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Much has been written in various Cubs blogs about Jimmy Anderson's 'fantastic' performance last night in closing out the game and picking up his first career save. I am here to ask Cubdom to take a step back, and recognize what we really saw last evening: a relief pitcher doing his job. Anderson went 4 innings, allowed 2 (earned) runs, 5 hits and a walk to pick up his first save. Thus, for yesterday night's outing Anderson had a 4.5 ERA, and a 1.25 WHIP. These numbers are the definition of average, which is what most people expect from Jimmy Anderson.
However all performances must be viewed in a proper perspective, and thus Jimmy Anderson's outing was the stuff of legend. After a 15 inning game Sunday, which required 9 innings from the Cubs' pen before eventually being victorious, the Cubs were a road weary team in need of a pick-me-up. Anderson may very well be the 25th man on the Cubs roster, and a 4 inning appearance from your mop-up man in a critical game fits the bill. Way to go Jimmy Anderson.
Yesterday's game was an important game for the Cubs, as I have already mentioned. Mark Prior was scheduled to pitch against Roger "the Rocket" Clemens, #22 vs. #22. Cy Young vs. Cy Old. The Franchise vs. The Rocket...
Like most overhyped pitching matchup's, the game didn't meet the pre-game hype. The Rocket finally showed his age and failed to be the first player over age 40 to start a season 10-0. (YES!! YES!! YESSS!!! HA HA HA TAKE THAT YOU EVIL OLD MAN! NOBODY MAKES HISTORY ON MY CUBBIES!) (editor's note: I really do like the Rocket, but I don't like it when he plays the Cubs in "historical games" like trying to win #300 etc.)
Prior, on the other hand, pitched very well, but only went 5 innings because he was on a pitch count, and the Astros knew it. From top to bottom, the Astros are a very disciplined, very professional offensive team. Their batters know how to work the counts, take walks, and lean into inside pitches, etc. Yesterday, they did an excellent job of fouling off pitches and hitting in deep counts. Their strategy cost them in the strikeout department (8 in 5 innings), but succeeded in forcing Prior out fairly early.
The Cubs Offense played very well last night, spearheaded by Todd Walker who has busted out of his recent slump(2 HR's, a 410 ft triple, and a single) the Cubs scored 7.
Derrek Lee has been red hot since the beginning of June, and batted 5-5 including 2 walks on Sunday. On Monday, Lee had another 2 doubles to start the game.
Lets play matchmaker:
A: Moises Alou
B: Michael Barrett
C: Todd Hollandsworth
D: Derrek Lee
E: Corey Patterson
F: Aramis Ramirez
G: Todd Walker
The answers are in comment #1. (I'll figure out the table in this blog applet pretty soon.)
Some Notes: In Sunday's game, Matt Clement threw 6 innings, allowed only 1 (earned) run on 6 hits, 1 walk, and 8 strikeouts. The Cubs won the game 6-5 in 15 innings. The starting pitching is looking very strong.
After Saturday's outing when Francis Beltran allowed 3 (earned) runs in one third of an inning, I was concerned about Dusty's decision to pitch Beltran with a 2-1 lead in the 7th on Sunday. Beltran mowed 'em down 1-2-3, thus prooving that Dusty is a better manager than I.
In the 7th inning of Sunday's game (against the Angels), Aramis Ramirez fielded a sacrifice bunt off of Alfredo Amezaga's bat that was tremendous. Ramirez' fielding this year has been unreal. Scott Rolen: 4 errors, Aramis Ramirez: 3 errors.
In the 8th inning of Sunday's game, Ramirez hit a towering pop-fly that Vladimir Guerrero lost in the Sun. Ramirez was not hustling, and only ended up on second base. See my last two posts for why this matters.
In the 9th inning of Monday's game against the Astros, Aramis Ramirez and Moises Alou both hit solo home runs to make the score 6-0 and 7-0. Both of those home runs reminded me of typical Sammy Sosa home runs... when the game has already been decided.
Sammy and Grud are both working on rehab assignments and could be back very soon. Sammy is expected back on Friday, three more games. (Editors Note: Despite all the bad things I say about Sammy, he's still an awesome player, and the Cubs really need him back.)
Answers to the Matching
|#1: G, Todd Walker
#2: A, Moises Alou (.208 Avg! uh oh)
#3: D, D. Lee - D. Man! (.736 SLG)
#4: E, C. Patterson
#5: F, Ramirez (.392 AVG, .448 OBP)
#6: C, Todd Hollandsworth
#7: B, Michael Barrett.
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