Tagged: Ron Santo

A Riot at Wrigley

This was a game the Cubs needed to win.  Having already lost the opening game of a four game series with the first place Marlins due to their imploding bullpen, the Cubs found themselves five games behind the Cardinals.  This weekend, the Cardinals are padding their stats against the Nationals.  So when the Cubs fell behind 5-1 to the Marlins Friday, the prospect of digging a huge hole in the division for them loomed large.  

Rich Harden struggled.  He didn’t make it out of the fourth.  Harden’s low point was hitting a batter with the bases loaded to force in a run with two out in the fourth to make it 5-1.  Harden’s ERA has blown up to 5.11.  Not a good way to start May.  The Cubs added a run in the bottom of the fourth to make the score 5-2.  It stayed that way until the bottom of the sixth.
With the bases loaded and two out, Ryan Theriot stepped to the plate.  The Riot promptly launched his first career grand slam to put the Cubs ahead 6-5.  It was great to hear Ron Santo going nuts on the radio.  For those of you who have never heard Ron Santo on WGN radio, you’re missing something.  Santo is a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve and he lets it all out, good and bad.
46662951-1.jpg
                            Phil
Velasquez/Chicago Tribune / May 1, 2009 
Yesterday was a great example why Ryan Theriot is my favorite Cub.  He always comes to play.  He’s dependable.  Sure, he may lack some baseball smarts on the base paths at times and he doesn’t have all the God given gifts other players have, but whatever he lacks he makes up with heart.

46663030.jpg
Phil
Velasquez/Chicago Tribune / May 1, 2009


Some Game Notes

The bullpen struggled with control again.  Marmol walked the first two hitter he faced.  He did pitch out of it in the eighth.  Kevin Gregg made it more interesting than it needed to be in the ninth, but he held on to the Cubs’ 8-6 win.

Everyone knows I criticize Neal Cotts a lot on this blog.  Today I have to give Cotts his props.  After the Cubs took the 6-5 lead, Neal Cotts was warming up in the pen. “Please, no!”  I said to my self.  Well, I actually used more colorful language than that, but you get the idea.  Cotts came into the game in the top of the seventh and promptly did what he seems to do best, the four pitch walk to the first hitter he faced.  On the radio, Ron groaned.  The Cubs quickly got Marmol warming up, but would he be any better?  They finally got some offense going and got the lead on my favorite player’s grand slam and now they were going to blow it!  Cotts then retired the next three batters, including two on strikeouts.  I almost drove off the road.  I have to say something I never thought I would.  Good job, Neal!

Some Cubs who had been previously struggling at the plate showed some signs of snapping out of their funks.  Derrek Lee, Geovany Soto, and Reed Johnson each had three hits apiece.  Keep it up.

Aramis Ramirez came in to pinch hit, so hopefully we’ll see him in the lineup today.

Today, it will be Ted Lilly vs. Anibal Sanchez in a 12:05 start at Wrigley.

Photo Credits:



Advertisements

Cross Your Fingers

The Cubs lost much more than a game against the Cardinals last night.  Both Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Marmol had to leave the game with injuries.  Ramirez left the game in the 5th when he strained his calf running to second.  From what I’ve read, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a trip to the DL.  Marmol had the bad luck to have an Albert Pujols line drive take his glove off of his hand in the bottom of the eighth.  In doing so, Marmol twisted in such a way where he felt some kind of discomfort in his left knee.  That’s what it says on Cubs.com.  All I know is that when I saw Piniella and the trainer come out to the mound for Marmol, my heart and the heart of every Cubs fan sank.  Ron Santo probably graoaned and asked something like, “Why does this always happen to us?”  And Pat Hughes would have turned and said, “I don’t know, Ron.”  I didn’t hear it on the radio, but that’s the exchange I imagine.  We have to cross our fingers and hope neither of these players miss any significant time.  Especially Marmol.  The Cubs cannot afford to miss him.  If Marmol went out, it could be curtains.  Who would be the set up man, Neal Cotts?

