Boxscore / Highlights

There is a lot to be said for a guy who pitches 7 straight quality starts and has a measly 3-2 record over that span. Travis Wood was astral last night, pitching 6 2/3 innings while striking out eight, with as 2.33 ERA. His only mistake was a second-inning home run to Allen Craig.

Bullpen

Carlos Marmol had another decent (and by decent I mean he didn’t surrender the 1-run lead) outing, pitching 1.1 innings and allowing two hits and a walk. One of the hits was surrendered to “The Smartest Baseball Player of All Time” (according to the Cardinals fan sitting next to me), Yadier Molina. After the hit that was almost caught by Schierholtz, Yadier stole second base and attempted to frazzle Marmol by taking an enormous lead toward third. I’m not joking, for being a slow guy, his lead looked like it was at least 30 feet off the bag. The best part was when he got “thrown out on the bases like a nincompoop” (or TOOTBLAN for short) to end the threat of the Cardinals scoring in the eighth.

Kevin Gregg gave up zero hits or walks and struck out one to earn his fifth save in five attempts. “What?” you ask. “Kevin Gregg has not blown a save? You’re joking.” Here’s what Dale has to say about him:

“That was our greatest pickup so far up to this point,” Sveum said. “His fastball location has been outstanding so far.”

What I’m gathering from this Gregg experiment is that our guys are commitment-phobes. When Marmol was labeled as the closer, he choked. Camp did the same thing. But now we have Gregg, who is perfect in save opportunities so far this year, and he hasn’t been hitched to the closer title. I say we keep that our little secret and don’t tell him. Isn’t that how common law marriages work?

Everyone Else:

Our offense was anemic once again, only collecting 5 hits and leaving 7 on base. Six of our guys went 0-for. Ryan Sweeney looked a wee bit overmatched up there against Lance Lynn. Anthony Rizzo did not have any hits, but he was thisclose (can’t you see the distance between my thumb and forefinger?) to his tenth homer of the year in the 8th.

Even David DeJesus was hitless. I expect at least one great at-bat from him in each game. It seems to me that he is our most consistent everyday player at this point in the season. It may be because of the ritual he does before and after each pitch. It goes like this:

Dave walks up to the edge of the batter’s box. He rests his bat against himself and adjusts his gloves. Then he picks ups his bat, wrings the handle a few times, and taps the toe of his left cleat with the end of it. Then he steps into the box and waits for the pitch. Then he takes the first pitch, and usually looks at the second one as well. He does this during every plate appearance. He’s very deliberate, and it seems like he takes even longer when the pitcher bats before him in the inning.

Player of the Game:

And the Player of the Game is………

NATE SCHIERHOLTZ

Nate’s 2-run home run in the fourth was the difference in the game. It is safe to say that he has become my favorite player. The home run to push to Cubs to victory on my birthday might have something to do with that, but he has been great all season. His .290 batting average is second only to Welington’s .305 average.

I love watching him play. He’s like a taller, more productive Tony C. He makes things happen.

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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