Half a game. That is how far the Sox have fallen out of first place thanks to the Cubs and how far the Cubs are in front of the, last place in all of baseball, Padres.
Not to be a noodge, but has anyone else noticed that the Cubs stocked up on front office guys from the Padres and the Red Sox? Two last place teams that are wildly dysfunctional?
How bad are they? The Padres took room on the front page of their web site to note that “Several Padres prospects took part in two Minor League All-Star Games on Tuesday—and many of them fared well. In the Carolina League/California League All-Star Game, Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore infielder Cory Spangenberg went 0-for-1 with a walk. Center fielder Rico Noel was 0-for-1 with a strikeout. Starting pitcher Donn Roach tossed a scoreless inning with a strikeout. Outfielder Rymer Liriano was 0-for-1. Kevin Quackenbush recorded two outs in relief as the Carolina League posted a 9-1 victory.”
That’s right, 0-3 qualifies as faring well in San Diego.
As to the Red Sox, they are spending every PR dollar they have trying to let everyone know they’re happy. “ In a recent blog for ESPN, national baseball writer Buster Olney wrote that the Red Sox’s clubhouse was toxic. Several players and manager Bobby Valentine took exception to that report and disputed the accuracy of it. ‘Completely fabricated,” said Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett. “I don’t know where people get that from. I think people want that to be the case and I just don’t think it is. I think this is probably one of the tightest-knit groups I’ve ever been a part of, with dinners on the road, a couple family trips here this last time. We do a lot of stuff together. There’s a good continuity here. I think there are certain people, they want it to be that way, and so they report it that way. It’s just not like that at all.’”
Dinners on the road? You mean they let you eat? Well, hellfire and spit tarnation, they must be the nicest group of fellers ever assembled.
So, here’s where we’re at. The White Sox are 16-20 at home and the Cubs are 14-19. All things considered those are nearly identical records. Let’s ponder why.
Both teams have home run hitters in parks with short porches. There should be balls flying everywhere.
Both teams have pitchers who induce lots of ground balls, so opponents’ scores should be low at home.
Only one team has any defense worth speaking of and it just lost two in a row to the Cubs.
Screw it. It’s bourbon o’clock somewhere.
Carrie Muskat bought the first round for Travis Wood.
Travis Wood could finally celebrate a win.
David DeJesus hit a two-run single sparked by aggressive baserunning and Starlin Castro made an incredible catch to back Wood and lift the Cubs to a 2-1 Interleague victory Tuesday night over the White Sox.
It was payback time. The Cubs have won the series, and also the most games on the South Side since 2007, when they swept the road portion of the series. The White Sox won all three games at Wrigley Field in May in this home-and-road crosstown showdown.
“I enjoy it big time,” Castro said of the intracity series. “That’s why everybody plays hard—you want to win. You don’t want to lose to the White Sox in this city.”
Wood (1-3), making his seventh start, scattered four hits over six innings for his first win with the Cubs and first in the big leagues since Aug. 19, 2011.
“My pitches were working well, the defense was behind me and we were hitting on all cylinders tonight,” Wood said. “To get the first one, get the monkey off the back, hopefully we start rolling from here.”
With one out in the White Sox second, Wood walked Alex Rios, who then advanced on a stolen base and throwing error by catcher Geovany Soto. Remember that error. Dayan Viciedo walked, and Alexei Ramirez followed with a ground-rule RBI double that bounced in the right-field corner. Wood then walked Tyler Flowers to load the bases but was able to escape any further damage. The lefty threw 32 pitches that inning.
But Wood settled down and gave up only two more singles, got a key double play to end the sixth and finished with five strikeouts.
“He made big pitches when he needed to,” Soto said of the lefty.
Wood had a tough assignment. Before the game, Cubs manager Dale Sveum raved about White Sox starter Jake Peavy (6-3).
“He’s a guy who challenges the strike zone,” Sveum said. “He’s very competitive on the mound, wants the ball, works fast, great fielder, good athlete if he has to hit. With his stuff and competitiveness, it puts him over the edge.”
Peavy lived up to the billing. He held the Cubs to five hits in his third complete game of the season, and in one stretch, retired 16 in a row.
In the Cubs’ third, Soto was safe as third baseman Orlando Hudson’s throw pulled Paul Konerko off the bag. He moved up on Tony Campana’s single that Peavy deflected, and both he and Campana advanced on a wild pitch. Both scored on DeJesus’ single at the end of a nine-pitch at-bat to go ahead, 2-1.
Soto’s heads-up baserunning may have been the key to the game, giving the Cubs two runners in scoring position. He was motivated by his mistake in the second.
“I felt, when I was running the bases, I needed to be aggressive,” Soto said. “I had the [throwing] error [in the second] and I was really [ticked] off at myself. I thought, ‘I have to be heads up here and do whatever I can to get in scoring position.’”
And he did. Hudson, on the other hand, felt terrible.
“I lost the game for the man [Peavy]—that’s it,” Hudson said. “The man threw a [heck] of a game, I lost it for him. Point blank. Case closed.”
If you missed Castro’s play, check out the video. He somehow snared Alejandro De Aza’s popup on the run in shallow left in the fifth. The ball bounced off Castro’s glove but he caught it with his bare hand and stayed on his feet in an acrobatic move. How did he do that?
“I don’t know,” Castro said. “The ball jumped in my glove and I saw it and I had it in my hand. Unbelievable. I don’t know how. It’s like I flipped it to my other hand. It happened quick. It’s a nice play.”
“That was pretty athletic to be able to snatch that one out of the air,” Sveum said.
Castro’s may be the No. 1 defensive play of the day but Wood, acquired this offseason from the Reds for Sean Marshall, got the win.
“I know the pressure of getting traded,” Sveum said. “I’ve done that twice, so you understand the pressures of coming to a new team, especially when you were traded for one of the best relievers in baseball. You want to impress. It sure seems like he was relaxed out there and making his pitches and making pitches when he had to.”
So did the relief corps of Shawn Camp, Jeff Russell, Manuel Corpas and Carlos Marmol, who combined for three hitless innings. Marmol picked up the save, his fourth of the season and second since getting the closer’s job back.
“When he throws strikes, he’s going to be fine,” Sveum said of Marmol. “You’re not going to hit him too often. It’s just a matter of keeping those guys off the bases from walks.”
Everything worked, even subbing Reed Johnson in right for Bryan LaHair in the eighth. Johnson was able to grab Paul Konerko’s fly ball on the run in the eighth, standing two.
Can the Cubs get a sweep?
“Sweeping any team is great,” DeJesus said. “Against the White Sox is definitely big for Chicago fans. We’ll take a sweep whenever we can.”
Even if they sweep the Cubs will be denied the BP Crosstown Cup, the most embarrassing award in the history of awards, since ties go to the previous year’s winner, which is the Sox.
Dear God, have we sunk that low?
Anyway, fans have been treated to a whole lot of suck these last few days. Here’s hoping tonight’s game gives all Chicago fans something to cheer about; the Cubs win the series and the Sox win the game.
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