Another . . .

April 25, 2012

. . . night at Wrigley.

Another strong performance by the starter.

Another 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the 9th.

Another blown save.

Cubs 3, Cardinals 2

Soriano’s turn. (AP photo)

Adam Wainwright, facing the team that shelled him in the Birds’ home opener, pitched very well this evening. Six innings, 6 hits, 1 earned run, 7 Ks, and he kept the ball on the ground. Down 1-0 when he was lifted, Wain-O hopefully felt okay about this performance, especially after three very rocky starts before. The offense, which hasn’t done much for him yet this season, finally roused itself when Matt Holliday launched a 2-out, 2-run homer to give the Birds the lead in the top of the 8th.

Then came the 9th.

Manager Mike Matheny called in Marc Rzepczynski, who served up a home run with his very first pitch to Bryan LaHair, last night’s Cubs’ hero, to tie the game. Various other embarrassments threatened to end the contest then and there, but the Cardinals managed to take it into extra innings.

Bottom 10, with Fernando Salas on the hill, 2 on and 2 out, Alfonso Soriano worked the count to 3-2 and then handcuffed 2nd baseman Tyler with a ground ball that took a sharp hop.

The Cardinals have now lost their first series of the season, and their record is 11-7. They’ve lost 4 out of their last 6. The team that scored 70 runs in its first 12 games has scored 9 in its last 6. The bullpen that looked so reliable has now blown two 9th-inning leads in a row.

Lance Lynn tries to salvage something out of this trip to Wrigley tomorrow.




April 23, 2012

Brookings’ Bruce Katz has a a commentary in the Guardian about this city, which is a model for sustainable development. We could take a hint, and some places, like Portland, OR, do.


(Animal noise of pain and frustration)

April 23, 2012

Cubs 3, Cardinals 2

Mather ends it. (AP photo)

Jason Motte was one strike away from nailing it down, but he couldn’t get it done.

He took the hill as the Cardinals held onto a 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the 9th at Wrigley. He struck out Soriano, then walked two, then got pinch-hitter Steve Clevenger to ground out to first, the runners both advancing. Up comes former Cardinal Joe Mather, who works the count to 2-2 before driving a Motte slider into center, bringing both runners home, and the Cubs win it.


Always bad to lose, but a particular shame to waste a good effort by Jaime Garcia. 7 2/3 innings, 6 hits, 1 earned run, and 4Ks. Cubs starter Matt Garza made it a pitchers’ duel, with an equally impressive effort – 7 innings, 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 5Ks, although he wasn’t nearly as efficient, needing 108 pitches to get through 7, while Garcia threw only 85.

Neither offense did very much, at least not until Mather stepped in in the 9th. Matt Holliday finally had a good night, going 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI.

Adam Wainwright starts tomorrow, hoping to turn things around.


Cards win series in Pittsburgh, on to Chicago

April 22, 2012

Cardinals 5, Pirates 1

Lohse in command. (Getty Images)

It’s almost becoming monotonous, putting up photos of Cardinal pitchers, but they have been very impressive in the first two weeks of the season, particularly since one of the staff’s aces, Chris Carpenter, is on the DL, probably for awhile, and the other, Adam Wainwright, is still recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Kyle Lohse, who won today and who is carrying an ERA under 1.00, gave another strong performance. His line – 7 innings, 6 hits, 5 Ks, no walks, and a lone earned run in the 8th, by which time the game was pretty much tucked away.

Of the Cardinals’ starters, only Wainwright is still struggling, but as I noted before, it takes a full season to get back into form after that surgery. Otherwise, for April, the ERAs are: Garcia, 3.06; Lynn, 1.42; Westbrook, 1.31.

Not to slight the offense. The Redbirds have scored 36 more runs than their opponents in the first 16 games of the 2012 season, the best offensive performance in the NL.

Today, Rafael Furcal was 3 for 4 with a double, an RBI, and two runs scored. Matt Holliday, who is still looking for his groove, was 1 for 4, but he made it count, driving in and RBI, as did David Freese. Even Carlos Beltran, who wore the collar today, got something out of a double play by driving in a run.


Late Night Listening with Fred Neil

April 21, 2012

Ken Kesey once said, “Fred Neil, doin’ slow time for our sins in the Ultimate Junkyard.”


Cardinals blanked by Burnett

April 21, 2012

Pirates 2, Cardinals 0

Burnett, practically untouchable, delivers. (Getty Images)

A.J. Burnett was supposed to be in rehab, instead, he was on the mound, pitching splendidly and blanking the Cardinals. His line – 7 innings, 7 Ks, 3 hits, and no runs.

The Redbirds blew a decent start by Jake Westbrook – 6 2/3 innings, 7 hits, 2 runs, 6Ks. The offense that had been so hot in the early innings recently blew a great chance to stake their pitcher to a lead, loading loaded the bases against Burnett with no one out, but Beltran and Freese struck out swinging and Molina lined out. They wouldn’t collect another hit until the 5th, and didn’t really get back into the game.

10-5 now, not too shabby, but some worrisome signs after a fast start. Holliday may well break out of a sub-.200 slump. Craig, Jay, Schumaker, and Chris Carpenter may be back and healthy. Right now, we’re getting good results from a hobbled team. How long that lasts is anyone’s guess.


Levon Helm, RIP

April 21, 2012

Man, I’ve been writing too many blog posts with “RIP” in the titles.

A weight has attached itself to my heart with the news that Levon Helm has passed away at 71. A musician of under-stated brilliance, with a folksy rasp of a voice that couldn’t belong to anyone else and a passion for the deep roots of American music, Levon Helm was an irreplaceable original.

This is my favorite song of theirs, played live at The Last Waltz concert on Thanksgiving night in 1976:

The allocades have come rolling in.

The Atlantic

Chicago Tribune

Rolling Stone

The Irish Times





And a sad narrative in the Christian Science Monitor

There are a lot more, of course. Google his name, and you’ll get something like 2,600 hits.

We’ll miss hearing you, Levon.

With deepest appreciation.