Let's get this thing started. I have no idea how to do this, but I'm gonna give it my best shot.
9:33- Tony Gwynn tells us the Dodgers are doing everything right on the basis of the one game they've played so far. That's why he gets paid the big bucks folks.
9:36- Apparently all Lou Piniella wants out of Carlos Zambrano is 7 good innings. Way to shoot for the moon Lou.
9:37- Dick Stockton tell us Lou Piniella says that if the Cubs have to go to their bullpen in the 5th inning, they're going home. The game is being played at Wrigley though, so what exactly does this mean?
9:39- We're given the Cubs defense and Jim Edmonds is highlighted for having a Gold Glove. Why is this relevant? He's like 65 now with no range. If anything he's a defensive liability.
9:41- Big Z looks pretty locked in here in the first inning. He K's Ramirez to retire the side, and looks to be dealing. I think taking pitches is the way to go for the Dodgers here...He's an emotional pitcher and can self-destruct at any time, let's see if they channel my advice.
9:44- I really like the techno-twins Slav and Vieter.
9:46- Bad start for Chad Billingsley and the Dodgers. Soriano singles off a slider that caught too much of the plate, and then Martin loses a fastball in the dirt to advance Soriano to second. Can we agree that almost anyone named Chad would be better as a Chaz? Also, how come no one uses Chet as a nickname anymore?
9:50- For the first, but invariably the last I have correctly called a pitch a strike that the umpire called a ball. TBS' strike-zone thing has backed me up.
9:52- Chet Billingsley has struck 2 people out in the inning so far, but has also thrown 3 pitches in the dirt, keeping Russell Martin on his toes. Interesting inning. At least he's keeping it low for the most part.
9:57- Frank TV is like the Scott Boras of television ads. It's annoying as hell, you wish you never heard or saw it again, but according to the numbers it's wildly successful. Go figure.
9:58- Andre Ethier bangs a single to right field to prove that Zambrano is fallible today. And we learn that James Loney does indeed hit to the whole field. Tony Gwynn tells us that that's a good thing. Good thing he's here.
10:02- Matt Kemp watches strike 3 for the first out in the inning. Runners are still on 1st and 3rd. That's a big out because a double play ends the inning with no damage. See? I could be Tony Gwynn.
10:03- Odd play. Mark DeRosa boots the ball, still goes for the double play and the throw pulls Theriot off the bag. Everyone is safe, and the Dodgers lead 1-0.
10:04- Ok, there's something of a conspiracy. Another hard hit grounder, and this time Derek Lee misplays it and everyone is safe with the bases loaded. These kind of things tend to unravel Big Z, and Pitching Coach Larry Rothschild makes a smart decision to try to calm him down.
10:07- Raffy Furcal drops down one of his patented running bunts. Gwynn calls it a "gutsy play" and I'm inclined to agree. Bunting with 2 outs and the bases loaded is a ballsy play, no matter how fast you are.
10:10- Russell Martin hits a bases clearing double, and give the Dodgers a 5 run lead. When Martin is hitting, the Dodgers are a very tough team to beat. Hard not to think that Martin benefited from hitting in front of Manny right there. This is certainly not how anyone thought the first 11 innings of this series would go.
10:12- Ernie Johnson is the focus of some stupid commercial. I only bring this up because I'm happy TBS went out and got him to be the host of the studio show. He really does well on TNT, and I think he's one of the top studio hosts out there. You won't appreciate him til you're stuck with someone bad, trust me.
10:20- Chuck Billingsley strikes out imminent NL ROY winner Geovany Soto with a nasty slider. The Cubs have been biting on that pitch so far this night, and it bodes well that he's saving his curve for another time through the lineup. He should go at least 6 tonight if he keeps this up.
10:24- Zambrano comes back to go 1-2-3. This is big because he's such a volatile pitcher emotionally. While some might say the damage is done, this Cubs lineup can put up runs and this game is by no means over as long as he can keep them in it.
10:30- Chaz shows us his curve to K Fukudome who has just been terrible since May. He's looked fantastic after giving up that single to Soriano. We're told that Zambrano was looked at as much as any other Cubs hitter by the Dodgers pitching staff. He's hit .337 with 4 HR's this year. And he's a switch hitter. Thank you Tom Verducci.
10:33- Billingsley walks Zambrano which causes me to refer to him by last name only. He proceeds to throw the first pitch in the dirt to Soriano, and Martin comes out to calm down Billingsley. Good job by both Martin and Larry Rothschild to calm down their pitchers at the right times.
10:34- Another ball by Billingsley, and Rick Honeycutt decides Martin didn't know what he was talking about and goes out to talk to Chad. The homeplate umpire breaks up the gab session, and we're back to baseball. Soriano pops out, and the pep talk seems to have worked.
10:36- Frank Caliendo looks nothing like Donald Trump.
10:39- Another Frank TV promo. This time he recognizes that there are an obnoxious amount of Frank TV ads, and pokes a little fun at it. This doesn't result in fewer ads or less loathing of Frank. A completely unproductive ad if there ever was one.
10:41- Chet Billingsley comes to bat and he looks like he could borrow some facial hair from Casey Blake. Can't they put their lockers next to each other or something? Someone look into this.
10:42- Billingsley hit a grounder to Aramis Ramirez, and so far the Cubs have errors from their 1st, 2nd and 3rd basemen. This is immediately followed by a single from Furcal, and again even with two outs, these are the type of things that get to Carlos Zambrano. He's at 66 pitches through 3 2/3. This pitch count update is presented by BlackBerry.
10:46- Martin strikes out to end it, but what could have been an easy 4th got extended, and the Cubs are most likely going into their bullpen by the 6th inning for the second straight game. These things matter in 5 game series.
10:47- These Geico Cavemen commercials have really lost some of their edge, but I see nothing wrong with playing some 80's music while 2 dudes wear some sweet leather jackets. Hey, it's not Frank TV, right?
10:51- DLee led off with a single, and Aramis Ramirez immediately hit a tailor-made double play ball, but the ball hit Lee's hand as soon as Dewitt released it, so Ramirez is safe at first. It's been an odd game to say the least.
10:54- This time the double play goes as scheduled with DeRosa hitting into it. Billingsley's been generating ground balls whenever someone has been on base. Good sign for Dodger fans out there.
10:57- The announcers mock Manny's hair and he responds by crushing the ball to dead center. I'm not sure if this was more impressive of the ball he hit off his shoelaces deep into the centerfield stands. It was an inside fastball from Zambrano, and he really just turned on that pitch. It's really incredible what he's done recently. Takashi Saito recently referred to Manny as "a baseball playing festival". What more do you need to know?
11:01- Speaking of Manny, if you haven't read Bill Simmons' article on him that came out today, I recommend you do it now.
11:14- Zambrano nails Casey Blake with a pitch, and I can only assume he's jealous of his beard.
11:17- Zambrano gets the last out of the 6th on a pop up, and I think I'm calling it a night. 6-0 in the 6th, and I've been up since 7 am. All in all I think it was a successful evening for me, despite not lasting the entire game. Sadly I am just not going to be able to stay conscious the entire game. If you bothered to read the last 2 hours of commentary, well- seek help. I'll be back with a post about todays games tomorrows (likely to highlight Longoria and Sabbathia). Thanks for joining me.