Where was the urgency from the Cubs’ hitters in the top of the ninth?
The all-time saves leader, Trevor Hoffman, comes in throwing 85-mph meatballs and the Cubs stand in the box with bat on shoulder.
Chicago leads the NL with a (.394 avg.) when swinging at the first pitch in an at-bat. And, Hoffman is a guy you want to attack early in the count!
Yet, Miles and Hoffpauir go down looking. Then, Milton reaches for a pitch and grounds out weakly to first.
You’re down one run against a very hittable pitcher…find a strike and swing the bat!
Know the situation — and for heaven’s sake, don’t blame the home plate umpire for punching you out looking.
Nonetheless, we’re about to find out what kind of character the Cubs have on this club.
Will they crumble to the ground like Aramis did after dislocating his shoulder or, will they jump adversity like Bobby Scales diving head first into third?
Aramis is the newest member of the Cubs’ walking wounded. What a huge loss. And, it comes just as Chicago was appearing to get healthy.
Before the game, Hendry trades Joey Gathright for Ryan Freel. Couldn’t have been better timing. But, I’ve never been much of a Freel fan.
Sure, he plays hard and is versatile, but he’s also injury prone and even more so as a starter.
The plus side is Freel is a Lou-type player — hard nosed, gritty, and competitive.
On the contrary, I’m a big believer in Gathright’s talent. I hate to see him go. But, he’ll get far more playing time in Baltimore than with Chicago.
Besides, what’s Hendry to do? The bench is thin, especially around the infield, and the Cubs need bodies who can play there. Freel was available and fits the description — done deal.
You feel for Randy Wells. He stymied a tough lineup and deserved his first MLB win. Zambrano couldn’t have been much better himself.
Heilman walking Corey Hart on four straight pitches is inexcusable. Everyone knows Braun is due up after Hart. And, everyone knows Braun can change the game with one swing, which he did.
Obviously, the multitudes of injuries are a major concern. But, the wobbly middle relief is not to be overlooked either. If I’m Hendry, the next move I make is for a quality bullpen arm.
- Notes: Cubs (16-13) are in third place.
- W: Stetter (2-0) L: Heilman (2-2) S: Hoffman (5)
- Milwaukee leads the majors with (18) quality starts.
- Cubs are second with (17).
- Chicago has blown five save opportunities this season.