31 years ago today, one of the most remarkable games in the history of Wrigley Field took place between the Cubs and Cardinals.
Dennis Lamp started for the Cubs and barely lasted three innings, giving up six runs including home runs to two players who would be on the following year's edition of the Cubs: Bobby Bonds and Ken Reitz. Lynn McGlothen relieved him and was worse -- yanked after facing seven batters, five of whom reached base, all of whom scored.
But the Cubs had scored off Cardinals starter Bob Forsch early and often, too; Cardinals manager Ken Boyer finally took mercy on him and pulled him with two out in the fifth inning, after he had given up fourteen hits and nine runs. If you're keeping score, we're now in the top of the sixth inning with the score Cardinals 12, Cubs 9.
And then three Cubs relievers, Bill Caudill, Dick Tidrow and Bruce Sutter, about the only good things about that 1980 Cubs team, shut the Cardinals down for the final four innings on three singles (and three walks). A two-run single by Bill Buckner made it 12-11, and then Barry Foote homered in the eighth to tie it.
In the last of the ninth with one out, Dave Kingman singled and Lenny Randle ran for him; Randle stole second. Boyer ordered Buckner walked, and then a wild pitch put the runners on second and third. Larry Biittner was called out on strikes and it looked like the game was headed for extra innings. But Jerry Martin walked to load the bases... and that brought up Foote, who won the game with a walkoff grand slam. Foote's second homer of the game gave him eight RBI, made the Cubs' record 6-3, and the 18,889 in attendance whooped it up like the Cubs had just won the World Series.
It was all downhill from there in 1980. The Cubs lost 98 games, Foote hit only four more homers the rest of the year, and that April 22 game was the best of the year. Ivan DeJesus, now the Cubs' third base coach, had five hits and hit for the cycle. Only two other Cubs (Andre Dawson, 4/29/87 and Mark Grace, 5/9/93) have done that since.
I mention this game for another reason. It was 92 degrees that day -- that was, and still is, the highest temperature ever recorded in Chicago in the month of April. Which shows that it actually can get warm this time of year, something you may find it hard to believe in a month where the average game time temperature has been 45 degrees. It will warm up, eventually. Hopefully, the Cubs bats will, too. Today's weather looks iffy; it's currently raining -- again. If there's a postponement, I'll post another rainout thread. If they do play, here are the lineups.
Fukudome RF, Barney 2B, Castro SS, Ramirez 3B, Peña 1B, Byrd CF, Soriano LF, Soto C, Coleman P
Carroll SS, Blake 3B, Ethier RF, Kemp CF, Uribe 2B, Loney 1B, Sands LF, Ellis C, Billingsley P
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2011 - Casey Coleman||1-0||2||2||0||0||0||0||10.2||13||5||5||2||4||5||4.22||1.59|
|2011 - Chad Billingsley||1-1||4||4||0||0||0||0||22.0||20||12||12||2||8||24||4.91||1.27|
Casey Coleman had a good outing against the Rockies in a tough ballpark to pitch in and kept his team in the game. This is his first ever career appearance vs. the Dodgers; the only member of their roster he has ever faced is Tony Gwynn Jr. (0-for-2).
Chad Billingsley is off to kind of a rough start, with a 4.91 ERA. Last year in two starts vs. the Cubs, he got two wins despite a 4.38 ERA in 12.1 innings. Only two Cubs have ever homered off him, and they're not who you might expect -- Kosuke Fukudome and Koyie Hill. Current Cubs are 18-for-77 (.234) against Billingsley.
Today's game is on WGN and Prime Ticket LA. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
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Today's first pitch thread will be up at 1:15 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to rain delays or extra innings, post them in the fanshot section.
Discuss amongst yourselves.