Cubs 1 Braves 3
And the hits just keep on coming. The game ended as it started, on a bad note. The Cubs’ All-Star Third Baseman, Aramis Ramirez, went down in the first inning of today’s game trying to beat out a double play ball. He hit the first base bag and immediately went face down and had to be helped off the field by Cubs’ Trainer Mark O’Neal and Manager Dusty Baker.
The extent of the injury is yet to be determined, but is listed as a moderate to severe strain of his left quadricep. So now half of the ‘Daily Double’ is out for an extended time. According to cubs.com, “It’s another hit,” Cubs second baseman Todd Walker said of losing Ramirez. “I guess at this point you could say it’s almost expected that somebody you depend on is going to go down. I’ve never heard of this, much less seen that many people you depend on go down.” So far this season, Nomar Garciaparra, Todd Walker, Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Scott Williamson and Jerry Hairston, Jr. are among the current Cubs that have spent time on the DL.
Is this a continuation of 2004? Or is this depending too much on a group of guys with a questionable track record? Lee said ‘you can’t make excuses for losing on injuries’ and he is correct. A baseball season is a marathon and not a sprint, guys are going to get hurt. It is up to the coaches and management to fill the holes with quality players that want to win. See The Atlanta Braves.
Mark Prior pitched well today, he just got tired. His throwing error in the 7th, put runners on first and third with no outs. Prior then struck out the next 2 batters he faced. With 2 strikes, Furcal hit a rocket off of Lee’s glove, into right field, 2 runs scored. ‘Superman’ cannot do it all.
The offense just could not get that one hit today when they needed it. Macias left 3 on base, hitting in ARam’s spot, could Ramirez have done better? What bothered me about Prior today was that Dusty allowed him to throw 131 pitches over 6 2/3 innings. 131 PITCHES! Why? I know they want to win, but 131 PITCHES!
If the Cubs are not careful, Prior will join Woody with arm problems. Find a bullpen in the off-season you can trust and quit abusing Prior and Zambrano. Prior is one of the best in the league, treat him this way and he and Zambrano will anchor this rotation for many, many years.
Thursday – A Day of Rest
The Cubs get a much needed day-off on Thursday. With the question marks around Nomar and ARam’s health, this will give them an extra day to find a solution. Nomar is saying his back is not getting better, put him on the DL again and call up Ronny Cedeno. Give Cedeno some playing time. Dusty said this week, ‘Cedeno is our shortstop of the future’. Well the future is now. How about bringing up Scott McClain from Iowa? I saw him play here in Nashville and he looked good. I think he hit a homerun that night. I remember thinking with Ramirez at third and DLee at first, they better teach this kid another postion. Good stong bat and arm. What would it hurt? Macias is not the answer. See what this kid is made of.
Friday – The Florida Marlins
Glendon Rusch(5-6/4.21) vs. Jason Vargas(4-1/2.43)
I know everyone is picking the Phillies or the Astros to win the Wild Card, but I think the Marlins will. They have great young pitching with Willis, Beckett, Burnett and Vargas and just enough offense to be a force in the playoffs. They have not had any consistancy this year. The Cubs swept the Fish in Florida right before the All-Star break, and depending on which variation of the 2005 Cubs shows up, could do it again. The weakness of the Marlins, like most teams, is the bullpen.
Be patient…stay healthy…and win one!