Joe Mather dialed up exactly what Cubs fans and the team needed: an exciting win, against the Cardinals, no less.
The Cubs have dropped so many close games it felt good to finally win one and brush away the doom and gloom hanging over Wrigley Field, even if just for one night.
It also spared me from writing another post centered around the all too familiar story of a strong Matt Garza outing wasted due to a lack of run support, one which I’ll gladly save for a later date.
Terrific at-bat by Bryan LaHair in the ninth against closer Jason Motte. He fouled off six straight pitches–all heaters in the mid to upper 90s–before eventually drawing a walk in a 12-pitch at-bat.
It not only showed much poise from a hitter trying to hold off the hard charging Anthony Rizzo at Triple-A, but also wore Motte down, who said as much after the game, and set the stage for Mather to deliver the Cubs second come-from-behind win this season.
Good for Mather, too. His game-winning knock was doubly sweet having spent his last 10 years in the Cardinals organization before joining the Cubs.
It’s a wonder Dale Sveum hasn’t worked Mather into the everyday lineup more often given his versatility and the Cubs lack of scoring.
In just four starts he’s played three different positions (3B, LF & CF) while batting .300 with an OBP of .417 OBP, second only to LaHair’s .467 among everyday starters.
On the homestand he’s 4-for-9 (.444) with 3 RBI, 2 runs, one double, one walk and one game-winning hit. What more can one ask for?
I put virtually zero stock into spring training numbers (Soriano), but the one thing I took away from Mather’s impressive spring, aside from numbers (.382 avg., 3 HR, 15 RBI), was his unquestionable effort and determination to make the Cubs Opening Day roster.
That same drive has shown through in the early goings of the regular season, and as much as Tony Campana is the fan favorite, there’s no reason not to run Mather out to center field everyday.
At the very least, no one can say Mather hasn’t earned the opportunity.