Sunday, May 31, 2009

5/31/09 Los Angeles Dodgers 8, Chicago Cubs 2

Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Game 4 of 4

In this 4-game series closer, the Cubs averted a series loss by splitting. This was Marshall’s veritable swan song as an effective starter – he needs to stay in the pen, that’s where his best work occurs. However, the first inning cut the deepest for him; 5 back-to-back Dodger hits (6 total in the inning), 5 runs scored. Reed Johnson (CHC CF) helped the Cubs get on the board after his 2RBI double in the 6th, but it wasn’t enough to recover. Dodgers, ehhhh!!

DODGERS 8 12 0
CUBS 2 9 2

The game was called on ESPN by Jon Miller, Steve Phillips, and Joe Morgan. I don’t like to drift toward the negative, but here goes: Phillips should be campaigning for a job at MLBN right now. There are 2 good reasons NOT to watch a game on ESPN: Jon Miller and Joe Morgan. They need to give it up, they are worthless to me as analysts and actually detract from my enjoyment of the game. BAH. They stink.

5/30/09 Los Angeles Dodgers 0, Chicago Cubs 7

Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Game 3 of 4

This was a rather dismal series, and occurred right during the "2009 Cubs Go Down for the Season" period that most Cubs fans remember so well.

This game was really the gem of this period, a game that seemed to stand as a glimmer of bright stinking hope for our Cubs...but would not prove to be much more than that. Ryan Dempster throws a gem, 7 innings, 3 hits, shutting out the Dodgers...and hey, some offense from the Cubs as well!

LAD 0 5 0
CHC 7 10 0

Big game for Reed Johnson (3 for 3, 2 runs, 2 RBI and a big Waveland HR in the 7th...I STILL MISS HIM), Mike Fontenot (2 for 3, 1 run, 2 RBI) and even Milton Bradley (3 for 4). Fontenot draws an intentional walk, who'da thunkit??

At the start of this game, Juan Pierre was hitting .411, 17 RBI since Manny Ramirez' suspension on 5/7/09. Fortunately, he drew bagels across the board during this game.

Low point of the game: Larry King sings the 7th inning stretch. The game was broadcast on Fox Sports (Joe Buck and Tim McCarver) so we didn't see the stretch live, but in between pitches in the bottom of the 7th. McCarver claimed that Larry 'hit it.'

I scored this game on 4/29/10.

Monday, May 25, 2009

5/25/09 Pittsburgh Pirates 10, Chicago Cubs 8

Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Game 1 of 3

Uh, did the Pirates beat us? At home?

PIRATES 10 18 0
CUBS 8 10 1

Yes, it seems they did.

We took the series, but the Bucs pwned us in this game! Freddy Sanchez (PIT 2B) was the big story with his 6-6 night (including a HR), it definitely overshadowed the emergence of Milton Bradley (CHC RF) from the ‘Big Papi’ pit of worthless at-bats.

These folks hit well, but as a team left 9 on base:
Ryan Theriot (CHC SS) 3-5, 3 consecutive 2B, 2 RBI
Milton Bradley (CHC RF), 2-5, 2B, HR, 4 RBI
Geovany Soto (CHC C), 2-3, 2BB

These guys did not do so well, they gave up an extraordinary amount of runs to a team that should have stumbled by the Cubs offensive assault:
Ryan Dempster (CHC P) 4 IP, 7H, 6ER, 3BB, 3K, HB, HR
Neal Cotts (CHC P) 1 IP, 4H, 3ER, K, HR…and the L for the game.

Ted Lilly didn’t pitch but got tossed from the game in the 5th just the same for arguing some ridiculous Ks called by home plate ump Bob Davidson.

