Monday, April 25, 2005

Cubs 10 Reds 6

Well, the Cubs have put together a fine 2 game winning streak, bringing them above .500 for the first time since Opening Day. With Corey Patterson out due to the flu, Dusty Baker was forced to play Neifi Perez, Jerry Hairston and Jose Macias in what looked to be a pretty anemic lineup. All they did was put a 10 spot up on the board. Of course, due to some sort of Faustian bargain(perhaps it's a by product of Perez's), another Cub player suffered an injury in exchange for the victory. At this rate, the only ambulatory players on the team in August will be Neifi! (who is seemingly unstoppable), Carlos Zambrano (who would throw a 2 hit shutout from his deathbed) and LaTroy Hawkins (because we'll never get rid of him).

The Good:
Neifi! Perez is the straw that stirs the drink. He was 2/5 with a homer and 4 RBI.
In what I felt was a nice managerial move, Dusty moved the slumping Michael Barrett from the 8th spot in the order to the 6th. Barrett responded by going 3-4 with 2 RBI, looking more confident than he has all season.
Derek Lee also maintained his hot April going 2-4 with a walk and 2 knocked in.
Mark Prior continued his dominance. He pitched 6 innings, walking 2 and striking out 10, and giving up his first run of the season. Accusations that Prior is "soft" seem to have been silenced.

The Bad:
Aramis Ramirez still doesn't have it together at the plate. He was 0-4 with a walk, and chased some pitches out of the zone. I think Aramis may be putting a little extra pressure on himself this year. Not because of the new the contract, but because he was probably a lot more at ease hitting in the 4th spot when he knew that Moises Alou and Sammy Sosa were coming up behind him. Hopefully, he can get it back in gear, as the Cubs are going to need his bat.

I was hoping to go a game without criticizing one of Dusty's managerial moves, but no such luck. Normally, you can let bad moves slide in a blowout, but not this one. With the Cubs leading 10-3, Baker brought Chad Fox into the game in the 9th. This was bad for a number of reasons, because Fox has a long history of elbow problems, including a surgery this offseason. Fox had also closed out yesterday's game, and there have been questions going back to spring training as to whether Chad could pitch 2 days in a row. Since this game was well in hand, it would seem like today would not have been the day to press our luck with such a fragile (but talented) reliever. But defying logic once again, Baker marched Fox out to the mound, where he but up the following line: .1IP, 3BB, 1H, 3ER before leaving the game with what looked like a serious arm injury. Now the Cubs already thin bullpen (Glendon Rusch will probably be unavailable until the Cubs know Kerry Wood can make his next start, and even then he'll probably be kept fresh in case he's needed early in that game) is down another man. Come back soon, Joe Borowski.

The Ugly:
Chad Fox's aforementioned arm injury. You could tell it was bad just by looking at it.

The Wrigley Field Fans: Fox had a bad outing, but as he left the field, obviously injured, the Cub fans in attendance booed him. With Fox's injury history, it's not inconceivable that he's pitched his last game this year, and possibly ever. He deserved better from the fans. And I'm not done with them yet. Once again, a Wrigley idiot interfered with a foul ball that right fielder Jeromy Burnitz had a play on. Did people learn nothing from October 2003? Sometimes I think Lee Elia was right about the fans.


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