First Star – Ted Lilly (.448 WPA)
Second Star – Mike Fontenot (.217 WPA)
Third Star – Tyler Colvin (.163 WPA)
Today the Cubs didn’t score much, but they did score once and that’s all it took to give Sean Marshall the win. Marshall now has a 1.83 ERA in his new role as late inning setup man. Carlos Marmol came in and struck out the side in the ninth to give the Cubs a 2-1 series edge against the Dodgers on a day when the wind was blowing in. Ted Lilly was effective and threw seven innings of no run baseball and the Cub pitchers combined to hold the Dodgers to just five hits.
Today’s highlights were as noteworthy for what didn’t happen as much as what did:
- Xavier Paul made an outstanding catch in the Dodger’s bullpen in the bottom of the third. That in no way made up for a miscue on a double that turned into a triple hit by Fontenot in the eighth. Later that inning he also played a ball wrong off the wall that was ruled a double and an E9 – that miscue resulted in the only Cubs run, scored by Fontenot.
- Both starting pitchers were effective and tended to get ahead in their counts.
- Derrek Lee did a great job of hitting the ball where it was pitched in the bottom of the fourth. At the time of the double he was 7 out of 9 for the series with two walks. Lee is emerging from the funk that has characterized the start of his 2010 campaign. Despite the lack of timely hitting, Lee still sports a .343 on base percentage. The inning ended when Fukudome was robbed of an RBI by a shoestring catch in left by former Cub Reed Johnson.
- Lilly got in trouble in the fifth when he loaded the bases, but he kept his composure and got Paul to pop out to Castro to end the inning.
- Theriot made a great over the shoulder catch in the Dodger bullpen to get the Cubs out of the sixth. Since Castro has taken over at short, Theriot has been nothing less than superb at second. He’s playing as though it were his natural position (and perhaps it is.)
- The Cubs made a couple of bad baserunning plays, beginning with what appeared to be a blown hit and run in the 7th. Lee was looking at home the whole way and was thrown out by a mile by Martin. Either Lee read the sign wrong or Byrd missed the sign. Later in the 8th, an aborted squeeze resulted in a pop out by Ryan Theriot to the right side of the infield. Colvin was glued to third base and fortunately this kept the Cubs out of a double play, which is what would have happened had Colvin started for home.
- The eighth inning was where the Cubs cashed in their victory – Colvin got the game-winning RBI knocking in Fontenot. Colvin had previously come in in the top of the 8th as a defensive replacement for Nady who is now hitting .228. I’m starting to wonder if Colvin should be given more opportunities against left-handed pitchers. He looks like a totally different hitter than the one I saw in San Francisco last year.
- Marmol did his normal thing in the 9th. He struck out the side, but also showed signs of wildness. From what I’ve seen, Carlos should be used exclusively in the 9th with bases empty – he doesn’t do as well when he inherits runners.
It was a good Cubs win. Today I decided to watch the Dodger’s feed and I believe Eric Collins did the play by play. The color guy was definitely Steve Lyons. They were interesting to listen to and showed on video how Ted Lilly pitches from the first base side of the rubber against lefties. Lilly lines up on the third base side of the rubber against right-handed hitters. I believe this makes him more effective against lefties because of arm angle, which enables him to use the inside part of the plate more effectively against righties. Tomorrow the Cubs begin a three game home stand against the Cardinals. It will be televised beginning at 1:20 on WGN. A sweep could put the Cubs back in the mix of things.
Update: In injury news, Jeff Baker was pulled out of the game inexplicably. It has also been reported that Carlos Zambrano has been taken to the hospital with possible appendicitis. It looks like Gorzelanny’s return to the pen may be postponed; The Iowa Cubs are now using Cashner out of the bullpen. Think what you will with that.