5/24/09 Chicago Cubs 2, San Diego Padres 7

Petco Park, San Diego, CA

CHC 2 4 1
SD 7 9 0

I scored this game on 11/7/10.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

10/14/76 Kansas City Royals 6, New York Yankees 7

ALCS Game 5
Yankee Stadium, New York, NY

The infamous Rout in Yankee Stadium was (as most of these classics are) thrilling to watch, even though the outcome is widely known. I remember this era as a Royals fan at the time (before moving to the East Coast the following year and moving to the dark side for a couple of years) – George Brett was nothing less than a madman, with that wild look in his eyes and his mega-aggressive game attitude. Playing baseball UFC style. No steroids, just GUTS. George Brett!!!

Brett’s opening double made good by John Mayberry’s HR in the opening inning gave KC the first shot. The Yankees answered in the bottom of the first and maintained a small threshold of control of the game until Brett’s 3-run HR exploded in the 8th,, tying the game at 6-6. I thought we had ‘em, 3 up 3 down kept the Yanks scoreless in the bottom of the 8th. When Buck Martinez reached on a base hit and Al Cowens walked after 2 outs, it should have been Jim Wohlford’s turn to reach safely and then Brett’s opportunity to finish them off. Wohlford grounded 5-4 to force out Cowens and end the Royals’ 9th.

Then Chris Chambliss steps into the box. After a 5 minute garbage delay (it had begun to accumulate on the field rapidly) he takes the first pitch over the RF wall, walk-off HR, the game is over, the Yankees win the pennant and the field is instantly covered with people. Remember, ‘Mr Rulebook’ Graig Nettles sent Chambliss back out to the field to touch home base, as the umpires were waiting for him to do so in order to make the run OFFICIAL.

ROYALS 6 11 1
YANKESS 7 11 1

Brett was the true baseball stud in this game, hitting 2-4 with 2 runs scored, 2 RBIs and that beautiful HR off of Grant Jackson. John Mayberry also batted 2-4. Although it wasn’t their best game, it was great to see Dennis Leonard and Paul Splitorff in action. Quite a scary moment when Thurman Munson (batting 3-5) was nearly shelved by a foul ball that bounced back at him – not a great deal of body armour. Mickey Rivers was the Yankees’ batting leader (4-5, 3 runs scored); Chris Chambliss joined Munson at 3-5. Where the Royals pitching wasn’t particularly, Ed Figueroa allowed 4 runs, no BB and 3K in 7 innings…Billy Martin took him out at 97 pitches to give Jackson the ball (the second batter Jackson faced was Brett and his big ol’ HR).

The game was called on CBS by Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell, and Reggie Jackson.

Scoring Notes: I used a slightly different scoresheet for this one because I wanted to pay less attention to the pitch count and more attention to the novelty and nostalgia of the game. As you can see, I really couldn’t help myself – I started with the has marks and ‘hinomarus’ almost immediately. The averages on the left of each batter represent those batters’ AVG in the ALCS series at the start of the game; I also noted the pitchers’ W-L, ERA and K total for the season.

One interesting comment, the box score on and retrosheet both credit Chambliss with only (4) at bats. I’m thinking it just may be an error but here’s what I have:
• 1st inning: Flies out to LF (AB #1)
• 3rd inning: Reaches 1B on FC (G4-6, Thurman Munson force out at 2B) (AB #2)
• 5th inning: Doubles to RF (AB #3)
• 6th inning: Singles to CF (AB #4)
• 9th inning: GW Home Run (AB #5)

Still with me? The FC counts as an AB, so 3 hits, 5 AB. It’s got to be a typo or something on their part, but I believe I’m right and I’m not changing it.

This is also the first time I recorded opposing pitchers stats on the same page as the offensive batters, instead of keeping ‘the team’ on the same page (which is how I continue to do it to this day).

(I scored this game 5/23/2009)

5/22/09 Chicago Cubs 0, San Diego Padres 4

Petco Park, San Diego, CA

CHC 0 5 2
SD 4 7 1

I scored this game 10/24/10

Thursday, May 21, 2009

5/21/09 Chicago Cubs 1, St Louis Cardinals 3

Busch Stadium, St Louis, MO
Game 3 of 3

The debacle continues as the Cardinals (again) allow two pitchers to cancel each others efforts out and a minimal offense prevails over an abysmal one. The brooms were out, in Busch Stadium and in my inbox as Cardinal fans toasted our series collapse.

Adam Wainwright (8.2 IP, 5H, ER, BB, 7K) was as practically formidable as Chris Carpenter the night before, against Sean Marshall (5 IP, 4H, 2ER, BB, 3K) who would have fared well with run support, but didn’t stand a chance. Marshall is really better suited for the ‘pen.

CUBS 1 5 1
CARDS 3 6 0

The box looks very similar to Game 2. Nice.

Kosuke Fukudome (CHC CF) gets the only RBI, scoring Bobby Scales (CHC PH) in the 6th who was walked by Wainwright. The big bat was a 2B with 2 outs in the 5th by Geovany Soto (CHC C), who was then stranded by Ryan Freel (CHC 3B).

St Louis’ offense was minimal by my description despite solo HRs by Albert Pujols (STL 1B) and Brian Barden (STL 3B), both given up by Sean Marshall. Solo HRs are wasted firepower to me, but I concede: without these two it would have been a tie game, so I suppose it’s not fair to describe them as ‘waste.’ A run is a run.

The game was called on MLB Network by Victor Rojas, Joe Magrane, and Dan Plesac.

(I scored this game 7/5/09)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

5/17/09 Houston Astros 6, Chicago Cubs 5

Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL

The Cubs were doing well holding their own with DL troubles early in the season; when this game began, they were enjoying a 5-game winning streak, and were going for a 5-0 homestand. The Cubs made a bold statement early in the game, breaking the scoreless game with 2 runs in the 3rd, but the Astros’ offensive response in the following frame spelled defeat from that point forward. The Cubs offered a valiant rally in the 9th, but fell just short of the W.

ASTROS 6 7 0
CUBS 5 11 1

Ivan Rodriguez’ 300th career HR during the Astros’ explosive 4th inning was majestically thrown back out on the field by a serious Cub fan in the bleachers. Ron Santo sang the 7th inning stretch.

BLS = Broken Louisville Slugger (aka Broken Bat). There were 3 in the game, Alfonso Soriano (CHC LF), Kosuke Fukudome (CHC CF) and Lance Berkman (HOU 1B).

(I scored this game 8/7/09)

5/16/09 Cincinnati Reds 5, San Diego Padres 6

Petco Park, San Diego, CA

An epic 16-inning war of the nerves, while the Reds were at their 2009 peak and the Padres were nothing much beyond a threat in the NL. Baker's boys were (literally) beaten out of the park by the fightin' friars in a rousing and entertaining extra-inning Redleg massacre.

CIN 5 8 0
SD 6 10 1

This was certainly a classic match-up as far as early-inning ups and downs, followed by tense offense, decisive and precise pitching, and nerve-shattering close calls. You almost know as the pressure builds that the perfect way to end the game is with a walk-off...with each batter that steps into the box, you can almost feel the skin on the side of your head splitting with anticipation!

The Padres set if off in the very first inning, with a lead-off HR from Mr Tough Guy Brian Giles and a double by Eckstein. Reds pitcher Volquez was visibly shaken - nearly getting the hook early on (and understandably so). Volquez regained his composure, and held the Padres at 2 runs through his exit from the game due to back spasms in the 6th.

The Reds answered (quietly at first) during the middle innings, capping off with back-to-back 2 run innings in the 5th and 6th. Joey Votto, on his way to the batting championship, left the game in the bottom of the 4th due to dizziness (he would miss several games and eventually spend some time on the DL) leaving Jay Bruce and the mighty Laynce Nix as the Reds' only offensive hope...lefty or otherwise. Nix opened fire first with a scorching 2-run HR in the 5th; Bruce returned with a fierce 2-run HR in the 6th that gave the Reds a 5-2 lead.

Edgar Gonzalez' pinch-hit HR the following inning still didn't give the Padres the edge, and the Reds' 2-run lead stood strong. Arthur Rhodes enters the game efficiently for one batter only, gets the hook after offering a lead-off walk to Adrian Gonzalez (he and Edgar are brothers) after a 10-pitch AB. Enter David Weathers, who opens his outing with an 0-1 pitch double to Scott Hairston. What follows was a definitive difference of opinion between Weathers and "Ya-HEE" Umpire Jim Joyce over the strike zone - it would end with 3BB, 2 runs (1 earned, 1 charged to Rhodes), harsh words between Weathers and Joyce, and the game tied at 5-5 with one out left in the top of the 8th.

Once Volquez got his crap together, he did very did The Padres' starter Josh Geer. The Reds' bullpen (hailed by the local press and commentators as 'one of the best in the league, with nobody getting better') really forced this game to the tie break at 9 innings, and it was the relief appearances of Gregerson/Perdomo for the Padres, and Micah Owings for the Reds that held the game in suspended animation for 6 intense innings of 'stump the chump' baseball.

David Eckstein blew an earlier end to this game. With 2 outs in the 10th, bases loaded, facing the uneven Reds reliever Jared Burton, the 1-0 pitch careened towards Eckstein's upper torso, and the feisty friar jumped out of the way! If he would have been hit, he would have forced in a walk-off run that would have ended the game. Take one for the team!!!

The inevitable end dragged on and on, the 16-inning run broken by Nick Hundley's surprise 2-out solo HR. Surprise...ha ha, yeah, well, you new it was coming but when it did, it was a little bit hard to believe!!

The game was called on Fox Sports Ohio by Chris Welsh and Thom Brennaman...the two biggest Reds fans in the midwest. The Weathers Walks called by Joyce started a diatribe on 'what's wrong in the MLB when the umpires run the show' that got nearly unprofessional until Weathers' replacement Daniel Rey Herrera threw 4 pitches to get Giles called out on strikes...then, suddenly, the controversy was over. Weathers was just not on top of his work that night, don't blame it on the ump of he'll "Yaa-HEE" your backside straight through to the Eastern Seaboard.

I scored this game on 4/24/10, just after the Padres' 10-4 win at Cincinnati!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

5/11/09 Atlanta Braves 8, New York Mets 3

Citi Field, Flushing, NY

What was expected to be a raging Pitcher's Duel between Johan Santana and Derek Lowe (with Santana the undeniable ESPN favorite) was one of an unfortunate series of great performances by Santana with no offensive or relief pitching backup from the rest of the Mets. The game was tied when Santana left with Kelly Johnson on base and 1 out, the inning ended with 4 pitchers in the frame and ATL up by 4. The Mets never recovered.

ATL 8 15 0
NYM 3 9 3

I took exception to 2 rulings by the official scorer, but this is my scorecard so my rulings stand:

Throwing error by Castillo (NYM 2B) allowing Y. Escobar to reach in the 3rd inning was ruled a hit, I called it an error.

Passed ball by Santos (NYM C) allowing Kotchman to advance in the 9th inning was ruled a WP, the playback clearly shows Santos had his mitt in the right place, the ball tapped his mitt as it flew by, I called it a Passed Ball.

The game was called on ESPN by Dan Shulman, Steve Phillips, and Orel Hershiser. Orel is starting to annoy me as much as Joe Morgan - his diatribes on how pitchers are holding the ball and what they are trying to do add no value to the commentary. Once, that's fine; but the guy sits there with a ball wedged in his fingers and goes over tracing the lacing while I'm trying to watch the action. Hang it up.

I scored this game February 2010.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

5/10/09 Chicago Cubs 4, Milwaukee Brewers 2

Miller Park, Milwaukee, WI
Game 3 of 3

Mother’s Day! The Cubs set out to avoid a series sweep by the Brewers, and were modestly successful.

The Brewers threatened with a lead-off HR by Rickie Weeks (MIL 2B), but came back quickly with a 2-run HR by Soriano and an exciting grab for home by Fukudome, moving rapidly on a WP by Jeff Suppan (MIL P). Carlos Marmol (CHC P) had a very, very rough 8th inning in relief, but got out of it with a superb defensive grab by Mike Fontenot (CHC 3B). For the record, Marmol’s inning: H, 2BB, K, BK, WP. Ryan Freel’s first appearance as a Cub.

