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Thursday, June 05, 2008

In A Year That Has Been So Improbable, The Craptacular Has Happened: Cubs 5, Dodgers 4

A meltdown by the Dodgers' season-long ace, Chad Billingsley, followed by a taunting string of scoreless relief work that led to a game lost by the normally reliable Takashi Saito, ironically enough, felled by his own countryman. Now, it's quite possible that Kosuke Fukudome had some good looks at Saito back in J-ball, but from the perspective of an aching Dodger fan, this game was one of those body blows that nothing can really soothe. Jim EdmondsJim Edmonds, left for dead on the waiver wire scrap heap by the Padres, a team starved for hitting — went 2-for-5, and was hitting .263/.300/.500 going into today's game.

Of course, the flip side of that was Hollywood's stranding three baserunners, one in scoring position when he made the last out of the ninth; in total, the Cubs stranded eleven baserunners, which is why, if the game was frustrating for Dodger fans to watch, it was nearly so for the opposition. Few things so vex a team as to leave ducks on the pond, and the Cubs were doing that by the pallet tonight. Of course, it should also be mentioned that the Cubs lead the NL in OBP, which explains their pitcher-frustrating tendency to clog up the basepaths.

Not that the Cubs made a clean exit. The Cubs got their first four against Billingsley, who gave up a solo shot to Fukudome in the second, the first road homer of his career; and an Aramis Ramirez groundout to short in the third extended the lead to 2-0. Mark DeRosa's solo homer and either miraculous hit (for the Cubs) or poorly placed (for Billingsley) allowed a double to pitcher Ryan Dempster, eventually cashed in on a Ryan Theriot RBI single to make it 4-0.

Then started the Dodgers' slow climb back into things. Blake DeWitt got a one-out double, cashed in by Chin-Lung Hu on an RBI triple, and when Mark Sweeney cashed him in on an RBI single, the Dodgers fairly started to salivate. But no; even despite a passed ball by Geovany Soto (who, according to Charlie Steiner in the radio booth, seems to have an injured left wing), the Dodgers couldn't get traction against Dempster, and Matt Kemp flied out to left to end the threat.

Jeff Kent produced a pair of solo homers in the sixth and eighth innings, but the Dodgers really missed their big chance in the ninth. With Kerry Wood struggling with his command and having already hit pinch-hitter Terry Tiffee, Kemp whiffed with the bases loaded to end the game, and broke his bat on the way into the dugout. He had reason to be mad, having topped the Dodgers in stranding baserunners with four.

I complain loudly that the Dodgers refuse to give the kids adequate playing time; well, here they are, and they're blowing their chances. Not that I disagree with the decision; young players will have these kinds of games, and maybe more frequently than you'd like. Chalk it up to growing pains.

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