Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What Happened Last Night?

The question in the title used to refer to what exactly happened after someone blacked out, passed out, or simply needed help compiling the bits and pieces of memories that remained from a night of partying. Going to college in New Orleans, the best nights would include some killer live music. Besides the Jazz Fest & Mardi Gras special shows with acts like Maceo Parker, P-Funk, and other national acts, the greatest nights usually involved George Porter, Jr.

George is the bassist for the Funky Meters, who still put on the best local music shows in New Orleans. The Meters have a reputation as being funk pioneers and legends who used to play parties for the Beatles. Legend has it that one of their most famous albums, "Uptown Rulers: The Meters, Live on the Queen Mary" is from a party that Paul McCartney threw on the famous cruise ship. Porter also has another group called George Porter, Jr & the Runnin' Pardners. This group has a smaller, but equally as passionate fan base.

Anyway, it always helped ease any hangover and just made it more fun to look back on the night when you had that funky beat still reverberating in your cloudy noggin.

This morning, we're casually looking through last night's box scores and desperately trying to get the thought of last night's Cubs' game far, far away. If only we could somehow get transported to the Howlin' Wolf to get funkified.

On to the games...

Atlanta 6, Chicago 5 (12 innings)
Let's get this over with... in this game...

Alfonso Soriano led off with a home run to take sole position of #2 for second most leadoff homeruns, ahead of Biggio and behind Rickey.

Milton Bradley left the game with a strained groin.

Cubs' rookie starter Randy Wells took a no-hitter into the 7th inning and a 5-0 lead and 1-hit shutout into the 8th inning. Garrett Anderson led off the 8th with a home run. The second hitter of the inning, Martin Prado, reached on a relatively unimaginable Derek Lee error, where he dropped a throw from the shortstop. I'm sorry, but the best part of D Lee's game is supposed to be the way he receives the throws from his infielders. He usually saves errors by being so tall, and having the soft hands required to scoop throws in the dirt routinely. This drop was spectacular. So, anyway Randy Wells, having thrown only 83 pitches, is removed with no outs in the 8th inning, a 5-1 score, and a runner on first. Lou Piniella summons the formerly lights out 8th inning guy, Carlos Marmol, who proceeds to walk Jeff Francouer on four pitches, gives up a lined shot to Gregor Blanco that Fukudome makes a nice play on for the 1st out. Marmol plunks pinch-hitter Greg Norton to load the bases, then walks Kelly Johnson to force in a run. Cuban refugee, Yunel Escobar, gets a ribbie with a sac fly, making the score 5-3.

The score will remain the same until the current captain of our Unlikeable Cub* team, Kevin Gregg, took the mound. As soon as I saw Gregg, I didn't like him. As soon as I saw him last night, I really wanted to give him another chance to win me over.

*The Unlikeable Cub team is made up of guys who make you forget that you're rooting for the uniform because you just hate them. Either they stink (Mel Rojas), they have a reputation for not being gracious with the fans (Derrick May & Rey Sanchez), for some reason they rub you the wrong way (Jim Edmonds), or you just don't like the stupid looks on their faces (Kevin Gregg). I wanted to name this team after Drew Hall, and still may. He was the first player I ever didn't like on the Cubs. He had the Mel Rojas/Kevin Gregg combo of being no-good and looking like a dufus while doing it. Paul Assenmacher is another, more recent example of this phenomenon. My concern is that Drew Hall is not well known enough to have his own team named after him.

Without further ado, here are the members of the Unlikeable Cub team...

Drew Hall, Relief Pitcher

Frank Castillo, Starting Pitcher
Derrick May, Left Field
Paul Assenmacher, Relief Pitcher
Rey Sanchez, Shortstop
Mel Rojas, Relief Pitcher
Steve Trachsel, Starting Pitcher
LaTroy Hawkins, Relief Pitcher
Andy Pratt, Relief Pitcher
Todd Hundley, Catcher
Marcus Fizer (Bulls, has to be here)
Jim Edmonds, Outfield
Kevin Gregg, Relief Pitcher
Neal Cotts, Relief Pitcher

The first batter of the 9th, Brian McCann, hit into a long out. One out in the 9th, no-one on, and a 5-3 lead, I actually remember thinking that there really shouldn't be any reason for us to lose this game.

That was the beginning of the end. If this had been a playoff game, it would have fallen into the collection of pathetic playoff losses for this disastrous franchise. Gregg struck out the second batter, Garret Anderson, but the batter reached by swinging at strike three on a wild pitch that reached the screen. What's worse than losing because of a dropped third strike? Maybe losing on catcher's interference?

Martin Prado flied out, for what should have been the 27th out, but the Braves still had life. Local "hero" Jeff Francoeur added to his legend by tying the game up with a long fly to left center field.

Taking a step back from the Cubs' perspective and looking at this like a Braves fan, this may be a case where they win the battle but will lose the war. The Braves have an outmaking machine in right field. Jeff Francoeur makes outs on 72.5% of his plate appearances, as his .275 OBP would suggest. Recent rumors have Frenchy with one foot out the door, either through trade or outright release. With these latest heroics, Jeff Francoeur, just bought himself some time and may eventually cost the Braves more victories.

