trotted out two rookie starters yesterday with mixed results we return to the surest thing this banged-up and over-matched team has:
Big Z not only is the Cubs' best pitcher, but, at this point in the season, I'd say he's their most complete player. He hits for average, hits for power and steals bases (well, he stole one base). The man's a five-tool pitcher and clearly should be given a shot at first base on days he doesn't pitch.
He's a breath of fresh air in a season that stinks of halitosis. He leads the
in wins and strikeouts and is a legitimate
candidate on a fifth-place team. I may have my name legally changed to Carlos.
As for the Pirates, they send out lefty Tom Gorzelanny, who's 1-2 with a 5.84 ERA, hails from Evergreen Park and attended Triton College. I'm going to be honest, I've never heard of him and found all that info on his bio page.
It's Friday, it's summer and it's a battle of National League Centeral cellar dwellers. Feel the burn! Baseball soon.
foul pole flag day, one of those promotions where you get a scratch-off card that always says "Sorry, you're not a winner" underneath the silver. One hundred lucky souls take home a flag. Comcast showed some fans filing into Wrigley and you could hear some wiseacre in the background clearly say, "A hundred? Gee, thanks." Zambrano strikes out Chris Duffy to start things off on a beautiful summer day in Chicago. Nate McLouth pops out to
. Freddy Sanchez, the NL's top hitter, pops out to the other side of the diamond where
gloves it. Zambrano is perfect through one.
sends one pretty deep to right-center where Duffy makes a nice running catch. With the wind blowing in at 15 mph, according to Bob Brenly, that one stayed in the yard.
grounds out to second. Here's some more Gorzelanny facts (and we better get these to you fast because he may not be in the long, but you never know): He went to Marist, was drafted the
at one point but decided to go to Kansas and eventually ended up at Triton. Barrett flies out to right.
We have no score; the game just started.
So in all fairness, yesterday we pointed out
's two brutal throws the other night in his Padres' debut. Well, last night he made
's Web Gems with a sweet diving stop and a somewhat accurate throw--it was up the line a bit. But fine play and great circa 1984 Padres uniforms. Jason Bay strikes out swinging. Xavier Nady bangs a double off the 368 sign in right-center. Zambrano is no longer perfect. I'm out of here. Former Cub, Rockie, Dodger, Indian
draws a rare walk. Jose Castillo bounces to Izturis, who flips to
, who's playing second for the first time today, and he can't get the ball out of his glove. Great start to the Ronny Cedeno at second era. So first and third with two outs for Ronny Paulino.
Paulino grounds one off Zambrano's leg or glove that bounces towards short and knocks in Nady.
Gorzelanny flies out to Pierre.
Pirates 1, Cubs 0
As for "throw's" vs. "throws" to start the previous 'graph, it's called a typo. I have to type fast to keep up with all this scintillating action and spend time on the message board, so typos are going to happen. I'm pretty well versed in grammar and possessives. They're going to happen and I'm going to fix them when I see them. I'm not saying I don't mind people pointing them out though because it does help. So keep 'em coming back-seat editors. Ramirez grounds out and jogs back to the dugout as hard as he ran to first. Nevin and
strike out and we move on to some commercials.
Duffy sends Pierre running towards left-center where Pierre makes a sketchy running catch. The ball was bobbling around in his glove a bit. He loses a few style points, but it's still an out. Zambrano fans McLouth. Sanchez lines a single to center. I'm thinking it's time to bring in a defensive replacement for Cedeno. Bay lines a single to left, the throw comes into second and no one is there. Brenly says about Cedeno playing second, this is "a work in progress." Well, you know what? This is the big leagues and Cedeno's in la-la land setting up a double cut-off for 100-foot throw from shallow left to second. Nady lofts one to shallow left,
Murton dives and it goes right by him, allowing two runs to score.
You have to knock that ball down. No way you let that go by you. Granted Bay was running with two outs and may have scored had Murton knocked the ball down, but the wheels have come off big time defensively. Hernandez strikes out, which isn't really news.
Pirates 3, Cubs 0
OK, gotta take a few deep breaths. That inning angered me. Murton falls behind 0-2 but still draws a walk. Here's
, I mean Ronny Cedeno. Cedeno strikes out swinging at a ball way out of the strike zone. Any reason why Zambrano is hitting behind Cedeno? Zambrano bunts Murton to second and motors down the line. Any reason why he's not given the green light to swing away? Pierre is drilled in the right arm. That ball ricocheted off Pierre and hit the catcher Paulino in the nether regions. Izturis grounds out to second.
Castillo leads off the fourth with a homer into the wind that lands halfway up the Bud Light Bleachers.
