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Monday, April 7, 2008

Thoughts on a Weekend (and Monday) of Baseball

For those of you who may have missed the last couple Cubs games, here's the brief recap:

Friday: Astros 4, Cubs 3
Saturday: Cubs 9, Astros 7
Sunday: Cubs 3, Astros 2
Monday: Cubs 10, Pirates 8

- On Friday Rich Hill temporarily put on hold the worries about his rough spring training, as he threw 6 innings, struck out 4, and gave up just two runs.

-Mark DeRosa has made two pretty bad errors (on Friday and today)but nearly redeemed himself with a line drive homer in the 9th on Friday.

- Sadly (and this is a recurring theme so far) Reed Johnson just looks better than Pie this year.

Look into the face of Scrappiness

- This team has a very bad habit of tying games then immediately giving back the lead.

- The defense as a whole has been terrible. Including today's game, the team has given up 6 unearned runs on the season. That's bad.

-Ryan Theriot is taking a lot of pitches. He's hitting very few of them. And he's not walking. During yesterday's game Ron Santo ripped into Theriot for taking two straight strikes to begin an at bat. Frankly I think Theriot has tried so hard to fit into the leadoff hitter mode he's determined to take more pitches at the expense of not swinging at good hiter's pitches.

-Derrek Lee is back, and I mean 2005 Lee. He's ripped everything he's seen lately, with power. 3 homers in his first 7 games, which ties or surpasses his whole month totals of last April, May, and June each. If 2005 Derrek Lee (.335, 46 hr, 107 RBIs, .418 OBP, .662 slugging) really is back, then he could carry this team for months.

-Kosuke Fukudome is continuing to rape American pitching, after his 3 hits today he's hitting .458.

-I'm hoping his game winning sac fly today will put some fire back in Aramis, as this team could really use him getting hot to give the Cubs the NL's best 3-4-5 combo.

-Ditto for the 3 for 32 Alfonso Soriano.

- Ted Lilly is just not controlling his fastball right now. Judging from his lackluster fourth inning, and the fact that the shit hit the fan in the 5th inning of his first start, it looks like a lack of stamina. Hopefully he'll get stronger and regain last year's form.

- Carlos Marmol is still The Balls.

-Kerry Wood has gone 3 for 3 and looked absolutely dominant since that debacle on Opening Day. Off the ledge, Cubs fans.

- Bob Howry managed to come in and pitch effectively to stop the bleeding in the 5th today. That was huge for the Cubs and Bob.

- All in all, 4-3 in the first weeks worth of game's is not too bad, after they dropped to 1-3 Friday I know even those most practical of Cubs fans were concerned.

On a side note, on Saturday night while visiting the girlfriend at her school near Des Moines, Iowa, the two of us caught the Iowa Cubs game vs. the Round Rock Express. I was excited as the starter for Round Rock, Runelvys Hernandez, was a guy who'd had some success in the majors and I wanted to see how the I Cubs players, including five who've played with the Cubs in the majors (Eric Patterson, Jake Fox, JD Closser, Koyie Hill, and poor Matt Murton), did against major league (relatively) pitching.

After they chased Hernandez with five runs in less than 3 innings, the team took a 7-3 lead into the top of the 7th. What followed was a 31 minute long, 9 run inning by the Express in which the I Cubs used 4 pitchers and got hammered. Final score? 16-8, Round Rock. Ouch. Fortunately, of the 5 pitchers used in the game, and who all got hammered, only one is on the Cubs 40 man roster, the rehabbing Juan Mateo. Mateo looks like he's got a way to go, as he struggled with mid 80's velocity and control. We left after they gave up 3 more runs in the top of the 8th, as the temperature had plummeted and the girlfriend was freezing to death. She did enjoy the game though, helped me to console Matt Murton, noted the Eric Patterson has a lot of power for a little guy (he homered), and she especially enjoyed the infant that sat next to us and stuck his tongue out at me every 3 seconds.

Matt Murton looked solid that game, going 2-4. Somebody help that poor kid out.

Anywho, the Cubs have won 3 in a row. Enjoy it.

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