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Running Diary: Cubs-Cardinals London game two
Maybe Trey Mancini can move into Assange's old room in the Ecuadorian embassy in London?
Here’s a running diary of the second game of the London Series between the Cubs and Cardinals. Game one’s diary is here.
The second and final game of this series has a 9:10 a.m. start time back home and honestly, I could get used to this. As I get old I love stuff that starts early.
This one is on ESPN, which would be bad enough, but they’re giving us Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez as the announcers. Ugh.
Tim Kurkjian is the tiny little dugout reporter today, like Ken Rosenrose was yesterday for Fox, and he said that David Ross told him they “saw ALL the sights in London and learned ALL about Shakespeare and Dickens.”
Not surprising that a guy who went to two SEC schools and didn’t graduate from either thinks that you can see everything in London in a day and learn the entire works of two of the all-time greats in an afternoon.
Matthew Libertore is starting for the Cardinals in place of Jack Flaherty who is hurt again. It’s too bad, because the Cubs have been lighting Flaherty up in recent years.
Cody Bellinger left Saturday’s game early and he’s not in the lineup today. Ross says he’s “a little bit under the weather.” When the Cubs say you’re a little under the weather it’s time to call hospice.
Nico leads off by clanking one off of Paul DeJong’s glove. Nico gets a gift hit from the scorer. It’s so fun to see how bad the Cardinals’ defense is now.
Then they change it to an error. A-Rod blames fans wearing white shirts behind home plate on DeJong not seeing it. Sure.
Nico steals second and Cardinals “second baseman” Nolan Gorman not only drops the throw he doesn’t run after it and Nico goes to third. Two errors in the inning for St. Louis.
Morel strikes out looking on ball four, and then Dansby lines a single to right to make it 1-0 Cubs.
A-Rod is lauding yesterday’s Cardinals’ starter Adam Wagonmaker for taking accountability for yesterday’s loss. Well, he gave up 11 hits and seven runs in three innings, what was he supposed to do? A-Rod says he “takes the mound every day.” Hell, that’s the problem. Wagonmaker’s 41, why is he pitching for the Cardinals every day?
Happ walks and Trey the third smokes one to the gap for a double and it’s 3-0 Cubs. This tiny park is custom built for guys like Trey the third and Madrigal who can’t hit the ball far enough for real parks.
Miguel Amaya, who I already love as my own son, doubles past Nolan Arenado to score Trey the third. A-Rod blames that on the shirts, too. This will not be a problem for Madrigal, he can see under the shirts.
Michael Kay really hits the third syllable in MadriGAL. Regardless Nick flies weakly (does he fly any other way?) to right to end the inning.
The Cubs are wearing the grays today. This makes them the first team in London Series history to wear road uniforms. The Yankees and Red Sox both wore their home uniforms in 2019 and the Cardinals and Cubs did it yesterday. Just like yesterday, the Cubs have fucked up their uniform with two patches on the sleeves, one for their Advocate Health Care cash crab and the other for the London Series patch. So long, crawling bear. Maybe we’ll see you on Tuesday against the Phillies.
The scorer was busy between half innings. They changed the error on the steal by Nico to the second baseman Gorman instead of Willson. It’s correct. But I’m sure the Cardinals will complain because they like to blame everything on Willson. They also changed Amaya’s double to an error on Arenado.
The Cubs get in on the fun when Dansby makes a nice play on a liner by Brendan Donovan and Trey botches the throw. Holy shit he’s terrible there. Seriously, just put Mastrobuoni in for the rest of the game. They give the error to Dansby for…reasons, I guess.
Stroman blows a fastball right by Goldschmidt. And then makes a really nice play on a smash up the middle by Lars Nootbaar and starts an inning ending double play.
Tucker Barnhart is in the lineup to catch Stroman. I get it that he has a really good catcher’s ERA with Marcus. But wouldn’t anybody? Just let Amaya catch him. Barnhart is a nothing at the plate. And he strikes out to lead off the second.
Nico doubles over Nootbaar in right with one out. A-Rod says, “This guy is a BASEBALL PLAYER!” Yeah, Alex. They gave him a uniform and everything.
A-Rod says Christopher Morel has “five tools.” Somebody tell his manager so he can stop only letting him DH.
Kay says, “the Cubs outhit the Cardinals 16-4 yesterday, that’s how you win games.” Huh. I thought the winner had the most runs? You learn something every day.
A-Rod says the Cubs are winning because “they have guys who love to play baseball.” Well, they’re 37-38, so maybe they need to love it a little more.
Kurkjian talks to Ross between innings and Ross says of Stroman, “They say his sinker be sanka or sanker be sanking or whatever they say.” Great stuff.
I have no doubt that Willson spent four hours on Saturday trying to get one of the Buckingham Palace guards to flinch.
Kay tries to set A-Rod up to talk about the Cubs being willing to just let Willson go to a division rival, but A-Rod misunderstands and talks about how the Cardinals saw Willson 15 or 20 times a year so they knew he was good. Ehh.
Kurkjian says that he talked some Cubs about how bouncy the artificial turf in London Stadium is. Get this. “Nick Madrigal told me he bounced the ball and it came up to his eye level!” Wow, it bounced up an entire foot?
The Cardinals have the bases loaded with one out and Stroman strikes out DeJong. Edman hits an easy grounder to Nico. Trey the third breaks to the ball for no reason, then scrambles back to first, steps on top of the bag, tries to catch the ball with his bare hand and falls down. They somehow give Edman a hit and a run scores instead of the inning being over.
Trey literally can’t play first base. He nearly killed Mark Leiter Jr. when he dropped an easy grounder and then made a panicked throw. His misplay in the first inning was on a very routine scoop and then this?
How can you play him? He can’t even make the most routine plays.
Donovan singles to right to score two and it’s 4-3 now. This is all on Trey now.
A-Rod thinks Nico should have held the ball and waited for Trey to get to the bag. Hell, he should have just tried to run there himself.
With one out in the third, Happ walks and that brings up Trey the third. He clearly needs to come out of the game because his defense is costing the Cubs. But no way will Ross hit for him. But…Oliver Marmol comes out and takes out Libertore to bring in a righthander. Now Ross has an excuse to just send up Tauchman and either put Morel or Happ at first. Let’s see if he’s smart enough to do that…
…and, here comes Cody Bellinger! Cody’s been under the weather, and watching Trey try to play first has only made him sicker.
Bellinger singles on the first pitch. And then, Ross needlessly pinch hits Tauchman for Amaya. So now Tauchman’s the DH for some reason. So, with a short bench, Ross took out a guy who doubled in his first at bat (the error on Arenado got changed back to a hit) and put a valuable (albeit slow) defensive outfielder in the DH spot for the rest of the game?
Tauchman immediately hits into a would be double play. He beats the return throw but for some reason Happ tries to score from second and is out by 30 feet. You can take the Cubs out of the US, but you can’t take the dumb out of the Cubs.
ESPN has Happ mic’d up for the bottom of the third. Why isn’t A-Rod’s first question, “Why the fuck did you try to score on that?”
Happ has to field a single from Nootbaar and while chasing after it he lost his headset. So mercifully another ponderous on field interview is cut way short.
With one out Contreras singles to right and looks straight up because he thought he popped up to the pitcher. Savvy.
With two outs, 48 year old Cardinals rookie Jordan Walker singles to tie the game. Stroman pitched around him in a similar spot in the second and struck out DeJong. But here he pitches to Walker. Ugh.
Walker is picked off first and doesn’t stay in the run down long enough for the runner at third to try to score. Nico tags him to end the inning and then drops the ball. ESPN uses a camera that I guess is back in New York to show us the play, so we have no idea what happened.
