Yes, you read that right, the Cubs are tied for first atop the NL Central with another perennial doormat, the flat, fizzless and fading Milwaukee Brewers. Steve Goodman's "Go Cubs Go" has been ringing out in Wrigley more often than a Trixie's Treo. And it's Shark Week. Whew.
Can Toyotathon be near?
That game last night was crazy and I honestly thought it would never end. I even stayed up well past my bedtime to catch the thrilling conclusion. Long live Matt Murton. Brett Myers is afraid of Ronny Cedeno, so that makes one person.
We've got a pitching matchup for the ages. Kyle Lohse (pronounced Lohse) makes his Phillies debut today. That is one sweet trade deadline pickup, getting a guy who's 6-12 with a 4.58 ERA. Granted I don't think he was getting much support with the Reds. Young lefty Sean Marshall goes for the Cubs.
On the Phillies phront, they have learned what everyone in Chicago has known for three years. Tadahito Iguchi is a solid ballplayer. No way The Gooch can Wally Pipsan Chase Utley, but they need to find a place for him once Utley returns from his broken hand, wrist or whatever ails him.
Also in the days following the trade, I read that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel speaks Japanese, which I find utterly unbelievable considering the country-fried bumpkin can barely speak English.
But enough about that. Did I mention it's Shark Week?
Close inspection of the lineups reveals the Cajun Combination of Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot up the middle has been reunited as Aramis Ramirez returns to third and Mark DeRosa to the bench. Cliff Floyd is back in right.
I've got to say, I have not been impressed with Ryan Howard. Strike out a few more times, dude. That said, he'll hit four homers today.
On that note, let's get started.
Meanwhile up 94, the Mets have tenderly touched Chris Capuano and the Brewers for two runs in the top of the first. Back in civilization, it's some kind of silly build a teddy bear day promotion and Sean Marshall starts off Springfield, Ill.'s finest Jayson Werth with a strike. Werth grounds out to short for the first out of the ballgame. The Gooch digs in and flies out to a very nonchalant Alfonso Soriano in left. Too cool for school to use two hands. Weather report: hot with winds out of the west at 12 mph, which means blowing out to right. Jimmy Rollins doubles down the left-field line. Howard lines a single over Fontenot's head in shallow right (the shift was on), scoring Rollins. In the future I'll keep my mouth shut about slumping NL MVPs. The sloping shoulders of Aaron Rowand strike out to end the top half.
Phillies 1, Cubs 0
Correction: Reader Brian reports Werth is from Chatham, Ill., not Springfield. I was going by what Len said. Nevertheless, the Cubicle regrets the error. Thanks, Brian. Soriano lines the first pitch into left for a single. Soriano, who's been swiping all kinds of bases lately -- three last night -- draws a few throws from Lohse. Soriano takes off and Chris Coste throws him out with a money throw. The Riot grounds out to The Gooch. Derrek Lee Double Machine lines one to the left-center gap for his 31st two-bagger. Don't really like the term two-bagger, but was in a pinch there. An inside fastball grazes the jersey of Aramis Ramirez and he takes his base. Floyd is drilled on the back of the knee or lower hammy or upper calf. Wherever it was, it looks like it hurt. He limps down to first and will remain in the game. The bases are loaded for Fontenot. Fontenot works the count to 3-1. Everyone on their feet and ... Fontenot fouls it back. Lohse's 3-2 fastball is low and this game is tied. Jacque Jones lines one off Lohse. He recovers, finds the ball and throws out Jones.
Cubs 1, Phillies 1
Pat Burrell leads off the second with a home run that lands in the right-center basket. Jones gave chase but ran out of room. A classic hot summer day Wrigley homer that would've been caught on the track in May. Wes Helms lines one off the wall in left. Soriano bobbles it and Helms takes second. That ball was hit really hard and had Soriano played it cleanly Helms would've stopped at first or been thrown out at second. Coste lines a single over Ramirez's head. Helms stops at third. Tuesday's starter Adam Eaton hits for Lohse, who apparently hurt his left arm on that Jacque Jones liner. Oh, dear. Eaton nearly hits a three-run pinch hit homer, but it's just foul down the left-field line. My TV just went black. No signal. Lovely. We're back. I nearly panicked there. Marshall walks a pinch-hitting pitcher and that brings pitching coach Larry Rothschild out of the dugout. So much for starters going deeper into games, Lou. Werth grounds a single past a diving Theriot, scoring Helms. Bases loaded for Iguchi. Iguchi sends one deep to left. Soriano gloves it on the track, but Coste tags and scores. Len and Bob thought that was gone. Geez, that's just the first out? Rollins lines one to left. Floyd, who was absolutely no range, makes a nice running catch. Wait, Eaton did not score. Sorry. Floyd did a good job getting the ball back in to Fontenot, who ran way out into right for the relay. Howard pops out to Ramirez in shallow left and is nearly run over by Soriano.
