The Cubs looked to make it two in a row against the Cardinals. But starter Joe Kelly and the assortment of hard throwing relievers turned out to be too much of a challenge for the North Side 9. The Cardinals struck early against Carlos Villanueva. Carlos Beltran's triple down the right field line scored lead off man Matt Carpenter. Beltran would cruise home when the next batter Allen Craig and before the Cardinal fans could smoke their first bowl of meth it was 2-0 Cardinals. Alfonso Soriano would have the lead in the third with a bloop hit single to right center field scoring Luis Valbuena. Matt Gurrier would give up what would turn out to be the winning run in the 7th by giving up a triple to pinch hitter Rob Johnson and a double to the increasingly annoying Matt Carpenter. Starlin Castro would give the Cubs some momentum and hope with a home run in the 8th. But Trevor Rosenthal and his 100 mph fastball and Edward Mujica and his all around ugliness proved to be too much and the Cardinal fans went to their various fast food chains for dinner with smiles on their faces celebrating a 3-2 win. Damn right they'll have fries with that. Let's look for love in all the wrong places.
Carlos Villanueva bounced back from a shaky first inning to give the Cubs a solid start today. CV pitched 6 innings allowing two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out four. Villanueva was on a 90 pitch limit so when he threw 28 pitches in the first inning it looked like an empty the bullpen game for the Cubs. But Villanueva got lots of ground ball outs and only needed 38 pitches for the next three innings. He'd be a handy guy for a team down the stretch. But will someone hand over something of value for a swing man? He's probably more valuable to the Cubs right now. Gurrier, despite giving up the winning run, and Pedro Strop held down the 7th and 8th while Michael Bowden and guess who- James Russell finished off the 9th.
NOW THERE'LL BE NO HESITATING, I'M GETTING INTO THE SUN
Welcome to 3:05 starts Nate Schierholtz. Wether the sun being in his eyes aided Carlos Beltran's or Rob Johnson's triples is debatable. But it was clear he wasn't having any fun out there. With more 3:05 games scheduled for now and into the future defense in right field becomes even more important. Schierholtz has been very good defensively, and I expect him to adjust. So will Brian Bogusevic who seemed to take an odd route on the game winning double.
WONDER TWIN POWERS ACTIVATE
Good day for the rebuild, as Rizzo and Castro continue to play well. Castro had a home run, which has been past due. And continues to have a better approach at the plate and added confidence in the field. Rizzo only went 1 for 4 but has been rock solid anchoring the defense. While pitch selection could be a little better. Rizzo looks like he's going to be pushing the batting average North. Both players, I expect, will welcome the break to take an actual break.
So the series is tied at one game apiece. Matt Garza takes the mound, everyone say it with me now, IN WHAT MIGHT BE HIS FINAL START AS A CUB, when he takes on the hairy Lance Lynn.Cubs haven't been outclassed in this series so far against the Cardinals, which is a vast improvement over the last time they played them. Still, this team isn't going to give the Cubs the easy opportunities the Brewers, Mets, and Mariners did. So an extra oomph is required these last two games before the Pearl Jam break. Here's hoping we see it. Onwards.