Friday, June 3

The Padres are Glen-done

What a game. Having exchanged animated phone conversations with Hypo shortly after the final pitch, it seemed appropriate to strike while the iron was hot.

Perhaps the best way to summarize this game is to demonstrate the power and momentum of the Cubs on a player-by-player basis, as for the 7th straight game, everyone contributed to provide another confidence-boosting victory. From 1 to 9, the lineup was potent and the stats of the winning streak are worth sharing:

- Neifi Perez, SS: 1-5, several excellent defensive plays, extended his hitting streak to 11 games (BA .312)
- Todd Walker, 2B: 1-5, solo HR in the 7th
- Derrek Lee, 1B: 3-3, 2 R, 2 BB; batting .389 for the season, is 10-10 in the last 2 games (incl. 2 walks) and 11-13 in his last 3 outings
- Jeromy Burnitz, RF: 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI, R
- Aramis Ramirez, 3B: 1-5, RBI
- Corey Patterson, CF: 1-4, made superb leaping catch at the wall to rob Khalil Greene of a HR
- Jason Dubois, LF: 1-4, RBI
- Michael Barrett, C: called an excellent game for Rusch behind the plate

And so we come to Mr. No. 9, and the rotation leader in wins, Glendon "Red Rocker" Rusch. Pitching a complete game that was as dominating as we have seen all season, and against one of the NL's most impressive offensive teams to date, Rusch allowed only 4 hits through his outing, walking one and striking out 7 in the process. Using an effective mix of his changeup, slider and fastball, Rusch retired 17 of his last 19 batters faced, including 5 1-2-3 innings. Backed by a number of impressive defensive plays from Perez, Patterson, and an incredible groundball gloved toss by Rusch to Lee for an out, the Cubs dominated.

The win streak has seen some incredible numbers. For the first time since 1961, the Cubs have managed to accrue 10 or more hits in 7 straight games. For the first time since 1991, the Cubbies have won 6 straight games on the road. As if team accomplishments weren't enough, Derrek Lee's 6th Inning single gave him his 1000th career hit. Not bad for a guy who has toured the Major Leagues for while, beginning his career somewhat interestingly with the San Diego Padres in 1997, playing 22 games before being shipped to Florida for Kevin Brown. (We all know who is having the better career as it stands now).

And to top it all, our closest rivals are losing. The Cardinals lost 8-6 to the Colorado Rockies, as closer Jason Isringhausen blew a 2-run 9th inning lead to pick up the loss. Milwaukee also capitulated in Los Angeles, squandering a 3-0 cushion in the 3rd inning to lose 6-4.

I am extremely happy with our performance at the moment. The entire team is finding some way to contribute whether with bat, ball or glove. Every night, someone steps up and provides the spark necessary to get the win, and Dusty's understated managing of late is giving the guys confidence with every at-bat, every out notched.

I'm not trying to get too far ahead of myself, as it's obviously only the first week of June. That being said, I've been railing a number of guys, Dusty included, over the season to date as well as lamenting the injury fest that is our roster, so it's about time I was able to be a little happier and get some satisfaction from our recent run of form. This weekend will be a little difficult, facing Eaton and Peavy in the next 3 days, although I was moaning about our difficult month of June(!) only last week.

As it stands, nothing is to be feared, nothing is to be overanalyzed. The Cubs have a massive amount of heart and optimism, so do I, and so do all of us here at LB and further afield.


At 7:32 AM, Blogger DS said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:33 AM, Blogger DS said...

Good to see some optimism out of you JT. Last night's game was amazing. You hit on all the highlights and I hope can the cubbies can sustain this kind of play.

Also, how about the royals sweeping the yanks?? Crazy things happening around the majors..

At 9:44 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Whoa, baby!!!

At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

It's really easy to feel good about the Cubs right now, and I like it when things are easy.

Rusch pitched an incredible game. What a change from being 1-12 with the Brewers a few years ago. He looks like he has come a long way, and he is really working for his wins. He must have new life since finding the Cubs, since only a few years ago the outlook on his future in baseball was not looking very optimistic. I'm certainly glad to have him on the team.

And the Cubs offense is finally doing their job! I'd love to see them play like this for the rest of the year. That might be asking a bit much though. Keep it up Cubbies, especially Lee. We're sneaking up on those Cards, and I can't wait until we play them so we can beat up on them a bit ourselves.

Cubs Win, Cubs Win!

At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good blog.

One thing however I would like your opinion on. A lot of the rather puerile Chicago media are anti-dusty, I believe particularly because he tangled with the one of their own, Stone, and turned the tables on him. Why has Perez, Karros, Gruds, Rusch, Estes, Borowski, turned around their careers and other young payers such as Prior, Zambrano, Patterson, Aramis, Lee, Weurtz, Wellmeyer become such superstars? Dusty perhaps?


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