Sunday, July 26, 2009

Your First Place Chicago Cubs

It sure is good to be back where we belong, the top of the NL Central. Sure they will probably blow it and be back in second after tomorrow (this is the Cubs after all) but for one night we get to enjoy being in first. 

Rich Harden solved his day game problems (for one day) and pitched about as well as you could ask. Joey Votto's standard homer aside (he has now hit 28% of his career homers against the Cubs) Harden didn't allow a single baserunner, and was able to go six brilliant innings with eight strikeouts and only 90 pitches. 

The Cubs offense took care of business as well. The wind did them no favors- Jake Fox had three warning track flyballs, one of which was a double robbed at the wall and another that would have been a homer in the basket had it been 10 inches farther right. Alfonso Soriano hit what might have been a homer on some days, but instead it found its way off the ivy to plate Milton Bradley to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Bradley had one of the best slides I've seen all season, making himself safe despite having the ball beat him to the plate.

Aramis Ramirez stayed hot as well with a double in the seventh, he too was a victim of the wind having a deep flyball miss the basket by about four feet early in the game. Ryan Theriot and Koyie Hill joined in the fun as well collecting two hits each including Hill's first career triple. 

Lou got a little nutty with his bullpen today, Sean Marshall came in for Harden first, and was able to get the first two guys out in the seventh. Then Lou decided to bring Angel Guzman in to face Brandon Phillips. One pitch later the inning was over and Guzman came back in the eighth (how nice that Marmol got a day off, though it was a bit strange) and loaded the bases before getting a flyout-throw out at home double play to end the threat. While the runner was safe, its about damn time a call goes out way.

After adding more runs in the ninth, Jeff Samardzija was supposed to come in and get the last three outs, but as is his usual thing Shark allowed two hits before getting an out. He did get Votto and Phillips to make outs before Lou once again decided it was time to use another arm. Kevin Gregg (Lou's new blankie, good for Marmol's arm/future but not good for Gregg this season) came in for the one out save and nailed it down.

Can't complain about a sweep, especially not one where every player played well. From Kevin Hart, Randy Wells (one stupid batter aside), and Rich Harden all having good starts to Soriano, Aramis, and Milton all being productive at the plate. The bullpen was solid (Aaron Heilman aside) and for three days there is nothing to be upset about in the land of the Cubs.

Tomorrow starts a big series though. Houston is on their standard second half run, and the Cubs need to use this four game series to remind Houston that they aren't this good. Lance Berkman is out for the series, which means Carlos Lee can be pitched around more. Z, Dumpster, Wells, and Hart will go in the series that could help set the order of the division going into the final two months of the season. Hopefully the Cubs can take 3 of 4. 

Stay tuned to TCB both here on the site and on twitter as the trade deadline comes and goes. I can promise that every Cubs rumor I see will be passed along as quickly as I can type it on twitter, and reaction to any trade will be made on the site very quickly. 

No comments:

Post a Comment