I finally made it to a Cubs game this year.
Scratch that - I finally made it to a baseball game. This is probably the latest I've ever gone into the season without having gone to a White Sox, Windy City Thunderbolts, Joliet Slammers, University of St. Francis Fighting Saints or even a Little League game. The time just has not been there for me in 2015.
But, my friend called me up last night an hour and a half before first pitch and offered up a free ticket; opportunity was a-knockin'. I will almost never say no to a free ticket to just about anything - especially if it's to a Cubs game.
Oh and what a stinker it was. The Cubs were creamed 7-2 and it really never felt like they were in the game to begin with. This was largely due to the fact that D.J. LeMahieu has taken it upon himself to punish the franchise for trading him for the lowly Ian Stewart.
All he did was go 3-4 with a double, a triple, a walk and a HBP... overall, this series, the All-Star has gone 6-8 with 3 XBH and 3 RBI. The guy is a one man wrecking crew right now.
Oh well, at least it gives me an excuse to show off this serial numbered Topps 100 refractor of D.J. from 2009 Bowman Chrome. Who doesn't love a nice, shiny card?
Meanwhile, as for the rest of the game. We got there a little late because of late notice and a lack of quality parking options near the stadium (no one wants to listen to me) and got there in the second inning. Couldn't have missed much, right?
Wrong! It was already 4-1 Rockies and Cubs' starter Dallas Beeler was removed from the game before I even made it off of the concourse. That did not bode well for this offensively challenged squad.
It also does not bode well for Dallas Beeler, who I'd say his days as a Cub are numbered. This is his second straight clunker and even if the Cubs don't bring in a Matt Latos or a Mike Leake at the deadline will probably get bumped by Tsuyoshi Wada.
I wouldn't be surprised if he gets DFA'ed in the off-season either - he has not show that he's worthy of a 40-man roster spot this year and there are more interesting prsopects who will need Rule 5 protection.
Sadly, while I was spared Dallas' performance, I also missed these two put together a run in the bottom of the first, briefly making it seem like the Cubs wouldn't roll over and die.
Kyle Schwarber continued to look like a a seasoned veteran at the plate and drew a walk. After Kris Bryant drew another walk, Jorge drove a single into right field to plate Schwarbs and it looked like the Cubs had Rockies' starter Yohan Flande on the ropes.
But, of course, that would be the last of the scoring for a while.
Travis Wood was taking his warm up tosses on the mound when I finally made it to my seat. Coincidentally, Travis actually started the last Cubs game I went to - Father's Day 2014 in Philadelphia when I was on vacation. All he did then was go 8 shutout innings, carrying a no-hitter late into the contest.
This time, Travis pitched rather well again - considering this was an emergency move. He went 3.2 innings and gave up one run; it felt like he was in control the whole time and the only mistake he made was leaving one up for D.J. LeMahieu to drive into left-center for a triple.
D.J. later scored on a ground out to Rizzo at first base.
Perhaps Travis should be re-considered for the fifth spot in the rotation if the Cubs don't bring in another arm at the deadline? He may have looked awful in that role early in the season; but, he sure has looked good coming out of the bullpen lately.
While Travis pitched well, so to did Flande. Well, rather, he wasn't giving up any runs; but, the Cubs sure had their chances, stranding 7 runners throughout the game. With the steamy temps and his high pitch count, Flande was pulled after the fifth and replaced with former Cub Gonzalez Germen.
With as poorly as the man with a backwards name pitched for the Cubs earlier this season, I actually felt kinda good about their chances to come back.
For a minute, it looked like the Cubs might just seize that chance.
Chris Coghlan drove a solo home run to right and the Cubbies put two men on with one out in the sixth. But a fielder's choice by Schwarber and an acrobatic, run-saving snare of a line drive by Daniel Descalso (who got the start at short in place of the just-dealt Troy Tulowitzki) off the bat of Kris Bryant ended the threatwith the Cubs still trailing 5-2.
This was the last dollop of hope to be experienced.
Rafael Soriano came into the game at this point and proceeded to implode.
Soriano gave up 3 hits and 2 runs in his only inning of work and his velocity continued to not impress. This was his third straight appearance allowing a run and one has to wonder if this experiment might just end sooner than expected.
Raffy looks like the Raffy of the second half of 2014 - in other words, done.
From here, the most interesting thing to happen the rest of the game involved this guy:
No - don't worry, he's not back with the Cubs or anything. Actually, I noticed a guy walk past me sporting an authentic #8 Mike Quade jersey on the concourse. I wish I had my camera ready to go because I know that must be hard for you all to believe.
If I didn't know any better, I would have assumed that that was, in fact, Mike Quade himself - after all, who in their right mind would have ever thought that was a good purchase? That said, Quade is managing in the Twins chain this year; plus, this guy had hair too.
The Cubs did absolutely nothing for the rest of the game and this one went into the books as a 7-2 loss. Hopefully, I can make it back to Wrigley again this year and not have that be my lasting, first-hand impression of the 2015 squad,
Well, despite that lackluster performance, the Cubs still have a chance to win the series today. Jon Lester will oppose Eddie Butler; so, I like their chances, based on that pitching match-up.
That is, if they could just get that damn D.J. LeMahieu to roll-over on a pitch or two.