Cubs 5, Astros 1
What Went Right
- Lucky or Good? In his last five starts combined, Randy Wells has allowed twelve runs in the first inning. Today he didn’t allow any. It wasn’t for lack of trying–he gave up a lead-off single and a walk before retiring the next three hitters. But instead of falling apart early, he held on to throw six strong innings for the win.
- Do the Hustle Marlon Byrd led off the Cubs scoring Saturday with a long homer to center. His second hit–an infield single in the seventh–was classic Byrd. Sprinting out of the box, Byrd was able to advance to second on a bad throw from Astros’ 3B Chris Johnson. If the rumors are true and Byrd is headed to a contender in the next week or so, I’ll miss his constant hustle. It’s a rare commodity with this Cubs team.
- I Want You to Want Me, Part 1 Kosuke Fukudome didn’t start on Saturday–he came in as a defensive replacement in the eighth, when it was still a one-run game. He tripled in the bottom of the inning (we can thank Hunter Pence for taking a bad line and stretching an easy stand-up double into a triple), and scored the first of three insurance runs. I hope the scouts were still watching–that kind of hitting is his ticket out of town.
- I Want You to Want Me, Part 2 Geovany Soto hit a solo humerun to lead off the fifth inning. He also ran out an infield single in the eighth, bringing in two more insurance runs to give the Cubs a 5-1 lead. I don’t know how much his performance today will interest scouts around the league–certainly it has to do more than the Golden Sombrero he posted yesterday. But maybe–just maybe–this is the kind of performance that will warm the cold, dead heart of our blog-father Joe, finally bringing Soto into his good graces. Geovany isn’t holding his breath.
What Went Wrong
Riding the Pine Alfonso Soriano didn’t play today. He can’t increase his trade value if he doesn’t play. On the other hand, he can’t decrease it either. Perhaps this was a positive after all.Turns out Soriano did play, he just didn’t make a dent. Only two strikeouts and a line-out before getting replaced in the eighth for defense to further drive down his trade value. However the lesson here is simple: don’t recap games late at night.
- That’s Gonna Leave a Mark I understand using Marmol in the ninth to get him some work without the game on the line. And I suppose it worked out alright–Marmol didn’t give up any runs. He did however give up a lead-off single and then hit the next batter, Carlos Corporan, on the ankle, forcing him to leave the game. Marmol then retired the next three batters to finish the game. Sure, it worked. But it was ugly, and not really the kind of improvement he needs to show the Cubs.
Saturday was the Cubs’ second consecutive win, meaning Sunday they’ll try again to win three-straight for the first time this season. Not that it will necessarily mark a huge turning point for the season, but it would be nice not to have to hear about that particularly lousy stat for the rest of the year. Hopefully tomorrow won’t be their last chance to get that third win, but facing down the Astros might make it their best one yet.
Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)
1st Star – Randy Wells (.261)
2nd Star – Marlon Byrd (.148)
3rd Star – Sean Marshall (.125)
Cubs Pitching: .501 WPA
Cubs Hitting: -.001 WPA