While Saturday’s disastrous loss left a bitter taste in my mouth, you have to be pleased with the Cubs taking 3 of 4 games from the better Phillies squad this weekend at Wrigley Field. The Cubs could really pack it in now that the season is all but over, but they played hard and they played well in the series against the Phillies.
The ageless Jamie Moyer has had some pretty incredible starts this season yet the Cubs took it to him in the 12-6 series opening win on Thursday night. Ryan Dempster did what he needed to do to get the win.
Joe Blanton continues to baffle the Cubs – as he did in Friday afternoon’s pitching duel with Ted Lilly – but Aramis Ramirez propelled the Cubs to the 4-3 win with his game-winning home run in the 8th inning. Carlos Marmol picked up a perfect 3-strikeout save in the 9th inning to preserve the 4-3 win.
It was another pitcher’s duel on Saturday as Randy Wells matched Cole Hamels pitch-for-pitch. The Cubs took the 1-run lead in the bottom of the 7th inning on Ryan Theriot’s perfect suicide squeeze play that scored Starlin Castro. Castro reached base on a double down the left field line and then made a “heads-up” play on groundball to the shortstop where Castro was able to get over to 3rd base with less than 2 outs. Castro used his instincts to realize that since the ball was hit behind him, it was going to be a tough play to throw him out at 3rd base. But then disaster struck in the 9th inning – Carlos Marmol walked 2 Phillies hitters but then managed to get 2 outs to give Cubs fans hope that they could get out of the jam for the 1-0 win. But when Geovany Soto could not cleanly catch Tyler Colvin’s one hop throw to home that would have nailed Brian Schneider at the plate to end the game, the flood gates opened. 3 more walks and a wild pitch by Marmol led to a devastating 4-1 loss in front of the Wrigley Field faithful. Just when you think that the 2010 Cubs have lost in just about every frustrating way possible, they go and lose another close game with bad play after bad play.
Fortunately, the Cubs managed to salvage game 4 of the series against Roy Halladay. The Cubs capitalized on Halladay’s hitting Marlon Byrd twice – Geovany Soto drove him home with a homer in the 2nd inning and Alfonso Soriano drove him home with a homer in the 6th inning. The Cubs managed to get 6 runs on 7 hits off of Halladay and then 5 more runs on 5 hits and 1 walk off 2 relievers in the 7th inning that blew the game wide open. Tom Gorzelanny wasn’t great – 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits and 5 walks in 6 2/3 innings – but he limited the damage and kept the Cubs in the game.
Kudos to Manager Lou Pinella for going with Tyler Colvin and Starlin castro 1-2 at the top of the order on both Saturday and Sunday. Gotta give these kids chances and both responded in Sunday’s win – Colvin was 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored, while Castro was 3 for 4 with and RBI and 1 run scored.
Despite the positive weekend, the Cubs still trail the Cards by 9.5 games in the NL Central and the Reds and Rockies by 9 games in the NL Wild Card race. But at least it looks like the team is going to fight all the way to the end. And that’s all you can really ask for at this point in the season.