NLDS Game One Blogcast
5:31PM Central Time - Welcome to the first entry of tonight's blogcast! They just started the feed of the broadcast, consisting of Tony Gwynn, Ron Darling, and whichever schmuck that other guy is. It took That Other Guy literally less than 10 seconds to remind us that the Cubs haven't won a World Series in 100 years. I'll try to keep a tally of how often they bring it up tonight. The next update will likely be after the top half of the 1st inning.
By the way - is it just me, or is Ryan Dempster living up to his Canadian heritage and growing a playoffs beard?
5:36PM Central - I lied. "The Cubs won 5 of 7 games against the Dodgers and swept them in Chicago, but that was before Ramirez joined LA. The Dodgers have a totally different lineup with Ramirez in there." Uh, no brainiac. The Dodgers have the same lineup, but with Manny Ramirez. It's not totally different.
5:44PM Central - Dempster strikes out Furcal, walks Martin on a close pitch that could have been a third strike, and then induces the dangerous Manny Ramirez to ground into an inning-ending double play. Goat Friend and KXNO broadcaster Jon Miller has noted all year long that Dempster is comfortable giving up the occasional walk due in part to his confidence in his stuff.
5:53PM Central - No thrills for the Cubs in this first inning. So much for my dream of Chicago busting it wide open right away. When C. saw Joe Torre, she said "I think that guy's in the mafia!" She said this even before she knew that he used to manage the Yankees for more than a decade.
5:57PM Central - Annoying Guy notes that the Cubs and Dodgers have played each other 2,024 times and are tied in the standings ... as if it matters in this series.
Dempster allows a leadoff walk. Stomach, a ball of nerves.
6:04PM Central - After allowing a leadoff walk, Dempster forces three pop flies to get out of the inning, no fuss no muss. Is it just me, or are Cub fans quiet and tentative tonight? I think that once the Cubs get their first lead of the series, Wrigley will get noisy.
6:10PM Central - DeRo is my hero! I've been saying all along that the Cubs would have good odds of winning if DeRosa could continue to produce. There are obviously still games to be played, but that's a great start.
Cubs 2, Dodgers 0.
Oh, and Lowe is now complaining about the umpire's strike zone. Ahhh yes. This is good.
6:14PM Central - With the 2nd inning over, the Cubs now have a 2 run lead. After Dempster got on, I thought for a second that Soriano was going to bury Lowe. I was sadly wrong.
End of 2nd inning, Cubs 2, Dodgers 0.
6:20PM Central - Bad tidings. My "right way" method of play tells me that walking the pitcher is a big no-no.
6:22PM Central - After walking Lowe, and building an 0-2 count to Furcal, Dempster lost him on 4 balls. Dempster needs a double play here, or risk facing Manny with... uh, many runners on. Larry comes out to give him words of encouragement, mostly consisting of "WTF?!"
6:26PM Central - Deep fly ball for out #2. With 2 outs and Manny up, even with Dempster's control issues, I throw Manny nothing he can hit. Never let their best hitter beat you.
6:31PM Central - Manny gets an infield hit to load the bases for Ethier. With a 1-1 count, he hits a slow, scary foul ball that's mere feet away from equalizing the game. Dempster with a full count, 31 pitches thrown already. I have to think he's going to be good for 110-115, but he might be done after 5 the way he's going. And a strike out! Phew! Poor Cub fans, this has got to be killing people!
If that just happened to the Cubs, my argument would be that they were now destined to lose. Wasting a bases loaded opportunity with a pitcher who's struggling to throw strikes rarely results in wins. Because the Cubs escaped the situation, I'm taking the "this is a scary game" approach and am worried that Dempster is a few bad pitches away from getting rocked.
End of the Top of the 3rd - Cubs 2, Dodgers 0
6:39PM Central - After Derrek Lee got on with only one out, his bad luck with the double play continues as Aramis grounds into one to end the inning. I missed Fukudome's first out of the inning, as I went upstairs to take some calcium as I am battling leg and shoulder cramps tonight, oddly enough.
