Crazy From The Heat

Game One Hundred Five – Cubs 4 Diamondbacks 15

Including Notes from Jim Hendry on Monday’s Trade Deadline Deals

Game time temperature was 106 with the heat index at Wrigley and the Diamondbacks must have felt right at home. Orlando Hudson had a huge night at the plate, that included home runs from both sides of the plate, and in the field despite committing an error but he was just one of many standouts on the night for the D’Backs. On the day the Cubs traded away their future Hall of Fame pitcher, what took the mound on Monday night can only be explained by one word….horrible.

Mark Prior was to quote Ron Santo, “Wilder than I have ever seen him.” He threw 106 pitches in 5 innings, hit two batters, threw a wild pitch, walked 3, struck out 5 and gave up 3 home runs including a grand slam to Orlando Hudson that put the game out of reach for the Cubs against the D’Backs ace Brandon Webb, who was not that sharp himself. Glendon Rusch gave up 3 more home runs and to say it was a long night would be an understatement.

A Major League pitcher cannot survive on fastballs alone and that was what Prior attempted to do on Monday. The D’Backs figured out that Prior could not locate his breaking ball and just waited on the hard stuff. Cubs’ pitching allowed two 5-run innings and gave up a total of 15 runs on 14 hits and the free passes continued to mount as the staff combined for 6 on the night. The Cubs have yet to figure out that walks lead to losses unless your first name is Carlos.

To say Mark Prior was incredibly bad would again….would be an understatement. Whatever positive steps he took against the Mets he lost on Monday. Prior did not have any movement on any of his pitches and basically threw very hard batting practice. After a decent start to the game Prior gave up 6 runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings that included the grand slam by Orlando Hudson. Prior did not allow any more runs in his last 2 innings but he did hit a batter and walked 2 in the last two frames. Prior still has not won a game since last September and with the way he pitched on Monday….will he put a win up this season?

The waste of space known as Glendon Rusch took the mound in the 6th with the game at 6-3. The Cubs had scratched their way back until Eric Byrnes took a 1-1 pitch out of the park to lead off the inning. Rusch recovered and retired the next three batters he faced. Rusch took the mound, again, in the 7th and gave up 2 more home runs that included the second of the game by Orlando Hudson, from the other side of the plate. Rusch finished the night after 2 innings. He gave up 4 runs on 4 hits, walked 1 and struck out 3. Rusch has allowed 21 home runs in just 61 2/3 innings this season. Will Ohman was just as bad but without the home runs, he gave up 5 runs on 4 hits in an inning of work. On a positive note, Michael Wuertz threw a perfect 9th inning and struck out the side. He has been really sharp since being recalled from Iowa.

The Cubs offense managed 4 runs on 10 hits, with all 4 runs coming off of Brandon Webb. Webb had problems throwing strikes as well and was behind hitters all night. Aramis Ramirez hit a monster home run, number 24 on the year, in the 3rd but they could not string together any hits against Webb and only walked once on the night. The Cubs actually scored the third most runs on the year off of Webb.

The Cubs finished July with a winning record, 14-12, for the fist time since April but they could not improve their record against teams from the West and fell to 3-13 on the season. For a team that played so well the last seven days, Monday looked like the continued adventures of 2006. Tuesday is a new day and one that should see the Cubs debut of Cesar Izturis. Rich Hill is scheduled to take the mound on Tuesday night.

Jim Hendry on WGN Radio during Monday’s game – Jim Hendry joined Ron and Pat on Monday night during the 2nd inning of the game. Hendry said Maddux wanted to stay in Chicago and both he and Maddux did the trade to the Dodgers. Maddux agreed to go in order to help the Cubs.

Hendry went on to say that Cesar Izturis is “a heck of a player”, a 2-time gold glove winner and the best shortstop in the National League for 2 years. He said that Izturis is under contract until 2008 and will likely hit in the 2-hole behind Pierre. Izturis did have Tommy John surgery in September of 2005 but is very healthy and has been playing 3rd base for the Dodgers. Ronny Cedeno will move to 2nd base and they were preparing Cedeno for the move last winter when they were courting Rafael Furcal. Hendry mentioned how good the infield in 2007 will be with Derrek Lee, Ronny Cedeno, Cesar Izturis and Aramis Ramirez and could be one of the best defensive infields in the league. Hendry went on to say that they are planning to “fix” the problems from this year and they will be better next season.

Hendry then spoke about Jose Ceda, the pitcher they acquired for Todd Walker. Hendry said Ceda has pitched against the Mesa Cubs in Arizona and Carmelo Martinez raves about him and spoke with Oneri Fleita about him. Ceda throws 94-95 MPH fastballs at just 19-years old.

After the trade of Maddux to the Dodgers, Kevin Kennedy and Rob Dibble raved about how good Izturis is and how well the trade will work out for the Cubs.

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax