[To wrap up the Cubs weekend series in Missouri, I turn one last time to Dick Murdoch's 1970's sojourn to the "nothing happening state." In this case, to better understand what victory means amidst the skullduggery of St. Louis sports.]
Yesterday’s 10-3 Cub win over the Cards ties up the Stl-Chi series for the year, but it wasn’t pretty. After the Cubs took a 3-0 lead in the 1st , Derrek Lee was taken out of the game with neck spasms (he says he “slept funny“). In the 2nd, the Cards’ Todd Wellemeyer hit Soriano in the head. Considering the Cubs’ Marmol hit Pujols last week, and Rich Harden hit Pujols again in yesterday’s 5th, it looks like a long summer of “accidents” surrounding Tony Walnuts and his crew. Piniella allowed Soriano to play out the game, and swears Derrek Lee won’t be on the DL with Bradley and Ramirez. Marmol is also expected back soon.
[Noted umpire rights activist Tony La Russa has not yet commented on Ryan Ludwick's abuse of Chuck Meriwether yesterday.]
On the plus side, Fukodome had a 5 RBI day for the North Side and today’s bullpen showcase (Cotts, Heilman, and Gregg) put the Cubs 10 run outting in Rich Harden’s win column (2-1), making the Cubs a .500 again. Well, that may not sound impressive, but they did it in 2 and 2/3 innings with only 3 hits allowed. It just means they did their job, which is impressive to me. The Herald‘s Bruce Miles has a full accounting here. Miles notes that Harden actually buzzed Pujols several times Sunday. The Trib’s embedded team reporter, Paul Sullivan, takes Harden’s word it was an accident, here:
Harden (2-1) did the rest, allowing only two runs on four hits over six innings and striking out nine. Perhaps his most important pitch was the one that plunked Albert Pujols in the fifth inning. Though Harden said it was not in retaliation for the beaning of Soriano, the result was the same. Pujols stopped and stared at Harden before taking his base.
“He didn’t say anything, he just looked at me,” Harden said, adding that the pitch was not intentional.
“I’m giving everything I’ve got out there,” he said. “I really wanted to challenge him and go in, and if I miss him, miss in. Especially with the type of hitter he is, you don’t want to give him stuff down the middle, you know?”
Soriano said he didn’t think Wellemeyer was trying to hit him, but called it a “scary” moment.