There has been nothing to love about these losers through two games.
The Cubs' most reliable pitcher at home was uncharacteristically wild in Game 1. Their most characteristically wild pitcher got no help from his defense in Game 2. Forced to get six outs in the second inning, Zambrano eventually and inevitably gave into the hot-hitting Los Angeles Dodgers.
Spotting them 5 runs so early, the Cubs were done and so was Zambrano's fragile psyche. I, an unfortunate witness to all this from far up in the Terrace Reserved seats, counted at least three times when Zambrano turned his back and stormed around the mound letting the throw from catcher Geovany Soto or the home-plate umpire fall in the middle of the infield.
No one wants to hear about this, but when you, as a franchise, acknowledge hokey stuff like curses, perhaps, you're destined for failure. Why bring in a Greek Orthodox priest to bless the dugout in an attempt to counteract some curse a Greek tavern owner placed on the Cubs years ago?
As soon as I saw footage of that priest blessing the Cubs dugout before Game 1, I knew this team was doomed. I'm surprised Lou Piniella's head didn't spin 360 degrees on its axis after James Loney's grand slam. For all we know, it did.
You can't win if you feel the dark forces beyond the game are against you. If you think you're cursed, then you are cursed. Why give it any credence at all? Just move on.
Only the weak minded would believe such hokum. Just to be safe, for lunch I had curry goat stew from a Jamaican restaurant near my house. I could not, however, find a live chicken.
. What have you done?
Welcome, to the Saturday night Cubicle. If you're still up, join us. We'll keep an eye on Rich Harden's velocity, Dick Stockton's malapropisms and Kosuke Fukudome's whereabouts as the Cubs and Dodgers get it on from Chavez Ravine. Vin Scully, Dodgerdogs,
and all that.
goes for the Dodgers and I'm sure you've heard he faced the Cubs twice this season and allowed just one earned run in 15 1/3 innings, which is even more impressive when you consider the hat he wears.
Your Fukudome-free zone
Mike Fontenot hitting second -- for the Dodgers, which is strange. Game 3 soon.
If the Brewers-Phillies game goes long, the Cubs will start on TNT, which we don't have in the building. I've got some feed of ESPN China on my machine going and hopefully that will switch over. Otherwise I may have to do this through a combination of WGN radio and MLB gamecast.
OK, here we go. Casey Blake robs Alfonso Soriano of a hit with a diving play. My ESPN China is killing me. They've got the Brewers, too. OK, that game just ended. I'm sure TBS will show a bunch of Frank TV commercials before switching over. Mike Fontenot grounds out to short. Derrek Lee doubles off the left-field wall. It almost got out. TBS finally switches over to the game. Aramis Ramirez faces an 0-2 count and takes a close one just off the plate. Kuroda is staying away and the the count goes full. Dodgers fans are really into it, waving little white towels and all. Ramirez takes a ball high and there are runners on first and second for Geovany Soto, who takes a pitch on the outside corner for strike one. A broken bat grounder to third ends the inning.
Rafael Furcal takes a ball and then pops out to Ramirez at third. Harden throws two fastballs Russell Martin for a quick 0-2 count. Martin turns on a pitch and rips a double down the left-field line that wedges under the tarp. Harden starts Manny out with a strike on the outside corner. Manny pokes a single through the hole on the left side. Martin holds up and then makes a dash for third. Soriano's accurate throw beats him, but Ramirez tags Martin on the shoulder and he's safe. Manny didn't take second on the play. Andre Ethier fans on a ball in the dirt and then runs back to the dugout like he's in the Little League World Series. Runners on the corners for the Game 1 killer James Loney.
Loney knocks them both in with a double to right.
Larry Rothschild makes an early visit to the mound. Matt Kemp flies out to Edmonds to end the first.
Dodgers 2, Cubs 0
Edmonds grounds weakly to second for the first out. Mark DeRosa bounces to third for the second out. In an act of minor desperation, Ryan Theriot tries to bunt for a hit but Kuroda is all over it and the Cubs go down in order in the second.
