It seems its the same story old story all over again for the North Siders….
Ryan Dempster had a productive day on the mound and had the in the lead for 6 innings against the Brewers in their afternoon game at Wrigley. However the Cubs’ bats were not enough to beat the surging Brewers who drew strength off a 2 run shot in the top of the 7th innings and strong pitching from Yovani Gallardo to keep the Cubs at bay.
This was a game that could have gone either way, as a late rally could have put the Cubs on top. Lets take a deeper look:
- Dempster was effective and pitched more than well enough to earn a W. He went 6.2 innings strong, gave up 2 runs, struck out 5 and only walked 3. He’s still pretty consistent (his 1.88 ERA reflects that) and kept the ball on the ground for most of the game. Dempster got solid defense from his fielders having retired 9 straight batters at one point. Being the efficient pitcher that he is, he only needed 68 pitches to work through 6, which is a nice touch. As long as he continues to pitch well, the Cubs can trust in him to bring wins in the future.
- Kerry Wood struck out all 3 batter he faced in the bottom of the 7th showing great command and throwing a nice vairety of pitches. The batters he faced weren’t slouches eather… Rickie Weeks, Nyjer Morgan and Aramis Ramirez were all sat down by Wood’s mixed bag. Looks like he’s on the right path… lets hope he stays there.
- Starlin Castro stole another base late in the game. That’s his 5th of the year and he’s showing no stopping largely due to the aggressive baserunning strategy of Dale Sveum.
- Carlos Marmol‘s slider is still vicious. He seems to also be back on track.
- The Cubs (all except Bryan LaHair who’s prone to take the first pitch with poor results) look a little more choosy at the dish with their pitches. They struggled with this in earlier games.
- The Brewers continued to play their exaggerated infield shift defense against the Cubs. Ian Stewart had an attempted bunt down the third base line trying to exploit this shift but it failed. Even with the spring training bunt tournament, the Cubs short game continues to struggle.
- Dempster exceeded 100 pitches by the time the 7th inning came around and needed a visit from pitching coach Chris Bosio to calm him down. He was soon relieved by James Russell.
- David DeJesus was the only Cub with an extra base hit and scored the only run of the game in the first inning.
- Darwin Barney misplayed a pickoff attempt at 2nd base from a so-so throw from Geovany Soto. The runner moved the 3rd with 2 out. Not the end of the world, but still notable. Soto was credited with an error on the play.
- There was a strong rally in the bottom of the 7th, however the Cubs were stuck in the 7-8-9 rotation of the batting order and weren’t about to cash any of the two runners left of base. Chalk that up to bad luck.
- The Cubs offense needs to fire up in clutch situations as they left 4 separate runners on base in scoring position. There was ample opportunity to win that game while Wood and Marmol held the Brewers’ offense back. A serious opportunity missed….
- Marlon Byrd is batting .048 AVG. Ouchie. Good thing he’s slotted number 8 in the batting order.
- Starlin Castro committed 2 fielding errors in the game. He’s still young (only 22), but that’s back to back games he’s made fielding errors. Expect Sveum to go back to basics with Catro in order to improve his glove-to-ball transfer and most importantly, his confidence.