by Scott Fennessy
The Cubs travel to New York, and begin a critical series against the Giants. This has become a heated rivalry, but the G-Men have become nearly unstoppable, and the Cubs have had a rash of injuries and suddenly their pitching has faltered. When the subject of injuries to the Cubs came up Giants manager John McGraw wanted to hear none of that; noting that MVP candidate Mike Bowerman has missed plenty of time and that Art Devlin has left many games early with nagging injuries and that even reserves Bill Clarke and Theo O’Neal (returning today) have missed significant time. The Cubs have the edge in pitching today as Ed Reulbach faces George Wiltse in what both managers described as “the mood setter”.
The Cubs get off get a one out double by the hot hitting Johnny Evers who now has a 3 game hit streak since coming back from the DL, but he is stranded at third as Wiltse shuts the Cubs down. The Giants are shut down as well and perhaps the mighty Giants will finally run into a bump in the road. The bruins come up empty in the second and the Giants begin to do what they do best and begin to pepper away. George Browne who is having an awesome year gets a one out single to center and steals second easily. Light hitting Sammy Strang singles him home and moves into second on Joe Tinker’s relay. This was big as on the next pitch to Bill Dahlen, it’s a slow roller that Frank Chance has to come in for and throw to Reulbach covering first and he is OUT!. But Reulbach is hurt! Ed has only been back for about 2 weeks for an injury to the same leg he is holding right now. Reulbach is helped off the field and unfortunately it is another heavy blow to the Cubs as he will miss 13 games, meaning another 4-5 starts with a bullpen that has been struggling already and now must put yet another into the rotation.
I said they had the depth to survive this, but I am beginning to wonder now. “Big Jeff” Pfeffer comes in to finish the inning with no further damage. Wiltse continues to roll, and now the Giants are closing for the kill. Pfeffer gets the first two outs with ease, but like so many pitchers lately have found they can strike at any time and they do again. Mike Donlin who has been absolutely the best hitter in baseball the last 2 weeks rips a single to left. McGraw sends him on the first pitch and Donlin waddles towards second as Dan McGann (photo above) slips one into the hole on the right side and runners are on the corners. McGann, who as a first baseman goes has good speed, and with hitters like Donlin, Browne and Bowerman around goes rather unnoticed on this club and sort of reminds me of Mark Grace steals second just under the tag. This opens first base and George Brown shocks the baseball world with a base loading walk. Browne has to work VERY hard to draw a base on balls (even having a 13 at 13) and it is just his 6th walk in 265 plate appearances. Strang comes through with a two run single and runners are on second and third as he takes second on the throw. Dahlen then repeats the process and the game has been broken wide open. Pfeffer finally retires Roger Bresnahan to finally end the inning, but this is now a 5-0 lead for the home team.
Neither pitchers allow any more offense until the Cubs finally waken in the 7th. Frank Schulte gets a single and steals second and moves to third with two out. Wiltse then bounces one in front of Bresnahan and this one bounces all the way to the Giants dugout. Schulte scores and finally they are on the board. Kling flies out and the inning ends.
This only fires up the Giant machine in their half as McGann gets his second hit of the day and then steals second again. Still on second with two out Strang singles scoring him, and moves to second on the throw. Eerily similar to the 3rd inning Dahlen gets an exact replica of Strangs hit and Sammy scores as the Cubs now trail 7-1. Chance has seen enough and Lundgren comes in to finish the frame. He does this, but not until walking two more men to put a big opportunity that somehow gets missed. The Giants get another scoreless inning from Wiltse and in the 8th try to really rub it in. Donlin gets another hit and McGann gets his third hit of the day and steals his third base as well. Browne strikes out and with two out Sammy Strang hits a blast deep down the line in right, Schulte is on his horse, and as he nears the corner makes a terrific diving grab in the corner to make the catch. Had he missed Strang would have had at least a triple, and maybe an inside the park homer.
The Cubs take one last shot at this in the ninth as Chance and Slagle get back to back doubles to put another run on the board, but it is not nearly enough as the Giants win 7-2.
This was a typical NY Giant game. Pitching and hitting did it all. The Cubs never had a chance. There is a definite pall in the Cub locker room as they learn about Reulbach going on the shelf again. This season is rapidly slipping away from them and they are now also looking over their shoulders as Pittsburg is rapidly closing on them!
In other news from Boston today congratulations to Tully Sparks of the Philadelphia Phillies as he collects his first career no hitter. The second for the Phillies this year, joining Bill Duggleby. The Phillies join the Cubs and White Sox as teams with more than one pitcher with a no hitter. Vic Willis of the 1901 Dodgers remains the only pitcher with 2 no hitters, and both against the Reds in a two week span. However for Tully he reigns supreme as his was my first ever PERFECT GAME. This was no gimmie though as Irv Young gave as good as he got allowing just one run on 3 hits himself. This was my 8th no hitter of the season. (kind of easy when there are this many A pitchers around)
Giants 49 14 .778
Cubs 44 20 .688