End of the 3rd - Cubs 2, Dodgers 0; heart attack victims so far: 12
After a Soriano Hop gets the first out, the second comes with ease before Dempster surrenders a bloop hit. Still, this is a less stressful inning, as it ends with a harmless line-out.
End of the Top of the 4th - Cubs 2, Dodgers 0 - time to get some runs!
Geo Soto started the inning with a sharply hit lineout. He's going to start getting hits soon enough. Lowe then proceeds to strike out Edmonds, resulting in a DeRosa single without runners on. Apparently, Lowe is concerned that the guy with a bum leg will run on him, based on the throws to first. No matter, Theriot singles as well, giving Dempster a rare opportunity to put the game out of reach with a 3 run homer. C. says "bunting is stupid. It should be disbanded." I say, "It's not an organization, they can't disband it." Alas, Dempster strikes out.
End of the 4th - Cubs 2, Dodgers 0
7:02PM Central - Dear Ryan Dempster, seriously, this walks crap has got to stop. I know, it's the playoffs, and you're not used to being there, but c'mon! You're killing me! P.S. You can make it up to me by forcing Russell Martin into a double play.
P.P.S. 3-0. STOP IT! Bad Dempster!
7:05PM Central - Fine, we'll take a fly out. C. again: "Doesn't he (Ramirez) realize he looks stupid with all that crap on his hat?"
As we gape at the crazy lady with the Cubs Santa hat (...I've got one), Dempster brings it to a full count. The know-nothing broadcasters think that Dempster's problems are that he's been too excited, but they might have a point. I may be wrong about Clownsevelt being just idiot enough to do well. And he walks Ramirez, but I'm ok with that. As I've said a million times - never let their best hitter beat you. Ron Darling with the random line about how, if you work real hard, it just might pay off in October. ...okaaaaay.
Dempster walks the bases loaded and Larry comes out to have words with the Wild One. Dempster is now over 100 pitches, it doesn't look like he'll get past the 6th if he even gets out of the 5th. Not cool.
7:14 - Grand Slam by Loney. See you later, Ryan Dempster.
Not that I need to say this, but you can't give a team so many chances as Dempster's given the Dodgers. I really thought he had the right mentality to be a game one starter ... here's to hoping that his next outing is a better one, but he's got to be feeling down about himself.
Marshall comes out to get the Cubs out of the inning. Anybody else think Dempster should shave the beard?
7:20PM Central - Big breaking strikeout by Marshall to end that brutal 5th inning. Just one thing to keep you guys up, if you're up at all - the Cubs have a pretty good offense, too.
End of the Top of the 5th - Dodgers 4, Cubs 2
After a Soriano strikeout (to the boos of many), Fooky rocketed a ball off the shin of Casey Blake, giving D.Lee a chance to ground into a double play. Which he promptly does. Figures.
End of the 5th - Dodgers 4, Cubs 2
7:32 Central - So, here's the good news. Marshall is an underrated reliever and despite the pecimism and negativity that is running rampant in Cub fans everywhere, this team is fully capable of coming from behind and winning.
Here's the bad news - if the Cubs don't grab a lead shortly, Lou is going to turn to Cotts and Howry and save Marmol and Samardzija for another night.
7:38 Central - After getting an out and then walking Lowe, Marshall buckled down and escaped. Like I said, underrated.
Marquis - not Cotts nor Howry, but not any better, either - is warming up in the pen. Lou is obviously saving his horses for another day, so if the Cubs want to optimize their chances of coming back, winning, and cementing their destiny, they're going to need to take it to Lowe this inning.
End fo the Top of the 6th - Dodgers 4, Cubs 2 - Lowe is at 80 pitches. Considering how dangerous the Dodger pen is, they need to work him.
7:47PM Central - Minor problem. The Cubs are taking the fastballs and swinging at the breaking pitches. I'd like to see them be a little more aggressive but they need to stop sitting on the right pitches.
