Cubs Monster Mashed at Fenway


There was plenty of buzz in the air with the Cubs making their first trip to Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series. For some strange reason, the Cubs and Red Sox never got to match up in Boston until now despite interleague action being around for over a decade now. Cubs fans travel well and many made the trip to join their team for a historic weekend. Even team owner Tom Ricketts and his family chose to sit in the premium seats above the famous Green Monster instead of hiding in a luxury box suite. Many of the Cubs players took time during the day to take in the sights of a ballpark they had never visited, including getting a tour of inside the scoreboard at the base of the Monster.

But the fun and excitement quickly faded in the first half of the game.

The Cubs made a game of it through four and a half innings of play, with the offense putting up five runs on top notch Red Sox starter Jon Lester. The lefty pitcher had only allowed five runs total in his starts at Fenway leading up to last night’s game, and had won five of his last six starts. The Cubs scoring began in the 3rd inning, where the offense used the funky dimensions of Fenway to collect two doubles. Darwin Barney slapped one down the right field line that made its way into the stands for a ground rule double, and he later came in to score on a double that Aramis Ramirez slammed off the Green Monster. It was good to see the Cubs third baseman hustle into second base, being aware that the short wall in left field would give nice bounces right back to the outfielders for a quick throw back into the infield.

Doubles were wild for the Cubs as Reed Johnson had one of his own to drive in two in the 5th inning. Again, it should be noted how well the veteran fourth outfielder has performed during his limited playing time so far this season. If he can continue to show his value as a solid veteran off the bench, and if the Cubs are out of the race by July, it will be interesting to see whether he can snag a low or mid level prospect as the return in a trade. Johnson was a Spring Training invitee and a prospect to deal him away to a contender needing bench help would basically be a free player to add to the Cubs minor league system.

Unfortunately for the team, fifth starter Doug Davis was not able to locate his curveball. With his fastball and slider topping out at the high to low 80s respectively, the Red Sox starters were able to be patient and tee off on the pitches Davis did float over the plate. The Cubs lefty did tip toe out of a 1st inning jam with minimal damage, but by the 4th inning he had been battered around for seven earned runs.

Scott Maine relieved Davis to try to clean up the mess, but he did not succeed, giving up a two run homer in the 5th inning to allow the Red Sox to double up the Cubs at 10-5. James Russell was the lone bright spot on the pitching side, as he contributed three scoreless innings in relief at a time when the Cubs just needed somebody to eat up the innings. It has been well repeated by all writers here on Cubbies Crib how unfortunate it was that Russell was continually forced into a starting pitching role when his outings were clearly showing that he was not a fit for the role. It is good to see that mismanagement has not affected his confidence now that he is back in the comfortable role of coming out of the pen.

Even the gradually improving Jeff Samardzija was lit up by Boston’s offense, although he did not get much help from his defense in his inning of work in the 9th inning. When the dust had settled, the final scoreline was an ugly 15-5 in favor of the home team. Boston’s deep batting line up built for the offensive American League deserves plenty of credit for the beat down they administered to the Cubs.