Reminds me a lot of my uncle Ted. I mean, sure, he played baseball, but he also loved to scream at minorities.
No matter where our respective teams are at any given time, the Cubs/Cards tilts are always good for some hair's-breadth close games. I remember when I was first dating my wife, went went to a late-2006 game with the Cubs an estimated 800 games behind and the Cards on the way to beating Detroit that year in the playoffs. That day, the hero was ... Phil Nevin. Last night, it was the similarly bland Joe Mather, who has a great name in the event he ever wants to become an artisinal cheese maker or restorer of 19th century furniture.
I, for one, am relieved it didn't tip into a blowout when James Russell came in for the 8th and did his best Neal Cotts impression. Why is it that every time we play the Cardinals close, we're obliged to bring in a lefty to give a couple of free runners? Russell threw 21 pitches and just barely reached double digits in strikes. Can we just eliminate left-handed pitching entirely until someone proves they can get it right?
But today is not to harp on the negatives. It is to give thanks for Jason Motte and his 31-pitch 9th inning. Got us down to our last strike and everything before Joe Mather - who I'll still remind you isn't Brett Jackson - hit the tying and winning runs back up the middle. A walk-off win against the Cardinals is perhaps the greatest feeling in Cubs baseball short of finally winning the big one.
I'd also like to recognize the fact that Bryan LaHair turned into the kind of at-bat Kerry Wood was struggling with in the early going of this season. Just taking pitch after pitch after pitch until I was fairly certain that the rest of my existence on this plane would be watching LaHair hit foul balls off of Jason Motte.
Garza and Jaime Garcia looked incredible - Garcia slightly less so, as he was facing a lineup full of Jeff Bakers and whatnot. Garza didn't get the W, because why on earth would he while he's in a Cubs uniform, but that makes 3 out of 4 starts so far that looked extremely impressive. I have the highest hopes for him - that Theo can actually flip him for good prospects to a contending team, and that we don't send a pile of money out the door with him.
Game 2 tonight - Wainwright v. Samardzija. If we could take two in a row and win our first series, I promise to stop insulting Jeff Samardzija.
For a week or so.