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Another great win for the Cubs, and I just don’t know what to do with myself. The win marks the Cubs’ third in a row (hooray!) and ensures their first series win of the year (HOORAY!).

Jake Arrieta returned, and was every bit as good as you could reasonably have hoped. His command improved as the game went on, his two-seamer had nice movement, and both his curveball and slider were working for him. His outing was artificially shortened because it was his debut after a shoulder issue, but, in terms of stuff, he looked like he could have gone seven or eight.

Junior Lake provided most of the offense today (plus a homer from Anthony Rizzo off of a lefty, because naturally), which was very welcomed. Hector Rondon was once again called upon to close, further indicating that he’s the closer. He gave up a solid single to Yadier Molina and then a broken bat bloop single (on a good pitch) to Jhonny Peralta to get folks nervous at the outset of the inning. Rondon then started a double-play on the very next pitch, and then struck out Mark Ellis on a naaaaaasty cutter.

The end of the bullpen lined up Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon. I like it.

Aside: I try to very rarely mention specifically missed ball/strike calls, because they happen all the time, and they happen to both teams. It’s just not something that’s worth griping about.

But this is a rare one: with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fifth, tied 0-0, Anthony Rizzo was at the plate on a 2-0 count. Michael Wacha’s pitch was pretty solidly low and out of the strike zone, but was called for a strike. It was a badly missed call, and completely changed the complexion of the bat – 3-0 with the bases loaded to Rizzo? Want. 2-1 with the bases loaded to Rizzo? Still want, but much less. Rizzo ended up grounding out to first. Fortunately, it ended up not making a difference in the game, but it could have been huge.

may 3 box

Full box score.

  • Paddy26

    NL Central loss column:

    Cardinals- 16
    Reds- 16
    Cubs- 17
    Pirates- 18

    Neat!

  • Mike

    Junior Lake can crush a good fastball. No doubts about that.

    • ssckelley

      It surprises me every time they throw him one.

    • J. L.

      He can. But, in fairness, that wasn’t such a good fastball. 92mph, middle of the plate, waist-high, with no movement at all.

      • Featherstone

        Gotta crush the mistakes when they throw em.

        • J. L.

          Absolutely.

      • Mike

        It was off the outside corner though, so lets not split hairs here. Still impressive that he seems to pelt Wacha fastballs regardless of where they are pitched.

  • Funn Dave

    Having our first series win be against the Cardinals makes the past month completely worthwhile. Go Cubbies!

    • Mike

      It warms my heart to have it come against these guys.

      • cubmig

        I’m tellin’ ya, I can endure the losses to other teams, but against the deadbirds…..?…..nawh……so it makes my day and days ahead with added hope to whoop these braggarts. Here’s to a clean sweep, cuz nothing feeds winning like winning.

        • Rich H

          I am already $5 ahead lets win tomorrow and make it a cool $20 please. :D

    • http://ryanissamson.drupalgardens.com ryanissamson

      Maybe not *completely* worth while.

      But satisfying.

  • KHRSS

    Lets hope for a sweep tomorrow, on national television. It would be great!
    Castro and Rizzo are on fire right now. It’s really great to see, hopefully they keep it up.

    • Featherstone

      Man the comments are fun when the Cubs win. Just absolutely loving the at bats Rizzo and Castro are putting out right now. I know its just one series but it feels all the sweeter to come against the Cardinals best two pitchers.

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        Yes and the college of complainers is always absent after a win but first to comment after a loss.

        • Karl Groucho

          People are happier after a win, story at 11.

          • mjhurdle

            i think the point is that it says something about someone when they rush to post complaints after a loss, but are “absent” (that was the key word) when they win.
            It is almost like those certain people only want to post negative things, so when positive things happen they have nothing to say.

            Story Sunday night on 60 Minutes.

            - Friendly BN Clarification Guide

            • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

              Yes

            • KHRSS

              I would imagine those who have criticized the FO are the “college of complainers” if so I’ve seen many of those here today and the past three days, myself included. I would imagine the overwhelming majority of us(here at BN) just want to see the Cubs win. Regardless of how we think the FO is doing.

              • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                Well did I say anything about the FO? No.

                Next story at 11

              • Jon

                I think some people just like typing the word “narrative”

                • Kyle

                  It’s definitely become code for “I don’t have a good way to argue against you, but I want to dismiss your opinion with a condescending-sounding word.”

