Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cubbie Chaser: The Wild Night's Appalling

Tribune Photo by Phil Velasquez

Seven walks and a grand slam.

That's pretty much all I have to say to sum up Game 1 of the National League Division Series between the Cubs and Dodgers.

I've been a huge Ryan Dempster supporter throughout the season, but he came up real darn small on Wednesday night. Watching him bounce balls in the dirt and fling balls up and out, watching Dodger after Dodger (including freakin' DEREK LOWE) trot to first base, I kept saying, "Oh, he does this. He gets in trouble, but he almost always gets out."

And that brings me to the one and only salient thing the TBS commentators said during the game. Can't remember which one, but if it was Dick Stockton, it was the one and only salient thing he's said at a baseball game in his career..."You can't keep tempting the baseball gods."

Bingo. Dempster's ill-timed wildness certainly caught up with him.

If it's ever been easy to spot big-game nerves in a player, it was easy last night. And isn't it funny how pressure can turn a veteran Major Leaguer into a high school girl, just like that? I say that because I used to pitch for my high school softball team, and of course back then you thought every game was HUGE, and when you started thinking about how big the game was, forget it. You couldn't hit the glove if it hit you first.

I can't pin that entire 7-2 loss on Dempster, although he certainly set an ominous tone. I'm sorry, but if you're supposed to be this great offense, you need to be able to push across some RUNS via something besides a homer. You need to be able to rally a little bit after the second freakin' inning.

Hopefully Lou will abandon his defense-first lineup and get Kosuke Fukudome (0-for-4) the hell out of there. Give us some Mike Fontenot, Reed Johnson. Give us somebody who doesn't look lost at the plate.

I'm not giving up. Of course I'm not. It's only one game, and we've got Carlos Zambrano on the mound tonight. He pitched a no-hitter this year.

(Cue nervous, forced laughter.)

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