Friday, September 11, 2009

Aramis Ramirez Loves Wrigley, Leads Cubs to Win

For a game that started as interestingly as today's 6-4 Cubs win did, it sure seemed rather blah to me. Still the Cubs were able to overcome Rich Harden's shocking wildness and scored just enough runs to extend their winning streak to 4 games. Start the parade down Michigan Avenue now!

Rich Harden's arm is clearly exhausted, and after a brilliant stretch coming off the all-start break Rich is reminding all of us why the Cubs should do their best to stay away from a long-term deal. Harden threw 40 pitches in the first inning, and was out after 103 in four innings, meaning the Cubs bullpen had to pitch five innings. To his credit Harden only have up one run in his start with six strikeouts, but he walked five guys with a whole lot stressful pitches. I think it's time the Cubs give Harden a start off and work Samardzija in. Harden's arm is about to fall off anyway and Shark needs major league innings for better or worse.

The hitting star today was Aramis Ramirez, not really that surprising considering that Rami is roughly Babe Ruth at home while hitting more like Ryan Theriot on the road. He drove in three runs today on two go-ahead RBI singles and played more solid defense at third. Geovany Soto showed some signs of life today as well with a sac-fly in the second and a solo homer in the fourth. Geo has had three good games in his last three starts now, and I think we can put him back in the everyday lineup now. He needs to build back confidence for next season, we learned this year how important his bat is to the lineup. Bobby Scales finished the scoring with an RBI double in the eighth to drive in Aramis and give the Cubs a much appreciated two-run cushion.

Jeff Stevens three-run homer to Johnny Gomes aside the bullpen did a good job today. Aaron Heilman was the unsung hero of the day with two shutout innings (OMG) and little known Esmailin Caridad worked a perfect eighth. I can't say enough about how important those two were to the win today, the Cubs are really scrambling for a set-up man on days when Angel Guzman needs to rest. The Carlos Marmol show went for save number 12 on the season and got it despite some control issues and bad fielding from a certain shortstop. Carlos got Brandon Phillips to fly out to Milton Bradley for the final out of the game.

Just another good win for the Cubs, they have really beat up the NL Central this season to the tune of a 40-24 record. That is better than even the mighty Cardinals. While nothing is guaranteed in baseball, it certainly seems like 2009 will end with a winning record. Not at all what we were hoping for, but not the worst thing.

For those keeping track Aaron Miles 4-3 groundout today lowered his batting average to .179, funny stuff. Tomorrow Randy Wells starts against Johnny Cueto in an effort to tie Ted Lilly with the team lead in wins. Hopefully this is one of Randy's last starts of the season because his inning total is getting pretty high.

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