Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Game 1 of 4
Yes…the face of a kid, the bat of a BADASS….
Great performances in baseball don’t grow on trees, and while it was difficult last year for some of us to see the forest of potential that is Starlin Castro, here’s yet another gem in this idyllically dismal Cubs season where Castro does something that ordinarily, we would expect, but at the same time are overjoyed to see: a young Cub starting to really show his stuff, and in the realm of clutch hitting, yet…
Oh, the Brewers…they of the stolid NL Central runaway hero projection for 2011. I’m still not discounting the Cardinals and their surprise stock in the race, but for now, this year’s Brewers are this year’s Brewers and while the Cubs are mired in the “oh geez we are x games under 500” swamp of self-pity, the Brewers are in town for a brutal 4-game series for which the Cubs have little chance for hope of a sweep, let alone a series win, while they’ve been unable to do so for even bad teams in the division as well as in the league.
The pitching matchup pretty much sealed this deep, regretful sigh of despair as potential-ace-turned-liability Randy Wells faces last year’s surprise-turned-ace Yovani Gallardo.
As the events unfold, Wells serves the basis for Milwaukee’s early lead and by the time he exits at the end of the 7th inning, Gallardo has allowed only one run (earned) and has seen Wells leave in the 6th with the Brewers ahead of the Cubs 3-1. Brewers reliever Marco Estrada comes in and you can almost hear yourself saying: “now is the time for us to capitalize on the bullpen entering the game.” At least I heard myself saying that, as I do every time a Cubs starter leaves the game behind in the score. The opposing starting pitcher can’t be stopped, let’s key into some timely hitting and show these guys ‘what for’…and today, I got my wish!
And better yet…extra innings!! But not for long…the Cubs 10th starts with the game tied at 4 and a leadoff Tony Campana single-turned-double due to his intense speed; Fukudome’s timely sac bunt moves Campana to 3rd. Once he’s here, all the Cubs need is another timely base hit and the game is over.
Castro does it, Campana crosses home plate in seconds, and a walk-off single gives the Cubs the first win in the 4-game series. Go CUBS.