Game Center Play-by-Play Box Score Game Chart Photos
W - Alfonseca (2-1)
L - Howry (0-3), Humanity
Important things to take from this game:
1. Guzman's return. Other than the second inning, Guzman basically pitched well. He only walked one, struck out six, and had a few dominating innings. Still, he needs to work quite a bit on his command.
2. Soriano's running: On a play at the plate where he was tagged out, Soriano either lolligagged around the bases (if you believe Tim McCarver and Pat Hughes) or was limping a bit, perhaps from a tweaked hamstring (if you believe most of Parachat). The trainer came to check with Soriano in the dugout after he was called out at home, and Soriano also seemed to be going half speed in the OF on a Nunez triple, a few innings later. Stay tuned.
3. The Cubs Comeback. Down 5-1 and looking totally out of it, the Cubs rallied in the top of the 7th, led by a 3-run, pinch-hit HR by Matt Murton and super-clutch go-ahead double by Jacque Jones.
4. The weather. With the Cubs rallying and Geoff Geary struggling, the rain came down in buckets, delaying the game. The Cubs continued their rally after the return, but the rain then came down again in the ninth, when the Cubs again were trying to mount a rally.
5. The "relief" corps: Eyre couldn't strand the runner he inherited from Guzman. In the bottom of the seventh Ohman got the first two outs, before giving up hits to Rowand and Utley. Howry couldn't get Burrell or the Unstoppable Greg Dobbs out, or noted slugger Carlos Ruiz. With two outs, the relievers let in six runs. That made for a seventh inning where each team scored six runs. Game over.
Below is my more extensive run-down, written as the game progressed.
- Burrell continued his hot hitting with a double in the second inning, advanced to third on a single to center (a runner held against the vaunted throwing arm of Jones!) and scored on a ground out to second.
- Guzman had further trouble in the inning, giving up a double to Carlos Ruiz, but with the runner, Nunez, thrown out at home on a nice relay throw from Jones to DeRosa to Barret. (An assist for Jones!) Freddy Garcia followed it up with a shot off the right field wall, scoring Ruiz.
- Impressively, Guzman bounced back to get Rowand with a pop-out, Utley and Burrell on strikeouts, in the following inning. It looks like he still has the stuff to dominate ML hitters, but his ability to locate both the fastball and curve came and went from inning to inning, or even batter to batter. But over the course of the rest of his outing, Guzman managed to pitch quite well. FOX had Guzman at 15 first-pitch strikes through 18 batters. Other than a leadoff sixth inning HR to Utley, he pitched well the rest of the way. He left with 5.1 IP, a BB and 6 K, and a runner on second, which Eyre promptly let score on a triple by Nunez. He then scored on an excellent squeeze play.
- Cubs had a good scoring opportunity in the 3rd, with Izturis singling and advancing to second on a wild pitch, before Guzman struck out. Soriano wound up taking the base on balls, and Floyd popped out to shortstop, to end the threat.
- The Cubs didn't have many scoring opportunities, the next one didn't occur until the sixth. With Soriano on second, Lee singled to center. Soriano ran with the crack of the bat, but seemed to be hobbling as he rounded third. (McCarver claimed it was lack of hustle, fwiw. Pat Hughes also mentioned it.) Victorino gunned him down at the plate for the second out, with Lee advancing on the throw. Happily, at least Ramirez then knocked in Lee with a single. Barrett then singled, and a wild pitch advanced the runners to 2nd and 3rd.
- With two outs and runners at 2nd and 3rd, down by 1, Jacque Jones then had one of the defining ABs in the game. To cut to the chase: he struck out. I know there are a lot of Jones haters out there, and sadly, they'll get to spew venom at him for a few more days.
- The other great scoring opportunity came in teh 7th. DeRosa walked, Izturis doubled on a ball that glanced off of Victorino's glove, just out of reach. With runners at 2nd and 3rd and no outs, Murton pinch-hit.
- And Murton hit a 3-run HR. Granted, it was probably wind-aided, but we'll take it! 5-4 game. Singles by Soriano, Lee and Ramirez tied up the game at 5, with one out in the 7th, when the game was delayed due to rain. Upon return, the Six-finger Slinger entered to pitch. He promptly gives up a go-ahead double to Jones! Eat that, Jones-haters.
- Utley's double to right in the disasterous bottom of the seventh featured Murton struggling with the ball in the RF corner, and then a throw to no one in the middle of the infield. Ultimately, it pales in comparison to his pinch-hit HR or to the bullpen's implosion, but it also wasn't encouraging.
- In other news, Pat Burrell is very, very slow.
- There have been a ton of plays at the plate today. The most dramatic being Victorino trying to score on Utley's double in the 8th. This time, Murton makes a fine relay throw, and Barrett blocks the plate well. Victorino would have been safe had he slid, but he just ran right in to Barrett. Barrett held on to the ball, survived a jarring colision, and Victorino was out. Barrett gave Victorino a friendly pat on the helmet, afterwards. No fighting.
Now, Let's see how the game played in Parachat:
a discussion about Nacho Nazis and Frying Hawaiians, triple negatives, big words, small TVs, and things to do to your TV in protest of the FOX broadcasters. Also, admiration for the wicked curve Guzman threw to Utley for called strike 3, ending the inning.
Are all fat people jolly? Jewish Mexicans, Beer, Pat Burrell's sex appeal, why Barrett is the source of all that's wrong in the world.
What makes an inch "real"? What's that look on Charlie Manuel's face?
Team OBP, Bizarro Fantasy Leagues, Natural Cycles
If the Chicago Cubs were a fantasy team, they'd be renamed the _______, who should start at SS/trading for Rollins, Jack Cust,
Foreign/Domestic Cars, religious dogma, the 2000 recount, What The Hell Is McCarver Talking About? Marion Jones or Star Jones as your pinch-hitter. "Lou has to pull a Cox and yank Jones, right now." Mike Quade and the guy from Midnight Oil's dad: separated at birth?
Finding the perfect match for Chad, Rain Delay Theatre, writing on people who are passed out. "Lou looks like he saw a UFO piloted by a unicorn."
Why NASCAR sucks, as well as its fans. Mamograms. MadTV.
Fire Yosh, take away the Cubs' fabric softener, and put pepper juice in their jock straps. Starting up a J J chant.