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Game 55: Cubs 10 – Rockies 9

Jun
19

Cubs 34-21
Rockies 20-35

POTG: CF Jim Edmonds (HR, 2B, 3 H, 2 R, 3 RBI)

Runner Up: 1B D Lee (2 H, R), C Henry Blanco (2 H, HR, R, RBI), 1B Hoff Power (2 H, 2 R, 2B), RF Fukudome (HR, 2 H, 2 R, RBI, BB), 3B DeRsoa (HR, SF, 3 RBI)

I have no problem admitting I gave up on this game. It was a Friday, I had things to catch up on, and it looked pretty much over at 9-1. The team gave up too – Derrek got pulled, Soto got pulled, Ram was never in the lineup. The guys in the lineup, especially the guys who came in, they didn’t give up.

There’s a story here that only works a few weeks out, but it’s seemed pretty likely at the time. Jim Edmonds dropped a fly ball in the 3rd. It was an error, a pretty clear one, and gave the Rockies one more out in the inning which turned the game from a somewhat close 4-0 to a 7-0 disaster. The vultures were already circling Edmonds in the days before. If the Cubs did not come in this game, with Edmonds playing a big part in it, then he’s probably cut by the end of the weekend and his Cubs stint is only remembered as a weird misstep to end his career. I was willing to give up on this game because I was content with how many wins the team already, but guys like Edmonds, Blanco (backup catchers are replaceable) and DeRosa (a million trade rumors) can’t ever really be content with taking an at bat off, and that was all the difference here.

DeRosa’s home run has to be one of the top 5 moments of the season. Although I wouldn’t mind even better moments pushing it down and making me wrong.

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Game 54: Cubs 8 – Rockies 4

Jun
19

Dodgers 20-34
Cubs 33-21

POTG: SS The Riot (2 H, 2 R, 2 BB)
Runner Up: LF Soriano (2 H, 2 RBI, R), RF Fukudome (2B, BB, R), 2B DeRosa (BB, H), CF Reed Johnson (2 H, SB, SH, R, RBI)

So, I went in Wrigley around 30 minutes before it got going. I’ve found this year that 7pm start game I go to requires leaving at 3pm and getting home around midnight, and this was no different. It definitely effects how you feel after the game when it expands into an eight hour journey. At least I was able to talk the people I was with into going to a place to eat dinner (though I recall not really liking whatever I had a Goose Island), instead of standing around outside the park waiting for the person who actually had the tickets.

We finally go in, and I husteled to find an empty line without really thinking about how it doesn’t really matter, because I’ve got to wait for the person going thru bag inspection. The upside is even though I’ve got more time to kill before I can finally sit down, it gives me plenty of time to root around in my jacket for loose change so I can play the Scratch and Win game. Apparently my plan of dumping all my change into the big change jar as I come in to the house is failing, because I found enough for myself and for everyone I was with. Not that it helps them so much – there’s absurdly low ratio of winning these things, making them almost Giveaway Days without having to actually give much away.

The bag line is slow. I absent mindly scratch my card, and clear off a big gap across the middle. “You are” .

I stared at it a second, knowing that meant something but not sure what. Realization crept in – it’s not going to say “You Are A Loser”, I have people for that. I sped scratched the rest off and mostly ditched the people I was with to run to the right field redemption spot ASAP.

You have to understand, autographs mean nothing to me. You get to a certain point in life, and you realize that signing your name to something ain’t that big of a deal as many times as you do it a day, probably less so if you’re being paid to do it. What people seem to want, what I want anyway, are moments with these people, tiny bits of these people to know them. You can’t find that in a dashed off autograph – that’s only ink.

But this is different – this is Z!!!! If you’ve put up with these gamelogs for the last couple of years, you know this is an exception.

The Exciting Procedure Of Winning An Autographed Ball!
Guy 1: takes your ticket, reads off the number
Guy 2: writes your number down on his log
Guy 3: cross off your number on his log
Guy 3: punches a hole in your card
Guy 2: hands you a bag and congratulates you
lots of people: stand around in the most excited line ever

As luck would have it, the prize give away was in right field and my seats were in extreme left field. I held onto that bag tighter than a soccer mom holds onto her purse in Compton.

The ball comes already in a case, which is nice and surely cuts down on the temptation of throwing it on/at the field. (Though it’d hurt more in the case.) All I know is that after I showed people – and never let them hold it farther away than I could grab back – I stuck in my hoodie pocket for the rest of my night and never let it out of my sight. I was crazy excited to win this.

Our seats were close to where Alou had a fit, and either I can talk about that foor a billion paragraphs or none. Let’s go none.

I probably should mention the game at some point, but it was mostly another eh Jason Marquis game. He wasn’t horrible, but he left in tons of trouble. Cotts was nice enough to let it in and remind all of us why he hadn’t been up in a long time, but Michael Wuertz did one of his usual deals where he gets the big out of a jam and no one remembers because he sticks around long enough to blow it later.)

