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Game 23: Cubs 8 – Cardinals 1

Apr
28

Cubs 10-13, clinch series
Cardinals 10-13

POTG: CF/RF Jacque Jones (3 H, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, R)
Runner Up: 1B D Lee (2 R, 2 H, 2B, RBI, BB), 2B Mark DeRosa (2 H, R, BB), C Hank White (2 H, 2B, R, RBI), SP Carlos Zambrano (7 IP, 7 H, ER, 0 BB, 2 K, QS, W [2/66])

Any time Jacque gets a game breaking hit off an actual left handed pitcher, I’ve got to give him some sort of award. At the time, I was begging for a Murton pinch hit at bat (actually, I was looking for it when Cliff was up, but rethought it when I realized Jacque was still to come.) I think that’s still the right move – it was a huge leverage situation, with the possibility to pretty much end the game even though it was only the 5th – but Jacque doesn’t actually get to make the moves so it’s not his fault. It was his first hit vs a lefty all season, and it nearly went out of the park. Jacque’s also looked perfectly acceptable in CF, and that can only increase his value.

This was a better Z start, compared to rest of the month. This was still a below average Z start compared to his usual performances. As long as he’s improving, I’ll take it. It seems like he was quite likely about to fall into the same old problems and blow up in the half inning right after the Cubs scored a lot of runs, but he got bailed out by a DP and kept it together after. I’m not as down on him as Thom Brenneman was during the game, but he’s definitely still got to improve. At least this time, he hung around long enough to get a few at bats; he’s never going to repeat as Silver Slugger if he keeps having disaster starts with only one PA.

Chris Duncan can not possibly be as bad as he seemed today in LF, right? Anyone playing like that would’ve been moved to an AL team to DH or something by now. They would’ve been better with Pujols back in the OF. The 1st inning play, with Duncan whiffing on the catch (which wasn’t really shown till the 3rd or 4th replay) and falling thru the bullpen door was blooperrific. During the game, I was trying to convince people the play should be a homerun – the ball did go past the fence, after all. I guess it doesn’t work that way. MLB limits itself to no more than one weird protested play per day, too.

Good to see Rocky Cherry have a nice outing. I’d kinda like the Cubs to stick with 11 when Angel comes up for his start, but with Howry’s injury (and no idea how long/well Guzman’s going to go), I’m thinking Rocky might stick around for a bit, so it’s good that he might actually be effective. I think they’re leaning towards Cedeno, because that’ll allow the Cubs to platoon Jacque out of the lineup versus any lefty, but I think I’m still rooting for Pie to go down and get some more ABs.

Not the jinx it, but the Cubs really should win Hill vs Wells tomorrow night. I really wanted a sweep this weekend, of course, but I didn’t really expect it. Everything the Cubs can do to bury the Cardinals early will help later on. Plus, the Cubs next series starts off pitchers with ERA of 7 and 11, so they could build a nice streak to get back to 500.

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Game 22: Cubs 5 – Cardinals 3

Apr
28

Cubs 9-13
Cardinals 10-12

POTG: RP Ryan Dempster (1.2 IP, H, 2K, 3 of 3 Marooned, S [4/63]
Runner Up: SP Jason Marquis (6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, QS, W [3/59], 3B A Ram (HR [5/201], 2 RBI), CF PIE! (HR [1/1], 2 RBI), SS Izturis (H, RBI in only at bat), LF Alfonzo Soriano (H, SB, 2 AS)

See, now THAT’s a game that makes me feel positive about this team. About the game of baseball, actually, Baseball is super.

Remember back in April, when we weren’t sure about this Ryan Dempster Still As Closer idea? Apparently, we’re all morons, and it’s great. If Stupid Facial Hair guy’s shot goes about two feet to the left, perhaps we’re talking a bit different. But what happened actually happened (I rewound the tape and watched to make sure), and Ryan’s performance passed up Wuertz’s as the best of the season. It may be the best when the season’s over. That was huge.

I don’t think where this Jason Marquis came from, and where the old one went to, but I’m cool with it. Alien abduction, some sort of massive plastic surgery, demonic possession, it’s all good. Marquis can be a gateway to Armageddon on earth as long as he keeps pitching the way he’s been doing. Jason appears added by mental powers which compel batters to swing at questionable pitches while up in the count 2-0 and 3-1. Jason was fine here, but the Cardinals were over anxious and bailing him out.

You know what seems to be a hidden turning point of the season? Spring training, when Soriano was tutored by Pie in CF and they became Best Friends Forever. If Pie didn’t go so out of his way to help the man who seemed to be blocking him, would Soriano have been so fine with moving back out of that position? That move alone has really improved the outfield, if the last few games are any indication. I wouldn’t have a problem with Pie being sent back down when Angel comes, but I think he’s starting to get his feet in the MLB.

I was wondering if Soriano’s high assist total was a fluke thing, of people testing him and Soriano getting outs off misplays. Maybe we’ll still get some this year too, he just needs chances.

obNothing: In an alternate universe where I write posts about every Bulls game instead, I gushed about how awesome the Bulls/Heat game was, how incredible it was for the Bulls to come back after being so horrible in the second quarter and on offense in the third, and how excited I am for the possibility of Pistions/Bulls. In this universe, I’ll point you to a Blogabull post which says all that needs to be said.

obSAMMY: on FIRE. The Ranger fans don’t seem like they’ll ever accept him – everything the Rangers is/were/could be is constantly eclipsed by the Sammy story, and no one likes to see their team hijacked like this. But, if he’s going to warp back to ’98ish, I think they might get over it by June.

C’MON Z.

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