Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Game Recap: Cubs 3, Cardinals 2; Slump Over?

Win

I would kill my internet connection out of spite, but it's better to be crippled-but-online rather than dead-and-disconnected.  It seems that MLB.TV doesn't want to play properly for me right now, which means that I have become increasingly reliant on the sports ticker.  But that's ok - it's going to be a struggle for me to watch these games for awhile anyway.  They're all too close.

Although the offense continues to slump, the Cubs won again tonight, their second in a row.  Tonight's win came from RBIs generated by a bases loaded walk, a ground out, and more traditionally, a double.  As a team, the Cubs combined for 7 hits and 5 walks, and they failed to capitalize on either 9 or 19 opportunities, depending on how you want to look at things.

Not that the continued offensive druthers mattered too much.  Rich Harden triumphantly returned to the rotation, pitching 6 innings, giving up only 5 hits, 1 walk, and 2 runs.  Both of the runs scored against Harden came in the 6th, thanks in part (and unsurprisingly) to Albert Pujols, who drove in one with a double.  The Cubs ace was relieved by Lou's best three, all of whom promptly scared the crap out of Cub fans everywhere.  I mean, c'mon guys, how long do we have to go before you relearn the meaning of a 1-2-3 inning?  Samardija gave up a hit, leaving a Cardinal stranded at second.  Marmol loaded the bases, although it was partly due to the continued sudden influx of stupidity on the part of Lou Piniella.

Look, I love Lou.  The Cubs wouldn't be a first place team without him.  But, when there was a man on 2nd and a man on 3rd with 2 outs, why in the hell did Lou make Marmol intentionally walk Adam Freaking Kennedy to load the bases? I mean, Adam Kennedy!  The guy sucks!  He's batting .267 with a homerun in 300 at bats.  Josh Phelps, meanwhile, who pinched-hit for Jason LaRue, is batting .278 in admittedly limited at bats this year.  But, still.  When the Cubs intentionally walked Adam Kennedy, I hear he almost fainted from the shock of it.  Besides that, with a 1-run lead and a pitcher with a few bouts with total and absolute wildness this year, I'm not sure how I'd feel about intentionally putting him in a situation in which he couldn't afford to miss his spots.

But, hey, it worked.  Marmol got out of the 8th and Lou Piniella turned to the Shooter, Kerry Wood.  Wood delivered on the opportunity for his 30th save this season by allowing a leadoff double and, after forcing an out at third, a single to Schumaker.

Then, with 2 men on, Wood struck out Aaron Miles and faced Albert Pujols, who popped out to center to end the game.  But, I ask you this, my friends.  Did you feel comfortable with Wood facing Pujols in that situation?  With 2 outs and a base empty, wouldn't it have made sense to walk Pujols in order to face Ludwick?  Do you ever give the other team's best hitter a chance to burn  you in the 9th inning?

I think Lou is suffering from fatigue.  I think his decisions as of late are mostly bad.  I suppose I could be wrong, though.

Series Recap: It's their first series victory by the Cubs since August.  Despite their slumps and slides since then, the Cubs are now 5.5 games in front of the second place Brewers.  Milwaukee, that's got to hurt.

They next face the Houston Astros, depending on whether or not Hurricane Ike lets it happen.  The first 2 games of the series have already been postponed, with the possibility that Sunday's game will be a double header and the 3rd game will be made up, in theory, at the end of the season.

I still think they should have just moved 'em to Wrigley, not that I ever expected that to actually happen.

All told, the Cubs are now 3-6 in September.  Not exactly world breaking, but they've got time to go back to crushing the globe.

Current Record: 88-58
Position in the NL Central:
1st place, 5.5 games in front of Milwaukee and 8.5 ahead of Houston
Best Possible Record: 104-58
Worst Possible Record: 88-74
On Pace For:
98-64
Magic Number: 11, as powered by CubsMagicNumber.com

Am I the only one?

They have won these last two days yet, I don't feel much better then i did Tuesday night. They still are not hitting and really only got any runs these past two games with the help of errors. I will take the wins, don't get me wrong, but they still make me way too nervous. My whole line of thinking is that they are getting a slump out of the way now, so next month we will be ready to go....... Right? Am I right?

Yes, the wins havent looked

Yes, the wins havent looked good, but they have won two close games in a row. In the playoffs, most games are going to be close and its good to see they are holding on.

Look - I'll criticize Lou

Look - I'll criticize Lou with the rest when he deserves it. I was screaming at the TV the other night when he had Soto bunt for the first time all season. But Kennedy bats left and Phelps right, and Phelps was 0-3 for his career against Marmol - all three strikeouts. I was glad Lou walked Kennedy to get to Phelps.

What a catch by Fukudome last

What a catch by Fukudome last night. And the bullpen was great. Glad to see the Cubs win back-to-back while the Brew crew lose, yet again. Can they win with anyone else besides Sabathia? And why has Ben Sheets been pure garbage since Sabathia arrived? That team is in major trouble..... anyways, when will the Cubs and Astros play? I'm guessing double-header Sunday and one on Monday?

Yes

Yes, they announced they would play two sunday and one monday but they are not sure where they will be played at this point. It depends on how bad the hurricane gets and what kind of damage it causes.

I can only think of one

I can only think of one recent incident in which it was as bad as they thought it would be. I imagine the Cubs will get to play, although it looks like the hurricane will eventually swing northward, through the breadbasket and into Canada. I reckon we wouldn't really see anything but some heavy rain, but I wonder how it will effect other sporting events along the way.

Bottom of the ninth

Only one problem with your analysis. When Pujols was up to bat, first base was not open. I too was thinking they maybe should walk him, however that is hard to do when first base is not open. You essentially would be putting the tying run on third and the winning run on second.

I know first wasn't open, but

I know first wasn't open, but *a* base was. Similar to when teams used to walk Barry Bonds with the bases loaded, it's better to take a little risk than a lotta risk. If I'm the Cubs skipper, I don't ever, ever want to let the other team's best hitter beat me.

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