View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



July 2011



Game 101 – Half a Win is Better Than No Win at All

Written by , Posted in General


Cubs 5, Astros 1

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

What Went Right

  • Lucky or Good?  In his last five starts combined, Randy Wells has allowed twelve runs in the first inning.  Today he didn’t allow any.  It wasn’t for lack of trying–he gave up a lead-off single and a walk before retiring the next three hitters.  But instead of falling apart early, he held on to throw six strong innings for the win.
  • Do the Hustle  Marlon Byrd led off the Cubs scoring Saturday with a long homer to center.  His second hit–an infield single in the seventh–was classic Byrd.  Sprinting out of the box, Byrd was able to advance to second on a bad throw from Astros’ 3B Chris Johnson.  If the rumors are true and Byrd is headed to a contender in the next week or so, I’ll miss his constant hustle.  It’s a rare commodity with this Cubs team.
  • I Want You to Want Me, Part 1  Kosuke Fukudome didn’t start on Saturday–he came in as a defensive replacement in the eighth, when it was still a one-run game.  He tripled in the bottom of the inning (we can thank Hunter Pence for taking a bad line and stretching an easy stand-up double into a triple), and scored the first of three insurance runs.  I hope the scouts were still watching–that kind of hitting is his ticket out of town.
  • I Want You to Want Me, Part 2  Geovany Soto hit a solo humerun to lead off the fifth inning.  He also ran out an infield single in the eighth, bringing in two more insurance runs to give the Cubs a 5-1 lead.  I don’t know how much his performance today will interest scouts around the league–certainly it has to do more than the Golden Sombrero he posted yesterday.  But maybe–just maybe–this is the kind of performance that will warm the cold, dead heart of our blog-father Joe, finally bringing Soto into his good graces.  Geovany isn’t holding his breath.

What Went Wrong

  • Riding the Pine  Alfonso Soriano didn’t play today.  He can’t increase his trade value if he doesn’t play.  On the other hand, he can’t decrease it either.  Perhaps this was a positive after all.  Turns out Soriano did play, he just didn’t make a dent.  Only two strikeouts and a line-out before getting replaced in the eighth for defense to further drive down his trade value.  However the lesson here is simple: don’t recap games late at night.
  • That’s Gonna Leave a Mark  I understand using Marmol in the ninth to get him some work without the game on the line.  And I suppose it worked out alright–Marmol didn’t give up any runs.  He did however give up a lead-off single and then hit the next batter, Carlos Corporan, on the ankle, forcing him to leave the game.  Marmol then retired the next three batters to finish the game.  Sure, it worked.  But it was ugly, and not really the kind of improvement he needs to show the Cubs.


Saturday was the Cubs’ second consecutive win, meaning Sunday they’ll try again to win three-straight for the first time this season.  Not that it will necessarily mark a huge turning point for the season, but it would be nice not to have to hear about that particularly lousy stat for the rest of the year.  Hopefully tomorrow won’t be their last chance to get that third win, but facing down the Astros might make it their best one yet.

Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)

1st Star – Randy Wells (.261)

2nd Star – Marlon Byrd (.148)

3rd Star – Sean Marshall (.125)

Cubs Pitching: .501 WPA

Cubs Hitting: -.001 WPA

  • I will miss Byrd,too. Here’s hoping it comes to that! I want to miss a whole lotta guys. Looking for lots of trade activity in the coming week.

    It is only the Astros, but beating them is better than losing to them.

  • Buddy

    A win is a win, but beating the Astros is kind of like beating Glass Joe in “Punch Out.”

  • Ghost of Neifi

    Let’s get 3 in a row!

  • lizzie

    I’m not sure if I should watch the game today, in case we make it three in a row, or not watch in case we don’t. I’ve watched many many fewer games than usual this year, perhaps only 1/3 of all the games. The scary part? I have seen precisely two wins all season long. That’s it. Two. Maybe it’s best if I just skip it today!

    • BuckeyeLakerCub

      I’ve only seen 2 wins. The 2 wins I saw in person of the 7 games I went to

      • Lizzie

        TP2 (you’ll always be TP2 to me!) you have a much better winning percentage than me at this point. You = .287, me = .067! That’s like you being the Pirates and me being the, well, Cubs!

    • C’mon Lizzie…
      Roll the dice and watch the boys win their 3rd in a row today.

      • Lizzie

        Ok Doug, I’m in! We’ll see how it goes! 🙂

  • Larry Sproul

    It is a W against a major league team . Dome and Byrd both had a good day . Wells was able to get back into it after the First inning .

    If Byrd gets traded be will miss the hustle that came with him . He was just getting hot when he got hit in Boston . Some rumors have Dome packing up soon and headed for Cleveland . Only time will tell as the trading deadline approaches .

    Get the brooms out maybe the Cubs can beat the Astros again .

  • David M.

    Soriano played…he just didn’t do anything positive (as usual). There’s not a snowball’s chance they’ll be able to move him this week. 🙁

    • Jeremiah Johnson

      Right you are, David. That’s pretty unimpressive on my part–I’ll update it as soon as I can. Thanks for the heads-up.

  • Katie

    I love Byrd. He’s like the heart of the team. I will be upset if he leaves. I would be very happy though, if Soriano was traded.

    I’m glad we won, even if it is against the Astros. It’s better than nothing. And Garza’s pitching and he’s been great. Let’s make it three!

  • Buddy

    This game feels like another one the bullpen will blow for Garza.

  • Buddy


    • Ghost of Neifi

      You jinxed it 🙂

  • Buddy

    I was really hoping to be wrong on that one!

  • Lando87

    Cubs win! They wouldn’t be the Cubs if they didn’t almost give their entire fanbase a heart attack or Garza a no decision. The scene at Wrigley today made it look like we clinched a playoff berth. Now lets get a real streak together at Wrigley North! #notholdingbreath

  • Buddy


    “At least four teams are zeroing in on Cubs outfielder Kosuke Fukudome, major league sources tell Bruce Levine of A major league source tells Levine that Fukudome has a limited no-trade clause in his deal that allows him to block trades to six teams. The Indians are reportedly one of the clubs interested in Fukudome’s services though it is unknown if they are on the veteran’s no-trade list. Fukudome, 34, will be owed $4.3MM as of August 1st and the Cubs would likely pay some of that money for the right prospects in return.”

  • Seymour Butts

    3, Amigos.

    Looks like the Astros are determined to put some distance between themselves and the Cubs.