... using a Sean Marshall name pun for the title of this post (you know, like "Marshall Law", or "Marshall's Field" -- already used that one during spring training), and instead, just write about how terrific he was during last night's 3-1 Cub win over the Marlins, their third win in a row.
The naysayers are going to say that Marshall only beat a Triple-A lineup, and of course, with the exception of Miguel Cabrera (and Wes Helms, who had 48 lifetime HR through 2005), that is true.
But you still have to go out there and make your pitches, and Marshall did that last night, going past the fifth inning for the first time. He threw a mostly efficient 96 pitches in seven innings, allowing only a Chris Aguila line-drive single to left in the fifth (after which Matt Murton carefully replaced the divot he had dug into the LF turf chasing after it), and a topper by Dan Uggla in the sixth that Ronny Cedeno wisely ate. Marshall wasn't perfect -- the 96 pitches included only 58 strikes, and he issued two walks -- but for the first time, we saw that 12-to-6 knee-bender of a curveball work often. Marshall's now 2-0 -- I can't remember the last Cub rookie pitcher to start his career with two wins -- and the Cubs have won all four games he's started.
We also appreciated the efficiency of Marshall (and Dontrelle Willis, too, who threw a pretty nice game himself, allowing only three hits, one of which was a perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt by Jerry Hairston), because it was darn cold out there last night! Game-time temperature was listed in the boxscore as 39 degrees, and the wind was biting in from center field. They haven't been announcing the temperature, which I can understand, but they do have a sponsored feature just before the first pitch from a sunscreen company, letting everyone know the UV rating.
Now isn't that silly? There's no UV rating at night, and so the poor PA announcers are forced to say that the rating is "low", but if it were high, you should use the sunscreen.
Wouldn't it make more sense to do this during day games only?
We can laugh about this because of the win last night, beating one of the better pitchers in the game, and in fact, giving him his first career loss in an April game. Bob Howry got touched for a run and three hits, but after Hairston's squeeze -- in an inning that happened right after I said to Jeff, "We could use a couple more runs", it didn't matter, and Ryan Dempster finished up uneventfully.
That's the third day in a row that Dempster has appeared, and though he doesn't seem to suffer too many ill effects from this, it would be nice to have a blowout win today to allow him two days off.
Jeff and I ran into a guy wearing a "World Champion Marlins 1997" cap, and as it turned out he was on a road trip to see his favorite team. This pretty much flabbergasted both Jeff & me, and we told him he must be the "only traveling Marlins fan". That's pretty dedicated, too, traveling to see an anonymous team in Chicago in April. I gave him a BCB card -- so Mr. Marlins Fan, if you're reading this, welcome!
My friend Ron emailed me some questions yesterday about the wood bench fragments that were sold at the garage sale last Saturday, and so Mike did a little research into when the fiberglass covers were put over the original wooden benches, which I've sent along to Ron, and will also post for your benefit. They actually came in two separate emails from Mike; "Wheeler's book" refers to Bleachers, a book written by Cincinnati-based sportswriter Lonnie Wheeler about the 1987 season. Mike & I are both mentioned in the book, incidentally.
No matter. It's supposed to be much nicer this afternoon, with lighter winds, bright sunshine and temperatures in the 60's. I'm posting this early this morning because of the day game; there'll be an open gameday thread in a couple of hours.