Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another day, another injury, but Cubs put hurtin' on Astros

Wednesday: Cubs 12, Astros 0

Most of the Cubs' wins in 2009 have been nail-biters. Wednesday, they returned to 2008 form, putting the Astros away practically before the National Anthem was finished.

A six-run first was more than enough for Randy Wells, who went eight scoreless innings to lower his season ERA to 2.84. That ERA would place him ninth in the NL if he weren't just four innings shy of qualifying. He's now 7-1 in his last eight starts, and has become the Cubs' most reliable starter--he's allowed more than three earned runs just three times in 15 starts (cough Rookie of the Year cough).

The Cubs' offense made sure Wells had some breathing room by racking up 12 runs on 14 hits. They scored in five of the eight innings in which they batted, and seven different Cubs players had at least one RBI. Three players left the yard as Ramirez hit career HR # 258, Soriano blasted # 289, and Andres Blanco belted ... # 1. Ramirez is now batting .309 with 4 HR and 12 RBI since his return.

With six more walks Wednesday, the Cubs are now seventh in the NL in that category. Milton Bradley drew one of them, and only Jayson Werth has drawn more free passes in July. Bradley's OBP is up to .385.

Last offensive note: Jake Fox hits even when he doesn't start. Despite entering the game as a pinch-hitter in the 7th, Fox had a sacrifice fly and an RBI single in the game. That man can hit.

And not to ignore the defense, the infield turned four double plays, putting them on pace for 147. I love seeing those twin killings, since I predicted they'd have 149 of them.

Finally, props to Mitch Atkins, 23, on a scoreless inning in his major league debut. Atkins was called up because the bullpen has been so overworked of late, but Jeff Stevens will probably be back up soon, as he showed great stuff in his short time with the big club.

The bad news

Reed Johnson is out at least a month with a broken bone in his foot. Sam Fuld is expected to be recalled from Iowa.

The injuries are certainly getting tiresome, but with Johnson hitting .252 this season and the fact that Fuld hit .368 in his stint with the Cubs, this one shouldn't hurt too much.

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