Tonight, the Milwaukee Brewers take the NL Central’s best record down to Wrigley Field to take on the Chicago Cubs, who decidedly do not have the NL Central’s best record. Brewers/Cubs are always exciting for a number of reasons, but this one has a little more importance considering Milwaukee’s position in the standings. St. Louis has the day off – presumably to weep silently in the clubhouse and to tweak the diagnostics inside Pujols’ CPU – so with a win or two at Wrigley we can gain some ground fast.
With all that in place, we are bringing tonight’s game to you live, with the same fashion and professionalism that can only come from someone who has weeks of live reporting experience.
Well, I said defense would be the key to this game, and as it turns out I was right. It was a pitcher’s duel the whole way, and Wolf’s excellent performance was wasted by a few bad decisions. Yuni’s botched squeeze and whatever the hell that RBI hit from Ramirez was, and the game is over in the Cubs favor. Thanks for reading and tune in tomorrow when Yovani leads the Crew against Ryan Wells. Here’s the wrap-up:
WP: Jeff Samardzija (4-2) 1.0 IP, 1 K
LP: Kameron Loe (2-6) 1.o IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 K
SV: Carlos Marmol (13) 1.0 IP, 1 BB, 2 K
Blog Line: 2861 Words, 0 Bathroom Breaks, 135 deleted swear words.
END GAME – Marmol strikes out McGehee, and the Brewers drop the opener 1-0 to the Chicago Cubs.
Top 9th, Two Out – Fielder draws a walk and becomes the tying run. Which makes Casey McGehee the winning run.
Top 9th, One Out – Kids, if you’re watching, this is how you work an at-bat. Unfortunately it doesn’t end well, as Braun flies out to center field for the second out.
Top 9th, No Outs – Mark Kotsay leads off and the Brewers need a base runner bad. Not from Mark though, as he earns his 3rd K of the night. One out.
[Personal Note: Last year this position would have been depressing for me. This year I don't think 1 run is enough against these guys, regardless of inning.]
End 8th – My heart stops every time I see Prince in a footrace to the bag. I imagine Prince’s does as well. Brewers 0, Cubs 1 with the last three Brewer Outs coming up: Kotsay, Braun and Fielder. Two out of three ain’t bad.
Bottom 8th, Two Outs – Soto looks dumbly at an 0-2 sinker. Two outs, two on.
Bottom 8th, One Out – Barney beats the tag to the plate and the Cubs go up 1-0. Not the best throw, but really a great slide from Barney.
Bottom 8th, One Out – Braun couldn’t get a beat on a deep fly ball, Kotsay nearly runs into him as he tries to throw, and Barney doesn’t know how run bases and ends up stuck on third in a close throw. Man on second and third, one out. This, ladies and gents, is why Loe gets a bad rap.
Bottom 8th, One Out – Barney hits a line right past Yuni for a single. Pena comes in to pinch-hit for Baker now with one on and one out. Kameron is doing the right thing here keeping his pitches low, but Pena ain’t buying what he’s selling thus far.
Bottom 8th, One Out – Kameron Loe on for his 234,859,267,349,867,234th appearance this season, and he quickly retires his 7th consecutive batter in the last 3 games.
Mid 8th – Rickie fails to reach base again tonight, giving him a big fat donut for the opening of the series. Brewers 0, Cubs 0.
[Stat Time: Randy Wolf - 7.0 IP, 6 H, 7 K]
Top 8th, One Out – Lucroy goes in to the box now, happily owning the 3rd spot in the NL catcher All-Star vote totals now. Lucroy turned 25 today, proving once and for all that my life is far behind expectation at 24. Lucroy K’s for the second out.
Top 8th – Counsell comes in as a pinch hit in a tricky move that includes Lucroy coming in next. Counsell grounds out and it becomes much ado about nothing. One out.
[Stat Time: Dempster - 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K's]
[Broadcast note: Does Davey Nelson ever have an idea of what he wants to say?]
[Commercial Note: exactly how much pee do you think is in the water at Noah's Ark? Anyone wanna hazard a guess on that?]
