Every once in awhile, you get a chance to watch a game that is just such a delight to watch. Tonight, with Maddux on the hill, it was exactly that type of game. It was a retro Maddux and he lived up to his professor nickname tonight as he totally schooled the Dodger lineup. At one point late in the 7th, Vin Scully actually said about the Dodgers lineup “Hand em all diplomas. They’re all graduating tonight.” There is nothing better than the Greg Maddux school of pitching and tonight was a clinic.

Box Score

Game Notes

  • I was a little disappointed when we were given the Dodger’s feed of the game because that means it’s a one man booth with Scully. Last year I was very critical of the Hall of Fame broadcaster and I have finally figured out what I don’t like about him. It’s not his play calling that i’m opposed to. It’s the fact that without a color guy to help take some of the talk time from Scully, it’s all play by play. Sometimes he feels the need to be my eyes, when he is not there for that. I do love his stories though. Sometimes he comes up with the strangest things to talk about, all without missing a pitch. Overall, I think i’d enjoy him much more if he had someone alongside him. I guess when you make 3 million a year, it’s hard to afford anyone to put next to you.
  • As Chris mentioned in the comment section of the preview thread, the Cubs half of the 5th inning was a thing of baseball purity. Murton led off with a walk, then Cedeno went with the pitch on a hit and run and took it to RF instead of trying to pull the ball, which got Murton to third. Maddux comes to the plate and bloops a single in there to make up for his failed bunt in the 3rd. Pierre does his job and singles home Murton and then Walker hits a nice Sac Fly. The Cubs come away with 3 runs which proved to be the difference in the ballgame.
  • Todd Walker hit his 100th career HR in the 1st inning and played a tremendous game all around. He played extremely well in the field. All night he was ranging far to his right and making perfect off balance throws to first base. Can we please let the debate rest now? Maybe, just maybe Walker isn’t as bad as people say he is in the field.
  • The Cubs are playing Hit and Run often this year and I love it. It’s like a whole different managing style that Dusty has this year. His lineups are making sense and his in game strategies, aside from an occasional weird double switch actually seem dead on. I’ve always been on the fence about Baker, but he’s slowly starting to earn some of my respect.
  • Fox Sports had a nice little feature that flashed on the screen a few times. It was a scrolling lineup ticker that showed what each batter had done to that point in the game. It would be very useful for someone other than me that wasn’t a nerd and keeping score during the game while watching a home. Another nice little thing was the end of inning scoreboard. It showed the usual Runs/Hits/Errors, but it also added a column for Left on Base. Not a bad idea. WGN are you reading this?
  • Going back to Greg Maddux for a second, this was the first time since 1994 that he has opened the year winning his first three starts. A big reason for his success over the years is his managing of the count. He went ahead 0-2 on seven hitters tonight. He limits his pitches and gets hitters swinging at his pitches. I really hope the rest of our staff learns more from him before it’s time for him to hang it up. When that time comes, I REALLY hope the Cubs offer him the pitching coach position. Any team would be so much better off with him in that role.
  • Did you see the line drive that Derrek Lee hit in the 8th? If Osoria doesn’t flinch and get a glove off, he could have been seriously injured. The ball would have caught him square in the face and could have potentially knocked him out cold or even worse killed him. Who knows. I’m just thankful he caught it.
  • It’s always nice when the west coast games are quickies. This one lasted 1 hour and 59 minutes. When you’re watching on the east coast, like I am, you’re not all that excited about the idea of a game going till 1am and then having to get a meaningful recap up before 2am. Hopefully game two and three have a similar pace to this one.
  • Ryan Dempster has looked lights out so far this year. Hopefully all the naysayers who criticized the signing of him as the closer will shut their mouths.
  • Angel Pagan is expected to miss four to six weeks. They found a partially torn tendon in his hamstring so Pagan will sit awhile. It’s a tough break for a kid who has been playing very hard for his chance.

What Happened Last Year?
Greg Maddux got the start against Pittsburgh and went six innings giving up just two runs on five hits. Unfortunately the Cubs offense didn’t get enough runs early and Mad Dog got a no decision. The Cubs ended up winning by a score of 4-2.

Star of the Game: Derrek Lee (3 for 4 with 3 RBI)

2005 Record: 6-6

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail