GAME 17: LaHair Ball Ray April 23, 2012 Cardinals, Game Recap The Cardinals rolled into a freezing Wrigley Field to battle the hapless Chicago Cubs to face hard-throwing righty Matt Garza. Limited to just one hit through four innings, the Cubs struggled against Jaime Garcia’s slippery off-speed stuff. However, the Cubs hung tough against the Cardinals bullpen, finally working them over for a 3-2 victory over the stunned Cardinals (11-6). SINKHOLE: Even on a bright, sunny afternoon in midsummer, Wrigley Field is a birdbath covered in pelican shit and hobo urine. Night games are much worse. The lighting is so depressingly awful that it’s like playing in a dank basement by candlelight. Do they have three electrical lights to illuminate the entire dump? History be damned, it’s time for the Cubs to enter the 20th century (we’re currently in the 21st century, but it’s a start). LUKEWARM: Matt Holliday had two big hits including a double tonight, continuing an encouraging trend started late last week. I told you that Holliday looked like he was coming out of his three week slump – why don’t you listen to me? They haven’t been pretty, but they’re positive results nonetheless. Watch out, National League! TARGET PRACTICE: Does David Freese have a target on his face? The guy gets hit more than a Hong Kong prostitute on coupon night. Hard-throwing Matt Garza plunked Freese on the hands – NOT THE HANDS! – in the fourth inning, doubling the third baseman over in pain. Given the fact that a silent fart would shatter Freese’s tibia in three places, Cardinal Nation braced for the worst. Luckily, Freese survived the encounter without a four-month trip to the disabled list. I guess Freese must be taking his calcium pills. PECKING AWAY: The Cardinals took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on a groundout by Carlos Beltran and a sacrifice fly by Yadier Molina. It’s not always about big hits; sometimes it involves small ball and execution. JAIME YOUNG: Remember when we secretly wished that Jaime Garcia would finally fulfill his promise? Well, how does a sub-.300 ERA sound so far? Garcia was amazing tonight, moving the ball down and in and out all night. After the first, Garcia rarely threw more than 10 pitches in each inning. He deserved much better. I WANT TO HAVE Mitchell Boggs‘ BABY: Mitchell Boggs strolled into the game in the eighth inning to relieve Garcia’s two-on trouble, and he induced an important grounder to Furcal to end the threat. Boggs is incredible this year. As Kyle noted, it’s nice to have Boggs and Jason Motte slamming the door in the late innings! Sadly, this was not one of those nights. MEANINGLESS HEAT: You know what it’s like to try and hit a 98 mph fastball in 40 degree wind chills? It’s supposed to be impossible. However, it wasn’t impossible tonight, as the Cubs worked over Jason Motte for a couple of walks in the ninth, reminding Cardinal fans of a beared Ryan Franklin. Then Motte really looked like Franklin by falling behind some nobody named Joe Mather and allowing a single up the middle for a game-losing hit. That was all she wrote. PLAYER OF THE GAME: It’s hard to avoid picking Garcia as the player of the game in a low-scoring affair like this one. Hell, I’m picking Garcia. CONCLUSION: These kind of losses hurt the most. You hate to see incompetent clubs like the Cubs come back against Motte and the Cardinals. Motte’s first blown save of the year shouldn’t have come against a ridiculously awful team like the Cubs. Hand it to Bryan LaHair for fouling off 2,458 pitches in order to wear down Motte and open the door. Still, Garcia deserved this win.