CUBS 4 9 0

Scoring Notes: All batters who started and/or played with a Pink Bat (Mother’s Day) are noted with an asterisk.

I had irreconcilable differences with the official scorer, but this is my happening, so my scorecard stands. I charged J.J. Hardy (MIL SS) with a throwing error on his horrendous delivery to Prince Fielder (MIL 1B) on Milton Bradley’s grounder to 2B. The play should have been a textbook 4-6-3 DP; Weeks tossed the ball softly to Hardy, covering 2nd, getting Fukudome out on the force. Hardy then threw the ball 3 feet away from Fielder, who missed the catch and the ball went hurtling towards the RF wall at 1B. The official scorer called this a FC, but Hardy HAS to get the Error! Bad throw! It’s my scorecard, so it stays.

(I scored this game 7/30/09)

Friday, May 8, 2009

5/8/09 Chicago Cubs 2, Milwaukee Brewers 3

Miller Park, Milwaukee, WI
Game 1 of 3

After taking the Brewers’ home opener series in April (2 out of 3) the Cubs return to Miller Park with the hopes of taking another series. Great expectations gave way to sheer horror early in the game.

Randy Wells’ first start for the Cubs was a joyful surprise – 5K and 2BB with 5 hits, no runs surrendered in 5 innings pitched. Wells was called up when Zambrano went on the DL a few days earlier.

The first innings came and went quietly, until the bottom of the 3rd. After a gem defensive play by Milton Bradley (CHC RF), Aramis Ramirez went down in pain, dislocating his shoulder while stopping a screaming grounder from Ryan Braun (MIL LF). First Z, now this – a much more debilitating injury.

The Cubs initiated the scoring with a Milton Bradley HR in the 5th, then Bobby Scales (CHC PH) reached on a beautiful triple (complete with a majestic airborne 3rd base dive) in the 6th, coming home on a SAC fly by Alfonso Soriano (CHC LF). The Brewers got on the board in the bottom of the 6th when J.J. Hardy (MIL SS) homered on a 2-2 pitch from Angel Guzman (CHC P).

With the Cubs in the lead at the bottom of the 8th, Aaron Heilman (CHC P) offered a lead-off walk to Corey Hart (MIL RF), followed by a HR by Braun.

CUBS 2 5 0

The game was called on WGN-TV by Len Kasper and Bob Brenly.

Scoring Notes: This was the first run on a ‘customized’ scorecard I modified from one DLed from – I still have a few modifications to make; I added the pitch-counter and outlined a few cells.

(I scored this game 7/29/09)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

5/3/09 Florida Marlins 4, Chicago Cubs 6

Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL

This afternoon game was preceded by the Retirement Ceremony of #31 (Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux).

The Marlins took an early step for the lead, as Baker (FLA C) scored on a single by Cantu (FLA 1B). Zambrano (CHC P) kept his cool though, holding the Marlins hitless and scoreless until the 5th inning.

The 5th was a big inning for the Cubs! Fontenot (CHC 3B) had a solo homer in the 4th, bringing the Cubs’ lead to 2-1. Top of the 5th started off on the wrong foot as Hermida (FLA LF) scored on Nolasco’s SAC hit. Bottom of the 5th started on the wrong hamstring as Zambrano, the lead-off batter, reached on a single but injured his left hamstring along the way and left the game, replaced by Rich Harden as a Pinch Runner. Soriano (CHC LF) lined out next, but Theriot (CHC SS) reached first on a successful bunt, then Fukudome reached on an error charged to Gload (FLA RF). Mr Derrek Lee (CHC 1B) approaches the plate, and on the second pitch from Ricky Nolasco (FLA P) delivers a mighty GRAND SALAMI to CF-RF. A tremendous offensive blast that the Marlins attempted to recover from (with a solo lead-off homer from John Baker (FLA C) in the 8th inning) but were unable to do so.

