Cubs fans, you can now go back to your regularly scheduled hatred for the
Yes, I know that was a tough three days for you, but your fandom by proxy appears to have helped
. The Mets took two of three from the
and, in the process, bumped the Cubs to the top of the
In fact, the Mets appear to have demoralized them so much, the Brewers have stolen a page from the Cubs playbook and got into it with each other in the dugout. If Ned Yost goes on a kicking fit today, we'll know the jig is up.
Now, after making the arduous trek South through the hinterlands of lower Wisconsin and the Bong Recreation Area, ignoring the sausage-siren song of Mars Cheese Castle and the Brat Stop, the Mets pull their caravan into the cramped
parking lot for a weekend series with the Cubs.
goes for his fifth straight victory against former
ALDS hero, the older-than-Yoda El Duque. Won three of his last four starts he has.
It's Friday, it's hot and
is back -- again.
off with a called strike before Reyes flies out to
in right. David Newhan grounds out to
walks and so much for the perfect game.
walks and Zambrano already is pacing around and muttering to himself. Zambrano re-groups, strikes out
looking, pumps his fist, hops over the line and points to the sky. Lot going on there.
Here are the Cubs.
pops up a 2-2 pitch to short.
hits it hard to right but the wind knocks it down and right to
swings through an 89-mph fastball for strike three and nothign doing for the Cubs in the first.
Ramon Castro pops out to third. Zambrano then fans Green. Bob Brenly is worried about Big Z, saying he's on the verge of "an explosion." He's really chomping his gum out there and talking to himself after each pitch, but I don't know about any impending explosion. He walks Ruben Gotay. El Duque, a decent hitting pitcher, lines out to right. We're moving right along here.
pops out to Anderson in shallow center. The wind, which is blowing in today at 16 mph, made an adventure out of that one. Floyd pops out to the right side. DeRosa flies out to right and both pitchers are rolling early.
Reyes rolls out to second. Hello, Newhan. Goodbye, Newhan. He strikes out. David Writer is wearing two-toned shoes--black with white spats on top. Brenly informs us that per league rules, shoes have to be 51 percent of the team color. Huh. Wright and his shoes ground out to short. Zambrano settled down that inning and marched off the mound towards the dugout.
bounces one past Delgado and hustles into second with a double.
, who should be hitting ninth with Zambrano eighth, is trying to get on by any means at this point. His attempt to stick his shoulder in the way of a pitch fails -- twice. Kendall chases a slider a foot out of the zone for strike three, looking pretty bad in the process. Is that really Todd Hundley in disguise? Zambrano takes a pitch for strike two and then fights one off, sending it deep the other way but foul. After all that, he strikes out looking and looks like he wants to snap his bat over his head. This just in:
suspended for 80 games. He has to be taking the worst steroids ever. Oh, wait, it's for a banned stimulant. Soriano flies out to right on a 3-2 pitch.
Delgado walks and then flings his bat to the batboy, who snares it on the fly before it nails him in the the face. Anderson chops one in front of the plate. Kendall is all over it and throws out the runner. Delgado takes second on the play. Castro, in for
, who's got a hammy, grounds to short. Delgado, playing his own little game, takes third. Green walks. What is that, five for Zambrano? Gotay strikes out looking, flips his bat and slams his helmet. He didn't like the call on strike two from home plate umpire Paul Schrieber. I'm surprised he didn't get tossed for that little tantrum.
One time as a really young child, I went to a Cubs-Pirates game with my grandfather. Dale Berra struck out looking and threw a fit like that and my grandfather, God rest his soul, goes into a profanity-laced tirade about it. Classic and unbelievably funny. I believe it was my introduction to salty language. Theriot pops out to short. Lee grounds to Delgado, who flips to El Duque covering first. Ramirez bloops a double to right. No one is too happy with Schrieber's strike zone. On the pitch before that El Duque thought he had struck out Ramirez with a sinker away. The ol' Eephus pitch for strike one to Floyd. Brenly said that didn't even register on the gun. Floyd had a look on his face that said, "What the ... ?" El Duque goes to a more conventional pitch and gets Floyd swinging at a fastball.
El Duque bunts and Zambrano makes an easy play of it. Reyes chops one to Lee and Zambrano busts it over to cover. Cat like, Zambrano is. Newhan walks. Wright lines the Mets' first hit just out of the reach of a diving Theriot. Full count to Delgado and Zambrano misses inside. Delgado walks for the third time.
comes running out of the dugout and then slows to a walk. The conversation with Zambrano lasts about two seconds. Lou retreats. Zambrano gets two strikes on Anderson. Everyone gets up. Strike three and Zambrano goes nuts on his way to the dugout. How long has he had those blond highlights in his hair? Not good.
The seven walks for Zambrano ties a career high. DeRosa strikes out chasing a pitch away. Jones bounces one down the line like he did last time, but this time Delgado makes the play and throws to El Duque covering first. Kendall walks. Zambrano pops one to shallow left. Reyes drifts out. Newhan comes in. Reyes makes the catch and Newhan nearly runs him over.
I guess Piniella came out and had a little chat with Schrieber between innings.
Castro, the backup catcher, rips a solo home run deep into the left field bleachers.
