Cubs 5, Cardinals 4 (10 Innings)

Box Score / Highlights

What Went Right

  • Cubs Win! Cubs Win! - we won today, then we went out and beat the Cards.
  • Darwin Barney – a triple, a HR. Barney flexed his muscle from the 8-hole today, perhaps with a bit of help from the Cardinal OFs.  He was way more crucial to this win than FanGraph WPA stat would indicate. Hey, this just in – Cubs kick GM to the curb!
  • Starlin Castro – another two hits and a stolen base. He’s indefatigable; and no errors, miracle of miracles.  Jim Hendry destroyed.
  • Aramis Ramirez – good at-bats all day. A hit, two walks, RBI…he was in the middle of it. Did I mention Jim Hendry was fired?
  • Geovany Soto – two hits, an RBI, scored the winning run after he’d managed to advance on a sac bunt.  He’s up to .241 now, he’s going to “Derrek Lee” his way to a decent season after all. But everything is a bit rosier today since the Cubs canned Jim Hendry.
  • Tyler Colvin - game winning RBI off of the bench.  It was a good day for the Cubs bench, Pena had a walk and a run scored, DeWitt had an RBI triple, and Colvin won the game. Last Friday, Zambrano quits; this Friday, Hendry is cut loose.  Next Friday…

What Went Wrong

  • Mike Quade – Ricketts did half the job this morning. After seeing Jeff Baker again in the cleanup spot, he better hire a GM to finish the job for him. If Baker has to play against lefties, fine – but why is he our cleanup hitter? I don’t think Jeff Baker’s Mom would fill out a lineup card with her son batting fourth. Hendry left some stale Fritos and cheese curds in the top drawer of his desk – fair warning.
  • I Don’t Care, We Won Twice Today – other stuff might qualify here, but everyone else gets a free pass from me today. Even Campana’s stupid base running blunder in the 9th can be overlooked since we’ve rid ourselves of the millstone around the neck of the front office. To the next GM of the Cubs, “you’re welcome” for the urinal trough in the executive washroom.  Hendry was a big fan of “always being at the game.”

The Takeaway, Part I
Randy Wells was decent, no runs in the first; faltered in the 2nd, but got it back together for an average day. More often than not when he leaves the game, it seems like the bullpen needs to throw up zeros to have any chance to win – that was the case today, the bullpen did and we won.

A few other miscellaneous notes:

  • Campana’s baserunning mistake was atrocious. He NEVER looked at Ivan DeJesus – NEVER. It was Bob Dernier who finally got his attention to come back to first. Theriot and Furcal really hornswoggled him though – can’t be making those mistakes with no outs in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game.
  • Quade’s insistence that Baker hit fourth allowed LaRussa to hold the Cubs hostage in the bottom of the 8th. With Baker due up, LaRussa could leave his righty on the mound until we announced Pena; then LaRussa goes and gets his lefty to pitch to Pena. If instead, Baker is hitting 7th or 8th, you can use someone OTHER than Pena to face a righty, stick Pena in the pitcher’s spot as part of a double switch and avoid using two guys while never getting a single favorable matchup. Pena worked a walk and managed to score on Soto’s double, so maybe it’s alright if Pena sees lefties once in a while – but Baker doesn’t need to be hitting fourth.
  • Four double plays – that’s right we hit into four double plays. We won this game?
  • Bullpen was pretty good, 3 guys (Samardzija, Marmol, Marshall) all with an inning of work and no one threw more than 15 pitches or got into real trouble.

The Takeaway, Part II
We beat the Cardinals and Jim Hendry was fired. This might be more hope than I’ve had as a Cub fan at any point since I drove away from Dodger Stadium after Game 3 of the 2008 NLDS (dodging every manner of object being thrown at my vehicle and the verbal abuse hurled by the angry-but-celebratory Dodger mob).

Hendry always came across as a nice guy, very professional in how he handled his job – but also a little behind the curve. No one has ever accused him of being the smartest guy at the table. He was reactionary, not revolutionary. His off-season shopping lists were made from perceived Cub needs – not from the standpoint of where value was in the market. Consequently he overpaid for positions of “need” and watched those players underachieve, thereby creating a “new” position of need. Look no further than the rotating pie display in RF – it’s been a position of need since we dumped Sammy Sosa.

But this weekend has started out right, with a win and a regime change.

 

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

1st Star – Geovany Soto (.301 WPA)

2nd Star – Tyler Colvin (.296 WPA)

3rd Star – Jason Motte (.278 WPA)

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