A day game at Wrigley, two contending teams (Phillies, Cubs), my favorite team (the Phillies), a Phillie debut, (Kyle Lohse), Chris Coste in the lineup (yay! what a pleasant surprise) a Pat Burrell homer (double-yay! what an even more pleasant bigger surprise), apparently another Phillies injury (that Lohse guy again. Can we send him back to the Reds now?), I'm off for the rest of the day and we're still in the top of the second. That means live blog time, folks! Check back often to see if I actually go through with this or succumb to a Snackwells run.
Update: 5:58 p.m., Phillies 10, Cubs 6, FINAL
Koyie Hill, aka the Cubs catcher Carlos Zambrano doesn't like to slap around, flies to Rowand, and that's it! Phillies win! And they suffered only one injury during the game, so a great day indeed. OK, well, many thanks to all of you for hanging with me though thick, thin and hand-tossed, and special thanks to Chris Coste, Alan's friend Chris, and Alan. Let's hope Jenn wasn't so turned off by my obsessive live-blogging that she stays in Bradenton this weekend. Naw. We all know this stuff is way hot, right? Chicks dig the live blog.
Update: 5:51, bottom 9th, Phillies 10, Cubs 6
OK, here we go. Myers is on the mound to close this one out, salvage a split (not bad), and head to Milwaukee to pound the nail in the Brewers' coffin. Three pitches to Fontenot, one out. Back to the bayou with you.
Update: 5:46, top 9th, Phillies 10, Cubs 6
Chris Coste reaffirms everything I've believed about him for the past year now, singling to make him 3-for-5 on the day. Roberson at second, Coste at first, one out in the ninth. Just for comparison's sake, we have who I hope is the Phillies former regular catcher, Carlos Ruiz, at-bat now, pinch-hitting for Gordon. Let's see if he can drive home an insurance run. He can! He can! A double, and now it's two runners in scoring position for Werth with still only one out. Lou looks perturbed. Not because he's going to drop back into a first-place tie. Because he won't be the beneficiary of Manuel's misinterpretation of the pinch-hitting skills of Ruiz and Barajas as indication that they, and not Coste, should see action behind the plate this weekend. Werth doubles (this could set some sort of 9-inning record for doubles) and now it's not even a save situation for ... wait, who is the Phillies closer now?
Update: 5:37, top 9th, Phillies 7, Cubs 6
Well, one inning to go, and a strained, crappy bullpen juuuuuuust holding onto a one-run lead. I know it's cliche, especially at Wrigley, but Phillies, c'mon, let's get some runs! Sean Marshall can't be the only Cub you can get to! Roberson leads us off right with a single. Oops! Nunez pops out on a bunt attempt and continues to wish it were still 2005. C'mon, Coste!
Update: 5:32, bottom 8th, Phillies 7, Cubs 6
Dammit! Soft spot for K-Kat gone. Quiet Riot singles home Soriano. Cubs within a run. Oh man. And, right on cue, Will Ohman is warming up in the Cubs bullpen. Double play ball! Damn, Lee beats it out. A walk to Ramirez and we have runners first and second and two out for Mark DeRosa.
Update: 5:26, bottom 8th, Phillies 7, Cubs 5
Hey, it's good to see Tom Gordon back. I have a soft spot for Thomas (as Highlands County locals call him instead of Tom) since I covered a few of his relatives as a sports writer for the News-Sun in Highlands County, Fla., where K-Kat (as Highlands County locals call him instead of Flash) grew up. He gives up another double (how many doubles have the Cubs hit in this game?) to Soriano. And the Cubs move into sole possession of first place as the Mets 12-4 win over the Brewers goes final. Phils drop to 4.5 games back. And its a four-game series attendance record for the Cubs. And there was much rejoicing ...
Update: 5:16, top 8th, Phillies 7, Cubs 5
Wuerst matchup ever ! Michael Wuertz vs. Jayson Werth. Wuertz induces a groundout to win said matchup. Did not know Werth was Dick Schofield's nephew. Finally, some useful information from WGN personnel! And no, the time American Idol Rewind is airing is NOT useful information. Some guy who looks like Kevin James just fell out of the stands diving for a foul ball hit by Iguchi and was whisked off by security. My guess is every Cub fan wishes that were Bartman. Or maybe it is ... I'd gain 100 lbs. too if I blew my team's chances of winning its first World Series in almost 100 years. (Somebody check Danny Ozark's weight fluctuations in the 1977-78 offseason).
Update: 5:07, bottom 7th, Phillies 7, Cubs 5
Welcome Phillies.com forum readers! J.C. Romero is hitting for some reason and flies out to Angel Pagan, who slips to avoid a lightning bolt from god for his blasphemous name. Ron Santo sings the seventh inning stretch. Do I have the heart to make fun of a paraplegic ... yes, but not now. I'm saving my vitriol for Dell Computer Support. Defensive change roulette! Roberson on in right, Werth from Right to left, Nunez in and playing third, Romero stays on the hill (thank god, since he batted in the top of the inning).
Update: 4:57 p.m., Top 7th, Phillies 7, Cubs 5
Computer crash. Never, ever buy from Dell. Awful company. But what did we miss? The Phillies wasted a trip through the middle of their order, and the Cubs do the same. J.C. Romero now pitching for Philadelphia. Oh yeah, and we missed a horrible 1987 recording by The Beach Boys, who, clearly hard-up for money and still a year away from cashing in on "Kokomo," recorded a promo album for the Cubs. WGN played a track in which the words from Barbara-Ann were reworked over a montage of mostly scary looking Cub fans. And now Cliff Floyd leaves the game with injury. Fewer players were injured in the Eagles-Bears NFC Divisional Playoff a few years back. Pat Burrell continues his belief that it's still April and is taken down for pinch-runner Chris Roberson.
