Game 3 of 4
Today, my wife and I were fortunate enough to be the guests of friends of ours who have great seats in Section 130 a few times a year. They offered for us to join them for today's game and I was hard pressed to refuse...not only would it be the first (and probably only) chance for me to attend an MLB game this season, but the CUBS are in town...and I can't say NO to that!
I also can't say NO to seeing Brett Jackson "in Action" again, for the first time as a CUB since his call-up to the big leagues on August 5th. You may or may not recall the beginning of my Brett Jackson man-crush, when I saw him with the Tennessee Smokies during the 2010 BIL Tour, where he graciously signed my scoresheet.
@RandallJSanders, and used with permission!
On the short drive to Cincinnati, I warned my wife (as well as our hosts) that to expect something great from the Cubs today would be an expectation far too great. I briefly touched on the painful, yet promising, benchmark of the Cubs' 2012 season and also pointed out that the Reds were getting hotter as the season went on. Sometimes, I really don't mind being wrong.
This evening game turned out to be the second of an unscheduled day/night doubleheader, with the day game being a makeup of a postponed game earlier in the season. The Cubs fell hard in that contest, losing to the Reds 5-3 as Todd Frazier continued his campaign for NL Rookie of the Year with 2 RBI and his 17th HR. Johnny Cueto bested Jeff Samardzija, cruising through 8 innings and 2ER. On the mound tonight is Brooks Raley, who has yet to earn his first MLB win, against Todd Redmond.
Hold on...Todd Redmond? Yes, he was just traded to the Reds for Paul Janish only a few weeks ago, has pitched reasonably well in Louisville, and was called up this afternoon to make this start due to the 26-man roster rule for make-up doubleheader games. The good news: Redmond's infamous invisi-ball did make an appearance (and was documented by FanGraphs in this article, using information from today's game). The bad news: well, far be it from me to accuse the Reds of throwing Todd Redmond under the bus by having him start against Brooks Raley and the whimpering 2012 Cubs, but yeah...that just happened.
Redmond seemed to labor from the very beginning, throwing 27 pitches in the first inning and facing 6 batters (two of whom he walked). His second inning wasn't much better, adding 23 pitches to his count, facing 6 batters again, this time opening up with a spectacular solo HR by my BFF Brett Jackson to put the Cubs on the board first. Redmond's struggles continued, allowing 6 hits, 4 runs (3 ER), walking 5 and striking out 2 (one swinging) by the time he was lifted in favor of Alfredo Simon in the 4th inning, throwing 91 pitches total (52 for strikes).
The Cubs took a significant lead by the middle of the 6th, 8 runs to the Reds' 2, but Raley's exit and Manuel Corpas' relief found the Cubs giving the Reds every chance to strike back, and the score was 8-4 at the end of the 6th, then 8-6 after a Ryan Ludwick 2-run HR (his second HR of the game) in the 7th. Miguel Cairo's 2-out pinch-hit RBI triple in the 8th added another run for the Reds (and was this close to giving some temporary justification to the whole "clutch hitter" manifesto) but in the top of the 9th, with 2 outs, David DeJesus brought forth his 5th HR of the season to add a late-inning insurance run (also clutch, he he) and pad the Cubs' lead by 2.
I was wrong here, again, when DeJesus approached the plate, worked a full 3-2 count, and my wife proclaimed "OK, he's got a HR comin' right here" and I laughed sarcastically and said, "No, honey...not David DeJesus..." --CRACKKKK-- "...OK, David DeJesus!" You can't predict baseball.
We rode the MarmolCoaster as Cubs fans often do in the bottom of the 9th, and the Cubs prevailed...no Tums were required!
More good news today: Starlin Castro, who has been slumping recently, went 3-for-5 with 2 RBIs and a marvelous deep right field triple in the 6th. More bad news today: after his 2nd inning lead-off HR, Brett Jackson struck out three times, once swinging.
I had a bad day with the camera, not sure why, but I did manage to squeeze out a few interesting shots:
Here's Starlin Castro nailing a single in the 1st inning, it's a little blurry but the "bat action" is awesome.
The bases are loaded with CUBS in the first inning, Redmond is pitching to Steve Clevenger. Steve Clevenger, you're on the Jumbotron, bro!
Brooks Raley on the mound...yeah!!
Another blurry, yet significant, shot...Brett Jackson CRUSHES in the 2nd inning.
Todd Frazier in the house...still with his particular batting stance, only his thighs are pressed MUCH tighter in the process...whatever, it's totally working for him.
SCOREKEEPER'S NOTE: Anthony Rizzo's lead-off single in the 6th was ruled an error by Cincinnati's Official Scorer. This was a very hard hit groundball that caught Frazier with his back nearly turned to first base, several feet away from the bag; Frazier attempted to back-hand the ball with his glove, but it snapped out quickly and allowed Rizzo to reach first safely. Even if Frazier had snared the ball, he would have had no play at the bag, period. My party looked at me after the play and asked "hit or error?" and my immediate response was "hit...he couldn't have made it at all." The gentleman sitting next to me (gentleman is something I call someone who is older than I am, hrm) agreed with me, both of us were profoundly shocked when the play was ruled as an error. Per my usual practice, I can be convinced of a hit or an error, one way or another, but if I maintain my stance after consideration, my ruling stands on my scoresheet...because it's mine and I can do that if I like.
My favorite souvenir from the game, this enormously #kVlt ticket stub featuring Jay Bruce apparently experiencing some sort of arcane flatulence...
Official Program (the only scorecard you can get is inside this monstrosity) featuring Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban MISSile Crisis