After 1.5: Yeah, even my MLB.Com Gameday says Zambrano’s fifth pitch to Tony Clark was inside, but with Zambrano falling behind 3-0 twice in the first inning, I’ll take what I can get. Control issues are more the issue for the hitting, imo, with Soriano, Lee, and Cliff Floyd taking swinging strikes at the first pitch they saw. When the Cubs have lost lately, it’s with plenty of at-bats like that. As I post, the Cubs just stranded their second runner (DeRosa). And TBS is making Zambrano’s fiery temper the character issue of the game, priming the pump like he could explode at any time. How unfair — punch out your catcher during a game once, threaten fans who boo you just once, and the bastards never let you live it down.
Update, After 3: Whose this FRANK TV guy getting all the promo time? I recognize the Bush and Nicholson impressions, but whose he doing with the white wig and flipped up collar? He can only do three voices? Zambrano, much to the dismay of TBS, is getting his shit together in nice fashion by hitting himself a double and sitting the DBACKS down in the 3rd without anyone getting on the bags. That said, whatever’s calming him down isn’t working on the bats, which remain jumpy and choppy. Ramirez just flew out on the first pitch to open the 4th.
Update, after 4: Zambrano gives up a homer to a .238 hitter? It’s always guys like Stephen Drew (above) that walk off with post-season MVPs. The irony of the Cubs hitting so far is that this is the sort of thing that ends up the game winner …
Update, top of 5: Stephen Drew robs Zambrano of a second line drive! Stephen Drew — worse than Hitler! Somebody had to say it. And no, I won’t take it back. As for the rest of the inning, Reynolds’ wild throw over first proves the Cubs can catch a break, they just don’t know what to do with it.
Update, after 6: This game is coming down to a battle of wills between two men, and they’re both Diamondbacks. Can the Cubs rely on Mark Reynolds’ nervous fielding (who missed that chopper at 3rd that brought a run in) or will Stephen Drew continue to tag Zambrano for hits? The top of the 6th and Webb loading the bases on walks hopefully means the Cub offense is calming down for some run late in the game. Webb looks like he’s wearing down.
Update, Top 7th: A 1-2-3 inning for Webb? Please disregard my previously optimistic hopes for his demise. As for the FRANK TV guy, is that supposed to be Pacino he’s doing when he wears the green suit with black shirt? If “Frank” could imitate a line drive hitter, I’d put him in the line-up right now.
Update, Bottom 7th: And please disregard my overly optimistic comments about Reynolds after his HR off Marmol …
Update, End of 7: What I wouldn’t give for one hit like Ojeda’s with all the Cubs that have been on base tonight. Dbacks lead 3-1. Why exactly did Piniella pull Zambrano at this point? I’m guessing it’s that weird wrist cramp he gets that they can’t figure out yet.
Update, 2 out in the 9th: Despite the goon flashing the Cubs sign behind home plate, Valverde dropped the first two Cubs without much trouble. His walk of a Cub pinch hitter to bring Soriano up hasn’t got me all excited just yet.
FINAL, AZ wins 3-1: And now you know why … Soriano swung at lousy pitches all night, but he’ll loosen up sometime soon (hopefully tomorrow). That’s been the pattern since he came back from his August visit to the DL. Anyway, the Cubs start hitting or that’s it. The Diamondbacks aren’t much better, but slightly better is all they needed to be. Piniella’s gift as a manager this year has been to calm his club down, and that’s what it needs now.