COLUMBIA, Missouri -- Having decided, due to storms blowing up in Iowa late this afternoon, to drive back to Chicago via St. Louis, I'm at a McDonald's off I-70 in central Missouri -- wearing Cubs clothes in Cardinals country, taking a risk -- to write the recap of today's 6-3 Cubs loss to the Royals.
How much is there to say, really? Randy Wells had a bad first inning, although he might have gotten out of that inning relatively unscathed if Starlin Castro had caught Alex Gordon's soft line drive that went for a double. Maybe the Royals score only one run, or two, in that inning instead of four.
As it turned out, the game was over right then, because the Cubs scored just three runs. But Wells did settle down and make it into the seventh, though that didn't help his ERA as he gave up two more runs in the fourth to balloon the deficit to its final 6-3 count after the Cubs had narrowed it to 4-3. Geovany Soto provided most of the pop today with his second home run in two days and a RBI double. Sad, however, that his 3-for-3 day only raised his BA to .225.
Today was the Royals' day to get themselves in baserunning trouble; Soto threw out three runners trying to steal (Jeff Francoeur twice and Alex Gordon once, Gordon on a delayed attempted steal of home, on which Geo got both an assist, since he had thrown to second, and a putout on Gordon).
It was hot and sticky all afternoon, with the game time temperature at 86; it climbed into the lower 90s and my seat in section 223, which was underneath the middle deck overhang (thankfully, I thought, as there was a chance of rain that never materialized) was pretty stuffy and uncomfortable, but only due to the weather, not the Royals. Staff was friendly and helpful throughout and the concourse is wide and well-lit. I had lunch in the .390 Club, which used to be private but is now open to anyone before the game starts. The food was good and prices, for a sit-down restaurant, were reasonable, and you can watch batting practice through large windows. There's a lot the Cubs can learn about stadium redesign and construction and employee friendliness from the Royals.
What more can you say? This Cubs team just isn't very good and has trouble coming from behind. Meanwhile, the Royals are going to be very good if they can just be a little more patient and maybe attract even one or two quality free agents. Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon (who seems to have at last become acclimated to left field) are the real deal. I wish the Cubs had young players that good; Castro is good, but he's not yet at that level, and Moustakas is only a year and a half older than Castro.
I'm going to hit the road again after this recap posts; it's back to Wrigley tomorrow afternoon for a makeup game against the Rockies on what was originally an off day. But guess what? All that rain that I decided to avoid by not driving through Iowa tonight? It's headed to Chicago tomorrow, a 60% chance of storms. This is the only chance they have to make up this game; there are no more common off dates that are feasible, and neither team is going anywhere. The Rockies are staying in town to play the White Sox Tuesday through Thursday, so they'll wait a long time before giving up on Monday's game.
Perhaps the Cubs will even win. We can hope, right? Off to the road shortly.