GAME 47 RECAP
So I decided that I'd keep a chronology of today's game, from start to finish. Little did I know that it would be a chronology of one of those games that is emblematic of what it means to be a Cubs fan, or to play Cubs-style baseball.
At least it was an entertaining loss, which is more than what can be said of the other Cubs losses, of late.
The rest is below the fold.
- Catch the final line of the Anthem. Sounds like the woman can't sing too well. Is this prophetic of things to come?
- a gorgeous day to play baseball, an unfortunate day to be stuck inside watching a game. I am a servant to you, the loyal reader.
- Z has walked the bases loaded. He should be out of the inning via picking off Andruw Jones at 2nd, but the Ump misses the call.
- Jeff Francoeur, he of the 2 walks for the season, he of the Dusty Baker School of Hitting, is the fourth walk of the inning, driving in a run.
- Ryan Langerhans should be the fifth walk of the inning, but the ump gives a very, very generous called strike 2, leading to the strikeout. Miraculously, the Cubs will bat only down one run. Z has thrown 37 pitches.
- Pierre shows bunt on the third pitch
- Pierre hits a ball 300 feet! Foul. Pops out softly to third to end the AB
- Neifi flies out on the first Pitch. Better than prolonging the unavoidable embarassment, I guess.
ñ A six pitch inning for Z.
ñ Did Kasper just say ìRamirez hustling towards second.î? HUSTLING?
ñ of course, Aramisís double brings Bynum up to hit, with 2 outs and RISP. Hits it back to Hudson, for a feeble out number three. The soft cries of the endangered Red-Headed Outfielder can be heard, if you listen closely.
ñ And a ten-pitch inning for Z. His stuff looked better-than-usual in the first, just with zero command of itÖ. Maybe heíll cruise from here?
ñ Pierre hits one ìsharply,î it rolls all the way out to shallow center.
ñ Neifi hits a weak liner, right to LaRoche. Neifi and Bynum have the only 2 ABs with runners on base, so far, and neither has hit the ball further than 90 ft.
ñ yet another 1-2-3 for Z. He threw more pitches in the 1st than he has in the next three innings, combined.
ñ and with one on and no out, our ìcleanupî hitter, Barrett, tries to bunt for a hit. This is pathetic beyond the dumb-is-fun threshold.
- Well executed hit-and-run, as Barrett hits a feeble grounder to just where Giles had been, before he ran to cover second. 1st and 2nd, no out, Jones up, whoís hit Hudson well.
- And there you have it. Jones laces one to the RF wall for a double. Walker had gone to 2nd to tag up, while Barrett was running on the play, and almost results in having two runners in the same place at onceÖ. But weíll take it, tie-game.
ñ Ramirez ground ball scores Barrett, Jones to third. 2-1 Cubs!!
ñ Bynum comes up with another RISP ñ this time, third base with one out. Called third strike. Itís not Bynumís fault that he canít hit, really. This is all on Hendry needing him on the 25 man roster, and Baker feeling compelled to start him. Inning ends shortly thereafter.
- Fourth inning in a row that Z sets them down in order, this time striking out the side. This lead might just be enough to win with.
ñ Neifi with the two-pitch, pop-up to shortstop At Bat.
ñ Z walks Chipper, his fifth walk of a game. At the risk of almost jinxing him, I notice that he has not let a runner on base by any other means. He may have to leave the game due to pitch-count, without any Brave havingÖ umÖ reached base by something other than a walk. (That didnít Jinx him, did it?)
ñ Bynum, who positions himself a few feet from the warning track when he plays OF, is right there for a laser shot off the bat of Andruw Jones. Hooray for being uncomfortable at going back on fly balls!
ñ Walk number 6 to LaRoche, but Z gets out of it. Six innings, and no Brave has yet to reach base by means other than walk.
ñ Bynum up for the third time, again with a man on base ñ this time, just first base.
