- Ryan Dempster needs, needs, absolutely needs to throw more strikes. Even before he walked two in a row, forcing in one run and setting up a second run scoring on a bases-loaded groundout, he had run a lot of full counts early and threw an alarmingly high total of 118 pitches. The boxscore shows 70 strikes, only three hits and two walks and seven strikeouts, but this wasn't Dempster's finest hour.
- What was Alfonso Soriano still doing in the game after the six-run seventh? He was running very slowly chugging into second after his RBI double, again running slowly around third scoring on Ryan Theriot's hit, and we saw him holding the back of his right quad in the outfield when he came out for the 8th. He'd gone 3-for-4 up to that point, hitting the ball solidly, and the Cubs had a five-run lead. There's no reason he should have stayed in.
- The Cubs ran themselves out of three rallies, twice getting runners thrown out at the plate (though I too would have sent Reed Johnson on Derrek Lee's fly ball to Justin Upton in the 5th).
- What was Carlos Marmol doing in the game in the 9th with a five-run lead? He threw only 12 pitches yesterday, true, but with a five-run lead, that's the perfect opportunity to get Chad Fox some work. Or Sean Gallagher. Lou and the staff constantly talk -- correctly -- about the starters' failure to consistently get to the 7th inning, and that's why they have so many relief pitchers. Well then, use them when the situation calls for it!
OK, I'm done now, because as the title of this post says, the complaint department is closed after the Cubs mounted one of their most impressive comebacks of the season, a six-run rally off Chad Qualls (who was 0-3 despite allowing only two earned runs all year -- he had allowed six unearned runs -- before today) and Brandon Medders, who came in after Qualls had allowed hits to four of the first five batters he faced (the other one, Reed Johnson, sacrificed -- a really nicely laid down bunt which he almost beat out. The Cubs executed two nice sac bunts today, the other by Dempster). All six hits in the inning were solidly hit, capped by the two-run homer, his second of the year -- to the opposite field -- by Kosuke Fukudome, that put the game out of reach.
Scott Eyre got the win in his first appearance of the season, a well-pitched inning. Bob Howry also threw an efficient inning (12 pitches, 9 strikes), and Marmol wasn't overtaxed, throwing only 14 pitches. I still don't quite see the point of his appearance, though.
Back to Fukudome for a moment. Every single day, quietly most days, some not (as today with the HR), he is reaching base at what, for a Cub, is an unaccustomed pace. In 35 games (he sat one out), he has 43 hits and 22 walks -- 67 times reached base, averaging nearly two times on base every game, and now with triple-slash stats of .321/.416./.473.
Just very, very impressive. I still think he belongs in the leadoff slot -- but today, everything went the way it was supposed to, and this is what good teams do, come back even when down, when blowing a lead and not looking good, and so far, the supposedly "invincible" Diamondbacks have been shut down in the first two games of the series, scoring only three runs. A couple of D'backs fans sat down near us today after my friends Brian & Kristy (who had brought their 9-month-old baby girl to her first Cubs game) had to leave. They got pretty quiet during that 7th-inning Cub rally, but I gave them a BCB card. If you two are reading this, welcome.
Tomorrow's Z-Randy Johnson pitching matchup could be a good one, but the weather forecast doesn't look good:
Sunday: Showers. High near 50. Breezy, with a north northeast wind around 25 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.
What do you expect? It's Mother's Day, when the weather's always rotten when the Cubs are scheduled at home. I'm off to the Police concert. Till tomorrow, and yes, I'll stop complaining. Celebrate the win!