FLA 4 7 1
CUBS 6 9 2

Lee’s GS was his only hit and run in the game. Theriot (2-4, R) and Fontenot (2-4, R, HR, SB) batted well. Marlins catcher Baker (3-4, 3R, 2B, HR) was their primary source of offensive power. Hanley Ramirez (FLA SS) was walked in 3 consecutive appearances by 3 different Cubs pitchers.

Angel Guzman (CHC P) was charged with an error (missed catch) in the 6th that allowed Jorge Cantu (FLA 1B) to reach base, Aaron Miles (CHC 2B) was charged with the assist (throw).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

5/20/09 Chicago Cubs 1, St Louis Cardinals 2

Busch Stadium, St Louis, MO
Game 2 of 3

After Aramis Ramirez’ devastating shoulder injury prior to this game, this series (for me, at least) marked the beginning –but not the peak- of the Cubs’ offensive troubles in the 2009 season.

The series started off with a blow to the groin when Joel Pineiro comes from out of nowhere and throws a shut-out complete game. EEK. Now set up the second game of the series with one of the best pitchers in the game starting (who happens to be the Ace on your rivals’ pitching staff), returning from nearly an entire season on DL. Pineiro was unexpected, but I watched Chris Carpenter pitch a few innings in Spring Training and ‘knew fear’ without any disconnect.

Expectations were high for Carpenter, and those expectations ended up as reality. He went 5 IP, 3H, 2BB, 4K, facing 19 batters – no hits, no runs. Ryan Dempster held his ground admirably (7 IP, 6H, 2ER, 2BB, 3K) – with a stronger offense and Carpenter on the DL (ha ha) this would have been a stellar performance from Dempster…but it is what it is.

CUBS 1 5 1
CARDS 2 6 0

Piniella and LaRussa ‘squeeze ball’ gymnastics in the 6th and 7th innings were entertaining. Two intentional walks by the Cubs, first Pujols (2-3, R, BB) in the 6th, then Thurston (0-2, BB) in the 7th to load the bases. This last attempt failed to prevent Chris Duncan (STL LF) from scoring on a SAC fly by Khalil Greene (STL PH), giving St Louis the lead 2-0.

Offensive disappointment reached a gut-wrenching frenzy in the Cubs’ 9th, when Milton Bradley (CHC RF) scored on a base hit by Micah Hoffpauir (CHC 2B) with 2 outs. The mighty Reed Johnson stepped up to pinch hit, with the pitch count 1-2 plus 2 foul balls, Johnson struck out swinging to strand 2 Cubs (the tying and winning runs) to end the game in heartbreak. Cubs team LOB = 8.

(I scored this game 7/2/09)

5/1/09 Florida Marlins 6, Chicago Cubs 8

Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Game 2 of 4

Things seemed to be very, very lost through the first 5 innings as Rich Harden gave up 5 runs with the Cubs only scoring 2 against Graham Taylor. Derrek Lee , Reed Johnson, Mike Fontenot, and Geovany Soto served up stellar offensive performance, but the game, and the day, belonged to Ryan Theriot in a BIG way!

FLA 6 8 0
CHC 8 10 0

In the Cubs’ 6th inning, Hayden Penn took the mound for the Marlins. He led off by striking out Soto, then walked Aaron Miles. After Fontenot reached on a single, Penn was yanked in favor of Burke Badenhop (due to a twisted ankle) in one of the grandest ‘regret assignments’ I’ve seen all year. Badenhop gets Micah Hoffpauir to fly out to left; 2 outs. Badenhof walks Alfonso Soriano, the bases are now loaded. On the 0-1 pitch (called strike), Theriot blasts his very first career GRAND SALAMI into left field. Wrigley erupts, Badenhof fights off the urge to puke by striking out Milton Bradley to end the inning.

The Cubs drive in 2 more runs in the 7th, but Theriot’s historic feat really saved the game in enormous fashion.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...