Sunday April 24, 2011. LA Dodgers vs Chicago Cubs
This was a great day to go to head to the north side of Chicago and beginning our annual tradition of spending Easter Sunday at Wrigley Field. My dad called me up a couple days before to tell me one of the women he works with had free tickets, Do you want to go? Does Pinocchio have wooden balls?? Of course I want to go. Where’s the seats? He didn’t really know, so it was a nice surprise when we picked him up and to see that we had great seats on the first base side. The only problem…the Cubs were playing the Dodgers. You say what’s the problem? My dad and have never been to a Cubs\Dodgers game that LA didn’t win. Crazy I know, what are the odds? Kind of like the year I went to a Cubs game once a week for 5or 6 weeks and Rich Harden started every game. Your next question, why do you continue to go to games against the Dodgers? I don’t know but every time I check the schedule, I just can’t help it. I was even at a game where Tommy Lasorda did the 7th inning stretch and I happen to be near the booth when he was leaving. Wish I had a pen & program for an autograph but I got to shake his hand.
33,000 people showed up on this holiday to see Mike Quade put The Big Z up against Donny Baseball’s lefty Hiroki Kuroda. The one thing with Carlos Zambrano at this time was everybody loved the way he played the game but watch out if he gets angry. Top 1. Z takes the mound, leading off for LA, Aaron Miles and on his second pitch sends a deep line drive to right field for a triple. Not a great start. Casey Blake digs into the box and takes 1st base after being beaned by Z. Andre Either steps to the plate sends a ground ball deep to second base allowing Miles to score the first run of the game and giving himself a single. The cleanup man Matt Kemp sends a grounder to Soriano, scoring Blake. Man on first and second, Jerry Sands double to RF scoring Either and moving Kemp to 3rd. 3-0, no outs. James Loney hopes to keep the momentum going, he drives in Kemp but grounds out to 1st base. Already 4-0 and were not even close to finishing this inning. Cather Rod Barajas sends a fly all to LF and its scored as a sac fly as Sands scores. Come’on Z just one more out. Shortstop Jamey Carrol sends a short fly ball to right field to end the inning. Eventhough the Cubs are down by 5, the crowd cheers as they run off the field in hopes of a bounce back in the bottom half of the inning. Lefty Japanese pitcher vs Lefty Japanese batter Kosuke Fukudome sends a ground ball to the first base side and lands himself a lead off double. 2cd basemen Darwin Barney steps in the box, sees two pitches and sends a ground ball through the hole in the left side of the diamond. With Fukudome on third and Barney on first, Starlin Castro sends a ground ball deep to SS and reaches on an E6 force out at second but sends Barney to third and score Fukudome. With two men on Aramis Ramirez goes down swinging. The 10 million dollar man, Carlos Peña sends a line drive to center scoring Barney. Center fielder Marlon Byrd goes down swinging sending Alfonso Soriano to the plate. The first pitch he sees is a wild one moving both runners over a base. With runners in scoring position, he works it to a 2-2 count only to go down swinging. What a first inning, combined we had 7 runs 7 hits and an error.
Top 2. Kuroda grounds out to short. Back to the top of the order, Miles reaches on an error by Barney but Blake grounds into a 1-4-3 double play to end the inning. The stadium erupts, who doesn’t love seeing a routine DP. Bot 2. Giovanni Soto is caught looking and Zambrano goes down swinging. Kosuke grounds out to first to end the inning. Before the third starts, time for a baño break and hopefully the discount on concessions is still going on. Either way we need refills and I want a SuperRope. Before I get back to the game, let me make it clear, I don’t go to baseball games for the bathrooms. Many many sports talk people in Chicago whine about the horse troffs that we have to use. Hey ladies, you want me to call you a wambulance? Seriously, you should see the guys that line up for the stalls. If they had a room where you just walk in and pee on the wall I’d still go. Now, the real problem is the flow, no pun intended, of the bathrooms. There could be more especially for the women. I’m just glad I never have to stand in that line. I think I’ll save this rant for its own blog.
