Game Eighteen – Cubs 6 Marlins 3
The Cubs had only 1 hit going into the 8th inning and had been dominated the entire evening on the mound and in the field. The young Marlins made several great defensive plays….Todd Walker should have been 3 for 3 on the night. Jason Vargas did not give up a hit until the 5th inning and the Cubs looked like the young Fish had their number….and the Cubs were headed for certain defeat. Carlos Zambrano pitched a good game….7 strong innings, he tied his career high in strikeouts with 12….he just made one big mistake to Miguel Cabrera in the first and the mental mistakes the Cubs Faithful have become accustomed to seeing every time Zambrano takes the mound.
The Cubs looked like a defeated team until Juan Pierre stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 8th…. Pierre promptly doubled, after taking a few pitches from Matt Herges. Ronny Cedeno had an impressive at bat and drew a walk. How easy would it have been for the young hitter to try to do too much and not work with what the pitcher was giving him? Walker then drew a walk and Aramis Ramirez stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. Ramirez hit a bouncer to third baseman Miguel Cabrera….Cabrera decided to go home instead of attempting to throw out the slower Ramirez at first….Cabrera was going away from the plate and tried to throw across his body….Pierre safe at home….bases still loaded.
Michael Barrett struck out and Matt Murton, who showed a lot of discipline at the plate on the evening with 2 walks, singled to right….Cedeno and Walker scored….game tied. Jacque Jones then stepped to the plate and took the first pitch to left center….Cubs 6 Marlins 3. Ryan Dempster came in for the 9th and recorded his 5th save of the season.
Tonight was a gut check for the Cubs and I have never seen Dusty as excited as he was when Jones hit the home run in the 8th. It would have been easy for the Cubs to have given up and chalked Monday night up as a bad night….but they did not. They kept trying and battling and on Monday the Cubs Faithful got to see how much Juan Pierre means to this team.
Carlos Zambrano threw a lot of pitches again on Monday (114) and his pitch counts are very concerning. The Cubs have to figure out a way to keep his emotions under control. He showed spite after giving up the home run to Cabrera and his melt down on Monday even included breaking his bat over his leg. Tonight was Zambrano’s 5th start of the season and his only decision is a loss. This is not good for Zambrano’s psyche, but it is good for the Cubs. The Cubs are now 11-7 and Z has not recorded a win on the season.
David Aardsma picked up the win and the error by Todd Walker made the inning a little more interesting than it should have been. Aardsma showed a lot of composure….while his control is still in question; he showed a lot of heart on Monday night not allowing the Marlins to tack on those important insurance runs that might have put the game out of reach….both physically and mentally.
Combination Ball is alive and well on the Northside of Chicago….what an exciting comeback win on an otherwise bad evening.