ñ Bynum keeps his spot on the roster for the rest of the year, hitting a two-run shot to right, no doubt about it. The Red Headed Outfielderís status has just gone from Endangered to No Longer Found in Wild. Heíll just be passed around from Zoo to Zoo until he and his kind have either disappeared from the earth, or have learned how to successfully reproduce and have their children released back into the wild. 4-1 Cubs.
ñ Langerhans is about to walk on a borderline 3-2 pitch, when a belated appeal to third base gives Z a check-swing strikeout to start the inning.
ñ Play Of The Game? ñ slow-footed Todd Pratt smashes a one-hopper down the third-base line. Ramirez full-out dives to reach it on a high hop, gets up, briefly double-clutches to find the grip, and throws a rocket to Walker, who picks it cleanly on the long-hop. Prattís out at first. Carlos still has not allowed a Brave to advance by means other than a walk.
ñ Betemit hits a towering fly ball, right to the right-field vines. Jones loses the ball in the Sun, and it bounces off his glove. The play is called a hit, quite surprisingly given the home-town scorekeeper. The jinx is off, and I can say that Carlos loses his no-hitter
ñ And Giles hits a clean bloop-double to score the run, and gives the Braves their first legitimate hit. 4-2. Cubs. Nuts.
ñ and Team MVP Howry gets us out of the 7th with no further damage.
- Santo does the stretch: ìOk, we know the Cubs are having a tough time of it, but letís show them how much we love them,î he exhorts us, before beginning.
ñ Pierre leads off an inning for the third time. Another feebly hit ball, which almost finds grass before Langerhans makes a diving catch. Replay suggests it was a trap.
ñ Neifi singles, and Barrett doubles him home, 5-2. Andruw Jones seems to have both misjudged the ball, and loafed after it, as the ball drops softly to the ground just in front of the warning track.
ñ Howry gives up consecutive base-hits to start the Eighth, Eyre comes in with runners at the corners and nobody out.
ñ Cedeno makes a fine diving catch on a soft liner by Brian Jordan, saving a run, for the moment.
- Francoeur hits a sharp bouncer over Eyreís head, who leaps up to grab it. He throws wildly to second, but Neifi leaps and reaches backward to spear it, gets the force at second, and almost turns the double play. The runner on third scores, 5-3, but the play avoids more trouble, as Matt Diaz strikes out. Nice work by Eyre.
ñ Aunt calls, and I miss the bottom of the Eighth.
ñ Aunt hangs up, I turn to TV and see that Dempsterís given up consecutive singles to start the ninth, putting the tying runs on first and second. Whatís happening to Dempster???
ñ One of those wild pitches where the pitch was wild, but Barrett doesnít shift over to try to block it, just goes for the backhand. Misses, and the tying runs advance to second and third. A walk to Giles loads the bases, no outs.
ñ I really have to pee, but canít stand the thought of missing the latest Cubs implosion. 3-2 count on Renteria, bases loaded no outs.
ñ Renteria walks, to score another run. 5-4. Hear the sound of a slow, steady drip of water? Thatís not Water Torture, itís the drizzle before the flood. Chipperís up.
ñ Dempster Kís Chipper on a 3-2 slider, with a weak swing by Chipper. Dodged Bullet No. 1, with Bullet No. 2, Andruw, coming to bat.
ñ Andruw Jones has very stylish sunglasses.
4:15 ñ Cub-like. Andruw Jones hits another towering fly ball to the wall in right. Jacques Jones manages to catch this one, and the runner on third tags to tie the game. Jacques manages to throw the ball all the way in to Neifi, but Neifi drops the ball, while Marcus Giles, running all the way from second base, becomes the second man to score on the sacrifice fly. Neifi is charged with two errors, as his throw to home also sailed wide, letting Renteria, who started on first, advance to third. 6-5, Braves.
I should have gone to pee, and just missed this.
ñ the last out of the inning brings a chorus of boos raining down upon the Cubs.
ñ and Neifi leads off the inning, to continuing boos. Kenny Ray will try to close. Neifi strikes out, to another round of boos.
- And the game ends not with a bang, but a whimper.