Nothing Wrong With Z

WHITE SOX 5 CUBS 3
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W: Jose Contreras (2-1) L: Mike Wuertz (2-2) S: Dustin Hermanson (10) Zambrano's elbow really was the least of the Cubs' worries, the big Venezuelan throwing seven innings that were all but flawless but for a little wildness. He was dealing throughout, with velocity and movement, confidence and swagger, not to mention plenty of emotion. In other words, he was just the same good old Zambrano. The offence though simply didn't show up yet again, and so when Zambrano departed after those seven innings having thrown 108 pitches, the bullpen had the slenderest of 1-0 margins to protect. Mike Wuertz didn't pitch particularly well, working too high in the zone for my liking and hanging a few breaking balls that he was lucky went unpunished. But he deserves little blame for the way the critical runs crossed the plate. In spite of some excellent defence (particularly from Neifi in the hole) that made the plays closer than they should have been, two infield hits gave the White Sox first and third with two outs, setting the stage for "Paulie", as the White Sox could all too loudly be heard chanting on the broadcast. Konerko half lined and half blooped the ball towards short left center. Corey, reading it well right off the bat and using his sheer speed to good effect, covered a lot of ground and got within a dive of the ball. He dove, but just as the fans thought he'd got it covered and was about to end the inning, he closed his glove just a moment too soon. The ball hit off the glove and squirted into left field, behind Dubois who had been backing up Corey in case it got by him. Podsednik scored from third, and Rowand wasn't so far behind him that he couldn't plate the go-ahead run. And, just like that, the Cubs' one-run lead was not only gone but they trailed by one. Damn. From there on out, there was a sense of inevitability to the game. Will Ohman came in and allowed hits to both runners he faced, and with that another two runs, and it was left to Hawkins to record the final out of the four-run rally. The Cubs got two back in the bottom of the inning (Hairston picking up a 3rd RBI and Lee a 38th), but Hawkins, left in to pitch the ninth, served up a meatball to Jermaine Dye. Then if was Bartosh's turn to make a mess of things, before Dusty finally decided he'd go to his best reliever of late, only a bit too late. Wellemeyer for closer? And so the White Sox take the series. I'm not indifferent to that.

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  • Good thing the Cubs have 4 left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties

    Eric S 20 min 21 sec ago view
  • ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.

    cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/

    crunch 33 min 59 sec ago view
  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 30 min ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 32 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 42 min ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 4 hours 25 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 9 hours 10 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 9 hours 11 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 18 hours 52 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 21 hours 50 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 22 hours 3 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 22 hours 11 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 22 hours 17 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 22 hours 35 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 23 hours 11 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 23 hours 29 min ago view