Cubs 5, Astros 4

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

What went right:

  • Offense – Back to back doubles by Byrd and Soto to lead off the 2nd gave us the lead, then 1 out later Barney drove in Soto. Garza got his first career RBI with a single that scored Barney. The second inning was a great show for the offense. Soriano had the game-tying RBI single in the 8th inning to score Byrd. When the game went into extras, Marlon Byrd led off the 10th with a triple. The Astros then decided to intentionally walk Tony Campana (What??), who stole second base without a fight. Then Darwin Barney got a free pass, and Jeff Baker had the RBI single to end the game.
  • Defense – Soriano made a surprisingly good, waist-high catch. Soto had a great arm by gunning down a man trying to steal second. Those kinds of plays are my favorite.
  • Garza – Once again, Garza pitched an excellent game. He gave up 2 ER in 7 IP while striking out 9. He even helped his own cause with his first career RBI in the second inning. Let’s keep him around for a while.

What went wrong:

  • Clint Barmes hit a solo home run with 1 out in the first inning.
  • Garza gave up a leadoff walk in the 3rd, then loaded the bases.
  • Samardzija
  • Marmol had some control issues and loaded the bases, but luckily he got out of the jam without allowing any runs.
  • Barney failed to execute a sac bunt to move Soto over. Why does Quade try to move Soto on a sac bunt? He is so slow. It makes no sense. Have Barney hit or do a hit and run. Or even better, pinch run someone (Campana, maybe???).
  • Castro took too long to get set and allowed an infield hit in the 9th. That same runner advanced to third on a misplay by Campana (the dugout did not offer him any help on that play, though. They should have gotten out of the way.).

Notes:

  • The Cubs finally won three in a row!!
  • Why does Quade stand in the corner of the dugout like that? He should be conversing with his team or something.
  • Marlon Byrd played his 1,000th career game today.

Takeaway:

Despite getting no help from his bullpen, Garza was fantastic. We need to get guys that can back up his great outings. He lowered his ERA to 3.72 and leads the team with 119 Ks. On that note, our bullpen stinks. Samardzija gave up the go-ahead 2 run homer to Carlos Lee in the 8th. Quade should not be using him in those situations. Lopez wasn’t completely terrible, but I like him as a starter more than as a set up guy, and Marmol needs more work.

It was great to see our offense come through in the clutch. Campana stole 2nd without contest, and everybody’s favorite Cub (sarcasm, people) Jeff Baker came through in the clutch. Thank goodness that we beat the Astros.

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

1st Star – Marlon Byrd (.455 WPA)

2nd Star – Michael Bourn (.299 WPA)

3rd Star – Matt Garza (.254 WPA)

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Katie Cernek is a regular contributor to VFTB. She grew up as a Cubs fan in rural Wisconsin and fondly remembers hearing stories of Fergie Jenkins, Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, and Ron Santo. You can find Katie on Twitter @heyitskatiec