Cubs Bullpen Does Not Contribute to Crushing Defeat This Time
It took 11 innings, but the Cubs walk away with their first road victory in almost a month.
Why the Cubs Won: Another good outing from the starting staff, which are 5th in the league in ERA (not sure if that is before or including tonight's game). Ignoring that the Braves are closer to the bottom than the top in NL offense and were missing their best hitter, Lilly shut the Braves out through 5 on one hit before giving up a run in the 6th. It could have been worse if not for a defensive gem by Ryan Theriot snagging a shot by Matt Diaz to his right, spinning clockwise on his knees and throwing a strike to Andres Blanco for the force out. Lilly then gave up an unearned run in the 7th thanks to his own throwing error and Chipper Jones before calling it a night. We know he could have pitched a complete game shutout if he wanted to, but he figured the bullpen needed a pick-me up from last night and gave them a chance to redeem themselves.
Marmol cruised through his inning in the 8th, Guzman pitched 2 scoreless innings (0.91 WHIP and 2.49 ERA so far) and Gregg did not throw a meatball to Jeff Francouer tonight and the Cubs end up on the right side of the a one-run game.
On offense, Derrek Lee went 2 for 3 with 2 walks and has his OPS almost up to .800 and ended up scoring the winning run. One of those walks was on a questionable check swing that would have been a strike 'em out, throw-em out double play but the Cubs caught a break. Mike Fontenot then lined a double to the base of the wall in deep center for the Cubs only two runs off Derrek Lowe.
The Cubs wasted a few opportunities until the 11th when Lee led off with a walk. Fontenot was allowed to hit away and flied to left and Lee was able to tag from first base as left fielder Matt Diaz's momentum carried him into foul territory...nice to see good baserunning for once. Reed Johnson singled just past a diving Chipper leaving runners on the corners and Micah Hoffpauir in to pinch hit as the last bat on the bench. Bobby Cox went with lefty and after going to 2-2 on Hoffpauir, the Hoff took a slider low and away and just poked into left field over Chipper Jones to score Lee and the winning run...a real nice piece of hitting.
Speaking of our pen: Reader jacos relays this brief interaction with ex-Cub Michael Wuertz at last night's A's/White Sox game:
Went to Sox game tonight against Oakland.
I went down to bullpen bar before game and sat by RF fence as A's took batting practice.
Wuertz was shagging and a ball came over by the fence.
I said "Michael, Cubs could have used you last night."
He stopped and leaned against the fence, smiled and shrugged his shoulders.
I said "you wouldn't have thrown a cock high fastball to Francour." He laughed.
And then I said "How's Oakland treating you?"
He said "They are letting me pitch here."
I said good luck and he waved and went back to shagging.
Cubs go for the series win tomorrow as Carlos Zambrano returns from his suspension.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.
Classic Scully - great stuff.
Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)
Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:
"And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."
When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.
If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.
cubs win...bryant with 7HR in his last 8 games.