As you might expect, I've been really frustrated with Ryan Dempster's season so far. I mean, he only had two sacrifice bunts going into yesterday's game. What is WRONG with him? He's really been hurting the team with his lack of successful bunting.
Thankfully, Dempster dropped down his third sacrifice of the season last night and completely redeemed himself. Oh, and on top of that, he STOPPED SUCKING AT PITCHING. What a beautiful sight that was. Ugly swings, weak grounders back to the mound, no walks after a shaky first. Seven innings, one run. That marks three consecutive quality starts by Cubs starters not named James Russell or Casey Coleman.
And another beautiful sight: the towering, majestic orb of hope off the bat of Carlos Pena in the seventh inning. One down, hopefully about 35 to go.
Soto was the other hero as he laced a two-out double in the ninth to break a 1-1 tie. It was the second time in four games the Cubs scored multiple runs in the final inning en route to a victory. Carlos Marmol closed it down cleanly for his eighth save, putting him in the top five in that category in the NL.
From the Department of Nitpicking, Reed Johnson made one of the Cubs' only mistakes with a baserunning gaffe, his second of the season (he mistakenly tried to stretch a double into a triple against the Padres a couple weeks back). If he wants to get more playing time off the bench, he should probably stop running to third any time he damn well feels like it.
Lastly, don't look now, but Starlin Castro is officially slumping. On April 17, he was at .418--which is admittedly unsustainable--and now he's down to .315. He has just five hits in his last 38 at-bats. Castro did go through a funk last year as well, going 10-for-62 (.177) during a stretch in June.
The Cubs will shoot for a winning road trip today with Ted Lilly starting against them for the second time this season.