The Cubs are riding a six-game winning streak into their huge rematch of the 1929 World Series with the Oakland A's, so we thought it necessary to bring all the action to those of you stuck at work without a TV or radio. And for the rest of you that ducked out early on this beautiful June Friday, may you get a bad sunburn.
The Cubs and the A's haven't played each other since that Series. No surprise here that the Cubs lost that one, blowing an 8-0 lead in Game 4 at Shibe Park and losing in five games to Connie Mack's side. That was when the A's were in Philadelphia and Mack wore a straw hat in the dugout. Which brings up the eternal question: Why do managers and coaches wear baseball uniforms anyway?
We'll leave that one to someone else to figure out because we've got bigger things at hand. Nearly lost in the shuffle of the win streak is Sammy Sosa's return from the disabled list. And that means Todd Hollandsworth will be back on the bench with the other Lemons. Kind of a shame considering Hollandsworth is hitting .305 in June and Sosa was shut down by the Sox's future fifth starter in a Double-A rehab assignment.
It's Matt Clement against lefty Mark Redman. Baseball soon ...
Right. A reader points out Hollandsworth is spelling Alou in left today. So the Two Todds live to see another day. Dusty Baker has juggled the lineup a bit. Walker, Barrett, Ramirez, Sosa, Hollandsworth, Lee, Patterson, Martinez and Clement.
For Oakland it's Mark Kotsay (CF), Marco Scutaro (2B), Jermaine Dye (RF), Erubiel Durazo (1B), Bobby Crosby (SS), Bobby Kielty (LF), Damian Miller (C), Esteban German (3B) and Redman.
Clement goes full to Kotsay before striking him out looking at a breaking ball over the inside corner. Southwest Airlines Plane View Cam shows it's a bad call. One out. Scutaro flies out to Patterson in center. Dye chases a slider away for the third out.
Sosa should be nominated for some kind of acting award for this Pepsi commercial. Redman, who made two starts for the Marlins against the Cubs in last year's NLCS, strikes out Todd Walker looking. Walker thinks it's low and outside but it's not up to him. Barrett lines one to left. Bobby Kielty takes a brutal stab at it and it rolls to the wall. Barrett, being a catcher, takes only second. Score that a single and an error. Ramirez lines one to Dye, who's got a hose and holds Barrett on second. Here's Sneezin' Sammy Sosa with two outs and a guy on second. Redman gets two quick strikes on Sosa but then bounces one that gets away from Miller. Barrett takes third. Sosa fans on a 69 mph breaking ball, not looking too good in the process.
Durazo shows uncharacteristic impatience at the plate and strikes out on four pitches. Somewhere Billy Beane is breaking things. Crosby lays down a bunt for a hit. Kielty hits it hard but right at Sosa. Former Cub Damian Miller steps in. Miller grounds a to Martinez, who filips to Walker at second to get Crosby for the third out. And, yes, SC Cubs fan, I was being sarcastic about Sosa's acting ability. It's right up there with that Denny's commercial a few year back when he proclaimed, "Hey, I was traded for a rice pilaf!"
One half of the Two Todds steps in. That would be Hollandsworth and he pops out to Miller standing on the A's on-deck circle. Derrek Lee, apparently a big fan of the month of June, faces his former teammate. Steve Stone just said Lee added 17 points to his batting average on the recent road trip. The average stays put for now as Lee draws a walk. Redman picks off Lee without throwing a pitch to Patterson. Patterson is retired and the Cubs go down quietly.
Esteban German grounds the first pitch to Walker for the first out. Redman fans and then Kotsay puts one on Sheffield. A big bomb. OK, here's the thing about throwing the ball back after a visiting home run. it's all fine and dandy, but don't cheer it like it's the highlight of your afternoon. Scutaro lines one to third that's speared by a diving Ramirez. Nice play.
A's 1, Cubs nil
Martinez lines one to left. Kielty runs in and then has to back track and jump to catch it. Adam Dunn-esque. Clement swings at two pitches and I'm going to say he'll strike out before the third pitch is even thrown. He does. Ha! DannyK, that's the only thing Ramon Martinez and Nomar have in common. Walker grounds to short and Redman is rolling.
Donnie whatsyourface, you can get back to your oatmeal now. It doesn't matter what you post on the message board, it's not going to make it to print.
Dye bloops one that falls in front of Patterson. Durazo bounces one to Walker who starts the 4-6-3 double play. Crosby hits one to Martinez, who can't get the ball out of his glove. Somehow it's ruled a hit. Clement gets Kielty to bloop one to Walker to end it.
Update from the Hamptons: Mickelson is 6-under par after shooting a 66 today. Shigeki Maruyama is 5-under through 11 and Fred "we want the" Funk is -4 and done for the day. Barrett strikes out to start the Cubs' fourth. Ramirez and Sosa go down in order. Cubs must've left their bats in Houston.
Al in P'Cola I agree with you about only cheering thrown-back balls if they reach the infield. I went to a game earlier this year and a guy one-hopped a ball to the dirt from Waveland. That was impressive. Miller grounds one up the middle for a single. Miller takes off on a hit and run and German flies out to center. Miller retreats. What is Ken Macha doing calling a hit and run with a guy batting .161? I guess that's what happens when the GM calls the shots and detests sacrifice bunts. Redman, who will have to bunt despite Billy Beane's objections, can't get the job done and goes down on strikes. Bunt be damned. Kotsay laces one in the gap, scoring Miller. Scutaro flies out to Sosa, but the A's get another run.
