Sunday, June 21, 2009

Surprisingly you can win without falling behind too

As Jose Ascanio walked two Indians and Kevin Gregg went 2-0 on Ben Francisco threatening to bring the tying run to the plate, Randy Wells must have been thinking, "Oh no, here we go again." That or, "WHAT THE #$!@#$ ARE YOU @#$R@# SERIOUS, AGAIN??" Even Ron got into the act saying, "Please don't do this...let's just have a nice night."

Luckily, Kevin Gregg ended up having pretty good control and got Francisco to strike out and then induced a ground ball that Andres Blanco did a great job picking to end the game. In the process he got his 11th save and secured Randy Wells' first career win. Took long enough. If karma rolls around, he has about 10 runs a game in support coming to him for a few games.

Speaking of Andres Blanco's glove, he has been terrific so far as evidenced here and here. The last few days he has had a couple of big time defense plays as well, including the play that ended the game today. You would probably have to go back to Mark Grudzielanek in 2003 to find someone as good as Blanco at fielding second. The Cubs defense on the whole is not great by any stretch of the imagination, but with Kosuke, D-Lee, and Blanco out there they have some stellar gloves.

Wells had some great downward movement on his pitches today and kept the Indians handcuffed by not allowing any hits to their 2-5 hitters. It has now been 8 starts and his ERA stands at 2.57. Are we ready to (in the words of Dennis Green) "crown" him? Every start suggests more and more that he can be depended on, but I would not at this point try to deal Rich Harden on the assumption that Wells can keep up this pace as some other blogs have called for.

Tomorrow the Cubs travel to Atlanta for one day trip before heading to Detroit for a tough three game set. The matchup will be Javier Vazquez against Ryan Dempster, and according to Ken it won't be easy because Vazquez pitches well in non-big games. More cause for concern is the Cubs will get their first look at Nate McLouth in a Braves uniform, and he has terrorized Cub pitching over the past two seasons. A preview will come late tonight or early tomorrow.

Finally, credit should be given where credit is due to Indians middle infielder Luis Valbuena. The former Mariners prospect involved in the J.J. Putz/Aaron Heilman three-way deal with the M's, Indians, and Mets was able to raise his average 30 points, go from 1 to 4 on home runs, and double his RBI total. I doubt this hot streak will continue, but congratulations.

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