The home run sculpture in the outfield goes off after Omar Infante of the Miami Marlins hit the first home run in Marlins Park during a game against the Houston Astros at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
There's likely to be a media circus tonight in Miami when Ozzie Guillen returns from his five-game suspension to manage the Marlins. But I don't want to talk about that.
Instead, here's a story about a game that happened 36 years ago today, on April 17, 1976. On a day when the temperature reached 80 and the wind was blowing out at 20 miles per hour, the Cubs took a 13-2 lead over the Phillies after four innings. And then the Phillies started hitting, and scoring, and scoring, and scoring. The game wound up tied 15-15 after nine innings, and in the 10th, Mike Schmidt hit his fourth home run of the afternoon -- the only time any player has hit four homers in a game at Wrigley Field. Nine home runs were hit in all that day, six by the Phillies, three by the Cubs.
After going behind 18-15, the Cubs scored in the bottom of the 10th and actually had the tying run at the plate, but Jerry Morales grounded out to end it.
Days like that were fairly common in the 1970s in April and May. From 1970 through 1980, there were 16 games played at Wrigley Field in which both teams scored 10 or more runs (by comparison, in a similar more recent 11-year period, 2001-2011, there were just four such games). True to the form of that era, the Cubs were 4-12 in those games. That's the era where Wrigley got the "wind always blowing out, hitters' park" reputation that it doesn't really deserve today.
Note that I haven't said anything about this year's team. That was intentional. Since you'll ask, here are tonight's lineups.
DeJesus RF, Barney 2B, Castro SS, Soriano LF, Stewart 3B, Clevenger C, LaHair 1B, Byrd CF, Dempster P
Reyes SS, Bonifacio CF, Ramirez 3B, Morrison LF, Infante 2B, Stanton RF, Sanchez 1B, Buck C, Johnson P
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2012 - Ryan Dempster||0-1||2||2||0||0||0||0||14.1||7||3||3||1||6||15||1.88||.91|
|2012 - Josh Johnson||0-2||2||2||0||0||0||0||9.2||21||9||9||0||3||5||8.38||2.48|
As this Patrick Mooney article reminds us, not only did Ryan Dempster play for the Marlins for several seasons, he was there while Ozzie Guillen was a coach in 2002, so the two should be quite familiar with each other. Dempster's last start against the Marlins was a good one, July 15, 2011 at Wrigley Field; he threw eight shutout innings and struck out nine. Current Marlins are hitting .248 (26-for-105) against him.
Josh Johnson is off to a rough start and the Marlins are justifiably worried about him. He hasn't faced the Cubs since 2008, so most of the current team hasn't faced him much, although three current Cubs (Reed Johnson, Alfonso Soriano and Ian Stewart) have homered off him.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus -- originally scheduled for CSN's main channel, it's been moved due to the Blackhawks playoff game (check local listings for the channel in your area). Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Today's first pitch thread will post at 6:10 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 7:10, 8:10 and 8:55 p.m. CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings, post them in the fanshot section.
Discuss amongst yourselves.