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Getting Owned - Step By Step Instructions On How To Be Thoroughly, Completely Dominated
by Derek Smart
I got it in my head last night to take inning-by-inning notes. Which meant I stayed up for the entire game. Which means I'm exhausted. Which means I'm just going to let you read what I scrawled in the moment.
Top of the 1st
It looked for a moment like Cain might give a little to start the game, but the double-play ball Daryle Ward hit was as tailor made as you could ever hope to see. He hit it hard, and right at the second baseman, but even taking that and his considerable girth into account, it was still shocking to only see him get into the camera's field of vision as the ball hit the first baseman's glove. Maybe he wasn't running at full speed, but even so, that's a big, slow man.
Bottom of the 1st
The broadcast team informs us that Jason Marquis has never lost to the Giants, which immediately begs the question: why has Marquis never pitched against San Francisco?
The shocking news, of course, is that he has. Five times, four of them starts, and he's 3-0 with a 2.56 ERA against them. With the first two men getting on, it looks like he's hell bent on correcting this glaring anomaly.
I'm not sure what to say about Fred Lewis stealing home. It was a good play on his part, but I'm trying to think of what the Cubs could have done to prevent it. Honestly, with guys at first and third, I'm surprised we don't see plays like that more often, especially with a right-handed hitter up who might at least partially block the catcher's view.
Marquis looked remarkably bad in that frame. I can't help thinking that a better lineup scores a couple more runs. I suppose the good news is that no one really crushed the ball, so if he's able to stay in the zone a little more, he might be able to right the ship.
Top of the 2nd
Edmonds walks with one out, and now's as good a time as any to reflect on how spectacularly wrong I was about the relative merits of bringing him on board. He's been solid in the field, and after an initial adjustment period, has been very productive at the plate. I can't say that it's ever going to stop being at least a little weird that he's in a Cubs uniform, but he's done just about everything possible during his time in Chicago to make me appreciate the fact that he's here.
Speaking of me being wrong, any shiny happy statements I made about Ronny Cedeno in April? Never mind.
Bottom of the 2nd
Marquis went full to Vizquel, but overall, an uneventful and encouraging inning for our moundsman. I'm not ready to say he'll end up logging a quality start, but a quick trip like this one goes a long way toward keeping the possibility alive.
Top of the 3rd
As Fukudome takes ball one, the Cardinals lose to the Mets. When we wake up, the Redbirds won't be any closer, and that's always a good thing.
Matt Cain hasn't looked especially dominating, but other than the moment before Daryl Ward's GIDP in the first, there's yet to be a true threat mounted. We'll see how things look after a second full turn through the order, but this is shaping up to be one of those quiet games where you keep putting up gooseggs and wondering what the hell happened.
For those of you who watched this on local Chicago television, those Steve Stone Hyundai spots are about as excruciating as anything I've seen. Bad production quality, terrible copy, and Stone looking about as excited to be there as a man in a lion's cage wearing meat-soaked underwear. Not a pretty sight.
Bottom of the 3rd
I just watched at least five solid seconds of Ted Lilly laughing and smiling. I won't sleep for at least a week.
That's the second straight 1-2-3 frame for Marquis. Get a few runs, and this thing just might work out.
Top of the 4th
Like I said. Quiet gooseggs.
Bottom of the 4th
Let me put it this way: Marquis threw 24 pitches in the first inning. He's thrown 34 in the three innings since. Sure, he's doing a better job since the Top of the the game, but make no mistake, the Giants are hacking like nobody's business.
Top of the 5th
Not to pick on Cedeno too much, but he's taken some ridiculous swings in his last few starts. All any pitcher has to do for the rest of the year is chuck the ball at the upper outside quadrant, and he'll corkscrew himself into the ground on consecutive offerings.
Bottom of the 5th
And that's four consecutive perfect innings for Marquis. I have no idea how to reconcile that information with my world view.
