First Star – Ryan Braun (.541)
Second Star – Carlos Marmol (.247)
Third Star – Jason Kendall (.237)
Top Play – Ryan Braun’s double in the 9th (+.437)
The Cubs let one slip away today and the way they did it raised some questions and had Lou screaming. Soriano made his return today and went 0 for 4…which is understandable on his return. However, it was an outfield play in the ninth inning that had people bothered. Kerry Wood also blew the save, his third blown save in seven opportunities. Unfortunately for Kid K this blown save came after Carlos Marmol came in in the seventh and shut the Brewers down in a crucial situation preserving a lead for the Cubs and keeping Carlos Zambrano in line for his fifth win.
Big Z looked good today as he has in almost every start this season. He was doing well through six only giving up a solo home run to Ryan Braun who carried the Brewers through this game. He ran into trouble in the seventh and Marmol came on to relieve him up by two with runners at the corners and one out. Marmol was Marmol striking out the next two batters and retiring the side in the eighth.
Zambrano also put the Cubs on the board with a solo shot to lead off the third. The Cubs faced Yovani Gallardo and scored three runs. I was surprised that they got so many hits in the game- 11 total yet they only scored three runs. Theriot had 3 hits and Fokudome had 4.
The defense had highs and lows. Fukudome had two OF assists at the plate. Unfortunately, the second one came after he got a bad jump on Ryan Braun’s eventual game winning double. Soto made a really good play on the first one as Prince Fielder was booking down the line and crashed into Soto with a forearm shiver to the head. (Do you remember the moment whan Pudge Rodriguez held the ball thrust in the air when the Marlins won their first round playoff series on a play at the plate a few years ago? That was one of those cool baseball moments.)
The story of the game came in the ninth. Wood comes in and hits the first batter. On the next play Soriano misplays a ball that he either misjudged or didn’t run as hard after as he should. I know he is just back but I think his outfield pursuit is terrible. I know there is a thought that he is a good left fielder but I think this line of thinking doesn’t take into considerations all of the plays he does not make. Today was one of those days. I wonder if Soriano has more games that he contributes a major amount towards a win or a loss. We are better with him in the lineup I know. But he is a superstar and has major flaws. (Let the disagreement begin.) However, the fault is certainly not just Soriano’s. Wood then gave up an infield single and then walked the bases loaded. After a strike out Braun doubled home two and the Brewers took a 4-3 lead. The questions about Wood being a reliable closer will continue to stir.
Lou was asked after the game if he considered pulling Soriano for defenive reasons in the ninth. Lou exploded that he is not stupid and of course he did. It seems like Lou regretted not making the change especially on his first day back. Lou didn’t have a great day and when Cedeno led off the ninth with a walk it was confusing why he didn’t try to steal. Remember Jason Kendall catched for the Brewers.
The thing about Lou is that he hates losing. Which is nice because sometimes it seemed like former managers took losing easily – or at least not as hard. So I wonder if Kerry continues to struggle, how long will Lou wait. Also, did Lou’s blow up today have anything to do with frustrations with Soriano or at least all the questions he gets about Soriano. If this is the case it is possible that Lou will respond in some way soon.