It was as much the Rockies pitchers self destructing as the Cubs hitting from there. The errors in both the 7th and the 8th opened the flood gates – the 7th inning one is the biggest WPA play of the game (which gives credit to Lee for being the batter, which is one of my major problems with WPA.) The Rockies were obviously a wounded team, hurting mentally from the loss of their top guys as much as they psychically miss them. Again, no big hits, but enough of the smaller ones to make this one work.

Marmol dominating was awesome. Wood coming in to strikeout the side, around a meaningless single, was pretty fun to watch too. I was close enough to the bullpen to see Leiber actually start to warm up in the 8th once the game got out of a save situation, but either Jon didn’t get warm quickly enough or Lou decided he might as well use Kerry after getting him warm. I’m fine with that in this sort of situation, where it seems like it’s going to be a vital closing situation and changes too face to adjust, but it was odd how Leiber warming was never mentioned in the post game – no one asked if he wasn’t ready, they just went with Lou telling them Kerry was ready.

Hoffpauir would sure be playing 140 games a year in a DH league.

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Game 53: Cubs 2 – Dodgers 1

Jun
19

Dodgers 26-26
Cubs 32-21

POTG: SP Z!! (8 IP, 6H, ER, 4 BB, 3 K, QS)
Runner Up: LF Soriano (2 H, RBI), RF Fukudome (2 H), PH Fontenot (2B, R)

3 straight one run performances by the pitching staff didn’t really get as much play as I think it should’ve. Again, the Dodgers aren’t great, but that sort of consistent domiance is something remarkable.

It’s tough to write about this game three weeks later while pretending I’m not writing about it three weeks later. Z! threw 130 very effective pitches, and I totally supported leaving him in at the time. He did take some hits in the inning, but they were all weak shots – it wasn’t like he was knocked around (they were all weak singles, a couple which should’ve been fielded) and he didn’t seem to be pitching tired. Plus, Carlos’ super endurance is one of the things that makes Calros the extraordinarly pitcher he is – if you’re shying away from using that, you’re taking away some of his value.

That said, if it turns out an MRI shows something wrong with his shoulder, no one ever pitches 120 pitches again. EVER.

Despite Carlo’s peformance, the Cubs don’t pull it out unless they sneak out that run int he 9th. This was not Takashi Saito at his best, and the Cubs realized it and took advantage of it. Walk, Lee forcing a long at bat, walk, Fukudome getting a big hit and Soto getting just enough of it to tie it up. Once the Cubs got that run, it seemed certain the Cubs were going to win that game. It’s not that they deserved it more, but this is one of those seasons where they’re keep ending being the 22% chance that pulls out the win instead of the 78% that doesn’t.

Game 52: Cubs 3 – Dodgers 1

Jun
19

Dodgers 26-25
Cubs 31-21

POTG: SP Sean Gallagher (7 IP, 4 H, R, 2 BB, 3 K)
Runner Up: 3B A Ram (2 H, RBI), RF Fukudome (2 H, 2B, R, RBI), C Soto (2 H, 2B)

Having the same score makes this process all that much quicker.

This was the start that moved Gallagher from “fill-in starter” to “in the rotation till he screwed it up.” The Dodgers lineup doesn’t impress me in person, so I can’t go too crazy about this performance as meaning Gallagher’s great, but he definitely earned the regular spot.

I’m not sure it’s on purpose, but between Zambrano’s downturn in Ks, Dempster not being really big on them, and Gallagher’s numbers here, the Cubs may be losing their grip on the annual pitching K leadership. The bullpen is doing their share, but there’s less of them as things go on.

Another game where the Cubs didn’t have a lot of power (2 doubles of the 11 hits), but just enough to get 3 runs. It’d be a help if Edmonds added to it a little bit.

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Game 51: Cubs 3 – Dodgers 1

Jun
19

Dodgers 26-24
Cubs 30-21

POTG: SP Ryan Dempster (7 IP, H, R, 3 BB, 3 K., W [6])
Runner Up: 1B D Lee (HR, 2 RBI), 3B A Ram (2 H, HR)

TWENTY ONE GAMES TO CATCH UP. No problem.

The transformation of Ryan Dempster into a slightly poor man’s Brandon Webb, at least at home, is still a bit inexplicable at this point. Ryan’s not missing bats – he actually had less swinging misses than Billingsley despite throwing nearly 50% more pitches. He’s just getting ground balls to a defense that generally gets to enough of them to make it work.

Not especially sharp sharp perfomance by Howry, who just barely snuck out of trouble here. BR’s Win Perecentage charts had the game being about a toss up when he loaded the bases with one out in the eight. Nice he got out of it, would be nicer if he didn’t get into it.

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