The Completion of the First Step – Cubs 1 Brewers 3

Game One Hundred Sixty-One – Cubs 1 Brewers 3
WP – CC Sabathia (17-10, 11-2) LP – Bobby Howry (7-5) Save – None

The 2008 National League Central Division Champions completed the regular season the same way it began, with a loss by Bobby Howry to the Milwaukee Brewers. In between the Cubs posted a remarkable 97-62 record to finish the year with a 97-64 mark, 33 games over .500….the highest win total for any Cubs’ team since 1945.

Lou Piniella did not use the bullpen by committee to finish the game but used seven different relievers on Sunday in what he termed ‘bullpen day‘. The Cubs pitching staff did a tremendous job against a Brewers’ team fighting to make the post-season. Angel Guzman started the game and gave up only a hit in 2 strong innings with 4 strikeouts. The Brewers did not manage another hit until a leadoff double in the 7th by Ray Durham….18 in a row retired by Cubs’ pitching.

Sean Marshall surrendered the hit to Durham and was eventually charged with the run after Michael Wuertz walked Craig Counsell with the bases loaded to force in the tying run. Wuertz walked two and finished his up and down season on a negative note after a great outing on Saturday.

The Brewers won the game in the 8th inning on one swing of the bat. Mike Cameron reached on a 1-out single to left off of Bobby Howry then Ryan Braun launched Howry’s first offering to left center….it was a no doubter and Braun circled the bases with much joy and enthusiasm.

Cubs’ pitching held a very good Brewers team to 3 runs on 4 hits with 3 walks and 10 strikeouts.

The Cubs offense managed only 1 run off CC Sabathia in 9 innings. For the first time since being traded from the Indians to the Brewers, 3 games, Sabathia beat the Cubs. The Brewers’ ace threw 122 pitches in 9 innings with a walk and 7 strikeouts….his seventh complete game in a Brewers’ uniform. The Cubs only run came off a fielder’s choice groundout off the bat of Ronny Cedeno in the 2nd inning.

Lou Piniella emptied his bench late and the offense managed only four hits….two each by Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Theriot.

The Cubs finished the last week of the season with a 3-4 road trip and completed the final month with a 12-12 record….

The Chicago Cubs played the best ball this season that many generations of the Faithful have ever seen. Seemingly on a daily basis there was a different player stepping up to lift his team to victory. The team that left Mesa resembled the one that clinched the division last Saturday against the Cardinals….but no one could have predicted the performances from Geovany Soto, Mark DeRosa, Ryan Dempster, Kerry Wood, Ryan Theriot and Reed Johnson….not to mention Jim Edmonds, who was still the ex-Redbird that stuck it to the Cubs every time he had a chance.

The Cubs will have Monday and Tuesday off before opening the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday. Ryan Dempster is scheduled to face Derek Lowe in Game One.

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver