Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rally caps a great day at Wrigley

AP Photo/Charles Cherney

While I'm stuck in "high of 65 degrees" Maryland, everyone back in Illinois has enjoyed unseasonably warm days in the 80s this week. And while it was slightly cooler at Wrigley--the game-time temp was a perfect 73--it must have been about as beautiful as it will ever be for a Cubs game in April. I've been to Opening Day games where the most popular vendors were selling hot chocolate and you could see more blankets in the stands than jerseys.

But the sun-splashed field wasn't the only sight for sore eyes; the action on said field was quite enjoyable as well. In the middle of the 8th, I thought to myself: "Many other teams could stage a rally in this situation. Why is it that it seems so impossible for the Cubs to do so?" The 2009 season conditioned me to expect pretty much any deficit to remain a deficit. But instead, the Cubs surprised me with a 2008-like rally, scoring four runs after the first two batters were retired. And I'll admit that I took some enjoyment from the fact that it all happened against LaTroy Hawkins.

Other positives of note:
  • Ryan Theriot banged out four hits including a two-run single in the 8th inning. He also stole two bases for the second consecutive game.
  • Tyler Colvin has now walked three times in the regular season after walking zero times this spring. Batting with two outs and runners at first and second in the 8th--a situation that could have easily brought out some over-aggression--Colvin drew a walk and eventually scored in the four-run inning.
  • Kosuke Fukudome is off to another fast start: he knocked in the winning run and now has an OPS of 1.048 (.900+ is very good). Of course, we've seen this movie before. Will Fukudome be able to avoid the mid-season slump we've become accustomed to?
  • Marlon Byrd made a great throw to nail a runner trying to go from first to third. (In contrast was Soriano's outfield play--he bobbled a ball to turn a double into a triple and later misplayed a ball off the wall.)
  • Carlos Marmol has so far proved me wrong. His last two save opportunities have produced the following combined line: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 6 K. Six batters faced, six strikeouts. That'll do, Carlos, that'll do.
Randy Wells was cruising early in the game but lost his mojo when he walked pitcher Dave Bush with two down in the 5th. Newly recalled Jeff Gray had a rough 2010 debut, but got the win due to the Cubs' rally (Reason No. 64,507 that wins and losses are absurd statistics).

So the Cubs have their first series victory in the books. How about adding their first sweep with a win today?

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