CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 29: Tony Campana #1 of the Chicago Cubs (R) steals second base as shortstop Brian Bixler #12 of the Houston Astros waits for the throw in the eighth inning on June 29, 2012 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
I'm a guy who really enjoys his baseball. So much, in fact, that I am pleased to spend a good portion of my week typing blog articles about about exciting things like, "Who is Craig Tatum?," and "Slugging for Dummies." However, one thing I do not enjoy is repeatedly heading articles with, "Astros lose," "Cubs Win," and "Aargh!" Ergo the title of this article, complete with double-negative.
But I soldier on. Tonight, some of you may have something fundamental in common with me with regards to this game: like myself, you did not watch or listen to it. I tried, truly I did. Because of the silly Wrigley Park custom of day games, I resorted to MLB Gameday Audio while toiling away at my desk at work. Or rather, I tried to resort to MLB Gameday. The game was in a rain delay, and I periodically clicked "refresh", trusting MLB to let me know when the game started. 1:00...refresh, rain delay. 2:00...refresh, rain delay. 3:00...refresh, rain delay. 4:00...refresh, rain delay. 5:00...a headline: "Astros lose to Paul Maholm 4-0." Nice work, MLB.com.
The main reason for this long story is so that I can delay saying anything about the game itself. But here we go anyway:
The offense stunk. Can I stop there? No? Very well. The Astros managed one walk and four paltry hits, two of which came during the ninth inning, knocking the Cubs'
Bud Norris returned from the disabled list today to give up all four runs in six innings. All of them came on homers by Luis Valbuena, Steve Clevenger, and Alfonso Soriano. The good news is that Norris walked only one Cub today. The bad news is that nobody walks the Cubs, as they are currently 29th in the majors in base on balls. Norris pitched a Game Score of 42 today, which is below-average. If we are searching for positives, Fernando Abad threw another good inning, giving up one hit and striking one out. His ERA is down to 3.14, which is astounding considering that his ERA sat at 5.00 a month ago. Rhiner Cruz struggled through his inning, giving up a hit and a walk before escaping with no additional damage.
Not having watched the game, I can't say with authority that the Astros didn't have a nice defensive game (yes, another double-negative). Nobody recorded an error, and a nice double play was turned in the sixth where the baserunner practically ran into Matt Downs without even trying to avoid him. Everybody likes a free gift, even if that gift is an easy out.
This is the point where I usually say something clever or uplifting. Sorry Astros fans, not today. However, I am very much looking forward to tomorrow's game, and the next day's, and the next day's. Because neither rain nor shine nor faulty firewalls can keep me from enjoying baseball.