First Star – Ted Lilly (.251)
Second Star – Kosuke Fukudome (.186)
Third Star – Reed Johnson (.186)
Top Play – Reed Johnson’s bases loaded single in the 4th. (+.151)

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Is it just me or does it seem like everything we’ve had a tough time doing in the past is coming easily this year? We’re winning games at home. We’re putting teams away in the game and not letting them get back in it. We’re 5-1 against lefties. We’re taking care of business in extra innings and we’re drawing walks to the tune of best in the National League for OBP. Oh, and that’s not even mentioning Lee’s power surge, Cedeno’s hot play and production from the catching position. It’s getting hard not to get cocky now that this team took care of business against a team that many felt was the best team in the NL coming into the season. The knock was that we hadn’t beaten anyone of consequence, and now we have. Let’s see if we can’t keep the hotness going against Colorado.

Ted Lilly pitched a lot better today, but still struggled with his command at times after starting the game by retiring the first 10 hitters he faced. He pitched himself into and out of a jam in the forth after giving up a double to our old pal, Angel Pagan, who over slid the bag in a retarded slide. After pitching around David Wright and walking Carlos Beltran, Lilly got Carlos Delgado and Damion Easley to pop out on the infield to get out of it without any runs. He got himself into another jam in the 6th and was touched up for the only run of the game. When all was said and done, Lilly had himself a quality start and a lot of exhales from Cub fans around the world. This is a “build on me” start. What I mean by that is that Lilly can build on this start as he goes into his next outing. Use this as confidence that you can still do just fine and begin to work on the walks.

Ronny Cedeno had another big day today, despite not getting a nod as one of the stars of the game. Rob asked the question “Theriot or Ronny”, but I still think it’s a non-issue at this point. We’ve seen Ronny get hot in the past. The question is whether or not this success is finally the sign that he’s figuring things out. Right now, despite the success, he still hasn’t supplanted Theriot in the lineup for me, but I think he has upped his stock over Mike Fontenot. I think he deserves the starts at 2B when Lou would normally think about going with Fontenot. The most important thing I’ve seen from Cedeno over the last few days is the lack of bonehead plays that have so often typified his style of play on the field. If he can get those out of his game, he can be a viable player in this league.

Kosuke Fukudome is my daddy. Five plate appearances today and he was on base after every one of them. I did a quick check to see where Fukudome ranked in the ever exciting pitches / plate appearance stat and found that he’s ranked 4th with 4.44 pitches seen per PA. This guy is the real deal. I think you have to start making the case for him to be an all star as a rookie. I’d love to see the Cubs well represented in July at Yankee Stadium. Who knows, maybe that would actually get me to watch.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Lilly was winless in his last eight starts coming into today
  • Aramis Ramirez has now gotten on base safely in all 20 games of the year.
  • Reed Johnson has only swung at aprox. 1.7% of first pitches this year.
  • Where was Carlos Delgado going on the ball hit by Lilly in the 4th? It was clearly not his play, yet he tried to play it and got himself so far out of position that it allowed Lilly to reach on an infield “hit”.
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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers. 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 and helps people protect their assets as an independent insurance agent. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail