Cubs 3, Astros 4

Box Score / Highlights

What Went Right
Geovany Soto – with a hot streak or two, he might see his average creep above .250 before the end of the season. He hit a home run that temporarily gave the Cubs back the lead.

Aramis Ramirez – it seems now as if the only question is whether the Cubs will pick up his option, or whether both parties will work out a different arrangement for longer deal or a reduced price. If he gets to 30 HRs, the reduced price won’t be an option for the Cubs. I like Aramis, but I fear another multi-year deal.

Stolen Bases – isn’t this why you put young guys on the roster? Barney, Castro, and Campana all stole a base. I’d like to see more of it…who cares if we occasionally run into a rally killing out? I’d rather have them learn the art of base stealing on a team with no playoff potential, than to find in 3 or 4 years that we are again lacking a single player capable of swiping a base.

What Went Wrong
RISP – it’s a common refrain for these Cubs, 0-for-13 in the game with runners in scoring position. This included a bases loaded no out situation in which Soto, Byrd, and Soriano couldn’t muster but a single ball in play!  We left 12 men on base!

Casey Coleman – it’s going to be a rough 6 weeks for him if it takes 85 pitches to get through 3.2 innings. I’m not sure he can ever develop into even a backend of the rotation starter – but no one is going to find out unless he can reduce his pitch count. Even if he’d gotten out of the fourth, I’m not sure that he would’ve started the fifth; although you never can be sure what the Quade’s criteria is for removing a starter.

The Takeaway
I almost put the bullpen down as something that went right. But holding this ramshackle bunch of Astros hitless over 4.1 innings shouldn’t be celebrated. They’re a bunch of AAA guys who have been promoted by default, only a couple of them seem to be real MLB talent. At least the Astros are getting a look what they have in their system.

I Thought Our Bullpen Was Tired?
Today we asked the bullpen for 4.1 (potentially 5.1) innings of work; conversely last Friday we couldn’t permit them to do even 4 innings – and the bullpen is far less rested today than it was on Friday. In case you can’t tell, I don’t trust Quade’s management of our staff. Oh right, it’s the off-day tomorrow, that’s why it was all hands-on deck today (Grabow, Ortiz, and Samardzija is who we bring in when we want to keep that score from ballooning? – and good thinking to be sure our staff was well rested for the Astros).

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

1st Star – Aramis Ramirez (.518 WPA)

2nd Star – Matt Downs (.206 WPA)

3rd Star – Darwin Barney (.153 WPA)

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