... wait five minutes, it'll change.
At no time was that old catchphrase more meaningful than the last two days. Between Monday -- a summery, hot, sticky afternoon -- and Tuesday -- a cold, windy, wintry night -- the temperature dropped 40 degrees (game time temp Tuesday was reported as 42), and yesterday's game was played in conditions more suited to Inuit, polar bears and hockey players.
David captured the chilly scene:
Click on photos to open a larger version in a new browser window. All photos by David Sameshima
Sean Gallagher, who played his high school baseball in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, weathered the cold to have his best start yet in the major leagues, seven innings with only one run allowed (and really, only one inning in which he struggled), and the Cubs beat the Dodgers for the second day in a row by the same score, 3-1.
Aramis Ramirez broke a 1-1 tie with his seventh-inning single after Mike Fontenot's infield dribbler had tied the game, and then, on his bobblehead day, Kosuke Fukudome ripped a double down the left field line to give the Cubs an insurance run.
The Fukudome bobblehead. Let's just say that the size of the early-arriving crowd stunned me. It was cold, the game had an unusual early start time, and still, lines for the bleachers were as long as I've ever seen them for a regular-season game, all there that early (well before 4:00 when the gates opened) to get one of these:
Fukudome, who has been in an offensive funk, snapped out of it with the double, a single and a walk, and made a couple of sparkling defensive plays in right field. How anyone could consider hurting the defense by moving him to CF and putting a minor league first baseman in right, I simply cannot understand. It does appear, as I keep saying, that Jim Edmonds is done, done, D-O-N-E (have I said done?). He went 0-for-4 last night, got booed roundly the last two times, and his bat speed is probably about the same as Cubs hitting coach Gerald Perry's would be if Perry took the field now. Edmonds did make one nice catch going back on a fly ball to the warning track; his fielding is still decent and he catches everything he gets to. I still fail to see how this team is helped by his presence.
This is the same sort of thinking that has Lou pining for Rich Hill or Sean Marshall to get healthy so he can have "another lefty in the rotation". He gets obsessed with putting a certain type of piece of the puzzle, when the puzzle's virtually solved right now. Gallagher's performance has certainly earned him more rotation time; maybe Lou has even noticed:
"He's still got a couple things to work on, but he's telling us that he wants to stay in the rotation," Lou Piniella said.
If he keeps pitching like he did last night, that should quiet the chorus begging the Cubs to trade for everyone else's misbegotten or injured hurlers. Last night's performance by Kerry Wood ought to quiet a similar chorus asking for him to be replaced at closer. He looked dominant and seems to be getting more comfortable in the role each time out. Meanwhile, Carlos Marmol had a shaky outing, loading the bases before getting out of the jam. I'd like to see him rest up some, as he's bordering on severe overwork.
Thanks to BCB reader LT for posting the 2nd overflow thread last night. You folks were pretty chatty!
Discordant note last night: plate umpire Bob Davidson barking at the Cubs' dugout (specifically Alan Trammell) after the Cubs -- rightly, I think -- carped about some of his ball/strike calls. They were apparently laughing about this later -- Lou said in his postgame press conference that Davidson yelled over, "Trammell needs to take some decaf!", but this kind of stuff from umpires has to stop. That's the second day in a row someone from this crew has tried to bait someone in the dugout to start something and then toss him. Umpires aren't supposed to do that, and this crew (in particular, Davidson and yesterday's plate umpire, Mike Reilly) seem to walk around with chips on their shoulders.
If that's the worst thing we have to complain about, this season must be going pretty well... and it is. The Cubs are now tied for the best record in the major leagues with... the Tampa Bay Rays. Feels pretty good, doesn't it?