Game One Hundred Seventeen – Cubs 8 Rockies 7
Ryan Theriot’s 3-run, base clearing double in the 8th inning capped the comeback and the Cubs salvaged the last game of the series against the Rockies. The Cubs got out to an early lead thanks to a 4-run 3rd inning but the 10 free passes on the day by Cubs pitching allowed the Rockies to come from behind. The Rockies bullpen surrendered 4 runs in the last 4 innings and the Cubs escaped with the victory.
Carlos Marmol had a decent day on the mound but his inability to throw strikes and retire the pitcher, ran up his pitch count and the offense bailed him out, Roberto Novoa picked up the win and Ryan Dempster recorded his 23rd save of the season. Carlos Marmol threw 5 complete innings, which allowed the bullpen to receive some much-needed rest (the starting pitcher were averaging just 4 innings per start during the current road trip). Despite giving up 8 walks on the afternoon (a new career high or low, depending on how you want to look at it) Marmol allowed only 5 hits, one being the grand slam in the 3rd by Garrett Atkins. Marmol walked at least 1 batter in every inning he pitched, in the 5th he walked 3 and had his signature bad inning in the 3rd. Marmol has a lot of promise and arguably the best “stuff” out of the other rookies that have now been thrust into the starting rotation. Someone has to get to Marmol and teach him how to pitch before his career comes to a sudden end.
The Cubs pitching and defense was put to the test all weekend and the Rockies showed how bad the Cubs’ outfield actually is. The Rockies repeatedly ran on Pierre, Jones, Murton and Pagan, the Rockies figured out that those arms do not posses enough strength to throw out runners going from 1st to 3rd on a routine single to center. The Rockies made the Cubs throw strikes and the team with the highest amount of free passes allowed did not disappoint all weekend. The Cubs issued 22 walks while receiving just 5; that is ridiculous. Michael Barrett, who had a very difficult series with the three rookies, was also exploited on Sunday. When a manager calls for a pitch out, the catcher must put the ball on target, Barrett did not and the Rockies stole a base on a pitch out, there are no excuses that can explain that one.
The Cubs recorded a hit in every inning on Saturday and Sunday they had base runners in the first 8 innings, so for 17 innings in a row the Cubs had opportunities, on Sunday they cashed them in….thanks to Ryan Theriot.
Theriot has shown quite a bit of promise when he has been given the chance. Theriot has a solid glove and is very quick on the base paths. While he might not be the answer at 2nd base, he is making a case to replace Neifi Perez on the bench. Since his last call-up on July 31st, Theriot is hitting .583 (7-12) with 4 RBI’s, a double, 3 stolen bases and 3 runs scored in 8 games. His last game against the Brewers, in which he started, he was 3-3 with 2 runs scored before being lifted for a pinch hitter. On most clubs this type of play is rewarded by more play, but on the Cubs that time is awarded to Neifi Perez. “The Riot” is all hustle and should be given a look, 19 games under .500 calls for an upgrade, and Theriot might just be it.
Aramis Ramirez hit his 28th home run of the season in the 3rd. Angel Pagan hit his first career triple and Juan Pierre collected another multi-hit game. The offense picked a good day to plate the runs they had left on base all weekend.
It was a good win for the Cubs and a very good comeback.
The Cubs will start the final 3-game series of the season against the Astros in Houston on Monday. Carlos Zambrano against Roy Oswalt, this one should be a good one to watch. It would be great to see the Cubs derail the Astros plans for the post-season.