Game Five – Cubs 8 Cardinals 4
The Cubs had not swept the Cardinals at Wrigley Field since June of 2001, until Sunday night. When Sean Marshall took the mound against the Cardinals he became the 1,800th different player to wear a Cubs’ uniform. Marshall pitched a fine game, even though the box score will not show the quality start it was….more on Marshall later. The Cubs fought back all night and for the first time in a long time there is a TEAM on the NORTHSIDE of CHICAGO that will not quit.
The Cubs were down 4 to 3 when Todd Walker stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 8th. Walker took a four-pitch walk; Jerry Hairston pinch ran; Derrek Lee took a four-pitch walk; Aramis Ramirez walked and Michael Barrett stepped to the plate. Barrett was hitless lifetime against Jason Isringhausen….but no longer. Barrett’s blast onto Waveland Avenue supplied the winning runs and the sweep was complete…. Barrett had an UNBELIEVEABLE weekend!!! After his 2-run pinch-hit homer to tie the game on Saturday, he crushed a grand slam to sweep the Cards and put the Cubs 3 games over .500 for the first time since last July. Barrett was not the only Cub to have a big game on Sunday.
Jacque Jones hit a 3-run homer to put the Cubs ahead in the bottom of the 4th inning and added an infield single in the bottom of the 8th and later scored on wild pitch, the only run the Cubs scored over the last two games that were not via the home run ball. Before his 0 for 13 start, Jones previous career worst was 0 for 8….this guy will hit and Dusty made the right move on Sunday by moving him down in the line-up.
Ronny Cedeno went 4 for 4 on Sunday night; one of those hits included a “hustle double”. In the bottom of the 3rd, Cedeno chopped a ball over the head of Scott Rolen and never stopped out of the box….this is what the Cubs have been missing.
Sean Marshall gave up 4 runs on 4 hits in 4 1/3 innings on Sunday. Marshall showed poise on Sunday. After Rolen’s 1st inning, 2-run homer, Marshall retired the next 9 batters he faced. When Marshall left the game in the 5th, he had allowed only 2 runs but was responsible for the runners on base. The other 2 earned runs came off the bat of Albert Pujols. Michael Wuertz came in for Marshall and retired Juan Encarnacion but he could not retire Pujols. His only hit of the series drove in 2 runs and put the Cardinals ahead until the 8th inning. It was impressive to see Sean Marshall go directly to Greg Maddux when he left the mound….the old professor might have a new student, one that is willing to learn.
Other than Wuertz the bullpen, including 2 scoreless innings from Jerome Williams, did a fine job and held the Cardinals scoreless and gave the Cubs a chance to win the ballgame. For the second day in a row, the Cardinals bullpen could not hold the lead that their starting pitching had left them. The Cubs bullpen has looked VERY good over the first week of the series….remember Jerome Williams is not a reliever.
This was an awesome weekend for the Cubs Faithful….don’t grab the Kool-Aid just yet, but you might want to get the ingredients handy….just in case.
This is a good start!!! It is very hard for me to be objective right now, the Cubs are playing very good baseball right now and a sweep of the Cardinals is a good way to start the season.
The Cubs have Monday off and the dangerous Cincinnati Reds come to Wrigley for a 3-game series starting on Tuesday.