I don't have the patience to go back and look, but I think this is about the fourth
start I've Cubicled this season. They're never fun for Cubs fans and why should this be any different?
This three-game series with the
, the team with the best record in baseball, starts the second round of interleague play. Left-hander Nate Robertson (6-3) takes the mound against fellow lefty Rusch, who stunningly has managed to win two games--against six losses.
Not sure if you knew this, but
and Tigers have faced each other four times in the World Series--1907, '08, '35 and '45. Had MLB not screwed the Cubs out of a home game, had Ryne Sandberg not spilled Gatorade on Leon Durham's glove, had that punk
not hit that homer and rounded the bases with his fist in the air, the two teams would've met in the '84 Series. Such is life on Planet Cub, where anything bad can happen at any moment and always will. I'm going out on a limb here and say we'll have to wait another year at least for an October meeting between these two franchises.
A loss today could drop the Cubs completely into the cellar with the dregs of the NL Central, the
, whose roster I'm told plays for free.
I'm always here to look on the bright side. We'll have baseball soon on a hot and muggy day in Chicago.
The signal went out on our feed of WGBO, so I was unable to watch the Netherlands-Cote d'Ivoire match because we don't get ESPN2. So I turned on the
only to find to my horror that Chris Berman is there at Winged Foot. He ruins everything he touches these days with his tired act and general all-around lameness. Now add golf to the list. He'll be off the air shortly when Los Tricolores kick off against Angola. Of course, I'll be watching the Cubs game very closely and bringing you all the potential action.
T.F. South and
guy Curtis Granderson leads off for the Tigers and takes a ball from Rusch--one of many to follow, I'm sure. Rusch jams Granderson, who fights it off and bloops it into left right over
's head. Granderson hustles into second with leadoff double. Legendary tenor
fouls off a few pitches. Polanco hits it deep, sending
near the wall and it falls over his head. Strangely Granderson doesn't score. He went back to second to tag. It's a double for Polanco.
The catcher formerly known as Pudge sends one deep to the same place and this time Pierre grabs it and falls into the ivy; Granderson scores.
Polanco takes third. All the Sox fans joining us today, here's your guy
Maggs lines an RBI single to left-center.
just motioned to Rusch to keep the pitches up where he likes them. He trying to work on a few things. Wait, this isn't batting practice, is it? Guillen swings and misses and Maggs is caught up between first and second for a double play, almost as if the Tigers were like, "OK, let's take some infield now."
Tigers 2, Cubs 0
Nate Robertson, who is wearing his glasses, hits Juan Pierre in the right arm with the first pitch. Robertson throws wild to first and Pierre scampers down to second. Maybe those aren't Robertson's glasses. Right, here are the
. Sorry about that. Walker flies out to Marcus "Henley on" Thames in left. Thank you, Chris Berman. Aramis Ramirez works the count full before flying out to Maggs. Pierre tags and takes third. The great savior
draws a walk.
flies out, stranding the two runners. He must be down with all that platoon talk going around.
Tigers 2, Cubs 0
Thames goes the other way for a leadoff homer to right.
Chris Shelton, who has cooled off big time since that hot start and who someone somewhere said looks like the guy in the basement from "Goonies," pokes a double off the wall in right. Brandon Inge gives it a ride to left...but it's foul. Inge then pops out to Walker on the grass. Rusch strikes out Robertson but not before going to a full count.
Granderson triples to right, driving in Shelton.
Here comes Dusty and there goes Rusch. Enter
. Rusch gave up five extra base hits in 1 2/3. I hope John Paxson just saw what I saw: footage of Adam Morrison taking BP before the game. It's as if he never held a bat in his hand in his life. He's got to drop out of the Top 10 just for that display. Why does WGN run "Sex in the City" ads during Cubs games? Actually, don't answer that. Guzman strikes out Polanco, but the Tigers get two more.
Tigers 4, Cubs 0
doubles to right. Cedeno bounces out to Polanco and Jones takes third.
It's ruled a hit. No way. It was right at him. Man, don't get me started on the Wrigle Field scorekeepers. Anyway, Guzman bunts Blanco to second. Pierre bounces back to Robertson.
Tigers 4, Cubs 1
Couple of e-mails: Longtime reader Mike Nelli writes in to correct me on my 1984 rant. The Cubs were not screwed out of a home game because, as Mike writes, "back then, home field was on an alternating schedule between the eastern division and the western division."
The Cubicle regrets the error. In fact, my boss called me on this, as well.
Not to be outdone, Matthew Youngblood suggests the Cubs should combine the role of fifth starter and guest conductor. "Who doesn't want to see the cast of hit show 'Charmed' take the bump for a few innings," he writes. "I am amazed this hasn't been kicked around already, plus it frees up Glendon for BP."
Guzman fans Pudge. Maggs pops up down the right-field line and Jones gloves it on the run in the Tigers' bullpen. Nice play. Nevin and Walker weren't even in the picture. Guzman strikes out three of the four batters he's faced, including Guillen to end the top half of the third.
Walker reaches, though, I'm not sure how because I was up fetching some tea. Sorry about that. I really need an intern for such tasks. Ramirez pops out to second. Robertson then gets Nevin and Murton in order.
Tigers 4, Cubs 1
It's been a while but here's today's "Got my Cheez Whiz, boy?" update from the Tribune's Paul Sullivan:
"Actually, the Cubs were going to get screwed out of the homefield advantage on the '84 World Series because of the day games, so it's a good thing they didn't go, or else Cubs fans would still be whining about it to this day. By the way, Adam Morrison was getting hitting advice from
, so there you go.... "
Rick, a Cubs fan in Detroit and a few others readers also have written in about '84. But let's move on. It's 2006 afterall.
Guzman strikes out Thames. Guy's rolling. Shelton walks and then a Guzman pitch to Inge gets away from Blanco and Shelton takes second. Inge strikes out. Since I have nothing better to do, I'm starting the K count. That's five for Guzman with easy pickings Robertson up. Robertson gets the bat on the ball and flies out to Pierre. So much for that count.
Jones grounds to Shelton who pads his defensive stats by stepping on the bag himself. Cedeno lines out to his counterpart. I lifted that line right from Len's call.
Oh, my. Henry Blanco homers to left.
There's your offense, folks. First homer of the year for the guy. Speaking of Len and Bob, they were just talking about Tigers manger Jim Leyland and his old-school nature. Brenly says Leyland and Bobby Cox still wear metal spikes. For what, in case they lose their footing reaching for a pack of smokes? Guzman grounds out, but the Cubs get another one back.
Tigers 4, Cubs 2
Granderson, a business management and business marketing double major at UIC, walks. Copa Mundial update: Mexico and Angola are scoreless at the half. Maybe I'll watch a little of that at halftime of this game. Damn, there is no intermission in baseball. Guzman, worried about the speedy double major at first, balks and Granderson is awarded second base.
Polanco pokes a single to right and the academician scores.
A costly balk. Pudge singles and Polanco moves up a base. Maggs chops one off the plate and Ramirez makes a nice charging play. Second and third with one out for Carlos Guillen. The infield moves in at the corners. Guzman strikes out Guillen. That was needed. Thames pops it way up behind third and Ramirez manages to make the play with his glove and not his head.
Tigers 5, Cubs 2
Pierre bounces out to second. Walker strikes out on a foul tip that Pudge back-hands just above the dirt. That was a long at-bat. I drifted off there for a bit. Len informs us Robertson chews an entire pack of Big League Chew at once. I did that once--when I was 12. But that's good to hear because I wasn't aware they still made that
. Ramirez pops out and the Cubs go down in order.
Tigers 5, Cubs 2
I wonder if my dad would go for a Garden Claw for
. Makes a great gift, I've heard. Shelton lines out to Jones in right. Inge rips a double that one-hops the wall over Pierre's head. Pierre robs Robertson of his first major league hit with a diving catch of a sinking liner. Granderson reaches for the fourth time today, this time via a walk. Dusty walks out there to get Guzman. David Aardsma will be on the mound after these commercials. What the? They cut a beer ad short and Guzman still is out there. Interesting. I wonder what he said to Dusty. Aren't mound visits without doing anything Larry Rothschild's job? Anyway, here's Polanco. Polanco flies out and Dusty's a genius.
Nevin draws a walk. Murton pops up and WGN just broke in with this promo, "Your biggest in-home disasters become American's Funniest Home Videos." Boy, is that up for debate. Jones grounds out.
Tigers 5, Cubs 2
Jason, a Sox fan in Georgia, writes in with a testimonial: "The Garden Claw is awesome. Bought one and I love it. Live in Georgia where the clay is very herd. Buy him gloves as well. It wears holes in your hands." Nice! Anyone with word on the Garden Weasel, the phone lines are open. Angel Guzman will not leave this game! He fans Pudge. Notre Dame receiver, pitcher and Cubs fifth-round pick Jeff Samardzjjjjajjajjja on hand. I'll get the spelling on the Shark's last name shortly. Maggs strikes out looking. Guillen pops out. And, aw, Samardzija, here's
and Pat Hughes to sing TMOTTBG. Tough act to get. Major coup by the Cubs promotion department on this booking.
WGN comes back to a 2-0 count on Cedeno, who then pops out to Thames in left. Hammerin' Henry Blanco rifles a single to left, his third hit of the day. And this is officially it for Angel Guzman, who threw 96 pitches in relief and fanned eight batters. Freddie Bynum will hit for him. Bynum strikes out and I'm pretty sure Guzman could've at least done that. Pierre rolls out and onward we go.
Tigers 5, Cubs 2
David Aardsma joins the party. Thames hits it deep to right and Jones makes a great leaping catch, crashing into the wall on his way down. Aardsman strikes out Shelton. Inge pops up.
Lefty Jamie Walker replaces Robertson and Alexis Gomez takes over in left. Walker will face Walker. Walker* lines out to Gomez. Walker** leaves the game.
Hard-throwing righty Joel Zumaya enters and Ramirez greets him with a solo homer to left.
Nevin grounds out to Inge. Now the Tigers trainer is out looking at Pudge. He's OK and will remain behind the plate. Zumaya throws a few 99 mph fastballs to Murton and sends him back to the bench and we move to the ninth.
Tigers 5, Cubs 3
, whaddya got today? Gomez grounds to Cedeno, who takes his sweet time and barely gets the runner. Man, he was moving down the line. Granderson lines out to Jones in right. Polanco walks, which he doesn't do often. Only the sixth free pass he's taken this season, so that is some accomplishment by Ohman. Vance Wilson hits for Pudge, whom, by the way he was stretching, I think aggravated an existing back injury. Wilson bloops a single to right and Polanco takes third. Bye-bye, Ohman. Roberto Novoa takes over on the mound and
replaces Murton in left on the double switch. Maggs taps one to Cedeno and the Cubs will try to get something going in the bottom of the ninth.
and his fu manchu will try to close this out and he'll face Jones. We had Walker v. Walker and now the Jones boyz will do battle. Todd wins this one as Jacque strikes out. Len is reading the credits, so no hope for this one. Cedeno grounds to short; two down. Henry Blanco is the Cubs' last chance and a guy with a Tigers hat and "Fire Millen 2005" shirt is on his feet. That's to distinguish between the different Fire Millen campaigns. That's an annual event in Detroit. Blanco bounces out to end it.
Final: Tigers 5, Cubs 3