Cubs 9, Mets 3
What Went Right
- Hitting with runners in scoring position – It’s been a problem for this team all year long and today they got the job done when it counted. What was really good to see was guys at the bottom of the order doing it. Zambrano drove in a run, Koyie Hill drove in one by making an out (can you expect anything more?), and even Carlos Pena hit a two run home run.
- Taking advantage of an early exit by a SP – Anytime you’re able to get the opponents starting pitcher out of the game before the end of the 5th inning, you need to win the game. R.A. Dickey left early with an injury to his heel and I thought to myself that the 4th inning was a key inning for the Cubs. They were down 1-0 at that point and it was the heart of the order coming to the plate against a middle reliever. I say it all the time, middle relievers / long men are in that role for a reason. They’re not good enough to be starting pitchers and their not good enough to be end of the game type guys. That means those are the guys you need to score on. The Cubs did just that with a crooked number against a very wild Pedro Beato that included a the home run by Pena to give the Cubs the lead.
- Zambrano’s outing – Carlos pitched effectively, despite starting the game off throwing in the low 80’s and showing a little frustration at some poor fielding early in the game. The velocity gradually crept up to the 90 range, but where he did the most damage was at the plate going 3-for-3 with a pair of singles and a double, driving in one. That makes him 4-for-4 in the series if you include the pinch hitting performance the other night.
What Went Wrong
- Fielding – darwin barney had such a bad day in the field that I think we need to type his name with all lowercase letters as punishment. He’s been so good this year that it’s tough to rag on the guy, but he did make two errors on one play and had three on the day and a mental error on a throw to second trying to make a play he had no business making. He made up for it at the plate, but this team can’t afford to be bad defensively and yet we see it time and time again.
- Zambrano Neck Tightness – It was tweeted after the game that Zambrano wasn’t available to the media because he paid a visit to the team doctor due to some neck stiffness. Apparently it’s nothing to worry about, but I’m sick of seeing injuries, especially to our rotation.
- Poor General Managing – I don’t know if it really deserves to get lumped in with the game notes as something that went wrong, but it’s going there anyway. After the game, it was announced that the Cubs traded minor league pitcher, Ryan Buchter for veteran pitcher, Rodrigo Lopez. It’s not the trade that bothers me. It’s the announcement that he’ll immediately be pitching out of the pen. He’s never been a reliever in his career and has been pitching really well for the Braves AAA team. Maybe Jim Hendry hasn’t noticed, but some of the names we’ve run out there while Cashner and Wells have been out have been brutal to watch. When James Russell has taken the mount as a starter, you can pretty much just mark it down as a loss. Why not slot Lopez in there as a starter? Could it hurt?
Questions for Discussion
- On days that Carlos Zambrano pitches and Koyie Hill catches, is it better to hit Zambrano 8th and Hill 9th?
- Which would be easier for the average fan if called upon: 1) Pitching a full inning of shutout baseball OR 2) Getting at least one hit during a major league game as a hitter? I tend to think it would be getting a hit because as a pitcher you are so different from what the hitters are used to seeing in terms of velocity that you may just be able to junk ball your way through it.
This was a big series to start a very big home stand. It’s put up or shut up time for this team with this homestand consisting of nine very winnable games. Anything less than six wins on the stand is unacceptable, with the goal really being 7+.
Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)
1st Star– Carlos Pena (.190 WPA)
2nd Star –Carlos Zambrano & R.A. Dickey (.111 WPA)
3rd Star– Jose Reyes (.094 WPA)
Official Recap Standings
Mark 6-3 (.667)
Buddy 3-3 (.500)
Joe 10-10 (.500)
Brandon 1-4 (.200)
Chet 0-2 (.000)