Before last night's game I went to see the movie that's "The Number One Movie At The Box Office!" (to quote only one of the hype-filled lines I've heard about this film), The Bourne Ultimatum.
It is absolutely as advertised -- non-stop action from pretty much the first scene to the last, in cities all around the world, from Moscow to London to Madrid to Tangier to New York, and you have to suspend your disbelief at times, just as in the first two Bourne films, because in some of the action/chase scenes you know, you absolutely KNOW, that there's no way that any human being could survive what Jason Bourne goes through.
And yet he does, and you root feverishly for him to escape the CIA higher-ups who are desperately trying to prevent him from finding out and revealing the secret stuff they've been doing. David Strathairn, who had that perpetually puzzled/harried look on his face as the president of Marshall University in last year's "We Are Marshall", does it again here as a CIA deputy chief. Joan Allen reprises her role from "The Bourne Supremacy" as the only good person in the CIA, the one who's going to blow the whistle and make everything come out OK, and Matt Damon again plays Jason Bourne (who, this time, wants to find out who he really is) with grim determination. There's a brief love interest played impishly by Julia Stiles, and although most things about Jason Bourne are wrapped up in a neat little package (after they destroy pretty much every car in Manhattan), there are enough loose ends left in case director Paul Greengrass and the producers want to make another Bourne film.
Given the success of this one -- and it's well worth seeing, the action scenes are terrific -- it wouldn't surprise me at all if there's another one in a couple more years.
AYRating for the movie:
Meanwhile, in Denver, the Cubs apparently took their cue from this film, scoring early and often in a 10-2 blowout of the Rockies, a very good way to begin what is likely to be a tough four-game series, and they did it without Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez. And, apparently, neither injury is as serious as once feared. Soriano's talking about returning earlier than the team's projected September 1 date, and after some breathless emails and other speculation I received yesterday that Ramirez was "OUT FOR THE YEAR!!!11!!", his MRI revealed no structural damage and he's had a cortisone shot, may miss the Rockies series, but will likely be ready to return next Tuesday at home.
All of which means the rest of the team has to suck it up and perform, which they did last night. Oddly, in the 16-hit attack, the only one of the starting eight who didn't get a hit was ... Derrek Lee, the guy on whom a lot of pressure rests while Ramirez and Soriano are out. Jacque Jones stepped up and had his second four-hit day of the year, drove in four runs, and since the All-Star break is hitting .333/.396/.432 with 17 RBI, although still no HR. Matt Murton homered (so maybe all the Murton-haters here can let up, at least for a day); Jason Kendall had three hits, including a triple, and is now hitting .286/.385/.393 in 17 games as a Cub. I'd still like to see that .385 OBA in the #2 slot.
I was a little concerned to see Ted Lilly (who drew the only Cubs walk in the game -- the first walk he has drawn as a hitter in his major league career), sent out to throw the sixth inning after being well over 100 pitches after five. That means he threw 127 pitches at altitude, something that is likely to take quite a bit out of him. Fortunately, with the off day on Monday, the entire rotation can be given an extra day, and Lilly won't have to throw again until Wednesday vs. the Reds. Kerry Wood (a scoreless inning despite two walks), Carlos Marmol, and Bob Howry all threw well last night, finishing up the game without incident. This was against a Rockies lineup missing Brad Hawpe and Todd Helton, but so what? A win is a win, and now my advice to Jason Marquis for tonight's game: keep the ball down! (FWIW, Marquis has a 3.60 lifetime ERA in Coors Field, in three games, 15 total innings, and only 1 HR allowed.)
Finally, to all of you who are posting breathless diaries on every waiver claim the Cubs have reportedly made (Shannon Stewart! Scott Podsednik!) I will say only this: sports talk radio is doing a real disservice by reporting these supposed claims. As has been pointed out in the diaries, waiver claims like this don't necessarily mean the team gets the player, or in some cases, even wants the player. Many players are claimed by multiple teams. Some claims are made to block other teams from getting a certain player. It doesn't mean that Scott Podsednik (who I wouldn't want) or Shannon Stewart (who I might want, and yes, I mean the ballplayer, not the model/actress we discussed here the other day) are going to be wearing a Cubs uniform any time soon.
Onward; last night was a nice way to break out of the losing streak. The Cubs are only half a game behind the Brewers, and moved to within two games of the wild-card lead.
AYRating for last night's game: