Game Recap: Cubs 4, Pirates 2 -- Derrek Lee strikes again ... and again
Jeezus! Derrek Lee is apparently serious about having an incredible 2009 season, even while the Cubs hopes continue to fade into dust. For the second time in two days, Derrek hit 2 homers in a game -- again being responsible for the bulk of the team's offense, and elevating his season totals to 31 homeruns, 96 RBI, and a .298 AVG. On top of that, Lee has only hit into 9 double plays so far this year.
That means that, with more than 20 games still remaining, Derrek has now come within 1 homerun and 2 RBI of his second-best production not only as a Cub, but in his major league career. But he's still a long way off from the MVLee year of 2005.
I would, again, like to take this time to focus on the man-love that many of you were feeling for Micah Hoffpauir at this time last year. The Hoff, you wanted to note, was a classic masher. He'd had an amazing season in Iowa, he'd had a good 70-or-so at bats in the majors, and many of you were ready to crown him the heir to Derrek, who was a washed up hack, a double-play hit-into-er*, whose power had evaporated and defense was overrated. Derrek was done for, Hoff was the wave of the future, and you took plenty of opportunities to express that opinion.
(*may not actually be a word)
It was almost as if many of you had never before seen a mediocre player have an explosive year before, or something. It was a fool-me-twice scenario, and many people played the fool. Even then, I -- that's right, me, baby! -- suggested you exercise caution. I pointed out that there was a long history of first basemen having huge minor league years in their late 20's, and none of them turned into MVPs -- and few ever managed to turn into MLR's (Major League Regulars). I noted that if Hoff was such a hot commodity, some crazy GM would have been blowing up Hendry's phone all winter long to pry him away. I pointed out that Derrek's double play madness was a tremendous fluke and he'd be unlikely to fall off the offensive cliff in 2009. And still people wanted Hoffpauir.
Well, my friends, I am hardly a baseball genius. I may not be a statisticals expert, or a master of baseball strategy, but I do think I generally have a helpful heaping of common sense, and it just made absolutely no sense on any world that Hoffpauir would be a better player than Lee. Looks like I may have known what I was talking about ... this time, at least. I also thought that Alfonso Soriano would bat north of .250 and Milton Bradley would be just the slugger the Cubs were looking for. Turns out I'm a moron after all.
Speaking of being wrong about stuff, I'd also been annoyed back before '07 when from the confines of his hospital bed Jim Hendry signed Ted Lilly to a big deal. I'd thought Barry Zito was the way to go. Laws, I was wrong. Lilly has gone on to be perhaps the best free agent pitcher signing the Cubs have ever made, and he demonstrated some of that ass-kickedness** today by tossing 6 innings while striking out 7 and allowing only 2 hits, 3 walks, and 2 runs to score. And amazingly enough, the bullpen would follow suit and shut down the Pirates.
(**also not a word, but probably should be)
So, there we have it. An easy win for the Cubs. As mentioned earlier, I think Rob is in Pittsburgh. Hopefully he'll find the time to contribute about the game, assuming he saw it. Either way, Derrek Lee is a golden gawd.