Tuesday, June 28

Zambrano lifts Cubs to 3rd in a row

Zambrano was brilliant tonight, pitching through 8 innings and not allowing a run. In fact, he never allowed a runner to reach 3rd base. The 8th inning was probably his shakiest, as he allowed a lead-off walk and and follow-up single. However, with runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs, he got the pinch hitter Durrington to bunt into fielder's choice, ousting the lead baserunner. Back at the top of the order, he then got Brady Clark to hit into a double play, ending the inning.

Clearly, the Brewers had no answer for Zambino tonight, as they struck out 6 times, and registered only 3 hits and 3 walks. Dempster came in to pitch the ninth and made recording a save look as easy as playing Nickelback songs would be for Steve Howe (oh Yes, I did). Doug Davis pitched a pretty strong game for the Brewers as well, but the Cubs managed just enough offense on a Derrek Lee slapshot to left and an RBI single by Hairston Jr (Ramirez scored after walking and advancing to second on a walk, then executing a beautiful homeplate slide around catcher/former Cub Damian Miller).

Click here for more stats or the play-by-play.

Things I found interesting:
1) Corey Patterson realized that after having a decent weekend in the lead-off role, he wasn't near carrying his weight in the strike-out category lately, feeling obliged to make up for it tonight. He was 0/4 with 3 K's. Honestly, I think Corey thought that if he swung hard enough, he'd break an invisible pinata and win lots and lots of candy for the whole team! Who knows, maybe Walker wants to lead-off badly enough that he blindfolded Patterson and spun him around in the on-deck circle a few times just for good measure.

2) Barrett was bumped up in the batting order to 5, batting behind Rammy Ramirez and in pushing Burnitz down to the 6 spot. Dubois hit 7th and Hairston Jr 8th. The Cubs didn't have much offense to speak of tonight, but I don't think that is a good indication of this particular batting order because Doug Davis is a solid pitcher when he has his A game, and tonight he did. Zambrano just happened to have his A+ game.

As usual, point out what I missed or share your own observations!

Keep your eyes on tomorrow's game if you have time; Wood is making his post-DL debut against Brewers ace Ben Sheets. Should be a barn-burner if I know anything about Cubs/Brewers games! And I do!

Disclaimer: Barn-burning will only be experienced if Kerry Wood is comfortable, doesn't feel overwhelmed by the pressure of his return, and is able to pitch without his arm falling off. If these three stipulations are not met, no barns, houses, wooden structures, or tinder of any kind will be burnt.


At 1:29 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Patterson's game saving catch and throw for a double play. You forgot that.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Hyposquasher said...

What happened?

You have to remember that we who have the biggest mouths on this website never get to watch the games, so probably have the silliest opinions of people. OK, so maybe that's not true, but I didn't happen to be listening to this one on the radio either, so gimme the scoop!

At 10:02 AM, Blogger Jim said...

CP made a terrific diving catch in right center field on a sinking line drive, and then threw Damien Miller out at second when he couldn't get back to the bag in time after the catch.

I continue to be amazed that CP can play such fine defense when he's struggling so much at the plate. Usually a player's defense starts to suffer after a month of poor hitting.

Corey isn't the only one who strikes out a lot. Derek Lee struck out twice in the game, and his strikeout totals are second only to Corey's, but then he also produces much much more.

Wrigley Field makes free swingers of everybody who plays there, it seems. Back in the Sixties, Koufax set the strike out record for a pitcher in a game there against the Cubs. And in '98 Wood set the record for strikeouts in a single game there against Houston. I think it's the Ivy.

If you've ever been to Wrigley, you know it seems like anybody, even a duffer like me, could hit one out, even though the actual dimensions aren't that much different from any other ball park.

At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last year Sammy made a few game saving catches and assisted on some put outs that made Cub fans all but forget (for a few weeks) his struggles at the plate.

I saw a glimpse of that yesterday with CP. Fantastic catch and equally good throw to double up Miller. He led off the following inning and went up to the plate under a rousing round of applause and promplty strikes out on a (you won't believe this) high fastball!! His third strikeout of the game. Fans still gave him an ovation as he made his almost customary walk back to the dugout. This after getting booed pretty badly after his second strikeout.

I, as a fan, appreciate the effort and I know everyone slumps, but I think CP is hurting us more than he is helping us. Cub fans can't be too quick to forgive his offensive struggles because of his flashes of brilliance in center.

At 11:36 AM, Blogger Jim said...

What drove me nuts yesterday about Corey was his refusal to bunt. He's a reasonably good bunter, with phenomenal speed. If the third baseman is playing in, he should take that as a challenge, especially with less than two outs.

Someone should show him a tape of yesterday's Boston/Indians game. Boston lost, but at one point Big Papi came to the plate with a runner on second, and the big guy slashed a single to left. If he can do this, anyone should try it. Corey, reach down between your thighs, grab a hold of your ears, and jerk your head out of your butt!

At 8:16 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Why bless my soul,
That's four in a row,
And Holly done
Drove in the winning run.

Baseball poetry ain't never all that great.

Cubs beat Brewers for fourth straight win. Wood shines in come back. Pitching has returned to Wrigleyville.

At 1:05 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Maddux caries his 312 victories into tomorrow's game, so who was the first pitcher to reach the three hundred victory level?

Pud Galvin in 1888. James Francis "Little Steam Engine" Galvin won 361 games in just 14 years of major league experience. How 'bout them apples?

Pud pitched 72 complete games—let that sink in a minute—in 1883 and 71 complete games in 1884.

'84 had to be his peak year. His ERA was a lowly 1.99 that year and he pitched an even dozen shutouts. He did, however, give up 23 home runs. His won lost record was 46 victories against 22 defeats. He also struck out 369 batters that year.

You don't find pitchers like that anymore. Of course, in those days a soft drink wasn't just a soft drink either. Think they were a bit juiced on more than a little chew?


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