You know we’re in trouble when the best part of watching the game today came when the redhead in the Corona ad shook up his gal’s beer after she was watching a hottie, and she opened the other one instead. That, my friends, was the happiest part of my whole afternoon.
The game was nearly overwith by 1:27pm when Pujols hit his first home run of the game straight out of the ballpark and onto Waveland Avenue. Were it not for Geovany Soto’s solo shot in the 8th, this would have been all the Cardinals needed in their 9-1 win over the Cubs. Adam Wainwright pitched very well but as usual the Cubs weren’t without opportunities to score. It’s just that, as usual, they didn’t cash in on those opportunities.
First Star: Adam Wainwright (.314 WPA)
Second Star: Albert Pujols (.276 WPA)
Third Star: Alfonso Soriano (.129 WPA)
- Actually this first tidbit comes from before the game started. Did anyone see the CSN pregame interview between Dave Kaplan and Albert Pujols? Interesting. Apparently Pujols is not a big fan of Wrigley Field. No modern training facilities and the field is in terrible shape. Huh? Maybe it got lost in translation. I’ve heard about the disappointing player training facilities but this is the first time I’ve heard anyone say the field is in bad shape.
- Another pre-game bit: If you were lucky enough to see the National Anthem you may have seen Challenger, the free-flying eagle (who also flew during the Anthem at this year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis), take a flight around Wrigley during the last few bars today. Challenger was accidentally blown from his nest at 5-weeks of age and subsequently trained as an ambassador for the American Eagle Foundation. Eagles are marvelous birds, one of my very favorites. To learn more about Challenger you can visit www.eagles.org. For a fantastic look at a live eagle nest, check out an Eagle Cam at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Virginia hosted by WVEC here. This year’s clutch of three is just about ready to leave the nest but you may still be able to catch a glimpse of them.
- Can you tell I don’t really want to talk much about the game itself?
- Ryan Dempster wasn’t nearly as sharp as his last outing on Tuesday when he shut out the Dodgers through eight innings giving up only three hits. But, he didn’t have a bad game here either. Pujols just happened to have a better one going 3 for 3 (all hits were home runs) with two walks (one intentional), four RBIs and four runs scored. So there you go.
- The Cubs had only two real opportunities to score. The first came in just the second inning. Believe it or not Ramirez started it off with a single to right (yay!) He moved to second on a ground out by Byrd, and Soriano walked on four pitches. Soto struck out. This brought up Starlin Castro, who singled up the middle. CSN’s “technical difficulties” prevented me from seeing this live, but apparently Ramirez was thrown out handily at home trying to score. You probably caught it on the replay even if you didn’t see it live. I don’t disagree with the decision to send him, with two outs and the pitcher on deck. But (and Kasper/Brenly commented on this later) he just doesn’t seem to be moving as well this year as he has in years past. They concluded when you’re in as bad of a slump as Ramirez is, it affects your whole game and your whole life. If that’s true (and I’m sure it is) then maybe he should have been held at third pitcher on deck or no pitcher on deck.
- The only other scoring opportunity for the Cubs came in the bottom of the fourth. After Ramirez struck out to start the inning, Byrd singled, Soriano doubled, and Soto walked to load the bases with only one out.Castro swung at the very first pitch to ground into a double play. End of opportunity. And when I say that, I mean for the entire remainder of the game. That was it. (Other than Soto’s solo homer later.)
- Pujols hit his second home run (also completely out of the ballpark) in the fifth inning, for two runs. By this time the score was 4-0, and things were already looking grim. When Frick and Frack began warming up in the bullpen in the top of the seventh, things got even grimmer. Is grimmer a word?
- Frick came on in the seventh and gave up a run. Frack pitched a good eighth but was true to form in the ninth, giving Pujols his third home run of the game, this one remaining inside the park. However two batters later David Freese sent one out of the park to complete the loss.
- Len and Bob had a bit of a discussion sometime during the grim (not yet grimmer) part of the game about whether they think the Cubs are out of it. They chatted this back and forth a bit before they decided they simply didn’t know. Hmmm.
- In the post game interview, Lou made mention of some lineup changes. He said he’ll worry about it tomorrow. What lineup changes would you propose?
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and try not to think about anything other than the Corona.