July 8, 2013 by Ryan S
Oh, how things can change. I was actually at work during today’s game, and happened to check my phone with two outs in the ninth inning, Cubs (38-48) up 3-2. Naturally I think to myself that the game is over and Kevin Gregg will close it up. Naturally I’m wrong.
Starling Marte changed that as he hit a solo shot in the Pirates (53-34) last opportunity. After that, Matt Guerrier (3-4, 4.11 ERA) picked up his first win as a Cubbie in two stellar innings on the hill, once again making me eat my words that the Cubs should DFA him after his first (awful, in my defense) performance in Chicago.
As expected, Carlos Villanueva did not last very long, throwing 69 pitches in four innings before calling it a day. I expect his pitch count next time out to be around 85-90 before he gets fully back into the swing of things. He allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out five in his four innings.
The hitting was meh, the base running was as well. But what is really disappointing and upsetting is that Darwin Barney was charged with his first error of the season today. The reigning gold glove winner, who was on a 71 game errorless streak following his 141 game errorless streak last season. Regardless, he’s clearly one of the best second basemen in the league right now, if not the best.
On the plus side, the bullpen, handed with the task of pitching seven innings today, pitched well, allowing just one run. Alarmingly, they did walk four, but what can you expect when Hector Rondon takes the hill? I have no idea why Dale Sveum would even consider such a move in a close ball game. Rondon has given up runs in four of his past five games. Shudder.
Other than that, a win is a win is a win. The Cubs make up their rainout from earlier this season against the White Sox, against whom they have won all three of the other games this season. I would like nothing more for the Cubs to beat up on the Sox before going into a tough stretch of baseball (Los Angeles Angels followed by St. Louis Cardinals to get into the All-Star break).
Matt Garza (4-1, 3.45 ERA) will take the hill vs. Hector Santiago (3-5 3.50 ERA) in the make up game, in potentially Garza’s final start as a Cub (though I suspect he’ll have one more this weekend before the break at least). And as always, go Cubs!