 times, have no pennants, no World Series appearances let alone wins, with only four post season experiences (1984, 1989, 1998, 2003) resulting in a complete reversal of their fortunes. The Cubs were and are a cursed franchise.

In 1969, a year before he passed away, "Billy Goat" Sianis finally felt satisfied and claimed the curse is lifted, but the goat still was bitter. The Cubs began the season winning and coasted throughout the season into mid-August with a commanding first place lead. By the end of the season a surging "Miracle" Mets overtook the struggling "Cursed" Cubs to claim first place and knock the Cubs out of contention. This would become a pattern over the years.

In 1973, Billy Goat's nephew, Sam Sianis, with the help of Tribune columnist, Dave Condon, brought the goat to Wrigley in an attempt to lift the curse. The goat was escorted to Wrigley in a white limousine, and given a red carpet entrance to the park with a sign saying, "All is forgiven. Let me lead the Cubs to the pennant." The ushers at the entrance denied the goat "Socrates," a descendant of Murphy, yet again. The Cubs saw their mid-season first place lead whither away to another unsuccessful season.


The Tribune Company, new owners of the Cubs, finally invited the goat to opening day at Wrigley Field in an attempt to lift the curse. Sam Sianis and his goat finally walked the grass of Wrigley Field, and in an effort to lift the curse Sam raised his hat and said, "The curse is lifted." The Cubs won and won and won their way to their first post season game and division title in almost forty years. They continued their winning taking the first two games of the National League Championship Series against the San Diego Padres. They just needed to win one of the next three games at San Diego to finally reach the World Series. Sam and his goat waited for the call to go along with the team and ensure the victory, only to be left behind in Chicago.

After losing games three and four in San Diego, the Cubs were leading the Padres 3-2 in the seventh inning, with only eight outs needed to win the game and the ace pitcher Rick Sutcliffe at the helm. An eerie chain of events would ensue. A routine ground ball was hit to first baseman, Leon Durham, which dribbled through his legs allowing the tying run to score. An overworked Rick Sutcliffe, who dominated game one, yielded the remaining three runs. The Padres swept the Cubs in San Diego, and swept the Cubs out of the series. The Cubs were still cursed.

Hoping for a repeat of 1984, Sam Sianis and his goat again walked the field of Wrigley on opening day. The Cubs again won their way to first place and their second division title in five years. But the goat was left behind once again in the post season, where the Cubs lost to the San Francisco Giants four games to one.

1994- "Let the Goat in!"

The Cubs started the 1994 season horribly, losing twelve home games in a row. Their worst home start in history. In an effort to end this streak, Sam Sianis and his goat went to Wrigley Field only to be denied entrance yet again. Amidst the chant of "Let the Goat in!" amongst the Wrigley crowd, Hall of Famer, Ernie Banks helped by escorting Sam and his goat into Wrigley. The Cubs won the game 5-2, ending their worst home start ever. A lesson learned?

1998- Bring in the Wild Card

In 1998, the Cubs finished the season with 89 wins, tied with the San Francisco Giants for the Wild Card. During the Tiebreaking game on Sept. 28th, the Cubs brought in their Wild Card, Sam and his goat. The Cubs would go on to win the game 5-3 and went into the post season as a Wild Card. But once again Sam and his goat were left behind in Chicago, while the Cubs got swept in Atlanta, and swept out of the post season.

2003- Five outs away

The Cubs ended the 2003 season in a tight race with the Houston Astros. When the goat was sent to Houston in an effort to reverse the curse, Houston lost while the Cubs won their first division title in fourteen years. The Cubs were on a roll. They would go on to beat the Atlanta Braves, winning their first post season series in almost 100 years. In the National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins, the Cubs took a quick 3 game lead needing only one more victory to go to the World Series for the first time in almost sixty years. In game six of the series, with the ace Mark Prior at the helm, the Cubs entered the eighth inning leading 3-0. Once again the goat was left behind, and an eerie chain of events would ensue. With only five outs needed to secure a victory, a pop foul seemingly in play was interfered with by a fan taking away a sure out. That was followed by the next play, when a routine ground ball was hit to the sure handed Alex Gonzalez only to be bobbled, taking away an inning ending double play. Ace pitcher, Mark Prior, overworked, yielded the tying and leading runs, until the Marlins left the eighth leading 8-3. The Marlins ended up winning the game, then swept the Cubs at home and swept them out of the playoffs yet again.

What does the future hold in store for the Cubs? Many attempts have been made to lift the curse, yet the goat still has not seen his baseball game. One moment in time, one horrible mistake in game four of the 1945 World Series, has yielded years of pain and anguish for Cubs fans abroad. The Chicago Cubs prior to the curse were one of the best teams in baseball, and after the curse have become the "Lovable Losers." If the Cubs are ever again in a situation, where they are outs away from the World Series, will the goat get the call? For the sake of the Cubs, "LET THE GOAT IN!"


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 Post subject: Re: Cubs in 2008
PostPosted: 27 May 2008, 13:14 
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they look good this year so far.... weak division too


woods needs to quit dropping the saves tho


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