Cubs Win Streak Ends at 5
The Cubs five-game win streak doesn't make it to six and and the loss coupled with the Cardinals win over the Dodgers, drops the Cubs back to second place. Ryan Dempster returned from the disabled list and was nothing short of awful. 5 IP, 9 H, 3 K and 5 ER, 6 total and the error was his own. But at least he didn't walk anyone! With the Cubs catching a huge break when Roy Oswalt left in the second inning with a back injury, the Cubs just needed some decent pitching to stay in this one and they sure didn't get it from Dempster or the bullpen.
Armchair Managing: The Cubs first comeback started in the fourth when Wesley Wright just completely lost it and missed the strike zone on 10 straight pitches and quite a few more before and after as well. He walked the bases loaded on two occasions with a sacrifice fly in-between and with lefty Mike Fontenot in the original lineup with Oswalt starting, Lou went to the bench early and called on Reed Johnson to pinch-hit and he came through with a 2-out, 2-run single. Then a nicely executed double steal put runners on 2nd/3rd but also gave the Astros the opportunity to intentionally walk Koyie Hill and force Lou's hand with Dempster due up. Lou didn't take the bait and let Dempster hit and he naturally struck out. If you're already going for the big inning by pinch-hitting for Fontenot, I think you have to do the same with Dempster there. And if Lou called for the double steal, he basically ended the Cubs inning if he wasn't going to pinch-hit for Dempster, since you know Cooper would walk Hill there. This all leads me to believe that Lou is a terrible chess player. Dempster then rewarded Lou's faith by giving up a 2-run HR in the top of the fifth that gave the Astros a 6-3 lead.
Ramirez's three-run dinger int he bottom of the fifth neutralized the damage though and then the bullpen proceeded to flush the game and first place with it.
Half-Ass Parachat Recap:
- Miggy's 3-run HR in the first
- well it looked like a HR, sac fly instead
- Debating Top 10 defensive plays of the decade
- Was Giambi safe?
- Was Giambi safe?
- laughing at the Astros misfortune with Roy Oswalt
- Valverde with Fulchino is delicious
- Transmission's date with his sister
- Following Buehrle's quest for back-to-back perfectos and congratulations on the new record...now go die!
- "Ryan Dempster is NOT pitching a perfect game" - Ryno
- Finding Trans a date on craigslist
- We wouldn't have to do this if you weren't having dates with your sister.
- I get bored doing the Parachat recap...
- stupid blackout rules, bring Trans back to us
And congratulations to the Angel Fan Wife on being married to me for 8 years...I imagine it's been just as insufferable as being a Cub fan sometime over the last 100. Lots of expectations, but neither of us deliver....
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
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.