June 29th, 2007
| W - B. Howry (5-4) L - F. Cordero (0-2) S – None
Homeruns: K. Mench (3) A. Ramirez (15)
I sat down to watch the game today after the power finally came back on. We had a bit of a storm here in North Carolina and my DirecTv service found itself temporarily interrupted. I paced around the house wondering if I would miss the first pitch (I hate missing the first pitch). Thankfully, God had mercy on me and allowed me to partake in my addiction that is Cubs baseball. But, like a kid that eats too much cake on his birthday or drinks too much eggnog at Christmas, I immediately felt sick to my stomach watching the 5-0 lead we spotted the Brewers to in the first. Nothing will take the hype out of a heavyweight title bout like this one more than a swift kick in the nuts in the first round. As the game wore on, and our bullpen continued to place 0′s on the board, something in me began to formulate this storybook ending that I would be able to document. It went something like this. The Cubs would battle back and would have a chance to win the game in the 9th inning. Into the box steps Cliff Floyd, whose father was attending the game for the first time since he was hospitalized. Floyd works the count to 3-2 and launches a game winning homerun to Sheffield Ave. Floyd’s father sees his health miraculously return and the Cubs begin a tremendous run to the division title. Now that’s a story. Unfortunately, Cliff never got a chance to hit in the 9th inning. Or should I say, fortunately? Aramis Ramirez comes in and puts one out to win the game and cap off a tremendous, chip away type comeback. These are the kind of wins that a team on a hot streak picks up. I have to wonder if this is going to be motivation for the Brewers to come back hard, or a bullet in the gut that staggers them enough for the Cubs to come away with a series win or even a sweep.
The best way I can describe Rich’s outing today was that he pitched to contact. Unfortunately, that contact resulted in 40+ foul balls, five hits, and a good deal of runs. When the dust cleared, Hill was done after only three innings of work. Anytime you have to go to your pen as early as the Cubs did today, especially when it comes at the beginning of a series, it takes a lot of banding together to overcome the early hole. I’m sure Rich feels terrible about the start. The best thing for him to do is relax, put it behind him, and get ready for his next outing. His next scheduled start should be Wednesday in Washington. I’ll be at that game, so I really hope he returns to the dominant pitcher because it will probably be the only game I’ll be able to attend this season. I think he’ll bounce back, but two out of his last three starts haven’t been good. A win before the all star break for him would be a great way to end the first half of the season.
We needed our bullpen bigtime today and once again they came through with a job well done. I asked the other day who you had confidence in and who you didn’t, and it amazed me how different the answers were. As for me, I have a good amount of confidence in the whole lot. I truly believe this is going to turn into one of the top 3 pens in all of the NL by the time the season is through. Everyone seems to be turning corners and pitching the way this team figured they would when the season started. The big question now is can Sean Marshall get enough innings in tomorrow to give the crew a bit of a rest? Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a move to send Petrick back to the minors and a recall of Clay Rapada for the simple reason of giving a fresh arm in the pen for the remainder of the series. Rapada threw 20 pitches on Wednesday and would be rested if they held him out today. His previous outing was on the 24th, so he could provide a good amount of relief. Another potential option, assuming that Jacque Jones is not going anywhere, would be to move Henry Blanco to the 60 day DL, retroactive to May 31st, which would place his return at the end of July. That would open up a 40 man roster spot for someone else from the minors.
Fox Saturday Baseball
Let me rant for a minute about how much I hate the MLB blackout rules. Originally, tomorrow’s game was scheduled at a time that would put in on my Extra Innings package. It was before the 3:55pm EDT time that the Fox games run, and would therefore be on my package. Instead, MLB has decided to change the game time to accommodate Fox and screw me. Obviously they aren’t doing it with screwing me in mind, but ultimately, that’s what it does. Now, I am blacked out on MLB.tv and will only be able to see the Mets face the Phillies. What bugs me the most is that MLB.tv has a slogan that says “Watch every out of market game right from your computer…” Really, then why won’t I be able to see tomorrow’s game? Screw Fox. Screw Scooter the talking fastball, and screw Joe Buck. I’m sorry Mr. Buck. I still love you, but please quit the Fox job, so I won’t have to hate you on Saturdays, because I really want to love you.
STARS OF THE GAME – All based on WPA