Gamecast: May 31st vs. Dodgers
In case you've been avoiding the Cubs for the past week, I would like to point out that they have a chance to take 3-of-4 against the best team in baseball tonight at Wrigley Field. How have they done that? Well, they continued to pitch well thanks to Randy Wells, Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster. Then, yesterday they broke out the bats to club the Dodgers 7-0.
All of the sudden the Cubs are showing signs of life before heading out on a 9-day road trip to Atlanta, Houston and Cincinnati next week. With Milwaukee pounding the Reds this afternoon, the best they can be is 3.5 games out of first, which is just fine. The Brewers and Cardinals are in action tomorrow, so maybe we can pick up a half game without playing.
Back to the game at hand, the Dodgers are throwing Eric Milton. I thought he retired or something. Apparently, Milton did not pitch in '08, before signing a Minor League deal with the Dodgers this season. So far he's made two starts and is 1-0. I can't imagine he will keep up his 3.00 ERA, so I expect the Cubs to score a few today. Milton marks the fifth lefty the Cubs have faced this week, which is something you don't see often. They have fared pretty well against them, except Randy Wolf on Thursday.
Marshall will counter for the Cubs. In his last three starts, he's only gone five innings in each of them. Of course one of them was a rain-shortened complete game, but it is an interesting trend to look at in the time being. Unless somebody else gets hurt or the Cubs trade for another lefty, Marshall will move to the pen when Rich Harden comes back. I'm not sure how I feel about this, but if Randy Wells keeps pitching out of his mind it won't matter much.
The only other thing that's really got to worry Cub fans is the super-ice-cold Alfonso Soriano. Pat Hughes made a statement yesterday that he was a limping after catching a fly ball, but he stayed in the game. The Cubs really can't afford to lose another player, but playing with half a player really isn't that great either.
Reed Johnson - What has gotten into Reed? He shaves his beard and goes nuts. In the last seven days, Johnson is hitting a not so cool, .389 with 3 HRS while posting a 1.339 OPS. Also, Reed is doing the little things like laying down 2-out bunts. This recent hot streak has raised his overall average to .270. Now if we can some other guys this hot.
Mike Fontenot - Nine days ago Fontenot was hitting .193 after a pinch-hit appearance. I guess he thought he might lose his job or something, because he's raised his average 37 points. He came up with a 2-for-3 preformance yesterday that included a double and a triple, not to mention a walk and two RBI.
Milton Bradley - Well he didn't do any real damage, but he collected three hits and saw his average raise to .223. Hopefully, he's ready to carry the team for a couple weeks and get up to around .270.
Alfonso Soriano - What's cooler than being cool? Well, I guess it's Soriano, who went 0-for-5 yesterday. He's average has dropped to .246, and he hasn't hit a HR since May 17th.
Bobby Scales - It wasn't a great day for Crash Davis. Scales rapped into two double plays and left four guys on base.
After losing a game on Thrusday it seemed unlikley the Cubs could win this series, but they have that chance now. I suspect the Cubs will put together a good performance and get pick up their second straight series win.
Also, I'm going to all three game in Atlanta. Scott Lange, of the Northside Lounge, and I will be tailgating at least a couple of days this week. I will try and post more details later, but we're probably sitting in the Upper Deck. Leave a comment below if you anybody wants to get together.