Good Z – 5 outstanding innings before letting the Astros back in the game in the 6th. Monstrous Solo Homer in the top of the 6th ended up being the game winning RBI.
Bad Z – Some exciting Cub defense and a tiring arm led to 5 Astros runs in the 6th and the hook from Quade. Z leaves the mound before Q can even get there…. The water cooler held its breath as Z approached the dugout, but evasive maneuvers were not required.
Zambronic Alert Level – 1 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (Description – gentle)
James Russell… welcome to the Cubs rotation.
– James is making his first big-league start after starting the year in the bullpen (and pitching quite well)
– James is making an ‘emergency start’ for the Cubs… with a 50 pitch limit in place of the injured Cashner
– James is pitching against Houston in his home state of Texas in front of family and friends.
– Bourn welcomes Russell to the rotation with a bunt single, beating Russell to the bag
– Sanchez welcomes Russell to the rotation with a bunt single, beating Russell to the bag with an amazingly awkward headfirst dive into first (yes – back to back bunt singles to open the game)
– Pence singles (great piece of hitting). 1 run scores, Runners at 1st and 2nd.
– Lee strikes out, but requires 9 pitches (out of James’ 50 pitch limit).
– Michaels flies out.
– Hall singles to Soriano, who is charged with an error for momentarily losing the ball between his legs, but gets it back into the infield quickly in time to catch Hall in a rundown between 1st and 2nd… where Barney is charged with an error for missing the tag on Hall, who is safe at second. During the goofiness, another run scores.
– Johnson flies out. And Scene.
– Quintero doubles.
– The pitcher Myers singles to Colvin, who appeared to lose the ball in the lights. Quintero to third.
– Bourn hits a grounder that appeared to hit Russell, Castro gets the force at second. A Run scores.
– Bourn steals second base.
– Bourn steals third base.
– Sanchez pops out to Barney.
– Pence singles. Run scores.
– Samardjiza replaces Russell. And Scene.
55 pitches. 5 outs. 5 runs. 2 bunt singles. 2 Cub errors. 1 ball lost in the lights. 1 ball hit off the pitcher. 2 stolen bases. 1 botched rundown.
Number of asprin needed by James tonight: 4.
The Cubs Rotation: Abandon hope all ye who enter here.
Shake it off, Russell. You didn’t pitch all that poorly. It was just one of those days.
“There’ll be days like this my Mama said.”
I think it was Moreland in the booth last night that mentioned 1984’s Daily Double of Dernier and Sandberg at the top of the order. Castro was 3 for 5 with 3 runs scored… Barney was 2 for 3, 2 walks, 2 runs, 1 rbi.
I’m not going to confuse Barney for Sandberg any time soon… but that was fun to watch. Lots of energy, and plenty of chances for the big guns to drive in runs… which they did. 4 for 9 with RISP. They boys did a good job of making the most of their chances.
Which brings us to the pitching. Great start by Dempster. Which we really really needed.
Is that enough ‘Glass Half Full’? Can I put down the koolaid for a minute to complain, even though the Cubs won?
I trust you Quade. I really do. I know Demp is the ace, and you’re going to need him to battle through some innings this year, help you rest the bullpen… especially with two men down in the rotation already. But… If he’s over 100 pitches, the game is close, it’s in the 7th inning or later, and the FAA calls to demand a flight plan be filed for the last two balls hit… it’s time to go to the bullpen. Great night Demp, we’ve got it from here.