What an impressive month. The Cubs ended the month of July the same way they started it; with a win. A big win too considering the disappointing loss yesterday. Jason Marquis was able to give the Cubs a quality start, the Cubs gave his some run support, and Bob Howry finished the game with a save. Unfortunately, the Brewers were able to win in the 13th inning on a two run home run by Geoff Jenkins. The Cubs just need to continue to take care of business and we will be ok.
On the Board First
Marquis was able to pitch six innings, allowing three runs and eight hits. He struck out four and walked three. It wasn’t easy, but he pitched decent enough to keep the Cubs in it. The Cubs gave Marquis some run support in the first inning, when Alfonso Soriano lead off the game with an infield single. Ryan Theriot laid down a nice bunt that Adam Eaton threw into the outfield, putting runners at second and third. Soriano scored on a ground out by Derek Lee and Theriot scored on an Aramis Ramriez double, giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Philly came back in the top of the second, when they hit three consecutive singles against Marquis with one out. The last single, hit by Chris Robinson, was hit softly to left center, but Pat Burrell was being waved home all the way as they knew Jones couldn’t throw him out. Philly starter Adam Eaton was able to get into a groove after a rough first inning, and the Phillies were able to tie the game after Greg Dobbs hit a single, and went to third on a ground rule double by Tadahito Iguchi, which Jacque Jones completely misplayed. Apparently Jones lost Iguchi’s ball in the lights, and it dropped behind him and bounced out of the ballpark over the center-field wall. The next batter, Jimmy Rollins, grounded out to score Dobbs, tying the game at 2. Things began to look even worse when Pat Burrell was able to hit a start the sixth inning with a solo home run off Marquis, giving the Phillies their first lead of the game. The Cubs were finally able to break the game open against Eaton in the bottom of the sixth when he gave up back-to-back singles to Cliff Floyd and Mark DeRosa. Jones followed with a double down the line in left. Floyd easily scored from second, and DeRosa was held up at third but went home after Burrell bobbled the ball in left. DeRosa slid around catcher’s Chris Coste’s tag to give the Cubs the lead. It was a brilliant slide by DeRosa, the one Jones should have made against the Reds last Friday. Fontenot add another run on a single giving the Cubs a 5-3 lead.
The Cubs added some insurance by drawing three walks in the seventh, loading the bases with only one out. Jacque Jones struck out on three straight pitches, but Jason Kendall came threw with a big single on an 0-2 count to add some more runs. making the score 7-3 and giving the Cubs more breathing room. Carlos Marmol was amazing again, giving up only one hit and striking out three of the five batters he faced looking. It got a little nerve racking in the ninth, especially when Jacque Jones misplayed another ball in the outfield in the ninth, but Howry struck out the next two batters, Cubs win ! Cubs Win!
You Can See Where This Is Going
A lot of people wondered why I wanted to get rid of Michael Barrett so badly. I explained to people that when you look at a player, you look at how many runs they score for you versus how many runs they save or lose you on defense. When Michael Barrett hits .295 and 25 home runs, he can compensate for his defensive flaws. When Sammy Sosa was hitting 60 plus home runs and driving in 120 plus RBI’s, you can overlook his inability to hit a cut off man. But when Barrett and Sosa couldn’t hit anymore, they became a liablilty to the team. This leads me to Jacque Jones. They were praising him on TV, the Tribs headline is "Jones Keys Cubs Rally", and the first sentence about the game on Cubs.com is "Jacque Jones made up for a defensive gaffe by hitting a game-tying RBI double"
So was Jones the big hero? Far from it. Let’s look at the positives and negatives of this game for Jacque;
Bottom of the first- Runners at first and third, two outs, grounds out to first to end the inning.
Top of the second-Chris Robinson singles to short left center, but the Phillies third base coach waves Pat Burrell around to score because he realizes Jones has no arm to throw him out.
Bottom of the fourth-Jones ground out to the shortstop to end the inning.
Bottom of the Sixth- Jones doubles in two runs
Bottom of the seventh-Bases loaded and one out, Jones strikes out on three straight pitches
Bottom of the ninth-Jones misplays a Jimmy Rollins line dive to right center, putting runners at second and third with one out before Howry strikes out the next two batters.
So Jones is the hero? Jones was 1-4, had one RBI, struck out once, drew no walks, and left five men on base. The Phillies thought he was going to bunt, so the defense was playing in, allowing his slap hit to make it past the third baseman. His bad defense in the second and fourth tied the game for the Phillies. He couldn’t get the ball in the outfield with the bases loaded and one out. He almost opened the door to a Phillies rally in the ninth misplaying another ball. The Cubs lose this game, Jones is not the hero, but the goat. This guy is just terrible. I still would rather have Felix Pie, for all his offensive flaws, rather than Jones out there. Teams are figuring out that they can run at will against him, and they know how to pitch to him. Watch how many balls he hits to the first or second baseman. This guy really needs to go.
As I said earlier, Milwaukee won on the Jenkins home run, and the Mets were not able to hold the Brew Crew off to preserve Tom Glavine’s 300th win. This leaves the Cubs one game back in the division. St. Louis beat Pittsburgh, and they are now only six games behind the Brewers and five games behind the Cubs. Watch out. Colorado beat Florida, Atlanta beat Houston, Arizona beat the sinking Padres, and the Dodgers lost to San Fran. The Cubs and Padres are second in the wildcard chase, only .5 game back of the Dodgers.
Old Crafty Lefty
The Cubs will face former Cubs Jaimie Moyer tomorrow as he goes up against Rich Hill. Hill has kept his ERA low, but continues to struggle mentally. He really needs to keep his cool and work on his pitch selection a little more. The Cubs are 9-16 against lefties this season, and Moyer is a smart pitcher. The Cubs need to be ready and watch plenty of film. There is no reason this team should be so bad against lefties. I will be at the game, so if you are buy Bernie’s, stop by and have a drink. Hopefully afterwards, we’ll be toasting another Cubs victory!