Good afternoon. It's raining in Chicago right now but the radar doesn't look all that menacing behind the current rain and they should get this game in eventually.
I'm here for you on this Saturday at my desk, rested, fed, hydrated, caffeinated, I've been walked and I'm ready for some baseball.
Unfortunately, U.S. Cellular Field is not. The tarp still is on the field, so I assume we'll have a slight delay.
On some baseball related matters, Scott Podsednik is back in the lineup for the Sox. The wet turf may be a concern, considering he's coming off a right hip abductor strain, which back in the day was called a groin injury. Darin Erstad made one play yesterday--a nice one--but has been placed back on the DL with an ankle injury.
On the mound for the Cubs, it's Rich Hill, who was battered in this series last season during the Michael Barrett-A.J. Pierzysnki game and demoted shortly after but not before for opening his mouth about the fight. He's a different pitcher this year, or has been at times. Meanwhile, Javier Vazquez, is 1-5 with a 4.65 ERA in his last nine starts. Not good.
We'll have some baseball as soon as the rain ends and they lift the tarp. I'll keep you posted. And speaking of the World Bowl, when did NFL Europe become NFL Europa? I'm sure that's made all the difference on the continent.
Update: Comcast says they've heard unofficially this game will start at 12:30. They're taking the tarp off as I write.
Update, Part II, 12:27 p.m.: Comcast is showing a Best Damn Sports show compilations of the Top 50 baseball plays that is infinitely more exciting than this game will be. And I know they're going to break into it once we hit the Top 10.
Well, so much for that show. We're ready to go. The White Sox are taking the field under a slight drizzle. Mark DeRosa is out of the Cubs' lineup and replaced by Ryan Theriot. No reason why yet. Theriot will bat seventh and Rob Bowen sixth. Soriano leads it off for the Cubs after a 26-minute rain delay and takes a ball low and away from Vazquez. He hits the next pitch into the first row of the right-center bleachers for a leadoff homer, just like yesterday. Fontenot lines one to right just in front of a diving Andy Gonzalez, who made a decent play just keeping it in front of him. All Fontenot does is hit. I think it's safe to say this guy is for real at this point. That was a single, by the way. Probably should mention that. Lee strikes out swinging for the first out. Ramirez strikes out on three pitches, trying to check his swing twice on two balls way up in the zone. Cliff Floyd steps to the plate to the whistling "Andy Griffith Show" theme. A reference that is lost on most people at the Cell. Wow, they've got to come up with some more current song. I mean, Floyd the Barber? C'mon now. Floyd pops out to end the top half.
Cubs 1, White Sox 0
Yeah, sorry about the bold tag left on for the last, oh, 15 minutes. And welcome to Mike and Kyle in Afghanistan and Bruno in southern Illinois, who had a Vienna beef and a Schlitz for breakfast. Nice. Welcome to the entire message board mob on this Saturday, for that matter. Podsednik leads off with a single to center and then steals second. Haven't seen any of that for a while. Gonzalez grounds out to second but advances Podsednik to third. Again, haven't seen that in a while from the Sox. Cubs go into the Thome shift and will concede the run on a ground ball. There's the ground ball; Cesar Izuturis fields on the right side of second and the Sox tie the game. Small ball returns--for now. Paul Konerko turns on a curve and pulls a double into the left-field corner. Theriot at third robs A.J. Pierzynski of a hit by spearing a line drive. I doubt that would've scored the battleship Konerko.
Sox 1, Cubs 1
Rob Bowen lines out to second baseman Tadahito Iguchi. Theriot, Oh-fer-his-last-17, flies out to left. Felix Pie strikes out swining at something near his eyes and Vazquez makes quick work of the Cubs in the second.
Bruno, it's still early on Tank today. Give him some time. The Gooch lines out to second. Josh Fields lines a single past a diving Izturis. So far the Sox are hitting Hill hard. That big, fat curve is not there today. Maybe he's still rattled by what San Diego did to him, tipping his pitches or not. He throws over to first twice and then has Fields leaning the wrong way but throws to the plate for a strike on Luis Terrero. Terrero lines one to the left-center gap. Soriano cuts it off, but Fields takes third. Terrero for some reason tries to take second and is out easily. Though he almost got in there because Fontenot wasn't expecting the runner to be sliding into second. Hey, lookee here. Uribe grounds out to third to end the second.
Cubs 1, Sox 1
Izturis golfs one down the right-field line that bounces on the line, scatters the ball the guy and hits off the top of the side wall for a leadoff double. Soriano swings at a low pitch and flies out to left. Fontenot battles, fouls a few pitches off but eventually grounds out to Uribe on one hop. Izturis has to hold at second. Vazquez is staying away from Lee, nibbling at the outside corner. The count goes full and Vazquez strikes out Lee with a slider away. Izturis is stranded at second and will have to wait for the Coast Guard.
In case you're wondering, Michael Barrett jersey and Michael Barrett bobblehead day are still on. I repeat, still on. Hill goes full on Podsednik before striking him out. Gonzalez fans, as well. I just checked on the World Bowl and it turns out that's American football, not soccer. Who knew? Thome rips one towards the gap in left-center and this time Pie cuts it off to hold Thome to a single. Konerko takes a called third strike on the inside corner. Hill strikes out the side.
Sox 1, Cubs 1
MfS, I hedged my bet by betting the farm on Hamburg, so I may be sleeping in the barn tonight. Ramirez pops up in foul ground and Konerko reaches out and gloves it near the railing. Floyd pops out to Uribe. Someone asked about an hour ago who's doing the Cubicle tomorrow. That would be Rahula. I'll be at the U.S.-Mexico match. Full count to Bowen and he chases a ball in the dirt for strike three.