Phillies 4, Cubs 1
J.D. Durbin takes over for the injured Lohse. And no, Eaton did not score in the top half. I wrote he did but corrected it. I have no idea why he didn't tag and score on a ball Floyd had to reach out and grab on the track, but we move on. Koyie Hill grounds to Howard, who flips to Durbin covering. Right, Eaton was on second. Now we move on. Marshall hits for himself and grounds out. Soriano flies to left and the Cubs go 1-2-3 in the second.
Phillies 4, Cubs 1
Marshall fans Rowand low and away. Burrell lines a single to left. Helms rips a double to the left-field corner and, depleted pen or not, they have to get Marshall out of there. He's throwing BP. Burrell stops at third. Rocky Cherry gets up in the pen. Theriot dives and stops a Coste grounder. But he gets up and throws it past Lee, allowing both runners to score. Lee usually picks that ball. Durbin bunts Coste to second. Lou Piniella goes out and gets Marshall for Cherry. Werth hits a high drive off that wall in left, scoring Coste. That ball just missed the basket and hit just past halfway up the wall. Instead of trying to catch it, Jones ducked out of the way. Must've lost this one, too. Iguchi walks to put runners on first and second with two outs. Cherry may have crossed up Hill. Hill goes out to the mound followed by Rothschild. This is a mess. Rollins lines one to right-center where Jones grabs it on the run.
Phillies 7, Cubs 1
Helms robs Theriot of a hit with a nice diving play at third. Lee draws a walk. Ramirez stikes out swinging but Floyd pulls a single past Howard and Lee takes third. Fontenot hits one deep to right. Werth slips initially going after it. Lee scores but Floyd is held at third. Both Len and Bob question third-base coach Mike Quade holding Floyd. At least Quade didn't get in the way of a runner rounding the bag. Fontenot was motoring and ready to take third. Jones chops one over the third baseman. Rollins gets to it but has no play. Floyd scores and Fontenot takes third. Hill takes a 2-2 pitch and was lucky he wasn't rung up. He pulls the next pitch foul, nearly getting a piece of first-base coach Matt Sinatro, who's a ball magnet. Hill flies out, but the Cubs get two back.
Phillies 7, Cubs 3
Howard takes a called third strike right down the middle. Rowand bloops one to shallow right and Fontenot runs out and grabs it. Burrell rips one to left but it's right at Soriano. Cherry has himself a quick inning.
Cherry makes his first Major League at-bat and hits it hard but right at Howard, who knocks it down and flips to Durbin. Soriano lines a single to center. Theriot flies out to center on the first pitch. Lee takes a close pitch on a 2-2 count and looks like he thought he struck out, but it was called a ball. On the next pitch he hits one deep to the corner in right, scoring Soriano. Another double for Lee. Ramirez takes a mighty swing and fouls it back right off the mask of catcher Chris Coste. He's lucky that didn't cave his face in. Ramirez checks his swing on a pitch near his eyes. The Phillies appeal but he held up. Full count and everyone is up. Ramirez fights one off. And another. And another. Durbin is getting up there in the pitch count--over 60 in long relief. The fourth full-count offering and Ramirez grounds it back to the pitcher. Quite anticlimactic.
Phillies 7, Cubs 4
Helms pops one up to the right side. Lee fights the sun with his glove before making the catch. Coste strikes out. Rod Barajas hits for Durbin and singles to center. Scott Eyre gets up. Werth hits it really hard on a line but Soriano comes in and makes the catch on the run. Cherry, despite that double to Werth that Jones should've caught and despite throwing a ton of pitches and despite appearing to be in la-la land at times, did a nice job in two and 1/3 innings.
Geoff Geary is the new Phillies pitcher. Shortstop Rollins makes a great back-handed play on the grass to just get the surgically-repaired and lumbering Floyd. Floyd thought he was safe and it was close. Fontenot walks. Jones singles to left-center and Rowand comes up throwing ... to first? Easy, big guy. What the? Here's the walking out Hill, who grounds to Howard, who throws to second to get Jones but that's the only play. First and third and two outs for red-headed pinch hitter Matt Murton. Murton singles to left on a first-pitch breaking ball, scoring Fontenot. Pecking away. Soriano, looking three-run homer with two outs, takes a mighty hack and swings right through it. He then pops out to Howard, stranding two. But the Cubs chip away some more.
Phillies 7, Cubs 5
Eyre, coming off a nice appearance last night, takes the mound and will face Iguchi. Iguchi fouls off about thirty pitches before flying out to shallow right. Rollins walks and Michael Wuertz gets up in the pen. The Cubs go into the shift for Howard. Eyre gets ahead of Howard 1-2 and nearly strikes him out. Howard just got a piece of it to stay alive. He strikes him out with a slider down and away on the next pitch. Seriously, what's up with Ryan Howard? He's struck out 11 times in the series. Eyre fans Rowand, too.
Theriot leads off the Cubs' sixth and singles up the middle. Lee bounces into a 6-4-3 double play. Ramirez doubles deep into the left-field corner. Charlie Manuel strolls out to the mound to make a pitching change. He'll bring in former member of 'N Sync J.C. Romero, the lefty who couldn't find the plate last night. He starts Floyd off up and in. Floyd lines one off Romero's glove. Rollins hustles in, bare hands and just gets Floyd at first. Floyd is now doubled over as we go to commercial.
Phillies 7, Cubs 5
Wuertz comes on to pitch. Pagan replaces Floyd in right. Burrell singles. Chris Roberson runs for him. Helms flies out to center. Coste pops out to short. Romero hits for himself and hits a flyball to right. Pagan makes an adventure of it and catches it while falling over. Ron Santo sings TMOTTBG for about the 15th time this season. Apparently Bobby Brady was unavailable.
Roberson stays on to play right. Werth moves over to left. Abraham Nunez takes over a third. As for Floyd, I'm not sure if he was injured or not. I suspect he was lifted for defensive purposes. I missed the top half of the seventh because I had to make a bathroom run. Fontenot walks. El Pulpo gets up in the pen for the Phils. Jones grounds into a 4-6-3 double play. Hill grounds out and nothing doing for the Cubs in the seventh or in Hill's career, for that matter. It's getting late.
Phillies 7, Cubs 5
Wuertz v. Werth to start the eighth. Something's gotta give. Werth grounds out to Ramirez. That one goes to Wuertz. Iguchi lines one foul by the Cubs dugout. Some guy tumbles out of the stands and onto the field and is immediately escorted out by security. Get that man a manziere. Lord. I'm surprised the Fan Cam didn't find him earlier. Iguchi walks. Rollins grounds to second but the only play is at first. They put Howard on. Rowand strikes out looking to end it and I'm still a bit stunned by that jiggling fan.
Former Cub and White Sox and, well, everything Flash Gordon comes on to pitch and strikes out Pagan. Bears traded Chris Harris to Carolina? Huh. Think he'll go on local access cable in Charlotte and guarantee Super Bowl tickets to some Panther fan? Remember that yahoo camping outside Halas Hall? Soriano doubles to the right-center gap. Full count to Theriot and he fights off a slider away. Could've been ball four. We'll never know. He drives home Soriano with a single up the middle. Gordon nibbles at the outside corner against Lee. The fans chant "Let's go Cubbies" and Lee grounds to third. They get Theriot at second but Lee is safe at first -- barely. Gordon wants no part of Ramirez and falls way behind 3-0. Ball four. Mark DeRosa will hit for Wuertz with two on and two outs and the Cubs down a run. DeRosa flies out to right. The Cubs get one back but waste another opportunity.
Phillies 7, Cubs 6
Roberson greets lefty Will Ohman with a single to center. Nunez pops up a bunt in front of the mound and Ohman makes a stumbling catch. Brenly points out he should've let it drop because Nunez was just standing there and they would've had an easy double play. Coste singles to right. Roberson stops at second. Pinch hitter Carlos Ruiz hits it over Pagan's head to knock home Roberson. Pagan took a funky angle on that ball. Brutal play. Werth drives in two more with a double to the right-center gap. Iguchi strikes out and Werth steals third. Rollins flies out to center but not before the Phillies score three times.
Phillies 10, Cubs 6
Brett Myers will try to end this for the Phillies. He gets off to a good start with a three-pitch strikeout of Fontenot. Jones flies out to left. Cubs are down to the last out and it's Koyie Hill. Not good. Hill flies out to center.
Final: Phillies 10, Cubs 6
So the Cubs split with the Phillies. Not the best performance today on many levels, despite climbing back in it. The Mets come to down tomorrow and I hope you'll join us. Thanks for reading.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times