CUBS 12, INDIANS 8
W - S. Marshall [4-5, 4.97]
L - J. Johnson [3-8, 5.96]
There's nothing better in this "business" of blogging [the trade needs a catchier name, and a paycheck wouldn't hurt either] than being absolutely wrong about something.
From one day to another, I make all sorts of guesses, half-hearted predictions and assumptions about our much-maligned and weary team, only to be left incorrect once the dust settles.
I imagine a similar fate awaits Jay Mariotti each and every time he heads into work, as he sits down at his desk or cubicle [which I envision to be in a dank, cold part of the office far from the editorial staff and people of importance] only to contradict his strong "beliefs" from the previous column that seemingly change like the winds blowing in off Lake Michigan.
In this particular instant, I foretold of doom and gloom against the Tribe, and after the first game in the series, I have been pleasantly surprised. It's satisfying when your errors and mistakes result in a win for the Cubs. And last night, we began a streak. A winning streak. A streak of one.
Aside from being wrong, there is great satisfaction is missing something amid all the statistics and predictions in baseball. Henry Blanco, who once sported some of the ugliest and most depressing offensive statistics on the Cubs' roster, has now decided to strap the team to his stubborn, defiant Sherpa-like back, providing more offense in his last 7 games than he did almost all of last season. Allow me to illustrate:
First 14 games:
.051 BA [2-for-39], 2 RBI
Last 7 games:
.542 BA [13-for-24], 3 HR, 11 RBI
2005 Season [just for perspective]:
.242 BA [39-for-161], 6 HR, 25 RBI
And so, yet another of those bizarre phenomena in life emerges. With Barrett's suspension officially beginning last night, Blanco's presence in the lineup for the next 9 games might not be so bad. After all, it cannot get much worse. It's also worth noting that Blanco's enjoyed batting in Jacobs Field over his career, hitting .436 [17-for-39] there in his lifetime.
Another thing I got wrong was the Tribe's pitching staff. I noted yesterday that their starters for this series might be able to outduel our lads, and while that might still be partially true, I had completely forgotten how awful their bullpen was. After we chased Jason Johnson from the game after 5 innings [5 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K], our lineup managed to tack on 6 runs to their relievers. As Cleveland crumbled, we held on until Dempster's outing [you know, because he's had no save opportunities in what seems like months] when the Indians put 4 runs on the board.
While it didn't cost us the match, his lack of 9th inning composure is becoming a little troubling - in his last 10 outings, his ERA has risen from 3.32 to 4.45, with 2 blown saves in the mix, and he should have fared better yesterday than his line might show [IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB].
But let's not be concerned by such trifling matters. Just know that lately, guys like Jacque Jones and Aramis Ramirez are beginning to find their feet, Sean Marshall's pitching well above expectations after jumping from AA, and Zambrano is finding his Latin fire once more. Forget Wood, forget Prior, and pay no mind to the continued absence of Derrek Lee.
As of today, Henry Blanco is here.