The sun, the game on tv, and occasionally me are all blacked out in Chicago. I wasn't going to drink tonight, but I bought some Crown Royal Black the other day and it's just sitting there, beckoning, and Al Hrbosky is on the radio, so here we go.
The first inning was a "dry" inning, where nothing happened. Well, except that the Cubs starting pitcher had to leave the game for some mysterious injury. In the second inning, some guy named Dan Johnson made the radio announcers excited, because he knocked in some runs... for the Cardinals! I wish I could see it! But since comcast sports net has no Roku channel that I am aware of, and MLB.tv can't even control its own product, I didn't.
But with the magic of the internet, I can see Dan Johnson. The main notable thing about Johnson is he is no kid, he's 35. And he's been on a tear lately, so the Cardinals are obviously trying to ride the streak. Also, a left handed hitter option at first, since Reynolds and Scruggs are righties. Michael Wacha also got an RBI single.
In the bottom of the second, Al told us that the game will probably be rained out, if the forecast is accurate. There's been not too much sun in Chicago this summer, and abnormal amounts or rain, while being unseasonably cool. So more rain is no surprise here. However, the rain didn't pick up right away, and the game continued apace.
Eventually Claiborne replaces Rooney and I gotta say, the guy always sounds confused. I don't blame him because he has to work with Al, but I don't think that's the reason. Certainly could be though. It just seems that he has randomly incorrect viewpoints on a lot of things, in the few times I've heard him announce games at least.
I used to listen to baseball on the radio all the time as a kid, but that's because Jack Buck and Mike Shannon were the announcers, and out of need. Now, spoiled with exciting teams and streaming video on something called a Roku box (3rd level!), listening to Mike Claiborne and Al Hrbosky on the radio is a challenge to pay attention to.
Dan Johnson was ready to hit tonight. He picked up another RBI and will probably be remembered around gas stations as a superhero (when he was just having a good month). The announcers celebrate his veteran status, saying he can teach the other players. Al mentions as an interesting aside that Dan Johnson is the 13th player to be summoned from Memphis.
I gotta tell you, paying attention to a game on the radio with these announcers as well as through various internet outlets is rather confusing. They even took out the one announcer that was ok and replaced him with a worse announcer!
Anyway, there were back to back triples in this game, which got the gamethread wondering when the last time this happened was. Well, this made me stumble upon the Angels having 4 triples in 5 batters this spring training, which included two separate back to back triples. But that's spring training, and not the Cardinals. The all time record is 4 back to back triples. Found this article about three in a row, which is pretty rare itself. But my 5 minute research didn't turn up anything about the last time the Cardinals went back to back triples-wise.
The back to back triplers were the strikeout duo of Mark Reynolds and Randal Grichuk! Well, that's what they usually do anyway. Tonight, because of baseball, Mark Reynolds now has 2 triples this year. And Randal Grichuk, say what you will about the guy, he hits the shit out of the baseball when he connects. He's always reminded me a little of Rick Ankiel, but I personally don't believe there's quite as big of a hole in his swing, and he's obviously a little better in the field, if not a lot better. Hope springs eternal.
This game also featured a multi-hit/multi-rbi game for pitcher Michael Wacha. I kid you not, Rooney came back to replace Claiborne, and I'm thinking that it will be better announcing, but he and Al agree that Dan Johnson and Nick Stavinoha are their favorite Cardinal players, even calling them MVPs. Obviously trolling me, I hope, but knowing this world, they quite possibly could be serious.
Not to be outdone by Michael Wacha, Dan Johnson got another RBI, knocking in Randal Grichuk from third after his triple. By the way, that was Grichuk's 6th triple of the season. As for tripling, Randal best compares to the Tigers Rajai Davis, who has a .0355 triple to PA ratio, or 7 in 197 PA. .0326 for Randal, and league leader who plays more often, Kevin Kiermaier, has 9 triples but .0311 triple to plate appearance ratio (9 in 289 PA).
Apologies for the whiskey rambling, but thanks for reading. Glad to have an audience. Speaking of triples, the Cubs rookie of the year candidate Kris Bryant had one tonight as well, which scored Anthony Rizzo. In the fourth, Starlin Castro singled, with his own RBI, which scored Kris Bryant. Another really good reason triples are super cool... a single somehow equals a run.
This gave me pause, but the nightmare wasn't over. They kept rotating Rooney and Claiborne out and I found it rather difficult to follow the game through radio. With random quips by Al, which helped none. There was a calm before the storm, but it rolled in. The Cubs kept being pesky. And Miguel Montero stepped up and stopped the peskiness, just batting in runners and whatnot.
Montero is not a great at the plate, but keep in mind he is a catcher with 10 home runs already, a really low batting average and plenty of room for improvement in his BABIP... I fully expect the Cubs to get one of the wild cards. Anyway, today he had a rather opportune double for the Cubs, since the bases were loaded. 5-4 Cubs, after the Cardinals appeared to be rather in control of the game for a while.
July has been rough for the Cards, going 3-5. Rough for a team with so many wins that is. Getting swept by the White Sox going into July is distorting my perception though, so it's not as bad as it seems. Still, the offense has been pretty light for a while.
Between Travis Wood and Miguel Montero, they pretty much grabbed this game from the clutches of the Cardinals, by WPA and I feel in reality as well. Montero was at .360 WPA!
For ghoodness sake, though, Jhonny Peralta came up to bat right when I was about to wave the white flag. Seriously, I was thinking about finishing up this article, since I was "kind of" writing it in real time, but mostly not really. Al did postulate that Jhonny would extend the game with only their last strike left.
This moment absolutely reminded me of why baseball on the radio is so damn good. The imagination and emotions take over, big time. And that shows you why baseball, and life, are so great. Even though the All Star was not doing well lately, as well as his team, he was able to right the ship and change course. This had all of the feel of a walk off game winning home run, but the Cardinals had more opportunities, as did the Cubs. 6-5 Cards.
Jhonny Peralta's home run meant that his night was at .698 WPA. That is REALLY FREAKING GOOD. The funny thing is, in a game dominated by offenses, Michael Wacha was the next most influential hitter on the Cardinals.
To go beyond the offense, Peralta also had a great night on defense. The alignment of this win ended up being Chaotic Good, so all right.
<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=0&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2015-07-08&team=Cubs&dh=0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2015-07-08&team=Cubs&dh=0&season=2015">FanGraphs</a></span>
This game made many people nervous, but its entertainment value, even when being delivered by the meager announcing trio of Hrbosky/Rooney/Claiborne, was immeasurable. It sure helped that I was able to read VEB while I watched and wrote this.
Tune in tomorrow night at 6:05 pm, to see a much anticipated matchup of Carlos Martinez facing the surging Pirates. Hopefully the Tsunami can drown the ship early on in the serious with a dominating start. Jeff Locke has a 4.00 SIERA while Carlos Martinez is at 3.37, which puts him as an equal to Jon Lester in SIERA. So basically a top 25 MLB starter.
And oh yeah, Mike Matheny was ejected at some point during this game, which seemed to effect things not much.
*Here is some chelebration shteel that ended up being on randomly from yhoutube, hheavy