We've moved past mountain lions to
. What's next, an avalanche?
The whole town's talking about the earthquake, the earthquake (
). It's all I've heard all morning. Did you feel the earthquake? Where were you when the earthquake hit? Earthquake, earthquake, EARTHQUAKE! Unfortunately this rare seismic shift has created a bit of a rift between people like cracks in the southbound Edens Expressway. On one side you've got the people who felt it and want to talk about it. On the other, those who didn't and feel left out. Then there's the third group out in left field: the earthquake denialists, who don't believe it ever happened, and, frankly, I have no time for those people.
Saw a few joes on the street on the news this morning talking about it. One guy said he was in the shower, another watching TV and a third said he was eating breakfast. A guy who opens the Tribune gym at 5:30 a.m. said he was on the Blue Line at the time and didn't feel anything beyond the usual shaking and rattling. My mother said she was up reading.
was on his couch. What was I doing at 4:40 a.m.? I was racked out in my bed, which started shaking like Jell-O.
Perhaps the earthquake has shaken some sense into struggling lefty
. He goes for
today in their weekly grudge match with the
. Righty Ian Snell toes the slab for the Bucs.
It's unfortunate the Pirates don't travel with their mascot, the Pirate Parrot. Thankfully someone
from last week's 14-inning game in Pittsburgh. The lascivious, lecherous and downright lewd pelvic thrusts preceding Adam LaRoche's homer were tremendous, that is, if you've got a
fetish. Earlier he was sitting behind home plate talking on a giant cellphone and waving at the camera.
And speaking of bushy-haired mascots, I failed to mention this yesterday while the Reds were still in town, but to say Reds announcer Marty Brennaman did not approve of Cubs fans littering the outfield with 15 baseballs Wednesday night after Adam Dunn's homer is an understatement.
. Give that audio a listen, if you haven't already. Wow.
Marty's always struck me as the type of hayseed who says things like
and, frankly, I have no time for those people.
. Baseball soon.
Upate: We've got a fourth group of earthquake survivors: Those who didn't feel it and didn't know about it until 1 p.m. when I told him on the phone. Hello, Rahula.
And we're off. Rich Hill starts off the hot-hitting Highlander Nate McLouth with a strike and then walks him, nearly drilling him in the ribs with ball four. Hill strikes out
with a big, ol' curve. With Freddy Sanchez at the dish, Hill throws over to first and they've got McLouth hung up. Lee throws to second and Theriot tags him out after McLouth over-slide the bag. Sanchez flies out to
. Hill issues a leadoff walk but calms down a bit after that.
Probably should've mentioned this earlier above all that other nonsense, but
gets the start and leads off today. Why, here he is. One time a few years ago, I saw the Patterson brothers eating breakfast at Nookie's on Wells. I've got a million of these awesome stories, like the one time I saw
at Wendy's on Michigan Avenue the day he signed a big extension with the Cubs, so stay tuned. Patterson strikes out swinging at a pitch in the dirt. Theriot bounces a single back up the middle. Lee flies out to shallow right.
singles out of the reach of the shortstop Rivas and Theriot takes third. Fukudome flies out to left to end the inning and that gets a big cheer from the Wrigley crowd off the bat. Same with Lee's flyball to right. This must stop now.
Theriot slides, knocks down a grounder by Jason Bay in the hole but can't come up with it. Infield single for the Pirates left-fielder. Yet far, Hill's giant curve is working. He just dropped one in there for a strike on Xavier Nady. However, the problems usually stem from his other two pitches. Bay steals second and doesn't draw a throw on a ball in the dirt.
Nady knocks in the runner, turning on a hanging curve and singling to left.
As Bob Brenly just pointed out, when you can't get your other pitches over, hitters will just sit on the breaking ball. LaRoche misses a slider for strike three. Ronny Paulino pops up and out to second and screams an unprintable dirty word in the process. Hill hangs another one and Jose Bautista nearly hits it out, instead banging it off the top of the wall in left. Hill strikes out his counterpart, Snell, but the Pirates claim "First!" on the scoreboard.
Pirates 1, Cubs 0
Very important business here: Yes, there used to be a Wendy's in the Sak's Fifth Ave. building food court. It's now closed.
rips a double to left-field corner.
swings at the first pitch and grounds out to third. DeRosa has to hang at second. Reed Johnson flies out to center. Hill fans and the DeRosa's leadoff double goes in the dumpster.
