Cards versus Cubs at Wrigley Field – does it get much better than that? Well, assuming a Cardinal victory anyway…
I’m covering the fourth inning today, and here we go with the heart of the Cardinal order:
Top of the Fourth
Tim McCarver calls Ludwick Eric Ludwick. Tries to correct himself, saying “sorry, I said Ryan, I meant to say ERIC Ludwick.”
What a boob.
Ludwick grounds out to Mike Fontenot, manning third base for the Cubs today.
Silva has been his strange, useful 2010 self today – and the Cardinals have been their strange 2010 striking out selves.
Albert Pujols versus Silva
Pujols smokes a ground ball toward Starlin Castro, who gets almost completely spun around by the ball, making a sort of ole’ play and firing a one-hopper to first base to nab Albert.
Matt Holliday versus Silva
Holliday had a hit the other way earlier in the game, the only one so far for the Cardinals. FOX provided an interesting stat earlier in the game, that Holliday has only knocked Pujols in
once twice this season. Once Twice. Ouch.
Holliday works the count full, forcing Silva to throw some extra pitches. The Cards have had a couple strong at-bats seeing a lot of pitches today, but still lots of strikeouts.
Holliday succumbs to the uber-Silva, grounding out to Fontenot at third.
Bottom of the Fourth
So one of the things I was hoping for today, knowing I was covering the fourth inning, was that Adam Ottavino would still be pitching for the Cards. So far so good. Ottavino hasn’t done anything really flashy, and got into a jam with Fontenot at third base on a one-out triple, but has done what it takes to get outs. He’s hitting his spots well and getting good tail on a mid-nineties fastball.
Ottavino has gotten behind a lot of hitters today, and Lee is no different. Ottavino runs to 3-0 before pumping the first strike into Yadier Molina‘s mitt, then inducing a – wait for it – ground ball for an out.
Ottavino versus Alfonso Soriano
Soriano has been a much improved hitter in 2010, actually giving the Cubs a bit of what they’re paying for.
Ottavino falling behind again – count to 3-1 – before walking the Fonz.
Ottavino versus Marlon Byrd
I was admittedly one of the folks kind of snickering a bit when Byrd was the Cubs’ big off-season signing. He has played well for the north-siders though, locking down their otherwise nondescript-in-past-years center field position.
Once again Ottavino falls behind, 2-0. Great time for another ground ball here, but instead it’s ball three.
Count is run to 3-2 when Soriano takes off for second base. Molina makes a throw a bit up the line, and Skip Schumaker tries to make a swipe tag. I say he was out, how ’bout you?
Meanwhile, the next pitch goes into center field, scoring Soriano when the throw from Colby Rasmus gets past Molina. Byrd circles all the way around to third base.
McCarver proceeds to ramble on about Rasmus not playing fundamental baseball, missing the cut-off man – but it appeared to me that Pujols chose not to, or was told not to, cut it and the ball took a weird hop past the catcher. Just shut up McCarver.
Ottavino versus Mike Fontenot
Fontenot triple that was almost identical to his previous three-bagger scores Byrd.
Ottavino versus Starlin Castro
Castro single up the middle scores Fontenot.
The rookie is rattled.
Ottavino appeared to have extremely good control of his pitches early on, hitting his spots, painting corners – that has all gone by the wayside.
Action in the Cardinal bullpen now – and we still only have one out.
Ottavino versus Koyie Hill
Hill grounds to Schumaker, only strong enough to get one out to Felipe Lopez at second base. Lopez has to make a tough play to even get a throw toward first base, and McCarver (shock! awe!) makes a good point – lots of stress on that previously injured elbow of Lopez’ to make that throw.
Ottavino versus Carlos Silva
Silva winds up behind in the count 1-2, one of the few hitters I can remember in the last inning or two that Ottavino is ahead of – then Silva winds up punched out by the first base umpire on a checked swing on a fastball up and in.
End of the Fourth
So maybe I shouldn’t have opened my mouth about “Ottavino still being around,” eh? How’d I get stuck with the flood-gates inning?
Head on over to The Cardinal Virtue to see if the Cards can put up a crooked number in the fifth!