End 7th – Blake DeWitt flies out to right in Dempster’s stead, and the crisis is averted. Brewers 0, Cubs 0.
Bottom 7th, Two Outs – Seven inning, three hit shutout not good enough for Quade. Dempster gets pulled for a pinch hit with two outs and two on here. Not a bad decision, but the way Ryan has been tossing it today you have to wonder.
Bottom 7th, One Out – Two straight minor league call ups hit two hard base hits off of Wolf. Two on, one out and one nervous blogger.
Bottom 7th, One Out – Mark Kotsay makes the catch in center as Soto flies out for the first out. Campana then jumps on the first pitch and sends a single into center field. One on, one out.
Mid 7th – Dempster gets his 7th K on Corey Hart with an ankle-height split finger fastball. Yuni then grounds out. Brewers need runs and runners the way I need a beer at this point: badly. Brewers 0, Cubs 0.
Top 7th – Dempster goes into the 7th for the first time in a long while. McGehee is leading off and for some reason is thinking bunt. Casey decides to ground out to Castro instead. One out.
[Commercial note: I think someone is surgically adding a marble in Tom Brokaw's mouth every other year for the past ten years.]
End 6th – Close call as Corey Hart gloves a fly ball about three feet from the fence. This was a shaky one for Wolf, who had to toss out some extra pitches on Baker’s at-bat. He’s up to 90 pitches now, but still looking pretty good. Brewers 0, Cubs 0.
Bottom 6th, Two Outs – Darwin Barney is sent back to the dugout for Wolf’s 7th strikeout. Almost everyone – batter included – has almost walked off the field on two consecutive would-be strikes. Baker then bloops one in front of Corey Hart and makes it to first base. One on, two outs.
Bottom 6th, One Out – Starlin Castro flies out to Braun at the track for the first out. First time tonight Castro failed to reach base.
[Minor League Note: Gamel has 2 HR's tonight. In 3 Innings. We have a 3B spot being warmed up for you, buddy]
Mid 6th – Prince whiffs again (what?????) as Dempster is pitching a real gem today. Brewers 0, Cubs 0.
Top 6th, Two Outs – Braun jumps on the first pitch, and flies out to Left field. There’s no real reason to pitch to Prince here, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wan him to.
Top 6th – Kotsay is up to lead off the 6th. Dempster is tipping his fastball, as usual. Don’t tell Mark that though, it will just make the strikeout more embarrassing. See? Kotsay K’s for the first out.
End 5th – Wolf strikes out Dempster. Great inning for Wolfy, it’s good to see him eat up some innings for a change. Wolf has 6 K’s and only 3 hits tonight with only 70 pitches. Brewers 0, Cubs 0.
Bottom 5th, One Out – LeMahieu grounds out. Campana is up now for a second go-around with one out and no one on. Campana looks in a wicked curveball for the third strike. Who squares to bunt on a 1-2 count? Two outs.
[Broadcast note: Riverview Water Trap is today's Tavern of the Game. Someone tell them!]
Mid 5th – Rickie grounds out to the first basemen, and strands the pitcher at second. Rickie just cannot hit against Dempster. Speaking of, Dempster seems to a little rattled this inning, and he was taking a ton of time between pitches. I wonder how that hip is feeling. Or shoulder. Or Back. Brewers 0, Cubs 0.
[Note to anyone: do red-headed ballplayers have to grow a goatee? It's weird]
Top 5th, Two Outs – That’s why it’s called a suicide squeeze, Betancourt is tagged out in a comical seven-man rundown. 5-2-5-1-6-4-2. Then Randy Wolf doubles. Hijinx ensue. One on, two out.
[Broadcast note: You can tell Brian Andersen is out of ways to explain things to Rock without being a little rude.]
Top 5th, One Out – Nieves sacrifices himself (we’ll call it that, anyway) and Betancourt moves to third. One On, One out.
Top 5th, No Outs – Nieves is up to the plate with a runner in scoring position which works well with his zero RBI’s. Don’t tell the Cubs though, they’re playing about 250 feet deep in the outfield.
Top 5th, No Outs – Yuni up again, presumably to ground out again. Shows what I know, he doubles to left. One on, no out.
