Eenie, meenie, chili beanie, the spirits are about to speak.
I caught a glimpse of my future this weekend and it didn’t suck. I got my hair trimmed down to the nubs, I’ve lost a few pounds & I have had sex with a few non-inflatable women. Not all at once, of course, my heart couldn’t take that kind of excitement.
Let’s see, what else is interesting?
I started growing a goatee just because I can, I cleaned the litter box, just because I had to and I paid my internet bill just because I wanted to write today.
So, that covers the exciting stuff.
Yesterday I got to watch both of Chicago’s baseball teams. I have actually managed to catch quite a few games lately and feel comfortable now discussing the future of each.
Let’s start with the Cubs.
They can’t play defense, they have minimal pitching and they can’t hit. Those are the positives. The negative part is that they are only going to get worse, and dramatically so, over the next few weeks. Carrie Muskat saw the epic battle between two last place teams, on national TV, and figured fans got what they paid for yesterday. If what they paid for was painfully bad baseball.
At Wrigley Field, fans throw back an opposing teams’ home run balls. Yet the guy who nabbed David Ortiz’s homer in the bleachers ignored that, and pocketed the souvenir. That’s how bad things are going.
“If I was a Red Sox fan, I probably wouldn’t throw it back either,” Chicago’s Reed Johnson said. “I’m sure all the heckling he was getting made it worth it that he had a ball when he went home that night.”
It wasn’t the only thing that marred Sunday’s 7-4 Chicago loss to Boston. Wrigley Field’s outfield grass looked terrible one week after two concerts, and no camera angle could hide the scars. That, however, can be fixed with new sod, which is coming this week.
The Cubs’ miscues aren’t as easily corrected.
“The thing that’s going on all year long is we get into close ballgames and something breaks down,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “We can’t score if it’s close or we just can’t make a pitch when it’s close to hold them or shut them down to get the game into extra innings. We’ve got to be better at those things—somebody stepping up and getting a big hit when it counts, not when we’re four or five runs down.”
Ortiz hit a solo home run and an RBI single and the Red Sox scored three runs in a sloppy seventh to take the series from the Cubs, who have dropped 24 of their last 31 games.
It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s Jon Lester or Franklin Morales, the Cubs are befuddled by left-handed starters.
“You can’t even try to do what we do against left-handed pitching,” Sveum said. “It’s very difficult to have those kind of numbers and slugging percentage and everything like that against left-handed pitching on a consistent basis.”
The Cubs rank last in the National League with a .320 slugging percentage against lefties, and have hit eight home runs off southpaws.
“They’re giving us trouble—spot starters, Lester, guys like that, they’re giving us fits this year,” Johnson said. “We need to figure out a way to string something together against those guys.”
The Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the first, but the Cubs tied the game as Starlin Castro hit an RBI triple in the first and an RBI double in the third that Dustin Pedroia dropped in shallow right field.
Castro was the only bright spot. He missed the cycle by a home run, adding an infield single in the sixth. He also made a fielding error in the eighth, one of two miscues by the Cubs in the game. It wasn’t just Chicago either as Boston also was charged with two errors.
“The guy can swing the bat and he’s played really good defense,” Sveum said of the young shortstop. “I’m not going to beat him down for a ball that got in-between hops on him. We had a few other mistakes that were more controllable than that one.”
Ortiz led off the fourth with his 16th home run, launching a 2-2 pitch from starter Paul Maholm into the bleachers in left-center, to go ahead, 3-2.
“That’s a good lineup from top to bottom,” Maholm said. “You’ve got to execute your pitches. I think after [the first], the only pitch I didn’t do well with was the Ortiz home run. I tried to bounce it and left it over the middle and he’s kind of locked in and he did what he’s supposed to do.”
Darwin Barney reached on an error by third baseman Kevin Youkilis to open the Cubs’ sixth against Matt Albers and moved up on Castro’s infield hit that barely reached the grass. Castro was forced at second on a fielder’s choice and Barney scored when Jeff Baker reached on an error by shortstop Mike Aviles, who collided with Pedroia at second trying to catch Albers’ relay throw.
The Red Sox rapped three straight hits in the seventh, going ahead on Ryan Kalish’s RBI single. Pinch-hitter Will Middlebrooks hit a sacrifice fly and Kalish, who reached third on a throwing error by catcher Welington Castillo, scored on a suicide squeeze by Daniel Nava to open a 6-3 lead.
“That was quite messy for both teams actually,” Sveum said of the bottom of the sixth and the top of the seventh. “The difference is they scored three out of it and we scored one. It was a very ugly [stretch].”
Morales, making a spot start for injured Josh Beckett, struck out a career-high nine batters over five innings.
“Well you know, we had a hunch that he could perform well in that situation and he proved our hunch correct,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said of the lefty. “Those were five pretty good innings. I’d like to give him a chance to do more next time.”
