I have to warn you. The post trade deadline Cubs are not going to be very fun to watch if all you care about is the win / loss record. In fact, that could very well drive you insane next season as well. However, if you care about the big picture, then there really shouldn’t be much of a change. In fact, it might be fun to see what exactly we have in terms of upper level starting pitching. We’ve got two months to evaluate two new guys for the rest of the year. It’s an important time for them to show what they’ve got.
Tonight was Casey Coleman’s shot, taking the ball in place of Ryan Dempster who was slated to start that night. He got the first hitter he faced in the first on strikes but then got ticky tacked for two straight infield hits. That’s a tough start for a kid that is looking for some confidence. You want him to come out on a short notice start and get through the first inning as easily as possible. At that point his inning is at a crossroad. It can fall apart or he can pitch out of it. Unfortunately, the inning fell apart. The next batter reached on a walk, despite a two strike count against him, and it was downhill from there as Neal Walker hit a high drive to right field for a grand slam and a big early hole for Coleman.
I have to give him credit. From that point on he kept the runs off the scoreboard before leaving in the 5th inning. He didn’t look pretty doing it, but when it comes to winning, it’s not always about looking pretty. I said on Twitter in the 1st:
I can see a scenario where Coleman is sent down in favor of two fresh arms after the game. Unfortunately, one may be named Volstad
— ViewFromTheBleachers (@vftb) August 1, 2012
After watching the remaining innings he pitched, he still may get sent down, but I think he deserves another start to see if he can build on the scoreless innings he posted after the 1st.
On the flip side, A.J. Burnett had my panties in a bunch. I’ve made it known in the past that I’ve never seen a no hitter. Not in person and not on TV from start to finish without already knowing it was going to happen. It doesn’t count if you hear that someone throws one and then watch the game replay or turn it on in the 7th. In my life, I can think of two very vivid times where I missed one that I should have seen. The first came about 10 years ago when Randy Johnson threw a perfect game against the Braves. At the time, I didn’t have the MLB package and I saw that the Braves were facing the Unit that night on TBS. I made a mental note to watch that game only to forget and go to the store. The second was the Carlos Zambrano no hitter against the Astros in Milwaukee. This was a game I normally would have watched, but for some reason the game was blacked out for me. O-for-2.
Enter Tuesday night. For the first three innings, I really didn’t pay much attention to the fact that the no hitter was going. Once I realized it in the 4th, I watched with it in the back of my mind, but figured we’d break it up in the next inning or so. The closer we got, the more I got nervous. I really didn’t want the first no hitter I saw to be one against my team. I asked the question to baseball fans on Twitter if they would cheer against their team in the event that they were at the game where a no hitter was being thrown. Surprisingly, some said yes, and I agree. It’s a historic event and I think it’s worth cheering for to say you attended. As for last night, I wasn’t cheering. Thankfully Adrian Cardenas broke it up and we’re left with an otherwise uneventful game to recap after the 1st inning. Unfortunately, that may be the theme going forward.