[Commercial Note: Captain Morgan, how does a ship sneak up on you? You're in the open ocean. Nice dive, though, Very Luganis of you.]
End 4th – Randy Wolf owes Ryan Braun three beers – one for every out he made this inning. Brewers 0, Cubs 0.
Bottom 4th, Two Outs – Geovany Soto gets a hit into left field. the Cubs are starting to jump on Wolf’s pitches now. One on, two outs.
Bottom 4th, Two Outs – Ramirez up to the plate – first mistake. Ramirez deep to left and backs Braun up to the ivy – second mistake and second out.
Bottom 4th, No Outs – Baker on again for the Cubbies, and Wolf is still falling behind batters but he isn’t missing by much. Ryan Braun makes an excellent case for being my best friend with a sliding grab for the first out.
[Personal Note: Fansided signed me out. I peed a little.]
Mid 4th – Long high ball to Center field for Hart falls into a glove about 40 feet too short. Inning ends with one more left on base. Brewers 0, Cubs 0.
Top 4th, Two Outs – Prince Fielder strikes out. I can’t believe it either. On the plus side, McGehee knocks a real-life hit into left field. One on, two outs.
[Broadcast note: They are saying everything I said about Prince's batting improvement tonight. I feel very smart right now.]
Top 4th, No Outs – Ryan Braun to lead off against Dempster, who has Milwaukee’s only hit. He broke his bat on a chopper to short. One out. Prince Up.
End 3rd – Wolf fans his fourth and the inning ends with Castro stranded at second base. I can get used to this. Brewers 0, Cubs 0.
Bottom 3rd, Two Outs – Wolf throws to Fielder for the pick-off, and Rickie Weeks and Yuni silently applaud as Castro takes second base. Nice work guys. One on, two out.
Bottom 3rd, Two Outs – Castro hits for the second time, this on is a single into center field. One on, two outs.
Bottom 3rd, Two Outs – Betancourt saves a hard shot from Ryan Dempster. In honesty, he was safe by about a step, but maybe they should win some games to get those calls. Two outs, no one on.
Bottom 3rd, No Outs – Wolf has his slider working well now, against Campana, the speedy CF. He uses those quick legs to walk to the bench after Wolf gets him on three strikes. One out.
Mid 3rd- Mark Kotsay. Need I say more? How about strikeout? Dempster fans the Brewers 3rd. Brewers 0, Cubs 0.
Top 3rd, One Out – Rickie is up again, he’s 0-1 thus far and I think he fouled off himself twice. Nice cut Rickie. Two K’s for Dempster, two outs and no one on.
Top 3rd, One Out – Wolf strikes out, no surprise. The Sausages are in the rooftop bleachers and Bernie looks drunk and ready to fight. One out, no one on.
End 2nd – Wolf gets his second strikeout and leaves Dempster on the on-deck circle. Some command issues still for Wolf, but he’s getting it together quickly. Brewers 0, Cubs 0.
Bottom 2nd, Two Outs – LF Montanez is up to the plate and quickly back to the dugout after grounding to Yuni. Two Outs.
Bottom 2nd, No Outs – Everyone at Wrigley looks like they want to hurt someone as Soto grounds out to McGehee. One out.
Mid 2nd – Nieves steps up in the 8 spot now and takes ball one. Nieves grounds into a double play (including a poor break-up slide from Hart) to end the inning. Brewers 0, Cubs 0.
Top 2nd, No Outs – Yuni steps up to the plate for his first ever appearance against the Cubs pitcher. He is now batting .000 lifetime with a fly out to Baker. One out.
Top 2nd, No Outs – Corey Hart is leading off, he has a .152 average and two home runs against Dempster lifetime. Hart fouls one into the bullpen on the first pitch, presumably a pre-emptive strike. Corey and his nine foot legs out-strides the throw from Castro. One on, no outs.
End 1st – Aramis Ramirez chops one towards Wolf who gets it to Fielder to end the inning. Brewers 0, Cubs 0.
Bottom 1st, One Out – Baker is up now to try and drive in Castro – something akin to Unicorn hunting at Wrigley Field this season. Wolf quickly pushes him to 1-2. Wolf gets his first K. One on, two out.
