Filed:June 19th, 2009
Ryan Theriot is mauled by teammates after his game-winning single (Cubbie Nation)
Click Cleveland+Indians/default.aspx">here for the photo gallery of Friday's game.
After weeks of watching the Cubs put on an offensive show just this side of awful, they've now exploded, scoring 14 runs in the last two days, powered by five home runs. Lou Piniella has been saying often "What can I do? What can I do?", and evidently the answer is to threaten to actually do something, as since his announcement that he was prepared to make lineup changes, the on-field play has improved considerably.
This entire day was about reversal of fortunes. As of noon, you wouldn't have thought the game would have even been played, given the downpour drenching Chicago. It was bad, but a nice window opened up in the afternoon, giving the Cubs a few hours of sun-drenched spring day to play the game. The start time got pushed to 2:45 p.m., but few were complaining around the park.
The story at the onset was that Cleveland's Cliff Lee was amazing and the Cubs' Rich Harden was not. Actually, he was much worse, giving up three-run homers to Luis Valbeuna and Victor Martinez in the second and third innings, respectively, that looked to put the game away for the Tribe early.
Couple the Indians' offensive production with Lee's numbers (7 IP, 3 ER, 5 K), and, well, we've seen this show before.
But then something happened. I'd heard that the Indians bullpen was something of an albatross this season, and watching the 14-12 debacle against the Brewers earlier in the week, I had some idea.
But now I know for a fact they've got big, big problems there.
Lee was pulled after putting Milton Bradley on in the eighth, and Joe Smith came in. He was rocked, highlighted by a Andres Blanco two-run single. The Cubs would score four in the inning in all, setting up a ninth-inning matchup with ex-Cub Kerry Wood.
He fared no better, serving up a Derrek Lee solo homer to tie the game. Sorry, Kerry.
The Cubs then made quick work of another ex-Cub, Luis Vizcaino, in the 10th. With two out, Alfonso Soriano walked, then swiped second base. Then, on a 3-2 count, Ryan Theriot singled to right for the game-winner.
Great game, good enough even to make up for a ridiculously long day at the park. And the game was made even better by chatting with some very nice people.
That means you, Michael, a fine lawyer in the making that I was seated next to for most of the game. Nice to meet you. You too, Paula. Any time you want to free yourself of some of those season tickets, you just let me know.