Game 23: Cubs 8 – Cardinals 1
Cubs 10-13, clinch series
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.