First Star – Ryan Dempster (.579 WPA)
Second Star – Derrek Lee (.285 WPA)
Third Star – Clayton Kershaw (.168 WPA)

It looked like many of the other games Cubs fans have witnessed over the first quarter of the 2010 season. In the fourth inning it stank of a potential wasted pitching performance and more missed opportunities for the offense. A dark cloud started hovering over Wrigley in the fifth inning and the circus music was being cued. Just as the clown car got loaded up and prepped for yet another comic ending to a beautiful evening…….the music stopped, the cloud vanished and Derrek Lee returned to form. For a guy who couldn’t stop rolling over pitches and grounding into double plays, all the while adding credit to his “DP” Lee nickname, tonight was a step in the right direction.  Add a beautiful masterpiece by Ryan Dempster, who kept Dodger hitters fooled with good pitch selection and pinpoint control, and sprinkle in some errors by the Dodger infield and you have a 3-0 win for the Cubs. Without further ado, here is The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly……

The Good

  • Derrek Lee and his bat for starters. He went 3 for 3 with a walk and three RBI’s. He was selective with his at bats and hit the ball into the left center power alley twice. He followed that up with a 2-run opposite field shot over the wall in the eighth to seal the deal.  This may have been one of three really clutch performances Cubs fans have seen all year. When Lee is going good this is his recipe for success.
  • Ryan Dempster has been starving for run support all season. His record is not very indicative of the quality season he is having and tonight’s eight shutout innings were proof that if he gets just a drop of help the Cubs have a chance to win when he takes the hill. Three hits, seven strikeouts and a walk over eight innings sounds like a Tim Lincecum line. Last night that was Dempster and he looked like he could have taken it the distance as he rung up two batters in the eighth and there looked to be no quit in his engine. His pitches hovered around the strike zone for most of the game and he had that look like he was toying with hitters at certain times.
  • Carlos Marmol got his tenth save and their was no drama. I don’t really need to write anything else about this because when Carlos saves a game and doesn’t flirt with throwing it away that goes in the good section! (2 k’s to close it out doesn’t hurt though)
  • Len and Bob called Manny Ramirez out for his lack of power this season and how it could be related to a certain suspension last year. One of the better exchanges between these two and so true.

The Bad

  • Manny Ramirez. need I say more. This guy looks as if he could care less in the outfield. I have not seen this level of nonchalance in a professional sport in my whole life. His total lack of effort and dogging it after Lee’s first hit of the game made me wonder how his coaches keep from going insane.
  • Xavier Nady went 0-3 and left 5 on base. I am not sure this experiment is working out. When you couple that with an 0-3 from Jeff Baker the bottom of the order looks frightening. I am not sure this lineup is the solution and would almost rather see Aramis get out of his funk and hack away, at least we know there could be a payoff in the end.
  • Starlin Castro battled in his first at bat of the game only to get screwed on the call at first base. He clearly beat the pitcher to the bag on the replay and they called him out.
  • Lee Smith’s 7th inning stretch was one I would rather forget. I almost thought he was going to lip sync it

The Ugly

  • I only have one ugly thought tonight and it goes to Sweet Lou. Tyler Colvin must have done something seriously wrong to get the treatment he is getting. The guy gets benched for just about anybody. I am waiting for Lou to pull a guy out of the crowd to play right instead of Colvin for tomorrow night. I could just see the exchange…..”hmmmm, a young guy who hits and has a good glove or the gentlemen selling malt cups?”…..decisions, decisions.

Well thats about it for me. What are your thoughts?

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Chet West is an IT professional living in Minneapolis, MN with his wife and two daughters. He has a pug named Banks and loves photography. Follow him on Twitter @chetwest19