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Story Time

By bullpenbrian at 09.04.2008 2 comments.

  • Wednesday September 3rd – Wrigley Field
  • Game (140): Astros 4 – Cubs 0
  • Record (85-55) – 1st place NL Central

The skinny: A five game losing streak can make a man irrational.

So, I took some extra time to digest the Cubs’ loss last night; I hope you don’t mind.

First, a story…it’s the summer of 2003 and I’m working an internship with the Cincinnati Reds.

One Saturday afternoon in the middle of June I’m walking towards Great American Ballpark from my parking spot underneath the yellow bridge east of the ballpark (sorry intern, no parking pass for you).

It’s humid outside and I start working up a good sweat on the 10 minute walk to the yard.

Just as I near the worker’s entrance a taxi pulls up and out jumps a guy who could pass for my high school science teacher, not a major league pitcher.

Nonetheless, there stands Randy Wolf, the Phills’ scheduled starter for the night’s game.

I recognized Wolf right away, say hello as I pass by on the sidewalk and continued my march towards the park’s door.

Surprisingly, Wolf tags along for the final stretch, our conversation going something like this:

  • “little warm out,” Wolf said.
  • “Yeah, just a little.”
  • “You’re throwing tonight, right?
  • “Yep,” said Wolf.
  • “How you feel?”
  • “Good, real good,” Wolf says with a smile.

In the bottom of the first Adam Dunn lines a leadoff home run against Wolf into the right field bleachers (sadly it’s true, Dave Miley batted Dunn leadoff in those days), Reds lead 1-0.

Hummm, ‘so he feels good,’ I think to myself?

But, Dunn’s shot was the beginning of the end for the Reds’ offense; Wolf lasted seven strong innings allowing just 1-R on 2-H with 7-K and no BB.

Ok, so the man felt good.

Phillies win 12-2 and I go home believing Wolf must be one of the friendliest guys in baseball.

Of course, I have no idea if that’s true about Wolf or not, but his kindness towards me that afternoon was very cool – not so much against the Reds through.

That being said, I’d say Wolf felt pretty good this evening when he stepped out of a cab on Addison and Sheffield.

Interestingly, the Cubs’ lineup had nothing working against a guy they slapped around for seven runs in four innings back on May 12th when Wolf was with San Diego.

It’s funny how a uniform can change a man.

Since being traded to Houston, Randy is (3-1) while helping the Astros post the N.L.’s best record since the All Star break (30-15) including the team’s eight-game winning streak.

Bottom line, the Cubs’ hitting slump is bad timing against the surging Stros’.

Here’s the good news though, the Cubs should revive the offense this weekend playing in the Great American SMALLPARK.

Plus, the division lead is basically five games up on the Brewers, who’re in the midst of their own struggles losing 2-of-3 at home against New York.

Watching the team not hit is frustrating, but not too worrisome…the hits and home runs will come with this lineup.

Just consider Chicago‘s 7 through 9 hitters lead MLB with a (.298 avg.)…the hits will come I tell you.

The real worries lie with Big Z…are we talking arm fatigue or injury, September return or done for the year???

What the word Z?

How ya feeling…good?

W – Wolf (9-11)

L – Dempster (15-6)

  • Notes: Despite the Cubs’ five-game slid they’ve still won 15 of the past 23 games.
  • Florida is now the lone N.L. team not to have lost five straight games this season: the Angles, Rays & Yanks have yet to do so in the A.L.
  • Dempster is now (7-3) when following a Cubs loss this year.
  • Ryan has also struck out six or more batters in 9 of his past 10 starts.
  • Randy Wolf felt pretty good for most of that 2003 season: he finished with a career high 16 wins.
  • His brother, Jim, is a MLB umpire.
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