Won’t you take me to
Won’t you take me to
Won’t you take me to
Won’t you take me to
- with apologies to Lipps, Inc.
Since Steve Dahl has been preoccupied with disseminating the music career of, alleged umpire, Country Joe West, it fell to us to quickly create a sing-a-long parody in honor of the Blackhawks. Fortunately for all involved, I quickly dissuaded myself from actually recording it. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at the Hawks in the Stanley Cup.
Saturday night saw the Hawks, THE MIGH-TEEE BLAAAACK-HAWKS, get into such a wild game that the team was handing out logo-branded defibrillators to the fans. We could have used some at home and in bars as well. How wild was it? Well, the guy who hasn’t scored a goal in weeks became the most important guy on the ice and still didn’t score. BRIAN HAMILTON of the Tribune has the whole story.
When capturing how Marian Hossa manufactured two goals for the Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, the term assist seems insufficient. This wasn’t incidental help. These were scores generated entirely by Hossa’s diligence and stick wizardry, and he just happened not to shoot.
The potent winger remains goal-free since May 5. His teammates remain unconcerned. By their consensus, no soul in the lineup played better Saturday, and should Hossa continue such deft playmaking for others in Game 2 against the Flyers and beyond, that will do just fine.
“He was probably the best player on the ice (Saturday) night,” said Troy Brouwer, the beneficiary of Hossa’s two assists in Game 1. “He’s been playing like a man possessed.”
It’s worthwhile to note that for all the talk of Hossa contributing consistent play on both ends and playing a critical role on the penalty kill in the postseason, he was in a bit of a rut. He’d managed just one point in the six games before the Cup finals.
But in Game 1, with more than a few Hawks looking out of sorts, the man with the $62.8 million contract and the only player to make three straight finals with three different teams acted the part.
“You keep your composure, keep your game and don’t try to run around and be somebody else,” Hossa said. “I tried to play the same way.”
No, the Hawks just need Hossa to continue to be himself, which in theory will lead directly to scoring chances, even if they don’t jump off his stick blade specifically.
On Brouwer’s first goal, Hossa skated in from the circle and drew every eye before a no-look drop-off preceded a scoring blast. On Brouwer’s second goal, Hossa hovered behind the net for an eternity, eventually serving Brouwer a backhand feed in the slot for a score.
Even on Patrick Sharp’s second-period goal, Hossa commanded attention on the other side of a 2-on-1 break.
“He held onto the puck and was making things happen,” Sharp said. “I thought Troy had two great shots — can’t take anything away from those shots — but ‘Hoss’ created both of those plays.”
“He’s real good at drawing players in,” Brouwer said, “and because he is so good guys are going to key in on him and give him some respect. That’s going to leave players like me and Sharp open.”
The Hawks would not turn away goal production from Hossa himself as the finals wear on. But doing everything but scoring could be sufficient too.
“He played physical, he made plays with the puck, he’s good defensively,” Sharp said. “It’s not always about scoring goals.”
Obviously no one will attach the phrase “defensive gem” to game 1, but everyone will attach the word “win” and that’s all that matters to anyone in Chicago.
So, what are we in for with tonight’s game 2? DAVID HAUGH, also of the Trib, figures it all will depend on the mind set of each team and he figures that Philly is already coming unglued.
By the 11th time the red flashing lights at the United Center indicated a goal had been scored Saturday night in the Blackhawks’ 6-5 victory over the Flyers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, Tony Esposito was in full flashback mode.
The breakneck pace took the Hawks’ legendary goaltender back to the last time the franchise won a Stanley Cup game — 8-7 victory over the Scotty Bowman-coached Canadiens on May 8, 1973 at the Montreal Forum.
The Canadian dollar wasn’t the only thing higher than expected that night. Bowman once called it the strangest game he ever coached.
“I was against (Montreal goalie) Ken Dryden and nobody expected a high-scoring game in that one either but, oh, boy, it was wide-open, like Saturday night,’’ Esposito recalled Sunday. “I guess it showed some nights you’re not going to be on top of your game. It happens. You just put it behind you and get ready for the next one.’’
That’s easy to do if you’re Esposito or Dryden and have a Hall of Fame resume to rely upon through the inevitable period of doubt.
That’s even much easier to do if you’re Antti Niemi and your team survived an uncharacteristic off night in goal to bail you out and take a 1-0 lead in the series the Hawks really should be trailing.
But if you’re NHL journeyman Michael Leighton of the Flyers, and your coach pulled you for career backup Brian Boucher after giving up five goals in 20 shots against a former team you badly wanted to impress, doubt can’t be so easy to stifle.
Even if you are coming off an Eastern Conference finals series in which you had three shutouts, as Leighton did. If those shutouts didn’t help convince coach Peter Laviolette to stick with you through thick and thin of the Finals, you may ask yourself if you’re Leighton, how much do they really mean now?
Goodbye, unstoppable feeling.
