The Cubs went from facing one of the best teams in baseball to facing one of the worst. And the results, as you might expect, were reversed. The Cubs got three solo home runs and a more than impressive start from Matt Garza as the Cubs cruised to a 3-1 victory in a game that was actually shorter than the rain delay that proceeded it. The first solo shot was by Anthony Rizzo, who tomahawked a Dallas Keuchel pitch into the party porch in right field. Next inning, it was Uber-muscles himself, Darwin Barney. Not wanting to be outdone, Scott Hairston hit his bi-monthly home run in the following inning. And from there it was all Garza. Let's stay in and order Chinese.
NOT BY THE HAIR OF MY CHINNY CHIN CHIN.
Garza was outstanding in a performance I'm sure will be chalked up to facing the Astros. Still, you can only pitch to whoever the competition is. And boy did Garza pitch. Spotting his fastball and mixing his pitches to the tune of 8 IP, 4H, 1ER, 2BB, 8K. The only gaffe being a Chris Carter home run ( you know.....in case you were wondering where Chris Carter eventually wound up.) Garza was 91 pitches through 8 and probably could have finished the game. But once Jose Altuve walked, Sveum went to his closer and Gregg was more than efficient. With trading season about to be kicked into high gear, you can guarantee that reports and statlines on both Garza and Gregg will be sent around the league. They will probably then be pock marked with asterisks as it was against a less than fortunate Astro squad.
IT'S EVOLUTION BABY
So Barney had himself a time today. Darwin went 3 for 4 with a home run. Barney has a very respectable .271/.358/.424 against lefties. And seeing how this team hits lefties, well, I certainly have no problem with DB leading off the game against southpaws.
DEAD HORSE UPDATE
Castro went 1-for 4 today. The one hit being a ground rule double into the Ivy. Castro also had a fielding error. But he faced a team high 21 pitches today. ( As opposed to Rizzo, who faced 8 in as many AB's.) Castro might be hiding a minor injury as he seems to be shrugging his right arm a lot. And if we're giving out passes due to "long view" and "giant turnarounds" then I have to think that as Castro does take more pitches and work himself into more hitter's counts, that the long view outlook for #13 is just as bright.
So that was worth waiting for. While the Astros are a AAAA squad, give or take an A, it beats getting the life knocked out of you by the Redbirds. And since the Astros featured something that's like kryptonite to the Cubs- a lefty with change up and a pulse, you're more than happy for the win. Bud Norris vs. Travis Wood tomorrow. Minor league report might be a little late as John and Tom are rocking out at Hot Stove Cool music tonight. Until then....Onwards.