In comparison to the parade of what seemed like about 1,500 relief pitchers (okay, actually seven) that the Brewers trotted onto the mound after Ben Sheets left with more "forearm tightness" (who's going to give that guy any sort of big free agent deal with his injury history?), this recap of the Cubs' 6-2 loss to Milwaukee last night will be mercifully short, as the two teams are going to take the field again this afternoon in just a few hours.
Jason Marquis (who, I learned from today's Tribune, presuming a clinching is near, will have played on a postseason qualifier nine years in a row, though only actually IN postseason games three times, four if he gets into one this year) was wild in the first inning, after an 11-day layoff. That hurt him when Prince Fielder cleared the bases with a double down the right-field line. (Despite Milwaukee's 4-12 record in September, they do remain an actual good team.)
And that, essentially, was the game. Give Marquis credit, at least, for settling down and giving the Cubs the chance to get back into it; when Aramis Ramirez homered to make it 3-1, there was some hope, but the Cubs really didn't have any further scoring opportunities until the ninth, when they scored another consolation run off Brewers closer Salomon Torres. By then Angel Guzman and Kevin Hart had hit two batters in the seventh inning and the Brewers scored three more runs. There was one strange sequence in which it appeared that Corey Hart had stolen second base and Geovany Soto made a weak throw and Ryan Theriot made a half-hearted attempt at a tag, but Craig Counsell was hit by that pitch. The Yahoo play-by-play missed Counsell's at-bat entirely:
- R. Braun hit by pitch - P. Fielder singled to center, R. Braun to third - J.J. Hardy doubled to deep right, R. Braun scored, P. Fielder to third - C. Hart singled to left center, P. Fielder and J.J. Hardy scored - K. Hart relieved A. Guzman - C. Hart stole second - J. Kendall sacrificed to third, C. Hart to third, C. Counsell to second - M. Lamb hit for M. Stetter - M. Lamb flied into double play left to catcher, C. Hart out at home
Where's Counsell in that sequence? The PBP says "C. Counsell to second" on Jason Kendall's bunt, but how did he reach? It doesn't say. (Hart didn't actually get a stolen base. The ball must have grazed Counsell's shirt, because hardly anyone in the park noticed that he had been hit.)
Oh, well. Reduced to nitpicking about mistakes, I feel compelled to point out that there's one on the Wrigley Field scorecard from this series. Each series they put a bit of trivia involving the two teams on the top of the card; for this series it was noting "the most runs ever scored by the Cubs off the Brewers", and cited this game, a 17-4 win in the second game of a doubleheader on September 2, 2002.
Guess they forgot to check this year. You all remember the 19-5 blowout of the Brewers on April 30, right?
Enough. The Cubs now have to wait until at least Friday night for a division clinching party. They finished the regular-season home night game schedule with a 19-8 record; the remainder of the home season is all in the sunshine; the weather the rest of the week is supposed to be spectacularly beautiful early fall weather. As has been the case so many times this year, a win today wins the series and that's always Lou's goal. Today's pregame thread goes up at 11:30 am CDT.