“I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing and try not to think about (Saturday),’’ Leighton said Sunday before he knew he was starting Game 2. “Now is not the time to be mad at someone if I’m not starting or if ‘Bouch’ goes in. I’m not going to sit on the bench pouting. My goal is to win a Stanley Cup starting or on the bench.’’
In the NHL playoffs, a team should change goalies as often as they change razors. Rarely does a switch imply anything but a weakness.
Flyers players valiantly deflected blame from Leighton. But the more they did so, the more they drove home the idea that maybe the Hawks indeed are too good offensively for their defense or either goaltender to stop.
“Those guys have so much skill,’’ Ian Laperriere said. “You put anybody in the slot by themselves with time, they’re going to score, doesn’t matter who’s in there.”
Laviolette initially played coy about his decision to start Leighton, waiting until after the Flyers media session to announce the news Sunday evening in a press release. It came across as more of an abstention than a vote of confidence. The delay only unnecessarily put Leighton in the awkward spot of having to discuss whether his coach believed in him or not.
Apparently Laviolette wanted to keep the Hawks guessing as long as possible. Breaking news alert: They don’t care and, as Laperriere indicated, they aren’t picky.
The way the Hawks look at it, the Flyers picking between goalies is like a different kind of flyer choosing between a middle seat surrounded by crying kids or the aisle next to a guy who wants to share his life story. Either way, it’s going to be a long night for one poor sap.
Or, maybe, being stuck next to a guy with a deep, gravelly, voice singing “Won’t you take me to Hawkeytown....” over and over and over, etc., for the duration of the flight.
One thing I do hope is that the refs tonight are slightly less biased than the ones who showed up Saturday. The Flyers got away with mugging the Hawks on the ice and did not get one single penalty in the entire game yet, when the Hawks responded, they gave up power play after power play.
And they still won. Maybe it doesn’t matter that much after all.
Our very own Niteowl has turned out to be prescient. Check out his post from yesterday:
Looks like Ozzie like me is noticing the White Sox can’t win two in a row for some reason. There are now L-W-L-W-L in the last five games. So that means a win today. Someone could get rich on the Sox in Vegas....just follow the win loss pattern and bet accordingly.
Sadly, I could not get a flight quick enough, so I missed this golden opportunity. Since we are talking about the Sox, I will eschew tradition and lead off today’s blog with a look at last night’s game. SCOTT MERKIN from MLB.com has all the details.
By the time Freddy Garcia had dressed and prepared himself to take off for the White Sox seven-game road trip to Cleveland and Florida last Sunday, he had already forgotten about the Marlins’ punishment administered upon him at U.S. Cellular Field that balmy afternoon.
And that short memory, along with a greater knowledge of pitching to make up for a fastball without the same life as was present during his All-Star days, made possible Friday’s 4-2 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field for Garcia (4-3) and the South Siders. Garcia gave up just two runs on four hits over seven innings, striking out seven and walking two, while giving the White Sox (21-27) a viable chance to win for the seventh time in his nine trips to the mound during the 2010 season.
Friday’s gritty effort was a far cry from the seven runs permitted by Garcia over 2 1/3 innings against Florida, including a trio of long home runs. Games like those are just a necessary evil, according to Garcia.
“You got to be that way. You can’t carry whatever happens. When you play, you got to put it on the side,” Garcia said. “Throw my game.”
“He’s an impressive veteran guy who has been through the wars and through a whole lot of stuff,” said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper. “That’s the value of having a veteran guy out there, knowing how to pitch in those situations. He’s been in every freaking one of them.”
The only precarious moment for Garcia came in the sixth inning, with Ben Zobrist on first, two outs and the White Sox clinging to a 3-1 lead. Evan Longoria, who hasn’t missed much in the first two games of this four-game set, launched an 0-1, 84-mph slider toward the left-field stands, with all the makings of a game-tying home run.
Longoria’s drive hit the wall about five short of clearing the fence, easily scoring Zobrist, who was running on the pitch. But Garcia retired the struggling Carlos Pena on a ground ball to second baseman Gordon Beckham and came back to strike out two in a perfect seventh.
If honesty prevails, though, Garcia had to admit postgame how he thought Longoria’s long drive had knotted the score at 3.
“Definitely. Yeah. That was the only mistake I made today,” said Garcia with a laugh. “I was lucky the ball stayed in the park. I gave them one and got out of the inning and came back for the seventh. I wanted to throw the seventh [inning] and threw my pitches when I needed it.”
“Obviously, [Garcia’s] been good all year,” said White Sox bench coach Joey Cora, filling in Friday for manager Ozzie Guillen, who attended the high school graduation of his son Ozney. “Other than two starts, he’s been great. He not only provides us with wins, but quality innings, as well. That’s a great ballclub out there, and he was unbelievable.”
For those looking to update their comprehensive pitching statistics following the White Sox victory over the Rays (33-16), make Tampa Bay starter David Price’s record now 7-2 overall.
