Saturday, August 23, 2008

Willie, Rocco and a crappy start to the weekend

Willie Harris? Really? Actually, Harris, who has bounced around a bit since likely having his career moment with 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox, is having a decent year for the Nats. No one will crown him the next King of Pop, but on a muggy Friday afternoon, Little Willie invoked the Ex-Sox Rule, and excercised his right to have a big day at Wrigley, hitting 2 HRs (including a grand slam against Illinois State's own Neal Cotts) as the Nats shocked the Cubs 13-5.

Ugh. The Cubs are 1-3 against the Nats this year, and it's true that you can't win 'em all, but that isn't supposed to apply vs. league doormats (especially when you get off to an early 4-0 lead). The Brewers and Cards beat their doormat opponents (Pirates and Braves) Friday, and each gained a game on the Cubs. Friday's loss got me wondering about the Cubs record on Fridays this year (the sort of stat my old man loved to look up). It turns out they're 10-11, better than I thought. For some reason, it has seemed to me they often start a weekend series by losing the Friday game.

I don't know about you, but I didn't like the Cotts-Harris match-up from the start. I'm generally not superstitious about the Cubs, but I am about former teamates facing one another. I'll tilt the odds toward the hitter in most cases. Of course, things were already going bad in that inning as Marquis went from solid to horrible in less than five pitches. How unfortunately typical of him.

The Sox Friday had a tougher assignment against the TB Rays, though I liked the pitching match of Danks and Edwin Jackson. Danks, as I've noted, is my pick as a big-game pitcher on this team. Jackson has been shaky, and was again Friday night, giving the Sox chances that they didn't do much with in losing 9-4. Danks was disappointing, though not bad (He made a crazy good play sprinting toward home and tagging out Rocco Baldelli trying to score on a bunt.) It was Dotel and the Sox' newest Ramirez, Horacio, who let this one get away. By the way, the other Ramirez, the Missile, had his 4th HR in 5 games, and Dirty 30 made it 4 HRs in 4 games, so the Sox are still packing some power.

More about Rocco: OK, I didn't want him to have too good of a night, but how can you not root for a guy sidelined most of the last three years who has fought his way back from numerous injuries, including something called "mitochondrial abnormalities"? He's a good, tough hitter and field with a great arm. He a HR Friday night and went 2-4. I have thought before and still wouldn't mind seeing him in a Sox or Cubs jersey, and the Rays earlier this year declined an option on him for next year. We'll see...

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