Before you read about all the details of Wednesday night's 7-5 Cubs win over the Marlins, let me say a few things about Tony Campana.
Besides the fact that he looks like he's about 16 years old (and I can't wait to see a photo of him standing next to Sean Marshall), he's got to be the fastest player in baseball today. Yes, faster than Michael Bourn, or Carl Crawford, or Rajai Davis. He got a tremendous jump on John Buck and stole second base easily after being slotted in for Alfonso Soriano as a pinch runner.
Now when is the last time the Cubs had a base stealer like that? Juan Pierre, I suppose, briefly; Eric Young, maybe, for a season, or maybe you have to go back to current Cubs 1B coach Bob Dernier. Campana is exactly the kind of guy you'd love to have on your bench if you were willing to go with a six-man bullpen (which I think the Cubs could do).
Then, Campana advanced to third on a sacrifice and scored even with the infield pulled in on a beautiful, fadeaway, headfirst slide underneath Buck's tag attempt.
I'm well aware of the things Campana lacks: no power at all, doesn't walk as much as you'd like a guy like this to walk, no size. But used properly, in certain roles, he's a real useful player to have on your team. And Mike Quade (not that he's reading this): Campana and Reed Johnson need split left field duties in Boston; with Soriano fully anchored as the DH for the three games. Let two guys who can actually play the outfield do that. Johnson, in particular, has significant experience at Fenway Park; he's played 36 career games there, 24 as a starter.
The best news about this game is that the Cubs came from behind twice in this game, first after Ryan Dempster gave up a home run to Hanley Ramirez in the first inning. They tied it up with a pair of singles and an infield out by Darwin Barney. Barney drove in another run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth after Koyie Hill doubled.
No, you did not read that wrong. Hill not only doubled, but had two other hits. No, I am not making this up.
Dempster got in trouble in the last of the fifth and gave up four runs and gave the Marlins the lead back, but the Cubs came right back and tied it up when Reed Johnson batted for Dempster and slammed a no-doubt-about-it two-run homer. Marlon Byrd's home run in the 8th gave the Cubs the lead and Campana's Excellent Adventure around the basepaths finished up the scoring. Carlos Marmol finished up for his ninth save.
And the Cubs didn't make any errors, either physical or mental (at least as far as I could tell on the latter), in this game. That counts for something, as does this win. Does it solve all this team's problems? Of course it doesn't, but it does show that the team hasn't checked out for the season, as well as showing that they can produce when needed.
One person who produced unnecessarily was a man who ran onto the field without clothes and began doing cartwheels in the outfield. This happened not long before the Cubs' rally gave them the lead. I'm not saying the two were connected, but...
Anyway, this win, which snapped a three-game losing streak dating back to last Saturday, means the Cubs have a shot at a sweep of this abbreviated two-game series Thursday evening. Why not?