Update: 4:29, end 5th, Phillies 7, Cubs 5
Matt Murton with an RBI single, runners first and second, two out. And those memories of that spring day in 2005 become all the more vivid. Of course, Geary wasn't the only one who got torched that afternoon. Sunscreen is a must even if its a relatively cool day in Florida. Rookie mistake, it was my first year down here. Inning over, Iguchi, Rollins and Howard due up, and Rocky Cherry was pinch-hit for, so everything's setting up for some Phillies runs in the sixth. Let's see how Fuqua blows this one!
Update: 4:23, bottom 5th, Phillies 7, Cubs 4
Hey, guess what! Lollapalooza is at Grant Park this weekend! Tomorrow and Saturday at Grant Park in Chicago, you can go pretend its still the early '90s! When Lollapalooza was cool! And underground! And not being promoted by the Cubs announcers during the game the day before! Plenty of tickets still available, kids! Geoff Geary's on. I have to commend Geary for turning into a competent Major Leaguer, but I still can't get that memory of the first time I saw him, getting torched by Braves minor leaguers in the late innings of a spring training game. Nice peg by Rollins, but Fontenot walks and Jacque Jones singles. First and second, one out.
Update: 4:15, top 5th, Phillies 7, Cubs 4
Kasper informs us that Jeff Samardzija has been promoted to Class AA Tennessee. I hope you enjoy the lovely Kodak-Sevierville area, Jeff, and don't ever regret that decision to turn down football and the kleig lights, Jeff. There's a certain charm to Appalachia that can't be replaced. No matter how hard you try. And here comes Barajas with a two-out pinch-hit single! Well, I guess we know who's starting behind the plate tomorrow night. Fire up www.freetheoppressedchriscoste.com immediately!
Update: 4:04, bottom 4th, Phillies 7, Cubs 4
So I'm compelled to point out that Chris Coste, who will bat in the top of the fifth, has started off 2-for-2. Coste is now batting .367 in 49 at-bats this year. After batting .328 in 198 at-bats last year, his first in the majors. Yes, I know he's 34. I know he went undrafted. I know he's the consummate minor-league journeyman. But when he gets to the show, he produces, and there's no reason not to make somebody who has a career .331 batting average in 247 at-bats your every day catcher. Unless, of course, you are an oppressor named Charles Fuqua "Charlie" Manuel, who has passed Coste over for Carlos Ruiz (.251 in 247 ABs) and Rod Barajas (.207 in 116 ABs) all season long. Lee knocks home Soriano with an RBI double. Durbin's E.R.A. begins its ascent back up to 27.00. Whaddya mean Madson's got a strained ligament? It's not like he could pitch any worse! Get him up in the bullpen!
Update: 3:51, top 4th, Phillies 7, Cubs 3
Mercifully, the third inning is over. What, I can't enter the Pepsi Fan-Cam contest unless I'm a resident of Illinois or northwest Indiana? God Bless the anachronistic idea of a Superstation! It's the pride of Philadelphia, Ryan Howard, versus Rocky. And Ryan strikes out looking. Natch. Now it's Rowand's turn to see if he can pop Rocky's Cherry (you knew that was coming!).
Update: 3:41, bottom 3rd, Phillies 7, Cubs 2
Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper just pointed out that Sean Marshall's ERA has gone from 3.10 to 3.86. So the Cubs are worried that one of their starter's E.R.A is even approaching four. And we wonder why the Phillies have such trouble putting win streaks together. And just as I was about to write "and Durbin keeps rollin' along," Floyd singles to give the Cubs runners on the corners with two outs. Hoo boy. I think I'm still going to be blogging this game when Barry Bonds hits his 755th homer sometime after midnight Eastern tonight. Mike Fontenot doubles and it's 7-2 Phils. Werth slips but he appears OK. For now. Geez.
Update: 3:27, top 3rd, Phillies 7, Cubs 1
Rocky Cherry is now warming up in the Cubs' bullpen, setting up a potential gripping Rocky vs. Philly matchup. Burrell and Helms both score when Derrek Lee can't backhand a throw by Ryan The(quiet)riot at first on a groundball hit by Coste. And here comes Rocky. If the WGN producers are worth anything, they'll have the music after the break ... and they don't. Werth doubles to the wall, Coste scores.
Update: 3:21, top 3rd, Phillies 4, Cubs 1
Hey, a 1-2-3 inning! Way to go J.D.! By the way, J.D. Durbin's ERA is now down to 6.30 and has won his last three starts, notably a complete-game shutout at San Diego on July 22. So of course it was time to replace him in the rotation with Lohse. A guy who's 1-2 and has given up 10 earned runs in 17 innings over his last three starts. Nice going, Pat Gillick and C. Fuqua Manuel! Phils have second and third with one out after a Wes Helms double, btw.
Update: 3:11 p.m., bottom 2nd
Hey, a three-run Phillies inning! But that included a pinch-hit appearance by Adam Eaton, who batted for Lohse (right forearm contusion suffered in the first). It's 4-1, so in case you're wondering, the wind is blowing out. And it's hot at Wrigley, so WGN is showing disturbing pictures of scantily-clad grandmothers trying to put voodoo hexes on the Phils. Oh Arne Harris, where art thou? J.D. Durbin, he of the 27.00 ERA at one point last month, is now pitching.