RIGHT FIELD BLEACHERS OPEN
After over two months of the 2015 season without them, the right field bleachers are finally done, completing the renovation process to the Wrigley Field bleachers that started almost as soon as last season ended. I’ll be honest and say that I had a really hard time with the fact that the Cubs played so many weeks without bleachers at all, so it was very nice to watch last night’s game and see the bleachers whole again. The videoboards look great, in my opinion, and especially so in person. I was there for a game against the Brewers on May 3 and was immediately a fan of the left field jumbotron. I tend to strive to sit in the bleachers whenever I go to a game, so I’m looking forward to getting out there sometime later this summer.
I touched on it in yesterday’s post, but our bullpen is showing signs of life again, posting a collective 0.51 ERA in the past 5 games. On Thursday, in particular, they put together 6 innings of brilliant work, giving up just 2 hits and not allowing a single run after starter Tsuyoshi Wada gave up 3 runs in the first 3 innings.
Friday’s starter, Jason Hammel, had the 4th best ERA in in baseball (2.03) since April 27, but the Reds struck early, scoring in the first inning off of doubles from Iván De Jesus and Todd Frazier followed by an RBI single from Brayan Pena. A very nice running catch in deep center field by Dexter Fowler and a truly impressive “catch and tag” play by Addison Russell kept the Reds off of the board in the second inning.
I was impressed at how Hammel battled in spite of just not having it. He ultimately gave up just 4 runs and stuck in there for 5 innings, which was extremely important after the heavy use that our bullpen saw on Thursday. And, speaking of that bullpen, they did a phenomenal job for the second day in a row. Sure, the end result was an extra inning loss, but any time your bullpen can put together 10 innings of scoreless pitching across two days, that’s a good thing. The trouble was that Hector Rondon gave up that final run in the 10th, which will probably only fuel the speculation that his job as the Cubs closer is just about over. If you’re trying to figure out what might happen, Joe Maddon‘s post game comments will probably only confuse you.
THIS DAY IN CUBS HISTORY
1905: New York hurler Christy Mathewson pitches his second career no-hitter, defeating the Cubs, 1-0. In 1901, 20 year-old ‘Matty’ became the first rookie in the modern era to throw a no-no, holding the Cardinals hitless in the Giants’ 5-0 victory at Robison Field.
1913: In the top of the ninth inning with no outs at New York’s Polo Grounds, Christy Mathewson strands a runner on third base to record his 300th victory when the Giants edge the Cubs, 3-2. During his 17-year major league career, ‘Big Six’ will compile a 373-188 record.
1940: In the inaugural Hall of Fame game, the Red Sox beat the Cubs at Doubleday Field, 10-9. Future Hall of Famer Ted Williams hits two home runs during the six-inning rain-shortened exhibition.
1994: At the age of 34, Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg suddenly retires, walking away from $16 million. ‘Ryno’ will return to the Chicago line-up in 1996 to play for two more seasons before completing his 16-year Hall of Fame career.
2006: The first wireless bullpen communication system in baseball history is used at Wrigley Field when a cell phone, which will be sent to the Hall of Fame, is used for the first time in major league history to call the bullpen. From the dugout, Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild calls the bullpen during the third inning to start warming up reliever Angel Guzman.
2010: In game against their cross-town rivals at Wrigley Field, the Cubs get out of a bases loaded jam in the final frame for a 1-0 victory over the White Sox. Juan Pierre‘s leadoff single in the top of the ninth spoils Ted Lilly‘s bid for a no-hitter, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished at the ‘Friendly Confines’ since Milt Pappas threw a no-no in 1972.