Cubs 3 Astros 2
For the second straight day there was rain in Chicago. Unlike Saturday, the Cubs came away with the win. Jerome Williams had another qualtity start and put his team in a position to win the ballgame. Derrek Lee hit his 45th home run to give the Cubs the lead in the 1st inning and it was 1-0 with the rain came in the 3rd inning.
After a 58 minute rain delay both starting pitchers came back and pitched into the 7th inning. When Pettitte left the game the Astros were ahead 2-1 and the bullpen for the Astros could not hold the lead.
Derrek Lee led off the 7th with a single and after 2 fielder’s choices…Jeromy Burnitz stepped up to the plate. Burnitz hit a 2 run homer off of Mike Gallo to give the Cubs the lead at 3-2. Andy Pettitte has NEVER BEATEN THE CUBS. Gotta love it!!
Michael Wuertz came in to pitch the 8th and did another fine job. Wuertz is one of the bright spots this year for the Cubs. Wuertz is in his 2nd season with the Cubs and is 6-2 with a 3.96 ERA in 71 games (72 2/3 innings pitched). He looks like he is getting more comfortable in his role out of the pen with every appearance he makes. With all of the changes I see coming, all of the experience the young guys have gotten this year in the bullpen will pay off in 2006. I think we will see Wuertz, Ohman and Novoa back in the pen next year, along with Ryan Dempster.
Dempster came in today and picked up his 31st save. I thought when the club came out of Spring Training that Dempster should be the closer and it turns out I was right. Dempster is ‘just wacky’ enough to make an excellent closer. Dempster has blown only 2 saves all year and the Cubs won those games anyway. Just think of the 15 that were blown and lost before Dempster got the job…if they could have won 1/2 of those games…the Cubbies would be at least 6 games above .500…..what could have been?
Woody has said he wants to be a starter again next year, if that is the case the Cubs must sign Dempster for 2006. With today’s win the Cubs are back to within 2 games of .500 with 6 games left. With the Pirates coming in for 2 games on Tuesday, the Cubs must sweep the Bucs before finishing the season in Houston to have a chance at .500.
Monday – The Last Day of Rest before the Bucs come to town.
Tuesday – Greg Maddux(13-13/4.14) vs. Zach Duke(6-2/1.94)
The Pirates come into Chicago on Tuesday for the last 2 games of the year at Wrigley. The Cubs will face Zach Duke, the rookie left-hander, who has pitched very well for the Pirates in the 2nd half of the season. Duke went 8 innings against the Cubs in July and shutout the Cubs on 6 hits. Maddux will have his hands full with the young Pirates. Runs will come at a premium against Duke and the Cubs must play smart. I still think Dusty should change the lineup on Tuesday. Macias is 0 for 8 the last 2 days.
Play the kids…. Be smart, play smart, be patient…and win one for Maddog!!!