Depending upon which report you believe, it was either raining or threatening to rain at Shea Stadium as game time approached. The prediction was that rain would begin to fall, would increase in intensity, and would continue for days.
Of course, The Cubs and The Mets were approaching this particular game from completely different perspectives. The Mets have, at most, four games to pull themselves into the post season. So they were in the “Go For Broke”, “Do Or Die”, “Pull Out All The Stops” and “It’s Now Or Never” mode.
The Cubs, on the other hand, are in the playoffs and have locked up home field advantage for the duration. So they were in the “Husband Your Resources”, “Don’t Catch Cold”, “Don’t Get Hurt” and “Let’s Get The Young Guys Some Experience” mode.
It has been said that : ”Amateurs argue tactics, while professionals discuss logistics”. So any specific tactics I mention in this piece will be considered only in the context of the larger overall logistical picture.
Lou said in the pregame show that he is considering using Z out of the bullpen in the near future. You do what ya gotta do.
Micah Hoffpauir had a big night at the plate tonight. Five hits, comprising two four-baggers, two singles and one double. Kosuke Fukudome drew two intentional walks. Rich Harden pitched six full innings.
I’m experiencing this game on radio only tonight. Since I can’t SEE the game, I ask: Is Koyie Hill still telegraphing pitches as he did last night?
**BIG CUBS INNING ALERT** With 2 outs in the 1st inning, Micah Hoffpauir takes Pedro Martinez to right center with a home run to start the festivities. Let’s get this one in before the sky opens up. Jim Edmonds walks and takes 3rd on Mike Fontenot’s right field single. Edmonds scores on Casey McGehee’s single to right. Cubs lead 2-0. Fuku looks at strike 3, ending the inning.
In the Mets’ 1st, Jose Reyes is safe at 1st base on an error by Hoffpauir. Reyes steals 2nd and takes third on Dan Murphy’s 6-3 at bat. Reyes scores on David Wright’s sac fly. Cubs lead 2-1.
**CUBS SCORING ALERT** In the 3rd, Ryan Theriot draws a walk and scores on Micah Hoffpauir’s double off the wall. Fuku looks at strike 3, ending the inning. (Is there an echo in here?) Cubs lead 3-1
Rich Harden walks two Mets in the 4th and they both score on Ryan Church’s double to right. This ties the score 3-3 with 2 out. And the rain picks up. If they can get the 5th inning in the game is official. The 4th inning ends with the score tied 3-3.
In the bottom of the 5th, Jose Reyes draws a walk and steals 2nd, where he dies. This is now a complete and official game, the score of which is tied at 3.
David Wright walks to lead off the Mets 6th, but Harden ends the inning by striking out Ramon Martinez. A strong finish for Rich Harden. Score remains tied at 3.
**BIG CUBS INNING ALERT** Feliz Pies leads off the Cubs 7th with a single to right. Let’s get him around. Pie steals 2nd. Theriot walks and Micah Hoffpauir hits his 2nd homer of the night, a 3 run blast to right off reliever Riccardo Rincon. Cubs lead 6-3 in a game which could be called at any time due to rain. Mike Fontenot doubles but dies at 2nd when Koyie fans to end the inning. Cubs lead 6-3.
Chad Gaudin (or is it Gaugin?) is pitching for the Cubs in the bottom of the 7th. He gives up a double to the 1st batter, Robinson Cancel, who takes 3rd on Marlon Anderson’s ground out to short. Cancel scores on Jose Reyes’ ground out to short. Chad Gaudin/Gaugin gave up a double but got the next 3 out in order. Not too bad.
The 7th inning ends with the Cubs leading 6-4. Can we call the game now??
Neal Cotts gives up a single to David Wright to open the Mets 8th. Carlos Delgado hits into a 5-6-3 double play. When’s the last time you remember a 5-6-3 double play? Beltran singles, Church singles, and Cotts is gone. The tying run is on at 1st, the lead run is at the plate. Say hello to Bob Howry. Beltran steals 3rd. Ramon Martinez singles to left, scoring the Mets 5th run. The tying run is at 2nd base with 2 outs. Cancel singles to right, Fuku’s throw is in time to nail the runner Church, but Koyie Hill misses the tag. The game is tied at 6.
Neal Cotts faced 4 batters and gave up 3 hits.
Bob Howry faced 3 batters and gave up 2 hits.
In the 9th, Fontenot singles to right and takes 2nd on a wild pitch. McGehee fans and Fuku is intentionally walked. Fontenot moves to 3rd while Fuku is forced at 2nd on Hill’s 6-4 fielder’s choice. Pinch hitter Daryle Ward chops the ball back to the mound and is thrown out, ending the scoreless inning. Cubs had a runner at 2nd with no outs, but could not score.
Bottom of the 9th. Kevin Hart is pitching. Jose Reyes singles to right. Daniel Murphy bunts foul with 2 strikes. On the play Reyes stole 2nd, but since it was a foul ball, he returns to 1st. David Wright fans as Reyes steals 2nd again. An intentional walk is issued to Carlos Delgado. Carlos Beltran singles to right, winning the game. I will live. And The Cubs will live to win another day.
The Mets used everything they had tonight. The Cubs played numerous backups and rested their horses. The question is whether the Cubs’ horses will be up to the challenges in the next week or two or three. I am comfortable with the way Lou is very intelligently doing everything he can to maximize the Cubs’ chances going forward.
So we shall see what we shall see. I hope I can get the Miller Park games on TV this weekend.Assassins move