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Monday, September 01, 2008

We're Off To See The Oswalt: Astros 3, Cubs 0

Not a particularly good game for the Cubs, who haven't been blanked since ... well, since the Astros' Brian Moehler did it on August 4. Roy Oswalt slaughtered the Cubs, going 8.1 innings of scoreless ball, and while he only managed three strikeouts, he reminded me of nothing so much as Greg Maddux on the mound, getting the Chicago nine to bounce out repeatedly to his infielders. The only offense they mustered was Geovany Soto's leadoff single in the third, and a leadoff infield single in the sixth — until the ninth, when the Cubs suddenly got back-to-back singles from pinch-hitter Daryle Ward and Alfonso Soriano. That brought in ex-Diamondback Jose Valverde to squelch the nascent uprising, and two outs later, that was that; you might argue, as Al Yellon did, that Derek Lee's flyball to deep right field might have been a home run had the wind been heading out to right, instead of heading toward home plate from right. And anyway, had the wind been blowing out, there would have been several long fly balls the Astros hit that would have ended up as homers, too.

Speaking of the 'Stros' offense, the Cubs had a lot to do with helping them to their win. Left fielder (and converted second baseman) Alfonso Soriano took his sweet time collecting Miguel Tejada's leadoff hit in the corner, which led to Tejada easily taking third. On a Mike Scioscia-run team, he would have headed home and scored easily, so late was the throw; but I always expect that sort of thing and totally miss it when watching other teams. As it was, Houston not only cashed him in but Lance Berkman's ensuing walk to make it 2-0 in the fourth and seal Chicago's fate.

Houston got another run in the eighth on a couple of singles and a wild pitch off Jeff Samardzija, who pitched a clean seventh against the 9-1-2 batters, but got touched up for his first run since July 29. That brought in Michael Wuertz, who only pitched to one batter in the eight but made an out without retiring Brad Ausmus when Soto threw out Hunter Pence 2-4 on what must have been a busted hit-and-run; Pence was scarcely ten feet from the bag by the time Mark DeRosa caught the throw.

Luckily, the Cubs had little to worry about within their division, as a Carlos Delgado homer helped power the Mets to a 4-2 win over the Brewers, and the Cards found Arizona bats all but unstoppable, St. Louis falling 8-6 in the desert. Roy Oswalt out of the way, Carlos Zambrano rescheduled for September 2 (Al jokingly suggested, after Zambrano's recent bad Augusts, that the Cubs should tell him his start was on September 0), the Cubs still have a good shot at winning this series.


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Would that be his catching hand (presumably?) or his throwing hand? Either way, it seems pretty amazing.
Koyie Hill's B-Ref page says he's a switch-hitter who throws right-handed.

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