Game One Hundred Twenty-Six – Cubs 1 Phillies 2
Let’s get all of the particulars out of the way….the Cubs lost their 4th in a row and are just 1-5 on this homestand, they are back to 20 games under .500, the bad base running continued and a 2-out walk beat them in the 9th but most importantly….Angel Guzman had the best start of his Major League career. After a leadoff walk to Jimmy Rollins to start the game and loading the bases in the 1st inning, Guzman settled down and made only 1 mistake in 6 innings. At one point he struck out 4 in a row and retired 9 in a row….this was Guzman’s game to win, too bad the Cubs forgot how to hit and run the bases against the Phillies and Bret Myers. Guzman was tremendous and showed, at least for one night, he belongs at the Major League level. In 6 innings he struck out 8 and walked only 3….plain and simple he threw strikes….55 out of 95 pitches….not bad, not bad at all. Guzman looked more confident and comfortable on the mound than, arguably, he ever has with the Cubs. For the most part his command was good, he did miss more than a few times but when he did it did not look as if it fazed him. The one mistake he made was to Ryan Howard in the 6th, Howard led off the inning with a wind blown home run; Rothschild went out to the mound and Guzman struck out Pat Burrell….the next batter he faced. Many times with a young pitcher it is not the mistake he made but how he reacts after it. Guzman had not pitched well at all when faced with adversity in the past and on Wednesday he did.
The Cubs did not record their first hit until the 4th inning, a 2-out double by Aramis Ramirez and totaled only 4 on the night against Myers who was very dominating throughout the night and like Guzman, made only one mistake. Of the first 3 base runners the Cubs had, the first, Juan Pierre, was caught stealing after leading off the game with a walk. The third was Freddie Bynum who was picked off 1st base and tagged out at 2nd….the Cubs base running the past 2 games has been horrible….5 caught stealing….WOW!!
Matt Murton was the sole highlight on the night, a 1-out home run in the 8th to right field that tied the game. But Bobby Howry walked Abraham Nunez, who has had his hand in all 3 wins in the series, with 2-outs, gave up a bloop single to Joe Thurston and Jimmy Rollins double to score Nunez but a solid relay from Bynum and a very good tag by Barrett cut Thurston down at the plate. The Cubs went quietly in the 9th and Juan Pierre’s hit streak came to an end. Buck Coats pinch hit again on Wednesday after making his Major League debut on Tuesday….Coats is 0-2, both swinging strikeouts….hang in there!
Yes the Cubs are on the verge of being swept and with facing a quality lefty on Thursday unfortunately that scenario is very possible but, again, Angel Guzman threw a very good game and with the season being lost, seeing the rookies perform to their potential….is a very good sight to see.
Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to take the hill on Thursday afternoon against rookie Cole Hamels. Can Big Z win his 14th and keep the Cubs from being swept?