46499516.jpg

Piniella has the “What next?” or “Why me?” look.  My wife calls it the “constipated look”.  
No one said it was gonna be easy, Lou.
In all reality, if Ramirez cannot play for a few days, they may be better served putting him on the 15 day DL so they can call someone up from the minors.  The Cubs’ bench is thin right now.  If Ramirez can’t go, you can add him to to a disabled list that includes a player who can’t play if he is 99% healthy.  Before the Cub game, I was watching the pregame for the Red Sox-Yankees game on NESN and Jerry Remy was talking about Mike Lowell and how he is playing really well despite not being 100%.  How is he able to play if he is not 100% healthy?  Do you think Lou Piniella was being sarcastic when he said that a certain player whom I promised not to talk about would not play until he is 100% healthy?  I’m beginning to think so.  But if this is the case, then put him on the DL and call someone else up.  Is Piniella souring on Bradley?  Well, it sounds like he wanted him.  He’s got him.
I found a way to watch Cubs games that are on Comcast Sportsnet.  Since we have the MLB Extra Innings on DirecTV, the local games are blacked out.  Since we don’t have Comcast Sportsnet, we can’t watch that channel normally anyway.  I now have to turn to the MLB Mix channel where 8 games are being shown simultaneously.  I can scroll to the game I want to listen to.  So I got to watch a 4-3 loss to the Cardinals.  It was a good pitchers duel between Ryan Dempster and Adam Wainwright until the Cardinals scored three in the fifth.  The Cubs clawed their way back in the seventh tying the game, but I felt they should have had more.  That inning probably cost them the game.  They had the bases loaded and no one out with the score 3-2 and could only muster one more run to tie the game.  They should have broke it open.  Oh, well.  In the bottom of the eighth, Pujols and Ludwick combined to get the Cardinals the winning run.  After Pujols singled, he stole second and scored on Ludwick’s single.  Pujols and Ludwick are becoming one of the games premier 1-2 punches.  I’m frightened.  By the way, Milton Bradley pinch hit and drew a walk.  He has exceeded my expectations.
Hey, Dad, what happened to the Cardinals defense?  Aren’t they usually solid on the fundamentals?  Did Tony LaRussa moving around his fielders lead to Skip Schumacher dropping an easy pop up in the seventh yesterday?  As Nelson on The Simpsons would say, “Skip Schumacher.  Ha Ha!”
Piniella shuffled the lineup yesterday because the Cubs have not been scoring runs.  Piniella had the hot hitting Theriot leading off while dropping Derrek Lee to 5th and Soriano to 3rd.  I’m on record on this blog saying that Lee needed to be dropped in the batting order.  I don’t agree with Soriano.  He was doing fine leading off.  I hope Piniella does not drop Fukudome out of the number two spot.  Moving Fukudome around in the lineup last year seemed to screw him up.
So, I’m sure my father is smiling today.  The wager is now 2-2.  I do not look good in red, so the Cubbies better get their act together here real quick.
Photo Credit:

Cubs Win!

Tonight the Cubs used productive fifth and sixth innings to topple the Reds 7-2 in a showdown for first place.  The win pushes the Cubs to a game and a half over the Reds.  Of course, the Cardinals won so the Cubs are still tied with them atop the division.  All in all it was a good win for the Cubbies.  Rich Harden went six strong innings, striking out eight.  Micah Hoffpauir continues to produce when given the chance.  Hoffpauir hit a homer and delivered a sacrifice fly.  Even though Hoffpauir did not make it to the majors until last season when he was twenty-eight, I believe that he will be a valuable member of this team as the season rolls on.  He always seems to deliver when given the chance.  Aramis Ramirez was the other hitting star with his three RBIs.

As I was watching the seventh inning of the game tonight with the Cubs up 7-2, WGN showed the Cubs bullpen and Neal Cotts was warming up.  I threw my hands up in frustration, nearly spilling my beverage.  The only thing that could stand in the way of a Cubs victory tonight was…Neal Cotts!  I’m sure every team has at least one reliever who makes you want to turn the channel when you see them warming up.  When you see this reliever, you just know something bad is about to happen.  So, I turn the channel and start watching the Dodgers-Astros game on MLB Extra Innings.  After some time, I turn the Cub game on and it is in the top of the eighth, there are two men on and Carlos Marmol has just come into the game.  How did the two men get on base?  Well, Neal Cotts, of course.  Right now, the only way I want to see Neal Cotts in a game is if the Cubs are up by double digits or if they’re losing by ten runs in the second inning and you need someone to come in just to take one for the team.  When Neal Cotts comes into the game at Wrigley, they should play that wobbly trombone music from the Brady Bunch they played when Cousin Oliver kept causing bad things to happen and he thought he was a jinx.  They could play that, or just play a sound clip of Ron Santo grunting.  When Neal Cotts comes into the game, something bad is going to happen.  Does every team have one of these pitchers?  I just don’t understand it.  He was so good for the White Sox in 2005.  It’s not fair to Carlos Marmol that his role on the team has become cleaning up Neal Cotts’s mess.
Speaking of the Cardinals, I’m still working on that wager with my father.  I will see him tomorrow and I WILL have a wager agreed to.  We must because this weekend is round two of Cardinals-Cubs.