Game 96-98 (@ Houston)
96: Cubs 1 – Astros 2
POTG: SP Ted Lilly (7 IP, 6 H, ER, 2 BB, 6 K)
Lilly pitched good enough to win it, but the bats did nothing and Howry had nothing. It’s a home run park, but the only home run Lilly gave up would’ve been one anywhere; this was a much stronger performance, so at least you can take that from this.
97: Cubs 1 – Astros 4
POTG: SS Ryan Theriot (3 H, 2B)
Z wasn’t great on the mind – he was wild in pitches and emotion – but he was the entire offense so he deserves partial credit. He shouldn’t have give up 4 runs and should’ve figured out the strike zone instead of fighting it, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Outside of Theriot, no one seemed to be fighting Wandy Rodriguez during their at bats.
98: Cubs 9 – Astros 0
POTG: SP Ryan Dempster (8 IP, 6 H, BB, 7 K)
If you add up all three games, the Cubs win 11-6. Let’s totally do that for this series. I think this is more “Brandon Backe is not actually that good” than any particular randomness, but it’s a little frustrating not to see any of this in the previous games. If they can carry it over to Arizona, I’ll get over it.
Dempster’s still much better this season for the same reasons: walks, HRs are down
career: 4.54 BB/9, 0.99 HR/9
2007: 4.05 BB/9, 1.08 HR/9
2008: 3.46 BB/9, 0.75 HR/9
Not really a big deal to have Kerry out with a blister when you don’t get save situations. Marmol going 1-2-3 on 8 pitches is very encouraging. And the Cubs are looking at least better at finishing game than the next team they have
@ ARIZONA – first place battle, though the Diamondbacks sure aren’t what I thought they’d be
07/21: Harden vs Randy Johnson – Johnson is hanging around for 10 more wins, but has fallen off this year. A little of it seems like bad luck (fewer escapes with runners on, fielders getting to less balls than you’d expect), but he’s also more prone to the long ball now. He’s a 6 IP/4 R guy now, not the scary guy from Little Big League.
07/22: Marquis vs Micah Owings – I am more than little disappointed this is not Owings/Z, just so Z can demolish Owings for the big prize (pitcher Silver Slugger). Owings had a good four game start and has been below average since. He’s given up 3 runs in every start since May 14, and has been pitching out of the bullpen a few times. It sounds like he’s been quietly dealing with a back injury for at least part of that stretch, and the break might have helped him.
07/23: Lilly vs Doug Davis – Doug Davis always seems to pitch far better agains the Cubs then he should. He’s having a typical season (in atypical circumstances), but this is the game I’m most worried about.