Pierzysnki strikes out and Hill, like Vazquez, has hit a groove. He's getting that curve over now. The Gooch fans, too. Not only is Meat Loaf performing at half time of the World Bowl, but so is Thin Lizzy without Phil Lynott, obviously. Fields lines a single to center. Terrero chops one to Izturis, who steps on second himself. We move on.
Cubs 1, Sox 1
Theriot, who has gone from The Riot to a disturbing the peace misdemeanor the last few weeks, flies out to right. Make that a quiet Saturday night at home with his cats. Nothing doing. Pie pops one down the right-field line. Gonzalez calls off The Gooch and Konerko and takes it on the run. Iguchi, going to his right, can't handle a one-hopper from Izturis. It's ruled a hit. Vazquez strikes out Soriano and the Sox fans like it.
Gotta say I'm not a Meat Loaf fan, but Thin Lizzy is one of the most underrated guitar rock groups ever. And speaking of Jail Break, here's Uribe, who avoied jail time in the Dominican Republic. He lines out to Theriot at third. Podsednik grounds out to second. Hill strikes out Gonzalez to end the fifth.
Sox 1, Cubs 1
Fontenot flies out to left. Lee drives one to the right-field corner for his 26th double of the season. That's a whole lotta doubles to only six homers. But considering the guy's hitting .350-something, I think everyone will left that slide. With Ramirez up, Pierzynski tries to call time, the ump doesn't give it to him and Ramirez takes a called third strike. He doesn't like it because he heard Pierzysnki's request and probably assumed time would be called. Anyway, Ramirez pops out to center and he's not happy about the entire affair. I have no idea, but from the looks of it, that didn't look like a Pierzysnki special. He was trying to call time, but did it too late. Floyd fans and the Cubs waste Lee's double.
Thome flies out to Soriano in left for the first out. Konerko sprays hard-hit fouls in both directions but ends up flying out to left. Pierzynski slices one down the left-field line and ... it goes foul. I thought that was going to find the seats. The count goes full and Pierzysnki walks--the first of the game for either team. That sends pitching coach Larry Rothschild out to the mound as Carols Marmol gets up in the pen. It looks like there is something wrong with the bullpen phones in the Cubs' dugout. Hill walks Iguchi. Lou Piniella looks restless and he eventuallys takes a slow stroll out to the mound to get Hill. Marmol comes on and gets Fields to ground out to third.
Cubs 1, Sox 1
Vazquez is still in there for the Sox and he's still retiring Cubs hitters. Bowen goes down on strikes. Theriot bounces out to Uribe. Pie squibs one in front of the plate that Pierzysnki deals with. Nothing doing with the Cubs offense.
Well, both offenses, for that matter. Marmol is still out there. Terrero flies out to left. Marmol falls behind Uribe 3-0 before coming back and striking him out. Marmol walks Podsednik. Lefty Rob Mackowiak will hit for Gonzalez and Piniella will counter with lefty Will Ohman. A few commercials first. And this series has regressed to this epic battle: Ohman v. Mackowiak. Zzzzzzz. Mackowiak flies out to Soriano and me move on.
Sox 1, Cubs 1
Ryan Bukvich comes on to pitch; Mackowiak remains in the game to play right field. Izturis lines one by Fields at third. Podsednik hustles over and holds Izturis to a single. Soriano drives it to the gap but Terrero is there. Bunt be damned. Ozzie yankes Bukvich for lefty Boone Logan to face fellow southpaw Fontenot. Izturis takes off for second, Fontenot strikes out and the throw to second his just late. Izturis is safe, so Lee will hit with two outs and a runner on second. Wait, another pitching change: Ozzie calls for Bobby Jenks. Lee is 0-for-1 lifetime against Jenks, who starts him off with an offspeed pitch for a strike. Lee fouls off the second pitch and is quickly in a hole, 0-2. Up and in and a low breaking ball evens the count. Jenks fans him with a 90-mph changeup -- ? -- right down the middle that Lee swings through. It was a slider that didn't break much.
Ohman remains and he strikes out Thome on three pitches. Sox fans chant, "Paul-ie, Paul-ie, Paul-ie" and Paulie grounds to short and Izturis just flat-out boots it. Bru-tal, bru-tal, bru-tal. Pierzysnki flies out to Floyd in right. That's it for Ohman. On comes Michael Wuertz to face The Gooch with two outs and a runner on first. Wuertz walks Iguchi on five pitches. Fields taps one right back to Wuertz, who nearly throws it over Lee's head at first, which is hard to do, considering he's 6-5. We move to the ninth in a 1-1 game.
Cubs 1, Sox 1
Has there been a runner on third since the top of the first? Ramirez grounds out to third after a minor controversy of whether or not he foul tipped a pitch. Floyd bounces a single up the middle. Angel Pagan is stiring in the dugout. He runs for Floyd and will stay on to play right. Daryle Ward hits for Bowen and lines a single to left-center. Pagan makes the turn and gets to third safely. Koyie Hill pinch runs for Ward in a rare instance of a catcher pinch running. Theriot grounds one foul and then lays down a squeeze bunt and Pagan hustles home with the go-ahead run. Hill takes second, Theriot is out at first. Pie strikes out looking. Former White Sox Bob Howry will come on to try to close it out for the Cubs.
Cubs 2, Sox 1
Howry strikes out Terrero. Alex Cintron hits for Uribe and strikes out for Uribe. Podsednik flies out to Soriano and the Cubs edge the Sox, 2 goals to 1 in the second game.
Final: Cubs 2, Sox 1
In an upset not seen since the Jets beats the Colts in Super Bowl III, the Hamburg Sea Devils have vanquished the Frankfurt Galaxy, 37-28, in World Bowl XV. I have to run and update my NFL Europa blog.
That's it, everyone. Thanks for joining us on a Saturday. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.