After the game I Googled “Memorial Day”, and here’s what I came up with:
- ”Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service.”
Upon reading that, I was reminded of a few high school classmates who went to Vietnam and didn’t come back. And I was reminded of a few local folks who have given all during the current “long war”. And I realized that the saying: “Happy Memorial Day” is an oxymoron.
Now, back to the Cubs.
Recently, I’ve come to realize that the Chicago Cubs and I are experiencing some philosophical differences.
I saw the projected lineup a few hours before game time and I thought: A blind man could see the problems here:
- Why is Aramis Ramirez (with his .166 batting average) starting at all, let alone occupying the cleanup spot?
- Why is Tyler Colvin not starting (against a right handed pitcher)?
- Why is DLee batting in the #3 hole?
- Why is Starlin Castro batting 8th?
I found myself repeating those questions over and over during the game.
In the 1st inning with one out and a runner (Marlon Byrd) on 1st, DLee came up to bat in the #3 hole. DPLee lived up to his nickname, hitting a double play ball to third base. Fortunately, the Pirates were only able to force the lead runner at second. This brought up the “cleanup hitter” who promptly struck out. What a waste.
In the 3rd inning, thanks to some sloppy defense by the Pirates, the Cubs had runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Byrd flew out to shallow center and the runners could not advance. This brought up DPLee with one out and runners on 1st and 2nd. Good news: no double play. Bad news: DLee struck out. Then the “cleanup hitter” ended the inning with a 5-4 groundout.
In the 5th inning Kosuke Fukudome drew a walk with one out. Byrd fanned, bringing up DLee. The Pirates pitched around DLee to get to our “cleanup hitter”. DLee walked, bringing up Ramirez with 2 out and 2 on. Aramis struck out for the second time today, ending the threat.
Marlon Byrd led off the 8th inning with a walk and stole 2nd. So the Cubs had a runner on 2nd, no outs, and the meat of their batting order due up. DLee fanned, then Aramis and Mike Fontenot grounded out, 4-3 and 5-3 respectively.
The Cubs scored their only run in the 2nd inning. Alfonso Soriano hit a fly ball to left center which the Pittsburgh outfielders allowed to drop. Alfonso found himself on third base. He scored on Geovany Soto’s 5-3 groundout.
Defensively, Randy Wells pitched 5 solid innings, allowing no Pirate to get beyond 2nd base. Three pitches later, however, James Russell gave up the tying home run to Garrett Jones. In the 8th inning Sean Marshall uncharacteristically gave up 2 hits, a double and an RBI single, and the Pirates took the lead.
I must point out that Bob Howry pitched a three up three down 7th, and Andrew Cashner got the last Pittsburgh batter of the day on an infield pop out.
John Rambo once asked: “Do we get to win this time?” Tomorrow Ted Lilly will start for the Cubs. I hope Lou gives us a fighting chance.