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Call it a comeback. Travis Wood pitched well enough to keep the Cubs in the game, but they were down 3-1 heading into the seventh. The Cubs put runners on second and third with one out … and actually scored them! Starlin Castro plated one on a grounder, and Anthony Rizzo finally logged a hit against a lefty, driving in the second run.

A word on the inning in which the Cubs took the lead …

With the game tied in the 8th, and a runner on second with no outs, Dale Sveum elected to bunt with Welington Castillo (who succeeded) in favor of setting up … Luis Valbuena and Brent Lillibridge? I actually don’t hate the bunt in that situation in general (one of the VERY rare times I’d say that), but not with that personnel. I also didn’t care for Sveum’s choice to pinch hit Dioner Navarro for Brent Lillibridge with runners on the corners and one out. Yeah, Navarro’s probably a slight upgrade at the plate, but you burn through your bench (the only remaining backup catcher at that point, too), and you put the guy who’s far more likely to ground into a double play up at the plate. John Axford, doing his best Carlos Marmol impression, made it all moot by proceeding to walk the bases loaded before getting yanked. Scott Hairston ended up with a sacrifice fly to give the Cubs the lead, and David DeJesus padded it with a two-run single.

But, don’t get me wrong: I was happy with how things played out, and this was a good win.

Kyuji Fujikawa was missing his spots in the 9th with reckless abandon (and the cold air seemed to limit him to only his fastball), but the stuff was good enough to get the job done. But that wasn’t necessarily a surprise …

april 9 box

  • @cubsfantroy

    Game was great after the 7th inning.

  • Patrick

    Travis Wood looked good again tonight. It’s going to be interesting who gets the boot once Baker and Garza come back. My guess is Feldman.

    • willis

      once Garza comes back…I wouldn’t count on too much from Baker this year. But once Garza comes back, I do agree Feldman should get the boot to the pen.

    • Chet Masterson

      Someone else will just be hurt by then. Probably Garza.

  • Timothy Scarbrough

    Marmol has a W, L, S, BS, and a H. They should market him on versatility.

    • X The Cubs Fan

      Lol

    • Spencer

      +1

    • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

      2 of those stats are dumb.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Only 2 of them? I’d go with 4…..

  • dumbledoresacubsfan

    Love the outcome, but it almost hurts to see the win go to Marmol. haha

    • Daniel

      Best screen name EVAR!

      • DocPeterWimsey

        voldemortisayankeesfan would beg to disagree…..

  • CubFanBob

    Rondon is quietly having a great start to the season as a rule 5 dude

    • baldtaxguy

      Yes, he is clicking early. He looks very confident. I like.

    • FarmerTanColin

      He also hit 93 on the gun. That velocity has been improving still waiting for the mid to upper 90s though. Was said he hit 98 in Venezuela. If he keeps people out then it doesn’t really matter.

  • MCII

    Let me be the 1st to say… …BANZAI!!!!!!!!!

  • @cubsfantroy

    TWood has looked good. He was the only bright spot the first 6 innings. To bad he didn’t get the W.

    • Rcleven

      He got the quality start and you better believe the FO is watching.
      Game Ball to Wood for overcoming adversity.

  • willis

    Wood’s been solid thus far. His pitch count gets up there but if gives the cubs 6 or so innings and two or so earned runs, we’ll all be very happy and pleasantly surprised.

    Timely hitting tonight which is nice to finally see. The team showed life after being a circus act the first couple of innings. Good to see. Feldman v Lohse is tough tomorrow, but maybe we’ll be surprised again. Good win.

    • cjdubbya

      Pitch count got up because the defense played kickball in the second. But Wood stayed composed, as did the D, and *gasp* timely hitting with RISP? Who are these guys?

  • Vulcan

    Great Comeback!

  • fromthemitten

    I thought this game was over after that second inning with the wind blowing in, glad they were able to make it exciting at the end.

    • willis

      Good chance that every single cubs fan thought the same thing you did there. God knows I did. the first couple innings were just awful. But they stuck with it and scratched out a win. Very awesome to see.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Wow! Marmol’s ERA really came down tonite!

  • mul21

    Brett, I really don’t get the paranoia about having to leave a backup catcher on the bench. He hits left handed, was a better option than Lillibridge at that point, and honestly, the likelihood of the catcher actually getting hurt is so miniscule that there’s no reason not to use the guy if he’s the best option. On the other hand, backup catchers usually can’t hit much, so it’s typically a moot point.

    I think the moral of this story is that Lillibridge is bad and needs to go.

    • baldtaxguy

      It seemed like a strange place for Navarro, but I assumed Dale was playing for a Sac fly.

    • Bill

      How can you honestly say a guy who is hitting .000 is bad and needs to go? You are a tough critic. :-)

      • Jeff

        Yeah, seriously…at .000 how do you know if he’s bad or good…if he was .186 you could say he was bad or if he was .450 he is good, but .000…really…what a critic.

        :)

    • http://Ehanauer.com Clark Addison

      My grandmother is a better option than Lillibridge.

  • JulioZuleta

    I was looking at the I-Cubs lineup tonight. Oof. After Watkins and Jackson at the top, there were 8 other guys that took ABs, their ages? 30, 31, 34, 28, 29, 34, 28, 31

    When averaging ages by years, guys that took ABs for the I-Cubs tonight averaged 29.2
    Average age of the players who took ABs for the Chicago Cubs- 28.7

    The Chi Cubs are younger than the I-Cubs.

    • #1lahairfan

      When all the depth guys with opt out clauses in their contracts leave it shouldn’t be so bad.

  • corey costello

    Hey Brett, think when/if Viscaino recovers 100%, he’ll be the closer? or will he be a starter?

  • JulioZuleta

    Is everyone else seeing all the spam comments over in the comment queue? Did we reacquire Aaron Miles? (Only veteran BN’ers will understand that)

    • Spencer

      Hah, nice reference. Is the spam filter broken or something?

    • Internet Random

      Alex Chiu

    • JulioZuleta

      I clicked on one of those and it took me to a 2010 Lukewarm Stove. That’s a very thorough spammer.

      • Internet Random

        I got one from January… I feel a little cheated now.

  • Kyle

    That was fun. Several more in a row, please.

  • AnkenyHawk

    I’ll throw one out there: how about Axford for Marmol. Not sure what Axford is making or length of his current contract. Might be a plus for both guys and both teams?

    • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

      Axford is making $5M this year as a super two. He has 3 years of arbitration left before hitting free agency.

    • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

      Thanks, you’ve inspired me to write a bit about this … will be up in the morning.

  • Ron

    At least this makes a trip to the ER more palatable.

  • Dustin S

    The icing on the night was that the fans that endured what looked like a very chilly night got to see a comeback win. That and the light crowd had it quiet enough that you could hear the guys yelling cheater at Braun every time he was up.

  • eric

    Aint no rest for the cubbies, wins dont grow on trees. tonight they won, we had some fun. tommorow we shall proceed!!!

  • Rizzo44

    Great win! Really loved everyone that covered their face because of the cold. All looked like serial killers lol. Fujikawa is a REAL closer! Unlike Marmol and Axford. Go Cubs Go!!

  • DCF

    Discussing if Lillibridge or Navarro should be hitting in a certain spot seems like a moot point. They are both scrap heap guys which were picked up only in the hope hat one might have good couple of weeks and can be traded for value. Obviously, you need to give them both playing time to even allow that remote possibility. Since the Cubs are tanking anyway, there’s no harm in doing so.
    And regarding the bunt, I think Brett’s reasoning isn’t necessarily wrong, but I think Sveum has to manage the team like it actually was a real major league team. If the manages it like his hitters stink, he shouldn’t run them out there in the first place. But he has to, so…

    • Koyie Hill Sucks

      Lillibridge and Navarro were not picked up to be traded because they would net nothing in a trade, they are just fillers and crappy ones at that…

      • Kyle

        You could probably get something very tiny for Navarro. Playoff chasers love veteran catchers.

        • Edwin

          Navarro has had a negative WAR in 3 of the past 4 seasons. Even selling him as veteran catcher, it’d be tough.

  • DCF

    In other news, the Indians DFA’d Whitenack yesterday. Seems like there definitely is something wrong with the guy….

    • BluBlud

      Nah, the Indians claimed him, then decided to DFA him, hoping no one else picks him up so they could stash him in the minor leagues. I pretty sure that was their plan from the start. The Cubs could reclaim him if they want, but aren’t in a position right now to do so. Considering he has already passed through the entire NL once, there is a good chance the Indians might suceed in being able to keep him.

  • DCF

    You’re right, but that’s basically also what the Cubs were trying to do and it didn’t work out.

  • Die hard

    Ahem…. 6 runs and a win— as I have been saying if we can do this on avg we will avoid 100 losses—keep em coming

    • Edwin

      I think if the Cubs can average 6 runs and 1 win per game played, they will be an unstoppable force this year.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Better make it 7 runs and 2 wins per game. Just to be sure.

        • Jp3

          awesomr

    • cub2014

      Die hard we only needed 4 runs. If we would have scored 6 runs
      in every game we would be 6-1-1. That translates to 120 wins
      20 losses and 20 ties.

      I think what we can assume (yes its early) pitching is a strength.
      Relief is better and starting pitching is about same as at the start
      of last year. So when it comes time to trade off Garza, Feldman or
      Villanueva (all contracts end after this year) we will be much stronger
      than how our starting staff ended last year.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        yes, well, diehard gives a new meaning to fantasy baseball on many days! Seriously, the Cubs pitching will probably be very close to league average this year. It’s the offense that will not be much better than last year: and that would mean flirting with 90 loses.

        • Jp3

          Well die hard in all seriousness 5 runs should put us scoring more runs than our opponents seeing to this point (small sample size) 8 games the MLB average is 4.25 runs per game. What say you to that?;)

  • TonyP

    When does the “small sample size” end so I can rip on Lillibridge?

    • Kyle

      Never too early. Some of us got a head start on it in the offseason.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      0-30.

      :)

      • Jp3

        We’re over halfway there. the more disturbing part is 7 k’s in that span. for those logan watkins isn’t ready defenders, so Lillibridge was the answer? I’d say having lilly hitting in the lineup is like batting 2 pitchers but that’d be an insult to Shark.

  • Cubbies4Life

    I heard Deshaies comment that the home plate ump needed to make every batter lower his cold weather face mask at the plate to make sure they weren’t sending Braun up to bat over and over again. Funny. I was going to go to bed early – glad I stayed up for this one! And hey, Brett or Luke – where will Barney rehab in the minors? I-Cubs perhaps? I’m going on Saturday, so it would be great to see him there again.

  • Coop

    This game was also a great snapshot of Castro as a defensive player. Two horrible throws (although only one got charged as an error – they both should have been errors), but also a great diving stop and solid throw to get the runner at first. Pretty frustrating guy to watch in the field…

    • Dynastyin2016

      Not defending Castro, as both those throws should have been errors, but Castillo just can’t catch a baseball. I know SSS and all, but I’ve never seen a catcher drop so many third strikes.

  • DONNIE621

    Brent Lillibridge hasn’t smelled a hit this year. I would much rather take my chance on another batter than suffer with a guy who has a .000 BA. As for double play risk toss a coin. I thought Dale did and does a good job with what he has… better than any blogger would do.

  • Pingback: Who is better to have: John Axford or Carlos Marmol? | Baseblog

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