A night after getting pushed around by the big bad Brewers, the Cubs pushed back in a big way, pounding the living daylights out of Jeff Suppan, Derrick Turnbow, and the rest of the Brew Crew 19-5. That win gave the Cubs a 17-10 record for April, the most wins in April in franchise history. The previous high was 16, set in April 1969. The Brewers had to be filled with confidence after Tuesday night’s victory, but the Cubs gave them a beat down they won’t soon forget. The Cubs score 19 runs on 15 hits with no errors. The Brewers only had 5 runs on six hits with one error. Ricky Weeks had two hits, Ryan Braun had two hits, Prince Fielder had one hit, and Mike Rivera had one hit. After the fifth inning, the Brewers cried “Uncle” and Ned Yost pulled out a bunch of his starters, including Fielder and Braun. Starting pitcher Jeff Suppan gave up 11 runs on 11 hits in only 3.2 innings. The Cubs got six runs in the first, when Reed Johnson and Ryan Theriot reached base, then Derek Lee doubled, A-Ram doubled, and Geovany Soto hit a three run homer to left field. Soto would hit another three run homer later in the game, giving him 6 RBI’s. DeRosa had RBI’s in the third and fourth inning, Ramirez added an RBI in the fourth, and SI cover boy Kosuke Fukudome had one in the sixth.
The eighth inning was a bizarre one for Derrick Turnbow and the Brewers. Turnbow came into the game in the eighth inning and got the first batter, Henry Blanco, to strike out looking. He then walked Mark DeRosa and gave up a single to pinch hitter Mike Fontenot. With runners at first and second, Felix Pie flied out for the seocnd out of the inning. With two outs, Matt Murton hit a single, scoring DeRosa. Turnbow would walk Johnson, to load the bases. Turnbow would then walk Theriot to force in a run. Ronnie Cedeno then hit a double to clear the bases. The damage still wan’t done as Daryl Ward hit a double to drive in Cedeno. Henry Blanco, who started the inning, drew a walk. That was it for Turnbow, as he gave up six runs on four hits and four walks.
Dempster was fantastic tonight, improving his record to 4-0, giving up three runs on four hits and striking out one over six innings. Bob Howry gave up a two run blast to Mike Rivera in the seventh. Carlos Marmol and Michael Wuertz both threw scoreless innings. If you would have told me that Dempster would be 4-0 in April and be one of our most consistent starters, I would have laughed. He is proving a lot of people wrong so far, myself included. This was a huge win for Dempster and the Cubs. The Cubs had lost 4 of their previous five games, Lou was very testy with the media today, and morale was low. Not anymore. Now comes a huge match up in the series, Carlos Zambrano versus Yovani Gallardo. Like the old saying goes, I hope the Cubs left something for tomorrow. Gallardo is a great young pitcher and the Cubs will have to be patient. The win tonight puts the momentum back in the Cubs corner, with the Brewers needing to respond to what happened Thursday night. Z just shaved his head, so let’s see if that makes him more areodynamic. How nice would it be to start May on a winning note, taking the series against the Brewers? Let’s hope the Cubs have another day like today. Either way, the Cubs showed that they have muscle too and I am sure both clubs will continue to battle each other throughout the season. We really needed this win.
If I told you that the heart of the Cubs lineup, Lee, Ramirez, and Fukudome went a combined 0-12, you would think the Cubs probably lost the game. If I told you that Rich Hill’s pitch count was 72 after three innings, you could assume the Cubs got beat. But hey, we were playing the Pirates, so we were able to get the win, sweep the Pirates, and win our fifth game in a row! What a wacky series of bad baseball games.
After burning up all the arms in the first two games of the series, we needed a good long start from Hill, and he was abysmal. He couldn’t find the strike zone to save his life. After the Cubs got one run in the first inning, Hill came to the mound and gave up a double, threw a wild pitch, gave up a single that scored a run, walked the next two batters, gave up a run scoring sac fly, gave up another single, and gave up another run scoring sac fly before finally getting out of the inning. Hill managed to work a 1-2-3 inning in the second, but in the third he gave two more waks, but escaped any further damage, but by that time Lou had had enough.
Your Bus Tickets To Iowa Mr. Hill and Mr. Pie
Lou was fuming in the dugout. After the first, he had some words for Hill, and Hill slammed
his helmet. Lou was barking at Larry Rothchild every second that Hill was pitching. Jon Lieber was up in the first inning. Lou also had it with Felix Pie. With one out and runners at first and second, Pirates pitcher Matt Morris made Pie look silly, striking him out. Then in the third, with a runner on second, Morris again made Pie look foolish, striking him out for the second time. After the third inning, Hill was replaced by Lieber and Pie was replaced by Reed Johnson. After hitting the game winning hit last night, Pie was given the start and looked bad. He just can’t figure out major league pitching.
Lieber to the Rescue
Jon Lieber came out of the bullpen and pitched quickly and efficiently. Lieber pitched 4.1 innings and gave up no runs, five hits, and didn’t walk a single batter. This allowed the Cubs to start their comeback. Fukudome led off the sixth inning with a walk, and Geovany Soto, who had four hits in the game, hit a monster home run to center field, giving the Cubs a 4-3 lead. Theriot followed the home run with a bunt single, and moved to second on a Lieber sac bunt. Then Theriot tried to steal third, and was easily thrown out, but third baseman Jose Bautista dropped the ball. Reed Johnson hit a single to knock in Theriot, and then Mike Fontenot, batting second tonight, hit a home run, giving the Cubs a 7-3 lead. Bob Howry pitched 2/3 of an inning and Kerry Wood pitched the ninth.
This was one ugly series, but we walked away with three wins. The good news is that unlike
last year, we are actually winning some close games. The Cubs offense is cooking, scoring at least six runs in all three games of the series and scoring 35 runs in their last five games. The Cubs have also tied the amount of extra-inning victories (2) that they had off of last season, when they were 2-8 when playing more than nine innings. The bad news is the pitching looks suspect. Our number two starter, Ted Lilly, has been terrible in his two starts. Our number 3 pitcher, Rich Hill, looks even worse. (Hill was considered the third started, but Lou didn’t want two lefties pitching back to back so he put Dempster in the third spot to split them). The bullpen has given up 20 runs in 9 games. Not good at all. Howry and Kevin Hart have given up 5 runs, Wood has given up 4 and had his first blown save Wednesday night. Lieber and Marmol have given up two runs, and Wuertz has given up one. (Piggy gave up one but was sent to the minors).
The Cubs travel to Phildelphia next, with Big Z taking the start againt Brett Myers. The Phillies just lost the series to the Mets 2 games to 1, losing the rubber match in extra innings on Thursday night. Jimmy Rollins, last seasons MVP, has been out with an ankle injury. Hopefully he will stay out of the lineup a few more days and the Cubs bats can keep rolling.
Let’s make it six in a row!
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