Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dempster downs Dodgers as Lee leads offense

I'll get my small quibble out of the way first: Ryan Dempster should have been given a chance to complete that game. Carlos Marmol pitched Saturday and Sunday, so it's not like he needed work, and Dempster had allowed just four base runners through eight innings.

But I digress. Though the Cubs didn't record their first complete game of the season, they did notch their second shutout. Dempster's gem got the Cubs back to just two games under .500, which is their best record since May 7 when they were 14-16. It was a well-deserved win for Demp, who has gone at least six innings in all of his 10 starts this year.

Which reminds me, exactly who is supposed to go to the bullpen when Carlos Zambrano returns to the rotation? I agree with Ken Rosenthal: the other starters have been very consistent, and I think the team is still best-served with Big Z in the bullpen. Every current member of the starting rotation has a great reason to stay there: Dempster goes deep into games, giving the bullpen a rest; Gorzelanny has the best ERA of the five starters; the Cubs are 8-1 when Silva starts; Wells is 15-12 with a 3.21 ERA in his career; and Lilly is left-handed (the Cubs already have three lefties in the 'pen) and won at least 12 games each of the last four years. Or, the Cubs could try something different and go with a six-man rotation. But no matter what I think, Zambrano will return to the rotation next week against the Pirates.

The Cubs only managed six hits last night, but two errors by Rafael Furcal and two big hits by Derrek Lee (he was 3-for-3 overall) resulted in three Cubs runs. It was only the second time all year the Cubs have won when scoring three or fewer runs, but of course the Cubs will take it any way they can get it. Carlos Marmol snagged his third save in the last four games and 10th on the season, tying him for fifth in the NL in that category.

The Cubs have now won seven of nine overall, and are suddenly playing well against good teams after struggling mightily against the patsies of the National League. Here's hoping they can keep that up as they have two more against the Dodgers followed by their first match-up with the Cardinals this weekend.

Two notes: The Cubs would have won either way, but Tyler Colvin kept the "The Cubs Haven't Won When Tyler Colvin Doesn't Play" streak alive when he pinch-hit with two outs in the ninth; Starlin Castro kept his "Reached Base in Every Game" streak alive when he reached on an error in the eighth.

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