ESPN shows footage of people looking for the earpiece that Happ lost in left. Kay tells us, “They can’t find it. They should use a Geiger counter.” Why, is it radioactive?
A-Rod jokes he and Kay would “be doing people a favor” if they lost their earpieces. But it’s not a joke if it’s true.
Edman singles with one out in the fourth and steals second. But the worst news of all is that ESPN found Happ’s earpiece, so at some point that awful in-game interview is going to resume.
Kay informs us that Stroman has already allowed more hits on his sinker than in any game all season. So, “that sanker be stankin’.”
Stroman hits Donovan in his fat ass so runners are at first and second with one out.
Goldschmidt singles to score Edman. Seiya throws home for no good reason and Donovan waddles to third.
The Cardinals lead 5-4 and the Cubs trainer comes out because Stroman has a blister or maybe a torn fingernail and he’s coming out of the game. And Michael Fulmer is coming in. So things have gone from bad to worse.
How soon before somebody blames his blister on playing the Nintendo Switch(es) he bought for himself and everybody else on the team?
Fulmer can take as much time as he wants to warm up. I think when this happens the pitcher should have the option to keep warming up in the bullpen and then come in for their seven throws on the mound. I think pitchers coming in in an emergency situation get rushed by throwing on the game mound while people sit around going…
Then again, Fulmer might need to warm up until the offseason before he’s actually ready.
ESPN shows Kurkjian (who is a national treasure) taking whacks in a cricket cage. Tim says he’s “never swung at a bouncing ball before.” Can you imagine how good Javy Baez would be at cricket?
Nootbaar flies meekly to Happ, who does everything wrong. He doesn’t get under the ball so he has no momentum but he still throws home instead of to second and the ball barely trickled into the infield. What the fuck was he doing?
Kay talks about how Kurkjian’s mother was 22 when she immigrated from England to the US and died 74 years later “with a British accent.” He made it sound like the accent killed her.
A-Rod is telling the story about how he and Joe Torre conspired to have Cal Ripken Jr. play an inning of short in his final All-Star Game. We’ve heard this story a billion times. What I want him to tell us is if Chan Ho Park really grooved the pitch to Cal that he hit for his homer. Because he almost certainly did.
Ross told Kay and A-Rod before the game that Dansby Swanson is behind the Cubs “winning mentality this year.” Is that a compliment? They were 19-19 in their first 38 games and will either be 19-19 or 18-20 in their second 38 games. That’s the definition of mediocrity.
Swanson then strikes out with one out and Morel on first.
A-Rod on Dansby playing so many games, “I’ve always said the biggest stat for a superstar is availability.”
A) That’s not a stat.
B) It’s probably homers.
Marmol bring in Genesis Cabrera to face Happ and make him bat righty, where his only hope is to draw a walk. With a full count, Cabrera balks Morel to second and then throws a ball to Happ but Ian swings at it and strikes out.
Willson doubles past Madrigal who didn’t get close to a ball hit about three feet to his right. There is no way his defensive metrics reflect the balls he simply doesn’t reach. The bane of Nick’s existence is hard hit balls to either side of him and anything on the kitchen counter when he can’t find his foot stool.
Gorman singles to left and tries to advance to second for some reason and Happ’s bouncing throw gets him easily. But Contreras scores to make it 7-4.
Geovanny Gallegos comes in to pitch the seventh for the Cardinals. With the flu running through their relief pitchers A-Rod says that “it will be interesting to see how they piss…piece this together.” Let’s hope they piss it away.
A-Rod says that “you’re going to see some awkward and weak swings because with the shadows right now you can’t see the ball.” I think you’re going to see awkward and weak swings because that’s what the Cubs specialize in.
Mark Leiter Jr. makes a play on a bouncer up the first base line and he did a jump throw to Bellinger at first. He’s quite the elite athlete. The only difference between Mark and a rec league bowler is that Mark doesn’t rent his shoes.
