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.