(Saito: Disgraced on his own bobble-head night)
Got out to Chavez Ravine for the opening night of the Cubs-Dodgers set-to last night, and I pretty much got to see the 2008 Cubs offer themselves up as advertised: a hitting, decent rotation, weak relief, multi-player contributing, two innings worth of closer ball club. It was Saito bobble-head night, and apparently Cub fans snapping off Saito heads a la voo doo dolls did the trick, since Saito pegged Aramis Ramirez and Fukodome knocked in the run the that put the Cubs ahead for the final, 5-4. Saito’s shaky season makes you wonder what’s going on with him. Is it mental, a lack of HGH, or does seeing his old Japan Central League foes really throw him that bad? Saito v Fukodome was like a scene from Seven Samurai, or at least Godzilla v. Mecha-Godzilla, and like last week at Wrigley, Fokudome won. Cub fans chanting “Fuk-o-do-me” were drowned out by Dodger fans chanting back “fuck-in’ dum-my!” Having finally seen the 2008 Cubs up close, the biggest impression I got confirms Piniella’s decision to keep Wood as his closer. Not because Wood won me over, but because no way could Wood do Marmol’s job. Marmol took over for Ryan Dempster in the 7th, got two crucial outs to close the inning with Dodgers left on base (a situation Bob Howry remedied by allowing the Dodgers to tie in the 8th). Wood opened the 9th, one run ahead, and allowed the first batter to double before loading the bases. I’m impressed watching Wood throw 98-mph heat, but Marmol’s 96s are over the plate. Wood also hit another batter (his 4th in 9th inning appearances?). Keeping control of the game until Wood arrives is what Marmol’s job has to be. Note to Mets Fan Andrew: As to asshole Cub fans I witnessed, there was the guy sitting two rows behind the net at home plate who jumped a row (one row!) to sit in the first row and argued with ushers about it until a security guard was called, as he had displaced an elderly lady who had to hike all the way up to the next level to remove the doofus.
(Ramirez, after Saito tagged him, just before skeptical LA fans roundly booed him for bad acting, no matter how many Get Smart promos they saw)
And finally, the Dodgers need to calm down a bit on having Chin-lung Hu aboard. Last time I visited the Stadium, they nicknamed him “Hu You Gonna Call?”, last night he was intro’d with “Who Let the Dogs Out,” and Vin Scully relishes getting to announce the play, “Hu’s on First!”