Z Takin’ Over the Big Apple

Game Ninety-Nine – Cubs 8 Mets 6

wflag.jpg The Cubs were back in action at Shea on Tuesday night and continued to play some of their best baseball since the beginning of April. The Cubs looked horrible against the Nationals over the weekend. I was at the Friday game at RFK, it was a great game with a horrible outcome or horrible 8th inning. The Cubs lacked everything in that series, from bruised hands to sore hamstrings the Cubs looked like the Bad News Bears Part II….we all know the sequels are horrible. But against the Mets the Cubs are looking like a team wanting to save some face. They are doing just that, taking the first two from the best team in the NL in their house. Not bad for a team that is battling the Pirates for last in the beat up Central. But when you put one the best pitchers in the game, if not the best, on the mound even a shaky offense and sub par defense has a good shot at a W. On to the game….

The Cubs looked as if they were going down in order in the first inning as Pierre flied out to right and Walker grounded out to second. Tom Glavine looked to have his command and was painting the corners forcing the Cubs to swing at too close to call pitches. But when you have one of the hottest hitters in the game coming to plate, I don’t care if you are pitching crab apples you better have your best stuff. Aramis took Glavine yard on the first pitch. That is six homers in his last 5 games. He has 23 HR’s on the year and is leading all third baseman in the NL. Anything you can do I can do better….Nevin takes the first pitch from Glavine over the right field wall….back-to-back for the second night in a row, third time on the season. That was his 9th as a Cub and 18th all year. I don’t know if Nevin is still on the block but he needs to start hitting if we are going to get anything for him. Murton grounded out to end the inning.

The way big Z has been pitching a 2-0 lead might have been all he needed. But not against the Mets, their lineup is way too potent to lie down and rely on Z’s arm. Don’t get me wrong not a bad arm to rely on but these Mets are tough. (Two grannies) And with two outs in the bottom of the first the Mets got on the board when Carlos Beltran hit a bullet over the right field wall. Carlos Delgado walked on a full count, but Z got David Wright, of all people, to K to end the inning.

The Mets came back in the bottom of the second and managed to get at Z early. With the Cubs still leading 2-1, the Mets got three runs on four hits. After back-to-back singles by Cliff Floyd and Jose Valentin, Endy Chavez, all 165lbs of him, hit a dong to right giving the Mets the lead 4-2.

And this is why the Cubs have been playing some great baseball the last two games, they have battled back. JP walked to start the inning, Pierre was running when Walker singled to the hole at short created by the hit and run. With runners on the corners and nobody out, Aramis hit a sac fly to left and JP scored. Cubs 3 Mets 4. Nevin reached on an error by Glavine, runners at first and second with one out, Murton walked to load the bases. JJ grounded into a fielder’s choice, with a close play at home Walker was called out. LoDuca bobbled the ball before eventually gaining control before Walker slid into home….a very weak slide I might add. Bases still loaded for Hank White. Blanco cleared the bases with a misplayed double to left. Cubs 6 Mets 4. Cedeno struck out to end the inning.

The Mets got another run in the fifth but until the seventh the two aces silenced the hitters and retired one after another.

Leading off the seventh inning The BIG ZAMBINO hit an opposite field HR. Shea is a large park and Z is a big boy, but let’s not forget he is still a pitcher. Forget Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and whoever else you want to name. This team needs to be built around the intensity and raw athleticism of Carlos Zambrano. I think it is pretty weird that I don’t hear any of the critics complaining about his intensity now that he has tossed eight straight W’s. He silences everybody with his arm and now his bat. He hasn’t quit once this year, the majority of this team should start taking some notes when Z takes the mound. The Cubs got another run in the 7th, now that I am off of my soap box, after JP doubled to right. Glavine was replaced and Aramis didn’t care, he hit a single off of Chad Bradford. Aramis thought he could reach second but was thrown out with ease. Nevin struck out to end the inning. Cubs 8 Mets 5.

The bullpen actually took care of the rest of the game with ease, until the bottom of the 9th. C’mon did you really think two back-to-back 1-2-3 innings was in good ol’ Demp?

In the bottom of the 9th David Wright singled to left. Cliff Floyd struck out, Chavez walked, Valentin singled to center, Wright stopped at 3rd. Bases juiced with one out. Older than dirt Julio Franco grounded out to 2nd, Wright scored and Chavez and Valentin moved up a base. Jose Reyes walked and Dempster said “good night”. Dusty called on Howry to clean up Dempster’s mess. Howry got LoDuca to pop out to 2nd, game over Cubs win.

And I almost had a heart attack. It doesn’t matter how many games under .500 you may be or if you destined to finish second to last in a sub par division. A wins is a win and the Cubbies got one tonight.

Listening to XM tonight the Mets radio broadcaster said at the beginning of the game, Carlos Zambrano is one of those guys that every night he has the opportunity go out there and throw a no hitter. I agree, and I can’t wait for that day. I don’t know another pitcher that deserves it more. Thanks Z for wearing everything the Cubs aren’t this season on your sleeve everytime you pitch.

Until Next time, but Always….GO CUBBIES!!!!

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt