by Scott Fennessy
The Cubs face the Dodgers in the series finale today and are going for the four game sweep. Today’s action features Mordecai Brown (right) against William Scanlan in a rematch of the first game in which was a closely fought battle.
In his pre-game interview manager Frank Chance was very complimentary of his opposing hurler, and pointed out the improving play of his own starter, and Billy Maloney and Frank Schulte, who had really been scuffling of late. Today’s game is very important as a victory for the Cubs and a Giants loss to the Pirates would put the Cubs back in first for the first time in about two months.
Scanlan quickly mows down the first two batters of the afternoon, but then Frank Schulte takes a 1-1 fastball into center for a single and despite the pitchout is able to steal second ahead of Lou Ritter’s throw. The red hot Chance is walked to set up the struggling Jim Casey, but Scanlan is a little too close to the hitting zone and Casey crushes this one into deep center and over Jimmy Sheckard’s head.
Schulte and Chance score easily, and Casey is safe at third with a stand up triple; his 6th of the season. Johnny Kling, another hitter struggling hitter beginning to hit better of late gets a low and outside fastball and goes the other way, and this one splits the gap in right center and two hops the wall as Casey scores the third run of the inning. Kling is not overly fast and has to settle for a double. Slagle pops up to Emil Batch to end the inning. Brown takes the hill in the bottom of the inning and gets a crisp first frame and the Cubs trot back to the dugout on top 3-0.
The Cubs continue to hammer at an unusually ineffective Scanlan in the second, but fail to score. Brown allows a two out double to Bob Hall, but again the home team is retired and the score still the same. The score is still 3-0 Cubs in the 4th as Scanlan has really been hit hard, but has managed to escape several jams. Meanwhile Brown is in complete control of Brooklyn.
Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Scanlan continues to play with fire, and eventually gets burnt. Billy Maloney draws a two out walk on several pitches and Johnny Evers executes a textbook hit and run at bat and runners are on the corners with two out and a struggling hurler on the mound. Manager Ned Hanlon comes to the mound to try and calm his frustrated hurler, but it really does not help. Chance sends Evers with the pitch, and Johnny gets a solid jump. Maloney, who had been completely ignored by Ritter starts for home and Charlie Malay comes in towards the throw and fires it home! And Billy’s safe! Evers steals second and Maloney gets his first steal of home this year. Schulte then gets an infield single that moves Evers over to third and Chance is given the unintentional intentional pass to set up a force at any base. Casey strikes out to end the inning, but the rout is on with the Cubs on top 5-0.
Brown shuts the Dodgers down again, and the bruins continue to pound away at Scanlan. Jimmy Slagle gets a one out single and moves to second with two out. Brown hits a seeing eye single between short and third that scores the Cubs left fielder with the sixth run of the afternoon and sends Scanlan to the showers. Fred Mitchell, a pitcher who has been almost useless this season is asked to come in and slow the onslaught. He answers the call to end the inning. Brown gets through another shutout inning and the Cubs come to the plate in the top of the 6th leading 6-0.
Unfortunately Hanlon elects to keep Mitchell in, and true to form he allows more damage. Evers hits a grounder that eats up Batch and Johnny is on with the error. Now on second with one out Chance finally gets a hittable pitch and ropes this into right field for an RBI single. Mitchell does get the next 2 hitters to end the inning, but the Cubs are comfortably on top 7-0 as Brown gets another scoreless inning.
The Cubs threaten again in the 7th but don’t score. Meanwhile Brown continues to roll with a 1-2-3 inning and no further scoring until the bottom of the 8th inning. Brown hoping to get a shutout has that dream die as the bottom of the order does the damage. Lou Ritter, who has had a miserable season so far, but admittedly, has been coming around for the last 5-6 days gets a leadoff single, and steals second. John Dobbs comes in to hit for Mitchell and gets a “get me over” change up and he drills this down the line in left and it’s into the corner. Ritter scores and the Dodgers finally have something going. With two out Sheckard drops a soft single to center that scores Dobbs and the rally is not over yet. Harry Lumley gets a single to right and runners are on the corners, but then Lumley steals second and suddenly the bums have two runners in scoring position. Kling visits the mound and the conversation works as Brown gets the last two hitters and the inning ends with the Cubs still leading 7-2.
Former Cub Malacai Eason comes in to finish for Brooklyn and he had no better luck than his predecessors. With two out Billy Maloney gets a big triple to right and scores on Evers second RBI single of the afternoon. Eason finally gets the third out, but the Cubs are now on top 8-2. Brown allows a leadoff single to Bob Hall, but he goes nowhere and the Cubs win 8-2. Pending the results across town in New York City they are tentatively ½ game on top. GO CUBS!
Brown looked shakier than the numbers showed, but that has been his game all year. Bend but don’t break. Of the Cubs trio his hits per 9 innings and HR allowed are much higher than the others, but he still is having a solid year for certain. Billy Maloney stole three bases and is now at 53 for the year. With 38 games to go he must go on a real surge to catch John McGraw’s record of 95 in 1901. Given his recent struggles it looks like the record is safe for now. Here is to hoping the Pirates can hold off the Giants.
Cubs 72 30 .706
Giants 69 29 .704