So when does Koyie Hill do that? Piniella's back out there. The trainer is out there. Piniella is shaking his head for some reason. And there goes Zambrano. Not sure why. I know his leg cramped up during his last start. The other Carlos, Marmol trots to the mound. Zambrano threw 90 pitches. Green grounds to the right side and DeRosa ranges far to his left to make the play. They just showed Eddie Vedder throwing out the first pitch to Kerry Wood. Is it just me or does Wood look really thin? Marmol strikes out Gotay looking. This time he has no complaint. Marmol strikes out El Duque.
Mets 1, Cubs 0
Zambrano left with "heat-related cramping." Kids, have we not yet learned about the importance of proper hydration? I cannot stress enough: Gotta stay hydrated. Soriano strikes out swinging, which, according to Len, makes Soriano and Theriot 0-for-7 against Hernandez today. Make that 0-for-8. Theriot bounces out.
Lee gets all of one and drives it deep for a two-out solo homer to left.
Some meathead Mets fan with a cut-off black t-shirt ended up with the ball. Ramirez strikes out, but the Cubs level the score at a goal apiece.
Cubs 1, Mets 1
Reyes drives one deep to center. Jones circles the wagons and gloves it. Newhan walks and then steals second. Newhan had a great jump. Marmol blows away right with a fastball for strike three. They put Delgado on. Marmol gets ahead of Anderson 0-2 before tossing one in the dirt.
Anderson pokes a single through the hole on the right side, scoring Newhan.
Castro strikes out and here's Eddie Vedder to sing TMOTTBG.
Mets 2, Cubs 1
Vedder's wearing a Cubs road gray top with Kerry Wood's 34 but "Vedder" on the back. Speaking of which, Wood gets up in the pen. And here comes a whole lot of
talk between Len, Bob and Vedder. Floyd strikes out swinging. Wait, Len asks him what's the longest he's gone without cutting his hair. Vedder kind of ignores the question and just says Hi to his grandmother in Palatine. He also says Randy Hundley was at the Pearl Jam show at the Vic last night. Sure, the Rebel. DeRosa singles. Three and oh to Jones. El Duque comes all the way back to strike him out swinging. Kendall fights off a few 2-2 pitches.
Kendall rips one deep to left off the top of the ivy, scoring DeRosa.
I thought that was gone off the bat. Len just gushed, "Jason Kendall has come up with some huge hits!" Huh? There was one? That's it for El Duque. OK, I guess Kendall had a two-out single to drive in a couple runs Tuesday against the
. However, not exactly huge. And against the Reds. Well, OK then. I'll shut up. Lefty Pedro Feliciano comes on and
will hit in the pitcher's spot. Murton strikes out.
Cubs 2, Mets 2
will pitch the eighth, not Wood. No, I don't watch many Cubs games. None. Zero. Who? Green grounds out to DeRosa. Gotay will not go away. He fouls off a number of pitches, including one that got a piece of a WGN cameraman in the camera well beyond the Cubs' dugout. Gotay eventually rips one to the well in right for a double.
, who had an inside the park job yesterday in Milwaukee, pinch hits and grounds out to short. Gotay takes third. Here's Lou again and he wants them to walk Reyes. They do. It's not like he isn't going to steal second. First-base coach
leans into Reyes and says, "If Rickey were on first, Rickey would steal second." Reyes steals second without drawing a throw. Howry gets two strikes on Newhan and everyone gets up. Strike three and damage is averted.
. Wood was back in the dugout, but now he's going back out to the pen. Soriano lifts one to right. Green fights the sun and comes up with it. Theriot rips one to left and Newhan makes a nice running catch at the edge of the track to rob The Riot of a double. Full count to Lee and he rolls a single through the hole on the left side. With Ramirez up, Lee steals second and takes third as Castro's throw bounces into center. Rickey likes. Ramirez flies out to center, stranding Lee. We move to the ninth.
Cubs 2, Mets 2
Wright leads off the ninth against
. Dempster just misses on a 2-2 pitch. His full-count offering misses and Wright takes first. Piniella is yelling at home-plate ump Paul Schrieber.
Delgado delgolfs one to the corner for an RBI triple.
Or a double because the throw went home. Whatever it is, Wright scores and the Mets are up 3-2 in the ninth with
warming in the pen. Someone may get tossed if there's another close call like that. Neither team is happy with Schrieber's strike zone. Anderson pops out to DeRosa. Castro bats with the infield in. Castro strikes out swinging.
Green shoots a double down the line the other way, driving home Delgado.
Ball landed in foul ground but apparently went over the bag. Can't really tell on the replay.
Gotay slices a single through the hole to left and Green scores.
Moises Alou pinch hits and singles to center. Gotay takes third. Uh, probably time to go get Dempter. And now the boos are really coming now. Another hit.
Reyes singles to right and Gotay scores.
Newhan flies out to center but Dempster gives up four runs on five hits in the ninth. Talk about the wheels coming off.
Mets 6, Cubs 2
Here comes Wagner and good luck with that.
also comes on to play second. Floyd takes a ball and then singles to right. DeRosa singles to center. Bob points out that closers don't like pitching in non-save situations, so the Cubs have that going for them. Maybe. Jones grounds weakly into a 6-3 double play that pretty much ices this one. Kendall bats with Floyd on third and two outs. Kendall bounces back to Wagner and this one is over.
Final: Mets 6, Cubs 2