|ASTROS 1 CUBS 4|
W: Glendon Rusch (3-1) L: Wandy Rodriguez (0-1) S: Ryan Dempster (3) If there were any reservations as to whether or not Glendon Rusch's 2004 was just a case of sheer luck, he's not doing too bad a job of dispelling them so far this year. In his four starts in place of Kerry Wood, he's put up a 2.71 ERA, carrying on where he left off as a reliever. Today, albeit against the Astros' woeful offence, he was pretty masterful, painting the outside corner with his fastball at will in particular, and allowing just the single run through eight blisteringly fast and very economical innings. The solo home run he allowed to Brad Ausmus in the second inning, which was all that blighted the shutout, was the first he'd given up all year, a far cry from the four in just four innings I remember him allowing in a single Spring Training game! Keeping the ball in the park so well thus far this season has allowed him to get away with being uncharacteristically wild, but if he can tame that and keep everything else up, and the single walk today and his track record suggest that free passes really aren't a problem (which makes a refreshing change for the Cubs), I think we may have to start thinking about which of Rusch and Maddux is the better pitcher at this stage. That is, of course, pretty staggering, because I certainly don't remember Maddux being cut by the Rangers about 14 months ago! The Cubs didn't quite get to Wandy Rodriguez as you'd perhaps like, and they're still short of offence, which will probably be underlined by Roger Clemens in the second game of the series, but they did manage to plate four despite the wind blowing in. Hairston reached and advanced to third on a well executed hit-and-run with Neifi, and then Derrek Lee absolutely nailed yet another pitch (the quality of the contact he's making right now, still, is staggering), and Hairston tagged up and scored. Later Corey Patterson hit his ninth home run of the year (a solo shot, of course, as they all have been), and Burnitz later followed with a gopher ball of the two-run variety to give the Cubs a cushion of three. Ryan Dempster needed just four pitches to work a scoreless inning for the save, with the Astros displaying impatience that'd make Jose Macias blush. Speaking of Jose Macias, he's had just six plate appearances the entire month in games he hasn't been spot-starting for Ramirez. Enrique Wilson has picked up the bat just once. Certainly, it makes you question just why we have the two on the bench if we're (rightly) not going to use them, and Dusty should have figured it out long ago that Macias, for a lemon, doesn't have much of a tang, but this is a belated step in the right direction and I think Dusty, dude, deserves some kudos. That is, if I'm not speaking too soon.
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.
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.