Jake Arietta has started the season 6-0 but almost lost today, leaving the game down 3-1 against the Nationals. The Cubs came back in extra-innings, winning on a walk-off homer by Baez. This team has the stuff of legend in the making. Later in the evening, I watched “Thunder and Lightning” about a Giant and a Cub that played together on the Mississippi State teams of the early to mid-80s. I hated Will Clark (cos I grew up a Dodgers fan), but secretly wished he was on my team. Rafael Palmeiro would start with the Cubs and go onto play for the Rangers and Orioles, as quiet a superstar there was, by the end of his career amassing numbers that only HOFers had. Unfortunately, he has virtually no shot of ever entering that elite group because he was failed the random testing for steroids. Sad end to a great career. The Cubs are having a career year, extending last years sensational campaign, as this year’s best team in baseball. The Giants sit atop their division with the Dodgers just a game behind (as of this writing). It’s going to be a great baseball season!
I was thinking about a week in August last year when baseball was flying high. I came upon an entry in my journal that highlights my excitement for this coming baseball season.
Over the past week, I’ve seen four of the best pitchers this year pitch. Jake Arietta pitched two masterpieces for the Chicago Cubs to bookend a four-game losing streaking against the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers, the game I attended against the Giants at AT&T Park and the no-hitter against the Dodgers in Chavez Ravine. Of course, two of the Cubs losses came in an unenvious consecutive game stretch, getting destroyed by Madison Baumgarner in San Francisco then Clayton Kershaw the next day in Los Angeles. Ouch. And today is game two of one of the best rivalries in all sports between the Dodgers and Giants, pitting Zach Greinke against MadBum. That’s four pitchers, all having phenomenal years, all candidates for the Cy Young.
Currently, I’m watching a gem of a pitching duel, between Greinke and MadBum. My buddy Tad at the game texts me “MadBum for President”; he’s a Giants fan.
I’m watching a gem. Through six innings with the Dodgers up 1-0, the seminal at bat could be the one that inning between the pitchers – Zach Greinke and Madison Baumgarner, both of whom clearly respect each other. For the first time in the storied Dodgers/Giants rivalry, both pitchers are batting eighth in the order, a coaching move made interesting by HOFer Tony LaRussa and made the norm by current Cubs skipper Joe Maddon. But these are not two ordinary pitchers. Not only are they two of the best pitchers in baseball, but they are the two best hitting pitchers in baseball. MadBum could be the best hitting pitcher I’ve ever seen. In the bottom of the sixth with two outs, men on first and second, the count full, MadBum needed Greinke to chase a pitch low and outside to get him out. MadBum, perhaps the best big game pitcher today, in his turn at bat, fought Greinke till the end, until Greinke needed a good pitch for MadBum to chase to get him out! Incredible.
Pederson breaks out of a slump with his 24th home run, hacking it against MadBum, the Dodgers earning both runs off him. MadBum is pitching a good game with eight K’s, one walk and scattering seven hits, but Greinke has been unhittable giving up only two hits until the eighth.
The Dodgers won 2-1 on that day. The Cubbies won 4-3 today.
Did I mention that I love baseball?
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ALWAYS BE EPIC