With the familiar odor of wet sneakers and Stale beer permeating from the traveling Cardinal fans inside Wrigley Field, the Cubs kept their focus and defeated their arch rival 2-1. Fabulous pitching from starter Travis Wood, and relievers Carlos Marmol and Save Bot 6300 was all that was needed to hold up the Cubs offense, which consisted of a Nate Schierholtz 2 run homer. And for the first time in his 27 years playing against the Cubs, Yadier Molina made a boneheaded play that actually cost his team a chance at extending the game. With two on in the 8th, Molina, a catcher, and not a catcher known for his speed, tried to be the coolest kid in school and steal 3rd base. Marmol threw him out by a good 10 feet, and Brandi Lynn, Bobby Joe, Cooter, and the rest of Cardinal nation went into the WrigleyVile night with an L on their chest, a jug full of nickels and food stamps looking for a bar that sells PBR. Let's get sushi and not pay....
THE PITCHER WHO
So 7 quality starts in his last 7 appearances. Groove, thy name is Travis. 6.2 innings with just an Allen Craig HR blemishing the scoresheet. Wood allowed 5 hits and walked 1 while striking out 8. Wood's command has never been sharper. He threw what he wanted, when he wanted to. In the 1st, he got Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday on fast balls. In the 6th, he struck two out with cutters and off speed. Great job. Almost as nice as the beard.
LATELY I'VE BEEN RUNNING ON FAITH
So Dale Sveum is obviously got the blinders on when it comes to Carlos Marmol. While Cub fans absolutely lose their mud every time he comes in, Sveum sees whatever positives he can and tries to build upon them. And right now, everyone from Jed Hoyer on down sees that there's still some workable stuff ( The fastball still sits low to mid 90's, The slider is maybe 40% of what it was but still can work....). I thought putting him out there to face 1 batter in the 7th was actually pretty smart. I thought for sure when Bowden was warming up he would pitch the 8th. And while the Sphincter meter did rattle and hum in the 8th, we'll say 3 Karats, He got out of it. With more relief headed to the pen in some form or another ( Fuji, possibly Villanueva) Dale can continue to peck out his spots for Mr. Marmol.
So Darwin Barney is 0 for his last 20. That's simply unacceptable. Even for someone hitting in the 8 hole and playing excellent defense, which Barney is certainly doing. He gets a little leeway in that Sveum has talked about Barney being more aggressive, and for the life of me I can't figure out why. Barney used to be patient and work counts. But now he's hacking at everything. Apparently with Dale's blessing. Anyway, if we're on this accountability trip that Dale claims we are, Barney might want to have a seat in the next game or two and take some extra BP and video sessions.
So that's two. And beating the Cardinals and their in-bred following is always a ray of sunshine, even on a Tuesday night. Yeah, the 9 strikeouts are probably a talking point, but things are going well enough that we can focus on the positives. The Moose-tache takes the mound and could possibly be making his last start for awhile against Jake Westbrook who isn't nearly as good as his numbers are suggesting. A .500 homestand would be a nice thing before heading off to the nation's capital. Onwards.