First baseman Eric Karros of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs down the base path during the Dodgers' 3-2 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
I'm giving the result of this game away -- but only a little -- with the photo at the top of this post.
Eric Karros, of course, became a fan favorite in his one year at Wrigley Field in 2003, hitting a key home run against the Yankees in June and, for the final month of the season, taking a personal video camera around Wrigley taping various scenes with teammates, a video he said would never become public.
Man, would I like to see that.
On May 30, 1992, though, Karros was a Dodgers rookie... who had a big hit in the game at Wrigley that day. He was eventually named NL Rookie of the Year for 1992.
This year has not started out the way we hoped it would after Jim Essian's dismissal as manager and the hiring of Jim Lefebvre. Lefebvre came highly recommended after managing the Mariners to the first winning record in franchise history in 1991.
The way he's managed so far, the Cubs look like the pre-1991 Mariners. Today's 3-2 loss to the Dodgers at Wrigley Field, the team's seventh defeat in their last 10 games, was depressingly similar to quite a few games already this season.
The Cubs are just having tremendous trouble scoring runs; it's their second straight one-run loss and they're now 5-10 in one-run affairs so far this year. That accounts for almost all the deficit to the .500 mark in the 20-27 record, and that isn't a record you can't come back from when it's just the end of May. On the other hand, the team is mired in last place, 6.5 games behind, and while 6.5 games can be made up, it's tough when you have to climb over five other teams.
Today, a chilly, breezy day that was way too cold for almost-June, the Cubs took a 1-0 lead on a first-inning error, immediately coughed it up in the top of the second, and then regained the lead in the fourth on a Ryne Sandberg RBI double. They looked like they were starting to get to Orel Hershiser, but Shawn Boskie gave up a solo homer to Dave Hansen to tie the game.
For some reason Lefebvre didn't think Boskie had anything after four innings and only 67 pitches -- maybe the nine hits given up had something to do with that -- and so he pulled him for pinch-hitter Jerome Walton. I have no idea what's happened to Walton since his Rookie of the Year season only three years ago; he reached base on an error, which dropped his BA to just .108.
Ken Patterson relieved Boskie; every time I see Patterson throw I keep thinking, "This is going to be the time he finally looks good!"
But I was wrong again. Eric Karros, the second batter Patterson faced, yanked Patterson's second pitch into the bleachers and the Dodgers had a 3-2 lead, which Hershiser and three relievers (including former Cub Steve Wilson) made hold up. I like that Karros kid -- I think he's going to be a good one.
I wonder about these Cubs, though; they never seriously threatened after that. They managed to get the tying run to second base in the seventh with two out and Sandberg up, but he lined harmlessly to Jose Offerman.
Maybe tomorrow, I keep thinking. 27,193 showed up today despite the chill. Danny Jackson -- who signed a big free-agent deal before 1991 only to be hurt most of the year, and go 0-6 so far this year with an ERA of almost 5 -- will make the start against LA's Kevin Gross.