Rockies 3, Cubs 6
If you’re like me, you usually appreciate the optimism of the Harry Caray-instituted post-seventh inning stretch cry, but you readily acknowledge that it’s probably misplaced. This season in particular, I don’t get the sense that these Cubs are prone to late-inning heroics. I spent most of Tuesday afternoon in driving to and from LAX, and didn’t get to hear much of the game. I did manage to stream a few minutes, but when I heard the Cubs were down 7-1 late in the game, I knew there was little reason for hope. Sure, they managed to tack on a couple late runs, but they never really threatened to get back in it.
That same pessimism shows up when they let an opponent hang around too long, like it seemed there were doing Wednesday evening. After a lead-off homer from David DeJesus in the first and a two-run bomb from Jeff Samardzija–a surprising show of power for the Dread Pirate–the Cubs nursed a two run lead through the early innings. And while Samardzija looked strong for most of the evening, I never got the sense they were going to put the Rockies away (they did load the bases with two outs in the fifth inning, but that little rally was over before it began). A pinch hit homer for Reid Brignac (who?) in the sixth did nothing to calm my fears.
Then in the bottom of the seventh, the bats woke up again. With Darwin Barney on third base (after a walk, a steal, and a Samardzija sacrifice) and DeJesus on first (HBP), Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo both singled to right, driving in runs and chipping away at the Rockies’ hopes. After a pitching change, Alfonso Soriano grounded into a run-producing fielder’s choice to widen the lead. And although Colorado managed to push across a late run in the ninth, the game was basically over after the seventh (and yes, I’m temporarily sidestepping my misgivings about Kevin Gregg’s closing abilities).
Did the Cubs respond to the “Let’s Get Some Runs!” cry? Of course not. In fact, my guess is the players regard that particular bit of optimistic groupthink as little more than a repetitive nuisance.
But in a game that depends so much on good timing, it was a pleasure to see the Cubs have it working on their side Wednesday night. And it seems like more and more lately, this team has been a pleasure to watch. Stick around–they might surprise us yet.
Parting Shot: And speaking of good timing, here’s another semi-annual reminder that Soriano has a gun.