That’s 7-0 against the rest of baseball and 0-2 against the White Sox. Using a lineup featuring eight right-handed hitters and Juan Pierre, the White Sox produced just enough offense to upend Price’s bid for his sixth straight victory
So, if we can get him 4 out of 5 games for the rest of the season, we are golden. Now, if they can string together a few W’s in a row, fans can stop having bourbon for breakfast.
Just FYI, as far as I can tell, Joey Cora is unbeaten when he manages the Sox.
On the Northside, the Cubs celebrated their series win over the Dodgers by going out and pitching batting practice to the Cards. The Cards were very appreciative. CARRIE MUSKAT, also of MLB.com, took some time out of he busy day to get fans the 4-1-1.
Randy Wells grew up in the St. Louis area and had plenty of friends and family watching Friday’s game between the Cubs and Cardinals. They probably turned it off after one inning.
Wells failed to retire a batter, and the Cubs missed a chance to gain any ground in the National League Central as the Cardinals beat the Cubs, 7-1, in front of 39,536 at Wrigley Field.
“There’s not a whole lot to say about today,” Wells said. “I looked at the tape, and I was up a little bit in the zone. Like the baseball gods say, I was ambushed today. I tried to do what I do all the time, get ahead and throw strikes.”
What he did was serve up six straight hits to start the game, including a two-run single by Albert Pujols and a two-run double by Yadier Molina, which gave Chris Carpenter (6-1) all the cushion he needed.
“I’m pretty embarrassed,” said Wells, who grew up in Belleville, Ill. “[I had] a lot of family and friends watching. It’s not how you like to start a series against St. Louis. You’ve got to wear it.”
This was the second time this season Wells (3-3) has been tagged for five runs in the first. On May 6, the Pirates took a 5-0 lead in the opening frame, but in that game, Wells lasted two innings. On Friday, he lasted 16 pitches.
“I feel a little different about this game than the Pittsburgh game,” Wells said. “In the Pittsburgh game, I walked the first two hitters of the game and it wasn’t even close. I didn’t have the mindset to try to limit the damage. Here, I felt like I didn’t beat myself today like I did in Pittsburgh. They came out swinging the bats and swung the bats hard and put the ball in play and good things happened for them.”
The Cubs used five different relievers after Wells, and manager Lou Piniella said the right-hander could be in the bullpen on Sunday to help out.
“I could throw tomorrow,” Wells said. “I don’t feel like I got any work done, it happened so fast.”
Felipe Lopez led off the game with a single, then Ryan Ludwick doubled, and both scored on Pujols’ single. Matt Holliday singled, Colby Rasmus hit an RBI single and Molina drove in two with a double to make it 5-0.
“It’s about picking your teammates up,” Chicago’s Marlon Byrd said. “[Wells] goes out and gives up five runs. We have to figure out a way, especially when we have nine innings, we have to plug back and get some runs and put some pressure on them.”
But the Cubs didn’t rally. Wells is the first Cubs starter since Geremi Gonzalez on April 2, 1998, to fail to get an out in a start. In his last three starts since that game against the Pirates, Wells had given up seven runs on 18 hits over 23 innings.
“You want to set an example in the first inning and get the team off to a good start in a big series like this,” Wells said. “Everybody knows this is a big series, big repercussions. That’s what I’m more disappointed about than the results of the game. Stuff like that will happen a lot throughout a career. It’s the inside things that are eating at me.”
Carpenter cruised through 6 2/3 innings, scattering seven hits. One of those was a pinch-hit solo homer by Tyler Colvin with one out in the Cubs’ fifth. It was Colvin’s first homer off the bench and fourth by the Cubs this season.
“He’s forcing me to put him in the lineup,” Piniella said of Colvin. “I have some veteran outfielders who are good players. This kid is telling me, ‘Put my name in the lineup a few more times.’ Invariably, that’s what’s going to happen.”
Yep, that’s a good idea. One of the few I’ve heard recently.
In other news, two goalies who never played in the playoffs before this year are facing off in the championship series. How cool is that? The Hawks are ahead of their development schedule and the Flyers overcame long odds just to get here. This is going to be one hell of a series, but the Hawks are going to win it anyway.
The Cubs played the Dodgers (West Coast) and the Sox played the Rays (East Coast) and in the middle DeWayne Wade was spinning like a dervish after insinuating that Jerry Reinsdorf was a disloyal owner. But, since no one actually cares about Wade, other than taking some time to make him feel uncomfortable and unwanted and then moving on, I will ignore him for the rest of this blog.
First, the really scary stuff. DAVID BROWN at YAHOO Sports, takes a look at Cubs’ third baseman, Jeff Baker, who was removed from the game due to partial blindness.
This might be one of the scariest moments ever seen on a Major League Baseball field.
Rather, one that was not seen.
The Chicago Cubs removed infielder Jeff Baker from the game in the eighth inning Thursday because he lost vision in his right eye. Even more frightening, they pulled him after he failed to react — Baker didn’t move his feet a molecule — on a line drive that went right past his position at third base.
Russell Martin led off the eighth with a single to left field that whizzed by Baker perhaps eight feet to his left. Strangely (so it seemed) Baker stayed in an athletic position, only moving his head after the ball was by him. As if he heard it sizzle past.
It’s a good thing Martin didn’t hit hit closer to Baker, like at his head.
Xavier Paul , the next batter, tried TWO bunts before Cubs manager Lou Piniella made his way on the field, replacing Baker with Mike Fontenot .
“Baker had vision problems and couldn’t see out of his right eye,” Piniella said. “It was a little scary.”
Baker was examined by Dr. Jon Rosin, the team opthamologist. The club expected to know more on Friday.
“We had to get him out of there,” Piniella said of Baker.
The Cubs won 1-0 behind left-hander Ted Lilly , the bullpen and a go-ahead double by Tyler Colvin . But it was an unusual medical day for them. After the game, Piniella announced that right-hander Carlos Zambrano spent the day at the hospital undergoing tests after feeling appendicitis-type symptoms.
It’s not that long ago when the idea of losing Zambrano would have been cause for great consternation. Now it just seems like relief. The kind he has not provided from the pen. As to Baker, all any of us can do is wish him well.
However, as David noted, the Cubs did win yesterday and have now officially won a series against a really good team. CARRIE MUSKAT, of MLB.com, brings us the details of the game.
The Cubs’ bench came through at the right time, Ted Lilly may have stepped over the line and Sean Marshall stepped in when needed.
Mike Fontenot tripled and scored on Tyler Colvin’s double with one out in the eighth inning on Thursday to lift the Cubs to a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers and take the series.
Both Fontenot and Colvin delivered in their first at-bats of the game and defied the odds. Manager Lou Piniella had opted for an overload of right-handed hitters against the Dodgers’ John Ely because righties were batting .257 against him while lefties were hitting .216.
“When we got our left-handers in there, we got it right,” Piniella said.
Fontenot, who entered the game as a defensive sub in the eighth, tripled to lead off the inning—only the third hit off Ely (3-2), who grew up outside of Chicago in Harvey, Ill. Geovany Soto then struck out, and Colvin, who had also entered in the eighth—taking over in left field—lined the ball down the right-field line.
Colvin was credited with an RBI double, but reached third on an error by right fielder Xavier Paul, who had trouble getting his glove on the ball, crashing into the brick wall.
“We just noticed [Ely] was throwing changeups, offspeed pitches,” Fontenot said. “In my at-bat, he threw a few of them, and I ended up fouling them off. I tried to stay on the ball until I had two strikes and he left one up.”
Colvin asked Kosuke Fukudome, another left-handed hitter, what he was seeing from Ely.
“You always get to gauge him in the dugout,” Colvin said. “You see him pitch for seven innings, and you have a feel for what he’s going to do. You talk to other hitters. I knew what I was trying to look for—it wasn’t the best pitch, but I got it fair.”
It worked. Marshall, AKA the Vulture, picked up his fifth win this month in relief, and Carlos Marmol pitched the ninth for his 11th save. The Cubs now are 8-3 in their past 11 games, and notched only their third win in 21 games this season when they score four or fewer runs.
“We just have to continue to play and try to win these series,” Piniella said. “You win these series, you’ll be in good shape down the road. Right now, we’re starting to do that with a little more consistency. Let’s just continue.”
Lilly will have to watch his step in his next outing. In the sixth, Casey Blake complained to first-base umpire John Hirschbeck that the left-hander was throwing off the pitching rubber.
“I know the guy doesn’t have the fastest fastball and he’s trying to get any edge he can, but the guy is just cheating,” Blake said. “John wouldn’t at least tell him to get on the rubber or move to get a better look at it. That’s what made me mad.”
Hirschbeck said he “couldn’t tell” if Lilly was in contact with the rubber, but couldn’t leave his position to get a better look.
“It’s a hard thing to see and you’ve got to know for sure,” Hirschbeck said.
“There were a couple times I would get it and throw it,” Lilly said. “I think I was a little bit ahead of the rubber. I don’t know if it was that much. It wasn’t one of those things where I was thinking about it.”
Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee told Lilly about Blake’s complaint.
“If I was doing that, I might have done that a couple times, but I wasn’t real conscious of it,” Lilly said. “I was just trying to get good footing.”
Third-base umpire Wally Bell, asked by Dodgers coach Larry Bowa to watch for the infraction after the dispute, said Lilly was in compliance.
I saw the Cubs game. I couldn’t see that Lilly was off the rubber at all, but if he was it was such a minute amount that only “Cowboy” Joe West would have been able to tell.
Speaking of things that irritate the Sox, they went down to Florida yesterday and horked up a hairball. My new Facebook friend, SCOTT MERKIN was impressed that Ozzie didn’t get tossed from this game as well.
This is White Sox baseball, or at least the disappointing 2010 version, to date.
On Wednesday in Cleveland, they survived the second-inning ejection of their manager Ozzie Guillen and the third-inning dismissal of starting pitcher Mark Buehrle, along with the Indians’ three-run rally in the ninth, to claim a one-run victory. It seemed like a momentum builder, one of five or six wins of this nature during the season’s first two months.
So, how did the White Sox follow up Wednesday’s effort, which gave them a second straight series and moved them within six games of the Twins in the American League Central? Well, they produced a four-hit, one-run performance, falling to the Rays by a 5-1 margin in the first of a four-game set at Tropicana Field.
The White Sox dipped down to seven under .500, at 20-27. And it’s back to searching for greater consistency in a chase to return to the break-even mark, let alone into playoff contention.
“It seems like what happens is we feel comfortable when we win and say, ‘We don’t have to win tomorrow.’ It seems like that,” said Guillen, following his team’s drop to 2-2 on this seven-game road trip. “I know they’re not looking for that, but in the meanwhile it’s like, ‘Wow, we played a great game [Wednesday], battled all the way through it,’ and all of a sudden it’s a good thing going on and the next day, we get shut down.
“When we hit, our momentum is very different. When we score some runs, there’s more excitement in the dugout, more good things happen. When we’re shut down, we’re just flat.”
In fairness to the White Sox, even teams on a roll have not done much with Jeff Niemann (5-0) this season. The Tampa Bay right-hander allowed only two hits and two runners to reach second base before Mark Teahen opened the eighth with a solo home run to right.
Niemann struck out five and walked three over eight innings, lowering his ERA for the season to 2.37.
“Niemann was very good once again,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “He pounded the zone, [the] ball was moving all over the place.”
Back-to-back one-out walks issued by Niemann to Mark Kotsay and Andruw Jones in the second gave the White Sox their only viable scoring threat aside from the Teahen home run. But Teahen struck out looking, and Kotsay was then caught breaking for third before Niemann threw a pitch to Alexei Ramirez. Niemann calmly stepped off the rubber and easily nailed Kotsay as he tried to get back to second base.
“Well, with Kotsay, you just laugh. You can’t even get mad at that,” Guillen said. “You see a veteran player doing that, I don’t think it was the right place, but in the meanwhile, he knows, he knows. He knew right away it wasn’t the right play.”
Gavin Floyd (2-5) pretty much matched Niemann for the White Sox, yielding three runs on four hits over seven innings. Floyd struck out five and walked one, but fell victim to the long ball in his attempt to win two straight starts.
Carl Crawford launched his fourth home run of the season in the first, and Evan Longoria added his 10th leading off the sixth. Floyd took larger displeasure in hitting Sean Rodriguez to open the fifth, with Rodriguez eventually coming around to score on Crawford’s sacrifice fly.
“Solo home runs are going to happen. I’d rather have solo home runs than multi-run home runs,” said Floyd, who threw 107 pitches and posted his second straight quality start. “I think, ‘Just put the ball in the right spot.’
“I thought it was a decent pitch with Longoria and Crawford. You just tip your hat and whatever, move on. But probably the most annoying about it was hitting that guy. That’s the thing I’m most disappointed about.”
During that same fifth inning, it appeared as if Gordon Beckham had single-handedly squelched the rally by making a nice running catch on Jason Bartlett’s fly ball down the right-field line and then firing a strike to Teahen to double-up Rodriguez trying to advance. Third-base umpire Eric Cooper ruled Rodriguez safe, which looked to be the right call, although Cooper gave Guillen the wrong reason during a brief on-field discussion, by the White Sox manager’s estimation.
“He said he missed the tag. He may have tagged him late, but he didn’t miss the tag,” said Guillen of the play at third. “Replays showed he was safe, but not because he missed the tag.”
Dear God, are we now being subjected to Soxie Occurrences?
Seriously, if it can go wrong for this team, it does. Clearly they need a night of binge drinking followed by a blow up doll session. It is the only way to save the season.
And, if they won’t do it, I think fans should.
You may be wondering why I have festooned the front page with a sample from the Jay Mariotti Western Wear collection. I’m kind of perplexed myself, but it does seem to fit the theme of today’s blog.
How odd did things get yesterday? Try this; ELLIOTT HARRIS, from the Sun Times, found himself surrounded by a room full of nearly naked women and was frustrated in his attempt ...... to discuss hockey.
Playboy held a casting call Tuesday and Wednesday at a downtown hotel, which seemed like a perfect place for Quick Hits to look for a sports angle (as opposed to curves).
Not as easy as it may sound—especially when surrounded by beautiful women in various stages of undress.
‘’I’ve never been into sports or anything,’’ Patrycja Gola of Arlington Heights said.
Blackhawks? Stanley Cup?
‘’I don’t know what the Stanley Cup is,’’ she said.
Told you this wasn’t easy.
‘’I played volleyball since I was probably in fourth or fifth grade,’’ said Wisconsinite Crystal Schreiner. ‘’Club volleyball. Went to nationals. I ran track, was a high jumper.’’
But not a Hawks fan.
‘’I am going to the [White Sox] game in Tampa [this weekend],’’ said Melanie Cunningham, a Sox and Bears fan from Portage, Ind., who lives in Clearwater, Fla.
