live – cubs at nationals. game 82.

top 1st i like don sutton as a broadcaster. he knows pitching and he talks about each pitcher’s strengths and weaknesses and the types of pitches they throw. a lot of interesting discussion of pitching, which is maybe my favorite part of the game.

soriano lines a single into right on a 2-0 count. way to start it off. and soriano steals second on a high fastball. the catchers throw made one hop so sori just beat it. and then theriot slaps a single into center! soriano charges home and is safe easily on a not-so-good throw. 1-0 cubs. couldn’t have executed that better.

aramis is not playing today. he will have to rest every now and then and this is a good game for it with zambrano going against some guy, three years older than Z at 29, that the nationals just called up from AAA. and he wasn’t even really very good down there. he used to pitch for the astros too and he wasn’t that good. but lee, floyd, and derosa all go down and thats the end of that.

bottom 1st zambrano puts the nats down 1-2-3 with a little help from a couple of great defensive plays from theriot. the last out was a rocket ground ball from ryan zimmerman which he snagged on a bounce and threw over to first. man, they playing well, this is fun to watch.

bottom 2nd wow! fontenot just made an amazing catch in shallow center over his shoulder for the third out! there were two guys on so that probably saved two runs right there on a high pop out with two outs. that is good stuff.

top 3rd theriot just bunted with Z and sori on 2nd and 1st with no out. and they walked lee to load the bases so here is cliff floyd. and he whiffs at strike two. i wish i had more confidence in floyd. but i SHOULDNT doubt, because he lines it into center field for a base hit! 3-0 cubs as zambrano and soriano both come around to score.

its first and third now for derosa. and he walks. bases loaded one more time. fontenot doesnt have a hit in the 6 spot yet. how bout one here? full count… ah! the shortstop lopez jumps up and grabs a liner for the second out. dammit, and pagan makes the third out and the cubs leave the bases loaded. we havent been seeing that as much lately but damn i hate when it happens. especially with 1 out. oh well its 3-0…ok for now.

bottom 5th zambrano is in trouble after a lead-off walk and hitting the 8th batter robert fick. langerhans is up now with one out. its a full count and i am not in the mood for a zambrano meltdown. he walked him. looked like a decent pitch though on the outside of the plate. eh.

sac fly from belliard. 3-1 now. pretty weak, but its better than a hit. hopefully we dont see one from ryan zimmerman. don sutton is talking about how zambranos fastball tends to miss inside when he is stressed and sure enough thats what is happening in this at-bat. lots of cubs attire in those stands by the way. and he pops out to fontenot. way to make us sweat though zambrano. THERE WERE NO HITS IN THAT INNING! and they still scored a run.

bottom 7th zambrano gave the nationals free baserunner number 5 with his fourth walk of the night. that was with two outs so piniella brought in marmol. and of course he struck out ronnie belliard on three swinging strikes to get out of the inning. what that means for the pitching in the final two innings, i dont know. i’m not too excited about bob howry coming in for the save in the ninth but we’ll see what happens.

top 8th floyd walks to lead it off. thats the third walk issued by the nationals. felix pie is pinch running. shit, and derosa hits into a double play. that sucks. fontenot needs a hit. i’m starting to wonder if he shouldnt have been moved from the second spot. why doesnt he have a hit since then? he pops up it to left.

bottom 8th now marmol makes an error covering first on an amazing stop from derrek lee. but ryan church is on with two outs. and the rain looks like its coming down pretty hard over there in washington. and felipe lopez lines one right at felix pie in center. i dont know why, this is just a nail biter. the nationals cant hit but still! they have 3 hits and the cubs keep giving them baserunners. so far cliff floyd is the man of the day with his bases loaded single in third, but the cubs havent dont shit since then. they’ve threatened but have left 6 on base so far in this game. the nats have left 8.

bottom 9th schneider – fick – kearns, here we go. looks like will ohman is getting the call. man, i am nervous. this team cant even hit and i’m nervous.

ok and ohman gets schneider to ground to second. robert fick was hit by a pitch last time he came up. how bout no more of those mistakes? looked like ball two there was pretty damn close to strike three… foul ball… another foul… base hit. fuck! and its gonna be howry. really wish it was marmol.

ok can we get two outs please? BEFORE two runs? strike one. followed by two balls. come ON. fouls it back. and he strikes out on a high fastball. that is EXcellent. ryan langerhans though now, he is a pretty good hitter. fick takes second uncontested.

2-1 count again. he is JUST missing off the outside of the plate with these fastballs. strike two swinging… STRUCK HIM OUT! and… sigh of relief. that is beautiful. howry has to make my tag list after that two strikeout save. and i cant even remember the last time the cubs were two games over .500. that was really a nail-biter. early one tomorrow, lets hope the offense wakes up early.

fyi, the answer to my question from cubs.com (emphasis mine):

With the win, the Cubs are two games above .500 for the first time since May 3, 2006, when they were 14-12. They’re also 20-9 in the last 29 games, the best record in the Major Leagues for that stretch.

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