This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together for what is about to be the best two-season era in the past 100 years of Cubs baseball, no matter if they win the World Series or not. Today's Roll Call starts on Chicago's North Side, where the Cubs came from the deepest, darkest, dingiest depths of Wrigley Field to stun the Milwaukee Brewers and put a serious hurt on their playoff chances in Year 1 of the Dale Sveum Epoch.
Game of the Day: Cubs 7, Brewers 6 (12 inn.)
When suddenly...: Two outs, nobody on, bottom of the ninth. The Brewers lead 6-2 are about to leave Chicago with a much-needed win and two-out-of-three series win. The Cubs? Well, they'll just go get 'em tomorrow. Then, a goat cries out, and three Cubs batters get hits against Salomon Torres. A run scores. Geovany Soto is up, and he drives the ball deep to left. Ryan Braun hardly moves. It's in the bleachers. Tie score. Three innings later, the Brewers finish off one of the worst in-game collapses in recent memory and the Cubs win in unlikely fashion on a RBI single from Derrek Lee.
Cheese and rice: The new polls are in. So much for the "new-manager bounce" that Brewers GM Doug Melvin was hoping for when he unprecedentedly fired Ned Yost on Monday. Against the Cubs, the Crew dropped two of three — though it seems worse because of the nature of Thursday's hemorrhage. They are two games in the loss column behind the Mets for the NL Wild Card.
Back-to-back jacks: The Cubs Magic Number is two, and when (or if) they clinch the NL Central, they will have qualified for the postseason in two consecutive years for the first time since (drum roll)... 1908, when they previously won the World Series (in case you hadn't heard). They also won it in 1907 and reached it in 1906, when they were beaten by their crosstown pals, the White Sox. Which means, this here Lou Piniella-Ryan Theriot-Carlos Marmol bunch makes for a dynasty, at least in a Cubs world view.
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Feelin' Rundown (Thursday's results, minus the Cubs and Brewers):
Mets 7, Nationals 2: Thanks, Jane. Mr. Richard Feder from Fort Lee, New Jersey writes in and says, "Dear Johan Santanadanna. Do you think the Mets will make the playoffs? How soon until you clinch a playoff spot? Will you beat out the Phillies for first place? What is a 'Phillie' anyway? Do you like New York? Which subway line is near your house? I don't like going into the city, it's kind of scary. Do you think it's scary? Should Carlos Delgado win the MVP? Is he bald on purpose? What kinds of shoes does David Wright wear? Is Darryl Strawberry with you now? Has Keith Hernandez asked you to help him move yet?" Mr. Feder, you sure ask a lot of questions for someone from New Jersey.
Marlins 8, Astros 1: The hottest team in baseball can't melt the Wild Card deficit but it IS doing groundbreaking work in the study of how depressed the Astros are becoming. The 'Stros have scored five runs and zero victories, count 'em, since Hurricane Eisenhower.
Yankees 9, White Sox 2: Mussina gets victory No. 18, and after counting on my fingers I've figured that he should have two more starts before hibernation. ... Also, the Yankees need a catcher named Rocky for next year, so they can have the battery of Moose and Squirrel. ... Ozzie needs to assure Javier Vazquez that he's in line to start Game 6 of the ALDS. If this were a crappy video store and Javy had a membership card, he wouldn't be allowed to rent here anymore.
Twins 11, D-backs 8: Longoria does everything possible, hitting home runs No. 23... 24... and 25 (!!!), but the Twins have one of those ninth-inning comebacks that should worry the AL Central-leading White Sox just a little. ... The Rays bullpen has been awesome, but Troy Percival at this point in his life and Dan Wheeler in the ninth inning do not scream, "Relax, we got this."
D-backs 3, Giants 2: Snake Charmers hand Timmy his first loss in two months, though the bullpen blows another lead depriving Randy Johnson of career victory No. 295. Grampa's not going to live forever, kids.
Dodgers 4, Pirates 3 (12 inn.): Point of order, Mr. Chairman. So Craig Hansen's pitching the 12th for the Bucs. Live arm, no command. He starts by walking Russell Martin, who steals second as Chef Ethier strikes out. So, Manny's up. Walk him intentionally, right? They do, but I say, pitch to him. How else is Wild Child Hansen going to learn? You're the Pirates. You've got nothing to lose. Let the guy pitch to Manny. Instead, they walk him, and then Hansen walks Blake — the Dodgers 11th walk — because that ALWAYS happens when you walk the guy before. Making Hansen throw more balls on purpose is not going to help him. Anyway, T.J. Beam comes into an impossible situation and gives up the hit to Loney.
Angels 6, Athletics 4: Kendry Morales (great name), Mike Napoli (mambo Italiano) and Brandon Wood (???) each go deep in a four-pitch span against Keith Foulke. Torii Hunter says: "I've been facing that guy for years when he was with the White Sox. I feel bad for him. It was fun to see it, but on the other side it's not nice." The sympathetic beat-down. Must be a '90s '00s thing.
Blue Jays 3, Orioles 2: They're sending Shaun Marcum's MRI to James Andrews who, in addition to his doctorin' skills, also could make some side money by running off some 8x10s and wallet-sized prints to send to Marcum's folks.
Cardinals 5, Reds 4: Ah Pu hits a three-run deep and Kyle Lohse does a great job getting the ball over the plate and not near Edinson Volquez's head. Thus, all ends well in snapping a seven-game losing streak for the Redbirds. The save goes to Jason Motte, who was born in Port Huron, Mich. — but is not the author of the Port Huron Statement. Different guy.
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Photo of the Day: Calling John Kruk
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Zack Greinke (KCR) 7 IP, 2 H, BB, 7 K, Win
Joe Saunders (Angels) 7 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 4 K, Win
Bobby Abreu (Yankees) 3-5, 2 HR, 6 RBI
Santana (Mets) 7 IP, 8 H, ER, 2 BB, 8 K, Win
John Baker (Fish) 3-5, 2 R, 4 RBI
Scott Olsen (Fish) 7 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 7 K, Win
Longoria (Spurs) 3-5, 3 HR, 4 RBI
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Ryan Theriot (Cub) 0-6, K
Javier Vazquez (White Sock) 3 2/3 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, Loss of membership
Wright (Met) 0-5, K
Wheeler (Ray) 0 IP 3 H, 4 ER, BB, Blown Save, Loss
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Words of Mouth
"It was an example of how we could've played all year." — Mussina