Friday, August 10, 2007

Slump busted?

It feels good to have won a game for the first time in five days. It feels good being within a half game of Milwaukee. But, have we busted out of the slump?

The bats seemingly came to life in the first four innings of the series opener at Coors Field, as we managed to cross the plate ten times. After that though, the Cubs' bats got awfully quiet, failing to score in any of the next five. Now I understand that that's the way the routs usually work; for whatever reason (perhaps a "regression to the mean" effect), teams that pull to a big lead early usually can't tack on late in the game. But, this type of performance can't help but make you think how much of the offensive success was due to the Cubs' bats and how much was due to Jimenez's struggles.

Nonetheless, let's enjoy this win where (most of) the team was clicking on all cylinders. Ted Lilly battled some control issues, but was able to work around them nicely. Mike Fontenot and Matt Murton played some good heads-up defense. Jacque Jones collected four hits and four RBI, while DeRosa and Kendall each had three hits. Ryan Theriot had two hits and even Felix Pie joined the multi-hit party. Derrek Lee, however, continued to struggle. Not only did he go 0-for-5, but none of his at-bats were quality at-bats.

Lou tried the hit-and-run with his first baseman a couple of times in the series at Houston, but it didn't seem to work. It looks like what Lee really needs is an off-day, but we can't give him one because both Soriano and Ramirez are unavailable. There is a team off-day coming up, but I don't think I can put up with three more days of the same Derrek Lee.

Also, I'm a little upset that Ted Lilly was allowed to throw 127 pitches. I understand, it was an "easy" 127 pitches and I understand that Lilly will get an extra day of rest next time through the rotation, but up 10-2, I expected Piniella to use Sean Gallagher to eat up some innings. Instead, he threw three of our top four relievers: Wood, Marmol, and Howry. It looks like Lou's holding Gallagher back until he is needed for more meaningful innings.

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