Greetings. I hope everyone has eaten and is properly hydrated. If last night is any indication, we could be here for a while. The Cubs and Mets waited about a three-hour-plus rain delay and played into the wee hours of the night before the Cubs eventually lost. Personally I missed it.
Today's New York weather forecast looks more promising except for the "slight chance of showers" part. But seriously, what better way to pass the afternoon than reruns of TWIB? How about that?
The Cubs wrap up their four-game series in Queens and we've got ourselves a pitching matchup for the ages this afternoon. Angel Guzman goes against Jason Vargas, whom the Mets just called up from New Orleans to take Moises Alou's place on the roster and who will make his first start of the season today. Guzman, meanwhile, wishes he could start over.
So come along, everyone, let's kill time together in Baseball Land while we eagerly await tonight's Game 6 at the United Center, the biggest Bulls game in nine years, which, I guess, isn't saying much. Anyone got an extra ticket, I'd gladly take it off your hands. Thanks in advance.
Baseball soon as we ponder live commentary of the England vs. West Indies cricket match. Cheers.
The lineups reveal the Mets trot out their B Team. No Jose Reyes at short. He's got a hammy. However 86-year-old Julio Franco is at third, so nothing's going to get through the left side of the infield. And no Carlos Beltran. Mark DeRosa still at first for the Cubs and the hot-hitting Cesar Izturis at short. (Yes, that's a first for that sentence.)
Ryan Theriot grounds out to Ruben Gotay at short. Angel Pagan shows bunt and wants to test Franco, but instead pops up to the catcher. Alfonso Sorriano grounds to Gotay, who has trouble getting the ball out of his glove but still throws out the runner.
Endy Chavez leads off the bottom of the first with a single up the middle. Gotay grounds into a 6-4-3 double play. Meanwhile, where is Rahula with my coffee? Shawn Green pops one to left that Sorriano misplays. It drops in front of him for a single. No sure if he could've caught that but Len and Bob were making excuses saying that the wind fooled him, so maybe. Carlos Delgado pops to the left side and Aramis Ramirez roams onto the outfield grass to glove it.
Ramirez flies to left and flips his bat away in disgust. Matt Murton pops out to shallow right. Seriously, coffee! DeRosa flies out to center to end a snappy top half. A rather lifeless game so far. Yes, I realize it's very early.
Some message board matters: Elihu, no truth to that rumor. The blue jerseys were given the boot by team president John McDonough, not Lou Piniella. I was not a fan. Though, I agree the gray road unis aren't all that spectacular either. Coffee has arrived and everything is right in the world. Rahula is a good man. He's now pestering everyone for sugar packets. Guzman strikes out Franco. David Newhan, hitting .136, strikes out and drops his average further. Ramon Castro, in there for Paul Lo Duca, flies out to Sorriano in left.
Henry Blanco digs in and quickly flies out to left. Izturis flies out to right. Guzman dribbles one to the left side, Franco points his rascal scooter to the left and makes the play. End of inning. Can we please come up with some new movies to quote on the board? I mean I have nothing against "Airplane," "Caddyshack" and "Dodgeball." Nobody makes me bleed my own blood. Nobody!
Speaking of which, Gomez is drilled trying to bunt. Piniella's out there arguing it's a foul ball. Replay shows he was pulling the bat back and got hit on his top hand. That has to hurt. A lot. Vargas bunts him along. Chavez bounces out to first; Gomez takes third. Gotay walks. Gomez smartly stays at third. Green bounces out to Theriot and we move on.
Score? What score?
So much for the coffee. Moving on to the gin. Theriot flies out to right. If you love flyballs, boy do i have a game for you. Another fly ball, but this one drops on the right-field grass for a hit for Pagan. The Cubs' first base runner. Vargas throws to first and has Pagan picked off. But no! He slides under the tag at second. You don't see that every day. Sorriano drives it deep to left, where Gomez makes an awkward looking catch on the track. Pagan stays put. To answer the question, "Happy Gilmore." Ramirez drives one down the left-field line and off the foul-line stripe on the wall, scoring Pagan. Ramirez stops at first for some reason. I think because he was standing in the box watching it. Vargas strikes out Murton to end the top half.
Cubs 1, Mets 0
Here's a movie line. Get this and you earn my admiration, not that that counts for much. "Relax, have a cream soda." Guzman strikes out Delgado looking at a low pitch. Franco strikes out looking at another low pitch. Questionable calls there, I have to say. Newhan singles to right and then steals second. Yes, sorry, "Midnight Run" is too easy. Full count to Castro and he walks. Gomez chops one to Ramirez to flips to second to end the inning. The Mets leave two runners stranded.
Cubs 1, Mets 0
Is this moron No. 1? Put moron No. 2 on the phone. DeRosa leads off the fifth and grounds out to Franco. Blanco pops out to shallow right. Izturis hits the first pitch right at Chavez in center. Chorizo and eggs?
Won't be having that. Thank you. Vargas bounces out to second. Chavez singles. With Gotay at the plate, Chavez swipes second. Blanco nearly had him. Piniella thinks he did and goes out to argue his case or to ask the ump if he's familiar with a potato dish, lyonnaise potato. Gotay knocks home Chavez with a double to right, tying the game at 1-1. The count goes full to Green and Blanco goes out to talk to Guzman. Somewhere Larry Rothschild naps peacefully. Green singles to left; Gotay stops at third. Delgado digs in and this is a three-run homer waiting to happen. You can thank me later for reverse-jinxing that. Instead he bounces into a 1-6-3, innning-ending double play.
Cubs 1, Mets 1
Guzman may have just taken himself out of this one. He fouls one off and comes up limping. Looks like he pulled a hammy. He's tough and will stay in there. He takes a called third strike and walks back to the dugout. He appears to be OK. Theriot beats out an infield single to short. Pagan rips one to left for a two-run homer and takes his time getting around the bases--even made sure to slow down after he rounded first. Soriano singles to left. Gomez charged that ball hard and made a nice play just keeping it from getting by him. May have taken it off the face. Soriano, however, was hardly running hard. Ramirez gets ahold of one big time to left for a two-run homer. Hit about the same place as Pagan's homer. Ambiorix Burgos gets up in the Mets' pen. Murton drives one deep to center but Chavez catches up to it on the run. DeRosa flies out to Green in right. The Cubs break this one open with a pair of two-run jacks. Soriano's got the disks!
Cubs 5, Mets 1
Michael Wuertz takes the mound for the Cubs. He faces Franco, who could be his father. Franco bounces to Izturis for a quick out. Newhan walks. Castro pops out to Izturis. Gomez flies out to Soriano, who started back on the ball.
Cubs 5, Mets 1
Blanco pops out to Delgado. Izturis flies out. So much for that hot steak. The immortal Daryle Ward grabs a bat and will hit in the pitcher's spot. he came in on the double switch. Will Ohman starts throwing out in the pen. Ward grounds to the right side and Nehan throws it away from about 30 feet. Don't think Delgado did him any favors there trying to get to that throw. Ward takes second on the error. Theriot flies out.
Mardukis, what, do I know you? Damion Easley bats for Vargas. Easley grounds to short and Izturis throws him out easily. Sweet Lou takes his sweet time going out to the mound to get Wuertz. Enter Ohman. Ohman strikes out Chavez looking. One time I went to Shea a long time ago with my mother. The usher showed us to our seats and then held out his hand for a tip. Beat it. Do they still do that there? Ohman strikes out Gotay swinging.
Cubs 5, Mets 1
Pagan tries to bunt on Franco again and he pops out again. This time Franco makes the grab. Soriano strikes out. Burgos is the new Mets' pitcher, by the way. Ramirez grounds to second.
OK, to clear things up, Ward did bat in the pitcher's spot but he came in to play first in the sixth when Weurtz came on to pitch. WGN doesn't really tell you these things. Kind of like the Mets pitching change. Ohman still on the mound for the Cubs. Green bounces up the middle where Izturis makes a nice play to get there and throw out the runner. Delgado strikes out swinging. Franco strikes out swinging, too. Ohman retires five straight batters, four of them on strikeouts. And we move to the ninth.
Cubs 5, Mets 1
Murton hits the first pitch in the air to Green in right. One pitch, one out. No biggie. Mike Fontenot pinch hits and flies out to center on the first pitch. Blanco takes a called third strike. He comes Ryan Dempster to pitch the bottom of the ninth.
Newhan rips a single up the middle that nearly takes Dempster's head off. Newhan takes off, Castro lines one right at Murton and they have a chance at doubling him up. But no, he slides back into first just ahead of the throw. Gomez lines a single to right. Nehan takes third. And here comes Carlos Beltran to pinch hit. He's 5-for-7 with a homer lifetime against Dempster. Gomez takes second without drawing a throw from Blanco. Lou saunters out to the mound, says some stuff and then returns to the dugout to take a seat. Whatever he said had no effect. The count goes to 3-0. Dempster comes back to get the count full before losing him. Ball four. Bases loaded. The home plate ump Eric Cooper took a few steps towards Dempster, who didn't like that call. Chavez represents the tying run. The count goes full. Mets fans are on their feet. Ball four. And here we go. Newhan scores. Bob Howry and Scott Eyre get up. Gotay up and falls behind 0-2 on a curve down the middle and a foul ball. Gotay singles to left to score another run. Lou tells Blanco to go out and talk to Dempster. They stall for time. And finally here comes Lou again. Exit Dempster. Enter Eyre to pitch to Green and Delgado. Beer commercials. David Wright hits for Green and hits the first pitch right back up the middle, scoring another run. Bases still loaded and here comes Delgado with the score 5-4. Delgado grounds one past a diving Theriot. One run scores. Gotay rounds third, Murton comes up throwing and it's not even close. The winning run crosses the plate and the Cubs give up five in the ninth and lose.
Bob Brenly: "Ouch."
The Mets mob each other on the field. The Cubs slink off to catch a flight home to face the White Sox this weekend.
Final: Mets 6, Cubs 5