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Ramirez, Soto Homers Lead Cubs To 7-3 Win; Umpire Fail Leads To Another Call For Replay

For those of us thinking that Lou sleeps through every game, he woke up today and got tossed (for the sixth time as a Cub and 65th in his career, according to this tweet from Carrie).

And he was completely justified. The play in question in the bottom of the fifth inning, as it turned out, had no bearing on the result. The Cubs beat the Dodgers today 7-3, but the blown call is yet another reason why replay is something that is absolutely, positively needed in baseball rightfreakingnow.

I've already posted via Twitpic this screencap I took of my TV of the play, which, if you were part of the 62% of the country who didn't get the Cubs game on Fox today and couldn't see it live, was a close play on an infield grounder by Xavier Paul of the Dodgers. Tom Gorzelanny took a throw from Derrek Lee and his foot touched the base before Paul's.

Go ahead. Click on the link and look at the photo. On what planet is that runner safe?

The play cost the Cubs two runs, because the next three hitters did this: strikeout, single, flyout. The flyout should have ended the inning; instead, with two runners on base, Andre Ethier singled in a run and when Marlon Byrd threw the ball away, a second run scored. When the inning was over, Lou got into it with 1B umpire Jerry Layne and got thrown out of the game.

Now what's the point of that? If we had replay for plays like that, the umpires would have gone and looked at the video (or it could be reviewed by a "fifth umpire" in the press box, which would save time). This particular replay showed conclusive evidence that the call on the field was wrong. The call would have been reversed and gotten right. No managers would have been ejected -- not Lou, nor Joe Torre, because both would understand that replay was being used to get the call right.

I defy Bud Selig to tell me what's wrong with this idea. He can't, because there isn't. Replay NOW!

Gorzelanny threw a really nice game, finishing six innings with just one earned run allowed; because of the blown call, he had to face two extra hitters and wound up throwing a number of extra pitches; maybe he'd have been able to go seven. He picked up his fourth win of the season and lowered his ERA from 3.31 to 3.16; he's been a pleasant surprise this year and for those who criticize Jim Hendry's trading, you cannot complain too much about the deal that brought Gorz to the Cubs. Even though John Grabow has had a bad year and is likely overpaid, Gorzelanny can be a solid part of the 2011 rotation.

Anyway, all of that didn't matter because the Cubs were comfortably ahead 6-0 at the time of the bad call, partly on Geovany Soto's two-run homer, Geo's ninth of the year. Soto also had two other hits and is now hitting .289 with nine RBI in his last 10 games.

Aramis Ramirez also homered -- his fourth in his last five games -- and bumped his batting average up to .209, which doesn't seem real impressive except that when he came off the DL on June 25, it was .168. It's not easy to put 40 points on your BA with more than 250 plate appearances; if A-Ram can keep this up, two things could happen. First, the Cubs will win some second-half games, even if they don't ultimately mean anything. And second, a big second half might convince A-Ram that he should exercise the out clause in his contract -- and then the Cubs will have a tough decision to make. Would the big second half mean they should re-sign him? Or do they want to have the payroll flexibility that would give?

That's a decision for later. In the meantime, the Cubs clinched a winning road trip with today's victory and can make it a 5-2 trip with a win tomorrow night. In a sorry season, that's still a nice thing to have.