Marlins 3 Cubs 2, F/12
Box score. It was Aramis vs. Hermida for most of the day today. Hermida homered again (twice) for the Fish in the 3rd and the 8th, providing the Marlins’ offense, and Aramis had 2 RBI for the Cubs.
However, the Cubs can’t score a single run at home in 9 straight innings and lose by one in 12.
Harden was a great pick-up (even if he has been the world’s toughest luck loser lately). He has struck out 10 batters in each of his three starts with the Cubs, and given up just 2 total runs in those games. He went just 5 innings today, giving up 2 hits, 3 walks, 1 ER, and striking out 10. Sean Marshall came in to relieve in the 6th, and pitched 3 innings, giving up 1 run, with 5 Ks. He also knocked a single through the right side. I understand the desire to be cautious (Harden threw just 87 pitches) given Harden’s injury history, but given the struggles of the Cubs’ bullpen lately and the loss of some close games, I’m not quite convinced of the efficiency of that move.
Also, starting pitching is an absolute must in the short playoff series, and if the Cubs keep up the good baseball until the NLDS, they will have Zambrano, Dempster, and Harden to kick off that best-of-five series.
Cotts pitched the first out of the 9th giving up a single. Marmol relieved him and finished out a scoreless 9th. Marmol stayed in and completed a scoreless 10th. Reed Johnson (who entered as a pinch hitter) made a great diving catch in center, saving a likely double, for the second out. Gaudin came in and pitched a perfect 11th, and continued in the 12th. Johnson made yet another great play, throwing out Andino trying to stretch a double, yet the Marlins get the go-ahead run on back-to-back doubles.
There was a bit of a delay early in this game as home plate umpire Gerry Davis was hit in the throat protector with a pitch off the glove of Florida catcher John Baker, and left the game. The rest of the game was worked with a three-man umpiring crew. This left Livid Lou only three umpires to argue with after a very close play at first in the 9th. DeRosa grounded to short, and dove head-first into first, and was called out by Rob Drake. Even after ten replays, it was hard to tell if the call was right, but DeRosa was likely out. First-base coach Matt Sinatro immediately slammed his helmet down and was tossed. Lou came out to argue as well, and was tossed shortly thereafter. Rob Drake also made a couple of questionable check-swing calls in this game, and was the same umpire Theriot was furious with after a caught-stealing call in yesterday’s game.
The Cubs caught a break yesterday as, even though they dropped a game, so did both Milwaukee and St. Louis. Houston is at Milwaukee at 6:05 ET, and St. Louis is at NYM at 7:10 ET tonight.
Aramis Watch: HOME RUN! He knocks one 2/3 of the way up the left field bleachers, with the wind blowing in. His first in over two weeks. Also added on a RBI single. I hereby declare the slump over!
At least for the next couple of hours, Milwaukee is 1/2 a game back, and St. Louis 3 1/2 back.