Baseball is fabulous at bonding people. I have made many friends through our mutual love for the game. One of my better friends, Julian, is an avid San Francisco Giants fan. For years I’ve watched him wear his SF hat (the real one, not this bi-colored schlock they’re wearing now.) into Shea Stadium and war with the asshattiest of Asshat Met fans. He’s old school. Because we know each other and our fandom so well, I know he will give me some space and not gloat over his Giant’s 7-5 win today after the Giants scored 2 runs in the ninth off a faulty Carlos Marmol. He knows better than to give me a silver lining like the Cubs scoring 5 runs off of Matt Cain, including a 3 run bomb by Alfonso Soriano to come back from a 3-1 deficit. And he simply knows better than to point out that a tired bullpen was no help in saving a fairly shaky Travis Wood. He knows me too well. Baseball is awesome that way. Let’s dissect the frog.
THE PITCHER WITH NO NAME
Travis Wood continues to water down the promise he showed us midway through the season. Wood is winless since July 6th, and while he has had some quality starts in these two months, he’s had several like the one he had today. Was he awful? No. But he there wasn’t a stretch where he was good. His 5 2/3 innings of 7 hits, 4 runs (2 earned.) 1 walk and 2 K performance didn’t have a stretch where you could say to yourself “ Alright, Travis has this, now let the offense do it’s job.” Travis is trending badly. And to me he enters 2013 the way he entered 2012- having to earn a rotation spot. Corpas wasn’t any good in holding the lead either. But he’s overworked. Russell and Camp were Russell and Camp. And Marmol had one of those “this is why you don’t bring a closer in a non close situation” type innings.
THROWN FOR A LOOP.
You don’t want to kill Brett Jackson, but he’s got to make a better throw than the one he made in letting the winning run score. The ball was hit hard, the runner had yet to reach third when he had the ball. His momentum was going forward. To throw a ball that fades off like a Phillip Glass tune. I suppose you can say the ball could have been cutoff and Rizzo should have been in better position. But I don’t. The entire play was in front of him. Should have nailed him. Instead, he went Juan Pierre on us.
I ALWAYS PREFERRED LEATHER OVER PINKY.
Despite the 9th inning gaffe by BJax, it was a very good day for the Cubs defense, in particular the outfield defense. Jackson was on his horse for several plays, David Dejesus had a spectacular diving catch and Alfonso Soriano went into the wall to make a spectacular catch on Matt Cain. Yes, even the pitcher was driving balls to the wall. Throw in Luis Valbuena’s gem, and you can see why it’s OK to give the pitching staff grief today. They got second, third, fourth and fifth chances.
Julian went to an Ikea several years ago and got himself one of those trendy wife-and-two-kid sets and I’ve since moved back home to Chicago. We don’t talk as much these days. But we converse every Giants-Cubs series. And after he puts his awesome kids to bed tonight, I’m sure we’ll exchange some texts and e-mails. He’ll talk about defeating those odorous Dodgers and his team's chances this fall. Then he’ll chuckle as I explain the Cubs drive to not get 100 losses. And I will thank whoever’s in charge for having Baseball and baseball related friends. Because friends like those get me through games like today.