Tuesday, May 18, 2010
But seriously, that was easily the best moment of the season for me. In just 39 games, my feelings on Ramirez sank from having complete faith in him to extreme frustration to basically assuming he would never ever hit the ball hard ever again. I don't think I've ever taken that emotional journey quite so quickly. There were times the last couple years when I took part of that journey with Soriano, and I took that journey over a more extended time frame with Sammy Sosa, but this was different (I say "was" because, once again, I'm assuming Ramirez will bat at least .400 the rest of the year). I was to the point that if Ramirez would have hit a solo home run with the Cubs down by 10, I would have pretty much considered that game a success. For him to crush one in the 11th inning of a tie game? Well that's just downright delicious.
Sean Marshall claimed his second win in as many days with two perfect innings that included four strikeouts. The bullpen threw four innings in all and had success for the most part, but two walks by Grabow and a four-pitch walk from Marmol to a guy who has had three seasons in which he walked fewer than 10 times allowed the Rox to force extras. Randy Wells had a strong start, scattering seven hits and escaping a bases loaded, one-out jam in the fourth.
Derrek Lee made many, many outs, but Fukudome and Castro combined for five hits and two runs at the top of the order. Castro also stole a base easily (on the negative side, he failed to get a successful bunt down).
The only thing that tempered the Cubs' second walk-off win of the season was the elephant in the dugout, er, room--why was Carlos Zambrano in the dugout rather than available from the bullpen last night? It turns out he's moving to a long-relief role, which leads you to believe he's on his way back to the rotation. There have been a lot of calls lately for Z to be a starter again, and I'm okay with that. The only problem is, the bullpen will just get that much worse. The fact is, the Cubs just don't have enough good pitchers to form a good starting staff and a good bullpen, so they're sort of screwed either way. But Zambrano might have more success in a long-relief role since he often struggles in his first inning, as sinkerballers often do. He was not very effective as a one-inning set-up type guy.
The Cubs have just one sweep on the season (in Milwaukee), but I'm completely fine with their second coming in a short two-gamer.