The Cage Match

It was bound to happen. Rooting for your team in a tight pennant race can be stressful enough, but when the penalty for losing is instant evaporation, it kind of puts you a little more on edge. Well today at Wrigley, one of us flat-out snapped. Here’s some of what I heard as Lester’s Cubs were skunking Dr. Sheila’s Bucs for a second straight inexplicable day:

LESTER: I just can’t believe this. A DeJesus double to lead off our 1st and four consecutive singles from Morales, Murcer, Gross and Trillo? Do you know what the mathematical chances of that are?

SHEILA: No Lester, I do not. Will sit you back down please?

LESTER: I mean, I realize the hits came off Jerry Reuss, who has been nothing short of craptastic lately. (reaches in his satchel) Did I show you his UZ-CRP rating for July yet?

SHEILA: I have no interest, Lester. If we’re going to keep working together, I need you to not pull out your number. Have you seen the beer vendor lately?

LESTER: Gee, Dr. Sheila, the game’s just started, We have eight more innings and Bill Bonham’s pitching, which almost guarantees success for you. Actually—
(opens satchel again and Sheila kicks it into the nearest aisle)

We move to the 5th. Oliver doubles and Parker singles to get one back in the Pittsburgh 4th…

SHEILA: Good! A single for Taveras. I must admit he owes us one. Come on, Reuss, a nice little bunt now to set the run up for Stennett.

LESTER: Reuss is actually not the best bunter—

SHEILA: Quiet, please. (Reuss pops into a DP to end inning) Gahhhkdfdgrz!!!

LESTER: See? If you had known the stat, you wouldn’t be so shocked and disturbed.

SHEILA: I am not the one disturbed, Lester. You are. You’re my patient, remember? I get to ask you questions, and I get to call you disturbed.
(swallows too much of her draft beer and chokes for at least a minute)

We move to the 7th, Bonham incredibly with a 3-hitter. Robinson singles with one out and Ott singles him to third…

SHEILA: Yes!! Your team is about to fail miserably, Lester! Do you hear me? Fail miserably!! (Garner bounces into an easy 6-4-3 double play. Sheila’s face hardens into some kind of clinical voodoo mask.)

LESTER: With DeJesus and Trillo playing back, Garner’s DPLF was a worse than average 49— (Old Style draft beer is suddenly dripping down his hair and into his short sleeve shirt pocket.)

A Morales single and Murcer homer off Tekulve in the 8th finishes off the Pirates for good. Robinson grounds into yet another double play to end the game in the 9th, but by that point Sheila is pulling me down the exit ramp. Shaking, in tears. I tell her she’s still in first place, in a better place than anyone in our group except me, and she suddenly tugs me into the shadows and throws her arms around my waist.

“Let’s get married,” she blurts out with beery breath, her glasses fogged up.

“Are you crazy? Won’t that screw up the future when we get back?”

“I need something stable in my life to get me through this, Buzz. And who says we’re both getting back?”

I stare at her.  She might have a point.  Except that in the future…I’m already married.

PIT 000 100 000 – 1 6 0
CHI 300 000 02x – 5 9 0

W-Bonham L-Reuss HR: Murcer GWRBI-Morales

The Buzz Line

PHILLIES 7-12-0, at ASTROS 2-4-0
And after Ron Reed’s briiliant outing, the Phils are percentages ahead of Pittsburgh again. Luzinski (two doubles and single) and Boone (homer and double off Lemongello) drive in six of the seven Phillie runs.

REDS 6-14-1, at CARDS 0-5-1
Capilla blanks Urrea on a flotilla of Cincy hits, including three apiece from Morgan and Foster, for Doug’s best-pitched game all year. The Reds are back to within shouting distance of first.

EXPOS 3-10-1, at DODGERS 0-6-1
L.A. would be too, if they had any consistency whatsoever, not to mention bats. Rogers throws a gem, but the Dodgers have been unable to lay into anyone for a while. Rhoden takes Rau’s start to avoid an Expo lefty-mashing, and ends up stinking anyway.

RED SOX 5-12-1, at WHITE SOX 2-4-1
Wind’s blowing in at Comiskey, so Boston just morphs into a little-ball team and pounds Kravec for five doubles and a triple and a key hit every bloody time they need one. The only good news for the league is that the red-hot Fisk gets knocked out for a couple of games. Maybe it’ll even matter.

at ROYALS 3-10-1, ORIOLES 1-8-1
Splittorff is splittoriffic again, as is Grimsley, but the guy with the perm gives up a McRae single, Wathan double and Zdeb single in the 8th to snap the 1-1 tie and give KC the game. Baltimore drops ten games out for the first time.

YANKEES 6-6-3, at RANGERS 3-7-2
Dock Ellis’ routine is pitching great for seven or eight innings, then falling apart like an overused water pipe. Happens again here, as he takes a 4-hitter and 3-2 lead into the 9th, before…Chambliss triple, Harrah two-base error to tie the game, Rivers and Randolph walks with one out. Moret comes on and Munson doubles in two, Reggie hits a sac fly and that’s that.

INDIANS 7-14-1, at TWINS 5-12-1
Five straight wins for Bibby and seven out of eight. The makeshift Tribe lineup wreaks more havoc as Grubb and Pruitt each knock in two and the amazing Frank Duffy gets three hits off Geoff Zahn. Oh yeah, and Carew triples.

ETCETERA: I have company coming in this weekend, along with a tsunami of playoff games to watch, so to make my life a little easier, the Sunday action (with four total doubleheaders) will be posted in two parts—National League on Friday, American League on Monday.

American League through Saturday, August 2

Boston 61 44 .581
New York 59 46 .562 2
Kansas City 60 47 .561 2
Texas 56 51 .523 6
Baltimore 51 54 .486 10
Chicago 47 59 .443 14.5
Cleveland 46 60 .434 15.5
Minnesota 43 62 .410 18

National League through Saturday, August 2

Philadelphia 61 45 .575
Pittsburgh 62 46 .574
Cincinnati 61 47 .565 1
Los Angeles 57 47 .548 3
St. Louis 55 49 .529 5
Houston 46 61 .430 15.5
Montreal 44 61 .419 16.5
Chicago 37 67 .356 23

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