Blake DeWitt leads off for the Dodgers and works the count full. DeWitt pops out to Soriano in shallow left. They just showed footage of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers winning Game 7 of the World Series 53 years ago today. Vin Scully called that game, probably alone like he still does. Meanwhile, TBS needs three guys jabbering non stop over all this so-called action. Dick Stockton started collecting Social Security that year. Casey Blake pops out to second. Kuroda strikes out.
Dodgers 2, Cubs 0
Harden bounces out to second. Kuroda gets ahead of Soriano 0-2. Martin sets up way outside and Soriano lays two pitches well off the plate. Soriano then squibs one back to Kuroda for the second out. Hey, a hit! Fontenot lines a single to center. Lee pokes a single through the hole on the left side. Fontenot stops at second. Kuroda gets two strikes on Ramirez, Dodgers fans get up and Ramirez bounces in a 5-4 fielder's choice. Next.
Furcal takes a strike on the inside corner before working the count full. Furcal bloops a single over Theriot's head into shallow left. With Martin up, Harden's throw to first gets by Lee. Furcal takes off and nearly gets third. Fontenot rolled his ankle fetching the ball out of right field and he's down. Paging, Kosuke Fukudome. Kosuke Fukudome, please pick up the white courtesy phone. The trainers out there. Lou Piniella's out there and Fontenot is trying to run it off. That ought to limit his limited range even more. Ronny Cedeno just ducked down the tunnel to possibly get ready if he's needed. Fontenot stays in there. Meanwhile, by the looks of the replay, the throw from Harden was over the runner but Lee barely reached for it. Martin pops out behind the plate to Soto. And here's Manny with a guy on and they won't let him hit. Four straight balls and here's Ethier with two on. Ethier drives it deep to center. Edmonds grabs it near the track and both runners tag. Piniella comes out to discuss how they're going to handle Loney. They're going to pitch to him with a base open and two outs. Loney flies out to right.
Dodgers 2, Cubs 0
Soto steps up there hacking away and drives a 2-2 pitch to the left-field corner for a double. Edmonds bounces out to second but moves Soto along to third. DeRosa swings at the first pitch and grounds out to third. It's up to Theriot with two outs to get Soto home. The Dodgers will put Theriot on to get to Harden. Harden squares around and misses badly at a bunt attempt. Harden swings and misses at a breaking ball for strike two. Not a chance here. Harden actually gets a piece of a few and fouls them back. Nice swing. Harden strikes out and it wasn't pretty. So much for those base runners. They're stranded. Maybe the Coast Guard will come pick them up.
Denny Crane, can you send out a rescue party for Soto and Theriot? Kemp shatters his bat on a comebacker to Harden. Harden fans DeWitt and Blake.
Dodgers 2, Cubs 0
Soriano takes a fastball for a strike and then flies out to center, which makes him 1-for-12 in the series. Fontenot flies out to right. Lee strikes out, flings his bat and slams his batting helmet to the ground. That's the most life the Cubs have showed all series, sadly.
Harden's thrown 70 pitches through four innings. Make that 72, after Kuroda swings and misses and then grounds out to second. Harden falls behind Furcal 3-0 and Soto sprints out to the mound. Four-pitch walk to Furcal and we got back to SI's Tom Verducci, who tells us about Harden's lofty pitch count and that Ryan Dempster could be the next option. Can't wait.
Martin knocks home Furcal with a double to the left-field corner. Between Soriano and Theriot, the Cubs couldn't even put together a relay to the plate.
They walk Manny again, the crowd boos, Lou goes and gets Harden and here comes Sean Marshall. Backs against the wall, down two games, must win on the road, Harden goes 4 1/3. Ethier grounds to Fontenot, who flips to second to get Manny but no time to get two. Martin takes second on the play. Marshall blows his 88 mph fastball past Loney for the first strike and then drops in a big curve for strike two. Loney rolls out to second and Marshall does a nice job getting out of there.
