Dateline: Fox Mill District Park
On a very pleasant Fall evening that turned cold as the sun dipped beneath the trees, the Cubs tried to halt their losing streak against the Dodgers.
Conor led off with a walk and stole second. Justin singled to score Conor and he went to second on the fruitless throw home. Greg grounded out to move Justin to third. Kaz got a huge single to score Justin and he stole second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Coach Grossman sent Kaz on a questionable steal of third and he was out by a step. Cubs fans groaned as Coach Grossman had again caused a runner to be out at third. The Cubs pitching staff was depleted as League rules do not allow a player to pitch on two consecutive days. Hence, Kengo got his first start of the season and many Cubs fans wondered why he wasn’t part of the normal Cubs arsenal all year. Kengo threw plenty of strikes and even though the Dodgers got four hits and two runs, he struck out one and induced two ground outs to Christian at second who made nice plays as he tossed to Greg at first. After one it was tied at 2-2.
In the second, the Cubs took the lead again as Kengo singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. A ground out back to the mound by Christian moved Kengo to third and another ground out by Jordyn scored Kengo for a key RBI by Jordyn. Jordyn then came on to pitch the second and despite giving up a long double and triple, he only walked one batter and got a nice strikeout. Unfortunately, the Dodgers reached their limit of four runs and took a 6-3 lead. It was to be the end of their scoring for the night.
In the top of the third, Conor led off with a long double, Justin beat out an infield hit to third to put runners on first and second. Greg popped out, Kaz struck out but on strike three Coach Grossman called for a surprise double steal and both runners beat the throw from the confused Dodgers. Cubs fans breathed a sigh of relief that Coach Grossman finally did something that worked out. Conor then stole home as the pitcher was walking back to the mound. Cubs fans cheered. Dylan smashed a double to score Justin. Kaz was thought in the third as he struck out the first two batters he faced and got the next batter to ground out to Conor at short who fired across to Dylan for the out at first. After three it was a thrilling 6-5 game.
In the fourth, Kengo led off with a walk. He then was out stealing going to second and Coach Grossman grumbled and was heard lamenting that he had not given Kengo the sign. This reporter notes that Coach Grossman later, after talking to Kengo, realized that he may have accidentally and ever so briefly given the alert Kengo the sign. Cubs went down quietly after that. Kaz was even tougher in the fourth as he induced three infield ground balls — the first two to Jordyn who made two great plays and the next one to Conor and they all fired to Dylan for nice catches at first.
The Cubs threatened in the fifth to tie the game as Conor led off with a single and moved to second and third on wild pitches. Unfortunately, Cubs bats were quiet and the at bat ended. Justin came on in the fifth and threw blistering heat as he struck out the first two batters he faced and got the last one to hit a weak ground out to Conor who made a nice play as he fired to first for out three.
Cubs bats were quiet in the sixth as the Dodgers closer did his job and game ended. Final Score: Dodgers 6 Cubs 5.
Coach Grossman said, “We played a very good team and our defense looked MUCH MUCH better. We made 8 out of the 15 outs on them off of ground balls. That’s a major improvement and something all of our players should be very proud of. Our bats are looking better as seven out of nine batters made some decent contact today and our pitching was wonderful as Kengo, Jordyn, Kaz, and Justin walked only two of their batters and recorded seven strikeouts. I have to apologize to our fans and to Kengo for implying that he missed a sign as I’m pretty sure I was the one who accidentally gave him the sign. I have yet to have that happen in my coaching career — but it wouldn’t be baseball if something new didn’t happen.”
This reporter asked Coach Grossman if he thought he was concerned about rumors that Cubs management is not at all happy with the current losing streak said, “I always thought we had a young team and we have certainly progressed nicely. This rumors from ownership are just not something I can worry about — I just work on playing the best we can and developing our players. I will say regardless of wins or losses, this team has a lot of desire and they all work hard on every pitch. Its truly a pleasure to work with them and I’m sorry to see the season winding down. We still have a few more games so we’ll see what happens.”
Coach Goldstein said, “How about John’s catching. He caught the whole game — caught at least one tipped third strike and did a great job handling our pitchers.”