Cubs 2 – Padres 1

Cubs 4 -Padres 5

Box Score (Game 1 or Game 2) / Video Highlights (Game 1 or Game 2)

What Went Right

  • Matt Garza was much improved in game one. If you take out the 6th inning, he was flat out dominant. I’m still a big believer in Garza. I still see him winning 16+ games and finishing with an ERA in the high 2′s or low 3′s
  • Jeff Samardzija struggled with his command, but he got the job done in a crucial situation in game one. Despite walking three men, he managed to log two scoreless innings of relief in the 10th and 11th and get the win.
  • Reed Johnson hit a home run to lead off the 11th in game 1. It’s always more fun when it’s a walkoff edition.
  • Alfonso Soriano hit a two run bomb late in game 2 to try to give us a chance. Fukudome would reach base, but Darwin Barney couldn’t keep the rally going in the 9th.
  • Despite losing the 2nd game of the DH, the Cubs managed a series sweep and sit tied for 1st in a very yucky NL Central.

What Went Wrong

  • The James Russell as a starter experiment went wrong and continues to go wrong. At some point we need to pull the plug on the idea and get someone else in there. I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s not Russell and it’s not Samardzija. I’m going to watch Trey McNutt pitch tonight at the AA level, but I don’t think he’s the answer at this point simply because of a lack of experience. If we’re going to move in a different direction in the rotation, my first choice continues to be Sean Marshall and if not Marshall, then probably a guy like Ramon Ortiz and pray for a lot of rain outs on his day to pitch.
  • This was one of the few times I can remember seeing Starlin Castro finish this poorly in the box score at the plate. He was a combined 1-for-9.
  • The Carlos Pena experience continues to be one that leaves you less than satisfied. It’s kind of like that mini tootsie roll you eat. It’s really good, but you just don’t get enough from it to leave you walking away with a feeling it was worth it.

Game 1 Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)

1st Star – Matt Garza (.377 WPA)

2nd Star – Reed Johnson (.354 WPA)

3rd Star– Jeff Samardzija (.291 WPA)

Game 2 Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)

1st Star – Heath Bell (.214 WPA)

2nd Star – Ryan Ludwick (.205 WPA)

3rd Star– Aaron Harang (.178 WPA)

Official Recap Standings

Buddy 3-0 (1.00)

Joe 5-4 (.556)

Mark 1-2 (.333)

Chet 0-1 (.000)

Brandon 0-2 (.000)

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail