Game Recap: Cubs 4, Reds 2 -- Hooray, Carlos!
Really, there were five key players in tonight's win over the Reds.
First off, we had the Cubs' True Ace, the Second Son of God, Randy Wells.
Last time out, Cub fans were hoping Randy could pitch a good number of innings since the bullpen had been worked so hard in the few games before. This time, Cub fans found themselves in exactly the same place.
Last time, Wells responded by throwing eight innings. Tonight, he got through 7.1 innings pitched, before Key Player #2 John Grabow came on to get an inning-ending double play ball (after hitting a batter, if I remember correctly).
Perhaps the best synonym for "ace" that defines Randy Wells these days is "stopper." When the Cubs have really needed a shutdown performance, a bunch of innings while holding the opposition's offense in check, Randy's given it to them. I think in the postgame press conference, Lou himself posed a question, which was something to the effect of: "Where would we be without this guy?" It's a pretty scary question, actually.
Wells and Grabow covered innings one-thru-eight on the mound. Before we talk about the pitching in the ninth, let's talk about the two Cub hitters with RBIs this evening.
First off, kudos to Mike Fontenot (KP #3). Mike was able to put a good swing on a Aaron Harang fastball with two men on, giving the Cubs a nice 3-0 lead that would end up being enough to win the game tonight. Good to see, indeed.
Also, Derrek Lee (KP #4) was credited with an RBI tonight. His double chased Aaron Harang from the mound, and gave the team even more cushion in the ninth inning.
Speaking of the ninth, let's get back to the pitching. The reliever Piniella went with to close out tonight's win was Carlos Marmol (KP #5), as Kevin Gregg was suffering from a little bit of a dead arm (a completely reasonable response to having thrown 38 pitches two nights before, and 10 the day after that).
Personally, I was kinda hoping he'd keep Grabow in for another hitter, just to see if he could get some additional outs before going with the Human Walkman. But with the Walkman he went, and so the fun began.
Marmol walked the leadoff guy, and gave up a single as well before eventually facing Alex Gonzalez with two men on. In what ended up being an 11-pitch at-bat, Carlos hung about five sliders to Gonzalez (this is by no means an exaggeration--at least five breaking pitches were thrown middle-up). Gonzalez fouled four of them off, before making Carlos pay on the fifth.
Fortunately, Willy Tavares sucks really hard, and Carlos was able to escape the jam with the next batter and preserve the win. But man, was it fun in the meantime!
At the end of the day, the Cubs are back in first place. Cool!