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).
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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.