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)