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Running Diary: Cubs blitz Cardinals in London in game one
The Cubs flew 4,000 miles to kick the Cardinals in the ass.
A running diary of game one of the two-game London Series between the Cubs and Cardinals.
People foolishly risked their lives crossing the Atlantic to visit the rusted hull of a once iconic treasure. Huh, no, not the morons who tried to visit the Titanic wreckage in a homemade submarine piloted with an offbrand Xbox controller. I meant Cardinals fans who went to London to see their shitheap of a last place team.
Look at what a kiss ass Nick Madrigal is. Here he is walking out with David Ross before the game. Get in line like everybody else, Nick!
Game one of the two game series is on Fox, so we get the always excited and yelling JOE DAVIS! and the man who seems to hate everything about the game that made him a Hall of Famer, John Smoltz.
After a horrible opening skit from a fake London pub (think every '“Ted Lasso” scene in the pub only six times worse), Joe and Jon appear on screen to tell us that even though the Cubs and Cardinals both suck this year, they are playing their best baseball right now.
Well, the Cubs have won 10 of 13, so that part tracks. The “red hot” Cardinals are 4-7 over their last 11 games.
Joe gives the lineups and says Mike Tauchman has “been a revelation” since the Cubs called him up from triple A. Tauchman has played well. Really well, in fact, for a guy who can’t run or hit the ball hard.
Longtime Cardinals a-hole Adam Wainwright is pitching. Davis says “Wainwright” translates to "wagon maker.” It’s English. Why isn’t his name Wagonmaker?
Both teams are wearing home uniforms, just like the Red Sox and Dodgers did three years ago. The Cardinals aren’t wearing their overrated home whites, though. They are wearing their also overrated cream uniforms with the red piping on the front.
The Cubs have completely fucked up their only good uniform—the iconic home pinstripes. In another Garbage Family™ cash grab they have added an Advocate Health Care patch, to one sleeve, and because MLB has a patch for this series there’s no room for the regular crawling bear logo, so they just left it off. Thanks a lot.
Ken Rosenrose asks Nolan Arenado how the field is playing. Nolan says the turf infield is bouncy, but the “dirt is phenomenal.” Of course it is. Most of England’s tourism revolves around “come see our phenomenal dirt.”
Justin Steele is pitching for the Cubs. He’s been trying to grow a beard and it’s not going very well. He looks like American Teen Werewolf in London.
Like Wagonmaker, Steele retires the side in the first with two strikeouts.
At one point Smoltz clearly forgot the name of the Cubs manager, and referred to him as “Cubs manager.” Clearly David Ross made a huge impression on Smoltz during their years together in Atlanta.
Happ smokes one to center for a homer. He now has five more homers in the US than in England this year.
Arenado makes a barehanded attempt on a slow roller from Christopher Morel and the throw is offline, but Davis gushes about it anyway. I think Nolan could shove a ball down his pants and crap it out in foul territory while a runner circled the bases and the announcers would say it was an amazing play.
Nick Madrigal gives the Cubs a two run lead when he singles in Morel from third on a 74 MPH rocket to center.
Before the game, Cubs President of Business Shithousery Crane Kenney announced the exciting development of a stand alone streaming service for Marquee. First off, shouldn’t the focus be on improving the subpar content on Marquee? Secondly, this isn’t any kind of game changer. The streaming service will only be available out of market, and those fans can already watch games on MLB.tv or Extra Innings. So the only new thing they’re getting with this new service is the non-game programming on Marquee, and it’s so bad that nobody with Marquee watches any of it anyway.
Jordan Walker is back up with the Cardinals and the rookie has played much better in his return, but you cannot convince me that Jordan isn’t 37 years old. That would make him the second oldest rookie in Cardinals’ history, just behind Albert Pujols in 2001.
Seriously, look at this old motherfucker.
Nico Hoerner makes a very nice play on a grounder by Lars Nootbaar to end the second, (I’m sure Boog is upset he’s not there to tell his ponderous story about Nootbaar’s Instagram following going up during the World Baseball Classic for the 74th time).
Joe asks John if he watches “Ted Lasso” and John says he’s too busy golfing. Joe tells John he’d love it. Would he? He hates everything. But I guess “Ted Lasso” is overrated enough to appeal to John. Just like Fred McGriff.
Happ crushes a second homer off of Wagonmaker. Smoltz says, “You never know why this happens, when a player just sees everything well off a pitcher.” Well, Wagonmaker is old and sucks. He had a 5.51 ERA coming in. Is this really unexpected?
How about this, Happ has homered six times in his career off of Wagonmaker, in just 34 at bats. Every time he’s homered off of Wagonmaker he’s done it twice in that game. Impressive.
Smoltz talks about the year that Happ lead off the season with a homer on Opening Day on the first pitch of the season and then got sent down to triple A.
That didn’t happen. Happ led off the 2018 season with that homer. He spent half of 2019 in the minors. Nice research though, ace.
As Wagonmaker struggles, Smoltz blames it on Yadier Molina not being there this year. (Insert the wanking gif of your choice here, gang.) Wagonmaker had a good season last year and Yadi barely caught 70 games and fucked off to Puerto Rico for two weeks while his basketball team was in the playoffs. So, no.
Morel drives in a run to make it 4-0. Smoltz blames the Cardinals bad start on the fact that “their roster was decimated by the World Baseball Classic?” Heh? The Cubs’ Marcus Stroman pitched in the WBC and credits it with his great start to the season. “Decimated?” Gee, what a tough break that a bunch of their players played in highly competitive games in March instead of picking their ass in the Grapefruit League trying to stay awake in the outfield during a 7-1 win over the split squad Marlins.
Gomes singles to score Cody Bellinger and make it 5-0, but Morel is thrown out wandering between second and third to end the inning. Cubs base running never fails to impress.
Joe tells us that Cardinals fat guy Brendan Donovan was born in Germany. Which is…something I guess. Just like France, Luxembourg, Brazil, the United States and Australia, Germany is a country that isn’t England.
Madrigal doubles over Dylan Carlson in right field. It’s the first time he’s hit a ball over an outfielder all season. Literally. Smoltz says Carlson wasn’t “respecting Madrigal’s power to right field.” Yeah, because there is none. He’s literally the only guy to get burned by that all year.
Tauchman bounces a ball over the wall in left for an automatic double, or as they call it in England an automatic double. The ball is really carrying in this tiny park. When Madrigal and Tauchman both threaten the warning track, something’s amiss.
That’s it for Wagonmaker. The 11 hits he gave up in just three innings is the most he’s allowed in his career. Good. Screw that guy.
Smoltz with some really deep thinking here. “I maintain that the team that adapts to this event faster will enjoy it more and be more successful.”
Yeah, no shit.
People really used to think he was good at this?
Seiya hits a slow roller to third and Arenado throws home late. Just like you’d expect, Smoltz says Nolan “did everything right.” His throw was way on the first base side of the plate and by the time Willson could catch it and lunge to the plate Tauchman had beaten it. Tauchman is, despite playing center, one of the slowest Cubs on the team. He’s not Trey Mancini the third or Fucker Barnyard, but he’s closer to those two than he is to most of the other guys.
Madrigal fields a grounder from Paul Goldschmidt and runs like 15 feet towards first to get into range to make the throw. He had plenty of time with Goldschmidt running, but I still can’t believe people think he can really play that position.
Steele cruises through the fourth, and has yet to allow a hit.
Kyle Hendricks nearly no-hit the Giants in the Cubs’ last game on Fox, so it seems like one hit allowed in 12 innings by starters in those games so far is pretty good.
Rosenrose says that the Cubs are in the best position in the Central because unlike the red hot Reds they can pitch. He’s not wrong. But when asked if the Cubs will be buyers, he says enthusiastically “They HAVE to be!”
If only that were true, Kenny. First, they still have flaws big enough to drive a truck through so they could crater in July and make this all moot. But more likely they’ll play OK and be in it and I’m sure they will add player or two. But more on the 2015 level where they added Dan Haren and Tommy Hunter, instead of adding real players.
The Cubs continue to bludgeon Cardinals pitching and Smoltz is still prattling on about how the Cardinals are in it. I don’t want to be a skeptic, but it sure seems like Smoltz had already decided to talk about how the Cardinals were poised to go on a run and given all this evidence in front of him that they suck he’s just not going to change his mind. I mean, he said they were coming in hot at 4-7!
The Cardinals first hit is a ball hit pretty hard by Jordan Walker about eight feet to Madrigal’s left. Little Nick took four steps to the ball and was still two steps short. A real third baseman still needs to be on the top of the Cubs’ shopping list.
Joe says Ross told them that Seiya has a case of “performance jealousy.”
I know two guys who have pills for that!
Joe reads a promo for the All-Star Game and says Shohei Ohtani will be there. Woah, woah, woah. Do we really know that Joe? Come in off that limb.
Orlando Arcia is currently the leading vote getter at shortstop for the NL. The Barves chose to let Dansby leave and replaced him with a mediocre veteran and Arcia’s OPS+ (131) is 28 points higher than Dansby’s.
