Sunday, July 5, 2009

Red, White and Brew; Milwaukee gets one back

Saturday: Brewers 11, Cubs 2

Well, clearly I'm bad luck when it comes to attending Cubs games. They're now 0-3 when I'm in the stands, with Harden having taken two of the losses. The Brewers quickly turned this one into a laugher, taking a 5-0 lead in the top of the first.

The Cubs could have made a game of it, loading the bases against Braden Looper in each of the first two innings. But when Soriano (batting sixth) grounded out and Theriot hit into a double play in the 1st and 2nd innings, respectively, the game was all but over (by the way, has anyone else noticed that Soriano grounds out to third pretty much every time he makes contact with the ball? He's as predictable as Derrek Lee was last year when he consistently grounded out to short.). The only real offense the Cubs could muster was a two-run homer by Bradley in the 3rd, but when the Cubs' bullpen gave those runs right back in the 4th, it was clear that the Cubs were taking a holiday on this 4th of July.

On the bright side, Micah Owings took down the Cardinals to keep the Cubs within 2 1/2 games of first. The entire NL Central is within six games of first place, with the Brewers and Cardinals tied at just five games over .500. Mediocrity, meet the NL Central; NL Central, meet mediocrity.

Harden's poor outing (2 IP, 7 ER) was the shortest of his career, and raised his ERA to 5.35. His highest ERA prior to this season was 4.24, in 2006. With Zambrano pitching pretty well, Dempster doing okay, Lilly pitching solidly and Wells our best starter, Harden is the one who really needs to step it up to help the Cubs get over the hump.

It's worth noting that the player who did the most damage Saturday was Cub castoff Casey McGehee. McGehee was 4-for-5 with a triple, a HR and 5 RBI. He's now batting .331 on the season.

With a win today, the Cubs will have picked up two games on the Brewers and will be within 2 1/2 games of first, if not less. Ted Lilly has been lights out at home (4-1, 1.85) this season, and if he keeps that up, The Homestand will be off to a great start.

McNair found dead

Steve McNair, the third overall draft pick in 1995, was found shot to death Saturday. McNair was co-MVP in 2003, passed for 30,000 yards, and ran for 3,500 yards in his career. He played for 13 years, the last two with the Ravens, and retired in 2007.

What I'll always remember about McNair is that he was part of the Titans team that pulled off the Music City Miracle and then went on to play in one of the best Super Bowls ever played. Who could forget the finish to Super Bowl XXXIV:

McNair was a titan of the game, and my thoughts go out to his family.

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