Cubs take the series from Boston; Boston takes home some respect in Game 3
It was not to be an entirely perfect weekend at Wrigley Field for the home team. After two huge victories, confidence was high, and Sunday saw struggling knuckleballer Tim Wakefield on the mound. By the time the dust had settled, it was Wakefield the winner, and the Cubs the bamboozled.
Looking back on the series as a whole, we should be extremely happy. We outscored the Red Sox 22-20 and took 2 of the 3 games against the World Champions. The bats stayed hot, matching the Red Sox and their high-scoring ways, hit-for-hit. 20 hits on Friday is nothing to be scoffed at.
Friday: Cubs 14, Red Sox 6
Arroyo (4-3) never got comfortable on the mound and the Cubs shellacked him early, jumping out to a 7-1 lead after 3 innings. The sluggers kept up that torrid pace, and everyone contributed:
Perez: 2-5, R
Lee: 2-4, 2B, RBI, 2 R
Burnitz: 3-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Ramirez: 3-4, RBI, 3 R
Walker: 2-4, 2B, 2 R
Hollandsworth: 2-5, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
Barrett: 3-4, 2 2B, 3 RBI
Maddux: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 5 K // 1-2, HR
You can't say enough about the effort. Despite 2 Home Runs from Ortiz and a solo shot from Bellhorn when the game was out of reach, the Cubs were more prepared and more up to the task.
Saturday: Cubs 7, Red Sox 6
Hawk covered this one. Nice one, Hawk.
Sunday: Cubs 1, Red Sox 8
Rusch fell to 5-2 in his worst outing of the season on ESPN. Nothing horrible to watch, just a little frustrating; Glendon just couldn't put his pitches where they needed to be. 17 hits for the Red Sox yielded more than enough offense to beat the Cubs, against whom Wakefield pitched an excellent game -- 7 IP, 4 H, ER, 3 K, 86 pitches.
The high-pitch counts early in the game came back to haunt Rusch, for whom the 6th inning was more than difficult; after loading the bases and allowing in a run on a fielder's choice, he couldn't get the second out, getting Damon to 1-2 and then giving up a bases-clearing triple, a 5-0 Red Sox lead and a lead the Cubs wouldn't threaten. As if to irritate even further, Rusch came out after the triple and it took Borowski one pitch to the end the inning, a Renteria fly-out to center field.
Nothing much more to say about this one - the Cubs couldn't get their offense firing against the knuckler, and Rusch was a little off-target today.
The Marlins are now in town, and the pitcher with one of the best records in the Majors right now, Dontrelle Willis (10-2, 2.13 ERA) goes up against Jon Koronka. This should be an entertaining series, one that I'll preview a little later today.
To finish off the historic Cubs/Red Sox series, I'll take a quick look at the 4 guys I pegged to be key players for the two teams.
Derrek Lee, 1B -- 4-11, 3 2B, RBI, 3 R
Carlos Zambrano, SP -- 5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 8 K (ND)
Johnny Damon, CF -- 5-12, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI
Tim Wakefield, SP -- 7 IP, 4 H, ER, 3 K (W)