Jason Marquis threw a really nice game, making only one serious mistake (the HR to Yadier Molina).
Felix Pie hit his first (of what we hope are many) major league HR.
The bullpen threw 2.1 solid innings in relief of Marquis.
And even one of our favorite new whipping boys, Cesar Izturis, drove in a key insurance run.
All of that added up to a satisfying 5-3 Cub win over the Cardinals last night in St. Louis.
I had a lot longer post nearly finished when my browser ate it. So, I'm in the process of trying to reconstruct my thought process about this game.
I was worried about Marquis last Saturday when he threw really well against the Cardinals; I had thought maybe he'd be too keyed up against his old team. Then I worried about last night because he'd be facing them twice within a week. He really seemed almost too calm, dispatching them quickly through the first six innings, before getting into trouble in the seventh. His 98 pitches included only 54 strikes, which isn't a great ratio -- but it was good enough on a night where the bullpen constantly pitched itself out of trouble.
The Yahoo boxscore attached to that recap shows Dempster with seven pitches, five strikes, which can't be right, because he had two strikeouts and three other outs. The cubs.com boxscore has the correct count, 26 pitches, 17 strikes, which isn't too bad for someone who had his first five-out save since June 20, 2005, at Milwaukee. Dempster was stretched out partly because he hadn't thrown since Monday, and partly because, according to the Yahoo recap:
Add this to the litany of weird Cub injuries (the Kerry Wood hot-tub incident comes to mind). What, is Lou Piniella going to have to police the Cub pitching staff at home now, too?
WGN's graphics were missing the inning notation early in the game; later, they added a "TOP" and "BOT" inning number in between the score and the ball/strike count, which looked odd. I also find it jarring, from a TV production standpoint, to see players' names on the screen and then have their stats "slide" in. This is something I call the "Fox Sports Effect".
What's next, swooshing noises?
A couple of notes: Derrek Lee has reached base in all 22 games this year, hitting safely in 20 of them. The last Cub to accomplish this feat was Ron Santo in 1973.
Finally, a compliment here to someone we often like to disparage -- Tony LaRussa. Yesterday, LaRussa got into a huge argument with Bernie Miklasz, one of the main baseball columnists in St. Louis, over a column written by one of his co-workers, Derrick Goold, a tired recap of all the history we live as Cubs fans every day. (Read the column at that link. It's really lame.) Afterward, he said he wouldn't answer any questions from Miklasz' paper all weekend, and continued:
Miklasz suggested that rather than boycotting questions, the manager take up the issue with the paper's editors.
"I know it's the editor [who] makes those decisions," La Russa said. "But I have a couple of ways [to protest], and the one way I'm going to do it is I'm not going to answer questions from the Post-Dispatch. If you disagree with that, write that you disagree with it. I don't care. I really don't. What I care is that I don't put my stamp, any way shape or form, on the cheap shot like that at a Major League organization."
Miklasz is full of it, in my opinion. Take it up with the editors? I'll bet they all thought it was really funny. Ha, ha, ha. It makes the Post-Dispatch writers and editors like the drunk fans who chant "19-08" at us all the time -- as if we didn't know.
Good for Tony. He's had a tough year, but this simple act shows he's a class guy.
Now let's go out and beat his team again this afternoon.