Hayden Wesneski comes in with one out in the seventh. Kay tells us that last month Wesneski and Patrick Wisdom played cricket in the Wrigley outfield. I’m going to guess that’s when Wisdom fucked up his wrist.
Hayden strikes out Arenado, but with two outs Contreras singles for his fourth hit of the day. Willson is hitting .368 against the Cubs and .203 against everybody else. Great?
A-Rod says David Ross is “the ideal teammate you like to have.” That’s great. Does Alex know he’s not actually a player anymore?
And Kay says Ross’ beard wasn’t that gray when he started managing and that being a manager is the “toughest job.” Well, Ross makes it look that way, but it’s really not.
The Cubs have a rally going against whatever Andre Pallante is with two on and one out and the ESPN guys can’t be bothered to announce it, they are basically holding a debate show on baseball’s new rules instead.
Bellinger hits one really hard to right but it’s caught and Morel is doubled off at second, but he’s not. He was back easily and umpire Vic Carapazzo blew the call. Replay fixes it and the Cubs still have two on, but two outs. A-Rod blames the missed call on how “bright” it is on the field. Eh?
Tauchman works a full count but lines softly (he never hits the ball hard) to left to end the inning.
Jordan Hicks, who has been shitting his brains out for three days (allegedly) is warming up to pitch the ninth and A-Rod says, “That fact that he’s not feeling well and is going to pitch shows you how important this game is to the Cardinals.” If they win they’ll be 13 games under .500. So, so important.
Adbert is trying to help the Cardinals put this away, but Nico makes a great diving play with two on to cut down the runner at first and keep the game at 7-4.
A-Rod says, “This is the kind of win that can turn a season around.” Just because it’s on ESPN doesn’t make it more important than it is. A third place team and a fifth place team meeting on June 25. Whoop de damned do.
ESPN keeps showing Mancini in the dugout, and they keep harping on his terrible defense in the second inning, and normally I hate it when they try to boil a random game down to one play, but honestly, that was the key play of this game and it was such an egregiously terrible play by him, that I think he deserves it.
Kay says we’ll see how sick Hicks is, and on the next pitch, Nick Madrigal doubles off the wall in left field on the fly. It’s the first time he’s even hit a ball to the warning track as a Cub.
Will it be the first time he’s actually barreled a ball as a Cub? We’ll await with bated breath for the Baseball Savant guys to weigh in on Monday.
On a 3-1 pitch Gomes draws a walk, but the umpire calls it a strike. It was clearly high, and then Gomes swings at another ball four and strikes out.
Hicks is struggling to stay on the mound against Hoerner. He spiked one pitch about halfway to home and fell off the mound and then he bounces one past Willson to let Madrigal go to third and again ends up on the grass. Then he nearly hits Hoerner with ball three. He has no control, but Nico helps him out by swinging at ball four and fouls it off, and then flies to Nootbaar to score Madrigal but there are two outs and nobody on.
Seiya works a long at bat but strikes out swinging to end the game.
This was one the Cubs should have won. They chased the Cardinals starter early, again, they had a four run lead and then Trey happened, but they also stopped scoring in a park designed for offense. Well, actually the park is designed for soccer and track and field, but you know what I mean. It’s easy to hit there.
Stroman struggled with command and left early with a blister, but the game really turned when he made a great pitch to get out of a jam in the second and Trey the third went into full “monkey fucking a football” mode and it ended up allowing three runs to score in that inning when it should have been over.
Probably fitting that the Cubs, a purely mediocre team, went 1-1 on the trip to London.
Will this turn around the Cardinals’ season like John Smoltz was openly rooting for on Saturday and A-Rod was predicting on Sunday? No. This one win won’t. They’re going to need to find some pitching. And a lot of it, Pretty soon.
The Cubs return home to take on the Phillies on Tuesday. Even with the loss they have won 10 of their last 13, which is encouraging. But 76 games into the season they’re just 37-39 which, is less so.
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