Where to start with the Cubs losing a home series against lowly Houston?
Good teams don’t lose like this…not in the rubber-match…not on get-a-way-day…not with Ryan Dempster pitching his fanny off…and not against Houston’s anemic offense.
The Cubs, no doubt, ran into some tough starting pitching this series. Roy Oswalt’s vintage performance Saturday…and Wandy Rodriguez–the Stros’ leader in wins, starts and strikeouts last season–on Sunday.
We know the Cubs rely on the long ball to score. But good pitchers, guys like Oswalt and Rodriguez, they don’t allow many home runs…which in turn, gives this Cubs lineup fits.
The gut-wrenching part, however, is what little offense the Cubs did mustard this weekend should’ve resulted in victories…not one-run losses.
Didn’t help that Carlos Marmol, who’s been solid thus far, uncorked his first blown save of the year. How he responds, of course, is imperative.
Marmol’s got to keep a closer’s mentality–that short memory–and maintain his confidence. Because let’s face it…without a focused Marmol…this bullpen and the Cubs are doomed!
Good pitching beats good hitting. Case in point, Roy Oswalt’s performance Saturday at Wrigley.
Didn’t matter the Cubs broke out offensively this week…Oswalt pitched like it was 2005…the year he won 20 games…and led Houston to the World Series. And that’s really, really hard to beat!
So give the Cubs a break. They fell to a red-hot ace…not a No.5 starter. It happens…but you move on, tip the cap and go get’em tomorrow.
No one, by the way, seems to know whether Oswalt will be traded this summer. He’s 33-years-old…has back problems…and is coming off a season of eight wins in 30 starts. But his outing Saturday was classic Oswalt…power pitches, no walks, six Ks. What contender couldn’t use that line in September?
Of course, you’d be giving up a lot to get him…but I’d do it without thinking! I’m not saying he ends up a Cub…but maybe the Mets or Braves would pull the trigger?
Ultimately, I believe Oswalt stays with Houston. The asking price will be too high…and Houston’s ownership and its fans love him too much to part. He’s the new-school Bagwell and Biggio…another great Astro who will finish his career right where it all started.