But that was all Carlos Zambrano gave up Friday night; he settled down and gave up just a pair of walks and three more hits in completing a quality start. Now, that may not seem like much, given the fact that the QS isn't that great a stat -- you can post a 4.50 ERA while getting one -- but it was only the seventh one posted by the Cubs this year, dead last in the major leagues (no one else has fewer than nine).
The Cubs' scoring Friday night looked like it was going to be all on solo home runs. Alfonso Soriano hit a pair of them and Geovany Soto hit his second of the season (and first in three weeks). The fourth run was produced on a RBI groundout by Aramis Ramirez in the eighth inning, giving the bullpen a bit more of a cushion.
Clearly, a win like this doesn't solve all the team's problems, but it does show that if the starting pitching can stabilize itself (not an easy task with Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner on the DL), the Cubs don't have to score a ton of runs to win games.
There's one more thing that's going to be called for here, I'm certain, after Soriano's two-homer game gave him the Cubs' team record for most home runs in the month of April (nine, breaking the record previously held by Derrek Lee, Sammy Sosa and Lee Walls). And that is that people are going to call for Soriano to be moved up in the lineup.
This, I think, would be a big mistake. First of all, Soriano really hasn't done anything in April except hit home runs. He's got nine home runs -- and ten singles. He's now hit homers in three straight games, which is great. Since April 13, in 13 games he's hit six home runs, two doubles -- and four singles. He's got a .908 OPS in those games, but only a .245 BA... and only a .255 OBP, because he has walked only once in 51 plate appearances.
Leave him where he is. Soriano is a streak hitter. Right now he's on a home run streak. Move him and you risk getting him out of that groove.
The Cubs will try to take the lead in this series tonight. Matt Garza goes for the Cubs. Can someone please surround him with a bit of moist air during the game?