by Danny Mehigan
Right about now seems like a good time for casual observations from this weekend’s Brewers-Cubs series. Read on:
Friday – Brewers 3, Cubs 2: The most important shit happened in the 8th inning, but other stuff happened before. Aramis Ramirez dislocated his shoulder diving for a groundball and will be out for at least a month. Normally, I’d find a Cubs injury high comedy, but since I’ve hurt my shoulder before, I can’t rip on the guy. That shit hurts. Next, Cubs starter Randy Wells made his debut in this game with five shutout innings. Randy Wells, really? What a joke. However, Ryan Braun saved the Wells-caused embarrassment by launching a 2-run bomb into Cubbies’ bullpen in the 8th inning. It was wonderfully reminiscent of his 2-run dinger in the season finale last year that essentially sent the Crew to the playoffs. You don’t want to look past the weak offensive showing per se, but a win’s a win. Especially against the Cubs.
Saturday – Brewers 12, Cubs 6: World’s. Longest. Game. It took 4 1/2 hours and a 20-minute blackout delay, but the Crew took the series with another win on Saturday. Awesome things: Craig Counsell going way deep with a dinger that landed about 6 inches over the fence and 6 inches inside the foul pole. Ryan Braun going yard again after Ryan Dempster hit him in the head with a pitch. Yovani Gallardo struggling but getting through five solid innings. The Cubs bullpen imploding. Nine runs in the last two innings. Not very awesome things: Jorge Julio still being on the active roster. Todd Coffey giving up a lot of hits. Gallardo struggling and throwing more than 20 pitches per inning. All in all, that’s a good night at the ballpark.
Sunday – Cubs 4, Brewers 2: A day of missed opportunities at Miller Park, as the Crew went 1-for-10 with RISP and couldn’t finish off a sweep when it was easily at hand. Jeff Suppan fell victim to another big inning – four runs in the third – and the offense left 10 men on base. The most obnoxious choke job was in the 8th inning when Braun led off with a double and moved to third on a balk by Carlos Marmol. Fielder struck out on three pitches, Cameron walked, Hardy popped out, Hall walked (more on this AB in a second) and Kendall grounded into a forceout. Look, I know Marmol is pretty good – but put the damn ball in play and get a run in from third base. It’s not the most difficult task in the world. But back to Hall’s walk …
On a 3-2 pitch, Bill Hall checked his swing on a low-and-away slider. On the slow-motion replay, it looked like the bat almost crossed the home plate threshold but he never broke his wrists. It’s a particularly difficult judgment call, especially in a crucial situation. I, of course, think he checked his swing. Cubs fans, logically, think he swung. Only one man in the public sphere so far is stupid enough to think that the umps are cheating. WGN announcer Bob Brenly stated, and I quote, “[First base umpire] Todd Tichenor had too much to think about that call. He looked around, realized what call would get him booed the most, and said Hall didn’t swing.” Are you kidding me? That’s what you come up with, Brenly? I know you’re a Cubs fan, I know most color guys aren’t the brightest bulbs in the room (I love Bill Schroeder, but I know he’s not in MENSA), but you have to be better (and most importantly, more professional) than that. Since Marmol got out of the inning unscathed, it’s a moot point, but Brenly is insulting baseball fans everywhere by saying that the umps are on the take and/or are immature enough to need the fans’ approval to make calls.
Records: 18-14, 2nd in the Central. 9-7 at home.
Next up: The Marlins come into Miller Park for a Tuesday through Thursday series. Manny Parra, Braden Looper and Dave Bush will do the pitching.