Game 34 Recap: Cubs 7, Phillies 11
- Burrell continued his hot hitting with a double in the second inning, advanced to third on a single to center (a runner held against the vaunted throwing arm of Jones!) and scored on a ground out to second.
- Guzman had further trouble in the inning, giving up a double to Carlos Ruiz, but with the runner, Nunez, thrown out at home on a nice relay throw from Jones to DeRosa to Barret. (An assist for Jones!) Freddy Garcia followed it up with a shot off the right field wall, scoring Ruiz.
- Impressively, Guzman bounced back to get Rowand with a pop-out, Utley and Burrell on strikeouts, in the following inning. It looks like he still has the stuff to dominate ML hitters, but his ability to locate both the fastball and curve came and went from inning to inning, or even batter to batter. But over the course of the rest of his outing, Guzman managed to pitch quite well. FOX had Guzman at 15 first-pitch strikes through 18 batters. Other than a leadoff sixth inning HR to Utley, he pitched well the rest of the way. He left with 5.1 IP, a BB and 6 K, and a runner on second, which Eyre promptly let score on a triple by Nunez. He then scored on an excellent squeeze play.
- Cubs had a good scoring opportunity in the 3rd, with Izturis singling and advancing to second on a wild pitch, before Guzman struck out. Soriano wound up taking the base on balls, and Floyd popped out to shortstop, to end the threat.
- The Cubs didn't have many scoring opportunities, the next one didn't occur until the sixth. With Soriano on second, Lee singled to center. Soriano ran with the crack of the bat, but seemed to be hobbling as he rounded third. (McCarver claimed it was lack of hustle, fwiw. Pat Hughes also mentioned it.) Victorino gunned him down at the plate for the second out, with Lee advancing on the throw. Happily, at least Ramirez then knocked in Lee with a single. Barrett then singled, and a wild pitch advanced the runners to 2nd and 3rd.
- With two outs and runners at 2nd and 3rd, down by 1, Jacque Jones then had one of the defining ABs in the game. To cut to the chase: he struck out. I know there are a lot of Jones haters out there, and sadly, they'll get to spew venom at him for a few more days.
- The other great scoring opportunity came in teh 7th. DeRosa walked, Izturis doubled on a ball that glanced off of Victorino's glove, just out of reach. With runners at 2nd and 3rd and no outs, Murton pinch-hit.
- And Murton hit a 3-run HR. Granted, it was probably wind-aided, but we'll take it! 5-4 game. Singles by Soriano, Lee and Ramirez tied up the game at 5, with one out in the 7th, when the game was delayed due to rain. Upon return, the Six-finger Slinger entered to pitch. He promptly gives up a go-ahead double to Jones! Eat that, Jones-haters.
- Utley's double to right in the disasterous bottom of the seventh featured Murton struggling with the ball in the RF corner, and then a throw to no one in the middle of the infield. Ultimately, it pales in comparison to his pinch-hit HR or to the bullpen's implosion, but it also wasn't encouraging.
- In other news, Pat Burrell is very, very slow.
- There have been a ton of plays at the plate today. The most dramatic being Victorino trying to score on Utley's double in the 8th. This time, Murton makes a fine relay throw, and Barrett blocks the plate well. Victorino would have been safe had he slid, but he just ran right in to Barrett. Barrett held on to the ball, survived a jarring colision, and Victorino was out. Barrett gave Victorino a friendly pat on the helmet, afterwards. No fighting.
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
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/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
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.
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).
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.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.