Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Game Recap: Cubs 9, Mets 5; Marquis de Grand Slam

Cubs win.  Again

Just think of the embarrassment.  Think of the shame.  Your name is Jon Niese.  You're running hard, making your first cup of coffee count.  You're thrust into the key position of starting the first of a four game series that very well may determine if your team reaches the playoffs.  You are playing a team with a history of getting their asses handed to them the first time they face a left-handed starter.

And then, you give up a granny to their pitcher who isn't Carlos Zambrano.  Aw, snap.  The humiliation.  The Cubs took the Mets for a ride tonight, and Jon Niese was the bus they rode on.  Were it not for the Marquis 4th inning smacker, the Cubs would have been offensively meh-diocre tonight.  Their first two hitters combined to go 0 for 10, but the bottom of the Cubs lineup delivered.  10 of the team's 14 hits came from hitters 5 and after.  Middle infielders Mark DeRosa and Ryan Theriot had 3-hit games.  Derrek Lee smacked his 20th of the season.

Oh, and with 6 likely games remaining, the Cubs have locked in home field advantage, and are 2 wins away from the most they've had since our oldest readers were children.  The Cubs won 96 games in 1984, and that was the most since they won 98 in 1945.  I think it's fair to suggest that the Cubs could go 4-2 the rest of the way out and finish with 99 wins.  Which would be appropriate and perhaps predictable, since they would never play that last, 162nd game.  But I digress.

We have to give props to Jason Marquis.  Up until the 7th inning, he had the Mets tied up in loops.  He won his 11th this season, and while he finished the game having surrendered 4 earned runs on 8 hits and 4 walks, he got 'er done.  I think it's fair to say that the Cubs wouldn't have won without him.  ::cough::grandslam::cough::

Now, here's the interesting thing.  After having taken a ridiculously comfortable lead, Lou Piniella turned to his 3 best relievers - Samardzija, Marmol, and Wood (who got save 33 tonight).  This befuddled some of us - GA Hill included - although I maintain that regardless of the situation, Lou needs to keep his Cubs pitchers fresh.  He can't let them get rusty just because the Cubs don't technically need to win another game this year.

That said, I'll be disappointed to see any of those three pitchers throw tomorrow.  Save them until Wednesday.  Then, on Wednesday, regardless of the situation, pitch at least 2 of them.  Then, skip them on Thursday.  Maybe close a game or two with Samardzija.  This is the time to take steps to prepare for all kinds of post season situations, am I right?

Anyway, the Cubs have clinched home field advantage, but more important is this - the distance between them and any other team is wide, and it's getting wider.  It's not even close.  I know I've said it before, and I'll say it now: these guys are good.

Pitcher Grand Slam

Is that the first Cub pitcher grand slam since Burt Hooton? If so, it would be another "hasn't happened in 36 years" event.

And I just assumed Lou would pitch his "keep the lead" team of Samarzzzzz, Marmol, and Wood every other day, at least if they have a lead.

Shout Box Confusing

Not really, I'm just not sharp enough to realize that comments don't appear magically. My bad. Thanks for the shout, though.

I agree with what you're saying, Kurt. I just figured that Lou would rest them until at least tomorrow (pretty dumb to assume Lou is going to rest Carlos in general)--but yes, they certainly need to continue to pitch this week. Just like the regulars need to get some at-bats.

All that aside, the last two games have certainly been welcome surprises. Yesterday I didn't think there was any chance the Cubs would win; what with partying and the bench playing. Then with Marquis going today, I figured the same outcome. This team is looking fantastic right now, and I am quickly finding myself caring less about who we get in the first round.

Side Note: I saw on Baseball Tonight that Marquis had the most RBI's by a pitcher since Milt Pappas had 5 in whatever year it was. Ol' Milt is getting all his records taken away from him this year.

Samardzija, Marmol, and Wood

Lou seems to think of them (wishfully) as the latter-day Nasty Boys. If it were only that easy.


All I know is, I was sitting on the edge of my bed, jaw dropped to the floor when he hit that pitch. I fully expected two headed snakes and babies born with their eyes rolled back in their heads to start popping up around me.

I'm freaking myself out thinking about it.

At this point, I'm starting to think we might win a regular season game even if we let Howry pitch the whole damn thing. * pauses * Ok, maybe not that far.

At this point, I'm kinda hoping we sweep the Brewers later on so we can face these jokers again in the first round. Their pitching staff - Johan excepted - and bullpen are like tee-ball stands.

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award