Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

August 2008 Archives

Kosuke Fukudome just stood there, like he wasn't going to accept the call was ball four.

Once again, CC Sabathia did it all for the Brewers. Sabathia easily is the best midseason acquisition of 2008. His arrival should secure a playoff spot for the Brewers. But the Brewers have new concerns about left fielder Ryan Braun, whose back tightened Monday.

Meanwhile, right-hander Yovani Gallardo -- out since late April with a knee injury that required surgery -- is making progress but he might not be ready in time to help the Brewers down the stretch. Deep in this notebook, manager Ned Yost says the Brewers' experience battling the Cubs down the stretch in 2007 should pay off this September.

Chris Carpenter's scheduled game of catch today could shape the rest of the season for the third-place Cardinals.

Sunday best?

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Lou's keeping his options open for Sunday's opening in the rotation created by Tuesday's rainout, which backed up Rich Harden to tonight.

He said after today's first game of the split doubleheader that Sean Marshall probably will be the guy. That's why he took Neal Cotts out after just two-thirds of an inning this afternoon, because he might need him as the only bullpen lefty for a few days.

Piniella also has Jeff Samardzija tuned up and ready if he doesn't need him for any more than maybe an inning Friday. And he took Jason Marquis out after a relatively few 93 pitches to leave that as a possibility for the weekend finale in Florida.

Marquis says he's pitched effectively on short rest many times and ``would love to go Sunday.'' He also gets killed by several Marlins, including lineup linchpins Hanley Ramirez (6 for 12 plus a walk) and Dan Uggla (3 for 7 plus three walks and including a homer).

But the best option might also be the popular choice: Samardzija. Despite blowing a save when he allowed a run against the Marlins his first day in the majors, July 25, Florida hitters went just 2 for 14 with five strikeouts against Samardzija during his pair of two-inning appearances that weekend.

Samardzija says he's prepared, even though he hasn't made a start since late July in the minors.

Am I missing something here, or is this the best way to go?

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

The Cardinals once again are worrying about former staff ace Chris Carpenter, who left his start Sunday night against the Cubs complaining of pain in his right triceps. Meanwhile, left-hander Mark Mulder knows he won't return in 2008 but plans to make a comeback next season.

The Brewers have their own worries about left fielder Ryan Braun, who has been suffering from mysterious pains on each side of his ribcage.

The Astros shot down Internet reports that they had interest in idle slugger Barry Bonds now that Carlos Lee is on the shelf. Manager Cecil Cooper says he would leave if the Astros added Bonds.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

Brewers manager Ned Yost faces a tough test to see how his team responds after a dugout battle between slugger Prince Fielder and pitcher Manny Parra. The day after Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano punched catcher Michael Barrett -- in a much more vicious attack on a teammate -- manager Lou Piniella staged a dirt-kicking tirade at third-base umpire Mark Wegner. It took the spotlight off his players and that's also when the Cubs' 2007 season turned for the better. Here's what Fielder had to say today.

The Brewers, who no longer are looking like a playoff contender, appear to be coming apart at the seams thanks to an extended slump with runners in scoring position.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has worked hard most of this season trying to rotate his players regularly to keep them fresh. Whatever he has done has worked well, considering the Cards weren't supposed to still be factors in the Central by August. Now, La Russa is switching gears, leaning hard on his hottest players down the stretch.

Here's what the Astros' Lance Berkman had to say about playing at Wrigley Field on a rainy Monday: '''I've never been more nervous on the field in my life. Growing up in Texas, you see those kinds of storms all the time. You learn that lightning is nothing to fool around with. I'll stand out there in a rain storm all day long. But thunder and lightning, in that kind of proximity, it's definitely a hazard.
''You have to get the fans out of there. We have to be out there. But if you give those fans a reason to hang around they will. I think tonight was a night where they needed to be discouraged from being outside in those kind of conditions.''

With his team battling to stay out of last place, Reds manager Dusty Baker issued a battle cry as his club faces the sinking Brewers: ''Never quit. Never say die. Never.'' Why is the former Cubs manager so optimistic? ''In our division, a lot can turn around in a hurry,'' Baker said. ''If you get hot, man, I've seen it. People think I'm the eternal optimist, but I can be that because I've seen that and done that.''

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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