Brewers 15 @ Cubs 4

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

There are explosive stomach viruses that are more enjoyable than last night’s Cubs game. I’m talking about the kind of illness that necessitates a trip to the hospital and the purchase of a new couch. Seriously–I’d rather be curled up in the fetal position on the shower floor, softly crying in a shallow pool of my own sick than watch another game like that.

The suspense is terrible… I hope it’ll last. For starters, the evening was interminable. Start to finish, the colonoscopy game lasted a bloated three hours and forty-three minutes. That’s enough time to watch Lawrence of Arabia–which would have been a much better use of the time. I haven’t been as annoyed with Justin Germano as some of you have been, but he seemed to work a little extra-slow last night. The Brewers’ starter Marco Estrada didn’t help anything. I must have missed it last week, but he’s got an incredibly annoying habit of dipping way down into a crouch before every pitch, almost like he’s picking the ball up off the ground to begin his windup. When the game is dragging on, it gets more and more frustrating. For the rest of the year, I’ll be rooting for him to take a liner off his shin or quad–not enough to take him out of the game, but just to give him something to think about every time he takes another dip.

Thank you, Sir, may I have another? Of course, it didn’t help the speed of the game that the Brewers pounded out twenty-one hits on the Cubs tonight. Twenty-one hits–right now that would constitute a good week for the Cubs. Every starter in the Brewers’ lineup had a hit, and two of them–Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez–each had four.

Boy, that escalated quickly. In spite of that, this was a close game for most of the evening. The Cubs actually enjoyed a lead for a while on the back of some clutch hitting in the third. With two outs in the inning, Anthony Rizzo, Alfonso Soriano, and Starlin Castro drove in three consecutive runs, and the Brewers briefly looked like they might give this one away. That feeling and the Cubs’ lead didn’t last long. It would come back briefly in the sixth (the feeling, not the lead), after Brett Jackson hit a solo homerun and the Cubs loaded the bases, but that’s the last time they’d come close to posing a threat to Milwaukee.

No matter where you go, there you are. The 32,541 fans in attendance got a good reminder of the damage Aramis Ramirez can do when he’s hot. He hit two homers and a double to drive in four runs. Monday’s game was one of those nights when Ramirez could impose his will on opposing pitchers. Bob Brenly called his second homer–it came in the ninth inning off the first pitch he saw, in the middle of back-to-back-to-back bombs from Braun, Ramirez, and Corey Hart.

Oh, I hated the Colonel, with his wee beady eyes and that smug look on his face! The only Brewer who had a more productive evening was Mr. Superhuman Testosterone Levels himself, Ryan Braun. He drove in five runs on four hits, including a bomb that appeared to land in the tree at the corner of Waveland and Kenmore. That’s far. Like Barry Bonds-, Mark McGwire-, Manny Ramirez-, Ken Caminiti-, and Jose Canseco-far.

What would you say… ya do here? It probably goes without saying that the Cubs pitchers were at their lousiest Monday night. Germano was bad–giving up five runs on ten hits–but his was a minor contribution to the collective dumpster fire. Lendy Castillo was the final rotten cherry on top of this misshapen, curdled sundae–he was brought into the apocalyptic ninth to stop the bleeding after the Brewers had already scored five runs on the inning, and proceeded to give up another four while recording only two outs. But the winner of Monday night’s Billy Madison Award (for the most utterly useless performance) goes to Alex Hinshaw. He was the Mrs. O’Leary’s cow of the evening. Here’s how his brief appearance went: walk, single, homerun, homerun, homerun. If I hadn’t been so blindingly furious with him, I probably would have felt sorry for Alex.

Forget it, Donny, you’re out of your element! After the performances of Hinshaw and Castillo, Dale decided to turn the game over to Joe Mather. With two outs and two runners on base, Mather became the first position player to take the mound for the Cubs since Garry Gaetti did it in 1999. He gave up a run on one hit before recording the final out of the game, making him one of the better Cubs relievers to take the mound Monday night.

Where’s the Tylenol? So let’s try to end this on a slightly more upbeat note. I have a couple bleacher seats for Wednesday night’s debacle game, and I’d like to give them away to a VFTB reader. I’m not interested in groveling or anything like that–simply state the clearest, cleverest, or heart-warmingest case for why you should get to go to the game in the comments section of this post and I’ll pick a winner before tonight’s game starts.

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