Paulino flies out to Jones in right. Gorzelanny bounces back to Zambrano. Duffy grounds one up the middle and Cedeno, for all his gaffes so far, makes a fantastic diving stop. But he has no chance at making a throw. He tried to flip it out of his glove to Izturis, but that wasn't going to happen. With McLouth at the plate, Duffy steals second. McLouth flies out to left.
Pirates 4, Cubs 0
Barrett is hit on his back foot with a pitch. Ramirez strikes out taking a mighty cut. Nevin, swinging as hard as Ramirez, gets the same result, a strikeout and a seat on the bench. Jones slices a single the other way for the Cubs' first hit as Barrett takes third. Murton squibs one towards first where Nady, who was playing in, smothers it and then beats Murton to the bag.
is in the booth as Bay grounds to Izturis, who throws low but is bailed out by Nevin, who makes a decent pick at first. Nady doubles to right-center. Buffett says he's going to the Chelsea match. And I'm not. Weak. Anyone with an extra ticket, e-mail me. Seriously. Hernandez flies to right but moves Nady to third. Izturis makes a nice play on a Castillo grounder in the hole but throws low and Nevin can't get it.
Nady scores on the play.
Larry Rothschild strolls out there to tell Zambrano to put Paulino on, which they do, to get to the pitcher. Gorzelanny strikes out the mighty Pirates get another run.
Pirates 5, Cubs nil
Cedeno reaches out and singles to left. Well, they let Zambrano swing away this time and he hits the first pitch into a 3-6-3 double play. Pierre hits a soft liner right at the second baseman Castillo.
Pirates 5, Cubs nil
Duffy grounds to Cedeno, who makes the play without a hitch. McLouth strikes out. Castillo sends it deep to left-center and Pierre sticks his glove out on the track and the ball finds it.
Izturis tries to bunt for hit but it rolls foul. He then takes a called third strike. Barrett lines out to Sanchez. Ramirez takes a strike but complains a ballboy was fetching a ball that got out of the Cubs' bullpen and they take the strike off the board. They put it back on when Ramirez takes a giant cut at the next pitch and misses. David Aardsma up in the pen, by the way. Ramirez flies out to Bay on the warning track.
Pirates 5, Cubs 0
So rent in Carlos Zambrano's world just hit rock bottom. In fact, he may owe me money. The faucet's dripping in the bathroom, Z. Aardsma comes on to pitch to Bay and walks him. Nady, looking to tie
's record four doubles in a game, digs in. Murton along with the 6,000 other guys who hold that record can't exhale now; Nady dumps a single just out of the reach of a leaping Izturis. Leaping Izturises! Hernandez grounds to Ramirez, who steps on the bag and then throws to first for a double play. If that was hit a little harder he could've had a shot at a 5-4-3 triple play and that would've been something. Would've. Castillo grounds out. And nothing against Billy Williams, a great guy and a Hall-of-Famer, but has the Cubs' promotions department exhausted its rolodex of z-listers to sing TMOTTBG? Here's Billy with three of his pretty adorable grandsons.
Nevin walks and Jones erases him by hitting into a 4-6-3 double play. Murton dribbles one to Sanchez and Gorzelanny continues to baffle the Cubs, which, when you think about, isn't much of a feat at this point.
Pirates 5, Cubs 0
Paulino hits the ninth pitch of the at-bat into the basket in left where some fleshy, shirtless kid fishes it out.
Gorzelanny strikes out. Duffy fans. McLouth flies out and every time I type that guy's name I think of "Highlander," which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I guess.
Pirates 6, Cubs 0
Cedeno strikes out again and again swinging at a pitch near his eyes. Duffy robs the immortal
of a double with a really sweet diving catch in center. Theriot was hitting for Aardsma. Pierre sends it deep to right and McCloud makes an over-the-shoulder catch. The Cubs are getting closer to actually getting an extra-base hit. Alas, nothing.
Roberto Novoa joins this party and Sanchez grounds out to short. Bay does the same. Josh Sharpless, tough name for a pitcher, is up in the Pirates' pen. Novoa fans Nady.
Will--fill in name of Pirates manger here--let whatsface pitch the ninth? Will the Cubs get another hit? Inquiring minds want to know. Jim Tracy yanks the young Gorzelanny for fellow rookie Sharpless. Izturis grounds out and the ultimate kiss of death: Len starts reading the credits. Barrett strikes out. Ramirez sends a high pop up to shallow right and McLouth, Castillo and Duffy have no clue. McLouth loses the ball in the sun and it falls to the earth. Nevin pops up near the third base bullpen and Hernandez gloves it to put the Cubs out of their misery.
Final: Pirates 6, Cubs 0