Man, I like those rubber game wins a lot more than the losses. After a “buckle your seat belt” victory on Monday and a blow out loss on Tuesday, the Cubs offense and bullpen picked it up in the series finale tonight, clinching a best of three series 2-1 over the division rival Houston Astros.
Game 1 was all Cubs and Dempster settled in for the first time this year. The Cubs were cruising 5-0 through six innings. And then they remembered they were the Cubs. Houston made a run at it as Dempster gave up another late game home run, his fourth in three starts. The Astros made it interesting, but the bullpen settled down in this game and John Grabow, Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol preserved the win for Ryan Dempster. Cubs win 5-4.
Game 2 was one of those games that I was happy I worked through. Three Cubs errors contributed to a blow out loss in which Angel Sanchez and Hunter Pence led the Astros onslaught, going seven for ten with six RBI and three Runs. The lone bright spot on the Cubs roster was Tyler Colvin who homered and doubled, each a good sign after starting the season with a .111 batting average. With Fukudome nursing a hamstring, Colvin will be looked at heavily. Astros win, 11-2.
As the first inning in Game 2 went for the Astros, so it went for the Cubs in Game 3. Castro led off the game with a single (imagine that, this guy is ridiculous). After Barney flew out and Byrd hustled to stay out of the double play, the Cubs got going. Ramirez singled, men on first and second, two out. Jeff Baker, hitting .385 entering the game (off the bench) lined a double down the right field line to score both Byrd and Ramirez. After Soto drew a walk, Soriano hit a towering three-run homer to left field. Then they remembered they were the Cubs. Zambrano gave up five earned runs in the sixth inning, after crushing an opposite field home run to tack on another for the Cubs, and left the game leading 6-5 after starting the inning up 6-0. The Cubs would add some relaxing insurance runs in the ninth and the bullpen squashed a comeback attempt by the Astros. (The top of the lineup was clutch again for the Cubs. Once again, I LOVE the youth movement. Barney and Castro are tearing it up)! Cubs win 9-5.
Trend I do like:
The bullpen has pitched 34.2 Innings and has given up 16 Earned Runs, good enough for a 4.15 ERA. Not great, but considering what I don’t like (see below) the bullpen has been pretty solid.
Trend I don’t like:
Samardzija and Grabow account for nine of those earned runs in 10.1 of those IP. Unacceptable. These guys have to be better. Samardzija looks like a guy we made a mistake investing so much in and Grabow looks like the guy who most people thought was going to show up after the Cubs gave him 7.5 million over two years. I can’t wait to dump some of these contracts… is there any way we can spend some smart money?
About the Author
Written by Paul Jackson
I'm a full-time student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. I love the Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks and Bulls.