But no hockey.
After a seemingly endless search, a Hawks fan emerged: Emily Pedersen, from Omaha, Neb.
Omaha? How did that happen?
‘’I lived with a guy who’s a Blackhawks fan,’’ she said.
The guy’s gone, but the fandom remains?
‘’Yep. Of course.’’
Of the Hawks’ chances in the Stanley Cup finals against the Philadelphia Flyers?
‘’They’re good,’’ she said.
Quick Hits will regard that as a bare fact. Or close to it.
Thank God for serious journalism. Imagine how tawdry that could have been in the hands of an amateur.
Not odd enough for you? Okay, try this; last night there was a fire in Wrigleyville and the fire department shut off the power to the whole neighborhood, which included Wrigley Field. CARRIE MUSKAT, of MLB.com, was there to capture all the details.
Tom Gorzelanny probably wished the lights didn’t come back on Wednesday night.
Matt Kemp hit a two-run double, Casey Blake drove in two runs and James Loney was a home run shy of the cycle to lift the Los Angeles Dodgers to an 8-5 victory over the Cubs in a game delayed by a power outage.
“This wasn’t a very pretty game,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.
Especially with the lights on. Play was stopped in the fourth because of a power outage blamed on an electrical fire in the neighborhood. It’s the third time there’s been a power outage at Wrigley Field, and the other two instances were both in 2003.
Gorzelanny (2-5) was in the process of throwing a 3-1 pitch to Blake DeWitt when the ballpark went dark. The 18-minute delay seemed to help the Cubs’ starter, who retired the next six batters he faced when play resumed. Loney ended that stretch with a leadoff triple in the sixth. Reed Johnson hit an RBI double, and DeWitt singled to chase Gorzelanny.
Both runners moved up on a sacrifice and Rafael Furcal bounced a grounder to second baseman Ryan Theriot, who overthrew home trying to get Johnson. He was safe. It was the Cubs’ third error of the game.
“Looking back, I probably should’ve thrown my ball to first base,” Theriot said. “You have the infield in for a reason and you’re trying to cut off the run at home, and those things happen.”
Gorzelanny gave up a season-high seven runs (five earned) on seven hits over five-plus innings. It may have been the lefty’s last start with the return of Carlos Zambrano to the rotation next week.
“We’ll finalize this over the weekend,” Piniella said. “There’s no hurry. Zambrano will be in the bullpen tomorrow to help us out and also for a few games of the St. Louis series, and then we can make a decision.”
The problem Wednesday wasn’t ComEd’s fault. Gorzelanny didn’t make quality pitches.
“I didn’t do what I wanted to do,” Gorzelanny said. “The game plan was good. I didn’t feel right, and I was trying to do too much and I tried to force a lot of pitches that I didn’t need to. I obviously got myself in a bad situation.”
There was no problem with Gorzelanny’s hand, which was struck by a line drive in his last start, one week ago in Philadelphia.
“I was in the right state of mind, but my body and mind weren’t working together tonight,” the lefty said.
The Cubs have been mum about who will be bumped, and no one has told Gorzelanny what the team’s plans are.
“I don’t really know what decision will be made,” Gorzelanny said. “It’s not my decision. I don’t feel I deserve to go to the ‘pen. I feel I’ve pitched well enough and done enough to be in the rotation. Whatever they chose to do is hopefully for the right reason.
“Whatever they ask me to do, I’ll do. I can’t have much say in the matter. Do I think I deserve to be put in the ‘pen? No, I don’t.”
The possible change in his role hasn’t been on his mind, Gorzelanny said.
“I have to worry about what I’m doing that day, what team I’m facing that day, not what could happen down the road,” he said. “I need to focus on what’s at hand and what I need to do.”
Chad Billingsley (6-2) won his fourth straight start, serving up 10 hits, including Xavier Nady’s pinch-hit homer with one out in the sixth. The Cubs made it 7-5 on Jeff Baker’s pinch-hit two-run triple in the seventh off Hong-Chih Kuo.
The Dodgers opened a 3-0 lead in the first, aided by a RBI double by Blake and RBI single by Loney. Billingsley walked with one out in the second and one out later, reached third on an errant throw by third baseman Mike Fontenot. Russell Martin was safe on the miscue, and both he and Billingsley scored on Kemp’s double to make it 5-0.
“There were a couple weird plays,” Theriot said. “I guess it’s one of those things—being aggressive. Both myself and Mike, we’re trying to make a play.”
Carrie politely avoided mentioning Soriano’s odd play in left when he stared at the wall when the ball hit the ivy. But, when there were so many choices, you can see why she didn’t belabor the obvious. Of course, coming soon to the Cubs, they are going to have to place a winning pitcher in the pen to make room for a pitcher who hasn’t been very good at all. That will be odd too.
On the Southside, the Sox took on the Tribe and watched Mark Buehrle get tossed. The only time MB got tossed in his career was August 1, 2005. Oddly enough, by the same ump who tossed him yesterday. STEPHEN ELSESSER, also of MLB.com, managed to stop scrathing his head long enough to bring us up to date.
At least Mark Buehrle’s meltdown didn’t show up on the scoreboard.
First-base umpire Joe West ejected Buehrle in the third inning when Buehrle threw his glove after his second balk, but an inning later, the White Sox teed off against Jake Westbrook, setting up a 5-4 win Wednesday at Progressive Field.
West also ejected Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen in the second inning after Guillen went out to talk to him after Buehrle’s first balk. Guillen said he did not go to argue the call, but to protect Buehrle.
“I did not go out to ask him about the balk or whatever,” Guillen said. “Anytime you go out, you can’t ask about the balk. The thing is, I went out to ask him why he was embarrassing Buehrle.”
Buehrle’s glove came off his hand when he shrugged his shoulders after the second balk. Buehrle headed for the clubhouse, but later, he joked about his offensive contribution.
The White Sox responded to Buehrle’s ouster with a three-run fourth inning off Westbrook, and Mark Kotsay’s two-run homer in the sixth padded the lead.
“I don’t think we’d have come out and scored five runs like that if I didn’t get tossed, so I take credit for the offense,” said Buehrle in jest.
Tony Pena (1-1) pitched a career-high four scoreless innings, shutting down the Indians and giving the White Sox a key victory. With Wednesday’s win, Chicago won consecutive series for the first time this season.
But Bobby Jenks came dangerously close to blowing Pena’s career outing, letting the Indians put up three runs before finally closing the game out.
“I think this game’s big for us,” Guillen said. “The way it started, Buehrle kicked out of the game, I’m kicked out of the game. The players stepped it up and played good baseball.”
Things could have gone much differently for Chicago with Buehrle’s ejection. Buehrle had recorded just seven outs when West sent him packing. He allowed three hits and had a strikeout to go along with his two balks.
“Pena did a tremendous job out of the bullpen,” Guillen said. “He was great. ... Last couple of outings out there, Pena’s saving our bullpen. He’s very good for us.”
Randy Williams came out and finished the third inning for Buehrle, and when the White Sox came up in the fourth, they were ready for Westbrook.
Juan Pierre started off with a double, and two batters later, Westbrook walked Alex Rios. Paul Konerko’s base hit brought home Pierre, and after Konerko advanced to second base on Austin Kearns’ throwing error, Westbrook walked Mark Kotsay intentionally to load the bases.
Stepping to the plate with one out and the bases juiced, Carlos Quentin struck out, missing the chance to break out of his recent slump, but Mark Teahen didn’t repeat the mistake.
Teahen knocked a two-run single to left-center field, giving the bullpen some runs to work with on a day when it was called out much earlier than expected.
Side note, the Sox have now won their first road series of the season. Hoo-freaking-ray. Hopefully it won’t be the last.
Actually this is just a place for my stuff, ya know? That’s all, a little place for my stuff. That’s all I want, that’s all you need in life, is a little place for your stuff, ya know? I can see it on your table, everybody’s got a little place for their stuff. This is my stuff, that’s your stuff, that’ll be his stuff over there. That’s all you need in life, a little place for your stuff. That’s all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn’t have so much stuff, you wouldn’t need a house. You could just walk around all the time.
A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. You can see that when you’re taking off in an airplane. You look down, you see everybody’s got a little pile of stuff. All the little piles of stuff. And when you leave your house, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn’t want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They never bother with that crap you’re saving. All they want is the shiny stuff. That’s what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get...more stuff!
- George Carlin
Today is just one of those blah days that creep up on people from time to time. It’s muggy outside, it’s muggy inside and everything seems to have slowed down due to the heat. It’s one giant siesta. The big news of the day is Phil Jackson stating, adamantly and again, that there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that he would coach the Bulls next season. The other prime candidate, Tom Thibodeau of the Celtics, has already received a formal offer from the Hornets and hasn’t even been scheduled for an interview with Chicago’s favorite sock puppet. My guess is that you can color him gone. The remaining high profile coach still taking interviews is Vinny Del Negro.
Yeah, this was not the best planned move I have ever seen.
Actually, I am still waiting for someone to bring convincing evidence of any plan at all. I’ve seen more coherent campaigns drawn up at 3:00 AM in a bar.
The Bears are all saying that this is the year, that great things will happen, that all is right in their world and other stuff we’ve heard every pre-season. Lovie Smith lives or dies by his assistants. That usually means a head coach isn’t really doing any head coaching. Jerry Angelo seems to live or die by each week’s event on his favorite soap opera. I still don’t believe he is actually paying any attention to the team. In other words, call me in October and tell me if there’s any stuff worth watching.
The Hawks simply rock. Ahead of schedule and inextricably bound to the most annoying song ever written, they’ve carved their way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Says here that they’re going to win it.
But, our baseball teams continue to defy logic and reason with every game. After losing a ton of games to losing teams, the Cubs have begun beating teams with winning records. Why? Beats the hell out of me. TONI GINNETTI at the Sun Times tries to figure it out for us.