After this collapse, should there be any doubt that the Cubs would lose this game? I don't think so. The Braves won it in the twelfth, when Aaron Heilman pitched like Aaron Heilman and gave up the winning hit to real Atlanta hero, Chipper Jones.

I didn't want to write anything about the Cubs let alone all that. Honest I didn't.

Washington 10, San Francisco 6
Tim Lincecum actually got hit by the lowly Nationals. It took him 110 pitches to get through 6 1/3 innings, while giving up four runs. Timmy's teammate, Randy Johnson, is going against Washington tonight in search of his 300th win. I have a strange feeling that Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals are going to make him wait another five days.

Texas 3, NY Yankees 12
In this battle of two first place teams, the Yankees clobbered the Rangers thanks in large part to a seven run fourth inning. Some bad blood came out between ex-teammates, Mark Teixeira and Vicente Padilla. Teixeira was plunked twice by Padilla, and it's understandable that he was upset. I don't think the second beaning was intentional because he was a critical baserunner ahead of A-Rod. Still, Teixeira raised something interesting after the game. Apparently, when these two were teammates, Teixeira would be thrown at by other teams when they wanted to retaliate for Padilla's head hunting on their players. We completely understand that Teix is sick of the sight of Vicente Padilla. Frankly, so are we. We've never been fans of Vicente Padilla. He seems like he has some good stuff and can miss bats, but he never seemed like a very good pitcher. Plus, his reputation doesn't do him any favors.

Pittsburgh 3, NY Mets 1
Zach Duke and the lowly Pirates took down the mighty Johan Santana, with a depleted Mets offense. If the Mets can hang in there and play .500 ball without Reyes, Delgado, Beltran, or Putz contributing at 100%, they should be okay. This team, along with the Blue Jays, seem to be most decimated by injuries.

Boston 5, Detroit 1

Dicec-K and the powerful Red Sox humbled Rick Porcello and the first place Tigers last night. This shouldn't be much of a surprise, as it'll take Porcello some experience before he learns how to succeed against a lineup as patient and powerful as Boston's.

Toronto 6, LA Angels 4
Roy Halladay is making, along with Greinke and Verlander, a case for the Cy Young. Last night, Roy upped his record to 9-1 with a 133 pitch complete game victory. Did Cito Gaston need to throw him out there for the 9th inning, instead of going to Scott Downs or BJ Ryan? We will never know. Maybe he did need to stick with Doc Halladay to get the win. What we do know, what we'll always have to remember, is that the manager has A LOT more information about his players than we do.

Minnesota 4, Cleveland 3
Kevin Slowey is staying near the top of the wins leaderboard as he improved his record to 8-1 last night. Each team's All Star catcher also went deep in this game as Victor Martinez hit his 9th homerun and Joe Mauer hit his 12th.

Oakland 5, Chi White Sox 0
Vin Mazzaro won his Major League debut by pitching 6 1/3 scoreless innings and letting Jack Cust's run support stand. I don't necessarily have the highest hopes for Mazzaro's future since he only struck out one hitter, while walking four.

LA Dodgers 6, Arizona 5
This was not a pleasant performance for the ESPN/Schlereth family. Fans of the Worldwide Leader probably know Mark Schlereth as an opinionated, former NFL player, neanderthal-ish talking head on NFL Live and SportCenter segments like the coors light cold hard 6-pack and fact or fiction. A few days ago on Mike & Mike in the morning, Mike Greenberg gushed about what a wonderful moment it was for the Schlereth family when young Daniel Schlereth made his debut in front of his parents. Greenie was talking about having dinner with the Schlereth family, knowing Daniel, and having so many warm and fuzzy feelings about this debut. It was enough to make someone want to throw up. I wonder how they all feel now.

In this game, young Daniel came into the bottom of the 8th, with a 5-2 lead, the bases loaded, and 2 out. He gave up a bases clearing double to James Loney to tie it and an RBI single to Casey Blake to completely blow the game.

Philadelphia 10, San Diego 5
Antonio Bastardo won his Major League debut. Jake Peavy had to leave the game after one inning due to a case of the Bobby Hurley's. However, the real story of this game has to be power display by Adrian Gonzalez and Raul Ibanez. Gonzalez leads all of baseball in homeruns, and he hit his 23rd last night. Ibanez has been, by far, the most impressive free agent hitting acquisition of the offseason. He hit two homeruns last night, giving him 19 in this young season. Not enough can be said about the exceptional job that Ibanez is doing for the Phillies. He has switched leagues, but he's such a fine hitter that it hasn't affected him one iota. I can only imagine how much better the Cubs would be if they had Ibanez, or even Adam Dunn, instead of Milton Bradley.

1 comment:

  1. It's not even a rumor...Paul McCartney invited the Meters and Professor Longhair to play his 40th birthday party on the Queen Mary. What a night that must have been!