(AP Photo/Brian Kersey)

  • One of the things that gets me extemely excited about a team is when they take pitches to get a starter out in the early innings due to pitch count. In a way, that’s how it worked tonight against Tom Glavine. Granted, he did leave the game after three innings due to a strained left elbow that will cause him to miss his next start, but the Cubs were getting to him. After throwing 17 pitches in the 1st, the Cubs tagged him for 31 & 25 in the 2nd and 3rd. Coming into the game, you know Glavine is going to nibble around that outside corner and the most important thing to do with him is to be patient. Glavine has only made one start all year in which he’s gone over 100 pitches. With that in mind, if the Cubs would just take some pitches, the bullpen would have to spring into action in a hurry and because it’s the first game of the series, it should lead to a good result overall. The key was Derrek Lee in the first inning as he fouled off pitch after pitch to see a total of 10. At the time, Glavine had tossed just seven and was about to get out of the inning easily. Lee’s at bat changed it around and I believe it was one of the keys to the game, despite the fact that it resulted in an out. Matt will think I’m crazy with that statement, but I’m sticking by it.
  • Ted Lilly got himself another good outing that started out a little rough. The start was very similar in result to his last outing against San Diego. In both games he gave up something in the first inning via the home run ball and then settled in for the long haul. He had the K’s working in both starts as well and has pitched deep into the game. He is slowly working that ERA down and has settled in as the 3rd starter on this staff. My confidence in him is not quite as high as it was last year, but I’m getting there. What’s suprising to me is that coming into the game, Lilly was hitting .263 in 19 at bats. If you watch Lilly, he’s probably the worst looking pitcher at the plate and I fully expect this average to quickly find its way back under .150 where it belongs.
  • Reed Johnson had a real nice night in CF and at the plate tonight. He picked up a couple really nice plays in the field and drove in a couple runs out of the 8th spot in the order, which is a huge plus down there. You can complain that he left three guys on base, but when you’re dealing with the number eight guys in the lineup, can you really nitpick on something like that?
  • What are your thoughts on the umpires warning pitches and the benches these days? It came up tonight, but thankfully didn’t change the course of the game. I don’t think Lilly was throwing at Brian McCann after Norton hit the home run, but apparently the home plate umpire thought differently. Sometimes I just feel like the umpires are taking things and turning them into something that’s not really there. Umps should be invisible. Let the guys play.
  • Alfonso Soriano got picked off in the 1st inning, but as Len Kasper mentioned, that’s a good thing to see. It’s nice to know that he at least has the confidence again in his legs to even think about stealing 2nd base.
  • This week the Cubs are celebrating 7-11 day at the park. Shouldn’t the game start at 7:11pm, like the White Sox are doing?
  • There were two ad boards behind the plate, and I can’t seem to remember when the 2nd one came along. Did I miss that? All I saw on the board to the right was a green screen all game. It had to be for another network, but I didn’t see the game listed on ESPN or TBS. If someone has the reason, I’d love to hear it.

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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