Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wins, losses, inches & school

To see that the W-L record is a fairer measure of a pitcher’s ability than ERA, one needs to look at Jason Marquis’ last two starts. Six days ago, Marquis went six innings allowing seven hits and four runs, but most considered than Marquis really earned that win. Despite blowing a four-run lead given to him early in the game, the right-hander really beared down to keep the Reds at four runs. When the Cubs scored a fifth run, Marquis tossed up a crucial goose egg allowing the Cubs to pour it on with a seven-run seventh.

Yesterday, Marquis’ line score looked much better: one run and three hits over seven innings. Even so, had it not been for the ninth inning comeback against Tim Lincecum and the Giants’ bullpen, Jason Marquis should’ve been pinned with the loss. After the Cubs went down in order on seven pitches in the top of the first inning, you knew that Lincecum was on his game. Marquis really needed to give his team a couple of more chances to get to Lincecum with the score even. Instead, a first inning run really changed the complexion of the game and let the Giants’ starter settle in. Of course, the Cubs’ offense is mostly to blame for their incompetence against Lincecum, but Jason Marquis shares a small piece of that blame for creating an unnecessary sense of urgency.

The ninth inning against the Giants, however, saved us. And it was certainly an interesting one. Down 1-0, Ryan Theriot led off the inning with a clean double down the right field line. But, then Jones’ single eluded the dive of Pedro Feliz by a few inches before Derrek Lee was able to drive home the game-tying run. Aramis Ramirez then took a few close pitches for a walk before Cliff Floyd’s chopper through the infield just got past Ray Durham who was pulled in.

The heartbreaking May 17 loss to the Mets was also very similar. Up four runs in the ninth inning at Shea Stadium, Ryan Dempster and Scott Eyre were unable to shut the door on the game as the Mets continued to hit balls that were just out of reach of the Cubs’ defenders. I was upset that Delgado’s game-winning single was six inches away from being a game-ending double play for the Cubs, but now I see that the breaks have even out.

Being on the good end of the breaks this time, the Cubs managed to maintain a share of first place as I begin classes for the fall semester.

Usually, the Cubs are about 12 games out at this point and don’t really have much to play for. This allows me to devote most of my attention to my coursework and after the final week of September, I am able to concentrate fully on school. Now, I am faced with the tricky situation of having to balance classes and the Cubs as Chicago’s National League team will play meaningful September games and hopefully games in October.

I’ll probably end up posting in my blog a lot less often. Over the summer, I had often felt compelled to write something in my blog after a game, but I certainly can’t afford to do that anymore. If there is something that really jumps out at me and is worth my time, I will express my opinions. But anything short of that will remain out of my blog.

No comments: