September 21st, 2007

Teams

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
Pittsburgh 1 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 1   8 12 3
Chicago 4 1 2 0 0 5 1 0 X   13 16 0
W – S. Eyre (2-1) L – F. Osoria (0-2) S – None
Homeruns: A. Soriano (29) A. Ramirez (24 & 25) G. Soto (3)

Box Score


(AP Photo/Jerry Lai)

  • Aramis Ramirez was in the zone today. Two homeruns, and just missing a third. Six RBI, bringing his total to 98 on the year. The craziest thing about it though, is the fact that it wasn’t just his bat that was hot today. Soriano had a couple of hits and scored two runs. DeRosa scored a few runs, Derrek Lee hit the ball well and scored three. Even Geovany Soto got into the mix with his third long ball of the year. You knew that after Marquis let the Pirates back in the game in the fifth that if the Cubs pen could shut the door, the bats would be able to keep it going. Kevin Hart came in and pitched extremely well to close the door and the bats did their job. The magic number is down to 8.
  • Geovany Soto showed in the first inning that it’s not just Kendall that is having trouble throwing out baserunners. We’re beginning to see very clearly now that it’s not really the catchers that are the problem. This pitching staff just doesn’t hold runners on base with any amount of effectiveness. Let’s look at some numbers of our main veteran catchers and their numbers this season with the Cubs and last season.

    Name

    2007 w/ Cubs

    2006

    Diff

    Barrett 17.9 19.1 - 1.2
    Blanco 30.0 42.9 - 12.9
    Kendall 9.1 30.4 - 21.3

    Look at the major dropoff for Jason Kendall. He’s seen his ability to throw out a baserunner become almost non-existent. If we draw the Mets in the first round of the playoffs, that alone has to scare the socks right off your feet with Jose Reyes and Luis Castillo at the top of the order. For Reyes, who could be the fastest player in the game today, it would be in his best interest to run every time he reached base. We have no one who would be able to throw him out.

  • Homeruns have been coming in bunches this month and it got me wondering just where we stood in that department. We all know it’s been a year that has seen a drastic reduction in the longball, but with Soriano’s surge since returning and Cliff Floyd seeing his stroke come back for a week, the Cubs are actually becoming the beneficiary of the homerun at the best possible time in the season. Here is a list of the Cubs homeruns by month and the NL rank in parenthesis coming into today’s games.April – 19 (10)
    May – 25 (7)
    June – 30 (9)
    July – 13 (16)
    August – 19 (15)
    September – 28 (3)

    After sub par months in July and August, the Cubs have busted out in a big way with the bats. Add Soriano, Soto and two Ramirez homeruns from today into the mix and we’ve moved into 2nd place behind Milwaukee for the month of September.

  • Derrek Lee showed some hitting prowess in the first inning with a mini shift on him. With the second baseman playing virtually straight up the middle, it opened the entire right side of the infield. Lee did the perfect thing and took the ball right through that hole to reach first in a crazy first inning that produced four runs for the Cubs.
  • The 6th Inning was the game changer. After Soriano singles to lead off the inning, DeRosa lines out hard to short. With the Cubs so prone to the double play this season, you had to think that it was going to come back to bite them again. Derrek Lee hits a grounder to short and it looked to be the end of the inning due to yet another double play. Thankfully, Freddy Sanchez bobbled the ball and let it get passed him, allowing not only Soriano to reach second, but Lee to reach first on the fielders choice. Ramirez made them pay with the big homerun and later in the inning Soto did the same. It was an inning we probably should have scored none and left the field having scored five. It’s not too often that Sanchez makes a mistake, he’s was tied for first in the NL in fielding pct. for second basemen this season, but we took advantage.
  • Jack Wilson missed the game today due to the birth of a child. That’s fine with me because over the last seven days, he’s hitting .467 with a slugging percentage of 1.133. Jack, don’t you want to stay with that baby a few extra days? Come on man, do us a solid.
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    Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail