First Star : Brad Lincoln (.448 WPA)
Second Star: Tom Gorzelanny (.283)
Third Star: Garrett Jones (.258)
With the wind blowing in the Cubs bats just blew. They managed four hits and no runs against Pirates pitcher Brad Lincoln who was 0-2 coming into this slugfest. In all fairness Lincoln is considered the Pirates top pitching prospect. If the rookie needed a break, the Cubs hitters were just what the doctor ordered. He went seven strong and struck out six Cubs.
The Cubs haven’t had back to back wins since June 16-17 when they got their only series win of the month against the A’s. Tom Gorzelanny looked good through five innings giving up no runs and four hits with three walks. This is about as positive as I can be in regards to this contest.
Yet again, I can’t decide if this game was a pitchers duel or a battle of futility at the plate. It seems the Cubs hitters can make just about any pitcher look worthy of the Cy Young award. Without further ado here is The Good, The Bad , and The Ugly…….
- In the first inning Gorzelanny made a nice pick off move to first and caught the Pirate rookie Tabata running. He was thrown out at second on Lee’s throw down to Fontenot. While this seems small, and it is, it was a nice start to the game and made me feel like it was setting the tone. Oh how I was fooled.
- Aramis led off the fifth with a nice hit into right field. When Aramis starts going the other way this means good things for him at the plate. I am not about to declare him healed of his hitting woes but he is taking baby steps.
- Starlin Castro had yet another nice at bat in the fifth tonight. With a man on he doubled down the right field line. The guy doesn’t light the world on fire with his bat but he shows great promise. He has a nice approach at the plate and he goes with whatever the pitcher gives him.
- The Pirates bullpen. These guys are pretty automatic against us. Makes me sort of jealous at times. Hanrahan got the hold and Dotel shut us down as usual. When we are down going into the seventh against these guys you can pretty much close the book.
- A couple guys in the crowd got creative and made signs with Soriano wearing a leather jacket and the word “aaaayyyyy!” above it with Fonzie written below. I know, I am reaching for good things at this point.
- Here is something good. Tom Gorzelanny pitched very well. He only went five inning’s but was very effective and once again made me wonder, why did we move him to the pen and bring Zambrano back to the rotation? He had 77 pitches and 51 of them were strikes.
- Derrek Lee got on base to start off the second inning but Aramis and Koyie were robbed on two hard hit balls that didn’t leave the infield. That being said chalk up another spoiled chance early on in the game to put up some runs. We had a guy on second with one out and couldn’t get the ball out of the infield.
- The last name Schlitter. The recent Cubs call up (Brian Schlitter) did a fine job pitching today but that name is so bad it is awesome. As a matter of fact, it could go in the “The Good” section but for now we will keep it here. Say it to yourself repeatedly, it’s kind of fun.
- Tyler Colvin striking out with 2 runners in scoring position and two outs in the fifth. As a team, we do not step up in these situations. We will never win these close games if we don’t find some clutch hitting somewhere. A hit there would have been clutch.
- Aramis Ramirez made an error on what looked like a pretty simple play for a Major League third baseman. He ranged slightly to his left and fielded the ball but then tried to spin and throw. Mid spin he just fumbled the ball. It set up two men in scoring position late in the game with only one out. Garrett Jones , the new Cub Killer, made us pay with a double off the wall.
- Sean Marshall walked in a run later in the eighth. In a tight game this is unacceptable and not very Sean-like.
- Say it with me, five hits and no runs against the Pirates. Does it get uglier?
That’s about it for me. You guys have any other thoughts?