Pirates 1, Cubs 0
Johnson makes a nice running, over-the-shoulder catch in deep center on a drive off the bat of McLouth. Not to be outdone, Hill makes a nice play fielding a bunt by Rivas, gloving it on the run and flipping it to first as he falls over. Sanchez flies out to center to end a quick inning that featured two good defensive plays.
Before that inning, WGN showed a replay of SI swimsuit cover model Marisa Miller throwing out the first pitch, a strike from the mound into the glove of
, who then worked a big hug out of the deal. Patterson strikes out for the second time, chasing a ball out of the zone. (Clip and paste from a 2004 FTC.) Theriot drives one the other way, it hits the side wall and gets by Nady. Theriot slides head first into third with a triple. Lee bounces one back to the pitcher. It bounces high in the air out of Snell's glove but he recovers and throws out Lee. Theriot stays put on third. Ramirez flies out to third and again Theriot stays put. He'll move over and play some short. Like the leadoff double in the second, the one-out triple nets nothing.
Pirates 1, Cubs 0
Oh, almost forget. More great stories. One time I saw Bob Brenly enjoying an early-evening beer at an outside table at Burton Place on Wells. Told you these were exciting. Jason Bay pops out to Lee near the Pirates dugout. Nady sends one down the right-field line. Fukudome grabs it on the run right on top of the bullpen mound and nearly falls over. That could've been dangerous. LaRoche draws a two-out walk. Nady grounds out to end the top half of the fourth.
Fukudome drives it deep to center. McLouth gets a glove on it but the ball glances off the leather and rolls to the wall for a leadoff triple. How do you think the Cubs will strand this runner?
DeRosa bloops a single to center to drive home Fukudome with the tying run.
I think I reverse jinxed them. See how I did that? WGN asks viewers to text their favorite Cubs no-hitter memory, like anyone who remembers any of those, the last of which was in 1972, is all over texting. Sure, for the kids. Soto doubles to the right-field gap; DeRosa stops at third.
Johnson checks his swing and rolls one towards short. Rivas can't get a handle on it and throws late. DeRosa scores on the play.
Soto could not advance with the play right in front of him. Hill shows bunt, pulls the bat back and butcher boys it to short. Johnson is out at second, Hill safe at first. Soto takes third. Love the term "butcher boy."
Patterson grounds to short, the Pirates start the 6-4-3, but the 4-to-3 part is an issue because Patterson beats it out and drives home Soto.
Patterson steals second with Theriot at the plate. He nearly over-slide second but hung on to the bag with the tips of his fingers. Theriot drives it hard to center but right at McLouth. The Cubs score three on a leadoff triple and some tough going by Pirates shortstop Luis Rivas, a second baseman by trade.
Cubs 3, Pirates 1
While running on the lakefront, I saw
and his wife riding mountain bikes while he was on the DL and the Cubs were on a roadtrip. Awesome! And, yes, it is payday, and, no, Dave gets nothing. Sorry, Dave. Bautista strikes out. Hill walks the pitcher
. McLouth pops it up on the right side. Lee and Patterson converge and Lee takes it because he's taller. Patterson gets a facefull of Lee's armpit. Rivas flies out to right.
Sorry for the botched the play-by-play there. I missed the Bautista at-bat because I was so caught up in my exciting Kerry and Sarah Wood story. The Cubicle regrets the error. Once saw
pushing a stroller with his wife on Wells Street in Old Town. Lee pops up to shallow right where the second baseman Sanchez robs him of a hit with a great sliding catch going backwards. Ramirez strikes out. And again, I apologize about the mix up with Patterson and DeRosa above. Patterson is playing second. I need to slide the TV closer to the monitor here but I'm afraid I'll unplug it in the process. Fukudome fouls one back off the catcher Paulino's glove and the ball disappears down his chest protector. Fukudome strikes out to end the fifth and the Cubs go down 1-2-3 for the first time today.
Cubs 3, Pirates 1
Wendy's lovin' Jon Lieber takes over for Hill. He quickly gets Sanchez to pop out to second. Bay singles back through the box. Lieber took a bare-handed swipe and kick at that one but came up empty on both fronts. Lieber strikes out Nady and that puts a capper on his afternoon.
yanks him in favor of the lefty
to face LaRoche. (Hill's line a little late: Five innings, three hits, one run (earned), three walks, four strikeouts on 84 pitches, 46 of them strikes.) LaRoche grounds out to Lee and onward we go.
DeRosa, 2-for-2 with a double and single, flies out to right. Soto draws a walk and the guys across the street from
working on the roof are outta here. It's 3:02 afterall. Miller Time. Not that I blame them. Johnson sends a broken-bat single to left. Soto to second.
hits for Marshall. (Line on Marshall: 1/3 inning, 2 pitches, 2 of them strikes.) Ward flies out to left and Len says he's hitless for the year. Patterson hits with runners on first and second and two outs. Patterson taps one in front of the plate. Snell pounces on it and throws out the runner.
Cubs 3, Pirates 1
Thankfully last story, especially to Jacob R.: Saw
at Stanley's on Armitage and Sedgwick hanging out with the dreaded Kent Mercker. The neat part isn't that Maddux was the winning pitcher that day in St. Louis, or that Mercker was chain-smoking Marlboro Lights, but that
walked in to say hi and had a bag from the
across the street with a gallon of skim milk in it. Can you believe Moises Alou drinks milk?
comes on to pitch;
takes over in center; Johnson moves over to left; DeRosa to second; Patterson to the bench. Pie will bat ninth. Marmol takes Patterson's spot at the top of the order. Marmol gets the better of Paulino, striking him out on three pitches. I'm pretty sure that was
in the crowd during the Fan Cam segment. Bautista takes a called third strike on the inside corner. Nyjer Morgan bats for the pitcher Snell. Morgan takes a called third, as well. Marmol has his way.
and three other Blackhawks, not named Adam and whose names I didn't catch, sing TMOTTBG. The Wizzer,
, was one. Not sure if that's his nickname but it should be. Goalie
is another and I'm not sure about the fourth guy.
Franquelis Osoria is the new Pirates pitcher. Theriot and Lee both ground out to short -- not at the same time. WGN was showing a little montage of Burish pummeling various people, which is always good. Ramirez pops out to short and for the second straight day a very quick bottom of the seventh. I actually wanted to hear more from Burish.
Cubs 3, Pirates 1
Marmol remains and McLouth takes him deep to the center-field bleachers.
No word on how many balls came back on the field. Rivas grounds back to Marmol. McLouth, I'm not saying anything no one already knows, but this guy's a player, certainly against the Cubs. Marmol strikes out Sanchez swinging. Bay gets ahead in the count 3-1 and then draws a walk to bring up Nady. Nady pokes a single through the hole on the left side. Bay stops at second. No one up in the pen. Check that, avid cyclist Kerry Wood gets up to throw. Soto goes out to talk to Marmol. Marmol gets two strikes on LaRoche, getting the fans up out of their seats. Alas, ball two. LaRoche fouls one off. Fouls another off just out of play near the Pirates pen. Foul ball No. 3 and then Marmol strikes him out swinging.
Cubs 3, Pirates 2
Gotta get this off my chest: I'm not against the act of tossing a home-run ball back onto the field. What gets me is the celebration behind it, like it's something to cheer about. To a fan, the opposition hitting a home run should not be a good thing. These balls should be nonchalantly flipped back on the field like a fish too small to keep. Make sure it swims away or doesn't hit the right-fielder in the head, but do it in silence like it's no big deal.
Meh, we don't want this.
Moving on ... we've got Fukudome, DeRosa and Soto for the Cubs in the bottom of the eighth. Fukudome bounces out to LaRoche, 3-1. DeRosa lines out to right for the second out. The count goes full to Soto and he fouls one off to the right side. Soto checks his swing. It's ruled a ball and he takes his base on a two-out walk. Johnson in the midst of a battle featuring multiple foul balls takes a ball to work the count full. Johnson flies out to center.
Cubs 3, Pirates 2
In the ninth, Wood will face the bottom of the order, Paulino, Bautista and a pinch hitter. OK, so
will hit for Paulino. He grounds out to first. Bautista strikes out swinging and Ryan Doumit bounces out to second on the first pitch as Wood cruises through the ninth for a six-pitch save, leaving him plenty of time for a bike ride.
Final: Cubs 3, Pirates 2
That's it, everyone. Thanks for reading. Thanks for sharing your exciting brushes with Chicago sporting greatness and thanks for being Friday. Have a great weekend. See you Tuesday for the
. Watch out for those aftershocks. Oh, wait, I once saw former Cubs hitting coach Jeff Pentland at the Piano Man...