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Late Night With The Cubs, and Open Thread: Cubs vs. Astros, Wednesday 8/16, 1:05 CT

Today's Starting Pitchers
Rich Hill
R. Hill
vs. Andy Pettitte
A. Pettitte
3-5 W-L 11-12
6.90 ERA 4.86
32 SO 136
26 BB 54
8 HR 22
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

Well, that's who is supposed to start this afternoon. Phil Rogers hints that Wade Miller might be recalled for an emergency start; he was scheduled to start for Iowa today at Round Rock, not very far from Houston, and his last appearance was five days ago on the 11th. As of now, the Cubs website report on last night's game says Rich Hill, today's scheduled starter, who threw the last two innings last night, "expects to be on the mound for the day game" and quotes him:

"I just have to go to bed," he said.
Well, that's what I had to do last night; I wish I'd have been able to stay up (it ended about 12:45 am CT), but then I'd have been a zombie at work. I shut it off after the tenth inning, figuring it'd go another inning or two.

Instead, it was a very "late night" for the Cubs, who took eighteen innings, and five hours and thirty-six minutes, before Matt Murton hit a two-run single to beat the Astros 8-6, in the longest game played by the Cubs since August 6, 1989, a 5-4 loss to the Pirates in Pittsburgh. There's still one active player who played in that game seventeen years ago. Yes, that's right. Barry Bonds.

And it wasn't even the only 18-inning game played Tuesday night! The Rockies and Diamondbacks did the same in Denver; it was the longest game by innings in the history of either one of those clubs.

The Cubs and Astros tied a major league record by using 18 pitchers (ten by the Cubs -- everyone but the two Carlos's, Z and Marmol, pitched, and both of them pinch-hit); oddly enough, this record was first set by the same two teams in another 18-inning game, at Wrigley Field on September 2 and 3, 1986 (yes, 2 AND 3; in those pre-lights days, games were occasionally suspended due to darkness and finished the next day. That's the longest game I've ever attended in person, even though it was in two pieces).

And, all of you at BCB set a record, too, with over 730 comments in the game thread! There's no way I can go through all your comments; it's amazing that many of you stayed up for the end of what was -- according to the highlights I saw this morning -- a real happy 18th inning for the Cub bench; both Aramis Ramirez and Jacque Jones had big smiles on their faces as they crossed the plate with the winning runs.


  • Credit to Matt Murton, who was the star of the game with a game-tying HR in the 9th, after Michael Wuertz and Will Ohman had coughed up a three-run lead in the sixth, and then also having the game-winning two-run single in the 18th. (Will Dusty dare bench him today?)
  • Further credit to the bullpen, which after the aforementioned sixth-inning meltdown, threw twelve shutout innings, allowing eight hits, four walks, NO runs, and struck out ten.
  • Michael Barrett, who was to get the day off, wound up pinch-hitting for Henry Blanco in the 8th and caught the rest of the game. With his five plate appearances, he now has 368 PA. To qualify, as of today, with the Cubs having played 119 games, he'd need 369 -- so assuming he plays today, and gets another four plate appearances, he'll show up on the "qualified batters" leaderboard after today's games. His .325 average would currently rank seventh, so he'll have to step it up a little to stay in the batting title race.
  • The game could have turned into a beanball war, after Jacque Jones was hit by Roger Clemens (he got his revenge with a monster three-run homer); Juan Mateo became an instant favorite among Cub fans when he hit Clemens after that, but Dusty Baker pulled Mateo before he could face Clemens at the plate in the next inning. Clemens then hit the guy who batted for Mateo, Ryan Theriot -- how dumb is THAT? -- and both benches were warned.
  • Buried in the comments yesterday was this note: Pedro Astacio threw a two-hit CG shutout for the Nationals over the Braves last night; that leaves the Cubs as the only team without a complete game this year. Frankly, they could use one today, after using everyone on the staff to pitch except Z and Marmol.
  • Also buried in yesterday's comments were some notes about various major league players who have spaces at MySpace; one of them is David Aardsma. Anyone want to stop by there and invite him to drop in here?
I'd expect this afternoon's game to be a quick, low-scoring affair; both teams have to be utterly exhausted after being at the ballpark till past 1 am, and then likely returning by 10:30 or 11. I'd imagine, for those of you going to the game today, that neither team will take batting practice. Why should they? They had enough of that last night, as Cub pitchers threw 297 pitches, and Houston pitchers threw 235 to Cub hitters.

One last thing about today; you'd think, given the Cubs' awful history in Houston (they would regularly get destroyed in the Astrodome), that it would have been a while since their last sweep there. Not so -- the Cubs actually swept a four-game series in Houston from June 14-17, 2004. (I was at the last three games of that series.) Let's go for another! Cubs Gameday

Discuss amongst yourselves.