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Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers Running Diary

by Eric W. Freeman Jr, BaseballEvolution.com
July 30, 2008

7:07 p.m. - With a total of five fantasy players involved in tonight's game between the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers, I feel pumped about tonight's battle of the top two teams in the National League. Miller Park is dressed like coffee creamer, as a solid half of the stadium sporting Cub blue.

7:08 p.m. - Things start immediately as Alfonso Soriano earns some fantasy points for me with a single to left on his third straight swing.

7:09 p.m. - Ryan "The Riot" Theriot lays down a beautiful sacrifice bunt in front of Manny Parra, the Brewer southpaw, and advances Soriano to second.

7:10 p.m. - Soriano steals third base on Parra's fourth ball to Derrek Lee. Jason Kendall, former Cub, is behind the plate for the Brewers tonight, and his throw down to third is off to the left, allowing Soriano with the base.

7:12 p.m. - Aramis Ramirez steps in with runners on the corners and one man out. As ESPN's Bottomline informs me of Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez's trade to the New York Yankees for Kyle Farnsworth, I read next about Manny Ramirez's tirade about how the Red Sox "don't deserve a player like me ... I love Boston fans, but the Red Sox don't deserve me." Would it be accurate to label Manny Ramirez as baseball's current version of Brett Favre? I mean, Ramirez is one of the greatest ever, and his Sox are 2.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays, of all teams. Not the Yankees, not the Blue Jays, the Rays. Ramirez needs to follow the lead of the league name of my upcoming fantasy football league: "Retire, Shave, and Shut Up." I'm sick of the dreads.

7:13 p.m. - Forgot. Aramis Ramirez strikes out on a nasty slider by Parra.

7:15 p.m. - Parra looks relatively good against the Cub lineup so far. Runners are on the corners with two outs for Reed Johnson, but he's getting a couple of lucky calls from the ump. Lou's already jawing from the dugout, looking much more intense in HD.

7:17 p.m. - On a full count, Parra's slider entices Johnson's swing and a miss, but the ball spits back under the legs of Kendall, running back to retrieve it and fires to first wide of Prince Fielder. Soriano comes in to score as D-Lee makes it to third.

7:19 p.m. - I'm starting to hate Jason Kendall even more, even as his mistakes help my Cubs. He's singlehandedly killing the morale of the Brewers. Mark DeRosa squeaks one to center, scoring D-Lee and advancing Johnson to third. Kosuke Fukudome now steps in, hitting .500 against the Brewers this year, but slumping recently. He proves it by grounding into a fielder's choice at shortstop. 2-0 Cubs as Ryan Dempster (11-4, 2.99 ERA), aka Fantasy Stud at Home (shudder), heads for the hill.

7:24 p.m. - Ray Durham steps in for the Brew Crew, looking old. Really all I can say. He proves me glib by hitting a ground rule double that bounces out to the right of the foul pole in right field. Impressive shot for the grandpa of the Brewer lineup. I mean, he's 36, but it shows worse than Julio Franco.

7:27 p.m. - J.J. Hardy tattoos a sacrifice fly to right advancing Old Man Durham to third with one out.

7:28 p.m. - Ryan Braun. "Emerging superstar," according to ESPN. Tremendous batter's box backline abuser, in clear HD. He's intentionally kicking the chalk, not even trying to hide it.

7:29 p.m. - Ted Barrett, second base umpire, is just on the grass in front of left field. He's further over on the left side than Theriot at shortstop. Now he's symmetrically opposite for Prince Fielder, after Braun strikes out, as the Cubs employ the Bonds shift for His Majesty.

7:30 p.m. - Shift not necessary, as the Prince walks.

7:33 p.m. - Both starting pitchers allow their first run with a wild pitch. On the 0-2 pitch to Corey Hart, Dempster bounces it wide, right past Henry Blanco, owner of freakishly standard barb-wire tattoos on his arms. Durham scores from first, but Dempster gets his second K of the inning on the next pitch. 2-1 Cubs.

7:38 p.m. - The fans are still coming into the stadium as Blanco pops out to right to start the 2nd inning. In other news, Manny Ramirez might be dealt to the Marlins?!?

7:40 p.m. - After Dempster whiffs on a slider for Parra's 3rd K, Soriano slices a two-out single to left-center, right before Theriot singles lightly to right. D-Lee now steps up with my two fantasy Cubs on first and second with two out.

