Creeping Inexorably Toward A Worthwhile Sub-Heading.
Thursday, September 11, 2003
I went into last night's game expecting to lose. No, this wasn't the typical Cubs fan outburst of self pity ("Omigod it's September and now everything will fall apart because we're cursed! Cursed, I tell you! Currrrrrrrrrrrrrsed!"). I was looking at the matchups, and while I felt that, as usual, Clement had a good chance to keep everything close and give the Cubs a decent shot at winning, that this would be the night the offense would start to fizzle a bit against the resurgent Livan Hernandez and his newly found arm-angle.
My expectations quickly changed. The Cubs hit three homers off of Hernandez and Clement was throwing a no-no through five. The score was 4-0, and it didn't look like anyone for the Expos would be figuring Clement out this time around. His slider was wicked, and even the lefties were having bad swings against him. All the stars seemed to have aligned for the lucky seventh consecutive win.
But the full moon had something to say.
Five consecutive walks and one sharp single to center later, Clement was gone, Mark Guthrie had come and gone, and now Dave Veres was standing on the hump with the bases loaded, nobody out, a slim one run lead, and Vladimir Guerrero staring him down from the box. My expectations changed again. Now I figure the Cubs will be lucky to get out of this with the game tied, or even down by a run.
Wrong again! Veres gets Guerrero to pop out, and then strikes out the next two men he faces to get the Cubs out of a sticky situation with their lead intact. Things are looking up. The game is close, but now I begin to expect a Cubs victory. After all, they've managed to get out of a very tough spot, and now all they have to do is hold them down for the rest of the game. Plus, the Expos have gone to their bullpen, which hasn't been the most reliable group of late. Once again, the stars have come together and put themselves in a lovely pattern. All is well in Cubbie land.
And then that pesky full moon shows up again.
Bottom of the eighth, Expos have men on first and third, two out, Farnsworth on the mound. He gets his man to hit a little pop-up into short left center. Alou, Lofton and Gonzalez are all converging on the ball. All of them have a chance to catch it. I expect that one of them will.
Apparently, I need to stop expecting things, because while all of them could have caught it, none of them seem to call for it, and the ball bounces off Alou's glove, allowing the tying and go ahead runs to score. Farnsworth is badly shaken by this and gives up three more runs in the inning to give the Expos an 8-4 lead. This is terribly depressing. The Cubs only have three more outs to score at least four runs, and I fully expect the Cubs to fail.