Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Game Recap - Astros 11, Cubs 6

Game Recap
I'm just not sure about that Aramis Ramirez.  He probably can't help the Cubs if he's not 100% healthy.  The same could also probably be said about Ryan Dempster, who failed to pitch effectively last night, surrendering 6 runs in 5 innings of work.

Still, these Cubs are a scrappy bunch -- after falling behind 6 to 0, the team managed to battle back and score 3 runs in the 5th and 3 more in the 6th, thanks to the plentiful offensive efforts of the 1-5 hitters in the lineup, especially Aramis "3-Run-Bomb" Ramirez.  But that was when the Cubs turned to their bullpen and SHIZ EXPLODED!! 

Before last night, the pen had been on a streak of consistency and efficiency.  Then, Angel Guzman stepped in and coughed up the lead on a homer to Goeff Blum, before Jeff Stevens and Aaron Heilman allowed the Astros to put it out of reach in the 8th.  Perhaps they should develop a (BL) statistic, short for "blame," of which Heilman would surely lead the league as he allowed 2 inherited runs to score, adding a third run credited to him as the proverbial cherry on top. 

Speaking of Cub relievers and inherited runners, here are some stats I pulled from Baseball Reference (as inspired by ChuckD of Desipio fame mentioning it in a thread over there)...

IR=Inherited Runners, IS=Inherited Runners Scored, IS%=Inherited Runners Scored Percentage

Jose Ascanio -    IR 2, IS 2, IS% 100%
Jeff Samardzija -  IR 8, IS 5, IS% 63%
Aaron Heilman -   IR 30, IS 14, IS% 47%
Dave Patton -    IR 8, IS 3, IS% 38%
League Average - 32%
Carlos Marmol -   IR 18, IS 4, IS% 22%
Kevin Gregg -   IR 16, IS 3, IS% 19%
Angel Guzman -  IR 16, IS 2, IS% 13%
Sean Marshall -   IR 30, IS 3, IS% 10%

It's interesting just how poor Heilman and Samardzija have done compared to the league average.  It's even more interesting how the Cubs bullpen has been considered erratic-at-best this year and yet four of the team's relievers fall below the league average.  Perhaps it would be fair to suggest that the bulk of the team's late-inning problems rest squarely on the shoulders of Heilman at this point?  Also: maybe Lou should entertain never using him in situations with runners on ever again?  Just a thought.

So, the streak is over, the Cubs are back in second place, and on a night in which they were outhit by 12, they were also outscored by 6.  What, did you expect them to win every game?

Angel's arm

Is there something wrong with Guzman's arm? It looks like he has been having issues with command again.

I didn't understand why Heilman was brought in with runners on board. Bob Brenly stated that half the runs that Heilman inherits end up scoring. Heilman is solid guy if he starts an inning. I say why not keep it that way.

Heilman

I would LIKE to think (though I'm not so sure), the use of Heilman yesterday mainly had to do with the state of rest of the bullpen. AssTrolls bullpen is more used up than ours after the extra-inning game and Oswalt's early exit, so I think today and subsequent days, we'll be in better shape than they.

To me, this is the point in the season to start thinking strategically, as long as you're winning most of the games. If thinks start slipping, then you go back to game-by-game tactics. While our playoff performances have been extremely weak, Pinella is known for keeping a team ticking and ticking strong toward the end, while other teams are dying out in the final weeks.

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