Sunday’s 8-5 Cubs win over the Brewers at Miller Park could have been a lot different if Milton Bradley did not injure his groin while running the bases in the 4th inning. Just 1 inning later, Bradley’s replacement, Reed Johnson, made a game-saving catch when he leaped over the right center wall to rob Prince Fielder of what would have been a grand slam that would have tied the game at 6. Instead, the Brewers scored just 2 runs that inning and the Cubs still led 6-4. The Cubs tacked on single insurance runs in the 8th and 9th innings to give the Cubs a little more breathing room, and Kevin Gregg tiptoed through another rocky 9th inning to preserve the win. Greg gave up 1 earned run on 2 hits and a walk, but did strike out Prince Fielder with the tying runs on base to preserve the win.
Couple of key notes:
Gregg now has a 12.00 ERA. After blowing the attempted 1 1/3 inning save on Friday, Manager Lou Pinella assured everyone that Gregg was still the Cubs closer, but that he would only work 1-inning saves. Because his right knee is still getting used to the regular workload, Gregg informed Pinella and the Cubs that his right knee tightens up while sitting in the dugout between innings, so he will only be effective in 9th inning/extra inning save situations. Carlos Marmol picked up the save on Saturday and has not given up a run yet. We’ll see how long Pinella sticks with Gregg in the closer role. If we see more shaky outings from Gregg, we could see a shift to Marmol.
As for Marmol, he has already appeared in 5 of the Cubs 1st 6 games. Look for Marmol to get an off-day in the Cubs home opener on Monday at Wrigley Field – that will give him 2 full days off with the Cubs having a scheduled day-off on Tuesday.
Several Cubs players have gotten off to good starts in 2009:
Ryan Theriot is hitting .550 with a .615 on-base percentage. He has 4 runs scored, 3 RBI’s and 2 stolen bases.
Kosuke Fukodome is hitting .409 with a .480 on-base percentage. He has hit 2 home runs, scored 5 runs and driven in 4 runs.
Alfonso Soriano is hitting .286 with a .355 on-base percentage. He leads the team with 4 home runs, and has scored 7 runs and driven in 7 runs. Soriano has also walked 3 times.
Milton Bradley is listed as day-to-day with a strained groin injury.
Aramis Ramirez will likely miss the Cubs home opener with a stiff back.
The Cubs have opened the season with a 4-2 record in 6 road games against intra-division rivals. Can’t complain about that. The bullpen has been very shaky and the Cubs have lacked that big hit in certain situations, but overall, it is a great start to the season. The Cubs starters have pitched great, and the Cubs batters have showed a lot of patience at the plate. Sunday was a perfect example of this – the Cubs worked 10 walks out of Brewers pitchers and even scored all 4 runs in the 4th inning on bases loaded walks.