Sure both of these teams aren’t near the top of the Major League’s but the last two days have been electric at the ballpark and hopefully a sign of things to come at Wrigley. I mentioned it in the game preview, if Samardzija could throw strikes he should be alright tonight because the wind would be howling out and you can’t afford to put guys on via walks. Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened, Samardzija struggled with his command and labored through 5.1 innings, giving up three runs on only four hits, but he issued three walks en route to his fifth loss of the season. The Red Sox managed to score twice in the fourth and push across single runs in the sixth and seventh to take a 4-0 lead. The Cubs rallied in the bottom half of the seventh as Luis Valbuena launched a deep three-run homer to the opposite field off of Jon Lester to cut the Red Sox lead to 4-3. That was as close as the Cubs would get as the Red Sox bullpen came in to shut the door over the final two innings to even the series. Jeff Baker who has had success off Lester in the past was 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and a run scored. Welington Castillo had a solid night in his return to the Cubs lineup, he was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored, plus he threw out Mike Aviles trying to steal. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
Ryan Dempster is a pro, but pitching amid trade rumors swirling can’t be easy, you wouldn’t know it by watching Dempster pitch today. Dempster was stellar, really never tempting fate in any of the seven brilliant innings he went. The Cubs jumped on Daisuke Matsuzaka early plating three runs in the first two innings, and that was it, for both teams. As I mentioned, Dempster went seven strong innings giving no runs on four hits, walking only two and striking out three. Dempster has been great all year, and because of that he is becoming the number one target during this years trade season for teams wanting a starting pitcher. If I had to guess, Dempster will be traded very soon, if the Cubs want to wait closer to the deadline I wouldn’t blame them. Given the addition of wild card playoff spots, and so few teams selling, the Cubs might have the best chance of anyone to add to an already tremendously improved farm system via trade(s).
The Cubs didn’t knock around Dice-K, as they only managed four hits during his six innings, but it was enough. Steve Clevenger had a the big blow with a two out two run double in the first inning on his was to a 1-for-3 day. Ryan Dempster was the other star at the plate, yes you heard right, Dempster was 2-for-2 with a triple and a run scored. David DeJesus had the only other hit for the Cubs and it was a big one, a two out single to put the Cubs up 3-0. Carlos Marmol was thrust back into the closer role today, and of course things got a little dicey. The final out of the game was a Dustin Pedroia ground out with the bases-loaded. It would be great if Marmol could recapture the closing magic, because he really doesn’t do any good to the Cubs if he can’t get something back in a trade. Full box score and highlights after the jump.