Pirates 66-90, -17
Cubs 83-73, +3.5
POTG: SP Z! (6 IP, 3 H, 0R, 3BB, 6K, W[17/81]; 2B, R)
Runner Up: SS Ronny Cedeno (HR, 3H, 3 RBI), C Geovany Soto (2 H, R, RBI, SF), RF Matt Murton (2 2B, 3 H, R), 1B Derek Lee (2B, HR, 2R, 3RBI), 2B Mark DeRosa (2H, R, RBI, 2B), RP Kerry Wood (2 IP, 0R, 0H, BB, 3K), RP Michael Wuertz (IP, 0R, 3 K)
I don’t want to be in the position of defending cramps, but it was a 6-0 lead against a dead Pirates team. They didn’t Z in there any longer and it’s for the best to save that inning for a little bit longer.
It’s so tempting to make Ronny Cedeno player of the game, because that may never happen again. This was quite a day for a guy who only exists to play if Theriot asks out of a game – and that was never before the back spasms on Sunday. Ronny got one more chance for the season and made a whole lot out of it. Ronny had a good day before the home run, but that clinched his chance to have more good days this season. I think, coupled with any questions about Theriot’s back, Cedeno hit his way onto to the first round playoff roster.
This was a fine day for the Iowa Cub taxi squad. I don’t know if Mr. Soto is dressing in Michael Barrett’s locker, but it seems like he’s completely taken over every other part of Barrett’s role at the start of the season – strong hitting catcher in the six spot – and improved upon it by showing the rare ability to throw baserunners out. He’s become the hybird of Barrett and Blanco everyone wanted from day 1, and the Cubs had him all along. I don’t know if it can keep up, but it’s great right now.
Meanwhile, having Matt Murton around to do nothing but platoon versus left handers is the greatest advantage of a short pitching staff in the playoffs. The Cubs can use everyone they put on their roster and they will use everyone.
Everything’s coming together at the right time. The hitting for power for the bigger guys has been talked about and will be talked about more. It’s also the guys like Murton hitting, it’s Wood and Wuertz being very sharp, it’s everything peaking at the right time.
Cubs ought to finish this in Miami and take the weekend off. Not sure it’s going to quite work out that way, but it’d be excellent.