The Cubs offense teed off on former teammate Ted Lilly Wednesday afternoon as a parting gift for their old friend before they left Los Angeles. The Cubs finished with a split of the regular season series with the Dodgers and will not see them again in 2011 unless both teams make the playoffs. The Cubs finished the West Coast road trip with a winning 4-3 record. Lilly was cruising along against his old team until the top of the 5th inning, when his former catcher Geo Soto hit a home run to left center field. Having caught Lilly for over three years on a regular basis, you would have to think Soto had a good eye for the pitches Lilly throws.
Carlos Pena (video courtesy of MLB.com) hit his second home run in as many games out of the eighth spot in the order. His blast landed not too far from the one he hit on Tuesday night. At this rate it does not look like Pena will even sniff a season batting average of .250 for the year, but at the very least this Cubs line up will need 20 plus home runs from him, and hopefully these last two bombs are a sign he is a little more settled in as a Cub. The big 6th inning was capped off by a three run blast by Marlon Byrd (video courtesy of MLB.com). Not only was this the first home run of the season for Byrd, but it was some long awaited RBI production out of the three spot in the order. The lone 2010 Cub All Star had a solid season last season, and if he can repeat that productivity, he can really solidify the three spot and the Cubs order in general.
With the lefty Lilly on the mound, manager Mike Quade went with a right handed stacked line up. This resulted in a rare right field start for super sub Jeff Baker, who batted fifth in the order. It is good to see Quade looking for ways to insert Baker in the line up considering the utility man has been hitting well so far this season. With Pena starting to hit a couple home runs now, Baker’s at bats will become a little more limited again.
For the second straight game we also saw a quality outing out of the Cubs starting pitcher. Carlos Zambrano (highlights courtesy of MLB.com) pitched eight innings of one run ball. He only issued one walk, which is a good indication of how he is pitching on a given day. It was good to see Zambrano bounce back from the tough outing he had against the Dodgers at Wrigley Field a couple weeks ago. The Cubs host the division rival Reds this weekend, and hopefully the series win and two game streak can provide some nice momentum to build off of.
The Cubs wore 1944 throwback uniforms to participate in the throwback day for the Dodgers, who wore their 1944 uniforms from their days in Brooklyn. Maybe the Cubs should stick with the throwback jerseys to ride out the power hitting streak.