Friday, April 16, 2004

A Sign of Consistency?

The Cubs bats came out again in the rubber match against the Pirates. They thumped Josh Fogg and his bullpen buddies with ten runs. Fogg gave up nine of them on eight hits. It was a beautiful day and the wind was blowing out, so I wouldn’t necessarily call it a sign toward offensive consistency, but it was nice to see the Cubbies put up some big numbers while Zambrano held them down.

Walker and Ramirez

Todd Walker and Aramis Ramirez continued their assault on Mr. Rawlings. Ramirez popped another homer and is looking good at the plate. The two have put up some big numbers over the past two games going 8 for 16 with 6 runs, 8 RBI, 2 walks, 3 home runs, and a double. Hopefully they'll keep it up. Grudzielanek might come off the DL with nowhere to go.

Emotions

Carlos Zambrano started off pretty strong, but wasn’t getting some close calls from the home plate umpire. In his usual fashion, Zambrano got pretty excited and emotional about this. This can be his Achilles heal. He gets really fired up and it carries him away sometimes. Usually what happens is he ends up throwing too hard – and as a sinker-ball pitcher that is not good. However, he played it somewhat cool and started getting the borderline calls as the game went on. He finished the day giving up only one run on six hits over six innings while striking out six.

Bullpen Woes?

The bullpen pulled a typical trick by not looking sharp when pitching under a big lead. They gave up four runs in three innings – Wuertz and Beltran were the culprits. This is to be somewhat expected as these two guys are very young and pitching with a big lead can get you to not concentrate as much as you should. Hawkins and Mercker posted decent lines giving up a combined one hit over one and one-third innings.

Can Mitre Reproduce?

Sergio Mitre (0-0, 2.35) is taking on Aaron Harang (1-0, 1.50) today. We’ll see if he can reproduce his solid performance against the Braves as the Cubs attempt to leapfrog the Reds in the standings.