Polishing the Silva
Last year I traveled to Chicago over the Memorial Day weekend to see the Cubs and Cardinals do battle. My companion was a neighbor friend who also happens to be a Redbird fan.
I discovered too far out of town to turn back that I’d forgotten the tickets for the Friday afternoon game. Luckily we overcame that absentmindedness at the Wrigley Field ticket window when I was able to verify that I had indeed purchased the seats in question and duplicate tickets were issued. But that snafu on top of the clogged vehicular traffic in downtown Chicago and the really clogged human traffic on the CTA Red Line left us barely enough time to scramble into position down in the right field corner ahead of the first pitch.
Six batters, 16 pitches and six hits later the Cubs’ starter that day, Randy Wells, was already finished and the visitors were well on their way to an easy win. I’m not sure I’d even caught my breath by the time the game was effectively over.
The next day we got to the ballpark early and were able to score club boxes behind the St. Louis dugout. This time the Cub starter was Carlos Silva and he did a little better than Wells had managed the day before. He threw exactly 100 pitches in his seven scoreless innings and gave up only two harmless hits. He didn’t walk anyone and fanned 11. I also recall the Cubs’ other Carlos coming in from the bullpen for the second straight day and the two triples legged out by Mike Fontenot as the Cubs evened the series.
In the rubber game on Sunday Albert Pujols belted a hat trick of homers and our rivals coasted again. My only consolation was that we were listening from the road on the car radio, much to the chagrin of my driver. Ryan Dempster labored through 125 pitches in 6+ innings and broke the sweat that neither Wells nor Silva had.
That weekend was rock bottom for Wells and as good as it got for Silva. They have since passed each other headed in opposite directions. Meanwhile the workmanlike Dempster has ascended through attrition to staff ace and the Cubs have replaced one beefy, erratic Carlos with another. I hope the one named Zambrano is anywhere near as good in 2011 as the one named Silva was that day last year.
And if he can do it against the Cardinals, so much the better.