A ball gets by Madrigal to his right even though he was playing on the line. I doubt he could make the throw…he can’t make many…but it gives Tommy Edman a double, and he scores on a Goldschmidt single. Then Arenado hits one past Madrigal to his left for another single.
Steele is at 79 pitches as he strikes out Willson for the first out of the sixth. It’s only his second start back from his dreaded forearm tightness, so the leash needs to be really short here.
Steele strikes out Walker, and Joe says the Cubs have been trying to develop pitching for a long time and finally have a home grown top of the rotation starter, “albeit one they drafted NINE years ago.” I laughed because I was sure that was wrong.
It’s not. They picked Steele in 2014. Yikes.
But it was worth the wait. He strikes out Carlson to end the inning with the Cubs up 7-1.
Jake Woodford is in to pitch for the Cardinals. Smoltz talks about how good he is and then says, “His ERA is a little bit high.” Yeah, it’s 5.67. It’s even worse than Wagonmaker’s was to start the game. Not now, though. After the Cubs pummeled him, Wagonmaker’s ERA is a cool 6.56.
Trey Mancini the third pinch hits for Cody Bellinger and…this has to be bad. Unless he’s hurt, there’s no way you take Cody out and put in a guy who can’t hit and who plays first so terribly that he literally almost killed Mark Leiter Jr. on Wednesday.
Julian Merryweather takes over in the seventh. I hope Joe tells us how he got his nickname!
Joe and John are impressed that the Cubs team and families had a reception on Friday at Westminster Abbey. “They got a guy,” John says. “Mr. Ricketts.” Well, sure I mean Tom and his siblings must feel at home with royalty. Like the Windsors they didn’t do anything to earn their money, they’re mostly inbred and no matter how often they fail they can never be forced to abdicate.
Fox shows Bill Murray at the game and he’s sitting next to Lori Lightfoot. And you thought Bill wouldn’t pay for all of those harassment accusations about him on movie sets.
Merryweather gets a double play grounder to get out of the seventh.
When Fox returns for the bottom of the eighth (where Michael Fulmer is in to pitch the Cardinals into the game) they show a little package of Cubs trying to talk with an English accent. Patrick Wisdom, Steele and Happ fail on differing levels. Ross wisely refuses to try. But then Joe says, “The people here are so nice. All of them!” How quickly he forgives our former colonial oppressors. The fourth of July ain’t just about hot dogs and fireworks, Davis!
Home plate umpire Adam Hamari blows a 1-2 strike three pitch on Arenado. On the next pitch Nolan lines one to right, but Seiya makes a great sliding catch for the out.
Willson flies out on the first pitch for the second out. In four at bats he hit the first pitch for an out three times, the other time he swung and missed and eventually struck out. Great gameplan, buddy.
Fulmer strikes out Walker to end the inning. The Cubs should let a position player pitch the ninth just to finish off the embarrassment for the Cardinals.
Nico hits a routine grounder to ISU standout Paul DeJong who throws it away and Hoerner goes to second.
Joe and Jon are talking about how badly the Cardinals defense has become. They were fourth in defensive runs saved last year and are 28th! this year.
He blames it partially on the injury to Tyler O’Neill, “and his Gold Glove defense in left.” We’re living the myth of the Gold Glove left fielder with Ian Happ’s mediocrity, but let me assure you, O’Neill’s Gold Gloves (plural) are even more undeserved.
Happ strikes out with Nico on third and it looks like the Cubs will strand him there, but Dansby goes opposite field and drops one in the bullpen for a 9-1 lead.
Remember when I wrote that the Cubs should let a position player pitch the ninth? They basically are with Anthony Kay in to finish things out.
Smoltz gives us an actual impressive stat. The Cubs had more hits in this game than they did swings and misses.
Joe gives us a history lesson about how the Cubs went on a world tour back in the 1880s when they were still the White Stockings. They even played a game in Egypt near The Pyramids…on the good side!
This win will be the ninth in ten games for the Cubs, and their 12th in the last 15. Even with all that winning they need one Sundy to get back to .500. But if they get there, it’s not a far jump to first place. The Reds are fun, but don’t expect the winning to last.
Trey the third catches a pop up to end it. The Cubs crushed the Cardinals. Might as well do it again on Sunday.
All in all, a great day for the Cubs. I’m concerned about Belllinger disappearing in the middle of a game, and also that two more hits from Madrigal might confuse Jed into thinking he doesn’t need a third baseman.
But it’s great that an entire new continent got to see just how awful the Cardinals are.
Think of the Cubs as baseball’s version of UNICEF. They are providing children of the world with a kind of humanitarian aide and relief that comes with never being tempted to be a Cardinals’ fan.