Saturday, March 12, 2011
George Sherrill, 2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom #48
One positive: the back of the card mentions George Sherrill's tightrope act against the Cubs in an interleague game on June 24, 2008. The O's lead had been cut to 7-5 in the eighth inning when Dave Trembley summoned his closer with the tying runs on base and two outs. Sherrill retired pinch hitter Matt Murton on a fly ball to left to preserve the lead for the time being. The Birds were quickly retired in the top of the ninth, sending "Flat Breezy" back to the mound in a save situation. In an all-too-typical performance, the lefthander made his fans and teammates sweat it out.
Geovany Soto and Ryan Theriot found holes in the infield with a pair of singles to bookend a five-pitch walk to Mark DeRosa. The bases were loaded with nobody out. I was sitting in my apartment exclaiming things that I wouldn't dare repeat. But apparently George had the Cubs right where he wanted them. Ronny Cedeno, pinch hitting for reliever Carlos Marmol, struck out swinging on three pitches. One down. Leadoff hitter Kosuke Fukudome took ball one and strike one before swinging through the next two offerings. Two down, and the tension in Wrigley Field was palpable. Eric Patterson (Corey's brother) was due up, but backup catcher Henry Blanco pinch hit. Strike one swinging. Strike two, called. Come on George, one more pitch! Ball one, just for a little bit more pressure. And...strike three, swinging! I would never have believed that anyone could put the winning runs on base and then strike out the side on 11 pitches to slam the door. In fact, the card back claims that Sherrill was only the sixth pitcher ever to perform that feat. Such was the maddening mystique of George Sherrill.