Friday, May 28, 2010

Cubs shut out Dodgers for second time in three days

Ted Lilly hasn't won in over a month, and even seven scoreless innings couldn't get him back in the win column yesterday. But a late RBI by Tyler Colvin did put the Cubs back in the win column, and Sean Marshall took home the victory. Despite being a reliever, Marshall has more wins (5) than any Cub pitcher except for Carlos Silva.

Lilly has continued to look better and better with each start, and yesterday's outing was his best since his first of the year when he tossed six shutout innings against the Brewers. The performance gave the Cubs another series win and brings them to 8-3 in their last 11.

Their recent success hasn't been the result of the offense getting into gear--they haven't scored more than six runs since May 7 when they beat the Reds 14-7. Granted, you obviously don't have to score seven runs or more to win, but it's interesting that the Cubs' recent surge has not been a function of good hitting, but rather adequate hitting combined with great pitching.

Certainly that was the case yesterday as the offense mustered only four hits and one run, but Lilly, Marshall and strike-out-the-side Marmol held the Dodgers to the minimum. Brian Brennan said that the broadcast mentioned it was the Cubs' first 1-0 win in over three years; if memory serves, that was a complete game gem by Jason Marquis in Pittsburgh back in 2007.

Derrek Lee is really coming around--he's now 7-for-9 with three walks in his last three games. Starlin Castro, on the other hand, is 0-for his last-12 and saw his average dip under .300 for the first time this season.

By the way, did anyone else see Reed Johnson making nice catches out in left and wish that he was in the outfield in the top of each inning rather than the bottom? His Cub replacement, Xavier Nady, isn't even allowed to throw the ball farther than my one-year-old niece for fear that his elbow will, like, explode or something. Johnson is also batting .303 to Nady's .229. Oh well.

The Cubs face the Cardinals this weekend, who are just 9-13 in their last 22 games. They have struggled to score at times, and have actually scored seven fewer runs than the Cubs this season. They've also recently lost Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse to the DL, which means Adam Ottavino will make his major league debut against the Cubs tomorrow (Lohse may even be out for the year). But sandwiched around him will be Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainright, so the Cubs will have their work cut out for them. Go get those Redbirds!

Note: Jeff Baker left the game after losing vision in his right eye. I'm not even sure what to say about that. Hopefully he'll be all right.

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