First Star – Cliff Lee (.172 WPA)
Second Star – Ichiro (.169 WPA)
Third Star – Casey Kotchman (.166 WPA)

Last night I represented View From The Bleachers on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight Live Blog. Well before the Cubs game started, Rob Neyer issued a challenge, asking blog participants to suggest “5 interesting things to look for in tonight’s game”.

I came up with the following 5 items of interest in the Cubs-Mariners game:

1. The Cubs will try to get a hit tonight.
2. The Cubs will try to score a run tonight.
3. The Cubs will try to find a win tonight.
4. Randy Wells will try to get through the 1st inning tonight.
5. Bob Howry and John Grabow will find new and exciting ways to give up runs.

The first batter of the game, Marlon Byrd, singled to right field, satisfying item #1 of the list, above. In fact the second batter of the game, Jeff Baker, singled also. At this point I thought the Cubs were slapping Cliff Lee around pretty good.

In the bottom of the 1st inning, the Mariners went 3 up and 3 down, thus satisfying item #4 of my “Take Five” list.

In the top of the 2nd inning Tyler Colvin hit a solo home run to right center, and things were looking pretty good for the Cubbies. This event satisfied item #2 of my “Take Five” list.

Actually, Randy Wells was cruising along pretty well through the first 3 innings. But the 4th inning was his Waterloo. The Mariners scored four runs in the bottom of the 4th, and there went the ballgame. The Mariners scored 2 more runs off of Randy Wells in the 6th, and two off of Sean Marshall in the 8th, but those runs were just icing on their cake.

The Mariners won 8-1. Mr. Howry and Mr. Grabow never entered the game.

The big story tonight was the masterful performance of Cliff Lee, pitching for the Seattle Mariners. Mr. Lee gave up only 1 run, on 9 hits, with 9 strikeouts and zero walks. And he pitched a complete game.

Len Kasper produced the quote of the night in the top of the ninth. With 2 outs and the Cubs trailing 8 to 1, Alfonso Soriano singled to center field. Mr. Kasper observed that Tyler Colvin would now come to bat with “the Cubs still barely alive”.

“The Cubs Still Barely Alive” pretty much describes the Cubs situation at this point of the season, too.

Astute observation, Mr. Kasper.

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I'm a third generation cubs fan, living in southeastern Wisconsin.