2 Runs, 1 Hit...3 Runs, 2 Hits...4 Runs, 3 Hits
Pretty much everytime they flashed the boxscore last night after the 5th inning, I just had to cringe. Rich Harden continued his stampede to free agency with another brilliant effort. He held the arguably best offense in the league to....well nothing, for 5.1 innings and then gives up a walk to #8 hitter Carlos Ruiz before Jimmy Rollins sent one in the bleachers to tie what was looking like an easy victory. So while the Phils efficiently scored their first 2 runs on a hit, the Cubs managed 7 hits through the first six, a few double plays and line drives right at people and only 2 runs.
Then the 8th happened, with Lou and Marmol providing the frustration. We know players are supersitious, some won't step on the chalk line, others eat a bucket of a chicken before every game and Marmol ceremoniously walks a batter when he comes in. He looked like he might wiggle out of it after getting Greg Dobbs and a loud out to Jimmy Rollins, but then uncorked a wild pitch that missed Shane Victorino, although the umps said it hit him in the ankle. The ball was so badly thrown though that Victorino probably deserves the base just on principle. Now the Phillies had Utley, Howard and Ibanez due up. Last I checked they were lefties and the Cubs have two of them in the pen. I know Carlos Marmol has danced along this highwire act a few times, and I could even live with giving him a chance to get a struggling Chase Utley. But Lou didn't even get Grabow warmed up until he walked Utley and in the meantime, Marmol walked in the go-ahead run. Finally Lou goes to Grabow who strikes out Ibanez on three pitches. The Phils actually score their 3rd run without the benefit of a hit.
The Cubs comeback in the 9th off troubled closer Brad Lidge with a clutch walk by Fukudome to lead off the inning, a sac bunt and a single by Milton Bradley continuing his second half surge and on to extra innings we go. In the meantime Guzman pitched 2 innings of perfect ball before handing the ball to Kevin Gregg in the 11th who actually got their big 3 lefties out 1-2-3 with Sean Marshall sitting in the pen. But then the 12th happened and Gregg does what he does best, which is leave something very hittable over the heart of the plate and Ben Francisco gave the Phils their 4th and final run on just their 3rd hit with a basket home run.
The good news of the night was that Rich Harden and Milton Bradley continue their regression to the mean, and the Cards, Rockies and Giants all lost. The bad news is that Lou still seems to trust Carlos Marmol. The blind faith he has in him has to be put to an end until he can find some control which is bloody unlikely at the moment. Guzman has more than proven his worth to this point and probably won't be perfect the rest of the way, but at least he'll make the other team earn it with a hit.
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.
Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.
Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.
That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible