Cubs 7, Marlins 5
Tonight the Cubs got the best of the Marlins, courtesy of a game-winning homerun by Marlin Byrd. All told it was a 7-5 victory, a see-saw affair that saw the Cubs scatter thirteen hits and come back from a fifth inning deficit to win a game that they really needed to win. Some highlights and observations on the game:
What went right:
- Lots of contributions offensively: Fukudome went 2-4 (now hitting .330,) Barney really impressed me despite the fact that he was 0-4. He hit the ball where it needed to be hit and accounted for two RBIs by playing smart baseball. Byrd hit a towering homerun to win the game and is quietly hitting .307; Hill went three for three but even did well in his next at bat bunting Campana to third (who later scored.) I’m really liking what I’m seeing from Campana, this guy is exciting to watch on the basepaths and he’ll give Colvin plenty of time to get his game back on track. Reed Johnson got Dempster off the hook with a two-run homer while pinch-hitting for Dempster. Fukudome is hitting .330, Barney .333, Castro .329, Ramirez .290, Byrd .307 – great offensive resurgence by the Cubs!
- No errors – the only bone-headed play was Soriano out-running a single in left but it didn’t affect the score.
- Good game management by Quade, with the exception of his decision on Dempster in the fifth (more explanation later.) I like how he brought the Shark in, watched him carefully and let him finish the seventh. Then he substituted Marshall, who got the job done. The Cubs pen is now sizing up well with Samardzija at 2.96 ERA, Marshall at 1.53 (H-9) and Marmol at 1.49 (S-9.)
- The Cubs didn’t give up – they could have after the fifth and they were playing against a quality righthander – one the Cubs gave up for Juan Pierre. Nolasco now sports a 3.32 ERA.
What went wrong:
- Ryan Dempster melted down again in the fifth. This is the third game that I’ve recapped where Dempster pitched masterfully, only to lose it in the middle innings. I noticed Ryan with his arm wrapped tight in the middle of the fifth, granted it’s not unusual for pitchers to wrap their arms between innings. But it seems to me that he’s having issues with endurance and it doesn’t appear to be any sort of malaise. After hitting the game-tying homerun to get Dempster off the hook Reed Johnson went to put his arm around Ryan and he walked away dejected. He seems frustrated by his own pitching and it’s not because he’s not trying. I’m wondering if he’s possibly fighting through an injury, this guy is not one to give up without giving it his all. The Cubs right hander now sports a 6.91 ERA.
- Some idiot decided to streak the game and do a cartwheel before being arrested. Welcome to the Florida State Sex Offender Registry you moron!
- Hanley Ramirez can’t seem to get his act together – granted he hit a homerun to the opposite field. But he is hitting with his eyes closed sometimes and his body parts aren’t working together – this guy has what it takes to be one of the best players in the game but it’s not happening now.
Thankfully Cubs fans that watched the last two games were rewarded with a win, tomorrow night the Cubs will play the Marlins on CSN beginning at 6:10 CDT.
Around the league:
- Bob Brenly had the honor of taking down a number on a countdown for the oft-named Marlins ballpark, their new stadium is becoming ready for the 2012 season with 56 games remaining. To me “Sun Life” is a little shop of horrors, I’ll be glad to see the day when the Cubs don’t have to play there again. It is a bad baseball venue and Miami fans have consistently voted the same way with their wallets. The team will be renamed the Miami Marlins in 2012, hopefully the same will one day happen with the Nashville Titans and the Denver Rockies.
- Pirates Watch: Charlie Morton is now 5-1 with a 2.62 ERA. Where did this guy come from? He hasn’t pitched this well since leaving Atlanta. Brad Lincoln is pitching well for AAA Indianapolis, striking out 23 in 25 innings pitched. Look for him to come up soon.
- Matt Holliday has a quad injury and had to leave Wednesday’s game.
On this date in baseball history:
- 1931: Babe Herman hit for the cycle for the first of two times that season. Two years later as a Cub he did it again, making him one of only two players to hit for the cycle three times during the 20th century.
- 1990: RyneSandberg’s 123 game error streak came to an end. I can actually remember seeing the play, you knew it had to end sooner or later.
- 2004: Randy Johnson threw a perfect game against the Diamondbacks at age 40, making him the oldest pitcher ever to throw triple zeroes. It was his second career no-hitter.
Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)
1st Star– Reed Johnson (.258 WPA)
2nd Star – Greg Dobbs (.201 WPA)
3rd Star– Jeff Samardzija (.164 WPA)
Official Recap Standings
Mark 4-3 (.571)
Buddy 3-3 (.500)
Joe 8-10 (.444)
Brandon 1-4 (.200)
Chet 0-2 (.000)