Game Recap: Cubs 6, Blue Jays 2 - I clearly went to see the wrong game
I feel like quite the fool. When I was planning this weekend, I often noted that we might see Friday's and Sunday's game, but I wouldn't waste my time with Saturday. After all, Jason Marquis was pitching, and I've got nothing for the guy. He has proven to be mediocre at best, and in a rotation consisting of a converted closer, a rookie righty with a team photo that makes him look like he's begging to be punched, a psycho, and Carlos Zambrano, Marquis has proven himself to be the weakest link. Except he's now won his last 3 starts and he out-pitched one of the best aces in all of baseball today.
Marquis sailed smoothly for 7 innings. He needed only 71 pitches to get into the 8th, he'd allowed only one hit - a 5th inning single to Lyle "Mugger" Overbay, and he had me convinced that he was on his way toward a complete game. And while the wheels did come off in the 8th, it would be unfair of me to say that Marquis simply reverted to true form. By that point, the Cubs were well on their way, and it almost didn't matter that Jason loaded the bases with three singles. Carlos Marmol quickly swooped in with mask and cape, struck out the first two batters he faced, walked Matt Stairs, and induced an inning-ending pop-up to Scott Rolen.
Maybe it's not as big as when Marmol shut down the Astros in a similar situation more than a month ago, but coming in with the bases loaded and 0 outs while facing the heart of your rival team's lineup and walking away having struck out 2 and allowing only one run scored is always, always awesome. Huge day for Marmol.
Bob Howry was called on to finish the game, and although he gave up a triple and a double, he held the Blue Jays to only one run scored and, today, it is Toronto who are the sad participants.
But if you think I've forgotten to talk about the offense, fear not. I'm getting to it.
First and foremost, while the Cubs have now beaten Roy Halladay on the last two occasions they've faced him, I would be satisfied to never again see him pitch against the Cubs. He's one of the best pitchers in the game today, and he doesn't get nearly the credit he deserves due to the team he plays for. However, he wasn't dealing this afternoon, and the Cubs offense was quick to exploit his shoddy performance.
With two outs against them, Mike Fontenot and Henry Blanco got on base - with Fontenot at third after White's single. Ronny Cedeno briefly recalled that per at bat, he's the clutchiest hitter on the team in 2-out situations, and he singled Fontenot home. Then, Reed Johnson - the only Cub that Jays fans are okay with being beaten by - smacked a 3-run homerun. Based on how Jays fans treated Reed last night, it's a safe assumption that he was cheered wildly even after cutting the Jays starter deep in the soul with that big hit.
The Cubs would score twice more in the game - a DeRosa single in the 3rd and Edmonds drove in Derrek on a fielder's choice. Overall, the Cubs landed 11 hits, including 3 from the slumping Lee, and only Fukudome failed to get at least 1. (Naturally, Lou batted him in the #2 spot, and Lou being Lou, he will call it a failed experiment and Fukky will return on down the lineup.)
Jason Marquis won for the 5th time this season, and just like that, after 3 reasonable starts, he's not looking like a bad option in the rotation. It's all part of my evil plan! Mwa-hahahaha! Soon, Marquis will pitch well enough to have garnered some trade value, and Hendry will be able to include him in a deal for some other guy! Preferably Maddux! Ahhh-hahahaha! (Sorry, tired, couldn't resist)
The Cubs play for the rubber game tomorrow. Just remember, our Cubs should win. They're a first place team playing the Third Place Jays - not that Toronto is actually in 3rd right now; it's just that they are so perennially there that they should have it on their hats. Y'know, like this: