Well let's give credit to the Cubs. They've taken a bullpen blown game to new levels. Maybe even an art form. Last night's loss to the Angels was another one but it featured something very old and something very new. The new was Carlos Villanueva, the latest reliever to add gasoline to the fire. The old was, and is, Albert Pujols, who hit his 54th homer against the Cubs in the 8th inning. The Cubs got off on their patented "here we go" quick start in the first, with Nate Schierholtz singling in off of Jeff Weaver to score Luis Valbuena. A Pujols sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning tied it up but the Cubs put some hits together in the third. With Kim Dejesus' husband and Anthony Rizzo on, Alfonso Soriano muscled one into left field to score Dejesus. Ryan Sweeney would then muscle one in to right to score Rizzo. Weaver and Scott FELDMAN would hold things down in the middle part of the inning. And FELDMAN !!! would tire in the 7th. You knew he was tiring because Josh Hamilton actually got an extra base hit. And when he scored on a Howie Kendrick single that would be it for Feldman and set up Pujols' heroics in the 8th. Let's get some breakfast.
A SERIOUS MAN
No complaints from Scott FELDMAN's start today. Throwing 6+ innings while allowing 2 runs on 6 hits. FELDMAN struck out and walked one apiece. The pitch count got to that dreaded 100 pretty quick there in the 7th. But that was more Angels fouling off pitches than FELDMAN getting trouble with balls. Russell was good bailing him out in the 7th and Villanueva.....
DISORDER IN THE HOUSE
Carlos Villanueva has been great all year. But you cannot throw THAT pitch to Albert Pujols. If you gave Albert Pujols a home run pitch order form and asked him to point on a strike zone graph where he wanted it and how hard. He's point right to where Carlos V threw it and exactly how hard he threw it. YOU CAN'T THROW PUJOLS THAT PITCH. The Cubs should have 53 pieces of video on Pujols. And first pitch fastball is on the majority of 'em I gare-on-tee.
MAKING FLIPPY FLOPPY
Dale switched the lineup some. One, unlike the White sox series, Dale decided that Soriano should in fact DH, and Ryan Sweeny was inserted into left to give the Cubs a very fast athletic outfield. (more please.) The other was flipping Luis Valbuena to 2nd and Starlin Castro to 7th. Castro's struggles have been yelped at to death. And I couldn't say it any better than Lord Arguello did earlier today. Castro said all the right things. That didn't stop him going 0-four-4. Valbuena, who totally earned his promotion to the 2 hole, went 0-for 4 as well but did score the opening run.
So there's a victory the Cubs won't be getting back. Somehow this loss didn't feel like the rest of the gut punching late inning losses. Even though it was like all the rest of them. Maybe it's because of a new character in the bullpen. Or perhaps I'm punch drunk on Pujols home runs that they all mold into one.... That could be it. Maybe that was Dempster in disguise. Well, Justin Vargas takes the bump for the Angels, ( FELDMAN! and Vargas......Bizzarro world!) and Matt Garza continues his 10 game audition for every team in baseball for the Cubs. This Angels team likes to lose. Here's hoping the Cubs oblige them. Onwards.