Cecil, Fonzy, and Sampson, Oh My



I work with a Cubs fan.  Ninety-nine percent of the time, he’s the
“good kind.”  Not the typical
Cubs fan; more indicative of a Cubs fan out here on the West Coast.  He doesn’t brag.  We both curse our teams and talk about how loathsome they are.


Then the Cubs moved into
first place in the NL Central.  Then
they beat the Astros 5-1 with an Alfonso Soriano grand slam in the bottom of
the 13th inning.  Welcome
back from the DL, Chris Sampson. 
Apparently Cecil Cooper thought you were the perfect man for the extra
innings, despite the fact that you hadn’t pitched since July 10.


It all started with the text
message.  He acknowledged that it was
his “one typical Cubs fan moment” of the day.  Then came today.  It’s been non-stop Soriano this, Cubs that.


Man, I hate Cubs fans.


The images on Sampson’s Yahoo

Sports page are all of Soriano. Ouch.


Wandy Rodriguez looked
masterful on the mound, striking out 7 batters in 7 innings, allowing a single
run on a Derrek Lee home run.  Six hits
and two walks.  He looked fantastic.  The bullpen – LaTroy Hawkins, Jose Valverde,
and Alberto Arias – all looked very good. 
Valverde issued 3 walks in his 1.1 inning, but no hits and no runs.  He danced out of a bases-loaded jam with a
lot of help from a botched squeeze play.


But the Astros pitching was
matched step-for-step by the Cubs pitching, until we danced into the 13th
inning and Sampson walked out for his second inning of work.  He promptly loaded the bases, and Alfonso
Soriano delivered the game to the Cubs in walk-off fashion.


It’s nice to see our boys
able to hang with what everyone agreed was going to be a tough Cubs team, even
without Lance Berkman in the lineup. 
Sampson looked good in his first inning of work, but his stamina is not
where it was.  He should never have been
asked to take the mound for a second inning.


it’s Roy Oswalt against Ryan Dempster. 
Roy’s looked mighty strong lately – as strong as he’s ever looked.  If only we can get the hitters to step up to
the challenge.

The Next Flight Departing Corpus Christi

Doug Brocail will cut his rehab stint short and join the team for tomorrow’s game against the Chicago Cubs.  He will replace LaTroy Hawkins, who is going onto the Disabled List with shingles.  If, like me, you don’t know what shingles are, this is what Wikipedia tells us:

Herpes zoster (or simply zoster), commonly known as shingles, is a viral disease characterized by a painful skin rash with blisters in a limited area on one side of the body, often in a stripe. The initial infection with varicella zoster virus (VZV) causes the acute (short-lived) illness chickenpox,
and generally occurs in children and young people. Once an episode of
chickenpox has resolved, the virus is not eliminated from the body but
can go on to cause shingles–an illness with very different
symptoms–often many years after the initial infection.

Well, that sounds horrifying.  Best of luck to him.  Speaking of Hawkins, he was ejected from last night’s game for arguing balls and strikes.  Now, I’m not one to advocate players questioning umpires’ calls, but honestly:

Hawkins-Lee.JPGI’m not sure where you pitch Derrek Lee that’s better than that, without laying a juicy fastball over the middle of the plate.

What Happened Was…


Round Rock Express (AAA) – Three runs in each
the first and ninth inning were all it took for the Express to down the Omaha
Royals (KCR) 6-5.  Felipe Paulino did
not look good on the mound.  It took 74
pitches to struggle through 3.0 innings, allowing 5 walks, 5 hits, 3 earned
runs, and just 2 strikeouts.  Josh
was slightly more effective – allowing 5 walks, 3 hits, and 2 earned
runs in 5.0 relief innings and earning the win.  1B Mark Saccomanno is trying his hardest to turn his season
around – albeit a month too late – going 3-for-4 in the effort, a double shy of
the cycle, with 5 RBI.


Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) –
The Frisco RoughRiders (TEX) rode roughshod over the Hooks last night en route
to their 7-2 win.  The Hooks hitters
were bad, but the pitching was even worse. 
There were no multi-hit games by Corpus Christi, but 4 of their 6 hits
were for extra bases: 2B Drew Meyer‘s sole hit was a home run; OF Collin
‘s was a triple; and C Jason Castro and 1B/DH Mark Van Ostrand chipped in
with a double each.


Lancaster Jethawks (A+) –
Two runs allowed in the bottom of the eighth sealed the Jethawks’ fate, as they
fell 7-6 to the High Desert Mavericks (SEA). 
Lancaster hitters were able to get 12 hits, including yet another home
run by OF Jonathan Gaston, three hits by OF Jack Shuck including a double, and
C/DH Koby Clemens‘ 11th home run and 2nd stolen base of the season.  Also, there’s this fun note:

Desert Mavericks Manager Jim Horner ejected by HP umpire Tom Honec. (6th);
Lancaster JetHawks pitcher Christopher Salamida ejected by HP umpire Tom Honec.
(8th); Lancaster JetHawks Manager Wes Clements ejected by HP umpire Tom Honec.
(8th); High Desert Mavericks pitcher Nathan Adcock ejected by HP umpire Tom
Honec. (6th).


Lexington Legends (A) –
Late-inning rallies are always fun, and three runs in the final two frames
cemented the win for Lexington, 6-5, over the Hagerstown Suns (WSN).  Ross Seaton struck out 6 batters in 5
innings, but allowed 5 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks; Henry Villar came on to
pitch 4 scoreless innings in relief, giving up a single hit and striking out 4
to earn the win.  2B Michael Diaz was
2-for-3 with 3 RBI, and drew a walk to lead the offense.


Tri-City ValleyCats (A-) – I
have a confession to make: I hate the Lowell Spinners (BOS).  It’s complicated, and involves an
ex-girlfriend from Lowell, MA.  You don’t
want the details.  All you need to know
is that I hate them.  So last night’s
4-2 victory by the ValleyCats was awfully nice, despite the fact that 3 of the
4 runs were unearned, and Lowell’s pitchers – Jose Alvarez and Anatanaer
Batista – looked incredible.  Tri-City’s
pitchers didn’t look half-bad, either, especially Mike Modica, who pitched a
perfect inning in relief; and Brenden Stines, who allowed just 2 hits and
struck out 2 in 3.2 innings of work to earn the win.  OF Renzo Tello collected his first home run of the season.


Greeneville Astros (R) – The
Greeneville pitchers did their absolute best to lose last night’s game against
the Kingsport Mets (NYM), but the hitters refused to stay quiet, pulling out a
10-9 victory. First-round pick SS Jiovanni Mier was particularly vexing for
Kingsport, going 3-for-3 with 2 doubles and 3 RBI, and drew 2 walks. 


GCL Astros (R) – In the
always-exciting Gulf Coast League, the Astros downed the Cardinals (STL)
4-2.  And they did it without an
extra-base hit.  Euris Quezeda improved
to 1-5 on the season, striking out 5 batters in as many innings, giving up a
single run on 3 hits and a walk.  OF
Nestor Santana was 2-for-3.  1B Ronald Sanchez
drew the only Astros’ walk of the day, and was promptly picked off at first
base.  Following his sole hit, he was
then caught trying to steal second base. 


(R) – Because we all care about the Dominican Summer League (seriously,
does anyone even read this far?), the DSL Astros scored a run in the top of the
10th to down the DSL Rangers1, 5-4. 
A no-decision for Jose Perdomo, who struck out 6 batters in 5 scoreless
innings of work, issuing 2 walks and a single hit.  Julio Torres allowed a single walk and no hits in two relief
innings to get the win.  1B/OF Eudy
was 2-for-2 with a double and 2 walks to pace the offense.


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