Ladies and Gentleman, your First Place Chicago Cubs.
A rocky performance by Marcos Mateo on Sunday turned what was looking like an opportunity to get out of Colorado with a series win against a very good team into a lopsided loss to the Rockies. Castro and Barney continued their sha-lacking of the ball and the Cubs were able to put up a good fight over the weekend but the Rockies took two of three.
The Cubs were happy to be home these past few days, taking on the San Diego Padres in the Friendly Confines.
Game 1 was a pitcher’s duel as Tim Stauffer was dealing for the Padres throwing seven shutout innings with four strikeouts, four hits and one walk. My big story of this game was Big Z. Zambrano tossed eight innings of shutout ball on three hits and one walk. He also struck out ten Padres in the no-decision effort. If the Cubs want a realistic shot at the NL Central and the playoffs, they need their big contracts to pay off. Zambrano has been horrible the past few years and he’s shown flukes like this. Regardless of whether or not fans want him out there and getting paid what he does, we desperately need him to anchor this rotation and play like the star he is supposed to be. Let’s hope he can keep it going. Tyler Colvin delivered a two out RBI double down the right field line to score Soto and end the affair in 10 innings. Cubs win 1-0.
Game 2 was rained out on Tuesday, forcing a Wednesday, day-night double-header at Wrigley field. Matt Garza finally came to play in the first game of the twin bill today and Reed Johnson sparked memories of ’07 and ’08 with some late game heroics. Finally Matt, finally! Garza tossed his best game of the year so far, six innings, six hits, nine strikeouts and three walks (all the walks occurred in the sixth inning, but Garza got Brad Hawpe to ground into a double play to get out of it). Marmol blew his second save of the year, giving up a leadoff walk, stolen base and sac-fly scoring Cameron Maybin. The battle worn on until the top of the 11th, when Reed Johnson sent a 1-1 pitch on a line just over the fence in left field into the waiting arms of the few fans that stuck around. Cubs win 2-1.
Game 3 ended up being more offense than the first two, as San Diego’s three home runs were too much for Reed Johnson and the Cubs and a series sweep was denied. It was 4-0, Padres, in the bottom of the 5th when the Cubs got on the board. Soriano led off the inning with a double and one batter later Reed Johnson doubled home Soriano, but was thrown out trying to make it to third. Jeff Baker singled, Fukudome followed suit and Darwin Barney came through with a clutch 2 out RBI, singling to center and scoring Baker. The Padres would tack on a fifth that would prove to be the game-winning run. Alfonso Soriano clubbed a homer in the eighth to make it 5-4, but the Cubs weren’t able to complete the comeback. Cubs lose, 5-4.
With the series win, the Cubs moved into a four-way tie with the Reds, Brewers and Cardinals for first place. I know we’re tied and I know we’re all at .500 but I haven’t been able to say “first place Cubs” in a while, so I’m going to bask in the glory while I can. Chicago will take their second off day in three days tomorrow before the Dodgers and Rockies come to town. I’ll take a 6 and 3 home stand if the Cubs can make it happen. Can I hope for better?
Trend I Like – Castro and Barney at the top of the order batting a combined .348, 47-135
Trend I Don’t Like - Errors… They were bad last year and they could prove to be a sore spot this year. 13 in 18 games is not good enough. Castro, Soriano and Ramirez account for 7.
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.