Weekend Recap: 4 1/2 Up at the Break, Not too Shabby

Monday, July 14, 2008

Weekend Recap: 4 1/2 Up at the Break, Not too Shabby

. Monday, July 14, 2008

We had this many All-Stars total from '93-'96. I wish there was a joke in here somewhere.

So the Cubs finished the first half of the year in the same way they began it - they lost. I guess you can't really be too mad, either. Tim Lincecum is just a sick freak. The funny thing is, I bet there are a lot more Barry Zito jerseys around AT&T Park.

The last thing a slow-footed photographer ever sees

I'll take a series win anytime, but this weekend's unexpected nip-and-tuck with a sub-.500 team was worrying at times, downright depressing at others. Friday featured an unexpected pitching duel between Jason Marquis and Matt Cain. Seriously. I enjoy good pitching even more than I enjoy good hitting, but I get pretty tense when our half of the duel is a man who hasn't made a playoff roster in a few years and is known for spontaneously bursting into flame on the mound. Luckily, Marquis finally threw like he knew we were paying him $7 million. A good day for Steve's employee outing. Mine was at a Schaumburg Flyers game - that's independent minor league ball, for those of you who don't know. Guess which one of us works for a non-profit?

A-Ram is so focused, he doesn't even notice the bat boy being potty-trained behind him

The high point of the day was obviously the homer A-Ram sent onto Sheffield. It was the first pitch he saw, and he hit the bejeezus out of it enough to keep it fair despite the fact that it seemed to take the path of a parabola. I think it may have landed at the Sheridan L stop. Either way, it was more than enough. Kerry Wood almost gave me a stroke with a weak start to the 9th, but his stuff was more than good enough to get Bob Howry the win (sorry, Marquis) and himself a 24th save.

If he's Harden, can we call Marmol Soften? Thanks folks, tip your waitresses.

Saturday was a game that this blogger was fortunate enough, then unfortunate enough, then fortunate enough to be attending. Rich Harden, whose shirt many fans were already wearing, looked amazing. His line of 5.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 10 K was enough for a standing ovation from an ecstatic Wrigley crowd. What it wasn't good enough for, however, was the win. Even with a 7-0 lead, some of our relief pitchers were craptastic enough to almost ruin the whole show.

Other new guy Chad Gaudin was great for the 2/3 he pitched, and Bob Howry saved us from more damage in the 8th. But Kevin Hart was absolutely pathetic (Rocky Cherry-style pathetic) and Carlos Marmol was alsjhgjlashdgauisgyawghajlshgjkh MARMOL!. At least, that's according to my notes from the game. Our once-impervious reliever gave up a horrifying 5 runs in the top of the 9th to send the game to extras. He was booed off of the field so loudly that he looked like he was going to take dive out of Tribune Tower like a stock broker in the '20s. Then Sunday, he was named to the All-Star team. So that's odd.

De-Ro and Molina re-enact their favorite scenes from Dragonball Z

From the stands, it looked like the Cubs were finished. We hadn't scored since the 4th, and giving up a 7-run lead tends to break a team. It certainly pissed this fan off. But Sean Marshall, he of litle acclaim, told me to shut the fuck up and proceeded to win the game himself. He knocked the Giants around for two innings, giving up no hits and striking out two. Then he decided he was going to hit as well, and led off the 11th inning with a solid single to center. The rest of the team seemed energized by his contribution, and barring Malibu Mike's awful attempt to bunt him to third, responded as they should have. Reed Johnson got the game-winning hit, driving in Mark DeRosa on one of the closest plays at the plate I've ever seen. An uplifting end to a game where we used SEVEN damn pitchers.

The end of Reed Johnson's personal '80s montage

I will now take time to note that Saturday's win was the second time in two days that someone who wore their socks in the old-timey style got the game-winning hit. Let's hear it for Old Timey!

I know Lou's a passionate guy, but look at his face here - it says "my son just came home from WWII"

Sunday was a rough day, as one tough inning sent Dempster to his first loss at Wrigley Field. The problem Sunday wasn't Dempster so much as a lack of hitting and the fact that Tim Lincecum is a sick freak (or possibly robot) masqerading as some sort of string bean man-boy. His performance was amazing, and our scoring threats in the 8th and 9th never really panned out. Daryle Ward again showed me he's a terrible clutch hitter. His .400 OBP was only good enough for a strike out looking, which is something you should never do when you're one of the last 2 outs with men on base.

Kosuke ceremonially presents his bat to the ball. It's a Japanese league thing, I think.

Oh, and on a separate note, when is Mark DeRosa going to learn how to play outfield? He's absolutely terrible at it - two errors in the series that no one in the big leagues should make. I'm beginning to think he's got a glass eye and some depth perception issues.

Hey, it's okay buddy, I know they scared you. Want some McDonald's?

Fellow Cubs fans, I'd like to inform you now that we're officially in first place by 4 1/2 games at the All-Star break. Let's take a minute to all inhale and enjoy the feeling of being on top.


(That's what she said)