It was a tough night for a dugout Gatorade cooler. They got roughed up harder than the Pirates' bullpen.
Carlos Zambrano, Craig Hansen and a bunch of his Pittsburgh teammates all took turns beating the high fructose corn syrup out of one of the big orange plastic barrels.
What did they ever do but keep water and the official sports drink of Major League Baseball cold? Nothing. They're loyal, defenseless servants doing a thankless job. Go pick on something else for a change. Why can't teams just hang a heavy bag in the dugout so players could take a swing at that, kick it with roundhouse and even use it for bayonet practice if they feel the urge. Just leave the coolers alone already. They've suffered enough. They're not the ones who can't keep the ball down in the strike zone.
Hello, all. Yes, I'm back to chronicle Jason Marquis' every move, not to mention every start. Last we saw our Staten Island hero he pitched well against the Nationals only to sit and watch the bullpen blow it (remember Willie Harris' grand slam? Neither do I).
For the Buccos it's Zach Duke. Or as I would hope he's called him in his hometown of Clifton, Texas: Zach Tom Duke. Either way, great name, mediocre pitcher, who's had his moments against the Cubs. This is his fifth start against the Cubs this season, which is evidence enough that the unbalanced schedule must go.
Just to be clear: Alfonso Soriano doesn't see the ball well in the PNC Park outfield, the Pittsburgh Parrot, for my money, is the finest mascot in the biz not named Youppi, and did everyone else hear those eighth-inning screech owls/Cubs fans perched somewhere way too close to a microphone? "Go Cubbieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees! Go Cubieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees!'" And on it went. I'm not sure if they were children, high-talking escaped lunatics or members of the Lollipop Guild. Whatever they were, somewhere in Denver, Barack Obama could only laugh.
Geovany Soto, great game last night. He sits today on getaway day. Here are your lineups.
Brunchtime baseball soon as we all get inverted on our Teeter Hang Ups.
And we're off. Man, 11:37 a.m. snuck up on me quickly. It's gray and hopefully not rainy in Pittsburgh. Let's see if we can get more posts in the comment section than people in the stands. I guess they're testing out the replay system in this game. That should be fun. Alfonso Soriano bangs a double high off the right-field wall. Ryan Theriot moves him along to third with a ground out ot he right side. Derrek Lee grounds out to short and Soriano has to stay put. Aramis Ramirez hits it right at the first-baseman for the final out and Soriano's leadoff double is wasted, man.
Nyjer Morgan takes a called third strike -- eventually after an lenghty at-bat. Jack Wilson bounes one past Ramirez, Soriano boots it in left and Wilson hustles into second on the error. So Soriano cannot catch a routine flyball or pick up a ball off the grass that had rolled to a complete stop. Nate McLouth moves Wilson along with a flyball to right. Mark DeRosa took his time getting rid of the ball and Wilson ran all over him. Adam LaRoche grounds out to Lee, who flips to Marquis covering first and like Soriano before him, Wilson is stranded at third.
I never wrote the Cubs should have kept Sean Gallagher, I'd like to know where the person on the message board read that. That's ridiculous. Reed Johnson grounds out to third. DeRosa flies out to center and Ronny Cedeno bounces out to end the top half of the second.
Brandon Moss flies out to Soriano in deep left. Freddy Sanchez grounds out to Lee. Yes, Nitwit, Harden was part of that trade. Great trade getting Harden for a bad pitcher. All I said was to the people who were saying Gaudin was a real steal in the trade, well, how's that working out for you? Got it? I doubt it, but we're moving on. Marquis fans Andy LaRoche.
OK, I apologize for the crankiness and for editing that nitwit part. Anyway, Henry Blanco, who's got some big shoes to fill today, digs in to start the third. Blanco flies out to center. Marquis strikes out. Soriano lines a single to left. With Theriot at the plate, Duke picks off Soriano.
And apparently Jay Mariotti is not longer at the Sun-Times. Huh. Anyone else hear this? Raul Chavez fouls off a few Marquis pitches before singling to center. The worst part of the Mariotti news is that he's still on that horrible ESPN show. I also heard last night that Mariotti's security badge was rejected when he tried to enter the building, which was also mentioned on Deadspin this morning. Anyone else hear any other details about anything? Duke bunts, Blanco pounces and throws a strike to second to get the lead runner. Nyjer Morgan grounds a single through the hole on the right side. Wilson flies out to center. Duke does not tag. McLouth pops out to Theriot, stranding the two runners.
Yeah, well, the sarcasm did not translate well. I heard about Mariotti last night. While I hadn't read one of his columns in about 10 years, I thought he served a real purpose in this town. He was so negative and disliked it was almost unbelievable, like the heel from an old movie. Or the Robert Duvall's character in "The Natural," except without those cartoons. Theriot gets a fresh count to lead off the inning and lines a double to the left-field corner. Lee grounds out to third. Ramirez hits a grounder to short that goes through Theriot's legs. Wilson fires to third and cuts down Theriot. Not sure why he was running there. So you've got Soriano picked off first, Theriot trying to advance to third on a grounder to short, Soriano booting a ball in left, DeRosa taking his time in right, did I miss anything? Johnson pops out to first to end the Cubs' half of the fourth.
