And For Their Next Trick….
It almost seems like a bar bet. How do you strike out 13 in less than six innings and still lose? But the Cubs and Jeff Samardzija found a way. Good on them.
For the first five innings, it had been a long time since we saw a Cubs starter that dominant. The Braves hitters were missing by feet, not inches. They were almost full seconds behind Shark’s fastball, which had come after they managed some strange yoga poses chasing his split and his slider.
Then it all went wrong. Was it being from the stretch? Was it the hit-by-pitch call? Was it something else? Was it all of it? Can’t answer for sure. For me, it was Shark going away from his slider when the water started to get a little rapid. He was also over-throwing his fastball and split, which ruins the effectiveness of both. It’s not surprising he’d go with the two pitches he feels more comfortable with in times of trouble. But if I just feel like sticking with the slider would have kept him under control, and maybe helped him not overthrow the other two pitches.
Then again, maybe having Darwin Barney at second would have helped? Not to blame Alberto Gonzalez, but those brief instances of reaction and anticipation are what makes Barney a gold glove. Would he have gotten there?
From there, it was academic. The Cubs were never going to get much off Tim Hudson, who rarely gives away anything. And as we know, the Cubs certainly aren’t going to string a bunch of hits together. Not now, anyway.
-A word on Carlos Marmol here. I don’t know why anyone is surprised or upset. We’ve done this ride before. One aspect that doesn’t get mentioned is that he might just out of bullets. Those years of 2007-2011, when he wasn’t being brought in he was being warmed up. Lou abused this guy to nowheres-ville, and he may just be paying the toll for it. Then again, his velocity wouldn’t be as good if that were the case, I guess. Whatever, he is what he is. How many dominant closers last longer than a few years anyway? Rivera and…..Papelbon? Hoffman did, but he specialized in a change-up, so it didn’t really matter when his arm turned into a noodle. Other than that, you can’t think of one.
-Anthony Rizzo is still struggling, but it’s hard to see why. He’s being even more selective at the plate, though he’s not fouling or making contact as much with pitches outside of the zone. Everything else seems to be in order. Don’t think it’ll be too much longer before he busts out for a week or two…or a month.
-Starlin Castro, however, is swinging at even more pitches than normal. Not good, but only a week.
-Brett Jackson has 17 ABs at Iowa in four games. He’s K’d six times. Not how I had it drawn up.
Wrigley portion of the summer begins today. There’s something reassuring about that.