Dodgers 3, Cubs 0
Ramirez grounds out to short on an 0-1 pitch. Soto's facing a full count and Dick Stockton takes this opportunity to say time's running out for the Cubs. Really? Thanks for the insight. Soto fans. Verducci points out no Cubs are on the top step of the dugout; they're all sitting down with their heads bowed. Edmonds tries to check his swing but can't. Strike three and the Cubs are now nine out away from further humiliation.
Marshall remains and fans Kemp. Carlos Marmol gets up in the Cubs pen. DeWitt doubles over DeRosa's head. Here comes Lou. There goes Marshall. Enter Marmol. Bathroom break for this guy. Fukudon'tme replaces Edmonds in center on the double switch. Blake grounds out and DeWitt takes third. Kuroda strikes out to end the sixth.
Dodgers 3, Cubs 0
Lou Zerr, that would be all three. DeRosa bounces out to short. Theriot grounds to Furcal and Furcal will not cooperate with the Cubs' plan to go down in flames quickly. He boots it and Theriot reaches on the error. Here's Fukudome and ,may I remind you, a two-run homer makes it 3-2. Just sayin'. I'm sure he's faced Kuroda many times. Of course, the TBS crew doesn't say squat about that. Fukudome singles to center. With runners on first and second and one out, Joe Torre goes and gets Kuroda, who's pitched a heckuva a game. Cory Wade relieves Kuroda, the Cubs are showing a slight pulse, slight but beating and Soriano steps into the box, swings at the first pitch and flies out to right. With Fontenot up, Wade tosses one in the dirt that gets away from Martin. Theriot takes off for third and gets there safely, but c'mon, that was not smart with two outs. Full count ... Fontenot drives one deep to center. Matt Kemp nearly misplays it but leaps and gloves it. So much for that, Cubs fans. Fire up the offseason.
Furcal grounds out to Theriot. The Cubs currently are being outscored 20-5 in this series, so there's that. Martin flies out to shallow center. Manny flies out to DeRosa. Eighth inning coming up.
Dodgers 3, Cubs 0
Lee doubles over Manny's head to lead off the eighth and he's fired up. Ramirez follows that up by striking out swinging; he's now 2-for-11 in the series. Soto pops it up. Furcal gloves it. Daryle Ward hits for Marmol. Make your plans for tomorrow night now. There's probably a few movies out you've missed, some family members you've neglected while watching these people play baseball for the last six months.
Ward singles to center to knock home Lee.
A run is a start and it's only 3-1. Torre's out to get Wade for that big ox Jonathan Broxton. Ronny Cedeno runs for Ward. DeRosa takes a slider for strike one. Ball one high and Cedeno helps himself to second. DeRosa swings through a breaking ball and I used to really like Tony Gwynn and now he's just kind of a hefty high-talker. DeRosa fouls off a 99 mph fastball. And then does the same to a slider over the plate. He can't get to that slider away and it's strike three. End of inning. The Cubs get a run but strand a runner.
Dodgers 3, Cubs 1
Neal Cotts, come on down. Cotts fans Either. Cotts fans Loney. Cotts fans Kemp. What the...? Ninth inning coming up. Last chance, Cubs.
Dodgers 3, Cubs 1
Broxton remains and it's down to Theriot, Fukudome and, fittingly, Soriano. Theriot strikes out on three pitches, looking at the first two and a taking a feeble wave at the last one. Fukudome goes down 0-2 quickly before fighting one off. He takes two balls and then grounds out to short. Well, here you go: Alfonso Soriano, 1-for-13 in the series, stands at the plate with the Dodgers on the verge of a sweep and their fans going crazy. He takes a strike and then swings and misses. He checks his swing at a ball in the dirt. Game over. We keep waiting because it ain't gonna happen this year.
Final: Dodgers 3, Cubs 1
Well, heck. The Cubs are swept out of the NLDS for the second straight year. A total embarrassment. I'm sorry I had to bring you this. I'm sorry I had to watch it. Thanks for reading all year, everyone. We really can't thank you enough. Too bad we had to end on this note, but I guess we're all used to it by now. Maybe not.