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Monday, September 15, 2008

Pickoff Moves

Things That Happened To The Dodgers

I missed Saturday's win and yesterday's loss in extras, so I don't have a lot to say about them, other than yay, Kershaw (Saturday), and boo, Dodgers' offense (Sunday); nevertheless, the Dodgers shrank their magic number from 14 to 10 over the weekend, and that is what you have to do.

We listened at one point to the Diamondbacks/Reds game on the way to Angel Stadium yesterday, and the sense of resignation in the Arizona broadcasters was pretty thick but understandable: over the last ten, the Dodgers have gone 8-2, the Diamondbacks, 2-8. In the bottom of the eighth, the Snakes got the bases loaded with two outs, and Adam Dunn — predictably — struck out. The ensuing boos were both thunderous and pitiful.

Zambrano's No-No: Cubs 5, Astros 0

Allow me to restate my utter disgust with and contempt for Drayton McLane for the way in which he handled Hurricane Ike's consequences, all of which were wholly foreseeable. First, he tried to get the Cubs to play an early game in Houston on Friday, hunker down on Saturday as the storm hit, and play as usual on Sunday, all without knowing the consequences of the storm. That is, he was completely happy having an away team possibly risk their lives so he could get two home games in. Then, seeing that wasn't happening, he stalled until Atlanta was no longer an option, and finally consented to play in "neutral" Milwaukee, only 90 miles north of Chicago. The Astros arrived only a few hours before the game started, perhaps road-weary, which showed in the ensuing no-hitter.

The boisterous and decidedly pro-Chicago crowd only numbered 23,441 because the Brewers failed to line up enough vendors to staff the upper decks, which went unsold. Zambrano, who had missed a start or two due to shoulder tendinitis, came back in a big way, striking out ten and only allowing a single baserunner, Michael Bourn on a walk. The Houston papers are whining about this result now, but let's be clear here: the blame rests exclusively with Houston ownership.

The game offensively for the Cubs was a rematch of the 4-0 complete game shutout the Astros had at Wrigley, only this time Randy Wolf played the part of the starter unhinged by the elements, if indirectly so. Alfonso Soriano's leadoff homer in the first pointed the way, and by the third, Wolf was gone, getting pelted with extra-base hits that this time found no hard incoming wind to knock them down. As we saw last time, Wolf is hittable, and his stuff isn't good enough to contain a top-flight offense anymore, not without a lot of luck and help.

Finally, I wanted to thumb my nose at the powers that be who decided that Extra Innings can't carry anything while the ESPN Game of the Week or Fox Saturday games are broadcast. The Tigers/White Sox game was mostly a tedious affair, Kenny Rogers showing only that he needs to retire, and while his teammates made a gallant effort at a comeback, the net result was fairly predictable. Meantime, Carlos Zambrano was making history in Milwaukee, and those of us who paid to see it were frustrated at only having Gameday Audio to console us. Bud Selig, take down this wall.

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Roster Notes

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Zambrano also hit a batter. At least according the box score I saw.

One of the two baserunners (not sure which one) was out on a double play.

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