by Scott Fennessy
The Cubs play the Pirates in a quick two game road trip before going home to face the Cardinals in a one game season finale. Today the Cubs send Ed Reulbach, who has faded late in his last start against Sam Leever. Sam has had a fantastic year, but does not get much press due in part to the offense, led by Honus Wagner, Fred Clarke, and Ginger Beaumont. Add in star pitcher Deacon Phillippe and you can see why 20 wins would not get much attention.
The Cubs threaten in the first but come up short and Pittsburgh also misses a chance in the first, so in the second inning things liven up a bit. Art Hofman, who was nearly a late scratch from the game bloops a single over first base and had moved to second with two out when Reulbach hits a soft single to left that scored the first run of the game. The Cubs should have had more, but left runners in scoring position, and the Pirates come to bat in the bottom of the inning down 1-0.
Unfortunately Reulbach clearly does not have his A&C game today and the home team uses a little small ball to get the run back. Bill Clancey gets a single and is bunted to second by Claude Ritchey. Bob Ganley, who has been solid off the bench this year, and is in due to injuries gets a single to right that ties the game. Reulbach stops the rally, but clearly this is not going to be his usual coast to victory today.
The Cubs go down quietly in the third, but the Pirates continue their hitting. Beaumont gets a one out walk and with the hit and run on Wagner rips one to deep left center for an RBI double. Clarke then follows with a double of his own and the buccos have a 2 run lead. Reulbach gets the next two hitters, but the Pirates, who have had a good year, but came up short have followed a different pattern than my 01 replay, when Beaumont carried the team late as Clarke and Wagner faded. This year Wagner has been a brute force since July and while Clarke and Beaumont have faded a bit Clarke has been crushing the ball for the last week.
The Cubs fight back in the fifth inning when Billy Maloney draws a leadoff walk and moves to second with two out. Frank Chance hits a rocket right at Ritchey who promptly throws the ball into the dugout as Maloney scores and Chance gets second on the throw but the rally ends shortly after and the Cubs are still down by one at the end of 5.
Unfortunately for Reulbach he cannot hold the Pirates in check as with one out Clancey drills the first pitch he sees into the right field seats for his 3rd homer of the season. The score was still 4-2 Pittsburgh in the 8th when the Pirates finally finish off Reulbach and the Cubs as Wagner singles and steals second, and Clarke mashes his second 2 bagger of the season to drive home another run. The bullpen warms as Ritchey comes to bat one out later and he delivers the killing blow with a single up the middle. Reulbach hands a disappointed Chance the ball and Carl Lundgren finishes off the inning.
The Cubs try to come back as Maloney singles and steals second with two out, but Leever slams the door and it looks bleak for the Cubs. They still can win, but the Giants after sweeping a double header had tied the Cubs coming into today, so the Cubs find themselves possibly a game down with two to play. The Giants face the Phillies for 3 games, and have owned them of late, so I have a nervous feeling coming into this next game.
Around the horn – The St. Louis Browns, easily the worst team in the AL may have given the Indians the flag today as they stun the White Sox in St. Louis today. Frank Smith started out on fire as he fanned 5 of the first 9 he faced, but tired late and walked the bases loaded before Charles Van Zandt and his .197 average rip a bases clearing double with two out and the Brownies steal a win. Chicago needs to win 3 of its final 4 while the Indians need to lose at least one of their final two.
Jim Dygert of the A’s, a D starter who has not seen much playing time stuns the Senators in DC today with a 5 hitter and allows just one run. Meanwhile the AL batting title continues to be a three ring circus as Harry Bay and Napoleon Lajoie of the Indians face Sam Crawford and the Tigers over the final two games. The three are separated by 5 points for the crown.