Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cold comfort

If it hadn't been Opening Day, they wouldn't have played, and if the Cubs had lost, there would have been much to complain about, starting with the cold, windy, wet conditions. However, the Cubs shut down the Rockies 4-0 in their 2009 home opener, so we'll take what we got.

Ted Lilly carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning. A nasty curve, which at one point almost made Todd Helton duck before it landed right over the center of the plate, deserves much of the credit. However, Lilly also seemed to get a handful of borderline strike calls to help him out, and the Rockies seemed less than sure-handed and sure-footed at the plate, making a number of bail-out swings.

For the second game in a row, the Cubs showed extraordinary patience at the plate, drawing 6 BBs from Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who seemed like he was having trouble getting a good grip on the ball. Koyie Hill walked with the bases loaded to score the first run in the 2nd inning. Hill has been doing a suitable Geovany Soto impression while Geo is out with a shoulder ache. Hill was 2-3 yesterday.

Kosuke Fukudome has been doing a suitable impression of himself circa April 2008, and he drew 3 BBs yesterday to go with a run-scoring single in the 8th inning. So, is Fukie reall back for good, or is he just a really strong starter? We still need to watch for a possible late earlu summer fade before we get too excited. Derrek Lee, who has started uncharacteristically slowly this season, also had an RBI double and drew 2 BBs. the remaining run scored on a botched double play by the Rockies.

The Cubs remain without Geo, and Aramis Ramirez sat yesterday. The Cubs tend to do that in especially rainy conditions, though Len Kasper also mentioned something about a sore back. Also, Milton Bradley didn't play after his groin injury Sunday. He may be out until the weekend, the Trib reported, in anticipation that it might be better to bring him back when the weather is warmer. But, at this rate, that could be May.

The White Sox, after back-to-back No. 300 jacks by Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko yesterday, kept on scoring runs against Detroit, but the Tigers kept scoring runs, too. Gavin Floyd had an awful outing, allowing 6 runs and 7 BBs (!) in 5 IP, but stayed long enough to get the win in a 10-6 Sox victory.

The Sox bats stayed hot through the cold for the third game in a row. Paulie was 4-5 with 4 RBIs, and looks like a new man so far this season, one that many people, myself included, expected would be the beginning of his career fade. Carlos Quentin tried to steal the spotlight from Paulie and JeDye, blasting 2 HRs and collecting 4 RBIs.

The bad news in this one, other than Floyd's outing, was an separated shoulder suffered by Dewayne Wise as he made a nifty diving/rolling catch in center field. That means we'll see more of Brain Anderson in the days ahead--though not today, because rain has already postponed the second game of the Sox-Tigers series.

I make my first trip of the season out to Wrigley Field tomorrow. Sounds like it will be another cold one, which of course will call for a few cold ones in order to warm up.

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