Between Inning Note
Both teams will see the top of their order to begin the sixth, marking the third time through the order for both clubs. I think we might be looking at the game's most critical juncture. Something's going to happen.
Top of the 6th
Kosuke looks really bad tonight. I don't know if he's not seeing the ball, or what, but even though Cain is pitching very well, Fukudome's the only guy besides Cedeno who looks like he has absolutely no idea what's going on up there.
That ball by Lee was scorched. He hasn't been fooled tonight, but so far it's mattered not a bit.
Bottom of the 6th
Welcome, Fred Lewis, to the first extra base hit of the night. Remember what I said about something happening in this inning?
And there's the first RBI of the night, courtesy of Randy Winn. This is making me look smarter than I really am.
Marquis gets a strikeout to end the threat, and I have to admit, I thought I was going to write something about his second walk of the inning to load the bases, but he came back from being down 3-0 and got himself an out and an escape. That said, it certainly looked as if the Giants collectively realized that Marquis wasn't all that good, and that if they waited long enough they'd either get something to drive or win a free trip to nearby sack.
Top of the 7th
Now we have the Cubs first extra base knock of the night, as Daryl Ward leads off the frame with a double. We're absolutely at the point in the game where some action is necessary to have any shot of pulling this out, so the timing couldn't be better.
Boy, Edmonds put a charge in that fly-out to center. Off the bat, it looked like he might have added to what's becoming the ever longer list of reasons why it's okay to root for Jimmy, but Aaron Rowand made a nice play to haul it in - even if he did seem to somewhat gratuitously crash into the wall.
In the end, the only good thing to come out of this inning was pushing Cain over the 100 pitch mark. With the way he's throwing, I doubt that's enough to get him out of there for the 8th, but a fella can hope, can't he?
Bottom of the 7th
Theoretically learned lessons remain unapplied, as the Giants see eight pitches despite sending four men to the dish. I guess this is what's it's been like to play against the Cubs' offense the last few years.
Top of the 8th
Cain's just owned the Cubs tonight, and even if Castillo hadn't made the play he did on Mark DeRosa's grounder (and, really, with how out of control his body was, that his throw didn't end up either buried underground or bouncing into the Cove is beyond explanation), I'm confident he would have escaped unharmed. There's just never been a moment when he seemed truly in danger, and that mostly because anything good you got felt a little lucky anyway.
Bottom of the 8th
Nice job by Bob Howry tonight holding the line, even after Ray Durham's leadoff bloop singledoubletriple double. With Cain coming out for the Giants' closer, staying within two instead of seeing the deficit expand to three could potentially be huge. Not that it isn't still an uphill climb.
Top of the 9th
Lee rocked that thing into the gap, and while the Giants aren't likely to pay any attention to him over at third, that he's there at all could potentially be a distraction. Of course, it would help if Daryl Ward did something useful, too.
Which popping out is not.
There's one in, as Geo comes through with a solid single to center. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that no one's getting fooled much by Wilson tonight.
Edmonds missed his pitch, so the game belongs to Little Mikey Hottentot, who after two pitches is sitting pretty at 2-0, and doing a nice job of not pressing in this at bat.
Hottentot swung at ball four, but lucky for the Cubs he put it in an awkward spot for Ray Durham, and Mikey's speed got him safely to first. Now, the game's in Haymarket's hands.
A valiant at bat by Theriot, but he was finally overpowered. All you can ask in that situation is that your guy doesn't do anything to get himself out, and in fact, Ryan stayed afloat very well in an PA where he was pretty clearly overmatched.
And that's your ballgame. Despite the Giants not being a good team, this is a loss I can live with. The Cubs stuck to their game plan all night, making Cain work even though he clearly had his A+ game, but when a good pitcher has his best stuff, sometimes you just have to tip your hat, and this was definitely one of those times.
Tonight is a big game, because Thursday has a chance to look an awful lot like last night, with arguably the best pitcher in the league taking the bump, in Tim Lincecum, so any realistic shot at a split hinges on this evening's results. Let's get that thing done, boys!