Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney celebrates scoring a run against the Detroit Tigers at Wrigley Field. Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE
To sum up Tuesday night's game at Wrigley Field, I shall quote a famous former Chicago Cub:
You know who said those words. And I'm actually not talking about the game, because the Cubs defeated the Detroit Tigers 4-3.
I'm talking about Wrigley Field itself, or more correctly, the turf, which was left in horrendous condition after two weekend concerts -- you can see the damage in this photo I tweeted Tuesday night (and in person, it actually looks worse than that). Not only did it look bad, it smelled bad. And you didn't have to get anywhere really close to it to experience the pungent odor. For lack of a better comparison, it smelled like a barn before you cleaned up after the animals. There was one rumor that they had actually spread manure on the field. Many jokes present themselves from this possibility, but I'm not going there.
Whatever it was, it's not likely to go away any time soon. They're probably going to have to re-sod the entire outfield. In the meantime, you might want to bring nose plugs if you're coming to a game this week.
The Cubs took an early lead, something that's been extremely rare this season, on a nicely manufactured run; Bryan LaHair walked and moved to second on an infield dribbler by Steve Clevenger. Both runners moved up on a Max Scherzer wild pitch and LaHair scored on a Darwin Barney grounder to short. Barney doubled in two more runs in the sixth inning after Scherzer had issued a pair of walks sandwiched around an Alfonso Soriano single. Scherzer walked five in all and Detroit reliever Phil Coke gave up two bases on balls.
Seven Cubs hitters drawing walks. That tied a season high, done three other times. Two of those games went into extra innings and the Cubs batted in the last of the ninth in the other. Clearly, new hitting coach James Rowson is a miracle worker! He taught patience in just a few hours!
The Tigers tied the game in an ugly seventh inning where Paul Maholm gave up a double and a walk before being lifted for Casey Coleman, who wasn't much better. Austin Jackson's two-run single made it 3-3 before James Russell came in and shut the door.
And in news worthy of the statement, "Trade him right now!", Carlos Marmol faced two hitters and got both of them out. He wound up with the individual "win", as meaningless as those are these days, when the Cubs rallied for the decisive run in an inning where the teams seemed to reverse roles. Barney drew a one-out walk, and after a second out, Reed Johnson hit a grounder about 60 feet toward third base -- couldn't have rolled it out there much better, it went for a hit.
Jhonny Peralta, who made only seven errors as the Tigers' shortstop all last year, then threw a ball away that would have been a force play at second base to end the inning. That loaded the bases, and Peralta made another bad throw, pulling Prince Fielder off first base, on a ground ball hit by Starlin Castro. That scored Barney with the eventual winning run.
Shawn Camp, Dale Sveum's closer du jour, had a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save of the season (and just the 11th of his career). The win was the first for the Cubs in their last 13 one-run games; the 12-game losing streak in one-run decisions is a franchise record.
The Cubs' win disappointed thousands of orange-clad Tigers fans, who I'd estimate were at least a third of the full house (with very few no-shows from the announced 41,164). It was a coolish night, with temperatures only in the low 60s, but no one seemed to mind the environment too much... that is, except for the smell, which wafted through the stands just often enough to make you wonder what they were thinking.
The playing field stunk. For at least one night this year, the Cubs didn't.