Saturday, June 20, 2009

Got Wood, got win

I was supposed to go to Friday's Cubs game, but the rain-delayed start, threatening weather and a need to get home early and get downtown for dinner plans kept me home. Poor decision, as the weather improved greatly and the game cruised through the first 7-1/2 innings. I would have missed the rest, but it might have been worth the trip to see some of the Indians fans, who according to my brother were acting like it was again Ten-Cent Beer Night in Cleveland, rather than a muggy dau in Chicago.

The Cubs completed their second straight amazing comeback win Friday when Ryan Theriot drove home Alfonso Soriano on a groundball with eyes that scooted past the Cleveland Indians 1st baseman. Another Cubbie moment to make the final score 8-7 on a day when the Cubs were down 7-0 halfway through. Minutes after the finish, another wave of storms swept through, so it was a case of great timing by the Cubs.

But, the biggest moment may have been Derrek Lee's game-tying bottom-9th homer off of former Cubs favorite Kerry Wood. I wish it would have happened to someone else, but I wouldn't trade the outcome for anything. Woody has not had a great year at all with his new team, though he has been better the last month or so. The problem may be that the Indian's never get him a lead, so he doesn't get much work--he was best last year after he came back from minor pains and got consistent work for the Cubs during the second-half. Sorry, Woody, but the Cubs need the wins.

In the 8th inning, it didn't look like we would get Wood at all, as the Indians were ahead 7-2, but their terrible bullpen gave up 4 more runs that inning. An error helped, but the Cubs looked like a new team stringing together singles and aggressive base-running that inning--all with 2 outs. Andres Blanco had a big 2-run, bases-loaded single to start the rally, while another run scored on a hard-hit grounder that was called an error and left Koyie Hill safe at 1st. Soriano, suddenly hitting again, drove in the last run of the inning with a single.

D-Lee had 2 homers on the day, the other in the 6th against the tough Cliff Lee. reed Johnson also homered earlier off of Lee.

Friday was also the homecoming for Mark DeRosa, the guy from last year who I think the Cubs miss the most. He got a nice standing ovation, and was 1-3 with an RBI and 2 walks. When Lou Piniella said the other day in the paper that the Cubs clubhouse is pretty quiet this year, that confirmed it for me: The Cubs made the wrong decision when they decided that a left-handed bat was worth more than DeRo's personality in the clubhouse. What they did in trading him of course makes perfect baseball sense--but, for all the stats and tendencies and percentages we all collect, there is so much about baseball that doesn't fit neatly into a spread sheet, or even an old baseball mentality that says the more lefties the better. Of course, if Milton Bradley and Aaron Miles, the switch-hitters that effectively replaced DeRo, guide the Cubs to the World Series, all will be forgiven.

Woody's replacement, Kevin Gregg, got the win yesterday, though most days I would still rather have Wood.

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