Return to Heaven. Cubs 8 Nats 2

Return to Heaven. Cubs 8 Nats 2

In an absolutely delicious case of switcheroo, the Nationals decided to stop their own momentum with defensive errors, and the Cubs would jump all over those errors in kicking Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals to the curb. Edwin Jackson led three Cub pitchers to the 8-2 victory while Stephen Strasburg became the second ace in this series to continue his winless streak since opening day. ( Jeff Samardzija lost yesterday.) Both teams were pitching donuts until the fifth inning. With two outs, nationals 3rd baseman Ryan Zimmerman would throw an errant ball on Wellington Castillo's routine ground ball. Darwin Barney would draw a walk and Strasburg would give up a huge double to pitcher Edwin Jackson. That would score both Castillo and Barney. Dejesus and Castro would single to load the bases and Anthony Rizzo would take a pitch at his eyes and tomahawk it into center field for a two run single. The Cubs would put up another 4 spot the following inning. Soriano would leg out a double, advance to 3rd on Nate Schierholtz's single and walk home when the awful Zach Duke threw a wild pitch. Duke would then allow a double to 3B replacement Cody Ransom, somehow hit Wellington Castillo in the back of a knee with a pitch, and allow both of them to score on a David Dejesus single. Thanks for playing Zach. And just like that, the series is tied. Let's take a vote...

I DON'T REMEMBER ASKING YOU A GODDAMN THING.

Congrat to Ejax on his first victory as a Chicago Cub. Jackson only threw 88 pitches threw 5 1/3 rd innings. But it was definitely one of his better outings. Perhaps he relaxed a little more when before the game Dale Sveum said there was no way he was going to the bullpen when Garza arrives. Whatever the reason, the fastball was in more control and the slider bit down instead of out and he looked like a totally different pitcher. Shawn Camp Relieved Jackson once the game gathered laugh trax and rule 5 guy got two innings of impressive mop up work.

YOU BE ME FOR AWHILE, I'LL BE YOU.

Meanwhile, Strasburg's outing, and year for that matter, should give you deja vu about yesterday's starter Jeff Samardzija. Strasburg was downright dominant through the first four innings, striking out 7 and not allowing a hit. The Zimmerman error didn't rattle him per se, but it did cause him to work from the stretch for the first time that game, which did lead to a walk and a hit to the pitcher. Strasburg gave up 4 runs and none of them were earned. Both pitchers, while winless since opening day, have impressive stats in K/9 and ERA and since nobody is really panicking over Strasburg, nobody should about the Shark either.

HEY MAN, PULL MY FINGER.

So Luis Valbuena got all brave and tried to stretch a double into a triple. He was out easily but also appeared to jam his finger into third base. He was replaced in the game by Cody Ransom. If he has to go on the disabled list, it should make for an interesting call up as Ian Stewart seems to have pissed off everyone in the Cubs organization. Stewart has been riding the pine recently due to poor performance and poor attitude. Josh Vitters, who had been playing the outfield, has most recently been playing 3rd and had his first hot streak of the year while battling injuries, hitting two home runs in the last week. He's only hitting .219, and if he Luis V has to go on the DL and Vitters gets the call up, well, it will tell a very sad tale about Ian Stewart.

This game might be more about the Nationals kicking it away. But the Cubs pounced on an opportunity, and that's worth a cheer. The Cubs go up against another lefty, Gio Gonzalez, so we'll probably see that ulcer inducing all righty lineup. But a series win over the Nats to start a road trip would be large. And Edwin Jackson looking more like a frontline pitcher is large to. This team could really use a big series win. So let's get one. Onwards.

 

Box Score

 

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    "I love winning man. It's like better than losing." ~ Ebbie Calvin LaLouche

  • So since Monday, the Cubs have:

    - Destroyed the 1st Place Rangers
    - Played a great baseball game beating the 1st Place Cards
    - Lost a tough one to the 1st Place Cards
    - Were hammered by the 2nd Place Nats
    - Pummeled the 2nd Place Nats

    3-2 against three really good baseball teams. Maybe we aren't that far away after all.....

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Exactly - this is a team that has very little margin for error - but when they don't make errors (mental or physical) they can be very hard to beat.

    Despite the not-obvious improvement in the overall record compared to last season - this team is much more fun to watch. Rizzo has gotten hot & has his strikeouts under control. Valbuena has been a very pleasant surprise as a regular 3B (hopefully he's OK & not on the DL for a while). If Soriano gets hot & he has been hitting if not HRs - then this team can do a bit more offense than they have displayed so far.

  • Well....small sample size. And being "not that far away" means keeping up this form for more than a week. But it does show that this team can play better than it has. And it's nice to see that games against the best opponents are worth watching.

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    If we get 2-3 more hits with runners in scoring position were easily 5-0 over that stretch. Playing some very watchable baseball lately.

  • X-rays negative on Valbuena's pinky. He wasn't going to play vs. LHP Gio anyways so hopefully having the day off is all he needs. At least we can relax a little now that we know we won't be seeing Stewart anytime soon.

  • I, for one, am not convinced about Samardzija. I hope I'm wrong.

  • In reply to JayPea:

    I think it is OK to have some concern about Samardzija. Has really tailed off since his first few starts. Lets see if he can adjust like Rizzo has and come back strong.

    He needs to be a TOR type of guy as we move toward the future...

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Spellcheck seems to have about an 80-90 pitch ppoint where hes effective, then tails off. Needs to have quicker innings earlier in the game.

  • In reply to JayPea:

    He's not there yet, but he does have true Ace "stuff" & potential. Needs to be more consistent. But if he doesn't realize that potential, we could do a lot worse than having Shark for a #2/#3 guy....

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Agreed. He just needs to learn what I call situational pitching. When to pitch to contact, when to strike guys out.

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    In reply to JayPea:

    What is there not to be convinced about? He was a top 20 starter in baseball last year, top 10-15 minus that month where he tried to throw a curveball. Despite the W/L record he's been one of the tops starters in the NL so far this year. 2nd in the league in strikeouts with an almost 4-1 SO/BB ratio.

    What more do you want him to do?

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    The only thing left with Samardzija is fine tuning his pitchability. Learning when to power by hitters and when to pitch to contact instead of racking up Ks so he can pitch later in games. But there's no doubt that he's a TOR guy at this point. The question is is he an ace, a solid #1, or a good #2-3.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I'd say that accurately sums it up with him.....

  • what does TOR mean? sorry

  • In reply to Nik0522:

    Top of Rotation

  • In reply to Nik0522:

    Top of rotation

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    In reply to Nik0522:

    The One Ring

  • also for me it really depends on how much money Shark wants... I hope he desn't want more than 10-11.5m per year... what kind of deal do you think he's looking for?

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    In reply to Nik0522:

    I'm looking at the deal Matt Harrison got as a good comp. 5yr/55mil if he signs this year. That gives you all his prime years and ends at 33. If he's going to hold out until FA(doubt it) at age 30 then I could see the Cubs letting him walk or doing 3yr/45mil if he becomes an ace. Just my opinion.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I agree, nice info, thanks!

  • Jeff S. is not worth anything over 10 million a year at this point....he might be worth more in a trade though..............where are all those Barney supporters now?.......there might be only one player on this Cubs team that might be around by 2016 Opening Day.........I want to give this team a few more weeks to decide if the Cubs are progressing or regressing.......maybe this weeks hot weather will warm up this team......this Cubs team is in stored for a hot streak.....I like to see 10 wins in a row.............for all those Cubs fans who still have their Mother's, make Sunday a "special" day for her....give her lots of kisses and hugs..........I myself will spend another Mother's Day putting flowers on my mother's grave and thinking about the good years I had with her in my life.

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    Any opinions on Rondon?. Had a bad outing last week, but his other outings have been decent. He has been more effective than Lendy Castillo anyhow.

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    In reply to Crash Davis:

    Seems to add velo with every outing and his offspeed pitches look alot crisper, was hitting 93-94 consistently today. He's definitely more advanced than Castillo.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    He was hitting 95 mph in his previous outing as well.

  • What was that Rizzo delayed steal attempt all about? Strasbourg was struggling mightily and on like his 50th pitch of the inning. Did Sveum call that? Wasn't that idiotic?

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    I think he was trying to get into a rundown so we could attempt a double steal. Obviously, it was poorly executed. But strategically, nothing demoralizes a team more than that. When you have them on the ropes, that's when you go for the knock-out punch, which if successful - that would've been equivalent to using a kick in the nuts for the knock-out blow.

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    Is it just me, or is Darwin Barney drawing more walks?

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