A's 2, Cubs nil
Hollandsworth swings at a change-up in the dirt for strike three. Hey, a Cubs hit! Derrek Lee lines a single to center. Patterson bounces one to Durazo who makes a bad throw to second. Safe all around. Durazo played that like the DH he is. Martinez's ground ball gets by German at third. Wendell Kim sends Lee (Not good!) but Kielty throws a lollipop from left and it's up the line. Patterson takes advantage and gets to third. Martinez takes second. Cubs get a run on some funky defense by the A's. Clement bounces one back to Redman, bringing up Walker with two out and two on. Alas, Walker lines out to left.
A's 2, Cubs 1
All of a sudden Aramis Ramirez is Brooks Robinson. Dye lines one down the line, Ramirez spears it and pegs Dye from his knees. I'm not sure in my lifetime I've ever seen a Cubs third baseman make that play. Durazo hits one off the door in left. Hollandsworth plays it like Yaz off the Green Monster and nearly gets Durazo at second. Anyway, two hard hit balls off Clement. Crosby pops one on the first base side of second and Ramon Martinez nearly makes an adventure out of it, stepping in front of Walker but ducking out of the way at the last second. Two outs for Kielty. Clement gets him swinging.
Eric Karros takes over at first for the A's as Barrett leads off the sixth. The Cubs' catcher lines one right at Kotsay in center. Ramirez takes a mean cut but lifts a harmless fly ball to Dye in right. Sosa takes two strikes and barks at the ump. He thought the second one was high, apparently. He fouls one off then strikes out swinging.
Miller leads off the inning. He lines one foul down the left-field line and Mike Remlinger, warming up in the pen, makes a nice catch. Clement then gets Miller swinging at strike three on a slider down the middle. German and Redman go down easily to end the inning. Some guy from "CSI" sings "TMOTBG."
As Chip and Steve yap with the CSI guy, Hollandsworth lays down a nice drag bunt for a hit. Lee hits one to German at third but Hollandsworth takes out Scutaro with a hard slide and Lee is safe. Patterson hits one back to Redman, who gets Lee at second but Patterson is too fast to double up. Fielders choices all around. Now Redman picks off Patterson. Same move that got Lee. If anything it cuts short the chat with CSI guy.
No, no booing of Patterson. I think Cubs fans have dropped that. Yes, the CSI guy is William Petersen, who was born in Evanston. But according to IMDB, he was raised in Idaho. The short-season Boise Hawks could use a singer. Anyhoo we start the eighth with Clement still on the mound and he'll face Kotsay. Kotsay rips one down the first-base line. Lee smothers it and flips to Clement covering. Scutaro bounces to Lee and we revisit the 3-1 putout. Clement gets two strikes on Dye but Dye comes back and grounds a single through the hole between short and third. Karros will try to hurt his former team. Not today. Clement gets him with a slider away. With Clement due up second in the inning that's got to be it.
Ipsy (a reader on the board), they may have changed that Martinez play to an error but they didn't mention it on TV. Speaking of which, here's Ramon to lead off. The immortal Tom Goodwin has a bat in his hand as Moneyballer Chad Bradford warms in the Oakland pen. Martinez hits one deep to center and Kotsay, who was playing Edmonds-like shallow, back tracks and makes a nice over-the-shoulder catch. The immortal one digs in as Redman stays in the game. Goodwin is left-handed and Moises Alou bats something like .260 against lefties. But let Alou hit. Nothing doing. Goodwin flies out to left. Walker lofts one to Dye in left. Seriously, where's Moises?
Francis Beltran faces Bobby Crosby to start things off. And the dreaded lead-off walk rears its ugly head. Billy Beane likes that. Ross, good question about the Cubs' record during From the cubicles. I may have to go back and check our record. If memory serves, I recall quite a few losses. Kielty hits one to Lee, who steps on first for out No. 1. Oh, my. I've never seen this. Crosby takes off for third on the pitch, Miller hits it to Ramirez at third and the ball and Crosby arrive at Aramis Ramirez at the same time. Crosby takes him out and is called out for interference. That is scored a hit for Miller. Billy Beane just sawed a desk in half at that attempt at small ball. German strikes out to end the inning and the Cubs get a major break. Crosby didn't take out Ramirez on purpose; it was just crazy timing.
Mr. Michael-Lewis-dedicated-an-entire-chapter-in-his-book-to-me takes the mound. That would be knuckle-scraping righty Chad Bradford. Bradford gets Barrett to bounce out to second. Ramirez hits one deep and between the rookie Cubs fans who cheer every fly ball and Chip Caray who gets excited over a can of corn I can't tell what the heck is going on. Kotsay tracks it down in straight-away center. Hey, who on the board said Sosa would fan to end it? Well, here he is with two outs in the ninth. Sosa swings at ball three and four and Billy Beane is thankful he's not on his team. Sosa grounds out to short to end it. Not the comeback he had in mind, no doubt.
Final: A's 2, Cubs 1
Well, that ends the winning streak. The Cubs were on the wrong side of a pitching duel. Redman was a guy the Cubs hit in the past and should've hit today. But he was tough. It gets no easier from here. Mark Mulder tomorrow and Barry Zito Sunday. Fortunately for the Cubs, they counter with Mark Prior and Carlos Zambrano. Thanks for reading everyone and thanks for the compliments Al and Displaced Cubs fan. Have a good weekend, everyone. Billy Beane is gluing stuff back together out in Oakland.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times