Cubs 6, Phillies 1
WHAT WENT RIGHT
- Rodrigo Lopez looked sharp early, retiring the first nine batters he faced. He even managed to scratch out a single against Phillies’ ace Roy Halladay. Lopez beat the heat and turned in a solid outing: 6.2 IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 3 K’s, NO WALKS.
- Aramis Ramirez kept his power bat going with a solo shot in the bottom of the 1st.
- Kosuke Fukudome had a text-book at bat in the 3rd inning, working a walk against Halladay. Fukudome saw 28 pitches in tonight’s game.
- Ramirez knocked in the Cubs second run with a sac fly in the 3rd. Carlos Pena followed with an RBI single to make it 3-0 good guys.
- Starlin Castro chipped in with two hits. His second hit in the 5th inning knocked out Halladay, who looked completely whipped by the hot, muggy weather.
- Alfonso Soriano actually made a nice running catch in LF.
- If that isn’t strange enough, Koyie Hill walked and swiped a base. It truly was a weird night at Wrigley Field.
- Darwin Barney drove home the Cubs fourth run with an RBI double in the 6th. Fukudome drilled a double down the line to plate Barney and make it 5-1.
- Pena crushed his 20th homer, an absolute bomb to center.
- James Russell retired a righty! James Russell retired a righty!
- Carlos Marmol tossed a scoreless 9th. Of course he walked two batters. It’s never easy for Marmol, or those who have to watch him pitch.
WHAT WENT WRONG
- Not much, for a change.
- Castro was cut down trying to steal third in the 5th. Naturally, Marlon Byrd followed the caught stealing with a single.
- The Cubs defensive woes continue. Two more errors tonight.
- Jim Belushi ended up on my television.
PEAKS & VALLEYS
Recently I was chatting with a friend who I would describe as a casual baseball fan. He brought up the Phillies and said something like “It must be nice to win every year.” Of course no team wins every year, and all franchises have ugly stretches that sometimes last for a decade or more.
Let’s take Philadelphia. After reaching the World Series in 1993, the fighting Phillies didn’t sniff the post season again until 2007. From 1994 to 2006, Philly fans endured eight losing seasons, including three campaigns of 90+ losses.
By no means am I comparing the Cubs legendary misfortune to a 12-year blip on the Phillies’ radar screen. However, it’s a decent reminder that all franchises have down periods. Even the mighty Yankees missed the playoffs from 1982 to 1993.
How quickly will the Cubs turn it around? I wish I knew. You don’t have to be Nostradamus to see that it won’t be next year. Maybe 2013 will be the beginning of better days. By that time a lot of dead weight should be trimmed off the roster.
Stars of the Game
Base on Win Probability Added (WPA)
1st Star – Rodrigo Lopez (.287 WPA)
2nd Star – Carlos Pena (.083 WPA)
3rd Star – Aramis Ramirez (.070 WPA)