Zambrano doesn't believe in Charity
Carlos Zambrano, the Cubs' miser, tugged them through 8 unbelievable innings of work, allowing just 1 hit and striking out 9. This would have been a complete game shutout, if not for a couple of incidents in the 3rd Inning:
- Hee Seop Choi striking out and making it to first on Blanco's misfield
- Izturis' bloop single scoring Choi from first after it slips through the outfield, with Izturis making it to second
That was it. The rest of the game, the pitchers were in control. Wuertz allowed a lead-off walk in the 9th, and then promptly struck out the side, running through the top of the order (Drew, Kent, Ledee). Having squandered runners on 2nd and 3rd in the top of the inning, this was crucial, as it may have seemed to some that the tide was turning. We were not going to see the Bull get the win, and in the 10th, perfect execution saw the winning run. It always helps when yr lead-off man gets on base, and after a neat bunt by Todd "Bacon" Hollandsworth, Neifi singled to left field, allowing Barrett to crawl home from second base.
Dempster kept me on edge in hitting the lead-off man Perez with a full count, and then a bunt sacrifice saw him move to second. This may have looked bad, but against the bottom of the order Dump looked like an all-star, inducing an easy fly-out and a routine ground-out to end the game.
5 games in a row, gentlemen, 5 games. Milwaukee is losing out west, St. Louis couldn't win in Colorado, and the Cubs are, at the moment, one of the hottest teams in baseball going 8-2 over their last 10 games. (The only teams equal or "hotter" are Cleveland at 8-2, and Texas at 9-1). This is good to see, and we're slowly closing the gap against a complacent Cardinals side who might surely win the NL Central over time, but seem intent on phoning in their performances. If they had heart like the injury-plagued Cubbies, they may have put up more of a fight in the World Series. Ouch.
Some wonderful stats to entertain you this afternoon, and they all involve team performance in comparison to the rest of the league. They are a reasonable explanation as to the team's fluctuating success, and show just how underrated our team is nationwide. Most news reports seem to focus on the injuries, and this is a clearer guide: our pitching keeps us in the game, and despite high slugging percentages (thanks to the likes of Lee and Burnitz etc) and high Home Run totals, there's never anyone on base to take advantage of it. Low walk totals and less patience at the plate means the runs are down and if it wasn't for our incredible pitching performances time and time again, the season might be a lot more lost than it is now.
Batting Average: .266 (16th in MLB)
OBP: .325 (20th in MLB)
R: 223 (18th in MLB)
HR: 65 (4th in MLB)
SLG: .442 (3rd in MLB)
BB: 136 (27th in MLB)
Team ERA: 3.84 (9th in MLB)
BAA: .241 (3rd in MLB)
K: 401 (1st in MLB)
K/9: 8.07 (1st in MLB)
K/BB: 2.17 (11th in MLB)