Adam LaRoche bounces one by Lee, but Cedeno is there to field it on the right-field grass and throw out the runner. Brandon Moss grounds out to Cedeno on a more routine play. How about Lou Piniella chewing out Cedeno last night for bunting to the first baseman? Sanchez lines one to right where DeRosa dives but misses it. The ball rolls to the wall and Sanchez ends up on third. Andy LaRoche flies out to center.
Can't touch Zach Duke and Jason Marquis
I should point out that triple by Sanchez was slicing towards the line. DeRosa didn't really misplay it; he just had a go at a dive and the ball and just missed it. Anyway, here's DeRosa, all the ladies love him, and he lines a single to center. Cedeno chases a pitch in the dirt for strike three. Blanco does the same thing and that brings up Marquis with two outs and a runner on first. Marquis reaches out and lines a single to right; DeRosa slides head-first into third. Soriano sends it deep to left, but Moss is there on the track to make a basket catch. I thought it had a chance. Len Kasper says the wind knocked it down. Three outs.
Chavez reaches on a leadoff single. Duke shows bunt. This time he gets the job done with a perfect sacrifice bunt. Breaking news alert: Mark Kotsay traded to the Red Sox. Morgan strikes out. Wilson bounces out to Theriot. Moving right along to the sixth inning of this scoreless game.
All tied up at nothing apiece
Duke strikes out Theriot. Sanchez makes a nice back-handed play on a Lee bouncer up the middle. Ramirez taps one back to Duke, who keeps on going and steps on first himself to complete an easy 1-2-3 inning.
McLouth flies deep to center but Johnson makes a sweet running catch at the edge of the track. Adam LaRoche flies to left-center, Johnson tells Soriano to get away and takes it himself. Moss grounds out to second. Goodness. Both these pitchers are cruising.
A good, old-fashioned pitchers duel
Someone needs to score before the much talked about rain shows up. Well, I guess they don't, but it would be nice. Johnson reaches on a perfectly placed bunt that dies in the grass down the third-base line. DeRosa doubles to left and the Cubs quickly have runners at second and third with no outs. Cedeno lays down a swinging bunt towards third. Johnson was off on contact and scores the game's first run; Cedeno out at first; DeRosa to third. Here's Blanco. Squeeze play! Blanco pops the bunt up, but it somehow falls in fair ground towards first and DeRosa scores. Blanco was out on the play and Brenly says he thinks DeRosa left too early but the Pirates failed to pick it up. Regardless, there's two runs for ya'. Marquis takes a called third strike but the Cubs get two runs on two bunts, a swinging bunt and a soft double to left.
Cubs 2, Pirates 0
Love the squeeze play. Now the question is whether Marquis has enough in the tank to get through the seventh. He's been cruising along, throwing 89 pitches and scattering five hits. Sanchez grounds out to Theriot. Two pitches for one out there, which always helps. Andy LaRoche swings at the first pitch and grounds out to third. Chavez bounces out to second. So much for worrying about the pitch count. That was a six-pitch inning.
Cubs 2, Pirates 0
Duke's still in there, Soriano's at the plate and Carlos Marmol warms in the Cubs' pen. Soriano swings at a ball in the dirt for strike three. Theriot bounces back to Duke for the second out. Lee walks and then takes second on a wild pitch to Ramirez. Ramirez walks. Johnson flies out to center.
OK, and when I write that Bob Brenly says he thinks DeRosa left too early on the squeeze play he means he thinks he left too early, meaning he could've tipped off the play to the Pirates. But being the Pirates they didn't pick up on it. Had Duke noticed, he could've either a.) thrown over to third to pick off DeRosa, which is a little tough because Duke's a lefty and his back's to the play or b.) throw a pitch high in the zone that Blanco couldn't lay down. DeRosa would've been hung out to dry in either situation. Got it? Marmol on to pitch the eighth. Doug Mientkiewicz hits for Duke, works the count full and then draws a leadoff walk. Morgan pops up a bunt right to Ramirez. Marmol strikes out Wilson and I apologize to the half-a-brain crew for insulting your intelligence. McLouth, who's hitting like .800 for his career off Marmol, fouls off a pitch and then takes a fastball for a called third strike. Make that .795. We move to the ninth.
Cubs 2, Pirates 0
Jesse Chavez trots to the mound to make his Major League debut and form the all-Chavez battery. DeRosa hits Chavez's first big-league pitch right at Morgan in right. Kosuke Fukudome hits for Cedeno. Fukudome grounds out. Kerry Wood is up and throwing. Blanco, the game's hero with that lob-wedge, flop-shot bunt on the squeeze play in the seventh, works the count full and then strikes out.
Here's Wood looking for his 27th save; he'll face Adam LaRoche, Moss and Sanchez. Fukudome stays in to play right; DeRosa takes over at second for Cedeno. "We Will Rock You" rings out in a quarter-full PNC Park as the older LaRoche brother takes two strikes and falls behind 0-2. LaRoche swings and misses at a high fastball for the first out. Wood drops in a few of those sliders on Moss, who can just stare at them and then find a seat on the bench. Two outs. Sanchez hits a one-hop shot right at Theriot. He knocks it down but has plenty of time to recover and throw out the runner to end the game.
Final: Cubs 2, Pirates 0
Marquis earns his ninth win of the year in a nice, snappy performance. Two runs hold up against a not-so-good Pirates team that the Cubs sweep. Next up: Philadelphia at Wrigley. Thanks for reading, everyone. See you Friday.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun