Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
Just Couldn't Do It
by Derek Smart
I TiVo'd yesterday's game, as not only was it during the afternoon and thus conflicting with my work schedule, but being at an off-site training session all day, I wouldn't be afforded the chance to follow along on the periphery. My plan was foiled, however, by my inability to keep from checking the game's score during a break, and once I saw the Cubs had what I now consider to be a typical game against the Reds (score enough to win, yet fail utterly to control the Cincinnati attack), my appetite for viewing the atrocity disappeared. So, what I give you now is a couple of boxscore related observations, to be taken with the appropriate amounts of salt.
Three walks in one inning. That's what the Cubs got out of Jerome Williams' relief appearance yesterday, and naturally, it led to what one could argue were the game's decisive runs. Out of his 28 pitches, he only got 12 over for strikes, and two of those were on the base hits he coughed up (double and a dinger, so no dribblers here). I'm neither a proponent nor opponent of Williams' as a rotation staple, but this type of outing is one he can't afford to have if he wants to pitch for the Cubs beyond sometime in late April/early May.
Of course, Glendon Rusch didn't help matters any, as from what I can see from the game record, his two walks actually diminish the effect his lack of control had on the game. Throwing 85 pitches in four innings is no way to keep your club in the game against an offense like the Reds, especially when you only get about half of them over the plate.
Assuming there is a time when Wood, Prior, Miller, Zambrano, and Maddux are all healthy at once (a big assumption, I know), Rusch would clearly be heading to the bullpen or out of town once this thing devoutly to be wished came to pass. While Glendon is unlikely to alter his fate with his performance, what more work like this will serve to do is make his departure from regular duty tear-free.
It's always good to see Lee and Ramirez both go deep, even if they were their only hits of the game. Did they look good the rest of the time, or were those bombs their one moment to shine? Since I didn't see for myself, let me know, eh?
John Mabry isn't a brilliant ballplayer, but he's a nice part to have on your bench, as I said back when the Cubs acquired him. One of the things the Cubs have sorely lacked in recent years has been power off the bench, and while Mabry's clearly the only source available, that's still one more source than the club has sported of late, and it came to bear in yesterday's seventh when he hit a two-run homer to pull the club within a run. It's a small improvement, but improvement it is.
It figures that my schedule is totally wacky in the season's first two weeks. More consistency after mid-month, I promise.