DeRo flies out to end the inning with A-Ram on third. Time is running out, kids. Marquis to the ... rescue?
End of the 6th - Dodgers 4, Cubs 2
7:54PM Central - Apparently Manny was really determined to hit a homerun. Can't really blame Marshall for that one, it wasn't exactly a juicy pitch.
Dodgers 5, Cubs 2
7:58PM Central - Idiot Broadcaster Man says Marshall made a "mistake" to Ramirez, although I would argue that a breaking pitch hit at the batter's ankles doesn't really qualify. Apart from the low-blow homer, Marshall had a good inning. The Cubs are now 6 outs away from losing Game 1.
I realize nobody is really thinking of it like this, but let's look at this clinically: if the Cubs were going to lose this game because of the Grand Slam, then a Manny Ramirez homerun is essentially pointless. Might as well let him hit it when it doesn't matter so much, right?
End of the Top of the 7th - Dodgers 5, Cubs 2, Drunken, Dejected Cub Fans: 455,093
8 Central - Idiot Announcer Man keeps talking about how quiet the ballpark is tonight, contrasting it with last night's celebration when the White Sox clinched. The thing is, I don't think he's actually clever enough to be implying that the Sox are the better fans - I think he thinks that the city shares the teams equally. He also just mentioned the 100 year drought again.
Sori, Fukki, and before them Theriot all fail to deliver. Fontenot is left a sad participant on the basebaths. Now, before people start jumping down the throat of the Fonz, I will remind you that he hit what would've been a World Series winning homer had the D-Backs not worked some magic a while back against Rivera. His bat will come around.
End of the 7th - Dodgers 5, Cubs 2. 6 Outs to Go
8:14PM Central - Leadoff triple against the rookie Samardzija. Idiot Announcer Guy, with the count 2-2, "Samardzija is struggling right now." ...No, he's trying to keep the ball away from the batter.
Dodgers 6, Cubs 2. Let them tack it on tonight. Get 'em tomorrow.
8:19PM Central - Samardoenelokdana forces a double play and a deep, deeeeep pop out to end the inning. This game can't end fast enough for me.
Dodgers 6, Cubs 2.
8:23PM Central - It would be very unCub-like for somebody to hit a granny this inning. I'm just pointing that out.
8:31PM Central - So, Derrek Lee hit what would've been another double play ball, had somebody been on base. Aramis smacked a deep out to right field, and Geo Soto continued to go 0-for-the-game, but only because he drew a walk. Jim Edmonds almost had a heroic moment, but was foiled by a foot of foul territory in left and the incoming wind in center. If he didn't get so much air on it, that ball probably would have left the park.
I can really see how easy it would be to feel negatively right now. I mean, cripes, this is exactly what we didn't want to happen. In a series where momentum is essential, the Cubs have lost theirs tonight. I'll save the commentary for the post-game, though.
End of the 8th inning, Dodgers 6, Cubs 2.
8:35PM Central - Big homer by Russ Martin. Hey, I'll use the same mindset I would've used had this been the Cubs ripping apart the Dodgers - it always seems that when a team scores a ton of runs one night, they have trouble scoring anything the next night. So, I say again: Dodgers, run it up.
Dodgers 7, Cubs 2
8:41PM Central - Marquis in mop-up surrenders a run and then escapes the inning. Torre is now turning to ... Greg Maddux?
I take it back. Go get 'em, Cubs. Club the Mad Dog.
End of the Top of the 9th - Dodgers 7, Cubs 2
After DeRosa grounded out to start the 9th inning, Theriot hustled his way to first in a close call. Had Greg actually managed to step on first, Theriot would probably have been out. Ward then grounded out to first, and with 2 outs the Fonz stepped up against The Old Man and popped out ... to first. Seriously, I think Greg was toying with them.
Game over, a post game recap will come.
Dodgers 7, Cubs 2