First, I have a message for Jim Hendry. Itís from my wife. Unless you get some really really good players in return for Greg Maddux, not just a couple of prospects, you are stupid.
She really doesnít want to see him traded at all. You see, she watched the 4-2 victory over the Cardinals this afternoon. She has seen several of his victories. She saw most of the April wins when no one could touch the professor. Todayís gem was # 327 in his HOF career. Funny, before today, 327 was just the name of a road that ran near my high school. Now it means more, so much more.
Great, now the game. The first 2 Ω innings or so were absolutely weird, I thought Rod Serling was going to make a cameo appearance in the booth (I wrote that line before I saw Joe’s graphic below.) Michael Barrett gets picked off second by the Cardinal catcher, Molina to end the first.
But the fun all happened in the bottom of the second. With runners on first and second and one out, Ronny Cedeno blooped a single to left. John Mabry was held up at third until he realized that Angel Pagan wasnít looking and kept on coming to third. At this point every Cub fan thought this was another disaster unfolding with two runners at third base. But Scott Rolen was focused on the ball coming in from right field, not the runners. Mabry scampered in for the score and Pagan made it to third.
Cardinals rookie starter Anthony Reyes then appeared to pick off Cedeno, who got caught in a rundown between first and second. OK we lucked out on the Mabry play we will definitely screw it up here, right? Wrong! Pagan broke for home and David Eckstein’s throw to the plate was late. The Cubs were credited with a double steal and stole home for the first time since Ricky Gutierrez did it Aug. 10, 2001, against the Giants.
The Cubs took the lead 2-1 and never relinquished it, tho the Cards threatened in the 9th, loading the bases against Ryan Dempster, who surrendered but one run and finally got Aaron Miles for the third out to seal his 20th save in 25 tries in 2006. He is now 3 for 3 since getting yanked by Dusty Tuesday night in New York.
Two more rather strange plays. The Cubs caught a break at the top of the third when Jacque Jones made a diving catch to rob Pujols of a hit and it turned into a double play when the Cubs appealed that So Taguchi didn’t retouch second base when trying to get back to first. The expression on Taguchiís face was absolutely priceless.
The last point about the strangeness of the game came at the plate when Cedeno was thrown out after he collided with r Molina in the second inning. The ball came loose but Cedeno wasn’t able to get back up and touch the base. Had he run on the inside of the baseline he might have been able to score but in the end it didnít matter.
This was Greg Madduxí day to shine and receive a rousing ovation from the crowd at Wrigley which swelled to over 41,000 in the sweltering heat. Everyone felt this could be the second swan song for the Professor.
Nine wins. Not too shabby if you ask me. Not on this club, this year. That is nine more than Prior, eight more than Wood. In fact he has the second most wins on this staff, second only to Cy Young contender Carlos Zambrano.
Wherever he ends up, they become my favorite team to win it all this year.
Oh God, please anybody but the Yankees or Cardinals.