First Star: Alfonso Soriano (.313 WPA)
Second Star: Mark Reynolds (.249 WPA)
Third Star: Justin Upton (.195 WPA)
- Carlos Silva has been Batman. I’ve consistently called him that since the first start of the season and I’ll probably continue to call him that all year long. I tweeted early today, before the game, that I had a feeling today was the day he’d figure out that he wasn’t Batman. I don’t know that I would say he was horrible today, but he wasn’t the same pitcher we have seen in the other starts. For starters, he issued three walks, which was uncharacteristic of his starts. Combine that with the wind blowing out and you’ve got a recipe for a poor start. We know he’ll give up his share of home runs, despite the fact that we’d only seen one coming into the game, and today he regressed closer to the mean by allowing three. Ironically, all three were off the bats of guys that had never homered against the Cubs (Mark Reynolds – 2 & Justin Upton). Not the best outing for Silva, but Carrie Muskat mentioned that he’s been bother by a sore wrist. He showed a little discomfort coming off the mound to end the 4th and Len mentioned it going to commercial. Lou stated before the game “(Silva’s) wrist has been bothering him,” manager Lou Piniella said. “We can give him an extra day.” The extra day he’s referring to is due to the fact that Gorzelanny will move ahead of him in the rotation next week to accommodate the rest.
- It’s time for us to not only lay off Alfonso Soriano, but to start praising him. Everywhere I read, everyone has talked about how the Cubs are stuck with his contract (which is true) and how he’s basically a waste of space right now (which is not true). Compare Soriano at the plate to guys like Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee and you have a player that has completely outplayed both yet is hitting lower in the order. It’s time for us to adjust our thinking about making out a lineup card each day and take it one game at a time. We hear that stupid cliche all the time out of the mouth of players and coaches alike. Why can’t it apply to making out the lineup card? For example, right now Lee and Ramirez are not hitting the baseball well, but Marlon Byrd, Soriano and Geovany Soto are. We’ve seen Lou moved Byrd to the 4th spot and bump Ramirez back to 5th, but that’s the extent of changes we’ve seen from Lou. Would it be so bad to give this lineup a chance, even for one game? Hit Byrd / Soriano / Soto in the 3-5 spots with Ramirez and Lee to follow until they start hitting. Lee drove in two big runs to give the Cubs the lead in the 8th, but he’s just not been the player he was last year. He’ll come around, but until that happens with regularity, it’s something we need to consider.
If you’re not thinking outside of the box, you’re not really thinking. That’s one of the things I love about the managers that bat the pitcher 8th. It’s creative thinking that challenges the norm. I may not always agree with it, but there are times that I think hitting the pitcher 8th even makes sense. If no one tries it, you’ll never know. Think about the first time someone tried the crazy pull shift on a hitter like Prince Fielder or Ryan Howard. People thought they were crazy until it started to work. Now it’s looked at as the best way to play those guys at the plate. It’s time for us to get creative and shuffle the lineup based on who’s hot and who’s not. What can it hurt for a team that’s under .500 after a month of less than impressive opponents?
- Lou pinch hit with Dempster in 8th for the bunt in a 5-5 tie game with three bats left on his bench. It’s a move I’ve called for before and today Lou made it. Dempster didn’t get the bunt down, popping up the ball on the infield, but an errant pitch allowed the runner to take 2nd anyway. It was the right call for Lou to make in that situation. You don’t know if the game will go into extras and you really need to save guys for key situations in that instance. Normally Dempster is one of the better pitchers in baseball at getting down the sac bunt so today’s result was not the norm.
- After a pretty good beat down in the opening game of the series, things looked bleak when considering the Cubs chances of winning 3 of 4 in this series to salvage a winning home stand. After today’s win, it doesn’t look as difficult. Edwin Jackson, tomorrows starter for the snakes, has an ERA of 6.67. That rather bloated number is due to the fact that in his last outing he allowed 10 runs in just 2.1 innings of work in Colorado. He’s a pitcher that really hasn’t ever lived up to a lot of the hype that came with him when he was in the Dodgers organization. He’s found himself playing for Tampa, Detroit and now the Diamondbacks as a result. We should be able to get to him and win this series. The only worry I have is that Gorzelanny will realize he’s been pitching over his head as well and turn back into a pumpkin now that we’ve turned the calendar to May.