Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Win or stay home

The White Sox spent the last week of the regular season trying their hardest to blow the Central Division, but they failed because Minnesota couldn't do much with the lowly Kansas City Royals.

So, the Sox had to make up a game with the Detroit Tigers yesterday that had been rained out in August. Then, they had to sit through a three-hour rain delay to get it started. They did win though, thanks to a grand slam from Alexei Ramirez.

I was listening to Detroit implode in the sixth inning on the radio on my way home, and as they were pitching to Junior, one of the radio guys (I forget if it was Ed Farmer or Steve Stone) says, "if they walk him, that will bring up our Ramirez, who is our slam guy." They did walk him as I was pulling in my driveway, and by the time I got in the house, it was 6-2 Sox.

Ramirez, a rookie, now has four grand slams on the season.

That had to be one of the worst-pitched innings in the history of baseball. Four guys walked. The first one walked, stole second and scored on two wild pitches before the second batter was finished walking. Then a third guy walked. There was another wild pitch, an intentional walk, and then the grand slam. Actually, I think Thome struck out in there somewhere as well. Four walks and three wild pitches leading up to the slam.

Now, the Twins come to town for a division tiebreaker tonight. The Sox are pitching John Danks on three days rest, but you can't blame them. Gavin Floyd pitched yesterday, Mark Bueherle on Sunday, so there really isn't anybody left. Javier Vasquez probably wouldn't get out of the first inning.

Minnesota counters with Nick Blackburn. The Sox have lit him up this year, although Blackburn did better the last time he faced the Sox, holding them to two runs in five innings and getting the win last week.

The prize for the winner? A trip to Tampa to face the Rays on Thursday.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cubs win.

Note that the headline was punctuated with a period, not an exclamation point. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited that the Cubs won the division, but I've seen that before. What I've only seen one time is the Cubs winning a playoff series. And it goes without saying that I've never seen them in a World Series.

If all that happens this season is winning the division, then it's a team that fell short again.

Now, our attention turns to the Sox, who can wrap up the division in a 3-game series with the Twins in the Humpdome. The Sox magic number is five with six to play. Both Chicago teams in the playoffs at the same time? That's something I've never seen before! I don't think my stomach could take a cross-town World Series.

Monday, September 15, 2008

At least they finally got a hit

I don't know if it's the effects of being dislocated by a hurricane, or playing "neutral" games in front of a big Cub crowd at Wrigley North in Milwaukee, or if it's simply a case of a team this hot finally cooling off, but the Astros set a standard for futility in their two games against the Cubs this week.

The first 47 hitters they sent to the plate in Milwaukee failed to get a hit. Carlos Zambrano faced 28 in his no-hitter on Sunday, and Ted Lilly got into the 7th inning before finally giving up a hit to Mark Loretta.

That was it. One hit in two days. The Astros were outscored 11-1 in the series. They finally scored in the 8th of game two with two walks, a wild pitch and a sac fly. Even Bob Howry, the designated lead blower this season, couldn't give up a run.

The Cubs are the first team to ever put a no-hitter and a one-hitter back-to-back.

Meanwhile, in a very strange twist to the playoff chase, the Brewers fired manager Ned Yost today. Milwaukee is tied for the wild card lead entering the day, and although they have faded a bit in their chase of the Cubs, I can't remember a manager ever being fired in the middle of a playoff race like this. The Brewers have lost seven of their last eight, and collapsed in the second half of last season as well. Perhaps this is just a desperate attempt to shake things up.

Dale Sveum will take over for the remainder of the season. The Brewers are in Chicago for three beginning tomorrow.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cubs and Astros move to Milwaukee

Because of hurricane Ike, the Cubs and Astros will now play two games in Milwaukee. They were supposed to play three in Houston this weekend, but obviously, nobody's playing anything down there right now.

It's ironic that the games are in Milwaukee. If you are a Brewers fan, who do you root for? Your team is chasing the Cubs for the division title, although it's slipping away. The Cubs' lead is up to 6 games and their magic number for clinching the division is 10.

Houston, meanwhile, is on your heels in the wild card race. Philadelphia is a greater concern at the moment because they are the current opponent and only two games back after beating the Brewers last night, but Houston is 2.5 games back.

So, do you want the Cubs to help watch your back in the wild card race, or do you want to hold out those fading hopes for a division title?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Oregon-Purdue live blog

While the Cubs continue their 1969 impression and slide deeply into oblivion (although they have won one game in a row!), I'm going to hide my head in the sand on Saturday and live blog the Oregon-Purdue game.

To follow along, click here.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A game not even a mother could love

The Marlins and Braves played a game on Wednesday afternoon in Miami in front of a measly 600 fans. 600 fans! There had to be more staff there than paying customers. Every fan probably had his/her own personal beer vendor.

The actual announced attendance was much higher, but the heat, humidity, and lack of meaning kept the fans away in droves.

Here is the game story off the wire.