I-Cubs (Dar)Win Again!
Crafty Chris Rusin worked seven strong innings under the weather, you might say, in pitching the Iowa Cubs to their second straight win over the Albuquerque Isotopes this afternoon at Principal Park. He wasn't sick. He just kept the ball down (to the tune of 11 ground outs) and out of the southerly jet stream blowing toward the fences as the I-Cubs notched consecutive W's for the first time in 2013.
I went to the home opener Friday night strictly to preserve a tradition. The stiff wind that evening was out of the north and made the chilly temps in the high 30's insufferable for long. I lasted only the first third of the game. Today I stayed for 2/3 as I stretch myself with an eye on shorts and t-shirt game conditions.
Half of the infield today was manned by rehabbers. As a gold-gloved I-Cub alum Darwin Barney rated what ovation the smallish crowd today could muster when he came to the plate in the bottom of the 1st. He was followed by Ian Stewart hitting in the 3-hole. When Stewart was announced you could have heard a peanut shell drop.
Barney walked on four straight pitches three AB's in a row before striking out in his fourth trip. All told he saw 17 pitches without putting any in play. He also stole a base. Stewart fanned twice, once looking; once swinging, before realizing his bat was useless and drawing a four-pitch walk of his own with the bases loaded in the 4th to knot the score at one. Brad Nelson followed with a two-run single that was the game's deciding blow.
The other thing of note about the game, other than the mausoleum vibe that persisted throughout, was that it took until the game's 22nd batter with two out in the top of the 3rd before a ball was fouled out of play. Don't ask me why I happened to notice that. There's always something that you just don't see everyday. Friday night it was a wind-blown 65 foot double by I forget who that failed to score a runner from 2nd because it came with only one out. The high pop looked destined for the third baseman's glove off the bat but landed safely and untouched right behind the pitcher's mound. Give whoever hit it credit for hustling.