Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cubbie Chaser: Celebrating "The Pitch"

I know it's way too early to start assigning big, dramatic names to things. Neither the division, nor even a playoff berth, has been clinched. Get cocky now, and you know what big, dramatic name we'll have for October: Suicide Time.

But just for today, I'm dubbing Kerry Wood's 3-2 offering to Prince Fielder in the Cubs' 5-4 win last night, "The pitch."

Holy crap, that was a tense moment. And Holy God, that was a nasty pitch. (Or, what's the baseball-insider jargon? Filthy?).

Wood himself has a name for that pitch. He called it a "slurvy slider" in Paul Sullivan's Chicago Tribune game story.

Yeah....wasn't that the pitch that launched a thousand Wood injuries back in the late 90s? Whatever. Fielder didn't know what the heck to do with it, and that's all that counts. Because the Big Veggie looked like a one-man wrecking crew on Tuesday night, with two home runs and a near-double down the right field line that Mark DeRosa -- who's proving a very capable fill-in for Kosuke Fukudome -- snuffed out with a diving catch.

Wood, a former starter, has developed a very closer-esque flair for the dramatic lately. It's almost as if he's trying to face the other team's biggest home run threat with two outs and runners in scoring position. Remember Albert Pujols coming up with two outs in the last game of the Cardinals series? How about Ryan Howard in the first game of the Phillies series? Wood shut them down, both via the very democratic popup.

Last night, with runners on the corners and Fielder locked in, Wood pulled out that pitch. THE pitch. Strike 3. Magic number 4. Two more wins over the Brewers in the next two days, and 100 years of postseason futility will be put to the test.

That sounded kind of cocky. But we'll allow that -- just for today.

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