Lilly and Marmol combined to post shutout number four on the year for the Cubs, vaulting them out of a tie for last place in the NL in that category. The others were Ted Lilly over the Rockies 4-0, Ryan Dempster over the Dodgers 7-0, and Randy Wells over Houston 12-0. It was good to see Lilly get the win, his 10th, after he went 0-1 in August despite a stellar 1.86 ERA. The Cubs scored just eight runs in his three August starts.
Wednesday wasn't much different, as a two-run homer by Derrek Lee was all the offense could muster. In fact, the four through eight hitters (Bradley, Fox, Fontenot, Baker, Hill) were a combined 0-for-14. But it was enough for Teddy Roosevelt Lilly, as he dominated the 'Stros with eight innings, four hits, no walks and five strikeouts. He's now 7-1 with a 1.73 ERA at home in 2009.
I said yesterday that if there's been one bright spot for the Cubs this season, it's Randy Wells. I stand by that, but if there have been two bright spots for the Cubs this year, the other is Derrek Lee. His home run was his 27th, and with six more he would have his highest career total outside of 2005 when he hit 46.
On top of that, the two RBI gave him 90 on the season, matching last year's total. With nine more, he'll once again have his highest career total outside of 2005, and with a great September, he could surpass that year's total of 107.
Hey, look who's back: Andres Blanco! He wasted no time showing why Aaron Miles should never, ever play again for the Cubs, going 1-for-3 with a run scored.
"One hit?" you say. "That's nothing to write home about."
True, unless you're comparing him to Aaron Miles, which I am. Miles is 0-for-his last 700 (okay, actually his last 19), and is completely useless. On the other hand, Blanco was batting .304 in the minors, is hitting .240 with the Cubs, and is probably the best fielder they have save Derrek Lee.
While there's no arguing the fact that the Cubs have folded like a guy in a tent wearing a cheap suit, sitting on a 2/7 off suit, we have to give credit where credit is due. The Cardinals went 20-6 in August, meaning it would have been difficult for the Cubs to stay in the division race almost no matter what they did. The Cards are now 2-0 in September as well, meaning the Cubs haven't gained any ground on them at all since August 3. For a full month straight, the Cubs have either held their ground or fallen back in the standings every single day.