Game Recap: Astros 9, Cubs 7; Good News, Bad News, Bad News
Let's play a game of Good News, Bad News.
Good News: Carlos Zambrano was throwing 96MPH last night.
Bad News: He left early because he wasn't feeling well. The implication is that it's an arm problem. The good news is that the Cubs are deep enough to pitch through a short series without him, but the bad news is that they have to be less likely to succeed, I mean, that can't be contested. That said, I personally suspect that he'll be ok, they'll give him half the month off, he'll come back and throw a few tune-up starts and be ready for October.
Good News: The offense came alive last night. Homeruns by Soriano, Soto, and Edmonds led the charge.
Bad News: Lou Piniella has an addiction to Bob Howry and he turned to him again last night. Howry gave up 4 earned runs without recording an out and he is ultimately to blame for last night's loss. Somebody needs to have an intervention with Piniella, maybe with graphs and charts showing Lou how damaging too much Howry can be.
Good News: The Cubs were able to come from behind and tie up the game in the 7th inning.
Bad News: They couldn't seal the deal and failed to capitalize on late inning and extra inning opportunities. This includes Piniella giving Casey McGehee his first ever major league at bat in a clutch situation, ignoring Micha Hoffpauir who was also on the bench and has been an insanely good hitter this year.
Bad News: Piniella also turned to his two best relievers for 4 innings. Marmol pitched 2 and Wood pitched 2, despite the bullpen being replenished and having Jon Lieber, who in theory could have thrown 4 innings on his own.
In other words, I'm ultimately blaming Lou for last night's debacle. The Cubs could have won the game, but there were a number of bad-if-not-all-out weird calls made by the manager. But, hey, he wins them more games than he loses them, let's just call it a senior moment and move on.
Good News: Milwaukee lost too, leaving the Cubs with a 4.5 game lead despite their 4 game skid. I said it before, I'll say it again - they were absolutely due for one more slide this season. This is it. They will climb out of it and we'll all have a chuckle in October saying "hey, remember when they lost 4 in a row to start September and we were all kind of crapping our pants?"
I look forward to that day. I long for that day. It's coming.