Friday, August 3, 2007

Mets walk over Cubs

This was a tough one.

With two of the league's hottest pitchers starting today's game against the Mets, you knew that runs were going to be tough to score.

In fact, after Castro's sixth inning homer, I thought that would be the run that wins the game. Instead, Lee gave the Cubs new life in the bottom of the sixth. After Marlon Anderson drove home the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, I was again convinced that the game was over. However, Jason Kendall answered the call by ringing an RBI double off of the left field wall to bring the Cubs back to level ground.

But, four runs off of Dempster in the ninth was too much.

What's even more frustrating, aside from the fact that they kept fighting back, is that the Cubs looked like they were going to get away with all of the walks they were issuing. Playing with fire all day, the Cubs allowed 11 walks -- and they were able to work around most of them.

Late in the game, Lou Piniella clarified Wood's role with the ballclub on the field a couple of days after he had announced it to the press. Down 2-1 in the 7th, Wood was warming up in the bullpen, but was immediately replaced by set-up man Bob Howry after Kendall tied the game. Then, Piniella continued the strategy of playing a tie like a lead when at home by putting in Dempster in the ninth inning.

Since returning from the disabled list, Dempster has been good enough, but not the same lights-out closer that he was before the DL stint. It would be interesting to see how Piniella chooses to handle this situation, though I believe that Dempster hasn't lost the job yet.

It would have to be tempting for Lou to try to shuffle around the bullpen, especially with the return of Wood and the struggles of Sean Marshall.

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