Friday, May 18, 2012

5/17/12 Philadelphia Phillies 8, Chicago Cubs 7

Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Game 2 of 2

By the time the Cubs’ 2nd inning had ended, I was pretty sure the story of this game was going to be the inevitable exit of Chris Volstad from the Cubs rotation. 58 pitches, 3BB, 2K, 4R (all earned) and 15 batters faced speaks volumes to Volstad’s continuing slide as a starting pitcher. I think the writing on the wall speaks for itself, and I’m weary (at the moment) of belaboring the “failures” of men* in these posts, so instead I’m going to shake off the dust of another Cubs loss by celebrating the greatness of 2 position players in tonight’s game.

* this pun brought to you by the eve of the 32nd anniversary of the death of Ian Curtis. “Wise words and sympathy tell the story of our history / New strength gives a real touch, sense and reason make it all too much.”

I usually chuckle at catchers, this is mostly due to my unabashed “catcher bias” in my fantasy league, catchers are pudding, I don’t have to draft them so I never do. Furthermore, I like catchers more for what they do behind the plate and less for how they handle themselves with a bat…with the bat, that’s where the chuckling comes from. And the injuries. Tonight, amid an exciting game with an inspiring, yet anti-climactic Cubs comeback in the 9th inning, catchers from both dugouts rocked my baseball world, for sure.

So, these guys were NOT pudding tonight, not Carlos Ruiz and not Welington Castillo. 

It’s always fair to expect something special from “Chooch,” tonight’s game was no exception, but maybe a little more special than usual. Besides backing up Roy Halladay very well behind the plate (Halladay was 1-5 against the Cubs going into tonight’s game, with Volstad starting you could almost certainly pencil in 2-5 afterwards), Ruiz went ape in the batter’s box, 4-for-5 with 5 TB and 3 RBI, the last of which you can mark down as the Phillies’ game-winning RBI, if you are so inclined. Even I have a tendency to mutter “CHOOOOOOOOCH” after his plate appearances.

Sir Welington of Beef (sorry, he doesn’t really have a better nickname yet) pulled off his own kind of offensive special as well, 2-for-4 from the #7 hole in the lineup with a whopping 4 RBI (his 3-run double in the 9th being the crack that nearly burst the Cubs’ big chance at a last-minute WIN wide open), 6 TB with a solo lead-off HR in the 8th. With Clevenger on the DL and Soto soon heading there, I suddenly feel warm and fuzzy about his getting more playing time.

The Cubs fought hard, but were a run shy of extending the contest, Halladay improves his Cubs record to 2-5.

Starlin Castro = still sexy...a great defensive bare-handed pick-and-quick throw to put out Juan Pierre (yes, that's right, Juan Pierre) in the 1st inning was lighting kool, his solo HR in the 7th was also eye-popping.

And hey…wasn’t it great to see Casey Coleman again?


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