7:42 p.m. - In true Cub style, D-Lee grounds out to short to end the top half.

7:44 p.m. - I still don't really know who in the @#$% Josh Hamilton is. I'm tired of this uplifting story crap coming out of Texas. We all know uplifting stories only come out of Boston (see: Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz).

7:45 p.m. - And another thing. K Zone. If the camera is just off the plate and not directly in line with the plate and the mound, K Zone is not accurate. Period. I don't care about excuses involving computer graphics.

7:45 p.m. - Rick Sutcliffe, in the booth for ESPN, explains Dempster's two glove twists just before he pitches, claiming he's doing the "hidden-ball trick." I think his comment is stupid, right before Dempster strikes out Bill Hall and makes Mike Cameron pop up to him.

7:46 p.m. - I hate Jason Kendall. Even as he grounds out to Theriot for the third out, I can feel the anger pulsing up and down in my veins. Can anyone explain this?

7:51 p.m. - As Aramis Ramirez flies out to right, the ESPN cameras are looking for as many clips as they can, it seems, of older looking gentlemen in Cubs shirts, all sitting next to random cuties in Brewer attire. They're trying to cite the differences in fans in the stadium, as Reed Johnson grounds to second, and it's kinda pissing me off. It's happening a lot, just a little too much: the assumption that Cub fans in Milwaukee look like depressed alcoholics, while cute Brewer fans are looking for someone to "take to the Brewery," wink wink, nudge nudge.

7:53 p.m. - Winks and nudges don't work online. DeRosa walks and Fukudome grounds into a fielder's choice at second to end the top half of the 3rd.

7:57 p.m. - Parra, the Brewer pitcher, "puts a charge" in the Brew crowd by slapping a double over Reed Johnson's head. Old Man Durham follows, after the lovely Erin Andrews's report on chemistry between Durham and sidelined Rickie Weeks, and flies out to center.

8:02 p.m. - After Hardy advances Parra with a grounder to third, forcing Ramirez to barehand it and fire him out, Ryan Braun grounds to short, forcing The Riot to barehand it and fire him out and end the 3rd. Still 2-1, Cubbies.

8:08 p.m. - The trend of camera shots is continuing with Cub drinkers and Milwaukee foxes. It really is a match made in, well, Wisconsin, of all places.

8:09 p.m. - Which reminds me. I may hate Jason Kendall, but at least I haven't lost all respect for him like I have for Brett Favre.

8:13 p.m. - After back-to-back outs, Soriano and Theriot give me fantasy points with back-to-back walks before D-Lee ends the inning, grounding out with my guys on base in back-to-back at-bats.

8:19 p.m. - Dempster 1-2-3's the Brewers to end the 4th.

8:21 p.m. - Parra has won eight straight for the Brewers, with his record coming in at 9-3. Aramis Ramirez's shot hits Parra in the foot, bounces to Bill Hall, who barehands the ball and fires Ramirez out at first.

8:22 p.m. - Rick Sutcliffe's top 5 for the NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum (11-3, 2.78 ERA, 156 K), Edinson Volquez (12-4, 2.77 ERA, 134 K), Brandon Webb (14-4, 3.14 ERA, 124 K), Ryan Dempster (11-4, 2.99 ERA, 120 K) and Carlos Zambrano (12-4, 2.80 ERA, 96 K). My question for you: Name the two pitchers on this list who have the lowest percentage of single victories per team total.

8:24 p.m. - Reed Johnson singles to right.

8:25 p.m. - Answer: the two Cubs. Lincecum has a quarter of the S.F. Giants' 44 victories, Volquez has a little under a quarter for the Reds, and Webb has a little over a quarter of the D'Backs' total wins. The point: while Dempster and Zambrano have both pitched phenomenally for the Cubs this year, there has been more to the team to lead them to the top record in the NL, and voters will see this and unfairly discount the individual performances of Big Z (6'5", 250 lbs.) and Lil' D (6'1", 201 lbs.).

8:26 p.m. - DeRosa whiffs for the 79th time this year. Following him, Fukudome continues his slump with a fly out to Hardy at short.

8:34 p.m. - Jason Kendall makes me hate him by singling to left, makes me laugh at him by getting caught trying to steal second, and makes me do both when Parra slaps his first career triple to left field past Soriano and Johnson. Grandpa Durham gives me peace of mind by grounding out.

8:43 p.m. - Parra's starting to unravel. After pitching scorelessly since the first inning, Parra's got Dempster on second and Soriano on first for The Riot. Nice stat from ESPN: the last Cub to hit .300 after 100 games at shortstop? Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks.

8:45 p.m. - The Riot hooks me up by tripling to right-center, with one of those well-placed slow rollers that just gets past Corey Hart in right. That'll do it for Parra, as he leaves the 6th with 1 out and a 4-1 Cubs lead. To think, Pinella thought about giving The Riot the night off.

8:54 p.m. - Carlos "Village New" Villanueva comes in from the bullpen, strikes out D-Lee and walks A-Ram before Johnson slaps an RBI single into center, scoring The Riot to make it 5-1 Cubs. A Villanueva wild pitch advances the runners to second and third before DeRosa flies out to center. But the damage has been done, 5-1 Cubs.

9:07 p.m. - Dempster slips to the ground during one of his pitches, unintentionally inspiring Lou Piniella to chuckle with a sort of Santa Claus-like roll across his managerial gut. But it's the only highlight of the bottom of the 6th, as ESPN shows a clip of the entire Brew Crew dousing Corey Hart and his daughter with beer upon his selection into the All-Star Game. Dempster induced a flyout to Hardy, a strikeout to Braun, a base hit for Fielder before whiffing All-Star Hart.

9:16 p.m. - Fukudome displays his ultimate strength: pitch-taking. He takes six pitches before lining to short, the ball bouncing off Hardy's knee for an error, ironic after a pre-game montage of the importance of Hardy's glove.

9:17 p.m. - Fukudome runs, Kendall missteps, Fukudome steals second.

9:18 p.m. - With Dempster up, Fukudome's strength shows. After three straight balls to Dempster, Villanueva finally gets two strikes across before Dempster swings and breaks his bat with a foul ball. Dempster whiffs on the seventh pitch. Soriano, next, flies out to right to end the Cub half of the seventh.

9:31 p.m. - With a groundout, a strikeout, and a groundout, Dempster retires the 7th.

9:35 p.m. - New pitcher for the Brewers: David Riske. His first pitch is a single to right for The Riot, his second a deep fly landing foul for D-Lee, and his third a pitchout for Kendall to gun down The Riot at second. It's one thing when Kendall pisses me off doing something stupid and reminding me he was a Cub. It's quite another when he makes me lose fantasy points. After A-Ram walks and Johnson singles to right, DeRosa flies out to center. Dempster's walking out for the 8th.

9:45 p.m. - Dempster walks off. He's done. Final line: 111 pitches, 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, second straight road victory imminent.

9:48 p.m. - Chad Gaudin comes in and 1-2-3's the Brewer half of the 8th, including getting behind on J. J. Hardy 3-0 before three straight strikes ends the inning.

9:53 p.m. - Miller Park is pouring out. As Brian Shouse warms up for the Brewers, The Brewer faithful are done as I get one last shot of alcoholic meets Milwaukee slut. Honestly. I can see her bright pink nails scratching "Wilford Brimley's" goatee as she walks up the stairs, ass hanging out of her three inch shorts while avoiding the puddles of beer on the ground with her stilettos. By the way, this is all in HD. As Kanye West says, "Welcome to the Good Life."

10:00 p.m. - With one out in the 9th, Blanco doubles to deep left, Ronny Cedeno singles pinch-hit style to right and Soriano walks, loading the bases for The Riot and my final chance at fantasy points for the night, unless Salomon Torres comes in for the Brew Crew.

10:06 p.m. - The Riot for the night is 3-3 with a triple, two singles, a walk, two RBI's and a run. After three straight balls, The Riot walks on four straight, scoring Blanco and ending Shouse's night. Guillermo Mota comes in, forces D-Lee into the fielder's choice at third, scoring Cedeno but getting Soriano out. After an A-Ram strikeout, the Cubs go into the bottom of the last, leading 7-1.

10:13 p.m. - So that's what a Prince Fielder home run looks like. He homers off Neal Cotts after the southpaw struck out Ryan Braun. Cotts finishes the game with Hart and Hall flyouts. CUBS WIN!!! CUBS WIN!!! Good night.


Eric W. Freeman Jr. resides in Baton Rouge, LA. You can read his non-baseball commentary on his blog or send him questions and comments at eric@baseballevolution.com.

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