It wasn’t exactly a game you would want to have as an instructional video for your minor league players but nevertheless the Red Sox will take the 7-4 win against the lowly Cubs. Besides the Red Sox win the other big plus was the great performance by Franklin Morales in a rare starting role. He gave up two runs and struck out nine Cub hitters in his five innings of work. One run came on a botched play in the third inning when shortstop Sterlin Castro hit a pop fly to short right field. Pedroia and Kalish ran for the ball and seemed to have communication problems calling for it. Pedroia got his glove on the ball but it popped out for an RBI double for Castro. It’s a ball that should have been caught. There were mistakes galore in this game by both sides defensively. Aviles made an error on a double play ball thrown by Matt Albers in the sixth and Youkilis booted an easy ground ball hit right at him also in the sixth inning. Fortunately, the Cubs got only one run in the inning.
While the Cubs made only one error against the Red Sox in this game their problem all evening was their inability to make double plays and their lack of knocking in runners in scoring position. They were able to tie the game twice but could not get the go-ahead runs across. It’s a trait that bad teams possess when they constantly come up short in ballgames. They’re usually either just bad ball clubs or they’re very young. The Cubs are a little of both. Theo Epstein has his work cut out for him trying to build the Cubs into a winning franchise. It may happen but it won’t be easy.
While their ball club isn’t very good the city of Chicago and Wrigley Field are both fantastic. Luis Tiant and I travelled to Chicago this past weekend for a Red Sox promotion held on the top of one of the buildings across the street from the ball park. A group of about 150 fans flew in for the three game series and Luis and I got to meet all of them. We then went to the game and sat in the stands with Red Sox and Cub fans. It was my first time watching a game at Wrigley. It’s a terrific ball park and the fans were wonderful. I never heard one boo from the Cub fans whether there was an error made or someone struck out with men on base. They love to come and enjoy themselves. The ballpark has no big electronic scoreboard and very little advertising along their lower fences. It’s just a great atmosphere to watch a game.
I would say it’s the second-nicest park in the major leagues. As nice as it is it’s no Fenway Park. Fenway is alive, exciting, and colorful. It has much more personality than Wrigley. Red Sox fans can be tough on players at times and will let players know how they feel but that’s what makes the atmosphere at Fenway so electric. Maybe if Cub fans were a little more demanding of their players they might get better results from them. No, there’s only one Fenway Park and any ball player who doesn’t want to play there will never know what playing major league baseball really is all about.