Baseball is back! Last night the Cubs started the season off with a opening night win over the Astros and for the first game of the year that is all you are hoping for. Sure some guys showed some rust on both sides but this was a well played game by the Cubs and minus a small scare near the end this game was never in reach for the Astros.
Carlos Zambrano looked fantastic last night. The big Z punched out 6, gave up 5 hits, and only gave up 1 earned run. Zambrano had large stretches in this game that he looked unhittable. Zambrano sure hasn't slowed down his routine as he is exactly what you like to see as a fan in a guy who just steps up and throws, gets the ball back and fires it again. He obviously trusts Soto in his calls and he never shakes off a call.
Roy Oswalt on the other end was pretty solid as well but gave up solo leadoff homers in the first 2 innings to Soriano and Ramirez and then allowed the leadoff runner to again score in the third. I have seen Oswalt much better before but for the most part he did a very solid job against a very strong hitting Cubs lineup. Oswalt seemed to be having a very tough time finding out where the umpire had set his strike zone and on more than a few occassions you could see Oswalt was upset at some pitches not being called for strikes.
Carlos Marmol was Carlos Marmol last night. Marmol came in and worked a great 8th and looked just as solid as he did last season. Sure he might not be the closer but I think that Lou considers what Marmol does more important. Having Marmol setup allows you to pick the spot he gets you past. For example last night he was facing the big bats in Berkman and Lee before giving way to Gregg to cleanup the dirty work. I am with Lou in liking Marmol as the setup man and think he will also get a fair shot at big saves.
Well you only get one first impression Mr. Gregg and you did get the job done….that said it looked pretty rough. Gregg gave up a quick run and left a few balls right over the middle of the strikezone but got away with them. Some Cubs fans I am sure are already wishing they have Marmol as the closer but again look at my point above. Who would you rather have facing Berkman and Lee? What happens if the roles are switched last night? I also am not one to jump all over Gregg here. Gregg had some knee problems towards the end of last season and for the most part was very good the rest of the year. I am sure closing your first game as a Chicago Cub has the nerves going nuts and he got the job done. I personally think Gregg will do a fantastic job this season in the closer role.
For now lets leave it at that. I will prefer to look past the 0 hits by Lee, Fukudome, and Bradley as it was only 1 game and it was opening day against Roy Oswalt. The Cubs won and that is all we are asking for….well that and that we win our last game of the year as well
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Written by Sandy Gemmiti