April 2011 Archives for Agony & Ivy
Hero: Starlin Castro - the best player the Cubs farm system has produced since perhaps Billy Williams - went 4-for-5 with a double and a clutch two-run single during the Cubs' five-run eighth. It was the fifth career four-hit game for Castro, who is now hitting .393, and his second four-hit effort this season. He has a major league leading 10 multi-hit games in 2011 and leads the majors with 35 hits.
Hero: Kosuke Fukudome went 3-for-4 to raise his average to .417.
The Cubs' chances of winning a second straight world championship and third straight National League pennant were not looking promising on Aug. 16, 1908 when Philadelphia right-hander George McQuillan outdueled the Cubs' Jack Pfiester in a 1-0 Phillies victory at Chicago's West Side Grounds.
In a 1920 court deposition the Chicago History Museum recently published on its Web site, White Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte - one of the infamous "Eight Men Out" who were banned from organized baseball for life for allegedly throwing the 1919 World Series - claimed that he and his teammates had heard that several members of the crosstown Cubs were offered $10,000 to throw the 1918 World Series to the Boston Red Sox.
Hero: Reed Johnson, who replaced center fielder Marlon Byrd in the starting lineup, went 3-for-4 with a double.
Hero: Matt Garza - who did not figure in the decision - allowed six hits, struck out nine, and walked three over six shutout innings. Garza walked the first two men he faced in the sixth but escaped a bases-loaded-jam when Brad Hawpe rolled into an inning-ending double play.
"If I don't win a game all year but we win my games, it doesn't bother me one bit," Garza said.
Hero: Carlos Zambrano remained undefeated since his meltdown at Comiskey Park on June 25 with eight innings of three-hit ball. Zambrano struck out 10 - the first time he achieved double-digits in strikeouts since his no-hitter on Sept. 14, 2008 - and walked just one.
For whatever it's worth, it was the Cubs' first "quality start" since Randy Wells turned one in against Arizona on April 4. The "quality start" statistic is as nonsensical as the "game-winning RBI." A pitcher who lasts just six innings and allows three runs is credited with a "quality start." The benchmark for what is deemed "quality" should be a bit higher.
Hero: Starlin Castro (3-for-4) contributed a two-run double in the fourth inning. Castro, who had his sixth three-hit game of the season, was 7-for-13 in the series with four RBI and is now hitting .418.
Heroes: Starlin Castro (4-for-5) and Alfonso Soriano (3-for-5), who each homered, combined for seven of the Cubs' 17 hits.
I was thinking today about the Chicago Sun-Times' Joe Cowley's preseason column predicting that the White Sox were on the verge of overtaking the Cubs as Chicago's favorite baseball team. The scene Saturday at the stadium formerly known as Comiskey Park would indicate otherwise.