                  • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                    No it’s not. It means exactly what it means. If someone is developing a story by picking and choosing what they will believe and refusing anything else the are creating a narrative and hoping to build a myth from that narrative. We all do it, denying that it exist doesn’t nullify it. However forcing a narrative and acting like it’s a fact is foolishly arrogant. As for calling the word condescending… well that’s condescending dontcha think? But it’s only condescending when someone’s feelings get hurt and a box of Kleenex will solve that problem.

                • Funn Dave

                  This. “Narrative” has to be the most common non-baseball word on this website.

                  • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                    I’m glad a simple concept got under so many people skin.

                  • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                    And since we are a community that communicates through the written word narrative is the perfect word. Because that is whatever are doing hoping our narrative becomes myth one day. Welcome to the written word.

                • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                  Well Jon if it would make you feel better I could just call your none sense bullshit & stupid if you’d prefer, but that too would be narrative creation.

                  • Jon

                    Is this a “bit”?

            • Karl Groucho

              This would be a better narrative if those same people weren’t being pretty happy about things today!

              It is almost like certain people want to post their thoughts, so when positive things happen they’re thrilled, and when negative things happen they’re observant of that.

              Something about a news program at some time ;)

              • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                Well the problem is I was referring to a very small but loud group that isn’t posting like they do after a lost. I do believe some enjoy losing because allows them show how loud they can yell.

          • tobias

            Except those who hate wins because of the draft slot in 2015. I’m not one of them, but there are Cub fans that want that #1 pick.

        • cubmig

          Include me as a prime complainer…..esp against the FO. I don’t mind. What I mind is bad decisions that the field of play had revealed. Hope the recent wins continue and is a real turn-around of what we’ve seen. I’m ready for crow, if and, when the wins line up to dispel the frustration, anger, call-it-what-you-will thing.

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    I don’t think it’s premature to say that Rizzo is putting together an all-star worthy first half. Quite the display for Matheny the last couple days.

    I know there was a lot for Brett to cram in, but Castro’s over-the-shoulder catch was a possible game-changed too!

  • another JP

    A six man shut-out says plenty about Arrieta and the pen against a team like the Cards. Sweep their sorry asses tomorrow and maybe .500 won’t seem like such an impossible task.

  • ssckelley

    Three wins in a row!!!!!! To beat Wainright and Wacha on back to back days is fun.

  • Mike

    Oh, lets not forget that Anthony Rizzo will devour the other team’s lefty. #BearRizzo

  • WernerT

    What a sweet, sweet win. Cardinals still have pitching but that lineup doesn’t look so hot at the moment.

    • half_full_beer_mug

      Don’t know where you watched the game, but the FS1 feed showed a graphic that last years teams average with RISP was the highest since 1974, this years team has the lowest average with RISP of any Cardinal team since 1974.

  • waffle

    I may be in the minority here but I think RR is doing a pretty good job. With all the new pieces you figure it would take him a bit to figure out who goes where when.

    • itzscott

      He’s a genius when the Cubs win and a moron when they lose.

      Maybe we should just agree that he’s a work in progress that seems to have potential.

      Something like the Junior Lake of managers.

      Fair?

    • Ivy Walls

      hear here

  • OCCubFan

    I question the double switch that RR made in the 7th. Olt made the last out in the 6th, and the pitcher was due up next. RR changed pitchers in the top of the 7th, first to Russell for one batter, then to Ramirez. When he made the second pitching change, he did a double switch and brought in Kalish. Therefore, Kalish would bat first in the bottom of the 8th.

    However, RR replaced Ramirez with Strop at the start of the 8th, as he presumably intended to do all along. If he was going to replace Ramirez for the next inning anyway, why do a double switch? A double switch would make sense if and only if he intended to keep Ramirez in the game in the top of the 8th. As it was, Kalish or someone else could have pinch hit for Ramirez, and then RR could put his best defensive team on the field for the next inning.

    If RR wanted to make that defensive switch (Kalish for Olt, with Valbuena and Bono moving over), then he could have done that at the start of the 7th.

    I think NL managers overuse the double switch, and this is an example.

    • ssckelley

      At least we found something to bitch about.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        This does sound like bitching just to bitch.

        • OCCubFan

          Do you or do you not think the move makes sense?

          • DarthHater

            [img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7369/13912140370_efcaa56ba4_n.jpg[/img]

            • ssckelley

              ^ lmao

              Darth, you are awesome!

              • Cubbie Blues

                shhhh, he doesn’t need encouragement.

              • N8theGr8

                Dr. Alien’s hair is what is awesome. Wonder if Darth goes to the same stylist…in a galaxy far, far away….?

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            Eh…what Julio said below and what’s the difference?

            • OCCubFan

              The difference is that if a manager (and it’s not just RR) blindly double switches, in some cases it will be a mistake, and one that might cost a game.