When the going gets tough, maybe the Cubs will, too.
At least they have been for the last week, playing up to the competition against the National League East-leading Philadelphia Phillies, the American League West-leading Texas Rangers and on Tuesday at Wrigley Field against the NL West-contending Los Angeles Dodgers.
‘’Sometimes it brings out the best in you, and sometimes you need that,’’ said Ryan Dempster, who was at his best pitching eight shutout innings in the 3-0 victory. ‘’If you can play up to your own level, as a team you can accomplish a lot.’’
Dempster was superb against the NL’s top hitting team, holding the Dodgers to only three hits before Carlos Marmol finished the ninth for his 10th save.
‘’I’ve noticed we’re playing with a little more intensity,’’ manager Lou Piniella said. ‘’Our defensive play has gotten better, and that helps our pitchers—and we’re getting some big hits.’’
Derrek Lee’s two-run homer in the eighth put the game on ice for Dempster (3-4), who won for the first time in five starts, walking one and striking out seven.
‘’It was a big homer by D-Lee,’’ Dempster said. ‘’We’re starting to play better. We’re starting to do little things better—a big stolen base by Ryan Theriot [in the sixth, leading to the first run] and some two-out hits. We seem to be doing more of that.’’
The Cubs’ eighth win in their last 12 games moved them within two games of .500 at 22-24.
The victory came against the major leagues’ hottest team.
The Dodgers arrived with a 16-5 record in May, not only the best in the majors but the third best for the franchise since moving to the West Coast in 1958.
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw (4-3) didn’t give up a hit until the third. But after Lee doubled and Marlon Byrd singled with one out in the inning, Alfonso Soriano struck out and Xavier Nady grounded out.
An error by shortstop Rafael Furcal led to the first run in the sixth. Furcal booted Theriot’s ground ball, Theriot stole second with one out and scored on Lee’s single.
Dempster hadn’t won a game since April 23, with a string of four straight losses and a no-decision in his last start at Philadelphia. The Cubs had lost all five of those starts.
‘’I felt really on tonight,’’ Dempster said. ‘’I wasn’t pumping the strike zone, but I tried to execute pitches and stay away from those 3-1 counts. The guys behind me did a great job.’’
Anyone paying attention knows that Dempster deserved a few of those games to be wins, but it was not to be. The good news is that the Cubs are about to face a slew of teams with winning records, so maybe that is what they need to turn this around. Here’s hoping so.
On the Southside, fans are getting a little tired of listening to Jake Peavy say great things and then watching him go out and pitch batting practice. Against an Indians’ team that is suffering through injuries and long losing streaks, he made them look like playoff contenders. In an UNCREDITED ARTICLE at the Sun Times (they do that a lot), someone wonders why.
There was no talk of mechanics gone wrong or video polluting his mind.
Jake Peavy wasn’t looking for excuses after the White Sox’ 7-3 loss Tuesday to the Cleveland Indians. As a matter of fact, the only finger he pointed was at himself.
‘’I think that’s as frustrating as anything,’’ Peavy said. ‘’We know we’ve got to come in here and take care of business; I told [the media] that the other day. Not being able to do that for the team, that’s what gets to me the most.
‘’I mean, you’re going to have starts where you don’t have good stuff. That’s fine. This is the first time in a while I went out there and just didn’t feel good, just didn’t feel like I could go to something and it can get me out of trouble. I didn’t have anything to go to stuff-wise, and that’s tough.’’
Peavy (3-4) twice brought up the fact that he needed ‘’to get some good treatment and try to get my arm to bounce back,’’ so it was only logical to ask him if he was going through some sort of dead-arm period or was injured in some way.
‘’No, you’re going to have starts where you’re just not sharp,’’ Peavy said. ‘’My arm just didn’t feel alive, and that’s just part of pitching. ... I’ve said a lot the good pitchers find a way in these games, and I didn’t do it. I’ve won many a game where I went out there feeling like that and knowing what you’ve got to do, and I just didn’t do it. That’s frustrating.’’
The Indians jumped all over Peavy in the third inning, when Jason Donald and Sox killer Shin-Soo Choo hit home runs. After an RBI single by Russell Branyan made it 3-0 in the same inning, the Indians added three more runs in the sixth. Overall, Peavy allowed six runs and eight hits in six innings, and his ERA rose to 6.05.
‘’He had a very, very tough time,’’ manager Ozzie Guillen said. ‘’He left a couple of balls up that when they hit them, they left the park. It’s up-and-down. In the beginning [of the season] he struggled, and then he settled down a little bit. But he didn’t have it [Tuesday]. What’s the reason? I don’t know. He should know. He should tell you guys the reason, what’s going on with him.’’
As far as the Sox, Guillen said that’s a whole other mystery.
‘’Not yet,’’ Guillen said when asked if he had figured out his team. ‘’Since spring training we’ve tried to figure it out, and we can’t.’’
Maybe Ozzie needs to shave. After all, it seems to have worked for Lou Piniella. After that, I got nothing.