From the Cubicle: Cubs-Phillies

Live play-by-play commentary of today's Cubs-Phillies from a guy who's going to miss this site

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I was on a boat last night anchored off the shore Lake Michigan listening to the Allman Brothers Band at Charter One Pavillion. It was a grand time on a beautiful late summer night. The beer was cold, the lake colder.

But I had a feeling like I should be somewhere else. Like when Obi Wan Kenobi feels a great disturbance in the force, except it was just the opposite.

As we sailed south from Belmont Harbor toward the Planetarium, I looked back and could see the bright nimbus over the north side from the lights at Wrigley, calling out to this sailor like the Sirens wail. Not really, but it was a pretty cool sight on a humid night. Little did I know the excitement taking place under that glow.

Not until I got home and turned on the really late SportsCenter did I see Aramis Ramirez's grand slam. Someone had offered me tickets to the game. It was a tough choice but I chose the boat and "In the Memory of Elizabeth Reed." I don't regret it but it would've been nice to witness that moment at Wrigley in what has become a season of moments.

If you haven't heard, this site will be put down like Eight Belles sometime next week. will be deader than Mark Prior's career, but we're not going far, just to and this feature, for one, will be the same. We hope it won't make a difference to you, dear reader, who is the reason we choose sunshine each morning over lying in bed all day with the blinds shut and seasons 1-3 of the "A-Team" on DVD. Well, that and a paycheck.

Today we've got Rich Harden for the Cubs and Joe Blanton for the Phillies. It's all right here for you in the lineups.

They ought to get Wayne Messmer a new microphone because the one he's got now doesn't work. But he's sure singing away, oblivious to the sound glitch. Maybe it was just Comcast didn't have the sound. Anyway, we'll be off shortly. I probably should put the comment board up. Sorry about that. I'm off to a great start!

First inning

It's 80 degrees out with a 9 mph swirling wind, out of the north right now. In other words, it's damn nice out. Jimmy Rollins taps the first pitch right back to Harden, who steps on first himself. Shane Victorino pops out to Ryan Theriot in shallow center. Harden plunks Chase Utley right in the upper backside. That brings up Ryan Howard with a guy on and he works the count full. Harden just misses off the inside corner and walks Howard. Full count to Pat Burrell, too. Runners on the move and and he pokes a single through the hole on the left side to score Utley. First and second for Jayson Werth. Harden fans Werth with a changeup. He got two quick outs and then struggled a bit there.

Phillies 1, Cubs 0

To clarify: I had committed to the concert before the tickets became available. To make matters worse, I haven't been to a single Cubs game this season. Probably should get on that. And everyone ripping on me for it, including Gregg Allman, well, I agree with you. Sometimes in life you reach a fork in the road. Sometimes you pick the wrong road and end up tied to the whipping post. Big, ol' Joe Blanton gets two quick strikes on Alfonso Soriano before walking him. Theriot flies out to center. With Derrek Lee up, Soriano takes off for second and the pitch goes off the catcher's glove and to the backstop. Needless to say, Soriano was safe at second. Lee drives it deep to right but Werth runs it down on the track. Soriano tags and takes third. On another day, that ball might've gotten out. Aramis Ramirez gets a big hand as he walks to the plate. Ramirez bounces back to the pitcher to end the first.

Phillies 1, Cubs 0

Second inning

The comments section is in fine form today, I must say. And, no, Little Martha, Melissa, Liz Reed and Jessica were not on the boat. Sadly. Comcast just showed how the instant replay system would work at Wrigley and it's a real meeting of the old and new. The monitor is in this wood paneled broom closet that doubles for the umpires' room. There's a little wooden box with a brass latch on the wall that you would think contain a bunch of fake passports and a few grand in cash but inside that is a flat screen monitor. Greg Dobbs flies out to right. Harden walks the catcher Ruiz. Blanton bunts him along to second with a sacrifice. Harden walks Rollins. Is this the first time we've seen Harden struggle in his nine starts with the Cubs? Victorino takes a called third strike.

To those wondering about Harden's control -- or lack there of --he's pretty wild. He's thrown 48 pitches already, only 27 strikes, and it's not like he's just missing the plate. Emonds rolls out to Utley. DeRosa pops one down the right-field line. Werth gives chase but gets a little gun shy near the brick wall and misses it. Blanton then throws one up and kinda in and DeRosa hits the dirt. Blanton then freezes DeRosa with a nasty slider for a called third strike. Set him up with the ol' fastball near the noggin and then got him on a slider away. Fukudome flies out to left and the Cubs go down in order in the second.

Phillies 1, Cubs 0

Third inning

Harden fans Utley to start the third. Howard pops up a full-count pitch and Edmonds takes it in shallow center. Harden quickly gets ahead of Burrell 0-2 and then fans him on the next pitch. Harden settles down and has no problem with the heart of the Phillies' order in the third.





Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
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