              • ssckelley

                CUBS WIN!!!!!!!

              • baldtaxguy

                OCCubFan spelled backwards is Nafbucco……

                • DarthHater

                  The letters in baldtaxguy can be rearranged to spell “ladybug tax.”

              • DocPeterWimsey

                The sole benefit of the double switch then was that it left open the option of keeping Strop in the game. However, I, too, think that the double switch does get over-used: it’s like grounding out to the opposite field to advance runners in that baseball people just repeat it and repeat it without thinking on it.

          • josh ruiter

            I do think it makes sense. Because of the perceived improvement on defense, along with the uncertainty of where the batting order would finish at the end of the 7th you still could have seen a situation where a double switch was necessary. You make a move at the time…if it allowed the Cubs more BP moves later on with less defensive shuffling, then you take that for the situation.

    • JulioZuleta

      One possible answer–based on hitter spray charts he wanted to keep the original defensive lineup in place for another batter or two (I followed the game online, didn’t watch, don’t remember who was batting).
      Or- maybe they wanted an extra couple minutes to consider how the Cards would react to certain switches (what pitcher would they bring in to face so and so…)

      Answer could be incredibly complicated, or something simple and dumb like, I don’t know, Kalish couldn’t find his glove.

    • pinkstonaa

      Technically, doing the double-switch as he did gave the team more options, as they could have brought Ramirez back out. Just because he didn’t, doesn’t mean it was a bad move – he had the option in his pocket if it made more sense. Don’t have the option if he pinch hits to start the inning.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        Oooo…this.

      • OCCubFan

        Yes, but I am 99% certain that in RR’s mind bringing Ramirez out to start the 8th was not an option.
        There is also a way (moderately far-fetched) in which the move gave him fewer options. If there was no double switch and Kalish (or whoever) pinch hit for Ramirez in the bottom of the inning and the Cubs batted around, then the pitcher would not be the 9th person to bat.

        • Cubbie Blues

          [img]http://onlyinbridgeport.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/kreskin.jpeg[/img]

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          [img]http://makeameme.org/media/created/oscar-the-grouch.jpg[/img]

        • half_full_beer_mug

          So is your issue that he didn’t make the defensive change at the beginning of the inning, or that he made a defensive change at all?

          Are you upset that an extra pinch hitter was used, even though there were still plenty of options available on the bench?

          Or did you fully expect the pen to give up just enough runs to force the game into extra innings and upset because so many pitchers were used.

          Because I’m not quite sure what your are complaining about. Unless of course you just had to find something to bitch about after a shut out of the Cardinals.

          • OCCubFan

            If RR wanted to make a defensive switch, he should have done so at the beginning of the inning.
            The double switch in the game made sense if RR intended to bring Ramirez out for the next inning. I really doubt that was the case.
            By making the double switch, he lost the option of using a different hitter to lead off the next inning. Suppose the Cards had brought in a lefty? Would you still want Kalish hitting there?
            My complaint is that managers need to understand why they are using double switches so that they are used when appropriate and not used when inappropriate.
            Some people claim the NL game is better because tactics like double switches make the game more interesting. I would think a reasoned debate is an appropriate discussion board topic. (I think a search of past posts will reveal few if any “bitching” posts by me.)

            • half_full_beer_mug

              So managers need to understand why you think they should double switch and only do so in those specific instances. Got it.

            • Patrick W.

              But he didn’t know at the start of the inning who the Cardinals were going to send up to hit second in that inning. You are assuming it was his intention from the get go to have Russell in for just one batter.

              • OCCubFan

                No. The double switch came when RR took Russell out.

                • Patrick W.

                  Right. I’m saying maybe RR started the inning thinking Russell was going to stay in for the whole inning, so he was just going to pinch hot for him in the bottom of the inning. Something (maybe Ellis PH, who knows) then changed his mind and so he made the switch then.

  • Karl Groucho

    Nothing makes for a better weekend than a series win against the Cardinals.

  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

    (psst…the bullpen has been totes magotes awesome lately)

  • BlameHendry

    Lake is coming around. But can we please just cut Olt already? It’s pretty clear now he’s just another Vitters/Jackson. In fact I’d be fine with just cutting all three of them loose.

    Thrilled to see Arietta hasn’t lost anything. Can’t wait to see his highlight reel from today, I couldn’t watch the game so I couldn’t see how good his stuff looked. What was his fastball peaking at today?

    Oh and Rondon. Dat 0.59 ERA. fuck. yes.

    • willis

      94-95. He was consistently 92-93 with some added 94+ when needed. And his shit was moving. It was a wonderful sight to see.

    • another JP

      In 2011, Rizzo was .141/.281/.242 in 153 PAs with the Padres. Olt came into today .161/.209/.371 in 67 PAs… I think the guy deserves more of a chance.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        Olt is older than Rizzo and had a previous stint in the majors where he didn’t do so hot.

        Odds are he is Jeff Baker.

        • gocatsgo2003

          And that would be the worst thing because… ?

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            It isn’t but his situation isn’t really comparable to Rizzo.

        • CubFan Paul

          “and had a previous stint in the majors where he didn’t do so hot”

          That’s silly. Olt didn’t have a position during that “stint”, nor was it that long. Not something you use as the backside of your argument.

      • Kyle

        Age matters. A lot.

        • another JP

          OK. So let’s put in your BFF Vitters then. L.M.F.A.O.

          • Kyle

            Vitters isn’t a third baseman.

            • another JP

              And he’s not an outfielder either.

              • Kyle

                *shrug* Sure. As of right now, he’s not on the MLB roster and he’s not making any sort of case that he should be.

                Now that that’s settled, we can get back to discussing Olt, whom you cleverly deflected the conversation away from because you know he doesn’t hold up under even moderate scrutiny.

                • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                  It really was quite the deflection.

                  • Drew7

                    I’m not sure anyone could provide a better example of deflecting.

                    • DarthHater

                      The truly masterful deflection is one that deflects the conversation into a conversation about deflection.

                    • Drew7

                      Touché.

                • JacqueJones

                  I think its become clear valbuena is better than olt in every respect. Id argue he even has more upside and longterm value. For one, hes a lefty when the future core is mainly righthanded. Valbuena has proven himself to be a good baseball player but hes not being treated like it and its kinda annoying.

                • another JP

                  Alright hot shot, let’s talk about Olt. You realize that in half the PAs this season he has 4 homers against the 2 that Fielder has hit in twice as many ABs? The same Prince Fielder you lambasted the FO for not making any attempt to sign? And BTW, Fielder is much older than Olt… since age matters so much to you.

                  I can do this nonsense with you all day long.

                  • Kyle

                    You are certainly doing nonsense.

                    So in your opinion, “HR total relative to Prince Fielder” is the only stat worth discussing when evaluating a player?

                    You are dodging and cherry-picking, anything you can to avoid admitting that Olt is a bust.

                  • Kyle

                    And you’re gonna have to find the posts where I “lambasted” the front office for not “attempting to sign Prince Fielder.” I’d be surprised if they existed.

                    • Kyle

                      Although I’m indulging your deflection by even acknowledging it.

    • ssckelley

      ffs, no they should not cut Olt. Unless you mean cutting him is sending him down to Iowa as that is all he really needs. We have seen this scenario over and over when players first come up to the majors to struggle against big league pitching. It does not mean they cannot end up being successful major league players.

      • half_full_beer_mug

        no, no, no…..we must cut them as they are no longer worth a bag of balls. Also, we must do that immediately since there are so many others that need those 40 man roster spots.

        I know this because someone on the internet named BlameHendry said so, and we all know that everything on the internet is true.

  • Dusto

    Randy Choate pitching
    Anthony Rizzo batting
    Cardinals announcer: easy out, left handers can’t hit Choate.
    Rizzo: 1st pitch it’s going it’s going it’s got a chance GONE
    Cardinals announcer: um huh um um that’s probably never happened to him before
    Hahahahahahahahaha

  • http://becomehealthier.com drcub1908

    Love the Cubs, love this site…hate Len Kasper..man, he simply has no excitement in his voice…( maybe at sometimes ) but C’mon Len, BE A FAN MAN!

    • Medicos

      drcub1908: The other nite I happened to be listening to the Sox game on WSCR. If you think Len Kasper doesn’t exude much excitement, try listening to Ed Farmer. I don’t how he’s been the White Sox radio voice for so many years. Zero excitement even when Abreu, the Cuban Missile, hits his long distance HRs.

  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

    If the Pirates lose today…

    WE’RE NOT IN LAST PLACE!

    • Cubbie Blues

      Now if we can only knock off the Sounds tonight, my day will be great. A day to the park to let the kids play, check, come home to watch the rest of the game (snuck in a little MLB.tv on the phone while they were in the sand pit), check, series win against the turd birds, check, night game watching Beaz going deep in Nashville to win the game in the 9th, let’s only hope.

