Weekend Recap: Win, Win, Wrath of God

Monday, April 20, 2009

Weekend Recap: Win, Win, Wrath of God

. Monday, April 20, 2009

Despite the crushing disappointment of a rainout yesterday (actual texts from Steve: "My evening is ruined," and "I feel empty"), the Cubs did manage to enrapture hearts and minds across greater Cubdom with a pair of wins Friday and Saturday to take the series from the hated Cardinals.

"Ow! My ovaries!"

Friday's game was both encouraging and disheartening for the performance of our stars. Carlos Zambrano gave up seven earned runs (and three dingers) and looked like a crap sandwich even striking out seven. His ERA for his last few starts against the Cards is something like seven trillion. But a tip of the hat to Z for at least taking seven innings with him into the pit of despair. Had we lost this game, I'm sure the Chicago media would be abuzz with stories about how Carlos Zambrano is struggling, or overrated, or possibly injured, or under a gypsy curse, or some such thing.

Fact: Old-timey socks win games. Count on it.

But we didn't lose - because Alfonso Soriano's one hit on the day was a 2-run bomb in the eighth that broke more Cardinal fan hearts than the recent crystal meth shortage (Cardinal Fan Insult Counter - 1). The Cubs were able to keep it close before that with multi-hit production from each of the 2-5 hitters. Aaron Heilman got his second (?!?) win of the season, and Marmol shut down the Cardinals in the ninth after walking one and hitting one just to make things terrifyingly interesting. I followed this game on the BlackBerry in the lull periods of a work conference I was attending, which once again made me realize that I have far too vivid an imagination. Never in human kind has a person been so emotionally invested in dots that refresh every 30 seconds.


Saturday saw WAIW take to the park to take in yet another classic, as well as the pervasive odor of Slim Jims from the Cardinal fans who sold their plasma to come to the game (CFIC - 2). I sat in my usual 500-level seats, while Steve sat in the fancy-boy 100 section, possibly alonside Hunter Pence's relatives, and possibly while warming his precious toesies in a soothing foot spa. I believe we may have been in different zip codes.

"You throw strikes, or I swear I will sack-tap you back to Canada!"

Dempster Baby had a rough go of it early, missing the strike zone like Cardinals fans and their dentist appointments (CFIC - 3. Getting sick of these yet?). The Cubs were in a 4-1 hole early, and it looked like the Cards might run away with it like one of their fans would with a pregnant underage teenage bride (CFIC - 4). Demp eventually pulled it together and retired 9 of the last 10 he faced in mostly convincing fashion. It seems like last year's co-ace is still trying to get on track.

"Aw, come on, blue! That was barely a foot off the plate. Give me something here!"

DLee eventually tied the game with a convincing 2RBI double that turned into an embarrassing attempt at a triple. Miles put the Cubs ahead the next inning with a run-scoring single, which Lou must have thought scored 11, because he put in Neal Cotts. Fuck Neal Cotts. When he got to 6 straight balls on the second batter he faced, I couldn't believe it. I yelled "SIX! SIX balls in a row." Then he did it again - "SEVEN! FUCKING SEVEN in a ROW!". Ball four - "EIGHT! EIGHT BALLS! ASKJHGLASHGAKGH!" Which sent my girlfriend over the edge "You don't need to yell for everyone! We get it!" She kindly refrained from informing me that my outbursts made me sound like a surly, bearded version of Sesame Street's Count. Neal Cotts was so bad he turned me into a Muppet. I often fantasize about Lou coming to the mound to pull Cottsy and, when he gets to the mound, slapping him in the face or pushing him to the ground. I'm starting to get disturbed by how vividly I can picture it. I mean, holy shit, throw a fucking strike once. Just once.

Either new Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, or some douche they pulled out of the Cubby Bear. I really can't tell.

Anyhow, Cotts lead to Marmol tearing the heart of the Cardinals order a new one. Which somehow begat him getting shelled by the bottom of the order to tie the game. To be fair, Marmol was more overworked than a Cardinal fan's insulin pump during a six-day Hostess pie and cake frosting bender (CFIC - 5). Then Kevin Gregg surprised us all. The stepdad of closers wowed the Cubs crowd with two innings of absolute shutdown work and the Cardinals crowd with his, as they put it, "fancy-seeing face doodads" (CFIC - 6). We should all pause for a second to appreciate how Gregg worked two full innings against a Cards team that had stolen back the momentum and silenced the pro-Cubs contingent, and absolutely bitch-slapped them. The man earned a few points in my book.

Ramirez breaks more Cardinal fan hearts than all the non-consenting first cousins in Missouri

A back and forth slap-fight over the last innings and into extras was unexpectedly brought to a full and complete stop by A-Ram's bomb in the bottom of the 11th with two outs. My absolute favorite image was seeing Duncan and Ankiel give up on the ball - it was very nearly a perfect moment.

Fukudome continued to baffle, playing like ... well, like people would expect a $12.5M outfielder to play. WAIW will continue to wince and hold its breath in anticipation of the other shoe dropping.

"Don't worry, we'll make it up with a doubleheader. Separate admissions. Suck on that, fans!"

Two upside's two Sunday's cancellation - one, it gave our weary bullpen a chance to rest between yesterday and today's off day. Two, Joe Morgan's head didn't emerge from his ass like some sort of poorly-informed butterfly from a cocoon of ignorance. He's as averse to common damn sense as Cardinals fans are to high school diplomas (CFIC - 7).

"Team picture time! Fontenot, you kneel in front with the team name sign"

Following two days without baseball (how did we last all winter?), Steve and I eagerly await a tilt with the Reds, and our escort of a WAIW fan to their first-ever Cubs game.