Great American Ball park, Cincinnati, OH
(Game 3 of 3)
The rubber match of this infamous series modestly showcased the talents of the lad Mike Leake of Cincinnati, he with enough skill to skip the Minor Leagues entirely, pitted ferociously against his ally, the mature and experienced Chicago Cubs Ace Ryan Dempster.
OK, not with as much ferocity as in velocity.
CHC 3 5 1
CIN 5 6 0
Leake pretty damn near no-hit the Cubs on this day, in one of the better pitching performances yet seen this season. He did make it look fairly easy in making the Cubs look fairly incompetent at the offense, and even when trouble reared its head for him in the 7th (with 2 outs already recorded...and Marlon Byrd behind in the count...he was that close to shutting us out for 7 innings) his composure was as solid as tempered steel. It was Byrd's double with 2 outs that started a spark the Cubs thought they could fan into flames; Aramis Ramirez makes it on base with a crack single to 3rd, then with Colvin at bat a wild pitch scores Byrd and moves Ramirez into scoring position.
As if to respond to the rookie theme of this series...well, at least of the first and third games...Colvin crushes a tater to right field and just like that the Cubs have a one-run lead over the Reds. Leake gets Starlin Castro to ground out to short, ending the top of the 7th with 6 strikeouts and 1 walk. The Reds respond in the bottom of the 7th with a 3-run homer from Votto that pretty much underlined the question of the day: "why, with 2 on and 2 out, and with 0-3 Scott Rolen on deck, why do you pitch to Joey Votto?"
In case you're wondering, the answer really is: you do NOT pitch to Joey Votto in this scenario. NO. I'm using Joe Posnanski italics to emphasize this point.
Yes, Dempster strikes out 7, yet walks 3 and allows 5 ER and gets an L besides. he throws 114 pitches in 7, Leake throws 90. He just made it look so damn easy, that's all.
Best play of the game was the shocking "Fake Bunt/Stolen Base" play executed by Drew Stubbs at the plate and a very elated Scott Rolen literally walking to third as Stubbs' "I'm going to bunt" scquare draws the infield towards the bunt zone and Stubbs takes Demptser's strike with his eyeballs.
As it was Mother's Day, players who used pink bats are noted as such for each at bat.
I scored this game on 2/28/11.