First Star – Randy Wells (.333 WPA)
Second Star – Tyler Colvin (.079 WPA)
Third Star – Geo Soto (.076 WPA)
For the Cards that is…Randy Wells pitched 7 strong innings of shutout ball and the Cubs won 5-0. The Cards got what they could out of Jeff Suppan – the Cubs have hit this guy hard and I don’t know how long he’ll be wearing the Birds on the Bat as rumors seem to indicate that Roy Oswalt will be coming to St. Louis. The Cubs left five runners on base in the first three innings, it really made me wonder if they were going to lack timely hitting once again. But it turned out to be the Cards who had major missed opportunities – they stranded at least five leadoff hitters and had trouble turning three double plays, one of which lead to a run in the bottom of the 6th when Ryan Theriot scored from second on a miscue after yet another botched double play attempt by the Cards. Some other highlights from today’s game:
- Homeruns by Colvin in the first (solo,) Soto in the fourth (solo) and a two-run shot by Soriano in the fifth. Colvin is starting to lay off that inside low cheese that he’s shown vulnerability to – he’s going to be a very dangerous hitter if he learns to work counts in his favor. My hat’s off to Wilkens for spotting this guy, he was way off the radar. Both Soto and Soriano are having rebound years and I expect both of them to finish strong. Soto has 6 homeruns in his last 10 games and Soriano could be the Comeback Player of the Year if he finishes well. He now has 18 homeruns.
- We saw some good defensive play today, starting with Lee’s line drive double play (unassisted) in the top of the fourth. We also had a nicely turned 4-6-3 to finish the 8th.
- Sean Marshall continues to be the answer to our early season bullpen woes. He threw a nice two innings in relief and now sports a 1.78 ERA. Earlier today the Cubs activated Schlitter and sent Stevens down; it will be interesting to see if Schlitter has the same velocity after his shoulder impingement.
- Finally Wells threw seven good innings of shutout ball, this was his fourth strong showing in a row after having faltered. I still believe in this guy and project him to be our number two or three starter next year. What impressed me today was his location – the wind was blowing straight out in Wrigley today, a very dangerous day to pitch. But Wells was masterful and the Cubs won.
It will be interesting to see if the Cubs will be sellers as the deadline approaches – a sweep against the Cards could compel Hendry to play the cards he has been dealt. Particularly if Lilly is amenable to a contract extension. Lee continues to be one of the best defensive first basemen in the game; he’s been a great Cub but I think he’s going places. We’ll see what the Angels will do, if they’re not froggy Derrek might finish 2010 as a Cub.