Casey on the Mound (Game Recap: Cubs 9, Nationals 1)
Casey Coleman followed his game plan last night, and fortunately it worked just about as well as you could expect it to.
The 22-year old Coleman is not a K-machine, but he doesn't walk many batters either. Indeed, Casey showed solid control last night, keeping the ball down against Washington hitters, inducing 11 ground balls against eight flyballs and just one line drive. He's no ace, and doesn't exactly project to ever become one, but a career 3.73 ERA in 321.1 minor league innings at age 21 is nothing to sneeze at. I look forward to watching him in his next start.
The offense came through as well, collecting 15 hits against Nationals pitching. Xavier Nady, Blake DeWitt (each with three), Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, and Starlin Castro (with two) all had multiple hit nights. Aramis Ramirez walked twice, while Geo Soto walked three times (probably because he was hitting eighth).
Speaking of the offense, I thought Mike Quade did a pretty nice job filling out the line-up card. If DeWitt sticks with the team as a starter (and he should), he's a pretty solid leadoff candidate. The only person better suited would be Kosuke, but we all know he's on the trading block. Other than that, I guess some folks thought Soto should bat higher, seeing as how he leads the team in OPS. I guess I agree with that, which means I guess I'm saying the first baseman should bat eighth, be it Xavier Nady or Micah Hoffpauir -- actually, yeah, that pretty much makes sense.
Nice job by Andrew Cashner pounding the strike zone, getting five outs on 11 pitches (nine strikes). And Thomas Diamond got two strikeouts and a ground out in his inning of relief, also on 11 pitches. Coleman does appear to have higher upside as a starter, whereas Diamond doesn't seem to fit there. In fact, against the 11 batters he's faced as a reliever, Diamond has allowed one single, zero walks, and nabbed four strikeouts. Certainly a small sample size, but better than Justin Berg maybe.
Although that's not saying much, I guess.