Bottom 1st, No Outs – Barney is up to the plate now with Castro on second. Wolf behind 3-1 again, everything is just sailing on him right now. Barney lined one hard, but Rickie snagged it with some good glove work. One out, one on.
Bottom 1st, No Outs – Starlin Castro is up to face Randy Wolf for the first at-bat. Castro is hitting .301 and is .200 against Wolfy. Wolf fell quickly behind 3-1 on Castro, and he snakes down the third base line for a double. One on, no outs, and one bad start to the Brewers inning.
Mid 1st- Fielder walks on a pitch-out, men at first and second with McGehee up to the plate. After a long battle, McGehee knocks one right into the waiting glove of Baker. 2 left on base, Brewers 0 Cubs 0.
Top 1st, Two Outs – Ryan Braun up with two outs and nobody on. Braun gets a single past third base, which increases Ryan’s average on Dempster – previously .184. Fielder Comes up with one on and two out. This looks like an unintentional intentional walk so far. Braun steals his 15th base on Soto who threw it about 100 feet in the air.
Top 1st, One Out – Mark Kotsay flies to left field before I can even think of a dig to take at him. Two Outs.
Top 1st, No Outs – Rickie Weeks and his freshly-warmed bat are up to the plate first to take on Dempster. Rickie pops up to Castro, one out.
[Commercial note: They just showed the Hanes commercial where the guy on the plane shows Mike his underwear. I remember when Charlie Sheen did that in a commercial, and how not weird that scene would be now]
7:02 PM – 8 Minutes until 1st Pitch: Everyone shut up! The game’s on!
6:52 PM – 18 Minutes until 1st Pitch: I just found out that Klement’s Famous Racing Sausages are at Wrigley tonight. We’re seriously sending sausages to Northside Chicago? Talk about a suicide mission.
[Line up note: Kotsay is 6-13 with 2 RBI's in his last 6 games. It's not all-star worthy, but it's pretty good for an octogenarian.]
6:45 PM – 25 Minutes until 1st Pitch: Prince Fielder hits .323 with 11 home runs at Wrigley Field. He must get a Chicago Dog for every run he drives in.
[Weather note: The wind is blowing in at Wrigley tonight. That means Prince can only hit it about 400 feet tonight.]
6:39 PM – 31 Minutes until 1st Pitch: Brewers Live just said that Milwaukee’s starting rotation is 25-19, with the best winning percentage in baseball. Suck it, Phillies.
6:36 PM – 34 Minutes until 1st Pitch
Weeks 2B, Kotsay CF, Braun LF, Fielder 1B, McGehee 3B, Hart RF, Betancourt SS, Nieves C, Wolf P
Fielder has two dingers against Dempster, and both McGehee and Kotsay are over .300 against the Cubs and their starter. That explains Kotsay to a degree, even though Gomez has equally good numbers in less at-bats.
Castro SS, Barney 2B, Baker RF, Ramirez 3B, Soto C, Montanez LF, LeMahieu 1B, Campana CF, Dempster P
Baker and Soto have both knocked their fair share of hits off Wolf, including two home runs and 6 RBI’s for Soto. The Cubs have one of the highest batting average in the National Leagues, so defense against Chicago is going to be key in tonight’s game.
6:30 PM – 40 Minutes until 1st pitch
Tonight Randy Wolf (4-4 3.49 ERA) takes on Ryan Dempster (5-5 5.96 ERA). Dempster is coming off a hip injury which caused him to miss his last start. He had a rough start, but turned things around against the Reds in the last start. He is, however, 15-3 all time against the Crew, with 161 strikeouts. Wolfy hasn’t had the same luck (5-10 lifetime against the North Siders), but little of the lineup has experience with Wolf in tonight’s game. With Nieves as the backstop and the certain brand of mojo he brings when Randy pitches, we might be in for a good show tonight.
6:22 PM – 48 Minutes until first pitch We are going to be working on a new format today, with older news at the bottom and newer developments at the top. This will both save your scroll wheel and increase my typing speed simultaneously.