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Wire to Wire: In Danger today

Thursday, April 9, 2009

One of my hopes for the Cubs' 2009 season is to go wire-to-wire in first place this year. I think it's a reasonable possibility as the Cubs are (on paper) far stronger than the rest of the division... it's also greedy as I'll get out, but hey: I don't care.

Now, for any team trying to go wire-to-wire, the toughest part of the schedule is the first few weeks. Great teams need time to put some distance between themselves and the pretenders... so it's imperative to get off to a fast start.

Anyhow, the Cubs started the season with three solid games against the Astros, but only two wins. Cy Zambrano pitched six innings on opening day, got the victory, and watched as Kevin Gregg picked up his first save, even if it was quite rocky. The day finished with the Cubs tied for first at 1-0.

On Tuesday, Ryan Dempster drew the short stick. He pitched six, gave up two runs, but left the game looking at a loss due to shoddy run support. Fortunately for Demp, Alfonso Soriano came through with a solo dinger to tie it up, only to watch as Neil Cotts surrendered the loss in 10 innings. Despite the stumble, every other Central division team had lost one at that point, so we finished Tuesday in a four way tie for first.

On Wednesday, the Cubs jumped all over Brian Moehler - scoring four in the first, and another four in the second. This allowed Ted Lilly to throw strikes all night in a come-and-hit-it fashion... which is just what the 'stros did. Lilly surrendered five runs in five innings, but thanks to the generous run support, he walked away with his first W of the season. David Patton relieved Lilly in the sixth, and promptly gave up a home run on a 3-1 count to the first batter he faced as a big-leaguer. As Hunter Pence circled the bases, Derrek Lee and Ryan Theriot visited the mound to tell Patton to calm down... and Patton did. Six outs later, Patton's ERA was down from infinity to 4.5, and the Astros' offense was done for the night. The final score was 11-6, and the Cubs finished the night 2-1, tied for first with Pittsburgh.

Today is the first choke-point for the Cubs' wire-to-wire hopes. Pittsburgh and St. Louis are playing, and a win would put the Pirates a half-game up on the Cubs... but a Pirate loss will deliver the Cubs their first day in sole ownership of first.

Here's hoping for a Pirate smackdown!

Posted by Byron at April 9, 2009 1:02 PM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
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