      • David

        I’d rather he hits 3 doubles than 1 home run. Hope he’s not too home run conscious.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Sending Barney to 30 day DL for oblique epidemic may be warranted to promote another

    • half_full_beer_mug

      What exactly did Barney do to get ripped on today? I really wish the Cubs would trade him to another team so that you idiots would quit obsessing over him.

      • Cubbie Blues

        [img]http://www.backstageol.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/A-Good-Day-To-Die-Hard-300×190.jpg[/img]

        • DarthHater

          [img]https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3760/13271952754_a369ced880_n.jpg[/img]

      • Diehardthefirst

        Hey I defended him when you were in short pants- so take another pill

        • DarthHater

          [img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7209/14075902546_d4df2c1605.jpg[/img]

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          I’m loving the off his meds die hard…every comment is jaw dropping great. We may have a satirical genius or a madman with phone privileges either way it’s so much fun. TIDROW approves all of Die Hard’s comments!

          • DarthHater

            Uh-oh, sounds like the goat may have gotten into the “happy goat weed” patch again.

            • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

              Nah just appreciating the maniacal beauty of die hard’s post he’s been on a roll today

      • Mike

        Your fail for seriously responding to a diehard comment. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          I’ve been responding to die hard when comments were thin he’s been doing this for years, he’s the reason why Dick Tidrow is a god around here

    • DarthHater

      There is no 30-day DL.

      • Cubs_Questions

        However, once a player is placed on the 15-day DL, they can stay on it indefinitely until they heal.

  • Cubbie Tim

    Control Olt Delete

    • http://becomehealthier.com drcub1908

      holy crappies that is outstanding…

    • MoneyBoy

      I second that drcub1908… Well played Cubbie Tim!!!

    • TimBeam

      Bravo!

  • David

    Only 5.5 games out of the wild card!

  • Diehardthefirst

    If there is no 30 DL there should be

    • JulioZuleta

      I don’t know why I’m bothering with this, but you can leave people on the 15 day DL for more than 15 days…

    • DarthHater

      I’m not 100% sure, but I think a team can just leave a guy on the 15-day DL for an additional 15 days, if they want – which is just about equivalent to having a 30-day DL.

      • Diehardthefirst

        Apologies accepted

        • DarthHater

          So now you’re apologizing to yourself for not knowing the rules and accepting your own apology? Very efficient.

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        Shhh they can also do it three times and get 45 days… but that’s a secret.

        • DarthHater

          What about 48 days?

      • Cubs_Questions

        He can be on the DL for more than an additional 15 days. A player can be left there indefinitely or until the season ends.

        • DarthHater

          What about 57 days?

          • Cubs_Questions

            As long as the season doesn’t end in 56

            • DarthHater

              Hmm. Good point.

  • cubsfaninca

    Let’s critique the double switch and complain about Olt’s bad game as there always has to be something to bitch about. Personally I think they played great today and it was very satisfying to beat the Cards. Sometimes I think if we won a game 32-0 and the position players all went 4 for 4 with 4 runs and 4 RBI’s each, someone would complain that the pitcher didn’t contribute with his bat.

    • Diehardthefirst

      Olt played good D

    • DarthHater

      I’d complain about too many 4s.

  • Diehardthefirst

    So did Castro including Willie Mays catch to save runs

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      See everyone this comment is utterly awesome… It makes no sense and I still am thinking about it.

      • DarthHater

        Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

    • another JP

      Beautiful. How did I miss that connection as I watched the game today?

  • TimBeam

    The streak continues!
    Bright things!

  • candyland07

    Yay Cubs win ! Lake VS Kalish ….. Kalish needs to be dumped.

  • Ivy Walls

    Brett, you are not correct with balls and strikes going against the Cubs, esp with Cubs pitchers in critical counts/situations, they have been getting screwed more than the coverage and all someone with too much time and access to historical F/X data has to do is uncover it. There is something amiss here and it is no secret.

    The judgement call in sports be it the no call on a foul in BB or the foul, or the no call in football or the call is not an even distribution

    blame it on human nature or blame it on something else that human nature allows to happen but it is real.

  • APPNATION

    WE’RE NOT IN LAST PLACE!!!!!

  • Kyle

    The bullpen is really coming together nicely. More than anything else, that’s got my optimism creeping up to almost existing.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Still too much.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    That first month of the season was rough and we played one of the most difficullt schedules in the league. Suddenly the Pirates and Cardinals look vulnerable. These guys have to have confidence going into May so maybe we can climb towards the .500 mark if we keep playing well. Holy shit, Castro and Rizzo are going F’ing bananas!

  • md8232

    I was having a late lunch in StL today when Jr came up & hit his homer.
    Good Brisket & Cubs win. Woo!

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