Top 3. Right fielder, Either hits into a routine 3-1 ground ball. Kemp takes the first pitch, then sends a line drive double to left. He’s killing it today. Sands goes down swinging but Loney sends a ground ball to left scoring Kemp to add to their lead. Big Z gets Barajas to fly out to Byrd to end the inning. Bot 3. Barney goes down swinging on three straight pitches, Castro grounds out to third. Aramis digs and sends a grounder to left for a double. Peña steps up the crowd is stirring, hoping to see him send one onto Waveland Ave. One and two count and he goes down swinging to end the third. 6-2 Dodgers. Jamey Carroll leads off the top of the 4th with a double but Kuroda strikes out. Miles sends a line drive single to left. Men on first and third, Casey Blake grounds into a 4-6-3 DP and Zambrano is out of what could have been a disastrous inning. Kuroda takes down Byrd, Soto & Fonsy in order.
Top 5. Big Z gets Either swinging, catches Kemp looking and forces Sands to ground out to Barney, but his day is over when Quade puts Reed Johnson in to pinch hit for Z. Another 1-2-3 inning for Kuroda. John Grabow is at the mound now And gets James Loney to lead off the top 6 with a ground out but Barajas singles to center. Carroll flys out short to right. Kuroda reaches on an error. Miles digs in to send a liner deep to center field scoring Barajas. With Kuroda on third and Miles on first, Blake sees five pitches and walks to first. Bases loaded. Either steps to the plate and swings at the first pitch sending a fly ball to right-center field but Byrd is there to end the inning. Bot 6. Castro leads off but grounds out. Ramirez singles to center. Peña flys out. With two outs Byrd sends a line drive to left, Aramis doesn’t stop at second keeps going its going to be close and he’s out! Top 7 Justin Berg replaces Grabow and takes Kemp, Sands & Loney down in order.
The 7th inning stretch at Wrigley has become such a great promotional tool and there’s nothing like it at Wrigley Field. But for the life of me, I can’t remember who was there. I’m going to have to take a lot of notes from now on. Soriano leads off the Bot 7 with a line out to SS. Soto doubles to left. Quade decides to pinch hit for Berg, Tyler Colvin takes his place but pops up to SS. With two outs, Kosuke steps in the box and sends Soto to 3rd on a single to left. Darwin Barney digs in and takes the first pitch for a ball. Kuroda shakes off a couple calls, checks on Fukudome, throws home Barney swings ground ball up the middle to center. Soto scores, Fukudome stops at third. Don Mattingly decides to go to the bullpen and brings in Mike MacDougal and he gets Castro to ground out to end the inning.
Kerry Wood takes to the mound in the top of 8. Wood gets Barajas to line out but walks Carroll on 6 pitches. Marcus Thames steps in for MacDougal and flys out to center. Wood closes out the inning by getting Miles to groundout to Peña. Blake Hawksworth comes to the mound in the bottom 8. Ramirez sees four pitches and grounds out to short. Blake gets Peña to go down swinging. He gets a 2-2 count on Byrd, single to third. Soriano at the plate, 3-1 count ground ball to third to end the inning.
Pitcher Marcos Mateo relieves Wood and starts the inning by walking Blake, Either singles advancing the runner. Matt Kemp digs in, stares down to the mound, Mateo throws, Kemp swings at the first pitch sending back deep center field Byrd gets under it catches but can’t stop Blake from advancing to third. Jerry Sands works a full count into a base on balls loading the bases. Loney solid swing right to Barney to Castro to Peña to end the inning. Geo Soto walks up and the cubs fans are stirring, hoping for a chance at a comeback. He works a 3-2 count now every person is standing, clapping, cheering. Ball Four! The organist begins to play, the stadium is filled with hope at a W. Blake DeWitt pinch hits for Mateo but pop fouls out to 1B.
Fukudome lines out to 1B but with Barney at the plate and a “defensive indifference” Soto ends up at second only to remain there as Darwin lines out to second. The moment everyone was waiting for was to sing “Go Cubs Go” but it didn’t happen today. Am I to blame, or is it my dad or both of us. Whether or not, I will always be drawn to see the Cubs vs Dodgers. Maybe its the fact that the Dodgers swept the Cubbies in the playoffs. Or maybe it’s just that since I was a kid if we always went to at least one game a year. The experience of going to Wrigley was always great, win or lose. Something I always did with my dad as a kid and now we’re trying to travel to get tat experience of the ballparks. I do hope to see this series one day in LA.