The United Cardinal Bloggers organized their third annual progressive game blog to follow the Cubs-Cards game inning-by-inning Saturday. Each inning provides a different perspective from some great Cards bloggers out there. Redbird Rants was lucky enough to be included in this project. I’ll describe the sixth inning in detail below. For the rest of the lineup from the eyes of Cardinal nation, check out the United Cardinal Bloggers.
It was a beautiful sun-soaked afternoon at Wrigley for another page — or sentence — in the Cubs-Cards rivalry. It truly was a picture-perfect day for baseball at one of the game’s few cathedrals left. The sun left a glow on the Chicago skyline and the Wrigley grandstands. This is what it’s all about. Sure the Cards trailed 3-0 entering the sixth, but the sparkle of summer could certainly be felt. With The Cardinal Virtue setting the scene with all the action from the fifth, let’s move to the sixth.
Skip Schumaker started the inning off a chopper to short. Starlin Castro, the Cubs exciting young shortstop, couldn’t make the play and threw the ball high to allow Schumaker to reach.
Castro is a solid young player who looks like he could be a pain for the Cards for years to come. He has a good bat. He’ll only get better and stronger. He’ll develop power and learn how to use all of his abilities to become great. Earlier in the game, the broadcast looked at Castro. Lou Piniella describes him as a “major league shortstop.” He has all the tools. Now, he just needs the knowledge and experience.
The tough play in the sixth will become second nature to him in five years as he learns the game. Castro fielded the ball fine, but he took an extra split second to pat his glove and it cost him. He rushed to throw the ball and it pulled Derek Lee off the bag. With more experience, he’ll get rid of the ball without the extra movement and Schumaker would be sitting on the bench.
Back to today.
Schumaker was on first and the Cards finally had a base runner and a chance. Carlos Silva had been lights out. Silva looked calm all day, working the strike zone and keeping the Cards off balance. Adam Ottavino came to the plate with the task of moving Schumaker into scoring position. He fouled the first two pitches off and missed his third attempt to strike out. That was number 10 of the day for Silva who has been a pleasant surprise for the Cubbies in an otherwise frustrating start to the season. Like I said, Silva didn’t do anything special. He didn’t wow anyone with stuff. He just threw strikes and kept it simple. Sometimes simple is the best way to get the job done in a simple game. He was in the zone today and mistakes like Ottavino’s missed bunts hurt that much more.
To magnify the missed opportunity, Felipe Lopez came up and immediately grounded into a double play. Ryan Theriot took the grounder, stepped on second and fired to first to end the inning.
Cubs head into the bottom half up 3-0 and feeling good.
Adam Ottavino made his major league debut for the Cards and did a solid job up to this point. Heading into the sixth, he was looking to finish off a quality start.
Marlon Byrd scorched a sinking liner right at Skip Schumaker who had a rough day in the field. The ball ate him up and it was a tough play that was ruled a hit. Mike Fontenot followed with a lazy fly out. Lou put on the hit-and-run with Castro at the plate. He hit a high hopper to first that Albert Pujols handled for the out. Byrd slid over to second and Koyie Hill was intentionally walked to get to Silva who struck out in each of his first two at bats.
Ottavino then walked Silva on four pitches. Cardinal sin in baseball. Can’t walk the pitcher and can’t do it on four pitches. And Ottavino’s day ended right there.
Overall, not a bad performance for the youngster. Ottavino got the call in Wrigley against the Cubs on a nationally televised game. There aren’t many bigger stages in May. And he responded with a solid start. The mistake that ended his day proved to be the biggest problem for him all day. Ottavino walked six in 5 2/3 innings. That’s too many, but who wouldn’t be a little nervous out there. This won’t be the last time we see Ottavino on the mound for the Redbirds.
Mitchell Boggs got the call to put an end to the inning, but after a short warm-up he couldn’t find the plate. He walked Kosuke Fukudome, bringing in another Cubs run to expand the lead to 4-0.
Ryan Theriot grounded back to Boggs for the final out of the sixth.
For perspective on the seventh inning and the legendary “Seventh Inning Stretch” at Wrigley (Find out who graced the crowd with their singing talents for “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” today) head over to Cardinal Diamond Diaries.