Top 1st The wind is blowing out. That could mean an early exit if Maddux isn't careful. He looked good in the first inning, getting the Pirates 1,2,3. Hopefully we see the Maddux we paid for and not the one we have gotten in about 40% of the starts this year.
Bottom 1st Why is Rey Ordonez hitting 2nd? His first At Bat is evidence as to why this shouldn't be. He swung at the first pitch he saw and grounded out. I really wish we still had Kenny Lofton to lead off so that we could have Todd Walker hitting second. If only Corey Patterson could hit leadoff. Who knows, maybe someday he'll come around, when he's in Kansas City playing centerfield. It was nice to see Alou take a 2 out walk. He normally swings at the first pitch he sees. However, we're facing Vogelsong and he has been getting hammered. We need to see a few pitches so we can hammer him too. Ramirez promptly flies out to center and the inning ends.
Top 2nd Man oh Man, Brian Runge is calling strikes if it is anywhere near the plate. It simply needs to be in the ballpark and not bounce for him to motion called strike. Maddux benefited from that benevolence by striking out the first batter he saw in the 2nd. Perfect through 2 inning. Good start so far for Mad Dog. Now we need to get some runs and knock Vogelsong around a little.
Bottom 2nd Derrek Lee starts off the game with the Cubs first hit. After hitting a long homerun yesterday, maybe he is finally starting to see the ball a little better. Now we just need to get Corey to see some pitches and start getting that average to where it was last year. It's time this offense starts putting us the numbers that it is capable of putting up.
Top 3rd Well, the Pirates strike first. Seems like that has been the trend lately. Kendall comes through in the clutch with a 2 out hit. The Pirates played fundamental baseball and it yielded them a run. The Cubs are going to need to start playing smallball if they can't start pounding out runs. It works for the Pirates.
Bottom 3rd What happened to Maddux being a good hitting pitcher. 1 for 25 is not that impressive to me. That is a rocking .040 batting average. Yes Greg, Chicks do dig the longball, but fans would dig a few singles. 3 innings in the books and the Cubs have 1 hit on a day where the wind is blowing out.
Top 4th The professor gets em easy in the 4th. This offense NEEDS to get their act in gear. Our starting staff deserves better than this. I'm sick and tired of great starts going to waste. For crying out loud. Just get them 3 or 4 for a change so they don't have to pitch so carefully.
Bottom 4th Hollandsworth gets a 2 out single and steals 2nd base. Do the Cubs get him in? Heck no, they never do. We are completely retarded when it comes to driving in runners in scoring position for the last few weeks. Come on guys, get the job done.
Top 5th Maddux makes a play showing his awesome/sometimes lucky fielding ability. It saved him a run. That was a huge play to keep the Cubs in this game. How can I say "Keep them in the game.", when we're only down 1 run? Well, because we're down 1 run, which is like 10 the way this offense has been doing.
~ Side Note~ Something I have been noticing lately that has been annoying me about Steve Stone. Is anyone else worried about the fact that he has begun to refer to Chip Carey as "Chippy"? Please stop Steve. It's making us all sick.
Bottom 5th Something crazy happened in this inning. Corey Patterson struck out on a pitch at his eyes. Oh wait, that's business as usual. Also, the Cubs failed to score a run. Oh wait, that is ALSO business as usual. God it's frustrating.
Top 6th Steve Stone said at the beginning of this half inning that it could prove to be a huge inning for Maddux. He had to hold the Pirates at bay with the top of their lineup coming to the plate. Did he come through? Of course he did. Will the Cubs go down in order in the bottom half of the inning? Of course they will.
~ Side Note ~ I am not really sure why people hate Paul Bako so much. He is our BACKUP catcher, plays great defense, and gets an occasional hit. He's not our everyday guy, so don't worry so much about him.
Bottom 6th There was a fan in the bleachers holding a sign that said "Alou, hit it here" Kid, at this point, this offense just needs to hit it anywhere. The Cubs go down in order again and have managed 2 hits through 6. Down 1-0. I'm starting to wonder if I am watching the game I taped yesterday on TiVo and not the real game. It's eerily similar. Hopefully it has the same result that begins to unravel in the 7th.
Top 7th 3 up, 3 down. Great day today Greg. Hopefully we can get you some runs for you to win this game.
~ Side Note ~ My boys, the Fighting Illini Mens basketball team sang the seventh inning stretch. I can't wait for basketball season to start again. I miss it already.
Bottom 7th See that, what did I tell you? Aramis Ramirez gets a weird homerun that falls through the bottom of the basket and almost goes the Pirates way. Luckily the umps get it right. All of a sudden, the bats come out again. Todd Hollandsworth singles, Derrek Lee gets hit by a pitch, and Vogelsong is out, leaving two runs on base and no outs. Does Corey Patterson keep it going? Nope. Did I even need to ask that question? Dusty made a good move with runners on 1st and 3rd by pulling Bako for Barrett. Barrett has been very good with the bat this year and Bako hasn't. The move works as Barrett gets a sac fly RBI to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Bring on the 8th inning. Farnsworth, and The Hawk and it's game over.
~ Side Note ~ Albert Pujols pulled a hamstring in the Cards game today. This could be huge news for us. Maybe will be fortunate enough to not have to see him at all in this next series.
Top 8th Ok, so we had a quick look at Remlinger before we saw Farnsworth. I'm not really sure why Dusty went with that, but as long as it worked, I won't complain. I really don't have any preference when anyone pitches, as long as they do the job. Borowski closing? Fine, if it gets it done. Farnsworth closing? Fine if he gets it done. Steve Stone closing? Fine if he gets the job done.
Bottom 8th It's amazing how similar this game is to yesterday's. I am just glad it has turned out the same. BRING ON LATROY!!!!
Top 9th Well, bullpen/closer by committee day 1 is in the books. Grade for the day: B+. Remlinger got his man, Farnsworth got his men, and Latroy pitches a scoreless, somewhat nervous 9th inning to save the game for Greg Maddux. 6 more wins till 300 for the Professor.
Now that we've seen Hawkins save one, but allow some baserunners, what do you think? Are you still ok with him closing? I still would like to see Farnsworth in that role, but like I said, I am fine with whoever is gonna get the job done. What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know who you want to close.