All Good: Cubs 5 Brewers 1.
So, just how much good stuff happened in this Saturday night game?
(Click on image for full-size version)
First off, Ted Lilly.
Bob and Len kept saying he looked pretty rusty. But godDAMN, he shut out the big bats of the Milwaukee Brewers for 6 innings in his first game back from shoulder surgery! If that's rusty then uh, I'll take rusty. He struck out Prince Fielder 3 times. He finished strong in his last inning with a groundout by Ryan Braun, a backwards K by Prince, and an easy pop fly by Casey McGehee on maybe 7-8 total pitches. Yep, a couple walks earlier but still, he looks like the man with guts the Cubs have been missing.
Marlon Byrd has been hotter than what my root canal feels like right now (I'm sooo about to take another vicadin).
Did you see his slide into home in game 1? Just get the hell out of the way. For some reason, maybe the way he moves or his shape or something...reminds me of Gary Mathews (not the current one but rather "The Sarge" one). Just a big freakin' gamer, that guy. Byrd goes 3 for 5 tonight, and others staying hot would be Theriot and Soto with a couple hits each.
Time will tell, but maaaaybe this Big Z in the bullpen thing is exactly what the team needed. I guess he seemed nonplussed after, but he looked pumped coming in... he's also suddenly like a pretty dangerous pinch hitter coming in late in the game. And if you're the Other Guys, having Carlos Zambrano show up on the 8th inning mound all fresh like that has got to be a hope-dasher.
Except for Xavier Nady leaving the bases loaded and John Grabow slowly turning into this year's Bob Howry, this was just fun to watch and a great game all the way around. Even Alfonso Soriano got a shout-out from Bob Brenly for running out a weak grounder and getting a single out of it. (I know, I know...)
And then I checked the Hawks score online and they pulled out one of those games you just wish you could have been at: a 5-4 overtime W that leaves Nashville a game away from going home.
And THEN, I saw an article about the Bears draft - someone please tell me how in the world the Bears could get publicly blasted for their draft in a year when they weren't even really at the table? They only had 5 total picks, all of them late.
I forgot about that boob Jerry Angelo!
Oh well, the Cubs just ruled, and maybe with young Randy Wells on the mound we'll see A SWEEP today!
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.