Jason Hammel looks for another solid start (and hopefully some run support) tonight as he'll face the Washington Nationals and rookie hurler Jordan Zimmermann. The Rox (43-39) have struggled mightily offensively over the past seven games or so. Hopefully, a warm summer evening in Colorado will be enough to melt the thick layer of ice that has formed over the Rockies' bats.
May 23, 1986
Sep 02, 1982
07/07/09 6:40 PM MDT
Fans at Citi Field booed the free-falling New York Mets even more loudly than they jeered Manny Ramirez — before he got ejected. Ramirez drove in three runs with two singles, then was ejected for throwing equipment following his second called strikeout. That was the highlight as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat what's left of [...]
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Game Eighty-One: Cubs (41-39) vs. Braves (39-43)
Game Time - 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage - TV: WGN TV - Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185
Location - Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (4-3, 3.50/1.31) vs. Javier Vazquez (5-7, 3.05/1.07)
The 2009 Cubs' season hits the halfway point tonight with game number 81 of 162. The Cubs have underachieved throughout the first half of the season but have played much better of late ... especially at home. The Cubs must continue to build on their last week and put the .500 mark permanently in their rearview mirror.
Tonight's pitching match-up was scheduled to be a rematch from the make up game in Atlanta on June 22. Ryan Dempster did his job and allowed only two runs but the Cubs' struggling offense was shutout by Javier Vazquez ... but the Cubs' placed Ryan Dempster on the DL Tuesday afternoon with a broken big tow. Dempster is expected to miss at least two starts ... and could be out longer. Dempster reportedly broke his toe jumping over the rail of the dugout during the series against the Brewers.
While the offense must do their job against Vazquez, it all starts with Carlos Zambrano ... and one win at a time.
More photos » by Lenny Ignelzi - AP
Tuesday, Jul 7, 2009, 7:05 PM CDT
Minute Maid Park
Partly cloudy,rain. Game time temperature around 90.
Jun 25, 1982
Dec 31, 1971
(updated 7.7.2009 at 2:31 PM CDT)
Did the mid point of the season sneak up on anyone else? The Astros have played pretty non descript baseball for the past 81 games yet find themselves in the thick of the NL Central race. We owe most of this to an underachieving Chicago Cubs team as well as to inconsistent teams in Milwaukee and St. Louis. Still, here we are. Everything is right in front of us.
Tonight is the first real step towards our being a real threat to
win compete for the the division. This is a nice position to be in. Playing out the first half against two last place clubs. Paul Maholm has not been good recently, while Brian Moehler has pitched decently well.
The New York Mets find themselves in a rather messy predicament at the halfway mark of the 2009 season. As of now one of baseball?s highest paid teams sits three games below .500 with a 39-42 record which is good for third place in the National League East behind the bargain basement Florida Marlins and the rival Philadelphia Phillies.
This is hardly the kind of performance that management could?ve expected in the offseason after the team acquired superstars, Francisco ?K-Rod? Rodriguez and J.J. Putz.
While there is certainly a lot of baseball left to be played in the season, as of now there is no sunshine for Mets fans, who have had a dark cloud held over their heads ever since the conclusion of the 2006 season.
Obviously, New York fans are always quick to blame someone for their team?s struggles and this year there is plenty of blame to go around.
The amount of injuries that have plagued the Mets this season has been astronomical. Three out of their four top players (Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado) have all been out for over a month and there is no telling when any of them will be back in a Mets uniform. Two fifths of the starting pitching staff is disabled as well. This Wednesday Oliver Perez will throw his first big league pitch in over two months following a grueling battle with knee tendinitis.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said for John Maine, who suffered a major setback with pain in his surgically repaired shoulder and only just recently was cleared to throw.
Then there is J.J. Putz, whom the Mets envisioned as being the player to shut down the opposition in the eighth inning. Shockingly, Putz failed to deliver. In 29 appearances with the Mets, he posted a down right terrible 5.22 ERA and was charged with four losses. Anyone familiar with Putz and his tenure with the Mariners knew something was wrong. Midseason it was discovered that Putz would require elbow surgery that will keep him out of action until at least August.
Playing the role of manager is no easy task in its self. However, playing the role of manager in the city that never sleeps takes the game to the next level.
From the moment Jerry took the jump from bench coach to manager he has had a target placed on his back by both the fans and the media. It is understandable as the team has suffered two back-to-back collapses as well as a disappointing playoff lose in 2006.
While I am not the biggest fan of Jerry?s antics at times, I think he?s trying to take a step in the right direction. He certainly shows more heart and emotion on the field than his predecessor, Willie Randolph did. Also, at the moment Jerry is being handed a lineup card filled with many players that belong in Buffalo.
Still a team?s performance is a reflection of the manager and when a team, like the Mets, is underperforming that reflects poorly on the manager.
Believe it or not I believe a majority of the blame falls on the shoulders of Omar Minaya, and rightfully so. Granted he assembled an All-Star caliber team, however in doing so he neglected a key component in any championship team.
That component is depth. Minaya relied too heavily on Fernando Tatis and Daniel Murphy?s success from last season to carry over. Unfortunately it did not. Both players are hitting below .250 and neither appears to be improving. Unfortunately when taking a statistical look at things this isn?t all that surprising.
Murphy hit .290 in his minor league career (957 ABs), which is by no means poor, but it isn?t a guarantee that his success would translate over into the big leagues. Neither was the .313 batting average he compiled with the big league club in 131 at bats last year.
Fernando Tatis, on the other hand is a career .264 hitter, and that includes a very successful campaign with the Cardinals in 1999 where he hit nearly .300.
Another critical mistake by Minaya was his unwillingness to sign free agent second basemen Orlando Hudson, who did not command an unreasonable contract and on numerous occasions stated his desire to be a Met.
Rather Minaya stuck with Luis Castillo, the second basemen he signed to a ridiculous four year deal, and was rewarded with little improvement and about a quarter of the run production that Hudson has driven in.
In reality as entertaining as it is to point fingers at certain people, the reality is there is no one person or thing to blame this disappointing first half on. The only thing Mets fans can do is patiently wait out the storm and hope that once healthy their star players can pick up where they left off.
Adam Wainwright came within two outs of his first career shutout and Ryan Ludwick and Colby Rasmus homered for the St. Louis Cardinals in a 5-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night. The 27-year-old right-hander settled down after working out of bases-loaded jam in the second and didn't allow a hit after the [...]
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Paul Konerko hit a career-high three home runs, including a go-ahead grand slam in the sixth inning, to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 10-6 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night. Konerko, who drove in a career-high seven RBIs, became the 12th player in White Sox history to hit three homers in [...]
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Javier Vazquez allowed a run and five hits in seven strong innings and Brian McCann had two two-out RBIs as the Atlanta Braves beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 on Tuesday night. Vazquez (6-7), backed by some fine infield play from shortstop Yunel Escobar and second baseman Brooks Conrad, outpitched Carlos Zambrano.
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Hanley Ramirez out of the lineup for the third game in-a-row.
More photos » by John Bazemore - AP
Tuesday, Jul 7, 2009, 8:05 PM EDT
Partly cloudy. Game time temperature around 70.