So Tom and I went to the ballpark to catch a game and we wound up getting a nice upgrade to our seats (thank you Brian) and sat behind home plate (a bit off toward the left side). The weather was great. The view was incredible.
It looked like we were well on our way to a great day.
And then Adam Wainwright snapped off a few curveballs and I thought, "Oh no, I think it's all downhill from here". It quickly became apparent that we peaked early.
Edwin Jackson had some good zip today, one fastball read 99 on the scoreboad -- not sure if that was accurate, but it was pretty quick. He was mostly 92-94. However, he had trouble commanding his good slider all day and wound up leaning on the fastball early and often. The Cards were ready for it and squared him up pretty well in the second inning. Obviously that wasn't going to cut it all game long, so they eventually turned to the curveball and Jackson spun some pretty nice ones himself -- except he only started throwing it more in the 4th inning. It was a nice adjustment, but it was too little too late. It didn't look like the Cubs were going to touch Wainwright and that turned out to be the case. He went 7 innings and allowed just 5 hits and one run. He walked one and struck out 11. You can say all you want about the Cubs looking lethargic, but the truth is from where we were sitting, Wainwright was downright filthy. Good pitching will do that to you.
Only Junior Lake got to him. Wainwright made his one big mistake, throwing him a letter high 89 mph FB and Lake jumped on it and ripped it into the left-center field gap to score David DeJesus, who had walked. At that point the game was 3-1 and it looked like the Cubs might actually have a chance. Jackson was throwing the ball well at that point.
The problem with Jackson's early struggles and inability to command his slider meant a lot of pitches and he was at 117 after the 6th. The Cubs brought in Carlos Villanueva and he immediately got into trouble. Matt Holliday ripped a line drive on which Starlin Castro made a spectacular leaping grab -- but the defense along wasn't going to be able to save Villanueva for long in that inning. He walked Allen Craig and then yielded a double to Cubs nemesis Yadier Molina to put men on 2nd and 3rd with one out.
Villanueva was removed and James Russell was brought in to face the lefty John Jay. Jay took a 1-1 slider the opposite way, getting it into the crosswind and suddenly, for all intents and purposes, it was game over. The Cards would go on to win 6-1.
If there was a bright spot for the game it was the stellar play of the defense. After a key error by Junior Lake in CF in the 2nd, the defense was outstanding. We mentioned Castro's leaping stab, but Anthony Rizzo may have topped him with a dive over the visitor's dugout to retire Molina. That it was Molina who was robbed on the play made it just a little sweeter. Darwin Barney also made a nice play on a hard ground ball up the middle.
We also got treated to an ump show when home plate ump Phil Cuzzi made a questionable call on a check swing -- and refused to get help from the first base umpire.
Not the result we were hoping for, but at least were able to see a few nice plays, had a great view, and got some nice weather.
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