View From The Bleachers

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Tuesday

30

August 2011

19

COMMENTS

Game 135 – Big Bats In The Bay

Written by , Posted in General

Cubs 7, Giants 0

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

The Cubs used the long ball to support Randy Wells and hang a loss on two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum.  Is this the same sorry squad that got swept in Milwaukee?

WHAT WENT RIGHT

  • Randy Wells turned in his first complete game. He featured an outstanding changeup and kept the Giants hitters off balance all night.
  • Starlin Castro had two impressive at bats, lining a pair of opposite-field doubles off Tim Lincecum.
  • Carlos Pena walked three times against Lincecum. Sadly, he was stranded each time.
  • Alfonso Soriano put the Cubs on the board with a solo shot in the 5th inning.
  • Geo Soto broke out of his slump and gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead with a solo homer in the 7th.
  • Three batters later, Blake DeWitt sent Lincecum to the showers with a three-run bomb down the RF line.
  • Pena greeted Giants reliever Steve Edlefsen with a home run the other way.
  • Marlon Byrd drove home a 9th-inning run to make it 7-0.

WHAT WENT WRONG

  • The Cubs defensive woes continued with a bad throw by Aramis Ramirez. Fortunately, he made up for his error with a nice diving catch in the 5th.
  • Tyler Colvin is lost at the plate. After going 0-5 on Monday, Colvin checks in at .147/.200/.311.
  • The huge Chicken McNuggets sign behind home plate made me extremely hungry for junk food.

ONE AND DONE

I can’t watch a Cubs-Giants game without recalling the one-game playoff from 1998. In case you don’t remember, the Cubs hosted the Giants for a one-and-done contest to determine the N.L. wild card winner. The Giants started veteran righty Mark Gardner, and the Cubs countered with Steve Trachsel. I was already an “assume-the-worst” Cubs fan back then, so I figured Barry Bonds and the Giants would absolutely clobber Trachsel.

To my astonishment Trachsel held the Giants scoreless for six-plus innings. Meanwhile, the Cubs put five runs on the board against Gardner and reliever Jose Mesa. The Cubs took a 5-0 lead into the final frame and then decided to make us sweat.

The Giants scored three runs and had the tying run at the plate against rubber-armed closer Rod Beck. But “The Shooter” came through again, retiring Joe Carter and propelling the Cubs into the postseason. We won’t talk about what happened in the following playoff series vs. Atlanta.

A few random thoughts about that heart-stopping 1998 contest against the Giants:

  • Gary Gaetti hit a big two-run homer off Gardner.
  • Matt Karchner and Felix Heredia actually got someone out.
  • Barry Bonds went hitless and walkless.
  • The Cubs pitching staff racked up 169 pitches to the Giants 128.
  • Orlando Merced pinch hit for the Northsiders. I completely forgot that he was part of that team.
  • Do you remember the Cubs total attendance figure for the 1998 season (with an extra game tossed in)? 2.62 million. Do you know the Cubs attendance number through August 28, 2011? 2.57 million.

Stars of the Game
Base on Win Probability Added (WPA)

1st Star – Randy Wells (.368 WPA)

2nd Star – Starlin Castro (.126 WPA)

3rd Star – Carlos Pena  (.109 WPA)

  • CubbieDude

    Great recap and great game. I enjoyed watching the parts I saw (the last four innings). Is Randy Wells the new Cubs Ace? It’s always fun watching the Cubs pound Lincecum.

  • Randy

    Watching Randy Wells pitch makes me think that if he had pitched in the 80s he’d have been a 17-20 game winner every year. Guys these days are such good bad ball hitters that sinkerball pitchers cannot get away with the occasional mistake. On the plus side he has figured out his armslot for his changeup, last two outings the guys at the plate had no idea what he was throwing. Bodes well for a middle to back of the rotation guy,

  • OK, who saw that coming?
    Missed the game and am sorry I did.

  • Buddy

    Wells looks like a different guy right now. That changeup is a serious weapon. Hopefully he keeps it going.

  • cap’n obvious

    blind squirrel theory

  • chris in Illinois

    Still think Wells is a completely reasonable 4-5 starter on a good team…reasonably priced as well…nice recap…might have to watch tonight.

  • Norm

    Wells has regressed quite a bit from the last two years…if he can get back to that form from ’09 and ’10 he’d be a fine back of rotation pitcher.

  • Buddy

    I agree Chris. I’m not ready to give on Wells either.

  • Buddy

    “give up”

  • flyslinger2

    Your last stat under Random thoughts harkens back to yesterday’s blog regarding the rating of the franchise.

    Sorry I missed the game. Was cleaning up after Irene. She cleaned my clock when it comes to my yard and my garden.

  • Buddy

    I just threw the attendance figure in there because I thought it was kind of interesting. About every other Cubsfan I talk to tells me about this season’s “attendance problems.” Well unless I misread the Baseball-Reference.com numbers, the rotten 2011 Cubs are going to outdraw the 1998 90-win Cubs that also had Sammy Sosa in the middle of a historical home-run race. What does that tell us? I’m not honestly sure. But I did find it a little bit interesting. What are your thoughts?

  • Seymour Butts

    Nice to see Directv stay with the coverage long enough to see Dempster fill Wells’ face with a shaving cream pie.

    What happened to Girlie view???

  • Eddie Von White

    My opinion on the attendance is that today we have fewer true baseball fans in the stands. Going to Wrigley is the popular thing to do so everyone goes there – probably less baseball knowledge and fandom in the stands, just more people socializing not even caring about who is playing.

    I miss Girlie View too.

    And, BTW – no offense to the Little Leaguers out there, but I think putting Little League games on ESPN is a mistake. I know they’ve been on TV for years, but I wonder if the kids don’t already have enough pressure on them without adding a world wide audience of millions of people. Does that add to, or take away from their joy of the game? And, is it good for their overall well-being? Just asking…

  • Buddy

    I agree 100 percent Eddie. Same goes for high school games. No need to show them on ESPN either.

  • Randy

    Don’t we have more seats in the stands now than we did in 1998? I think that would account for the increase in attendance, no?

  • Buddy

    It would certainly contribute.

  • Noah

    I agree with you as well, Eddie, although for somewhat different reasons. I think having the TV audience influences the coaches on those teams to do things to win instead of in the kids’ best interests. In particular, I’ve heard that many of the pitchers in those games are throwing breaking balls. There’s not a single kid in that age range who should be throwing a breaking ball. It’s a Tommy John surgery by age 16 waiting to happen.

  • Eddie Von White

    @ Buddy and Noah – agreed also for the same reasons.

  • BLPCB

    I remember that game in 1998. I was 10 years old, in my first year of being a Cubs fan, and I wanted Sosa to hit 5 HRs in that game to beat McGwire for the record. I was disappointed when he didn’t, and then I was crushed when I found out that if he hit any HRs in the playoffs it wouldn’t count on his regular season total, and McGwire would win it 70-66.