So if I had told you yesterday afternoon that:
- Aramis Ramirez would make a costly error and leave the game with shoulder soreness;
- The Cubs would cough up a lead by allowing three unearned runs;
- Lou would take Kosuke Fukudome out of the leadoff spot where he'd been successful;
- And, the Cubs would nearly lose a run when Milton Bradley would get thrown out trying to take an extra base while Ryan Theriot was racing to score...
You'd probably have thought that last night's game would be a 10-2 blowout loss, or something along those lines, right?
The Cubs overcame all that wackiness and beat the Rockies 6-5, behind Fukudome's RBI double and ninth homer of the year and some clutch pitching from a bullpen where "shaky" has been the operative word for the last couple of months.
Ryan Dempster threw well enough; he allowed the Rockies five runs, but only two of them were earned after Ramirez's miscue helped open the door to four Colorado runs (only one earned) in the fourth inning after the Cubs had taken a 2-0 lead in the top of the inning. I'm going to cut Aramis some slack, because after he had leaped to try to snag a line drive into left field earlier in the inning, his left shoulder appeared to visibly bother him and he eventually had to leave the game. Ramirez won't play today and hopefully, just needs a couple days of rest.
The Cubs started to pick away at the Rockies' 4-2 lead; Derrek Lee's 23rd homer of the year made it 4-3 in the fifth. D-Lee now has more homers than any full season since 2005, and there's still a third of this year left -- so he has an outside shot at 40 for only the second time in his career.
Another pair of runs gave the Cubs a 5-4 lead in the sixth; this was the inning in which Bradley hit a ball high off the wall in right field with Theriot on second. It came right back to Brad Hawpe, who gunned down Bradley trying to stretch this hit into a double. It wasn't an unreasonable chance, but the tag came down only a second or so after Theriot scored; had it been a little bit quicker the run wouldn't have counted.
Fukudome's homer made it 6-4 and then the bullpen took over. After Clint Barmes homered off Dempster with nobody out in the seventh to make it 6-5, Angel Guzman, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg shut down the Rockies over the last three innings, giving them a pair of harmless singles and striking out four. Marmol, in particular, looked really good last night -- he threw 13 strikes in his 19 pitches and appeared, at least for one night, to have his command back. If he can keep throwing like this, that solidifies the entire rest of the bullpen.
One thing I haven't commented on before, but really noticed last night -- Guzman looks very strange in those glasses.
So the Cubs win despite Lou's wacky lineup and more injuries. Both Theriot and Fukudome produced in their new lineup spots, and Bradley raised his BA to a season-high .256 with his pair of hits. Let's keep it going this afternoon; the game preview thread will be up at 12 noon CDT.