48 hours ago the Dodgers had a 3 1/2 game lead on the Rockies and the noose seemed to be tightening as they all of a sudden seemed unable to win the close games. Rockie fans were getting full of themselves expecting the Cubs to take a few games from the Dodgers while they worked over the Giants during the weekend.
On Thursday Night the offense was sputtering and looked to be wasting a decent performance from Jeff Weaver. With 2nd/3rd the Cubbies perhaps harking back to last October decided to walk James Loney and put the game in Russell Martin's hands. Martin has been less then stellar this year, taking plenty of flack from yours truly. With the game on the line Russell Martin smoked his first grand slam of the year and literally lifted the monkee off of his, and the Dodgers back.
With the win the Dodgers made sure the Rockies would get no closer then 3 1/2 games. One night later, Randy Wolf continued his dream season with a one hitter while the confident Rockies lost not only the game against the Giants but a key member of their rotation, when Cook left with shoulder problems. When Rockie fans woke up Saturday they were not as cocky as they had been on Wednesday Night.
With a 4 1/2 game lead the Dodgers handed the ball to Charlie Haeger to dispatch the Cubs on National TV. Haeger prooved upto the task with seven fluttery innings of dynamite pitching to give the Dodgers a 2 - 0 lead when he left the game.
Sam Fuld tried to keep the Cubs in the game with an excellent catch in LCF taking an XBH away from Loretta and then a sensational catch to rob Ausmus of a XBH. To catch Aumus's drive, he ran toward the Dodger bullpen gate, fully extended on the warning track and bounced his face into the gate after his knee made contact with the warning track. It was one hell of a play.
So with Fuld tracking down all the balls in the field of play Matt Kemp took things into his own hands and drove a Lilly pitch 449 into or over the Dodger bullpen in the 2nd. One of longer blasts you will ever see at Dodger Stadium. Blake then launched his own home run in the 4th just beyond the reach of Fuld giving the Dodgers a 2 - 0 lead.
Haeger came out to start the 8th with a 2 - 0 lead while Broxton backed him up in the bullpen. When Fuld reached base, Joe Torre went to Iron Man Broxton to hold the lead. Broxton made short work of Milton who has looked lost this series bringing up Lee. When Lee hit a deep fly ball to Kemp it looked like Jon had done his job but bad luck continues to follow him around as Kemp lost the ball in the sunlight and it landed right next to him. Counts as a double but it was a Kemp mistake that put Broxton into deep trouble. With the dangerous Aramis Ramirez up the game was on the line. Aramis then smacked a line drive right at Loretta evening the luck quotient. Fukodome stepped up and good luck again intervened when a passed ball struck the umpire keeping the ball from going to the backstop. The crowd was on there feet with the count 2 - 2. Just low for ball 3. Full Count, 2nd and 3rd, two outs, 2 - 0 Dodgers. Big time pitch coming up. What a game. 91 MPH SLIDER FOR STRIKE THREEEEEEEEEEEEEE
I can't cheer in the press box but I can cheer in my writing. That was a shutup pitch by Broxton if there ever was one. Broxton can be my man any time.
In the bottom of the 8th, Loretta got a pathetic infield single, was bunted to 2nd, and then for the first time since 2007 stole a base. Cubs then walked Abreu putting runners on 1st and 3rd with only one out but Rafy failed to capitalize with an infield fly for the 2nd out. Juan Pierre worked a full count and then was called out on a terrible call by the home umpire. The ball was clearly inside.
So Mr. Sherrill went to the mound trying to earn his first save. While Broxton struggled, many had asked for Sherrill to be given a chance for some save opportunities. They got what they wanted. How would it work out? As Sherrill faced the first batter the Dodger bullpen had not allowed an earned run in their last 14 innings. Could they make it 15? Sherrill worked the count full before dispatching Baker for the 1st out. The disapointing Soto was next in line to face Sherrill. Soto whistled a single through the box bringing up the tying run in the person of Jake Fox the wonderkid from the PCL where he had an OPS over 1.300 before the Cubs brought him up. He hadn't stopped hitting in the majors with an OPS of .862. Sherrill was unimpressed with Fox and and struck him out on four pitches. Soriano was now the tying run and the possible last out. Ball one, Ball twoStrike one, 75 MPH curve for strike two. 89 MPH fastball for strike two. Crowd on it's feet. Foul back.Ball Three, Just foul. 7 pitches no result. Full Count. Foul-eight pitches. Ball four on pitch nine. Two on Two out, Ryan Theriot pinch hitting. We warned you, this was how Sherrill got his saves. Rarely did he go 1 - 2 - 3. Ball one, Strike one, Strike two, (Belisario gets up), Time out, everyone breathes, Theriot steps back in, ball two. 2 - 2, 2 on, 2 out, dare I say Dueces Wild? Foul, everything stays the same, Full count, crowd is getting restless (sound familiar?).
BALLGAME BABY - Five game lead as the Giants attempt to take the Rockies down another peg
Cubs hit .152 (14/92) so far in the three games against the Cubs
On Haeger - He's been great, his knuckle was better today then it was the other day that is why he was was a bit wilder. I'm sure we are going to see him out there again, it's doubtful it will be in Colorado.
On Matt Kemp's Home Run - He killed that ball didn't he? Obviously we need everything - his home run, Blake's home run. The thing that is good about winning close games is it is a little reminiscent of how it was early on, we are playing well in situations where we don't have much wiggle room.
On Broxton - not an exact quote but he said that it is all about winning and that Honeycut talked to Broxton early on about how this might happen depending on the matchups. He used Broxton because he wanted Broxton to face the tough RH middle of the lineup.
Being in the press box was interesting today. I sat next to the statistician for Fox who spent the whole game providing a plethora of information to the Fox booth. Just about everything you may have heard Karros regurgitate orginated from the man beside me. He was to busy to talk during the game but we just finished a nice conversation. Nice gig and he never used a notebook for his data the whole time. Sometimes the perks make up for not being able to cheer.
I'm still undefeated in the press moving my record to 4 - 0.