First Star – Travis Wood (.305 WPA)
Second Star – Starlin Castro (.247 WPA)
Third Star – Francisco Cordero (.205 WPA)

The first of July brought possibly the most lovely day of the year to the Upper Midwest.  The team once know as the Cincinnati Redlegs (from 1956 to 1960) came into Wrigley Field 9 1/2 games ahead of the Cubbies in the standings and leading the NL Central division.

The Cubbies, on the other hand, with a payroll nearly double that of the Cincinnati team ($140 Million vs $76 Million), entered this series 10 games under .500 and sinking like a stone.

Coming off a series loss against the powerful Pittsburgh Pirates, Cubs Field Manager Lou Piniella expressed his opinion about facing the surging Reds:  “I’ll tell you what,” he sighed, “Pittsburgh was tough enough.”

The Cubbies started their staff ace, Carlos Silva, while the starting pitcher for the Reds, LHP Travis Wood, was making his major league debut.

Both pitchers pitched well.  The Reds’ pitcher gave up 0 runs on 2 hits over 7+ innings.  Carlos Silva gave up only 2 runs over 7.2 innings.  It could be said that Silva and the Cubs bent but did not break during the first eight innings.

The Cubs had excellent chances to rally going into the 4th and 7th innings with the 3, 4, and 5 hitters due up, but they were unable to capitalize.

In the bottom of the eighth the Cubs scored two runs, tying the game, with Lou pulling out all the stops.  They might have scored more, but their 3# batter GIDP, ending both the inning and the rally.

In the top of the 10th inning the Reds scored what proved to be the winning run.  Following 2 consecutive singles, Drew Stubbs hit a double play ball to second.  The Cubs might have turned the double play, but baserunner Jay Bruce clearly ran out of the basepath to bulldoze Starlin Castro, preventing the relay throw.  I’ve got six words of advice for young Mr. Castro: Elbows, Knees and Cleats, My Friend!

I mean, if the umpires aren’t going to enforce the rules, somebody else will have to.

In the bottom of the 10th the Cubs had runners on 1st and 2nd with one out, but a walk off GIDP ended the inning, the rally and the game.

I include the following info for the stat geeks among us:

  • The Reds’ 3 hole hitter went 2 for 4 (.500), with a sac fly and a run scored.
  • The Reds’ clean-up hitter went 2 for 5 (.400), with an RBI triple.
  • The Cubs’ 3 hole hitter went 0 for 4 (.000), with a rally killing GIDP in the 7th.
  • The Cubs’ clean-up hitter went 1 for 4, which, counterintuitively, raised his batting average above .180. (For the sake of comparison, Aaron Miles hit .184 in 2009.)

When Yogi Berra was managing he had a motto: “If you don’t hit, you sit.”  Apparently, the 2010 Cubs have a different philosophy.

I have one more interesting statistic to share with you, baseball fans.  Cincinnati’s starting pitcher, Travis Wood, averaged 11.3 pitches per inning in his major league debut.

Tomorrow should be another beautiful day!

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