Perhaps the Cubs’ team psychiatrist needs to address the sinistrophobia—that’s a fear of things to the left or left-handed—that’s gripping the players .
“It’s the same story—a left-handed pitcher, we were getting beat constantly on the fastball,” Sveum said. “That’s the bottom line. It wasn’t like he was doing a whole lot else besides throwing a lot of fastballs.”
The Cubs dropped to 3-15 against left-handed starters. The good news? They will face three right-handers in their final Interleague series against the White Sox, which begins Monday. Chicago is 3-9 against the American League so far.
“We just need to play better all-around baseball, playing catch, putting the ball in play, and throwing strikes,” Johnson said. “Those things, we haven’t done that over the course of this year all that well and you see where it gets you.”
Franklin Morales = Cy Young? No. Will the Cubs be worth watching before 2015? Also no. And, to the darling Mr. Johnson, those are the kinds of things that are covered in Spring Training.
The Sox have lost their last two series and I, oddly enough, liked what I saw. They clearly need pitching but this is a team that is going to be in every game without a person named Gavin on the mound. Sarah Trotto was there and felt the same way.
The White Sox have used four pitchers as their closer this season, most recently turning to Addison Reed.
And Reed had been flawless in the role, 8-for-8 in save opportunities before Sunday afternoon’s Interleague series finale against the Dodgers. He entered in the ninth, replacing starter Jose Quintana, who threw eight scoreless innings.
Reed, a rookie closer, suffered his first blown save, as the Dodgers tied the game on Juan Rivera’s sacrifice fly. Bobby Abreu scored after leading off with a single and advancing to third on Elian Herrera’s single.
The National League West-leading Dodgers (42-25) went on to capture a 2-1 walk-off victory when Dee Gordon smacked a two-out single off Matt Thornton in the 10th inning.
“Anytime you lose a game, it [stinks], but especially when the starting pitcher throws as well as [Quintana] did,” Reed said. “I made a couple bad pitches and they hit them and it didn’t work out.”
The White Sox (35-31) turned to Reed after the rookie Quintana threw just 77 pitches in a career-high eight innings. In the no-decision, Quintana struck out a career-high six, walked none and allowed five hits.
“He pitched great, but right there, I wanted to go to our closer,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
Against left-hander Thornton in the 10th, Gordon came up with his second career walk-off hit for the Dodgers’ sixth walk-off victory of the season. Tony Gwynn scored on Gordon’s hit after Gwynn’s one-out triple eluded diving left fielder Jordan Danks.
Danks said he was trying to make an aggressive play.
“Just a hair short,” Danks said. “It landed in front of me. Just my killer instinct told me I could catch the ball. Came up short.”
The Dodgers nearly tied the game in the sixth, but an official ruling erased the run. On an appeal, Matt Treanor was ruled to have tagged and left third base too early on a potential game-tying sacrifice fly to right field. The tying run was wiped from the scoreboard.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was ejected in the top of the seventh after protesting the call. He argued with third-base umpire Jerry Meals and then with home-plate umpire Gary Darling. It was Mattingly’s fourth ejection this season and seventh as Dodgers manager.
“When they tell you they got it 100 percent right, it’s hard to buy that,” Mattingly said. “I understand close calls and bang-bang and you can’t see things, and trying to see that at fast speed is different than replay. It’s hard for me to believe you can overturn a run if you are not 100 percent sure you got it right.”
Ventura said the White Sox appealed the original call based on timing.
“You look at where a guy is at, looking over there when [right fielder Alex] Rios was catching,” Ventura said.
The appeal and dramatic rally punctuated a pitchers’ duel. Quintana threw his first scoreless outing as a starter, lowering his ERA to 1.53.
“He’s going against some really good teams and pitching well,” Ventura said. “It’s not a fluke.”
For the Dodgers, left-hander Chris Capuano struck out a season-high 12, one short of his career high. He allowed a run and six hits, walked one and threw 111 pitches.
The White Sox’s Tyler Flowers struck out four times, and Adam Dunn struck out three times.
“He seemed to do a lot of the same things Quintana did, didn’t make mistakes over the plate,” Flowers said of Capuano.
Dayan Viciedo’s two-out RBI single off Capuano ended the scoreless tie in the sixth. Brent Lillibridge scored after leading off with a single, moving to second on a fielding error by left fielder Herrera and advancing to third on a groundout.
Sunday concluded a three-game series that involved three one-run games. The White Sox have lost nine of their last 14 games and hold a 1 1/2-game lead over the Indians in the American League Central. They begin a three-game series against the Cubs on Monday night at U.S Cellular Field.
“We’re just going to go out there tomorrow and forget about today and get after it,” Reed said.
Always remember to forget
The things that made you sad.
But never forget to remember
The things that made you glad.
Always remember to forget
The friends that proved untrue.
But never forget to remember
Those that have stuck by you.
Always remember to forget
The troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.
by - Georgy
I actually think that poem is in the Sox clubhouse.
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